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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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Summer Fun

Officially Summer doesn't start until June, but you couldn't tell it around here!
The girlies are distracted and have their eyes set on playing outside during reading and math. As soon as they are done, out the door they fly to take advantage of the puddles left from the last rain storm. They create and play and create some more.
Today, Anna was in the wagon train being pulled by horses......and Then they were transformed from Erika to Sarah, Sarah to Ms. Varageese, and Anna into Lottie :)
I wonder what will happen when I call them in???
Mrs. Varageese will you please come in for Language Arts?

Sometimes, I would like to join them and be transformed into a magical world where the laundry is all done, the dishes are put away and the front and back porches are clean, and I am sitting in my clean white linen pants with no hand prints, sipping iced tea on a perfect non humid day, reading without distraction. :)

Ahhhhh!






Ok, I'm awake now. Time for Language Arts!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Premature Cicata


Yesterday, we were all outside taking care of the yard, the animals, the garden; putting siding on the house and re screening the screens. We are not done! Surprise!
BUT.... we did find some interesting things. When Anna pulled a stone away from the ground to move it, there was a deep hole. She thought it was a snake hole, but it was a cicata hole. AND.... there was a cicata in that hole. He didn't appreciate the light thrust down upon his underground dark cave, as he is not quite ready to come out and become bird food. It takes a long time for a cicata to form and come out of the ground. They are harmless creatures, but very interesting. How does he know that he isn't ready to fly? It seems that God's handprint is in everything. Even the most insignificant bug. He buried himself back up with mud, and the girls will watch closely as the time comes for him to emerge, shed his shell and fly away. Summer is so full of wonder and awe. Isn't he a cutie pie?

Papa Dima is Given Permission to Come!

Papa Dima and his family will be traveling to Texas in June. We are so happy that they are able to come to America and see us. The girls are especially excited. They have such fond memories of Dima and Galya. We are looking forward to treating them to Texas BBQ. :)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Memorial Today

Many of you already know that Steven Curtis Chapman's 5 year old daughter was killed tragically in an accident that occurred in the driveway of their home.

This has touched the hearts of all parents across the world, and very much touched many in the adoption community. Their daughter is from China, and they were only able to know her such a very short time. She just turned five less than 2 weeks ago.

As I type this, a very special family is sitting at the funeral for their beloved daughter and sister.

Please pray for The Chapman family, that the Lord would give them comfort and a peace that surpasses all human understanding.

Though we do not know the Chapman family personally, we mourn with them.

http://www.stevencurtischapman.com/

There is a wonderful utube video you can go to from their sight to see little Maria doing the dishes with daddy.
Also there is another web site for donations to Shoashona's Hope, a ministry dedicated to financially helping those pursuing international adoption.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Let's Play Teenager????

This is what my sweet Sarah said today! And "how' exactly do you play teenager?








YIKES!!!!!!!

Nothing Like Spreading Yourself All Over the House!

"Mama! Can you put my legs on?"
Sure, where are they?

Ummm. My socks are in my room, and one liner is in my room I think and my legs might be in the bathroom, I don't remember. :)

So I went on a leg hunt this a.m.

What else do mother's have to do?








Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ukraine Here We Come!





We are so blessed. We will be going to Ukraine for a short term mission trip in September. We will be able to visit with Papa Dima and his family, and Mr. Hal Tait.
The focus of our trip will be to visit the orphanages that Dima teaches at on a regular basis and visit the TB Sanitarium and hopefully the Infirm and Older Persons home.

Dima sent a couple of pictures of an Elderly lady and my heart was so touched by those pictures.

I can barely contain my excitement, at the thought of going once again to Ukraine.
We left our hearts there 2 years ago and have longed to go back.

We know that all is in God's timing, and that the girls will be well taken care of in our absence.

Eventually, we will take them with us, but not this time for this occasion.
As you think of it, please hold us up in your prayers.

A few people have asked about contribuitons:

If you would like to contribute to the missions trip fund, which will go to purchase bibles, clothing, school supplies, shoes, socks, blankets, adult pajamas, slippers, etc, you can send a donation to:

Community Bible Chapel
418 E. Main Street
Richardson TX 75081

In the memo area put: "Miscellaneous missions: Ukraine Trip 2008"

Most of all, we covet your prayers.

Right now, pray that we can find cheap airline tickets. :)

I am probably going to start a new blog specifically for Ukraine Missions, but need some time to pray and discuss it with Mike and our church leadership.

Bless Ya'll

And SEE some of YOU In UKRAINE!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Way of Love

The Way of Love


Truly loving a person isn't just loving them to their face.
It is loving them behind their back too.

It isn't being kind when somebody is watching
It is being kind when nobody is watching.

When somebody speaks ill of another
Now you have two people to show love.

It isn't just loving your friends
But loving those who aren't like you.

The path that Jesus walked
Isn't an easy path.

It requires that self be put to death on a daily basis.
On an hourly basis.
On a minute by minute basis.

And that Christ be exalted in all
we say and do.

Come, let's die together..........

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Mother's Joy

I have two very dear friends and both of them experienced true joy this weekend.
The first one happened on Saturday evening, when her son walked down the isle of Believers' Chapel to be married to the love of his life.
The second one shed tears of joy when her son walked to his car to go to work for the first time since his terrible accident a few months ago.

Both incidents were so very different in nature, other than the walking.... but both brought extreme joy to the mothers.

Hopefully, nobody will have to experience the trauma of a child's life lingering in the balance between here and eternity, and hopefully nobody will have to see their child suffer. But for those who join the club of the wounded child, they are all too familiar with that sheer joy.

So, congratulations to my dear friend's children's accomplishments.
One for tying the knot, the other for going to work by himself.

Good for you both. :)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Covenant Theology and Ducks


So you might be thinking, "What does covenant theology have to do with a Duck?"
Well, let me tell you a story.

Over the last year we have been discussing baptism with the girls,after 2 expressed a desire for baptism. They have learned to explain it quite well.

Since then, Anna has been baptized, but Erika and Sarah have not.
Anna was baptized when Erika was in a body cast, and since that time, the elders of our church are discussing if children should be baptized. (that is another post)

So, on Sunday morning, our teacher was teaching on Baptism. He mentioned several scriptures that related to "and they and their whole household were baptized."

Anna immediately picked up on "and their whole household", and that got her to thinking..... a dangerous thing sometimes for her....

"The duck is part of the household, she is in our family"....

Soooo,
She came in from playing and announced, "I Baptized the Duck!"

"WHAT?"

She said,

"I read her a verse from the Bible, Sang a Song, when she heard the word God, she quacked, so I baptized her." :)

We now have a Christian Duck. :)

I might start calling her Sister Aunt Jemima Puddle Duck or Saint Aunt Jemima Puddle Duck.

So What is a Girl To Do...

When all her paper dolls are used up?
She Makes her own! :)


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Broken Vessel



This morning, I was getting ready for the day and decided to make the usual Iced Tea for the day. I have had this favorite glass pitcher for several years. It wasn't costly by any means, but it was very useful. Well, as I was pouring the water into the pitcher to make the iced tea, I heard this "ping". I know that sound. It reminded me of a pyrex dish that exploded in the oven one year when I was broiling fish. NOW THAT WAS A MESS to clean up!

I looked for the crack in the pitcher but didn't see it. But, I noticed tea was leaking out. Mike suggested an old bath towel to wrap around it and soak up the tea so it didn't get all over. I took him up on that suggestion and then lifted the Pitcher off of the counter. The tea gushed into the towel and the bottom of the pitcher was missing. It had cracked around a seam in the bottom.

I was observing that pitcher all day today and thought about it. I cannot use it anymore as it is a "broken vessel".

Then I started thinking about how God sees us. We are all "broken vessels". We are "cracked pots", we are not beneficial in our broken state at all! Yet God lovingly crushes us, and remakes us into vessels of honor and not vessels of destruction.
He takes our broken lives, our broken dreams, our broken hearts and fixes them, makes them correct and mends them.

It is funny how a simple thing, like a broken pitcher can cause me to reflect on the loving hands of my Heavenly Father. I was that broken pitcher. I was that wounded vessel. I was no longer good for anything. I am still being molded, still being broken, still being worked on and fashioned. He took my heart of stone and turned it to a heart of clay so he could work with it and fashion it into what HE wants it to be. May we all remain pliable in our potter's hands.

From a real cracked pot!

Look Mom!


I discovered a Fish fossil! It really does look like a fish, but I couldn't break her heart and tell her it wasn't. Not yet anyway, she is just too proud of her find. :)
It really does look like a fish, so at least it is a very cool rock!

How About a little Toast with that Jelly!

Visit Delayed


It appears that our Dear Friends Dima, Galya and Irra Solyakov's visit will be delayed for a while due to trouble getting visas in a timely manner. :(

It is easier for us to go to Ukraine than for them to come to the United States. We never really think about it that much because we already live here and can come and go as we please. But when it comes to those who are non citizens wanting to come and visit it is a long and arduous process.

Please Pray for the Solyakovs as they wait patiently that the Lord will comfort them, as they will most likely miss their daughter's college graduation.

We do look forward to seeing them very soon.

Brother Hal on the other hand, is in Waco now, and will be staying with us over the weekend and we really are looking forward to his visit.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ok, Call me Callous....

But I couldn't stop laughing when I saw this "tomb stone". She had everything right but the birth date. It was MAY not March. :)

I never heard her USE a name for him, as we don't name our food, so it could be just a dramatic act or it could be that his name really was Birdsaye. BUT.... either way, on Thanksgiving Day, he will be on my plate.

The Flowering Dogwood




Here is a picture of the Flowering Dogwood. I contacted Amy at Purdue Plant and Pest Diagnostic Lab, and she kindly gave permission for me to use it.

If you notice, this is a Dual Color Flowering Dogwood. I was showing it to the girls as an example of being "grafted". We had talked earlier last week about being "grafted" into our family through adoption.

The branches that are grafted into the dogwood tree MUST be part of the tree in order to get nourishment and blossom. In the same way, when we are adopted, we become part of a family and we are nourished and blossom.

I think the Dogwood Tree is a very good picture of Adoption. It is beautiful and in the case of the dual colored Dogwood, its diversity makes it even more beautiful.
You cannot have this beauty without the grafting that took place.

I think we are going to plant a Dogwood in the Fall. It will be our family tree. :)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Big Guess

Today was a BIG day. The time had come to put the big turkey in the Freezer. To get him from Large Feathered Fellow to Neatly Freezer Wrapped and Ready to Thaw at Thanksgiving took nearly ALL DAY LONG!

Part of it was because he was so stinking big, I couldn't use the scalding pot. He wouldn't fit; NOR could I lift him in and out.

So, this a.m., I did the dirty deed, and Anna complained that we always eat the boys.
Somehow I remember that comment coming from our own boys. :)

After a couple of hours it was plucking time. Boy I could have used Grampa right about now. But the girls and I plucked and plucked and plucked. Then, it was time to bring him in for the big gut clean. It took FOREVER. Then, the final pluck, with all those little stubborn feathers. Then the clean and rinse. Then the WRAP. It took a LOT of wrap to keep him safe until Thanksgiving.
Ok, a different sort of safe. :)

So here is a picture of Anna clutching her Duck friend, who she is so very thankful is also FEMALE and not large enough to warrant all that plucking.
(that means, Aunt Jemima Puddleduck gets to live)

The other 2 pics are of the Turkey......










Anybody want to take a guess on Weight??

We weighed him. It is great having more minds, as mine doesn't work so well sometimes. I wanted to weigh him and I didn't even think of bringing the scale to the counter. I was telling the girls, "I don't know if I will be able to weigh him cuz I can't carry him to the bathroom!" Anna said, "Mom, we can always bring the scale into the kitchen!" THANKS ANNA! (why didn't I think of that) duh......:)

If you are coming for Thanksgiving and guess the right weight, you get first dibbs on the Turkey, though I'm sure there will be plenty to go around.

Happy Mother's Day

To all the Mom's out there.

There was a contest for Mom's from Teleflora and NBC. It was a "Nominate" your favorite mom contest yada yada yads....

I never pay attention to this stuff, but this one hit a nerve, not only with me, but with many of my friends.

There were several categories: Working mom, stay at home mom, and then there was NON-MOM!
What is a "NON-MOM"?
A non mom was an adoptive mom or grandparent.

What a SLAP in the FACE for every child who has yearned for a mom.
What a SLAP in the face for every MOM who has YEARNED for a child.

To their credit, they tried to "fix it", but then made it just as offensive by making an "adoptive" mom category!

So WHAT IS an adoptive mom? She is a MOM.

She is a mom who works or stays home. She is the face each little one sees when they wake in the morning, the one who wipes their tears, bandages their wounds, comforts them when they are sick, when they are hurt and cheers them on at endless events throughout their lives. She is the one who does their laundry, helps with homework and supports their every effort.
She is simply a mom.

We don't have "Non-kids", we don't have "adoptive kids", we have kids. They are OUR children and they are not less than. They are not loved differently. They are grafted into our families and they blossom there.

Teleflora and NBC REALLY, REALLY did a disservice to all moms. I hope they learn something from this.

I know this is just a "Hallmark made" holiday, and Mother's day is EVERY day around here. But I'm more concerned with the "message" sent AND how out of tune our society is as a whole. This didn't just get made up by 1 person. This had to pass through MANY MANY hands, and all those people thought those titles were ok.

What does that say about our society and how we view orphans who have found homes?
What does it say about how we view adoption?

Things to ponder......

Any way,

HAPPY MOTHER's DAY TO ALL!

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Home School Bookfair

Today was the big day! We attended the Annual Home School Bookfair. There were thousands of people there, and we were happy to go to see our "annual friends." The only time we see them is at the book fair! Our favorite booth is the Rod and Staff booth. They have WONDERFUL curriculum for Language Arts, Spelling, Reading and Math.

It was so fun when the Pastor from the Rod and Staff booth came out with a hearty greeting. We have seen each other annually for 16 or 17 years! He came to show me a book his daughter had written about Russian Orphans. I thought that was very sweet of him to remember us out of thousands of faces that he sees every year.

We also visited the site of Jim Weiss. Last year, he gave the girls a free signed CD of stories. (the 12 dancing princesses) This year, we purchased another story CD. The girls have listened to the other one for a year and have not tired of it!
His wife was there and gave the girls another one along with our purchase. Oh my aren't they fortunate!

So, the great thing is, we were able to get all our curriculum lined up for next year rather quickly. I decided to keep with the science we have. I could not justify spending 16.95 per book for a paperback Abeka science book that is so very basic. :(

We still have several units of the curriculum we have, so we will stick with it.
I can't believe we are going to start 4th grade. Everybody is on par and things are going great.

Of course, we purchased numerous Rod and Staff readers. Those are the most wholesome books, and the girls love them.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Celebrating 3 Years With Our Sarah



This was a picture of Sarah 3 years ago:
Oh my, this has been a busy week. Yesterday, the first day of the week was our 3rd anniversary with our little Sarah. She has developed into a wonderful, sweet young lady since she came home.


After our experience at the Doctor that I posted about last week, I won't go into detail on how she understands her standing in our family, other than to say, She VERY much understands that she is secure and loved and that she is in her forever family.

She also knows some very special people cared for her before we knew her and that God had his hand on her life, even in the most difficult of circumstances.

Sarah is blossoming and she loves her family. Most importantly, she love Jesus. She has professed faith and is now a communion taking member of the body of Christ. She takes this very seriously. I cannot wait for those of you who are coming to Dallas soon, to visit with our little girl and rejoice with us. You have had a huge part in her life and because of listening to the call of Christ, Sarah knows Jesus as her savior.

Here are a few more pictures of Sarah up until now.









Thursday, May 1, 2008

Emotional Engergy Filled Days........

It is 6:00 and I am ready to sleep from Exhaustion! What I thought was a "routine" Dr. visit, turned into a Chest X Ray to make sure Sarah's past TB is still in the past. It is, but it always makes me nervous. Then, the Dr. gave information about her hand condition and said she needs to have surgery. SURGERY! We just got over all those surgeries between the 2 girlies. I thought this just might be a year without one. But... that is not to be. :)

The biggest thing is, that in between all this, is the combined realization of "hand" surgery, 3rd anniversary memories and a book we read that had a shocking page in it.
All today. All at once. Poor Sarah.

Sarah has handled most surgeries like a trooper. No issues really at all. But this surgery is different. She had 2 hand surgeries when she first came to the United States from Ukraine and was in a different family. Her memories of those, combined with the recovery is not good. It brings back floods of memories of some bad things that happened to her, directly related to the surgery.

Those memories are already on the "surface" right now because this is that time of year when they flood in. We brought Sarah home the first week of May, 3 years ago.

But for us, the worst part was a book we read in the waiting room. We were both blind sided by the book and I do plan to go back and write the author of the book a note, as I'm sure she had good intentions. They just happened to devastate my daughter in her fragile state today.
Maybe any other time, it wouldn't have bothered her so much, but today of all days, was just too much.

However, I always look at these difficult situations as ways that we can be presented with something, discuss it, understand it and ourselves better and heal.

The Book was about Family Trees.
It was quite interesting and was the 5th book Sarah read while we were waiting.
She loves showing her reading skills which are quite good. The book started with a family tree and explained what a family tree was. The setting was in a school room with harmless little kitties. The kitty teacher explained to the kitty children all about family trees. Sarah was so proud that she already knew what a 2nd cousin once removed was, because that is what Parker is for her. She was beaming....
The next page however had in big huge letters:

"Is Anybody in this Class A D O P T E D ?"

It said some blaze' thing about adoption and that not everybody has the same family tree! WHAT????? The author does NOT understand adoption.

THEN.... the next pages were about divorced parents, step children, etc. etc.
While I understand the idea behind the book, there was this "feel" to it that said, YOU aren't the same, you really DON'T have a REAL family.

Sarah hung her head, and she is NEVER down! Then the news of the surgery, and the memories flooded in. On the way home she was sweet but contemplative. Then she started talking about how she was dreading the hand surgery and that she remembered some unfortunate events after her last hand surgery. We were able to discuss those memories privately in the car on the way home. My heart breaks just thinking about it.

After we got home, I knew I needed to talk to her about the book, so I brought it up during afternoon discussion time and included everybody.

She did what I expected. She burst into tears. She said, "What about my real mama? Will I ever see her? Who is she? Why did she leave me? "How come I don't have a picture?"(Anna has a picture) All these questions we have discussed before. And so we talked about them again. I was holding her in my arms and rocking her and I told her I was sorry for her pain. She looked at me and started laughing and crying at the same time, and said, "Me too, you're the one who brought it up!"

"Well, yes I am... but I think we needed to don't you?" "Yes," and her beautiful smile returned.

I told each of the girls that many people don't understand adoption, because they don't understand our God. I talked to them about being "grafted into the vine" and what that REALLY means. Fruit cannot grow unless it is truly part of and taking nourishment from the vine.
God has adopted us as sons and daughters, he doesn't refer to us as lesser children.
He calls us his CHILDREN, plain and simple. Then I talked to them about their birth certificate. Those birth certificates say that on June 15, 1999, Daddy and Mommy were in Kharkiv Ukraine and gave birth to Sarah. In Reno Nevada on November 1998,and in June of 1998 for Erika we were in Ukraine. That is WHAT THEY SAY. Adoption is one and the same with giving birth to a child according to the law.

So when it comes to a Family TREE, you have been GRAFTED into the TREE just as if you had ALWAYS been there. There is no separate place on that tree for adopted children.
They are right there next to all the others. PARKER IS your 2nd cousin once removed.
FOREVER. PERIOD, no matter what any book says. :)

They were all smiling.

Now I know that they all know they have a birth family. There is no doubt. And at another time and place, if their curiosity causes them to search for that person that is fine and I will support their efforts. I do wish Sarah had a picture of her birth mother. It would put her mind to rest more. But she doesn't, nor does Erika. So for now, we look at handwriting. They both have their birth parents handwriting on documents.

I know Sarah will get through this. From the looks of her tonight, she is doing great. She just happily went running through the house saying, "Dear Sister, lets go care for the animals" in her best British accent.:) I know more of this will come up in the future. It is the nature of adoption;
Great loss and great gain.

I'm starting to see God's plan in this Hand Surgery as a way to help her to get past the bad memories of the last one and be able to fill her mind with good memories about this one.Some of the things that happened to her previously, post surgery, were so traumatic, and one of the questions she asked me in the van when we first met her, had to do with her hands.
It still breaks my heart.
You might be thinking, "Can a person have good memories of surgery?" Yes they can. We can make them, by being comforting parents, soothing, consoling, and also making sure they get to have some fun once the IV comes out. The hospital is a great place for this. They make sure the kids have good memories.

If you think about Sarah over the next few months, please keep her in your prayers.
She is very worried about being in a cast during the summer and is hoping it won't be on her birthday. I promised if we can't go swimming on her birthday, it will be Chucky Cheese, for which she was very happy. :)

Now, to find out who wrote that book and set them straight. :)

Sarah Having Surgery

I have been noticing that Sarah is using her left hand less and less and even though it has always been "droopy" and rather weak, I didn't know there was anything to be done.

Sarah will have been with us 3 years on May 5, and her hand surgeries were before she arrived.

I made an appt. for follow up with the hand clinic. The Dr. was very kind. He looked at her hand and said that he had operated on it before and couldn't understand what had happened, but for her to have better use of it, he will need to redo the operation. It will mean she has to be in a cast up to her armpit for 6 weeks. She isn't too thrilled about that, but if it means better function with that hand, it will be worth it. The tendon that runs along the top of the arm is what they will be operating on.
He said the only thing he could figure is that it slipped from its position.



She was feeling rather dramatic about the whole thing, and is really bummed about the brace she has to wear until surgery. :)

They will call us with a date.

You Are Still Holy

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