Thursday, February 26, 2015

Pretty Stinkin' Pleased With Herself


That little treasure of ours is up to more 
miraculous things!

Check her out!

Her progress continues to be spectacular!

Don't you just love her smile?
Clearly, she is pretty stinkin' pleased with herself
and why shouldn't she be?

Another victory is underway!


As I was taking these pictures, we timed her...
Miss Ruby sat for a full 10 minutes - 
completely unsupported!

In fact she got an itch and was able to
maintain her balance and scratch her
little itch without losing her balance.




There was a very real concern for a long time when Ruby
came first home that Ruby might not ever
even be able to hold up her own head...
remember she has
Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy!

But look at this little chica!


Ruby's life serves as a daily reminder
that Almighty God is always at work
as He is offers Hope to all, 
generously provides Healing and 
astounds even the greatest doubter!
Praise His name!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

#gemofawedding

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who have given so generously.

Each shirt, each pair of pants, each sock and each shoe purchased is not taken lightly.

We are overjoyed at your response!

You are officially part of #GemOfAWedding

Just think...it's not every day that a missionary gets married and it's really not every day that a missionary with 23 Gems in her charge is the bride!  

And the rumor is that the Gems are soooo excited!  One thing about Africa - they know how to have a wedding celebration!



The shirts and pants have begun to arrive and will soon be speeding their way to the Gems!!  

I can't wait to post pictures of all the Gems wearing their wedding clothes!

Thank you for all you have done.  

Pray with us as the preparations continue, 
as some head to Africa and 
for those left on the home front.  


Saturday, February 21, 2015

It's A-Comin' and We Need Your Help!

Most girls dream of their wedding day.

Many plan years before they are even close to marrying.

Beautiful Pinterest boards are dedicated to the future big day...
knowing that only one little thing is missing - the groom!



We've had four of our bigs get married - 
each wedding with it's own flavor and style.

and now Miss Emma's big day is approaching!

It is actually 'right around the corner' - March 10th, 2015

Many have asked about her wedding
and here's the details...

She's getting married in Africa.

As she put it, "Mom, I can't get married 
without my kids surrounding me!"

 And so it is that Dw and I will travel 
to be part of the grand celebration as Emma 
unites her heart and life to Josh.  

Lord willing, the live-feed will work well
and our treasures at home can also "attend" from here. 

And in case you missed it, 
I shared Emma and Josh's love story here.

Josh is moving to Africa to join Emma at
which she not only directs and will continue to, 
but God clearly called her
 to it this lifelong work over 15 years ago.
In fact, Josh bought a one-way ticket!

Well as all folks know, 
weddings are big celebrations and Africa
does celebrating with great enthusiasm!

But there is one little thing desperately needed
by this young missionary....

Clothes for her Gems!!


I told Emma, 

"My bloggy friends came through for the 
wedding feast by dressing the street boys.  
Bloggy friends again came through
for snack bags for the street boys.  Bloggy friends then generously donated backpacks to the 
orphans and they also gave joyfully at the 
Gem shower to cloth her Gems last year," 
I continued, "These friends are so amazing, 
and I just know they will dress your Gems 
for the wedding!"


So there you have it.

The need is real.

Emma's heart would be overjoyed to see her Gems
looking fancified and spiffed out for their mama's big day!

Would you be willing to help?

 Emma's request is simple: 
One white button-down short sleeve shirt for each boy
and a black pair of dress pants.
A blush-pink party dress for each girl Gem.

A bloggy friend, Casey, who adores the Gems,
is working away to make bow ties for each!! 
How cool is that??

Here's how you could help...




Perhaps buy Jerom his shirt
or his pants, or both!!



Or a dress for Hannah...



Or very sick, but oh-so-tender-hearted Joey....


Or precious Justine...
{pronounced Justin}



Or how about joyful Collins?
{seriously, this is his constant facial expression}



Or how about little Mattie?


There are 25 Gems total...
each needing clothes for their mama's wedding.


The easiest way for me to figure out how to do this was
to have three "showers" again...

One shower hostess just brought home two treasures,
so she is tending to her littles at the moment...

But the other three are ready, willing and able
to help you shop...

The shower hostesses have the address to ship the
items.  

So ladies {and gentlemen} thank you in advance
for loving the Gems.


I emailed these three sweet orphan-loving friends 
and asked if they were willing to help.  
Without hesitation came back each 
of their replies, "I'm in."  
And I've never even hugged their necks!!

On Valentine's Day I shared my heart
about how I love you guys - and this is a perfect example...
ready to help  in a moment's notice.  

So please email the hostess and 
then shop for a Gem...


Kathryn's shower 
in
Tennessee

Attend by emailing:  
kathrynhallquist@yahoo.com


Robin's shower 
in 
New Jersey

Attend by emailing:
robinljohnstone6@gmail.com


Rebecca's shower
in 
New Mexico

Attend by emailing:  
nickandbec@gmail.com 



Thank you from the bottom of our hearts 
and what joy you will have when you see
the pictures of these precious Gems!!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Fun...


Seems to me that every now and then
Fridays out to be a celebration of sorts....

Even a time for a bit of extra joy...

Or perhaps for a few giggles..

So here we are,
sharing some joy, celebration and giggles
 from our home this week to yours...


First for the celebrating....


Nehemiah Judson 
is now officially ours.

Through and through.


Of course, 
we knew it the moment he stepped in our front door.

Overjoyed he's ours.





After court we were able to go to the 
Chinese Cultural Center 
here in Phoenix to celebrate some more...



The architecture is amazing....







As are the ponds and the gardens....






Jubilee was the most thrilled about the 
Chinese artifacts...
she was almost giddy...

[Can you tell how pleased she is?]




It was such a special day...
kinda wishing that we could have a do-over!

And a few minutes ago through peels of laughter,
Elizabeth was calling to us...

"I've gotten stuck guys!! 
Can someone please come help me get out?"

Of course as I came and found her predicament I
began to laugh myself...and before I helped her I just
had to snap a picture.

At the moment I took the pic, 
she was saying, 

"NOOOO pictures mom!
*giggle, giggle, giggle* 
Do not Instagram this!
*giggle, giggle giggle*
Oh Mom - that's just so rude!" 


And technically I am not Instagramming this...




Happy Friday to you and yours...

And if you are able,
please stop by our Place tomorrow.

I have a sweet proposal for you...
that I am quite certain you'll be bummed
if you miss...


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Warriors Together....

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves 
and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,
 then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin 
and will heal their land."
2 Chronicles 7:14


Thank you to each of you my friends who are joining with other
bloggy friends around the world to spend time in prayer
and fasting!


Photo Credit:  Jesper Noer



First off - 
the world as we know it is in serious trouble!
and frankly, it would be easy to become frightened and fearful. 

Let's begin today by joining together to pray for:

1.  The families of the hostages who have been murdered.
2.  Families of Coptic Christians in Egypt beheaded for "the cross". 
3.  Families of those burned to death in Iran.
4. Wisdom for our leaders.
5.  Protection for our military around the world.
6.  Protection for missionaries around the world.
7.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
8.  Friends and family to come to Christ.
9.  Courage to share Christ with those around us.



And then there is the issue that is close to my heart:  

Adoption!!

It is impossible to spend a day without 
being overwhelmed with the plight of the orphan.

And friends, at this moment there are thousands of treasures
longing around the world for a family to call their own..

Please pray for the orphans today.

Please pray that people will allow God to stir 
their hearts for the orphan...

Please pray with me for those in the midst of 
an adoption and have now run into 
unforeseen struggles, 
non-budging bureaucracies,
and 
seemingly insurmountable nightmares.

God is more than able!!

And please pray specifically for 
the situation in DRCongo -



At this moment there are 
several hundred families waiting for their children 
who have been lawfully adopted in DRCongo
yet they are unable to come home. 

Many of the families have been matched 
with their children for years and yet they wait!

This situation has been going on for over 500 days!!
These treasures must come home!!

Even though these little ones have been lawfully
adopted by their families, they have not been permitted to leave the DRCongo.

Friends, this is a crisis!!

Please pray that God would obliterate the 
obstacles that prohibit these
treasures from joining their families!!

Remember when we prayed and fasted that Meriam from Sudan
would be set free?
She now lives in the snowy NE with her family!

There is a petition to sign to ask our President to 
hear the cries from the Congo of these adopted children...
The petition can be found here. 




And then there are so many needs represented 
amongst bloggy friends.

Please share your needs in the comments 
below.  Should your request by private,  please feel free to
just leave the words: "Unspoken request."

Often there are friends who will pray through the many requests.
And I encourage you, as well, to pray over others requests as well.  
Encourage one another.  
Bless one another.
This is what Christ not only intended, but commanded.

Of the days of prayer and fasting, 
I remember one day in particular, a few years back.

A young woman had just graduated from college and needed a job.
We prayed specifically that the Lord would lead her
and open the right job for her.  
The same day of the fast, God moved and she received a job!

It was so beautiful and such a joy to be part of!

This day of prayer and fasting comes at a critical time in world history.
Much is at stake.


Please take the time to pray earnestly, seek the Lord and fast.
Thank you.

Share your requests below in the comments.



Getting Ready...



Not sure what happened to the wonky margins on this post.  
Please forgive.  
Super annoying, but the truths contained are worth putting up 
with the ridiculous margins.


Since tomorrow is our day of prayer and fasting, it seemed that today
 we would do a brief post about how to prepare for fasting.
Here are some tangible ways to prepare for Thursday's fast.

Fasting is a spiritual discipline that is not given as optional in
the Bible.  It is mentioned like this, "When you fast..."

For me, personally, I began fasting when I was probably about
nine or ten years old.  I had read about fasting in my daily
time with God and I knew I needed to begin.  
Since that time I have fasted probably
hundreds and hundreds of times.

I cannot over emphasize enough the importance of fasting
and I firmly believe that the spiritual discipline of fasting has
spared me many struggles, deepened my walk with the Lord,
not to mention moved seemingly
immovable mountains!  


If there was one piece of advice I would give someone who 
wants to grow closer to the Lord and hear Him whisper,
I would tell them, 'You must begin to fast regularly."

It cleans our hearts and our minds and keeps us on focus.
God uses it to give us wisdom for the days we face.
And He uses it to move gargantuan obstacles that 
we are up against!

If you have never fasted before, I urge you to begin with us
tomorrow.  Just a meal is a great place to begin!

I have seen over the years the resistance to fasting from many.
It seems the love for food and comfort is so powerful!

YET, 
YOUR LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN
IF YOU CHOOSE THIS PATH OF OBEDIENCE! 























As we prepare to fast it is important to get everything out of our
heart and life that would hinder the Lord's move in your life.

Everything.

Some of the things that come to mind are:

unforgiveness
bitterness
anger
rage
addictions

Just for starters.

One important thing for each of us to do is 
to also ask:  "Is there anything that doesn't please you Lord,
would you please reveal it to me?"

If something pops into my head or 
even someone's face - that would be a great indication
that the Lord is showing me someone or something that I need to get right.

It is amazing what will come into my mind when I ask the Lord that question.

A few years back I was going to speak at a conference.
I was fasting days before I left, asking the Lord to please use me.
In the midst of the fasting I asked, "Lord is there anything that stands 
in the way of you and me?"  

Immediately the face of a young man I had dated when I was a teenager
popped in my head. I had not thought of T in many, many years.
The Lord reminded me of something I had done to him after we broke up.
What I had done was rather small, in the big scheme of things,
 but none-the-less it was not kind and when I had done it my heart 
had been downright ugly!

I knew immediately that the Lord was convicting me.
I asked the Lord to forgive me and to help me find how to reach 
this now grown man who I had not seen since that day I had been unkind.
























Through a little work I was able to find him and phone him.
I was so stinkin' nervous!!!!
 I told T how I was going to speak at a conference and 
had been asking the Lord to show me anything that didn't please Him
and how He had brought him to mind and reminded me of what I had done.
I then asked T to forgive me.
This old beau said that he hardly could remember me doing that...
{I'm actually sweating as I type this - ha!}
and that of course he forgave me.
It was a brief conversation, but so needed!

It was definitely a humbling time,
even though he hardly remembered.

But friends, I have to tell you, when I hung up that day
I had a spring in my step and a joy in my heart - 
I had walked in obedience, even though it hadn't been
necessarily easy.

It was also served as a strong reminder to me that I would rather 
keep sin of any sort out of my life - so I wouldn't 
ever have to apologize like that again!

Another way to see if you have bitterness or unforgiveness toward someone is this: 
Is there anyone that when you hear their name you get all worked up? 
Or how about this...
Is there someone that when you hear that they have had a 
huge blessing it just irks the daylights out of you? 
There is probably something in your heart towards them.
Did they betray you? Did they hurt you? 
Did they promise you something and didn't come through? 
Whatever it is, you need to forgive to have a clean line 
between you and Almighty God!

Get it right!! 

The fast is tomorrow - get it right!!



"Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison 
and 
waiting for the other person to die!" 

Yes, unforgiveness holds us in prison and does really 
nothing to the other person. What a waste of valuable time!!

Many have been hurt deeply by spouses, parents, siblings, friends, 
employers, neighbors, and even pastors!! 
But holding unforgiveness is just as much a sin as whatever they did to you. 

Christ says that unless we forgive others He can't forgive us. 
That's huge!!
For those who want a more in depth look at fasting....
 Campus Crusade's has an amazing guide for fasting which can be found here. 

It is very comprehensive and would help anyone who is wondering all about it.



Monday, February 16, 2015

Calling All Troops!!



Friends, we have got to join together and do something!

The world seems to be going nuts at mock-speed!

This morning's news from Egypt left me speechless.

I had been wanting to call for a day of prayer and fasting...

and when I saw the news I knew it had to be called today.

A Place Called Simplicity has been known as a safe avenue to share 
prayer requests and pray for one another.  

You all have many concerns, struggles and needs.

So do I.

And the world?

Oh my.

When we have had a day of Prayer and Fasting
we have seen God move seemingly immoveable mountains!

He loves when friends "gather" together to 
before the throne of grace.

Would you be willing to join together with others 
around the world
this 

Thursday

February 19, 2015?

Please plan to join us in prayer.
If you are able to fast, 
please do so,
even if just a meal. 

If you have never fasted before,
I pray you decide that this will be the day that
you begin this spiritual discipline. 

I will share about fasting in the next day or so.




"And let us not be weary in well doing: 
for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." 
Galatians 6:9