A Family of Six

December 28, 2008 at 7:40 pm (Faith, Home)

We are home safe and sound after our adventure. You can read all about our trip on the adoption blog.

We had a good first day as a family of six, despite the sad news this morning that Mark’s Grandfather – Wilford Gumm – passed away in Arkansas. He was a beloved man and truly one of God’s great warriors. He has been an incredible Godly influence in the life of my husband and for that I will be eternally grateful. We would covet your prayers for Grandma and for the rest of the family.


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What Could Happen?

December 5, 2008 at 11:01 pm (Faith) (, )

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Name Ideas

September 6, 2008 at 10:16 pm (Faith, Parenting)

We are still searching for the right names for our new kids. We’ve got it narrowed down for W-boy but are still really at a loss for B-girl.

While I’m not set on having a Bible name necessarily, I find myself always paying attention to the names in case I find something unusual that strikes me.

At our family worship time we’ve been reading through the Bible, beginning in Genesis. Right now we’re about at Jacob finding a wife.

It’s usually dad or I reading and we do our best but honestly, some of the names are just wild. We stumble through the pronunciations as best we can.

And occasionally we read a name, or in this case a set of names, and I can’t help it. I start to giggle. And then the kids start to giggle and it takes us a couple of minutes to regain our composure.

Genesis 22:21 Uz the firstborn, Buz his brother…

The first thing that flashed into my mind was these guys:

“Hi, I’m Uz, this is my brother Buz.”

The other one that get us in trouble is Phicol (Gen 21:22). Now I realize it’s probably pronounced more like Ficol but the first time I read it, I read “pickle” and my stomach hurt we were laughing so hard. And it’s just kind of stuck.

I’m not sure how much dad appreciates our giggly diversions but the kids and I have great fun.

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Could you give it all up?

July 7, 2008 at 10:36 pm (Faith, Home) (, , )

I spent the last 3 days in garage sale land again. This time it was cleaning out Mark’s grandparents home. A week ago we loaded up a 17 ft U-haul truck that Mark and his cousin drove to Arkansas where they will live with their daughter. As I helped sort through things, bag clothes for the Rescue Mission, and load stuff in the Uhaul last week I thought, “Hm, there’s not really that much left.”

At 10 p.m. on Thursday night I was singing a different tune. We were still setting up tables and pricing kitchen stuff. We probably had at least 200 pieces of glassware from dishes to vases to little knick knacks. It was midnight before we called it quits – a 14 hour day.

Every time I either have a garage sale or attend one it amazes me all over again at the stuff we accumulate. And this was not even 60 years worth of stuff. Grandma and Grandpa had a house fire about 10 years ago and lost almost everything. Save about a dozen items, this was stuff they either received or bought since then.

I am not judging them in the least, but rather looking at my home and all the things it contains. I pride myself on being someone who fairly consistently goes through closets and clothes and kid’s toys and purges the unnecessary and useless items. But why is it that there is always more stuff the next time I come back to purge?

What could I do without? What would be hardest to give up? My friend Michelle recently moved their family of 6 and her and her husband are trying to go very minimalist.

If, for example, God called Mark and I to the mission field, what would I have a hard time leaving? What would I HAVE to bring with me?

I’m really not a hugely sentimental person. My “memoribilia” from growing up fits in one medium sized box. I have two quilts my grandmother made for my babies. Photos and scrapbooks of course. Only one set of books I care about – The Little House on the Prairie series I read growing up that I saved for Natalie. In a moment of honesty I admit I’d have a hard time leaving all my scrapbooking supplies 🙂

Despite whatever loss I would feel, it is just stuff. It might be painful to part with at first, but it’s amazing how quickly you forget when it’s not there where you see it every day.

Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”  Matthew 19:21-22

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Uncomfortable Obedience

July 6, 2008 at 11:29 pm (Faith) (, , )

This weekend we started a new series at church on Jonah. So tonight at family worship I decided to read the first chapter of Jonah and we talked with the kids about obeying God even when you’re scared.

During his message this morning, Pastor Greg brought us some history on what exactly made Jonah fear going to Nineveh so much. My previous view of Jonah trying to avoid an “enemy land” was totally rocked as Greg talked about the Assyrians who occupied Nineveh and their reputation for torture of the Israelites. Their treatment was so bad that there would be mass suicides by a town’s occupants if they were about to be attacked. They would rather die at their own hand than suffer at the hands of the Assyrian army who would literally skin a human alive, bury them neck deep in the ground, pull out their tongue and nail it to the ground and leave them to die.

I suddenly had a new appreciation for Jonah’s dilemma.

Of course we didn’t go into the whole torture thing with the kids but we did talk about our choice to obey God even when what he wants us to do is dangerous, or scary, or maybe just embarassing.

Noah (8) said “Well, like what?” So we tried gave him a few examples – like God telling you to go to a mission field that is dangerous. Or maybe just having to apologize to someone you wronged but it’s embarassing.

Or, maybe it’s that God has told you to leave your job. A good job that provides well for your family. Where you work with people you care about and have a good time. And you don’t have another job lined up and don’t know what God wants you to do. You just know that he has called you to leave.

And then God provides a job for your wife that pays all the bills so you don’t have worry about finances.

“Like yoooooou guys,” says Natalie, pointing back and forth.


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Obvious God Thing

March 18, 2008 at 9:43 pm (Faith)

I love it when God shows up in a way that makes it so obvious that it’s him answering our prayers and not just things “working out”.

My best friend is a single mom of 3 who just recently lost what child support she was getting. So she went hunting for a serving job (that’s waitressing for you politically incorrect 🙂 but ended up just finding a hostessing job at a big chain restaurant. They told her “maybe” she could move into a server job somewhere down the road but it didn’t sound too encouraging. She’s doing great and enjoying it but NOT making her bills. She soon realized the only way she could make her bills w/o working 5 nights a week (and being away from her kids) was to have a serving job.  After much prayer and deliberation she decided she’d just approach her manager and tell her that she needed a server job or she’d have to start looking for one elsewhere. When we talked earlier today she said she “knew” they’d say they didn’t have anything or couldn’t move her, but she was going to try it anyways.

This evening I got a text message from her “I got it! Serving w/in the month. PTL!” (That’s “praise the Lord” in text-ese). How awesome is that! God showed up in a big way and I know it was a huge encouragement for her and fun for me to witness.

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Big Changes Require Big Faith

February 3, 2008 at 8:12 pm (Faith)

Well it seems as if this is certainly a year of change for our family. First with the adoption, and now with jobs.

After nearly six years with Palm Valley Church, Mark is leaving
his position as Executive Pastor. We truly love our church, the staff and our
friends but Mark feels as if God is calling him on to something else. We’re not
sure exactly what that “something else” is at this point. After months of
praying for God to show us what he has for Mark next, we feel as if we just need
to obey his “Go” and take a leap of faith that will allow him to show us the
amazing things he has in store for us. (And there is no doubt that they will be

Of course having the major breadwinner leave a job in the middle of an expensive adoption is quite a scary thought. But we are so blessed that we are in a position of NO debt and a nice emergency fund that allows us to be obedient to God’s call without the hesitations that many people would feel because of the finances.

God has also opened the door for me to step into more of a full time role at our church as the Communications Coordinator – handling the print and web communications. He is so faithful to provide in our time of need.

We appreciate all your prayers for wisdom and clarity in what God would have for us next. We are both super excited to see what the future holds. We would also appreciate your prayers for Noah and Natalie as we realize that there is a lot of change happening in our family this year and we want the best for them.

You can read Mark’s thoughts here.

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May you rest…

September 29, 2007 at 8:09 pm (Faith)

A friend emailed this to me this morning – just what I needed so I thought I would share.

"Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him,
for he shields him all day long,
and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders."

Duet 33:12

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Funny How God Works

September 19, 2007 at 7:17 pm (Faith)

Yesterday morning I got an email from a friend asking for prayer regarding fear she had. She realized the fear was not coming from God, but from Satan (2 Tim 1:7 – "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.") So I was tooling around the house cleaning (WAY overdue) praying for her and thinking about that verse. Little did I know how much I would need it just a few hours later.

Around lunch time my cell phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number so I hit "ignore" and a few minutes later checked the voice mail. It was my dad calling from Nairobi, Africa to say that my mom had to be hospitalized for a severe case of…well… the runs (I know, TMI). Normally this wouldn’t be a HUGE deal but my mom is a diabetic and something like this can affect her blood sugar levels quickly and can be quite dangerous. She has had one other really scary experience on one of her Africa trips 3 years ago. (She goes once a year for a medical missions trip.)

The info on my dad’s message was scant (you know men and details) – "it’s not diabetic, still running tests". Um, dad, not enough info.

I frantically tried to reach him at the "hotel" he had just called me from but no one was answering (but I wasn’t sure it wasn’t my long distance because the phone wasn’t "ringing" so much as it was "honking" at me). So I called my MIL who I knew would have an international calling card. Called again, much honking but no answer.

Despite the fact that it was 11 p.m. there I bit the bullet and called the number he gave me for my mom’s room. I did get through to her and she said hello a couple of times before silence. Called back AGAIN and reached a nurse who told me she fell asleep while on the phone.

Well thank goodness they don’t have HIPPA laws in Africa and the nurse was able to tell me that she was getting better, was able to eat some, but was very tired. That finally put my mind at rest enough that I could wait until a better time to reach them.

How quickly we can give in to a spirit of fear if we are not careful. It is especially difficult for me when it’s a situation that I can do NOTHING about…I’m a little bit of a control freak. Not that prayer is nothing but it has taken me a long time to get to the point where I can be okay with doing JUST that.

I did talk to my mom last night and she was feeling better and hopeful she would get out today. But I received an email from my dad this morning that said she had a setback and also had a low blood sugar crash. (This is the scary part.) The malaria test came back negative which is a huge praise. They are doing more tests and hopefully will have results tomorrow. Prayers would be appreciated! She said she is getting good care which is awesome.

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Satan’s Cell Phone

September 11, 2007 at 1:04 pm (Faith)

On Friday night my mom and I went to see Christian comedian Chonda Pierce. I’ve heard bits and pieces of her act and she is FUNNY! What I was not prepared for was how powerful a speaker she was.

She has battled depression, something she writes about in her book Laughing in the Dark: A Comedian’s Journey through Depression. Toward the end of the evening she began to share about her recent relapse into depression – one that got so bad that she was eventually hospitalized.

She talked about how much she loved going to group each day and that she finally figured out why. It was the one place where she could go each day and be 100% totally authentic.

She said, and I agree, that this is what church should be but so many times it is not. We see a friend we know and ask "How are you?" We get the typical "I’m great, how are you?" in return. But is that the reality. Is that the truth? Granted we are often picking up kids and "busy" but shouldn’t church be the one place where we can say in response "You know, it’s been a tough week."

Why are we afraid to be authentic with one another? Are we afraid of rejection? That the other person is too busy? That once we start into our problems that we won’t be able to stop and will be emotionally overwhelmed?

She made one other comment that, given all the recent discussion about depression I would share. She was talking about how Satan can just fill our heads with all kinds of lies that will absolutely drag us down.

"If Satan is the author of lies, then depression is his cell phone!"

How true. Those of us who have suffered through depression know that there is no time when our mind is more easily accessed and where those lies are heard loud and clear. I just loved it.

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