December 30, 2007

Newsletter 2007

Dear friends,

I’ve been wanting to write to you for some time, so now I’m finally doing it! My main reason is just to re-connect, and explain to you why we needed to stop sponsoring Mayon (orphan) in India. I’m sure you probably struggle sometimes with the “wonderings” about old friendships, so I hope to clarify where we stand.

We’re basically still just as madly in love with you as we always were! I would love to hear more reports about your work in India, and about what your family is doing. When I hear that you’re planning another trip, I always feel that “tug” – and wish I was joining you!

If you would have it in your heart to publish a newsletter, well, that would just be awesome! (put us on your mailing list?) I still wish we could have seen Pastor Tony the evening that he was with you – thank you so much for the invitation!

J and C are expecting their second child in the spring, making this new little boy our fourth grandchild. They continue to be a joyful, awesome couple, and Jr. (almost 2) is like his Uncle S – he likes to talk! J is one of our worship/band leaders now, and doing a great job!

Last year they attended “Financial Peace University” with their home group, and then they shared it with us. God has really turned around our financial situation. We were mostly doing things right; in fact, all we lacked was one puzzle piece to complete our understanding in our walk of faith. It is for this reason that we drastically pared back our financial commitments. It was humbling – but oh, so healthy!

The picture I keep seeing is of God, as my Daddy, giving me a bag of seed, and I manage it by giving too much of it away! He isn’t angry with me for doing this, but He had intended for me to keep some of it! After many years of supporting missionaries and orphans in Oregon, South Korea, Egypt, Zambia, Nepal, Myanmar and India, we decided to pull back and work on our own financial health. We haven’t regretted it – it’s been a step of faith into wisdom. We’ll sow seed here for now, and God will provide increase for us to spread it abroad again one day.

A was deployed two days ago for his third stint in Iraq. Their little guy is 4 yrs. old now. A loves his work, and still believes he’s doing precisely what God has called him to do. You may remember, he works with imaging in “intelligence”. He’s just weeks away from attaining the status of Staff Sergeant – a position he earned well before his time. M and A Jr. will miss him, but they will spend the next few months with her parents in (state). One of the blessings in this is that his deployments have been short ones, just 3 to 4 months.

S and A are working hard in landscaping and childcare, and taking care of their animals. Little A (2 ½) is a firecracker, and growing up so fast! She loves her little ponies.

AK will enroll in college courses full time next term. Up till now she was working her way through part-time. Both she and I have taken second jobs just this week as fitness trainers at Curves in (city). Her other job is in (city) with (business), and her aspirations are towards English and Editing. She also attended “Financial Peace University”, and paid off her car last month!

JD still works with G. We were involved with discussions to work in Nicaragua as short-term missionaries with Pastor C for awhile, but since God made it clear we needed to work on our finances - that is all “on hold”.

He wanted to mount his most recent trophy, a 6 pt. buck, but we’re running out of trophy space on our walls! He’s really spoiled me with the tender steaks that he brings home – I just can’t appreciate beef as much any more!

As for me, I’ve been taking business courses and working as an Administrative Assistant for a new car-servicing business. We retired from foster care last winter when K was moved from our home to her brothers’ foster home in (city). Though my initial mommy gut-response to this decision was to fight it, and I fought a GOOD fight, God turned my heart completely upside-down and showed me the value to K’s life (and yes, to ours) to have her move on! Wow! I never would have believed THAT could happen!

My efforts had shut the process down – basically my argument was that we were her parents for 3 years, and that (committed to adopt) parents were more important to a child than a short-term placement in a foster home with siblings who were already mostly grown. She usually agreed. I don’t think I can explain all the reasons why my opinion changed, but it did, and “I” pushed it through!

K would leave little notes around the house, and then hope I wouldn’t find them. One of them said, “please let me go to my brothers”. She loves us, and she loves them. The eye-opener came when I saw that it didn’t have to be a “divorce” situation, but rather a growing of my family! We spoke with her often those first few months. She stayed with us a few days here and there, and attended my sister’s wedding. Sometimes I was mom, other times an aunt, a confidante, a buddy. I supported her, checked in on her, and helped her keep in touch with her home school friends.

By Thanksgiving we saw a change. She was torn, but really wanted to spend the holiday with her brothers instead of us. It was a healthy thing – and we set her free. Now I guess my role is "encouraging Grandma"! Without being under my roof God is able to continue to do great things in her life. We will see His glory!

I got off track there with K, now more about me!

Following the course that I believe is laid out for me, I’m excited to report that I tested “very well” for a proofreading position for (publisher)! I’m on hold with them till I find another another client to work with – as a freelancer. I contacted several other Christian publishing houses, and I have a mentor coaching me on, but my pursuit has slackened off since the holidays. Besides being a natural ability for me, I think that this is an avenue to help support our future mission work even while we’re in another country. We’ll see…

It looks like the theme of our year has been “pulling back”. In all our commitments we’ve been lead to re-assess. I’m just glad that our Lord is leading us, and that He is with us.
We love you,
"herhearingheart"

L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L

December 27, 2007

Off to Iraq, Probably

He can't come right out and tell us exactly where he's going, but we know. My son has left for war today. This is his third deployment.

He kissed his wife one last time, lingering over the deep blue of her eyes. He played with his son's Christmas presents. He tried to reassure and explain to a four-year old why Daddy has to go. With his last deployment his little boy would grieve that his daddy didn't love him anymore, and that's why he didn't come home. Then his beloved would grieve that she couldn't help him understand...

I know he tried not to choke up. I wasn't there, so I don't know if he was successful. My son is a soldier.

He called us so early this morning that we struggled to crawl out of bed to get to the phone. For my own reassurance, I asked him again, "Are you sure this is what God wants you to do?"

He's still sure.

What does a soldier do when he's sitting in the plane, alone with his thoughts? Can he hide the tear in his eye - or the torn place in his heart? Strong in his resolve, determined to do what is right, and yet feeling heavily the cost of his sacrifice. He wants to face even his own emotions unafraid, and yet keep his focus on the prize.

Thank you for our military, Lord. They do well to show the strength of our country and our morals. They represent the blessing of the land that You gave us, and that our fathers fought to keep. They are a wall to protect us, showing the ultimate in Your command to love others as we love ourselves. Thank You for these servants.

Lord, show mercy to their families. Hold them up and bless them with Your peace during these separations. Hear their prayers. Bring their families safely back together. And if the separation must last into the next life, then in Your faithful, loving care - hold them close to Your heart.

There is no human that doesn't long for the life of joy and peace. Thank You for coming to us, Prince of Peace.


O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o

December 26, 2007

Grandchild Number Four

I'm sorry I've taken so long a break from blogging. I have actually been re-assessing my commitment. Because I want to maintain a level of privacy, I don't reveal everything that happens in my life. And then, what really is the purpose of my blog, anyway? Shall I just stumble along, and see what develops? Am I wasting my time?

A local lady, Dorcas Smucker (Life in the Shoe), tells about family trips, health issues, her children, and discloses far more than I would feel comfortable doing. Maybe I'm more suspicious. Maybe she's more SECURE! I don't know.

All I know is that I want to be real, and I want to share the love of God that I discover daily. I want to encourage others. I'm the "older woman" now, and the Scriptures tell me that I have something to teach younger women.

ON THE OTHER HAND - I don't want to expose myself unnecessarily. All that I would say may not be beneficial.

Show me your ways, O Lord!

OH! We just learned that my fourth grandchild is undoubtedly a little boy! I don't know how dependable ultrasound is these days - but it's fun to think we understand a little more about this coming child! Yippeee!

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December 9, 2007

Pray for young missionaries-in-training, and their families, at YWAM – Youth With a Mission

It was announced in our church service this morning that the Denver, Colorado YWAM base has suffered the loss of two of its youth because of an attack from a gunman. Two others were injured.

The young people were cleaning up after a banquet and the gunman came in, asking for a place to stay the night. When he was told he couldn’t stay there, he pulled out his gun and shot, and then left on foot.

My son was based there a few years ago.

How hard it would be to receive news like this about my own son! Even though I would constantly comfort myself with the memory of giving him back to the Lord just moments after he was born… I know I’d be racking my brain to understand this. I’m not going to pretend that I could, in any way, predict how I would respond!

So, let’s just pray.

The “YWAMmers”, as we’ve called them in the past, are preparing to forgive the shooter.

Let’s pray that their families and friends would be comforted by the Holy Spirit, and that the gunman would be caught. I also pray that the injured ones would be healed and restored, and even more determined to see the good news of the kingdom of God preached to everyone who hasn’t heard.

While we’re at it, let’s pray against fear.

Then, let’s raise our hands to the Lover of our souls and thank Him that the darkness in this world, as we know it now, is only temporary! Thank you, Lord!

December 5, 2007

A "Memory" Note From Former Foster Mom to #1 Mom

It's kinda late, but one thing comes to mind that still makes us smile: a call we received when your daughter had only been back home with you for a few weeks.

Apparently she thought she should be making summer vacation plans, because she asked, "I was wondering if I could come and stay the night for a few months." (That's a long night!)

It was hard to explain to her that we'd love to have her, but I was working outside the home now and I couldn't leave her here alone! I think she presumed that time stood still when she left us; and that we were just sitting here on the couch, bored and sad, because there were no children to play with!

You've been blessed with some awesome kids, Helen; but, you already know that!

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November 26, 2007

He Came From Harlem

He was fatherless boy from Harlem, New York. A high school student 17 years of age. I was a woman in my mid forties, living on a tree farm with my family in Oregon. He knew everything about surviving in the big city. I knew everything about canning green beans and butchering meat.

He was used to constant city noise, electronic games, phone calls. I liked quiet. He is black, I am white. He was social, everybody's friend. I was cautious with everyone I met.

He was used to a tug-of-war of arguing and negotiating and protesting to make things happen. I believed that as a parent I should quietly listen and consider the facts, then carefully make my decision and stick to it!

We weren't 100 percent opposed in every way. We knew how to respect each other. He understood that I was committed to him, to some degree. He was grateful to have the opportunity to stay in our home, so he attempted to work with us.

It was definitely CULTURE SHOCK when he came with his mother and sister to meet us for the first time. After a long flight into Portland with their church group, traveling another 2 hours on a bus, entering our church-school with scores of grinning strangers, and then being paired up with us, you can imagine what this New York lady thought of our long, winding country road into the hills!

She didn't use the word "lynch", but she was seriously uncomfortable. She kept looking out the windows of my van into the darkness. I didn't know she wasn't used to not seeing the lights of the city... I wonder how determined she was to see this through at that point. I believed her prayer had been to get Darnell out of the city for a time, to keep him from getting into trouble on the streets. Our desire was to share the strengths of our faith and our family with them while he attended our Christian School for a year.

Darnell's dream was to make it to the NBA, and working on his skills with lots of playing time/preparation with our small, private school basketball team.

How did we come to regard him as a son? It had been my hope that God could give me the wisdom and the strength to make a stranger into a friend. I had wanted to demonstrate this value to my children as well. I was committed to loving him as my own sons - and he became one of us.

My best memories, believe it or not, are of the hardest events during that year.

I wanted to know this kid. I wanted to understand how he thought. I wanted him to understand how I came to make the life-choices that I had made. Often he and I would sit up late at the kitchen table comparing our viewpoints on different things. We reasoned together. We challenged each other. I gladly gave up my sleep for these times, and I grew to love him. I miss those days...

Then when he got so much attention from lonely girls that it was bordering on becoming unhealthy - "I" had to be the Mom that stepped in. That was one of the hardest encounters of my life! I had remained prayerfully silent till that point, then I had to act! Thankfully, within a few weeks I learned that a heart had been changed - wow! THAT was an answer to my prayer!

The hardest time (by far!) was when the scandal of scandals was hitting our group of friends, and our response was to pull together as a family and get on our faces on the floor to pray. This wasn't customary for us; it was necessary for that time!

At one point while one of us was praying I reached my hand toward town (still on my face) and felt what I thought was somebody's fuzzy sock. When I opened my eyes to see what it was - it was Darnell's head!

How can things look so bad, and yet, I can be so proud that this is how my family responds?

Well, I'm full of words, I know. I'll get to the point of telling you all of this: I called Darnell's mother last night - after being out of touch for many years! She had abandoned her phone number earlier this year, and had just gained it back! If I had tried to reach her previously - it couldn't have happened!

It's been seven years since we have seen him. We may have spoken with him once or twice since, but then we went our separate ways.

She got Darnell on the line and we chatted till we ran out of energy to proceed. It was just awesome to reconnect! We agreed that we would stay in touch...


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November 24, 2007

We Worshipped Him

I've never been comfortable talking about myself, but I've learned lately that doing so can be a healthy thing. Jerry and I led worship with our team Sunday morning, and the dynamic was just awesome. We all in our weaknesses came together and made a strong statement of unity and worship to our God. All ages were intensely involved - in fact, my grandson Jackson wriggled away from his mother and did a little dance in the aisle before Aunt 'Nell snatched him up! Several of our youth "stepped up", along with many of our older ones (older than I).

I could make a long list of all the things that I am not, and do not have. Together we were powerful! I wasn't feeling well, but somehow my voice remained strong for a much longer time than has ever happened before. It seemed like all of us were being careful to keep the worship pure and not let our thoughts dwell too much on ourselves. I remember thinking that the pastor was just going to skip his sermon and we'd go on and on...

I'm attaching below the memo from our Big Daddy Worship Leader. I must say that he makes us sound awfully good. Much of what he says we did wasn't a carefully scripted plan. It wasn't all that, really; it was just that we used some well-known songs (familiarity) and loved God with all we had - together! Wow!

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Subject: Thank you!
Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2007

Thanks, all of you for a great worship time yesterday!
You guys set the tone for a wonderful expression of love to the Lord. It was tight and interesting musically including great layering and dynamic variety, the "just voices and percussion" segments were well placed and the voice work was excellent--a great combination. Your humility and desire to worship God yourselves was evident to me as well. God shows up (and He did) when we go in heads-low, dedicate ourselves to unity and engage Him (and the body did so on Sunday). You guys did that. To cap it all off the sound in the house was just right, nice work Rob! We couldn't do what we do without you, Andrew and the projectionists!
Thanks again for pulling me in! From the first note you set the compelling atmosphere of His presence.

Memories of Skin-Enemies

There are notes written to my sister...

1. It's been years since we dealt with fleas! I'd forgotten what that was like... waiting for one to appear because I knew they were lurking invisibly in the carpet, then pinching him from my ankle and stuffing him into a piece of toilet paper to flush him! Or, I'd squeeze one between my fingers under the surface of soapy water and watch them sink to the bottom of the glass. (I never had strong enough fingernails to cut them in two like my mother-in-law could!) There was just no other way to deal with them! They could jump three feet in any direction, a little black spot you can hardly see, and then jump right back onto your vulnerable skin and get all they wanted out of you! You see that they still cause a rise of emotion from me (insanity?). I think my record was 30 in one day!

2. Remember when Dad got upset with us on a camping trip when we were little, and they'd put us to bed in the back of the station wagon? We were horrified that mosquitoes were there with us! We WAY over-reacted, sure, but weren't they basically bloodsuckers?

I learned to pull my blanket all the way up to my nose to expose the least amount of skin. Listening for that special whine that tells me a mosquito is about to land, and sure enough, I feel him tickle my cheek, and then smash him with my waiting hand! (that really makes my sleeping husband jump!) I've killed WAY more animals than HE has! Kathy-Hunter-Woman!

And did I ever tell you the story about my first backpacking trip with Jerry up to Lake Yoran? I had to find a place to potty, but anywhere I went I was soon swarmed. It's hard to squat and swat at the same time! It was so maddening; I ended up zipping myself into the tent and only coming out to wash our dishes in the lake!

3. I haven't suffered with hives for a full year, so I'm comforted. The entire year before last fall I suffered every time sunlight hit my skin. I wore long sleeves and hats and took antihistamines, but still felt my skin "bristle". I hated being a big wimp about it, but I don't like itching and pain even more! I had many times of solitude in the shade...

By last fall (2006) I had resigned myself that being in the African sun during our mission trip was going to be unavoidable; I'd go prepared to be very uncomfortable - while asking for God's grace. Amazingly, I never saw a bit of hive action! And I haven't had them back until this past week. I consider this miraculous, because I had been unable to be in the sun without reacting to it for a full year!

Thank You for healthy-feeling skin, Lord! Oh, thank You!


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November 19, 2007

Relax, My Skin!

Just now I was finishing up my homework and realized that I was running my finger down my cheek. It was soft, and smoothe, and pleasantly relaxed.

I can't think of another word for it. It was relaxed. Not agitated. Not hyper-sensitive. Not anxious to get "worked up" and hot. The hives are practically gone!

Every morning this week I woke up with a swollen face. The first three days I puttered around at home. I didn't work out because I needed to keep my skin cool. I had to pull my hair back tight, because one little hair laying against my cheek would actually "hurt". And I was too conscious of my misshapen face to go out in public.

Even my clothing was an irritation to me.

And I scratched. And where I scratched my skin would erupt with displeasure and welts - and make scratch marks that wouldn't soon go away. Then they would itch!

Then there were the questions: was it something I ate? is it stress? maybe the new vitamin pills?

The research told me that 90% of us will get hives at some time or other, and that a substantial percentage never know for sure what brought it on.

Hives is just weird.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for bringing me groceries and Chinese dinner! I never stop appreciating your loving concern for me. I'm your over 50-year old little girl!

I got well enough to go to work after three days, and by Sunday I was back in church on the worship team. It took a full week, and tonight I touched my skin...

and it was soft,

and relaxed!

November 12, 2007

Poison Oak & Hives

My husband had a wonderful day Saturday. It was a beautiful fall day, with golden leaves and wispy clouds coloring the landscape. He drove up the hill with his hunting buddy, Chris, to hang their tree-stands for their hunting trip next week. I didn’t go because I thought my slow pace would take some of the fun out of the adventure for them.

He found a perfect tree with a great view of an area that was sure to attract his desired prey. As he approached it he realized that our dreaded enemy, a mature poison oak bush, was standing guard. Being a calculating man, he decided that the risk was worth it, and tore into the bush to get it out of his way.

In the past when we have suspected we might have encountered poison oak (it grows all over our wooded property), we would shower as soon as possible and carefully lather up twice. Though it’s hard to prove, we believed it might be a good defense against the onset of the itchy rash. We would undress by the washing machine, so as not to spread the irritating oil to anyone else. We often broke out with it any way, but what else can you do? We hoped our efforts were making the problem a little more tolerable.

One year I had such a bad reaction to poison oak, that I developed a secondary reaction – hives. On top of that I applied an ointment that only added to the damage, and suffered an exacerbated secondary reaction!!! We’re talkin’ about blisters on my arms and legs. I’ve never had a boil, but I think I know what that must be like! I described the landscape of my skin as a having the appearance of a “toxic dump”. My face swelled up so much at one point that I had to pry my eyes open with my fingers.

I sat in the recliner with my toes separated and fingers spread, so that nothing would touch my outraged skin. I ate there and slept there, and labored to resist scratching. I almost shaved my head, because a single hair would trigger an intense urge to scrape skin away from my body. I seriously entertained the idea of tearing off some skin because it just HAD to grow back better than this!

The blistering only increased, until I realized that the ointment might be the cause and discontinued using it. Since that day I’ve been susceptible to breaking out in hives whenever my skin is compromised.

You can tell where I’m going with this, can’t you? Yes, my dear husband brought home poison oak and shared it with me. He’s scratching his arms and torso, and I’m scratching my face and neck - where I contacted him in my joy to have him home! And sure enough, my face is puffy with hives, too.

I guess the moral of the story has to be that we both knew the risk before we chose to engage in it. We have no reason to complain. We’d both probably do it again; and then again, maybe not!

November 5, 2007

"The Child is Worth It!"

Have you ever heard this line:

"I just can't imagine bringing children into this world, as bad as things are now?"

When I was newly married, and my ear was tuned to what was being said about having babies, I heard this more than a few times. How many generations before us heard the same thing?

My marriage began shortly after the Viet Nam War and Watergate.

I know it was said after World War II. I'll bet there were similar thoughts when the Black Plague was creeping across Europe with sickness and death, and when no army could withstand the advance of the Roman Empire.

What did the first believers think when they saw Jesus hanging on the cross? Something like, "all is lost" and, "what's going to happen to us now?" And his own mother, who had to be more convinced than anyone that he was the Son of God... Imagine watching not only your son cursed, tortured and struggling to breathe his last breaths, but also seeing the "Hope of Israel", the gift of God for the salvation of the world, murdered? The priest had told her that her heart would be pierced because of her Son one day.

All was definitely lost.

But look around you. There are still children running around. God didn't take our inheritance, our reward away from us!* He didn't abandon us, or revoke His blessing from us! Jesus rose from the dead and lives to redeem us from sin today!

And God continues to give people children.

When my husband and I were nearly done with our foster parent training for the State of Oregon, we sat with a panel of foster parents. We had been drilled and trained and warned and counselled. We knew what we might be up against in caring for hurting and damaged children. There would be nothing easy about it. We'd take into our home a stranger; an abused, neglected child who had been yanked out of all that was familiar and loved and unwillingly deposited into our family...

I don't remember his name, but there was a veteran foster father on the panel - one of those people who could count up into the twenties (or more) the number of children he had welcomed. He was a man of few words, but what he said became my calling: "the child is worth it!"

Jesus gave his life for us. He demonstrated that we were "worth it". Loving others like that can come at great personal cost, but people are worth it.

We had fostered a total of ten children before we retired last spring. Each child was worth all the challenges and inconveniences we endured.

The child is worth it, because God showed me I am worth it!

*"Sons are a heritage from the Lord; children a reward from him." Psalm 127:3 NIV

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November 2, 2007

The Best Promise

In my bed Saturday night I was feeling regret that I had let another day go by without having spent my "quality" time being alone and quiet with God. As I meditated on it I tried to decide if I was just being hard on myself, or if I'd really blown it!

I can be too hard on myself.

I decided that I had sought to follow Him through the last few days, and that it wasn't wrong to be busy, necessarily. I just missed being with the One who gives me each breath and each heartbeat, and maybe He "felt" the same way!

Crawling out of my warm bed, I snuggled next to the heater with my Bible. I opened to the book of Job for the third time that week. It's not my favorite spot in the Bible, but I read with an open mind and jotted some notes down in my journal.

As I quieted my thoughts and started to get sleepy, I believe that I heard Him say that I would receive a promise. Now, I tell you, if I'd heard that ten years ago, I would have instantly hoped He was going to give us another child! Well, my desires have sure changed!

My anticipation started to take off as my mind began making a list of what I'd like that promise to be: finances, healing, or perhaps, success in my work? I went to sleep wondering...

I wasn't thinking about the promise when we were in church the next day, till we were in the middle of singing the Nicole C. Mullen song, "I Know My Redeemer Lives". I about choked - and tears came to my eyes! That was the very scripture that I'd written in my journal the night before! It was definitely confirmation to me that I was hearing the promised promise!

Think about it! What is a better promise than my Redeemer living and standing on the last day? What is more awesome than seeing God? And here all I thought would be great would be to have a bucket of rocks! That's all that finances are anyway, right?

As I quoted the scripture to myself, three little words hit home for me: "in my flesh". That's even MORE amazing! In my flesh I will see God!

He made my flesh. He's my Redeemer. He's my Defender. In my flesh I will see Him! Seeing Him will take care of everything else that concerns me.

It's just too much!


"I know that my Redeemer (also translated as Defender) lives
and that in the end He will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh
I WILL SEE GOD; I myself will see Him with my own eyes-I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!" Job 19:25-27 NIV


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October 13, 2007

Flower Expert Needed

Just a quick note this afternoon...

I've added a slideshow at the bottom of my blog* and included two pictures that my son took of an interesting flower. Does anyone know its name?

It appears that God had some leftover parts from some other creations, and stacked them on this flower. If I were to name it, I think I'd call it "Henrietta's Hat".

If you identify it for me, I'll send you a hershey's kiss in the mail! (you provide shipping, of course) How's that for a deal?


*not the "www.myspace.com/deliberatejoy" blog

October 3, 2007

List of Old Girls

Help me make a list.

I'm just starting this research today, so help me fill in the blanks...I'd like to make an encouraging list of women who started a "new" life/ministry/business at a later age.

Corrie ten Boom, with her family, began their work with the underground in Holland when she was 50 years old. After her arrest and then release from the concentration camp, she opened rehabilitation centers and then began her public speaking ministry at the age of 52! (that's my age!)

Mother Theresa - She started the sisterhood "Order of the Missionaries of Charity" in India at the age of 40.

Grandma Moses - I've read that she started painting (after a life as a farmer's wife and having given birth to 10 children) while in her 70's because arthritis prevented her from continuing her embroidery. She produced hundreds of paintings until shortly before she died at the age of 101!

My Three Little Girls

I don't think I'm releasing private information if I tell you the first names of my three foster daughters. I still call them mine, though I share them, because I gave them my life for a long period of time. I home schooled them and mothered them when there was no one else there for them.

I got to speak with Therese, Elizabeth and Kayli, all on the same day this week. They've been out of my home since last winter, but we stay in touch. Kayli came to us when she had just turned 7 yrs. of age. She was in and out of our home twice, and now lives with her brothers in a foster home near Salem. She is 12 yrs. old now!

Therese and Elizabeth were in our home one full year. They are now 9 and 7, respectively. What a delightful time of girl stuff! We had raised three sons and a daughter, and had never had a houseful of little girls before. What a scream! (sometimes literally!)

I don't know why I wanted to say this, I guess it's just to remind myself of what my life was like last year. My home is very quiet now!

Oh, I just remembered an old prayer I prayed! When I first asked God for children almost 30 years ago, I asked for a houseful of sons. Both my husband and I were raised with sisters in the majority, so I thought raising sons to be men of God would be an awesome thing. At the end of my prayer I said something like, "I'd raise even 10 sons for you, Lord, but let me have at least one daughter. I want to experience everything that you have for me to learn."

Did I really mean "everything"? gulp!

Well, yeah, actually, I did! Lord, help my unbelief!

A Song, and the Walls Shook

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose.” -Acts 16:25-26 NIV

As simple as a song? Paul and Silas were beaten, bruised, damaged. They sat shackled and humiliated in the darkest place, and they worshiped.

They’d been faithful to obey the leading of the Holy Spirit; they’d left their homes to preach the good news, they prayed for the sick and demonized, and given gifts to the poor. It’s recorded at the beginning of chapter 16 that they even refrained from preaching in one location because the Holy Spirit restrained them. They obeyed. They were faithful, and now they were in prison!

I have sat there. I told myself that depression is understandable; things have gone horribly wrong!

I’ve been faithful. I have obeyed, but look at me now!

I scoped out the situation, and I didn’t see any hope.

I was hurt.

I prayed, but it seemed like I was just repeating my complaints - over and over again.

I thought it was all over… I knew everything of value could be gone: my life, my marriage, my family, my home, my peace, my reputation – everything!

In the darkness I heard a prompting to sing a song. What? Worship here? Now?

I didn’t have any strength to think much about it, so I started to hum. Then I sang an old worship song in a weak, beaten voice. It didn’t take long, and I was declaring my hope to all the forces around me. I sang, and meant every word. I was desperate.

Then the walls shook.

My chains came loose. I shook them off!

Now, who’s in that prison with me? Who has heard me pray, and sing? Who felt everything shake, and then saw their own chains loosen? The scripture quoted above says that everyone’s chains came loose! Talk about God opening a door!

Let me take a little diversion here and point out something missing in this scripture. Notice that it doesn’t say that they prayed from page #48 in the prayer book, or that they sang a particular style of song. It doesn’t say that they’d practiced two-part harmonies, or even had a pleasing sound! They might have been a couple of ____singers! (fill in the blank with your least favorite, like “country”, or “non-“, or “hymn”, or whatever).

The scripture simply says they prayed. They sang. The walls shook. Everyone’s chains came loose.

Yea, God!

I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself.”
-Psalm 89:1 NIV

September 30, 2007

In the Darkness

If you’ve read my earliest posts, you’ve seen that I am approaching menopause and dealing with a little of the craziness attached to it. To be more honest, I mean a lot of the craziness.

Before a couple of years ago I wouldn’t have considered taking medication for what I decided must be a natural part of living. I would “tough it out”, through hot flashes (what’s wrong with being a hottie?) and through insomnia (it must be my “watch” for prayer). At the end of it all I’d emerge a healthier older woman, free of side effects and risks associated with taking medications.

Something started going seriously wrong, though, when my soul began to sink into bouts of depression and anger. Wow. Powerful emotions became a part of a “cycle” that was eroding my relationships, especially with my husband. Amazingly, I would fall in love with him on a deeper level as he demonstrated his faithfulness and commitment to me. At the same time, though, I would blame him for his bewildering emotional withdrawal from me during those times when I needed his support the most.

I went for a medical check-up and was prescribed topical progesterone cream, which I learned was a natural substance. That really did the trick for me. Whenever I became lax about keeping up with my daily dosage, though, I would suffer for it (and so would my husband!). I periodically demonstrated that this medication was necessary to our well-being, and thanked God for providing it.

Years have passed since the initial diagnosis, and the battles have gotten harder, the darkness darker, my body achier, the changes more difficult. (Coincidentally, though, my worship has become sweeter!)

My husband has his own mid-life issues now. Though I’ve increased the dosage of the progesterone cream x3, I still find myself drifting into those dark places.

When will I learn?

My life is not about having all the answers. My life is not about maintaining perfect family relationships. My life is not about things always being easy. Though God has given me His wonderful gifts of answers, relationships and peace, my life actually consists of how I relate to Him – just Him.

So, I must worship Him; throw up my hands and look to the heavens, and adore Him. I must continually give Him all my burdens.

King David struggled with times of depression. He wrote some of the most awesome songs recorded in the book of Psalms, in response to his camping out in dark places.

Not to mention (but I will), that we have an enemy afoot, too. I must remember to recognize his schemes and shine the light on them, even the ones that I have taken part in. Whether I can differentiate my physical state from his craftiness doesn’t matter. I can make everything right by looking to Jesus and praising Him. He understands all things. His love NEVER fails. I will get through this. I will see the light again.

I will trust Him. And when I don’t, He will hold me till the night is over and I trust Him again. He is the one Who is strong, and I am the one who needs Him, only Him, in my darkest and weakest times.

If you would pray for me, I need wisdom as I consider taking the stronger medications that my doctor has prescribed. Thank-you!

September 17, 2007

The Case Worker's Call

I woke up at 4:20 a.m. hearing my answering machine beeping.
It was a Benton County caseworker looking for emergency shelter for some displaced children.
Maybe it was just one child.
Maybe an infant.
Maybe it was a group of siblings, playing in the department office trying to appear like they weren't concerned.
Or maybe they were all sitting on hard chairs crying their eyes out.

The call came in at 12:28 a.m., while I was blissfully asleep in my big comfortable bed hearing the first serious rain of the season falling on the trees outside my window.
Are they still there- in the office waiting for me to respond, or for somebody?

Did these kids get pulled out of bed and taken by the police from their home? Were they at a party with a parent? a bar? on the street?

Was there shouting, and cursing, when they left what was comfortable to them?

Are the children bruised? hungry?

Did they leave their favorite toy, blanket, or pet?

Is there a teen-ager in the group that can't believe that this has happened to him again?

This is catastrophic, the most horrible nightmare, a total disaster!

It's 6 a.m. when I finally decide to return the call.
I stumbled through the message. I told them "no".
I told them I was praying that they had found a home for them. This time it's not ours.
I've said yes before, but now it's no.

Whomever says, "yes" to these children, I say, "thank-you".
All I can say to God, in words, is, "they are children, Lord".

September 15, 2007

under-age, under-dog, under the weather, underground, land down-under

My daughter was an underage student at Linn Benton Community College last year. I enrolled in courses at Lane Community College - so what does that make me?

RIGHT!

Don't say it.

September 11, 2007

Wimpy Woman

I felt so old last weekend! Arrggh!

In the Diamond Peak Wilderness area where my husband bow-hunts for elk and deer, I took the first day of our camping trip "off" to just hang around camp and do whatever I pleased - alone! The second day, though, I was prepared to follow him up into the wilds to show him "I'm with ya all the way, honey!"

Last summer I helped him pack out hefty carvings of elk meat. The season before that was my first hike up there. I'd been working out at CURVES for more than a year, so I actually impressed him with my stamina.

After our last mission trip to Zambia, Africa, I decided to drop out of CURVES to help pay off our debts. In just a manner of weeks I could tell my legs were getting wimpy. "Oh well, I thought, it's all for the sake of the kingdom..."

Well, you can guess where I'm going with this. I was a wreck! Huffin' and puffin' up the hill, gasping, stumbling... totally embarrassing. I was done before we got to the first landmark that his buddy named "Kelly's Stand". He was worried he'd have to pack ME out!

So I sent him on while I played with my camera and explored the rock formations. He was only gone about an hour, then he walked me back to camp.

I called CURVES as soon as we got home!

September 3, 2007

Oh, Ma Goodness!

Encouraged again! I'm just encouraged again!

Out of the blue, my new boss and new friend, Eric, called a contact from the publishing company that I’d wanted to contact and got a recommendation for me!

My business instructor had said that I should ask someone at this company some questions about the path I should take in order to get into a proofreading or editing position. She encouraged me to be prepared with a resume’. (It's very interesting to draft a resume' when you've spent the bulk of your time the last 28 years as a family manager-at-home mom!) I did come up with a pretty nice one, though, and have it with me in case something should open up for me.

He doesn't seem concerned that he might lose me as an employee - though I'm more than that to him. He's a family friend, and we've been working together to build up his small car detailing business this summer. By calling this contact he has opened a door for me that I didn't want to try to open myself. You see, I wanted to contact this company through relationships, not just "cold-turkey out-of-nowhere walk in the door”!

I sat at my desk with him across from me, trying to occupy myself with the computer while he was talking to this contact. Trying to "be cool", I just raised my eyebrows once in a while and answered an occasional question. He told her about our relationship and my integrity and my hopes, etc. She was full of information for him...

Inside of me my inner child was screaming, "does he know how much I've wanted this?"

She told him that right now is the peak time for hiring proofreaders, and that it's mostly work at home, and that the lady I should call is due back in her office tomorrow.

Perfect.

Grandma's Grades on the Refrigerator

It was so funny, when I decided to enroll in some community college courses last spring, that I started getting "junk" mail addressed to my parents!

Come on now, I'm a Grandma! Advertisers decided it would be good marketing to send student loan applications to my parents! Can you imagine YOUR Grandma getting a letter addressed like this: 'TO THE PARENTS OF...'?

Fortunately my parents are still living, and could get a kick out of this!

With such a tremendous boost to my ego last week (to change the subject slightly), I found my grades online from the two courses I took summer term. TWO A's!

I posted my grades on the refrigerator - well, somebody's got to do it!

August 15, 2007

Pickin' the Berries

I finished the final exam in my computer class today, and tomorrow I complete my summer term 2007. Maybe I should be studying right now, but I'd rather write!

I don't know if I'll continue to take classes next term. My financial aid didn't cover as well as I thought it might, and my personal mandate this season has been to to bring in income. So, my "hearing heart" is discerning that my true desire is to work!

I felt a strong impression (I believe it was from God) in church in May to "get a job", after several months of experimenting with starting my own business. Just weeks later a beautiful opportunity opened up, and I KNEW it was right for me to dive in.

Right now the harvest that's available to me is in the small car-detail office I work in. If the blackberries are ripe, like they are right now all over our property, then it's time to pick them! So, I'm pickin'!

I honestly believe that there's abundance coming to me personally. I've faithfully cared for my family, and the rewards are yet to be displayed. This new line of work for this former "stay at home" mom is a new way to care for and display my faith to my family.

He said He makes all things new. I didn't know He meant THIS!

August 5, 2007

How About Editing/Proofreading?

I've mentioned it before. It's old news around here. VERY old news!
My daughter rolls her eyes.
My sons don't care.
My husband is tired of it, but he's too kind to roll his eyes (or not care).
My daughters-in-law haven't been around me enough to be genuinely annoyed.

Instead of, "I see dead people", (which is from a movie I haven't seen)
I see typ-os!

I can't watch tv or movies for long without throwing my hand over my mouth, because the typos are there, and nobody cares but me. That is, unless they see one first - then I've been outdone!

My college instructor was actually impressed when I informed her of a typo in the textbook. One week later I fell over another one. I haven't the nerve to tell her of the one that hit me tonight. You see, the textbook is Microsoft Word 2003. It's the authority on handling WORDS!!!!!

So, she has suggested I get an appointment with the local publishing house for some advice about pursuing a career in editing.

Do you know how intimidating that is???

But oh, how awesome that would be! I'd LOVE to do that! I'm still having way too much fun with my homework. I study a document and the instructions for making tables and columns, changing fonts, organizing information, hyphenating, spacing lines...you get the picture. Then it all looks good and I'm pleased. It's technical and challenging, and I love it. How cool it would be to do that with words associated with Christian publishing? wow....

let me dream

August 3, 2007

Blog Neglect, but LIFE happens!


Two more weeks and my summer schooling will be over! It's just amazing, the eye-opening experiences I've had regarding who I am and what is coming in my life. But I really can't stop yet and record it right now! I've got two assignments due tonight. It's not just the classes, but my work hours have increased also. You'll have to wait!

My friend Wendell, whom I addressed in my previous post, must think I'm a nut because I act interested in re-connecting with him and his family, but don't take the time to answer his questions! I pray he'll understand - it's been years since I've been this busy...and this excited about it!

In case you have any interest, I DID take the time to make a little e-birthday greeting for my sister that I'll post:

have an awesome birthday today!
You are precious to me, and I'm so blessed to see God's blessing on you this year (#50?). Thank-you for not giving up. Thank-you for not rolling over and dying, even though that would have been a relief to your turmoil. Thank-you for pushing through to do one of the hardest things you may have ever had to tackle: getting your degree.
I'm not going to say that you deserve God's blessing - 'cause none of us do. I AM going to say, "Our God is great, and His love for you is immeasurable!!!! He has not removed His hand from your life, but has only drawn you in closer! -and there's a man attached to his blessing!" wow!

Thanks for following Him, Sista. Thanks for giving me courage to jump when I had the chance - into schooling! Thanks for linking yourself to this awesome man of God, and making him my brother-in-law!
I love you dearly,
Kathy

July 21, 2007

An Account of My Life

My friend, Wendell, asked me to give an account of the last 30 years of my life. We’ve been out of touch just about that long, can you believe it? How time has flown – and yet, time was well-invested!

He found my page on Facebook.com, and contacted me just two weeks ago…* Such a tall order, though! How can I recount 30 years?

I’ll give it a shot, anyway:

1978: I married my husband, the man I’d prayed about for years before. I had asked God to “save my future husband”, if he didn’t know God’s love yet – and that’s what happened! He was an apprentice saw-filer, and I, a cook, janitor, care-giver, etc.!
1979: Our first son, the “sprinter”, was born
1980: Our second son, the “football player”, was born
1983: Our third son, our “joy boy”, was born
1989: Our daughter, the “only begotten” girl, was born
1990: Because of the magnanimous rent increases we were suffering, we jumped on an opportunity to live almost rent-free on a rural property in a 2-bed. mobile home. When our two older boys became teens, they moved into our tiny “camper”. This answered my childhood dream to live like Laura in “Little House on the Prairie”, and my husband’s prayer to live on this property where he’d enjoyed so many years hunting deer. The spring was dry 2 mths. out of the year, so we hauled water from a friend’s house to flush the toilets and wash our dishes, etc., until our landlord put in a new well for us. Hey, I asked for this!
1991: We began attending Christ’s Center Church in Junction City, and remain to this day. Four of us from my family take part in the worship ministry – vocals and guitars. We took in a homeless woman and watched her heal. She stayed 2 yrs.
1994ish: We purchased the property!
1997: The year our first son graduated from high school God blessed us with a larger home! He went to “Youth A Mission”, and his brother went the following year. We took in a youth from Harlem to live with us one year and attend the Christian School.
2000: My husband left the lumber industry to work for a close friend in his landscaping business.
2001: My husband and I went on our mission trip to India where we served a pastor’s conference by helping to lead worship.
2003: My husband and I went on our first mission trip to Zambia with “Heart For the World”, which is associated with the Vineyard Church. This is also the year our first foster placement came to us, whom we’d planned to adopt in 2007. The adoption plan fell through, and she now lives in a local foster home with her brothers in a very agreeable arrangement. We have her over for weekends once in awhile and remain a part of her life (she’s 11 yrs. old). When she left us we retired from fostering, after serving a total of nine children.
2006: My daughter graduates from high school/home school. She is enrolled in community college as an underage student. She takes care of her nephew 1 or 2 days a week. This year we also took our 2nd mission trip to Zambia. We believed we would be missionaries there for at least a year – but that didn’t materialize. I’m so glad God is God, and we are HIS!
2007: Now I have three daughters-in-law and three grandchildren. My first son married his high school sweetheart and works locally in the motor home (coach) industry. He performs with his band in local venues and helps lead worship at church. His son carries on the “family name” initials (JTD). My second son serves God and our country in the Air Force and has been deployed twice so far. He married his sweetheart from YWAM Texas and they live with their son in Florida. My third son is employed in the same business as his father. His wife is a country-girl at heart and cares for children in their home with my only granddaughter!
Also in 2007: – I see God do amazing things as He encourages me along the path of pursuing employment and education… He opened doors, I walked in, and the adventure continues! I definitely have a goal of increasing our wealth and productivity for the Kingdom of God. He’s answered all my (deepest) prayers, so now I’m ready for “the next thing”. I will love Him and serve Him to my last breath.

*to find me, go to www.facebook.com and type in the group name: “Lib House Friends Forever”

July 10, 2007

Fall In

Okay, this is good.... I'm so tired at the end of my day now, that I don't care if the kitchen has been a mess all day. I fall into bed exhausted. But you know what? THIS IS FUN!

Like a little kid when we lived in El Paso, or like my first year in school at Adams Elementary, I wake up excited for the next adventure!

There IS a difference, though. I get out of bed more slowly. I have to work around some aches and pains till things get loosened up, but it's all good! I throw on my dusty clothes and take a long walk (after my cup of cocoa, of course) up and down the dirt paths around our property. The more I do this, the faster and harder I can walk! Cool! I'd rather be in the pool where my muscles move more freely, but we're not going to afford that right now...

Prayer, or hearing God, or meditation (fill in the blank) comes easier for me with physical movement.

My landscape is changing so much. We gave our dog away. The chickens are going next. I think the cat ran away last week-end (didn't like eating dog food, I guess). The neighboring Christmas tree farm will soon be subdivided into 5-acre parcels to be sold for home sites. We currently have no neighbors; boy, that change will be weird!

The sunrises are still awesome, though. The trees are still green! The coyotes still howl when the fire station siren goes off in town 2 miles away. When I stand at the northeastern corner of our property I can hear the children on the school playground acres away from me...

Whoops, I got side-tracked!

I've been learning so much with my new job. I've been there a month now. And my first round of grades at school are lookin' pretty good! I work hard, learn hard, walk hard, play hard, then fall into bed. All the while I know God’s hand is on me and He’s leading me into new fields.

I can’t walk out of His blessing.

One thing I’ve decided to do is to set aside most, if not all, of my income for savings and investments. I believe that God is speaking to my heart these days, saying that it was good that I gave so much away, but that He had intended that I’d have kept some of it! I guess I erred on the side of being radical...

I gave hours of my time to be a stay-at-home mom and raise our children. I gave money to missionaries to promote the good news being shared in Asia. I laid aside many of my hobbies and interests to learn new ones, like baking and sewing. I taught myself to “pinch pennies” and be content with what I had. I determined to live for love - for my God, for my husband, for my children and then for my community.

AND...I was determined to be richer than the rich! Can you guess what I mean by that?

When I was a young adult, I didn’t know of any wealthy people that devoted most of their daily hours to being with their own children. So I decided it didn’t matter how much money I had, that it was ME who had to make the decision about where I’d invest my time. And it was TRUE that what my children wanted and needed most was for me to be home...

So, thanks be to God, my husband and I agreed that we would give our children our best: their mother at home. I’ll forever praise Him for allowing me to be the one who was “hands on” with them, guiding them, learning from them, playing with them, understanding them, disciplining them. Without that time, I would not have known them (or myself) like I do. Children tend to bring out the REAL you, don’t they!

We probably should have saved more for ourselves, just my husband and I, but I don’t regret our choices. I still believe it was good to invest as we did. Now is a different time, though, and NOW is when we start to save more.

Thank-you, awesome God! Thank-you for my daughter who’s helping me with household management during this season in our lives (her pic at left with her car). Thanks for not putting me out to pasture when the foster kids left, but you’ve re-designed my job description! Cool!

note of the day: Happy Birthday to my Grandson, A.P.! - I love you, kiddo!

June 27, 2007

Frustrated With MS Word 2003!

Welcome to my blog!

If you read through a few of my posts, you might see that I am a woman in transition, and extremely excited about it - also extremely amazed by it!

I'm anxious to learn what you have to teach in this course.

Oh! You just came by this computer and we talked about all this, so now I have nothing to get more descriptive about... oh, well.

Happy reading, and happy teaching!

--------------------------------------------------

TO WHOM IT MAY, OR MAY NOT CONCERN

Allow me to vent - - I promise I'll be nice!

My course in Microsoft Word is giving me fits right now, and I've only been enrolled ONE week! It's a distance learning course, so I don't get to speak with an instructor. At least, she hasn't answered my emails yet. There was no course Orientation, only an email greeting from our instructor.

The textbook is asking me to open some titled files that I cannot find. It doesn't suggest where I might find them, or if I was to create them. My assignments this week were mostly to edit these files.

So, since my instructor was unresponsive, I went ahead and created some imaginary files to edit. At least I'm learning the concepts, I'm just unable to do the assigned work, and therefore I won't hand in the proper assignments on time. My satisfaction will just have to be that I'm learning, and not that I'll have perfect grades.

I went to the campus on Friday (yesterday), intending to devote as much time as needed to complete them, with help from the lab assistant. (My assignments are due Sunday at midnight) Guess what! The campus is closed on Fridays during summer term! I found some computers available in the student center, but they don't have Word installed on them. Not to be quickly derailed, I sat in my car for 4 hours studying the material anyway. Like I said, at least I'm learning - whether it looks good to anyone else or not!

It actually was a perfect way to study. There were rain showers passing through and complete privacy. I got to enjoy the lush green Oregon landscape, and then buckle down and teach myself some new things I've always wanted to learn. I could still enjoy this work! I DO enjoy learning this!

I decided to go to my office computer (8 miles away) to complete my imaginary assignments, but the computer there wouldn't give me internet access to email them to the instructor. So, again, not to give up too quickly, I decided to burn them on a CD and then try to email them from home (20 miles away). I don't have Word on my home computer, but I thought that shouldn't make a difference in my ability to send these documents via email.

My office computer wouldn't burn the files.

This old/new student got tears in her eyes. I wanted to crash and burn for only a brief moment (for the fourth time this week), and then I remembered that this is exactly what I'd asked for. New challenges, new ways to prove myself, new adventures, new things to discover and learn... I was back in the game again!

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:

My daughter's friend read my blog a month ago and said something like, "she needs to get a life". My answer to that? I've had a wonderful one - Now I'm gettin'a new one... (no snippiness intended)

June 14, 2007

This Is My Office

This is my office. (notice the picture in the left column)
This is my office before the paint dries.
This is my office before the desk gets set up.
This is my office before I place the files in the drawer.
This is my office before the computer gets plugged in and I learn how to run the program.
This is my office in my dream.

What will I do when that first call comes in, and a customer asks me something that I don't have an answer for? I will be ready.

Ya know what I did today? I registered for some business classes at the community college! So now I think I'm an office manager and a student! It must be a mid-life DREAM! Or, maybe a DELUSION!

Will it become a nightmare? There's so much I'm clueless about, and yet, my faith says that God has prepared me for this. It has to be true.

At least I'm honest. I know I don't know much. I'm a work-in-progress, an efficient business person in her infancy. Is this like being "born again"?

At the most, I'm right where God wants me. He has brought me here. The family I'm working with is becoming like my own family, and we get along well together. We will make a great team!

So, welcome into my thoughts tonight, as I trust Him and keep on pushing toward a new goal in my life. He can do this! He can lead a "fraidy-cat" old girl into a whole new lifestyle-description. I asked for it!

See the picture? I actually forgot that the paint rag was in my back pocket when I left for a shopping trip! I'm sure someone got a laugh out of seeing me!

Some day I'll laugh that I wrote this. For now, I'm just enjoying what I don't see!

thought of the day: "do not despise the day of small beginnings"
-from one of the old prophets in the Bible - I'll find him later.

June 11, 2007

First Day of Work

I started work on my knees!
How appropriate! I wasn't asked to clean the carpet, but I was anxious to start my new job, so I volunteered. My younger boss may not have known that I have achey bones, but I really wanted to see how much I could do.

I allowed myself to enjoy the scrubbing, down on my hands and knees with a steam-cleaning machine that's meant for cleaning car interiors. Singing, whistling, humming... Getting up (slowly) and stretching... Changing my position (slowly) and cleaning smaller portions (slowly)...

Physical labor is not like it used to be for me. I'm still glad I can do it, but now it costs me more! But I did enjoy it! --the singing part anyway.

I know that I won't always have easy days at work. I've been around long enough to know that harder times come. I've also learned that my joy has to be in Jesus, not in situations, feelings or "things".

I loved chasing my little boys down the hall after their baths, and scooping them up in a towel and handing them to their father. But the heart of my joy was in Jesus, who gave me those three little boys - and their father! If my joy wasn't in Him, then I'd be depressed because those days are over!

I loved holding my little daughter as she fell asleep, till she was far too old to want naps! I enjoy the memory of comforting them when their heads were hot, or the bee-stings hurt, or sharp words were spoken.

I loved encouraging them at their basketball games, taking part in each of their weddings, and standing in the hall when my grandchildren were born. But my eyes are on the One who made such wonderful things for me to enjoy!

When they grew up, I then enjoyed caring for someone else's children. Abused, neglected, annoying, un-taught, uncivilized! Or the one that was already a teen from the big city, often sitting up late with me while we learned to understand each other. Difficult, but precious times.

In all of these there were times for being on my knees. Okay, so I rambled on and now I'm trying to make it all tie in together (sorry).

Hard work is good. Being on my knees is good. Now, going to bed is good! (good-night!)

Going To Work Today!

OKAY, HERE WE GO!

I've planted the tomato plants in my garden, and moved the volunteer pumpkin seedlings to the chicken-wire fenceline (hopefully to discourage the rabbits from getting in and enjoying my veggies too much). The sprinkler is on, soaking the transplants.

I've made the arrangements for our dog to go to a new home, where she'll get the attention she needs. No more avoiding touching her because of the fear of contracting poison-oak from her coat!

I've taken "K" back to her foster home.

I've made my shopping list, because I'll need some supplies before I show up for work. We'll be setting up the office, and I'm going to clean the carpet first!

I've taken my walk and prayed, I've fixed my hair and dressed for the job.

I've checked my textbook listings on eBay - looks like I'll be finishing selling them off today.

Jerry prayed a blessing over me and my efforts for today - a new start with, not just a new job, but a new job "description"!

The laundry is washing...I'll go kiss my sleeping daughter good-bye.

Then it's time to get in my car and go! You think I'm being too dramatic? Hey, this is big stuff for an old girl! I think I'll go do a little dance or something...

thought for the day:

"I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." -from the book of Philippians in the Bible.

June 9, 2007

New Job Description Coming...Monday!

I START MY NEW JOB MONDAY, JUNE 11!

A family friend has sought me out to help with his small business office! We're working on what that job description will be, but so far I'll start with organization and scheduling appointments. One thing I appreciate about my new boss, is that he says he wants to "work with me", and not that he wants to "hire me". Isn't that just cool? The arrangement seems ideal in every way.

For those not in tune with my previous posts: during the past 29 years, I've been a stay-at-home, home schooling mom, have had an eBay business and child care business in my home, been a caregiver for disabled adults, foster mom, and family and home management expert! My interests are in writing, calligraphy, photography, missions, leading worship at church, keeping our family budget, playing on the floor with my grandchildren, raising chickens... And this all adds up to me working in an office? Yes! Believe it or not, YES!

I prepared for office work in high school, but that was in 1974! a-hem!

I honestly didn't think that it would happen so soon, and I can't really explain how I know that this is God's leading. One thing I've been telling my friends, is that after weeks of research, musings, prayers, soul-searching, career assessments, etc., I heard God's "voice" - it was a gentle prodding: "get a job". I understood. He wasn't saying that I just grab at any old thing, though I had at one point thought I might start by cleaning the floors at Dairy Queen. He was saying that the preliminary stuff was over, and now it was time to get my hands dirty and go to work!

Within just a few days this family friend contacted my brother and asked about me as a prospective employee. He too, had been trying to listen to God's voice.

So, I'm diving in! YIPPPEEEEE! As Julie Andrews, as Maria Von Trapp, said at the end of her song, "I've Got Confidence" in The Sound of Music, "oh, help". Like her, my confidence is big, but, "oh, help!"

Our former-foster-almost-adopted 11-yr. old daughter ("K") is here with us this week-end. It's fun to have her back. We still need contact with each other for assurance that things are going well with her and her brothers in their new foster home.

She was separated from them for so long, and though we thought that having us as her parents was more important to her well-being than having them together in the same home, God changed my heart.

How did He do that?

I'm continually amazed at how He worked in me to help me understand that my definition of "family" could be stretched to include more of a network of supportive "family". My family is not as it was, and that is GOOD! Yes, God can do anything. Yes, I will trust Him.


quote of the day:

"I think you need this more than I do" -- "K" said this to my husband as she gave him the quarter that she had been playing with.

May 30, 2007

Too Many Words? - Time for Some Housecleaning

My goodness! My 18 yr. old daughter says my posts are too long! Doesn't she realize that after years of raising "all those kids", that I need to s t r e t c h my brain to even communicate in complete sentences again? My daughter-in-law in Florida notes that there's room for improvement, too.

I know I've been writing essays. Excuse me, but I don't know who's going to read my efforts. I feel that I have a lot of explaining to do, and I'm still learning what BLOG means, anyway! (excuses, excuses...)

Maybe I'll get shorter with practice. I don't mean to fill the web-ways with unnecessary language, but maybe I can tip a balance somehow -towards the positive, remarkable, wonderful stuff of life. Speaking of which, I hope to point your eyes towards Dorcas Smucker's blog, Life in the Shoe. I put her link at the bottom of my page - check her out!

Also, I want to throw this out there: why did I head my blog with words about listening to God? It seems that it's more about you listening to me. I really am known as a listener, and my favorite thing is to notice when God speaks something to my heart for just the moment. But since it's for MY heart, how can I communicate that with you?

I'm the one that people unload on. I have a listening ear, and I genuinely want to love others by giving them my time. That gets me into trouble sometimes. I'm not good at saying, "okay, I'm done listening; good-bye!"

Any suggestions? I think I'll work on changing the heading. I don't want it to appear I'm too spooky, anyway. Time to think things through.

I could write more personal stuff, but who wants to hear that today I'm having my "time of the month" for the first time in SEVEN months? I could send a lot of readers away (far away!). On the other hand, maybe menopausal women want to talk! And maybe the younger women want to see a bit of what's ahead...




Okay, I'll copy Mrs. Smucker's form of offering a quote of the day:

"and you're not dead yet?"

-Liz, our 6 yr. old foster daughter, on hearing me say that she needed to listen to me because I'd been a professional mother for 27 years.

May 24, 2007

The Old Girl Dances

Confession time again! I'm 51, and I'm a dancer.

I didn't grow out of it.

In the early days if my high school years I discovered the Jesus Movement of the '70's - and was amazed that God would enjoy the rock 'n roll beat from the young worshipers. What a refreshing sound!

I remember looking up to the ceiling during worship sometimes, and asking Him, “Is this okay?” Another look in the book of Psalms, and I’d have to say, “YES!”

I haven’t stopped appreciating the old hymns. In fact, my appreciation for every genre of music is unequalled by most everyone I’ve talked to about it. I can hoe-down with the Cowboy Church. I can stand appreciatively with chants from the 1600’s. I can clap on the “wrong” beat with the best of them. And I can put on my old 2nd Chapter of Acts album, just like I did in 1972, and dance to the “Easter Song” with all my heart. I can only think of one kind of music that’s hard for me to connect to, and that’s the screaming stuff. But that’s okay, I guess. I can’t do everything!

Moving my body to the music makes every cell of my being “smile”. I love being with our friends from Harlem, New York. Now there’s some movement that I’m just not capable of duplicating. It hurts my back! ...and my knees! But I love it nonetheless.

I will worship until there is little thought of “self“.

What’s interesting about this to me, is that dancing has been stolen from the Christian lifestyle for so long! My Grandma K. used to testify that when she was first “saved”, she left the dance hall for good. It was a serious thing to her, but that’s something different from what I’m talkin’ about, isn’t it.

I think any culture can watch a dancer and agree as to the motives of the heart of dancer. Watch her eyes, her face. We can all tell if there is self emphasis there. Is she moving to get attention? Or is she expressing something so deep that mere words don’t fulfill it? We can tell if he is just “performing” for the applause, or if he really wants to give something to the Lord.

Maybe there’s just an expression of joy that needs to be exhibited. What’s wrong with that?

Because of my stiffness and pain, I have to move. If I’m still too long, things tense up and hurt. It’s probably related to stress, and movement relieves it. And to me, if I really believe what I’m singing, it’s usually accompanied by movement. My African friend was extremely puzzled by our American worship. The song would say, “I bow down...”, and everyone would remain standing. It just didn’t make sense to say one thing, and do another.

If I look silly or uncoordinated, that’s okay. Does a little child worry about how her expression looks to others? Doesn’t He want us to become like that again?

Okay, let’s define what dance is. Does it really mean that my actions must look acceptable to others, or learned? Does it mean that there even must be music? Now that’s a good one.

Isn’t worship sometimes just a nod of the head in response to the beauty of the sunrise? Or when I hear in my heart that God loves me, to gasp “wow?”

Well, forget all the reasons. I just do it. The song is in my heart, and the beat is in my bones. Often it’s a declaration that I mean business... it really is an exhibition of my response to my God. Whether I’m hurting inside or jubilantly thankful - “I feel His pleasure” when I dance for Him.

I respond to Him with the thoughts in my head, with the words from my mouth, with the purity of my heart, with the movement of my feet, with the works of my hands - with all my being. Now, that’s fulfilling!

So, right now, as I type this, my music is on loud, and I’m taking breaks to go “move” in my family room. This is especially fun when I’m in the house alone with the Lord. When there’s people here, I put on my Mp3 player and go into my own little world, close the door and move.

Here I am, an old girl, still dancing like a kid.

May 21, 2007

New Job Description Wanted

I need help.

I came so close to clicking on the button - you know, those internet "opportunities" that just look so good! A remarkable job opportunity that will make me rich!!!!

I know better.

I've been praying and researching and asking questions for three months now...all to find the door-knob that will open the "new life" door for me.

I've asked myself about my motives. Am I worried that I have to prove my worth? There aren't children in my home (very often, anyway), and I spent the young adult years of my life being a stay-at-home mom. I have no regrets about it, believe me, but now that the children are grown I'm grasping for something just as meaningful to give my life to.

Am I in too much of a hurry? We’re doing okay financially. We have a home, clothes and food. I’ve come far enough along these last few weeks to say that I do want more. I’ve even asked the Lord to make me rich. Now, THAT’S a departure from the path I chose as a youth!

Maybe I’m supposed to just take a rest from my labors. I mean, like the word, “retire”?

Whoa, I can’t see me doing that for very long! I’ve tried.... I’m just not done yet. My husband works a very physically demanding job, and puts in a lot of hours doing it. I can just see him coming home from work every day to see me being “retired”!

And, retirement is near the last on my list of fun things to do! I really do want meaningful work. My problem is...

My job skills are few. At least, I don't believe in my skills that much. That's probably the whole problem right there!

For almost 30 years I've been the Family Life/Home Manager. Much of that time has been spent giving birth to, growing, refereeing, coaching, teaching, training, teasing and studying children. But I'm spent, now. I just don't have it in me any more to work with kids 24/7! That's the main reason I'm not a foster mom any more. So, how can I "become profitable" with skills like that?

I love writing, so I've started blogging (not to be confused with “clogging”, that stompin‘ dance!).

I love editing photos, so I took a class in PhotoShop.

I love my independence, so I took a class in starting a home-based business. I still have a husband, and grown children and grandchildren to serve, and I need to remain available for them.

I’ve been a care giver, dish-washer, transportation provider, housekeeper, poet, artist, calligrapher, potter, building maintenance worker, home school teacher, worship leader, frugal home economist, child advocate, graphics designer, letter writer, world traveler, short-term missionary, and have kept a small flock of chickens.

But my experience and expertise is children. And my heart is in children. How can I sell this to bring in an income? And, should I?

Do I have something to offer the world in the realm of writing? All of my adult life I’ve kept a journal...

Every day I look at the scripture on my calendar, quoting Jesus Christ Himself. I have to look at it because it’s in the bathroom, right in front of my face!

He said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3-4

I have to take this seriously. Jesus said the words, “unless” and “never”. That’s serious! So, there’s something here that I must dive into. Should I launch a new study in children, and learn how to be like one again, and then write about it?

Changing, becoming like a child, a little child, is important enough that we won’t be allowed to enter the kingdom of heaven unless we do it. So, that’s a very worthy endeavor - teaching child-like-ness!

I don’t want to presume that I must write a book, and that I’m an expert on something about kids that I should teach others, but I think that I might be going there.

That’s what I need help with.

Is this where are we going, Lord?

May 14, 2007

My Kind of Math

In honor of Erika and Anthony
May 14, 2007


I want to talk with you about my kind of math.

I've become convinced over the years that I do not stand alone in my aversion to numbers. So, I can freely say, I don't like them. Do they affect you like they affect me? They trick me. I don't understand them. They make me nervous. They've humiliated me, again and again, especially in junior high math class!

When I take care of my family's budget, I have to compute the columns of numbers over and over - to find my mistakes. There are always mistakes! But I don't quit until it all makes sense...it just takes time.

Now, words and I get along just fine! I'd much rather talk about how words and I relate. One of the quirkiest things about me is how I spot typos without trying. It's a knee-jerk reaction to me. The credits at the end of the movie scroll by, and I can see that they've misspelled "catering", or "Monaco".

I have to put my hand over my mouth, because this drives my family nuts. It's constant. It happens just about every day. I see them in a magazine, on a billboard, in a novel, even in a dictionary! Sometimes I'm sure I'm the only one who knows how to spell correctly. It's just so easy! I can't escape it...

But when I look at numbers on a page, they play with my eyes. Did that say $1,454.00, or was it $1,545.00? And why are there so many ways to solve equations? I think that things would just be so much simpler if God had not invented numbers at all!

I understand that God made the stars and the rivers with just words. I like that! I like the idea that by speaking, I might create something, too, since I'm made in God's image. That's powerful. I'm careful with my words, because I know that kind of power can also be used to inflict damage, and I don't want that. I love words, and I choose to honor God with my words.

Okay, enough said about my affinity with words... Now, there IS actually a kind of math that I like! I'm sure it makes complete sense, and I call it "God's" math, though He must be responsible for the kinds I don't like as well. Anyway, the equations I'm talking about go like this:

1 + 1 + 1 = 1

Deuteronomy 6:4- "The Lord our God, Lord is One." So, this means that God, our Father, Jesus, His Son, and the Holy Spirit of God...all of these equal One God! You understand that perfectly, right? hmm...

Here's another one: 1 + 1 = 1, or 2 = 1. John 10:30- "I and My Father are One." Jesus and His Father equals ONE. Who can explain this to me?: Okay, so, 3 + 1 = 1 and 2 + 1 = 1....

And how about this one: 1 + 1 = 1. God said so! Genesis 2:23- ...a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

Why do I like this kind of math? It's obvious - God does things His own way. He can create you and me from dirt, blow into us, and ta-da!, we're alive!

He can calculate anything He wants to, and get any solution He desires, and He doesn't have to explain it to us! He's God! That kind of power excites me.

I don't have scriptures to back this up, but I believe that some day He'll open my eyes and numbers will make perfect sense. I think He likes surprises! I couldn't understand everything about Him in one lifetime anyway, so He'll give me time.

He's probably even creating a whole bunch of new mysteries for us right now, like a father putting up a playground for his son before he gets home from school. That would be just like Him!

The apostle Paul called marriage a profound mystery:

Ephesians 5:31 "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery - but I am talking about Christ and the church."

I think that he was talking about more than just the equation of one man plus one woman equals one flesh. I think he's talking about the astonishing love that God has for us, that He would join Himself to us in such a way as would appear to be totally unreasonable, nonsensical - it makes no sense!

How could the "Supreme Being" create something so wonderful that He would want to join Himself to "it", and teach us about His passion for us - by giving us such a thing as marriage? Wow.

And then, not only did He plan this love story of the ages, but He lived it to the fullest by actually giving up His life for His bride when she had rejected Him!

I call that an extremely profound mystery!

For you, Erika and Anthony, I pray that you awake each morning to the newness of God's mercies and love, in the love-story that He wants to live with you in your marriage. I pray for His blessing and His strength to live your love story to the fullest!

His love is amazing!

May 7, 2007

Now I've Gotta Get Really Real!

In the church I grew up in, there was a way to ask for prayer without giving any details in public. Have you heard of it? We called it an "unspoken request".

I'd always thought that sounded like a cop-out. It seemed to me that the same people raised their hand every week, and I was sure they must never pray with words because their prayers were "unspoken"! At least, that's the way I understood it.

It also seemed to me that it was just a way to get attention. But that doesn't make sense, because if they had wanted the attention, wouldn't they have taken the floor and filled our ears with words for hours on end? I dreaded that - the pews were solid hardwood!

I guess that as a child, I was sure everyone's motives were the same as mine! uh-hem! (that's a clearing the throat sound that my family uses to mean,"too true").

Another guess was that something extremely horrible had happened in their lives, or they were concerned about some catastrophe far away... I'm sorry, but I just couldn't understand how they could continue week by week, not-speaking their prayers!

Well, now it's my turn.

We're having some trouble in our family, and I'm raising my hand. I can't speak it, because to do so might put a block in front of God's healing. Now I understand a little better how important an "unspoken" prayer request is. The more talk, the more damage might occur, and what we long for is healing!

If you are a pray-er, would you pray for us?

If you aren't, maybe you could start.

My sister and I used to sing a little duet when we were little. Grandma M. taught it to us. It went like this, "not my mother, not my father, but it's me, O Lord - standin' in the need of prayer..."

I'm standing here now, and I need prayer for my family. If something doesn't change, things could get really ugly. We need God to put His hand on this and stop it. And if I must stand here week after week with my hand raised, I'll do it.

Thank-you for your help.

May 2, 2007

I'm One of the Stinky Ones!

I'm Grandma Kathy, Mom, foster Mom, and wife for 29 years to one of the best men God created! Sorry, everyone else! He currently works in Landscape Construction. My three sons have wonderful wives, and have given me a grandchild each. My daughter graduated from Home School and is now in college.

There are some long gray streaks in my curly brown hair now, and changes don't stop coming! We've labeled this time in our lives "reverse puberty"! You may not want to hear the word "menopause", or "mid-life crisis", but that's what I'm talking about! Changes rarely seem to come easily, even when they're anticipated... but, come, they will.

With the kids grown and the foster children re-located, I'm stretching my wings to learn about the internet and doing business on eBay. What an exciting thing to open up the world's door and see what's there - like never before in history! I'm not blind, though; I see the ugly and dark things on the internet, too. I'm just not afraid to go there, if I believe that's where God is leading me. I know that God loves the world and gave His Son to "buy" us all back from our slavery, so the darkness can't rule for long.

It may seem strange to say this, but my own particular bondage was to my own goodness! Believe it or not! You see, I haven't been addicted to drugs, alcohol or porn. I'm not tied up with bad memories of child abuse. I'm not bound by a history of sexual relationships. My addiction was my own pride! (I'm still dealing with it)

If you've done much Bible reading, you might remember the stories of Jesus when He was angry. Check out the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Who did He lay into? Who was He often upset with? My pastor would say, "who ticked Him off?" It was the religious people!!! Well, that's me!

When my husband and I first met, his first thought of me was "goody-two-shoes". He got that right!

We "religious people" are the ones that think we have it all figured out. We know the rules. We can keep them (we think). We can please God and we're better than most everyone else. We like the best kind of music. We are proud of lots of things that make us look good. We dress right. We smell right. We smile right. We vote right. We talk right. On and on and on....

You know how Jesus described people like me? He said that we are like white-washed tombs. We look clean and fresh on the outside, but inside we're full of dead men's bones! Phee-yew! Not very flattering, is it! To Jesus, we needed a deep-cleaning, all the way into our hearts and thoughts. The rules on the outside didn't make us clean at all. We still smelled of death. No one, not even God, likes someone who thinks they're "all that". (But He loves us!)

So, what does He offer us - the stinky ones?

The most simple thing - Himself.

At our invitation, He comes into our "comfort zone" and washes us, and fills our empty, aching hearts with love. Sounds pretty silly until you experience it, then it becomes EVERYTHING you've always wanted. Are you interested? All you have to do is ask. Again, it seems silly. It should be harder than that. What are the rules? What must I perform? Nothing! No performing and no rules, just asking!

If you like, stand on a sandy beach and yell over the ocean to Him. Or, if you prefer, go into your bedroom closet and hide in the coats and shirts, and whisper to Him.

Just ask.

Ask Him to clean you. Ask Him to make Himself real to you. Ask Him for whatever... He'll hear you.

Then get ready for the ride of your life!

Even with all the changes that come, and even when you get into your years of older age "crisis", God will be with you...just because you ask! He promised He would always love you, and always be with you. What could be more awesome than that?

Because I asked, I (usually) don't smell like dead bones anymore. We're still cleaning up here, you know. God is extremely patient. Though I've been as close to Him as I can be for many years, it still amazes me that He's so crazy about me. Wow. And I know - He's that crazy about you, too!

April 28, 2007

Back From Iraq

He's back!

Once again he's back in his old bedroom. He's almost thirty, and there he sleeps next to his wife and child. We will enjoy their voices and insights and energy and musings in the house for two full weeks before they must go back to the Air Force base at the opposite corner of our country.

Thank-you, God, he's back!

I really did mean it, Lord. He's my second-born, and I gave Him back to You just moments after He was born. I meant it, and I've never regretted it.

He's Your man!

I didn't enter into wife-hood or mother-hood lightly. When I gave my heart to Jesus at a very young age, I meant it with all I had. I wasn't seeking a more wonderful life for myself. I wasn't seeking just another "thing" to have. I didn't commit myself to my husband with any alternate plans. And I didn't ask God for children without a healthy level of understanding the sacrifices and risks involved! These choices were just part of my growing and trusting His leadership.

He didn't promise that it would always be easy, and it isn't! But living my life to the fullest, with my eyes on Jesus, will always have its rewards. I didn't marry because I knew this man would always be loving and good to me. And I didn't choose motherhood because I knew my children would always love God. I made these choices because the risks were worth it!

I asked God for a husband and children so that I might understand His plans for me better, trust Him more and "make disciples", as He mandated in the scriptures. It was the most natural thing to me: I was ready to give myself to someone else and not only live for myself and my own comforts. I was ready to take the risk and commit myself to a husband and marriage that could turn sour, like anyone's can... but I carefully offered my whole heart to the Lord, and asked Him to lead me. AND I asked Him to turn my feet away from that path if I was heading the wrong way!

When everything inside me was in the place of peace, then I took the step of faith and allowed myself to enter in to the JOY of loving my husband! (that was 29 years ago, by the way!)

At the time my marriage was young, I didn't have the means to "go into all the world and make disciples", as Jesus said, but I could go into parenthood and lead a little one to Jesus! What a privilege!

How kind of God to keep bringing this wonderful son back to my home...how outstanding to put my arms around his neck...how miraculous that I get to enjoy his wife and son here!! Thank-you, God! I still mean it, Lord, they're Yours!

Just thank-You, God! I gave Him to You, and You keep bringing him back! Thank-You so much! You have made me so rich!

April 21, 2007

Don't Forget the Importance of the Child

I don't ever want to be beyond being shaken. I don't want to get so used to hearing about the hardships of the poor that when I hear of someone suffering, it doesn't grip my heart. I may appear a fool, mentally ill, or just "losing it", but I want to FEEL what others feel. I want to cry out to God for their needs. I want to be able to cry, without restraining myself for propriety's sake. I want to live in that freedom to be who I am.

If I don't allow myself to bleed for others, then I'm not really alive. I honestly believe that.

Just moments ago I finished reading the book, "Too Small to Ignore", written by Dr. Wess Stafford of Compassion International. That's the renown organization that recruits sponsors for needy children around the world. I sat on the floor in my kitchen to finish up the last two pages because I wanted to seriously listen to what God might be trying to say to me. I thought I might be involved in a “holy moment”, where it might be appropriate to take off my shoes or something!

You see, my husband and I have agreed that the path of our lives together might lead us into the mission field. So I'm keeping my eyes open as things (like this book) come my way. I don't want to miss on some little clue as to what our next steps might be.

The final pages of the book was the author's call to not forget the importance of children. Jesus would like that! Dr. Stafford even reveals moments when he's wept in public, so distraught in his heartache for young ones. Just as our Lord reacted strongly to His disciples standing in the way of children coming to Him, I want to feel it that strongly. What could be more "unjust" than that, anyway?

I've been on two mission trips to Zambia, Africa, and one to northern India. I've played with, interviewed, and given food to orphaned children and seen their desperation. I've also seen some of their faces gleam with pride when I noticed and remarked on their achievements. I'm not too old to remember how important it was to be noticed like that when I was a child. That's a strong enough statement right there. An adult's attention can make all the difference in the world!

Does it seem like such a small thing - to give some money to an organization to target ONE child? It shouldn't, should it! Maybe I would have been that ONE child! And what about that one little child that annoys you, coming too close when you don't want to be bothered? Maybe her nose is runny or her hands dirty. Maybe she just doesn't know her boundaries (this was true of most of the foster children I cared for).

Well, now imagine that child is your own mother, only a generation ago. Would you want someone to notice her? to speak kindly to her? to listen to her? to put her shoes on for her? to share a sandwich with her? I sure would! That little girl is going to grow up to take care of someone really important to me - ME!

Look into a child's eyes today, and let that one know how important she is. God made every hair on her head, and her fingerprint is His one-of-a-kind work of art! She is precious. Then, maybe the next thing to do is to offer support to an organization like Compassion International, to lift the eyes of another small child far away - that needs to know she's important to God and to someone in your country! Become her biggest fan! Write to her and encourage, encourage, encourage. Doing this will put jewels in your crown! (I don't think that's scriptural, but you know what I mean!)

Let's demonstrate this kind of compassion to our children, so they can also feel the heartbeat of God. Help them save their coins to help another child. Tell them stories about children who come from more difficult circumstances than their own. Maybe a newspaper story might touch their mind - some child who needs their prayers. What a valuable gift to give your child!

And if you know of any foster or adopt families, congratulate them! They're working to mend the brokenhearted. No matter how young a child is when separated from their birth family, there's a trauma there that cannot heal without special handling. Pray for them. Cry with them, stand by them. Honor them. They aren't any more special than your family - just another part of the larger family of God. You need them and they need you...

When Jesus said, "of such is the kingdom of heaven", he meant that people that were "like children" were the ones who would populate heaven. We have much to learn from children, don't we!