Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Isaac with our "grand" puppy- Leyla, our daughter, Molly's puppy

Celebrating Abraham's 26th and Caleb's 10th b-day

Jenn,Jeremiah, Ella and Ezra came up and we celebrated Abraham and Caleb's b-day Monday nite. Abraham's friend, Deana was able to come... here are some favorite pics of our celebration of the lives of these 2 blessings in our family.

We had company this weekend- some pics from our time

Update about Ben and Jenn

Ben's eyes are getting better. He is back to almost being able to do all activities. His eye sight is still not normal but moving towards it. His eye looks normal now and he is only doing one eye drop. We have one more follow up this Friday.

Jenn has been having her blood drawn weekly since her baby died. They are testing a hormone level and it needs to be going down to 0 and stay that way for 6 months to say she does not have the cancer from the molar pregnancy ( partial molar) . This molar tissue can grow and cause a cancer. Monday she got her latest results and she was at 220 ... she started around 400,000 so praise God she is moving in the right direction .

Monday, January 19, 2009

Guess what we woke up to... SNOW

We woke up to snow and of course the kids loved it.... Here are some pics from their time outside.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mary Kate's story

I have been wanting to share her story on this for awhile.... today after MK asked me to come look at Ava and Keith I realized I needed to. Watching Keith love this little girl and Ava responding to his love has been a wonderful gift. When someone doubts the promises of God and finds it hard to trust His will and His plan for their life I hope that my daughter's story is an encouragement. Keith is not the bio. father of Ava however it is amazing how much he resembles the bio. dad and so how natural for anyone to think that she is biologically his... after watching him there would be no doubt.

Mary Kate met the b. dad ( that is how I will refer to him and not by his name) at a church we used to attend. He had just gotten home from a drug rehab. experience called Teen Challenge in Florida. He had been there about 18 months. She met him at the youth group while watching the Super Bowl. A protocol for us has always been to be a part of our children's lives including when they wanted to "date-court". She was almost 17 and this was her first person she wanted to talk with and begin to "court". He had lots of red flags like the previous Teen Challenge but we were willing to give him a chance. We met him for breakfast and Paul and I talked about the perameters that we had for their relationship and why we wanted them . They included : no one on one dating (group outings), spend lots of time with the family, do things in groups, no physical contact.... It went ok for a few months and then we eased our ability and restrictions some as we got to know him. He went on vacation with us and seemed to like the other siblings and they liked him..... that was another prerequisisit. We knew his family from church but I can not say we were totally convinced they were on the same page as us as far as watching them or helping them... we know now in hindsite they were not... at the time too the mom was dealing with cancer and she has since died . Anyway Mary Kate's personality began to change... she started to question many things that she had been raised with like her faith, her values and her family.... We later learned that there was some physical and emotional abuse going on that we were not aware of until it was too late.... She was irritable, lying and had a very hateful personality. Her language changed... we started to hear more cussing and just hateful comments.... Finally the bdad wanted to break up... We were all for this since they now had shared that they had gotten involved physically. Mary Kate was devastated.... such wisdom in waiting and doing it the Lord's way. Her heart was broken and all over a yg. man who was beginning another spiral downward into hell. He started smoking, and drinking and late nite partying. He was fired from his job and has continued to struggle to hold down a job. Mk was deceived by his manipulations and controlling temper. We now think that he is bipolar.. he had some mood swings and changed his personality like we have never seen a person do. It was difficult to watch our daughter go thru this time but there was nothing we could do but pray.... eventually he decided he wanted to have the relationship and that is when she got pregnant. In came at no surprise to us that she was pregnant... she was due in late Jan. of 2007. I remember holding my daughter as she was crying and wondering how she was going to do this.... she knew in her heart what the bdad was really like and so over some months of the pregnancy she was able to free herself from his control and anger. She started to experience health issues in her 4 month... high blood pressure and some heart issues. I am sure all related to the stress of this negative relationship. All along she lived with us... He would threaten that he was going to take the baby to Mexico and many other things. Mk was afraid and struggling.... she worked almost up to the week she had Ava. She had very swollen legs, feet and hands and high blood pressure-- they ended up inducing her labor early because of pre-eclampsia. She had a difficult labor and delivery. Her epidural did not work on 2 attemps from the anesthiologist and her IV came out during the delivery so they had no way to give her anything until they got another IV started. She had some surgery done at the birth (necessary for the baby to be able to get out)without any pain meds... it was a terrible time but in just a few minutes our precious Ava was born and we all forgot some of that as we ooed and ahhed over her. Jenn, Molly and I were at the birth to help... it had been decided not to contact the bdad out of fear of how he would react with his previous threats. Security was aware so if he showed up they were prepared. She had chosen a diff. state and it was further away from him . Ava was born on Paul's b-day Jan. 5. She was healthy and we brought her home 3 days later because of some complications from MK's pre-eclampsia. We had our pastor call the bdad and his family . When he came over we had some other people there in case he got out of hand. He did not ... His parents could not come over because his mom was very ill with her cancer and was bedridden. So MK and I went to her after a week. We did not feel it was safe for her to be by her self with the bdad and for awhile he had to visit her at our home or she would go with one of us.... He did little wanting to anyway so it was managable. He did continue to threaten MK but in a passive way and has for well over 8 months not seen the baby.... We built an addition for MK and Ava and that has worked out well... we all love and care for her and have tried to support MK in every way. She was struggling for a long time and felt how could another man ever love her and Ava ( another man's child). She also struggled with her faith... she had been beaten up emotionally and spiritually by this man that she did not feel the Lord cared about her. It has been a slow healing process where she has learned to trust the Lord again. Months before we were to travel to Ukraine she started to seek Him again with all her heart. She will be the first to tell you it was then that she knows the Lord was able to work with her calloused and stone heart....She made the choice to step out in faith once again. We could see the light of the Lord's love in her eyes beginning to shine. While in Ukraine she was the one who encouraged us the most... then Keith came into her life. She began attending our church IBC while we were gone the 4 weeks for the adoption. She was going to the yg. adult class and she met this man whose family had 11 children and they homeschooled too. Sunday evenings Keith and his brothers would come over and play with all the kids and visit . The week that we came home they decided to begin to "date-court". We love this yg. man, Keith and are very grateful to the Lord for bringing him to MK and Ava. He is a godly yg. man who loves the Lord and loves our daughter and grandaughter... He delights in them. Those are the 2 things we have always desired in a spouse for our children-- one that they love the Lord and two that they adore our child. They have so much in common and share so many of the same values ( he comes from a lg. family and they homeschool). We actually knew them before from a homeschool group... we feel blessed to be meshing our families together and look forward to the future. It is not often that so many family connections mesh as this one has... that has to be the Lord. I know that Mary Kate feels very much that the Lord loves her and really would say when she began to trust in His love and provision ( the 2 months before we left for Ukraine) then He was able to bless her choices and her life. Her heart of stone has once again softened and is pliable to the Lord's will.

After I saw this ... I wanted to share how special it is for us to watch and see how the Lord has provided a daddy for Ava and a husband, friend and godly man for Mary Kate. Everything we prayed about the Lord listened to, every desire in MK's heart is being fulfilled and we are watching as the Lord thru Keith and others is gently wooing our daughter back to Him and restoring what the locust had eaten.

Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me- Isaiah 8:18

At church last Sunday the 11 we had a wonderful time of worship, message and fellowship. When we got home we made dinner and after the meal Paul wanted to share with the children some things he felt during the service. We were sharing some of the message and asked what the kids had learned at church today. We had a wonderful time of sharing and the Lord's presence was with us in a very real way. Since I learn best and remember things by object lessons that is how we taught about having a heart to serve for the Lord. We closed our hands in a fist and shared that is the size and shape of our hearts... and a heart looks like your tongue (sort of) it is a muscle and is pliable and able to push the blood thru our bodies.... We talked about where does the Lord live and all ... they knew he is suppose to live in us in our hearts. Then we got a rock and talked about what happens if you begin to sin or struggle in your faith... and make wrong choices... little by little your hearts will turn to stone. There was lots of sharing and when I looked at the faces of all the precious children the Lord has given Paul and I.... there were several that had tears pouring down their faces. Isaac one of our younger ones and Rachel one of the new girls were especially moved that day.

In our adult Bible class on Sunday am we have been studying the feasts and Leviticus -especially chapter 23. There has been lots of discussion about the sabbath and it being a day or rest....rest really meaning worship and coming closer to the Lord. I thought of something that I really feel is true for me..... It is not so much that I need lots of physical rest... I need more holy time of the Lord's presence... time when I get rejuvinated and refreshed to go on and do more .... That Sunday time doing devotions was just that for me... Our lives are intense.... as I shared we go and never hardly stop with so many children... I often get asked how do we do it .... and it really is a worship and effort that is easy especially when we have drawn close to the Lord and gain His strength and His ability to do what He calls us to do.... When we go to the beach for a "vacation" a time of "rest" it is sometimes not that. The effort to get 22 people ready, driving to the beach, even though we don't do much ( cost to much to eat out or play things like putt putt). ... No one complains though we enjoy the time it is not the same "rest" that we got that Sunday.... I think that is the ultimate rest that the Lord calls us too on a Sabbath... not necessarily a Sunday either... we should be seeking to be closer to the Lord and to want to feel His presence every day of the week.... The energy and ability to live my life came more thru our devotions after dinner than it does when I take a "nap" or "rest".

Where were you at midnite- we were at the ER

Yesterday was a full day for us all the way to the end... Paul and most of the kids were up at 6:15 to go to Ben's indoor soccer game. I was up and made a run to Walmart for some sausage for a tortellina- sausage soup for our lunch. We went to my dad's to visit and drop off Joseph and Isaac. My father came home from the rehab. home on Tuesday and my brother, Johnny has been taking care of him 24/7. He requires someone to be with him now. He came home worse than when he went to the hospital in early Dec.... He is 87 and has multiple medical issues all of which could end his life. So Joseph who has such a servants heart wanted to help. He was off of work and offered to spend the nite so Johnny could go home for the nite. We had the soup and bread for lunch with them and then left by 3 to get to a local skate/rec. center. A friend's church had rented it for 2 hrs and we were invited.... what a gift to us . It literally saved us 200 dollars if we had to pay. The kids had a blast... they had a huge indoor play-climbing area as well as the skate rink. We came home and I made dinner... we ate at almost 8pm by the time it was fixed and then Ben called ( he was at his friend, Daniels). He said he had an accident. My response was please tell me it was not in the car. It was not... thankfully. He and Daniel were playing with some nerf guns and Ben shot the ceiling and the sponge, nerf bullet hit his r eye... the iris was bleeding and his pupil was oblong. Thus we spent a few hrs at the ER. He has a follow up with the eye doctor Monday.... and we should know if he will have permanant damage or not. Since we already have a son who is blind and another son with just one eye... it was not a "horrible" thing to go thru for me. However for Ben he was quite upset that he could loose his eye over a "stupid" accident. His comment in the exam room was, "Mom, How quickly our lives can change." I will update after his doctor's appointment. For now he can't even read, watch tv or do the computer. He is off from work and has to sleep at a 30 degree angle... and we do 3 diff. eye drops some every 2 hrs.... So please pray for him.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I think we may be in trouble with this little one when she gets older :)

Last nite I had sent Mya to bed early because it was quiet time and she was running around. I was upstairs and I overheard this conversation she was having with Anna, " Anna go and ask Mommy if I can get up now, Pleaseeeee." Anna said," No she will get after me." Then Mya responded, "Anna if a person is saved and has Jesus in their heart they should be doing things for others." :) My oh my are we in trouble if she is thinking this way.... Here is a shot of the two of them today....

PawPaw and Ava

Paw Paw and his Ava going out to eat breakfast on their birthday-- Jan. 5. He takes each child out to eat on their b-day...


We have been playing checkers and more checkers..... then Paul brought home Chinese checkers and for a lg. family who is always looking for games that many can play.... Chinese checkers works well. We just have to buy another one or two but that is how things are done here.... I bought Paul a waffle maker for his b-day ( he loves waffles). We have to go back and get at least 3 so that we can all eat breakfast together... as small as they make them we would be cooking them until lunch. So if anyone ever wants to share ideas of places to buy large items or things to cook with share away... I would love an industrial stove... so that my pots which are all huge now would cook in a timely fashion.. also to bake the necessary amount of food now it requires a minimum of 3 lg. casserole dishes and only 2 fit side by side... the oven cooks longer and diff. when you add the 3d one on the bottom... Not complaining here just dreaming. Here is a pic of the kids enjoying checkers....

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I am home now

I just got home tonite... Paul came and got us ( Naty ,Leah and me). They are doing well. They have a strong and deep faith that will help them. Praise the Lord for that. It was so good to spend time with my dear "grand" babies though. Actually Ella is 3 and she has quite an imagination.... There were crabs and spiders that we "played" with everytime she followed me to my room.... there was even one called "Spideras" and we played lots of hide and seek. Then there was sweet , dear Ezra 16 months. He was actually sick some for part of the time but was better the last few days. He loves blueberries and his chin and fingers stayed blue. I loved being there for our visit and just being with them... it is so hard to live apart ( 5 plus hrs drive). Thank you Lord for the special hugs , the beautiful smiles and the laughter I had this week with Ella and Ezra.

Monday, January 5, 2009

An update about Jenn and Jeremiah

Please pray for them as the baby has died... they just called and are understandably upset. I am on my way down to them... Please pray for their hearts and the huge ache this will cause for them. Thank you for those who have been praying.

Please pray

Our daughter, Jenn called this am to say she is spotting and cramping. She is 14 weeks along in her pregnancy.... Please pray for Jeremiah, Jenn and the baby. It is scary and discerning to go thru this uncertainty but they know the Lord is in control of their lives. It is so hard to be away from them (6 hrs) when alls I want to do is hug them... so please pray.

Now I have to add the story about how I ended my day with another blessing and why I am still up when it is 1:15am

I have been home for a few hours we did a family devotion and everyone shared about what the Lord has been showing them about Dancho and Grandad.... these children just give me so much when I hear them share.... afterwards they went to bed and it was just Mary Kate and I. Tonite 2 yrs ago we were up all nite (MK, her sisters Molly and Jenn). Mary Kate was in labor with Ava... and we were her birth team. MK and I were reflecting about it all and what a joy Ava is.... Then MK began to cry and shared how grateful she was for me and all I have done for her and Ava.... She went on but I won't share the details or my pride will get the best of me :) Then she asked me when Keith and her do get married would I be her matron of honor... she could think of no one else who had influenced her life more for Christ than me..... Both of us are crying now.... I want to share her story sometime and promise to soon... but I have seen the Lord restore her life and her heart from a very abusive and painful relationship that did give us the blessing of Ava. Mary Kate is not the woman she was 2 yrs ago... It is such an awesome thing to see the Lord at work in someones life... especially if it is one you already love. Thank you Jesus for encouraging me and giving me rest and joy today.... I have felt your presence in my life in very real and tangible ways today. You are a personal Lord and you touched me in everyway and place I needed to feel your loving spirit......

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Did you ever have a day where you have been blessed and you do not want the day to end....

Today has been that sort of day for me.... We went to church and we have been given a gift of a body of believers who love the Lord and serve Him . We hear the Bible preached in a life giving way and all of our very large family are ministered to.... Then it was home and Joseph, Leah, Olivia and myself went to visit my dad at the rehab. home he has been in now for over 2 weeks after having left the hospital stay of almost that amount of time. It has been a difficult holiday season but also a precious one too. It has been difficult watching my "daddy" become so ill and so critically depressed because of his life that will soon end . He is 87 and has congestive heart failure, ulcers on the whole bottom of his legs that have caused him to initially be hospitalized because they thought he had MRSA ( he did not)... It is about an hour and a half drive to get to visit him and my 2 brothers have been managing most of his care because they live closer to him. My dad will no longer be able to live alone and so we have to decide what to do next for him.. We will not put him in nursing home- I have worked in some of the best and to be honest they are a horrible place to end your life . Even with the "best" of care. I do not really desire to share what has gone on for my dad at this facility in just the short 2 weeks he's been there but it has been a passive sort of hell for us to watch .... I have struggled with many issues since all of this and it was causing me not to sleep.... I love my dad very much and want to be there for him. However I can't be down there all the time... I journal and have now for 25 yrs... if you read my journals they contain some daily happenings but mostly my encounters with my Lord and Savior. They are filled with prayers and scriptures of encouragement and challenges. Lately I have asked and been given many..... but still I struggled. We have also been praying about adopting another child.... a little boy who is blind in Bulgaria. We have no money to do this adoption but we never have... and the Lord has always provided. Then you add the emotions of caring for my dad and wanting to adopt Dancho. We have been given some encouragement to proceed with his adoption..

I also was wondering about my dad's salvation. For me this is an issue that has caused great stress and loss of sleep. I know my mom gave her life to the Lord and I have a peace about her in heaven . My dad I was not sure about... If we can ever be a judge of anothers salvation- This is not what I was desiring to do. Just an encouragement that he has had a relationship with the Lord.

Well today when we got to my dad... I knew the Lord was present... there was something different. We were there for 4 hrs and had a wonderful visit. He looks better and his legs are not draining and his spirits were more positive. Friends of ours and my dad came- the Luthers. I can not share enough about what a gift this family has been to ours thru the yrs.. for without this relationship we never would have been encouraged to adopt from Russia in the first place.... they were the ones who were with my mom when she died. They are just strong and grounded , Christian friends ... We were talking with my dad and Luther asked him if he was saved and my dad said yes and shared how he was baptized at the Baptist church in Rainelle, WV... I knew he had once been an elder in that church but to be honest he had gotten so bitter I was not sure if he had a personal relationship with Jesus. His bitterness came from years of watching the negative , hurtful behavior of christians in the churches he had attended.... God revealed to me that my precious dad had given his life to the Lord but because of the root of bitterness that came and grew like cancer it was hard to see.... I hope and pray for any of you reading this blog that you do know the Lord in a real and personal way and if you too have some bitterness to allow the Lord to heal your heart and pain. It has been sad and now very positive to see how the Lord has worked thru my father's life. We also talked about his care after he leaves the rehab. facility.... He may come to live with us and he may live at his home with my brother taking care of him or we share this priviledge.... I will have him some and Johnny will.

Now my blessing came in finding out that he is indeed saved... I have the joy and peace knowing this... Also my striving for working things out was given over to the Lord and now I am actually excited to see how the Lord is going to put all of this together... I know He will... and I will be obedient to whatever He calls us too.... I am also rejoicing in the encouragement all the children and Paul give to me to want to take care of grandad as well as to adopt Dancho. It is amazing to me their hearts for another child....

Here is my daddy with the last smile I have seen on his face in a long time... this was taken on Christmas day as we were visiting him . We had brought Abraham's piano and sang and danced for him... He loves children and it is where first I learned to love a child.... I have the best daddy ...because he was and is my daddy it has been easy for me to respond to my Lord. Thank you Jesus for my father. Please pray for him to have peace and rest and comfort.

Something that warms my heart and makes me love my kids more...

On Christmas am our new daughter, Rachel brought me her present for me.... It was a magazine.. one that I have not ever read... It was called All You. The color was a light purple and had the lavender flower on the cover as well... Lavender is my favorite flower and it was filled with very delicous sounding recipes and she proceeded to go thru the magazine showing articles and the recipes... Now she has been home 5 months and she hit it right as far as things Rachel has picked up that I like or need... the most tender moment though was when she showed me an article about how to care for your aging parents and her words were," Momma I thought this might help you with Grandad." I was brought to tears by this very sensitive daughter of mine who felt this need to encourage me in these areas of my life...