Tuesday, September 30, 2008

To Save Sinners

"Jesus came from heaven to save sinners,
not righteous people with good character."

I read this quote from a book and it caught my attention. There are many things these words suggests:

1. Christ loves us so much that He wanted to be with the sinners. Ya know? The people who look bad and act mean. The people who obviously were not perfect or not even trying to be so.

2. That people with good character don't necessarily seek and are open to God because they are already fulfilled with themselves and their possessions. It is the notion that if you have everything in life, there is no room for Jesus to be needed. He isn't, you already have everything. At least you think so.

3. One more thing I recognize is that we don't have to be perfect. I know I am not. The fact Jesus didn't go straight to all the Goody-Goody people makes me feel loved because I know that I am not always good. "On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. " Mt. 9:11. It is those who are "sick"/sinners not the "well"/the people who try to be perfect, that Jesus had love and compassion for. Jesus wants to love sinners who are willing to accept Him as Savior.

Ultimately it takes more than being good or acting good to be saved. It takes Jesus. He sought for something deeper in the people He talked with and taught. It wasn't necessarily rules and regulations and following all of them that made one holy. It was a relationship with God, His Father, that gave joy and peace. Therefore, I would have to say this quote is true.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

BalloonFest 2008

Ivan walking Gracey! I love it!!!

Heart to Heart

Of all poems, language and expression
We find composition of character
A method to relate
To rebuke
To proclaim we existed and deliberated our reality
To perhaps risk our inner selves
And give way to abandonment and vulnerability
In hopes one…just one, may recognize who we may be afar our shell
Touch souls and become our brother

Friday, September 26, 2008

Love is What Makes the Difference

The Baier Family

Today I sat down and watched a DVD presentation called “Dreams Made Real.” It is about children who are born deaf or have experienced trauma-causing deafness such as my sweet neighbor Isaiah did after he nearly died from pneumococcal meningitis.

In the summer of 2000 I was blessed with a rare opportunity to intern at Callier at the University of Texas at Dallas. It was such an overwhelming honor to work with the pre-school division of this center for speech and language impairment. The preschool, called the Early Class, focuses on integrating children with hearing impairments with kids without difficulties. The way these children learn to communicate helps many others just like Isaiah. During this time a cochlear implant was a new and exciting break through that would eventually help thousands diagnosed severely or profoundly deaf hear and communicate with the world. It is the research and developmental progress that has brought Isaiah’s hearing back with a new and improved version of what I saw 8 years ago. The cochlear implant is an amazing tool that works, and if it weren’t for this device, many would still struggle to hear and communicate verbally.

As I watched the 60 minutes filled with success story after success story, I couldn’t help but cry. And so, this begins the true meaning of this blog, my neighbor, Tighe.

I couldn’t imagine being in her place 5 months ago. We were in Israel when I wrote a blog to ask for prayers. She was 9 months pregnant when her then 23-month-old son became sick. It is amazing that Isaiah was even diagnosed when he was. Pneumococcal meningitis is a very difficult illness to discover. Believe it or not, most kids in Isaiah’s state don’t make it without death or serious brain damage. He was life-flighted to Cook’s Children’s Hospital in Ft. Worth and fought for his life for more than two weeks. The day they drove home, Isaiah was to be transported with his Grandma, Tighe went into labor and drove from Ft. Worth for 2.5 hours directly into the Hendrick parking lot. That day she had her precious daughter, Lillian Ruth. Two days later she arrived at her house not being there for over two weeks with a brand new baby and a little boy who was able to hear two weeks ago and now couldn’t hear anything.

I can honestly say I have never been so proud of anyone in my life. (Perhaps the closest is how proud I was of my sister when she allowed me to be in the room when Ilona was born.) Tighe has struggled and asked many questions of the Lord. She has gone from completely being in shock that Isaiah lived, while appreciating every moment with him, to asking God why and feeling like she wants to help him and doesn’t know what to do. But I have never seen her give up or not do anything about it. She has gone to the library and researched every possible book about this condition. She has talked to many doctors and sought out others who have gone through this and talked to them and learned. She has traveled miles to see specialists, to pray with others, and to give Isaiah every possible chance to have everything he needs to develop healthily as a two year old. She stood up at her son’s birthday party and nearly cried as she explained how much this birthday means to her and her family. She knew that she was so close to loosing him.

I don’t know what it feels like to be her, but I know that she is doing what love is. Love always finds a way to communicate. Love always makes a way.

Now, Isaiah has a cochlear implant and seems to be hearing and learning very well. He continues to discover new words and attends therapy and is followed close by his team of doctors. He may hear differently, but this child has such an amazing covering on him. Jesus has him in His hands. He is here for a reason and the Lord wants to use this little boy to show His power.

Tighe has taught me something beautiful and amazing. That your kids are your legacy. They wait to see love. They wait for your love to be shown to them. And that no matter what happens a good mother, a godly mother, will always find a way to show that to them. Tighe’s biggest concern after he was diagnosed with profound hearing loss was that he was not going to be able to hear her words. That he would not be able to hear “I love you.” And because of her love for him, she made a way. Isn't that what we all want anyway? Someone to love us this much? And he knows he is loved and that is what will make the difference in his life. It may have been a cochlear implant that provided healing and normalcy, but I am more convinced that it was her love and devotion.

Here is Bryan and I with sweet Isaiah! What a cute little boy. Praise God he is alive!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Update, MRI

It has been a hard week. I’ve realized I haven’t written barely at all. Tomorrow I go in for my second MRI scan. Nearly 2 months ago I went in for one after experiencing much pain in my legs. The results were that I have a cyst in between my last two vertebrae in my spinal column. I have tried to get in with a doctor since then and because of insurance I have only found one and the only time he will see me is next week. Over this time while I have waited, my legs have gone numb several times a day. The pain is so terrible as well that it has kept me from sleeping most nights. I am not one to complain because most people don’t want to hear that all the time, so I have kind of kept it from getting out until I know exactly what is going on. I just am not happy about tomorrow because I did not like the first MRI at all. I thought it would be a piece of cake since I have experienced lots of medical testing, but when they got me in there and I had to stay for 40 minutes in what seems like a tomb, I completely nearly freaked out! I am bringing Bryan with me tomorrow in hopes he will be able to keep me calmed throughout the test. It will determine if I will need surgery, which most likely seems to be the case.

As far as our adoption process I have been feeling very rejuvenated by my family and friends. I had one e-mail in particular from my friend Angela, which seemed to wake me up into a better attitude. She challenged me to see this adventure from a deeper point of view. My sister and one of my best friends, Casja, sent me flowers! I will have to post a photo of these soon. I also got to talk with my friend, Ashley, that I haven’t spoken with in years who has gone through the adoption process and for more than an hour she spoke encouragement and hope into my heart.

Say a prayer for me tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Access to Faith


Thus is such where faith arise
In between what is there
And what may be impossible to see

Sunday, September 21, 2008

For Our Men

I have come to realize that our men have one of the greatest challenges of our time. It is far and few between that I see a man striving, and keeping on striving, for what Jesus has called him to. And although there is much to say about women, today my heart and focus go out to encouraging men as well as challenging women to believe in our men. There is a specific regime of attacks against Bryan and others who desire to please God. It is so fierce that often our men give up. There have even been times where I have stepped in and discouraged Bryan upon his character. It is the most vulnerable place, and I am ashamed that I have used such harmful words to hurt him. I too, am not exempt from being a part of this challenge for him. I told Bryan tonight to be a good man. I want him to be the kind of man I never saw. It is either he goes all out fighting to be godly or die doing so. My challenge to him is to be a good man and in order to do this I have to believe and encourage him to be this. If we don’t have godly examples in our men, then surely Jesus will be dishonored and slowly our world will corrupt. More and more kids will grow without trust or faith. Women can have tons of influence and impact. But don’t you agree that there is something huge that touches the soul when strong men get up and submit in humility to the Lord? I pray that the men I know will continue striving with their entire hearts for the Lord. That if they get weak and lose heart, they will remember the eternal battle going on for their lives and the lives of their futures. Our actions will bless our children and grandchildren. Don’t they know who they can be? It is fading. The world, satan, wants to destroy. he wants to corrupt and pervert our calling as men and women. See, Bryan has to press on to be a good man because there are not enough of them. It may be the hardest thing he ever does. But this is too important, too vital for our times. There has to be men who can do it. We need more examples of God in our world. Men are drawn to fight for injustice, truth, and love. This can be the ultimate “Brave Heart” movie, right now in our world. We can encourage them in so many ways. How do kids become better than the bad things they did? How do they stop using drugs, drinking, or having sex to fulfill? I tell you how. Someone believes in them! That’s how! No matter how poor or successful we are, we wait to have someone, anyone, believe in us. Sometimes this requires someone believing we are or can be better than who we presently are. And those people who have shown us we can in fact be better, become our hero’s, our leaders. They become influential people who mold and shape us hopefully into better people. I want that person to be me in Bryan’s life. It shouldn’t have to be someone else. If we want our men to be godly, we have to encourage them to be. We must believe they are. I am thankful Bryan will press on. He is a fighter and will continue seeking the Lord and asking for wisdom. I only pray I can always remind him of who Jesus says he is and encourage him to never give up.

A Time Without Culture: A People's Choice by Bryan

My husband Bryan wrote this amazing blog last night. I just couldn't get it out of my mind all day. The poetic beauty he uses to describe God and our battle with today's culture and relationship with Jesus comes near to any writing of C.S. Lewis or Max Lucado. I can't tell you enough of what an amazing man Bryan is. You can also view this blog at his site as well as leave any comments for him there.

Lonely is a cultured man in a time without culture. He walks among the dazed and lives among the distracted. Constantly, he knows himself to be out of place. He thinks with either compassion or contempt on those around him. If he is a kind soul, not too deeply affected by the stain of pride so often associated with that attitude which so soon takes the place of true gentility, then he considers those among whom he spends his life with compassion. If, however, he is of the more common sort and has only an arrogant wisdom regarding the lack of sophistication and complexity of interaction that his peers lack, then he is most to be pitied. He, being so far above others in his own estimation, can never appreciate the beauty of those simple lives, which it is the duty of true dignification to esteem. He, the antihero, is lonely because his pride will not allow him to know the company of others. The other, the heroic wanderer, is lonely in a deeper, more meaningful way. For, he understands what those he sees could be, which they in some measure understand to be missing, but cannot quite comprehend having not his appreciation for life’s delicacy.

The one man is to be pitied. But, which one? Who is the man to whom our hearts should go out? Do we feel for the fellow who despises his world’s lack of civility? Or, do our hearts conspire to comfort the one who mourns for his society’s vulgarity? One sees depravity and fanes repulsion. The other longs to see it healed. It may be supposed that the one we draw nigh unto is the he most like ourselves, and so we discover he who is more as we would have ourselves known. Therefore, with such objectivity as our exercise allows, we will inevitably prefer the compassionate man, though we do it by rote as children often answer a teacher’s questions in a Sunday School class, whatever their age may truly be. We do so because it is the “right” position, and in hopes (with doubts) that it is the position we would actually confess were we standing before the Judge of Truth. He demands no pretense and reveals the inner man, who we so eagerly hide even from ourselves. And, unless we give ourselves to regular self-reflection as He demands, we may be surprised by what we see therein.

It is this fear of truly being known that motivates the establishment and abdication of culture. Culture, with its rites, rituals, and regulated interactions, allows us to conform to a status quo. Yet, it also serves to expose us and make us vulnerable to criticism. Through the mask of mingling together we each are unveiled by how well we wear the visage. Is it not he who blends in that is accepted? And, is it not the misfit who is undone in a “cultured” society? Is not the one who most describes the model who is advanced and the he who cannot conform to the expectations who is made Pariah? Is it not the one who conforms who makes us comfortable while he does not blend who is cast as Rogue or Fop? Thus, we see that in the same way and by the same means, namely Culture, we disguise ourselves and are uncovered.

How then do we answer in our own time, Christian? Do we aspire to blend into our world, which wanders betwixt commitment? Do we try to stand out against said world? Or, do we do the hard thing, and turn toward He who knows our inner most man in order to know ourselves regardless of the world around us? Yeah, and do we then find confidence in a transitioning world by looking to the One who never changes? If we happen to be men and women of Culture, let it be the culture of Him who created us, saved us, and will judge us. If we chance not to be men and women of Culture, let us cling to the simplicity of the Faith, which is the envy of the lonely wise.

Every era has a culture, even that one which refuses to have one. The day has come for us to conform not to the expectations of others, nor likewise to oblige the automatic rejection of those expectations. We must bring the act to a higher plane. We must conform to the Culture of Jesus. We must discover the Way of Christ and conform ourselves to Him. If we are by all men considered lonely for not fitting in among those around us, then let us be lonely with the companionship of He who hung alone on the tree to give us eternal correspondence. Then, even if we shall be lonesome, never again shall we be alone.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hope

I was looking at all my blogs today and realized the subject I write more about than anything else is HOPE.

A pull, a covering
I love it, I hate it
I am challenged

Hope
A gift, a blessing

Friday, September 19, 2008

Encouragement Border


Well some of the butterflies were successful at delivering our news. We have received many blessings in the mail both financial and written. As you can see we are going to surround her room with love. Everytime I walk in there I am reminded by all my friends and family that God is working. It is something we will never forget. We will leave them up until she is home safely with us! So if you received one in the mail please send it back to us! We want the room surrounded.

Looking to the Moon

The other evening on an enjoyably rare cool night, we had the windows open and began getting ready for bed. We looked outside at the moon. We always think of Ilona because she was obsessed with the moon when she was 1. In fact sometimes she would cry if you couldn’t find it. And how to your explain to 1 year-old that the moon doesn’t come out until night, or that clouds can cover it? But when she saw it she would say “Mooo! Mooo!” as loud as she could.

So as we said, “Look B the Moooo” Bryan and I both noticed how the glow around the moon created a cross. It was so beautiful that I had to go outside to get a photo. But once I got outside I could not see it. It was as the cross wasn’t there at all. Bryan suggested that maybe it was because the screen created the tint with the glow and resulted in what we saw.

Sure enough it was. As soon as I got back inside and set my camera up on the bed pointing outside through the screen on the window, there it was! I looked at the viewfinder and was not happy with my shot. In fact, after taking about 6, I just stopped and put the camera away, until today! I looked back at the photo uploaded to the computer and it actually gave a glimpse of the beauty we saw that evening. Of course it was much more spectacular in person, and there is power lines in the photo that distracts me. But it still shows something beautiful about the Lord and how He shines. I also thought about Jesus and the Star that appeared in the sky shining down on Him.

There are so many symbolic examples I could speak of concerning this experience. The fact that I had to look through a screen to see it demonstrates how sometimes we loose focus off of the cross if we don’t “look through the right window.” It takes living on purpose to seek Jesus and His truth.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Our Neice

I was looking for something to make me smile and I found this photo my sister sent us the other day of our niece, Ilona. She is sitting with her make believe box of munchkin doughnuts from Dunkin Doughnuts. I LOVE this girl so much. Our other niece is so gorgeous and growing up so fast as well. I wish I could hug them right now!


Roller Coasters Are Not Always Fun

Our past couple of days have been like a never-ending roller coaster ride. The one you can’t get off and then when you do you throw up everywhere. We were presented to another birthmother who already had a little baby girl on Saturday and found out several hours ago that we did not get chosen. I know this happens to tons of people and lots of couples wait many months, but the fact is I really got my hopes up and was let down.

Bryan told me, while I cried, that he knows I wont give up. He is right. I am too stubborn. So I wait again for news any news. I wait with an open heart so I wont miss anything God is doing while I would be too busy being angry. We wait again in line to go back on the roller coaster we just came off of. Hopefully more prepared and equipped to perhaps know the turns and twists ahead.

Thank you to ALL who walked through this with me in the last couple of days. We wait axiously to see what the Lord will do.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asked for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asked for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give thee Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Luke 11:11-13

Monday, September 15, 2008

Highlights with my Sister

This photo is not even an hour after she arrived and surprised me at Bryan's dad's house. It was one of the best surprises I have ever gotten.

Bryan's Dad and his wife Ellen, along with Bryan, me and Cyndi celebrate that night with a wonderful dinner downtown.

Cyndi holds up photos of her sweet little girls. She missed them a lot while she was here. I miss them too!

By the water fountain at our place of dinning that evening.

We all painted a little section of the baby's room before we left to the lake that day. We wanted to do the whole room, but this was still very special to see the color on the wall for the first time. Cyndi wrote "You are loved."

We went and shopped at the consignment furniture stores and got a great deal on this cute little shelf as well as the crib and changing table. We went to so many shops that day trying to find the perfect stuff. And we did!

That same day we drove to Possum Kingdom and rode the jet ski is. There were so many people out on the lake that day.

One of the things Cyndi requested is that we play dominoes. Little did she know she wasn't going to have a choice but to play. It was so much fun!

Later when it became evening we went out to feed the deer. Cyndi didn't believe how close they get to you. She looked just like Snow White for a second.

After we took a night stroll on the boat. This has really been the 3rd time Bryan and Cyndi have had quality time together as sister and brother-in-law. I love this photo.

The next morning we got up early to take Cyndi back to the airport (so sad). We stopped at the Botanical Gardens in Ft. Worth and Bryan surprised us by taking my camera away from me and saying we needed a sister photo shoot. It was so wonderful.


After that we stopped at our favorite cafe, la Madeline. She never tried their tomato basil soup until that day and found out she was missing so much! It is the yummiest ever. After this we had to bring her to the airport. It made me so sad, but how could I complain? I had 5 days with her that I had no clue I would get. I love her so much and hope we see her soon.

He's Just That Smart

The more and more I read the bible; I discover something I never knew. I am beginning to think that even if I have learned the greatest of truths, it can only be a reflection of something more impossibly wonderful to comprehend.

Such a thing is as the other day. I was in my car when a blindingly white bird flew to my right in the direction of my window. As it approached even closer I noticed it was a dove. It was so purely white that I could not keep my eyes off of it. Signal light changing or no signal light changing in front of me, my eyes were fixed. They could honk as loud as they want. Why would a pure white dove be flying here in Abilene? It could have been my imagination but there was no way it was a pigeon or a rare albino crow, if such exist. It was sent to be my reminder of peace that day. And it worked.

I continued on to only be shown something deeper about how Awesome God really is. I am going to try and attempt writing my thoughts about it because even when I tried to tell my husband these things I felt that there was just no way to describe it. So here it goes:

Come with me into God’s throne room and notice what He may possibly see as He looks down on earth. All that He lovingly created is being affected by sin. All the beauty on the land is wilting and being destroyed. Instead of flowers we now see weeds. Instead of forests and gardens, there are desserts and dry cracked ground. He sees the affect of sin upon the earth. He also sees the affects of sin upon His people. Sin allows people to get very ill. Please listen, I am not saying that because someone is sinning or sinned they have cancer or are dying. What I AM saying is that all the bad things that can happen to people are a result of sin is in the world. Because it exists, we see more and more consequences it leaves. I have Lupus. I lost my daughter Natalie. These things were not punishment to me, but they are a result of sin. If sin were not here, none of these bad things would happen. Instead of healthy people living full lives, there are people with cancer dying in their 20’s. Instead of babies being born, there are babies dying in the womb too early. Instead of the beauty of our bodies being a temple and using it to glorify God, there are so many different levels of abuse we do to our bodies from over eating, to not exercising, to drugs or giving into sexual temptation. God looks down and sees so much mess. Not His mess, but because our choice to sin, it is our mess.

God also sees the deterioration of people in regards to relationships. Rather than making choices to bring people together, we rather be selfish and feel like we deserve something. Our selfishness and pride are a direct result from sin. Families are broken because of infidelity. If we were living how we were initially created, harmony and love is what we would enjoy. But God sees His people fight each other for a chance to become greater.

God looks down on the earth at all the ugliness, hatred, anger, selfishness, pride, that WE have created not Him and, this is where my thought comes together and shocks me, HE still can make beauty through it all. Through something satan is working so hard to have Him not. Through something satan is working at complicating and destroying even more. It is nothing for God to use or work with. God takes it all still and has a peaceful stance and knows how He responds.

Even after we messed all if it up, He sent Jesus to die for us. And still now, after things are even worse, He can still take all of it, everything He sees that is messed up, which is really in fact everything, and He can use and make something beautiful out of it. Jesus’ sacrifice allowed this. How Awesome is God that He can fix all of this and use it to bring glory to His name. Now that is such an amazing thought.

I picture Him on His throne looking at all the completely terrible things that go on. The things we are responsible for doing. I am not just saying the things that go on in the USA. I am talking about the whole world. The fighting, the dying, the deceiving, the hatred, the murdering, the dying of the innocent, the forgotten, the complete and utter reality of the darkness in the world and how it has caused corrosion and will continue to do this. Not just this but there is a real spiritual realm that we cannot see. The war in that realm is like no other we have heard about. If it were up to me, and thank God it is not, I would throw my hands up and say “no way!” I could never think about how much the world is messed up and believe it could be fixed or loved. This is why God gave Jesus. God is still in love with His people and can take all the mess and fix it and design an intricate plan to make all of it, every single bad crazy screwed up thing, turn out for His own good. Now that is One Amazing God.

Imagine God on His thrown looking at all the chaos below. He has His hand in this all. He has power to bring Hope to anyone who asks. But in the grand scheme He has control and knows what He is doing and can even take all the turmoil, the things He never did and still create beauty.

This is what I seek. I seek beauty in a world that has pulled itself away from the Only beauty. There are little shadows and glimpses of it left that in itself are just as well a mere shadow or glimpse.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Special Deliverer

It was the funniest of things. The other day, with the help of my sweet friends Angela and Tighe, we accomplished preparing our announcements to let all of our family and friends know we are adopting. After 3 hours, we had all of them ready to go! I was so excited to decorate the backs of them with a butterfly stamp my sister gave me. As I stamped each one, I prayed for the family that would receive it. One by one I asked the Lord to bless them and thanked God for their impact in our lives. I lay them on the floor of the nursery to dry overnight. As you can see from the photos it covered the entire floor!

The next morning stumbling in a stupor to the nursery door, I found nothing there. I walked in and blinked several times. Not one of the cards remained. There was only one way to explain this phenomenon. To my astonishment the cards were being delivered that day. One by one the wings began to fold and flutter upon those envelopes until all 300 of them gathered in the air and gently floated away to their designated places. All 300 butterflies exited our house that morning on the greatest mission to find all of our friends and family (that means you).

I just wish I could have seen that site. I am sure the commotion was quite magnificent. I know butterflies are great deliverers of good news.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Update

I was writing to a sweet friend who asked about the adoption today. This is what I wrote:

"The little baby due on the 24th most probably wont be ours unless a miracle happens. Our paper work is stuck on the desk of someone who has the power to determined if we are presented to the birthmother. If only she could take 1 hour to approve us and send us into active mode, we would be able to make the cut to be presented. Again, I am reminded that if that happens, then it is the Lord. If not, then it is the Lord. I have to trust not just with my head, but heart. Is there some kind of switch for these things?"

Either way I am encouraged. I am so thankful for the things I have and the things I look forward to having, all of which I will never take for granted.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It is Possible

Please pray for us! We are waiting to hear back from one of our agencies with a possible match for a little girl due on September 24! That is in 2 weeks. I have no idea if this is our daughter, but the possibility of it excites us. I can’t begin to express how much I want her home, but I also want to be reminded that even if this is not our daughter, that she will come at just the right time. How do people do these things?! (wait like this?) We should find out some more news tomorrow. For now all we do is keep praying. Yikes!!!!

PS. I hijacked my husband's blog the other day: www.bryanbrigham.blogspot.com (I'm so sneaky LOL)!

Restoration


"Though you have made me see troubles,
many and bitter,
You will restore my life again."

Psalm 71:20

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Seeing Jesus


I don’t know why I have never written about this event in my life. Perhaps it is so extremely precious and life changing that I want to hold on to it, protect it, and make sure people know how truly amazing Jesus is and not be skeptical of how He reveals Himself to His people. But the more and more I tell it (thanks to Tighe’s encouragement) I am realizing it says something really powerful about who Jesus is. The truth is, others, people, YOU need to know this. It is not mine to keep, so today, after 4 years I am writing about it so you may comprehend just how deeply Jesus loves us.

I saw Jesus.

Over four years ago I was very ill and stayed in the hospital from January to March. I was in kidney failure and had been for months before anyone caught it. By that time all of my urine that could not be excreted created poison in my body and I was fighting for my kidneys and for my life. Several times I found myself in the ICU. Everything you could imagine happened. I received a central line and they nicked my lung and I had to have a chest tube put in while I was awake, which if anyone knows is very painful. They took it out too early and I had to have another one. I was on dialysis for weeks and it was more painful than the Chemotherapy treatments I was getting. I was also on a transplant list and my sister found out she was not able to be match as a donor. My family flew up from Massachusetts because they did not know if I was going to live. Eventually I had to learn to walk again using a walker because my muscles deteriorated. My situation was bad. I was in a lot of pain and my doctors fought hard to save me. But it really ended up being God who did the biggest healing.

I don’t remember a lot of what happened during my three-month stay, but there is one moment in the ICU that I could never forget. It was when my blood pressure was fatally high. They worried about me having a stroke and placed me in a dark, cold room after administering a hefty metal-based medicine intravenously to lower my blood pressure. I can honestly tell you there is no greater pain from medicine that anyone could ever feel. I was in so much pain all I could do was scream as loud as I could. Literally I thought I was going to die. I wondered what would happen when I took my last breath. What would I see? For hours I lay there yelling, twisting and turning, and crying out to Jesus. I even felt like the nurses tired of hearing me. There was nothing else anyone could do.

Except for Jesus.

In the midst of screaming I all of a sudden stopped. I was still and quiet for the first time in hours. It was because I looked at the end of my bed and saw Jesus.

If you are anything like me, you would think when Jesus appears He would look Majestic, Holy, Authoritative, Mighty, and Superior. I expected Him to be standing with His arms lifted towards heaven. Or He might have His hands to His back and be looking up. He possibly could have fire in His eyes and look so Awesome and Powerful that it might kill or scare me. After all He is the I Am. I had spent much time pondering what it would be like to see Him because I was sure I would die soon and there I was completely and utterly wrong. He was so much more.

Jesus wasn’t standing with a huge light glowing around Him, He was on His knees crying and weeping because He saw and felt how much pain I was in. His face was that of Compassion and Love and He wanted to take away my hurt. He had tears running down His cheeks and held His hands to His chest is agony. Jesus loved me so much that He knew exactly what I was feeling and He hated it. I have wondered my whole life if Jesus knew me because there are so many people He loves, how would He notice me? But He did and He loves you just the same.

Jesus cries with us.

I am nothing special. I am ordinary. I make mistakes and ask the same questions you do. And if Jesus would cry with me, He cries with you to. And if He cries with us, He celebrates with us as well. He really desires for us to believe He knows us and cares about what happens to us. God did not create us to leave us, He wants to have a relationship with us so much so that He would meet someone like me in an ICU hospital room and show me a true characteristic of His love, His Son crying for me. Me!

After this I felt like I had a choice to live or go with Him. I know this seems very fairytale-ish, but it is the truth. I asked Him only to let me live if He had a plan for me to be used for His glory. Days later miraculously my kidneys began working again. This only happens to 2% of people in my situation. He came and met me there, healed me, and showed me these things to tell you.

This story is very valuable to me. It is my heart and something I have protected for many years. Please notice and trust how much Jesus loves you through this encounter I had 4 years ago. Jesus is so amazing and He wants to show us so much more of how much He loves us, even after He died for us.


Jesus Loves You. Believer it. Live it. Trust it.

Monday, September 08, 2008

their Pain, my Pain, Your Pain

There are so many questions lately of why there is so much pain. I am so angry. It hurts so badly inside because I know how it is to question how God could allow His people to loose their precious children, babies who never got to experience love outside the womb. What people don’t realize is that when someone looses a baby they still have to deliver. It seems an impossible task. I wanted to die or be put to sleep instead of having to go through labor and see my daughter not live. Even with my two miscarries I still had to go through a lot of pain before it was over. It shouldn’t happen. God why?! I know who You became through my pain, but I don’t want others to have to feel that way. Feel hopeless, forgotten, sad. And it is not just one person I know going through this it is more. Can I erase their pain? Can I somehow comfort what can never be comforted? I know You can. But it will never make sense to me. A death of an innocent baby could never, would never, and will never. But I cannot let my anger take me away from the only Good in the world. It would be easy. I was there. I nearly gave Peace to feel right in my pain and anger. It doesn’t matter what scriptures or cards people give, rationalization begins to take over and if one doesn’t come to the point where they give up trying to make sense and trust in Him, anger will take over every other good thing in their life.

I want to stand out in the rain and scream for those who are hurting today. I want to mourn for those who will never see their babies grow, who will blame themselves or God, and feel like every breath might kill them. I want to hold them and tell them not to give up, to believe God is still somehow Good and Just. God be with these precious mothers and families. You are the only thing that could ever give them peace.

And for the families that have lost a precious child no matter how far long they were, I think of you as well today and pray that you would continue believing with me that God does have a purpose and it is Good.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Encouraged

Just when you feel like everything that you have done was for nothing
Just when you question if life is worth all the ups and downs
Just when you begin to wonder if there is a point at all
God sends family, friends, neighbors, and even clients to be a reminder
That there is so much beauty in the world
Beyond myself
Beyond my past
Beyond my story
Beyond the things we can’t control
There are less and less people who take time to see inside others
It is convenient not too
It is too messy, too hurtful, or too confronting
But I have been so blessed lately with those who have wonderful hearts
And if they have not taken a moment out of their lives to call, e-mail, or stop by
My heart would not feel as blessed as I do now
I believe we should always take the chance to love and encourage each other
You never know what difference you will make
It is a privilege we have, not a responsibility

Happy Birthday to Gracey



Every year we get Gracery a little cup of vanilla ice cream to eat on her birthday. She loves it so much that she ignored any and everything we did or said to her while she licked it...even when we said "Sheba" (her favorite nieghbor cat friend), she didn't budge.

Gracey, you are a dog, but you are also my best friend. You have been there for me through so much and never stopped loving me. You chose to love people and help others learn what it means to love as well. I thank God for you every day. Happy 4th Birthday.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Cutest Bandage Ever

Yesterday I got out all of Gracey’s grooming accoutrements and began the long task of cutting her paw fur, trimming her nails, filing them, bathing, combing, and drying her. Ever since she was a little ball of puffy black fur I accustomed her to this regime. She actually lies on her back, closes her eyes and enjoys most of it. Well, that is until yesterday evening.

I accidentally cut Gracey’s little paw pad. Dogs have an opposable thumb slightly tucked away from the other remaining nails. I guess I didn’t assume correctly and clipped diagonally right underneath her nail. She yelped and it nearly killed me to look down and see her bleeding. It wasn’t the hugest of cuts, but for a small innocent trusting Chawennie, it really did cause pain. Not only this, but I had to continue with the remaining back two paws as well as file them so she wouldn’t scratch us with daggers. After this I bathed her and as usual, she flew about the house at supersonic heroic speeds, fluffing, rubbing her head, and finding every and any toy to play with. It wasn’t until a minute later that I saw a red trail following wherever she went. I thought I stopped the bleeding before she got away, but I apparently didn’t. I scooped her up and eventually Bryan and I teamed together to form the tiniest cutest little Chawennie bandage ever. (in photo her left paw, white bandage)


She was a good sport about it and kept it on most of the night until she went outside. That was the last we saw of the white little bandage. But no fear! We grabbed our camera and shot a photo of her with it on before it vanished.

She has been licking it all day today. I checked it out and it looks like she will live. I need to get one of those PetiCure trimmers that I see on TV!

Hope

You wonder if you are doing everything you can possibly do to make things go faster, to get more information, to bring her home. I just pray and hope that there is nothing we forgot, that there is no clause or misconception of how things work. I sit and stare at all of her things. I don’t know where she is or when she will be here, but all of her stuff is here. She has stuff! Her stuff. And it will all make sense in the end. When she is here, like Anna said, it will all be worth it and we will know that this child was created for us. In the mean time I pray that I will not loose heart. I ask the Lord to give me hope and I pray for protection around that hope. There are threats of it being robbed, taken away, stolen, and destroyed. I can’t let that happen. I have come too far to turn back now. I chose God, I chose Jesus, and I chose hope.

It was Gracey's Vacation too!!

It wasn't JUST Bryan and I excited from the rest and relaxation we got this past week during our surprise trip....Gracey had a wonderfully adventurous week as well. As you can tell from this photo, she was living the life by being pampered, scratched, and treated with love AND mini bones! She deserves it. Thanks to Auntie Bonni, she had on her new bathrobe and played with her rubber ducky for hours. Bath time WAS really fun after all.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

You Are

I ask often where you are.
Do you know me?
Can you hear my prayers to keep you safe?
I imagine you sleeping on your daddy’s shoulder.
Protected
Warm
Loved
Every day that goes by I notice more and more
That you are missing.
And it is just this…

It is that you are.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Surprised and Loved: Sisters

I have never associated feeling loved with being surprised until last Thursday. I was told the week we were about to experience was going to be more than I could have ever dreamed of. Upon hearing this, my expectations increased. What is this all about? What were we doing? I must have asked 1.5 million questions.

We spent time together at the lake. No one was really around and it was so nice to hang out and relax. We went out on the jet skis and Gracey came with us. All three of us piled on and had a midnight cruise. Her nose instantaneously commenced the sniffing scrambling upon Bryan’s life jacket to the right shoulder and then to the left shoulder and so she went back and forth as my toes were splashed in the cool evening water below. The next day we went out on the lake, took a nap and ate dinner and watched TV. After a nice soak in the hot tub I went to sleep knowing we had a set time to wake up.

I know we were on our way to Plano where Bryan’s dad lives but I just could not figure out why this was what was going to be my big surprise. In fact, I became very sad that my expectations of something new and exciting and brilliant would not take place. Maybe we just had a different level in which we based delight. . Bryan wouldn’t let me stop as long as I wanted and even flew by a Baby Depot, which I was DYING to go look at. He said we had dinner plans, but why did that mean we had to rush? I tried to settle with the fact we would be sitting out by the pool until dinner. So we arrive at his dads and Bryan turns to me and says “I love you.” I say it back and jump out of the car and knocked on the door. A very pretty girl answered the door and said “hi.” I quickly thought "I ha e no clue who this is, but I better say hi and not be rude," so I said a very mellow “hi” back. All the while panic stricken my body! I knew this girl! And sure enough I did….it was my SISTER! She flew up to Texas to see me and was waiting there until I arrived to spend 5 days with me. I couldn’t believe she was there! I was in so much shock for hours and even days after that. I seriously had absolutely no clue at all. My silly reaction was pure shock. I couldn't believe my best friend was there! Praise God for love and for surprises. Bryan was a very sneaky boy!


We hung out and went to dinner with Bryan’s dad and his wife Ellen. It was so much fun. Bryan made plans for us to travel back to Abilene the next day, then go back to the Possum Kingdom lake house and then drop Cyndi off at the airport on Monday. I can’t wait to write about what we did. We got all of our baby furniture at great bargains rates. My sister is an amazing negotiator. Just wait until you see what our baby’s room will be like.

My sister coming here to surprise me was an act of love from everyone because they all had to keep a secret for months. I am honored she was willing to leave her kids and husband and come and see me. I will always remember her here. I wish she lived closer. We had so much fun. I will post more photos soon.



This surprise made me feel loved. Knowing that so many people kept it a secret from me blew me away. My sisters coming here made me feel so loved as well. I miss her so much already.
Thank you all for your versus. I have been reading them and am greatly encouraged by what you brought to my studying time.

PS. Quick side note. WE GOT ALL OUR PAPER WORK IN. There was a mistake from a coordinator about us being presented this weekend. She confused my family with another. The other family adopting are the ones to be presented this weekend. But...this is ok, it is God's timing and I am submitting to His wisdom all the while pleading and begging for mercy to have our baby home to us soon.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Ephesians 3:16-21

Ephesians 3:16-21

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. "

Monday, September 01, 2008

2 Corinthians 1:8b,9

2 Corinthians 1:8b,9

“We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.”

Happy 2nd Year Anniversary to us! I love you Bryan.