And when you Pray

Yeah – it’s been a year and four months since the last blog – don’t judge.

So here is a short update – I moved, from Rome, Georgia to Portland, Oregon. End of update…. I said short, maybe I’ll fill in the details with another blog someday, but It was about obedience and that looked like another church plant.


And can I just say how overwhelmed I’ve been with the prayer that is happening on our behalf? Wow – so rocking my world. And can I tell you how amazing and good His kindness has been? Well now I’m just getting teary-eyed.

A friend texted the other morning to check on us and to see how she could pray for us. I really took my time replying to that text because I knew this lady prays and I did not want to throw out some vague request


Now I’m sharing it with you and when you pray, because I know you will, you will not have a vague understanding as to how to pray for the Hankins’ and the Smith’s in this Portland Church planting endeavor.


The Kid – Jacob and Abbey are doing so very well. They are loving their schools, making friends and enjoying the PDX lifestyle of walking everywhere. We are seeing that they tend to missing their friends from Georgia when they are bored and that is mostly on the weekends when their time is not occupied. We are praying that they can find some friendships in our neighborhood and not just at school. As for Caroline, The Smith’s 2 1/2 year old daughter, We are praying that she would continue to adapt, especially as she realizes that it will be awhile before she sees extended family.

Relationships – How do you move to another city make friends and cultivate those relationships? We can go to churches and make friends and cultivate those, but we came for the lost. We are praying and asking God to show us ways to meet people in our neighborhood and our community and boldness as those relationships come.

Pumpkin Carving Night – We have met some neighbors and the kids have made some friends, so we are having a pumpkin carving night on the 26th and have invited them. We are praying and asking for more people to invite and for those that come that it would be a fruitful night – even if it looks like just getting to know people.

A Name – This church plant needs a name. Just as we parents find it important to seek the Lord for guidance as we name our children we are seeking Him for a name. We are Praying that God would give us a name that defines Him to the people of this community.

And most importantly….

Praise! We are looking back at the path that He prepared for us as we began this journey and we are completely humbled how He has gone before us in every single way. His goodness is beyond compared. There has not been one aspect of this journey that He has not richly poured out His goodness on us. It makes us all the more eager to see the Kingdom come in Portland, OR.


12 days in Asia – Korea

Secret Agent Man and I are spending some time in Southeast Asia visiting some missionaries for pastoral care.  Our first stop was a 24 hour layover in Korea.
After a 15 hour flight we arrived in Incheon, Korea.  We checked into a hotel and then headed out to dinner.  It’s always about adventure so of course we went to the most local place around. Which really was not hard, as we were not in a tourist area.  The food was good and the experience better. Trying to order from a menu you cannot read and a server who does not speak the same language added to the fun.
It was only 8:30pm when I crawled into bed, but I had not slept in over 24 hours, and yes it was the best sleep ever.
We woke this morning at 5:30am, had breakfast, packed up and headed out to make the most of our time in Korea; our plane leaves at 4:30pm – so off we went.
We took a 45 minute subway ride to Seoul. It was a nice way to see a bit of the country, which at times made me think of South Texas. Coastal with business all about and trees that looked like mesquite trees.
When we arrived in Seoul it was very Western looking, even similar stores you would find in America. As we walked a few blocks we found more places that were more Asian and less Western, which we enjoyed.
Lunch was more of the same experience as dinner was last night, good food and better experience.
From what I’ve seen of Korea, which isn’t much, it looks a great deal like any American city. The parts of the country I’ve encountered is very clean and the people hospitable and accommodating.
Almost 24 hours later and I’m at the airport again waiting to catch a 6 hour flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We will spend a few days with a missionary family that are near and dear to us and well as our church body.
Who’s watching the kids while we are away you ask? That would be Big Brother, who will turn 19 while we are away, and intern extraordinaire, Cory Kirkland. A big job, but great young men taking care of the home front! (Cory, water my flowers!)
Until the next country or the next time wifi is available, carry on!

Ride to school, career and a tarp

This morning on the way to school we were listening to the radio and the question of the day was, "What would be the first thing you would do if you won the lottery?" And you know Jacob has a response…..

He said, "I would buy a riding lawn mower, a shot gun and a tarp."

So then I think " A riding lawn mower – duh! Riding lawn mowers are his passion, weird – but okay…should have named him John Deer, A shot gun, well he is being raised in a rural red neck community as well as a gun owning/ proud to bare arm republican father and a military minded/COD playing brother, of course he wants a shot gun. But wow… that tarp makes me nervous, I’m pretty sure there is chapter in each mafia bosses memoir’s that tell of the need for a tarp for a quick clean up.

Seeing that it is career week at his school, I thought it would be good parenting to ask about the tarp, it’s my duty as a parent to make sure my 10 year old son is not considering a career as a crime boss.

"Jacob, why do you want a tarp?"

"To put over my fort to keep the rain out.’

My heart started to beat again, my sweaty pits began to dry, all is right with the world – Jacob is not considering a career in crime.

Carry on.

Back to School 2011 – 2012

“For you bless the righteous, O LORD: you cover him with favor as with a shield”. Psalm 5:12

On Monday morning before I woke the kids for their first day back to school I read this verse and it was my prayer for each of my children for the day, as well as the school year to come. “you cover him with favor as with a shield”, this spoke to my mother’s heart as I see so may ways the enemy seeks to destroy those the Lord loves and calls his own.  I rest assured knowing his favor is shielding them.

Seeing as this is Big Brother’s senior year and I spent all summer teary-eyed, I figured I would be a boo-hooing mess when the first day of school rolled around.  Strangely enough, I was good…. get back with me in May…..

Big Brother turned 18 this summer, has big plans for his future, loves the little siblings, plays too many sports, makes me super proud on most days, and on rare days I want to punch him in the face.  I love this kid and I am so glad he is my kid!

Little Brother turned 10 this summer and is now a 4th grader, ask Little Sister not to acknowledge him at school, request to do his homework this year in the fort he built this summer,  was a crying mess when he was supervised  by Big Brother this summer in lawn mowing skills, which made me want to punch him in the face. I love this kid and I am so glad he is my kid!

Little Sister is 7 and started 2nd grade.  She is still letting me hold her hand and walk her to her class on the first day of school, cries for Big Sister when she gets really tired, taught by her older brother’s that farts are really funny (ugh!), and has become too picky about her clothing which makes me want to punch her in the face.  I love this kids and I am so glad she is my kid!

Big Sister is 19 and is half way through a three-month stay in Cambodia.  Currently recovering from Typhoid, ate frog then decided not to eat anymore meat while in Cambodia, has increased her mad photography skills, and still get frustrated with my advice (over Skype even!) which makes me want to punch her in the face.  I love this kid and I am so glad she is my kid

These are my kids, they do so many things to make me proud that I over-look the things that make me want to punch them in the face.  I love these kid, I am glad these are my kids and I am so blessed to know the Father’s favor shields them each day.

What’s a Little Brother to give?

Because I know you are all dying to know what a 9 year old Little Brother give his Big Brother on his 18th birthday I will tell you.

Please note: all contents in this box were bought with Little Brothers hard-earned money (yard work for a neighbor and a recent visit from the tooth fairy) or found in his drawer that hold all his most valued treasures.

Item #1-  a large, old nail.  I have no idea where this came from. Clearly one of his treasure found on one of his treks through the woods.

Item #2 –  A jawbone to a deer – This  was just given to Little Brother, but he  found it so super cool he had to re-gift it.

Item #3 – The New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs –  Little Brother knows the immeasurable value of the Word of God and hopes Big Brother treasures His Words in his heart. (Okay …. that may have been a little more of my hope than Little Brother’s purpose – but a mom’s gotta hope!)

Item #4 – Cranberry Mandarin scented candle –  This would be the gift Little Brother purchased with his own money.  Big Brother has a thing for a nice smelling candle burning in his room.  I would say it was a well thought out gift.  Big Brother said “it actually smells really good”.

Item # 5 – A miniature fart machine –  Because Brothers think farts have got to be the funniest thing in the world. 

Happy 18th Birthday Big Brother! I hope you treasure these gifts from Little Brother, they came with a lot of love to you, because he thinks you are so stinkin’ cool.  I do too.

Feet Without Love


These are my feet, that just spend 5 hours in a very lovely pair of shoes, at a very lovey wedding, for two lovely people, but my feet are not feeling the love.


What My Grandma Taught Me

While vacuuming the living room yesterday, I stepped away from the vacuum cleaner and left it running while I moved a piece of furniture, But I did it quickly because I did not want to leave the vacuum cleaner running in one place for very long so I did not burn a hole in the carpet.

That is one of the things I remember my Grandma telling me when I was a kid.  Obviously, it is not true; however, as a kid I always wondered, but feared burning a hole in the carpet to test that theory.  Still to this day when I step away from the running vacuuming cleaner, I do so quickly!

So yesterday as I quickly got back to the vacuum cleaner I laughed at myself as I still deep inside hold to that little bit of silly theory, which made me think of another thing my Grandma taught us….

If you sing at the table you are feeding the devil.  I do remember one day when my older cousin Joey was sitting at the table singing she told him “Joe! Stop that! You are feeding the devil!”  His reply was “Grandma, he’s got to eat sometime.”  The other grandchildren and I sat in silence and fear.  I was scared for him; not sure if I feared that Grandma was going to reach across the table and take him down or if it was for his mortal soul I feared.

At last my theology has advanced in years and I do not fear that I would aid the enemy if I sing a song at the dinner table.  I do recognize that my Grandma was trying to instill eternal damnation if we did not practice good manners – HA!  It is very tempting to use such tactics with teaching manners to my own children.

With tongue in check I tell my kids “Don’t lie – lairs go to hell”!  I don’t think I am putting the fear of God in them – they laugh at me; but I do let them know it is sin, and sin separates you from God.

I wonder if my Cousin Joey still sings at the table….

Name them One by One

It’s good to count your blessings, it’s good to name them one by one.  Seeing as we’ve been without power for a good 30 hours I thought this would be a good thing to do.

Yesterday afternoon a storm blew through our fair town.  Our little Land of Make Believe took a pretty good hit.  Several trees were up rooted.  Power lines and poles came down – hence the no power. 

  • Trees came down, but no one was injured.
  • Power lines on the ground, but no fire.
  • Trees took out garages, sheds, fences, but no homes were destroyed
  • The Land of Make Believe is a mess, but our property had no damage
  • We have no power, but have hot water and a gas stove
  • We have no internet, but we have smartphones
  • We have no power to charge our smart phones, but we have car chargers
  • I have to speak to a group of people at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, but I will be clean even if I will not have a way to blow dry my hair.
  • Big Brother had prom tonight, but he is a guy and low maintence.
  • We went to bed really early last night and woke up well rested with the sun.
  • Our laptops work well at Panera.
  • Moved all food from the fridge and freezer to ice chest, but I had enough ice chest to store it all.
  • Just heard from Big Brother while at prom, after being without power for a day and a half, the group he is attending prom with drove to a town thirty minutes away for dinner only for the power to go out while enjoying their salad.  They went through the  drive thru at McDonald’s, but he is still having fun.
  • I will be glad when the power is back on, but I blessed that I have a place to live that generally has power.

An Email

Big Sister did not like college, we asked her to give it one more semester – one more chance.  As to not bore you with all the details, she did not return.  But she was not without a plan. 

Just before her senior year of high school we found out about a mission program called PhotogenX, offered through YWAM.  With her love, passion and skill in photography we thought this could be a wonderful fit for Big Sister.  She was very interested, but wanted to give college a try and the ol’ college try she did… and you know the rest of the story.

Bags backed, a week of tearful good-byes, she took off for 6 months.  We will not see her until she returns in September. 

It was an emotional day as we left her at the airport yesterday.

This morning I received the following email and picture from her as she reports on her first day, it made this momma’s heart so happy.

I’m rooming with 5 other girls, two from PhotogenX Erika Spitler and Megan Rich. Erika is makes me think SO MUCH of Hannah Litke- I knew I was going to love her! The other 3 girls are doing DTS performing arts,  Our room has 4 bunks, 5 dressers, a closet, sink, mini fridge, microwave, toilet and shower.

Our leaders, Laura, Zach, Jonathan, Christine and Sharee are WONDERFUL! I love them all.

Once we got to campus we took our things to our room and then got dinner. The whole cafeteria is outside! …did I mention it was raining? haha. After dinner we went to get registered, easy as cake! During registration Laura (a leader) took Campbell and I aside and informed us that she had chosen us to be her hospitality team. Which basically means that we will be making goody bags, planning gatherings, making leis, running errands and doing anything necessary to make the guest, who come in to speak, feel comfortable as possible. So from 3 to 5 everyday Campbell and I will be doing these things as our job. After Laura walked away from telling us she’d chosen us Zach (her husband) and Jonathan made sure to let us know what a big deal that was. SO EXCITING.

I’m so very exhausted!! I will talk to you tomorrow. I love you 🙂 Tell the kids and dad I love them too. Kiss on Caroline and Ryder for me!

P.s. Make that 6 roommates..a girl that is exactly like Melissa Blackwell just walked in.

Secret Agent Man and I could not be more proud of Big Sister.  Jesus has gifted her with a skill and passion in photography and she is taking the first steps to make His name known to all the Nations.

McDonald’s, Heart Day and a Sappy Story

(I Love all of you!)

Little Sister gave this to me and Secret Agent Man this morning.   “I did not have time to make 5 different ones, so it for all the family”.

22 years ago today Secret Agent Man asked me to marry him, so glad I say yes.

Years back we gave up on celebrating Valentine’s Day in the typical manner.  We find our own ways, he made me breakfast this morning – like most mornings.  I said “thanks. Hey, remember that time you asked me to marry you?”  He said “no”.

One year, about 5 years ago, we took the kids for McDonald’s Valentine’s dinner – they loved it and we had a new tradition.  We’ve picked up a few other couples over the years to join us for the  Heart Day dinner.

I will leave you with the short sappy story for Valentine’s Day:

Early (like 4 a.m.) one morning, in typical Secret Agent Man fashion, he departed for an out of town job.  He routinely gives me a good-bye kiss even when I am sleeping soundly and in my sleep I tell him “byeloveyoubecarefulcallme”. However, that morning I had a vague memory of the front door closing, his truck starting then driving off and I am thing to my sleeping self – I don’t remember the kiss…. back to sleep world…… then I hear his truck coming back and in my sleep world I am thinking is he coming back?  wonder what he forgot.  Front door opens, bedroom door opens, and then the goodbye kiss comes.  I asked him why he came back he said he forgot the goodbye kiss. *sigh*

I warned you it was sappy.