Friday, February 29, 2008

C'mon! Really?

Christian bashing.

Not believing is one thing. Fine, you don't believe. That's OK. I didn't use to believe.

I can laugh at me. I can. I can even laugh at things related to my faith.

But Bill Maher's recent visit to Larry King' show caused me to feel more than a little um... animated.

Thumper rule, people. Thumper rule.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Crisis

(artwork by yoshimoto nara)
We all know the stereotypical, worn cliche of a male midlife crisis. The gold jewelry, the convertible, the new wife. Ick. So not me.

However, I am coming to the realization that I am likely in the midst of some sort of feminine mid-life crisis. As I commute each day, I find myself asking, wondering, "Huh. What now?" over and over and over again.

Until recently, I thought my "What now?" answer was just, "More of the same". I thought we'd be adding to our family by adoption. Therefore, I knew (well, in as much as one can know anything) what life would look like and what my priorities would be and how my days would be spent.

Now? Not so much.

And I'm freakin'.

I do not want to retire (yet). I do not want to golf (ever). I do not want to join book club, collect cats or wear a purple dress and red hat (wait? is that last one true?---yep). I do not want to get thick(er) in the middle. I do not want to be depressed and mournful.

I..I...I...aye yi yi. I dunno.


For the FIRST TIME since I was 18, I do not know what's next. I don't have a plan. I don't have a clearly defined, easily identifiable reason for getting up in the AM.

Youthful exuberance? Marriage? Grad school? Career? Debt? SingleMomSurvival? Parenting? Paychecks? All of these have been pretty dadgum good reasons to be up and about.

But now? How 'bout now?

Well, I have no earthly idea. And that exhilarates me.

When it's not scaring the shiitake outta me.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ya know, it's things like this...

That make me mourn the loss of common sense.

This program works. Period.

Here is a blog with an excellent overview of the (Innerchange Freedom Initiative) IFI decision, with links provided to support his opinion. Here is an article from the Des Moines Register.

As someone who has been involved with IFI at the Newton Correctional Center, who has seen lives changed (first hand), who has witnessed the positive effect of mentoring after release, who experiences the joy of giving with Angel Tree every year, this just makes me shake my head (when I'm not banging it against a wall).

Voluntary. Open to all. Privately funded (since the court battle began). Research supported.

Write Chet Culver, our governor and let him know how you feel.

That's my next move...then, I'll resume head-banging.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Well, call me Jonah...

Not in that I ran from God or ignored his missive, but that when God (FINALLY) did what He had promised me He would do (which was a good thing), I was (am still) mad at Him (because IMHO, He should have done things sooner and without so darn much drama). Embarrassing, but true.

Have you ever read the *end* of the book of Jonah? The very end?

Not when Jonah runs from God, or when he gets swallowed into the belly of a whale or even when (gak) the whale spits him out onto the land.

No. The end.

Here is a brief synopsis. God tells Jonah to go and tell the people in the city of Ninevah that things are not well and need to change, lest He destroy the city.

Jonah says, "No, thank you." and heads the other way. Gets on a ship. While at sea, God brings about a terrible storm. Jonah knows he is the problem and suggests that his shipmates throw him in the drink; which they are more than happy to do. Storm calms.

Whale swallows Jonah. Jonah has several days to think things over, while inside the whale. He prays and asks God to save him. God hears Jonah's prayer and the whale spits him out.

God gives it another try--He tells Jonah to go and deliver His message to the people of Ninevah. This time, Jonah goes and does as he was instructed. He tells the people that they need to straighten up and fly right. And guess what? The people heed the message from the Lord (that does not happen very often).

And here's where it gets dicey for me...errrr, Jonah. Because the people repent, God relents.

And that torks Jonah. Essentially Jonah says to God, "Well, that's just great. I knew You'd never destroy the city, so I wasn't real hip about telling people that you would. But, noooooooo. You make me tell them anyway. So I do. And then, You don't destroy the city and so I look ridiculous. What the heck was that all about? Why don't cha just kill me?". (OK, I never asked God to do that, but still...).

God's piercing question to Jonah is this: "Is is right for you to be angry?"

'Scuse, me? Wow. That question makes me squirm. Shuts me right up. I know that He knows that I know the answer is, "no".

But like Jonah, I (so far) think I can either ignore God or tantrum my way out of answering this pointed question.

I must admit, it's not working.

And the silence is deafening.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Well-Stated

IMHO, here is a well-written, political letter penned by a 20-something named Sarah Marie. This is her bio photo from her blog.

I know some would think her views simple-minded and naive, but on many levels, I think her reasoning is sound. Perhaps, I am simple-minded and naive.

See what you think.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Today...

I prayed.
In the car.
About me.
To God.
Haven't done that for...awhile.

I apologized for my stuck-ness,
my lethargy,
my complacency,
my approach/avoidance
my luke-warmm-ness.

He accepted my apology
with grace and love.
Open arms.
Warm embrace.
Of course, He would.

I know He has been there
the whooooole time, but...

I couldn't see Him.

I couldn't hear Him.

I couldn't feel Him.

So that whole,
"I know that I know that I know",

that *faith*,
the believing in what is not yet seen,
was a gift from God.

And it is all that I had
in the desert, wandering around,
with my bag of remembrance rocks;
totally seeing their worthlessness,

but trusting the Shepherd
to transform the ordinary stones,
into priceless jewels.

Beauty for ashes.
Mourning into dancing.
Promises made.
Promises fulfilled.
Eyes opened.
First Love Remembered.
His heart revealed.
Mine redeemed.

new mercies every morning.for God so loved the world.even so, come quickly,Lord.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Embers

There is a joy in the journey,
there's a light we can love on the way.
There is a wonder and wildness to life,
and freedom for those who obey.

All those who seek it shall find it,
a pardon for all who believe.
Hope for the hopeless and sight for the blind.

To all who've been born of the Spirit
and who share incarnation with him;
who belong to eternity, stranded in time,
and weary of struggling with sin.

Forget not the hope
that's before you,
and never stop counting the cost.
Remember the hopelessness
when you were lost?
(Michael Card)

Michael Card is one of the first artists I ever heard after I became a Christian at age 30. I have a VHS (dinosaur that I am) of him performing an acoustic-sort of concert, from a series called "Front Row Live" videos.

I loved his songs; the alliteration of his lyrics, the pondering of the paradoxes, his gentle teachings in between songs. I watched that video over and over. I bought his CDs and listened to them countless times. I memorized them all.

Then, I moved on. Learned of and loved lots of new artists and that was great, too. I'm nothing if not a gal who likes change and new experiences.

But it occurred to me a few months back that perhaps the way out of the desert is by "remembering my first love" (figuratively, that is). So, I began to dig out the old journals, the old CDs, the old Bible, with the old notations and highlighted text.

And today, while driving and listening to "Joy in the Journey", I felt the faintest flicker of fire, being fanned inside my cold, dead heart. I felt a remembrance of feeling like I couldn't wait to get home and look up some passages of Scripture. I was excited to remember how I used to pull out my commentaries to open up a passage of the Bible to greater understanding.

The two things I am/was pondering about the lyrics above was "...forget not the hope that's before you and never stop counting the cost"... and "remember the hopelessness when you were lost".

Boy, do I ever.

I have had (like most people) despairing moments in my life. Dark, black, soul-sucking moments (I shan't elaborate here--TMI). Although, the majority of my life, I have been happy and reasonably content, I remember what it was like to despair without Jesus. Not pretty.

I wouldn't trade the reality of despairing with Jesus (which, is still despair and therefore, not fun), with the hopelessness of despairing without the knowledge of a loving God and Savior.

I feel cautiously optimistic. Maybe I've been given a road map, a compass, ::gasp:: my Garmin??

Joy. What a welcome companion on the journey of life.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My First Meme

Awww....

I've been tagged! I am somebody!!! You like me!! You really, really like me!!!

::Ahem::

I have been tagged by the wonderful Melissa to complete the following meme-like thingie-bobber.


1. Pick up nearest book with at least 123 pages.
"Hinds Feet on High Places" by Hannah Hurnard
2. Turn to page 123.

3. Look down to the fifth sentence.

4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog.

"Either you must go up there, where you know that you can't, but will end up in a mangled heap at the bottom, or you must come back and live with me and be my little slave ever afterward." And the rocks and the cliffs seemed to echo again with his gloating laughter. "Much-Afraid, said the two guides, stopping over her and shaking her by the shoulders gently, but firmly; you know where your help lies. Call for help."

5. Tag 3 People.

I tag...

Who hasn't had a turn yet? Raise your hand high, so I can see....

Monday, February 18, 2008

Oh yeah. About that...

A dear friend and surprise! reader of this blog (::waving to Marilyn::), asked me recently about the "Princess Quote" on the side bar of the blog. She wanted to know where it came from.

Actually, it was a brief interaction with, a question from the still, small voice within (I call Him God). My response was as the Princess (daughters of the King are Princesses). It occurred as I was in church.

I now know the answer to the question. I no longer ask, "Why?". I am no longer innocent about "intense pressure over time".

I doubt I am a diamond (yet), but in time, I believe He will get me there.

gringroangringroangringroangringroangringroangringroangringroangrin

Awakening

Something that has been happening lately, as I drift off to sleep and awaken in the morning, is that, in that dreamy, half-conscious state, I am aware of a profound sense of gratitude and peacefulness and dare I say...intimacy with God.

I remember being in this place before.

It's pretty awesome.

Like coming home.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Scenic Drive Scene

On our way to Rochester, we saw this awesome sunset.

In a Bumper Sticker Mood


"Happiness is an attitude.
We either make ourselves
miserable or happy and strong.

The amount of work is the same."
-----Francesca Reigler

That last line is the zinger (for me, anyway). I know it's true (at least in theory), but when you are in the miserable place, it feels like a tremendous amount of work to simply maintain the place you are in and not to get sucked further down into the gak (not a medical term).

So really, if you think of attitude as being on a continuum, it would seem that it would take twice the effort to make it to the sunny side of life.

Well, good. I'll take that as validation.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

One Phrase That Stood Out...

"A Long Obedience in the Same Direction"
(is the heart of discipleship)

Aha! Just as I Suspected!

From the book of Hosea...

14 "Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her.
15 There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor [a] a door of hope.
There she will sing [b] as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Have I told You lately that I love You?
Have I told you theres no one else above You

Fill my heart with gladness
Take away all my sadness

Ease my troubles thats what You do


For the morning sun in all its glory
Greets the day with hope and comfort too

You fill my life with laughter

And somehow You make it better

Ease my troubles thats what You do


Theres a love thats Divine
And its yours and its mine like the sun

And at the end of the day

We should give thanks and pray
To the One, to the One

Have I told you lately that I love You?
Have I told you theres no one else above You

Fill my heart with gladness

Take away all my sadness

Ease my troubles thats what You do


Theres a love thats Divine

And its yours and its mine like the sun
And at the end of the day

We should give thanks and pray
To the One, to the One

And have I told You lately that I love You?

Have I told you theres no one else above You


You fill my heart with gladness
Take away my sadness
Ease my troubles thats what You do
Take away all my sadness

(thanks to Rod Stewart)

Mark and I are off to our getaway. Expecting a great time. Hey, I got a great husband and a great conference and it's Valentine's Day!!

My neck is better and Alannah is on the mend, as well (thank you, Lord and thank you pray-ers).

Now, if we could just control the WEATHER!! Snow and wind to the North...why *exactly* re we going North in February! (eye roll)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Roman Holiday

Such a good movie. It's on TCM tonight as part of their 30 days of Oscar.

It is one of the first movies I remember seeing (renting) with Mark.

Audrey Hepburn is so wonderful. The story is sweet.

And I looove Rome, so for me---2 thumbs up.

Now, back to the movie...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Passages

It was never gonna happen to me. It just wasn't.

I was going to fight the aging thing, with grace and effortlessly. Heck. There wasn't even gonna *be* a fight.

I was not going to thicken in the middle, fan myself in public, wear bifocals, develop a double chin, talk about my age spots.

I would stay trim, avoid hot flashes (somehow? I am unclear about how I thought I was going to pull that off), eagle-eyed, sharply profiled, with clear skin.

Um yeah. About that.

I have (proudly) purchased by first jeans from Lane Bryant (size 1 yellow--for us girls that are straight up and down, butt, hips and waist), been professionally fitted in a bra that is significantly larger in the alphabet than I had been wearing since my teens and started an informal Weight Watchers program for myself. I have resurrected the 1980's Denise Austin "Trim and Tone" VHS tape (complete with mullets).

I have lost 3 pounds.

Stay tuned.

PS One thing I can say about being ::ahem:: my age, is that it is far easier to grow to love the body you have, imperfections and all. Wisdom, apparently, comes wtih aging. I love that.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Gleee!!!!

Anyone else clapping their hands with child-like glee over the anticipation at the coming release of "Prince Caspian"? (insert clapping and smiling here)

The next of the Disney movies based on the "Chronicles of Narnia" series by CS Lewis is coming out in May (if I remember correctly). We saw previews at the theater, prior to the showing of the newest "National Treasure" movie (eh. it was ok).


I was so very impressed with the Disney's making of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" that I am positively giddy thinking about watching this one, too. It was a feast for the eyes and the soul.

The books were much-loved by Mark, the kids and I and I was sooooo afraid they'd wreck the movie(s). You know how that is...film-makers take a favorite book and make it into something so different than what you had "seen" in your imagination, it is unrecognizable? ugh. I hate that.

But I found "TLWW" to be very true to the book(s) and felt they were very careful not to do away with the Christian allegory-ness (not a real word) of the story.


It was dang near movie-going perfection (and I am somewhat of a snob about my movies).

Counting the days...just like a kid.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Ethica--a name to know

Here's a link to Ethica's site.

Although it does not look as though we will adopt a child, I remain interested in the status of international adoptions, especially in Viet Nam.

It is my sincere hope that the issues of orphans-who-wait, hopeful parents-who-long and adoption ethics-found-wanting can be dusted, sorted, organized and clearly labeled in neatly stacked laws and
guidelines, shinybright and gleaming for the benefit of all.

May it be so.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Who's got the GPS?

OK. Let's get some input here.

Can we all agree that each life has an experience that (in Christian circles) would be referred to as a "desert"? A dry time? A time of waiting, little forward motion? A time of death and decay? A time of wandering in circles, while your feet swell in your sandals and eating quail, manna and dust 24/7?!!!!! :ahem:

Until two years ago, I (secretly) thought that not *all* people experience such a time in their lives. Mostly, because it had never happened to me (or moi, as my French-speaking daughter would say).

And even if someone I respected would have said that it was their belief that *all* of us must experience a desert, I may have nodded silently, but (secretly) I would know that wasn't true, cuz it had never happened to me/moi.

Enter, moi. Teri. The short-sighted, silly one. The sunburned, parched, dehydrated crawling one. Yup. Two years ago (more or less), I woke up and found myself :gasp: in the desert.

How did I get here? Why am I staying so dang long? How the heybillies do I get out?

I don't really need to have the "How can a loving God...?" discussion. Thanks be to God, that's one issue that (for now) I do not struggle with. I'm more in the "God is good, all the time---All the time, God is good" camp.

But still, what is the deal with the desert? I know there are any number of lessons to be learned and spirit-led things to experience, but can you just tell me this?

Is is possible I was led here by the Lord? That I didn't just sleep-walk my way here, or sin my way out here or bumble my way out here?

Cuz to me, that feels like the truest thing.

Thankfully, I've probably only got 38 more years to wander.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sent by a friend

When God takes something from your grasp,
He's not punishing you,
but
merely opening your hands
to receive something better.

Why?

I often ponder this (not so secret anymore) place I post.

Diary. Journal. Post. Blog. Why do it? Why do I write?

Why do I spend time reading the writings of another, perhaps, even, a stranger?

When we write (for ourselves) or read another's writings, what is the attraction? Is it like a secret revealed? A glimpse of the inner workings of another's heart and mind? Being invited in? Belonging?

Why do I care to read another's musings and ponderings? Why would I like to leave a trail of my own?

Obviously, this post is just the beginning of a looong, rambling thought process.

For me, the answer to these questions are important, because I spend precious, priceless, irreplaceable moments engaged in reading and writing. I guess if that is the case, I wish to be intentional about the *why* of it.

Here' s the quote that started the rambling post:

"...in another's eyes, a diary shimmers with concrete details, life patterns, a self unaware of its own stories". Hmmmm...is that true for you? I think it is for me.

The quote is from a book called, "On Keeping a Journal---Leaving a Trace. The Art of Transforming a Life into Stories" by Alexandra Johnson.

Good book. Worth a read. Worth a purchase, IMHO, as it has jump-started me several times, when stuckness in writing comes. I have employed a few of her techniques and tools over the past several years, as I attempt to document life in fits and starts.

Stay tuned.

Bread of Life

Melissa chose another organization working with children in Viet Nam, called the "Bread of Life". Here is her brief description..

"Another great one ministering to the deaf in VN is www.partnersincompassion.org and there is a restaurant/bakery in VN called Bread of Life in DaNang that employs the deaf in their restaurant."

Here are a couple of references to this group. I have linked their blogs...

My Frugal Life

"My new obsession in Vietnam is going to this place called Bread of Life, which is a restaurant owned by some Americans from Missouri who have been living in Vietnam for the past 8 years, but the restaurant has only been open the past 9 months or so. Getting to the point they hire mostly people who are deaf, so I go there in the evenings and learn more Vietnamese sign language, I have progressed quit well and can now understand most everything they are saying. It is my new passion here, it is a bit difficult because each person may use different signs depending what form they learned and how much they were taught. So I have been having to learn numerous signs for the same word, the perk is as I am learning sign I am also learning Vietnamese, which has been more difficult for me to pick up without proper lessons and people always trying to speak to me in English. My favorite thing about going to bread of life is I can carry on a much more in depth conversation in sign with my new friends than I can in Vietnamese."


Children of Viet Nam Blog

"Thursday, our hearts were stolen by the children at Tam Ky orphanage and Tam Ky Street Children Program. One of the most moving moments was meeting Nga,a beautiful 19 year old deaf girl. Children of Vietnam will be bringing her to DaNang, where she will join other young deaf adults at the Bread of Life. We will have her hearing evaluated and determine further opportunities for her education."

As I originally wanted to be a teacher of the deaf (since I read the life story of Helen Keller at age 9), this sounds like a wonderful way to assist children and young people in becoming self-supporting. How exciting!!

I would love to visit this little place. Who's in? :~)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Pass Me Some Global Warming, please

I will be going to school into July (when it truly *is* warm), if this global warming doesn't stop.

Really.

More snow.

Really?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Some of our favorites VN photos-Hope Haven

These photos were taken in early 2001 on our first time (together) to VN. We helped distribute between 700-800 chairs (2 teams) in about 10 days.

All those chairs!!! First, they are sorted...

Then, loaded for transport to the city or village.

A special school in Vinh Long.


Two types of wheels make a man mobile (and able to work). Here, Mark tries to determine what this man's mobility needs are.


This young man preferred this PET chair; it has storage capacity on the back.

This man received crutches and a chair.

The start of the fitting...

A child being fitted into a chair (Mark).

The first time I decided I wanted to adopt from VN--look at Linh, selling her lottery tickets!Mark in a cyclo in Nha Trang.


The second time I decided I wanted to adopt--look at that beautiful baby!! Repair for club feet in process.

Alannah was about 10 or so when we went the first time. She wanted us to pose her bear and send photos. We were tickled to do so! :~)

Excellent food at a pastor's home in Nha Trang.

Bear at the Presidential Palace.

Soccer near the beach at Nha Trang.

Teri in a basket boat, on our way to a restaurant.

Teri in front of the Opera House in Saigon/HCMC.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Happy Birthday, Alannah!!!!



If you want to just see plain ole color photos on a slideshow (without the black and white and flower motif), you can click on the right hand corner--the "View All Images" button).

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Passages

My baby is 17. Seventeen, people.

She can drive. She can see an R-rated movie (ugh). She works. She is taking AP classes. She is receiving college mailings by the dozens. She is a good friend. She has a steely sense of right and wrong. She is outspoken, but can hold her tongue. She is caring and kind and creative. She is an accomplished world traveler. She reads for pleasure and writes with joy and clarity. She is confident enough to go to school dances without a date. She is banking and budgeting. In 366 days, she can pierce or tatoo her young flesh without my knowledge or permission (sigh). She rises before the rest to go to practice at school. She is getting ready to fly.

A daughter is different than a son.

She is a surprise. She is a delight. She is transparent. She is a mystery. She is many things I am not. She is me, a part of me and yet not me. I "get" her. When she falls, it hurts. When she soars, I know the feeling.

I want for her to have so much more than I have and how can that even be possible, when I have been given so much? I'd like her to have all that she wants (health, schooling, career, home, husband, family, travel, success--whatever), but none of the pain that inevitably comes with the acquisition of these blessings.

I could not love her anymore. I could not love her any less. I love her because she is mine.

And when I contemplate the love of a parent for a child, in my imperfect, puny, tiny way, I understand my Heavenly Father who delights in, weeps over and advocates for His precious children.

Happy Birthday, Lou. I love you, little girl. Always have. Always will.

Ethica Input

New Ethica Project on Abandonments
Fri Feb 1, 2008 1:58 pm (PST)

Fellow APVers and members of the Vietnam Adoption Community,

I have been following the recent discussion on abandonments from Viet Nam
with great interest. During my recent trip, I met with U.S. Embassy staff
who revealed a shocking piece of information on which Ethica feels compelled
to act. Currently 85% of the adoptions being processed are for abandoned
children! The Embassy is very concerned about this, and believes that many
"abandonments" are being staged to avoid investigation into the backgrounds
of children. There are, of course, other possible reasons and we believe it
should be determined what those reasons are. But one thing is clear. There
is no societal reason for Vietnamese adoptions to become more closed over
the course of the last few years. Indeed, statistics that we've been able to
gather thus far point to a disturbing shift from pre-closure statistics to
the current ones.

There are two results of this trend: The first is that children are being
deprived of their identifying information. The second is that this practice
could seriously damage the continuation of adoptions from Vietnam. US
government offices have a duty to determine the background of children and
their orphan status. When a sudden shift in practices occurs which makes
that difficult, suspicions rise and warning signs cannot be ignored.

Ethica is working to address this problem, with the goal of protecting the
identities of the children and preserving adoption as an option for the
orphans of Vietnam. To that end, we are launching a new project called
"Operation Identity". Please visit our website for more details on the
problem and our new initiative. More information will be provided soon about
how you can help.

Trish Maskew, President
Ethica
www.ethicanet. org
http://ethica.ning.com/
(Ethica blog link added by blog owner)

Although we have not adopted from VN, I continue to follow the process and the state of agreements and procedures between the US and VN.

To me, the work that Ethica is doing is both scary and important. I want to know and yet, I don't. But to choose to "not know" is not really a choice. It's not. a. choice.

I firmly believe their work should be supported by APs and PAPs, as well as those who love the people and children of Viet Nam (for any reason).

I continue to hope and pray that the adoptions from Viet Nam can and will continue, with all possible safeguards confidently in place and fully operational.

Friday, February 1, 2008

It's My Turn!!!, Kelley Squealed

This is my amazing friend, Kelley and her son, Isaac. Kelley is one of the most obedient God-girls, I've ever had the privilege to know. Obedient to the point of leaving her home, her country, her possessions, her comfort, her job, etc. because her Lord told her to go to Costa Rica. And minister to the poor.

Never mind, that Kelley did not know a soul in Costa Rica. Never mind that she did not speak Spanish. Never mind that she had no job connections, place to live, people to meet her at the airport. Never mind that she is a *single mom* to Isaac. Never mind that I told her that I didn't think the Lord would ask her to give it *all* to Him (what do I know?).

Nope. Kelley went, because the Lord said, "Go". She had an awesome time of growing and changing and was away for 3 years! She lived among the poor in a neighborhood with no hot water, minimal electricity, no transportation and only her skills as a hair stylist to sustain her and her son. She loved the children! She loved the prostitutes and taught 12 of them how to be hair stylists.

Yup. Kelley would send us a wish list and a needs list and we would send the stuff. Hair dryers, curling irons, aprons, capes, rollers, clips, color kits, towels, etc. Paper and crayons, balloons, stickers, toys, clothes. Money. Whatever she needed. It was exciting for us to watch the Lord met each need.

And then she came home (because the Lord said to, of course). She found a house. She found a house with a styling salon!!! Isaac went to school. Both Kelley and Isaac had serious medical surgeries performed (most multiple times). But we were glad she was with her family and friends and we could love on her again.

During her time back in Iowa, I knew Kelley was only with us for a time. She is simply too big to contain! Now, three years later, she has met Doug. And Doug is the man we have prayed about for years.

Kelley had a verse and she and I prayed it and prayed it. We knew that we would know which man God had chosen for her, because we had inside information (from God--lol).

I've watched her and her finance come under the protection and mentoring of friends and family. I've watched them do all the right things (counseling; marriage, blending a family, financial). They've taken trips together. They have sold two homes and purchased another. They have planned a wedding.

And tonight, we are having a lingerie and pampering shower for the girl who can say, "It's my turn!!!" And it *is*! She has waited and persevered. And we know that we know that we know Doug is the one for Kelley. Prayers for a happy life together, wherever God may take you in the years to come.