Jun 21, 2011

Calling all crafters!

My dear friend (whom does not know me, so I hope it is not creepy that I call her that), from A Place Called Simplicity is calling all crafters with a heart for helping the orphans in Uganda.

The plan is simple. Donate hand-made crafts to be sold and 100% of the proceeds donated to feeding the homeless and fatherless children of Uganda. A few months ago, a blogging community came together, and collected dozens of clothes for those children, who, for the first time in their lives had a clean article clothing to wear.

But the miracle should not stop there. Please visit APCS for more information and the address where to send the donations.

Why donate? Because we were given gifts, precious gifts aside from the material items. Many of us were given a gift of creation - making beautiful things out of raw materials. Many of us were blessed with excess that we can share with those that have not. Many of us have children ourselves, and our hearts ache for those little ones that walk this life alone. Many of us want to help but don't know how.

If you cannot donate at this time, please pass this call across the VAST crafting community, on blogosphere alone.

Practical information from APCS:

What are we exactly looking for?

Quilts
Wood items
Cloth items
Pictures
Hair bows
Handcrafted clothing for children
Pillow cases
Novelty items
Jewelry
Browse around Etsy for more ideas.

There will be a link on the site {once it is up and running} for artists to click on and print out and enclose with your items when you are shipping them, but for now, here is the address and here is the information to enclose:

Ship to: {exactly as written below}

Shipping Manager11000 Brimhall Road, Suite E
Bakersfield, CA 93312

Each artist should include with your items the following information:

Your Name: Your E-mail: Mailing Address: Phone numbers: Brief product description: Product quantity: Artist's suggested donation: Additional notes:

At this moment, the non-profit is not finished {and will not be for awhile}, so there cannot be tax receipts issued for your items donated.








Because they are worth it.

Jun 8, 2011

What God will do with your "I would never"s

You know, many times, when I start writing a new blog post (or composing one in my head, when driving over to my singing practice - that's my time alone with God), I feel a little like a preacher on a soap box. An unqualified one, most of the time. Yet, I have these words, these things that I feel compelled to speak out.

Those of you who have followed my blog for a while (if there are any), I hope you know that in no way I consider myself a preacher. So, if I do come across as preachy - it is not my intention. But some things make me feel too passionate, to keep it toned down.

What God will do with your "I would never"s. He has a great sense of humor, you know that? An amazing sense of humor! Sometimes I think he listens to us talk about all the things we know we should do, but make excuses for why we should not do it, and arranges so that we find yourself wanting to do those same exact things. Especially when we flat out say "I would never do this."

Years ago, having already given my life to Christ, I have said to my best friend:"I could never go on a mission trip. Its just not for me. I really cannot! Not with work, and my newborn son, and my husband, how will I EVER leave him alone for so long."
My fear got the best of me through my best years. God took that "I would never" and planted such a NEED, no ACHE in my heart to GO. Oh, to go back in time, to RUN with my pastor and the kids who jumped on the plane to experience this.

"Oh, I could never go to one of those scary places, like Africa! I cannot even imagine how terrifying that place must be." - but now, or to be able to go before this year is out. The beauty,intertwined with pain. Passion means suffering, and people of Africa know it so well. In their songs, in their dance, in their unrelenting ability to LOVE and praise God despite horrific things around them. I love them, even if through the eyes and hands of men and women of Christ who are there now, on their missions.

Years ago, I have said "I could never adopt. Its just not for me. I don't believe in paying all this money for an adoption. I could never love a child that's not a biological offspring of mine."
And here I am. I have said yes in my heart, I believe. Is it for me to adopt? I don't know. I am open. God's decision.

Months ago, I have said "Oh, my husband would NEVER want to adopt. He feels its not for him. I cannot even think of asking him." You know what happens when you just ask? When you make yourself available to God? Things happen. Unthinkable happens. My husband said:"Yes, whatever makes you happy," Well, not right away. The first time, he said "I don't know,I never considered it." But it grew on his heart. I know he is not entirely at peace with the idea, I can feel the confusion between the spirit and the flesh. I feel it too, oh believe me! But he said yes. He made himself available.

What is your "I would never" today? Is it adoption? Is it prayer? Is it missions? Is it forgiving someone? Write it down, put it in the box. Say it out loud to someone you trust - see what God does with it.

I am very careful about saying "I would never" now. I do believe that the Great Comedian will arrange it especially for me. Because he knows it will be good for me. and it will be for His glory.

Getting off my soapbox now. =)

Jun 7, 2011

Micah Six Eight: Story Time


Micah Six Eight: Story Time: "Do you ever have a story to tell that is so complicated, so twisted, and yet so beautiful that you don't know how to tell it in a way that will do it justice?

I have one of those stories. One that might bring tears to your eyes. One that definitely makes me weep like a baby."

Jun 4, 2011

Chasing Charlotte: 4782 Miles


Chasing Charlotte: 4782 Miles: "
That’s how many miles separate Charlotte from the family that is so anxiously waiting for her.

I dream about her often…sometimes so vividly that it actually feels like I am holding her in my arms for a moment. Her daddy furiously learns Russian…or at least tries to.

We scramble to finish the paperwork. And for right now, the pictures bridge the gap between home and Charlotte’s country. Later, when she is in our arms, we will need to build a whole new bridge."

Jun 2, 2011

The locust.


I catch myself saying "I wish I had more time", and "I wish time would slow down". My mother warned me since I was very young - life is short, and it will become even shorter the older you get. Only now I understand what she means.

Granted, I still have plenty of good years left in me, God willing, but with each day, I feel the time literally speeding up. The life around me starting to blur, as if I'm on a carousel - faces fading, colors blending together. Only one thing that keeps me grounded solid - God. When I close my eyes to the world's troubles, my own "troubles", my complaints, my "me-me-me", the time halts it's gallop. The universe itself stops spinning (in my head that is), and I am suspended just surrounded in God.

I know to live in regret is no life at all, but I cannot help but look back into the many years, almost decades, where I was pretty much dead. Dead to God, dead to his world. I spent so much time in my house, sitting in front of my computer, playing all these games - learning nothing, helping no one, accomplishing not a single thing towards God kingdom.

Oh, I knew OF God back then. I cannot say that I was ignorant of his existence. I even called myself a christian at some point. But I did not HAVE the gospel in me. I did not have THE truth that saves. And I did not seek. God's the one who sought me out, years later. Just like THAT lamb, you know the one.

And I look back on those years - my 20s...Oh to have those years back! Oh to have that youthful passion, time, resources, OH what life I could have had! The people I could have touched, and the people that I would have gotten to know. The fears that I would have conquered.

It's not too late. My body is still strong, healthy, my heart is full, and my eyes are fixed on what is actually important NOW. Regrets are swept away with God's mighty hand like crumbs off the table - "I have given your life now, make the best of what you have now."

I guess this post is meant as an encouragement to myself, as well as someone else who might feel like they have squandered their years. We, humans are great at that. "Youth is wasted on the young." But, now that I have tasted a taste of what life is like with the Lord, I would rather have a year with him, than a lifetime without Him. Honest truth.

I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten..." - Joel 2:25

Jun 1, 2011

Loving The Least Of These: The Urgency of Now


One of my bloggy friends, who's heart is beautiful and true had posted the following, which I had to share. This has been on my heart as well, and she said it so beautifully and striking.

Loving The Least Of These: The Urgency of Now: "““We are not faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood-it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, ‘too late.’”"

May 24, 2011

Yes, it has happened!


Kiril is going home! The Supreme Court of the child's country said yes.
Thank you a thousand times, Father! Thank you for letting us be a part of this journey.

May 23, 2011

Tomorrow is the day: Kirill's day!

Just a reminder for all friends, who have been following Kiril's story. Tomorrow is the day where his parents will stand before the Supreme court of his country, before the people who will decide their fate and the course of Kiril's lives.

Please pray for all involved for the favor, and most of all - Lord's will in all of this.

May 19, 2011

Praying for Alexander

Friends, I have been called to be a prayer warrior for a little boy, who is not even a year old. His life has just began, and like many in his country, he's been cast away, unwanted. He is a precious little boy, with grey eyes and dark hair. He has Down Syndrome, which means that he will spend the first 5 years of his life confined to a crib, only to be taken out for physical evaluation, and put back in - shut out from the world.


When he turns 5, should he survive the terrible, terrible years, he will be sent to a mental institution for the remainder of his life. A place with mentally ill, mentally challenged, disabled children and adults. He will have no family, no love, no tender touch. He will have virtually nothing a human should have - another human being who cares whether he lives or dies. Someone to love him.

As always, Father, I pray that you find this boy's parents. He is so small, so fragile. He needs You, most of all. Please help his parents find him and shield him from the cruel future he is facing.

Please visit Alexander's page here, and consider donating towards his adoption fund.

This post is not about me.

This post is not about me.

Well, maybe a little bit. I must admit, I have been staying away from my battlefield lately. As embarrassed I am, I have felt a bit overwhelmed lately. And ashamed – how can I feel so worn out from not actually doing anything?
How can Emma, who is decades younger than me, be on fire to go back to Africa – in the fray of battle, and I have never even been there?
How can a family that just adopted, already look to adopt another child And a special needs one at that – when I struggle to reason my way out of doing something I am called to do out of obedience to God?
How can I feel like I cannot take in any more stories of children suffering all around me, when I live in every comfort imaginable – I live through no pain, no need, no want. Yet “IM” the one who is overwhelmed?

So, I’ve been angry, ashamed, tired, and avoiding God. Like a child, who is hiding from a parent, to avoid being given a task – you know what I’m talking about. I know that God is patient.
But I do check back, and I rejoice to see that this is not about me. God’s plan is and was and always on the move – whether I choose to be a part of it or not. Not about me.
Remember little Annika?
She has a family now. What a story! What a miraculous story – the world can NEVER convince me those are coincidences. Those are perfectly crafted stories of love unimaginable. A “throwaway” child is to become someone’s cherished baby. Held and loved, and given a chance to live a normal life.
Please visit Moments with Love, to read this amazing story. Also, please visit her family and offer your support. I never met them, but I love them already.
And yes, we take our falls, and sit back, being human and fleshy. I might make a difference, might not, it’s not about me. Its about Him.

May 9, 2011

Kyrgyzstan lifts ban on international adoptions

What a great news, and while I understand that it will be a long process for the prospective parents, steps were taken to protect the children.
The need is great there, and I am happy to see that this was moved along!

Please visit Ethica, for more details.

Apr 30, 2011

Heartbroken

I had a very heartbreaking conversation with my grandma today, which left me with thinking, a lot. Now, my grandma is the sweetest person in my family. She has never said an unkind word to me, and has been a HUGE help in many ways. She never forgets to call and celebrates the slightest achievements in our lives. She is the only relative that has said that they are proud of me.

She is also a Christian. So, when I casually mentioned to her that my friend Kim(about whom she was asking, because she knows how dear Kim is to me)and her husband are still working on their adoption.

"Oh, were they unable to have one of their own?"
Pretty standard question for majority of people, actually. Those who do not know.
"No, that is what they want to do."
"I guess to each their own. Are they at least..they are not adopting a "black one" are they?"
"Yes they are adopting from Ethiopia."
"IDIOCY!What are they thinking?!"

I felt as if I was slapped across the face. Not even that, across my very soul. A "black one"! My future nephew, the one I am waiting for eagerly, the one that God prepared to be a sweet boy, a son of my sister in Christ! A "Black one"?! I could feel the anger rising up, but I tried to calmly explain:

"I don't think it matters what color their son will be."
"Oh, but don't they know about the awful diseases they can bring with them?"
"Not more than anything that a child from another country might bring with them as well."
"I don't understand why they have to do it from "there"."
"God put in on their hearts to adopt from Africa." - I heard a stumble in her voice. But she picked up her argument again.

"There are so many children here, homeless, without parents, living on the streets, so many!Why not take care of our own, in our country."
"To them they are their own."
"But you know, "they are different", their culture, they are not like us."


To myself I only though, like WHO gramma? Like "us" - the poor immigrant family from fallen communist Russia, working out way to being able to fit in a new culture? Really? Of all people, you would be the one to say "they are not like us"? Like WHO? Like another human being that will have a chance to live a life full of opportunities? A child that will be raised in a Christian home. A child that will LIVE?

"Because to them, they are all "ours"."

"Well, it just seems like its the latest fad, to adopt the black ones."

That's where I felt the hurricane in my heart well up and smash across the phone:
"A FAD? Do you have any idea how expensive it is? How much waiting and how much stress is involved? Not only that, but to be constantly told how you are stupid for doing this, how you should NOT be doing this by your friends and family? A FAD?"

"Well, all the celebrities seems to be adopting from all these countries"

"I don't know what celebrities are doing, but I know of dozens of adopting family. They are regular families, living with normal means like you and me. There is nothing FAD about this."

She changed the topic after that, but in my heart, this conversation left a gap, a scar. I am hurt and disappointed. I don't want to judge her, because she doesn't know. She does not see. It really sucks to be disappointed in someone you respect so much. I am also hurt for my friend, who probably have heard worse. Or maybe people just whisper venom behind their backs. But I know that God looks down and smiles. Because He has a plan. He has a little couple of warriors to be part of it through it all.

I pray for my family to know Christ. Not to believe in "some vague power", or a spirit somewhere out there, or some vague God for whom to light a candle. But KNOW Him. To wake up and rejoice at the every new opportunity, new chance to be a part of His story. To be a part of something extraordinary.

Apr 28, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Thankful. I have so much to be thankful for. Today, I would like to thank the Lord for my dad. He is not really my dad, but my husband’s dad, but he is the only real dad I’ve known.

My biological father left us when I was about 5. I have never asked about him at all. My mom tells me that he was a heavy drinker, so I am thankful that she made a decision to divorce him. I met him later, when I was about 11, but I don’t really remember the meeting. Like the previous 5 years, that time with him was quite unmemorable. I found him even later, when I was in my 20s, but even then – he rejected me. I’ve had no cards, no letters, no phone calls from my biological father since he left.

I’ve had two step fathers, both of whom abused me. After my second step father, I vowed to never call another man “father” again.

But then my husband’s dad came into my life. A reserved man, with a keen sense of humor, and knowledge just about anything in the world. He is not the kind who would do the hugging and kissing and telling “I love you!” kind. And that’s a good thing, as I am not comfortable with that. But he is the kind of a man who had a real hard life, yet all his life he has been about giving to other people. If it was not for him, we would not have our house, or things working in it. Me and my husband don’t know which end of a hammer to use. Well, I do, but you know..out of solidarity with hubby, I won’t be changing lightbulbs. :P

After a while I started calling him dad. Not because he gave me presents (although he did), but because he was there for us. Not with words, but when we needed him most – he was ready to drop everything and be there for us. Sometimes I forget that he is not really my dad, and people look at me strange when I saw “my and my husband’s dad”, but I really feel like I “adopted” him as my own. Or maybe he did me.

So, I might have not known what its like to have a father growing up, but I sure do now. And I am thankful that I have my earthly dad.

Please visit From the Heart for more thankful stories!

Project: Party for Anika!

What a beautiful name, for a beautiful girl.



If you have been reading my blog for a while, you might know that God performs miracles every day. Big and small.
The latest boy, Vanya, who is like Anika is HIV positive found a family. After all the waiting and hoping, God finally introduced him to his family. And we had a privilege of being a part of his journey home.
God made it happen. We were lucky to be there and be a tiny part of it. Now its Anika’s turn. Her family is out there. This precious little girl is waiting, and as always God is calling us to be a part of it. Through prayer and through generous sacrifice.
I will be blunt about it. We all know that adoption costs money. And God provides money, when the person says “Yes”. We don’t make this miracle happen. God does. However, we are called to be charitable to OUR sake. For making this choice to sacrifice out cup of Starbucks coffee, or a pack of cigarettes, or a new mascara, or even a box of cereal (that we can go without), in order to help someone bring their child home.
So lets come together, and participate in God’s miracle of bringing this child home. Please donate 1, 5, 10, 20$ to help the parents with the adoption fund. Did you know that money is the first thing that turns people away from adoption?
Are you ready to be part of something great? Please visit Moments with Love, to see her awesome fundraising idea! A "stay-in party"! Basically, throw a party, invite some friends, have them bring 20$ each specifically for Anika's fund donation.

I think I will do a face-painting party for my "mommy" friends. The kids love it, and I don't mind getting more practice, but more importantly, hopefully that will get some more funds for Annika's adoption.

You can also donate directly to Annika's fund here.

And, as always, I beg you to pray. On behalf of this little girl. On behalf of her family that do not know her yet (or they might, just not ready to say “yes”). Let her be known and brought to You first, Lord.

Apr 26, 2011

Easter African Quilt Fundaiser

I am back from vacation, everyone, and I am ready to get back into the fray of things. Well, maybe not just yet, but I am totally ready to share with you all this awesome adoption quilt fundraiser, which my best friend and sister is a part of.

Please visit her at Journey to JT and with a small and easily-made donation, get a chance to win this:



The fundraiser is ran by One Less Orphan blog, and they are also doing a side giveaway for Family Values wall plaques. My biffle has one of those, and they are totally awesome!

Apr 20, 2011

What do you do in these cases?

Gosh, in many ways I am such a social clam, meaning that when confronted with anything social, or requiring to know a particular etiquette, like a clam I retreat in my shell and hide out , until the new situation resolves itself.

Well, I don't know if this is the "right" thing to do, blog-wise, but I am just so flattered and excited to not to say something. So, I'm just going to come out and say it: I've been featured on Undeserving Grace blog as a Blog of the week!

Tara - thank you so much for choosing me, you have no idea how flattered I am. Really, I never imagined to even have readers!

Everyone, please take time out to visit Tara and her awesome blog. Thank you!

I need to break your heart...

Imagine you were growing up in a happy family. Your parents were perfect - a big, clean house. Plenty to eat, Stylish, clean clothes. Your parents were paragons of virtue - kind, God-fearing people, who devoted their lives to raising you in the faith. They devoted their lives to you, caring for you, providing for you, shielding you from all that's wicked, and hurtful, and painful.

You grew up to be a stable, able, faithful and wonderful person. But one day you find out that all this time you had a brother. A brother who was not born like you, a brother who had a terrible disease. A painful existence - every day filled with suffering. Your parents, out of love for you, never told you about him. They hid him away in a faraway place. He never knew he had a brother either, and spent his life - lonely, abandoned.

Your parents did not want to you feel this pain that they felt for their son. They could not leave a scar on your perfect life because your brother was suffering - why should you? Why should you carry this burden of knowing, unable to help?

Now close your eyes, and think. Would you rather have known or never known about this? Would you have rather continued to live your life, surrounded by love and everyday struggle like anyone else? Or would you reach out to your brother?

God adores us. But he does not seem to shield us from suffering. From seeing suffering. Not just looking at it, but SEEING it. Feeling it in the deepest parts of our hearts.
There is a video that I have been trying to get someone very dear to me to get to watch. Many of you have probably seen it already. He would not watch that video, because it will break his heart.

I want it to break his heart, like it broke mine. Why? Because God wanted to break my heart and he did. I was blind, but now I see, and I cannot live the same. Therefore I must carry on with this gift that I was given.

We all have a choice - a wonderful, free gift that God has given us - a choice. We can choose now to close our eyes and not be heartbroken and never change anything about our lives. Be content and safe and with our hearts safely tucked under our rib-cages.

Or we can take our heart and give it to God and let him do with it as he pleases. "Its yours. Please break it for what Your heart breaks. Makes me see what you see."

Apr 18, 2011

Urgent help and prayer request!

Friends,

I have learned now that nothing happens on accident. Good or bad, somehow God ends up using the circumstances to work His plan. This evening, I (by accident you might think) I came across a story on a news. Story from another state and city - Chicago. A family of 12, parents and 10 children. A child playing with lighter. Fire broke out in their apartment and took the lives of 3 small children.

You can read the harrowing story here.


3 little caskets, and hundreds of broken hearts left behind. If anyone has lived through a house fire, or knows someone who has, their lives become "before" and "after" the fire. That terrible tragedy always remains etched in their lives. To loose 3 precious little ones.

Friends, we do not have to stand by. There is a lot that we can do. The family, left not only bereft in the worst way, but also penniless. They need virtually everything - clothes, kitchen stuff, bathroom, beds, furniture. Everything.

A man, a stranger, who watched the report of this tragedy on the news, stepped up and helped them with the funeral costs. Lets be a part of community that helps them rebuild their lives as well.

Lets not stand by and watch someone's lives fall apart. Donations of items and money can be sent to the family through the Calahan Funeral home.

I am assuming that the donations can also be sent to the local church, where the last goodbyes were said to the children (Alpha Temple Baptist Church, 6701 S. Emerald Av.Chicago)

And most of all, please pray for the major healing and God's plan to be worked out in the most wonderful way, as even amidst such pain and loss, His light shines bright.

Amazing weekend


I feel so blessed. what a perfect weekend - perfect weather, perfect blue sky, sunshine. My son, coming home safe (albeit with a tummy ache) from his first baseball game.

I went to a restaurant, for my friend's Birthday celebration, and realized that I actually do know a lot of people here. I must admit, that I often struggle with being lonely. Its not something I will admit in public, but on a blog, I guess its a fair deal.

Yesterday, I had a glimpse of what it might feel like when someone has friends. I do have friends, amazing friends, but living in a different state from them - most of the time I feel so lonely. Its amazing how much I took for granted to have a best friend (whom I get to see in just a few days! Squeel!).

And I have trouble making new friends. I get along with people well, I have a lot of acquittance, and we spend time. But I really don't have anyone that I WANT to spend time with, not like my best friend Kimmi. So yesterday, sitting at this awesome little restaurant, in a cute area of the town, surrounded by all this sunshine and blue skies and people talking - I almost felt like one of the normal people who goes out, has friends, has girlfriends to chat with, shop with.

Being without friends sucks, no matter what age you are. But I'm thankful for just a few brief hours like these, where I can pretend that I have all that. :)

Apr 16, 2011

What is awesome?


Knowing celebrities is awesome. I'm not talking about people like Snookie or Paris or even Charlie Sheen. Honestly, I find them must less interesting than the celebrities of the world that counts - God's world.

I think one of such celebrities is Christie, our fellow bloggers from Compass in my Heart. You don't have to dig through dozens of posts to see how much her heart breaks for the needy children (and adults) in Africa. The cool thing about Christie is that got up, one day, and decided to do something about the situation.

I really believe that her and her husband's (congratulations!) names are known in the Heavens. God knows each one of our names, our hearts, and even each hair that is on our head at any time. But what if people like that are also known among His angels? What is they talk about them, and rejoice with God, as they lay down their life to live in JOY (while brokenhearted for God)?

I really believe that is the case. I just wanted to take time out to tell you about Christie, George, their AMAZING story so far, their ministry - her blog about ministering in Africa, and also share with you all their new site: Ekubo Ministries.

I am especially glad to introduce the site, as my best friend and sister Kim of J2T blog has designed it. She is a talented web designer, so if you have a site that you need designing, or known someone who is looking for someone - I would suggest looking her up.

So, I just wanted to share about how excited I am to know so many celebrities of the Kingdom. They might not even know it, but I truly believe that the angels whisper about them, talk about the great and small victories that they are a part of, and that God himself smiles when they wake up each morning and jump back into the battle.

Apr 15, 2011

URGENT: Vanya needs our prayers

From No greater Joy Mom:

We desperately need a family for Vanya as soon as possible. Many people have inquired about adopting him. But things have changed and we URGENTLY need a family who is paperwork ready--one who has already done their home study and has USCIS approval. We need a family who can get to him quickly.



While I am not at liberty to give any details, I can tell you that Vanya's situation has turned into a critical need for prayer. He needs a paperwork-ready family to commit to him in the next few days...before it is too late.

Time is running out.

Do you know of a family who is already adopting a child from Ukr*ine? Do you know of someone who is traveling to adopt a child from there soon and may consider adding this precious boy to their adoption? Either a family who is already adopting, or a family who has all their paperwork ready and has been waiting on the Lord to show them the right child.

Friends, we urgently need your help....PLEASE spread Vanya's story on blogs, social networks, and adoption discussion groups. We absolutely have to find his family soon. The finances are not an issue--God has provided them. Now all we need is the right family--one who will say, "Here am I, Lord, send me!"

With all my heart I believe that Vanya's family is out there. Why? Because I believe that God has provided in a miraculous way for this boy to come home. I believe in miracles in 2011! I do.

Please stand with us in prayer over the next few days...trusting that Vanya's family will come forward. How desperately he needs them now.

Pray, body of Christ! Pray without ceasing. Pray until Vanya is rescued and safely in the arms of those who love him.

Thank you for helping us today. Thank you for praying and bringing this boy before the Father. Thank you for trusting with us. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it.

"If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matt 17:20.

"MOUNTAIN BE MOVED!"

Any family who thinks they may be able to get to Vanya quickly, and would like more information, please contact Chris Malone at the Eli Project as soon as possible.

You can read Vanya's full story right here.

Apr 14, 2011

Enough Said

Re-posted from the wonderful Amy.

Apr 13, 2011

Won't you please think of Rowan?


My friends, a little boy,called Rowan, whom I had on my prayer wall for a while now has been very sick for all of his life. I have not seen any updates from his mommy for a while now, and the last one did not sound very good.
Something, or Someone is telling me that he needs our prayer. His family needs our prayers as well. Please include this sweet little child of God in your prayers. He already knows of God, and has faith in things unseen, even despite having spent all his life struggling with sickness and hospitals and procedures and pain.

Father, please hold him close. I hope he is still with us, I dare not to ask his mother - she most likely has a lot going on. I always must pray for the healing, but it is Your will, and sometimes the answer is no.

Please father, send us news. Let us know. In your name we pray.
Amen.

God's spring cleaning

I don't think I've ever been able to see such an amazing perspective about God, if I did not have the privilege of being a mother. I was thinking about this particular thing the other day, driving on my way to my chorus practice. Driving is my time with Him. I feel happy and free to sing, to think. And this is what I feel He shares with me on that particular day.

Whenever I start doing any housework - washing dishes, or the floors - my little 4- year old son comes running. He hears me drag that heavy pale out in the kitchen and goes grabbing for his sponge. Now, I must admit, most of the time I tell him that I don't need his help. He insists. I ask him to just let me do it quick, but he is already got his sponge into the water and ready to rub the floor with it.

He makes a terrible mess, leaves large puddles, gets in the way, and generally does the opposite of cleaning. But he is so desperate to just be with me, do the same thing I do, feel useful, strong, needed. I usually end up conceding and just cleaning up what he messed up- later on, but he is happy - he helped mommy!

As I was thinking on that, two things came to me:

1) (and this is the amazing things that God manages to do - to constantly rewire me to think differently, to see things in a totally different light.) You see, when I saw someone starting an adoption fundraiser, or go out to the mission, or start a charity drive, I would think - How amazing is it, we have started doing this under God's guidance. God's work is being done now that we FINALLY started being his hands and feet.

But wait a minute. What if..what if its the other way around? God has already started the work. He already put things in motion. He already started the cleaning. And we are the children that are running towards His bucket with our little dirty sponges, and making all sort of a mess, and splashing it all around and leaving big puddles. And he LETS US to be part of his Spring cleaning. He rejoices that His children are doing something productive, something that makes His heart rejoice. Something that has to be done and will be done - one way or another.

We just get to be a part of it.

2) Faith like a child. These few words been coming to my head and my heart a lot lately. To have a faith like a child. What a concept. To have all wisdom in the world or to have a simple, child-like unyielding and all-consuming passion for Him? To fun towards His cleaning bucket and rejoice in being able to spend time with Him, right where He is most visible?


I must remember that every time my son runs to my bucket, before shooing him away. There will come a time when he no longer will want my time. But hopefully, he will want to give that attention to God. That's a mother's prayer - help me be a better parent, help me be more like You, Father.

Apr 10, 2011

New Design!

Yes, I decided to change the look once more. I really do get used to something and feel like I need to spruce it up. There are so many colors, and if I stick to just one, I feel like I'm not giving the others a chance to shine.

Hopefully you all like the scheme. It feels like summer outside, so I wanted something warm and summery. :)

Apr 8, 2011

Fill in the blanks Friday


1. Something that makes me a great friend is, Is that ...hmm...I have no idea, to be honest. :P

2. I am trying to maximize my output, but minimize my input. Basically, I have a shopping problem.

3. I am not that afraid of flying as I used to be.

4. If I had to describe myself in 3 words, they would be unsure (of my own abilities about anything), scared (of I don't even know what!), loved.


5. Something I'm really cheap about is
Beauty products. I despise the fact that I feel like I NEED to buy them, and when I do I feel so guilty.

6. Something I'm willing to splurge on is VEGETABLES! (and dried fish).

7. I would trade The years spent wasted playing online games, on years spent making friends and being there for my family.


Please join The little things we do for more!

Apr 6, 2011

Call to pray updated!



Dear friends, please don't forget to visit my prayer wall, as a new little one was added on to it. The latest boy joining us is: Vanya, a sweet, precious creature, that, despite the pain and rejection he already endured in his short life, still believes in a miracle - home.

Kiril's adoption big giveaway!

Hey all!
So, you have probably heard me and others talking of Kiril - an amazingly special little boy, who's adoption started an historical even in God's Kingdom (Yes, the story is not over yet!). Kiril's battle is not over, and his family desperately needs help, as they are appealing the decision of the judge to deny them bringing their boy home.

For those of you, who are not familiar with his story, please visit his family's blog: Our eyes opened.

His family is also hosting a HUGE giveaway for the next 7 days, in order to raise additional funds to over the incurred costs of the appeal and trips to EE. Prizes include:


AND!



But wait, there is MORE! The best prize of all:


A mother holding her baby boy - safe. Loved. Home. 10$ gets you into the drawing. Please consider helping this family and this boy.

Apr 4, 2011

Home...

What a culture shock..Spending only a week in a faraway land, but a land of very stark, barren beauty, and dropping into a full-spring Georgia. Colors, flowers, trees everywhere!

Meanwhile, across the world, I got a chance to see this:


And this!



And some of this:


Iceland, the proud yet fragile ice princess. So beautiful, so strange, like a totally different world. I am quite tired, jet lagged, but happy that I got a chance to see something other than this continent.

However, there is a possibility that I might go to Israel sometime this year. Thinking that I might be standing in the church on the site of Christ's crucifixion, or touching the waters of the sea of Galilee - it really takes my breath away. Then, maybe I can even touch Africa's soil as well. Never thought of myself as a traveler, but I think I got the taste of it, and now I want more.

Apr 1, 2011

Mother

I was walking past this building yesterday and came across a statue, hidden in the bushes for the most part. Pretty small, hard to spot from the side walk. I came around, to see it closer, and my throat closed up.



A mother, holding her child so close, as he or she is part of her own flesh. Bending, shielding from the world. As one, in love. I stared at it, and saw in the mother the families of Kirill, Evan and Baby Jane, as well as my sister Kim, who is struggling with her adoption. Perhaps it was due to me thinking and praying lots for the two families, but I would like to think that God chose this piece of metal or rock to whisper this to me.

Today, what joyous news, baby Evan is coming home. The same judge, the same orphanage.Also with Down Syndrome. She is coming home. Spared. Bought out of life of oblivion. Miracle-granting Father, how wondrous are You!

Could it be that the mountain was moved! Yes, the heart melted? Yes, it seems so, history made? YES!

Don't you see, my friends, perhaps if the judge could see that these children are worth to be loved, to be fought and suffered for, she will tell another, perhaps more mothers will take them home, or not abandon them at all.

Praising, always, on my knees, so thankful.
Please continue my friends. We are standing in a midst of a battle. And it has been won by God. We are to continue praying and be faithful. Always.

Home, soon.

Traveling is fun, after all. I really been enjoying my morning walks to work - with a chance to spot something interesting and head off in that direction. I was afraid of getting lost, but the city is actually very easy to navigate. All of the roads seem to lead to one or two main ones.

The architecture is amazing - every building is beautiful in its own way, and they are all unique. Very gothic-victorian looking for the most part.


I also must say that I have yet to have a bad meal here. I was actually surprised by a large quantity of various non-Icelandic restaurants (like Thai, Indian), and in such a large concentration in the downtown area. Coffee shops are pretty much every few steps, and they are open very late.
The rest of the stores, unfortunately, close very early, so I try to hurry after work to see what I can before the closing time.
I was totally wrong about the only church int he city, as I have found at least 3 other ones, and I am sure that there are more. The ones that I found, appear to be Catholic/Lutheran. I even sat in on a Catholic mass, but being neither Catholic nor able to understand Icelandic, it was very confusing. I am pretty sure I failed mass.
But I had a nice quiet time with the Lord anyway, and I think that it what counts anyway.

Oh! Today, on the way to work, I spotted some of the nuns, going somewhere out of the church. Based on their clothing, they looked like the nuns from Mother Teresa's order (the white with blue lines under the dark hood thing). I so wanted to ask them, but I didn't know if you are allowed to come up and talk to nuns. Like, is it appropriate to talk to them? I normally won't do it to a regular person on the street that I don't know.

Anyway. Will be home soon, God\s willing. Missing my family, and my country.

Mar 31, 2011

This is war.

You know it's time for us to step it up
Another level now 'cause we finished warming up
So we rise up elevate to maintain fill up with octane
And fan the flame we regain all the names
The enemy took away
And like a green beret we will lead the way
Into battle so have no fear we will draw near
So that we can persevere like a gondolier
We headed straight to the top nonstop
Set shop at the top of the Rock
You'll feel the aftershock after we rock the spot
Cause you forgot these soldiers won't turn and walk
We take hard knocks come back for more
Cause we're hardcore we fight for the One who died for (you)
And like Saigon we're on the frontlines
And we carry on to the end times


Now that it's on, we're out in the front of this marathon
With our armor on, stay strong we drive on (drive on)
Our echelon pressin' on 'til we reach the top
And you know we don't stop (our echelon)
Now that it's on

We're on the enemy's hit list
I'm hopin' you get this
You're takin' a risk when you resist the one who made you exist
Evolutionists we got love for you too but we're breakin' down
Walls seeking out the truth
I'm a soldier in this army of One
Like I told ya the battle's already won
So about face move outta the way I gotta pray for you
And this is how we do


- Echelon, by Pillar



Today is the day of the battle to be won. Through prayer, through fasting, through communion with our God. My heart trembles, as I feel the shocks of this battle reverberate throughout the spiritual realm. 3 kids, 3 forgotten faces, 3 of the least of us - eternal consequences.

This is war. The battle is already won.

Mar 29, 2011

All I can think about is pain...

I must confess something. I sit you for a few hours, and hear you talk about your life. How its been hard, how you have been lonely. How your previous job was not what you wanted, how someone was mean to your face.

But all I can think of is Kirill. How he was told - no, you may not have a mommy and daddy because you are less than perfect.

You tell me how you worry about spending money on new perfume, because you and your young husband are broken.

But all I can think of is little Ethiopian infant, with dirt in his mouth, suffocating in the desert - because someone decided he was unclean.

You tell me how you had dreams of being a painter, a famous one perhaps, but had to wait tables in a faraway land.

I can only think of a boy, who's body is so broken, he barely has a spot on it that's not in pain. He has noone to cuddle him, noone to make it better.

You tell me how you struggle with your weight, how every died has failed, and you feel ashamed of your body.

I keep seeing the picture of an 11 lb 3-year old, with her little frail body almost nonexistant - she was starved.

You keep talking about how people wronged you, not giving you the days off work when you asked for them. How angry that made you, how hurt.

I keep thinking about a toddler girl, who's body was slashed over and over by shaman, in order to "heal" her by letting the demons out. And a young boy beaten and buried alive for not working the fields too hard. And the dozens imprizoned in cribs, tied to them, denied the basic nessessities for a human to survive. And barely-teens who are pregnant in the orphanages, give birth to more orphans to replace them. And a 6-year old, wearing a red dress, standing and waiting to be raped again and again by a man 4 times her age, and many more to come. And countless other - some denied even the basic dignity of a name.


You tell me the woes of having to STOOP down to be married by a priest, when you specifically wanted no part of a Christian ceremony, but noone else would marry you on a sunday but a priest. And how degrading it felt, and how rediculous it must have been. YOU HAVE IT ALL. Name. Home. Food. Warmth. Family. Love. And yet you are DISGUSTED by religion., really? How is it that you can enjoy these riches and be disgusted by the idea of a God, the very God who showers you with them, and yet those who have NOTHING rejoice when just get a glimpse of him? How is it that your life is so hard, yet you know nothing of real pain? Do you even know that these atrocities exist right now?

I don't hate you. No, I despair, because I catch myself doing the same. Whining. Wanting more. Doing nothing. Me, me, ME.
Father, have mercy on us.

Mar 28, 2011

God walks with me, even in the rain

It's funny and sad when you realize how much you take for granted a simple
Act of going to church. Tonight after work and dinner I decided to take a walk around Reykjavik's streets.

Most of the shops were closed, but the night life was just starting. I came around the corner of yet another adorable little street, and there it was: glorious, so tall, even from a few blocks away - a house of God.

It looked like a spaceship,pointing towards the heavens. Among the small, old town buildings it stood proud and glorious. I started walking towards it, my heart beating faster, the closer I came. I could see the stained glass above the massive front doors. I don't know what it is about catholic churches that sends my heart trembling. Suddenly, I was all to aware of me messy uncovered hair, me jeans, my dirty sweater.

I wondered if they would let me in wearing jeans, but I had to try. Suddenly I wanted nothing more than to walk into a quiet cool darkness, smell the candles, kneel beside the altar( or more exactly, some dark corner) and ask Him for miracle. For Kiril and the Hook family. For me and guidance. For nothing in particular, just to be in his house, on me knees.



The church was closed for the day, open only during the business hours during the week - sadly the times that I would not be able to com. Disappointed, I sat outside, on one of the benches. No one around, the gray sheet of clouds above. The quietest part of the city at night. And then I realized that He sat there with me. Right on that bench, under the cold drizzle, the gray sky and quiet of the late Monday afternoon. We sat together, me- with disjointed prayers running through my head, and Him, just listening patiently.

How could You be here,with me always? Undeserving, unfaithful, a stubborn faithless child. And yet You walked out of Your temple, sat with me, walked with me back to the hotel, and even now I feel my body tremble and my soul
For You are with me.

I think that's the only God's temple here,although I cannot be sure. I think that I won't get to see the inside,but I suppose that it doesn't matter. On my knees, before you,Abba. Even when I'm walking or sitting at work.

Iceland, the night of the fish.

Ok, so this was way too much fun not to share, and its definitely not as funny when I tell it (I have tested it out already).

So, if you know me, then you know that I am crazy about dried fish, and Iceland is like dried fish Holy land - its everywhere, and is pretty cheap. So my first night here, I bought a bag, and had some and stuffed it in the hotel room's mini-fridge.
A day or so after that, me and John realized that every time we opened the fridge, a big waft of fishy smell was let loose on the room. The fish itself did not go bad - in it\s bag it still smelled delicious (for me), but apparently whatever other noxious fumes it gave off - it went far and wide.

The night of the fish, we cam in the room after having dinner, and it reeked. Really bad. So, we decided to get rid of the fish, because we felt bad that the cleaning people probably had to smell that. But we couldn't just toss it int he garbage can - then it would be even worse, stinking until morning. We couldn't even, for some reason, to bring ourselves to toss it in one of the lobby\s garbage cans. Because that felt wrong.
So, we spent sometime trying to come up with ways to get rid of the fish. Sneaking it outside and burying under the snow somewhere was one idea, but we were too tired to go anywhere.

Now, it was probably just our tired minds, and we were not even drinking, but for some reason we decided that the best way to dispose of the fish (short of sliding it under someone\s door, and letting the, deal with this problem), was to toss it out of the window.

Problem - the window is like 7-feet tall, and the only part that opens was this 1-foot wide portion all the way at the top. So, it was this narrow, angled opening, practically near the ceiling, that we had to try to clear in order to toss the fish outside.

We shut off the lights, cracked it open and commenced with the fish tossing. Because at this point we were doubling with laughter, and nearly peeing our pants, the tossing did not go so well. The large fillets pretty much just bounced off the glass and with a FLOP, landed back on the floor, shattering into tiny fish flakes, stinking the room up even more.
After a few unsuccessful tossings (I think only 2 fillets actually made it outside), we gave up. First of all, the windows were facing the front, luckily NOT the front entrance, but the parking lot next to it. So, whoever the Icelander who found a couple of fillets of dried fish on their car the next morning - I am sorry, I had no choice.

The rest of the fillets we pretty much wrapped up in whatever plastic we could find and snuck it in the lobby, tossing it like a bomb in one of the garbage bins by the elevators.

That was probably the most fun I've ever had with dried fish.And yeah, two days later I bought more fish, and even bigger bad. I don't even care about the smell anymore.

Mar 27, 2011

Iceland, day...something


I must say my body is being pushed to the limit. While I am used to the 5-hour time difference (i think), i am still feeling "weird" and "off" all the time. Probably because I've been so tired after the convention stuff.

But, last night me and my husband finally got a chance to go into town, get something to eat, adn spend a bit of time together. I must say that that was my favorite time so far. Its funny, I go across the planet, and have a whole country to explore, and the person I want to hang around with the most - is the same guy I've hung around for the past 15 years.

Anyway, after some wandering around the typical adorable narrow-street European-looking area, we finally decided on Cafe Paris. I know, that's like so cliche. But the prices were slightly better than the rest of the restaurants around.
He ordered some pasta, and I ordered whale steak. Yep, whale. I always wanted to try it.

Let me tell you, I'm glad we only ordered one. John loved my steak,and I ended up eating his pasta. Its not that it was bad - in fact many people enjoy the texture and the flavor. But for some reason my body rejected it right away, and I almost started gagging. There is a strange, new and unfamiliar after-taste to the meat that I guess my body just could not accept. And maybe because its...whale.

The funny thing, John told me, that its not unusual to be sitting at the same table with some strangers in a restaurant. In US - its really unusual, unless you are at a bar (like the bar itself), but here, its quite common. I guess its a great way to meet people, and it seems that outside of the US, the personal bubble is much smaller. There was a rather handsome swedish young man, who started chatting with us, and ended up at our table. I don't remember his name, but he apparently moved to Iceland to be the middleman for various starting businesses here. Or something like that. I had trouble following him, as cute as he was, he also talked quite fast. He also apparently hoped to hook up with two cute Icelandic ladies at the next table.

It was a chance and very charming encounter. We wished him luck in his business endeavors and with the girls. :)

Another thing we learned - your waiter not always comes back with your check. After sitting around for a while, we were finally directed to the register. So, all in all, a great meal, an interesting chance encounter, and a great night.

The night got even better after that, but I'll have to tell you about that a bit later. I'm hoping to go out to a local thai restaurant, so hoping that my group doesn't leave without me.

That's a metal-cast mural in the hotel's lobby - very nice.

Mar 25, 2011

Call tp pray: Kiril

I have already posted Kiril's prayer on my Prayer wall, but I would like to mvoe this to the main page, as his situation is so heartbreaking.

His family, who just like many families, adopting a child wtih special needs, went through the "trial by fire", the paperwork, the travel, the finances, the questions, just to be told "NO". Why? Not because they were not fit, or could not provide for an adopted child. But because a judjge decided that Kiril did not deserve a family, having Down Syndrome. He was not fit to be loved.

Please follow the mother's story about this horrific experience. Basically, a mother was told by court to walk away from HER SON. I am appaled. I am begging you, my friends, please pray for this situation. This is not just about Kiril, but many other children in his orphanage. Please pray that the hears and minds of people maybe opened regarding the Down Syndrome - it is NOT a death sentence, and those children should NOT be locked away and hidden.

Please pray, please pray. Waiting for a miracle, Abba. Thank you.

Mar 23, 2011

Iceland, day 2

I just woke up, it is 7 am Icelandic time. I think my body is synching up with the time, I guess the next 10+ hours will be a test to that.

As I said, so far everything has been wonderful. I am enjoying, no, relishing and baskin in the comfort of my hotel room by myself. This solitary paradise, although short-lived, as John is arriving here tomorrow, is much-needed. The bed was beyond comfortable, with a feather-filled blanket and a pillow. The temperature in the room is perfect. The bathroom is cozy and clean. I am still figuring out how to work the faucets, as they are a bit confusing. I was told there is a button I am not supposed to press, as it will release the temperature comparable to the fires of hell itself, but I pressed everything anyway. No burns yet. I am being super cautious with the water, so it takes me white a bit to get the right temp for a bath.

Tap water tasted hevenly. Food in general been superb. I am off to have breakfast, which was an interesting mixture of yogurt, fruits, cold cuts, sausages and some pastries. And strong coffee!

I will be working a lot today, but will try to write more. Of, and its been snowing almost non-stop yesterday. Crispy 30s degrees, and feels very fresh (but cold!). Honestly, its like going back in time, back in Siberia - the smell of the wind, the feel of the cold. Its not like in the South in the winter at all.
Even the town itself looks like my hometown in Siberia. heh.

Mar 22, 2011

Iceland, day 1

I have landed in Iceland just a few hours ago. I am half-asleep, but forcing myself to stay awake, to get over the jet lag faster.
It is FREEZING here, and was quite a shock, coming from 70s degree weather. But its beautiful. I didn't get to go anywhere much yet, but the drive from Keflavik to Reykijavik was pretty amazing. Got to watch a sunrise over an island I've never been on before.

I think I might have forgotten my camera cord. If not, will post some pictures soon.

Mar 21, 2011

URGENT: Prayer request



Just brought home from a 3-year hell of oblivion in an orphanage, so tiny...3 years old, and weights only 11 pounds. Unfathomable. Her new family, brought her to the emergency room as soon as they landed in the US.

My friends, Please pray for her and her family. Please, Father, her road has been so long, yet in such a short time. So close to tasting life and love. I hope its not too late, but if it is - please bring her home to You.

Praying for her family, who are in shock and in pain. Please visit The Beautiful Life blog for more details on baby Carrington.

Mar 19, 2011

My own adventure


Next week I am about to leave for a 2-week business trip to Iceland. Yes, you heard me right - Iceland!
I am both excited and nervous. I am terrified of flying, or I used to - I think I am finally getting used to it. Luckily, almost everyone there speaks great English (in most cases, better English than here, down in the South, ifyouknowwahtimean). Ever since we landed in NYC 20-some years ago, I have not been outside of the US, so for me, this is like a grand adventure.
I hope that this year I will get a chance to travel to the opposite corner of our planet - To Africa. I recall hearing myself say just a few years ago: "Africa, is one place I will never ever go, because i am scared of it."

I am so over being scared. Seems that if you are motivated enough, you will do anything. :)

So, I will be checking my blog, and will try to post updates, but who knows what kind of access to the internet I will have? So with that, I hope to "see" you all soon.

Mar 17, 2011

God doesn't "wear off"

Sometimes, driving in my car, or washing the dishes, or showering (those are my special God moments)I think back on the years before God. I'm sure a lot of your will agree, those who were not born with religion around you but have come to God later in life - there comes a point where it's hard to remember or imagine your life without God.

When I first was saved I was afraid that it will "wear off". Like the high after a concert or an event - the excitement wears off after sometime. Like wine, like a drug - the "groovy feelings" will dissipate in reality. I was afraid that one day I will wake up and realize that I don't really believe in God, or salvation, or Jesus. That I will look at myself and feel foolish.

For months, I kept checking my heart, and each day, not a day went by when I did not think about You. And I had my Christian friends - strong, mature believers to help me and guide me and most of all teach me. And yet, I was afraid that one day You will go "poof!", like a cartoon fairy. And I will be back in the world again. Without You. Without hope. Without something precious.
Years went by, but the tiny light was not extinguished. After a while I started to get scared, what if there will be a "test" - a calamity, a tragedy in my life and I will not pass? What if something bad happens to someone I love, and I will get angry and stop believing in You?
I lived in fear, as if my head was already under the guillotine blade - waiting to it to fall. But no calamity came, things were as peaceful as ever. And You would not wear off, I thought of you daily. My heart rejoiced at thinking about You, reading Your word - every time.Sometime I would slip - I still do, and I purposefully shut You out my life for a time. But when I open the shutters - You are there, patiently waiting. Your prodigal daughter, each time you rush out to hug me and rejoice.

Could this be truly real? How can I be saved, yet be afraid for my faith to go "poof"? Over the years, the tiny flicker in my heart was growing stronger. I did nothing to feed it, but it did. The fire in my bones..But if I say, "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot." Oh Jeremiah, what beautiful words.
Little by little I started to realize that if the tragedy strikes - I will go on. I will shake the grief eventually, and continue marching ahead, because you will be carrying me. The fire burns inside, I now know that no matter happens int he future - you will not "wear off". You will shine only brighter each day, and You will be mine always, and I am Yours.

My little brother asked me, the last time we met "How did you get into religion like that? What was the point for you?"
I could not say, because I don't know. Its not a religion. Its love. I am in love. There is not a particular moment, no road to Damascus that happened. I cannot explain but I think my heart was always pointing to Him, my feet were simply walking on the wrong paths. I don't know what "clicked", how, what words were said to me. I just know that at some point I realized who I was - His. Always. No matter what.

And this is just the beginning.

Drawn from Water

Reading more on the situation over at the orphanage, and our struggles there. My heart feels so heavy, and I don't even have any details. I'm not there to hold them, but I am here to pray for them.
Please take them and seal them, hide them from those who seek to exploit and profit this situation. Father, please, father please. Hold them near your heart today and tomorrow and always.

Mar 16, 2011

Tale of two brothers and a bunny hat


Anton is a one-year-old orphan in Russia. He and a twin were born by surrogate in Russia. The twin was healthy, but Anton was diagnosed with a rare skin disorder called Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa (see debra.org). The "parents" took the healthy twin home but abandoned Anton in the hospital. He has been living in a hospital with one-on-one care and was in danger of being moved into an orphanage due to his age.

Now, those of you who are not familiar with that condition, let me tell you - its a tough road. Its a struggle and a challenge, and worst of all - it has no cure. Called the Butterfly disease, the children and adults suffering from it require constant care and pain management. While some forms of it are milder, and don't seem to require constant bandaging, others are not unlike treating 3d degree burns. Constantly. With new ones coming up, on the outside AND on the inside of the body.

There have been a lot of people watching, praying and waiting for a family to find him. And it did! Please visit the blog for the family, who want to adopt this boy. Sweet little Anton (that's my cousin's name, bthw). Look at his lively eyes! It won't be easy, but he will be loved.

There are a number of people that have been helping Anton directly, but right now his family needs all the support and help that we as a community can give them. Please visit their friend's site, Hope for Anton, and join me in the fund-raising event. If you are unable to participate, please spread the word. This time, the item auction is an adorable, custom-made with love bunny hat - just in time for Easter.
I'm told, sadly, the adorable model-baby does not come with the hat. :)



Please visit them! Please pray for Anton and his family, and that the process go fast and smooth for all.

Mar 15, 2011

Prayer requests

My friends, please pray with me, as a few more requests have appeared on the prayer wall (along with an awesome praise report!).

The latest one is for the Drawn from Water orphanage in Ethiopia. This is urgent. To learn more about this amazing place and the awesome people who run it, please visit their blog.

Every word, every post exudes their devotion and love to those children and one another. Please ask the good Lord to shield them from whatever whirlwind that's surrounding them.

Mar 14, 2011

Crafting mis-adventures

So, for a while now I have been looking for "my thing". You might know that I love to craft. I have probably seen literally hundreds upon hundreds of craft galleries. I also have a closet of crafting supplies, ranging from face painting to beads.

But I have trouble finding something that I can feel comfortable with. Something I cam make especially well. I also would like to be able to make things that I can use for the various fundraisers. I'm not going to lie - I don't hold the hopes of living off my craft, as I, frankly, don't have the time or the patience that I used to.

Anyway, I found this adorable tutorial on making dolls out of nylons stockings. The lady was quite good, and she made it look so simple!
Check these babies out!


So, after finding some rudimentary colors at the local Walmart, I set out to try it. Now, the master claimed that it takes her about 30-40 minutes to make them (Unless I mis-read). After two hours, my first creation emerged.

She is...well..memorable, for the lack of better word. I truly hope that my poor deformed spud-Goblin doesn't give anyone nightmare.


^ My son, posing with the doll, trying to look interested.


Ignore the date, my camera is always a few years behind the times. So, feeling ambitious (and having another nylon sock left), I also made a toy (an albino rodent with malformed limbs and disproportionately large butt) for my Gio. He seems to like it :)



Basically its a Pink Lady Spud Goblin.


To-the-TOP TuesdayBusy Mom's Tips Tuesday Blog Hop

PS
Day 2, and Gio has not been playing with the rodent-toy. Why, WHY?! =-D

Mar 11, 2011

Pray for Japan today

As most of your might have heard today, Japan was hit by a massive earthquake a few hours ago. There is not that much information on the scope of the damage yet or the lives taken, but a few sources state that it was one of the largest earthquakes that Japan was ever hit with.

Let us pray today for the nation of Japan. For those who are hurt, lost, missing, or dead. For their families, for the rebuilding of homes and families. I pray that Lord would hold them in His hands and show mercy. I pray that people's heart are moved and called to help however they can.

Thank you, Father.

And a second prayer request is for the coast of California and Hawaii that might possibly be struck with a tsunami. May the damage be minimal, and no lives be taken.

Mar 9, 2011

Little boy and ice cream

A boy of about 10 walked into a café, and asked the waitress how much is a chocolate ice cream cone with sprinkles.

“50 cents” – said the waitress.
The boy, counting the coins in his hand and asked her:
“How much is just a plain ice-cream, without anything on top?"
The waitress, who had other customers waiting, was starting to get impatient.
“A quarter” – she said, sounding irritated.The boy then counted the coins in his hand once more.
“Can I have just a plain ice cream please” – asked the boy. The waitress brought out a cup of plain ice-cream, carelessly tossed the check on the table and departed to wait on the other customers. The boy finished his ice-cream, took the check to the register, paid and left.

When the waitress came to clean up his table, her eyes started welling up with tears – near an empty little bow sat a stack of coins, totaling 25 cents. It was her tip.

The moral of the story: never judge a person, when you don't know the reason behind his actions.

Beyond the blood

God is truly a revolutionary. From the very start of our existence as beings, he has taught us to think beyond our pre-conceived notions and ideas. Think bigger. Think global. Think different. Sounds like a corporate slogan, doesn’t it?

My sister in Christ from Journey 2 Ethiopia have posted this awesome article on adoption. I urge you to read it. It does not matter whether you never considered adoption, or are researching (like me), or are already in the process of adopting, or have adopted already.

One thing that this article helped me understand, and I think that God had already pressed it on my heart through countless of stories of adoption and families rebuilt: Adoption allows us to see FAMILY beyond blood. Ok, the “hippy” concept of all people being one big family is as old as time itself. But if you think about it, we are conditioned to know that family is the most important thing in life. That those people, whom we call family, are bound to us by blood, genetics, DNA – forever. From generation to generation. We are to cherish and protect it, no matter what. They are not perfect, and more often than not, they are who hurt us the most, but the idea transcends all cultures, all times and religions – family is the most important thing.

God, on the other hand is beyond blood. Beyond DNA and the family name. We are conditioned to protect the genes. To consider the blood to be the tying bond. But He, again and again, speaks of thinking beyond that. An adopted child is family. He or she is loved and suffered for, just as “blood child”. So, understanding the reservation about adopting a child – we were conditioned to think that this human being is a stranger.

But is he or she is that more of a stranger than the child growing in our wombs? Have we any control over what our “blood child” will look like, act like, be when they grow up? None at all. Is he or she not a stranger too?

I guess what I’m trying to say that more and more I am catching a glimpse of what God has been trying to tell us all along. As clichĂ© as this sounds – we are all family. Those children in an orphanage across the ocean - are family. Separated by miles, languages, name, tradition – they are family. That guy next to you on a subway – is family. He has no idea he is, but he is. The lady at the bank? Family.
Rebuilding our brains, allowing us to think beyond the box – what if we believed it and treated them like family? Not in small ways, like being nice (although that’s a start). But in BIG ways, as family often does? Giving shelter, giving provision, safety, or home, when a little one has none?

Please leave comments, tell me what you think. I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

Mar 7, 2011

What you should and should NOT tell your psychiatrist.

For reasons not important to this anecdote, I decided to see a psychologist. I have never been to a real psychologist before.I have googled far and wide on what I should expect when I see him/her. Naturally, my expectations were full of what the movies and TV portrayed the psychologists do. I am sure that I am not the only one in this. I also googled on what to say and what not to say to one. Unfortunately, there was no convenient list of DO’s and DON’Ts for this out there, at least that I could find.

Being a Christian – how much of your faith should or can you reveal to your doctor. If he not a Christian or follows any religion at all – should you even bring this up?
When I got to the office, I was so frazzled (I got lost on the way there), that I put the wrong date on ALL of the documents they had me fill out. I was only a day ahead, but the doctor (an older, very strict-looking gentleman) looked at me with THAT look that psychologists I KNOW have and asked me “Where are you getting this date from?”

It took every ounce of self-control not to tell him that my time machine’s calendar must be out of synch. When he asked me whether I have ever experienced hallucinations or heard voices, I stumbled and asked him to clarify. Like what do you mean, doctor, like voices- voices, or like OMG VOICES? He, narrowing his eyes, wrote something down in is pad.

I stumbled on the “Do you think you are being pursued by someone out there, or someone is out to get you?” What do I say?!

I know if you don’t tell your doctor the truth, then you are not going to allow them to help you. But how far does one go? Think about it, as a Christian (if you are, for example), or a person following another religion – how many things we say and do and experience during out normal day that can be classified as basically insane? And we consider them quite normal.

I’m torn and a little scared. Can one be put in a metal institution without their consent in our days? =)

Mar 4, 2011

The boy with broken legs.


I met a woman not too long ago who is a part of a mission group, that works in Uganda, particularly on improving conditions of a "rehabilitation center for children" near Kampala - the capital of Uganda.

One story in particular have always stayed with me. It is about a boy that they found in that "center" - He was only 4-5 years old. His legs were broken, and he was blinded by acid being spilled in his eyes. I was horrified and sick to my stomach to find out that this atrocity was done to him on purpose, AND by his own grandmother. By her reasoning, he would bring more money begging on the streets of Kampala is he was disfigured. He could earn SOMETHING in order to feed himself and his family.

That's not even the worst thing that happened to him. The reason my friend even found the boy, was because he was one of the couple of hundred children that are regularly brought to this "rehabilitation center" - swept off the streets by the authorities. Especially around the election times, because no one wants to see those beggars and children with nothing to do wandering around? So how do you solve the problem? You round them up like cattle, shove them in trucks, then ship them off to a "camp" just a few kilometers outside of the city and lock the door behind them. And THAT IS IT. There is no rehabilitation going on there.

200-300 kids, ages 3-18, starving, lonely, hungry, sick, hurt, with NO adult supervision, locked up behind a gate. What do they sleep on? If they are lucky - on a 20-year old mattress, covered in any possible biofluid imaginable. What do they eat? If they are lucky - they get their single allotted "meal" (swill) which is less nutritional than a stick of gum. If they get hurt? They just hope to live through it. If they are abused? They just live through it. Children, as young as 3, alone, mixed in with teenagers. Barely any supervision.

Some children have parents, but most do not. Sometimes parents of the "fortunate ones" come to pick them up around the Holidays (Merry Christmas, baby!) and drop them back on the street later on, but most of them time - they do not. Those who are able to work - work the fields nearby - a back-breaking labor. Many of them are refugees from Rwanda, who's parents have been killed during the political unrest, but a staggering number of them are HIV orphans.


Hard to imagine, right? In our day an age. What if one of them was MY son? My brother?

When my friends came there, they had no idea what they were walking into. They had no knowledge of this place before hand. what they saw with their eyes left them heartbroken. But also with a vision and a purpose.They may not be able to save all. But they can TRY to save some. Saving one life during your lifetime - is that not a HUGE thing already?



Those are real children. Real people. Not a faceless charitable organization. Those are mothers and fathers just like us. Their are based in Atlanta. They cannot, and will NOT be silent about this. They may not be able to change the system, but they CAN make a tangible difference.

A system cannot be changed through burying the problem. But there is a chance that one of those children, who suffers through this horrible injustice that is being done to them through no fault of their on, will LIVE and grow up to be the one person to change things one day. Those children have no voice. But WE do. We have the means. We have the riches. We have the way to make something good out of this ugliness.
Please visit their site: 60 feet

Their numbers are few, but the need is great. Please consider helping in whatever way you can, even if it is just to spread the word.

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