Friday, December 17, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
"I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord." - Psalms 40:1–3
"No! I want it right now!"
God is like, "Listen! You might think you want it now, but I'm going to give it to you when you're fit to receive it. I'm going to use the process of waiting to shape you into the woman or the man that I want you to be. Getting it now wouldn't advance My purposes for you. I want you to wait."
Waiting is not an easy thing. Waiting is not passivity. Waiting on God is not the absence of efforts. Waiting is "I've done everything I know how to do but it's not enough and now I am waiting on God to do for me what I could not do for myself."
That is such an important lesson to learn. Let me tell you about some of the benefits that you get when you wait on God. Here are five verses that spell them out.
According to Psalm 40:1 when we wait on God, He hears our prayers: "I waited patiently for the Lord and He inclined to me and heard my cry."
According to Isaiah 64:4 when we wait on God, He acts on our behalf: "Nor has the eye seen a God like You who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him." That's what God is fired up about. He works for the people who wait. I wonder how many things we don't get because we're out there working for it ourselves beyond what we should and God's like, "Would you just stop that? I act on behalf of the people who wait for Me."
Psalm 25:3 says that when we wait on God, He keeps us from shame: "Indeed none of those who wait for You O God will be ashamed."
Isaiah 40:31 says that He gives strength to those who wait: "Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength."
Psalm 37:34 tells us that those who wait for God are exalted: "Wait for the Lord and He will exalt you."
Bottom line; God always makes it worth our while to wait for Him!
Saturday, December 11, 2010
On Wednesday I got a phone call from our social worker. It appears we didn't actually pass court. Instead of an approval to bring our son home in our file, it was a request for updated information. It has been so long since we initially sent in our dossier to Ethiopia there are some documents that needed to be updated. We had updated our fingerprints and other necessary documents for the US, but Ethiopia now wants some other paperwork updated.
I've been sick to my stomach and crying for days. I can not believe we are going through this. I thought the nightmare of the wait and uncertainty was over. All we want to do is bring our son home. The first day I tried to put it into perspective but I couldn't. The fact is, our son is in an orphanage day after day and we have a pretty great family right here that wants to love him and provide for him. What other perspective is there? But the next day I did convince myself that it could be worse. I could have gotten a phone call saying that he was very sick or had an accident or worse. IT COULD BE WORSE. I have so much to be thankful for. I have a husband that has been through the ups and downs of this journey with me, I have two sweet and smart and precious little girls that are happy and healthy, and I have a son that is being well taken care until he is under my roof. We have a happy and secure life and the promises of a Savior. It has taken days to make my "blessed" list because I just want to sink in a hole of despair about this.
I do understand that it is really for the interest of the children of Ethiopia. It is the governments responsibility to make sure all their children are in safe and legit homes. Sadly, there are people out there who exploit and take advantage of orphans. It is ET's job to protect them. In the grand scheme of JP's life, what's another month of waiting?
I'm not one to throw out the "Sunday School" verses but all week the Lord is pressing this verse on my heart.
"Trust Me with all your heart and lean not on your own limited understanding and knowledge, but in all things acknowledge that I am in control and I have gone before you and I will make your journey straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
Lord, I know that You have gone before me in this situation and You are there now working on my behalf. I know that Your word tells me that You have only good things for Your children and even the bad things for our good. I trust that Your ways are higher than mine and my earthly view is not able to span time like Your heavenly view. I know that You are a God of miracles and You can work a miracle in this situation if You so choose. I pray for JP this day, that You continue to surround him with love and prepare his heart for the day when he leaves the only home he's known. We give You all the glory and honor in bringing us to this place and I give over all my worries to You, who is ready and able to give hope. In the name of Jesus I pray these things, Amen.
Friday, December 03, 2010
Just writing the title of this post is bringing tears to my eyes. Yesterday flying over Ethiopia was a sight to see. I never tire of God's creation and how different He has made each place and each person. I see rolling hills and flat land. Patches of brilliant greens and dull browns. It's all woven together to paint a beautiful picture. Stepping out of the airport and hearing, seeing and smelling a different, foreign, culture never ceases to amaze me. All of these beautiful people who don't look or act like me intrigues the inner parts of my heart and mind. The imagination of my Maker overwhelms me and I feel privileged to experience it all.
Today was a surreal experience for us. We woke up and unlike the other families, I wasn't nervous at all about the court proceedings. We drive through the city and make it to the federal court building. After several flights of stairs and many winded Americans:) we make to a semi-large room filled with other families from different agencies. We wait for our orphanage to be called. Each family anticipates hearing their child's name to go into the room. It seems like families are coming out after a minute or less. I'm still not nervous at this point. Our orphanage is called and our families start being summoned one at a time. I start crying after the first family receives good news. Soon, JP's, name is called(his Ethiopian name) and we enter. The judge is a beautiful Ethiopian woman who over sees ALL court cases! What a busy lady, glad she wasn't our sick on this day:) She quietly, as custom in Ethiopia, ask us several questions. I get really nervous and Joey takes over! She finally ask, "Do you understand that this is permanent?", us: "Yes". She smiles and says "Congratulations, He is yours"! My heart was overwhelmed with joy! We have a son!
We go to a coffee house to celebrate our good news with GREAT Ethiopian coffee and popcorn! We go to a nice mall and have a fabulous lunch with shopping and then we all canceled our "mountain" sight-seeing plans and asked to see our children. We got to spend the afternoon with JP and pretty soon he was sitting in our laps and letting us hug and kiss on him.
Today is a day that will forever be etched in my heart and soul. JP we love you and can't wait to come back and bring you home!
Thursday, December 02, 2010
We are such proud parents at this moment! After all of our flight delays, we stepped out of the airport at 10:45 in Addis Ababa and went straight to visit you. The other families had been visiting yesterday and all morning and when we first arrived you and the other children were having a very busymorning with all the parents playing with you. Your dad and I went to you but you shyed away from us. Daddy did get you to kick a ball with him before the Nannies took you inside for lunch. I noticed that you barely ate any of your food but drank all your milk! You and your big sister share this common trait! Once the Nannies brought out the dum-dums you were done with your food. Your special friend was there and very happy to greet us and play with us. While you were eating she came and took your block. You calmly called the Nanny and pointed to tell on her. WHen the Nanny didn't understand, you got up and pointed harder! THe Nanny went to her and she took off running with a smile on her face! The Nannies report that you "fight and play with her a lot" since you are close to the same age.
She was an important tool to getting you to warm up to me and your dad. At one point, you cried when we tried to show you too much attention and we had to give you some time to come to us on your own. I helped convince you to do that by giving you candy:) The Nanny then came and sat with me and your friend and got a a pile of books to get you close to me. It worked! And before long you and your friend were laughing at me make animal noises and fishy faces. Your friend especially liked the fishy face and belly-laughed each time I did it and this would make you laugh at her. It warmed my heart each time I heard you sweet laugh or saw that big smile. You kept pointing to the kitty because you wanted me to meow. I think you and Bethany will get along just fine:)
Soon after I was able to cuddle you some and get you comfortable, we had to leave. We tried to get you to wave bye-bye to us but you started to get shyagain. After we turned to leave you ran to the door and waved bye bye to us and gave us a big smile. This was the best moment of our day with you!
We understand that it will take you time to love us and trust us. We are okay with that and will give you as much time as you need. But you must know that we have loved you long before this meeting.
We are going to visit you tomorrow and I know that we gained good ground today.
With Love and Patience,
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Mostly, I wanted this post to be about your giving and our great appreciation. I was so overwhelmed with a feeling of love and support while putting our donations together that I could barley get it done. So glad I was alone in the house, except for Lyds and she can't use words:), to pack the donations because Joey might have thought I was on the edge. All that said to say "THANK YOU". Your gestures will always be remembered and a part of our son's journey.
My living room was taken over with all our goods!!!
Joey's parents Sunday school class took donations and one family friend got a generous donation from Gerber of cloth diapers and lots of onsies! We got a bunch of clothing from other donors, too.
TONS of baby wash and diaper cream samples from some of our physician friends:) Also plenty of lotion, ointment, some medication and thermometers.
Toys and fun things for the kids.
And it's packed, barely!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
We are beside ourselves with excitement about our upcoming court date in Ethiopia! It will be our first time meeting JP face to face and it will be the trip that makes him legally our son!!!! Sadly, we will have to leave the country without him until he is issued a Visa from the US Embassy. This can take 1-4 months after this initial trip. People usually travel within 6-8 weeks though. We will cross our fingers and pray for speedy proceedings.
Any who, this email is to get you involved in helping the orphans of Ethiopia. We will bringing 3 Rubbermaid tubs full of donations for JP's orphanage and the other 2 orphanages that are affiliated with Bethany Christian Services in Ethiopia.
We will be leaving Nov. 29 and coming home Dec. 5. I will need all donations by Nov. 21 to get them ready for taking. Don't feel obligated to donate, I just know there are several friends and family that want to help and be a part of the process. Not only will it be a blessing for our little man, but to other children without families that are struggling in an impoverished country.
Top five most requested items
1.Disposable diapers-all sizes,
3.Medications and toiletries: antibiotic cream, baby thermometers, diaper rash cream, baby oil/lotion, hand sanitizer, etc,
4.Clothing:sweaters, pants, socks, and shoes, especially for children ages 3-9. This request is for Bethany Sponsorship Families, not for the orphanages
5.Shool/craf supplies and education activities for all ages
Other items to consider:
Infant and children's vitamins,
Fer-in-sol infant iron drops,
Baby bottles: plastic with normal nipples,
nipples for regular bottles,
Infant sippy cups,
Personally, I would say the most important items to send would be cloth diapers. Most children are clothed diapered, including our JP. Disposables are more expensive in ET and therefore the nannies will only change their disposables about 3x a day. Which leads to the next item, diaper cream. Thankfully, JP has not been reported with diaper rash but I know several families that children had severe diaper rash to the point of open wounds and lesions. Formula and medication/vitamin's. Any typical baby item would be great and of course the little ones would love some toys, too. After all they are children:)
I hope this is informative but if you have any questions please email me. If you know of someone who would be interested in giving please pass along the information. Sunday school classes or your church or your child's preschool may be looking for a service project and we'd be happy to be your subjects!
Much love to all. Thank you in sharing in our excitement of finally bringing our son home.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Need I say more?
Monday, October 04, 2010
We have kicked off the month with Greenwood's Harvest Fest 2010 at the Connie Maxwell Farm. We went with the Wiles and enjoyed lots of great food and music and USC chaplain's Adrian Dupree. An awesome speaker. The kids ran around like crazy and had a good time
in the cool fall evening.
Gabby and Lydia hung out together, too!
We ended our kick-off to October weekend at our favorite Sunday restaurant, Sweet Peas!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Right now I sit in that deep grief that sometimes can't even be felt. Of course, I've experienced this before but I had forgotten the feeling until it came upon me again. The days, weeks and even months after my mom's death are a blur. I can barely remember her funeral service. It's because I was chest deep in pain and loss. I always vividly remember being right beside her as she took her last breath and it being an intimate moment that was given by God as a gift among the heartache. September is never the month to celebrate her life, it just doesn't seem right. But it does always bring me an awareness of the brevity of life and an urgency to love and live while I can.
Last year when I wrote this post I never could have imagined that almost to the day I would be letting go again. The last 4-6 weeks have that blur effect. The days just run together in a string of lasts. The last time Gamo came to Greenwood, the last time she saw the girls, the last thing she sewed for me, the last time she was well enough to walk without my help, the last time we had a conversation, the last time she drank and ate, the last time.... I was able to be there for a lot of last but she waited until I was gone for her last breath.
Today I'm feeling drained and numb from her loss. She meant so much to me and my girls. She was truly a one-of-a-kind. She can't be confused with someone else because she was just that different. A bright yellow in the middle of gray. The hardest part of a loss is finding a new normal. So much of my daily life included her. There are literally 15 times during the day that I want to pick up the phone and call about something the girls did. Or talk about getting the fabric for the annual dress making we do in the fall for B. I was looking forward to week long visits in Memphis to ward off my homesickness. But I will get by and find a new normal. The loss never fades but the hurt does dull with time.
The Matriarchs of my family are gone and now I must step up. I hope that I get the best of the both of them.
Gamo and Bethany on her 1st Halloween. She and Bethany shared a very special relationship. Gamo stayed with us so much during Joey's intern year. She was there for all of Bethany's milestones.
Peace eluded from Gamo when she came home on Hospice. A quality I had never really seen her hold. She had come to terms with her illness and with her faith. A life-long journey of seeking out God and God being faithful in showing himself to her. I will rest in seeing the fruit of Peace in her discovery of the truth of God's word. The gift that I will treasure among this sorrow.
"But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart, and with all your soul." Deuteronomy 4:29
Friday, September 10, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
You are sleeping 12 hrs at night and take a 2-3 hr morning nap and a 1.5-2hr afternoon nap. Sometimes you even take a cat nap in the evening! You have been eating 3 "meals" a day since you were 4 months and taking 4 bottles too!
You are actually trying to crawl but right now you are doing a great job at belly scooting to get your toys. Like your sister, you love Cruz. When he comes in every morning you giggle at him while I feed you your breakfast. You come to the YMCA with me and do a really good job, with the exception of one day. Your dad wants me to stop turning on the noise machine but I still think you need it with your noisy 3 yr old sister:) You love Bethany and get so excited when she focuses her attention on you. Today you were giggling at her while she threw a fit in the car!!
We are enjoying every moment with you, Liddy. I savor each day b/c I know I can never get these precious months back. We love you!
Sunday, August 01, 2010
Two weeks ago we decided that we needed to move where God was calling us to and it's not here in Greenwood. In the same week that Joey started working for Ware Shoals Family Practice we also put in our notice to leave on Jan. 31, 2011. In 6 months we will be moving to Memphis, TN to work with a ministry called Christ Community Clinics. They have 5 clinics in the inner city areas of Memphis and move into these under served communities and work and start churches in neighborhoods. We did a rotation last May and loved it but when it came down to deciding to stay or leave this summer we did the most easy and comfortable thing. God worked on our hearts and we realized that we made a mistake and it wasn't too late to right this wrong. We will probably we traveling to Ethiopia to bring home JP around the same time that we move. It should make for an interesting year of changes and blessings. Pray with us as we move into this next phase of life and leave the comfort of the known and move into the unknown. I'm anticipating the things that God has in store for us!
Monday, July 26, 2010
Mommy and Daddy's night out. The grandparents kept all the kids while all of us went out one night.
Joey, Billy and Charley. They were coming to the beach together since they were babies and now they have babies that they're bringing to the beach!
Friday, July 09, 2010
Danny and his sister came to visit for the day and went to Oconee Falls.
My sweet patriotic girl! We were taking a late evening cruise around the lake. You've gotta love those quiet and still evenings. (Note: every little girl needs a head light at the lake. You know, just in case your in the likely situation of being out in the woods by yourself at night:))
The sun setting over the Appalachian Mnts