Friday, October 30, 2009

Good Morning America

You may remember this family.

I showed a clip from their website on my blog a few months ago.

They are the Loecken family and they sold their huge suburban Atlanta home in 2007 in order to buy an RV. They have now been travelling across America encouraging people to get out of their comfort zones and serve God. Every place they go they serve in the community and spread the love of Christ.

I'll be honest, when I first read about them I thought they might be a bit weird. However, over the past few months I've had quite a few interactions with them and I can't get over how "normal" they are. They are a real family, with 4 kids who just love the Lord and have decided that living for Him is really what it's all about.

I am thrilled because they will be with us in just a few weeks speaking to our youth and serving alongside of us in our community!

And guess what???? They were on Good Morning America this morning! :)

Way to go Loeckens!! Way to go God! :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I took a little break from our recently hectic life to step back and focus on the important things...

Brekyn's big preschool Halloween party is tomorrow and I'm in charge of the snacks!

Have a hamburger cookie!

In case you're dying to make a "Hamburger" all your own; here's the deal:

The "buns" are sugar cookies with egg spread on the top and sesame seeds over that (then just bake following the directions)
The "hamburgers" are either the large peppermint patties OR I used chocolate covered marshmallow cookies (cuz they're WAY cheaper) - FRUGAL MOMMY HERE!
The "lettuce" is green colored coconut.
The "ketchup" and "mustard" are icing and are used to glue all the pieces together.

VOILA!! Hamburgers for the person with a sweet tooth!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

When I know I should trust...

What do you do when you know you should trust...

You know you have to trust...

You know you want to trust...

BUT you're really struggling with the reality of it??

Those are the questions perplexing me at the moment...

Since the house sale has fallen through we have been thrown into a spin of re-listing the house, re-cleaning the house, re-budgeting and reevaluating the plans we thought had been set.

Donn resigns at church as of November 29th so we are now having to seriously look at the possibility that we could in fact be unemployed and yet still have a house payment to make.

That's a scary place to be when you have been in ministry your entire life and "savings" are not something that you've amassed a great wealth of.

At the same time, because the man who backed out of our house contract had an inspection done, we're now aware of some of the "problems" that came up with the house.

Unfortunately, being aware of them means that we now have to either disclose them to any potential buyers or we need to fix them immediately. Even more unfortunate is the fact that the inspection turned up some bad siding so we are now having to re-side 2 major portions of the house this weekend. Luckily I have a studly hubbie and some good buddies who can do that sort of thing, but obviously every dime spent right now means even less to carry us through when the paychecks stop coming.

And so I sit.

I sit and pray a lot...

I sit and beg God to fill me with the peace that He gave me the day this all first happened, and I sit and remind myself that we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this move is ordained by God.

There are no doubts in our minds. God told us two specific things:
1) That we are to move to NY to start a much needed ministry in a very dark area and
2) That the end of November was the time for Donn to resign from church.

That is what we've known all along.

This was all part of God's plan. It's just my heart and head that need a bit of adjustment time as the weight of it all sinks in.

And yet I've been reminded in many ways today that God is not worried a bit about the things of this world. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He has a perfect buyer set for our home...He could still choose to sell it before the end of November if He wants to.


And again I find comfort in that fact.

He's already walked this path...He knows the rocks and valleys that lie in the way and He's making the way clear even as we speak. It doesn't mean that we won't have to climb over some boulders or pass through rough waters as we walk this path - it simply means that we will come out on the other side exactly as He has planned.

And again I remind myself that in these times when I know I should have faith; I may need to just crawl up in my Father's arms and beg for Him to give me the faith to trust and believe in His plan.


Monday, October 26, 2009


Our buyer backed out from our house contract today.

Funny thing is; I think I'm okay.

We started to sense that something was going on this weekend when the buyer seemed very distant and began asking a lot of questions.

Sure, I'm bummed and of course I now have that feeling of "Great, so we now have a house payment and in just a few weeks we no longer have a paycheck" but in reality, I keep feeling God asking me "DO YOU REALLY TRUST ME?"

The human side of me wants to scream and say, "Come on!! Why couldn't this have gone smoothly!" But the other side of me is sitting here thinking that usually when things go "smoothly" God isn't as glorified.

There have been plenty of other times in my life when things haven't gone "smoothly" like I thought they should....

Like when our old church literally went "out of business" and my husband was left without a job. Life was scary and we didn't know what to make of it all; but then this amazing church came to our attention and they offered my husband a job doing exactly what he loves to do and working with some incredible people - hmm - yup, that was "ironic!"

Or, how about when we got the phonecall that the orphanage in Ethiopia was not going to be able to get us a child! Yea, that was a really rough day! Of course, just a few hours later we got another phone call that there was a baby being born any second who didn't have a family! Hmm...we now call our little miracle, 'Elle!' Yea, that was "ironic" too!

Then there was the time when we put an offer on a house that was "just perfect" for our family! I loved everything about the house and couldn't imagine the offer being refused since it was just a little bit less than the asking price. Sure, it was at the top end of what we had planned on spending, but the house was just incredible! Then, surprisingly, the offer was refused and I was beside myself! Of course, just a few days later we stumbled upon this more perfect house that was actually at the bottom end of our price range. We now watch our kids run through the back woods laughing and I realize that this house was meant to be our home all along - how "ironic!"

And so, I pray for the ability to trust right now. There have never been any doubts about our calling to NY. We know this is the Lord's plan for our family. So now, I pray for the wisdom to hear what He's saying and what His plan is for our family.

And I trust....

I trust that in just a short time I will be able to look back and say, "remember that time when things seemed to fall apart with the sale of our house?? Well, let me tell you how God showed up!"


Friday, October 23, 2009

Adoption Update!!

Good news!!

It doesn't actually affect our adoption of Prince, but we did just receive word that Liberia is now processing adoptions that had court decrees before January of last year (when the moratorium was first begun); as well as special needs adoptions and adoptions of Liberian children to Liberian families!

Like, I said, we don't fall into any of those categories but I can't help but think that at this point, any step is a step in the right direction!!

Oh, day we will see you home! :)

Poor little guy - now when he gets "home" it will be coming "home" to snow and winter jackets! :) Big difference from 105 degree weather!! I'm sure he'll love it though! :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Shed a few tears today....

Nope, nothing major happened - no sick kiddos, no bad phonecalls...just a realization.

Today I cut down my hostas.

I realized as I mowed my lawn and cut down my hostas and perennials that it was the last time I would work on my Southern gardens.

...The gardens that I've loved so much and have worked so hard to keep up with.

...The back yard that I once worried was "way too big" to handle when we first bought this house - and yet now is my favorite part of our home.

It's a strange feeling to say such a slow goodbye to all of these things that I love so dearly.

I prayed a little prayer as the tear ran down my cheek:

"Lord, please let me plant new hostas with new roots in our new home."

And the fact is; I know He loves me so much that He will allow me to plant new gardens and new memories.

And once again, the painful freedom of sweet surrender. :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Better "Me"...

I had a conversation with a great friend this morning about how "good" (or bad) we are at parenting.

The conversation stemmed from our realization that our 2nd and 3rd children seemed to know so much less than our 1st children did at the same age.

For example, my first son knew letters and numbers by the time he was 2 and a half. I remember working with him to recognize words when he was just 2. He could readwords like Mommy, Daddy and Nana at a very young age.

In turn, by the time he entered pre-school he was writing his name on his own, knew numbers easily and knew all his shapes and colors.

Yup, I was on the ball...

Then I had my second child.

Well, as you can guess, my second (and third) children just don't have that kind of "training" yet. Why would they? I just haven't taken the time to "train" them in that way! Life has gotten busier and flash cards and cute little learning games just haven't been my priority.

And that breaks my heart.

After the conversation with my friend, it made me realize how much I wish I could go back to the way I was as a new mom.

I wish I had the passion, zest and fervor I used to have. I wish I could think of fun activities to do each day with my children.

I wish I wasn't always so consumed with school schedules, homework schedules, church activities and life in general.

I wish I could just take the time...Take the time to be with my kids.

Really BE with my kids.

Make cookies, pick up leaves in the backyard, play on the swingset...just BE.

And so, that is what I'm challenging myself with right now.

I refuse to "compare" myself with any other mothers...there's no good that can come from that.

I don't need to be "like" any other mothers...I just need to be the best I can be at being me.

So, today I'm working at being ME- A better "me" for my children.

What would make you a better YOU??

Monday, October 19, 2009

Constant State Of Surrender...

Surrender is my word. It's been my word for a few months now as I've felt God continuously prompting me that I needed to surrender many things to His control.

It began with my house...

"Lord, I love this house but it's not my house - it's yours. If you no longer want us to be in this house then I give it to you. I surrender."

Then it was our town...

"Lord, this town is the place where all my children have been born. I love the weather, the people, the stores, the flowers. But, this town may not be where you want me to remain forever and so I give it back to you's not mine to hold onto."

Next came our friends...this was a really rough one:

"Lord, my friends have become our family here. We have shared highs and lows and everything in between with them. We have laughed our heads off with them and we have cried our eyes out with them. They know everything there is to know about us and yet they STILL love us. But, Lord, my friends were given to me by You. They are your people - not mine...I surrender my friends to you Lord."

And so, this has been the state of my life for the past few months as God has weeded through all that He needed to weed out in order to prepare me to take this next step into a very difficult and "unpleasant" area of the world.

Some days are better than others. Some days I feel God's peace more strongly. Some days I just wish I could close my eyes and life would go back to complete normalcy with a job, a paycheck and sweet magnolias on the trees.

But, alas, that is not God's will for us any longer. He has called us out and I continue to surrender daily to His calling over our lives.

It's not easy and I have plenty of moments when I wish I could see the future that He has set forth for us; but then I am reminded of all the joy I have experienced as I've learned to say "I surrender."

And so Lord, again I say it... "I surrender."

I surrender to this new direction...I surrender to this new life...I surrender to your plan to financially care for us...I surrender to your plan to house us....I surrender my family to you...I surrender my dreams to you. Lord, I surrender because I know that ultimately, it is in the 'surrender' that we feel the sweet peace of freedom.

I surrender.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Perplexing question of the day...

From my 7 year old Ayden when picking up a dollar bill:

"Mom, why do our dollar bills still say "In God We Trust" if most people don't really trust in God anymore?"


Good question buddy.

...Makes me sick that at the age of 7 he already recognizes that. :(

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

As my sweet friend always says....

"Kill me DEAD now!!"

Whoever invented the flu should be shot dead - no mercy - just shot.

I had big plans for today (including some fun with my dear friend)! But, alas, I will sit here in this bed and keep this heating pad over my eyes.

Oh, how I hate the flu. Welcome to fall! :)

I can only be grateful that 2 of my kids are in school today and my studly hubbie took my little princess to work with him. Praise God! :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Random Updates

Not a ton of time today to write today. I'm helping a good friend edit a children's book that she wrote (which I can't wait to one day see published!)

Just figured I'd give a quick update while the kids are asleep and I can think straight.

The "move" is approaching and the closing date has been bumped back to Nov. 24th and then we will "rent back" the house until Nov.30th when we leave with the moving van.

In the meantime, I've been sorting through details of deeds, utilities and a bunch of other junk that I can't stand doing. :)

My Mom and Dad will be looking at a property that we're really interested in on Wednesday. It's a house with a warehouse attached. It would be a perfect fit for combining our living and ministry needs. It is definitely a fixer-upper, but we'll see how do-able it is after they see it on Wednesday.

Beyond that, we're just living our normal crazy life and hoping to avoid the swine flu (which seems to be circulating through the church). :)

Hope you're all having a great Monday!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Under Contract!!

Praise God!! Our house just went under contract! Closing on Nov 16th but not moving out until Nov 30th! God is good! NY here we come!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hmm...Who is that family??

If you've got 7 minutes take a look at this video and see if you recognize anyone in particular :).

This is a little video that was done a few months ago for a show on Inspiration Network called Revelations. The show airs in November and is focusing on adoption.


Quote from 4 year old Brekyn:

"Mom, thanks so much for doing that for the way, that 'thanks' is good for everything you do for the rest of the day."

Way to be effecient Brekyn - you wouldn't want to be overwhelmed saying thank you all day long!

Gotta love this kid! :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Just Sayin'...

Mental note to studly hubbie -

Next time you leave in a rush to get to church, be sure you shut the house door BEFORE you start your truck.

Turns out the firemen frown upon an interrupted football game in order to check out an alarming carbon monoxide detector.

Just sayin'.

It's a good thing I love you and you're such a stud! :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Big News...

Well, this could in fact be one of the hardest posts I've ever written.

I know that some of you have already heard this news as it was publically announced at our church on Sunday. I had planned on posting it here that day also, but with the funerals I got a bit behind.

So, here’s the bottom line. Donn and I are moving to New York to begin a youth focused ministry there. Uggh…

I say uggh, because this has been one of the hardest decisions of our life. We are thrilled at the proposition of what God has called us to begin but we are scared, sad and will be mourning all that we are leaving behind here in Charlotte. We have been in Charlotte our entire married life and our kids were all born here. This decision has been heart-wrenching for us.

Over the past decade, we have walked life with our Southern brothers and sisters and we've been discipled, challenged and held accountable by some of the best friends we have ever known.

Never in a million years, did I expect God to call us back to New York, but in reality, we’ve realized that sometimes we don’t have a choice. We say that we trust God and that we are surrendered to His will for our lives, so now it’s time to let the rubber meet the road. We know so strongly that we’ve been called toward this new endeavor that we have realized it would be absolute disobedience if we didn’t go.

Donn has resigned from the church as of the end of November, so we are praying fervently for God to sell our house and provide a source of income in NY very quickly.

The plan is that Donn (or I) will be accepting any job we can find (yes, maybe even at Walmart). We have realized that there in no room for pride in God’s plan. College degrees don’t matter anymore…we will take whatever we can get and use it to pay our bills. We will live very simply and also be looking for monthly financial support to make up the difference.

The point is to get to this poverty stricken area; where God is not even on the radar; and begin a relevant ministry that will hopefully reach the people.

And so, that is our big news. It’s sad news, but it’s also great news.

This blog has served many purposes over the years, but perhaps the biggest has been the prayer community that has arisen because of it. I would be so blessed to know that my bloggy friends are praying as we make this major transition.

And, yes, the blog will continue....are you kidding me??? How could I go a day without my blog fix?!

Please check out our ministry site


Thursday, October 1, 2009

HOME AGAIN!!!!!!!!

Oh, it just feels so great to get out of the car and be home again. It doesn't matter how many years it has been - that 16+ hour trip is just NOT fun!!

The car smells a bit like dirty socks mixed with dirty dog - we found shampoo spilled across the trunk and I imagine my day tomorrow will consist of cleaning the french fries out of the carpets.

Nevertheless we're grateful to have been with family during this time and to have had safe travels. We can't thank you all enough for your prayers and all the sweet cards and emails we found as we returned home.

When we rushed out of the house early last Wednesday morning, we never imagined we would be gone for 8 days and attend 2 funerals for our amazing grandmothers; but we are grateful that God knew it all. He is so good and we were reminded of that over this past week!