Posted by: Michael | November 26, 2013

An Open Heart

adoption

On my way into work today….I had one of those interesting conversations with God.  I guess it was more like me starting to complain and Him giving me the loving reality feedback that He can give.  Many of you know that my wife and I have a huge heart for adoption.  It is a journey that our family has been on for several years now.   We have grown our family by three in this time and have a forth that is destined to join us as well. 

Several weeks ago we begin to feel the call to welcome into our home another wonderful child.  If you are counting that would put our grand total at 8 children.  He is a wonderful 11-year-old boy with some significant medical/developmental needs.  Due to these needs there is not a family in the state of Oklahoma willing to take him in.  I can’t imagine being told that no one is willing to give you a home.  Such began the next leg of our journey. 

Soon, the enemy being the enemy …  began to plant some negative thoughts in my head.  You all know the thoughts…the ones that if you give them room will quickly take root.  This is what led to my conversation with God this morning.  It was during this conversation that God reminded me of the past several years……

I will never forget when we first started talking about going on this journey….We had three children that were all of the age where they pretty much could take care of themselves. The youngest was seven and the oldest was sixteen.  We knew that adoption was a journey God wanted us to go on.   Our plans were that we would get a little boy around five years old and that would fit nicely into our world.  However, God sometimes has other plans.  As a result we were blessed with a wonderful little 9 month old little girl.   I remember thinking that this was a little different from what I had planned.  I reached out to God and explained that this was going to be real Uncomfortable for my family.    You see, we had reached a point of comfort in our lives and this was not in the plans.  He reminded me that when his Son came to earth…it too was uncomfortable.  He traded in the warm beauty and majesty of heaven for a cold and dirty stable…born into a frail human form.  He left the right hand of God to lead the simple life of a carpenter’s son.  He did not turn from the journey.

Soon after the placement we learned that this amazing little girl had a rare life threatening genetic illness that would require extensive medical visits with an uncertain future.  We were also told that  no one was willing to take her in and her only other option was to go to a shelter and to slowly fade away.  I said “Lord…this is going to be too Hard on my family.  This is a burden that I don’t know if we can bear”  God quietly reminded me how hard it was to send his son into a world that despised him.  The difficulty of a ministry of sharing a simple truth that would turn brother against brother in a fallen world.   No matter how hard the task..He came.

Shortly thereafter, we learned that she had two sisters (age 2 and newborn).  There was never a question that they  would join our family.  We could not imagine the impact of splitting up a sibling group.  As they joined our family it became apparent that there were issues relating to a long history of abuse.  It was painful to see the impact of true evil on these little ones.  There was the emotional impact on one little one and the physical suffering of the other.   I cried out..”Lord…This is too painful of a journey for my family to endure.”  Once again, God reminded me of Jesus in the garden.  He knew His Sons fate at the hands of the wicked.   How difficult to look down at your Son and know what was in store for Him.  That he would bear the punishment for the sins of a fallen world.   However, He stayed.

Finally, over the past months the enemy has done a masterful job of pointing out the world around me.  Look, he would say…at those that no longer walk with your family.  Look…at others your age.  They are on vacations, living a life of ease, no crying babies, long doctor appts…Why would you go on this journey.  The price is way to high to pay for this calling.   I called out to God again.  “Lord…it is too lonely on this journey.  No one understands where we are and the world we are in.”   God gently reminded me of Christ’s loneliness on the cross.  The pain of His separation from the Father at the time of his death on the cross.   The mocking laughter of those who turned their back on their savior.   However, he endured it.

God reminded me this morning that we are all orphans.  That we are all lost and lonely in a fallen world.  However,  I have been adopted into the family of God.  I have been given a new hope in a life that was dark and fallen.  What if God had said:  This is too Uncomfortable, Hard, Painful, and Lonely.  What if he had looked down and said I don’t have time for this lost soul.  Where would I be…where would you be.  No matter what the price…I can never come close to bearing what my savior did for me.  I am thankful for a God that will reveal the truth of my journey and give me the opportunity to make a difference for the kingdom.  I am thankful for a God that loves me even more than the love I feel for these beautiful little girls.  Thank you Lord!

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”   James 1:27

Posted by: Michael | November 7, 2013

Dads Fried Rice

 

Ok…This is a request that several of you have asked me to post.  I found this one and it is an excellent recipe for Fried Rice…Please feel free to give it a try and let me know what you think….The family loves it and we usually end up making it a coupe of times a month.  We have a large family…so I triple this one.

 

2 cups rice

 

1 Chicken breast (cut into bite-sized pieces)

 

1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots

 

2 green onions (chopped)

 

1 clove garlic (minced)

 

1 egg

 

3 teaspoons sesame oil

 

2 tablespoons soy sauce

 

Directions

 

1. Whisk egg with 1 teaspoon oil in a small dish then set aside.

 

2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat.  Add seasoned chicken then stir fry until cooked through and remove to a plate. (if using pre-cooked chicken, skip this step)

 

3. Heat remaining teaspoon oil in the wok then add frozen vegetables and green onions.  Stir fry until tender, about 2 minutes, then add garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.  Push vegetables to the side of the wok then add egg and sesame oil mixture to the center and scramble.

 

4. Add cooked chicken, rice, and soy sauce to wok/pan.  Toss well to combine

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Michael | November 7, 2013

The age old battle

 

It has been a while since my last post…..There have been a lot of changes in our world during that time….We have increased our family to 9 with the addition of another wonderful little one we will be adopting.   It is an amazing journey that we are on and a wonderful experience to see the hand of God in our lives and the lives of our children.   Everyone by now knows how strongly I feel about the call to adoption and the need for foster parents.   I can promise many more posts on this topic as this amazing journey continues.  

However, today I have to address an issue that I have been working thru for several months…..It is the age old battle… should I use and electronic bible (on my Nook and Phone) or the traditional bible (OK…not really age old battle)….   I have to admit…I gave it a really good try.  I have the bible app on my phone and on my Nook.   I carried both to work and to church…After months of trial…  I guess I am just old school…I just love my old paper bible…Now I know that this will not change the world…cure cancer…or really anything earth shattering…However, I guess it is a simple way to get me off my sit upon and back into my blog…It sure is good to be back

Posted by: Michael | March 24, 2013

A Taste of Vacation

This is a wonderful recipe that came across my Facebook acct.  It is for the world famous “Dole whip” from Walt Disney World.  I wish I could give credit to whoever originated this one.  However, their name appears lost in the world of social media.  If you have never had the opportunity to enjoy one of these from the parks….you really need to give it a try.  It comes along right at the start of summer/spring.  For those familure with these wonderful frozen treats…enjoy.  I tried it and while it is not just like the original…it does bring back some fond memories.

Dole Whip

2 cans (20 oz. each) DOLE crushed pineapple

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 Tbsp. lime juice

1/3 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

Directions:

Drain pineapple; reserve 2 Tbsp. juice.   set aside

Place pineapple, lemon juice, lime juice, sugar and reserved pineapple juice in blender.

Cover and blend until smooth.

Pour into two 1 – quart freezer zipped bags.

Store bags flat in freezer

Freeze 1 1/2 hours or until slushy

Stir pineapple slush gently into whipped cream until slightly blended in large bowl.  Return to freezer until completely frozen, about 1 hour and serve. 

 

Enjoy!

Posted by: Michael | March 21, 2013

Encouragement

Every day we are bombarded with the news of this world.  It comes at us from all sides – radio, TV, news and even conversations with friends.  We hear of wars and acts of terror.  We are constantly faced with the fears driven by the problems of our fallen world.   Add onto this the daily struggle and issues of our lives.  It is so easy to lose heart and hope as you are impacted by all of this on a daily basis.

However, there is one constant in all of this. That is our loving God.  His  promise and love  is eternal and he knows of the trials we face in this world.  His word is there to remind us that He is always with us and to have hope and encouragement.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. (Psalms 46 : 1-3)

We are never alone. It is difficult to hold onto this truth sometimes. To remember that we are not on this journey by ourselves. When in doubt turn to His word and take comfort. Take comfort in the truth that God is in control. We may toil during our time on this earth. However, there will come a time of peace when we are called home and our Lord returns. Until that time, lean on your heavenly Father and trust in his word.

Be still, and know that I am God.

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth.

The Lord of hosts is with us;

The God of Jacob is our fortress (Psalm 46: 10-11)

Posted by: Michael | March 18, 2013

Contentment

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.  In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance, and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”  (Philippians 4:11-13)

 

There are so many times during the day where I struggle with being “content” with where I am.  It could be as benign as the weather or as complex as dealing with the issues of a medically fragile child.  It is so easy to complain and whine about our situation and the difficulty of the moment.  It takes the wisdom and insight that God gave to Paul to point me in the right direction.  I want to have relief from the pain as fast as possible.  I want God to take all of it away.  However, we have an amazing God.  He uses our circumstances to reveal His glory.  To show his love for us and that we never walk alone.  In these times we are strengthened and learn to be content with where we are.

 

It is equally amazing that Paul speaks of being content during times of abundance and plenty.  It is in our nature to desire more when we have all we need.  To let the green-eyed monster known as envy and greed raise it’s ugly head in our lives.  Sometimes I think the hardest time for me to be content is during the times of plenty.  We get a taste of comfort and the good life and start to crave more.  During the times of hunger and need, I turn my eyes to God and seek His providence.  However, during the good times it becomes a challenge to be content.   It is a challenge indeed to seek God’s help to deal with that which we have an abundance of.      I pray for the contentment that Paul describes.  A contentment during the times of plenty and hunger. A peace during the times of abundance and need.

Posted by: Michael | March 15, 2013

Another Day!

Sunrise

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save;  He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by his love; He will exult over you with loud singing”  (Zephaniah 3:17)

 

Today was setting up to be one of those days that the world tells us to dread.  I had some issues waiting at work that we are told should make you quell and shake with apprehension.  In all honesty, that is exactly what I was doing when I dragged myself from my bed this morning.  I forced myself along through my morning routine – shave, coffee, stare at the wall.   The whole time laying out for myself the ugliness that I just knew was lying in wait.  My usual pleasant drive in to work was punctuated by irration at other drivers, the temperature, the radio and even the sunrise.  All of this a direct result of the dread I had built up in myself.

As I parked my car in the parking garage I set back in my seat and sighed and pulled out my phone to check the for the upcoming pain points.  Instead, the first thing I saw was my “Verse of the Day” – Zephaniah 3:17.   Wow, God is amazing.  Just the verse I needed to see at just the right time and brought straight to my phone!    Reading the verse turned my mindset around for the remainder of the day…and the result was a day that was not as bad as I imagined it would be.

The truths in the verse are so amazing.

 “The Lord your God is in your midst…” –  He lives among us.  He is not elevated to some place far removed from the world of man.  He walks with us and knows our pains and joys.  He stands beside us.  Our God is not a stone statue or idol…Our God Lives!

 

“a mighty one who will save…”  –  This He has done.  He gave His Son that we may live.  That we may have life eternal.   A King among Kings who loves us even when we did not love Him!

 

“He will rejoice over you with gladness…”  –  He celebrates our victories and triumphs.   He rejoices over our lives!

 

“He will quiet you by his love…” – He is always there.  He is with us during our periods of trial and suffering…we are never alone.  Even when we doubt and turn our backs…all we have to do is turn around and He will be there with arms outstretched.

 

“He will exult over you with loud singing…” –  He loves his children with all the majesty that He is.   Our God takes great delight in His creation and all the events of our lives!

 

What an amazing God!    Take heart and rejoice in Him…..

Posted by: Michael | March 12, 2013

The Island

There once was a man who had been stranded on a deserted island for years. Every day of his life was essentially the same. He would arise with the sun and walk down to the beach. Stacked neatly on the sand was wood, tools, nails and plans to build a strong ship to sail to the mainland. The man would run his hand along the material and sigh.  His heart longed to build that craft and sail back to his home. However, everyday was the same.  He would then turn and climb back to his shack. Along the way he would count the palms and complain about the heat. The remainder of the day would be spent in his shack looking out across the sea and wondering what it would be like to go home.

I have been that man.

Many of you have noticed that I have been absent from my blog and tweets. I have been absent from a great many things.  I have for some time looked at all the tools that God has given me to make a difference. To break out from the mediocre life that the enemy wants us to become ensnared in. Along the way I have not picked up those tools and started my task. Daily I have looked at them with longing and dreamed of a better life. However, I keep going back to the shack and sitting in the sand.  I have been content to count the palm trees and watch the surf roll in. The reality is that this is not the life I want to live. This is not the life that God wants us to live. The time is now to pick up the tools and get to work on getting off of my island. To return to the mainland and rejoin the life God intended for me.

The time is now for me to wake up and answer the call.  God has given us all the tools and materials to live the life he desires us to have.  It is in God’s word that we find the plans to build that ship.  The choice for me is clear.  I am ready to pick up that hammer and get to work.  Who will join me?

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all tha I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age”  (Matthew 28:19-20)

Posted by: Michael | August 21, 2012

The Journey (an allegory)

 

There once was an idyllic village nestled  in the most beautiful land.  Everyday the sun rose with a brilliant sunrise and the flowers and trees were always in bloom.  There was no death, sorrow, or blight  and winter had not touched the land for years on end.   Within the village was to be found only peace and contentment.  Everyone greeted each other with a smile and a wave.  Each villager  was content that their neighbor was proper and neat.  There were no surprises and life was most pleasant.

In this village there lived a most pleasant young man.  He was happy and settled and loved his neat life.  Each day was greeted the same as before and there was never a surprise to shatter that pace.  His friends were many and his enemies were few.  He was well-respected within the town and his ways were acceptable and safe.

One day this young man felt a call to do more.  He proudly announced to his family and friends that he was ready to explore.  He wanted to go on a quest to impact the world.  To do more than to just stand in his safe little world.  Some of the village arose in alarm. They proclaimed “Why would you leave such a prefect little place?”.   Some he had called friends would speak with him no more.  However, there were many who proclaimed that this was a wonderful thing.  That they would be there for him along the way.  They patted him on the back and wished him good luck and waved from their windows has he started to walk.  There were some who came with.  Those friends that he held dear.  They promised to walk and help carry the pack.

At first the journey was swift.  The time passed quick and their fellowship was great.  However, as the road wondered on the way became dark.   There were things on the trail that made the heart faint.  Many who came longed for their old ways.  The comfort and safety and predictable life.  His companions became scarce and his heart became weak.   He at last looked beside him and his friends, they were few.  Their clothes were all tattered and their pace it had slowed.  However, the spark in their eyes gave him the power to push on.  To dig in his heels and hike the next mile.

As the road became steeper there were others who joined him on his quest.   Those who shared in this journey and would walk on the trail beside him.  There were times that were dark and times that were bright.  There were visions that made the heart quake from sheer fright.   Things that the young man prayed that he would never have to speak.  After several long weeks, they saw in the distance a mighty mountain.   This mountain was steeper and taller than any they had seen.  They knew that if they made the climb they would see the end of the trail.   Therefore, the young man pushed on and at last gained the peak.

When he stood at the top and looked out over the land, he saw nothing but road and miles of dust.  The man dropped to his knees, tired at last.  His face  streaked with blood, strain, and sweat.  At last his limbs were exhausted and could go on no more.   The toil had been terrible and he longed for his home, the safety and the comfort that was so far behind.  When he was ready to give in he felt a light touch and then several more, those who were with him lifted him up.  They wiped down his face and picked up his pack.  Then they pointed out beyond the mist and the dust.  He shielded his eyes and squinted a bit.  There on the horizon was a wonderful light.  He knew at that point that the path did have an end.  The journey was long but the  reward was indeed great.  He hugged all his friends and grabbed all their hands.   Together they set out to find the journey’s end.

Posted by: Michael | July 28, 2012

Good Eats!

Steaks on a grill

Hey everyone, I am sorry for being off her for so long.  However, we have been finalizing the adoption of our three little ones.  This has truly been the focus of our family for the past several weeks (there is a blog post in there somewhere).   Recently I had a good friend ask me to post a couple of my new favorite recipes.  The following two are ones that have moved to the top of our favorite list.  I hope you enjoy as much as we do.  Please let me know what you think!

Bacon Wrapped Sirloin

This one is pretty simple but we really love it.

2 sirloin steaks

2 Fresh Garlic Cloves

4 Slices of Hickory Smoked bacon

Cut your sirloin steaks into 8 square pieces.  Slice Garlic cloves into 4 pieces each (lengthwise).  Make a 1/2 inch incision in each piece of steak completely through each section.  Insert a slice of garlic into each incision.  Cut Bacon in half lengthwise (You will have 8 pieces). Wrap a piece of bacon around each steak piece (covering the incision) and secure with a toothpick.  Grill over low heat until desired temperature.  Serve and enjoy!

Fish Tacos

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 package taco seasoning

1 lb (total 4 pieces) cod or white fish fillets – cut into 1-inch pieces

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp lemon juice

2 cups shredded red and green cabbage

2 cups diced tomatoes

12 – 6 inch warmed corn tortillas

Lime wedges for serving

In a small bowl combine sour cream, mayonnaise, cilantro, and 2 Tbsp seasoning. In medium bowl, combine cod, lemon juice, olive oil, and remaining seasoning mix.  Pour into large skillet.  Cook stirring constantly, over medium high heat for 4-5 minutes our until cod flakes easily with a fork.  Fill tortilla shells with fish mixture.  Top with cabbage, tomatoes, sour cream mixture, lime wedges, and taco sauce.

Older Posts »

Categories

%d bloggers like this: