Sorry it has been so long friends. Our internet here in Guatemala has been less than reliable. I have limited time on the internet, and well frankly, I just haven’t had the time to blog. I have missed you though and missed writing. I wish I would make the time to write even when I am not blogging, but unfortunately I just don’t. I will say though that not having internet has made me a way better Mama. Even though, I hate to admit it. I just have to be so diligent in my time on the computer…making sure I am getting all my work done but since I am not doing it from home, I just get it done and then go home and play with my kids. Miss B. has been sleeping so much better, and I am convinced it is because I take her to play much more than I did before. Mr. A is getting lots more one on one time with me. I think so often when I had the internet in my house I always had work hanging over my head, so I would chose to get things done online instead of hanging out with my kids like I should have been doing. I do hope that we get internet soon as I am really missing my family back home, and we haven’t really been able to chat much since it stopped working. But, I am making a commitment to myself and my children to set aside a set time to work and to dedicate the rest of the time to my family. In the long run, I think everyone wins.

Well, anyway, I just finished maybe the most amazing book I have ever read. I don’t say that lightly either because I have read a lot of amazing and wonderful books. It is really my passion, so I have spent many hours doing it. However, this book has rocked my world in a way that I am not sure any other book as done in a really long time. It is by Eric Metaxas, and it is called Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. It is not a short read. It finishes out at 542 pages before end notes, and it is a very heavy book, but for those of you up for that kind of a read, I highly, highly recommend it. I became familiar with Dietrich Bonhoeffer in college when I read his book The Cost of Discipleship, but honestly, I didn’t really ever take the time to learn much more about the man behind the book. This biography is stunning though…seriously, it literally took my breath away at some points. There is so much I didn’t know…so much I never understood.

I remember the first time I read a book that really stuck with me. It was Number the Stars in the seventh grade. I remember that I couldn’t sleep sometimes after reading it. It just shook my little idyllic world, and I wasn’t quite sure what to do about it. This book did the same thing. Hubby finally told me that I couldn’t read it before bed anymore because I would dream about it and toss and turn just thinking about it. Ironically enough, both books shed light to more of the horrific happenings of Hitler in Germany in the 30’s and 40’s. The first time, though, my world was rocked because I was really hearing about some of this stuff for the first time. I can’t pinpoint the first moment I learned about World War II and Hitler and concentration camps, etc. But, reading Number the Stars was the first time the event actually had real faces and names. Then of course more of that came to life while reading The Diary of Anne Frank and other works about people and events during that time. This time, though, I was still shocked and appalled by things that were happening to the Jews and other religious leaders in Germany during Hitler and the Nazis’ reign. There were literally moments that I had to put the book down and compose myself because it was just too much. However, the thing that really resonated with me the most was the man…Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his fight against the Nazis and Hitler.

The thing is he wasn’t fighting for himself. Bonhoeffer came from one of the most prestigious families in all of Germany. He could have stayed on the sidelines and just waited the whole thing out. Of course one of his brothers in law was a Jew, but after smuggling him and his sister into England, he could have just lived a quiet life and just waited until the whole ugly war and Hitler’s reign was over. But, no…he wouldn’t. He couldn’t. He refused. He knew that doing nothing was in fact doing something…it was making the choice to not do anything…to not stand up in the face of injustice, to not fight for those who could not fight for themselves, to not die to self and to instead choose self-preservation. I won’t go on any further because Bonhoeffer says it way better himself. Here he is referring to people that are moral, ethical, go to church, and try to “be a good people.” He says,

“Such people neither steal, nor murder, nor commit adultery, but do good according to their abilities. But…they must close their eyes and ears to the injustice around them. Only at the cost of self-deception can they keep their private blamelessness clean from the stains of responsible action in the world. In all that they do, what they fail to do will not let them rest. They will either be destroyed by this unrest, or they will become the most hypocritical of all Pharisees.”

There is so much I could say….so much that I wish I could just put into words. But, the bottom line is this: we are surrounded by suffering. Of course, I probably see it more clearly due to the type of work that I do and the environment I live in. But, suffering is all around us. And, who knows what is ahead of us. But, we must resolve now to NOT do nothing. We must resolve to stand up and fight. It won’t be easy. It will usually require great sacrifice, but as sojourners with Christ, we must be willing.

In Bonhoeffer’s case, this sacrifice ended with his death in a concentration camp. It all just seems so unfair. Even though I knew how he died before even starting the book, I wanted to cry when it finally happened. It was like watching a movie for the first time…only I already knew how it ended. But, there was still a part of me hoping for his rescue, hoping he was going to be saved from an early demise. He was engaged to be married! He could have been part of the rebuilding of Germany and especially of the church. He was only 39…way too young to die! But many years before Bonhoeffer found himself in that concentration camp and way before he knew what his future held, he preached these words:

“Who can comprehend how those whom God takes so early are chosen? Does not the early death of young Christians always appear to us as if God were plundering his own best instruments in a time in which they are most needed? Yet the Lord makes no mistakes. Might God need our brothers for some hidden service on our behalf in the heavenly world? We should put an end to our human thoughts, which always wish to know more than they can, and cling to that which is certain. Whomever God calls home is someone God has loved…”

He didn’t know what awaited him. He had no idea that these words would be true about him in only a few short years. Yet, it didn’t matter. God had called him. He must choose obedience. And, he did.


a good story...

I really love a great story. It doesn't really matter what kind of story as long as it has strong characters and a well developed plot. This love relationship is probably why I have so many books. There is nothing like curling up in a comfy chair and getting lost in the pages of the adventure or drama. I often even catch myself daydreaming...imagining far off places and people. One of the reasons I enjoy people watching so much is because I can make up my versions of their stories.

I just finished the bible study Esther by Beth Moore. It definitely took me way longer than 9 weeks...mostly because I didn't have time some weeks to stay caught up but also because I was doing it alone, so there wasn't as much pressure to stay on a schedule. I really liked how Beth Moore ended by talking about the beauty of Esther's has all the elements of any great story: well developed characters, strong plot, action, suspense, conflict, resolution, etc. I knew the story of Esther well before starting the bible study, but the study helped take me to a whole new level. I thought about things that I had never really processed before, and I was able to relate to it and more specifically Queen Esther more than ever before as well.

One of the last things that she (Beth Moore) writes before closing is, "One day on the hillside of the New Jerusalem, surrounded by a crowd of glad hearers, the divine Narrator will tell the story of one woman's life. It will not be Esther's. It will not be your teacher's. It will be yours." These words really resounded with me. Maybe you all aren't quite as dorky as I am, but I like to write my own story in my head sometimes. I like to imagine someone doing like a documentary on my life. I think about what they would say, what they would discover, and even how people would respond. This may make me incredibly self-absorbed...if so, I guess here is my confession. But, mostly I do it because it is like a self-check. Am I doing anything that matters or makes a difference? Am I living a life that anyone will even want to remember? Am I living my life in such a way that people will easily be able to see how God is woven in and through every part of my life and story. I hope I am. I hope that my story is a story of hope, a story of promise, a story of grace, a story of faithfulness...and not for my glory but for God's.

Last night while I was singing with some of the other precious women of this ministry at our weekly women's meeting, I was really humbled while looking around at their beautiful faces. It is a mixture of the young and old...of the educated and the ones not has fortunate to receive much education...a mixture of humble backgrounds and more grand backgrounds. However, even last night before ever reading those final words of my bible study, I was struck by their stories. Most of them have stories of triumph despite walking through real valleys and experiencing real and deep pains. They have touched tragedy. They know its name well, and yet there they were singing with more joy than I think I have ever known in my life. It isn't to say I haven't known joy or that I am not living with joy even now...but I think because they have seen so much more and experienced so much and had to walk through so much more, they know what it really means to have joy. They know what victory looks like.

They humbled me last night...not with their words...not with their looks...not with their beautiful voices...but with their stories and with their faith. I was brought down, and I cried out to God. I confessed that sometimes I fear being that mighty woman that I long to be for Him because it means I will probably have to be pruned more...refined more...sharpened more. All of those things usually hurt. I want to be a strong mighty warrior princess for God but I don't want to have to go through the training to get there.

I am not sure if what I am saying is even making sense. I very well could just be writing this for my own benefit. I am putting my rock on the banks of Jordan so to speak as a reminder. But the bottom line is this, we do all have a story. I am sure many of those ladies wouldn't have necessarily chosen some of the parts of their story as I am sure many of the kiddos here wouldn't have chosen many of the parts of theirs either. But, God is still the same God, and He is the in business of redeeming lives. When we allow Him to write our stories, we are opening up our lives to something much more magical and exciting than even the stories we can come up with on our most creative days. They won't necessarily be pain free. But, if we let Him lead, He will bring us a joy that we can't produce on our own.

Sorry for my ramblings today...thanks for reading.



"Insecurity feeds like a starving wolf off fear of the future---not just the distant future of aging, infirmity, or death. Insecurity fears what might happen later today. Tonight. Tomorrow. Next Week. Next year. Next decade. Its constant mantra is, 'What will I do if...?' Fear of the future makes people settle for things in the present that completely defy abundant life. It also insults the grace of God that will be piled in heaps for us when hardship comes. We agonize over how we'll possibly make it, yet all the while we can glance over our shoulders and see where God has carried us. And often through worse than we're afraid of now." -Beth Moore "So Long, Insecurity"

Good stuff my friends...good stuff. I have already shared many times that fear is my constant companion...only not a very good companion. I suffer from fearing things that are absolutely absurd to tragic things that could happen but are not very likely to things that are very possible and very well could come to pass. Fear is neither a good companion nor a fun one. I never, though, had attributed fear to insecurity (even though my hubby pointed it out long ago). I always knew I struggled some with insecurity like every warm blooded woman on this planet, but I always thought fear was my bigger battle. And, for some reason, I always felt like they were two very separate things.

I just finished Beth Moore's book So Long,'ve been a bad friend to us, and let me tell you it really rocked my world. I highly recommend it to any woman out there...even the ones who think and feel very secure. I saw so many things that I could identify in my own life as well as in the lives of my girls here. Insecurity really is a huge player in so many of my decisions, thought processes, and actions. But, where I have really seen it hard at work is in how it makes me so fearful. I realized how many times fear really paralyzed me and kept me from doing things or experiencing things that really would have blessed my life in mighty ways. One of the verses, though, that she encourages us to really just memorize and engrave on our hearts is Proverbs 31:25, "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." Laughing at the days to come...seems a little unrealistic in this crazy, sad, tragic, and scary world we live in, but this Proverbs 31 woman I believe was able and is able to do this...laugh at the days to come because she knows who holds her days. She knows who is in charge. The key here, though, is that she doesn't just trust God because He is going to do exactly what she wants Him to do...or prevent her worst fear from coming to pass. She laughs and trusts because she knows Who her God is and if she has "to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, she will fear no evil, for her God is with her, His rod and staff will comfort her."

I must confess that my companion fear has been faithfully by my side even more the last few weeks as I struggle to understand what is taking so long in our adoption of our sweet boy. We started this process over 3 years ago, and it is frustrating not being able to really see an end in sight. This blog isn't really the place to go into the messy details of it all, but I will say that my faith has wavered at times. I have asked the Lord why it is taking so long and have pleaded for that little piece of paper saying that this boy of mine will be forever and always mine. I struggle with fear of the unknown and the thought that at some point someone could actually take this boy out of my arms. I tuck him at night and beg, plead, and cry out for favor...for God to open a big fat door where we are having a hard time even seeing a crack. I can tell you that I have not done any laughing at the days to come that is for sure.

But these words from Beth Moore were very timely and just what I needed. All the "what if's" were literally eating me alive. My old companion was not only stealing my joy today but was also stealing it for tomorrow too. I was settling for so much less right now instead of living in the abundance of blessing that God has given me now. I was fearing instead of trusting and pacing instead of resting. My God loves my sweet little boy even more than I do. He sees his heart and knows every need, every longing, every desire, and every part of him. He knows my precious one by name, and He knows what he needs more than I ever could. He knows where he has been and where he is going. His days past and his days to come are already known by God. I must trust. I must believe. I must lay him down.

But, I ask you dear friends to pray with us...pray for our family. Pray for the lawmakers and decision makers in this process. Pray for victory. Pray for people willing to stand up on behalf of not just my child but all of the children here in Guatemala needing homes and families. Pray that 2011 is a year of miracles...

Isn't he just the coolest kid ever? I sure think so.


Walking in Reality

First of all, I want to say a HUGE thank you to all of you that sent me your advice after my little breakdown over homeschooling last week. I even wept as I read a couple of them because sometimes it is just good to know we aren't in this alone! It is good to know that others have walked before us and are walking beside us as we search for God's best for our families and our children.

This week was much better homeschooling wise. Honestly, I am not sure we accomplished much more than previous weeks, but at least I was able to not freak out about it all and remember that every moment we spend with our children is a "teachable moment." I tried to take advantage of it all.

In other news, I am not sure if you all are like me but I can be such a day dreamer sometimes. I guess that is why I love reading so much. It is like a little escape from reality. I get to do all kinds of things, conquer all kinds of challenges, meet all kinds of people, etc. Other times I read books that make me come face to face with reality. They challenge me, convict me, and send me straight to my knees before God. All the same though, when I am reading a book, I am in my own little world.

However, books aren't the only things that can send me day dreaming. A good long car ride can do the same, a walk with my children, or lying in a hammock. Honestly, it doesn't take much. Mostly my day dreams consist of a beautiful house, on a big piece of land, up in the snow covered mountains. I am sitting on the front porch watching my children play with their daddy in the yard drinking a nice warm cup of joe. Sounds nice right? Sometimes that same dream plays out in the country or in a nice small town. Wherever it is, though, 4 things always stay the same: a beautiful house, front porch, land, and my family. Oh and there is one more thing: tranquility. To tell you the truth, though, my life right now doesn't look that different on the outside than my day dreams. I have a beautiful house, with a front porch, on many acres of land, and there are 160 kiddos running around it all of the time. The one thing that isn't always here, though, is tranquility.

Life here is hard sometimes. There are moments that I just don't think I can stand up under it all. Even though I came here with the desire to share God's love with these kiddos, sometimes they don't really want to hear about it. In fact, sometimes they just think I am plan out of mind or annoying or too proper or too strict or too whatever other choice word they can find. I am trying to offer them everything, and they really just don't want any of it. I am blessed to say that most of the time here in my house with my girls that isn't the case. Most of the time, they think I am pretty cool or at the very least not super dorky, and we all get along just fine. However, there are some moments that they think I am much more than a dork...I may even be the enemy. I am the one messing up their plans or their desires or their privileges. I am the one nagging them all of the time. I am the one that won't leave them in peace.

Now I am not going to lie. Most of the time, when they act like that towards me, I go right into throwing myself a pity party. "Why does it have to be so hard. I sacrificed so much. I could be doing something else. Etc., etc., etc." Pretty pathetic huh?

Thankfully, though, as of late, I have been able to receive some pretty challenging words from the Lord on the subject. So, as I could feel the pity party start to come on this week after some challenging days, I was able to battle them with truth. Because let's be realistic, are those pity parties from the Lord?...I think not. The truth is it is hard. It is hard because what these kids have lived through is hard stuff. I am certain that if I just started unleashing all the pain and hurt and suffering on this blog, most of you would have to stop reading. It would be too much...the abuse, neglect, just cruelness in general that most of these kids have seen.

The second truth I realized is that I haven't really sacrificed at all. Yes, I left my family, whom I love more than words can say behind. Yes, I left the comforts of home, church, friends, fellowship, etc. But, did I really make a sacrifice or was I just doing what the Bible clearly calls all of us to do? Well over 50% of the world's population lives on less a day than we spend for one drink at Starbucks. Now, I am not saying we all need to stop buying coffee or to find the nearest charity and give every dime we have to the poor. But, what I am saying is really what sacrifice am I making? What is sacrifice anyway? Do I have a house? Check. Do I have food? Check. Do I have clothes? Check. Already I am off to a stellar start in comparison to millions.

Please don't take me as trying to sound super religious or to put you all on some sort of guilt trip. I am just trying to give you all the reality check that I had to give myself this week. What sacrifice I am really making compared to the great sacrifice Jesus made on that cross. That is sacrifice. I would even consider what thousands of Christians are doing in closed countries are doing as sacrifice. They are readily sacrificing their very lives and the lives of their families...their children, for the gospel.

Thirdly, and finally, I could be doing something else. There are a lot of "something elses" I could be doing. Tomorrow I could buy an airplane ticket, pack up my family, and go do something far more glamorous or at the very least easier. I have that choice. But, for the 160 children that I am serving here (and millions of others like them), they have no other choice. Some of them have been here long enough to know that this life here at an orphanage is a thousand times better than what they had. Some of them are still living with the hurt of what they experienced yet are longing to be back with the only family they have ever known. I would say all of them, though, would give anything to know the love of a loving family here on earth...the love of a daddy, a mama, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, etc. My heart breaks at that thought.

So this week I chose to pull up my boot straps and not give in to Satan's desire to knock me back down. I chose to trust that God called me here for a purpose. I chose to recognize my sin and my own selfishness and repent...turn away from it. Now I am not saying that the desire to throw myself another one of those little pity parties isn't going to come around again. It very well may. But, I have to chose everyday to live in the reality of what life really is and what it really looks like for so many. I have to chose to remember truths when lies threaten to choke them out. I have to chose to stop daydreaming and to look around and see that God has blessed me more abundantly that I ever deserved. My job now is to not withhold those blessings for myself but to turn around and give them back to the people God has placed in my life. So, look up friends, and see who God is asking you to pour out your lives for. I can promise you that if we are willing, it won't be in vain.



Did you mich me? That is how my sweet little cousin would greet us after a long absence when she was about 2. It is now one of my family's favorite phrases. I hope you have missed me because I have missed you all!

I am so sorry for my very LONG vacation from my blog...but life has been busy which leaves very little time for blogging. Thankfully, everyone started back to school this week so routine is back in place...hopefully leaving some room for my little blog.

You know that feeling after Thanksgiving dinner where you are totally stuffed and really the only thing you can do is take a long nap? It is like your body literally won't let you do anything else except crash on the couch (until it is time to wake up for round two anyway...hehehe!). Well, that is kind of of I feel about life right now. It is a good stuffed. God has been doing SO much in my life, in the life of our kiddos here at C.B., and in my family. It seems like everywhere I turn He is revealing more of Himself to me. However, I feel a little stuffed...not in a way that I don't want anymore. Believe me I will be ready for round 2 pretty stinkin' soon. I just kind of feel like I need a long nap on the sofa to kind of digest it all. Unfortunately being a mama to 14 beautiful teenage girls and 2 precious littles makes that a little hard to do!

Hopefully in the near future I can at least share some of this grand supper with you all so you can have a chance to munch on it with me. Today though is not that day. I am feeling a bit tired and just all around very sensitive today, so it isn't really the time to have to process it all. Meanwhile though I will leave you with the highlights from Dec. 2010 and my main goals for 2011 and how we are doing so far on them.

Highlights December 2010

  • All 4 of us got to go the states for almost the whole month of the December. I wasn't sure we were going to be able to get Mr. A's visa but sure enough God opened a big fat door for us to walk right through and we were ALL able to go home for Christmas. I seriously almost started sobbing when the plane landed and I looked to my right and to my left and saw my three favorite people in the world right beside me.

That sweet family I adore so much!
  • Hubby and I celebrated our anniversary with an overnight date (courtesy of a merry Christmas present from my sweet sister and her hubby) on the Plaza. It was our first real date since our sweet ladybug had been born (aka over a year) so it was definitely need and it was definitely SO FUN. I forget how much I just love hanging out with Hubby. He is by far my favorite shopping lie! :)

Little weird picture...but the only one we were able to take together from our anniversary. It is one of those long arm shots but I still love it.
  • We celebrated that sweet little ladybug's first birthday with no other than a ladybug themed party. It was such a fun day and I was so thankful to get to be in KC with my family and friends. My family really does have to sacrifice so much with us being far away, so I was thankful that they got to celebrate her big day with her in person! Oh and she started officially walking on her actual birthday!

Our ladybug themed party...the star (outside of the birthday girl) being the cake that Hubby decorated!

Our little ladybug princess in all her birthday fabulousness!

  • I finally got Hubby to his first KC Chiefs game! It was freezing but so awesome watching my boys pound those Titans!

We were really cold!
  • Although we didn't get any of the snow I so desperately craved, we had an AMAZING time with everyone in KC and a wonderful Christmas together. It was SUPER hard saying goodbye.

I am so thankful to be a part of this amazing family!
  • Came home to my 14 beautiful girls here in Guatemala...and words like "We missed you so much" and "We are so glad you are finally back"

Celebrating one of my sweet girls 15th birthday!
  • Technically happened the first week of January, but we had one of our BEST staff retreats we have ever had here at C.B. Seriously, God broke our hearts all over again for our kiddos and for their eternities...oh may it not be in vain!
Goals for 2011 (in no particular order)
  • Regular exercise routine for Monday through Friday: so far so good. I haven't been able to get all 5 work outs in yet but at least 3 or we are on our way. I am about 5 pounds away from my pre-baby weight and about 15 pounds away from my goal weight.
  • Our first year of homeschooling with Mr. A: This has been hard. I had a total meltdown about it yesterday and felt like this might have been a very bad decision...mostly due to the fact that I haven't quite figured out how to homeschool him while keeping my 13 month old out of trouble. Today was a little better though so maybe things are looking up...suggestions from those of you doing it are welcome though!
  • Daily Morning Quiet Times: well this one has been tough...I always start with good intentions but inevitably someone or something interrupts me. I am learning the value of just getting bits and pieces to chew on all day but man I long for some real time for mediating and praying. Our day starts at 4:45am though I am just going to have to be creative I think
  • Move Miss B to her room: I know, I all are probably thinking I am so crazy to still have my 13 month old in our room, but seriously, if you knew how our house was set up you would understand. Honestly, I still haven't even attempted this one pray for me. Oh and for those of you that walked with me in December as I let her "cry it out" to go to sleep on her own can pray for me again because we are having to relearn that one all over again now that we are back in Guatemala
  • More date nights with the hubby: Last year we only had one date night the entire year...I know really sad. It was just so hard with the baby and with nursing (and not having a pump). We have only been back three weeks though and we have already had one, so I feel like we are already on a good path.
  • Memorize more Scripture: I haven't even attempted this one yet, but as I already mentioned earlier, this was our first week of a real schedule again, so hopefully I can start this next week. Keep me accountable though please!
I think those are the main ones that I can remember for now...feel free to ask me about though anytime. I like being kept accountable.

Lastly, I want to seriously ask some of you to join me in fasting and prayer this year for something super important: adoptions in Guatemala. I would first love for you all to join me in praying for our adoption of our sweet Mr. A. Although we have had him for so long that I know it is easy for people to forget the adoption isn't actually finished. Please pray. We still have a long road a head of us and God is really going to have to knock out some big barriers, but I am believing that 2011 is the year of victory. Please pray with us...if you would like to email me or comment letting me know that you are committing to praying daily or weekly or fasting with us, I would love that. Secondly, please be praying for the state of adoptions in general. This is an election year so we are praying that some big GOOD changes happen in this area, but basically we need something to change so our children here at C.B. have an opportunity for forever families. It isn't right that they are having to grow up in institutions when there are 100's of families wanting to take them home right now.
"Oh God please move mountains!"


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Some bits and bobbits about this blog...

This blog is mostly just ramblings by yours truly. I talk about my ups and downs being a wife, mother, and missionary in Guatemala. I have a tendency to get off on "soapboxes" as those who love me say but it is my desire that this blog can be a place of encouragement in each of your pilgrimages with Christ. At any moment if this blog becomes more about me than about Christ, than it will be done and please help me stay accountable. To God be all the Glory, Honor, and Power!

Books I am currently reading...

  • Eight Twenty Eight
  • Interrupted
  • The Connected Child
  • This Momentary Marriage
  • Unbroken

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