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 continued...in 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.