Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mommy Wars

Mom's putting on a show in public. Soft sing-song voices that may or may not persist behind closed doors. My kids are cuter. My kids are smarter. My kids are dressed better. Your kids are covered in food. My kids' birthday invitations are hand crafted, the cake from scratch, and the favors expensive. I look so rested and relaxed. {Hemmm, no bitterness from me on that one... nope... none.} My husband is so sweet to me, gives me gifts, is better to me than yours is. My kids do the cutest things.

What does first place get you? Does it make you better? If so, better how? Does first place make you a better mom? Does it matter how stiff the competition is? Why on earth do we do this? It's like we are hardwired to fight this pointless fight.

I have learned that adoption has a way of bringing this out in full force. Our journey was more difficult. My kids have more labels, more diagnoses, more "stuff." My kids were older when adopted. We adopted more siblings at one time. My kids' tragedy is worse than your kids' tragedy. My kids are more difficult than your kids. 

We had been home about 7 months. We were still so very overwhelmed. We were drowning every day. Every single day. Months 1, 2, 6, and 7 have been our most difficult thus far. It was then that someone said "well whatever you are dealing with is nothing compared to what she (she being a new mother of a tiny infant) is dealing with right now." Whose days were more difficult? Hers or mine. I don't know. I've never been there. I'm guessing that this new mom was probably thinking and feeling many of the same things that I was at that time. But it's too difficult to compare that apple to that orange. In so many ways it was the same and so different at the same time. But the bottom line is, why does it matter? Does her struggle make mine feel less painful? Does it make me any better?

Please let me say clearly that I do not consider myself better than, more special than, or more dedicated than someone who has adopted 1 child, adopted an infant, adopted domestically, or decided not to adopt. Single kids need adopting. Infants need adopting. Kids in foster care need adopting. Bio kids need loving. People with no kids are valuable. God brings us together to accomplish His will. We have been so very privileged to be a part of others' lives. By helping. By encouraging. By giving. And we have been so very privileged to be the recipients of so much support. By helping. By encouraging. By giving.

I wish we could stop competing. Keep in mind that you can always say more later, but words spoken in judgment cannot be taken back. So many words spoken serve so little purpose other than to be hurtful. Some words spoken are said with malintent. Others are said in innocence but still cause hurt. This is just going to happen. It's life. But why do we engage? Why do we join in when we could forgive and move on? Why do we perpetuate that which we know in our hearts to be so damaging? Because we are human. Flawed. Insecure. Selfish. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Embracing Adoption :: Video

This is a video that we did for adoption awareness month. 

We wanted to communicate our belief that everyone should be involved in adoption. But not everyone is called to adopt. There are so many different ways that people can support adoption without being the ones to adopt. I can't imagine having done this without the large amount of support that we have received. And I certainly cannot imagine considering adopting again if it were not for knowing that we would have that support again. It makes all the difference in the world.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Racism in Our Lives

I never expected the racism that we would face. It showed up very early on, but the surprising thing was who showed the most racism. The kids. Our kids were racist, very racist, when we first met them.

I remember one particular day, being in Uganda and washing dishes (by hand people, you know, sink, soap, water, and sweat running down your back in the Ugandan humidity). JoAni straight out asked me, “Do you have black people to wash your dishes for you in America?” I wasn’t ready to try to explain a dishwasher given the level of English we were using at that time. So I just said “no” given that if our dishwasher died, we certainly would not be hiring a black person to come wash our dishes for us. Can you imagine that Craigslist ad? “Seeking an African American female to perform dish sanitation.” Yeah, no!

JoAni asked about our President and how he was chosen. I told her that our President is black. She told me that someone had made a mistake because a black man couldn’t possibly be the President of a country full of white people.

EVERY single time we left our guesthouse, our kids would ask us over and over if we would be coming back. They were so scared that we were going to ambush them and just dump them off somewhere. One day we were in the car, almost back to the guesthouse and JoAni said “oh we are here!” So I was teasing her and said, “Oh we are? I will ask the driver to stop so you can get out since we are back already.” We were still a ¼-½ mile away. She replied by saying “no, no, no, I am the child of a Muzungu (white foreigner) now, I can’t walk.”

In Uganda, you see dark brown faces walking, and walking, and walking. Ugandans walk. Then you look at the motorcycles. More like dirt bikes. Fondly known as boda bodas. No helmets. Swerving and careening in between cars., up on sidewalks, on road, off road. Young brown men drive them with their paying passenger perched behind them. Women ride boda bodas side saddle style. I have absolutely no concept what it is that keeps them from flying through the air each time they hit one of the thousands of massive bumps in the road. In their full length skirts, one hand holding  some kind of wares to be sold in the city, one hand holding the bike, and their faces looking completely calm. The day that I took Ryan to the hospital for malaria, my car passed a boda boda with 3 adults on it.  As we came parallel beside them, 3 little toddler faces popped out from between the larger bodies sandwiching them on. Can you imagine? It wasn’t uncommon to see. No car seat. No helmets. No crush zones or air bags.

Occasionally you would see a Muzungu on the back of one of these death traps on wheels. A stupid Muzungu. You know who you are if you are reading this. I work in auto insurance claims…. Yeah, stupid Muzungu. So why is the Muzungu stupid for riding on the boda boda and the Ugandan is not? Well it’s simple. The Muzungu has a choice. The Ugandan does not. Cars are so very expensive in Uganda. Fuel and maintenance are expensive by American standards. Very few Ugandans have the financial resources with which to hire a car. We didn’t just need a car for the 6 of us plus a driver. We had to have a station wagon or minivan. Resident cockroaches or not, a minivan was a luxury among luxuries.

So there you have it. Muzungus ride. Brown people walk. There was no arguing what they saw day in and day out. We didn’t even try to explain racial equality. We knew that they had seen injustice and they would have to see equality before they would ever understand, much less agree.

Since we have been home, we have only run into one flat out negative experience. I picked up the kids. They had been playing at a park with a splash pad with their cousins. Half way home Sylvia’s voice came from the back row of the SUV. She was seated on the left side. “Mommy… child say my skin is black and is ugly.” I asked her to repeat herself a couple of times. Surely I was hearing this wrong. Her English was still not solid. Maybe she was saying something different. Maybe she misunderstood what the other kids said. I came to understand that their cousin B had been with them and had tried to warn the kids to stay away from that mean kid. Their cousin was old enough and smart enough to have understood the whole deal. So I knew it was true. I drove a little more with my mind racing. What would I say?

I turned off the radio. I even turned off the fan. I barked back into the rear view mirror, “Listen up! Can you hear me?! I need you to hear me. That child is stupid. It’s not nice to call people stupid… uh… But some people just are. Your. Skin. Is. Beautiful. Do you hear me?! That boy does not get to decide. Your skin is beautiful. If you let him decide, he wins. If you decide, you win. He is stupid! Got it?” A solemn, tentative, and relieved chorus, “Yes Mommy.” Oh how I doubted myself after that. I felt that I handled it horribly. Of all the mommy-doubt-moments, that was one of my worst. I posted on Facebook about it. And a high school classmate of mine who happens to be African American, complimented me saying that I had done well. I can’t begin to explain to you how much her words meant to me.

Recently the kids learned about Martin Luther King Jr. Last year their English wasn’t good enough to understand what was being taught about him. This year they were FULL of questions. I pulled up some of his speeches on YouTube. They struggled to understand between the vocabulary and poor audio quality. And I struggled not to cry. We have explained segregation and the fact that we would not have been allowed to be a family 100 years ago. They get it. They definitely get it.

Tonight Sylvia called up to me from the bottom of the stairs, asking me to teach her how Rosa Parks sang. I told her I had no idea what songs Rosa Parks sang. Sylvia said “I only know♪ Free at last ♪ Free at last ." I told her that was not Rosa Parks singing but was Dr King speaking. Standing at the railing I said “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” And with that I went into my room and cried.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

God's Timing Is Perfect

God's Timing is Perfect. It's a platitude for the suffering. You had a death in the family. God's timing is perfect. You can't get pregnant. God's timing is perfect. You can't find employment. God's timing is perfect. You have cancer. God's timing is perfect.

Let's first clarify something. This is my blog. My place to write what I think. And so here is what I think about "God's timing is perfect:" What a freaking load of CRAP!!!

Now before you decide that I'm going to hell, just hear me out. If you still disagree, well then I refer you back to my prior statement. This is my blog. My place to write what think. 

I'm not big on getting into the nitty gritty of theology. I think that far too many Christians get wrapped up in the details while failing to get the primary point, LOVE. But... this is one detail that I am willing to get wrapped up in.

Do I believe that God is sovereign? Yes, absolutely. Most people think that my prior statement and this one would fundamentally oppose one another. God can do anything. God can influence people. God can defy the laws of physics. But (and this is a big but) God allows free will. It is the foundation of all of Christianity. The idea that we can choose God or not. In order to allow that choice, there has to be free will. 

So does God ever exercise his powers to control our world? Yes. I think so. I'm not totally sure. I think He does but I have no idea to what extent. I pray. I pray often. Very often. God help me. God show me what to do. Help me hear you. Those prayers I believe that He certainly answers. Usually not in the way that I am hoping. I prefer lightning bolts. I've made that point clear. But God is God and He has yet to agree with me on this point. What about when people pray for other people to be influenced? God lead the judge to approve our case. God guide the embassy to handle our papers quickly. Well these requests are a bit different in nature.

God's timing is perfect. I know that people have heard this phrase or even uttered this phrase in hopes of comforting themselves or others. My experience has mostly been around adoption. The process is taking so very long. God's timing is perfect. We think we are supposed to be looking for a group of 4 but there aren't any so do we wait or did we misunderstand. God's timing is perfect. 

Yes, God's timing is perfect. But adoption is full of people. Brilliant, I know. Sometimes stupid, (my theory on the stupidity of the human race and the miracle that we are not extinct yet is a different subject for a different time), many selfish, all human, and all FULL of free will PEOPLE. People, with free will, all along the road of the adoption journey. 

I do believe that God uses all things for His purpose. I do believe that He can take even the biggest mess and find the beauty in it. I do believe that God has plans that I can't see. But there is a huge difference between creating the mess and finding the good in it and using that for His purpose.

God didn't create death. It wasn't His plan. He doesn't design pain. He doesn't inflict illness. He doesn't cause pain. He doesn't want children to lose their parents. He doesn't want parents to lose their children. He doesn't want you to suffer with disease, physical pain, and suffering. He doesn't facilitate miscarriages. He doesn't orchestrate for children to live in institutional settings for years on end. He doesn't. He just doesn't. No. You can point to verses in the Old Testament. We could go round and round. But I am firm on this subject. My conclusion is No.

God did not plan for my kids to be orphans. That's right. I'm the back up plan! God did not design the pain and fears and hurts and scars in their lives. I believe with every bit of my being that He will use all of these things for His glory if they let Him. But this wasn't the plan.

So when things are going to hell in a hand basket DON'T feed me that line of crap! Yes, I will understand that you mean well. Yes, I know that you believe what you are saying. But no, I won't swallow that pill. No.

Friday, February 8, 2013


While still in Uganda, I realized that Ryan's ears had been pierced at one time. I asked the girls about it and they said it was so that the bad people wouldn't take him. That was as much as they could tell me. I thought that perhaps it was to look like a girl so that the LRA wouldn't try to kidnap him to be a child soldier. But he was too young for that, the LRA hadn't been active in Uganda for years, and when they were in Uganda it was primarily in the North and, to the best of our knowledge, our kids had always lived in Southern Uganda.

After getting home to the States I tried asking the kids again but didn't get any more information. So I posted on one of my support group sites for families that have adopted from Uganda. The person who replied was our friend Sara that accompanied me to the hospital in Uganda when our Sarah was so sick. She ended up spending a year in Uganda in order to bring her babies home. She told me that it had to do with witchcraft. 

I started googling it. 
Ears pierced. Witchcraft. Uganda.
The sites popped up. Words bolded.
Human sacrifice. Abduction. Child sacrifice. 

I read as fast as I could. Skipping from one page to another. Eyes wide. Mouth open.
I couldn't breathe. I struggled to not throw up.

Children are often kidnapped. Their genitalia, tongue, or head cut off and used in witchcraft rituals. Or the child is buried alive under a construction site to bring luck and fortune to the new shop owners. It is estimated that every year 3,000 children disappear from their homes in connection to witchcraft.

There are other witchcraft practices like removing a babies eye teeth (canine teeth) before they grow in. This would involve a parent taking a child to a witchdoctor where they would use sometimes unsterile knives or bicycle spokes to dig the teeth out of the gums; A practice which can damage future adult teeth, leave gums mangled, and even cause death due to the unsterile and dangerous conditions. We know that our kids' Grandmother, who had been raising them, was a Christian. Our kids' gums show no evidence of this. Obviously we are thankful for this in multiple ways.

A person is considered to be impure for human sacrifice if they are circumcised or their ears are pierced. So Ryan's ears were pierced to make him impure to witch doctors and therefore protect him from being kidnapped. Our kids asked us within the first week of meeting them in Uganda if there were kidnappers in America. Of course we didn't understand what they really meant by this. Actually, it does not seem that our kids know about the horrible things that a kidnapper might do to them. But it is very clear that it was beaten into their heads to be afraid of kidnappers and to not let strangers lead you astray. 

This fear is ingrained in them so deep. I know that their Grandmother did not give them these fears to be mean. She did it to save their lives. They had to be on guard. They had to be careful. The fear is still with them. A couple of months ago the deadbolt broke on our back door. Sarah instantly started trembling. She was terrified. She just stood there trembling from head to toe. When our kids were first home, they wouldn't go alone into any room at any time for any reason; they HAD to have someone with them at all times. Ryan had been potty trained before we ever met him. He has never once had an accident during the day. But up until just a month ago, he wore pull ups at night. He would wake up if he had to pee. But he was SO very afraid of the dark. He could not bring himself to get out of bed in the dark. It just wouldn't happen. We are so very proud of him for overcoming this fear. But I suspect that it will linger, at least to some degree, for a long time. He has to actively fight his fears. All of our kids have flashlights under their pillows. I only wish we had known to give them flashlights in the very beginning. We had no idea that our kids were sitting in their beds trembling with fear every night; their whole bodies rigid with fear.

How evil does a person have to be to cut the genitalia off of a child or to throw them down in a pit and fill in the dirt over their little bodies? Maybe the children are drugged and not conscious; I sure hope so. But the image I have is of screaming terrified children. Screaming or not, THAT is PURE evil! And that scar is physically on my son's ears to this date.

Link to a BBC article on witchcraft in Uganda.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

I Wish I Was Just Paranoid

I feel like a hawk sitting on a tall power line. I watched all of the activity around me when it comes to my kids. I watch who is doing what. I watch who is looking at what and for how long and in what way. I watch hands with fingers in relaxed positions or balled up in fists. I watch for who is talking, or more telling would be who is not talking. Body tension. Rigid responses. Tone. Any exchange of touch. Anything. Everything.

I thought that my kids were sensitive to where they stood in the extended family pecking order. Did they see themselves as true family members? Did they really believe that they were loved equally? Did they believe that they were valued equally? Did they feel like full fledged members of the family. I had started to think that I was paranoid, overboard, overly protective, and extreme. Was it just a case of being a new mom? Did I really know what I was talking about?

A couple of weeks ago we were all piled onto the couches watching a movie as a family along with a couple of guests. Josh had the bright idea to show the kids African Cats. Their homeland. Africa. Yah... our kids were raised in the suburbs. They hate wilderness. They hate "the bush." It scares them. So there we were, snuggled under blankets, people piled all around, watching the movie while being subjected to a thousand questions!

Where are they going? Why are they fighting? Is she going to die? Is that one bad? Do they eat people? What are they doing? Why are they digging? Why are they chasing that animal? Why are they running?

The mommy cheetah had several cubs that had been the center of the movie for a while. She was trying to distract a lion away from her cubs to protect them. She was risking her life. And then it came. Sarah was nestled near me. She turned to me and asked, "if you had kids, would you die to protect them?" I thought I knew what she meant but hoped that I had misunderstood. "What do you mean Sarah? I have kids." Her sweet little voice carefully clarified "No, I mean if you have kids like B, E, and C." (Their cousins who are biological products of both parents.) Kids... bio kids.... if you had kids of your own. "Sarah, I have kids, I would die for you."

I was sort of stunned while at the same time not surprised. My head spun for a while. For a day or two actually. I had hoped I was wrong. I had hoped that they didn't perceive any difference. I had hoped that I was paranoid. It was a dull aching pain.

I had initially not wanted to share this story with anyone at all. It is certainly painful. But we have received so much support from so many people. People with genuine questions, genuine interest to understand our lives in order to better support us. 

So what can you do? Trust that while an adoptive parent's demands and actions might seem excessive, they are likely considering more factors than you are aware of or even can imagine. Know that older adopted kids pick up on EVERY thing, even if it doesn't seem like it.

I have heard SO many stories of well intentioned friends and family causing significant harm without meaning to do so. So many stories of parents packing up their kids half way through an event because others have ignored their requests to not feed their child and these well meaning people overfed the child to the point of being truly painful and accompanied by tears. Or in many cases food speaks love and provision to a child with a traumatic past and now that child is reaching to someone else for love instead of his/her parent. So many stories of sweet little faces being scooped up and carried around only to wrench away from their parent when returned to their rightful place. Have you ever heard of parent shopping? It's when a child is so much in survival mode that they will literally smile and coo at strangers, looking for the next provider. Their past has taught them that these actions are necessary, required, imperative. It's NOT cute. It's NOT sweet. It's NOT entertainment. It might look like all of these things but if you could read that child's desperate thoughts, it would break your heart too. What might look like normal childhood behavior on the outside isn't always "normal," or more importantly healthy, on the inside.

PLEASE know that adoptive parents are often dealing with SO much more than you see on the surface. I share these over generalized stories because so often these things are not known because it simply isn't respectful to lay out a child's... a person's... deepest struggles to the world. So some of these struggles are our own. And some of them are stories I have heard from others. But ALL of them are things I hear over and over and over and over again from other moms of kids who were adopted at older ages.

Does any of this make you feel paranoid like you are afraid to make a mistake? Let me tell you, if you say to your friend "please tell me if you would like me to do anything differently around your kid as I want to support you in your attachment process" and then follow that with your actions, you will probably have a friend for life. I recently asked a friend "when your son does x, how should I respond?" NOW, the one caution is that you can NOT ask this in FRONT OF or within earshot of any kids. That would negate your good intentions.

So let me tell you a story of someone who did an AWESOME job in supporting us in this way. I'm not going to go into the details of the story because this post is open to the world. Josh's parent were in town. There was some behavior that needed immediate attention. I pulled that child aside, discussed why the behavior was a problem, and examples of what is appropriate. Then I needed Josh's parent's buy-in. I gave his Dad the run down on what was going on and the specific behavior that was and wasn't okay. His reply was "okay, if he/she does that around me I will just say 'would your mommy consider that to be appropriate?' and if he/she continues I will ask her to go see you." He mirrored the vocabulary that I was using which would show this child that we were all on the same page. He immediately accepted our request, trusting that we had good reason. His support meant the world to me. 

I don't share any of this to criticize you. I don't share this to hurt you or point fingers. I share this because the consistent theme we have seen is people wanting to support us and they want to know how we need that support.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


I just came across this. I wrote it just over a year ago. I never posted this. Please don't read a tone of anger into it. I was trying to communicate that I was hurting more than I ever knew possible. So much has happened since then. What a journey this has been and continues to be.

Written on January 19th, 2012.

I have heard that if you are ever trying to rescue a drowning adult, that you need to wait until the person stops thrashing and truly begins to drown, otherwise they will fight you and take you down also. (Please don't take actual water safety advise from this blog. NOT smart!) Over the past 3 months, I have often felt the sensation of drowning. The thing is, I haven't had the energy, strength, time, or presence of mind to thrash around. The feeling of sinking. The feeling of suffocating. While my body was standing, my soul was on its knees. I could physically feel it. I have no idea how to describe it and I suspect that you don't understand because I certainly would not have understood a year ago. And this is when you rely on God. You rely on God like he is standing right next to you in person. I have no idea how people do this without a faith in God. I'm not saying that non-Christians can't handle adoption. I'm just saying that I have no idea how they find the strength to do so. 

So many people have helped us out and I don't know what we would have done without it. So many people have offered to help more. It's so difficult to know what to ask for. So many things just have to be handled by us. Our life has been in fast forward. In the "normal" world, at the 3 month mark we would have ONE baby who is just learning to roll over and recognize our faces. At our 3 month mark we are learning how to put dishes in the dishwasher x4, entering into a phase of trust that is very different than before, learning how to fold clothes, learning how to zip up coats, explaining snow-appropriate clothing, developing a bedtime routine, developing a bath routine, explaining what we use tissues for and what we don't and how many to use and where to keep them and on and on...

Yes, you taught your kids to tie their shoes, I know, every parent does. But did you teach them just two days after putting their foot into a closed shoe for the first time? And did they understand the language that you were speaking? When you took your baby in for her first immunizations, did you have to fully lay across her chest while another nurse held her legs down in order to keep her still so that a second nurse could administer 8 different shots? Did she scream like you had betrayed what little trust you had earned? Did she pull away from you afterwards? Did that moment do true and lasting damage to your relationship? Did you then proceed to do the same thing 3 more times? Did you sit on the couch and sob for an hour afterwards? Yes, all parenting is difficult. But when you go "traditional", at least you get to take things one step at a time as opposed to all at once. Please don't tell me that this is normal. I might be new at this but I know that it's not. 

I'm sorry, many people do understand, and many people don't. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Taking a Bath

We are so blessed to have been able to buy the house that we are in now. We bought at just the right time when the market was low. It was cheaply built but has tons of space for kids to run around. And we are working on home improvement projects here and there.

One of the things I love most about this house is my bathtub. It is a big soaking tub. And it just so happens that where we put our TV in our master bedroom, lines up perfectly so that I can see it while relaxing. So every night I run a bath. Josh puts on a show that he has recorded. And I unwind. I truly believe that having an en suite master bath is critical for surviving parenthood!

Every night I turn the water on full blast. It takes about 8 minutes to fill that big tub full of water. Full of hot water. EVERY day. The water is crystal clear and safe enough to drink. EVERY day. 

My kids tell me that they enjoyed fetching water. The liked it because they were lucky enough to have a borehole only a 100 yards away. They would go to the borehole and jump up and down holding on to the pump lever. They didn't really have toys but they still found ways to play and have fun.  I remember the girls telling me how many liters of water they were capable of carrying. They informed me that Ryan had not been required to carry water because he was too little. When we met them, he was 4 years old and wearing 18m and 2T clothes. If I remember correctly, Sarah could carry 3 liters (just under 1 gallon). At the time, she was 6 years old and wearing size 4/5.

Every night in Uganda we used to give the kids a bath. We would wash the red Uganda clay dirt off of them and get everyone into pajamas. They had never really had baths in the past, just scrub downs in a basin. Oh how they loved a bath! They always wanted a "hot bath". I would get the water running, tell them to get in, and then I would often go to grab something or do whatever only to hear shrieks of "guyochye! guyochye!" meaning "hot! hot!" At which point I would start yelling "get out! get out!" as I rushed over and yet they didn't understand what I was saying so they would continue to stand until I would wave them out to safety until I could cool things off. Their definition of a hot bath and my definition were two totally different things.

Just a few days ago Sylvia was saying that at times they got to take a "hot" bath while in Uganda. I asked her how they got hot water. She looked at me like I was ridiculous and silly at the same time as she said "we cooked IT!" Duh me!

3.4 Million people die per year due to a lack of clean safe drinking water. And here I sit in 50+ gallons of clean water EVERY day. I can't feign a lack of knowledge. I can't pretend that I don't know these facts. And this is just one example. In Uganda we made 6 hospital trips. Any fever brings the fear of malaria. Going to a "regular" hospital in Uganda cost $7 with medication (the private hospital was about $30 with mediation). This sounds so cheap but remember that most Ugandans live on a dollar or two a day. On one of these hospital trips, my driver shared with me that he had lost a daughter to malaria. She came home from school and had a low fever. They didn't go to the hospital. By morning she was too far gone.

I have struggled with how to live this life of privilege. How does God want us to deal with all of this? Last year we got home from Uganda 5 days before Thanksgiving. I went out in the wee hours of the morning of Black Friday to get bargains on hats and mittens for the kids. Just 6 days after bumping along the rough dirt roads of Uganda on our way out of the country, I found myself crying all the way from Walmart to Target. I was so very lost.

I know that God wants us to be happy. I know that He wants us to enjoy life. I don't think there is anything wrong with enjoying a hot bath even though people are dying every minute due to a lack of water or a dinner out at a restaurant even though $30 can feed and educate a child for a month. A couple years ago I received a big award at work which included a very lavish trip to Boston. They provided us with $125 for each dinner. I had always wanted to try a Boston lobster. That first night we went to a place that was way beyond our normal world. I had my lobster and Josh enjoyed a very nice steak. It was great. It was $150. Was that a bad thing to do? No. But we did decide that we were not comfortable doing that again. That became a part of our line. Do I think badly of you if you like going out for $150 dinners? No. Do I think that we all have obligations to help others? YES! Do I think that we are responsible to God for our actions? Yes. I sure hope I can find my way and keep my feet on His path and live a life that is pleasing to Him.

My compass is summarized by saying this:
If my heart breaks for nothing, my life has no breadth.
If my feet don't follow, my life has no depth.