"We are all handmade people created by a God who is not safe or small." Rend Collective Experiment

Monday, March 31, 2008

Luke 12:7~

But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. Luke 12:7~

It seems as if our tummy virus has vacated, and an upper respiratory croupy virus has taken it's place. I thought there was some unwritten code that viruses must give each other a little more leeway than that, but apparently I have overestimated the etiquette practices of the viral world ;o).

Last night our Dear Sweet Pea was bearing the brunt of it. We called the Dr. first thing this a.m. and they were booked full for the day. There must be quite a bit of yuckiness out there as we have never had this happen. The nurse recommended breathing treatments and steam..and if here breathing worsened a trip to the ER.

Needless to say all day I have been tuned into her breathing. She napped on me instead of in her crib, and tonight she will sleep with us.

Somewhere among the steam showers and breathing treatments it occurred to me that God is always in tune with us. It amazes me to think that He knows us so well every hair on our head is numbered. What an amazing love. He never moves, and He never changes. He is always there loving us, watching over us, counting our breaths, and letting us rest on Him. All Praise be to Him! \o/

This past weekend we had a Birthday!!! Our dear sweet girl turned 8! What a darling girl she is. She is so loving, and creative, and fun.
Her 9 yo sister , who is her very best friend, had been sick, so for her birthday she asked to buy her a gift instead.

She wanted to go to Super Target and Sweet Tomatoes for lunch. I took the healthy ones, and we had a great afternoon while Jim stayed home with the others. He's a great Daddy :o)!

We celebrated with a party at home..Her birthday dinnerl choice was chicken spaghetti.
Later we had popcorn and chips and Salsa..
and an ice cream cake.
Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!!!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Psalm 68:6~

God sets the lonely in families Psalm 68:6

The following is written by Erin Henderson HIV Adoption Coordinator for AAI and mother to 11 children. She and her husband have children from Vietnam, Korea, the U.S. and Ethiopia and have adopted two HIV+ children from AHOPE through AAI.

She has expressed so well why we too believe in adoption. At each orphanage I visited in Ethiopia I had children ask me to be their mother..or to find them a family. If you have ever had this experience it is not something you ever forget. Those eyes asking for you to "Please, choose me." will be brought into the remembrance of your heart and mind time and again.

There are those who oppose International Adoption and proclaim the loss of the culture a tragedy, I say the greater tragedy is a child growing up without a family to love ..and be loved by.

I have been thinking a lot about kids lately... kids who don't have moms (and dads)... kids waiting for moms, and what life is like for kids who do not have parents. I have been thinking about the transformation that occurs when a child realizes he has a mom, a dad, a family...security, love and somewhere to belong.

With some of our kids, that "realization" that they have a Mom and a family, that they have someone to belong to, someone to watch over them, someone to care for them and someone to love them, has been gradual. With some of our kids, there has been this "a ha!" moment, where you could just see that they "got it".

There was baby Maggie... almost four months old... laying on the bed in our hotel in Vietnam on our first full day together (I had been visiting her for days at the hospital before this point). Before her hospitalization she had lived in a government orphanage where the babies had their names written on their legs in black magic marker so they could be told apart, and got very very little personal attention. She didn't cry when she was hungry or when she wanted something. She was quiet and tiny, but I could tell she loved being held and loved the attention I was giving her.

I walked away from the bed where she was laying to get a bottle for her, and she made this teeny tiny pitiful (feeble attempt at a) cry, and I rushed over and picked her up and offered her the bottle. She got this look of amazement on her face with a little smile that seemed to say, "Holy cow! You mean that crying thing WORKS with you??" and after that she did not want anyone but me and always wanted me close. She got it. I was there for her. I was her mom.

With Mercy, she was nine years old. She had had a mom before, who did not value or respect her role as a mom. Mercy knew neglect and abuse and loss. Despite that, she came to us with an open heart and a surprising amount of trust. At one point during our first week, Des needed her hair washed (and Mercy had been the one to care for Des up until that point, even though she was only three years older). Mercy told Des to go into the bathroom so she could wash her hair, and I gently told Mercy that I could wash Des's hair, and reminded her that that was the kind of thing a Mom should do. The social worker had warned us that "letting go" of being the caregiver of Des might be hard for Mercy and we might have some power struggles over it... but Mercy looked at me and looked at Des and looked back at me and said, "You wash all the other little kids... You would wash Des's hair too?" and I said, "Yes". And she said, "And then what would I do?" and I said, "Well, you could go play." And she looked at Des again and then back at me, and then she got this huge smile on her face, and you could almost SEE her letting go of the responsibility of caring for her little sister. She ran over and gave me a hug, and then took off to play. She got it. I was there for her and for her sister. I was their mom.

With Solomon, that moment came when we left AHOPE for the second time together. We had spent two days together, and then we had gone back to AHOPE to visit. As we walked through the gate and the kids called out his name and came running to say hi to him, he sat in my arms with huge, silent tears running down his cheeks. He would not make eye contact with anyone (including me, the kids and the nannies) and just stared ahead with this heartbreaking acceptance of the fact that he thought he was being left. Again. It hurt me so much that he had come to accept this from life... that nice people came and went, but he did not truly belong to any of them. I couldn't imagine how his little heart felt and how he had endured all that he had already. I comforted him and held him close and told him over and over again in his ear that I would never, never, never leave him.

He started to relax a little the longer we were there and I stayed with him, but he was not his usual self. And then it happened. I put him in the sling, we waved good-bye, went back out through the gate and headed back up the road towards the hotel for some lunch. He got this HUGE grin on his face, and was bouncing up and down in the sling laughing, and then grabbing my face and kissing it over and over as we walked. He was so happy and joyful. He got it. He was not going to be left again. I was HIS. He was mine. I was his Mom.

Since then I have watched him blossom with love. I have watched him learn how to expect and look forward to being held often, comforted when he cries, rocked to sleep, having his needs met, getting individual attention and being smothered in hugs and kisses often. As I crawled into bed last night, a few hours after I had put him down to sleep, his little body turned towards me, and without waking up, he put his arm on me, snuggled in close and let out a content sigh.

All kids deserve that knowledge, that peace and that comfort. All kids deserve to know that they are loved and that they belong to someone.

I believe with all my heart that our Heavenly Father did not send us down here to go at life alone, to worry about ourselves and to focus our lives on material and trivial things. I believe with all my heart that we are meant to live in families... mothers, fathers and children together, focusing our lives on loving, enjoying and serving each other.

We have several reasons to believe that Solomon most likely spent very little (if any) time with his first mother. And yet even after multiple changes in caregivers and "homes", multiple losses and lots of suffering without a mom to comfort him, he KNEW what a Mom was for from our very first days together. His heart and soul reached out to mine and grabbed on firmly. He knew that he wanted a mom. He knew that hugs, kisses and rock-a-byes were something he wanted, deserved and needed. The other kids we met in Ethiopia knew it too. They knew that they belonged with parents. They knew that something big was missing from their lives.

My heart rejoices for my kids and others that have had their lives changed so drastically...who were once alone, and now live with love, security and family. Watching Solomon over the past few weeks has reminded me of what an incredible miracle adoption is.

And at the same time, my heart aches for the so very many kids who are living life alone right now. . Even the very best orphanage is no comparison to a home and family. It is wrong that these kids must wait and yearn for a family. They deserve, as all children do, the peace and security that comes with the knowledge of knowing that they belong to someone, that they are being cared for and that they are loved.

This is why I support adoption...because I have seen the sadness in the eyes of the children who wait for moms, I have seen the amazing transformation in children once they have been "claimed" and loved, and because I believe, with all my heart, that that love and belonging is what our lives on this Earth are supposed to be about.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wordless Wednesday~

The Wee Boy has "Gone Green"...

Monday, March 24, 2008

1Peter 2:9~

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; 1Peter 2:9~

We have been in our new neighborhood for a few months now, and the neighbors still aren't sure what to make of us.

We moved into our previous neighborhood when we had two children. Our neighbors got to know us as we grew. We had many wonderful dear neighbors who became dear friends.

With our new neighbors it's a little different...a family of 13 has suddenly descended upon this quiet cul de sac. I don't blame them for being wary one bit! Can you even imagine? I can't!

We try and be good neighbors. We are friendly. We smile and wave. We supervise our children as they play...

However, we are still working to prove we are normal..

I am sure get ups like these don't help the cause...

I think we may have lost the opportunity to forever convince them that we are just a regular ole family with this single event....

One night around 8:00 as we were about to commence watching our favorite Gomer Pyle DVD's (This is normal, right ;o) we heard a large knock on the door.. We opened the door to find this outside our door..
We were baffled ..Until the doors opened and we saw our good friends . The Dad of this family owns a truck lot and a bus had come up at auction. It was a great deal and as a Homeschool Dad he just couldn't pass it up. They came by to surprise us and give us a ride...

So, we hopped on board and he drove around the neighborhood letting the kids off and on and picking them up at different corners. You have never seen homeschooled kids have more fun by having the chance to ride a school bus. It was so funny. I really don't think they could have had more fun at Disney World than they did this night.
I am not sure I want to know what the neighbors were thinking though...

Well, as my Aunt Mickey always says "Normal is a setting on your washing machine."

Seriously, I love this Scripture. I pray that we will "shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light" to our neighbors and all we encounter.

For He is so very worthy to be praised!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Blessed Day~

Unfortunately, we were not all able to attend church today. The tummy bug is still making it's rounds. So, Jim took the older 6 with him to church.

They had to leave at 6:15 a.m. as Jim was working the Prayer Line today, so no lovely outside Easter Pics..just quick in the foyer at before the sun is up pics..

..Our poor 13 yo is still sleeping..

They had such a busy morning.

They attended the 8:30 service, headed to Sunday School afterwards, and then taught the 5 yos for the 10:45 service. It's such a blessing to serve together as a family.

I was home with the two 5 yos, the 3 yo, the Wee Boy, and Sweet Pea..

It reminded me of the days when we had 5 under 7... Those of you with littles and no older children hang in there, it does get easier! Our 5 yos were a great help. They felt like such BIG BOYS being the oldest children.

The Wee Boy after his incident with the water cooler...Or how he "helped" Mama mop the floor :o). He is so cute.

The rest of the day we hung out and played. I took the well ones on a long bike ride, and later Daddy played football with the children... we ended the night with homemade ice cream....AND
A dance from Sweet Pea...

Blessed Times~

Matthew 28:5-7~

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you." Matthew 28:5-7~

"Gospel preachers nowadays preach the gospel of the Crucifixion, the Apostles preached the gospel of the Resurrection as well.The Crucifixion loses its meaning without the Resurrection. Without the Resurrection the death of Christ was only the heroic death of a noble martyr; with the Resurrection it is the atoning death the Son of God. It shows that death to
be of sufficient value to cover our sins, for it was the sacrifice of the Son of God." (Torrey, R. A. What The Bible Teaches (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1898-1993) p. 177)

My heart is so full this morning as we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus our Lord and Savior. I can't put into words all that is in my heart.. Nicole C. Mullen says it best...

I know my Redeemer, He lives
To take away my shame
And He lives forever I'll proclaim
That the payment for my sin
Was the precious life He gave
But now He's alive

And there's an empty grave.

Have a Blessed Resurrection Sunday!!!!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Matthew 20:28~

just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Matthew 20:28

Well, this week surely did not go as I had planned. My plans included making Resurrection Rolls
with the children and doing Resurrection Lapbooks
with the children.

Instead... I nursed sick children and was nursed by Jim and and the children as the tummy flu marched on.

It occurred to me that watching my children serve one another by retrieving pillows and blankies, feeding ice chips, opening Gatorade bottles, and delivering Saltines to one another was watching Christ work in their lives and their hearts.

We are never more like Christ then when we put aside our own desires to serve one another. It is such a blessing to see our children live out their faith and follow in the steps of their Lord.

It never fails to awe me that Jesus left heaven to come to earth as a helpless babe and grew to serve and minister. He healed, loved, preached, wept with, encouraged, and loved. His life was not one of ease, but of sacrifice and service.

Ultimately He went to the cross for my sins, and today He sits at the right hand of the Father praying and advocating for me. What love..what an amazing love..

Today I can do nothing but praise Him..for His goodness, His love, His mercy, and His Amazing Grace!!


Monday, March 17, 2008

Romans 8:15~

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Romans 8:15

The tummy flu has invaded our home. Our Poor Sweet Pea is so sick tonight.

It has been heartbreaking watching her get sick time and again. There is a sweetness though in watching the love her sibling lavish upon her. The Wee Boy is so tender towards her as always. He rubs her hair and says "Baby's sad." She will give him a small smile. Only him. They love each other so.

Especially touching are Eben and Joel. They are so worried for her. Eben has spent the night trying to coax her to take a sip from a bottle while she lays with me. He treasures this baby sister dearly. God has truly used her to begin bring healing to a very specific heartbreak in his life. God is so good.

Family. What a blessing! What a gift all of our children are to our family. Every day I look at our children who came to us through adoption and think of the countless others who are waiting for a family. It is estimated that 143 million children are orphans. 143 million. 143 million little ones who simply want family. It breaks my heart and blows my mind. 143 million children who are just like my children and yours. They have hopes and dreams. They long to be touched and loved and desperately want someone to tell them that they are wanted. ..and longed for.

What would God have us to do?

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Thanks Shanda for posting this video

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Eccles. 4: 9-10~

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.

For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Eccles. 4:9-10~

Skating Lessons...

Here are the teachers and their victim err.. I mean student...Eben.

So far... so good...
A little demonstration. See! There's nothing to it...a piece of cake..
And they all fall down...

I feel like I'm forgetting something....What was it I was doing..
Oh YEAH.. Oops... I forgot my skating student..
This seems to work...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sibling Rivalry~

There is a competition going on right now.

Apparently it is the boys VS the girls..

The Contest???

Who can get their bathroom the cleanest.

I have nothing to do with initiating this, but I am not getting in the middle of this rivalry...

Actually, I think they should consider making it an Olympic Event :o)

Contest Update:

Here is the Scoring Card they came up with..
They asked our 13 yo son and 12 yo daughter to judge...

The competition and judging was intense.. I knew it would be a tight race when I heard they were cleaning their toothbrushes..

In the end the boys won. Having 2 sinks in their bathroom put them over the top. The girls gave them a piece of candy for their win.

However, with two clean and sparkling bathrooms... I think I am the real winner here :o)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Here are one Dad's observations after an afternoon at Kidane Mehret ( an orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

I Don't Have a Family

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Wordless Wednesday~

I think my little girl is going to pass me by. She just turned 12... What a joy to watch her growing in wisdom and stature and favor ..

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Philippians 4:13~


I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13

Here is our Wee Boy and his all time favorite phrase ("I did it, Mommy. I did it!"). He continually amazes himself.. which tickles me as he is amazing.

Our little guy who defied all odds and lived .. He is a real live miracle who we are blessed to hold in our arms.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Psalm 100:1-2~

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs Psalm 100:1-2~