Dec 22, 2010

Listen

A Great post from Christian HomeKeepers Network.

Listen
At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,” said the gentleman, taking up a pen, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time… We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices.” – Charles Dickens

Have you ever been walking by, or driving by a place minding your own business when suddenly you are struck with the knowledge that you could do something specific to help someone?


Did you listen? Did you act? Did you allow yourself some sentimental feelings and then go on to the next thing?
Did you convince yourself that it was too much, too difficult, not needed and not realistic? Or, did you listen… to the voice of the Spirit calling you to be Jesus’ hands, feet, mouth, arms, ears?

So many times I hear Christian women say that they thought they heard the voice of the Spirit talking to them, telling them to help someone. But they didn’t obey because it was awkward or strange, or difficult…and the next time the Spirit spoke, it was more difficult to hear, harder to obey.

Listen.

This is the season when want is felt more keenly, when gestures of kindness are appreciated more deeply. Let it be your way of life long after Christmas is gone. Let abundance rejoice all year!

Lord of the destitute and forgotten ones, open my heart to feel pity but more than that, open it to pour out mercy and love.
Let my attitudes and actions speak for me. Let me reflect your beauty to those who have lost what it is to be cherished and cared for. Love through me this Christmas and bless through me. Amen. Article by Sylvia Britton

Dec 14, 2010

A Movie Worth Changing Plans For

A Movie Worth Changing Plans For new made-for-TV movie slated to air on January 8 explores adoption, sacrifice and life priorities in a way very few films today do. “Change of Plans” tells the story of a young, jet-set couple whose all-too-perfect lives may be irreparably altered by four orphaned children. I had the chance to preview the director’s cut this week and came away inspired and thoughtfully challenged.

When Sally Danville’s (Brooke White of American Idol) best friend from college dies in tragic accident in Africa, she leaves behind four children—three of them adopted from countries around the world. Sally and husband Jason must now grapple with choices that will shape the rest of their lives. Step by step, the couple realizes that for every inch they open their hearts and home to the children, the plans they had mapped out for themselves will likely be lost forever.

The film gets its strength from the underlying story and real-world decisions it represents for each of us. The acting, music and script are not Oscar quality, but still solid. The widows the story offers into the potential challenges of adoption and foster care are perhaps understated, but not absent: it’s clear that to welcome a child into our home is not a cost-free choice. Many adoptive families and others involved with kids in the foster system will likely see parallels with their own stories as well.

Refreshingly, this movie earns its “family friendly” identity not merely by cutting out sex and violence, but by delivering a thoughtful challenge to some of the great lies of our era. Most narratives today, from commercials to movies, implicitly argue that fulfillment is found in getting what we want. “Change of Plans” points in the opposite direction, helping us see that real life is only found by embracing the inspiring-but-costly invitations God puts before us.

If your evening January 8 is not already booked, I’d encourage you to spend it enjoying “Change of Plans” with your family and perhaps a few friends. Doing so sends a message to TV producers and advertisers that there is, after all, a market for quality programs. More importantly, the story just may provoke a change in your plans as well.

Dec 3, 2010

Rodriguez Party of 9

Having 7 children was fun, interesting, tiring, exciting. The kids were great, it was their crazy parents that were truly difficult. Both parents share inappropriate things with the children. The father is the worst. I finally ended up banning him from coming over and told the mother that if she wanted him to see the children she wound need to supervise visits. The dad came over upset that I wouldn't let him stay with us. Why I would let anyone with a criminal past, on drugs stay in my home with my precious little ones that I've protected and nurtured. It makes sense, If "I" don't do drugs, don't expose my kids to bad things, what makes him think he can? I never cease to be amazed at the constant stream of expletives exploding out of his mouth at any given moment. Obviously he isn't allowed into my home swearing and speaking in a totally vile way in front of my children or any children in my care. I insisted he leave when he then tried to work the 10 year old up into hysterics with how mean I am for not letting him stay with me. He started telling them vulgar things about their mother. He mentioned how he was going to be sleeping out in the cold and on the streets. Then he wanted to take his daughter with him! Enough, he had to leave. I told him that if he tried to take her while on drugs I'd be calling the police. I told him that it is totally irresponsible to tell the kids all that he does about their mother. That sort of thing needs to be between the two of them. You don't include children in that. He started saying that I'm siding with their mother. The truth is, both of them behave worse than their own children. It really is difficult. I told him in the nicest way possible to "man up." Even if you were sleeping under a bridge you don't tell that to your children so they can worry about you and get them all hysterical." That's totally cowardly and beyond selfish. Besides that I've offered many times to drive him to a mens shelter, he was just too prideful to go. He basically was trying to get the girl to misbehave. She started saying she wanted to go with him knowing that he's homeless.

That was it. I packed his stuff (we're storing the family's stuff in our garage) and he isn't allowed back. His behavior was totally bizarre, selfish and crazy and I'm not having it. Another time he showed up at the school before I could get there to pick the 10 year old girl up. I asked what they talked about and she told me that he is on the streets. I asked how she knew, she said "because he told me." I said "so he showed up and told about how he is on the streets and homeless?" She said "yes" and started crying. What kind of a person does that? He feels miserable that he is on the streets (because of his drug use and unwillingness to work) and he wants EVERYONE else to be miserable too. EVEN his own children! It bothers him that they are all comfy in a nice warm home when he is outside. I'm so disgusted I could vomit. I have no respect for men that don't behave like men. I've prayed for this family again and again. I'm waiting on a miracle because at the moment change doesn't look likely. The dads is going into a court ordered treatment so I pray it works and He gets right. Unfortunately I'm not overly optimistic.

Dec 2, 2010

Going from 5-7 children!

Have 7 children isn't all that difficult. I'm good with my own but I'm awesome with other peoples kids. I seem to have higher expectations for my own. With other peoples kids I can be more laid back, grins, giggles and fun. I had to be strict as these children went from raising themselves to now needing boundaries set. We did have to be super cautious and watchful as these children have been exposed to a crazy home environment and I didnt want to leave any opportunity for any of that being relived in our home. It did feel at times a huge hassle getting 7 children all dressed and out the door to two separate schools on time and then having to homeschool my 5! That part was a little crazy. I think when we adopt we will only take in younger children because that was a juggling act for sure. When I dropped off the tween at high school I looked out at all of those children and wondered "which of these kids is also homeless? " "which of them is in foster care or living with relatives?" Which of them didn't have relatives to live with in similar circumstances.

High school is such a critical point in life anyway. It's such a time of searching, seeking and coming into your own. It's the period of figuring out how to make your way in this world.. Add to the confusion of adolescence, homelessness and family turmoil, all while trying to fit in, be normal, and get good grades. These kids have had a lot to bear. I can relate to their struggle. The boy is bright and witty, he is parentified and has often times had to take care of the parents, who act startlingly enough, like children. The girl concerns me more as she will do anything to fit it in. Not unlike the chameleon that changes with it's environment. She is sweet and has so much potential. She too, is older than her years. It's sad to me that she is only a year older than my own. Yet she knows far to much about a great many things, much more jaded. I see a bit of myself as a kid in both of them. I tell them they are not their parents and that they can do great things if they let God use their lives. They respond well to boundaries and for the most part listen. It is a relief I'm sure to be able to just be children. They seem very (and this is what they tell you in the foster classes NEVER to expect) surprisingly GRATEFUL! This song reminds me of the children.

Three in the morning and I'm still awake
So I picked up a pen and a page
And I started writing just what I'd say
If we were face to face
I'd tell you just what you mean to me
Tell you these simple truths:

Be strong in the Lord and never give up hope
You're gonna do great things, I already know
God's got His hand on You so don't live life in fear
Forgive and forget but don't forget why you're here
Take your time and pray
These are the words I would say

Last time we spoke, you said you were hurting
And I felt your pain in my heart
I want to tell you that I keep on praying
Love will find you where you are
I know 'cause I've already been there
So please hear these simple truths:

From one simple life to another
I will say, come find peace in the Father

Be strong in the Lord and never give up hope
You're gonna do great things, I already know
God's got His hand on You so don't live life in fear
Forgive and forget but don't forget why you're here
Take your time and pray
And thank God for each day
His love will find a way
These are the words I would say

How we added 2 more children to our family

So a family member called us at around last month 1pm explaining to me that they were getting evicted. AGAIN! They needed boxes and to store "a few things in our garage." I was hesitant as we still have stuff from LAST time they moved out... over 3 or 4 YEARS AGO!! They also needed help moving it. This made me apprehensive because I KNEW they would end up asking if they could stay with us. I KNEW they would try to manipulate us (again) and try to bring all that they are, dysfunctional, drug addicted, self consumed, and crazy, into our peaceful home. I called several friends for pray and advice. (Proverbs 15:22"Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellers they are established.") ALL agreed not to jeopardize my family with taking in the adults. I prayerfully considered offering to take the children. (an offer I've made before)

It stressed me out because I pictured the children on the street. It hurts to see the children bear brunt of suffering from the foolish mistakes of their parents. I knew I'd be forced to say NO. I am by nature a DOER, helper, a rescuer. Present me with a problem and my mind immediately begins thinking about how to solve it. 9 times our of 10, I've either been through that particular trial or situation, knew someone how has, have read an inspiring book or resource about it (to point you to) or will find someone who has and get their advice for how to conquer whatever this situation is that needs fixing. I am a servant. A good portion of my life is spent serving others and training my kids to do the same. We feed the homeless, visit the elderly, bring meals to the sick, care for the widow and most especially advocate for the orphan. It is who we are, IT IS WHAT WE DO! However, I have long since been gifted with knowing the difference, the thin line that can easily cross over to enabling. I have seem over and over in my life and in my family what happens when you bail out the drug addicted. We have family members going into their 60's that have never had to "grow up" as they always had someone to take care of them and face the God given consequences of their choices. It's actually quite cruel when you consider the turmoil that follows when those that bail them out pass away. They'll have grown OLD and have to face a LIFETIME of consequences that should have been dealt with in youth or early adulthood. A life wasted not learning to yield to the natural order of life. It's not pretty... In fact it's downright ugly. Lord knows I am who am today because I had to sow that which I reaped, both the good and the bad. My heart is to point others to Christ, but not to become someone's crutch.

I remember telling this family member years ago that if they didn't let go of this activity and repent of their sin that it would completely destroy their family. I'm not psychic, I just know God's word! They mocked and berated me. Since then I've seen them dragged lower than dogs. It's heartbreaking. It's hard to explain to my children in an honorable way. For a long time I'd withhold the information from my children. Now I've decided I will share it. I'd rather my children learn what consequences follow sin and how to avoid it.

Anyhow, sure enough this family asked if they could stay with us for a "day" until they get their check. (which they already admitted wouldn't be there for about a week) I told them no but that we'd be willing to care for the children until they got back on their feet. They were shocked, more blaming. She asked again when I arrived and then told me she's not sure how I could do that to her. She earlier told me how she would never do the same to me which is funny considering my childhood. She would and she did. However that is not the reason I said no. For the sake of my own family I stuck to my guns. I have worked long and hard to have a peaceful godly home. I don't swear, drink or do drugs, heck we don't even watch TV! I certainly won't invite people who do those things and lack every bit of common sense of self control into my house. When I arrived the police were there and their belongings were all on the sidewalk curb. One of them was arguing, swearing with a roommate. I was going to say no to storing their stuff but I figured it would be less traumatic for the children if I moved it into my home. I remember when I was young my mother had all of our belongings in storage and didn't pay it. ALL of our things were lost. Every photo, every thing! I only have 2 photos of my childhood. (Sadly, This is true of many foster youth) My children ask me what I looked like as a baby and if they look like me. I have no idea! I took all 5 of my children and made many trips back and forth all day moving their belongings to my home. It was late into the night when I finished. I took the their kids to Walmart and got them school supplies needed for school the next day. I explained to the children that we love them and they could stay with us as long as they wanted. I explained that in our family we don't fight or do drugs so we couldn't allow that into our home. They nodded in agreement and enjoyed going from sharing a house full of addicts, strippers etc. to having their own rooms in a stable home. We went from 5 kids to 7 in an instant. My children were excited and the kids seemed excited as well My husband and I, feeling up to the task and feeling certain that this is God's will.

Dec 1, 2010

December 1st World AIDS Day


Enable Education (Don't forget to pause the music on playlist so that you can hear the videos)
Dec 1 is World AIDS Day-Consider how you can help the millions of children orphaned by AIDS! Please watch, read, share and pray for ways to help. (James 1:27)
Watch the video below and educate yourself about the TRUTH! Also, please grab the Dec 6 issue of People magazine and read about an amazing adoptive family (Kiel & Carolyn Vetter Twietmeyer )!The Truth Pandemic World AIDS Day Campaign is part of an ongoing educational initiative to encourage public awareness about the facts regarding HIV transmission and orphans living with HIV/AIDS. Project HOPEFUL believes that education is key to addressing the needs of orphans with HIV and families/individuals who would seek to adopt them. Truth Pandemic - Learn the facts about HIV/AIDS and Adoption, How you can get the virus and how you cannot. Help spread the Truth Pandemic video by sharing it with 5 of your friends. www.ProjectHopeful.org
truthbutton


How can YOU help for World AIDS day?
http://www.hopechest.org/5for50/ There are 5 things that every one of us can do to help the 50 million people in our world suffering from HIV/AIDS. Here’s how it works:
Give 5 minutes a day to pray for those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
Give 5 hours a week to fast for those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
Give 5 dollars a month to the Five for 50 Fund and support worthy causes.
Give 5 days a year to travel overseas and help alleviate poverty and suffering.
Give 5 people an opportunity to join you on your journey.
This is a way everyone can participate and be part of the solution to a world crisis.

A few HIV Adoption Resources
http://www.projecthopeful.org/resources
http://www.positivelyorphaned.com/

HIV Adoption! Oh yes you can!

People sometimes ask me why on earth we would ever consider HIV adoption when there are perfectly healthy children that need a home. Why on EARTH would I ever subject my children to something as scary as HIV? Am I CRAZY or just plain irresponsible? Usually it's just that they have old school notions on how the disease is spread. They don't know the facts about HIV adoption. Truth is there are only a few ways to contract HIV. There has never even been a single solitary report of ANYONE getting infected just from living in a home with some one who has HIV or AIDS. That includes sharing drinks, kisses, hugs, sharing utensils, bathing , swimming together. I'll elaborate more on that later. The main reason I wish to adopt an HIV or AIDS orphan is because well, SOMEONE has to. Those millions of people dying in sun shara Africa, and in many other parts of the world often times have children. Those children still exist after the parent passes on. I have prayed from childhood that God would allow me to adopt the children that would otherwise perish. I have seen how these poor children deteriorate if they do not have access to proper food and medication.

Honestly though, the idea of HIV adoption occured to me years ago in Junior High. I remember I was in the Principals Office for misbehaving. ( I was a bit of a hand full, heck, still am) There was an article in a magazine or newspaper about a young little orphan girl that was dying of AIDS. She had no family to care for her, to love her, pray with her, to whisper sweet words of comfort to her in her final hours. She didn't have anyone to show a mothers tender care. It spoke of how she died in some hospital type setting unnoticed. There at 11 or 12 years old my heart broke at the thought of a child slipping into eternity without ever being LOVED. No one to wipe her forehead, no one to hold water to her parched lips. No one to make she she was comfortable or held and rocked and sang to as she took her last breath. The injustice of it all tore at my heart and flooded my soul in anguish. I vowed to either adopt children like that or to start an orphanages or children's home to take care of children like that. Here we are years later and I can't get the image of of my mind Sadly this is all to common for many HIV AIDS children. JUST READ THIS STORY ABOUT THE 6 year old that is shunned by the community because he is an AIDS orphan. http://master.dailychilli.com/news/7638-the-lonely-life-of-a-six-year-old-boy Who will look after him when he becomes to weak to care for himself. I look at my 6 ear old daughter and picture her living on her own by herself... Does that break your heart open yet? Selah HIV adopted daughter of the Twiet-meyers says " Children aren't dying because people aren't helping. the need families like mine. Read her compelling story HERE. http://positivelyorphaned.org/2010/11/27/hiv-adoption-article/
Worldwide, 42 million people are estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS. Of these, 3.2 million are under 15 years of age. In the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control, there were 816,149 reported cases of HIV in the United States. Of these, 9,074 cases of AIDS were in children under the age of 13In 2010, the number of children worldwide who have lost one or both parents to AIDS is expected to reach 25 million :( In sub-Saharan Africa alone, over 15 million children have been orphaned by the pandemic. This is the first video I ever watched on HIV Adoption. Please watch it is SO informative and inspiring. It will open your eyes to the suffering of these precious little ones. You;ll probably learn a thing or two you didn't know before.
HIV Adoption, Oh YES YOU CAN! http://www.facinglife.tv/episode/season_3/episode_7/episode_307_video_full.htm
Ezekiel 34:16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak…I will shepherd my flock with justice!

Atheism-Pull the Plug

Unless someone care's

Unless someone care's

Compassion Verse

"Lifehouse Anything Skit"

Our Mighty Arrows

Our Mighty Arrows