Monday, July 25, 2011

Another Piece of the Puzzle

Today we received our I-800 Provisional Paper saying that "yes" we are again approved to bring our girls home.  (Whoop! Whoop!) 

Now we will wait about 10 days for a piece of paper called the NVC.  Then will wait 3 - 5 weeks for our  Article 5.  Finally, we will then be in the wait for our TA (Travel Approval) and then we will wait for a CA(Consulate Appointment). 

Somewhere in all these final days of waiting we will begin school and start trying to prepare for this journey.

Major Milestones are occurring in our house.  Austin will be a SENIOR!  Jordan will be a JUNIOR!  Zach will begin his Freshman year online with a program called Georgia Cyber Academy (K-12).  Leighanne will begin 4th grade online also in Georgia Cyber Academy (K-12).  Zach and Leighanne are traveling to China with us and Austin and Jordan are staying behind at home.  Nana and Papa are coming to stay some of the time and we are working out the details with the other days.

Let's just say that we are not bored at our house!  Always plenty to keep us moving!

I'm also trying to decide on a curriculum for our girls to learn English--lots to look at.

Any advice from adoptive moms who have taught English to older children sure would be appreciated.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Cup of Coffee and God's Letter to Me

I've been up for a couple of hours today.  I've taken Ben to meet his ride, gone to Walmart to buy a few more groceries. Now I am finishing my cup of coffee (2nd cup actually) and reading God's Letter to Me.

Today, He used the book of Isaiah to speak loudly!

(If you haven't caught on from past posts--I'm reading through Isaiah now.)

Look at what He wrote me today . . .

"But now, listen to me, Julie my servant,  Julie my chosen one.  The Lord who made you and helps you says:  O Julie, my servant, do not be afraid.  O Julie, my chosen one, do not fear.  For I will give you abundant water to quench your thirst and to moisten your parched fields.  And I will pour out my Spirit and blessings on your children.  They will thrive like watered grass, like willows on a riverbank.  Some will proudly claim, " I belong to the Lord."  Others will say, "I am a descendant of Jacob."  Some will write the Lord's name on their hands and will take the honored name of Israel as their own. Isaiah 44: 1 - 5 (Ok--so I added my name where Israel's and Jacob's should be, but it helps me to take his words to heart.)

This amazing letter goes on to remind me of who God is--He is the First and the Last; there is no other God.  He tells me that He is the only one who knows the future and that he knows my purpose.

He then explains about the foolishness of mankind with making Idols.  I was reading these and even catching myself chuckling at how foolish his children must seem when we put our faith in our Idols. 

Then I had a moment of clarity.  I spent yesterday in a halfway funk.  I wasted about half of my day on my Idol the computer--looking for an email about an update on our adoption.  Busted! 

I was trusting in this manmade Idol for information that God has promised me a bazillion times--that "It will be in His time."

Aren't you tired of reading about me having peace about it and then me trying to make something happen? 

How come I live in this perpetual cycle of peace, worry, peace, worry, peace???---You get the idea.

Thankfully, His letter in verse 21 goes on to say, " Pay attention, O Julie, for you are my servant.  I, the Lord, made you, and I will not forget to help you.  I have swept away your sins like the morning mists.  I have scattered your offenses like the clouds.  Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free."

Thank you God! 

Is there any better feeling than to know that God will create a clean heart in you everytime you mess up? 

So, today I'm looking out my window and thankful that my sins are swept away like the morning mist.  Gone and out of sight.

Have you had a chance to read God's letter to you today?  If not, go read it and be amazed at how it applies to your life.

Oh, and the cup of coffee make it just that much sweeter. :)


Monday, July 18, 2011

A Chance to Practice Praying for someone in Need

I've been following a blog of a fellow believer for about 4 months now.  If I've learned anything--this lady believes in praying.  She has sent out a request for prayer for a young man named Karl who is special to their family. He was in a motorcycle accident and has had two surgeries for shunts in his brain in the last 24 hours.  He needs our prayer.   His story is on  the blog, "A Place Called Simplicity" if you want a direct link then click here.

Put your faith in action today!



Sunday, July 17, 2011

What is Prayer?

God has really been teaching me a lot about prayer lately. How often do we think of prayer as taking our laundry list of things we want to God and rattling them off like we are sitting in Santa's lap telling what we want for Christmas? Even when we get pious and pray for others, we still often take a list of what we want God to do.... Don't misunderstand me -- I believe God does want to hear what your needs are, but even more important -- He wants to share with you about who He is. God wants to whisper in His still small voice some scripture for you to read that reveals something about Him. He wants to tell you something to do that will reveal something about who He is as you do it.

Doesn't it really bless you (not!) when you meet someone new and all they do is talk about themselves and tell you all about their goals, desires, needs, etc. Do you think sometimes God feels the same way when we talk with Him?

Prayer is communicating (two-way) with a Friend who is closer than a brother. It is talking with our "Abba Father (aka Daddy)" and getting to know Him better.

I want to challenge you as God has challenged me.... start approaching your prayer time this way and it will change your life.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Quietness and Confidence

I have been mulling this post over in my head for over a week. 

I am making sure that it is the right thing to share.

These are two words that God has been speaking to me through his Word.

Be Quiet and Be Confident.

So how come I am sharing?

I am NOT going to share what I am to be quiet about.

This adoption of our girls is growing me by leaps and bounds.

God is taking Ben and me to a place in our faith journey that is very uncomfortable for us both.

He has led us to be Quiet.  Not about the adoption of course, but about the specific needs that go along with  this adoption. 

He has specifically led us to do nothing but pray, and ask others to join us in prayer.


We do not like to sit back--we like to jump in and tackle problems head-on.

But this time--Be Quiet.

I'll confess--I have slipped up a few times.  It's so hard.  I'm used to sharing with my ladies group and others and I have told the needs, only to realize that --oops!  I wasn't supposed to do that.

But God, He's so gracious. 

He knows I'm taking baby steps in this quiet journey.

When we first began the journey, it took us a little while to realize that we were supposed to be quiet about the needs, but he showed us clearly that that was the path for this adoption.

Isaiah 30:15 says, "The Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says, "Only in returning to me and waiting for me will you be saved.  In quiet and confidence is your strength."

This chapter of Isaiah is talking about the destruction of Israel because they trusted in Eqypt instead of God.  Ben and I have been applying these verses to our adoption of Hannah and Sara, and are realizing that we must be faithful to His leadership.  God is our answer to all of these adoption questions.  In God's timing, With His resources, In His Way--See the result--God get's the glory!

The verse also has the word confidence in it.

My strength is in being quiet and having confidence in God.

I am to trust only in Him.  Not in my strength or abilities at all.

Do you know that I am struggling as I am writing this? 

I am constantly having to move myself out of the way.

The Good News in this Chapter is what God promises Israel if they would return to trusting in Him.  Verse 18 says, "But the Lord still waits for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion.  For the Lord is a faithful God.  Blessed are those who wait for him to help them."

This is what I have my confidence in--the Faithfulness of the Lord.

He has been faithful in so many events in my life, and He has continued throughout this adoption.

I really believe that when these adoptions are completed, that this will be an "ONLY GOD" STORY.

Until then we will be taking our steps in quietness and confidence.

Will you join me in praying for our girls and this adoption?

What you should pray is between you and God.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mom--Can we go to the Pool?

have been
to the pool
about 999 times
this summer!

Okay--wait, MAYBE that has been how many times I've been asked, "Are we going to the pool today?"

Really though, we have been spending a lot of time at the pool, the beach, and with friends.

Here's Leighanne and some of her friends at the POOL! 

Kaitlin, Leighnne and Ashley

Ready . . .





Leighanne at Josie Tatum's Pool

Josie Tatum getting ready to slide

Ellie and her goggles!

 I need to explain the next few pics and the condition of our living room.  Every once in a while we have  marathon movie madness.
On Saturday, we began the Harry Potter Marathon.  Needless to say we have only made it to movie # 5.  We are gearing up for the latest movie to be released this weekend.  This is my first time watching the movies.  It was kind of like the Lord of the Ring Series.   Everyone kept telling me to watch them--and once I did I liked them.  Harry Potter has been the same way.  I am really enjoying the movie series.  Great writing!

Soooo ....  This is why our living room looks like a camping site.  You need to be comfortable to watch movies for hours and hours!

Jordan, Taylor and Austin

  And of course--you need brownies for nourishment when you are laying around watching TV!

Zach testing the batter

Gotta go--getting ready to watch #5 tonight!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Saying Goodbye--But Not without Hope

I just returned home from North Carolina.  My three sisters and I made a whirlwind trip to go visit my Grandma Felberg.  She is 91 years old.  And it was time to say goodbye -- for just a little while.

She was moved to hospice yesterday and the workers do not think that she will linger long in this world.

I am thankful I had the chance to say my goodbye on this earth.  I was able to sit beside her for a little while and try to decipher her words.  She was speaking so softly.  There was a moment though that was precious--she whispered, "Love you" in a raspy voice, just loud enough to be heard.

 Treasured words.

 Had she not whispered them however, I would have not felt unloved--my grandma loved well--her actions throughout her life spoke loudly.

During the days as more of the family members arrived,  her eyes would light up with joy and laughter as stories were shared around the room.  Memories of a strong woman who loved her family and God. 

Once when she was whispering we thought she said the word "amazing".  The only thing we could think she might mean was "Amazing Grace" so we began to sing the song and grandma tried to sing along with us. 

Even though I am having to say goodbye for now--it is not without hope.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 says, "But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus."

I will not shed tears because I won't see my Grandma again--it will be for the loss on this side of heaven.

I will one day see her healthy, smiling face in Heaven.

And she will greet me with a hug and lead me to Jesus.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Call to Prayer

Prayer will make a difference in our girls lives.  Will you join us as we pray our girls home from China?
We have felt God leading us to not be specific about our exact needs, so we are asking you to pray that God would lead you to pray for exactly what He would have you pray.  You can download the prayer card below and print it and put it on your refrigerator to remind you to pray on our behalf.  Feel free to make copies and share with your Sunday School, Church, etc.
We are asking you to commit to a daily or weekly time that you will set aside to pray for our girls.  Some of you might even feel the Lord directing you to fast and pray some over the course of the next few months -- we would be grateful for your sacrifice.  Please pray however you feel the Lord leading you to pray and for whatever He leads you to pray about.

Thank you for your prayers!
Ben and Julie