Saturday, December 31, 2011


This year was full of God taking me out of my comfort zone.  It started with Him telling me that it was about me and one elses opinion mattered.  It was a year of learning not to live my life to please people, but to do what I was called to do.  It didn't come easy because I am a people pleaser at heart.

In 2011 
I struggled 
I wept in public
I put my best foot forward and failed
I stepped out in faith and was laughed at
I was faced with personal fear and overcame it
I wanted and could not acheive
I disappointed
I said no
I saw miracles
I heard the voice of God
I met my new son
I watched my daughter mature
I witnessed my son become a man
I loved my husband with a new refreshing love
I was reminded of what is important
I served my God.

 There are already so many exciting things in store for 2012, I can hardly wait to get started.  I know the Lord has called us to lead a group of High Schoolers that continue to amaze me with their depth of insight and their desire to effect the world around them.  I know the Lord has called me to allow my sweet Vivienne to travel to China for 6 weeks and serve at Shepherd's Field, ministering to the children there.  I know the Lord has equipped us to run 13.1 miles to raise awareness for orphans.  I know the Lord has called us to bring Henry home and start a new chapter in our family.  I know that a life lived for the Lord is exciting and I am standing on my tip toes waiting to see what else is in store.  
Happy New Year, Hope you are yours are blessed.

Isaiah 40:28-31
Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired.  His understanding is inscrutable.  He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.  Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength;  they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.

Friday, December 23, 2011


 This week has been amazing.  It started with my mom's Christmas party and it was all downhill from there, but downhill in a good way.  Like when you are running up hill for so long, months, and then finally a good unexpected downhill comes....ahhhh relaxation, ease, all you have to worry about is not tripping:)  So I finally got to go watch my Vivienne ride.  She has been volunteering at a stable in Back Bay where a trainer gives lessons to children with special needs...mostly autism from the sounds of it.  She helps with lessons and she cares for horses....her heaven.  Part of caring for the horses is riding them to keep them well trained and because Vivienne is fearless she was given the "spirited" horse to give her attention to.   Biscuit is HUGE, and has some bad habits that Vivienne is working on getting under control, but she absolutely loves that horse.   It has always amazed me to see her slight body control any horse but this time it was incredible.  She has the fearless focus and determination of a 200 pound MAN!!  I on the other hand am a nervous wreck!  Where she got her courage with animals I do not know.  So I got a couple of photos, here's to my Viv!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas 2011

 Every year my mom has a party the week before Christmas so that we don't have to try to go to two different houses on Christmas day.  It's a great way to start Christmas week and it almost always falls on my Ben's birthday so that makes it extra special.  This year we had it at our house so my mom could just come and enjoy it...nothing makes you love family more then 30 people smooshed in a house built for 6.  What a simply GREAT time.
Happy Birthday Ben!

 Is it possible that he could be 26?  Where did the time go?

Temre and sweet Kayden

Buffie and Brooklyn
The Hills

Brian Buffie Brooklyn and Jeremiah

The Olivers

The Marcianos

The Warrens

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Greatest and the Least

This week has brought about the most amazing gifts.  First we got a call that we were the recipients of an $8000 donation towards Henry's adoption!  I can't tell you how much relief it brought.  I know that I should have listened to the many people who told Charles and I that God takes care of the orphans but I just wasn't seeing it and I was getting scared.  This money not only will pay for the $1800 Post Adoption Visits and the $975 Fingerprinting and the 2nd Adoption Agency fee of $2250 plus some, it brings with it the confirmation that we are in God's will.  Not that we didn't think we were to begin with because we did but it is always nice to have the confirming confirmation when you get weary, right?
The second thing that happened just today was that we got a donation from a sweet little girl named Maylie.  Her tooth fell out and she donated $1.26 to Henry.  Her note was the cutest part, it said that she hoped that we got Henry soon and that she was super excited to be his friend.  I haven't been that touched in a long time...had to turn my head to hide the tears.  What a sweet girl.
So this week we got the biggest donation and the smallest...each one just as significant in God's eyes.  Each one just as appreciated by us.  So many have donated to us whether it be small amounts, larger amount, encouragement or prayer.  Thank you so much, the Lord rewards what you do in secret, but please know we are blessed.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.  Ephesians 3:14-21

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Living where we do, in North America, in the United States, in California, in Orange County, as women, as mothers, as wives we struggle so much with identity.  Who do we want to be?  Who do others want us to be? 
Ephesians 1 holds so many answers because until you know who God says you are you can not begin to determine who you really are.  Your identity, not unlike your morals must be rooted in something, and there is not a more stable place than in God.
Ephesians 1 says that God has blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing:
  • He chose us
  • We are holy and blameless before him
  • He adopted us as sons and daughters
  • He redeemed us
  • He forgave us
  • He made known to us the mystery of His will
  • He gave us an inheritance
  • And He sealed us with the Holy Spirit
If we can look at this list, and if we can take it seriously, and if we can live like we believe it then it can revolutionize our lives and the lives of those around us.  There is no more striving and stress, there is no more confusion or fear, we have a future given to us by the creator of the universe...

He sought you and chose you, but He didn't stop there, He took away all your blame and shame and adopted you tying you to Himself intimately.  He gave you worth in redemption and forgave the sin that striped you of your worth in the first place. He then provided you with an inheritance that is eternal and sealed you with His Spirit so that no one could take it from you.  And finally He entrusted you with His mysteries and gave you His heart.  
I have asked myself for years, where else would I go?  What a marvelous God we have.

After hearing the call to adopt and looking at the bill I immediately started fretting and striving to raise money.  All the time hearing God in my ear telling me that it would be He who would bring the money we needed and He who would get the glory for doing it.  BUT...I continued.  My efforts brought some trickles but when the big amounts were due people, God's people, stepped up and gave it.  BUT...I vain.  Well, today I get it.  Today I surrender and humbly say thank you to my God and to those who gave so generously. 
My identity?  Outside of Christ I don't know.  But in Christ I am the daughter of the King, I am forgiven and redeemed and I have an inheritance. 

What does this mean practically?  It means that nothing else matters but pleasing God.  It means that all during this holiday season, when things get so busy that we can't see straight that all we need to do is look up...and smile, because our Father is pleased.  You are His, I am His...Where else would we go?  For He has the words of eternal life.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Simply Good.

What a wonderful day with wonderful people.  I am so blessed that some of my favorites are also my family.  If I had to list everything I was thankful for this year I would not know where to start or where to end because my Lord is simply Good, but if I had to choose one, just one thing it would be that I have the most wonderful family ever.  How excited we are that next year Henry will be a part of it!  Simply Good!!

My Sisters

Mom and her kids
The Four Originals

The sweet cousins...Vivienne, Hannah and Miles

...and one with Alec

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Team Henry

Surf City 1/2 Marathon
Over the past couple months I have been working on putting a team together to run in the Surf City 1/2 Marathon in Huntington Beach.  We will run on February 5, 2012, to raise money to help with the cost of our adoption.  Charles and I are floored at the people who stepped up to run and I am so thrilled to introduce them to you, but first I want to invite you to participate in a little fun.  For $10 you can choose the racer that you think will win, the member of Team Henry that you think will have the best race time.  If your racer wins your name will go into a hat and at the after race party we will have a drawing and a prize for the winner.  So feel free to make a donation on this page by clicking on the Bring Henry Home button on the right side of the page, just be sure to include your choice in the message section.  I will update the page weekly with the number of votes for each person. 

Team Henry 2012

First there is Charles and I. I ran in this same 1/2 marathon in 2010 and as I said in an earlier post, I finished but not well. I love to run but often lack the motivation so I am so excited for Charles to do it with me this year. He is a really good running partner and has surprised me with his commitment to this race, but I will give you a hint...neither of us will have the best time:)

John and Charles have been friends since High School, he is strong and can run on no sleep for days at a time.  Watch over your shoulder for him because he'll be coming up fast when everyone else is getting tired.

I lived with Meg before she married John, Charles best friend.  Meg is my constant...she is the most consistent person I know...slow and steady.  So when everyone takes off and she falls behind don't count her out....she will still be going strong long after all the others are slowing down.

Molly is the grandmother of the group...pictured is her super cute grand daughter.  Molly is Charles sister-in-law but I lived with her before she married Charles brother.  Do you see a trend here?  She is one of my oldest friends, (hahahah) but don't let that fool you she can probably run farther than all of us at this point. We are so happy that she is joining us on our journey to adopt Henry. 

Jake is Molly's son, Charles nephew.  Don't let his smooth exterior fool you...he might be the youngest and he might be really really really good looking but he is a force to be reckoned with.

Jackie is Jake's girlfriend and she is as sweet as she is cute but that doesn't mean she can't run a quick mile.  So glad she joined us.


Jeff and Melissa Smith are our newlyweds.  We have known Melissa since she was 16 years old and at 17 she shocked us all when she announced that she was moving to Africa for a year.  She has determination on her side, and you know how stubborn those red heads can be. Jeff is tall and thin and feels no pain, never tires...I expect that he will be at Melissa's side for part of the time...but not for long as you can see he is our sleeper cell.  They both went with us to England two years ago and to China this past summer where we met Henry.  We are super happy to have them and so appreciate all their love and support.

Karla is my personal cheerleader when it comes to this run.  She has been so encouraging and willing to do what ever it takes to make it happen.  We have known Karla for about 5 years and every day we love her more. Her athletic ability, super long legs and abounding energy make her a favorite... if we can keep her from laughing and/or crying   
                                             she will be the one to beat.

James has been helping Charles in the Youth Group at CCLW for two years now and is truly the most grounded young man we know. He has a football background and teaches sprinting clinics so with his super sneaky and speedy skills he may just surprise us all with an ambush in the end to take it.

Lauren Collinsworth is Charles niece.  She is the other athlete that we need to all watch.  She grew up playing soccer and still runs for fun.  Don't let her fashionista exterior fool you, beneath is a competitive ruffian.  Lauren has also been first in line with her love and support when it came to Henry and we are thrilled to have her smile on our team.

Dani and Aubrey are the newcomers to the group.  We have only known them a short while through Dani's sister the infamous Jamie Bacon.  Dani is an athletic trainer and Aubrey is a soccer coach so we still are not sure what they are capable of but we are excited to see what talent and humor they can bring as we all stumble across the finish line.

Friday, November 11, 2011


My mom with my brother and sister in-law
I know its cliche but as Thanksgiving approaches and we start making plans, I have really been thinking a lot about being thankful.  I think this blog has been as much for me as for anyone else so I want to make a point of sharing the things I appreciate this year.

One of my life verses is Phil. 4:6, Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I think that the thanksgiving part is the most important part because prayer and supplication can become  something that you just say, going through the motions.  But if you are going through a  difficult time and you are asked to include thanksgiving in your prayer you really have to re-evaluate your thoughts and your heart.  Trials can swallow you up, they can fill you with despair, but the way out of that pit is Thanksgiving.  And then always back to peace, the peace of God, which He supplies when you give up your plan, your control and thank Him that He is sovereign and whatever the circumstance, He knows best and His plans for you are good.

I am at my moms house, my sisters and I come each week, each for 2-3 days and help.  This morning I made pancakes and as I started I realized that the griddle I was using was the same one my mom cooked pancakes for me on when I was a little girl.  So many memories as there were dinosaurs and hearts and mickey mouse pancakes.  So many memories as I sat sometimes with friends, sometimes with my siblings watching as my mom did 5 things at once and never burnt anything.
I didn't get my mom's multitasking cooking abilities.  I burnt the bacon and the pancakes were a little cold but I loved every minute of it.
The things that I learned from my mom were learned by watching.  I am a lot like her in so many ways, and they are things that are so much a part of who I am daily that I value.  The first and most obvious that comes to mind is my love of creating.  It could be sewing, painting or simply redecorating but creating something new is a love that I got from my mom.  I was told early on that I needed to pay attention because she is a creative genius, and I'm so glad I did.
The other thing that I learned from her is not being afraid of failure.  My mom will try anything at the drop of a hat, because she knows that the worst that could happen is failure and that can be remedied.  I love it that I am not afraid to try, I love it that I see things as a challenge and not an excuse...I love it that I am just like my mom that way.

My mom, my sister and I
So today, November 11, 2011, I am thankful that I can be here, at my mom's house with her.  I am thankful that I have a job that I don't work on Fridays, I am thankful that I have a husband that is wonderfully understanding even though he has been on a business trip and I haven't seen him all week.  I am thankful that I have a daughter that loves to come hang out with us as we sit and talk and laugh and today I am most thankful for my mom who is truly a great mom, always trying to find the good and to be positive.   And even more I am thankful that she is a great friend, someone that is easy to talk to but just as easy to sit and watch TV with.    I am thankful that today I get to spend time with my mom, not rushed, not filled with activity or stress, just sweet, special,  full of God's peace, time.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Persian BBQ Fundraiser

Persian BBQ Fundraiser
We are so blessed to be part of a church that is full of people who love each other and love the Lord.  When Charles was talking about our adoption Fred, the Persian ministry pastor got so excited and wanted to be a part.  Today, he sponsored a full Persian lunch to raise funds to bring Henry home.  There were so many people eating Fred's delicious food, hanging out and fellowshipping with each other.  We were completely blessed before we even had a chance to count the donations but there was almost $2000!!  Our Lord is so GOOD!!  Thank you so much Calvary Chapel Living Word, we are so thrilled that Henry has such a wonderful family! 

Here are some photos of our church family enjoying the wonderful food.

Andrea, Kelly, Melissa and Jeff working one of the food lines

It was a full House!

The Sweet Willettes

This ones for you Jamie Marie:)

Our Young Adult Cuties

And My Wonderful High Schoolers + Amy

Mike and Lynna Ampe

Jr. High and High Schoolers

All in all we had a wonderful day and were overwhelmed by the support and love of our friends and family.  Thank you all again.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Today the man who attacked and robbed my grandfather almost 8 years ago was convicted of first degree murder.  I'm happy that we are finally past it, I'm happy that he will never be on the street again, I'm happy that my grandmother can start to feel as though justice was served.

My Grandpa Lucky was a man who you were lucky to have known.  He lied about his age to join the Navy when he was 17.  He was a paratrooper in World War II and at 5 foot 6 he was the tallest man I have ever known.  For the past 50 years he went to work 6 to 7 days a week as a gardener because he loved to work and he loved people.  He had a route that stretched from Huntington Beach to Long Beach and on the day he was beaten and robbed, at 77 years old, he was at the Union Bank on Beach Blvd. at 4:30 am like he was every morning.  

The world might say that it is such a sad story, a man, a veteran, getting beaten to death on Veteran's Day, and really it is but when I think about my Grandpa Lucky that is not what I think of.  He is the one who taught me the most valuable lessons about God.  He is the one who loved with all of his heart and couldn't wait to get to heaven.  It makes an impact on a child when someone you admire isn't afraid of death because they are so sure of heaven, and that is what I remember most about my Grandpa.  

So as we settle in with the verdict of guilty, as we come upon the 8th anniversary of his life being taken away, I am happy to remember but not what the world remembers.  I will remember that voice like it was yesterday saying, "HI GRETCH", I will remember the man who taught his family about the love of Christ in a way that was tangible and relateable.  I will remember the man who made heaven real for me because he believed it and lived it. After living his life and working physically hard every day he had very little on this earth but oh the crowns he has in heaven!

There is not one like him, never will be.  I miss you grandpa, can't wait until I get to see you again.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Its Finally Friday!  What a week!!  My mom had surgery and the doctor was very happy with how well she did.  My sisters and I have formed a small army, taking care shifts and its so nice to all be working together and hanging out with mom.  Meanwhile on the home front I finished a HUGE portion of the Homestudy paperwork and we are gearing up for the fundraiser on November 6th that the Persian Fellowship is sponsoring.  What wonderful people they are! 
To sum up:  The Lord is good...all the time:)

Here are a few photos from Shepherd's Field...They were trying on costumes this week getting ready for Halloween...Henry is the Dragon.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Blessings and Disappointment

My mom was diagnosed with cancer last week.  The diagnosis came as a complete surprise, because she is a healthy mom.  We have been together alot, my family and I and it is nice, but although there are smiles and laughter no one is happy.  Every once in a while the air gets sucked out of the room and there are no words, nothing to say.  Today she will have surgery to try to remove all that they can, I covet your prayers...for her....for me.
Cancer isn't a death sentence these days, the doctor seems to feel that she has a great chance of beating this, he is so positive, which is great.  But as I look at the next 6 months, as positive as I try to be, all I see is a hard road.  Unfortunately, or fortunately that road also holds the adoption of my Henry which makes it bitter sweet.  Its interesting how God works sometimes.  He's not taking life and giving it, but He is improving quality of life for one as He takes quality of life from another.  And as I read this morning and pray to my God, the only thing I have to say is that He is the only answer.  He holds everything we all need, whether it be healing and comfort, love and compassion or money and patience, endurance and sanity.   It is He who formed us from the womb with one eye or two, with parents or none, with cancer or healthy.  It is He who has the plan for our lives and who is delighted when we choose to walk in it no matter what the situation.

Ephesians 1:2 starts with Grace and Peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

Today I don't feel very blessed, but I am thrilled that all I have to do is go to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ and Grace and Peace are freely given.  I am told I have been blessed with EVERY spiritual blessing and today I will walk around knowing that, despite what I feel.