Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The ONLY Resolution you need to make!

In 2008, I resolve to . . . .

What did you resolve to do in 2008? Did you write it down? Make a list? Was it longer than your grocery list? Did you make any resolutions or goals at all?

In years past I have had goals and resolution lists longer than the Constitution and all it's amendments. . . . . ok . . . maybe not quite that long . . . but close! And each year I felt like a big fat loser in looking at how many resolutions and goals I actually kept or obtained in the 12 months God gave me that year. So last year I decided to do things differently. . . .

I didn't make any goals or resolutions! I figured - if you don't make 'em, you won't fail at keeping them! :)

It worked! :) I am happy to report that I didn't fail at keeping any sort of resolutions this year. And I am still the same weight as last year, my house is just as messy, I saw the same amount of friends, and my spending habits didn't change. :)

Is that good? . . . . yes and no.

I do have to say though - it is nice to not feel like a failure at the end of the year. :) But I also would have loved to have felt a little toner, had a few more dollars in my savings account, seen a few more friends, and had my house a little cleaner (but not done by me! hee,hee) - amongst other things.

However, God has been teaching me a lot the past couple years about learning to just "BE". Be in- the moment, the situation, the day, the presence of friends or family, the happiness, the sadness, the good times and bad, etc.

And above all - He has been reiterating to me the importance of the only resolution and goal I ever need to have - not just each Jan. 1st - but every day -

Matthew 6:33 - "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

as well as . . .

Matthew 22:
36-40 - "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

My only goal and resolution in 2009 and everyday of my life is to be a Lover of God - to seek Him first - His kingdom and His righteousness - and let Him take care of the rest! He can do it! He does it all the time! We just have to trust Him to follow through with His promises when we follow through with ours!

If I am loving God with all my heart - the rest will come . . . I will love myself more (because I will know WHO I am in Christ and how God sees me) - which may lead to taking care of myself more - toning up the gravity-induced sagging areas, resting more, etc. It will lead to loving others more (as I have learned to love myself) - so more time will be spent with family and friends. It will lead to a more balanced approach to how I spend my money (which I've done fairly well at - but there's ALWAYS room for improvement!). It may even lead to a cleaner house . . . . . maybe . . . maybe not. :) It may just take off the stress that I feel about it - realizing that people and God are so much more important than a clean house!! A friend may pass away tomorrow . . . but the messes never will!! They will only continue! So . . . choose people over cleaning any day! That's my philosophy! :) (so - come visit me . . . but expect to be able to write me a note in the dust on my furniture! . . . . ok . . . it's not always that bad!)

I hope you have a wonderful New Year's Eve and New Year's Day!

I know that God LOVES new beginnings! He invented them! If 2008 hasn't been the best year for you . . . look forward with anticipation to a new beginning in 2009! Seek God first and foremost - and you can't go wrong!! Give Him your worries, your resolutions, your goals and ask Him for His! They are always MUCH better than anything we could dream up!!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Return to Sender - Final news!

Well - check it out on the ACLJ's website!!

We will "not be prohibited" from passing out our candy canes this year! It only took the school's lawyers a year to get back to us! :) But at least they came to the right decision. I would still love to see some sort of memo or information sent out to the staff, administration and teachers of the schools here to let them know just what the Constitution (and their own school policies) says about their students rights to express their religious views, etc. But for now - I'll take this. :) We will be passing out our candy canes tomorrow!

For those of you that do not know what happened - please read my previous posts:

Return to Sender
Return to Sender - Part 2
One Nation under God & Return to Sender update
Signed Retainer . . . . will win! (R to S update)

And for another Christmas post - Happy Holi-Hanua-Kwanza

Merry CHRISTmas!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mom's Christmas Wish List

I'm not sure who wrote this, but I love it! As a mom (or dad) I'm sure most of us can relate!

Dear Santa,

I've been a good mom all year.

I've fed, cleaned and cuddled my children on demand, visited the doctor's office more than my doctor, sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground and figured
out how to attach nine patches onto my son's boy scout uniform with staples and a glue gun.

I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son's red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles, and who knows when I'll find anymore free time in the next 18 years.

Here are my Christmas wishes:

I'd like a pair of legs that don't ache (in any color, except purple, which I already have)and arms that don't hurt or flap in the breeze; but are strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy aisle in the grocery store.

I'd also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy.

If you're hauling big ticket items this year I'd like fingerprint
resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music; a television that doesn't broadcast any programs containing talking animals; and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.

On the practical side, I could use a talking doll that says, "Yes, Mommy" to boost my parental confidence, along with two kids who don't fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools.

I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting "Don't eat in the living room" and "Take your hands off your brother," because my voice seems to be just out of my children's hearing range and can only be heard by the dog.

If it's too late to find any of these products, I'd settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container.

If you don't mind, I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season.

Would it be too much trouble to
declare ketchup a vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely.

It would be helpful if you could
coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family.

Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is ringing and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door.

I think he wants his crayon

Have a safe trip and remember
to leave your wet boots by the door and come in and dry off so you don't catch cold.

Help yourself to cookies on the
table but don't eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet.

Yours Always, MOM...!

As funny as this is - many times we come to God with our own "laundry list" - especially during the holidays with all the stress, tight budgets, family get-togethers (or encounters!) and all the over stimulation.

Let me ask you a question. When was the last time you gave your husband, friend or child a list of requests (or a "honey-do" list) for/on their birthday?

Have you done it to Jesus?

This year - instead of coming to God with all you need, want or desire (which He already knows about anyways!) - why not come to Him to just BE with Him - to enjoy His company - His presence - and to celebrate His birth on Earth and all that HE has already done for you - for me - for mankind! We have so much to be thankful for - despite (or because of) the daily craziness at our homes!

Let this season be one filled with thanksgiving, joy and giving (of yourself, your time and love) instead of grumbling, complaining, busyness, stress, depression and all your wants, needs and desires.

Merry CHRISTmas!!

Luke 2:10-11
But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."

P.S. -

What does God desire of YOU this Christmas? . . . What present does He want from You?

Just YOU!

But I'm warning you . . . . He wants ALL of you! Are you ready to give it all?!

I hope so. :) . . . . It's worth it!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Santa Baby

Ok - I just died laughing tonight!!!

My 13 year old son Tyler and I were in the kitchen together as he was making juice and I was doing the laundry. As usual, I had music from the radio playing . . . .Christmas music of course! The fun and cute song - Santa Baby - came on. This is the convesation that ensued. Let me preface it by saying that my son has Asperger's and sees things very literally and from a point of view I would never expect!

Ty - "Mom . . . is this song being sung by Mrs. Claus?"
Me - "What? . . . .No . . .I don't think so."
Ty - "It's not? Then who is singing?"
Me - "I guess it's someone else."
Ty - "Well if it's not Mrs. Claus, then it's adultery."

LOL!!!!!!!!!! :)

Me - "Well Ty . . . I guess it could be Mrs. Claus wanting her hubby to hurry and come home after passing out the presents to the kids." :) (she probably has a wish list too!)

I couldn't stop laughing!!

I needed a good laugh . . . but now I'll never be able to listen to that song again without chuckling! :)

Here's an older version of it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tragedy in Adopting

I have to share this with you all. I am sitting here snuggling with my little Guatemalan girl - crying and trying to explain this all to her - all the while, grateful that I have the chance to snuggle with her!

My good friend Kelly (who I met through my adoption agency . . . we both have similar families and adopted about the same time) posted some info on her blog about a friend's adoption from Guatemala - of little Josi. She was just about to come home (after over a year waiting) - but was just found murdered in a home invasion (along with the foster family). :( Kelly has posted the info and a link to help raise money to help cover the remaining costs THEY STILL HAVE TO PAY in their adoption ($13,000) - that will never be completed. :(

Thanks for praying for them! I can't even imagine their grief! I just read the book "The Shack" and that has helped somewhat to put a different perspective on all of this. You want to just go into the "why's" and the "if only's" and the "what if's" . . . what if they had gotten through PGN or other parts of their adoption sooner, what if they had gone down to foster her themselves, what if . . . .why . . . why . . . why?? They literally were only a couple weeks from picking her up. They had just gotten her new birth certificate in GT and were just waiting for their pink slip saying they could come down to get her and her visa!! What a sad c-mas it will be at their house. :(

Here's my friend Kelly's blog

Here is the Azhderian family's blog
(there a video on here about Josi . . . grab your tissues first!)

Here's where you can donate through ChipIn

Please pass on this info to those you know who can pray for them or bless them financially with the rest of their adoption costs.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I Feel Like A Parent!

I’m not sure I will ever get any grandkids! No – I am not old enough to be a grandmother . . . yet . . . thankfully! Nor are my kids old enough to produce any for me (PTL!), but I’m starting to wonder if any of my children will want to reproduce and take on the job of parenting.

One day my 12 year old son came up to me in the kitchen. He was moping around, and with a big sigh said, “I feel like a parent”.

Hunh? “What do you mean you feel like a parent?” I asked him, a bit confused.

His classic response . . . “I’m just not handling life well right now.”

Oh boy. Besides the great urge to giggle at that statement, I was suddenly saddened to think that the only way he would correlate the two – being a parent and not handling life well – is that someone was showing him that – living it out, or saying it to him frequently. . . . . hmmmm . . . . . must have been his father! :) hee,hee.

Ok, ok. I’m sure it was me (too). I know it was me. I know that there are many days that I am not handling life very well. Parenting is hard. No one really tells you that before you have kids. I swear, the second I got a boyfriend the question was “is he ‘The One’?”. When we were engaged, it was “When are you getting married?” As soon as we tied the knot we heard “So, when are you going to have kids?” And, of course, after baby number one pops out, everyone wants to know “Are you having any more kids? . . . . .When? . . . . So, do you want a girl next time? . . . . How are things going with being a mommy? Don’t you just LOVE it?”

When my first son was 3 days old I was asked that question – “Don’t you just love being a mommy?” My candid and shockingly honest response was “No. I just want to sleep for about 3 days and THEN I think I might like it!” I was exhausted. I hadn’t slept for days. I had just birthed a bowling ball after 30 hours of panting and counting and rocking and swaying, in addition to a hallucinogenic drug, a needle in the back, more pain as it felt like I was passing the biggest bowel movement of my life, and then later on - someone sucking the life out of my breasts! And then there was the little fact no one told me about - that I would have to deal with things leaking from several places on my body (some of which had never had anything leaking from them before) – and not knowing which to take care of first as I was getting out of the shower each day – dripping . . . sore . . . exhausted . . . engorged . . . emotionally unstable . . . . . You get the picture? :) Have you been there?

I sat on the bed and started crying one morning . . . for no reason at all. I was stressing over the fact that I was never going to get the hang of breastfeeding, much less everything else a new baby brings . . . baths, what to do when they are sick, how to get out the door in less than 3 hours in the morning, how to pump my breasts so they don’t explode when it was time to go back to work, when to start feeding him “real” food . . . . . . and on and on and on. I probably continued with the fears and worries all the way up to where we would send him to college! My darling husband sat at my bedside with his arm around me and said – “Don’t worry honey. I will take care of it. You just focus on breastfeeding and I will do the rest.” I knew that wasn’t entirely true – but at the time, I took the lifeline he was throwing me! It did calm me down.

Now – four additional kids later, and I still have my weepy days, my days where I, too, cry out to God and say “I feel like a parent! . . . . I’m not handling life very well today!” But, I’ve learned over the years to not end it there – to not continue in my slobbery pity party wondering how and why I ever got into this “job” in the first place. My next response is always “God help me! :) I CHOOSE to accept your supernatural strength, energy, wisdom, peace and love today! I give you all of myself (take it – it’s yours!), and I choose to take all of you!” There were years when the kids were really young and I was still quite sleep deprived, that my saving grace was making sure to say this right after my eyes opened in the morning and before my feet hit the floor - “Help me to be a good mother and wife today. I choose to accept your supernatural strength and energy today!” And do you know what? . . . . . God DID help me. I am still here today! I’m still (somewhat) sane. My kids are still all alive and healthy (and mostly unharmed . . . emotionally :). ). And the great thing is – in the areas that I have totally messed up as a mother – God can restore and fix things! I know it’s not the easiest way to do it (it’s much better to do it right the first time), but don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t do it right the first time. There is power in prayer, and if your kids are still young – you still have a lot of time to make it right!

I do have to say that there is a glimmer of hope that I will actually have grandkids one day. My adopted daughter (who came into our family last year when she was 3 and a half – after God had done some desparate work on our parenting skills!!) is always saying that when she grows up she wants to be . . . “A mommy”! That is her passion and her greatest desire! . . . Oh yeah – and at times she says she wants to be a teacher. “Can I be a teacher AND a mommy?” she asked one day. Of course honey! “Well – I want to be a Mommy FIRST and THEN a teacher!” She definitely has the right attitude about how the statement “I feel like a parent” should be . . . full of joy and anticipation – that it is the greatest job anyone could ever have!

And it truly is!

Monday, November 3, 2008

22 Weeks

Please see my other blog - Drink from the Deep - to see the trailer for this movie based on a true story of one woman's experience with delivering her baby alive during an abortion at 22 weeks. I hope and pray that you are able to see the movie too! Demand a screening in your area (see the link on the right of this blog).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Born Alive

Amazing! Take the time to watch this!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I know how you feel

I couldn't decide which blog to put this on as it relates to mothering, but really is also a word for the church - for me and my brothers and sisters in Christ. Please go to my other blog Drink from the Deep to read it. Be encouraged and be challened today. Above all . . . go deeper!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Out of the mouth of babes!

I just had to share this! This was an email from my sister-in-law with her daughter (my niece).

Out of the mouth of babes!

Last night, I was reading through one of my theology books (Karl Barth's - God Here And Now) and Gracie was snacking at the table across from me. She paused and asked me what I was reading and if I would read it to her:

Mommy: "Oh, it's a book about God - for grownups. You wouldn't understand it. You'll have to wait until you grow up a little bit more."

Gracie: "Don't you remember that story you told me about the mommies who took their babies to see Jesus and they wanted Him to pray for them and He said, 'Let the little children come to Me'?'"

Mommy: "Yes."

Gracie: "Well? Are you going to read that book to me now?"

I was speechless.

We tend to forget that our kids are like sponges - they haven't had the chance to feel "dried up" . . they are like new sponges - ready to soak up and hold more than we can imagine. Without you even knowing it you are already pouring into their little sponge minds. My question for you is . . .

What are you pouring into it?

I need to do a deeper examination here today.

Our kids have more faith than we do many times. So give them the truth of God - not watered down - but the truth of God's love, healing power, forgiveness, and more! They won't doubt like we do. Point out God's word in action - ie. answers to prayers, blessings, protection, etc. You will be pouring the best "water" into them to give them LIFE . . and life more abundantly! :) ( I love it when my kids point out to me the ways God took care of them or blessed them during the day! Their eyes and ears are being trained to "see" and "hear" God!)

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."
Proverbs 22:6

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Drink from the Deep

I just wanted to let you know that I have finally started a new blog (YES - another one!) that I have felt like I was supposed to start for awhile. It's called "Drink from the Deep". God has been telling me to "say what I tell you to say Lori". So I am. I'm not sure what all will be on the site . . . just whatever God wants me to put there. :)
He's also been expanding the visions that He has been giving me lately . . . . not just for my family, or for my church . . . . but for the nation. I'm not exactly sure what He's doing or planning on doing with (in and through) me . . . but I know it's something good! :) I know He wants me to "speak" and say what He's telling and showing me . . . but I'm not sure exactly where or how He wants me to share the "bigger" visions. I guess He'll show me. :) Who knows . . .there may yet be another blog in my future. :)

God bless you guys!

Friday, September 26, 2008

House Maintenance

What a week!

Normally I look forward to when my husband has a business trip. . . . . . . now, that didn't sound right! :) Let me explain . . .

I have 5 kids - ages 4 through 13 - I have 1 husband - and thankfully we are down to just 3 pets. :) I am on the Steering Team for our church's MOPS group, on the board of an adoption group, have my hand in and eye on several other things, and generally tend to go above and beyond in waaay too many things that interest me (and there are waaaay too many things that interest me . . . I need a few lifetimes to do them all!)! Let's just say - I am way too busy!

So, when my husband says he is going away for a few days, it's not that I won't miss him or don't want him to go or don't love him . . . . it just opens up a couple hours each day where I can be by myself. I am an introvert by nature. . . . .bmeaning - I get reenergized by being alone! So with a house full of people and pets (and chores and messes, and unfinished projects, and projects I WANT to start - but know I probably won't finish . . . .) - those few hours in the week to myself can be quite energizing and refreshing.

Not this week.

I didn't really see those hours. Where did they go? I know I had them somewhere . . . maybe. But they are definitely dwindling down with my oldest (now a teenager) staying up later and later (he has his parent's "night owl" gene) and feeling quite chatty during that time.

This was just a rough week - emotionally, spiritually, physically, mentally and more. I won't bore you with all the details - but suffice it to say I have felt our house being under attack (spiritaully) all week. And without my husband here to support me and "fight" in this battle (I'm sure he was from his hotel room . . . I hope) - I stayed pretty weary and drained all week.

Today I was laying on my bed - half trying to take a nap this morning (as I've had about 5-6 hours sleep a night - while ususally waking up 2-4 times during those few hours) - and half trying to talk with God.

"How am I supposed to handle this all? What am I supposed to do about (these certain issues)? Did I miss your will/leading in something? Should we change what we are doing? . . . . . God - I am exhausted and all I REALLY want to do each day is to spend hours with you! But if I did that - then nothing would get done around here!"

"Yes it would" I heard God say. And I knew . . . I knew what He meant.

It wasn't the cooking, cleaning, chores, MOPS agendas, projects, etc that would get done . . . . it was the "house cleaning and maintenance" that needed to be done within my family - spiritually, relationally, emotionally, etc. It was the spiritual battles that would be fought and won, and the promised land that would be taken as promised. THAT is what really is so much more important!

I know that. I do. I know it deep down in my core. Then why do I chose to clean up the house instead of spend that precious time "cleaning up my house" spiritually?!

I did throw up alot of prayers this week. It's not like I didn't pray or spend some time with God. It's that I didn't really send time resting/soaking in His presence - being rejuvenated and refreshed . . . strengthened. I didn't fully listen (I guess) to this great military strategist on how to fight the battles that came (and will still come). I said alot of "HELP ME LORD!" and "Forgive me God" prayers this week. Those are good - and they do work. But in a week like this - that was not enough and not what I (or my family) really needed.

I am sorry Lord. I DO want to spend time each day - cleaning and maintaining my "house". Help me to not only do that every day - but to do it effectively . . . with power, strength, peace and love!

Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain.
In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat-
for he grants sleep to those he loves.
Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one's youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their enemies in the gate.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

They speak with other tongues

OK - Here's another book I just read from cover to cover. If you don't know me that well - that's pretty amazing! I rarely read any book in it's entirety - or even half of the book. And I never (ok - VERY rarely) read any fiction books. Too much to do than to sit around and read fiction. :)
So - I just had to share this book with you . . . .

"They speak with other tongues" by John L. Sherrill is an older book (wasn't at the library - so I just ordered a cheaper copy at

It was a bestseller in it's time, and it will really open your eyes and help those of you that struggle with the whole concept of speaking in tongues (or other manifestations of the Holy Spirit - or even the baptism of the H.S.). It can even help those of you that currently are baptized in the HS and do speak in tongues, to be able to help and explain to others what it's all about and why it's beneficial. It is a super-easy book to read as it is in a story format - but full of great history of the Pentecostal movement, etc. The author takes you along on his own journey of trying to figure out just what this strange phenomenon is and if it's of God (and if he should be a part of it).

I highly encourage you all to read it!

Adventures in Mothering

I sent this to my fellow MOPS (Mothers of PreSchoolers) group, and thought I would share it with you!
Bring on the Adventures!
Lori :)

Are you guys ready for more adventures in mothering? . . . . well . . . you better be (if you still have kids!). Everyday holds the opportunity for all kinds of adventures . . . some are not so pleasant, but they leave you with a funny or great story to tell your toddler one day (preferably when they are teenagers!) . . . and some adventures are just absolutely amazing - you wouldn't trade them for the world!

Motherhood is full of surprises, and if you came into this "job" thinking it would be easy, or that if you followed all the "rules" that everything would work out the same for each child . . . . HA! . . . think again. :) I know you all know what I mean! :)

This fall, we are going to be celebrating "Adventures in Mothering". I, for one, LOVE a good adventure - even if it comes in the form of things not going just as I had planned. :) That's what an adventure is . . . expecting the unexpected to happen, and enjoying it when it does!

MOPS International has a great website, dedicated to you Mothers of Preschooolers. If you haven't checked it out yet - I encourage you to. Go to Not only will you will find great information about MOPS International, but there are forums to ask questions or discuss things that affect us a moms of little ones, great articles to read, contests to enter, and even MOPS University - a place to take online courses (FREE!!) about the Bible, your Christian walk, moving out into ministry and more. I am excited to explore the courses offered through the university website myself! For many of us we cannot afford, or do not have the time (or babysitters) to be able to go and take college classes (or even some classes at church) - and this is a great way to learn and grow right from your own home! I encourage you all to check it out. I know there are many more great websites with some free (and some pay) classes, courses, or articles to help you learn. I encourage you to seek the Lord this month (since it's the month of prayer!) and ask Him what HE would like to teach you this fall or what you should learn more about. He has a great plan for each and every one of you - and part of that plan is to be a great mom, friend, sister, daughter, and above all - a lover of Jesus!

Keep doing what you are doing moms. You are doing a great job - even when it doesn't feel like it many days! As our Women's Ministry leader at church always says . . . we are in "leadership development". We are training and developing the leaders of the next generation. What an awesome "job" we have?!! Our goal at MOPS is to help you develop your own leadership training capabilities . . . through encouragement, fun, fellowship, prayer and mentoring.

I look forward to seeing you all again soon! Let the "Adventures" continue (I know they have already begun!)!

Blessings today!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Who are you?

Who are you? . . . Do you know?

Are you a mom? A nurse or doctor? An accountant? A saleswoman? A grocery clerk? . . . . . Who are you? . . . . Let me ask that again . . . . WHO are you?

I am not really asking what you do. I'm not asking what your position, title or even your family lineage is. I want to know WHO you are?

Do YOU know Who you are?
Do you ever feel like no one really knows who are you . . . the true you . . . on the inside?
Do you ever wonder if YOU really even know who you are? You see the outside, but something just doesn't seem right or you don't like what you see?

Would you like for me to tell you who you are? :) . . . . Well, for 50 bucks I'll do just that! :) hee,hee. Just kidding of course. But I do know someone who CAN tell you who you are - what your REAL identity is . . . your Kingdom Identity!

God! Our heavenly Father! (if you don't know Him yet - please read my post - Cleaning up Messes).

Just as we are all created with unique physical characteristics (wonderfully designed and planned by God), we are all created with a unique Kingdom identity. It is WHO we are. It is WHO God created us to be. It encompasses more than just our physical traits, but also the gifts and talents he put in us as He lovingly knit us together in our mother's womb. Some of you don't even know WHAT gifts and talents you have. Some of you may think that you have messed up too much to really ever be used by God or to be who you really are or want to be. Well, the truth is . . . you DO have talents, gifts and abilities . . . and you are NEVER too far gone to discover your TRUE identity and be used by God!

I just read an amazing book - "Your Destiny - Unlocking the impossible promises of God" by Ivan and Isabel Allum.

You have GOT to read it! It has opened my eyes once again, to the promises of God in my life and how He wants to fulfill them. Part of what they talk about is knowing your Kingdom identity (and Kingdom destiny). We may think we have a handle on who we are . . . but to really know the truth, you have to ask the person who created you! Just like an artist knows everything about the art that he creates - God knows us even more intimately than we do! He designed us! He created us! And He has GREAT plans for each and every one of us!

If you are struggling right now - not feeling like you are doing what you should be doing with your life . . . like something just isn't right. If you don't really know who you are, what you are talented or gifted at, what God could possibly do with you here on earth. . . then PLEASE read this book!

If you are struggling with previous promises that you felt God had given you that just haven't "come to pass" . . . then read this book!

If you have struggled with prophecies given to you (or others) or want to know what to do once you get a prophecy over you . . . then read this book!

You can order at their website -
You can also read some the amazing story of how they ended up marrying each other (and more) on their website (and in the book)! Their book is full of awesome, faith-inspiring stories! You won't want to put it down!

So . . . after reading the book . . . let me know . . . WHO you are!

Lori :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

"Miscellaneous" Parenting tips

This is what I found 5 mintues before having to leave for school! I caught him (and his sibling) just before they were going to turn his face into a Tiger!! It was Picture Day at school!! We had to put on a long-sleeve shirt even though it was warm!
Who is this masked boy? The black didn't want to come out of his eyebrows. So we had a mini-Groucho Marx for awhile!

Darth Vader on his way to take a shower. :)

Because we don't live in an area where there might be a frozen window or flag pole - my son purposely tried sticking his lips to this ice-cube! Guess he didn't want to be left out of the frozen appendage/body part experience!

Some things just are not in the parenting handbook . . . you know - the one you received at the hospital when you delivered your baby . . . . . . . What? You didn't get one?? . . . . oh wait . . . neither did I! No wonder. And even if someone did take it upon themselves to actually write out a full and complete parenting handbook, it would certainly fill up all our libraries in the US! And each year - they would have to make new editions to cover all the newest technology, fads, etc. So . . . to save space on our precious library shelves - I guess there should just be one main category in this parenting handbook . . . . "Miscellaneous! . . . what to do about anything and everything that you encounter in parenting". I think the simple answer would be . . . . "just laugh - but maybe to yourself at first, so you don't hurt your children's feelings, and then you can tell them about it when they are older and they will think it is funny then! OR - you can use it as blackmail, or tell it to the wanna-be boyfriends and girlfriends when they hit their teenage/young adult years."

I have encountered many of these "Misc." events in our household. With 5 kids - it's almost a daily happening. :) I just had to share 2 of the most recent events with you (well - my hubby said I HAD to share them with you!!!).

After many weekends of announcing to the boys (especially my 5 and 10 year old boys) that I am no longer going to be cleaning their bathroom because of all the pee that seems to "accidentally miss" the actual water in the toilet and ends up on the walls, on the seat and around the basin, I was once again reminding them to PLEASE put up the seat and actually WATCH where they are peeing so that it goes in and not all over and around the comode . . . not to stand against the far wall and "aim high" to see if they could "make it", but to actually stand right next to the toilet when doing number 1! I know that their complaint is "but the seat won't always stay up and we would have to touch it and hold it up the whole time while we are peeing. That's just gross and too hard!" ??? Hunh ??? However, I assumed that THIS time they MUST have heard and fully understood my rationale for WHY I wanted them to use the toilet in this manner. With that said, I told them to go upstairs and get a shower.

As is usual, there was a lot of giggling, stomping, laughing, and screaming (in fun) going on upstairs. I was glad to hear the two of them were getting along.

My happiness was short-lived when my 8 year old came down and said "Mom . . . . you have to see what the boys are doing."

I sent my husband up to deal with it. I was not expecting the scenario he described when he came down.

Our 10 year old was up against the far wall across from the toilet (it's about 5 feet away), buck-naked (as he should be for taking a shower). However, he was once again "aiming high". But that's not what cracked me and my husband up! It was the fact that our other completely naked 5 year old son was doing the limbo UNDER the yellow stream that wasn't quite making it to the toilet!! Covered in pee on his chest and laughing away, they both seemed to be oblivious to the fact that this was the complete opposite to what I had been telling them to do for weeks! ??They can't touch the toilet seat because it's "gross and too hard to hold up the whole time", but they are willing to risk being showered by urine in a game of buck-naked limbo??!! . . . . What was it that I learned once about boys being "brain-damaged" because of some hormone released in the womb?? :) LOL!!

We just died laughing! Once we got our serious faces back on - it was back up to tell them to clean up the mess and to NEVER do that again! . . . . I don't think they have . . . but they sure haven't been faithful in getting all their pee in the toilet. The good news is . . . . for the most part - I really have stuck to my promise to not clean their bathroom (or at least around the toilet) ever again. So if you ever need to use our restroom . . . . you might want to use mine! :)

The other event happened just last night.

We sent the kids up to bed and I was busy downstairs responding to some emails. I could hear giggling, talking and goofing off upstairs, and I hollered for them to be quiet and stay in their beds. We have 2 bedrooms upstairs with 4 kids in them, and I am just about ready to get a bigger house where everyone can have their own room! That way they might actually fall asleep at 8:30 (when we put them to bed) instead of 10pm! Anyways . . .

Shortly after yelling up to them I heard another type of yelling - but this time it sounded like someone was in alot of pain. Now - did I jump up to rush and see what happened? Judge me as a bad mom - but I didn't. That's because I've heard this same scream when a stuffed animal has fallen out of the bed (that's a whole 'nother story to tell one day . . . "The Boy who Cried (duckie)" . . . ). I also heard my son running downstairs to me, and in no time he was piercing my ears with his high-pitched screams.

Man. He must really be hurt. . . . . But then again . . . if he could run all the way downstairs that fast - maybe he's not. ????

"What's wrong, bud? You sound like you got hurt? Where did you get hurt?"

What I really wanted to say was "If you had been in bed like I had said, you wouldn't have gotten hurt!" . . . . actually - I think I may have said that later on anyways . . . . oops.

Amidst emotional sobs and screams, while doubled over in pain holding his stomach, my 10 year old proceeded to tell me that his 8 year old (but only 49 pounds) sister had punched him "really hard" in the stomach! ?? I couldn't imagine why she would do this? So I needed to investigate further. I showed my son some comfort, looked at his "wound", assessed that he would be ok, and then sent him back to bed. I then found his sister - in our room talking to my husband. Again - I wasn't expecting this scenario . . .

"Why did you punch your brother in the stomach? That wasn't very nice. Were you mad at him for something?"

"He hurt my leg first." she replied.

It always amazes me how I never get the full truth from the one who comes running with wounds.

"But that's not why I punched him. I did it because he told me to." she said.

?? Hunnh?? "Why would he tell you to punch him? And why would you do it?" I asked.

"He said he was in Ninja training and that it was ok to punch him in the stomach." :)

LOL!! Oh my . . . . what do you do with that?! How do you punish someone when they were just doing what they thought their brother wanted them to do. He obviously thought he was a bit tougher than he found out. I just sent her to bed and told her not to punch anyone again - even if they are in Ninja training! :)

Let's hope that that was the last "Ninja training class" for any of my kids!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hunger Banquet

Have you ever been to one? Have you ever hosted one? Have you ever heard of one? Doesn't sound very appetizing, does it? Hunger Banquet. I would love to attend one sometime (I just found out a school locally hosted one a couple months ago and I missed it!). I would love for my kids to go to one. What is it?

(taken from OxFam
Unique and memorable, an Oxfam America Hunger Banquet event allows organizers and participants alike to experience firsthand how our decisions affect others in the world.

How it works
Guests draw tickets at random that assign them each to either a high-, middle-, or low-income tier and receive a corresponding meal. The 15 percent in the high-income tier are served a sumptuous meal. The 35 percent in the middle-income section eat a simple meal of rice and beans. The 50 percent in the low-income tier help themselves to small portions of rice and water. (High-, middle-, and low-income statistics used in the Oxfam America Hunger Banquet event are based on the World Bank Development Indicators 2007.) Guests can also assume characterizations that describe the situation of a specific person at the income level to which they've been assigned. Finally, all guests are invited to share their thoughts after the meal.
After an Oxfam America Hunger Banquet event, few participants leave with full stomachs, but all possess a greater understanding of the problems of hunger and poverty and will hopefully be motivated to do something about them.

I have thought, from time to time, about having our family eat the kind of food that people in some of the poorer countries eat - for at least a week . . . and no snack foods available. Well . . . maybe at least for 2 or 3 days (I don't want Social Services knocking on my door thinking I'm a negligent mother because I'm feeding my kids beans and rice all week!). But I really want my kids to see and understand what it must be like for kids in other parts of the world. You can see a picture, but until you live it - it doesn't really affect you. I would love to take them on some mission trips - to REALLY experience other cultures. But until that time, I will use the resources that I have available.

Here is one that I like for my older kids especially. Oxfam America has an online, "Interactive Hunger and Poverty Educational Experience". It is called "A Seat at the Table" It can really open your eyes (and that of your kids) as to the kind of issues that people in other countries have to face regarding their finances, food, health, etc. It humbles me every time. I encourage you to check it out. Maybe it will encourage you or your kids to host a Hunger Banquet in your area (or something similar).

Here's another great Charity doing great things . . . started by a rich young man from NY who had an experience - as a photojournalist aboard the Mercy Ships and a trip to Africa. It forever changed his life and the lives of countless others with what he decided to do! You can read all about his story and what they are doing at Charity:water. My sister briefly volunteered in their office in NY after meeting this man in a coffee shop (I believe).

Well folks . . . speaking of food and water . . . it's about dinner time here and I am going to get creative with the leftovers I have in my pantry. I've been putting off going to the store for a while . . . so we'll see what I can come up with. :) I like doing that from time to time. You'd be amazed at how long the food in your pantry can feed you . . . though the combinations might not be that delicious or that nutritious . . . but it's better than rice and water!!

Blessings to you all!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

I'm SICK . . . Are you?

Lately I have been aching inside. . . . more than usual. No - it is not from the fact that I have actually been exercising this past week (for the first time in years!) . . . . It's not because I am sick. Well - maybe it is a "sickness". . . . . I am sick of the self-serving lifestyle I am surrounded by constantly. I am sick of falling into the temptation to want MORE and more. I am sick of feeling sorry for myself because we never seem to have anything "extra" . . . just enough to meet our needs. . . . .

And then I get an email from a friend telling me that the orphanage where my precious daughter was living just 8 months ago - barely has enough food to feed the kids and is running out of gas for their stoves! It humbles me to think about my daughter's friends down there - possibly eating a "soup" made out of water, a few noodles, leaves and a few spices in it . . . and if they are lucky - some tiny bits of chicken or meat - and to think that my daughter has possibly experienced the same "dinner" in her 2 years there. I know that at times they have plenty, but donations are not always steady, and so there are some tough times. I know that God provides . . . .but He does that through US . . . you . . . me . . . your neighbors. . . your family!

How many Venti Vanilla Lattes or Grande Caramel Machiatos have you had this week? . . . . This month? . . . . TODAY? :) How many fast-food runs have you made as well? How much of that would you be willing to give up to help out someone else? . . . .You do know that you can make your coffee at home? . . . and your lunch for that matter! They have these handy things called a "thermos" and a "lunch box" that you can take them in! :) hee,hee. All kidding aside . . .

Please watch this video. It will sober you. It just might change your mind the next time you want to stop into Starbucks or McDonald's . . . . or go to see a $10 movie and get a $10 soda and popcorn. Wait for the movie to come out on DVD - and put a hold on it at the library (for FREE!) - and make your own homemade popcorn at home (cheaper than microwave and tastier)! Yes - you will actually have to "wait" a while . . . but I promise it won't kill you! Yes - renting the movie (from Netflix or Blockbuster) is a bit cheaper than going out to see the movie in a theater (or alot cheaper if you have a big family like mine!) - but just see if you can be creative in trying to see it for free! Do that with many things in life. You'd be surprised at how much you can really do without . . . and how much money you will save over time! :) (Can you go a year without buying anything new? Check out what some people in San Francisco did - The Compact. Here's their yahoo group.) Then take that money and make a difference in your neighborhood . . . your community . . . your state . . . nation . . . or the world! AND . . . It feels so much better than having to exercise twice as hard to burn off all those calories that you ate at Mc-D's and drank at Starbucks! :) Just give it a shot!

This video was sent to me by a friend. She found it at UNSTAINED - a blog by another guy who is "sick" and doesn't want to have a wasted life! Check out his journey as he strives to live a life unwasted!

“I tremble at the prospect of living a trivial, self-serving, comfortable, middle-class, ordinary, untroubled American life.” (John Piper)

ps - If you want to donate to a wonderful orphange and help out some beautiful kids - check out Casa Bernabe (House of Comfort) at . You can make a one-time donation or even monthly sponsorships for a certain child - or a whole family (ie - the houses the kids live in). Please pray about how God wants you to be involved. . . . because He DOES want you involved! I hope you are "sick" today . . . and every day from now on!

James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

I just had to wish all you moms a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY today!!

I hope it was a wonderful day with family or friends. If you didn't have someone to be with, then I hope you were at least able to call someone . . . your kids . . . your mom . . . a mom you know . . . a mom-to-be . . . a spiritual mom to you . . . Just go call a special woman in your life and wish them a Happy Mother's Day!! :)

I had an emotional day today. Not exactly sure why. Some of it was probably pent-up tears that didn't get released last week during my monthly hormonal craziness . . . If I don't cry at least once a month, the tears will start to flow at the most inopportune times! :) Actually, I do believe some of it was the enemy (Satan and all his evil cohorts) trying to ruin this day . . . trying to remind me of all the areas where I have failed as a mother. . . . where I don't feel like I measure up to the Super-Mom status we are all led to believe we should and can achieve. . . where I wish I had done things differently and am praying that God is just able to super-glue the things I have broken (my children's hearts, minds, emotions, relationships, etc) . . . where I want to do things differently, but am not sure if I am really going to change (due to laziness, procrastination, bad habits, etc). . . . . etc, etc, etc.

I did receive the most precious cards from my 5 kids today - some sweet, some funny, but some of what they said I still had a hard time digesting. Was I really all those wonderful things, or are they just saying them because it's Mother's Day and that's what they are supposed to say? One part of my kindgergartener's card was hilarious . . . but at the same time, poignantly true and sad. He was given a few pages with sentences to fill in the blanks about his mom. Here is what he wrote:

Happy Mother's Day 2008
My Mom's name is Loire (Close . . .it's Lori)
My mom is 38 years old (no I'm not! . . . . the kids always say I'm older than I am!)
My mom is as pretty as a flowr.
My mom makes the best cocees (cookies).
**My mom's favorite thing to do is BE ALONE (caps added by me.)**
My mom thinks it is funny when I be silee (silly)
My mom doesn't think it is funny when I don't cleen my room. (he's right - I don't!)
My mom loves me.
I love to play with my mom.
I love my mom because she is my mom.
Happy Mother's Day!

So . . . my favorite thing to do is not . . . scrapbooking . . . being on the computer . . . photography . . . or even playing with my kids . . . no . . .it's to "BE ALONE"! I just died laughing when I first read it. He knows me too well! But today it did make me sad.

I do have 5 kids (ages 3-12), and for most of the time, every day, I have most of them home (a few go to school in the mornings some . . . it's complicated). And there are many a night when daddy has to come home and scoop all the kids out of the house "to give mommy some alone time" (what an awesome hubby I have!!!). So Jacob is really right when he said that. But I got to thinking today . . . is that really what I want my kids to say or remember about me. . . ."Mom sure couldn't wait till we were all out of the house and she could be alone!" I don't really want to be alone all the time! I am just an introvert by nature and the way I rejuvenate/re-energize is to be by myself . . . to get some time with God, to be able to think without interruption every 5 minutes, to relax and watch a show, read a book or even blog . . . .you know what I mean? I don't get much of that this year. But I don't really want that to be my legacy. It just made me realize that I need to be more careful with what I say and do. I LOVE my kids A TON - and whenever I am not with them and I come home - I LOVE seeing their smiling faces and hearing their sweet voices (when they are not screaming!). I do LOVE being a mom and I do cherish the little things - the snuggling, giggles, playing games, etc. I need to show that more . . . .verbalize it more to them. I used to tell them that my favorite book is one called "Five Minutes Peace" (I do still love it as it describes what most moms go through with little ones around) - but I don't want my kids to think that I feel that way ALL the time. There are just moments that we ALL need 5 minutes (or 10 . . .20 . . . or maybe an hour) of peace! :)

To reassure you, my day wasn't a washout of sadness and tears. I had my good cry, and then wiped my wet face, reapplied my makeup, welcomed my parents, brother and his wife and daughter, and had a wonderful lunch with them - celebrating Mother's Day and one of my daughter's B-days. I played a game, chatted, took some pictures, giggled, and now am getting a few minutes of time to "be alone" while daddy gets dinner for all the kids (and even brought me some food!). After I finish this post - I will be rejuvenated to go back and finish off this Mother's Day with snuggles, back scratching, stories and more (and hopefully no tornadoes! The weather is looking scary!). And tomorrow . . . I have another chance to change things for the better!

So - what would your kids say about you? What do you want them to remember about you - that you were always loving, angry, stressed out, on the computer, tired, happy, fun??? I think I will be doing more soul-searching and being more intentional about the legacy and memories that I am creating for my children. I know I cannot ever attain "Super-Mom" status . . . but to my kids - I do want to be the best Mom that I can be for them!

God bless all you Mother's and all you do!! I know someone has said that if we were actually paid for all we do we would be making over $116,000 a year . . . .though - like my sweet friend Lynae said "I would probably be fired from many of those jobs" (ie - house cleaning, cooking, etc)! :) Hey - we can't be perfect at everything!! :) Just do your best "as unto the Lord"!

Live a LIFE of LOVE today!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The least of these . . . continued.

I wish I had this song to show you when I originally posted "The least of these . . ." .
This is for all those days you feel like "just being a mom" is tough . . . .tiring . . . not getting you closer to God . . . etc. Hang in there and be encouraged! You are worshiping God by obeying what He has called you to do! He sees and He knows!

Song: "If Ever You Worshiped" - by Danny Oertli

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Mom Song

OK -Here's another thing I love about moms (and parenting)!! If you haven't seen this, be prepared to watch it over and over and be tempted to memorize the lyrics! :) My kids can repeat quite a few of them . . . .though, I wish they would actually listen and obey them! . . . . They'll understand when they become parents!

"The Mom" song, sung to the William Tell Overture, by Anita Renfroe.

What a mom says in 24 hours, condensed into 2 minutes and 55 seconds! Hilarious and talented!
I will post the lyrics below.

Check out her website - She is a Christian speaker and comedian. Click on "What's new" and you will hear her newest video with her "Dad sense" song - what dads say to their kids in 24 hours! (sorry dads).

"The Mom Song"

Get up now
Get up now
Get up out of bed
Wash your face
Brush your teeth
Comb your sleepyhead
Here's your clothes and your shoes
Hear the words I said
Get up now! Get up and make your bed
Are you hot? Are you cold?
Are you wearing that?
Where's your books and your lunch and your homework at?
Grab your coat and gloves and your scarf and hat
Don't forget! You gotta feed the cat
Eat your breakfast, the experts tell us it's the most important meal of all
Take your vitamins so you will grow up one day to be big and tall
Please remember the orthodontist will be seeing you at 3 today
Don't forget your piano lesson is this afternoon so you must play
Don't shovel
Chew slowly
But hurry
The bus is here
Be careful
Come back here
Did you wash behind your ears?
Play outside, don't play rough, will you just play fair?
Be polite, make a friend, don't forget to share
Work it out, wait your turn, never take a dare
Get along! Don't make me come down there
Clean your room, fold your clothes, put your stuff away
Make your bed, do it now, do we have all day?
Were you born in a barn? Would you like some hay?
Can you even hear a word I say?
Answer the phone! Get off the phone!
Don't sit so close, turn it down, no texting at the table
No more computer time tonight!
Your iPod's my iPod if you don't listen up
Where are you going and with whom and what time do you think you're coming home?
Saying thank you, please, excuse me makes you welcome everywhere you roam
You'll appreciate my wisdom someday when you're older and you're grown
Can't wait till you have a couple little children of your own
You'll thank me for the counsel I gave you so willingly
But right now I thank you not to roll your eyes at me
Close your mouth when you chew, would appreciate
Take a bite maybe two of the stuff you hate
Use your fork, do not burp or I'll set you straight
Eat the food I put upon your plate
Get an A, get the door, don't get smart with me
Get a grip, get in here, I'll count to three
Get a job, get a life, get a PHD
Get a dose of,
"I don't care who started it!
You're grounded until you're 36"
Get your story straight and tell the truth for once, for heaven's sake
And if all your friends jumped off a cliff would you jump, too?
If I've said it once, I've said at least a thousand times before
That you're too old to act this way
It must be your father's DNA
Look at me when I am talking
Stand up straighter when you walk
A place for everything and everything must be in place
Stop crying or I'll give you something real to cry about
Brush your teeth, wash your face, put your PJs on
Get in bed, get a hug, say a prayer with mom
Don't forget, I love you
And tomorrow we will do this all again because a mom's work never ends
You don't need the reason why
Because, because, because, because
I said so, I said so, I said so, I said so
I'm the mom, the mom, the mom, the mom, the mom!!
Ta da!!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Just a Mom?!

Many of you have seen this before - but I just had to reprint it here. If you haven't read it before . . .



A woman, renewing her driver's license at the County Clerk
's office,
was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation.

She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.

"What I mean is, " explained the recorder,
"do you have a job or are you just a ..?"

"Of course I have a job," snapped the woman.

"I'm a Mom."

"We don't list 'Mom' as an occupation,
'housewife' covers it," Said the recorder emphatically.

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself
in the same situation, this time at our own Town Hall. The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient, and possessed of a high sounding title like, "Official Interrogator" or "Town Registrar."

"What is your occupation?" she probed.

What made me say it? I do not know. The words simply popped out. "I'm a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations."

The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in mid air and looked up as though she had not heard right.

I repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words. Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written, in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.

"Might I ask," said the clerk with new interest, "just what you do in your field?"

Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply,
"I have a continuing program of research, (what mother doesn't)
In the laboratory and in the field, (normally I would have said indoors and out).
I'm working for my Masters, (first the Lord and then the whole family)
and already have four credits (all daughters).
Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities, (any mother care to disagree?) and I often work 14 hours a day, (24 is more like it).
But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers, and the rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money."

There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants -- ages 13, 7, and 3. Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model, (a 6 month old baby) in the child development program,
testing out a new vocal pattern.
I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy! And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than "just another Mom."


What a glorious career!
Especially when there's a title on the door.

Does this make
grandmothers "Senior Research associates in the field of Child Development and Human Relations"
great grandmothers
"Executive Senior Research Associates?" I think so!!!
I also think it makes Aunts " Associate Research Assistants."

Friday, April 25, 2008

Spring Fever . . . for 20 years!?!

This is an email that was sent to me from
I just HAD to share it because it describes me to a "T"! Yes . . . I have had Spring Fever for over 20 years! It all started with YWAM (Youth With A Mission) and my 8 months with them - in Switzerland, Germany, Holland and Ethiopia! I wanted to keep on travelling . . . forever! I wanted (and STILL do . . . everyday!) to see the WHOLE world. . . . and not on some 1 month quick tour . . . but to really spend some time in each place - getting to experience the culture, the people, learn a little of the language, try the food, etc. Instead - God told me to go home and become a nurse. . . . which led to meeting my wonderful husband . . . which led to 5 kids, a mortgage, bills, kids schooling, etc . . . . . .
One day . . . . maybe . . . .one day. . . . .

Or maybe I should change careers and work in the travel industry! :)

Dear Mrs. West,

have a confession to make--I want to go everywhere.

If I've been hesitant to say it before now, it was only because it seems sinful somehow, in the same vein as gluttony or greed, as if one day a new commandment might be added to cover it:

"Thou shalt not want to go everywhere."

Until then, I want to go everywhere.

Last month, I journeyed to Berlin to attend what is billed as the world's largest business-to-business travel show, ITB.

Under one roof--well, more like 30--virtually every country on Earth was represented with great, colorful displays showcasing their very best tourist destinations, accommodations, activities and modes of travel.

I was there to visit travel companies that Vacations To Go already represents and to look for new ones, but I felt more like a kid in a candy store. I want THAT one...and THAT one...

From the familiar to the exotic, from the tame to the adventurous, one tempting vacation opportunity after another presented itself. I realized how lightly I have skimmed the surface of possibilities, and how much work I have to do to scout them all for my readers!

So vast is the Berlin convention complex that by the last of the three days I had budgeted for the show, I still had not seen all of the 11,000 exhibitors.

Each day was analogous to travel itself--so many places to see and so little time.

I discussed mountain gorillas with the Rwandans, polar bears with the Canadians, red sand dunes with the Namibians and Arctic icebreakers with the Russians.

Count me in!

A nice lady from Madagascar mapped out an itinerary that would take me from the lemurs (primates with large, reflective eyes) of the eastern rain forests to the tropical, volcanic island of Nosy Be.

Can't wait!

The Maldivians brought their own thatched-roof village to the show to complement the photos of fabulous beaches and over-water bungalows.

Let's go!

Headline-hogging Dubai was there, resplendent and ostentatious as always. The centerpiece of their exhibit was a two-story-high rotating globe that held dozens of people. I've heard mixed reviews about this booming, desert oasis in the Persian Gulf, so I'm afraid I'll have to schedule a personal visit to get to the truth.

Nearby, one could preview the new first-class pods of Emirates Airlines, including flat-bed seat, personal mini-bar, vanity desk, 23-inch flat-screen TV, walls and a sliding door, for absolute privacy.

I'm not sure what I'd do with all that privacy, but those pods might make getting there more fun than being there.

The Tanzanians told me their safari business had been boosted by the civil unrest in neighboring Kenya (fortunately, things have calmed down recently). Standing in their exhibit reminded me of my family's Tanzanian safari and made me feel as if their tourism ambassadors were somehow old friends.

Jambo! Can I hitch a ride back to East Africa?

At times, it seemed that ITB was a microcosm of the entire world. The conference halls were laid out in geographic order, and stepping from one exhibit to the next was akin to crossing the border to a neighboring country.

I could not help but notice some interesting combinations. The Israelis were next to the Palestinians, the Indians near the Pakistanis, the Serbs beside the Croats.

A few thousand miles away, Venezuelan soldiers were massing on the border with Colombia over an incident in Ecuador, but in Germany, tourism officials and native dancers from all three countries peacefully coexisted in the same lively exhibit hall.

I was reminded of something I've believed for a long time: Travel alone can't solve a conflict, but it does increase understanding, which is a huge step in the right direction.

I have to admit some disappointment with the exhibits of the U.S. and Canada, neither of which was up to the task of illustrating the beauty and diversity of North America's vacation opportunities.

With the dramatic fall of the U.S. dollar, America is cheaper than it has been in decades for most international travelers. Note to U.S. tourism folks--we might as well make the most of it and show the world what we've got!

It was my first visit to Berlin, and I enjoyed the friendly people, good restaurants and my stops at the Brandenburg Gate and what remains of the Berlin Wall.

On the flight home, I had time to reflect on all the interesting people I'd met and the fascinating places they represent. I realized that I am particularly fond of jungles and deserts, of tropical islands and snow-covered mountains. I like hot-air balloons and overnight trains, and ships of all sizes. I'm happy as long as I'm headed for a big city, a small village or a tented camp.

Most of all, I prefer beaches, hills, plains, lakes, rivers, savannahs, deltas, tundras and, of course, the open sea.

So where on Earth are you headed next?

That sounds good to me.

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R. Alan Fox
Chairman & CEO
Vacations To Go
5851 San Felipe Street, Suite 500
Houston, TX 77057