Tag Archives: faith

that sucker does everything I do

One of the joys of being a dad is getting to laugh at all the crazy things the boy does. He imitates most things I do, especially sitting at the dinner table. He makes the noises I make, moves his head the way I do, and does the things I do. It reminds me of myself with my dad, and a lot of the things I do now are exactly like my dad, even down t the way I stand and how I fold my arms when I relax.

We noticed the other day that he was imitating me as I was talking to Charity. We weren’t even aware of it for a while. This is life for me now. The boy does what I do, for better or for worse, even when I don’t notice it. He sees everything I do. When he sees me mess with his mom, he messes with her. When I pound the table, so does he.

This has become a huge responsibility for us. As he grows and sees me treat his mom a certain way, he will learn to do the same. He will take his cues in how to respond to the Lord in how he sees me respond to the Lord. I am discipling him in a certain way by everything I do, we both are. Even when I get angry and do things I wish he had missed, he sees those moments, too. Those become moments of weakness and transparency that turn into teaching moments as mom or dad apologizes to Sam or tells him that we should not have done what we did. We are helping him see that we do not expect him to be perfect or to put on the appearance that he is, but that humility, confession, and taking responsibility are important.

What a privilege it is to reflect the glory of Jesus in the way we act, and sometimes even to reflect the glory of Jesus as it stands in contrast to how I act. I hope Sam learns to treasure it and be a strong man who uses his life to point to it.

Sam I Am:


what really makes us feel rich?

This just in: we have a 2 year old. (Pics at the bottom AFTER YOU FINISH READING)

A) It’s amazing to us every single day. 2) He’s a joy. D) I am learning so much from him, we both are. It’s hard learning to discipline your kids. Most parents already know this. It’s not that I don’t want to discipline him because I know he needs it, and I know it is going to be so good for him. It will teach him how to be a man, how to respect and love the Lord, and to hear the correcting voice of God. I just don’t want to upset him.

He is happy most of the time, and he has a smile that makes other people smile. So when we have to discipline him the hardest thing is knowing that we are going to upset the happiness that we love to see so much. The hardest times are when he is playing so contentedly and obeying us, and then all of a sudden something happens that throws it off. I hate to crush the spirit of a good mood, but it just has to be done.

I had a friend tell me yesterday how his 6 year old daughter talks about her little brother the way they talk about him as parents. She says things like, “I hate to see him get a spanking, but he needs it.” That’s really how we all feel as parents. I hate to see it, but I do have the privilege of teaching him to be godly, which means you experience discipline. We all do.

Today I went back through many of the scriptures that God used to speak to me through our long process to get to Sam and one scripture stood out to me that had not previously been that big for me in comparison to some others. It was Proverbs 20:21. It says that an inheritance quickly gained will not be blessed in the end.

Something that is easily gotten is easily lost, or so people say. When there isn’t a lot of investment to get it, it doesn’t mean as much sometimes, so it’s not that big of a deal to lose something. Its value is slighted because of the ease of which it is attained. And we see this principle at work here. We labored and struggled through so much to get to Sam that we experience intense joy at having him in our house now. I still walk into his room at night and am amazed that he is laying there in his own bed, in his own room, in Dallas, TX, USA, with his own monkey.

It’s crazy, and all that we went through to get to him has made his presence with us now so much more of a joy, or so I think. I don’t really have a reference point. But I think about all the long days and months, and those days and months are part of who Sam is to me. They are part of him, they are part of me, and they are part of our family. And we are so much richer for it.

Sam, I am:

thoughts on specific answers to specific questions

Today is a lot of rain. Everyday these days is a lot of rain. It’s one of those meditative kinds of days, as most rainy days are. I’ve been thinking about Kazakhstan today. It’s such a weird thing that we have days where we sort of long for a place that we were so anxious to leave. God has put so much into our hearts that came from Kazakhstan that we are forever linked to that place.

I remembered certain rooms and certain days. I remembered the snowy and rainy days. I remembered the warmth of the ever-burning furnace and the people, people that we now miss.

As I was thinking about this a good friend of mine that I don’t get to spend enough time with anymore, Ragan, sent me an email with an attachment of a song that he has been singing recently. He wrote it in response to a blog post that we made while we were in Kazakhstan where we referenced Malachi 1:5. The song is called Everything Moves and comes from the idea that everything moves in response to the One who created it, whether that thing knows its source of movement or not.

Hearing it and thinking about it made me go back to read that blog post, and it was a good trip down the lane of memories. You can see the post here:


I remember that situation and those days so vividly, like they just happened a few weeks ago. I can remember being overwhelmed at who God is and what he was doing right in front of our faces. We were actually seeing God answer prayers right there as we sat in an office. Charity and I were talking yesterday about suffering and how God always seems to teach us more in those times than in the easy times. And we definitely had some of both in Kstan, but God was teaching us so much in those dark, trying days. He was refining us, making us his and into who he wanted us to be. He was shaping us in those days.

And he is still shaping us. How quickly we have lost sight of the fact that everything moves in response to the Lord. EVERYTHING. Whether they know him or not, whether they willingly submit to him or not, whether they cherish him or not – everything moves in response to him. The Lord truly is great beyond the borders of Israel, beyond the “borders” of his church or his people. His power is over everything in creation, and everything takes its lead from him.

What a good reminder that is. It is good to be reminded of the faithfulness of the Lord and his power. It is good to be reminded of how small I am and how intimately involved God is in the intricate details of every life. We struggle sometimes these days in what God might be doing in Sam, how he is answering our prayers. This serves as a good reminder that everything moves in response to Him.

Now, here’s Sam:

it’s good to remember

Hey people, anyone who happens to still be checking this. We are going to try our best to get back up and running with posting and updating. We’ve thought a lot about all the family blogs out there and how they are used and viewed, and decided to try to get on this again. A lot of what we post will hopefully have a focus of how Sam is adjusting, what we are learning, and how adoption is affecting and has affected our lives and his. We’ll see what happens.

I received a video today from a family who met Sam back in 2008. It was cool and prompted me to look back through some old blogs and pictures. I didn’t have a lot of time, but in ten minutes or so, it really took me back. I remembered some of the feelings we had and the things we went through together. I remembered many of the people. I just remembered. It’s good to remember. It’s good to reflect.

I quickly forget how profoundly we changed in the three months we lived in Karaganda, Kazakhstan. Our lives were so impacted by a people in general, specific people, experiences, a baby house filled with children, and so many other things. The rooms we spent time in came back to me. The parks and the snow followed by the sun. So many things came back to me, even if just for a few minutes, and it was good.

Brining all this back with us has surely changed us, and we are so much beter for it. God has been so incredibly real to us, and we have had some challenging moments in our 6 or so weeks here, but our lives are richer, both by adding Sam abd by carrying all the “luggage” that we now carry, both good and bad. It’s weird to say that in some ways we miss our time in Kazakhstan. It might sound surprising, and honestly it’s surprising to me, but our lives were so significantly affected by so many things there, that it’s hard to just return. Things will never be the same. And if I’m being completely honest, I am not sure I want to completely “return.” I’m not sure I want things to ever be the same again.

Where it goes from here I have no idea, and I’m not sure what our future looks like, but I am glad to have experienced something so deeply that is has affected my spirit, my actions, my loves, my character, my motivations.  I’m glad to have lived and experienced and be still experiencing. Walking on roads like this, only starting to understand faith, has become to me a very rich and priceless thing.

“Lord willing” is the most appropriate phrase here

In the book of James, he says that we make all these plans, but that we don’t know what a day will bring. He says we will do this and that if the Lord wills it. So you hear lots of people say things like this, “Today we will leave our city headed for Almaty on our way home, Lord willing!” And attaching Lord willing to it is the most appropriate way to say it as we have seen in our time here and especially in these last few days. You can just never be sure.

So I preface all this with the fact that you can never be sure here. So having said that, Lord willing, we will be leaving our city this afternoon at 5pm on a train headed for Almaty. If things go smoothly we will be heading home on Sunday, May 31st.

Without sharing too many details, we heard two days ago and again yesterday that tings would not be finished by today and that we would be here several more days, but it was. God is powerful, and in this case we have seen his power even over men’s hearts. He moves things and people however he wants to, and his power touches everything.

So we head to Almaty for a doctor visit tomorrow and then we turn our stuff in to the Embassy the next day. The next day we have Sam’s visa interview where we will, Lord willing, get his visa and be ready to come home. So for now pray for a quick and good doctor visit. This will also be our first with Sam so his mom and dad are a little nervous about what all might come from it. Also please pray that all of our documents are in order when we go to the embassy.

Thank you, and hopefully we will be takling to many of you face to face real soon. Thank you for walking with us for all this time. We love you.

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