Saturday, April 30, 2011


It's been a little bit of a rough week for Cupcake.  She had a bad night on Wednesday, and consequently woke up Thursday still in a funk.  She kept telling me that she couldn't do PE or recess because her back hurt.  She begged me to write a note so she could skip those.  So, I dug deeper, asking what they were doing in PE, who did she plan on playing with at recess, and other probing questions.  She didn't want to answer, just insisted on my writing a note.  When I told her I couldn't do that, she resorted to this:

I realize this is hard to see, so I'll spell it out for you.  

"Cupcake bak hos and she cat play at wesa"

Translated into English, it says, "Cupcake's back hurts and she can't play at recess.

It was worth a try.  :-)

Blessings to you,

PS.  Later on, when I asked her what was wrong with her back, she answered, "I think it's sad."  Probably closer to the truth than we know.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Five Minute Friday - If I Knew I Could, I Would...

It's Friday.  Time to sharpen my writing skills.  Five Minute Friday is one of The Gypsy Mama's things.  Hop on over to her blog to read the rules and join the fun.  While you're there, take a look around.   Her posts are worthwhile.  She has a great bunch of followers.  I've really enjoyed meeting some new people this way.

So here goes.

Today's writing prompt is:

If I knew I could, I would...

Oh, if I couldn't fail, the things I would do!  First off, I would march right down to Guatemala and straighten things out, so Ronaldo and Julia could come home.  I would tell everyone in the world how valuable they are, how valuable human life is in all it's stages.  I would adopt Eduardo, who was Cupcake's little friend in the orphanage.  I would be an advocate for orphans.  I would teach the whole world about therapeutic parenting.  It is absolutely the best way to parent and would help so many kids grow up emotionally healthy.   I would go back to school to get a degree in counseling.  

I would try to bake cheesecake and learn to take pictures well.  :-)

Time's up. 

Rats!  That's not all my dreams.  There's so much to do, and so little me.  :-)  I have so many things swirling around in my head.  So much of it is urgent and necessary.  I want to rally the troops to take action.  I want to teach others about Jesus.  I want to be used by God to transform lives.  I want to stop injustice and reduce poverty. 

I want to write a book.  That's on my bucket list.  Someday...not just yet.

As I look at this stuff, I'm pretty excited, because I'm doing many of those things on a small scale. I guess I'm not really afraid of failing anymore (much).

It would not be possible for me to help Ronaldo and Julia's situation, so I won't be traveling to Guatemala for diplomatic reasons.  It will only be accomplished through prayer, which I am earnestly involved in.  Eduardo is not possible, since Guatemala is closed to adoption and I'm too old and worn out.  I won't be getting a counseling degree, but I certainly find myself doing lots of lay counseling.

So, it looks like I should go buy me some cream cheese and look into Photography classes. ;-)

Blessings to you,

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Hole in Our Gospel

I've been reading "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns (CEO of World Vision). 

I sat on this book for several months before I finally picked it up to read.  I'm sorry I waited that long.  Stearns is a great storyteller and he weaves some hard truth into his incredible stories.  I cried several times over desperate heartache he describes and God's undeniable hand in his life and the lives of those he serves. 

"The Hole in Our Gospel" is written to open the eyes of the American church.  Many of our churches have majored in truth and personal transformation, which is a good thing.  But the whole gospel is that we are transformed for a purpose.  God has a job for us. It involves many things, but helping the weak, poor, and needy is not optional.

Stearns clearly and truthfully explains the complex problem of poverty and the implications for those caught in it.    Then he lays out solutions for fixing the problem.  He calls for every Christian to stand up and do something.  

I really liked this book, because his heart beats like mine.  I could relate so easily to his experience of encountering God.  His passion and compassion are contagious.  

And he is right.

So, I give "The Hole in Our Gospel" two thumbs up.  :-)

Blessings to you,

Friday, April 22, 2011

Five Minute Friday - Hard Love

Five Minute Friday.  You know the drill.  Type for 5 minutes.  No editing.  Publish and link back to The Gypsy Mama.
Today's prompt:  Hard Love

Dear Jesus,

Thank You for loving me when I didn't care what You thought, when I didn't obey You and didn't even want to, when I thought I knew best.  Thank You for taking the fall for me when I didn't appreciate it.  Thank you for dying on cross in my place, even if I would have spit in Your face.  Thank you for wooing and pursuing me when I was at my worst.  Thank You for continuing to love me, even when my worst comes out still.
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:  While we were yet sinner's, Christ died for us.

Thank You, Lord.

Blessings to you,

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Real Promise Day

Every year, we celebrate Promise Day on May 22.  That's the day we promised the folks at the US Embassy in Guatemala that we would raise Cupcake as our daughter.  With adoption, it's hard to pick which day to celebrate as the important anniversary.  There's the day we first saw her picture, the day we first met her, the day we flew home and she became a U. S. citizen.  They're all meaningful, but we chose embassy day, because of the promise we made to her.  We celebrate Promise Day with a small special treat like ice cream.

But the day that is actually dearest to my heart is what I think of as the "Real" Promise Day.

Five years ago today, Steve and I committed to the adoption of Cupcake.  We promised to make her our daughter.

We had no idea of the enormity of our decision.  We did not suspect the uncertainty and pain that her adoption process would inflict on us.  We were about to be swept under the deep waters of unforeseen circumstances.  We did not understand the sacrifice and work it would take to make her whole once she came home.  None of this was clear at the time.

But this one thing, we knew...She was ours.  Absolutely.  Without a doubt.  No question.

This knowledge - it carried us through.  When all seemed lost - multiple times, we knew that God's hand was on her.  His hand was all over this.  As more and more calamities befell us, we held on to this truth.    

She is ours.

We didn't know how things would turn out.  We didn't know if she would ever come home.  But we knew that we were forever linked to this special girl. 

I'm not sure I ever shared the story of how we knew.  It's a good one.  :-)     

Friday, April 14, 2006, we got a call from our agency.  She told me that they had gotten three "baby girls" in and we were next in line.  We could have our choice.  Only, the lawyer that was handling these three was going to cost an extra $2000 from their stated "average fee".  They assured me that he was their best lawyer and because he really worked hard, he would probably be worth the extra cost.  (Side note:  Our agency was awesome.  His price was in the range they quoted, but he was at the higher end.  He was indeed worth the extra money.)

I'm a born and bred bargain hunter, and adoption expenses are already crazy high.  And she had said "baby girls".  We were hoping for a 4-6 year old.  After talking for a while, I decided that we would wait and see if they would get a girl in with one of the less expensive lawyers.  She told me they would put the babies on the photolisting that afternoon and call us when another girl came in.

Later that afternoon, I jumped on the agency website to see what the babies looked like.  This is what I saw. 
My heart skipped a beat.  I called Steve and told him to jump on the computer now.  He did.  We both agreed that we thought she was the one.  I hung up and called the agency back.  I asked for all the information they had on her.  It wasn't much.  We had a birth certificate, some blood tests results and minimal family information.  The only thing that gave us pause was the fact that she was only 2.5.  We were pretty sure God  called us to adopt a 4-6 year old.  (This scared the bejeepers out of me when things went south and it looked like it might take years to get her home.  In the end, it was a HUGE confirmation that Cupcake was meant to be ours.  She came home at 4.5.)

Since it was the day before Easter weekend, we could have the weekend to pray about it.  We sent an email to each of our parents on Friday evening.

Steve's parents had occasionally discussed some of the kids we were considering, but they had always stepped back and allowed us the freedom to figure this out for ourselves.  This time, however, Steve's parents called on Saturday.  They excitedly told Steve, "She's the one!  We'll pay the extra $2000!" 

Cool!  That was a nice confirmation of our thoughts.  :-)

I had been sending pictures of potential kids to my mom for months.  I had never received a reply.  Nada.  No questions.  No concerns.  No excitement.  (She was very excited about the adoption, just not the kids we had shown her.)  So she called on Sunday.  She said, "Hey.  I'm on my way out to Aunt Harriet's for Easter.  I had your brother blow up an 8x10 picture of my little granddaughter.  I'm going to show everyone."  When I explained that we hadn't actually committed to her, my mom replied, "She's the one!  I'll pay the extra $2000!  Just make sure you call them today!"

"Mom, it's Easter.  They're not  open." :-)

Okay, that was wild!  Confirmation from both parents in a serious way!

We prayed all weekend, but we knew.  Monday, we spent the day trying to find out if  we could get any medical information or a developmental report.  They really had nothing since she had just come in to foster care.  It's scary not knowing anything about the person who would become our child.


On Tuesday, April 18, 2006, we committed to Cupcake.  We promised God (and our agency) that we would stick by this child.  We would love and defend her.  We would be her advocates.  We would be her Mom and Dad.  Forever.  We would never leave her.

As I said, we had NO IDEA how that commitment would be tested.  We had NO IDEA how important this confirmation was to our emotional and spiritual lives.  God did something spectacular so that we could hold on to this hope in the worst storms we have ever faced.

That day - the day we promised to be there for Cupcake - that day- our world changed.  That day, we changed, and we have never been the same.  This is the day that I celebrate in my heart with such great joy and gladness.  This is what God looks like when He moves among men.  When I reflect on all He's done, I can't help but worship Him.  So thankful for His blessing.  :-)

Happy Real Promise Day, Sweetheart!

Blessings to you,

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Wisher of Oz

Sugar was in a play this weekend.  This is the grand culmination of her drama class this year.  I did not misspell the title.  The play was a re-written version of the classic.  It was very good.  I'm so proud of this young lady that I call my daughter. 



Just so you young men know, her Daddy carries a big stick and he knows how to use it.  :-)

Blessings to you,

Friday, April 15, 2011

Five Minute Friday - On Distance

Lisa-Jo over at The Gypsy Mama has a great writing exercise on Fridays.  Five Minute Fridays are a great way to learn to express yourself in a short amount of time.  That's good for me, since most posts take me hours and hours to write.

Here are the rules:
  • Using the prompt, write for five minutes only.
  • No editing.  Be free from those constraints.
  • Link back to her blog.  (Click on the button below to get there.)
  • Go read others' posts and leave comments.
Today's Five Minute Friday writing prompt is

On Distance:

8667 miles.

That is the distance from here to my friend in the Philippines.  

Halfway around the world.  But right here in my heart.

We talk on the internet, but we're not internet friends.  We go way back...before Al Gore invented the internet.  :-)  Before kids.  

She was my husband's pen pal in college.  You know, stamps, envelopes, paper.  When we got married, she carefully offered to go quietly out of his life.  But instead, a friendship developed across the miles.  We're two moms, just alike.  We do our best.  We work hard.  We pray for our kids.  We love others.  We can fight like mama-bears.  We encourage each other.  

She is a blessing to me.  :-)

8000 miles is just a mouse-click away.  We are close by, even across land and sea.

That's it for today.  

Five Minute Friday.  You should give it a try.

Blessings to you,

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Some More Good News

Cupcake has been in a really good place lately, for the most part. I have had a couple of occasions to really be proud of her in the last two weeks.

(For background info, the little guy in this story is almost 3 years younger than Cupcake and has many of the same behavior issues.)

One day, Cupcake was in the back yard playing with a neighbor girl. Little Guy came down alone (without his mom) and wanted to play. Cupcake was already playing with a friend, so she gently told him that she couldn't play today, but maybe they could play another day. He got spittin' mad and started to get out of control. Cupcake actually used some good therapeutic parenting and talked him off the ledge. All by herself, she calmed him down and got him back home! (Steve was in the kitchen watching the whole thing unfold.)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Yesterday, a neighbor girl came over and she was upset about something that happened that Cupcake had no control over. She was blaming Cupcake and pointing fingers and accusing her of being mean. Cupcake didn't puff up and give her the what-for. She didn't jump into defensive mode. She didn't yell. No hands on the hips. She didn't even toss her head. She just looked to me with a hurt look in her eyes. I explained to the neighbor girl what had really happened and off they skipped together, playing for hours. How awesome is that?

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

It's so cool to see these truths taking root in her life!

That's my girl! :-D

Blessings to you,

Friday, April 8, 2011

Five Minute Friday: If You Met Me

It's time for Five Minute Friday!

Lisa-Jo invites her readers to write for 5 minutes. Don't edit. Just write. Then link up to her blog.

Today's writing prompt is:

If you met me...

At first glance, you might see a lumpy, middle-aged woman with thin dirty-dishwater blonde hair.

But if you really looked at me, you would see warm welcoming eyes. You would see a depth of pain pouring from my expression. You would see a woman who knows deep, joyful love. You would see a heart of compassion. You would see the smile of a shamed person that was forgiven. I hope you would see Jesus in my face, because that is Who I hope to reflect.

Blessings to you,