Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Andrew's first week

I promise I will write more about our adoption experience at some point, but for right now just finding time to post pictures is a challenge. So until I can find time to write more, here's some pictures from our first week with Andrew:


He's such a sweet little guy, we have all been thoroughly enjoying him. The boys LOVE him. A few nights ago at bedtime Caleb prayed, "Dear Jesus, please bring us mo' and mo' babies."

Luke has two weeks paid paternity leave (yes, you read that right, paternity leave!) so we are thoroughly enjoying having some down time with all five of us at home. It's been a very merry Christmas for our family!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Here's a pic from Christmas Eve with Luke's family. This is our three boys posing with their cousin Logan. We had a great time and everyone enjoyed meeting Andrew!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We're Home!

I'm pretty tired today so I'm going to keep this post short and sweet. We got home last night with our sweet little Andrew. It was a long day, but it was a great day. We are all very happy to have him here with us, and so thankful for all our friends and family that have supported us through this journey.

He' s been a really easy baby so far, but I am still exhausted from all the whirlwind of activity over this past week. I promise to post some pictures of his homecoming soon. Today I am just trying to relax and enjoy being at home with my three sons.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Introducing...Andrew Bryant!







We found out today that our court date to finalize our custody of him is next Tuesday, the 23rd at 12:45. If all goes according to plan, we should have him home for Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

We've got a baby! (almost)

We have had a very exciting week. On Tuesday afternoon, we got a very unexpected call from our adoption agency that we had been matched with a baby boy! We were so excited (of course!) and couldn't wait to see the little guy. I feel like we haven't stopped moving since we got "the call." This has all happened so fast, which is why I haven't found time to blog about this until now. My head is kind of spinning from everything that has gone on over the past few days, but I will try my best to explain and share all the details. It's been a very exhausting couple of days, so forgive me if my writing gets kind of rambly. My brain is functioning on coffee, Diet Coke and very little sleep!

This is the information we found out on Tuesday when our caseworker (Donna) called:

-He was born on Sunday, Dec. 14th
-His birthparents were meeting with our caseworker to sign the termination of parental rights papers on Tuesday evening.
-Both birthparents agreed and supported the adoption, so the legal stuff should be very clear-cut and easy.
-He is very healthy, except for a slight case of jaundice.
-He was being discharged from the hospital Tuesday and being sent home to one of Bethany's interim foster families until we could bring him home with us.

Donna gave Luke the number for one of their attorneys, and Luke spent a lot of time Tuesday talking to him about our next steps. Here's what has happened since Tuesday:

-We drove to St. Louis yesterday evening so that we could meet with our attorney this morning. He is a top-notch attorney; he helped write the official Missouri Book of Adoption Law so we trust that he knows what he is talking about! He has worked in the St. Louis adoption and juvenile courts for decades and knows the judges really well. We feel like we are in very good hands with him. We meet with him again tomorrow to sign papers and he will hopefully give us our court date for next week by sometime tomorrow afternoon.

-After meeting with our attorney, we drove to our adoption agency's office and met Donna who took us to meet our newest son! His foster family met us at the church where the dad is a pastor and the mom works at the church school. We got to spend a few hours there holding him. He is so sweet and snuggly! We were so thankful they allowed us to use the church nursery so that we could have some bonding time with just our family. Isaac and Caleb got to play and work off some energy while Luke and I took time holding this sweet little guy.

We officially decided today to name him Andrew Bryant. Andrew is a name we have had on our mind for a long time now if we ever had another son. Andrew was Luke's grandpa's middle name, and it also falls in line with our Biblical names for Isaac and Caleb. Bryant is Andrew's birthfather's middle name, and the middle name his birthparents chose for him. We really liked the name Bryant, and wanted to give him that tie to his birthfather. So, Andrew Bryant will be boy #3 at our home!

When we left for St. Louis yesterday, I had this grand idea of blogging throughout this whole journey, and posting pics so everyone could see everything that was happening. This plan was ruined when I realized on the way to St. Louis that I forgot to bring the camera cord that hooks up to the computer to download pictures. So you'll have to wait until tomorrow night to see pictures. We've got some great pics to share!

Andrew is adorable. He loves to be held and snuggled in a warm, cozy blanket. He has a beautiful face and lots of soft, curly hair. His feet are huge, and since his birthfather is 6'1 we're expecting him to be pretty tall. He is a precious little baby and Luke and I are so excited to bring him home.

Here's what still has to happen before he's officially ours:

-We meet with our attorney briefly tomorrow to sign some papers. He should let us know by tomorrow afternoon when our court date is. After the court date, we'll go spend some more time with Andrew before going home. It will be hard to leave him here, but it should only be for a few days.

-When our court date is scheduled, we will drive back to St. Louis for the day. Our attorney is going to try and get this court date scheduled next Monday or Tuesday, but if he can't it will be scheduled some time after Christmas. The court hearing only takes about ten minutes. The judge will finalize the birthparent's termination of parental rights, and grant the transfer of custody to Bethany. Bethany will be his offical guardian and we will be named foster parents. (After he has been with us for six months, we will have another court date where we will be able to officially adopt him.)

While the birthparents have signed the termination of parental rights papers, those papers are not official until the judge approves them. So it is possible that the birthparents could still change their mind and decide to parent. We don't think this will happen, they seem to have clearly made up their minds and haven't shown any signs of hesitation. But there is still that possibility. It's difficult to be in the situation of wanting to embrace this little guy as our own, but knowing that there is still a slim chance they could decide to parent. But we've trusted God throughout this whole process, and we'll trust Him through to the end.

God has blessed us in so many ways throughout this whole process, and we have been especially blessed over the last two days. I could write pages about how God's timing has been perfect, how His providence has abundantly smiled on us, and how much we enjoyed spending time with our three boys today. We are excited to share more about everything He has done in our lives through Andrew's adoption, and are so thankful for all the people that have been praying for us over the last several months. It is so exciting to have so many people that share our joy!

Look for pictures tomorrow night. We are hoping to be back home by tomorrow evening, and I will get busy downloading pics as soon as I can!

Monday, December 15, 2008

What's going on...

I know many of you are probably wondering what's going on with our adoption since we haven't mentioned it in a while. We haven't mentioned anything lately for two reasons:

1) I have been potty-training a puppy, home-schooling our children and getting ready for Christmas. I have barely had time to write out a grocery list, and definitely haven't made it on to our blog much. (Murphy seems to be settling down a little bit and is potty-training quite nicely, so hopefully we'll be out of this high-maintenance puppy stage soon.)

2) As I mentioned in a previous post, Luke had been trying to get in contact with an agency in the South where there seems to be a greater need for families to adopt minority infants. After several weeks of phone tag with a very kind, but incredibly over-worked caseworker, we're thinking that it doesn't look like that is going anywhere. Our plans were kind of in limbo for a few weeks because we weren't sure if we were going to be "redirecting" our adoption to the South. I didn't want to update the blog until I knew what direction we were heading.

While the Southern agency not working out was slightly discouraging, we were encouraged by some news we received from Bethany over the weekend. Since Friday we have learned about three different adoption situations, two of the situations involving twin boys! None of the situations will be decided immediately; we will probably have to wait a few weeks before we hear anything either way. It was really nice though to finally hear of something going on after several weeks of not hearing anything. Please be praying for these three birthmothers and this big decision in front of them.

So there's the official update! We'll try to keep the blog updated as we hear any more news.

Now back to potty-training, home-schooling, and getting ready for Christmas...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas came a little early this year...

We were originally planning on giving the boys their puppy on Christmas morning, but for several reasons we decided we didn't want to wait that long. So our plans changed and we actually gave him to the boys on December 1st. They were so surprised!

Isaac was completely speechless when Mom and Dad walked in with Murphy; he just stood and looked at Murphy with a huge grin on his face. I think he was in a state of shock! He eventually came out of it and he and Murphy became instant best friends. He told us, "This is my best Christmas present ever!" Caleb was excited too, and is really enjoying having someone younger than him in the house that he can boss around. Overall, the addition of Murphy to our home has gone quite well, and the boys LOVE having him.

Here's some pics from the night we got him:

I have never been excited about getting an indoor dog,but I must admit that I have become quite attached to this little guy. We think he's a keeper!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

We're getting a new addition!

He's not the baby we have been hoping and praying for, but we have finally decided to get the boys a dog. The boys have wanted a pet for a really long time, but Luke and I have not been super excited about breaking into the world of pet ownership. We finally decided about a month ago that it would be really fun to surprise them with a puppy for Christmas. But how do you surprise a child with a puppy on Christmas morning? We have hatched a plan...

My parents live nearby and my dad has trained and bred hunting dogs for years. He is also retired so he is home most days and my mom is semi-retired so she only works two days a week. Don't they sound like great puppy-sitters? We thought so, and thankfully they agreed. We have arranged to go pick up the puppy next weekend while they boys are spending the day with Luke's mom. After we get the little guy, we will take him to my parents house where he will stay until Christmas morning. On Christmas morning we are going to coordinate a time for my parents to surprise the boys and bring their Christmas present over. I can't wait to see their reaction!

The best part of the deal for us is that my parents get to start the potty-training process for us. You know they love their grandsons when they are willing to put up with four weeks of potty-training a puppy! I'm sure we'll still have some work to do when he gets to our house, but my parents will at least get him started on the training process. I'm so thankful they live nearby and are willing to do this. I'm very excited for the boys...it's hard to keep it a secret from them.

Here's a picture of the little guy we are going to get. He is a miniature beagle and will be nine weeks old when we get him. We still haven't thought of a name for him. He has such a serious face we feel like he needs a very serious name. We've talked about Cooper, George, Murphy, or Hudson, but we just can't quite decide. If you have any other great dog names for us, please let us know. Just don't tell the boys!
As for our other (and more important!) adoption, I haven't updated in a while because we have some research we are in the midst of right now. As I mentioned a few posts ago, Luke found out that the biggest need for minority adoptions is in the South so we are gathering information from an agency in North Carolina. Once we find out how all that is going to work out, I will post about it. It looks very promising, but we're just not sure yet about some of the details.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wal-Mart and adoption

Shopping at Wal-Mart has never been an experience that I would call uplifting, inspirational, or encouraging. In fact, the words that usually come to mind when describing trips to Wal-Mart are frustrating, stressful and chaotic! This past week I had a very different experience. First of all, I had my two sons with me and they were amazingly calm and well-behaved throughout the entire shopping trip. That definitely made the trip a unique one! But while we were there, I also saw a family that was such an encouragement to my heart I just had to write about it.

The boys and I were waiting at the water fountains when a mother and several young children walked by to use the restrooms. The mother was white so when I noticed one of her children was black I took a second glance. "Must be an adoptive family," I thought. I noticed she also had two or three white boys with her, maybe biological children or maybe they were also adopted. Then I noticed her second daughter. She was an Asian girl, probably about 9 or 10 years old. This little girl really stood out to me for one reason: she had no arms.

I was immediately overcome with emotion when I realized what this family had done for this little girl. When I travelled to China, we would often see beggars on the streets who were maimed or crippled. They were the outcasts of society, and forced to live on the streets and beg for their survival. I thought of those beggars when I saw that little girl; that was the life she was most likely destined for until this family came and saved her from that. What an act of self-sacrificial love this family demonstrated when they brought this little girl into their family!

Seeing this family reminded me of an adoption that is even more amazing: the act of love God demonstrates when He adopts us into His family. We are all born sinners and destined for wrath, but when we are saved God adopts us into His family and bestows upon us all the blessings of being His child. That little girl had a horrible destiny when she was born, but that family brought her home and called her one of their own. Her destiny in life was completely changed, and she now had hope to live a wonderful life. It's very similar with sinners who are saved by God's grace. We are born with a horrible destiny, but when God saves us by His grace our lives and our future are completely changed. We have blessings and hopes that we never could have had if He hadn't have adopted us into His family.

Isn't adoption a beautiful thing? Earthly adoptions are not only a wonderful blessing for the adopting family and the adopted child, but they also give us a glimpse at the eternal blessings of being adopted by God into His family. I never got to speak with that mom (she was preparing to take several young children for a bathroom break which probably isn't the best time to engage someone in conversation) but I would have loved to have asked her about their adoption story and told her what an encouragement her family was to me. I've thought about them a lot over the last several days, and still get emotional when I think about that little girl and how blessed she was to be adopted into such an amazing family.

God often blesses us in ways that we can never expect or imagine, and I never thought standing by the water fountains at Wal-Mart would be an inspirational moment in my life. Whenever I am shopping and running errands, I am really bad about getting so caught up in what I am doing that I don' t take notice of those around me. I need to learn to slow down and be more attentive to people I come in contact with. You never know how God is going to bless you through them, just as this family blessed me last week.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Discouraged, but encouraged

Yesterday morning was a bit discouraging for me. As I posted yesterday, we found out that the birthparents chose the other family because the other family didn't have any children. (I'm assuming that means they can't have biological children, although I could be wrong in that assumption.) We completely understood why they would want to give their child to a couple who can't conceive. We were disappointed for ourselves, but happy for this other couple. And although I would have loved to adopt this baby boy, that wasn't the main reason I was discouraged. When I found out we were "competing" for this baby boy with a family that can't have biological children, I was very confused and felt like our adoption process had lost its original purpose.

When we decided God was leading us to adopt, we wanted to adopt where there was a true need for orphans to be adopted. That is the reason why we're adopting: we want to fulfill the Biblical command to take care of orphans and bring a child into our family who has no one else to care for him/her. That was our purpose (and still is!) in seeking to adopt a child. When we began this process, we were looking into adopting from Ethiopia or China until we heard of the need to adopt minority infants here in the U.S. We decided if there was such a need to adopt children right here in our very own state, we didn't have to travel elsewhere. So we began the adoption process, eagerly filled out our paperwork, completed our homestudy, and thought we would be bringing home a baby any day. We got two or three calls about potential adoptions before we were even done with our paperwork! Surely it wouldn't take very long before we got matched. Right?

Well... here we are seven months later and have not been matched with a child. Our adoption agency said they had a real dry spell over the summer with birthmothers placing their children for adoption, so we just thought that was the reason why our wait was taking a little longer. No big deal, we thought, this might just take a little longer than we had anticipated. We were very excited when this potential situation came up with this little boy a couple weeks ago, and really thought this might be the child God had for us. At the same time, we also knew it might not be God's will, so we tried to guard ourselves from getting too excited. But when we found out yesterday that the other family had been chosen because they don't have children, one phrase kept ringing through my mind, "Where's the need?"

I was discouraged and frustrated because I don't want to be "competing" for babies with families that can't have biological children. That is not why we signed up to adopt. We want to adopt so we can bring home a child that can't find a home, not a child that has families on a waiting list in order to bring him/her home. I just haven't seen the need to adopt minority children that we thought was there when we signed up for this process. With this news yesterday, I felt like our purpose in adopting had gotten off-track and wondered if we were really headed in the right direction.

Thankfully, my husband isn't quite as emotional as I am and he had a much more rational mind yesterday while I was dealing with all this discouragement and frustation. He assured me that he thinks we are still on the right track and that maybe this conference he is attending this weekend is yet another one of God's smiling providences on our situation. He was excited to talk to others from ministries such as the Micah Fund and ABBA Fund and get their insight into our situation. Although I was having my own doubts about our adoption process, I decided to trust Luke's leadership and judgment and wait and hear what he would learn at the conference.

This afternoon Luke called me between conference sessions and told me that he has been able to make some really good contacts with people from other adoption ministries. He has learned that there are certain areas in the country (mainly the South) where there really is a huge need for families to adopt minority children. He spoke with a woman from Georgia who said they rarely find families in Georgia to adopt their minority children, and that most of their children get adopted to families in Minnesota through the Micah Fund. I was excited to learn this; that this need we had been hearing about really does exist. I was also amazed, once again, at how God works things out. We found out we were not chosen for this other adoption about fifteen minutes before Luke left for this conference. If we had not had that experience, he wouldn't have been prompted to ask these questions of these other ministries. This was such a good reminder for me that God is in control of all this, and I need to not get so impatient and discouraged.

I'll get to talk to Luke more in-depth tonight (he only had a few minutes to talk when he called earlier) and get to hear more about what he has learned. I am so thankful the conference was scheduled this weekend, and that Luke has been encouraged and edified through it. I'm sure he'll have lots more to share when he gets home tomorrow.

So...what started out as a very discouraging weekend has been turned into an encouraging one for both of us. God is always faithful, and I'm learning to trust Him more and more through this adoption process. I know someday when we look back on this adoption process, we'll have an amazing story to tell of God's faithfulness and blessings in our lives.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Not this time...

We found out this morning that the birthparents chose the other family. The other family doesn't have any children which is why they chose them. We were disappointed, but understanding and happy for the other family.

Luke is off to South Carolina today with a friend from our church. They are attending the Together for Adoption Conference. He is hoping to make contacts with people from several adoption ministries and gain more information for both our own adoption and our church's future adoption ministry. It sounds like it should be a great conference--I can't wait to hear what he learns! I'm sure he'll post something about it when he returns.

Please keep praying for us as we continue on our adoption journey. This journey has not been easy, but we know it will be worth it in the end.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

No news yet...

The birthparents are still making their decision, hopefully we will find out by the end of this week. We did find out that there ended up only being two families whose profiles were presented, so they are choosing between us and one other family. We're still guarding our excitement, knowing they could choose the other family. Keep praying for the birthparents, and that God will lead them to choose the right family for this little guy.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Update

We have found out that our adoption agency will be meeting with the birthparents on Monday to present the profiles. There are three families that are having their profiles presented(that's three, including us). The adoption agency has no way of knowing when they will decide on a family. We could find out as early as Tuesday or it could be a couple of weeks. Pray for them as they make their decision. We are excited about the possibility of adopting this little guy, but are trying to guard our excitement since they could easily choose one of the other families.

We'll update the blog when we hear something!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Adoption update

Just a quick update/prayer request regarding our adoption. We found out last Thursday that there is a baby boy our agency is trying to find a family for. He was born in July at 30 weeks gestation, and spent several weeks in the NICU. The pediatrician that examined him says that he will probably be "near normal" as far as his development, and that his medical issues are most likely due to his extreme prematurity. However, they can't be sure that he will be "near normal" so he is considered a special needs baby. He is staying with a foster family right now, and his birthparents have already terminated their rights. They just need to pick a family!

We have gotten to see pics of him which is fun; we never received pictures with the other babies. He's an adorable little guy and we would love to bring him home with us! We realize that God might have a different plan for his life, so we want to be willing to accept that too. Please pray that God will give the birthmother wisdom as she chooses the adoptive family, and that He will give this little guy a loving, Christian home. We don't know how soon she will choose a family; we might be waiting a week or two before we hear anything. We'll update the blog as soon as we hear!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Life with Boys

Life with small children in the home is always interesting, especially when both your children are boys. Even more so when they are rowdy boys that love to wrestle and break things. Those are the kind of boys that we have in our home. Yeah, there's never a dull moment around our place.

Both our boys can be rough and rowdy, but for some reason Isaac tends to get hurt the most. Some of his injuries have been self-inflicted, and some are coming from his younger brother. Isaac's not a clumsy child, and I don't think Caleb is any rougher with Isaac than Isaac is with Caleb, but Isaac tends to be the one that gets hurt. I told him that God must be toughening him up so he can be a really brave man someday. He seemed to like that idea.

This weekend was a real test of Isaac's toughness. It seemed like all weekend he was recovering from one injury to the next. It started Saturday afternoon and involved Isaac, Caleb and a toy drill. I'm not sure exactly what happened because I was upstairs, but all of a sudden I heard Isaac crying loudly and I knew he was hurt. I went downstairs to find him with a "goose egg" sized knot on his head and Caleb quickly trying to explain what happened. Caleb said he had "accidentally" hit Isaac in the head with the drill. Judging from the guilty look on Caleb's face and isaac's very different story, I decided Caleb was guilty and he got punished. Hopefully he'll remember his punishment the next time he is tempted to take Isaac out with a Black & Decker.

Isaac recovered from the drill incident quite well, only to injure himself later that evening. He and Caleb were wrestling with their daddy (does that tell you where they get this rowdy behavior?) on our bed when Isaac somehow kneed himself square in the eye. Really hard. We thought he was going to have a black eye because it immediately got pretty red and swollen. I put ice on it while my hubby convinced him that black eyes are cool and all his friends will be impressed if he has a black eye. (Once again, do you understand where they get their rowdy personalities?) We put the boys to bed wondering exactly what Isaac was going to look like in the morning when he woke up.

Amazingly, he woke up the next morning looking refreshed and ready to face the new day. The day was pretty uneventful until we let the boys play outside after lunchtime. Luke and I were still inside when I suddenly heard Isaac crying outside. Actually, this time he was screaming. I ran outside and found him holding his head that now has blood running down the side of it. One of the neighbor kids ran over and told me "Caleb ran over Isaac's head with his bike!" I knew this couldn't be exactly what happened, but I took her word for it that Caleb was somehow involved. Since I don't handle the sight of blood well, I took him inside so Luke could clean and examine the wound while I went to hunt down the mad biker.

After about thirty minutes or so, we had discerned that Isaac did not need stitches and that Caleb had not intentionally ran into Isaac on his bike. Luke did have to shave part of Isaac's hair in order to bandage and clean the wound, so he has kind of a punk-rock, half-Mohawk look going on right now. I'm thankful he didn't end up with that black eye from the previous day or else I would be scared to take him out in public. Here's what our poor son looked like when the weekend was over:


Since I am trying to train myself to look for God's blessings in every situation, here are the blessings I can derive from this weekend:

1) We weren't planning on getting a family picture made anytime soon.

2) God has given Isaac an exceptionally hard head which helps him to withstand all his injuries. Accidentally knocking heads with Isaac can bring a grown man to tears.

3) None of these injuries were life-threatening, and God has protected our boys from any serious injuries thus far. For that, we are very thankful.

Just so you don't think our boys are complete hooligans, here's a picture of them being nice and calm.

They really are sweet boys, and we love them dearly. I know they love each other too, even though their battle scars might suggest something different at times.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Peace during troubled times

As many of you know, my husband has a gift for understanding the financial markets. One of the reasons why I feel God has blessed him with such a great aptitude for finance is because Luke uses this knowledge in a God-glorifying way. He is very generous with what he has, and he realizes that money is just a temporary, earthly item. He's not driven by greed, he just loves to study finance and to help others with his knowledge. He gets just as (if not more) excited about helping others financially than he does helping himself.

His knowledge has been a great blessing in our lives and the lives of other friends and family members.
He has been forecasting a financial meltdown in our country for several years now, and he obviously was right on his predictions. I'm very thankful for his vast understanding of the financial markets because we were financially prepared for this along with many of our friends and family.

Before marrying Luke, I knew nothing about finance. I felt like I was doing well financially if my checkbook was balanced and my bills were paid. If there had been a global financial crisis back then as there is now, I would have been completely ignorant about what was going on. Things are different now. With Luke as my hubby, I am full aware of everything going on in the financial world. I think Luke's financial knowledge is a huge blessing from God, but sometimes it makes me understand the saying, "Ignorance is bliss."

What's going on in our world right now can be very scary and I have struggled a lot with worry and anxiety over the last several days. I confess this as sin, because I know as Christians we are told not to worry and be anxious. I shouldn't be worrying myself over "What if?" but just remembering that God is Sovereign and no matter what happens it is in His perfect plan. I found a verse in the Bible today that I am going to try and remind myself of when I start to worry and get anxious:

"The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all." Psalm 103:19

When I worry about the stock market or the upcoming election, I am forgetting that

-God is bigger than both of those things.
-Nothing is going to happen to this world that God isn't in control of.
-As Christians, we know this life is temporal and Heaven is what we should really be looking forward to.

I don't know what will happen to our country in the future, but I do know that I serve a great God. He tells us in 1 Peter 5:7 that we should be "...casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." That's my prayer for today. I want to cast my anxiety on Christ, because He holds all of this in His very capable hands.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bryan Elliff's Blog

We added a new link to our favorite blogs that I wanted to point out. It is Bryan Elliff's blog, Nothing but the Cross.

http://bryanelliff.wordpress.com/

Bryan is the son of one of our elders Jim Elliff. Bryan is a freshman in college but is hardly your typical college freshman. Bryan wants more than anything for his life to count for Christ. Last year he wrote the following bulletin insert pleading with young adults to be fools for Christ...

http://bulletininserts.org/plea.html

Be sure to not to miss a few of his recent posts. The first is "Anabaptists and New Covenant Theology." In this post he refers to the book "The reformers and their stepchildren" and lists it as one of his favorite books of all time. I finished this book in March and would have to agree. His posts on "The reformation of morals in our society" and "Church" are outstanding as well.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Adoption Seminar

We attended an adoption seminar this past Saturday that was a requirement for our adoption process. The seminar was wonderful and we were blessed by it in many ways. We got to hear from several adoptive parents and children, as well as a woman who had given her son up for adoption several years ago. All of these people were very open and honest with us about their experiences, and it was so encouraging to see how God had worked in their lives through the adoption experience. The whole day was a reminder to us of why we are pro-life. Seeing the adopted children and how they were flourishing in their adoptive families showed us what a gift their birthmothers gave them when they decided on adoption, not abortion.

One of the highlights of the day was when we heard from the woman (who is now a pregnancy counselor) who had given up her son for adoption several years ago when she was a college student. Her testimony was so moving, and gave us even more respect for women who make this courageous and selfless decision. Before we heard her testimony, we got to watch this amazing video by Mark Schultz. He is a Christian singer/songwriter who also happens to be adopted. He wrote a song for his birthmother as a "thank you" for her decision to give him life. Have your Kleenex ready!




We also watched the following video of his wonderful testimony regarding his adoption.




The only disappointing part of the day for us was that the room wasn't packed full of Christians waiting to adopt. We feel very strongly that if the Christian community is going to say "Adoption, not abortion" then we need to be ready to back that up with a willingness to adopt. We realize not every Christian family is going to be able to adopt, but the Christian community as a whole should be known by their love for orphaned children and their willingness to take care of them.

Please join us in praying for women who find themselves in a situation with an unplanned pregnancy. Pray that God will move them to give their baby life, and the courage to place that child for adoption if they feel they can't parent the child themselves.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why I love being a stay-at-home mom...

Being a stay-at-home mom can be trying at times, but the memories with your kids are so worth it. Today the boys reminded me of why I love being home with them. While I was busy upstairs, they created a "stage" downstairs and invited me to come down for the show. I was greeted with two "drinks" to sip while I watched the performance---and what a performance it was! I'm so thankful I get to be home with them and see all these memorable moments of their childhood. Here's some shots from the "show."

Luke and I will be driving to St. Louis on Saturday for an adoption seminar that we are required to attend in order to adopt. It should be an interesting day. The boys get to stay with Mama and Papa that day which they are excited about. Keep praying!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Financial advice in turbulent times

Many of you know that in addition to working for a company that services institutional investors, I also stay up to date on the markets and am fascinated with economics and finance. I don't normally post financial advice because it ideally needs to be delivered in person so it is not misconstrued. Due to what is happening in the markets I felt it was necessary to post something very specific that will hopefully be helpful for you or your family, while at the same time will be simple and straight-forward.

Make no mistake about it. The U.S. economy and financial system is a wreck and will not be getting better anytime soon. In fact, it will get much worse before it gets better. Hundreds of banks, brokers, and insurance companies will fail in the next few years. I don't write this to scare anyone but to try to give advice on how to act based on how I have interpreted the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury's responses to date.

The Fed and the Treasury have made 15 announcements on Sunday afternoons so far this year. There have been a slew of bailouts of firms like Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and tonight with insurance giant AIG. Capitalism in America is essentially gone and has given way to socialism for corporate America similar to the socialism at the personal level that has been emerging for years. Like most forms of socialism, only select people benefit. This became apparent over the weekend when the government let Lehman Brothers fail while saving AIG tonight. Lehman's bankruptcy was not anticipated by a marketplace that has been conditioned to believe that all Wall Street firms will be bailed out if they scream loud enough to the politicians they have lobbied for years. I was shocked that they let them fail, though I welcomed it as the right thing to do if you believe in capitalism. You might be thinking "Who cares?" but the events of the last two days tell me two things:

1. The government will only protect the biggest and most reckless firms (AIG, Fannie, Freddie) whose failures will lead to systematic troubles. The taxpayers will be on the hook for the billions of dollars of losses so Wall Street doesn't have to take them.

2. The government will let the smaller to medium tier firms (Lehman) go bankrupt so as to look tough and still have some ability to say they believe in free markets and capitalism though their actions prove they do not. In this scenario, the stock market will suffer some, but it will probably go down slow rather than crash. It also means if you have any dealings with these companies the government will NOT protect you. They are only interested in protecting Wall Street, not Main Street.

So what does this mean practically for you? Scenario 2 means if you have family or friends with annuities at small or medium tier firms they need to get them out if there are not huge penalties to withdraw. The government bailed out AIG tonight because up until a few months ago they were the biggest insurance company in the world and pose systematic risk to the stock market. They also are one of the biggest sellers of annuities in the world. Yesterday, unbelievably the New York attorney general allowed AIG to use monies that are by law segregated for holders of life insurance policies, annuities, etc... to use the segregated funds for general corporate purposes. The government bailout tonight will negate their need break this law, but smaller insurance companies and banks will be failing over the ensuing months who will not be so fortunate to get taxpayer funds. This means your annuities will be at risk as AIG annuities and Life insurance policies would have been prior to the bailout. I have never been a fan of annuities but now is a particularly bad time to have them. Since many older people put huge sums of money in them at retirement, you probably know people that have them. I know several people in our sphere of family and friends.

So where should you put your money if you have annuities? In a period like we are in now, not losing is winning. What that means practically is that you should have your money in short-term U.S. Treasury bills or a U.S. Treasury Money Market fund. Do not settle for a money market fund with corporate debt. You should only own U.S. Treasuries with maturities under a year. You can buy them at your bank or at http://www.treasurydirect.gov/ Treasuries are only yielding around 2% right now but remember, "not losing is winning."

Deposits at banks and CD's up to 100k are safe with FDIC insurance. FDIC will be insolvent after a couple more bank failures, but I am 99.9% confident that the Congress will pledge more taxpayer funds to make them liquid, especially in an election year. Though it is almost a foregone conclusion that FDIC will be bailed out, they will be stressed soon. Washington Mutual and Wachovia bank will likely fail in the next few weeks. They will wipe out the rest of the FDIC reserves so Congress will be forced to act soon. This is why I prefer T-Bill's, though I am confident that CD's will likely be fine.

The landscaped has changed massively in the last two weeks. Though we are supposedly capitalists in America here are two facts that are staggering to me....

1. As of two weeks ago, the biggest mortgage issuer in the U.S. is the U.S. Government. 8 out of 10 mortgages in the U.S. are now funded by Fannie Mae, Ginnie Mae, or Freddie Mac. Only 2 out of 10 mortgages are funded by private companies. That will be zero soon enough. No private company can compete with a government that has printing presses for bad loans.

2. As of tonight, the U.S. Government has become the biggest insurance company in the world and by default a leading player in the annuity market.

If that doesn't sound like capitalism to you then we are on the same page. The American people are growing weary of the socialism for the rich (as am I), and I am not a "soak the rich" class warfare person at all. I am, in fact, very conservative philosophically, but more libertarian fiscally. Going forward the Republican administration will try to look tough by letting small companies fail, while bailing out the big firms. This is what you should expect in the headlines going forward so if you know anyone with annuities they need to seriously consider whether they should keep them.

If you want un-varnished reporting of the events to help you stay ahead of the curve, here are two excellent financial blogs. These two guys have a great grasp on what is going on and what will continue to happen over the coming months.

Calculated Risk

Mish Shedlock

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Seeds and Sticks

Here are some pics from our field trip last week. Isaac went with two of the moms in our group to a nature center that has planned activities and tours for school-aged kids. The activity his group participated in was about seeds. Here he is making his seedballs:



He had a great time and brought home several wildflower seedballs that we planted behind our house. He also got to participate on a nature hike where they identified several types of trees and plants. While he was gone on his trip, I took Caleb and his friend Luke on our own little "field trip." We went to the lake in our subdivision and had a picnic. Then I gave them each a paper sack for them to collect sticks and leaves. Their collection didn't last long though because all the sticks they collected they wanted to throw in the lake. I think that was definitely their favorite part! Here's some pics from our time there:

It was a fun day for all. We were very thankful we got our field trips in before the deluge of rain started. We have had so much rain over the last three days!

Today's my day to plan lessons for the week so I better get busy...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Something worth reading

It's been really hard to keep up with this blog since we've started homeschooling! Hopefully soon I'll get back in the groove of writing more. But although I haven't been writing much, I am still reading, and I found something this morning on one of my favorite blogs that I thought was worth sharing. It's a quick read, and was a good reminder for me of where my heart should lie regarding my wardrobe. As we start to think about fall/winter clothes, these are wise words to remember! http://www.girltalk.blogs.com/

Isaac has a field trip today that he is really excited about. He is going (with the other five kids from our homeschool co-op) to a nature center where he will learn about seeds and go on a nature hike. Should be fun! Maybe I'll find time to post pics from the day's adventures later this week....

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Listen to Jesus!......Moses

Jesus is the greatest prophet who has ever lived. This may seem like an obvious statement, but for many Christians including myself early in my Christian life I unknowingly elevated Moses to a place in my mind as the most revered prophet in the Bible. Not only was this wrong, but Moses himself would have been ashamed of this thinking. In Deuteronomy 18:15 he prophesied of a greater prophet than him that God would raise up in the future that we should listen to.

Deuteronomy 18:15 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers--it is to him you shall listen.

So who is this prophet that Moses spoke of in 1405 B.C. that God would raise up? The New Testament is clear that the answer is Jesus. Here are a few of the references....

Matthew 17:1-5 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah." He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him."

Acts 3:18-24 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. Moses said, 'The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.' And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days.

Hebrews 1:1-2 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

Though Moses was a great prophet, he was a type of the final Prophet that God would reveal in the last days. Paul Washer articulates this very well in this short 5 minute YouTube video.

Many Christians struggle with understanding how the law of Moses applies to New Covenant Christians. I hope this video is helpful for you in seeing the differences between the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ that New Covenant Christians find themselves under.



1 Corinthians 9:20-21 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ

To watch more videos from Paul Washer or to read about the missionary society he leads called HeartCry check out his website. HeartCry's way of doing missions is really tremendous and worthy of your support.

http://www.heartcrymissionary.com/home

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Update

We just got an e-mail from our caseworker of a new birthmother they are working with. She is due in a couple months and is looking at profiles tomorrow. I'm not real optimistic about her picking us because she told them she is agnostic and doesn't want an "overly Christian" family. I'm sure she would consider us to be "overly Christian" but you never know how God will work. I told our caseworker to go ahead and submit our profile and we will be praying for her.

We know of two other birthmothers our agency is working with; they will be looking at profiles in September. Luke is planning on going to the "Together for Adoption" conference in November with another friend from our church. We're really looking forward to that--should be a great time for them both.

Please keep praying for us!


Friday, August 22, 2008

Our First Field Trip

We had our first field trip today with our homeschool co-op. We visited our town's fire station. It was very interesting and the kids all had a great time. Here's some pics from our trip:

Caleb waiting for the firefighters to start the tour
Isaac visiting the inside of the fire truck

Part of our group posing by the fire engine

Isaac has a new blog where he is going to be writing. Check it out at http://isaacsthoughts-isaac.blogspot.com/. He'll be keeping everyone updated on his kindergarten year.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

hablas español?

We found a great deal yesterday on the Rosetta Stone Spanish software. We ordered it on ebay and it should arrive in a couple days. We want the boys to start learning a foreign language while they're young, and Spanish seems like a very practical language to learn.




We bought the homeschool edition which means each family member can have their own program going at their own pace. (Luke and I want to learn it too.) The program is supposed to be easy enough for a young child to do by themselves, so we'll see how Isaac and Caleb handle it. Our plan is to have Isaac run the controls while Caleb watches and learns as well. We've heard wonderful things about this software so we'll see if it lives up to its reputation. We'll give our offical "product review" in a few weeks after we have used it for a while.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Back to School

We officially started homeschooling this past Wednesday, the 13th. I decided to start the same day as our school district so that Isaac would be on the same schedule as all his neighborhood friends. And since we are hoping that sometime soon we will be bringing home a new baby, I wanted to get a head-start on the school year so that we can afford to take some time off when we get "the call."

Our first three days went really well. Both boys were excited to start school (Caleb is doing preschool) and seemed to enjoy our mornings together. I am so glad we decided to do this. I love teaching, and teaching your own children is so rewarding. I am looking forward to all the memories we are going to make together and watching them learn firsthand. Here's some of the highlights from our first few days:

We decided to start a "Back to School" tradition of taking the boys out for ice cream the night before school starts. The boys, of course, thought this was a great idea.












Here's the boys on the first day of school.













Thursday we talked about the short vowel /e/ and read Green Eggs and Ham. We decided we needed to fix green eggs for lunch that day.


As you can tell from the first day of school pics, we still haven't finished our basement. It is functional, clean and organized but it is still just concrete walls and floor. We have come to a standstill on that project because we aren't sure exactly what how much we want to "finish" it. Luke's installing a new light this week to give us better lighting down there, but we're not sure about the rest.

On the adoption front, we found out last week that there are two more birthmothers in Missouri that our agency is working with. They are both due this fall. Please be praying for them. We are going to St. Louis in September for an adoption seminar that is required for all adoptive parents. It should be interesting, and we're excited to meet other families that have adopted or are in the process.

We'll keep you posted!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Another update

We found out this week of another situation in Missouri, a baby girl due in October. She has some special needs issues, but as with most situations they have no idea how severe her problems will be until she is born. We have submitted our profile and are trusting God for the result.

Today we found out that two of the three birthmothers we mentioned a couple weeks ago have chosen families. The birthmother in New Jersey was looking at profiles today for the first time. I found that out this afternoon which gave me the opportunity to pray for her today as she was making the decision.

Keep praying for us and the birthmothers and we'll let you know what happens!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Hymn for August - How Great Thou Art

This month we are going to memorize "How Great Thou Art" in our family devotions. This hymn is extra special to our family. It was one my grandfather Emery's favorite hymns. He was one of the most Godly men I have ever known. I will never forgot how wonderful it was to hear a filled church building sing this hymn with great acclamation at his funeral.

How Great Thou Art!

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder, Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made; I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Refrain
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander; And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees; When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur and hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze.

Refrain

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing; Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in; That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin.

Refrain

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation, And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart. Then I shall bow, in humble adoration, And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"
Refrain

Carl Boberg, 1886

Here is a link to the tune...

http://www.cyberhymnal.org/non/foreign.htm?sv/ostoregu.htm

Friday, July 25, 2008

Update

Through prayer and discussion, we decided to put our profile in for the Caucasian male baby in Missouri. I had written in our last post that we were unsure about whether we should because we had hoped to adopt transracially. We weren't sure if this was a right reason for saying "no" to this situation, so we took a few days to think it over. Just so you can understand our thinking on this issue, here are the reasons why we love the idea of adopting transracially:

1) There is a huge need to adopt minority infants in the U.S. and we want to help with that need.

2) God adopts and redeems people from all tribes, tongues and nations into His family (as the verse in our blog header states), and we love the idea of having a similar diversity in our own family. We want our current home to resemble our future home as much as possible.

3) We believe Christian churches are too racially segregated and would like to help bring about racial diversity to our church.

We believe these are all God-honoring reasons, so that is where our conflict came in over whether or not we should adopt a Caucasian child. After discussing this with our pastor, here are the reasons why we decided to go ahead and put our profile in for this child:

1) An orphan is an orphan: they're all children in need of loving Christian homes.

2) Special-needs children also bring diversity to churches and homes that is heaven-like.

3) Christians that are pro-life should be willing to adopt the special-needs children that are put up for adoption. (We're not saying that every Christian family should adopt a special-needs child, there are several additional considerations.)

4) We're in a better postion than most to care for a child with special needs. We have amazing health insurance through Luke's company so we can afford to pay for any extra medical bills.

I was sharing with some friends at our Wednesday Bible Study how having this time of waiting has given us opportunities to think through a lot of things regarding adoption. There are a lot of issues surrounding adoption that we hadn't thought about, but when situations like this arise we have to think through them and decide what is the right thing to do. I don't know what the Lord has planned for us regarding adoption, but we're gaining a lot of wisdom as we wait to find out! (Maybe that is one of the reasons why He is making us wait....)

Regarding this little baby boy, his condition is one where the prognosis is unknown. He may live a completely normal life, or he may have some speech and motor issues. We pray for God's wisdom for his birthparents; they have a very tough decision to make and an emotional road ahead. Please pray for them and for the birthparents in New Jersey and Mississippi. As always, we'll keep you posted if we hear anything.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Two (maybe three) potential situations

Monday we got three separate e-mails about three different potential situations with birthmothers: one from New Jersey, one from Mississippi, and one from Missouri. We decided to submit our profiles to the ones in New Jersey and Mississippi. We are still praying about whether or not we should submit our profile to the one in Missouri. The Missouri baby is a Caucasian male that has some possible special needs issues. We're not hesitant because of the special needs issues, but because we had really hoped to adopt transracially. We're not sure if it's right to say "no" to this situation because of that, so we are still praying about it. They don't have to have an answer for a few more days.

We're not always notified when they submit our profile, only when their are special circumstances do they ask us first. Our profile could be shown without us knowing and we could just get a call one day that we have been matched. I really like knowing when it is being shown though because it gives us specific situations to pray for. I think and pray a lot about these birthmothers and what they are going through physically and emotionally.

Please pray for these birthmothers and we'll keep you posted!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Encouraged...not discouraged

Those of you that have been following along with us on this adoption journey know that this adoption process is taking longer than we anticipated. I confess that this often can cause me to become anxious and impatient. These are sinful attitudes (1 Peter 5:7) and I know that I need to trust God more completely. So today I have chosen to focus on the blessings God has already bestowed upon us, and how some of these blessings we had to wait for, just as we are waiting now.

Looking back over past blessings reminds me of how God's Sovereignty is perfect and He brings events (or people) into our life at exactly the right moment. When I'm in the midst of waiting, I don't always understand why I can't have what I want right now. But in hindsight, I can always see why God made me wait. Reflecting on past blessings is a great reminder of why I need to trust God as I wait for His timing.

So if you pray for us this week, please pray that our hearts will be encouraged by reflecting on God's goodness to us, and not discouraged by the sin of impatience. I know that someday we'll look back on this whole adoption process and see the wisdom in God's timing, and be so thankful that He made us wait for just the right baby at just the right time.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Our pool isn't so bad...

We have a pool in our subdivision that sometimes can get a little crowded. After seeing this picture of a swimming pool in China, I'm not going to complain anymore. I don't think I would even attempt to watch Isaac and Caleb there...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Tough Decision

Our oldest son, Isaac is now five and will be ready to start kindergarten next month. Deciding where to send him for kindergarten has been a very tough decision for us. We had always planned on homeschooling until about a year ago when we heard of a school called Faith Christian Academy. We were drawn to the school because 1) it is part of Faith Community Church which we know is a very sound church and 2) it operates on a university schedule where the students attend class there for three days a week and are homeschooled for the other two days. We loved the idea of our kids getting the classroom experience and the homeschool experience. We also loved that FCA is a very rigorous school where expectations are very high, and we knew our kids would get an excellent education. So after a few visits to the school and a lot of thought and prayer, we signed Isaac up to start kindergarten this fall.

A couple of weeks after we had signed him up, Luke and I both started having second thoughts. We started thinking through the practical side of him attending this school. FCA is twenty minutes from our house, and with the price of gas that would greatly increase the expense. The school also requires twenty hours of volunteer time per year for the parents which would increase the amount of trips back and forth. We also started wondering if we were going to miss out by not homeschooling exclusively. We know many families that homeschool and have been very impressed by their children's academic success and spiritual development. Would we be missing out on something if we didn't homeschool?

This started several weeks of very difficult decision-making. We felt like we had two really good options--which one was better for our family? We prayed a lot about the decision and spoke with many friends to get their thoughts on the issue. Everyone we spoke with was in agreement that both options were good, which made our decision even harder. I wanted someone to just tell us what we should do--the decision was too hard to make! Finally, we both decided we felt like we needed to homeschool. We still think FCA is a great school, but we feel like homeschooling is the best thing for us. Finally...a decision was made!

Now that we have made this decision, we are gearing up for our first official year of homeschooling! We have decided to homeschool through a satellite school, Christian Liberty Academy. Christian Liberty Academy is a Christian school in Arlington Heights, Illinois. In 1967, they started a program called CLASS (Christian Liberty Academy School System) to support homeschooling families. When you enroll in their Administrative Plan, it is as if you are actually enrolled in their school (only the parent does the teaching). We will be mailing all Isaac's work and tests to CLASS, and they will do all the grading and keep all the records. They will mail us report cards and keep his transcripts. If we choose to continue with this through 12th grade, he will graduate from CLASS and get a diploma from them. One of the concerns Luke had with homeschooling was that I would be too stressed trying to plan and grade everything. With CLASS, they will take care of all of that which will help me just enjoy teaching our kids!

Another exciting thing about the upcoming school year is our playgroup that will be evolving into a homeschool co-op. We have been in a wonderful playgroup over the last year with several families from our church. All of these families are also homeschooling so we are going to start doing field trips together and planning holiday parties, field days, etc. This way the kids will get the benefit of a home-schooled education, but will still get the fun stuff like field trips and parties with kids their age. What a blessing to have these other families to do this with!

Our big project before I start homeschooling (which means we only have about a month to get this done!) is turning our sub-basement into a classroom. Here's the picture of what the sub-basement looks like now:











We have our work cut out for us, but I have big plans for this space! We'll be very busy over the next several weeks--I'll keep you updated on our progress!

CLASS is also very inexpensive because it is not-for-profit. We paid $240.00 and that included EVERYTHING for his kindergarten year (curriculum and shipping, administrative costs, teacher's manuals, etc.). We received the curriculum via UPS this week. Here's everything they sent us:

I haven't even begun to look through all this so that's another huge project I have before me! If I don't blog much this month you'll understand why...
Please be praying for us as we begin this huge task of home-educating our children. We are very excited about it and pray God will bless our efforts. We'll keep you updated as we go...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hymn for July

Well it is the beginning of a new month and that means it is time for a new hymn to memorize in our family devotions. Last month we encouraged you to memorize with us. Here is the original post.... http://sing-to-jesus.blogspot.com/2008/06/behold-lamb.html

Both boys were able to easily memorize the hymn and love to sing. As promised to Caleb, this month we are going to do "Low in the grave He lay." This one is probably familiar to most of you but here is the tune if you need it.... http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/l/i/lintgrav.htm

Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior,
Waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!

Refrain

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Vainly they watch His bed, Jesus my Savior;
Vainly they seal the dead, Jesus my Lord!

Refrain

Death cannot keep its Prey, Jesus my Savior;
He tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord!

Refrain

Robert Lowry (1826-1899)Words & Music:
Ro­bert Low­ry, 1874; ap­peared in Bright­est and Best, by Ro­bert Low­ry and
W. How­ard Doane (New York: Big­low & Main, 1875)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Pray for the Rainey's

Many of you have probably heard of Dennis Rainey from the ministry Family Life Today. If you have read the story of our journey to adoption, then you remember his adoption video was instrumental in our decision to adopt. We need to be praying for Dennis Rainey's family as they just experienced the loss of their newborn granddaughter. My friend Patty sent me the link to a blog that tells the powerful story of what they have gone through this month. Click here to read the story of little Molly Ann. Have a box of Kleenex nearby--you'll need it.

Their story reminds me of what I observed two months ago when my brother passed away. God gives believers grace when we need it. We don't need to fear trials because He will give us the grace we need when the trials come. It is so hard not to worry about my kids, but I take comfort in knowing that God will give Luke and I the grace to handle whatever comes our way.

On the adoption front, we have heard of a couple possible birthmothers that we might have our profile shown to. Once we find out more, we will post that information and keep everyone updated. Please pray for God to give us wisdom and patience. This adoption is taking longer than we expected and at times it is getting hard to wait. Please pray that we will continue to trust God as we wait for our little one!