On Eagle's Wings

On Eagle's Wings
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:29-31


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Story for National Adoption Month

If it hadn't been for Facebook and blogs, I wouldn't have been aware that November is National Adoption Month. And today being Susan's birthday, I want to re-share a story about adoption of which I am especially partial.

Yes, there is an adoption story in our family. My sis-in-love, Susan, was born in Germany and adopted by an American serviceman and his German wife, Ruth, while he was stationed in Germany. After his service in the U.S. Army, he brought his little family to America to live, and Susan grew up, fell in love with, and married my wonderful brother, Phil. (He took one look at her at the Mexican restaurant where they were both working and told his buddies that she was the girl he would marry.)

They still look great after 39 years!

Eight years of marriage passed before the very surprising, unexpected and joyous news came one day that they would have a child. Their son, Chase, was born in May of 1985, and only a few months after this great gift, other very surprising, unexpected and disheartening news came their way. My brother was diagnosed with a very rare form of lymphoma. This news followed on the heels of our Mother suffering from leukemia, and me still mourning the death of my husband. A group of menacing dark clouds seemed to hang over all of us for a very long while as both Mother and Phil went through chemotherapy and radiation treatments. For Phil and Susan, their son Chase was a light for them both as they went through that darkness.

Having previously shared the story of my brother's bone marrow transplant and my mother's death which occurred within the same month in 1987 right here about Second Chances, I am doing a quick fast forward into the year 1995 (or thereabouts). 

My brother recovered from his lymphoma and he and Susan doted on their son like crazy as he grew up. Now it just happened (as it does when it's in God's hand) that while at football practice one day, Susan noticed one of Chase's little friends in need of someone to take him to and from practice. As Susan continued to provide those rides for him, she got to know him, and it was quickly apparent that Billy came from a troubled and impoverished background. As Chase and Billy became close buddies, Phil and Susan took him under their wings to love him unconditionally, and share their home and hearts with him. They encouraged him in his education, his sports activities, and above all, his faith in Jesus. The time came eventually when Billy moved in with them and became their son by heart - not legalities. (If you are familiar with the movie The Blind Side, you will recognize the close similarities!)

Chase and Billy shared the love of sports and played football during their high school years for Union High School in Tulsa. They were players on the team that beat whipped the toughest team in town their senior year and went on to state, winning the championship. (I froze my backside off the night we watched them play and win. What an exciting time it was for them.)

Upon graduation from high school, they went separate ways to college. Chase's dream since first grade had always been to be in the Army and his parents begged him, insisted, that college must come first. After his acceptance into West Point and playing football for the Army, seeing him graduate from that honorable school was probably one of the proudest moments of Phil and Susan's life! We were fortunate and blessed to have watched him play for Army and attend his graduation at West Point. He has since graduated as an Army Ranger and gone on to Special Forces, serving twice in the Middle East.

My brother encouraged and guided Billy with his practical wisdom, and Susan helped him do everything necessary to enter the state university. After his enrollment, Billy did a "walk-on" gaining a place on the football team. Even greater than that though, Billy not only excelled in school and football, but he was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and traveled around to high schools, giving his testimony about his faith! How awesome is that?

What greater joy could have been brought to my brother and his wife than to know they had guided this young man in the path that the Lord had made for him before he was ever born!!

After graduating from college, Billy followed in the steps of his brother, Chase, and joined the U.S. Army. We had the privilege of seeing him graduate as Lieutenant in Fort Benning, Georgia.

We have come to know and love Billy. He has a heart for kids, his faith is strong, he always has a smile, and lots of silly words for us.

So, when he met this lovely young lady in college through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes,

all of us were happy and rejoiced with them as we saw their love expressed in the exchange of their vows at their beautiful wedding!

And then later with the birth of their two sweet children.

My little blog story merely presents the highlights of some of the amazing things that happened in my dear sis-in-law's life after her birth mom had gone through the painful experience of giving her up and placing her for adoption. Only God knows the details of all that and what Susan's life may have been had she remained in Germany. And since He never makes mistakes, what I believe with all my heart is that God placed her where He did for a purpose not only to lavish His love on her, but to enrich the lives of others. She had a heart of love, not only to share with my brother and their son, but arms wide enough to reach out to love Billy and make him part of her family, too.

Wednesday Thanksgiving Hodgepodge

Especially thankful this week for all the blessings we enjoy.
Here are my answers to this week's Happily Settling in the Hodgepodge from Joyce at From This Side of the Pond. You can answer the questions on your own blog then link with Joyce and the others to read everybody else's answers. 

1. Are you settling for something?

I'm very content with what I have. The only thing I can think that might be considered "settling" would be to remain in our current home. I would like very much to move into a smaller one story house, but DH isn't ready for that, so I am "settling" for now and trusting we will move at just the right time.

2.  It wasn't that long ago almost every store in the US locked doors and turned out lights on Thanksgiving Day. This year many will be open all day Thursday, giving shoppers a jump start on 'Black Friday'. In your opinion is this a good thing or a not so good thing? Will you be shopping on Thanksgiving Day?

I won't be shopping over this Thanksgiving weekend. My heart goes out to the people who have to work on holidays. It is the norm for people in service: fire department, policeman, nurses, hospitals, restaurants, etc. I guess retailers think what they have to offer is a service to the shopping public.

Speaking for myself, I don't think it is a good thing. And yet, I wonder, is it a good thing for the economy? But really, it is only one day set aside to just be thankful. What a great idea! I wonder whether, even if the malls are closed, are people really giving thanks? Or is it just about turkey and football?

3. Speaking of shopping... I saw a recent article on the twelve best shopping cities in the world. In order they are-New York, Tokyo, London, Kuala Lumpur, Paris, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Vienna, Dubai, Madrid, Milan, and Seoul.  Ever shopped in any of the cities listed? In which city would you most like to pull out the plastic or cold hard cash?

I have shopped in New York, London, Vienna and Paris. In each city, we used credit cards and, usually, my shopping is limited to some kind of memorable and usually useful souvenir. The only time we really used cash would be for street vendors, ice cream, that type of thing.

4.  When did you last dine by candlelight?

I can't remember!! I may have to set the table tonight with candles! :-)

5. What do you have too much of?

Odds and ends around the house. Stuff.

6. The Hunger Games...are you a fan?  Did you read the book(s)?  Will you/have you seen the movie?  Will you/have you seen Catching Fire?  No spoilers please!

I haven't read any of the books and don't plan to see the movies.

7. Share your plans for Thanksgiving Day. The who, the where, the what...especially the what! As in what's for dinner?  If you're one of my International visitors, whose homeland doesn't celebrate American Thanksgiving (the whole world doesn't, ya know!), then still tell us your plans for Thursday.

We will be spending Thanksgiving in Tulsa, Oklahoma with my sister and her family. My husband and I will drive 5 hours on Thanksgiving morning arriving in time for dinner, followed by a time of catching up, nap, leftovers, stay the night and leave early Friday morning. We will stuff ourselves with turkey, stuffing, gravy, broccoli casserole, cranberry sauce, asparagus, kale salad, deviled eggs, pies and cake. I have high hopes for mashed potatoes to be on the menu!

8. Insert your own random thought.

I just realized from Joyce's answers about food that sweet potatoes and corn pudding are not on the menu. :-( Guess I will have to settle and be thankful for what I get!!! :-) YES! I can do that.

Truly, my own random thought now is that holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas seem to divide sometimes as we get older. Everybody is expanding and it isn't always possible to spend holidays with all the people we love.

Thank you for the Hodgepodge questions. I wasn't expecting to see them during Thanksgiving week. I look forward to reading everyone's answers.

Happy Thanksgiving and I hope your family makes it in.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Betcha' Can't Top this One!!!

Having been married to someone who has been a firefighter for the past 37 years, I know fairly well about the great camaraderie they share. They love to tell stories, have been known to exaggerate just a tad, and anybody who has a tale to tell knows there will always, always be somebody else who will top that one and tell yet another one even better.

So the telling of my story of meeting up with fellow blogger and her Mister, has been made easy, because your sweet friend and mine, (better known as Sweet Tea), has already told it delightfully right here.

I can't top her telling of the tale! She does have a way with words, doesn't she? Her creative blog posts always keep it real, leave me smiling, and her comments to other bloggers are thoughtful and encouraging.

Although there may be negative things to be said for the space-age technology in this age, I think we would all agree that one of the greatest positives is how it has enabled us to re-connect with people we haven't seen for years or otherwise might not have connected with.

The meeting place we chose was The Potpourri House in Tyler, Texas ..."an experience of southern hospitality and comfort"--perfect for a meeting with this warm and friendly couple.  We had never before sat down at table together, but there was no lack of conversation and laughter. My DH and I went away grateful that we had taken the time to make this happen and wishing there had been more time to visit.  (Why are we all so BUSY these days?)

Are they adorable or what???
As my DH always says, "Ain't love grand?"
These two radiate love and they should know all about it!
It has stood the test of time.
Her parting comments, and mine as well are: when you have an opportunity to do something like this, go ahead and do it. Now is the right time to enjoy the people we love, to make new friends, or renew old friendships. Perfect timing ... perfect day.
We had such a good time.
Thank you.

Muddy Puddles

Peppa Pig and her little brother, George, love to play in muddy puddles.

Photo credit
Kate and Jack both love this show,
but I think it's Jack who takes it very serious.

Here's Jack showing us the four easy steps involved
in making your own fun, muddy puddle.

Step 1:
Grab the hose when Mom steps away
for just a minute.

Step 2:
Let it rise.
Step 3:
So proud of his muddy puddle

Step 4:
Look, Ma! Muddy hands

"But hey, I clean up real good!"