Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Girls Are Going On A Road Trip!!!


Mackenzie, Abby and I are getting ready to board an airplane in a couple of hours! We're off to somewhere else in the US to spend a few days with Abby's older foster sister, and her family.

We were so blessed to be able to travel and adopt the girls at the same was really a bit of a miracle!

I will never forget receiving an e-mail, out of the blue, from Penny's mom, Ruthi... "I think I'm adopting your daughter's older foster me!" That was in May of last year! Of all the billions of people in the world and of all the children being adopted, God found a way to bring us together!

From there we waited for our approvals to come... Letter of Approval... Travel Approval... Consulate Appointment... Everything had to be timed perfectly for us to travel at the same time. And it all happened, even though we were with 2 different agencies and our dossier log in dates were a few days apart... In fact, we arrived at the ChongQing Center for Adoption at the same time and received the girls together!

We were able to spend the next 2 weeks in China together, making the transition for the girls so much better! Ruthi and I became friends in the months we were waiting to travel and since coming home... and I'm so excited to be going to see her and her family after almost a year! She has been a wealth of wisdom for me this past year...she was definitely a gift from heaven! Penny is their 4th adopted daughter and they are waiting for approval to adopt 2 more...after having raised 4 sons! Yep...she and her sweet hubby will have a HUGE crown waiting for them in heaven...they are definitely living in light of eternity!

So, we'll be back on Monday... While I'm gone, don't forget to follow along with my cousin and her husband... just click on Rice And Grits over to the left, on the side bar...they left today to go to China to adopt their precious little girl Elizabeth. Please keep them in your prayers...

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A First... (Update at bottom of post)

Well, it has finally happened, my first call from a coach... "Mrs. M., I have your son with me, he's fine, but he's broken his collar bone."

Football practice...diving for a pass...broken collar bone... Nick's concern... he had the ball in his hands, but the impact of the landing knocked it out... BOYS!! His first question to me... "Will you still let me play football after this?"

He knows I've always been a little afraid of football (really A LOT afraid) but as Zack has gotten further along in soccer, I've realized that any sport presents plenty of opportunities for injuries, so I know I can't protect them from everything... "Of course you can still play football..."

Zack, his older brother called me and had a couple of questions too... "Did he cry?" BOYS!! "Did he catch the ball?" Men are definitely from Mars!!

So we got to the Emergency Room...had an x-ray...and then the doctor comes in... You know it's a bad sign when the doctor (who's a guy) says, "Want to see your x-ray? It's impressive!" MEN!!

I'll say... His clavicle bone is broken into 3 pieces! The middle piece has dislodged itself and is angled down, out of alignment with the other two pieces... The doctor is also concerned about how the clavicle bone appears separated from the shoulder...could mean ligament damage...

So now we wait...our friend, Dr. D., who did my knee surgery, also does shoulders... We talked to him last night and he said 99% of the time he won't do surgery, but he'll have to look at the x-ray to know for sure... I'm so praying that Nick falls into the 99%... Not sure how that works with that piece of bone out of alignment, but that would be WONDERFUL news!

I'm just thankful that my first phone call was about a broken collar bone and not a head or neck injury... But wow, it's hard to watch your children suffer... Yep, there's a BIG spiritual parallel in that one... I think I'll save that for another day though...

Quick update...the bad news is that our Dr. told his nurse, "it's not just broken, it's shattered" ...the GREAT news is that he wants to treat conservatively and see what happens...that means no surgery for now... Please pray with us that God will cause it to heal correctly and Nick can avoid surgery! He sees him at his office in the morning...

Great news too because the girls and I have a flight tomorrow to go see Abby's older foster sister from China, she was adopted at the same time as she was! They were so close and her mom and I have developed a long distance friendship... We are so excited about going! It can be so hard sometimes being torn between the needs of your children...

Monday, June 22, 2009


First, let me say it was a wonderful Father's Day today! What a blessing to be able to celebrate my awesome husband!! He deserves for it to be Father's Day everyday!!

So, the reason for my post though is our Pastor's sermon... I just can't get it out of my mind. It was on Luke 11:1-10...

Luke 11 is where the disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray and He responds with the Lord's prayer, but He follows it up with a parable about a man who goes to his neighbor at midnight to get bread for his friend who has come for a visit... The neighbor denies him, but Jesus said that the man will not give up until he gets his bread.

I never knew this about a parable, but our pastor said that a parable teaches one lesson and when I googled it, I learned that a parable has one defining characteristic, it teaches how a person is to behave or believe.

So, I always struggled with this parable, because of the way the sleeping neighbor responded... "Don't bother me... I can't get up..." I know that is not how my heavenly Father would respond, so I didn't really get it...until today.

Our pastor said the point of this parable is not to teach us a lesson about God, it is to teach us how we are to approach God in prayer... with urgency... immediacy... persistence... knock... Knock... KNOCK... As he preached this, he knocked hard and loud on a table... It was profound and powerful!

And then he quoted someone who said, "Our prayers must mean something to us if they are to mean anything to God." It really made me stop and many of my prayers are prayers of urgency? Or are they prayers of duty and obligation? Do I REALLY believe, with all of my heart, that prayer changes things?

I don't understand how it works, but Scripture leaves me with only one conclusion... God CHOOSES to use the prayers of His people... In Revelation 8, the angels bring a golden censer before God, it is incense that is the prayers of His people... And then the angel "takes the censer, fills it with fire from the altar, and hurls it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake."

Max Lucado says this, "Your prayers move God to change the world. You may not understand the mystery of prayer. You don't need to, but this much is clear: Actions in heaven begin when someone prays on earth. What an amazing thought! When you speak, Jesus hears. When Jesus hears, thunder falls. And when thunder falls, the world is changed. All because someone prayed!"

If I really believe this, with all of my heart, then I will pray with urgency... passion... boldness... for my family... my friends... the President... our nation... I will pray for His glory and their good (not my personal gain) and I will not give up, just because God doesn't respond the way I think He should, or in the time I think He should... I will keep knocking, with persistent urgency, because God promises, He will hear my prayer and answer.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Broken Yet Beautiful!!

I took this photograph a couple of weeks ago, and I just can't get it out of my heart... It was the day I went to the Botanical Garden and I stood for several minutes photographing this flower....

Now, when I go on an outing like that, I will take loads of photos and after careful editing, I will usually end up with about a third of what I shot (I learned that from a book by Bryan Peterson, one of my favorite photographers...I highly recommend anything he's written)...

But anyway, the point is that I shot this flower, I edited it and it wasn't until I had looked at it over and over that I finally noticed that one of the petals is missing a large piece...

Now one of the number one rules of photography is to make sure you really look when you look through the's all about seeing... Ever had a fountain or a column coming out of someone's head? Really seeing what is in your photo is so important...

So I was shocked that I had missed such an obvious flaw in this picture...I had been completely captivated by its color and beauty... But when I posted photos in an earlier post, I didn't post it because it wasn't perfection... And it occurred to me, that I am so thankful that God doesn't just toss me aside because of my imperfections!

We are all like this photo...we have imperfections...cracks... flaws... brokeness... and yet somehow, through Jesus, God sees amazing beauty. Our flaws don't make us useless to Him...He never tosses us aside...He loves us unconditionally and He works through us, regardless of our brokeness!

"We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from Him and not from us!" 2 Corinthians 4:7

What a sweet reminder of how much God loves me, that even though He could have rightfully tossed me aside as a hopelessly, broken vessel...full of imperfections...He chose to see the potential beauty of a life that had been transformed by His love!!

(Just a note, I've decided that I'm going to keep blogging...thank you for all of your encouraging words and ideas... I'm working on some ideas of how to change things up here a stay tuned!)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

God is SO cool!!!

So I don't mean to be irreverent or too familiar by saying God is so cool, but there are just times when He blows my mind and I can't help but think how cool He is... This story is one of those stories...

I said a few weeks ago that I was going back to Africa, on a mission trip, with my mom... Well, you might be familiar with raising support, where you send out letters and ask people, if their hearts are so inclined to partner with you on your short term mission trip, by praying for you and/or contributing money to your trip... The money goes straight to Heart For Africa and is just designated to a particular trip, through a participant's code, but when you get down to it, it feels like asking for money...

Hence, my struggle this last week... The support letters are all written and ready to go, but I haven't sent them out, I have been wrestling with my pride... God calls some to go, and He calls others to 'help go,' but it is just hard sometimes to send these letters.

Just yesterday morning, I was praying again, asking God if He was absolutely certain I was supposed to go on this trip? Had I really heard Him correctly? Why were these support letters so hard?

And then last night, I received the most unexpected e-mail... A bloggy friend, who is in full time ministry, e-mailed me and asked if I was raising support for my trip. If so, she and her husband wanted to contribute... Wait a minute... this should be the other way around... they are in full time ministry, they should be receiving support, not sending it...they already give their lives, their time, their money, their everything to Him...

So I e-mailed her back and told her my struggle, I wasn't going to argue with how God was leading them, but I wanted them to pray and be absolutely sure.

Well, I need to back up for a minute... When you travel with Heart For Africa, you typically have a couple of funding deadlines... My next deadline is Monday and my account was short by a significant amount of money...

So back to my friend... This morning I received an e-mail from her explaining how even though they are in full time ministry, they don't believe they are exempt from giving, and then she said, "You can't out give God." She went on to tell me two beautiful stories of His amazing provision and she ended the e-mail telling me that she had already made a deposit to my trip account.

It was the exact amount I was due to deposit by Monday! She had no idea that I had a funding deadline coming up and she definitely didn't know the amount I needed... she and her husband simply followed God's leading! And I was humbled beyond words... Any doubts I had about whether or not I was supposed to go TOTALLY diappeared and I will send out my support letters on Monday.

God has an amazing ability to say, "I love you," in the most beautiful ways and to gently rebuke us when our faith is falling so far short... He did both in that one beautiful act of obedience by my sweet friend!

Thank you sweet friend for being such a beautiful and willing vessel of grace...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Just Wondering (And A Few Photos...)

I'm at a funny place right now and I'm really wondering about the direction my blog should take... I started out writing about our adoption journey, but now that we've been home for 10 months, there just doesn't seem to be that much to write about, related to adoption.

Abby is settling in beautifully to our family...the journey is clearly not over, but the 'moments' that I loved to write about are fewer and farther between... That's a good thing though...

I can't imagine that people who don't know us are that interested in our day to day life, or even the photos that I love to take, so the question, what direction do I take with the blog?

I guess the thing I really love are the lessons that God teaches me through His word... through life...through other people. Starting in the fall, I will spend 30 weeks teaching through Revelation, so I guess I could write about something that God teaches me each week. I'm taking the summer and reading through it devotionally, and I love the truths that are so applicable to us now... You know Revelation has tremendous application to us right now, it's purpose is not to create stress and anxiety that the world is coming to an's to show us Jesus...hence the name's the Revelation of Jesus...the reigning King of Kings...Victor over sin and death!

So, if you're game, I would love to know your thoughts... Or maybe you were just here for the adoption journey and you think it's time to move on to someone else's journey, that's ok too. I'll take some time to pray over and consider any comments that you might leave and then decide...

In the meantime, my wonderful hubby gave me a dream birthday present...a Nikon D90!! In just 2 years I had already taken over 30,000 photos with my D50 and it's only rated for 20,000, I was starting to have some problems so after a TON of research, that seemed the way to go...It's really a birthday/early Christmas present...but WOW... I LOVE it!! Here are some photos from my outing to the Botanical garden on Sunday...

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Why Badminton Is Good For The Soul...

For the last few summers, badminton has become a 'thing' for our family... I think it started at a Memorial Day family reunion when cousin 'C' planned 'camp' for all of us! We had a blast and we've been playing ever since...

On Saturday night we got everything set up and then played a rematch last night... I'm thrilled to say that the 'old folks' rule!! Scott and I beat our 2 teenage sons... Yes, my pride is showing!! LOL!!

But the best part of all was the laughter... I laughed until my sides hurt and it started all over again as we looked at the photos! Here's a little what our evening looked like... Stay tuned for the end for the photo of the weekend!!

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(I'm itchy and I've had enough!!)

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(The photo of the weekend... No, he was still playing badminton even though it looks like he was trying to swim!)

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Our dog Pippin looks like Scott and I after we beat the boys!!

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One last picture... it was my birthday this weekend and here is the cake that Scott and the kids made for me... I'm surprised we didn't set off the smoke alarm, they insisted on lighting ALL the candles...

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It was a GREAT weekend!!