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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pictures!

Special Halloween Picture for Brilyn


Baby Arwyn, folding laundry, getting ready to go on a long trip


Daddy and Arwyn (angry breathing) at Charles DeGaulle, Paris

Arwyn, hanging out in her pack-n-play, Paris
 

Mommy and Arwyn, still waiting in Paris
 
 
Mommy and Arwyn, flight to Riga
 
 
 Hotel in Riga, art nouveau
 
 Hotel in Riga
 
Hotel in Riga
 
 
 Mommy, Arwyn, Anastasija!- first dinner "Tex Mex" LOL
 
 Daddy, Arwyn, Ana, 1st dinner
 
Mommy and Anastasija sorting puzzle pieces, first night in apartment
 
Mommy making Russian Ramen- comes with three flavor packets!
 
 Anastasija, Daugavpils central park playground
 

Arwyn the Red Knows Rain, Dear
 
Daddy and Ana, still working on the puzzle...1,000 pieces

Good shot of apartment kitchen
 
Also, Arwyn got a tooth. (Random thought for your day, you are welcome. She got it on the road from Riga {REE-gah} to Daugavpils {DOW-go-peels}.)
 
There you go! Pictures! XO
 

Wednesday

Praise God. So many of our concerns are already being resolved.
Genovefa (Anastasija's foster mom) came to visit. She brought her niece, Cynthia, who lives in England most of the year and speaks great English. She also brought Nadia, Armin, and Denis, who are other foster children in her care. And, Cynthia's little son, Picis. (say PETE-sees)
They stayed for a while to visit. Genovefa is a lovely Christian woman and is so blessed that we are going to be Anastsaija's parents. She told me she loves me. My heart is so full from those words.
She asked her priest to do a mass for Anastasija, and invited us to come to church that day. They live about an hour away. Please pray that we find a way to get there.

While she was here, Genovefa said that I could be her daughter. I said that means she would be Anastasija's grandma, and she LOVED that idea.
She told Anastasija that she will be her grandma and I will be her mommy, and Anastasija seems to really like that idea. That way, she has a way to love us both, and a way to stay a part of Genovefa's family while still joining ours as a full-fledged member of the Rebisz kids' club.

And! Genovefa lives on a little farm like ours and brought us fresh raw milk from her cow! And homemade strawberry jam.

We went for a walk into the center of Daugavpils and found LOTS to do. Ice skating, little zoo, some restaurants, play grounds, etc.

Keep praying! The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. So keep it up!

Love you all, pictures soon!
XO

Saturday through Tuesday

It is hard to write about how many things have happened since we left our house on Saturday. Even the time change is hard to grasp.
I guess it's about 9:30 back home as I write, and it's 3:30 in the afternoon here. Which is weird, because I always thought there was a 7 hour time difference between NY and Latvia, but there is only six hours, no matter how I look at it. (It must be daylight savings- after November 4th, it will be 7 hours again.)

I think I will begin at the beginning because there have been so many ways we have seen God's hand at work since the beginning of our trip and I don't want to miss any.
On Saturday morning, Joe's parents showed up around 8:30, and Tina arrived shortly thereafter. Neither Brilyn or I had much of an appetite, but we both managed to swallow some blueberry muffin. Joe's mom and dad and Tina were a big help with getting everything into both cars- Tina's van for our trip to the airport and our van for the big kids to go with Grandma and Poppa. Finally, we figured that Brilyn, Cade, and Jessup were ready to go and had everything they might need for their time with Grandma and Poppa. I kissed them, oh, about 100 kisses, and prayed our little prayer of blessing I usually do before they go to sleep. It's a hodge podge blessing- "May the Lord bless you and keep you, may He make His face to shine upon you. May you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and may you dwell in the house of the Lord forever." I hopped out of our van, and watched them drive away. Tina asked me if I was okay? Not so much, LOL. Good in the head, not so good in the heart.

So, Joe and I did a once-over of the house, turning things off, flushing toilets, etc. and then? We got in Tina's nice big van and drove to the airport. At the airport, we checked in at the Delta counter, and we happened to mention that we were headed for Latvia, to adopt. The lady at the counter was so happy about that, and waived the overweight fee for one of bags! (Which were really overweight, obese, even.)

We also got a wonderful TSA lady (with that, you KNOW God must have been at work). She asked if I had any of the stuff you're not supposed to have, and I said, "Well, I've got a bunch of stuff for the baby, like, these foods packets here, and..." She cut me off and put my bag on the belt and waved me along. Oh happy day! Because I had about a million bottles of essential oils to try to keep us all healthy on our trip.

So, then, we rolled our way to our gate and waited for a little while. I was able to call my dad, feed the baby, and change her diaper. (Speaking of diapers, Arwyn has a killer-looking diaper rash that doesn't seem to bother her. Advice welcome.) We asked if there might be an extra seat on the plane, and there WAS! So we got to take our sweet baby in her own carseat carrier onto the plan and buckle her into a seat- we had a whole row to ourselves.

We landed in Atlanta after a wonderfully uneventful flight. We were there just long enough, because when I went to ask about whether they had an open seat on this flight, they asked for Arwyn's green ticket, which we had never received (or thought about at all) from the airline in the mail. It's probably in our mailbox right now. So, we were able to go to the big Delta counter and get a green ticket for Arwyn, get a bite to eat, and then, we were able to board! And, not only did we get a seat for Arwyn, we also go to board first! Right after first class, of course. Thank you God!

So, we were on our flight to Paris. There were little TV's in the back of all the seats! How fun! The food was good, and Arwyn was super baby. The one time she got fussy, I put a little Winnie the Pooh on the TV (in French) and put the headphones on her little head (holy moly super cuteness) Joe and I were both too excited to sleep though, so when we landed early in Paris, we were both exhausted. Arwyn was very happy, though.

We got all our luggage at the baggage claim (after walking for miles and riding the train, and then walking a few more miles). And then, after we walked a few more miles, we came to the completely dead AirBaltic counter. We asked around and realized that you cannot check in or check your bags until 2 hours before your flight. It was 8:00 am, in Paris, and our flight was not until 6:00 pm. So, despite my beautiful dreams of walking by the Siene and seeing Notre Dame, we sat in that drafty, cavernous, under-construction airport for 8 hours. Boo. So, the AirBaltic people finally got there around 4:00 and it was rush to get our bags checked, rush through customs, quick- feed the baby, and BOOM! get on the plane. Arwyn again was a sweet little baby doll, even though she actually had to sit in our laps for this flight. She did great. Joe and I were finally tired enough to sleep through our excietment, so we handed the baby back and forth caught a few little naps.

When we got over Latvia, the captain mentioned poor visibility and something about hoping to be able to land the plane! I prayed a little prayer about that, and our pilot turned out to be some awesome French guy who spoke Russian, English, and Latvian as well as his awesome French, who was able to slowly descend in circles through about 5 different levels of clouds until we were able to land in the fog. The whole plane clapped for him, it was pretty fun. I think it was a mix of being impressed and also very happy that we didn't have to land somewhere else.

Two cool things about that flight- I had a window seat and noticed a strange magical white light gliding along through the landscape below. Very creepy, very mysterious. It looked like a patronus (google it if you don't get the Harry Potter reference) zooming along for a few seconds, and then disappearing again. I was so fascinated, I knew I should be able to figure this out....and then I realized! It was the crazy bright moon being reflected in frozen bodies of water!
 Speaking of the moon. Before Anastasija left us on January 8, Joe gathered all the kids together outside, and designated the moon to be "Anastasija's moon." Every time any of us would see the moon, we would remember that even though we are far apart, we are all under the same moon.
So, who was here to greet us when we landed in Latvia? Anastasija's MOON!

The other cool thing was when we started to descend outside of Riga, I saw huge white fields- snow covered fields! At first it was hard to tell, because everything was pretty white-looking in the intense moonlight.

The Riga airport is LOVELY. It has a Nordic feel. Lots of beautiful wood and warm and cozy! YAY! We breezed through to baggage claim, found everything immediately, walked through customs without stopping, and there were Inga and her husband, Zinters (which means amber, like the amber necklace) to help us find our hotel. We managed to get all of our stuff into their car, and crossed the Daugava River into Old Riga. OH! It is beautiful there- cobblestone streets, all crookedy and confusing with no apparent reason for which way they go.
Our hotel was lovely. Heated floors, good food, very clean. Hotel Neiburgs.
Joe would have me say that they served about 10 different kinds of meat for breakfast...Let's see: ham, bacon, American-style breakfast sausage, sausage that looked like hotdogs, something like prosciutto, another very smoky ham-like stuff, and then- fish! Raw fish, smoked fish, cooked fish, salmon, etc. And cheese! But let's not talk about cheese, because I couldn't have any.

So. We got all packed up and at 11:30, Daina (our lawyer and adoption coordinator) picked us at our hotel, and then I was sick for 3 hours- not a good car ride for someone who can't make it to Perry, NY without getting nauseated.
Once in Daugavpils, we met with the ladies at Orphan Court, asked a few questions, when who walked in like it was nothing at all? ANASTASIJA! Oh my goodness, words cannot explain the way we all felt when we got to hug and kiss and cry together (seriously, everyone in the room was crying)! After court, we found our apartment- it is amazing! So clean, so warm, so trendy! Wait till I post pics. It's cool. Also, it has three different french press coffee makers, so you know it has to wonderful. Talk about God gives good gifts.

Well enough about those little details. Let's talk about Anastasija.
She is having a hard time right now. She is old enough to realize that being adopted by our family means that she will not be able to come back and visit the people she has grown up with.
She has been very tearful. Please pray for her, and for us as we help her say goodbye to her caregivers and to open her heart to the love of our family.

She told us she does not want to say goodbye to her foster mom, so please pray that she does not lose hope in being adopted.

As I have said before, God has a good plan! Pray for His name to be hallowed and His will to be done.

Pray for her protection from negative thoughts. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

God has given her a future and a hope! He sets the lonely in families. He does not leave us as orphans.

Keep up the good work of prayer.

Thanks folks!

Anastasija's favorite song: We hear this, oh, about 100 times a day from her MP3. LOL.





Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ramen in Latvia

Preparation of the base zupes add noodles and vegetables of the packet to taste
Infuse boiling water.
Tightly closed tailoring human APM and wait 3-5 minutes add the chicken stew and well-mixed.
There. Soup.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha HA! (The Joy of the Lord is my Strength)

Psalm 25 A Plea for Deliverance and Forgiveness & Psalm 5 A Prayer for Guidance
Psalm 5:
11 But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You.
12 For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield.

GOD defends me. GOD surrounds me as with a shield! I can have joy joy joy joy down in my heart. I picture me in a happy little bubble of light, floating through Mordor, just as happy as can be, doing whatever God gives me to do, knowing that I am safe in His bosom. (And, I'm pretty sure Latvia is not as bad as Mordor.)
JOY is my prayer today! JOY in this journey- JOY as I pack 1,000 things, and prepare to go on a journey into the unknown.
The unknown of Latvia, the unknown of parenting and loving an orphaned 11 year old. The unknown of being separated from 3 of my kids for 2 weeks.
But GOD DEFENDS ME. GOD SHIELDS ME. GOD KEEPS ME IN A SPARKLY LITTLE BUBBLE OF JOY (this last one is not a psalm of David, LOL).

We're going way past peace, I'm praying for JOY.
I love His Name, and I will be Joyful in HIM.
The JOY of the Lord is my Strength.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

God's crazy economy

I know God is rich. He owns the cattle on 1,000 hills. If I think about it, I am sure He laughs big belly laughs when we get all serious and say, "We're trusting God for the adoption money....$30,000.000!" We're all like, "WHOA, dude that's so much money." And God's all like, "I own the universe, to infinity and BEYOND. LOL" (yeah, God just LOL'ed)

But then, sometimes He does stuff just to be funny. Just for the glory of it.
I recklessly and happily gave away lots (according to our budget) of money yesterday, in two specific chunks. And today, when I opened the mail? We received two checks, one for the exact amount of the first chunk, and one for the exact amount of the other chunk. I'm serious. I thought I was being all crazy and throwing money around and God just threw it right back.

Because of that, we are not the only recipients of God's blessings. God blessed us, we let it run through our open hands to others, and then God put it back in our hands. Instead of just one family knowing of God's goodness and provision, two families do.

I found this good little article at Christianity Today:
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Key Bible Verse: "I am the LORD All-Powerful, and I challenge you to put me to the test. Bring the entire 10 percent into the storehouse. … Then I will open the windows of heaven and flood you with blessing after blessing." (Malachi 3:10, CEV) Dig Deeper: 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

I urge you—plumb the depths of the parable of the talents. Take a good, hard look at the context of your life—nothing happens by chance. You are where you are and the way you are for a reason, for God's reason. The master says that when you invest the talents he's given you, when you are faithful to bear fruit from the little he's given you, he will give you more. And you will enter into his joy. People around the world are searching for joy. Where is it? How can we find it?

Here's the answer. Plain and simple. Straight from God: Invest what I've given you. Take a chance. Put it to work. Trust me. Make it multiply. Then I'll give you more. And you'll be happier and more content than ever fathomed. Don't believe it? Think of investing your talents the way the Old Testament describes giving your tithe [in today's Key Bible Verse].

We've all heard it said, "You can't out-give God." He's made me a believer. My joy is worth more than all the money in a zillion banks. What about you? Are you ready to take a good, hard look at yourself and determine what talents God has knit together within you?

—Bob Westfall in The Fulfillment Principle

My Response: How is the Holy Spirit prompting me to respond to this reading?

Thought to Apply: God has a way of giving by the cartloads to those who give away by shovelfuls.—Charles Spurgeon (British preacher)
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You should try it, it's really amazing, awe-inspiring, fun, exciting, liberating, and faith-deepening.
XO

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Up, up, and away we go!

My theme song for this month:

Up, up and away we go into the great beyond.

Wherever we go, and whatever we do,

we’re trusting God all along.

We will fly, We will soar,

Nothing is impossible!

We will rise through the storm.

Trusting God and leaving

our fears behind,

We will fly!
 

And then, we'll fly back home with Anastasija in time for Thanksgiving. ;)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Top 10 Reasons to Host an Orphan this Christmas

Dear Friends and Family of New Horizons for Children:
THE GOOD NEWS: We still have space available for a great Mission Trip this Christmas! For the price of just one person, your whole family (including the kids) and your friends, can participate in a 4 week Mission Trip, and you won't even need to pack a suitcase ... we will send the Mission to your home! Through New Horizons for Children open your home to an orphan from Latvia or Ukraine and share God's love and your love with a child who may never have experienced that love before (or ever get a chance to, except through YOU!)

THE GREAT NEWS: We received some scholarships to help defray the cost for you to go on this international mission trip!
God is holy and perfect but there is a wide gap between Him and us. That’s why He started the very first mission trip when He sent his Son, Jesus to earth to reach us! Now, you can follow His perfect example and bridge the gap between Him and an orphaned child from Ukraine or Latvia.

Everyone has different reasons they love missions.
Here’s a list of our 10 favorites!
 1.
PURELY, GOD APPROVED
James 1:27
- Religion that God the Father accepts as pure and without fault is this: caring for orphans or widows who need help, and keeping yourself free from the world's evil influence.

2. IT WON’T BREAK THE BANK
A 4-week long mission trip that your whole family can go on together AND you can take your friends with you! Partial scholarships have already been added to help defray the cost of this trip! You only have to pack for your mission ONE TIME!
3. RESULTS GUARANTEED
Psalm 10:14 - But you know all about it— the contempt, the abuse. I dare to believe that the luckless will get lucky someday in you. You won't let them down: orphans won't be orphans forever.
4. LIKE-MINDED FRIENDS and ADVOCATES
This road isn’t supposed to be walked alone. Meet and connect with hundreds of other families on the same mission trip that you are on along with all the staff and volunteers around the country who have been many times and are great leaders!
5. DIVINE PLACEMENT
Psalms 68:5-6 - Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families.
6. SPECIALIZED PRE-MISSION TRIP TRAINING
For those wanting to go even deeper and truly experience a life changing REAL MISSION TRIP, we provide training by experienced speakers in many locations around the country. Learn about cultural differences, language barriers (how to smash them) and hear from past host children who were later adopted. You'll also hear from past host families who discovered that the blessing they THOUGHT they were giving to their host child, came back to them a million times more! Your mission team leaders will explain and share how, as a family, you can get the most from your mission. On line discussion groups and bonus conference calls from the team’s director provide an even greater understanding of what to expect, how to handle specific situations and get the most from the entire mission trip!
7. MEET JESUS! HE COMES RIGHT INTO YOUR OWN HOME!
Matthew 18:5 - And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.
8. REALIZE THE CAUSE OF THE FATHERLESS; MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Some of the world’s fatherless children have a lot to give! Learn from them while you share His love and be the hands and feet of Christ to a child who might never see or feel this without your participation! Build their self-esteem and feeling of self-worth while showing them they DO have a Father! 1 Thes 2:8 - We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us
9. FREE STUFF!
Every family who signs up to host a child receives the following, absolutely and completely by grace: blessings, love, attention from a child who never had much, and God’s love and appreciation for eternity! You might even be the first person who ever gave a hug to the child you receive as your mission AND get their first one offered in return!
10. BEAUTIFUL WEATHER
Isaiah 58:10 - If you feed those who are hungry and take care of the needs of those who are troubled, then your light will shine in the darkness, and you will be bright like sunshine at noon.
Plus One more to think about...Don’t be stagnant. Go out and DO ministry, DO missions and GO fishing for the KING! Realize, all disciples are Christians, but not all Christians are disciples. Be a DISCIPLE!


Matthew 25:40 - Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'




Struggling with fear and doubt? Feeling weak and inadequate? GOOD! Trust and Obey!

2 Timothy 1
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Proverbs 24
Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die;
save them as they stagger to their death.
12 Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.”
For God understands all hearts, and he sees you.
He who guards your soul knows you knew.
He will repay all people as their actions deserve.

James 4
17 If anyone, then, know the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them.

Psalm 62
Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
7 My victory and honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
8 O my people, trust in him at all times.
Pour out your heart to him,
for God is our refuge.

2Corinthians 12
9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.





Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Jesus Called, He Has Your Peace

The Battle for Your Mind

A lot of folks have spoken lately of the battle they fight everyday in their minds. Depression, anxiety, discouragement, despair,- as compared to what they long for: Joy, peace, courage, and love.
It keeps calling to mind a devotion I read from Jesus Calling* by Sarah Young on September 19:

There is a mighty battle going on for control of your mind. Heaven and earth intersect in your mind; the tugs of both spheres influence your thinking. I created you with the capacity to experience foretastes of heaven. When you shut out the world and focus on My Presence, you can enjoy sitting with Me in heavenly realms. This is an incredible privilege reserved for precious ones who belong to Me and seek My Face. Your greatest strength is your desire to spend time communing with Me. As you concentrate on Me, My Spirit fills your mind with Life and Peace.

The world exerts a downward pull on your thoughts. Media bombards you with greed, lust, and cynicism. When you face these things, pray for protection and discernment. Stay in continual communication with Me whenever you walk through the wastelands of this world. Refuse to worry, because this form of worldliness will weigh you down and block awareness of My Presence. Stay alert, recognising the battle being waged against your mind. Look forward to an eternity of strife-free living, reserved for you in heaven.


Ephesians 2:6;  6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 

Psalm 27:8; When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
Romans 8:6;  6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

1 John 2:15-17 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

*If you buy anything through Amazon, go through the New Horizons for Children link, and a percentage of your purchase will go to New Horizons!

Monday, October 01, 2012

Funny feeling

I was just scrolling through the photo listing. My heart has such a funny feeling because one certain Anastasija is not listed there; she will be with her forever family for Christmas this year. Praise God.

Please go to the New Horizons website and sign up to be able to view the photolisting. Please allow God to move in your heart- maybe He will lead you to pray for, give a scholarship for, or host a certain child. Without intervention, upon leaving the orphanage, 60% of girls will end up in prostitution, 70% of boys will be on the streets or in jail, and 15% will commit suicide within the first two years on their own.

I will never ever forget how I felt after I saw Anastasija's picture there, sandwiched in with hundreds of other little people. God just put that girl in my heart in a way that could not be ignored. Go ahead and scroll through those pics, and see what God might do to your heart.

(It's Joy. What you see there is Joy. You want some? Give this Christmas Away.)

XO

About Me

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