Sunday, May 29, 2016

Time to fly.

This has been on my heart for months now.  Time to fly.

In fact, I bought a custom made bracelet with one of my favorite quotes on it...ending with "but what if I fall? Oh but my darling...what if you fly?"

I've learned in my life that each lesson I'm learning...someone else is often learning. Though the circumstance may be very very different...we are all learning from each other.

We made a sudden, impromptu decision to go to the Oregon coast for a few days.  For those that have followed our journey, you know this is a very emotional place for me. I can't quite put my finger on it...but there's something special there.

The roar, majesty, vigor of the ocean in THAT spot trumps all others for me.  It's just...loud. And powerful.  And when you have hard things in your's louder than all of those things.  All of them. And somehow in it's brings peace.

We were walking along the beach on day one and Izrael Promise said "mommy...? Can I go play with the birds?" not giving it a second thought, I said "yes go ahead!" fully assuming she was going to run to where they were and they would all fly away. And ... that that would be her intent.

What I saw however...left me spell bound.

She didn't chase them away.  She ran to them...and began to "fly".

To say this was emotional for me...was an understatement.

As we were leaving the beach, a lady approached Izrael and I with a pink kite. She said someone gave it to them and they wanted to give it to us.  What a perfect way to end that day.  Yes. The gift of a kite was something much deeper than it appeared.

It's time to fly.

For me. 

Izrael Promise.

And you.

Monday, May 23, 2016


This says it all perfectly.

Every word.

"Tell Your Heart To Beat Again"

You're shattered
Like you've never been before
The life you knew
In a thousand pieces on the floor
And words fall short in times like these
When this world drives you to your knees
You think you're never gonna get back
To the you that used to be

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday's a closing door
You don't live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you've been
And tell your heart to beat again

Just let that word wash over you
It's alright now
Love's healing hands have pulled you through
So get back up, take step one
Leave the darkness, feel the sun
Cause your story's far from over
And your journey's just begun

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday's a closing door
You don't live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you've been
And tell your heart to beat again

Let every heartbreak
And every scar
Be a picture that reminds you
Who has carried you this far
'Cause love sees farther than you ever could
In this moment heaven's working
Everything for your good

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday's a closing door
You don't live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you've been
And tell your heart to beat again
Your heart to beat again
Beat again

Oh, so tell your heart to beat again

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The gifts.

Last week, someone that I don't even know, spoke wisdom into my life.

She said "Janice...promise me something. Promise me you will look for the gifts along this journey.  There are so many gifts...and if you don't look for them, you will miss them."

That random thought from a near-stranger shifted my focus every single day that followed.

Every single hard, gut-wrenching day.


You see what you look for. There is no question.

We have been looking for gifts and we have found them. Every single day. In often...the most unlikely of places.

It's been so wonderful for us to even tell the people who were the gift to our hearts that day.

I don't know what you are going through. And I don't know what we are going through.  But someday when you find will wonder how we breathed our way through it. I promise.  Hard up until now... has been merely 'not great' in comparison.

I am here to tell a living survivor...that there are gifts along the way.  Gifts that if you don't look for them ... you will miss them.  This has made us intentional. Focused on what matters.  Searching for joy.  Searching for gifts.

And finding them.

Beautiful...heart felt gifts. That, yes, I can truly say....we would have never ever experienced if it weren't for this dark path we are on.

I have woken in the middle of the night with one line from one of my favorite songs in my head.  So loud I have wished I could shut it off. Yet...grateful that I couldn't. Because it needed to be that loud.

From Diamonds by Hawk Nelson....that one line "it's here in the ashes....I'm finding treasure..."

I can say with every fiber of my's true.

It's so true.

Here in the broken ruins of this mess .... there is treasure. And it's so beautiful.

I am choosing to share a vague way...yes, I know.  It is vague but someday you will see the rest of the story.  I'm sharing it while I'm in it...because I'm not the only one.  You are in the hard too. I know...because I have received so many emails and private messages thanking me for encouraging you in your hard. That's the magic.  In the depths of despair...we can still offer hope to others.

Please...promise me something.  Just one thing.

Look for the gifts. Because there are so many gifts along this journey you are on. And if you don't look for will miss them.  There is treasure in these broken ruins.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The hard.

As many of you know, one of the mantras in our family is "I can do hard things."

We all have our hard.  Your situation is your situation and when you are in the thick of's as hard as you can handle and you find yourself deep breathing through it.

Have you ever noticed that it's all about perspective?  That moment when the 'real hard' hits and you suddenly realize up until this point, all the 'hard' was a cake walk in comparison...?

Ever been there?

That's where we are right now.

Hard? We haven't seen hard before now.  Well, yes...we have. But now that we are in this haven't.

Some wisdom from the hardest of hard...

~everything you are sure you could never survive...? You can.  When surviving is really your only choice.  You can.

~your heart will keep beating even when you are convinced it cannot possibly.

~when you are at your weakest...and have no strength left to rely can tangibly feel the presence of God Himself.

~you can cry all night long and get up and be productive the next day.

~you are a fighter.  You are.  Like you've never known someone to be.

~in the hardest of will see you are never alone. Millions have walked this path before you. Tragically.  And suddenly you become like family. You have a bond that forever connects you to those who survived a similar hard.

~when people rally to pray for you, something magical happens.  You suddenly seem stronger. More capable to carry on.  Almost like Someone steps in and holds you.

~if you listen closely, you will hear messages of hope. From the most unlikely sources.  Sometimes giving you just enough to keep you breathing.

~you will be ok.

~He really does work ALL things for good to them that love Him. All things. Even the horribly ugly, painful, impossibly hard things.  All things.

~trust that still small voice. Just do.

Don't worry about us. Please don't.  We are ok. Pray for us...absolutely. But don't worry.  God is always good and He has never ever abandoned us.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Storm.

The storm.

That's where I am right now.  The winds are vicious. The waves are making me shake.  Every question is screaming in my brain.  All the 'what ifs'. Everything.





No this isn't about ZhenAi.  No this isn't our marriage.  This is about one of our adopted children.  Their past has surfaced for the first time and is a storm.

And if you were would see little sign of it.

The turmoil is on the inside.  The panic surfaces when all the little people said "amen" one last time at the end of the day, had their foreheads kissed, their blankets tucked in tight...and the lights turned off. happens.

Am I equipped for this battle? Can I do this?  This...?

This morning in church we talked about the storm.

You know. The story we all know so well. That storm. The storm when the disciples were in the boat.  And they were freaking out and then to top it off they thought they saw a spirit walking on the water. was Jesus.  Of course He showed up.  He always does. In fact...He promises never to leave.

And today it was brought out that He calmed the turmoil of their minds and hearts before the wind and sea.  Hmmm.  Yes.  This was a moment for me.  He wants to calm our hearts...our fears...our anxieties before He touches our circumstance.

Then there was that moment of Peter in bold faith...following Jesus' "come" and steps out off the boat...and walks on water.

He did!  Until...

Until he saw the wind.

My mind went racing to this storm we are in right now.  Oh God has been so present in this story. It's His story. I've always said that.  He clearly.  Each time.  Each child. We answered.

And now ... this? What...? Why...? I can't! I simply...cannot.

And everything inside me is questioning everything I absolutely know to be true.

You called us here...? To this...? You really think we can do this...?

As my husband sits beside me with no fear. No anxiety. He looks at me and says "this child is in the right family, Janice.  This is where they should be and we are going to do everything we can to help him.  God has not left us. He's here. He knew we would be here...and He's here".  Even here.

The storm.

Have you ever noticed in your life...not in some fancy little christian cliche but in the darkest storm of your life ... when your faith is tested beyond it's get to know your God like you didn't know was possible this side of Heaven? When comfort and peace are the furthest from any natural part of the process ... and yet you experience it...?

Three nights ago I had a dream. A dream that I went to the mailbox on a dark day where I was questioning everything...and there was an envelope. No note. Just an envelope with a check folded inside.  I opened it to see a large amount.  Then I woke.  What was that all about? No explanation. Just random. A random silly dream.

It was just that. Until yesterday. I stopped at the mailbox and saw a small envelope in there.  It looked empty.  I opened it to see a folded note. A check. For the exact amount that it was in the dream.  I have gone to look at this in my purse about 15 times since then to see if I dreamt the entire thing.  Was it a dream? A ghost on the water?

No.  Jesus in my storm.

The most silent of whispers.  Just letting me know...He's there.  He's here.  In this storm.

We ended the message this morning with this song.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Oh, Jesus, you're my God!

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine