Friday, October 31, 2008

Maraming Salamat po Diyos! (Thank-you Lord)

Hooray for Stellan God has given the blogging world a gift-an answered prayer-a beautiful healthy baby boy! congratulations to Mckmama, Charming, BigMac, McNuggett, and Small Fry!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

3 years ago...

I wrote this three years ago in response to a mission trip.... this is the rough draft i have since created an 80 page memoir and 200 page scrapbook of the event....
mission trip reflection -written at 1am this morning.....
“Sorrow is better than laughter,
for by sadness of the countenance,
the heart is made better”
~Ecclesiastes 7:3

World Traveler, Teacher, Dancer, Singer, Worshiper, Chef, Janitor, Prayer Warrior, Daughter, Cousin, Sister, Friend, Missionary, Skeptic, Photographer, Public Speaker, Exhorter, Listener, Peace Keeper, Celebrity- I have been all these things in the past two weeks. I have left my heart in the Philippines...

The plane ride was long and lonely, surrounded by hundreds of people, yet very alone with your thoughts and tray table. desperately needed sleep did not come easy for everyone, the engine roared on for hours before touching down. We anxiously awaited what lie ahead.

Early, very early, every morning I awoke to the sound of an old rooster crowing. most days I was the first one awake. I’d sit in the living room and write as the sun arose over the buildings, listening to the delicious sounds of the city. The Tricycle engines rumbled, Jeepney horns squeaked as the colorful contraptions rushed by. People stood in doorways scratching their heads. Children ran in the streets. Soon pastor would quietly creep out of his bedroom with his bible in hand, grab a cup of coffee and join me in my people watching. not too long after i would here the clacking of Diane’s laptop computer keys from the kitchen table. Six am- the rest of the team began to stir, anxious to begin the busy day ahead. Seven am- breakfast was served in the classroom. Eight am- we began work inside the gates.

Working was like being in a zoo, we were locked in the gates and people on the outside stared at us as we worked. The paint was oil based and stained my fingers as I worked. stagnant water covered the ground. Big, ugly bugs crawled around. the sun warmed my cheeks and the humidity caused sweat to form large beads down my back. Tools were scarce, so we had to be industrious, using tree branches, and scraps to make ladders and extension pools. the young men gracefully scaled the roof to reach high places. Grateful teenagers glanced up as shirts came off of powerfully built bodies in the midday heat. Barefooted children gleefully created mud cities in the dirt with water used to clean paint brushes. Lead paint, automotive putty, and turpentine soaked our skin and seeped into our lungs, the morning noise ensued.

Lunch, something new everyday- Tilapia, squid, shrimp and some sort of rice concoction were offered. The brave attempted to eat what was served. After lunch was siesta time, sleep was welcome for many team members, fellowship was desired for others. We slept together under the fans to keep cool, we talked together, cried together, laughed together, thought together and journaled together. ties were connected and walls were torn down. Sometimes we shopped at the nearby mall.

Most evenings we had church services - absolutely incredible worship services disguised as “prayer meetings”. People of all ages lifted their voices and hands to the Lord. Church benches were cast aside to make room for dancing. I was forced out of my comfort zone, and spoke at many services. I offered up my testimony and used my voice to bless others. Pastor preached amazing messages that my heat was open to hearing and understanding. Delighted church members joyfully showed off the cement walls and swept dirt floor of their churches. Families spent a months salary to feed us. Traveling to the churches was incredible, Paradise and squalor met in beautiful harmony- the giant mansions arose from the squatter shacks. a family shared a queen sized bed under an overpass. Babies were toted around by siblings not much bigger then they. Children sold flowers in the street for food. A man lay dead on the sidewalk. Family members attended a wake under an awning, the open casket was lit with the flickering glow of white candles. The constant noise of engines and horns continued.

After assessment we lied down in out respective beds to sleep, donning headphones to drown out the off key karaoke coming from the night club down the street. The rooster still crowed. Each and every day was filled with incredible experiences, sights, and encounters with God. I will never forget the naked children playing in the rain, in metro manila, or the look on Rosalie's face when she put on her new glasses, or the joy on every Filipino's face during the water fight. I will never forget watching a pastor who sacrificed so much for the Lord, play with his children in the dirt, and tuck them in at night with ratted blankets on church benches. I will never forget the story of the night that same Pastor watched his child take his last breath, as he willingly offered him up to the Lord. I will never forget how small the new baby felt when I held him close. I will never forget the precious gifts I received both physical and spiritual. I will never forget the love I felt from the people and the Lord. I pray that I will never forget the emotions I faced and the fears I conquered. I will never forget how good it feels to throw myself into worship, draw up to the throne of God, not holding back but offering every part of me. I will not forget the too short night when we stayed up and sang love songs through the night. I will not forget hugging my brothers and sisters goodbye and sobbing with the team to the airport. I will not forget the look on pastor’s face- the look that said I know how you feel and I knew this would happen, we are in this together forever connected by the pieces of out hearts abandoned in the Philippines. I won’t forget the peace I felt in the arms of Jesus. I won’t forget being in a thirds world country, breathing in the diesel fumes, kneeling in the dirt, sleeping with cockroaches, eating god knows what and absolutely loving every emotional minute of it. I won’t forget watching a ten-year-old boy give into tears as he held a single white rose in the completed church. I won’t forget the “scars and stories” too numerous to mention here in this forum; the taste of Balut, the freedom to be myself I received at Mt. Olives. the ultimate understanding that “all things work together for good” in Christ Jesus. I will cling to the spirit I felt with my entire being. I will surround myself with people God has purposely put in my life to help me to grow and who refuse to allow me to falter in my steps. I vow to never, ever be the same person I was when I boarded the plane. I promise to return to the Philippines to rejoin the part of my heart I left behind. I will let myself, let myself go; cry when I need to, laugh when I want to, and share my heart with others even when it’s hard.

I am having a really hard time adjusting to a world that has not changed just because I have changed. I pray that I will not fall back into my old ways just because I am in my comfort zone. I pray I will have the courage to step out of my comfort zone daily to bless others and draw closer still to the throne of God.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Letter to my girls...

To my Girls,

I know this is coming from someone who is never experienced what you have experienced in the past and are experiencing now. I do not claim to know anything about what it means to be in a relationship except for what I have seen and heard from people, both good and bad. This is not meant to be a stay pure talk nor is it me trying to say what is right and what is wrong to do, or not to do. It is not my place to put myself on a pedestal and claim I know anything, but for a moment I would like to stand on my soap box and share some things that I think should be said as you journey through this chaotic time in life.

Being a teenager is a messy time, no matter what you are into, what group you belong to, or what groups you don’t belong to. It is scary, fun, and filled with so many things. I have been there, recently ;) and I know the things I did and I observed many other things from my peers. I saw people meet the One that they eventually married and I have seen people hurt so deeply that they were never the same again.

You! Yes You! No matter where you come from or where you have been are worthy of respect from everyone, which is why i am attempting to compose this letter to you as an adult. You have seen and experienced more things in your life than anyone should ever have to. Some things are deep inside you that others will never know and some are so deep that you are not even aware of them, it is true for all of us. We hide what we choose not to face, and our subconscious (the level of understanding so deep inside that we are not aware of its thoughts) hide the things we cannot face, because they would be to difficult to unearth. This is where actions like cutting, suicidal thoughts and poems, self-hatred, over eating, under-eating, drug abuse, sexual addictions, come from. They are not games or no big deal; they come from feelings so strong that we are not aware of them.

Sometimes even relationships are born out of our feelings of unworthiness, we are beings created to love and to be loved and we seek out ways to connect to others on a meaningful level. And even sometimes when we do not feel that the love we receive is adequate we seek out relationships with others.

Respect does not just mean treating someone as an equal, or not treating someone like trash. Respect is being able to see the creator inside of the creation. It goes beyond the Sunday school answer of “for God so loved the world” or “Jesus loves me” The Lord is a God who deeply cares for his creation more than we can even imagine. He loves us so much that he gave us the sun rising, the stars, a baby’s laughter, friends, and yes even relationships with significant others. He loves us so much he gives us the choice of responding to him out of free-will to make our own choices about how to pursue finding the One. Remember there is no separation between life and spiritual life, they are all connected.

Respect is never feeling pressured to do what makes that still small voice inside your heart tremble. I am saying all this so that you will know that I am praying for you and that I deeply care about you as not only my XXXXXXXXXXX but as young women whom I love for the unique and wonderful people that you are. Never ever be afraid to seek assistance when you need it, to tell someone no, or even to tell someone yes when the time is right. Remember I am always, always here for you to listen non-judgmentally, to offer help, or to just sit with you hold you and to cry. We are constantly learning throughout our journeys; that is one thing that will never change. And ladies, remember this, because even when I am “all grown up” I will still be there for you and my door will always be open no matter what! (but please keep 3am house visits to a minimum lol)

You are my heart and my heroes! You have come so far from those scared little scrawny kids that showed up at the door of my heart all those years ago. I don’t know if you remember those first few months, but I do. I still have the necklace that M gave me one night, before you were in foster care, or how cute and also sad it was how K was so concerned about R in the beginning, or how heartbreaking E's little face was as she struggled to fight back tears when D, K and I had to drop her and R back at her foster home until we could get you for keeps. You are my inspiration and my heroes because of who you were back then and you have become since then. My eyes fill with tears of joy as I write this because I love you so much. I thank my God that you are in my life and pray that we will always be close. My kids need some super aunts someday, and I need great friends who are courageous, beautiful, and amazing women of God.

With all my heart,


Monday, October 20, 2008

Not Me Monday

Thanks to

I did not hit the snooze four times this morning and end up yawning through most of my two hour field placement with third through fifth graders.

I did not forget that i had an assignment due on thursday instead of tuesday and have a panic attack about it

I did not spend 2 hours catching up on blogs about multiples and tell my friends i was busy reading and couldn't hang out

I did not bribe a kid at my work to stop messing around

i did not just waste more time by doing this blog!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Even in the "GRRRRrrrrr" moments... God is Good.

I love it when people get surprised, like tonight. there is nothing like a bunch of conservative college kids being a part of their first black-gospel church service!

And ya know what?

I think the secretly enjoyed it!

Friday, October 17, 2008


Community: a place where you live or something greater?

I was exposed to a community last night where i felt invited, loved, respected, and a sense of belonging

I was afraid because i have never had that before

and didn't know how to respond


how to keep it going

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

So there's this little girl and i kinda love her...

My sweet little sister Randee
***Please keep her in your prayers as she is having testing done on the lump on her thyroid next week***
Adoption Changes Everything!