Thursday, June 30, 2011

Love Never Fails

This summer I am doing a life-changing study called Created to Connect by Dr. Karen Purvis. This guide helps adoptive parents better connect with their children. The goal of the study is "to empower you to become a healer for your child, and in so doing, rediscover the joy in parenting" (Purvis, 2010).

Joy in parenting? I'm in.

It can be challenging to parent a child who has come from a difficult past. It is hard to see past the child's behavior and address the hurt places. This guide helps you do just that.

Sounds good, right?

This morning I was challenged to take a well known passage from the Bible (you might recognize it from your wedding) and apply it to my child. Even if you are not an adoptive parent, you would do well to apply this passage to all of your relationships.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
-I Corinthians 13:4-8

If you are a local adoptive/foster parent friend, we will be offering this study at church beginning in August. Come and learn with me! If you are not local, you can download this guide for free or for a small fee have it mailed to you.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Just about everyday I think about going vegetarian for several reasons. It is definitely a more budget friendly diet and because the source of most of the meat in this country is horrid. What holds me back, is that we already have so many dietary restrictions in this house (one of us is diary free, one gluten/dairy/soy free, one gluten/dairy free and one is nut-free), it is mind boggling to add another limitation.

However, when I heard this news story today, I think I'll be on a bit of a vegetarian spree:

That is just yucky.

Friday, June 24, 2011

What I Want to Say, But I Won't, Hopefully

So my dear, sweet husband has been gone for a week in Nicaragua. He helped lead a group of 27 high schoolers doing a kid's camp, street evangelism, restoring a school and visiting a refugee camp. He is coming home in the wee hours of tomorrow morning. I can't wait.

I think I read in a marriage book somewhere that it does not build into your marriage to greet your husband at the door with a litany of what went wrong during your day (or week). I mean, it's not like he went on vacation, while you were home slaving away.

So, dear blog readers, do mind if I vent a little to you all, and save my husband the rampage?

Hi Honey! How was your week? Great? Okay, good. We prayed for you everyday. Wanna hear about my week? It was great, too. Let's see, it rained every day, so that was kinda hard. We even sat in the basement one night past the kid's bedtime because of tornado sirens. The kids wanted to sleep with me every night so I wouldn't be lonely, which was sweet, but kinda cut into my chick flick watching time. Did I mention it rained a lot? Evelea said "it's like summer is terribly ill or something". The girl's running club was canceled every night. I had a super bad headache for 48 hours, I thought Therese had malaria and everyone's allergies acted up. Sorry you had to miss Sitota's birthday, Father's Day and our anniversary. Really, though, your trip was good?

Phew, I think I got it all out. Thanks, guys!

Romans 7:18

The Message (MSG)

17-20But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

What I really want to tell my husband is how proud I am of the good work he did this week. How it was a privilege to sacrifice a bit on the home front for the greater good of the kingdom. That actually, having him out on the mission field on our anniversary, fulfills the mission statement for our marriage and I can't think of a better place for him to be on that day.

How my sin nature fights to get in the way and destroy the message I actually want to convey!

Watch your words and hold your tongue; you'll save yourself a lot of grief.

Only with God's help can I speak those life-giving words I want to say! My prayer today is that I hold my tongue and only speak His words. I'll let you know how it goes!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Be An Abolitionist

Last weekend we had the great opportunity to reunite with Ruth, director of Therese's former orphanage.

We met in Springfield, IL, did some sight-seeing and got all caught-up on each other's lives. Therese got to get news about her friends in Yako and got to show off her new hair.

If you've ever traveled to Springfield, you may have had the opportunity to visit the Lincoln Museum. What an experience!

It was really powerful to stand in this museum with my two brown skinned children and two white skinned children and wonder what Mr. Lincoln would have thought about my family. Would he have been amazed that such a family could ever exist in the United States of America?

My brain was swirling as I listened to Ruth tell me stories about how women are treated in Burkina Faso and how few opportunities they have. I couldn't help but think that life wasn't much different a mere 200 years ago in America for your average slave woman, or any woman.

It depressed me to think of these precious women enduring lives with no rights and no real hope. On the other hand, it invigorated me to think that this can change, and it doesn't have to take a civil war or even a great president. You and I can make that change happen. You and I can help give women a hope and future.

Go to the Sheltering Wings website and get information on sponsoring a child or a widow. You, too, can be an abolitionist.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Is Your Soul Thirsty?

If you are in need of a little refreshment for your soul, can I recommend a Morning with Jesus?

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending one of these sessions. Book yourself a spot for when the kids are back in school! They are led by a good friend of mine and she is allowing me to post her information on my blog today:

You are invited to

A Morning with Jesus

If you are looking for a morning away from your regular routine
specifically to focus on your relationship with God,
consider a guided retreat.

~at my home*~

Simple breakfast provided.
Bring Bible, notebook, pen.

9am Continental Breakfast
9:15 Brief message
9:45 Small group discussion
10:15 Solitude time
11:30 Small group prayer
12:00 Dismiss

You are invited to join me on one of the following dates, each with a different focus:

September 8: Tending Your Soul
October 6: Lessons Learned in the Fire
November 3: Gratitude
December 1: Preparing our Hearts for Christmas

Space is limited to eight women at each session, so claim your spot soon!

$30 per person, or pay what you’re able.

Contact me with any questions or to make your reservation at

*Address and directions provided closer to the retreat date.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Hair is a big deal.

To me personally, not so much. I am a pretty low maintenance gal, although I am sporting a pretty cute style right now thanks so much to the very talented Hannah Carpenter! A barista at Starbucks told me that I look funky, without trying too hard. Quite the compliment I thought!

Hair in the African-American world is a huge deal. That your daughter's hair is well-groomed and well-styled signifies your care for her. If you would like to be better educated in the world of African hair care and the battle between natural hair and chemically processed hair, watch the hilarious documentary called Good Hair with Chris Rock. I got quite the education watching that one!

I think since the first day I met Therese, six months ago, and everyday since, she has made it clear that she wants to grow her hair and get it braided. Keep in mind that her hair was shaved almost to the scalp when we met. It needed to be at least a few inches long so that she could get her extensions put in. Everyday, multiple times a day, for the last 8-12 weeks, I have had to ooh and ahh over just how long her hair was getting. I actually think commenting on the length of Therese's hair is her love language!

In seeking out ways that I can become closer to my daughter and enhance our attachment, I realize that if hair is a big deal to my daughter, it better be a big deal to me.

I have gone to the the ends of the earth to make my daughter's good hair dreams come true. There is nothing this mama won't do- and that includes going outside my comfort zone and into a downtown park to get an estimate on my daughter's hair. Oh yeah. I had to meet a hairstylist in a park! I met the woman's cousin at a park who recommended her to me and then I had to meet the stylist herself at another park to get the estimate. That is me, breaking down cultural barriers, people.

Well, last Friday, Therese's dream came true!

That is one happy girl!

She sat still for 3.5 hours getting her hair done without one complaint or tear (and it hurts!).

As her mother, I am trying to help her walk the fine line of enjoying her beauty and knowing where true beauty comes from. She was loved no less in her "before" state. On the other hand, when you look good, your true beauty can shine through a little more clearly.

I may be paraphrasing a bit here, but I think Spiderman said it best: "With great beauty comes great responsibility!".

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bumper Crop

I recently read this post from a fellow blogger and dear friend about how, shall we say, "unbecoming" it is when parents brag non-stop about their kid's accomplishments. I totally get that that is wrong, but it's okay to brag about your vegetable garden, right?

Last year I planted my first vegetable garden. I refused to stress about soil Ph, what kind of compost to use, etc. Casey dug the beds, we added a few bags of good dirt and planted the seeds according to the seed packets (does anyone but me find those directions on the seed packet a little confusing? I have to read them like six times...).

Anywhooo... here are some pictures of our first garden's bounty! We did great! Casey and I got downright corny about our "bumper crop", a phrase we like to bellow loudly while inspecting the fruit of our labor.

Today, the girls and I planted this year's garden. A little late in the season, but we had quite the rainy spring. So excited to see what this year's garden holds!