Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Summer Reading.... so far!

We have been reading aloud at bedtime regularly again.  That seemed to go by the wayside for a few months there in the midst of all our craziness.

I thought it might be fun to share the list of what we have read.
 Bonus- it will help me keep track....

So far this summer we've read:
Pippi Longstockings by, Astrid Lindgred
The Mouse and the Motorcycle by, Beverly Cleary

We are half way through:
Kisses From Katie by, Katie Davis
Strawberry Girl by, Lois Lenski

Also we are reading an amazing story Bible. The Child's Story Bible by, Catherine F. Voss.
I joke that it is the Original Jesus Storybook Bible, or Kids Gospel Bible... back before it was 'hip'. It is old, published in 1935. And the cover would  normally make me reject it at first Glance.... it's got one of those goofy old fashion pictures of Jesus and Children on it.... But inside it is a gem. The age range in my house makes story Bibles tricky sometimes- older kids have heard it all before but the young ones can't really sit for actual 'straight Bible' well yet. This is an amazing compromise. Written well enough for me to enjoy and truly learn from yet simple enough language that my 3 year old looks forward to it! And all the stories point to the ONE BIG story the whole Bible is telling. The story of redemption, rescue, of JESUS. Anyway, I LOVE this Story Bible!  

Anyway, that is Summer Family Reading at the Okerlund's!

What are you reading?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Bragging;) Jed's art contest entry!

Jed~ our 11 year old drew this  amazing picture.
He titled it: Emancipation Celebration.
He drew it for the AFHE Art contest, the theme was Freedom. (Our state's home schooling organization)
It is a former slave family celebrating the news of their freedom.
He was chosen as a finalist.
The final judging hasn't happened yet, but he wins in MY BOOK!

I love that boy and I love his drawing, so I am bragging on my talented son!

When does a Mama become a Mama? or thoughts on grief and loss.....

I write this post tonight with a heavy heart.
I write on behalf of a grieving mama friend.
Grieving loss of a child.
No one can imagine without having been in this place what it would be like.

There are many ways to loose a child.
Each with its own story. ALL SAD.

 When does a mother become a mother? When does she have the rights, privileges, duties, and sorrows of motherhood fully bestowed upon her?

This unfolds differently in the life of every mother.  But once a mother is a mother, there is one thing ALL mothers would rather NEVER face. The loss of that precious one...

There are many ways to loose a child.
Each with its own story. ALL devastating in their own ways.

Mothers who miscarry. AT ANY STAGE OF PREGNANCY. We truly grieve. we ARE mothers.

Mothers who carry a baby to term and then that precious little one dies at birth or shortly after.
we grieve. we are MOTHERS.

Mothers who choose to abort a baby.
Only to find grieve and despair afterwards. For some this grief never heals. We grieve. we too are mothers.

Mothers who with fierce love and bravery begin the process of adoption.
Fully loving that child EXACTLY as we would love any child born of our womb.... but for various reasons the adoption is disrupted. We grieve. yes, even we are mothers.

Mothers who begin the process of raising a child, and for many, many different that child is taken to heaven WAY before that mother had ever imagined they would. We grieve.  WE ARE MOTHERS.

Mothers who loose a child for a season or forever due to choices the child or the mother makes that sever the relationship. We grieve.  All true mothers grieve.

All these mothers suffering unimaginable losses.  All unique. All painful. Some the fault of no one. Some the fault of another, some even the mother herself is to blame.

I ask this question of all of us who have ever been in a situation where we were comforting a mother in any of these places:

When its NOT our own loss are we too quick to diminish, ignore, excuse, dismiss,
or simply not acknowledge another's ?

'You were only a few weeks along.  Don't worry, you will get pregnant again soon.'
 ( Though this seems logical, this is not a kind response for a mama experiencing this type of loss. trust me. been there.)

'You know, she is the reason that teenager of hers is rebelling.... she was too_____.'
 (fill in the blank with the appropriate smug reason here)

'Cancer, SIDS, etc... (fill in the blank here) is caused by ______.'
(fill in this blank with something we all do like: drink tap water, eat food grown in poisonous environments, lack of exercise, you name it... BTW: death is caused by sin, people.  Sin entered the world and with it came death.)
I get that we all talk like we know the cause of things at times, but what if you were in the presence of the mother of a child who died of this very thing.

'That baby was never really yours anyway.  The Lord obviously has OTHER plans for that child.'
or another one:
'You should have waited to attach to your adopted child till that little one was in your arms.  Oh well, you will be wiser next time.'

~Oh Lord, help me to never be too "wise" to love fully.

Notice, all these things are more or less 'true'.  But Just because something is 'true' does that make it kind?
Is it Godly counsel for a grieving person?

When we are grieving, the things people say or don't say seem to have added sticking power in our hearts.  People can profoundly affect the grieving process with words that hurt or words that bring life.  

" A person's words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook." Proverbs 18:4

Before we speak we should ask ourselves: 
~Is this true and in line with Gods Word?
~Is this kind?
~Is this from a heart of love, the way Christ loves this person?
~Am I doing my best to put myself in the shoes of my friend and imagine what she may be feeling     right now?
~Is my friend READY for these words now? Or should this piece of advice wait until my friend is in    a place where she can HEAR my wise counsel?

I by no means have written an exhaustive list of ways mothers can grieve.
If I left your specific grief out of my list I am truly sorry.

 I only write tonight because I know from experience that grieving hearts need love.

I have an adoptive mom friend who is grieving today.
 Pray for her, for her family, for her healing. For her child who is now not to be.... she needs our prayers.

Pray for the other mama's in your life who are grieving now.
Or who suffered a loss in the past you may have overlooked as a non-loss.
Pray for mama's you may have judged.
For mamas you admire.

With your mama heart, pray with fervent love.
The fervent prayers of a righteous women will avail much.... (Christa paraphrase of James 5:16.)

Monday, June 9, 2014

When God Himself is truly enough for me.....

When God Himself is truly enough for me......

1. He is my supply- and my portion.

'And my God will supply every need of yours according to HIS riches in glory in Christ Jesus.' Philippians 4:19

'My flesh and my heart may fail- but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!' Psalm73:26

No earthly supply is preferable to God HIMSELF. If I have zero physical resources and yet have Him I am the richest of all!

2. He is my truest source of joy.

Not him answering my prayers how I want them answered.
Not how I feel at the moment.

But Him. His presence. His grace. He gives himself.

'Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, The Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the deers; he makes me tread on MY high places.'
Habakkuk 3:17-19

-Though all my best layed plans fail.
-Though all our labors fail.
-Though the things we attempt in His name, For his glory seem to be lost....

We rejoice in Him reguardless of success or failure.
His perfection is always worthy of our rejoicing.

The high places he puts me upon to tread are for me. They are the unique trials, difficulties, joys and victories he has for me.

3. He is my salvation forever my strength and my refuge. He does cause me to walk in victory whether it appears that way to me or those around me or not.

My victory in Him is totally dependent on Him, not on me.

'He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress, I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Psalm 62:6-7

4.He is my victory.

'But thanks be to God who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragance of the knowledge of Him everywhere.'
2nd Corinthians 2:14

5. He is my reward.

No other prize is worthy. He, himself is the ultimate prize.

'I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.'
Philippians 3:14

6. He is my peace.

'For he himself is our peace....' Ephesians 2:14a

7. He is my righteousness.

'For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the rightousness of God.' 2 Corinthians 5:21

8. He is my hope.

'For God alone, o my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.' Psalm 62:5

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” `~John Piper

He is my:

..the list goes on and on.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Quote for the Day

'Waiting on God requires 
the willingness
to bear uncertainty,
to carry within oneself
the unanswered question,
lifting oneself to God about it, 
whenever it intrudes upon 
one's thoughts.'
        ~Elizabeth Elliot

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Father's Heart for those who don't even know He exists....

When you love someone (or in our case two someones) as deeply as the Lord has allowed us to love Felix and Betty, The Lord teaches you a few things...

So far here's my musing of  some of the things God has taught us. (so far)

Our whole family loves those kids.  We are so bonded to them in our hearts, we were and still are willing to endure any and every hardship and inconvenience to get them for our own.  If we could, we would give anything and everything for them.  We would spend any money, endure any sickness, give up any and every earthly good.

I would travel to Africa and give birth to this new baby there, as terrifying as that sounds, if it would mean we could adopt those kiddos.

But as of right now, God is saying no or at least wait.

So here we sit.  With all this love and broken hearts.

All this desire to know and be known by them.  To hold them, to tell them we love them. And that we will always be there. But, at least right now, we can't.

All this while they don't even know we exist.

And there it hit me.

This is the heart of the Father.  (Only times about a million) for those children of His who he loves and is literally willing to (And Did in fact give up ALL THINGS for)

All those children of His who DON'T EVEN KNOW HE EXISTS.

See, we have payed some of the costs for this adoption.

But God in Christ payed everything.  He payed it all.  And he payed for EVERYONE.

Would I, by choice, fully pay for the adoption of a child who would NEVER actually be mine?
Just because I loved them so much,and I wanted to by any means I could, to make it possible for them to come into my family? Would I be willing to make the way, just because of my love, with full knowledge they would NOT be mine?

God, In Christ, Did exactly that.

He payed for EVERY person for all time to be brought in to his family.

Fully knowing they wouldn't all come into his family.
 Yes, clearly many would. But not all.
But imagine his heart for the ones who have never heard?
It must be breaking, beyond anything I can imagine.

My heart is breaking for children I have known for a few months, from afar, in pictures and written words.

Imagine the heart of the Father, who designed, made, and knows each one, every tear, every thought, every little bit about every single one. He fully knows them.

See Felix and Betty don't know about us.  I mean, they know their need. They are probably well acquainted with their lack of a mommy and daddy.But they don't have any idea that there is a mommy and daddy somewhere who love them and want them so badly.

So the other morning, I was sitting there pouting about this thought to myself. And as he often does, God spoke to my heart, and said.... 'Christa, There are millions of people who are in this exact place with me.'

Well acquainted with their lack.

But no idea that Jesus loves them.  That he payed the ultimate and costly price for them to know and be known by Him.  To be a part of His family.

an estimated 2 billion people, to be exact.

Romans 10:14
 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

We have to be passionate about the lost.  It can't just be numbers. We have to go. We have to tell them.  We have to send people to go. We have to Give generously to the cause of sharing Christ with the ones who have never heard.  And we have to pray for those who are there. We all HAVE to do something.

Its a lot like adoption. Clearly not everyone is called to adopt. But we are all called, as believers to care, and not just mentally feel sad for, but actually serve practically in some capacity the fatherless and vulnerable children in our world.

It is not enough to be sad about orphans, or about the fact that there are millions who haven't heard the gospel.  We have to move.

What if we had adopted Felix and Betty, fully and legally, and all that lacked was for us to get on the plane and go tell them, to go help them actually experience their adoption?

I can't think of anything more tragic than that.

But God.

Ephesians 2:4-5
 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

Go. Send. Pray. We have to.

If we don't, well, I can't think of anything more tragic than that.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Family Photos we took for our dossier.....

 I wanted to share these beautiful photos Abby Breyer took of our family for our Dossier. Even though we can't use them for our dossier now........ 

She did such a good job and we really appreciate it! 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Grace when you are Crushed!

These last two weeks I have been in the Word more and have              written more scripture and prayer in my journal than                      I had the ENTIRE last year put together, I am fairly sure......

I think the Lord was strengthening my heart and mind, for nights like last night.......
We told our kids what was going on yesterday.....
The news of the new baby was of course met with joyful squeals....
and followed up with the news of our delayed adoption and the fact that Betty and Felix were no longer for sure our own......

Solomon being 1 1/2 had nothing to say on the matter.

Eden being three said with joy, "Is the baby gonna pop out today?"
"No honey."

Jubilee and Tobias at 7 and almost 9 cried and ran off announcing that mom already had enough baby's!
They came back pretty quick of course and we told them it was ok to cry, we cried to, we assured them.

Jed being the young man of the house at almost 11 probably had some idea of what we were going to tell them.... it's a benefit of being able to read and being really into mama's phone at this point in his life.  And of having been around Mom for several pregnancies, all her classic symptoms being back.... 
He was sad but very quiet......

And then as kids often do they moved on with their day.  They played outside, the boys played their little league baseball game, (and won!) 

At bedtime we prayed as we always do for Betty and Felix.
It was super hard, to get the words out.
I prayed for God to bring them into a family who would love them, the family he has chosen.

And Jubilee burst into tears, mid-prayer. 
"But Mom,I want them in our family!"
And I joined her in crying to.  "So do I." I assured her.
As you can imagine, bedtime took EVEN longer than normal last night.

Anyway, this morning I am sitting here looking at the mounds of scripture God gave to me these last few weeks.  There is so much here.  I don't even know where to start.

I will share it all slowly over the next weeks I think.

Today I will start with Job 26:14
'Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways,
And how small a whisper do we hear of Him!
But the thunder of his power- who can understand.'

Next to this in my Bible, I have these words, our Pastor often quotes.
'You are God
I am not
You are always right
I am often Wrong'
I do not understand God or His ways. But I choose trust.
 Not perfectly, mind you. there has been plenty of pouting and foot stomping and tears and anger.
Kind of like a little kid who didn't get her way.

In the words of Mr. Beaver, from the Chronicles of Narnia, when Lucy and Susan asked if Aslan was 'safe'.' Mr Beaver's response;
"Safe? Of course he isn't safe, but he is Good. After all He is not a tame lion!"

 ok here's one more....

Hebrews 12:26-29
26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more”, indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Faith- walking by it, when it hurts and when it's glorious....

We have had a few rough weeks.  We have some announcements.
The main thing we need to announce is that God has chosen to bless our family with a baby. 

The old fashion way.  Christa is pregnant, due December 30th.  

We have held off in announcing it for a couple of weeks while we waited for our home study agency and our placing agency to come to a decision on what this means for the adoption.

They told us yesterday.  It is their policy to not place a child until six months after the birth of new baby. So as of now we can't proceed with our adoption at this time.  We are crushed. our kids are crushed.  

It's amazing how much you can bond with children you have never even met.  Children we have been praying for for 2 years.  Children who don't even know we exist.  That we are crying for them.  That we have literally been so sad we can hardly eat or sleep. It's ironic really.  That two little children that the world would call discarded, forgotten and unimportant would matter so much to us.  

When we started this process orphans were a number, a statistic. 148 million in the world. 2.5 million in Uganda.  The Numbers swirled in our brains, we knew we desired and needed to act.  But the numbers didn't become ours until we saw them.  

We tried to hold back at first, we said they were tentatively ours. We prayed for them to find a family. Then our faith grew and we prayed for them to find OUR family.  We added names to their names.  Names that we chose for them.  We put their pictures on our wallpaper of our phones. They were in our bedtime prayers every night and again in the morning by name and face we lifted them before The God Who Sees. 

 We picked clothes out for them.
Our kids talked about where they would sleep, how they would share their toys with them, where everyone would sit in the car.  We wondered what their favorite color was, what their favorite candy would be.  Whether or not they would like to play rough or sit quietly.        

I think you get the picture. We made them our very own.

Things have never looked so good financially for the adoption.:
We had someone anonymously offer to pay our travel fees- $16k! 
All 7 of our passports came in the mail last week.  

All while we were quietly waiting and processing this news. 

It seems like God was opening doors and closing doors all at once.  It has been a whirlwind of confusion and emotions.  We honestly still are processing it all.

Our agency can't 'hold' our sweeties for us.  We wouldn't want them to really.  If a family comes along before we are able to start paper work up again that wants to bring them into their family, we would be thrilled.  Painfully thrilled. 

 We know God Has only our best and their best in mind.  

Of Course if they are still waiting when we are able to resume we would be thrilled to re-accept the referral.  

So here we sit.  The adoption busy-ness and hub bub at a quiet lull.  They told us we can continue to fund raise.  Who knows? Maybe by the time we can restart our paperwork we may have all the money we need!

Right now we are just resting.  We believe God is Good.  We know He loves Felix and Betty. We Know he loves us.  We KNOW he loves this little VERY unexpected surprise growing inside of Christa.  We know without a doubt HE IS THE GOD WHO SEES.  And we know he saw all of this from all time past. We know His plans are infinitely better than our plans.

We choose joy.
We choose faith. 
We refuse to accept doubt and fear and failure.

But b.e.l.i.e.v.e. me, it's a choice we are actively fighting for.
And yes it is 3:00 in the afternoon and I am in my PJ's! (just being real)

Please don't judge me, I'm not saying babies aren't a blessing.  I know I am blessed among women  to be a mother for the sixth time!  Its just an emotional roller coaster ride I didn't CHOOSE to get on.  But I am on all the same, and the ride is wild!  

About a week before all this came down I was telling a friend of mine how I feel like God has me in a place where I literally am being FORCED to walk by faith.  I told her "I see nothing by sight.... "

........If only I knew THAT day how much more I would be feeling that sensation soon. 
 I am literally blind right now as far as faith goes!

That same wonderful friend sent me this devotional: 
Its from the classic devotional Streams in the Dessert~
“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” Heb. 11:8

Abraham “did not know where he was going”--it simply was enough for him to know he went with God. He did not lean as much on the promises as he did on the Promiser. And he did not look at the difficulties of his circumstances but looked to His King---the eternal, limitless, invisible, wise, and only God---who had reached down from His throne to direct his path and who would certainly prove Himself.

O glorious faith! Your works and possibilities are these: contentment to set sail with the orders still sealed, due to unwavering confidence in the wisdom of the Lord High Admiral; and a willingness to get up, leave everything, and follow Christ, because of the joyful assurance that earth's best does not compare with heaven's least. (F.B. Meyer)

In no way is it enough to set out cheerfully with god on any venture of faith. You must also be willing to take your ideas of what the journey will be like and tear them into tiny pieces, for nothing on the itinerary will happen as you expect.

Your Guide will not keep to any beaten path. He will lead you through ways you would never have dreamed your eyes would see. He knows no fear, and He expects you to fear nothing while He is with you.

This pretty well sums up what is happening in our world right now.

  • Pray for us friends!
  • Pray for just the right family for Felix and Betty.
  • Pray for our new precious one, for the plan God has for this little life.
  • Pray for Christa's health. This pregnancy already has been full of the joys of morning all day sickness, and dizzy spells and other such fun.
  • pray for our kids who have conflicted emotions, excitement about a baby mixed with sadness about the adoption, its a lot to process when your in your 30's, I can't even imagine being 7.
  • pray for us, we truly desire for God to shape us, make us more like him and use our lives the way HE sees fit. pray for us to be shape-able. To become better parents, more fit to adopt, to parent any and all kids God see's fit to give us. To be people who make it our aim to be satisfied in and by Christ alone and to glorify Him through our lives.
Well that's about it! whew!

Monday, April 7, 2014


We have been (unofficially) matched.  We say unofficially because our home study is not in our agency's hands yet and we can't say 100% these are our kiddos until it is in their hands.

But nevertheless, our agency has given us permission to share the news here on our blog!

So here goes:

Felix is a seven year old boy, with a BIG smile and a sweet spirit.

Betty is his sweet chubby cheeked four year old sister who is pouting or sad in literally every picture we have of her.

We can't show pictures here on our blog, though we wish we could show you their sweet faces so you could treasure this moment more fully with us.

  We are overwhelmed with love and anticipation for these children to join our family.  

Already it seems the Lord has been orchestrating perfectly every detail of this match.  Even in some fun little ways.

 My favorite Ugandan adoption Blog, literally the only one of all the sweet blogs I have found in this process that I follow weekly.(I just don't have much free time, I can't read them all.)

Unknown by me all this last year, this Blog just so happens to be a mama who adopted from the very same children's home as us, through our SAME agency.

A few weeks ago I was given her contact info by my agency, because she also has a large family and adopted her 6th child....

Anyway, as we were talking, I discovered not only was her blog the blog I had been following for over a year, but she HAD PICTURES of our kiddos on her fridge that her family had been praying over for a year.  Praying For our Betty and Felix to find a loving family.


Totally awesome how Our God sets up these little appointments so that as we walk through the doors he opens for us, we receive confirmation and strength.  It boosts our faith.  And we need that.

Because I am SO LIKE Peter.
 Even as I speak of His faithfulness, it is easy for me to look at the waves.
        And start to sink.

Felix is about a year older than we had originally agreed upon.  There is some fear there.

It took us a few weeks after we received their info, as much as we wanted to jump out of the boat and try, we were scared. We prayed, we pondered. We waited.

Then Mike, my wise husband said,
        "Babe, God led us to our agency, We have prayed for a brother and sister pair for over a YEAR.  This is the brother and sister our agency has for us.  Maybe we should just walk through the open door."

Peace flooded our minds.

The amazing confirmation followed from our bloggy friend/agency buddy.
She even had more pictures of our kids for us.

But just like Peter we look at the waves.  A hundred times in a day, I am tempted to doubt.

Maybe that was a random coincidence that she had been praying for our kids?  

Faith reminded me: There are 3 homes in Uganda our agency works with.  Her child could have been from a different one.

Maybe we won't be able to come up with the money, maybe we wont be able to get all the travel logistics figured out. 

      Um, Christa, God has perfectly provided thus far. He is ABLE. We aren't.

Maybe I won't be able to handle seven children.  (That's true by the way, I CAN"T, but Christ through me can!)

Mike and I were talking about feelings and how when we lead with them our faith is SO wobbly.
our Pastor (who we love) always talks about a train with three cars:

 (Our faith, you know, The Faith God graciously gives to us rests in the facts of His Perfect Word,
and our feelings can and should follow these.)

Don't you Just Love the Story of Peter and Jesus Walking on water?
I Think we love it because we so relate to Peter.

I mean, HE GOT OUT of the boat.  Give the guy a break.  He was at least attempting to have faith! 

Here's the story: Matthew 14:22-33

22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way[a] from the land,[b] beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind,[c] he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out,“Lord, save me.”

 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Isn't that JUST like Jesus. He let Peter take the step of faith, then he let him feel his own inability to accomplish the feat of walking on the water, and then HE RESCUED him.  And he did all the work.  And Peter got to witness the power of a GREAT and powerful God! 

So here's the other part:
Our agency wants to shoot for a JULY travel Date!

That is really fast. 

If July doesn't happen (it depends upon a lot of things: money, paperwork, the Ugandan Judge giving us a July court date)

They want to plan on September. Even that is really fast.

The looking at the waves thing is starting again!

We want to bring them home as fast as possible.

But what if......

but God.

Stay tuned for some serious fund raising excitement!

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

    When my children bring me weeds.....

    Have your children ever brought you weeds? 
    you know like the ones below:

    Did they come to you with sweet little smiling faces and their hands behind their back, showing the excitement they feel at the VERY idea of blessing their mama with a little present.......
     Maybe like this:
     Or like this.... (as a side note she dressed herself that day!)

    If you are at all like me, you may be tempted when they do this to say thank you and then put them in the trash, or worse say something like, "Honey, take those stinky weeds outside, they are going to give me an allergy attack."

    For some reason this day, I had the rare and wonderful experience of seeing my daughter's gift with more gentle eyes.

     More Christ-like eyes.

    I am not a perfect mother.  Most of the time I am not even sure that I am a very good mother.  So dont get me wrong.  I am not gloating,

    It was a privilege. For me. I said, "Thank you!" I put them in a vase. I set them on the counter.

    My older three watched and very soon I had more floral yet weedy gifts brought to me.
     In that same, 'I'm bringing you a treasure, mommy!' exited way.
    Beaming faces.

    I sat there and really thought about those flowers/weeds.  I thought of my Abba Father.  I thought of my worship, my meager offerings to him., my service,or better said, my attempts at serving in His name. My prayers, my meager efforts at devotion.



    Zephaniah 3:17b "...He will rejoice over you with gladness, he will quiet you with his love, he will exult over you with LOUD singing."

    What a Father.  What grace.  He takes my weeds and puts them in a vase.  He takes my trash and makes treasures, he takes my ashes and makes beauty. He takes my meager efforts to serve him and through them ACCOMPLISHES his plans.  He uses these earthen vessels.

    We should be humbled, blown away.  Our God could have chosen another method to proclaim salvation, to rescue the weak, to defend the Fatherless, to teach and make disciples.  Yet He uses us.  

    Just like my kids smiling faces that day, when we serve our King, we are blessed. Yes, sometimes we are stretched.  Sometimes we are pressed, squeezed, tried in the process. But when its all said and done, we are always blessed.  Our King uses us to bring forth his kingdom here on earth. We bring our weeds. He does all the real work. And we are blown away by his goodness.

    By the end of all that thinking, I decided, at the very least, I am gonna try to NEVER throw away the weeds again,  (I mean, until they rot in the vase!)

    Why would I?
    I can have beaming faces!

    Planting before the rain.....

    I stole this blog title from a wise friend.
             Last weekend, we bought a van.  A 15 passenger van to be exact.

    Here it is in real life. My new car.  How I will actually drive it remains to be seen,  I used to have a suburban, which I loved to drive. 
    I was blessed with a practically new minivan a few years ago and have loved it.  
    To tell the truth, I am not a picky driver, I will pretty much drive whatever car my husband graciously provides for me.
    And, said husband reassures me that I will one day be capable of parking it less than a mile back in the parking lot!  For now, we will be getting our exercise as I learn to park our new transportation treasure.

                   Anyway, I texted my friend Heather a picture of the van right after we bought it. 
                            And that's what she texted back.  
                           Planting before the rain....... I was so blessed by the truth of it.

    See this van is planting before the rain. 
    It is the evidence of things hoped for, this van, as silly as it may sound,
                   Is faith in action. 

     For my husband, especially, who does the majority of the car buying... (not that we do much car buying) But for him, to take money that the Lord has blessed us with, and buy this HUGE van. Is FAITH. 

    See, we are hoping for more kids than we currently have.  
              The ones we have fit perfectly in that nice little mini van.  

    But my husband is a man of faith.  And like Abraham, another man of faith, my husband is moving out.  He is moving out, not always 100% sure of where he is going, but yet with a sureness, direction and certainty that he never experienced while wandering this life with NO faith.

    Hebrews 11:8 "By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance.  And he went out, not knowing where he was going."

    One of the questions our agency asked us was, "How will you transport 7 children?" Good question. 
     We knew we needed a bigger car to have an even bigger family. 

    Well we are proud to announce the arrival of that car!  God Provides.  He makes a way.  Kids are coming.  From Uganda.  Soon. Very soon.  We are hopeful. We are sure.  We are full of faith!

              Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

    Frozen Birthday's

    Eden turned 3 and Jubilee turned 7 this March......
           We decided to celebrate the girls special days together...

    Frozen is kind of a thing at our house right now.

    We sing/hear  a lot of "let it go, let it go!" and "Do you want to build a snowman?" every day.

    So a Frozen theme was an easy choice, and one upon which both girls were thrilled to agree....

                                                                     The Frozen Sisters


    some of the decore'


    Frozen snacks (I forgot to take pictures of the food table all pretty before the kiddos ate the food, here's what I've got!
    We had snow balls (glittery frosted white cupcakes), snow man arms (pretzels) snow man noses (carrot sticks) frozen grapes and more... it was super fun, We had signs up everywhere that said things like, "I like warm hugs!" and "do you want to build a snowman? and my favorite, "the cold never bothered me anyway!" all the fun ideas came from a blog I stumbled upon while trying to plan the party called: 
                                                             (just FYI in case your curious!) 

    The Best part about this party was that for the first 45 minutes all the little girls just sang frozen songs with the soundtrack we have downloaded on the iphone! It was adorable! I may post a video later... but I better ask the other mama's first! It is so funny how much all little girls (and even my boys;) seem to just love that movie!                                       

    a little more decor

    Anna hair
    Elsa Hair

    Here's those sweet girls, just  a little glimpse!

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

    Ok, so I am not so very good at blogging....

    Hello blog world,
      I have decided I am a blog failure.  I officially disappeared from this blog for about 3 months.  I am going to make it my new goal to post something, even if it is short or totally unrelated to the adoption once a week or so.

                    In Fact I have several ideas of things I want to post about: home life, home schooling, what Jesus is teaching me, guest blog posts from some of my older kiddos, as well as of course, adoption updates when we have something to share.

    Speaking of adoption news we are finally just about done with the home study and actually almost done with compiling our dossier as well.

    For those who do not know these adoption terms...

             A home study refers to part of the paper work you compile, including fingerprint clearance cards, Dr. visits, police clearance certificates and a whole lot of other things along with interviews you complete in your home and in an office with a social worker.  Who then takes all this and compiles a report on your family which she submits to the state in which you live and to the adoption agency you are working with. This will then serve as a guide when they place a child or children in your family.  They consider things from finances, health,  personality even your desires to determine the ages and number of children your family is 'suited for'.  It is also basically the way in which you are granted 'permission to adopt' by your state government.

    The Dossier refers to the home study combined with a lot more paper work and legal documents such as certified copies of marriage licenses and birth certificates and pictures of your home and family as well as even more paper work which must be submitted to both the US government and the foreign court in the country you are adopting from.  

    This is all in Christa language..... I am sure someone else could do a better job of explaining this....

      Anyway, we are exited to be moving along with our paper work (finally).... It has been slow going.  But the Lord knows all our days every one is accounted for in His sight and  we know he has had his hand in this timing.

            In fact we are hoping we will have fun and exiting news to share here soon..... maybe even info about the kids we will be adopting.

    For now though we wanted to share some fun pictures of one way we have been enjoying learning about African and even specifically Ugandan culture this winter....

        We went with special friends to see an Ugandan Children's choir....  It was amazing.  The music was beautiful, and our kids got to meet some of the kids afterwords as well as hear first  hand from kids who were orphans at one time but were now in a safe and Godly home with a mother to call their own within their own country in what they call a children's village.

            This ministry is called Wototo Children's Village and it truly has an amazing vision of raising up a Godly generation of children who will be able to with Christ's power change the future for Uganda as a nation.

    Anyway, hearing their stories and watching their smiling faces and sweet music was such a blessing!
                    Don't they all have such sweet smiles? What a special night!

    Want to read more about this ministry?

    Here's a music video of the Choir:

    Be on the watch for more regular blog posts from the Okerlund crew!