Sunday, October 26, 2014

Beaver Creek

We have been visiting potential locations for the 2015 Passion for Orphans retreat.
It's a good excuse to get out of town .. and into the mountains.

The last weekend in September, we visited the Charter in Beaver Creek.
This weekend brings us to Beaver Creek / Arrowhead Village.

The Vail Valley is simply breathtaking.
It's nice to get away from the rat race and take a deep breath.

As a friend said years ago, "It's like an ice cream sundae for the soul."

Since the retreat one month ago, I have been praying, thinking, and writing.
What is the vision God has given me for this retreat?
What is my hope for the ladies that come?
Does the venue matter all that much?

God is giving me a renewed, clear vision for this retreat.
I now know that I want our retreats to be a
transformational experience rather than a training intensive.

Passion for Orphans exists to serve women involved in worldwide orphan care, adoption, and fostering, in an authentic and Christ-centered manner
… primarily through retreats that provide quality Biblical teaching that will equip and transform the lives of women to more effectively lead those around them and bring glory to God through their heart for orphan care.

The Target audience includes 

Orphan Care Advocates
P4O exists to educate and inspire women to be involved in orphan care in avenues other than adoption.

Adoptive & Foster moms
P4O exists to encourage and Biblically equip adoptive/ foster moms to create a Christ-centered environment at home.  Our desire to connect you with like-minded women and help you gain a fresh perspective through real life, Christ-centric stories that will give you renewed strength to carry on. 

Fine tuning the vision is critical if I am to bring others along side.
A leadership team can only help execute the vision if I have a clear vision.

With much excitement, I sense that God has fine-tuned that vision within me.
He has made clear the things that became blurry.
With a clear vision, I feel that I can, and must, press on for the sake of these precious ladies.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Password Protect, Or Not?

I started blogging in the fall of 2006.
That was 8 years ago!
There was a short season when I made my blog accessible only by password.

Occasionally, the privacy question comes up.
Should we keep our life private?
Is it ok to write on a public blog for all to see?
These are questions that have caused conflict in my home from time to time.

I want my story to be a witness, a testimony to others.
I would hope that God would use it to minister to others.
The hard pieces - and the everyday pieces of my story.

I really don't like the idea of using a password.
I want my ramblings to be easily available to others.
BUT is it worth it, if it brings about contention?
Probably not.

I want to be honoring and respectful.
But I also have my own thoughts and opinions on this topic.
I need to spend some time weighing it out.
And I welcome any input.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Unworthy Servant

"Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, "Come at once and reline at table?"  Will he not rather say tho him, "Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink?"  Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded?  
So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, 
"We are unworthy servants, we have only done what was our duty."  
Luke 17:7-10

It has been years since I have had my feet washed.
Foot washing is not practiced in our culture.
But the very act of foot washing is steeped in symbolism.
This morning, I had my feet washed.
I was so incredibly blessed

This sweet gal prayed over me and read Scripture over me, while washing my feet.
It was a precious time.
I was blessed.
Her words spoke to my heart.

Her timing was totally of God.
It followed on the heels of a difficult evening.
The kids & I had dinner at some friends house.
Let's just say, a couple of my kids were not on their best behavior ...
bouncing the exercise ball in their house, writing on their walls (seriously),
putting toys in each other's drinks...  Shall I go on?
I put them to bed ... in my anger.
I felt shamed and embarrassed by their behavior, and my inability to stop them.

I was reeling over how I was going to discipline them when I went to bed.
This morning, as I sat with my feet in a bucket of water, I was convicted.
She was reading Scripture about forgiveness.
The passage in Matthew 18 cut to my core.

"Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants.  When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.  And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife, and children and all that he had, and payment to be made.  So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, "Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything."  And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.  But when the same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, "Pay what you owe."  So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him.  "Have patience with me, and I will pay you."  He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt.  When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they went and reported to their master all that had taken place.  Then his master summoned him and said to him, "You wicked servant!  I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.  And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?"  And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt.  So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."

I have been forgiven much.  And yet, sometimes I choose to withhold forgiveness.
I have been forgiven ALL my debt.
I must show mercy.
I am an unworthy servant, who must do my duty.
I must forgive much, others who are unworthy.

Monday, October 13, 2014


I absolutely love CC.
When we started 4 years ago, it breathed life into our homeschooling days.
We were already using the classical model ...
but CC fine-tuned what was already in motion.

The songs brought memory work to life.
The classroom environment provided community.
Just having the material laid out helped get us all on the same page...
and made lesson planning easier for me.

Now, having just started our 4th year, it's fun to see the kids even more excited.
They know the material already.

Just the other day, Landon was doing a math lesson.
The problem said, "Put the following dates in order from least to greatest ...
1620, 1773, 1492 and 1776."

He came to me and said, "Look at this problem, Mom.
1492 is Columbus, 1620 is the Pilgrims, 1773 is the Boston Tea Party,
and 1776 was the Continental Congress."

Math and history collide.
I love that all the subjects intersect with each other ...
and my kids are starting to see it too!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Vision and Values

Vision and values are critical to life and ministry.
Without vision, a marriage or ministry is easily led off track.
I can absolutely attest to this!
There have been times when Steve and I have lost site of where we are going (vision)
... only to find ourselves in significant conflict.
Vision keeps us on the same path ... moving in the same direction.

The same is true in ministry.
I cannot lead a team of people anywhere if I don't know where I'm going.
This too I have experienced first hand.
I have led people ... and given them complete freedom to plan and take us ...
... anywhere ...
only to find out when we get there, it's not exactly what I had in mind.

So, I've been doing a tremendous amount of soul searching the past couple weeks.
What is it that God has for our family?  For our marriage?  For our ministry?
Where does HE want us to go?
How does it align with who He has created me to be?
How can I best honor God by pursuing the vision He has laid before me?

What is it that I value?
Not just the things I care about or want to be about ...
but what do I truly value, at my core?
What are the non-negotiables, that are true to who I am, and glorifying to my Father?

I remember the day I felt that God called me into missions/ ministry.
I was in high school and my family was attending a church in Arvada.
Some missionaries came through and shared their stories from the field.
I was in awe.
Then, they challenged each person to ask God if He would also call them.
With Steven Curtis Chapman singing "For the Sake of the Call,"
I went down front and asked them to pray for me.
I knew then and there that my life would never be the same.

That experience has taken me to serve with ...
Youth With A Mission for 6 years
Campus Crusade for Christ for 6 years
and on 8 mission trips to 11 different countries.

Although now, married, and in my 40s, ministry looks quite a bit different.
My kids are my first ministry.
Four little people clamor for my attention every day, all day long.
They look to me for guidance and direction.

Mavuno Market and Passion for Orphans also provide ministry opportunities.
Church and our CC community provide more.
In fact, ministry opportunities abound.
The needs are endless.

The question becomes ... what is it that God has called me to?
What is my vision and what are my values.
I have no doubt that God is taking me through this time right now ...
to prepare me for what lies ahead.

I'm thankful.
I'm thankful for Steve.
I'm thankful for my family - my parents and my sister.
And I'm thankful for friends, who are wiser than I, who can help me process.
This is a sweet time.
One I hope makes me wiser ... and clearer in my vision for ministry.

The end.

Friday, October 10, 2014


It's absolutely critical.
Sometimes, it seems that we lose our way.
We don't know where we are going ... why ... or how.
It becomes necessary to re-evaluate.
That's where we are now.

As a family, we are asking hard questions.
We're digging deep for the answers.
What do we want to be about?  What do we value?
Steve is thankful to have a job - but it is certainly not aligned with his gifts.
Some days that's ok.  Most days that's just plain hard.

We love where we live, our church, CC community, friends and family.
But knowing that Steve's job is no more than a job ...
we have to ask - what would we do if we could something else.
What would we want that something else to be?

Having just hosted our 3rd Passion for Orphans retreat ...

and with Mavuno Market's craft fair season just getting started ...
both of those send me into deep reflection and evaluation.
Where do we want to go as an organization?
What is our vision?  What are our values?
Where are we going and why?

I'm thankful for the friends God has brought into my life who are more experienced than I.
They challenge my thinking ... and are a great sounding board.
Although I'm uncertain what the future holds,
I have no doubt that my Father already knows ... and will show me at just the right time.

We are in a good place, but are hoping to be in a better place.
We are pursuing some ideas ... and praying that God will make all clear.

For me, that means being patient.
That's not easy for me.  I like to have answers immediately.
I cannot push and force.
Decisions will be made in time.
I must trust that God will open the right doors at the right time.

I believe that change is coming.
Although I don't know when or exactly what it will look like.
I have hope that God has something good in store for us.
The last 8 years have been filled with many challenges and trials.
I am praying that God will bring us to a place where those become fewer.
And to a place where we (especially Steve) can operate more in our giftedness.

But for now ... we wait ... and hope ...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

An Evolving Idea

Land in the mountains.
A retreat center.
This idea is enough to start us looking.
Homes dot com
Realtor dot com
We thought maybe there would be something in Evergreen.
As I searched online, I found that there are no retreat centers up there.

We found a property.
An absolutely incredible property!

It's in Evergreen, on 11 acres.
It has a wedding barn
a residence
a small "cottage"
and a 10,000 sf building, that is currently a school.

Steve and I found it on Thursday.
I emailed my parents the link.
On Saturday, at the P4O retreat, I showed it to my mom.
We called the realtor and set up an appointment to see it.
Mom, Dad, and all 6 of us piled into our Suburban and went to see it Monday night.
It was absolutely amazing!!

In addition to all that is already there, 5 acres are zoned for a future private residence.

The barn is simply beautiful inside!
They've been hosting weddings in there for years.
The sister, who runs the wedding business, lives in Pennsylvania.
Without even trying, they host 45 weddings a year.

There's also a place in the trees for an outdoor ceremony.

The school is an incredible building .. with so much potential.
Maybe a retreat center?

And then, there's the private residence.
It's about 2,800 sf, fully updated - and beautiful!
The landscaping that surrounds it is immaculate.
It has a 3-car garage, a storage shed, and a little building, which has been used as an office.

The small "cottage" down the road is about 1,000 sf.
Right now, it's a storage building, but with water and a kitchen,
it would make a super cute home for Shawnie.

Oh my goodness.
I'm so excited about this possibility!
It would totally be a God-thing if we got it.
But I am super hopeful!!!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Finding Hope and Healing in Brokenness

This past weekend was our 3rd Passion for Orphans retreat.
We were at Aloft in Broomfield, near Boulder.
50 ladies joined us this time, with 10 of those ladies commuting for various parts of the weekend.

Our theme was Hope and Healing.
I loved this theme because I myself have experienced much healing ...
and my hope is certain.

I gave the talk on Sunday morning and just wanted to recap some of what I shared.

I addressed the difficult topic of suffering.
With a room filled with adoptive and foster moms, they know, and have experienced much suffering.
Both personally, and through the kids they have brought home.

Suffering looks different for each person.
I think it's important to identify some different types of suffering,
and determine what our personal suffering looks like.

Adamic suffering - the fall of Adam and Eve
Victim suffering - one who has been sinned against, sexually, physically and emotionally
Consequential suffering - reaped because of foolish decisions
Collective suffering - happens by virtue of being part of a people who are suffering
    .. those born into poverty, famine, hardship, war and conflict
Empathetic suffering - comes when someone we love is hurting
Preventative suffering - warns us of greater suffering that will happen if we don't heed the warnings
Mysterious suffering - we simply do not know the details and God doesn't reveal why

The suffering we endure often leads to a Shattering.
What once was is now unidentifiable because the pieces are shattered into tiny pieces.
Broken glass, where the pieces cannot be put back together again.

BUT we need to be reminded of Who's in control of what often seems like chaos.
An offense can be taken up, but must not be.
We can not ask how or why this could happen to me ...
but instead Surrender and Settle by letting go of our offenses and lay them at the foot of the cross.

It is through our suffering that God builds in us a Steadfastness.
I love what James says ...
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Where there is Suffering - Shattering - Surrender - Steadfastness
   there is a great need for Healing - and Hope!

Our Creator is the one who, piece by piece, picks up the shattered glass.
He uses each piece for the larger picture.
We must have HOPE!

Hope requires that we are born again (1 Peter 1:3-9)
Suffering leads to hope (Romans 5:3-5)
Hope demands that we hold fast, without wavering (Hebrews 10:23-25)
Hope is coming!! (Romans 8:18-25)

One day, all will be made new!!!!

But while we wait ... we must find Shelter.
Shelter in our Savior - ultimately, our hope and healing are ONLY found in Him.
Shelter in other Saints - God uses fallen, sinful people in our lives to help bring healing.

We must Share our story!
- For the goal of exposing darkness
- For our own healing
- For the encouragement of others
- For our good and His glory

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Mavuno Village

We just bought tickets for Steve and David to go to Tanzania!
This is an answer to many months, even years, of prayers!
Ever since I went there in April 2012, I've hoped and prayed that Steve would go.
I have a deep love for the Tanners, Mavuno Village, and Tanzania.
I want Steve to see it and experience it.

I realize he may not have the same love for it that I do,
but just having him see it would bring us closer together in our vision.

With paid holidays, comp days, and earned vacation,
he will leave on Wednesday, November 26, the day before Thanksgiving
and return on Monday, December 8th.
And a huge perk ... it's all paid!

13 days.
It's going to feel quite long on this end ...
but I'm SOOOO excited for him!

They will be able to help Dan with whatever project he has going.
There's a windmill and the 5th house to construct,
along with various small projects.
And of course, they will spend a day at the Serengeti.

I'm a bit jealous that I'm not going.
But this opportunity is such a gift.
Which I hope will, one day, make it possible for all of us to go together.