Bible Study, faith, kingdom living

Keep Calm and….

You’ve seen these little quotes, probably everywhere! I know I have. Apparently, it began as a propaganda slogan in Britain at the beginning of the second world war.  If you want to read more about it click here.  Anyway, my mind has been kind of stuck on it as a result of my bible study this morning.

I’ve been studying 1 Thessalonians with a group of other women and today I was writing about 1 Thess 4:9-12. Here’s the text.

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12

New Living Translation (NLT)

But we don’t need to write to you about the importance of loving each other,[a] for God himself has taught you to love one another. 10 Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers[b] throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more.

11 Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. 12 Then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.

So I was pondering on Paul’s meaning when he said “Live a quiet life”, because mine is definitely anything but quiet!  What did he really mean?  So I looked up several other translations of verse 11.  Here’s the one from The Message version:

11-12 Stay calm; mind your own business; do your own job. You’ve heard all this from us before, but a reminder never hurts. We want you living in a way that will command the respect of outsiders, not lying around sponging off your friends.

Obviously this is where the Keep Calm and…. came into play.  I had to laugh at the thought of a sign that would read like this one:

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Ok, now that I have that out of my system, I can focus on the real thing I learned from my studying this morning.  How many people do I know that stay calm? I’m often found running around like the proverbial chicken with its head removed?  I’m often hassled, harried, stressed as is most of the world.  What would my life speak to others if I were able to stay calm?  I know if I were outside looking in on a mom with four adopted kids who somehow managed to keep calm even 75% of the time, I’d be asking how she would be doing it.

The fact is, I’m failing miserably at staying calm – at least on the inside.  I don’t know how many of those who see me regularly are noticing.  But if we read on to verse 12, the reason Paul commands us to do just that so that those who are not Christians who look at our lives will respect us.

If I do not have peace in my life, it’s not a life that someone else would respect or be drawn to.

I’m spending sometime in Psalm 119 in my study time as well and found this little gem.

v25 I lie in the dust, completely discouraged; revive me by your word.

For me, the key to staying calm is staying grounded in God’s word and lots of worship cds!

How do you stay calm when life is chaotic around you?

 

adoption, adventure, faith, kingdom living, parenting

I’m in Haiti!

I made it to Haiti this afternoon!  It’s great to see the boys and they are anxious to get on the plane.

I have some specific prayer requests for this week and would love it if you would be praying for them:

  • Tomorrow we go to the Embassy for the Visa interview.  Once we complete that it could be the same day or the next day that we pick up the visa.  Please pray that it is same day so that there are not additional transportation charges to pay.
  • Once the visa is in our hands, I will go with a social worker to IBESR (Haitian Children’s Services) to pick up the exit letter. Please pray that we are able to get this with little to no delay.
  • On Friday, we will fly out, assuming there are no delays, to Miami.  We’ll overnight in Miami and then fly to St. Louis on Saturday morning.

We would love to have you meet us at the St. Louis airport to welcome the boys home! Our arrival time is 11:30 and we are flying in on American Airlines.

Look for posts on my facebook account for more detail a little later in the week.

Blessings on your week! Thanks for your prayers!

adoption, faith, kingdom living, parenting

It is Finished!!! (Well, almost…)

We finally have a visa appointment!!  I’ll be traveling to Haiti on Monday and going to the Embassy on Tuesday morning for the appointment.  As soon as the visa is printed, we’re going to IBESR for the exit letter.  Please pray that all goes smoothly!

Our current plan is to fly to Miami on Friday, March 1 and stay overnight to get a little space, then fly to St. Louis on Saturday morning. It looks like we might make that 2 year-to-the day mark after all!!

Once we’re home, we’re going into a cocooning stage to give the boys time to acclimate to a  new family and an entirely new way of life and some space to grieve as they leave their old life behind. We’ll also be busy with a multitude of appointments as we begin baseline health evaluations for them.  We’re not sure how long this will take, but we’re planning on at least three weeks.  So, you’ll see either Brian and I and the older boys around, but probably not the whole family for a while.  In the meantime, I’ll be updating the blog with how things are going.

We would love to have you welcome us home at the airport.  We’re flying American home and our flight arrives at 11:30 am.  Check my facebook account for updates throughout the week!

adoption, faith, kingdom living, parenting

It’s Valentine’s Day, so I thought I’d post a love story…

But it’s not your typical love story.  Instead, it’s the story of how Brian and I fell in love with two boys back in November 2008 and adopted them as our sons.

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.  For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”  The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”  Romans 8:14-17

This post was originally shared on our facebook group, The Ames Fusion Experience. Please feel free to join that group if you’d like.  We’ll be updating the group with information on the adoption of Lowenski and Daveson and how they are settling in.  But I digress….  Here’s the story.

In November of 2008, Natalie ran across pictures of two young boys and had to do a double take. They were part of a gallery of pictures of children who were available for adoption out of the foster care system. There were small descriptions of the boys attached to the pictures and one of the boys said he wanted a family that liked to camp (well, Brian does, and Natalie will learn to like it again) and has a german shepherd (ok, we have a dog that sort of looks like one). The other boy said he loved sports and liked dogs too.

The gallery was put together by our church’s foster and adoption ministry so Natalie checked into the boys and discovered they were still available. She prayed for five days before talking to Brian and each time she did she kept getting a mental picture of Brian sitting on the couch between the boys and reading to them. She also kept hearing the phrase “bring them home” every time she prayed. When she told Brian, he agreed and the journey began.

Amazingly, every worry and barrier at the beginning of the process fell as fast as we could think about it. For instance, our worry about how much it would cost, turned out to be completely unfounded as it costs nothing to adopt from the foster system. We knew we wouldn’t be able to start the training that would be required until after Doug and Whitney’s wedding in January, so we were scheduled to begin our first of 9 foster parenting classes on January 17.

On January 16, we received a call that made our heart sink. The boys were going to be “staffed” and we were not going to be allowed to be presented. A “staffing” is when the child’s decision-making team gathers to make a decision as to which family the child will be adopted by. The staffing was to take place in February, about three weeks into our training. We did find out later that neither family was selected and we were back in consideration.

That brings us to today. We have finished our foster parenting classes and are in the middle of our adoption class (last weekend and this coming weekend – March 29). Next week, we’ll finish up the home study, at least I think we will. Then we should be ready for the staffing.Ok, there you go, you’re now up to date.So what happens next?Once the class is over and the home study is completed, then we submit it for the next staffing. If we are chosen as the family to adopt them, then we will begin the transition process. From what we understand, that will probably begin with a few trips to McDonalds, the park, etc and eventually going to an overnight visit to a weekend visit. We’re 95% sure they will not move in until after the school year is over. Once they move in, then that begins a six month to nine month “trial” period before the adoption becomes finalized.

****BREAKING NEWS******************

April 30 – The staffing was held this morning and Marcus and Denny will be joining our family very soon!! We’ll meet the boys for the first time next weekend! We’ll have a meeting early next week to discuss the transition into our home.

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May 8th – The boys will be coming tomorrow and spending the night. They’ll move in permanently on the 21st or 22nd. 😀

Marcus and Denny have been our sons now for almost 4 years and our life is much richer since they joined the family.  We are so grateful that God led us to them!

Here are the pictures of them that I first saw.

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Marcus at age 10

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Denny at age 9

And here’s a great picture of the whole family on adoption day!

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And here is a picture of them at Christmas this year.

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Do you have a love story to share this Valentine’s Day?

If not, I hope you will let this one become yours:

But to all who believed Him [Jesus] and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God – John 1:12

adoption, faith, kingdom living, parenting

Visa Update

Thank you all for praying! The US Consular Section in Haiti has begun again to schedule these appointments. Families who received approval from USCIS and who began the wait for the visa in mid-January are seeing appointments scheduled for February 20 and later.  We received our USCIS approval on January 28.

March 1, 2011 was the date of our first court appearance in Haiti.  It would be ironic if our visa appointment were scheduled for that day.  We certainly did not expect a 2 year process at that point.

On that trip in March 2011, our orphanage director told me we were looking at an 15-18 month process in Haiti.  I refused to believe her because I knew I had a big God who could move mountains and the laborious process was nothing against His power.  And I maintain that all of that is still true!  The pace of my adoption does not negate His power and does not mean that He wasn’t involved, didn’t care about me or my family.  Instead, He used these 24 months to teach me a lot about myself and to sculpt and mold me more closely to His image.

I don’t regret the last two years of this process. I am a different woman because of them.  He’s not done molding me yet and the arrival of our boys will start a new chapter in that process.

Thank you for praying for my family.

How can I be praying for you?

Bible Study, faith, kingdom living

I Have Hidden Your Word in My Heart

I am in three bible studies this fall, all of them have memory verses associated with them.  I have to say that I am am loving the saturation of His word in my life.  Here are some of my favorite scriptures coming from these studies.

PSALM 119:89-91 – THE MESSAGE (MSG)

89-96 What you say goes, God,
and stays, as permanent as the heavens.
Your truth never goes out of fashion;
it’s as up-to-date as the earth when the sun comes up.
Your Word and truth are dependable as ever;
that’s what you ordered—you set the earth going.
If your revelation hadn’t delighted me so,
I would have given up when the hard times came.
But I’ll never forget the advice you gave me;
you saved my life with those wise words.
Save me! I’m all yours.
I look high and low for your words of wisdom.
The wicked lie in ambush to destroy me,
but I’m only concerned with your plans for me.
I see the limits to everything human,
but the horizons can’t contain your commands!

 

1 CORINTHIANS 10:13 – NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION 1984 (NIV1984)

13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

PHILIPPIANS 3:10 – NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION 1984 (NIV1984)

10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

PSALM 1:1-3 – NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION 1984 (NIV1984)

Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.

 

COLOSSIANS 3:12-16 – NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION 1984 (NIV1984)

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

 

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

COLOSSIANS 3:1-4 – NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE (NASB)

3 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. [a]Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

 

 

 

adoption, adventure, faith, kingdom living, parenting, spiritual warfare

Latest Prayer Request

Ok, so you may have read on twitter/facebook that birth certificates had been issued with our last names on them in late August.  From there, there are just a few more steps.

1. File needs to be finished being legalized (every signature checked and verified as legal)

2. File enters MOI – another verification step and then recommendation for passport issuance with our last names.

3. Passport issuance

4. Entire dossier heads to the US Embassy for final approval of our I-600 (already have in writing, they are just waiting for paperwork to be in their hands).

5. File moves to the US Consular section at the Embassy for the Visa issuance (entails a visa interview and then the visa will be issued a few days later).

6. Visas issued

7. We go and get the boys.

Seven small steps, but each one seems to take forever.  Would you please pray with us that we would move into MOI this week?

adoption, faith, kingdom living, worshipping

The truth…

Someone recently said to me, “I so admire what you and your husband are doing by adopting all these boys.”

Please do not admire me. It is neither me, nor my husband, who has any reason to be admired. Five years ago, we both had far different plans for the rest of our lives. Our son was in the middle of his senior year and the day we had been waiting for for 22 years was fast approaching. We were going to retire in Florida and spend the rest of our years doing exactly what we had not done in our early twenties.  We had our children early and so we were not out doing what we wanted to do, we were raising and supporting children and broke most of the time. We ached for the day they were out of the house and our lives would finally be about us. We’d buy whatever we wanted, go wherever we wanted, do whatever we wanted.

I promised you the truth… some days I still ache for that day, especially when the parenting road gets difficult.

But God wooed us and we fell in love with Him and we changed.

“I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and delivered Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20

Our adoptions (both of them) have been about obedience to the Lord’s call and hoping to bring glory to His name, not our own.

Admire God, for it is to Him that we direct all the glory!

adoption, faith, kingdom living, parenting, spiritual warfare

Adoption Update

We finally got the phone call!!!

Tuesday morning, Brian and I will be on a flight to Haiti to finalize our adoption in a Haitian courtroom.  We are so excited!! Thank you for partnering with us in prayer for this day to happen!

Interestingly, our call came exactly 2 days before our file had been in IBESR for exactly a year. 363 days of learning patience…

We don’t expect to be bringing them home with us on this trip, but God could certainly surprise us with that blessing.

We would appreciate your prayers in the following areas:

  • That we would be able to fit in all of the appointments we need to take care of between Tues and Fri.  Two court appearances and then passports to be issued.
  • That we would be able to get all documents translated back into English quickly so that we can deliver the entire dossier to the US Embassy on Monday morning or even earlier 😉 .
  • Pray that once the dossier is in the hand of the Embassy that they will review everything quickly and approve our I-600 Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative. We previously had a roadblock at the embassy and we need it to fall down.  The boys cannot get visas to come to the USA if our I-600 is not approved.  Please pray that God will remove all the barriers and to direct us to the right people in our government to facilitate that removal.
  • Pray that our boys will be home on or before 8/8/12.  It’s my birthday and that would be a very cool birthday present!

Again thanks to all of you who have supported our family in prayer throughout this process.  We’re not there yet, but we are into the final sprint!!