Say What?

28 02 2008

My friend and fellow blogger Kristin often posts “Tiny Talk Tuesday” in which she recounts cute things her 3 sons say.  They are very funny and often make my day.

Today, I must recount a quote from one of my own “tiny talkers” just so I don’t forget the moment, and so I can use it for future reference (see previous post on getting old) when I forget all this tomorrow.

Sitting at the dinner table this evening during dinner:

Mary:  (passing the broccoli)  “Mom, if I eat all my steak, can I please have more broccoli?”


It’s Rough to Get Old!

28 02 2008

That was something my father used to say whenever he was trying to help me with my “modern” math homework or after spending the day washing cars, mowing the lawn and keeping our dock barnacle free and safe for swimming.   As a kid, I never thought of my dad as “old” in any sense.  Goofy, completely lacking in fashion sense (read bow tie wearer), and mannerly to a fault, but not old at all.  I didn’t understand why he thought of himself as old sometimes.  Now, I completely understand his utterance of those words.

My vision has been somewhat “cloudy” at times over the last few months so I went to see my eye doctor recently.  He said I had something (gave it a name at least 57 letters long) that was most likely due to aging eyes, but he wanted me to see a specialist just to be on the safe side.  So, today I visited this apparently famous ophthalmologist for a checkup.  He was quick, but very thorough; and very depressing.  It would appear that I have early onset cataracts.  Nothing to worry about for now, but sure did make me feel old to get that diagnosis today.  The cloudiness I’m experiencing is due to severe dry-eye and the effects of some medication I must be on.  I got some drops and instructions for caring for my eyes and off I went.  Tomorrow’s excitement includes a trip to the podiatrist for what I hope will be some relief from the chronic pain due to arthritis in my feet.  The custom orthotics and current medication isn’t working and my limp is becoming more pronounced.  The sore feet in turn make my knees, back and hips ache worse.

Thanks for reassuring me that I’m not going blind doctor; and for reminding me that it’s rough to get old!

I’ll do my best to hobble back and keep you updated.

Welcome to Our Newest Addition!

25 02 2008

Please say a big welcome to our newest family member!  Her name is Eva and she’s 4 years old.  She lives in Columbia with her mother, father and three siblings.  She is now being sponsored by our 8 year old daughter, Mary, through Compassion International.  I hope to be able to post her photo soon as she is absolutely adorable!

A Thief in the Night

25 02 2008

While the title may bring to mind the metaphor of how the Second Coming is described, that’s not what it actually refers to here. Rather, we were visited by a literal thief in the night recently.

It is very cold here in ND right now and as a result of some recent “strange noises” coming from my husband’s car, he’s had the privilege of parking in the garage at night. As I got in the truck the other morning, I noticed that the glove box was open and some of the contents were laying on the seat. I checked to see if anything was missing and there didn’t appear to be so I called my husband to see if he’d been in the truck looking for something. He said no, as did our son. We were a “little slow on the take” as the saying goes though. There was indeed something missing; the remote for the garage door opener! As a result, now all of my husband’s tools (two roll away chests worth!) are also missing!

He discovered this yesterday when he was called upon to use his first-rate electrician skills to repair a previously melted power cord for a soft-rock star’s computer. The cord was repaired despite the missing tools (they managed to leave behind a small set of screw drivers, one pair of pliers and a roll of electrical tape) and the show went on.

The thief (or thieves), couldn’t manage to steal the most valuable thing however. The rescue of 72 kids from poverty by wealthy Americans being rescued from their wealth doesn’t even begin to compare. The soft rocker referenced above made the comment to me that my husband must be very even tempered as he didn’t appear too upset over his lost tools. “They can be replaced,” he said, “but to see those kids being rescued is something that cannot be undone by lost tools or greedy thieves.” I agree!

Thank You Grand Forks!

24 02 2008

This weekend marks the third time I’ve brought Shaun Groves to Grand Forks for a concert.  To hear him speak about the impact that Compassion International has had on his life and how his ministry is now focused on rescuing children, is quite simply, inspiring.  His passion is contagious and he infected Grand Forks, ND with it this weekend.

As a result of this most delightful of infections (nothing like the one Shaun is harboring after his recent trip to Uganda), 72 children were sponsored this weekend!  That is 72 children who will now have their physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual needs meet my through Compassion’s partnership with local churches in their countries.  72 children who will soon begin receiving letters from sponsors in North Dakota who will tell them they are special; they are loved; and they are such blessings to those of us who chose to tonight to remember what we are saved FOR and not just what we are saved FROM.  Thanks Shaun; for soft-rockin’ the frozen north in spite of the cold and flu.  Thank you Grand Forks for rescuing 72 children.  Thank you God for saving us FOR something so incredible.

Virtual Africa

18 02 2008

My friend Shaun just returned from a week long trip to Uganda. He was there with 15 other cyber-savvy bloggers visiting children and projects that are a part of Compassion International. Uganda is one of 25 countries where Compassion partners with local churches to pair children with sponsor families to release children from poverty (and Americans from the disease of affluence). The blog entries of these 15 people made my virtual trip to Africa possible this week. I visited homes, watched children sing and play and, listened as mothers spoke of hope in their homes. Lives were transformed before my eyes.

I’ve been a Child Advocate for about 4 months now. That means that I get to help out at Compassion events in my local area. I am helping to connect churches and individuals in my communities to children who need sponsors. I get to talk about rescuing children in lots of places. I love being an advocate! Mostly though, what I get to do is brag on our two “sons.” The two boys that our family sponsors through Compassion. These boys are incredible!

We initially chose Wedner because his birthday is the same as my mother-in-laws’ and I thought it would be easier to remember if we could connect it to a member of our family. DUH! Wedner is 9 years old and he lives in Haiti with his mom, dad and 5 siblings. They just recently moved from a small island off the coast to a village about 60 miles from Porte Au Prince. I am excited to hear about his new home. We’ve been sponsoring Wedner for almost two years. He’s such a beautiful boy. His smile is infectious and I just know he’s a “charmer.” He loves to play at the beach and he helps his parents in the market place when he’s able. He enjoys school and he always draws pictures for us. He likes to play with marbles and he sings in his church choir. I just know his voice is beautiful when he sings to the Lord in his flowing Creole. When we first began sponsoring him, he was doing poorly in school and did not pass to the next grade. This was very hard for him. Our last letter said that he is doing very well now and was promoted and he loves to go to Sunday School with his friends. Our first photo was of a little boy who seemed a little shy and scared. No smile. He just stood there. Our last photo was of a smiling, growing, happy child. Hope was in his eyes and when we read his letters, I can almost hear his bubbly voice speaking to me. He does not share our earthly home, but he will share our heavenly home. Our ability to sponsor him has blessed our family beyond measure. This child is the face of Christ. He is our son.

Our precious Byron is 7 and he lives in Ecuador with his parents and 9 siblings. 5 of his siblings are married. We began sponsoring him about 8 months ago after another child we’d been sponsoring left the program. Byron was chosen for us by Compassion. His birthday is in the same month as our daughter Mackenzie. He has beautiful, huge brown eyes and straight, black hair. He loves to play with cars and likes soccer. His favorite subject in school (where he’s an above average student) is Art. I can tell because he sends us wonderful pictures! He has two pet dogs. We received a letter from him very soon after we began sponsoring him and he asked for a photo right away. He was so excited to have a sponsor! That prompted our family to take a family photo (the first in over 9 years!) so we could send it to him right away. He’s told us all about where he lives and says that Ecuador is a beautiful country. I want so badly to see for myself! He wants me to come visit him and he’s sure I would like his home. I’m sure I would too because it’s the home of our beautiful son, Byron, a gift from our gracious God.

Our sponsorship of these wonderful little souls, while initially begun as just a part of our giving, is now something that has truly permeated our lives and changed our hearts. The blessing that comes from watching our boys grow and learn, becoming fine young men who love our Lord is something that I really can’t describe. God gave us the opportunity to be part of something so incredible. This is one thing we can do to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Christ’s mandate to all believers concerning the poor is very clear. Don’t miss out on the opportunity for this most special of blessings. I have a hard time even considering what we do with our $32 a month as mere “sponsorship.” The amount is so insignificant to us and so life-changing for them and yet; the blessings God as given our family in our two sons is priceless. Absolutely priceless!

Eternally Adopted

9 02 2008

My son and I went to see Steven Curtis Chapman in concert Thursday night. He is beyond a doubt, Alex’s favorite artist. He was playing at one of the larger churches in Fargo so we made the drive. It was a wonderful evening of new songs. blended with ones I’ve been listening to since Alex was a baby (he’s 18 now). Steven said something about “getting old” and could relate to him completely! Seeing his two sons, Caleb and Will Franklin on the stage with him, performing like seasoned pros, didn’t do anything to make me feel any younger either. See Steven’s website to learn about is heart for adoption and his family’s journey in adopting three beautiful daughters from China.

Throughout his concert, there was a small counter on his video screen. It started at zero when the show started and continued along throughout the night. It stopped around 650 or so by the night’s end. This counter represented the number of NEW orphans globally since the show began. One NEW orphan every 18 seconds worldwide! That is staggering to say the least!

Steven made a point I’d heard before, but it seemed to resonate with me very strongly this night. All believers are adopted children of God. He is our Heavenly Father. The one who chose us to be His. We are joint heirs with His son and as such, have received the birthright of eternal life spent in His presence. What an incredible gift!

Jesus talked more about our responsibility to care for the orphans, the poor, the widows and the downcast than he did about any other subject. Over 40 separate sermons were given by Jesus on the poor. If our care of and responsibility to this group was so important to Christ, shouldn’t be as equally important to us if we’re to be Christlike? Is it important to you? What are you doing with the mandate given to you?