Monday, April 24, 2017

Why is it?

Why is it that some kids endure unspeakable trauma and still become functional adults? Why is it that one child of an abusive alcoholic becomes a loving parent and another child from the same home abandons her children? Why is it that one child of a mentally ill parent spends the rest of his life in therapy and another child escapes the dysfunction?

I certainly do not know all the answers to these questions, but for me there are two main reasons.

The first and most important reason is Jesus. Because of Jesus, I knew with certainty someone loved me. Because of Jesus, I endured. Because of Jesus, in my darkest hours I could retreat to the nest in the back of my closet, curl up in His lap and cry. He cared.

The other reason is teachers. I was blessed to have teachers who knew what was happening to me and supported me through it.

When I was late to fourth grade because I had to get my little brothers and sisters to their classes and daycare, Mrs. Triplett would smile, put her hand on my shoulder, and tell me what page everyone else was already on. The smile said "You're okay. You can do this."

In sixth grade when the storm was overwhelming, Mrs. Gill pulled me aside and coached me in life skills. She taught me that, even at 12, I could chart my own course.

In high school, a Sunday school teacher prayed with me and taught me to smile no matter what.

I didn't escape unscathed, but I escaped. A childhood which should have doomed me to lifelong dysfunction is at its worst a reminder of how strong I can be when I look to Jesus and lean on those who have gone before.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Some Thoughts on Clay

But now, O LORD, thou art our father;
we are the clay, and thou our potter;
and we all are the work of thy hand.
Isaiah 64:8 

Several years ago, I took a pottery class in college and I learned so much.

Any time you work with clay, you must take time to gather all the necessary tools and set up your work area. There are a few building tools you need but those vary depending upon what you are doing. One thing you always need is water. The water keeps the clay from drying out while you are working with it. It also lubricates the clay. You cannot work with clay without water and lots of it.

I hand built a teapot and I used lots of water.  I smoothed the coils together as I built. I smoothed the surface of the pot. I used buckets of water to accomplish my purposes.

Working on that pot reminded me of the verses in Ephesians chapter 5, verses 25-27: “… even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

The phrase “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word” jumped out at me.

Working with the clay took an abundance of water to keep my work from drying out. As a Christians, I know I often “dry out” because of a lack of the Word. I realize I need more of God's Word when I feel dry.

I also used water to smooth out the rough surfaces just as the Bible smooths out my rough surfaces. Am I grumpy? Time for Water. Am I discontent? Time for Water. Am I impatient? Time for Water. Water smooths the lumps and bumps and flaws.

After a while, I learned to feel whether the clay was cooperating. The least cooperative clay is dry clay. The first thing I would do when the clay was resisting was add water. Since I don’t want to resist the working of my Potter in my life as He molds me and makes me into a vessel fit for His purpose, I make sure I add plenty of Water every day.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

If Adoption was the same as Giving Birth, It wouldn't be called Adoption

The first time I saw the newborn baby that would become my daughter, I was stunned. I didn't feel it. I only felt.... fear. There was no instant connection. There was no instant love. There wasn't the unseen biological thread binding us together.

As an adoptive mother, it has taken me years to admit that it's different. It's not less, it's just different. There are other human beings on the planet who have a biological connection with my children that I won't ever have. I have never had the joy of watching my child's mannerisms or habits and thinking, "That's just like me!" They don't look like me. They don't sound like me. They don't laugh like me.

Are they like me at all? Yes. They are sarcastic, like me. They are messy, like me. (Do I ever have to force myself to stay neat so they will!) They are hardworking, like their dad.

Are we connected? Yes. Even when they live far away, I seem to know when they are struggling. If we are in the same room, I can see a glint in their eyes and know if it is joy, pain, or mischief.

Are they my children?1000 times yes!!

But it's different.

I was always so defensive of being their "real"mom because I am, but so is the woman who gave birth to them.  In a perfect world, adoption wouldn't be. Children would be born to parents who had all the needed strengths to raise their babies. Parents wouldn't die. Father's wouldn't feel like they needed to leave. Mother's wouldn't feel like they just couldn't do for their children all that they longed to do. Couples could conceive.

But we don't live in a perfect world and adoption, though it is beautiful, isn't a perfect solution.

Like everything else in our jumbled world, we do the best we can.

The first time I held that baby, I felt the weight of responsibility and the hope for the future. We put her in her carseat and headed home. Part of me watched warily behind us for sirens and lights because we were taking someone else's child.

On a hot April day, some 29 years later, I entered a house and met the woman with whom I shared a most precious gift. We embraced and she thanked me for loving her child while I thanked her for giving me my child to love.

It's different. It's precious.

Back to Writing

This crew keeps me on my toes.

Instead of writing,  I've been nursing sore toes. But now, the words are demanding to be written.

Since I last blogged, almost 3 years ago, so much has happened. The boys are all in school and doing well. We bought a bigger house! Our church bought a beautiful church building. Life.

I'm making a commitment to post here at least once a week. I'm sure most of my followers have moved on, but I look forward to meeting new people and maybe reconnecting with some of my old friends.

Watch this space!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Rather than Rebar

It was 1996 and we had one child. We wanted more children and the Lord was leading us to adopt a sibling group of three from foster care in Texas. My Hero worked at that time at Weld Wheel Industries in Kansas City and many of his coworkers were excited to hear of our adoption journey.

He walked into the purchasing office one day and the woman there asked him how the adoption was going. He told her about the three kids and she said, "That is so exciting! You are going to be like those people in Reader's Digest!"

He jokingly replied, "You mean the guy who gets a piece of rebar through his brain and has to walk through rough terrain for 10 miles to get help?"

She laughed and said, "No! The people who adopt 10 kids!"

A co-worker had overheard part of the conversation and asked, "Who's adopting 10 kids?"

"Mark is!" she answered.

The guy shook his head and said, "I'd rather have the rebar."

We adopted the three. In 2001, we adopted two more. This week we finalized the adoption on our youngest three children. That makes nine. We have decided that in order to avoid becoming "those people" in Reader's Digest, we are stopping at 9.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Then there was a goat in my bed

One afternoon, in the fall of my senior year of high school, I trudged in after a long day of chemistry and trigonometry. I flung my backpack on the couch and headed for my bedroom to mope like all 17-year-old girls do. In spite of years of experiences, I was stunned when I opened my bedroom door and was met with a “baaaa-aaaa.” 

There was a goat on my bed. It wasn’t a very big goat, but it was a goat looking at me with my nightshirt dangling from his mouth.
I closed the bedroom door and stood for a minute. Shaking my head, I walked back through the living room and picked up my backpack. As I grasped the front doorknob, I turned to my mother who had just walked into the room and said, “Should I try this again, or is there something you want to tell me?”
“Oh. You mean the goat?” she replied as if this were a perfectly sane conversation.
“So, there really is a goat on my bed? He’s eating my pajamas. … You put a goat in my bedroom to eat my pajamas?” I blinked.
“Well, it’s like this… “ she started and I knew it was going to be good. “I was vacuuming and there was a knock at the door. When I opened the door, the goat was standing there and he walked right in. So, I put him in your bedroom.” And she smiled and began dusting the coffee table.
When I regained my ability to speak, I asked, “What do I do with the goat, Mom?”
“Whatever you like, but he seemed pretty intent on staying.”

"I'm not sleeping with the goat, Mom."

In the following days, we tried to figure out who owned the goat. The neighbors had a small farm outside of town, so when we couldn't figure it out, they took the goat to their farm.

I think about these stories and I wonder why I am half as normal as I am.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


I’ve been a people watcher all my life. I remember being a very small child and watching my relatives, or my parents’ friends at gatherings. Adults fascinated me. When I was 16, I went to Six Flags over Texas for the first time. Standing in lines for hours was made tolerable because I could watch people. The first mall opened in our town when I was 18 and my favorite thing was not the shopping but the opportunity to sit and watch.

The opportunity to watch people exploded with social media. With Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and discussion groups, I can watch thousands of people every day and I’m perplexed. I don’t understand people’s general definition of “blessings.”

I have many friends who are not self-described Christians and many more who are. It’s the Christians who really confuse me. It seems that only when things are going super-fantabulous, that they believe God is blessing. So many times, those things identified by Christians as “blessings” are temporal, earthly things.

“God blessed us with a new television!” (Hmmmm…. Maybe…)

“God blessed me with a great job making tons of money!” (I hope it doesn’t take you out of church on Sunday, or even Wednesday.)

“I got a new iPad! Isn’t God great?” (He is great whether you got an iPad or not.)

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t thank God for the things we have or the good circumstances that come our way. Blessings in the Bible are often equated with happiness and prosperity but I know that as a Christian, blessings should be much more.

I rarely see exclamations like these:

“God counted me worthy to fall into divers temptations! What a blessing!”

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (James 1:2-4)

“God blessed me with a terrible week and I endured!”

Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. (James 5:17)


“I am so thankful that God has chastened me this week!”

Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law; (Psalm 94:1)

Don’t misunderstand, I like the good STUFF, too. But I want God’s blessings, not mine.

New televisions are old as soon as the next one with a better picture and more functions comes out. The sheen of a new job fades when the daily drudge takes over. Even the great money isn’t so great when you realize what you have to endure to get it. I had my iPad for less than 3 months when the NEW iPad was introduced. (Oh, I still love mine, but you know what I mean.)

I want those blessings that will follow me to my deathbed and beyond. When I’m 100 years old and sitting in my rocker, I want to remember how God blessed me with eternal treasures. Some of the most fiery trials of my life and produced the sweetest fruit. My troubled childhood produced in me a love for the wounded. My many miscarriages led me to adoption and my beloved children. Since I almost died after surgery, my perspective on life has changed entirely. I don’t fret over the little stuff so much.

We should be thankful for everything that God sends our way. The next time I get ready to post a Facebook status or Tweet and it’s been a rough road, I want to thank God for the blessings of the rough road.