Thursday, May 28, 2009

One Year Ago

today we boarded a plane and left for Uganda. It's hard to believe it's been a year. On the other hand, William and Marissa are so much a part of us, it's hard to remember what life was like before they were here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Battle Zone

It's almost been a year, a whole year, since we left for Uganda. In fact next week it will be one year since we dropped off the children and drove to Houston, to board the plane, that would take us to a place that would change our lives forever. One of the things that is most surreal about this, is watching my friend Laura, travel this same road. If all goes as it seems, her and her hubby will leave on the same day, one year later. It seems like half of the people I know in blog land are in Uganda or leaving for Uganda in the next week. I am only slightly jealous, and a heaping amount of thrilled for my friends. I know they face many hurdles to overcome, as I believe firmly that adoption is WAR. The enemy hates adoption and will fight them, tear at them, attempt to distract them, and do all he can to bring them down.

He won't win.

I know he tried desperately to destroy me and our children while in Africa, and has done many things since our coming home to continue the battle. Time and time again I am reminded that this is war, and we are not fighting against flesh and blood. We are fighting an unseen enemy that will use illness, governments, society, culture, family, friends, and even our church body in the fight against us in this war. I have often times in the last year been weary. I have watched as others who see adoption as part of the great commission be hammered over and over again with trials. All of them stopping to question, if it's all worth it.

He hasn't won.

I see these families fighting for children. Giving their time and resources for these children. Facing uncertainty and heartbreak for these children. All in an attempt to obey and bring glory to their Heavenly Father.

No the enemy will not prevail. Our Lord will always remain victorious. We need only find our strength in Him. He will make a way. He will provide. He will conquer and be glorified.

I love going back and reading my emails home from Uganda. They begin with me whining, and complaining. Begging for God to move and bring us home quickly. I wasn't prepared for the spiritual battle that would be thrown my way. I was prepared for many things, but NO ONE ever told me I would be in for the biggest spiritual battle of my life. Once I figured that out and found my footing in the Lord, my email changed to this...

"Hello to all, this will be my final email from Uganda.

We did in fact receive the visas and will be boarding a plane tomorrow morning. PRAISE THE LORD!!!!

I seem to have responded to the third (fourth in you count Malerone) malaria meds. I also think that the lovely amoeba that had taken up residence in my digestive system has received it's eviction notice and is leaving town. Here is a small bit of advice, take it or leave it. Do not get malaria. If you feel you must experience it, do not get a resistant strain. Never, never, never, never, never ever contract amoebic dysentery at the same time. Lastly, if you must do these things DON"T DO IT IT A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY, where cleanliness is unheard of. Unless like me, you wish to also develop a lovely case of phlebitis (sp?) to go along with it. This my dear loved ones is the best advice I could give you, second only to repent and believe the gospel :)

Really I am feeling so much better and have seen God's grace even during my suffering. In little things like probiotics and a nurse showing up at Patrick's at just the right time. Many more instances of His goodness to me. What a faithful and loving God we serve. Many times during this trip I have been reminded of His grace and it is more real to me now than ever.

Every time I would think I simply could not endure, He led me on still.

When I thought "I can't believe I have left my home to come here." He would remind me that he left Heaven to come for me.

When I would think "I miss my children so much, I will never make it another day" He would remind me that He left perfect fellowship with the Father for me.

When I would think of the sin around me and how disturbing it is, He would remind me of what it must have been like for Him: Holy and unstained, to come and not only dwell with sinful man, but to ultimately take that sin upon Himself, so that I might have His righteousness.

When I was is terrible pain, and more ill than I have ever been in my life. He lovingly brought me the cross, where He suffered immeasurably more that I will ever have to.

When William's heart hardens and he pulls away from me, and I wonder how I am ever going to be able to love him like I should. He reminds me that I harden my heart to Him, and yet He draws me in with His irresistible Grace. He brings me to repentance and restores me. He will give me the grace to do the same.

We serve an amazingly awesome God. Do you realize that if we had left when planned, I would have gotten malaria at home. It would have cost tens of thousands dollars to be in the hospital as they tried to deal a sickness they have no experience with. He is so very faithful, even when we are not. So Lord willing, we will be stepping off a plane in Houston with two precious children, ready to start their new life.

April and Denny, in case you have troubling recognizing me: I will be the woman with two children who look nothing like her. With a bewildered look in my eyes, that seems to be asking "Is it over yet?"

Please continue to pray for health and safety for us all. I love you all dearly. Your prayers have been precious jewels to us. We pray that or Lord has been glorified in our lives during this time, and we have made is love manifest.Take care and see you soon."

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bargians Galore

Several weeks ago, a huge wind blew our screen door right off the hinges. We have put off buying a door, because they are not cheap. I didn't really want to spend $200 for a screen door. Seemed so ridiculous, to spend that much money on a door. Alas, the Texas heat has set in, and we could not put it off no longer. So off we went to the Home Depot to drop an unnecessary amount of money on a door. I knew I wanted a white one, and they had one in stock, in just the right size. Right before pulling it out I noticed a bronze colored door. I asked the nice man to show me what that color looked like, and had the thought that white shows so much dirt. This color would be much better. They had one door left, it was the size we needed, so we scooped it up. We get to the check out and the door rings up $0.01. My husband, the cheap frugal man that he is, was thrilled and exclaimed, "Yes, I'll swipe my card now, and be on my way!" The nice lady informed us she could not sell us anything for a penny, but would sell it to us at the cheapest price it had been sold. The $169 door cost us $44.

I felt so loved by the Lord at that moment. I felt like I got a little hug from Jesus.

I love Goodwill. I am always finding lovely little things here and there that I want or need.
Today I got blessed with the mother of all Goodwill deals (say that 10 times fast).

I have wanted one of these forever, but would NEVER spend the money to buy one. I spied it sitting under a sewing machine. A lady was looking at the sewing machine, and for just a split second, I understood how people could get so violent at Christmas time. I wanted this machine, and I was not about to let her have it. I thought, I would wrestle for it if I had to. The machine was mine, my precious. I soon came back to my senses, and realized this was not Christ honoring behavior, and politely, but firmly, said, "Excuse me." I grabbed up my find, barely able to stifle my squeal of delight and victory. I was praying like mad that it worked. We got it home, plugged it in, and sure enough it works perfect.
I got this sweet little deal for the bargain price of $29.99
That's right, I got the BIG Cricut for thirty bucks!!!

I love a good bargain, but not nearly as much as I love the God who gives them to me.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I'm a Thief

I stole this, it was too good not to.

"A worried woman went to her gynecologist and said, "Doctor, I have a serious problem and desperately need your help! My baby is not even 1 yr. old and I'm pregnant again. I don't want kids so close together." So the doctor said, "OK and what do you want me to do?" She said, "I want you to end my pregnancy, and I'm counting on your help with this." The doctor thought for a little, and after some silence he said to the lady, "I think I have a better solution for your problem. It's less dangerous for you too." She smiled, thinking that the doctor was going to accept her request. Then he continued, "You see, in order for you not to have to take care of 2 babies at the same time, let's kill the one in your arms. This way, you could rest some before the other one is born. If we're going to kill one of them, it doesn't matter which one it is. There would be no risk for your body if you chose the one in your arms." The lady was horrified and said, "No doctor! How terrible! It's a crime to kill a child!" "I agree," the doctor replied. "But you seemed to be ok with it, so I thought maybe that was the best solution." The doctor smiled realizing that he had made his point. He convinced the mom that there is no difference in killing a child that's already been born and one that's still in the womb. The crime is the same!"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hard Adjustment

I have had the most terrible time of adapting back to a "normal American" life. It has been nearly a year since we left for Africa, and my eyes were further opened. I cannot shake form my mind the images of poverty, illness, starvation, and orphaned children. The images of human suffering are always there, always on my heart. The I read articles like this one

I live in such extravagance. They with such want.

My children eat three healthy meals everyday. They are lucky to eat a meal every couple of days.

My children have clean water, with the turn of a faucet. They have filthy water, that cause them to have severe illness and disease. Because of their water, their babies have little chance of survival to age 5.

My children have access to excellent medical care. Their children die, because they can't afford a couple of dollars for malaria medication.

I can take my children for $20 in ice cream. There are people who have to survive on a $1.00 worth of millet, for their entire family for over a week.

I have a home, that shelters my children from the harsh elements. They sleep on streets, dirt floors, and live in squalor.

We have clothing and shoes that fit. They are neither too small or too large. When they get worn, I don't even repair them. I buy new. They wear the same worn clothes day after day. Shoes are a luxury, having shoes that actually fit is a rarity.

Yes, it's hard to adjust back to a normal American life, when you know people created in God's image suffer so much. Die each day, horrible preventable deaths...with out the gospel.

It's hard to adjust.

I don't know if I want to.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Queen for the Day

I gotta tell ya, my children out did themselves this Mother's Day. I woke up to breakfast. They had prepared me scrambled eggs and made from scratch french toast. Later we came home from church and they had prepared pot roast and mashed potatoes and gravy (I had to do the gravy). Then, my eldest cooked dinner for the younger ones and provided child care, while my beloved took me out to eat at Olive Garden.

Then to top it all off I came home to a homemade mother's day cake, complete with decorations made from Marissa's previously used hair snaps. Yummy.

What a blessing, I felt like queen for the day, even though I didn't have a crown. I truly feel blessed to be mama to these five children. They are a joy and blessing to me.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Conversation With My 5 Year Old

William hates having hair. He is always asking me, "Mommy, you make my hair all gone?" I always ask, "Do you want me to cut it shorter?" To which he replies, "No, cut it all gone."


Today, I finally got around to fulling his quest for a bald head.

Later I thought I would have a nice deep probing conversation with him, as he is quite willing to share these days.

I asked, "William, what makes you happy?"

"Having my hair all gone."

"Really? What makes you sad?"

"Letting my hairs grow and grow."

Oh to be five, and have your happiness hang in the balance of hair growth.

Friday, May 8, 2009

That's Beside the Point

I loaded up the brood, and took them to Marble Slab today. Had me a hankerin' for some sweet cream with sprinkles for quite some time now. Quite frankly, after the week I had, I deserved some good ice cream. The very sweet man behind the counter asked, "Do you have a school or something?" I love this question, as if five children makes for a school. Of course in our case it actually does...but that's beside the point. I laughed, then told him, that they are in fact all mine. Then I told him about our little Ugandan ones. He asked a bunch of questions, then said, "That is fabulous. I love it. The world needs more people like you." Um, no the world does not need more people like me. I'm just not sure the world could handle another me. Trust me I have issues, but again that is beside the point. I told him, "Yes, the world does need more people who will adopt, there is such a huge need." As I was paying our bill, trying to remember how I justified this extravagant ice cream trip ($20 for ice cream...seriously what was I thinking...oh yes, I was thinking I somehow deserved it) the nice man behind the counter said, "I want you to pick two pints from the freezer, from me, for the children."


Free Marble Slab???

For the children????

Somehow, he must have figured out that I was the blessed one...because he sure didn't give ME any ice cream. But that's beside the point.