Monthly Archives: July 2012

Shining Moments

“She’s so tiny,” I said under my breath when I saw Jenny for the first time.

Kostroma, December 2002.

Born weighing only 1 ½ pounds.

    A miracle if she had been born here a doctor said.

I knew from the time I saw that short video of her that she was my second daughter.

Noelle and I watched with tears running down our cheeks

    as she walked

        and played

            and silently stood with her big brown eyes staring.

My heart jumped across to where I knew she was

     saying “YES”.

But it was weeks until I finally met her on that cold December morning.

She kept her eyes down as I softly spoke to her.

Her eyes were attracted to my watch

    So I took it off and she held it and put it on her teeny tiny wrist.

I lifted her up on my lap and she finally got brave enough to meet my eyes.

I kept talking quietly

    and then we walked together to play with some of the toys in the room

    and drink some tea

        and eat candy.

This was how our visits went spread over three days.

I loved her immediately

      knew she was a survivor

      and longed to bring her home to meet my oldest daughter.

Then on the third day while visiting her in the afternoon

   she was suddenly taken away

   and my heart felt like it had stopped breathing.

Where had they taken her? Why?

Would I get to see her again?

I knew that I must leave Russia and return in a few weeks.

That was the law.

But I had not said goodbye.

   Given her another warm embrace

    Reassured her of my return.

I talked

   and asked

   but there was nothing to be done.

I would see her when I returned.

But what would she think, I worried.

So I purchased a teddy bear and rushed it back to the orphanage.

“Please give her this for me

      and tell her Mommy would be coming to get her

      to take her home.”

Tears filled my eyes even as I got back in the car and was driven away.

A few hours later I boarded the plane at the Moscow airport.

One quick stop in Amsterdam and we should be home, I thought.

Christmas Eve. I could hardly wait to see Noelle. To hold her in my arms.

But the plane that was to land for only a few minutes

    ended up being grounded

     until the next day.

Miss Christmas? No way, I thought. I had to get home.

I stood at the desk inside the airport scanning the flights.

Cancelled. Cancelled. One after another. Big snowstorm in the East.

“No flights until possibly tomorrow,” the woman behind the desk informed me.

With a very heavy heart

    disappointed again

     I walked the long hall and found my room.

I picked up the phone and dialed home where my parents were staying with Noelle.

“Hi honey,” I said hearing her sweet voice on the other end of the phone.

“No, I wasn’t able to come all the way,” I explained a lump forming in my throat.

“No, you go ahead and I will get there as soon as I can. Promise.”

I heard her fighting back the tears and that did me in.

For the second time in one day

   tears trickled down my cheeks.

Christmas Eve. One daughter in Kostroma, Russia. The other in Virginia.

My weary heart was stretched in both directions longing to have my daughters together.

I’ll never forget that night alone in the huge hotel room.

Alone. But not alone. I sensed His Presence.


Sometimes things don’t unfold the way you think

   The unexpected happens and you are forced to adjust

    But I am not surprised. All is well.

    I am never late.

In His Time

   I went back to Russia

       got two year old Jenny

        and brought her home. My heart was finally at peace.

And oh what a homecoming that was. But that is for another blog.


Shining Moments

I glanced at the grade on the top of the paper

    and my heart sank again. In discouragement I stuffed it into my folder

    and walked back to my dormitory on the western New York campus.

It seemed no matter how hard I tried to write a good paper for my English professor

  he stilled covered the pages with red marks.

Guess I wasn’t cut out to be a writer.


But that was what I believed for many years.

It wasn’t until years later

   when I experienced God’s gracious healing in my life

   that I

        on impulse

       wrote an article and

       mailed it to a Christian publication.

Even after I dropped the manuscript in the mail

  I questioned myself

   and felt ridiculously foolish and blushed.

No one was more surprised than I to hear back from the editor

that they were paying me to use the article

and wanted me to write more.

Me, a writer?

My belief had been ‘no’

  but God’s plan was something different.

He chose to use my simple writings to bless and encourage others.

His working through me.

Today I have had published more than 500 articles, devotionals and short stories.

I have stories in Chicken Soup for the Adopted Soul,

                                                   Chicken Soup Thanks Dad

                                                       and many others.

My heart praises the One Who so lovingly

         Has chosen to use my offerings and to make them serve His Purposes.

So what’s in your hand today?

Any skill that maybe you thought years ago was inferior

      or unworthy of use. Or maybe you didn’t even think about it.

Could it be that our Lord sees it differently than you?

Could it be that He longs to see you step out in faith and do it anyway?

He loves to do what seems Impossible to us.

But nothing is impossible.

Nothing is beyond His power to infuse with new life

                                                                          raise up

                                                                           and transform.

    as we turn it all over to Him.


Don’t you just love Him?



Shining Moments

Tennis. Love the game.

Years ago I took lessons one summer. I had no idea what I was getting into.

Back and forth the ball went.

I swung my racket finding it much harder than playing the piano.

But I liked it.

Yes, it was the very first sport that I really got into.

Those lessons took me up to the competitions.

That’s when I dropped out. Never did like competing.

The years went by and when Noelle was young we used to hit the ball back and forth.

Run honey.

You can do it, I cheered.

It was never about how well we played the game. It was that we played.

Today Jenny plays too,

Back and forth that tennis ball flies.

We laugh and groan and play some more.

Life is alot like playing tennis, don’t you think?

Not about winning. No we all fail at times.

That’s just part of life.

But the key is to keep playing. Keep swinging. You’ll hit the ball again.

Children know what it is to live.

   When given half a chance they laugh and play

       entering into the game with all they’ve got.

But adults often become spectators to life

   making comments about how others are playing.

    winning or losing

    but not playing themselves.

The key to life is living it fully.

 Hitting that ball

    Whatever comes your way.

Swinging at it with all you’ve got

   and refusing to give up. Reminding yourself that the next ball

   just might be the one you hit.

Tennis involves playing with at least one;

   its not a solo sport.

Neither is life.

It takes learning to give and receive.

Understanding that everyone has strengths and weaknesses

   and using that understanding to work for you.

Well I just came back from playing tennis.

Smile. I might not be able to return those balls like I remember doing

   but it’s still a lot of fun.

Watching my two handle those serves is sure rewarding.

Adjusting to what comes their way




Pressing towards the mark.

Living it fully

   one day at a time. Focusing on what’s before you.

Tried tennis lately?