If you follow my Facebook feed, you know that I have been posting pictures and links related to adoption for the month of November (National Adoption Awareness Month). Today, November 30, is the last day of the month, so I thought I would post something a little bit different (Don't worry, I'll link it to FB as promised there). And so, as we draw Adoption Awareness Month to a close for the year 2016, I wanted to give you a snapshot of my adoption story.

At Mother's Choice
Some of my readers will have followed along as we processed the adoption of our fourth child (first adoption, fourth child, second son), Ryan. We called him "The Little Emperor" and to this day (2 1/2 years after he came into our home) he still fairly rules the roost. Ryan was born with a genetic anomaly known as Coffin-Lowry Syndrome. As with many of the innate genetic syndromes, people affected have varying levels of restriction. Ryan's biggest issue has to do with speech: he understands more than 90% of what is said to him in English, he is unable to reproduce the sounds with his mouth. Consequently he communicates often with points, grunts, and his version of ASL (American Sign Language). He is getting along beautifully.

Ryan's physical limitations and medical needs early in life spurred his birth parents to relinquish custody of him to an adoption placement agency in Hong Kong called Mother's Choice. It was there that we found, fell in love with, and eventually adopted Ryan. He is ours forever an
Easter 2016
d a day, and according to adoption laws, his bond to us is more legally binding than that of his siblings (who are our biological children).

But wait, there is a chapter 2! Approximately one year ago we began discussing the possibility of adding yet another little Potter to our crew through adoption. Dillon International (our adoption agency here in the USA) had just been granted rights to assist adoptions from Vietnam (which had been closed to US adoptions for about seven years at the time). And off we go. We began asking friends and family members to pray for a Christmas trip to Vietnam. Then comes sad news: paperwork being what it is, we finally submitted our dossier (the last item that finally goes to the country from which you hope to adopt), and were given a more realistic timeline. We probably won't head to Asia over Christmas, but are looking at anywhere from February-August of next year. At any rate, we are in high hopes to have our new offspring in home before this time next year (pictures can only be shown after the dossier has cleared both US and Vietnamese scrutiny). We welcome all support--prayer, moral, and monetary--that anyone would like to cast our way. We are so close to finishing this journey that we can taste it!

But wait, there's more to my adoption story. You see, I'm adopted by the King. One of the things that makes this process so dear to our family is the picture that our earthly adoptions paint of the ultimate adoption that God offers through Jesus Christ, His Son. Are you adopted by the King? He wants to offer you that adoption today. You can become a child of the King and a joint-heir with Jesus Christ. Here are the words to an old hymn that teaches of the best adoption story ever:

My Father is rich in houses and lands,
He holdeth the wealth of the world in His hands!
Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold,
His coffers are full, He has riches untold.

I'm a child of the King,
A child of the King:
With Jesus my Savior,
I'm a child of the King.

My Father's own Son, the Savior of men,
Once wandered on earth as the poorest of them:
But now He is pleading our pardon on high,
That we may be His when He comes by and by.

I'm a child of the King,
A child of the King:
With Jesus my Savior,
I'm a child of the King.

I once was an outcast stranger on earth,
A sinner by choice, and an alien by birth
But I've been adopted, my name's written down,
An heir to a mansion, a robe, and a crown.

I'm a child of the King,
A child of the King:
With Jesus my Savior, (A Child of the King," words by Harriet Buell, found in the Baptist Hymnal, 1956 edition, emphasis added)

That's my adoption story, what's yours?

Music & the Masses  

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I am admittedly eclectic, if not eccentric, in my taste in music. Consequently, when I build my Pandora Radio I add a little bit of everything--hymns to easy-listening, classic rock to classic Jesus, country to western, and lots of stuff in between. In the mornings, as we prepare for the day, I tune in to Pandora and hit shuffle. I must say that sometimes the shuffle gets stuck in a loop and I hear several songs or similar songs in a row, but there are other days when an old forgotten favorite from the glory years will hit the ears and start me singing. And from time to time, with my hands plunged deep with the soapy breakfast dishes, I'll be struck by the movement from song to song on my Pandora Playlist shuffle.

This morning as I went about my post-breakfast business (the kids and Blushing Bride preparing for school, I hit the sink and from the morning's feast) a back-to-back coupling struck me. The first song includes these lines: "Never been a sinner I never sinned/I got a friend in Jesus" was followed on its heels with this rebuttal, "All my life I had been searching for that crazy missing part."

I really like Norman Greenbaum's hit from yesteryear. It has a groovy beat, and you can sing along. It hits hard though when you begin to realize that the philosophy of "Spirit in the Sky" is being bought by millions of Americans. We like to think that "in the morning when I die, I'm going up to the Spirit in the Sky." Even church people jump on this bandwagon. We especially like it when we get to throw the name of Jesus into a song. That kind of makes it holy doesn't it?

But I think that Keith Green's classic holds more truth. It admits to the sinful nature of who we are as human beings, and revels in the understanding that Jesus (the You in "Your Love Broke Through") provides the only means to life--here or hereafter.

Sadly, our culture lends itself to a feel good mentality that refuses to admit sinfulness. And until we can reach that admission, we're doomed in our spirit to an eternity opposite the "Spirit in the Sky." Why don't you take a moment to consider your condition? Do you know Jesus personally as the provider of your life? Or is he just a "friend" who makes you feel good about yourself? It's a tough question. And it requires resolution if you really do have a friend in him or if you're just singing along with a catchy tune.

Will I stop shuffling some of the oldies through with my hymns and praise songs? Probably not, but I will latch onto the message of the meaningful songs instead of the ones that just make me feel good.

My Happy Valentine's Day Message  

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My Valentine's wish to you (whoever and wherever you are): May your day be filled with the One who loves you--even when you are not all that loveable, even when you are unlovely. May the Lord of all Love be your Significant Other on this "day of Love" and every day forever.

Buy My Books - It's for a Good Cause  

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Something Special & Other Stories

If you haven't seen it on Facebook, or heard it from somewhere else, we have dived into the arena of Adoption once again. As you know this process is long and expensive. We are hoping to make it shorter because it's our second time through. There's not much we can do about the expensive part though, except pray and fund-raise.

Here's my proposition to you my friends, family and readers. Let my work be your opportunity to help us with our fundraising efforts. There are a few on-line markets where you can buy my books (I'll link them below). If you will purchase any of my stories or books, all of the royalties I get from these books will be earmarked for our new adoption (once it's paid for, I'll probably find another worthy cause for these funds). These books provide minutes of reading pleasure and are excellent to give as gifts.

Something Special at Leonard's Inn: A Tale of the First Christmas: first paperback editions available by emailing me here, or by logging on to Amazon.com

Just a Simple Carpenter: The Story of Joseph: first paperback editions available by emailing me at the above email link.

Two for Christmas (the above titles together), A Time for Miracles: Retelling the Story of John the Baptist, and sermon collections - So This Is Church and Words to Live By are all available at Lulu.com.

Something Special & Other Stories (A collection of the Leonard, Joseph, and John the Baptist stories re-edited and re-packaged) is available from Create Space and Amazon.com (both trade paper or ebook)

A New Poem for Christmas 2015  

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Christmas Is . . .
(for Christmas Eve 2015)

Christmas is a time for stories;
Christmas is a time of thought;
Christmas is a time for worship;
Christmas is a time of song.

          Christmas is for little children;
          Christmas is for those we love;
          Christmas is for all the nations;
          Christmas is for everyone.

--Benjamin Potter, December 21, 2015

Joy for All  

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The Christmas season is filled with joy. We see it on the faces of those around us—even in the hustle and bustle of last-minute dashes to the market for a forgotten gift or a missing ingredient. We hear it in on the air as the bell-ringers fill the skies from one end of town to the next. Joy just seems to ooze out of everyone. Sometimes we’re afraid that the “Scrooge” in our life will break his face because he dons his annual smile for the Christmas spirit.
The joy is for all believers as we join with B. E. Warren in singing the chorus: “It is joy unspeakable and full of glory, full of glory, full of glory; It is joy unspeakable and full of glory, Oh, the half has never yet been told.
The joy is for all people as the message of Christ, humbling Himself to our level, makes it possible of anyone who will believe to have eternal life.
            The joy is for all time because when Jesus brought the joy to a manger-bed filled with hay some two thousand years ago, it permeated all of existence—from creation to last breath. It never wears out.

You love Him, though you have not seen Him. And though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy.  (1 Peter 1:8)

Purpose-Filled Love  

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Around this season of the year we speak of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love more often than at other times. The gifts that are painstakingly purchased with more than just a passing thought (or perhaps made with someone special in mind), then wrapped with the most tender care that the giver can muster, are offered as tokens of love.
The example of this love is the first and greatest gift of Christmas—Christ the Lord. Christina Rossetti reminded us of this love in a poem she entitled “Christmastide”:

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign.

Sometimes the simplest of gifts carry with them the greatest abundance of the Love that they represent. This Christmas share love—in a smile or kind word to the frazzled store clerk, in a coin or bill or check dropped into a bucket for charity, in a pleasant and loving disposition for the world to see the Love that came down at Christmas.
Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial  and fragrant offering to God.  (Ephesians 5:1-2)