Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Weekend at the Farm

We had a great weekend.  

A rain-pouring, wind-howling, cozy-on-in"ing", coffee-sipping, kid-cuddling, hair-cutting, late-night-chatting, friend-loving type of weekend.  After all our moving and cleaning it was just what the doctor ordered.

Friday afternoon we headed up to the Happy Hartman Farm and we're so glad we did.  

Ben and Melanie visited us back in July with their boys, so now it was our turn to to visit them!  Ben and Melanie adopted their son Judd from "The Lost Boys" institution about a year and a half ago and that's how we got to know each other.  We had been email friends for several months and in July we became real-life friends.  We love us some Hartmans!  

Addy and Ez were super excited to be on the road...hehe

It was pretty much pouring down rain the whole time we were there, but that was fine with us!  It was perfect just being together, slowing down, enjoying each other, letting the kids play...

Oh how they played!

Jed and Ben burned up lots of stuff.  So that made Jed happy.  :)

Ridiculously cute Ruger.  Stop the cuteness!!!

Melanie cut my hair (she didn't even disown me after seeing the enormity of my split-end crisis!), Judd, Ruger, and Abraham were adorable (of course), sweet Lanie made cookies (delish), we parentals stayed up late chatting and laughin' it up (my favorite times).  It was a blast.

Of course I can't write about the dear Hartmans without spending a significant amount of time gushing about Judd.  Holy moly, Judd is amazing.  He's saying words now and it is so fun to watch him grow.  He says "Mama", "more", "no", "please", "banana"...and more.  
Judd and Daddy

  I know I bragged about him when the Hartmans came in July, but I just can't help myself!  When I think of the life Judd would be living right now if God hadn't plucked him out I want to cry.  He is rescued! 

 Judd is precious.  He is learning, growing, loved.  He kisses his Mommy and Daddy just because.  He hugs and signs "sorry" when he misbehaves (Havalah's hair proved to be quite the temptation..haha).  He loves Elmo and bananas.  He is a treasure.

Ben and Melanie are so awesome.  Many people would say that when it comes to caring for the orphan they have done their part.  They chose Judd, fought to get him, and love him to the moon and back.  They listened and obeyed...and they are still asking God "What do you have for us next?  How can we continue to respond to this need?"  They are doin' the stuff.  We are so proud of them and so thankful to have them as our friends.


On our way home we stopped in Seattle for a few hours for some food and fun.


Thank you Ben and Melanie for all the food, chats, and lovin'.  We can't wait to come back!!!! 

We just need to rest up a bit first.  :)

PS: Our camera is not to be found since our move...hence the sketchy phone pictures.  I promise to do better next time!  :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Alive and WELL!

We're alive and very, very well.
The silence around here has been deafening!  That's about to change.  :)  We've been without internet for the past couple of weeks and so much has happened I could probably talk your ear off for a good hour or so.  But...I won't.  I'll just give you the highlights.

1  We moved!  All of our worldly possessions have been moved to the home of our very gracious and generous friend Luke.  Luke is letting us live with him for free so we can save up and pay off debt before we relocate all of our worldly possessions across the world.  What a guy!  Seriously, what.a.guy.

So much life lived in this house!  Memories upon memories...

First breakfast in our new digs

2.  Some of our dearest friends spent all of last Saturday helping us prep our old house for renters.  The house looks goooood.  It's amazing the repairs and things you let slide when it's just your family living there.  OMG.  The painting, the blackberry-bush-destroying, the cleaning, the hauling, the dump-running.  It was a massive amount of work and we are humbled by our friends' selfless giving of their time and energy.  Tom, Emma, Chris, Sarah, Sam, Ang, Joe, Dad, Mom- we owe you, BIG TIME.  Thank you!!!!

3.  We have renters!!!!  It doesn't do much good to move out of your house to save money if you don't have anyone else to pay the bill.  Good thing God had that covered beyond what we could have imagined.  On Monday a family signed a 5 year lease.  
  (cue Hallelujah Chorus)   
A FIVE YEAR LEASE!!!  We were hoping for at least a 2 year lease, but a 5 year lease is almost unheard of.  That means we'll have time to get to Ukraine and really settle in before we have to think about our house.  Praise God for his provision.  It's almost laughable, really.  
  One day a few weeks ago Jed was driving and praying.  He was concerned about what would happen with our house.  He felt like God said "You will not worry about the house."  As in, "Don't worry I've got it", and also as in, "You are not allowed to worry about this."  Ummm okay God.  You were right, again.  I'm so glad He's the one in charge.

Seth amusing himself while Mommy cleans the empty house

 4.  I would be remiss not to mention one more thing.  The matinee showing of "Cinderella Swamp Princess" was most definitely a recent highlight.  I highly recommend you catch the show if it's playing in your area.  Contact Addy for the tour schedule.   ;)

The costumes are killer.

  That's what's been up with us!  God continues to meet us every step along our journey.  He also keeps blowing our minds with His goodness.  Now we wait on Him to show us the next steps.  I'm pretty sure we don't need to worry about it.  He seems to have it all covered.  ;) 

View from our new living room...ridiculous.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thank You Borscht.

Monday is our big day.

Monday we take our biggest step yet toward Ukraine.

On Monday we move in with our friend Luke and say good bye to our house.  I can't believe it!  We're not leaving for Ukraine for about a year, but we're staying with Luke while we rent out our house and pay off student debt. 

I had a little bit of an emotional week.  It's so strange to pack things up knowing some of these things may very well stay packed up for years.  We have no idea how long we'll live in Ukraine.  We could live there for 2 years or 20 years.  We just don't know.  We know the dreams God gave us and that's all we have to go by- the voice of God. 

We aren't committing to a certain number of years, we're simply committing our lives.  We're committing our ears to hear God's voice, our hands to do the work He asks us to do, and our hearts to be soft to His leading.  So I pack some things knowing I don't want to get rid of them, but knowing they can't come with us to Ukraine.  Things like hospital bracelets from the births of our babies, programs from our wedding, name tags from mission trips to Kosova.  I just can't bring myself to part with things like that.  Not yet, anyway. 

I felt myself getting a little melancholy this week, considering all the changes we are facing and will face.  I even started to have a bit of a pity party.  Ha!  But yesterday I decided enough is enough!  This is NOT about me!  This is not about my comfort.  This is about joyful obedience.  This is about joy in the fact that we are called and that God is making a way. 

I made a big vat of borscht last night in remembrance of why we are doing this.  As I chopped, sauteed, boiled and stirred I remembered the faces and lives that touched our hearts when we were in Ukraine.  I remembered the boys who sit on benches surrounded by nothingness every.single.day.  I remembered Slavik and Alyona serving and loving with too many needs, not enough hands.  I remembered it is my joy and my honor to sell my things and leave my house for  Him.  What do I have to complain about? 


Oh my, once my attitude adjusted I started to get really excited.  We are taking ginormous step toward our dream!  This is really happening! 

 Then I thought of friends around us also stepping out into their destinies and I was filled to overflowing with faith and joy.

God's got this and it is our joy and complete honor to follow Him. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

What's Next + The Kids

At the very beginning of this journey when we still thought this journey was about adopting "Jonah" a friend was praying for us and God spoke some words to her that have guided a lot of our process thus far.  This was at the stage in the game when no one knew what we were considering.  It was just between God, Jed, and me.  We believe that God can speak through His people, and boy has this word struck the nail right on the head!  She said "God's calling you and Jed to something very difficult.  Fear not, fear not, fear not.  The path looks really narrow, but just keep walking.  As you walk the path is going to widen and God will make a way.  Just keep walking and fear not."

Of course we thought those words applied to the adoption process and raising a child with special needs.  We had no idea what those words really meant.  Now we're starting to get an idea.  :)

Back at the beginning of September we knew that we needed to trust God to provide free housing for us.  We can't pay off student loans in any decent amount of time if we're still paying our mortgage.  Why don't we rent out our house and let someone else pay our mortgage?  Then we can live somewhere for free and put money toward student loans so we are more free when we get to Ukraine!  Great idea...except that finding free housing for a family of 6 sounded a little tricky.  Yeah, we learned it's not that tricky for God.

We asked the Lord to let us know where we were going to be living before our garage sale.  I was starting to get a lot nervous as the garage sale quickly approached and we had nowhere to move.  Yet we knew we were to keep walking and God would make a way.  The night before our garage sale a friend came over to help Jed move the heavy items downstairs for the sale.  I was gone at a home school meeting and when I got home and our friend left Jed turned to me and said "He just offered for us to live with him in his house for free." 


God made a way!  He did it!  He kept His word.  He did a miracle.  He moved our friend's heart and that generous friend is opening his home to 6 people.  I don't think our friend realizes what he just agreed to. Hehe.  Holy bachelor pad invasion Batman!

We are just absolutely blown away by the goodness of God.  We are blown away by His promise-keeping.  We are blown away by His way-making.  We are so very thankful.

In a couple of weeks we'll move out of this house and into our new digs.  Then we'll spend the rest of the month getting this house rent-ready.  Please pray for a great renter for our house!  Thanks!


"So, how are the kids with all of this?"


The kids are awesome, as usual. 

Taking Queen Havalah on a tour of the neighborhood

They are taking all of this in like champs.  The kids know we are moving to Ukraine.  Of course they have no idea what that really means! 

They know where Ukraine is on the map and they've seen many pictures.  They join in on skype with our friends in Ukraine, so they'll meet some familiar faces when we finally arrive there.  They know we are going to Ukraine to help the special kids who have no mommy and daddy.  They know that those kids have bodies that work different than theirs and look different than theirs.  I think they understand as much as they can at this point, and they are excited.


What we've learned about our kids so far in this process is that however Jed and I present this to them, and however we process it is how they live it.  We are taking this in like the big fat adventure that it is.  So, the kids think of it like an adventure.  We are excited, they are excited.  We have some fears and uncertainties- so do they.  We just pray that God will give the kiddos peace through this process.  We pray they learn in a very tangible way what it means to walk in faith.  We want them to live radically for God- then we better live it!

Thank you again and again for all your prayers and support. 

God is opening doors and clearing paths!  

We stand amazed.  

Sweet Heath still waits for a family to step up for him.  His adoption is nearly paid for by a loving group of Heath-fans.  Please continue to share his face and his story.  Heath needs his family asap!!  Please ask away if you have any questions at all about Heath.  :)