His Mercy

"His Mercies Are New Every Morning"

A Thought

In this life we can not always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.." :) Mother Teresa

Prayer Quote

“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis

Faith

I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Our Katie


I just want to say something about our Katie. Katie is my very first grandchild.
She was a package deal, and came along with her mom into our family. When I first met Katie, she was a spunky 5 year old. Now she is 11. WOW! What a great kid. What a great grand kid! I just love her so much. She is one of the lights of my life. I love it when she comes to stay the night. I love it when she participates with us in all our craziness. She has openly welcomed each new child into our lives without hesitation, even though she knows it takes gramma time away from her and Lilly. I'm so proud of you Katie. BTW- she won the spelling BEE at her school and is getting ready for JUNIOR HIGH! I can't believe it. She is one beautiful girl.

So here's to you Katie.

I love you

Gramma!

Our Weekend Retreat

Last weekend, all of us were able to go to Family Retreat weekend at Peaceable Kingdom, located just outsie Killeen in the Hill Country.

Peaceable kingdom is a 5013c campground dedicated to serving children with special needs and their families. The Camp is awesome. When we arrived there was a dinner waiting for us, and table games. Then everybody headed up to the theater for more games and a Friday night movie. We then went to our cabins and got snuggled into bed. Every bed in the girl's cabin was taken so Erika and I shared a bed. Anna slept upstairs and Sarah slept on a top bunk across the room. There were giggles until about 1 in the a.m. and then it finally got quiet.

In the A.M., Mike and Anna went for an early walk and the rest of us headed to the main lodge for breakfast and games. Then they divided us into 4 groups. The girls were in 2 different groups and Mike and I wound up in the same group. There were team events including pulling ropes with a hook on the end in order to pick up blocks of wood and move them into a designated area. Some of the children had to tell everybody what to do and which way to pull. (there were 5 or 6 ropes connected)
Then there was Z. A cable tied between trees that formed a Z. They had to figure out how to get between trees with just that line to step on. (2 feet off the ground) TEAM WORK! Then there was the 3 wooden platforms of different size. 4or5 people stood on the platform with 2 planks of wood in different sizes. They had to figure out how to get everybody to the next platform without touching the ground.

Then there was the carnival in the afternoon, put on by a group of teens from the area. After a Chinese dinner, put on by the local Kiwana's club with decorations and all, there was a cool round the fire marshmallow roast. Then, it was time to go to the theater once more.

On Sunday A.M. we headed back home. We really had a neat time.


We were able to meet some wonderful families whose children are all served at Scottish Rite Hospital. I have never met a finer group of parents.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Our Goats Have Arrived!





We have some very excited girlies around here. On Monday afternoon, we picked up 2 of our new baby goats. The 3rd one, a boy, is still too young but will join us soon. The babies have fit right in. They are letting the girls feed them by hand and also letting them walk them on leashes. Oh, has this ever brought huge waves of joy!
The goat in the Pink Collar is Erika's. Her name is "Sweetie Pie". The goat with the yellow collar is Sarah's. Her name is Joy. Anna's is the boy and she still can't decide on a name. She has been googling pet goat names for a few days and her head is swimming in ideas. If you have any goat name ideas, leave a few in the comments. She'd like that. He looks like the girls, but he is a boy. :)

Now you may wonder why I have a picture of the Turkey in this blog. He's just so cute and was courting the goats. He gets very confused. :) But..... what can I say, he's a Minich! :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Our Very Newest Family Member



We have a large family and we are spread out all over the United States. But that doesn't mean we don't stay in contact and think about each other each and every day!

Our newest family member was born just last week, February 21, 2008. His name is Parker and weighed in at 7 lbs. 10 oz's. and 19" long. Kellie, his mom, who endured quite a labor, is our first cousin once removed, and 2nd cousin to our children. That makes Parker, our.....????? Hmmmm. Newest Family member.:)

Kirk and Robyn, our cousins are the proud grandparents.

You know, a baby is always such a wonderful thing. The sweet smell, that pathetically sweet cry, the gums without teeth, that special dazed look that dares to focus; such special moments. We look into those little eyes and realize that a whole separate, special, new life, apart from us has entered the world. And while he is apart, breathing on his own, a separate intity, he is also very much a PART OF us. He is totally dependent upon his mom and dad for his life, and what a lucky little guy to be born into such a loving family.

A couple of days after Parker was born, he gave his mom and dad a big surprise. Actually, he gave them a big shock. Parker came into this world with hemophilea.
He let them know, by bleeding. Of course they took him to the emergency room and the
diagnosis was made. He has been in the hospital and at this writing, I am not sure if he is home yet.

No parent wants to hear the words that their child will be different; that their child will suffer more than other children; that their child has a "condition". The words and information go in, and swim around somewhere and we are overwhelmed with trying to comprehend how this could happen. How come us? How come Him?

I don't dare to know the answer to those questions, but there is one thing I do know.
It is that GOD already KNEW. He will hold your hands dear family as you go through the fire. He will be with you as you raise this precious little boy to be all that he can be. And Parker will grow, and smile and laugh and reach out to be loved, and it is so wonderful that on the other end, his family will grow and smile and reach out and they will all connect and love each other and be thankful for this precious little gift. And we cannot wait to meet our new little family member.

Congratulations!

For those reading this blog: Please hold Parker and his family up in your prayers.
They have much to glean about his condition and much to ponder.

Thanks

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sam the Man Turns 1!!!


Samuel Parker Minich has turned 1 year old. I can't believe it. He is such a sweet baby and full of ENERGY! I am sad that I cannot see him as much as I would like, but I know that I'll see him again soon. Happy Birthday Sweet Baby Sam.... and Happy 1 year anniversary to Joe and Becca. (parent anniversary that is) :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Peaceable Kingdom

This is where we will be heading today. We are so looking forward to the mini vacation for the girls.

http://peaceablekingdomretreat.com/

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Washing Machine Woes Or....

How To Spend A Zillion Bucks At The Laundry Mat!


The Washing machine and I have a love hate relationship. I love it when it works and hate it when it doesn't. This week, I hate it.

It is broken yet again. It is only 9 years old so I really don't get why it is so tired. Although DH did pull two dollars and 56 cents in change and a guitar pick out of the water pump last year.

Well, I had several loads of laundry to do, because I kept doing the same load over because it wasn't spinning right and the laundry was too wet. It finally died and refused to spin any more. It wasn't a burned wire like last month. It was the motor.

So, since we are going camping this weekend and need clothes to wear, and I do not like going on vacation without a clean house, we took a lovely field trip to the laundry mat.
Do you know how hard it is to find one of those babies? They aren't very popular around here. We had to drive quite a ways and the place was pretty decent. But a load of laundry was between 1.00 and 1.50, depending upon the pre-soak choice.

The dryers were 25cents for a 10 minutes. Then you had to pay again. Of course it was about 75cents to a dollar by the time we were done drying.

The grand total was 14.50!

I have been directed to look at LG washing machines. So far consumer reports are great. The prices are a little steep, but if you consider how much laundry mats cost, they are cheap.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Goats Are A'Comin'



It has been 7 long months without sheep or goats in our yard. In previous posts I mentioned how our sheep were devoured by coyotes. It was a sad event, and we have done some research on dogs that protect livestock etc. But.... I just hate dog poop. If the girls were a little bit older, maybe it wouldn't be an issue, but I just don't like the idea of Erika falling in the yard and landing in dog poop.

Goat poop is great stuff. Great for the garden, and it is hard and round, so even if you get near it, it isn't nearly as devastating as dog poop.

That said, Dad made a shelter for the Turkeys, and we are going to convert the former Chicken coop into the goat barn. Here are some picures of the girls, "Will Work For Goats!"

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Today Is Becca's Birthday


Happy Birthday dear Becca.

Becca is one of the most beautiful people I know, both inside and out. She is the loving wife of our 3rd son Joe. She is the loving and dedicated mom to our Grandson Sam. (who will be 1 at the end of this month)

I am so glad that Becca is in our lives. The first time we met Becca face to face was when Joseph was still in college. The two of them had been conversing over the years and were dear friends.

Then.... She came for Thanksgiving. Wow! What a week. She and Joe went from teenage friends to adult friends with futures in mind all in one week! By the end of that visit, they were talking marriage! They had their first date that week and Joe took her to Down Town Dallas by train. (so his driving wouldn't scare her to death) He even got off on the wrong exit and left her on the train. Somehow, they found each other on the tracks, and it was full steam ahead after that. LOL

She has been such a delight to our family and we love it when they come to visit us from Maryland.

Happy Birthday dear Becca. :)

Tim's Birthday


Tim's birthday was yesterday. February 15, 1981 at 6:00 in the morning. Tim is our delight and our favorite #2 son. :) He has grown up so much and is a MAN. Wow, all our guys are "MEN". I'm so proud of him. He is a good son,brother,husband and uncle. Most importantly, he loves and trusts the Lord with his whole heart.
Happy Birthday dear, favorite #2 son. :)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

It is another Valentine's Day. Love is in the Air, along with the smell of Chocolates and Steak. :)

We are having our Annual Valentine's Dinner tonight. Every year we invite a different couple and have a steak dinner, with table cloth, low lights, nice dishes, etc. We don't go anywhere, we do it at home, while the kids have a pizza party in the other room. The kid rule is: Don't disturb the dinner guests. They get to stay up late and watch a movie and eat Pizza.

Today, we are making some fun things in school, all Valentine Related. Word search, story, color pages, and the All important Valentine.

Mike was surprised by a card this a.m. (I can never wait) Inside, Sony and Cher singing
"I Got You BABE"! Ahhh. too fun.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Erika's Surprise



This morning Erika was up when we thought she was still getting her normal beauty sleep. I heard a few little bangs in the room but didn't think anything about it.
When she wakes in the a.m. she always calls for us to come and get her.
This a.m. however was different.

Bouncy Sarah came running into the kitchen to tell us that Erika was UP and DRESSED!
What?

So we went to investigate. Sure enough, she pushed past her fear and became brave. She stood without her legs on and got her clothing from her drawer and dressed herself.

This is HUGE. As she learns to get more proficient at it, it will free her up to get around when she doesn't have on her feet. So in the middle of the night if she needs to use the toilet, she will be able to go without calling for us to carry her.

What a great surprise.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Spud Night At Awana




Tonight was bring a Spud night. Here is what the girls came up with.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Joseph's Birthday


Tomorrow, will be Joseph's Birthday. He is our FAVORITE NUMBER 3 Son! I remember when the boys were young I used to tell them... You are my favorite #2, #1,#4 or #3 son, depending upon whom I was talking to.

I remember Joe being a baby just like it was yesterday. Where did all that time go?
Now Joe is a father himself!

When Joe was little, he was just a big bundle of energy. He was what today would be called ADHD, with some attitude added to that!

The Lord used him in my life to keep me on my knees in prayer and in the Word, searching for ways to reach that stubborn yet tender little heart of his.

Joe went to bed with a glazed over exhausted look on his face that was saying "I MUST PLAY" "I MUST PLAY" "I MUST PLAY".
And he played with his whole heart, his whole body, his whole soul. And when something went wrong, he mourned with his whole heart, his whole body and his whole soul.

Maybe Joe is why I'm so exhausted to this day. :)

Well, I was so worried when he was 3 that he'd be one of those kids who went to prison OR he'd be the Apostle Paul. I knew there would be nothing in between for him.

At 10 his goal was to learn every guitar cord in the history of guitars and at 12, he started to look at theology very closely.
He started reading RC Sproul and all about "forensic justification".

And now, he is in Seminary. (reformed theological seminary) He is married to his wonderful wife Becca, whom he met in an RC Sproul Chat Room where NEITHER was supposed to be, but my guess is they were the only 13 yo's in there. :)

So, happy birthday to my wonderful, favorite #3, energetic, ADHD with attitude, non prisoner, Apostle Paul lovin',wife lovin', baby lovin', seminary lovin', Jesus Lovin' Son.

When It Comes To Adoption....



How old is too old? I'm speaking of parents here not children. A child is never too old to be adopted, though some misinformed believe that to be true. I think some of this stems from a well respected man called James Dobson. I remember him saying children learn most of their values by the age of 5. (don't quote me on that exactly)
Meaning, by 5, a child is pretty set.

I say a big Respectful BOLOGNA!

Parents are much more set in their ways and need to relearn many things as each child is born or comes into the family to help mold and shape us into what the Father wants us to be. :)

So how old is too old? I believe in the United States, you can adopt until the age of 63. In Ukraine, there is no age right now.(they were looking at no more than a 40 year age difference. Meaning if you are 45 you could not adopt a child under 5.) Different countries have different views.

So do you have bedrooms just sitting there? Kids gone or in college? You are in your 40's or 50's? Don't you have fond memories of those earlier parenting years?
Why not open your heart and home to a child who will most likely wind up on the street?

For those who think it is too late for an older child, think about how our Heavenly Father looks at us? Are we too old for him to reach? Are we too old for him to change? If he can reach down and change the heart of a 50 year old alcoholic, is His arm to short to reach down and change the heart of a 5 year old, or a 15 year old?

We are to work until HE comes. Consider how you might fulfill that job, and fill up those spare bedrooms!

(the above photo is of a few teenage orphans in Kharkov Ukraine, in about 2 to 3 years, these girls will be sent out onto the streets and probably face a life of prostitution, drug abuse, or worse)
They look like the girls down the street, and they could be at home sleeping in one of those "spare" bedrooms. :)

All About Losing

I have been keeping up with a couple of blogs, and the issue of loss and losing has been coming up. We are almost 2 years down the Road with Erika, and 3 with Sarah, 4 with Anna. Yet, the issue of loss is always there. YES there are gains, but there are also losses. Every birthday, they are reminded that they lost a birth mother. Every Christmas, they are reminded that there are people out there probably celebrating Christmas without them.
The issues aren't necessarily on the "front burner" of their minds or even mine, we love birthdays and Christmas, but they are there.

I was thinking about what our children "lose" when they become our children. They lose EVERYTHING. Even their underwear. They take NOTHING with them. Then, those little fragile lives are placed into the hands of complete strangers and they get on a train, then a plane, then in a car, and these are traumatic experiences for them. They go off into the unfamiliar, unkown armed many times with misinformation like, "your new parents will beat you, sell you, they are going to take body parts from you" etc.

So not only are they stripped of their dignity, they are armed with fear.

These experiences are so related to our spiritual walk.

Aren't we ALL sick, and naked and fearful and imprisoned and many times don't know it? And here comes our Lord in to rescue us from the pits of despair, and many times because of misinformation, we respond in fear, and we follow kicking and screaming into LIFE because we don't know what it is like to really be alive, we are so used to the familiar.
And just like the orphaned child, grieves his loss and is then able to embrace his gain; we realize, WOW! We have a REAL LIFE I can really trust my Lord. I WANT to hold His hand. I WANT to sit at His feet. I Want Him to love me. I am FULL of Joy unspeakable. This is real LIFE. It is incomprehensible that we would have wanted to stay in our sin.

Our losses become GAIN. It's the process that hurts. But on the other side, we become thankful for the breaking process we go through, as it helps us to understand the joy.

As adoptive parents, it is our ministry to our children to guide them, to lead them to life and to love them through the process, eventually introducing them to yet another hand to Hold. That of our Heavenly Father. What they will come to realize is that He was holding their hand the whole time.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Thursday, February 7, 2008

More Pictures of the Day





The girls had a great day! Tonight, Daddy and his friend are installing shelves along the border of the girlies room. Pictures to come. :)

Ever Hear Of Twisted Sister?





Our neighbor gave the girlies a game called Twister. I was concerned that Erika wouldn't be able to enjoy it. NOT! I forgot, she LOVES to tell her sisters what to do! It is the perfect game! :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

How Do You Know?

Today the question came up, "How do you know when the baby is born if it is a boy or a girl?" I honestly thought we had this covered last year, but apparently my scientific gardening lesson of planting seeds went way over the heads of my students!

Anna piped up and said, "Girls have hair and boys are bald!" Daddy said, "girls have bows and boys don't, bye, I'm going back out to work!" thanks Daddy.:P

I said, "Remember what the billy goat and ram looked like?" Erika said, "that thing?"
Yes. That thing. Girls don't have one, and boys do. Hmmmm. Sarah was mysteriously cleaning the floor and didn't dare get involved in this conversation. :)

Next time, I'll leave Daddy with them and say, "I have to go shopping".

The Mrs. Potato Heads

Monday, February 4, 2008

You Smell Like Ukraine!

This is what Erika said to me this afternoon after I had put on some much needed Oil of Olay. The last time I used Oil of Olay, was in Ukraine! It is so funny how our brains remember smells, seasons, how something felt...
Sarah did something very similar when I pulled out my flannel nightgown that I had not used since we were in Ukraine. She smelled it and it still had a faint scent from the laundry softener used there. She said, "oh mama, this smells like Ukraine." You know, she was right! I smelled it, and it put me right back into our little Apartment in Kharkiv.
But... these are pleasant memories. What if the memory of something we smell or feel, or a certain season evokes a bad memory and causes us pain.
Many times with our children who have had unspeakable torment in thier young lives, this is exactly the case.

I remember hearing such a sweet song, actually so sweet that I have it on my blog to listen to. At one time, it wasn't so sweet. I called 5 year old Anna into our room to hear it and let her press the button. When the song started she got a huge look of fear on her face and said, "I know that song". Then she started to cry and squirm and wanted it turned off NOW! wow.... how could such an innocent song bring such torment to a child? I don't know. But it did.
For the other girls there have been things that have caused them distressing memories.
Seasons for Sarah, and darkness for Erika; a sense of being alone.

How do we get through the tangled mess of distorted memories, tormented pasts, and seasons, songs, smells, familiar looking people?

I don't think we can without the help of the Lord. He is our shelter and our peace, a comfort to us in a time of trouble. If we teach them to run to the Cross when they are frightened, to turn to the Lord for help, to run to mom and dad who will comfort and pray with them when they need stability then these "giants" of our past don't seem to be so big.

Thankfully today, our Anna can listen to that cute little song and likes it.
Sarah isn't as tormented by the season which upset her so much. Erika isn't as
afraid of the dark as she used to be. (still working on it)

Thanks be to the Lord who comforts us and takes away all our fears.

The Weekend



We had a huge weekend. It is Monday a.m. and I think it is still going on. One of the fallouts from loads of activity, is the house work gets left in the dust. So, instead of doing language arts right now, we are cleaning a bedroom. Instead of spelling, we are sorting laundry and instead of writing, we are cleaning ashes out of the fire place.
Will we catch up? Yes. We will. But there is nothing worse than trying to do school in a mess.

Now that that confession is off of my mind....
Friday morning Mike started volunteering at Scottish Rite Hospital. Right now he is in the Radiology department. He really enjoyed it and I'm so glad he is doing it. Friday night we had Timothy, Emily and Kenny over for Friday night pizza. The girls made gifts for Mike's birthday and I got him a gift or two too! His Birthday was actually Saturday, ground hogs day. After a full day, we headed off to ministry group and had a great time of fellowship. We met up with our new out of town friends David, Julie and Daniel, who have just moved here from Atlanta. After a late night, we crashed and got up early for Church. After church, we moved on to having lunch at the favorite Wylie BBQ joint,where kids eat for free, and then headed home for a couple of hours. Then it was off to the Verkler's for a football party. I still couldn't tell who was playing, but from the screaming and cheering from the other room, there was "the most incredible play ever in the history of the game." Something about a guy catching the football in the inzone with his hand and the ball held against his helmet.

Some of us girls were in the Verkler dining area having a pretty intense discussion.
I have much to think about and ponder.

But on a lighter note: here are a few pictures of the girlies getting around the house without legs and feet.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Sarah and Her Daddy


Yesterday I caught this sweet picture of Mike and Sarah. Sarah woke up and couldn't find her leg. "I can't find my leg!" was the first thing we heard in the morning.

Anna went and found it for her while Sarah and Daddy were cuddling on the couch. Here is her reunion with her leg. :)

You Are Still Holy

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