Monday, June 30, 2008

Peace & The Prairie Path...

To the North of our house lies a 61-mile long community trail named the Prairie Path. While we have never ridden its full-length, in the past years we have made good use of the approximate 3 miles from our house to Tate's Old Fashioned Ice Cream Shop ;)

This past weekend, Blake tuned-up our bikes and on Saturday evening we took our first summertime trek. The path was uncrowded b/c of a recent rain but the evening was gorgeous. The ride was healing for us. We dreamed about the day when our kiddos would join us for such a ride. We talked about the emotions of the past several days & how we could support each other best in the days/months ahead. We laughed a bit as we pretended that we were not THAT out of shape as we rode up the path's inclines :) And we praised God for His provision as we felt peace tugging at our hearts, in obvious response to the many prayers offered on our behalf.
I heard this morning on the radio the following comment from an individual at a crossroads in life. He said, "I do not ask God WHY. I simply ask him HOW." Having been reminded in the past days to trust that God truly wants what is best for us, I am aiming to discipline my mind to step beyond wondering WHY and instead to ask Him HOW.
  • HOW can I best bring glory to You through our current circumstances?
    HOW can I best serve You in the days ahead?
  • HOW can I best serve others with the talents You have given me?
  • HOW can I continue to develop trust in Your ways and confidence in Your plan?
  • HOW do you want me to live?
And as my mind shifts from WHY to HOW; my heart has begun to experience the peace which passes all understanding. Praise God for continuing to work within our lives even when our hearts/our faith is weak.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Psalm 143

We spoke with our social worker yesterday and she confirmed what I have been trying to accept AND avoid accepting in the past weeks. The paperwork issue is not a quick-fix. There will be no court date in June. There will be no court date in July. The courts are closed August and September. We were told we should hope for a court date mid-October (at the earliest). Alexander might possibly be home by the Christmas holiday.

That said, this post will not contain any witty statements. No quirky comments. No inspiring words. The only thing I have to offer today is brokenness; like the words/emotion found in Psalm 143.

"O Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfullness and righteousness, come to my relief...The Enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead. So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed...I spread out my hands to you; my soul thrists for you. Answer me quickly, O Lord; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me...Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift my soul..."

It hurts! O, how it hurts!

And yet in the midst of the tears, we trust in the character of the God whom we serve. He hears our cries. He answers us. He is the healer of broken hearts. He is a stronghold and a deliverer. He is a refuge. His love endures forever. His compassions are new every morning. He will keep us from all harm. He will supply all our needs. I can do all things thru Him. YES. I can do all things thru Him, I remind myself. We can wait...again.

Thanks to each of you praying us thru this adoption journey; your love is appreciated beyond what words can express.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Adoption Update - Paperwork Issues

During this past weekend’s sermon, the speaker talked briefly on the topic of patience. He said (in paraphrase), “There are times in life when we must exercise great patience. We do not understand the ways of our Lord. But there are always great lessons to be learned as we wait patiently for Him…” We have been called once again to practice patience within our adoption journey.

THE FACTS. We found out Monday morning that paperwork completed for Alexander’s adoption by those in the southern region where it was initiated is inaccurate. It is currently unknown whether the required correction is a simple paperwork adjustment or requires extensive legwork and/or new approvals.

THE IMPACT. Paperwork that was to be submitted by June 1st to allow for Alexander’s case to be heard before the early-August court closure has not yet been submitted. It is unknown how long it will take for the paperwork to be revised. Our social worker advised we should begin preparing for the possibility that our case will not be heard before the courts close, delaying a travel date to ET by several months.

THE REALITY. Tears. The wait until September seemed long already; the delay until possibly the end of 2008 difficult to come to grips with. Helplessness. We cannot track down the necessary missing information & cannot prevent the drought-induced power outages dramatically slowing lines of communication within ET. Confusion. What more, Lord, is it that You want us to learn?

We are praying for a miracle; for this situation to be resolved quickly, for our paperwork to be submitted and our case to be heard before the court closure. And...we are also preparing for the possibility that God has different plans; that Alexander is to spend a few more months in our hearts before he is in our arms. Would you pray along with us; specifically for peace within our hearts & that we'll remember the goodness of our Lord even when we do not understand His ways?

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Weekend on the Farm & Childhood Crushes...

I am 'recovering' from a fun, action-packed weekend downstate. Friday night included a small-town Ice Cream Social and concert in the park in my former hometown. Earlier that day, Mom and I sorted & sliced fresh strawberries; some for the freezer and some for fresh jam - yummy! While Dad sprayed his cornfields before Sunday's rain, Mom and I tag-teamed at mowing the farmyard. We made trifles for a cousin's bridal shower on Saturday afternoon, potatoes & pies for a Father's Day celebration on Sunday afternoon. Just as the guests arrived on Sunday afternoon at the Sauders, we were met with some high-velocity winds & the loss of electricity for a couple of hours. The kids were bummed at not being able to swim in the lake but the sun came out shortly and we had fun playing yard games & just chatting with one another.

Since it was such a LAZY weekend, on Saturday evening Blake & I joined my parents at the Peoria Chiefs minor league baseball game. Ryan Eigsti, a former Eureka High School and Bradley University talent, was playing on the opposing team, the Burlington Bees. We had tickets in the Eigsti's Friends & Family section where many fans turned out to cheer on this 22-year old local boy & big-league hopeful. Our section erupted in cheers & high-five's when Ryan hit a homerun mid-way thru the game. While breaking into the big leagues is a grueling task, I am always inspired to see someone who follows their matter how big or small. The following is a picture of Ryan at bat...

Okay...I should probably explain the 'Childhood Crushes' part of my title. Admit it...everyone has had a childhood crush or two, right? Well...mine just happen to be a couple of sports-players-turned-coaches. One is Jimmy Les, current head coach of the Bradley Braves men's basketball team. The other is Ryne Sandberg, former Chicago Cubs second baseman and current manager guessed it...the Peoria Chiefs! Knowing of my former crushes, Blake joked that I took more pictures of #23 than I did of anything else the entire weekend. Unfortunately, I think he's right! Silly...I know, but quite harmless.

Here's a picture of me and my CURRENT and FOREVER crush. It just happens to be his birthday today. Happy birthday! I love you!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Not In A Bushel Basket...

Excerpt from a book I recently finished reading (Candle in the Darkness).

"Faith don't come in a bushel basket, Missy. It comes one step at a time. Decide to trust Him for one little thing today, and before you know it, you find out He's so trustworthy you'll be putting your whole life in His hands."

I have found Him to be trustworthy, have you? My prayer is that this day you can surrender the "little things" in your life (whatver they might be) and that He'll grow your faith in mighty, miraculous ways.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Consistently Walking...

This past year I have participated in a women's ministry within our church; it's entitled Women of the Word (WoW). My partner is in the 'upper' age-range and I would fall in the 'lower' age-range so she calls me her "little WoW-ie". I love it! She has inspired and impacted my life in more ways than I can put into words & I am filled with thanksgiving at God's provision in my life.

At a recent WoW Springtime Tea with the theme of "Fill My Cup Lord", a friend was sharing the lesson (or devotional) with the group. She concluded with the following statement which has been tumbling about my head the past few weeks. Make a decision to consistently walk with God instead of begging Him to walk with you.

How easy it is to cry out to God in times of anxiety. How natural to lift our face to Him in times of despair when it seems as if there is no where else to turn. Nothing wrong with this, of couse, BUT...why is it so difficult to seek Him daily; so hard to make time to talk to Him consistently & honestly when the need to do so does not seem so urgent? My conclusion? It is hard because the Enemy finds so many ways to distract us. But, thanks in part to faithful friends like my WoW partner, I am challenged to more consistently walk with God. My prayer is that you may be challenged to do the same as you live out your life walking down whatever path He has set before you.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Thank You! Thank You!

We have so appreciated the many comments posted here, the emails, the kinds words and the sweet hugs as you have shared in our joy as our family has expanded to include little Alexander. We are humbled & outrageously grateful for each one of you!

That said, I have been away from blogging for a couple of reasons: (1) I am still trying to wrap my head around the idea that I am a mommy to a little boy in Ethiopia. AMAZING! I have heard others refer to 'pregnancy brain' in regards to scattered thoughts & the inability to concentrate as their pregnacy progresses; something about a decrease in brain cells (?). Well...I am here to tell you there MUST be a condition called "adoption brain", too, because my ability to focus on a conversation and/or complete a task from start to finish has been greatly impacted by this little boy that entered our lives less than 2 weeks ago! (2) We have also been distracted by the last-minute details in planning for the wedding this weekend of our friends, Dan & Deanne. Click here to visit our business blog & see pictures of this recent event. It was a fun & beautiful wedding weekend here in Chicago.