Monday, March 25, 2013

Summit9 - Christian Alliance for Orphans

Brian and I are planning on attending this year's Summit 9 in Nashville, TN.

“I am writing this post as part of the Summit 9 Blogger Giveaway. Check out all the details at

Seeing as this conference will cost $350 for Brian and I to attend we are praying we win this giveaway!

This is what I am really excited about:


George Dennehy - "People are surprised by his life story, including his brush with death in a Romanian orphanage, and his adoption by his U.S. family at the age of one." His is one amazingly talented young man. "Because he was born without arms, he sings and plays music from his heart using his feet."

David Platt - An amazing, truth speaking pastor, author of Radical and an adoptive parent. His church took the command to care for the orphans literally and all the children in his county found a home within his church family, amazing! Brian and I are reading his new book, Follow Me, now.

Bishop W.C. Martin - "The Martin's share a roadmap to social transformation by demonstrating how his tiny church adopted and forever changed the destiny of 73 at risk children."


Building Church Orphan Ministry 101: Launching Your Ministry by Paul Pennington and Jason Weber, Hope for Orphans
Biblical Counseling and a Successful Orphan Care Ministry by Daniel Bennett, Bethany Community Church
Building Church Orphan Ministry 201: Foster Care by Bruce Kendrick, Embrace Texas

Time to Man Up for the Fatherless by Lonnie Clouse, Back 2 Back Ministries

Say Yes to Special Needs by Emily House, All God’s Children International

The Church as an Alternative to Foster Care: How Churches Can Change Lives and Systems Across America by David Anderson, Lydia Home

Our heart:

I hope through the hearts of the speakers and titles of the workshops you can see what we are truly excited about!

Jesus' love for the orphans, the fatherless, the helpless and weak!

Brian and I have such a heart for fostercare and adoption. We know that God gave the church, not the state, the responsibility to care for the orphaned and the hurting. We should have churches across the nation over-flowing with foster and adoptive families. How beautiful would it be if our pews were filled with children of all ethnicities and nationalities. What a joy when people stop us and say, "why? why are you doing this? why do you care?" So that we can reply "because this is Jesus' heart, therefore it is ours!"

Is sharing the gospel a "calling"? No. Quite clearly it is a command, as Christians we ARE to spread the good news! So is caring for the orphan and needy a "calling"? The defenseless, the powerless, the helpless, the needy, the orphan are on God's heart. God tells us we get a new heart as Christians and therfore we have His heart! As Christians it should be our ultimate mission to spread the gospel and provide care for the needy! Why? Because the state that the lost and the orphan are currently in BREAKS our Father's heart so it BREAKS ours!

Brian and I want see orphan ministries started in our church, in our county's churches, in our state's churches, in our country's churches! We want to see the gospel spread and His children cared for!
We want to attend this conference, listen, learn, read and GROW and conform more and more to His image!

"We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18


UPDATE 4/2/13:

Although we didn't win this contest and a free registration, over the past week $600 in anonymous gifts were given to us through our church! PRAISE GOD! We are officially registered, have a sitter for the 5 blessings and are GOING to Summit9!!!
Posted by Shannon
Soli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lesson in Love. Mommy Paycheck.

So I had the sweetest melt-a-mama's-heart moment today at the public library. So I have five kids right? and libraries are supposed to be quiet, right? Just checking. This library was not quiet. While Risa and I are digging through shelves in search of books on George Washington and Paul Revere I am literally being hopped over like an obstacle at an agility competition. Three girls were playing tag up and down the aisles, squeezing and screaming past my double stroller full of sleeping babies. If it happened a third time I swore I would use my merit as a fellow parent to speak up and tell these girls how to behave in a library or at least tell them to just pick a different aisle to torture.

Apparently another girl wanted to steal the show from the tag-players because the whole library was suddenly ablaze with the sound of a 4 year old's
 demands. "I WILL NOT LEAVE. IF YOU LEAVE I WILL STAY HERE BY MYSELF!" said 4yo to her soft-spoken mother. I could hear her stomping from afar, I turned the corner to get a better view at the action (the first thing I thought was "that woman has her hands full". How ironic). The girl was quiet now, maybe the mother got her under control, but I couldn't see the mother anywhere. Then I see this little hooligan at the same table as my daughter, Mirabel. I was expecting the girl to want something of Mirabel's and start screaming for that too but what I found caught me completely off guard. It was Mirabel that had approached this little girl and as I got close enough to hear the whispers I heard Mirabel, "sweetheart, it is good to obey your mother. She wants the best for you and God tells us to obey our parents. You should really try to obey your mom." I cried later telling Brian about the shining light his daughter was today. This girl, MY girl counseling this (in my mind at that time) unworthy child to obey. What a sweet mommy paycheck and God praising moment.

So the little girl obeyed and went home happy. The End. I wish it was a happy ending, no this was Mirabel's first life lesson in "sowing seeds, some fell by the road" (Matthew 13:3-23). The little girl then went up to her mother, mother kneeled down ready for the happy ending, little girl shoved her finger in her mom's face and screamed, "I WILL NOT OBEY YOU, I WANT YOU TO OBEY ME! WE ARE STAYING." So they stayed and weary mommy took little girl in her lap and read more and more books. A happy ending.

But is it? Is a self-seeking, self-serving, self-loving child really ever happy? Even my kids later in the car were expressing their concern that this child did not get disciplined and therefore is stuck on a self-righteous road leading to destruction. They have personally walked that road of tantrums, selfishness and anger they know it well. It isn't fun. It isn't happy.

Is is love to let our kids free from any boundaries or constraints of expectations? It is the absolute opposite of love. Love draws us close and keeps us there. Love, like a shepherd keeps us from wandering. Love like a master keeps a close eye on us in order to reward. Love disciplines us when we stray from the path that leads to life. Love died for us. He paid the fine for every moment we don't want to obey, for every crime we commit. He stepped in our place, took the punishment we deserved. He paid the penalty in full, although He had never committed even one crime. Love lives. He defeated death and rose again. He sends His helper and lives in and through us today.

Jesus is Love.

"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, as offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks." Ephesians 5:1-4

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be
Let Thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above
----Come Thou Fount

Posted by Shannon
Soli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Hope Fixed

So it has been a little over 3 years since Brian and I forsook all forms of contraception and have done anything to prevent conception. Well, NEWS FLASH, I have not gotten pregnant. Now, know that our lives don't revolve around "trying", we have chosen not to use any type of fertility aids or treatments, nor am I filled with grief (I have 5 blessed distractions to keep me from that), yet I still have a "hope fixed" that the day will come that we will conceive a child.

"And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure." 1 John 3:3 (speaking of Jesus' 2nd coming). The word used in that verse is qavah.


Qavah in Hebrew means to look for, hope, expect, or to wait/look eagerly for.

That is also the same word used in the Isaiah 40:31 verse:
"Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

We are not just to wait for Jesus coming like waiting in line for two hours in the FL heat for a Disney ride, but we are to wait like when I look eagerly for the conception of our firstborn child.

That really hit me this week during my study of 2 Peter 3. How do I wait?

I feel sure God will allow me to become pregnant so I am on the alert, always noticing small changes in my body, there have even been some months I would have bet money on my being pregnant. But the truth is I don't know the hour it will happen or if it will happen during my lifetime. I still eagerly take part in that monthly waiting game, waiting to see if this month is the month of a coming baby!

In Peter's 2nd letter, he spends the first 10 verses of the 3rd chapter explaining the surety of Jesus' 2nd coming. In Matthew 24, Luke 12, and 1 Thessalonians 5 we are told to be on the alert, prepared, for Jesus will come like a thief in the night, no one knows the day or hour.

In both Luke 17 and Matthew 24 Jesus' 2nd coming is compared to the flood of Noah "For as in those days before the flood they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all." And likened also to the the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Luke 17:28-29, "It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; 29 but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all."

So we aren't to "eat, drink and be merry; for tomorrow we die"? The very opposite! We are to be on ALERT!

It's funny on months that I think for sure I am pregnant I begin to change things as I wait until I can test. I cut down my caffeine intake to only one 12oz cup of coffee a day. I skip on taking meds for a headache or cold. I eat healthier and I am less easily stressed. My hope fixed in things to come shape my behavior to be the perfect nest for a growing life.


Reality check! How does my hope fixed on Jesus' coming shape my behavior?

After Peter, in his 2 letter, reminds us of the surety of Jesus coming he uses the rest of the 3rd chapter to explain how we should be living if we believe that promise. As Christians we are looking for, qavah, eagerly waiting the new heavens and new earth in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13).
Peter writes in verse 14, "Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things":

Be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless (v.14)

Regard the patience of the Lord as salvation (v.15)

Knowing some distort scriptures, be on guard, so that you are not carried away by error of unprincipled men (v.16-17)

Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (v.18)

We are to be ones who consistently practice these things as we eagerly wait! "so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints." 1 Thessalonians 3:13.


Just as my hope fixed on a baby makes me change my behaviors and purify my body, "And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure." 1 John 3:3.

P.S.  I remember packing for our most recent trip in the RV this week and it made me think, I put SO much preparation in going over the list, laying everything I need out, going over the list again with a highlighter, and double-checking everything is accounted for as I load it up. If I spend so much thought and energy studying the list and being diligent to not forget anything so that all is found completely packed for a 4 day trip to the mountains, why do I think that a trip to heaven is any different?

Am I being like the New Testament tells us to be: actively studying God's word and storing up His truth so we grow, ALERT and discerning of false teachers of distorted truth, and being diligent to walk in Him, being found holy and blameless when He comes?

 How is Jesus coming making you prepare for the trip?

Posted by Shannon
Soli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Let it Snow! Answered Prayer!

Our one goal for this mini trip was to see SNOW! The kids have never seen it and really really wanted to.

So we let me first tell you how awesome my hubby is! After a waking up at 8am Friday morning, then working a 10 hour shift he drove ALL night, from 10pm-7am, to get us to TN by Saturday morning! The weather forecast was only predicting snow on Saturday and this man wanted his kids to see some snow!


We woke up surprised to see daddy still driving and urged him nap. We quietly passed time letting daddy get some sleep. He wouldn't sleep more than 3 hours so that we get on with some fun!


 No snow yet, so we went on with our plans going first to the Mayfield Dairy Factory!


Our lovely Mirabel is often behind the camera as she is gifted and truly has a passion for photography! After witnessing how we get our neatly packaged milk and ice cream at the grocery store, we got to taste it! 

Next stop was Sweetwater Valley Farm to see how the milk gets from cow to the factory. Mirabel somehow forgot to pack shoes for the trip, so her only option was to go through the tours in her church heels, LOL. It was cold but we still hadn't seen snow...


The tours were cancelled for the day due to the cold and melted snow that caused mud all over the farm but that didn't stop us from eating and buying lots of cheese! We were really starting to think we had missed the snow, but were determined to find it even if we had to hike the tallest mountain!

After a pit stop for shoes and dinner and driving around Knoxville and Pigeon Forge we were sure we had missed any chance of seeing snow. We hadn't seen any yet and the weather forecast was sunny for the next couple days. Game over! We had a hard time finding a RV park to stay at for the night due to most shut down for the winter season and reopen in the springtime. After calling 12 different ones that were all closed we found one 11 miles past Gatlinburg, TN. It was farther out than we wished but seemed to have a lot of amenities to keep us entertained due to our lack of snow fun that we had hoped for.

Well, during the last 2 miles of a long dark road, to what seemed the middle of nowhere, we started to see a white gleam in the headlights. Turns out God can answer even the smallest of prayers, "Please let us see snow" in an over-abundant way! 


We didn't just see snow falling, we saw a white blanket of snow that covered everything! 


We didn't just see snow, we played in it, threw it, built snowmen, and made snow angels!


It is crazy that you can see not a flake of snow then 2 miles away have 3 inches on the ground! Was it a miracle? Well, let's say in these three kids mind it was! An answered prayer for sure!!!

God is so awesome and big! God is so faithful and kind! God is all-knowing and has completely weaved our lives and experiences together, we are just traveling along the super fun journey we call life! Isn't it crazy that God loves us so much He would give us more blessings than the gift of His only Son! We deserve nothing beautiful in this fallen world yet get nothing but beauty! Beautiful Savior, beautiful cross, beautiful SNOW!!!

Posted by Shannon
Soli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone