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Jan 30, 2009

Early Pics of Abby & Landis... Picture Caption Contest...

Folks who are new to the site ask occassionally about pics of them when they were younger right before or after we adopted them. Here's a few for your viewing pleasure....

Big Sis, Jordan with Abby.

Abby and her trademark grin.

Abby and Mom at Guatemala Day.

Abby was so curious and cute at that age.

Abby with her foster Dad in Guatemala.

Abby & Landis with Mom and Abby's foster family in Guatemala.

The first day Abby and Landis were together.

Our first visit with Landis, at a restaurant in Guatemala.

A beautiful lake in the mountains near Landis' orphanage.

A picture of Landis before
we saw him for the first time.

Future SpideyLandis with Dad in the orphanage
where we first held him.

Mom with Abby and Landis within minutes
of seeing Landis for the first time.

Abby holdling Landis at the orphanage where she became
the "big sister" and not "the baby" anymore.

Mom adoring Landis seconds after seeing him the first time.

Here is MY (Brent) personal favorite picture of Mom and Abby:

And finally, one that BEGS for a caption...
can you help us figure one out?

Go ahead, make fun of me. I give you permission. Have fun. Leave a comment with your caption suggestion... we'll choose a winner and rustle up a prize.

Fav Foto... Knowing God's Will: Necessity

The theme is "up" for Favorite Foto Friday. Abby's spirits were definitely UP! after getting a kiss from a Block hunk. More "Block" pics tonight...

Your comments about knowing God's will:

There were some great comments and feedback on the first post about "Knowing God's Will". Here is some response from me related to those comments:
  • We often see things as "black and white" in the Bible that millions of other see as "gray"; in other words they are either unsure or don't share the same conviction. I think there are some things that are black and white, PLAINLY black and white, that others struggle with and see blurred (I'm speaking of peripheral issues, not salvation). It is our responsibility as Christians to hold fast to our convictions and never compromise, but also to do it in love and realize that everyone is at a different place in their Christian walk. It calls for the mature, discerning Christian to extend patience, liberty and humility to those who don't see things as clearly. Remember, personal conviction is not doctrine... and doctrine is NOT dependent on our convictions. They are two different matters.
  • Someone asked about the laws and regulations of the Old Testament: are they binding to Christians today? No. Without presenting a long substantiation of that conclusion, let me leave you with this to consider... if the Old Testament laws and regulations are binding on the Church, which ones? All of them? Part of them? Who gets to choose? Tithing regulations were 30-40% of your income... are you ready to do that? Ritual cleansing? Animal sacrifice? Who gets to choose which ones are binding? That's my point... the Old Testament commands and statutes were for those who approached God through the Law before Jesus died and we entered the era of Grace.
  • I loved Courtney's comment about God's will not being a "small dot" that we might miss. Very true! I will certainly steal that and use it later! Thanks Courtney...
  • Sarah asked the question about military and killing... if you will go over to, I've answered that question there:

I love your comments and questions. They help us all as a community to think more and examine what we believe.

Knowing the Will of God - Necessity

1 John 2:17 - And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (NKJV)

Let's review what we have learned so far. When trying to determine God's will:

  • First off, does God's Word contain a plain and direct answer to your question or circumstance? You have to diligently and regularly search God's Word and do the hard work of finding out God's revealed, written Word (2Tim 2.15; Acts 17.11)

  • If you find a direct and clear answer, then it simply boils down to a matter of obedience; simple to understand, often not simple to do. (1 John 5.2; James 1.22)

  • If there is no direct answer in the Bible, how do you know God's Will for the "gray areas" (those things the Scriptures don't address plainly or directly)? This is the idea of "working out your salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2.12), Working hard to know God's Word, praying for understanding, asking the Spirit for guidance

We are going to get busy answering the "gray area" question. One thing to keep in mind: what I'm calling "gray" are those things that are COMMONLY struggled with as "gray". It may be perfectly black and white to you, and in fact, there are many things that seem black and white to me that other people have difficulty with. Even so, if it is not clear to YOU, then it is gray until God leads you to a black and white conclusion.

Some of this is liberty, some of it discretion, some of it maturity and some of it discernment. Everyone is not the same, and thank Heavens for that. So when we talk about "gray" from this point on, we are talking about those common things people struggle to know about God's Will because they cannot turn to a verse that say "you shall not..." or "it's okay...". Or maybe they've just not found the verse yet or found it and misunderstood.

There Are NO Magic Answers

There are several questions and considerations that will help you determine God's Will in the not-so-easy-to-figure-out circumstances. None of the questions considered BY THEMSELVES will give you a magic answer; but when considered as a whole, you should be able to make a Godly decision with confidence.

Let's start with some easy ones... when trying to discover God's Will about a question or circumstance, ask yourself:

  • Is it really necessary?
  • Is the thing, choice or action you are considering really necessary, or is it just something "extra" that you would LIKE to do, but there is no "necessity" involved?
  • Can you live without it?
  • Is it genuinely important?
  • If you gave it up, would anything suffer or be neglected?
  • Should you give it up in order to leave room or time for something better?

We burden ourselves unnecessarily with TOO MANY things, too many choices, too many options, too many commitments, too many activities. God never meant for us to live a million miles an hour with no direction or purpose or anchor (1Thess 4.11). This is the one I struggle with the most because if I get 10 seconds that are not filled with something creative or productive, I start looking around for some new adventure.

It's Harder to Say "No" To the Holy Stuff

It's easier to answer this question when it comes to the "non-sacred". We might easily conclude that more work, more sports or more possessions aren't really necessary but it will take some deeper spiritual maturity to determine when more church, more ministry and more Christian activity is too much. God has promised to give us the answer though when we ask in faith (James 1.5).

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (NKJV)

We are running a race. The Christian life is a race to the finish line: Jesus Christ. If the choice or decision you are pondering is one that involves holding on to sin, then we have a plain answer in Hebrews 12.1: lay aside sin because it ensnares you, traps you and trips you up.

But what about when the choice is amoral (wouldn't be sinful either way)? Notice the admonition to those in the race: Let us lay aside every weight!

The idea here is to throw off anything that will slow you down; anything that will make it harder and longer to reach the finish line which is PERFECTION, becoming like Christ. A runner doesn't carry around an extra 50 fifty pounds when he is trying to run and win a race. In fact, almost embarrassingly, runners today are wearing almost nothing, and certainly carrying nothing extra. Why? So that there is no extra weight or burden to slow them down.

The ancient Olympic runners competed "butt nekkid" (that's Oklahoman for 'naked'). This extreme "laying aside of everything that will hinder us from running" is exactly the mental picture the original readers of this verse would have in mind. Remember that's a "mental picture"... don't go running around nekkid and say Brent told you it would make you a better Christian.

Ask yourself: is it really necessary?

Will it slow me down in my race to be Christ-like? Does it contribute to the goal of finishing the race and winning the race? Will my walk with God be hindered or helped if I toss aside, or better yet, never pick up the extra weight (responsibility, commitment, activity, etc.) associated with this decision?

Another way to help you answer the question "is it really necessary" is to determine "will it matter?" What I mean by that is best demonstrated with a series of questions. When considering a choice or decision ask yourself, "if I do this thing" (or say yes, or commit, or take on this responsibility):

  • Will it matter tomorrow?
  • Will it make a difference 2 weeks from now?
  • Will I really care 2 months from now?
  • Will it have any lasting benefit 2 years from now?
  • Will it matter in 20 years?
  • Does it matter from an eternal perspective?

After answering those, ask yourself the NEGATIVE versions of those questions: will it hurt tomorrow? Will I still be paying the consequences 2 months or 20 years from now? Will I lose eternal reward?

Remember, these aren't quick and easy, magic-pill questions. None of the questions we will consider in these posts about "God's will" will give you an answer by themselves. But taken together you should be able to confidently determine God's Will in the vast majority of circumstances.

First, see if the Bible has a plain answer. If you can't find a clear, direct answer in Scripture, then start the process by asking: Is it really necessary? Or just a low priority? An unneeded, extra distraction? Will it matter 10 days or 10 years or 10 lifetimes from now? Hold on to your answers, we'll look at another important question next time.

I look forward to your comments and questions...

~ Brent

Hypothetical Question for You

I spend most of my day answering questions and responding with advice to other people. Let me ask your advice and wisdom about something...

Let's say I "know somebody" who has a teenage son who wallows in self pity. And let's say this "person I know" has a very hard time with dealing with this particular issue because it is so opposite of his personality as a father. And pretend that "this guy" knows his son never reads this blog anyway, so he'll never see this post.

And let's say that "this person's" son goes on and on about how hard his life is, and how no one understands how difficult he has had it. And let's continue to say that this "guy I know" realizes his son has had a few hard things to deal with but nothing that is not typical of almost every kid, and certainly not anywhere close to maybe the hypothetical childhood of kids adopted from poor countries who grew up poor as dirt with no future, hypothetically speaking... however, despite some typical difficulties, this son seriously indulges in self pity not based on reality and is convinced he his life has been especially "hard".

So if I knew "a guy, a Dad" who was having a hard time knowing how to respond to a situation like this, what advice could you give me to to give to him, if he existed?

If you've "been there, done that" with teenagers, what is your experience, your advice?

If you are a young adult and went through a time of feeling this way about yourself, what advice would you give?

If you are a teen now, and can understand how another teen feels when they think life is horrible, what advice would you give?

Leave a comment, and if I ever do run across "some person I know" who is experiencing this, I'll pass on your thoughts...

Jan 29, 2009

Knowing God's Will: Two Parts

Normally I do all my Bible stuff over on but my dear wife thought that there are some topics I should occasionally do on our family blog because they cover topics so vital to family and marriage.

Her first suggestion was some posts on "Knowing God's Will" since this is one of the most common questions we get. So here you go... I hope you enjoy, and I look forward to hearing what you think.

Two Parts To God's Will

1 John 2:17 - And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (NKJV)

One of the most common questions from the average Christian is "how do I know what God's will is?" The answer is two part, with the first part being "simple"; and the second being an exercise in "working out your salvation".

Philippians 2:12 - Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; (NKJV)

The rendered Greek for "work out" means to continually make an effort to bring something to pass or completion". From other Scripture, we know this can't be speaking of earning your salvation by "works". It refers to a Christian diligently seeking ("working out") God's will and then obeying it in order to become more Christ-like (sanctification).

Knowing God's will is hard work. In our day and age of "fast", "easy" and "convenient" everything, there are few people who want to do the hard work of knowing the mind of Christ.

The two parts of God's Will are:

ONE: God's plain, revealed Will in Scripture

  • Should I cheat on my taxes?
  • Should I get divorced because I love someone else?
  • We're engaged, can we sleep together?
  • Is it okay to get drunk occasionally?

TWO: God's Will for the "gray" areas NOT plainly and directly addressed in the Bible


  • Is it a sin to drink a glass of wine?
  • Should kids go to public school or be home schooled?
  • Can you ever see a Rated-R movie, or any movies at all?
  • What clothing is appropriate?
  • Should you celebrate Halloween or Christmas?
  • Can a Christian be in the military and kill someone in a war?

We'll do the "simple" part in this post, and begin next time looking at how to determine God's will for the "gray" areas.

The "simple" part is when our questions are directly and plainly answered in Scripture. It's only "simple" however in the sense that we can know God's will; obedience however is frequently NOT so simple.

The command might be simple;
obeying the command is often difficult.

Now I want you to prepare yourself. I'm about to impart to you some incredible, ground-shaking wisdom. Here goes: when it comes to knowing God's Will about those things that are plainly and directly addressed in Scripture...

Find out what the Bible says, and do it.

Okay, that wasn't exactly original or earth shattering, but it is beautiful in its simplicity and incredible in its effectiveness. And, I have to confess, I didn't make it up either.

James 1:22 - But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

While in concept "finding and doing" is simple, it is NOT simple to actually do it. You have to diligently search the Scriptures (2Tim 2.15; Acts 17.11) and when you find a plain answer, you must obey it, or you are in danger of deceiving yourself about your walk with God.

Obedience has many benefits:

  • You can know you are in God's will
  • You can be assured God is pleased with you
  • You don't have to worry you're doing the wrong thing
  • It brings assurance of salvation (1 John 5.2)
  • You can trust that you aren't deceived about your faith (James 1.22)

For questions to which there is a plain answer in Scripture, we must not fall prey to "relativism" where we decide that in "some" situations, exceptions can be made to plain Scripture. We fallen and sinful humans are masters at making excuses and justifying sin. Once we open the door of "relative truth" then everything is up for grabs because we can always formulate a "reason" why we are the "exception" to God's Word.

Let me give a few examples where the Bible gives a black and white answer to certain questions about God's will:

  • Can I divorce my spouse because of " irreconcilable differences"? No (Matthew 5:31; 1 Corinthians 7:10-16)
  • Can I lie if it is for a "good" reason? No (Colossians 3:9)
  • Can we sleep together if we're engaged and in love? No (Col 3.5; Heb 13.4)
  • Is it okay to gossip for any reason? No (Matt 12.36; Prov 17.9)
  • Am I supposed to read my Bible every day? Yes (2Tim 2.15; Acts 17.11)
  • Should we assemble together with other Christians regularly? Yes (Heb 10.25)
  • Should I care for widows and orphans? Yes (James 1.27)
  • My employer treats me bad, do I still have to work hard? Yes (1Thess 4.11-12; Col 3.17; 1Pet 2.18-19)
  • Is it okay to treat some people better than others based on their social status or income? No (James 2.2-4)

These are just a few examples of God's will where the answer is "black and white". But you can't know these plain answers if you don't diligently search the Bible for them. God has promised to reward the sincere seeker of Scriptural wisdom though (James 1.5).

How can we know God's will? First, find out if God's Word has a plain and direct answer to your question or circumstance. If it does, then obey God regardless if you like it, agree with it or how you feel about it.

If there is no plain or direct answer in Scripture.... well, that's where we will pick up next time I post on this topic.

What are your questions about Knowing God's Will, or your comments about this post? Leave us a comment...

~ Brent

Hi/Lo Thursday: Prayer List... Peter Parker... Abby Update

It's Hi/Lo Thursday where we get to know each other by sharing our HIGH and our LOW for the week. What a great way to really find out something about each other.

Our HIGHS: (from Brent)
Prayer List

There was a great response to Pray for Me... Pray for Others. I'm sure over time this will become a huge community of prayer each Wednesday.

Did you check back a couple of times to see new entries today? Did you pray for any of them?

Peter Parker

SpideyLandis is a hoot. He is well on his way to being potty trained, thanks to some of your GREAT ideas. He is enamored with his spidey-drawers and says he "poops on the potty like Peter Parker!".

SpideyLandis gives love to his new spideythrone.

One great idea was to have Spiderman call him and congratulate SpideyLandis (Scott B? Are you listening? You know you're the man for this job!). So after a few more days of success we'll have Spiderman call his spideysidekick and give him a personal thumbs up.

In the meantime, here's SpideyLandis LIVE tell you all about it:

Our LOWS: (from Michelle)

Predictably, our lows have to do with Abby being sick. We don't want people to think we focus on, or unnecessarily linger on the negative about her. There are tremendous trials the come with her Leukemia and we try to transparently share the whole reality even though that is considered a "negative confession" by some of our friends (and yes, they are still our friends; we can disagree and still love each other).

Abby gets some blue gatorade from Mom into her feeding
tube with medicine that raises her acid level.
This is supposed to help with her nausea.

Abby's Throwing Up

Thank you so much for praying for Abby and for allowing us to pray for you. I love getting to know you and having the opportunity to pray for you.

The doctors best guess for the blood Abby was throwing up yesterday is a tear in her esophagus, caused by the vomiting. It breaks my heart. They can't run tests to confirm it since she is so weak from the tough chemo, but they are giving her with medication to help it. Thanks to your suggestions and prayers, Abby is throwing up less than she was before. At the worst, she was getting sick 30 times a day, now it is less than 15. Still not good, but at least better.

Before we asked for your suggestions, we were already giving her Zofran every 6 hours and Phenegran every 4 hours, around the clock. Those help, but she was still very sick. We are have been trying your suggestion, and many seem to be helping.

Of the ones we have tried, sniffing rubbing alcohol, Emetrol and cokes seem to be helping the most. The alcohol trick surprised me, but it really helps break the cycle, when she is getting sick. We are trying more of your suggestions every day trying to find a combination that works. Thank you so much for taking the time to give us your suggestions.

Abby has been admitted to the hospital 17 times, since she was diagnosed on July 11, 08. We appreciate her doctors making an effort to keep her home as much as possible.

Okay, now it's YOUR turn. Here's how you get your link on our blog for "Hi/Lo Thursday!":
  • Go to your blog, create a new post for "Hi/Lo Thursday!" Start by copying and pasting ALL the following HTML code at the beginning your post
    (NOTE: Make sure you are in HTML mode or view when you paste in HTML code!):
  • Then, use the form down at the bottom of this post to enter the title of your BLOG (not your post, your blog), and the link to your blog, or the blog post, either one. (if you don't have a blog, feel free to leave a comment, but we would prefer you put up a post if you have a blog.)

That's it! You'll be linked in today's entries and we'll have a fun and inspiring list of "Hi/Lo Thursday" posts for everyone to read!

If there are some great entries, I will consider publishing them in Serious.Life Magazine. By including your link here, you agree to give permission for that post to be used in our publications, with proper credit to YOU of course (your screen name and blog address)! Cool? - FREE subscriptions...

Can't wait to read your blog posts for "Hi/Lo Thursday".

Jan 28, 2009

Abby Update

Abby is getting chemo. They aren't sure what is causing the bleeding and they cannot scope her because her blood counts are too low. We suspect is it caused by internal sores that come from the chemo.

After her chemo, she'll come home this evening, and we'll keep an eye on her. It has been a stressful few days and we are overwhelmed by all the prayers and kind encouragement from everyone.

We will keep you updated. Do you have any questions about Abby? If yes, leave a comment, and we'll answer.

Pray For Me... Pray For Others...

When Landis prays... he really prays. He is like a little
preacher and at times it is almost impossible to keep from laughing.
He goes on and on with original petitions every night.

From Michelle:

Even before Abby became sick, prayer was one of the most important things in my life. I took the Bible's admonition to pray without ceasing literally and ran with it. While I can be quiet in social settings, it is natural to me to keep a running dialog with God, as I go through my day. Life goes so much better when I am focused on serving God and on praying for OTHERS.

I love that people are praying for Abby. You are such a blessing to Abby and our family. But, because what we are going through with Abby is so hard, SO BIG, most people aren't sharing requests with us as much they used to. I really miss praying for things that are on the hearts of others.

I love to pray for both "big" and "small" things. Seeing God bless us by taking care of those little details is a beautiful reminder to me of how much He loves us and how He is watching over us.

One example of this in my life was yesterday when I was instructed by Abby's doctor to bring her in for a blood transfusion, during an ice storm. Abby needed to get to the hospital, but Brent was home with the other children and I was with Abby, 20 miles away, at a doctor's office. With the sun going down, the roads were refreezing. Oklahomans get few opportunities to drive on ice, so I was out of practice and everyone else driving was out of practice too.

Many of you prayed that God would keep us safe while we were driving and He did. Praise God. But what you didn't know was how He provided for us. One of my best friends, Toni, called to check on us, and when she heard what was going on, she offered to drive us to the hospital, stay with us during the transfusion (usually 6-8 hours) and drive us home. Toni moved to Oklahoma a couple of years ago, from Alaska. So we not we not only got to spend some time with one of our favorite people, we were driven by someone who cut her teeth driving on snow and ice.

While Abby was getting the transfusion, Toni read stories to Abby, colored with her and made her feel like a princess. Once Abby was asleep, Toni and I were able to talk. A rare treat when you have a house full of little people. An night that we could have just endured, turned into a blessing. Thank you Toni. You are the best. Don't you love how God takes care of those little details, too?

Would you let us pray for you? I would love to hear what is on your heart and to pray for each of you.

My incredibly talented husband is setting things up so that it will be easy to read everyone's requests, in list form, but so you can also link your blog to ours, so that you can leave more details for us to read and hopefully some pictures too.

Thank you again for praying for our family. I hope you will allow us to pray for you, too.

From Brent:

One goal we have for our blog, is that it becomes a real community of people. One of the trademarks of a community is that people know each other, help each other and pray for each other.

On Wednesdays, we are going to do Pray for Me... Pray for Others to help build the sense of community for our readers.

Because we are blessed with a large community of readers, we know you most likely can't pray for every single need or person on this list, especially as it grows. But by looking over this list on Wednesdays... all of us can pray as God leads us and we can know that each needs is probably being prayed for by a lot of people. This particular feature is near to the heart of my beautiful Bride, so you can know she will be praying for you.

Pray for Me... Pray for Others is pretty simple: list a short prayer request for YOU, and a link for more detail if needed. Then submit a prayer request for someone else, or some other situation that you know about. Include a link for them if available. Be specific.

For example, I might request that people pray for Abby's healing, and link to our blog. Then I could request prayer for a family that we know who's sister was very seriously injured in a car wreck, and link you over to their blog.

Be specific... provide a link for more information. I'm sure that other people will be VERY blessed to have you request prayer for them, and include a link to their blog so that those praying can visit them.

Questions? This is the first week, so if you have suggestions or feedback to make this work better, don't hesitate to email me:

Pray for Me... Pray for Others - Instructions:
  1. Use the form below to enter your prayer requests. You must enter an "identity", and put something in "pray for me" and "pray for others" in order to be included (links to blogs are not required).

  2. If you link to YOUR blog, please include the following HTML in a post on your blog so that we can create a linked network of prayers (your link will allow others to find us, and be able to participate; make sure you are in HTML mode when pasting this code).

  3. Put out an email or post on your blog and encourage everyone you know to come and join us in prayer.
  4. Look over the list and pray as God leads. Come back and visit the list two or three times today as it will grow all day long.

Remember... if you don't take the time to pray for others, then on what basis can you really expect God to lead others to pray for you? I created this with both "directions" in mind - pray for you, pray for me - so that we are both giving and receiving as a community which is far more spiritually productive than simply wanting everyone to pray on our behalf.

Truth is, many people do not have a community they can ask for prayer. We hope to become that community for them.

Let me know if you have suggestions or questions about Pray for Me... Pray for Others. If this is a blessing to you, please leave a comment and let us all know.

Abby Going Back to Hospital

Abby is throwing up blood this morning. We are taking her back to the hospital.

Please pray it is something minor. Pray for wisdom for the doctors.

Jan 27, 2009

Abby Update... Laughter Lives Tuesday

Abby got blood last night. Believe it or not, they were able to leave about 4am and get back to Michelle's mother's house. The ice continues, so she'll be stuck there today, and I'm at home with the rest of the kids. THANK YOU for your prayers and concern.

The Funny Things Kids Do!

Last week's theme was funny stories about the funny things our kids do. I had a page limit to work with, and I couldn't find a few of the posts (if you put your name on our list, did you actually do a post?).

Below is the list of posts that made it in the book. Don't shoot me if yours didn't make it... there will be plenty of opportunity in the future. Check out "Funny Things Our Kids Do" here.

Here is the list of stories in the book:
  • haydencooper
  • crazeescotts
  • whittybrooke
  • bloggingwithbethany
  • reinventingdorsey
  • littleaboutalittle
  • nancygene
  • momzeyeview
  • bigfamiliesrock
  • petersonclan
  • lifeduringnaptime
  • hopingandprayingforacure
  • theboydgang
  • multitaskingmama
  • alexanderfamily5
  • steffenboys6
  • funnyfarm-maywehelpyou
  • patientlywaitingforhisreturn
  • erikaandcolby
  • travelingtreasures
  • scherlergirls
  • castleberrytales
  • theytakemybreathawayves.html
  • stubbornfishtales
  • themakingofmom
  • notbiologicallyrelated
  • ellenbergfamily
  • claireandcocosmommy
  • kimbowid
  • 5monsters
  • ourlifewithdylan
  • ugottafriend
  • smithfamilyof5
  • txmomx6
  • theqfamilyadventure
  • essentialandinconsequential
  • meandyouplus2
  • ponderingsinsa
  • mastomama
  • theblogbaby
  • thesilvas
  • likepottersclay
  • kelliebeans-zoo
  • gracelikerainfallsdown
  • ourcutekiddos2007
  • taylorfamilyluv
  • muchosbendiciones
  • sotyler
  • our-rockstar-family
  • twopluseight
  • abbieadellenatalie
  • readyaim
  • bakerbonnie
  • m2k2usa
  • strivingscease
  • 5myfamily
  • knotthemagain
  • brandisthoughts
  • downthetwistedpath
  • booboosgirl
  • kimmybows
  • wrightrobyn
  • poopinmypocket
  • vaughnfamilychaos
  • theplacecalledhome
  • ryleeforlife
  • standingonthemountainofgod
  • christalljasongrace
  • kimmybows
  • gipsontable4seven

Many thanks to Candy for letting us put Kya Blu on the cover. They came over to visit last weekend and we experienced a few "funnies" right on the spot. Hope you enjoy the book.

Even more I hope you continue to participate in Laughter Lives Tuesday. Why? Because it's a stinkin' lot of fun, and I could use the laugh every week. How 'bout you? You can get the book here. .

LLaughter Livesaughter Lives Tuesday:
The Funny, Cute & Endearing Ways We Say 'I Love You'

This weeks theme is going to be both funny and sweet. I look forward to enjoying the posts you write, and also learning from them. We can always use more creative ways to say "I love you."

I Lub You Daddy

Abby, sweet little thing, will walk up to us out of the blue, hug your leg and say with great conviction, "I... lub... you... Daddy". When she says that, she is hugging your leg, laying her head on you, and it comes out like a great big sigh, as if she is very tired and now finally everything is okay. It is so sweet.

'Cause I'm a Stinky Little Kid

We have this thing with the two babies (Abby and Landis) where we hug them and say "I love you so much. I love you too much. Do you know why I love you too much?"

To this, they reply: "Because I'm a stinky little kid."

Don't ask me how or why this came about, I don't remember but it's what we do. Other people hear it and either think its funny, or sweet (or weird!).

Sign Language

My wife and I taught our kids sign language when they were a few months old to help them learn to communicate. They could say "please", "more" and other simple words even before they could speak. It was really cute, and helpful.

Michelle and I often respond "I love you more..." when the other says "I love you". Because we were teaching the kids sign language for "more", the "more" sign became our secret way to say "I love you" and it meant, "I love you more". We could say "I love you more" across the room, or driving away using our little sign.

That's right, I'm a sap. Don't tell any of my ex-Drill Sargeant buddies.

Okay, now it's YOUR turn.
Here's how you get your link on our blog for "Laughter Lives Tuesday!":

  • Go to your blog, create a new post for "Laugher Lives Tuesday!". Start by copying and pasting ALL the following HTML code at the beginning your post.
    (NOTE: Make sure you are in HTML mode or view when you paste in HTML code!):
  • Then, use the form down at the bottom of this post to enter the title of your BLOG (not your post, your blog), and the link to your blog, or the blog post, either one. (if you don't have a blog, feel free to leave a comment, but we would prefer you put up a post if you have a blog.)

That's it! You'll be linked in today's entries and we'll have a fun and inspiring list of "Laughter Lives" posts for everyone to read!

If there are enough good entries, I will consider publishing them in Serious.Life Magazine, or even creating a new book from them. By including your link here, you agree to give permission for that post to be used in other publications, with proper credit to YOU of course (your screen name and blog address)! Cool? - FREE subscriptions...

Can't wait to read your blog posts for "Laughter Lives Tuesday!"

NEXT WEEK: Funny things that have happened at church or a public event.

Jan 26, 2009

Updated Update on the Update...

Even with the ice storm, Abby is sick enough she had to go to the hospital anyway.

So Abby, Michelle and our friend Toni are making their way there now. The roads aren't too bad right now because rush hour melted them off, but I'm really concerned about them if they try to send her home in the middle of the night (after getting blood) rather than admitting her.

We live out in the sticks and I can't even get out of the driveway.

This is nerve-racking...


Update - Abby & The Ice Storm

The ice storm continues.

For those of you who have never dealt with ice, it's not like anything else. The whole world comes to a screeching halt. In snow, you can get traction. Not ice. The roads will be abandoned after the sun goes down, and probably all day tomorrow.

Ice accumulates on trees and power lines causing them to snap and break. It gets in the fans of your heat pump and compressor and freezes them up. Doors and lids are welded shut.

It is paralyzing but incredibly beautiful. It's too late to get any shots of today's storm, but here are some from out last one:

Told ya... beautiful, amazing, wondrous. But don't let it fool you. Ice storms are dangerous and thankfully, don't happen very often. Here in Oklahoma, we are in just the right place for them... much farther north, and it's usually snow; farther south, rain.

Update on Abby

Before the ice started to stick, Abby made it to a local clinic to get her blood work done. By the time Michelle got half way to Children's hospital (about 40 miles), they had decided to close the clinic/doctor's-office where she was headed and they had to do a Louie back to Norman.

She ended up going to a minor emergency center in Norman to get Abby's blood drawn. They determined she needs a transfusion but there's no way to get her to the hospital until tomorrow at the earliest, if the ice melts.

Michelle's mother lives a couple miles from the minor emergency they ended up at, so she and the kids inched their way over there to spend the night tonight.

Abby needs to get blood soon. She is in metabolic acidosis, which means her body acid is TOO LOW. That, the chemo, and her spinal fluid pressure (probably rising again) are most likely conspiring to keep her throwing up every 10-15 minutes.

We would appreciate your prayers for Abby's health, for the ice to melt quickly tomorrow, and for safe travel in the nasty weather.

Enjoy the "ice" pictures. It is truly magnificent - the kind of wonders God designed (not "evolution") for us to both enjoy, and to stand in respectful awe of.

Tomorrow is "Laughter Lives Tuesday". Our theme this week is "Funny, Cute & Endearing Ways We Say I Love You". I hope you're going to participate... it's been REALLY fun!

Abby & Ice Storm

The doctors have become very alarmed at the amount of throwing up Abby is doing. They want to see her immediately.

Despite the fact that we are currently in an ice storm, we have to take Abby to the hospital. We are on the way now...

Please pray for God to protect us from accidents on the ice, both driving and walking. It is treacherous outside.

Will keep you posted.

Jan 25, 2009

Photography & Nausea

How 'bout Them Pics?

I routinely have people ask about the photos I put on our blog. What camera? What tricks I use? What software automatically gives the color, depth, pizzazz and "pop"? (automatically? I wish)

As I was writing this, Abby got a bloody nose out of the blue.
Not sure what that means medically yet, probably low platelets.
But it's a good example of how to turn any scene into a fun
pic. She had the toilet paper in her nose to stop the bleeding, so
of course, Dad had to have some too. I hollered for Mom to
grab that camera, and a few minutes later - presto - pic for the blog.

While some of it is professional equipment, software and years of image editing experience, there are a LOT of great tricks/techniques and free software I could show you.

There are a set of basic of guidelines, easy techniques, cheap-to-free software and simple demonstrations that I can teach anyone, no matter what your experience, or what camera you have (from a decent pocket digital to a professional camera). You can learn to create the same quality images I have on my sites or in the magazine (

Would you be interested in a FREE ebook or demonstration on this?

I need to gauge the interest level (I don't want to spend time on something nobody wants). If YES, you are interested, leave your email on the form below, and I'll shoot you a quick reply if I have questions, need to clarify something, or to let you know when it is ready (again, it will be a FREE item; just wanted you to know that so you don't think you are signing up to buy something).

By the way, we NEVER share your email with anyone, EVER. Period.

Ad Nauseum
As you know, Abby is REALLY suffering from nausea. She throws up 20 or 30 times a day, literally. It is fatiguing and miserable for her.

We received a few tips on nausea relief, and want to ask everyone specifically:


The chemo is going to make her nauseated, can't get around that. But we do have the blessed opportunity to ask tens of thousands of people for advice about it.

Would you leave us a comment about this? We are hoping to find something that will give her some relief...

Jan 24, 2009

Abby's Saturday: I Hope You Dance

Abby's friends, Kya Blu and Kristen came over to visit today. So did MeeMaw and PawPaw.

Between bouts of throwing up and falling asleep, Abby managed to have a good time playing, coloring and having a "dance party" with Sami and the other girls (and SpideyLandis got in on the action too.)

It was hard to watch Abby having such a difficult time for most of the day, but it was priceless to see Abby have some fun and get to be with her friends.

Kristen, Kya Blu & Sami ham it up on the top bunk.
Arent' they all beautiful!

Sami with Kya Blu.

Abby flashes a pretty smile showing
off her ponytail.

Abby is wearing one of her ponytails that YOU got her. A large group of readers got together and raise the money for ponytails and wigs when Abby got sick.

We already received one wig but it just didn't look natural on her. We figured out after that first one how to get the hair color, thickness and length correct. We have another full wig on order and it should be here soon.

Abby loves her ponytails and has several she wears under hats and scarves. She's very comfortable with her "bald like Daddy" head, but loves to have hair once in a while too.

Big brother Dane, 21, targets some bad guys
with his little webslinging partner, SpideyLandis.

SpideyLandis assumes his trademark pose
while fully robed in his webgear. When he takes it
off, he immediately reminds you his name is
Peter Parker, not Landis.

MeeMaw loves on Abby who was not feeling good
at all for most of her grandparents visit which
you can see in the somewhat strained smile.

You would not BELIEVE how much I had to beg
to get my bride to let me post these pics. This was
her version of trying to ignore me while I was
snapping off shots. She thinks she takes terrible
pictures and most of the time I have no
luck getting her to sign off on the release form.

Ain't she perty?

Kya Blu got to enjoy her very FIRST
piece of bubble gum. Getting her to
NOT swallow it proved fruitless.

PawPaw and Peter Parker ham it up for the camera.

Kyla Blu and her Mom, Candy, show off
Abby's "Jasmine" costume.

A normal day for us, Abby had to stop frequently
and get medicine into her feeding tube port.
She just takes it in stride and accepts it as part of life.

Abby didn't feel well (that's an understatement)
for much of the day. Here she gets some love and
comfort from Kristen's Mom, Phyllis.

Abby, showing off one of her ponytails.
Michelle and I were so blessed to have friends from
all over the Internet, including Phyllis and Candy,
get together and raise money for her hair pieces.

Kristen is a GREAT dancer... she was spinning, lip-syncing
and having a great time leading the dance party.

Abby dancing with Kristen. Sami, Landis, Kyla and
even Candy were all in the room showing off their best moves.

Matt 19:14 - Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

You know why the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like the children? Because children can have cancer, be in agony, throw up 30 times a day, barely able to walk, need morphine just to keep from crying... and still give hugs, say 'I love you', dance with her friends, smile, be thankful and never once complain.

Then we grow up... and moan about unfairness, express discontent about what we don't have, murmur and grump over every discomfort, say 'I love you' only when we feel like it is deserved, forget to be thankful and of course, we are WAY too embarrassed to dance, showing our love for just being alive.

People often ask why we are so public about Abby's journey... do you still need to know? How many lives can a four year old influence as a living example of Jesus words:

"Let the little children come to me... for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

Leave a comment with your gripe, complaint or murmur. We'll send you a picture of Abby.