Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"What Every Child Needs Most"

I wept as I edited these photos. I was overwhelmed as the images of my friends' devotion for their newborn grew large on my computer screen.

My wave of emotion stemmed, oddly enough, from an experience in a Russian courtroom. A little more than a year ago, my husband and I spent two days before a shrewd, droll judge, the last step in the arduous process of adopting Daria (15), Alexander (11) and Oksana (6). He repeatedly insinuated that he might not give us his approval. During the orphanage director's requisite testimony, she made a poignant statement. She locked her gaze on the judge and made it clear that she was in favor of the adoption, "At the children's home, we can give children everything they could ever need but what they need the most -- parents."

God prevailed, and the judge did make us Daria, Alexander and Oksana's parents. As that wonderful day closed, we had the opportunity to spend several hours at the orphanage with Daria and Alexander as our tour guides. The children's home astounded us. It was clean, well-equipped, and decorated with the brights colors children love. The staff dedicated themselves to creating a healing environment for their charges. The place seemingly offered everything a child could ever need. The only thing missing -- parents.

God, the Originator and Architect of the family, designed children to need tender affection and protectection from both a mother and father. Baby Caleb, whose photos I was recently priviliged to take, is fortunate to have parents united in their commitment to shelter him, teach him, train him and, probably, even suffer for him. They are devoted to Caleb's well-being and will do nearly anything to seek life's best for him. With tenacity, they'll pray and pray and pray for Caleb as they teach him about Christ and point him to the cross in their desperate hope to secure a perfect eternity for their son with Jesus as his Savior.

My friends' son is a blessed. He has what more than 147 million orphans lack. My heart aches for them as it rejoices for Caleb.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Announcing: NewSong Photography

One of my greatest joys is photography. One of my greatest passions is orphan care. A few months ago, it occurred to me that the two could be combined.

I need more study and practice...a lot more. I can't yet consistently take pictures of the quality that I would like. But eventually, with God's good grace, I would like to reach a professional level and then donate any profits I make from photographing children to organizations that participate in the care of the fatherless.

My hope is to call my business NewSong Photography. Repeatedly in God's word we're told to sing a new song to the Lord. For me this has been difficult. You see, I can't carry a tune; I'm not even able to sing the happy birthday song correctly after the hundreds of times I've heard it in my five decades of life!

However, I've discovered that I can express my own kind of 'new song' through photography. I look forward to the opportunity to serve my Saviour with a camera and computer.

(Here our four youngest children were willing to let me "practice" on them as we vacationed on the North Shore of Lake Superiour in Minnesota in September)

Nathasa (11-1/2), Oksana (7-1/2), Amy (9-1/2) & Nathaniel (12-1/2)

Oksana and Nathaiel were adopted from the same orphanage in Russia, November 2010

This star was the idea of our 16-year-old daughter, Daria. She and her 13-year-old sister, Tatiana, worked hard to get everybody positioned just right. Quite a bit of giggling went on before Daria was satisfied.

Amy (r) and Natasha are biological sisters with 14-year-old Tatiana. They were adopted from Russia in 2005.

Now the sibling bond they share is based on love alone, through a shower of God's grace.
For the Sake of My beloved Saviour's Name:
"I will sing a new song to You, O God."
~Ps 144:9a

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Golden Adornment

Yesterday was beeooootiful here! To celebrate a warm Friday, the kids and I took the makings of a picnic to the Iowa side of the Missiouri River for lunch. This is the first time we've been able to get close to the river since the surging waters closed roads and parks in May in what came to be known in the upper midwest as the 500-Year Flood.

In this photo, some of my girls, Daria (16), Cassandra (17) and Tatiana (14), are enjoying the warm sunshine resting on a berm created to hold the water back near the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.

I couldn't figure out what Tatiana was fiddling with until a few minutes later, when she donned her creation--giant gold leaf  (teehee--sorry, couldn't resist the pun!:) earrings
Our teen girls joined by 11-year-old Natasha

I can tell silly Natasha is MY daughter, she loves her bling--just like her mama!

Did I ever mention that I love parenting girls? I'm so grateful to God that He has blessed me with nine daughters!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Time for Everything...

19-year-old Joe, my oldest son

I can't believe I have a son old enough to sport a beard.  However, we're only 11 days into "No Shave November," and Joe's Leprechaun-colored facial hair is flourishing on his ruddy chin. Kissing him is a new adventure in motherhood!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Power of Perfect Timing

"Like apples of gold in settings of silver,
Is a word spoken in right circumstances."
Proverbs 25:11

In order for my words to bless and not curse, their timing must be just right.

Sometimes--many times--this means waiting and praying. While waiting, my job is to trust the Lord that He will open the door when the situation is right, and, most importantly, when He has primed the heart of the hearer for what He is leading me to share.

In order for my words to be "like apples of gold in settings of silver," I must be a listener--to the Holy Spirit, rather than simply plowing ahead with my "wisdom." I want that kind of Holy Spirit sensitivity. I want to be patient enough to recognize "right circumstances." I want my words to be objects of beauty that draw the listener closer to Christ, not just blurt out my view.