Friday, May 30, 2008

Come One, Come All to the Brat Fry

Bratwurst: A small sausage of highly seasoned fresh pork, usually served fried. Also called a "brat" for short.

If you live in Wisconsin, you most certainly know what a brat is. If you don't know what a brat is, see the definition above...we thought we should clarify that we are not frying up naughty children as a fundraiser. So, tell your friends & come hungry.

Please join me in praying that this event is very well attended! Even though it seems like an impossible amount, we are praying to raise at least $1,000.

Jesus looked at them and said,
"With man this is impossible,
but with God all things are possible."
Matthew 19:26

Jesus looked at them and said,
"With man this is impossible, but not with God;
all things are possible with God."
Mark 10:27

Jesus replied, "What is impossible
with men is possible with God."
Luke 18:27

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Isn't She Lovely...

What a blessing to get a ton of pictures from Michelle today (thank you!!) & the following from Cara:

"I spent a long time yesterday, while my kids were napping, loving on your Anchise. That girl's smile lights up the entire room. She is so cuddly and loves to be held. I blew bubbles in the nursery and she, in particular, loved it! She followed me around begging for me to blow them right in her face:) Whatever you do, you HAVE to come soon and meet your girl! She needs her mama!!!"

Oh Anchise, we need you too! Even though we have never met, we love you sweet girl!
What a smile!
Sweet & cuddly
If Peterson can pull off the pink plastic pants,
I guess Anchise can sport a boyish shirt :o)
Lovin' that face, even with crumbs

Kissable cheeks...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Lovely Way to Spend the Evening

After a busy day of school & work it was nice to relax together outside. We grilled out & ate dinner outside on the deck. After dinner, I pitted cherries while Jeff & I talked & the kids played. It was a great way to wind down & enjoy each others company. Needless to say the kids were happy with a big bowl of cherries to snack on! It's the simple things that make life grand...


Praise God...Cara got her appointment (there were others who did not)! After spending all day at the embassy she was able to successfully file her paperwork. Thanks to everyone who prayed on her behalf.

I pray you enjoy your last day in Haiti Cara! Safe travels to you...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Urgent Prayer Needed!

Today I am writing to ask all of you prayer warriors for your support. Cara (who so graciously took Anchise's package to her) is in Haiti trying to get an appointment at the U.S. Embassy. Her airline tickets have been changed to return on Thursday instead of Tuesday in hopes of getting an appointment.

Please pray...
  • for Cara's heart
  • that the Embassy will allow her in tomorrow to file her papers
  • that she will have peace with leaving her children in Haiti to return home to her children here

Let's lift Cara up so she will feel our prayers in a mighty way. Let all of this be done in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! May He be praised!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Highlights of the Day...

  • My sister had us over for breakfast. She had a HUGE spread of fresh fruit salad, belgian waffles, hashbrowns, scrambled eggs with all the fixins'. Yum yum!
  • We met with the man from the country club who is donating the space to use for an adoption benefit. He was very interested in helping & even donated a few rounds of golf for a silent auction. Have possible band to donate free musical entertainment.
  • Secured several other gift certificate donations for silent auction.
  • Distributed lots of posters for the upcoming brat fry (that's short for bratwurst for all you non-Wisconsiners - think sausage, not naughty kids).
  • Got a $50.00 donation.
  • Upcoming Tastefully Simple fundraiser by Auntie Lucy...thank you! Already lots of orders coming in (thanks mom & co-workers)!
  • The sun was shining, we are all healthy & happy...much to be thankful for!

This is the day that the Lord hath made, let us rejoice & be glad in it!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Here I am Lord...

...The future seems so hard
and I want to go back
But the places that used to fit me
Cannot hold the things I've learned
And those roads closed off to me
While my back was turned...
Painting Pictures of Egypt by Sara Groves

I am forever changed. Most days I feel like a square peg in a round hole - the places that used to fit me cannot hold the things I've learned. I view the world differently now. I have been stretched & changed to the point of being uncomfortable. My faith has been challenged & deepened. I feel like I'm moving into a new chapter of my life and am seeking His direction.

"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
"Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
And I said, "Here I am Lord. Send me!"
Isaiah 6:8

What has amazed me the most is how my change has affected others. I had a deeply profound conversation with my beautiful sister tonight that touched me deeply. She gets it. She really, really gets it. She gets that it's not about me or you or trivial, fleeting, worldly things - it's about giving selflessly so a child can have hope for a family and a future. So many people look at me like I've lost my last marble when I talk about adoption. This plight of the orphan has taken over my heart. I want to do more. I want EVERY child to have a family. I want every person who's ever had the smallest inkling to adopt to dive in head first & enjoy the swim.

I have had many opportunities to use our adoption journey to witness to others & I take every opportunity I can get. I think how different this would be playing out now if it had been easy. If I had just filled out paperwork & paid fees without a second thought just think of everything I would have missed. Just think of all of the glory I would have missed giving to Him. I know why this has been difficult - because if it hadn't I wouldn't have leaned on Him, I wouldn't have been stretched. He must look at me and think why would I change that?

Sis, I see God starting a mighty work in you & I know He continues to do a mighty work in me. I am thankful He has found me worthy of working on.

She Got Our Package!!!!

Eating M&M's in the dress we sent her!!!!

Looking at pictures of us...or not...the M&M's are awfully good though!
Thank you Cara!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Is it Wrong to Gush Over This Girl?

I can't help it...I love this girl! I'm so excited that Anchise will be getting a gift from us (thanks Cara).

It sounds like the team arrived safely Tuesday evening at Three Angels. Please join me in praying that their time together will be meaningful & that all legal appointments will go smoothly.

Checkin' things out...
Justin knows how to pick them...cute girls Glory & Anchise!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

More Pics of our Haitian Princess

Thanks to everyone who so graciously e-mailed me pictures of Anchise. I have been so warmly welcomed by the Three Angels families & it has really been a blessing.

Smiley Girl
Serious Girl
Hanging Out with Sandy
Sitting in the Bumbo Seat

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dance Weekend 2008...Whew, It's Done!

Well the dance extravaganza week is officially done. The culmination of 9 months of hard work & lots of running between home & the dance studio. Thursday was pictures, Friday was dress rehearsal for the Saturday shows, Saturday was dress rehearsal for the Sunday shows. We had shows at 3:00 & 6:00 on Saturday & 6:00 on Sunday. Thankfully we had two shows we got a breather from.

It was BEAUTIFUL! Over 200 kids were backstage at any given time. Delaney & Keaton did great (yes, my son is in dance). Delaney is in ballet & modern dance & Keaton took ballet & tap. He has decided for next year he wants to do jazz & big sis wants to stick with modern & ballet.

It was a little bittersweet though at times. Whenever the tiny girls (age 3) come out to dance, I can't help but remember when Delaney was the little girl out on stage in the frou frou dress. She was such a graceful & elegant young lady to watch this weekend - so beautiful. Keaton got lots of "oohs & ahs" during the ballet piece as he & his partner dance in the middle. He bowed to her & she curtsied to him & then they danced together. There was an audible "ahhh" from the crowd. Too sweet!

The shows were great, but I have to admit we are all ready for the 3 month reprieve. We can't wait for summer vacation & all of the unscheduledness that goes along with it!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Defending the Fatherless (and Myself)

You could not wipe the smile off my face. I was going to mail a package to our sweet girl - a new dress, a puzzle & some snacks. Cara B. is leaving for Haiti on Tuesday & graciously offered to deliver this gift personally to our girl. I'm sure the people in line wondered why I had the goofy grin on my face.

I was excited to see a group from our church outside the grocery store in the "brat barn" (it's a Wisconsin thing). My goofy grin & I walked up & excitedly told about mailing my package & showed pictures of our precious Anchise. What happened next I was not prepared for - a barrage of mostly negative questions both about adoption & politics in Haiti. The whole time I was standing there I was thinking in my head, "let me be salt & light, let me be salt & light". I prayed for words & wisdom.

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 1:26-27

Upon the conclusion of this conversation I realized my joy had been stolen. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to answer questions about adoption & Haiti. I LOVE IT! Especially when it's someone who has a sincere, heartfelt interest. Ask me anything - I'm an open book! But from this day forward I will not defend this decision. I will not have my joy stolen like a thief in the night. Adoption is the heart of God and I will find my joy & my reward in His words.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tears of Joy

I am not a crying person. I'm just not. But I have to tell you I have been more emotional & cried more tears since we began this journey than I ever believed possible. Today was no exception. All it took was seeing these words on the Three Angels website, "Update: Anchise has a family!". Bawling like a baby over five little words. I tell ya...

Here are some pictures I was blessed with today. A huge thank you to everyone who sent photos!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Post I've Been Waiting For!!!!!

Wow! Where do I begin? We have a daughter! A beautiful daughter who will be two this summer. The road to her has been full of twists & turns (which I'm sure will continue). It's funny how when we are open to the Lord's calling, He has a way of changing all of the plans we make.

If you've been reading the blog for some time, you most certainly know that our biggest challenge is financial. And although we have had said challenges it seems at just the right moment He delivers on our behalf. Isn't it amazing? Isn't HE amazing?

Anyway, since finances were our biggest challenge we prayerfully considered completing our adoption independently to save the agency fee. I also quickly realized that many of the adoption connections I had made were from the orphanage where our little darling is located. She immediately caught my eye several months ago & for whatever reason - even though we hadn't planned to adopt from this orphanage - thoughts of her were never far from my mind. Around mid-March I showed my husband the waiting children & he immediately was drawn to the same little sweetie. We immediately began to pursue her adoption & today we got the official approval from the O. Praise God!

We still have many financial obstacles to face, but God has shown His hand at many points on this journey & we move forward in faith believing He will provide what is needed.

So, without further adieu, I'd like to introduce our precious one...

For this child I prayed, and, the Lord has granted me my petition, which I made to Him.
1 Samuel 1:27

Monday, May 12, 2008

Walking by Faith

I love it when I open my inbox & there's a devotional that speaks exactly to the needs my heart. Today was one such day when God hand-picked & delivered a message just for me. This entire adoption journey has been a walk by faith & I'm grateful for the lessons I've learned along the way.


God's promises are the assurances He gives to His people so we can walk by faith while we wait for Him to work.

How we relate to God is determined by what we do with His promises. Do you believe them? Have you learned that when you walk by sight you never win? But when you walk by faith, and believe there will be a day when He will fulfill them, He will never disappoint you. God sees you in this situation you face today. He knows how hard it is to walk by faith. He knows our frame and He remembers that we are dust (Psalm 103:14). And He's not going to leave you wondering what's going to happen, or uncertain about the future or overcome by fear. He makes promises to you so that you can get through the long nights and the difficult days of waiting. He asks you to hang on to His promises for the long haul.

The hard part of doing that, of course, is the gap between His promise and His fulfillment of that promise. Almost always, His promises are not going to be answered tomorrow or the next day. That's why He gives us something to hold on to.

And while we wait, God builds our faith. I guarantee you that when you rest in the promises of God, you have a great life. You live more confidently. You believe good things are in store for you. As long as you're living in doubt and defeat, you've got nothing to look forward to. But if you anticipate His blessing, He's never going to let you down. His reputation is on the line. He's promised to do some things in your life and when you hold on to what He's promised, you're going to win in the end.

Friday, May 9, 2008

My Sister is a Maniac!

OK, a couple of days ago my sister decided she was going to plan this benefit extravaganza for our adoption. Once she saw the pictures of her potential new niece she just couldn't resist!

She wanted to hold it at a Victorian mansion in our area with a band, wine & appetizers. Well today she had the day off & has been running around like a crazy woman! She has been securing food donations & so far hasn't received any no responses.

I'm excited to see how this all unfolds. It seems God is really pulling out all the stops on our behalf as we move forward towards our Haitian angel (I promise she really is out there & will hopefully be revealed very SOON).

Thank you Mel for everything! I know God will bless you for blessing us.

We move forward in FAITH...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Kindness of Strangers

Today I received a phone call from someone who works at the hospital where I work. This kind-hearted woman, who really doesn't know me at all, was calling to see if she could stop down with a donation for our adoption. I am continually amazed at the people who don't know us, but are so willing to help. They have given freely & it has blessed us beyond measure.

We received a total of $30.00 in donations today & are praising God to see our next goal reducing in size. We move forward in FAITH...
And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Hebrews 13:16

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Great is Thy Faithfulness!

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

This song has been playing in my head all day long! I stand amazed & in awe of how my Father watches over me. Last night I reluctantly decided to look at our needs vs. haves in the financial department of this adoption. Our current needs are, I mean WERE:
  • I-600a filing $670
  • Fingerprinting $160
  • Passports $200
  • Translator services $250

I checked the balances in our two adoption accounts, the online giving account, & the profits from our recent flower bulb fundraiser. It was EXACTLY enough to pay for ALL of the above needs. Not more, not less - exactly enough. Our God is so faithful. He never delivers too early or too late. He knew exactly what we would need at this time & provided for us. It feels so good to know that we are in God's will (which is the only place we wanted to be).

We move forward in FAITH, knowing our God will provide.

Monday, May 5, 2008

How Do I Look?

I don't know why, but while walking to the lobby of the hospital today I really noticed the people in the halls. Each one of them adjusting themselves in some way - an older man straightening his tie, a middle-aged woman fluffing her hair, another lady smoothing her shirt, and another straightening her necklace. Each of these concerned with their appearance in some way. Each of them were fine just as they were, but yet somehow they felt compelled to do more - to be more.

We go through this life worried with how people will perceive us. Are we good enough? Do we look pretty enough? Are we wearing the right clothes? Are we too fat? Many times we judge people by their appearance. I'm the first to admit I'm guilty of that myself at times.

I think that is what I love about the friends I've made via blogging. We do not base our friendships on appearances, looks or status - our connections are based on common interests & beliefs, the way we raise our families, what is important to us, our "causes". We are connected by "heart" & not social status or beauty.

Thankfully God loves us by "heart" also. We do not need to adorn ourselves externally to please Him or win His affection.

Lord, I pray I will base more of my personal relationships on "heart". Help me to love others, just as You have loved me.

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Too Funny Not to Share...

As you may or may not know, we are working on potty training with Mr. B. He wears a diaper at night, but we try to keep underwear on him during the day. We had been out & about this morning & so when we got back home we put his underwear back on. He proudly exclaimed, "I'm not pooping in my backhoe loader". Hubby and I both looked at each other funny trying to figure out what he was talking about. He says again, "I'm not pooping in my backhoe loader". It finally dawns on us what he is saying...he has Bob the Builder underwear on & there is a backhoe picture on the butt. He was proudly telling us he was not going to get these underwear dirty. Our Mr. B certainly makes us laugh a lot!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Happy 7th Birthday Baby Boy!

Sweet boy, I cannot believe you are turning 7. It seems just yesterday I was holding you in my arms & caressing your tiny fingers. You have changed so much in the last year. I see your baby face changing into that of a young man & I have to admit it makes me a little sad. Even though you have changed on the outside, you still have a heart of gold on the inside. You are sweet, thoughtful & gentle. You care deeply about others and are sensitive to their feelings. You are a "gentle giant" towering over many of the other boys your age. I know some day you will be looking down on me and I can't imagine how that will feel. On this day we celebrate you! You are a most precious child of God & we love you.