Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas thoughts...

Where is the last place you went that you really didn't want to go? Work? Home? The grocery? Wal-mart? A dental visit? A meeting? The DMV? The mall?

Certainly there are places that we don't prefer to go. But yet we find joy nonetheless after having been there. Our work brings provision. Our homes bring healing and community. A meeting hopefully brings resolution. A visit to the dentist or doctor brings wellness and prevention. A trip to the mall can lead to smiles from those who receive the gifts we purchase.

But when was the last time you went into a place where you KNEW you'd be ridiculed, persecuted, tortured and eventually killed?

THIS is the age old story of Christmas- that Jesus, the God of all, came to a place that was unlikely (A Bethlehem stable), to people that were unworthy (Shepherds), in a way that was  unheard of (A virgin birth).

Oh, but this is STILL the story of Christmas today. You see, Jesus STILL comes to unlikely places-bars, jails, brothels, slums, the White House, government, MY house, YOUR house, schools, churches, street corners, everywhere.

He STILL comes to the unworthy-thieves, murderers, addicts, prostitutes, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, pastors, politicians, attorneys, doctors, janitors, coaches, rich, poor, you, me.

And He STILL comes in an unlikely way- entering the hearts of ALL who surrender to His will, follow His leading and desire His Lordship.

Folks, this is huge. This is Christmas, not the presents we fret over or the trees and decorations. It's not the songs or the traditions. It's not snow covered yards and snowmen, not Charlie Brown or Rudolph. Christmas is Jesus, in the flesh, come down for me and you. This propels me not only in December but each and every day of every year to live a life of Hope.

Jesus IS hope.
Hope has come to me.
Hope has come to you.

Hope has come.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Exchanging Gifts for Water: a different kind of birthday

It's no secret that I'm incredibly proud of my kids. If you know me, you know this. I don't pretend that they are perfect; I live with them, so I know differently. But they are both pretty darn special with big hearts for injustice and for people in general.

Ellie is about to turn 6 (WHAT?) on December 3rd, and she has blown us away with her idea for this birthday. Instead of a party with her friends and tons of gifts, she is raising money for clean water in Ethiopia. Yes, she is. I told y'all I was proud, right?

Here's the deal: it takes approximately $2500 to completely set up a clean water system in Ethiopia. We have a puzzle (see the pic below) with 252 puzzle pieces. We are asking for anyone who'd like to help Ellie in this HUGE feat to give $10 per piece. We will write the donor's name on the back of the puzzle piece so that Ellie will be able to see all who believed in her and helped her accomplish this goal. By the time the puzzle is complete, she will have fully funded an ENTIRE system which we will take and set up in May, 2013.

All it takes is 250 people giving $10 each or 125 people giving $20 each for my girl's goal to be a done deal. Will you please consider helping her?

The truth is that Ellie knows full well the ramifications of drinking dirty water every day. She's lived it, and she's one of the survivors. And it's not okay with her that millions of others are living it still. This child is burdened for those still in Ethiopia, and my heart is bursting with pride and joy that she'd give up a big ol' party with her friends to do something that will literally save lives.

We are still going to celebrate her birthday, in case anyone is wondering. We will celebrate with a small family party at our house. But the big blowout is being put aside this year, and we're all okay with that.

If you'd like to help, please send money to Ellie Prosser at 1809 Jacks Creek Road, Richmond KY 40475. I promise to keep you updated on how much she has raised. I'd love so much to be able to have a COMPLETED puzzle by the time December 3rd rolls around.

Will you help us put this together??

Monday, October 8, 2012

Thoughts on anonymity

Last week, Jeff and I attended Catalyst 2012 in Atlanta with 13,000 others. It was amazing, as I knew it would be. The music was phenomenal; the speaking was passionate and engaging. The energy was contagious. I was prepared for all of that. What I wasn't prepared for was the resonating in my spirit every day since we've been home, the words I keep hearing repeated in my head, beckoning me to be more, do more, believe more.

One phrase keeps repeating over and over, louder than the rest. It is this: "It is better to be marked by God than to be marketed by man" (Christine Caine)

Initially, I thought to myself "Well, sure that's better. Being marked by God: what could be better than that?" But then it hit me that I don't really live like that's the better choice. If I'm blatantly, painfully honest with myself (and you too), I will admit that this is sometimes a struggle for me. I confess that I like to be known, to be noticed, appreciated, recognized. My human nature cries out for it at times when I least expect it.

I've wrestled with this notion of of being known recently in my writing. I've asked myself "Who really cares what I have to say?" one minute then "What if no one wants to read this?" the next. But what I know is this: I am writing because God told me to write the story. If no one ever reads it other than me and Jeff, well, God STILL told me to do it, so there is still purpose within.  

But will I be "ok" with that? Really?

What if no one ever knows that my passion is for getting clean water to everyone in Ethiopia? Does that diminish the importance of such a task? No, not at all. It simply diminishes my name, and that's where I want to be really. I want to be okay with no one ever knowing me, but instead knowing the God who calls me to act.

Anonymity is a lost art in today's world. We live in a society that screams for notoriety and fame. We live in a world that says if we aren't recognized, we aren't worthy. We live in a world that says if we are last, we are least. We live in a society that tells us in order to be someone, we must have more money, more fame, more house, more car, more clothes, more facebook friends, more blog followers, more tweets, more more more...

But God tells me that "The first will be last and the last will be first". (Matthew 20:16). His word says "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet loses his own soul?" (Matthew 16:26). It tells me "If you do not give up everything you have, you cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33)

My prayer is that I become more and more anonymous in my life, and that Jesus become more elevated, more known because of my life. Here's the truth that is ringing in my ears: My life is for His glory, not mine.So if man never knows the name of Holly Prosser, so be it. I have purpose to fulfill regardless. Oh, how I want to bring Him honor and fame. Change my heart, God. Mark me for your work. I'm ready. I'm willing.

Thanks be to God.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

No tears here...

In just 12 short days, my daughter will begin Kindergarten and my son his senior year of high school. I'm trying really hard to wrap my head around those two facts. Seriously y'all, how can I be old enough to have a senior in high school already, yet young enough to have a kindergartner? Yet another proof that God has a wonderful sense of humor. (On a side note, I sat through Ellie's kindergarten orientation the other night looking at all the incredibly young moms around me and thought to myself "What in the blazes am I doing here? I could be their mother!". But I digress...)

I've had more than one person recently tell me things such as "You're gonna be a mess on that day!" or "Just wait to see how your heart drops when your son is preparing to graduate" or my personal favorite, "Their first day of school will be your worst day of the year. Get ready". Seriously people, is this supposed to comfort me?? But it has got me to thinkin', and I think I may be the weirdest mom out there because y'all, I AM NOT SAD ABOUT THIS.

Before I get hate mail from people telling me how horrible it is that I have just said I am not sad about these milestones, let me explain. (If you still want to send me hate mail, go on. You won't be the first, I can assure you.) I love the milestones of life my children have faced and will still face in the future. And I'm not a callous person; I cry all the time these days (now THAT is a change from the days of old!). I shed a few tears when Ellie went to pre-K last year, and I shed even more when Bryan walked out of the courthouse with his driver's permit earlier this year, I mean, come on, I'm no freak. My kids are growing up, and there's a twinge of sadness about that. Each step through a milestone is one step closer to the door to the world outside of our home.

But isn't that what our purpose is? To raise our kids in a Godly manner so that they can flourish and spread His light to others once they leave our home? Isn't that why I've spent more time than I can count on my knees before my Father asking Him to pour His spirit into their hearts? Isn't that why I pray Ephesians 3:14-20 over them every day? (go read it now, y'all. I didn't type that for nothing!)

Here's my take on school. This is nothing to be sad about to me.

First day of preschool 2009
For Ellie, if there are tears on my face, it is not because I'm sad. Quite the contrary! That child was, just three years ago, sitting in an orphanage in Woliso Ethiopia with no hope of ever being taught anything other than survival skills. Her birth mother cannot read or write, and her biggest dream for Ellie is that she will learn. So, when I see my big girl walking with that massive backpack, carrying that sweet pink lunchbox, my heart soars. She is a walking miracle, learning more than she or her birth mother ever dared to dream. How can I be sad for that? And when she goes into that room and shares herself with others, I believe that God smiles on that. She is learning not only academically, but to be a friend, to share God's love, to serve others, to be humble, to let others go first, to speak up for herself, to imagine. Nope, I'm not one bit sad about that.

Bryan's first day of high school-2009

My son is a bit different. He is a senior this year. I'm not sad about that either. In fact, my heart sings over this. I've written about him before and the struggles he has had in school and personally. (See my blog from December 31, 2011 for more on this) Last year, we took him out of the public school and did our first year of home school. To say that he did well is a ridiculous understatement. He ROCKED that year! And not only did it show in his grades, but he smiles again. He is confident again. He is growing spiritually again. He is still here with us. Enough said. So, no way am I sad that he is progressing. This is natural, and he is becoming the man I've prayed his whole life that he would become. Don't think that I'm putting him on a pedastal because I'm not; he's a 16 year old boy. He messes up sometimes, no doubt. But he also does the right thing more and more, and I'm learning that I can trust him with more and more. To see him sorting through the decisions that he will have to make in the next year is exciting. I'm trying my best to keep my mouth shut encouraging him to seek God's will and to just pray without ceasing for him. Not always easy for a big mouth like me:)

So, 12 days from now, I doubt you will see many tears from this girl. But if you do... they'll be tears of joy and not sorrow. They'll be proof of my love for the two God has entrusted to Jeff and I to parent. Thanks be to God.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Gotcha Day!

my first time holding ellie! August 9, 2009

Three years! Can it really already have been three years that we welcomed Ellie into our family? My oh my, how time flies when you're having fun! Truth be told, there are days when it is hard to believe she wasn't born into our family. She fits so perfectly with that spunky attitude and quick wit. But then there are days when it feels more like three weeks home instead, when her past trauma rears its ugly head and she is unsure of herself or her place here, not quite trusting that this is for real. Adoption is not easy, in case any of you are wondering.

On those ugly days, I try not to overreact, but honestly that's not easy. She's my daughter, for goodness sake, and when she hurts, I hurt. We ALL hurt when she does. I want to take it all away, take away her memories of "bad stuff in my ethiopia", and I want to replace it all with giggles and rainbows. Seriously, what mom doesn't want that? Yet, in my heart I know this isn't what is best for her. I know that her story makes her who she is. Her spunkiness that we love so much (and is so darn cute!) comes from her hurts. That girl had to fight for survival, and it's made her into a magnificent person. Really, if you don't know her well, you are missing out on something special!
One of my life's greatest joys has been to watch God work out His redemption in her sweet life, to watch Isaiah 61 come to life right before my eyes. He is binding up her broken heart, setting her free of past hurts that have held her captive, comforting her in her mourning the loss of all she knew for the beginning of her life, and is bestowing upon her an amazing crown of beauty. She has joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. She truly is a living display of God's splendor. She's the apple of His eye, and it is my utmost pleasure to get the front row seat as her momma.   

In three years,Ellie has learned to trust. She has learned to love freely and to be loved freely. She has learned to play with total abandon (she had NO IDEA how to play when she came home). She has learned to laugh hysterically. She has learned to cry when she needs to because she knows someone will come help her. She has learned to overcome fears. She has learned what family means. She has learned of a Savior who adores her and has a perfect plan for her life. She has learned to love the Cardinals (gotta raise her right!!). She has learned just how awesome it is to have a big brother. She has learned the meaning of "daddy's girl" and to recognize all things ESPN. She has learned what a "girl's night out" is and how good a new pair of pjs feel.

Ellie has learned to live. And because of her, so have I.

I've learned to let go of my selfishness. I've learned to overcome materialism and replace that with relationships. I've learned the difference between want and need. I've learned what it means to grieve and what it means to celebrate. I've learned that the American Dream is not for me, but that I'd rather spend myself (and my money) giving to others than to store it up for later. I've learned that I'm not too old, too fat, too tired, too scared, too whatever to do what God has called me to do. And I've learned that I love the thrill of the journey even more than the result.

Today, I celebrate my daughter. I'm in awe of her resilience, her grace and her innocence. She has overcome more in her 5 years than any one person should ever have to endure. And yet, she smiles and she believes wholeheartedly that there is good in this world. And you know what? She's right; there is.

Ellie, I love you so much. Happy Gotcha Day to you, my sweet Ellie Bean!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I just wanted some beads: A lesson in racism

I'm white. No way around it. Any way you look at me, I am white. 

My daughter is brown (as she puts it). She's gorgeous. Her skin is perfect, silky almost. Her hair is a mess at times, but I love it- tangles and all :)

We are family. It doesn't matter that our skin doesn't "match". It doesn't matter that society's picture of a family is that all members be the same color. That child is mine. Plain and simple. And as any good momma would, I will fight for her. For the record, I'll do that for both of my kids, but this post is about racism, and I digress. 

Yesterday I went into a hair supply store because next week Ellie is getting her hair done, and I wanted some new beads to put in it. I JUST WANTED SOME BEADS, PEOPLE. I was minding my own business, picking out my beads when I overheard a lady in the back of the store say, "Oh great. Here we go again. Another ****** white lady who thinks she has the right to raise one of our black babies. I'm so sick of this". 

I ignored her. It wasn't the time or the place, and she obviously wasn't interested in hearing the statistics of the orphan crisis in Ethiopia and the world.  I JUST WANTED SOME BEADS

I went to the check out counter with my beads, and the lady came to the front of the store. I can't write here what she said to me because my momma reads this, and she'd freak out to hear that language from my hand. To be honest, I'm not sure I remember everything she called me or screamed because I JUST WANTED SOME BEADS! 

I paid and made a dash for the door to get out of there. After all, I wasn't interested in hearing anymore of her ranting, and I JUST WANTED SOME BEADS. But she followed me out the front door into the parking lot. I got into my car, and she went to stand behind it so that I couldn't leave. 

Y'all... I JUST WANTED SOME BEADS. Yet here I was thinking that this lady was gonna lose it completely and try to kill me or something. I sat in the car for a few minutes, hoping she'd get tired of screaming and leave me alone. But the store worker called the police because the lady chased me out of the store while holding merchandise she had not yet paid for. Seriously, you can't make this stuff up! 

I JUST WANTED SOME BEADS, but here I was now waiting for the police to come so I could go home. Luckily, there was a police officer next door at the gas station who heard the chaos and came to check things out. He tried talking to her, and she was screaming that I was stealing a baby, that I needed to go to jail, etc etc. He handcuffed her (for shoplifting) and then actually checked my car to make sure I didn't have a baby hidden in there. I told him "I just wanted some beads. She went nuts". 

I was pretty shook up at first, admittedly. But then I was angry. And tonight I'm even more angry. I'm not angry at her per se, but I'm angry at the perception that I'm not good enough to parent my beautiful daughter because I'm white. Now hear me say this: Most people have been amazingly supportive of our journey. But the truth is I don't need the approval of others for this. We did this because Ellie deserved a family, and God led us to her. And I'd do it all over again, even if every single day was like yesterday. Because Ellie is worth it. Her life was no accident, and her being in our family isn't either. 

Ellie belongs here in this family. And if I were green, she'd still belong here. My son happens to be white and look like Jeff and I, and he belongs here too. We see no difference, and I'll defend that with anyone who wants to argue otherwise. I don't know everything there is about raising a brown skinned girl or taking care of Ethiopian hair, but I'm learning. I mess up, and sometimes she goes out with uneven pony tails and messy braids. Sometimes I forget to put lotion on, and her skin gets ashy. Sometimes I forget to put her nightcap on her hair at night, and sometimes I remember but we can't find that darn cap! 

And guess what? I don't know all there is about raising a white boy either, yet here I am doing that too. I screw up with him just as much, if not more, than I do with her Ellie because he's a guy, and well... I'm not. 

But this I do get right: I love my kids. Fiercely. I'd give my very life for either one of them, and never even have to think about it. I love them. I'm not their buddy; I'm their mom. I tell them I love them all the time (sometimes more than they want to hear it). And I mean it. I'm not perfect, not by any stretch of the imagination. But I love them.

 And there is no color to love. It just is. 

So, for those of you out there who may be thinking that this white girl has no business raising a brown girl... keep it to yourself. Because I am tired of hearing it. I'm absolutely done with that kind of garbage. If you could see the things I've seen, the looks on the faces of children who desperately want to belong to a family, you'd understand that color doesn't matter. And you'd stop putting all of this energy into attacking those of us who just want to raise our kids and put it into something that matters in life. I'm absolutely certain that if given the choice between no family and a white family, Ellie would have chose family over color. 

That girl is gonna look awesome in those beads next week!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Conviction of my heart...

This morning, I walked into my office ready to face the challenges of the day. I had been jamming to some great praise and worship music on my way in, spent time talking to God this morning and was feeling good. Despite the pitiful night's sleep I got (thank you, crazy CATS!), I was eager to work.

And then my phone rang.

Everything changed when the lady on the phone was at first complaining and blaming me for something I cannot change (I'm not a doctor, okay?), then was yelling at me. This happens a lot in my work. Failure to plan ahead on the part of a parent somehow equals my emergency or my fault. I'm used to it, and most days it doesn't bother me that much. I remind myself of the chaotic lives that many of our families here live, as well as the stress that poverty places on families, and I'm okay to be the one they "vent" to.
But this morning, it went right through me! I was mad. I wanted to yell back at her. Heck, I wanted to call her names too! Believe me when I say that she was MILD in comparison to what I often hear in a day, so I was perplexed as to why I was reacting som vehemently. Yet there I was, wanting to scream and yell and act like a fool. I'm actually quite grateful that she was so angry that she hung up on me!
I sat in my chair for a while, just processing this in my mind. And then I charted what had occurred. And then I opened the Word because obviously my soul was in need of some nourishment!

Scripture says this: "Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. Don't grieve God. Don't break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don't take such a gift for granted. Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you". (Ephesians 4:29-32)

Humility set in like a hurricane, crashing down the walls of my self-preserving inclinations. The only reason I wanted to lash out at that lady was to make myself look and feel better. And quite frankly, I think that's why all back-biting and negative speak exists. We want to look better, so we point out the flaws of others. We want to feel better, so we make others feel worse. I see it on facebook all the time: people making fun of others, lashing out, pointing out someone's mistakes, making themselves seem bigger than they really are so someone else will look smaller, making others look less important than us by elevating our importance.
Jesus said that the "first shall be last and the last will be first" (in Matthew 19). So why do I spend so much time trying to look better to others? Why not spend my time trying to be more like Christ? I'm guessing Christ would have spoken love to the lady on the phone this morning. I'm guessing He wouldn't speak rudely of having to wait at the doctor's office because He understood that there was another patient who needed the doctor's time emergently. I'm guessing Christ wouldn't proudly announce that he had "told that person off" or "blessed them out", but He would have loved. Simply loved. And by doing so, He changed those around Him for the better.

Thank goodness for second (and third, fourth and fifth) chances. Oh, my phone is ringing again. Wish me luck...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Why I Won't Be Seeing Magic Mike...My Personal Thoughts

This post won't be popular among some, I'm sure. I'm totally okay with that. After all, this is my blog. I've used it mostly to discuss adoption matters, clean water, family things, and my thoughts on this walk with God in life. But I would be completely remiss if I didn't post what is burning in my heart these past few days. I've watched the outpouring of ladies raving about their most recent girl's night out to see "Magic Mike", and really my heart can't take much more.

Before you dismiss me entirely, please hear me out. I don't live in the dark ages. I am certainly not perfect in any stretch of the imagination, so don't hear this as judgmental against anyone who chooses to see it. I'm writing this for one reason: To declare to my husband publicly (and to others who may be struggling with this) that I don't need a movie to make me excited about sex.
Come on, ya'll.... it's totally ok that I said "sex". I mean, after all, isn't that what this is all about? Why else are women of all ages flocking to see this movie? Seriously, these fellas are not going to win Oscars for their acting in this movie. This is about sex, lust, and all those other things that make lots of money at the box office. And I, for one, don't need a movie for that. I've got all the sex I want here at home with a man who is true, devoted, and faithful to me alone.
In all seriousness, what has bothered me the most is to hear ladies talking about how this is "the most excited" they've been in a while. Well, not me....

Jeff and I have been married almost 19 years (august 7th we will celebrate that anniversary!), and my stomach still has butterflies when he walks in the room. He still "makes my liver quiver", "turns me on", "gets me going", or however else you want to explain it. The fact of the matter is... He's the only one for me. And no one else is supposed to get the privilege of doing that for me. No one (or no thing, aka movie) is supposed to turn my head the way Jeff does. And it's my responsibility to make sure that happens. That means, I'm not supposed to be putting things in front of me that will cause me to look elsewhere (like movies or 'those' books that are so popular these days).

On August 7, 1993 I made a vow to Jeff- to love and to honor him for all the days of my life. And I intend to do just that. I took those vows seriously that day, and I still do all these years later. I believe that this is the most important vow I've taken in my life second to my commitment to follow after Jesus. This vow we made is the crux of what makes us such a strong family. You see, we didn't just make it to each other; we made that commitment to God Himself, and I take that VERY seriously. I believe that our children are better because we take that vow seriously. I believe that we are better because of it. I believe that God is honored because of it.

The Bible says that "A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands" (Proverbs 14:1). Personally, I don't want to tear down my home. It is my belief that when I tear down my husband, I tear down my home. And putting lust for someone else above Jeff tears him down whether I want to admit it or not. Go ahead, and call me old fashioned or whatever you want; I don't mind. I've got a marriage I'm proud of, and I'll take that over favor with others any day of the week.

Let me just end with this. I'm not perfect. I've said that before, but it bears saying again. And part of the reason I'm able to say such great things about my marriage is because my husband just totally ROCKS. He is serious about his vows too, and therefore, I've never really been in want for his time, attention and devotion. It certainly makes this whole thing much easier, so kudos to him for being so easy to love. Now, who wants to babysit because I'm thinking it's time for a date?!?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day

I love Father's Day. I love any chance really to honor Jeff for the incredible dad that he is to our kids. He has taught me so much about how to be a Godly parent. His patience is unbelievable. He shows grace instead of anger. He is playful, yet demands respect. He loves whole-heartedly, fiercely even. He provides for us always, and does so with a thankful heart. Even though he keeps the thermostat in our house so high (Because he's "frugal" like that, y'all), he's definitely the best there is around!

Jeff, I love you. I love watching you with our kids. I love how you play tea party and barbie dolls with Ellie, then turn around and play Halo on X Box with Bryan. I love how you support our kids with your words and your presence. I love that you put God first, us second and your work third. I love that you love me so well, and you show our kids what a great marriage should look like. I love that Bryan has learned to open doors for me (okay, he's learning!), and Ellie is learning to look for a man like you one day (A LONG TIME from now). You bless me so much. You bless our family so much.

I can't let this opportunity to give some love to my dad go by either. My dad is wonderful, plain and simple. He's passionate for his family. He worked hard when I was growing up, but he always had time to play with us too. One of my favorite memories of my dad was Monday nights when we'd drive together to piano lessons. On the way, we'd crank up some music (usually Southern Gospel, but occassionally some Kenny Rogers The Gambler:)) and we'd sing our hearts out. I loved that time, one on one with my daddy!
Now, I get the joy of watching my dad with my own children, and what a blessing that is! I love how he teaches Bryan things like fishing and working. I love that he sings with Ellie and lets her play with her doctor kit with him. (Poor guy has had so many "surgeries" from Dr Ellie since she's been home that it's a wonder he's still around!) I love watching his face light up when they come in the room, and knowing that he finds joy just in being with them. I think the thing I love the most though, is listening to him tell stories to them. From Vietnam stories to his infamous "Big Toe" story, his stories cannot be beat! Our kids love them, and so do we! Dad, I love you so much. Thank you for leading our family the way you do. Thank you for pointing me to Christ in all things. Thank you for still calling me your little girl. You bless me so much. You believe in me, and I still look to you for wisdom. I love you, Daddy!

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention one other dad in my life. My father-in-love (Because "law" just doesn't cut it!) was an incredible man. I regret that I didn't have longer to get to know him, but his memory is etched in my mind forever. I'm so thankful for the few years I did have with him. Wayne was a great man, and he raised a great man (aka, my husband!). I loved Wayne's laugh most of all. He totally cracked me up when he would get tickled about something and just laugh. He had one of those full laughs that was infectious. I loved him so much! I also loved how he would make their dog Sheba sit in time out with him on the couch! hah!

But there was also a serious side to Wayne. He was a great encourager and a man of prayer. I remember so well after I had lost a baby to miscarriage, Wayne would call me to check on me and tell me that he loved me. He would tell me that he was praying for me, and then he would actually pray. Those prayers brought healing to my life, and I'm so grateful still for how he loved me during that time!  I miss him a lot, but I see glimpses of him in Jeff and even in Bryan from time to time. He left a legacy that is beautiful.

No doubt about it.. .my Heavenly Daddy has blessed me with some pretty amazing dads here on earth! thanks be to God!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

on faith...

I've been doing a lot of thinking about the idea of faith since we were in Ethiopia. Truth is that I always do when we go there (or anywhere overseas, for that matter). It seems that when I'm there in Ethiopia, I am forced to come to terms with the fact that my faith is puny at times. When I sit with ladies who don't know if they'll have food to give to their children, yet they praise the Lord continuously, I realize how shallow I really am.
When I hold the unbelievably bony hand of a child who doesn't have enough of anything, yet smiles bigger than the sun, I'm humbled by my lack of faith. When I watch those who are poor, in need, hungry, and thirsty cry out in praise to the Father above in a way that shows they KNOW He is listening, I am brought to my knees.

I've spent some time in the scripture reading about heroes of faith. I spent time reading about Abraham and Isaac (genesis 22, if you want to read it for yourself), and I'm simply amazed at this man's faith. I mean, here you have God telling Abraham "Go sacrifice the son you waited for all those years (like a hundred years people!)". And even more baffling is that Abraham simply "got up and went". There's so much meat here...the symbolism of the three days journey, Isaac carrying his own wood (so much like the three days that Jesus was dead prior to God's rescue and that He too carried His own cross/wood), but what gets me is the pure, unadulterated faith that Abraham possessed. He didn't argue. He didn't whine. He didn't ask someone else what they thought he should do. He just went. He trusted the goodness of God to either rescue him or comfort him. He LIVED faith, not just said he had faith.

Tigist kisses Ellie's picture
Last week, I spent a day with Ellie's birth mom, Tigist. This woman is phenomenal. Her spirit is unbroken, despite a life that has brought harships I can't even fathom. But what got me the most was when she said to me that "when I knew that you and Jeff were coming for Kedest (ellie), I knew she would be fine. And if she would be fine, then so would her sister, so I could trust placing her for adoption too". That is faith, folks. No, she didn't have faith in God (I'm praying that she will though!), but she had unresolved faith that her plan to save her children would work. And it has. Not only are her children safe and healthy, but they are flourishing. 

Abraham and Tigist both dared to step out on faith and do the unthinkable. And every single day, I'm invited to do the same. No, God isn't asking me to sacrifice my kids. But He is asking me to put them AFTER Him. Will I? He isn't asking me to make an adoption plan as a choice for my family, but He is calling me to speak up for the orphan and take care of them. He isn't asking me to move to a foreign land, but He is asking me to take clean water to the people of Ethiopia (to begin with). I'm not living in fear or oppression, but He has asked me to write the story of one who is/has.  I have a choice on whether I give in to doubt and fear or whether I take a step and reach for the hand of the One who is all I ever need to trust in.

How 'bout you? What will faith look like for you?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Thoughts on Ethiopia

Our trip to Ethiopia flew by. I knew it would; it always does. It seems like we just get there, and I start to get a few phrases down, then it's time to come home. Don't get me wrong; I was ready to be with my kids. I missed them so much! But I left a piece of myself there, for sure. A huge piece of my heart is in Ethiopia forever. I love that country and the people there so much!

My mind is still processing all that we saw and heard and experienced. I'm pressing into God and His word to hear exactly what it is He wants me to bring away from our time in Ethiopia. I know this is just the beginning. I don't know what it will look like, but I'm okay with that. I'm learning that I don't have to know everything.

We traveled as a part of One Child Campaign, a group that we believe in wholeheartedly and are honored to be a part of. This trip primarily focused on clean water which is my heart. If you've read anything from me in the blog world or Facebook, you know that we also were able to have a videographer to capture the images, sights and sounds of those projects for use by Edge Outreach in the future. Jeff and I also had a chance to share our story of why we are so passionate about clean water. I knew it would be emotional, but I wasn't prepared for how some of this would take me off guard. Jon Morton, the videographer (amazing stuff!) interviewed Jeff and I together and separately. During my time, he asked me the question "what is it like as a mother to be able to give this gift of clean water to other mothers?" Truth be told, I expected the question. I actually had an answer in my mind that was rather eloquent, if I do say so myself.  But standing there in Ethiopia, having held the hands of my friends there who are mothers, touching the faces of those precious children who are sick with parasites, I found myself at a loss for words initially. But oh, when I started talking, the floodgates opened within my heart.  I knew why God had asked me to go. He's given me a Holy passion for this work. It all just clicked together within me.

When Bryan was a baby, it never occured to me that I might have to worry about being able to provide everything needed to raise him safely. I didn't know what it was like to worry about his environment. I knew that the things he needed to grow healthy and safely were right here within our grasp. But during the adoption process with Ellie, my eyes were opened to the fact that this is not the case for many mothers around the world. I disctinctly recall the day that her picture came across our computer screen, and it showed just how sick she was. We've used the picture to show the effects of bad water on a child's health a lot recently, but when I first saw the image, I just broke down. I had a different reality now; I was the mother who wasn't sure that her child would survive. I remember praying that God would let her be safe until she could get home nad have access to medication and clean water and plenty of food. I remember feeling so helpless because she was in Ethiopia and I was thousands of miles away.  I now see that the mothers I love so much in Ethiopia have this feeling every day. They want their children to be healthy. They are heartbroken in knowing that they don't have what is needed to give them health. They feel helpless because they can't give their babies what is needed.

This is not acceptable. Every mother deserves to know that she has access to what is needed to raise her children up in health and safety. Every mother.

My friend, B- so much like me! I'm so proud to call her friend.

As we installed the systems in Ethiopia last week, that thought resonated within me. As I listened to Muluu speak of how she and her children no longer have stomach aches when they drink the water that is from the system we installed last July, I knew that I was doing exactly what God is calling me to do; to bring hope in the form of clean water to others that are really just like me.

This work is far from done. We need more help, more money, more volunteers, more passionate people to get involved. Jeff and I are committed for the long haul. Will you join us? I'll be posting more in the coming days about the specific sites where we put water purification this trip. For $2000, we can completely set up a system in Ethiopia. This includes the purifier, all supplies needed (pvc, plumbing parts, platform, tanks, battery, charger,etc), and set up of the system. Can you give towards the next install? Perhaps your small group, office, bunco group, poker friends, baseball team, bowling league, Sunday school class, Zumba group, etc could sponsor a system. Perhaps you can go with us and catch the vision firsthand. There's something that we all can do to help. I simply cannot wait to see what lies ahead.

sweet Tigist has clean water to drink now!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Sometimes there just aren't the right words to say. You know that sick feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you know you should say something uplifting or encouraging, but all that will come out are sobs? Today was that day for me.

Today I sat in a service that celebrated the life of the sweet 2 1/2 year old daughter of my friends. To say that it was heart-wreching just doesn't do it justice. I saw my friend greeting friends and family, and I was amazed at her quiet strength. I saw her loving on her four other children, and I was overwhelmed by her courage and grace. I watched her sit with her husband and smile while a video played out their daughter's  life in pictures, and I was completely held captive by the peace that enveloped them.

This is how it's supposed to be, I'm sure. My friends showed me today how to grieve with the Hope of Jesus. They were living proof that God is real, and He is great and mighty. I was honored to witness this today, exemplified in the hardest of times.

I cried for the life of their daughter, taken so soon on earth. But I celebrated her complete healing, knowing that she is dancing with her Savior today, fully whole and at home.

I'm reminded again of why scripture says it's better for us to attend a funeral than a party. It makes us think, doesn't it? It makes us take a minute and realize what's really important in life. It makes us take a close look at our own life and ask the hard questions like "Is this what I want people to remember of me?" I've done that today. I've also held my children a little closer, told them how glad I am that they are mine and they are here. I've looked in my husband's eyes and rejoiced over this life we have together.

I'm comforted by knowing that the Lord is holding my friend and her family tonight, comforting them with His singing and His love. Praise be to God.

 The LORD your God is with you,
   he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
   he will quiet you with his love,
   he will rejoice over you with singing
Zephaniah 3:17

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

exciting stuff... and how you can help!

Hey folks! What an exciting week it's been here! We are just 6 weeks away from our next trip to Ethiopia, and we are so excited about what is happening.

This week we were able to meet with the folks at Edge Outreach in Louisville KY to be retrained on the water purification stuff. They have an incredible new system that is smaller, simpler, more cost efficient (aka, cheaper!). We were so excited that Caleb David from One Child Campaign could join us to learn all about Edge and so that we could talk about how this partnership could grow and impact more people in Ethiopia.

I love visionary people. There's such excitement in sitting with a group of people who are ready to act, not just talk. And that's what we met on Monday in Louisville. WOW! Here's the skinny on what's happening:

We have an incredible opportunity to take with us a professional videographer to Ethiopia who will get raw footage of us installing water purification systems, interviews with the Ethiopians on how this is affecting them, etc etc. This footage will then be used by Edge Outreach to increase awareness for the need for clean water in Ethiopia. This is a win/win, y'all!!

I'm not in the professional videography field, but I know it's not cheap. However, this guy has agreed to come for peanuts and the cost of his travel! Seriously, for about $3000, we can do this and make an incredible impact on getting clean water to Ethiopia. boils down to this. We need 300 people to give $10. Come on, that's 2 drinks at Starbucks for the gift of clean water. I'm counting on my adoption community friends here because I know y'all "get" this. I've seen what can happen when this group of people get behind something. This is huge people.


We are beginning to plan for a time to bring Ethiopian adoptive families together to educate, plan and celebrate what is happening. Look for that in the coming months.

This is our passion. Seeing the difference in Ellie's life before and after clean water changed us.(pics below are before clean water and then 18 months home. Stunning difference!!) We know too much to just stand back and do nothing. Please join us.

You can give at Please note: Ethiopia water. You can give there by check or credit card. Everything we raise above what we need for the videographer will go directly to the water projects themselves, so the more we raise, the better.

Thank you for partnering with us again. We can't wait to show you what your giving has done.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Confessions of a Working Mom...

This morning, as I was walking out the door for work, my sweet daughter looked into my eyes and said, "I really really really wish you were coming to my picnic today at school". She didn't say it to make me feel guilty; she said it because she really really really wishes I could be there. She wants my presence.

Wednesdays are my day off. Yesterday, while home I spent my time "catching up" on grading all of Bryan's home school work. We had breakfast together and talked, and he said, "I like when you're here". I'm pretty sure he likes it because I cook for him, but I appreciated the words nonetheless.

These days I'm torn. I'm torn between kids that I love dearly and want to spend all the time with I can while they're still in our home and a job that I take pride in. Actually, it's more than that. This job really doesn't feel like a job to me most days (except on the days when it's only 8:30AM and I've already been cussed twice!). It feels like I'm doing something worthwhile most of the time, like I'm making a difference in the lives of others. And I tell myself that it's okay if I miss out on a few things for my kids because I'm needed here too.

But lately, I find myself questioning, "Am I just fooling myself? Am I making excuses so that I can continue to work and have this paycheck? Is it worth this paycheck?" We have our house on the market, and we've discussed my quitting and staying home when it sells, but then the thought of Bryan going to college in just a year and a half makes me question if quitting a good job right now is all that great of an idea.

What I know is this. I'm tired. I work part-time in the office and full time at home, and I'm tired. I feel spent. Between work, being a mom, driving lessons for Bryan, gymnastics for Ellie, teaching on Thursday nights, mentoring, church, cooking dinner, grading homeschool, etc etc, I've lost a bit of me in there it seems. I find myself feeling more and more like I'm doing a lot of things halfway and nothing really well. And if you know me, you know that I don't like doing anything halfway.

I don't know the answer here. I've prayed.. a lot. I haven't heard anything. Maybe it's because I'm not listening well. Maybe it's because He hasn't answered yet. Either way, I'm still here, still spent.

But I know this. My God is enough. My God is faithful. My God is a better parent than I am. And He loves me just as I am. Even in my not-so-proud mom moments of missing out on the things I really want to be at. Did I mention I am missing Ellie's preschool graduation because it's when our Ethiopia trip is scheduled??? Even when I completely lose it and yell or pout. Even when I just get grumpy and want to cry. Even when I give my kids cereal for dinner because the thought of cooking another meal right then makes me want to explode.

He is enough. Thanks be to God.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Ethiopia 2012

One of the greatest blessings of my life has been God allowing me to be a part of something that is so much bigger than myself. When we brought Ellie home from Ethiopia, we were face to face with the reality of the damage that unclean water can do to a body and a life. We knew that we couldn't just give her meds and forget it had ever happened. We knew God was calling us to do more. Through a great friend (thank you Mitch Holbrook), we were introduced to Edge Outreach in Louisville KY, a group of people with a vision to see everyone in the world with clean water. We got in touch, were trained, and then waited. We knew how to make clean water, but we didn't know how to get it into Ethiopia.

I don't believe in coincidence. So, it was by DIVINE intervention that I happened to be googling "mission work in Ethiopia" and came across One Child Campaign. I read their blog with tears in my eyes. These people were the hands and feet of Jesus in a land that we love so much. I contacted them and learned they had a vision to put clean water in Ethiopia, and we had the means to do so.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Last summer, most of you will recall that we were blessed to travel back to Ethiopia to place our very first water purification system in Korah. To say that it was a blessing just doesn't cut it.

God blew my mind.

Now, we are here on the cusp of traveling again. If someone had told me a few years back that we would be traveling to Ethiopia for the 3rd time now, I'd have laughed. But my heart is so full of excitement and joy. I love these people. I love being there with them, hugging their necks and holding their hands and just knowing that God made me for this work. It's humbling, and it's life-shattering. I come home completely broken and transformed and yearning for more of Him, more of His presence. And it sticks. Like I said, it's just amazing...

We will be going May 17-27, and at this time the plans are already set for one water system to be installed. We are VERY close to having things set for two systems. I can't even begin to think of how many people that is who will be drinking in clean water for the first time ever! Someone asked me recently "Why are you doing water stuff? I thought you were going to tell them about God.". My response is that "I have no business telling someone about Jesus if I can't (or won't) be the hands and feet of Him". Giving clean water meets a physical need, and when we do that, we begin to gain the right to be heard. But what I love about the work of One Child Campaign is that it's not about us at all. We are going and giving tools to the local church to meet the needs of their communities. When that happens, the people in the communities come to the church to get their physical needs met, and they hear Truth. It's beautiful!

I could talk for hours about this (seriously, I could. Do you have time? Call me!) But here's the thing... it's expensive to go to Ethiopia. So, we are doing some good, old-fashioned fund raising. We are selling t-shirts to tell the story of why we are going, and in the process, hopefully bringing in some money to help us get there.

We would GREATLY appreciate you buying one of these shirts. They're pretty sweet looking too! (thank so much Devon and the Surge team!!)
Cost is $25 for each shirt. Payment is due at time of order. We will collect orders through February, then order and ship them out to ya! When you buy this, you too are being the hands and feet of Jesus because we couldn't do this without the support (prayerful and financial!) of so many of you. So, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much!!

Checks can be made to Jeff or Holly Prosser and sent to us directly at 1809 Jacks Creek Road, Richmond KY 40475

please let us know in the comments if you are sending an order so we can be on the lookout for it!

Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good,
in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.

Titus 3:14