Friday, September 24, 2010

Home...At Last!

In May of 2009 Hubby was preparing to go to Africa, with not one soul that he knew.  The team was from Colorado and God had clearly laid it before him to "GO!"  We were thrilled, but I had a personal prayer.  "God please give Justin a friend.  One to watch out for him and have those late night chats with." 

Oh boy, did God answer! 

Through e-mail (if I remember right), we decided that Justin and this other guy (not from Colorado) would meet in the London airport and have dinner.  I anxiously waited to hear what this guy was like, knowing hubby was about to spend 2 weeks, in a third world country with him.  I will never forget breathing a sigh of relief when Justin called and said he was a great guy and they even looked alike. :)  I laughed and thanked God for His sweet goodness!  What an answer to prayer!

The two weeks in Uganda together created a brotherly bond that I believe will last a lifetime.  They were two dads loving orphans, praying for each other and both starting and adoptions together.  They celebrated the beginning of those adoptions and encouraged each other through the bumpy road that was from the start.  They laughed together, they cried together and cleaned up other team members puke together...some real bonding...eeeewww. hehe

[this is Justin, Shonnie (whom we love too) and James]

After returning home we began to Skype.  I "met" James first and was floored how much he and Justin were alike.  God has a complete sense of humor.  They both love to hunt and be outdoors but most importantly they are both sold out for Christ and passionate about heir families.  Cool hu?  Who put these two together? - God did - ya, He gives good gifts! 

Later, I got to "meet" Cheremi and before long we were laughing and it became very comfortable, very fast!  We had regular Skype dates, at least once a week.  We spent a lot of time just getting to know one another and sharing our adoption steps. 

We prayed insane amounts that God would allow us to go to court all together. 

Justin and I got our court date first and headed out.  We prayed and hoped they would join us but had little hope at that point.  I will never forget sitting in the little internet hut and reading that they were on their way!!  I could not believe my eyes and was over.the.moon.happy! 

I grabbed my camera the morning they were expected meet their children and documented their first moments. 

Is that the most precious moment?  It was!

What a blessing to be together.

[they are laughing at me because I took my hair out of the bun for the pic - I knew it could end up on a blog post - see C & J - much prettier hair for the blog lol]

Our husbands were like little boys that had their BBF back!  lol  At one time Cheremi and I noticed the guys were missing and had no clue where they went.  They had gone down the street to grab a rolex together.  :)

It was not long and they realized Canad@, their country, was going to be a problem.  Canad@ was not issuing visas for legal guardianship in a timely fashion (or any fashion for that matter).  Cheremi headed home to be with their 3 children.

[this was right before Justin headed home to be with our 4]

It was not long and Isaiah and I were on our way home.

[saying bye to Uncle James]

It was bitter sweet for me.  I was so relived to be with my family but I felt like I had left a fellow solider behind.  There was rarely a conversation had, that I did not ask for people to pray for them.  We prayed, we fasted and shook our heads at the far-to-long-wait.  We watched Christmas come and go with James in Uganda, fighting for his kids and Cheremi at home.  Our hearts we heavy for them and they were never far from our thoughts.

After 5 long hard months James came home, empty handed.

I was glad for Cheremi to have her hubby home, single parenting is hard.  It was time for them to fight for their kids from home.

In September they stepped out in faith and booked their flight to Uganda and petition for full adoption.  This is only done for special circumstances.

Praise God, Full Adoption was granted!

We screamed, yelled and cried knowing this trial was coming to an end.

It was all I could do to not book a ticket to UG to help Cheremi home with 2 kids!  She need a friend, I wanted to be that friend, but I couldn't, so I prayed, A LOT, knowing that God was able to strengthen her.

On my birthday they were on a plane, what a gift!

On September 21, 2010 they were untied forever as a family!

 [Aren't they beautiful?]

Welcome Home Schalk Family, Welcome Home!

Psalm 68:6

God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing

Monday, September 20, 2010

One more......

Please read below first but the greatest birthday gift today was.......

Knowing that Cheremi was on a plane WITH her 2 children coming home to their forever family!  Yay!  I keep looking up and praying for: strength, joy, energy, safety!


Reasons I loved my birthday today:

morning kisses and sleepy happy birthday wishes

obedient kids ["cuz it's my b-day" was used a few time]

facebook wishes - every few minutes I would click over - how fun!  lots of love!

dreaming and praying about a women's trip to Ug@nda

loving phone calls

nap with #4 (and no rooster to drive me crazy - seriously would like him to go away for my b-day...every 30 seconds people, every 30 seconds)

the new baby cow next door being named "Shauna" - honored [unless she is a he and then that will just be sad]

finding out there is a mama pig in Ugand@ named  "Shauna" - honored [I think]lol

hubby making me a killer dinner ..... gotta go!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mother Daughter Night

Saturday night we were blessed to gather with other Christian moms that desire to have our daughters grow in the ways of the Lord.  All of our treasures are in their tween years and we realize we are headed, full steam, into years that are full of change.

I love how one mom put it. Let's get into ready position, as best we can, instead of being afraid or running away from the tough issues. Then we all shared a bit of our hearts.

It was a blessing to me and I feel it put a few more tools in my tool bag, as we enter the junior high years.

[all of the girls wanted to run outside and twirl in their pretty heart skipped a beat, wanting to keep her twirling forever, yet knowing that God has good plans for her too]

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thankful Thursday!

There is so much to be thankful for!

This world would like us to drown in the negative pool of discouragement but Jesus says, "In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." 

We know that there will be hard, yucky times but we have a promise from God himself - He has overcome the world!  I read about missionaries who were physically destroyed yet praised God because they knew and understood this very thing.  

I am thankful for:

My hubby that is so patient with me tho I may be a bit of a head case at times.  [love you Babe]

My kids that are truly treasures and make life so rich!  God says children are a blessing and indeed they are!  It makes me sad when people don't like their kids - that would be like not liking the cool whip on hot coco or frosting on cake or coffee without a good read get the idea.  Very thankful for them!

Our church!  What a blessing! 

The fact that there will be 5 less orphans with in the next year [God willing] and we will get front row seats to watch God set the lonely in these families!!  More thrilled about this one than words can say!!!!!!!!

I am thankful for 2 more orphans being placed in their, long awaited family, this week!  But that one deserves a post all on it's own....coming soon...waiting on a pic that has been a year and a half in the waiting!

Umm...ya....T4A!  T4A!  [just sayin']

Ok - I am off to tackle a closet that has been out.of.control! 

Love you all - Happy Thankful Thursday!  What are you thankful for?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Being Sensitive to the Spirit

Yesterday's message, last night's movie and today's podcast have my head filled with God's ways, sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and repentance.

Yesterday our pastor preached an awesome message.  He talked about being sensitive to the Holy Spirit and the conviction of sin in our lives.  He talked about allowing God to search our hearts and shed light in our lives to reveal that sin.  Without the revelation of the Holy Spirit we will walk blind to that sin. 

Sometimes, God reveals and we ignore - creating a calloused heart.  THAT is something I do not want.  I DO NOT want to have a hard heart or be stiff-necked as God often refers to people that do not turn to Him, those that do not bow their knee to Him.

The more we allow God to show us the sin and then REPENT [turn from - actually takes action and a movement not just a thought] the more we will hear from Him and live the life He has for us.  He actually tells us to flee from sin - run - get away.  God does not want His children bogged down with the weight of sin.

This is where yesterday's movie come in.  God loves to teach me, and then we often practice that lesson straight away *sigh* - can anyone relate? :) 

I love movies.  I love vegging.  I love chick flicks and that fuzzy feeling you get when it all turns out so sweet and wonderful.  Ahhh...

But the selection these days sucks.  I just had to say that.

Oh but I keep trying! : (

The day before (God had this little lesson in mind apparently) I went to blockbuster and picked up a chick flick - I did not look at the rating just grabbed it because I like the actress and it looked cute, harmless, funny.

After putting the monkeys to bed I snuggled up with a bowl of ice cream and popped in my chick flick, ready for my little fun, fuzzy movie.  Hubby was in the room but studying/preparing for the new men's class at church.  [made this lesson more obvious and painful, I am sure lol]

Movie starts out cute, minutes later, a few crude moments but kinda funny too - I am just thinking it will get better.  Then bad words are about every other word - ok, maybe it fits the beginning and sets the stage for the cute and funny to come back. 

It doesn't. 

I feel that "you should not be watching this" feeling all over.  *sigh*

I tell myself not to be legalistic [such a fantastic cop-out for not obeying the Holy Spirit].

I see Justin tensing up (he hates t.v. and always has - this is not a struggle for him - he has others, this is not one).  I decide he is a prude and it is talking about women stuff anyways - he does not get it.

Oh, but I keep watching cuz after all there are a few funny parts, enough to keep it justified in my head.

After about 30 minute my stomach feels sick and I am embarrassed that I am watching and have laughed at such garbage. 

Phone rings - thank God! - I jump up turn off the movie. 

I was thrilled to take that out of my DVD player and thrilled to put it by the door, ready to send it back to where it came from.

Why didn't I turn it off before the phone rang?  I guess pride.  A feeling of, I can watch this, I am not harming anyone.  But that also made me sad because that is how it work.  God reveals/convicts - we respond. 

It is how we respond to that conviction that either softens our heart toward God or hardens are heart.

I realize a movie may not seem like a big deal to many but I believe it was the very thing that God used to teach me more about having a relationship with Him. 

Next time, it may not be a little movie.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Happy Birthday #2!

We had a very special weekend camping with our church family.  Even more special than that was that our first born son was baptized! 

Is there anything more special than to see your child make that decision on their own? 


We could not be more proud of the young man he is.

The very next day was his birthday.

He got a bike (a little early so he could enjoy it all weekend and he did).

Sweet Boy,  You and your big brown eyes have been a blessing since the moment you were born.  You were the sweetest baby in the whole world. 
You have always had a tender heart and I remember when you were about 6 months old I could just say your name in a lower tone and you would burst into tears - quite a change for this mama, after your strong-willed sister. :)
I am over-the-moon-happy that you are such an amazing example to the younger boys.  I love how you and #3 stay up late talking and how you pack Isaiah on your back.  He seems to fit perfectly!
You are kind, smart and have eyes that see things in a different light.  Your father and I often marvel at your gift to figure things out and do things in a more functional, simple way.  Your dad often laughs and say "ya, that's what I was gonna do." :) 
I can not wait to see how God will use all your amazing gifts and talents.
We are proud of you Sweetheart!

Happy 9th Birthday!

Love, Mommy

T4A T4A T4A!!!!

Can you hear me yelling?  Jumping?  Happy?  Excited? 

Ya, I am! 


We get to go to Together for Adoption!

For those that may not know about it, you can go here to read about it.

[Silly Excited!]

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

3? All True?

Last night our family devotion was reading Matthew chapter 2. 

God showed  J and I something about the things we feel He has been leading us to, whispers in our heart.  You see, we feel like God has given us 3 things that He has for us......the problem is, they do not fit.  Not even a little bit.  I can not figure out for the life of me how all three things will work or will come to fruition.  I have told the Lord, and others, that one must be wrong and have tried to deny each one, thinking it will never work.

Here is where Matthew chapter 2 comes in. 

In Matthew chapter two the Magi (wise men) were looking for the King of the Jews.  They knew that God had said in Micah 5:2 that the ruler that will shepherd Israel will come out of Bethlehem - then they followed the star and found him - they were looking for that star to lead the way and the they knew the scripture was truth, it would be fulfilled.  Because of their obedience, they got to be a big part of God's story. 

Then, an angel of the Lord told Joseph to go take Jesus and Mary to Egypt.  Therefore fulfilling Hosea 11:1 "out of Egypt I call my son."

Then and angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and told him to go back and they settled in town called Nazareth - fulfilling what was said through the prophets "He will be a Nazarene."

Now if you had sat back BEFORE Matthew 2 was written for us, you may have said "how is the Savior to be from 3 places"?  Born is Bethlehem, out of Egypt and a Nazarene?

But God had it all figured out....way back then!

The plans were perfectly fulfilled.  Jesus was from all three.  And I am pretty sure God did not struggle to "get it done." :)

As J and I look at our three things and scratch our heads, I need to remember Matthew chapter 2 and that God lead those plans, in those moments and they were perfectly done for His glory! 

That is what I want.  I do not want to do anything that may be my plans - I want them to be His good works he has set for me/us (Ephesians 2:10) and ALL for His glory!