Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Apple Picking


Every September, we head to The Elegant Farmer to pick apples. It is one of those fun family traditions. Here are some pictures from our day!





Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Where Are We Going?


OK - I know by now it is old news that we read the Psalms and Proverbs each morning. What amazes me is how some verses some days just seem to jump off the page - and then stick with me. This has happened with three verses the past week (and today).

Proverbs 21:3 "To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice."
Proverbs 21:13 "If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered."

Proverbs 28:5 "Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully."

I read these verses and my heart is moved. Isn't yours?

So, I sit in awe this afternoon at what God is doing in our lives. We had our big informational lunch for Safe Families this weekend. I had 34 people respond that they were coming. In faith, I ordered food for over 100. And guess how many people walked through the door? A little over 120 people!

Everything that could go wrong, went wrong that morning. The room we were going to use had nice round tables set up...well, the group in there right before us decided they didn't want them this day and tore them all down. Then, that room has a computer that projects videos onto a large screen. We needed that. Well..the computer was suddenly missing. I went to talk to the guys about our lunches...we had ordered 105 boxed lunches...well, something went wrong in the kitchen and they couldn't do the box lunches and instead would have a serving line with wraps and soup. After all this, the group that was in our room asked us if they could have it until 12:30...our lunch was supposed to start at 12:30...and now we had to put up 12 tables with 10 chairs at each table!

Joe and I retreated to the Chapel, which was quiet and empty.

"Let's pray."

And, so we did...claiming the day for God.

We improvised. We took a different room that had a different set up - but it had tables set up and would be empty at 12:15. We searched the entire church for a TV with a DVD player that worked...there was ONE and it was available. The food guys set up their lunch on long tables that were already in place - perfect! We quickly put up the Safe Families display and the guest started arriving! And they came and kept coming. The room got hot, but praise God at how many people came!

We started our program watching a video - I opted for the short one - which was fine because half the room couldn't see it anyway :) There were guest speakers and a time for Q and A..and then to my absolute shock - 18 families said "YES!"!! 18 families are stepping out in faith in a tough economic time to bring back biblical hospitality. You know, not the gift of hospitality we like to THINK is a spiritual gift - like "I have a nice, big home and I like to serve cookies and punch - that means I have the gift of hospitality." No, this gift is the biblical kind that welcomes strangers into your home wanting NOTHING in return. Kind of a foreign concept these days, huh?

Not to these 18 families that stepped forward - praise God again!

11 families said they want to provide respite care, babysitting or encouragement to those who are hosting kids. 7 said they would help with professional services, mentoring the bio mom.

We now have a team!

One of the speakers quoted one of the Proverbs that Joe and I had been meditating on. It was as if God was saying, "Yes...you are starting to get it."

And, we are now doing a little more wrestling with God...how can one part of our lives be going so well and the other going so poorly? We can't do one with out the other. We need Joe's business to do well in order to keep us here in Milwaukee and allow me to not find a job.

This was our thinking - and probably is still Joes' until....our own personal encourager and prophet said this to us yesterday "Could God be calling you BOTH into full time ministry?"

Terrified and excited...and praying that we seek God's will.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Mercies


Thank you for the words on encouragement. My anger didn't last long and thankfully, His mercies are renewed each and every morning!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I'm Angry at God

I'm angry and in need of encouragement today. I actually started getting really angry last night - or maybe even the night before. Some of my kids have even told me they are angry at God right now. Why?

George.

We are watching a baby for a friend of mine this week. He is an adorable, chubby cheeked one year old. He walks around babbling, waving and smiling. He cuddles up easily and he makes us all laugh with his adorable antics.

It is so easy to fall in love with him. He calls me "Mommy" and Joe "Daddy". When he fusses and I pick him up, he settles down and is happy to see me. And as I have been feeding him his night time bottle, we enjoy a few moments of quiet time.

Joe and I said, "Imagine if we would have adopted a baby..."

We couldn't even finish the thought....it is way too painful to go there.

Eleanor looked at me yesterday and said, "What if you would have decided to adopt a baby instead of...."

She didn't finish...it is way too painful to go there.

So, I screamed into my pillow last night - so furious at God. Why? Why did you lead us to this? Why did you not say, "Go get a baby."??? Why did you lead us on this very painful, still very hard path. I am TIRED of being on this path! I am TIRED of the rude, grumpy, scowling, temper-tantrum throwing, mean boy!

And just because I haven't written about it for a while, does not mean that boy is not here - he still is! Every day, every stinkin' day, I still deal with the rude, grumpy, scowling, temper-tantrum trowing mean boy.

He said to me yesterday, "I have no friends."

I can guess why.

It is difficult - oh so difficult, to love George. I hate that I am saying this. I had reached a place where I was accepting my lot - choosing to ONLY focus on the positive - but then this adorable baby came into our home for a week - someone SO EASY to love - and it was so obvious how hard this journey with George is.

I hate that I am saying this! I want George to smile, cuddle up, to accept the word no without throwing a massive fit. I want George to just be nice to us.

And I know all the words that will come from the "adoption experts". I will hear that adopting a baby is hard, too. Babies have their own issues. All I have to say is come talk to me when you adopt an older child. I'll trust you - but you need to trust me that this is dirty and hard! Maybe my honesty is too much for some people...

So, God...can you start showing up here? Can you transform my heart so I feel no more pain and only feel love toward George? Can you please make me erase from my memory bank all the times George has rejected me?

There has been good this week - now that I am settling down I can see. George loves this little boy so much. He is loving and gentle toward him and so, so excited to see him each day! He keeps asking me if we can bring more babies home so he can love them. Our family is seeing that we really CAN be a Safe Family - thank you God for that lesson.

I need a heart transplant...and I need just need to know that in the end, this will all have been worth it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ministry Work


This weekend, we were able to get a table in the lobby. We were placed right next to OM - a mission organization that serves the Dalit in India. Amazing ministry!

In fact, three years ago, they were are Harvest Fest and I spent a lot of time at their table learning all about their work with the Dalit, or the "untouchables". They offered these little clay cups that represent the cups of the Dalit people. You see, the Dalit need to break their cup after they take a drink - every time - because it would be horrible if anyone were to drink after an "untouchable" did. Take some time to read about this ministry

As the congregation worshiped, they sang out with arms raised, "You're the God of this city!" The guest speaker rose to talk about the great work he is doing in India and they again were offering these cups for $1. "Take a cup and let it remind you of the Dalit people. And do not break this cup! Pray that no more Dalit need to ever break their cups again." The congregants flocked...I mean flocked to pay their dollar and get their cup!

They also offered child sponsorship. "If you have little children, sponsor a child and teach them about the Dalit children." Many more flocked to pick up their piece of paper with a beautiful child's picture on it.

Our family did child sponsorship. We had a World Vision child for 7 years, until she graduated from the program. We didn't do a very good job, we just put her picture on our fridge - and every now and then we would wonder how she was doing. We never wrote letters; although we intended to. We never sent the Christmas cards; although we intended to. We rarely sat down and prayed together for her; although we always wanted to. The money came out of an automatic system. We never even really knew that money was leaving our account each month. To be honest, it wasn't much of a sacrifice for us.

I know God asked us to do so much more. And my question is, does God call ALL to much more and only some answer? Or does He only call some, and then even fewer answer? I honestly don't know the answer and Joe and I struggle with these questions over and over again.

So, while people flocked to sponsor a child living half way around the world, we stood right there ready to take names of those willing to bring a child into their homes. Very few came.

We watched while people raced out of the sanctuary, billfolds open, dollars in hand, jostling with each other to get to the front of the line to pay their dollar and get their cup. While we stood there with a brochure and an opportunity to get messy; to get up close and personal with a child who desperately needs some love and stability. Very few came.

The dichotomy was striking.

I left our weekend of work totally encouraged, though. The few who did come were passionate and motivated. Most had tears in their eyes as they said, "God is calling us to this...I just know it." One couple in particular kept saying, "This is it! We're doing this! Let's go!" It reminded me of how Joe and I felt when we answered the call.

I am reading The Red Letters: Living a Faith That Bleeds by Tom Davis. I want to close today with these thoughts, "Living out the gospel is hard work. It's easy to talk about it. Any of us can sit in church and sing warm, happy worship songs that make us feel good (um...God of this city?). We nod agreeably with the pastor's wisdom. And sometimes we can even drop a few extra dollars into the offering basket. But it's not so easy to actually go and DO what Jesus said to do."

If you don't know what Jesus said to do...I suggest you pick up your Bible and start reading all the letters in red. I need to do this daily. I need the reminder of the things that Jesus asked his followers to do.

Monday, September 20, 2010

"You Can Get a New Dad!"

This weekend was a whirlwind!

Joe and I hosted an information table in the lobby of our church for the Safe Families launch. It was at times a crazy sprint, and at other times it was a long, boring wait. In between services, there were people to talk to and brochures to pass out. During the service, we sat at tables and played games and talked.

During one of our conversations, George asked about Safe Families. We have fliers and brochures that feature children. He asked, "Do these kids need a new mom or dad?"

We tried our best to explain what Safe Families is...and what it's not, but I am pretty sure that he doesn't quite get it.

During one of or down times, or dear friend Toby walked over. Toby is a mid-50s single woman who has loved on our kids since Lincoln was born. Toby is part of our family.

Georgie runs over to Toby, gives her a big hug and then runs over to our table, pointing and saying something frantically. Toby decides to follow him, noticing how excited he is to tell her something.

"Toby! You can get a new dad! Look! You can get a new dad!"

And then it hit us all. Last spring, George had asked Toby if she had a Dad. Toby told George that her daddy was in heaven. George was very sad for Toby. After asking us about Safe Families and seeing all the people come talk to us, George figured that this was a way for people who need a dad or a mom could get one. And his heart immediately thought of Toby and how she MUST want to get a new dad.

George is showing empathy. George knows the pain of losing a dad...and he knows the joy of getting a new dad....and George wanted Toby to experience that joy as well.

I am sure there is some spectrum of healing, some piece of study or research somewhere that talks about the stages of healing in an adopted child. We were prepared for an incredibly selfish child, one who was not even able to empathize...and we got just that. And for months we have been working on character - being the last in line, giving up the best seat, sharing a treat. It seems that every day we talk about thinking of others.

And yesterday, Georgie thought of his dear friend Toby and wanted her to get a new dad.

It was a very special moment.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What Joy!


Tonight it finally happened! We began hearing about Hailu soon after George came home with us. I remembered the name, and so I would let George look at Hailu's picture on the Waiting Children list. Yes, Hailu was still there. He was still waiting for a Momma and a Daddy.

Hailu had been waiting for so long, that the agency made a video of him. Hailu was singing a song. George knew the song and would watch the video singing along. George told us about how he and Hailu would sleep together. And he cried and cried about wanting to send his bike to Ethiopia, so Hailu could have it. Sometimes we wondered if Hailu and George were brothers.

Then...Hailu's picture was gone!

"Oh, Georgie! Do you know what this means?"

"No, Momma."

"It means Hailu is being adopted! Praise God!"

"Momma, is Hailu coming to live with us?"

"No, I'm sorry George. But I will try to find the family that is bringing him home. Maybe some day you can see Hailu again."

Then, through the wonderful side of the internet, I met Hailu's momma - what a beautiful, kind woman! I told George Hailu is going to have a wonderful momma. George smiled.

He wanted to see pictures of Hailu's momma, so we stalked her a bit on Facebook. George would say, "Hailu needs to be nice to his momma."

We had many conversations about this. Most of them led to open, heart-wrenching talks about how Georgie treated me in the beginning.

"Momma? Georgie sorry. Georgie was so scared."

"I know son. I forgive you. I forgave you then, so I don't even think about those days anymore."

Then we heard about possible complications with Hailu's adoption; and everything seemed to be put on hold. Still, weekly Georgie would ask if Hailu was in America yet.

"Not yet, son. Let's keep praying."

And so we did. And we heard more stories about Hailu. And we prayed some more.

When the glorious day came, I cheered as I read that Hailu was finally coming home!

"Georgie! Guess what? Hailu is finally going to his new momma and daddy!"

"Can I see him?"

"Not yet. But I promise, we'll figure something out."

Hailu came home, we raced out buy a new headset so we could skype. Every day after school George would ask...is today the day?

Finally, today was the day. And there they sat, two boys from half way around the world, just smiling at each other. It was amazing to be part of their conversation. Understandably, George speaks so much more English, but they managed to talk for quite a while. Hailu asked about some of the kids they both new in the orphanage. We were able to tell Hailu that we had been in touch with some of those children. They had fun showing each other their toys. And then Hailu showed Georgie his drawings....Hailu truly has a gift from God...what a talented artist! There were a lot of smiles and giggles.

And then it was time to go...and they both shouted, "I love you!" over and over again. What joy!

As I tucked Georgie into bed tonight he hugged me so tight, sighed and said, "Today was a really good day, Momma. It was good to see Hailu."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

George's Teacher

A few nights ago, the kids' elementary school had it's open house. At this event, I had the chance to meet George's teacher. Remember how I said this year was so different because I didn't seek out the teacher before school to tell George's story? I was anxious to meet his teacher this night to just lay some groundwork and start establishing a good relationship.

If I could sum up the experience in one sentence it would be this: GOD LOVES GEORGIE!

God blessed George last year with a nurturing "Grandma-like" teacher. Quiet, calm, loving, lots of hugs, with clearly defined rules and boundaries. Perfect for George's first year of school.

This year? God placed George in a godly woman's classroom! George's teacher is unashamed to call herself a believer! She prays with children! She encourages kids to go to AWANA! She loves the Lord, as was evident in the way she talked to us and the way she loved on George. You would think my kids were in a Christian private school - they are not. We chose to send our kids to public school, honestly because we heard God telling us to TRUST HIM.

He challenged me as to where I was putting my trust. Do I trust in my ability? Do I trust in a school with a certain label? Or do I trust Him? I can now testify that God has been with my children in the public school system. He has blessed all five now with Christian teachers. Every day, all of my children are being taught by a teacher who loves the Lord and follows hard after him.

God is so good! There are times when I cry over not having my children at home anymore, but after meeting George's teacher, I am given that little gift from God where He whispers in my ear, "Don't worry...I've got them in my hands!"

Monday, September 13, 2010

One Of These Days...

One of these days, I'll have time to update what God is doing around here with Safe Families.

Until then, just know that Joe and I are choosing to follow God, standing firm (even though we are scared) and confident that God is in this with us.

Things are moving along - yea!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

How Divorce Affects George

George came home from school on Thursday acting very unusual. He was very, very quiet. And as soon as Joe came home, he raced to his side and said he didn't want to eat. The racing to Joe's side is not crazy - the not eating part is.


After asking George repeatedly what was wrong, he finally told us.

"Danny told Georgie today that his mommy got a new daddy for him. And this new daddy won't hug Danny or touch him or tell him he loves him." Georgie sobbed and tears streaming down his cheeks left salty white streaks. His heart was so broken.

"Georgie hurt for Danny." He crawled into Joe's lap and cried.

You see, Danny is a victim of divorce. And now there is a new man in his life and he doesn't really care for Danny. Or so it seems. Danny cried to George today about it. And George understood.

George knows all to well the sting of rejection. George remembers the pain of being unloved and abandoned. And George doesn't want anyone to feel those feelings.

And George doesn't want to feel those feelings himself...ever again. Suddenly, the fear of Joe leaving and me finding a new daddy that would take Joe's place griped George. The thought was all consuming and it took many hours of reassuring George before he was comfortable with our promises of never divorcing.

Divorce hurts...more than you might think.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Some Nice Things

George has had a good start to the school year? I say that with a question mark, because I just can't be sure. Last year, I pestered everyone about George: Is he doing ok? Is he getting along with kids? Is he listening to his teachers? Can he understand you? Does he know where the bathroom is? Do you know that when he raises his eyebrows, that means 'yes' in Ethiopian culture?

This year, I have had zero contact with his teacher. Zero. None. Not a single email, visit or phone call.

And I ask George each day how his day was. He always answers with a smile and says, "Good!"

He has told me a few stories about school. The first is about a new friend he made who got lost the first day. George stayed with him, worried, and even was a fraction of a second from missing his bus ride home himself! It turns out this child didn't know which bus to catch, he couldn't remember the number that took him home. The next day, George came up with a solution: write the number of the bus in marker on his hand. It worked!

Another story is about a boy in his class, who shared a room with George last year, as well. This little boy thought George's Batman notebook was cool. George had two, so he gave his friend one.

Shocked! Amazed! So happy!

Our Georgie is really learning what it means to put others first.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cool Construction Trucks!

Our street is being widened to include a bike lane. We happen to sit right on the Jefferson County Scenic Bike Path and our town decided to upgrade our part. Construction started last week and is set to last until mid-November. The kids love coming home from school and seeing what progress has been made. Yesterday, the excavator operator left his machine like this at the end of our driveway - knowing full well the kids would go crazy!




















Monday, September 6, 2010

A Little Skate-Park Fun

It was a beautiful September day, so we decided to take the kids to the skate-park. They have all rediscovered their skateboards and scooters, so what better place to practice?



Lincoln enjoyed his scooter - he perfected a mini-half pike by the end of our time there.



What a beauty...although we teased her about her monochromatic outfit that day.



Handsome George never gave up.


There goes "tan-girl" - she was the only girl our there most of the day. She shared her scooter a bit with her sister, who was the only other girl there.


Harry - loving his skateboard!


George zooming around the park.



Harry showing Isabel "how to do it."



Eleanor getting a chance to show her stuff!



This is how Lincoln was often found...but...he always got back up and kept trying!

Don't they look so cool?

Ministry Updates

If you haven't yet checked out what Safe Families is...please do so here.

As I have written about, things have been tough lately - mainly with the business. And that has seeped into the rest of the areas of our lives and caused worry and anxiety. The words of a dear friend keep ringing in our heads, "Don't run away."

He doesn't even know us THAT well, but that is exactly what we tend to do. We are both good runners.

On Thursday, a carrot was dangled so deliciously in front of us. A job. A good job. A job that would move us far away from Wisconsin. A job that would put Joe right back into the corporate world. A job that would provide sure income, good insurance, maybe even a company car.

Joe called and I screamed - "Yes! Go for it!"

And then, he asked, "What about Safe Families?"

I had no idea my husband was so committed to this mission. I mean, I knew he supported this and he was interested and wanting to help, but I didn't know he would turn down a job for this! Don't get me wrong, it turned out that there were a few factors that caused Joe to not move forward with this offer, but one of those factors WAS Safe Families.

"Don't run away this time. Stick it out. See ME work. Watch what I can do!" says God.

So, do I really trust God? Yes! We are staying put..for now. We are still living month to month through the business - and in one month I could be back here lamenting that we should have jumped on this job. But I don't think so...I really think we are right where God wants us to be.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

From The Inside

I had a tough week - lots of crying in front of people I don't normally feel comfortable crying in front of. It is as if the unfairness of it all caught up with me and I felt the right for a bit of a pity party. I think it has been a long time coming, and I just needed to cry a bit and say, "This isn't fair!"

That said, after all my self-boo-hoos, a friend said, "Maybe God is allowing you to be poor because you are about to minister to the poor?"

Light bulb...epiphany!

God said, 'Yes! Are you getting it now?"

And I know, God does not ask all his children to experience poverty before they can minister to those in poverty. But, for some reason, He needed to change me...from the inside. I had the chance to talk with Joe about this and we agreed that we now can look a woman applying for free lunches at school in the eye and say, "I know how this feels."

We can now look at the mom worried about her sick child because she doesn't have good insurance and say, "I know how this feels."

We can now join in a conversation about how hard it is to "get ahead" once you've been knocked down.

And we can say, "Yes, we have next to nothing...but what brings us contentment and peace is knowing our Lord and Savior." We will not show up downtown in fancy cars or with expensive purses...we will show up with old jeans and used shoes. We will not sit down to a free dinner and turn up our noses...we will sit down and enjoy the feast. God has truly changed us, from the inside.

The pity-party is over! We have what we need - and God always finds a way to bring a little blessing (thanks Mom and Dad!) just when we need it. I feel a little more equipped for the mission at hand. And that is a good thing.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Isabel's Newspaper Entry

Isabel's 2nd grade teacher had the children answer questions weekly that had the possibility of being published in the paper. She answered questions like, "What was your favorite book you read this year?", or "Why is it important to eat breakfast every morning?", to "Tell us about your most memorable vacation."

Apparently, toward the end of the school year she answered this one, "How have you made a difference?" The answer was published in the local paper yesterday. This is how she answered, "I used to go to downtown to a tutoring place and some of the kids don't have enough food. So, I helped serve dinner every Monday to those little girls and boys and that's how I made a difference in some one's life."

It struck me that she is being raised in an atmosphere that goes downtown and serves. And even at the age of 8, she is understanding that act is making a difference. I didn't help her write this answer, I didn't even know she was given the question.

God has moved our family from a comfortable, middle-class life to this other life. And my eyes have been opened to the immense need here! I now look for medical clinics, apply for reduced lunches at school, and will be looking to see if we qualify for child-care subsidies if I need to go back to work. A few years ago, I judged these type of people. Today, I am one of them. And my precious Isabel, is being taught that even in these times, we still can share.

I read a quote by a famous 2nd century church leader that said, "If you have food in your pantry, you have enough to share." That has hit me every time I go to the pantry and see rice, noodles, sauce, crackers, chicken broth, green chilles...and say, "Oh, there's nothing to eat!"

The kids we served downtown...they didn't have enough food to eat. And they needed a safe place to go after school where they could get help with their homework. And they needed to stay away from the influence of the evil that wants to steal our children.

This morning, my kids and I read and discussed Psalm 1. They are starting to really get it. Then, when we turned to Proverbs, they are recognizing the words - and starting to memorize them! My point, is that my children are living a life that is being transformed by the Word of God!

"Blessed is the man who mediates day and night on the law....He shall be like a tree planted by the stream, who yields it's fruit in season. And whose leaves shall not wither."

I love the idea of our lives being that tree - planted by a flowing stream of life, taking in the Word that sustains us, our leaves never dying. The life application Bible puts it this way: When we apply God's wisdom, the fruit we bear will be good and will receive approval. Just as a tree soaks up water and bears fruit, we also are to soak up God's Word, producing actions and attitudes that honor God. To achieve anything worthwhile, we must have God's Word in our hearts."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dichotomy

Tomorrow, we should clear our background check and FINALLY become a Safe Family! Joe and I have been praying for this for months now! It's amazing to me the amount of redundant paper work that goes on in the adoption/foster care world.

Let's see...well, most of you know the full-time job it entails to put together a foreign adoption dossier. Then, we started the process with our local county foster care - it's as if we started all over again. Letters of reference, home study, fingerprints, and my ever favorite...proof of car insurance.

Believe me, I understand the need to do thorough background checks for anyone wanting to bring children into their home. But, couldn't I have taken some of the info from my dossier and just handed it to these other people?

We have waited and waited to be cleared for Safe Families. I am driving some people crazy with my questions, "Are they done yet???" I just got the email today - we should be cleared by the end of the week.

Excited.

So, while we are excited about our personal progress to become a Safe Family....we have made a decision about the business.

We are taking things only one month at a time. The next month that comes that we can't cover our expenses, we fold. We are terrified, hurting, confused...what is God doing? We have been studying Ecclesiastes, reading it over and over again. We get it - we toil in vain and God is the one who decides if our work will accomplish anything. But yet, we are still victims of a poor economy. So, it is so hard for us to continue stepping out in faith. So hard.

Scared.

And They're Off!

The kids are back in school. I always approach this day full of mixed emotions. This is the 2nd year of the kids being in public school. Before that, we home schooled. And we all loved it. I still don't know why God led us to the changes we made a few years ago. I THINK I know why, but I have learned that at least 50% of the time, what I think God is thinking is totally wrong.

This morning we started in the Word. It felt so, so good to be sitting around the kitchen table reading Psalms and Proverbs. We were so early this morning, we even had time for a long prayer - I prayed for each child, blessing them, and then blessing their school year. Last year, God was so faithful to our children - and I see the same this year. I am amazed at how many believers are sprinkled into our school system. And praise God, He seems to put my children in just the right classroom!

As they went off to school, I admit that I miss home schooling greatly. But, I just don't feel called to start that up again. Why, Lord? I do feel that He wants us to supplement their public school education - and most importantly to fill them with the Word each morning before they go to school. It seems that almost all my friends are home schooling this year - what's up with that? Seriously, I wish them the best, an I know they will never regret spending this time with their children.

So, why has God moved us out of something our whole family loved? I think it is because He wants me going after this ministry...and He knows I had NO extra time - especially as the kids were getting older and their school work was getting more intense.

I am on a mission now - truly - a mission to get Safe Families running at full speed in Milwaukee. God has place this passion in my heart and I know He is equipping me each step of the way. Ideas pop into my head that I couldn't have possibly thought of. Connections are being made all over the city. For example, my missionary friends from Ethiopia have led me to a woman in Milwaukee who has a heart for this! It took someone in Addis Ababa to point me to a woman a few miles down the road - amazing!

I am meeting with the missions pastors at my church tomorrow morning to talk about how do we engage the church. I could probably write for hours on all the reasons why Christians DON'T do things like Safe Families - most of them are not very good ones. But, I was encouraged this morning talking to my kids' music teacher - she asked me about Safe Families and got tears in her eyes as she said, "If only I didn't have to work full time now. If I would have known about this 2 years ago, things may be very different because this is something we would have loved to do."

This inspires me. There ARE people out there who are willing to open their homes to vulnerable, scared children. I just need to find them.

Lord, please be opening the hearts and minds of the families YOU have in mind for Safe Families. Continue to call out to them, leading them to this ministry. I pray you would grant me wisdom to find them and to encourage them. Lord, I lay this ministry at your feet and pray that You will do with it as you will...THY WILL BE DONE.