Hey, World. {Get Yourself Together}


Hey, World.  It’s me…just a rather simple Midwestern, American mama. Here’s the deal.  I have three children that I’m raising; three children who have already been handed a loss in life.  Please, for the sake of these kiddos, get yourself together.

I have found myself bothered…okay, maybe a little more than bothered…by what is going on.  Chaos, confusion, bigotry, violence, lack of compassion, and death seem to be the words that I am describing you right now.  I know that these words do not make up the sum of what you are, but when considering the future of my babes; my heart just seems to be so incredibly dampened by these things.

Jesus asks us to go into the pits of the despair of others, but are we truly doing that? Jesus asks us to reach out to strangers, care for foreigners, show mercy, and pray for our enemies, but are we really heeding these directives?

Christians should be rising up, but are we?  Have we surrendered to the flesh?  Are we more concerned and confused by the political and social chaos of the world?  What about harvesting the fields?  What about salvation?

Fear, and the intense need to store up our own blessings, seems to have taken over.  The battle of the flesh seems to be so present, but is the battle truly of the flesh?  The flesh is just that…flesh.  Have we forgotten who the enemy really is?

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. 

Ephesians 6:12

It breaks my heart to see children starving, sleeping on the streets, bartered and traded for selfish satisfaction, and forgotten.  It is easy to blame the flesh.  It is so incredibly effortless to look at each other and think, “They are the ones causing this.”  But again, is our battle really against the flesh?  Do we truly believe that?  After all, it is man who acts out the depravity of circumstances.

It is time for a reality check.  If you think that this battle against all the angst, violence, and craziness of the world is one that dwells within skin, then perhaps we have a lot more to worry about.  It is time for some serious need of prayer.  It is time to consider the true direction our Earthly home is heading, and who the real enemy is.

Hey, World.  It’s me…just a rather simple Midwestern, American mama.  Can we all just take a collective time out?  While chaos surrounds us, our children still deserve to grow up without fear.  ALL children deserve this.  From the children tucked away safely in their beds, to the ones scrapping for food on the streets, and to the children harbored away in a refugee camp…they ALL deserve to grow up, experience life, and live without fear.  They all deserve the opportunity to share their gifts to this world.

If there was ever a time to pray and be a witness of light and love to others, it is now.

Hey, World.  Get yourself together.  I’ve got children to raise.

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. 

1 Timothy 2:8


Seven Wishes for My 7-Year-Old Daughter {and yours}

Bday girl 7

This week we celebrated my daughter’s 7th birthday.  I can hardly believe that she is already seven, and even though I used to huff when people would say “It goes by fast”, now I get it.  Life does go by quickly.

To honor my daughter during this special week of her birth, here are seven wishes I have for her as she grows up.  They are also wishes for all daughters around the world.

  1. I wish for you to be bold. Bold in your actions.  Bold in your wisdom.  Strong in your determination, spirit, relationships, and faith.  Be brave in your choices; especially the ones that are difficult to make.  Take a stand, even if other people do not see the value of it.  Do not be afraid to be a strong, independent girl.  The world needs them.
  2. I wish for you to find glimpses of humor throughout life’s circumstances.  Laugh at the whimsy and silly things.  Giggle at the irony that life will throw you sometimes.  Enjoy those gut-busting, pee-your-pants moments.  Humor is essential for survival, and for recovery.  Seek it.  Keep it.  Help others to find it.
  3. I wish for you to find love and friendship that is defined by acceptance, commitment, and contentment.  Love and friendships are both the most blessed experiences in life.  May they be filled with people who accept the whole of who you are, because you are incredibly special.  Don’t ever forget that, and don’t settle for anyone who doesn’t see you the same way.  (And, the best kinds of friends are the ones who will cry with you, and share in those gut-busting, pee-your-pants times of laughter.)
  4. I wish for so many moments that will give thrill to the adventure-seeking, curious little thing that you are.  Don’t be scared to try new things.  Try exotic foods.  Seek to conquer your fears.  Meet exciting, and slightly unusual people (I have found that they are usually the most entertaining and loyal).  If you dream of it, then go for it.  And, it’s okay to skydive…just don’t tell me when you do.
  5. I wish for you to see life as one big learning curve.  You will make mistakes and have some regrets (when you are a little older, I might just share a few of mine with you), and that’s okay.  Your mistakes, regrets, and need for a do-over are what refine you as a human being.  Don’t be scared to fail.  Failing is a part of success.  Just don’t be scared to try.  Let others teach you, but also teach others. Continue learning throughout your life, as there is always something new to learn.
  6. I wish for you to look in the mirror and see the reflection of a beautiful, purposeful, precious soul created by our Heavenly Father.  Embrace your flaws, but also embrace your beauty.  From the strands of your hair, to the tips of your eyelashes, fingers, and toes, every ounce of your being was put on this Earth for a specific purpose that only you can fulfill.  Carry that thought with you, sweetie.  When you are down, remember it.  When you are scared, embrace it.  When you forget it, pick up your Bible, and be reminded.
  7. I wish for you to always cling to the fact that you are so deeply loved by your family, and always will be.  Our life intertwining was not by accident.  You were meant to be our daughter, and we were meant to be your parents (even though at times we are the “meanest parents in the world”).  Nothing you can ever do will make us love you less.  With each passing day, I marvel at the unique little girl that you are.  It is an honor to call you daughter.

Happy Birthday, Sis.

“In my daughter’s eyes, I can see the future.
  A reflection of who I am, and what we’ll be.
 And though she’ll grow and someday leave, maybe raise a family.
 When I’m gone I hope you’ll see how happy she made me.
 For I’ll be there in my daughter’s eyes.”

-Martina McBride, “In My Daughter’s Eyes”


Paris On My Mind

The horror of what happened in Paris is all over social media and news outlets.  Most likely, it is a topic on most people’s minds, hearts, and conversations.  I told myself, “Do not write about this.  Do not turn this into a blog post.”  However, I have found that the tapping of my fingers on the keyboard releases the words that are so very heavy on my heart.

In my personal space in this universe, my weekend went just about as planned.  My biggest challenges were keeping my 3-yr-old from pestering the cat, encouraging my 9-yr-old to clean his room, and celebrating my soon-to-be 7-yr-old’s birthday.

Still yet, Paris was on my mind.

Sometimes, I just want to lift my hands up to the heavens and scream,


Enough of this.  

Enough of violence.  

Enough of hatred.

Enough of bigotry.  

Enough of heartbreak.

I am not a military mindset kind of person, and certainly do not have a clue as to how to solve the issue of terrorism.  I won’t even pretend to understand the complexity of terrorism, persecution, and war, but when I heard that France began a bombing campaign against the ones responsible for the attack on Paris, I felt quite satisfied.

An out-of-town meeting today gave me the opportunity to do a lot of thinking while behind the wheel.  I thought about war, acts of terror, and the military campaigns.  I thought about my children who are growing up in a world vastly different from the one I grew up in, and I could not help but think about the loss of souls, and the desperate need for our enemies to be covered in prayer.  The spiritual side of my heart – the one that yearns for others to seek salvation – felt pained by what has taken place.

There is a tug-of-war between vengeance and peace going on in my heart.

Still yet, today, Paris is on my mind.

Today, I will lift my hands – weary, cracked, and empty – to the heavens and declare,

“Lord, please.  Enough.”


Dad’s War Story {in honor of Veteran’s Day}

DadBefore this week of honoring Veterans slips away, I’d like to say that I am proud of my dad for serving in the Marines during the Vietnam War. The picture is of my dad and sister.

I’ve asked Dad more than a few times if he would share his war story with me as I’d like to put it in writing, but he has declined. He doesn’t like to think about it, and in his words, “No one would be interested.” I’ll share just a bit of it, though.

At 19-yrs-old, Dad was drafted as a Reserve to serve in Vietnam during the TET Offensive. During his time in the jungle, he watched his best buddies die from dysentery, saw first hand what military assault rifles do to the human body, exposed to Agent Orange, and “slept” in a foxhole night after night during torrential rains.

During one night in a hole, helicopters flew over and dropped strawberries. The berries were not fresh, and not that safe for human consumption, but they were food. In Dad’s words, “We would crawl on our hands and knees in the mud to get the berries, and then crawl back into the hole. We knew as soon as we ate them, we would get sick, but nothing was going to stop us from tasting the sweetness of those berries.”

My dad was blown out of a bunker by a grenade, and landed on the jungle floor with a broken back. He was there, helpless, for almost a full day before anyone could get to him. Can you imagine? At 19-yrs-old? He ended up in a military hospital in Europe for several months until he was able to come home. Dad earned a Purple Heart for his service.

My Dad does not use the computer very often, and is not on any form of social media. I’m pretty sure he would roll his eyes at me (and maybe share a few choice words) if he knew I was posting this, but I think his story matters.

Vietnam Veterans did not get the credit they deserved when returning upon war. My Dad is one of the lucky ones. He came back to his family, was able to work, made a living as a professional fisherman, and eventually started his own business. We all know there are way too many Vets (especially Vietnam Vets) who are homeless, and were never able to enjoy the things in life that my dad has. Surely, there is more that this country can do.

The next time you get frustrated by the rain, or upset that the fresh fruit you just bought at the local store isn’t that fresh, just remember, at least you are not sleeping in a foxhole.

The Marks of Life {Our Stories Matter}

I came home after tending to a foster/adoptive parent recruitment booth at a local church’s celebration of Orphan Sunday, and found my husband squirting something around our wooden dining room table.  I paused for a moment and said, “Um…is that toothpaste?”

20151108_185122Before he could answer, I saw what was under the paste.  Our 3-yr-old apparently decided that the table needed a little “design” to it, and decided to draw swirly marks up and down the entire table with a black, permanent magic marker.

My husband was furiously scrubbing the paste into the wood in hopes that the ink would lift.  The paste lifted the ink a bit, but you can still see the markings.

Surprisingly, I really was not that upset about it.  Even now as I stare at the table, I kind of think the marks give it character, and adds to stories I can tell in later years about the antics of our children.

I cannot help but to think about the comparison of our marked up, slightly battered, but full-of-character dinner table to our own stories as human beings.  There are days when all is well.  Not a mark is left on us, and we rest our heads in peace. There are other days when we stumble into the paths of others whose intent is to hurt us, thus leaving marks on our hearts.  We revel in good health, and wonderful relationships, and then suddenly the good health and the people we love leave.

Although healing does come, scars have been left on our lives.  The pain fades, but there is still that twinge of remembrance that is left on our souls.  Our stories involve so many moments where our lives have been interrupted by trauma, hurt, sickness, loneliness, and despair.  However, our stories also embrace moments of laughter, kindness, courage, love, and hope.

Within each of our stories are moments that completely capture the essence of what it is to be human.  This, my friends, is what I see as the beauty of life.  Like the markings on my table that might never fully go away, the nicks on our lives also may never leave us, but they definitely enrich us.

Do not be afraid of your marks.  Share your stories with others.  Celebrate your ability to overcome and endure.  Do not be ashamed.  The scars of your lives might just carry the determination that others desperately need.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. -Romans 5:35

With Every Adoption {meme for Orphan Sunday}


Here is a meme I created in honor of National Adoption Month (US) and Orphan Sunday.  I love the notion that with every adoption, the hope in a better world is released.  Adoption changes lives.  Families matter.

My prayer is that we will rise up to the calling of adoption, and that the cries of orphans around the world will be met with the love, tenderness, and protection of parents.

If adoption has ever crossed your mind, please consider taking the first steps to learning more.



5 Things I Want You to Know About Adopting After Infertility {Adoption.com article}

I recently wrote an article for Adoption.com regarding five things that are important to know about adoption after the struggle of infertility.  It is valuable to recognize that infertility is truly a life-long process, and there are moments (even after parenthood enters your life) that will catch you off guard.

Adoption of children and the blessing of parenting absolutely fills the void of childlessness, but the impact of infertility on one’s life may never fully go away.  

“Adoption is full of immense joy, but it also has poignant moments when one’s heart is pulled into pieces, and reminders of infertility and barrenness will intertwine with this.”

To read the article, click here:  5 Things I Want You to Know About Adopting After Infertility



This Mountain {It is Well}

20150910_113703I tend to over think things at times, and often find metaphors in unlikely places, things, and activities.  In September, we had our roof replaced.  Our roof was very worn by the years, and in desperate need of attention. As the laborers started to scrape off the worn and damaged shingles of our roof, I noticed how loud it was.

Piece by piece, shingle by shingle, the old roof disappeared leaving the bare exterior below.  The act of removing the roof was a nuisance and disrupted our morning routine, but I reminded myself of the new roof that we have to look forward to.

As I left our home and headed out of the house, I looked into the dumpster and saw this pile of what was once our old roof.  I thought about the “skin” of old wounds, troubled times, and heart-breaking circumstances that we have all had to rid ourselves of.  It is painful to permanently remove the war-torn parts of us, and it is a challenge to dig out the crud and waste of the remnants of our despairs.

We scrape.

We rip.

We weep.

We toil until, piece-by-piece, the wound is gone and in its place, newness is revealed.

Before I snapped the picture of the mountain of old shingles, I shared the song “It is Well” by Bethel Music on my blog’s Facebook page.  The song is so incredibly moving.  Every time I hear it, I pause for a bit and soak up the full measure of God’s faithfulness.  There is a particular section of the song that tends to both remind me of what I’ve been through, but also infuse my soul with the truth and promise of God’s grace:

“Far be it from me to not believe,
Even when my eyes can’t see.

And this mountain that’s in front of me,
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea.”

This mountain….my mountain….YOUR mountain…whatever it is, will be moved.  It will be tossed out of your vision.  It will no longer block the beauty that yearns to be revealed.  God’s faithfulness and sovereignty is a promise for all of us.

Like the old shingles of my roof that have faced many storms, our past hurts, if tended to, honored, and eventually removed, not only reveal the softness of what is within us, but can also become a foundation for what is to come.

Do not allow your history to determine your future, but do not deny that history, either.  Our histories, hurts, and heartbreak are each part of the symphony of our lives, and are a part of who we are.

After all of the dust has settled from a life interrupted by illness, challenges, and loss, my heart continues to sing:

“Far be it from me to not believe,
Even when my eyes can’t see.

And this mountain that’s in front of me,
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea.”

To listen to this amazing song, click here:  It is Well Bethel Music

Do Not Fear {in the midst of barrenness}

During a sermon at church a few months ago, my pastor told the audience that he had met someone during the week who is really close to “giving up on God”.  When he asked her why, she said, “infertility.”  She then went on to say that she questions why God would allow infertility in her life.

When he said the word “Infertility”, I felt a chill of sorts run through me.  I stiffened up a bit, and wondered if any eyes were looking at me.  The more I listened to him, the more I was reminded that not only is infertility an emotional and physical battle, it is also a spiritual battle.

What is it about that word that makes me still feel so uncomfortable?  I suspect that it feels like a label of sorts.  My efforts in earlier life to understand what all barrenness encompasses was dreadfully challenging.  People who have been diagnosed as infertile understand that it is more than just a diagnosis.  It is an uninvited guest in their lives.  It is consuming, and holds power.  It sweeps the rug from under their feet.  It becomes their new normal.  And, it is painful; woefully painful.

I recall feeling that God must surely have thought I would make a horrible mother.  I also remember questioning, with sorrowful confusion, about why I was left out of the incredible gift of pregnancy and birthing a child.  I used to think, “I only have one life here on Earth, and I am missing out on one of the most beautiful endeavors that a woman experiences.  Why would God allow this?”

Growing up in the midst of barrenness taught me so many lessons about life.  It also tried to form a wedge (and succeeded for a while) between me and the loving Father that I had come to store my faith in as a child.  I truly feel infertility is one of the most misunderstood, all-consuming, complex, and spiritually challenging experiences that one faces in life.

As I sit here on the other side of life without kids, I now know that barrenness is just a technical part of who I am.  It is just a blip on the radar of what my life really is.

Medically speaking, I am barren, but spiritually speaking, I am now far from it.

The adoption of my children and the path that led me to them drew me closer to the Lord, not away from Him.  It took many years to get me here, though.

If you know someone who is experiencing infertility, pray for them.

  • Pray for clarity in their situation.  
  • Pray for fortitude as they face so many unknowns.
  • Pray for them to see, feel, and hear God in the midst of their distress.
  • Pray for their sweet spirits; may they not be dampened by their despair. 
  • Pray for a miracle – I still believe in them.

If you are experiencing infertility, my hope and prayer is that one day it will all make sense, and that you will look upon it like a distant memory of your life.  I do not know if adoption is the right choice you should make, but I do know that is it your choice and your right to decide if and when you are going to jump into adoption.

Adoption of my children definitely fulfilled my life-long quest for an answer and happy ending to barrenness.  I no longer grieve.  Instead, I find delight in the story that was written for me, and for the incredible, emotional journey that carried me to my children, and to a deeper understanding of our Savior.

Friends, I wish the same for you.

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

-Isaiah 41:10

However Motherhood Comes

Infertility offers nothing, adoption gives everything.

Infertility dispenses despair, adoption dispels it.

Infertility breeds confusion, adoption grows clarity.

Infertility is lifeless, adoption is life-giving.

Infertility seems hopeless, adoption is full of hope.

Infertility gives the impression that one is not deserving of children, but adoption reminds us that we are very-much deserving of parenthood. The two are polar opposites, but when they collide, one’s world opens up to the enriching, beautiful, and life-affirming gift of children.

Friends, if you are meandering your way through the warfare of infertility and barrenness, do not give up. Choosing to pursue adoption is your decision, no one else’s. However, from this barren one’s experience, I encourage you to consider adoption. I’m so thankful that I did, and that the Lord delivered my heart’s fervent wish to experience this gift of parenthood (even on the hard days).

“However motherhood comes to you, it’s a miracle.” -Valerie Harper