Monday, April 28, 2014

Our Second April Birthday

Today our youngest daughter turned ten!

Eliana waited eagerly all day to find out what were in the gifts piled on the heart. 

She ripped...

...and tore...

...and dug to find her treasures.

At last, it was time to find out what the giant bag from mom and dad held.

To get the treasure out of this tall bag, Eliana had to dig and dig and dig.

Eventually, Eliana pulled out two dolls.

The new ten year old radiated happiness.

The hearts of the whole family were joy filled as we watched this thin waif of a former orphan relish the sense of truly belonging. Although she was adopted 3 years ago, Eliana continues to bubble with happiness when she is made the center of affection for a birthday celebration. 

Happy Birthday to our last little one! You richly bless each of us..
We thank God that He placed you in our family through adoption!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

365 People Photos: No. 74 ~ Quick Stop at the Grocery Store

Spring has spring in the upper midwest, and after dinner we made a quick trip to the park. We stopped at a nearby grocery store to get water bottles on the way. I couldn't resist taking a photo of the gang (three are out of town) in the colorful environment. I have the greatest kids ~ so patient with living their lives in front of a camera lens!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

365 People Photos: No. 73 ~ An Orphan's Dream Come True

When we adopted Kirsten three years ago, she communicated through our translator while we were still in her homeland of Russia that she yearned to have horses be part of her new life. We didn't immediately know how to make that happen, but we certainly knew out hearts longed to make her dream come true.

After we got home we started asking around and learned of a wonderful trainer. Kirsten began taking periodic riding lessons before she could even speak English.

Today I was blessed to have the opportunity to take some of Kirsten's senior pictures with the horse she rides for her lessons. Although this photo doesn't have the usual qualities of a senior picture, it is one of my favorites from today's shoot. Kirsten is a deep thinker and a courageous young woman. For this mama, this photo captures my beloved daughter's willingness to dream big dreams.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

No More Sword Practice!

"There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise brings healing."
Proverbs 12:18 (NASB)

This is a verse that I have been rehearsing daily for about a year. I put it on a 3x5 card for review each day because deep in my soul I recognize a tendency to use words "like the thrusts of a sword." I yearn instead to have a tongue that brings healing.

As I've slowly memorized the verse (that's what the intentional daily rehearsing does for me), I've also meditated on the thoughts called out and pulled out a couple of resources for better understanding.

Some months ago, I looked up the word rashly in Webster's 1828 Dictionary: "Rashly--without due deliberation."

Ouch! I was convicted immediately by the now obvious understanding that I was to T.H.I.N.K. before speaking. all-too novel concept for me.

More recently I checked out what John Kitchen has to say about the verse in his insightful commentary, Proverbs,
"Here is the idea of one who unlocks the door of their lips and lets flow whatever the moment may evoke. There is no thought, no weighing of one's words, only reaction. When we speak like this, we wound, even kill relationships...Like a mad man flailing away with a sword in a crowd of innocent people, so the person who does not measure his words wounds many."
Even deeper OUCH! How many times have wounded those I love the most? After all I'm most likely to speak without thinking within the confines of my own home. When I react to circumstances and open my mouth without due deliberation, it is my beloved husband and treasured children who are likely to the victim's of my tongue's shrapnel.

My only hope? God's willingness to help.

Thus my new practice is to PRAY when I reach the card with Proverbs 12:18 on it in my rehearsal stack each morning during my time alone with God:
O, Lord, please keep me from speaking rashly today. I cannot do this without You. I am so wont to hurt others with my words. Please help me to think before I speak. Please help me to be like Jesus and only speak words which come from You (John 6:63, 8:28). Please mold me into a person whose tongue brings healing. I am completely dependent on You, Lord. Please help me!