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, April 30, 2009

An Amazing Find!




The girls were cleaning leaves out of the boat. They pulled one of the seats up and thought they saw a baby wild animal. She is wild alright, but she is a baby kitten.
Maybe about 2 weeks old. We don't know how she got in the boat under the seat and immediately began to search for other kittens but there were none.

So, she is being mothered to death by 3 very eager kitty mommies. They are going to vote on a name once we are sure she is going to live. She sure doesn't like the kitten bottle, or the nuk bottle. But she is eating a little bit. Maybe a teaspoon at a time.

I remember raising our dobeman puppies, and I'm glad there is only 1 to feed this time.:)

All the girls immediatly were sad that she was orphaned and didn't have a mommy. But they are confident they can make her happy and secure. :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

4 years with Sarah Part 2





4 Years With Our Sarah

It was 4 years ago when we were first introduced to the concept of "Adoption Disruption". I had never heard of it before. Our friend sent an Email to us that had our social worker's name on it. It was an APB that a little girl needed a home and fast!

Anna had been praying for a sister for about 6 months. We had told her, "If God drops a sister in your lap you'll get one."

Was this email the lap drop?

I showed it to Mike, and we talked about it abit. Then, we got serious. Our social worker was very excited that we were interested. All we knew, was that she was 5, soon to be six. She was from Ukraine. She was missing a leg and fingers, and the family disrupting, could not keep her. We didn't know why, all we knew was that something very special was about to happen.

5 days later.....

We had another little girl. A bundle of energy, and a HUGE blessing to our family from teh Lord. I look back on that experience with disbelief. It was so fast and so special.
We actually picked Sarah up from McDonalds. We call her our "special kids meal".
"We'll have a little girl, bag of fries and a coke to go please." :)

Sarah as been such a delight to us since the day she arrived. I am amazed at what a wonderful, beautiful young lady she is turning into. She loves the Lord, she is a great sister and wonderful daughter. Nobody could ask for anything more. :)

For those who do not know what Adoption Disruption is:

It is when a family adopts a child, and then decides that they cannot continue to be parents to the child. In Sarah's case, the family contacted their agency, who then tried to help them find a family. There are many ways disruption takes place and there are many reasons for it. Once thing I do want to stress however, is that when disruption occurs, it does not mean that there is something wrong with the child. Sometimes, for unknown reasons, things just don't work. In Sarah's case, all we know is that was are so very blessed.

Along with Sarah, came a whole bunch of other people into our lives, including Erika, Sarah's best friend, Papa Dima, who found Sarah is a TB Sanitarium when she was about 18 months old, and Hal Tait, who held Sarah before we did, and she stole his heart, just like she stole ours.

Here are some of our favorite pictures of her.









Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Tweenies


The Tweenies have hit our house like a force!
The girls are turning into ladies before our very eyes! They are maturing in mind and body and we are just in awe at God's wonderful grace in their lives.

The other day, Anna asked to have a mom daughter talk. I love those times with her.
She is sweet and sensitive. She brought the picture frame to me with the 2 pictures of her and her birth mom. The frame had broken and had a crack in it. She asked if we could get a new frame for it.

"Of course we can!" And we did. We went yesterday to get that frame. But before we did, I could see there were questions ready to come. Those hard questions to which there is no answer. The ones that cause pain and tears, and the ones I weep with her over.

"Why did she not keep me?"
"Why did everybody think I was bad?"
"Why did she use drugs?"
"Why did she not give me something to remember her?"

Those questions are so heartbreaking and so hard to answer. I don't know the answer.
I only know that God allowed Anna to go through some difficult times, and also allowed her to come to us and has immensely blessed our home with her presence. Because of her we have Sarah and Erika. Because of her, we have the life we have now. Because of that simple question she asked long ago... "Will you be my mommy?"

When these times come, my heart is ripped out. I am torn, because I want to know too!
WHY DIDN'T she care for you? WHY did she take drugs? WHY?

There are no answers.

But my favorite part is : GOD, in His soverign love for us has touched our hearts, her heart and we are a family in every since of the word.

At the same time she was asking these questions, she was wrapped in my favorite robe and holding on to me, saying, "I love you mommy."

It must be quite strange sometimes, during these confusing times, to be in two worlds.
The world that was and the world that is.

But in a sense, as believers, we are all that way. We live in a world that was, a reality that we were dead in sin and corruption. Yet, we are ALIVE in Christ, through adoption as sons in Christ Jesus!

Though we are very aware of our past, and many times it overshadows our present, we are ALIVE in Christ, and we have NEW LIFE, CHANGED LIFE, and we can live triumphant in HIM.

Anna is very aware that she is loved and cared for. She loves being in the family and has a strong sense of belonging. I strongly believe this will get her through the difficult times as she ponders her past and looks forward to her future.

I just love her to pieces. She is such a gift.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A BUSY WEEKEND!

Timothy, Emily and Kellar came over, starting our Friday night at the movies weekend.
We enjoyed our visit with them.




On Saturday, we had a huge work day. The girlies got their room cleaned out, and we have much to give away. I took a few bags of clothing from all of us to the local charity, and then we started on the infamous goat barn.

Since I broke my foot, I have not kept up with kids doing chores as I should, and boy am I paying for that now. It took us 2 days to finish the goat barn. It was awful!

But now, it smells like sweet hay. I sort of hate to let the goats back in there.

While the girls were cleaning they took a break and played with the babies. Or were the babies playing with them? :)


It was a very productive weekend, and I am ready to go to sleep at 9:00! LOL

Friday, April 24, 2009

An Amish Proverb



Preside over those in your charge with kindness and meekness,
rather than subject them to fear and terror.
An oppressor does not rule long.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

ERIKA AMERICA!



This is a special week. It is Erika's Third Anniversary being home. In Fact, if memory serves me right. Today is that day.

It was such a special home coming, for us. When we first came home, somebody asked her to say something in Russian and she said, "Erika America!" That was one of her first English phrases.

She has really grown up from that tiny little girl we met in the orphanage who was so afraid. She is so bright and vibrant and confident.

Erika truly represents America!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

We Have Math Issues Mother!



We are working on finding the common denominator in fractions so we can add and subtract them.

I have been teaching them how to factor, find the common number and then how to convert the numerator. OH MY! You would think I had asked for their first born goats for sacrifice the way they were looking!

I had my back turned, happily explaining away and when I turned around, you should have seen the expressions! I tried to get them to recreate them but there was no way. We came close but Sarah said she just couldn't. "Mommy, I'm just too happy. :P



Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Paragraphs

The Goat Barn

The goat barn is pretty on the outside, not the inside!
The inside of the goat barn is STINKY! There is hay with lots
of poop on it, and lots of food everywhere. The chickens have nests
where they lay their eggs. They try to hide them, but it is easy to find them.
In the dark, I can't see very well unless I bring a flashlight. The goats go
to sleep in the barn at night time.

Sarah



The Kitchen

The kitchen is my favorite place because that is where we keep food!
Food is my favorite thing. In our refrigerator we have lettuce, cucumbers
and strawberries. I love our kitchen.

Anna



And here is Erika's. It was stapled on the office wall, so we took a picture of it. :)

Apology

I'm sorry to my readers. I felt compelled to go private. Knee jerk reaction.
After talking to my precious husband, we decided for those who read, and are encouraged, it is best to keep it open. That is why I write. To encourage.


Thanks for reading. :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Thy Rod and Thy Staff They Comfort Me.....


I apologize to my readers for this being so long.. :)

Does anybody recognize where that comes from? It is part of the 23rd Psalm. David is using his experience as a shepherd to describe his relationship with God.

The words that came to life for me were "Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort me..."

Traditionally, when I hear the word rod being taught about, it is mostly talked about as a stick used to strike a person, typically a child who is unruly. I have heard sermon after sermon describing what parents should do TO unruly children. It usually is a "lay down the law" type speech, with "of course this is the loving thing to do". They will also justify
what they think by criticizing those who choose not to spank,or even use spanking as an absolute last resort, of not following scripture and they go on to say,that is what is wrong with society. blah blah blah..... However, you can go into any prison in America, and most of those prisoners have been abused PHYSICALLY.

In a recent sermon I heard a man describe having a large paddle with holes drilled in it. I have NEVER EVER read a scripture that says to drill a hole in a board to make the skin on a child's rear end get sucked into it when you strike them so that it will hurt more! EVER! I found this to be very discouraging and found it to be a sick distortion of scripture.

Those who advocate this will also say, "We are all sitting here, we all survived our parent's use of the rod..., we all lived..." Hmmmm..... well, gee I wonder why we have so many messed up people in the Church? Why do we have "Christian Counseling Services in every state and city in the country? If everybody "survived so well", does that mean it was OK? If somebody survives a robbery, and is living a productive life, does that mean the robber didn't harm them? If somebody survives severe child abuse, and is living a productive life, does that mean it wasn't such a big deal?
I'm sorry, but that is a very twisted way to think.

Does that sound comforting at all?


I'm not at all an indulgent parent who lets kids run amuck without proper instruction.
So, the good thing, is that the sermon I heard recently sent me to my knees and also to the Word of God. And let me clarify, I do not think the man who gave the sermon is a hard hearted child abuser. I know he is not. In fact, I find him to be a rather merciful and tenderhearted man..... but "societal tradition" ......

Many people will use a pet set of scriptures to justify striking children. They say the word "ROD" is a literal instrument and there are even books written to describe what it is and what it looks like. I personally believe that the word Rod can be both metaphorical and real.
There is no question that a rod was an instrument used to hit. So if you wish to take every scripture with the word ROD in it literally as an implement of destruction, then consider this:

In looking at the USE of ROD as with a shepherd. IT WAS NEVER USED TO HIT THE SHEEP! It was used as a defensive weapon to get rid of outside predators that would HARM the sheep.
On the other hand the staff, which was like a modern day cane, but a little longer, was used to GENTLY guide the sheep and keep them on the path. They would easily be hooked around the neck to get them back where they belonged. There were no fences to keep them in, and they needed to stay close to the shepherd in order to be SAFE.

If you take the famous proverbs verse:
Proverbs 13:24- Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
Placed in context of the Shepherd.... that makes TOTAL Sense. If a parent does not PROTECT his son from enemies, intruders, foes, wolves in sheeps clothing, but allows all those things in to lead him astray, that parent is not using the Rod and hates his son, because he doesn't care that he is being led astray. He has not protected his son.
A loving parent is diligent to discipline their child. YES.. to disciple, to guide, to instruct and to teach them of the harms that can surround them. To discipline them to stay away from TROUBLE and SIN..... INSTRUCT.... not attack! We don't attack the child with a rod, we discipline and guide the child with the staff of instruction.

In modern times, because we are so far removed from Shepherding... we don't understand many of the metaphors in scripture. AND NO I do not believe we should have a literal staff to hook our children around the neck if they were to run into traffic.

I dare to say, if you own sheep or goats as we do... if we were to use a rod to club them, they wouldn't want to stay around. There are times we have to use a staff, to hold them at bay or keep them from getting themselves into trouble, and a fence is a very large square staff if you will. :)

I personally know many families who were diligent to use the ROD on their children.
Not many of those children are serving the Lord today. They are estranged from their parents, and estranged from the Church. They are bitter and angry, and sadly, their parents are broken hearted, because they THOUGHT they were doing what was required of them. They THOUGHT they were right. How very sad.

In our society today, we use the "Rod" verses to justify striking small children.
I have read books that MANY people LOVE and consider close to scripture, not even caring that he person who wrote them was a Psychologist who says, spank from very young to 5 years old, after that it is just too late....?????? That a child's personality is formed by the time they are 5! BULL PUCKY FEATHERS!

WHERE IS THAT IN SCRIPTURE???!

I'd like to know how do you "tenderly raise a child" as scripture says to do, and justify boards with holes drilled in them?

I actually KNOW somebody who came up to me before we adopted when they found out we were going to adopt and said, "HOW CAN YOU ADOPT< YOU WON"T BE ABLE TO SPANK!"
As if that were the criteria used to decide if you would obey SCRIPTURE that says to care for Widows and Orphans!
I'm sorry, but to this day, that is one of the most chilling, sad, conversations I have ever had with somebody. It was a SHORT conversation. :)

I think everybody can agree that the word Rod is sometimes used as a metaphor, and sometimes used as a literal instrument.....
It is the application of the Rod I am going to start concentrating on....
From what I can see, CLEARLY in scripture, it is used to defend the sheep from intruders and predators, NOT to beat the sheep.
It is also used on the back of the slave to bring them into submission, but our children are not slaves, nor do we keep slaves today.
The author of "Heart Felt Discipline"stated....
In three of the four passages, the child is a naar (the fourth
is also by context), which in Hebrew means a young man (age 16-20). Young
children are not in view in any of the rod passages. In fact, the words used
for young children in Hebrew are always associated with innocence and the
need for protection. I would argue that there are no young children in
Proverbs.
Clay Clarkson is working on a new book and I cannot wait for it to come out.
His other book Heartfelt Discipline is still available but hard to find as it is out of print.
Another author speaks of the Rod in Proverbs 22:15 as being "clearly metaphor".
"Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child but the rod of correction shall drive it out. The author states, "The rod OF correction, means that it IS correction. The correction is like the "long arm of the law". Is the law an arm? No. Is correction literally a rod? NO.

In reading the old testament, there are all sorts of "laws, beatings, stoneings, severe punishments etc. Why do we hold to the rod scriptures as for today, and the beating, stoning and harsh law scriptures as NOT for today?

The Word Shebet, is a word that means rod, it can also mean authority. Can a parent be the rod? Can a parent be the authority?

Back to the sermon:


In this same sermon the issue of "Time outs" came up. It was said that time out is not scriptural. I can think of plenty of metaphors for Time OUT.....

How about Jonah in the belly of the whale for 3 days....
How about the Children of Israel wandering the desert for 40 years.
How about God being SILENT for 400 years!
How about the Babylonian Captivity?
How about 3 days of darkness in Egypt?

Time out is used to ponder. To think. It is a VERY effective tool for children to get them to settle down and be instructed in the ways of the Lord. It doesn't have to be modern day "sit on a chair" or go to your room.... it can be come and stay with me on my lap for a minute. We need to talk.
Or how about the shepherd with the rambunctious baby sheep? We often see that picture of Christ HOLDING the baby sheep in his arms. Is that a form of "time out"?
( I realize that picture is not in scripture)
BUT... Christ is called the Good Shepherd who came to lay his life down for the sheep. As representatives of Christ to our children, are we laying our lives down for our sheep? Are we protecting them? Are we gently guiding them? Or are we using the tools we are supposed to use against enemies on our children.
Just a few thoughts.

In the New Testament there are 3 scriptures that come to mind.
One has the use of the word Rod in it.
1 Corinthians 4:21, which is addressed to ADULTS who are wolves within the church. (predators of the real sheep?)

The other 2 scriptures are directed at fathers:

Ephesians 6:4 - "Father's do not provoke your children to anger but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."

Colossians 3:21 - Father's do not provoke your children lest they become discouraged.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Animals and Kids, Kids and Animals


One of the best tools we have for teaching responsibility with our girls is animals.
When we first started out with Anna, she was just 5 and didn't know anything about how to treat an animal, or how to nurture a dolly. We decided back then the best thing was to get her dolls to learn on, and real animals to grow with.

I noticed right away that she started to blossom when given little responsibilities like feeding them or just making sure she was very careful with them.

The same has been true of all the girls, but Anna has a very special love for her animals.

She sometimes though struggles with the responsibility part, which brings me to what this post is about.

She had worked up to a level of being trusted to keep gates locked, knowing about how to feed, making sure water was clean and generally being in charge. That is, until she began to get a little lazy in that area. I started noticing food not being placed in the right container, water not being changed properly, and finally, not locking the gates.
Each time we would let her know that things had to change for the safety of the animals and because it was her responsibility. Each time she sincerely apologized and corrected the issue. But things weren't changing.

Four times last week I woke up to goats out of the yard playing in the driveway, on dad's trailer, and knocking over the feed barrels to help themselves. Four times I woke Anna and helped her remedy the situation, but it didn't seem to sink in that she needed to be more careful.

So, yesterday, it happened again, her response was sort of like, "oh boy, here we go again", she had that bored distant look of "talk to the hand cuz the head ain't listening"; so we took a little stronger action. We decided that she needed to be relieved of her responsibilities for a week. During that time Daddy and Sarah are caring for the animals. We are hoping this will help her to remember to be serious about her animal care. She took the initial shock with tears and sorrow, but quickly realized it was a natural consequence of not being careful.

I wasn't sure what to expect, and thought maybe she would be more mournful or maybe even pouty, but instead, she has been mature and apologized. She is looking forward to caring for them again, collecting her eggs and loving on them.

So while Sarah is being a good sport and helping with Animals, Anna is doing Sarah's morning job of sorting laundry. :)

I know this is a very important lesson and I hate to see her hurt, but in the long run, if she didn't learn this lesson, she wouldn't grow in understanding.

I'm just glad we are able to have animals to help teach us valuable lessons.

Our Dad and Grampa


Ed with Great Grandson Mr. Will.....
It is birthday time again. Ed's birthday is easy to remember because it is Tax day. :)

I wanted to make this post and dedicate it to our Dad, Grampa and Great Grampa.

Ed is one of the kindest, most giving people I have ever met. He is a loving father and grand father and tries very hard to be involved in an ever expanding family. It isn't easy having 6 grown children, married, loads of grand children, some married, and then even some great grand children. That doesn't even include cousins, sisters, friends and other family spread from Sea to Shining Sea.

I am so proud of him. He is never afraid to try something new, and he never lets age get in the way of desire. If he sets his mind to try something, he does it. Now I don't see him jumping from a plane any time soon, but who knows!

One thing I'd like to share about Ed is how much I truly appreciate his loving kindness and acceptance of each member of our family no matter where they came from or how they got here.
He is that kind of man who looks for the good in everything, and doesn't give up until he finds it. He has been a great example to me and he is one of my favorite people on the planet. :)

I love you Ed.
Happy Birthday. :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A New Milestone! WHOO-HOO~!

It may not seem like to big of a deal for some, but for Erika and for us????
NOTHING SHORT OF A MIRACLE! :)


video

I'm Not Too Popular Right Now

We started to milk the goat yesterday and only got about 1/2 cup because the babies eat non stop. They are starting to creep feed and drink, so I figured it was time to let them be separate for about 2 hours before we milk the goat again, and that way we'll get more milk. After that, we'll put them back with mama until tomorrow at the same time.

I thought that was a great plan, but the Girlies think otherwise. They have been protesting for the last 1/2 about how awful it is to remove babies from their mommies!

We were doing Science and I asked Sarah if she was ok. She said she was too sad to do science because the BABIES ARE NOT WITH THEIR MAMA LIKE THEY SHOULD BE; JUST SO WE CAN TAKE HER MILK!

Then, I get two more yea votes and then the finally:

"How would you like it if daddy took us all away for 2 hours and then milked YOU?" LOL

I think they need to see that the goats will be fine and they will not be overcome with starvation. I think they need to see that the mama will be fine too, and they also need to understand that NOBODY will MILK ME~! LOL

However, I am glad that they are all sensitive to the plight of children being separated from parents. :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Terrific Tuesday


Our Happy Erika!

Hand Stands in the Drive way. Anna

Handstands in the driveway Sarah

more Sarah

Anna and her chicken. She is a great mommy. The chicken seems to be a great baby.Nutty thing!

There's our sweet Sarah. :)

Hope you enjoyed our Terrific Tuesday!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Anna's Funny for the Day

Problem:


A pie is cut in to 5 pieces. 1 piece is missing.
What part of the pie is missing.

Her answer:

1 slice

:)

Reflections On Easter Sunday

Easter time is such a great time to reflect. You know, I have hearing a lot about the Power of the Cross, but I think where the power really lies is within the Power of CHRIST, not the Cross. God Raised Him from the Dead! That power was so immense, that the earth shook, the vail was torn in two from top to bottom exposing the Holy of Holies, and FOREVER, we have access to the throne of God, ourselves with no intermediary. THAT is amazing.

Last year we made a mud tomb and stone rolled away thingy.... This year we got creative and made it out of pudding and crushed chocolate oreos, with a few caramels for rocks. We even had Peter, John and Mary Magdeline peering in the empty tomb. We made a stone out of a chocolate easter bunny with his ears cut off and a little extra trimming :)

Unfortunately the ants discovered our tasty treat, so nobody got to eat it.

Here is a picture Sarah took of me in the a.m.


Here are a few of our afternoon egg hunt. We had 3 other families over...



We had to have our Egg hunt on the front porch because it was so muddy from all the rain.

Sarah helped me prepare the afternoon lunch while everybody else was still at church.
We sat down together after getting things in the oven and went over the 4 gospels and the verses that covered the resurrection. Each one explains things differently and with different detail. I explained to her that when different people hear of something, or are involved in something, what they recall may be different, but the facts that stand out are the same. There was no question that Christ resurrected from the Dead. There was no question that he appeared to the disciples.

But one passage really struck me, especially for those who do not believe Christ died or resurrected.
It was "Mark 15:42-45"
And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Aramethia, a respected member of the council who was also himself looking for the Kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised to hear hat he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph.

And then continues to story of how he was laid in the tomb. Guards guarded the tomb so nobody could steal the body. Matthew 27:66 SO they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard. (meaning guard of soldiers)

The sealing of that stone was an official government seal. Nobody was allowed to break it.

BUT GOD.....

Matthew 28:2-4 goes on to say : And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel fo the Lord descended from heaven and came androlled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightening, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him, the guards trembled and became like dead men.

Matthew 28:5-6 says, But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, AS HE SAID.

Jesus is either who he said he was, or not, which would make him a big liar. And a Liar CANNOT be a prophet like some religions claim. He could not be a "good teacher" if he were a liar, as others claim.

I believe He was who He said He was. The Son of God; I AM, ONE with the Father. Fully God and Fully Man. Without Sin...the PERFECT representation of the Father.

You Are Still Holy

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