In response: the Parkland, FL shooting

A friend texted me today, wanting to “pick my brain” because something in the way the Parkland, Florida school shooting is being reported was bothering her.  She shared how the news reports were often referring to the shooter as “adopted” and to his parents as his “adoptive parents.”

Which he is.

Which they are.

But here’s the rub in my opinion as a mother through the blessing and miracle of adoption. (Which is what she wanted to hear, and I later felt was necessary to share with you.)

Is it possible that Nikolas Cruz struggled with his adoption?  Of course.  Many adoptees do.  Could he have had an attachment disorder, mental health or sensory issues stemming from early or in-utero trauma?  Absolutely.  Were his parents perfect?  I guarantee they were not.  But this I know…they jumped through countless legal, logistical, financial and emotional hoops to make him their son.  For better or for worse, that boy was wanted and loved.  His mother, parenting alone after the death of his father when Nikolas was just a boy, repeatedly sought help for her son.

Yes, she and his late father had adopted Nikolas.  But to consistently refer to her as his “adoptive” mother in the context of blaming how his family was formed for this act of violence is so disrespectful, so damaging to the covenant of adoption, that I had to come here to this space and speak up.

Adoption does not cause kids to murder.  Trauma does.  Trauma causes incredible, often irreversible damage to the brain of a developing child.  And Nikolas had been through major trauma during his childhood, even if you only count the death of his father when he was around five years old.  But he also lost his Mom just a few months ago! Can you fathom what was triggered in his already damaged and wounded mind? This boy had shown every sign of trouble and either no one knew what to do about it or they ignored it, thinking it would go away.  I don’t know which is the truth, but when I look at that young man in chains, head bowed, I want to weep.  Not only are seventeen innocent lives lost, but another is forever stunted.  Blame is being cast on adoption and on guns.  But, friends, think about this important fact:  He is said to have heard “voices” telling him to commit this awful act.

Now THAT I believe.

So, why don’t we start blaming the REAL enemy?  It is not adoption or guns.  It is SATAN.  And now he is using this evil act to cause harm to the very idea of adoption because he hates everything it stands for.

Adoption was GOD’s idea, not man’s.  God sought us out, fought for us, DIED for us, to change our destiny and our very NAME.  We are no longer slaves, but sons and daughters and our Father spends our entire lives trying to get that fact through our thick skulls.  Nikolas was adopted as an infant, but it appears he never fully understood that he was a SON.  His mother who, I have no doubt, spent many nights on her knees and shed countless tears for her boy, is his MOTHER.  I cannot begin to imagine her pain and grief as she fought for him.

Let’s stop letting the media frenzy dictate who and what we blame when terrible things happen.  Let’s see through the lies and stand against the enemy of our souls in Jesus’ name, refusing to let him win one more battle.  Let’s speak up for truth and refuse to let fear keep us from walking forward in obedience to our Father.  Do NOT let news reports like this make you believe adoption is going to produce troubled murderers.  There is nothing that has been done by an adopted child that has not been done by a child who was raised by loving, biological parents.  To continue to list adoption as a risk factor that should have been picked up on by the FBI is wrong and misguided.  List trauma, list grief, list mental illness or, hey, here’s an idea…

Let’s list SIN as the biggest risk factor.  Because I guarantee you, behind every murder, rape, or whatever violent crime you can imagine is the one thing no one want to talk about:




A life devoid of an intimate relationship with Christ.  A soul that, for many possible reasons, has closed itself off to love and connection and is lashing out in anger and rage, wanting to hurt others as they hurt.  A young adult deceived by Satan and choosing to cooperate with evil instead of surrendering to Jesus and allowing His blood to cleanse him of all unrighteousness.  I pray for Nikolas, just as I pray for all of the families who walk the deep waters of grief in the aftermath of the shooting.  I pray that, somehow, Nikolas can find the peace of Christ and live the rest of his life knowing his imprisonment will someday end and that the families of the lost students can find forgiveness so that they are not imprisoned, themselves, by hate.  And I pray for his remaining family.  His mother may or may not have been a good mom.  I really have no idea.  But I assure you, if she could see what he has done, her heart would be broken.

Oh Lord Jesus, come quickly.


A New Home

As you may know, I have been packing in preparation for our move in a few weeks.  Because we are downsizing (Yay!) I am also relentlessly, obsessively purging.  It is SO freeing, yet humbling.

I mean, why do I keep ALL THIS STUFF?

In the midst of all the preparations, my kids have been on break this week.  Though we homeschool four out of five of them we try to follow the breaks of our local schools so they can have lots of time with their friends who go to “brick and mortar” schools.  That means, while packing, I’ve also had time to think.  A rare commodity in recent years.

While packing and cleaning and driving loads of unneeded items to Goodwill I’ve been overwhelmed with the realization of my need, and the need of most of my friends, to simplify.  Moving creates the opportunity to do that in a big way, but what about those who are not moving?  And it’s not just about getting rid of stuff.  What about the frivolous activities that suck time from our day?  Or the mental and spiritual clutter that causes to live in a fog?  The need is great, and I believe we can better simplify life and find joy together…in community..

So, I created my new website,  A Life of Simple Joys!  I could not be more excited!  For years I have prayed for direction, wanting to develop a website that would foster community and allow me to encourage you while I am still in the process of figuring things out myself.  We need each other!  And this will be a wonderful way to accomplish that dream.

So I invite you to join me.  The blog is in it’s baby stages but I’m adding content each week (Posting every Tuesday) and dreaming big about how God will use this to encourage you and me, His beloved daughters and heiresses of the Kingdom.  You can follow A Life of Simple Joys four different ways:

  1.  If you are a WordPress user just follow as usual.  Easy peasy.
  2. Subscribe via email.  The link is in the sidebar of the new blog.
  3. Follow on Twitter @lifesimplyjoy
  4. Follow in Instagram @alifeofsimplejoys.  This will be fun as I will be posting inspiration, quotes, scripture, etc almost every day.

And please communicate with me!  Comments are so helpful and I need you to share, share, share!  I will still be here at Words from the Northwoods as the Lord leads, telling stories and sharing what God shows me as I walk through life, but A Life of Simple Joys is going to be bigger, more focused, more interactive.

Thanks, friends!


I really should be packing.

Just a couple of weeks ago, we took the plunge and signed a contract on a new house.  A smaller house.  Less to take care of, LOTS to get rid of.  (Yay!)  Many, many decisions to make. What to keep, what to move, when to put our house on the market and what to update before listing it.  What to sell and what to give away and how best to do all of it while the normal everyday life we live continues at breakneck speed with no sign of slowing down in sight.

I had a sudden three hours free this afternoon.  I had a choice and took it.

Here I sit.  At Chuys.  With a half-order of nachos (extra Guacamole) and a glass of water with lime next to my laptop.  There is a stack of boxes in my garage waiting to be filled, but I’m here, instead.  

I guess you could call this a sanity break.

The last few weeks have a been a whirlwind of the best kind.  The excitement of finally making the decision to move has added a dash of crazy to our normal household activity. 🙂 My sweet in-laws have been visiting from Texas and lent many a hand fixing random broken things around the house, doing dishes, folding laundry, and helping me transport kids when they have to be three different places at once and I am spinning in circles trying to figure it all out.  We have had hours of good conversation and bottles of wine, stayed up too late and eaten too much.  

We have driven out to the new house, dreamed of where we are going to put our furniture and realized just how much smaller 1300 square feet LESS of house really is in all the good ways.  I’ve longed for more minimal living, and here is my chance.  But I’ll admit, as much as I want it, the process of getting rid of so much (furniture, picture frames, knick-knacks, books, and just tons and tons of STUFF) is going to be difficult.  I know that.  

So I should be packing, but I’m not.  I’m thinking and dreaming and processing and taking this time to organize my thoughts.  My brain and my waking hours have been so filled with schedules, appointments, homeschooling, parenting and the thriving social lives of my kids that I literally have not known where, much less when, to start.  

So I’m eating nachos smothered in Guacamole and Creamy Jalapeno.  Ha! 

I remember a pastor, years ago, saying that sometimes the holiest thing you can do is take a nap.  I could not agree more and I will have to add that, today, the holiest thing I have done is sit at this table, alone, at Chuys.

I’ll start packing later.  🙂


My Favorite Planner in the History of Ever

For about the past month I have been on a new journey spiritually.  Raised in the Church of Christ, I surrendered to Jesus at the age of 21 after attending a Baptist church for just a couple of months with my boyfriend…who eventually became my husband.  Over the course of our marriage we have attended various non-denominational churches and one precious Presbyterian church.

Of all the churches we have attended, some of my sweetest memories have been of my first experience with Liturgy in the Presbyterian church which we attended in Pennsylvania. Continue reading