This past Saturday, Joshua had his friend, Charlie, come spend the night. They were adorable and had a blast...
It was fun with six kiddos full of energy gathered around our dinner table for none other than pizza, ha...
Then they had some time playing Super Mario Brothers on the Wii... quite entertaining...
Our clocks sprang forward to a beautiful morning, restful day of worship... and then Tony had to head to Greenville, South Carolina... Joshua wouldn't allow him to go alone so I let him tag along... oh so happy was he... papa's boy...
Titus wanted to go too...
They stopped along the way for some steak, peanuts and NCAA 'bracket-ology'...
Meanwhile, I splurged with my other four kiddos...
A night out for dinner at Red Robbin...
When we returned home from dinner, I decided to pull out my guitar and play a few songs before the kids went to bed. James pulled out his guitar (which hadn't seen the light of day since our move - sorry Codie - and was sorely out of tune, but I didn't mind) to join along with me. Victoria was nestled up on the side of the sofa while Jana and Angela were curled up on the fluffy white rug in our living room. They listened a little and then joined their voices with mine. It was a precious time and something we need to do more of... family worship time. After tucking them into bed, my mind was flooded with a memory from nearly three years ago in Ukraine...
After five weeks in Ukraine, our children were finally released into our permanent care. We left the orphanage directly and boarded an overnight train to Kyiv. That in and of itself was an experience! Imagine four Ukrainian/Russian speaking children ages 4-9 accompanying two English speaking new parents overnight on a sleeper car train in Ukraine... Um, yes. It was a bit crazy and needless to say, Tony nor I slept. After 12 hours, we made it to Kyiv. We ran a few errands, including getting set up in our new flat (apartment) for the remaining days in country. Sasha, our facilitator, gets a call. He and Tony have to travel back to Zapp (shortened version of where we adopted from) to pick up the children's passports in person that they originally assured us they would overnight to Kyiv. That means 8 hours in a car each way. That also meant, my first night with our kids (not on a train) flying solo... single mom... me versus four Ukrainian/Russian speaking children, etc...
Even now as I reflect on that crazy night, my eyes are flooded with tears recalling God's sufficient grace. Where He calls us, He also equips us to go. I was so eager for that time to finally have them in our care. I will not lie. They did not smell very good. Remnant of the orphanage. They had, what I imagine was their first experience in a bath tub. Pure curiosity and joy as I let them take a bath for as long as they wanted. After getting clean (including washing their underwear in the bathroom sinks and laying them to dry all over the flat) and filling up on a bowl of soup, they snuggled into their beds. With the curtains closed and the city lights leaking into the room, I decided to sing to them and over them...
Amazing grace how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
was blind but now I see!
Twas' grace that taught my heart to fear
and grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
the hour I first believed.
Through many dangers toils and snares
we have already come!
Twas' grace that brought us safe thus far
and grace will lead us home.
The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
as long as life endures.
When we've been here ten thousand years
bright shining as the sun
We've no less days to sing God's praise
then when we first begun!
Another favorite (and probably all-time favorite) hymn...
When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul!
It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul!
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come
Let this blessed assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
and hath shed His own blood for my soul!
My sin, oh the bliss, of this glorious thought!
My sin not in part but the whole
Was nailed to the cross and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul!
And, Lord, haste the day, when my faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
Even so, it is well with my soul!
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
(2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV)
Meanwhile... Tony sent me a hilarious video commentary by Joshua talking about the "creepy" cabin they arrived at late Sunday night and were staying in at North Greenville College... "Mama, it's so creepy!" I love this little boy of mine. What a joy!
A glimpse from a panel discussion at NGC Monday afternoon before the boys headed home...
Monday began week two of my "couch to 5K". I'm loving it and feeling good. That afternoon before picking the kids up from school, I walked downtown to visit with a new friend for coffee. Such a sweet time.
Our yard covered in pear blossom snow, ha...
James has me hooked on Words with Friends (thanks, Rodney)... however, it is actually a great game to play together. He can practice words with me. Although, he often tries to write Russian words like "Da" or other interesting combinations...
A piece of Joshua's art and school work. :)
Just had to snap a picture of this girly girl of mine. Everything pink. :)
Tuesday evening we enjoyed an incredible time of worship and fellowship with our Imago Dei Church family...
We enjoyed a Seder Meal (Passover dinner) together...
All of these smiles were BEFORE eating the horse radish (bitter herbs to remember the former place of slavery)...
We celebrated the baptism of three guys...
It was a sweet and joyous time!
Wednesday, was another beautiful day of jogging (I pass this on my route) and tackling the daily "to do" list...
Back into routine with all of us back under the same roof! What sweet kiddos I have. They try to take care of one another. Jana had had a sad experience she was sharing with Joshua. They walked home hand in hand as she talked through it. It was priceless to overhear... :)
And then there are notes like these... what in the world?!. Reminds us of our fallen and imperfect state. Ha.
Wednesdays are now one of our favorite days of the week. We don't have anything after school. On gorgeous days like these, the kids can play outside a bit before tackling their homework. They are all doing much better at doing homework. It is obviously more challenging for my older ones still overcoming language and culture changes, but all in all, they are doing well. I keep reminding myself, "It takes about 3 years for social language and 5-7 years for academic language." They are right on track! :)
Ms. Karen comes over now on Wednesdays to help a little and hang out. We love her!
All separated to quiet work spaces...
Once the kids were in bed, it was time to fold laundry. Oh the joy. Even Titus is excited (not!). He insists on laying right in the middle of my piles?!. That dog. Ha.
I hope each of you have a wonderful week!