Monday, July 25, 2022

To Ukraine, With Love

 

Last week I traveled with our three "Littles" to the annual Reece's Rainbow reunion.




For those who are new to this little blog of mine - It's the ministry where we found our kiddos.

This year our families filled up the campground. 

There used to be a time when I knew everyone who was there and was able to name all the children.

Not anymore. 

That's a really good thing even though it feels kind of strange. 



As the undesignated organizer of the yearly picture - I did a lousy job this year of getting all the RR kids in one single frame with my phone camera. 

 I was too busy making sure they didn't all run away before the real photographer took the picture.


So you kind of have to piece it together to see all the kiddos. Of course we are missing a lot in the picture. Some hadn't arrive yet, some had already left and some just didn't get up in time to get there! 

You can see my little shoeless girl right smack in the middle with her helmet on! 

Later on in the week we gathered the Ukraine children together. Again - not even close to all of them but I was happy to get these.


It's our "To Ukraine, With Love" picture..



It was a fun week although definitely exhausting. Ten hours there and back make for two long days of travel. Every year I say this will be the last time.... 

But it's hard to not go when my two boys talk about it all year long and count the days when they can go back! 

We didn't get any souvenirs this year, but we did bring back head colds, fevers and some stomach ailments. Little girl landed in the ER on Sunday morning after a dreadful night of high fevers and seizures. She has an ear infection.

Not a great way to end a special week but you can't have it all.


Tuesday, July 12, 2022

18 Looks Good!

This boy. The oldest of my "littles" is no longer a little.

18 years old. A man.

I missed his birthday on Saturday. I was in Texas and didn't get to hug him! I was stuck doing the "I love you" over the phone. 

Oh, how I wish he had been my boy for ALL 18 of those years.

I've had him for seven precious years.

It's not been picture perfect. Adoption never is. We've shed many tears over our John John.

There were many many days in those seven years when love was a choice and not a feeling.

There were many many times when the mountain seemed high, and I never thought we would get over it.

There were many many times when I despaired. 

But I can say with no hesitation that he has been one of the best gift God has given us in our lives.

The transformation in his heart over these last seven years astounds me. 


He has grown, changed, matured. He has blossomed - especially in the last two years.

He has become a kind, compassionate, tender young man who loves Jesus with all his heart and it shows.

I love this boy/man so much.

I love his smile and his sense of humor. I love the way he tenderly cares for Mary. I love his inquisitiveness. I love his passion for music. I love his hit or miss OCD where he can fold the clothes with exact precision, but his desk looks like a bomb blew up.

I love our John and I wouldn't trade him for the world!

God knew what He was doing when he placed him in our family.

Happy Late Birthday, John!






Monday, May 30, 2022

30 Years on the 30th!

 

Thirty years today.



If I could give one piece of advice to a girl looking for that perfect someone, I'd tell them to pick one who is humble enough to say to you before you are married that he'd rather God lead your marriage than him.

I'd tell you to pick someone who says: Walk beside me and we will do this thing called marriage side by side.

Mutually submitted.

Mutually loving.

Pick that one, girls.

Pick one who is gentle in spirit but fierce in protection.

Pick one who is not afraid of work.

Pick one who cries at all the sad parts of movies.

Pick one who drinks water and tea.

Pick one who guards his words in an argument.

Pick one who loves the helpless and is willing to give up everything for the hurting.

Pick one who is generous and kind.

Pick one who doesn't mind dishwater hands and dirty diapers.

Pick one who is a beast at cleaning the floors and knows how to run a vacuum cleaner.

Pick one who loves Jesus, loves music and loves his peoples.

Pick one who loves to laugh and who laughs at all your dumb jokes!

I've spent thirty years with that kind of man.

We've walked side by side on this roller coaster of life - through the hard times, the funny times, the crazy times and the impossible times.

Humbly submitted.

Humbly loving.

Happily married.

I can't wait for the next thirty!



Thursday, April 21, 2022

60

 I'm 60 today.

Sixty years old and leaving for Ohio for a homeschool convention. 


Last night Little Girl saw my computer bag in the kitchen.

She saw me packing it for the trip.

When I turned away, she took the bag and carried it back in the office. 

Mama stay.

Break my heart.

Yesterday I took the day off and went to the zoo with my kiddos


That was the best birthday present.


Enjoying a beautiful day with my three youngest.


Watching them enjoy life.


Seeing their laughter.


I don't have words on my 60th birthday.

I'm grateful for 60 years.

I'm grateful for my family.

I am grateful for a loving husband and a God who loves me.

My birthday request - pray for Ukraine.


Pray for peace!



Sunday, April 3, 2022

Unleased Evil

I've been following this war from day one. Every single day pouring through the articles, pictures, posts from friends, news sites and more to stay as educated and on top of what is going on.

I've shed tears. I've grieved. I've raged. I've posted on here and on my Facebook wall.

I've tried to keep people informed. I've tried to be a voice. I've tried to share what I know to raise awareness, support and prayers.

I've seen terrible pictures over the last 30+ days. I've read about horrible atrocities. I've watched shocking videos. 

But yesterday.

Yesterday.

Yesterday the cacophony of stories and pictures and video came from so many different directions I could not sift through it all.

The whole region of Kyiv was liberated from the Russians over the last few days.

That should be cause for great rejoicing.

My friends who were forced out of their homes can go back.

The Russians did not make it into Kyiv.

The Ukrainians "won."

Yet I weep.

I am at a loss for words.

What they left behind is unspeakable.



Bodies are everywhere. Not just one or two. Hundreds. People in civilian clothes. Men. Women. Children. Whole families in cars trying to flee. People shot trying to get away on their bikes. All dead.

This is not some history story from the past.

These people were killed a few days ago. A week ago. In the last 5 weeks.

Bodies in the basements. Unable to get out for food - they starved to death.

What they did to those living is just as horrific.

As the living emerge from the basements and hiding places, the stories pour forth.



The rapes. Children being forced to watch. 

Men taken, tied up, tortured and then killed. I've seen pictures. I want to vomit.

They treated the civilians of these cities like a sick video game - shooting to maim. Shooting to kill. 

Mass graves.

City after city.

They left Kyiv but left behind sick "presents."

They left piles of their bodily functions everywhere.

They booby trapped toys. Dead bodies. anything. Everything.

They mined the roads. 

They destroyed countless homes.

Schools. Churches. Hospitals. Businesses.

They took everything they didn't blow up. Everything. From refrigerators to TV's to pots and pans to clothes and jewelry and everything. 

I could go on and on and on.

Kyiv region is freed but the Russians are not gone.

They have only moved.

They are centering their forces along the eastern part of Ukraine.

Their desire is to capture those areas and then move in from that direction.

But just to keep it lively for them - they continue to bomb. Here, there everywhere.

To scare. To destroy. To break the will of the people.

To keep the Ukrainians from taking their full force to the east too.

It's not over.

It's far from over.

It's unleashed evil. 

And we sit here in America watching and grieving and shouting and crying and praying and wanting it to end but feel so helpless.

I say I am sorry to my friends over and over and over again.

They are too.

There are just no words for this.

They left Kyiv region but are still in countless other cities and villages across Ukraine. Maiming. Killing. Raping. Stealing. Torturing.

When will it end?

Who will come to the rescue of the Ukrainian people?

When is enough enough? When do we acknowledge as a nation, as a people, that evil must not be allowed to run rampant?

Please keep praying for Ukraine.

Pray that God will hear the cries of the people. That He will give comfort in their distress. 

Pray for an end to this evil.

Pray that our leaders and the leaders of Europe will do the right thing. 


Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Brave

 I am not a brave person.

I have always run from danger.

I've never jumped in and stopped a fight.

I've always had the motto to keep a low profile, keep my head down and stay out of conflict.

I let others fight my battles. I let others protest. I let others take on the bullies of this world.

I'm ashamed to share that.

I'm not brave.

But I know what brave looks like.

Brave is leaving everything behind and becoming a refugee in a foreign land.



Brave is saying goodbye.


Brave is tenderly rescuing an elderly woman and her cat.


Brave is honoring those who have fallen.


Brave is comforting.


Brave is knowing that taking a stand will end your life as you know it.


Brave is protesting against what your country is doing in Ukraine.


Brave is volunteering even though you've never held a gun. 


Brave is fighting for your country.


Brave is refusing to leave your country and choosing to lead from the front.


Brave is rescuing the orphans.

Brave is carrying food into war torn areas.

Brave is searching among the rubble for the living.

I could go on and on.

I sit here day in and day out and watch the bravest people struggling against the greatest odds.

They fight and beg - close the skies. Please close the skies.



I hear our reasons why that's impossible.

We want to keep a low profile. Keep our heads down. Stay out of the conflict.

We need to protect our own.

And all the while... brave men and women and children are dying.

Little boys are saying goodbye to their Papas.


They are dying while we cower. 

Please.

We need to be brave!

We need to honor the agreement we made to Ukraine back in 1994. They gave up their nuclear weapons (the third largest in the world) and we promised to protect their borders. 

They signed in good faith.

We have broken that faith.

First in 2014.

Now in 2022

WE NEED TO BE  BRAVE!


Friday, March 11, 2022

Unspeakable Horror

For two weeks now I've been numb.

Tears have leaked out of my eyes without my even realizing.

I grieve at every picture coming out of Ukraine. Every video.

Children have been killed. Residential buildings have been destroyed. Hospitals. Schools.

My heart is so grieved. I have few words and can only cry out to God.

When we talk about Ukraine, Rob and I use the pronouns we, us and ours - not they, them and their. Their country is ours. That's how personal this is. We don't do it intentionally. We catch ourselves doing it. It's a natural part of having three Ukrainian-born faces to wake up to each morning. 


It's personal because we are in first hand conversation with dear friends over there. They are the ones having the bombs dropped around them. They are the ones begging for the skies to be closed over them. They are the ones making Molotov cocktails day in and out.


They are the ones hiding out, clutching their children beside them.




They are the ones who are fleeing with just the clothes on their backs.

They are the ones in the 'safer' areas who are emptying their pantries, their closets, their bank accounts for their fellow Ukrainians.


They are the ones distributing food to the desperately needy.



We KNOW these people. We GRIEVE with these people.

It's personal and its real.

If I could go over and be the hands and feet of Jesus over there I would be on a plane in a heartbeat. We are here and we can give, and we can pray and I realize those are two worthy callings. 


And I can be a voice for my friends. I can be a voice for 'our' country across the sea. I can speak up for the voiceless right now. 

Two million and counting have fled Ukraine. They are shell shocked, scared, longing for a home they don't have anymore and dependent upon others for help. 


That leaves 39 million people in a country gone mad. Some are in "safe places" but as a dear friend stated yesterday, there are really no safe places. Bombs could drop just as easily on those safe places as the rest. 

Our prayers matter.

They FEEL them over there. They SEE God at work. In little ways. In big ways. His presence is in their midst. 

My friends tell me over and over - please pray. Please please pray. It is their number one plea.

One of our dear facilitators over there wrote me yesterday: "I believe the prayers of our families saved my life the last two weeks."

Please don't get weary of praying and caring. We are a short-term memory people. We watch with horror for a while, but when the horror doesn't let up we move on to the next big thing. Gas prices are our next big thing. It's all over my feed.

Sorry to be blunt but gas prices do not compare to bombs blowing up hospitals.


It just doesn't.

The situation in Ukraine is dire. People in some areas are starving to death with no way to get food, water and because Russia keeps breaking their promise for safe corridors, they cannot get out to safety.

This is a scary map. All those red spider webs are roads and areas where the Russians have control. 


The people in the villages in those areas are being terrorized. 


The cities are being bombed down to rubble.


It is unspeakable horror. Children caught in the crossfire.


Please don't stop praying. Please don't get weary of hearing about Ukraine. 

Please don't stop doing all you can to help!




Monday, March 7, 2022

The 38

 As you go about your Monday morning - feeding your wee ones, pouring milk into their bowls.

As you comb out tangles, look for lost socks, fuss over the mess on the floor.

As you struggle arms into coats and hustle your children out the door. For school. Or appointments. 

As you go about your Monday feeling harried and worried over all the things on your to do list.

As you go about your day.

Think of the 38.

38 lost wee ones. In a senseless war.

Think of their moms.

Think of their dads.

Think of the days where they will never again.

And never again.

And never again.

Because a man who has determined that their piece of real estate belongs to him....

Has robbed them of their ever again.

As you go about your day pray for those moms. 

Pray for those dads.

Because they are weeping in shock and anguish that in a mere 12 days, their entire world has crashed around them. 

The devastation is real. The pictures do not begin to capture the horror of what is happening.

Millions are homeless in a foreign land. 

Many more tens of millions are waiting for the bombs to drop.


In just 12 days.

Life as they knew it is over.

With no end in sight.

As you go about your day.

On this Monday morning - think of them.

Think of the tens of millions of them.

Afraid. Confused. Shocked. Angry. Clinging to their faith. Finding faith. 

Think of the wanderers.

Think of the soldiers.

Think of the elderly.

Think of the newly orphaned.

Think of the newly widowed.

Think of the disabled.

Think of the loss. Think of the devastation.

Think of the 38.

38 who will never again.

Never again. 

PLEASE PRAY FOR UKRAINE!

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