Sunday, February 28, 2010
This is the owner and chef. She's one busy lady!
2 beautiful smiles from 2 beautiful members!
She says it hurts her face to smile because she doesn't do it that often. That's going to change by the end of our trip...we are one goofy bunch.
Friday, February 26, 2010
It's been one of those weeks. Not terrible...just FULL.
Wednesday I took E to the surgical people about his g-tube site again. Looks like we have a couple more weeks with powder and cream. His gastric tissue is coming up through the hole, and only time and powder will get the hole to close back up. Gross huh? Honestly, if you had said that I would be so nonchalant about gastric tissue and g-tubes 2 yrs ago, I would have thought you had lost a marble or 2. Gastric tissue isn't a minor matter, but I know how to deal and what to do with it now. :o) Crazy man!
We also had E evaluated by the school system for speech. We found out he's eligible for services on Thursday so he will start in the middle of March. I am so glad they will be able to work with him. I know he has some frustration in not being able to articulate the way he wants to. There's alot that goes on in his head, and I know it will be helpful to be able to get some of it out. :o) The great thing is that it's done through the city, so for right now it's free. (The general assembly is meeting now and is refusing to levy taxes so are cutting a TON of programs...sad stuff really!!)
I did tempt fate.... N came home on red today. At least this time he waited 2 more days. :o) We had 9 whole days of GREEN! We are still taking him for his requested Chinese food.
We found out this morning that S's tutoring in Algebra II/Trig is working and she has an A! :o)
We are having to take our German Shepherd mix to the vet today. Found some concerning areas on his body that we are having to get checked out. I am praying hard not to waste time worrying... not doing a great job.
Getting excited about our Ethiopia trip, new things keep falling into place. YAY! I think there is a little part of me that's almost sad that it's almost here. I know it sounds CRAZY. But I have been working on this for a year now. What will I do with myself when it's over? And oh goodness I am so going to miss my family! That's the longest we will ever have been apart. It's freaking me out just a little bit. :o)
I guess I do have something to do with myself afterwards, it will just be a shift in focus. I am still the vice chair of the Mission Committee and we do some really great stuff in our church! :o) I look forward to being able to get more involved with those.
Speaking of which, the youth will be going to the Dominican Republic this summer and S is planning on going. How great is that?! :o)
I pray you all have a Better Than Good weekend. We will be enjoying some Ethiopian Food and D and I will be going on a date! :o)
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Look how high I am!
Monkey bars are the best!!
oops jacket is unzipped...lol
Look out E-man is on the road!! This past week he told us that if we didn't fly out to WY this Christmas, he was going to get a car and drive! I guess he's practicing his driving skills?
Life sure has a way of getting away from you doesn't it?
Friday, February 19, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me,
Because the LORD has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
3 To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”
Beauty for ashes….
This phrase has been recurring in my mind for weeks now. The more I meditate on it, the more I see this as my own call while in Ethiopia. I sure can’t speak for anyone else on the Team, but this is what I feel like God is calling me to do.
I cannot heal as Christ can, but I can pray to Him for healing.
I can proclaim His liberty over their captivity.
I have arms that can comfort, and shoulders that can be cried upon.
I will Praise Him as I watch Him bring joy, righteousness and seeds of Glory planted in each life.
Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. It marks the beginning of a 40 day period until Easter where we can repent and focus our lives on God and the gift of His son.
We leave for our mission Team on Easter Sunday. I pray that I can use this time to turn the ashes in my own heart to beauty.
Monday, February 15, 2010
When I say uglier parts I mean discipline, lying, cheating, teenagers, hormones, attachment, growth, attitude, back talk...all those parts that in every day life kind of set the balance out of whack.
Over the last couple of months we have had our share. We have had behavior problems, medical issues, attachment type issues, and hormones. Some of them have been harder than others. Some of them had us hiding under our pillows wondering what in the world possessed us to think we could do this parenting thing. Some of these things have threatened our sanity, and others have threatened our marriage, while some have just threatened the thickness of hair on our heads.
We have come across a new struggle. One that I can't share publicly because of it's personal nature. It's one though that has had D and I on our knees together. Just in the last couple of days we have found a place where we are solid and unified. A place where we are truly tag teaming this thing, and working together.
As I look back over the past year or so I can see how God has worked in our lives and hearts to strengthen us, as a couple and as parents.
Don’t get me wrong there are still days when I don’t know if I could get more annoyed with D….and the same goes for him.
Last night as D and I prayed together we asked God for His extra special out pouring of Grace. Grace to work through this current situation with discernment, love, and wisdom. We are placing ourselves in His hands and asking for His involvement.
As I was reminded of yesterday, parenting is a gift. I have been digesting that in my heart. Truly, I love being a parent. I love my kids. I count them as blessings and a joy. I love the smiles on their faces, I love their inquisitive minds…even the ones of the teens :o) oops Z is 20 now, guess I can’t call him a teen huh?
Parenting is hard. All of it.
But it’s also the best gift I have ever been given. I love being a mom. I love being called Mom or Momma. I love sitting on the couch snuggling with N watching cartoons, or playing Candy Land with E, or going shopping with S or giving Z his required back rub whenever he visits. I love when they say out of the blue, “I love you momma” I love the smooches and hugs and nose rubs.
So as we deal with the current crisis, I am reminded that I was given a gift in my children. I have been chosen to be their parent. I have also been chosen to be the partner to my husband and together we are a team. With God we are invincible…no matter what get’s thrown our way.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
It's another story about family... love...and loss...and redemption.
This story is from Dr. Albert Mohler's blog...
Arno was inseparable from Mr. Penguin. The little Haitian boy was almost three years old, and the plush penguin with the word "love" inscribed upon it was his most treasured object. The orphan and his penguin were always seen together.
The boy had been given the penguin just after his birth. A Dutch couple was in the process of adopting him almost from the start of his life -- they had been matched to him when he was only two months old. The penguin represented a promise.
The process of adoption took two years -- the length of time considered adequate to determine that no living relatives might claim him. According to official estimates, there were over 50,000 parentless orphans in Haiti before the earthquake came and orphaned many thousands more.
Richard and Rowena Pet were the young Dutch couple who wanted so badly to be Arno's mother and father. They had struggled with infertility for years before deciding to adopt. As they awaited the adoption of Arno, Rowena became pregnant. Last August she gave birth to Jim, who was left in the care of relatives as Richard and Rowena flew to Haiti in January to claim Arno and complete the adoption process.
The story of Arno's adoption is movingly told by reporter David Charter of The Times [London]. As he reported, "Arno was shy at first but within 30 minutes of meeting his adoptive parents he reached for Rowena’s hand and took the Dutch couple on a tour of the orphanage in Port-au-Prince where he had spent most of his short life. He began to call them Mummy and Daddy."
Richard had shared their joy with a friend in an e-mail:
“We got to the orphanage feeling a bit strange. We went around a corner and immediately saw Arno walking towards us. He was OK until he was about half a meter away, but then he panicked. The woman from the orphanage helped out and half an hour later he took Rowena’s hand for the first time. I’m sorry but I can’t help crying at the moment as I type this. Arno has been showing us everything in the orphanage. He showed us an old car they have for the children to play on. He was holding a birthday card we sent for his second birthday.”
According to Charter, adoptive parents often stay at the Hotel Villa Therese in the Pétionville district of Port-au-Prince. That is where Richard and Rowena took Arno. That is where they were when the earthquake came. And that is where they died together.
David Charter tells the story, with comments by Chris Spaansen, the friend to whom Richard had sent the e-mail:
Dutch TV cameras were on hand during the frantic search by an international rescue team with members from the Netherlands, Britain and Canada. . . . Lying there amid the rubble was the unmistakable blue and yellow toy bird, Mr Penguin, marked with the word “Love”, that went everywhere with Arno. “That toy helped them to make their first contact with the little boy. It had a really special place in the family. It was a very emotional moment for all of us,” Spaansen says.
What the cameras did not show were the three bodies, found intertwined together, as if Rowena and Richard had tried to put protective arms around Arno as the masonry began to fall. The disaster cruelly destroyed the new family, creating its own orphan back in the Netherlands. Jim, just five months old, will be brought up by Rowena’s sister, who already has her own three-year-old boy.
The bodies of Richard and Rowena and Arno Pet were taken to the Netherlands together, just as they had been found together in the rubble of the Hotel Villa Therese. They had been a family for a few hours, but a family all the same. Arno had a tragically short life, but he ended that life in the arms of a mother and a father.
Who can read this account without heartbreak . . . and a heart warmed? Is there a heart so cold that it does not feel the pathos of this report, and sense the sentiment of this family's tragedy? At the same time, this is not a tragedy in the classic sense. The love of Richard and Rowena and Arno Pet transcends tragedy. That is why The Times published this report, and why it stays with you so long after you read it.
Of course, for the Christian there is far more to this story. In the story of Arno Pet we find a picture of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians:
But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a virgin, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying "Abba! Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. [Galatians 4:4-7]
Adoption is perhaps the most powerful depiction of the Gospel found in the Bible. We are all orphans, born under the curse of sin. By the sheer grace and mercy of God, those who come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are adopted as sons. Redeemed sinners are adopted as sons "through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise and glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved." [Ephesians 1:5-6]
Arno Pet began life as an orphan, but he ended life as a son. He was abandoned at his birth, but he died in the arms of his parents. He did not die as Arno, he died as Arno Pet.
In the rubble of the Hotel Villa Therese the film crew found the bodies of Richard and Rowena and Arno Pet. In that same rubble, we find a picture of the Gospel of Christ. He who has eyes to see, let him see.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Do you have siblings?
Do you have a mom and a dad?
Maybe you, yourself are a mother or a father?
Maybe the time for you to become a parent hasn't happened yet?
How many children are there out there that have not had the comfort of a mother's arms?
Being a part of the adoption world I have learned so much about what family is.... or how it's now defined in my mind.
Friday, February 5, 2010
If you go to this blog you will find some amazing shirts that say "Chosen". The money raised goes to Project Hopeful. It will help families that want to adopt HIV+ children with funding as well as their project Almost Homes in Ethiopia.
What does it mean to be chosen?
When we started the adoption process I orginally felt that N was chosen for us. We put our paperwork in with the list of health and back ground issues that we were 'comfortable' with. I thought we were actually pretty liberal in our openess, but would be lying if I didn't say I was a little hopeful we wouldn't be faced with having to say no to something out of fear.
God set the plans in motion, and we were called with the information about our sweet N within a matter of days. He was 'healthy' and young and beautiful. He was what God knew we could/would handle.
What God did with our hearts through that adoption has been nothing short of amazing to me.
When we started our second adoption, I sort of felt like we were choosing...and to be completely honest with you, it was a little weird. How does one choose a child?
We moved forward. We accepted that referral for our E and then were plunged into a place we weren't even remotely expecting. Honestly we felt like we had chosen this sweet little boy while the smile that just stole your heart and the cutest little shoulder shrug you ever saw. (Never did I know how much that shoulder shrug would drive me batty later! lol)
My heart struggled with our choice of E when we were told he was near death and in a coma in Ethiopia. Had we chosen wrong? Had God not been speaking to our hearts? Was he to die before we could get there to save his life?
What I have learned in the past year was that we were in fact chosen for E. Not the other way around. If we had not chosen his referral I don’t know that anyone else would have. He was so very sick, and honestly looked so so sad and bad after his time in the hospital. Would another family have looked at his pictures and moved forward with his adoption? I don’t say that in away to toot our horns, just wondering out loud. When we got home and found out that 2 out of the 3 meds he was taking for his HIV weren’t working we realized that he would probably have gone back into the hospital in ET and not come back out.
That thought brings me to tears as I write it.
What would life be like with out my E-man? I don’t really want to know to be honest with you. There is something about him that makes him special, a light that shines to me.
We were chosen to be his parents. We were chosen to be N’s parents. N my beautiful brilliant drama king… he was chosen to be ours without a doubt.
What I have learned in this whole adoption process is that when God chooses you for something, He opens your eyes to so much more than you ever could imagine.
He can do so much more with a heart that chooses Him.
I don’t know why God chose me for this journey. I can’t wait to see what He will choose for me in the future.
Right now I stand in awe of His choice. I stand in awe at His Grace and provision. All those days we have worried about our finances, about medication, about health, about disclosure, about behavior, about other’s opinions… all those wasted days.
God has never failed us. Not once.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
As you may know I am co-leading a mission team to Ethiopia this April.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
|February 02, 2010|
John C. Richards Jr.
Tap! Tap! Tap!
All of sudden, the once rowdy group came to order. The crowd's chatter died down. It was time to start the show. The maestro had arrived and the concert was to begin. There's just something about the presence of a maestro. His presence brings order out of chaos. It signifies the beginning of a wonderful musical masterpiece.
The atmosphere becomes reverent when he shows up. He demands respect that is comparable to that of a king's coronation. Jesus is no different. He has the ability to make order out of chaos and to qualm all fears. He also has the uncanny ability to eliminate doubt in our lives. How does this happen? It happens when we follow orchestral protocol. The word 'maestro' is Italian in origin and means 'master or teacher.'
Jesus is often referred to in scripture as master or teacher. He, in essence, is the Great Maestro in our lives, tapping on the strings of our hearts to bring to order the chaos in our lives.
One of the amazing things about a maestro is his ability to maintain eye contact with his ensemble. Eye contact represents attentiveness. Any good date, interview, or business interaction is characterized by great eye contact throughout. Christ is attentive to every one of our needs; so much so that he will supply each and every one of them (Philippians 4:19).
However, our own doubt causes us to lose eye contact with our Great Maestro. Peter was well aware of this fact. In Matthew's Gospel he found himself walking on water (See Matthew 14:28-31). However, his inability to maintain eye contact caused him to doubt the very thing that Jesus already told him that he could do. Eye contact with Jesus was so key when Peter walked on the Sea of Galilee that when it was lost, Peter began to sink.
Many times we can get bogged down in the waves of life and forget about the necessity of eye contact. How am I going to pay this bill? Splish. Will I ever get married? Splash. When can I start a job in the field in which I really want to work? Splash. Ask any tight rope walker and they will tell you: the key to reaching your destination is found in your ability to keep your eye on the goal. Don't look down. The apostle Paul said it best: We are called to “press toward [our] goals...” (Philippians 3:14).
Maintaining eye contact with Jesus is important when trying to eliminate doubt. Even the best musician in an orchestra can wind up being a failure if he misses his cue from the maestro. Without that visual cue, the orchestra member begins to doubt his/her role in the composition.
Where are your eyes?
I want to encourage you to refocus on the One who wrote the piece and knows your role better than anyone else. It is then, and only then, that you can begin to eliminate doubt in your life and live the life that God has called you to live. You play an important role in God's work. Without you, the harmony is slightly off.
Without you, the composition is incomplete. Stay focused, give the Maestro your undivided attention, and watch the masterpiece unfold before your eyes.
John C. Richards, Jr.