Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Miracle In Franklin

Be forewarned, you may shed a tear or two... but it is more than worth.... What a beautiful testimony to the gracious provision of our Abba Father. Thank you to the family who made this video testimony to display the glory of God. May you be blessed as you watch and listen!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Upcoming Event: "At the End of Slavery" Screening

If you are in the Hattiesburg area, please join us for the screening of "At the End of Slavery" on Wednesday, October 14th at 6:00 PM. To learn more about the documentary visit: www.atheEndofSlavery.com.

On a completely different note, please pardon my temporary blog hiatus. I know a few have noticed and commented about it. It is not because I've been too busy (though I have been busy - ha)... Rather, I decided to take a break from my fiction reading sabbatic to indulge in a book series. The whole reason I have to space out my fiction reading is for reasons like this - I DON'T get nearly as much done of the important stuff. Just thought I'd just keep it real and let you know why you haven't much lately. :) Stay tuned. I will return once I finish book four.... The short of it all is, "Kids are doing great! Vocab increasing more and more each day. God is so gracious to us!"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Daily Adventures...

So... the kids were introduced to High School Musical.... As you can see, they were captivated. Angela hummed along with every song. As soon as the closing song began to play, "Together", the girls were on their feet dancing around the living room... James eventually took part once he saw his silly parents join in... ha ha....
Saturday was spontaneous swim day. The kids spent half the time outside of the pool blowing bubbles....


James was proud to stitch up a few items, displaying some skills one of his teachers taught him back at the orphanage...
It has been neat to see the improvement in color choice in the girls' art pieces... two in particular. It is amazing to see what you can learn about a child based on their art!

Meanwhile, Jana lost another tooth!
James had his birthmark removed, which is healing nicely! He was SO excited the day of surgery and has been since...
Victoria came home with gum stuck in her hair...
For those of you who don't know, peanut butter is an excellent "get gum out of hair" tool...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Then and Now...

"Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the LORD; exult before him! Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land." Psalm 68:4-6

Can you believe it's been four months?!. In many ways it seems like a long time, while in others, it seems like it was just yesterday when we began the ride of our lives on planes, trains and automobiles (yes, all three modes of transport within 4 days of custody with four Russian speaking children - ha!).... O, how great, gracious and glorious is our God! His mercies are new every morning, great is His faithfulness!
This past week I've done a lot of looking back at pictures from our journey. It has been amazing to reflect on where God has taken us and see the work He is doing. I wanted to re-post the above picture of James' class back in the orphanage following a recent email update I received from a worker elsewhere in Ukraine. This worker's story reminded me of our own experience during our adoption process. For confidentiality as well as security reasons, I'll share their story in generalities...

The worker wrote that upon the return to the orphanage, they were greeted by a boy anxious to update them on the recent happenings while away. The news was that two friends were in the process of being adopted! Despite sharing excitement for his friends, a real sense of heartache was settling in. You see, these three friends have been together for eight years there. They are the three remaining from their original 1st grade class. The boy continued to share that every night, regardless of how tired he is, he prays that someone will come and adopt him. The worker asked him to share his prayer with them and this is what he said...
"Dear God, please help someone find me a family. They don't have to be rich. I just want a family. Amen."
The worker wrote on to say that later when they saw him, he came over with a lowered gaze asking, "Why doesn't anyone choose me?"

This story reminded me of one of the days we visited the orphanage during our process. James' teacher (as seen above) - this teacher was uncharacteristically nurturing - would have the students line up and sing a song each day. The song? "A Song for Mama". They lined up and sang it for us, but unfortunately we didn't get it video taped. The teacher shared how some days James refused to sing the song. When he was asked why he would basically respond, "Who is going to want me?" Even now my eyes are flooded at the thought... the thought of so many children across the world who cry on their pillows each night... if they even have pillows....

Praise the Lord, He is the Father of the fatherless! Ultimately, these precious little ones are in His care. We are to be the hands and feet of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We are to "seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan and plead the widow's cause" (Isaiah 1:17). Join me in praying for His leading in what that is to look like in each of our lives. "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." (James 1:22) Join me in praying specifically for this precious boy in Ukraine... that he would have the peace and comfort from our Abba Father... and if you have questions about how you can get involved or about this particular child, please let me know....

I have the above picture on my desktop... one of my favorites....

Friday morning was "Date with Dad" in Victoria's Kindergarten class. Tony called me afterwards and said, "This day has made my top ten list out of my entire life thus far!" He shared that the class was full of large men seated in little chairs with their proud children. He shared that Vica was ecstatic to have him there and happily displayed the various things she had made for him. His favorite: a paper tie on a piece of yarn she had colored for him! He may surprise you tie wearing lovers one Sunday morning - ha ha! I thought I'd post a picture of Victoria with her papa THEN...
And NOW....
Below is a picture of Vica on proud display...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Football & Princesses...

Saturday evening while the boys were away, the girls came out to play (ha ha)...
Tony took James to the USM football game. When it was time to go home, James didn't want to leave. In fact, he came home from church wanting to play football today... Upward, here he comes!
Meanwhile, we girls had a princess party at home. They each wanted a photo shoot to display their princess dresses, painted nails and fancy hair...






The girls danced in the living room after the photo shoot, and then we ate a nutritious meal of pizza rolls, rice krispee treats and hot green tea... we had a blast!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday After School Fun...

We decided to create some end of the week, after school fun for the kids. After picking them up from school, we took them for McFlurries and $5 shopping in the dollar bins at Target. My sister, Priscilla, had sent them each a gift card earlier this summer. We felt they were ready to be loosed to pick out their own fun. It was hilarious, especially helping them count correctly. They would bring us their pile and as the count grew they attempted to use their puppy dog eye look to see if they could milk an extra dollar or two out of us... much to no avail... ha ha...although, it was tempting....

James has been asking us (especially since the departure of cousins last weekend) for a "sun-screened boy".... That is his attempt at English to tell us that he wants us to bring him home an Ethiopian brother. So, we are laying that down at HIS feet.... Someone told me that a quiver full is five.... we'll see where our ABBA FATHER leads...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9/11...

Eight years ago... It was a beautiful sunny day in Wake Forest, North Carolina. I had just sat through my two morning classes: Marriage & Family and New Testament... feeling like a sponge my first semester of seminary at SEBTS. As I walked from class towards the chapel, I remember having a strong sense or desire come over me to skip the service that day. So I turned around and headed back to my car. As I cranked the engine of my green Volkswagon Jetta (I miss that little ride), the radio came on. Listening as reporters shared the disturbing news of the planes striking the twin towers, more breaking news... reports that the pentagon had just been hit.... I remember the shock of it all while sitting in my car in the parking lot. I immediately picked up my cell phone to call the person of first concern - my father. Although he had retired from the pentagon in '97, he still has regular appointments or meetings for his work. I'll never forget that moment sitting in my car anxiously awaiting his answer. He did. In fact, his first words upon establishing a connection were, "I'm in Alabama." He was already in military plan-of-action mode, while I melted away in tears... tears of relief and tears of deep grief....

As the hours progressed, my roommates and I huddled around our little tv with rabbit ears trying to understand what was going on. My sisters (one in Colorado, two in SE Virginia) and I kept tabs on the situation, while mom went directly to help at the church. As soon as my classes were finished for the week, I loaded up and headed home to Stafford to be with family and friends. How sweet it was to gather with the body of believers.... to hear testimonies that Sunday morning of deliverance from smoke filled corridors of the pentagon from church members... to mourn together to loss of loved ones and the sobering reminder of the brevity of life...

"What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes." James 4:14b

A voice says, "Cry!" And I said, "what shall I cry?" All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the LORD blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. Isaiah 40:6-8

AND the Sovereign grace of our God... the future glory... HOPE in a hopeless world....

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." Romans 8:18-25

Sola Scriptura * Sola Fide * Sola Gratia * Solus Christus * Soli Deo gloria

Share your story....


Monday, September 7, 2009

Just Registered for T4A!

Freed to Visit Orphans (Ethiopia) video from Together for Adoption website (www.togetherforadoption.org)...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday is for Spontaneity...

Saturday morning we decided to drive down to New Orleans for lunch. Lisa's favorite restaurant is Zea's. We left shortly after 9 AM headed to Uptown for some hummus and Spinach Pepper Jelly Salad (at least, that was what Lisa and I ordered - YUM!)...

When it was time to leave the restaurant it was pouring down rain. It made for more fun and adventure... By the time we made it to the French Quarter the rain had stopped just so we could enjoy a dry walk to Cafe du Monde...

"Two Cute"... :)

Beignets and Cafe au Lait... bliss...


Then it was time to play in the powdered sugar... silly girls... :)




The girls rode in our van and the boys rode with Ryan & Lisa in their van.... literal caravan.... the girls passed out once we hit the road home.....
We enjoyed an hour at home of play and rest, and were off again to a USM football game... The girls especially love their cousin Derara...


Peanuts, anyone?
Such concentration...




We've had a blast living a little on the spontaneous side today...