Saturday, July 28, 2012

{update}: the moghadams

Still no update on sweet little Amelia, but God knows the exact details of that situation.  Keep praying!

But if you've wondered about the Moghadams family that was detained in Ghana, I mentioned it here, they are updating their blog again.

The ability to trust the Lord in times like that is amazing and so encouraging to me!

Friday, July 27, 2012

pray as you feel led...

These stories break my heart.  Yet they amaze me.

This is proof that God is alive and well and moving in the hearts of His people.  To think that regular human beings, like you and me, just flesh and blood, are adopting children like this is downright amazing.

Please pray for this sweet little girl who has the God-given right to live.  Pray that she'll live until she gets to the States and then that she'll be healed!

Click here for the story.

By the way, Adeye is a friend of ours that we had the pleasure of getting to know (she and her husband, Anthony) when they lived in Richmond.  God is using her voice in a mighty way to fight for the orphan.  I only say this because I know these stories are unbelievable.  But believe it!  Children like Amelia really do live and breathe in far off places, the nooks and crannies of this world, that few go to.

Lord, have mercy.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Payton, Avery and I finished this book this morning.  I bawled as I read its conclusion.  Leaving Payton and Avery staring at me like I'm from Mars.  They don't understand the heart of a middle-aged woman and mother.  They're kids! 


The tears lately.  

Just out of nowhere sometimes. 

I suppose it's true that I'm pretty weepy these days.  It runs the gamut: sad and happy and overwhelmed and joyful tears.  Brooks even asked me the other day how it's possible for someone to cry when they're happy.  Little boys.

Here's the book's trailer.

You can't exactly blend in when you were born to stand out.

For obvious reasons, this book's message hit especially close to home for me.  James is an ordinary kid in so many ways, but he's so very extraordinary too.     

I can't recommend Wonder highly enough.  Read it as an adult.  Then read it to your kids when you see fit.  

Thanks, Amy, for the wonderful recommendation.  :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

thin places

I have two moments I need to share (and record) here.  They're moments I don't want to forget.

They're those kinds of moments when I feel God.  A thin place between heaven and earth.  As if He's reaching down and placing His hand upon our shoulders and whispering, 'I'm here.  Please know that I'm here.'

They're moments that often bring me to tears.


Thin Place Number One:

On Good Friday (the Friday before Easter), we headed to a nearby Chili's restaurant to eat.  Our niece had recently started working there and we wanted to surprise her, so we popped in for a meal.

We took our seats in one of those made-for-large-parties booths that Chili's has.  Love those.  James was sitting in a high chair scooted up to the end of the table between JD and me.

He had been home a month or so and he was really into chatting up the public when we were out and about.

Who am I kidding?  He still does that.

There was a couple eating in a booth diagonally across the aisle from us.  They were smiling at James, and he was waving to them and saying, 'Hi!'  They were enamored and he was laying on the charm.  At one point, we exchanged niceties with them and the husband mentioned that he works at the International Mission Board (IMB).  They were so very warm and sweet in their demeanor toward James and all of us.  They congratulated us for adopting James and couldn't believe he'd been home such a short time.

We proceeded to order our spread of food: a sampler appetizer, tea and milk for drinks, four kids' meals, and two meals for us.

We had a great meal.  It was just one of those dinners out: we didn't have to take a child to the car as a consequence for acting out, the food was tasty, it was actually relaxing and there was even laughter to boot.  I don't even remember what we laughed about, but I remember us laughing with the kids.

As we were wrapping up, the couple got up to leave and nicely waved to us.  We smiled and wished them a nice evening.

A few minutes later, we asked our niece for our check.  She said, 'Sure!' and strolled off to get it.  She came back a few minutes later and said the couple had paid for our meal.

Y'all, it had to have been at least 70 dollars with the tip!  Which they included!

I immediately smacked my hand to my mouth and said, 'What?!  Noooooo!'  I was so uncomfortable.  I broke my neck looking for them and insisted that JD walk outside to see if he could catch them.

He returned and reported that they were gone.

Then came the tears.

Because I knew.  

I knew that they had just been used by Jesus' Himself.  They were His hands and feet right here on earth!  They were following a nudge from the Holy Spirit.  And it blessed us!

And the power of that blessing rippled through the restaurant.  Our kids were slightly startled by our (okay, my!) reaction (okay, my tears) and wanted to know what was wrong.  So we explained what happened.  They sat as children do with their mouths agape and eyes wide listening and asked why they would do such a thing.  We were happy to have them witness this gesture of love and care.

The coolest thing?

Our niece said she heard it through her headset.

"Table such-and-such just paid for table such-and-such."

This was heard by every Chili's employee there that night.

Which caused some of them to ask our niece why they paid our bill.

And she explained that they were touched by what God was doing in our family.



Thin Place Number Two:

This Monday, Payton, Jackson, Brooks, James and I were at Kroger picking up some groceries.  (Avery was at gymnastics).  James was in a social mood and smiled and said hello to a few folks as we passed in the aisles.

One man that he waved and spoke to was immediately drawn in.  You could just tell.  He had this sparkle in his eyes.  He leaned in and really took the time to lock eyes with James and speak to him.  And James was aglow.  I stood by with the cart stopped and watched their sweet, albeit 20-seconds-long, interaction.  It was tender.  The man sweetly paused to linger with James.

About 20 minutes later, I had finished checking out and our van was loaded.  The kids were all in and I was just climbing into the driver's seat when I heard someone say, 'Ma'am.  Ma'am!'  I turned and found this same man coming toward me with his grocery bag or two in his hands.

Slightly out of breath, he said, 'Ma'am, the Lord told me to pray a blessing over your son.  May I?'

Oh, the goosebumps.

While nodding, I said, 'Absolutely!' and waved him over.  He asked where James was, so I hit the button for the door next to James and it slid open revealing James to the man.

He laid his hand on the top of James' head and prayed.

There was such a part of me that wished I'd thought on my feet and gotten it on video or a photo of him and James (my phone was right in my purse!).  But later I thought that this is just one of those holy moments.  Let it be what it is.

These are the words that stuck:

He will do mighty things.

He will be a preacher or pastor. 

He will share Your Gospel all over the world.

He will be wise.


That was not what I was expecting from my usually mundane, ordinary, rote, shoot-me-now trip to Kroger.

Thank you, Lord, for showing Yourself to me.  And to our children.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

the word 'mama'

My word.

Isn't it funny how we think we will never take something for granted.


I thought that was true for all things 'James' -- especially him uttering the word 'mama.'

The one thing I didn't anticipate?

That he would literally say it probably a hundred times a day.  

A day, y'all.

And, to be honest, it's probably more than a hundred.  He'll say it ten times in a row in 20 seconds.

I never.

When we were at my parents' this week, my mom was upstairs and could hear James with me in the kitchen saying, 'Mama...mama...mama...mama...mama...' while I cooked dinner.

She came down and said, 'I don't know how you do it.'

I thought, 'Nor do I.'

Listen, it's great that he's so comfortable with us that he's become a chatter box.  It's truly a beautiful thing.

But I'm just trying to cook up some grub.  

I'm just trying to go about my daily tasks, ya know!?

There's a lot I'm learning about myself and God through adopting James.  Some of the stuff about myself is ugly.  And the stuff about God is glorious.  More on this later.

A sweet adoptive mama and I affirmed something for each other -- to the point of us grabbing each other's forearms as we were struck with the same epiphany at the same moment.  You see, she brought her sweet little girl home from China the same time we brought James home.  In fact, we were in China together.  And they live only about 30 minutes down the road.   Such a small world.  We've both had our children home for a few months.  We both had grandiose ideas and thoughts about what it would be like when our adoption was complete; when our children were in our homes.  When we were the moms God intended for us to be.  Did you catch it?

We thought we were going to be better moms!  

But you know what?

We're just the same mamas we've always been.

We (mistakenly) believed we were going to be better moms to even our biological kids by having adopted our children.  We even thanked God in advance for how He was going to use the adoptions of our children to mold us into the mothers He wanted us to be.  It's like we thought we'd never lose our patience or be short with or be annoyed by or want to scream at or get frustrated with our adoptive children.  But the truth is, we are just...ourselves.

I'm a mom doing the best I can.

I lose my patience.  

Even with James.

Some days, I'm a mom clinging to Jesus for every minute of the day.

I'm a mom biting my tongue and biding my time so I don't (hopefully) scar my children for life.

I'm a mom who doesn't know what the heck I'm doing half the time.

I'm a mom who questions herself.

I'm often a mom who's waiting to hear the front door knob turn at 6 PM.  The beautiful sound of Reinforcements arriving.

I read this post today and it was life-giving to me.  I just needed to be reminded to draw near to Jesus during these times.  I've been struggling with that lately.  Summertime tests my early rising.  I just don't want to rise early and 'hit the day running.'  Well, I do like to run, but not at 5:30 am.  And if I don't get with Him in the earliest hours of the day, let's be honest, I tend not to.  :(  So I resort to 'breath prayers' throughout the day.  Someone enters my mind, I pray for them.  I hear something on the news, I pray for them.  I remember someone who's hurting, I pray for them.

I think I've returned to a familiar season.  One I was so glad to see go.  One I used to loathe and drown in guilt in.  The one where my routine, quiet, and still time with God hardly existed because I just couldn't drag myself out of bed an hour earlier than the kids.  I had babies or toddlers or babies and toddlers.  Regardless, I've found that the littler the people are in my home, the more I struggle with this. It's just a lot!  But it's also a time when I need Him the most.

I'm sad in a sense to be back in this place, but the beautiful thing about this time around is that I'm not drowning in guilt.  Sure, I miss my orderly, coffee-cup-at-hand time with Him.  But this is a season and I know, as is my mantra these days, that God's grace is sufficient for this.  And by 'this' I mean 'me.'  God's grace is sufficient for me.  Every shortcoming, every sin I commit, every time I blow it with my kids.  

There were many years when I didn't know this.

I felt like a bad Christian all the time.

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for the grace and love that You shower me with every single day.

I am not worthy.

And, hopefully, real soon, I'll thank you for my boy's record-skipping-'mama!'-repeating phase.  :)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

house guests, storms and power outages

Last week was a bit of a blur.

In a good way.

But it ended with us getting the heck out of dodge.

It started with the enormous and much-anticipated pleasure of having JD's mama and our niece here to visit for several days.  We surprised our kids with the arrival of their cousin.

They were thrilled when they saw her get out of the car with their Mimi!

Oh the joy of cousins being together.  I remember it well from when I was a child.  Some of my most cherished summer memories were built with my cousins who we visited in Michigan and who came to Virginia to visit my brother and me.  Good times.

An afternoon at the lake.  With a few kayak rides thrown in for good measure.  

Then a day at Busch Gardens.  James sure loves his cousin, 'Mun-yuh' (aka Megan).  Megan is my brother's oldest child.  She's 20.  It's crazy to think my brother has a 20-year-old!

Waiting in line to go on the giant swings.  Always a hit!

Hoofin' it through BG!

We were sad to see our family go.  Tennessee's not that far away, but sometimes it feels just a tad too far.  :(

Two days into their stay, we had a bit of an adventure begin.  We've had some crazy storms of late.  I'm sure many of you on this side of the Mississippi can relate.  

Holy moly. 

We lost power and were without it the last two days that our guests were in.  Fortunately, after the storm passed the temperatures dropped into the 70's.  We enjoyed the most beautiful weather at Busch Gardens!  It was a high of 80 that day and sunny.  Nice!

Our power returned the day they left.  We managed well while they were here since we stayed gone until bedtime both nights, but we were pretty over it by the time it returned.  

Then two days later, another storm rolled in.  All these storms were rather violent.  We lost power again and were without if for four days.

Let's make this clear...

We don't have a generator.  

We've always just left town and headed to my folks 45 minutes away. 

Fortunately, a 'stay-cation' was planned for this week anyway with the 4th of July being smack dab in the middle of the week.  But we decided to spend the first night with dear friends before we left town.  We do family sleepovers with them from time to time because we all love the chance to spend an extended amount of time together!  It's a win-win for us and our kids!

We've been nicely settled at my folks since Sunday.  Our power came back on Monday evening (per JD who's been staying at home and working).  

But, honestly, I don't even want to go home right now!  Although we emptied the perishables from our frig and freezer, I still get to look forward to that when we get home.  

You can bet someone's getting ready to make some money on a generator!  

Hope the rest of you have your power back too!


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