Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Looking for some gifts to give the Christmas that will help others? Wanting to avoid the crowds? Desiring to give to ministry instead of businesses?

Then please join us this Saturday for a memorable shopping event!



10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

LocationThe Sloan Home
952 Station View Rd.
Knoxville, TN

Created By

More InfoParty with a Purpose! Complete your Christmas shopping with us. With each purchase you make, you will be supporting several local families' adoptions and 20% of all Pampered Chef sales will go to Feeding The Orphans ministry.

Drop by for yummy treats & shopping:
-Pampered Chef products
-Baked Goodies
-Gourmet Coffee
-Ornaments & other items made by children from Ghana.

Hope you can come!

Advent Conspiracy

Our church is doing something different this year. For the next four weeks, we are joining a movement calling us to proclaim Christ in how we celebrate Christmas. The concept behind Advent Conspiracy is simple:
1.) Worship Fully
2.) Spend Less
3.) Give More
4.) Love All
Check out www.AdventConspiracy.org to find out more.

If you've bought into the American Dream of Christmas, then the Advent Conspiracy might be a first step away from it. The challenge is to buy one less gift this Christmas. Just one.

This past Sunday, the image to the left was on the screen during our worship service. This week, God has shown me how many around me are pushing the gift cart instead of seeking Christ. There were many posts on FB about shopping on Black Friday. Many more comments about shopping than what people were thankful for the day before - Thanksgiving. Is this a reflection of our hearts? A young couple I know has six different Christmas trees decorated in their house - each with a different theme. There is even a tree in the bathroom! Yesterday at SAMS, the woman in front of me spent - no lie - over $600 on Christmas decorations. $600! On baubles and balls! This week, I've heard about people just "buying something" for their parents because they don't know what to give them. At another store, I found myself checking out behind a couple with two shopping carts full of gifts for their children. Two children. Two carts. I know because I asked them. "Are you getting started with your shopping?" The man replied, "Yes trying to start early for our two kids." Two carts, heaping over. What will these children grow up believing Christmas is about?

I-Pod Touches? PSPs? Video Games? Kindles? Name Brand Clothes? House Decor? Expensive Jewelry? Flat Screens? New, New, New. Better. More updated. Come On! You've gotta keep up!

But, where do we draw the line? What is the meaning of where we are spending our resources?

All of this saddens me.

Is this what Christmas has become? Why have we allowed it? What have we bought into? Does our giving reflect the priorities found in scripture?

From the beginning, Reid and I have only given three gifts to each of our boys - just like the wise men brought to Jesus. Someone suggested this to us before Mason was born, and it has helped us limit our giving within our family. Our Christmas budget has never been very large, but this year, however, even our normal spending seems like too much.

This year, we are striving to

instead of "presents" to our boys.

Even before attending the Sunday service, our family had decided to have a "different Christmas" this year. We all decided - all six of us - not to give any gifts which had been purchased to each other. Instead, we are writing letters to each person in our family. Stockings will be filled with the only surprises on Christmas morning this year. We decided - all six of us - to use any resources we have to help us travel to bring Overcomer home and give to others in need. There are other families making the same choice. The Bowling Family for one. No gifts, no tree. Money is stewarded better in other ways.

However, I love to receive gifts! (To be honest, within our family, I may have the hardest time of anyone on Christmas Day not receiving any presents to open.) Last year, someone left us some anonymous gifts. Those gifts were such a blessing Christmas morning. (Thank you again to whoever sent them!) It's been several years since Reid and I have exchanged gifts - spending instead on our children. And, how blessed we are to do so!

My love language is gifts. I love to give. Giving is part of who I am. Not buying for our boys will be difficult for me. Trust me, I'll be very creative with their stockings. We are still giving gifts to one another. However, the gifts we give will allow our funds to be used in other ways. Hopefully, even many of the ones we purchase will help others at the same time. There are a few gifts I will still give to others this Christmas. I'm hoping to purchase many of them and help others at the same time. Read my post about the Party with a Purpose to find out more. What a blessing to give a gift with meaning! One that provides HOPE for someone else.

If we are here this Christmas, and not in Ghana, our home will once again be open to friends. We will open the best gift of Christmas - The Baby Jesus - for our nativity set and celebrate Him on Christmas morning. Mathiang will connect our hearts to Africa with his Dinka song and dance which he performs every Christmas Eve with our family. We will enjoy the pleasure of being surrounded by family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Grandparents, Parents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and our extended family of precious friends! All of this is if we are here, instead of in Ghana. Please pray alongside us to know what to do.

Last night, we hung our stockings. Eight decorate our mantle...Reid, Robin, Mathiang, Mason, Franklin, Weston, Braden, and Overcomer. Overcomer's in the only one without a monogrammed name. As Weston was driving another nail in to hang the new stocking, this verse kept ringing through my head...
The stockings were hung
By the chimney with care
In hopes that little Overcomer
Soon would be there...

I suppose that is all we want this Christmas. To have him home. With us. No other gift would fill our hearts as this.

One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth
and one who gives gifts to the rich—both come to poverty.
Proverbs 22:16

Be a Blessing,

Monday, November 29, 2010

Will You Follow?

I surrendered. The button's added. On the right. You know the one I'm talking about. Yep, the FOLLOW THIS BLOG button.

To be honest, I felt like I needed to write a disclaimer for adding it. You see, when I read blogs with hundreds of followers, I'm intimidated. Then I begin to think, "Wow! This person must be something special to have so many people reading."

These thoughts are what led to this post.

The real reason I added the famous FOLLOW THIS BLOG button is because I am a technically challenged forty-year-old mom who can not figure out how to "follow" a blog I want to read unless my 10 year old isn't here to help me. The button makes it easier for people like me to read encouragement from others and keep up with family and friends. (I couldn't figure it out without a button. That's the honest truth.)

Click it, or don't. 2 blog followers, or 2 million, it doesn't matter. I'm still the woman God created. One humbly making mistakes and accepting God's grace to redeem my errors. I'm simple. Ordinary. Nothing special outside of God's touch on my life. He is the Only One I desire for people to see! Less of me, more of YOU, Lord!

My identity will not ever be defined by the number of followers on this blog, the number of comments on a post or FB. Sometimes, our enemy entices others into believing our lives should be defined by numbers. Bigger is better. Not always. Especially if pride sneaks in or perhaps envy of others with "more followers," "more friends," "more comments..." I'm not falling for it. Let me live it out, minister in every opportunity that passes my way, and share what I can...if the Lord leads me to do so.

The desire of my heart is not that you FOLLOW THIS BLOG, or any for that matter, but that you FOLLOW JESUS! I wonder how many people would click that one, don't you?

It may sound silly, but when I see the FOLLOW THIS BLOG button, it's become a simple reminder. The simple question pops in my head, "Who am I following? What am I following?"

Who are you following?

Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
Matthew 9:9

Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
Matthew 10:38

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
Matthew 16:34

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Matthew 19:21

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
Mark 1:17

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
John 10:27

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
John 12:26

Yes, Jesus, I'll follow. Where you lead, I'll go. What you say, I'll do. What you ask, I'll surrender. I. Will. Follow.

I have decided to follow Jesus
I have decided to follow Jesus
I have decided to follow Jesus

No Turning back, No Turning back

The cross before me
The world behind me

The cross before me
The world behind me

No Turning back, No Turning back
No Turning back, No Turning back
No Turning back, No Turning back

Though none go with me
Still I will follow

Though none go with me
Still I will follow

No Turning back, No Turning back
No Turning back, No Turning back
No Turning back, No Turning back

*I Have Decided to Follow Jesus, lyrics

Morning Conversation

Reid walked in this morning while I was having my quiet time. Evidently, we were thinking about the same thing.

Me: Reid, listen to this:
My eyes fail because of tears,
My spirit is greatly troubled;
My heart is poured out on the earth
Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people,
When little ones and infants faint
In the streets of the city.
They say to their mothers,
"Where is grain and wine?"
As they faint like a wounded man
In the streets of the city,
As their life is poured out
On their mothers' bosom. (Lamentations 2:11,12)
What does that passage make you think of?

Reid: Overcomer, and all the kids like him.

Me: Yeah, me too...

"Arise, cry aloud in the night
At the beginning of the night watches;
Pour out your heart like water
Before the presence of the Lord;
Lift up your hands to Him
For the life of your little ones
Who are faint because of hunger
At the head of every street."
(Lamentations 2:19)

One way you can help is by sponsoring an orphan in Ghana through www.feedingtheorphans.blogspot.com God's given a vision to a young girl named Sydney to feed the children in Ghana. Won't you help?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

From a Ten Year Old

This year, one of Weston's English assignments was to write a paper about what he is thankful for this year. Because it would help us all to have the perspective of a ten year old at times, I thought I'd let his paper be my blog post today. Learning about others in the world has expanded his own degree of gratitude.

Enjoy his paper...

The Stuff Some People Live Without

Weston Beebe


There are three things that I am very thankful for. These three things are a house, a bed, and three meals a day.

The thing I am thankful for the most is a house. The reason I am thankful for that is because I know some people that don’t have a house and it seems horrible. I could not imagine what life would be like without a house.

The thing I am the second most thankful for is a bed. One reason I am thankful for that is because I know someone that used to have to sleep on a concrete floor with no blanket and no pillow.

The thing I am the third most thankful for is getting to have three meals a day. I am very thankful for that because some people only get one meal a day and we get two or three meals a day. (I bet some people get fourth-meal at Taco Bell.)

I am thankful for many of things, but these are the ones that I am the most thankful for. I am thankful for a large number of things that some people don’t have.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day 300 - Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was a significant day. Day 300 of our adoption! We spent the day surrounded by family and immersed in conversation about adoption.

Reid's sister, Margaret, and her family are in the process of adoption of a beautiful boy from Ethiopia. On this blog, I'll refer to him as Job. One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving was seeing the video of him! He is adorable! I can't wait for the boys to have him home as their new cousin. Jane McKenzie, Ella, and Betsy will not know what to do when they are surrounded by seven boys! Cousins and brothers will severely out-number them!

It was exciting to share face-to-face where each of our families have journeyed over the past year.

Margaret blessed all of us with a wonderful meal. She created a memorable dinner, and my only contribution was rolls and appetizers. I'm not sure I've ever done so little for the holiday. Hall family, thank you for the incredible day together! We loved it!

Thankfulness overwhelms me. I was reminded recently, "THANKSGIVING is an action word." So, I've reflected on God's goodness over the past few days. How great is HE! None can compare! It's amazing!

Thank you, Lord, for Your presence in my life. Your leading. Your comfort. Your peace. Your assurance. Thank You for the blessings of this world. My husband whom You led me to join my life. The children You have given us. The child You have woven our hearts to across the ocean. Thank You for our parents, our friends, our neighbors. Our health. Our home. Our ability to continue to grow. Thank You for not leaving us where we are, but stretching us further and expanding our love for You. Thank You for revealing more of yourself. Thank You, Lord. Thank You.

“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”
Colossians 3:16

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Dyon and Dyonee

Today we surprised Dyon and Dyonee with cupcakes and red velvet cake for their 6th birthday! It's become a tradition for us to come over with a birthday cake to celebrate.

The kids gathered together and performed their skit and song they had performed the previous Sunday at church. It was precious! Omar and Lamar had speaking parts while the younger ones echoed Anna in the song. It was an honor to receive a private performance. Our family gave them a standing ovation after the "show." (It reminded me of all the performances we performed for my grandparents growing up.)

Oh, we love you all so much!

Happy Brithday Dear Ones! The Lord loves you and has wonderful plans for you!

Oh, YES, you have helped give a child a home!

While there, we shared the video of the O'Leary's homecoming with everyone. Anna, Omar, Lamar, Dyon, and Dyonee were crowded around the computer. Halfway through, Anna and I both had crocodile tears running down our cheeks! It still gets to me!

Part of the gift for Dyon and Dyonee was one of our new shirts that arrived yesterday. On the front it says, "I helped give a child a home." On the back, it states four ways you can help - with the FIRST one being PRAYER.

Today when we were with the Farooqs, I realized they are waging a battle for Overcomer in prayer for him. Just recently, they got a computer and it is now hooked up in the center of their den. Do you know what their permanent screensaver is? A picture of our family and a picture of Overcomer. I felt overwhelmed to realize they are keeping this in front of them all the time. It touched me so deeply because I know they are holding us close - as we are them.

We love you, dear friends. Thank you for the special memories made today!

My Birthday Prayer for Dyon and Dyonee :

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 1:9-14

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We did receive more discouraging news from Ghana today regarding the status of our adoption paperwork. Please continue to pray.

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Old Friends, New Friends

Remember the childhood song, "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, and the other gold?"

The past two nights, I've enjoyed the privilege of sitting with new friends and a dear old friend.

Monday, I honked 45 times when I picked Amy up at her house. After all, it was her 45th birthday! We picked up another friend, and headed to Calhoun's on the River for a special night. All eight of us laughed loudly celebrating the gift of her life.

The funny thing is, several of these women were people I would have never pictured as potential friends just a few short years ago. Because of fear, I never would have pursued a relationship with some of these women. Sadly, I would have missed out on SO MUCH if I'd let my head lead me. Additionally, my mother sat beside me at the table in the group of friends - as another friend. What a gift! She's loved so many of my friends throughout my life. It was precious to spend the evening beside her.

Around the table, I witnessed God's gift of diversity. We are all very different, yet similar. Each one striving to follow hard after Jesus. What an encouragement to celebrate the body of Christ as we celebrated a special birthday. I cherish this gift of new friends.

Tuesday night, God gave me the gift of sitting with a college friend. We were together once after college about 10 years ago, but time has passed without face-to-face contact. Our Christmas cards sprinkle news from our families each year to one another, but beyond this, we haven't seen one another to connect.

Last night, we closed down Applebees at 1:00 am! (An extremely late night for two forty-plus-year-olds!)

Our conversation grew deeper and deeper with each passing minute. Time was short, so we didn't waste it on the non-essentials. Kathi, my friend, provided encouragement and nourishment for my heart! Over the past ten years, God has taken her on an uphill, steep, jagged, mountain hike. Not an easy road.

Yet, the Lord has comforted her in her greatest pain. After several miscarriages grieving the loss of children in the womb... After two adoptions that never materialized because the birth mothers' changed their mind at the last minute... After over ten years of waiting, hoping, praying, and yearning, God finally opened her womb for a child! What a MIRACULOUS GIFT! Doctors said it could not happen. She is now nursing this precious little one God brought into the world!

I'm thankful for true friends. Friends who reflect Christ - speaking truth, and always turning my heart to Jesus in times of trial. Friends who celebrate the work that Christ is doing and come alongside so we can all serve together. Friends who take a moment to encourage others even when their own life is hectic. Friends who will call after 10 years to say, "I'm coming to town. Can we get together?" Friends who read this blog, see a prayer request, and take the time to lift it to the throne of God before moving on.

Friends like this reflect the LOVE of Christ. I'm thankful God has blessed me with friends like

Thank you friends! You have blessed my life tremendously!

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Positive News

Yesterday, we received two bits of positive news and some laughter over a more-than-loose tooth.

1.) Reid visited a few places yesterday and found that there must be a way to lift the obstacle we are facing. Several people are now looking into it, and we rest knowing God is in control. Thank you for praying.

2.) We received an e-mail from our precious friends in Ghana. They are going to see Overcomer in the coming days at the Children's home. They plan to love on him, check his health, and bring him HOPE. Believe me, I know the people who care of Overcomer love him. His a
Auntie M. shared so much with me when we were together. I know she has a soft spot in her heart for him. They care for him to the best of their ability, but there are so many children that none are able to receive the personal attention they need as a young child. I know they are doing their best.

3.) Because of a few minutes in the afternoon, I decided to stop into a salon for a haircut. My haircuts come so sporadically, I seem to go somewhere different every time depending on which area of town I am in. Yesterday I went somewhere I'd never been.

I received a new style, much shorter with bangs, and was pleasantly surprised when I walked up to the counter to pay. Mason, Weston and Braden had been waiting beside the check-out station while I was in the back. The woman behind the counter said, "Your boys are soooooooo well behaved. I have a 2 year old at home, and I hope he's half as good as your children. I can't believe how wonderful they have been!"

What a compliment! Although our boys are great, they are not always well behaved - especially when unsupervised. (Just last week we were admonished at the public library!)

Unsolicited praise of that nature deserves a reward in my book. So we headed to the nearest ice cream shop for a special surprise! Marble Slab ice cream with mix-ins! A real treat for us!

At this time, Braden had been procrastinating pulling a dangling front tooth. It looked like he only had one tooth in his mouth, but he would NOT pull it! He was finally convinced to allow me to pull it because his mouth was numb from the ice cream. He was crying, and whining, then opened his eyes wide when he realized his tooth was out of his mouth. No tugging required! The woman helping us with the ice cream gave him a small tub of gummy bears for being so brave. I'm not sure I've ever seen Braden look so proud of himself. We left Marble Slab giggling over the excitement. Such a small thing, but such a treat!

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Psalm 34:8

Please continue to pray for obstacles to be lifted so we may bring Overcomer home. We are trusting our faithful God!

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Monday, November 22, 2010

HE Worketh!

This morning I received this devotion via e-mail. Because it greatly encouraged me, I thought it might encourage you as well, especially if you are waiting on God for something...

He Worketh

"He worketh" (Ps. 37:5).

The translation that we find in Young of "Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass," reads: "Roll upon Jehovah thy way; trust upon him: and he worketh."

It calls our attention to the immediate action of God when we truly commit, or roll out of our hands into His, the burden of whatever kind it may be; a way of sorrow, of difficulty, of physical need, or of anxiety for the conversion of some dear one.

"He worketh." When? Now. We are so in danger of postponing our expectation of His acceptance of the trust, and His undertaking to accomplish what we ask Him to do, instead of saying as we commit, "He worketh." "He worketh" even now; and praise Him that it is so.

The very expectancy enables the Holy Spirit to do the very thing we have rolled upon Him. It is out of our reach. We are not trying to do it any more. "He worketh!"

Let us take the comfort out of it and not put our hands on it again. Oh, what a relief it brings! He is really working on the difficulty.

But someone may say, "I see no results." Never mind. "He worketh," if you have rolled it over and are looking to Jesus to do it. Faith may be tested, but "He worketh"; the Word is sure! --V. H. F.

"I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me" (Ps. 57:2).

The beautiful old translation says, "He shall perform the cause which I have in hand." Does not that make it very real to us today? Just the very thing that "I have in hand"--my own particular bit of work today, this cause that I cannot manage, this thing that I undertook in miscalculation of my own powers--this is what I may ask Him to do "for me," and rest assured that He will perform it. "The wise and their works are in the hands of God." --Havergal

The Lord will go through with His covenant engagements. Whatever He takes in hand He will accomplish; hence past mercies are guarantees for the future and admirable reasons for continuing to cry unto Him. --C. H. Spurgeon

**From Streams in the Desert devotional sent by Crosswalk

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Two Worlds...One Heart

When Reid and I returned home from Ghana a few weeks ago, Franklin (age 11) presented us with this watercolor he had been working on. It's hard to read all of the words, but at the bottom of the painting are our four boys - Mason, Franklin, Weston, and Braden in Tennessee. Reid and I are painted flying with the plane to Ghana to meet Overcomer. The little blue figure represents him with little hands reaching up to the sky. The banner flying reads, "God sets the lonely in families." Psalm 68:5.

Franklin brought this life-giving piece of artwork to the airport when he met us. He had worked for over 12 hours on it while we were gone. It is now framed and in our den! What a precious gift! I will keep it forever, Franklin! Thank you!
Over the past two months, our older boys have expressed their emotions in different ways. Franklin has spoken through art, while Mason has turned to his music.

Mason wrote a song recently about our waiting time in this adoption. It begins with the words, "Two worlds, one heart...One family, so far apart..."

After being home for a few weeks without Overcomer, these words ring louder and louder in my head. I think my heart is grafted over the ocean between the eastern coast of the United States and the children's home where Overcomer is sleeping tonight! As in the picture above, I truly feel my heart is located where Franklin has drawn me...on my way to Ghana... It's impossible to be fully planted here in thought. My mind continually drifts toward Overcomer...

Is he sleeping well? Is anyone holding him? Will he remember me? Is he eating enough food? Are his sores better? Is anyone applying the needed cream? Who is he playing with? Is he still singing? Has...he...smiled...today? Does...he...have...hope?

Mason's song ends, "Hold on, a little bit longer...Everyday, my love grows stronger..." I'm finding these to be true as well. Reminding myself to hold on. God's timing will be perfect. He is in control, we are not.

We are grateful for your continued prayers. Thank you also to our Life Group for praying for us tonight! We love you! What a special evening around the bonfire celebrating Samuel and Helen!

Our friend, Heather, shared three years ago when she and her husband adopted their first daughter, our pastor had prayed that the adoption of E. would ignite a fire of adoption within our church. Heather said, she believed it was coming true as seven out of eight families around the bonfire tonight are currently involved with adoption. Some have already adopted (domestic and foreign), some are in the process of adopting, some are praying about it knowing the time is near. One reason this is so incredible is because our church is small. And each family around the fire is from our little church body. Pretty cool, huh?

"God sets the lonely in families."
Psalm 68:5

Please pray our family will be united as the Lord wills, but we would love for it to be soon. Obstacles still need to be lifted in Ghana for this to happen. Please keep praying.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

1 Chronicles 16:34

Give thanks to the Lord,
For He is good.
His love endures forever!
1 Chronicles 16:34

Yes! God is really good! (My apologies to my English students for using the banned word "good." You still are not allowed to use it in your writing, but this is my blog so I have permission to bend the rules for myself!)

God goodness is everlasting! He is faithful, just, kind, unwavering, sovereign, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present, sure, steadfast, loving, forgiving, and full of surprises filled with HOPE!

This morning, I've been preparing a craft to take downtown. A "TREE of THANKS" for homeless children to fill with leaves stating what they are thankful for. Tracing this large tree Franklin drew, helped set my heart to giving praise to the One worthy of all praise! I began thinking that I, alone, could easily fill this tree with all that I am grateful for in my life. "The Lord is great, and greatly to be praised."

My writing flows from my heart. Lately, I've been praying that the things that break Gods' heart would also break my own. He is faithfully doing so. Tears have flowed for orphans, for injustice, for lost women seeking love in the wrong places, for starving children, for child soldiers, for families watching loved ones battle cancer, for people dying because of lack of funds to purchase the cures for their diseases, for souls who have never heard the name of Jesus, for those who have heard but choose not to believe, and for my own son waiting for me on the other side of the world. God is continually setting my heart on eternity, not on this breath of a life on Earth.

Some of my recent posts have reflected this wrestling within my soul. Yet, in all of this - with tears flowing, I know that my God is on His throne. He holds everything in His faithful hands. I do not understand, but I know I can praise HIM.

Last night, Mathiang shared part of his story. While walking to safety across Sudan, he would eat dirt, leaves, or dig roots to eat. One quote from him rattled me. He said, "The roots are always bitter, but the fruit is always sweet."

My roots of faith are continuing to grow deeper. Deeper and deeper and deeper still. Adversity and trials force the roots deeper.

God sends such sweet gifts of hope and encouragement...at times when they are needed most. Can I refuse to praise him and give him thanks? Never.

Thursday morning, I was preparing to enter the building to teach my classes. In the parking lot, God sent a sweet friend to encourage me as she wiped tears from her own eyes as I shared my pain. "Weep with those who weep" was lived out to comfort me. Thank you, Lord, for sending your servant!

In one of my last classes, a precious boy, Timothy Lumsdaine, came up to me and said, "Mrs. Beebe when should I give you money for your adoption?"

Puzzled, I responded, "What do you mean, Timothy?"

This shy ten year old looked at me with his warm eyes and said, "Well, I've been selling cookies to help with your adoption, and wanted to give you the money."

Again, my eyes were wet. God has precious saints in his children.

Timothy handed me the crumpled up bills, pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. I couldn't help but think of the woman who gave her one coin. Jesus said it was the most precious gift because this woman had given all she had. As my hands were weighted down with coins, I felt the same about this generous, precious gift from the heart of a child. Thank you, Timothy! I thank God for YOU and what He is doing in your life!

Yesterday, I was longing for some hope from Ghana - and the Lord sent it. Although I didn't understand what some of the documents meant, it gave me hope to receive some word! This morning I received an e-mail from a friend I haven't spoken with in over 7 years. Her e-mail reminded me, God never forgets any of his children. He knows what we need before we even ask. Thank you, friends, for praying. Please, please continue.

Throughout the remainder of today, I pray I will reflect on the Lord's abundant goodness. Would you do this also?
Give thanks to the Lord,
For He is good.
His love endures forever!
1 Chronicles 16:34

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Walking on the Path God has Chosen

Sometimes, God asks us to step into something unknown. Simply take a step of faith and trust him for the rest.

Such has been our adoption journey. We have stepped off onto the unknown path strewn with beautiful sunrises, mountain overlooks, and the rainbow of fall colors. Recently though, we've encountered some sharp twists in the road, jagged rocks under our feet, and the path ahead seems much darker than before. Can we even see around the sharp curve in front of us?

Leaving Overcomer a four weeks ago was painful. Much more than I'd anticipated. However, I came home to find his toddler bed already set up. I forced my mind to set my thoughts upon preparing for his arrival home...borrowing a mattress from a friend, covering his bed with a sheet with "ka-ka" (car) motif, and arranging some of his clothes neatly folded in his drawers. "He'll be home soon," I tried to comfort myself.

Then the first set of pictures came.

Some friends recently traveled to Ghana to bring their two children home. (Please pray for them as their daughter is now in the hospital with malaria and Hep A.)

These friends, whom I have never met, but have connected with in the adoption world, generously sent pictures of Overcomer to us. Because their children were from the same children's home, they sent pictures from several days with him.

I'm sure many adoptive parents would be excited to see the pictures of their child. Although very thankful for the pictures, I would never use the word "excited" to describe my emotion. Overcomer's facial expression was similar to the one from the first picture we received. No smile...not a single trace of joy...very sad... He seemed to be only "existing."

Reid, the boys, and I prayed for him. We asked friends to pray for him. Then our close friends, the O'Learys (video below) received word that they were finally flying to Ghana to bring home their children.

"They will see Overcomer. They will bring JOY to him. He will be excited to see the pictures we are sending of us holding him. Krisite will send pictures of him smiling!" I tried to reassure myself.

No. No smiles. No joy in his face. No comfort to my heart from the pictures. He doesn't look well. His facial expression haunts me. His eyes look hollow and desperate. Does he believe we have abandoned him? Does he think we do not want him? How can a mother comfort him from across the ocean. Oh God, help me. This hurts so much.

Friends, we are asking for prayer for a breakthrough. We need God to move a mountain in Ghana for our adoption paperwork. Please pray that everything needed will be turned in to the American Embassy. Right now, it is as if we have not started the process to bring him home because of this block in our path. And, it is one that must be removed for Overcomer to be joined with our family. Please pray for Christ to move this mountain.

Cryptic, isn't it? I apologize for the lack of details, but there are many reasons I do not wish to say more. Isn't it our human nature to want to be informed of all the details? Isn't it more incredible that we can pray in the reality that God knows it all? Please pray knowing God recognizes what is needed for our little one. He does.

I've been reading through the book of Jeremiah, and this morning I knew before I began reading that the Lord had something for me. It was almost as if God spoke to my heart and said, "Don't miss this, Robin." So, I began in chapter 38 and wondered how the Chaldeans, the Moabs, and God's promise of calamity would reignite my aching heart. Then I came to Jeremiah 49:11 and the words leapt off the page straight to where my pain is greatest. Although the context is extremely different, I knew this verse was for me:

"Leave your orphans behind, and I will keep them alive;
And let your widows trust in Me."
Jeremiah 49:11

My precious Lord was reassuring me that He is taking care of Overcomer. He is keeping him alive. In the time of being apart, he is growing my faith and teaching me to trust more in Him than in circumstances. (Evidently, I still haven't learned this, even with numerous opportunities. Keep growing me, Lord!)

Our surrogate son, Mathiang Gutnyin, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, had an article written about him yesterday in The Daily Times. His voice is now being heard as he speaks out against injustice toward children. I'm reminded that God kept him alive while he was orphaned traveling by foot across the African desert. God sustained him without food, without water, without anything except trust in God. Mathiang's life reminds me of the TRUTH of God's promises. God is now using Mathiang to be His voice. His life serves as a testimony walked out in front of me. Thank you, Jesus!

This path is what God has chosen for our family. My choice of comfort and ease would not have yielded any fruit for Christ, and ultimately this is what I long for...just a closer walk with Jesus. So, now I lean in. Clinging tighter to His hand. Baby step by baby step trusting Him to lead me on the darkened path - around the sharp, jagged twist in the road. He knows the way, I do not. I surrender my aching heart to Him and trust Him to lead me where I would choose not to go. I go willingly - trusting...trusting...

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Our precious friends, the O'Learys, have finally been joined as a family. After a year long adopting journey, they are now a family of seven.

Greeting them at the airport was a glorious picture of heaven. What a homecoming awaits us. As Kristie and the kids walked through the revolving door, I could only imagine walking into heaven and finally seeing my Lord for the first time! Unrestrained JOY along with numerous hugs from loved ones who have gone before us. Welcome Home banners conveying the celebration that we have finally reached our ultimate destination. What a picture.

Because my words are inadequate, perhaps you should see this video. It's truly a picture of God's awaiting arms...

O'Leary Homecoming Video

"Let heaven and earth praise Him..."
Psalm 60:34a

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Blankets for the Homeless Round-Up

Dear Friends,
Do you know we serve an amazing God? Last week, over 200+ blankets were distributed to the homeless in our community! Children handed these gifts of love out after the worship service at Water Angels Ministry. Many of the recipients live in outdoor camps near downtown, and this gift of warmth was very meaningful.

After the service, person-after-person came to me and said "Thank you" for the blankets. One friend watched an older man fold his double-thick blanket and hold it in his lap. Because this man is an outdoor camper, he had humbled himself to ask for a double-blanket. As my friend watched him, she was moved with emotion to realize what a gift this would be to him. He held the blanket as something he cherished.

Another friend brought her daughters to help hand out the blankets. For some reason, she had dressed her daughter in her coat from last year. While they were handing out the blankets outside, a mom asked about finding a coat for her young daughter. (Water Angels has been low on coats this year, and children's coats are difficult to find.) My friend ended up giving this child her daughter's coat. What a gift of LOVE!

One boy was able to see the man who received the blanket he had made. Now prayers will be lifted for this man because his face is etched in this little boy's mind.

We are grateful to everyone who performed this act of love for a stranger. I find myself thinking if Jesus saw someone freezing on the street, he would offer a blanket as an act of love from His Father. Wouldn't he? So many of these friends are desperate for HOPE. These blankets were an opening to their heart.

During the service as the blankets were handed out, we shared several verses from scripture proclaiming the love of God and our need of repentance so that Christ's light will shine in them. (Psalm 91:4, 1 Peter 4:8) Our hope is that every time someone awakes under them, these verses will come to their mind.

Water Angels has many needs. If you are interested in becoming involved, I'd be happy to share some opportunities with you. May we be the light of Christ to the least of these within our own community. As I see God's redeeming work in some of the lives from downtown, I recognize the depth of His love. Truly, it runs far deeper than I ever imagined.

Finally, if you would like to meet us under the bridge to hand out the remaining blankets, let me know. We will do this several times in the near future. (I'd rather not have the blankets in my basement if someone outside is cold!) We still have over 100 to hand out! Isn't God amazing? Over 350 blankets this year!

You are welcome to visit the Water Angels website for more information about the ministry. http://www.thewaterangels.com/

Thank you again for extending your hand to those in need.
Continually Amazed by God,Reid, Robin, Mason, Franklin, Weston, Braden and Godwin Derrick Beebe

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Night With the Chapmans and CALEB

Yes, we splurged and invested in this special night with our kids, our niece, and our nephew. In fact it was our nephew's birthday that gave us the motivation to part with the money during our adoption. Our nephew's name is Caleb, and on this evening, Steven Curtis Chapman's sons, Caleb and Will, were unveiling their new band, 'CALEB!' Who could find a better birthday gift that that? Additionally, my niece and nephew's family are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. What a special evening to spend together!

The Chapman's delivered a powerful message - even while still grieving from the loss of their precious daughter. The entire family encouraged everyone to SEE Christ even in the darkest of times. Their words were true, and at times, raw as they shared from the depths of their pain.

My age was evident because I knew all the words to the Great Adventure song from the late 1990's. Remember, "Saddle up your horses, We gotta trail to blaze, Through the wild blue yonder, In God's amazing grace..." (yeah, now YOU are singing it in your head!)

I've borrowed Mary Beth Chapman's new book, SEE, from the library. (I'm the first reader b/c I placed it on hold before it was shelved. Quite an honor! Hee-hee!) From the small bit I've read, I think I'll be glad to have read it...even if parts of it stir up emotions from difficult times in my own life. Yes, I'm still growing...

Here's some pics from our evening... Caleb is wearing his new CALEB shirt!

Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Psalm 96:1

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