Saturday, May 28, 2011


(from Jay)

Having a big family is sometimes like carrying a 200 pound backpack full of food for 50 miles to starving orphans.  You know its the right thing to do, but its tough!

Somedays, though, you just step back and take it in and smile!  For the last three Easter weekends, we have in some way celebrated with a family dinner to observe what I call a New Testament Passover.  We fix some traditional foods.  We discuss the Old Testament Passover, and then bring it forward by discussing how Jesus ties into it.  Twice we've done it at home, and last year we did it with other families at our church.  Its such a blessing to stand back and look at our crowded table.  I know some day I'll miss it!

For now, I pray that God shows us how blessed we are!  To remind myself that my big family is a blessing and not a burden, I recently ordered some new stickers for the back of my suburban.  Six arrows with my kid's names on them.  I plan to put them on my rear left windshield.  It represents my quiver.  So, when the bills are expensive, and the stress is high, and the house is trashed...I am reminded by Psalm 127:3-5 that says, "Children are a heritage from the arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth.  Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them."

In today's day and time, two kids is the norm.  But despite this cultural norm, despite how tough it is, how expensive it is, and how you can be required to watch four kids play ball at the local ballfield complex on the same night from 5pm to 10pm...children are a blessing...fill your home with them!  I pray that we are intentional and raise up homes full of children that become Godly adults prepared to do battle for God's kingdom in the next generation.

Thoughts from Proverbs on Marriage

(from Jay)

Most of us have heard that Solomon was the wisest man to ever live. That being said, however, he didn’t seem too wise on his number or choice of all of his wives. I do think that he struggled with some of these decisions over time. This even comes across in one of his treasures that he left us, the book of Proverbs. It’s obvious that some of his wives were winners, and some were not.

In Proverbs, Solomon pours out his wealth of wisdom to his children. Advice to heed. As you read along most of us can glean so much from the words…and then, out of nowhere, you find these interesting statements that don’t always seem to fit.

It’s almost like you can see Solomon, sitting in his office or his chamber or a quiet room with a scroll and his quill…writing the most important lessons of life to the next generation. He’s focused…He’s deliberate…intentional…writing…writing…and then from behind him, one of his wives…in a loving, kind voice, encourages him or discusses something with him, and leaves him breathless…his train of thought now completely off-course…he finds some closure in writing about

Rain Day

(from Jay)

Lately, one thing we have had plenty of is rain...and lots of it.  One Sunday after church recently we were just finishing up another good rainstorm, and I noticed that the gutter outside our house was full and running strong.  So...we made lemonade out of lemons.  The kids put on swimsuits, grabbed their toy boats, and we had fun. 

They would go down two or three houses and release their boats,  and we would follow them back to the storm drain that is right in front of our house.  Oh, and Chloe decided to just lay in the thing, too.

Chinese Orphan to American Girl

(from Jay)

Just had to share this pic my sis took at the complex the other night while we were watching ballgames.  Lori was sporting sunglasses and enjoying a ring pop.  I'd say she's settling in fine...

Oh yeah, and nothing could be more American than this next pic we grabbed in St. Louis recently.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Trying a new camera.......

I bought a new camera (but have since taken it back b/c it just wasn't what I was looking for) - but here are a few of the trial photos.  Enjoy!

If you're gonna stir the pot - be ready to get some on you

We just got off the phone with someone dear to us.  We'd been told that this couple was having trouble in paradise.  So, Jay called and decided to "get up in their business" and ask some tough questions.  Now, in our American culture - we totally understand that that's not the most acceptable approach.  But, as the child of divorced parents, Jay says it's not gonna do anybody any good by staying silent.  If we do that - we'll just hear about their impending divorce after it's too late and we'll think - "that's too bad - another family to add to the statistics".  Our question is - why do we stay silent?  Why don't we go knock on their door and say "We are not going to sit back and watch this happen.  What can we do to help?  Let's walk this road together."  Why do we hide behind our troubles and not seek help?  Why are we so embarrassed to admit that we are less than perfect?  Why are we, as the church, not fighting this fight for the family head on?  Why are our churches filled with "smiling, plastic people" whose lives are crumbling apart outside the stained glass walls?  I'm just venting a bit........seems like there has to be something we can do.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ancient Chinese Secrets

I have a million things I need to be doing right now other than typing a blog post - but I just did something so profound and had to write about it.

When we picked Lori up from her orphanage, she came with a few personal belongings.  Most of the items were things we had sent over to her - toys, clothing, pictures.  They also packed her toothbrush, an unopened travel size tube of toothpaste, a lidless sippee cup.......and a bag.   I just unzipped the bag. 

It contained 4 things plus a plethora of unknowns.  I had unzipped this bag twice before - but never really thought about the contents.  The first time was in the foyer of the orphanage and the Director quickly explained the contents.  The second time was during our presentation at church. 

Tonight was different. 

After bathing Lori, brushing her teeth, making faces in the bathroom mirror, and putting on her PJs - I headed downstairs to do some quick laundry.  In a house of 8 people - the laundry is NEVER caught up.  It gets better some days - but its never ending.   We can actually see the laundry room floor today - so its on the upswing.  While the piles are small, I thought it would be a good time to wash the contents of the bag - which has been sitting over on side of the laundry room for weeks, patiently waiting its turn.  I unzipped the bag and did a thorough search.  I found 1 small baby undershirt - sort of a faded teal color with little pictures on it. A soft cotton - with little cuffs on the sleeves that can be turned into mittens to keep a baby from scratching itself.  I found a puffy pink jacket - way too big for an infant - but perfectly good at keeping a baby warm and cuddled.  I found a handmade dark blue striped baby quilt with hand stitching in a coarse with embroidery-type thread.  It isn't a work of art by any means.  Maybe it was made quickly out of whatever materials the maker had on hand - or maybe the maker spent hours meticulously fashioning this beautiful quilt with the best sewing skills they could muster.  And I found a store bought bright orange and while polka dot baby bunting quilt - unlike anything I've seen in the US.  Sewn into the top is a little collar that ties around the baby's neck and forms a hood of sorts.  It's almost like a small sleeping bag that can worn on the mother's back or maybe it's made to fit a small cradle and surround the baby in softness and warmth.  

This is what Lori's parents left her in...............................How profound that here I stand putting it in my washing machine.  I stopped and prayed that the Lord would help me understand the depth of this moment.  I prayed that her parents would have some peace.  I want them to find closure.  To "know" that she's ok.  She's OK!  If I scream this loud enough - do you think they can hear me? 

Someone carried this sweet girl in their womb, brought her forth through pain and suffering, and then wrapped her up all warm and snuggly and found the perfect place to put her so that she would quickly be found by well-trained teachers.  This was their adoption plan.  They loved her enough to seek the best plans for her.  And now here I stand on the other side of the world stuffing their baby's quilts in my washing machine and making faces with this little girl in my bathroom mirror.  This may be the most profound thing I've ever done.