Category Archives: Grace and the like

Heart Explosion

My nephew, Nate, just turned 5! If you’ve been around since we first met, you know he stole my heart from the beginning.

It started with this guy.

It started with this guy.

I spent several months living with Nate and his parents (my brother and sister-in-law) in Austin, shortly after he came home to us from Ethiopia. It was such a special time for me in so many ways. Not least of all, because I got to spend so much time with Nater. I remember thinking, “If I loved him any more, my heart would explode.” I think it was my first small glimpse of what it must feel like to be a parent.

my favorite houseguest!

my favorite houseguest!

then came baby Taylor!

then came baby Taylor!

Of course, since then, someone else has stolen my heart.

ars_0008

big day. big guy.

And we have a baby girl who’s on her way to us even now.

surprise!

surprise!

Nate, his sister, Taylor, and his parents are all coming home from Africa for a visit pretty soon, and will be here to meet our baby girl. It’s going to be magical. And my heart will probably explode.

face shot!

face shot!

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On Complexity and Compromise

via freedigitalphotos.net

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the language we use when we talk about polarizing issues. I have a pretty intense interest in discussing and acting on two big issues of our day.  I’m talking about the issues of abortion and immigration. I think that’s the most clear, unbiased way I can label two debates which, when discussed, often become clouded or compounded by smiting semantics.

This has come up for me in a few areas lately, but to start, I’ll share the following news about Planned Parenthood’s plan to reframe the abortion conversation:

From BuzzFeed:

“I’m neither pro-choice nor pro-life,” said one woman in a focus group commissioned by Planned Parenthood. “I’m pro-whatever-the-situation is.” Said another, “there should be three: pro-life, pro-choice and something in the middle that helps people understand circumstances […] It’s not just back or white, there’s grey.” A recent research push by the organization found that large numbers of Americans feel this way — uncomfortable with both the pro-life and pro-choice labels. And so Planned Parenthood’s newest messaging will be moving away from the language of choice.

Similarly, as the immigration debate is heating up again, we’re hearing a lot of buzz words there as well. Suffice it to say, I believe it matters how we talk about these things.

I’ll share some conclusions later, but here’s where I’m going: I do believe these are truly complex issues.

That said, I don’t believe that complexity demands compromise.

But it will demand sensitivity.

Compassion.

Effort and humility to understand.

Willingness to find and address root problems.

More compassion.

What do you think? Does it matter how we label issues or stances? How do we decide?

 

This isn’t the first time I’ve mixed my polarizing issues. Check out this post from 2009.

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Day 1 – Perfect Timing

I can’t stop sharing this great news. See below an exciting update on our first-ever National Adoption Month campaign at Heroic Media. This is just the beginning of our national tv campaign on Oxygen. Please continue to pray with us for the women who will be reached by this message!

Praise God!

From http://www.heroicmedia.org/blog:

Perfect Timing – Adoption Campaign Update

11.13.12

Yesterday was the first day of our National Adoption Month television campaign; but for one woman and her child, it was the only day that mattered.

We are thrilled to be partnering with Bethany Christian Services to air “The Adoption Option” nationwide during National Adoption Month. The new ad premiered just yesterday on the Oxygen television network and we’ve already heard about at least 30 phone contacts to Bethany in response to this inspiring message!

Here’s an example of just one of the women who was helped by this commercial, let’s call her “Claire”:

Claire is pregnant and due to deliver a baby tomorrow. She had been planning on delivering her baby and leaving him/her at the hospital after learning that this was an acceptable procedure in Florida. She saw a Heroic Media ad on Oxygen and decided to call for help. Now she is in touch with the nearby office of Bethany Christian Services where she can connect with a counselor and learn more about placing her baby with a loving family through adoption.

 P.S. – We also just heard about an additional 13 live web chats that came about in response to this great message!

You can be a part of this campaign – donate today at www.heroicmedia.org/donate/adoption

 

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Pray, Act, Support

I hope these things shock you too. I hope though, that you’ll take a moment to consider what is going on and what you might be called to do about it. Is there an opportunity for you to:

  • Volunteer at or support a local pregnancy help or medical center – find one near you: Heartbeat International’s Worldwide Directory of Pregnancy Help
  • join with others to pray for women who are facing the difficulties and fears that can come with an unplanned pregnancy.

    •  HOLD UP! I have been asked by many people at churches, through friends, about what exactly these prayer gatherings are all about. In my experience, many prayerful people are skeptical of these public prayer vigils. I’ll share my own experience of praying outside an abortion clinic in my next post. But first, I challenge you to get the facts on the 40 days for Life movement:

Check this out – from www.40daysforlife.com

  • There have now been ten coordinated 40 Days for Life campaigns since 2007, mobilizing people of faith and conscience in 440 cities across the United States and Canada, plus cities in Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Belize, Denmark, England, Georgia, Germany, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Poland, Puerto Rico and Spain.

    • 1,894 individual campaigns have taken place in 440 cities
    • More than 500,000 have joined together in an historic display of unity to pray and fast for an end to abortion
    • More than 14,000 church congregations have participated in the 40 Days for Life campaigns
    • Reports document 5,763 lives that have been spared from abortion — and those are just the ones we know about
    • 69 abortion workers have quit their jobs and walked away from the abortion industry
    • 22 abortion facilities completely shut down following local 40 Days for Life campaigns
    • Hundreds of women and men have been spared from the tragic effects of abortion, including a lifetime of regrets
    • More than 2,000 news stories have been featured in newspapers, magazines, radio shows and TV programs from coast to coast … and overseas
    • Many people with past abortion experiences have stepped forward to begin post-abortion healing and recovery

My own path to becoming wholeheartedly pro-life has been indirect. I was always pro-life in theory, but it seemed too complex and unrelated to my own life to be something I should bother with.

Contrary to what I once believed, being pro-life doesn’t mean yelling insults and condemnation at others or carrying graphic posters at a protest. In my life, it means thanking my birth mother for making a difficult but selfless decision, and offering help, hope and options to other women who may feel alone and scared.

Where are you being called to take a stand for life? Will you pray? Volunteer at a local pregnancy center? Financially support a life-affirming organization?

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Looking Back: My Photographic Year in Review

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Let the waiting begin!

Friends, it’s upon us! Advent has begun!

I confess that it got away from me and I just pulled out my special advent book tonight – and as you can tell, I’m pretty fired up about it. I started using this book during advent a few years ago.

Click to buy Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus at WTSbooks.com

The first reading starts with a bang as George Whitefield reminds us of how our time and energy ought to be spent during this season (and every season really). Here’s a snippet just to whet your advent-appetite:

I entreat that your time may be thus spent; and if you are in company, let your time be spent in that conversation which profiteth: let it not be about your dressing, your plays, your profits, or your worldly concerns, but let it be the wonders of redeeming love. O tell, tell eachother what great things the Lord has done for your souls; declare unto one another how you were delivered from the hands of your common enemy, Satan, and how the Lord has brought your feet from the clay and has set them upon the rock of ages, the Lord Jesus Christ…So let Jesus be the subject, my brethren, of all your conversation.

from “The Observation of the Birth of Christ, the Duty of All Christians; or the True Way of Keeping Christmas” sermon by George Whitefield.

Happy waiting and celebrating!

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I’m one in (two) million?

November is National Adoption Month – how will you celebrate?

I’ve spent 29 years thinking about adoption in one way or another, but in recent years, I’ve been exposed to more adoption stories that are not like my own. My adoption was a closed, domestic adoption through a private adoption agency. That was basically the norm in 1982 and I wouldn’t change anything about my adoption experience. But many people living adoption stories today have open adoptions, foster-to-adopt, or international adoptions (like my magical nephew, Nate).

Adoption can take many forms. That’s the beauty of it – and that’s one of the ways it so clearly reflects the gospel. No matter the complexity of the situation, there is hope in adoption. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy, but is hope always easy? Hope can be scary and messy and risky, but it also paves the way for more than all we ask or imagine.

It turns out that as of the 2000 US census, there were 2.1 million adopted “children” living in the US. I am so pleased and blessed to be counted as one in TWO million! But there are many more would-be adoptees that need our prayers, encouragement, and our action.

In this article, Ryan Bomberger of The Radiance Foundation points out:

In 2008, out of the 463,00 children in the foster care system, 111,225 are waiting for adoption, according to the most recent statistics from the Department of Health and Human Services. The Pew Research Institute reports that Evangelicals and Catholics make up 26.3% and 23.9%, respectfully, of the US adult population. Census Bureau data indicates this would amount to 117,751,128 adults. (I’m using the two largest religious affiliations to show how only a portion of our nation’s religious make-up can eradicate the orphan crisis here in the United States.) That’s 1058 adults for every single child that’s available for adoption through foster care—sounds like a pretty good ratio.

Here’s some more adoption information/resources you might enjoy:

Resources:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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