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Oh hey

Wondering where I am? I’m not just ignoring my blog like I sometimes do. *wink* I actually started a new blog and couldn’t keep this same address.

So head on over to my new blog and be sure to book mark it or follow me there cause I’m going to do better keeping up with it. Promise.

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…now THAT is the question.

Last year in February I went on my first real mission trip. I got a passport and headed to Mexico for a week with some of my church family. It was such a wonderful time. Meeting new people, doing things I wouldn’t normally do, growing in my faith. Awesome.

Our church goes to this same area about twice a year and I knew another trip would be coming up in 2011. While I felt a huge pull to go last year I hadn’t really felt that for the 2011 trip.

In addition to Mexico, our church family took several other mission trips last year and one of them was to Haiti. This was our first trip to Haiti. I really wanted to go. But I’d gone to Mexico just a few months before and I honestly didn’t feel a huge pull to go.

Then about a month ago I was in church and during worship my heart just started burning. Nothing was even mentioned about missions but I just all of the sudden felt a huge burning in my heart to do another mission trip. I wanted to go back to Mexico in February. I wanted to join the Haiti team for the March trip.

I mentioned the desire to my husband. Then I contacted a friend who went to Haiti in the fall of 2010. Then I met with her. And oddly enough, without even planning it, another person integrally involved in this mission just happened to be at our meeting place.

After much prayer I decided that I would go to Haiti.

Now I’m continuing to pray.

Today I got an email regarding the most recent travel warning for Haiti. I’m not gonna lie. It’s scary. Real scary. I have prayed a lot since getting and reading this information. When I got it, I went right to the website and read it.

Travel Warning.

Lots of details about the risks of traveling to Haiti right now. All the horrible awful things that could happen to you. Burglary. Kidnapping. Murder.

Then I searched any information on the area I’m wanting to adopt from. Know what I found? The same exact information with the same exact travel warning. There are some adoption agencies that require escorts to pick up your children. In the last week however, I’ve found out that the country will no longer allow an escort and you have to travel yourself.

It’s all a lot to take in. As much as I’m feeling that pull and desire to go it’s still scary. I was 19 when my Mom died of cancer. It has been so hard getting married and having children and growing older without my Mom.

My fear of dying isn’t that great. If I die doing something that my God has lead me to…I have no fear. This song was one of the first I heard right after hearing of the new travel restrictions to Haiti…

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

~Matt Redman

My biggest fear, having matured as an adult without my Mom, is that my own children won’t have their Mom around. I can’t stand that thought.

So I’m praying. Tomorrow I’ll attend a meeting about our trip. I will be praying that my intentions for this trip are truly what I should be doing and will be blessed.

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Crybaby

I just sent this message out to the amazing women in my life group. I spent most of our time Sunday with tears in my eyes. I couldn’t help it. I’m a crybaby.

So, I had a bit of a rough day on Sunday.

Brad said that after our life group he got all sorts of texts asking if we were ok. We are. Most definitely. And while we did have a bit of a tiff Sunday morning (I wanted to go to Madi’s Volleyball tournament, there wasn’t enough room for everyone, I really had stuff I should stay home and do, so he got to go and I was jealous…basically I was being a big baby.) that had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I couldn’t look at a single person Sunday without crying.

I’m a bit of a weeper. There are times when everything just seems to hit me like a ton of bricks and I can do nothing but cry. Every commercial, every kind look from a friend, every thought that comes to my mind…everything just makes me weepy. And let me tell you, there isn’t a whole lot more frustrating for Brad then to have me be like that. We’ve been married 17 years. We’ve had the following conversation, um, a few times.

“What’s wrong? Why are you crying?”

“I don’t know.”

“What do you mean you don’t know? You HAVE to know why you’re crying.”

“I don’t know. I’m just crying.”

“That makes no sense”

And then I cry even more

So Sunday morning at church we talked about the Holy Spirit and pretty much every word that was said and every song that was sung made me tear up. Then at life group Sunday night it wasn’t much better. I’m not a very good communicator. At all. So even if I sort of know why I’m weepy it’s not generally something that I can explain. It makes sense in my head (sort of) but if I try to verbalize that issue it makes no sense and I’m left feeling like whoever I’m talking to thinks I’m a complete and total idiot.

The fact of the matter is that between my friend next to me being sweet and giving me the occasional pat and our leader encouraging us to share I knew that if I even thought about opening my mouth it was going to be bad. Like one of those big fat ugly cries where you can’t catch your breath and your start snorting when you try to. Super Duper Ugly Cry. And since I’d met Brad at group since he’d been in Tulsa all day I wanted to talk with him first. Of course once we got home I couldn’t talk with him either, because I couldn’t talk without crying. I didn’t want to frustrate him by crying and I had no idea that he thought I was angry with him. (Which apparently he did. So he brought it up just before my entire sophomore YG came over on Monday morning which threw me into a hysterical sobbing fit just in time for the first car load of people to show up and wonder what the heck was going on. Awesomeness.)

So really the whole issue was/is just that I’m confused. It’s not a whole lot different than most of the other comments from group on Sunday night. In the last several years I have felt like I have really grown in my faith. Then there are days that I feel like Teagan must know more than I do because I’m so confused by it all. I feel like the Holy Spirit is active in me but then I doubt if that’s truly what it is or as my pastor Jim said Sunday if it’s just a “bee in my bonnet”. I’m tired of our house not selling. I’m tired of feeling led to do things that cost money (adopt, missions, etc) and not being strong enough to just say “let’s do it, God will make it work” because there is always that doubt that it’s that buzz of the bee and not really from Him. I’m basically just tired.

Brad told a friend the other day that he thought if he came home from work and told me he’d quit his job and thought that we should move to some remote village in Africa that I’d be ok with that. He’s right. I really would. I’d have us all packed up and ready to go by the end of the week. Because I would feel like we were finally really DOING something. I think God has something really huge in store for my family. I feel like, actually I KNOW that there has to be more than this. But what is it? When will I know? WILL I ever know? Or am I just going to end up someday in Heaven saying, “Oh THAT’S what you wanted from me? Why didn’t you tell me?!”

So there you have it. That, in a nutshell of jumbled thoughts and words, is what is going on with me. Thank you for listening to me. I truly do appreciate each and every one of you and am so thankful to have you in my life! And if I don’t tell you in person enough, it’s because I’ll do the ugly-cry if I do and really…no one needs to see that.

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Our church has been doing a series titled “Echo” this fall. It is focused on our response to the gospel call and each week we have dealt with a different topic in the gospel.

Hear

Believe

Repent

Confess

Be Baptized

Filled with the Holy Spirit

On Sunday nights our life group meets and we go over the sermon from that morning. I always enjoy meeting with my life group. The fact that our family is with the group of people that we are is something that I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit had his hand in. While I enjoy the group though, I don’t feel like I contribute much in the way of discussion. I’m more of a sit-and-observe type when it comes to that type of situation.

Last night was different.

We talked about being filled with the Holy Spirit. About feeling convicted and led to do something and how we knew that it was the Holy Spirit. One of my friends mentioned that he felt like there was no other explanation sometimes and that it had to be the Holy Spirit because he would be led to do things that were just not characteristically “normal” for him.

That’s when I chimed in. This past year + I have felt more filled with the Holy Spirit than I ever have. I can remember thinking just a couple short years ago that a couple I knew who were adopting must be doing it because of fertility struggles. Because honestly, I had no idea why you would adopt otherwise.

Really. That’s what I thought.

Then God started working on me. Working on me in all sorts of different ways. He truly broke my heart for what breaks His. That little adoption seed had been planted and I started to get it. Instead of wondering why a couple would choose to adopt I struggled to understand why more couples weren’t doing it.

And so, when my friend last night said that he knew the Holy Spirit was working in him when he did certain things because they were out of character I agreed. And I talked. Out loud.

And I added a little twist.

What if, you are led to do something that seems so out of character but then looking back you realize it’s not out of character at all. Like adoption. That thing that once seemed so distant. Yet looking back, even as far as your own childhood, you can see all sorts of things that led you to where you are now.

And it’s then that you realize that He has been there all along. Working on you all these years and just waiting for you to ask Him.

Fill me UP Lord!

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Sacrifice

So our church is doing this 10 Days project with our local college students. When my family first started hearing about it I think we all kind of thought it sounded like something we should do. No one really mentioned it though. Until the weekend before it started and my husband and I just kind of looked at each other and said, “So, are we gonna do it?” We are.

My family is a bit too into our caffeinated beverages. We aren’t big coffee drinkers but pop is a big thing. Mostly for Brad and me. Mostly for me really. Brad can go with just water and maybe one pop a day. I on the other hand wake up craving Diet Pepsi. So I have one and then I have another around lunch time and then maybe another around 3:00 and then one or two (or three) at dinner time. I try to not let the kids drink it but they sure love Dr. Pepper/Diet Dr. Pepper. It’s a bad habit that I’ve allowed them to start early. So we figured we’d give this whole “Drink Water to Give Water” campaign a try.

We are currently on day 8 with just 2 days left. I’ve gotta be honest here…I really wasn’t sure we’d all make it this far. Last Monday when we started the Today show did a story about the cholera outbreak in Haiti. While the kids and I were up and getting ready for school and whining about not being able to have anything but water for breakfast our tv showed images like this one.


(People suffering from cholera-like symptoms lay on the floor at a hospital run by the Haitian government where Médecins Sans Frontières is treating people. October 27, 2010 in St. Marc, Haiti. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

I took the opportunity to tell the kids that this is why we are drinking water only for 10 days. The money we would have spent on other drinks during those 10 days will go towards building wells in Africa so that this sort of thing can be prevented. We know that it is going to take a whole lot more than our family of 6 drinking water for 10 days to really make a difference, but we can help. So while that news story helped a bit and gave most of us the focus we needed to get started it didn’t really do much for my 10 year old daughter Sadie. She doesn’t like water. At. All. Watching the story my youngest was obviously sad about the people she saw on the screen. Sadie…not so much. She just really wanted a big glass of milk with breakfast. And the opportunity to have some Dr. Pepper with dinner. I figured I was in for a pretty long 10 days with that one.

Then something really really awesome happened. She whined a bit. We all did really. But when one of us wanted a pop there was someone else there to say we couldn’t have one. Sadie and Teagan shared what they were doing with their classmates. Then they shared with me that some of their friends had decided to join in and participate too. On Thursday after school when we were pressed for time we stopped at the gas station for an after school snack. I was sure to remind the girls that they couldn’t have a pop and expected to have eyes rolling and a bit of whining and was thrilled when they both said, “we know.”

Then we got in the car and Sadie shared the COOLEST story with me. She told me that her friend Macy had decided to join in and drink water only. Macy’s Dad was already doing it at home but Macy wasn’t and since she saw Sadie put her milk back at school she thought she’d do the same. A little boy at their table asked why they were taking their milks back and so the girls explained the 10 Days program to him. He said, “Well, your parents won’t ever know if you have a milk at school. Why don’t you just sneak one?” to which the girls explained in a very matter-of-fact way that then they wouldn’t be sacrificing anything.

Wow.

She gets it. She REALLY gets it!

I can’t tell you how my heart fluttered when I heard that. The daughter that I thought was most likely to spend 10 days whining and crying and begging for pop is out there being the hands and feet of Jesus and shining her light. Woohoo! I’m looking forward to Wednesday now. When we can all sit down together and tally up how much we would have spent over the last 10 days and write a check to help build a well.

So. Cool.

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Dreaming big

I follow several people on Twitter and Facebook who are adoption advocates or have their own adoption blogs that I like to occasionally read. This past weekend was the Together For Adoption conference in Austin, Texas. I kind of wish I would have known about it earlier and been able to attend. I think it would have been amazing to be a part of. I wasn’t able to go but a lot of the people I follow were there so I was constantly being updated with news of the conference which was pretty cool.

One person I follow on Twitter is Missy from It’s Almost Naptime. She updated constantly with all sorts of awesome info which I really enjoyed reading. Her blog entry from yesterday was something I felt was worth sharing. I sometimes worry that my whole entire blog could end up being re-posts from other people’s blogs and websites but there is so much great information out there that I really want to share that I guess it doesn’t really matter. Right? Forgive me if you’ve already read this. If not, read on. And be sure to watch her blog the rest of the week as she promises to share information daily from the T4A Conference.

Last night, after spending two days at the Together for Adoption Conference in Austin, I laid down with the feeling you have after a funeral. You know the physical, emotional, spiritual exhaustion that makes you want your bed more than anything? That feeling.

I slept. I slept well.

This morning when I woke up, I had an email from Joel Osteen. (He emails me often, thanks to my friend Jolie who thought it would be cute to put me on his list.)

And here’s what Joel had to tell me:

Dear missy,

Victoria and I want to invite you to join us tonight for our LIVING YOUR DREAM webcast. You’ll be encouraged during this wonderful time together as we share life-changing stories about God’s goodness and what He wants to do in your life!

We want you to know that you can experience God’s best every single day. We serve a God of more than enough, a God who loves you with unconditional love. Today, you can be confident in God’s promises and start believing for your dreams!

Click here to share your dream with us!!

I’m thinking I should click there to tell Joel my dreams.

Something tells me my dreams would be a little different than the prosperity “gospel” he loves to sell. Something tells me that my idea of God’s best and Joel’s idea of God’s best differ a little.

I dream that some of the 160,000,000 orphans in the world would ‘experience God’s best every single day.’ I dream that more Christians would ‘be confident in God’s promises’ that the ‘God of more than enough’ will provide the funds to adopt one of his children. I dream that the Church would notice the many verses in the bible about protecting the fatherless and be determined to share ‘life-changing stories about God’s goodness’ to a toddler who scrounges for food on the street. I dream that the Church would make it her mission to share stories of ‘God’s unconditional love’ with the foster child who has not one person alive who loves her. I dream that the Church would care more for orphans than Hollywood does. I dream that the Church would do more for orphans than the UN does.

I dream that the average soccer mom who loves Jesus was the spokesperson for orphan adoption, instead of Angelina Jolie.

It’s going to take more than watching a webcast to see these dreams realized.

I’ll be blogging about the conference all week. I’ve got lots to say. Most of it hurts. Still, I pray you’ll read.

Then, let’s live the dream.

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Sprouted…and growing!

I just went back to look at some of the first few entries into my blog. I started this blog almost a year ago. That was after several months of feeling like our family was being led to adopt. I remember that at the time, I thought that it was something that needed to happen NOW. Like, let’s fill out the paperwork. Get this ball rolling. Pronto.

After an initial mention of adoption from Brad, he really started to act like it wasn’t something that we would ever really do. And that if by chance we ever really did it would be years down the road.

Ugh.

That wasn’t what I wanted to hear. As scared as I felt about the process, I just really felt like it was what we were being called to do. Then when Brad was so reluctant I felt doubt. Why would I feel so strongly about this when my husband so seemingly felt like it was not something we needed to be doing?

My friend Ashley brought her sweet little girl home from Rwanda right around the time that I started this blog. In her own blog posts, she often mentioned that she hoped that perhaps through her family’s adoption journey that seeds would be planted for others to do the same. I felt like that seed had definitely been planted but worried it would never sprout, let alone grow.

Today, on October 1st 2010 I am pleased to announce that the seed planted in my heart that has sprouted and grown now seems to be doing the same in Brad’s. I’ve prayed so much over the course of the last year and I know that other’s have prayed as well. My biggest prayer has been for Brad and me to be united in this decision. It hasn’t been easy and there have been times when I thought perhaps bringing another child into our home wasn’t what I should be thinking about and that I needed to be concentrating on helping orphans in some other way. That just never really felt right though.

There is an adoption conference going on right now in Austin, Texas and I tweeted a link to the live feed earlier this morning. Brad texted me and asked what that was about and then jokingly said, “You getting us a baby?” I let him know that no, I didn’t have us signed up to bring anyone home anytime soon and his response was, “I’m on board. We just have to work some stuff out.”

Praise God!

He has totally worked in Brad’s heart and I’m so thankful. And now as much as I want send off an application like yesterday I know that it will all work in His perfect timing. We need to sell our home, find a new one and figure out how I will be able to continue my job with a little person around. So for now I will keep busy with those things. Praying for a buyer. Praying for patience during this time of waiting. And of course just praising God for all the amazing blessings He has provided!

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