Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Box Monday: Saved By The Gavel

Memorial Box Mondays has been created by Linny at , where she shares stories of God's faithfulness and puts special items in a Memorial Box to remind her and her family of God's grace and love. I have been doing the same thing for a few months now.

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about how we adopted our son Mark while living in the Philippines. God was faithful in bringing him into our lives. Today I am sharing a story of how God protected us during our adoption proceedings.

We had to appear in at court in Angeles City, for the adoption of both Mark and and our daughter N. before leaving the Philippines. It was a very hot day ~ most were~ and we sat in the courtroom from early morning until late afternoon with two babies....Mark was 15 months old and N. was 20mo. old at the time. No air conditioning, no breezes, and not much space had us all feeling cranky, hot, and sticky. Waiting for our case to come up made us anxious, not only because it took all day, but because we had been told my the social worker exactly what we were to say on the witness stand. The problem with that was it was all lies! If Joel got up on the witness stand and said what he was told to say, and they found out he was lying, he could be put on International Hold and end up in an "international incident" keeping him in The Philippines indefinitely. If he did not lie, we could lose our children to social services. We were not comfortable at all with lying, so we prayed....and we prayed....and time passed and more time passed as we sat on crowded benches in the stifling heat.

Then it was our turn and we watched and listened as the doctor who delivered our daughter was drilled and chewed out by the judge...and then the social worker got on the witness stand and told her story, including the lies, to the judge. I was called to the witness stand and asked strange questions about how I treated my children and if I thought of them as my children...and what I would do if our "own" kids called the adopted kids negative names... I was very straight forward with what I felt about their questions and tried to convey that they were ALL our own children ~ we loved them with all our hearts. Thankfully, I was not asked any questions where I would contradict what the social worker and doctor had said.

Then Joel was called to the witness stand. He stood up and moved forward. As he got to the front of the courtroom, the judge said, "Due to the late hour of the day, and the the fact that you are an officer in the US military, I will not call you to the witness stand. Down came the gavel, the judge approved the adoption of our two babies, and the proceedings were over. Not only did Joel not have any questions asked of him, but we were only the second couple at that time to adopt two children from The Philippines! God intervened and we rejoiced!

I think I will need to find a gavel to add to our Memorial Box! God's faithfulness came to pass for us and we were able to keep our integrity....and our babies! Our "babies" are not both 35 with children of their own! Praise God!!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Welcome Home...

Memorial Day is set aside to honor and remember those who died while serving our country. It is also a time to remember others we love and care about who have gone on before us. Those who have been welcomed home by Jesus!

Many of our loved ones have died and been welcomed home by Jesus, but the hardest death for us has been our son, Kevin. In December of 2004 our son died of congestive heart failure after a virus attacked his heart. He was 25 years old. We adopted him when he was 3 and in those first 3 years he had suffered greatly at the hands of those who were supposed to have loved him. What comforted me the most after his death was knowing that he was no longer in any emotional pain or mental anguish. He was at peace. He was really free for the first time ever and Jesus was there to welcome him home.

Thousands of soldiers have died to protect our freedom and to bring freedom to people in other countries. We must never take that for granted, and yet there is another kind of freedom that we need to seek even more. It is the sense of freedom we experience when we know that Jesus loves us so much He died for us ~ we have been saved by His grace, and we are free from sin! We have been given an eternal freedom through salvation!

Today as we remember those who have died before us and were welcomed home by Jesus, let us give thanks for their lives, and also for the free gift of eternal life God offers to each of us. is where you can find inspirational posts to read. Thank you Ginger and Charlotte for bringing us Spiritual Sundays!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thankful Thursday

The past week has been filled with an abundance of blessings. My cup runneth over.

Today the sun is shining, the wind is gently blowing and the temperature is going to be a dry 85 here in the Midwest. A perfect day for porch sitting! I am so thankful that we can have the windows open to bring in the fresh air, and be able to hear all the birds. Our miniature schnauzer, Levi, is sitting at the front door enjoying the smells and sounds of a late May morning. We are blessed.

I am thankful that my trip to the dentist this morning eliminated any dental problem connected to my aching teeth. Going to the dentist is challenging when you react to all the chemicals they use, so I am glad it was a quick trip. I am also thankful that we see our Lyme doctor soon so we can try to figure out if this is now a Lyme problem. These beasts get everywhere.

I am thankful that my brother-in-law's open heart bypass surgery ( one week ago) went very very well. He has been home since Monday and walked to the end of the block and back yesterday! Praise God!!!

I am thankful for being able to go flower shopping with my husband and spend some quality time together. I am thankful for his willingness to plant those flowers for his wife!

I am thankful for telephones and email that connect us to the ones we love. Conversations with friends and family.....and conversations with God!

I am thankful for a the gift of life itself. It is precious and to be day presented to us at a time!

It has been a good week with much to be thankful for. May your week be filled with an abundance of blessings, and much to be thankful for.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Thunder From The Mountain

But you God, shield me on all sides;
You ground my feet, you lift my head high,
With all my might I shout up to God,
His answers thunder from the holy mountain.
Psalm 3: 3,4
Yesterday two different devotionals I read spoke about God shielding us on all sides. When God-incidences like that happen I take notice, as I feel God is trying to teach me something. I did not plan on writing on the above verses today, but I am drawn to do so.
David, in this Psalm, is speaking to God about escaping from being killed by his own son, Absalom. You can hear the emotion in his voice as he talks of how the enemy has pursued him, and yet he has been protected by God. God has heard his pleas and answers like thunder from a holy mountain. What power! What protection! What love!
Recently at a blog I visit, the author has been sharing a four part series on the many ways we hear God speak to us. It has been comforting for me to continue to learn more about the many ways I believe God speaks to us, and His desire to do so.
Sometimes His voice comes in a devotional that grabs our attention, or through the words of a friend or spiritual advisor. Sometimes the scriptures seem to jump out at us, and often in times of prayer we hear within us a word of comfort or insight. And then there are the answers that come like thunder from a Holy Mountain just when we need them or when we least expect it! When the enemy within or without pursues us, we can trust God to be with us.
So today, if you find yourself in need of His shield, take heart! Like David, we can rest assured that God will shield us and when you lift your head high and with all your might shout to God for help, He WILL answer ~ sometimes with thunder~!!
Join Charlotte and Ginger at Spiritual Sundays to share or read inspirational posts.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thankful Thursday Thinking

I am giving thanks today for my Brother-in-law's surgery going well! I am giving thanks for the doctors, nurses, and other staff who care for their patients. I am giving thanks and praise for the prayers of so many being answered this day with a resounding YES!

And just listen to this ~~~ his heart is going to work better than EVER in his whole life because even though he did not know it until the first angiogram, the right side of his heart has never worked. Not ever. While the doctors were inside doing 3 bypasses they also were able to bypass that area so now his WHOLE heart working! Isn't God amazing!!!!!! He is in all the details! To God be the glory!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Have I Not Commanded You?

"Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and courageous.
Do not be terrified,
for the Lord your God is with you
wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9
I thought of my brother-in-law today when reading this verse. He is a young 60, always took care of his health, and was good friends with his treadmill! Yet, in December he started to have heart symptoms and by January was scheduled for an angiogram. During this procedure his heart had to be shocked as it "did not like the procedure" nor the stints that had to be placed. It took 2 angiograms to get the stints in place and yet a few short weeks later he was having the same symptoms. Another angiogram revealed scar tissue interfering with one of the stints, and more areas of concern. Long story short, today he is heading to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN for open heart bypass surgery.
Life changes so quickly.....and we may find ourselves in a situation that has us wondering how in the world we got there! Fear grabs hold of us and we feel swept up in circumstances that feel beyond our control. We do all we can to change our situation, but we are unable to do it alone. The unknown becomes oppressive, and worry brings us to a place of surrender.
But do we surrender to worry and fear, or to God, or do we trust God to be in the middle of all we are experiencing? Rick Warren says we all surrender to something ~~ to worry, fear, lust, wouldn't it be better for us to surrender to God? Makes sense to me! How do we do this? Through day, one hour, one situation at a time.
My sister and BIL have a deep faith that will sustain them through this surgery and recovery. Their family will be with them, and a community of believers will be praying for them. And when fear of the unknown or what ifs starts to creep in, we need only remember that God is with them. We need only remember that God is with us all. We can trust Him no matter what comes ~ God does not break His promises!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Memorial Box Monday: Welcome Home Son!

Welcome to Memorial Box Mondays, first started by Linny over at A Place Called Simplicity (look under my blogroll). You can link up there to read or share stories about how God has blessed your life, answered your prayers, and shown his grace in your life in the past. A couple of weeks ago I posted the story of how we adopted our daughter, N. Today I am sharing the story of how we adopted her brother, our 4th child, Mark.

We lived in The Philippines from 1974-76 where Joel was a meterologist for the Air Force, forecasting weather for the pilots on Clark Air Force Base. We lived off the base in a mostly military community although one of our neighbors was a Filipino family that lived in a hut in a small field across the street. There were also quite a few kids in the neighborhood

Every morning I would open the door before seven to find our little neighbor boy, Kiko sitting on the porch. His mom was from Thailand and his dad was an African-American soldier. His siblings were full Thai and that seems to make them "better" in their way of thinking ~that they were born to a Thai father and Kiko was not. Sadly it was quite evident that he was not treated equally. Kiko practically lived at our home! He was their from early morning until I sent him home right before dark. He went to church and Sunday School with us, took naps with our kids, and ate meals with us quite often ~ even on Christmas! It appeared he was neglected and unwanted, so when we decided to adopt again, we actually asked the family if they would be willing to let us adopt Kiko. With an emphatic no from them, we began our search for a baby boy, "just like Kiko" as our older two kids pleaded. After looking for several weeks we came across a clinic where a 4 month old baby boy was living. (Most of the time if the birth mother did not want to keep her child she just left them at the clinic where they were born) He looked "just like Kiko" and grabbed our hearts right away, so we began the process of seeing if we could adopt him. We went to social services, but their response was "He is too dark. We will find a lighter baby for you." Thus began a short battle with the powers that be to bring him home, and a lot of prayers lifted up to the greater powers above to intervene. My husband reminded me today the we both even dreamed about Mark being in our home before we got the okay. This was an affirmation from God as we knew from the first time we laid eyes on him that he was our son!

We kept returning to the clinic to make sure he was being taken care of and fed, and we hounded social services, talking to them over and over again until they gave in and agreed to let us adopt him. When Mark was 5 months old, he came home to his forever family. I will add that during our court appearances later on we were asked the same questions about the "color of his skin", and also that we were only the second family at that time to adopt two children from The Philippines ~ but that is another story!

After Mark first came home, it was challenging. ~ he had been neglected in the hospital and did not make eye contact or know how to respond to social cues, etc. His only security was a diaper he held in his arms all the time. He cried a lot and was sad and scared for quite some time. Anytime we took him in public his little body would shake and he would hide his face in my chest...until he was 2 yrs old. BUT, he eventually blossomed and became more outgoing, settled in to the world at large, and came into himself. He is now 35, with a son of his own, Noah. We often give thanks to God for bringing a "little Kiko" in our lives.

We never were able to keep contact with Kiko, but still pray for him. Hopefully he experienced the love of Christ in our home, and is today a blessing to others the way our son is to us. God works in mysterious and amazing ways!
I think I will add a photo of Kiko to my Memorial box, to remind me of God's grace in giving us Mark, and our sweet grandson Noah, and to remind me to pray for Kiko.

Friday, May 14, 2010

"Gwandma Na Is Good!"

A couple of years ago our young granddaughter, Greta, talked to me on the phone. As we were visiting, she asked, "How are you Gwandma Na?" I replied, "Well, Greta, I am good!" She became so excited she yelled at her dad, "Daddy, daddy, Gwandma Na is good!!"

"Gwandma Na" lives life mostly from her living room sanctuary, so, when Grandma told Greta that she was good~ Greta decided this was something to celebrate!

When this occurred, I began wonder how often my response is not "I am good." More often than I would like to admit, I let my circumstances or my symptoms dictate my day...good .....or bad..... when really, every day is good! Every day we open our eyes to the morning light is something to celebrate. I like to remember that every day is an opportunity for a miracle because God is in the center of it.

Psalm 118: 24 says, "This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!"

We cannot deny that there are times that are really tough, and it is hard to feel positive sometimes due to tragic or difficult circumstances. It is more than okay to be honest about where we find ourselves, but when we remember that God is with in us and with us, loves us, and will never leave us ~then like Greta we have reason to celebrate~ reason to say, "I am good".

I hope that each of you today find reason to say, "I am good!" If you need encouragement and inspiration visit Charlotte and Ginger at Spiritual Sundays.

Please Watch And Be Informed

May 12th was CFIDS/CFS/ME Awareness Day. This debilitating illness is often misunderstood by those who come across it. Today, in honor of those who do suffer with this life changing illness ~ including my husband Joel and myself, I am posting this video with the hope that you will take the 6 minutes needed to view it.

Some people are able to function at 30-50% of their former selves, others are bedridden or homebound, and a select few regain nearly all their health back. On a side note, Joel functions at 40% and I am one of the homebound ~ with our illnesses complicated by Lyme Disease. Those of us fighting this illness do not want pity or even expect clear understanding. Across the board we want people to be informed and accepting. A cure is needed. Thank you.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thankful Thursday Thinking

Today I am giving thanks for a hardcover spiral book that I have filled with stories about our grandchildren that we have observed or their parents have shared with us. This week I have been reading some of them out loud to Joel and we have laughed until tears roll down our cheeks over some of the things our precious grandchildren have said and done over the last 10 years.

This week I am thankful for a faster-than-lightening answer to prayer ~ God has given me the idea to create a book from these stories. I am both excited and apprehensive to begin this new adventure! And surprised too ~ I always thought I would write a book about living with chronic illnesses! Maybe that will come later...for now I am leading where God is guiding me!

Thank you God that you are a God of surprises!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Gift of Love

"Three things will last forever~~
faith, hope, and love~~
but the greatest of these is love."
I Corinthians 13:13 (NLT)

This Sunday is Mother's Day~ a time set aside to remember and honor mothers. I believe that all women are mothers in one form or another~ not just those with birth, adopted or step children, but all women who show love to and nurture others.

I have to share a story about our son Mark who was three at the time. We had adopted him as an infant when we lived in The Philippines, and it was quite obvious that he was not our birth child. I was disciplining him one day and he said to me, "You can't tell me what to do, you are not my real mother!" I responded back to him, "Oh yes I am...I have fed you, clothed you, and loved you with my whole heart~ I am as real as it gets!" I never heard another word about that subject again (chuckle).

I have had the privilege of having 3 mom who raised me until I was 12, when she was no longer capable, and my two older sisters who took over the job after that. They all fed me, clothed me, and loved me with their whole hearts ~ doing the best they could at the time.

Love is the most important gift we can give anyone. The Bible devotes a whole chapter to it ~ I Corinthians 13. And all of us know the value of Jesus's perfect love for each of us ~ dying for our sins.

On this Mother's Day I pray that each of you have been blessed with the gift of a mother's love from someone who has touched your life, and in return may we be that gift to others each and every day!

Join others at Spiritual Sundays ( to read or add your own inspirational posts. Ginger and Charlotte welcome everyone!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Memorial Box Monday: Here After All!

Memorial Box Mondays was started by Linny over at A Place Called Simplicity. Every Monday several bloggers share their memories of how God has shown His faithfulness and blessed their lives over the years. We store objects in our Memorial Boxes to remind us of those times. Today I will store a paper concerning what medications I can tolerate that I received from the hospital right before my surgery 6 weeks ago.

I have many stories to share about how well God worked out the details up to and after my surgery, and I have shared a couple already. Today, once again, the memory that came to mind has to do with that time.

The GYN doctor had requested I see the anesthesiologist and speak to him personally about my special needs since I have so many reactions to chemicals and medications. At first they had refused to see me telling the nurse to just send over my chart. The doctor insisted they see me so they reluctantly they agreed. We did not know what to expect when we went 10 days later. We need not have worried. The head surgery nurse first talked to us for over an hour taking detailed notes from my Lyme doctor's report and from us. Then the Dr. came in and we talked to him. When he left he said, I don't know if I will be the anesthesiologist who will be there for your surgery, it will depend on the schedule. We were pretty bummed about that because we did not know if the next person would be as informed beforehand, but we went home and prayed about it. We really felt like this doctor was the one who needed to be there for me in the surgery room.

My surgery time was scheduled and we were ready to go. On the Friday night before my Tuesday surgery the phone rang at 9pm. It was the hospital and they were rescheduling my surgery from 11am to the first slot of the day on Tuesday ~ and they were calling late on a Friday night?! They felt it would work better for my special needs to go first. When we arrived at the hospital Tues. morning, we checked in and about an hour later here came the anesthesiologist. to give me an injection. It was the same Dr. who had spent all the time with us going over my special circumstances! I said to him, Oh, you are here after all!" He replied, Oh, it just worked out that way." I said, "I don't think so..this is an answer to prayer!"
All went well that day, with no complications. I discovered later that this doctor even had all the new plastic equipment washed off so I would have less of a reaction to it. He followed all my Lyme Doctor's requests to a T and I was able to get through the surgery and hospital stay without any reactions. Another way God worked in the details~! God is so good and I have seen His goodness revealed over and over again in my life, and especially in the past 7 weeks. His love for us is unconditional and amazing!

Saturday, May 1, 2010


As many of you know, for the past five weeks I have been recovering from cancer surgery, and that has gone very well. I want to thank every one of you who has prayed for me during the past 6 weeks or more. My doctor cannot believe how well my healing has gone and I told him it is ALL the prayers!!!1

I am now being challenged by a nasty flare up of my Lyme Disease and CFS/ME as a result of the surgery. Being on the sofa or in bed 20 hrs a day has been difficult. But more of a challenge has been my effort to resist accepting my "life after cancer" I know it is a process, just like my body's recovery, but I have used a lot of my limited energy to keep my feelings stored behind a locked door in my mind. This week I finally was able to open that door, come out from under my wool comforter(affectionately named Woolie) and attempt to deal with my new reality. The great news is, I don't have to do this alone. God has promised to always be with me. God has promised to be with all of us. In Isaiah 41:10 (NLT) we read:

"Don't be afraid for I am with you.

Don't be discouraged for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you.

I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."


Today's email devotional by Rick Warren spoke of surrendering to God and what that means. Resistance, surrender, acceptance ~ these are all words that are swirling around in my head and heart right now. I saw an image of a small child who squirms in her father's arms, wanting to get down and be on her way when the father only wants to protect his child. I saw myself doing the same thing. Do you ever find yourself resisting God? God is willing to hold us in His loving arms, protecting, and guiding our journey ~ but I seem to be resisting and squirming, determined to do things my way. The difference is I am old enough to know that my Father wants what is best for me, when often a small child does not. It is just so hard to let go of our own will, isn't it!

I have a lot to learn in this life after cancer and I HAVE that privilege, but first I need to cease resisting where I find myself, surrender and accept God's plan, and focus on all the goodness that has come from this journey. It is a journey we all take at different times in our lives for many different reasons, but we are all blessed to have God's promise to walk with us along the way.

For more inspirational posts visit Charlotte and Ginger at Spiritual Sundays.