Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I wanted to write to thank those of you who had provided help for the family from Kenya. It has been amazing to see the Lord use us to help to provide for even their most basic needs. Jennifer is in the ICU at UAB and is not doing well. Likely, the money we've provided may be used for food here, or used to send her home for burial once she dies.

As always, we know that our God IS able to heal, so I ask that you intercede on her behalf, and that whatever God's response, we pray for grace for her husband and family.


As for me, I know that many of you have followed my continuing saga with my back. I have a great prayer need as well.

I woke this morning just a little before 5:00 with a horrific headache, apparently caused from having slept on my back, which put pressure on the herniated disc in my neck. I was able to take something and get easy, but not completely freed from it, today. I went to my Physical Therapist appointment and talked with her at length about the headaches and continued pains and "down days" where I can't do much of anything. I may have a few good days in a row, but then have one or two really bad ones that follow.

After several phone calls and heated discussions with two separate doctors offices today, I went to see my Primary Care Physician. (The pain mngmt. ctr. wanted to do yet another procedure, this time an ablation to the nerves in my neck! WHAT???? I don't think so!!) The interesting aside here is that my PCP is a MD. who is also an osteopathic physician who believes in full body care, and wellness medicine. Also, he had a horrible car accident several years ago, broke his back and neck and it was thought that he would never be able to practice medicine again. He is also a Believer. So, I felt comfortable with whatever he would recommend in regards to my back, since he's sort of "been there, done that."

So, he's talked to me, and with Todd also, and recommends that I go ahead and consult with a Neurosurgeon for the purpose of going ahead with surgery to remove the herniated disc. It's a long complicated explanation, so I won't bore you with all of that, but just wanted you all to know that I will be doing as he has suggested and seeking the advice of several Neurosurgeons.

Please pray for me and for my family as we seek the right physician, I've been given the names of three with whom I plan to consult. One is at St. Vincents, one at Brookwood, and one at UAB. So, I should see a nice variety anyway. :O)

I'm trying to stay positive, but am feeling quite sorry for myself (and my family). This will create a huge burden for Todd who is working alot these days (thank God, for the business in this volatile economy), and for my mother who will likely be joined at the hip after my surgery for many weeks. Literally, she will have to be here nearly all the time to help care for the kids, mainly Sarah Beth. I am told I will not be able to pick her up for likely 6 weeks or so. He said, no lifting groceries, no doing laundry (not that I'll miss that, but I will feel great amounts of guilt if someone else has to do it for me), no cleaning my house, etc... Luckily, I did go through with hiring someone to clean my house right after I fell because I simply couldn't do it. I know that guilt when your not able to do something is a wrong feeling, but I feel extreme guilt when I am unable to care for the needs of my family to my personal expectations (which I admit are rather high).

I am grieving the very idea of not being able to pick up and hold my little one for nearly 2 months if I go through with this. I don't want to miss a minute with her, yet I feel I've already missed much in the 6 months since I fell.

That's enough whining for now, please pray for me.
Hanging on to His grace by a thread.....

Friday, September 26, 2008

What is the Purpose of THE Church?

This is an excerpt from a comment I just made in response to a blog post at www.faithpreacher.blogspot.com in regards to what the purpose of the church really is and the benefit of small groups, and home churches. Most people if you mentioned you were involved in a "home church" would think you were W*E*I*R*D! So, here are my thoughts on this...

I see the importance of small groups that multiply, and meet (sometimes) in homes, instead of church buildings. That is exactly what Dr. Platt is trying to teach at Brookhills. A few weeks ago he said -- Don't invite the lost to 'come to church'. When you're with them, they are with THE CHURCH. You are the CHURCH! It's much more important that when the 4000 or so people leave that building that they take the CHURCH to be among the people.

We could meet so many more people (lost or not) and meet more needs if we would get back to the hospitatlity that the Word teaches. We (Christians in general and our family in particular) hardly ever have people in our homes anymore, unless we know them really well. That is certainly not how the early church worked, and lest we say that times are different now and that just isn't safe to do, we must remember that these people were eventually martyred! They weren't worried about their safety, or the fear that someone might see their stuff and come back later to take it when they weren't home! That is the greatest problem with reaching out only to those within our own "class" of people.

Interestingly enough, when Dr.Platt first came to Brookhills, I understand that they were trying to get a gymnasium built. (This was before we began visiting and joined, but others have told us about it.) He put a stop to that ASAP! He said that the only way he would go along with that was if they built it in Avondale (downtown B'ham) to minister to those who really needed a safe place to be. From what I understand, he has basically said there will be no more buildings built at Brookhills, not while he's there.

Our church works in conjunction with M-Power ministries (among others), M-Power works with women and children, and hopes to begin working with men soon as well. We have men and women from our church who do small groups there during the week to teach the Word and to invest in the lives of the people on the other side of "the mountain".

During the week, they serve about 150 children with a place to go after school for help with their homework focusing on literacy, provide a snack, and a medical clinic. They really love these kids and their parents. These are kids who would normally go home to an empty house, which is when they usually find trouble as they grow-up. They teach adult literacy classes as well and also help single moms with GED classes and job searching.

Anyway, we went with a group from BH to do work on the building back in August to get it ready for the kids - just before school started. As well, we (as a family) were able to provide new school supplies for some children that otherwise would not have any. Most of these children are in single-mom homes, on a more than tight budget. The work we did to the building was painting, organizing their supplies, etc... Todd did plumbing work. Our oldest (11 year old) went with us. We want her to learn early the importance of ministering to the needs of others. She also went with us on a trip to Lousianna about a year and a half or so ago to do work. She hasn't "gotten it" yet I don't think, but hopefully as the years go by she will begin to understand.

To me, that is the importance of the church. We need to have our resources freed up to meet REAL needs! The very idea that people would give up their hallowed week of vacation, to go on a mission trip in a third world country is too much for most people. What about Mickey Mouse, or the beach, or a cruise, etc...??? NO church needs more buildings for more programs to meet during the week. Brothers and Sisters, all that does is keep the believers so busy "doing church" that they can't BE the CHURCH!

Dr. Platt has really turned things upside down at our church. Shepherding so many of Birmingham's wealthy residents, he continues to challenge their thinking. We are not called to Christ to get "stuff" he always says, we come to Christ to get GOD! (Period!!) He has continually reminded us that our lives are not to be about the accumulation of stuff, about getting our kids name brand clothes, making sure they have the "right" friends (read that connections), buying them popular stuff, and sending them to the "right" college, so they can get the "right" job, and make lots of money. GROSS!! My goal with my children is that they learn through relationship with their dad and I who God is. <<>>

Lately Dr. Platt has been preaching on feeding the hungry, caring for widows and orphans, etc... and our responsible response to the gospel. (Jas 1:27 "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world."

Quite honestly most people who are believers in America look for churches based on their percieved "needs" and what the church can do for them. That is so backwards, and yet they don't even realize it. Following Christ really isn't about being in "church" 3 x or more a week. That doesn't make you a good Christian, it only makes you busy. I can't tell you how many churches I've been in during my 38 years of life that have hammered that thought into it's members. You weren't a good Christian if you didn't come on Sunday night and/or Wednesday night. That is NOT what CHURCH is about. <<>>

Todd told me he'd heard this week that he (Dr. Platt) had put his home on the market to scale down and free up his own resources to be able to do more for the poor and the hungry, and that around 300 other families had followed his example. Hallelujah! May God be glorified in their desire to change their lives to meet the needs of others, and may God show US clearly what HE would have our family to do. Now, I'm not saying (and neither is Platt) that having nice things is evil, just that we should be careful where our focus is and be aware of what we are doing.

Okay, okay, I'm done!
God's blessings and wisdom to you and your's.
Abiding in His grace,

Thursday, September 25, 2008

updated info on Jennifer and Charles

I have some additional information on this family if you would like it, please email me privately tnlmcguire@yahoo.com.

I don't want to post their personal information here.

Please help if you feel led,
Lori Mc.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Call for help for a family from Kenya

Dear Friends and Family,

I am writing, on behalf of a brother and sister in Christ, to let you all know of an urgent need. We have the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ.

We have come to know a pastor recently from Trussville, and have recently learned that someone is his congregation is in great need.

This family, from Kenya, arrived here many years ago to study theology and to learn so that they might return to their homeland to share Christ in the remote regions of Kenya. The wife, Jennifer, now has breast cancer and is very ill. They wish to return to Kenya in time for her passing so that she may be buried in her homeland. Her time is short. As well, they lack even the neccessities (food) here as a result of her illness and costs.

I want to encourage you, if God would lay it on your heart, to please help with this great need.
Ga 6:10 says, "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."

I would be glad to take any checks (made out to the church) to the pastor if you want to send them to me, or you can send it directly to the church at: Hillside Church for Jennifer and Charles; 6540 Trussville-Clay Road; Trussville, AL 35173. If you would prefer to provide them with food, I would recommend purchasing a gift card for Wal-Mart, Publix, or other easily locatable grocery chain so that they can have even their basic needs met while waiting to leave for Kenya. You may read more about this family here: http://faithpreacher.blogspot.com/2008/08/charles-and-jennifer.html

As well, John asked me to post to his blog for him because he's not able to do so right now. That post, to his own people, is written as he requested and can be read herehttp://faithpreacher.blogspot.com/2008/09/jennifer-is-dying.html

Years ago, many people once helped a young broke couple get themselves and their daughters all the way from Birmingham to Boston for an open-heart surgery, twice. I was the recipient of that great show of God's love through His people, and pray that you will consider doing the same for this family. No amount you might be able to give is too small.

Abiding in His grace,

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

One of THOSE days

Today has been one of THOSE days.

You know the kind, when everything seems to go wrong, one thing after another.

My Mom called earlier and I asked if she was interested in coming down to work as a Ring Master this afternoon because it was looking an awful lot like a three ring circus around here!

Here's a small list of what we've dealt with around here today:

Anna stretched her neck some strange way this morning and pulled a muscle in it. It has been a source of pain and frustration for her all day, but has also been a wonderful lesson on a small scale of what her Momma has been going through for months. We have an all day field trip tomorrow, so I really hope she sleeps it off tonight.

My shoulder has been killing me for the better part of the day, and I was trying to get through the day without any meds. I gave in somewhere around 3:45 this afternoon when I couldn't take it any longer. I missed three calls to my cell phone from my orthopedic's office about the MRI I had yesterday thanks to some changes Sarah Beth made to my cell phone that I can't seem to undo. It rolls to voicemail after two rings. I picked it up the other day to make a call and it wouldn't let me dial out because it said I was in "Airplane Mode". Airplane Mode??!!?? What the heck is that? I had to go through about 5 screens to fix it; I have no idea how she managed that one.

The most exciting part of our day came when Sarah Beth decided our couch in the front living room (not quite 3 years old) would look nicer if it had a toddler's drawing on the cushions with pink and yellow highlighter markers. I'm not kidding - and her artwork is BIG! She was sitting with her legs spread out and drawing all in between them.

She's learned to climb up the barstools, which is not only dangerous once she's up there, but means she has conquered our last safe place to put things where she couldn't reach them! She gets up there, gets to whatever she wants and then pitches a huge fit for someone else to get her down because she hasn't figured out how to do that yet.

And, there have been about 4 other major events that went on that were equally challenging today, but wouldn't be of nearly as much interest to read about!

On a positive note, I got the MRI results back regarding my shoulder and there is no injury to the rotator cuff or ligaments! Hallelujah! Instead, it is tendonitis in the Supraspinatus tendon (yes, I had to ask them to spell that for me). So, I'm sure my visit to the doctor next week will be accompanied by injections into that shoulder to try to help with that. Oh joy!

Is it a full moon?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Suffering, and still trying to celebrate?!!?

Hi Everyone:

Honestly, it seems the problems related to my fall in April continue to go on!

I had another Dr.'s visit last week, and another MRI today, this time investigating my right shoulder. Now that I've gotten relief from the excruciating back pain - PRAISE GOD! - (from the 3 epidural blocks I've now had), I am having trouble with my right shoulder.

All along, we've (the doctor's and I) thought that the pain in my shoulder was from the cervical spine herniation, and in fact it may be. However, there may actually be another injury that we've unmasked now that my back feels better.

So, please be in prayer for me and my family as we continue to navigate all of this. I am most concerned for my family, who's having to take up so much of the "slack" around here. Anna continues to do a fantastic job of staying on task (most days) with her school work, and helping me out when I need it. She is learning so much this year, about more than just her school subjects.

Anyway, I have really great days and days when I wish for another really great day! :O)

Abiding SOLELY in His grace,

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Celebrating Suffering

Most people would look at you really strange if you were to suggest that it's possible to "celebrate suffering." The World as a whole would find you extremely weird if you told them that you were thankful that God had allowed you to go through a time of suffering.

But isn't that exactly what James tells us to do in James 1:2-5 "Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing."

You see the truth of the Word here says that in order to be a mature believer, complete and lacking nothing, you MUST endure trials.

If you have not personally experienced great trials I would say that you may not know God in as intimate a way as someone who has suffered. Perhaps you've been through trials and yet you can not say that you are thankful for them at all because you've had a wrong perspective and have not found that place yet where you've sought God and His purposes with your whole heart so that you might better know Him and His will, and be able to ultimately thank Him for your sufferings. It is possible to be thankful for them. I am.

Our pastor has just completed a sermon series on the book of Job. In it he goes verse by verse through the book of Job and discusses the great mysteries of human suffering and God's Sovereignty. (Sovereign means Supreme in power; possessing supreme dominion; as a sovereign ruler of the universe. This means that God is the complete controller of all things, He answers to no one, and He is under the authority of no one. All things are under his control.)

At the beginning of his final sermon he reads from various emails he has received throughout teaching this series. The emails come from those who are currently in the midst of great trials, including one from a family we've had the privilege of meeting who's currently in B'ham with their adult son who's recently had a double lung transplant at UAB. That dear family is in the midst of great suffering. He has been sick, and weak, and is on a host of medications that make him feel all sorts of different ways. He has struggled physically, emotionally and spiritually. Please pray for this brother in Christ as the Lord leads. His name is Clay.

Platt closes his sermon with even more emails from people who have suffered great trials, and have come through them with a stronger faith, a greater respect and love for their God, and a better understanding of who He is. The final email he reads was sent by me.

If you are in the midst of a trial or struggle, you will find great hope and an eternal perspective through these sermons.

They are available for download here:
You will want to listen to them in order beginning with the sermon from 8/10, then 8/17, 8/24, and finally 8/31.

If you have stumbled upon this blog, and don't know our story, you can read a summary of it here in a post entitled "How We Came To Adopt" http://homeforhim.blogspot.com/2007/10/how-we-came-to-adopt.html .

God's grace to you and your's,

Thursday, September 4, 2008

To Write or Not to Write, that is the question

Well, lately I have received a couple of posts and a number of private emails encouraging me to do more writing on the blog, even perhaps to write a book.

Interestingly enough, as a child, it is what my parent's always thought I would do.

So, I am taking it upon myself to begin writing. I do not know to what end. I do not know if anyone will ever read it, but I am writing, and for now sharing it with my husband.

I have decided, because of my complete and utter frustration with the book The Shack, to write a series of three short books based on our personal experience of losing our first daughter, of living through the same circumstances with our second one, and about the glorious adoption of our third. The first book will be entitled Grace in the Sorrow.

Again let me say, I have not read The Shack, I understand that many people have had extremely strong responses to this book, both positive and negative. But I can say this, from what I have read, the description set forth in that book as "God" is not the same GOD I grew to know more intimately through our daughter's death.

The intimacy that I have experienced in my relationship to Him has come as a result of extreme suffering and grief, just as the fictional character of "Mack", but my story is not a tale of fiction. My story is of a real woman and her husband, and a real struggle to find a real God in the midst of fear, uncertainty, heart ache and grief.

Please pray for me. Though this book will likely never be published, become a best seller, or even be read by others, it is a labor of love and pain for me. I have gotten to about chapter 6, and have wept through the writing of large portions so far.

I always wonder if anyone ever reads my blog. Occassionally I get comments from people who got here by way of one link leading to another. If you are reading today and have any words of encouragement, I could sure use them.

God's blessings on you and your's,

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What do you do from home to earn money?

Recently, this question was posed to one of the boards I'm on. I have a LOT of experience with this one, and I know that it can become a major struggle for women trying to stay home full-time after being raised in a "women working outside the home" culture. It's a shame really. For years, I felt "less than". I didn't finish college, I got married and started my life instead. Same for Todd. But, now I see so clearly how all of that was a part of God's amazing design for our lives. I spent years feeling guilty about not completing my education, feeling like I wasn't as smart as or as good as those who did. Then, once I quit work to be at home with my children, and meet the needs of my family, I went through another round of guilt about not "pulling my weight" financially, and having to rely solely on my husband to do it.


I am happy to say that I live totally and completely GUILT FREE! And, it is indeed a wonderful feeling. You see the days were fashioned for me, before I was born (Psalm 139:16), how awesome is that!

Now, for those of you still wondering, what you can do from home to earn money, here's how I answered the original question posed:

Well you've come to the right place, even if I'm the only one to answer your question!! :O)
You see, I have done more things from home trying to make money, than perhaps any other person I know.

I've sold about a half-dozen party plan type products, never really made any money at it. I know that some do, and I really thought I could be one of those, but in order to, it would have required more time away from my family than I personally was willing to invest.

My suggestions would be these:

First, seek your husband's wisdom as to how much time you can reasonably invest in anything, taking into consideration the amount of time you need to care for the needs of your husband, your home, your children, and homeschooling (if you do that).

Next, determine how much money you "need", and whether it truly is a need or a want. Difficult to answer the last one sometimes I know.

Then I would recommend you consider these thoughts:
* Does your husband work for someone else, or have his own business? Is there something that you can do to help him in his current employment to help him make more money. For instance, if he's in sales, could you make phone calls for him a couple of hours a week to help him set appointments. That would give him more time to be out selling and thus making more money for the family.
* Are there areas of your life that could be pared down in order to save money, any unneeded items you could sell to produce income, spending habits you could change to save money, etc.?

Here are the things I've done over the last 15 years:
1) I tried selling make-up. (I like to look nice!)
2) I sold scrapbooking materials. (I love to scrapbook!)
3) I tried selling party supplies. (Nobody loves a party any more than me!)
4) Finally, I held trunk shows and took orders for children's clothing from samples I'd made, and sold clothing for children.

LASTLY, I totally surrendered my life to the purposes of only doing what God CALLED me to do. I am CALLED to meet the needs of my husband, and my family, and the Church (the body of Christ). That's it! Wow, what a relief! The pressure was now off of me. And, lo and behold, the Lord stepped in with something I could do!

My husband now owns a plumbing contracting company, (we opened in 2003) the first 2 years we were in business, I worked for him - doing the bookkeeping, taxes, payroll, AR/AP work, etc... I didn't get paid anything, but I made his work easier because he didn't have to be worrying about the paperwork side of things, and during the start-up phase he didn't have to pay someone else to do that for him.

Now, I still do it, but I receive a nice little monthly check for the work I do. I actually spend about 6-8 hours a week doing the work, and I can do it after the kids are in bed at night, or before they're up in the mornings, during naptime, etc... Again, this is helpful to him mostly by taking off some pressure, and so I am filling my role as his HELP MATE in the process! YEA!!!!

Pray about what ever you may consider, and be sure that it is God compelling you to do it, not some Prov 31 standard you're trying to maintain, or something you see others doing and think you should be doing to. In the meantime, practice a little contentment. I know that's the hardest part! :O)

If the Lord wills that you do something else, He will show it to you, and you won't have to kill yourself trying to figure out what it is. Just be patient... (okay, so maybe that's the hardest part - LOL)