Reflections from Everyday Things–“Puss in Boots”–Story of a mother’s love


My career as a school counselor always provides me with a wide variety of responsibilities.  This week’s quarterly responsibility was to chaperone a reward trip to take students to a viewing of the recent movie “Puss in Boots.”  This new spin intertwining the Shrek character and the old tale was quite surprising to me… and right up my alley. Winking smile

This version tells the story about how Puss and Humpty Dumpty became friends after living together in a Spanish orphanage.  They stood by each other in an orphanage where they were singled out, a large egg and a cat sure stand out in a home full of children!

Mama Imelda takes care of the orphans and is particularly loving to Puss.  And all Puss wants to do is make his mama proud.

Puss & Mama Imelda outside orphanage door 

Even when Puss had shamed Imelda,she was still his motivation.  He wanted her to be pleased with him.  He thought about her constantly. And her love for him never wavered.

How many orphans in the world just want a mom to call their own?  Someone who can unconditionally be there for them and keep them going?  Even if they are not a mother by birth, orphans need someone who can be this person in their lives. Someone who will always take them back after they make mistakes and will be their biggest supporter. 


Yet Jerusalem says,
“The LORD has deserted us;the Lord has forgotten us.”
“Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child?
Can she feel no love for the child she has borne?
But even if that were possible, I would not forget you!
See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands…
Isaiah 49:14-16a (NLT)


Hosting Reflection #13–The Message Behind Russian Rap?–Video


When hosting teen boys from Russia, Ukraine, or Latvia, its’ almost guaranteed that they are into rap.  Our Sasha loved it and so have many other hosted boys. 

One day, Sasha wanted me to hear some of his favorite songs.  He looked them up on YouTube and had me listen to them with him.  Yeah, they had pretty good beats and I just love the way the Russian language can sound so musical, but that did not make it a good song.  I could not always understand the things they were saying, but it just gave me a feeling like the words were far from life-giving.  I actually went back later and had some of the lyrics of Sasha’s favorite songs translated… it shocked me how vulgar they were.  Often times it is said that the kids do not understand the words they hear or sing along with, but it doesn’t matter to me.  No kid should be filling their mind with the kind of things those rappers shamelessly symbolize. 

After Sasha returned to Ukraine, I spent some more time wondering about this Russian rap scene.  One day I accidentally stumbled on the song “Mama” by a Russian rapper who goes by the name Basta on a trailer for a film called “Family Portrait in Black & White.”  (Film looks incredible by the way, check it out at the hyperlink!) The song had a tone and lyrics that were quite different from the ones I had heard before… a message that was quite different from the rest. 

The heart of the song’s message is repeated in the chorus: Tell me mom, how much is my life worth? / My life is this drama, my soul is drawn to weep.  The lyrics resound the regrets and pain of a wayward son.  It reflects on his hardships, questions, guilt, and need for a rescue. …and for that he is looking to his mom. 

Under all the profanity, vulgarity, and outright sinfulness of most Russian rap (and American for that matter!) … I wonder if the sentiments in this song are underlying in all the others.  What if all those lost and desperate sons and daughters are  just crying out for someone to just take them back?  No matter what has happened or what they have done?  Under that guilt and pain there’s a desperate need for a mom… a family. 

I believe many of our kids that come for orphan hosting have emotions that resonate with the lyrics of this song.  With so many questions and fears.  They need someone to validate them and know that they do have worth.  What an honor it is to take in these one who are outcast and bring them in.  To show them compassion and love of a mother and to reflect that love of the Heavenly Father.

The Lord is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
Psalm 103:13


“Mama” by Basta–one version of the music videos via

“Mama” by Basta–English lyrics on screen

“Mama” by Basta

Forgive me mom,
For growing up so early, for bringing so much pain.
Forgive me mom, I am guilty at so much.
Forgive me that I did not become like my older brother.
My life mom, is like a black and white movie,
It always seems everything is fine,
but you always have one "but".
It’s hard to understand:
Why is everything like this?
Especially like this and not otherwise?
What does this mean?
Wish me good luck mom,
the road calls for me,
And you hide your tears
I won’t be back for a long time.
I know you know it mom, I know you believe it mom.
You kept to believe in me, and that’s not something small.
When my luck made me fall of my legs,
through the pain I heard a little voice: "Get up son".
I dedicate this song to every mother,
that gives their love to us.

Tell me mom, how much is my life worth?
My life is this drama, my soul is drawn to weep.
Tell me mom, how much is my life worth?
My life is this drama, my soul is drawn to weep.

In the hardest minutes of my life,
when death came so very close,
stars like sparks fell from the sky,
and thoughts of you, mom, like a ray of light.
In search of an answer, in search for a way
I gather my strength and continue to walk.
Forgive me for everything mom, I was guilty in so much stuff,
but it’s all in the past, you cannot bring time back.
I’m trying to get off my knees, to raise myself a little,
but something prevents me from leaving the earth.
Praying – Give me strength, God,
To understand: What’s disturbing me? Who will help me?
It may be, God, that my faith is weak,
but wherever I am, I remember these words:
Sorry for saying them so rarely: Mom – I love you.

CHORUS (x3):
Tell me Mom, how much is my life worth?
My life is this drama, my soul is drawn to weep.
Tell me Mom, how much is my life worth?
My life is this drama, my soul is drawn to weep.

Hosting Reflection #3–On Being a Sister-Mother

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I made the phone call to my family in mid-September… “I know what I would really like for Christmas.  Well, you see, I would really like to have one of these orphans stay with our family for Christmas.  You won’t have to buy me anything, no gifts, just let one of them come stay with us.”  I must say, that was my shortest and strangest Christmas Wish List ever, but it was exactly what I wanted.  God had already provided the funds, and as we all know, my parents agreed to host a child.

My whole desire in hosting was to show the love of Christ to one of these orphans by welcoming them into our family.  And, honestly, it’s much easier said than done.  Naturally, to be a family, means we had to be at home.  My parents could not take 5 weeks off of work to be home with our host kid, so those were the shoes for me to fill, and I was extremely excited to do so. 

Once we knew that we would be hosting Sasha, I felt like an expectant mother.  Ok, that’s an over-exaggeration, I kinda emotionally felt like an expectant mother.  …plus the wait time was only about 45 days.  I would think about him all the time, wonder what he would be like, and pray for him.  I felt as if I would soon be the woman of Psalm 113:9, even if it is only temporarily –

He settles the childless woman in her home
   as a happy mother of children.

Words can’t describe what it was like to finally have Sasha with us, to see him, hear his voice, and hug him.  Everything I had wondered about came true right before my eyes.  It was such an adventure to hang out with him for 5 weeks straight.  I filled a special role in the family since I was the one to stay with him everyday while my parents worked and my brother was at school for 2 weeks… and on top of that I was the main person to communicate with him, in every situation. 

I was the one to tell him what we would be doing, where we were going, and why.  I was the one to make sure he had eaten, showered, washed his clothes, and made sure he wrote Thank You notes for all his Christmas gifts.  I was the one to fill out OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         his paperwork & explain his (unknown) medical history when he went to the optometrist and dentist.  When Brad would be annoyed with Sasha, he would say to me, “Jenelle, you’re his mother!”  because I was the one expected to keep the peace.  Sometimes, I just wanted to be his sister… to just feed him junk food and not nag him about wearing his seatbelt, to just have fun with him and not worry about breaking the rules.

In the grand scheme of things, I would not trade my sister-mother role for anything.  It was a wonderful experience, sacrifices and all.  I would not have changed a thing about our time together and am fully ready to do it again in a heartbeat. 

Although he is now on the other side of the globe, back in his orphanage home, my sister-mother instincts persist.  I think of him and pray for him constantly, wonder how he is doing, and hope that he remains strong in times when he is alone and bullied.  Most of all, I pray for a forever-mother to find him.   He is a precious boy, loved by Christ, and deserves the unconditional love of a forever family.

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