Friday, January 28, 2011

The Orphan - Part 2.

To my dearest Todd: Honey, please do not read this post. It's not for you. I love you. :) Yes, I'm serious! ~Karina

I have read Linny's blog posts about her adoption of Elijah and Elizabeth and Jubilee to my husband in hopes that it would inspire his amazingly tender heart to want to jump on the adoption train, I have asked him outright to consider adopting and his answer is a firm "I don't want anymore kids"

So, I have taken Linny's advice. I have shut up about adoption, an enormous undertaking. I fast and pray for God to change Todd's heart. I am still working on the part about not complaining to him about the children I do have, it's a hard habit to break, complaining. But I know that I cannot manipulate him, cajole him, convince him or push my way into adoption. He is going to have to come to that place by God's leading, and I trust that God has got that one covered, or I'm trying to trust.

Anyway. I began talking last month to MckMama about joining her on a missions trip to Kenya next month. I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to get to know my friend better and take pictures and even possibly get to meet the little boy that we sponsor through Compassion International. I got all the details of the trip and it looked like it was doable. But oddly, though I wanted to go, I did not feel an urgency to go nor did I feel compelled that I should go. Don't get me wrong, it would be a dream trip, the chance of a lifetime.

A few weeks ago Linny's husband, a couple of her older kids (Emma and Graham) went to Uganda. For the first few days Emma posted on her blog about their trip and every child she talked about, every story just pulled at my heart. I thought, "God, what are you doing? I want to run and get them all." Yeah, so realistic. Or not. Shortly after Linny's family returned home she posted about herself and Emma leading a trip to Uganda in April.

To my Dearest Todd: If you didn't take me seriously, start now. Do not read beyond this point. I mean it! I love you. ~Karina

I feel compelled to go on this trip to Uganda. I spent all day yesterday crying and praying over it. I'm scared. Financially, God is going to have to take care of the expenses of this trip, we simply can't, even more than that, I have been out of work for over a month and not only will God have to finance this trip, but our monthly budgets as well. Which, I must add, he is answering my prayers about that already! Todd and I have discussed the trip to Uganda, and he and I have agreed that if the monthly budgets and the cost of the trip are met, I can go. D for done!

What we haven't discussed and what scares me more is this: I feel certain that I will meet our next daughter on this trip. (wow, that's crazy to type) I have known for years that our next daughter is to be named Faith. I thought she was coming to us through IVF 7 years ago, but when I miscarried God told me our Faith would be a living child. I thought that one of the Cambodian twins would be Faith, but they are named Alena and Sophia, and those names are stuck. I could be wrong, and I'm not going on this trip to find a baby to adopt, but I'm just saying, if I meet a baby girl named Faith, I will know that she is to be ours and I believe if I meet her Todd will know too. And I'm not sure I'm ready and God's been doing crazy things lately, and it's just a LOT to process all at once!

So, I'm filling out and turning in the application for the Uganda April 2011 trip! I'm sending off to renew my passport next week. And I'm trusting God for all the rest. All of it.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Orphan.

My first experience with the Orphan came at a time in my life when I was desperate to have a baby. I wanted "my own" kids, and adoption to me meant failure. I was stubborn. I was also at the end of 3 years of trying to conceive. Todd and I sat down with a couple from our church that had adopted a daughter from Korea. We wanted to hear their story because it looked as if adoption would be our next step.

Their story was amazing and truly broke down my stubborn heart to accept that adoption could be everything that a pregnancy and birth could be and even more. I decided then and there that whether or not we ever got pregnant, I wanted to adopt someday.

The next month, I got pregnant. And now, over 15 years later, we have 5 children. I still want to adopt.

In 2007 just 2 short months after our Izaak arrived, I got a call from my husband. He began the conversation with, "How would you like to adopt identical twin girls from Cambodia?" I responded without a pause, "Where do I sign?" Then I realized what he was talking about, an email in my inbox from missionaries in Cambodia that I hadn't read yet. I opened it immediately and read it while he was on the phone. The minute I saw their picture I was smitten, and so was my husband. We have prayed for them from that day to this, 3 years, 5 months, 1 week, 2 days. They are not adoptable. For a while we had hope that they would be adopted by a Canadian couple, but it didn't work out and the doors closed. I tried to quit praying for them, but God has not released me from that yet. But still they remain unadoptable.

It's easy to say you would adopt when the children you want to adopt are unavailable. If these two precious girls were suddenly available to adopt I would be on the next flight to Cambodia to get them. I love them, I long to hold them and be their mommy. My children already consider them sisters, the sisters we long for.

But in the last few years, really since I began to read Linny's blog, A Place Called Simplicity, my heart has longed more and more to go and bring home an orphan from any part of the world and give them a forever family. It doesn't much matter from where, I love being a mommy and there are millions of kids who need a mommy (and a daddy, and a sister, and 4 brothers)!

God help me, I feel like my heart is torn out of my chest, laid bare for those who need a family.

To be continued...

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 1:27 (copyright NIV 2010)


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Cute Enough to Eat!

Disclaimer: No children were harmed, cooked or eaten in the making of this blog post.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Comic Relief.

Every week (used to be Tuesdays, now on Mondays) we have FDN*. Eventually, I will have a weekly post with pictures and recipes that I will post here.

*Family Dinner Night, where if you come, you're family.

It seems the last several weeks I have had a headache every time FDN rolls around. It's getting pretty annoying. Today I had taken ibuprofen, tried napping and my headache was still getting worse. I sent one of my son's on a walk to Starbucks for some caffeine. I was in a pretty good mood, but having a headache was taxing even that. I was frustrated, and I wanted to cuss, but I just can't. Seriously, I cannot make myself cuss. Then things just kept going wrong.

I had planned homemade noodles for my lasagna, but after I had made the dough I discovered that last time I had used my noodle press I broke it. I wanted to cuss. Instead I hand rolled noodles. When I finished rolling the noodles, I realized that the double batch of dough was not enough to make 2 pans of lasagna, I was expecting 17 people for dinner. Before I could call my husband, who was at the store getting salad, he got home. I wanted to cuss. Instead my niece volunteered to run to the store to get noodles, while my sweet hubby gave me a neck massage and helped me cook the sauce. As we finished the sauce I realized that I had not bought ricotta cheese, about that time my niece walked in the door with the noodles. I wanted to cuss! Instead, I shouted a string of unintelligible syllables to relieve all my frustration and need to cuss.

In the midst of my tirade several people arrived for FDN, one of them being Josh. Surprised by my outburst he asked, "What was THAT?"

Without a thought it came to me, "Oh, it was just me, cussing in tongues!"

We all had a good laugh, and the rest of the evening went off without another hitch! my headache even went away. Sometimes you just need a bit of comic relief.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

What I've Learned from Abraham.

God said go. He went.

God gave him a promise. He believed.

God made him wait. He kept believing.

God's promise looked impossible. He believed anyway.

Abraham had fears. Abraham sometimes forgot to trust. Abraham sinned.

Abraham was not perfect.

God was faithful to his promise despite Abraham.

Abraham had questions. He asked God.

God fulfilled his promise. Abraham worshiped.

God tested Abraham. Abraham proved faithful.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Healthy Heart.

Well, my mommy instincts were off. While I'm not diminishing the beautiful gift of a healthy heart, I'm not exactly pleased with that answer. My son has health issues. And a minor (read: fixable) heart problem was the lesser of two evils for him. A healthy heart means unhealthy lungs. And unhealthy lungs, that's the diagnosis I didn't want for my baby boy.

Going to have to leave this at Jesus' feet. In the words of one of my favorite bloggers, Angie Smith, "My Jesus is the same now as he was when I walked in the door."


Rebel Thoughts.

I kinda miss MckMama's blog carnival "Not Me!" Monday. I have a few things I need to get off my chest. Like, it's January 18 and my Christmas decorations are all put away. I would never wait this long out of laziness to pack them all up. Nope, not me! It was not after 11 am before my children at breakfast today. Nope, I feed them in a more timely manner than that. It is definitely NOT the 3rd time this week that breakfast has been late. And I did NOT totally space my annual physical yesterday. I'm an organized, responsible person. This was NOT the appointment I rescheduled after the last time I forgot it. Heavens, only a space cadet would do that, not ME!

Ah, that's more like it. I feel better already.

You'll notice that some adds have appeared on the upper right column and under the most current post. Hopefully they won't be to intrusive. If you see something you like, feel free to check it out, otherwise ignore them. From what I've seen so far the ads should match the theme of this blog... but if for some reason you see otherwise let me know so I can have them removed.

I'm getting nervous about Izaak's cardiology appointment today. It's not that I want him to have a heart problem, but he already has a problem and I'd rather it be a heart problem that can be fixed, than asthma that cannot. Mostly I just want an answer. Ok, I admit, I want to be right. I hate being wrong. I've thought about this for almost 2 years. I've convinced myself that Izaak's reactive airway disease is caused by an ASD just like his sister had.

I've been talking to my daughter about her ASD. She remembers what it feels like to not be able to breathe. She described it one time as a full, heavy feeling that keeps you from breathing. She said she has never experienced that since having the ASD repaired. She gets winded during exercise, but it's like everyone else gets winded. I am still SO thankful that God allowed her to have pneumonia 2 years ago so that we could finally find the ASD and fix it. It still kills me that she lived with it twelve years. That is probably the reason I am so insistent about Izaak. If we can help him breathe better at age 3, then it will be worth sticking my neck out. And if we find he has asthma then at least I will know that I did everything I could to make sure it wasn't ASD.
And if I never have to see his sweet face behind this silly fish mask again, I would be ecstatic!


Monday, January 17, 2011

Sick Boy. Insistent Mama.

My baby is sick. I hate that. But I really hate that it's chronic.

Almost two years ago my daughter got pneumonia and her chest x-ray showed a lot more than we ever expected. She had an enlarged pulmonary artery, the result of a large ASD* (Atrial Septal Defect). It was easily repaired by cardio cath with an Amplatzer Occluder. Her quality of life has improved greatly.

At the time Izaak was not quite 2 years old. And I talked to the cardiologist about Izaak. He has an almost identical history when it comes to breathing issues. We have no family medical history of asthma, and the breathing issues have always bothered me. The cardiologist assured me that ASDs are not genetic, and that it would be unlikely that we would have two in the same family.

Two years later and I'm still not convinced. One of the symptoms of ASD is breathing problems and frequent pneumonia infections. The biggest difference between Izaak and Letha is that he has had pneumonia more.

Izaak has been sick this week. It started as croup. It is now a full blown cold with breathing issues, fever and possibly the beginnings of..... pneumonia. Again.

It just seems logical to me. Do an ultrasound on his heart to make sure. That's all. Just check. I don't want my son to live with asthma until he's 12 (or longer) if he doesn't have to. If this is fixable, let's find it and fix it. If it ends up that he actually has asthma, we will deal with that.

Fortunately, we have a pediatrician that listens to "Mommy instincts". So, we are going for an echo tomorrow! We will find out if we have another case of "cardiac asthma" or if this is the real asthma that can't be fixed. My gut tells me I'm right about this. Hopefully being an insistent Mama will pay off with better health for my son in the end.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

God is SO Faithful.

Two very wonderful things happened today! I have cried many tears of joy over them both.

First, my daughter of the heart, Meg, quit running from God today and gave her heart back to Him! WOOOHOOO! There are angels rejoicing in heaven tonight over Meg! (Honey, I'm so happy for you and so excited to see what God is going to do in your life!) Yippee Jesus! I got to be right there holding her hand and gave her the HUGEST hug afterwords. Totally filled my Mama's heart with pride, joy and happiness!

While I was talking to and hugging Meg I noticed a woman standing about 10 feet away looking on. She seemed to have a longing in her eyes and as Meg and I stood up she approached me. Keep in mind that I have never seen this woman before, but I was drawn to her because, well, it had to be the Holy Spirit, there's just no other explanation.

In my post a few days ago Preaching to the Choir, God was talking to me about loving others. And well, this lady, she looked like she could use a good dose of love. As she approached me she said she didn't know what was going on here, but that she knew that she needed to be there. I asked her if she needed to pray. She said she was okay on that front. Today was her first time to our church and she said she felt like she had come home. Thank you, Jesus, for giving me the opportunity to lavish love on you in the form of a stranger. What I did next kind of shocked me. I threw my arms around her in a HUGE hug and said, "Welcome home!" I introduced myself and asked about her. She said she's all alone. She had recently moved from another part of town and was looking for a church. She felt she had found the right one. Yippee Jesus!

I am sure that if I look I will be able to find an unlimited amount of people to love in Jesus' name, but I am also sure that God planted this one in my path. She could have approached any number of people that were at the altars this morning, she waited for me, she looked me in the eyes, she was there for me. And God being God, I know that I was there for her. She showed me God's faithfulness and I showed her His love. It's crazy, but God's kind of like that!

It really reminds me of the lyrics to a Phillips, Craig & Dean song:
Who am I that you are mindful of me? That you hear me when I call?
Is it true that you are thinking of me? How you love me?

~"Friend of God" Phillips Craig & Dean.

Really, God, it is amazing!!!


Rebel Thoughts.

Ahhh, the weekend. Time to relax and enjoy home. Or not so much.

Friday was my middle goddaughter's 19th birthday. I, of course, had to bake her a cake. My bestie, Penny, wanted to go to the Melting Pot, but alas, it was not to be. In lieu of Melting Pot, she decided to serve her own 4 course fondue meal for my goddaughter and her close friends. I offered to help serve the kids and bake the cake.

I stayed overnight because my little pink laptop, Tabitha, was going to be ready to pick up on Saturday morning. I sent out a tweet to see if anyone in the area wanted to meet for lunch and low and behold, 2 of my new bloggy mom friends were able to meet me, in addition to the one who was bringing Tabitha back to me!

This evening I made another cake for the daughter of a friend. I was thinking back to when I met my friend Kari. She was the first online friend that I met IRL (in real life). While I've only been blogging for about 2 1/2 years, I've been a part of online communities and bulletin boards for almost 9 years! Crazy.

I was thinking tonight about the first time I met Kari. We were part of a mothers of twins board and discovered that we live in the same metro area, albeit opposite ends of the city. We chose to meet at a mall somewhere in between. I wore make-up that day. I was really nervous. It seemed so strange to meet this person I had been posting online with for months. We knew each other, but not really. Kari wore make-up too. About midway through our lunch and playdate she told me it was unusual for her to wear make-up. She'd only worn it in case I was a real fashionista. Same reason I wore make up! Now when we get together neither of us wear make-up! Haha!

It's not so weird for me to meet online friends in person anymore. I still get a little nervous, but it wears off quickly. It's totally awesome how the internet can bring people together who would never otherwise have met. Yeah, you have to be careful, but it can be so rewarding!

On my way home I was driving in silence. I don't get a lot of silence in my life, so I take every opportunity to enjoy it when it comes. I was listening to the hum of the car going down the road at 75 miles per hour. It was about a middle C. A very sweet spot for this alto. It inspired me to sing. So, I had a little praise and worship time based on the road noise that my car makes. Weird. Lovely. But weird.

And in a few hours I will get up and head to church to sing some more. I love Sundays.

Good night.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Preaching to the Choir.

As you read this, I hope one of two things, that you feel as passionately about it as I do or that it will be like having a bucket of ice water poured over your warm, sleeping spirit, so that you will wake up and take notice. A lot of what I share on my blog when it comes to spiritual things comes from what God is teaching me personally. So, please know my heart that if what you read here sounds like I'm preaching, it's because I'm preaching to the choir of me.

It takes all kinds of people to make the world go 'round. And then there are the 'special people'. You know, the people that everyone cringes to talk to, or tries to avoid altogether. The mentally or socially interesting people. You know what I'm talking about. These people don't bother me. I talk to them, hug them, listen politely when they speak to me. And occasionally someone will ask me, "How do you deal with the 'special people'?" I just shrug it off and say, "I don't know. They're just people."

I was at a church function recently and talked with a couple of people like I just described. And when our conversation ended, my friend sitting next to me said, "Good job." I knew what she meant, but I wanted to see what she would say, so I questioned her about her meaning. "Well, several people have told me that they don't want to talk to them. You did it with grace."

I wasn't a bit surprised by her answer, but it did make me want to shake all the people that had said that, or thought it. What my friend doesn't know is that God has been dealing with me very strongly about 'special people'. While I will accept a hug or listen to them politely, I don't truly show love to them. I don't take time to learn who they are, most of the time I don't even take enough time to learn their names. They're just people. So, I turned to my friend and said, "God has shown me recently that those people are the least of these."


They are the LEAST OF THESE. The ones Jesus talked about. The ones that separated the sheep from the goats. The ones that represent Jesus. The ones that if you ignore them you're a GOAT! DO YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS TO GOATS? You DON'T want to be a GOAT!

I don't want to be a goat. Nope.

The Least of These. They are the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned. What if they are the hungry for love? Or thirsty for attention? What if the stranger is simply stranger than you? Or the emotionally naked? What if it's the hypochondriac? What if it's the obnoxious, complaining, legalistic, arrogant, loud-mouth that's imprisoned by his own bad attitude? These. These are the ones. The ones that we are called to meet their needs, to feed them, give them a drink, invited them in, clothe them, care for them and visit them.

Oh WAKE UP, church! Please, wake up!

Do you know them? Who are your least of these? Who are the ones you graciously brush off? The ones you endure but really can't stand? You know them. Sure, the least of these are orphans and widows around the world, the poor and impoverished, even the homeless. But that's not all, no that's not all. They are in your church, they are in your office, they could even be in your family. The least of these.

But listen. LISTEN!

Think about the goats. The goats ignored them, brushed them off, left them hungry, thirsty, lonely, naked, sick and imprisoned alone. And bad things happen to the goats in the end, BUT THAT'S NOT THE POINT! Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! He said if you don't care for the least of these, you don't care for HIM! We have an opportunity to lavish love on Jesus, and we are missing it! How can I say I love Jesus (and I DO love him), and not take every opportunity to LAVISH love on him?

I want to be a sheep who loves my shepherd.

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
~Matt. 25:37-40
{whole parable: Matt. 25:31-46}


Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Best Christmas EVER!

DISCLAIMER: I am reluctant to share the following story, because I believe that in giving, "the left hand should not know what the right hand it is doing". Giving should be private. But people who read my blog were involved in this story and I think it will be a blessing to them and to others. This story is all about God moving. It has nothing to do with me.

It started with a mom trying to make a few extra dollars for Christmas. Actually, it really started before that. It started with the Holy Spirit and a man by the name of Francis Chan who spoke about what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. I have lived in that conviction for the last 6 months.

Anyway, I wanted to earn some extra money for Christmas, so I set up my blog for local folks to buy Christmas cakes, and shared on Twitter and Facebook about it. My sweet friend/ Nancy, living across the country suggested that non-local folks be able to give donations so that cakes could be donated to needy families. I thought it was a fabulous idea, a way to pass on the giving. I had no idea where God would take this.

A few days after my post I had several orders for cakes, and a few donations came in. Then, I got a check in the mail, with the sweetest note. A gentleman from my church wanted to make sure we had a good Christmas. We were so touched but did not feel right about taking money without giving back. So I told him that I would make and donate cakes. That one check was more than enough to cover our kind of simple Christmas, and I had already determined that we would love our neighbor as ourselves. Later that week another such generous check came in the mail, though not from the cake post, just the prompting of God.

Christmas Eve arrived and I had determined which families were getting cakes and had made sure most of them would be at the Christmas Eve service. After the service Todd brought the cakes in and I began to deliver them. One family in particular, a mom and 2 college girls, was very grateful. They each hugged me and told me how much it meant to them. It was not a good time, they had just been turned down for food stamps and the refrigerator was nearly bare and there would be no Christmas.

I told them that we happen to have a turkey in our freezer that we weren't planning to cook for Christmas as we were going to friends' house for dinner. (Honestly, I have no idea why I bought that bird in the first place) I asked if we could bring it over later, we exchanged phone numbers and went our ways. I was touched by their gratefulness. It was just a cake, but you'd have thought I'd given them much more.

Later, standing in our kitchen I told Todd about how it touched me. I was all teary-eyed. We looked at each other and we both knew that we needed to take more than a turkey to them that night. It was 7:15 and we knew that Super Wally-world would close at 8 for Christmas. "Go!" he said. I went, taking Letha with me.

I had in mind that I needed to get groceries to last a week or more, plus some gifts, and a gift card for things they might need that we wouldn't foresee. God placed a figure in my mind of $300. Normally when I go to the grocery store I have a budget and we add things up as we put them in the cart and stop when we meet the budget. Letha and I started adding things up, but we were in a time crunch and every few minutes we heard an announcement over the intercom about how soon they were closing. I threw my hands in the air and said to Letha, "Forget about adding it all up. We will just throw things in the cart and trust that God will make it all enough." We just kept throwing things in the cart. I don't think I've ever had so much fun at the store, and I was practically crying the whole time!

The total of groceries and Christmas presents came to just over $200 and we got them an $80 gift card! Yippee Jesus!!!

It took us awhile to get a hold of them that night, but eventually we loaded the kids in the car and headed over with "the turkey". As we pulled up to the house they opened the door and came out onto the porch. We got the turkey out of the back of the truck and then started unloading the groceries. To see understanding dawn on their faces as they began to realize what we had done was priceless. Better than a visa commercial! We carried the groceries into the house and handed them into the kitchen. I confessed to the lady of the house that I had gone a little crazy, that God had blessed us and that we needed to pass on the blessing. As she began to unpack the groceries opening each bag was like Christmas morning all over again! She exclaimed over nearly every item, "You got us a chicken?" "You got us lunch meat?" "...eggs?" It was incredible! And then one her her girls started to jump up and down, exclaiming, "This is turning out to be the BEST Christmas, EVER!!!" And we all agreed!

And then these sweet ladies began to shower us with gifts. The kids each got candy canes, and a stuffed animal from the girls' collections, and Todd and I received with joy glass ornaments, that they had hand beaded, straight from their own Christmas tree! Beautiful! Now every year when we decorate our tree we will remember how the God of the Universe blessed us one Christmas in abundance so that we could bless another family abundantly.

As we drove home our children all agreed, this was turning out to be the best Christmas ever!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Rebel Thoughts...

My laptop, Tabitha, is gone for a few days to be repaired by a sweet bloggy friend's husband. Bloggy friend, Melissa. Husband, Matt. A few days ago Tabitha started acting up and Melissa jumped at the chance to help when I tweeted about it. I was a little shy about accepting such a generous offer, but I did it anyway.

I used to post Wordless Wednesdays, which I haven't done in a while but will continue in the future, just not this week, because all my pictures are on Tabitha. In fact, I am missing Tabitha greatly tonight. I'm using the kids' computer and it doesn't have all my bookmarks and passwords and familiarity to it that Tabitha has. She has become like a friend in the last 2 1/2 years. And in case you're wondering, I name everything. I named her specifically because Todd told me that my laptop needed a name for the network. I'm sure he was thinking something boring, like Pleckers laptop or something, but I had to close my eyes and feel for a name that would suit my pink vaio! ;) I'm weird. It's ok.

So, what other inanimate objects have I named? My truck is Mercy (said in the same voice as it's said in the song 'Pretty Woman', followed by a growl). My coffee maker is Valentino Tassimo. My camera is Olyver Olympus. My cell phone is Sophia B. Berry. My husband's car, which I bought brand new 21 years ago and has over 250K mi., is Road Runner. I'm weird. I know.

Among other things, tomorrow is supposed to be Del Taco day. But I am out of funds for the week, so we will probably have left-over quiche from dinner Monday night. Besides, the new manager at Del Taco made me mad over something really stupid and I have decided not to go back, at least for awhile. I might get over it someday, maybe when that manager moves on. I really miss Eddy.

My Christmas decorations are still up. I'm hoping they get taken down AND put away before my friend Bonnie comes to visit from Canada in March. At least she got her passport app filled out. The least I can do is take down my tree. :)

I made a cake tonight for one of my daughters of the heart's birthday. We also put Mason's name on the cake since my niece was here for FDN (Family Dinner Night). I have another cake for my goddaughter's birthday on Friday. And a third cake for another friend's daughter on Sunday. I seem destined to make cakes. I think I could make them in my sleep.

Speaking of Mason. His heaven day is tomorrow. I still can't believe how incredible it is that he lived 5 days. Nor how sad that he didn't get to live here. Nor how glad that he changed the course of our lives. Bittersweet. Happy Heaven Day little man.

This post is plain without pictures. I miss Tabitha. It's stupid to miss a computer. That's all I've got. Ciao!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Second Mama.

The first time I became a mentor, it was by circumstance, but I went about it in a very intentional way. I sought guidance and learned how to be a mentor from a sweet lady that I've known most of my life and who I highly respect as a spiritual, Christian leader.

Thankfully what I learned in those sessions about mentoring apply to all mentoring situations. Because, in the last year my home has been filled with more mentoring than I could ever have dreamed!

I have to tell you that as an only daughter, with 3 older brothers, I always dreamed of sisters. And, eventually, I did get some sisters, but didn't have the opportunity to know them since they lived 600 miles away. When our 4th boy came along, my 1 daughter really lamented not having a sister. I explained to her that sisters don't have to be related to you. I have a couple of 'sisters' that don't share a single chromosome with me. Even while explaining this to my daughter, I was, myself, lamenting not having more daughters.

It dawned on me recently that daughters don't have to be related to me any more than my 'sisters'! Somehow in the last year I have become "Second Mama" to a handful of wonderful young ladies. Some of them are my daughter's classmates, some not. But all very special to me.

I was thinking about what it means to be a Second Mama the other day. It's a labor of love. Sometimes as simple as giving a hug. Sometimes as complex as psychotherapist. ;)

A Second Mama's first job is to always support and love First Mama. I see it as my job to bridge the gap of relationships between my 'daughters' and their moms when things at home are frustrating. I give a listening ear, understanding words and encourage them to step back and understand a different perspective. Occasionally, I even get the chance to encourage the First Mamas. It's important to me to help them honor their mothers and if possible understand their mothers. I never want to be a stumbling block in those relationships. Rather, I want to encourage and foster them.

A Second Mama's next, and probably most important job, is to always point my girls to Jesus. Whether it's encouraging them to pray, praying with them, buying them a Bible and walking through it with them, answering the hard questions of life, dealing with anger and frustration, broken hearts, whatever it is I gotta bring it back to the eternal. What is really important is your relationship with God. This is the little life, the big life is the one to come. So my goal is to make sure my girls are ready for it, and that they know how to live this life in Truth. A big part of that is living by example, and sometimes I fail miserably at that. There are times when I get caught in my own anger and don't deal well. Times when my words aren't as gentle as they should be. But part of living that example is getting right back up and on track again. We all fail sometimes, but how we deal with our shortcomings is as important as the things we teach and say, maybe more important. I hope my girls see that in me.

A Second Mama's third job is giving lots of hugs. Hugs make you feel loved and important. They can comfort you when you're down. They can relate shared joys. They can give you a sense of belonging. Face it, hugs just feel good! :)

This past year has been a life-changing year for me. God has grown me more than any other year I can remember. He has given my a heart for the lost, and a voice to speak boldly. He has opened so many, many doors for me to reach out to others who need Him. And being a Second Mama has been almost as rewarding as being a mama to my own children.

I am so proud of my girls and I love them all dearly,
Alysha & Ashley

The daughters of my heart.


Friday, January 7, 2011


It was 2 years ago today that my great nephew Mason was born. God has done many things in the last 2 years that He began with Mason's sweet, short life. And many things we have yet to see the outcome. But one thing is sure... God is faithful.

My precious niece, Mason's mother, is walking in relationship with God today. A relationship with God is something she didn't know she needed until Mason was diagnosed with Trisomy 18. It has been such a gift to me to walk with her through this journey, to discover this amazing young woman with incredible stamina and faith, to mentor her through the beginnings of her relationship with her savior. And to see her grow.

Thank you Lord for redeeming our pain to draw us closer to you.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Rebel Thoughts.

First I want to update you on my Christmas cakes venture or adventure! I sold 10 cakes and another 8 cakes were given in donation to struggling families in our church, specifically in the choir. The week of Christmas was crazy as the ganache and frosting flew! My poor oven saw more action that one week than it usually sees in a whole year! But the cakes were a wild success! I even got feedback about doing the Macy's Bridal Show! Wow! Not exactly what I had in mind, but quite flattering! And well, the whole adventure really made our Christmas but not at all, but ever so much more, in the way I had intended!! (Maybe I'll share that story soon)

We had a horrible New Year to offset our fabulous Christmas! I was a maniac, completely not myself and about ruined it for everyone. I'm better now. I have my mind around the situation and realize that there are just some things about me that God's power will always be the only reason I live and breathe, that His power is made perfect in my weakness, and it will most certainly keep me humble.

I jumped at the opportunity tonight to have sushi with several ladies that I met through blogging. I jumped not at all because of the sushi, though it was better than the last time I experienced it, but because of the socializing. Me, little Miss Shy Social Butterfly. My guess is that not one of those ladies realizes how terribly shy I am and what a struggle it was for my insides to approach a table of women that I barely know. I nearly bolted for the door when I first walked to the table. But, because these ladies are so incredibly kind and lovely, the rest of the evening was quite enjoyable! Thanks, Sarah, Renee, Christy, Melissa, Lauren, Tiffany and Jen.

One of the topics of the evening was helping others. Giving. Loving. Sharing. To that end, I'd like to share an opportunity with you to help a family in need. Christy has told Hailey's story and opened a way to help. This is an immediate need, so if you can help, please do so.