Tag Archives: adoption

5 Friday Faves – Replacing Your To-Do List, Unsung Heroes, Legacy, Gaslighting, and Emotional Intelligence in Conflict

Here’s to another Friday. As the heat of summer fades slowly into the cooler shorter days of fall, at least some of us welcome the change. This, like so many weeks, has had its unexpected joys and challenges. I so appreciate the wisdom, helps, and encouragements that lift and help us to stay in our lanes.

Below you’ll find my 5 Friday Faves for this week plus as many bonuses at the end. It was a rich week…hope yours was as well. Also, please share any of your finds in the Comments section. We all can happily learn from each other.

1) Replacing Your To-Do List – Leadership coach Tony Stubblebine has posted a brilliant piece on doing away with our to-do lists. He prescribes a problem-solver, thinker model of interstitial journaling. This makes productive use of the space between completing one project and starting the next. It entails jotting a few sentences in a journal (electronic or paper) – summarizing what we finished and jumpstarting our thinking on what is before us. This takes our to-do lists to a whole new level of getting things done.

Replace Your To-Do List With Interstitial Journaling to Increase Productivity

Photo Credit: The Inner Sage Australia

“We weren’t built for multi-tasking, so transitions between projects are very tough. We end up getting lost in procrastination. Even when we manage to transition quickly into our next project, our brain is still thinking about the last project. That means our second project suffers from partial attention. The science of multi-tasking says partial attention can mean a 40% or more reduction in cognitive performance. The Interstitial Journaling tactic solves all of these normal problems. It kills procrastination, empties our brain of the last project, and then gives us space to formulate an optimal strategy for our next project.”Tony Stubblebine

This article is hosted on Medium which offers Members Only reading (free membership) but it should allow you to read it on a first-time link click. That’s how I found Medium…and lots of helpful reading through it.

Tony Stubblebine – Productivity, Habits & Life iPhone App

2) Unsung Heroes – As I write this week’s Friday Faves, we have just finished our remembrance of the 9-11 terror attack and losses of 2001. Reading again about so many courageous victims and families, first responders and a nation in shock and grief helps in sorting out afresh what happened that day.

We don’t know what was the intended target of hijacked Flight 93 but we do know that several of the passengers heroically charged the cockpit. Among them were  Todd Beamer  and Mark Bingham. What courage!

“Let’s roll.” – The Real Story of Flight 93 – Ed Vulliamy

Another man I didn’t know about until this year was Rick Rescorla. He was the director of security for a very large company in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. After the first plane crashed in the North Tower, the building occupants were advised to stay at their desks, but he knew better. Rescorla got them all out as quickly as possible and returned to the building to make sure that everyone was out. He never got out with the collapse of the South Tower.

This running into danger instead of away is what we’ve come to expect of first responders, but we should never stop remembering them…or the cost they often pay.

3) Legacy – This week, seminary professor Chuck Lawless posted a thought-provoking piece on leaving a legacy – What Kind of Shadow Are You Leaving Behind?  He listed 14 possible “shadows” we cast for our children, colleagues, and friends. They include: Unbounded Love, Continual Selfishness, Material Idolatry, Genuine Faith, Committed Parent.Photo Credit: Pixabay

We cast shadows whether we plan them or not. They happen over time. Better for all of us to decide and intentionally establish what kind of shadow, what kind of legacy, we leave for those we love.

After you read his list, what would you add? If you comment, I’ll also share the ones that came to mind not on the list.

4) Gaslighting  – Have you ever heard this term? I had this extraordinary Aha moment this week when this term came across my Twitter feed. If you’ve had this experience you will find these definitions familiar:

“Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or members of a group, hoping to make targets question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief.” – Wikipedia

“Gaslighting is a colloquial term that describes a type of psychological abuse in which the abuser denies the victim’s reality, causing him/her to question him/herself, his/her memory, or his/her perceptions. The term gaslighting is also sometimes used to apply to the use of inflammatory behavior or language that provokes someone to behave in an uncharacteristic way.” – TheGoodTherapy.org Team

Gaslighting often happens in relationships when one person uses a sometimes subtle manipulation to cause the other to think maybe she/he misunderstood or over-reacted to something the former did or said. In this unhealthy situation repeated over the course of the relationship, the one being “gaslighted” can begin to distrust her/himself and even go as far as to question their sanity.

I have had this experience and it is highly unsettling.

Think of how brutal this can be for a twosome, family, or work team.

Read psychologist Stephanie Sarkis‘ two pieces below. Very helpful.

11 Signs of Gaslighting in a Relationship

Are Gaslighters Aware of What They Do? – Stephanie Sarkis

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

You’re Not Going Crazy: 15 Signs You’re a Victim of Gaslighting – Aletheia Luna

5) Emotional Intelligence in Conflict – Even people with strong emotional intelligence can find themselves off-balance when in conflict with someone. Leadership writer Marcel Schwantes gives counsel for this in 7 Brilliant Things Emotionally Intelligent People Do When Their Buttons Are Pushed.Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Schwantes encourages us to respond rather than react in a conflict situation. His seven action points follow (read more of his article for his commentary on each one).

  1. Get perspective.
  2. Take a 6-second pause.
  3. Stay humble.
  4. Try empathy.
  5. Ask the most conflict-diffusing question. [“Are you ok?” What’s going on?”….what else would you think would diffuse the situation?]
  6. Speak from your authentic self.
  7. Be the first to reach out after conflict.

Don’t miss the brief video at the end of Schwantes’ piece on 3 Simple Questions to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence.

Okay, Friends…let’s have a safe weekend, enjoy the weather, and be kind to those along the way.

Bonuses – Fascinating and worthy of their own Friday Faves slot – it was a rich week of learning and savoring what others bring to the table.

You Went to a Funeral and Then You Went Home – Courtney

Ryan JonYouTube Video – I’ve Never Met My Biological Mother

A Child’s Brain Develops Faster with Exposure to Music EducationAnita Nee

YouTube Video – The Clothing Industry Wants to Make Us Shop – More Waste – Opposing Views or Opposing Views’ Facebook page

How America’s Health Care System Got So Jacked Up – and How We Can Fix It – Jonathan Clark

5 Friday Faves – Adoption, The Last of the Mohicans, Being Single, Craveability, and Honoring

Another Friday…they come so fast. Today, I am not in my usual spot but didn’t want to miss sharing this week’s favorite finds. Enjoy…

1) Adoption – I don’t hear the phrase much anymore, but in my child-bearing years, when asked what a couple wanted (boy or girl), the response was often, “I don’t care…just as long as it’s healthy.” A wise older friend told me one time that God gives life and every child is perfect in His eyes. One population we see less of in our country these days is people with Down Syndrome. Photo Credit: Flickr

Of of the genetic tests done during pregnancy, one is to rule out Down Syndrome in the fetus. If the parents have objections to keeping a baby with Down Syndrome, abortion is an option to some…as is adoption. Raising a child with health or developmental issues is challenging. We adopted such a child and thrill to see how he continues to meet his challenges…and to bless all around. We did not adopt a child with Down’s but we have friends who did. The videos below are a beautiful sampling of this population of perfect children and adults.

2) The Last of the Mohicans – To be honest, I have never been able to watch this painful and beautiful film all the way through. Its theme (originally composed by Dougie Maclean and arranged for this film by Trevor Jones) is exquisite. Listen here on YouTube with a composite of scenes from the movie. When Nathan arranged this grand orchestral piece (“Promentory”) for classical guitar, I knew it would have to be extraordinary. See what you think. Listen here:

YouTube Video – The Last of the Mohicans – Promontory – Classical Guitar – Beyond the Guitar

3) On Being Single – The whole dating scene in my 20s was something I pulled out of long before marrying. It wasn’t pretty. By the time I entered my 30s, life was filled with great friends, strong family relationships, challenging work, and serving in church and community. Loneliness crept in at times, but it still does even after marrying later in life. These days I am privileged to enjoy the friendship of several women (and a few men) who are single. Do some of them want to married? Yes, but not all. When I saw the video below, it resonated – how society can mis-communicate the great value of these women and men…I never want to do the same.

“‘Leftover women’ are outstanding. ‘Leftover men’ should try harder.”Marriage Market Takeover

3 Ways to Guard the Single Women In Your Life – Grace Thornton

Invite Someone Single To Dinner – Jasmine Holmes – Desiring God


4) Craveability – A few years back, I took myself off of sugar. For over a year, I just refused to eat it (desserts, snacks, etc.). It was a healthy choice for me at the time. I lost a lot of weight and stopped craving sugar. Gradually, as with many lifestyle changes, I went back mostly to my old ways (still not eating chocolate or doughnuts – two trigger foods). I watched an interesting YouTube video this week on crave ability – Michael Pollan on Cooking. In it, Pollan compared the nutritive value of food cooked by corporations vs. that cooked by humans. Now, corporations (restaurants, food processing companies, etc) don’t really “cook”.  His premise though was compelling. When we cook, we control how much sugar, salt, and fats we add to food. When we buy food already prepared commercially, the craveability factor is at work. Foods we return to buy again and again have been developed to tap into our cravings.

My husband was on a work trip to California this past week. A much-loved fast-food restaurant was on the list of eateries. In-N-Out Burger. He and his colleague even ate there twice one day. Now, the food must be pretty special, but it speaks to Pollan’s observation about how we eat when driven by cravings. If we were eating at home, we have French fries rarely. Yet, eating out (for lunch each day, for instance), we might have fries more often.Photo Credit: Marco Fischer, Pexels

We in the US have a fair amount of food weirdness in our striving to eat healthy or, on the flip-side, in our indulging of cravings. Considering what is behind our food preferences, even our addictions, might help us make wiser choices in what we eat – especially related to sugar, salt, and fats.

YouTube Video – Michael Pollan: “Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation”

5) Honoring – Respect and honor are two very different actions and experiences. I’ve heard people say, “I just don’t respect him/her.” or “He/she doesn’t deserve my respect.” There can be such derision or contempt in those statements, they also seem to communicate “can’t” and “never will”. Honor is defined as “valuing or esteeming highly.” We live in a culture that defaults to valuing self over anyone else…we have to fight against this strong pull to elevate ourselves over even those we say we love the most. In one of the Apostle Paul’s letters, he writes: Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Romans 12:10) Whether someone deserves honoring or not is of no consequence. We choose to honor others. Photo Credit: Pinterest

Do we choose to honor others in our every word and deed? Think about the trash talk we can so easily fall into in relationships. It seems harmless enough but it sets us up to follow suit with dishonoring actions and attitudes. My hope is to be a person you can trust to keep your name safe on my lips.

In our current political climate and knee-jerk one-upmanship in social and work circles…what if? What if we tried to “outdo one another in showing honor”? How would that change our homes, workplaces, world? How do we teach that sort of valuing to our children? How do we re-awaken our hearts to it as adults? I would love to hear your thoughts (in Comments below).

Well, those were my favorite finds this week. How about yours? Please share any of those in the Comments. Have a safe and refreshing weekend.

Bonuses:

Quote about Prayer:

“The greatest thing we can do for one another is to pray. Prayer is striking the winning blow at the concealed enemy; our service is gathering up the results.” Corrie ten Boom, Not Good If Detached

Photo Credit: AZ Quotes

Looking for a Remote Job? 15 Companies Reveal What They Look for in Remote Employees – Marcel Schwantes

Weird Parenting Trends We’re Tried the Past 100 Years – Good Housekeeping

Things It’s Time to Get Rid Of – Good Housekeeping

5 Friday Faves – St. Patrick’s Day, Beauty and the Beast Guitar Arrangement, Tenacity, Manliness, and Embracing the Life You Have

Happy Friday! Hope this week was kind to you. Here are my 5 most favorite finds of the week for you.

1) St. Patrick’s DayLá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit! Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Wearing green. Corned beef and cabbage…and my family background is Scottish. Still love celebrating this day a bit. Photo Credit: Flickr

Also planning to watch the David Kidd documentary Patrick. A friend who heard David Kidd speak recently shared the following with me via email this morning – notes from his talk on the real Patrick (legends removed):

  • He was born in 396 AD and died in 471 AD.
  • Patrick was a man brought up on a Romano British Christian home somewhere in southwest Britain (his father was a deacon and grandfather a priest).
  • He was kidnapped at 16 (he said he didn’t really know God at that time), trafficked, and taken to the West Coast of Ireland where he worked as a shepherd and learned Irish.
  • As a slave, Patrick came to see the hand of God in his troubles. God broke through his defenses, and Patrick faced his unbelief and pride. Later he described how he turned to God whom he realized had been watching over him all the time. He became aware of God’s protection, and he discovered that God loved him as a father loves his son.
  • Before this, he had ‘sinned’ – something that ‘lasted an hour’ and he believed that God punished him.
  • God spoke to him in a dream about a ship to take him home. At 22, he managed to escape slavery.
  • At home, he had another dream of the people in Ireland calling him back.
  • He was obedient to the Spirit and went back to West Ireland (the ends of the earth at that time).
  • He was beaten, harassed by thieves and robbers, admonished by his British superiors, but his work grew and he remained humble.
  • He protested against injustice, esteemed women highly, and identified himself as Irish.
  • His legacy was a vibrant Christianity which lasted hundreds of years while Britain and Europe fell into the Dark Ages.

What we can do to honor Patrick’s memory?

  • The Past: Remember a humble man who had been mistreated, heard from God, obeyed, loved his enemies, lived his life for Jesus, and made a significant difference – not just in Ireland, but much of Europe.
  • The Present: Use Patrick’s life to help people focus on what really matters.
  • The Future: Be as faithful as Patrick and live for Jesus and His Kingdom – making a difference in this world with fruit that lasts.

2) Beauty and the Beast Guitar Arrangement – Yesterday the live action Disney film Beauty and the Beast debuted in the US. Articles abound about the production – its beauty and grand scenes. Other articles raise the question of whether it is as family-friendly as the Disney animated classic by the same name. Everyone will have to decide for themselves about whether to watch this film and how often. One very easy decision would be watching the just-released classical guitar arrangement by Nathan Mills (Beyond the Guitar).

It is beautiful, even with less-grand scenes, and its own Belle and wee beast. It is definitely family-friendly and the music is lovely. Enjoy!

3) TenacityFirst Round posted the fascinating story – Lessons in Tenacity – of how entrepreneur Dennis Crowley, co-founder of Foursquare, built his business. He saw tenacity at work in the growing and thriving of his location technology company.

Tenacity is that characteristic in a person or group that keeps her/them moving forward – persistence, resolve, determination.Photo Credit: Pixabay

Read the article for examples Crowley gives, and here’s his illuminating summary:

Tenacity has many manifestations for founders and their startups. At the beginning, it’s often deeply tied to identity. Giving up one’s idea feels like giving up on oneself. After hitting early milestones, tenacity is confidence. But it’s best tempered with humility, so as to avoid flying too high on early wins. As a company scales, tenacity is focus. There will be accompanying growing pains as customers sign up, headcount grows and the market responds. Anchor and orient yourself by asking: what is this supposed to be when it grows up? When the going gets tough, tenacity is grit. Don’t look externally to others to build what you need — you’ll be waiting longer than you want. Do it yourself. Lastly, tenacity is culture and a private truth. Tenacity at scale will both involve and elude people. What guides the team isn’t always accurately reflected in the public’s perception. An informed, committed team around you is the best way to drown out the noise and to march toward achieving your biggest goals.

“These different facets of tenacity are important insofar as invoking them keeps your legs moving and charging forward. Growing a company is an impossibly hard endeavor — many wouldn’t start if they knew just how difficult it is,” Crowley says. “But the early stories of most successful companies are often those in which no one thought it could be done. In fact, if you asked them, those founders probably didn’t know if they could do it either. But if you can get there — if you stick to what you set out to do — it can put you in an amazingly powerful and defensible position.

4) Manliness – We should affirm, empower, and let loose women to fulfill their callings, giftings, and places in the world. Not being sexist, the same is true for men, of course. That’s why I appreciate the website/podcast the Art of ManlinessThe Art of Manliness aims to encourage our readers to be better husbands, fathers, brothers, citizens — a new generation of great men (the About page).

I don’t go with everything on this website but some of the content is fascinating and extremely helpful. I hope never to have to jump from a speeding car but knowing it’s possible to walk away from such a situation made me interested in reading about it.

Photo Credit: Art of Manliness

This information isn’t just for men, but some of the entries are male-specific. We women write volumes about how to be “better women”. I’m glad there are men (and women) are writing for men in this way.

10 Tests, Exercises, and games to Heighten Your Senses and Situational Awareness – Brett & Kate McKay – Art of Manliness

5) Embracing the Life You Have – We have all experienced losses. We grieve…and grieve again. As time goes by, the grief changes, but that doesn’t mean it has to change us. At least not in an unhealthy way. John Piper speaks about this so eloquently and tenderly:

Embrace the Life God Has Given You

Piper: “Occasionally, weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have.”

Posted by Desiring God on Saturday, March 11, 2017

I have in mind two kinds of losses: those who had something precious and lost it, and those who hoped for something precious and never had it. It works both ways. Sixty years go by, and forty years on you think, “I’ve come to terms with that,” and then one morning it breaks over you, and you weep about a 40-year old loss, or a 40-year “never have,” and my counsel is, yes, go ahead, embrace that moment. Weep.

But then, say to your weeping after a season, “No. You will not define me, sorrow, because my God has said, ‘No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly’ (Psalm 84:11). Therefore, even though it was good in one sense, and I miss it in one sense, I trust my God, and he has not withheld anything that is good for me.” Yes, let there be weeping in those seasons — feel the losses. Then wash your face, trust God, and embrace the life he’s given you. – John Piper

As one who struggles with waves of grief out of nowhere…thank you, Dr. Piper.

Principal Financial Group has been running a series of commercials with the theme Life Doesn’t Always Go According to Plan. Three of their commercials follow. Sweet messaging…

Be gentle with yourself and each other. Serve somebody, and be safe out there. [Oh, and please share in Comments your favorites of the week. Thanks!]

Bonuses

Who are the Refugees? Which are their Host Countries? Take a Guess.

Who hosts the most refugees?

10 countries host 50% of the world's refugees. These countries are hosting the most.

Posted by Al Jazeera English on Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Granny Pod – Ingenious and honoring idea.

What do you think of these Granny Pods?

Posted by Earthables on Sunday, May 22, 2016

Mom Truths

Mom Truths: Why moms are so tired

"You know what we do all day? EVERYTHING." Thanks, Cat & Nat, for sharing this #MomTruth Friday with us! More: http://on.today.com/2m2cNCD

Posted by Today Show on Friday, March 3, 2017

Another Birthday – Our Youngest – Grown and On His Own

Baby pics of Dan 2

I look over at their pictures,
Sittin’ in their frames.
I see them as babies:
I guess that’ll never change.
You pray all their lives,
That someday they will find happiness.

Then they do, and that’s how it is.
It’s just quiet in the mornin’,
Can’t believe how much you miss,
All they do and all they did.
You want all the dreams they dreamed of to come true:
Then they do.  – Trace Adkins, Then They Do

We weren’t there for Daniel’s birth. He was half a world away in the care of hospital personnel. His entry into this world was a bit rough and he’s certainly had bumpy bits ever since. Yet, his courage and resilience then and now are part of who he is…this boy, now man.

Today is Daniel’s 26th birthday, and, on this quiet spring morning, he’s out walking with our neighbors. Home for this special weekend, he’s looking forward to Lebanese food for lunch and time with siblings later…more birthday celebration will follow in the days ahead, but for today, he spends it quietly…recovering his heart from a stressful week.

Daniel came home to us 25 years ago from South Korea. With each birthday, I think of his very young Korean mama who carried him but couldn’t keep him. She must mark this day with us every year, so far away. Thank you, Mama, for letting him live…when abortion was an easy and acceptable solution for your situation at that time.

Daniel has had challenges through life, related to his traumatic birth (premature with its various complications). During our adoption process, his case worker (who had visited him in Korea) talked about what a survivor he was…his personality was so winsome and his determination so strong. All growing up, Daniel wrestled with the hard things of his life with that determination and courage…and the love of a powerful God, imperfect parents and siblings with their own challenges. He has known the impact of much answered prayer on the part of his parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends. We are so proud of him and how much he has accomplished.

[This blog might be a bit awkward to a man in his “late twenties”, but if Daniel reads this, hopefully he will give grace to a mom who’s trying to find her way as well through this adult relationship of ours.]

Daniel, happy birthday, Son. We are so grateful to God that He brought you home to us. Even as you face what’s before you in the days ahead, we pray for you to have the courage and hope befitting of your age and life experience. You have seen God work in your life to bless you and others through you. You have known success and love…and you always will.

[Sidebar: If you know our Dan, you know he surrounds himself with music. His taste has changed through the years, and I won’t even give a try at identifying his favorite genres right now. It is definitely not country music. Still, in this early morning of his 26th, my heart toward him is in such a tender state, country music is all that will suffice.]

So…I just want to put up pictures and close with Mark Harris’ song Find Your Wings. Happy Birthday, Daniel. Love you forever.

It’s only for a moment
You are mine to hold; The plans that heaven has for you
Will all too soon unfold
So many different prayers I’ll pray
For all that you might do
But most of all I want to know
You’re walking in the truth

And if I never told you
I want you to know
That as I watch you grow

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I’m here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings

May passion be the wind
That leads you through your days
And may conviction keep you strong
Guide you on your way
May there be many moments
That make your life so sweet
Oh but more than memories

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I’m here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings

It’s not living
If you don’t reach for the sky
I’ll have tears as you take off
But I’ll cheer as you fly

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I’m here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings – Mark Harris, Find Your Wings                       Dan & familyn7607486_31797847_6155[1]Little Dan swimmingDan in jelabaDan, Dad, NaeDan in the waterChristie and Dan cooking2006 -- Nov -- Heba & Daniel eating KosheryKids at oualadia 2Dan, Nae & sea urchinsKids on stairsNA -- Christie, Daniel, Nathan Mills2012 December family snapshot 014IMG_3193 - Copy2013 June Dan Birthday Welcome Home for Nae Bek a 034 (3)2013 June Dan Birthday Welcome Home for Nae Bek 037 (2)2014 Sep 26 Daniel's Graduation 058Blog - Daniel 2 (2)Blog - Christie, Nathan, DanielFind Your Wings
Lyrics to Trace Adkins’ Then They Do

Lyrics to Mark Harris’ Find Your Wings

YouTube Video – Find Your Wings by Mark Harris

50 Songs from Parent to Child

Country Songs About Growing Up

Songs for Growing Up (Another PlayList)

Rascal Flatts – My Wish for You – With Lyrics

8 Items for Christian Parents to Ponder

Photo Credits: Mine, except for pics from Daniel’s time in S. Korea (Children’s Home Society) – the woman in the picture with him was his foster mother who cared for him until he came home to us.

*Adapted from previous blog (here)

Love Your Neighbor – Foster Parenting & Adoption – Every Child in a Safe and Loving Home

Blog - Foster - fatherlessPhoto Credit: The Forgotten Initiative

“I’m naive. I will admit it. Before I became a social worker I thought every kid had a birthday party. I thought every kid had someone cheering them on in the bleachers. I thought every kid was taken care of when he or she was sick. I thought every kid was read to at night before bedtime. I thought every kid lived in a safe environment. Now? Now I know that thousands of kids live in fear. Thousands of kids struggle with low self-esteem. Thousands of kids are abused. Thousands of kids witness domestic violence. Thousands of kids are in need of a family. Who will care for the orphans?” – a friend who works in foster care

“Who will care for the orphans?”

Did you know that in your city, at the end of any day, there are children needing placement in a safe home? Maybe just for one night, or maybe long-term. Is it possible that your home is just the place for that infant to begin to experience love or for healing to begin for that child or teenager?

There are two types of foster care – traditional and therapeutic. You can learn all you need to know about traditional foster care by going to the Department of Social Services website of your city or state. Foster parents are in high demand and these agencies make it as easy as possible for you to learn what you need to know to become that parent.

Therapeutic foster care involves finding homes and parents for children who have special needs – either medical, emotional, or behavioral issues. These are children who may have suffered violence or who have endured terrible losses. These could be pregnant teens or runaways. These are children that need love the same as any others. Therapeutic foster care involves many more support people than just the foster parents and case workers. If you sense that you could reach out to such children who need more “hands on” care, there are agencies who need parents like you. 

Blog - Foster Care - childrensaidsociety org (2)Photo Credit: Childrensaidsociety.org

 Foster children may need to be placed in a home for short-term or long-term stays, but they may also need emergency placement with very little notice to the foster parents. Their ages and situations vary widely. These kids need love, care and a safe place to call home.

Blog - Foster LetterPhoto Credit: Ashleyannphotography.com

3 goals of foster care are:

  1. Reunification with the parents – this can happen when the parents of the foster child comply with whatever stipulations are applied by the Department of Social Services.
  2. Placement of child with someone in the extended family (biological relatives) – Again, this is approved by DSS, when the home/family situation is such that the child would be safely and therapeutically returned to a family member.
  3. Adoption or Permanent Foster Care – adoption of a teen is rare. Teens in foster care actually “age out” at 18y/o or when he or she finishes high school. Younger children can be adopted when it’s clear that a return to their biological parents or family won’t be happening. [See profiles here of children and teens available for adoption right now.]

Blog - Foster Care - BPNews.netPhoto Credit: BPNews.net

Is this something we could do as empty-nesters? Early in our marriage, we cared for a teenaged girl from our church for several weeks. She was estranged from her parents and both she and her parents needed time to heal. Just those few weeks, her with us, gave them all time to decompress. The problems didn’t vanish but the family was emotionally prepared to try again with each other. I will never forget that experience and realized then how valuable it is for families in crisis to know they are not alone. It was an experience that changed us, too, and created a life-long bond with us, both with the parents and their daughter.

The church has a mandate from God to care for the fatherless.

“If I have withheld anything that the poor desired,
or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, or have eaten my morsel alone, and the fatherless has not eaten of it (for from my youth the fatherless grew up with me as with a father, and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow)…then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder, and let my arm be broken from its socket.” – Job 31:16-18, 22

Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow. – Isaiah 1:17

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.James 1:27

Chris Campbell, a social worker in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is the executive director of an initiative called 111 Tulsa. He and his team are working in the community and with the churches of Tulsa (across denominations) to raise up foster parents across the city – such that every child can have a safe and loving home for as long as he or she needs it. This could be an emergency placement of a few hours, or for a short time, or for long-term (maybe even leading to adoption).

We could do this in our own city.

Where do we start? We pray. Then we call one of these agencies and ask how we can help. Even if it’s just taking the foster parenting classes, so we’ll be prepared such God lead in this way. We can also help with non-funded needs the children might have – a birthday present, baby supplies for that pregnant teen, and even prom expenses. Then we get our churches involved.

There are many ways that we can love these neighbors – these kids in crisis. The most critical need is for foster parents. We could be those parents. I would love to hear your story. Let’s do what we can for these children to have their own story of love and family.

Blog - Foster Care adoptionPhoto Credit: BPNews.net

Drew and Nancy McDowell – Blessed with Children – 41 Times

Adoption: a Kaleidoscope Reflecting Light – a Tennessee Family’s Journey Through Infertility and Adoption

ADOPTION: Couple Promotes Adoption in Words & Deed

The Forgotten Initiative

A Turning Point

111 Tulsa – 1 Church, 1 Family, 1 Purpose

Foster Care – Becoming a Foster Parent – Virginia Department of Social Services

Virginia Department of Social Services

First Home Care – Therapeutic Foster Care

The Planned Parenthood Protest – 5 Questions & a Guarded Observance

Planned parenthood Protest beginningYou formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.Psalm 139:13-14

A friend invited me to join her in a protest this morning. A protest against Planned Parenthood. It’s been many years since I’ve participated in such a public outcry. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the protest…thinking “what will it accomplish?” We are so polarized as a culture along such lines. Then I read John Piper’s appeal out of which this nationwide event seemed to have originated.

My Facebook status yesterday revealed my struggle, after reading the article above:

I’ve been invited to a protest Saturday – it is a moral dilemma for me. What will protesting do if I’ve done little else? Protesting is a step …because something has to give here…something has to change. It’s bigger than the group being protested…it’s as big as our culture and our willingness to turn away from human suffering…at all extremes of life. God, help us. We have to wake up. We have to pray…and be willing to reach out to those around us in dire straits…starting with the tiniest ones, and forward. If you don’t read anything else of the article linked, read the last paragraph – my stomach so knotted up, I thought I was going to vomit.

Part of the turmoil in my head and heart was wrestling with how to love like God loves. God loves these babies. God loves those who conceived them. God loves the personnel and supporters of Planned Parenthood. What do we do with all that?

I guardedly decided to go to the protest…tuned to that love of God…

Planned Parenthood in our town is open for business 7 days a week. Arriving shortly after this Planned Parenthood center opened and before the crowd fully gathered, I was more an observer. Right away, I was glad I went. There were so many already there, well-organized, passionate yet peaceful, gentle souls. Just being with them, I could see what some of my next steps will be.

One sign particularly caught my attention. “I regret my abortion.”Planned Parenthood Protest - I Regret My AbortionThis took me back many years to a dear single friend who got pregnant at a very inconvenient and difficult time. She saw no other recourse but to abort, with the committed urging of her boyfriend at the time.  Then they broke up. That was 30 years ago, and she never, to her knowledge, conceived again. She grieved her decision just weeks after…and she’s mourned it ever since.

Planned Parenthood Protest - Looking Out for the Little Guy

Some at this protest today wore these blue t-shirts with the byline “watching out for the little guys”. Given the videos being published in the last several days exposing Planned Parenthood’s sale of fetal organs, we must consider really what is happening here. I can’t watch those videos, but a friend, mother of twins, told me when she watched the most recent one featuring a later-term fetus, she said her babies weren’t much bigger at birth. It really hit home for her!

We must re-think what’s happening in abortion. We must also consider and care for the mothers of these little ones. Also, it caused me to wonder again, “where are the fathers?” It’s like the incident during Jesus’ ministry, when the religious leaders were preparing to stone a woman “caught in the act, in the very act” of adultery. Jesus essentially rescued her from these men…her partner didn’t need rescuing…he wasn’t there. I believe there are supportive fathers going through these painful situations with their wives or partners…but too many women have to make these decisions without the support that could turn the tide for them.

My questions come at this juncture:

  1. What more can I do? – besides protest or support a particular political candidate? Neither of these seem to make much of a difference lately. I’m beginning to ask questions and am determined to be more accountable in this…for what could be my part in this.
  2. What more can the church do? Or others collectively whose eyes are opening to atrocities beyond our imagining. Even if it’s not universal, if it’s happening anywhere, it could happen everywhere. What are options we can genuinely support? Adoption. Fostering children. Supporting the moms. Public awareness. Educating young people to make wise choices.
  3. Is there a better way to serve? What education is best? What financial aid is most empowering/beneficial? What care is needed? Could our schools and community health centers serve the needs of these most vulnerable without the help of Planned Parenthood? We can’t just condemn what is out there, if we are not willing to be a part of something better. I’m going to be asking more questions along these lines…and will let you know what I find out.
  4. Is the clinical need for fetal tissue in the treatment of some diseases circumventing finding a better solution to these illnesses? It’s like with pornography, is the demand feeding the supply? We must raise questions about and fund research for the use of adult stem cells or other remedies in the treatment of these debilitating diseases. We are just assuming fetal tissue is the answer.
  5. Who are those crying out against the racial side of abortion? I want to join them. Statistically, most abortions in the US are performed on black women. Why isn’t there an outcry over that? If this population is the most vulnerable, let’s work together to determine a more substantive way to help them, other than just getting rid of all those precious babies.

Planned Parenthood Protest - signsPlanned Parenthood Protest

Abortion is not going away. We will never, I don’t believe, return to the days before Roe v. Wade. We do have to find a better way…we have to.

Abortion and Race

If Planned Parenthood Loses Government Funding, Here’s a Map of Health Clinics That Could Take Its Place

Planned Parenthood: Invitation, Explanation, Indignation – John Piper

Ben Carson vs. Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger: Her own words circa 1939

Stem Cell FAQs – What are Stem Cells?

Hundreds protest at Planned Parenthood on Hamilton Avenue in Richmond

Pregnancy Resource Center of Metro Richmond

Amazing Raise – Fund-raising Campaign for Pregnancy Resource Center of Metro Richmond

Crisis Pregnancy Center – Bethany Christian Services

Safe Harbor Domestic Violence Shelter

Planned Parenthood Protest - Pray

On the 25th Birthday of our Baby Boy – A Photo Montage and a Playlist

Baby pics of Dan 2

I look over at their pictures,
Sittin’ in their frames.
I see them as babies:
I guess that’ll never change.
You pray all their lives,
That someday they will find happiness.

Then they do, and that’s how it is.
It’s just quiet in the mornin’,
Can’t believe how much you miss,
All they do and all they did.
You want all the dreams they dreamed of to come true:
Then they do.  – Trace Adkins, Then They Do

Today is Daniel’s 25th birthday, and, on this quiet spring morning, he’s still sleeping, after a long series of worknights. He’s living at home now, but he won’t be for long probably. This birthday seems the one to mark his soon launch into the big wide world. I am both thrilled for him and nervous at the prospect as well. All. Grown. Up. Sigh…

If you know our Dan, you know he surrounds himself with music. His taste has changed through the years, and I won’t even give a try at identifying his favorite genres right now. It is definitely not country music, so he will roll his eyes at the playlist links below. Still, in this early morning of his 25th, I’m in a smarmy, puffy-hearted state of mind over this boy (man) of ours.

Daniel came home to us 24 years ago from South Korea. With each birthday, I think of his very young Korean mama who carried him but couldn’t keep him. She must mark this day with us every year, a half a world away. He had a bumpy start to life and has battled through a myriad of challenges growing up. His courage and determination have helped him push through…and much answered prayer on the part of his parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends. We are so proud of him.

So…I just want to put up pictures and close with Mark Harris’ song Find Your Wings. Happy Birthday, Daniel. Love you forever.Dan & family2015 March St. Patrick's Day & old family pictures 009n7607486_31797847_6155[1]Little Dan swimmingDan in jelabaDan in Tai KwondoDan, Dad, NaeDan in the waterChristie and Dan cooking2006 -- Nov -- Heba & Daniel eating KosheryKids at oualadia 2Dan, Nae & sea urchinsKids on stairsNA -- Christie, Daniel, Nathan Mills2012 December family snapshot 014IMG_3193 - Copy2013 October Trip to Delaware & Daniel SendOff 0682013 June Dan Birthday  Welcome Home for Nae  Bek a 034 (3)2013 June Dan Birthday  Welcome Home for Nae  Bek 037 (2)2014 Sep 26 Daniel's Graduation 058Blog - Daniel 2 (2)Find Your Wings

It’s only for a moment
You are mine to hold; The plans that heavens has for you
Will all too soon unfold
So many different prayers I’ll pray
For all that you might do
But most of all I want to know
You’re walking in the truth

And if I never told you
I want you to know
That as I watch you grow

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I’m here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings

May passion be the wind
That leads you through your days
And may conviction keep you strong
Guide you on your way
May there be many moments
That make your life so sweet
Oh but more than memories

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I’m here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings

It’s not living
If you don’t reach for the sky
I’ll have tears as you take off
But I’ll cheer as you fly

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I’m here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings – Mark Harris, Find Your Wings                       

Lyrics to Trace Adkins’ Then They Do

Lyrics to Mark Harris’ Find Your Wings

YouTube Video – Find Your Wings by Mark Harris

50 Songs from Parent to Child

Country Songs About Growing Up

Songs for Growing Up (Another PlayList)

Rascal Flatts – My Wish for You – With Lyrics

8 Items for Christian Parents to Ponder

Photo Credits: Mine, except for pics from Daniel’s time in S. Korea (Children’s Home Society) – the woman in the picture with him was his foster mother who cared for him until he came home to us.

Worship Wednesday – Stones of Remembrance – 12 Occasions Where We Saw God Act Mightily (Part 1)

2014 Dec Blog pics - Stones of Remembrance 002

“Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.” – Joshua 4:5-7

New Year’s Eve morning. As the sun rises on this last day of 2014, I am drawn to the past, preparing for the future. This past weekend, my husband asked us as a church to reflect back on 2014 and to remember what God had done in our lives and in the world.  Remembering God is a great work itself because other memories are stirred and gratitude floods the heart.

I want to share just 12 of those occasions here…12 for the 12 stones of remembrance perched on my kitchen windowsill. 12 remembrances of how God has shown Himself mighty in our lives.

1) God brought my husband and me together in a remarkable way. I was finishing paperwork to go overseas to work as a nurse and Dave was working on his doctorate almost 1000 miles away. Through a series of God-shaped events, I ended up, not overseas, but in his city teaching in the same university. We met in a tiny church, became close friends…and the rest is [our] history. I did get to work overseas…so nothing lost, and so much gained.

2009 April May Trip to Georgia 112 (2)

2) Our always-happy little girl at 4 years old became very sick. She didn’t seem sick to the pediatricians and so was misdiagnosed for several days. She was always a very stoic little kid when dealing with pain or sickness, and we knew something was terribly wrong.  Finally on the 4th day of taking her to be seen by the doctors, and just in time, she was diagnosed with a ruptured appendix, peritonitis, and sepsis. Through this harrowing experience, God showed Himself mighty in her life, and ours, as we prayed over her and persevered in a messed-up situation…and she was healed.Blog - Christie

3) Our 3rd child came home to us from South Korea. He had a rough start in life, and we knew giving him the care he needed would be a challenge for us. We also knew he was meant to be part of our family. As we boarded the plane to retrieve him, I had one of those moments of “what if’s”. What if we got ahead of God in our desire to add to our family? What if he wasn’t meant for us? A little late for what if’s…but that was the condition of my heart for that moment. Looking out the window of the plane on that damp late summer morning, the sun broke through. Against the mist shone a double rainbow. Not just one promise…but two. Peace stilled my heart. Through all of our son’s struggles and triumphs over these many years, I look back to that defining moment…and am settled.Baby pics of Dan.5Blog - Daniel 2

4) Sometime in my 30’s, I had one of those crises of belief. This wasn’t a unique situation, but it was severe. No power in my life. No place, seemingly in God’s kingdom. Outwardly, all seemed well (active in church, occupied with children, friends, work). Inwardly, I was terrified that somehow I had missed God. Somehow,  someway, what I had done to walk with God wasn’t enough. Then…a small group of us attended a conference on revival with Henry Blackaby and Richard Owen Roberts speaking. As I listened to Dr. Roberts speak, my thinking was transformed. Blog - Richard Owen Roberts

He was small behind the podium, and yet his whole countenance reminded me of what Moses must have looked like…after meeting with GOD Himself. I can’t tell you what he said, really, but there was a moment when the Holy Spirit touched my heart with the great truth of His work in my life. Tears flowed uncontrollably, and in silence, I worshipped the Savior of my life. There has never been a moment of doubt since for me regarding salvation and being a child of GOD.

5) Our nephew, Chad, died over 20 years ago. One day, I will write about him, but for now, suffice it to say he was a shining star in our family. Loving, funny, accepting of all his crazy family. He died instantly in a car accident at 23 years forever young. We were in deep shock at his death…all of us. When the time came for us to view his body, in the casket, I remember thinking, “Well, God, this will be a big test of the sufficiency of Your grace.” As his mom, dad, only sister, grandparents and the rest of us circled that casket, a miracle happened. Grace abounded. All there was in those moments was deep love and amazing grace.

6) There did come a day for our family that we would take a job overseas. It’s one thing for me to decide to go as a single person. A whole other thing transpires when two people determine to gather up all the grandchildren and take them continents away from the grandparents. When we first told our parents, it was heart-wrenching…we felt their sadness as if it were our own. Then…the Lord worked… Not 24 hours after the weight of this news, my father-in-law retrieved their world atlas, and we poured over it together…and God moved again, and knit us all closer together even than we had been before.

We would go overseas…and the grandparents came. So grateful for them…and for the GOD who moves in our hearts.

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…last 6 stones of remembrance in tomorrow’s blog.

“…that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” – Joshua 4:24

Image Credit – Richard Owen Roberts – Blog by Matt Henry on his own encounter with him

What Must I Do To Be Saved?

Assurance of Salvation

 

What if Romans 8 was the only Scripture Portion You Had

2014 July Bits 001

The Apostle Paul’s letters to the churches must have been a great treasure to those believers, as they continue to be to us centuries later. His letter to the Romans, written in A.D. 57, is rich instruction and encouragement in the things of God. For those who want to know God in the fullness of His glory and to faithfully follow Christ, the book of Romans is invaluable. How grateful I am that God has preserved this letter over the ages, as He has done with all His Word, for our sakes.

Paul’s letter to the Romans is worth examination, no matter what your religious (or non-religious) affiliations.  Sometimes when I read the Bible, the thought of “What if” comes to mind. What if I only had this portion of Scripture? How would it change my life? It’s dangerous for any of us to pull out bits of Scripture to order our lives without considering the whole counsel of God. Yet, in some parts of the world, the Bible is not available to everyone. There may come a day, when it might be censored where you live, if it isn’t already. It’s already precious, so to think we might not have it all, I read sometimes as if what I am reading is all I have of the instruction and character of God. Romans 8 was my focus this morning.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” (verses 1-2, Romans 8) You have to look back to Romans 7 to see what the “therefore” is there for…but in case, we only hypothetically have Romans 8 in our hands, let’s focus on what remains in the passage. No condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. No condemnation! What a glorious word for us who live under perceived condemnation (by self, Satan, or the world) every day. And with no condemnation comes the freedom we have in Christ. He has set us free. Amazing truth given our condition from birth apart from Him.

On a side note: Paul’s letter to the Roman believers also often refers to the perfect unity of God (in God the Father, God the Spirit, and God the Son). Watch for references to the Three-in-One – magnificent “Unity in Trinity”.

“But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” (verses 10-11) No matter how deep our theological understanding is about life, we know that we wrestle daily with our flesh (body, sinful nature)…even as Christ-followers (not even…maybe more so). This struggle is with us until we leave this life. However, we are not alone in this. The Spirit of life (God), because Christ is in us, gives us life. Life here to choose to live according to God’s teaching and in His power…and life forever with Him. Let that wash over you this morning, Dear One.

“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’  The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,  and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (verses 15-17) Here we see the witness of the unity of God in three persons as Paul further explains our position and inheritance in the Kingdom of God. We are adopted into His family. We are His heirs, fellow heirs with Christ! We share in the inheritance of Jesus which is His by divine right. Yet God the Father includes us…adopts us as His children. A casual read of this will not do. It is a mind-blowing gift from God!

On a side note: I’m sure the bit about suffering registered. Suffering is inevitable for all of us. It just is, and God tries to prepare us for it through His Word (including these great letter-writers). Yet, with the suffering comes glory. We share in the glory of Christ!

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” (verse 28) This is such a familiar verse, often-quoted and sometimes misquoted in difficult circumstances of life. Still the truth of it resonates so well with us who follow Christ.  God works good out of all things…no matter what…for those who love Him and for His purposes. We can take great comfort in this promise…great comfort in the One who makes this promise.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be  against us?” (verse 31) Enough said. Hallelujah!

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (verses 35, 37-39) No matter how evil the times are in which we find ourselves. No matter what the course of our lives. Nothing will separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Nothing. Nada. No matter the press of confusing circumstances or the prosecutorial arguments of the world or the evil whispers of Satan himself lying in our ears…God tells us that we are more than conquerors through Him and that absolutely nothing will separate us from His love.  That is the message Paul delivered to the Roman believers in this letter. They understood and clung to this message during a horrific time in history, and, one day, we will join them, worshipping the God of these great words.

This was my word from God this early morning…still resonating all these years after it was written. My life is steadied and course set on a foundation that is not shaken…thanks to a God who preserved His word for us to the present, and for as long as this world continues…as He purposes and in His love.

Romans 8 (and the rest of God’s Word) in Many Languages

Called According to His Purpose

The Preservation of the Bible

How We Got the Bible