About Me

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I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother.  Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing.  Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.


Surviving the Valley Series

Surviving the Valley Series
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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Oh, the Places You'll Go

I heard from the school in Bogota that we're going to be working at this summer, and the theme for the summer classes that I'll be teaching is, Oh, the Places You'll Go, by Dr. Seuss.  It looks like I'm going to have the chance to work with Colombian students of various ages who still speak English at a very basic level.  We will be working on their listening and speaking skills through a center rotation that also includes song, grammar games, arts/crafts, and sports.  I am really excited about this opportunity, but the best part is that they start each day with worship.  I can't wait for the opportunity to put the two things I love to do together, teach English to second language learners AND point their hearts toward God--the essential element that is sadly missing in the American public school.  I can hardly wait to be in an environment where I can teach and share my faith at the same time.

So, after I found out the theme, I went straight to school and dug out Oh, the Places You'll Go from my collection of Dr. Seuss books in my classroom.  That night, since David and I had just finished a chapter book together the night before, I read it to David.  What was so cool to me, though, was that as I read it, I realized that it really is a very fitting story for the journey our family has been through and on over the last several years. You just never know the places that you will go or that God will take you to.  Sometimes they'll be through a dark valley you didn't want to or intend to go through.  Other times they'll be to a mountaintop that you never thought you could reach.  If you have access to a copy of the book, go read it and you'll see what I mean.  Plus, being a poet myself who finds great fulfillment in making the perfect rhyme,    a Dr. Seuss book just couldn't be more fitting.

Speaking of the places you'll go, I had another exciting evening lastnight that  was never anywhere in my plans.  We went out to dinner together as a family in Grapevine to meet my new friend and fellow recently published author, Jodie Mitchell.  Last week while I was in Holy Grounds, where my book signing will be next week, her book of Christian poetry, The Trusting Time, caught my eye.  Throughout the week, we connected online and via telephone, and lastnight we met up for dinner with her and her husband.  What an amazing connection God has given us.  We have so, so much in common regarding our journeys of writing poetry since we were very young and now finally finding the courage to put it out there to minister to others. We have very similar personalities and spiritual gifts, and we found that we share the same vision with our writing, that it's all about not only helping us make connections in our world, but it's more about God using it to draw someone else closer to Him.  We signed books for each other, encouraged each other, gave each other new ideas, and now I am deeply grateful for this new friend that God has given me.  You just never know the places that you'll go....or the people that you'll meet.  I'm also very grateful to my husband and son for supporting me as I take these new steps out into the unknown, going from being an introverted writer to a published author.  It really is a whole new world.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Love Me as I am

Love Me as I am


An orphan is what they call me

An unlucky child, some may say.

I grew up without a family,

Now I'm just trying to find my way.


You may be tempted to judge me,

You may think I'm immature for my age,

but I think I've done pretty well

for having been raised in an orphanage.


Of course you'll find gaps in my life.

There's so much I never got to learn,

so much I never got a chance to practice,

so many times I never got to take my turn.


Still I am who I am today

because of my unique experiences in life,

having faced more loss than you likely ever had to,

having conquered incredible internal strife.


Please don't try to change me.

I'm not a project for you to fix.

Please love me just as I am,

with nothing taken from or added to the mix.


I have so much to add to the world,

and I could love to the moon and beyond,

But until I know that I am truly loved,

my heart will never respond.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Divine encounters

I've said it before and I'll say it again, life is just one divine encounter after another. I believe that more and more every day. How much we miss when we're not looking for ways God is working all around us.

Yesterday, Mike, David, and I decided to drive to Grapevine to visit Holy Grounds so I could see the place, get a feel for the atmosphere, and meet the owners. What an adorable little Christian giftshop I found with an amazing atmosphere and the sweetest people working inside. They sell all kinds of Christian jewelry and little gifts, have goodies, decorations, and books tucked into every possible little corner. They sell all these scrumptious flavors of coffee beans, and they sample a different flavor every day. You walk in, and you just feel the warmth. I'm very excited to have a book signing there, especially the weekend before Mother's Day. It's on Main Street, where people apparently take a day to just explore the shops. There were artisan stands set up across the street, and a small farmer's market selling fresh fruits and vegetables just a block away. I was actually very disappointed that we didn't have time to just spend the rest of the afternoon there as a family yesterday. I am looking forward to the opportunity to meet all kinds of different people who will be coming through their doors that day. I am also excited to meet Cindy Burden. I was looking at her sculptures that they have in the store, and they told me she has such an amazing testimony behind her story. If you want to come with me for the afternoon, let me know!

Anyway, back to the divine encounters.....while I was browsing the shelves, I came across a book called The Trusting time--A Collection of Christian Poetry, by Jodie Mitchell. I picked it up and looked through it, and I felt like I had found my kindred spirit. It is a compilation of Christian poetry that she began writing at the age of eleven. She finally decided to gather all 175 plus poems that she had written and put them into one book. Sounds like something I recently did myself. She had the book published, and four months later has now published another one! We both have become published authors within just a few months of each other, and we both have an incredible passion and heart for writing poetry with a Christian message. I went home and looked her up online, and we connected with each other lastnight. Who knows? I'm looking forward to see how God uses this new connection in my life with someone who has so much in common with me. Anyway, you can check out her book at her ministry website, www.aprilsky.net. You will be blessed by her heart.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Zooming right on by....

Well, the end of the school year is rapidly coming to a close, and the days seem to just be zooming right on by me. I find myself scrambling around for every possible moment of time to review certain concepts I'm not sure the kids remember well, to make sure my paperwork is in order to turn in at the end of the year, to deal with behavior issues creeping in for some extra fidgety kids, to work with students who have grown apathetic toward school in general and who just want to be outside playing, to keep encouraging my son to finish the year strong, even though he, too, has grown very apathetic, to keep encouraging and teaching Julian as we see more and more gaps in his life skills due to never having been taught and mentored by a parent, and then somehow begin planning the smaller details of our upcoming trip to Colombia. Yes, it's a busy time of year. Becoming an author this year and learning the ins and outs of the responsiblity of marketing my first book has added even more, but I am enjoying that part because I'm learning so much.

So, with all that being said, though I find myself grasping for more time, I came home on Wednesday night very saddened as our ladies finished our last Bible study session together. Each study brings a unique set of women, and we just grow and bond together in a beautiful way. This study was much longer than many other studies, so we had even more time to grow together. I know our bond will always be there, as it is with all the women who have been in a study with me before, and I will continue to see some of them on Saturday nights at church, but it's not the same as spending an evening together every single week. They were such an incredible encouragement to me as they opened up their hearts to share what God was doing in their lives and what they were learning. To watch them grow and blossom spiritually is one of the greatest pleasures of life. Since Experiencing God is all about learning to surrender every area of your life to God and finding an intimate relationship with Him so you can begin to obey Him and see Him use YOU in amazing ways, we decided to get together at my house one last time to watch The End of the Spear together. It's definitely not an easy movie to watch, but it's one that leaves you wondering just what in the world are you living for...... We haven't decided on a specific day and time yet, but we hope to do so very soon.

So, that's the scoop of what's happening around our house at this busy time of the year. Half of our expenses for our trip to Colombia have come in through donations at church, so that has been an incredible relief, as supporting Julian so far has been much more than we had anticipated. David is faithfully playing soccer, and we found out that another player lives across the street, so he has been having a good time building a friendship with him. Mike is busy building a truck (a rock crawler is what he calls it since it will be his "off-road" toy). I am amazed at all he's done, taking parts from so many other vehicles to create his own "masterpiece", and I will admit that I have not always had the greatest attitude about all those parts taking up the entire garage for the last two years. However, my eyes are finally being opened to see just how his mind works and how all that "ugly junk" really isn't the "junk" I thought it was. I'll post pics when it is all done someday.

Hope your weekend is blessed.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Forgot to mention...

Oh, I forgot to mention that the book signing will be on Saturday, May 5th from 1-3. Cindy Burden will be there the same time.

Holy Grounds

I have another book signing opportunity coming up in just a few short weeks. This time I've been given the privilege to go to a cute Christian gift shop called Holy Grounds. My good friend arranged it for me after she read my book because she has family that works there. I am looking forward to this opportunity. Cindy Burden, a famous Christian sculptor will be there the same time. They said she usually always draws a crowd, so they figured it would be a good, "busier" time for me to come, as well. If you are in the Grapevine area or close by, I would love to see you stop by. I am looking forward myself to meeting Cindy Burden, since I missed the event that she came to at our church a few months ago.

Here is the website of Holy Grounds if you're interested in checking it out. I'll write more about it when the time gets even closer.

http://www.holygroundsshop.com/

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My first professional soccer game



Here's David with his special ball, ready to try to get some autographs.






By the time all was said and done, I think he got four or five autographs on his ball. The shirt he's wearing is an FC Dallas t-shirt that he got autographed by almost all of the players on a previous occasion. It was fun seeing life through a ten year old boy's eyes--sometimes I forget how special moments like these are to him.


We didn't make it to church, obviously, and Mike needs to sleep late today in order to work tonight, so we're going to try out our church's internet campus today. It's a new live "campus" that just started a few months ago, and it's literally reaching the world. There are people from all over the country and from many other countries that attend each week, including members who are sick, homebound, bedridden, travelling, or who are serving as missionaries in other parts of the world and want to stay closely connected to their home church. Plus it's reaching people who wouldn't even consider darkening the doors of a church, but who are just curious about Christianity. There's even a campus pastor available--how cool is that? I am excited to try it out today so I can give a personal recommendation to others, having actually "attended" myself. If you're stuck at home and don't have a church to attend, try it out! www.lakepointe.org









Last time that Mike was offered tickets to a soccer game, I finally expressed that the next time he got to go, I would like to go, too. Well, lastnight I got my wish, and I really had a lot of fun. To be honest, I think I enjoyed it even more than going to a Texas Ranger's game. For some reason, soccer is just a lot more exciting to me.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Just another reminder

This week was a full eight days, starting last Thursday, April 6th, when Mike reminded me that it was our 18th anniversary as a "couple". Considering I'm still only 34 years old, 18 years is a long time.

Friday I spent the afternoon with two of my dearest friends and prayer warriors who were part of my Growth group from the Rockwall campus at church. We started out as five couples several years ago, all deeply committed to praying for one another and just growing in Christ together. They were all part of our lives as we broke the news that we'd felt called to adopt, they were there when we met Julian's siblings and began to pursue their adoption, and they were there when it failed. One couple moved away, one couple had to back out due to family scheduling problems, and then there were just three of us couples left. Those two wives have been so special to me and have prayed me through countless days of trial and grief. Friday, the three of us ladies met together for lunch and coffee as we said goodbye to one of us that's moving away. Times like those are hard because it means change--it means that God is leading us to let go and begin to build those relationships with others. I will miss her, but I know that God has great friends in Georgia waiting for her.

Tuesday Mike and I then celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary together. We got each other cards, and Mike even brought me a display of roses at work that he had arranged himself. One of my students just thought that was "soooooo romantic." :) Later that evening, we went for a long walk to the mall together, enjoying each other's undistracted attention and enjoying the absolutely beautiful weather. Later in the week, we went out to dinner together.

The irony over this week's celebrations, though, is that we just celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary as a couple and our 18th anniversary since we started dating, yet our Colombian son will be turning 19 years old tomorrow. A year before we had even started dating (when I was still 15 years old), a little boy was born (an entire continent away, to a mother who would not be able to raise him to maturity) who would one day call us his parents, his family. Just another reminder that there are some things God has planned for us that we just couldn't even have imagined in our wildest dreams.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wait

I read this poem in the book I was reading, Hannah's Hope, and I fell in love with it. I have written one very similar, catching the same sentiments, at least, and have it in the epilogue of my book.



WAIT

by Russell Kelfer

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;

Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.

I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .

And the Master so gently said, "Wait."

"Wait? you say wait?" my indignant reply.

"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!

Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?

By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.

"My future and all to which I relate

Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to wait?

I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,

Or even a 'no' to which I can resign.

"You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,

We need but to ask, and we shall receive.

And Lord I've been asking, and this is my cry:

I'm weary of asking! I need a reply."

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,

As my Master replied again, "Wait."

So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,

And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting for what?"

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine . . .

and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.

I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.

I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run."

I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.

You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.

You'd not know the depth of my love for each saint.

You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.

"You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;

You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.

You'd not know the joy of resting in Me

When darkness and silence are all you can see."

You'd never experience the fullness of love

When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.

You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,

But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

"The glow of my comfort late into the night,

The faith that I give when you walk without sight.

The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask

From an infinite God who makes what you have last."

You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,

What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.

Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,

But, oh, the loss, if you missed what I'm doing in you.

"So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see

That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.

And though oft My answers seem terribly late,

My most precious answer of all is still . . . Wait."


©Russell Kelfer. All rights reserved.