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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

About Me

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