My Family

My Family
Summer 2015

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lessons from my dog

We have a crazy sweet goofy little dog named Buddy.  He is an 8 year old 20 lb Bischon/Shih tzu mix.

We can't let him outside unless he is on a leash because he will run away, turn back and look right at us and disobey.  He always comes back, but it is on his own terms--.  Then he comes to the door scratching and pleading to be let back in.  And of course we do.

If he is out on his leash, he often gets himself all twisted around the bushes in our front yard.  If it is cold and rainy outside this is annoying because he will sit and yap like he's annoyed until we untangle him and let him in the house.  He cannot think in the reverse enough to untangle himself.  He just sits out there yelping and waiting for us to come untangle him.

Then he comes inside all cheerful and wagging his tail.  He looks up at us like "hi, did you miss me?" like nothing has even happened.

One thing I do have to say, is he is a cheerful little animal.

Many times when he does this little leash twisting thing, I just get mad at him. I think "why do you always do this to yourself?"  "Dumb animal"...and other such not-nice things to say.  I am annoyed. Not my best moment.

Today, Peter and I were trying to have a conversation at the crack of dawn, and Buddy got himself stuck.  It was cold and wet and rainy outside.  It was 5 a.m.  Peter was not happy about going out to rescue him one more time.

But, when he came in, he sat at our feet, wagging his fluffy little tail and acting like we should be so happy to see his wet stinkiness.  He was rubbing his head on my bare foot.  I was not so happy.

As we were praying, Peter added thankfulness for our little dog...and his cheerful heart.  We noticed a few lessons from our dog this morning.  And things about our responses to our dog...Things that God often does for us, or does not do to us...

*  Eventhough we get ourselves into a twisted up mess,  God comes to rescue us and untangle us.
*  I wonder how often my prayers sound like "yelping" to God.  But, he still welcomes them.
*  Sometimes we too run from God.  Looking right at him and choosing to do things our own way.  But, He is there waiting for us to return.  He will always welcome us with open arms. God is never annoyed with our requests.  Even if we beg.
*  "A cheerful heart is good medicine..." (Proverbs 17:22 )
*  I need to look up to God fully content, in this moment, with thanksgiving.
*  Then the final lesson from my's really good at this one)....Just know my needs are going to be taken care of, and rest assured the next meal, the next need will come---He will supply all I need.  So I do not need to worry.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?   Mt. 6:26

Monday, February 27, 2012

Wisdom and Discernment

Today's theme in addition to Ephesians 3:20-21, is asking God for Discernment and Wisdom and committing to intense prayer in regards to the direction he wants us to go.
1 Kings 3:5-14 speaks about God giving King Solomon the choice for anything he wanted, and Solomon's request was for discernment and wisdom.  After he asked God for that, God gave him so much more...But Solomon didn't go into it with a heart of manipulation toward God.  He didn't say to God..hmmm if I say I want something like Discernment what else will you give me?  His heart was pure and his request was honest and from the heart.  He wanted to be given Discernment and Wisdom.  God gave him beyond the beyond after he heard Solomon's honest heart felt request.

So I'm left with my own questions....What do I really desire?  Peter is wrestling too.  We wonder,
"have we missed something along the way?"  Or is this just another journey God wants us to walk?
Am I asking for the right things?  Are we really open to anything God may desire?

These verses also minister to me on a continual basis in times like this...
(just so happens to be Solomon's daddy that spoke This prayer..King David)
1 Chronicles 29:11-14
11 Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power 
   and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, 
   for everything in heaven and earth is yours. 
Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; 
   you are exalted as head over all. 
12 Wealth and honor come from you; 
   you are the ruler of all things. 
In your hands are strength and power 
   to exalt and give strength to all. 
13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, 
   and praise your glorious name.
 14 “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.

When you see things from the perspective that God owns it all...and controls it all...and is the ruler of all...and has the power over all things...
How can we walk in a place of depression or regret or hang our heads?  
But, we do---at least I do-- and sometimes I don't realize how much it is affecting me until the weight is gone.  

Everything belongs to Him!
"Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name."

walking in faith step by step and watching God do some little miracles each day. (ie couponing, generous friends, and small leads for Peter here and there--)

Sunday, February 26, 2012


A little side note and what I like to call God's Provision.

Today was an example of what I LOVE to do to pinch pennies and figure out how to save as much money on groceries and household items as I can.

I have friends that have turned me on to something called "Southern Savers"--this is a website where coupons are matched up with weekly store deals in the area.  It makes couponing SOO much easier.

It has transformed the way I coupon.

Sometimes it works better than other times but today was my RiteAid day.  I actually prayed before I walked into the store that all things would line up as I planned before I left the house.  The shelves were stocked and I got everything in this picture for $10 out of pocket expense but I am also getting a $5.00 rebate that I sent for after the trip.  So that makes my total for ALLLLLL of this FIVE DOLLARS.
Really, all totally legal, totally ok stuff to do.  No expired coupons, etc.  This is what I LOVE about couponing...

$5.00 total spent (after I get my rebate of $5.00 in a few weeks)

This to me is God providing.  It also is a way for us to turn what we have been given into a Loaves and Fishes moment.
I have to say I have a sweet friend who just gave us some money and apologized for it not being more.  She prayed that it would multiply .... I would say God multiplied it wouldn't you????
To God Be the Glory!!!

Random Pics and Lucas update

 Sometimes food in our house is just weird.
This is Lucas eating, banana yogurt, red bell peppers and a funky salty pickeled radish thing that he really likes (we have a Chinese grocery store about 10 minutes from our house)...

This is Valentine's Day.  Lucas loved the day of friends and fun!  but, of all things, he refused to eat a chocolate cupcake.  After that last picture---really????

 cupcake decorating---

 Again the Chinese grocery store.  I found this carrot---2.25 lbs.  It is seriously THE biggest thing I have ever seen in my life.  And it was 50 cents.  Lucas LOVED it!  (he didn't eat the whole thing)

 Overall, our days are filled with home schooling, playing with friends, watching movies, playing games, and just enjoying how Lucas is blossoming in language and in his walking abilities.  He is bending his right leg more now.  We do see this leg seems to be a little weaker but it is not stopping him much.  He is climbing stairs, riding his bike, playing with friends, climbing playground equipment including a kids rock wall at the park the other day.  We are blessed to have him in our lives!
Thanks for your prayers!

Friday, February 24, 2012

I Lift My Hands..

Everytime I begin to write this post I type a sentence or two and delete it.  There really doesn't seem to be a good way to admit/share financial struggles.  I remain perplexed as to why this particular issue is so hard to discuss.  I can talk all day long about my heart's cry and desire regarding grief, adoption, daily things that come up.  I can be vulnerable in all those areas without hesitation at all.  But, for some reason, and I am afraid this is true for a lot of people, when it comes to finances we clam up.  
Is it because it is tied somehow to a fear of judgement? 
As in, if I admit we have financial issues, someone out there is going to judge us ---"do you work hard enough?" ;"did you save enough?"; "Did you Really go out to eat, when you could have stayed home and saved $10?" "join the club",  or...even a good one...(seriously this is a good question) 
 "Are you following all the Bibilical mandates required to be financially in line with God?"

Last week we had a tough realization again, that we are on our "last month" of payments.  
and bills have piled up.  
God has brought us to this place before and supplied.  
Can He do it again? 
 I'm certain He can.
  Will He?  
Stay tuned!

Sometimes events happen that I like to call God's "chain reactions".  They may begin with heart ache.
God brings us to a place of complete vulnerablity and humility.  Then He says "watch this"...
There is a precurser to this one-the day before, my good friend Katherine asked "so how are you guys doing financially?"  I answered with some question because at that point I just was not sure.
the next day...
I heard my husband say "there is nothing left"
I left the house to go to my Bible Study, stunned and hurting.
I still went not knowing the next steps God was about to take.
I listened as Priscilla Shirer spoke on Ephesians 3:20-21.
I felt a tug at my heart like this video (made in 2009) was made just for me this night.
My friend Katherine approached me afterward and responded to a text I had sent her before the study telling her it was "not good".
Other ladies were over hearing me recount our distress.
Then the lady next to me felt led to give.
I was overwhelmed and wept at God's Provision.
I came home and showed it to Peter and he smiled.
That is how my God works...
over and over and over again
We just have to be open to being vulnerable and "seeing".  
He Is Faithful!
I need to hear that daily!
I need to open my eyes to seeing how He works.
And ready to accept what He offers in the moment--with humility and recognition that it came from Him.

 Ephesians 3:20-21.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen

Our struggle remains.  But, watching God supply even gas money, is such a huge blessing.
During our study, Priscilla Shirer was challenging us to believe in the beyond-the-beyond of what God CAN do.  Do we believe the Creator of the universe CAN do "immeasurably" more than we can even ask or imagine?  Right now for us it is a financial issue.  
But for others it is health or relationships or other things.  
My struggle has never been believing He CAN!  

I remember sitting with my hands on Jacob's body the day before he died and feeling whatever had spread to his neck (lumps) and praying---KNOWING full well that God could perform a miracle in this boy.  Even when it looked impossible.  A miracle of healing.  I know people who have experienced this kind of deliverance and I KNOW my GOD CAN!  There is not a shadow of doubt within me that He CAN move mountains, that he IS the Creator of the universe and every detailed cell in our bodies.  
He has more power than you or I could ever begin to put words to.
Jacob died the next day.
So how could I still believe that?
The difference is this...
God Can
in His Sovereignty
 (which I will always desire to get a peek at)
Will He?

Now, I'm faced with a similar challenge.  Do I believe God can deliver us from this struggle? I feel like I am laying hands on a cancerous tumor.  And things look bleek.
Do I believe He wants to give us "good gifts" (Mt. 7:9-11)?  
How do I ramp up the faith to believe again? 

I DO believe that even in financial struggles God CAN deliver-
In our study, Faithful, Abundant and True, Priscilla suggested that we go ahead and pray for "Immeasurably more" and then even believe he can do beyond that.

(Having said that, I throw in a caution...I'm not talking about a "name it and claim it" mentality that some people teach.  Pulling scripture out of context is not what I'm talking about.  God is not a vending machine...I put in my 25cents and he gives me what I want...ugh! no!--that's another whole topic for discussion)

Here in lies the other piece to the puzzle.
His Sovereignty.
If I get to the place where I believe that He CAN do beyond the beyond in our lives, 
I've laid myself open to being very vulnerable.  
I've done this repeatedly in my life.  
Then God says:
"I have another plan"
"It involves pain"
"It may not 'look' good"
Rom. 8:28 says:

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

So if God chooses another plan, another path that I would not choose because it causes pain, does that mean I get to discredit him and say....
"I don't believe you Can?"

After the study last week I got in my car and this song was on the radio. Another piece to the "chain reaction"... I've heard it a thousand times because it is played a lot, but God's timing was amazing.  After it was done, I just turned the radio off and sat to think about how God speaks to me.
How dare I not believe God will be faithful "again" no matter what.

I Lift My Hands
Chris Tomlin

Be still, there is a healer
His love is deeper than the sea
His mercy, it is unfailing
His arms are fortress for the weak

Let faith arise
Let faith arise

I lift my hands to believe again
You are my refuge, You are my strength
As I pour out my heart
These things, I remember
You are faithful, God, forever

Be still, there is a river
That flows from Calvary's tree
A fountain for the thirsty
Pure grace that washes over me

Let faith arise
Let faith arise

I lift my hands to believe again
You are my refuge, You are my strength
As I pour out my heart
These things, I remember
You are faithful, God, forever

I lift my hands to believe again
You are my refuge, You are my strength
As I pour out my heart
These things, I remember
You are faithful, God, forever

Let faith arise, let faith arise
Open my eyes, open my eyes
Let faith arise, let faith arise
Open my eyes, open my eyes

I lift my hands to believe again
You are my refuge, You are my strength
As I pour out my heart
These things, I remember
You are faithful, God, forever

And I lift my hands to believe again
You are my refuge, You are my strength
As I pour out my heart
These things, I remember
You are faithful, God
You are faithful, God, forever

Let faith arise
Let faith arise

Now, here is the thing.  I know my husband has talent.  I know he is an extremely hard working man. He has a very positive attitude and heart.  He loves the Lord.   I know he wants to supply for his family.  And I know this season is so hard on him.  So could you just pray?  I feel like I have to cry out to the masses.  On his behalf.  We've asked for prayer from strangers to relatives before.  We are not asking for pity.  
That is not why I am sharing...We are asking for prayer...
Pray that there would be something "Immeasurably more than we could ask or think" that God could do.  I don't expect a life of ease.  I'm not saying "drop a million dollars in my lap so I can live on easy street." I know with all my heart, that simply living in America and having food to eat is a bigger blessing than most of the world has.  Maybe that is part of the hesitation in bringing up this issue too.  But, I also cannot disregard that God may have a plan that we need to get in line with.  Maybe He does want to show us "immeasurably more" than we could ask or think.  And maybe it is going to involve pain and loss again.  
But, maybe, just maybe, he has something that we need to tap into here that we should not discount. 
We need to enter into this with a heart of Gratitude and remember what He has done in the past. 
In the past, prayer warriors from the ends of the earth have rallied with us to watch what God can do. 
Please join us in prayer! 
Let Faith Arise...

oh... and If anyone knows of anyone that needs an awesome amazing Construction Project Manager....
This is your man!  Either for an immediate project to be completed or a job offer, we are open.  
He also sells individual health and life insurance cuz he is working his tail off...
To God be the Glory Now and Forever

Thursday, February 23, 2012

chinese jibberish...

Lucas is cracking me up the past few days.
He likes to pretend he is talking on a phone.

normal kid stuff right?
And sometimes kids will make up non-sense words like they are chatting with the other person on the line.
All good.

Except he has this funny verbage right now that is just making me die laughing.
Maybe this should not be surprising, but he is using chinese jibberish.  He really speaks NO Chinese anymore, and cannot even understand Chinese people anymore.  So this is very funny.  It has intonations and inflections in it that are very Chinese.  I am going to try to get a video and attach it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Shriner's Appointment yesterday

Yesterday, Lucas and I drove up to Shriners for a PT appointment and adjustment to his prosthesis.  Finally, I think we have a resolution to the non-bending right leg.  They did a few adjustments and then gave us some extra exercises to do.
So beware....I think he will be running very soon with his new legs and the baseball world better watch out, cuz he is determined to play baseball this spring.  (he's a pretty good batter too, so beware of flying baseballs if you come near our house)

Happy Valentine's Day--another new holiday for Lucas to evaluate and figure out.  At our house Peter buys those little cards that you hand out in classrooms, signs them and hides them all over the house.  Each person has their own "themed" cards and we tend to find them for months after Valentine's Day-- in drawers, in pockets of pants, in books, on mirrors, etc.  Lucas is having fun searching for them all over the house.

We are having a little party later with some friends so that should be fun too.

Happy Valentine's Day to all...=)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

a Grammy "A War"...

Our house is all a flutter this evening as we are apparently talking about "A War"....
Lucas and I were excitedly chatting downstairs about the Grammy Awards...
We found out Chris Tomlin won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album  And If Our God is For Us...  Since he leads worship at our church we are all flippy excited for him.
Lucas even called daddy with my cell phone while he was working upstairs to tell him the news.

Now, these are the moments when we realize there are still little gaps in the fine tuning of English 101.

A few minutes later we went to take a bath, and Lucas went into Peter's office.  He was very concerned about Chris.  He told Peter,
"Chris might get injured".  
"He might get shot"
Peter was very confused.  Apparently getting a Grammy is very dangerous???
 He might get killed in "A --WAR"!
"with Army Guys"

The precious boy thought we were talking about Chris being in A WAR...not getting an awarD!!

I think we have it cleared up now.  He should be able to sleep knowing Chris is perfectly safe and happy!=)  and going home with an awarDDD! not going off to WAR!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

taxes and tears...

But, not the reason you would think.
Yes, doing taxes makes me cry, but today tears came for a less obvious reason.

We have to file a special form for our completed adoption in 2011.
It should work out in our favor and we are so grateful for this credit.
But, it forced me to go searching through paperwork from our trip.
All the official stuff from China.
I had to dig a little.
I had to sort receipts.
I smiled as I recalled certain aspects of our trip.
It makes me want to go back.

But, I never really looked at some of the translated documents before.  And I ran across one that brought tears.

Perhaps this is too personal, but I'm that kind of person.

Maybe someday, I will remove this post, but I just had to share my heart for a moment.
As you might expect there are loads of Chinese documents and most of them are translated into English.  But, I never really read them closely.  However, today I was given the gift of a silent house for about 4 hours while everyone was gone.  I actually looked at them in more detail.  And this paragraph made me cry...the title alone should be enough to "get ya'"
Abandonment Statement
"(his name)SW, male, born Jan. 26, 2004, was found abandoned at (named) Petrol Station, (and details follow about the "where" but I would rather not list all of that) on January 31, 2004.  He was sent to CWI of Chifeng by Policemen of ....(a local Police station) on the same day.  We have tried to find his biological parents more than three months, none of his biological parents or relatives has been found up to now.  SW is proven to be an abandoned infant."

Is this news to me? not really.  But, to see it in print.  To see the details and names of locations and information in an official document, in both Chinese and English is so heart renching to me.  Maybe it is not appropriate for me to post this info. But, it is a hardened fact, that this happens so so so so often.  Not only in China, but all over the world for a variety of reasons.  
Lucas knows his "chinese momma and baba" could not take care of him.  It's just matter of fact for him.  He hasn't really processed it too deeply with us yet.  There will be layers we will have to upack over time.  
But, the sad hard fact is....
he was abandoned.
My sweet adorable precious son
had to be abandoned so that we could welcome him into our family.
Such a boatload of emotions with that.
Guilt being at the top of the list.
But, questions like "why"?
Why did it have to be this way?
I'm so sorry his beginning was so hard.
I am filled with such deep gratitude for where we are today.
When he drives me batty with discipline issues like he did this week, I have to take pause.  I have to maintain self-control.  I have to recall the root of the issue.  And I have to call on Jesus to help me through the day.  I have to remember what a precious gift and privelege it is to be called to adoption.  It is NOT any easy road.  There are a lot of unanswered questions.  More come to mind each day, particularly with a verbal child with a conscious memory of his past that changes his stories about what happened there.  

Today I'm overwhelmed with the Greatness of our Sovereign God.  His plans and ways are beyond my simple comprehension. In God's economy nothing is wasted.  All things work together for Good...boggles the mind.

Eph 3:20-21
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Well, anyone who has done life with me knows...
If you send kids to Our House, especially during the summer,
or warm weather during the Spring or Fall,
they may get wet or dirty.
It's just a matter of life at Chez J.

So, today, sir Lucas Boy wanted to play outside.
He got the hose out.
He wanted to wash my car.
It isn't quite that warm out, but I think we hit 60 today so maybe that's warm enough---
especially if you can't feel how wet your feet are getting through your soaking wet socks and shoes....

I kept checking on him, but at one point while I was inside (baking bread-really I was checking a lot),
he got into more mud and more water....unrelated to washing the car.

His shoes were completely soaked as well as his socks.
Mud was everywhere.

He was such a boy!!!!
Love that part of the day!
Letting him loose to play!

Typically my response in these situations is
"It's washable"
I learned that phrase many years ago from my friend Anne G.
I don't mind dirt and water.
Boys should get wet and muddy.  It's part of the package.

That's been my motto for years.

I moved to Georgia.
What is with this DIRT anyway?

It is just evil.
Once it gets on something it does not come off.
I feel like the mom-that-can't-stand-her-kids-getting-dirty.
I don't want to be that mom.
My neighbor here once said to me last summer as I attempted to garden...
"You know what they say about Georgia clay don't ya?"
me:  "no..".
"They say it's the blood of all the soldiers"
me: "oooo....ok"
not sure how a northerner is suppose to respond to that exactly...(he was sort of chuckling so I think it was suppose to be funny)  but it was an awkward moment...

I do know it's awful to get out of clothing, carpet, and anything it touches.

Where is my good ole Wisconsin dirt?
How can I miss DIRT?

I miss my backyard in WI where we had a creek and places for adventure and creative playtime in the dirt----that was washable.

I guess I'll have to figure this out, but in the meantime, there is still something humorous about a boy getting his shoes and socks completely wet and soaked and being completely clueless about it.  Puts a lot of things in perspective.
I guess I will just deal with the dirt.

Friday, February 3, 2012

"I will tell them a Lion ate my legs!"

Sitting at a Chick Fil A restaurant...
Lucas is eating food...
Then he wanted to go play in the play yard...
But, he noticed the sign that says "no shoes allowed".  Well that presents a bit of a problem..
I said, "Let's just take your legs off and you can go play." (another quote that falls into the "things I never thought I'd hear myself say" category from the previous post)
So as we are taking them off he says...
"What if the kids ask me what happened to my legs?"
I said,
"just tell them you had surgery"
with a chuckle and all on his own he says:
"I will tell them a lion ate my legs"
I completely cracked up!
Then he reminded me that I told him to say that a while ago.
I had completely forgotten.
It was several months ago as a sort of joke. I think he was still in casts at the time.
But, today he remembered.

So he went to play. Just socks on...which didn't last long...cuz those came off too.

A few minutes later a sweet little girl--maybe about age 6 came out with a puzzled look on her face.
All I could think was "oh noooo, he didn't"....

She went over to her table, within my earshot, where her grandparents were sitting.
She said "He said a lion ate his legs"...
I totally cracked up inside my own head.
But, tossed out a little clarification for the sweet thing....
"Um, I'm sorry, but it's sort of an inside joke for our family..uh hum....he just had surgery"

Was that wrong?
Oh my gosh I cannot stop laughing about this.
Lucas was completely cracking up and thinks it is just the funniest thing ever.

I just know I'm gonna get reported to some PC organization for kids with stumps someday.
Oh my goodness, help me!

Things I never dreamed I'd be saying....

Life in our house is .....well.....interesting.

But, to be honest I reallly don't think about the way we may look to the outside world.  Or what they may think when Lucas's legs get tired and suddenly I find myself walking through a museum carrying 2 prosthetic legs with shoes attached and a punky little boy with no feet trailing behind (well, the truth is, he is usually running ahead of me faster than I can keep up with--yes with no feet).  

It's actually kind of funny sometimes because he is running so fast and then they look at him more closely and kind of furrow their brow and then look at him again and look at me.  Nobody has really actually said anything yet.  Although I've found myself turning the cart once in a while so his legs are tight against me if he is sitting in it with no legs on.  Kids are the ones who really stare and I can see they are ready to "launch" with something.  So far, Lucas is still unashamed and not self conscious about it at all.

I never dreamed I'd be saying things like this on a regular basis...

"Get your legs on!"
"You can't leave your legs laying in the middle of the floor for people to trip over!"
"Yes, when we go out you HAVE to wear your legs.  All of us have to wear shoes when we go to the store, so you need to wear your legs."

life in our house.
not a big deal