Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ben turned 18 yesterday and we had another celebration of life

Ben is our last bio. child... and he turned 18. I love the last 2 pictures of Ben with Josiah looking at him... actually Josiah could not wait to give Ben his present which was a letter he had written. We stress to all of our older children... walk a walk that is worthy... because you have lots of younger ones always watching you. This shot shows that wonderfully.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

This post is for Laura Jeane, Jenn, Molly and Mary Kate specifically but others can read too:

Now you might wonder why I specifically posted to my daughters, Laura Jeane, Jenn, Molly and Mary Kate. They are our bio. daughters and all are married now or engaged... when we raised them we had some different methods of parenting... as we have had a second chance to do it all again with our second group of children we have changed our thoughts and ways a bit about some things... So my older girls will get a smile from these pictures of Luke, Mya and Ava.

When we first got married in 1976, we were hippies. We were all for "peace" and love and all that good stuff. So when our kids wanted to play with guns we said no guns allowed :) Now I know these 4 are at least smiling now.... when Ben was born we had the same rule... he would despite our no gun rule make guns out of sticks, blocks or his hand and fight battles... there was no way we were going to stamp that "normal" part of growing up for him. Even water guns were controlled by our pool . They were the only type of gun we allowed.....We also are still anti- hunting if you are doing it just for pleasure... to eat the meat is fine with us but to kill or maime just to be able to do it is not something we condone.

Looking at Mya and Luke and Ava the other day after they had dressed up and came into the kitchen to show me I had to laugh and laugh hard at how much we have changed since raising our first group of kids....

So if you are hanging around our place and surprise one of my "Ninjas" or as they refer to themselves "special agents"... You better watch out...They look pretty tough don't they :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Jonas turned 15 and we celebrated...

He also had his first post op for his eye surgery ...and it looks great and has healed well. We should not have to do anymore surgery thankfully. He goes to the ocularist April 12 to adjust or redo entirely his prosthetic eye... please pray that it is an adjustment... it would be way less money compared to a new eye that cost 3,000 dollars.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Holy Week and some of our ideas

This starts the Holy Week for us... we love this time of year for all the new life that is around us. It is also my favorite holiday- Easter. One of the ways we try to make it a special time in our home is to make a "tomb scene". We plant grass seed around it and watch it grow... eventually you will see lots of grass growing up. We also do the "Resurection Eggs" - actually this basket of eggs is 25 yrs old. I made them that long ago to do with our first group of children who are now adults :) These eggs have symbols of things that are a part of the Easter story like spices in one egg to remind us of how they put them on Jesus's body when he was put in the tomb, nails for the nails they used to nail him to the cross, and one egg is empty... because of the tomb being empty on Easter morning. At dinner or family devotion time we review the story this week. Also we do this one with the baby chicks or bunny puppets...

Please share some of your ideas with us about how you celebrate Easter.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Don't you just love Spring! I sure do....

You see how the Peace garden is just coming to life... Soon you will not be able to see the pond. Our 1 goldfish," Goldy- but she is actually white now" is in the one pond picture... she made it thru our cold and snowy winter.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Andrew- home 3 months

In some ways it is hard to believe they have been home with us for 3 months and sometimes it seems like a long time.... He is slowly making positive changes but it has been a hard time for him and us during his transition... he is an extremely strong willed child... and I remind myself that is the reason he is still alive today... I do not believe if he was as strong willed that he would be alive now. My heart often aches for my son and what he endured... how does a child go from the engaging , chubby baby that was his first referral picture to the spastic and very frustrated little guy that we brought home..... I am so happy that he is here with us....and it has been amazing to watch him begin the process to heal... from the abuse and neglect he suffered. He now sleeps soundly, he enjoys certain toys and people over others ( which is a good thing), he has regressed in some areas but we expected him to. He prefers to eat his bottles lying down, and he often will refuse to eat . This is probably the hardest one for me because I want him to keep getting the nutrition that he did not get the first 5 yrs of his life... he is holding his weight but the days he only takes 2 plus bottles frustrate me. I do pack the bottles with lots of protein and nutrients and at times I wonder if he knows that it frustrates me and chooses not to eat... you know how kids figure those things out. I have spoken with our pediatrician and they are fine and think he is doing well at least for now.

We are still planning on taking him to our pediatric neurologist in May for a complete check up. In April he will have his oral surgery- teeth cleaned at the hospital under general anesthesia.For now that is all we are doing medically. He needs way more time to adjust to life outside of the orphanage. We feel very strongly about this and have always tried to give our children more time to adjust to eating healthy food and getting loved before we do lots of tests and medical interventions unless they have needed it to save their life. A few of our children have been in that category and needed lots of intervention just to live but he is getting healthier and moving towards the positive.

He enjoys being outside . His favorite activity is swinging... he will make sounds with vowels and consonants and he does repeat some sounds that we make. He prefers to be around the group of us and not by himself.. and we see very little auto aggressive behavior now... things like hitting and slapping. I can't remember even the last time I saw him do that. He smiles and laughs lots which makes it all worth it... even the bad days now are not so rough and we see glimmers of connecting with him... I do not see us getting him off the bottles anytime soon... but one thing I know ... all of my kids surprise me and so it would be difficult to make a prediction of that.

Another thing he loves to do is burrow under things or in them... as you can see if he can he will crawl into a shelf or even under a rug. He often prefers to sleep still under his mattress ( even if it is on hard poles ). Sometimes he pulls his arms out of his shirts but we see less of that.

He still has such a long way to go but we have a lifetime together....

Gracie and Ava sharing lunch

Gracie had already eaten her lunch and she sat down beside Ava and they shared Ava's lunch :) Gracie can now say "momma" very clearly . She is a very happy little girl . She does enjoy Ava who is actually her niece. Ava is 3 and Gracie is 7... but actually she fits well with a 3 yr old developementally. She laughs and giggles all the time. She loves to be outside and with everyone...she has gone from a very quiet girl to one who is beginning to express herself.. not yet with audible words but we do hear sounds. She will sit with the family during our family time and she loves to be with all of us doing whatever we are doing.... She has been home 3 months now.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Way Out... When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

We had an issue this week that played out to a very positive learning experience and was even followed up with a devotion that I read the very next morning... I love how the Lord does that in my life.

Josiah had brought a dollar of his money to the kitchen and he said he placed it on the counter and it was gone... now my first thoughts were, "It is your own fault kiddo- don't leave money laying around to tempt someone." Of course I knew I had to address the issue of where was the dollar.... Mya had seen it in the hands of Caleb last and of course Caleb denied that. I had also taken Caleb and Jacob grocery shopping with me earlier and they had together bought themselves some donuts... Jacob has money but Caleb did not ... so this was his story," Jonas gave me the money for eating the horseradish ( we had some with our sushi and they all were trying to get someone to eat it)." Oh well what or whom was I to believe.... during the time I was questioning the "suspects" I notice that Mya is crying....

So I talked with her privately... and this was her story.. and I must say it was a precious one.. and one that we all learned a lesson about being tempted. We had been studying the question a few weeks back about ,Was Jesus tempted and if so did he sin? We learned that indeed he was but he did not sin because he did not do the temptations presented to him when he was in the wilderness... So this was sort of fresh in our minds...

Mya said she had held the dollar and Josiah knew that part... She put it in her pocket and wanted to take it... but she said," I told the devil no!" and I decided to listen to the Holy Spirit and not take the dollar. So I put it back... she has such a sweet spirit in her that she was brought to tears thinking about her response and choice to not do the wrong thing but to choose to obey what she knew was in her heart from the Holy Spirit. She shared with everyone later in the afternoon and it was an excellent "real" lesson for all of us...She did not share tears of remorse or being bad because she thought of doing it... she was crying because she had made the right choice and saw the way out that the Lord provided for her....Honestly her spirt as she was sharing was so sweet... just as if the Lord himself was speaking to us.

Then the next morning I opened my devotion and read this:

A Way Out

We will all have temptations today--that is a basic truth of the Christian Life. However, just because we have temptations does not mean we will necessarily sin. Just the opposite. Because you have temptations,you have a unique opportunity for success.

The word that Paul used here for tempted is also translated as tested. These tests can make you stronger if you seek God in them and take the way out he gives you. We need to set our heart on God and resolve that we will listen to him when temptation comes our way... He will show us an excellent way out-- a way that leads us to overcoming or victory.

The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation. 2 Peter 2:9

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Job 12:10 In His hands is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.

Hands that are praising.Lots of hands. Playing hands.Hands that are working.Hungry hands. Hands holding the Bible.Praying hands.Holding hands..... and hands waiting to be filled.

I was doing my devotions a few days ago and it was about hands... I love the image of hands. There is a favorite song of mine from the Newsboys called, In the Hands of God. There are several Bible verses about hands... the top one here is a favorite of mine as well as Psalm 139:10... Even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast... and even Jesus said,"Father into your hands I commit my spirit