family fall 2016

family fall 2016

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Eucharisteo

EUCHARISTEO- Greek form of "THANKSGIVING". The giving of thanks.
It's a concept Jesus practiced often.
“And he took bread, gave thanks (eucharisteo) and broke it, and gave it to them..” – Luke 22:19.

“For WHENEVER you eat this bread and drink this cup…” Whenever.. like every day, multiple times a day. Whenever we eat. I always tell my nutrition patients that food addiction is one of the most humbling thorns we can have because unlike some other addictive substances; they must fiercely address it head on 3-5+ times/ day to sustain LIFE. It requires a lifestyle change. It is not a fad we practice for a few months until we achieve the results we want and the abandon the lifestyle. As I am reading through the book “A Dare to Fully Live Right Where You Are: One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp, it hit me today. Like my patients, I need a lifestyle change. Like them, I have been drowning in a sin of the fall, in the non-eucharistic, discontent society. It is the legacy of the Garden of Eden. We are products of ingratitude. The rest of the Garden simply wasn't enough for Adam and Eve. Is it enough for me? Is what the Lord has for me TODAY enough for me? Do I see the blessings, joy, strengths, surplus or do I see the holes, lack, deficiency in myself, others, this world? Could I make a lifestyle change to live like that- to live with my hands open to receive freely what He has for me?
To give thanks for the dying to self and what I want?

Looking deeper at the root of Eucharisteo, we find 2 words. More than words to me. NAMES we have been praying over for weeks now, deciding if they will be added to the names of our children. The same names we spoke of with our dearest friends the night before we boarded the place to Ghana. I said the names asking for an opinion and Justin looked up the Greek translation. CHARIS and CHARA. Grace and Joy. Today, I received God’s confirmation whisper to me that these girls will forever be our reminder of EUCHARISTEO.
Of THANKSGIVING.

CHARIS. –Grace . MABEL GRACE

CHARA- Joy. PORTIA JOY



“Portia, you always want to do everything I do”- Mabel
“That’s because we are sisters” – Portia

There are no sweeter words to a mother’s ears. Now, they will share names. They are not biological sisters, not from the same tribe or language, but they will forever share the name of Thanksgiving. Of EUCHARISTEO.

The idea of the names started out with the auntie that stays in Mabel’s room each night. She calls herself Grace. We find out a few days ago that her real aunt also shares the name Grace. The aunt who shares the same shortened leg. The same reminder of our need for God’s Grace. His Favor. Portia’s “JOY” stemmed from the word that anyone who knew her in the least would use first to describe her. The character trait that fiercely drew our hearts to hers within 5 minutes of being with her and the thing you cling to when you would rather cry.
She is full of JOY. Pure. Raw. JOY.

The names will still carry the weight that they initially had but the Lord intended SO much more for them. As He often does. And for that, I am THANKFUL.

We couldn’t be more thankful for the Lord’s faithfulness in His covenant to us in the promise of these girls. And like food, motherhood is an hourly if not minute –by-minute reminder of humility, of dying to self, and of THANKSGIVING.

“Eucharisteo- the Greek word with the hard meaning and the harder meaning to live- this is the only way from empty to full”- Ann Voskamp.


“A good name is more desirable than great riches..”- Proverbs 22:1

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

stain of anxiety

My best friend recently gave me the book "Respectable Sins.. Confronting the Sins We Tolerate" by Jerry Bridges. You know those books that take you months to read because your world is rocked at the end of every chapter or page maybe. I knew from the title it wasn't going to be a "feel good" book for me.




Today the chapter title was "ANXIETY AND FRUSTRATION". I should have just stopped right then. But just as I encourage my patients everyday to fiercely and honestly examine their relationship with food; I must fiercely examine my own thorns and these two are pretty high up on the list. From the outside, I don't think many would consider me an overly anxious or fearful person. But those who know me best.. my parents, husband, closest friends, and my own body know I can become overridden with anxiety. In highschool, my parents spent countless hours with me at the doctor's office going through negative after negative test for stomach pains I could not seem to shake. Now, I look back at highschool and laugh and wonder what in the world was so important that got me so worked up...

For so long anxiety was something I could hide for the most part. It wasn't causing any harm (or not much) to anyone around me. And then I learned what the opposite response would be.. the response Jesus had in Matthew 26:39 when he told His dad "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me; neverthless, not as I will, but as you will". The dread of His impending suffering on the cross far exceeds anything I will ever experience. Humbling to say the least.

The opposite of anxiety is trust in God. When I give way to anxiety, I am believing that God does not care for me and that He will not take care of me (or my family) in the particular circumstance that triggers my anxiety at the moment.

So often my focus is on the immediate cause of my anxiety rather than remembering that those immediate causes are under the SOVEREIGN control of God.

My anxiety is a little like a domiono effect. That worry quickly turns into frustration which eventually spins out of control to impatience, resentment, and complaining, which are not only sinful but tormenting to all involved. While my last year has been full of alot of JOY; it has been stained with impatience, resentment, and complaints. It's not that what I want so badly is bad. I believe with everything inside of me that the Lord has promised these girls to us but He has so much more than them for us. He has taught us more about Him in these last 2 years than I ever imagined.

As we see in Jesus' request to His father, an acceptance of God's sovereign and providential will does not mean we are not to pray about the outcome.
Phillipians 4:6-7 is one of the key verses we had to memorize every year in school..

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in EVERY situation, by prayer and petition, WITH THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

So with true Thanksgiving, I understand that waiting for passports is part of His plan for my life on Novemeber 27,2012. Lord, AGAIN I say
"I believe, help my unbelief"- Mark 9:24.

But I also with great FAITH say "If it be possible, let this cup (of waiting) pass from me; neverthless, not as I will, but as you will".

What are the areas of your life that kindle anxiety, frustration, impatience, resentment, and complaining? Anxiety is not to be taken lightly or brushed off as a common response to difficult situations in a fallen world. If He doesn't take the situation away, ask what you can learn from it.

Blessings,
Kristin




Saturday, November 10, 2012

Nutrition

1/2 of my work week is spent counseling my patients with diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, infertility issues or hormone imbalances, heartburn, gout, etc. When I graduated a little over a year ago, I NEVER thought I would be teaching nutrition. My husband laughs because we are talking about a girl who has maybe cooked 10 meals in her life. What right and credentials did I have to tell people what they should or should not be putting in their mouth? I have never personally struggled with any of the above diseases and weight is not my thorn in this life. But as always, the Lord's ways are not our ways. In November of last year, I began to shadow Kyra, a nurse practitioner in our office who is passionate about nutrition and has taught me SO much this past year. I am forever grateful for how hard she has worked for hundreds if not thousands of our patients. She will probably never receive the recognition she deserves this side of Heaven.


From the start, this was SO much more than food. It was about relationships. Through food counseling, I am able to dig into patient's worlds. It is so much more than come in, treat you for a symptom, tell you what you should or shouldn't be doing (like you already don't know you shouldn't smoke or you need to exercise :)... It is living life with people. It is finding out that you are working 2 jobs to makes ends meet and you don't have time to cook dinner, or that your identity is in being a "good Southern cook" and you feel like you don't know how to do anything else well, or that food has been tied to emotions for as long as you can remember and you are lonely.


Over the past few weeks, my small knowledge in nutrition has spilled over into other areas of my life... realizing that because everyone eats, it's something that must be addressed. The more I learn, the more I recognize we have been taught SO wrong. Because I have had so many conversations the past few weeks about "clean eating", I wanted to start journaling what i am learning on here so maybe you and your family can benefit too. There is still SO much to learn but I have watched my patients lose weight, come off medications, reverse disease processes, and find the JOY of the Lord over the past 11 months! That's good enough evidence based medicine for me.

I will go into more detail later but the whole idea is moving back to Eden... to WHOLE FOODS! In the 1960s and beyond, the government made some pretty strong recommendations based off poor medical research... Remember the food pyramid you learned in school...





Here's the problem... with these recommendations:

1. Our obesity, diabetes, heart disease, infertility, cancer, and other disease rates have skyrocketed!!!!

2. Low-fat products fly off the shelf because natural fats have become our enemy. Heres the issue. When they took fat out of food, it tasted awful so they had to put something back in... Carbohydrates. As soon as carbs hit your tongue, they start breaking down into sugar. Too many carbs = all those diseases I listed earlier.

Our whole goal is to get back to the foods the Lord originally created for us. I will start with a few goals I give my patients. As I tell them, don't overhaul everything over night. This way of eating is not some diet you will do for a few months and then move onto the next best thing. This is a lifestyle change.

P.S. dont go and cook 2 different meals for you and your kids. One of the best gifts you can give your children is teaching them how to cook and preventing them from playing catch up later in life. Our childhood obesity rates and diabetes go up daily if you havent noticed..

Essentials: (all credit to Kyra Fowler, FNP)


1. Breakfast!! You must always eat breakfast. Breakfast gets your metabolism going. Without fuel, your body is not able to burn fat.

2. 3 meals, 2 snacks. Snacks not only help to curb your appetite throughout the day so that you are not extremely hungry at mealtimes, but they also help to stabilize your blood sugar and keep your metabolism at an optimal level throughout the day.

3. Protein or healthy fat every time you eat. It is essential to get protein and/or healthy fats with each meal and snack. Protein and fat help to slow the rise of your blood sugar. This prevents insulin surges that result in large blood sugar drops which trigger cravings and cause fatigue and hunger. Protein and fat also bring fullness and satiety which will keep you from getting hungry so quickly after meals or snacks. The hormone leptin that is released from your stomach to your brain when eating triggers fullness. This hormone works beautifully in response to proteins and fats, but minimally with carbohydrates. Therefore, focusing on protein along with healthy fats will actually allow your portions to naturally decrease because you will reach fullness and satiety faster.

4. Drink water. You need at least 64 oz of water a day. This helps remove toxins in your body that you will have from the breakdown of fat. Also, if you aren’t drinking enough, your body will hold on to what it has, causing water retention and a bloated feeling.

5. Keep a food journal. This doesn’t have to be for the rest of your life; this is just to get you started. If you keep a detailed food journal you will be much more intentional about what you eat. It will also provide personal accountability.

6. Exercise. The goal is at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity five days per week, along with three days of resistance exercise per week . If that seems like an unattainable goal at first, pick a reasonable goal for yourself, even if you start with 10 minutes a day, three days per week. Start there and keep moving! Always check with your medical provider before starting any kind of intense exercise program.

7. Find an accountability partner. It is always easier to accomplish a goal when you have someone to encourage you and support you. Whether that someone is a family member, spouse, friend, or coworker, find someone to begin this journey with you!

8. Don’t get discouraged. If you are losing weight and find that you plateau at a certain weight, or even put a couple of pounds back on, don’t focus on the negative; think about what you have already accomplished and keep going. Plateaus are to be expected and there are ways to help move past them. Don’t give up! Eating and living right can radically change your life!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Young Life

Last weekend, I had the oppotunity to go to Young Life's Windy Gap camp and serve as the camp "doctor". Over 350 kids highschool kids escaped for the weekend to play in His beautiful creation, have 3 intentional sit down meals a day, hear the gospel, and be fiercely prayed over and pursued by their Young Life leaders. I felt so many emotions while I was there. It had been almost 6 years since I had been the pursued, the camper, the one being poured into. She was there again with me...
but this time as my coworker.


Frontier Ranch 2004
Windy Gap 2012

You see in highschool, my Young Life leader also doubled as my volleyball coach, prom hair-dressor, make-up artist, kettle-corn maker every Wednesday night in highschool as I sat in her big red chair and dove into the WORD of LIFE at her lead. She walked us through boy drama, prom, tutoring, parent's divorce, graduation, spilling fingernail polish all over our mother's floor (Lillie :), college recommendation letters and so many joys and tears. She bravely took a bunch of 16 year old girls across the country so we could know our Jesus in a way we never had before.
Frontier Ranch June 2004
 
She stood beside me as I took the 2nd most important vows of my life..
 
  
 And now she works beside me as a Family Nurse Practitioner.
 
 
Last Thursday I went into her office and sobbed on her shoulder as we found out it would be
"a little longer until the girls came home". She prayed over me aloud just as she had before so many times. We served together last weekend as "co-camp nurse practitioners" and for the first time, I was able to glimpse the sacrifice she had made for us so many years before. How she filled herself with Him so she could pour His unconditional love on us. I say all of this to say.. Thank you Mindy! Words will never be enough. Your imprint has left Jesus on my heart forever.
 
And two, if you are/ have been a Young Life leader or serve/ mentor through any capacity.. youth groups, inner-city ministries, sports camps, etc... what you are doing MATTERS in the KINGDOM. Your investment will forever change a life. For those not in that role, I encourage you to find your "Timothy and Titus" as Paul did and train them. Sometimes, it is simply just showing up in their lives. Sometimes it looks like training them in a profession which the Lord has gifted you in. And.. pray for those who are serving children. Middle school and High school are battle grounds. Two of our dearest couple friends spend their days serving as interns and staff for YoungLife on opposite sides of the U.S. This weekend made me value their investment that much more. Windy Gap was the first place I met one of my best friends. The zip line means so much more to me than a line and freezing cold water. It is the 6 + years of a deep, intentional life giving friendship with Kristin B. Watching her pursue freshman girls this weekend brought me back to when it was us. When our leaders were trying to figure out how to turn our focus off self and onto Christ. And I experienced the deepest HOPE. The Lord whispered to me... my children are going to be just fine and I will use Kristin and Justin to love them fiercely with my love. I thought of Allison and Taylor leaving everything that they knew, packing their truck, and setting across the US to leave HIS footprints on another highschoolers heart. I thought of Becca, my lifelong friend who is more like a sister and how she spent 4 years running hard after girls at Fulton and going to pick them up so late at night when I thought she was crazy! She is now on her second year of mentoring and professionally teaching 20+ 3rd graders every day. She has given her life to invest in those who will come after her. I watched Ben (a boy who had grown up in my neighborhood and whose mom went to highschool with my momma) love on 24 urban, football boys. He was so full of JOY and CONSISTENCY and tears streamed down my face as I realized this may be the first consistent man in some of their lives. 
 
And the MANY others of my friends who have been obedient and said "yes". As a mentor, you may never get the recognition but He will and he will reward you with eternal blessing. Parents, if you have someone pouring into the life of your child, acknowledge them and thank them. They will be able to talk to your child about things in the middle school and high school years that you may never get to simply because you are their "parent". If you had someone pour into you as a child, including teachers; go back and thank them!
 
 In addition to finding someone to pour into, seek someone to mentor you who has walked this road before. We were not made to live this life alone.
 
 You need to pour out and be filled up.
 
 

 


Last weekend the Lord filled us up!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"WAIT"

This poem was shared with me this morning and I read it aloud with tears falling down my face. May it bring strength and encouragement to those the Lord has said "WAIT" 
 for various things..
 
Wait
by Russell Kelfer
Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .
And the Master so gently said, "Wait."
"Wait? you say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.
"My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to wait?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
Or even a 'no' to which I can resign.
"You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply."
Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting for what?"
He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine . . .
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.
"I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of my love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.
"You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence are all you can see.
"You'd never experience the fullness of love
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.
"The glow of my comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.
"You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss, if you missed what I'm doing in you.
"So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still . . . Wait."
 
 
MAY I NOT MISS KNOWING HIM!
 
~kristin

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

FEAR

FEAR... let's just call it what it is... A STRAIGHT LIE FROM SATAN.

 "for God gave us a spirit NOT of fear 
but of POWER and LOVE and SELF-CONTROL."- 2 Timothy 1:7


But oh how it manifests itself as our "protector", keeping us in what we think is "a safe place" where we can be in CONTROL and say NO if something "doesn't fit in our life" or makes us uncomfortable or is not "in your family's idea for your life." 

Satan has been on his "A game" since we passed court for the adoption. I learned a valuable lesson the other day: Satan doesn't waste his time going after those on his own team. He wants those on the front lines of the Lord's battle, the ones Jesus' loves..  And Jesus allows it... 
He prunes those He loves.

FEAR has and can manifest in many different ways in my life and yours.
  • Fellow adoptive moms have shared the truth and rawness of the first year at home (which I long for by the way if any of you moms are reading this :)  What the Lord intends for wisdom and mentoring; Satan twists into "You are going to lose your own identity and your friends will abandon you because they won't understand."
  • My hunny's calling to go to law school in the 7th grade to work with child trafficking.
    • Lie:Your husband just wants to go to school longer so he doesn't have to work. He will never be home to help because law school is hard. He may never use his law degree in a "formal American" sense to provide for your family. You have to go back to work after your girls have been home for 3 months so you don't lose your insurance and provide to put food on the table. Every other adoptive mom you know gets to stay home and pull their kids out of school if they are not ready yet. What if your girls are not ready (Seriously?! Can you say ENTITLEMENT (aka one of Satan's best lies) and what the heck does "ready" mean?! Are we ready to parent two human beings... umm no! You better perform well at work so you don't get sued and lose your job. These are people's lives you're dealing with (really?! but now you get a glimpse of what goes on in my crazy head and the way Satan can send me in a spiral).
    • Truth: Law school is hard!! but my husband values his relationship with the Lord and his girls over any grade! This is a season and my husband is being faithful in what He has been called to. I TRUST THEM (Jesus and my hunny). Does he want to provide for our family, absolutely! He has stepped up in so many ways. Confession: I have maybe made 3 meals (maybe) since we were married over 2 years ago. I have a keeper! Will we make sacrifices for him to go to school? Yes, every day I will have to die to self... but I wouldn't want it to be any other way.
  • One of our angels has a birth deformity and one of her legs is 4 inches longer than the other. We will be having surgery shortly after she gets home.
    • Lie: You are going to traumatize a child who has recently been stripped of everything she knows by putting her through surgery. You are in a rush to have her surgery so you can go back to work. She will be in a full body cast for 2 months and you will have to carry her everywhere and probably wont sleep. She will most likely have raging fits because she doesn't trust you yet and will feel so out of control when you confine her. You are taking away from her sister because you won't be giving her as much attention. blah blah blah blah blah...
    • Truth: "I AM THE GREAT PHYSICIAN" I have blessed you with the gift of knowledge of the human body and you know how to care for this child. She may always have a limp to remind her of me but I will take away her shame and embarrassment through this surgery. She will be in a full body cast and go back to total dependence on you so that she will learn to trust again and attach to you. Many people will come to know me through the redemptive story of this child- Jesus.
It's not only me the deceiver is after.. It's you too if you claim the name of "CHRISTian". You can maybe relate to the "spiral effect" that so often plagues me or maybe it manifests physically for you and your family. Don't be afraid to call Satan out in the midst of physical pain. Go to the elders of your church and have them anoint you with oil (James 5:14).  For one of my friends on the front line of orphan care; it is manifesting as severe hip pain with a normal MRI and a toddler with a possible broken foot. For another giving her life to high school kids through Young Life; it is the fear of infertility and comparison and things happening that haven't even happened yet (That's a daily one for me). For a woman whose parents are on their knees in prayer over her life; it is the destruction of domestic violence. THE WAR IS WAGING!

Satan will back you into a corner and make you say NO to things. He will pin you against the people you love most. "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."- John 10:10.

By letting fear reign in our lives, we MISS OUT! You say NO to things that may bring you the greatest JOY and LIFE. Two years ago I feared these things when we were deciding whether to adopt or not:

1. our age (Jeremy was a senior in college)
2. married for only 7 months at this point, need time for "US"
3. both in school with an intention for Jeremy to go back to school for possibly 4 more years!
 (We are currently on year 2/4).
4. desire to travel the world and go on more mission trips (the idea that it's harder with children)
5. money (or lack of according to the world's standards)

Man... we would have missed out BIG TIME. 




He has SO much LIFE for you sweet child. It usually comes down in the trenches... with the lonely, outcast, orphan, homeless, widow, abandoned, prostitute, addict,  teenage mom. 

Don't not go there out of fear. It is paralyzing. Our life is but a breath. 
We don't have time to be crippled by fear.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

City of Refuge Ministries

OUR HEART...
 
 
Please take time to watch this video made by a sweet family who recently visited City of Refuge Ministries in Ghana. This is OUR FAMILY! This is where our Portia lives and goes to school.
 
Autumn (principal at Faith Roots International Academy), Stacy (cofounder of CORM), and me!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Garage Sale

 Our friends rock and they are having a garage sale to benefit our adoption as well as helping to send some of our best friends to intern at a Young Life camp for the next year.
 
September 22, 2012!!
 
We need your help in gathering items. If you have things you would like to contribute, please let me or Jeremy know and we can direct you.
 
Did I mention we have the best friends in the world?!
 
Thanks beeker and brit!!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bibles



I looked around at the 4,000 other faces on the Sabbath as they gathered to praise the most High. Just one week before; I found myself under some old, faithful African trees with not more than 20 saints. Church. The gathering of 2 or 3 in His name and there HE is with them. Stunning. Not so we can turn inward and provide a spa for ourselves but for us to be filled to overflowing so that we may turn and go out to spill over to others. 



Just beyond those faithful trees were men swinging an ax into the earth, fisherman casting their nets- hoping Poseidon would come through for them that day so they could eat and provide for their family, CHILDREN whose names were recalled but faces were missing from the pews because one week before they were sent to the sea to work so they could at most go to school in the fall and at least eat. 
tears from a child whose brothers had to leave to work to provide money for school and food




2 faithful pastors. Their disciples. The journey started with 10 missionaries to this predominant idol worshipping sea village. 2 remain as the others recall "The ground is too hard". We proclaimed truth over their work and promised they are NOT alone. We groaned for their filling up so they could turn and pour out. We asked what their needs are and there are many but for today, THE WORD OF LIFE. They need Bibles. Many of the children can read but they don't have money to purchase Bibles (very expensive in Ghana). We have friends returning to do an outreach in this village in 3 weeks and I will return in about 3 months. If you feel a tug to give a Bible or many, please let me know. They can be new or old treasures. We prefer translations that are simple to read (ie: not King James) for the little ones. 

A skit to help tell the story of Ruth







Please be on guard and pray for Palace Chapel International Church under the old faithful trees.
They will move mountains through Him.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

things I want to remember...

"mommy please wear my clothes for me". translation "Please help me put my clothes on"

"mommy we need some pomade (aka lotion)"

1 AM- "What are we doing?"- my hunny

"What is this"- pointing to hair dryer. "Ooohh... let me go and get my hands wet so you can dry them mommy"

"Mommy you look ugly" (in the swimming pool), "Why? says mommy" "You have those black things under your eyes. (aka makeup running down my face)- I have one girl who will shoot you straight. Another morning putting on powder "Mommy that makeup makes you look like an old woman"
- oh dear!!

Someone poots (aka "flash" in Ghana). Mommy- "You need to say excuse me. You are a lady". "No mommy, I am an old man"

" how do you off it"- (aka turn it off)

"I need Xanax IV"- my hunny again ;)

"Daddy, remove yourself" (aka put me down) "Take me" ( pick me up)


"My back is hurting"- my 15 year old brother. "It's ok for you to tell the kids you can't hold them today" - me. "No, they need to be loved"- my brother (melt my heart)


"I love you to the moon and back" from 20 little girls as we tuck them in at night

"My eye is paining me" (aka hurting)

1st day my girl calling me "Auntie Kristie" 2nd day " Auntie Mommy" 3rd day "Mommy"
- there is nothing sweeter.

"Some days I want to go home because I miss my family and friends but it just takes one of them looking at you to realize we are where we are supposed to be" - my 17 year old sister

"I am ready to go home with you but I need to go tell my friends bye first"

"WE ARE COMING BACK FOR YOU"- mommy and daddy to the girls


Friday, August 17, 2012

and then there were 4!


The Millers have officially doubled in size!! We passed court in Ghana 2 weeks ago for Portia and Mabel Miller!! We flew over this past week and spent time loving on our girls, filing immigration papers, and living life with some of our dear friends in Ghana. We are on overload right now as we process and I will continue to write about our journey in the next few days. But now we wait a maximum of 60 business days for the processing of our immigration papers. Once we get notice of approval, we will apply for the girl's visas and then we will go back to bring them HOME!!! We are SO thankful for your prayers and covering us in so many ways.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

LIVE IT

you know those times when Jesus is trying to teach you something... like really get the message across to the point that every sermon, Bible study, significant conversation seems to echo the same theme.. and you feel like you are 5 again and your mother has her hand on her hip saying "If I have to tell you one more time.." Ok, you get the point but that is how my last few weeks have been and oh how grateful I am for a persistant Savior. I am just scratching the surface of this whole obedience thing but I wanted  to share my few thoughts in case our Jesus has some other hearts and souls to tug at. Let me warn you that what I am learning is not warm or comfortable or the least bit natural to my human flesh.. so here it goes...

These  2 themes  have flooded my thoughts over the past 2 weeks:

GRACE: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. " Ephesians 2: 8-9

WORKS: " In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."
James 2: 17

woah... wait a minute. Aren't these 2 statements in the same inspired word of God? These sound contradictory. And at first glance they are. I have learned that God can't completely be figured out. Once you completely figure something out, you have authority over it and we will never have authority over the Word of God. Whew... Thank goodness!

One of the core values of my faith is that I am a messy, undeserving sinner and nothing I could ever do or say will earn my spot in eternity. I will never be good enough for Him and neither will you. However, the gospel did not come just to check me off Hell's list. It came to give me a NEW LIFE so I better get to LIVING IT and so should you if you have made this commitment.

James goes on to say "But someone will say, 'You have faith; I have deeds. Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that —and shudder." James 2: 18-19

Does Satan believe in God?  You Bet. And he believes in the crucifixion and ressurection. Is he going to live with God in eternity... I'm afraid not. To Satan, the stories of Christ are just that, stories. If mine (and your) lives have not changed as a result of the gift, the gospel is just information. WOW! If that doesn't make you shudder.

 Have you ever given someone a gift and they barely got a "thanks" out? If a gift doesn't have an affect on someone, it was never truly recieved. The same is true for the most incredible gift we have ever been offered, Christ. If it doesn't change you; I'm talking truly give you a new mind and characteristics like LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, and SELF-CONTROL; it was never fully received. The fruits of the Spirit are part of the gift.

At church we are going through a series in I & II Thessalonians about "Living with the end in mind." Guess what, it is coming :) Therefore, spend your life on behalf of the Gospel. I 'encourage, comfort, and urge you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.' - 1 Thess. 2:12

You LIVE out of your real belief system. I am tired of talking. Aren't you?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Unexpected Gift from Uncle Luke!


Jeremy's brother Luke built this play-ground almost 4 years ago for his Eagle Scout project. He donated the playground to the kids at The Restoration House. Well... The Restoration House family (dear friends of ours) were the recent recipients of a new home from Extreme Home Makeovers which will air as a special in November (be sure to watch!!). Along with their house, the received a new playground so they asked us if we wanted this one for the girls!!! 
SO fun that their uncle Luke has blessed many children with his construction gift and now will get to bless his soon to be nieces :)!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What Blesses, Not Burdens..

As I looked back through my blog posts, I realized I ask whoever reads this to give ALOT... give of their time, resources, gifts, life. And for a little bit, I felt bad and hesitated to write this next post but then I realized that is right where Satan wants us.. afraid to ask on behalf of the Kingdom.. afraid to be bold for the poor, orphaned, and widowed. This summer some of my dearest friends and I are walking through Beth Moore's study on the breathtaking life of James. Last night, we were challenged to move our passive faith to active.

"My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality." -I John 3:18



So.. we have a way to practice REAL LOVE to our community. Until next Monday (6/18/12), we are collecting items for Hope Resource Center and The Restoration House.
They are in need of:
Diapers (newborn, size 1, size 2)
Wipes
Bottles, Pacifiers
Infant Thermometers
Infant Bath Tubs
Infant Gowns
Infant Onesies
(Note: clean, second-hand clothing is welcome! Consider shopping consignment for some good options!)



If you prefer, they are always in need of Walmart or Target Gift Cards for the staff to pick up some larger items when mothers are in need (ie: car seats, etc).

In the introduction to the James' study, Beth has encouraged us to 
"Do only what blesses and not what burdens"

These things that I post are not an obligation. They are not to make you feel guilty. They are meant to open doors to tangible ways your can practice HIS LOVE in your community and around the world. 

If you are interested in donating any items, you can contact me or you can give them to any of these girls if you know them and your paths will cross this week!!
(Lauren Love, Kristin Bailey, Becca Friar, Kelsey Cruze, Chelsea Childress, 
Rachel Friar, Amanda Harb, Wendy Hill)

*Also if you are a lady and would like to join us, there has only been one week and you can go early next week and get caught up. It's going to rock our world :)!! Just let me know!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Beebe Boys

Tonight we had a going away party for some very sweet friends... The Beebes... they are moving to GHANA in 2 weeks to GO BE A BLESSING to the people there!!





Robin (the momma) has traveled with me to Guatemala and has been instrumental in mentoring me through her wisdom and the way she lives her life by continually pouring it out for others.
While living in Ghana, the boys will attend Faith Roots International Academy!! In an effort to help them with school administrative fees, book fees, uniform, transportation, and school lunches, we are looking for sponsors at $50/ month for each boy. The boys would be great pen pals with kids or even a Sunday or regular school classroom. If you are interested in blessing these boys and investing not only in their education but in their future, please leave a comment or email sponsorship@cityofrefugeoutreach.com.

Mason
Franklin
Weston
Braden
Godwin  


 I have had the privilege of watching Mason mature over the past few years through youth group. He truly is an amazing young man! He has written a song about how his heart has been broken for the least of these. The 4 oldest boys have a band and you can hear the fabulous song they have recorded on this video...



Thank you Beebes for answering the call to go! 

 "The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, 
 and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.:
-Genesis 12:1-3

If you would like to follow the Beebes in Ghana, here is their blog: 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Single Mommas

We have an opportunity to love on single momma's in Ghana for Mother's Day.City of Refuge Ministries in Ghana has started a second employment opportunity for single mothers in their community in an effort to destroy the root of why children are trafficked into working instead of going to school. The "Save a Child Pure Water Company" will serve to employ these mommas by selling bags of fresh, clean water to the community. On each bag is a message warning against children working on the lakes of Ghana and how to contact City of Refuge for more help. I am SO excited about this fabulous ministry!! As a benefit to working at the water company, mothers are given a scholarship for their children to attend school. The scholarship is $40 USD/ month to cover books, uniform, food, transportation, school/ teacher costs, and transportation. This is where you come in... We need monthly sponsors for these kids. As a sponsor, you will receive a copy of your child's report card after every term as well as letters and pictures from your child. You may choose to sponsor a child in honor of your own mother for Mother's Day this year! These are our children with immediate sponsorship needs. I know it will require sacrifice for you to help send them to school but the eternal blessings are oh so rich! Please let me know if you are interested in sponsoring one of these babes and I will send you the info by email. Please share this with your friends by fb or blog. You never know whose heart the Lord is prompting to invest in Kingdom work!

Jennifer

Prince

Helen   

Pictures taken just last week of children working during the day on the lake

These babes have not had a chance to go to school
"Save a Life Pure Water Company"

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Open your eyes

This will rock your world. Please take 9 minutes to hear TRUTH! Go Selah! 
Jesus is written all over this story.
  • `HIV is considered a chronic but manageable disease with proper treatment.
    `Children who receive treatment are expected to live a normal lifespan.
  • `HIV has never been transmitted in normal family living conditions.
  • `You NEVER have to fear contracting HIV through casual contact with an HIV+ person.
  • `HIV is spread in three main ways: sexual contact, IV drug use through the sharing of dirty needles,
     mother to infant (pregnancy, birth or breast feeding.)
  • `All around the world orphans are overlooked for adoption because of their HIV+ status.
  • `Medications called ARVs can mean the difference between life and death.
  • `The combination of three or more ARVs is called HAART. (Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy)
  • `With medications HIV can be effectively managed to the point that the virus is undetectable in laboratory tests.
  • `There is a term for the miraculous transformation HIV+ people undergo when they begin receiving the medications they need.  The Lazarus Effect is a term commonly used to describe people who were once on the brink of death who have been restored again to health through medication.
  • For  more information, please visit www.projecthopeful.org or http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/  

Monday, April 23, 2012

Marvin needs a computer!

Learning to take blood pressures




Meet our dear friend, Marvin. Marvin is 20 years old and is currently in college in Ghana. Marvin is studying to become a cardiologist :) Marvin immediately took us in and treated us like his siblings. He was so protective of me while we were in Ghana and the boy's faith is a rock. His laptop was stolen at school a few weeks ago and we are looking for a new or gently used laptop for Marvin! If you have one you would like to donate, please send me a message at kristinlusbymiller87@gmail.com. Your gift will not go unnoticed and you will invest in generations of lives through Marvin's impact!! Please share this with others so we may be able to bless this sweet young man!