Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Christmas Challenge-Time to Pony Up!

Americans spend well over $450 billion on Christmas gifts each year. That would feed every orphan on the planet for about 10 years. This year we are going to DO something about that.

I set out to get 10 families to commit alongside me this year to the Christmas Challenge...well I got 8...and that ain't too bad!

I sincerely hope that this "catches on" and more and more Christians will begin to view Christmas as an opportunity to make a difference in our world, rather than turn our backs and continue to spoil ourselves. The need in our world is so often overwhelming, but if we as Christians in America would begin to see this as our responsibility rather than continue to ignore it, such a difference CAN be made.

I personally believe that God blessed our nation so richly, not so we can all have great cushy lives, but because HE wants us...expects us.... to meet the urgent physical and spiritual needs all over our world. I believe God is waiting for HIS CHURCH to step up.....and I can't imagine the pain He feels as He continues to watch HIS FOLLOWERS turn a blind eye while children starve to death, go through life with no family to claim them, and worst of all people die never having heard His great Gospel.

SO, for those of us who ARE on board for the challenge this year...it is time to pony up! I will be sending my donations out this week, and I thought it would be cool if we all said WHO we are contributing to this year. Amounts are not necessary, but it would be neat to be able to spread the word not only about the challenge, but also about the ministries we all chose. And if the amount you committed to donate to urgent physical and spiritual need all of a sudden seems pretty BIG (since it is time to write the checks!), then just remind yourself of this image....it helped me!

My utmost gratitude goes to each family who committed to this with me this year...it feels so awesome to know that I have friends who will walk alongside me in such a way that we can really make a difference in our world!

I am going to post my ministries on Facebook and then link to this blog...so feel free to do the same OR comment below. Let's get the word out!

Blessings and MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Christmas Challenge-Simplified

I want to take a second to write a simplified version of the original post I wrote about Christmas. If you would like to read the whole thing, you can access it here.

I want to challenge us as Christians to start using Christmas as a time to bless others who live in extreme need, rather than using it as a time to bless ourselves, who live in extreme abundance.

Many people make similar challenges at Christmas each year, but the difference with this challenge is, you don't have to spend less or mark anyone off your list...you are simply challenged to match whatever you do spend! Simply put: keep track of what you spend on your family for Christmas, and commit to give the same amount to URGENT physical and spiritual need in OUR world. There are countless ways you can do this...some suggestions are listed on my original post.

Imagine the difference we could make if even a small percentage of Christians committed to take this challenge each year!

We live in the richest nation in THE WORLD and people are starving a dying without basic necessities AND without the gospel all around us every day. Imagine the heartbreak we as a nation must cause for our neighboring countries.....not to mention OUR MAKER....when they see the extravagance we readily bless ourselves with each year...in addition to our already wealthy status. 

Please consider taking this challenge with me and the other families who have already committed!



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's the most WONDERFUL time of the yeaaaaar (with the exception of the fact that children are starving to death and people are dying every day who have never heard the gospel) FA LA LA LA LA, LA LA LA LA!!

I am going to put part 3 of my "singleness" posts on hold because this has really been weighing on my heart the last few days.

Christmas is upon us. I say it every year: one day it is August and then you blink and seemingly the next day it is Christmas. So I wanted to share with all of you my "plan" for this year, and to encourage you to get on board with me.

This time of year has changed for me a lot over the last few years. We went from a 2 parent home on Christmas morning, to a 1 parent and 2 grandparent home...which actually works well because my mom and I never have to get out of our jammies all day. In an effort to save money on Christmas post divorce, I went on a crazy spree of shopping all of the end of season sales in August to get it over with early and to save tons of money. Super idea, but I ended up with a lot of really cheap stuff that my kids didn't really play with...and who wants sidewalk chalk and a slip and slide for Christmas? 

So then I decided to just budget. Duh. I don't buy for everyone in the nation anymore. I do mostly gift cards and the like for the grown ups and only stuff that the kids are really in to.

We kick off Christmas each year (way before Thanksgiving) by getting our package together for our sponsored child through World Vision. This year we have a second sponsored child at Fiwagoh  (sweet Staron). Pastor Benson requests that you only send Christmas gifts if you can send one for each child......so we will be coming up with 180ish of something this year to send to ALL of the kids at Fiwagoh!

A good friend told me a couple of years ago, that she gets all of her shopping done before Thanksgiving, so when the tree goes up, the gifts go under, and then she is free to just enjoy this time of year without having to fuss about gifts. Love that and have been doing it for 2 years now. We also had a little elf named "Fruitcake" who joined us 2 years ago. Thankfully, he isn't the "roll your whole house in toilet paper" or "throw marshmallows everywhere" type elf, but more the "Fruitcake is watching you so you better put your shirt on because you can't go to school with no shirt" and the moving from place to place each night type of elf. It is totally fun.

So, we have made a lot of changes for the better over the last few years. But is it enough? I thought I was doing pretty well...until this started going around on Facebook. 

When I first saw this I thought "You know what? I am doing pretty well for a single mom dangit. I give. I go. I make sure my kids know what Christmas is SUPPOSED to be all about. I don't want to deprive them of having a good Christmas!". Ewwwwww. Honesty is sometimes ugly. So then I put on my big girl panties and quit whining and tried to find a solution to my dilemma. How can I have a good Christmas with my family but yet balance that against the urgent physical and spiritual need in our world?

First let me say, praise be to God that I even have this problem. I am so blessed not only to live in such an affluent nation, but also to have jobs that allow me to have to put a "cap" on what I spend on my kids for Christmas. And I am not talking about how much debt I ring up every year because I have never "charged" a dime for Christmas stuff (or any stuff for that matter for years). Live within your means people. I digress.

So on to the "solution". At least the one for my family and for this year. Hopefully, God will continue to grow and stretch me over the years and soon even this won't feel like enough.

David Platt suggested this to our church a couple of years ago. I didn't like it then. I don't really like it now, but I am going to force myself to do it this year. He suggested that whatever we spend on our family for Christmas, we should match and give the same amount to urgent physical and spiritual need around the world. That means above and beyond our normal tithe, sponsorships etc....(sorry already thought about that). Here is how this will break down for me:

1. $150 for each child, and $40-$50 for each parent and my brother, depending on how much I like them at time of purchase. So, the max I will allow myself to spend on my family for Christmas this year is $450. Sounds like a lot more when you add it all up doesn't it! I keep a running list along with my receipts to make sure I stay on budget.....it looks something like this (don't tell my kids what they are getting for Christmas please):

2. Brook Hills has a collection at the end of the year called the "Global Offering" which is above and beyond our normal giving and goes (obviously) to global needs. I will give part of my $450 to that. I will also give a part of it to the Compassion International Child Survival Program because they are directly helping children to live and mothers to learn how to help their children live. I am not sure about the rest....or maybe I will just split it between those two. But that is just what I am planning to do........

This is the best plan I can come up with today so I am going to stick with it. Who wants to commit to do it with me? Comment here or send me a message if your family wants to be a part of this. I would love to update everyone from now through Christmas with a running list of all the families who will do this with us! We can all be accountable to each other, and hopefully impact our friends, families, and the WORLD!

Imagine if all of us "Christians" were able to live within our means, stay on budget, and give extravagantly to urgent needs around the world this Christmas.



Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Singlesness Part Two- Patience in the Waiting

Proposal. Wedding. Bridesmaids. Groomsmen. Gorgeous pictures. THE dress. Bouquets. The ring. The cake. The honeymoon. The sex. It is what marriage is all about right? 

Or, is it possible, that marriage isn't about any of those things? Is it possible that marriage isn't about a wedding at all? Hmmmm......

A wedding is not a marriage. A honeymoon is not a marriage. A marriage is very simply about 2 people, who love God and each other, carrying out God's Biblical plan for His people. It is wholly about honoring God. Two people, serving each other for their lives in order to glorify God. Marriage is about holiness before happiness.

Can you honor God if you are not married? Absolutely. Can we be happy if we are not married? Of course! So then WHY are we as a culture so unsatisfied with singleness?

I know so many people who are so desperate for the "stuff" that the world tells us marriage is all about. They have a place in their heart and their lives that is so very empty and they need something to fill that empty space. Whether they have never been married, or are divorced and feel an extreme need for that type of companionship to be replaced in their lives, their lives declare that they want something the do not have. Something they feel that they NEED in order to be HAPPY.


We are told from the time we are young that we are supposed to grow up, get married, have babies and live happily ever after. I would imagine just about anyone who is "grown up" can tell you that it is just not that simple. Believe me. It's not.

So what do we do when we find ourselves single, but we don't want to be? 

I am a pretty good example of what not to do. I wanted all of the stuff. Mainly the kids. I have always wanted to be a mom....I just knew from an early age that I was made for it. So, I chose a husband based on what I wanted out of the union, not what God wanted or planned. Any marriage that starts with selfishness rather than godliness is likely doomed. I put what I wanted for myself in front of what I knew God wanted for me.

So friends, I beg you to guard your hearts and your words. Satan is always looking for a way in to our lives and if it is clear that there is something that we want but don't have, he will use that to tempt us away from God. He will use that to say that it is ok to date a guy who isn't a Christ follower but at least he goes to church. He will tell us that it is fine to go from one woman to the next in order to constantly keep that empty space filled. He will tell us that it is no big deal to post on Facebook how much we are in love with someone we just met, or to constantly make sure that everyone knows you are on the hunt for a new person to fill the void in your life.....

We all have empty places, but they all can be filled with a deep love for our Savior. The Bible does not command us to get happy, but it does command us to be holy. To be Christ like. I have learned so much of this the hard way, and I wish so many people could learn lessons from the mistakes of others, rather than by making the same mistakes themselves. Divorce is so prevalent in this society, and it hurts so many. If we all could be content with the place God has us in our lives, whether it is what we WANT or not, I think there would be so much less pain and destruction in our culture due to failed relationships.   

Be glad in the waiting. The Bible is filled with people who were made to wait...poor Israelites...that is ALL they did was wander around and wait. The Lord annointed David as king, but then sent him right back out to the feilds to wait until it was the right time.....like 20 years he spent waiting. It is very likely that God is preparing us in the waiting. Whether it be for the perfect "someone" to come along, or whether He has other plans for your life.......we can always trust that His plans are better than ours.



Sunday, September 4, 2011

Singleness Part One- The Ohana Divorce

I can't really do 3ish posts on singleness without first explaining how I came to be a single mom.

I think people, especially people who have never experienced divorce in their family, tend to have a lot of questions when they find out someone is divorced or is going through divorce.

"I wonder what happened?"
"Did he cheat?"
"Did she cheat?"
"Did they have Biblical grounds?" (this one comes mostly from the CofC crowd :) )

While I think it is normal to have questions, the answers are not always as simple as the questions.

My divorce was terrible. It had been "coming" in a sense for a couple of years. I was pregnant with our second child when it all went down....and it was Thanksgiving, Christmas etc. I had a 2 year old. Ugh. BUT, that was almost 5 years ago.....and by God's grace I decided a long time ago to pull myself up by the bootstraps (what does that mean anyway?) and let God have the lead. Rather than focusing on what I thought my life was supposed to look like, I stepped out in faith and let God show me where to go. It is His life anyway.

I have no doubt that God hates divorce...mostly because He said so:

... You fill the place of worship with your whining and sniveling because you don't get what you want from God. Do you know why? Simple. Because God was there as a witness when you spoke your marriage vows to your young bride, and now you've broken those vows, broken the faith-bond with your vowed companion, your covenant wife. God, not you, made marriage. His Spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage. And what does he want from marriage? Children of God, that's what. So guard the spirit of marriage within you. Don't cheat on your spouse.  
"I hate divorce," says the God of Israel. 
God-of-the-Angel-Armies says, "I hate the violent dismembering of the 'one flesh' of marriage." So watch yourselves. Don't let your guard down. Don't cheat. You make God tired with all your talk.
"How do we tire him out?" you ask. By saying, "God loves sinners and sin alike. God loves all." And also by saying, "Judgment? God's too nice to judge." Malachi 2: 13-17 MSG

When Jesus had completed these teachings, he left Galilee and crossed the region of Judea on the other side of the Jordan. Great crowds followed him there, and he healed them. One day the Pharisees were badgering him: "Is it legal for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?"  He answered, "Haven't you read in your Bible that the Creator originally made man and woman for each other, male and female? And because of this, a man leaves father and mother and is firmly bonded to his wife, becoming one flesh—no longer two bodies but one. Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart." They shot back in rebuttal, "If that's so, why did Moses give instructions for divorce papers and divorce procedures?" Jesus said, "Moses provided for divorce as a concession to your hard heartedness, but it is not part of God's original plan. I'm holding you to the original plan, and holding you liable for adultery if you divorce your faithful wife and then marry someone else. I make an exception in cases where the spouse has committed adultery." Jesus' disciples objected, "If those are the terms of marriage, we're stuck. Why get married?" But Jesus said, "Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn't for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked—or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. But if you're capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it." Matthew 19:1-12 MSG

Not part of His original plan. I get that and it is so true. 

Am I an advocate for divorce? Absolutely not. Does God hate divorce? Yes. Does divorce happen all too often in this fallen world? Yep. So what do we do when divorce happens to us? What does our life look like in the aftermath?

We have set a standard in this society of ours of what divorce look like. Two people were married. Now they are not. They hate each other. They go to court. They fight over money, kids, houses, cars. Once they are done fighting in court, they continue to fight for ever and ever amen...because that is how it is done. They make nice for the kids (sometimes) but they can't stand each other and the kids know it. They re-marry. Then they hate the ones their ex's have re-married. Pain. Disdain. Money. DRAMA. That is what American divorce is all about right?

I have a different take on things. What if divorce happened to you, and you were able to work through the pain and grief through a great program like Divorce Care (if you are divorced and have never done this I highly recommend it- click the link to find a group near you), put your anger behind you, forgive, and......move on. 

Divorce is hard. It is really, really ALL CAPS HARD. But, once it is over, and the dust settles, shouldn't the drama be over as well? Shouldn't 2 grown people (especially if they have kids) LEARN to put their hurts and emotions aside and move forward?

I have an Ohana divorce. My ex has since re-married a woman who had 2 kids and they have 1 together. So the whole clan is 3 adults and 5 kids. Believe it or not, we all went to Disney World together. I even have pictures to prove it. "Ohana" means family in Hawaiian, which you would know if you have ever seen Lilo & Stitch, or, if you have ever been the their character breakfast at Disney where they take your Ohana family picture before you eat! :)

Isn't that tender? :) He coached our sons soccer team and we were all out there cheering for him and his bonus sister who was also on the team. People think our "Ohana" family is crazy, but to me it just makes sense. Shouldn't the people who chose to hate and fight constantly be the crazy ones?

Don't misunderstand me, I firmly believe in boundaries. We don't hang out as an Ohana family all the time. The kids have their time with him and they have their time with me, but on occasions when we are all together we act like civilized people. Basically, we have a mutual respect for each other. The past stays in the past, and we get along because it is what is best for everyone.

Let me say right now that this requires both sides to be on board in order for this to work and I know that in many cases that is just not possible. But, even in those cases where the "other side" may not want to cooperate in getting along, that doesn't mean you are out of luck. The Serenity Prayer (the whole thing not just the AA part) is what really helped me to see this and believe it.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

The only thing I can change is me. The only thing you can change is you. This is a sinful world and we have to accept that.  Things are not going to always be how WE want them to be, but we can seek wisdom and guidance from God, stay close to Him, listen, and follow His command to be like Him. 

Oh how I pray that divorce will start to look different in our society. That God would use this terrible thing that He hates, to draw His children closer to Himself if they do experience it. I know that I will be personally accountable for how I have handled this time in my life......and that makes all the difference.



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Widows Mite and the Single Moms Might

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

Mark 12:41-44

I am grateful that God has honored me with the responsibility of being a single mother. I am able to minister to so many people with whom I would have otherwise had no connection, and they to me. As Angela Thomas said in her awesome book My Single Mom Life (only $6 right now on Amazon and eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping :)) "I am absolutely sure this is not how it should be". But, this is how it is and so I want to use this season in my life to glorify my Maker.


I have been blessed with many single mom friends. We lean on each other, take out our anger on each other, and comfort each other. When one of those dear friends (who shall remain nameless) let me know that she wanted to contribute to my Africa trip, I was so honored. I know that a lot of my friends in these particular circumstances struggle financially, so I didn't expect it to be a large amount, but that in no way affected the gratitude I felt towards her. I immediately thought of the story of the widows mite, and how, although she gave a small amount, it was more than anyone else in the eyes of her Father.


So, you can imagine my surprise, when I opened the envelope and found a check.....for a larger amount that any other single contribution I had received or would receive for my trip. To be completely  honest, I tried to get her to take it back. I know she "needed" it. She "needs" it still. But, in her wisdom, she had allotted that amount to God, and wouldn't back down. I am so proud of her. I knew that this had to be more than just a contribution to my trip, lost in the shuffle of all the others (although they were all important!). I had to do something special with it. And I knew God would make that something evident to me on my trip.


And so I watched and waited. And of course, He did. 


If you read my post called "He Found Me", then you know the impact that Staron had on me. He taught me such an amazing lesson of the love God has for us and how He is constantly pursuing us, whether we are pursuing Him or not. Always there. Always quietly waiting for us to notice Him. 


So, with the money from this sweet friend (and a little of my own) WE were able to sponsor Staron for an entire year. 


As I have mentioned before, Staron has parents. They brought him to the Fiwagoh Mission Home to be cared for because they could no longer do it themselves. I can't even fathom the pain of that decision as a mother. I cant fathom the sense of abandonment he feels, even though he knows they had no other choice. Many of the children there do have parents, and I am proud to say that Staron is the first to have parents AND a sponsor! When children do have living parents, they are supposed to be responsible for their school fees, but if they are very poor and cannot afford them, then the burden falls back on Pastor Benson and Florence. So, my sweet friend and I are able to not only take the pressure off sweet Pastor Benson to feed, clothe and educate Staron, but also take a heavy burden off of his parents who have struggled to attempt to pay his school fees. 


Here is part of an email I received from Pastor Benson after asking him about sponsoring Staron and requesting that he tell him hello for me....this does something for my mommy heart that I cannot even put in to words......

"I shared  your warmest greetings and a hug to him this evening in our worship time, he was very happy indeed! This boy has parents but who are very poor and cannot afford to  to educate him, so i took him here also for help. He has no sponsor because  he does not really appear as an orphan, If you want to  take him  for sponsorship,  please you can do so and God will richly bless your pockets."


I have a feeling that Staron will be much more of a blessing to me, my friends, and my family than we will ever be able to be to him....and I am so grateful to my single mom friend and her wisdom and might for making it possible! 


As you know, East Africa is experiencing a terrible famine. The prices for food have gone way up, so their funds for food are purchasing much less than usual. These kids already only get 2 meals a day (typically posho and beans). I would hate to hear that they cannot even afford that. If you feel led to do something about the famine and want to make a difference for a group of people who I know and love, I would greatly appreciate it, and I have a feeling they would too. :)



For all USA contacts, please send your donations to the following:
Fiwagoh Mission Society
P.O.Box 60,
Illinois, 62890
Cell: +1 618-218-5512
Contact Person: Marie Judd
E-mail:  fish144k@yahoo.com
For any financial donation given, we give a deductible tax receipt.

(Marie is a friend of Fiwagoh and she and her husband personally pay all of the wire transfer fees to send any funds they receive directly to Fiwagoh's Kenya bank account.)


Blessings to all, and a special blessing to all of my single mom friends. We CAN do great things for His kingdom together!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ok...so you went to Africa....but did you really make a difference? And what now?

Did I really make a difference?
Not my team. 
Not Visiting Orphans.
Me......just me.

Well I don't know. That is up to God alone. I could drop millions of dollars in cash, food, clean water and love on Africa, and if God isn't behind it, willing it along, then it would not make one bit of a difference...at least not an eternal one.

I don't want one child in this world, much less just Africa, to starve to death. But they do. I don't want people to drink water that I wouldn't wash my hands in. But they will. I don't want one child on this earth to remain an orphan......but there are 147 MILLION of them. I don't want there to be one tribe, tongue, or people group who has never heard about Jesus. Right now there are many. But I KNOW that will not always be the case. How can I know that someday every tribe and tongue, every group of people and every language will hear the gospel?.....

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. 
Matthew 24:14

Need more context? Read all of book 24. So my point is this: the Bible doesn't say that once all the children are fed, the end will come. It doesn't say, that once the water is all clean, the end will come. Once all the children have families, the end will come. No, the Bible says that when the gospel is preached to all the nations (people groups), the end will come. What does that have to do with my life and yours? Great question.

The gospel has everything to do with every life. The "end" sounds sort of drastic and scary, but the truth is, it means HEAVEN....hello? We all want the end to come if it means we get to be in heaven. It means this child doesn't have to suffer on this cruel earth anymore...He can be in the arms of Jesus instead.

How do we as Christ followers live out the gospel? Well, I think for each of us it looks different. Many Christians are just caught up in church, work and football (I stole that one from Lecrae). Some have given their lives away to God and are living every day to provide clean water for people who don't have it...for the sake of spreading the gospel. Some people have moved to Africa and let God use them to care for the orphan and the widow.....for the sake of the gospel. Some people stay right here in Alabama and give their lives away for the sake of the gospel. Our lives are not really ours to start with. It is all about the gospel. We cannot "fix" or change this whole sinful world no matter how hard we try, only God can do that. It is our job to help who we can, love who we can, feed who we can and be the hands and feet of Jesus for the sake of spreading the gospel until He comes back. So do we let God have the lead and do His work through us........ or are we here to get the best out of OUR life before we have to leave it?

I don't want to do my life anymore. There. I said it out loud. I still want to work hard. I still want to make money and use it responsibly. I still want to raise my kids to the best of my ability every day. But I don't want my life to be about me anymore.

I have known for years things would change for me in some fashion once Ella Mae goes to Kindergarten (this time next year). I just always assumed that I would get a job, or work harder at the business(es) I have, or work more days with my Dad. If I have free time I need to be working and making money right? Isn't that what this life is all about? Here in the U.S. it is. We work hard so we can buy more stuff. And then we rent storage units that we have to pay monthly for to hold all of our stuff so you need more money for that......houses, cars, clothes, stuff. It is all going to burn. So, what do I do now? How do you take the next step when you decide you don't want to do "normal" life anymore?

Here is what I know: I want to gospel of Jesus Christ to be the most important thing. Not just my heart, but in my every day walking around life. IF that is the case, then what will it look like? Do I just get a "I ALL CAPS HEART the Gospel" t-shirt and just wear it every day? I can't move to Africa because I know one ex-hubby and a herd of grandparents who would not appreciate that! I can't even travel there regularly or get on board with an organization like Neverthirst to help build wells all over the world. So what do I DO. I need to be able to DO.
In Africa I was able to DO the Gospel. I didn't change the world.....but I showed the love of Jesus to a whole mess of kids who may not have ever seen it otherwise. They looked at me and knew that I flew across the world to SIMPLY LOVE them and tell them that Jesus loves them too. I hugged kids who have NEVER been hugged before. When you kiss those sweet kids on the face.....it is so funny because they laugh and get embarrassed.....they really don't understand what you are doing to them! They need to be shown the love of Jesus. They need to know that they matter to their Abba Father. Yes, they need money. Greatly. And not all of us should GO, but some of us should. I am so glad I did.

I haven't a clue what to do next. I am going to just continue to work hard at staying near God so I can hear when He speaks.....and He will make it clear. I feel sure that I will adopt one day (there.... I said that out loud too)...maybe foster as well......I am just not clear on WHEN that day will be. I can SEE with my own eyes a number of people that God has circled around  me, people I would have otherwise never met, and I know they are all a part of it. My job will become crystal clear in His time. So for now, I will just wait and pray.....and mull over the following problems and questions.

Here are all of the issues that come to my mind when I think about actually turning my every day life fully over to God:

1. I have a potty mouth...especially when I get mad.
2. I like maragaritas. I hope you can give your life to God and still like them...I need to look in to that.
3. I can be brutally honest. Sometimes that hurts peoples feelings.
4. I am so totally sarcastic.
5. I am a huge really big every day sinner.

I could go on and on...luckily there is a dude named Paul in the Bible and when I feel like the chief of sinners I am reminded of him. If any of you have a vision from the Lord saying  “Go! This woman is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to __________. I will show her how much she must suffer for my name” let me know....because that would be super awesome.

Questions that I think others will ask me (and some I am already asking myself):

1. Where will you get money? 
I plan to still work hard. And God funds what He favors. 

2. What about the affect a drastic life change will have on your kids?
That is why I am planning now and will "ease" into this...whatever this is. Also, if it is God's will for me to change my life then that is what is best for my kids and I have to trust that and trust Him.

3. Isn't it irresponsible to "quit life"? You may still make enough money to live, but what about the kids college, retirement etc?
I have some money saved. Plus, I am fully counting on the kiddos daddy to come up with money for college! :) If they have to pay their way through college or get loans it won't be the end of the world. They might actually be better for it. Retirement....that is a tough one because this is what my father does for a living! It is important but I also have conflicting emotions. For me personally, I just can't worry about it right now. I am going to let God lead and let big pictures things like that work themselves out......can't God be trusted with caring for me then just as much as today?

4. How will you come up with money to adopt on your own? You are a single mom!
See #1

5. You are a single mom. Don't you think you have it hard enough as it is?
Yep. . If you mean by our cushy American full bellies, drive through, instant gratification for everything, I deserve, I deserve, I deserve standards. But I don't have it nearly as hard as MANY single moms that I know....some who have literally watched as their children starved to death. Some who care for 10 kids on their own and only a few of them are actually theirs. Some who are grandmothers caring for their grand kids on their own because their parents are dead. Some who allow men to sexually use them for money so their children won't starve. 

Will you please pray for me through all of this? I know a few of the things that God wants me to do right now and I am:

-Seek guidance from people who have gone before me on a path like this one.
-Start the necessary training to hopefully lead a small group for single parents at Brook Hills.
-Continue to advocate for those with no voice.
-Take baby steps on the adoption/ foster care front. Wait on HIS perfect timing.

Blessings..... and thank you for letting me share :)


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Leaving fiwagoh...and then going right back

Click here to read original post  "A Kenyan Miracle"

Our tour of the orphanage before we left....or at least thought we were leaving.....

Me and Nash

The four boys who called me mom

One of the notes I wrote to a kid the night before...when we thought we would never see them again...


Not easy saying goodbye to this sweet boy....and I had no idea God would will it for us to see each other again so soon!

so sad... you can hear everyone crying as we left....

Our hotel in Eldoret was right down this lovely street.....so we turned around.....and drove 4 hours....back home .....God always has a plan!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fiwagoh and an update on "He Found Me"

Click here to read original post "He Found Me"

Ok, so I went back and read my original post (which I have been doing every time I post the pictures to go along with them) and realized that somehow I did not post all of what I wrote. Actually, a lot of the info about my friend was missing. So I fixed that, if you would like to go back and read it again.

Also, I emailed Pastor Benson from Fiwagoh about sponsoring my little friend...and he helped me clear up some confusion about his name. When he wrote his name down for me, he wrote S-T-A-L-L-O-N. They have a list in the dorms that shows which older boys are responsible for which younger ones (love that they call them seniors, juniors and mediums). On the list his name is S-T-A-N-O-N. But, when I told Pastor Benson that I was going to pray about sponsoring him and let him know (while we were still there) he wrote his name down as S-T-A-R-O-N. So, according to Pastor Benson's most recent email, his name is Staron. I can't stand the idea that this little boy is 9 years old and he doesn't even know his own name.....but, HIS FATHER does....and now I do too. So that will just have to be good enough for now.

Now, back to the pictures......

Jonathan....he was the baby at the orphanage and we all just wanted to eat him up.


chasing the flamingos away!

rain on the way....

My sweet boy-Staron!