My mom flew in from Kansas to be with us over Christmas. Even though it had only been a few days since we had left her, I longed to be with her. To hug her. To know she was OK. It was so good to see her. I love her so much, and my heart continually breaks for her. At this point I don't know what is hurting me more: the loss of my father or my mother's deep pain. I pray for her continually that she might feel the comfort of the Lord.
Christmas was as good as it could be under the circumstances. My grandmother came up from the coast to spend the day with us as well. It is hard for me to imagine her pain of loosing her husband then less than six weeks later her oldest son.
The boys LOVED the survival packs we gave them for their gifts. They unpacked and packed all their survival gear over and over again. They both have devoured the survival books that came in the packs, and have figured out what still needs to be added. I have been enlightened of all sorts of lovely survival facts. Did you know that animals eyes are high in water content? If you ever find yourself thirsty, just find ya some eyes and suck on em'.
I had been longing to give Grace her gift since we found it at a yard sell. It is times like this, when I have a great gift I know my child will be thrilled with, that I get a small inkling of what it must be like for the Lord to have a good gift for us. The look on her face was priceless...I think she was almost in tears. Daddy promptly got a huge hug and kiss. Needless to say she was thrilled with her sewing machine. I am looking forward to teaching her to sew.
William and Marissa were just as thrilled with their gifts. Marissa loves to play in her kitchen. So she got all sorts of yummy plastic food and cooking goodies. This is good for me...now I get to eat plastic sandwiches and fruit instead of Legos and math counters. William got a couple of good electronic educational toys...which he loves.
The best gift however came from grandma...the Wii. Oh my...can someone tell me how I can do five miles on the elliptical and not feel any pain, but a day of bowling and boxing on the Wii leaves me unable to move? Yikes...man was I hurtin'.
Noah got his big buck on Friday...a 12 pointer. It's going to be a long hunting life for him...it's going to be hard to go up from there. He was thrilled, and we were so very proud. This was a very hard moment for us though. My dad was an avid hunter...he would have been so proud of Noah. This was the first of I am sure many moments when I wished he were here to share the moment with. I know that this was just another heart breaking moment for my mom.
Speaking of Noah...we have some friends who are going to be adopting from an African country sometime very soon. One of their sweet children has some pretty serious hearing loss. When Noah found this out, he said, "YES! Now I have an excuse to learn sign language." Sweet.
Speaking of that family...you know who you are...our children always get to go buy each other Christmas gifts at the dollar tree. This is an event that they love and look forward to with joyful expectation. This year, rather than buy each other gifts, they chose to set aside that money to help with this families adoption expenses.
Speaking of adoption, we have our first follow up visit with our social worker on Thursday. Six months already...I can hardly believe we have been home from Uganda with these children for six months. Wow.
Umm...I am sure there is more but that is all I can think of for now. Hoping y'all hand a blessed Christmas.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
My mom flew in from Kansas to be with us over Christmas. Even though it had only been a few days since we had left her, I longed to be with her. To hug her. To know she was OK. It was so good to see her. I love her so much, and my heart continually breaks for her. At this point I don't know what is hurting me more: the loss of my father or my mother's deep pain. I pray for her continually that she might feel the comfort of the Lord.
Posted by Melissa at 4:36 PM
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Did I mention yesterday how much I love my beloved? No? Well let me tell you I love this guy.
Last night he took me on a surprise anniversary date....and this after I told my mom he just doesn't plan surprise things....shame on me.
First stop...drop off the kids at my dear friend April's. This was so we could have an uninterrupted evening. Without a million phone calls :) Thank you April and the rest of the clan.
Next stop is in San Antonio at the shooting range. Yes this was fun for me. I would show you a picture of our targets, but I think posting a picture of my green guy all shot up might somehow flag my blog as a potential threat to them...who ever they are. So in an effort not to draw attention to my already strange self, you will just have to take my word for it...I am a terrible shot.
Next stop was a Starbucks for cup of steamy joe...well for me it was a spiced apple cider. Then we boarded a horse drawn carriage. Much to my delight, I might add. This was all I really wanted to do...so all the other events were just an added bonus. It was lovely riding through downtown San Antonio. The lights along the river walk, the cool night air, all the old buildings, and the sweet smell of Molly (our horse) made for a terribly romantic evening.
Our last stop was Wild Buffalo Wings for 49 cent wings. Yum...my favorite....Richard....not so much. Still he endured all for the sake of love. Isn't that sweet?
He ended the evening, just like he does every year. He asked me to marry him. I told him I was already married to an awesome guy, who was a hottie to boot.
That made him smile.
Then he kissed me :)
Posted by Melissa at 10:16 AM
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Please check out this blog for the Medical Advocacy Team. They have an urgent need for two children to have surgery for spina bifida. The need is urgent to get them to the USA from Haiti so that the surgeries can be performed. You can read all about it here. Please pray about helping these children....for the baby especially, his life depends on it.
Posted by Melissa at 11:16 AM
ago today my beloved and I wed. It was a beautiful winter day, with a wee bit of freshly fallen snow. Just enough to make the ground sparkly and white.
I adore this man.
I adore this man for a multitude of reasons, which I could never fully express.
I adore him because he loves and serves our Lord.
I adore him because he tucks each one of our children in bed each night. One by one, he tucks them in bed and prayers over them.
I adore him because he works diligently to provide for our family.
I adore him because he lets me put my cold feet on him at night.
I adore him because he makes me laugh.
I adore him because he will lay in bed with me each night before bed, and talk about whatever comes to mind. Even when he is tired, he will laugh with me, guide me, and correct me when I am in error.
I adore him because he is so very different than me. He loves adventure, travel, and all manner of scary things. He pushes me beyond where I would normally go.
I adore him because we are so very much alike. I cannot think of any major issue we don't agree on 100%. There are very few small ones that we have differing opinions on.
I adore him because he has a heart for orphans. When I can't sleep at night and find myself all worked up and in tears over the millions of children with out families...he agrees...he feels the same pain.
I adore him because he is never afraid to try something new.
I adore him because he calls me several times a day just to say hi and tell me he loves me.
I adore him because he takes my "passionate outbursts" and just rolls with them. He will sit back and let me rant and vent about whatever current event has me all worked up. When I am all done he will say with a smile, "Is there anything you can do about any of this?" If I say yes, he'll tell me to do it. If I say no, he'll tell me trust in God who is sovereign over all things.
I adore him because he is protective of me. When we walk along the street he always positions himself by the road. In a crowd he will walk in front and guide me, making sure the way in safe.
I adore him, because he is my dearest friend, my confidant, my lover, my spiritual leader, the father of my children. I adore him because he is the one I always feel safe to laugh with and cry with. I adore him because he has seen the ugliest parts of me, and still loves me. I adore him because he always is quick to forgive. Truly his love for me has covered a multitude of my sins.
I love you my dear...thank you for thirteen years. I wouldn't have spent them any other way.
Posted by Melissa at 9:34 AM
Monday, December 22, 2008
I am here, I have not given up blogging for good. I am just still trying to process so many things. It is hard, but I have an Amazing God, who gives me new mercies every morning.
I do well most of the time...then my mind starts to wander. I replay that morning and the phone call in my mind. Then my heart starts to race and I feel like I can't breathe. The tears start to flow, and I think of a million things that will never be. Then I think about my mom, and I can hardly stand it.
Then, by His grace, a passage of scripture will come to mind, and slowly I am put a ease. I am reminded of His goodness. I don't see good in this...no matter how hard I look I don't see any good. But, I know what I believe, and I know in Whom I have believed. I trust Him. Though I don't see it, I believe Him. God is good. In Him there is NO evil. He loves me. He loves my mother. His word says that, "All things work together for good, for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose." I believe that, I don't see it, but I trust Him nevertheless.
Posted by Melissa at 10:52 AM
Friday, December 5, 2008
Don't know how to begin this post, don't even know what I am going to say. I do know I need to start sorting through some of this..so I am just going to type. This won't be a pretty little heart warming post...so if you are looking for warm fuzzies..perhaps you should read another blog.
December 2, 2008 that is a day that has never had meaning to me before, it was just another day on the calender. December 2, 2008 the day my healthy 51 year old father died. A day when he left for work like he had thousands of times before. No one knew that this would be the day, appointed to him, before the foundations of the world, to leave this life.
It was just a deer. Hitting a deer with your car is supposed to destroy your car, not your life.
Someone please convince me airbags are a good thing. It is likely that the air bag deploying, made it impossible for my dad to see where he was going, thus hitting another car head on. Would this have happened if there had not been an airbag?
How do I wrap my mind around this...My mom and dad normally go on cruises with several friends. This year, they couldn't go because my dad had used his vacation days to com to Texas and see us. He could have been a wonderful vacation, not driving to work. My mom could be snorkeling in crystal blue water, not planning the funeral of her dearest friend, facing a life without the man who has loved her all these years.
I know my doctrine. Really I do. I know what I believe, and I know that nothing could have stopped these events. Why does it always have to be so difficult to connect what I believe to actual events, when those events suck?
What about my mom. I know that millions of people throughout history have been widowed. I know that they have survived. Did those people have a love for one another like my parents? Those of you who know me in real life know, I have told you about how my dad loved my mom. Honestly it always gave me hope, that someone with his beliefs, could love my mom the way God commands...like Christ loves the church. Surely that was the Lord moving on him. He has adored her and cared for her for 33 years. They have been inseparable. They didn't have the things she did, the things he did. If they couldn't do it together, he wasn't interested. How do you go on when you loose that kind of love?
Please, please, please if you do not have life insurance policy on yourself and your spouse...get one today. We are all going to die, and NOT ONE of us knows when. This is not a waste of money. This is lovingly providing for your family, during the time of their greatest need. Money does not replace what was lost, but it does help to make some thing easier. I can not imagine planning a funeral, and on top of all else, having to worry about how I was even going to cover the funeral expenses.
My mom told me today that her work gives her a whopping three days of bereavement leave. Wow, three whole days. Makes me sick.
Both of Richard's parents are dead, and now my dad. My mom is all that is left. Makes me sad.
William and Marissa are not going to even remember him.
They have been with us for only five months, and have been to two funerals. Something about that just seems wrong.
The constant flow of visitors into the house has taken a toll on them. We are trying to shield them as much as possible...but I have to be there. Marissa is back to freely giving her affection to every stranger that comes through the door. William is sullen and seems hard to reach.
The older kids are acting out terribly.
I do not have the capacity to deal with them right now.
My friends have done much to comfort me, to encourage me that the Lord could have done a work of grace in my father's heart. I want to believe that...I really do. To be honest it is a great struggle. I watched him soften over the last several moths, I know that can only come from a work of grace...but still.
I want to find the woman that was with him when he died. I have a million questions...but only one means the world to me.
I have learned about the stages of grief, most of us have. To be honest, I never understood denial. It didn't make sense to me. It does now. Even today, four days later, most of us are still thinking someone got this all wrong.
I don't understand.
I want to...I am trying...one day I know, by God's grace, I will...but what do I do until then?
Posted by Melissa at 5:26 PM
Thursday, November 27, 2008
William, my sweet boy, my Squishy had his fifth birthday today. How appropriate that it falls on Thanksgiving this year. We are in deed thankful for this guy. He is a light in our home. His smile can only cause others to do the same. His laugh, infectious. I have only known this boy for six months and he has completely stolen my heart.
He LOVES pumpkin pie. The first time he had it, he asked, "Mummy, what izz dees? It is verrry goot!" When I told him it was pumpkin, he said, "Oh pumpkeen izz goot. Pumkeen izz verry goot. Mummy, my like it." So given the day, he had a birthday pie, rather than birthday cake.
Blowing out the candles.
Look at that huge bite.
Can you believe it all fit?
When it came time to open gifts, he looked at us like we were nuts. He had this look on his face that seemed to be saying, "What am I supposed to do with this?" I told him to rip it open, that there would be a toy inside for him...a present. After the first, one he would look at me and say, "Mommy reep et?"
snuggling up and and reading about the funny misadventures of one curious enchima.
"Mommy, yook at dees."
What a wonderful day. Happy birthday my sweet boy!
Posted by Melissa at 9:11 PM
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
We decorated our Christmas tree this morning. Normally we would do this Thanksgiving day, but tomorrow also happens to be my Squishy's 5th birthday.
We have not been much on Christmas around here the last few years, and have on several occasions, contemplated not having a tree any more. I would be so cool with that....the kids however...not so much. In an attempt to find some meaning out of all this tree business, I decided that as we decorated the tree today, I would ask the kids how the tree and the things on it, called us to remember Christ.
We started with the obvious, the tree and the lights.
Trust me when I say, we had a great family devotion time this morning. So I asked, "How does this tree and the lights remind us of Jesus?" Here are some of the responses:
"Jesus died on a tree."
"The tree is green, it reminds me of the new life I have in Christ."
"The lights remind me that Jesus is the Light of the world."
"It also reminds me that I am to be a light for the world, pointing them to Jesus."
"All Christmas trees are in the shape of a triangle. That is a good picture of the trinity."
"Jesus was a carpenter, he worked with trees."
"The star is like the star the wise men followed to find Jesus."
"It smells good." I couldn't get her to articulate why the tree smelling good reminds her of Jesus...but I could think of some reasons.
Next we strung popcorn and fruit loops to hang as our decorations.
Here are there responses to the same question, focusing on the decorations:
"Popcorn is a seed. One popcorn seed planted makes many popcorn seeds. It is like the gospel. We have the seed planted in us and it makes many more seeds."
(I added red food coloring to the popcorn while it was popping)
"The popcorn is red and white. It reminds of Jesus purity and His blood that makes me pure."
"The fruit loops are circles, that is shows completeness. Jesus completed all that needed to be done, so we could be saved.
"They taste good...ya know taste and see that God is good."
How about some pictures of these wise ones
As Christmas get closers we will do individual studies on some of the names given to Jesus in the scriptures using Adorenments. I have has these for years, but have never used them. This year we will.
I must say, I have a new appreciation for the tree in my living room. I am certain that when I look at it for the next four weeks, I will think not how beautiful the tree is, but about how beautiful my Savior is.
Posted by Melissa at 10:32 PM
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Here is a nice web site to put all our woes into perspective. I encourage you to enter in some smaller numbers (after you enter your own) the results should shock us. I know it shocked me.
This is information that I struggle with all the time. Every time I want to buy something, I think about the people we saw in Uganda drinking filthy water. I think about the children in tattered and torn clothes. I think about the kids who were blessed enough to have shoes, even though most were painfully to small for their feet. I think about how I was able to check myself in to a clinic and receive the best medical care the area could afford, in order to treat a resistant strain of malaria. I think about the mothers and fathers who will bury their child today, because they didn't have $5 for malaria medicine. These are the things I think about.
Even yesterday, while I shopped for Christmas gifts for my children. I wondered. We already do Christmas VERY meagerly in our home. Each child gets one gift, and the budget is low. Still I wondered. Is this what I should be doing with this money? Will I have to answer one day for these purchases...that we don't need...when there are people starving...people dying. I think often about how blessed we are. Then I wonder, where is the line? At what point does my spending cost someone else? I honestly don't know the answer. I am however, thankful that the Lord has opened my eyes to at least question what we spend and where we spend it. Something tells me though, that when I do stand before my God, that I will not regret giving in abundance. I just might wished I had given much more.
My dear friend April, told me a quote one time, and I have never forgotten it (although I have forgotten who said it...so I am hoping she will leave a comment and tell us who said it)
Posted by Melissa at 2:20 PM
Posted by Melissa at 9:50 AM
Monday, November 24, 2008
Unlike Shara (poor girl, I simply must purchase her a book immediately) I have read and LOVE Jane Austen. So which heroine am I?
Posted by Melissa at 10:43 PM
The Family Edition
My beloved did not spend five hours looking back through the history on our computer, trying to locate a child I had found nearly a month ago, that is available for adoption. He did not find out that they call it the World Wide Web for a reason. He did not comment about how much of the world I had looked at over the last month.
While doing this, he did not see all the jobs I had looked at for him. That would be lack of faith. Seriously, I do not have a problem at all with this walking by faith...daily bread thing. Really I don't.
We didn't spend several more hours last night looking for her again.
When we did finally find her last night, we did not give a second thought at all to the cost of giving her a family, thinking the cost was far too high. We did not discuss how we do not have the money to do this again.
We did not just give our friends a "pep talk" just a couple of hours before that conversation, that God pays for adoption. Money should never be a consideration. That would be so hypocritical of us.
When Marissa wanted to go work out with me, Noah did not say the following, "You can't go until you get big like mommy." I did not look at him with raised eyebrows, only to have him say, "I meant old like mommy." Again with raised, I did not reply, "This would be a good time for you to stop talking."
This same child did not ask me, "Mom did you play with a yo-yo back in the olden days, when you were a kid?" I did not reply, "Honey, mommy didn't live in the olden days...your grandparents did. Yes, they played with a yo-yo. They probably had to go to the bathroom in an out house too."
I did not want my friends to adopt from Welcome Home for purely selfish reasons. It would be so wrong to want them to adopt from there just so my kids could see their friends. It would be equally wrong to desire such things, just so that there would be another family in our church that looks like ours.
I did not spend $65 dollars on three t-shirts at the silent auction at the gala...just because they said, "Simply Love" over the top of an outline of Africa. This would be silly, I don't typically pay more than $5 for a shirt. It WAS for a good cause though, but I would never use that to justify such extravagance.
William did not hand me a glow stick and ask, "Mommy, will you turn this on for me?" I had to ask him to repeat himself. Of course it was not because I wanted to hear his cute little voice say it again. I only have him repeat himself because I don't hear him, not because I like his accent.
See what everybody else is not doing at Mck Mama's Not Me Monday carnival.
Posted by Melissa at 10:44 AM
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Back from the gala...oh my...to many thoughts...I asked Richard if I could have another child for Christmas :) He said yes :) We are praying about what to do next. Which leads me to this question...
A few weeks ago I read, on one of the blogs that I follow...though a link or something....about a young girl in Russia. She has a couple of friends that have already found homes in America (one or both in Texas), and their families are trying to find one for her. We have been unable to get her off our hearts, and were both thinking of her tonight. We prayed for her, that God would make it clear to us if we were her family, and if not that he would bring her one...soon. ANYWAY...I had a question....Where is she? I have NO clue where I found out about her. Anyone know...who she is....where she is at....if a family has found her....anyone? Please help :)
Anyone know how we could possibly afford to do this again?
Anyone thinking, "How could you not afford to do this? A child's life depends on it."
Anyone think we are nuts?
Anyone else thinking about the cry of the orphan?
Anyone else look at waiting children in Ethiopia today?
Anyone else look at waiting children in the foster care system today?
Anyone else wanting to lay down their life for one of God's children?
Anyone else want to step out in faith, and trust God, to do the impossible?
Anyone else want to be nuts?
I am going to try and get some sleep. I will post more about the gala tomorrow. Seriously, anyone know where to find this girl?
Posted by Melissa at 12:15 AM
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I have another hot date with my beloved tomorrow. This one I am TOTALLY EXCITED about. We are going to an Orphans Ticket Home Gala. Tom Davis, author of the life changing books Red Letters and Fields of the Fatherless,and president of Children's Hope Chest, will be the keynote speaker. Oh I can't wait. Seriously, I am so excited.
For now I leave you with my favorite moment of today.
Posted by Melissa at 9:52 PM
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Wow. Occasionally I use the google blog button on my tool bar and type in "Uganda Adoption." Don't know why I do, I just do. Today I found this family, and I sit here overcome.
Honestly, as I was reading their story I sat at my desk, unable to stop the tears. My God is so overwhelming gracious to me. This is the second family, that I know of that is fighting and struggling to bring their children home. There have been other families I have learned about, that had to fight for their children as well. Two of those families, you can find here and here. I found them when Richard said, "Uganda or nothing." Their stories scared me. I was not up for a long drawn out battle. My heart was already broken. Their determination and faith encouraged me to press on, despite the unknown. This story could be our story. We could have come home with empty arms and broken hearts. We could be packing up our family and moving, as Richard was clear that would be what we would do if need be. Or we could still be waiting. Wondering why. Wondering when or if God would move and bring our family together. I just want to take this moment to thank Him for His amazing mercy. I am sitting here with two beautiful Ugandans, calling me mommy. He didn't have to choose the easy path for us. He did. I am so thankful.
If you think about it, maybe you could stop by the blogs of this family, and this family. Support them with your words and prayers. If you are able, support them with your money. Adoption is already expensive, without the added expenses that are accumulating for these families. Imagine if one of your children were caught up in governmental red tape. Thousands of miles away from your love and care. Imagine, not being able to hold them. Not being able to smother them with love and affection. My heart breaks for these families. I pray the Lord would be rich in His mercy toward them, and bring their children home. That He would unite their families. I pray also that until He does, He would pour out grace upon grace, that they might endure until that wonderful day.
Posted by Melissa at 9:37 AM
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Thursday was the annual fundraising banquet for our local crisis pregnancy center. It was a lovely event that gave my beloved and I a chance to get gussied up and go on a date. I must say that I have been to a few of these over the last several years, and this one was by far the best. There was great catering, a wonderful testimony from a client, and a speaker that doesn't just speak a pro-life message...he lives it. It was a powerful night and by the grace of God they raised nearly $20,000 MORE than they were hoping for. Here is a picture of me and my beloved, before we left for the big event.
Posted by Melissa at 9:43 PM
Thursday, November 13, 2008
We are members of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. This is a copy of an email sent out to all members yesterday:
What Can We Expect under
an Obama Administration?
Dear HSLDA Members and Friends of Homeschooling:
Since the election of Barack Obama as U.S. president, HSLDA has received more than a few calls from both members and nonmembers. Some are quite concerned about the future of homeschooling under an Obama presidency.
First of all, let us always remember that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). He also instructs us to be wise, plan, and be prepared in everything we do.
Despite HSLDA’s efforts prior to the election to get an official statement from the Obama campaign regarding their position on homeschooling, we received no response.
So where does that leave us?
We do know that the Democratic Party has an official position of supporting public education. The National Education Association (NEA), which is the national teachers union, is a major supporter of the Democratic Party. We know that the NEA’s position is that every child should be either taught by a certified teacher or supervised by one. Additionally, their position is that the curriculum used by all homeschoolers should be approved by the state, and children should only be able to continue to be homeschooled based upon systematic evaluation by the state.
It is important to remember that under the United States Constitution, the federal government has no authority over private and home education. This is not to say that they will not attempt to exercise authority in these areas. And whenever private educators accept grants and benefits, there are conditions to receiving those benefits, including being subject to regulation.
Just because the federal government has no constitutional authority over home education, however, doesn’t mean that federal bureaucrats or legislators might not attempt to impose some form of regulation over private and home education. We saw this back in 1994, when the reauthorization of the Secondary and Elementary Act (H.R. 6) contained an amendment which would have conditioned funding to the states for public education to require that all teachers be certified in every subject area they teach. The homeschool community rose up; over a million phone calls were made to the U.S. Congress, and the amendment was defeated. During that process, Representative Dick Armey from Texas introduced an amendment which stated that the federal government and Congress have no authority over private and home education. This protective language was passed by the House of Representatives.
With your help and the help of homeschoolers all across America, we will vigorously resist any effort on the part of the federal government to regulate home education. Obviously, this will take resources—which come from our membership—and we would encourage our current members to continue standing with us, and encourage others to join us.
An immediate concern to watch is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Although we do not know what Barack Obama’s specific position on the treaty is, we know that future Vice President Joe Biden has publicly indicated that this UN Convention should be ratified by the United States.
It does appear that we will soon have the challenge of keeping the UN Convention from being ratified by the U.S. Senate, ratification requiring a two-thirds majority to pass.
Should the UN Convention be ratified, it would impose the United Nation’s view of children’s rights on America. Under the U.S. Constitution, treaties become the Supreme Law of the land, taking precedent over state laws and state supreme court decisions.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is not in the best interest of parents or children, as it would undermine the parental authority that our laws currently recognize. For further information on the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child visit ParentalRights.org.
To summarize, homeschoolers should not live in fear, but we do need to be wise, and we will need to be vigilant to protect parental rights and homeschooling freedoms in the future. We stand prepared, with your help, to do that as we’ve done for 25 years.
I broached this subject several months ago in a post titled A Time For Action. Please, if you are a home school parent, join HSLDA, TODAY. They have very affordable payments plans... $11 a month. Such a small price to pay for your continued freedom to raise and educate your children according to your convictions. Even if you are not a home school family, please check out www.parentalrights.org This will affect your family too.
Posted by Melissa at 11:50 AM
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
It was a beautiful morning, so we took off for the park.
Posted by Melissa at 12:16 PM
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
My, Oh my...how time does fly. One year ago today, Richard and I made that life altering decision to open our hearts and home, and to become a forever family to children who needed one. I will never forget that morning when my beloved said it was time to adopt. I didn't know what to expect, and if I am completely honest was quite sceptical that he would follow through. Nothing against him, but we had been talking about this for so long...it was hard for me to believe it might actually happen. Oh but happen it did! What a blessing, what a joy, what an honor. I thought I would post a short over view of our process. Man did it go fast! Why on earth did time seem to drag on and on and on, while we were in the thick of it?
11/11 Decide to move forward with adoption.
11/15 Amy emails me Welcome Home's web site.
11/16 Contact Cathie, our social worker, to get the ball rolling on our home study.
11/27 Talk at length with Mandy on the phone. With out a doubt, and with no regrets, we decide to adopt from Welcome Home. Receive a list of children's names and ages to begin to pray over...as well as a price break down. Have my first thoughts of how we are going to pull this off.
12/3 Feel the Lord is calling us to adopt William and Marissa, we call Mandy and let her know.
12/8 Cathie comes for our home visit. What on earth was I so worried about? Didn't I know worry was sin?
12/27 Receive approved international home study in the mail.
12/28 Send off a two i600a applications to San Antonio USCIS office.
2/7 Fingerprints for i600a
3/2 We receive very discouraging news from USCIS. We wondering seriously if this is God stopping us.
3/12 Get everything straightened out with the courts in Kansas, and send off paperwork to USCIS. God pulls off a major miracle and moves hearts, like only He can.
4/9 Have screaming hysterical fit in the office with three children as we open a big manila envelope from USCIS. Approval to bring home two Ugandans!
5/15 Receive our court date. Begin preparing to leave for our children.
5/28 Board a plane for Africa.
6/5 Judge grants us legal guardianship.
7/2 Arrive home and reunited as a family.
What a mighty, Awesome, and Loving God we serve. He has blessed me beyond compare. I still can't believe these kids are mine. It truly is an indescribable gift He has given us. We love them so very much. They bring abundant joy and laughter to our home. Not to mention they are darn cute. Really have you seen them?
Monday, November 10, 2008
I was watching a yahoo news clip, and saw Oprah wearing a shirt that said, "Hope Won."
Honestly, as we sat in our living room Tuesday evening, nothing came as a surprise to us. At least as far as the election results were concerned. What did shock us was the response of the people. There were people on their knees crying tears of joy. Looks of admiration. Dare I say almost a reverent look of awe and worship. Young girls jumping up and down and screaming. I couldn't figure out if this was going to be a presidential acceptance speech...or a Beetles concert. It was hard for me to understand why any human would act this way toward another human. Really I didn't get it. As a Christian it was quite disturbing. Then as my beloved and I were spending our Saturday morning, in our favorite way...yard selling...he put it all into perspective for me.
That is exactly what Americans voted for Hope. For too long we have placed our hope in our jobs, possessions, retirement funds, our toys, our homes...the list could go on and on. We have thought that abundance would bring us satisfaction and security. Now as those things are wasting away, as they always do. Americans are once again looking for Hope. Unfortunately, they are looking in the wrong place. They are looking to a mere man, to restore to them those very things that are wasting away. They believe he offers them hope for security and satisfaction. Obama ran on a platform of change. People know they need change. They feel the emptiness and fear. They are longing for something more.
What they are longing for is Jesus, our Eternal Hope. They are longing for the Hope of salvation. The Hope and the security that comes from knowing the Living God as Savior. They are longing for a Living Hope, that will never fade or perish. They are longing for Christ in them, the hope of glory. This is where peace is found. This is where true, good, and lasting, change is found. This is where security is found. In Him, and Him alone, should we place our hope.
The enemy of this world has blinded the eyes of many. Whispering lies to a multitude of people who have placed their hope in the wrong things, in the wrong people. I pray the God of all Hope would have mercy on us. That He might grant us repentance. That He might gives us true Hope.
Psalm 146 (ESV)
1 Praise the LORD!Praise the LORD, O my soul!
2I will praise the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
3 Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
4When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.
5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
7 who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.The LORD sets the prisoners free;
8 the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the righteous.
9 The LORD watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
10 The LORD will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the LORD!
Posted by Melissa at 9:25 AM
Thursday, November 6, 2008
This is a subject that has been on my heart for quite some time now. I think about it off and on, and I repeatedly ask God when He will move on the hearts of His people. I don't in anyway want this post to come off as judgemental...so please don't take it that way. This is just something the Lord is teaching me and I want to write about it...so there :) It is just that this post, brought it to the front of my mind yet again.
Why do people adopt children? I am sure that there are varied reasons as to why families want to open there homes to orphaned and most often hurting children. I know that one of the main reasons is a desire to expand ones family. I would never say that this is a wrong or less wonderful reason for adoption. It is in fact why we adopted. When we began this adventure, that was our sole reason. We wanted more children, and couldn't have them. For some, they long for the laughter of children in their too quiet lives, so they pursue adoption. It is indeed a wonderful and blessing filled way to grow a family.
Over the course of this adoption, the Lord has opened our heart to His, on the plight of the orphan. By the time we left for Uganda, we still wanted to have the blessing of more children, but there was no doubt that this was now something more for us. It has been said by many in the adoption world, that one should never adopt just to "save" a child. This is true on many levels, for instance we really cannot save a child from anything, that is a responsibility for God alone. I understand the message behind this to some degree, but mostly I don't understand it all.
Could it possibly be wrong to open our homes to children to protect them from the kind of terrible abuse the two in the blog post endured? Is it wrong to want to free them from their prison of abuse and despair?
Could it possibly be wrong to open our homes so that children can have the much needed necessities of life. Food, clean water, shelter, clothing? Have we stopped to consider, particularly in foreign countries, that the children might die of starvation unless they are brought into families. Have we thought about the young girls who most likely will end up on the streets, selling their bodies to have daily bread?
What about illness and disease? Is it wrong to want to open our homes to sick children, so that they might have the medical care that they need to live?
Could it possibly be wrong to open our homes to children so that they might know the safety and love that comes from family?
Would not all the reasons be Biblical reasons to open our homes to children?
I would say they are all viable, good, and God honoring reasons for adoption, I think the Lord agrees.
Matthew 25: 34-40 NIV
34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
When I read the above mentioned blog post my heart broke. My heart broke for the family that has to make this heart wrenching decision. My heart broke for the children who have suffered so terribly. My heart broke because I know that MOST people looking to adopt are looking to build a family...and not help build up hurting children. Therefore, most of the people will look at these children and realize, with young children already in the home, they cannot open their home to these precious children. Oh, I cannot tell you how often I cry, "Lord please open the hearts of your people, don't let your children suffer any more."
You see, I adopted to build my family. I am so thankful for the inability to have more bio they children, because it has brought me two amazing blessings. However, I want to make it perfectly clear, that if we ever have the blessing of adopting again it will be to "save a child." Yes, we will be overwhelmingly excited to add more children to our family, but even more, I will be profoundly awed at the ability to serve Jesus in such a way.
It is my prayer that the Lord will move. That adoption will not be just a means of building a family....not because it is not a wonderful way of building a family...but because far too many people who don't want anymore children are missing out on serving Jesus. Too many people who feel their children rearing days are over, are missing the blessing of serving Jesus in this way. Too many children are missing out on the love, protection, and healing they so deserve.
I know full well it is not God's will that every person adopt, just like it is not God's will for all to be a missionary to China.
Should we not a least ask, "Lord, would you have us open our home?"
Should we not at least ask what He would have us to do?
Posted by Melissa at 10:14 AM
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Today is the day, the day for Americans to vote. Have you? If not go...now. Do not let this day go by without making your voice heard. Not only because your vote is needed. Vote also because you have this precious right to do so, don't waste this freedom, bought and paid for by the blood of many. Many around the world would love to have this privilege. To vote with out fear. To know that while they still live in a deeply flawed country...it is still a country that offers freedom. Go and take a stand, and then after you have stood remember that God is still sovereign. He rules and reigns over the people of Earth. Remember that all authorities are ordained by Him. Trust Him, because whatever He ordains is right. The following is a prayer for today, written by John Piper. It is my prayer as well. May the Lord move upon His people, to accomplish His will, for His glory.
Father in heaven, as we approach this election on Tuesday, I pray
1) that your people will vote,
2) and that they will vote with a sense of thankfulness for a democratic system that at least partially holds in check the folly and evil in all our hearts so that power which corrupts so readily is not given to one group or person too easily;
3) that we would know and live the meaning of
- being in the world, but not of it,
- doing politics as though not doing them,
- being on the earth, yet having our lives hidden with Christ in God,
- rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesars, and to God the things that are God’s;
4) that we would discern what truths and values should advance by being made law and which should advance only by the leavening of honest influence;
5) that your people would see what love and justice and far-seeing wisdom demand in regard to the issues of education, business and industry, health care, marriage and family, abortion, welfare, energy, government and taxes, military, terrorism, international relations, and every challenge that we will face in the years to come;
6) and above all, that we will treasure Jesus Christ, and tell everyone of his sovereignty and supremacy over all nations, and that long after America is a footnote to the future world, he will reign with his people from every tribe and tongue and nation.
Keep us faithful to Christ’s all important Word, and may we turn to it every day for light in these dark times.
In Jesus’ name,
Posted by Melissa at 10:16 AM
Monday, November 3, 2008
Ohh did I have a week...one of those weeks. Most of the things I didn't do this week...I am not sure I can even post.
I did not have a complete break down on Friday evening. I did not loose it when I walked into my daughters room...which she assured me was spotless..only to find clean clothes (still on the HANGER) in the dirty clothes basket AGAIN. This most certainly did not throw me over the edge and drive me to spend thirty minutes pacing the front yard. I certainly did not vent uncontrollably to my husband and yell, "They are broken! Do you hear me BROKEN! Why did God give broken children to a broken woman?" I did not have terrible thoughts when his response was laughter followed by, "I love you." I did not wonder why he always has to be so stinkin' rational. I did not think that the answer to that question was that I have enough irrationality for the two of us.
I did not have a difficult time stifling laughter while telling William it is not OK to hook 40+ zip ties on the stroller.
When my beloved was smashed between a tree and a 5,000 pound lift this week, I was not the least bit concerned about what this would mean for me. Nope that would be so self centered. My only concern was for him and his well being.
I did not plan an election theme party for tomorrow. I did not have a wonderfully good time thinking up the menu. Things like pork barrel sandwiches served on fresh baked inflation rolls with a side of loose your butt beans (because beans are all you can afford since you lost your butt in your 401K) are much to inappropriate for such serious times. I won't even mention the "drown your recession blues Boston Beer."
I was thrilled when my beloved did in fact get his much sought after deer. Of course my reason for my happiness was not that he would now be home. It was of course that he was successful in his quest.
My inner conspiracy theorist did not go wild when my friend told me that she received a phone call from a certain person running for reelection for senator saying," A* I see you haven't voted yet..." This would not have concerned me at all. Especially since her husband and son had already voted, but she had not...and they did not receive a similar phone call. After all the government is completely trustworthy....right?
Most assuredly I did not think at all this week about Mckmama and her sweet baby Stellan. I did not check her blog like 500 times for updates....that would be a clear indicator of being way to obsessed about the unfolding of this miracle. You can check it out for yourself here.
Here's me hoping that next week I can paint a much more favorable picture of myself on Not Me Monday.
Posted by Melissa at 8:10 PM
Saturday, November 1, 2008
It is 12:47 PM and I am still wide awake. All alone I might add. My beloved is off at some deer lease, no doubt sleeping peacefully, dreaming of giant 10 point bucks. Yet here I am AWAKE. Not that I am bitter or anything like that. Really...I am just wondering if I am ever going to get to sleep so I can dream about my beloved bagging one of those 10 point bucks he his dreaming about...so deer season can officially be over :)
I am hoping some random blogging will put me to sleep. Reader beware..who knows what I'll say while in this sleep deprived state of mind.
Any one notice the really big and bright star above the moon tonight? It looked so cool. So I called Kaleb and asked him to get on Starry Night and find out what planet it was. Listen up all you homeschoolers...well and any one else interested in astronomy...If you don't have Starry Night...GET IT! This is one of the coolest programs on our computer. It is awesome. You can track back thousands of years and see what position the stars and planets were in at any given date in history...even where they will be in the future. So cool. Especially to track back and see what the sky looked like in the middle east around the time of Christ's birth. Anyway, so he calls me back and tells me it is Venus. "Cool" I say. Then I make the mistake of asking, "What does Venus stand for anyway? You know what god or whatever." My sweet darling son replies, "I don't know I am not a pagan." I love his sense of humor. He then filled me in on what I wanted to know. Speaking of star gazing, you must watch this film (Film, that is what I am calling all movies now, because that is what William calls them...it is so cute. "Mummy, I want to watch a film.") where was I? Oh yes, you must watch this film called Bethlehem Star...at least that is what I think it is called. It is sort of like a documentary...maybe it is a documentary. It is about this lawyer who gets all interested in the Bethlehem star that the magi followed to find Jesus. He uses this same software to take you back. He then explains a bunch of cool stuff about the alignment of the planets and what they mean...then brings in the scripture. It is so amazing. You must, must, must, watch it.
1:07 getting a bit more sleepy.
I can't believe it is November. In a couple of weeks it will be one year since God called us to adopt. Nearly one year since we first laid eyes on those two sweet children SLEEPING down the hall. Man I can't believe it. What is even harder to believe is that we have been home for four months. Time is just flying by. I can't imagine life without them. If fact it is hard to remember what life was like before they came home. They are so much a part of us. What a year. I need to call our social worker and schedule our six month post adoption visit. I think we are going to ask her how much it would be to update our home study. Ya know...just in case :)
Really I can't believe that I just typed that. Am I nuts? No...I don't think I am. Our Lord has just graciously given us a small piece of His heart for the orphan. Now we just have to figure out what He wants us to do with it. Reckless abandon...that is what I want. Totally abandoned to my Savior. Some would call it foolishness. I actually had a pastor tell me that one time (not my current pastor I might add) "There is a fine line between faith and foolishness." Is there? I don't think there is. Faith pleases God...His word says so. In fact it says WITHOUT faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please Him. No, I don't think there is a fine line. I think if we are acting in faith...it pleases Jesus. There is no foolishness in that...nope, not ever.
Our family is coming to a crossroads. I can seen it...so can my beloved. We see a couple of different roads for our family. All of them appealing to us is one way or another. All of them leave us with doubts and fears. Moving to Uganda and caring for children. Buying land here and focusing on helping others to adopt...maybe adopting a couple more ourselves. Staying where we are, near our church and friends we love so dearly. We see the paths, but do not know which the Lord would have us take. So, we wait on Him. Knowing full well that each of those paths will require faith. Knowing that where ever He leads us, it will be good.
It's 1:27...I think I might be able to shut things down and get some sleep. Maybe...I hope so anyway.
Posted by Melissa at 12:46 AM
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I love quilts. Quilts of all kinds. If I were going to have a collection of something it would be quilts. Well, and buttons...but that is an entirely different post. I decided several weeks ago to attempt to make a simple square pattern quilt of my own. My beloved joyfully took me to the Quilt Haus, and I picked out some pre-cut squares to begin my adventure. I chose a collection of fabrics called "Prairie Paisley." This is how I do most things, I get some wild hair and decide to do something new. I have no clue what I am doing or what I am getting myself into...but I dive in nonetheless. Anyway, we get home and I immediately begin to try and piece this thing together. I just couldn't do it. I couldn't find a pattern of laying things out that I liked. I was so frustrated. Richard ever so lovingly pointed out that the quilt on our bed had no pattern either. He told me to get over it and get to quilting. I put everything back into the bag and hung it on my bathroom door. Fast forward several weeks through a trip to Michigan and an emergency trip to Kansas for my grandfather's funeral. There I was in my bedroom with that bag of scraps taunting me. So yesterday I pulled them out, and with out worry (OK, there was plenty of worry...but I pushed through) about how it would look minus a definable pattern, I got to sewing.
Posted by Melissa at 2:15 PM
Monday, October 27, 2008
I guess I need to make Monday "Double Post Monday." Seems as though I always have too much to say on Monday. Vent with me will you?
Why has my Wal-Mart been out of cream of mushroom soup for almost two months? TWO MONTHS people! I have had it up to here with that stinkin' place. They NEVER have stocked shelves. If it was only the soup, I wouldn't vent...but it is many other items I need. Like fiber, but I will leave that for another post...or maybe not.
Why is the gym synonymous with anger for me? Why must there always be such irritating people on the news? Really, do they do searches for the most ignorant people to interview? I really must find something else to do other than watching the news while working out. It can't be good for my blood pressure.
Speaking of getting angry at the gym...I had a double dose today. Here I am trying desperately to tone up my arms, minding my own business when what do I see? A man covered in Obama buttons, wearing a shirt that says "Pastors for Peace" Let me tell you I wanted to give this guy peace all right. A big ol' piece of my mind. He is a pastor and voting for Obama? Could someone please help me to understand how someone could teach the word of God and be voting for Obama. I just don't get it...really I don't. Unless he is not really reading his Bible...that makes sense. A pastor that teaches the word of God, but doesn't read it. That would probably be how we got to where we are in the good ol' US of A.
So, when we are in the Obamanation, and we have socialized medicine, will I have better luck than I have now? Can I expect to be able to make an appointment and actually see a doctor before January 13, 2009? Seriously...can I expect better service? You don't have to answer that...I already know the answer.
How is this for weird...I walked into my bedroom and thought, "I better close the widow, it is getting chilly in here." Immediately after I had the thought, the window slammed shut. Was that answered prayer...or should I find an exorcist?
Ah, now I feel better. Venting is such cheap therapy :)
Posted by Melissa at 9:15 PM
Posted by Melissa at 11:22 AM
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Grace and I are leaving for Michigan in the morning. She is thrilled and excited. Me? Well, it is travel away from home. If you have been reading my blog for any length of time you know, travel is not one of my top ten favorite things.
Could someone save me from my self and come over and disconnect my internet? Or at least confirm that this (WARNING...there is a picture) is not what is on my eye. It's not...right???
Last but not least I leave you with a funny tale from my day. Richard says I should not tell you the child...so I won't. But, she is leaving for a trip in the morning :) Mostly this is for my mom and dad, they will get a kick out of it. The above unmentioned child comes into our room and asks, "Is water a liquid?" I quickly reply, "Well that depends on which state it is in. It is a liquid, but can also be a solid or a gas." She says, "Oh, that explains why I toot so much."
Posted by Melissa at 9:48 PM