Matthew 22:37-39

Matthew 22:37-39

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Shelf I Put God On

God is letting me see pieces and pieces of good since my son died.
My human heart wishes and desires Gavin to be here while I am learning all of this, so that I can teach him all these things.
But really, Gavin doesn't need to know any of this, because he is living with his King and he already knows WAY more than what I know!

I am guilty of putting God on my shelf and I have done it for years.
I put Him where I want him, and take Him down when I need Him.

I have always tried to live like a good girl. I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home and attend a Christian school. I grew up in church and even attended a Christian College. I have memorized Scriptures, written papers about Bible books and Bible heroes, researched doctrine and truths, and tried to live my life for Him.
But I always put God on my shelf.

I needed God when Brennan and I got married and we found out I couldn't have kids. I was heart broken. I always wanted to be a mom and I saw this dream slipping away. I was surrounded by sisters, friends, and even strangers that could have babies. Anger and jealousy filled my heart, and I felt broken.
Satan attacked me in these weaknesses and held me bondage for years by this.
So after years of trying, praying and hoping; God blessed us with Lyndlee. I was floating and couldn't believe God had made me a mommy. And so I put God back on that shelf.

I needed God when we served in Haiti. My heart saw things and learned new things there I will never forget. My Haitian friends and students taught me what it means to truly love and live for God no matter what your life is like on this earth. I needed God to help me cope with this sadness of hearts breaking around me, of children starving to death, of people chasing after other gods.

About this time, I wondered if God would ever bless us with more children.
I needed God to show me. So I again took Him off that shelf because I needed Him.
And He blessed us with Gavin.
Our hearts were full and content, and I put God back on my shelf.

Life was perfect, and things were going well.

August 9th, 2010 I needed God.

That night our life changed forever and I needed God more than ever.

I needed God to breathe air back into my son's lungs. I needed God to heal my son and let him live. I cried to God like I have never cried out to God in my life. I could feel God comforting Brennan and I that awful night in our house where our son died. I could feel Him letting us both know Gavin was with Him now, but that we would be okay.
I knew God was welcoming Gavin into His arms forever, but that we were saying goodbye to Gavin for now.

And though my heart aches for my son every day, God is showing me the good He wants me to learn.

You see, I need God every moment of every day and I have to stop putting Him on my shelf.
He deserves so much better. I am such a sinner and yet He loves me so and wants me.
More than ever now, I desire God.
More than ever now, I want God. I want more of Him every moment.
I want to know His words and truth, and be able to recite them.
I want to shut the devil up and stop him from attacking my mind and my family.
I want to be able to witness to people and tell them about my God.
I don't want to see one more person die without knowing my Jesus.
I want people to look at me and see Jesus.

I want Him in my heart and mind always and never back on that old shelf of mine.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Charlie Brown Christmas

Our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree
My sweet husband cut it down himself when he was hunting because Lyndlee asked for a real tree this year.

New teeth and new glasses for Lyndlee


Lyndlee loves any kind of noodles, even non-cooked kind.

Dressing up like a bird.

Seeing Amy at Dixie Stampede

Seriously we go just about everyday to check on all the horses at Dixie.


So I didn't want to pick my camera up ever again, but the pictures and videos we have of Gavin are so precious to us. So I knew I couldn't stop taking pictures and videos of Lyndlee and our family, no matter how our hearts are hurting. Gavin lived his life to the fullest and he would want that from all of us too. He would want us to love like he did, loving with his whole heart! Oh that little boy taught us so much and continues to teach us today. We miss him so very much. So glad He is safe in our Jesus's arms.

This picture speaks volumes. This is how Gavin lived. And this is how he is worshipping and praising the King now each day!

Lyndlee started preschool.

Lyndlee dressed up as a fairy for halloween.

One of our youth girls chose to skip on spending halloween with her friends. Instead she chose to dress up for Lyndlee and walk around with Lyndlee from house to house getting candy. I couldn't believe it. She is such a sweet girl and we are honored to know her.

My joy

Monday, December 5, 2011

Different Now yet He is the Same

We are so different now. So many changes have happened in our little family. We are so different, yet Jesus is the same.

We are missing our sweet Gavin every single day, every single moment; but we rest in the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13

Though we cannot see our son, we know where our son is, who he dwells with and Whose name is on his forehead. We believe he is learning a new song and is with the Lamb wherever He goes. Revelation 14:1-4

We believe that one day Jesus will return for us all, that we will be caught up together with Gavin in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And we will be with the Lord forever! 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

satan is cruel, wicked and crafty in his schemes. he wants to use our fears, our weaknesses, our son's death to win.

But dear friends, Jesus has mastered death and therefore satan has nothing on us!
satan is cursed and is crawling on his belly all the days of his life. Jesus has already crushed his head! Genesis 3:14-15
Jesus already defeated satan in death when He rose from the grave! Luke 24:6
God gives us the shield of faith to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Ephesians 6:16

You see, we are battling a defeated foe. (David Platt)

John 14:15-17
If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father to give you another Counselor to be with you forever-the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you!

Psalm 27:1-3
The Lord is my light and my salvation-whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life-of whom shall I be afraid?
When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear, though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.

So we are different now. We look different and we may act different at times.

But Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever! Hebrews 13:8

Thursday, November 10, 2011

All That Matters In Life

Two years ago this week my sweet baby boy Gavin was having his heart surgery in Taiwan.

I remember those days like they were yesterday. I remember journaling to Gavin my thoughts and my feelings; my thoughts of being away from him at such a time like that. I was so broken being away from him. I loved him so much already, and I hadn't even met him yet. I fell in love with him the moment Ted and Bev called us, the moment I got to look at the picture of him they sent via email and see his big dark brown eyes and his huge smile. He was my son.
I wanted to hold him through the entire surgery. I wanted to pray with him before and after the surgery and hold his sweet little hand. I wanted to be there when he woke up, to sing to him, kiss him and love him while he was recovering. I wanted to be with him while he recovered from such a big surgery for such a little baby.

But I wasn't there, and that was so extremely hard.
But I found comfort and peace knowing HE was there with my sweet boy.
So I journaled those very words.

Lord, thank you for holding my son when I can't. Lord, thank you for healing my son when I can't. Lord, thank you for having a plan and purpose for my son. Lord, thank you for loving your son Gavin and choosing me of all people to be his mommy.

I never knew I would be whispering the same words, the same prayers through my tears each night as my heart is aching and broken.
But I find comfort and peace knowing HE is with my sweet boy.

And I keep praying and crying out to my Father.

Lord, thank you for holding my son when I can't. Lord, thank you for healing my son when I can't. Lord, thank you for having a plan and purpose for my son. Lord, thank you for loving your son Gavin, and choosing me of all people to be his mommy.

And while these are my own feelings of desiring to be with my baby boy, brothers and sisters, this love compares nothing to what my God feels for Gavin, what my God feels for each and every one of you! And oh how we must hurt our Father time and time again when we choose the things of this world, the things the devil tempts us with, rather than choosing True Life with our Lord!
Oh how I pray we all see how God loves us! He created us all and He cherishes each and every one of us. He loved us so much He sent His very own Son to die for us, to bridge the gap so that we could live with Him forever. He has made a home for us, He desires us and is waiting for us to simply choose Him.

Choose Him now, for this is all that matters in life......

Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.
Hebrews 13:5

And Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;
and whoever lives and believes in me will never die!"
John 11:25-26

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are!
1 John 3:1

I will extol the Lord at all times, His praise will always be on my lips.
Psalm 34:1

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Carried by your constant grace, held within your perfect peace

Not for sure if blogging will be happening but with everything else in my life right now, I have to give it a try and see what the Lord wants and how He will use it.

Right now God has my family and I out in this boat, the boat where we are all out of our comfort zone each and everyday, but completely relying on Him for everything, from every breath to simply just His strength to make each day.
Never have I felt so close to the Lord; never have I desired so much to be in His word, but never has my heart been so broken.

We said goodbye to our sweet baby boy Gavin Pan, here on earth, on the night of August 9th. I don't even know what to say after that because I am still so raw and broken.
I still want to wake up from this nightmare. I want to wake up and see him in our house, to see him playing with his sweet sister, to see him running after his daddy, to hear him say mommy, to get after him from climbing and jumping off of everything. Gavin was such a wild, fun, loving child. He loved everyone and he was loud and crazy! And now, our house is quiet, so quiet at times it just hurts to be in the house.
But then God's peace, love, and comfort fill me, and I know Gavin is exactly where he is supposed to be and that he is that crazy, fun, loving person now with his Father! Somedays are so hard without him, but I will take this sorrow to know that Gavin isn't missing earth or us, that Gavin is now perfect, complete and whole, worshipping the Lord forever! And that brings me peace for each day.

I will say and know that NEVER once has God left us and we feel Him in everything, in every hard decision we have had to make, in the midst of even that night that Gavin passed, in the hours of flying to Taiwan to bury our sweet son, and in every day after where we are trying to grieve and live this new normal.

But satan is always there too trying to get us to fall, tempting us and making our minds wonder back to awful and painful times. But we know God is stronger and bigger and that He will help us fight every temptation and that satan will not win this battle. He did not win in the death of my son. My son is more alive than he ever has been because he is with his FATHER.
Satan will not win my marriage or my family over because we trust and believe in God. And we believe in His promises and that He is coming back for us one day. And we live and long for that day and know if He does not come back soon, that He still has work for us to do.

We so have appreciated all the prayers and love shown to our family during this time. It has been encouraging and so uplifting. Some people have come up to us and have said, "We just don't know what to say". And please know its okay. We don't know what to say but we know who is in control and He holds this all in His hands.

Until we are caught up together.

Brothers we do not want you to be ignorant about those you fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever! Therefore encourage each other with this words.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Texas, Roy Blunt & Dental Work

All the cousins together

My sweet blessings

Love my family

We had a great week in Texas with family. We spent the week at a lake house, all 24 of us! We got to spend some quality time together, relax together, and worship the Lord together as both my brothers led in worship! I am incredibly lucky to have my parents, my siblings and their sweet families who all love the Lord deeply. Best highlight was watching my nephew give his life to the Lord, and watching my older sister baptizing her son!
IRS saga continues and have I mentioned how I just want to be done with it all? I have wished so many times that the money wasn't even offered. I thought about the money selfishly and all the things we could buy. I thought about the money and how I could see the Lord blessing us with it to get out of debt completely. But I am just done with it all together but also know the IRS is not doing the right thing and that we need to fight them on this. Basically they aren't accepting a lot of our adoption receipts and are saying we owe them money now. They put in a letter all the receipts they didn't accept, and it is almost like a kid went through it and just picked which ones sounded good. I laugh as they are saying Secretary of State, why did you go there, expenses not accepted.
Yes, we love going to the Secretary of State and giving them tons of money for the fun of it :)
Anyways, they haven't called us back twice now so our brother in law, who also does our taxes, has encouraged us to take a stand. So next step is calling Roy Blunt. Seriously just want it all to be done now.
Lyndlee has all her hospital appointments set for her dental work and I would be lying if I didn't say I was already really anxious about it. I know this needs to happen but not excited that they have to put her under and that I can't be there because of work. Thankful Brennan can be there of course, and probably better he is and not me. This momma can't handle that stuff.
But I know God holds this all in His hands.
So ready for youth group to start up again in just a few weeks, so miss seeing our youth kids each week.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I am blessed with such a sweet family.

I love how they love each other!

This week Brennan is off to camp with our youth kids. I didn't think I wanted to try it with the kids and plus I watch another little boy at the house. Gavin has been doing this non sleeping thing as well. He takes forever falling asleep at night, gets out of bed constantly and finally when he goes to sleep, he then gets up about 2am. We get him to go back to sleep until about 6am and then he is up for the day. Yuck. He always has required little sleep but this is silly. Brennan is awesome and does most of these crazy nights for me because I need sleep and he does better on the less sleep part! Gavin is fighting me on nap too, yuck. I can't believe that time has already come where he thinks he doesn't need naps. I wanted to be there with the youth kids, but camp was not sounding fun with 2 little ones there too, and plus my sister Joy is coming for the week! Then Friday we are headed to Texas, the kids are really excited about flying. We had some mileage to use up so we thought why not fly. We are spending the week with our family at a lake house. All 24 of us will be staying in the same house! It is going to rock and be nuts! Love my family.

Eddie came for a visit, we love having him come!

Summer Fun

Been friends since being in Taiwan together as babies, love their sweet friendship!

Been friends since being in Taiwan together as babies, love these sweet boys!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

So every year my best friend and I read the Harry Potter books and watch the movies to prepare to see the new movie in theater. Every year we do this. And last Friday marked the end of this tradition. It was a great end! But we decided to keep the tradition alive! So each year we will try to read the books and watch the movies again.

Look at this precious beautiful girl. I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting her when I went to Cambodia. She is 3 years old and her name is Chean. I held her, kissed her, and prayed with her, she is absolutely precious and it was hard to put her down and leave. She goes to Kid's Club each day, a ministry started by the wonderful Sath Family. What a wonderful ministry they have started. They open their home to street kids so the kids can play in their yard, hear a story about Jesus, sing songs and they also feed these sweet children and love them as their own. Mrs. Sath cooks all the meals for the kids and they have about 200 that come! They have just started a sponsoring program and already have 108 kids sponsored! Praise the Lord. They have now started a preschool so the parents of these children can go and find work. They provide homes for families at times when needed. And they recently bought more property and hope to expand Kid's Club.
So my family is now sponsoring sweet Chean, and Lyndlee says she is her sister because they look alike! The sponsorship covers school costs, rice for the whole family, medications, and a social worker that keeps in contact with the child. The goal of this program is to get every one of these children sponsored to hopefully keep them safe from being trafficked and also to give them hope of a future of employment and not prostitution.
Maybe you want to pray about becoming a sponsor for one of these sweet children.

My little baby girl had to go to a specialist dentist for her teeth today. She has been having trouble and they are growing in rotten. They will fill all her cavities in the hospital since they have to sedate her. I hate that she will be in pain, but realize her teeth may be hurting her now and I don't want that either. I have had so much anxiety about this because this is her first big thing to have to go through. And I know more things will come down the road! Sometimes being a parent is so hard, especially when we see our children in pain and we feel helpless.
Praise, Gavin had another checkup and all looks great! His heart is so strong and he is so healthy. He now weighs the same as his sister, who is 2 years older than him! They both weigh 28 pounds and we joke that Lyndlee will never reach 30 pounds! I love my tiny Asian sweet princess and my strong handsome Asian boy, blessings from the Father!
I love to sing "My God is so Big" with Gavin. He sings along and just watching him sing the words is precious and tears of joy come. My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there is nothing that He cannot do for you!
Lyndlee starts school in just a few weeks, cannot believe she is old enough for school. She is very excited and I know it will be so good for her. I have to be honest though, momma is a little sad thinking about not having her at home in the mornings. Something else I better get used too. Lots of changes for our little family........
This summer we are reading the Old Testament with our youth. It is hard to keep up but I love it so much. What great stories in the Old Testament and I feel we often forget about it or choose not to read it. So much to learn in these stories!
I love in 2 Kings 6 where Elisha and his servant are in trouble. The servant went out one morning and saw an Aramean army of horses and chariots surrounding the city. And the servant says "Oh my Lord, what shall we do?"
"Don't be afraid, Elisha said. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them!"
Elisha prayed, "O Lord open his eyes so he may see." Then the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha!
Thankful for His words and lessons we can learn everyday.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Still learning

So since early February we have been waiting for IRS to make their decision on our tax adoption credits. It is such a blessing this was even offered, but at the same time I wish it wasn't. It has been one thing after another. We have sent every possible paper and receipt in that we have for our adoptions, and they just keep sending more letters asking for more verification, or saying we have to wait 30 more days. We have called so many times too. But this week after calling once again and being told to wait another 60 days and also hearing that not one person had even looked at our case yet, I was done.
I keep saying I will just trust God through it all but I haven't completely. I keep checking the status when all along I should be just praying, waiting and trusting. I keep running the numbers through my head of the debt we could pay off with this money, when I should just be praying and trusting.
I struggle with money, so much to a point that I know I need to let it go and have Brennan take charge of paying bills and overseeing it all.
So thankful for being in ministry 8 years now and seeing how God has provided for us. He provides for our everyday needs and we are so blessed. He provided for our two adoptions when the money wasn't there to see visually. But I still worry, fret, and calculate how we will get bills paid.
And what a slap that is to God each time I do this. He constantly provides for us, for our every day need and I continue to check up on Him, to make sure all is well and that we are taken care of. How very selfish that is of me. Oh God change me please! I am still learning in so many ways.
These verse has helped me this week.
Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
Thankful for His words that continue to change me, mold me, shape me into who He wants me to be. Still learning everyday.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Gavin Is 2!

I love my boy!

First picture with mommy

First picture with daddy

First time seeing sister Lyndlee

This a special post for my baby boy Gavin Pan. He turned 2 on June 9th and I missed his birthday since I was in Cambodia. It was so hard to be away from him on his special day but I knew the Lord was asking me to go serve.
I love my baby boy and am so glad he is in our life. I remember the day we got called from Ted and Bev like it was just yesterday. October 10, 2009 they called to tell us they had a very special baby boy for us. And then they proceeded to tell us about our son. We were so joyful and overwhelmed at God's goodness. And we learned that Gavin had a hole in his heart and that he was struggling to eat and gain weight. And that started the hardest month of our lives, as we waited by the phone and computer to hear about numerous doctor appointments he would have in Taiwan. And then came his heart surgery end of November 2009. He had such great care from his doctors, nurses, sweet Ted and Bev. Though it was so hard to be away, we knew he was in great hands and that the Lord was holding him. And January 2010 he officially became our son!
I remember the day we got home from Taiwan with our sweet boy. He was still so small and had little energy. And being able to watch all his progress has been such an amazing thing. To think this sweet boy would just lay down, that he didn't lift his feet, that he didn't eat, that he didn't cry because he just didn't have energy. And now this boy moves all the time, he is constantly running, he eats all the time and he is constantly making noises! I love it and what joy he brings to our lives.
We have a picture of Gavin on our fridge before surgery to remind us how God has brought him through so much already in his young life. What a miracle baby he is! God is good!
He had a loving young mother who carried him safely in her belly and then brought him to the Home of God's Love so that he could be adopted. He was loved and cared by some of the greatest people I know, Ted and Bev Skiles. Ted and Gavin got so close and I remember the day we took Gavin to the U.S. and Ted just cried and cried, saying he knew he was supposed to be the strong one but that he loved Gavin so very much. You could sense their bond, you could feel it and it was precious. Ted could make Gavin laugh like no one could. A few months after that day Gavin was only 10 months old but he saw a man that looked identical to Ted. And Gavin's face lit up and he was just watching this man, waiting for him to smile at Gavin and play games as Ted did! Such a loving bond they have and I can't wait to one day go back to Taiwan and let them reunite again.
And sweet Bev, she prayed over him, rocked him, sang to him, cried with him at the hospital and all his appointments, and just loved him dearly.
What a joy you are Gavin Pan and we are so incredibly blessed to have you in our family! So thankful we get to watch you grow up, to be strong and healthy and to teach you about Jesus!
We love you sweet baby boy.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Angkor Wat Palace

Precious flip flops of a sweet girl at Rapha


Precious children at Kid's Club

Group picture at Women's Island


Well we made it, my family made it 3 weeks apart. It was hard but we are so grateful that God allowed us to go on these awesome trips where we saw so many things and soaked up all that God had to teach us. Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine my husband and I being able to travel to Israel and Cambodia in the same month and being able to afford it on a minister's salary. But God provided a way and again we are just so grateful and thankful.
Some Israel pictures.

Brennan standing on the Mount of Olives looking into Jerusalem.

Brennan on top of Masada, with the Dead Sea in the background.

Jordan River

Sea of Galilee

Brennan was able to bring a rock home from the Sea of Galilee. It is in our living room and it is a reminder of Israel, the land where Jesus walked!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Complete Joy

Words by my little Sis:
For some reason this picture stood out to me....the part of the picture that is in focus is a dead flower, but you can see in the backround that something better is coming...a new flower...even better than the one before...
Even through the pain and tears...we have to hold on to the hope...that something better is coming...that one day, the pain will be gone.

I love her heart and am so proud of her. She hates that I brag about her too, love you sis!

Monday, May 30, 2011

So we spent a few days in Joplin, helping where we can.
I don't think I could describe in words all the destruction and devastation.
We helped a few people at their houses. It was heartbreaking as we would ask what they wanted to save or have us try to pull out, and they were just overwhelmed and didn't know. And I wondered, what would I say, I wouldn't know either. We heard stories from our friends and how they escaped, heard stories of death and so many awful things. We saw pile after pile of places, houses, businesses that I grew up seeing. We would be on a street I should know but I couldn't even recognize it. We saw family after family sorting through their houses that were flattened.
I was able to visit the daycare I helped a friend open back in 2004. We had parted on bad terms but because of this storm we were able to hug, talk, and reconnect. She lost everything, her preschool was completely gone. It was devastating looking at the piles, recognizing things that we painted and toys we put together so long ago. We talked about how thankful we were that there were no kids there because there was no place to take them all to safety.
We were able to spend a day at Blendville where we ministered and served for 3 years. It was so hard seeing this building all torn up, seeing the sanctuary where Brennan and I were married completely torn apart. But the cross was still standing! All day we tore the ceilings down and water would just pour out and you would look up and see the sky as the roof was off as well. It was hard seeing it like this but I had to keep reminding myself, it is just a building. We spent the day with some of the leaders and the great people of Blendville. We laughed so much and there was such great joy amongst the sadness, I miss that church family so much. So many of the people serving there that day lost both their church and their homes and they amazed me with their great love and servant's hearts!

I saw complete strangers helping one another. I saw people coming to help those who lost their homes and loved ones in this storm. I saw people serving food and drinks to people they didn't even know. I can't tell you how many lunches, snacks and drinks we got offered each day. So many people just loving and serving one another, people taking care of people.

I think President Obama said it best when he said the people of Joplin have given NEW MEANING to the term, Love Thy Neighbor.

I sat at a dinner with my family as we prayed and cried tears of joy because we were overwhelmed with God's protective hand over everyone. Everyone in my family and Brennan's family were safe from this storm, praise the Lord!

I spent time with my best friend, laughing, crying and just being silly. We both needed a night just like that and it was great just being together and enjoying each other's friendship.

I served alongside my little sister who has such a heart and love for people. When she would get quiet and sad it would break my heart because I knew she was hurting for everyone. She loves so deeply and encourages me in so many ways. I was able to serve alongside my brother, my husband, and my father in law as well and see them all love and care for others.

Lyndlee and Gavin stayed with their Granny but each night when we would return, Lyndlee would ask if we were helping the hurting people. Last night before bed, she prayed for all those who were hurt by the big storm and I just cried and cried because she remembered to do this on her own. I left the room because I didn't want to upset the kids, but she followed me and told me not to be sad but to be happy. I love her heart.

This week she and I have also talked a lot about heaven, how we just can't wait for God to come back and take us home. I love how I can talk to her about these things and she completely gets it.

Honestly, the things that are strange to me are all the videos and pictures being posted all over facebook and emails. I never have understood taking pictures of disasters like this. If it is your own home, your own business than I feel yes it is your right and your choice. Maybe this is where I am completely wrong, but that is okay, these are my feelings.

It is hard sitting in my home when I know so many people are hurting and without their homes and loved ones. It makes me think of Haiti, Japan and so many other places that experienced disasters so much bigger than this.

I am so proud of my hometown, how everyone has come together and loved each other. Can't wait to be back there serving and loving as well.

Would appreciate prayers, Brennan is headed to Israel today and I will be headed to Cambodia next Tuesday. We are so thankful the Lord has allowed us to take this trips. We can't wait to see all that He wants to teach us. Change our hearts Oh Lord, and let us serve and love others on these trips!

Thankful to the men and women that serve our country, and grateful to their families as well!
So thankful for God coming back soon to take us home!

Monday, May 23, 2011


My heart is heavy and hurts. I can't believe all the destruction that has happened in Joplin and I feel completely helpless. I grew up here, it is my home town, and now it looks like a war zone.
All our family is fine, praise the Lord.
News of the church of our first ministry at Blendville Christian Church, is that is is gone, the whole neighborhood is gone. Trying to hear about all the congregation that lived in that neighborhood.
My sis and her sweet family were just blocks away from the center of the tornado. It seemed to stop right before their house. So thankful they are all safe.
Wish I could hug my family right now.
Praying for everyone in Joplin right now.......

Friday, May 20, 2011

Israel & Cambodia just a few days away.....

So I knew summer was going to be nuts, but this is crazy.
Those who know me, know I am a planner and have been focusing on the Cambodia trip just 19 days away. I knew in the back of my mind that Brennan could be going to Israel anytime soon, and I kept feeling God giving me peace knowing that it would be back to back trips.
Well that is just what it is going to be.
A great friend from our church has offered to take Brennan to Israel. Such a blessing!
So they leave next Monday 30th. Yep you read that right! Brennan will get back from Israel just in time for us to be together as a family for a day, celebrate Gavin's birthday early, celebrate Father's Day early, get groceries for the 2 weeks I am gone, and get me all packed for Cambodia.
The day I get back from Cambodia, Brennan will be at camp for a week with the youth kids. I have a great momma and sister who are going to help me with the kids, just in case the jet lag has taken over.
I am getting more emotional about the Cambodia trip, just praying and thinking about these sweet girls and all that they have gone through. And then of course thinking of leaving my babies for 13 days has been tough but I know this time apart will be good for all of us and we will make it. They will get to spend special time with daddy and I will be getting the chance to love and serve brothers and sisters in Christ!
Took Lyndlee to her preschool walk through yesterday, can't believe my little girl is old enough to go to preschool. She loved it.
Lately she is very into noticing that her skin looks different from ours. So today she told me she was brown because she is from Taiwan and I am flamingo. Not for sure exactly what that means, but it made sense to her!
Gavin is busy as ever, growing up way too fast. He is so naughty at times, all boy and into everything, and yet so very sweet! He is such a momma boy and I am loving that.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

8 years!

My hubby told me this morning that we have been married 8 baseball seasons today.
I love my husband so much and can't believe it has been 8 years :)
Love all the places the Lord has allowed us to serve together and can't wait to see all the other adventures of life we will share.
We have been in ministry from the time we were engaged in 2002, took a short break while we were working on adoption funds for our sweet baby girl. But I have loved every minute of ministry together with this awesome man.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Saw this on another adoptive mom's blog and loved it.

A lot of people wonder about what to do when your child starts asking why they look different than the other people in their family and a mother shared this SUPER COOL example.

You take brown eggs and white eggs - you show how they are different on the outside, but totally they are the same on the inside. The mother described cracking the egg and examining the inside. She even cooked both eggs and everyone tasted how they were the same in flavor also.......

It is just like all the colors of M&Ms....different on the outside and same on the inside! Just a fun way to put your child's hearts at peace. We always talk about the JESUS LOVES ME song...RED, YELLOW, BLACK, AND WHITE, they are precious in his sight.... Celebrate the differences and find the fun similarities.

Monday, May 9, 2011

My Little Girl is 4!

Today is Lyndlee's birthday. She is such a sweet precious girl. Right when she woke up I sang happy birthday to her and she said, oh, thank you mom! She has such a sweet kind heart. Sure, she has her moments where she throws fits and acts horrible but she seriously has such a kind heart. I am babysitting kids today so at lunch Lyndlee got a brownie with 4 candles and we all sang happy birthday to her. She was so excited, I love that about her; that the most simple things can make her day.

Not a day goes by where I don't think about her sweet birth mom Li-Sywe. She carried Lyndlee and loved her for so many months. She chose to give her life in a country where the abortion rates are high. I can't imagine how hard it was for her to decide to give her up for adoption. I can't imagine the joy & miracle of carrying your baby, feeling her grow, giving birth to her and giving her up because you know you can't care for her the way your baby needs. That is true love. I cry at times just thinking of all that sweet Li-Sywe went through. But she knew she was sick, she knew she couldn't take care of Lyndlee. There are tons of details that we keep just for Lyndlee and we want to keep those private for her. But it breaks my heart that Li-Sywe passed away and that Lyndlee won't be able to see her one day if she wants too. I remember that day so clearly when we got that email and my prayers have been for the Lord to give us the words to speak when that day comes to tell Lyndlee. And in my heart, I know Li-Sywe knew how sick she was and that was why she chose to have a C-Section, and that is why she chose to give Lyndlee a better life. I still pray that the Lord can open the doors for contact with Lyndlee's older sister and her grandparents in Taiwan. She looks so much like her sister, they are both so very beautiful. We pray for them, praying they can come to know our Lord as the One True King!

Not a day goes by where I don't think about sweet Ted and Bev. They chose us to be the parents of sweet baby Jya-Ying! They went through all the adoption steps, the court dates, took her to doctor appts, loved her, rocked her to sleep, changed her, took care of her, sang to her, and told her about Jesus. They chose to give up time with their own family, their own kids and grandkids because the Lord was calling them 42 years ago to Taiwan. The Lord called them to move to another country to take care of orphans and love them as their own. They are amazing people and we are so blessed to know them and have them in our lives. Bev says when she was little she wanted to give children to all the mommys that couldn't have children. And that is exactly what she is doing. They have blessed so many children and families throughout their years on ministry! And I can't think of them without thinking of all the people that work and serve at the Home in Taiwan, plus all the sweet interns they have that come to help!

You see, my sweet Lyndlee was blessed with 3 special women in her life. Li-Sywe carried her and loved her, and Mama Bev took care of her, sang Jesus Loves Me to her and loved her as her own. And now I get to be her mommy and raise her and love her.
I am blessed to have this sweet little brown eyed, brown skin, precious girl in my life.
I love you Lyndlee Jya-Ying and am so blessed to be your mommy!

And on another note, my little sister raised over $300 for the girls in Cambodia. She is buying the supplies we need on our trip which is just 30 days away. My sister rocks and I know her sweet friends, my mom and other sisters helped a ton too! Love you guys.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My Sister Joy

So time to brag about my little sister. First, God has blessed me with an amazing family, with wonderful sisters who are my best friends, and also wonderful sisters married into the family. Blessed beyond words.
My little sister, although I don't consider her little, is amazing. So many people ask me, are you close, and I say yes, super close!
We are so much alike, when I hear her talk, I think wow, we say the same things. And days when I am being silly, Brennan will look at me and say, wow and we wonder where Joy gets it?
I can talk to her forever on the phone, I can sit in her room to chat or we will watch Little House or I will fall asleep too early for her. She stays up way to late for me and I am old she says. She stays true to her name and is full of love for others. We can tell each other anything and be completely honest with our hearts. But the thing that amazes me day after day is her love for others. I always tell her she will be a missionary one day, and that I would love to serve alongside her. She is beautiful inside and out. She is the babysitting queen and always seems to be taking great care of the kids, loving them as her very own. She cares for others in ways Jesus commands us to love and care.
I told her about my Cambodia trip coming up and what did she decide to do?
She decided she needed to do a garage sale to raise funds so that she could buy supplies for all the girls living in safe houses in Cambodia. So that is just what she is doing this weekend with her friends. Wow, amazing girl. And my mom and other sisters are jumping right in and they are tackling an entire list of supplies for our trip. They are all such servants and I love them dearly!
Proud of my little sister Joy and I know Jesus is as well!
Keep loving people sis, keep serving them with all your heart and telling them about the Good News of our King!

Monday, May 2, 2011

My Enemies Are Men Like Me

While I don't agree with everything Derek Webb says, I do appreciate some of his songs and words.
I have come to give you life
and to show you how to live it.
I have come to make things right
to heal their ears and show you how to forgive them.
Because i would rather die,
I would rather die
I would rather die
than to take your life
How can I kill the ones I’m supposed to love,
my enemies are men like me.
I will protest the sword if it’s not wielded well,
my enemies are men like me.

I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
Martin Luther King, Jr
Ezekiel 18:21-23

But suppose the wicked stop doing all the sins they have done and obey all my rules and do what is fair and right. Then they will surely live; they will not die. Their sins will be forgotten. Because they have done what is right, they will live.
I do not really want the wicked to die, says the Lord God. I want them to stop their bad ways and live.

Matthew 5:44
But I say to you, love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you. If you do this, you will be true children of your Father in Heaven.

I am thankful for Scriptures God gives us. I am thankful that I am not the one who decides who gets grace and who doesn't. I am thankful for our troops and their families, who have given up so much for my freedom.
But I am grieved by all the deaths and wars. I am grieved that people are rejoicing and happy over the death of one man. Something is wrong here. And something my husband brought up this morning cannot leave my heart: Americans rejoiced over the death of one man yesterday, and yet numerous orphans died alone yesterday, and many seem not to care.
Something is not right.....

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lisa Gungor - "Jesus And John"


So we were driving to Springfield the other day to take the kids to the zoo; and I forgot how many churches are on every corner. Living in Branson, you don't see too many churches, but instead theaters and restaurants on every corner.
I was going to count how many churches and how many different names we drove by but it started to make me sad and wonder. I wonder what God thinks of all the division we have among our churches? It makes me sad how we, as the people of God, argue and fight about silly things, how we leave one church to attend another that better fits our needs, how we assume church is even about us and our needs, how we constantly forget about the poor, the widows, the orphans and our brothers and sisters dying all around the world. It makes me sad how many church buildings and names we have out there, and still so many lost and dying, so many that have not heard the name of Jesus.

Oh how I wish we, as the church, the body of Christ, were more like this.

They spent their time learning the apostle's teachings, sharing, breaking bread, and praying together. The apostles were doing many miracles and signs, and everyone felt great respect for God. All the believers were together and shared everything. They would sell their land and the things they owned and then divide the money and give it to anyone who needed it. The believers met together in the temple every day. They ate together in their homes, happy to share their food with joyful hearts. They praised God and were liked by all the people. Every day the Lord added those who were being saved to the group of believers.
Acts 2:42-47
The group of believers were united in their hearts and spirit. All those in the group acted as though their private property belonged to everyone in the group. In fact, they shared everything. With great power the apostles were telling people that the Lord Jesus was truly raised from the dead. And God blessed all the believers very much. There were no needy people among them. From time to time those who owned fields or houses sold them, brought the money, and gave it to the apostles. Then the money was given to anyone who needed it.
Acts 4:32-35

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I often go back to our journeys the Lord took us on for our children. I kept journals for both of the kids during the whole adoption process and I read over those often to remind me how incredible God is and how He was at work in every moment of their adoptions. We have a chest full of special things for both Lyndlee and Gavin, special things from Ted and Bev, special things from the hospital when they were born, special gifts from their birth moms, treasures from their home country, etc. Lyndlee is just now at the age where she loves to look through all these things and she is so proud of every piece. We just looked through it this morning and her number one question was "How mom did I wear these pretty tiny shoes" Love that girly girl. She knows all these special things belong to her and that they are from Taiwan, the very place where she is from and where our hearts are always.
Last night memories were flooding in.......
My husband received a phone call from one of the boys who live at the Home of God's Love in Taiwan. It was during the wee hours of the morning so I first thought someone was hurt and I began to panic, thanks mom for passing that constant worry along! Then my heart raced as I thought I heard Ted's voice and I listened as my husband even talked to this person as if he was talking to Ted. But it wasn't Ted, and the sweet boy wanted to ask for prayer because he had a big test in school. Bless his heart, he probably didn't think about the time change, but we didn't mind.
So my mind has been going back.
It made me think back to the times when we got the special calls about our children. It made me go back to when we would call the Home, talk to Ted and Bev, hear that oh so precious nursery music they would play when transferring you to the baby room. Oh the joy of hearing updates on our babies, and then the precious staff would put the phone to our babies ears so we could speak to them, pray with them, hear them. Precious memories that will always stay forever in my heart. I still remember the day before Gavin's heart surgery and Bev put the phone to his ear so we could pray with him. I still remember hearing Lyndlee scream through the phone, she was well known for lungs there! I still remember meeting Lyndlee and Gavin for the first time, kissing their sweet faces, and not wanting to let them go. I still remember waking each morning in Taiwan and just wanting to be with them, hold them and feed them. So many memories.

Our Lyndlee Jya-Ying
We went on waiting list December 2005
born May 9, 2007
called May 25th, 2007
Adopted August 22, 2007
We received a picture of the sweet babies in Taiwan from friends who were adopting their boy from there. I remember in May 2007 taking that picture and emailing it to my best friend and asking her to pray along with me that this baby in the bright pink blanket named Jya-Ying Lin could be ours if that was the Lord's will. And so we prayed. May 25th, 2007 was just another day until my phone started ringing and that international number we knew well was on my phone. Our hearts raced as we picked up and Ted said he had a little girl for us, that her name was Jya-Ying. Wow, God you do amazing things! And so we heard the first news about our daughter that night and proceeded to call our friends and family to share the good news. The next day we received pictures of our sweet girl. I still remember getting those pictures, crying and falling in love with someone I didn't even know. But I knew she was my daughter and that the Lord brought us together as a family.

Our Gavin Pan
We went on waiting list April 2008
born June 9, 2009
called October 10, 2009
adopted January 21, 2010
June 2nd, 2009 we were stateside after serving a year in Haiti. And all though we had no plan or idea what we were doing, we knew the Lord was in control. I love the timing, that we came back June 2nd and that Gavin was born June 9th. God had His plan set in motion to bring Gavin into our family! We knew waiting and praying was the game and if God was going to bring us more children, it would be in His time and not our own. So we turned in our home study and were ready to wait. The Lord led us to a youth ministry in Branson, Mo. October 10th 2009, I remember this weekend well because my family was coming to town so we could all go to Silver Dollar City.
That Saturday morning we got an email from Ted, asking us to call. And to our surprise, they had a little baby boy they were hoping we would welcome into our family. Wow, again God you do amazing things! His name was Ding-Dung Pan. So we got to hear the first news of our son and share it with our family coming in for the weekend. I still remember my parents buying us ding dong hostess cakes as a joke, and my dad picking out a cute blue elephant that we ended up mailing to our sweet Gavin. And that next day we got pictures of our Gavin. And once again, I was in love with someone I hadn't even met but knew that he was my son and that the Lord brought us together as a family.

Oh God, you are an amazing God. Thank you for my sweet babies. Thank you for Ted and Bev and how they answered the call to go and love the people of Taiwan. They have blessed so many families, and so many children because they love you Lord.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Earth is Yours-Gungor

Your voice it thunders
The oaks start twisting
The forest sounds with cedars breaking
The waters see You and start their writhing
From the depths a song is rising

Now it’s rising from the ground

Holy, Holy
Holy, Holy Lord
The earth is Yours and singing
Holy, Holy
Holy, Holy Lord
The earth is Yours
The earth is Yours

Your voice it thunders
The ground is shaking
The mighty mountains now are trembling
Creation sees You
And starts composing
The fields and trees they start rejoicing.

Now it’s rising form the ground
It’s rising from the ground
Hear us crying out
Hear us crying out

Holy, Holy
Holy, Holy Lord
The earth is Yours and singing
Holy, Holy
Holy, Holy Lord
The earth is Yours
The earth is Yours

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

One Day Without Shoes-TOMS

So today one of my moms I babysit for, came in and asked if we had a dryer so that she could dry her baby's blanket that was still wet from washing it the night before. I said yes of course. And then my mind flashed back to so many friends/students in Haiti that I saw hand washing their clothes in dirty water because they didn't have washer, dryer, running water, electricity, etc. I think back to the times we had lost electricity there for 14 days, and hand washed our clothes and I was awful at that but it opened my eyes and taught me new things. While living there I thought, wow we are so spoiled. So today, I got to thinking again, wow I am so spoiled. Blessed but spoiled to have a washer and dryer. Blessed but spoiled to have a roof over my head, food in my belly, clothes on my body, shoes on my feet; when so many don't. Today is "One Day Without Shoes" and again I feel blessed but spoiled. I stay home with the kids, so going barefoot wasn't anything different until I walked to the mailbox. As the tiny rocks were going in my feet, I thought, I am spoiled to have the option to put shoes on my feet.
Brennan, Lyndlee and I are not wearing shoes today and I have been explaining to Lyndlee why we are doing this. And she understands. We watched a video that TOMS put on their website and she kept saying "How sad mommy, kids don't have shoes" I love her heart.
I have a closet full of shoes I don't even wear. Why I am blessed and spoiled, when others are hurting and have aching & hurting feet?

I really admire Blake Mycoskie and his determination to help others be able to have shoes.
Founder Black Mycoskie stated that, “Giving is what fuels us. Giving is our future. It’s the core of our business and it’s time we celebrate it.” And that’s just what they are doing. The results, the way in which Toms Shoes has made a difference, it’s pretty impressive. In their first “Giving Report” (for 2010), they have reported that they have given over 1,000,000 shoes to children in need all over the world from Haiti to Ethopia to El Salvador to right here in the United States.
By Sunny Channel

So today my prayers are that I am thankful, I truly am grateful for all that God has given me. But I desire less in my life, meaning less things, less material things, less shoes for the whole purpose of giving more. I want to give to others in need, to love others always, to show them Jesus' love. And I want to teach my children to do the same. And it can start with no shoes today to help raise awareness.......

TOMS One Day Without Shoes 2011 - Will You Join Us? - Song "One Day" by ...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Here is a picture of my sweet mother and grandma, love them.
And grandma (my mom) bought her Lyndlee a tutu. So of course Lyndlee wore it to church today. I love my sweet girl.

Past Weekend

I can't believe that my little sister went to her prom this past weekend. She looked beautiful and I was so blessed to be apart of the big night. She has such a sweet loving heart, I am constantly encouraged by her love for others and for the Lord. She may be a teenager to others, although to me, she is so mature and acts like an adult :) She wore toms with her dress, how cool is that :)
I love my sweet sisters and my mother, they are so beautiful inside and out. We went on a road trip this weekend to visit my sweet grandma. She has so many health issues going on and yet she still thinks of others first. This lady has taken care of so many people throughout her life and the time when she deserves help from others, she still thinks of how to serve others. It was hard to see her so frail but her faith and love in the Savior shines through! Something she said has stuck with me since we left last night. She said, "This is her new normal now, it may not be the best; but it is just fine with her"
Wow. Again, this lady is such a servant, such a loving kind hearted woman of the Lord. I know why my mother portrays all this traits as well and I pray that I too can model after these great women the Lord has placed into my life.