Wednesday, April 30, 2008
To see the video scroll ALL THE WAY down to the bottom of this page (beyond all the posts).
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Now, I realize that to many people that statement would imply that I actually had an article picked up by a publisher and put into print….But, NAH…….that’s just not how I work.
You see, today I feel more like a writer than I ever have before. It is a great day! An exciting day! A monumental day! For, today I received my very first rejection letter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YIPPEE!!
I actually opened it up in the mail and skipped into the family room where Donn was. I waved it in front of his face smiling and quietly handed him the note. He read it and looked at me with huge eyes and finally said,
“I don’t get it. Why are you so happy?”
“Why am I so happy? Are you kidding me? Two years ago I dreamed of finally being a writer. …BUT, I was too stinkin’ scared to put my thoughts onto paper and actually send them away for someone else to read! Now, I’ve not only sent them to a perfect stranger to read, but I’ve also been rejected! Every writer has a million stories of the rejection letters that they’ve received! Don’t you get it? This means that my journey has finally begun!”
So, a big ole Yippee for me!! I’m officially a writer….well, I guess in essence I am officially a ‘rejected writer’!
Who cares? If ‘writer’ is in the title somewhere at least I know I’m making progress!
This is it! My official rejection letter...it said something about not liking my story..I can't really remember...I was too excited to read it thoroughly:)!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
(The Charlotte Eagles are a local professional soccer team that is 100% Christian and uses soccer to spread the gospel around the world http://www.charlotteeagles.com/).
A few days later, I was sitting in my office when a picture of a precious little orphan girl (Loriana) from Nicaragua crossed my desk. The picture had been sent by Angie (whom I had never met before). Angie had met this sweet girl in the orphanage on one of her many mission trips to Nicaragua. The Lord etched little Loriana onto my heart and wouldn’t release me from praying for her. Last week I asked many of you to join me in praying that little Loriana would find a family to call her own. Within just days we saw the Lord miraculously answer that prayer!
And so, there you have it. I have no idea what God is doing here but it is amazingly clear that He is giving Donn and I a heart for this little town of Somotillo, Nicaragua and its people. I am committed to seeing this through and doing whatever God asks of me to minister to these people.
5 - Size 9
6 - Size 8 1/2
9 - Size 8
1 - Size 7 1/2
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
The other day, Donn and I sat at a four-way intersection waiting for the seemingly never-ending red light to turn green. Finally, we saw the light change and Donn took his foot off the brake. Just then we began hearing sirens. They were definitely approaching us, but we couldn’t tell which direction they were coming from or whether or not we should take a chance and cross the intersection. Our hearts pounded a bit as we waited. Finally, from around a bend in the road, the fire engine appeared.
I realize that it sounds a bit strange, but I was sitting in our bed last night thinking about all that God is doing in our lives right now. All of a sudden I realized that I feel a lot like I did the day Donn and I sat at that intersection. We can hear sirens, our hearts are even pounding at times, and yet we can’t exactly see where they are coming from or what our response should be. In a nutshell, over the past months we have felt like God is preparing our family for something….He has sent us many ‘sirens’ that are definitely approaching, yet He has not yet chosen to give us true clarity.
What are the sirens indicating exactly? We have no idea! Is it going to be a small change in our lives, or a major shift? No clue! Do you ever just sense that He’s working very clearly to make you ready for the day when He shows you how He wants to use you? That is where we are right now. It may be a change that He shows us today, it may be something that He chooses to show us in 25 years. We don’t know how long we will hear the sirens before the fire engine approaches, but we do know that we will continue to prepare our hearts, minds and family to be ready for God to reveal His will to us.
In the meantime, we have learned that sometimes it is easiest to see God, when it is hardest to see the ‘fire engine’ approaching. Rather than drive ourselves crazy over what clarity the ‘big red truck’ may bring with it, we have chosen to enjoy the little bit of heart pounding and anticipation that comes when you’re in a time of life such as this.
Are you in a time in life when you’re hearing the sirens off in the distance? Praise God now for the day when He will bring all things together in his perfect clarity!
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for all of your prayers! I can't begin to tell you how blessed I've been with the responses you've all shown toward Loriana. God is SO GOOD AND SO FAITHFUL and He has answered the prayers of the Saints. Praise God!
I will be sure to write a complete update as soon as I get more details!
Friday, April 18, 2008
“Da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da BATMAN!!!”
As some of you may remember, my sweet Brekyn decided to buck the system when it came to his first words. No way was he going to stick to the plan and say ‘Mama’ or ‘Dada’ first. NOPE, Brekyn had his own plan in mind and out of his sweet little mouth, the first word that he graced this world with was “Batman.” True story.
Anyway, like I said, over the years, we have had many ‘Batmans’ running through our house with capes flying behind. This morning was no different. However, this morning I also happened to hear Brekyn talking to himself in between stanzas of the batman theme:
“Where is it?”
“Da, da, da, da”
“It’s got to be in here!”
“Da, da, da, da Batman!”
“I know it’s here someplace.”
As I peered into the family room I saw Brekyn standing above the toy box with his cape on. He looked over at me and said, “Mom, where is the Batman mask?”
With absolute lack of enthusiasm, I replied, “I don’t know where the Batman mask is Brekyn. I guess you’ll have to keep looking.”
Brekyn then turned back to the toy box and within a split second went into full-blown search and rescue mode. Toys were flying everywhere…over the shoulders, up in the air, flying mutant turtles, little army men, even a singing spider man…FLYING, FLYING, FLYING….the mission was clear; the Batman mask MUST be found!
As any sane mom in her right mind would; my heart immediately dropped as I thought of how long it would take me to clean up this mess. Out of instinct I gave the customary Mom warning,
“You know Brek, you’re going to have to clean this mess up!”
His eyes didn’t even flinch.
It became clear to me that I didn’t understand the intensity of this ‘mission.’ Cleaning up the toys wasn’t even a speck on Brekyn’s radar…the only thing that mattered was finding that mask so he could sing the Batman song in full attire. And this is when it hit me (not a toy…a revelation.)
I looked at Brekyn's excitement as his arms were flailing in the air with toys careening across the room and I longed for those days. Where have they gone? Those sweet days of childhood.
I long for the days when finding a toy was my top mission and slinkies flying across the room didn’t prompt me to think about the mess I’d have to clean up later. I long for the days when childhood innocence and joy were all that I knew. Oh, how I miss those days!
It’s like the feeling we used to have on the last day of school before summer break. The bell would ring and screaming children would run out the front doors with a sense of excitement and anticipation for what was to come…freedom, fun, pure innocence....Pajama dances in the backyard with my sisters, lightning bugs in jars, forts in the woods, and roller skates in the garage (dating myself, I realize).
And so, this is my mood for the day. It’s 84 degrees here today…warm enough that you would think it would feel like summer…and yet it doesn’t.
I am longing for summer in my heart.
If only I could capture it in a bottle and carry it from those years, long since passed, and release a bit of summer’s innocence today.
But I know that I can’t.
Life is busier now..responsibilities are real…bills must be paid…children must be cared for.
‘Summer’ is harder to come by nowadays……
…Or is it?
I look again to my sweet little Batman.
“Da, da, da, da, da, da Batman!” Sitting in a heap of toys; content just to sing…maybe; just maybe, there’s still hope.
Maybe I can sit and borrow some of that sweet innocence. It won’t last long…but it may just carry me through for today.
Thank you Lord, for the 'summer' in our children.
May we learn to be more like them every day.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
You see, as some of you know, I work part-time as a Marketing Consultant for the local adoption agency here. As part of that job, I periodically hear of “waiting children” who are in need of homes. I have a tendency to say a quick prayer as these children come to my attention, but typically I’ll admit that it ends there. Life gets busy and I forget.
The other day, a child’s picture and name came across my desk and something happened to me. I can’t begin to explain it with words. My heart was just burdened beyond belief and I found myself praying constantly that the Lord would bring a family to this sweet precious girl. Coming off of the heels of having just been blessed with little Elle, I know what joy an adopted child can bring to a family.
Looking at the sweet face of this little child and then hearing more about her “story” from a woman who has actually met her, I have found my heart captured. I’ll be honest, if the Lord were to whisper to both Donn and I right now that this child was meant for our family, I wouldn’t hesitate to do all we could to bring her home.
However, God has not revealed that to us so far. What He has made clear to me is that I NEED to be in prayer and I need to share Loriana’s need with the world. I believe very strongly that someone out there is meant to have Loriana in their life. You may not be the person who Loriana is meant to live with, but would you be a person who prays earnestly for this little girl to find a home? That’s all it takes…prayer and faith. God will do the rest. Please join me in this crucial endeavor.
Loriana (age 7) was declared abandoned when she was found being mistreated by her mother. She is currently living in the House of Rose Orphanage in Somotillo Nicaragua where she has received medical attention, food, clothing and personal and spiritual counseling.
Loriana is considered in stable condition. She is dynamic and caring. She deals with insecurity and is being immersed in God’s love to combat those fears. She is very intelligent and is currently in 1st grade.
Since her placement at the orphanage in 2004, Loriana has not received a single visit from anyone wishing to inquire about her. She longs to be loved and to share her precious heart with a family. As visitors have come to the orphanage to meet other children, Loriana has actually asked them if they could bring a Mommy back for her next time.
Please pray that the Lord will bring Loriana's family to her quickly. Let's be part of the miracle of Loriana's life!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I wasn't planning on posting today, but the conversation I had with Dakota on the way home from church was just too postworthy to avoid.
He was in a very good and chatty mood. He explained that they learned how people have different skin colors and that some people make fun of them for that. This was an amazing insight as my son can NEVER remember what they learned in church or in school. So knowing that he learned and retained something was encouraging. Plus, it opened up great discussion regarding our adoption of Nevaeh.
Somehow the conversation turned (and I have no idea how it got to this point), but Dakota started to talk about Adam and Eve.
He said, "you know they were naked. They didn't have any clothes so they had to have leaves. Adam had something tied around him. Eve did too and then she had to hold something because she had those...what are they called? You have them too? I cant' remember what they are called?"
I nervously said, "breasts?"
"Yes" He said. "She had breasts, so she had to hold leaves over her. So Adam had to do everything. He had to do all of the cooking and cleaning and everything because Eve had to hold her leaves."
By now I was trying hard to not burst out in laughter...I wanted to keep this conversation going.
"Hmm." I said "Since I'm a girl like Eve, maybe I shouldn't do anything. Maybe Daddy and you should do everything."
"No Mommy! You don't have leaves! You have clothes! God made us all different like that . Some people He gave clothes and other He gave leaves. That's just how He made us."
Dakota you are right. That is just how He made us. However, it sure would be nice to sit around and just hold leaves every once and awhile.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
So, here I am minding my own business and driving to Target when all of a sudden I started thinking about all of the “stuff” I want to do to our house (decorating diva here). Hardwoods, carpets, kitchen backsplash, new kitchen table…and on and on and on!
In and of itself, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a “wish list.” The problem was that I have been consumed with these thoughts for weeks now! They won’t go away! They creep up on me and take over my brain. I can be sitting trying to spend time with God and here they come, like a thief in the night, stealing my thoughts and clouding my judgment.
As I pulled into the parking lot, I thought to myself, “Cyndie, you’ve been to Calcutta…you’ve seen the ‘real’ world. The USA is not the real world and you’re forgetting how blessed you are. You’re letting Satan keep you distant from God.”
AND THEN I LOST IT!
Right then and there I began shouting at the top of my lungs (thank goodness I was alone in the car)!
“This is so stupid!”
“I can’t believe I’ve let you have this foothold in my life again!”
“You are SO not worth this stress!”
“In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke you Satan from having this hold over me!”
“You’re done…it’s over! You lose – God wins!”
I must admit, it was a really great moment. We are waging a daily battle and Satan knows where our weaknesses lie. Praise God that He has already been victorious and I have Him to fight this battle for me.
I can’t imagine what I looked like to all the people watching me yell into mid air, but I am so grateful that I finally came to a point when I recognized what was happening in my life and how skewed my perspective was becoming. I know there will be many more days when I will face this challenge again…but I also know that God is never farther away than my next breath.
SO, if you ever pass me on the street and notice me yelling into mid-air, don’t get the wrong idea and think that I am venting over Donn leaving the toilet seat up…I may in fact be having an epiphany with the Lord!:) If during that “epiphany” I happen to mention to God my frustrations about the toilet seat, I’ll just keep that my little secret. :)
Monday, April 14, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
How can you even begin to put years upon years of memories and lessons onto one page?
How can you ever express how deeply your love runs and how blessed your life has been because of one man?
I guess all you can do is go back to the basics:
Go back to:
Playing ice cream shop in the playhouse,
Building tree houses in the back woods,
Hiding under the counter in his kitchen,
Sitting still as he tickles your nose with the bristle from a broom,
Playing his elf every Christmas,
Having picnics on his living room floor,
Yelling, “don’t get me dirty Bop” as he plants his garden,
Eating Friday night dinners at Woolworths,
Riding down the chute at his store,
Watching him tirelessly serve his church and his community,
Seeing that his life has changed our family and this world FOREVER…
There are no words that could say it well enough. There are no adjectives that could make it clear enough.
Bop has guided our family toward the Firmest Foundation we could ever know and he has made our lives richer with each breath he breathes.
I am honored, blessed and overwhelmed that I have been chosen to be your granddaughter.
You have made my world a better place and I love you more than you could ever know.
Thank you for all that you’ve given to this world and to your family for 88 years.
Thank you for putting God above all else.
If I can grow up to be like my Bop, I will have accomplished something wonderful in this world.
I love you always and FOREVER.
Happy 88th Birthday!
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
After I received the email, I sent a message back letting her know how sorry I was for her and that I was praying.
Her simple reply to me read:
“Thank you, Cyndie.
God bless you - and cherish your little ones.”
The words caught my attention but then I went on with my day.
I ran errands, carpooled the kids around, made dinner, folded some laundry…business as usual.
As I was praying with the boys and tucking them into bed the words came rushing back to my mind.
“Cyndie, cherish your little ones.”
All day, I had spent time ‘around’ my kids, but I had done very little to cherish them.
If I were to leave this earth right now, I would have very little to say about my last day here.
Sure, my “to do” list is complete. Sure, it was a fine day. Sure, I even took some time for myself today; BUT, I certainly can’t say that I “cherished my little ones” today.
Too many, “not nows.” Too many “maybe laters.” Too many of “life’s priorities” taking the place of my precious little gifts.
I thought of my friend who sent me those simple words of wisdom in the midst of great loss. I thought of my God who saw it fit to bless my life with little hands and feet that pitter patter all day. I thought of what really matters most in this world…
And then, I climbed into bed with my kids and we fell asleep together.
“God bless you – and cherish your little ones.” (even if they aren’t so little anymore)
Monday, April 7, 2008
I must admit, when I first heard about the BG Library (which opened here last year) I thought it may be 'slightly interesting' but I honestly figured it would be a bit dry and uneventful overall. After visiting there twice now, I can truly say that this is an experience that just rocks my world!
Watching the history of Billy and Ruth Graham and their absolute devotion to the Lord just brings me to tears. At one point, I stepped away from the crowd to feed Elle. When I looked up I saw the verse, 2 Corinthians 5:20 which says:
"We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us."
I sat there with tears in my eyes as I thought about how deeply I long to be an ambassador for Christ. I couldn't help but wonder,
"Lord, am I doing everything I can to share your love with others?"
"Are there things in my life that are holding me back from giving everything for your sake?"
"Am I living a life that will help guide my children and my husband more into your presence every day?"
As I lay my head on my pillow tonight, I will lay it down with the prayer that the Lord will use me mightily in this world and that He will be glorified in my life.
What will your prayer be?
To see a preview of the Billy Graham Library, click the link below:
Friday, April 4, 2008
On Saturday night I spent time with a dear old friend who probably knows me as well as anyone and still manages to love me unconditionally.
On Monday morning I spent hours digging into the Word with some of the most hilarious and "real" Christian friends that a girl could ask for.
On Tuesday morning I sat and had lunch with a dear old friend who used to be a youth group girl of mine and is now all grown up and has become a precious friend.
On Tuesday night I went out for a late night coffee with one of the oldest friends that I have in this world. We have been through thick and thin together and God has allowed us to grow stronger in our friendship through it all.
On Wednesday morning I sat with a sweet friend who is such an encouragement and a source of joy in my life and always has a smile to offer.
This morning I was blessed to have breakfast with a sweet new friend that the Lord has placed in my path. We were able to praise God for her life and her birthday!
This afternoon I spent time helping another dear new friend who I can't imagine I've only known for a few months because I feel like we've known eachother our whole lives!
Just about every evening my amazing friend who lives next door stops by to give me a few moments of "adult" time while she cuddles on little Elle and helps me to gather myself at the end of a busy day.
Now, let me first stop and say, 'NO, I don't usually have a week as packed with so many fun encounters.' But, for some reason, this is how the Lord orchestrated this week to be. I didn't get to see every friend that is part of my life this week, but it was an amazing week and I sit here at the end of it thinking about how truly blessed I am to have Sisters in Christ all around me.
And so, today my blog is dedicated to my dear girlfriends. You all know who you are. Whether or not you are near or far, I hope now you all realize how incredibly honored I am to be your friend. I love you!
Thursday, April 3, 2008
My cousin sent it to me.
In 1986, Dan Harrison was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Northwestern University . On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed, so Dan approached it very carefully.
He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it. As carefully and as gently as he could, Dan worked the wood out with his hunting knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments.
Dan stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away.
Dan never forgot that elephant or the events of that day. Twenty years later, Dan was walking through the Chicago Zoo with his teenage son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Dan and his son Dan Jr. were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Dan , lifted its front foot off the ground, and then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.
Remembering the encounter in 1986, Dan couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant. Dan summoned up his courage, looked to see if any guards were around and then climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of Dan's legs and slammed him against the railing, killing him instantly.
Probably wasn't the same elephant. :)
Have yourself a good laugh...it's not really true!
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
A group of alumni, all highly established in their respective careers, got together for a visit with their old university Professor. The conversation soon turned to complaints about the endless stress of work and life in general.
Offering his guests coffee, the professor went into the kitchen and soon
returned with a large pot of coffee and an eclectic assortment of cups:
porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal - some plain, some expensive, some quite exquisite.
Quietly he told them to help themselves to some fresh coffee.
When each of his former students had a cup of coffee in hand, the old
professor quietly cleared his throat and began to patiently address the small gathering...
'You may have noticed that all of the nicer looking cups were taken up
first, leaving behind the plainer and cheaper ones. While it is only
natural for you to want only the best for yourselves - that is actually the
source of much of your stress-related problems."
He continued...''Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the
coffee. In fact, the cup merely disguises or dresses up what we drink.
What each of you really wanted was coffee, not a cup, but you instinctively
went for the best cups. Then you began eyeing each other's cups....''
''Now consider this: Life is coffee. Jobs, money, and position in society
are merely cups. They are just tools to shape and contain Life, and the
type of cup we have does not truly define nor change the quality of the
Life we live. Often, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy
the coffee that God has provided us... God brews the coffee, but he does
not supply the cups. Enjoy your coffee!''
The happiest people don't have the best of everything; they just make the
best of everything they have... So please remember: Live simply. Love
generously. Care Deeply. Speak Kindly.
And remember - the richest person is not the one who has the most, but the
one who needs the least.