Thursday, April 21, 2022

60

 I'm 60 today.

Sixty years old and leaving for Ohio for a homeschool convention. 


Last night Little Girl saw my computer bag in the kitchen.

She saw me packing it for the trip.

When I turned away, she took the bag and carried it back in the office. 

Mama stay.

Break my heart.

Yesterday I took the day off and went to the zoo with my kiddos


That was the best birthday present.


Enjoying a beautiful day with my three youngest.


Watching them enjoy life.


Seeing their laughter.


I don't have words on my 60th birthday.

I'm grateful for 60 years.

I'm grateful for my family.

I am grateful for a loving husband and a God who loves me.

My birthday request - pray for Ukraine.


Pray for peace!



Sunday, April 3, 2022

Unleased Evil

I've been following this war from day one. Every single day pouring through the articles, pictures, posts from friends, news sites and more to stay as educated and on top of what is going on.

I've shed tears. I've grieved. I've raged. I've posted on here and on my Facebook wall.

I've tried to keep people informed. I've tried to be a voice. I've tried to share what I know to raise awareness, support and prayers.

I've seen terrible pictures over the last 30+ days. I've read about horrible atrocities. I've watched shocking videos. 

But yesterday.

Yesterday.

Yesterday the cacophony of stories and pictures and video came from so many different directions I could not sift through it all.

The whole region of Kyiv was liberated from the Russians over the last few days.

That should be cause for great rejoicing.

My friends who were forced out of their homes can go back.

The Russians did not make it into Kyiv.

The Ukrainians "won."

Yet I weep.

I am at a loss for words.

What they left behind is unspeakable.



Bodies are everywhere. Not just one or two. Hundreds. People in civilian clothes. Men. Women. Children. Whole families in cars trying to flee. People shot trying to get away on their bikes. All dead.

This is not some history story from the past.

These people were killed a few days ago. A week ago. In the last 5 weeks.

Bodies in the basements. Unable to get out for food - they starved to death.

What they did to those living is just as horrific.

As the living emerge from the basements and hiding places, the stories pour forth.



The rapes. Children being forced to watch. 

Men taken, tied up, tortured and then killed. I've seen pictures. I want to vomit.

They treated the civilians of these cities like a sick video game - shooting to maim. Shooting to kill. 

Mass graves.

City after city.

They left Kyiv but left behind sick "presents."

They left piles of their bodily functions everywhere.

They booby trapped toys. Dead bodies. anything. Everything.

They mined the roads. 

They destroyed countless homes.

Schools. Churches. Hospitals. Businesses.

They took everything they didn't blow up. Everything. From refrigerators to TV's to pots and pans to clothes and jewelry and everything. 

I could go on and on and on.

Kyiv region is freed but the Russians are not gone.

They have only moved.

They are centering their forces along the eastern part of Ukraine.

Their desire is to capture those areas and then move in from that direction.

But just to keep it lively for them - they continue to bomb. Here, there everywhere.

To scare. To destroy. To break the will of the people.

To keep the Ukrainians from taking their full force to the east too.

It's not over.

It's far from over.

It's unleashed evil. 

And we sit here in America watching and grieving and shouting and crying and praying and wanting it to end but feel so helpless.

I say I am sorry to my friends over and over and over again.

They are too.

There are just no words for this.

They left Kyiv region but are still in countless other cities and villages across Ukraine. Maiming. Killing. Raping. Stealing. Torturing.

When will it end?

Who will come to the rescue of the Ukrainian people?

When is enough enough? When do we acknowledge as a nation, as a people, that evil must not be allowed to run rampant?

Please keep praying for Ukraine.

Pray that God will hear the cries of the people. That He will give comfort in their distress. 

Pray for an end to this evil.

Pray that our leaders and the leaders of Europe will do the right thing. 


Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Brave

 I am not a brave person.

I have always run from danger.

I've never jumped in and stopped a fight.

I've always had the motto to keep a low profile, keep my head down and stay out of conflict.

I let others fight my battles. I let others protest. I let others take on the bullies of this world.

I'm ashamed to share that.

I'm not brave.

But I know what brave looks like.

Brave is leaving everything behind and becoming a refugee in a foreign land.



Brave is saying goodbye.


Brave is tenderly rescuing an elderly woman and her cat.


Brave is honoring those who have fallen.


Brave is comforting.


Brave is knowing that taking a stand will end your life as you know it.


Brave is protesting against what your country is doing in Ukraine.


Brave is volunteering even though you've never held a gun. 


Brave is fighting for your country.


Brave is refusing to leave your country and choosing to lead from the front.


Brave is rescuing the orphans.

Brave is carrying food into war torn areas.

Brave is searching among the rubble for the living.

I could go on and on.

I sit here day in and day out and watch the bravest people struggling against the greatest odds.

They fight and beg - close the skies. Please close the skies.



I hear our reasons why that's impossible.

We want to keep a low profile. Keep our heads down. Stay out of the conflict.

We need to protect our own.

And all the while... brave men and women and children are dying.

Little boys are saying goodbye to their Papas.


They are dying while we cower. 

Please.

We need to be brave!

We need to honor the agreement we made to Ukraine back in 1994. They gave up their nuclear weapons (the third largest in the world) and we promised to protect their borders. 

They signed in good faith.

We have broken that faith.

First in 2014.

Now in 2022

WE NEED TO BE  BRAVE!


Friday, March 11, 2022

Unspeakable Horror

For two weeks now I've been numb.

Tears have leaked out of my eyes without my even realizing.

I grieve at every picture coming out of Ukraine. Every video.

Children have been killed. Residential buildings have been destroyed. Hospitals. Schools.

My heart is so grieved. I have few words and can only cry out to God.

When we talk about Ukraine, Rob and I use the pronouns we, us and ours - not they, them and their. Their country is ours. That's how personal this is. We don't do it intentionally. We catch ourselves doing it. It's a natural part of having three Ukrainian-born faces to wake up to each morning. 


It's personal because we are in first hand conversation with dear friends over there. They are the ones having the bombs dropped around them. They are the ones begging for the skies to be closed over them. They are the ones making Molotov cocktails day in and out.


They are the ones hiding out, clutching their children beside them.




They are the ones who are fleeing with just the clothes on their backs.

They are the ones in the 'safer' areas who are emptying their pantries, their closets, their bank accounts for their fellow Ukrainians.


They are the ones distributing food to the desperately needy.



We KNOW these people. We GRIEVE with these people.

It's personal and its real.

If I could go over and be the hands and feet of Jesus over there I would be on a plane in a heartbeat. We are here and we can give, and we can pray and I realize those are two worthy callings. 


And I can be a voice for my friends. I can be a voice for 'our' country across the sea. I can speak up for the voiceless right now. 

Two million and counting have fled Ukraine. They are shell shocked, scared, longing for a home they don't have anymore and dependent upon others for help. 


That leaves 39 million people in a country gone mad. Some are in "safe places" but as a dear friend stated yesterday, there are really no safe places. Bombs could drop just as easily on those safe places as the rest. 

Our prayers matter.

They FEEL them over there. They SEE God at work. In little ways. In big ways. His presence is in their midst. 

My friends tell me over and over - please pray. Please please pray. It is their number one plea.

One of our dear facilitators over there wrote me yesterday: "I believe the prayers of our families saved my life the last two weeks."

Please don't get weary of praying and caring. We are a short-term memory people. We watch with horror for a while, but when the horror doesn't let up we move on to the next big thing. Gas prices are our next big thing. It's all over my feed.

Sorry to be blunt but gas prices do not compare to bombs blowing up hospitals.


It just doesn't.

The situation in Ukraine is dire. People in some areas are starving to death with no way to get food, water and because Russia keeps breaking their promise for safe corridors, they cannot get out to safety.

This is a scary map. All those red spider webs are roads and areas where the Russians have control. 


The people in the villages in those areas are being terrorized. 


The cities are being bombed down to rubble.


It is unspeakable horror. Children caught in the crossfire.


Please don't stop praying. Please don't get weary of hearing about Ukraine. 

Please don't stop doing all you can to help!




Monday, March 7, 2022

The 38

 As you go about your Monday morning - feeding your wee ones, pouring milk into their bowls.

As you comb out tangles, look for lost socks, fuss over the mess on the floor.

As you struggle arms into coats and hustle your children out the door. For school. Or appointments. 

As you go about your Monday feeling harried and worried over all the things on your to do list.

As you go about your day.

Think of the 38.

38 lost wee ones. In a senseless war.

Think of their moms.

Think of their dads.

Think of the days where they will never again.

And never again.

And never again.

Because a man who has determined that their piece of real estate belongs to him....

Has robbed them of their ever again.

As you go about your day pray for those moms. 

Pray for those dads.

Because they are weeping in shock and anguish that in a mere 12 days, their entire world has crashed around them. 

The devastation is real. The pictures do not begin to capture the horror of what is happening.

Millions are homeless in a foreign land. 

Many more tens of millions are waiting for the bombs to drop.


In just 12 days.

Life as they knew it is over.

With no end in sight.

As you go about your day.

On this Monday morning - think of them.

Think of the tens of millions of them.

Afraid. Confused. Shocked. Angry. Clinging to their faith. Finding faith. 

Think of the wanderers.

Think of the soldiers.

Think of the elderly.

Think of the newly orphaned.

Think of the newly widowed.

Think of the disabled.

Think of the loss. Think of the devastation.

Think of the 38.

38 who will never again.

Never again. 

PLEASE PRAY FOR UKRAINE!

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For those looking to give:




Sunday, February 27, 2022

Our Beloved Serge

 

I write this with tears streaming.

Our beloved Serge has given his life for his country.

He didn't have to. He had his American citizenship. He could have left and sat safely on this side of the ocean.

But he loved Ukraine.

So he entered the trenches with all the other volunteers, and he is gone.

We loved him. 

Without him we would not have Aaron. Pure and simple. He fought like a grisly bear and got our boy out, and I will be eternally grateful to him.


He oversaw all three of our crazy adoptions.

When our second one almost derailed, he sat in a coffee shop with us for hours while we grieved.


He was gruff and had his detractors, but he helped facilitate thousands upon thousands of adoptions.

He went to bat when no one else would.

Just weeks ago, when a family was turned away at the airport - he marched in with lawyers and got them safely home.


He was a fighter.

In every way.

We loved him.

The first American citizen to die for Ukraine.

A pointless, cruel, unprovoked war.

Please pray. We know so many others throwing Molotov cocktails at Russian tanks.

My heart bleeds this morning.


Saturday, February 26, 2022

Our People

 My heart has been so broken the last few days.

I scour the news. Every 10 minutes. I keep tabs on my 'peoples' over there.

I have shed a lot of tears.




This is a bit of what we know about some of "Our People" over there. People who matter to us and to God. Precious souls caught in a war that was totally unprovoked. 

A group of precious souls in a ministry we support - Bible Orphan Ministry - is in the capital with a large group of children and youth - hiding out in a church facility. The terror they face is real. They are forced to comfort the small ones, holding their ears against the sounds outside. They wanted to get out yesterday, but they were unable to move as they couldn't find a driver. I'm praying they can find a way today. The bridge to the west has been blown up making escape more difficult.

Another ministry - Jeremiah's Hope - has lost contact with a group of 10 children and 3 staff members. That same blown-up bridge has made it impossible to get to them. The village is surrounded on all sides. 

Other dear dear friends - Wide Awake International -are in their homestead two hours from the capital. Their place bursting at the seams as they open the doors for those in need and care for the ones inside. They have so many lives in their care, and they are praying for wisdom in this time.

Two of our powerhouse adoption facilitators are in a village that is not far from the capital. They are making Molotov cocktails and standing ready to defend their land. I love those fierce women so deeply!

Another facilitator posted video yesterday of an empty city square. His was the only car on the road. That area is NEVER free of cars. EVER. It's a place we have walked hundreds of times - it's like home to us. I watched the video and wept. I cannot stand the thought of bombs being dropped there.

Down in the south are more of those we love - Heritage Ukraine. It is quiet there for now after the first day of bombing. Eerily quiet. They are watching and waiting and praying. Their area is dangerous. A place long coveted by Russia. They too have many people in their care. 

One missionary family from John's area got over the border this morning after a stressful 24 hours with small children in tow. The line of those wanting out of the country stretching for miles and miles. Those in the villages along the route who are choosing to stay are carrying bits of food and drink to those waiting in their cars. No money. No thank you. God speed.

I've sent messages to anyone and everyone. 

To John's birth family. Letting them know they are not alone. We are praying for them here.

I could go on and on. We know so many. We love deeply this adopted country of ours.

I am not alone in my obsession. I go on my Facebook feed and see all my friends waving the blue and yellow flag and grieving alongside of me.




We share the same story. This is our children's heritage - their birth home. There are thousands of us who are standing for Ukraine along with their children.

My boys are in shock. This is their people. Which has made them Our People. It's hard to process. It doesn't seem real.

Their birth country is being taken over and there is nothing we can do to stop it.

All we can do is watch and pray.

We can send out words of encouragement. Let 'Our People' know they are not alone. 

Watch and pray some more.

And pray some more.