Monday, September 15, 2014

Memorial Box Monday: He Provides


It's been quite a while since I wrote a Memorial Box Monday.

Not because God hasn't been working.

Not At All!!

He always is at work around each of us who love Him!

However, 
the most recent Memorial Box stories for our family have been
of the private family variety
and 
they have been the most incredible 
things ever in our lives to date....

Before seeing the fruition of these answers,
we have had powerful times of family fasting
and seen God move in literally
unbelievable ways - 

where we have had to stand back gasping,
mouth-gaping
saying,

"God - 
You, 
alone, 
truly are our Miracle-working,
Mountain-moving,
Awe-inspiring,
Gasp-giving God!"

 One day we may share these stories, 
but for now, 
we will hold these difficult, yet precious times close to our heart 
and treasure His intimate faithfulness in our family.

But today I have a story I can share.

And I know that there are many of you
who need to be reminded...

That He is faithful.

That He is working.

That He does have our back.

That He hears our secret cries.

That He knows our needs.

So as it happened one recent day, 
I was having a passionate discussion with the Lord.

It was just Him and I.

And usually I am not a woman given to much desperation
however, 
this particular day my feelings were strong
and rather desperate.

Winter is coming.

The kids have grown.  

The needs are real.

And I shared my heart with Him
and only Him.

A day later Dw and I took an early morning bike
ride around the blocks in our neighborhood.

On the way home we decided to stop for the mail.

We had not gone to get the mail for a few days.

So standing straddling my bike I was pulling the mail
out of the box.  Overflowing with a few days worth of envelopes, 
grabbing pieces from the pile I noticed a personal envelope.

"Hmmm, something personal."

Intrigued I had to open it right then. 

Dw asked, 
"Don't you just want to wait till we're home?"

"Not really."

I am a writer and I love personal cards and letters.

They are my favorite!

As I opened the envelope, out came the sweetest card and my heart was smiling
just seeing the two hearts on the front.

I opened and read what was hand-penned inside.



Precious words.


And I saw gift cards.


My eyes began to well with tears.


Inside there was a gift card for 

The Children's Place.







But there wasn't just one gift card ....


There was a second one.





And a third one...






And if that wasn't enough - 



There was a fourth one!!





                                                               
Tears welling 
turned to 
tears plunking
and then to 
literal tears streaming.  

I could hardly see to ride my bike home.

The Lord had heard my very specific, yet completely silent heart cry
 and answered above 
and beyond all I could think or ask.

And of course, 
the generous person who gifted these to us didn't even sign the card...
{mean head}


and yes, I checked...
the post mark...

They were merely pen scratches through the stamps
as though they had asked at the Post Office to just "hand scratch" them!!

So very tricky whoever you are!!

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. 

You met a very real need and we thank the Lord for your generous heart!

PS The kids were jumping up and down.
Not kidding.  We all were blown away.



After we shop we will place the 4 gift cards in our Memorial Box.
We will remember.
He provides.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Nehemiah

We were just finishing up Bible and prayer time today when I might have overheard
one of my guys kind of whisper to one brother, "I shave my hair."


Wide-eyed I glanced up, "You what?"

A bit embarrassed he glanced down, "I shave my hair."

"What hair?"

"This hair.  I only cut myself here," pointing to his shin.

"Ummmm, why did you shave your hair?"  I questioned.

Kind of smirking he pursed his lips together before saying, "I don't like hair."



As I'm typing this, suddenly I'm remembering 
what he prayed just minutes before he admitted 
he had shaved his leg hair and this post takes on an 
entirely different meaning.

Yes, in the midst of his earnest prayer minutes before,  I heard him
{for the first time say},
"Please don't let me grow up fast.  I just want to grow up a little bit."

Oh my heart.

Tears well now.

Sweet son of mine - you longed for a family for nine years.

No wonder you don't want to grow up!

Who wants to grow up and suddenly not be our little boy?

It's okay little one.

I'll cradle you in my arms forever.

And yes, Love You Forever is one of my favorites!!



{Some of my grown kids think it's really creepy...but I always cry as I read it.}

Oh bloggy friends!!

Can we even begin to imagine the longing that 
little ones have for a family?

The empty ache.

The loneliness.

The fear.

The helplessness.

The hopelessness.

He actually remembers his first family.

He remembers it all very well.

Many, little details.

Now, finally, after years in an orphanage, and hopeful waiting  - he has a family!

I have wondered how many Nehemiah's there are in orphanages just waiting for a chance?

Growing older...hoping.  Waiting.  Wondering.

Tenderhearted, gentle, eager to please souls who just 
need someone to whisk them into their arms forever?

Oh dear, precious, longed-for son.

You're here forever in a family that adores you and

we'll love you forever.

And it's okay, shave your legs if you want to!

Don't grow up too fast!!

Play Legos.

Build elaborate ships.


Giggle and laugh with your nephew Finley.



Snuggle with Indio.




Whisper with your brothers....




You are safe.

You are so very, very, very loved.

You were desperately wanted.

And forever and ever our little boy you will be.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Do You Ever Get Concerned?

Remembering is part of life.

There's the good remembering.

And then there is the painful remembering.

The kind of remembering that produces tears, grief and often a thought in the back of your mind, "What else is going to happen?"  

I know that September 11th is the day that changed our country forever.

It caused us to realize that this land of the free and home of the 
brave is not quite as safe as we would like to believe.

Who could have imagined that the hate-filled acts of a dozen 
Islam*c extremists would result in 
the loss of life to thousands in the United States
 and the death of over 5,000 deployed?

Just like those of us who were alive when JFK was shot, 
we remember where we were that day.  

And like everyone else we remember where we were when we heard 
about the terrorist attack on September 11th, 2001.




Dw and I were actually at a pastor's conference in Virginia Beach.  Jack Hayford was the guest speaker and he had just got up to the front to speak.  We rarely sit in the front during a conference, but somehow that day we had ended up on the very front row.

Within a few minutes of the start of the conference a man came 
down to the front and whispered in Jack's ear.  
Being just feet from Jack Hayford we heard him turn to 
the man and say, "Go confirm that."

Dw and I looked at each other.  We knew something dreadful was wrong.  
You could feel it in the air.  The expression on Jack Hayford's face made 
our stomach's turn.   Dw leaned over to me and whispered, 
"I think this is a JFK moment."  

The gentleman took what seemed like forever to reappear 
and bend down to again whisper in Jack's ear.

Jack turned to the group of pastors gathered and began, 
"It appears that the United States of America is under attack by 
terrorists.  There are confirmed attacks on the World Trade Towers 
in New York City.  The Pentagon has also been attacked and 
there are planes missing.  We, as leaders, need to do battle for 
our nation and we need to lead those we pastor and our communities.....
Please pray with me...." 



And hundreds of pastors began praying passionately.  

We were only a few hours from Washington, DC.  

Our kids were at home with my mom who was babysitting them.

We could not get home fast enough, 
but given the word that "some planes are missing" we thought it best 
to take back roads.

We passed numerous military bases as we drove...
lined with young men and women dedicated to protecting 
our country, all being called to report for duty with an 
immediate high alert urgency.   
The lines snaked out on the main roads.  

Dw and I cried and prayed as we drove.

No, we will never forget.




And I will not kid you. Today, 13 years later,
 is a very sobering day to my soul.
We spent half of our homeschooling day talking about 9-11
and watching a documentary of what happened that 
horrific day in our nation's history.  

So tell me, please.

Do you ever get concerned about a future 
terror attack? 

Have you prepared in any way? 

Where were you when you heard that
America was under attack?


Please talk to me.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Isaiah and Elizabeth Publicly Speak Up About Ruby





Last night, during the Monday night football pre-game show Elizabeth and Isaiah
 had the incredible opportunity to speak out about what it is like to have 
Ruby as their sister. 

But first let me back up a bit...

Hope Kids is an amazing organization which puts together
events for the families of treasures with life-threatening illnesses.

Ruby is our Hope Kid
and a few times each month we go to special 
events designed to bless families like ours.

It is extraordinarily wonderful to watch a movie
in a theatre and know that it's okay if Ruby shrieks,
because we are surrounded by other Hope Kids and their
families.  There is a special bond knowing that we all 
have medical challenges and there are some 
days that are definite struggles.

A few weeks back we went with Hope Kids to 
an Arizona Cardinals practice.
At the stadium they have apparatus' 
which the kids can try as a mock-up to 
the real football practices.

We also were able to have a flag we were given 
autographed.  

It was a blast!

As it turns out the movie station was there
and wanted to interview our kids.

Below is their interview as it aired last night 
in the pre-game show before the Arizona Cardinals
Monday night football game.

How incredibly blessed we are to share
Ruby's story {again!}
with the world around us 
reminding everyone that it is a blessing and a
privilege to that Ruby is ours.




Unfortunately I cannot link the video, 
however, it is on my Facebook Wall and 
I have made it public.

Click here to see it:




Saturday, September 6, 2014

Log Cabin Living: One Sizzlin' Idea


This week-end Log Cabin living series...




In my heart of hearts, pre-Ruby, I longed to move to a remote area 
{with the desert weather!} 
where we could enjoy Log Cabin Living 
{like the one pictured above}
as a sweet family.  It would be nestled in an area 
"a hundred miles" from civilization...
{see, I really am an introvert}.   

I am so grateful that I had the privilege of living in our little log home
before we lost it in a fire. 

No doubt, with Ruby's fragile health, there is not even an albeit 
brief possibility of entertaining such a wild and crazy idea 
{unless God totally heals her - 
which is, of course, totally possible!}.  

 In the meantime, we embrace our beautiful home in the city of Phoenix, 
with close proximity to Phoenix Children's Hospital while 
we enjoy to the fullest the spectacularly gorgeous Phoenix 
weather and all the perks of big city living!!

The series will be an on-going and I will share our version of 
large family living, on a very limited budget while practicing Simplicity.  
We invite to share this journey with us.  
As always, there are plenty of ways to do life.  

We humbly welcome you in
to our home.  

Please be nice.    

So here's a rather crazy idea
that I love.


Dare ya' to try it.

So, having already mentioned that I hate chemicals and
attempting to live without as many as possible in
our lives...

and in an effort to use products that we naturally buy...

Here's one simple money-saving idea in our home:

Shampoo

Here's what we do....

Take a nice handful of
Baking Soda.



Yes, that's right.

Baking Soda.

Spread it throughout your scalp.

Work it in.

It's gritty.

It's grainy.

It's funky feeling.

It's kind feels like ya' shouldn't.

But it's okay.

Go ahead.

Work it in good.

All over your head.

Then, when you feel like it's worked in nicely....

Take a jar of ....


Wait for it....








Vinegar....


Yes, Vinegar....



and sprinkle or pour it all over  your head.

Keep your eyes tightly closed!

Vinegar will sting a bit and perhaps make your
eyes red, but it doesn't cause harm
and heck, it's *not* a chemical
like when you get shampoo in your eyes, right?

The vinegar interaction with the baking soda
will sizzle and fizzle.

It sounds pretty cool...
like snap, crackle and pop...
and feels so amazingly sparkly!

Ya' almost want to leave it awhile
and enjoy the bubblies.

When you're ready,
rinse your whole head off.

Your hair will shine like none other

and

 if you have curly hair,
it will bring out the natural curl in the most
stupendous way.

Seriously.

Dare ya' to try it.

The sizzle will at least make you giggle!



Friday, September 5, 2014

My Three Little Guys




Abi and Ryan are away for the wedding of 
Abi's close friend. 
They're actually in Iceland. 

You know the place? 
Heard about it in the news lately? 
 Yeah.  That Iceland. 
The one with the volcano erupting.
Uh-huh. Right.

In the meantime, we have the tremendous joy of having 
their three precious little guys for 9 days.







These two are pretty much inseparable.



And see this guy here?

Don't let Wolfie's sweet little grin fool ya.

He's all mischief.

Reminds me of someone I once knew.
She's known as "mommy" in his world.
Apparently the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.




Finn loves to "help" Elijah with his school.





Naps are not usually in Wolfie's forecast either, 
but today there was a albeit short exception.
Don't you love his little hand holding on?


 And Mr. Indie?

He is so squishy and snuggly. 

Oh me.

We have to share him
or there would be a serious revolt.







Mountains of memories.

Many silly little-boy stories
of diaper 'stuff' found in rather odd places.
Wolfie He can't help himself, he hates having the 'stuff' in there.

More sweet snuggles.

And Mimi's heart is so very grateful for 
this enormous privilege.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Seasons




The other day I posted a comment on one of my kids FB accounts.

It was a smart-butt comment in which I was being rowdy and silly

and 

a sweet blog friend commented underneath, 

"There's the old Linny!"

I was taken back.

She had noticed.

And although she was only being sweet
{and that's all I took it as}
her comment left an impression.

It's true.

This season in my heart has been long.

I'm not a fan of winter
{okay so I pretty much despise winter}

but it feels like my soul has been in a long painful season of winter.  

My walk with the Lord is beautiful
and He has been my source of strength
and comfort, 
but no matter what,
the season has been so long.





So much loss.

So much heartache.

And then yesterday

my Emma's 
{and The Gem Foundation's} 
slipping away from Emma's loving arms 
and into the loving arms of Jesus.

We had just finished dinner when I heard my cell ringing with
Emma's ring tone...
in that instant, as I quickly did the time zone math and slid 
the button to the answer position,
I knew something had to be dreadfully wrong.  

It was the middle of the night there.

Panicking I answered, 

"What's wrong?"

Oh the flood of emotions with her emphatic words,

"It's Arthur! ......
 Ask people to pray Mom!" 


Oh, how our hearts literally ache to be with her!!  

Instead we are on the other
side of the world from our courageous and brave
missionary daughter
who loves special needs Gems so much that she 
moved far away to where the Lord had long been calling her 
and has diligently worked to open



A couple of weeks ago Emma's sweet kitty had died.
She was weeping as she told me
and mentioned that she had been weeping all day.
She commented as we talked, 





"Mom, I am so upset about my kitty.
How will I ever do losing one of our Gems?"  





Emma receiving sweet Arthur into her home - The Gem Foundation.



Of course, I couldn't wait to hold Arthur....
he had stolen the heart of all who knew him
and we saw him often when we Skyped with Emma.

And remember in a post a few weeks back 
I mentioned that all Emma had 
wanted for her
birthday were some clothes for Baby Arthur?

Oh how we mourn sweet Arthur's loss.

Precious baby boy.

So very loved,
even by those who never held you.

So very much wanted.

So very treasured.

Arthur's loss on the heels of my precious childhood friend, 
Dave,
who died suddenly after such a courageous battle 
{which he had appeared to be winning} 
while his only child, Denae, battles cancer as well.




Dave and Denae



And just last week my friend Tracie's son Mattie suddenly passed away.






And only three months ago my friend Jenny went home to be with Jesus
leaving fifteen precious little ones without a mommy.




And five days ago my sweet friend sent me a message.
because she knew I would be awake.

She had been visiting at her parents home with her son
hundreds of miles from where she lives 
and in the night the police had come to her parent's door.

There had been a terrible accident where her husband
was working and they needed his dental records
because they were certain that the body they found in the fire
was her husband's.  


Oh the heartache that seems at every turn!!


So what do we do?

Friends, we grieve.

It's not reality to think that we can flippantly 
'move along'.

Grief is real.

Loss is painful.

Suddenly heaven takes on a whole new meaning.

And in it all, 
we cling to the hope we have in Christ.

And we minister to those who have
lost the ones they have poured themselves out loving. 

God is faithful.

God is a God of comfort. 

He hears our cries

and

He weeps with us.



And He always keeps His promises. 



I know many of you are in painful seasons...
and I am truly so very sorry.
May God comfort you tenderly,
ministering to each need you have
reminding you how deeply He loves you and yours. 


"Weeping may endure for a night, 
but joy comes in the morning."
-Psalm 30:5





Believe and trust with me, 
that one day morning will come.