Saturday, February 26, 2011

School Lunch & Soccer Season...

Friday, I was able to slip away and join Jana for lunch at school. She was too cute with her sweet classmates...
Later that afternoon, the kids ran to the studio with me for one last laying down of a track... Dan is working (and has been) hard on mixing everything together and getting the raw project ready to reproduce... stay tuned, Defend the Orphan CD is coming soon....
Saturday was the first day of Upward Soccer games. Angela decided to sit this season out. The rest of the crew all played at 10 AM... so that was entertaining...


It was a warm today so we had ice cream... twice....

Eyasu scored 6 goals... he said he likes soccer better than basketball because "it's cold inside and hot outside. I like hot." Ha ha...
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Jana and Victoria both played hard. Jana scored one goal.... James was another field over sprinting after every ball...
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Friday, February 25, 2011

My Sweet Angela...

Learning grammar, sentence structure, how to use commas, etc. is all quite challenging for English language learners. Thursday, we worked on composing a paragraph on a time when you were overwhelmed... Did I mention grammar was not my strong suit?!. Ha...
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Third Grade has been a struggle for my sweet one here, for this reason or that. We're behind the power curve in hiring an after school tutor, but grateful we did. Angela loves her and I can already see some improvement. This precious one holds a lot of grief. So, in disclosing that tidbit, I appreciate your continued prayers in helping her overcome. :-)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Waves of Emotions

Monday morning consisted of one by one dental visits... next... done... next... done... Of the five of us who were seen only two had cavities. Those two will go back during Spring break for their treatment. They were all great patients. Here the girls are enjoying the lobby activities while big brother gets worked on....
Since the kids were all out for Presidents' Day, we splurged on our lunch. Yes, you guessed it! We went to our favorite eatery, "Chips and Salsa", as the kids call it. We grabbed Amy out of the church office and indulged in chicken quesadillas. While there, the kids tried to talk her into moving to North Carolina with us, ha ha...



It has already been a busy week and it's only Wednesday! :-)

As many of you can relate, preparing to move can tend to usher in all sorts of emotions. I seem to be on a cycle of about three waves of emotions: one of excitement, one of stress/overwhelmed and one of grief. Each one hits at different times, most often unexpected. So, "if you see walking by and the tears are in my eye" don't worry (ha ha - I love that 80's rock ballad!). :-) Meanwhile, thank you for all your kind emails, blog comments and Facebook notes. Thank you, also, for your prayers during this transitional time. They are felt and appreciated. Our God is so gracious to us. May we rest in the knowledge of the Holy One who is with us always...

"The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made." Psalm 145:8-9

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Seasons...

My favorite season is Autumn. I love the picture below playing with the kids in the leaves. It was the image that came to mind to post as we make plans for a new season ahead. This Sunday we announced our plan to move to Raleigh, North Carolina in May to plant a church and go on faculty at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. To learn more about either of these click on the following: Imago Dei Church and SEBTS.

A Time for Everything

3:1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

The God-Given Task

9 What gain has the worker from his toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man.


Just for fun: here is a simple Video the kids made last weekend with Ms. AC...



Friday, February 18, 2011

Have I mentioned I love Fridays?

Fridays are perfect for relaxing and reflecting...
On Monday, Victoria & I enjoyed a couple hours visiting with her 1st grade class for their Valentines Day party...

Monday and Tuesday evenings brought forth another round of Upward... this time soccer. Angela decided to sit this sport out. She tackled word search puzzles on the sideline....
Thursday evening we decided to forego making dinner at home and treat the family to Logans (otherwise known as, "the throw the peanuts on the floor" restaurant)....


This week, Jana gave a presentation on a famous American. She dressed up like and shared a little about Betsy Ross.
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Victoria thoroughly enjoyed her story for the week entitled, "Seven Sillies"...
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We are looking forward to a quick family trip to Birmingham Friday and Saturday. Tony is speaking at a student event there with friends. Grateful for dog and house sitters while we are away. Pray you all have a blessed weekend!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Brief Weekend Recap...

Saturday
Tony and I had the privilege of getting away for a few hours to New Orleans. Friends, Chuck & AnnClaire, came over to keep the kids for the entire afternoon. What a blessing!
While in NOLA, we connected with IJM friends for a mini-tour of popular eateries: Mulattes and Cafe du Monde! Yum! Nothing like Crawfish Etouffee followed by a beignet!
Friends, Van & Michelle (& of course their son, Zach), came by around 6 PM to take the boys home for a slumber party. Evidently they were 9 minutes late, finding James & Joshua pacing the floor in great anticipation! Needless to say, they were so excited to go "camp out" in the Williams' living room and having nerf wars, which translates to = good boy time! Meanwhile, AC had the girls doing all sorts of arts & crafts projects. Thank you Bennett & Williams' families!!! Our kids slept hard afterwards from such a fun and eventful weekend!

Sunday
We were privileged this weekend to host Larry Martin (IJM senior VP of Education & Dean of IJM Institute) and Erica Boonstra (IJM Justice Campaigns) at our church here in Hattiesburg. During the Bible Fellowship hour we visited a few classes to provide opportunities for face time and interaction. After a wonderful worship service, a group of about 10-12 passionate persons gathered for lunch to pick Larry & Erica's brains on various issues of injustice. At 4 PM we hosted a "Next Steps/Justice Advocacy Training" class. Approximately 30 people gathered to discuss ways to get involved. It was an encouraging time with others who are stirred up in doing something for the afflicted. An hour and a half was only enough time to scratch the surface. However, we will be meeting again in 2 weeks to follow up. So:

Join Us back at TBC on Sunday, February 27th at 4:00 PM!

Another way to learn more and get connected is to attend IJM's annual Global Prayer Gathering in April. To learn more visit: www.ijm.org! Hurry, there are only a few spots remaining!
Larry Martin gave a powerful message on the "Unfamiliar Passions of God" at the 6 PM worship service. There may be audio recordings available in the TBC Oasis if you are interested in hearing it. Expounding upon Psalm 10, he shared testimonies of victims and the many exciting things God is doing in the face of evil...
"The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his hand. O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more." (Psalm 10:16-18)
Below, Erica and I are sporting our justice shirts... I with my IJM shirt and she with our Orphanology shirt...
Meanwhile, earlier in the day Jana received a special Valentine from fellow Ukrainian born friend, Erick. Too cute!
After church, sweet friends Lydia & Justin, took the girls home for the afternoon. They had a blast! Thanks so much!!!
Monday
Thus begins another week. We forgot to do Valentines this weekend, with all the busyness, so this morning at breakfast the kids were filling them out. And now Victoria & I are off to a class Valentines Day party!
Happy Valentines Day!!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Learning to Ride...

Joshua is slowly, but surely on his way to learning how to ride a bike. In the meantime, he tends to opt for his little tricycle... which is adorable with his oversized body. He loves it....

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James has helped each of his siblings with their first attempts at bike riding...
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Saturday, February 5, 2011

This Week's Collage...

"Coffee... wonderful proof that God understands our needs and meets them perfectly"
This mug, sitting under our fabulous Christmas Keurig gift, makes me laugh...
This week has contained both its highs and its lows. Through it all the Lord has, by His grace and His mercy, reminded me of a few things...
#1-God is the ultimate need-meeter
#2-This world is not our home
I don't know where you are today, on a high or on a low, I pray you will be encouraged by these truths...
"Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth." (Psalm 124:7)

"The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made... The LORD upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing... The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth." (Psalm 145:8-9, 14-18)

"The LORD is everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength... they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:28-31)

"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 we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now... we ourselves groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved... the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words... What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?... Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine or nakedness, or danger, or sword?... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (excerpts from Romans 8:18-39)

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." (James 1:17)

Speaking of good gifts, here's one: Joshua showing off his artwork...
It's been a chilly week, here's Titus curled up in a quilt...
The kids got out of school early on Thursday for freezing rain and icy roads, so they decided to put on a show... I wish I could show you the videos, but they're reserved for family viewing only - ha. It is too cute. To me it is such a sign of healing on some levels. Especially for my Ukrainian born four. To see them singing, dancing, and being creative is beautiful. Of course my Ethiopian born child came that way - ha ha. He is Mr. Entertainer.
Friday morning I was finally able to join Angela for lunch at school. She is a cutie. We enjoyed cafeteria style grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken noodle soup, apples and chocolate cake. :)
Saturday, our social worker returns for a 6 month post-adoption follow up from Ethiopia (which requires: 3 month, 6 month and 12 month follow ups). Here's Joshua (a.k.a. Eyasu) counting for us in my messy bedroom stacked high with laundry - ha ha - please ignore that part. :)
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We are trying to let the kids read to us, as well as us read to them, on a more disciplined basis. Here is a preview of what that is like... Jana (and all her siblings) have come SO far...
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