Saturday, December 23, 2006


I sent an email to our adoption agency this week.... I said "All I want for Christmas is our P.A.". They said they hadn't heard if they'd be getting any this week.

When I hadn't heard anything by Friday evening, I was a little disappointed and was resigned to the fact that we'd still have to wait. But then.... at about 5:30 this afternoon, I checked my email from mom's house in SC.... and it was there!!! DHL had delivered the PA to the agency today!! HOORAY!

For those of you who don't know, P.A. stands for Pre-Approval. In other words, we got our pre-approval from China to adopt Chang Hua Hui (aka Samuel). China said YES!! Praise the LORD!

Now we can send Sam a care package and pictures of us. We can tell him that he has a family that loves him and can't wait to come get him and bring him home. We can tell him that we'll love him forever and that he is part of our forever family. Hold on Sammy!! Mommy and Daddy are coming!!!! Hopefully we'll all be patient enough to wait for the rest of our paperwork and red tape to be done so we'll be able to get him late this spring.

Thanks to the LORD for an awesome Christmas gift!!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Merry Christmas

I was listening to the radio this morning and heard the song "Merry Christmas" by Third Day. I was all choked up by the end of the song. Hopefully I'll be able to figure out how to get the music to play here, but for now here are the lyrics.... They are worth the read!

There's a little girl trembling on a cold December morn
Crying for momma's arms
At an orphanage just outside a little China town
There the forgotten are

But half a world away I hang the stockings by the fire
And dream about the day when I can finally call you mine

It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone
And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in his arms
And tell you from my heart I wish you Merry Christmas

As I hang the tinsel on the tree and watch the twinkling lights
I'm warmed by the fire's glow
Outside the children tumble in a wonderland of white,
Make angels in the snow

But half a world away you try your best to fight the tears
And hope that heaven's angels come to carry you here

It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone
And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in his arms
And tell you from my heart I wish you Merry Christmas

Christmas is a time to celebrate the holy child
and we celebrate his perfect gift of love
He came to earth to give his life
and prepare a place for us
so we could have a home with him above

It's Christmas time again and now you're home
Your family is here so you will never be alone
So tonight before you go to sleep, I'll hold you in my arms
And I'll tell you from my heart, and I'll you from my heart
I wish you Merry Christmas

Monday, November 20, 2006

What a great week!

Whether you have heard the news or not, let what I write settle in for a bit before you jump all over me.

This week has been jam packed full of drama for the Vogel family. Since this is John posting, I will make it brief- Kirsten is much better at the detailed and heartfelt posts.

Tuesday- I had to fire someone. Contrary to what some might think, it is never fun, and always leaves you with more work to do.
Wednesday morning- Jake goes to the doctor for what we think is a UTI (I will let you guess if you don't know) and he is diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Kirsten called me at work and I turned into a little girl- serious tears (for those wondering, I was able to make it into the solitude of my car before anyone saw me).
Thursday- I had to be in Chapel Hill first thing in the morning for a conference. It is always good to see your boss (I see mine 4 times a year) and he makes you feel like poo. I managed to get back to Greensboro in time for Kirsten to call me about waiting in line for the PS3 (long story) so I quickly made it to position 12. After a few hours, the store manager came out and announced they had 8 units available. I went home and relayed the news. Oh, and Kir got an email that said we may not be able to adopt because I was a less-than-stellar 14 year old.
Friday- Trying to wrap up a very hectic week. Kirsten and I were on the phone trying to deal with the miles of red tape from the adoption nightmare, I mean process, and my cell phone rings. It is Kim, from up the street, telling me Jake was in an accident and it's an emergency. I relay to Kirsten who is on the other line and Kirsten drops everything.
We find out that Jake was skitching and fell. Kirsten took him to the emergency room and had his head dermabonded.. He was admitted to the hospital for the diabetes and is set to be released today.

Oh, and Lilly Birthday was yesterday- trumped by the aforementioned turn of events.

So why would I call that a great week? Because I felt closer to God this past week than I have in a long time. God drew me back to Him, and I am so glad for that. God sent encouragement from friends and family who I thought might not care. God gave me (and Kirsten) the strength to be the rock for our kids. God gave me hope. And isn't that what He does best? He gives us hope. For what is life without hope?
Hopeless, I guess.

Knowing that God performs miracles in the midst of a storm does not make travel through the storm easier, but it does give purpose to the storm.

Thank you God for my many blessings- You, Family, Friends, Job, and stuff.


Monday, October 30, 2006

Fall Days

We've had a beautiful fall here in North Carolina!! The yellow, orange, and red leaves are gorgeous this year, the sky has been blue, and the temperature has been fabulous... some sweaters and jackets mixed in with t-shirt days!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Tae Kwon Do

Hooray!! Mommy's a yellow belt!!! Daddy (the white belt) is trying not to be jealous!!!

Monday, October 09, 2006


Jake: Mom, what did Jesus mean when he said "If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away"?

Mom: Well honey, it means that if there is something in your life that is causing you to sin, you should get rid of it. For example, if your gameboy causes you to sin, then you should throw it away. Or if you have a friend that tempts you or causes you to sin, then you shouldn't hang around with that person.

Lilly: Mom, Is cussing a sin?

Mom: Well I guess so Lilly. The Bible says to not let unwholesome talk come out of your mouths.

Lilly: Well I think Daddy's X-Box is causing him to sin because I heard him cuss yesterday while he was playing. I think he should throw it away.

Jake (the devoted son): Be quiet Lilly. No he didn't. He doesn't need to throw it away.

Lilly: Yes he did.

Jake: No he didn't.

Lilly: Yes he did.

Jake: No he didn't!! (now crying) MOMMY, he doesn't have to throw his X-Box away!!! (Waaaaaa)

He's his father's son.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Time to come clean

Those who know me know that I love vidoe games; especially my Xbox 360. What practically no one knows is that my Xbox 360 keeps it's own blog.

Click Here to see for yourself.

Hello. My name is John and I play video games...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Tony is here!!

We are excited to announce a new addition to our family!! Our exchange student, Chung-An "Tony" Chen arrived at GSO on Sunday after travelling about 24 hours from Taiwan. Tony is a sweet and smart boy! Because of jet lag, he slept from 3:30 on Sunday afternoon through the night and didn't wake up until the next morning. But he was up and ready and wanting to go enroll in school.

We spent the morning in the guidance office at our local high school, enrolling him and picking his classes. Tony pick two sciences.... Chemistry and Physics... a brave boy. I just pray he doesn't need help with his homework. He says that school is hard and "scary", but he likes it and is adjusting nicely.

We've already played some board games with Tony, including two rounds of "Life". The kids are having a great time playing with him. He brought them some wooden tops from Taiwan which they've had a blast playing with. This weekend we'll take him to Carowinds.. fun times!!

Oh, I did ask him if we were driving him crazy... and he said "a little"... hehe. He has a thirteen year old sister at home and is not used to so much noise and chaos. But I think we're growing on him. :-))

Monday, August 28, 2006

2¢ about Pluto

The discussions around the watercooler seem to be received with apathy or conviction- either way, I feel like throwing in my comments (as usual).

I am thrilled by the decision to remove the classification of Pluto as a planet because it shows a community of scientists who are willing to swallow pride.

75 years worth of pride.

Scientists were experts who knew everything, and we all waited with anticipation to find out what we should think, eat, feel, love, etc.

The decision to 'demote' Pluto demonstrates the idea that science changes; evolves as it were.

Consider the opposite conclusion of astronomers: keeping Pluto a planet so as not to disrupt the textbooks... I shudder at the idea. (I wonder if the textbook lobbyists were hoping for the new classification in hopes of new sales- hmmm).

Ok, well I think my point was made. Now I wait to hear about the next reversal- hopefully Dunkin Donuts will cure obesity. :)


Friday, August 25, 2006

Sleepless Nights = Big Decisions

Well, we did it. We enrolled Sadie in public school on Thursday (the day before school started). The decision did not come lightly. We talked and prayed then talked and prayed some more for weeks at a time. It is a difficult thing.... knowing God's will. It's not always black and white and it's not always easy.

Let me say that I'm dreading talking about this with my die-hard home-school friends. I feel in part a failure. I dread the disappointment in their voices and eyes.

It's not that I CAN'T homeschool her. She is just missing something. She cries everyday for friends to play with. We've prayed that God would give her good friends. She finishes her homeschool work in two hours or less and is miserably bored for the rest of the day. We've prayed that God would give her peace and contentment. But she is still sad.

Now we didn't ask her if she wanted to go to school. John and I just talked and prayed about our struggles with her. Of course I also consented my Mom, who supports our decision and agress with our thoughts on the subject. Then I just started praying that if this is where God wanted her this year, that He would open the doors wide open for us. I prayed that if He wanted her at home that He would close the doors. God has ALWAYS been faithful to this prayer of ours.

So Thursday morning, the day before the first day of school, we went to the school to register her. We walked in, unannounced, bith certificate in hand, and signed her up. It was very easy. Now I've heard stories in the past of other homeschoolers going to register their kids and getting a hard time from the school. The secretary actually smiled and said it was great and that they were glad to have Sadie now. She also had a Bible verse posted on her computer monitor. Also, I thought I was missing a form and told her I'd get it to her later, but she said they didn't need it. Doors were swinging open.

The curriculum coordinator came out and said hello... told us Sadie's teacher's name, and took us for a tour of the school and to see her classroom. Sadie was very excited! Even though I felt sick to my stomach, I felt that this is what we were supposed to be doing. So we left and went shopping for a backpack, lunchbox, supplies, shoes, and clothes. It was an action-packed day.

This morning Sadie popped out of bed bright and early in anticipation of the day. She said "I can't wait to meet some friends!". So we packed her up and dropped her off in her classroom. She found her desk and was thrilled about her school books. The teacher had crayons out so they could draw a picture and write some sentences about something they enjoyed this summer. We got her started on her assignment and said goodbye. I gave her a hug and kiss and she didn't look up from her desk... but stayed focused on her paper. I knew she was trying hard not to cry. So was I.

After we left the classroom I waited a moment and poked my head back in the door to take one more look at my baby. Just then, she came running out calling "mommy!". She gave me a hug and ran back to her desk. Well I about lost it. I didn't say a word until we were back in the van for fear I would burst out into tears.

I can't wait to go and get her. It's been such a long day! I hope she loves it; but part of me hopes she begs to stay home. That would be easy. I don't know how to describe it; I just feel like this is what God is asking me to do right now. Maybe it's dealing with my control issues... having to trust Him with her all day.

Does this mean that she'll go to public school forever? No. I'm just going to wait on God to see what and where He wants us next. I guess He's got a job for us to do. So I look forward with expectant anticipation as to what that is.

I hope all my homeschool friends will understand that we're trying to follow God; whether they agree with it or not. And I just hope that they will support our decision and love us anyway. I'm sure they will though. What's not to love??

Now I wait and pray for my baby at school; just like I'm waiting and praying for my baby in China. Waiting is hard. God is working on me.

Oh and on a side note: I'm getting another big baby from Taiwan next week! Tony is coming to live with us as an exchange student! We're so excited to meet him and learn about Eastern culture! We'll post pictures and such when he gets here. I'm sure you will all make him feel loved and welcomed.


Thursday, August 17, 2006


Lilly and Jake spend a week at Merriwood Christian Camp with the church kids last week and had a blast!! Since we gave Lilly a surprise room make-over while she was at Girl Scout camp in June, we decided to keep up the tradition and give Jake his own surprise room make-over while he was gone.

John did an exceptional job painting the murals for the skateboard-themed room! I forgot how talented he was!! We also used skateboards from Toys R' Us as shelves.

All in all it turned out great and only cost $12 for a gallon of paint at Walmart, $15 for the mural paints, $20 for the two skateboards, and $3 for the shelf brackets!! Gotta love a no-frills make-over!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Saga of the Sentra

For those of you who don't know the beginning of the story, I would encourage you to ask me about my history with my car. Word of caution though, you may want to pack a lunch as the tale takes some time to unravel!

For those who know the beginning, here is the middle:

The other day I was preparing to visit a customer and looked on my desk at my mobile phone. I hesitated for a moment and decided that I did not need to take it with me (don't ask me why I even had to think about taking 2 seconds to put the 4 ounce useful tool into my pocket). I grabbed my keys and hopped into my beautiful 1999 Nissan Sentra and drove off to my meeting. After the successful visit, I returned to my glorious Japanese crafted chariot and drove off into the wind! Windows down, breeze against my face, engine running oh so quiet.

Wait, too quiet! Uh oh. It's not quiet, it quit!

Ok, this part you really have to trust me - it is all true.

With a smile on my face and no foul words to be muttered, I gathered my belongings, including the registration, and started walking (remember how I decided to leave my phone on my desk?).

Within 2 minutes, a minivan with a handicap pass hanging from the rear view mirror pulled off the road in front of me. As I approached I discerned that there was only one occupant in the vehicle- a 320 pound female. She was as friendly as a beam of sunshine on a cloudy day! So, realizing that God sent me a rescuer (is that a word?) I thanked Him and hopped in. Side note: it turned out that she worked in an office building right behind where I worked and I knew her boss!

Safe and sound in my office, I called Kirsten and shared the news- she was not thrilled; about the car or the idea of me getting into a van with a strange woman. Go figure.

Being frugal (read: cheap) I thought of who in my network would have access to a tow dolly and be able to recommend a trustworthy mechanic (oxymoron?).

I called Mike and after listening to my situation replied with encouraging words: "sorry, can't think of anyone". We continue to talk and I remembered that Mike's Dad has a hobby of buying junk cars, dragging them home, and rebuilding them. Mike said he would call and find out if his Dad had a tow dolly and call me back- in the midst of the conversation it turned out that Mike trusts a local mechanic for his cars- so the moral of this bitty ditty is to never trust the first thing that come's out of a Pastor's mouth. :^)

Turns out that Mike's Dad, Byron, had a dolly, and would be avialable to help my that afternoon! We towed my broken down jalopy to the mechanic and after thanking Byron 15 times, he dropped my off at my house.

The next morning I get a call from "Hoss", the mechanic, and he tells me that the distributor went bad, so he fixed it. My mind immediately recalled the mechanic in National Lampoon's Vacation and expected the worst. After a deep breath I asked in my best southern twang "What's that gunna set me back, ya reccun?" Hoss told me that including tax and labor the charge was only $498.

Now, for those of you who shudder ar the price of a distributor and installation, let me tell you that 2 years ago, the same distributor went bad (that would be the first part of the story I was telling you about) and cost me $600. So I figured that $500 every 2 years to keep my method of motion in motion was a better deal than what monthly payments for a new car would be.

So now my luxurious Sentra and I are back together, and enjoying each other's company.

I hope this relationship lasts a long, long time!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Flatland- Chapter 1

I recently heard of this book while listening to Rob Bell. I picked it up on eBay for a few dollars, and was very excited to start reading it. Edwin Abbott wrote this book in the late 1800s so I thought I would easily become lost in period specific terminology- I was pleasantly incorrect!

The chapters, as well as the book is rather short, so that will allow for a short review :^)

Chapter 1:

The Author does a great job introducing two key factors to the story: The perspective of the storyteller, and the reason for the book. The story is told by an inhabitant of Flatland to the reader in "Space". There are only 2 dimensions in Flatland, like a pencil drawing.
An example is given that the Flatlanders see a circle, triangle, etc one way, and we, in space, see it another way. Imagine placing a penny on a table. View the penny from above and what shape will you have? A circle. Move your perspective downward and the penny takes the shape of an oval. Keep going until you are looking at the penny from a perfect horizontal stance (the way a Flatlander would) and the penny is just a line.

Imagine! everything in Flatland is viewed as either a line, or a dot.

I am fascinated by the story, and look forward to sharing more tomorrow.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

A RollerCoaster of A Week

Yes, it has been one rollercoaster of a week! We made it through the yard sale. The garage is just about put back together, with the exception of a few large items that we need to do something with.

On Monday and Tuesday I fervently cleaned the house for our first homestudy visit (for the adoption). Our social worker was very nice and pleasant and made us feel at ease. And of course she never looked around the house..... but at least it was clean!!

On Wednesday we took care of Nick and Syd for the day and all the children combined successfully played with EVERY SINGLE TOY that we own. Not only did they play with them, but they put them all over my nice clean house.... where they still are now. But they were relatively well behaved and fun so....whatever. On Wednesday night we went to our new church building (Hooray!) and helped to paint and move stuff.

So today is Thursday.... I've been watching more kids all day today, my laundry is piling up, we leave to go visit my sweet sister tomorrow (Hooray!), I haven't started packing yet, I have a bazillion errands to run, we won't be back until Sunday night, and the older kids need to be at camp on Monday morning. So if I haven't even packed for tomorrow yet, what are the chances they'll be packed for camp??? UUGH. Oh, and I need to finish making a bracelet to deliver by this evening.

All this and we got some disappointing news on the adoption front. You can read more about that on OUR CHINA ADOPTION. So yes, it's been a rollercoaster of a week with emotions all over the place. But, I'm looking forward to seeing my baby sister, who has always been such a joy to me from the day she was born, maybe get my hair done (she's a hairdresser.... woo hoo!), have a good cry, and have some much needed R&R. ~K

Monday, July 31, 2006

Yard Sale God Sightings

This past weekend was our long-planned-for Yard Sale/Adoption Fundraiser. It went pretty well. I think we made about $800 and I got another bracelet order. We still had a bunch of stuff left over which we donated to the battered's woman's shelter thrift store. So all in all it was a success.

The best thing about it was the people that we met. Our local newspaper ran an article on us on Thursday of last week. So a few of the people that came had read about it in the paper. One lady came with pictures of her now 19 yr. old son that she adopted from Korea 18 years ago. He had cleft palate and lip and is so handsome now! She didn't come to buy anything, but came to give us a $25 check. We had a nice time chatting and getting to know one another.

A young 20 something year old girl, who looked to be of South American descent, came to the sale. She walked up to me and handed me some money and said that she was adopted and can't imagine what her life had been like if her parents hadn't adopted her. She was all choked up; I was all choked up. All I could do was hug her.

Another couple saw the flyer that I had hung up at Walmart which read: Yard Sale & Adoption Fundraiser. They decided to come check it out. I saw them get out of their car and the big smiles and excitement on their faces when they saw the poster we made with Sam's picture on it. And we were excited to see them holding a little chinese boy with cleft lip and palate. They just got back about a month ago with their son from China. They were a Christian couple and their son's name was Sam! We enjoyed hearing their China stories and getting their travel advice. What a blessing!

The highlight for me was getting to meet a family whose blog journal I read every day when they were in China back in March. I had never met them, but knew they lived somewhere around here because they were on the homeschool e-loop that I'm on. Upon reading their daily journal and crying almost everyday; that was the unmistakable tugging from God on my heart to get the process going. Imagine my surprise and excitement when I saw the mom and little boy walking toward me at the sale!! I knew them right away and about burst into tears. She put the little boy Levi in my arms and I got to hug and kiss him and tell him that I had prayed for him on their entire journey. Levi was more interested in getting down and running around, but I had a great time of fellowship with the mom. That was Friday. We exchanged phone numbers and the dad/husband called to chat with us that night. On Saturday, the whole family came and hung around with us offering their support at our sale. And the funny thing is that they live just three miles or so from us!

Our Chiropractor, Dr. Kevin Mobley & family, and staff (at Accident, Back &Headache Clinic of Kernersville) have also been fund-raising for us. Dr. Mobley has been offering free X-Rays and consulatation for everyone who makes a donation to our adoption. They've also been selling Krispy Kreme stuff for us in their office!

I am in awe at what God has done and is doing. It's still going to take His miracle in the next two weeks to secure the funds needed. I think between the sale and what we've got left after the home-study, we still need about 4K. But God is so much bigger than we can fathom and can do anything.

I am also preparing myself for the possibility that we won't get the money in time; that God will decide that this is not the child for us; that he has someone else in mind. Of course I will be heartbroken; but am counting on His soverign plan. In that case, we will still move forward with expectant anticipation to see who He has for our family (after I cry for a few days of course).

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Blogging Blahs

Hello, name is Kirsten and it's been 22 days since my last post.... That's how I feel; that I should join a bloggers anonymous group. I mean, I love reading blogs, but I seldom feel the urge to write mine. I guess I tend to write when I'm feeling deep and spiritual. And I've been in a spiritual funk lately, so the writer in me has seemingly disappeared. Plus, my kids hog the computer and I never get a 'turn' anyway. And if I do get a 'turn', then people are hovering over me waiting for me to get off. When I shoo them away, they sit in the living room and fight about who's going to be next to check their email or buy things for their houses and visit yard sales at

I'm envious of those who just write and journal their every day lives though. Take Lindsey, for instance, her blog is phenomenal!! She's a homeschool mom to a few young children and she has one of the best blogs out there (in my opinion). I have no idea how she finds the time or energy to write all that; but she's great.

I guess that maybe it's just that I feel bogged down by everyday life these days that I don't take the time to find the joy in the little everyday things. We've been travelling for the past few weeks... to New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, and in between. I've got this big yard sale/adoption fundraiser thing coming up; which extremely overwhelms me. The garage is a mess; the house is a mess; everything is unorganized (which really bothers me because I'm so anal about things). I'm worried about financing our adoption and wracking my brain for ways to raise money. I've got to finish our homeschool records for the year and get our standardized testing done; nevermind figure out what we're going to do for next year, order curriculum, etc. Since we've been taking a much needed break from school work, the kids just fight constantly... bicker, bicker, bicker. It's hard for a mom to think straight. But I guess it makes sense that I'm in a funk because all this leaves my brain tangled up. It's not an excuse though. I just really need to change my attitude. I need to make more time for the Lord in my brain instead of blocking it up with the worries of life. And I need to look for the joy in the little things.

I covet the prayers of our blog readers; for the peace of God to cover the turbulent waters of daily life with His peace.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

When There Are No Answers

A friend sent me this article, and although lengthy, it is so worth the read.... it's about searching for answers from God and not finding any... kind of how we feel about finding the money to adopt Sam..... it really speaks to my heart. Love you, K

When There Are No Answers (Broadcast July 3, 2004 © 2004)

One of the first words we learn is "Why.” If there's a child under five in your home right now, you probably hear that word many times each day. It seems from the very beginning we want explanations and answers. But what do we do when there are no answers?

I tell you quite frankly that there are many times I can't find an answer for things that happen to me and to others. I bombard Heaven with my "Whys?" but the heavens are silent. How about you? Is that where you are? You can't find the answers you so desperately need?
I'm sure many of you are in the midst of some situation for which you can find no answers. God is silent. The heavens are like stone. You've begged for explanations, but none have come. What do we do when there are no answers?

Mary and Martha faced that dilemma when Lazarus died. You know the story. They sent for Jesus to come and heal Lazarus. They were confident that Jesus could heal him and prevent his death, and that He would do so, for they knew how Jesus loved Lazarus and them.
They sent out their cry for help, but we read in John 11 that "...when Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days." He loved them but He didn't come to their rescue. Why? I can see Martha and Mary waiting by the side of their sick brother, expecting Jesus to walk through the door any minute. They knew He could have been there shortly, but as hour by hour passed, Jesus didn't show up. And Lazarus got worse and worse, and they watched him die.

Do you think they wondered if Jesus really loved them during that time? Don't you imagine they must have felt abandoned and forsaken by Jesus, to realize that He could have come and healed their brother, but He chose not to? Have you felt that way? I think we all go through similar reactions when there are no answers.
When Jesus finally arrived, it was too late; Lazarus was already dead. Martha was upset with Jesus, and we read in John 11 that she said to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." She asked him for an answer to her question: Why didn't you come, Lord?
I find Jesus' words to her at this time very interesting. He did not defend His actions; He did not say, "Martha, let me explain to you exactly what I did and why." No, when Martha was looking for answers to her unanswered questions, Jesus took her back to basics.
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" He confronted Martha with the reality of who He was, and caused her to change her thinking.
You see, if Martha believed that Jesus was the resurrection and the life and that because Lazarus had believed in Him, Lazarus would live forever, then this temporary separation would look very differently to Martha. Jesus wanted her to think beyond the immediate and look at the eternal. He wanted her to think about who He was and what kind of power He had. And she confessed out loud, "Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."

When you don't have answers, stop and ask a different question: Who do you believe Jesus is? Do you believe that He is the resurrection and the life? If so, confess out loud exactly what you believe about the person of Jesus. It's important that you say it out loud, I think, so you can hear your own confession of faith.

We may never know some of the answers we're looking for this side of heaven, but we can always confidently know the answer to the question: Who do you think Jesus is? By concentrating your thoughts on who He is, you will have the peace and strength you need for those unanswered questions. If that was the question Jesus asked Martha when she wanted answers, then surely it is the starting place for us today when we want answers.
We all remember the end of this story; Jesus did meet their need by performing an incredible miracle and raising Lazarus from the dead. In this case, Mary and Martha finally got answers, as they saw their brother come forth after four days in that tomb. And that miracle was the talk of the town for days and weeks, as you can imagine. As a matter of fact, many people believed on Jesus when they saw and heard about Lazarus.
So, eventually Martha and Mary could say to each other, "When it looked as though Jesus had forsaken us, He really was working on our behalf to do something even greater than we could imagine."

Sometimes it works out like that. We go through the no-answer period, the circumstances which make no sense to us whatsoever, but at a later date, in God's time, we are able to see what God's good purpose was.

Maybe some of you are now in that tough place where Mary and Martha were initially. You're wondering why Jesus hasn't come to you; you're feeling unloved and neglected by Him. Please do take courage and remember that often we misunderstand God's timetable. It may be that you will soon see the deliverance of God and your eyes will be opened to understand the whys.
But what about those of you who don't get those answers? Your Lazarus never comes out of the tomb. You're left to face those unanswered questions for the rest of your life.

You know, I believe for Christians who have truly placed their faith in Jesus, who know His power, who believe with all their hearts that He can rescue them from any circumstance, it is extremely difficult to face the fact that God is not going to answer your questions, and you'll never know why certain things happen. After all, we're supposed to have answers, aren't we? We've always told people that Jesus is the answer, Jesus can meet all their needs. Therefore, those unanswered questions can undermine our faith and cause us to doubt the God we serve.
Well, I'm certainly not going to tell you that I have answers to your unanswered questions. I don't, and the older I get the more I know there are times when I throw up my hands and say, "I don't understand it."

I want to say to you who have unanswered questions that anger and frustration are normal. God is not going to condemn you for asking the questions, for feeling anger at the unjust circumstances. He even understands that you're likely to go through a period of being angry at Him. God is big enough to handle our anger.

But how do we deal with it? Well, I think the Psalms are of great help to us here, for frequently both David and Asaph expressed their frustration at the lack of answers.
In Psalm 44 David says to the Lord, "But now you have rejected and humbled us...You have made us a reproach to our neighbors...You have made us a byword among the nations;...All this has happened to us, though we had not forgotten you or been false to your covenant....Awake, O Lord! Why do you sleep? ... Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression?"
That's an angry man, expressing it openly to God. And at that moment, with no answers to his questions, his anger was vented toward God.

Now, I don't want to imply that I think we should yell and scream at God when we please. But I do want to say to those of you who are living with those difficult, unanswered questions that it's okay for you to tell God exactly how you feel about them. Please tell God; He knows your feelings and thoughts anyway, and if you don't ventilate those thoughts, or you try to deny or ignore them, they will turn into bitterness and depression.

Who better to tell than God? He understands you completely, and no one will be fairer or gentler to you than He will be. He didn't chide Martha for her questions. He didn't zap David and Asaph for voicing their anger. And isn't it interesting that all of that is recorded in Scripture for us to read. That's not an accident, you know; it's there to show us how to deal with unanswered questions. So, if the questions and the anger are smouldering inside of you, get alone with God and voice them to Him, out loud.

I notice that every time David or Asaph voiced their frustration about the unanswered questions, soon they were led back to that basic trust in God which was the cornerstone of their lives. One of David's frequent phrases was "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God" (Ps. 43:5).
You notice that David talked to himself. It's as though he sat himself down in a chair and said, "Okay, David, let's have a talk. Why are you questioning God? Don't you know he's the One who can deliver you?"

Asaph went through his rage at God in Psalm 77, saying "Will the Lord reject forever? Will He never show His favor again? Has His unfailing love vanished forever? Has God forgotten to be merciful?" Then after saying those words of doubt and anger, and I think hearing in his own ears how foolish they were, Asaph said, "Then I thought, 'To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High.' I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds."
Asaph got the foolish, angry words out of his mouth, expressing to his understanding and patient God all his anger and frustration. And then he changed his thinking and started remembering all that God had done. Ah, there's our answer, friends. Renewing our minds with correct thinking about who God is and what He has done for us. Just as Martha needed to go back to basics about Jesus, just as David and Asaph needed to get back to who Jehovah God is and what He had done, so we must as well.

When the questions have no answers, we have to abandon them and be willing to live with the unanswered questions. But we don't have to live in despair or anger; the same God who for whatever reason does not answer our questions is the God who will bring us comfort and strength to face them. I often think of the question Jesus asked His disciples when many of His followers were forsaking Him. He said to the Twelve, "You do not want to leave too, do you?" Simon Peter answered, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." (John 6:67-68).

Friends, where else will you go with your unanswered questions? If there are no answers from God, then trust Him to see you through. There's a song which I like a great deal. It says,
God is too wise to be mistaken, God is too good to be unkind; So when you don’t understand, When you can’t see His plan, When you can’t trace His hand, Trust His heart.

And that's what I would leave you with. When you can't see why He's doing what he's doing, you can still trust His goodness and His love for you. When you can't trace His hand, trust His heart.

Mary’s book, Soaring on High, is a book of encouragement and inspiration to help when life is puzzling.You can order by calling 1-800-292-1218 or online at

Friday, June 23, 2006

Krispy Kreme!

Here is a chance to get something hot and sweet; at the same time helping us with our adoption fees:

Consider purchasing a Krispy Creme 10 punch card: this card offers you 1 dozen free glazed doughnuts with the purchase of 1 dozen. Depending how much the doughnuts cost in your area the savings are between $35-50!!
Or perhaps you like coffee? Try a 12oz. bag of Krispy Kreme signature coffee (ground or whole bean). Choose from Smooth, Rich, Bold, or Robust Decaf.
Each is only $10
Just email me: john "dot" vee "at" gmail "dot" com or use the donate button to pay (be sure to make a note of your order)

I will email you to confirm and to let you know when to expect your items.

Thank you!!!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Sadie's Birthday & Father's Day

We had a great and busy weekend!! Friday was Sadie's birthday... The kids were officially awarded their yellow belts in Tae Kwon Do, then we celebrated by going to Chuck E. Cheese for dinner (Sadie's pick). We had fun playing games, eating pizza, etc. Sadie even got a balloon that said 'Happy Brithday' on it. Yes, that's right 'Happy Brithday'. John and I got a giggle out of it.... you know what hecklers we are. Then we noticed that other balloons also said 'Happy Brithday'. I guess the girl at the front who wrote on the balloons isn't the best speller. So, we had the giggles all night.

On Saturday morning we picked Lilly up from camp where she had been for most of the week. While she was away, we worked very hard on a suprise room make-over for her. We sanded, taped, painted, decorated, etc. There was only one casualty... our friend Drew cut his finger open on a dismantled bookshelf that I was re-doing. I felt horrible. Poor Drew. Seven stitches in all. And to make matters worse, now he can't swim or ride his skateboard (his two favorite things) until next weekend. *sigh* Anyway, we couldn't wait for Lilly to get home and find her surprise. When we pulled into the driveway, I told her to immediately take her stuff upstairs since we were getting ready for Sadie's party that afternoon. I had a big smile on my face when I heard the blood-curdling scream from upstairs. She ran down to hug and kiss me, then ran back up to look some more. It was priceless!

Next came Sadie's birthday party. There were 16 kids in all. We ate hotdogs, chips, cake, and icecream. The kids swam for the rest of the three hours (except for poor Drew). They had a blast! Sadie was in her glory! She loved being the center of attention and opening presents... she was so cute!!

On Sunday we celebrated Father's Day. Our family is so blessed to have such a wonderful father/husband as John. He is a wonderful supporter, cheerer, hugger, and provider. He spent the afternoon playing with the kids in the pool and lounging on the new float that we got him. We love you so much John! We thank God every day for the wonderful man that you are!!

We ended up hanging out at Doug and Rhonda's for the evening.... eating lots of yummy food, playing games, and enjoying tying up our loose ends. What a blessed family we are.

Now we're back to Monday.... waiting with expectant anticipation as to what the week will bring. We're praying to be able to sign the contracts so that Li Feng (Samuel) will officially be ours! Thanks for your prayers and continued support!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Sunday, June 11th was our 13 year wedding anniversary!! Time has sure flown by quickly!! It seems like just yesterday that we walked down the aisle, excited and expectant as to what the years ahead would bring.
We've had our ups and downs along the way but can say without a doubt that we love each other more now than we did 13 years ago. God has blessed us immensly with wonderful children, supportive family, and awesome friends to travel this journey with us.
Our love is like a triangle: God is at the top, each of us is at either side. The closer we personally grow to God, the closer we grow to each other. We look forward with wonder at what the next 13 years will hold. Thanks for being part of our lives and for sharing this special occasion with us!

Friday, June 09, 2006


I've just listed my favorite purses on ebay to make money for our adoption: Check them out and place your bid!! Click here to see them! Make sure you click on "View Sellers Other Items" to see them all.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Dear Friends, What started out as a bad day today, could possibly be the best day ever. Not only was I reminded of God's provision in time of need, but the most amazing thing happened. Our adoption agency got a new list of referrals of special needs kids yesterday. I didn't know this until I happened to (God is sovereign) peruse their website. This adorable little boy caught my eye (and my heart). Lilly was over my shoulder saying "I think he's the one Mom, I think he's the one!!". As coincidence would have it (God is sovereign), Tiffany from All God's Children called me out of the blue to see how our process was coming along (I hadn't talked to them since April... and we haven't even sent them a check yet). I had to catch my breath when I heard who was calling, like a stirring in my heart. I told her that I saw the website and that a particular child caught my eye....I had even emailed his picture to a few friends earlier today. She asked me who and I told her: Look here Isn't he adorable?!?! Well Tiffany said that they had already presented him to a few families and they passed on him. They all wanted girls.

Is this our baby Samuel? My heart is doing summersaults as I think of him. Now here's the hurdle: We need to raise about $6,000-$10,000 ASAP to begin the process to bring him home.
This is my heartfelt plea to my friends and family to help us bring Samuel home!!! You can donate through paypal by clicking on the link above, or you can mail us a check directly. Please consider helping us to make Sam's dream a reality. We could never thank you enough!!

Jesus said: 'I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!' ~Matthew 25:40

"Come near and rescue me" ~Psalm 69:18
The Lord whispers in the wildreness...
Breathing His Holy breath of hope into the lives of forgotten children...
Kissing their hearts each night with a sacred expectation,
The Father to the fatherless moves in mercy over the face of the earth...
Pleading with us to hear hope's heartbeat....
Charging us to faithfully carry His mantle of mercy...
Calling us to bear His burden for those who lay alone in the fields of the fatherless...
Promising all who will listen that His unfailing love will rest upon them...
As we build a bridge of blessing for an orphan child.
(AGCI 2006)

What did the mail man bring?

That's right, you guessed it folks..... I went to the mail box, half holding my breath. Guess what was in there? Yep, a check for $100 bucks. (Shaking head).... oh me of little faith. God always takes care of us. Oh, and guess what else? Three belt tests only cost $93.75. God is good.


Is the moon full yet? That must be it.....

I am just having one of the worst weeks this week... yes, throw me a pity party. You know those weeks where it seems that nothing is going right and you are under constant attack?

Well, money...being the root of all evil, is one of the culprits. Well not money, but lack thereof. You know, ever since we said out loud that we were going to adopt, Satan has been under full attack on our checkbook. It's been one thing after another! This week it was two extra unavoidable expenses: Jake complained all last week that he couldn't see and couldn't read; I thought (being the mother-of-the-year that I am) that he was exaggerating and didn't want to do his school work. I'll spare you the rest of the story but Lo and Behold, he needs glasses, with a special lens that they have to order, no less. Cha-Ching. Then I had to take Lilly to the dentist and she needed not one, but two fillings. Of course we had not paid her deductible yet, so I had to pay that plus the 20% for both fillings.

"Yes, but the good little Dave Ramsey family has an emergency fund for just these things", you say? UUgh. Did I mention the emergency vet bills, my medical bills from my recent medical fiasco, and numerous others which have sucked our emergency fund dry? We're under attack I tell you! So this week (of course) I also make a checking account blunder.... forgot to add something in that was being automatically deducted.... wham!

The reason I'm depressed is that I've been praying all week for a miracle.... we have a couple of things coming up before John gets paid again. One of them is the kids' belt test for Tae Kwon Do. They've been practicing and working very hard on getting their classes in. Well last night I got a card that said that I need to pay by Wednesday (tonight). Well, I now have $20 in my checking account to last until the 15th; and what about food? Yes, I know God always provides. But I've been so excited to see the mailman this week, running out to get the mail as soon as he drives by... because I just KNOW there's going to be a miracle check in there from somewhere. Maybe one from all those stupid surverys I fill out. But today is the day. I need to pay the TKD place, or no belt test. I cried for two hours last night because I don't want to disappoint my children; they've worked so hard. *sigh* John is less emotional and says "Oh well, there's nothing we can do". But a mother's heart is broken by such things. I guess if I had more faith I'd be excited today.... knowing that today is the day that God will come through! But I just feel teary-eyed and miserable. I feel like we can't even pay for karate, much less come up with 20 grand to rescue an orphan. Where is the moon in the sky??

Okay, the next thing I'm depressed about is the whole idoubt thing. We were so excited when we kicked it off.... that people would have a safe place to post real questions and doubts. But it seems that a lot of the questions are loaded ones; from people who already know the answers, who just want to spark a debate about them.... not the safe place for people with REAL questions that we had envisioned. It has turned into a place of pecking and arguing; with myself being guilty as well. *sigh* Some folks whom I thought were friends of ours have used it for their own agenda it seems. I guess that's what happens when you're operating in cyberspace...... anybody can say anything.

I guess the thing that really bothers me is that Jesus has given me this mission..... to reach others through genuine relationships. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this is His mission for my life. Jesus is my best friend, I commune with Him daily, study His word, and He would not lead me in the wrong direction. He has given me certain convictions of the heart. I am very serious about my 'mission statement'; it is what I live for! I guess that my so called *friends* who have put the kabash on our website, don't agree with my convictions. I feel like they're publicly stating that everything I stand for.... that Jesus has me stand for.... is wrong. I feel like my own personal mission statement is under attack; and I take it very personally. It feels kind of crappy when people accuse you of being a false Christian; when you know that you and Jesus have something special. I mean, who are they to judge me??? As if they were the only righteous Christians around and everyone else's efforts were fruitless and unedifying to the Lord?! It's like a slap in the face. Especially for me, who is so passionate about my calling in life. *sigh*

I have made some wonderful friends in my life, in the name of Jesus. They have added to my life, to my knowledge of God's character, and to reinforce what He would have me do. I just don't like all the assault on my own character. I'm serious about following Jesus and His plan for my life.

So like I said, I feel like Satan is attacking me. I guess I should be proud that he considers me worthy of attacking. I must be a threat to Satan or he would leave me alone. But today, I just feel crappy.

Sorry for rambling and making you all come to my pity party. I guess I do feel better now, having gotten all that out.


Friday, May 19, 2006

Back Together Again

John surprised Sadie and I by getting in from the Windy City on an earlier flight!! Hooray!
1 down ~ 2 to go.
John got to surprise Lil and Jake by coming to pick them up from camp!!!
We were all so happy to see each other!!!
The kids had a great time at camp and they're already asking to go back! We got to meet some of their new friends and do some more sightseeing and games around the camp's grounds. The views were breathtaking and Napoleon inspired everyone in a game of tether-ball.
*Praise be to God for bringing us safely back together again*

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Yesterday we dropped Lilly and Jake off at camp for the first time ever! It was the culmination of a week's preparation for the departure. I made lists upon lists of camp 'must haves' and visited Walmart more times than I care to admit to make sure we had all the 'necessities'. (By the way, does a secret stash of poptarts count as necessity?) We had numerous 'meetings' in front of the suitcases where I gave directions on everything from 'where to put wet laundry' to 'read the label on your underwear to make sure it's yours'. Did I mention that I spent a considerable amount of time with a Sharpie and a large tower of underwear? I have to add that John was feeling a little jealous that his name wasn't sharpied into his underwear, so I had to oblige him. Much to his amusement, he is now sharpied too...hehe.

We set out for camp and travelled for a little less than an hour out to the 'country'. The road to the camp was a windy mile-long trek up to the top of a mountain. Ours nerves were climbing just as our van was struggling to make it to the top. I could hear the engine fan whizzing as we approached the summit. Thankfully we did not overheat. The view from the top was sure beautiful though! I wanted to take a picture to post, but of course I forgot my camera. The camp was neat, nestled right into the mountainside, complete with rustic cabins and the like.

So, we're standing in line waiting to register. Jake is having a meltdown because the other moms in line ahead of us seemed to be just standing there talking; this was not acceptable to Jake because he felt they were holding the line up. He wanted me to ask them to stop talking and pay attention to the line...hahah.... Who's kid is he?? He was more upset when I told him that I'd do no such thing.

Anyway, all the moms and other parents in line were all chatting, laughing, and being altogether jovial. I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb... or I had a sign hanging around my neck that said "This is my first time". I stood there quietly, trying to summon up a smile instead of looking like I was going to puke. Did I really want to leave my children here? "Lord, Help me! Give me peace. Let me have confidence that You have my babies in Your hands and will keep them safe!" *sigh* We finally made our way up to the registration table and got our cabin assignments.

I showed Lilly (pointing my finger) where her cabin was because she didn't want to wait for us to go to Jake's first. I told her we'd get Jake set up and we'd be right there. So we went and met Jake's counselors, gave them the low-down, set up his bed, put everything very neatly and in order on the shelves beside his bed, checked out the toilets, made sure their was nothing gross, etc. I made sure Jake felt comfortable before we went to Lil's cabin.

We walked into Lilly's cabin, had a brief introduction with her counselor, but Lilly was nowhere to be found. "Oh, she's already at Gaga (game station)". Her bed was already set up, everything unpacked, etc. And she was already out the door playing with her new friends. I felt a lump in my throat and a little stabbing pain where my heart was being pierced because my baby was growing up. *sniff* So I did the motherly thing and checked everything out, even though I knew that she had done a fine job unpacking. I felt kind of stupid just standing there looking around, so we went out to find her.

We did find her having a blast with her friends, she ran up to me and kissed my cheek and said, "Bye Mom!" *another piercing pain*. She was ready for me to go. Thankfully for me Jake wasn't, so I got to hang around a little while longer. We managed to find a friend for Jake from his cabin and they bonded instantly over a praying mantis in a glass jar. Then, time for me to leave.

I prayed the whole way down that mountain that the Lord would keep my babies safe and keep me sane. I'm continually amazed and awed by the Lord's love for us as our heavenly Father. On the whole way home and the time since, He has reminded me how He loves us so much, He holds us close to His heart, He teaches us and admonishes us in the Way we should go, He disciplines us, cries for us, aches for us, cheers for us and ultimately lets us out into the world to make our own decisions.

Just like I wish I could keep my children under the umbrella of my arms forever and not let them go, take away their pains, fight all their battles, show them the right decisions, etc., God loves us the same way. It's hard and gut-wrenching to be a parent sometimes, letting your children out on their own, hoping that they'll remember what you've taught them and how you've raised them, praying that they'll grow into beautiful representations of Godly character. And I know that God feels the same way about us when He sends us out into the world to be salt and light.

It's a beautiful picture of parenthood that God experienced firsthand when He sent His one and only Son to earth, to teach us, reach us, and show the ultimate act of love by His sacrifice on the cross for our sins! Now we are joined with Him and will get to be with Him forever! It never ceases to amaze me and leaves me with a feeling of awe for the best Parent of them all.

I now leave my kids with Him in confidence, knowing that "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."~Colossians 1:17

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Fundraising Woes

I am quickly becoming frustrated with my attempts at fundraising. You see, I am trying to raise funds for the iDoubt project, and have had no response,not even a negative response; nothing- zilch.

Kir and I are also trying to come up with ideas for raising funds for the adoption. This is new to me, so I don't know how to recognize scams and such. There seem to be many ways to proceed, but a lot of them seem too good to be true (raise $10,000 selling t-shirts?)

I wonder if irony is the right word for this situation, as I am a sales manger in my profession.

Ahh well- I will not quit, as my Parents did not raise a quitter. (I would not mind some suggestions though)


Thursday, May 11, 2006


Hello world.

Ok, hello to you 3 people who visit this site every 2 months. Good to see you again.

Just a quick note before I go to bed.

I love my wife. (Kirsten, that is)



Friday, May 05, 2006

My Jesus by Todd Agnew

Do we want to be like Jesus? I really struggle with these things sometimes. Our society has really lost sight of who He really is, that it's easy to mix in with the crowd and what they think He looks like or is. This song has really touched my heart this week so I thought I'd share the lyrics:

Which Jesus do you follow? Which Jesus do you serve?
If Ephesians says to imitate Christ, then why do you look so much like the world?
Cause my Jesus bled and died
He spent His time with thieves and liars.
He loved the poor and accosted the arrogant.
So which one do you want to be?

Blessed are the poor in spirit.
Or do we pray to be blessed with the wealth of this land?
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Or do we ache for another taste of this world of shifting sand?

Cause my Jesus bled and died for my sins.
He spent His time with thieves and sluts and liars.
He loved the poor and accosted the rich.
So which one do you want to be?

Who is this that you follow, this picture of the American dream?
If Jesus was here would you walk right by on the other side
or fall down and worship at His holy feet?
Pretty blue eyes and curly brown hair and a clear complexion;
is how you see Him as He dies for Your sins.
But the Word says He was battered and scarred, or did you miss that part?
Sometimes I doubt we'd recognize Him.

Cause my Jesus bled and died.
He spent His time with thieves and the least of these
He loved the poor and accosted the comfortable, so which one do you want to be?
Cause my Jesus would never be accepted in my church;
The blood and dirt on His feet would stain the carpet.
But He reaches for the hurting and despised the proud,
I think He'd prefer Cherry St. to the stained glass crowd.
And I know that He can hear me if I cry out loud,
I want to be like my Jesus!

I want to be like my Jesus!
Not a posterchild for American prosperity, but like my Jesus.
You see I'm tired of living for success and popularity.
I want to be like my Jesus, but I'm not sure what that means to be like You Jesus.
Cause You said to live like You, love like You, but then You died for me.
Can I be like You Jesus? I want to be like my Jesus.

What do you think? ~K

Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Vogel Family of 6?!

I'm thinking back to about 4 or so years ago when Jake (about 6yrs. old at the time) asked us for a brother. Since we knew that we could not physically have any more children, we told him that maybe we'd adopt one some day. He was very anxious and we told him that it would cost a lot of money and that it would have to be God's timing. Well Jake started saving his money in a glass jar so that he could adopt a brother. You can imagine our surprise when Debbi Butterbaugh came up to us in church one Sunday and offered her congratulations on our upcoming adoption. LOL Jake apparently told all of kids' church our news... that we were adopting a brother. Well folks, that was about four years ago.

We've never abandoned the idea of wanting to adopt some day. When pondering these things in my heart, I can see the seeds that God was planting there. Jake continued to save his money on and off for years, still holding us to our promise to adopt a brother one day. Well in recent months, more seeds have been sown. Unfortunately, Jake hasn't been able to save up quite enough money, but where God has a will, He will have a way. So we have given more serious consideration and prayer about adopting.

We've read through several packets of literature from different adoption agencies and have decided that we'll use the original one that God gave us. Isn't it great how God works that way? Why do we always question Him?? The agency is: We feel like God is leading us toward China, probably to a special needs child. One of China's requirements is that I be healthy though... so keep on praying!!

The kids are all very very excited. So am I! I feel so expectant, like when I was pregnant with my biological children. God has conceived this child in my heart! wow! John is more practical and is wondering and worrying about getting the money together to move forward. We haven't quite figured out where we're going to get the money yet; but have faith that God's seeds are beginning to sprout and we wait with expectant anticipation as to how He's going to put it all together and bring our precious child home.

Isn't it completely awesome, it fills me with awe, to know that God has a little Vogel, somewhere out there in the world, God has him in the palm of His hand, and that he is already part of our family, conceived in our hearts, and promised to be delivered?!?! Wow! It just blows me away. I know we can never fathom the depth of God's love for us: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those (US!) who love him" ~Isaiah 64:4, 1 Corinthians 2:9. A promise in both the Hebrew and Greek scriptures. Wow.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb (and heart). I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.

~Psalms 139: 13-18


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Is Dr. House in the house??

Yes, we love that show House that comes on on Tuesday nights. There is just something endearing about the cocky, flippant, and rude doctor that always manages to save the day. And if any of you know anything about my recent health problems, you know that I wish Dr. House were my doc right about now. I could handle the arrogance and rudeness if it meant finding an answer to my blood pressure dilemma.

I go to the doctor (endocrinologist) tomorrow for some more poking and prodding. I hope he can find an answer. I'm praying that he does. I like this guy a lot though. He asked me if I liked House, and wasn't shy about his disgust for the show or the implications that doctors have to be rude and obnoxious to be good. He said that when he went to med. school, people did not need to take a class to learn how to be nice and to care about people. That's why people went to med. school in the first place. Now people want to go so they can be cocky, flippant, rude, and rich.... just another hint that society as we know it is headed down the toilet.

So I'd love you to pray that Dr. T. comes up with an answer. I know God puts people in our paths for reasons much bigger than we could ever fathom. But I'm hoping this blood pressure thing is nothing and that I can receive a clean bill of health....... because there's something/someone very exciting in our future!! Stay tuned!!

P.S.--I've had another crazy thought today..... You see, I've been sick with a virus and sore throat all week so I've traded my morning coffee for hot tea instead. (You know I'm sick if I trade in my morning cup o' joe!) But you know what?? My blood pressure has felt much lower and I haven't had as many or any heart palpitations today. Could it be that all this stuff is just a reaction to coffee??? Is that only wishful thinking?

You know, when I was in my early twenties, I all of a sudden became extremely allergic to melon....any kind of melon.... watermelon, honeydew, cantelope.... I ate these fruits all my life, and then one day...BAM! Hives all over!!! I have not been able to eat any type of melon since. In fact, I can't even come into contact with any kind of melon without breaking into hives. I can't even have it in my refrigerator. And now when I eat carrotts, my tongue itches. I thought my sister was lying about her tongue itching from carrotts for years. Sorry sister!!

Anway... is it possible that I've had an onset of being allergic to coffee??? I'm now remembering that episode of house where the nun almost dies from (what they figured out by the end of the show) an allergic response to an herbal tea. It manifested itself in all these other symptoms. Huh. Is Dr. House in the house?? I bet he could figure it out.

Love to all,

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Who Are These people???? You can only imagine the look
on the lady's face at the Chick-fil-A drive-up window!! Priceless!

Faces only a mother could love!! And I DO love them!!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The value of friendship

This past weekend, Easter weekend, we went back to Spartanburg to spend the holiday with family and friends. It was a short stay, roughly 24 hours, but I learned a lot.

I learned that I underappreciate the value of family & friends.

Kirsten's family is a lot of fun, and I always have a good time while we are there. In order to procect my life I will not share some of the reasons they make me laugh (let's just say that we always end up talking about carrots and granny panties)

Whenever I visit with my in-laws, I realize how much I miss my family. With Kyle in California, Peter in NYC, Parents & Maya in Vermont, and Parents & Randy in New Jersey I don't get a lot of time with my siblings (not to mention the nephews).

I don't understand it, but I am feeling very sad lately. I thought that writing about it might help:

I am 37 years old-and I feel old (don't start with me, I realize that is relatively young). I can feel the time going by, and my relationships fading.

I miss:

Fred- the sound you make with your lip, the way you say "pickles", and our long conversations over a cup of Krispy Kreme coffee.
Marty- Your hearty laugh, Acquire, playing xbox until 2 in the morning, watching Tina's reactions to your comments.
Chris- Who else has a friend that can teach you to replace an entire engine? The way you make yourself laugh makes me smile.
Lance- our 2 hour meetings about what we were going to do to take over the church!
Mike- the perfect combination of country sarcasm and hearty compassion
Jim- Breakfast will never be the same. You taught me how to stop taking life so seriously

And these are just a few.

I have made some new friends in this new town, but watching the good friends from the past fade away is unbearable.

Please don't give me pity, or even words of encouragement. I know how much I am loved, really I do.

I just wanted to say out loud that I really miss all of my friends; and I hope that you will hold on and appreciate your friends.


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

New Links Added

We've added two new links for you to click on from the list on the right. The first one is IDoubt was started by some guys at our church as a safe place for people to express doubts and/or ask questions about God, Jesus, the Bible, etc. It's off to a great start (with only a little moderation needed)! It's not a debate forum, but a safe place for people to share their thoughts and feelings. "A gentle and quiet spirit is of great worth in God's sight."~ 1 Peter 3:4

The other website is InYou ministries is based in Roebuck (Spartanburg County), SC and led by Scott Wolfe. Scott and InYou have helped us tremendously to see the purpose and directions that God wants for our lives. We strongly recommend that you check them out and add them to your list of favorite 501c3's!

God Bless!!

Monday, March 20, 2006

We're baaack!!

Hello, we're home. We got home at about 6:45. We had a short but sweet visit to Sparkle City this weekend. We stayed with the Bradley family and had a wonderful time visiting with them. We even went to the Fish Camp to have Frankie with his golden locks (I'm jealous) wait on us. You go Frankie!! Dave Ramsey would be proud!!! John ate Catfish..... it was a literal fish, tail and all (but no head), battered and fried. I couldn't watch him eat it. But he says that it was good and now he can check that off his list of things to do in Later Saturday night, John and Lance got their X-Box fix, except that now John wants a wide screen high def. TV. Thanks Lance. Andrea and I had a great time chatting and hanging out; the kids had a blast with Karis and Kayden. Kayden is a riot!! She is too cute!! Karis and Sadie were best buds. Thanks Bradleys for having us!!!

On Sunday we went to Braeden's birthday party at a skate park. It was really cool! I was impressed that Jake could go up the ramps and stuff and by the time we left he had gotten really good at his turns and flipping his board. Sadie had a great time slidding down the pipes on her We finally got to meet Medea's Adam's boys, our new little nephews. They are so adorable! Then we went back to mom and dad's house for a family birthday party for Dad, Adam, and Braeden. We had lots of cake and the kids had fun playing with their cousins all day. Of course, leaving was bittersweet. I wonder how long I'll continue to cry EVERY time I leave mom and dad's house....*sigh* I miss them a lot.

Okay, now for the real excitement......We pull in the driveway.....we were all very excited to see Spanky, who was out in the backyard. We came through the kitchen and out the sliding door on to the deck.... and saw Spanky in the middle of taking a dump. Well, he was so excited to see us that he didn't remember to squeeze out the last bit.... and ran into the house and proceeded to run ALL OVER with poop hanging out of his butt, and it smearing everywhere. Are you picturing this? So there's little poopy footprints because now he's stepped on it, run into the school room, jumped on the couch, and then onto my NEW pants. Of course, he thinks it's a game and a riot that we're all screaming and yelling and he's just so happy to see us, so finally I catch him and take him right to the sink......

I proceed to give him a bath, trying to keep him down in the sink while I'm using the hose like an enema to get the turd off his butt.... which is now smushed and ground into his tail because he sat down in the living room...... so I'm hosing his hiney (I did manage to get my rubber gloves on first)... Poor Spanky didn't know what the heck was going on....first we leave him ALONE, over night, we get home and immediately give him a bath/enema...... While the children are yelling and screaming and jumping up and down..... EWWW EWWWW EWWWW!

Anyway, we've been home for just over an hour.... I've used a whole thing of Clorox wipes, bathed, blow-dried, and brushed the dog, scrubbed the sink and surrounding area with scouring powder and bleach,...... then I went upstairs to change my poopy, wet dog smelling, soggy NEW sweater and pants.... But before I did, I went and gave John and great big hug while he was sitting on his throne playing his Xbox. I do have to give John some props though, for unpacking the car and starting the laundry before he retreated to his Xbox cave.

Never a dull moment.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


You see folks, what John has failed to tell you is that I was hosting a ladies' Bible study at our home last night. I had worked hard on preparing the study on Judaism, spent countess hours cleaning the house and picking up yet again, and making sure that everyone had had a good dinner and dessert so that they wouldn't have to come downstairs AT ALL to interrupt our group. I asked two things of the family (and John, more specifically): Keep the kids upstairs. Keep the dog upstairs.

Considering the previous post by John then, I have to assume that he was too enthralled in his gauntlet world that he didn't realize that Sadie spent a considerable amount of time leaning over the stair-rail and watching our group. All of a sudden, it seemed odd to me that everyone was sort of looking past me and over my head.... I turned around to see a thumb-sucking sx year old on the stairs. Of course I asked her to go back up.
*sigh* Do I have to even tell you that she didn't listen? Afterall, what was mom going to do in front of all these ladies?? And do I have to say even further that the little darling came and stood directly behind my chair for some time; but how silly of me.... she was thirstly. "Go ask Daddy", I say. "He didn't listen", she replies. So I get her a drink and send her back upstairs. I can imagine this was all a blink of an eye for the X-box junkie.

Next comes Spanky, running into the group and jumping up on peoples' legs, sniffing, licking, and doing his dog thing. Well, at least one of the ladies was afraid of dogs, so I tried to get him; he jumped up on the couch between two others who weren't happy to have him there. Spanky thought it was really fun.... the game I was playing... trying to catch him. Well, finally I grabbed him and marched up the stairs and dumped him into the playroom. I asked John if he knew that Sadie had been hanging around downstairs and that the dog was harrassing my guests. "No", he replied, without averting his eyes from the tv screen. Well, obviously.

Did you catch the part that it was 11:30 pm before I finished cleaning up the kitchen and coming up to bed? And yes, there they sat. Gee, why do you think the kids gave me such a hard time about getting up for school this morning? Why has the boy been grounded to his room all afternoon because he was too cranky to listen to me read? The oldest girl is also grounded for not getting up this morning, until I had asked her six times and finally threatened her. She doesn't understand why she's grounded... she was just so tired and couldn't wake up. Hmmm. What about the six year old who has fussed and whined and sucked her thumb all day??

Yesterday, something really sad happened... one of the boys in our neighborhood came and sat on our porch and told us that his mother had left; moved out. I couldn't help but wonder how she could have the heart to leave her husband and children alone. It was heartbreaking.

"And that, your honor....."

XBOX 360 and a bad dad

Do you all know that Kirsten bought "the family" an XBOX 360? Well she did; She is the most wonderful wife in all the land!

I have been able to find a few bits of time over the past few weeks to enjoy the new toy, and one of the things I like best about it is the Xbox Live Arcade. Old school games with new school interactivity! In the old days, I would leave my Colecovision turned on all night so my high score would not be erased- and after school I would invite my friend over to see my accomplishments. With the XBOX 360, my accomplishments are posted online for the world to see!

So, last night... I was playing Gauntlet:

Sadie was watching me play and asked to join me. In hindsight, letting her play was like giving her crack.

3 hours later, at 11:30pm, Sadie and I, with our bloodshot eyes, are going for the new high score- beating down villains at every corner, and grabbing the treasure on our way! Then Kirsten walked in. Busted. Dad had turned into a 13 year old again, with his new video game, and lost track of time. But this time was different. This time I had Sadie with me. Oops.

Jake never had a chance- he was hooked on Gameboy right out of the womb- it was his destiny.

Lilly can take it or leave it. Last night while Jake, Sadie, and I were in the Den of iniquity playing our video crack, Lilly was resting on the bed, reading a book.

I know that Kirsten had high hopes for Sadie. Hey, at least Sadie did not suck her thumb for 3.5 hours!

Sorry Kirsten.


Monday, March 13, 2006

March Madness

This is a new thrill for the Vogels:
NCAA Men's Basketball!
Now that we live on Tobacco Road, amidst the Demon Decons, Tarheels, and Wolfpack, our only hope for survival was to join the fan-atics.
Oh yeah, one more team was lucky enought to make it into the NCAA: Dookies.

Luck for us, our team is going to win this year!

Next stop, Washington D.C.! Go Huskies!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Mom Speaks the Truth

This is what my mom says about mellow yellow (or as Frankie puts it... Sunny Delight): "you win...the color is awful. But you'll just have to live with it until you can save up to cover it up. What rooms were painted besides the living room? Kitchen and eating area? Does it go all the way to the front door? The sconces look great beside the fireplace! Mor".

Kir says: "No, luckily it ends before the entryway. uugh. But it does go all the way into the kitchen and around by the laundry room".

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Mellow Yellow Anyone??

As some of you may know, all of the walls in our house have been an eggshell color.... not white, not tan, but somewhere in between. The paint also has a flat texture. If any of you have ever lived with flat paint, you know how easily it attracts fingerprints, dirt, and boogers. Also, if any of you know me at all, you know that this drives me absolutely nuts!! I'm am elated that they invented those Mr. Clean Magic Erasers.... Can I get an "AMEN"!

Okay so we got a little money back from Uncle Sam this year. And since John hates to paint more than any other chore in the world, he hires Eddy the Painter to come and paint the living room/kitchen. Okay, Okay, I DID pick out the color. But you know how you can't really tell what it's going to look like on those little paper squares. I really thought it would look nice and buttery yellow. Well folks, it looks like a can of Mellow Yellow got shaken all over the walls. Not that Eddy the Painter did a bad job.......quite the contrary. He and his guys did a fabulous job. I even smiled and complimented a job well done.

Well, after a few hours of looking at it, I started to slip into a slump. There is no way that I can look at it day after day. REally, it makes me cranky just looking at it. None of our furniture or decore matches it. It's absolutely horrible.

Well, now John is aggravated with me and says I need to learn to live with it because he has no money left to have it repainted. But I'm telling you, I spend my life in these two rooms and I get cranky just looking at it!!! What's a wife to do? So I had this internal battle going on all day yesterday. Then I went to let out and put in a neighbor's dog.... which bit my finger really hard and made it bleed and black and blue!! Stupid dog!!! Needless to say, I sobbed all the way down the street and proceeded to bawl as I had to clean up the hideously yellow kitchen.

Well, we really don't have any money left so I guess I'll have to pray that God will help me get over my crankiness. If I had known this was going to happen, I would never have given up wine for Lent....uugh.

If any of you have pity on me (or my crankiness starts driving you crazy), I'll be accepting donations and suggestions as to what to do.

Monday, February 20, 2006

To Be or Not to Be... A Neighbor... That is the Question.

Well, Mike gave a great sermon on Sunday about how to love our neighbors (everyone we ever come in contact with, that is). He talked about how to love our neighbors, even when they seem (or they're acting) unlovable. The good Samaritan in Luke 10 acted immediately and came to the aid of the Jewish man, instead of waiting until next time a need arose (because the Jewish man was unlovable).

Let me just say that I live for this stuff. I get the most joy in life by being Jesus to those in need. I love to bless others and to meet their needs in tangible ways. I pray for these opportunites to present themselves and love acting on them. And it fills my heart with joy to give Jesus the credit.

Now please don't get me wrong here; I'm not saying these things to puff myself up or to try to look good or whatever. I'm saying this because in some instances this has become a real problem for me. I've come to see (or God has brought to light) that I have this sticker on my forehead that says "SUCKER".

Mike Blackwood wrote about this some months back on his blog site.... about the homeless guys and the hotel room. Please read that when you get a chance. I feel like I suffer from a similar ailment. Sometimes it gets to the point that I give and give (which again, I love to do), but then I begin to be taken advantage of.

I have suffered from this my entire life. God has given me the spiritual gift of empathy, which the enemy knows very well. When I was a kid, I loved this gift. I was the confidante, counselor, and secret-keeper of all my friends. Also, I knew that Jesus and I had something special. As I entered my tweens and teen years however, it started becoming more of a curse than a blessing. I was bound to be the helper, confidante, and secret-keeper, even at my detriment and the detriment of others. I allowed myself to be used and abused because that's what (or so I thought) was expected of me. I wanted to see the good in everyone and their motives. I wanted to be a neighbor to everyone.

The sad thing is that I blamed God for many years, and cursed Him for my gift. I drifted into the vicious tide of running from the gifts (the empathy and my salvation) that He had given me and crashing into waves of depression when they caught me. I began to ignore God Himself. And though that still, small voice was always in my head, I found different 'earplugs' and distractions so I couldn't (or wouldn't) hear Him.

Thankfully the Lord and I have worked this all out; through many years of tears and counseling, but mostly through reading His promises to me. I now embrace this gift that He has given me. Being a daughter of Eve though, I still struggle from time to time. I have a hard time finding the line between loving my neighbor and being a doormat.

To put it plainly, I'm just naive. God has helped me though, to discern the character of others.... another gift that I've gotten to open. But again, in my own flesh and sinfulness, do I just get caught up in myself? Why is it hard for me to not only see that I'm being taken advantage of, but to do something about it or stop it from happening?

Let me give you a 'for instance'. I had this friend whose husband was a loser (to put it nicely). He would never bring his paychecks or stubs home, just whatever cash he had left on Fridays. Although he would never admit it, and God only knows where all his money went, he spent it on illicit things and would bring home a hundred bucks or so to his wife to pay the bills, food, medicine, etc. My friend would call me upset, and of course I encouraged her to look to the Lord (and to leave the jerk, even temporarily until he GOT A CLUE!!). I also would buy her groceries (they had two toddler boys), diapers, gas, whatever I could do. But this went on (on and off) for years (about five of them)! He finally started getting violent and she'd tell me about it. Again, I'd give her money, offer her a place to stay, pray for her, invited her to church (she even came a few times).

But I couldn't help this overwhelming feeling that I was just 'enabling' all of this. I had a hard time discerning if it was God giving me this feeling or my own fleshy anger toward her husband. But I would just keep on doing, giving, etc., with the hopes that she would come to lean on the Lord (instead of me). Anyway, we moved away and kind of lost touch. I know this sounds horrible, but I felt relieved. But my question is this: Was I being the right kind of neighbor? Was I right in helping her? I know I was right in the praying part... there's no question about that. But what about the tangible ways in which I thought I was 'helping'? Where is the line? When does it go from helping to enabling? How do you know?

I'm not just talking about this particular situation because this was just one of many. I seem to attract these folks. I know, without a doubt, that God puts some of them in my path. But then other times I feel that Satan puts the others there. What are your thoughts bloggers? When is it or how is it not good to help others? How do you know when to be or not to be a neighbor?

Blessings, Kir