Thursday, January 26, 2012

T minus 4 hours and 50 minutes!!!

In just a few short hours me and a newly found dear friend are taking a road trip.

We are headed North to the Deep South! Kinda funny when you think about it! haha!
THIS Friday ladies!!! Praying for you all as you prepare. AND using y'all as I'm teaching math today;). The 400 ladies coming--represent over 247 children who are no longer orphans...185 in process...and about 50 who feel called to adopt or to serve families adopting in some way:-).When they ask me what that equals--I'll say BEAUTIFUL. Which also equates to over 433 children who now have loving families and are orphaned no more. Yep--I'd say that definitely equals beautiful:) Excited to walk this journey with so many of you!!!! SEE YOU SOON!

See you soon ladies!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

HE still moves mountains and walks on water

Today is Tuesday, January 24th.
One week ago two of my dearest friends' {might as well be family} little sister faced the fight of her life. At this time last week it was a "normal" day other than the fact she was about to bring her sweet baby into this world.

Minutes before being wheeled into the delivery room K crashed and coded {her heart and breathing stopped}. With the grace of God and wisdom of her doctors and nurses she was brought back to life. Her little bundle, lil M, was then emergently delivered. Both on life support with a cooling protocol to protect their brains and vital organs underway.

The road since has been one day of miracles after another.

Today, K is still fuzzy on her short term memory, but is in the deepest love with her lil M. She is now able to get up out of bed, eat small meals, hold her baby, love on daddy, talk with her mother and sisters, and ask appropriate questions.


I just have to share the power of our God. The power of thousands petitioning prayer boldly at the foot of the Cross. When I say thousands, I am being literal. I am humbly amazed each day at how God has worked in and through these two precious lives. I BELIEVE they are living and thriving through God's grace. Their family has been sustained in a way and through a power that simply MUST come from God. They have faithfully left every fear and frustration at the feet of Jesus.  When doubt tried to creep into their hearts they found Peace in Christ.

I BELIEVE God has big plans for them. I BELIEVE God has and continues to use them as witness to the thousdands who have been praying {many who don't even know them} to the Power of His work. Without using words these two sweet lives have shown us so much about WHO GOD IS.

I personally have learned something from them and their family.

1. Life is not certain and incredibly fragile. I feel like we all say this, but I think as humans we forget so easily.

2. Things of this world mean nothing. It's all just "stuff".

3. Why don't we pray like this when crisis is not happening? I need to start. The carpet next to my bed is not worn down enough from my knees. Time for change.

4. The body of Christ in not just in a specific religion, but His children who believe. I have always had this belief but God really reinforced this for me. I am convinced God will not be returning as and for a specific religion, but will be returning AS GOD AND FOR HIS CHILDREN to take them HOME.

5. Surrenduring to God isn't a part-time or lukewarm action, it's a complete and humbling one.

6. Perserverence is required in the midst of the impossible. Never stop praying!!!

7. God carries us and sustains us when we cannot.

8. God still moves mountains and walks on water
This last week hit VERY close to home. I dare to assume, but I think K and M's experience dared us all to evaluate and scrutinize our faith in the God we serve. We have seen God grant them and their family a "peace that passes all understanding". God, through K and M, have shaken us and reminded us HE STILL MOVES MOUNTAINS AND WALKS ON WATER. I can't wait to see what the future brings for them!!!

May we never forget these last 7 days. When our faith begins to shake in the midst of our own life's challenges, may we remember what God has taught us through K and M.

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage {boy did they!}; I have overcome the world {HE SURE HAS!}."
John 16:33 NASB

If you are interested in praying for or following them on this journey the link to their Caring Bridge is:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Desperate Prayer Request

As you know, I'm training for a half marathon on behalf of two young women fighting breast cancer: Gina and Abby. I am asking for intercessory prayer. With a heavy heart, please see below.

Good morning everyone,

I wanted to offer an update on Gina McReynolds and ask for your thoughts and prayers. Her update is one that I can't understand when there is a village, an army, of people praying and hoping for her. She's touched a lot of lives, like mine, without even knowing them. She has a fierce faith and brave outlook. Sometimes her updates have hints of sadness, but usually she's confident and positive. Last evening's was fearful and desperate. 

Her Update:

January 11, 2012

Posted 10 hours ago
I have my results. And I am sorry I can't call everyone, but I just need to post the results and than I promise I will call as I can.  The cancer has spread. It is in two places in my bones, has further spread in my lungs and some lymph nodes of my mid sternum area. I will be honest...I am scared, but I have not given up! I will keep fighting. With God's power I will make it though this! We are in research mode right now. I have to find a clinical trial ASAP. I will keep everyone posted as soon as I know anything. I love you and thank you so much for keeping me and my family in your prayers. Will try to write soon.


Her update breaks my heart and I find myself asking God "why?". I recently heard of an event that was nothing short of a miracle for all involved and I wonder why some stories receive the miracle and others it seems...well, I just wonder. I believe there is a bigger picture we do not understand. I believe God is not the author of beasts like cancer. I believe cancer was conquered on a wooden cross. Even-so, I find myself sitting at the foot of the cross this morning asking why? 

So I write to ask for a few more people in the "village" to pray on Gina's behalf. To pray for her courage. To pray that she continue to reach out for God in the midst of the storm on the lake of her life instead of jumping back into the boat. To pray for her husband Will that he have the strength to carry Gina and their children when she's too weak. To pray for her children who are so young and do not understand why mommy hurts, is sad or tired. 

Training for this run is going well. It's hard but nothing in comparison. I've switched from listening to music to listening to an audiobook called Barefoot Church by Brandon Hatmaker. It's an amazing book. My training is not important right now. I thank you for your support, but I am asking for prayer today on Gina and her family's behalf.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Whatcha Reading?

I have some good ones this time!
The Help...where do I start???
Ok, I saw the movie with the hubs and we were stunned. In what world was all this practice OK? I mean, I know this was a novel, but I also know this was a reality in some states. I left the theater embarrassed of the color of my skin. I just can't believe this is part of our American history. What's even more shocking is that it wasn't that long ago. I would also venture to guess, it's possible this still occurs to some level. We've come a long way in our country, but we still have a ways to go. I talked to my grandmother about this book and because she lived in Virginia and the rest of our family was from up north this was something they had heard of in those days but never saw with their own eyes. 

So the movie was amazing, BUT THE BOOK IS EVEN BETTER. I just finished it this morning. It's a sturdy 530 pages but you'll flip through it in a few days. I could barely put the book down. I didn't want it to end. I feel like this is a book that should be in the classrooms. I feel like it has all the elements of a good book. Though a novel, this book is loosely based off the writer's life in Jackson, Mississippi. I wonder what the people of Jackson, Mississippi think about this book? I am sure it gets mixed reviews. I would definitely put this book on your list of MUST READs for 2012 if you haven't read it already. I think it reminds us, even in today's time, that we are all people. We are all God's creation. We may have a different color of skin, different background, different culture, BUT we're still ALL human and people.  We should treat each other with love, respect and without judgement regardless of our differences. I feel like this is a good lesson for all of us to remember.
7 by Jen Hatmaker.
I learned of this book from a friend when looking for a new read. This one has already started to blow my mind. We live in a day and age where we feel like we need a new dress for every occasion, a new bathing suit each summer, another pair of gold or silver sandals, another bag of chips, a newer car, a new pair of earrings or bracelet to add that new pop to an outfit. 

All of it....excess. 

I'm guilty.

This book is gritty and disturbing. I LOVE IT! What I love is Jen writes honestly about her relatable shortcomings and she's HILARIOUS!!! BONUS! Her writing style cracks me up. I feel like I'm sitting down with a best friend. I'm not far into this book, but it already has me thinking and looking around my life and home. She talks about how the point of scripture and meeting Jesus isn't to simply study, but to transform us and change the course of our life. If there is not transformation when meeting Jesus, then we've missed the whole point and "forest for the trees".

If you're up for some honest, challenging, and funny realizations...this book is for you. 

The Poisonwood Bible: Barbara Kingsolver

I have this one on CASSETTE TAPE!!! LOL
One of my besties told me about this book. It's about 10 years old, but she said it's worth the read. I found out my mother-in-law had it on tape so we swapped books. I gave her Kisses from Katie, Hole in the Gospel and There's No Me Without You for 8 cassette tapes and a walkman. You read that right...A WALKMAN!!!! I should have held on to mine from years ago. Ha!

This book is about a family who goes to Africa as missionaries. The author states, "This tale of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction, over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa, is set against history's most dramatic political parables." 

This is also a novel but almost seems real. I haven't gotten too far, but this one is really good. I'll keep you posted.
Barefoot Church: Brandon Hatmaker

You may recognize the name...HATMAKER. Yep, this is the husband of the earlier book, 7 by Jen HATMAKER. 
If you follow our blog you know I am training for a half marathon in February to support two women: Gina and Abby with their fearless and faithful battle against breast cancer. I won't lie, it's not easy to keep to the training plan. I often have to force myself to go run when I would rather take a day off. I made a commitment and I have to follow through. I have to listen to music to keep up the energy. While I run, my mind often wanders and I get caught up meditating on aspects of life. Lately, I have struggled with some music. The style gives me energy but the lyrics can be less than "good". I find Christian music a little slow for running so I struggle with what to listen to. I got this idea of finding a good audiobook for my iPod. I remembered someone talking about this book and thought I'd see if it was on audiobook. SURE ENOUGH!!!
 I downloaded and tuned in for my moderate run yesterday. I was finished with my run before I knew it. I was fixated on the words of this book. This is also going to be a "game changer" for me. In a nutshell it's about how organized religion gets so focused on bringing people to the four walls of their church. They raise all this money to invest in a building when there are people starving, people homeless, people thirsty, etc. This book isn't just talking about things that happen in third world countries but things that are happening to people in our own neighborhood, city, state and country. Yet, we turn a blind eye. As Christians, is that really ok? I don't think so and this books stirs you to deepen that belief. Biblically, God doesn't call us to bring people to a building, but to GO AND MEET people's needs right where they are.  Christ didn't hold events posted in the temple's bulletin to bring people to the temple. NOPE! He went out to the people. 
This book is about moving. It's about getting out of your comfort zone and meeting the needs of others. Not just the homeless, poor, needy, widows and orphan, BUT ALSO your "neighbor". It could be for any reason, but simply taking your eyes beyond "self" and becoming more like Jesus and the God who will come again. The God who will come again not from a specific religion, but simply as God to take His people home. 
It's about taking off your Nine West, Michael Kors, Uggs, Anthropolgie purchased, Keens, Calvin Klein, Gucci, or Tory Burch shoes and becoming "barefoot". Letting go and meeting the needs of other right where they are.

Another game changer.

Well there you have it! That's what I am reading AND listening to these days. Phew...that's a lot of reading and listening!!! So far, I am loving this new batch of books!!!

Now I am curious...
Whatcha Reading? What books are sitting on your nightstand???
I'm always looking for a new book to read!


Friday, January 6, 2012

2012: Off To a Good Start

We have had some good times this week to kick off 2012. 

The hubs kicked off the week with the Orange Bowl...his family are HUGE Nebraska fans. 
Sadly South Carolina won by 10, but they had a blast wearing their red and white with pride. 

Midweek we hit a Magic game. The Magic SWEPT the Washington Wizards. Honestly, it was barely a "game", but always fun to go watch Dwight, JJ, Hedo and the crew hit the hoops. 
 We rarely take pics at the game, but after the house cleared out we thought we'd snap a couple real quick before leaving.

Then last night......
What is this you ask??? Um, only some roasted baby artichokes sprinkled with parmesan and chili peppers GOODNESS!!! 
Our community has started something called a Food Truck Round-Up. It's where gourmet food is made in a truck. All these local trucks (we counted 14!!!) literally round-up in a local park, they have a small band, and lots of picnic tables. 
You can't tell very well but this is a little peek into part of the round-up.
So for a few bones you can get yourself an AMAZING meal from different trucks. 
We'll be doing this every first Thursday night of the month! Great food! Great for the community!

Oh yea, I received my Amazima Ministries beads made in Uganda by women who are learning to use their creativity to make necklaces instead of turning to prostitution or brewing alcohol. They are simply beautiful! If you haven't read Kisses from Katie, I highly suggest you do. She is a young girl who has given everything to God and has built an amazing ministry in Uganda. Beautiful and COURAGEOUS story. 

Today, I plan on continuing my training for "The Run for Donna" half marathon in honor of Gina and Abby. Two young women in their late 20's and early 30's bravely and faithfully fighting the fight of their lives against breast cancer. Somedays I just don't feel like running (i.e. today) or the run seems to hard, but then I think about Gina and Abby. They don't get to just "rest" or "take a day off" so I keep focused and don't give up. 

I plan on wrapping up the day in reading The Help and in study for Sabbath School tomorrow. Always thankful for Fridays because that means a Sabbath is here with God's beautifully planned day of rest for us. 
Wonder what's in store for next week???

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Super Heroes and Super Warm Quilts

This Casa has had a very busy month!

Swing by Threads of Fler to see what I've been up to!

fler (

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year and Some Other Fun Stuff!

We had a wonderful dinner last night and then went to our friend's home to ring in the new year. OF COURSE, we changed into comfy clothes! They made a bon fire in their back yard and there may or may not have been a ton of smores devoured...HA! 

We are ready to see what fun paths 2012 takes us on. I have a suspicion it is going to be a GREAT YEAR!

I just have to share what happened during yesterday's Sabbath. Nothing short of God working.

Here's a sneak peek of where this story is going:
Any guesses???
HOLLA!!! Going to January's 2012 Created for Care Retreat!!!

Sold out right? No tickets to be found right??? 
Well yesterday I was reminded, without question, God moves when a path is His will. NO DOUBT.

Here's the story....
We are in the process of renewing our home study since it's been a year from initially completing it. We were required with home study and dossier to complete HOURS upon HOURS of education. All the education was really good, but we just have felt like we need to repeat it all. 

Yesterday while thinking about Sabbath I got this idea that maybe I should try to hunt down a ticket and attend Created for Care this year. I had been reading a lot of posts from fellow AGCI momma's about them getting all excited for the retreat and how the previous year had been life changing for them. Now, I also had seen another mom looking for a ticket and it took her a little while to get one. I was clear this may not work out since the tickets sold out in less than 48 hours back in September. I was also clear that just because I found a ticket did not mean there was a space to sleep at the retreat.

So I prayed. I asked God to figure it all out if He wanted me there.

I placed a post on our private listserv asking if there were any tickets for sale and if anyone needed a roommate. This felt like a leap for me because I would be spending a weekend in a room with people I had never literally met and at a conference where I knew people, but only through our online community. To me, it's kind of scary, but I am also beside myself excited to possibly meet all these beautiful women whom I've grown attached to virtually as we've journeyed the road to adoption together. We have never literally met, but I feel like I DO know them and the thought to hug them and thank them for being such a wonderful support system...WELL...I could hardly contain myself.

We went to church. What a beautiful service it was. Stop looking in the rearview mirror and make God your project manager for the days ahead. Savor the present and be thankful for what is around you. Be community to someone. Just what God wanted me to hear. 

We returned from church. I checked email and had received 3 emails and several posts in response to my question. God had a plan.

Within a couple hours I had a place to stay and a ticket. And guess what...turns out the amazing C4C organizer emailing me and helping me find a spot at the retreat...UM, it hit me...she is the momma from the video on our blog here that sealed our hearts for our journey to Ethiopia after lots of prayer and consideration. Seriously?!?!? How crazy is that???

God has a plan.

That isn't it. 

The hubs suggested I also take some time to visit some friends while in that direction. One of those besties has been praying in their home about adoption. In the last few months we have seen God move in their home making it clear this is His path for them. They are still working through details but they are now actively pursuing domestic adoption and it's exciting to watch. 

After emailing my besties, one of the potential rooms I could stay in had emailed and just briefly mentioned her home hadn't actually started the adoption process but was thinking about it. She is attending the conference with a friend. 

Then it hit me. Wait...could my bestie come? Could there be another available ticket???? 

God has a plan.

So I emailed my bestie with the C4C website and put the bug in her ear. She was interested in going but there was one concern. I suggested we take the risk, jump on a limb, trust God and see what happens. After seeing what happened with my ticket and lodging moments before we knew that if God wanted her there He would figure it out.

She agreed.

In less than 30 minutes we had a ticket and a room for her. 

God has a plan.

I sincerely believe I was NEVER meant to room with the woman who was thinking about adoption. I was meant to room with the momma's from our agency who have recently brought their children home. God placed both my bestie and I in rooms we were meant to be in.

My bestie and I both just got goosebumps and were shocked. A crazy whirlwind. We were stepping out and are taking a BIG LEAP in faith. The hubs was amazed at how God had worked. 

So with MASSIVE excitement...

Yep, we're off to the 2012 Created for Care Women's Retreat!!!
My bestie and I are on different journeys to our littles, but still the same. Excited to see how God is working in both of our families. I CANNOT wait for my AGCI family to meet her and welcome her in our community.

I CANNOT wait to give thanks to all the women who mean so much to me.
Most importantly, I am stand in awe of the mountains He can move.
God has a plan.