Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Free Event you don't want to miss!

For all you locals, I wanted to make you aware of a great opportunity to hear an amazing God-story! I have had the privilege of hearing Lysa speak before and trust me, you want to go! Details are as follows...

National Orphan Sunday Community Wide Gathering

Pontiac Township High School - Pontiac, IL

November 15, 2009 at 2pm

Our prayer is that this event will raise awareness for orphan care and adoption within the community and allow the Lord to stir in the hearts of believers all over this state.

Lysa TerKeurst from Proverbs 31 Ministries will be sharing her incredible testimony and adoption journey.

Admission is free of charge, tickets are by reservation only. For tickets contact Christi at 309-747-3558 or by email at

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Book Review: What Difference do it Make?

Before I start my review of What Difference Do it Make? I have to ask a question.

Have you read Same Kind of Different as Me?

If the answer is no, go find a copy and read it.

It is a book that tells the true story of an art dealer, a homeless man and the amazing woman who brings them together. It tells life stories. Real people trying to figure things out. Making mistakes along the way, but ultimately making a difference in a big way. I think you will discover it is worth your time to pick it up and read.

You don't have to read Same Kind of Different as Me first, but I would. Once you have I think you will want to pick up What Difference Do it Make? In this book you will find a continuation of the story of Ron Hall and Denver Moore. You will read a story of reconciliation (between Ron and his father). You will read nuggets of wisdom from Denver and you will hear stories of how every day people are making a difference.

We all want our lives to count for something. We all want to make a difference. But sometimes we get too caught up in "our" lives. We stop looking for opportunities. Or those kind of opportunities (the "difference making ones") seem too far out of reach.

Both books offer a reminder that "normal" people can make a difference, but it takes action.

They also offer an interesting look, as well as great insight, into the plight of the homeless.

And if none of these reasons to read pique your interest, how about this, the books tell a good story (especially Same Kind of Different as Me).

If you have read Same Kind of Different as Me, I'd love to know... what did you think?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

In All Things

They say there is a silver lining to every cloud.

I know, I know that is so cliche, but you gotta admit looking for the silver lining makes the cloud so much more enjoyable.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says "Give thanks in all circumstances." Sometimes easier said than done, but giving thanks does help one focus on the good rather than the bad. There is always something to be thankful for isn't there? Even in the direst of circumstances?

My circumstances last week were not dire, but they did give me cause to practice thankfulness in all things. The flu bug hit my little buddy. We had to cancel plans, including a visit to dear friends who (because of distance) we see far too little as it is.

I felt sorry for myself for a little bit, but then gave thanks. Thanks for the extra cuddles I received from my sick baby boy. Thanks because we were forced to slow down and stay home (during an especially busy season). Thanks for recovery and health.

My little buddy is doing much better. Although now that he is feeling better, he has decided to become a little more grouchy and demanding giving me a whole new set of circumstances to be thankful in!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Follow the Bread Crumbs

If you read my blog you know I have a heart for the orphan. It is a journey God has taken me on, enlarging my heart as I go, giving me the desire to do more.

The exciting thing is, I am not alone on this journey. I know for a fact that many of you who read this blog are on similar journeys. The ministries may differ. Your heart may want to make a difference in the lives of teens, or pursue justice through groups like IJM, or reach out to those in poverty, or... you get the idea.

God places different pieces of his heart within ours and the result is people becoming his hands and feet, making a difference in the world, impacting others for His kingdom.

Isn't it exciting!!!

I'm reading a book called Embracing Your Freedom: A Personal Experience of God's Heart for Justice by Susie Larson (one I would highly recommend by the way!). In it Susie shares a quote by Sara Groves that I love and want to share with you. I think it sums this up perfectly!

Sara says: My journey is going to be different than yours. I'm just following the bread crumbs God gives me and I follow where He leads. One step at a time, a little at a time, as God leads, I take on more responsibility to be God's hands and feet for the sake of justice. You can do the same. Just do what He says and follow where He leads.

I wish you blessings from above as you follow the trail of bread crumbs He leaves for you and thank God that even though our journey's may be different we can still encourage each other along the way.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Celebrating Brown Bear

Up, down and around he goes. Climbing on laps and under legs. Pushing books out of the way. Interrupting the story. Forcing me to read louder in order to be heard over the cry.

Reading books to the olders when the baby is close is always a challenge.

But today.

Today the baby brought a book to read. And sat still as I shared what the brown bear saw. And then when it was over, he climbed down, disappeared behind the sofa and brought me another book.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

An Invasion of Fun!

"Stay green! Stay green! Stay green!" came the chant from my back seat drivers as we passed one stoplight after the other on the main drag of our Midwestern town. Each stoplight that cooperated with our demands was rewarded with heartfelt cheers as our minivan whizzed by.

It is a new game we play with the chant alternating between "stay green" and "turn green" as we approach each light.

It is just one example of the fun that invades my life because of my children. The fun takes many forms. Giggles wafting upstairs from the basement as they play, teaching a new-to-them game that I played as a kid (this month it has been the board game Sorry!), the ornery glance from my almost-two year old as his little legs run by, sharing stories, laughing at what makes them laugh...

The fun that comes so naturally to them has a way of rubbing off on me. Invading my day with a merriment than Mary Poppins herself would have trouble matching because it is REAL. It is a gift that I often overlook, but today I am remembering to give thanks for the fun moments my children give me every day.

Monday, October 05, 2009


We have a winner!

I asked one of the boys to pick a number (you know to decide the winner). He picked 1,000,000. It is his favorite number, but it did not help me pick a winner. So I asked him to pick again.

The number was 10 and the winner is Jessica!

Thanks for your comments everyone. Happy Monday! :)

Friday, October 02, 2009

Visiting Ukraine - An Update to a Previous Post

Not too long ago I put up a post I had written 2 years ago about some of the kids I have met in Ukraine. Let me give you a few updates!

Tonya is living in Transition home #2. She has a contagious smile and is going to school to be a fashion designer. Denis and Tonya have unofficially adopted her into their home.

Vanya is a Christian. He lives in Transition home #1 and he hopes someone will sponsor him so he can come to the United States for school. It is extremely tough being a black man in Ukraine. He is an amazing young man with a gentle spirit.

Andrea is living in Transition home #2. He is still one of the most friendly people I know with a huge smile. He likes to practice his English when Americans are around. He wants to be a contractor.

Little Tonya is still at Loubetein. Her dad still refuses to let her be fostered or adopted. She was away at a camp when I was visiting so I didn't get to see her this trip.

Alla came to visit us on Sunday night. She has not made a decision for Christ. I don't know what her life is like. She looked hard to me, BUT she came to see us and that says something.

Please keep these amazing kids and the ones coming behind them in your prayers. Pray that God will continue to work through Lifesong, that people in Ukraine will step up and join in the work and that people in America will step up and provide funds that make the work possible.

And, please pray that more and more orphans will break free from the cycle of hopelessness that ensnares so many.

I believe prayer is a powerful tool. Thank you for caring enough to lift these special kids up to our Heavenly Father - your prayers make a difference and that is an exciting thing!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

A Slow Burn

It has been a while since I've done a giveaway...

I think today is a good day to change that!

This month I have immersed myself in some first-rate fiction. I have read the first two books in the Defiance trilogy by Mary DeMuth. Daisy Chain and A Slow Burn. Redemptive fiction that tackles the hard parts of life. I could hardly put them down and once I did, I found my thoughts drifting back to the characters. For me, that is the sign of a worthy read.

Today I am going to give you, my dear readers, the chance to win a copy of A Slow Burn!

But first, enjoy an interview with the author, Mary DeMuth.

Tell me a little bit about your background and your family.

You can read my testimony on my website ( I came from a difficult upbringing, but Jesus saw fit to find me at fifteen. He has utterly changed my life.

I’ve been married 18 years to my husband Patrick (who’s been told he looks like George Clooney on more than one occasion). Interesting side note: I’ve been told I look like Laura Dern, and we share the EXACT same birthday. Twins separated at birth? Possibly. If you’re reading this and you’re chums with Laura, could you probe a bit?

George (er, Patrick) and I have three kids: Sophie, Aidan and Julia. Sophie’s learning to drive—and what’s interesting is that I’m not worried about it. She’s a careful driver. My son Aidan is thirteen. He’s passionate about finding water for a small village in Ghana. We got to go on the trip of a lifetime to meet the village of Sankpem last summer. Our daughter Julia is ten and is deeply kindhearted, beautiful inside and out. We also have an overly needy (farting) dog and a fat & fuzzy (sometimes cranky) cat.

What has God been teaching you lately?

To learn how to embrace subtlety. I’m a loud, in your face, writer. I’m learning to create nuance. This, of course, translates into my everyday life too.

Alas, the other thing is pretty convoluted and deep, but it has to do with learning to trust God’s love for me, even if some people in my life act in enemy-like ways. (I’m sure none of you have ever struggled with this.) In other words, what do you do when some voices say unkind and untrue things? Used to be I took those words like morsels into my heart and chewed on them until the poison saturated me. Now I’m learning to weigh the words briefly, then place them in Jesus’ hands. It’s a discipline to do that. The tricky part comes when I act as my enemy, hurling insults at myself. It’s all about giving every word to Jesus and choosing to believe His words about me. I am dearly loved. Wow.

How did you get involved in writing?

I’ve been writing since college when the bug hit me. I wrote my first short story about a missionary going to Russia (when it was firmly encased behind the iron curtain) and having to do all these clandestine things to share the gospel. I’m embarrassed to write this, but the piece started with these four words: Thump, thump, thump, thump (representing the protagonist’s heartbeat, of course).

I’ve been actively writing since 1992 when my daughter Sophie was born. I created a newsletter that helped moms manage their homes. I bought my first computer from the proceeds. I also designed and edited church newsletters, wrote homeschooling curriculum, and even wrote a script for an ultrasound training video. Soon after, short stories started flying out of me. When we moved from East Texas to Dallas for my husband to go to Dallas Seminary, I decided to get serious. I met my friend Sandra Glahn then, a professor at the seminary and a published writer. She shepherded me through the query-letter-writing process and has been an incredible cheerleader.

In 2002, I wrote my first novel. In 2003, I signed with an agent, then signed two nonfiction books. Since then, I’ve had five books published (those included), Daisy Chain being my sixth book. The first novel I wrote is yet to be published.

Where did you get the idea for the book?

I wrote the series of stories based on hearing friends of mine talk about their Christian homes that appeared great on the outside, only to hide abuse on the inside. This really bothered me. Daisy became the inciting incident to explore three people’s stories relating to authenticity and hiding. In book one, Daisy Chain, I explore a teenage boy’s perspective to a family in crisis. In book two, A Slow Burn, I examine what would it be like to have deep, deep mommy regrets enough to want to be free from them. In book three, Life in Defiance, I tell the conclusion of the story through a battered wife’s perspective.

I am not a teenage boy. Nor am I a neglectful mother. And I’m not a battered wife. But I’ve interacted with folks who are. It’s for them that I wrote these stories.

What are the major themes of the book?

You’re never too far from God’s grace and love and forgiveness. That God is a pursuing, redemptive, relentless God. He loves His children, even when they run far, far away. That Jesus comes to us in surprising packages, and sometimes we’re so bothered by appearances that we miss Him.

What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

That God is bigger than our sin, our regret, our hopelessness. He takes delight in intersecting the darkest of circumstances. He is there, available.

Thank you Mary.

For a chance to win A Slow Burn, please leave me a comment.
I'll draw and announce the winner on Monday!