Saturday, December 18, 2010

What will they remember?





Hot chocolate, Daddy reading out loud by the fire, talking about the history and birth of Jesus...




Jigsaw puzzles, giggling at our favorite movies....




Snuggling on the couch watching the Christmas lights twinkle...

These are some of the things that mean the most. They are the things my babies usually come back to as the things they love.

Why? Is it really the activities that mean so much? I don't think so. It's the way those things feel. It feels slow and safe and warm. It feels like family. It feels quiet and calm and comfortable. It feels like love.

The truth is my kids probably won't remember what they got for Christmas or even exactly what they did.

What they will ALWAYS remember is how it FELT... How I made them feel.

That's why I won't spend all my time running around having a crazy busy Christmas. Yeah, we'll do the fun shopping and running around but a good chunk of my time will be spent looking at those twinkly Christmas lights curled up with my babies.

Most of the time the moments that feel like love don't happen while we're running. Most of them happen in the slow motion moments when we stop and take time to cuddle, and read and breathe together.

This Christmas I wish you many slow cuddly moments with those you love.

Hugs, Angel :-)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The whole picture

Here is the thing. I think we need to learn these two things and learn them well....

Soak in every ounce of joy God sends your way.

Embrace every ounce of pain God allows.

So many times I think it's way too easy to swing one way or the other. I think I have done both.

For a good chunk of my existence I was running from pain like a bat out of H-E-double hockey sticks. I used to proclaim loud and proud that I was ALLERGIC to pain. My goal in life was pretty much not to feel pain. I was missing half the picture...




Running from pain is so dangerous. As we numb ourselves out from feeling the inevitable pain we numb ourselves out from feeling everything that means anything. It's when we turn around and embrace the waves of pain that everything changes.

I now see it all differently. In God's equation pain isn't something to be avoided. It's an amazing way to grow. Pain shows us who we really are and helps us become much more than we thought we could be.

Then there's the joy. For many years I was running after joy. I was pursuing it as my idol. It was everything. The truth about joy is it just doesn't work that way. Real joy can only be a gift. When we run after it suddenly it's illusive. It can't be won... Only received. Anything we run after is a temporary fix, a high, and leaves us running for more.




Honestly I think when we start embracing pain, stop running, that we start receiving deeper joy. The two go hand in hand.

AND when that joy comes we must recognize and embrace it! I see too many people who learn the importance of the struggle only to turn around and forget the importance of the joy.

We should not run after comfort... Nor should we run away from it. When our Father hands us a gift He doesn't receive glory or joy from our misplaced guilt or sense of duty.

If God brings me prosperity, comfort and joy I pray I will embrace it! I pray I will share it to bring others prosperity, comfort and joy as well.

If God brings me pain I pray I will throw open my arms and hold it close for the way it will grow and change me.

Joy and pain.... Hold them close. That's all I'm sayin.

Hugs, Angel :-)

Friday, December 03, 2010

Depraved Indifference

This is a powerful and beautiful message. It's most likely the best way you could spend the next 8 minutes of your life. Understanding THIS gospel might even change all the minutes after that. Angel


Thursday, December 02, 2010

Compromise

Kaitlyn Elise was making me a nervous wreck rolling blading all over the house. So naturally I told her, "KK, if you're gonna roller blade in the house at least put on your helmet so I don't have to take you to the ER." Compromise. The beauty of happy parenting.


Hugs, Angel :-)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

It doesn't just happen.



It hear it a lot... People look at our family and say, "I wish I could....." (fill in the blank)

Adopt a child, stay home with my children, go on a mission trip, homeschool..

I'm not saying that any of these things are for everyone. I don't believe that. It's just that it truly hurts my heart to hear people just dismiss a dream God has placed in their heart while looking at me as if I have some special code I cracked.

What I'd like to say is, "You can. Do it. It doesn't just happen."

I'm not some super woman who was magically given all the abilities, luck, skills and money to do these things.

I think sometimes it's easy to look at the picture of someone's life and think it looks pretty and neat and easy and wish we had it... But it didn't just happen.

Here are a few of the remarks I sometimes hear.

I wish I could adopt a child but...

YOU CAN!

For me that one started for me as a teenager. I had that wish and dream at 15. Having that dream come true even involved making sure I dated guys who were open to this. :-) It took 15 years for us to bring home our first adopted child. It was a long road and lots of sacrifice. It involved making sure we had enough income. It involved buying a cheaper house than most of our friends. It involved buying really old and basic cars all so we could afford the adoption fees to come.

Even after we brought our first adopted child home it was no picnic. It involved being yelled at and hurt sometimes. It meant not taking it personally no matter what. It meant that when I accidentally took it personally I ended up in a ball on the ground weeping.

Then our second adoption- It meant adopting a child who was special needs and was supposed to need at least one surgery for cleft palate. It meant my 10 yr anniversary was spent on a pick up trip with my momma instead of in Greece with my hubby. It meant a toddler who at 2 could not walk well, run, eat well, talk..

Third adoption-Meant adopting a lil boy with a lot of papers that said he has lots of scary problems. It meant deciding at the drop of a hat to stop everything for an adoption we had no idea was about to happen. It involved canceling a vacation and stopping life to love this little wonder.

And it's all WORTH IT!! I wouldn't trade it for the world. See that's the thing. We worked our tushies off for this thing called adoption. So you see... You CAN do it.

I wish I could stay at home with my children but...

YOU CAN!

Again this took YEARS to accomplish. Even before kids we lived only off of Russ' income. We went to MBA school 2 months after KK was born and lived off of school loans so that Russ could make more money after graduation.

Again... Bought cheaper house, super cheap cars, all our clothes come from Marshalls, yada yada yada...

SO.. YOU CAN DO IT! It may take time and effort and sacrifice but it is SO WORTH IT!

I wish I could go on a mission trip but..

YOU CAN!

Scared? Yeah. So was I. Ask my hubby. Before the trip when I went to Africa I spent the night before bawling my eyes out cause I was just nervous. I also spent 24 hours in Africa on a toilet while simultaneously barfing into a sink while there was no running water. Look, I'm just getting honest here. Turned out to be a life changing trip.

Ya know what??? SO WORTH IT and YES you can do it.

I wish I could homeschool but...

YOU CAN!

Are you kidding me???? I was terrified to homeschool. I cried for 2 SOLID weeks- completely petrified of the prospect. I am not brilliant or crafty or terribly creative.

It came down to this... We were bringing home a traumatized, sensitive, sweet and easily injured almost 8 year old who had never had a minute of education or a healthy bonding experience. Sigh...

I was terrified. I looked into private school but there is that whole thing about it's really expensive and we spend lots of money on adoptions and me being a stay at home mom. :-)

So for me that meant- Homeschool was it. Now I can't imagine it any other way. I am so grateful that our situation pushed me to do it. I LOVE IT!

SO YES! You can do it!!!

It might be messy. It might even LOOK impossible. So many of these dreams seemed so unreachable 15-20 years ago.

You may have various obstacles in your way that I never had to face. We all walk our own journey.

Here's the thing. God didn't ever promise us that the things He called us to do would be simple or pretty. Sometimes people's lives may look like post cards but I know from experience... They NEVER are.

If God has placed a dream in your heart GO FOR IT! Maybe it will take 15 years. Maybe it will scare the tar out of you. Maybe it will stretch you and make you cry.

GOOD!!

That's the best kind of dream. It's the kind that draws you closer to God and makes you more than you are capable of being. DO IT! Start your journey...

It doesn't just happen.

Hugs, Angel :-)

Truth Pandemic

Today is world AIDS day. Several years ago I started educating myself of the TRUTH about HIV and AIDS and I was SHOCKED at the lack of education on the subject. HIV is highly misunderstood and therefore the victims of this disease live in unnecessary fear and shame. WE CAN STOP THAT by educating ourselves!!! Would you start by watching this short video and sharing it? Let's change things in a small way today. Hugs, Angel


Monday, November 29, 2010

My gut tells me...





..to SLOW DOWN! As much as I want to just have life skip along as usual it just never does. Kai is amazing and his adjustment has been the most any parent could hope for... BUT it's still an adjustment.

It's still just learning how to do life with FOUR!

I am finding my kids need a little more right now. Nobody is super jealous. Nobody is melting down. They just need extra hugs, extra cuddles, extra everything.

Not to mention that we have had more sickness floating around this house than we have in YEARS! It has really knocked us out.

I know this is just a season but for some reason it's hard for me to accept doing this. Why is that??

To be really honest- I HATE disappointing people. I hate it. It's so hard for me to say no to things I love doing and to things that I even consider important.

Especially in this season I had planned a lot of things I loved with all my capacity cause I had no clue I would have a new little guy so quickly.

As my wise Daddy once told me, "Angel, there are things you want and there are things you want more. You just have to always remember which is which."

How true that is. I want to go to parties and science classes and field trips and bible studies and family trips. Usually I adore those things and thrive on them. I think they are important! I want to do them.

BUT there is something I want more. I want to slow down enough to hear God's voice. I want to be a gentle and kind wife. I want to help heal the hearts of the children I have brought into my family. I want my children to feel deeply loved and valued. I want to be healthy as a person. I want to be real and not pretend I can do it all. I can't.

So here goes. Time to put first things first..

We canceled a trip to Disney for Christmas knowing we need to slow down. It'll be time to go again soon enough.

I'm gonna love my husband and snuggle my babies. I'm gonna keep some schooling going and try to keep us all healthy. Everything else is gonna have to be optional for awhile.

You know what? Instead of fighting it I really just want to embrace it! I want to soak in every second of the cuddling and slow pace knowing that in mere moments they will be grown.

That is if I have the honor of watching them grow. We never know how many moments we have left with one another. I've got to keep 1st things 1st. I never want to look back and regret the time I spent...

Ahhh.. I'm gonna go cuddle with a munchkin now.


Hugs, Angel :-)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

In the interest of full disclosure..

...this is what my house looked like for the first week after Kai moved in to live with us.



My house is not always clean. My laundry is rarely done. I don't always handle things well. My voice isn't always sweet.



I'm not super woman. I'm not even close. Life isn't perfect or Beaver Cleaver. It is MESSY and wild and wonderful. I just thought you should know.

Hugs, Angel :-)


Friday, November 12, 2010

What about AFRICA???

OH BOY was that a question I was asking myself a couple of weeks ago...

WHAT ABOUT AFRICA???

As you read in my previous post the selfish yuppie
part of me wanted to stop at 3 kids, buy a vacation home and start getting more pedicures.... Oh and a few massages. ;-)


Ok. Let's be honest. I always knew that part would never win. It couldn't win. But still that part was there..

Now here we are- I have started this adoption to Africa and God has given me this little wonder of a boy dropped into my life and WHAT ABOUT AFRICA???


At first I started to rationalize a bit. I mean here's how it happened... God told us to start the home study process on July 4th. I flew through my paperwork like a bat on fire. You people witnessed the insanity. Suddenly once the US stuff was done it was like I COULD NOT make myself do anything else!! I would literally pick up the phone to call the agency to check on something and would feel like God was telling me, "HANG UP THE PHONE AND WAIT!"

Since I was suddenly slow as Christmas I didn't push and therefore none of my Africa paperwork was done. Which was a really good thing. If we had the Africa side done we would have been matched with an identified child and they would have started trying to get that child paperwork ready. Then things would have gotten complicated in trying to bring home Kai. God's timing is amazing.

As it turned out we received our completed home study the DAY Kai's adoption agency agreed that we should be the ones to adopt him. THAT DAY!!! Not only that... We were approved for the EXACT age, gender, EVERYTHING.

It's ridiculous. Sooooo...I started to rationalize. Maybe it wasn't about Africa at all. Maybe this was it instead.

Or maybe it was both and that scared the tar outta me. I started doing the math on how many small children I would have and whether we could travel easily and how much Disney tickets would cost. I KNOW! I KNOW! I'm pathetic but that's just the facts people. I didn't promise you pretty. I promised reality. These children require sacrifice and sometimes I'm selfish and ugly. There it is. So all my calculations and I figured out there is a reason why people have 2.5 children. It's easier and less expensive. Hee hee... :-)



But ya know what I remembered then? I remembered how when we decided to get prego it happened WAY quicker than we expected really. I mean we wanted it to happen badly but it happened like RIGHT AWAY and I thought AM I READY FOR THIS??? We were about to move off to Michigan for Russ to go to MBA school. I was staying home with Kaitlyn so that meant... Well, it meant we were crazy. We heard about it too- how crazy it was. Still, something in my gut said this was RIGHT and I would never change it. Never, never, never would I give up my KK. Oh the joy she brings me. I'm so thankful.


Then came Zoe. We had JUST gotten out of MBA school when we started her adoption. We didn't have the money. We didn't have any experience. We were adopting out of birth order. We were adopting an older child. I had this moment where I thought WHAT AM I DOING??? Cause this was crazy and breaking all the rules. It didn't make any logical sense. We could HAVE as many beautiful blonde bio babies as we wanted so what was I DOING??? Still I KNEW she was ours... I KNEW God had given me this Krysta Zoe. So we fell in love knowing we were crazy. Oh she's so amazing. Thank you Lord for my Zoe girl. She is more than I deserve.

Soon we came to Kaiya. One minute we were thinking MAYBE domestic -meet with a crisis pregnancy center and ooch forward. Next thing I know we are running around getting paperwork for a special needs toddler. What was I thinking??? This was REALLY crazy. She'd been in an orphanage for 2 years with 36 kids and like 3 care takers. She had a cleft lip and palate. We had JUST gotten our savings back up from the 1st adoption. Was I NUTS??? Clearly yes. The minute I saw her sweet face I knew she was mine. So off we flew to China a mere seven months later and OH THANK YOU LORD!! Kaiya Rain Zhen drives me batty sometimes and makes me smile every single day!!!! Oh how I adore her. She's my spicy China baby and I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Finally we come to Kai Justice. Well, I mean REALLY!!! This is a disruption situation. This little one has a stack of papers that diagnose him with a lot of scary words. If you google the scary words in the scary paperwork then you can't sleep at night. So am I THAT crazy?? My heart told me this is my son not a diagnosis. So yes... I am. Now here is this little man who is like the puzzle piece we never knew was missing. He FITS here!!! I am completely in love with my little Korean wonder.
So that brings us to Africa.... We have four kids... We're happy and comfortable and have great kids. Why would we want to DO THIS??? Because... My son is there... And I think I've finally accepted that I love this kinda crazy. This is the kinda crazy that makes a person step out of a boat and walk on water JUST cause Jesus said to do it. I'm so grateful that God held my hand so I wouldn't sink under the waves from the doubts about whether all this insanity could REALLY be HIM!

I'm good now. I don't expect it to be easy or pretty. It never is. In between all the field trips and photo sessions are melt downs, explosive diapers, temper tantrums, dirty clothes, sleepless nights and growth I never knew I could experience. These miracles God has sent me have changed EVERYTHING. I am changed and thankful. I am so joyful. I am so grateful. I am so ready. No doubt...no sinking this time.


It turns out that Kaitlyn Elise wasn't too early or too expensive! Turns out she is my amazing little diva who brings me unspeakable joy.


It turns out Krysta Zoe isn't a scary older child adoption. She is the most compassionate and loving person I know.

It turns out Kaiya Rain Zhen isn't a special needs toddler permanently scarred by institutional life. It turns out she's the brave and hilarious and capable of just about anything.

It turns out Kai Justice Easton isn't a stack of scary diagnosis. It turns out he's a dream come true.

So I say....

Africa???

Yeah... bring it on.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What's in a name??


Kai Justice

This name is special. I adore it with all my heart. It's not JUST a name. God gave Kai his name. I'd love to share the story with you...

July 3rd of this past summer I wrote this blog post.

My dear friend Amy had mentioned this scripture on her blog and it gripped my heart in a powerful way. It was as if the words of this scripture echoed everything God had been showing me this past year...

Amos 5:21-24 (The Message)

21-24"I can't stand your religious meetings.
I'm fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
your pretentious slogans and goals.
I'm sick of your fund-raising schemes,
your public relations and image making.
I've had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
That's what I want. That's all I want.

It was what had been stirring in my soul for months... maybe years. God was yelling at me everywhere I turned. THIS was the message that was burning in my heart..

The truth is that this hit me in the gut for a reason. I was struggling with the desire to lay back and get comfortable. Cause ya know, I was only slightly crazy so far-3 girls- 2 adoptions. Things were just getting easier again. We were recovering from the adoptions financially. The girls were getting a little older and more settled in. Life was feeling, well comfortable and I was liking it.

I was starting to feel like God might call me to stretch again and frankly felt a bit whiny about that. I mean Wahhhh.... woa is me!! Hadn't I done enough? Couldn't I straddle the two lives?

I wanted to be a spiritual "Hannah Montana" and have the best of both worlds. I wanted to be a spiritual giant who loves Jesus, adopts, serves BUT still have the American dream too! EXCEPT- except that isn't how it works at all is it? Why did I want to hold on so tightly to my comfort? I was struggling inside but the message echoing in my heart was this..

I'M SICK OF IT!! I don't care about the fancy buildings... the programs... the pretty music... That stuff all means NOTHING when God's people are ambivalent. All of it means NOTHING if we ignore the least of these. What God wants more than ANY OF these religious projects we do in the name of God is JUSTICE!! He deeply desires oceans of that...

..so much so that Amos tells us God brought down judgement on His people and allowed them to be taken over by enemies to bring them back to what was important. Their focus on the outward and lack of care for those in need enraged a holy and righteous God.

Was God saying to His people that songs and buildings infuriated Him??? NO!!! He was saying their lack of compassion for those in need infuriated Him. Their disregard for injustice made all the other stuff useless.


The scripture and message of Amos has been stuck in my brain like glue ever since....

I prayed "LORD! Please don't let this be ME!!! I don't want to be busy doing all this stuff that I think pleases You and all the time your heart is grieved. Please Lord... please let me desire the things you do. Don't let me waste my life being comfortable and thinking that was enough when all the time I never knew YOUR heart at all.

I couldn't shut up about Amos... I blogged about it. I talked poor Russ' ear off about it. I talked to all my BFFs about it.

July 4th, the very next day after He slapped me upside the head, God burdened Russ and I to start the homestudy process to adopt a son from Africa. (More on that later- it's still happening!)

I was ready to let go again and trust that HE knew better.

So that week we were praying about what our son's name should be and when I prayed about Africa I felt very confident that it was the name Keegan Sky-bright light in the sky. I LOVED IT!

However, I KEPT hearing this other name swirl around in my head... Kai Justice... and I had no idea WHY! I mean I loved the name but we only had one adoption process going on and I didn't even know what it meant.

I even asked Russ if we ever adopted another boy if he'd be open to the name Kai Justice. (cause even then we said we would probably adopt one more boy though I was fighting the idea of FIVE children)

He said, "Well, it's kinda hippie... but I like it. What does it mean?" I told him I had no idea and just couldn't quit thinking the name.

Fast forward to October when a precious family told us they felt that a little 2 year old boy from Korea was meant to be ours all along... we opened the e-mail attachment... saw the picture of his darling face... after we ooohhed and ahhhed for awhile about him..

I looked at Russ and said, "That's not Keegan Sky."

Russ agreed, "Nope. Keegan Sky is in Africa."

I said, "Is his name Kai Justice?"

Russ replied, "MAYBE! What does it mean??"

So I immediately looked it up and then my chin about hit the ground!

I literally yelled, "YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!"

Russ looked up at me confused till I revealed... it means

"Oceans Of Justice..."

We just stared at each other for a second a little stunned. Then Russ in all his brilliance says "Well, then I guess that's his name." :-) I love that guy.

God is so good....

Amos 5:21-24 (The Message)

21-24"I can't stand your religious meetings.
I'm fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
your pretentious slogans and goals.
I'm sick of your fund-raising schemes,
your public relations and image making.
I've had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
That's what I want. That's all I want.


Oh what I would have missed if I had let my American dream win. I would have missed it, I would have missed the whole point. He kindly broke me of my American dream and gave me something infinitely better. He gave me "Oceans Of Justice." I know that with all my heart and every single time I call Kai Justice it is a message for me and for all of us about God's passion.

Oh Lord, thank you for knowing what I need better than I do.

He is so good and kind.

Hugs, Angel


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Presenting Kai Justice!





Tuesday, November 09, 2010

MEET OUR NEW SON!!!!!

Kai Justice Easton




I would like to introduce you to our new baby boy. Oh how I have wanted to tell you about him for weeks.... But this is not an average story. Whew... Where do I even begin?? Here is where I begin.

This little one is a miracle. His story is a miracle. The lengths God went to in bringing him home is a miracle. The people who have loved him are a miracle. The way he came to us is nothing short of a miracle.

I will give you the brief story of that miracle now.

This sweet treasure is Kai Justice.. He is 2 years old. He was born in Korea and cared for by a foster family for 2 years. Then he came to the US in April 2010. For 6 months he was cared for by a loving family who felt they could no longer parent him for personal reasons. This wonderful family approached us and asked if we would consider adopting him.

The answer was yes before we ever saw his sweet little face.

We first met Kai on Oct. 16th. That night I fell hard for a cute boy from Korea. In my heart I was already a goner. :-) Shortly after we began visits and Kai moved in with us on Nov 1st for good.

We do not pretend to understand all the details of how this miracle happened. In the following weeks and months I am certain to dive into all my thoughts and processing of this whole whirlwind of a story.

For now I will say this is what I know. THIS little man is a treasure... A little wonder. He is home now. I am thankful for every person that loved him enough to get him to this home. The path that brought him here is crooked but it is no less beautiful. In fact, I would say the twists and turns of the path make it that much more remarkable.

Our God is amazing. I look forward to sharing more details of this miracle with you as we go along.

Hugs, Angel :-)

Monday, November 01, 2010

Remembering when Krysta Zoe came home..


Today marks FOUR YEARS AGO that our precious Krysta Zoe came home to be our forever family. Her name means "Divinely Chosen Life." We believe with all our heart that is true. God chose her for our family and walked with her through fire to get her home. Loving Zoe has been life altering. She is beautiful on the outside and breathtaking in a way that often brings me to tears on the inside. Here is a video I made awhile back to share the journey. I hope this gives you a peek into the miracle and struggle of our love for our precious baby girl. She is a treasure we could have easily missed in the midst of fear and selfishness. I am eternally grateful that we changed and bent everything to love her. She has helped us to stretch, grow... become more than we thought we could be. We are truly. completely, utterly blessed to love her.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

What Can I Do?

Someone asked me this question today and I thought it was worth sharing...


Thanks for the great post. What I am still trying to figure out though is how I can care for the orphans. We have adopted twice and my husband feels that our family is complete. Aside from adoption what can I do?

That's such a good question and I think it's one so many of us ask ourselves... What am I supposed to be doing?

I don't think adoption is the only way at all! We are adopting our 4th child and after that we may be done..maybe one more.

I th
ink some of us will be in a place to be the one taking the child physically into our home at any one time. That is a highly valuable and challenging endeavor. HOWEVER, how much easier would it be if there was a back up Body of Christ helping those people to be successful??

There is fostering, training people, getting trained to be a respite babysitter for foster parents in your church, starting an orphan ministry that connects with a church overseas to adopt orphans into their congregation, fundraising for people adopting overseas, starting a clothes closet for foster kids your church will foster, preparing meals for new foster/adoptive parents, throwing a baby shower for a young teen mom, volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center, advocating for organizations that help prevent children from being orphaned, going on missions that do HIV awareness and therefore prevent parents from dying..... SO MANY WONDERFUL ways to love orphans.

I just decided this past weekend that I want to be Karyn Purvis when I grow up. ;-) So I am going crazy studying her stuff so I can help train people in our church to connect with the children God calls them to adopt. I am PUMPED!!

I guess that's my thought... what part of caring for the orphan do you feel called ?

Hmmm.... I think this just turned into a blog post. :-) Angel

This IS the gospel...

I GET it now... it's breath taking... the cause of the orphan is not a cause at all. It's the very picture of God, ourselves and our salvation.


When Jesus was in the garden before His crucifixion He sweat BLOOD! The burden of my sin and shame was the price HE bore for my adoption. He brought me out of my sin and shame and made me a new creation. Now He lovingly invites me to share in this same joy and fellowship in His suffering.

When He commands His church OVER AND OVER to take up the cause of the widow and orphan it is His invitation for us to truly know HIM!

THIS is who He is... He is the defender of widows and orphans, a redeemer, a Father to the fatherless. THIS is what He does... He suffers for OUR sin and heals our brokeness, He adopts US as children and heirs no matter what the cost to Himself.

OH HOW HE LOVES US! It gives me chills and brings tears to my eyes. THIS IS THE GOSPEL! He is inviting us to LIVE IT by entering into the pain of the fatherless just as He has entered into our pain.

Do we want to gloss over the "Take up your cross and follow me" part? Do we want to pretend He never invites us to "Fellowship in His suffering?" Would we like to pretend that orphan care is a special calling for the few rather than a CLEAR and PROFOUND mandate for the bride of Christ??

THIS IS IT! THIS IS THE BIG, FAT, GLARING E ON THE EYE CHART!

If God is the Father to the Fatherless and the church is His bride..... then the CHURCH is the mother to the Fatherless.

Church, are we abandoning our children.?

We can not experience the full weight of the gospel if we run from the cross rather than take it up and FOLLOW HIM!

We are never promised comfort or ease if we follow Christ.... quite the opposite. We are promised pain. However, we are promised fellowship with a savior who would move heaven and Earth to redeem us. We are promised joy the world can't fathom or explain. We are promised the opportunity to love others the way Christ loved us. THAT is the gospel. We are promised that AS OUR LIGHT SHINES people will be drawn to love they can't understand. They will be drawn to Jesus... and through this unspeakable love we will fulfill the great commission.




Mid-Atlantic Orphan Summit from CoMission for Children at Risk on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

WELCOME to Kaiya's Cooking Show! The show is starring Kaiya Rain Zhen and is produced by Daddy. The poor stage direction by Mommy. Can you tell we have orphanage eye contact issues?? :-) Hope you enjoy it. I just ADORE this little girl and giggled watching it. Angel




T4A

These are some of my T4A peeps and Karyn Purvis!! SHE IS SUCH A GIFT FROM GOD!!!


Together For Adoption 2010 was BEYOND AMAZING!!!! I am so grateful that I was blessed to go. It was 800 plus people in one room who are SO SOLD OUT to living the gospel that they will do the things the world thinks are crazy in their every day life. It was HARD CORE gospel of sacrifice and love being taught without any watering down to make it palatable. This is either your dream or your nightmare. It is MY DREAM!

The holy spirit fell on that place in a tangible way. Everywhere I looked you could see people repenting, rejoicing, sharing, ON THEIR KNEES praying and worshipping our savior who bled...suffered and died for OUR adoption.

There are no words for what this weekend did for my heart. So many of the things that have been pounding in my head this past year were being preached over and over. Some things I felt confused about were clarified. Everywhere I looked were people who looked at the gospel and saw exactly what I see- sacrificial love that verges on the INSANE! Love so strong that the world says THAT CAN NOT BE NORMAL! What IS THAT??? WHY ARE THEY DOING THAT??? THAT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE!

That is the kind of love that will fulfill the great commission and nothing less...

I am still processing in a major way. Drinking through a fire hose would be an appropriate imagery. I am walking away so encouraged to see a glimpse of what God is doing and a bit overwhelmed by the vastness of the call.

Thank you Lord for this weekend.

Angel

Thursday, September 16, 2010

These baby girls....


bless me every single day...





Hugs, Angel :-)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Classical Conversations Videos

The girls and I participate in a homeschool program called Classical Conversations. We LOVE it so much!!! Last year was our first year and it happened to be Cycle 1. There are 3 different cycles you cover... 1 each year... then you repeat them. We attend classes once a week for 24 weeks a year.


We are about to start Classical Conversations Cycle 2 tomorrow. I thought for fun we would see how much the girls remember from Cycle 1 before we start. I recorded these because I know a lot of people think, "MY kids could never learn that."

I KNOW I THOUGHT THAT!

Well, your kids CAN do it!! These are just my normal kids after a summer of only lightly reviewing Cycle 1. I am amazed how much they remember after only one year of CC. Imagine what they will be able to do in a few more years!

First are their History sentences Part 1.






History Sentences Part 2.






This is the preposition song.






Next is the presidents song.






Geography Part 1







Geography Part 2







History Timeline- only the first 8 weeks and with the girls about to fall asleep. Hee hee.






Here's Science complete with a mini melt down from Kaitlyn cause she couldn't remember something. :-)







AND there you have it... a bit of what the girls learned in Classical Conversations last year! Pretty wild huh? Angel

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Leveling Instead Of Grading

Watched this really interested TED video on game theory and human psychology of motivation. The parts about the inefficiency of traditional grades as opposed to leveling rang true in what I have seen motivate my girls. We already de-emphasize grades and set goals. I am wondering if leveling would be an even better way of doing things! It gives tangible goals and encouragement. Hmmm... interesting. Angel


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Future Theology Major??? :-)

Kaiya Rain Zhen amazes me CONSTANTLY!!!!!! This is her giving her Polka Dot a bit of a Old Testament survey. What a SMARTY PANTS! The girl is remarkable and precious and full of love and trouble. ;-) Angel


Friday, August 20, 2010

Kaitlyn's 1st time diving!

To understand the significance of this video you must understand something... my sweet Kaitlyn is terrified... well, of a lot of things. It's funny really. She'll jump on an insane roller coaster without a second thought and then scream bloody murder walking down a long flight of stairs. Curious little critter- our KK. Water makes her a nervous wreck. Anything that is high up makes her triple nervous. So a DIVING BOARD.... that's a big deal. As you can imagine I am one very proud momma! OH! And- special thanks to Mollie and Justin who are the kind of friends that will sit in a pool cheering for your scared daughter for 10 minutes straight while she works up the courage to actually try a dive. THAT'S a great friend. :-) I had to video tape the 3rd dive. The first 2 took WAY LONGER to accomplish.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Keegan Sky's Room!

I am excited about decorating my first BOY ROOM!!! I have been dreaming a little and here is what we are thinking of doing.... It's a African Jungle theme! :-)

I like the paint in this pic. I think we will do the green and giraffe print. How CUTE is that???

This rug is cute....
Maybe a little valance in the window...


Gotta have a HUGE giraffe of course!
Definitely gonna be vines and monkey's hanging from the ceilings.
OH! And a tiger to watch guard at night of course. Whatta ya think?? HUGS! Angel