Welcome to our world of big family life, faith, adoption, farming, staying fit, thrift and food...lots of food!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

In The Scheme of Things *Announcement*

We've been pondering the brevity of our lives lately, a lot.
We've been seeking perspective.
And this is what we've come up with.
In the scheme of things, our lives on this Earth are very short.
In the very short time we have, what difference will we make?
The Bible says this world is not our home. (1 Pet 2:11)
But we still pass through.
In passing, what mark will we leave?
We bring nothing when we arrive, and we take nothing when we go.
There are temporal investments and eternal investments.

We've prayerfully decided to make a deposit.
An investment.
It will reap an amazing return.

The journey will be costly.
But in the scheme of things...
What is ~

It will require faith.
But we serve a God who does the impossible.
We put our hope in Him.
His faithfulness never fails, even when we lack faith.
We are not saviors, rescuers or redeemers.
We are ordinary folks.  Parents.  Sinners saved by grace.  Believers.
We serve the Living God.
We want to live by His Word.
We are no better than anyone else.  We battle the flesh moment by moment daily.
We desire to be counter-cultural.  Not so we can stand out.  So He can be magnified.
Not every Christian can or should adopt.
And just because someone adopts doesn't make them a Christian.
But if we call ourselves Christians we ought not blend into the world.
We ought to live by a different standard.
Not a societal swaying with the wind.  But a rock solid Foundation.
God has placed a desire in our hearts that we can't ignore.
We are heartbroken for the plight of the orphan.
That desire and heartache mixed with faith as small as a mustard seed causes us to move.
May we run this race with endurance and for His glory!
Because in the scheme of things, it will be a short race to an eternal finish.

It is with pure joy that we introduce Baby K.....!!!
He will soon be orphaned no more!!!

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
John 14:18

Monday, April 14, 2014

Do Something

I've loved this Matthew West song ever since I first heard it!
It reminds me of me ~
*Asking a friend to pray, then realizing I didn't.
*Shaking my fist at God, asking Him to do something, then realizing I didn't.
*Expecting others to act a certain way, then realizing I didn't.

God created us for the purpose of glorifying Himself.
If we call ourselves believers, we ought to be busy doing something.
Not to earn our way to heaven (that was finished on the cross!)
But as a result of our changed hearts.
Kingdom work looks different for each of us.

There are crises that are so much bigger than we are.
Does that serve as an excuse to do nothing?

Just last night my youngest 18-year-old son asked me why people call themselves Christians ...but don't act like Christians.  
My response:  I am just as guilty!  We live in a world in which we want to fit in, filled with tempting promises of better things that we can truly grasp.  Loving this world requires only a means to get the things dangled before us.  Living as a true believer requires faith in the Living God, facing ridicule, making choices viewed as illogical, and loving haters. 

And then he asked me an even harder question:  What can we do about it?
That's more difficult, because we are not the judge.  But how about we stand firm on the Truth of God's Word and live by it.  You know, as if we truly believe it.  How about we turn from the idols of this world and cling to our Savior.  Let's extend grace when we've been hurt.  Let's extend a hand when we've been kicked down.  Let's fight for a real cause.  You know, a cause that involves human lives.  But let's fight with love.  And forgiveness.  The kind of love that God first extended to us.  And let's never forget where we came from and where we're going.  And in every little and big thing we do, let's do it for the Lord.

Father, move in our hearts and cause us to do something!

Verse 1:
I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how'd we ever get so far down
How's it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, "God, why don't You do something?"
Well, I just couldn't bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, "God, why don't You do something?"
He said, "I did, I created you"
If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it's time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It's not enough to do nothing
It's time for us to do something
Verse 2:
I'm so tired of talking
About how we are God's hands and feet
But it's easier to say than to be
Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves
It's alright, "somebody else will do something"
Well, I don't know about you
But I'm sick and tired of life with no desire
I don't want a flame, I want a fire
I wanna be the one who stands up and says,
"I'm gonna do something"
If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it's time for us to do something (yes, it is)
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It's not enough to do nothing
It's time for us to do something
We are the salt of the earth
We are a city on a hill (shine shine, shine shine)
But we're never gonna change the world
By standing still
No we won't stand still (x3)
If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it's time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It's not enough to do nothing
It's time for us to do something
It's time for us to do something (x2)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Time Flies!

As much as I'd like, I can't slow the pace of life!
We currently live by a schedule of events.
I guess that happens when there are teens in the house.
But this teen of ours has grown up much too fast!
He hasn't even graduated, and I'm already thinking of how sad I will be when he moves to college.
He is the Krew member hardest to get pictures of because he's on the go!
He's a hard worker, a dedicated athlete, and a loyal friend.
Here are a few of the pictures my friend Lori captured of our second oldest, Kolton Tee:

*You can be sure this mama will get more pictures in the coming months*

Friday, April 4, 2014

Cuke & Tomato Salad - Yummy!

Yup, this one's a keeper!

Cucumber & Tomato Salad
* 2 medium cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
* 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
* 1/4 purple onion, thinly sliced (thinner than my   picture!)
* 1/4 tsp pepper
* Kosher salt to taste
* 2 tbsp. fresh dill (or dill weed)
* 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
* 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 tsp Dijon mustard
* 1 tsp honey

In a large bowl combine cucumbers, tomatoes and onion.  Whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour over cucumber mix, tossing to coat.  Serve immediately.

The people loved this...except that I added too much onion.  Make it your own!

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Undo:  (verb) to do away with; erase; efface

I am being undone.
It is such a slow process.  Because I am so rebellious.
Oh, how I want the new creation to be seen, and the old to die.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  Eph 4:22-24

It's much easier to be forgiving, gentle, kind, humble and compassionate when it is well.  But what about when life happens?  Are we really expected to be joyful when the kids are acting out, the finances are stressed, the wait is long, the relationships are strained?

God's Word says, in 1 John 2:6, "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

Ouch.  Nowhere in the Bible do we find that Jesus was anything less than gentle, kind, humble, compassionate, loving, and forgiving! 

I am so convicted that my circumstances should not affect my walk in the light (1 John 1:7).  I want others to see Jesus in me.  And I know this requires daily dying to myself.  My flesh clings to the riches of this world.  My heart clings to my Savior.

Lord, let me be undone for You.  Do away with the old, and let the New shine through...no matter what's going on around me.
GOD / me
He must increase, but I must decrease.
John 3:30

Thursday, March 20, 2014

And Then She Was Six!

I can't believe she's 6!
She's growing up so fast!

She's such a Treasure!  
She's a little mama to her baby sisters.
She has a giggle like no other.
She really wants to learn to read, and will probably be doing so before kindergarten.
She's endured 5 surgeries (2 without mama), and has another coming up in April.
We love you, sweet girl!!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

When God Moves a Mountain...

..and another, and another, and another, we are amazed and realize we have no good thing apart from Him!

One year ago, after nine months of back-to-back fundraising, we left our children in the very trustworthy hands of dear friends...

 ...so we could travel halfway around the world to collect a priceless Treasure.

A 28-hour trip turned into 40 plus, but delayed and missed flights couldn't stop us.
We arrived in China a day late, only to find that our Forever Family Day would also be delayed.

So we chilled...

...and toured...

...and prepared and waited.
Until finally, she was placed in our arms, just as God had planned.

For two weeks we stayed in her birth country completing the adoption process and letting her think she was an only child.
We introduced her to bacon real food for the first time in her life.
We attended an international church and worshiped with folks representing 52 nations.
We visited the US Consulate where we collected the final pieces of paperwork...
...deeming her a US citizen!
We visited the zoo...
...and the Island.

And eventually returned to the chaos which is reality.
God's goodness and His mercy had given us everything we needed to make the journey, and to begin the new one.  Our schedule would soon be filled with medical visits.

Khloie was diagnosed with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (brain injury, most likely prenatally, due to lack of oxygen, often causing blindness or vision loss, affecting speech and motor skills); congenital heart defect, atrial septal defect, and was later diagnosed with bilateral estropia (crossed eyes).  In addition, the orphanage staff told us she didn't talk.

We knew most of this when we received her.  We began to prioritize her medical appointments.

Her ophthalmologist concluded that Khloie's vision was miraculously perfect, and he could surgically correct the crossing...but we first had to determine the severity of her heart issues and brain development.

We saw one specialist after another in rapid-fire succession.  

Cardio:  After performing the necessary tests, the cardiologist concluded that Khloie's documented heart defect is no longer existent!  She will be seen in one year to get a complete release.  Check!

Neuro:  The neurologist saw that much of Khloie's brain had been damaged prenatally, but the uninjured parts of her brain began to take on the functions that would have been affected.  The moment of awakening came when the doctor told us if she had just seen the images of Khloie's brain without seeing her in person, she would assume she was blind, nonverbal and completely unable to function independently.  Check!

Vision:  Khloie has had one corrective surgery, with some residual crossing in her left eye, which will be corrected this summer.  Her eyesight remains perfect!  Check!

Verbal:  While Khloie only spoke in whispers, and very limited at that, at first, she now expresses herself just as loudly as the rest of the krew, and even forms up to 4-word sentences.  She will likely need speech therapy in school but is a far cry from nonverbal.  Check!

Motor:  Khloie has some large motor delays, especially on her right side, but her balance and strength continue to improve!  She recently turned 3 and is cognitively at about 18 months (normal for post-institutionalized children) and progressing by leaps and bounds!  Check!

We really had no idea what this side of the journey would look like, but we knew that God had placed a love for this precious Treasure in our hearts and we would be missing a tremendous blessing if we succumbed to fear.  

Her journey to us began with tragic circumstances, brokenness and loss.  Our hope in Christ is that her journey from here on out brings healing, grace and wholeness.   

To Him be glory!!!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Day I Found Easter Dresses in the Attic

With ten kids at home, I was dreading the seasonal clothing changeover.  It means I climb a ladder into the cold attic and start handing marked boxes down into the hands of children who can’t wait to tear through them like it’s Christmas morning.

But this morning was different.  Everyone was in school, except the toddlers, who were intently watching cartoons.  I decided to stay in the attic long enough to rummage through a few boxes to find a single warmer-weather outfit for each child, you know, for that random day that exceeds the seasonal 40 degrees.

And then it happened.  I found dresses!  Dresses beautiful enough to wear for Easter!  

I hadn’t even begun to think of them.  Mostly because I wouldn’t have the time or money to shop for special clothing.  But in a few boxes I found six dresses ranging from sizes 2 to 8, each perfect for Easter.  And it hit me.  I was overcome with thanksgiving.  And joy.  And awe.

I was reminded of the journey to bring each of our children home from the other side of the globe.  I thought of those who inspired us in the first place.  I remembered those who prayed for and encouraged us.  I thought of everyone who gave, even sacrificially, to change a child’s life.  Which in turn would change my life. 

I thought of those who kept our ever-growing krew while we traveled, those who brought meals, and those who taxied them from place to place.  And then I remembered the reason I was in the attic in the first place: because others have been so very generous toward our family!  

Clothes have been given to us at church, in Bible study, at ball games, sent in the mail and left in our vehicle.

Gone were the thoughts of stacks of paper work, tireless, humbling fundraising, contemplating where we would place yet another bed, never-ending laundry, crowd-size meals and the need to ‘justify’ having so many children.

I was overcome with joy.  I was in awe of God’s goodness and provision.  It’s not just about the clothes.  It’s that He knows exactly what we need.  It’s the way He touches the hearts of His people.  It’s the way He blesses when we give and when we receive.  It’s about stewardship.  And changing hearts.  

Ten years ago I would have gone to a department store and not given a second thought to overspending for a single dress.  Now the journey is different.  The treasure is different.  It represents a work in progress in my own heart.  It’s about a shift in thinking about sacrifice.

 Nothing I do or give is as great as what’s been done and given for me.

It’s true that not every family is meant to be large.  And God has a purpose and a role for each of us.  Some plant the seed, some water it, and God makes it grow!

1 Cor 3:6-8  ~I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.  So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.  The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. ~

Thank you to every person who invests in the lives of others. 

To Him be glory!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Hola Granola!

My friend Lori has an amazing knack for whipping up things that taste so good!
Every recipe I've tried has been a hit! ***
I finally got a chance to try her granola last weekend...

...and it is amaaaaaazing!  My people have been eating it over yogurt, in milk and by the handful!
You can find Lori's original recipe HERE,
and here's my adaptation:

1 stick unsalted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla
Put all that in a pan and warm it slowly on the stove while you mix up the dry ingredients, adding the vanilla after the butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.
Mix together:
4 cups oats (I actually used Quick oats, and they worked fine!)
3/4 cup roasted and salted cashews, chopped
3/4 cup whole natural almonds, chopped
1 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Pour warm, melted butter mixture into bowl of dry ingredients, blend well.  Spread mixture onto buttered cookie sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes at 325 degrees.  Remove from oven and stir granola.  Bake for 15 more minutes, and stir again.  I didn't need to bake any longer, but if necessary, bake 10 more minutes or until granola is golden brown.  Let cool, and store in a sealed container.

***Lori is one of my skinny friends, so as I strive for a more fit me, I'm serving a lot of great things to my krew, while I only get  a nibble :)  Pity, I know :)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What If?

What if God really does want to use that thing I’m going through for His glory and for my good?  Is it true that something good really could come from this?
Have you ever thought there’s no way …
~this pain
~this loss
~this wait
~this illness
~this monotonous daily grind
~this workplace
~this hardship
~this relationship
…can be used by God?

Too often I ask God to just move the mountain and, you know, bury the thing, make it go away, or at least distract me from it.  And I think it’s perfectly okay to ask God to do that.  But what if He wants to grow me through it so I will acknowledge His sovereignty, His goodness, His justice, His mercy, His provision, His trustworthiness…and His glory?

Suppose He took me around the mountain when I needed to climb it.  Or around the mountain when I needed to tunnel through it.

What does it look like to trust God through these ‘things’ we’d rather not deal with?

Look at the churches in Macedonia who gave sacrificially, even though they were impoverished.  2 Cor 8:2 ~Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.

What about James’ words in 1:2-3 ~Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

In 1 Peter 4:12-13, we read ~Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

Paul writes, in 2 Cor 1:3-4 ~Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

We can trust these words in Romans 8:28 ~And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

The more I get to know my Lord, the more I realize that rather than turning to Him only in times of great need, I must turn to a lifestyle of complete dependence upon Him, in all things.
Oh, to adopt Paul’s attitude in Philippians 10:12-13 ~I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Not only can I endure these trials, but I can do so with joy.

I have recently said that I know God will use one my most difficult trials (so far) for His glory, and He has so much to teach me through it…if only I would surrender.   I confess I’ve been so deep in the self-pity and the seeming injustice of the thing that I lost sight of who God is.  As if He had forgotten me.  Or the thing was too great for Him.  Or I’m supposed to go this one alone.  Those are all lies.

I don’t know if God will remove this trial in my lifetime, but in drawing near to Him, I realize He is the Source of all the strength, patience and grace to persevere.

And what if God wants to see us through these struggles in order to prepare us for something bigger than we can imagine?


Saturday, February 15, 2014

And the Candle Winner...

...is Sandy!!!
(I need your shipping address)
Thanks to everyone who voted!  I really appreciate your help.

Monday, February 10, 2014

So, This is Winter!

Just as we've had real summery summers lately, we've had a real wintry winter.
It's been mostly awesome because Khloie has played in the snow for the first time ever and enjoyed cocoa with marshmallows, of course, and fluffy footie jammies!

 It is beautiful!
 And fun!
 And in the midst of it all we celebrated the Year of the Horse!

They call her Princess.
Part of our awesome local group of Families with Children from China!
 And, speaking of beauty, Kenzie and Kayden took a few snow shots.

Yes, it is beautiful, and we've slurped every last drop of enjoyment out of this wintry wonderland.  Now how about a big gulp of SPRING!!!

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