Monday, February 27, 2012

~*Operation: Hospitality*~

Our family had a bit of an adventure today.  It actually started a few weeks ago when we had our van's gas leak repaired.  I've noticed the gas gauge seems to be off a bit since this repair.

Ya'll know where I am going, yet?
If you’re a super sleuth you might have already guessed that I ran out of gas!

Well, the Lord, THE LORD, would not let an opportunity to go by without using it as a witness to myself and others.  

1) I forgot my cell phone at home.  I *knew* I did and left anyway, thinking those famous last words, "Nothing will happen".

2) I noticed I needed gas and the last gas station as I was leaving town was not selling gas this day (???) all the pumps were covered up...strange!  Oh well, I've got enough to get to the next one (8 miles down the road).

3) Van was acting quite strange, jerking and just not feeling quite right.  I made it 3 miles before it completely sputtered to a halt.  

From here it gets good!
I noticed no one was stopping so I gathered my 4 children and crossed the busy road to a humble home where a sweet lady pushing a walker opened the door to us.  I told her our circumstances and she readily opened her home to us to wait in the warmth while I tried to contact my hero husband to come rescue us.

In the process of waiting they revealed their hearts to our family and I was so pleased to meet them.  The husband mentioned he'd ran out of gas on the same road and he was turned away from a group of homes quite rudely at one point by "born again" Christians and that left him confused about Christian behavior.

What a wonderful opportunity that the Lord did not discard.  Very humble folks that kindly offered me coffee and the children books to keep them busy.  On this day my children were absolutely wonderfully behaved.  We were a great witness to them on large families, adoptive families, and homeschooling Christian families.  

I am still in awe of how the Lord can use our circumstances to humble us and remind us to rely on HIM!  He is sufficient for all our needs.  

I wonder about those that turned away the kind man that opened his home to my family.  Yes, he looked a bit scruffy and definitely not sporting the latest trends and one glance at him might not reveal his need for the same kindness he showed me but what an opportunity these folks missed out on! 

As a Christian my witness is not only in my words but also in my deeds.  I don't desire to do "good deeds" to get points with the Big Guy; I desire to show others the same loving kindness that the Lord showed me on the cross.  

While we were definitely a witness to this couple who enjoyed our company for an hour I think they impacted me more so.  This situation reminded me of the importance in showing true hospitality to others.  No matter the state of your home, your budget, or your circumstances you have many golden opportunities to witness to others in simply opening your home! 

(Yes, my husband came and rescued us and it was nothing more than a gas gauge that is not as accurate as it was before the gas repair a few weeks ago.  I won't allow it to get too low now!)

Friday, February 24, 2012

~*Nothing Goes Together Like PB&J*~

Way back when we had a very fussy and cranky newborn and way before we knew that was caused by severe food allergies I came up with a little ditty I would sing her to calm her down. 
"Peanut Butter and Jelly,
Peanut Butter and Jelly, 
Nothing goes together like
Peanut Butter and Jelly"

Eventually, her nickname became Peanut Butter (or just Peanut) and doting brother, J.J. became the Jelly.  These two were inseparable.  He was constantly attending to his little sister in such a sweet way.
Sadly, all that came to a screeching halt at around 18 months of age.  Peanut was DONE with being coddled and wanted to do it herself!  She wanted to do it ALL herself, just like every other 18 month old!
Girlfriend was downright chubby! The only time in her life she's had body fat. 

This, definitely, did not go over well with big brother.  He was crushed, honestly, it was so sad to see his face.  He had to reestablish a new and different kind of relationship with his little independent sister.  

Its still a work in progress as we teach our now 2 yr old to be respectful of her brother, to accept kisses for boo-boos from him, to allow him to help her with things instead of mom coming to the rescue each and every time.

They still aren't as close as they use to be but I think that will come back in time.  He can still be a bit pushy with showing affection to her and she will loudly let him know how she feels about it....Even *he* is still learning!
I think the most important observation I can make about Jelly is that he has the heart of a helper; of a servant.  His love language is helping.  If he misbehaved that first year home he'd pull every piece of clothing out of his drawers and refold them and put them his way of apologizing for his misdeed.  
He is my right hand young man.  
I can trust him explicitly with keeping his little sister safe.
I work effortlessly with him in the kitchen.  
He has a heart of gold and he just warms me from the inside out with his thoughtfulness.  

We are so blessed by this young man!
Love you Jellyman!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

~*Pictures: What We Wait For*~

Every adoptive parent waits and waits for new pictures of their child and if they are in an orphanage that may not be very cooperative or without the resources to provide frequent pictures you simply have to wait and cherish what pictures you do have!  

So, when new pictures are posted by other parents adopting from the same orphanage we all get super excited and scan each picture for the familiar face of our child...even just a glimpse gives us hope!  

I was pleased as punch to see these pictures below!  I spotted my Analina RIGHT away and my children were telling me "NOOOO" that's not her!  Then another AP (adoptive parent) emailed me because she, too, believed it to be my sweet girl!  I'll be slapped silly, it sure is her!

I'm in the process of sending HER a cake, too, as we sent Dalton one for his birthday and we're sending one to Analina to celebrate the adoption, as her birthday isn't until June.  These pictures give me such a breath of hope...we ALL cling to these few pictures we receive of our children!

Analina is in red:

The sweetest smile on earth!

Your cake is coming sweetie! 


 This last picture is the one that had us wondering "Is that her?"  But, yes, indeed that is our sweet girl!  I can tell in her face she's gained weight and PRAISE God for that!  Our last update had her listed at 24lbs at nearly 5 yrs old! 

Keep praying, please!  We are just waiting on the Lord's perfect timing to bring our two blessings HOME! 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

~*My Teeny Tiny Two Year Old Blessing!*~

Came out sucking her fingers!
 Two years ago, I was blessed beyond belief to welcome a gorgeous and then, slightly chubby, little girl.  It took us a year to figure out she had severe food allergies and another year to get those stabilized...and now I am thrilled to say she has finally broken the 20lb mark!  Just in time to turn 2!
She's still possessive of her hats!

Spending time under the of the only times she had "chub" on her little body!
Through many bouts of illness including 2 rounds of pneumonia, 2 or 3 bouts of bronchitis, 6 rounds of tonsillitis and many rough nights due to food allergies, Peanut has shown resiliency that would put most adults to shame.  She has an enormous capacity to love and, although, she warms up slowly at times to certain people, she is learning the fine art of socialization.  
Always swiping my water bottle, my little stinker!
From a shy and nervous little caterpillar to a rather social little butterfly just starting to spread its wings we have seen her grow and grow!
Oh, how I love that smile!
~*Happy 2nd Birthday*~ 
to my sweet little 2 yr old!    
This is what I get when I asked for a smile!

Beautiful flowery princess, never far from her trusty cup!