Thursday, January 29, 2009

For Those of You Who Need To Know

We went to get William and Marissa their passports several weeks ago. I brought in their Texas birth certificates, social security cards, Uganda passports, the adoption decree from the USA courts, and their permanent resident cards. The woman repeatedly assured me that all she needed was the adoption decree and birth certificates. THIS IS NOT TRUE. You MUST also send in proof that they entered the US legally. This means the Uganda passport with the Visa or the permanent resident card, must be included as well. If you have already filed for and received the certificate of citizenship, that that will work too. It is not a big deal, just a delay in us receiving the passports. I just though I would post so if anyone will be doing this anytime soon, your family can avoid the delay.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I love this Idea

I love this idea. Prayer is a powerful and amazing thing. Check out his post and join in praying for brothers and sisters all over the world.

Pray for MeWe participate in "Pray for Me... Pray for Others" on the Riggs Family Blog. Check out their blog to add your prayer request.

This Article Made Me Laugh

This article made me laugh. The world's worst travel diseases. I got both the number one and number two spots while in Uganda. For the record, amoebic dysentery is not on that list, and it is WAY worse than the number two spot. Someone needs to get a hold of these guys and set them straight :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

More Doctors

We will be spending the week in and out of various doctors offices and hospitals again this week.

Grace will have a cat scan this morning. She is putting up a brave front, but I can tell she is a bit freaked out. I am praying for a nice radiologist, that will explain things to her well. I keep telling her she has had one before and it was no big deal...of course she was still I am not sure it counts. I am also praying that all looks well and that no biopsy will be needed, because THAT is freaking her out even more. Strangely, or maybe not so strangely, I have peace about the outcome of all of this. Maybe it is because I have a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that it could be something serious. Maybe it is because I really think she has some underlying infection that is the cause of all this hullabaloo. At any rate I KNOW the Lord has given us much grace already, and if either her or Marissa end up having anything major wrong with them, I know He will give more grace.

Marissa will be having another blood draw this week. If things look normal, than there will be no more testing for her. If her levels are still messed up she will have some significant testing in her future.

So if you think about it, you might say a little prayer for my girls, and maybe their mom and dad too.

Monday, January 26, 2009


We just started studying the reformation period for school. Today, as Noah sat beside me reading a book on Martin Luther (the reformer) Noah says, "Um, I thought Martin Luther was black." Boy did he feel sheepish when I reminded him that Martin Luther KING, the civil rights activist was black...Martin Luther the reformer...not so much.

As he continued to read, Grace was bemoaning the fact that she had to do math. I asked her if she wanted to learn to sew and cook. You need to know math to do these two activities, I informed her. Noah pipes up and tells her that she will indeed need to know math if she plans to cook. "Estimation is very important when cooking" he says, "mom is always estimating when she cooks." Not exactly what I had in mind..but he did have me rather cornered. I don't measure when I cook. The only math I use while cooking, is in fact estimation.

When I told him I would be blogging about the above mentioned conversations, he laughed.

Twenty minutes later, when I had completely forgotten the two previous conversations, I asked him for a reminder. He dutifully reminded me, then added, "Guess you'll be adding the fact that you can't remember anything to next weeks Not Me Monday huh?"


I interrupt the regularly scheduled Not Me Monday for this important announcement.

I have been reminded more than a couple of times over the last couple weeks of a very important battle we are loosing in this country...probably several other countries as well. A battle that is immense in proportion, and one that quietly slips by day in and day out. While we have looked the other way and quietly swept it under the rug, as things of which we do not speak. Well I am speakin' up today.

P*rnography. This is not some innocent little thing that millions partake in. It can and does have serious implications. Not just in marriages but for our children.

Did you know that almost with out exception, every time a man is caught for s*xualy assaulting a child or women...NEARLY EVERY TIME p*ornography is found either on him, in his car, or in his home.

Seriously, major studies have been done on this. It is the LEADING link in violent crime.

There is a great chapter in the book Judgement in the Gates on this very subject. Material that is probably more relevant today than it was nearly twenty years ago when the book was first published.

Focus on the Family re aired their interview with Ted Bundy this morning. I had heard this episode a few years back and it struck me then...but even more so now as I have young boys, growing into young men. I HIGHLY recommend you you take the thirty minutes or so to listen to this, you won't be disappointed and you will walk away with a better understanding of exactly where an addiction to p*ornography CAN lead.

This interview was with him the night before he was scheduled to be executed for the rape and murder of well over twenty women and girls. While he takes full responsibility for his actions, he wanted the world to know that this type of "media" greatly contributed to the crimes he committed.

Not only is this a great reminder to be diligent in protecting our families from this garbage, but it is also a great reminder that Jesus Christ shed His blood for the forgiveness of sins. Not just my "itty bitty" ones, but even those of men like Ted Bundy.

God's love is great, merciful, and mighty. His forgiveness and healing are for those who would have it. There is no sin too great that cannot be forgiven. His love and forgiveness can bring healing to even the most broken and hurting of people. In Him is freedom and rest.

The radio broadcast can be found here.

Not Me Monday

Ah, Monday. That time of the week when I can with all dishonesty tell you things I didn't do, thanks to Mckmama and her brilliant idea of Not Me Monday.

Today it will be difficult to come up with anything too shocking...because I was nearly perfect in all ways this last week.

I did, after all manage, over the last two weeks, to make it to 12 doctors appointments, four blood draws, two x-rays, and one sonogram with out having to restrain myself from someones incompetence. Not even that pediatrician, who repeatedly grilled me about my sons public school status. After all, it is perfectly reasonable to ask me no less than three times, why my son, who just turned five at the end of November, is not enrolled in the "public school system" as she called it. This of course is a reasonable question, because he is actually old enough to attend school...not based on his age, but based on the fact that he is clearly a genius. This was also a reasonable question because the answer to this question has everything to do with why he is not gaining any weight. So naturally, I would never loose my temper just a bit by reminding her that you have to be five by August to attend the "public school system" here in Texas...that means he doesn't qualify. I would also not mention that it probably wouldn't be in his best interest considering he had only been home for two and a half months when school started. I would of course expect her to know how important attachment is.

When the Wii Olympics were held at our home Saturday, I was thrilled when my five year old son beat me...significantly...during the ski competition. I do after all have a level of maturity that goes way beyond getting miffed when beaten by a small child. I obviously knew in advance this game would be incredibly sanctifying for me...that is of course why I wanted it.

My sweet daughter, Grace, bless her heart. After I pulled out what appeared to be a grey hair, she would know in advance how traumatizing this might be to a girl, so she would choose her words carefully. Therefore, she would never say, "If you pulled out all your grey hairs, you wouldn't have very much hair left." When I looked at her in shock, she would immediately realize the error of her ways. She is after all well trained. So she would laugh and say, "I meant to say you wouldn't have to pull out very many hairs." That is of course what she meant to say, because I don't have very many grey hairs at all...they are just really blond. Really.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

African Children's Choir

Wednesday afternoon I received a call from a friend, telling me that the African Children's Choir from Uganda would be performing at a nearby high school. She said she knew it was a short notice, but thought I might like to go. Short notice? Might like to go? Uh, she could have called thirty minutes before the show...OF COURSE I WANTED TO GO!!!

The show was amazing. Those sweet little cuties from Uganda...I just wanted to squeeze them. I was sitting there listening to the boys bang on the drums, with my eyes closed, it was almost as if I was back in Kampala, lying on my bed at night listening to the drums and singing off in the distance. It made me miss Africa.

Once again I was reminded of the rich culture in Uganda. There, where so many people have nothing, they live life to the fullest. They celebrate often, and do so with such joy. It is hard to describe, unless you have been there...but it really makes life in America seem so...well boring. Honestly, there are not many rich traditions here in the USA, or at least not in my part of the world. Life often times get marked and remembered by certain events, but how often do we truly celebrate? I was thinking in particular about marriage. The kids performed the "courtship dance" and the whole time I was thinking about the contrast between marriage here and there. I loved hearing the stories of Patrick and Vicky's courtship and wedding. The elaborate coming out party, where everyone gets to meet the groom. The stories of the men challenging each other with proverbs. The dancing, and singing, and great feasting. It is such a time of joy for them. Now, I know that marriages here are JOYFUL and CELEBRATED, but the difference in culture is drastic. Compared to them, we seem so much more reserved.

I think, that when you have so little, and you truly know how fragile life can find it very easy to live in the moment. You find it very easy to truly celebrate and enjoy life, because you have learned early on not to take one day, one meal, or your loved one for granted.

William and Marissa loved the evening as well. Although just for a moment it made me sad that they won't have the same experiences here in the sates. It is hard to incorporate other cultures into your life. I know I need to make a bit more of an effort, but still , it is hard.

Nevertheless, I am POSITIVE, that a father and mother that love them, a family that will always be here for them, and a home that they can always come home to, far outweighs what they have lost. Even a beautiful culture, cannot replace family. That is, after all, what they are celebrating in

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Life is Sacred

Way back in May, as a family, we had started reading a book written by Randy Alcorn, entitle Safely Home. Due to various circumstances, it took us MUCH longer to finish this book than it would have prior to our trip to Africa. We finally finished last night. It was a wonderful book, as are most by this author. Alcorn has a beautiful way of taking his readers into Heaven, and showing them what is the UNSEEN of earthly circumstances. This book is no exception. I cried through most of the final chapters. It is very difficult to read aloud when you are crying :)

There were several lines in this book that pierced my soul, but the beginning of one chapter was the most thought provoking. The following is a an excerpt from chapter 49 of this book. The scene takes place in Heaven, before the throne of the Jesus.

"They watched the King, surrounded by a great crowd of angels bringing their concerns before Him. While few of them were permitted this close to His throne, these has special access-not because of who they were, but whom they represented.

Li Manchu, Li Wen, and Li Tong came close. Because of their relation to the King, their blood was royal and their access unrestricted. The king drew them into the surface of His vast mind, that they could see what He saw. Children abandoned and living on streets, abducted, beaten, molested, cut to pieces by men dressed in white, exterminated by human pesticides.

"See that you do not look down on one of these little ones," the King said, projecting His voice down toward the dark world so loudly it was heard on earth as thunder. "For I tell you that their angels in Heaven always behold the face of my Father."

The King pointed to a church custodian yelling at children unauthorized to play on the swings and chasing them away. "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these."

The King spoke to people out for Sunday dinner after church, who turned away from the street children. "Your Father in Heaven is not willing that any of these little ones be lost."

The He watched a man and woman taking children off the streets, bringing them into a building, and giving them a warm meal and a cot and a safe refuge, and telling them about their Master. On one side of the planet, in Africa, He watched his people caring for children born with AIDS, many of them orphans, or soon to be.

The King nodded His approval. "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me."

He watched His people give the children a warm bath, read stories to them, hug them,and laugh with them. He smiled broadly. "Thank you," the King whispered, "for doing this to me."

He looked now at men plotting and stalking and taking pictures of children, doing to them the unthinkable. He looked at men herding frightened little girls together and selling them to foreigners. He looked at the men in white coats, driving beautiful cars purchased by the blood of children. He looked at those who inflicted the suffering. His eyes smoldered.

"I made these children. I took them in my arms, put my hands on them, and blessed them. And yet you scorn them, use them for your gain, treat them as disposable. It would be better for you to have a millstone tied around your neck and be thrown into the sea than to face what I will surely do to you."

He looked now at others who turned their heads from the children, too busy to share a meal, a blanket, or a paycheck. They did little or nothing to help the children, and He regarded their failure to help as the inflicting of harm. "To you who look the other way, saying my children are not your concern: Repent! For it is I you have turned away from. I will not forget."

He gazed at another group of people, those watching out for and reaching out to and helping the children. He simply said, "Well done. Your reward shall be great."

The king watched the children again, though the men new He had never stopped watching them. For a moment He smiled, then laughed; then suddenly He saw something else. The tears flowed from His eyes; then they burned with a blistering heat.

"Many on earth look away from the children," said Li Tong to Fu Liko. "But the eyes of heaven never look way from them. Never."

There is much thought and consideration this week about life, as this is Sanctity of Human Life week. A time where we are to reflect on how precious life is. Lives created by God and for God. While the primary focus of this week for most is the unborn, I want to remember that all life is sacred. Beginning with conception, through the final breaths of the elderly. Every child deserves to be celebrated, loved, and protected. Whether in the womb, or out. Healthy or inflicted with disease. Whole or disabled. Those with all their chromosomes in tact and those with extra or missing chromosomes. Whether young and able bodied, or the old and infirm. All life is precious, and should be protected. When we have our focus on the Creator of life, we see how very precious life is. When we remember that our Lord values those unborn children that He has knit together, the thought of taking their lives should make us recoil with horror. So should children being used and exploited. Children starving and alone on the streets should make us cry out to the Father on their behalf. Then after imploring Him to intercede for them, we ought to rise and serve them. In doing so, scripture tells us we are serving Jesus. Not that He is pleased that we have served another....but that have actually done it TO him.

Lord, continue to grow in me a passion for your children. Give me wisdom to know how best to serve and love you, by serving and loving them. Passion for you Jesus, no more, no less, this is my prayer.

Monday, January 19, 2009


I think William has made some major progress recently in attaching. He has always with drawn and become distant from us whenever we are around adults with brown skin. It is hard to explain, but it is very real. He gets this blank expression on his face, stops what he is doing, and starts moving in slow motion. It is hard, because we don't really know what he thinking or feeling. It is impossible to get any answers out of him, because when we ask, while he is like this, he will just answer yes to everything. I could ask him if he lives in a house of cheese and he would say yes. This is only true when he doesn't know the people, or there is a large crowd. Mandy had told us that some of the kids behave this way because of fear that we will leave them. Maybe she is right. In Uganda, he would only act this way around people from the home. I don't really know if it is that or him missing people from Uganda. Maybe it is a bit of both. At any rate, we went to a MLK event last night because some friends were playing music for it. We contemplated not going because of the reaction that William has, knowing there would be a crowd of brown people. We told him before we left what to expect, and set out for the auditorium. The entire night he was so comfortable. He was laughing with his daddy and sitting on his lap. He enjoyed the whole show, and had no problems when some of the adults wanted to talk to us afterward. It felt like such progress. It was so good to see him finally settling in and feeling some peace.

A couple of weeks ago he was working in the garden with his brother, and they had the following conversation. "Noah, did you know I live in America?" "Yes, William I live in America too." After some time William says, "I am very happy to be here." Noah asks, "Where, in the garden with me?" To which William replies, "No, in America with my family."

Yes, William we are very happy to have you here with us too.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I Am Ruined

OK, I hate to post two posts just minutes apart...but I have to. So after you read this one...peek on down at the post before this one too.

Now I KNOW I have some readers who are going to totally sympathize with me on this one.

I am ruined.

Totally and completely ruined.

Never again will I ever be able to eat a mango, pineapple, or avocado here in America, and truly enjoy it. THEY SUCK!

I need some fruit from Uganda people!

Real fruit...fresh off the tree.

For all you poor folk who think you have experienced some great tasting fruit here in the states...let me be the first to tell are wrong. You need to go to Africa and have yourself some REAL fruit.

Seriously, I just spent three bucks on a pineapple that was barely edible. The fact that the kids all thought is was great only serves to prove my point all the more. They haven't had REAL fruit either.

To be completely honest, I could also benefit from some mutooke (yeah I still don't know how to spell it)and a jack fruit as well.

Is it really that much to ask?

I think not.


I don't do teeth.

Seriously, the human mouth really grosses me out.

Naturally, this means that when my children start loosing their teeth, they feel they must share with me every gory detail. Things like, "Hey mom, my tooth bends down like a draw bridge!" make me shudder. I could tell you about the time that Noah pulled his tooth out during church. I swear you could have heard the POP of it coming out from across the room. I just can't handle it. Why do they feel as though I simply must peer into their mouths and witness first hand this disgusting...I mean amazing sight? They all know from early in life that when the time comes to pull a tooth...they are on their own. Something about a gaping bloody hole in my child's gums, just does not bring about feelings of nostalgia for me.

Nevertheless, I took the obligatory pictures today, when my dear sweet Grace announced with great glee, "Mama my tooth came out. I didn't pull it I promise. I was just wiggling it a bit and it popped right out."


I wonder if she realizes this is the beginning of her "awkward" stage?

Don't matter, I will always see her as beautiful.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I have been tagged by Molly Beth. Post the 4th picture in my 4th folder.


Sigh. The gate to Welcome Home Ministries, William and Marissa's orphanage. I love this many emotions the first time I saw it in person.

I am only tagging April...cause she needs a new blog post :) Oh, and Laura, cause she needs a distraction :)

Not So Wordless Wednesday

While visiting the nursing home this morning, we saw the following sign on one of the room doors.

Made me smile :)


Two families that have been in my prayers for quite some time are facing some very difficult days ahead.

The first is a family that found out while pregnant with their first child, that she would be born with Trisomy 18. I became very familiar with this, when a dear friend was told her daughter might have this same condition. Trisomy 18 is consider not compatible with life, and she was not expected to live more than a hour or two. God gave her family well over 100 blessed days with this sweet girl. Yesterday, she found herself in the arms of Jesus and not mommy and daddy. Perhaps you could say a prayer for them, and stop by and let them know you have done so. You can find their family blog, and their whole story here.

The second family, probably most of you have already heard about. I heard about this family in July, shortly after their daughter was diagnosed with cancer. Abby, is facing a very difficult time in the coming days as she endures a very difficult time in her treatment. So difficult in fact, that her parents are praying fervently that she will survive this time. Thousands are already praying for this sweet little girl, but if you haven't already, perhaps you could remember to pray for her. Stop by their blog and let them know, Abby is being lifted before the throne of the One who can heal.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Not Me Monday

This past week I did not find myself on several occasions acting like a child.

For instance, while playing Wii with my child, after I scored a 257 during a game of bowling, I did not prance around the living room singing, "I am the champion." Not only would that be immature, but it would be setting a terrible example to my children on how to be a gracious winner.

While cutting my quilt to make it all nice and straight for binding, I did not accidentally cut a strip wrong. Then of course, if I had done such a thing, I would respond by calming thanking God for this providence, and giving me the opportunity to learn how to fix my mistake. I would never respond by dropping to the floor, rolling around, while stopping me feet, screaming, "Nooooooo!"

If I were to throw such a fit, my youngest child would never respond with, "Mommy, you are funny." Of course she would know by now that mommy NEVER overreacts to anything. Me, I am as cool and calm as a cucumber....always.

While giving my daughter her much begged for spelling quiz, I did not find myself disinterested and thinking on everything BUT spelling. Since I was so focused on the task at hand, I certainly was not giving her words to her like so, "Walk, W-A-L-K, Walk. I will take a walk in the woods." When she would reply, "MOMMY!" I would surly notice right away my error, and not assume she was ready for a new word. Since I am so observant, I wouldn't continue to do this several more times, before my sweet girl finally said, "Mommy, quit spelling the words." I am an excellent and focused way I would ever do this.

See what else people are not doing over at Mckmama's.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

This afternoon my husband's brother went home to be with Jesus. Pray for my beloved and our grieving family. While this was not a totally unexpected loss, it did come much sooner than hoped.

John 11:25
"I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."

Thursday, January 8, 2009


There are so many things about adoption that are difficult. Worries about money, attachment, health, and travel. The list is long and varies for each family. There is one difficulty that plagues every adoptive family.


Unless you have walked this road, there is no way you could understand THIS waiting. This waiting makes it hard to breathe. Hard to focus. This waiting is heartbreaking.

Some wait with pictures, they know the names and faces of their children. Some wait knowing they have a child or children somewhere, but they don't know who they are. Both wait knowing that their children are far away from the love and safety of family. Many wait knowing that everyday that passes, means their child is hungrier. Everyday means their child is sicker. Everyday means their child is lonelier. Some wait knowing that with each day that passes, their child may be one day closer to death. Some wait knowing that each day that passes their children are venerable to all sorts of abuse and sickness. Some wait, knowing their child is relatively safe and well cared for, but still wait, knowing that they should be the ones caring for them...not another.

Some wait weeks. Some wait months. For some the months of waiting stretch into years. Glitches in paperwork, government red tape, lack of money can stretch this wait out much longer than one ever could have imagined.

This wait can hurt so deeply, that sometimes you can even wonder why you are putting yourself through such affliction. You wonder each day how much you should let yourself love this child. How much of yourself should you give away. Then you are brought back to reality. You already deeply love this child. You have already given your whole heart. You can't get it back. This is your child, and you will fight for them.

You will wait.

Chris Rice has a song entitled Smile. During our wait, I heard this song on many different adoption blogs. I would vaguely listen until he would get to the chorus, then the tears would fall.

"Cause I just wanna be with You, I just want this waiting to be over. I just want to be with You, And it helps to know the Day is getting closer. Every minute takes an hour. Every inch feels like a mile, Til I won't have to imagine, And I finally get to see You smile."

I would hear those words and they would resonate in my soul. Every minute felt like an hour. Every step felt like it revealed another mile in the journey.

Then one day, it hit me. I personally think it was Lord asking. What exactly is this song about anyway? I had never really listened to the whole song, only the chorus. So I found a YouTube video and listened.

This time the tears were falling for a different reason. Was I longing to be with Jesus like this? Was I longing to see Him face to face?

Obviously there was nothing wrong with wanting to be with my children, to have my family together. There was nothing wrong with the pain that came with that wait.

There was however, something very wrong with my heart.

I had lost my perspective. I had lost sight of what should always matter most. My relationship with the Lord should supersede all others. I wanted my children, more than I wanted Jesus.

Since that time I have asked myself on several occasions, what is the focus of my deepest longings? Is it on the things of this world that will perish and fade? Or is it on the everlasting things, the things that are above? Why do I do the things I do? Is it for the approval of man? Or is it out of a heart filled with gratitude toward the God who saved me? Where is my focus? Is it on my impossible circumstances? Or is it on the God who does the impossible? Am I angry, bitter, or restless over my circumstances? Or am I resting and trusting in Jesus and His word? When things don't happen they way I want in the timing I want, do I respond like a spoiled child? Or do I trust that God's wisdom and timing are best?

It is so easy for me to loose perspective. Especially during trials. I want answers. The Lord tells me that faith is trusting Him, even when I don't know the answers. He tells me to rest in the fact that He knows the answers. I want to avoid pain. He tells me that through my pain He will change me. He will make me stronger, more compassionate, more patient. He tells me through my trails I will learn perseverance. He tells me that suffering draws me nearer to Him. I tell Him, I don't like this plan of doesn't seem good. He reminds me that I see only the temporal. He sees everything. That faith is believing His word is true, even when my circumstances and my greatest enemy would have me believe otherwise. He reminds me, as He draws me near with His loving kindness to trust Him. To keep my perspective where it needs to be.

On Him

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Banging My Head Against A Wall

Have you ever felt like you were banging your head up against a wall? Or at least like banging your head up against a wall, would feel better than dealing with current situation?

I do.
Let me recap yesterday, will ya?

Marissa had a fever of 103 new years eve. She came to me and told me, "Mommy, my head is broken." Talk about heartbreaking....but that is beside the point. She looked terrible. After some prayer and a short consultation, we decide to wait this out.

Next day...she is fine.

Saturday, same scenario as Thursday. problems.

Yesterday morning, we have a repeat of symptoms.

Now if this were one of my children that didn't just come home from Africa six months ago, I could blow this off as a virus or something. Not with this child. I know way too much about malaria to do that. Even if I didn't know anything, the infectious disease doctor that I had to see , was very explicit in her instructions, "If you or your husband, or your two new children have a reoccurring fever within the next year, you must assume first it is malaria, and demand a test."

Which reminds of a question, If ignorance is bliss and knowledge is power...does that mean all knowledgeable people are unhappy? I was just wondering.

Anyway, back to our day. Fever, headache, and chills that comes in cycles...hmm...sounds like I should have a malaria smear done. Not a problem...right? So I call our PCP (which I always thought was some type of hallucinogenic drug...not a doctor) and ask the simple question, "My daughter from Africa needs to have a malaria test, can you get us a lab order so I can get that done today?" Can you guess the reply I got? "Um, no. You need to take her to the emergency room."

Now look, I don't mean to write a huge long post...but you must know that even if my daughter has this point there is no way it is life threatening. There are four types of this nasty little parasite, and the one that kills you....falciparum...well, there is no way she could have this one. We have been home too long for it to possibly be this strain. If she has malaria, she would have one of the other three that all have a dormant stage in the liver. These may make you feel yucky...but you ain't dyin' from one of these.

Did I mention I know A LOT about malaria? Really, I am not a doctor...but I do pretend to be one in real life.

Anyway, back to my story. In my mind this is not an emergency room type of event. All I want is a simple blood test. So I call a local pediatric clinic, and have the following conversation,

Me: "Hi, my daughter, adopted from Africa, needs to have a malaria smear. Do you have an on site lab and are you capable of doing this test?"

Them: "Yes ma'am we can do that."

Me: "Great can I get an appointment?"

Them: "No we are a walk in only clinic."

Me: "Great we are on our way."

I am thinking this is fabulous. I should have know better. If it seems to good to be probably is.

So, I get to said clinic and get into see the doc. I tell her what is going on and request a malaria smear. She smiles, and gives me THAT look, and replies, "I think I am going to go ahead and do a strep test." I am lady, you haven't even looked at her throat to know if it is inflamed...but whatever. Thirty minutes later, she comes back in and tells me the strep test is negative. Huh, big surprise there. I again mention the malaria smear I am after. She tells me her next step will be a flu test. Now again, I know I am no doctor...but this child CLEARLY does not have the flu. So they proceed to stick a cotton swab up my poor child's nose and dig around...after I have told her on several occasions not to stick anything up there. Thirty minutes later she comes back in and informs me the flu test has come back negative. Ya don't say? She says to give her a few minutes to make some phone calls, and assures me she will be back in no time. Thirty minutes later she returns and says, "This is what I found out...she needs a malaria smear. We can't do that here you need to take her to the hospital."

Picture me banging my head against the wall.

At this point I am thinking...I have the stuff at home to do this. I was trained to do my own blood smears, by the doctor and the lab, after I got home from Uganda. I should just go home, make my own slide, have the science teacher meet us at the school and look myself on their microscopes. All I need to know is if this is malaria...or something else. I am even thinking a three hour drive to Mexico to pick up the meds has got to be better than this.

No, I dutifully take my daughter to the recommended hospital, where a person named Marcos, would be waiting for us.

I should mention, I never saw a Marcos.

As irritated as I am at this point, I am least we can get this done here...and move on with life. We proceed to fill this new guy in on everything I have now told three doctors, and four nurses. He looks her over, tells me she looks great, she probably has a virus and will be better in a few days. I politely ask for a malaria smear. Really...I was polite. He proceeds to tell me that with malaria the fever is doesn't go away. That there are intense fever and chills as well as headaches. I proceeded to tell him that may be true with falciparum malaria, but that with the three other strains fever and chills that come in one, two, or even three day cycles is quite normal. He gives us THAT look, and confirms that he is sure it is not malaria. The symptoms just don't match up...she has a virus. Great, I am fine with a fact I would rather prefer it. BUT CAN WE JUST GET A BLOOD SMEAR TO MAKE CERTAIN!!!!

At this point, my darling beloved does what I can never manage to do in these situations. He demands to have her screened for malaria. The doctor concedes...we finally are going to get what we have been after since 10:30 am.

TWO hours later, the doc comes back in and tells us she does not have malaria. Cool, now I can go home.

Ten minutes later the nurse...God love him...he was great, came in, and in detail went over all the tests that were ran. It was at this time we were informed that they only tested her for falciparum malaria. They did not test for the other three kinds, and that we need to have our PCP order those labs on an out patient basis.

Picture me banging my head against the wall.

We arrive home at 12:30 in the morning...pocket book lighter from our co pays...and right back where we started.

Picture me banging my head against the wall.

Maybe I need to get some of that OTHER PCP?

PS- To my dear friend Janet. Since I am trying very hard to follow the new years resolutions you made for me...I feel it is only fair that I get to request a blog post from you. I would like it to be entitled, "GIANT KICK IN THE PANTS...THE DOCTOR VERSION."

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy Birthday

Seven years ago today, at precisely 11:43 a.m. the doctor announced that we had a baby girl.

Our sweet Grace had decided to make her entrance into this world nearly four weeks early, weighing in at 8lbs 6oz and 21 inches long. She was my smallest baby, my shortest labor, and my hardest pregnancy. I seriously think the boys thought I would die from vomiting. I survived. She continued to give us a run for our money with many health problems her first year of life. One of my most embarrassing moments, was her doing. She was about 16 months old and she and I were waiting in the car for daddy to come back. A sweet older couple had come to the window to dote on her. She smiled, and promptly pulled my shirt up over my face declaring to them, "See my num nums." There really is no place to run, while stuck in the front seat of a car. I don't know who was worse or the old guy.

This is our Chicken. Somehow she earned this name while a toddler, and has kept it ever since. It is hard for me to describe how much of a blessing she is to me.
How do I love thee Grace? Let me count the ways...

I love that she is so dramatic. She seriously can nail just about any accent. You should see her rendition of that British dog training lady, from It's me or the Dog. If I were not so against hollywood and their humanist agenda, I am sure she could do some work worthy of an oscar. Alas, the world will never know her talents.

I love that she has her own style. She hates to wear pants. She practically thinks it is torture when I have her put them on. Skirts and dresses are her clothing of choice. Her outfit is never complete with out her boots. I finally sat her down yesterday, and had a talk with her about wearing her boots with her pretty smocked dresses. She consented to some dressier long as she could still wear her boots with everything else.

I love that she is always singing. It is quite a bonus that she has a nice voice too.

I love that her favorite movie is The Sound of Music. I am thinking she must have watched this movie well over one hundred times.

I love that she tries desperately to act feminine and lady like...but because of her brothers can't help but be a bit rough and tumble. I don't know how many skirts we have had to throw away because she a ripped them beyond repair climbing trees.

I love the look she gives me after she asks if she can snuggle in our bed. I even love the sigh, and pathetic look she gives when we tell her she has to start in her bed.

I love her compassion and empathy.

I love that she desires to serve her brothers and her daddy.

I love that she wants to learn to cook and sew.

I love that her whole motivation for learning to read, was so that she could read her Bible.

I love that she has taken on the role of big sister beautifully.

I love her tender heart. She is always quick to repentance. Quick to seek reconciliation.

I love that her favorite food is Rosemary Chicken.

I could go on and on ...I really could. I feel so blessed to have been chosen by God to be the mother of this child. She brings me such joy and laughter.

Grace, my love, Happy Birthday. I pray this year you will see the Lord more clearly and love Him more deeply. You are so dear to me, my precious daughter. I love you!

PS- That incredibly beautiful drawing up top was a gift from my incredibly talented friend. Thank you Laura....we both love it!

Friday, January 2, 2009


by Russell Kelfer

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .
And the Master so gently said, "Wait."

"Wait? you say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.

"My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to wait?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
Or even a 'no' to which I can resign.

"You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply."

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting for what?"

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine . . .
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

"I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of my love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.

"You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence are all you can see.

"You'd never experience the fullness of love
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

"The glow of my comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

"You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss, if you missed what I'm doing in you.

"So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still . . . Wait."

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy Birthday

I had this brilliant idea several months ago that I would blog about those people nearest and dearest to me on their birthdays this year. I wanted to take the time to put in writing how much I love them, what I admire about them, and give you small peek into their life. So over the next twelve months I will be posting about these people I love so much.

Starting today.

Undoubtedly this will be the hardest one. I contemplated not even doing it. But honestly, when I first thought of doing this, my dad was the one I was looking forward to the most. So I have decided to move forward with this anyway.

Happy Birthday Dad!

My dad was a new years baby. In fact he was the first baby born in his home town. I remember seeing the news paper article with a picture of him with my grandma. She looked so unbelievably young.

He would have been 52 years old today.

There are many things that I admire about my father. He taught me by the life he lived, so many wonderful values. He taught me the importance of honesty, of hard work, and of perseverance. My dad was the kind of guy that truly believed if you were going to do something, you had better do it to the best of your ability. He was a perfectionist...really. His work as a machinist was certainly the perfect job for this guy who wanted everything just right.

He was the smartest guy I have ever known. He had a mind that could understand the most complicated ideas. As a kid, I always likened him to Einstein. He was this brilliant guy with a wild head of hair. We were always sure he would never go bald. He never did.

His sense of humor was one in a million. He loved to make people laugh and was always telling jokes or doing crazy things. Like the time I came home from school to find pig eyes (yes real ones)with eyeglasses sitting on the counter. He just somehow knew never to take life too seriously.

I bet you didn't know that political views were hereditary? Well I am living proof that they are. Some of my best memories over the last several years has been the phone conversations with my dad, when we would vent and complain to each other about all the current events and the irritation we shared with our government and their lack of....let's just be nice and say lack of wisdom. I am sure he is the only one who truly understood my tirades, and why I would allow such things to get me so worked up.

While all these things about my dad are wonderful, there is still one thing that means the most. There is still the one thing about his life that has had the most impact on every area of my life. His love for my mom. It has been said that one of the greatest things parents can do for their children is to love their spouse. If this is true, then I have had the greatest parents ever. Through his love and care for my mom, I learned about how to live life, what a husband should be like, what it means to serve you spouse, and the blessings of marriage. My parents truly modeled for me a marriage that was beautiful. He would have gladly laid down his life for her, and surly he did many times. My mom was his best friend. She was the one he wanted to play with. Whether it was hunting, golf, archery, or whatever else he wanted to do...he wanted to do it with my mom. She would gladly and joyfully join him. I know without a doubt, aside from the grace of God, my father is the reason Richard and I have the marriage we have. I am so thankful that the Lord saw fit to give me such an example in their love and marriage. I am even more thankful that He used their marriage to better my own.

One of the good things that came out of our stay in Kansas after his death was that we got to spend time with people who have know my dad for many years. They have worked with him, completed projects with him, and played with him. Every single one of these people had the same testimony about my father. He truly was a man of great love and integrity.

I am going to miss him.