Saturday, December 31, 2011

Praying/Happy New Year!!

I am not one to make New Year's resolutions, however, I do think it is a great time to reflect and take a moment to clarify/reaffirm goals, etc for the coming year.  This past year has been a year where I have been challenged to simplify.  At every turn I feel God telling me to focus on what is truly important...Him alone!  To focus less on what I want...in my house...such as new furniture, curtains, etc,... how I would love a hot vacation...a maid...you get the picture...
I strongly believe He is pushing me to be less concerned about a clean house, a neat yard, and that He wants me to focus on loving...loving others..caring for their needs, and loving myself...which means taking more "me" time. 

As we have been teaching Raina how to pray I have learned something once again.  The prayer is a very simple prayer..."Thank you Jesus for loving me."   She is adorable each time she prays.   She repeats each word as I say it, but when we come to "for"  she holds up her fingers indicating "four".  Then when we get to "me", she giggles!   Too cute!  Warms my heart every time!  As we prayed, it dawned on me that Raina's simple prayer is what I need to focus on...God's love!  Unbelievable that He could love me so much!  Makes me smile!









Praying that year ahead will be a God centered one for each one of us!  Happy New Year!   God Bless!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Promise Not To Laugh???




Promise not to laugh???  Ok, go ahead and laugh...we all did!!!  My family is not musical at all.  Never has been.  We can't carry a tune...unless we're carryig a hymnal!!! LOL!!  However, in the last few years a few of my nieces and nephews have begun to play various musical instruments and take voice lessons...we're still not talented enought for America's Got Talent, nor will you see any of us on Canadian Idol...but we had fun!  Yesterday at our Christmas gathering we sang/listened to everything from  the traditional Christmas carols to Guns and Roses to Johnny Cash!  Matt was playing for us and I managed to convince everyone to sing...just so you all can have a glimpse into our hilarious time together!  I hope you enjoy it...and have a good laugh!  Seriously!!  Take a good look at who is all singing!!!  :)

video






Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas From Our House To Yours!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!  May you have a wonderful time with family and friends as you celebrate the birth of Jesus!

This year I had planned to send out pictures taken outside...in the white snow...but that didn't happen as our snow is virtually non existent.  So a few weeks ago, my 13 year old nephew Clay was over and I convinced him to quickly take a few family photos...this is the photo we used for our annual Christmas card.  It is not the best picture, but it is us...Raina refused to sit with Martin and as you can see she is counting to 3 on her fingers.  To my family...I will be putting your card in the mail a little late this year...but it's coming!  :)




Friday, December 23, 2011

He's Excited...


Alex is pumped!  Can you tell why?  (Oh, and so am I...but for a different reason!)


  Yup, Alex finally got contact lenses and he is thrilled!  He says he finally feels free...who knew glasses could be such a bother???  And I'm tickled because he FINALLY got a haircut!  I had been sick and tired of the longer, shaggy look for ages, but he still insisted.  During the summer I threatened to shave his head..even offered him $100 to put into his bank account, but he refused!  So, I suppose when I suggested a shorter cut,  it must have seemed a little more reasonable to him...as long as his hair still covered the little bald spot on the back of his head, he was agreeable!!  His hair looks SOOOO much better!...and I like to see his beautiful brown eyes!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Osler School Christmas Concert

Osler School held their annual Christmas Concert last night.  As usual I was IMPRESSED!  The entire concert focused on Christ, and all the attributes of a Christian life...peace, love, joy, patience, etc.  They even had a real baby for the nativity scene...how sweet is that!!!



Morgun loves these events and sings his heart out. 


Alex, on the other hand generally mouths the words and rarely admits that he actually enjoys the concert.

And of course Malia loved it and sang and recited her poem with true Malia spirit!

It warms my heart to know that a public school still presents such a concert.  However, I find it a little disturbing to hear most people express stunned praise for the concert focusing on Christ.  Perhaps it is because most public schools are no longer allowed to express "religious" views...certainly that is part of it...but sometimes it irritates me...it's as though people are shocked that so many Christians actually send their kids to a public school.  Don't get me wrong.  There is a time and place for Christian schools, and I am not the one to make the call as to when it is in the best interest of a child or family.  I would think that in a predominately Christian community this should not come as such a shock...after all, as parents we can/do have a huge impact on what happens at our children's schools.  Perhaps what disturbs me the most is people complaining about prayer, etc being pulled from public schools...but these same people pull their kids from the public system and place them in Christian schools....hmmm....less Christian families/kids in public schools...and we wonder why there is less emphasis placed on Christian values??? (sarcasm intended)  I guess all I am trying to say is lets not be shocked at the impact Christians have in their community, including public schools...and how mighty our God is...after all, he will accomplish what he intends to accomplish!

Monday, December 19, 2011

If Santa Claus Were Real...

If Santa Claus were real I would have one request, and only one.  I would ask to once again spend Christmas day with my parents...just one day.  One day to once again experience all the things I took for granted.  The things that are forever etched into my memory.  To be able to walk into Mom and Dad's blue (remember how they loved everything blue??)house in Osler, into their kitchen that smells like ham, turkey, potatoes and everything yummy.  To see Mom hustle and bustle about her kitchen.  To watch Dad's eyes light up as he sees each of his grand kids.  To begin a meal with Dad clearing his throat, and everyone knowing it was time to pray.  To listen to Dad read the Christmas story.  To watch Mom lean forward as she listens to each grandchild recite their verse, or sing a song.  To watch Dad's eyes soften and watch his chest swell with pride that his kids love God and are teaching their kids about His love.  To watch Mom and Dad hand out the Christmas gifts wrapped in Mom's homemade gift bags.  To play a game or two and watch Dad win...or struggle to be a good sport.  I would give almost anything to have just one day to go back in time....

Instead...I will thank God for good memories... thank Him that my parents have the privilege of celebrating in heaven...it must be spectacular!  I will celebrate with my family, make new memories, begin new traditions, and cherish each moment with my loved ones!...but in it all I will take a moment to remember, to cry, to grieve...to learn...to love...to treasure all I have been given...for now!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dreaming of Christmas

There has been a lot of dreaming going on at our house lately...dreaming of Christmas and all its wonders.  Kids talking about what they want for Christmas, what a wrapped present may hold, and of course the usual teasing...trying to have someone drop a hint or two.  Even Raina has joined in, sitting quietly on the coach pouring over the Sears Wish Catalogue and pointing at various items.

Do I want this kitchen?....



OR this for my doll?? 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Inspired by Wine

Several months ago I had the opportunity to go to our local LB store and leisurely stroll throught the isles and puruse all the labels.  I had sooo much fun!  I love finding the perfect wine for the perfect meal...so much more fun than any other shopping!  I came across a wine(P.K.N.T. Camernere) that inspired me to make a Mexican meal.  The wine wasn't that great, although it went well with the meal, but the food was awesome!!





Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Premier Brad Wall's Christmas Message-2011

After watching our Premier's Christmas message I must admit that I am incredibly proud to be a Saskatchewanian!  Proud to have a leader that is not afraid to proclaim the good news!  Wouldn't it be wonderful if all leaders...local, provincial, federal, and national would see the hope that is only found in Jesus??!!??


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hNRvz6mP9s&feature=player_embedded

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weekend Mornings

My sweet kids on a relaxing weekend morning!


Friday, December 9, 2011

God is Good!

I have been meaning to write this post for ages, and now it seems somewhat anticlimactic...perhaps because words can not adequately communicate the whole of the event.

Remember several weeks ago, when Martin was out hunting and I had a zillion things on the go?  Well, here is an update on 2 of the most amazing events of that week.

First of all, we had a fundraising soup and pie supper at our church to raise funds for God's Littlest Angels in Haiti.  On the Monday that we were making soup, one of the gals asked if we were doing a silent auction...UH!  WHAT???...someone had offered a donation and this gal was wondering if we could get half a dozen items to have a silent auction.   Within minutes the gals helping cook had offered several more items.  Thus began a whirlwind of activity to get more items.  I spent Monday afternoon and Tuesday making phone calls, stopping in at various businesses in Osler, Hague, and Warman...and picking up items.  When all was said and done we had three 8 ft tables filled with items...everything from a meat package to a flower arrangement...to bring in almost $800!!!  Not bad considering our supper was on Wednesday! 
We made 3 kinds of soup, making double  the amount we had originally intended.  By 8 pm we only had a little vegetable soup left...amazing!!!   Our church is small...really small...as in 60 people attending services on Sunday...that includes babies!  And yet somehow God blessed us and sent about 170 people to our supper to raise over $3000!!  That will buy a huge amount of preemie formula, diapers, etc.

The second event that week was our local adoption support group meeting.  I hesitated to have a speaker come out due to the challenge of coming up with enough money...even enough for an honorarium.  We ended up having 13 people come out...not a huge group, but enough to pay our speaker and still small enough for people to open up. 
We met with Deb Gibson, an adoptive mom to 7.  Deb is an amazing speaker and offered some very practical and helpful advice.  After her presentation she took the time to answer specific questions from our group of parents.  I could write an entire essay on what she spoke about, but I would not do her speech justice.  However, I would compare it to the writing of Karen Purvis' The Connected Child.  She stressed the idea of self care, especially for mothers and also touched on grace based parenting.  The group really connected and I received much positive feedback!
We have been implementing some of Deb's ideas and have had incredible success (and not just with our adopted kids)!  Thank you God!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

One Year Ago...


One year ago we met our sweet little Raina Liuji Marie for the first time!  We had already fallen head over heels in love with her.  It happened the instant we saw the first picture of her.  I believe it is a "God thing"...how else could you love someone so deeply without having met?!? 

My heart broke that day...watching Raina's foster Mom grieve...watching innocent Raina take it all in...hearing her cry "mama" all night long...and knowing that somewhere, a woman chose life...a choice that most likely caused her heart to shatter.  I pray that somehow our almighty and powerful God will let this woman know that the little baby she gave life to is loved, happy and doing well.


Raina then...







And now...she loves her baby and every time we leave the house she says "Mama?"  to which I reply "Yes Raina".  She then asks "baby?".  And I always reply "Yes, your baby is at home sleeping".  She asks this at least 3 times each time we leave home.  Her baby cries when the soother is removed and like any good mother it send Raina into a furry of activity trying to calm her baby.





My favorite photo...thanks to Sandy Lockhart Photography! (Sandy's work is amazing and to top it off she is the most loving, generous woman ever!)

Raina is perfect for our family!  She is mischievous, determined and loves to laugh ( I am once again convinced that God literally took DNA from Martin and I, and had it specially placed in Raina).  Raina is reserved around strangers and people she does not see on a regular basis.  She can be very serious and mellow.  But,she always knows how to add that special dose of sweetness when everything/everyone else is ornery.  



There are days where I feel blessed beyond measure...days I wonder why I have found such great favor in God's eyes.  To be blessed with our kids is something I will never take for granted!  I want to shout it from the tallest building and mountain top!  Shout that our society is messed up when it comes to the value of children!  (Seriously, since when is having 4 children such a huge deal?!...I always think "it's only 4! And we manage just fine!) I want to shout that if everyone really knew how blessed we are, they would trip over each other in their eagerness to adopt! 

I thank God for making my life so much more than I ever dreamt it could be!  :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Apple Pie



Every year Osler School has an apple fundraiser.  These apples come directly from the orchard and are the yummiest apples ever!  Alex and Morgun (and Mom) spent many hours driving around the countryside selling apples.  In total the boys sold 51 twenty pound boxes of apples...to tie for first place as the top sellers!  I love this fundraiser...it is a useable and healthy product and every year I buy at least 3-4 cases.  This year was no exception.  My basement fridge has been full of apples for the past 8 weeks and it was time for our annual pie making.


This was the first year I actually allowed the boys to help with mixing the dough...I convince myself they do in fact have clean hands and won't sneeze into the mix..:)






Alex cut apples...

Morgun ate the peel...

As did Raina...


And Malia...


Martin cored, sliced and peeled the apples...

While I assembled them.  I look forward to thawing these pies throughout the winter and having fresh, hot apple pie at a moments notice!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tae Kwon Do Tournament


I've been meaning to share how our boys did at their first Tae Kwon Do Tournament.  Both boys amazed me!

Alex doing his Saju Makgi pattern.  This boy completely amazed me!  I have seen him working on his patterns many times and never before has he performed as well as he did at the tournament.  I couldn't have been prouder!



Alex's hard effort earned him a silver!


When I saw the kids Alex was competing against in sparring, I did not think he would do very well...almost all of the kids were tall, tall, tall!    However, Alex wasn't fazed in the least!  (That's my boy!!:)  He did a lot of jumping punches and managed to get points that way.


Look at that height in his jump! 


Alex looking pretty tiny.


Believe it or not, he won GOLD!!!



Morgun is always very crisp and precise in his patterns and I really thought he did very well.



However, the judges didn't think he did as well as I thought he did.  But he still got bronze!  Morgun was not at all disappointed and shone as though he had won gold!


I am always amazed when I watch Morgun spar.  He has an incredible high kick and great form!



He won all of his matches...


..too win GOLD!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Raina's 2nd Birthday!

My week is finally slowing down just a tad.  Today I am baking muffins (gotta clean up those bananas before they go bad) and will complete and send off our business paper work to our accountant.  I am SO glad to have the business work done (or almost).  It has been hanging over my head for ages...yes, I was WAY behind...12 months to be exact...SCARY!  Best of all, my office floor is no longer strewn with papers!
I also hope to do some more fall cleaning...hate those spiders...and decorate some more for Christmas...AND...if possible have a nap.  I have this nasty cough that keeps me awake at night and I am exhausted.  Then I have a meeting at 4pm and a soccer game at 7pm.  It should be a busy, but good day.


Anyhow, on to what is important...Raina's 2nd birthday! It was Raina's first birthday at home. We celebrated quietly,as a family and Martin even made it home early from hunting. He was not about to miss Raina's first birthday celebration! I feel so blessed to have this sweet little one in our family...she is a delight!
Raina's favorite words are "Mommy", "baby", "yauh", and "no".   Raina's language is slightly delayed, although she knows more words than she generally uses. I am waiting for the day when she consistently puts words together to form a sentence.  She is mischievous and is known to throw everything from socks to important papers into the garbage.  She loves playing with her "baby" and is very good at entertaining herself.  Raina is still a very good sleeper, sleeping 12 hrs at night and 3 hrs at nap time.  She is beginning to sit long enough to watch a tv show.  Raina is not completely potty trained, but will generally do her big job on the toilet.  I should take the time to potty train her, but with all the stress of late, it has not been a priority (so different from my first baby...he would have trained come hell or high water!).  I can not imagine our life without this little gem...she truly lives up to the word that kept coming to my mind while we waited for her arrival...joy!

Raina loved the cake and was fascinated by the candles, but refused to blow them out.



Daddy helping Raina hold up 2 fingers.


Her favorite gift was the least expensive one...a play phone!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Private or Public?

  I began blogging simply to keep my distant family members up to date on the happenings in our life...in particular, our adoptions.  However, in the past year I have often wondered whether I should make my blog public.  So far I have been able to share almost anything because I know who views my blog.  A part of me would like to keep it that way...open...free to say almost anything.  Yet, a part of me would like to make it public.  I know what a wonderful help and inspiration other open bloggers have been to me and I know I would meet more online friends.  Still I am afraid.  Afraid that certain people, known critics, would have too much of a view of my life.  Afraid I will share too much info, and thus make my family vulnerable.  I would love some feed back on this....

Thanks!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Time Out

I am in the middle of a super crazy week.  Martin left on Saturday to go moose and deer hunting and will be home on Friday.  I have so much to share, but that will have to wait for a few days.  However, I just HAD to share this photo.  Raina is at the age where she gets into e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g!  I have begun decorating for Christmas and Raina is continually touching and playing with items not to be touched.  After scolding her yet again, she went to the kitchen, dragged a stool to the window where the kids have their time outs and put herself into timeout!  Too cute!



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Battle Cry

I have been thinking about writing this post for a very long time.  Even as I write I'm not certain it is the best thing to do.  It is very personal and yet I'm guessing I'm not alone in this story.  My life in the past 6 months has been difficult to say the least.  I have been stretched and stressed in ways that I have never experienced before.  A few weeks ago I almost lost it...literally!  I could not stop crying and there were times I literally felt I would collapse and had to work with every fibre of my being not to.

I believe with all my heart that we need to do more for orphans, and quite frankly would willingly adopt again.  Martin on the other hand says we are done!  Forever!  If ever I have respected anyone, it is Martin and because of that I respect his opinion and belief.  However, it has me questioning many things...in particular this relationship that I have with God.  Don't get me wrong.  I love God!  I worship Him alone and feel Him with me constantly!  But...I wonder if how I understand Him is correct.  I seriously thought He was calling us to adopt again.  Am I wrong?  I'm not convinced...

I have not lost my passion for orphans and know I must do something with how I feel and based on scripture( Hebrews  11:1, James 1:22, Matthew 6:20 & 21, Luke 12:48, Ephesians 3: 20 &21) I will continue to advocate for all those in need...especially those without a mommy and a daddy!  I do believe this is what God wants for me at the moment, however, I never would have guessed it would be this difficult!

The attack of the evil one has been relentless!  The more I do, the more he tries to destroy me...emotionally and physically.  It seems he likes to use those closest to us.  Family and sometimes even friends...good people.  We do have people who support us and are behind us 100% and I thank God for that!  Unfortunately, most of these people live far away.  Perhaps that is why I am sharing this.  I know those of you who read my blog, (and those that do and never leave a comment :) are also passionate about orphans and perhaps you understand what I am talking about.   Would you mind praying specifically for this?  I sure would appreciate it.  Here are some of the things I have been involved in the past months...the reason I believe the evil one is attacking.

About a month ago I approached our pastor about participating in Orphan Sunday.  He was very willing to do so, and had a wonderful presentation.  I shared part of our story, which I shared  a while back.  I know God touched peoples hearts that day, and they will be forever changed!  Thank you Lord!!

We attended a fundraising event last night for God's Littlest Angels in Haiti.  I had the privilege of inviting 21 people to come listen to Dixie Bickel, the founder of GLA.  I know that made Satan angry...21 more people becoming aware of the needs of orphans.  Potentially 21 more people stepping up and taking a stand!

We are also in the process of planning a trip to Haiti, in January,  to work at GLA.  I am the coordinator for this trip and am tickled that 8 other people will be joining Martin and I.  We are planning a soup & pie supper next week to raise funds to purchase much needed supplies for GLA.  Again, more people will be made aware of the dire needs of orphans.

Next week our local adoption support group (once again I am the coordinator) will be meeting with a local speaker to discuss some of the challenges related to adoption.  The gal coming to speak is Christian and has 7 adopted children...I can hardly wait!  It should be an awesome evening!  An evening of new ideas and renewed energy!

I have come to the conclusion that Satan hates it when we as believers unite to fight for a worthy cause and he will do all he can to defeat us.  That is why I ask that you join me in praying for all of us involved, in what ever shape or form, in transforming the lives of orphans.  Thank you!  God Bless!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Morgun's 10th Birthday



Morgun celebrated his 10th birthday on Sunday...wow!  We're into double digits! Morgun is maturing rapidly and decided, like Alex to have a simpler cake.  Yah!  Once again, not nearly as labor intensive!  However, he did throw me for a bit of a loop when he requested a Coffee Crisp Cake.  When I asked Morgun how I should make it, he had it all figured out..."take a few Coffee Crisp bars, chop them up and add to cake mix and cover with chocolate icing".  I did find a few recipes on line and came up with my own version.  I simply added lots of instant coffee grounds(1 heaping TBSP) and cappacino mix ( 2+ heaping TBSP)to the water called for in a chocolate fudge cake mix.  When the cakes were cooled I sliced each round cake into halves to make 4 layers.  I then whipped some cream, added a little sugar and icing sugar, and 2 chopped Coffee Crisp bars and spread the mixture between each layer.  I then spread more whipped cream (chocolate) on top and added 1/2 a chopped Coffee Crisp bar to the center.  Yummy!

Morgun is an amazing kid...very resilient.  He takes things in stride and loves to give hugs!  He is friendly and fun loving!  He makes me laugh!  I am so very proud to be his Mom!

However, I do worry at times.  Morgun is also easily influenced and I fear he will make bad choices.  For the most part though, he is wise...especially with the good influence of his older brother who happens to have the gift of discernment.  (It is rather intriguing to see how our boys compliment each others personalities...)

Morgun LOVES  Tae Kwon Do and excels at it, getting better marks than Alex and I.  He moves confidently and quickly and has an incredibly high kick.  Morgun chose this over hockey this year and I think he made a very wise choice! And I'm not saying that because I hate the contact and all the driving involved in hockey.  He truly has found a sport that fits him perfectly! 



Morgun trying to figure out what we bought him....