Thursday, September 23, 2010

Book Review: One Hand, Two Hands

One Hand, Two Hands by Max Lucado is a sweet children’s book focused on, you guessed it, hands. The story follows a little girl throughout her day, highlighting the uses, feel and smell of her hands. The book ends with the simple ways she uses her hands to serve including giving hugs, writing a letter, picking up messes and of course praying.

The story is short and simply stated, the pictures are soft and fun and the overall presentation is pleasing. This is a book you could read many, many times without getting burned out, an important feature of a children’s book, especially if you have a toddler.

I am always looking for good picture books that help reinforce the character traits I am trying to train my children in. This one fits the bill. Better yet, the end of this book has a “hands on” section that lists specific ways our “loving”, “kind” and “helping” hands can serve. Under each heading is a list of four action items any child can do from “clean my room” (helping hands) to “share my snack” (kind hands) to "wave to a friend" (loving hands).

For young children, especially preschool age and toddlers, I think Max Lucado has written a winner!

***DISCLOSURE NOTICE: A free copy of this book was supplied to me for the purpose of review by Thomas Nelson Publishing. No monetary exchange was given. All comments and wording in this review are purely my own.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

An Update... Help Orphans in Liberia

This summer a VBS in Illinois helped fund a VBS in Liberia. Go here to read the story.

2010 Liberia VBS from Lifesong for Orphans on Vimeo.

The goal is 70 people. $28 a month. One year commitment.

We currently have 25 commitments... 45 to go in just 3 days!

Can we do it? With your help we can!

Join us in bringing joy and purpose to orphans.

Contact to commit!

Wordless Wednesday - You Never Know Where Thomas will Turn up... (and in case you were wondering, they are sleeping on a boat)

For more of Thomas's favorite places, go here!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Breakfast Date

"Mom" she says as she points to the chair beside her.

She wants me to sit with her as she eats. So I do.

The word "basement" follows breakfast. The place where her brothers are. The next stop on her itinerary for the day.

And so begins another day with Suhn.

Last Thursday an e-mail came from the woman who started Angel House, the foster home in China where Suhn lived for almost two years. In it were a few more details of Suhn's history. Some known to us, some unknown.

Some gifts are hard to unwrap; they hurt.

This was one of those gifts. And yet, despite some of the hard things that happened to my little girl, the evidence that God was with her each step of the way is undeniable. She has an amazing story and we get to be a part of it.

The details have me looking at her in a new light.

She has been through so much in her short life and yet she is quick to smile and laughter is never far behind. She loves her family and her joy is reciprocal. It affects us all. It is miraculous.

And while the tears are quick to come when someone she loves steps out the door, the tears come honestly. She has been left before. It will take time for her to fully believe she is home.

I am so thankful for the precious gift God sent us to China to receive.

As a result, the to-do list went on hold because she asked me to join her for breakfast. I relished the moment while it lasted, marveling at the miracle that brought this little girl to our table.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Help Orphans in Liberia!

A quick note, make sure you watch the video! Not only does it share a message I'd like you to hear, but my little sister put it together and (as you will see) she has quite the talent, but enough bragging, on to the message!
Let's be the Hands and Feet of Jesus!

This week we are inviting our faithful readers and supporters to step up and help us in a time of need for Lifesong Liberia.

Lifesong has partnered with The Master’s Home of Champions orphanage and is providing a loving and safe home to many destitute and abandoned children, some of whom are deaf.
We seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and are focused on the goal of raising up champions for the good of Liberia and glory of God!

This summer, another orphanage was in dire need, and thanks to an unexpected donation Lifesong was there.
Praise the Lord we can help more children! But now, we need help too! We need your help to make sure these children are fed every day! We need your help to care for the fatherless! Will you join us?

70 sponsors in one week is a tall order.
We know this. We also know that we serve a big God who has told us that caring for the poor and vulnerable is at the very heart of who He is! We believe we can make this happen! We pray that God will call hearts this week and we trust that you will answer!

Contact us at to commit!

Hear personal stories & follow the progress on our blog all this week!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"They began to cry out to God"

The book Radical by David Platt has been on my reading list for several months.

It probably would have stayed there for several months more except I discovered a Radical Read Along on an author named Marla Taviano's blog.

It sounded like fun.

So here I am reading along and blogging a few of my thoughts while I go.

If you are visiting from Marla's blog, welcome. If you are a regular here, well, you are always welcome! Thanks for stopping by.

"and with their faces on the ground, they began to cry out to God."
-taken from Radical by David Platt

This line describes how a group of Asian church leaders prayed one day. They met in secret. They shared the struggles of their churches, "and with their faces on the ground, they began to cry out to God."

I had to think. Do I ever cry out to God like that?

When I'm at my wit's end, desperate for God. When a situation feels hopeless. When I realize afresh the sinfulness of my heart and the holiness of my God. It happens, but not very often.

And yet, I can slowly feel Him working on me, forming me, moving me to that place of dependence. He's done it through my marriage, when the differences between us feel too great to bridge. He's done it through my kids, when my reactions to them showcase the selfishness in my heart. He's done it through our adoption, when I am desperate for His love to fill me and spill out. He's done it through His Word, when he exposes the pride that clings to my soul.

It is painful, this refining process. So many times I'd rather take the easy road. Sometimes I do. But for some reason He refuses to let me go.

His love is like that.

I'm learning that revival and true change comes only if I go through the refining process. Humble myself, confess my sins, repent and watch Him change me.

Then the world will see a radical lifestyle emerge, a reflection of the Refiner and His love.

I am persuaded that love and humility are the highest attainments in the school of Christ and the brightest evidences that He is indeed our Master. - John Newton
To read more "Radical" responses, go here!

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Chance to Help!

China will always have a place of honor in our hearts. We have our little China doll home, but there are millions more waiting. So, when my friend Emily shared this family's story on her blog, I wanted to share them too.

They are working to bring home two boys. They had committed to adopting Joey, but several months later discovered that Joey and another little boy who had tugged at their heart strings earlier not only lived in the same foster home, they were best friends.

It is no small task to adopt two from China, but when God's hands are directing, it happens.

In order to raise the additional money it is going to take she is holding a raffle on her blog. Go here to see the details (and the cool prizes). I am confident God will provide for this family in a big way; this is an opportunity for you to partner in the provision!

So, with that said... pass it on!!

Friday, September 10, 2010


Confession: I cannot multi-task.

Not even a little.

If I'm talking to you on the phone and try to do something else, my uh-huhs to your stories will turn hollow and by the time I'm done doing what I was trying to do I will have to apologetically ask, "What did you just say?"

I'm an embarrassment to the great multi-tasking female race.

On another note, I like to be productive. I like to make it through a day with something accomplished. Preferably several somethings.

It has been said, maybe by Jill Savage, that motherhood is the ministry of interruption, or maybe it is the ministry of availability. Regardless, this does not bode well for a non-multi-tasking-likes-to-be-productive woman (the same could probably be said of a multi-tasking-likes-to-be-productive woman, although she would probably handle the interruption better).

Kids Interrupt. Often. Everyday. Always.

Don't get me wrong, I want to be available to my kids. I want them to know they are more important than any project I may be working on. But in real life, this does not always show. I get frustrated by the constant interruptions, the refereeing, and the cleaning up of messes that I probably could have prevented if I wasn't so focused on the task at hand.

And this is why motherhood is good for me in the take-your-medicine-even-though-it-might-not-taste-good kind of way. Because when it comes down to it, motherhood gives me daily opportunities to lay down my life for another. To lay down my to-do list and my agenda and serve someone else.

So I guess this means I need to start giving thanks for the interruptions, the refereeing and the cleaning up of messes. Maybe even look at them as opportunities to serve my Creator instead of my self. All the while reminding myself that my first priority as mom is shaping and molding and not planning and accomplishing.

Or I could keep getting frustrated...

The answer is obvious, if only it was that simple to act on in real life.

Instead I have one more area to confess my weakness, pray for help, seek truth and depend on His grace.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Suhn - An Update

It's been a little over two months since we first received our little Rui of Suhnshine. A crazy two months it has been. Ups. Downs. Tears. Cheers. And even though it has only been two months, it feels like forever. I can't imagine life without our Suhn.

She is a happy little girl that fits our family like a glove. But then, she has been God's plan for our family all along so that should come as no surprise.

I have discovered that bonding and attachment is a process that takes time. It did not "happen" as quickly as I hoped. Knowing myself and the way I am wired that too, should come as no surprise.

I've heard it said the first days/weeks/months with a newly adopted child can feel like babysitting. I understand that in some respects. But it is different too. There have been days when I have not felt as attached to Suhn, where I have lost patience quicker than I should have, where it maybe felt a little like babysitting. However, in those days my commitment to her never wavered. That is where it is different.

Two weeks ago it felt like we turned a corner. Emotions have leveled out and we are getting down to the business of living life as best we can. A family of seven.

One of the biggest joys of the past two months has been watching our kids. They have welcomed Suhn with open arms. I love watching them love on her. The tenderness they show her and the love she rebounds back to them.

I love watching her laugh at them and joyfully exclaim "hey guys!" when they run up to her.

And then there is Mya and Suhn. These two have a special relationship which is something I had prayed for. I love watching God's answer.

As emotions have leveled, the relationship between Suhn and Sean has blossomed as well. Don't get me wrong, there is still a LOT of two-year old behavior going on, but these two get each other. They laugh at the same things. They like the same games. They clap together when they hear clapping on the radio.

He probably bugs her the most, makes her cry the quickest, and completely adores her.

We are transitioning into our new normal; busy with school, weekly PT sessions, learning to navigate 5 children ages 7 and under... I'll stop there.
Life is full.
God is good.
Giving thanks.