Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Psalm 82:3

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July 19

On July 19, 2010- the day before we lost Carson- the 1st of our twin boys, I read this in my devotional. Hope By: Nancy Guthrie.

Losing Your Life
If you cling to your life, you will lose it, but if you give it up for me, you will find it. 
-Matthew 10:39

Last weekend I called a young woman who wrote me after losing her firstborn son, who lived two days before dying in her arms.  His genetic abnormality is likely to repeat itself in the future children she and her husband may have.  "I want to be a mother," she wrote to me.  "I want to have purpose and meaning in my life.  I want to move on with whatever God has for me- but I don't know how to do any of these things.  How do I mourn the possibility that I will never have a child of my own, when that has been my heart's greatest desire for as long as I can remember?"

We had a precious conversation, but I could tell that the high cost of what I was calling her to do- no, that Jesus was calling her to do- was staggering.  Jesus calls us to abandon our own agendas, what we have deemed will please and fulfill us, so that we can embrace the kind and quality of life that only he gives.  This is not about adding Jesus to the life we are living.  This is about making Jesus our life.  This is about putting our plans for our lives to death so that the abundant life he offers has room to take root and grow.  And death is always painful.  This is not an extreme brand of discipleship only for go-getters.  This is the call for everyone who chooses to be a follower of Jesus.

The problem is,  we don't really believe that God's plan for our lives could be better than the one we've crafted.  We don't believe we could be as fulfilled by the life he offers as we would be by the one we've planned.  It takes a step of faith to believe God will supply satisfying life now and when we die.

"Your son has given you an incredible gift," I told this grieving mom.  "He has given you the gift of being forced to reconsider the very purpose of your life.  Those who are sailing through a comfortable life at this point have not yet been forced to carefully consider their lives and surrender their dreams.  But because you have been shaken to the core, you see clearly that if you cling to your own plans and desires, you will never discover the freedom and joy found in losing your life for Jesus."
When I read this on July 19, I had no idea what the next days and weeks would bring.  Only God knew.  

I do not think it was a coincidence that I read this that night.  He had it planned that I would read page 52 on July 19.  He knew that I would read page 52 countless times over the next year.  And he knew how it would slowly sink in. 

Putting our plans to death was incredibly hard.  Now we realize that His plans are better than anything we could ever dream ourselves.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

GoJo Ethiopian Cuisine

Last Friday we went to Grand Rapids to try an Ethiopian restaurant for the first time.  We went with Brent and Kerri - another couple from Hamilton adopting from Ethiopia.  We have actually had very similar timing in our adoption processes.  Our dossiers traveled to Ethiopia on the same day and we both got word that we are officially on the waiting list this past Thursday.  So, we had reason to celebrate!

None of us had ever had Ethiopian food, so we were interested to try it.  The owner/host/waiter/cook (yes, one man did it all!) helped us pick out what to order.  We told him we were adopting from Ethiopia and he suggested we try the chicken and lamb with all the sides.  

This is how the food is served:

Each platter had the same sides, but one had chicken and one had lamb.  The sides included salad, lentils, chickpeas, cabbage vegetable combination, and green beans.  

We were not given silverware to eat with...that is what the injera is for.  Injera is the white rolls on each platter.  It is kind of like a spongy bread or pancake.  You tear a piece off and use that to pick up the food.

The food was very spicy!!!  We did like most of the food.  It was very tasty - even though it does not look very appetizing.  

Overall we had a great experience and would definitely recommend it to any one else who is adopting from Ethiopia!  The owner sat down with us at the end of our meal and told us a bit about Ethiopia.  He moved here 30 years ago, but it was still very interesting to hear him talk about his home country!

Thanks Brent & Kerri for experiencing a touch of Ethiopia with us!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

THE List & The Cottage

We made it!  We are officially on the waiting list to adopt from Ethiopia!  The email we received today said our dossier has been authenticated, translated, and registered with MOWCYA. 

At this point we are looking at about a 12 month wait for a referral.  The official time frame is 6-12 months, but Bethany is saying it will be at least 12 months for an infant. 

So, we begin the long wait...and keep praying for our future child.


We spent four days at a cottage on  Big Star Lake  near Baldwin, MI this past weekend.  Scott's family rents a cottage there each summer.  They have been going there for 30+ years!  We had a relaxing, long weekend!

Scott tubing with our niece, Lauren.  This girl loves tubing!

Wiffle ball on the beach! 

It was HOT over the weekend, so we took frequent swims in the middle of the lake!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fourth of July Weekend

Wow, we had a busy weekend!  My weekend started on Thursday with plans to spend some time with my Mom, sister, niece and nephew.  My Mom took me kayaking on Goshorn Lake in Saugatuck and then we met up with Jill, Colton and Cassidy to go to Oval Beach.  It was the perfect day to hit the beach.  The kids love the water and sand so it is fun to watch them play. We even saw a blimp fly by?!?!

Friday was my 30th Birthday and I was spoiled by Scott for the day!  He arranged for me to have the day off of work so we could spend the day together.  He planned the entire day...we started off with breakfast at one of my new favorites - The Biscuit in Washington Square.  Then we went to Pentwater for the rest of the afternoon.  We strolled the cute downtown shops and grabbed some lunch to eat on the beach.  It was quite cool on the beach so we just relaxed there, took a walk and headed back home.  We finished the day with dinner at The Piper in Holland.

A few downtown Pentwater shops-

On Saturday we went to the Detroit Tigers game with Scott's family.  We got there early and had dinner at Hockeytown and then went into the 97 degree stadium!  It was hot!  Luckily our seats were in the shade.  We watched the Tigers get rolled for 2 innings when dark clouds started to roll in.  All of the sudden it was windy and raining sideways and we were soaked! We waited for about 45 minutes and then left since it did not appear to be letting up any time soon.  Unfortunately they did restart the game about 2 1/2 hours later so we were not able to get rain-out tickets.  Not exactly the night we were hoping for, but I am sure we will not forget it for a very long time!

Our friends Phil and Liz came up to our house late on Saturday night to stay with us and enjoy Sunday together.  Scott and Phil golfed a very, very early round on Sunday morning before church.  We spent most of the afternoon at Douglas Beach.  The weather was once again PERFECT!  After the beach we had a delicious dinner at The Everyday People Cafe in Douglas.

We drove back to Holland to watch the fireworks, but we had the wrong night...they were actually on Monday night.  But, it was soooo worth it since the sunset was gorgeous!!

On Monday we decided to stay home most of the day to catch up from being busy all weekend. We enjoyed burgers on the grill with Scott's family for dinner and then headed to the big village of Overisel for a great small-town fireworks show.