Friday, November 30, 2007

The Hope

I wanted to recommend this video:



It is a video that you can watch online. There are twelve chapters that cover what the Bible says from beginning to end.

My five-year-old daughter and I have been watching it together. We just finished watching Chapter 9 tonight. It is so neat to see how supernatural the Bible really is, and how the whole thing works together to give us hope.

My favorite part of the video is Chapter One. I love how they did the part of God speaking everything into existence. It's really cool.

Karissa keeps asking, "Mommy, can I watch the Hope?" Oh, I don't know Disney Channel or The Hope. Hmmmm tough choice. : )
I hope you enjoy it like we are.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

This is For You, Missy : )

Hey Missy, I tried to email you this video but it was too large to be an email attachment.

Since I couldn't email it to Missy, I thought the rest of you might enjoy seeing my little dog lover cracking up over a video that my friend Missy's kids made and posted on her blog, "It's a Wonderful Life."


video

Lord, Teach Me How to Pray

Throughout this adoption process, I am discovering that God is using it to refine me and to grow me. I know that the process itself is important, not just the end result, and I can't rush it. The process is shaping me into the woman God wants me to be and is preparing me to be the best mom for Jeremiah. There are many ways that God has used it to make me better and stronger and every time I get impatient, He tells me, "Not yet. I still have more work to do."

Today, I learned that He is asking me to grow in my prayer life. I slept terribly last night and then this morning, my youngest daughter, Amy, crawled in bed with us at 5 AM. I couldn't sleep with all of her tossing and turning, and I felt like God was asking me to get up and pray.

I went to one of the daily devotions that I read on the computer called "Our Daily Bread." Today's devotion was on prayer and at the end of it, they offered a link for a booklet called "Jesus' Blueprint for Prayer" by Haddon Robinson. I used the booklet as my blueprint for my prayer time this morning. I learned so much about how to pray. Here is the link:
http://www.rbc.org/uploadedFiles/Bible_Study/Discovery_Series/PDFs/Jesus_Blueprint_For_Prayer.pdf
Note: If you are blind like me : ) You may find the booklet easier to read if you up the percentage you are viewing it at. The tool bar at the top of the page will have a percentage. I usually up it to about 150% (Like I said, I'm really blind) : )
As well as how to pray, I also picked out a few favorite quotes from the booklet on why we pray:

"God wants us for Himself. He desires communion with us. His
purpose in prayer is not to make us sit up and beg. He wants us to know
Him. Prayer is His method to accomplish that.

When we pray we
often concentrate on the gifts in God’s hand and ignore the hand of God
Himself.

While God in His grace does give good gifts to His children, He offers
us more than that. He offers us Himself. Those who are merely
satisfied with the trinkets in the Father’s hand miss the best reward of prayer-
the reward of communicating and communing with the God of the
universe.”

George MacDonald said: "What if God knows prayer to be the thing we need
first and most? What if the main object in God’s idea of prayer is a
supplying of our great, our endless need- the need of Himself?”


This adoption process isn't just about me. God has taken into account everyone involved, every minor detail and the affects of those details. I'm just seeing that in the waiting, He is drawing me closer to Himself, and I love it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

GIVING THANKS


This is a picture of my front door.

I am giving thanks for you. Yes, you!!

I am so thankful for the relationships in my life.
I cherish the people I get to love and the people who love me.
I am one BLESSED and GRATEFUL woman. : )

I am thankful for the interest you have shown in our family and our adoption journey. And so, so grateful for the prayers you have lifted on our behalf.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Love,

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Back Inside to Warm Up


Fire
Cocoa
Ahhhhhhh!!!!
Great Winter Morning : )




































Little J.J., We had such a fun time playing in the snow this morning. It made me wonder what you will think of this cold, white stuff. You are in 80 - 90 degree weather right now. Oh boy, little boy, you will have some adjustments to make! But I hope we can help you learn to love this stuff like we do. We love you!
Mommy


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My Little Snow Angel

Here is Amy, my little snow angel. Her big sister had to go to school and miss out on all of the fun.

Amy has been sick with an awful cold all week, so I can't believe I let her outside to do this. She begged and I couldn't say no. : )


Anyone, up for a snow cream cone?
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I Win! I Win! I WIn!!!!


Every year, my Mom and I have a competition to be the first to call each other and say that we got the first snow. Mom lives in snowier country so I rarely win. But this year, I win!!! These were the views out my windows this morning. It isn't supposed to last, but we sure had fun playing in it this morning!

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

What's in a Name?

I have always been fascinated with the meaning of names. When I was a kid, I ordered a name book from our class book orders and read it cover to cover. I learned all kinds of interesting facts, and remember many of them to this day. Like the man who's legal last name was:
Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff

As if that wasn't bad enough, his parents gave him a name for every letter of the alphabet. Can you IMAGINE his birth certificate?

All of my dolls had specially chosen names, and I had very definite ideas about what my children would be named when I grew up. (Hmmm...somehow I forgot that a husband would be involved in that decision process.)

Before our girls were born, as Pat and I debated names, meaning was just as important to me as the sound of the name. I love the meaning behind the girls' names:

Karissa Ann (Precious Grace)

Amy Elizabeth (Beloved, Set Apart for God)

As I've been researching the meaning of Jeremiah's name, I have been struck by how prophetic his name really is. Here are the meanings of his name:

Chosen by God
God will raise up, God will set free
God will uplift
Appointed by Jehovah
Exalted by the Lord

Wow. Even the name he was given at birth, shows that God had plans for our special little boy from the very beginning.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Confessions of a Comment Junkie : )

I must confess, I love it when you leave me comments on my blog. Every time I post, I check back LOTS to see if there are any comments left. And now I am so excited that Blogger has made it easier for you all to leave me notes (and feed my addiction) : )

Here it is:
Comments 101
(Sounds nicer than "Comments for Dummies")

  • You don't have to have a Google account anymore to leave me a comment. At the end of every post, it says something like "Posted by Becky at 10:34 3 Comments."

  • Click on Comments and it will take you to a place where you can type me a message.

  • When you get done typing your message, where it says "Choose Your Identity," just click "Other." You just type your name in the box. (Leaving a website address is optional but fun for me to see if you have one)

There, piece of cake. Easy for you to do. And you won't be accused of being a blog stalker! Check back, because I might comment back. : )

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Stepping Off the Ride

Wow. These past few weeks have been really tough. My anxiety level has been through the roof. I think it is mostly accumulated stress, and I just hit a point where my body can't take it anymore and is fighting back.

I went to see the doctor about it on Friday, and we talked about ways to reduce stress, activities that need to go, lifestyle changes to make, and she is doing some blood work to see what's going on with me.

In our conversation, there was confirmation for some of the things that my husband has been asking me to do regarding our adoption for a long time. I posted awhile ago about how he said I need to just quit thinking about it and stressing about it and just wait for God and Acres of Hope to tell us it is time.

I haven't been able to "just stop thinking about it." I think a part of me feels like if I don't think about it, read about, pray about it, prepare for it, I'm less of a mother and I really don't care about my son. Being engrossed in the adoption stuff is my way of showing my love for our future son, just like a pregnant woman reads books about fetal development, paints the nursery, talks about the baby non-stop, etc.

The problem is that the adoption process is so full of ups and downs, expectations and excitement, discouragement and hopelessness, feelings like it is never really going to happen, and then good news that makes you more and more impatient for your child to be home. Now that I've seen the beautiful pictures of our Jeremiah, and read about his sweet personality, it makes the ups and downs, and discouraging news out of Liberia, all that much harder to take. I long for him to be right here! It truly is a roller coaster ride, and personally I've made somewhat of an idol of the ride

I am on my laptop several times a day reading posts on the Yahoo group, checking blogs, hitting "Check Mail" on my email inbox hoping for new news. I went a little overboard, and now I am feeling conviction that it is time to let the roller coaster come to a stop, climb out, and walk away from the ride. The Yahoo groups and blogs have allowed me to make connections with amazing, wonderful people that I truly care about, and I want to know what is going on in their lives, but for a season, I think I need to check out. I need to limit myself to scanning the Yahoo group on a weekly, or maybe even bi-weekly basis. I need to limit my blog reading and just enjoy what is true about right now, in this home, and spend more time loving on my family.

I hate that the adoption process has bottle necked in Liberia and that it could be a very long time before our son has a visa to come home. I love him already, and wish I could jump on a plane and go get him, but the fact that the process is so vague and unpredictable and stressful, makes me feel like I need to deliberately stop reading about it, and just live until that great day when the phone call or email comes with more photos or info, or the BIG one when they tell us it is finally time to get our little JJ.

I'm not writing off you wonderful friends!!! I will be praying just as much as ever. I'm just taking a break from information, if that makes sense. : )

The other day I was reading through my past blog entries, back in January, and a lot of times I would write a little note to our son. I miss doing that, so here it goes:

Jeremiah, I think about you all the time. When I look at the clock, I add the hours to mine to see where you are at in your day, and I daydream about what you might be doing. I pray for your heart and for your health. I can't wait to hold you and read to you, to pray over you and sing to you. I can't wait for you to play with your sisters and see how much love they have for you. I can't wait to see you being your Daddy's buddy. He sure needs another boy around here. He's really outnumbered! We all love you so much!
God bless you, Baby Boy! Love, Mommy

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Our Special Little Boy





Yesterday felt like when it rains it pours......blessings this time! : )


After we got our referral notice, we received several comments from people who have been to Liberia and have actually seen and held our JJ. It seems that he leaves quite an impression on people. : )

People who have seen him describe him with words like "precious" "will melt your heart" "sweetheart" "special little boy" "tiny as a button" "cuddler" That's my boy! : )


Then we got another email that had more pictures and an orphan report. It was amazing to get to read about Jeremiah's personality. I feel like I know him already and I want him home! We are going to have so much fun! Here it is:

Jeremiah James

Outgoing, playful, and almost always smiling, Jeremiah lights up his room at the orphanage. Jeremiah, who is called JJ, is cute, energetic, and very smart. He doesn't say a lot, but he always has the greatest expressions to accompany his feelings about a situation.

JJ has a happy, easy personality. He smiles a lot, and is quite obedient for a 1 year old. He usually only cries for a really good reason and adapts well to new situations. JJ is very outgoing, and loves to run around energetically, act silly, laugh, and smile. He has a lot of expressions and makes the cutest faces over various situations. He's not overly vocal, but his expressions tell you exactly how he's feeling! JJ really likes to be held and cuddled, but he wouldn’t be considered clingy. What he loves is the one-on-one attention so he's content in most situations where that is provided, even if he is not in someone's arms.

JJ interacts well with other children his age. He's a kind boy, who doesn't fight over toys or get short-tempered with his friends. JJ likes to play with toys of any kind, but he is entertained by a variety of things. He is naturally very creative and provides his own entertainment if nothing exciting is going on. He has a good attention span, and is able to play for extended periods of time without getting into trouble.

JJ loves to gather around his nanny with his roommates and listen to the stories. Since JJ is one of the youngest, and is the littlest in his room, he often gets the privilege of sitting on his nanny's lap during story time.


One of JJ's favorite things is an activity. He loves story time with his nanny, but does great outdoors as well. Since he's not intimidated by groups of people he enjoys outings and playing in crowds of children. One of his favorite activities is London Bridge. JJ especially enjoys things that involve motions so any clapping, handholding, running, etc. makes an activity even more exciting. But though JJ enjoys activities, he still is often seen sitting on his nanny's lap while the other children are runny around playing. He's so little and cuddly, it's hard for the nannies to resist holding him a lot.

JJ is learning to talk, but is not using a whole lot of words yet. He's not overly chatty, even in baby talk, but knows how to express his needs through gestures and if necessary, crying. Though JJ is not talking, it is clear that he is exceptionally smart. His responses to what is going on around him show that he is observing a lot more than your average 18 month old.


JJ is eating three meals a day and has a 6-ounce bottle in between meals and before bed. He'll take a sippy cup of his offered one, or drink out of a regular cup. He's not picky about how he gets his milk, but he sure loves it!


Because he was malnourished when he was first brought to the orphanage, JJ is very small for his age. He only wears size 9-12 month clothes, size 3 diapers, and size 4 shoes.
Look how long those eyelashes are! The only person I know with eyelashes that long is Pat, my husband! : ) Just like his daddy.

Monday, November 5, 2007

We Have a New Referral!!!!!!

YIPPEEEEE!!!!!! We have a new referral and we have ACCEPTED. : )



I am so happy to introduce you to our little boy:


Jeremiah James Harris

(Soon to be an Avella)


Isn't he a cutie? We don't have a lot of details to share yet, other than he is 1 and 1/2 years old. Perfect! I don't know how long we are going to have to wait to get him home. We'll know more later. I'm just so thankful to be moving forward. We are trying to be cautious with our hearts and to remember that anything can happen, but are celebrating in this next step closer to our son.

Friday, November 2, 2007

A Few Great Days

The last few days have been so wonderful, especially Halloween, which shocked me because for the last nine years it has been a day that I dread.

Pat let me know before we were married that he had strong convictions about not celebrating Halloween. To me, Halloween was one of my favorite memories of being a kid. We always met at Nana's house to get dressed, then Mom and Aunt Dana would walk with us as we ran through fall leaves going door to door trick-or-treating. After hitting all the houses on foot that we could, we'd jump in the car and go to Aunt Sandy's for homemade popcorn balls. It was innocent fun, and I was raised in a Christian home, so I thought Pat was making way too big a deal about it. We never could see eye to eye on this issue, so we got married knowing that we'd have to figure it out.

Every year since then, we have been trying to figure it out. I have come to really respect and admire Pat's heart in this issue. It hasn't been easy. I worried so much that our kids would grow up missing out on fun and resenting us. I also couldn't figure out how to deal with the day. I didn't think that Jesus would want us hiding in the dark, ignoring the people coming to our door.

This year, I really felt like God blessed us with a special day. It was a day that was remarkably about Him.

Pat had to work, so it ended up being a girls day. I kept Karissa home from Kindergarten because I knew the whole morning would be about Halloween and I didn't want her to have to be the only kid without a costume and have to sit in the library or something for the party. Instead, the girls and I went hiking at a local park. It was an absolutely GORGEOUS Fall day. I could not have put in an order for a better day. I had the girls pack snacks, water bottles, and nature journals that we made. We hiked and the girls stopped and sketched in their journals when they saw things that interested them. At one point while we were stopped, my four-year-old, Amy, was drawing some purple wildflowers and out of the blue she said, "He made all things beautiful." This was one of her bible verses from AWANA, and I was just blown away by the beauty of a four-year-old applying God's Word while she was enjoying His creation.

In our exploring, we discovered a little pond we called our "Peace-Loving-Spot" (Cheezy name, but a childhood tradition from my past for truly special places. We used to look for our Peace-Loving-Spots when we went camping as kids)

This PLS (a.k.a. pond) was secluded with a carpet of leaves. The trees rained leaves on us while the girls threw rocks in the water.

We ended the hike back at the park and the girls spent an hour and a half playing on the playground. I read the end of the last book in the Mitford series and then joined them on the swings.

Later that day, after visiting friends, the girls raced up the hill to home, singing at the top of their lungs a song they made up about "We love Him because He first loved us." My heart was so full as I followed behind and thought about how sweet it was that my girls had hearts for Jesus.

That evening we went to a community harvest party at the church where the girls do their AWANA. They had a blast. I talked to them about what harvest meant, so they picked out clothes that made them feel like farmers. The church fed us hot dogs and then had carnival games and inflatables set up. We came home with enough candy to feed an army.

I tucked them in, satisfied that they had a joyful day that was peaceful, innocent, God-centered, and memorable. I learned that it didn't have to be a day to dread after-all.

Thursday was wonderful because it was characterized by laughter. The morning started by watching the video I posted below. I laughed so hard I cried. It was amazing how much starting the day with a good belly-laugh and with tears rolling down my cheeks, made my day. It seriously was good medicine for me. I have been so serious and stressed these last few years. I had almost forgotten how to laugh. Once I started laughing, I didn't want to stop. I shared the video with friends and family and then they started sending me jokes and more funny videos to watch. I had such a light-hearted day. It was great.

It was also nice to have a few days where I didn't think about adoption. I just focused on my girls, my love for them, and felt such contentment. I wish I could've bottled up that contentment to use on these other days when waiting and being in limbo gets tough.

GREAT Medicine for Stress Relief

You've got to watch this!! I haven't laughed this hard in so long.

Music I Grew Up On

I was raised on Don Francisco's music. His albums are the sound track of my life.

I remember days of teenage angst laying across my bed listening to his music for hours on end. Many of his songs are stories from the Bible. It is amazing how much of God's Word got into my heart through Don's music.

When I lost my babies, his music was there again to point my heart to Jesus.

Like I said in my last post, I've been nostalgic lately and listening to some oldies.

Hope you enjoy this love song to you!

"I'll Never Let Go of Your Hand" By Don Francisco