Saturday, December 31, 2011

Come on 2012!

I think it's pretty safe to say 2011 has been one of the best years of my life. I can't believe it's almost over!!  It's amazing to look back and remember what life was like just one year ago and how much has changed since then.  

Last year, at the beginning of 2011 we were in mourning. We had just been told that our 7 month old baby boy we had fostered since day 1 would not be able to become our son.  The state was going to be doing open recruitment to choose a family for him, but because of some policies that had just been changed we would not be eligible to apply to be his family.  He knew no one but us, hadn't seen his birth parents since leaving the hospital at 2 days old, we were his parents.  We were being told a big fat NO.  


Praise the Lord we have a rockin' case worker and our boy has an amazing lawyer who stood up and shouted that this was not right.  They fought for our boy and for our family.  Now, at the beginning of 2012 we are simply waiting on some final paperwork to be processed and he will be ours.  He will officially and legally be our son.  Oh how I long for that day.  They tell us it will be soon!!!  God truly moved mountains to give us our son.  (Soon we can show pictures of him too! He's quite the cutie)  :)

At the beginning of 2011 we were halfway into our first year as a homeschooling family.  We were questioning if we were doing the right thing, we were insecure, we were struggling with math.  :)  Now, at the beginning of 2012 we are comfy in our homeschooling shoes.  That's definitely not to say I think we've got it figured out or that I'm an old pro now, but I can say we know we are doing the right thing for our family and we are thankful for that security.  Our days are full- full of diapers, interruptions, spilled milk (really!), melt-downs, overflowing laundry baskets, and potty training disasters.


They are also full of giggles and snuggles on the couch with the latest read-aloud we just can't put down.  They are full of math breakthroughs, library books, ballet in the living room, and sweet Bible times with our single candle lit on the kitchen table.  I wouldn't trade it for the world.  I thank God for the blessing it has been to our family.

At the beginning of 2011 I was a passive observer in my life with Christ.  I had become cynical and bored with my faith.  Oh I have never stopped loving Jesus.  He and I had some sweet moments together, but they were few and far between- and I know the fault in that lies completely with me.  I had given up on dreams and passions that He had given me, created me for.  I was faithful in my actions, as far as serving the Body, yet my heart was far away.  


My God pursued me with reckless abandon.  He chased me down and He would not let me go.  He spoke to me in a small whisper at first.  That whisper grabbed my attention.  I picture Jesus like one of my kids who is so stinkin' excited to show me something new, something they have created.  "Come here!  Look over here!  Look what I'm doing!!!!"  Yep, once Jesus had my attention He took me by the hand and said "Look!  I'm doing a new thing, and guess what?  You get to be a part of it!!  Follow me."   Jed and I never would have thought last year at this time we'd be trying to learn a new language in preparation for a trip to a country in Eastern Europe.  I never even really thought about that country and we had NO idea about all the precious lives lying in wait there.  There was a whole community of people fighting for those precious lives and we had no clue about any of it! 

I'm telling you what, Jesus changed my life in 2011 and I will never ever be the same.  My Jed has been amazing through it all.  He led our family and sought the Lord when I was uninterested.  He prayed for me and he loved me and I can never thank him enough for leading our family so faithfully.  Now God is calling Jed and I and our family to a great adventure.  Something big is about to happen.  YEEEEEEEHAW!!!!!

In 2011 God gave us our son.  He gave us vision.  He renewed our  passion.  He changed our lives.  He set us on a course and we can't wait to see where it leads.  

Come on 2012! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Uncle

Heaven gained an amazing man this weekend.  
My Uncle Gary went to be with Jesus- our loss, Heaven's gain.

My mom and her brothers and sister.  Uncle Gary is on the right.

He wasn't one anyone thought would be gone so soon.  He was just at my house for dinner a couple weeks ago, not feeling so hot, but making jokes, eating with us, sharing life with us. I'm so happy he came. :)

Now he's with Jesus. 

When he was in the ICU this past week I prayed for Jesus to heal him, but most of all I prayed that God would have His way and He would be glorified.  Jesus chose to let Uncle Gary come home to Heaven as we all gathered around his bedside.  

As a child I don't remember having much of a relationship with my uncle.  He was kind of a big bear and I think I was a little afraid of him.  Ha!  Then I grew up, went away to college and only saw him at holidays.  I wasn't afraid of him anymore, but we didn't have much to talk about.  Then he got married, I got married, he moved to Ohio, and there were Christmas cards, but no real relationship.  I didn't really KNOW him.  His likes, his dislikes, what made him laugh, if he had a sense of humor.  He was just Uncle Gary, a family member I loved but took for granted.

Then Abby was born.  My Uncle Gary's granddaughter was born with many health problems.  His daughter, my cousin, would need help caring for her baby.  He flew out to Ohio to comfort his daughter, to watch over his Abby as she lay, tiny as a doll in the NICU.  Sick babies, NICU's, talks of foster care- now I had something to talk with my uncle about!  This was my comfort zone.  Now we had some common ground.

Would we take Abby for a while?  Would we care for her until she was stable enough to move to Ohio to be with him?  You don't have to ask twice.  We are family!
I knew my uncle then.  He didn't bat an eye.  Of course this was his baby.  Of course he was not just Grandpa- he was daddy.

We fostered Abby for 4 months.  That was a hard four months in our lives.  Havalah was a newborn, I had two preschoolers, and now this teeny tiny babe.  Uncle Gary called often.  My Aunt Linda called.  He texted.  He worried about his baby from afar.  He and his AMAZING wife Linda prepared for her arrival.  

Havalah and Abby- my sweet babies

In June 2009 Havalah and I took Abby, along with her mommy, to live with Gary and Linda.  Now I knew my uncle.  Through those 4 months I had learned his likes, his dislikes.  I had learned what made him laugh and just how much he could make me laugh.  I learned that he was not just a bear, but a big sweet gentle teddy bear with a heart of gold.  I learned how much he loves football and how much he despises the Oregon Ducks (and rightly so!).  :)  We had bonded.  We had traveled a road together.  We had fought for this baby together and now she was home.  

When Abby was born with so many problems I know we all struggled with the "why?".  We wondered God's plan in it all.  Although I never ever regretted it, I know I wondered at times why God had us caring for her when I still had my own newborn to care for.  Now I look back and I see His plan at work.  I see how Abby lit up Gary's life.  I see how she brought our family together.  I see how she gave me a friendship, love and respect for my uncle.  A lot was gained by that little life coming into the world- and that's just my gains!  I'm sad he's gone now, but so extremely thankful God made a way for me to know him before it was too late.

We all are wondering why Gary is gone from us so soon, but I am confident in the Lord and in His ultimate plan.  He works all things for good.

I love you Uncle Gary, and I am so thankful for our time we had together.  Have fun breathing deeply and dancin' with Jesus.  :)


Friday, December 2, 2011

Oldie but a Goodie

To say I'm a fan of the Christmas season may be an understatement.

  I love the music, the lights, the coziness of the house when everything is dark except the Christmas tree.  It is most definitely my favorite time of year!!!

Christmas of 2008 was the most special ever.  My sweet Havalah was born three days before Christmas.  I remember we had a TON of snow that year- which is very uncommon for our area.  We maybe get one or two days of snow a year- then it rains, for what seems like an eternity.  :) Christmas 2008 the snow was coming down hard!  I had to have a c-section early in the morning and I remember my grandparents had to take their 4-wheel drive truck to pick up my parents on their way to the hospital because my parents' car couldn't get down their hill.  
It was such a cozy time to be home with a sweet-smelling newborn. 

The day we came home from the hospital Jed made this video with Addie and Ezra to surprise me.  Last night I came across it again and it almost made me cry!  Their little voices are so stinkin' cute!  I can't believe how fast they are growing.

Enjoy a little Christmas cheer, courtesy of Jed, Addie, and Ezra!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Schools of Thought

"I'm of the school of thought that what babies really need is their mommy."

Those were the words the NICU nurse told us the night we held our Ezra for the first time.  From that day on he made a complete turnaround and went home days later completely healthy and whole.
He needed our touch.  His body needed that skin to skin contact.  The feel of loving hands, the voices of ones who have prayed for him and longed for him.  

This was true for Ezra, and this is true of all children.

"...what babies really need is their mommy".

Yegor needs his mommy

Mark needs his mommy.

Nikita needs his mommy.

All these sweet boys need a mommy to hold them with loving arms, to speak to them with a voice that says "You are mine.  You were longed for and prayed for."  They need a daddy to take them outside and play with them.  They need a mommy and a daddy to cross the ocean and rescue them from a life in a mental institution.  They are no different than my Ezra.  Their needs are the same.  God has created their innermost beings.  He has plans for them!!! 

Each of these little ones are available for adoption.  Have you ever heard of Reeces Rainbow?  It is a voice for those who have no voice- those who have been forgotten by the world and are in need of their mommy and daddy.  

My friend Julia is doing a spectacular giveaway for these boys and several other children over at her blog here.  These are faces that have been overlooked for far too long.

Maybe you are their mommy?  Maybe you are their daddy?  What if??  Wouldn't that be the coolest!  That would be the ultimate.  :)  But, if you are not their mommy or daddy, you can help spread the word to others so we can find the ones God has for set aside for them.  You can give money toward their grants so when their parents are found the way is paved for them.  

Head over to Julia's blog and check it out!  Tis the season!  :)

"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb."
Psalm 139:13