Tuesday, April 30, 2013


GUESS WHO MADE IT HOME TO THE U.S. THIS EVENING?!?!?!?!?!?!?! CHRISTIAN!!!!!!!! Here is the brand new Litzke family picture taken at the airport with Christian in the center!

Counting Christian, the Litzke’s now have 16 children, 14 of which are adopted!!!! If you are thinking right about now that they are *CRAZY*, well, then you must check out their family’s “life verse”….this is their disclaimer for living a lil crazy:

If it seems that we are crazy - it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds [overly serious] it is for your benefit [I did it for “you” - not Him]. WHATEVER we do, it is because Christ’s love controls us [Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do]. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive His new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. ~2 Corinthians 5:13-15 NLT and The Message~

Because the Litzke’s ARE CRAZY for Jesus and His Kingdom purposes, there is ONE LESS broken heart in the world tonight!!!!!!!! Lord, we praise Your name for this justice, this redemption, this new life that Christian has been given. Oh how Christian has waited (over 2 long years) for this day, and now it is HERE.  IT IS HERE!!!!!  

If you would like to get caught up to speed on just who this Christian is, you can read many of the previous posts I’ve written on him HERE, although these are not arranged in order of date.

Happy Birthday Jasara!

HAPPY 2nd BIRTHDAY to our little miss vibrant, swagger-filled, spunky, spontaneous, highly interactive, determined, bold, unwavering, persistent, it's "her way or the highway", she's got a lot of "fight" in her (which Daddy plans to channel to the bball court!), future point guard, likes to be in charge, secret Italian, doesn't stop talking even while brushing her teeth, cutest little knock-knees, knows how to work a crowd, she'll get you with her alligator tears and lower lip pout, incredibly observant, uncanny ability to imitate our every move and word, my cooking apprentice, creative, makes her own fun, energized by people and social environments, sprints to greet people who come to our door with shrieks of excitement and a hug. Jasara Florence Sullivan, aka Flo-Flo, we are still giggling and shaking our heads, knowing we have NEVER met anyone quite like you! You are one-of-a-kind and add so much personality and wildness to our days!!!

When we visited Jasara in Ghana I noticed at meal times that she was insistent on cutting up her own food with a knife! Surely this was from observing her caretakers preparing and cooking food....she embodied so many of the movements and mannerisms of Ghanaian women even at the age of 1.5! Upon homecoming I weaned her off real knives by giving her a plastic knife to use with her food. She still loves to chop! I found this food set pictured below at Target complete with a knife and cutting board.....it is wooden and the pieces are segmented with velcro so she can chop away. She loves it and it has become the first toy she goes for each day!

She also loves pushing cars (or anything with wheels) around!  Found these girly cars at Target as well!

We love you lil momma!!!!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

My Sunshine

They keep me on my toes. They are mirrors to my soul. They are always watching me and ready to imitate me. Therefore, they are my high calling. They are reason to listen to my loud, worldly thoughts less and be attentive to the Spirit's whisperings more. They drive me to rely on my Savior for power, for wisdom, for inward changing, for renewal, for revelation, for mercy, for perspective.They are quick to forgive, light-hearted, and full of dancing and laughter. They love freely and trust deeply. They are my daughters, and I want to be more like them.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Yarn Extensions ~ SUCCESS!

I last blogged about my ongoing adventure in learning to do my two Ghana daughters’ hair HERE.

For the past couple of weeks I had thought that Jennifer’s hair was getting long enough to try out a style. Here’s a look at the length of Jennifer’s hair when it is stretched out…

A good inch and a half I would say. With that length, I could definitely try some corn rows, but since Jennifer’s hair has been short and shaved her whole life, I thought it would be more exciting to try out some extensions. Jennifer is always happily wishing and looking forward to having long hair, as many little girls do. With that, I set my sights on achieving this style ~ yarn extensions…..

To attempt a style it was just a matter of us finding a weekend where we could be home for at least one full day with no place to go, and no other commitments (easier said than done!). I finally got my chance this past weekend. The boys were off to a tournament, and the girls and I decided to sit it out and stay home for a hair weekend.

During our adoption journey a fellow adoptive mom from my church had referenced this website: http://www.chocolatehairvanillacare.com/ (aka CHVC) which has become an invaluable resource to me. Leading up to this past weekend I reviewed the binder I had made from this website with the rundown on pre-style steps and the how-to instructions for the yarn extensions. Everything I am posting about today, I got from the CHVC website.

I set aside Saturday as our styling day, but we started the process on Friday night with washing, detangling, and banding.
WASHING: I usually only wash Jennifer’s hair once a week with conditioner. But since we were going to be setting it with a style that would stay in for a good 3-4 weeks I wanted to make sure we started off with clean hair. We washed with shampoo and conditioner from the Shea Moisture line (which you can purchase at Target and Walgreens) pictured above on the left.

DETANGLING: This was easy peasy since Jennifer’s hair is so short. I’ve heard this step becomes quite time-consuming the longer the hair gets. That is why the CHVC website recommends breaking the styling up into two days and doing this step the night before. For detangling we used Kinky Curly Knot Today as a leave-in conditioner/detangler (pictured above in the middle – you can also purchase this at Target). Then section by section I combed through her hair with a wide-tooth comb. After I combed through each section I banded it (explained below) before moving on to the next. The Kinky Curly Knot Today is just awesome. The comb glided right through her hair.

BANDING: Not sure how necessary this step is with short hair, but we did it anyways to get into the routine of it. Banding serves a couple of purposes – 1) It preserves all the work you did during detangling and 2) It stretches out the curl making the hair easier to handle once it is time to braid, twist, etc. To band, you just section off the hair and place soft pony tail holders down the length of each section. Since Jennifer’s hair is so short, I just used one pony holder for each section and tried to spread it out along the length of each little puff. This took about 15 minutes and then we were done for the night.

The other thing I did the night before the actual styling was cut the yarn. That’s right – YARN! For these extensions you are actually using a spool of yarn that you can purchase at Wal-mart!
It’s just the craziest thing. For each extension you use two strands of the yarn. I cut each strand to 40 inches in length and set them out on the table in pairs so I could grab and go the next day once we started.

Note to self: I ended up using twice as much as what is pictured here – had to do another session of cutting during styling day. The next morning Jennifer woke me up at 6:30am in her excitement to get started! We ended up actually starting around 8am by the time we all got breakfast and got dressed.

The CHVC website lists out the exact steps of how to put in the extensions, so I am not going to re-write them all here. Here is the link for the step-by-step-how-to complete with pictures: http://www.chocolatehairvanillacare.com/2011/01/yarn-twist-extensions-exercise-in.html
And here is a video tutorial of putting in one extension from start to finish:

I definitely needed to view the video to understand exactly how to anchor the yarn in. She shares a few tips in the video that aren’t in the written instructions, so make sure you watch it if you are planning on doing this. I memorized these steps and practiced one of the extensions on a life-sized doll with hair the day before trying it on Jennifer to make sure I had the technique down.  The day before our scheduled styling day I also practiced one extension on Jennifer's actual hair to ensure that her hair was going to be long enough to twist into the yarn.  And it was! 

Alright, here are the products and styling tools that I used while putting in the extensions…

Basically, to start, I just released one row at a time of her sectioned off hair from the pony tail holders and sprayed the section with water. Then I coated the section of hair with Blended Cutie’s ‘Butter Me Up’ which is a moisturizer. From there I used the pintail comb for parting. I parted one row at a time lengthwise and then made horizontal parts within each row, turning her hair into little sectioned off squares. When I was ready to put in an extension, I would grab one little square of hair and put another coating of ‘Butter Me Up’ on it, and then combed out the square of hair with my small-tooth comb. Then, you separate the square in half, put the yarn in the middle, anchor each side and start twisting as the instructions linked to above explain. Once I got to the point on the twist where her hair was going to run out, I was supposed to put Blended Beauty’s ‘Happy Nappy Styles’ styling cream onto her hair so the endpoint smoothed into the yarn better and didn’t poke out. But I got mixed up on the instructions and used the ‘Butter Me Up’ there as well which doesn’t have near the holding power as the styling cream. So, time will tell how long the twists will hold together without getting too fuzzy!

From the nape of Jennifer's neck up to the crown of her head, I parted her hair in a brick pattern. So, from one row to the next the boxes are staggered which is hard to make out from this picture below. The arrow shows the point where her actual hair runs out - everything below the arrow is yarn alone.
As her hair continues to grow it will blend in with the yarn even better for the length of the twist, and you won’t even be able to tell it’s yarn. Honestly, most people can’t anyways unless they know.

Here was our little over halfway point which we got to at about 4pm I think!

In that picture you can see the part that I made from one ear, to the crown of her head, to her other ear. Everything below that partline comprised the back of her hair. You can also see the ends of the extensions in this picture which I simply tied off in knots. My goal was to try and get the knots all at about the same length which was really hard to do. [At the very end of putting in all the extensions, you go back through and get the knots exactly where you want them, tighten them so they lay flat, and then trim off the excess yarn below the knots as the finishing step.]

We took breaks for lunch, dinner, bathroom breaks, stretch breaks, and a long run around break while I cut more yarn. :)




From there, I started putting the extensions in on the sides of her head, working up to the top-center where I had made a middle part.
Regarding parting, the side extensions are easy to line up because you just continue a straight line from the last extension by the crown, on up to the forehead comprising the row.

Finally, after a full day’s hard work, there was one row left to twist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Momma was ready to throw a party!

And about 25 minutes later, all the extensions were in and all that was left to do was the trimming!

Did you notice the clock in that first picture? Yes, by this point it was 11:37pm!!!!!!!!!!!! I had scheduled myself to work in the nursery at church the next morning at 9am, so I knew we had to bear down and finish it all that night. We wouldn’t have enough time to save the trimming until morning, and besides, it wouldn’t be very comfortable sleeping on all that excess yarn anyways.

So, although we were both quite tired, we kept trucking along. I went through and adjusted all the knots at the bottoms of the extensions so they were as close as I could get them to the same length. I also tightened up each knot and tried to get them as flat as I could. This part can drive you a little crazy, especially if you are really set on everything looking symmetrical. CHVC gives some trimming tips HERE. Finally I got to the point where I was comfortable to start trimming off the excess right below the knots.  The whole re-knotting and trimming episode took another good 45 minutes. After the trim we threw on Jennifer’s sleep cap and went to bed. The next morning we captured the results…..here’s how they turned out!


And the back....
(side note: in real person her scalp does not show up this much - it is just the flash from the camera that is highlighting/reflecting it)
I was so happy with how they looked! Jennifer could not WAIT to show her friends in her class at church, and she couldn’t wait for school the next day after that. She kept saying, “Everyone is going to looooove my head!”

Throughout the styling day, if I would have counted, Jennifer said at least 25 times, “Mommy, I LOVE my head!” She also told me, “Mommy, I love YOU!” randomly throughout the day, and about every 15 minutes she was shouting to Jayla in her excitement, “Jayla, you want to come see my head?” During each break time she would run to the mirror and giggle, oooh and ahhhh, and shake and whip her hair around. It was definitely the most excited I have seen her – ever. I knew going into this that me doing her hair would come across as an act of love to her, and I think that is what kept me going and made me so excited for us to experience it. It was another step in attachment for the both of us.

Throughout the day, I also experienced an amazing sense of empowerment which came in the form of just plain being in awe of how God equipped me to this. Going into our adoption of the girls I had zero confidence in my ability to do their hair. BUT, I had a desire to learn, and I expressed that desire to God often. He led me to the resources and gave me the tools that I needed to educate myself. Then, He took my flimsy hands and non-hairstyling brain and physically equipped them. I give Him the glory, because I know that in and of myself doing hair does NOT come naturally. I know it sounds strange because we are talking about hair (which seems like a minor detail to most people), but this feels like a supernatural equipping within our adoption. I had no idea that I would ever actually be able to do this!  You all remember where I started out right?  I didn't even know how to french braid for goodness sakes!  Yarn extensions are just a small success in the world of hair, but I definitely feel encouraged by this, and I am excited for when we get to try another style!

In addition to all that, Jennifer’s confidence has SKYROCKETED since these extensions went in. I've noticed a remarkable difference in her in what I can only describe as her coming across as more sure of herself and just plain being more bubbly and outspoken. It’s like her timid-ness went out the window as soon as the hair started going on. Very noticeable change in her personality!

This was also a good learning experience for Jayla. I knew going into the styling day that it was going to be hard for Jayla to watch Jennifer getting all my time and most of my attention that day. In a 4 year old’s world, this was going to feel like sacrifice, and it wasn’t going to feel good. I prayed for her leading up to it, that God would work in her heart. As the styling day started out, Jayla did have a bad attitude and bouts of pouting as I knew she would. I just took those opportunities as teaching moments and took her aside and prayed with her. Each time we talked about 1 John 3:16 and that this day was going to be a little example of how she could ‘lay down her life’ for Jennifer. I expressed to her that sacrifice doesn’t feel good because we are giving up what we want for ourselves. But that is God’s definition of love – acting in the interest of others instead of ourselves. God was giving her the opportunity to do just that during styling day. Throughout the morning I think I took Jayla aside about 3 different times and prayed for her and talked through these truths. By afternoon, the coolest thing happened. God had worked in her heart, and I noticed her attitude had completely lifted by about 2pm. She was excited for Jennifer and became her lighthearted, talkative self again. And God rewarded her change in heart. The neighbor girl came outside to play, and Jayla got to run around and play with her – all by herself! This then, produced tears and a bad attitude from Jennifer who really preferred to go outside and play instead of sit in the styling chair! Sheesh! I can’t win! :)

Alright, to finish out this post, a few more tips regarding the actual style. CHVC has a post about washing hair with yarn extensions in HERE and other tips and tricks for this style HERE.

Jennifer started wearing a sleep cap once these extensions went in, and it really does help to preserve the style through the tossing and turning in the night. She also uses a satin pillowcase which helps with that too. And she wears a shower cap during bath-time to avoid getting them wet unnecessarily.

For daily upkeep, when she takes her sleep cap off in the morning I then straighten out the yarn by taking fists of it on each end (below where her actual hair ends) and stretching it. Takes like 30 seconds to make a trip around her head. Then I have a water bottle with ¾ coconut oil and ¼ water mixed together. I spray that on the twists, but only on the inch segments where her actual hair is. That gives her enough moisture for the day and she is all set!

When I picked Jennifer up from her Sunday school class at church on the first day that she was sportin her extensions the teacher said that her hair was the talk of the class. She said the kids were asking, “Where can we get some hair like that?” The teacher said she had told them that it takes a reaaaalllly long time to get hair like that put in, and that it is reaaaaalllly expensive! Ha! Made me giggle knowing that in fact, it was only a $4 spool of yarn behind that look! And it gave me some more confidence to hear that her style looked like it had been achieved in an expensive salon! Whoo hoo! 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Pep Talk: Fear Doesn't Suit You Anymore

As you entertain fearful thoughts you are picturing/envisioning the future without God in the mix. You’ve taken His power and His grace out of the equation. When He calls us to do something ‘hard’ He doesn’t just lead us there and then leave. If you are going to entertain thoughts of the future then you MUST include God’s presence and the promise of His power in those thoughts of future situations. He will equip you and you will learn to rely on Him, but it will be AFTER you take the step of faith. If He told you how He was going to do it and showed you everything ahead of time then that takes absolutely no faith. Your trust and reliance on Him wouldn’t grow. Knowing it all ahead of time takes no dependence on God. Rather, God wants us to trust Him with abandon – and that place of trust is not going to feel comfortable. It will feel like the farthest thing from it. Yet, what He can accomplish in and through you is going to be directly related to how much you depend and rely on Him.

Second thing to consider about fear is this: Fear is not from God! So, if not from Him, then guess who it is from? Our enemy just loves it when we get in a swirl of fear because then he’s done his job – he’s gotten us to a state of believing that God can’t be trusted (the enemy’s ultimate goal). Satan wants to capitalize on your fears and PARALYZE you to inaction. Watch out! Fear can lead you into sin! Fear can freeze you, causing you to disobey God by not moving forward with what He’s asking you to do, which is sin. In order to follow Jesus wholeheartedly, you are going to have to give up your desire to play it safe! The many ‘what ifs’ circling around in your head are from the devil, and many of them are straight lies. Even feelings are liars. You cannot trust your feelings. God is NOT the author of fear and confusion. He is the author of peace and clarity. That peace will only come by trusting Him with your worries and anxiety (handing them over to Him - which also entails letting go of control over the details of your life). This may be something you will have to wrestle with every 5 minutes, maybe even with the same fear that comes to the surface again and again. When the fears creep in, you need to combat them with truth.

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” ~ Romans 8:15

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7

You belong to God. You are His child. His Spirit is living inside of you. This should bring you tremendous peace that He will care for you, He will come through for you, He will empower and equip you to carry out His will. (But He won’t tell you ahead of time how He is going to do it - remember, that takes no faith.) As His child, fear doesn’t suit you anymore because…

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. ~ 1 John 4:18

If you don’t have this this testimony of peace in your heart, then ask God for it - again and again if you must - until you are in a state of full trust in your Father.

The truth is that the Spirit of the living God is guaranteed to ask you to go somewhere or do something you wouldn’t normally choose to do. The Spirit will lead you to the way of the cross, as He led Jesus to the cross, and that is definitely not a safe or pretty or comfortable place to be. But, the Holy Spirit of God will mold you into the person you were made to be... ~Francis Chan, Forgotten God~

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Guest Post on Foster Care ~ A New Beginning

Over the past year and a half I have asked my friend Jenna to write a progression of blog posts detailing what her and her husband’s experience of being newly licensed foster care parents has looked like. Today I get to share an exciting ending/new beginning within their journey. If you need to get caught up to speed, you can read Jenna’s first two posts HERE and HERE.

And now the latest, in Jenna’s words….

Janel asked me to write a finale, so to speak, on our foster care experience so far and in particular the first 2 kids we had. Shortly after I had written the last blog post, the State of Iowa filed to have their parents’ rights terminated (5 kids/siblings total). In the fall of 2012 we went to court and it was very obvious to everyone involved that the best choice for the kids was to have rights terminated and to be adopted by new families. So after some appeals, in January 2013 the termination was fully granted on all 5 kids, including “A” who we still had with us. So at this point we had to make the decision whether or not to make her a part of our forever family. It really wasn’t much of a choice for us as God had clearly woven her into our family already and she was already starting to call us Mom and Dad. We did spend time praying about this, making sure this was the right choice for her and for us and ultimately it was. So we proceeded with the adoption of “A”!

I had written previously that “J” had moved on to another foster home to be with the oldest brother of the siblings. He and the oldest brother will be adopted by that family on May 8th of this year. He continues to have the hardest time of all the kids, but he is finally working through a lot of the struggles and his new foster mom has been amazing for him and to him. We still get to see him whenever we want and have a great relationship with his new mom to be.

When you decide you want to adopt there is a lot of paperwork involved. One of the papers we had to fill out was whether or not we would change her name. It was the last piece of paper we filled out. We wrestled with this idea of changing her name for as long as we could until they had to have the paperwork back. In my heart I desired very badly to change her name and give her a fresh start in every area. On the outside, it seemed kind of weird to both of us. She was 6 years old, already had an identity in her old name, friends at school, biological family she would still get to see. What in the world would people think? I had a friend over one day and told her how I was feeling and the different thoughts we’d had. I mentioned that we had pretty much decided to keep her name the same because it was the right thing to do. She flat out said, “You need to change her name. Just do it.” She told me she thought God was trying to give me the desire of my heart and I was getting in the way. Immediately my mind was led to Psalm 37:3-5 which says, “Trust in the Lord and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely. Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act.” After that I told Nate that I thought this was what we were supposed to do and we needed to talk to 'A' about it. When we did, ‘A’ immediately said yes, I want to change my name and I love the name Avery (which was the new name we had suggested and wanted to give her). She never once waivered from that first reaction and has done incredible with the adjustment to her new name. It was as if a weight had been lifted from her and she could now have a new name with a new family and it was an amazing thing for her. For her and for us, changing her name was absolutely the right thing to do and it was an amazing gift God gave us during this transition. And yes, some people do think we’re crazy but we are just learning that it comes with being foster parents. :)

March 13, 2013, we officially welcomed into our family Avery Grace Wykle!
She has been with us since September of 2011, so I honestly wasn’t sure if I would ‘feel’ different or if she would feel different just because we went in front of a judge and signed a piece of paper (well several papers actually). But it ended up being a very big deal and we all feel different. She went from calling us Mom and Dad 50% of the time to 100% of the time like a switch went off in her heart. For her, it was a huge deal. She could identify herself as Avery Wykle now and identify us as her Mom and Dad, and that has really made a huge difference in her overall demeanor and her behavior. Max now calls her his sister, which before she was given the title of ‘foster sister’. She refers to Max and Mya as her brother and sister. She was even so excited because now she gets to go to the same dentist that they do. :) Weird, I know, but she has a complete sense of belonging now and no more wondering about where she’ll be in a month or year from now. We had our extended family there at the court hearing as well as 3 of her biological siblings. We just had an awesome day celebrating. When we got home her exact words were, “I LOVE adoption day!” It didn’t hurt that she got lots of gifts, too. :)

I would love to say that everything has been perfect the last 18 months, but it definitely has not. I spent the first 12 months building an emotional wall in my heart, telling myself this little girl is not my child, she has a mom, she will more than likely go home - but I will fully love her and take care of her in a sacrificial way because I know without a doubt this child was handpicked by God to be in our home. So once termination of her biological parents’ rights happened and all the appeals had gone through, we were left with the decision to adopt her or not adopt her. I had obviously thought about this for a while but it was now reality. There was really no doubt in either my heart or my husband’s that she was going to be our daughter forever. She is an amazing little girl and our bio kids don’t know life without her. Our extended family has accepted her as their own more than I could have dreamed.

I do want to share in complete humility the struggles I have had in my own heart with attaching to Avery. On the outside I see her as my daughter. She IS my daughter. I meet all her needs physically and try to emotionally. But on the inside I am still struggling to attach fully to her. I don’t know how to describe it exactly but I have this built-in love and grace for my bio kids that I just plain don’t have for her….yet. I know that God is big enough and powerful enough to give me the desire of my heart and place that unconditional love for her in me, but it just hasn’t happened yet. My prayer is over time this will naturally happen. I write this because sometimes people can look at a picture of a family who has adopted or see them out and about and think things are perfect. I don’t want people thinking of adopting or fostering to have unrealistic expectations of fuzzy, warm feelings towards a child you’re adopting. Some people absolutely do have that and not all situations are the same. But the more I talk to adoptive moms, the more I am finding that the feelings I struggle with are the same ones they struggle with. And for whatever reasons, dads don’t struggle with this as much. Nate and her have an amazing relationship already. I also know if I only obeyed God when I felt like it, I would probably not be doing much obeying. Just because I don’t always ‘feel’ love towards her does not mean I am wrong or that we made the wrong choice. I simply have to surrender every single day to God and His design of me and of her and trust that He alone is going to do a transforming work in our bond. She is my forever daughter and she was handpicked for our family just the same way our biological kids were knitted together in my womb. We have an unbelievable opportunity to raise this little girl as our own and give her hope of a new life that she would not have had before. Not a life of wordly things but a new life of being able to teach her about the One True God.

I could never have imagined in a million years that when that little brown eyed girl walked in our door in September of 2011 that I would someday become her forever mom. I have so many hopes and dreams for her, but the verse that I pray over all my kids is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind,” Matthew 22:37. My prayer is she will love God with every fiber in her and be a voice of hope someday for other kids in her situation. The night of her adoption Nate was putting her to bed and she asked him why we became foster parents. He explained to her the best he could and then she asked, “Well, why aren’t other people foster parents?” He said he wasn’t sure, and she said “Well, that was really nice of you to want to do that.” :)  He then told her that maybe someday God would use her to be a foster parent and help kids. We are beyond blessed that God has allowed us to be a part of his humongous God story and we pray our lives will be marked with obedience. We would both love to be foster parents until we’re 80 years old, but more than that, we simply want to obey what God shows us as the next step.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Don't You Know Who You Are?

You are God's blood-bought child. He trades your filthy rags of shame for glowing white robes of righteousness. He silences the voice of your accuser. He stuns your guilt with His forgiveness. Where there is fear He speaks power to trample it. Where there is mundane and monotony He speaks purpose and expectancy. He replaces your timidity with courage. He overwhelms your questions of self-worth with new identity. "This is the way. Walk in it," He says. He rejoices over you - His sheep once lost but now found. Weep over the deadly peril that once held you in captivity. Consider what you once were: a prisoner of darkness. The enemy prowled around you promising condemnation and judgment. He chained you, enslaved you, wanting to devour you as his own. But God. BUT GOD pulled you from the grave. Mourn over the cost of your salvation. And then rejoice. Rejoice in your death row pardon. He remembers your sins no more. He quiets your doubts with His Spirit that testifies deep in your soul - that place where His cross and your repentance meet. He is your King. His inheritance for you awaits. You will retire on His riches. Dance now in your freedom. For you have crossed over from death to life. Once estranged, now reconciled. Once fatherless, now a child of the Most High. His heartbeat resonates in your bones. His anthem sings over your soul, “I’ll call nobodies and make them somebodies. I’ll call the unloved and make them beloved.” You who were once far away have been brought to His throne of grace by the blood of Christ. With confidence you may approach. For through Him, you have gained access to the Father. Blessed assurance dear child. You are spoken for.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Attention Area High Schoolers

The Change Movement is a 2 hour event tomorrow evening (Friday, April 12th) from 7-9pm being held at Valley High School in West Des Moines. The event has been organized by central Iowa Christian athletes including Madi Robson and company. Every life matters, and what exactly you do with that life can impact other people. That is the message behind The Change Movement. My hubs is the key note speaker. This event is for EVERY HIGH SCHOOLER! May you come and experience the anthem of identity, purpose, and worth found in Jesus. You can read more about this event HERE.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cue the Hallelujah Choir!

I was just contacted by a family who feels led to donate THE REST OF THE AMOUNT NEEDED TO REACH CHRISTIAN’S GRACE FUND GOAL!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! That is over a $2000 donation. Out of nowhere. My heart is racing so fast. Not only that, but I’ve received word from the Litzke’s that Christian’s visa can be picked up on THIS FRIDAY!!!!!!!!! God is on the move people. Christian. Is. Coming. Home.

Praise the LORD, my soul.
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD their God.

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets prisoners free,
the LORD gives sight to the blind,
the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down,
the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

The LORD reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the LORD.

~Psalm 146~

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Christian's GRACE Fund Update!

Just received an update from the AAI office ~ 3 donations have come in for Christian totaling $575!!!! Whoop whoop! That takes care of March and April foster care fees ($300 total), with $275 to begin taking a crack at those plane tickets! Thank you to those who have donated so far! $2,925 to go!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Almost Home

I wanted to once again ask for your help in aiding ‘my boy’ Christian home to his forever family. It was two years ago now that I met Christian in Ghana – abandoned by his biological parents, living as an orphan, blinded in one eye from abuse, and carrying a past that no one would ever want to bear. But what got to me most was his engaging personality that evidenced a heart of perseverance and joy - despite what he had been through. God kept bugging me about Christian, and I knew I was to help him, and that help would eventually come by getting him on the adoption track. Despite his special needs and older age (usually the last orphans that people want to adopt) a family ~ the Litzke’s ~ stepped up and opened their arms, opened their hearts, and opened their checkbook to this boy and his adoption. Adoption is expensive. No average income family has the money sitting around to fund an international adoption. The Litzke’s have had to rely on donations and fundraisers in order to fund this adoption – which is quite a humbling, trying, and yet faith-rousing position to be in. They are now to the very end of the process, waiting on the issuance of Christian’s visa. The final expenses for Christian’s adoption process still remain to be raised, and I plea for your help in donating ANY amount (large or small) that the Lord lays on your heart. I’ve prayed and asked Him to lay specific amounts on hearts. If you get a number in your head, the Lord sent it and I pray that you will act on it cheerfully as God’s agent. I am hoping to help the Litzke’s raise a total of $3500 which will go towards plane tickets (estimated $2500), March and April foster care fees ($150/month), as well as pulling together the other miscellaneous travel expenses (like lodging) which will incur once they can travel to Ghana to bring home their boy.

You can donate online by clicking HERE. Once on the donation page you will need to select GRACE fund, and type “Christian” in the donation designation text box below.

You can also mail a check to the Adoption Advocates International office – just specify “Christian’s GRACE fund” in the memo line. Here is the address:

Adoption Advocates International
709 S. Peabody St.
Port Angeles, WA 98362

If you would like to get caught up to speed on just who this Christian is, you can read many of the previous posts I’ve written on him HERE, although these are not arranged in order of date.

Praying him home...