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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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Guess Who's Been Watching Ice Dancing!

Anna and Sarah just broke into spontaneous dance. :) It is supposed to be on ice, so the kitchen floor sufficed. I thought they did pretty good!

We're Gonna Be Grandparents Again!

This is what Sam's little sibling looks like at 8 weeks.... :)
According to Sam, the baby is very small and growing slowly in Mommy's tummy! :)
Our children that live in Maryland, are expecting a new bundle of joy, and I am so thrilled for them.
Sam has been a temendous blessing to everybody he meets, and I just know this new little baby will also be a blessing.
We don't know if it is a boy or a girl right now, so for now, we will refer to this one as "Baby Grape"..... :)
I am always amazed, that by the time you find out you are pregnant, the baby already has formed arms and legs, a beating heart with it's own circulatory system.
This baby already has a personality, and features, and a soul. WOW.... that always amazes me.

King David in the book of Psalms 139:13 "You formed my inward parts" "You wove me in my mother's womb" Psalms 139:14 "I am fearfully and wonderfully made, my soul knows it very well. "

God doesn't make mistakes... EVER.... in his wisdom, love and compassion, He gives us what is best. Sometimes, that is an imperfect body. Sometimes it is a handicap, sometimes it is a special gift.... in all cases, each person, in personal worship, in total dependence upon the ONE AND ONLY, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, brings GLORY to GOD which is our highest purpose.
God knows us, very well. He knows what we need, and he knows what our parents need. Romans 8:28, says, "He causes ALL things, to work out for the good, for those who love him, and are called according to His purposes.

This little baby grape, can already, in his or her soul, bring glory to the Creator who has made him. As his inward parts are formed, as he is knit in Becca's womb, I pray that this little one will know that he is called to please the Lord and Bring Glory to Him.

I am excited for this future little Minich.... and for his big brother and mom and dad too. :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Chicken and the Cat

I'm tellin' ya, Anna the Animal Whisperer, has these animals totally tamed, even with each other!
Bob RARELY gets canned cat food. Usually on Christmas day, is the only time he has a delicious canned meal.
But today was different. He had a can of food. He was enjoying it, when the lonely chicken showed up.
They eyed each other.

He showed her his can of chicken cat food.
and she ate it.
What a cannibal!

Discovery Channel Show

At Summer Camp last year, the discovery channel people were there to film a segment of their show called "Life Without Arms". Because we don't have cable television, we were never able to actually view the show.

A friend called on the night of the show and said, "I saw Erika on TV!" I told her we hadn't seen the show but were curious how it came out.

At our camp, there are children with multiple limb loss or limb difference. It featured one of our campers who's name is Nadia. She is an adorable little girl who was born with no arms.

Well, when Mike came back from camp, we had a video recording of the show so we could watch it, thanks to Erika's friend Brittany. :) Thanks Brittany!

I was so impressed with how this show was handled. It featured a man who had no arms and was a professional musician and single father. It featured a girl with no arms who was flying a plane by herself. It featured Nadia too.

What a blessing to watch each of these precious people say, that living with limb loss is just no big deal. The biggest thing was that THEY viewed themselves as normal and as children, just didn't get what all the fuss was about. :)

That is EXACTLY what it is like for our girls who have limb loss, and our son who has cerebral palsy. If you don't know any different, it just is, what it is....
There are times when it hits you that you are different. But unlike an adult who loses a limb due to illness or accident, it just isn't a tragedy. As Nadia's mom says, "they are just comfortable in their skin."
And I am SO GLAD!
I'm really glad we got to see the show, and I even saw myself too. LOL

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Erika and Daddy


Ever since Erika and Daddy set eyes on each other, it has been one of those sweet, sweet stories of a daughter and her daddy.

It is hard to put into words how special they are to me, and to each other.
There is really something special about the unconditional love that Mike showers on each of the girls, that makes him so very special. He has taught me a lot in the area of just accepting how things are and working with each child in a different way.

This weekend is family camp reunion from Summer camp. Usually up to 5 people can attend, but this year the maximum was 4, which would have left one of the girls out. We didn't want to do that, so we decided that it would be great for Erika and Dad to go together, and I would stay home with the girlies and do something else special.

Mike has a busy day every day running an auto shoppe, and it is really hard for him to get away, but he made it! He and Erika took off yesterday afternoon. They share the same likes in Christian Music, so as they were leaving , Erika shouted out the window, "We are going to rock and roll all the way to camp!" LOL

The one question I had this a.m. when he called was, "Did the morning ritual take place?"
It did. :)
The morning ritual is that Erika puts on her legs, gets the straps nice and tight, and then comes out for breakfast and asks daddy to tighten them because he is the only one who can get them just right. :)
It is an early morning "I love you" ritual.

What thrills my heart most, is that these little times are memory makers for our children that they will carry with them the rest of their lives.
I'm so glad they got this time together. :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Daddy And Erika Went To Winter Camp

Soooo, Mommy, Anna and Sarah went out on the town!
We went Ice Skating. (correction, THEY went Ice skating)
They did so great for their very first time! After that, we went to Chuckie Cheese
and tomorrow we are going to a gymnastics class to try it out!
We took Katie along with us, and we all had a blast! I'm sure Erika and Daddy are having
a great time too. :)

The Star Spangled Banner

These little girls are amazing! They are 6, 7 and 8. My friend and co mother to our son and daughter, :) posted this on facebook. Thanks Susan! :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Moving On From Loss

This has been a tough week.

We have had a lot of loss, but we trust that the Lord is Good.
We had two baby goats born a few days ago, and both of them died not long after birth.
It was so very sad. The mama would not care for them, and we tried, but there was definitely something wrong.
Then, our little kitty, (I have known she was having either kidney or liver problems)
was just not growing. She stayed the same as a two week old, and last night, she died.
There have been questions about kittens and heaven.
Are there animals in heaven? I believe there are. (so there is my picture of kitty in heaven)
What a LOT to deal with!
The girls have shed their tears, and I was most concerned about Sarah. She tends to just brush things off. Not this time. She really cried, and was comforted by our talks and snuggles.

We found out yesterday, that all of our neighbors lost baby goats and adult goats over the last 2 weeks. One neighbor lost 15 babies and some adults. The other neighbor lost all her adult goats.
We are not sure what caused it, but it was very swift.

I was talking to the girls about disaster striking and how many times people blame God, not seeing the blessings before them, or the peaceful blessings from the past. People tend to forget to thank Him for the many wonderful things he provides for our lives. So we thanked Him for the goats we still have, and that we are all healthy and have a home to live in.

We also talked about what we can do to get prepared for our next step in animal adventures.
We will be waiting for a while, and investigating different "hearty" breeds of dog.
Some time in the next few months, there may be a picture of a puppy around here. :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Old House

The girlies and I went to the old house with Mike, to fix it up for selling. There is still much to do, and not much I can do but be a good conversationalist and sweep things. :)
My body is not ready for hard work, but my heart is there. Does that count?
Anyhoo, Mike likes the company. :) And the girls loved the idea of stopping at Chick Filla on the way.
Mike and I bought that house the year after we married. We leased it the first year, and in fact, we got married in the den. I moved in 6 weeks before we got married, and he just visited for dinner. :)
We raised all of the boys there, we have good memories of that old house. As I was walking through, all these memories flooded in, and while a white tile floor may not mean anything but extra mopping to one person, it means more to me. My husband layed that floor. Our friend Chris and he grouted it. He handmade the wooden countertops in the bathrooms, and his dad and he put in the front door and shower.
I think that is part of the reason it has been hard for him to let go. We have wanted, or I should say, NEEDED to sell for a long time.
But now, the time has finally come.

It was funny watching the girlies run through there and see how really small that house is compared to where we are today. (1,300 sq. ft. compared to 1900 sq. ft.)
They were saying, "Wow, I can't believe all of you lived in such a small house!" I never thought our house was small. Actually, I like SMALLER to LARGER.... it is much easier to live simply, and not collect "stuff".
The home we have now is larger, which means more stuff can fit in. :)
Smaller is easier to keep clean! I could not imagine having to clean a larger house.
I can barely keep up with what I have now!

I always have this secret IKEA dream of a way to live in smaller sq. footage and be clever about where everything is placed. :) I love their 500 sq. ft. apartment displays. :)

Anyway, we are finally going to let the old house go. I say goodbye to that old house with fond memories and pray that the next people who live there, will love and care for it as we did when we were there, and that there will be laughter and love throughout that home.

It is time to move on. :)

(the picture is not our old house, but the one 5 doors down that looks similar. I don't have a pic of ours)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Erika is Getting More Mature


My sweet Angel is getting more and more mature, right before my eyes!
She and I had a wonderful afternoon together. We went out for a lunch and then shopping at Target.
While we were out, I asked her, "Is there anything you want to talk about?"
Boy was there!

She asked me to tell her every single thing I knew about her Birth mother without holding anything back! Whew.

The truth is, I don't know too much, but I did know some.
So I told her everything I knew.
I finished with letting her know how scary it is to find out a child is handicapped. I was scared when Tim had his brain hemorrage. I was scared when I heard the word Cerebral Palsy.
And I bet her mom and dad were scared too. Things are different in Ukraine. It is very hard to live there.... it would be terribly hard for her to live there now.

After that, there was a pause. I asked if she was OK, and she said yes.

She then went on to ask about her early years and what we know. It isn't much.
She has a vague memory of being in stocking and laying in a crib and having her diaper changed.
She said she was very little. This must have been in a laying room.

She then has many memories of the orphanage and how much she didn't like it there. She talked happily about the day we came and how surprised she was to see us.

I turned the conversation back to God's plan for our lives, and how suffering and sorrow, play a role in life.
I let her know that we can allow suffering to make us angry and bitter, OR, it can be used as a chistleing tool to mold and shape us into pure GOLD~!
We talked about the refiner's fire, and how gold is made.
And then talked about how the Lord brought her HERE for a purpose!
She had a smile on her precious little face, and seemed very satisfied that the sting of rejection, only serves in her life to cause her to trust Christ more. She is an amazing little girl.
She understands complex things way beyond her years, and I just know the Lord has much to teach us, through her little life. :)

There are Little Elves Living Among Us


The Most Snow Since The 1800's!




Thursday, February 11, 2010

Adorable Sleepers

I just love capturing pictures of them when they are asleep.
They will awake to a new winter wonderland, as the snow is still falling and we are now at record snowfall. Yea!



More Snow

The grand girls came over to play! It is still snowing. It hasn't stopped yet.
I know some of you are sick of snow, but we get it so rarely, that it is a real treat.
Tonight, everything will have a hard freeze, so I don't think much will be open tomorrow in the A.M.
Lilly couldn't stop saying "SNOW! SNOW!" I think she was tasting it.




Charlie's First Snow


Isn't he just adorable? :)

Creative Kids

Anna read in a book about "Ice Cream" and how to make it. So it was a very handy thing that it snowed today. :)
She took a little heavy whipping cream, a little sugar, a tsp of vanilla extract and SNOW....
She mixed it up, and it was really delicious! Of course, we made sure she picked her snow from a good place where no cat or goat had been. :)
She now understands what "Don't eat yellow snow" means.

I think she is proud of her creation!

Giving Erika a taste.... she just woke up. :)I think she likes it!
Now it is Sarah's turn.
The ice cream gets a Thumbs up! :)

Thanks Anna, we all enjoyed your creation!

SNOW!




Monday, February 8, 2010

Are We Missing The Point?


I have been thinking about the subject of "Sex Education", and how it is taught. Every family is different. Some families are very open, some never mention it and leave it up to the schools.
In Mike's case, his dad left a book in his top drawer, where he knew Mike would snoop, and would then become "educated". LOL

I remember my mom asking me if I had any questions. I didn't. I didn't want to talk about it with her. I didn't know what "IT" was anyway..... she insisted on telling me, and then I was grossed out.
And there was no more discussion. I was only left humiliated again and again and she retold the story of my response to her explanation of where we came from. . "Do you mean you did that 3 times???"
eeewwwww!

Ok, it was a funny statement. But I didn't know it then.

By the time I was in high school, "Sex Education" was really more about contraception and venereal disease. There was no discussion on marriage or being set apart for 1 partner. It was only about body fluids and function.
And the BIGGIE! How to prevent a disaster! What was the disaster? Not sexual intercourse before marriage, not the emotional damage caused by multiple relationships and partners.... NO! It was the most awful thing that could happen of all! It was the ending of youth. It was the ending of LIFE ITSELF! It.... it was.... It was a BABY! AHHHHHHH!!!!!!

How sad when you think about it. A baby, was presented as the ruiner of life. A baby was presented as strapped on, excess baggage to be mourned and gotten rid of.

This got me to thinking long ago about how to present the long handed down information of reproduction and how God intends our families to be created.

If we only teach our children that the reason to refrain from sexual intercourse is to keep from having a disease or having a baby, we are doing a HUGE disservice to them. All that is going to teach them is to have sex carefully, and with contraceptive protection.
It will not teach them about the values in Scripture that say that Fornication is wrong.
It is sin.

We told our boys that God has reasons for forbidding fornication. They are to prepare us to be separate, and in self control. They are to prepare us for the spouse that God has chosen for us. They are there to prepare us for a family in HIS timing, not our own.
There is much reward spiritually, for following God's plan.

1. Becoming one with a spouse and NO guilt. No hiding. No shame.
2. No regrets.

It is an amazing thing to look back and have no regrets. I have never talked with anybody who had sexual experiences before marriage, without some regret, or emotional baggage.

I want to teach my children that God knows what is best for His Children and that a baby is never, EVER a burden, an albatross, or a punishment.

Teaching sex education to our girls is very different from teaching it to our boys.
We emphasized with our boys, how they must be responsible, turn their eyes from
temptation, and save the pleasures of marriage, for MARRIAGE.
We are teaching our girls about saving themselves for marriage, but also about not being a distraction or a tease. We are teaching them that their value is not wrapped up in acceptance from boys.
We are continuing to teach how the baby that is born in an untimely way, or out of a sinful relationship, will have undue hardship because there was no thought about the responsibility that comes with having sex. This does not mean that the baby is to blame, or should be blamed. The baby is an innocent party and is STILL a gift.

In raising our little kitten, we have had many conversations about what it is like to parent a baby. One of our girlies was feeling rather impatient, because Isabella, our kitten, was being so fidgity and fussy while feeding. I was quick to ask her, if she would be impatient if Isabella were a baby?
She thought for a moment and said, "I don't think I should be a mother!"

I told her, many mothers feel that impatience, but have to learn to not act on it. Mother's find all sorts of areas in their lives that they must turn over to the Lord and ask him to help them with.
And this is a good way for her to see areas in her life that will be challenged when she DOES want to become a mother.
So we looked at our precious Isabella in a new light. Not as an annoyance, but the gift that she is. And our daughter continued to feed her and took more time to give her the attention she needed. And in that moment, I could also tell her about how it is best for babies to have 2 parents, so they can help each other to care for the baby.
If she were having to parent the kitten all by herself, without the help of the rest of the family, just think about how stressful that could become.
Our bigger focus however, is on holiness. and why we would want to follow what God teaches us in Scripture in the first place.

As we teach our children about more mature things, we have learned to not just sit them down to throw some information at them, like giving them, "the talk", but instead, it is more like a continual ongoing natural conversation where there is much room for humor, seriousness, warning and encouragement, always directing them to the ONE who is their real guide through life. HIS plan, and HIS map book for figuring out life, is written in HIS word, the Holy Scripture.
It is so wonderful to have a book of guidance and comfort that we can turn to and glean from at the tip of our fingers.

I do pray that our children and grand children will come to understand how important their marriage relationships will be, and how there is a great plan for bringing our little blessings into our families. I also pray that they will not see sexual intimacy as the focus of their early adult years, but they will put it in its proper place in their lives.

One season at a time, is what I tell them. Right now you are in the season of childhood. Don't be so quick to want to get to the next season, but enjoy this time that God has given to you.
The same goes for the next season and the next. If we don't enjoy the seasons we are in, that is when we get into trouble trying to enter the next season before the proper time.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Erika Finished Her Drawing

She wants to design a quilt like this......
Outta my league! :)


Thursday, February 4, 2010

It's Borscht Night!

We are making a steaming pot of borscht for tonight.

For Starters: I like to bake the beets in the oven, like a baked potato
so that the skins fall right off and they can be grated easily.Yikes, I need to clean my oven! :)

We will be using 2 lbs of beets baked and grated
1/3 cabbage grated
4 TLB of vegan buttery spread
2 quarts of vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup of shredded carrots
1 celery stalk, diced
1 small onion diced
1 can Muir Glen diced tomatoes
2 garlic cloves minced
salt and pepper to taste
chopped cilantro
sour cream (for those who are using it these days)

Saute' all the shredded stuff together with garlic and buttery spread
for about 5 minutes. Add broth and bay leaves and tomatoes
bring to a boil and then simmer for about 30-40 minutes.
add salt and pepper to taste, and cilantro
remove bay leaves
serve in bowls with a dollop of sour cream.


And now the most picky taste tester in the world!YEA! She likes it! She devoured 3 bowls full!

Thank you for viewing our dinner! :)

Anybody Ever Wonder Where Canola Oil Comes From?


Since I have been reading that Canola oil is really good for you, and it is MUCH cheaper than Olive Oil, I started using it. Then, I got to wondering, "what in the world IS Canola oil? Where does it come from?
Sooo, I googled. :)

This is what I found out!

Canola oil actually comes from the Rapeseed Plant. I'm kinda glad they changed the name, even though it is a rather pretty plant.
That had to do with the Canadians though. Canadian Oil Low Acid. Apparently, from what I read, the Canadians discovered the use of rapeseed as a great oil source.

However, the Asians have been eating the entire plant for years. They use it in cooking and for oil. The plant is part of the "mustard plant" family.
I didn't ever find out if the seeds are as small as mustard seeds. :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Vulnerable Among Us

This subject has been weighing heavy on my heart, before the latest fiasco in Haiti came about, with the supposed "missionaries", taking advantage of a terrible situation.

Children are our most precious gift from the Lord. Children are not given to us by accident. No life, NOT ONE is ever a mistake.
Children are also totally vulnerable to those who have been entrusted with their care.

But there is another vulnerable group. We don't often look at them.
They are the parents. They are the frightened teenager who just found out she was pregnant.
They are the poor parent, as in Haiti, who's home has fallen down. They are the poor peasant in Russia who's life is hard, and they have little money. They are the parents who's child will be born with a disability.

There are many vulnerable times in the life time of a parent, where in the timing of a tragedy, or perceived tragedy, a coerced decision is made under pressure. Everybody knows, you shouldn't make a financial decision under pressure, with the smiling salesman wanting you to sign on the dotted line so you can drive home in a dream car.
The same should be for the parent who is pressured to make lifelong decisions, not only for their own life, but for the life of their child.

Why is it automatically assumed or accepted that a young mother, if she is single, should just give her baby away? In a perfect world, it is of course a best situation for a baby to have a mother and a father.... but we don't live in that world.
In a perfect world, it would also be nice to buy your baby designer clothes and make sure a swimming pool and horseback riding lessons were are on the future agenda, but for 99% of the world, that just isnt' the case.

So does that mean that 99% of the world, isn't fit to parent and only the richest that live among us should be allowed to raise children?

That seems to be the attitude of the "missionaries" who took children in Haiti. They actually approached parents who had children and told them that THEY would give them a better life, promising education, housing and even a swimming pool! (according to Wall St. Journal Article) Tragically, parents who were already
traumatized from the last couple of weeks, gave their children to this group, with the understanding they would probably never see them again. The children were sad and crying and didn't want to be away from their parents.
Could you imagine strangers coming up to your parents and doing this, and being handed over to a stranger to go to another country?

Children are not THINGS. They are connected to their parents. They LOVE their parents.
If these people were really "missionaries", why didn't they go to Haiti and offer to help the parents with food and shelter so that they could rebuild their lives? Why did they not preach the gospel to the parents?

What about the teenage mother? If she wants to keep her baby, which many DO; why do we not help the family? Why do we not help her to stay in school, finish her education and give her aide in taking care of her baby, until she can get on her own two feet? There are many wonderful young mothers who have raised their children well. Not every teenager who gets pregnant is a party queen. One such young lady I know of just got married to a wonderful man. Her daughter was in the wedding and was so excited to be getting a daddy.

I am bothered by the agencies who cater to richer couples who cannot have children, that seem to have a steady stream of young girls who give their babies for adoption. I saw a documentary on this, and I was apauled at the "counseling" given. It was more like a pressure session to convince a girl for 7 months that she would not be able to parent this baby and give the baby all it deserved, making her feel selfish for wanting to keep the baby.
It is NOT SELFISH to want to keep your own baby. It just isn't.
It would be selfish to not take care of your baby. But if you want to parent your own child, that is not a selfish act. It is a sacrificial act.

I am disheartened to find out that there are unscrupulous agencies working world wide to get parents to give children up for adoption, and this is really bothersome. We have enough REAL orphans in the world, without creating an "orphan industry".

How pompous of us to tell somebody they are selfish to keep their own baby if they are poor.
I was in that very position many years ago. My family stepped up and helped me through a very difficult period of time. But what if instead, somebody had told me I was selfish for keeping my children? How horrible to do to somebody!
Adoption is a WONDERFUL thing under the right conditions. Of course we have been blessed by adoption. But I would be horrified if I felt my girls had been sent to an orphanage out of coerscion.
And what about the guilt of the birth mother who is pressured to the breaking point? What about the child who has all the questions about why?
Adoption has more than one face. It is about LOSS AND GAIN. Because of somebody else's loss, we have gain, yet our children always have that loss in their history.

If we REALLY want to help families.... then help them stay intact FIRST.
Then the children who really need adoption services can be helped and we won't be creating a business built upon greed, heartache and disaster.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Very Sweet Gift

From A Very Sweet Friend. :)

Isn't this totally cool? It is a Ya-Ya Fan, from Bulgaria! :)
Thanks so much Jeane. :) My friend, as busy as she is, found this when she was adopting her latest 2 babies in Bulgaria. I feel so blessed to know her. She has taught me so much.
Check out her blog here.

Introducing Isabella


With her eyes wide open!
She is so adorable. She will be 3 weeks old on Wednesday. She loves her mama's Erika, Anna and Sarah, and her Ya-Ya too. :)


A New Month! Already!

To start off our school mornings, we have letter writing or art. The girls simply love a book JJ gave to them last year. We have used it again and again. Today, Erika and Sarah chose art, and Anna chose to write a letter to a friend.

We also talk about the new month. I was making sure they were spelling FebRuary, correctly, and got the response back, our calendar says "Februbeary"?????

Of course it does, they got the calendar from Build a Bear. LOL






You Are Still Holy

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