Thirty Balloons: An Adoption Tale

Once upon a time, there was a little blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby boy in need of a place to call home. He needed a mom, a dad, and a few siblings to grow alongside.

A few miles away was a family looking for a child to love forever. The family had a mom and a dad and two children searching for a child to coddle, wrestle, chase, kiss, and teach about the love of the King.

One day, after several months of seeking out such a child, the blonde-headed, blue-eyed baby bounced into their place of worship. He was safely held, that is,  in the arms of a family caring for him until such a time as he was matched with his forever family. For the daddy of the family in search of a baby, it was apprehensive love at first sight. For the mommy, it was a bit of confusion because she thought they were called to love a brown-haired, brown-eyed baby girl. More about her later as she wouldn’t come along for another year…but that would be getting ahead in the story.  After one visit with the baby boy in her home, the mommy, also, was forever in love with the blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby boy.

In fairy tales, evil always ensues before the damsel is rescued, the family reunited, or the kingdom saved. Real life mimics fairy tales because fairy tales mimic real life. This little boy’s story had many a dark and looming cloud.

For nine months the boy and the family grew to know and love one another. They shared firsts and celebrated milestones. The mommy and daddy, and the boy’s temporary family, sent e-mails, made phone calls, attended meetings, and petitioned judges before the blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy bounced into the family’s home to stay. (Only modern day stories include phone calls and emails, but they are no less valiant, mind you, than decrees and messengers riding through the night to save the kingdom, rescue the damsel, or reunite the family.)

All throughout these months, and the ones which would ensue, a host of people within the Kingdom began to pray and petition the King for the boy to be placed with this family. Countless men, women, and children throughout the land would ask the King to place the boy with the family forever, and, quickly! The petitions of the people were being heard and would be answered in time.

Shortly after the boy came to live with his soon-to-be family, the court discovered an error that had to be addressed for this story to turn a final page into the second portion of its tale. This error would take ten more months to come to light and, thereafter, be rectified.

All this time, the months were accumulating  while the boy was waiting for the royal proclamation to give him a family. It would be thirty months until the proclamation would be granted. Thirty months before the blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy would be given his royal name–that name which his family prays is already written in the scrolls of the Kingdom as in this kingdom. Thirty months until…forever.

Thirty months came and went before this big day arrived…

As the boy and his family experienced the declaring of the proclamation that would unite them for all of their life in this kingdom, they thought of how quickly the thirty months passed in retrospect. Like thirty balloons being lifted to the sky and released in a moment’s time with the wave of a hand, the loosing of a grip, the relinquishing of power.

The weight of the wait was intense and a load, at times, seemingly unbearable. But upon the royal decree, the weight instantly became as light as air. All the cares of the past were lifted away to be replaced by a focus on the future and on raising a knight for the Kingdom.

Lest you forget, fairy tales are full of woe before wonder, and this fairy tale will be like the others and, similarly, unlike. Good days and gloomy days lurk ahead, but this day was a day two kingdoms celebrated with thirty balloons and triumphant shouts filling the chasm between. Maybe, just maybe, one of those balloons reached the other side and greeted others who have waited in like fashion.

*This story is a prologue to another story still unfolding. If it weren’t for this one, the later would never be possible. Woe lurks, but wonder is on the other side. The Kingdom prays and the King whispers, Courage dear heart.


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Surprised by Five Years

For those of you who are frequent readers of this blog, you’ve probably noticed it has been a few months since I posted. In fact, it was Christmas since I’ve last written. No, I didn’t make it a New Year’s Resolution to stop blogging, although it may certainly seem like that. With the addition of our fourth child I have been back to newborn mode, and, quite honestly, we have been searching for our footing as a family of six.

It isn’t that I haven’t thought about blogging and even started some posts in my head. It’s just that the free time I managed to find was spent soaking in, rather than pouring out content. We parents spend all day every day pouring out don’t we? Especially parents of very small, dependent, wonderful children.

In  confession…

I have contemplated hanging up my writing hat for a while, venturing off on a new mode of communication (does anyone else love podcasts?), or, simply sticking with what works for the present. This afternoon, I was attempting to update a few things on the blog. In so doing, I came to the realization that This Temporary Home turned five in January! I knew I had faithfully typed away in this corner of the internet for some time, but I had no idea it was a celebratory anniversary year! For this homeschooling mama it is the equivalent of approaching either kindergarten or fifth grade graduation. Of course it’s homeschool, so no graduation ceremony, but at least I should take us all out to dinner and bake our favorite desserts, right? Or, maybe I’ll lower expectations and simply write a thank you note as we enter our sixth year.

With that said…

Thank you for subscribing, sharing, pinning, posting, liking, and reading five years of posts. I pray we have grown together. I pray something here has lifted your gaze to Jesus and to heaven–our eternal home. Additionally, I pray we have some roads left to travel together.

Following five months of being a family of six, I am beginning to come back around as an individual. There are a few days when the creative, contemplative juices are flowing enough to once again put fingers to keys and articulate what I am learning and viewing in the world around me. Will you come back and visit This Temporary Home soon? I hope you do!

Until then, home is a place called heaven,


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Using Books to Cultivate a Heart for Orphans and Adoption

My passion for adoption started growing long before my adult years. It came as a result of the planting of the Holy Spirit, and it also came in the form of story. Books cultivate life experiences in a safe environment and develop compassion and sympathy, passion and purpose, in children prior to their ability to act on those feelings.

As we enter into the cooler, cozier days of November, it is a perfect time to introduce, or perhaps continue the narration of, stories to our children which cultivate a heart for orphans and adoption. There is a lengthy list at Good Reads and here are a few of my favorites to get you started. I tend to recommend these as read aloud books to be shared with the whole family in order to encourage dialogue. Not all of these books are serious, but they all prompt us to think about orphans and begin cultivating a heart for orphan care and adoption in our homes. As with all books we share with our children, please be sure and preview the content to make sure it is age appropriate and sensitive to the specific environment of your child’s history and emotional maturity.

Don’t have children of your own? That’s okay too! As C.S. Lewis stated, A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.

Read Alouds for K4-3rd grade or older:


Read Aloud Books for 3rd and Up:

 

 

Older students (young adult):

 

One more that is on my to-be-read pile and was recently highlighted in this week’s episode of the Read Aloud Revival Podcast is:

Which books have you used to bring awareness of orphan care and adoption into your life and home? What books would you add to this list? I have always gravitated to books about orphans and in the coming weeks will unfold as much as I am presently allowed about our current adoption journey. Stay tuned!

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What Do the Books You’re Reading Say About You?

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When I graduated from my master’s program in college, one of my friends gave me a gift card to a local Christian bookstore with a note that read, now you can buy something to read for your pleasure.

In a seemingly simple moment, the transition was made from read what I must, to read what I will. Freedom, glorious freedom, to choose what influences, entertainment, and knowledge pool I would dive into from that moment forward. It was frankly a novel idea for me as a recent graduate ready to embark fulltime into the workforce. No longer would I spend late nights studying copious notes and reading text after text concerning speech and language disorders, anatomy and physiology, the workings of the brain, nor information on Autism Spectrum Disorders. Now a choice was possible, and time, for the moment, was available.

Fast forward twelve years and perhaps hundreds of book choices later. My reading pile has run the gamut from Beth Moore Bible studies, to science, government, Christian worldview to young adult fiction, and childcare to flood geology.  What does the current stack of books on my beside table say about me? What does the pile of books you are reading say about you?  What literary choices are we making that speak volumes about our current season of life?

Continue reading and join the conversation at iBelieve.com.

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Why “You Only Live Once” Is No Way to Live- Post for iBelieve

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And just as it is appointed for people to die once — and after this, judgment — so also the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him. Hebrews 9:27-28

You only live once. This is a great lie of the evil antagonist of our souls. The enemy wants us to believe that this life is all there is and beyond that lays a great chasm of nothing—a cessation of existence with our final breath that commences into an eternal rest of mind and soul.

The famous and daring Bear Grylls enjoyed two successful seasons of Running Wild with celebrity guests. In each episode, the survivalist adventurer took a Hollywood star or a sports celebrity on a 48 hour adventure within the most dangerous and breathtaking landscapes around the globe. Their fears are pushed to the limit, and their wits and wills tested, as they faced dangerous terrain and death defying obstacles to get to a predetermined extraction point and the completion of their journey.

In one 2014 episode, guest adventurer rookie, Zac Efron is challenged by Bear to cross achasm by sliding on his belly on a single rope with no safety net to catch him should he plunge to a rocky death. A maneuver utilized by military personnel and taught in basic training is quickly tutored to Efron minutes before he braves this endeavor hundreds of feet above a rocky freefall. Upon completion, Efron and Grylls rest to reflect on the parallels of this accomplishment and life’s challenges. Efron looks at the beauty of the Appalachian Mountain Range then looks back at Bear Grylls and communicates what we have embraced as a culture paralyzed in the temporary, “this is all there is, you only live once you know?”

Hike on over to iBelieve to read the rest of this post!

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A Tenacious Spirit in Turbulent Times

A Tenacious Spirit in Turbulent Times

A tenacious spirit is one that keeps a firm hold. That clings or adheres closely.  This begs the question, what are we clinging closely to today? Our ideologies, our wills, the ways of the world, the spirit of man, or the Spirit of God, God’s teachings in the Bible…the Truth?

Usually when we are pressed hard by life’s circumstances or even day to day aggravations , that which we cling to the most will be evident in our speech and actions. When we are faced with moral dilemmas, choices to speak up or speak out on what we profess to believe, the truth of our loyalties will surface in our responses. Don’t we want to be found tenaciously clinging to God and the truths manifested in Jesus Christ?

Persistent, determined, dogged, strong-willed, tireless, indefatigable, resolute, patient, unflagging, staunch, steadfast, untiring, unwavering, unswerving, unshakable, unyielding, insistent, these are all characteristics of a tenacious spirit. But what do they practically look like? I think the answer is found in part in the life of Paul and Silas.

Remember when Paul and Silas were traveling and preaching in Macedonia as accounted in Acts chapter 16? Paul and Silas were beaten and imprisoned by magistrates in the city for preaching the gospel to Romans who did not want any part of their message. Let’s not skip over that too quickly, Paul and Silas were beaten and imprisoned. That’s not part of a normal days work for most missionaries; considering all who profess Jesus should live on mission.

As soon as they were thrown into prison, they were chained in stocks in the inner prison. We should think that at this point, Paul and Silas most wanted to take a nap and lament their situation. However, their reaction is more tenacious than that. At midnight, they began to pray and sing praises unto the Lord–within the hearing of their fellow inmates. Upon their praises, the earth trembles in an earthquake and shakes loose their chains. (Acts 16:26)

The watching lost will always tremble at resounding praise and worship of Jesus even in the midst of staggering injustice in the world.

Consider recently in the case of the church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. Wasn’t the watching world astounded at the display of love and forgiveness in the face of outright evil and hate? The unshakable adherence of God’s people to His ways and to prayer during the hardest times, spoke louder to the truth of the message of the gospel than vandalism and complaints of citizens who likewise feel falsely accused and unfairly targeted. (See here.)

Paul and Silas’ reactions in the face of false imprisonment and harsh incarceration made a lasting difference leading unto salvation for the prison guard and his family. Rioting and vandalism in Macedonia wouldn’t have made as lasting of an impact as the prayer, worship, and faithfulness to both man’s law and God’s decrees that Paul and Silas demonstrated. Is it any different in our day? 

Let us tenaciously cling to the message and methods of the Bible that effect change on minor and major scales both yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The message, method, and mission of the gospel has not veered with the wavering tide of popular opinion and neither should the Church. In these turbulent times when babies are being killed and their parts sold, when Christians are imprisoned and persecuted, when people are turning each to their own way and one against another, faithfulness to our True King, Jesus Christ, will be mocked and labeled treason to our lost and dying world.

In the recently published book by the late Chuck Colson, My Final Word, the author makes the case that the ultimate offense of the gospel is another king. Christians are proclaiming another loyalty. Consider his words:

This explains the resistance of American intellectuals and the cultural elite to the gospel: We are proclaiming another loyalty. When we teach Intelligent Design, for example, we are teaching our kids that there is a higher power to which they are beholden. What does that do to the authority of their teacher, principal, or textbook writer, or other cultural elites who think they really do run the world? To them, Christians are “causing trouble all over the world.” But it’s inherent in the nature of our message.

Mr. Colson goes on to say that Paul used apologetics to preach to the people at Mars Hill. Interestingly, many sneered at him and only a few became followers. However… should you visit the Acropolis today, he writes, the flag is lowered to half-staff on Good Friday and raised on Easter Sunday morning to full staff.

Two thousand years later what was only the response of a few followers at Mars Hill, or in Macedonia, has now continued to be added to in number. The lesson: Don’t loose your tenacity to preach the gospel and live in obedience to Jesus Christ fellow brother and sister. What may seem a small, yet faithful impact in our own lives, cannot be measured in compound interest in the future nor eternity. As David Platt reminds us in his recent book, Counter Culture, we aren’t living for today or twenty years from now, we are living for twenty billion years from now.

Be tenacious with the gospel message and methods of Jesus Christ.

You may have the greatest potential impact with your witness when life has you in a corner.

~Ron Cooney, A Match Made in Heaven?

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Five Helpful Principles Every Type A Woman Should Embrace-Guest Post

Five Things Type A Women Should Embrace

When I was a newlywed, my expectations for myself and my home were very high. See if you identify with any of these expectations I placed on myself:

  • I was certain that in order to maintain a good home, I must have matching hand towels, bath towels, and wash clothes
  • These all had to be lined neatly in my linen closet and most certainly out for guests.
  • If laundry was visible anywhere when people were coming over, or dishes were piled in the sink, then those were signs I was utterly falling behind.

Do I sound like a frustrated perfectionist or a typical Type A personality? Undoubtedly, the answer is yes.

Thirteen years later, I have micro-evolved into a different, subtly less unrealistic and more attainable homemaking mantra.

Why the change?

Life happened.

To read the rest, please head over to iBelieve. (Click here.)

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Inspiration for the New Year

A little inspiration for our new year’s aspirations, paths to be tread, dreams to be dreamed, and travels that await.

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Dear Lord, please give me…

A few friends who understand me and yet remain my friends.

A work to do which has real value, without which the world would feel the poorer…

A mind unafraid to travel, even though the trail be not blazed.

An understanding heart…

A sense of humor.

Time for quiet, silent mediation.

A feeling of the presence of God.

And the patience to wait for the coming of these things, with the wisdom to know them when they come.

~W.R. Hunt

Taken from Treasured Stories of Christmas  by Guideposts

 

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I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,

with thee, O Father, as my harbor,

thee, O Son at my helm,

thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.

~The Valley of Vision

Inspirations for a New Year

Roads go ever on and on,

Over rock and under tree, 

By caves where sun has never shone, 

By streams that never find the sea;

Over snow by winter sown, 

And through the merry flowers of June, 

Over grass and over stone, 

And under mountains in the moon.

Roads Go Ever On and On ~J. R.R. Tolkien

 

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. ~Proverbs 19:21

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Taking a Moment to Dream

Reach for your dreams

In high school I set plenty of goals: captain of the cheerleading squad, valedictorian, president of the student government, county Jr. Miss, etc. Some goals were met, others not. When I went to college, my one spoken goal was to meet my man. Of course, I certainly wanted to graduate, join a sorority, find a church to plug into, form friendships, and cheer on the Auburn Tiger football team—which I did! But those weren’t audibly stated goals; they were more like checkboxes waiting to be ticked off.

Fast forward fifteen years (where does the time go?) and many more goals have brought me to today: wife, mom of two, former foster-mom of one, writer, and a woman passionate about apologetics, fitness, enjoying the outdoors, and making disciples, both in home education and women’s groups. However, I can say with greatest certainty that all the short-term or long-term planning I have ever considered would not have placed me exactly in the setting that I find myself.  Yes, I wanted to be a wife, mom, and writer, but the details are different than I would have planned.

So, what does this talk of goals have to do with my current dreams?

Join me over at iBelieve to read the rest. Click here.

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In Green Pastures

 St. Patrick's Day

I’ve grown up believing St. Patrick’s Day to be a holiday giving every adult in America (and anywhere else the world over) an excuse to drink beer and celebrate life fully donned in Irish green. I mostly dismissed the holiday with the small exception of wearing green so as not to get pinched along with the annual viewing of Darby O’Gill and the Little People. However, little did I know about the man, St. Patrick, missionary to Ireland.

In his autobiography, The Confession of St. Patrick, Patrick outlines his history and conversion to Christianity.  Enslaved in Ireland and working in green Irish pastures as a shepherd, Patrick recalled the truths of the Gospel which had been taught to him during his childhood in Great Britain. Patrick then put his faith and trust in Jesus Christ to save him from his sins. From that point forward, Patrick was a new man in Christ and would live with a new purpose:

Therefore, indeed, I cannot keep silent, nor would it be proper, so many favors and graces the Lord designed to bestow on me in the land of my captivity. For after chastisement from God, and recognizing him, our way to repay him is to exalt him and confess his wonders before every nation under heaven. (The Confession of St. Patrick)

Once more, green pastures were the home of a man who would lead people to the One True God. Like the young shepherd, David, another disciple was being made to walk in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Surely goodness and mercy had followed a young man unaware of the future stretching out before him.

Six years Patrick worked as a shepherd, slave in Ireland before receiving a message from God in a vision to escape back to his homeland. Once safely reunited with family, Patrick dreamed another message from God to return to Ireland as a missionary spreading the good news of the Gospel. Patrick’s life work was revealed. He would later take the oath of a priest and return to the land of his slavery to set people free in the name of Jesus Christ.

Behold over and over again I would briefly set out the words of my confession. I
testify in truthfulness and gladness of heart before God and his holy angels that I never had
any reason, except the Gospel and his promises, ever to have returned to that nation from
which I had previously escaped with difficulty. (The Confession of St. Patrick)

This year as you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, remember the missionary behind the man we know as St. Patrick and the mission which continues.

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