Monday, August 27, 2012

Favorite Words

Today we were on the road for a long time heading to support a friend during a hard season of losing a loved one. Levi was an absolute trooper on the long ride and was totally obliging when I asked him to share some favorite words.

My favorite phrase I could listen to him say over and over is spider webs. You'll have to hear for yourself why it's a favorite. :) So glad we caught him being his usual silly self. He's often uncooperative when the camera comes out. But not today!




{On a side note, on the way back home we somehow found ourselves in the middle of some fifty cop cars and swat team gearing up to enter the woods. News stations were there and we found out the story here. Kind of scary that we were right at the woods where everything happened. }

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tradition

I'm not quite sure how it started but for the second year in a row we brought out the soccer hill water slide. Thankfully this year no one got hurt and everyone followed the no-one-standing-up-while-sliding rule until the end. And thankfully no broken bones this year!

This year for the first time we dared let Levi go down. He wasn't feeling well the day before but was finally getting back to his old self and Jason had been itching to take him. This is how it went. 






Hope your weekend has been well spent with family and that tomorrow is filled with rest!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Lions May Grow Weak and Hungry

There's a silent wish list in my head for things to get for Levi. Among the things hoped for is an album from Seeds Family Worship. I recommended them to a friend with older kids and yesterday she blessed me abundantly with two albums for free!!

Today, I can't get one of the songs out of my head. Any time I've managed to forget it either Jason or a friend staying with us has reminded me and I've laughed out loud and sang about lions for the next hour. Instead of a toddler singing a catchy little scripture song, three adults have been. I even caught our college-aged friend, who scoffed at the cheesiness, jamming to them at full volume when he borrowed our car! Seeds family worship-- good for young and old! And Levi, the young, sure does like dancing to them.

So, enjoy the song that's been playing in our heads all day long by clicking here and listening to number seven, The Good Song.

The lions may grow weak and hungry but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing! Psalm 34:10

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

They Said Yes

India said yes and we are on the road to being matched with an orphanage. We found out yesterday. I called our agency to check and was told that just five minutes prior our names had come through showing our approval. I sobbed with gratitude for God bringing us to this new step. 

The decisions being made in the next few weeks have BIG BIG BIG implications for where our daughter is from and how quickly we will be matched with our waiting child. Pray like the dickens with us for God to guide the decisions and paperwork right to the doorsteps of the orphanage where our sweet one sleeps. I've shared before where I believe the Lord has said she is. Now I pray he guides the authorities who are in charge of this big decision. We are told we could have word within two weeks but it could take even up to a month. Either way, it's not very long and a lot of paperwork has to be finished and ready to send when we are matched.

Recently I've read some posts that have rocked me and some that have encouraged me (x2). But as I've processed again why we are doing this, I have been so reassured that while international adoption is not the ultimate solution for every child, for some it is. We have been following, as best we know how, God's leading to one such child. 

{Some reading might scoff, even if subconsciously, that we would claim to hear the voice of God. I've heard stories recently of Christians who are offended by those who say they hear God speak to them. One mother recently commented to her son that prayer is when people think they are talking to a supreme being. To all of this I would say-- I never understood the term having a personal relationship with Jesus until I asked him to teach me the sound of his voice. Jesus reassured us that his sheep know his voice (John 10:27). I have found that even ordinary people like me can seek the Creator to find His heart turned to them, willing to speak. And when He speaks, a hunger begins. To know his plans. To know his directives for every day. Peace comes when every step is not dictated by us alone but by God to sees on a grander scale where every step is leading.}

Look forward to sharing in the coming weeks her orphanage and the next steps! Thank you for believing and praying along.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Good Has Come

This is long overdue to share. It's a story of redemption.

At the front of my hairline is a short grey hair that stands starkly contrasted to my other dark auburn frizziness. Jason or I would usually pull it out but this one is my reminder, a gift from India. I so totally earned that one and I plan to keep it. I've said it before, but I was touched by India on the deepest level. I was also under an intense amount of stress there. Thus the grey hair reward. 

Sometimes we see redemption this side of heaven. It's so beautiful to witness. And sometimes we never understand why things happen the way they do. A broken world leaves scars on us. While I understand that we often do not get a glimpse of good coming from the broken, hard things, Romans makes me know there is good to come:  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For Team India and our trials in India, good has come. We thank God for his provision.

We as a team were heavy-hearted not being able to leave a gift for the ministry that supports the hosts and children with whom we fell in love. When our flights were cancelled we owed every extra penny and then some to get ourselves home. Nothing was left for India. But because of our travel insurance, a very persistent husband and a miracle, we received the full refund allowable. And half of the check is allowed to be sent to India plus an additional $400 from a local church. Our hearts are so happy...and we have agreed that grey hairs and switched flights were totally worth it to be able to bless Shampa and her precious people with resources. 



Praise the Lord for his beautiful work of redemption and for allowing us to give financially to the precious children of India.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Deals and Steals

For the past four years this particular Friday morning was filled with new names, signatures and key assignments. This morning was so different. We went yard sale shopping, baked brownies and delivered goodies to those in the thick of learning names and assigning keys at our "old house" as Levi calls it.

Who knew the morning could be so productive? For some time I've been working to decorate our third bedroom for our daughter. The hope is to have everything done before we send pictures of the house in our dossier to India. And, while I've tried to decorate on a penny budget, I've secretly drooled over a few things I'd love to put in her room. Too bad tastes and budgets don't often match. This particular canvas has had me wishing for a while now.

{Source}
But I never could pay $130 so I resigned myself to wait for some inspiration to hand make something or find a cheaper alternative. Little did I know I'd find something today so closely related that would match the price tag I needed. I could not believe it when we arrive at a local yard sale and got five things for the price of not even one. 

Cows were hanging out a few feet away from us along with a parade of other barn yard animals. Levi thought he'd especially made this trip for him to see the farm! After enjoying a playful gray cat and lots of calves, we shopped. At the bottom of a bin Levi found his treasure. In the beginning of June Jason, as he always does, found a DEAL on a Thomas wooden train set. After we kept the pieces we wanted, a full Thomas track with some thirty trains, we sold the rest on Craigslist leaving our total spent on Thomas trains at zero. Zero! Someone gave us a train table, thank you Becky, and we splurged on a train house for $9 at Walmart. Then today, Levi found this little car.
{Source}
The name on the bottom of the car made us think it went with our wooden railway set. And when we got home, we found it did. Levi scored his treasure for free!! It's listed on Amazon for $40 new! Woohoo!

But, more unexpected treasures awaited. On a table with gold sconces and random books was a folded wall canvas. This wall canvas. The state version of the ABC canvas I've been drooling over.


This print sells online for $126. I knew that but I only had $10 cash with no idea what they'd be asking for it. "How about a dollar," the seller asked. Do you have any idea how much you paid for this, I wondered then replied, "That's great, thank you." 

This Land is Your Land. How perfect! Yes, I believe that's even sweeter than the one I'd picked out online. India will always be her land and now she will have 50 new states to call her own too. 

In total we spent three dollars. Well under budget. I got two new shirts, one with tags still attached, and an awesome wall mural. Levi got a free trip to the farm, one mini skateboard, one rare Thomas car and a silver matchbox truck. 
It made for an exciting start to our student-filled day.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Weeks in Pictures

Last Friday our student resident assistants arrived. Jason has worked tirelessly this summer to transform the common outdoor areas where we live. Living here is almost officially in full swing. RA Retreat is now over with the exception of one last wrap-up meeting tomorrow night before new students arrive on Friday. For the first time since being here we won't be in charge of welcoming them. But, we're thrilled with our new role. Returning students to the apartments should arrive Saturday. It feels so good to be ready for a new year. 

Here are a few snapshots of the past two weeks that we've missed out on sharing along with a few updates in the mix.

Time at the pool during our trip to a family reunion
With the grandparents celebrating a birthday and anniversary...and celebrating finally making it to a family birthday with a nicely thought out and wrapped gift.

Lunch with Papa

Praying over dear friend Amanda who is now on the other side of the planet following Jesus' call

And speaking of the other side of the planet, no news yet from India. Today marked two weeks from our home study submission in India and we are hopeful to get an update soon. Until then, things are rolling right along with clearance from Immigration, apostilles and final dossier building. We'll explain these terms in later posts but for now they just mean...all is coming together. :)
At the Indian restaurant before Amanda headed out
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RA retreat is training but fun is always mixed in in heavy doses. Included in that was chocolate fondue, homemade ice cream, hiking to a waterfall and solo time in the woods. 

Levi enjoyed retreat immensely. This was how he enjoyed trail mix at the falls. 

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And, a shot of the team minus a few people. Ms. Coleman on the bottom row blesses us each retreat by welcoming us to her home in the mountains. We, in turn, offer her lots of entertainment...and somehow manage to break at least one thing every time we're there. She's so gracious to us. Many, many blessings to our dear Ms. Coleman for loving us, brokenness and all.

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Finally, I'll leave you with a video. This is how I found Levi one night as I was searching the house for him to go to bed. Needless to say, it took a while for him to settle down being the center of attention. I thought so many times during retreat about how thankful I am for the way our students love Levi. What a bonus blessing...to work with students who give back so richly in return!



Happy Thursday to you!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

They Know Our Names

At 3 am this morning I woke up and couldn't help myself. Our agency was going to try to register us, along with two other families, with India's adoption authority. With the major power outages we weren't sure it would be a go. They were going to try sometime around midnight. So I checked at 3 am and sure enough, our registration was successful. Indian authorities know our names and our hope. Now who could sleep after that kind of news? Thus the caffeinated coffee and chocolate zucchini "bread" we celebrated with at breakfast. And the coffee that's making a reappearance this afternoon. ; )


In a week or so the agency will get confirmation from India after they review our information. Then, we should be matched with an orphanage. It's amazing how quickly things seem to be moving. Also, today we mailed out our I-800A to immigration with the $890 He had provided. So many milestones at once. 


We praise the Lord for allowing us to make it to this point and for the great things ahead. Thank you for praying with us!