About Me

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We have lived in Romania for 16 years now. We have 6 kids. The top photo of our family is the day we met the twins, just before their 4th birthday. We were granted custody of them on their 5th birthday.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Thoughts from a slow runner.

I admit, yesterday I was quite disappointed. I had set my expectations way too high for only my second half marathon and they quickly came crashing down. I remember the euphoria of my first half in N. Myrtle Beach last year. Thousands of runners, family and friends present. My only goal was to finish (in my head I thought I hope I finish in under 3 hours). I finished in 2 hours and 45 minutes and was just thrilled!

I have been running a little over  a year now. I wanted to set a high goal of knocking 15 minutes off my first half. I needed to run 8.4 km/h to accomplish this. I ran my last long run, 18km at 8.2 km/h. I really thought I would be close or at least knock a good 10 minutes off my first half.

I went to the race by myself. It was in Timisoara. It was a good atmosphere. 407 runners I believe, what I didn't realize was that out of 407 runners at least half of them were only signed up for the 10.9k race. The course was 10.9 km, as I was crossing the line to make my second round, I realized there was no one else. I was running down big closed roads all by myself. If I only ran for the euphoria that I felt on my first race, then I would definitely not be running another half. I felt so alone and I got slower and slower and there was nothing I could do about it. The great thing about running though is, it is not always about the euphoric feeling. It is about endurance. It is about learning. It is about making yourself finish something you started. The Christian life can feel very lonely sometimes. You aren't always surrounded by good friends and having a good time. There are really lonely times. Times where it is just you and God. You find out, when you truly have a relationship with God, that He really is enough. As difficult and as disappointing as yesterday was, I will keep running. I will do it again, until my body says no more. I came in next to last and my time was longer than my first half. Running is a huge mental and physical challenge. I let the mental challenge get the best of me. I did finish though. As I was finishing the first round I thought, why oh why didn't I just sign up for the 10.9k, then I'd be finishing with everyone else. It was the saddest and loneliest feeling running on all these closed and empty streets. Lesson learned, in a half marathon with just a couple hundred people, I'm going to be in the back of the pack.

I keep reminding myself, it was only the second time in my life I've every run that distance. Actually, it was my longest distance yet, 13.58 miles to be exact. I keep trying to remind myself, I started running a year ago at the age of 43 after having hated running my whole life. The thing I enjoy most about running is the lessons learned through running. I have learned, I really can go just one more km, one more step, one more time around. I can be alone and lonely and make it through. Life is like a long race; pace yourself so you can finish, fuel your mind and body with what they need. Food gives life or sucks it from you. Think of food as fuel for your body: eating to live, not living to eat. (I do not have this fueling my body part down 100% yet, but I'm working on it.) What you think and meditate on gives you mental vitality or sucks if from you. Think on true things, trust God even when you don't understand, know that He loves you even when you don't feel like it's true.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Advice for those who want to adopt

Someone else I know recently watched the movie, "Lion" and they were deeply moved by it. If you have never adopted and don't know anyone personally who has adopted, I highly recommend you watch that movie to get an idea of the highs and lows of adoption. It is such a realistic view into the life of a family who adopted.

I have been thinking and reflecting lately on what I wish I had known before we adopted. I wish someone had given us some advice before we jumped in without any knowledge or training of what could happen to our family dynamics because of adoption. So, I decided to give my two cents worth and hopefully someone who is thinking about adoption will be helped by this advice.

The first thing I would advise is to find four other families who are wanting to adopt and form a support group together. I suggest five families go together and buy the Empowered to Connect DVDs, all of them. They are expensive but if five families go together it is affordable. Watch them together if possible. Teach the children already in your home about kids that come from hard places. I think five families is a good number. Small enough to allow everyone to be involved in discussion, yet large enough to support one another and have someone to call when you need help.

The second thing I would suggest is, to educate yourself. Two books I recommend are, Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control" and "The Connected Child: Bring hope and healing to your adoptive family."  The first book gives you a view of the effects of trauma on the body and mind and how trauma alters children's behavioral responses.  The second also shows you how and why trauma affects the behavior of children plus gives advice on how to parent differently. It really takes a completely different type of parenting when you have children from hard places in your home.

The third thing I would suggest, is signing up for training in either Empowered to Connect or Trauma Competent caregiver training. I do not want to sound pessimistic and negative, but chances are if you adopt, you are going to face some challenges. Even if you adopt from day one of a child's life, you never know what kind of trauma went on in the womb. A child can sense if they are wanted or not in the womb and they are affected by this. If you have a rosie and rainbow adoption, great! It is best to prepare for the worst and then if the worst never comes, praise God and use your training to help someone else. It is really difficult when you are in the midst of a child going through major behavioral problems to then seek out getting training and educating yourself. It is best to go through training and educate yourself when your mind is clear and you have time to soak it in and think about it.

Adoption is a beautiful thing and it is a difficult thing. Difficult for the adopted children and for the adoptive family. Do not let this deter you from adopting. If God is leading you in this direction, he will give you the strength and thankfully there is help available. Every child deserves to have a family. Step out of your comfort zone and pray about fostering and/or adopting.

 "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." James 1:27

"Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed." Psalm 82:

"He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing." Deuteronomy 10:18

"...you have been a helper to the fatherless." Psalm 10:14b

God promises care and protection for those who cannot protect themselves. He is a God of justice. Children not knowing the love of a family is a great injustice and there are millions of children living in this reality. God asks us to do something about it, he asks us to do our part in working towards justice. God shows us through his word as believers that we should pursue meeting the needs of children living as orphans. Start by praying and asking God to show you what you can do to help defend the fatherless.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Orphan Summit

We spent Thanksgiving at the Orphan Summit in Bucharest,  Romania. It was put on by ARFO, Alliance of a Romania Without Orphans. I was a little leary of being away from home for Thanksgiving but we knew we wanted to be more involved in the important work of orphan care in Romania so we signed up to go. We are so thankful that we went, it was worth missing Thanksgiving at home. We came away with so much good information.

I am going to change to I and write from my perspective. David and Jayne Schooler were there from Back2back ministries and many other wonderful speakers including two young men who grew up in the Romanian Child Protective Services. I have been reading and educating myself alot on kids/people with trauma in recent months but hearing all of this information from experts just affirmed that I want to help these kids. I will start by saying, God is working on my to not beat myself up for my failures and lack of knowledge with Joey and Gina. I am seeking God to help me be emotionally healthy and move forward so that I can help kids who come from really hard places and sometimes display really ugly and scary behaviors. One thing I was trying so hard to do with Gina was change her behavior and that was an impossible task because her behavior was a cry for help. She did not need me to punish or judge or get upset with her, she needed me to assure her that she was safe with me, she could trust me, she could heal and learn a better way of expressing her anger but instead I became emotionally drained and would get upset. Our behavior comes from what we believe and instead of trying to change someone's behavior we need to change their belief system. The problem is kids from traumatic backgrounds believe lies; they have been treated as if they are worthless, not important, unseen, unheard. The neglect of being abandoned by the person who should have most cherished and protected you has a great impact on a child. I think many times as Christians we counsel people to just press forward and forget what is behind you and that is wrong counsel. Our past is part of who we are and part of our story that we must deal with before we can move forward. Belief systems start in utero, an unborn child knows if he is unwanted. As Dr. Schooler said, "our biography influences our biology."  So many times, I would forget about Gina's past and just be so angry at how she was disrupting my life. I want to post a video that I hope you will take the time to watch...it is 33 minutes but well worth watching if you want to understand the hurt of an angry child. It is called Removed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvqRI1Wjn14

I want to encourage Christ followers to follow the Father's heart for orphans and adopt. If you don't adopt, then provide respite care for foster/adoptive parents, be a big sister or brother for a child in foster care, invest time in listening, really listening to an adopted or foster child.  You do not have to be a professional to listen to someone's story and show you care but listening with intent to understand them. Don't listen with the intent of thinking about an answer to give them, just listen. When you listen to someone tell their story the brain starts to heal. Dr. Schooler said this was a scientific fact. Learn the power of listening, to see someone, to hear someone. Even if you don't have answers just listening starts the healing process.

I look forward to seeing the twins next weekend. I look forward to them coming home, very soon. I believe we are in a better place to help them. I believe God wants them back in our home.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Life is Hard, but God is good.

     The choice to send your troubled children away to get help is not an easy choice. Baron got to the place where he knew we needed to get them help outside of our home before I did. The choice for a mother to know she can not raise her child/children and someone else needs to intervene is a difficult place to be. I know we made the right choice, but not a day goes by that I don't hate the choice we made. Walking on God's path does not always mean "liking" all the plans God has for you, but I have learned to accept his plan. I have to daily look to God and the truth and let go of feeling guilty, feeling like a bad mother, feeling like I should have been able to handle it. I often wondered what it meant to have peace in the middle of a storm and now I know. It isn't this wonderful joyful feeling, but it is a feeling of hope in the midst of what looks hopeless. It is being able to sleep at night instead of thinking that your house feels emptier than it should. It is going on and living life, waking up each day thanking God for providing intervention for your children. It will never "feel right" that my 13 year old twins are not living at home right now. As I experience this pain of missing them, I wonder how God will use this pain for his glory.

     We will be going to a conference over Thanksgiving put on by the Alliance of a Romania without orphans. The pre conference class is on how to start a support group for adoptive families. I hope that we can start a support group here and encourage, listen to, and empathize with other adoptive parents. I have also recently received training in the first four instruments of Feuerstein therapy. Here is a link to learn about the benefits of this therapy:  Feuerstein and Testimonials. Joey, our adopted son, went through the first instrument of Feuerstein last year. He was failing math in school last year, this year he tested out of the math class he was in and has been moved to a more advanced math class. I believe this therapy helped him learn how to think and has impacted his grades this year. I am starting to practice on some kids here and hope to start with kids from private children's homes in January. I believe God will use our pain to empathize better with others going through this same pain.

     A song that has been very encouraging to me as I feel tempted to wallow in my sorrow is called: "Sovereign Over Us"
There is strength within the sorrow
There is beauty in our tears
And You meet us in our mourning
With a love that casts out fear
You are working in our waiting
You're sanctifying us
When beyond our understanding
You're teaching us to trust
Your plans are still to prosper
You have not forgotten us
You're with us in the fire and the flood
You're faithful forever
Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us

You are wisdom unimagined
Who could understand Your ways
Reigning high above the Heavens
Reaching down in endless grace
You're the lifter of the lowly
Compassionate and kind
You surround and You uphold me
And Your promises are my delight

Even what the enemy means for evil
You turn it for our good
You turn it for our good and for Your glory
Even in the valley, You are faithful
You're working for our good
You're working for our good and for Your glory

     I believe God will use our pain for his glory. I am happy to announce that I will visit the twins the first weekend in December. Trusting in our faithful and sovereign God to continue working out for good the pain in our lives and the pain in our twins lives.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Beauty From Ashes

I want to give a plug for a really great ministry. Here in Romania when the kids age out of the system at age 18, they are given a little bit of money and sent on their way with no training, no preparation on how to work, no way to survive. There is a ministry in Oradea called, Beauty From Ashes; they take girls from the orphanage at age 18, give them a place to live, teach them to work, teach them about their Heavenly Father, basically they bring them in to live and become part of this family. Corey and Diana Burba live in the home with them. They have two small children of their own. This is a remarkable ministry and we were thrilled to visit with them last week and see first hand what it takes to keep a ministry like this up and running. It takes a lot of work and a lot of love. They are currently fund raising to actually purchase the house they have been renting. One of the first things they do with the girls is teach them to make jewelry. The girls eventually go out and get a job but when they first arrive, most have never worked a day in their life and have to be introduced to it slowly. They start them a few hours a day working in their very own workshop and then it is sold on their etsy site. May I please present to you a wonderful idea for Christmas shopping this year; buy some beautiful and unique handmade jewelry and support a great ministry all at the same time. Here is the link:

You can never have enough jewelry and they make some really beautiful pieces. I hope you will consider shopping here for the jewelry lovers in your family. I will also share the fund raising link for the house purchase. https://www.gofundme.com/purchaseorphanhome
Please pray for Corey and Diana and the team of workers they have as they teach, train, and prepare these girls to live on their own.

Thursday, August 31, 2017


I have some trouble keeping up with this blog because most days my life seems rather dull and there is really nothing to write about. I also struggle to blog because I am not a writer. I discover this more and more as I homeschool 2 high schoolers and try to grade their many writing assignments and realize I know nothing about writing. Thankfully, Baron's Aunt Wanda was a high school English teacher and provides some assistance.

I wanted to recommend a movie and a book. First, the movie, it's called Lion. I have seen it three times and it has touched me each time. It is based on a true story of a boy lost in India; he somehow escapes being used and sold into the sex slave industry and is miraculously adopted by a family from Australia. It is a very realistic look at what it looks like for these children who many times are not true orphans. They adopt another boy who is deeply troubled. If you want to have your eyes opened to the issues and danger of children being sold and abused, and if you want to see a story of hope, then this is a great movie. Sometimes seeing the huge numbers, as shown at the end of the movie, can be depressing and it can discourage us; what can I possibly do. No, you can't save them all but you can save one, you can impact one or two or more. "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world" (James 1:27ESV). Not everyone is called to adoption but we are all called to "visit orphans and widows in their affliction." Find out what this looks like for you and help them in their affliction today!

Second, the book. This book has nothing to do with adoption or orphans but I want to recommend, In Search of the Source, by Neil Anderson with Hyatt Moore. I read this in our home school as a read aloud years ago and have since read it twice more. I am reading it aloud to my youngest this year and he says after every chapter I read I say the same thing, "I love this book!" It is about the Bible being translated into a language that had never been written before, I believe this was in the 1970s. The complicated job it was to first develop an alphabet and a written language for a small people group in Papua New Guinea took dedication and great faith that God wanted His Word translated into every language. I love how he spends time learning the language and getting to know the culture. Many times they would be confused with a literal translation because it didn't make sense to them. For instance by the sweat of man's brow he will work for food. They didn't understand this, they sweat just sitting doing nothing it is so hot there in the tropics. When they talk of working hard, they say, "we burst our stomach." I love how amazed and in love with the words written by God the people are as they start to hear the stories read to them for the first time. They sit on the edge of their seats waiting to see how the story of Joseph ends. Then the part that gets me every time is when they say, "we are dying from the deliciousness of these words." They are so moved by the Word of God. I can not imagine what is like hearing the teachings for the first time, they are so familiar to me, I grew up hearing them from the time I was conceived! It opens my eyes again to how "delicious" God's word should be to me; how precious it should be. It reminds me to not take for granted the fact that I have several copies of God's Word all over my house. It reminds me to pray and ask God to, "open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things from your law" (Psalm 119:18).

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Family Time

Six years ago we were introduced to the mission board called Biblical Ministries Worldwide. We were invited to their missionary conference in Germany and we decided to go. It was a God meeting. We were coming back from a furlough and thinking we had new co workers and then found out our new co workers were not able to stay in Romania due to health reasons.  We were completely disappointed; after waiting for years to have co workers it felt like such a let down, but God was at work and had a plan. They invited us to the conference and we went. It was August of 2012 and I don't remember a whole lot about the conference except for when we got in the car and pulled away I started to cry and told Baron I couldn't believe we had been missing out on this kind of fellowship for our first 10 years in Romania! At that point, I knew in my heart I wanted to be part of this board.

We continued to go back to the conference each year and they always made us feel welcome even though we weren't official family members. For various reasons it took 5 years before we could officially become part of this mission board. It became official last summer and we just got back from our first conference as part of the family! It felt a little different this time. I felt more connected to this group of people that serve God in various European countries. I enjoy hearing their stories, learning about their calling, getting to know their hearts, and being encouraged by them. We learned from the book of Psalms together, we prayed together, we laughed together, and best of all we were real together. There is no better and purer friendships than those where you can be your complete self without any fear.

The other great thing about being a part of this board and going to this conference is our kids get together with other third culture kids and can completely be themselves and feel safe and have fun. Our two oldest were in the teen group. They took late night walks down to the castle and played games. They talked and laughed a lot and slept very little! They had their own Bible studies with a young man/pastor who is from England and he poured into their lives during the week.

We had an adventure getting to the conference. We flew into Italy and rented a car. Our plane tickets were $10 round trip for each person, yes you read that correctly! We flew to Bergamo and we missed seeing this old medieval town but we will be visiting it again with such cheap air fare available!  We drove through beautiful Switzerland. It is just unreal how beautiful the drive was. We drove back through the Austrian Alps and the Italian Alps. They make tunnels right through the mountains. The longest tunnel we went through was 16km! The drive was just breathtakingly beautiful. Of course on the way back the boys missed most of it as they were exhausted and sleeping. We then spent Monday in Venice, Italy wanting to give the boys a chance to see a new place. They were so tired I don't know how much they enjoyed it. We did have Italian pizza and Italian ice cream (gelato) which as always was delicious.

Over all it was a really good trip. It's always an adventure traveling through Europe and this time was no exception! We always come home with thankful hearts full and encouraged!