Author Archives: admin

About admin

I discovered the forgiving grace of Jesus when I was 15 yrs. old. He has been faithful to me over 40 yrs and blessed me with a patient loving husband, six children and so far five grandchildren. I've made lots of mistakes and I've done some things right...but I'm grateful for it all as it has taught me how desperately I need His grace each day.

The Table

It has been eight months since we left our family home of 29 years. We raised our family there and to downsize was a work we are still recovering from. You could call our new home an eclectic style. This is a nice way of saying that when we cut our square footage in half we kept our favorite or most meaningful pieces and nothing really matches.

Family and friends are kind and say, “Oh they don’t match woods anymore, it’s stylish to mix woods”. I’m glad to hear it as I have mother’s maple floor lamp next to the cherry bookcases, across from the oak family table, etc., etc.

With no children to blame anymore, we recently discovered a white ring on the oak dining room table, left from a steaming hot cup of coffee or tea. The table. One thing that had to come to the new smaller home because it has many memories and it was a special purchase we made.

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The chairs are long gone and twice replaced. However the table itself represents so many dreams for our family. Thirty years ago it was one of the first new purchases we made. It came with two large leafs and I imagined the family gathering around it for many years to come.

Many memories and secrets my table holds. If it could tell the stories of wild games of “spoons” and serious conversations held, that would be a treasure. Marie was sitting at that same table when Christian surprised her, dropped to his knee and proposed in front of the whole family. Much work has been accomplished at that table. The scars and white rings tell it’s story.

This home has a lovely entry closet that can hold the leafs which will rarely be needed. The hosting of Christmas has transferred to the eldest son and wife with the largest home. That’s a good thing since they are gifted with hospitality. Our table now seats just the two of us.

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As we enjoy this season together, we are well aware that eventually only one of us will remain at this table. It actually is a good reminder to love each other well and to live life to it’s fullest. Whether my precious table goes to an adult child or the Goodwill some day, I know it will serve others well.

I also know it will guard our memories and secrets and my special dreams that I had for it.

The Waves of Emotion

A tidal wave overpowers me and I’m left face first with sand in my nostrils.

Carries me out to sea again and tossed to and fro amidst the garbage floating by.

I thought I was on a hill of safety, far enough from the sea of emotions that desires to drown me.

But alas safety was not to be found, even though it appeared safe…t’was not.

I’ll survive. I don’t feel like I will, but I always do.

There are times when the exhaustion is such I’m thinking that succumbing to the waters would be a relief. A selfish relief, but a relief never the less.

But I have a beloved and even though he is beaten and battered too, we walk side by side, searching for higher hills of safety…
together.

An Open Letter to our Adult Children

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Dear Aaron, Marie, Andrew, Sarah, Timothy and Dora,

On this eve of our 42nd wedding anniversary we wanted to take this opportunity to share some thoughts we have.

Dad wants you to  know that he believes that controversial subjects and politics should never take precedence over a relationship within the immediate family. That is true for each one of us, even mom and dad. We are all very different.

Aaron Edwards said he was hoping to have CNN interview our family during the presidential election campaign because none of us are of the same opinion. We could have made some big bucks!

Seriously we want you to know we are not trying to silence your individual voices, you are all very passionate about different things. We raised passionate kids!

We are asking each family member to consider the following:

Instead of arguing over these passions, we thought it would be helpful to use some principles that Pastor Phil preached last month. If you want to listen to it, the sermon and link is as follows:

Adventures in Faith – Living a Life of Conviction, Part 12 – Daniel 3:1-30 / 2017.07.23

https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/auburngrace/episodes/2017-07-23T12_00_45-07_00

On the overhead Pastor Phil had the following:

Preferences, Conscience, and CONVICTIONS

Preferences: individual choices which are NEITHER right nor wrong

Conscience choices: right or wrong for me PERSONALLY

Moral Convictions: choices that are right or wrong for EVERYONE

We all have preferences, our favorite baseball team is the Dodgers, someone else’s is the Giants, Pastor Phil’s is the Padres. No matter what we want to say truly neither is right or wrong!

Our Conscience choices are different – we called these “convictions” growing up. In Daniel 1:11-13, Daniel and his friends felt they could not eat the king’s food because of their conscience. In the New Testament some believers could not eat meat offered to idols. Some Christians are conscientious objectors and do not serve in the military. Many Christian’s feel they cannot vote for someone who is not pro-life while others feel they can.

Finally, there are Moral Convictions and with these it doesn’t really matter how we “feel”. They do not come from us, we are not the authority. They come from The Ten Commandments in the Old Testament and The Greatest Commandment in the New Testament. These are God’s Moral Convictions for ALL human beings.

The Greatest Commandment is found in Matthew 22:37-39 – Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

We know that you all agree that racism is wrong, especially when you look at The Greatest Commandment. God created one race – the human race – in His Image.

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We believe it is essential for us as a family to treat each other with love and respect, which truly is loving your neighbor as yourself.

We think where we have had conflict in the past is when we passionately think of our Conscience choices as having the same value as God’s Moral Convictions.

If we are loving the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind along with loving our neighbor as ourselves, then we are willing to humbly set our choices aside out of love. We are careful to not misrepresent the Lord or hurt another person out of love. We are more concerned with our testimony than being right.

We respect that the Lord has made all people different, including those in our family, some leaning to be more sensitive than others. So, we don’t argue with and try to change others.

We set aside our preferences and our choices are compelled by love for others.

The same principle of ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ needs to occur for our multiracial family to be healthy and whole. There are both whites and blacks that feel it is wrong to have a multiracial family. The National Association of Black Social Workers wrote a positional statement against multiracial adoption. It is not simply white supremacists that we battle against.

Pastor Phil said, “We best function as a society by living God’s ten Moral Convictions and The Great Commandment.”

Mom and Dad would echo, “We best function as a FAMILY by living God’s ten Moral Convictions and The Great Commandment.”

Social media has the opportunity for much good, but it has also created a bunch of bullies. Let’s try to be compelled by love with one another. Also know that it is okay to have boundaries and not follow each other on social media if we find ourselves hurt or embarrassed or simply sad. Mom will probably be “unfriending” some of you, but please know that she isn’t “unloving” you.

Lastly, Dad would ask you to consider this question – what is more important to you as a family member – to express your own personal opinion in this broken world or to be sensitive to each other out of love and respect?

God has richly blessed us as a couple and the six of you are a big part of that blessing!

It certainly has been a wild ride this adventure called marriage and family!

We love each one of you more than you will ever know. Dad and Mom

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A Poem for Eisley and Noelan and Ava

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Sweet Grandchildren lost to me

for a season, but not forever

My arms are full, yet empty

because you are missing

Last night I saw you

in the eyes of another

running with play, squealing with delight

cooing, crying, alive with being

Know you are missed

Know you are remembered

No-one could ever replace you my darlings,

my little ones who still live in Grammie’s heart.

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Happiest of New Year’s to You!

Hope, Joy, Peace, Love – These are the four Sundays of ADVENT that we just celebrated.

Over the years our family has lit the candles and tried different devotionals. The past five years we have been at a church that lights the candles each Sunday and the sermon will often focus on that week’s word.

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Wikipedia says- “Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is a version of the Latin word meaning “coming”. Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used to refer to the Second Coming of Christ. For Christians, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from three different perspectives. “Since the time of Bernard of Clairvaux (d.1153) Christians have spoken of the three comings of Christ: in the flesh in Bethlehem, in our hearts daily, and in glory at the end of time.” The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.”

So even though the word means “coming” it involves “expectant waiting”. I now realize this expectant waiting seems to be part of everyday life, not just the for weeks before Christmas.

This hoping for good times to arrive, for the storms of life to settle. Yet it often seems that just when one storm is settling that another is brewing on the horizon. Such is life.

2016 was a good year for me. Looking in from the outside one might not think so as 2016 has brought my share of storms and I’ve had to learn to wait as never before. I’ve been brought to a place of letting go, of surrendering and riding out the storms and that’s what’s been good.

I see a subtle change in me, one that involves more Hope, more Joy, more Peace, and more Love. I have better perspective and more emotional well being. I realize this life is much like the weather, as much as we try to predict it, as each day dawns we really don’t know what it holds.

So for 2017 I’d like to embrace what each day holds and live in the advent way where I have Jesus ruling my heart daily and I am being “alert for his Second Coming.” I want to be anticipating his return for us with hope and joy, peace and love.

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I think this will give me a needed perspective when my prediction of life is “clear and sunny skies” and the day proves to be “drizzling with drama”.

Hopeful that 2017 brings you personal growth, that you might find Joy in the simple things, that you would worry less and have more Peace and Love others the way you desire to be loved. Happy New Year. ❤️

Quiet and The Cross

It’s interesting what I discover in life’s journey when I am afforded longer periods of quiet.

This trip to Romania gave me that. Quiet.

Quiet simplicity was found in the ministry of the mundane.

Yes there was noisy bustling traffic and wild dogs barking at night and grandchildren who giggled with glee, but I wasn’t responsible for any of that.

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The lack of responsibility resulted in my brain relaxing in a rare way. My thoughts were simpler and there was no phone or bustling schedule to remind me of the responsibilities of this life.

So as I went through my day, often with longer periods of quiet, pondering life and talking with God, I saw clearly for the first time my contribution in hurting someone.

I’m so thankful it was quiet enough for me to actually hear this truth. My friend Mary said if we step on someone’s toe by accident or on purpose, their toe still hurts and we need to acknowledge that.

I pondered Matthew 18:23-35 where Jesus tells the story of the forgiven yet unforgiving servant. The king forgives the servant of such a huge amount and then the servant goes out and starts choking someone who owes him a tiny amount. Much like we do. Much like I’ve done.

We’ve been forgiven of so much, yet hold such high standards for everyone. I discovered by focusing on the forgiveness I received that those offences by others seem trivial in the shadow of the cross.

So I was able to write a letter of apology and in my heart I was truly hoping the best for them. I was able to fully forgive their offenses against me when I finally acknowledged my part in it.

Then the resentment left and there came a lightness and peace I can’t even describe.

When I compare myself to others I can look pretty good, but looking at the cross is a different story. I purposed  to start focusing on my forgiveness and the cross. I started listening to music that focused on the cross. I really took a look at my identity in the cross of Jesus and I’m excited about what I’ve discovered.

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When I focus on the cross I am reminded of His sacrificial love for me. I am reminded of my humanness and I can humbly embrace it, instead of hating myself for my human weaknesses.

The cross forces me to realize there is nothing I could ever do to repay him and Jesus doesn’t want me to try to. I decided I wanted to bring back from Romania a sterling silver cross that would remind me of this quiet revelation in the glorious Romanian autumn.

I can now understand why one might find a monastery appealing. I’m pondering the idea of taking one day a month to just be alone with God, to be quiet and listen for several hours uninterrupted, to fast and pray and seek Him. Because in that quiet I hear God more clearly. I read the Bible and the Holy Spirit illuminates my mind and opens my heart to truth.

I don’t want to wait until I return to Romania for that quiet time without responsibility. If I am able to set my phone aside and have quality time with a friend….I certainly am able to do the same for the one who shed His blood for me.

#MinistryoftheMundane

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I would not want to be anywhere other than where I am right now. Not even on a cruiseship with my beloved, not on a plane to Paris, not anywhere else. I’m in Eastern Europe and in the past four years this is my sixth visit!

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I am not a big time traveler, but you wouldn’t know it considering my history here. I’ve come to Eastern Europe three times with Danny, once with Cacey and kids and twice now by myself. Note “Eastern Europe” because there is a big difference between that and going to “Europe”….which by the way… I’ve never seen normal Europe, but everyone tells me there is a big difference.

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I was that child who was happy as a clam playing dolls in my tidy bedroom, my first little nest. There is no doubt in my mind that I would have never left my present nest located on American soil had Marie not left. My love for her and her family pushed me out of my comfort zone.

I remember the lyrics of the song “Oceans” that originally confirmed to me I was to courageously go.

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior”

With such a strong conviction that God was calling me to go I had so many ideas of WHY I was to go…To share the good news of Jesus? To work in the baby hospital? To share with the teen girls on Friday night? So trip after trip I came and I did many things, but I always left thinking my being here feels really small. Physically I couldn’t do what I had imagined, like daily going to the baby hospital. However, clarity came before I left on this trip. I’ve been called to the ministry of the mundane.

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This is a good thing….yes it is ordinary and unexciting, but I excel in the ordinary things of this world. I am slow and meticulous, that’s how I was designed by my designer. I thrive in unexciting…at home I still opt out of the Demolition Derby at our little Gold Country Fair. I guess that’s why as a child I loved my quiet room and my dolls. I still remember being scared out of my wits when everyone would holler at the TV with the Super Bowl on. Nothing has really changed.

I am a teacher at heart, so with the ministry of the mundane I can invest in my granddaughters, helping them with their English. They actually listen to me right now at their ages! We read together, we color together, we do puzzles together, we journal together, we eat together, we connect.

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I know I am helping their parents by loving on their girls, plus I love doing it! I also love doing the ordinary, unexciting, mundane job of dishes and laundry and if it gives both Marie and Christian a break then I’m thankful! You see, on the other visits I did many of these mundane things, but I always tried to weigh it against the cost and came up what appeared unbalanced.

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That is how things are in God’s economy. What I see as small, He values. I see through a glass darkly, but one day I shall see face to face. Until then I’m just your average lover of Jesus who happens to also be a late-bloomer!

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Are You a Nester or a Wanderer?

Are you a nester or a wanderer? This journey of trying to sell our home and move has been rough on me, for I am a nester. Like a bird, gathering items from my travels, I bring them home with the sole intent to line the nest with them. I think I am married to a wanderer. He loves to travel and if possible drags (oops, invites) me along. I’m pretty agreeable as long as I have a firm date to return to the nest.

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Last night my wanderer challenged me that I need to stop looking at possible new homes until our current home is firmly in escrow. He thinks it is making me anxious. The idea of having no idea where our next nest is doesn’t bother him at all. He has faith that God will provide. I do too! However, I don’t seem to be able to relax like he does. I lay there in bed beside him and prayed, “Lord help me understand what he is trying to tell me.”

I knew that looking at houses didn’t make me anxious, in fact it actually helps me relax somewhat – “Oh this could be my new nest!” “We could afford this little nest!” What was my wanderer trying to get across to me? I wasn’t getting it. He knows me better than anyone on this earth. Then my silent prayer was answered and I understood. I have been reverting to my childhood ways….

When I was a child and Christmas season came, my mother wrapped beautiful gifts and arranged them perfectly under the tree. It looked like a magazine. Daily I would sneak in there and lift each one carefully out and analyze it. I would turn it and listen, gently shake. What was it? Did I ask for it? Could it be such and such that cost so much? What if it was that thing I didn’t really want?

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When I went to bed last night I thought, (spoiler alert – this  might offend some) “Is God like Santa Claus?”. Does my heavenly father have a good gift for me and can I trust him to bring me what I need and want? A new nest to enjoy and keep ready for when my wanderer returns from his sales trips? Do I need to tell Him what I need or want, like writing a letter to Santa?

We raised our children without writing lists to Santa, but rather writing lists of how they would give to others. We never had wrapped gifts under the tree but rather the nativity, to help them focus on the real meaning of Christmas. The gifts were there under the tree when they awakened on Christmas morning.

We were trying to encourage their focus. I think that is what my husband was trying to help me with when he was talking to me last night. My focus. Quit shaking and analyzing the real estate market. Quit trying to figure out where my new nest is. I hadn’t even wanted that nest, but maybe this is it! Quit being scared my new nest is something I didn’t want or need.

This morning one of my favorite songs, “Good, Good Father” came on and it was a lovely confirmation to me.

Oh and I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching for answers only you can provide
’cause you know just what we need before we say a word

You’re a good good father-
It’s who you are, It’s who you are, It’s who you are.
And I’m loved by you- It’s who I am, It’s who I am, It’s who I am.

So like an old fashioned Klein Family Christmas, I am going to focus on the now and the gifts He has given me today…my life, full with family and friends and His love and grace….and Watson.

And when that gift of a new nest comes, I’m going to just love it! I know I will, because He’s a good, good Father, it’s who He is.

 

 

 

 

A Judas Kiss

 

In February when Danny and I were vacationing, Marie and Christian contacted us about the possibility of adopting a little boy named Noelan. They wanted our thoughts. Of course we know personally that adoption and attachment isn’t an easy thing, but we also know that in this Christian walk Jesus often calls us to do things that aren’t easy.

I personally do not believe that everyone is called to adopt. Not everyone has the ability to love a child that is not their biological child. There are different callings for different people. We knew that Christian and Marie were praying and asking God for His direction. So we answered them we are 100% behind them in following God’s call and would help in any way we can.

After Danny and I had picked up and transported Noelan to emergency respite care and before the Burtts had arrived from Romania, my daughter said something so profound to me. She told me that even if they were not going to adopt Noelan that they still would have been willing to come back if only to come along side their friends to support and love them during such a difficult time.

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That was the level of love Marie and Christian had for their friends. It is a Christ like love that lays down one’s life for a friend. Jesus said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13  Most people think Jesus is speaking about death, but actually that is not what it says….it says “lay down one’s life” and that’s what I saw Marie and Christian do hour after hour, day after day, month after month as they ministered to this little confused boy from Africa, working hard on his attachment and trust.

I actually think laying one’s life down in death could have been easier in some ways. To look back and realize that we led this child to believe he was a part of our family and he was secure makes us literally ill. If they had chosen to be honest with us we could have reminded him of who his parents were going to be and treated him in a more appropriate way for his well being. The pain is so great in betrayal. I liken it to emotional rape.

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As more and more unfolds it seems a web of deceit started from very early on. It appears to be a premeditated betrayal. As victims we somehow feel responsible, but each of us know that’s not true. A person isn’t raped because their skirt was too short, it happens because there are evil people in the world who purpose to hurt others to gain what they want.

Dear God, how can something like this happen? It’s called a Judas kiss. An act of affection under a guise with fraudulent, evil motives. It happened to Jesus so I guess we shouldn’t be so surprised when it happens to his followers.

Luke 22:47-48 tells us – While Jesus was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

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Jesus knew what was going down, He wasn’t surprised, He was simply calling Judas on it. And in our situation with Noelan I know that Jesus was not surprised either. He knew what was going to go down with this sweet baby boy and He still asked Marie and Christian to come and try to help.

We will never be the same. We can’t save Noelan, but God can. That’s one of the reasons I suggested changing the name of his page from #savenoelan to #prayfornoelan. Pray for a little boy who is now certain to struggle with attachment disorder since he has been so thoughtlessly messed with and emotionally abused. Pray for the Burtts as they prepare to return to Romania purposing to continue to lay down their lives for others. Pray for emotional healing of our broken hearts and for spiritual renewal. Pray Marie and Christian can continue to “reject fear and choose love”. Because that’s what Jesus did for us.

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The loss of another child…

My life took an abrupt change in 2012. In January, my oldest daughter and family moved to Eastern Europe to work with unwanted children. In February, my mother diagnosed with Alzheimer’s came to live with me. God used both of those events as a catalyst for change in my life. Part of that change has been to embrace how I feel and to be perfectly honest, I feel very deeply, so this is hard for me. I have had a lifetime of denying feelings, so it’s always hard to choose to embrace and move through them.

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Right now I am feeling very sad. Our family is experiencing child loss again. It’s only been 13 months since we lost Eisley. This time it is a failed adoption, because the family that begged so desperately for our help to readopt this child has now changed their mind and refuses to sign the relinquishment papers. It’s a situation ripe for bitterness.

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Our family has spent countless sacrificial hours and monies on behalf of this sweet little boy, only to be led on and used. Sarah and Tanner, Danny and I all together did emergency respite for eleven days. Marie and Christian hurriedly came to the states to come and start the expensive adoption process. Some would think them trusting and foolish, however this couple asking for their help were their close trusted friends. It’s a situation ripe for bitterness.

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We will have a long road to healing. Betrayal begets hatred and cynicism. We will have to go through the pain of watching Addy and Mercy devastated when on Sunday they are told that their little shadow affectionately called “bro bro” will be leaving for good on Monday. When someone hurts your children or your grandchildren it’s hard to think straight, the anger is so intense. It’s a situation ripe for bitterness.

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Probably what hurts the most though, is what this selfish choice will do to a little boy whom I have come to love and call my grandson. In late January he came to this country from Africa, from a secure foster parent situation, into an unstable home, where after two weeks they demanded for him to be removed from the home.

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So we took him and loved him and he has thrived. He loved being the youngest with sisters Mercy and Addy doting on him. Marie and Christian were loving, sacrificial parents to him and he has indeed attached to them. We know this by his desire to be close to them and his interaction with them. Whenever one is gone he is asking- “Where’s mama?” or “Where’s daddy?” I can’t think too much about how it will affect him, my righteous anger quickly morphs into losing it. It’s a situation ripe for bitterness.

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This morning I wrote in my grateful journal – “I am grateful that God’s power and willingness to answer prayer doesn’t depend on me in my weakness.” This recent journey has been an emotional roller coaster of being led along and lied to and to be perfectly honest I’m exhausted. I believe in miracles, but I also believe that God has given mankind a free will on this earth for a season. So sometimes we see horrific things happen to children because of mentally unstable people consumed by their own selfish desires.

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This doesn’t mean I don’t believe in the sovereignty of God, I do. However, God is not the author of evil as so many try to make Him out to be. He is the one who brings beauty out of ashes…He is also the one who will rightly judge each one. In this I will choose to rest. Each day, as I wade through my sadness and bitterness I will also cling to the words of the Lord Jesus in Luke 6:36 where He tells me, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

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I also will pray that God would have special grace and mercy upon Nolean Truth Klein Burtt, my sweet grandson for three whole months. Please join me in that prayer when you think of him.

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