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Saturday, December 31, 2011


I read the intoduction to Weird by Craig Groeschel. I watched his first sermon in the Weird series.

I'm glad I did. Because it's good to know that at least I'm weird in a God way. Because there is no question I am weird. People's facial expressions when speaking with me as of late have provided all the confirmation I needed in case I wasn't already completely convinced of my weird-ness.

The puzzled expressions about why we would host a child from Latvia in our home, at Christmas, the busiest time of year, when I am 8 months pregnant, when we already have 'our hands full,' when she obviously wasn't 'starving in Latvia or anything,' when there are plenty of American children who need stuff, when we're not sure how it might affect our biological children, etc, etc.

The straight up confusion when we say that we'll go where God leads- even into an international adoption that requires three trips overseas and, oh, about 30,000 dollars. If God leads us, we will follow.

The main question that people seem to be struggling with is, "Why?" Why spend so much money to host a child for 4 weeks? Why consider expensive international adoption when you obviously have no trouble making your own kids?

Katie Davis, author of Kisses from Katie, and adoptive mother of 14 girls, answers some of the why questions with wisdom and grace in this excerpt from her book:

"A sweet friend pointed me yesterday to Genesis Chapter 33. Esau and Jacob are meeting for the first time in a long time. As Jacob approaches Esau, with his many children following close behind, Esau asks, “ And who are these with you?”
Jacob’s reply: “These are the children that the Lord saw fit to bless me with.”
We get all the questions. “Why do you do it?” “Why so many?” “How in the world…” “Why these specific girls?” “Why the number 14?” “Do you think its ok to adopt as a single Mother? Don’t they need a father too?” “Do you think they will have issues since you are not the same race?” We also get the compliments. “I don’t know how you do it!” “Good job!” “You must be so responsible!” “Your girls must be so well behaved.” We get crazy stares and huge smiles and every look in between.
Adoption is beautiful. Adoption is hard. Adoption is the Gospel of Christ and the promise of God’s love and redemption lived out in our lives. So I ask for your prayers. Prayers for understanding and peace and trust and the power of God that is more than all I can ask or imagine. And to the questions and the comments and the compliments, this is my reply: “These are the children that the Lord saw fit to bless me with.”"

For these four weeks the Lord has seen fit to bless me with a ten year old girl, in addition to the 3 I have already given birth to, and the one currently sitting on my bladder. These are the children the Lord saw fit to bless me with this Christmastime.

I know I am weird. I am listening to a still small voice that leads me on a narrow path that few can comprehend and even fewer choose to take. When God gives a direction, I follow it. If God sees fit to bless me with a child for four weeks, I will feel as blessed and honored and humbled as when He puts little people in my womb. If God leads me on a path that involves money I don't have and travel beyond my wildest Rick Steves' Europe PBS dreams- WOW! Cool. Let's see how He works THIS one out.

Why did we host? Because God told us to. Directly and generally: "God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains:" Psalm 68:6

Anastasija has not been lonely these last few weeks. In fact she could probably stand a little less attention from a certain 4 year old. She has shared a room with a 'sister' and earned a place in the heart of a two year old who asks, "Where's 'Nastasija?" She has been snuggled and loved and doted on. She has been accepted and cared for. She has been set in a family. God did that, because that's what He DOES.


The Joy of the Lord is my Strength

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Gift list

I know that some of you are waiting to see what kind of things Anastasija needs and can take back to Latvia with her when she leaves.


Items can be new or like new. Designer name brands are NOT GOOD. Those kinds of items usually get stolen back at the orphanage.
High-quality, modest, cute (as compared to 'cool'), classic (as compared to 'trendy') clothes are best. Osh Kosh, Hanna Andersson, etc.

NEW INFO: Size 8/9. She's tall and thin. 

You can see what has been given so far, in green. I have noted whether it was received NEW or HD (handed-down), so that if anyone wants to buy something new as a Christmas gift, you can see if she already has a new one of that item. If it is crossed out, it means that item has been fulfilled and no more are needed.

1. Disposable cameras.
2. Photo album or scrapbook. (Recieved, NEW)
3. Journal, small notepad, cool pens, markers, etc. (NEW)
4. Bible in Latvian.
5. Small, light, manipulative toys, not battery operated. Yo-yo, small doll, etc.
6. Cheap, off-brand MP3 or CD's. CLEAN lyrics. Christian artists preferred. (NEW)
7. Gloves, hats, scarves. (Received 2 hats, HD) (Mini Stretch gloves, 4 pr, NEW)
8. Sunglasses.
9. Inexpensive jewelry, silly bands, etc.
10. Candy. (Milk Duds, Mike and Ike)
11. Tickets for an event here in the Rochester area. (Received, tickets to 'A Christmas Carol,' Batavia Players, Invitation to go to Play Museum)
12. Craft items from Michaels's- paint by number, plastic suncatcher kits, etc. (Friendship Bracelet Floss/Kit, Perler Beads, NEW)
13. Board games- travel size,  card games, etc.
14. Small purse/ wallet. (Pink polka dot zip make-up bag, NEW)
15. Watch.
16. Thin, lightweight cute/girly blanket.
17. Cute wall calendar.
18. Slippers. (Two pair fuzzy slipper socks, NEW)
19. Crocheting supplies. (NEW)
20. Hygiene items like toothbrush, hairbrush, nice smelling lotion/ body spray, body wash, etc. (Hair bands, 2 mini nail polish, flip open brush, Chapstick, lipgloss, NEW)

Other items to send home with Anastasjia: (these could be given as gifts as well)
Sneakers (Size 3) (NEW)
Winter boots (NEW)
3-4 pair socks (NEW)
3-4 pair underwear (NEW)
One hand towel, one wash cloth
****One nice dress (A Christmas dress that could be worn all winter would be awesome!)****
2-3 winter outfits (Recieved some, HD, and some NEW)
2-3 summmer outfits
1 one-piece bathing suit
One good winter coat (Received, HD)
Pajamas (Received, - 1 pair, and some comfy pants, HD)
Somthing to share with other kids at orphange- like silly bands....

If you buy something for Anastasija off this list, please leave a comment or contact me some other way so I can use this post kind of like a registry- once something is received I will remove it from the list.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dentists and Preschool Christmas Parties

The title says it all.

LOL. Poor Anastasija got a cavity filled and I went to Cade's preschool party with Jessup. I don't know who did more whining and cringing. That's a joke- the filling wasn't that bad.

Actually, I am glad to have gotten to go with just the boys to the party. Jessup was stinkin adorable with his "ho-ho-ho's" and blond wringlets. Cade was the proudest little dude ever- he was so excited to give me all the little presents he has been creating at school for the last few weeks.

Today is the last day of hunting. Amen.

Can't wait to see my husband.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Establishing Home

So Anastasija is no longer a guest- she is a member of the household.
We are working little details out as subtle and not-so-subtle changes in routines and relationships are sorted out.

Anastasija needs her role as biggest, but newest, kid defined.
Brilyn needs her role as not-quite-the-biggest-in-age, but oldest-in-seniority kid defined.
Cade just needs to stop pestering the girls and play with Jessup sometimes.
Jessup needs to stop playing in the sink and giving mommy anxiety about what the heck he is doing- now...where is he?!?!?

Ah. A time of transition. It's always a lot of work. This time some of the difficulties come from one of the children not speaking too much English and from one of the children having just turned an adorable two years old.

What's a mommy to do? Pray a lot.

1. I pray for the fruit of the spirit to show up in my interactions in my home with my kids as I strive to train them in the ways of God.
2. I pray that God would teach me to rely on His strength. Some days, I have sufficient energy to do a decent job without leaning on God so much, but then a day like yesterday comes along and I remember that God's strength is made perfect in my weakness. The reality is, I need to learn to rely on God ALL THE TIME. Not just when I'm a mess. Then, the transitions from days of mostly-even-emotions and decent-levels-of-energy to days of amazing-tiredness and abominable-irritability won't be so rough. I'll let you know when I get that one all figured out. LOL.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I'm not cool....

The kids are all upstairs sleeping/ reading/ etc.
So I have a few seconds before I fall asleep.

I just want to say thanks to all of you who have been amazing prayer support during the last 6 or so weeks. I want to thank you because I want to put the focus on those who pray and Him who answers. I have had some folks say that what we are doing is so cool and awesome and inspiring- but I just want to make an official statement: "I'm not cool." (Some of you are just so surprised I bet you can't contain your laughter) LOL.

GOD is cool. He has orchestrated something in our life that is absolutely blowing us away. Honestly our only contribution to this whole awesome thing is willingness to trust and obey God. And that is easy, because He has spent years proving to us that He is faithful. We are not even that quick of learners, we have just seen His hand in our life over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over- okay, you get it.

God called us to Him. He showed is He is trustworthy. He has taught us that His burden is light. That's it. We have done nothing to earn any credit.

This awesome amazing adventure is a gift straight from God. I am humbled by what He has done in our lives. So thank YOU for your prayers- I have never experienced God so clearly, in so many ways, so frequently, over such a big undertaking with so many little details that need attending to, and every little thing falling into place. We have learned even more fully that God has a good plan.

I am glad that God is using our adventure to inspire others. But, I am even more humbled by that fact. Please don't look too closely at us, but turn your eyes to heaven and praise the Lord for all He has done.  He's better for that kind of thing. :)


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holy Spirit in the Heart

So, there is this amazing phenomenon going around. I think it must be the Holy Spirit.

This scenario has gone down over and over during the past weeks:
*** I meet up with a friend or acquaintance. They say "I have been praying like crazy for the past X amount of days. I have been praying for Anastasija and your family. I can't stop thinking about her. I feel so much LOVE for that girl and I've never even met her." ***

Yeah. A lot of you reading will recognize your owns words and thoughts. The crazy part is that you are not the only one. I have heard this from, I'll guesstimate, 10 people. The Holy Spirit did the same thing to me, so I know what you are talking about. I saw Anastasija's picture and profile on the New Horizon's website, and had a full week of fervent, unexplained constant prayer and an instant, complete, bonded love for her.

The same thing happened to Joe when he met her at the airport- instant, complete, perfect love.

God is doing something. It is amazing. And He is letting me and my family be a major part of it. I am truly humbled and really excited.

Thanks for your prayers.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

She's HERE!

Wow. Anastasija is upstairs having quiet/rest time with the other kiddos.

A few tidbits about her so far:
She is sweet and loving.
She loves to help with Jessup.
She has a sense of humor.
She knows 20-40 English words/phrases that help A LOT with communication. There is nothing we haven't been able to communicate so far.
She loves pizza.
She plays well with Brilyn.
She LOVES Joe.
She calls us mommy and daddy.
She saw a pair of socks with reindeer on them today, and said, "Haha, daddy shoot these."
She likes Home Alone: Lost in New York. She knows the movie (almost) as well as I do.
She is reluctant to let us learn any Latvian- she just wants us to speak English.
She likes to play the piano- it sounds like she has some play-by-ear talent.
She loves the clothes in her drawers.
She has NO jet lag.
She follows our routines like she has always been here.
She would eat her weight in apples.
She loves the cat.

Prayer request: Some of the kids from Ukraine are having some paperwork problems with coming here for Christmas. Please pray that God would work all things to His glory.


Wednesday, December 07, 2011

On Christmas Presents

A quote from a friend on facebook:
"After spending a few weeks sorting through, literally, every single thing in my parents' home we were overwhelmed with all the *stuff* that we gave them and we are now either selling, donating, keeping for ourselves or sadly, throwing in the trash. This holiday season, please reconsider the gifts that you will be giving. Just spend time with the people that you love; have them over for dinner, take them to a movie, just sit and talk with them. You will not regret doing this. Merry Christmas indeed."

And, an article by Ann Voskamp, author of '1,000 Gifts,' shared with me by Hanna (thank you Hanna).


Tuesday, December 06, 2011

JFK and back again

Joe will be flying Sunday morning at 6. He will be there in plenty of time to meet Anastasija, whose plane should land around 11 a.m. and who should be out of customs by about 1:30. They have a return flight to Rochester at 3:30 p.m. and should arrive here (!) at around 5:15 p.m.!!!!!!!!!!!

The kiddos and I will head up there to meet them at the Rochester airport.

Please pray for Joe as he travels this Sunday.

Please pray for ANASTASIJA as she travels a ridiculously long way. The total estimated time of travel for the kids in the host program is about 40 hours by the time they reach JFK. Bus, train, then plane.....and finally they end up on the other side of the planet, jet lagged and exhausted.
Please pray that Anastasija will find ways to be comfortable during her trip, and that she will safe and be able to relax when Joe picks her up in NYC. Pray that she will feel comforted and secure on her flight to Rochester, and that she will feel the love and joy that all of my not-jet-lagged kids will be trying to express.

One of the best ways to help people overcome jet-lag is to have them outside in the sunshine, so pray for a crisp, sunshiney day with snow on the ground for Monday- we'll plan to go down to McPherson's and get our tree that afternoon.

THANK YOU for your prayers. There is no doubt that prayer is powerful and absolutely necessary.


Thursday, December 01, 2011

Give This Christmas Away: Anastasija's Wish

This is a sticky post, it will stay at the top of this page until December 14th. Please scroll down to see the most recent posts.
Please do not use PayPal,, or mail checks to New Horizons beginning November 28th.
We sent a check to New Horizons for the remaining amount on December 1st. As of November 28, please make checks out to Joe and Jocelyn Rebisz, instead of New Horizons.

Help Anastasija spend Christmas with a real family- our family.

Our family is raising money to host Anastasija this Christmas through New Horizons for Children. New Horizons for Children brings orphans from Latvia, Russia, and Ukraine to the USA twice a year, summer and winter, to be hosted with loving families. Please help us raise money to cover costs: airfare, documentation, medical insurance, chaperones, etc.

 Let's get this thank- you list so long it gets boring to read all the names. :)

Thank you! Tom Frew
Thank you! Sara Cowherd
Thank you! Ruth Magin
Thank you! Amy Thompson
Thank you! MaryAnn March
Thank you! Laura Borycki
Thank you! Kara Riedl
Thank you! Russ and Erin Dawson
Thank you! Annie Clemm
Thank you! David and Krysta Stacy
Thank you! Craig Wilcox
Thank you! Eric Gravelle
Thank you! Grace Keller
Thank you! Shawn Clark
Thank you! Julie Wasilewski
Thank you! Lois Bradt
Thank you! Jamie Polhamus
Thank you! Megan Williams
Thank you! Chris and Hanna Erion
Thank you! Michele and Keith Keberle
Thank you! Joe and Cyndy Rebisz
Thank you! Delores and Gordon Seward
Thank you! Seth and Becka MacNear
Thank you! Joanne Privitera
Thank you! Dick and Shirley vonBergen
Thank you! Linda Chaya
Thank you! John Rebisz
Thank you! Adam and Nicole Moore
Thank you! Dave and Chris Wright
Thank you! Evans family
Thank you! Hanna Erion, the MARY KAY lady
Thank you! Nicole Kelly
Thank you! Jodi Coburn
Thank you! Ron and Ruth Koch, Mia Bella  fundraiser
Thank you! Julie and Nate Varland
Thank you! Fred and Eunie Ely

If you have donated to New Horizons in our name, and do not see your name here, please contact me and let me know that you gave.

Total amount given so far: $2,450.00 (+$500.00 scholarship through New Horizons)
Amount still needed: WE DID IT! Thank you GOD!
Total amount to be raised: $2,950.00

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

JFK update

Joe checked out the prices to fly to JFK from Rochester. Looks like he'll be flying down there for $59.00. That is super sweet. You can't DRIVE for that price.

Please pray that he'll find a so sweet a price for his and Anastasija's flight from JFK to Rochester.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

God has a Good Plan

So, God has met all our needs so far in this adventure. The one need left from the original prayer list is about getting to JFK to pick her up in just two weeks.

The one thing I have learned well in the last month or so is that God has a good plan. So, I know that He has a good plan for picking Anastasija up from an airport that is almost 400 miles away.

I am praying that He will show me the plan, and give me the strength to do it. And I have complete confidence that He will do both. And that is will be good.

The constant, amazing, supernatural, obvious way God has arranged this whole process gives me confidence. I have confidence that this is exactly what God would have us to do. It gives me confidence that God has a plan for Anastasija. It gives me confidence that she is the exact fatherless child that He has had in mind from the beginning of time to be with our family this Christmas. It gives me confidence that God cares for His children. It gives me confidence in the power of prayer. It gives me confidence in obeying God even when it seems impossible. It gives me confidence that He will continue to come through in all things- whether financial, physical, emotional, or spiritual- my God will supply all my need according to His marvelous riches in Christ Jesus.

I have learned more about God in the last month than I can possibly express- simply because I obeyed Him. I highly recommend it to all who seek Him.
Obey Him.
Find Him to be more than you ever could have imagined.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Heading to Reading (It rhymes)

Yep! So tomorrow I'm off to Reading, PA to attend the host parent training.
There were a few bumps in the road, but GOD HAS A GOOD PLAN is still a true statement.
The way it ends up, the training has to be held about an hour away from Reading, but it will be earlier in the day. I will be done by 3 pm on Saturday instead of 5 pm, so I will be home Saturday night! Sweet! And the place it will be held is just a little closer than Reading, so my drive home will only be 5 hours. Sweet!
God has a good plan!

We had our home study last night. It seems that it went very well. I don't expect any problems on that front.

My next post will be a list of things that we need for Anastasija while she is here. There is a list of things from New Horizons that she is allowed to take back to the orphanage with her, so we'll start with those things. Stay tuned.

Thanks for all your prayers and donations so far. God has proved Himself faithful to provide again and again. I am really learning to trust and believe that God has a good plan!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Mia Bella Candles!

Christmas Candles 
Hey friends! I am selling Mia Bella candles as a fundraiser for Anastasija! The candles are listed below with a description. The cost is just $20.00 per 16 oz. jar, and 25% of that goes directly to cover Anastasija's plane fare, medical insurance, etc.
Mia Bella candles are clean burning, triple scented, naturally scented candles made with a natural wax blend.
They are a healthy alternative that doesn't produce irritating black soot in your home.  These gourmet candles are made up of a blend of natural wax ingredients, comprised of vegetables and other natural renewable resources. These candles are highly scented with fragrance that's amazingly realistic.
Please email me, or call me, or message me on facebook to order your candle!

16oz. Jars
  • Angel Wings-A unique aroma of cherry vanilla and one of our most popular fragrances  
  • Apple Cinnamon-Ripe apples sprinkled with cinnamon gives this candle its charm - perfect for any time of the year! 
  • Chili Vanilli-Blended in perfect harmony, the unique, refreshing scent of Sweet Orange and Chili Pepper mixed with Vanilla produces an amazing fragrance sure to please! 
  • Christmas Pine-The wonderful Christmas tree aroma of the holiday season is now available any time you want! Incredibly realistic scent will have your friends thinking that fake tree is real!  
  • Creme Brulee-A rich sweet butterscotch fragrance just like the decadent dessert without all of the calories!  
  • French Vanilla-A creamy confection with a strong vanilla scent and popular year-round fragrance.
  • Harvest Time-Experience this comforting fragrance combination of warm apples and spices reminiscent of a crisp autumn day
  • Holiday Memories-Snuggle up by the fireplace with a soft blanket as the smell of ginger and cinnamon with a touch of vanilla bring back the memories of yore 
  • Hot Apple Pie-Watch out! This smells so much like hot baked apple pie that your family will think you are always baking!
  • Mulberry Spice-A strong scent of spice and dark red mulberry fruit and a favorite of many for it's strong, yet pleasant smell. Perfect for the holidays or any time of the year. 
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake-A rich creamy blend of cheesecake and pumpkin combine for this amazing aroma. 
  • Pumpkin Spice-Hot pumpkin pie, fresh from the oven! 
  • Snow Place Like Home-A comforting blend of warm spices combined with the sweet tart essence of cranberries makes this one a winner for those cozy fall and winter days.  
  • Spiced Cranberry-A wonderful fruity and spicy scent that fills the room with a pleasing aroma - a perfect candle for any season!  
  • Sweet Orange & .Chili Pepper-A zingy, zesty, orange-eeee smell that you will never forget! It rose to the top as one of our most popular fragrances immediately! Get one today and see for yourself.
Thanks for your help in giving Anastasija the gift of family this Christmas!

Friday, November 11, 2011

In the oven.....COOKIES!


2 1/2 cups smooth (creamy) peanut butter
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
sugar for rolling (*see tips below)
Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses, unwrapped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment or nonstick baking liners. Make room in either freezer (preferred) or refrigerator for cookie sheets (*see step 4).

2. In a large bowl, use a hand mixer at medium speed to beat peanut butter, brown sugar and baking soda until well blended (about 1 minute). Add eggs and vanilla and mix on low speed until just blended.

3. Scoop out about 1 1/2 Tablespoon scoops and roll into 1 1/2-inch balls. Roll into sugar and place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.

4. Bake until cookies are puffed and crackled but still a little bit moist looking, 11 to 13 minutes. As soon as you remove the cookie sheet from the oven, press a chocolate kiss into the center of each cookie. Immediately place cookie sheet into the freezer (or refrigerator) to set the kisses (they’ll begin to melt a bit as soon as you place them on the cookie). Remove from chill as soon as kisses are set.

Yield: 3- 4 dozen

Source: Adapted from a peanut butter cookie recipe by Abby Dodge

*For rolling sugar… I think it looks best if you use chunky sparkling sugar, but you can certainly use regular sugar too. If you’re making these as holiday cookies, roll them in red and green sugars for a more festive look!
*These cookies may be stored at room temperature in a covered container for up to a week. They may also be frozen and defrosted when you’re ready to eat them. They should be just fine in the freezer for a few weeks, as long as they’re stored in a sealed container.
*The texture of these is a little softer than the classic Kiss cookie recipe. These are great for a platter, but they wouldn’t package and mail very well.

10 Ways to Care for Orphans 6-10

6. VISIT them where they are
  • Go on a mission trip to an orphanage as an individual or family. Visit or for information.
  • Take dinner to a foster group-home on a regular basis.
7. GIVE sacrificially to them
  • Support reputable orphan care organizations on a regular basis.
  • Contribute generously to an adoptive family to help offset their costs. Visit or
8. ENCOURAGE them to press on
  • Sponsor a child, support them financially, and encourage them through your letters. Visit to learn more.
  • Become a mentor or tutor to a teenager in a foster group-home.  
9. ADOPT them into your family
  • Give a child a home through international, domestic, or foster care adoption.
  • Adopt a young adult who has aged out of the system.
10. MOBILIZE your church for them
  • Be a catalyst in your church for starting a sustained orphans ministry. Visit for resources and to learn more about attending a Your Church and the Orphan™ workshop.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

His Word Strengthens Me

Hebrews 10:
35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.
36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:
37 “ For yet a little while,
And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.
38 Now the just shall live by faith;
But if anyone draws back,
My soul has no pleasure in him.”
39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

Monday, November 07, 2011

10 Ways You Can Care for an Orphan or Waiting Child- Day 5

5. PROTECT them from harm.
9 The Lord protects the foreigners among us.
He cares for the orphans and widows,
but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.
~Psalm 146

Orphans and foster kids are IN DANGER.
Orphans girls are in danger of human trafficking (85% of orphan girls will be sold through human trafficking once they age out from the orphanage).
Orphan boys are in danger of all kinds of violence (75% of orphan boys will turn to drugs, crime, or be sold through human trafficking once they age out from the orphanage).
Foster kids are being abused. Right now.
They need to be protected.
Do you care? Really. Consider it. What is the truthful answer to that question?
  • Become a foster parent or emergancy foster parent.
  • Raise money to build a children's home to help provide shelter to kids on the street. Visit for details.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

10 Ways to Care for Orphans and Waiting Children- Day 4

4. SUPPORT those who support them
24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
~Hebrews 10

  • Mow, babysit, or organize meals for a week for foster parents. Pray with them and tell them you appreciate what they do.
  • Encourage a family adopting an older child by hosting a shower for them.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

10 Ways You Can Care for Orphans- Day 3

3. PROVIDE for their needs.
15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?
~James 2

I am only going to use one bullet point, because I want you to seriously consider it:
  • Find a reputable organization that cares for orphans. Give them money on a regular basis.

Update on today's party:
 Brilyn's Give This Christmas Away Party went amazingly well- an answer to prayer. Every chair had a child in it. Every single chair.
Brilyn invited friends to her party, and asked them to bring:
1. Something to put in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox for a girl age 5-9 and a boy age 2-4.
2. A Bible story picture book.
3. A donation of $1.00 to buy Bibles through Gospel for Asia.
We now have two full baskets of toys, lots of Bible stories, and enough money to buy, oh, 3,000 Bible tracts in the recipients' native language. Praise God!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Kneeling Prayer

I think there is something to be said for kneeling prayer.
I was taking a nap today, and the phone rang twice in a row, and then I wasn't really napping anymore.
And, I felt a nudge to get up off the couch, and kneel there to pray. So, I did.
I prayed about a lot of things, one of which was Anastasija. And that I could use some reassurance that we are taking the right road.
Well, I just checked my email, and there in my inbox is a notice that we received another donation, and that we have been accepted as a host family!

Thank you GOD!


10 Ways You Can Care for Orphans and Waiting Children- Day 2

2. SPEAK up for them

8 Open your mouth for the speechless,

In the cause of all who are appointed to die.

9 Open your mouth, judge righteously,

And plead the cause of the poor and needy.
~Proverbs 31
  • Tell people about the reality of orphans and waiting children in the US and around the world.
  • Be ready to tell them how to help. Know some organizations to refer them to.
  • Blog about orphans, post about it on facebook, talk about it work and at church.
  • Start a small group or prayer group that focuses on promoting the cause of the fatherless.
  • Remind your church family that we are commanded to care for orphans.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

10 Things You Can Do to Care for Orphans and Waiting Children: Day 1

1. PRAY for them

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
~Matthew 7

  • Tape a waiting child's picture to your dashboard and pray for the child every time you're in the car. Visit or
  • Organize an evening prayer vigil at your church and pray for children in foster care or an orphanage overseas.
  • Pray for the orphans, like Anastasija, who will be spending Christmas in the US with families like yours, and mine. Check them out here:
Please share other ideas you have for ways to pray for the fatherless.


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

To Russia, with Love

Our family's welcome letter to Anastasija:

Dear Anastasija,

Hello sweet girl! We are excited that you are coming to our house to help us celebrate Christmas. In our family we have 5 people: Joe (the father); Jocelyn (the mother); Brilyn (a 6 year old girl); Cade (a 4 year old boy); and Jessup (a 2 year old boy). We live in the country, not a city. We have some farm animals: a cow named Clara Belle, a horse named Hannah, a white cat and a calico cat, and lots of chickens. It will be fun to have you meet the animals.

We like to go for walks in the woods to hear the sounds of birds and see God's creation. We think it will be lovely to have you go on walks with us. If there is snow, we like to sled downhill, and build snowmen.

Some of my neighbors put lots of Christmas lights on their houses. We like to take a drive and go look at the lights and drink hot chocolate.

We go to church on Christmas Eve and everyone there gets to hold a candle and sing Christmas songs. It is very beautiful.

We are looking forward to meeting you. The children think it will be nice to have a 10 year old to play with. Brilyn is happy you are girl because all she has is brothers to play with so far. Jocelyn hopes you like cookies because she makes lots at Christmas time.

May God keep you in His arms till you are safely here.

Joe, Jocelyn, Brilyn, Cade, and Jessup Rebisz

Please pray that this letter will bring joy and peace to her heart, and begin to prepare her to join our family for Christmas.


Monday, October 31, 2011

That's what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown

Update on Anastasija:

We are currently filling out the 17 page application to host. We'll be mailing it tomorrow!

A friend sent me a message this morning with the meaning of Anastasija:

From the Greek Ανάσταση Anástasi̱ meaning "resurrection."

Meaning "resurrection"
"breaker of the chains"

Wow. That is God's little nudge of encouragement for the day.
Talk about a purpose in this adventure: raising the dead, breaking the chains.

That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Give This Christmas Away, Here at the Rebisz House

Well. Something is happening in my life that cannot be limited to facebook posts.
On October 20th, my friend Hanna posted a link to New Horizons for Children, a foreign orphan hosting program. I clicked on it, and saw Anastasija. And fell in love. She would not get out of my head. Every waking moment, (which are many, especially at night- thank you bladder, heart burn, and restless legs) I was praying for her. Wishing hoping she might be able to come for Christmas here. Joe was not as excited. He was more practical. How much is this going to cost? Will it really make a difference in her life? What are the dates she would be here? Etc.
So, I began to pray. I need to write this down because the way God shows His hand over and over is astonishing.
1. My husband needs to be 100% sure.
2. The dates need to fit GCC's break so Anastasija can stay in our guest room.
3. A scholarship would be a good sign that God wants us to do this.
4. I need a place to stay for a training in PA.
5. I need to get to JFK airport to pick he rup and take her back.

First one answered- GCC's break dates match the hosting dates almost to the day. Kelsey (our college student) will be leaving for home about 3 days before Anastasija arrives, and will come back about a week after Anastasija leaves. This answer to prayer started Joe to thinking God might have a hand in this crazy scheme.

Second one answered- After praying for a week straight, and after a Thursday morning quiet time spent on my knees (literally), God sends Anastasija a $500.00 scholarship. I truly got up from my prayer time and logged into my email to find out that she had received a scholarship.

Third one answered- After posting a prayer request about Anastasija on FB, I got a call from a prayer partner and gave the specifics of what would be needed to get Anastasija here for Christmas. That person got down on their knees right then and started praying. God nudged this person to go check the God-money envelope, and there is the exact amount I had just mentioned needing for the program. This person felt led to give it to us. WHOA WHOA WHOA. Joe took this as sign that it is GOD! So now he's 100%.

Fourth one in the works- I just happened to mention to Kara that I need to go specifically to Reading, PA, for a training. She just happened to talk to Deb about it. Deb just happens to have a cousin there who just happened to call her out of the blue yesterday. I'll keep you posted. :)

It has been so hard for me to wait to see God work in all of this. What a long week- I just wanted to jump in and get going. But God taught me to wait on Him, trust Him, and see Him do glorious things. Not in my strength, but in His strength, in His time.

Stay tuned for how God will help my family Give This Christmas Away this year.

Oh! And pray! Here she is:
Anastasija- age 10- Latvia

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Blackberry + Peach = Love

So, real quick, while the jars have their hot water bath-

Blackberry Peach Preserves

5 C peaches, pitted, pealed
3 C blackberries
1/2 C lemon juice
5 C sugar

In a large pot, combine peaches, blackberries, and lemon juice. Mash it up. Bring to a rolling boil. Add sugar all at once. Stir, bring back to boil over high heat. Stir! Stir for 10 minutes. Add 1 T butter to reduce foaming. Keep stirring.

For full instructions on safe canning, see

Ladel into sterilized jars. Hot water bath, 15 minutes.

(Recommended: Have some fresh preserves over some vanilla ice cream. Feel the love. Yup.)

Friday, June 24, 2011

What's for lunch?

1/2 pound garlic scapes
basil leaves
3/4 C olive oil
1/4 C lemon juice
2 C parmesan cheese

Cut scapes into 3 inch pieces, place scapes, basil and olive oil in blender. Blend till desired consistancy.
Pour into bowl, add lemon juice and parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.

Eat it on crackers, chips, pasta, etc.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

from the mouths of babes

My kids have recently started having great conversations.


Joe comes home from fishing. The sweet children ask him if he caught anything. "Yes," he says, "a pike."
Cade, being only four and having less expreience with such things, asks, "Why didn't you bring it home?"
Brilyn, having more experience in these things, states, "Because they taste like garbage."
"Garbage, Daddy?" asks Cade, for clarification.
"Well, mud, really." answers the daddy.
"Oh, well, then Cade would like to eat them, I guess," says Brilyn in a mocking tone.
And Cade, picking up on the implication, with perfect comedic timing, states, "I don't eat mud. ..... Anymore."


It is Brilyn's birthday slumber party. We are all watching Barney's Imagination Island when Alexis asks me a question.
"Where do babies live before the mommy gets pregnant?"
I pause, thinking of how to explain the creation part of procreation and how new souls are formed, when Brilyn pipes up in her I-know-the-answer-to-this-question tone of voice.
"They are in God's hand until He puts them in their mommy's belly. They stay there until it is time for them to be born. I know this because I have had that experience."

Gotta love those kids.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Farm kids say the funniest things...

Story 1.

~from the backseat:

Cade: We can't give our milk to Hanna!

Mommy: Why not?

Cade: What if we get a bunch of cookies?

Mommy: We have a whole cow full of milk at home. Don't be greedy.

Brilyn: Don't worry Cade, when Clara has a baby, we'll have lots of milk. Mom, when are we going to get Clara bred?

Mommy: Couple months from now.

Cade: Why are going to give her bread?

Brilyn: Not GIVE her bread, GET her bred. Let me tell you what that means. Get her pregnant. A vegetarian will come over and bred her.

Story 2:
~from the barnyard:

Daddy: Cade, get the chickens out of the barn.

Cade, a few minutes later: I did it daddy, and I made it so they won't go back in.

Daddy: What do you mean? The door is still open.

Cade: I used this! It tells the chickens, "stay off my property," right Daddy?

That's right folks, Cade had propped a posted sign next to the barn door.


Thursday, April 21, 2011


I need some pie.
Elderberry pie.
And, I don't feel like using pounds and pounds of butter- I can't afford it.
Luckily I was able to find a recipe from one of my favorite cooks- Lovina Eicher.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup lard
1 large egg
1/3 cup cold water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

To make the dough:
In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Stir to blend. Add the lard and rub it into the flour with your finger tips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg, water, and vinegar and stir with a fork until the dry ingredients are moistened. Form the dough into a ball and divide that into 3 balls. Form a ball into a disk and roll it out to a 1/8-inch thickness on a floured surface.

Fit the dough into a 9-inch pie pan and trim the edges to a 1-inch overhang. Fold the dough under and crimp the edges. If not using now, form the remaining 2 balls of dough into disks, place each in a resealable plastic bag, and freeze for up to 3 months.

The pie will be elderberry. From allrecipes:

4 cups elderberries
1 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice


1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

2.Mix cornstarch in a little bit of water and add to berries and sugar. Cook, stirring constantly until desired thickness. Add more cornstarch if not thick enough. Add lemon juice.

3.Pour into bottom crust. Dot with butter. Put on top crust or make a lattice.

4.Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) until browned and berries are bubbling through holes in the crust, approximately 40 minutes.

5.Note: It is a good idea to put a pan or foil under the pie as it bakes since it might bubble over.

I am now going to go make the pie. And then eat the pie. Because, that was the point of this whole thing. LOL.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Treating Croup

Open a window
Turn on the humidifier
Prop up the head of their mattress
Put their bed by the open window
Add lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint to the humidifier water (and/or RC)
Put those oils on a cotton ball and put in ears
Make a rub of the above essential oils as well (for back and chest and feet)
Give the baby a bath in it, too
Motrin before bed (full dose) (I like Motrin less than I used to, but it still works to control the cough.)
Give all the kids some Emergen-C
Nurse the baby
Add FenuThyme to the sick baby's applesauce
Add some Olive Leaf extract, too
Thieves oil on bottoms of feet
Put a movie on for the other kids, give the mommy a nap
Make a mash of fresh garlic, rosemary, thyme, and good olive oil, spread it on toast or mix into veggies they like
Dilute Oregano oil with coconut oil and spread on chest
Give the kid some Throat Coat tea with honey in it (keep by bed and give a drink every time their coughing wakes them/you up) add vitamin C to this for even better results
Anoint the baby with Gentle Baby essential oil mix, pray for healing
Kiss the baby's head a lot


updated 12/14

About Me

About Me
I love Jesus, my hubby, my 6 kiddos, my farm, good books and good food.