he likes Bruce Lee

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A few months ago, David and I were talking about options for middle names for our new son. I had been reading a number of books by Andrew Murray and was encouraged by his love for the Lord and his ability to share the heart of God with others. Also, Andrew (or Andre) was a name that fit in with our son's cultural background, so it seemed a good choice.

Without any prior knowledge of what we had been thinking, Yana mused out loud a few weeks later, "I think that Sergey's middle name should be Andrew, after Brother Andrew."

Wow. That felt like a confirmation that we should choose the name Andrew.

On the other hand, we also wanted to honor my dad, by using George as a middle name. Yet it ,wasn't only my earthly father who was named George; my spiritual father's name was George, as well. George Muller is one of my all-time heroes of the faith, and I loved the idea of naming my son after him.
We therefore had a bit of a dilemma that was not solved before our first trip to Ukraine. So when our regional facilitator, Yana, asked about Sergey's new legal name, we weren't sure how to respond. She asked Sergey what he thought, and he told her adamantly that he wanted a completely new name.

A new first name? That wasn't even on our radar. We questioned Yana about it and she inquired of Sergey again.

"I like Bruce Lee," he declared.

hmmmm....although I have nothing against Bruce Lee and even think that my youngest daughter looks a little bit like him, I wasn't about to give our new son a name that may cause him all sorts of grief in the future.

So, we asked him, "What about Andrew? Andrew George?"

"Yes! Andrew! I like Andrew George!" he replied.

So, in the space of about three minutes, our son had a new name.

Andrew George, our precious son, you have a rich heritage in your name. We pray that some day you will will grow to love each of these men and will follow closely in their footsteps. We believe that God arranged it so that you could share in all of their names. What a blessing it will be to see how God uses their legacies to influence your life!

beyond expectations

Monday, October 20, 2014

After all of my fear during the week prior to meeting Sergey (see my post below), I couldn't have been more blown away by the beauty of our first meeting. Sergey was incredible. Honestly, my friends, we were immediately blessed by this boy.
Sergey walked into the director's office at the orphanage and immediately gave both David and me a hug. Then, he sat down between us with a shy, but joyful smile on his face. He told the director that he was quite sure that he wanted to be adopted by our family, and by evening he had even told David and I that he loved us. We had been sending Sergey letters and pictures and he was well-prepared and excited for our first visit.
Sergey's orphanage is right by the Black Sea, and each of the mornings that he was with us, he would go for a run along the beach.

One afternoon, while David, Sergey and I were playing Frisbee on the sand, Sergey called out, "Mama, look!" During his morning run, he had stopped and written "I love David and Sarah" in the sand. Oh, my heart!

On the day that we had to leave Ukraine, Sergey was quiet. We had our translator, Roman, ask him whether or not he was still sure that he wanted to be adopted. He told Roman that he was 100% sure that he wanted to be a part of our family. Then, he asked if he could talk with David and Roman alone.
It turns out that he wanted to make a plan with them to buy me this rose. Seriously folks, this boy is so sweet.

Meeting Sergey was an experience that went beyond all of our expectations. Now, we cannot wait to get back to Ukraine and have this boy in our family full-time!
Thank you, Jesus, for this precious young man. He is a delight! We are astounded with the intricate way that you lead us to Sergey. Thank you for the pleasure of meeting him and being given the opportunity to make him our son. You are good, Jesus!

for this one

I was weary.
After all of the months of planning and organizing we were finally on our way to Ukraine. But instead of being overwhelmed with joy, in my fatigue, I allowed fear and doubt to come in. It would take three trips to complete Sergey’s adoption. Who, in their right mind, flies three times to a country that is in the middle of a war, when they have six children at home? It’s was crazy, positively crazy.
On the plane to Amsterdam, I couldn’t sleep. A commercial airplane, on its way to Ukraine, had been shot down just a couple of months prior to this time. What would our children do if they lost both of us? I tried to distract myself with a movie. Dead Poets Society wasn’t exactly a wise choice.
When we arrived in Kiev, my spirit relaxed a bit. I had a couple of days of reprieve from my emotions, as David and I walked around the center, drinking in the beauty of the cathedrals and the parks. But on the night before our SDA appointment, sleep escaped me once again, and worry was set into my heart. A 16-year-old boy? What in the world could we possibly be thinking? In the desperation of the moment, I asked God if there was any chance of a way out. I’m sad to say that there was actually a part of me hoped for a way out.
Our appointment went smoothly, however, and despite my fears, we were truly grateful. After we received the official paperwork, we were surprised to find out that we would be leaving for Sergey’s orphanage at midnight. It was in the middle of this pothole-laden seven hour drive that the questions resurfaced. Could we really do this? How in the world would we be able to make this trip two more times? I was already exhausted and our children were missing us. Why did we come all the way to Ukraine anyway? There were plenty of children in the US who needed homes and it wouldn’t cost us thousands of dollars to adopt one of them.
The questions swirled around in my mind, causing panic to rise up in my heart.
But in that moment of fear, God intervened. He whispered to my heart…
“Dear one, didn’t you say that you wanted to be like me? This is what I do. I go to the ends of the earth to rescue the ones that I love. I will travel any road, climb any mountain, cross any sea to reach my beloved ones. I give everything that I have, all the love that is in me, to gather up my needy ones and carry them in my arms. It is good that this journey is long, because it gives you just a glimpse into how far I will go for my children. Will you join me in this willingly? Will you joyfully rescue this child, this precious one, this son whom I have chosen?
Daughter, I did it for you. Will you do this for Me?”
In a moment, I experienced complete peace and joy. Yes. I would do this willingly. Yes. I would go to the ends of the earth for this precious boy. Our dear Father had just shown me His beautiful heart and I found it irresistible. He had done it for me, and my friends, He did it for each one of you, as well.

The date

Sunday, October 19, 2014

We've already been to Ukraine and back, and I haven't even updated our blog! There have been so many God-moments on this journey to Sergey (who asked to have his name changed to Andrew), that I want to be sure to have them recorded. I'll start with the long-awaited date...
It was nearing the end of September and though we hadn't yet received our SDA appointment date yet (in which we would officially get Sergey's referral), our facilitator assured us that it would be coming soon. Typically, families were getting two to four weeks notice in order to plan travel, but as I prayed, I had a strong impression that our SDA appointment would be on October 8th (which at that time was just over two weeks away). When I mentioned this to David, he was open, but thought that it was much more likely that we'd get an appointment on the 13th or later. I agreed that was a more reasonable possibility, but couldn't shake the thought that we would be meeting with the SDA on October 8th.
So, it wasn't too much of a surprise to me that on September 24th, we got this email from our facilitator: "I have in my hands your invitation for SDA appointment: October 8 at 9:00 AM.  Congratulations!"  
In and of itself, that would be a good story. God loves to give us little confirmations that He is in the midst of things. But beyond that, October 8th is significant date for us. On October 8th, 2000 David and I endured a painful miscarriage at 18 weeks. Following this miscarriage was a time of deep sadness and difficulty in my life. Every October 8th since that time, has been one of painful remembrance
And though the sadness of that day will never be fully resolved until heaven, our God is a redeeming God! Our Father was giving us new memories, life-giving memories, memories that reflected His kindness, His care and His presence. He is so good!
October 8th, 2014 was a great day and there were many other beautiful days on our journey to Ukraine. I will share more soon about all that God did, but for now I'll close with a picture of His redemption.

number 4

Sunday, October 5, 2014

We've been having the best time watching Jadon play football.
He is the kicker for his junior high team and has clearly found his nitch.

Jadon is a tough little football player, and we're so proud of him!

You're awesome, number four!!!

These two

God definitely has a sense of humor. When we were in the process of adopting Lily, I would say, "Well, I hope her birthday is not in September!" because we already had Adam's birthday on the 18th and David's birthday on the 26th. But, guess when Lily's birthday is? Yep. Sandwiched right between the two on the 20th.
On the weekend of the 20th-21st of September, Lily and Adam both had birthday celebrations this year.

Lily had a sleepover with some girls from church. They had a great time!

Adam had a football party...watching and playing!

These two...I adore them, more than words can say!

Football, school, grandparents, birthdays and an adoption day!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Whew! How's that for a blog post title?
August was a busy month for us. Jadon and Adam started football and we've been having such a good time seeing them grow in their skills and abilities.

Adam (#83) played in his first game a couple of weeks ago (they won!). Adam got both an interception and a touchdown. So fun!

 Adam's adoring fans...
Jadon's first game is next week. We're looking forward to it!

We started school last week. The photo up above is from our first day of homeschooling.
I know. I know. I work them too hard.
The photo down below is from the first day at their new homeschool co-op. They are enjoying it and working hard.

We were so happy to have Oma and Opa visit this past weekend.
They helped us to celebrate Yana and my birthdays.
And Lily's adoption day.


We spent the day at the zoo, watched a movie and then ate Kansas City barbeque.
I'm so grateful for my beautiful girls and the special day that we share. They are certainly the best birthday gifts that I could ever have received!
Happy Birthday, Yana!
Happy Adoption Day, Lily!
I love you both so very much!!!

never too old...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

It's easy to get into a rut.
It's beyond simple to make excuses for lazy behavior.
And the funny thing is; I never even knew that I was doing it!
I thought that I worked pretty hard.
But, the reality is, I've been in a 28 year rut.
And I had no idea!
I became a Christian when I was 15 years old. I pretty quickly figured out that memorizing Bible passages didn't come naturally for me. But, instead of pressing in and trusting the Lord to give me the ability and desire, I just accepted my "fate" and determined that I just wasn't any good at memorizing scripture. And that became my excuse.

Until last week.

I had checked out this little book about praying the scriptures over our children...

I had an inkling that it would be a significant book in my life, but as I began reading, a familiar voice inside my mind started playing the same old tune:
"Oh, I'll never be able to remember this. I'm not good at memorizing scripture."
I sighed in discontent and almost set the book aside.
But then a different voice began to speak.
Sweet child, how long will you let that be your excuse?
You are only 43 years old. You have half of your life in front of you.
You can still become good at memorizing My Word.
You can change your perspective, dear one.
I love you deeply.
I will help you.
And that was it: a lifetime of excuses gone in an instant.
(Because when God speaks, what else is there left to do, but believe and respond?)
I'm giving up laziness. I've stopped listening to lies. I'm getting out of this rut and believing God for all that He has promised. I cannot wait to look back, ten years from now, to see what He has done. With God's grace I will become good at memorizing His Word. Thank God we're never too old to learn something new!

The Battle Belongs to the Lord

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A couple of nights ago, I had a dream about Sergey. It was our first meeting, and in my dream, the time with him was tender and sweet. So, it was surprising when I woke up with this 80's worship song running through my mind:
"The Battle Belongs To The Lord"
In heavenly armour we'll enter the land
The battle belongs to the Lord
No weapon that's fashioned against us shall stand
The battle belongs to the Lord

We sing glory and honor
Power and strength to the Lord

The power of darkness comes in like a flood
The battle belongs to the Lord
He's raised up a standard, the power of His blood
The battle belongs to the Lord

When your enemy presses in hard do not fear
The battle belongs to the Lord
Take courage my friend, your redemption is near
The battle belongs to the Lord
It was a surprising song, in light of my dream, but on the other hand, not so surprising, considering all of the circumstances surrounding Sergey's adoption.
This one has been hard, my friends.
Along with the initial problem of Sergey not being allowed to come to the US for hosting, we have also encountered crazy delays, having to re-do our paperwork multiple times, and opposition almost every step of the way. At moments, it has caused us to question whether or not we were on the right path. But, as we have prayed, we have become more and more convinced that the enemy of our souls would love for us to give up on Sergey. Our Glorious Savior, on the other hand, never will (and because we love Him and long to be like Him, neither will we!).
So that's why, when I went to my first DHL service center to mail our dossier, and they told me that they no longer mail things DHL, I could actually begin to see the humor of the situation. And when at the second service center (in a very scary part of town), I had to literally yell above the volume of the music playing inside the building ("No. That's okay. If you're not sure that it will make it there, I think that I should probably go somewhere else."), I could laugh out loud while exiting the building.
I could laugh because I know who will win this battle.
I know who already has the victory, my friends.
But, I also know that we need you. We need each one of you, our precious friends, to pray along with us. We need you to pray for Sergey, that his heart would be kept in peace and joy while he waits for us. We need you to pray for our family, that we would continue to trust in the Lord and not get  discouraged by all of these crazy delays. We need you to pray against the powers of darkness, that would do everything conceivable to keep Sergey right where he is at.
We need you, dear friends.
Your prayers matter.
Thank you, for fighting this battle along with our family, and ultimately, with our Lord.
He will be victorious!

MN love...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Welcome notes on our pillows, a lunch date with Aunt Angela for the big kids, an art class for Lily, park play, library visiting, next door pool playing, and lots of games for the littles, worshiping at Aunt Angela's church, a visit to Grandpa's gravesite with tears and sweet words, Uncle Phil and Aunt Annette stopping to say hello, lots of driving practice for Adam, a musical for the girls and the World Cup for the boys, How to Train Your Dragon 2 for Dad and the kids, lunch and shopping for Mom and Grandma, lots of good food conversation and laughter, and a precious time had by all.

I am so very grateful for our time in MN this year.
We are blessed.

happy, happy

Monday, June 16, 2014

Happy Father's Day to the most selfless, giving, fun-loving daddy that I know.
happy, happy

just pics...

Friday, June 6, 2014

As it seems my blog is being neglected, I thought I'd at least update with pictures from the past month.
Mr. snuggles and his daddy. How could one little boy have so much love inside of him?!!!

David, David and Adam working on the solar panels.
We'll be off the grid soon!
Adam really gets into the work!
A double pancake for breakfast.
These two...such love!

What can I say? Absolute sweetness.

Yana is so incredibly helpful. I love her servant's heart.

David's aunt and cousin came for a quick visit. It was a blessing to see them.
I have a blog post brewing in my mind...we'll see if it gets out of my mind and onto the screen. :)


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Several months ago, a sweet friend gave our family three large boxes of books. Among the many volumes, there were a number of little paperbacks written by Andrew Murray. Though I had read some of these gems in the past, there was one that I had not read before:
Abide in Christ.
I'm not sure why I picked that book out of the many possibilities on our shelves. Looking back, I have to believe that it was God's own hand that guided my hand to reach up and pull down that little volume, leafing through the pages, slipping it into my bag before I headed out for my day of prayer.
Prior to that time, the word abide would start my heart racing. Abide was an action word. Hearing it caused me to search within myself for something that I could do to cause myself to live fully surrendered to Him. But, as I began to read that simple book on that chilly fall afternoon, something wondrous happened. I started to see that instead of it being my job to keep myself fixed on Him, that too was His responsibility.
He would keep me.
He would be the one who would cause me to abide in Him.
All that I had to do was allow Him the privilege.
Oh friends, perhaps you are much wiser than me and have learned this lesson long ago. But, for my heart, it was a revelation: Nothing that I could do would cause me to abide in Christ, but in surrendering even my ability to keep myself, I would find true rest in Him.
And dear ones, as I have begun to live this out over the past few months, He has proved Himself faithful! Some days, it is easy. I have an uninterrupted time with the Lord in the morning, the kids are doing great, I am able to interact with my neighbors and the weather is beautiful. My heart freely dwells on the Lord and it is easy to abide in Him. On other days, however, relationships are difficult, financial matters are stressful, parenting is overwhelming, and the list could go on and on. It's a temptation (ridiculous as it may be) to take matters into my own hands and make a plan as to how I can overcome the world!

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), it never works. Instead of overcoming, I begin to experience anxiety and fear. Through God's grace, it is becoming more and more clear to me that those difficult days are the ones in which I need to lean into Him even more intentionally and let Him do the work of keeping my heart surrendered to His heart. When I remember how helpless I am before Him, and simply trust in His ability, He can work wonders!

"If I can say, 'Jesus is to me at this moment all that God gave Him to be: life, and strength, and peace,' as I say it, I have only to hold still, rest, and realize it, and for that moment I have what I need. As my faith sees how I am in Christ through God and takes the place in Him my Father has provided, my soul can peacefully settle down: now I abide in Christ." (Andrew Murray)
Andrew Murray and his precious book have become dear friends to me over the past few months. They lead me into the presence of Jesus, who keeps me in Him and who is forever faithful. Truly, I abide in Christ today through no merit of my own, but only because of His great goodness and kindness to me! Oh, how beautiful He is! Oh how wondrous it is to abide in Christ!

a joyful heart

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A joyful heart is good medicine!
 Kaikai is recovering well after his tendon transfer surgery. Oh how grateful I am for the special relationship between these two. It truly is good medicine!

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