Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

Driven By Eternity - Day 8 - Repost

Scheduling a re posting of this old post of mine.  I really liked it then, and so did several readers.  I hope that this holds true.

Therefore let us go on and get past the elementary stage in the teachings and doctrine of Christ (the Messiah), advancing steadily toward the completeness and perfection that belong to spiritual maturity. Let us not again be laying the foundation of repentance and abandonment of dead works (dead formalism) and of the faith [by which you turned] to God, with teachings about purifying, the laying on of hands, the resurrection from the dead, and eternal judgment and punishment. [These are all matters of which you should have been fully aware long, long ago.]

In other (my own) words, eternal judgment isn't just something some people have come up with based on some obscure passage or their own interpretation of the last little dash at the end of the line. It's not just real, not just relevant... it's elementary. In the book, in Chapter 4 (I'm skipping notes on the story of Affabel - I don't feel right about trying to condense it and I won't plagiarize. http://www.messengerintl.org/ Go to the website, order the Affabel series. It will be worth your time, I promise). Anyway, back to chapter 4... following that scripture, Rev. Bevere writes,

"One dictionary defines elementary as "constituting the basic, essential, or fundamental part." It's the essential part we must have right from the start to build upon; it's a foundation."

To me, this means that we can't move on beyond those basics until we get it. We may get tidbits - just as a baby occasionally gets a little morsel of mommy's food. But we need these foundations before we can truly move forward in our walk with God.

Maybe I'm unique, but I'm hung up the eternal part of this judgment. Judgment isn't necessarily bad... it can be good, too. As in the judgment to award someone compensation for a wrong done to them. It's not the judgment part that concerns me. God is just, He is Holy and Righteous. Of course there will be judgment. Our works aren't in vain. Or, rather, they don't have to be in vain. Some things we do here will be gold, silver, or precious stones in heaven. Other things, things that may not be bad or sinful but are still not for the Kingdom, will be wood, hay, and stubble. They'll all be tried by fire, and what remains will be purified gold, silver, or stones. The rest will be waste. I get that. I understand that. We need to remember that while we're here, because once we're there, it will be judged. The part that throws me, that concerns me, that keeps me awake at night, is the eternal part. While we're here, we can always say "Well, I'll get to that later." There's the notion that we'll have a chance to make it right, to do better. But once we get there... that's it. There's no more chances to do works that will yield a lasting reward. If we come through that fire with nothing but our lives, it is infinitely better than spending eternity in Hell.

But... we'll all find ourselves before Christ, wanting with everything in us to lay our treasure at His feet. As a way of thanking Him. For those who are saved but have nothing to show for it, they'll have one thing - a palm branch. A pitiful offering. I don't want to be one of those. And it's eternal. I've not seen any scripture that indicates that once we get to Heaven, we can do anything to earn more rewards or to change our status. That's the scary part... knowing that here on earth, I am choosing my eternity. Not just where, but how. And that's why I've only read one page of chapter four tonight. Because this is one of those things that keeps me awake. That messes with my head. That messes with my own theology and desires and beliefs.

The other thing that gets me is this... He is coming quickly. Come Lord Jesus. I want Him to come. But really, I don't think I actually get it. If I got it, would I live differently? Maybe. If I knew for a fact that in exactly one week He was returning, what would I do? What if it was one day? What if I knew it was in an hour? Would my sense of urgency increase? Would I be so concerned about offending people? Or would every second be spent warning people that He's coming. And it's not like if you're on the fence about it, you'll be given a chance to say, "Oh, wow, I guess that I should change my mind and follow Him" and then still get to come with us. It will be in the twinkling of an eye. We, the believers who are going, will have a brief warning - the loudest, most majestic trumpet blast we'll have ever heard. But the rest of the world? It's clear in scripture:

"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[f] but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left."
Matthew 24:36-41

See? That's what it will be. Nobody is going to CHOOSE to stay - the choice is made before hand. When you choose whom you will follow. We've been learning in church about how in the last days, it will become possible to see the difference between wheat and tares. In other words, instead of having a bunch of people who appear saved, and not being able to tell who is and isn't, it will be clear who truly belongs to God. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me that as each day ticks away, it becomes more obvious who in this world has a relationship with my King and who is truly and eternally lost. And that, too, keeps me up at night.

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Big Change

I am making some really big changes here.  I'll be back, but things will be... different.  Give it a couple weeks.  And yes, I saved the old posts.  They have been moved to a new blog, where I have begun removing anything that would link this blog with me specifically.

Sorry guys - but it's got to be done.

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Great Love.

You might remember this post from a while back.  After a lot of reading and praying and looking carefully at what is actually being done by each program, our choice was narrowed down to one region, one center.  At that center, we chose a child to sponsor through Compassion.  I have said before that they are excellent stewards of the funds they receive.  I've looked at a lot of sponsorship programs, and Compassion stands out as making a tangible difference, with a focus on enabling the children and their families to be independent.  And they stand out in consistent expenditures.  I've seen programs where as little as 40% of what is donated goes toward anything that actually impacts the child.  Compassion is, and has consistently been, much higher than that.  When you look for a child to sponsor, you can read what it's like where he or she lives, as well as see what, exactly, will be provided by their local program.  It varies at each location. 

Back to our child.

We chose her region, her center, because they provide basic food supplies, medical procedures, exams, and treatments, school supplies, and tuition.  All of that... but most importantly, they teach her the Word of God.  They will tell her of His love, of His provision.  They'll teach her, as she grows, to be able to support herself.  They will help her family, too, to be better able to provide.

Our child's name is Marpendo, which means Great Love.  She is beautiful, and I love the meaning behind her name.  In the way she holds her body, face pointing at the camera but eyes averted, an empty smile... she seems so love-starved.  I don't believe her family is depriving her of love... but if she's not had His love, she's starving.  We'll get that fixed.  She reminds me of my Rico that I sponsored so long ago... he had that same face, the same expression.  Over that first year, her smiles started to get more genuine.  Light appeared in his eyes.  I loved seeing that change, and I am so excited to witness (and be a part of) that same change in Marpendo. 

I pray that Marpendo would grow in stature and wisdom and knowledge of Him.  I pray that the love of God would be undeniably present in her life, and that the ministry she will be receiving will overflow to the family member who takes care of her.  Marpendo's parents are no longer living on earth.  I pray that my God would help to heal her wounded heart.  Fill her with hope and expectation... that she'd learn that He has plans for her, good plans, plans to give her a hope and a future.
I'm just so excited and feel so peaceful, choosing to finally go back through the door God never closed.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Anna Day.

Today is Anna Day.  If she had been born on her due date, this would be her fourth birthday.  Four.  People say that it gets easier with time.  They are right, in some ways.  It doesn't hurt as often as it used to.  But there is a distinct quiet in our house... a lack of tiny footsteps and giggles under covers.  I know where she is.  I know she is okay.  And we are okay.

But we do wish we had her here with us. 

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Stars. And Him.

Last night, I spent some time with a good friend and my husband.  Then my husband went home and I got to chatting with said friend and ended up staying pretty late.  Then I had the 35 minute drive home.

It was so quiet... no other cars (I saw one, in 35 minutes.  A county sheriff on patrol who followed me for the last 5 minutes of my trip.  I assume to run my plates out of boredom.).  The sky was so clear, with little patches of steam and smoke rising up from houses.  No lights other than in the one tiny town I went through. 

The stars were so bright.  It was so cold and so still that they didn't really even twinkle.  Everything looks bigger that way.  And there were meteors.  Lots of them.  Just as I reached the top of the final hill, a particularly large and bright one flashed into view and trailed further than usual.  It was one of those rare moments when you look up at just the right instant; one of those moments that burns vividly into memory and can be recalled at will.  Or maybe you need to think in pictures for that to happen?  Regardless, it did.

I got to spend those 35 minutes worshipping and praying.  "God time" is the most special time... to be able to communicate with the One who created the entire universe is just so... humbling, and beautiful, and amazing.  It is a time when I can express myself, yes.  But more than that, and better, is that He can communicate with me.  Peace.  Joy.  Hope.  Assurance.  Correction.  Rebuke.  Love.  Most of all, love. 

Do you know how amazing that is?  That One who can created everything, Who knows all, sees all... that that One loves me?  It is something that is irrevocably true, and yet... and yet, I cannot wrap my mind around it.  HE loves ME.  Wow.

Psalm 8
LORD, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

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Saturday, December 11, 2010


Actually, I am pretty sure it's impossible to be in a bad mood with Tabi around.  Tabi (short for Tabibito) is our 10 week old kitten. 

I admit, when I woke up to hear "scraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaape scraaaaaaaaaaaaaaape" coming from the office, I wasn't impressed.  Until I saw what he was doing.  He had his front feet in the plastic dish we gave him snow in (Derek's idea - Tabi loved it).  He was running as fast as he could with his back feet.  Like skateboarding.  Only different.  More accurately described as food-bowling, perhaps.  He was zooming across the wood floor like this, bouncing off furniture, walls... it was absolutely hilarious.  I brought him to bed with me - it was 5:15 AM and I was not ready to get up yet, especially on a Saturday.  I was almost asleep when I heard a little chirp and felt his rough but gentle little tongue - grooming my eyebrow.  I opened my eyes and he started to wiggle and purr.  So much for sleep... but also, so much for being cranky about the lack of sleep. 

Who could be cranky with this around?

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Friday, December 10, 2010

What I Want For Christmas

I was asked by my step mom (who I think is fantastic, by the way) what Derek and I want for Christmas.  Every year, that question is harder and harder to answer.

This year, what I want and what others can give me are very far apart.  And yet, so much of what I want I already have.  And what I need?  Yep - got that too.

Anyway, as I considered that question, I came up with the following answers.

I want a home, a good husband, and something meaningful to do in the world.  I have a home that is nearing completion... we'll have it done before spring.  I have a husband who loves God, who loves me, who works hard, and has done so much to make me proud this year.  Meaningful contribution?  That's there too.  And not in just one way. 

I am blessed.

I want to be able to pay off our debt.  All of it.  I really do not like owing money to anyone - be that a person or institution.  We're not in a position to eliminate our debt right now, but we've whittled away at it this year.  Finances are improving, and I am so thankful. 

I want to pay off the debt our church has (nothing bad, just a mortgage that's already paid years ahead of schedule; but there's still a chunk left). 

I want to pay off the debt a close friend has on the building he runs his business out of.

I want someone to rent the second half of said building.

I want to bless people financially, especially in these times when people are hurting so much in that area.

I guess what I want is lots of money... but not to buy things with.  I want it to give.  Since I don't have that... I will give what I can give - time, prayer, love, support; I can set my hands to work and I can do it cheerfully.

I want to be a mom.  Not going to happen before Christmas, obviously... we'd either have to be significantly pregnant or in the final stages of becoming a foster parent or in the very end stage of adoption.  None of those are true.  Besides that, nobody could give that to me.

But my heart?  My deepest longing, the thing that others can do? 

There are children everywhere who are hoping, praying, longing for love... and there are children everywhere who have given up on it completely.  They don't know what it is, they don't have any in their life.  Nobody has loved them, or it's been so long that they can't remember.  Nobody tells them about God.  They don't know who Jesus is.  They don't know what it feels like to be safe and warm and get a big hug.

I have no official connection, nor do I have any other motivation to promote, Compassion.  For years, I sponsored a little boy named Rico.  I do not know what became of little Rico; he withdrew from his program.  But in the years I sponsored him, I watched him grow so much.  From a shy, under-nourished and fearful child to a strong boy who wrote to me about his dad's job search, his adventures at school, and always included a tracing of his little (but growing!) hand on his letters.  I don't know if he moved or if his family's status changed; I don't know where he is or what he is doing now (he'd be 14).  I only know that he is a part of my heart for the rest of my life.  And I know that Compassion is a well-established ministry with proven results.  They are excellent stewards of the financial support that is channeled through them.  And most importantly, they are using love and the meeting of needs to show Jesus to children everywhere.

The Christmas gift I would truly like to see is this:  for each person who reads my blog and can afford the $38 each month to sponsor a child through Compassion.  That's less than $10 each week.  One trip through the drive through for a couple - if they eat cheap.  Would you consider doing that?  If you cannot - if it is beyond your means or if your financial situation isn't stable - would you consider donating once? 

As I said, I have no connection to Compassion other than the knowledge that what they do is good and the little boy that I sponsored.

That is what I'd really like for Christmas.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Top Secret Information

**If you have requested an invite to my fertility blog and have not received it, please check your junk-mail or request another invite.  I have over 30 open invitations right now, so I know not everyone has gotten theirs.**

First, if you want to read my fertility blog, you will have to either email me or leave a comment as it is now protected.  It will stay this way for at least the next few weeks, as we go through retrieval, fertilization, and get "the news."  It's not that I want to hide from the world... it's just that I want to have a way to update people, but not have the added stress of nay-sayers.

Now, on to the Top Secret Information I have for you. 

Truth is, I have been holding out on you guys big time.  There was a big thing that happened back in September, a thing that we didn't want anybody to hear about second-hand.  We also didn't want to tell certain people until we had a resolution to said thing.

Derek was working, and he made a statement to a customer that seemed perfectly acceptable at the time - both to Derek and to the customer.  However, the manager monitoring the call felt that Derek was trying to avoid helping the customer and chose to terminate his employment.  We were truthfully terrified.  Especially me.  He was more ashamed than afraid, I think.

But over the days and weeks following, I was prouder of him than I've maybe ever been.  Like me, he's still imperfect.  Because he's still human and trapped on earth.  In the past, I've ached for him to step up and be the leader I believe God has called him to be.  For him to be decisive, firm.  To lead our family.  And it hasn't always happened (don't get me wrong - there have also been times I've chosen not to follow or submit, which is in my opinion probably more dangerous).  But this time, he didn't back down. 

He told me what we were going to do.  He stuck to his word.  He worked so hard to get a new job - and had one 3 days after he was informed that he was fired.  Not a great job - not the best fit for him, poor wages and no benefits.  But better than starving, right?  He worked at that job diligently, all the while searching for an alternative (I helped, but the spotlight here is on Derek).  He's applied at so many locations, but as many of you know, the job market just isn't the best right now.  There was one job he was promised that never came to fruition.  He was so disappointed when the date he should have started came and went.  He wanted to work for that company - still does.

Then, last week, he got a phone call informing him of a different, unexpected opening at that company.  It pays $3.60 more per hour than the job he originally wanted, and is in the IT field (something Derek really wanted to break into).  His position right now is officially temporary, but will hopefully be made permanent in January.  Meanwhile, at the other job he was working, he asked if he could go part time.  They were disappointed - they were planning on promoting him very shortly after he completed training.  They said yes though.  So he is staying there part time, with the knowledge that if he were to return to full time, the promotion is waiting for him. 

Can I just say, I am proud of him?  I think he's acted very honorably and very much the "man" in all of this.  Thank you Derek, for leading our family, for loving me, and most of all, for loving God.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest We Forget...

You might remember this post - the one where I told you about reading every name on the walls at the memorial near my home.

I asked you then - and I'm asking you now - read those names.  Find a place and read the names.  And remember.

Remember that our opinion of war is irrelevant, that what we believe about our president or the choices he has made don't really come into play when it comes to remembering.  Remembering what these people have done for us.  For me.  For you.  For this nation.

They have stood alone in the dark, facing those things that invoke nothing less than stark terror.  They have had to live with the blood of innocent people on their hands, on their hearts.  They have walked where few dare to imagine.

They have been strong.  Courageous.  They have been loyal.  They have been the epitome of what America is supposed to be. 
I cannot speak for those who have lost the ones they love the most.  It hasn't happened to me.  But I can remember them.  I can try to imagine their sadness, their devastation.

I cannot speak for those who wait each night for that letter, that note... the one that says "I am okay.  I love you."  I've never had to do that.  But I can remember them.  I can think about them when I'm awake in the early hours of the morning.

I cannot speak for those who have come home.  Those who remember faces that will never be seen again.  I don't know how it feels to be a soldier carrying a lifeless child.  I've never seen a battle.  But I have seen death, I have seen the loss of innocent life... I have even felt responsible.  So I can remember them.  When I am feeling guilty, or there is a face I can't get out of my head... I can remember them.

I cannot speak for those who have gone on.  I wish I could say with certainty that every one of them is in heaven now - a "better place."  I don't know that.  But I do know this... their sacrifice was ultimate.  There is nothing more they could have given.  We can give ourselves, but there is nothing more we can give.  I don't know what that is, not really.  But when I feel like I am just tired, like I don't want to give anymore... I can remember them.

Will you remember with me?  The old men in the coffee shop, wearing the VFW jackets... the homeless man standing on the street corner wearing the tatters of old fatigues or a uniform... the young man behind the counter at the bank... the police officer who seems just a little more alert than most... teachers, pastors, factory workers... people just like us.  Just like us.

Except today isn't about us.  It is about them.  I can remember.

Can you?
**Please note: photographs are exclusive property of Potter's Clay Studios and may not be used or reproduced without express written permission.**

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Monday, November 8, 2010

RAW(e) Entry


This weeks theme is Little.  I have a million pictures of a special little someone, but unedited, and sort of randomly chosen, here is my entry for the week:

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Kitten Update

I could go on and on about the kittens - how they are, how they've grown, how much healthier they are.  I think though, that I'll let pictures speak on my behalf.  The shots aren't great, I know, but... they'll show you the progress.  

Kiryoku - Inner Strength
Day 3 - Age 16 Days

Day 13 - Age 26 Days

Tabibito - Voyager
Day 3 - Age 16 Days

Day 13 - Age 26 Days

Kohtamashii - Fire Spirit
Day 3 - Age 16 Days

Day 13 - Age 26 Days

Kaminari - Thunder
Day 3 - Age 16 Days

Day 13 - Age 26 Days

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Every Name.

There is something about me that most people don't know.  In fact, I don't think my own husband even knows.

Each time I drive to the City (which is almost daily), I pass a veterans memorial.  About once a week or so, I stop.  I get out of my car, and I go to the Walls.  I read the names. 

I don't know anybody else who does.  There's hundreds.  I know a lot of them - or of them.  Or know their children, or grandchildren.  Their names are inscribed there for a reason.  They gave of themselves - walked away from so much - carry burdens that cannot be lifted - many of them gave all.  All.  For you, for me... for their country.  There are so many walls like this - more all the time.  Black, marble walls with white names.

I can't read them all.  Can't remember them all.

But on these walls... on the walls I drive by, on the walls I see nearly every day... on these, I can read the names.

And I do.

I read every one.  Every one deserves to be read.  To be remembered.  There are six who I went to high school with, who have already reached their eternal destination... six names next to which I rest my hand, and sometimes get teary eyed. 

But I don't stop their... it's where I go first, but then I move forward.  I start at the beginning, and walk all the way around both walls.  I read every name.

There is something I'd like to ask you.  It doesn't matter if you support war, or this war, or your home country or your own government.  That's not what those walls are about.  They are about the people who believed so strongly in something that they were willing to sacrifice all... and who were willing to do what most of us never would dare.  Not just the heroics and the danger to self... but the taking of lives.  The destruction.  The devastation.  The nightmares that won't stop, seeing the young faces in crowds and thinking for just a moment, it's that one person... that one enemy soldier who turned out to be still a boy and not yet a man.  It is that, those things we abhor, those things we despise... they were willing to bear that burden for you.  Remember that.  Remember that they believed, that they stood for what they knew in their hearts.  Remember that they chose to make the greatest sacrifice they could... for people like you and me. 

Remember that.

And read every name.  Even if you do it just once... read every name.  Each has a story, a life, a family... and each deserves to be read.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Leg Update.

Have had a few people wondering how my leg is doing... so I thought I'd post an update.  I am 5.5 months post-op, and almost 33% of the way through the "active healing" phase.

The graft is doing well, after I split it open a while back.  Other than the scars from that, it looks pretty good.  It's turning colors, and is closer to the color of my regular skin.  There's something going on with one of the muscles in the front of my shin - it hasn't functioned since I bruised and split things. 

Yes, I bumped the contrast a little on this, so you could see the outlines of the muscles.  See that big gap in my shin?  That's not supposed to be there.
It's hard to sit idly by as adhesions form between the graft and the muscle facia, since I know eventually they'll tear free.  Surgeon sais absolutely no efforts are to be made to stretch or break them until after that 18 months, though, so... I watch.  The medial edge of the graft is adhered to my periosteum.  THAT part of it actually really hurts.  Very sensitive to the touch, very uncomfortable if it gets pulled on.

But over all, I am thrilled with how well it is doing.  It is healing, I have TWO functional legs, I am alive.

And as a friend said the other day... it's starting to look like a leg again.  :)

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Sunday, October 24, 2010


Meet Kaiah.  She is about 4 months old, and is from the a previous litter by the mother of our current fosters.

I have to admit... she's stunning.  Her eyes seem to shoot sparks, and are the palest blue I believe I've ever seen.  She's marked mostly like a lopsided siamese, but does have the "eye-shadow" on one eye, and the tips of her ears are peach.  But more than her physical beauty, she possesses a zest for life that amazes me.  And I want her in the WORST way...

Unfortunately, Kaiah is too loved by her family - they won't let me steal her.  ;)

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Have Kittens.

I know, I know, we're too busy to be fostering.  And yet... there are FOUR two week old kittens in our bedroom right now.  Two tiny bottles in our fridge.  And a container of Clavomox.  And we are remembering how much we love doing this.

First, I want to introduce Chaileh (HIGH-yeh) - the name is derived from the Hebrew word for "alive."  Chaileh did not survive.  Her mom had distemper while pregnant, and of the six kittens, three ended up with cerebral hypoplasia.  One died within the first week.  Chaileh did okay, and then we got called to go get her because she was fading fast.  We brought her home, filled her with fluids, put her on and under heat and she still shivered, and gave her as much antibiotic as her tiny body possibly could have handled... but it wasn't enough.  When it became clear she was dying, I did give her some pain medication so it didn't hurt.  THIS is why I don't hesitate to tell people - SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS.

This is Kiryoku.  His name means "Inner Strength."  Of our four remaining kittens, he was in the worst shape when he arrived.  Very passive, very weak.  Didn't have any interest in eating.  Could barely lift his head.  No hair on his chest or throat.  But he's a whole other kitten after just 48 hours.  Still looks silly with the missing hair, but is doing well over all.  We call him Yoku.

This is Tabibito.  His name means "Voyager" and boy, he sure is.  He's into EVERYTHING.  Has to see, has to touch, has to smell, taste... If we thought we could possibly add a 5th cat to our own permanent menagerie, he would probably never leave our home.  BUT, we can't.

We call him Tabi (TAH-bee).

This is Kaminari.  His name means "Thunder."  In the picture, he looks a little big gray and not all that cute.  In reality, he is stunning.  Jet-black, gorgeous baby boy.  Although he did pee all over the bed tonight.  Not his fault - we didn't make sure his bladder was empty before we let him wander.  He's got spunk, and out of all of them, seems the healthiest.  He jumps - or tries, anyway.  He can barely walk, but he launches his tiny self into the air, and usually either gets hung up on whatever he's trying to jump over or falls on his face.  Doesn't bother him a bit.  He likes to put his front paws on faces and lick noses, and he sucks his thumb while he sleeps.  I have GOT to find a way to photograph that fact.

We call him Nari (NAH-ree).

This sweet little girl is Kohtamashii.  Her name means "Fire Spirit" or, as we in America would say, "spitfire."  She is, too.  She's very intense.  She also is the crankiest of all of them.  Sadly, she also has hypoplasia, but not to the degree the other two did.  She's just got some of the classic signs - the head wobble, a bit of muscle weakness, lack of coordnation, and her feet don't really do what she wants a lot of the time.  But she will be able to walk, maybe even manage a clumsy run.  She can never be an outside cat, so it's a good thing she's already got an inside home lined up.  We call her Kohta.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

What We Remember.

In my shortage of words (yes, I actually do occasionally have a shortage of words), I have chosen a video.  I don't care if you watch it... but listen to it.  I don't have anything to say about war, or when it's right or wrong (or IF it's right or wrong).  All I can say is that I believe it is right to support those who are willing to sacrifice everything for something they believe is worth fighting for.

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Saturday, October 9, 2010


I apologize for asking for prayer and then disappearing.

Because of certain people reading this, I can't really say WHAT the mountain is yet.  But it's still there, looming up in front of us.  Big, scary, intimidating.  I know this is just a season... but it is a difficult and scary season, one filled with choices to make and things to do that are terrifying in so many ways.

We're okay though.  We will keep being okay.

We still love God.  Still serve Him.  And that's not going to change.

Soon, I'll be able to tell you about this mountain and to thank you for the prayers.

Meanwhile... I will try to come up with something to say here.  :)

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Please Pray?

My husband if facing a giant and a mountain and something that would be very negative if it happens.  So if you could pray for him, please do so.  Pray for favor, wisdom, knowledge, provision... and for peace?

Thank you.

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Friday, September 24, 2010


They say that repetition is a great way to learn things.

I am trying to learn my beautiful nephew Israel.  So I have spent more hours staring at his face, feeling him breathing against my chest, breathing in his sweet baby smell. 

And of course, more pictures.  Mom says she's not ready to make me leave the camera in the car - yet.  :)

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

May God Reign

Israel... beautiful, amazing baby boy.  You came into this world the day before our anniversary.  I remember sitting in the waiting room, wishing the rest of your family would hurry up and see you and leave - I couldn't wait to meet you.

You were everything I had expected you to be - and yet nothing I expected could have been as amazing as you.  I expected you to be wonderfully, beautifully made - and you are.  I expected you to be strong - and you are.  I expected the new-baby smell, the tiny fists, the dark blue eyes.  I even expected you to steal a big part of my heart.

But I didn't expect you to look SO much like your daddy... and at the same time, make exactly the same faces your mom makes.  I didn't expect you to capture my attention so fully.  I didn't expect to lay awake half the night, smiling at the memory of the time I got to spend with you in my arms.  I didn't expect to love you so much it hurts (in a good way). 

I expected your daddy to love you, to be proud of you, to be protective.  But I never could have imagined the look he has on his face when he looks at you.  I haven't ever seen him like this.  He thinks you are the most amazing creation in the world, I think.  He talks about you, a lot.  He takes pictures, and shows them to us.  He will be there for you for the rest of his life, Israel.  He loves you with the intensity and passion of your God.  He would lay down his life for you - of that, I have no doubt.

I expected your mommy to love you, too.  I expected her to be happy, to be relieved, to be proud.  And she is all of those things.  But Israel, if I could freeze her face, her voice, her eyes for you, I would.  Then, when you are older and it's harder to see things like a mother's love, you would have a reminder.  She holds you tight and close, like you are the most precious thing ever to exist... and she stares at you with a look of pure love, amazement, and joy.  Sweet child, you have made her happier than I have ever seen her. 

I also expected that your mommy and daddy would let Tio and I hold you... and love you... eventually.  I didn't expect the trust, the love, the way they let me feel your heart beating against my chest and breathe in your new baby smell.  Well, I did expect those things.  But I didn't expect to have the honor of doing it so much. 

I didn't expect that you would melt my heart the way you do.  I expected to feel this way when I have children of my own... but for you?  It wasn't something I thought could happen, and yet it has.  I would give everything I have, including my life, for you.

Tio got to really hold you yesterday, got to stare into your eyes and listen to your noises.  And it's happened to him, too.  As much as your parents want us to, and as much as we can, we want you to be part of our lives.  Your in our hearts, our prayers... on our minds.

We love you.

Your name, Israel, means "May God Reign."  And I pray that He does in your life, always.  Your mom and dad will raise you to love and serve Him.  Listen to them closely... and follow Him with all of your strength.  When you lay down at night, remember that He is with you, He keeps you safe and gives you peace.  When you're facing giants, remember that you do not stand alone.  If you will let Him, He will win those battles for you.  I pray that your faith would be strong, unwavering... child-like even when you grow old.  Search His Word every day, sweet boy.  It will help you to become the man you were created to be.  It will answer your hardest questions, comfort you when your heart is broken, and it will give you hope when all around seems wrong.  Let Him reign in you, Israel.  Honor your mom and your dad.  While you are still a child, obey them - not because they are right, but because obedience is right.  They are Godly people - our brother, our sister - and they will do everything they can to teach you the important things in life.

And so will we.  To whatever extent possible, in whatever ways we can, and regardless of the cost, we will support them as they raise you.  We will pray.  We will love.  We will laugh and cry with you, with them. 

And of course, we will probably take thousands of pictures of you.  Before you even turn one.  If your parents to make us start leaving our cameras in the car. 

Today, you are three weeks old.  I am not sure how that happened so quickly.  Yesterday, I drove you and your mom to the airport so you could say goodbye to Abuela.  She doesn't cry, Israel.  At least not when she's getting on a plane to go home to Rodrigo and Abuelo.  But when she held you, and they announced that it was time for people on her flight to be processed through security... she cried.  Big, shining tears.  She looked so torn, so heartbroken, that it made me almost cry. 

All of that, to say this:
Let God reign in your life.  Honor and obey your mom and dad.  Never stray from the Word of God.  I pray you come to a saving relationship with Christ early in your life, and never walk away from it.  And while you're here... you are loved.  You are cherished.  You are amazingly, wonderfully, beautifully made.  You are wanted.  You are safe and sound.

And I for one count it an unspeakable honor to be granted the title of Tia.  And I love you, Israel James.  Happy 3 week birthday.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

I Might Be In Love...

with this perfect little boy...

His parents let us call him our nephew.  When I hold him in my arms, his warmth, his softness, his perfectly formed face and super-fine hair, the way he smells, the way he puckers his face just like his mommy and the way his features are shaped just like his daddy... the feel of his heart beating against my chest, his breath rising and falling against me... I am in heaven.  Or as close as it comes this side of earth.  Little Israel James... Tia and Tio love you so very, very much.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

In Rememberance of 9-11

I don't have a lot of words right now.

But I found this song.  And I am posting it in place of words of my own.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Das Boot.

This is a leg update, just in case you want to quit reading now. 

It's been REALLY sore the last week or so - I think from nerves regenerating.  Or something.  I've been getting some spots of superficial sensation back, but the spatial awareness isn't there at all yet.  Tibial plateau is still very sore and bruises randomly (and often), but I haven't had a fever in over a month.  I've been working out and for the most part, tolerating it pretty well.  By working out I mean doing Martial Arts and pushing as I do.  But over all, in spite of the soreness, I feel like it's been doing really well.

Today, I put some things into a cave for a friend.  Heavy things.  That I was dragging in a big blue toy bucket with one hand, while I used the other hand to hold a rope and walk backwards down a VERY muddy incline.  A very steep, very muddy incline.  And then I climbed up for a second load.  And then climbed up to untie a rope to use down in the cave.  And then climbed out again.  And then built a fire (I'm an excellent fire builder).  At some point, either in dealing with the cave or in breaking up wood for the fire, there was an impact to the back edge of my graft.  It didn't hurt - I never felt it happen.  But now there's a nasty bruise underneath the graft, the muscle compartment is rock-hard, and the skin graft is split in a few places.

SO... I'll be backing off on the physical exercise for a week or two, and wearing BOOT again until the swelling goes down and the muscle softens back up.  It's frustrating, but... it will be okay.

**I am editing this to add a picture?  Why?  Because you guys asked for it.  I'll leave it small for those of you who might be a bit... squeamish.  But this is what it looks like if you happen to have a skin graft wrapped halfway around your leg, and you subsequently happen to bang it into... something.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Prayer Request Update

Specifically... pray for wisdom, for favor, and for hardened hearts to be softened?

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So this thing which I requested prayer for kept me up all night.

There i s a bonus to staying up all night.  You get to see the sunrise.  I was obvlivious initially, but looked out the window and there was light.

Hope you enjoy... I know I did.

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Sunday, August 8, 2010


That is the word I would choose to describe Abi.  Her strength, her character, her integrity, contagious joy, generosity, her compassion, devotion, and sold-out passion for her God... they go together, and are captivating.

Spent Thursday and Friday enjoying the wedding of one of my favorite people.  Love each other well and without reservation.  Congratulations, Abi and Caleb.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Stream of Conciousness (Or Something)

If I wasn't typing this on my phone, I'd show you a picture of the couple today and tomorrow is all about.

But I am.

Anyway... out of town, in a whole other state - one filled with corn - doing photography for a wedding. she (the bride) and her family mean a lot to me, and to be able to do this is an amazing privilege.

We saw a big, VERY green bus today. It said "Bowling Bus" on the side. My husband's navigation system on his phone told him to turn off the highway and into the middle of a cornfield. Or so he says.

When we left the City early this afternoon, my husband turned on his navigation program. He said, "Wow! It's THREE HOURS away from here?"
"Yes, it is."
"I didn't know that."
"But you looked at the map. You left Mapquest up on your computer. I saw it."
"Well, yeah, but I didn't realize how FAR it really was."
"Ok... so... did you just think that the middle of [the state next to us] had recently moved closer to us?"
He laughed. Hard.

I get to take most of my shots from the platform in front of the sanctuary tomorrow. Not feeling nervous or conspicuous at all... nope. Not me. Or maybe I am...

I also get to spend the entire day with the women in the wedding. Which I am for real looking forward to.

I decided 24 hours was close enough to the end of the no caffiene restriction the surgeon had ordered. My bladder feels like it's going to explode. I think she should have said no caffiene for at least THREE weeks.

How hard (or easy) is it to get addicted to vicodin?

I am running out of things to say.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Piccolo... nice one.

Not so very long ago, I told my dad I wanted an ebony piccolo.  I have a standard marching piccolo, which I love playing,  And yes, I know it's weird to love playing piccolo,  Alone.  But that's not the point.  The point is...

This shows the uncoventional holes and keys, creating the need to learn new fingerings.  Which I cannot find ANYWHERE.
Isn't it pretty?  Straight out of the new camera, no editing at all. 
As I said, it does not have conventional modern keys.  But it has an amazing, rich tone.... if only I knew how to play the notes.

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