Monday, July 25, 2011

Praises and prayers!

Thank you so much for praying for the Warner family!  Their son, Joshua, was declared safe to travel, and they are ALL coming home.  A week ago, they were threatened with the thought of having to stay 6-8 weeks in country, all due to a single X-ray. 

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.  May God continue to bathe them in His strength and perseverance.  Unfortunately, when the Warners disembark from their flight, it will be to attend a funeral.  We live in a fallen world, and it is sad that such a sad event must juxtapose the arrival of a new blessing.  (Reminds me of Claudius' first speech in Hamlet, but that is the English teacher in me -- sorry). 

I have been praying for this little boy for so long -- I knew him as "Cliff" on Reece's Rainbow last fall.  I am thrilled that this little boy -- now Joshua Warner -- will have a forever home and a family who loves him. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Steakhouse with Steak?

Many thanks to  my friend Cindy Shufflebarger, who is our guest blogger today.  Cindy is the author of Dancing in the Rain: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Storm. Her writing, inspired by God’s healing hand following the death of her daughter, encourages and offers hope for rediscovering the joy in living. A homeschooling mom of three, she now views life as an adventure with God and invites others to join the journey.   Visit her at


My husband scheduled his annual company Christmas dinner at a local steakhouse.  And all was going well until it came time to order.  The waiter informed us that they were all out of steaks.  No steaks of any cut.  We could have chicken.  We could have pork.  We could have seafood.  But no steak.

The entire party looked at the waiter not knowing how to respond.  Was he serious?  It was only 6pm.  And we were in a steakhouse after all.  How does that happen? I shot a quick glance at my husband, trying to assess how he might respond.  I knew he would be embarrassed, but how would he handle it?  He managed to contain his irritation and all decided to make light of the situation, viewing it as a funny mishap and minor inconvenience instead of a major crisis.

That steakhouse is no longer in business, but I will never forget that night.  I still shake my head and laugh when I think about it.  I felt bad for the waiter actually.  How hard his night must have been telling each customer the news with a straight face – thank you for coming to our steakhouse where we have no steak.

So, my steakhouse experience begs the question:  What about us?  Are we steakhouses with no steak? Are our churches ones without evidence of God?  Are we a temple of the Holy Spirit without yielding any fruit?

I know it’s not a pleasant thought, but I think we need to seriously consider it.  If we are the hands and feet of Jesus, what evidence do we show to our community and our fellow brothers and sisters that God is present in our midst?  Are we gracious and forgiving or quick to judge? Are we snippy and always pushing to get our way or do we kindly yield?  Do we attend church for the entertainment value, always wanting to be fed, yet never serving?  Are we open to the leading of the Holy Spirit?  Are we committed to growing in our relationship with God?  Are we reaching out to others in the community as Jesus would have done?

I challenge you to consider your spiritual health.  Then, ask God to reveal to you one way He wants you to reach out to someone to demonstrate His love.  I pray that we’ll never find ourselves in a position that someone would say that we’re a godless house of God, personally or as a body.  Let’s not be that steakhouse – let’s show some real meat and substance with our lives.

Blessings, my friends, as others see Jesus in you!

On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.  Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them. John 14:20-21

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

G-Free Girly!

Thanks again for all of your prayers for Emma.  She is doing OK but is still complaining often of stomach pain. Hopefully the diet changes I describe below will help!

The results of her tests were somewhat inconclusive.  Blood work showed high levels for celiac disease (gluten intolerance).  Her endoscopy showed intestinal inflammation but no damage to the small intestines.  This could mean that she DOES have a gluten intolerance but it hasn't had an effect on her intestinal walls yet, or it could be something else going on.  And X-rays show that she needs to, um, get moving in the bowel area, which is also a possible cause of stomach pain (and we are giving her meds to help get things going).

But though the tests were not completely clear in pointing to gluten intolerance, she does show enough of the antibodies and the complaints that we decided to try her on the gluten-free diet for a few months and see if she feels better.  Changing her food intake can't hurt her and may even help, as we are all trying to eat more fruits and vegetables, things like hummus as a dip, and get creative with sides and desserts (we had a great g-free dessert "fruit pizza" thanks to Granny!). 

I decided to go "g-free" with Emma to support her and be her buddy (and if I lose my muffin top, even better!). This past weekend, we headed to the bookstore to get cookbooks and then to Whole Foods to stock up on foods and flours that will allow us to be g-free.  Next, she and I rearranged the pantry so that she has her own "g-free" section of safe treats.  However, Emma has been a picky eater for a while, perhaps because of her stomach pain, and so getting her to eat a variety of healthy foods is definitely going to be challenging. 

Going g-free is not easy;  it's not just a diet but a true lifestyle change.  You can't go through a drive-through and expect something g-free AND kid friendly, for example.  So we are being more purposeful about bringing our own snacks and lunches when we are out and about, which is healthier and cheaper in the long run.  Emma and Bella love Lunchables, which are neither nutritionally substantial nor g-free, and I'm thinking of getting these cool Easy Lunchboxes things to make our own:

We're also keeping a running list of g-free foods and restaurants.  Thankfully, there are several phone and Ipad apps that are helping us as well.   Check out Gluten Free Registry -- this is how we found a place to eat out last night.  We tend to avoid chains when we go out, though there are several that do offer g-free and other allergen-free menu options.  We ended up at a cool cafe that had a gluten-free menu and a kids menu (thank you, Xtra's Cafe in Carytown, you were AWESOME!). 

We are blessed that we live close to a metropolitan area that has many g-free food and grocery options.  And I am grateful that gluten intolerance is manageable, requires no medication, and won't put Emma in anaphalytic shock if she is exposed.  My heart goes out to the many folks whose allergies (or those of their loved ones) require supreme vigilance.

We are also blessed with many friends and supporters near and far.  Thank you for sharing this journey with us!


Please be in prayer for the Warner family.  They are in Eastern Europe right now to pick up their son, Joshua.  He is very sick and suspected of having either pneumonia or TB.  If it is the latter, they may be stuck in country for weeks.  On top of it all, mom (Lisa's) sister died two days ago.  Oh, my heart aches for them.  They are stuck in limbo, grieving, running very low on funds, and parenting a child just out of the orphanage who is sick and not used to his new surroundings.
  • If you want to read more of their story, click HERE.  
  • If you want to contribute to their Family Support Fund, click HERE.  (Donations go through Reece's Rainbow and are tax-deductible.  Every little bit helps.)   Thank you for your prayers!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Thank you!

Emma was so cute waiting for her procedure -- some of the nurses called her "Shirley Temple."

Thanks for all of your prayers for Emma.  She did so well yesterday!  We should know the results of her tests soon. 

One of Emma's prayer requests each day is for orphans to find families (sweet girl!).  As a favor to me and Emma, would you please be PRAYING for the many families trying desperately to raise the ransom to adopt children all over the world.  Every single one of these children need a family!

Adeye's blog has a great list and series of photos  HERE.   Would you be willing to pick a child (or three!) and pray for them and their families?  Many of them are in need of funds and have some great giveaways and raffles.  Let's all consider skipping our lattes today and sending in a few dollars to one of these precious waiting children. 

Thank you, and Emma thanks you, too!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Prayer for Emma

Tomorrow, my middle child, Emma, will be having an outpatient medical procedure, and I would appreciate your prayers that all goes well.

She has been complaining for a while that her stomach hurt, often when we would all sit down to dinner. So for a while, we thought she was trying to get out of eating dinner. But one day I called her bluff and asked if she wanted to go to the doctor, and she surprisingly replied "yes.". (And, as a side note, I hate that the ignorant iPad programmer adds an extra period after quotation marks--drives this former English teacher batty.)

So we saw a nurse practitioner who has three daughters with celiac disease (gluten intolerance). She checked out Emma thoroughly, even bringing in a fellow ped to check for appendicitis. When the NP heard that my mom has celiac, she ordered a blood test for Emma. Emma's blood work showed a high level of antibodies, meaning it is very likely that she is gluten intolerant. Tomorrow's test will help us know for sure.

What does this mean? Well, it may mean that we need to change Emma's diet significantly, and by association, that of the whole family. Wheat is in many things, and even sneaks its way into soups and salad dressings and things we don't think about. But we are certainly better off eating apple slices versus Cheez-It's, in any case.

I am in prayer that the procedure goes well tomorrow, that the doctors and nurses find what they need, and that Emma doesn't react badly to the anesthesia (she is my drama princess, after all!).

Thanks to all for continuing to lift us up!