Saturday, February 14, 2009

"I Do Not Envy You."

Sheila and Karina had gone ahead in to Walmart to find some clothes for Karina.  I gathered the other four and we began walking towards the entrance when a woman passed us, looked at the five of us and said, "I do not envy you."

I told her there were two more members of our family already inside.  She shook her head and continued on her way.
I do not get the comments as much as Sheila does from people we meet in WalMart referring to our family... "How do stay sane?"... "Do you know what causes that?"... "I would not want to be you."... etc. etc.

Oh, if they only knew how much fun we are having.  When I say this I do not want to give the impression that we have no troubles... we do have hard times... but they are so worth it... every struggle makes us more like Christ and that is what we need... it is what we want.

Psalm 127:3 tells us, "Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward."
Children are a precious treasure and we are so thankful for ours!

Our children teach us patience and perseverance, cause us pain, bring us to tears and make us laugh.

Laugh.  We do this a lot... we did it tonight.  Sheila, Karina and Storey Grace are out with some cousins doing some shopping for Karina and the boys and I played in the mud, fixed a big supper and had a dance party.  Isaac was helping me prepare supper and he told me, "I am glad I do not have to live in the refrigerator."
"Why?" I asked.
"It's cold in there."

Noah took a bite of a lime tostido chip and said, "This is hot."
I told him that the chips were not hot.
"Well, it is either hot or disgusting." he replied.
"I do not think it is hot."
"Well, then it is disgusting." was his conclusion.
He did not eat anymore chips.

Boys.  Boys bring a lot of excitement to life.  When our boys wake up in the morning they have chores to do before they eat breakfast and then they go outside to play before school starts - we get the wiggles out before sitting for hours.  The other morning I told them it was time to come inside and found that one of them was playing with a frog, one of them was playing in mud and one was making a weapon and attempting to set something on fire.  Just another morning before 8:30AM.
Boys.  Forgive me for not updating you on Jay and Martha for a long time.  Many of you prayed for Jay and Martha.  After about ten weeks in Ukraine, they are home with their two boys.  Thanks for your prayers for them.  Please continue the prayers.
Martha is enjoying life with boys.  Here are some things she has learned about boys and some pictures:

Boys like to beat each other up.

Boys have lots of energy.

Boys will do interesting things with dolls or action figures.

"Found one way to burn off some energy: Walk 45 minutes to the Black Sea and then challenge the boys to JUMP over and over again while we get the perfect shot, which takes 25-30 attempts!  Then go into a restaurant for dessert and walk 45 minutes back to the apt!  Both boys took a long, hot shower afterwards because they were saturated with sea foam.  I even heard a faint "I'm tired" from David before he pounced on Sam for the umpteenth time.  A separate attempt to expand their horizons was taking them to the opera last night - BIG MISTAKE!  I got all kinds of whining and complaining and tantrums - and that was just from JAY!  NOT, repeat NOT a good place to burn off energy."

We miss Jay and Martha and pray that God blesses their family.

All of us want to make a difference... to impact this world in some way... what better way than to train a child in the ways of the LORD... to teach them how to live 24 hours a day... how to glorify God in all of life and not to put life into compartments... 
making an impact...
and having fun at the same time...
silly conversations plus watching your kids latest dance moves. 

(Isaac is dancing for me to Ukrainian music as I type). 

Since our last post, Karina has continued to study her English hard - 3-4 hours of English every day.  She is a great student.  I am falling behind her in my Russian studies but I can read the language now - by read I mean I can pronounce the Russian words on a page - not necessarily understand them.  She keeps telling me she is winning this contest.

Wednesday we met with our small discipleship group for the first time since before Thanksgiving.  It was so good to be with them again.  This group of people prayed so hard for us for months regarding this adoption and we love them.  Karina came to the group with us and met them.

Thursday Twin Lakes held a welcome party for Karina.  Twin Lakes Camp and Conference Center is the place I have served for the past 12 years.  It is one of the greatest places on earth with an incredible group of people to work with.  We had a great meal that the staff and many spouses prepared (Karina brought a Ukrainian salad she made) and then they showered her with gifts.  Thank you Twin Lakes for so lovingly welcoming our daughter!  Oh, and if anyone reading this blog needs a the perfect getaway for themselves or family... come visit us at Twin Lakes - - we think the summer camp is the best in the world too!

Until last night (Friday), Karina had not been apart from at least one of us since she left the orphanage.  Last night I took Sheila on a date and a babysitter came to care for the kids (thanks, Kristi!).  Karina was nervous about this.  She wanted to know all the details...
"Where are you going?"
"Are you coming back?"
"Who is going to be with us?"
She was a bit unsure of both of us leaving her and she gave us huge hugs before we walked out the door.
When we returned a few hours later she rushed at us and exclaimed...
"I missed you so much!"
She held onto us and talked with us until well after midnight.
She was assured that whenever we leave, we are going to come back home unless God keeps us away.

Saturday I took Karina and Storey Grace on a date.  
The three of us went to a Father/Daughter Brunch at Lakeland PCA along with our neighbor, Andrew and his daughter, Anna.
It was a joy to be with these precious daughters building memories and letting them know that they are important to me and to God.

The person from Wal-Mart does not envy me... but as Psalm 127 goes on to say in verse 5... I am a blessed man.


  1. i think you should become a professional blogger :). I'm touched as always. thanks so much for the baby clothes.

  2. Sheila and Matthew, a post likes this makes us long to get Dasha even more. We look forward to the Walmart trip and walking hand-n-hand as a family of four. I'm taking my daughters on a Daddy Daughter dance in mid-May and I can't wait. May God's grace continue to fall upon you. Talk to you before we leave.

  3. Since I am pregnant now and we are already about to have three boys, I get a lot of these comments. I even got a message on facebook telling me how crazy I am and that I am setting myself up for disaster. But, if they could only know how blessed WE are to have these wonderful children. I don't want them to feel sorry for me. I am blessed and you are blessed. Praise God!

    Of course I do not have any girls so I know all about boys...haha I laughed looking at the pictures. This is what I am used to so I probably wouldn't even know what to do with a

    Love all the pictures and I am so happy for all of you! It made me cry reading how Karina was when you and Sheila came home.

    I have a question for you...after reading about your you rent out any buildings at Twin Lakes? We are trying to hold a fundraiser, but do not have a location yet. I would love to talk with you about this. Thanks!

  4. Forgot to say...

    Thanks for updating on Jay and Martha. I have been wondering about them a lot and am so happy to see that they are home. :) Wow! 10 weeks!!