A life of love

A life of love
Everyone should have a Great Pyrenees

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Spring on the farm!!!

It has been a banner morning this morning.

Sleeping in is a rarity around here, but we were trying to.

We took seven of the eight kids to movies last night - a big deal in our family, needless to say because of the cost! Kiley has a sleepover with a friend and really didn't care about going to the movies - in her words "I don't like to sit still that long", so everyone was happy. I took the four ten year olds to "How to Train Your Dragon" which was wonderful!!!! We all thoroughly enjoyed it! I highly recommend it! Steve took the three big boys (14 and 15) to a war movie - Green Zone, which they were thrilled by. Gasp - they got to see an R rated movie - they thought they were so cool! Bad language (one swear word over and over the boys said) and violence (it is a war movie after all) so they loved it and we weren't fighting more garbage. We all had a great time, but we went to the late shows because I had been working in Michigan and didn't get home until late. Oh, well, they thought it was so cool that we got home at midnight!!!! (Hence the wanting to sleep in!)

Not to mention that when we got home, the boys went out to check on the goats - we have several who are due really soon and showing signs of "any day". Well, one came running in - "Twins!!!". So, we all trekked out to the barn (except Tsion who doesn't do nighttime runs to the barn and who can blame her?) to see the new arrivals - a doeling and a buckling and both healthy, dry and nursing! So we left them out in the deep hay of the barn with their mama and the herd! So, by the time everyone was settled down it was just about 1 AM!!!!! What amazing excitement!


So, this morning, close to 9AM, Aman comes into our room with a funny look on his face - "Umm, Mom, Dad, the horses are out.". One second to let our brains absorb this - we were still sleepy, and then bolt upright pulling on boots and jackets of pajamas! Talk about a faster wakeup than coffee!!!!

Sure enough all five from one of the pastures were out. Luckily, herd animals don't like to go far from the herd, so they didn't go far, just outside the other pasture. Two were relatively easier to get in, they lead very happily, one was a bit more of a challenge, but just wanted to get in by his friends, but the last two decided to show their beauty by running at full gallop along the longest fenceline! We have learned that just gently, calm herding will get them back. They get all wound up, but really just want to get back with their "herd". It took some time, but we got them all in!

Wow, now we were all wide awake! So, we checked on baby goats, who were all snuggled up together in the barn, deep in a nest of hay, and then the other animals. Zeri went ahead and milked right away - we have three that we are milking right now, two that are in "full milk" - they just "freshened" (had babies) but lost their babies (one was a young mama and we missed the kidding and she didn't really know what to do, and the other the had quads and they didn't make it), so we are getting good milk again.

So, chores are getting going! Whew!

The chickens are busy! It has been a great start to the spring with the chickens, the other day we got 42 eggs and yesterday over 30!!!! Back to selling farm fresh eggs and having lots of yummy eggs here! Yay! Healthy food! Now if it would just keep warming up the young ones in the brooder downstairs can get outside! And then the basement cleanup can begin. It is a mess, but with a fieldstone basement and good planning, it works. And it turns out lots of other folks do what we do! We hear from other folks - "of course they are in the basement, where else could they be?". My grandpa told me that his were in a closet!

I am going to get laundry on the line, we are going to go see maple syruping down the road, and then at some point head to work. Ugh, it is warm and the sun is out, I really don't want to go to work! I so want to have a home based business so I can be home all the time, but that is a slow process! My writing is coming along, but it is new, so I am figuring it out.

Anyway, planning for school this week, enjoying the adventures of spring, figuring out the whole bathroom things, there is lots going on. Love the spring!

Well, I found a new saddle yesterday at a price I could afford - a great deal, and I am looking at it sitting over a chair in my dining room. Time to get it on a horse! Enjoying training my horses and children!

Monday, March 22, 2010

And the sun still shines....

I reread the last post, and am so thankful to have moved through that day and others like it, not that they won't come again. But, today is full of sun!

Grief is still there, but there is some peace too. Lots of confusion about where we are to go, but some bits of the road laid out for us. We will complete the homestudy, simply to be open for what God might have planned out. It would seem so silly to not complete it - we are within basically a signature of approval of having it done - all the background checks done, the physicals, the self-studies, and on and on.

The only catch is that since there isn't an imminent child, they want us to have a second bathroom instead of trying to get an exception for that. Not real sure how we will bring that about, but we will work on it. This week I will likely try to find someone who might work with us on this. I don't know how we will pay for it, or how it might work in our old house, where we might put it, but somehow God will show a way. The last estimate we had on it included running the plumbing up an old chimney that is unused. If you took pause at that, so did I. I am not sure that is a good option, but I am far from an expert on plumbing and all that. So, I am planning on several estimates to get several plans. Someone suggested an addition of a sunroom type room with a bathroom in it. We still have the issues of plumbing and how to run it as all our plumbing is on one side of the house! We certainly could use more room in the house! I will have to see who we can talk to about that too. It seems like it will all that needs to be done, that we cannot afford it, but surely we have seen God perform greater miracles!

And about miracles.....

Some acquaintances of ours from church own a car dealership and heard that our van didn't have heat - the blower motor for the heater was dead and though it was on the list, it wasn't at the top! Well, they asked to take the van and fix it for us!!! What a huge, huge, huge blessing!!!!!!! Talk about rejoicing at the house. How do you thank someone for that??? You pray for them every time you turn it on!!! And be very grateful and try to pay it forward whenever you can!

Well, they loaned us a minivan - small for our family, but we could get around - gratefully!

After about a week, we were all set to get it back - these friends had hooked up with friends of theirs from church who have an auto repair shop - and they all put their heads together and were worried about a few other things on our van - "U" joints were mentioned as well as some other things. So they asked to keep it longer to address those things. What can you do but say "Thank you!"?

A few days later, I got a call from the gentleman who owns the dealership. Well, the van is "pretty tough" as he put it, to which I replied that I knew that, but it was doing okay getting us around. It was what we could afford and got us through and we were thankful. Well, he reported that he had been looking around the state and 15 passenger vans were hard to come by - again, another reason we were grateful for what we had!

Going through my head is the knowledge that we have NO car payments and our vehicles get us from A to B.

Well, he said he had located a van coming to auction in a couple days, one that he had checked on and it was in good shape. It is a 2003 (ours is a 1997), and he is going to get to the auction and try to get it for us.

I am then trying to figure out how to gratefully decline as we just cannot do a car payment - we don't want to be dependent upon the future - we try to pay cash and stay out of debt. How do you gracefully decline?

But then he says that if he can get it, they want to trade us straight up for our van.

Silence on my part as my head just empties!

Huh? Our beat up, certainly in need of work over time, farm van that has hauled everything under the sun, van (that we are grateful for), complete with ripped up seats, a falling headliner, headlights that don't go the same direction, and on and on van - for a clean, nice 2003 fifteen passenger van?????? How can that possibly be a straight up trade??? There is no way that their value is the same! No way under the sun.

Except that someone really wanted to do this for us. For our kids, to bless us with every mile we drive.

Talk about being totally emptied, overwhelmed, numb, in shock, and amazingly grateful! I don't know that I can even accurately describe how I felt! Like outside of my own head - this is something that happens to others, in storybooks, not in real life. We work hard for everything we have, for everything we do, and gratefully. How can we be given something like this???

I tried to argue that the value wasn't the same, only to be told that "it isn't mine, I am just the manager, it all belongs to the one who created the heavens and the earth".

Humbled, overwhelmed, thankful, amazed.

In the midst of our pain, God sent a glimmer that He is still in control, and He has His plans and they are not finished. We are not abandoned, even though we walk through such pain and confusion.

So, last Wednesday the kids and I picked up the most beautiful van ever. Beautiful, loaded (CD player, tape player - we listen to lots of books on tape as we travel, cruise control, AC, HEAT that WORKS!!!, complete seats, and on and on). Sitting there numb, just looking at it.

I signed the papers, signed over "The Monster" - as the kids had named our previous van, and was handed the keys to this newer van!!!! Thanking these amazing people, trying not to cry, laughing as the kids clambered all over, checking it out, exclaiming over soft seats, claiming seats, and laughing the entire time. How do you thank someone for this?? Thanks and hugs and gratitude and oh, my!

Then to top it off, we were instructed to bring it back to the repair shop for all its service, it is taken care of by these two families who own these two businesses! For the life of the van! Huh???? More tears, more hugs, more thanks. The wife of one was so sweet, as we were just about to leave and things had quieted down some, she talked with me about our baby and how sorry she was. It was so wonderful. Those words all mean so very much to us. This was all in motion before he died, God certainly knew something.

So, it has been an emotional week.

And the sun is out. We are feeling better. Grief is grief. But, each day we walk with it and work with it. It is like childbirth pains, you have to work with it for the ultimate goal. It is there for a reason and if you don't fight it, but work with it, the job is much easier.

And so, a new week is starting!!!! We are up and at 'em and getting ready to head out to our Monday nursing home church service that we do and some errands. I don't work today and we are enjoying a total of three new baby goats - including a DOE!!!! For a dairy operation, that is the best thing ever!!!! We had the best night last night - the kids got into a squabble about who could look up Bible verses the fastest (huh, why argue about that??), so I challenged them to challenge each other and prove it. My head was pounding and I just couldn't listen to ugly voices - I never do anyway, it isn't allowed here - we don't talk to each other that way!

Well, they asked for more Bibles. Huh, we have lots of them.

Well, they wanted English Bibles for each kid (five of the kids have Amharic Bibles). Okay, we have lots of Bibles - so we collected them.

Well, then they asked if I would be interested in helping them.

Huh, what were they up to?

Turns out they decided to prove their points, but they needed someone to give them verses to look up!

OKAY! I'm no idiot!

So, I gave them verses to look up while all eight scrambled to find them! And then read them!

I was supposed to be helping Steve cook dinner - he looked at me and said "Keep going!" - neither one of us was going to stop THIS for chores! So he made dinner while we did this for over an hour!

Wow, was it great! Of course, the most competitive child won every time (I bet you know who if you know our kids personally), but eventually the ones who found the verse would then help the others find it and everyone took turns reading the verse and talking about what it meant!

Way cool!!!! Couldn't orchestrate that!!!!

We do lots of that with our life - taking advantage of the moment and capitalizing on it, and get way more benefit out of that than if I had tried to plan it out!

Have a great day! We are off to enjoy it.

Hugs and blessings to all!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Breathing in and out.....

I wanted to update after the very short post the other day.

I don't know that I have much to say, other than our tears flow hot and heavy and quite a lot, and we try to just keep moving through our days. I just don't see what God is doing with this. How does this make any sense? We asked God in the beginning for very clear confirmation that we were to adopt this baby, and it was nothing short of miraculously clear.

And now this?

No way to commemorate this child, this love. No child to watch grow, even for a short time. Nothing. Just gone. All that work and preparation for emptiness? How does this benefit anyone? Anyone at all???

How have we done a service for God?

Someone mentioned that maybe he needed to know that an earthly family loved him beyond measure so he could be happy in heaven. Maybe.

But how do I face the empty crib? The empty arms? The deep longing to hold my son that never was totally mine?

I don't know quite what to do with this, and some moments are better than others. Some moments I feel hope that God will use this somehow, that He has prepared us to send us another baby that needs us ready NOW. But I cannot see it.

Some moments I just sob.

I cannot touch his crib, his preemie clothes that are all laid out for him, the plaque that we just got - that quotes: "For this child we prayed" 1 Samuel 1:27.

His name was to be Samuel. Because I prayed and wept before God for a baby. Prostrate on the floor just like Hannah. Her I understood. His name was to be Samuel (Gift from God) Christie - after Steve's grandfather. That is our little boy. Little, imperfect in some eyes, boy.

I know that I will see him in heaven, that my Lord is dancing with my son right now. That He is kissing his head for me. That my son knows no pain, no sorrow, no sin, that he lives in a perfect world that we have yet to see.

And today, that is small comfort as my mama arms ache to hold him. Him who I never held and never will.

Today, I live in sorrow, in the midst of walking through the valley of the shadow of death. I know that the sun will shine again, that I will feel like seeing it again, but today, I don't.

I don't know what God will do with this, but I know He will do something with this. It is so hard to see through this glass darkly. I know one day, God will show us in his entirety, but until then I try to have faith that it is all as it should be and that my Lord weeps with me, and that He carries me.

Just keep praying with us. Thank you so much.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Very sad, there are no words....

We just got a call from our birthmother. Our baby was to be born April 7th, and it looked like delivery was possible as soon as next week. Was.

He died in utero today. No heartbeat. Confirmed by ultrasound.

How can you grieve so hard for a child you never met? How can we handle a death we cannot commemorate?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A great adoption post...

Several friends had recommended this post and I finally got around to reading it today. It says so many things so very well - things we have experienced through our adoptions and family growth. It is well worth the time - even if you aren't called to adoption.


Ugh, gotta go get a cat out of the crib - they seem to think that since it does not have someone in it, that it must be a great luxurious space for them!!!!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

And the world keeps spinning!

It has been a bit of a whirlwind lately.

Aman got appendicitis a week and a half ago - so he rapidly had surgery one weekend. The good news is that he is doing amazingly well and it was caught early and we are so grateful!!!! I am so very grateful, because as it happened, it happened so fast and surgery within hours of taking him in to the ER with stomach pain that began just an hour before we took him to the ER and no symptoms at all until about 18 hours before surgery occurred. It was just a huge whirlwind as we just took all the steps. Thankfully, we really didn't have time to panic at all, just get to the next step, realizing that things were going in ways they shouldn't. I am most grateful that it didn't happen a year ago!!!! As Aman was in surgery, that occurred to me - what if it had been before??? Hyperventilating. On my part. Aman was calm throughout, trusting us to get him the care he needed and that they could make him well and keep him comfortable. I am so grateful that he could trust us with something so very outside of his realm of experience. Thankfully, we have the medical care we have here. Thankfully we have skilled doctors and nurses and medicine and all. Thankful. That is all there is to it.

And then the kids' play run was this last week - just days after Aman's surgery. The craziest time in general, wonderful and busy. And trying to keep Aman resting, quiet, not overdoing, while we did stuff. It was wonderful, the kids did great, what a great experience! Faith was an amazing Wendy and Alex was his usual spunky character, having a blast with it, and Tsion really came a long way with learning projection and speaking clearly her lines (in English of course!). She was wonderful. It was truly amazing to look at her and realize that she is the same quiet child who came home to us almost eight months ago! She has come so far!!!! It is truly amazing to watch all the kids blossom into who God has made them to be!!!!

That ended on Sunday, and on Monday morning was our homestudy appointment and inspection at the house! No stress there - especially after we were hardly home the week before and all!!! Amazing what a team of ten can do in a short time!!! I have decided that once a week we need to have two hours where all ten of us tackle the house and or projects like that! Teamwork, wow. Twenty hands helping - wow. The house is fabulous, the crib is up, things rearranged, scrubbed and in general, wonderful! The kids are being so good, picking up after themselves so carefully to keep it "always looking so nice". I don't know quite what it was, but all the kids are on board and really saw what we could do when we all pitched in. Hee, hee. they seem to have the idea now!!!

Anyway, the visit went well and it looks like we are good to go! Couple more documents to get in, but all set for whenever baby may arrive. And that looks like it possibly could occur as soon as next week! An ultrasound is scheduled, and if it is determined that the placenta really isn't as good as it should be, it sounds like baby boy will be born. He will be at 37 weeks by then, so it would not be considered a premature birth! I have no idea what his weight might be at this point, but I am hoping for five pounds! LOL! Our smallest birth baby was eight pounds six ounces, and our foster baby was seven pounds! I cannot imagine snuggling a little one that small!!!! Oh, it is so exciting and very hard to wait.

Spring is arriving here - no robins sighted by us as of yet, but we did see a sandhill crane!!! And the weather has been between 40 and 50 all week, which is just heaven as far as we are concerned! Warm enough that the goat is out of the laundry room!!!!! Hooray! And there is a new baby in the birthing stall! Cute little boy. Of course, after three weeks of waiting on him, he decided to come at the wildest time - smack dab in the middle of play week, Aman's recovery and while friends with five littles were visiting our life!!!!! Talk about screaming excitement! I truly thought the kids were pulling my leg when they said that there was a baby goat! Nope! So, the visiting kids got quite an education! LOL! Nothing like seeing a newborn and the placenta and all. Should I be sheepish or proud that my kids can identify when a birthing is done, complete to all the anatomy?? And identifying the placenta and that it is all complete so that means that there are no more babies coming? Oh, yeah, and to top it off, I forgot to give the mama and baby the shot we always give them after birth - a selenium and other vitamin shot to give them a good boost. Alex recalled right as I was leaving for work - "No problem Mom, I'll do it!" and sure enough, he and Aman did it all by themselves. Our method of teaching involves first observation, then hands on assistance, then doing it with assistance, and then just doing it. Alex had reached that point, yay!!!!! I was so grateful, and so proud of him!

I never really thought about these kinds of skills when I thought of all the things I wanted to teach my kids. Most of the things I teach my kids on a day to day basis are things that are taught hands on. If they can be taught through daily life, then they really learn a lot. One of my greatest wishes is that the kids will grow to be independent people, confident in their ability to learn and do and care for themselves and others. So, we very carefully chose things that we want the kids to experience so they learn by doing.

I want them to learn about service to others. So, we do that as a family, serving others in big and small ways. And I am seeing it pay off. My proudest mama moment this last week was not at the play, where my youngest child was one of the "stars", but when we were driving to play practice. We passed a man on the side of the road, holding a sign saying "Will work for groceries". At the time all I could think was "wow, I really could put you to work if we didn't live so far away". Our house needs so much. But Alex was really bothered by that. He asked if we could go get the man some food. So, we went to the nearest store we could find, and got a few staples. Nothing fancy, bread, peanut butter, cereal, some snack bars, a cup of coffee (it was chilly out that day) and I don't even remember what else. Two bags of food. And took it right back there. Alex hopped out of the van and took the gentleman the food - it was really important to him, he wanted to do it. Well, the man talked to him for just a minute and Alex came back. The man was concerned that we could really afford to do this for him. Alex had insisted that we could - yep, no problem. It really affected everyone. It wasn't anything much, just two small bags of food, enough to get him through a day or two at the most. But it was important to do.

It was important. In a small way, it was profound. Alex truly reached out on his own, met a need, didn't do it for anyone else to see, just did it because it was a need. I was so very proud of him. If he sees this at 15, what will he do throughout his life?

What if all our kids could reach out at one time or another? Or even if they did it as a regular part of their lives? What could they do with their lives, and with others lives? Hands and feet of Christ. Little things make huge differences. We know that from the people who have been part of our lives, who have reached out as we have done life in the last few years with all that has gone on. God has used so many people at moments when we needed tangible touches from Him. What huge ripples in life there are when we reach out, when we provide what is needed. Wow.

Well, after a very long few days, I am heading to bed! I don't know if much of this musing makes sense tonight. It has been such a whirlwind!