A life of miracles

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

You may remember that a couple of weeks ago I wrote that I was sure that God wanted Grace home now. So, what's the deal, you may ask? Why haven't we received our LOA? Should I stop believing that it is better for Grace to be with us, than it is for her to be in an orphanage? Should I stop praying in faith, because it doesn't appear that anything is happening yet?

My answer to that would be a definite, "no!" And since Bill Johnson says it so much better than I ever could, I am going to quote again from Strengthen Yourself in the Lord (such an incredible book!).

"If we fall short in our pursuit of a miracle, the lack is never on God's side of the equation. When the disciples were tempted to think in that way, Jesus gave them insight into the real issue, saying, "This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting" (Mark 9:29). Most of us who fast and pray tend to do so in pursuit of a specific miracle instead of pursuing a miracle lifestyle. Jesus neither fasted nor prayed in this situation because His life was filled with prayer and fasting which gave Him access to the desired supernatural way of living. We must think in terms of gaining access to a lifestyle instead of only obtaining a one-time breakthrough in a specific circumstance. We owe the world around us that kind of heavenly demonstration.

"Learning to face the possibility of lack on our end without succumbing to guilt and shame, is key to maintaining focus in the pursuit of the Christ-like life of miracles. I refuse to sacrifice the revelation that God is always good on the altar of human reason because of my need to make sense of my seemingly unanswered prayer. I much prefer the discomfort caused by realizing an area of immaturity in my life if it will provoke me to pursue God until I get a breakthrough." (pp.152-153)

As a side note, but definitely related, I have a very conservative background. I was opposed to anything charismatic and not open to the Spirit of God doing real miracles in the lives of believers. I had seen some crazy things (haven't we all?!) and made a bad judgment as a result. I am so grateful to our pastor. We go to an Orthodox church (I bet that's a little surprising to some of you!), but our pastor is very open to finding the Truth in all denominations of Christianity. For those of you who have had negative experiences with the charismatic movement, I urge you to read something by Bill Johnson. He is very accessible and gives a good starting off point for understanding the need for miracles in the life of the Church.

So, now I'm off my soapbox and I will keep pressing in for the miracle of bringing our little girl home SOON. But most of all, I will press into living a life of miracles, for Jesus told us that we would do "greater works!". Hallelujah and Amen!

Mountain weekend

Sunday, July 27, 2008

We spent the weekend in the mountains, compliments of Oma and Opa (David's parents). This weekend was a little bit different than our camping weekend. We stayed at a beautiful hotel with an incredible view of the mountains. We rode the gondola, went swimming in the hotel swimming pool, ate a lot, watched our nephew play baseball and hung out with the rest of the family. I forgot my camera :( so no pictures.

Our church has "vacation Sundays" since we're such a small group. Six times per year we don't have our Sunday worship. Everyone tries to take any vacations during those six Sundays. That way we don't have people gone all throughout the summer and holidays. So, this Sunday was a "vacation Sunday".

We had a great family worship time this morning at the hotel (hopefully we didn't wake any of the other guests!). As we sang "Blessed Be Your Name" five or six birds started circling in front of the window (we were looking out the window at the mountains as we were singing). They continued circling throughout the entire song, and stopped circling when we stopped singing. I think that they were angels worshiping with us. It was truly beautiful, and if they were not angels, surely these birds were giving praise to our Almighty and Glorious Lord! that for me?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Anyone who knows us really well knows that we are pretty strict with our kids when it comes to eating. We expect them to eat whatever they are given with a smile and a grateful attitude. The way I figure it is, what if one of them is a missionary in Africa someday and they get served termites? I want them to be able to smile and say "thank you," without a second thought.

All of our kids have been pretty easy in this, because they like to eat!!! and they don't get a lot of snacks. We had to do a little training with Jadon because he didn't like vegetables (none at all!) when we adopted him. But now he actually likes vegetables, and does not complain about food at all.

So, then along comes Rosemary (our dog). O.k., o.k., so I'll admit that I do totally pamper our dog when it comes to food, otherwise she will go two or more days without eating! And one time, she started shaking because her blood sugar was low from not eating. So, yes, I did actually cut up a very tiny amount of steak and put it in her dog food.

David says that I am much more strict with the kids than I am with Rosemary. But, think about it, I am not accountable for Rosemary's soul. She is for our enjoyment (sorry to all those PETA folks out there). And I know, I know a more obedient dog is more enjoyable. But, she's so little you can just pick her up and move her. And she is soooo loving. All of my latent overindulging desires come out when it comes to Rosemary. Isn't she cute?!

package #3

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ann, from Red Thread, put together this package for Grace. I wish that we would have used her service for the first package. The bag has Grace's picture on it and a note that asks the orphanage workers to put things that are special to Grace in it. In the letter, we asked them to put things into the bag, that she enjoyed from the first two packages. We said that they should give other children anything that she didn't need or want. I am so glad that I can know that she will get this package. I am wondering if I should have sent another stuffed animal (we sent a stuffed panda and a little rag doll in the other two packages). We hope that she received them. We also sent a photo album of our family, an outfit, socks, another camera, barrettes and fruit snacks. We are hoping that this will be the last package (because we are hoping that our LOA will come soon and she will be with us!).

I would highly recommend
Ann has been wonderful!


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lily has always had a natural gracefulness. She moves in a certain sort of way and dances beautifully, just by nature of her personality.

When we adopted Yana, it was clear that gracefulness was...uh, well....not her thing. Being chased by her brothers or dad, climbing to the very top of the swingset or wrestling with the boys were more her style.

Over the past couple of years, however, Yana has changed significantly. A couple of weeks ago while she and Lily were dancing in the living room I thought, "Wow! Yana is moving so gracefully." It was beautiful.

Now, don't get me wrong. She still loves to run and climb and is sad that she is getting a little too old for wrestling with the boys. But, she is not so frantic or out of control in her movements. In fact, she moves in a lovely way. She is truly graceful.

Room rearranging adventures!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

We have a bit of a family joke that we like to change our bedroom arrangement around for entertainment. We have probably changed rooms at least ten times in our children's lifetimes. When Adam, Lily and Jadon were little, it was often in an attempt to help everyone get the most amount of sleep possible.

Our recent room rearranging was done because all 4 kids were in one room and we decided that we really needed to have gender separation. The kids were excited to have a boys/girls room, but were sad to not be all together anymore. They had been in the master bedroom, and now the girls were moving to the downstairs bedroom, the boys to the smaller upstairs bedroom and David and I were actually going to be in the master bedroom (Wow! We don't know what to do with all the space!).

It's always an adventure to change rooms. The kids love to climb all over the mattresses and are a great help in carrying books, etc. from room to room (at least for the first couple of hours or so!). It's almost as much fun as going to an amusement park, or some other exciting sort of kid's place for the day. And it's a lot less expensive, although perhaps more tiring for Dad who has to take the doors off the hinges and take apart bunk beds, etc..

The boys room is pretty much completely finished and looks good. The girl's room is still in process. I'm hoping to buy some new comforters and window coverings for their room, but actually they're completely satisfied with it as it is. Grace will be in our room for a least a while and then we'll see where we think that she will fit in best. At that point, we may be due for another room rearranging!!!

Dad is so creative!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

David doesn't work on Fridays. He and I trade off Fridays to have an extended day of prayer and study. He usually gets up early on his Friday and spends the morning (and into the afternoon) in his office praying, playing praise songs on the guitar, reading and studying the Word. When he emerges the house is clean and the kids are ready to spend some time with their daddy. He generally does something fun with the kids and then has pastoring time with either the boys or the girls (depending on the week).

On my Friday, I try really hard to sleep in (although it almost never happens). Then, I get up and get ready for the day. I spend some time in praise at home, then take a prayer walk (sometimes Rosemary joins me for this). Then, I am off to Panera for time to study and pray. I love going to Panera on my prayer days. They don't care how long I am there (usually it is about 3 hours or so), there is no loud music (I bring a walkman so I can listen to my own worship music), and I am absolutely NOT responsible for any of the people there (although I frequently pray for some of the people).

After Panera, I do errands and head home. So, what does David do with the kids during this time? Well, he does have pastoring time with the opposite children from the last week. But, after that, it is anyone's guess what they might be doing. He might build the kids a ramp to race their hotwheel cars down the stairs, or make a soccer net since we only have one, and a few weeks ago I came home to a very excited little boy who said, "Mommy, Mommy, come out on the back porch." The picture, above, shows what Dad had made. "Dad is so creative!"


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

We spent the past two nights camping in the mountains. We had a great time! We met up with some friends of ours on Sunday night. The kids threw rocks in the river and waded in the rapidly moving water. We took our kids for a hike. In the evening David played the guitar while we sang praise songs, and after dinner we ate s'mores by the fire.

We took Rosemary along on our camping trip, and she was very good (and got totally filthy, dirty!). The only problem is that I am a very light sleeper and Rosie loves me and really liked the idea of sleeping right next to me in our 5 person tent (which was holding 6 people and a dog), so I got VERY LITTLE sleep the first night. I was dragging a bit on Monday.

We hung out in the water some more on Monday. David took the kids for a hike and the bottom of his boots disintegrated (I guess that he needs new ones!). Our friends left for home, but within a couple of hours we had some new camping neighbors who had a 9 year old girl. The kids had a lot of fun with Virginia. They played tag and this morning they painted t-shirts, which Virginia's grandma had along because Virginia's cousins were supposed to join them, but had a family emergency.

Monday night we all slept great. We had to put Rosemary in her crate, which worked fine, but just imagine 6 people and a dog crate in a 5 person tent and you've got one very cozy situation! Good thing we all like each other!

We really had a fun time. We're looking forward to camping with Grace when she is here with us. I guess, though, that we had better get a new tent!

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