Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Anniversary my Love!

Today we enter into our 14th year of marriage.  But we've been together 17 1/2 years. 
WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE??!!  I don't feel old enough to have been married this long!!  :)

     I think back on my life 19 years ago and the dreams I had and the things I thought were important, and I shudder to think where I would be if God had allowed me to go down the road I had planned for my life.  I was an insecure, selfish, prideful, full of judgment and gossip for anyone that would listen, hurting young woman.  I came to you with a history of bad choices, yet you showed unconditional love and forgiveness time and again. 
(I know we joke about this, but I really think God prepared you, knowing He would call us to adopt, through the first few years of dealing with me!)
     In the Bible, this is how love is described:  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.
    Brian, in every essence and meaning of the word, you are LOVE.  You are patient (more than anyone I know!); you are not envious, nor do you boast.  You honor others (even when I feel it's not deserved); you are not self-seeking.  I can honestly say in 17+ years, I have never seen you lose your temper, nor can I understand how you truly keep no record of wrongs (how is that humanly possible?  It's not, I know.).  You rejoice with the truth (especially when it comes to our children as they grasp right from wrong); you would lay down your life to protect us; you trust, you hope and you never give up.  We are married today because your love never failed.

What I love about our marriage is that you are my best friend.  It doesn't matter what we do, as long as we do it together.  From grocery shopping, to mountain biking, to adoption, there is no one I want by my side more than you.

I don't just love you, I'm IN love with you.  There is a difference - a HUGE difference. Trust me. :)
I LOVE that nothing phases you.  That when I lose my second wedding ring, you tell me, "Jen, it's just a piece of VERY EXPENSIVE metal.  It doesn't define what we have."  That when I'm stressed and behind on laundry (and groceries and housework because I've overcommitted myself once again), you just swing by Target on your way home to buy a new pack of underwear and socks so I'll not know that you didn't have any clean ones.  That when I had my one and only panic attack because maggots were multiplying by the millions and falling from our kitchen trashcan and slithering out from the pantry, you let me call you out of a meeting and rush home to take care of it as I stood OUTside continuing to freak out. 

I LOVE that you are the foundation for which the LORD allowed this family to grow. 

Brian, thank you for leading me and our children.  Continue to seek God in all you do and He will direct your path for this family.

I Love You because You first Loved me.  Thank you.  HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I will Love You for YOU

"He cries in the corner where nobody sees,
He's the kid with a story no one would believe.
He prays every night,
"Dear God, won't you please, could you send someone here who will love me?
Who will love me for me,
Not for what I have done or what I will become.
Who will love me for me,
Cause nobody has shown me what love, what love really means."

(These are the first few verses of JJ Heller's song, What Love Really Means. )

We've been home almost 2 months, and with that, comes an understanding of what our children have been through.  There ARE stories that no one would believe.  There are still tears in the corner where no one will see.   There are hurts and aches and insecurities and years of pain...
Oh, my precious children!  God heard your prayers for a father Isaiah, and He felt your pain Ruth.  He did send someone to show you what love really means!

I still look at you, and in complete humility before my King, wonder why He chose us?!  Of all the more qualified, more patient, more compassionate families in the world, HE chose us.  He chose us to love you.  To teach you.  To bestow upon you a new name and a new identity.  But all of this is NOTHING compared to the fact that He chose us to be the recipients of YOUR love - your life-sustaining, never ending, unconditional love.  We are the ones that are blessed with your laughter and your innocent inquisitions, and your delight in life. 
Some days I feel like I am on the receiving end of a miracle I didn't even ask for. 

So to you Isaiah, I'm telling you now and forever:
I will love YOU for YOU.
Not for what you have done or what you will become,
I will love you for you.
I will show you what love really means.
I will love YOU for YOU.  For the gentle, athletic, inquisitive, helpful and smart child of God that you are. 
I will love YOU for YOU. 

So to you Ruth, I'm telling you now and forever:
I will love YOU for YOU.
Not for what you have done or what you will become,
I will love you for you.
I will show you what love really means.
I will love YOU for YOU.  For the funny, dancing, story telling, gift giving, pure child of God that you are. 
I will love YOU for YOU.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bad Apple

After June 1, it'll be possible to hire a prostitue using an iPhone app.

No, you didn't just miss read that.  It says exactly what you think it says...

After June 1, it'll be possible to hire a prostitute using an iPhone app.

I keep thinking that this is some sick joke, maybe a publicity stunt that Apple is pulling, but it's not.  It's sick and appalling.  Women and children should NOT be for profit!  They should NOT be sold to the highest bidder!

To quote my friend Mark Langham at Conspiracy of Hope "As if the struggle to stem the tide of the sexual objectification and exploitation of girls and women isn't bad enought without Apple recklessly endorsing this app.  No way that pimps will use this, no chance that child traffickers will create false profiles and faciliate child rape for profit."
(That last sentence was sarcasm at its finest by the way.)

Here is the original story from Digital Life by Rosa Golijan:

According to ZDNet, dating service Sugar Sugar has managed to get Apple to grant its app a spot in the App Store. The curious thing about this news is that Sugar Sugar is not an ordinary dating service. Instead of putting together people who are simply seeking traditional relationships, it links up sugar daddies — wealthy men who are willing to shower young women with money, gifts, and other compensation in exchange for companionship — and their so-called sugar babies.
In more blunt terms: The service helps prostitutes and their clients connect. We've certainly heard about such services in the past —, Craigslist's darker corners, and an assortment of shady "dating" websites come to mind — but Sugar Sugar's app is headed to Apple's App Store, a place known for its strict guidelines and approval process: The SugarSugar Dating App will be available for download on June 1st through and iTunes, and will be compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android, and BlackBerry devices. The app will use GPS technology to instantly identify those seeking ‘mutually beneficial’ arrangements within the user’s vicinity. After ‘checking in, the application will map out the profiles of nearby members. Users will be able to trade stats, show photos or send messages to arrange an effortless rendezvous.

We don't really know how on earth the app slipped through the App Store approval process. After all, there are several Apple "guidelines" which should've prevented it from getting a seal of approval. Among them:
16.1 Apps that present excessively objectionable or crude content will be rejected

18.1 Apps containing pornographic material, defined by Webster's Dictionary as "explicit descriptions or displays of sexual organs or activities intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings", will be rejected

18.2 Apps that contain user generated content that is frequently pornographic (ex "Chat Roulette" apps) will be rejected

22.1 Apps must comply with all legal requirements in any location where they are made available to users. It is the developer's obligation to understand and conform to all local laws

22.3 Apps that solicit, promote, or encourage criminal or clearly reckless behavior will be rejected

Given that there are three guidelines which the Sugar Sugar app nearly violates, one which it might violate in some locales, and one which it most certainly violates by promoting prostitution — behavior which qualifies as criminal in many places — we'd assume that Apple would flat out reject it right away. But here we are — a few weeks away from the app's debut."

Please let Apple know this is unacceptable!  You can do that here. 


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother's Day

If you've ever wondered how YOU can get involved and fight the injustices of human trafficking and sexual explotations of children, please go visit my friend and anti-slavery activist Mark Langham at his blog, Conspiracy of Hope 

He has some wonderful ideas on how you can honor and celebrate your mom while helping out organizations like International Justice Mission and My Refuge House

Thank You Mark for never ceasing to be a voice for the voiceless!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Guilt is NOT from the LORD

Ruth's birthday is in a week.  And it's all she and I have been talking about for about 3 weeks - the food, the cake, the activities, the friends.  She is SO excited at even the concept of a party for her and the fact that presents will be opened for her.  And because of that, everywhere we go, I hear, "Mummy, I want this for my birthday please!"  Well as wonderful as it has been to talk about it for her, unfortunately, that is where it has ended for me.  Between sicknesses and emergencies and just the daily life with 3 in elementary school and one almost 6 year old attached to my hip, my follow through has not been equal to my intentions.  Well... knowing that whatever we do for her birthday, it's going to have to be this Saturday (yes, like 5 days away) I realize that I better get a move on.  So I multi-tasked.  While grocery shopping, we swung by the cards and party supplies and I let Ruth pick out a pack of fill-in birthday invitations.  I filled them in and to save a stamp, I hand delivered them yesterday. 

Then the guilt sets in.  Not righteous conviction, but completely from the enemy guilt.  Guilt that I know has no truth or validity to it, none whatsoever.  Yet, it starts with such a little whisper that I give it a moments notice as it accuses me of not throwing her a bigger party.  Then the whisper shames me because I bought her fill in, from the grocery store, invitations, when I've always done handmade or spent an unreasonable amount at my favorite stationary shop for birthday invitations.  The whisper tells me lies, lots of lies, that I don't want to write down here because I don't even want to acknowledge them.  I only want to speak truth over my heart and my children - ALL of them.

As I'm allowing these lies to pass through my mind and trying hard not to let them settle in my heart, my precious little Ruthie walks up to me and hands me 3 pages that have been folded, taped and stapled together and tells me it's a present for me.  It is a letter she "wrote" for me.  As she translates her figures and shapes into words for me, this is what I hear...
 "Mummy, thank you for bringing me to my birthday.  Thank you for letting me eat a chocolate cake.  Mummy, thank you for my Princess skirt because I really am a Princess.  Thank you that you are bringing my best friend Gracie to my home.  I love her.  And you.  And Daddy at work.  And Jaxon and Isaiah and Chloe at school.  But thank you for my birthday.  The End."  (Her party hasn't even happened yet and she is thanking me for it!!)

I was in the middle of washing dishes and had to turn off the water, for my heart was overwhelmed with gratitude.  How amazingly tender and good is our God that He would use the exact child I am having such guilt over, to immediately discredit the lies of the enemy and then show me what really is important??!!
It's not whether I spent 5 days or 6 weeks planning or the amount of money I spend on invitations or party favors or decorations.  It's about celebrating the day that God destined, before time began, to bring her into this world.  It's about honoring her and enjoying and eating all of her favorite things.  It's about inviting her best friend to share and enjoy in the memories made. 

Oh LORD, thank you for coming for me at the most vulnerable times and for loving me through the insecurities and momentary laspes of judgment!  Forgive me for not bringing EVERY thought captive to you Jesus!

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death." 
Romans 8:1-2
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I (Jesus) have come that they (us) may have life, and have it to the full." 
John 10:10
"He was...not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.
When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." 
John 8:44

Just because I thought this was cute, I'm throwing this in...
O.K., this has nothing to do with perspective...well, actually it kind of does.  It all about Ruth's perspective.  It is cold here today (shocking, I know!).  I think it's in the low to mid 50's and it might not even hit 60.  And this is coming off 98 and 96 degree days!  It blew in last night - no rain, just a cold front with wind.  Well poor little Ruthie has NEVER been in weather this cold.  But daddy put in a new slide yesterday and she was bound and determined to go play on it.  So I bundled her up in the warmest clothes we own - a sweatsuit from Gymboree and tennis shoes. :)  She lasted 10 minutes and came in begging for an umbrella.  An umbrella???  "Yes, Mummy!  I need an umbrella to not be cold."  When I was done laughing, I explained that umbrella's are for sun and rain but not cold.  She is still convinced otherwise though and as I type this, she is trotting outside with a Hello Kitty umbrella, bound and determined to stay warm under it.  HA! :)