Fall Ave.

The squirrel lifts its head

as acorn falls, alarming all

against the gravity of autumn.
Solemn leaves of orange, pale enlight1against the sidewalk chalked by children who live here,

riding by now, plowing through late morning as Moses through Red Sea-

warning neighbors recently wed, the beauty of life to be,

of life that was, as others’ lives come to dusk, grandparent of the street whose feet shuffle slowly,

feeding birds who greet this quiet community with their own,

interrupted by invitation to observe, daughter has worked up nerve to try,

bike off sidewalk, just a moment but smiles years in practice,

proud to her father, sits on porch swing slow, wind blows and leaves fall like gentle rain,

plainly proclaiming place where life will come again.

Small nod and raised hand sing hello to passersby, one cannot pause – spoils of her morning in hand.

Each front porch presenting welcome demands of slow-worn paths into community,

lit by street lamps that saw grandparents with mud pies.

language of (new) creation…

Anyone who has spent time in a land where a different language is spoken knows just how much it can impact your daily existence – even in small ways that add up.  It made me think about something bigger…

There is an ancient language, that has always existed.  Long before we could measure time itself, this language brought order to chaos and spoke form to formless.  The language was shared by both creator and creation, but it didn’t take long before the language was forgotten by those created to speak it into and over creation.

It was the language of love.  The language of life.  The language of new.

The language of God.

The brokenness in what was intended to be natural communication caused pain.  A father whose children no longer knew what it meant that they were loved infinitely and intimately.  These children pursued other sources of identity and value.  So He “called out” a people and enabled them to speak this language with Him.  It was meant to be a living illustration for all peoples, of what life could be like with these new ancient linguistic capabilities.  Finally, the world was ready, and He came down to tear down the walls of silence separating those who could not speak or hear.

The Word was for all.  Some chose to listen, and not speak.  Some chose to speak, and not listen.  Some misunderstood, for the words they heard were not the ancient Word, but merely poor imitations of those who’d grown able to repeat what they’d heard, but had no idea how such grammar functioned.

Yet God continued to hear and speak, and this ancient language was changing lives and bringing redemption to brokenness, light to darkness, love to emptiness, and hope to hopeless.  It is the whisper of a space and time where such language will be the ONLY language spoken by all.  Many have heard the proclamation that such a time has arrived even now, and have begun to speak that way.

But such language was foreign to the self-centered dialects that had been established over time.  As the people aware of this ancient tongue go out speaking the language of New Creation, they grow tired of the constant need for translation and surroundings that don’t seem to understand.  So regularly, these New Creation citizens gather together for encouragement.  They celebrate by joining as one voice and hearing from God, and go out with a renewed commitment to help others recover the language they were born to speak.

Unfortunately, some have allowed such gathering to become the purpose and goal of the language.  We are reminded that the purpose of language is to be spoken.  The purpose of this ancient transforming love and life-giving language is that it would be heard and spoken by all.  It is the language of New Creation.  The language that will transform your home, your community, and our world.  The language of Love found in the life and Words of Jesus Christ.

These words may not always make sense to the language our world has learned to speak.  These words may look foolish.  But they are Love, in ways our creation was made to receive ages ago…and will one day again fully.

Will you hear the Father’s love today?  Will you speak? Will you join with others who need the encouragement of your presence in such endeavors?  You are invited…



1 Month Old

Many “Connected Child” books talk about “Family Age” as the amount of time a child has spent in their forever home. In this regard, Phoebe is officially 1 month old now!!🙂

It has been an incredible month. There are still new things we experience and understand daily. She is learning English exponentially, and there has been an increase here even in the past few days. (by “Learning English”, I don’t mean you’d understand much of what she says. Rather, I mean 1 out of 10 words might be English-ish.) Our local church family has been an incredible gift, and the time/transition back into work schedule has been extremely gracious – which has helped a ton. We knew this would be work, but we had no idea this. Would. Be. Work.🙂

This past week, Phoebe attended church for the first time Wednesday night to see her FullSizeRender(1)sisters receive their awards from our church children’s programming. It was obvious she wanted to be on stage with them. Yesterday was her first official Sunday morning worship experience. I’m sure there was some familiarity with it, but also a whole lot of foreign-ness to what was happening still. I can’t imagine what she’s thinking as everyone around her knows her name and is so excited to see her. Her face shows – “I’m not against this, lol, I’m just a little overwhelmed and weirded out.” She enjoys just being with her sisters, and takes her cues from them.

Bedtimes can still be difficult – but hey, they were difficult before bringing her home too! This morning was almost too awesome for me as a father, as all three girls stayed in bed all night long until 6am – and Phoebe cuddled a bit with me this morning as Sarah and I still laid in bed. (By “cuddle” I mean she included me in the playground/jungle-gym she considers her parents’ bodies in bed to be.)

There have been some important moments of struggle: a 45-minute stand off between Phoebe and daddy after she had a meltdown and wanted to leave the room. In French, I reassured her several times, “Daddy is gentle. I love you. Daddy will not hurt you. I will wait for you to be finished crying.” It ended with a long hug that is still burned in my memory.🙂

Even on nights where we all want to just climb into bed, Phoebe asks for the dependable evening routine of family prayer. When asked if she wants to pray, she often agrees and prays “Jesus thank you. (several unintelligible words and phrases) Aaaaamen.” That about sums up many of our best prayers, eh?

More and more families continue to receive word they can come bring their children home, and we are celebrating with all of them – even as we pray for their struggle in country. We look forward to the day we can say all adopted children have been allowed to go home…and we look forward to the day all children are born into healthy, stable homes even more so!!!

Pray for the DRC, and a peaceful transition of power. Even last week, as John Kerry met with President Kabila – it seems like the same generic rhetoric: “Kerry urges timely/credible elections, Kabila expresses need for funding/logistical support. Both smiled for a picture and went about their day.” Meanwhile the Congolese people need someone to lead them who champions the hopes/causes/needs and rights of the people.

Today as I write this, Sarah and the girls are preparing for a trip to the Amish areas nearby. I can’t even imagine what this girl thinks of her new home country. We watched some videos last night of our first visit to see her, and the videos included her friends from the orphanage, and foster home, etc. She smiled, and was obviously shy about seeing herself.  She also kept asking where Addie/Sophie/Ruby were, and wanting to watch videos that had her with each of them instead. That seems like a pretty good thing.🙂

Thank you again for all of your prayers and encouragement, and for celebrating with us – as our family continues to discover its’ new shape and schedule.🙂

Worth the Wait

Finally. Home.

In February, 2016, the DRC released the first of what was to be several small lists of families being given permission to bring their children home.  We were so thankful to be on that first list, although it seemed our case was still not moving forward well.  So, we decided to travel to Kinshasa, and do everything we could in person.  We ended up staying a bit longer than anticipated, and missed Easter at home, but in the end – it was so worth it.  Two and a half weeks after arriving, we came home to unite our family – finally and wholly together.

Thank you, Jesus.

IMG_2451 IMG_2507 IMG_2511 IMG_2517

Our prayers continue for the many, many families still waiting to bring their children home from the DRC.  Some progress has been made, but it continues that children who already have families and homes are not being allowed to travel to join them.  We pray that VERY SOON, all of these children will be forever united with their families.

We also pray for the DRC, and for all that God is up to in their midst.  Political transitions, empowering the people, and inspiring new creation paths for the future Congolese – God is doing a new thing…

SHOCKING TRUTH that ALL remaining candidates have in common…

As the pack of candidates thin out, more investigations were made possible.  CIA, and FBI, and MI-6 all have these candidates on their radar, and yet each of them might still be unaware of the shocking truth being revealed today.  Ready for the bombshell?

Each of these candidates is beloved by God.

Gasp.  I know.  It’s true.  They each find themselves shoulder to shoulder with those God has smiled on, and loved enough to enable to bear pointingHis image.  That has important implications for how we are to respond to each of them, and how we might also need to repent of how we’ve responded so far.  The fact is, most political races end up having ugly moments.  A few bits of name calling, and an accusatory tone here and there.  But let’s confess – no matter who you’ve supported or disavowed – this race has not brought out the best in us.


Read the words of 1 John chapter 4, and you’ll quickly be reminded that one of the marks of the church was their love.  The response to what is happening in our world is not fear or anxiety, but love.  It is not anger or retributive violence in action or word – but love that will help us to stand out as God’s “image bearers”.

Does this mean we have to embrace all possible leadership candidates with flowers in our hair, and let anyone take the oath who might be interested?  No.

But it does mean we are careful with our words and actions (and retweets).  It means even as we examine policies, determine who might best lead us forward, and discuss these things with others – we are careful to realize even as we critique the lives of others, our lives are being noticed by a world who wonders “Does Jesus make any difference in the lives of those who claim Him?”  The answer should obviously be – YES!

How often have we genuinely prayed for the candidates we disagree with?  Each of these brothers and sisters of ours is under extreme pressure and in a national spotlight.  With very little regard for personal privacy, and with every word they speak or write being critiqued and examined under a thousand unloving microscopes – they need our prayers.  These are mothers, fathers, and grandparents who have entire families who celebrate with their victories, and mourn with their losses.  No matter what happens in 2016 – each of these will go on to laugh and smile at children’s birthday parties, and shed tears at funerals of loved ones.  May we not buy the rhetoric that reduces ANY of them to a 2-dimensional caricature, in an attempt to make it easier to treat/view/speak of them as less than someone loved and valued by God.

1 John 4:20 – “Those who say ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.”

Luke 6:27 – “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”

Ephesians 4:29 – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths (or typed/liked/retweeted by your fingers), but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Of course, the list here could go on – especially highlighting the life and words of Jesus himself.  As we continue forward on our journey through Lent this year, we are offered an opportunity here.  May we choose to respond humbly, repenting of how we might have misrepresented the love of God, and offer ourselves to bear His image anew…


ps. If your first inclination is to defend unloving words, citing scriptures where God or Jesus showed their anger/disapproval – you may be missing my point.


Leading Them To Water

Moses: Hello rock.

Rock: Hello Moses.

Moses: How are you today?

Rock: Oh, ya’ know, it pretty much rocks being me.

Moses: lol, always so witty.  Hey, do you think you could give us some water?  God said it was cool.

Rock: Well sure (transforms into giant office water tank).  Go ahead.

Moses: Wow, that’s a pretty nifty trick.

People: WHOO HOOO.  Hooray for the Lord, God of Moses! All of creation responds to His desires!

You may not recognize the above story from your time in scriptures.  That’s because it never got a chance to happen.  In Numbers 20:8, God directs Moses to relieve the thirst of the people and their animals by speaking to a rock “that it may yield its water.”  Who knows what they may have looked like?  Okay, probably not the situation above, I just had a bit of fun with it.

Instead, Moses was filled with anger and frustration at a whiny group of untrusting people.  Even after all they had been through, they were blaming God for their thirst, and asking if Moses had led them to this place to die.

I imagine a large group of kids in the back of a mini-van.  This trip has been much longer than they thought.  They’ve asked “Are we there yet?” about a hundred times, and now have escalated to the drama of “I’m going to die, I’m so IMG_9800thirsty!!”  Mom and dad are in the front, thirsty too, but driving through traffic jams in the middle of midwestern cornfields doesn’t offer many chances to stop.  Finally dad slams on the breaks and pulls over.  He’s had enough.  He turns around to look at his children and the main goal in that moment is to stop the whining.  He gets out of the car, and hits a rock.  The rock starts gushing water, and the need is met.

Now for a “bigger lens”…

As parents, we want to meet the needs of our children.  Just like Moses, we feel the burden of providing for our family.  There are ways to do it, that honor God and help turn the hearts of our children toward responding to their ultimate provider in worship.  There are other ways to do it, that simply (or luxuriously) put food on the table, but end in a result of our children being amazed at our abilities and filling their thirsts.

It’s difficult…sooo very difficult to spend time talking to rocks.  But in the end we recognize our children have a thirst that goes deeper than any material item in this world can quench.  More important than causing the water to flow, and meeting their every immediate need – is providing them a path on which they see and experience the love and provision of God, and are shaped to depend on Him.

The question then becomes – Where is the rock God is calling you, as a parent, to talk to?


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