31 March 2008

Change In His Pocket

I don't know about you, but when I have time to relax, time to sit back and completely chill without anything else on the agenda, that's often when the fretful thoughts sneak up and start gnawing on me. When I soak in a bubble bath, or try to take a nap, or have a quiet dinner with Michael my mind often turns to, "What about that? And what about this? And what about that?? And what about this?? And, dear Lord, what am I going to do about that?!?"
It robs me of peace, and it professes my lack of faith in the Lord. It's very difficult for God to be heard clearly, and consequently obeyed when I'm focused on picking apart problems, difficult issues, and troubles.
I want to do whatever the Lord wants me to do, without pointing out all the obvious hurdles in the way. I want to follow Him willingly without Him having to put a bit in my mouth to shut me up and force my head in the direction we're going! I want that obedience to come without fear or worry, knowing full well that the Lord has been before me to make the way!
However, the true me is so stubborn! Whenever something new is on the horizon, I worry. Somehow I think that maybe God doesn't have all the details worked out, and I need to figure out how the difficulties that will surely arise must be handled! I need to make a plan, and write a check list, and start ticking off each item. I need to research, and find the best options, and work out the solutions.
We got home Saturday night from lovely Santa Barbara, and it truly was such a delightful field trip away for a few days with the kids. We walked about 5 miles on Friday, and about 8 miles on Saturday along the harbor, the wharf, up and down State Street, the waterfront bike path, East Beach, and Montecito. We checked out the Mission, played at the pool and the beach, and had a great time just toodling around town.
But, I started fretting while we were gone about a few things that are coming up soon that I know will be challenging. For instance, knowing that I'm losing my helper, Briana, now that she is engaged and planning to go out into the mission field once they are married this summer, has been stressful. Just thinking about having to find someone new makes my blood pressure shoot up. And yet, I know that the Lord has it all perfectly planned, and that worrying in advance, and sweating the details doesn't do a thing except prove how little I understand His great Love for His children!

I feel like He said to me this weekend,

"Don't fret about anything. I am in control. Just trust Me."

I want to be change in His pocket to be spent any way He wishes.

Thank You, Jesus, for this message today from Experiencing God Day by Day by Henry T. Blackaby & Richard Blackaby (for March 31st):

God never sends you into a situation alone. He always goes before His children, as He did the children of Israel when he led them with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. You do not serve as His advance troops in a foreign and hostile situation. He always precedes you in any situation you encounter. God is never caught by surprise by your experience; He has already been there. He is prepared to meet every need because He has gone before you and knows exactly what you will need for your pilgrimage (Deut. 31:8).

Not only does God go before you, but He also stands beside you and behind you, to provide protection and comfort (Ps. 139:7-12). Jesus knew His disciples would be totally bewildered by His crucifixion, so He assured them in advance that no matter what happened, no matter where they went, they would go in confidence that He had already gone before them. Paul, too, experienced this assurance (Acts 18:9; 23:11). In the most bewildering circumstances, his Lord was there!

If you are going through a difficult or confusing time, know that your Lord has gone before you and He is present with you. He is fully aware of what you are facing, and He is actively responding to your need. There is nowhere you can go that you will not find Christ waiting for you to join Him. Even when you face death, you can be assured that He has gone before you in triumph. As a child of God, rest in the knowledge that your Savior preceded you, and He will walk with you through each experience of your life."

Carpinteria sunset

27 March 2008

Random Facts About Nothing In Particular

OK, I got "random facts" tagged by Lori, but I've been procrastinating. So, after much feet-dragging, Lor, here you go:

  1. Where to start??? OK, I'm a family person. I love being with my family, just the seven of us, and our larger family as well. It makes both Michael and I purr with happiness to be all together enjoying a meal, holidays, birthdays, or just hanging out.
  2. I also really, really need alone time or I start to go a little postal. Actually, Michael calls it going "homeschooly". I think the term will catch on. Don't you?
  3. I've always been fascinated by Africa. I used to wonder if I would end up a missionary there. Maybe I still will!
  4. I couldn't place Ethiopia on a map if my life depended upon it until the Lord called us to adopt Elianna Ray. Now, it's so much a part of the fabric of our lives and hearts that it feels like our hometown away from home.
  5. Even though I love the early morning when it's quiet and dark and I'd love to be a person who springs out of bed before the crack of dawn exploding with energy and enthusiasm, I'm not really a morning person.
  6. I fall asleep in the movie theatres almost every time we go. Action film, thriller, kids' movie, whatever, it's the dark and the comfy chair without kids crawling on me that does it.
  7. Speaking of chairs, I love the chairs at the dentist's office. If I weren't actually getting my mouth worked on (I despise all dental procedures - Sorry, Moody!), I could easily cat nap there, too.
  8. Michael and I have always been best friends, although we can drive each other completely insane, too. We're spicy, let's leave it at that.
  9. We got married young at 20 & 21 and I'm so glad that we did.
  10. I love classical music, opera, R&B, jazz, and a variety of rock.
  11. I had a seizure when I was pregnant with our oldest that was scary enough to give me nightmares for years.
  12. My pregnancies were awful. I had hyperemesis, which basically means you vomit all day long for 9 months.
  13. I've thrown up all over Orange County, Southern California, and Maui.
  14. I've thrown up all across England & Scotland.
  15. I've thrown up all across France & Italy.
  16. That makes me an international barfer.
  17. Like I've said before (in the "Barleygate" post), I'm an A+ vomiter. That's my big, braggable proficiency.
  18. We didn't start out planning to adopt. The Lord directed us.
  19. Adoption is not Plan B.
  20. I've learned more about God the Father's Love for me through adoption than any other avenue in my life.
  21. I think that Jesus loves birth moms of adopted kids more than anyone can possibly comprehend.
  22. I'm a middle child, and all that that implies.
  23. My siblings and I are very close friends, although we didn't used to be.
  24. I could happily spend every single day of my life at the beach. Walking on the sand, going for a swim, bodysurfing, boating... Yeah, baby! I love it.
  25. I'm the person you secretly suspect of dancing and singing in the elevator. I hope those security videos never end up on You Tube.
  26. I could very happily live on flautas with queso and guacamole, and a big Cadillac margarita.
  27. Also turkey burgers with avocado, onion rings, and a big Diet Coke (as if that could balance the scale!).
  28. That's why I'm on a diet.
  29. I really resisted homeschooling at first. I thought it was too "granola" for me. Now, I love it, and can't imagine life any differently!
  30. I was head cheerleader in high school, and also openly hated because of my faith in Christ. High school was not fun.
  31. Although I loved college, I was a horrible student then, and have been paying penance reading textbooks, literature, studying everything I can get my hands on ever since. I should have been a Catholic for all this guilt!
  32. I'm going to go back to school someday and do it right.
  33. I love to sing, but not solos.
  34. I'm a Bible snob. I just love my NIV, although I secretly prefer the King James.
  35. I've broken both of my ankles twice each. Told ya I was klutzy!
  36. So, throwing a ball... yeah, not so much.
  37. I don't know why anyone would ever wear anything other than cotton underwear.
  38. I could happily live everyday in jeans, a t-shirt, and my Ugg slippers.
  39. I also love to get dressed up to the nines and go someplace swanky for cocktails and dinner.
  40. I don't eat seafood of any kind. Yuck!
  41. I love to cook.
  42. I love to entertain and throw parties.
  43. I hate to clean up after cooking and entertaining.
  44. I've become a neat freak, increasingly so with each baby. Having more little ones definitely made my homemaking skills improve. Michael finds it a little neurotic.
  45. A good pedicure can cure me of almost any bad mood.
  46. I'm sneaking this one in here near the end because fewer people are likely to make it this far. I love tobacco. Always have. Always will. I'd be a chain-smoker if it weren't so unhealthy. Now, stop being so judgemental and just get over it already.
  47. I also love good wine, most cocktails, and after-dinner drinks.
  48. I wish more people knew that Jesus is about FREEDOM!
  49. Along those lines, rest easy, Mama, I don't have any tattoos.
  50. I'm beginning to regret agreeing to writing this list.

That's it! Finis!

Keva and Liz, I'm tagging you!

Monday Was The Day of Double (Actually TRIPLE!) Blessing!

P R A I S E T H E L O R D ! ! !

Moody & Emily were blessed with two new children, a sister and brother!

And Curtis & Karen were referred their one-month old son!

All three were born in Ethiopia. And, all three are already loved by the Hausams! HALLELUJAH!

25 March 2008

Fits Happen

We have officially entered the Terrific Two's even though Evangeline is just 19 months old. My little angel baby, the easy one, the baby with the sweetest, dearest disposition now has a hidden Hulk inside. At first it started with practice fits and we'd have to cover our snickers because it was hysterical to watch her get upset, run to the mirror and throw herself down on the floor crying, "Oh-ho-ho-ho-ho-no-no-no! Waaaah! Mad! Sad! Cwyiiiiiiing!" Too funny.

Now it's the real deal.
We have begun The NO Stage.
"Good morning!" "No."
"Do you want a banana?" "No."
"Shall we go for a walk?" "No."
"Let's go jump on the trampoline!" "No."
"It's time for a bath." "NO!"

And, when Elianna Ray suddenly shrieks and I ask, "What happened Evangeline?" she will respond with absolute honesty, "Bite Ray Ray".
"What did you do to your sister?"

"Hit Ray Ray."
"Scratch her. No no, Evie!" she'll say all on her own, self-disciplining.

And the fit throwing... Lord, have mercy, the fit throwing! But, enough digressing about me.

In Nordstrom the other day she wanted to have a cookie and when she didn't get one, she threw herself down right in front of the escalator, clobbering her head while she was at it. Wanting comfort from the owie she got while flipping out, she started shouting, "Pick UP! Pick UP! Mama, NOW UP!" Oh dear.

I didn't respond the way she wanted. You can use your imagination here. She was less than pleased with what happened to her little heinie.

My Evangeline has left darling babyhood and toddlerhood behind and is now a creature that I hardly recognize... At least I have pictures of the angelic one whose body she has taken over.

So, a little warning, Hulk fans: Don't make her angry. You wouldn't like her when she's angry.

23 March 2008


"I know that my Redeemer lives,

and that in the end He will stand upon the earth.

And after my skin has been destroyed,

yet in my flesh I will see God!"

Job 19:25-26

He has risen just as He said! Hallelujah! Happy Easter!

22 March 2008

21 March 2008

This Is Love

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
Nail pierced hands, a wounded side
This is Love. This is Love
The Holy Heart was sacrificed
This is Love. This is Love
I bow down to the Holy One
I bow down to the Lamb
I bow down to the Worthy One
I bow down to the Lamb
The Son of God died for us
This is Love. This is Love.
He walked the hill and bore the cross.
This is Love. This is Love.
(Terry Butler & Mike Young)
This is from Beth Moore's Breaking Free devotional for yesterday:
"God had only one arrow in His quiver. The most perfect arrow ever to exist - a masterpiece, priceless to Him. Cherished far above all the hosts of Heaven. Nothing could compare. His only heritage. His only Son.
But, as God looked on a lost world - desperate and needy and in the clutches of the enemy - His heart was overwhelmed. Though they had sinned miserably against Him and few sought Him, God had created them in love and could not love them less. So Love reached sacrificially into the quiver and pulled forth the solitary arrow. Yes, God so loved the world."

19 March 2008

Happy Happy Birthday, Baby!

Happy birthday to my true love, Michael! I adore you, Hausie! Nothing is sweeter than sharing life with you. You are the whole world to me. I'm so glad that the Lord chose me to be your helpmate. You are one in a billion, my darling, and I love you with all that I am.

"O magnify the Lord with me
And let us exalt His Name together."
Psalm 34:3

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

(Shakespeare's Sonnet 116)

How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,
I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!
And, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

(E.B. Browning's Sonnet XLIII)

(He'll kill me when he sees this, but wasn't he just so darling at 14?)

17 March 2008

Lucky Me

I'm feeling extra generous on this very lucky day, so I'll share this little bit of embarrassment with you. Don't worry about laughing at my expense because I'm quite accustomed to it. You see, behind this glamorous exterior lies the heart of a doofus. I know it's hard to believe, but I'm really incredibly klutzy and dorky. It's a good thing my darling finds it endearing!

While I was away on vacation I spent a long day at the beach and came back to the hotel feeling grubby and starving. I thought I'd take a quick shower, then get something for supper from the restaurant downstairs, and curl up with a good book for the evening. Fresh out of the shower I thought, "Even though I don't need to I might as well dry my hair and put on some face." I walked to the elevator feeling pretty fine... hair lookin' cute, makeup on, not bad if I do say so myself.

And, then these two STUNNING women dressed to kill and with legs up to here jumped straight out of Vogue and into my elevator. I said, "WOW, you two look gorgeous!" They rolled their eyes and simpered a tiny thanks before proceeding to enjoy their reflections in the mirror a little longer. I tried chatting amicably to no avail. They still looked at me like I was dirt.

As the elevator doors opened I thought, "How sad! These poor girls are so conceited. They couldn't think higher of themselves, or lower of me..."

And then...

(Those of you who know me in person know exactly where this is going.)

I tripped.

And, not just a little stumble, but one of those carpet-burn-on-your-cheek-splayed-out-spread-eagle-on-the-ground-like-you-fell-from-a-five-story-building kind of falls. Yep. That's me. Always making a big impression.

When I finally made it to my feet I did a little ta-da curtsey for the dozen or so people in the lobby who were giving me a kind ovation and waved goodbye to the supermodels who were embarrassed to have been anyway near the disaster that is me. And I thought laughing to myself, "You know, Lord, I know You love me, but You could have made me just a tiny bit cool."

No luck there.

Anyway, YAHOO, it's Easter vacation! We had a very severe case of Spring Fever in our schoolhaus, folks. It was getting desperate. Who wants to think about algebra, or memorizing the order of the Presidents, or the history of Rome when it's so beautiful out?!

Yesterday we celebrated brother Mark's (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARKUS!), sister Lisa's (tomorrow) and Michael's (Wednesday) birthdays with a traditional Irish brunch of corned beef, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, and soda bread, with Guinness of course. And today we're headed to the LA Zoo to play!

I hope you enjoyed my story, friends, even though it may have shattered your illusions of my fabulousness. :) Happy St. Patty's Day!

14 March 2008

Pismo With Ricker

I'm finally getting around to going through the photos of our vacation with Ricker a couple of weeks ago. That will go down as one of the sweetest memories of my life. Spending time with our boy, having a ton of fun together, and talking about life, the Lord, and his hopes and dreams was absolutely precious to me!

11 March 2008

Something Beautiful

It's just an ordinary moment... no flashy smiles, no picturesque background. But, this photo made me break down and weep with joy and thanksgiving. Dear Susan and Randy have their precious babies in their arms. Elijah and Sophia have a Forever Family now. Praise You, Lord Jesus!

(This shot was taken by their brother-in-law, Mark Jacobs, a television and film director in LA who is with them in Ethiopia filming a documentary about the Clarks' Ethiopian adoption journey. How incredible!)

10 March 2008

Home Again

I just walked in the door a few minutes ago from my long Mama-Needs-a-Vacation Weekend with enough salt water up my nose, enough sand in my hair, and sufficiently sunburnt to feel fully relaxed! God is so good.

On the way home I drove through the hills that just a little while ago were scorched and black after the horrendous Southern California wildfires. Now they are as green as Ireland and blanketed in shocking wildflowers. Purple lupine, golden California poppies, and white snowdrops paint the hills in proclamation of the wonder of the Lord's redeeming power of life after death!

And, that's how I feel, too! After several days alone with Jesus giving Him my every complaint and praise, every worry and joy, and walking on the beach with seaspray in my face, my brittle voice now sings, and my dry bones dance!

Many thanks to the sweet friends who were praying for me while I was gone. You bless my heart!

07 March 2008

"I Love You. Now, Go Away."

What kind of husband says that to his bride? A wonderful one!

I'm taking off for a Mama Weekend Away! Woo hoo! I'm planning on doing nothing but walk on the beach, read my Bible and a couple of lit classics, sit in the jacuzzi, nap, and spend the whole time with the Lord. I'm so excited! Thank you, my darling Michael!

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend, too.

05 March 2008

Rapunzel Has Left the Building... And Gone to the Beach

Ta-DA! The new look. I had 16 inches of hair lopped off yesterday!
Years ago I whimsically said, "I'll wait to cut my hair until such-and-such happens." HA! I think the Lord laughed at me.
Fat lot of good it did me anyway! As Emily said, it's NOT that I believed that not cutting my hair would somehow bend the universe to my will, or the Lord's will to my wishes. It just seemed like a good way to mark time and remember to be in prayer. But, my timing is most decidely not His timing. So, I finally threw in the towel and chopped it all off!
Now Haus says I have "college hair" (the same style I had all those years ago when we met)! Poor guy is a little sulky that he can't have college hair again, too.
So, how heavy is hair anyway? I wonder how much that will register on the scale??? Does that count towards my health-conscious resolution??? I guess not since it doesn't help me fit into my skinny jeans. Phooey!

Now it's your turn, Emily, if you're game!
Then, after schoolwork, we hit the beach because it was just way too pretty outside. Poor Ray Ray got smacked by an errant wave, though, so we drove home with a very sad babysicle, but here are a few photos of happier times.


How gorgeous is this?


Ray Ray just before disaster struck

Evangeline saying, "No NO, wave!" So cute.

A Couple of Party Pics

03 March 2008

The Year of Living Thankfully (Part 2)

I will exalt You, my God the King;
I will praise Your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise You
and extol Your Name for ever and ever.
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
His greatness no one can fathom.
Psalm 145:1-3

  1. I'm so thankful for the Lord's grace on me, a great sinner. Today I was reminded afresh of how great a gift it is that mercy and salvation are mine through Christ Jesus. Unmerited favor is such a shocking thing. Thank You, Lord, for not giving me what I deserve.
  2. Our little cousin, Baby Coco, who is on the way! Today we celebrated our cousin Coco (the mama) who is alright with being called absolutely anything as long as it's not "Big Coco"!
  3. A super Superbowl XLII Extravaganza at Uncle John & Auntie Marilyn's
  4. Making plans for this summer's Union in Hermosa Beach! We are going to have so much FUN!
  5. A sweet evening in front of the fireplace with Michael watching a Jane Austen chick flick with a glass of wine. I'm so grateful that my burly man loves art, English literature, poetry, and girl movies, too!
  6. Playing tennis with the kids and getting completely stomped by Jackie!
  7. An incredible conversation with my friend Susan who humbles me with her dogged pursuit of joyous Christ-likeness no matter what her circumstances
  8. Our OCEAN We Heart Ethiopia supper. Michael and I are tremendously grateful for all of you! One of the unexpected blessings of adopting Ray Ray has been all the precious friendships we've made along the way.
  9. Junior High winter camp with tons and tons of SNOW!
  10. Birthday party for Mother & Ray Ray. Time with our family is the sweetest treasure!
  11. Getting a little one-on-one time on a long walk with Jackie this morning.
  12. Mother. Happy 60th birthday to our dear Mother who models grace, loving kindness, and others-centeredness (Is that a word?) on a daily basis. She's also a really terrific friend!
  13. Hung & Hue Tran, longtime friends
  14. Lovin' that man of mine!
  15. A sweet email from a long-lost friend
  16. A wonderful Girl Day with Marg
  17. Our church family
  18. My sister, Lisa, and the hours and hours we spend on the phone
  19. A delightful trip to the bookstore and lots of new books! Hooray!
  20. The Clarks' successful adoptions of little Elijah & Sophia! Thank You, Lord Jesus!
  21. Horseback riding with Marg
  22. Rickerman! Our big boy is becoming a man! Thanks, Lord, for a fun day at Knott's riding rollercoasters and for a wild supper & show at the Pirate Dinner Theatre.
  23. Dinner party with the Adamses
  24. Leading worship with Chris Lizotte and celebrating Poppy & Ricker's birthday after church
  25. Potty training. The Word says to rejoice always and then keep on rejoicing, so I'm learning to rejoice through potty training! Actually, Evangeline is doing really great and any time spent with my little angel is truly a joy... even sitting on the pot!
  26. A wonderful time with my friend, Chloe, talking about the joys and struggles of homeschooling, and the hard and yet worthwhile walk that Christian life is.
  27. Poppy. Happy 63rd to our Poppy whom we love, and admire, and respect so much. Our Pops is the most encouraging, enthusiastic, and whole-hearted friend in the world!
  28. A very special vacation to Pismo Beach with Ricker... Driving up the coast today, listening to his favorite music, walking on the beach at sunset talking about what a great God we serve, and later sitting in the jacuzzi just being together made priceless memories!
  29. Riding ATVs on the beach until we were 100% exhausted and in need of a good chiropractor! I'm also SO thankful for my fantastic Spa afternoon... oh, the luxury was straight from Heaven!

God is so good! Thank You, Lord, for Your blessings that are too many to list!

(Private note to Betsy: Please email me again. I haven't been able to reach you by the email address I have. I miss you, my friend, and all the Kikstras!)