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And here it is-

@kathi Lipps new book! Honest- imperfect real help.

click for the launch party! now!

I was cooking dinner, when she grabbed her kids and took shelter in a bathtub.

I was cleaning up the dishes when she struggled out from under debris to find her life turned to rubble.

I was watching on TV while she wandered with her children through debris and around news trucks-trying to figure out what to do, next.

I wonder if she grabbed her diaper bag?  Her purse? The “important papers?”

There wasn’t much time.

I wonder if she used that super calm voice that I use when I don’t want my kids to freak. I wonder if she said “It’s ok, we’ll be ok, Mommy is here.” The whole time wondering if they would be. That’s what I do, when we have to take cover.

I’ve never met her. But, I feel like I know her. Today, while I check my email and try to make my writing deadlines, she is struggling to pick up the pieces of her life. She’s wondering what will happen to their jobs. She’s wondering where they will live, and how long the kids will have nightmares. She was looking forward to school letting out and having some summer fun.  Now she feels lost. Alone. Afraid. She’s not sure if she can do this. Mothering was hard enough, before.

She’s my sister. Created by God for a purpose…part of which is to be a mom.That, makes us sisters. Sisters in motherhood.

I have to do something to help. She needs to know she’s not alone. I care. You care. We care.

>So-I contacted the Joplin MOPS group- (MOPS- Mothers of Preschoolers- a non-profit I’ve worked with for over 20 years.) and asked permission to set up an Amazon wishlist with things that can help. Things I’d want for my kids:

Dry socks, diapers, wipes, pull ups, juice boxes, pacifiers, blankies with silky edges, a book for normalcy and love…A stuffed animal for comfort when it rains again. Tarps to help salvage what can be salvaged. Mom’s Devotional Bibles cause I couldn’t get through something like that without knowing God DOES care… . even when everything is ripped away from you.

As I sat making the list, I felt overwhelmed…. moms like to be prepared. We need to have: EVERYTHING. (This is why our purses become diaper-bags and stay that size long after we’re done with diapers. Justsayin’) The need is huge. In comparison, I can’t do much. But, we can. Together. So, I’m asking this: if you are touched by the tragedy in Joplin, and want to help- click the link to the amazon wishlist- and order something, anything. Together- we can provide hundreds of diaper changes, snacks, bring down fevers (kids always get sick when it’s least convenient) wrap tiny shoulders in something warm, soft and clean and let Joplin know we care!

There are items of comfort and care at all prices and, if you are an Amazon Mom or a prime member- it can be shipped for free.

All items purchased from the list will be shipped direct to CHCC, and will be shared with anyone in need. (Not just MOPS moms… EVERY mom, parent and child matters, and needs to know they are not alone.) I am NOT an Amazon affiliate, nor do I benefit from this in any financial way shape or form… spiritually and emotionally?  Absolutely- I’d be thrilled if we can meet some of these needs! And I gotta believe God smiles when we reach out in love;)

For the record: This is not an “official” MOPS International project.  It’s just us moms (non-moms? Men? How about: others? ;) getting together and making a difference.. (Oh wait, isn’t that exactly what MOPS does? Well.. you know what I mean:) 

We can make a difference, today.  Let’s do it!

Dear Lord- I hate tragedy. I don’t even understand why you allow it. But- I do know this: you care. And you touch our hearts with care. For the mom,  the dad, the woman, the man, the child… who is right now picking up the pieces and carrying on. Please provide… send love… and use this tiny effort… like loaves and fishes.. to make a difference- I love you Lord- amen.

**If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to use my contact info in the sidebar.  I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have. 

Also- the Joplin MOPS group has a facebook page here if you’d like to send them a little verbal love or see how they are helping each other!

Joplin tornado news

Maybe, it’s a disease or a disorder….either way- I cannot pass a bookstore without going in. I can’t go into a bookstore without buying a book. (or maybe 5…)

So- yesterday, that’s what I did. I went in to the bookstore as I passed it on my way to the salon, at the mall. And, since I had to pass the bookstore yet again, on the way out of the mall.. I went in again.   Miraculously the first time I left with nothing. I was searching for a “Choose Your Own Adventure” Book for Noah.. (Yes, I use my children as an excuse to book-shop- who doesn’t?) and couldn’t find one. When I returned, I did and then…somehow, I accidently ended up in the (woefully stocked) “Religious” book section. (Funny how that happens, isn’t it?)

As I paced the aisle, staring at the shelves trying to make more books (to choose from) appear, a voice caught my attention: “Just let me know if you need me to move.”  I looked up, to see long straight, blonde hair framing a smiling face. “Oh, I’m just wandering- no need to move.” I replied. “You’re in a good aisle to wander.” She said. I agreed.

She picked up a book and asked me if I’d read it, and what I’d thought.  I had, and well- let’s just say it’s not among my favorites. I was torn how to respond.. and then just went with the truth: “Well- I kind of feel like all of his books are the same.. read one and you’ve pretty much read them all.” I immediately regretted what I’d said. What if she loved that author and I offended her?

I held my breath and waited for her to respond… ready with an apology if necessary…. (I tend to speak my mind- and so, I need to have apologies ready- at all times…) “Oh- I read another book by his wife and was wondering if this one was like a pre-quel or something. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.” I let out my breath. Whew. one less offense to worry about. “No, I think they cover a lot of this in that book- it might be redundant.” “Good- I really want this other book I heard about, but I can’t remember the name…”

We talked for a few minutes, trying to figure out the title. We searched the shelves… nothing. I pulled out my iphone and googled the info she had about the book… Princess something or other…(FYI: there are a LOT of Princess something or other books on the market- just sayin.) we found the title, but, it wasn’t at that store. Her smile faded. “I went to a conference this weekend and I really want this book- they quoted it and it really touched me….”   “I’d go across the street, to Family Christian.. I know they have it over there…”

Her head drooped just a bit. “I have a gift card for this store.”

Oh, that I get. Shopping on a gift card and wishing that the thing you REALLY want would magically appear… and fit your giftcard budget. Been there. Done that.

Which is when I decided to take a risk and (maybe) look crazy at the bookstore. (It wouldn’t be the first time…)

“Ok, so this may sound weird… but, I’d really like to bless you (yes, I actually said: “bless you.” I mean, who says that? Well..apparently- me.) with that book… is it ok if I give you some cash so you can go to Family Christian and pick it up?” I held my breath. I waited to see if I’d offended her… Had I assumed too much?  I mean this chick could have been loaded and was just trying to dump that giftcard before it expired…. what had I done?

Tears started to well up in her eyes. She blinked them away. “Really? You’d do that? You don’t have. to…..” I didn’t wait- that was all I needed.. I slipped a $20 out of my purse and into her hand. We hugged. (I wondered what the heck the college kid looking at manga at the end of the aisle was thinking..) She took it graciously and with a big smile. Then she looked at a book on the shelf… then at me… Have you read this one? I still have that gift card….” “I did and I loved it—- get that one too!”  I smiled.

She left.

I tried not to cry.

I’ve gotta say….It feels amazing when you take a little risk to look silly.. and end up in the middle of a divine appointment… used by God- to yes… “bless” another’s heart.

Tomorrow- (or maybe even today) I challenge you to open your eyes to the people around you….is there a little risk you could take? Take it!  It’s more than worth it….. you’ll be glad you did.

Dear Lord- Thank you for using my weird book-store addiction to help meet the heart need of another woman. I pray that the words she finds in those pages will grow and change her and fill her with the knowledge of your love…. I pray that you’d continue to grow me and stretch me to take risks and reach out in love… even  when I may look crazy… Oh.. and Lord– I also ask you to help me not use weird-irrelevant- semi- archaic words like “bless” in public…. it’s.. just weird. I love you Lord- amen.

Happy news!  Lily and her new mom Elizabeth have made it home! Please continue to pray for those separated and still waiting. And for the adjustments ahead for this new family:)

I’ve never met her. I’ve not even seen a picture of her. I know about her. She’s a mother. For me- thats all it takes, to connect us.

Right now, maybe she’s patting her pregnant tummy and wondering if it was hunger pangs, or her baby’s first movement,  that she felt.  Maybe she worries about the health of both her unborn child and the toddler next to her. Maybe she worries what trauma will be remembered long after today.

For sure, she waits.

While she waits, maybe she holds the hand of the tiny Haitian girl.   They wait to finally be “officially”  mother and child, but their hearts are already one.. They wait to go home and be united with husband and new father.

As I write, they are still, at the US Embassy in Haiti. Waiting.

For paperwork.

Maybe it’s because I’m just shy of full blown OCD, or have too much time on my hands or am nosey, but the image of them waiting, so close to home but so far, won’t leave my mind.

Maybe it’s NOT because of  those things.

Maybe it’s because I’ve waited too.  I’ve been a part of the process of praying and waiting and raising funds and experiencing disappointment and excitement, while friends adopted from Russia.

Maybe it’s because I waited while friends were stuck in Russia, one document from becoming a family.

I watched as God and his people used creativity, passion and connections to get that piece of paper to Russia. I waited while a friend flew from Michigan to another state to take the papers to be hand delivered by another couple on their way to Russia, to adopt their own child.  We prayed.

I remember sitting on the kitchen floor,tears rolling down my smiling face, ear pressed to the phone listening as two little ones met over the phone for the first time.

I waited at the airport, for that flight home to arrive.

I wept as I saw a mother and child and grandparents and family and friends united.

I waited.

Much the way this mother in Haiti is waiting.

She needs help. She needs the Prime Minister to SIGN THE final paperwork.

Thats all.

What’s taking so long?  I don’t know.

I do know this, every mother matters.

And doing something, can make a difference.

What I can do, is share their story.

When I read it- I was touched. I wanted to DO SOMETHING.

I made some calls. I talked to the father.  I talked to someone working with Haiti. I sent some emails, I tweeted some people, I posted to facebook.. looking for those connections that might make a difference and end the waiting.

Will it make a difference?  I don’t know.

But it makes a difference to ME, because I know that I did what I could.

If I were there- holding that tiny hand, I’d desperately want  someone, to do something.

The sad fact is there is not just one mother waiting in Haiti with her legal, already in process before the earthquake adoption paperwork. There are 180 families waiting.

At the US Embassy, Haiti.

For paperwork.

What can you do?

Pray.

Think about your’re sphere of influence. Do you know someone who could help? ASK THEM TO HELP.

Can you share their story? Link, tweet, tell.

Dear Lord- I pray for those trapped physically and by red-tape in Haiti.  I pray that you’d make a way where there seems to be no way.  I pray that you’d renew hope.  I pray that your peace and protection would be present.  Lord I pray that you’d protect children from illegal adoptions and dangerous trafficking. I pray that you’d bring wisdom and peace to chaos.  Lord- I pray that as Lily and her new mother wait- you’d hold their hands.  amen