Sunday, June 27, 2010

Going to the Creek!

Tomorrow is the day! We have been praying expectantly for God to do big things this week. I tell 'ya, the enemy works hard in these times...but he will not win!
As part of the youth staff, April, is a valuable part of the ministry, but Emily has been running a fever, with no other symptoms.
Please pray that her fever will go away so April and Emily can leave with us tomorrow morning!

My sweet hubby is currently making the 2.5 hour drive to my brother and sister-in-law's to drop off three of our youngest Treasures for the week. My SIL has been keeping my littles so we/I could attend camp for 10 years now!
Please pray for stamina and safety, as Sheri keeps Kayden, Kambry and Kaeleb!

Before leaving church today, Kaeleb had an accident and gashed his head open.
Please pray the wound heals, with no infection!

Kinley Grace is going with me.
Please pray that she would rest and not feel the need to be carried around all week!
Please pray for my teen campers, Kolton and Kenzie.

And a praise is that the corn keeps coming on and we are literally days from our first cutting. For this reason, Kuyler won't be going as a sponsor but will stay home to help Dad get ready for the season.
So, please pray for Clayton, Kuyler and Kooper as they hold down the fort and plan our 4th of July gathering!

May you have a blessed week!!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Good defense, 1st baseman!
Batter up!
Getting ready to take home...
...slide, and score 1 for the Lady Devils!
What a team!
Not a bad way to finish an undefeated season ~ a 17 to 0 Championship win! Way to go, Lady Devils!

Now, I really need to pack for camp...

semifinal - victory!

Semi-final - win!!! Next game in 2 hours!!! Go Lady Devils!

movin' on up!

Our 13 and under lady Red Devils are advancing in the tournament! These gals really play as a team! Thanks, Michelle, for investing in our kids! Final games are today. Go, Kenzie!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Happy Birthday, Kinley Grace!

Last year you celebrated your 2nd birthday with your friends in Enmei CWI of Ningbo City...
...and we could only celebrate from a world away, cherishing the pictures, as we longed to hold you. (I highly recommend Ladybugs N Love for sending care packages! Angela and Kelly rock ~ We received these photos just 2 days after Kinley's birthday!)
This year you are home where you belong!
With siblings who adore you. (Outfits compliments of My Red Thread!)
Need some help with that?
It takes a college education to open this package :)
Happy 3rd birthday, precious girl! You bring so much joy to our family!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

And Then There Was Corn!

Every morning as the sun is rising, I walk through the field and pray. I am greeted by the first light of the day. It's like an invitation from the Father to behold His majesty and cling to His promises throughout the day.
I see His fingerprints everywhere!
Including in the crop!
Mr. Greenthumb began planting in hopes we would have our first pick of sweet corn for the 4th of July (everybody wants fresh corn then!).

But the weather stayed cool and the corn wasn't growing. Then there was wind that covered the tiny plants with sand. Then finally the heat came...and nearly shocked the weather-beaten plants.

We began to plan for a delay in our first picking, maybe the middle of July at best. We knew all along it wasn't our crop anyway, but His. But we finally came to the place where we really, truly gave it back to Him, relinquishing any claim or right we thought we had, asking only for His guidance and provision. With much prayer, we pushed on, caring for His crop.

And then came tassels. That's a good sign. And then came silks. That's a great sign.

And yesterday Mr. Greenthumb plucked a small ear of corn to gauge the growth...and he estimated the first pick will be ready in 12 days ~ that's the 4th of July, folks!

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.
Prov 16:9

Monday, June 21, 2010

Memorial Box Monday ~ The Game

This was my very first Memorial Box Monday post on April 13, 2009! To learn more about Memorial Box Monday, please check out Linny's blog!

The Game

Wow, my very first Memorial Box Monday post! I thought it only fitting to share the moment Jesus saved me, July 26, 2001! I need to back up four years.

We had been faithfully attending church, having personal quiet times and reading the Bible. Kenzie had been born, had become very sick, and God had chosen to heal her. Soon after her recovery, Clayton and I began to contemplate accepting Christ. It seems strange now that it was such a difficult decision, but God had an awesome plan in the midst of our conversations and questions. We knew it was an individual decision, and we were each ready. The following Sunday, Clayton was so convicted of his need for Jesus that he couldn’t help but respond … and I followed suit. Little did I know that was only a baby step toward my walk with Christ.

I continued to study and serve. Eventually we sensed that God was calling us to a church within our own community, where Kuyler attended school and we resided. We began to make new friends and really enjoyed the fellowship with our new church family. We preferred serving ‘behind the scenes,’ but when the church requested prayer to fill the youth Sunday school teacher position, we felt we had to come out f the shadows. After much prayer and discussion, we couldn’t ignore the call. Even before that I had been asked to help with youth events, seemingly out of the blue, and had found out how much I loved this sometimes unlovable group of 13 to 18 year olds. Two weeks before we were to start teaching Sunday school I took my first trip to Falls Creek as a youth sponsor. I was scared to death, but found myself being challenged by the pastor and youth pastor. I even agreed to serve as an adult encourager, meaning that when a student responded to the invitation, I would help answer their questions and share the gospel with them. What an amazing opportunity!

During the last noon Tabernacle service we played “The Game.” We weren’t told how it was going to work; we learned only by observation, and then realized the object was to move as quickly as possible. So, we have 5,000 teens and adults in the Tabernacle, there are a few students on the stage who begin to move among the crowd. Some are holding tickets. Suddenly a ‘breaking’ news bulletin flashes on the overhead televisions. There’s been a wreck on the high road and everybody wearing flip flops has perished. If you have heard the Gospel and accepted Christ you are going to heaven (the stage), and if you have not accepted Christ, you are going to hell (the back of the tabernacle). So now that everyone knows how the game is played, suddenly we’re all frantically trying to reach the disciples. The rule is they must share their testimony and we must make a decision for Christ before the next tragedy strikes. Some of the disciples are also handing out ‘go to heaven free’ passes.

Finally our youth pastor heard the Gospel, accepted Christ and began sharing his testimony with me … but in the midst of sharing, tragedy struck and I was rendered ‘dead.’ It was only a game, but the climb over benches to get to ‘hell’ was the most daunting event. Then those of us banished to eternal fire had to sit and watch the rest of the game, and it was the most eerie feeling. In the end, the wheat was separated from the chaff (Matthew 3:12); however, those who thought they’d gotten into heaven on a free pass, were soon reminded there is only one way to spend eternity in Heaven, and that is through faith in Jesus, not a ‘get out of hell free’ pass (but I’m generally a good person; I go to church; I read my Bible; I’ve never committed a crime…).

The following week I was challenged to memorialize my testimony. As I sat down to write, there simply were no words. I realized even though I had been reading the Word, serving and attending church, I did NOT have a relationship with Jesus. I was doing things but had neglected the main thing: recognizing my sin and need for a Savior, turning my life over to Him. I was miserable. I couldn’t let another day go by without making this right … but Satan tried to get a hold of me by making me feel ashamed and embarrassed because so many people thought I was a Christian. How would I explain this? To what or whom would I credit my ‘growth’ over the past four years? I called my pastor, thinking he could help me sort through this. Truth is, the conviction was so strong there was no getting around it – I needed Christ!

In the middle of the afternoon in our living room with my husband and my pastor present, I wept, asked forgiveness, and trusted Christ as my Lord and Savior! Immediately I knew I had to be baptized, despite the potential embarrassment. I had to stand before my church family and testify what Jesus had done in my life, and thank God for his grace and mercy over the past four years. I realized if I had died, I would have been in total disbelief on judgment day when God would say to me, “I never knew you. Away from me….” (Matthew 7:23)

I was reminded of just how much my life had paralleled ‘the game.’ In the game I was ‘almost’ into heaven, but there are no ‘almosts’ concerning eternity.

That was almost nine years ago, and I haven’t looked back. No games, no passes, just the real deal from here on out!

What's Up?

I promise I'm not gonna bombard ya'll with ALL my simple recipes :) In fact, next week we'll be at youth camp and I probably won't post at all. And speaking of Falls Creek, can you pray for us?

This week we've had two blond teenagers sick. Virus. Fever. Pain. They need to get healthy, and we don't need to pass this around.

Because a week from today ~
Mama and Kuyler will head to camp as sponsors (along with some other pretty amazing folks);
Kolton and Kenzie will be youth campers;
Kinley will be Mama's camp sidekick;
Kayden, Kambry and Kaeleb will be at their Aunt Sheri's for the week;
Kooper and Dad will be holding down the fort and making sure everything is in order to start picking corn soon after we return!
I can't wait for Falls Creek! But I always miss my babies. And I'm concerned that Kinley will not sleep well (we start our in-cabin devos at 10:00 p.m.!). And I fear she will wake up in the night and want to join me in my twin-two-inch-thin-mattress. There's just no room, sweetie!

What's up this week?
1 ortho appointment
2 ortho consults
1 ENT appointment
1 softball game
softball tourney
clearing all the work off my desk...

Anyway, here's one of my favorite after-church meals because it can be on the table in 30 which time the family devours it. I call it:

Sausage/Pepper/Pasta Stuff
4 cups bow tie pasta, prepared according to package
1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 orange pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 lb smoked sausage, fully cooked, sliced thin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
In a LARGE skillet, melt butter and saute veggies until tender. Add sausage, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until heated through. Add cooked, drained pasta to skillet and toss to coat.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Since We're Talking Soup...

I serve egg drop soup as a side dish once a week because we all love it. It's so easy and so cheap...and we all love it. Only problem, no cheese. I wonder... Nah!

Egg Drop Soup
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tsp salt
dash pepper
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 green onion, chopped, including top
wanton sheets (I find these in W*l-Mart produce section)
2 tbsp olive oil
Cut wanton sheets in half. Heat oil in non-stick pan and brown wantons on both sides (only takes a sec). Place browned wanton sheets on paper towel to absorb oil.
Heat chicken broth, water, bouillon, salt and pepper to boiling in saucepan. Stir green onions into eggs. Pour egg/onion mixture slowly into boiling broth, stirring constantly with a fork to shred eggs.
We use the wanton sheets like crackers in the soup! Delish!

Here's another hit ~

Ham and Cheese Wraps
Large wraps (I use the Zesty Herb)
2 lbs deli ham
shredded lettuce
chopped tomatoes
shredded cheddar/jack cheese
Spread each wrap with Mayo, then layer the ham, lettuce, tomato and cheese (or hide the cheese in the ham :) Close the bottom first, roll each wrap tightly. Great thing about this is you can prepare it a few hours before mealtime and refrigerate!

If ya'll are brave enough to try any of my tweaked recipes, let me know what you think. I used to stress about what to fix for supper and would put it off till the last minute, causing more stress.

Now I plan a two-week menu and choose the meals that fit the day's activities. Hopefully, within a month our menu will include fresh sweet corn! I do crazy things like pre-cook chicken breasts and freeze them, prepare double dishes for freezing, freeze chopped onions and peppers....
I used to be the world's best procrastinator and then zip into action right before the deadline - that doesn't work for me anymore! I've found that with a Table for Ten, I can't really pretend mealtime doesn't exist :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What Will We Do?

Have you seen this animated adoption video??? It's just over 4 minutes long, and it has touched my heart so much I had to share it with you.

Sometimes we become so discouraged by our own fears, weaknesses and failures that we think it would be better to give up than to give in. Even though I fail every day as a parent, I am never left or forsaken by the Ultimate Parent, my Heavenly Father, who allows me to draw strength, grace, mercy, love and forgiveness from Himself.

As I watch this video I think of each of my five children who were born in my heart. The day I met each of them, I could not imagine them having spent a single day institutionalized.
Whether I bonded with them immediately or not, I couldn't imagine my life without them, or theirs without me. Not that I deny it or refuse to acknowledge it ~ I just can't imagine them ever being an orphan.

Sometimes it's good to remember where we've come from. I'm so glad God was patient and merciful with me. He rescued me. I never again want to be a spiritual orphan ~ and praise Him I don't have to!

But what about those who are physically orphaned? Just because we aren't 'capable,' 'equipped' or 'prepared financially,' doesn't mean we have a reason to do nothing. Not when there are over 147 million reasons to do something. What will we do?
(Please turn music sound off at the bottom of the page before starting)

Hide the Cheese!

Do you have any idea how hard it is to cook without cheese? And how ridiculous it is? :) We LOVE cheese! But one of my Treasures does not. Actually, he doesn't know whether he loves cheese or not. He may really like something...until he finds out it has cheese, and suddenly his palate changes. So I've gotten creative and found ways to hide the cheese. This is a soup that we all love! Even in the summertime. I serve this with bakery French bread, fresh fruit and it's as easy as that!

And here's the disclaimer ~ Most of my recipes have been tweaked to fit our family with the following regulations:

~ If it takes more than 5 seconds to read the recipe, I cut something out;

~if it takes more than 10 minutes to prepare the ingredients, I cut something out;

~if it contains ingredients I don't like or can't pronounce, I cut something out;

~finally, I double everything :) So, here's my version (except for doubling) ~

Chicken Tortellini Soup

6 c water

3 cans chicken broth

1 cube chicken bouillon

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 cup chunked chicken (I pre-cook a bunch of chicken breasts, chunk them and keep them in the freezer)

½ cup chopped onion

1 tsp minced garlic

1 dash oregano

9 oz pkg cheese tortellini

*add a few broccoli florets for color

In large saucepan combine water, chicken broth, bouillon, soup, chicken, onion, garlic and oregano. Bring to a boil; add tortellini. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. (add broccoli 15 minutes before done).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sample Pictures

hear no evil...
see no evil...
speak no evil...
:) :) :)

Finding the Funny in All Things!

I love to cook, and I've been thinking of sharing some recipes ~ not because I make them so delicious, but because my family loves the things I've been challenging myself to try.

And with a finicky eater in the house, cooking is a challenge. But even my 14-year-old non-cheese-consuming child loves some of the things I've been stirring up.

In fact, his daily comment is, "Mom, maybe you open restaurant, people love this!" :)

There is one recipe, however, I won't share. It's no secret the kid loves vegetables - all vegetables! I steam a LOT of them! As I was steaming a two-pound bag of carrots the other day he opened the lid and saw the delicious treasure inside, exclaiming, "Mom, I love this!" In my usual 'teaching' mode I said, "I know. What is it?" To which he declared, "Crack!"

We will get this English thing down...we will get this English thing down...we will...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Memorial Box Monday ~ The Tract

I've posted this MBM before, but as we near the 2nd anniversary of my dad's entering into glory, it bears repeating. Please visit Linny's blog for more Memorial Box Monday posts!

I miss my dad so much! But I also rejoice as I remember where he is now, even when I have to be reminded in the simple but heartfelt prayers of my five-year-old daughter, “God, I thank you that Granddad is in Heaven with you, and I want you to take good care of him.”

In November 2003, the month we announced we were adopting, my dad was diagnosed with malignant melanoma, metastasized to his lymph system. It was a huge shock, and we learned that with cancer, we must live day by day, always waiting for the next report, the next treatment, the next procedure, the next trial.

It was no secret that since the Lord had miraculously saved me, I had been trying to ‘help’ him bring my dad to Christ. Clayton and I had committed to certain lifestyle changes, new habits and traditions. I had even written my dad a lengthy letter asking him to accept Christ. But most of the time we were afraid to actually talk to him about the goodness of the Lord and how He had changed our lives. We were content to just ‘show’ him the difference.

All that changed in October 2007! Dad had miraculously survived almost four years of various treatments, but eventually the cancer had metastasized to his brain, near his optic nerve and my parents chose to undergo a pretty drastic procedure to retard the growth, without which Dad would have certainly become blind, and even worse, within a very short time.

We had an amazing Christmas that year with my brothers and our parents staying at our home. Though Dad was weak, he loved on all his grandkids, and we had seen a gradual ‘softening’ in him over time. Then on January 2, 2008 my mom called to say they were on the way to the hospital. Dad had become increasingly dizzy and disoriented. He ended up in ICU at Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City. He had symptoms similar to a stroke. Little did we know he would never again walk or go home, home as we know it anyway.

Seeing him in such a frail state I feared all hope had been lost. This was not my dad. Why had I wasted so much time in fear of talking to him about the most important decision he could ever make? My brothers and I began praying that God would grant him lucid moments and give him breath until he had a chance to profess Jesus as His Lord and Savior.

I made the two hour trip to the hospital several times a week, praying the entire trip and always searching for opportunities to share with Dad. We were blessed with the fact that Dad always knew his kids, even though he might not have known anything else. We had many good moments, some good days, several good conversations and some really bad days. My brothers and I took advantage of every lucid moment the Lord granted us, but Dad’s answer was always, “Not today,” or “I might beat this thing.” We continued to pray. I admit, I became discouraged often and would call friends for godly counsel. In my heart, I just knew my dad would make a decision for the Lord, but it was obvious his time was running out.

Eventually, Dad was moved out of ICU onto the floor, then to a hospital closer to my parents’ home, and then sadly, into a nursing home. My mom practically lived in the home with him, only taking a short reprieve occasionally to go to work or travel home to feed their livestock.

Growing increasingly frustrated but still prayerful, one day as I was making the trip to see my parents, I called my brother, Kirk, and he shared with me that his prayer had become that God would somehow use my mom since she was the one who spent the most time with Dad. So the rest of the trip I prayed for the same thing.

My mom would always give me moments alone with Dad because she knew we were talking to him about the Lord, reading the Word and praying with him. On this day she told me of a tract my brother had left and asked if I might want to ‘try something different’ and use the tract.

I searched the room and never did find the tract, so I just resorted to what I knew, sharing what Jesus had done in my life. As my mom was walking me to the car, I told her I never could find the tract, but I had still shared with him, and once again his answer was, “I’m thinking about it, but not today.” Then she said these words, “I’ve been thinking that since I spend more time than anybody with him, maybe I need to start talking to him about making a decision.” I couldn’t believe my ears! God was already answering our prayers! I couldn’t wait to call my brother and tell him to keep prayin’!

Nearly a week later, May 8th to be exact, my mom called and tearfully told me, “He did it, Honey. He made a decision for the Lord!” I asked her to share every detail with me. She had used the ‘hidden’ tract to share the Gospel message with my dad, he read it, and made a decision! It was what we had been praying so long for!

Seven weeks later, on June 26, we celebrated my dad’s 62nd birthday, and one week after that, July 3, 2008, he went to his eternal home! While we miss him terribly, I believe his salvation has had a huge impact on many lives, to God’s glory.

I’m so glad I couldn’t find that silly tract. It was all part of God’s plan.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cute Stuff!

Check out these adorable clothes my friend Diane sent the kids!
She's not mad about the dress; she's just mad:)
You get the idea.
We met Diane in China last October. She traveled for Tia, her petite princess. We immediately became friends and continue to talk, almost daily :)
Last week when I was having one of those days, I was surprised to get a huge box in the mail! Inside the box were t-shirts for the bigs, a beautiful handbag for me and two outfits for each of the littles! (Oh, and the Beth Moore book I've been wanting forever, Get Out of That Pit)!
Diane and her husband Terry have three beautiful bio kiddos and have adopted two precious ones from China. They sponsor kiddos from New Day and are an all-out amazing family! They are also planning Lifeline's Reunion in Missouri this summer ~ can't wait!!!
They stitch clothing, bags and all kinds of goodies to fund adoptions and currently are raising funds for a mission trip to China next year. Check out their digs here!

Just Sayin'

Our photo session Saturday went great and was a blast!
We've seen the proofs, and I can't wait to share the Kuteness!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Same Spirit

"It really is an astounding truth that the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you. He lives in me. I do not know what the Spirit will do or where He'll lead me each time I invite Him to guide me. But I am tired of living in a way that looks exactly like people who do not have the Holy Spirit of God living in them. I want to consistently live with an awareness of His strength. I want to be different today from what I was yesterday as the fruit of the Spirit becomes more manifest in me."
Forgotten God
~Francis Chan~

When Did This Happen?!?

When did my toe-headed little boy ...
..grow into this handsome young man?
I must've blinked!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

It's THAT Time Again!

Coordinating clothes...
...Haircuts all the way around...
(Round 1 Thursday, Round 2 Today...)

...Trying to get ten smiling faces looking the same direction, hands out of the mouth (and ears and other places)...
Yep, it's a Family Photo Opp!
And the cool thing about it is that not only do we get a professional portrait including our newest Treasures, but we get to help another family adopting siblings from Uganda! They are raising adoption funds by using their photography skills.
It's a win-win situation.
I'll let ya' know how it turns out :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

7 Months Ago...

...Our newest Treasures came home!
Kooper was overwhelmed and unsure.
Today he is more confident, is learning to read and speak English and is setting goals.
Kinley was insecure and scared.
Today she loves people, will sing and dance anywhere, and talks up a storm.
A lot has changed in 7 months, praise the Lord!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Prov 3:5-6

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sweet Slumber!

Guess who slept in her very own bed ALL NIGHT last night?
Yeah, Kinley Grace!!

We've been co-sleeping since we first held this precious girl because it was what she needed. I have been reluctant to move her to her own bed for fear of disrupting the school kids' sleep...fear that it would disrupt our sleep...and fear that she would hate it.

Last night we made a big deal of setting up her bed. She played in it a long time.

Then I asked four friends to pray for us, got three cups of milk, read a story, prayed with the girls and walked out of the room.

Kinley came through the house twice, looking for me, but went right back to bed and fell asleep.

Don't you love it that God is in ALL the good things, even the little ones!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ultimate Trail Mix

Clean-Out-The-Pantry Ultimate Trail Mix
Mix equal parts of the following ingredients:
Roasted and Salted Sunflower Nuts
Roasted and Salted Almonds
White Chocolate Chips
Peanut Butter Chips
Pretzel Sticks
Licorice Minis
Rice Chex

Gummy Fruit Snacks
Store in airtight container...
or in our case, devour immediately

Things That Cannot Be Done???

"Few things are more thrilling than doing what you didn't think could be done. And it's not just thrilling for you. It's thrilling for God. Like a proud parent, our heavenly Father loves it when we do impossible things by His power and for His glory. Loving God with all your strength is living in raw dependence upon His power. And when you live in raw dependence upon His power, you will do things that cannot be done." ~ Mark Batterson

Have you read Primal by Mark Batterson? He is also the author of Wild Goose Chase. I'm almost finished with the book and highly recommend it. So often we try to complicate Christianity, but this books takes us back to the beginning or primal element and First Commandment ~ to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength! I so want to be there!!!!

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