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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Resting in Christ

Rest in my presence when you need refreshment. Resting is not necessary idleness, as people often perceive it. When you relax in My company, you are demonstrating trust in me. TRUST is a rich word, laden with meaning and direction for you life. I want you to lean on, TRUST, and be confident in Me. When you lean on me for support, I delight in your trusting confidence.....JESUS CALLING

This post in Jesus Calling rang in my head as I read it. I think the word "refreshment" defines what my entire being is longing for these days. It is SO HOT outside, the "highlights" of our summer have passed and now we are left with summer reading, uniform fittings, used book sales, and irregular bedtimes!

I have LOVED being at home with my children the past few months. I have watched them play basketball, play in the sprinkler, catch fireflies and butterflies. We have had "movie nights" made popcorn, cookies, and brownies. We've been to the lake, swimming, and grilled out. I have had some GREAT late nights with Grace and her friends. (I LOVE her stage of life and hanging out with her...almost 15 years) I have been reminded OVER AND OVER how blessed I am to have these perfectly created children.

( I won't mention the text that I sent Mike a few days ago that read: If I ever get a break to leave, Probably never coming back...last 17 years have been GREAT! ....He didn't think it was quite as funny as I did....I think he lost his breath for a moment! hahahahahaha!)

The past few days I have been going through video clips (trying to organize a bit). As I ran across this one, a flood of memories came crashing through my mind and heart and couldn't help but weep as I watched Josie's frail frame cry as Mike and I tried to hold her for the first time. Her cry was deafening. The first week, as I carried her through the streets of the city trying to get paper work finalized, she would SCREAM the most pitiful moan-type cry. (It was VERY obvious that she was NOT fond of this ghost-like "vista" that was holding her) If you notice in this video I keep touching her face. She felt hot (feverish) and I was trying to figure out if it was just the African heat or my mother's intuition telling me that she was ill (ONCE AGAIN)

Once we went through the medical exam that confirmed that Josie Love was HIV+, it started all making sense. She seemed to always be sick and even smelled "sick".

There are now SIX (out of 9) children from Josie's baby home that live in our area. We just had our first birthday celebration for one of them. Judah turned FIVE!! It was the best party. To see all of these children now with their forever families was TRULY a blessing. Josie Love had a BLAST! She remembers all of these children. Most of them have a hard time understanding that Josie is the same "Josephine" that they lived with in Uganda. She is physically different (loving her some mac n cheese..haha) and is running, playing, and talking. She spoke a few words in Uganda, but not much else.

As I looked through these pics, I was reminded ONCE AGAIN of how much medicine for HIV can change a child's life. My sweet little angel has been COMPLETELY transformed and is in the process of being healed from this awful virus that could have taken her life. is what YOU can do! THIS is how YOU can make a difference! Educate yourself. I am SO EXCITED about this that I can hardly stand it.

This AWESOME exhibit is coming to Brentwood!! I AM SO EXCITED! You guys get a chance to walk the journey that I walked with Josie Love and do not even have to travel 24 hours in a plane! Please, please, please if you live ANYWHERE near me at all, come experience this with me. It is August 8th-15th at Otter Creek Church of Christ on Franklin rd in Brentwood, Tn.
If your do not live near me, they are traveling nationally, check and see if they will be coming near you!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

reality of life

Those of you that encourage me to "keep it real" are going to love this post.

Most of the time I try to focus on the joy that my life brings me.

If i look at the reality of life for too long I might just shrivel up and die. ( The juggle from high school to 2 year olds is enough to take the strongest of women down! whew!) There are other times when the "ugliness" is thrown so hard and hits me RIGHT IN THE FACE that I have no choice but to acknowledge it. It is at that moment that I can think about it, process it, then move on...OR just sit in it and feel completely defeated and think "I have at LEAST 16 more years of this."

I asked Abby Akridge to go to Orlando with us last week. She is a junior in college, interning for SHOW HOPE, and has a HUGE heart for orphans. We had some great conversations about what her future holds and what her life MIGHT look like after college. She mentioned driving a fifteen passenger van and filling it with kids and desiring to just FOLLOW Christ call on her life....OH how I wish I would have had her faith at her age...WAY WISE BEYOND HER YEARS. Now I am not sure if after being with us for a week, that her heart still desires that! (ha)
The truth of the matter is...LIFE IS HARD. My sister in law has mentioned several times on this trip that she hasn't seen me much. My friends at home are always mentioning how they can never reach me. I usually am pretty good about returning texts, (lately, not so much) I use to have an answering machine, but it had gotten to the point that when I would return home, there would be 15 messages within just a few hours. I started feeling so overwhelmed at the thought of getting back to everybody that I just turned it off. I try to keep focused on keeping my children first and not being sidetracked by all of the outside forces.

It has been rainy everyday since we arrived on Sunday. This morning we woke to blue skies and a BROWN, OIL FILLED beach...aarrrgggghhhhhh! Mike decided to take the older kids to a water park and I decided to keep my 2 younger ones at the pool downstairs. I ordered a "wonder wheeler deluxe" and have been SO EXCITED to use it. It carries beach chairs, cooler, 9 beach towels, beach toys, and everything else that one desires to take out on your vacation. (It even has an extra pocket for your drink, other pockets for your room key, cell phone, etc....) Can you tell how excited I am?!?!

We get situated at the pool and Caleb starts filling the buckets full of water and throwing it on me, then rather than just throwing the water, decides to throw the whole bucket at my head..I very calmly explain that the bucket hurts and not to do that. All the while Josie is talking to an older woman sitting near by and the scowl on the woman's face looks as though she has eaten a lemon. So, I try to coax Josie away from her "new friend". I get back to my spot in the shallow
and a bucket hits me right in the head...SO I go get Caleb, sit him all alone and tell him not to get up until I give him permission. In the mean time a teenage boy approaches Caleb and asks him if he is looking for his mom and when I reply "he is in trouble for disobeying" the boy tells me that he would have NEVER guessed that I was his mom. (welcome to Gulf Shores, Alabama)

We move to the baby pool and this sweet little boy has these little plastic fish that swim in the water and you catch them with a net. Caleb decided that our WHOLE BAG of toys were no longer fun and that he wanted one of the "swimmy fish", the little boy shared for awhile and then wanted his fish back. After trying to explain to Caleb that the little boy had been so sweet to share and it was time to give his toy back, Caleb was having NO PART of it and began screaming and thrashing about. Screaming "I want to go to the sand box!" I removed him from the baby pool and headed to the sandy part of the beach that had been unaffected by the oil. He was insistent that he spray the hose (that you normally wash your sand off with) into the air and all over people passing. Several other incidences happened while on the beach but I won't continue to bore you with so many details. At this point I started quoting scripture ALOUD, and holding him very firmly on my hip. I told my sister in law that I was going upstairs to put him to bed and started back up that ramp. All the while, passing the same group of people for the THIRD time, with a screaming 2 year old in my arms. (i don't know about you, but when I see a child acting up I look not to give the child more attention for his actions...doesn't that make sense?!?) Not these people....ALL EYES....STARING!

I receive MANY emails about HIV and having children of color. I can answer all of them with truthfulness. It might encourage some people and discourage others. The MAIN point that I try to impress on people is that WE DO NOT CHOOSE OUR LIVES. If you are truly living by faith and relying on our Savior Jesus Christ, then does it really matter if it's hard? or accepted? or pleasing to others? NO, it only matters to Christ and Christ alone. So, the bottom line...who are you here to serve?

Even in these "trials of many kinds," the servant of the Lord Jesus Christ is to continue living the life that James will describe. ...James1

Obeying Jesus will mean being able to stand up in the trials of life. In contrast is the man who quickly builds his house on the top of the earth. ...Luke 6

For Jesus' sake excludes a reference to the aging process or to the normal trials of everydaylife. Paul is thinking of the hardships and troubles that he ...2 Corinthians 4

indeed, in the minds of Paul's critics to resort to the pen is to live by the .... with all its limitations, frustrations, trials and tribulations. ...2 Corinthians 10

There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for ... 18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you ...1 Peter 1

Gal 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, .... Jas 1:2: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, ...

I could go on and on and on with scripture that tells us that if we are truly living a life worth living FOR Christ that there are going to be trials and hardship. (I am talking little, piddley, moment by moment trials that over time just WEAR US DOWN.)
So, I have a choice. I can live defeated, every moment of every day. OR I can rejoice that my life is difficult and I am MADE to rely on my sweet Savior each and every moment (at least for 16 more years hahaha)
So, when "wild man with a BIG temper and significant leadership qualities" wakes from his nap guess what we are going to do? YEP! you got it...we're going back down to that pool! I SHALL NOT BE DEFEATED

Sunday, July 4, 2010

David and Goliath

I am a COMPLETE noodle brain at this point. We have spent the week at Disney World, a National basketball tournament, and have just drove from Orlando and have arrived at our condo in Gulf shores for our annual beach trip with Mike's family. We had a wonderful week in Orlando and there are so many things that I would like to share. But, in this post, I want to talk about my son Michael. He received the HUSTLE AWARD in the tournament. His coach describes him as "the small man with the BIG heart". In most of the games, he was the smallest one on the court. As you can see in the pics above...these kids were DOUBLE his size and he was not the least bit intimidated. When Michael opened his new basketball shoes for the first time, he went straight to the drawer in my kitchen looking for a sharpie so that he could put scriptures on the toes of them. I was very quick to say " DUDE, those shoes are brand new, do you know how much they cost?!?!" He replied " I need bible verses on them, so that when I get discouraged on the court I can look down and be reminded that I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. Shut me up right quick....
I was reminded in Jesus Calling today: We will never be in control of your life circumstances, but you can relax and trust in my control. Instead of striving for a predictable, safe lifestyle, seek to know Me in a greater depth and breadth. I long to make your life a glorious adventure, but you must stop clinging to old ways. I am always doing something new within My beloved ones. Be on the lookout for all that I have prepared for you. I am learning that you do not have to look far....we can learn life lessons daily through our children. "Child like faith" is a precious, precious thing! When David went up against Goliath he didn't ponder or pause. He knew that he had Christ on his side, therefore, he would prevail. (speaking of Goliath, we played Shaq's sons team....this man is a BEAST in person)
Gwen and I met because our sons played ball together in the 1st grade. They go to different schools now, but have continued to play on this AAU team together. Last year we decided to to give them the name "team 147" so that through sports we could bring awareness to the orphan crisis. Our prayer has been for people to ask what 147 stands for. Five years ago, we would have NEVER dreamed that 147 Million Orphans would exist. Because of these two boys and their divine meeting, over 200,000 meals have been given to hungry children in Uganda. we are helping over 50 families fundraise for their adoptions, 14 women (that are making beads for 147) are able to feed and care for their children instead of prostituting themselves, and now awareness of the orphan crisis is being brought before thousands of people NATIONALLY because of their basketball team. Michael and Jeremiah have the sweetest friendship. I can't wait to watch them continue to mature and develop their gifts that the Lord has given them.

I am so proud of my sweet son! He is a fabulous big brother and TOTALLY embraces our life that the Lord has called us to. We have heard MULTIPLE times on this trip "boy, you've got your hands full" and as I smile (while frustrated that it is the 100th time) and say "yes, full of joy and love" I can glance at Michael and see the smile across his face.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Day at Disney...

To say that the last few days have been a whirlwind is a SLIGHT understatement. Our kids have had SO much fun, while I am slowly but surely losing steam each day. We have bounced from ball games to parks to the pool, to When I get to heaven I am going to ask God two questions: 1) why didn't moms grow an extra arm with each child? 2) why weren't we given an extra dose of energy with each child? haha
Our boys have continued to win. We have two games today and the National Championship is tomorrow.....GO TEAM 147!!


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I am a lover of Jesus. I have the most fabulous husband that anyone woman could ask for. The Lord has blessed us with 7 beautiful children. I started this blog so that friends and family could follow our trip to Uganda to visit Katie Davis. I have decided to keep blogging to help bring orphan awareness to the world around me.
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