Goodbye Ordinary

I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us. Isaiah 63:7

Promised Photos July 31, 2009

Filed under: Family,Photos — Lori @ 1:24 pm

I am sorry things have been so serious here for awhile.  I hope this lightens things up a bit!

I have promised to post some photos for months!  We have had a great summer and here are some photos of our activities so far:

June 1 – Kalindi and Kira finishing up a month of swimming lessons

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The girls enjoyed swimming so much!  They both made a lot of progress too.  Kalindi has a really good kick (according to her teacher) and she always puts so much effort into everything she does.  It is interesting to me that water is the one place that she lacks her usual daring.  Kira is usually very cautious and careful, but she loses that completely in the water.  She has absolutely no fear!  She needs a little.  They learned a lot, but they have a long way to go.  We are looking forward to getting back to it this fall.

June, Reptile Man with our home school group:

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Kira was not at all sure about all those snakes and bugs.  I can’t say I blame her!  She ran to the back of the room many times, but she did end up petting a few things and I think she was successful in reducing her fear a bit. 

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June, Camping at the beach:

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The girls enjoy helping Daddy fly the kite.  Kira is getting braver on her scooter and will put her back foot up when she coasts.

June 25, Kalindi’s birthday:

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Well, that gets you through June.  I will upload more later.  We have had a good summer so far.  It has also been nice that last night cooled down for a change this week so it was pleasant this morning.  It isn’t supposed to get quite so hot today.  Thank goodness!

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

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A Different Perspective

Filed under: Faith,Grief — Lori @ 12:30 am

Our son died on July 31, 2006.  It seems like yesterday.  It seems like a million years.

I often think about the things I will never see Grant experience.  Especially as I watch his peers hit the milestones of life.  He was fourteen years and eight months old when he died.  He never learned to drive, he never shaved, he never had a girlfriend.  He won’t graduate from high school or get married.

It isn’t Grant that will miss those things.  It is us missing experiencing them with him.  Right now, Grant is celebrating in the presence of the Lord.  He is home.  We are still here, aching for him.  Missing him.  Wishing he were here to make us laugh.  Wondering what he would be up to and knowing that it would be interesting and unique.  Wishing with all our hearts that there would have been some other outcome that day.

I choose – daily – to accept all that God allows or ordains for my life.  The good and the bad, the rain and the sun.  I know that God works all things for His glory and our good.    That doesn’t mean that I don’t wonder a hundred times a week why life has to be so hard and painful.  And, really, that is the point.  That is the “different perspective”. 

I try not to cling to this life and what it has to offer anymore.  I try to compare the things this world has to offer with eternity and it doesn’t compete.  Here is my heart today:

Psalm 84

1How lovely is your dwelling place,  O LORD of hosts!
2My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.

 3Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise!
                         Selah

 5Blessed are those whose strength is in you,  in whose heart are the highways to Zion.

6As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.
7They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.

 8O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob!
                         Selah

9 Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed!

 10For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.  I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor.  No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
12O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!

 

I Have a Shelter July 29, 2009

Filed under: Faith,Grief,Music — Lori @ 11:33 pm

I Have a Shelter

Words and Music by Steve & Vikki Cook and Bob Kauflin

I have a shelter in the storm
When troubles pour upon me
Though fears are rising like a flood
My soul can rest securely
O Jesus, I will hide in You
My place of peace and solace
No trial is deeper than Your love
That comforts all my sorrows

I have a shelter in the storm
When all my sins accuse me
Though justice charges me with guilt
Your grace will not refuse me
O Jesus, I will hide in You
Who bore my condemnation
I find my refuge in Your wounds
For there I find salvation

I have a shelter in the storm
When constant winds would break me
For in my weakness, I have learned
Your strength will not forsake me
O Jesus, I will hide in You
The One Who bears my burdens
With faithful hands that cannot fail
You’ll bring me home to heaven

Sovereign Grace Music

 

My Day July 28, 2009

Filed under: Adoption,Faith,Family,Life — Lori @ 6:57 pm

It is 105 degrees here!  This is Portland, Oregon people!  It isn’t supposed to get that hot here and certainly not this hot for several days in a row.  Last night at 10:00 p.m. it was still in the 80’s.  Crazy.

I have been working like a mad woman on my dossier – that is a fancy word for all the paperwork that the country you are adopting from requires.  There is a list of 29 documents, many of which requires some running around, phone calls, mailing/requesting, doctor appointments or blood tests – I think you get the picture.  Seriously, I have to laugh because they say in our paperwork, it may take you a week to four weeks to get your dossier together.  I honestly do not think anyone could get it done in a week.

The nice thing about the adoption process, in India anyway, is that once we are done with the dossier and I-800 (immigration) stuff, there is a long lull while you just wait for everyone else to do their job.  The next time you are running around like a chicken with your head cut off is when you get notice that you can make your travel plans.

I was at the DMV today to renew my driver’s license.  I have been putting it off – waiting for a good hair day!  Ha.  Anyway, I realized that if I wanted to get my fingerprints done today for the Oregon State Police criminal clearance I had to have a valid driver’s license.  Mine expired two weeks ago.  They have very good A/C at DMV , by the way.  🙂 

On my way there, I was anticipating the waiting in line and frustration I always feel and prayed about my attitude.  I asked God to help me to look at the wait as being in His sovereign control (which EVERYTHING is, right?) and that I would just see what God had for me there.  There was a long line when I walked in.  No big shock.  There was a young woman in front of me and she and I had a nice conversation while we waited.  Nothing earth shattering or anything, but it was nice to experience the DMV in a completely different way from the usual.

As an update of my earlier prayer list, I did receive my birth certificate from California.  But, I had to then send it back to the California Secretary of State to be apostilled – that is a fancy (and somewhat expensive) term for a stamp and cover page that says, “Yes, this is a certified copy”.  About twenty of my documents for the dossier will need to be apostilled.  Luckily, only two of my documents had to be sent out of state for it.  They have to be apostilled in the state the document is notarized/certified in.

 

Quote – Charles Spurgeon July 26, 2009

Filed under: Faith,Grief,Quotes — Lori @ 6:32 pm

Deuteronomy 5:24  And you said, ‘Behold, the LORD our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire. This day we have seen God speak with man, and man still live.

This is a portion of Charles Spurgeon’s devotion for July 19, from Morning and Evening that a friend sent me:

He whose life is one even and smooth path, will see but little of the glory of the Lord, for he has few occasions of self-emptying, and hence, but little fitness for being filled with the revelation of God. They who navigate little streams and shallow creeks, know but little of the God of tempests; but they who “do business in great waters,” these see his “wonders in the deep.” Among the huge Atlantic-waves of bereavement, poverty, temptation, and reproach, we learn the power of Jehovah, because we feel the littleness of man. Thank God, then, if you have been led by a rough road: it is this which has given you your experience of God’s greatness and lovingkindness. Your troubles have enriched you with a wealth of knowledge to be gained by no other means: your trials have been the cleft of the rock in which Jehovah has set you, as he did his servant Moses, that you might behold his glory as it passed by.

 

Being Jesus to the “Least of These” July 24, 2009

Filed under: Adoption,Faith,India,Life — Lori @ 9:27 am

I found this blog entitled Ali’s African Adventure some time ago and love the way this young woman writes.  I have a link under “Extra Special” to her blog.  She has a way of sharing her experiences as a pediatric nurse volunteering on a Mercy Ship in Africa that makes you feel like you can imagine being there.

Back in February she wrote a post entitled, I Am Blind.  In it she talks about how she used to think of the poor.  She thought about them as a mass, not individuals.  She thought that what she could “do for them” was to bring them things they didn’t have.  After living with them and working with them, it changed how she saw them and how she loved them. 

It is easy to sit in our comfortable homes in the U.S. and shed a tear when we see those television ads for care organizations that feed and administer medical care to children in Africa or some other impoverished country. (I realize Africa is a continent, but I don’t know specifically which country in Africa those commercials are speaking of  so I spoke generally.)  We may even send in some money or sponsor a child.  But, is that as far as our charity goes?

I know when we were in India I looked around at the poverty and lack of education and wondered what in the world you could do that would make a dent in the problem.  A friend told me of watching the documentary Born Into Brothels.  This photographer made a difference in eight children’s lives.  She gave them cameras, taught them how to use them and marketed their photos which paid for them to go to boarding school, enabling them to change the course of their lives.  You can see some of their photos here.  There is also a book with some of the photos you can buy here.  When I look at the people in these photos I find that I want to know their story.  Who are they?  What are their hopes and dreams?  Do they even have any anymore?  What do they NEED?  Maybe the question is really, Who do they need?

I think what I am taking from all this is that we can make a difference, one person at a time.  We just have to make the effort and not think of ourselves, but someone else.  You don’t have to go to another country to find a person or child in need.  You just have to be willing to sacrifice something – maybe it is your comfort, time, sensibilities, or money. 

Here are some things Jesus said about helping those in need:

Matthew 25:34-40   Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Luke 10:25- 37 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”  But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

There are a million ways we can “go, and do likewise” aren’t there? 

 

Grief – In Progress

Filed under: Books,Faith,Grief,Kids — Lori @ 1:01 am

Events like Kira’s accident in April are always eye openers, aren’t they?  Those situations always get you thinking about serious things – or at least they should!

I sat in the ER holding Kira’s hand and talking to her, trying to get her to respond to me and wondering if we might lose her.  It turned out to be just a concussion, but I had no idea at the time.  My mind went back to another day when the life drained away from one of my children and there was absolutely nothing that I could do to stop it.  Nothing that anyone could do to stop it.  I sat there that night wondering if God was going to ask me to trust Him that way again and I doubted I would be able to.  It was a scary moment.

We experienced God’s mercy that night with Kira.  But, I have to say very explicitly that we experienced God’s mercy tremendously on a Monday night in July almost three years ago (and every day since).  God’s mercy doesn’t depend on the outcome of our circumstances on earth.  Sometimes it feels that way because the outcome isn’t what we would have hoped for.  But, that doesn’t change Who God is.

I wonder what God was trying to teach me with Kira’s accident?  I have plenty to learn, unfortunately.  I learned once again that I have no control over this life.  Why do I always think that I do?  “Why do I want to have control?” should be a better question.  🙂  I have been struggling with trust.  I feel like God is stretching that part of me more and more.  I assume that He is trying to grow me in that area and, let me tell you, it isn’t comfortable.

Sitting there feeling similar feelings to when Grant died, it just brought back all those thoughts and feelings I have felt since then and that isn’t an easy place to be.

I keep waiting for life to feel like it used to.  I read a blog post today that resonated with me.  I read what she had to say and I could completely relate.  There is this realization that I am not the same person I was before Grant died.  When I look at the ocean, or a mountain, or trees, or a beautiful flower, I don’t just enjoy it for it’s own beauty like I used to.  I am not really sure how to explain this.  I feel jaded.  I feel a bit numb.  I keep wondering when it will wear off.  Will life ever look like it did before?  Will I ever feel like the same person I was before?  Will I ever smile and not feel a sadness underneath it?  Will I ever experience something and not have a painful ache in my heart that Grant isn’t there to share it with us?

I don’t want to give you the wrong impression.  I don’t walk around crying all the time and it isn’t that I see creation now and it is meaningless to me.  Rather, I see creation – this present earth – and I long for the new heaven and new earth.  I have learned that this life is not what I should try to hold onto.  I want to live out the days God has appointed for me and fulfill the purpose that He has for me, but I long for heaven and eternity – an end to tears and pain.

I actually know the answer to those questions I posed before.  No, life will never look like it did before.  I am always thinking in terms of something that happened back when my life was normal as opposed to the “after” when nothing has felt normal.  No, I will never again be the same person I was.  That, quite frankly, isn’t a bad thing.  Growth is good.  But, sometimes I really wish that I could “feel” like I did before.  I was more carefree, naive, innocent.

I am almost finished reading a wonderful book entitled “Trusting God” by Jerry Bridges.  The description I read of the book made me want to buy it – I loved his comment on the back cover:  “Why is it easier to obey God than to trust Him?”  That really took me aback.  Here is a synopsis of the book:  “Do you find it easy to trust God—until adversity strikes? When life clouds over, do you suddenly begin to suspect that you only imagined his care for you? Bridges uncovers three essential truths about God: he is completely sovereign; he is infinite in wisdom; and he is perfect in love. Building on these three rocks, Bridges shows how we can learn to trust God, even when we don’t understand what he is doing.”  This is a great book I recommend for any believer!  Mr. Bridges has a wonderful fatherly/pastorly delivery that is very easy to read and it is very Biblical and very practical.

The year Grant died I had chosen Isaiah 26:3,4 as my verse for the year. 

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.  Trust in the LORD forever,  for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.

I chose those verses because my daughter needed to have jaw surgery that year due to the negligence of our dentist/orthodontist and it was a burden I was carrying.  I needed to trust God for her safety, but also for the outcome of the surgery.  Little did I know that I would have an even larger reason to lean on and trust the Lord.

But, one reason I chose that verse out of a million verses on trust in the Bible is that it had something for me to do in it.  Aha!  Back to the statement about it being easier to obey than to trust.  I was still trying to be in control.  I was still thinking that I could do something to make myself trust God.

I am in no way discounting the need for us to obey.  If I am to trust God I had better keep my mind stayed on Him and I had better submit my heart and will to His purposes.  There is an aspect of my will or obedience involved.  But, what I didn’t realize at the time and I have come to know is that I can not even align my will with God’s will unless He gives me the grace or ability to do so.

I love that in “Trusting God” Mr. Bridges spends several chapters talking about what God is sovereign over.  We often quip that God is sovereign and how wonderful that attribute is, but do we really understand what it means?

God is in control of life and death.  He is in control of the weather.  He controls the hearts of kings.  Nothing touches me that is not allowed or ordained by Him.  He made me exactly the way that I am.  He allows and uses people with evil intentions to carry out His divine will and purposes.  (Remember Joseph?)

I find that comforting.  Can you imagine a world where just one single thing could happen that was not controlled by God?  I don’t want to live in that world. 

The Lord is teaching me that the way that I trust Him is to let go.  Not be inactive because that is wrong too.  But that I give – repeatedly – my will and all that I am over to His power and leading.  I shouldn’t expect to figure out what He is doing or why it is happening.  I just trust that it is His purpose and that He is in control.

I wish I could say that I have this trust thing all figured out.  It is a daily struggle.  I have to keep going back to Who God is.  Why should I trust Him?  Because He has proven Himself trustworthy.  Is He worthy of my trust?  YES!  He IS worthy!

 

 
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