For whatever may lie ahead

June 15th, 2017

Recently, our family stayed at a state park in this lodge…




On this lake.




We swam in the lake…




Went boating several times…







Went on lots of long hikes…




Or walks, if one didn’t happen to be a hiker…











Or ran…


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And ran…




And ran some more…




Or jumped…




Or sat down to contemplate a dandelion, as the case may be…




Some of us wore flowers in our hair, but only if we were one of the wee faerie folk…




Speaking of wee faerie folk…




We made tasty meals in large quantities…




And ate well…


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From the left, Dad, Mom, Mindy, Daniel, Laura, Jane, Josie, John Michael, Peter, James, Stephen, Verity, Benjamin (Katie and Nathaniel had other drinking arrangements, as did Joseph and Lindsay while they were with us; Joshua had to stay home and work)




Played lots of games…




From morning…




Until far into the traditionally Jelly-Belly-accompanied night…




Read aloud to children…

[This little gem is “Rain in the Woods and Other Small Matters,” by Glen Rounds.  We read outdoors until we got to the part about the soft, spring rain, at which point a soft, spring rain chased us indoors.]




[Charming childhood favorite, “Mr. Apple’s Family,” by Jean McDevitt]




Or read to oneself, off in a quiet place…forest-scented…aaaahhhhh




Played with small, cute persons…


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Set off with maps for unaccompanied adventures…




Slept and napped like babies…




Visited a couple of museums…




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And a historical site…








And were generally very happy and carefree…




…for almost two weeks.


The Best:  Being together far from home responsibilities and pressures, with very sketchy internet and cell reception, in the beautiful world God made, until we were rested to the very bone.


“Will we ever get to come back here to stay again?” asked Josie.


Our reservation is already on the 2018 calendar.


The end.










A Backyard for Stefan

June 11th, 2017

Anyone remember “Owen” from Pleven? Our friends the Miners, who adopted Ana (“Garnet”) from Pleven several years ago, have passed court in Bulgaria, so “Owen” is now their son Stefan! Mark will be traveling to bring him home in a few short weeks!

Mark and Virginia are tearing out the pool in their Arizona backyard in order to install a play set/safe play area for their extremely active new son. They’ve given generously and sacrificially to others’ needs, including the building of Josie’s room, and we are eager to see God provide for them now. Please consider donating what you can and passing this link along to others.

A Backyard for Stefan

Here’s the direct link for you to copy, paste and share: 

Thank you, everyone!!

The mere edges of His ways

May 26th, 2017

Another adoptive mom emailed me earlier this year with a request.  Would I be willing to contribute a chapter to a book of personal stories about adoption?  This book is for the purpose of encouraging other adoptive parents who are in the trenches.  Yes, I do want to be part of this endeavor.

In the course of time, I spent a day at A Quiet Place and wrote the story of Tommy and our family.  This week, I finally sent it off to the adoptive mom.  I have her permission to share her response with you.


Thank you for sending your story. You have been such a help to me, and I had no idea you have been through so much. Your trench was so deep, oceanic even.

I had an email written up for you that I had hoped would be encouraging. I used my youngest daughter’s nap time. I didn’t send it because I wanted to pray about it some more. Immediately after I got her up, my older six-year-old daughter turned to me and asked me a random question.

She said, “What happened to your bees?”

My bees….

“Oh,” I told her, “They drowned.”

When I started to say it, the words got stuck in my throat. They had died back in January. I realized the significance of the statement, because I had been writing you an email about Tommy’s passing.

She then asked me, “Why did they drown?”

I was stuck. I thought for a moment and said, “I don’t know.” And she said, “Ok,” and walked away.

Truly, I don’t know why all my bees chose to drown themselves in their sugar water one day. It was upsetting to me, and I have no idea why it happened. It was a weird thing that’s not even on any beekeeper web-forum. Whenever I look at my empty bee hive, I’m sad, and I think, “Why the heck did that happen?”

Bees are nothing compared to a child, and I’m not saying that.

All I’m feeling is that God is telling me that I don’t know why that happened to Tommy.

My ways aren’t His ways, my thoughts aren’t His thoughts, His ways are higher than my ways, and His thoughts higher than my thoughts. So I’m not going to send you the other email that I had hoped would be encouraging. I’ll just let you know that God spoke through my six-year-old today to point blank tell me that I don’t know why, and that’s all He chose to share with me.



When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.


Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.


This photo of Tommy was taken three years ago this weekend, at the Big Families and Friends Picnic.

Tom-Tom at the big picnic