Potatoes, Eggs and Coffee Beans

heart-coffee-beans

Once upon a time a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot, and ground coffee beans in the third pot.

He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.

After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.

He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup. Turning to her he asked. “Daughter, what do you see?”

“Potatoes, eggs, and coffee,” she hastily replied.

“Look closer,” he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.

“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.

He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity– the boiling water.

However, each one reacted differently.

The potato went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak.

potato_png2391

The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard.

eggs

However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.

153536-400x300-HotCoffeeAndBeans

“Which are you,” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean? “

Moral:
In life, things happen around us, things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is what happens within us.

Which one are you?

Author Unknown

Advertisements

Peace for the Week/Weak

Peace

Dear Hurting Soul,

It has been an emotionally gut wrenching week. Everything that seemed to be good and right has been toppled and turned. The letting go of things you weren’t ready to say good-bye to causes a deep gnawing pain in your belly. The betrayed trust at the hands of those you loved. Old wounds opened.

In only been a week…and I feel nothing but weak.

How quickly and easily I trade what I know for what I feel. How easily I let the truth of His word be drowned in the barrage of worldly words. I trade my first love for the approval and acceptance of the world. And my heart breaks, because this world just cannot fill those cracks that bleed or soothe the bruises that hurt.

The world, in spite of the all-inclusive rhetoric never really just accepts… it just judges and dictates what should have, could have, or ought to have been… and it’s never good enough, never strong enough, never right enough. Just never enough.

But it’s spring. And that glorious Good Friday will be here soon with the celebration of the Son’s resurrection and overcoming of all things toppled and turned and the true all-inclusive bread of life and the water that will satisfy. The relentless pain will ease and I will bask in the truth that by His stripes, my cracks and wounds and bruises are healed.

Is your soul aching? Parched and dry by the constant struggle to keep up, to be enough. Take rest today dear tender soul and let the healer soothe with the balm of His love and the sweet, sweet truth that you are enough.

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27

Why I Believe in Adoption

I remember the moment I fell in love with my oldest daughter. We were at a carnival and she was riding on some sort of ride that had her going round and around. Her hair was flying back behind her and she was laughing as she bumped back and forth with her friend in the seat beside her. In an instant, my heart just melted and tears welled up in my eyes and I knew she really was my daughter. Legally, she wasn’t part of our family yet and at 10 years old we were her second foster home and were just at the beginning stages of adoption. But at that moment, she would forever be burned in my heart, no matter what turned out in the court system.

realparent

God had placed adoption in our hearts many, many years before this moment. Through the heartbreaking circumstance of losing a child and the emotional roller coaster of infertility issues, we knew He was calling us in that direction. While we were amazingly blessed with two biological children, His call to adopt did not leave our hearts, it just changed direction. We began considering and praying about who He would have us adopt and the circumstances under which it should take place. There was no doubt that our call was to provide a home for a child who would have a more difficult placement than a newborn or toddler.

It wasn’t an easy decision to adopt an older child and honestly we had no intention of adopting a child older than any of our children at home. God had other plans and our little Hawaiian girl pretty much fell directly in our laps. An easy going, independent survivor she assumed her role as “the middle child” in our family without hesitation.

And any of you who welcomes a little child like this because you are mine is welcoming me and caring for me.  Matthew 18:5

steph2

 It would seem that the story could end here, all sunshine and roses and happy ending, but it doesn’t. We are incredibly blessed to parent this child and have her as part of our family, but adoption is hard. As I speak with others who have adopted and we share our stories, I can see the relief in knowing that in the things we struggle with and the things we sometimes feel, we aren’t alone. Parenting is hard. Period. No doubt about it. The adoption element just adds a different dimension and dynamic for both the parent and the child.

As an adopted child of God, I know that this challenge is a privilege and an opportunity to extend to another the heritage that I have been given.

God sent his Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that he might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law. Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage. You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, “Papa! Father!” Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance. Galatians 4: 4-7

As in parenting any child, there have been challenges, tears and difficulties. That being said, we have never regretted the decision to love her and bring her into our family. There has also been much love, laughter and joy and to see her now becoming a strong, independent self-sufficient young adult brings pride and satisfaction to our hearts in knowing that we gave her the chance in life that might not have otherwise occurred.

steph

How about you? Have you considered adoption?

Statistics found at the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute state that in the United States 397,122 children are living without permanent families in the foster care system. 101,666 of these children are eligible for adoption, but nearly 32% of these children will wait over three years in foster care before being adopted. Source: AFCARS Report, No. 20

Around the world, there are an estimated 153 million orphans who have lost one parent. There are 17,900,000 orphans who have lost both parents and are living in orphanages or on the streets and lack the care and attention required for healthy development. Source: Childinfo (UNICEF, 2011)

In 2012, 23,396 youth aged out of the U.S. foster care system without the emotional and financial support necessary to succeed. Nearly 40% had been homeless or couch surfed, nearly 60% of young men had been convicted of a crime, and only 48% were employed. 75% of women and 33% of men receive government benefits to meet basic needs. 50% of all youth who aged out were involved in substance use and 17% of the females were pregnant. Source: AFCARS Report, No. 20,  Jim Casey Youth

Nearly 25% of youth aging out did not have a high school diploma or GED, and a mere 6% had finished a two- or four-year degree after aging out of foster care. One study shows 70% of all youth in foster care have the desire to attend college. Source: Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth

You don’t have to be a perfect family to be a good family, just have willing heart and the faith to just take a step. Get involved. Learn. Contribute your time and volunteer. Be the one to make a change for just one and together we can change the world.

adoption

Mother Hen’s Guide to Aging Gracefully

From motherhendiaries a great plan for aging gracefully! Joyous Geriatricity…love it!!!

Mother Hen Diaries

shutterstock_183881222I’m a big believer in being prepared.

Need a painkiller? I’ve probably got a Tylenol* hanging around the bottom of my handbag. It’s a little linty, but it’ll cure your headache. Safety pin? Well, a busty gal like me never leaves home without one. (Buttons, for the record, are pure evil!) Need any shade of lippy? Well, it’s no worse than kissing me I guess, so if you’re currently cold-sore-free, you’re welcome to it. Super glue? Lightly used Kleenex? Hand sanitizer? Oh yes. I’m on it.

On my daughter’s wedding day, when one of her bridesmaids put her heel through the hem of her taffeta gown, did I panic? No, of course duct tapenot. Because the mother of the bride was packing duct tape! Yes, my friends. duct tape**. It fixes pretty much everything, and that pretty little girl marched right down the aisle with no one the wiser.

Thus, with my fiftieth birthday looming…

View original post 643 more words

Spring Thaw

The earth breathed a collective sigh today. Spring made a peak from behind the clouds and brought sunshine and warmth to the cold, hard ground. Winter has seemed especially long and cold this year, and I know I have had it easy living here in the south compared to my more northern friends.

Does your heart ever feel that way? Like it has been living in a perpetual winter and it seems that the storms and clouds won’t go away long enough to thaw.

And then you exhale. Like someone who has been holding her breath too long for fear of the next cloud that will burst, you exhale. And you feel it… the warmth of spring. The warmth of the yellow rays of sunshine and the sweet scent of new blooms and buds in the air. And there is hope. And joy. And peace.  Remember this moment, this feeling of life being breathed back into you.

ice_pansy_crop_430

Winter came that year when everything changed way too and way much too fast. The year of the diagnosis and hospitals and doctors. The year of going back to work full time. The year of having three teenagers all at the same time, and life… life just fell apart. And that year… well it just kept going into the next and before I knew it, there I was in a place I didn’t know my heart could go. Frostbitten, so cold and burned, and knowing I couldn’t take another step further or I might never find my way back.  So I breathed deeply and turned around.

Exhale. A deep breath and a pleading sigh.

In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. Romans 8:26

And God answers. The storms subside and you take a breath. Just for today. And again tomorrow, God answers and you take a breath and it is enough for that day. Until your days turn to weeks, then to months and you find yourself warm and the sun is on your face and the cold wintery places in your heart are thawed. You know that winter will come again, but next time…next time you won’t hold your breath. You will breathe deep and exhale, because next time you will remember this warmth and know that spring is around the corner and the warmth of The Son is still there, just behind the clouds.

Whatever it is you are facing today my sweet friend, take comfort in the knowledge that spring is coming. Exhale deeply tonight and hear the whispers of the Father warming your heart.

spring_10

Show Your World – Hawaii

While moving 18 times in the course of our 26 year marriage wasn’t exactly “fun”, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. One of our absolute favorite places we lived is Hawaii. Having lived on the island of Oahu longer than at any other location, it really came to feel like home.

IMG_1058

northshore blue

We adopted our middle child during our time living there, so I guess I could honestly say our family is Hawaiian (her tan is just way better than mine!). I remember arriving at the airport the first time and being greeted with the heavy perfume of flowers in the air. The sweetness of that smell was so comforting and calming. My time spent living by the ocean turned me into an avid water lover and my heart literally aches with how much I miss the degrees of blue, green and turquoise that can be found in various places around the islands.

Beach fish haunama bay

Whether strolling on the beach, driving the perimeter of the island, or shopping downtown in Honolulu, the atmosphere is laid back and relaxed and “Shaka” permeates everyday living. Living casual with an easy-going attitude is the way to go. The car was always packed with towels and swim suits and ready for an impromptu day on the waves or a quick snorkel in one of the bays.

perspective shark snorkle snorkle2

10849072_10152674284837666_2885501520625098897_o

The many cultures that have converged on the islands bring an offering of some of the most outstanding food choices. There are local choices such as Kalua pork, lomi lomi, poi and my daughters favorite spam musubi and staples from China, Korea, Japan and the Philippines such as manapua, malasadas, sushi, and bento. Hawaii is definitely a place that is pleasing to all of the senses; smell, sight, sound and taste and will always have a bit of my heart.

Thai

badge

Many thanks to TinyExpats for the blog idea! http://tinyexpats.com/2015/03/07/show-your-world-ausenalster/