Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Happy 95th Smokey!

We headed to St. Louis over the weekend to celebrate the 95th birthday of Heather's Grandma - affectionately called Smokey.  95 Years!!!  She is still healthy, active and living in her own condo.  She's always been so happy and joyful and fun to be around.

We also saw Heather's Aunt and Uncle, along with her two cousins.  It was a fun, fun weekend - but very hot!  Heather Aunt Kris and Uncle Earl hosted the festivities with great style and warmth - as they always do.  There was love in the house as we spent the weekend together.  What a great time.  What a great family.

We drove all day Friday (9 hrs).  Then swam on Saturday - awesome pool at Kirkwood Park.  On Sunday we went to the Arch, The Magic House, and visited the Galleria for shopping (for Sunshine!).

On Monday we drove home (9hrs) just in time to get to T-Bird's baseball game which went 10 innings.  Very long day!

Here are some pics of our trip.  These are from Sunshine's camera because I can't find mine - Arghhh!  How do we find anything with seven people in one house!

time in the car - lots of time in the car - lots and lots of time in the car

At Busch Stadium

At the Arch

 (Rye-Bread and T-Bird flexing their pipes on the playground!)

(The Big Fella and Rye Bread taming the T Rex)
All the Lozier Ladies - Teagan, Avery, Erin, Kris, Smokey, Sunshine, Heather

Playing the piano by ear at age 95!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Youngs

The Youngs are a family who are adopting from Ethiopia through our Agency AGCI.  They met their little boy yesterday at Hannah's Hope in Addis Ababa.

Please check out their blog showing their posts about meeting their new little boy.  The pictures say it all!

The Young's blog can be found at Babe of My Heart.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Heather is a Winner!!!

Heather won a T-Shirt on the Ucherek's website as part of their fund raising drawing!  Click on their blog post here.  It's a great cause to the help the Ucherek's on their way to bring home their little one home from Ethiopia.  It's exciting to see so many people come together for the sake of rescuing orphans.

We've met the Ucherek's through blog world and email exchanges.  They are a great young couple in the process of starting their family by adopting from Ethiopia.  They are open to a boy or a girl with special needs.  Because of their openness to special needs, their referral could come soon.  Go visit their website and leave them a note of encouragement!  Thanks Uchereks!

ALSO - more exciting news....the Gitlins have a travel date!  They are headed for Ethiopia to pick up their little one on July 13th!.  Sarah found out today on her birthday about the travel date.  This has been a long wait for them.  Their post can be found by clicking here.

Congratulations Gitlins!  You'll be bringing home A. soon!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

So, How Was My Father's Day?

How was my Father's Day?  I had an amazing Father's Day, because I have an amazing family.

It actually started Saturday Night, when Heather made my favorite pie - strawberry rhubarb.  She makes an awesome pie, and I have had an awesome time eating it.

Sunday afternoon I spent some time just chillin' in the backyard watching The Big Fella and Eddie Joe play in the sprinkler.  They had a great time, and I had a great time being entertained by their youth!

Later in the afternoon we tried to go to play Miniature Golf, not knowing that it closed at 5:00 pm on Sundays.  When we pulled in the parking lot, the guy was picking up the flags and the time was 4:59 pm.  We were too late.

So instead of Miniature Golf, we headed to Sertoma Park and just hung out together.  The kids had a lot of fun - especially The Big Fella and Eddie Joe.

Clearly Eddie Joe was having a good time with Sunshine on the swing.  She is a great big sister!

Later we all climbed the big hill where the water tower is.  I ended up carrying Eddie Joe part way on my shoulders.  I was tired enough to need another piece of pie!

After getting to the top of the hill, with my five kids, I realized how blessed I am.  I have no doubt that I have the greatest kids in the world.  I love them so much and am amazed at who they are growing up to become.  They are the best!  It certainly capped off the day and made me feel not just on top of a large hill, but on top of the world!
Thank you family for a great Father's Day.  I am really blessed!  Now I gotta go and get another piece of pie.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

"Forever Day" from A Bushel and A Peck

We met Lisa at the Christian Alliance for Orphans conference in Minneapolis.  She was the one who I think was wondering if we were stalking her after we met her.  (See post Pics from the CAO Conference.)  She was extremely gracious and wonderful to talk with.  Warmth radiates from her.  Her blog is A Bushel and A Peck and is one of Heather's favorites.

They are a family of 11 kids - four of them are from Ethiopia.  They have been through many ups and downs, as their blog honestly portrays.  But the pictures on their blog always show faces with underlying joy, seemingly full of hope.

We stumbled across their "Forever Day" video and wanted to share it.  Lisa included some comments with the video that they posted on YouTube.  Here's her comments and the video:

February 24, 2007 was the day we met our three children in Ethiopia. Due to US Visa complications, we were unable to bring our daughter home at that time. We brought our two sons home first. Two months later when our daughter's Visa was approved, Russ returned to Ethiopia, to bring her home. In celebration we have created this slideshow. 

Postscript: Following the creation of this slideshow, we completed the adoption of another daughter, whom we met and fell in love with on the same day, February 24, 2007 at our daughter's orphanage. We returned to Ethiopia and brought her home on August 10, 2008.

Music: "And Now My Lifesong Sings" by Casting Crowns (www.castingcrowns.com), a band that daily rocks our kitchen and inspires us.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Yes, another AGCI video.....

Meet the Boyce family.  They are an AGCI family who brought home a beautiful girl from Ethiopia on New Year's Day 2010.  Their blog is at:  http://www.thebfamilyblog.com/  This is the same home where we will someday meet our little girl.  The people at the home are the ones that will tenderly care for her while we wait for all of the legal processes to take place.  We are thankful for such a wonderful place with loving people.

Congratulations Boyces!  What a beautiful family!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Running Scared

This is what you look like if you're in the Jungle at the Omaha Zoo and there are bats flying around loose above you!  There was a lot of screaming!  She hates bats!

Down below are pics of the cousins, hangin' out, doing cousin things at the annual Nordstrom get-together.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Reckless Faith - Following Jesus in Orphan Care

Another quote from the book, "Reckless Faith" by Beth Guckenberger:

When Jesus called the disciples, they dropped their nets - their entire lives - and followed Him.  When He calls us, we don't do much net dropping any more, and sometimes we feel that we can just keep doing what we've always been doing - only better with God at our side.  But Jesus said, "Deny yourself, pick up the cross and follow me."  To follow the voice of the Guide is to let go of our own agenda and throw ourselves toward His.  How much more reckless can you get than that?

So in all issues of life - from the simple to the complex (like adoption and orphan care) - God calls us to follow His path, to walk His road, to allow Him to lead.  He knows where the sweet pastures are.  It may not seem like the road is always smooth or even leading to the right place, but that is why it is called faith.  To trust Him and to know that He is always right, always wise in His leading.  That's the place of joy and contentment.

The road may not always seem safe or event the one we want to be on.  But if He is leading, then it is the safe road, it is the one that we want to be on.  It is the road leading us to the place where there is fullness of joy.

For those of you in the world of an adoption timeline, be encouraged.  Don't focus on the speed of the timeline or the obstacles seemingly in your way.  God has many promises for the orphan and many promises for the one involved in orphan care.  He is leading, you have the joy of following.  All of the details are part of His plan for His purposes to show His glory.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Our New Number Is.......Niobium?

Our new number is 41!  The same as the element Niobium.  Niobium is used in the production of special metal alloys where it is used to increase the strength of steel.  One of its uses in the construction of jet and rocket engines. 

So, as I think about the number 41 and Niobium, I also think about our little girl.  Our little girl is obviously special in God's eyes and will be used to increase the strength of our family - all through God's grace and plan as He mercifully works in our lives.  God's refining power and love are manifested daily upon us as though we were being thrust upon by a rocket engine.  Fired upon by Him to create vessels useful for His service.

I also reflected today on Psalm 41.  Catch the power here from verses 1, 2, and 13:

Blessed is the one who considers the poor!
In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him;
the Lord protects him and keeps him alive;
he is called blessed in the land;
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting!
Amen and Amen.

God has a heart for the poor and needy.

I also wanted to include pics from Heather's b-day gift.  It goes great with the Show Hope shirt she got at the Christian Alliance for Orphans conference in Minneapolis in April.

Happy Birthday Bo!!  I Love You!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

USCIS Approval!!!!

Our USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) approval came in the mail today!  This is the "I-171H," aka "Approval of I-600A," aka "FDL" (Favorable Determination Letter).  This is the process that allows our future adopted daughter to come into the US and is the reason we were fingerprinted last month in Omaha.

You can click on the above form to see it enlarged. 

It is exciting to see that it is being forwarded to the National Visa Center in New Hampshire and also to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia!

Another major step completed in the process.  Thank you God for your faithfulness as You walk the path in front of us guiding us as we go.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Gotcha Video!!!

Another adoption video.  These are definitely the favorite of everyone who follows adoption blogs.  This is the sister of an AGCI family welcoming home their new little 7 month old from Ethiopia.

Watch, enjoy, and be MOVED!

Maleah Vandergiessen from Jay McKenney on Vimeo.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mom`s Birthday!!!

  Today is Bo`s birthday!!! She went to lunch with people, then went to a pedicure/manicure with Sunshine, and then back home. Tonight, T-bird is supposed to have a baseball game, but we`ll see if it gets rained out or not.

          Well, happy birthday Mom!!
Post a comment and wish her a happy 43rd birthday!!!!

                                            --Rye Bread

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Reckless Faith

(click on the picture of the book for a link to Zondervan)
I'm reading a book called "Reckless Faith" by Beth Guckenberger.  She and her husband tell of their stories of ministering to orphans in Mexico.  They are meeting the call of James 1:27.  They are in the 30-something age range.  They are learning lessons of faith not just from reading books, but by doing.

Reckless faith, as she describes, is the kind of faith that abandons our own safe decisions.  The safe decisions that allow us to always be in control.  The safe decisions that keep us from failure and keep us from trusting God.  Reckless faith is allowing ourselves to be in situations where we fully rely on God because there is no other option.

Here is an excerpt from page 42 of "Reckless Faith,"
Never again will I offer up an explanation that spins God as weak or passive.  If God doesn't come through in the way I want Him to, it should expand my view of faith, not shrink it.  It means there is something else going on, something I can't see or understand, and I have the opportunity to be swept up in it or not.

This is shared in light of God miraculously providing top quality cuts of meat for orphans who prayed for food on a day when their cabinets were empty and there was no food.  The man who ran the orphanage chose to pray for food rather than make phone calls for food.  The man, the orphans who prayed, and the Guckberger's faith were stretched that day.  Their eyes were further opened to God's ability to provide.

Whether it's orphan care or any other issue in life, God is our only hope.  On Him alone do we stand.  Apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).  I am thankful that in orphan care and in all life's issues, it relies on Him, not me.

Are You Listening to God?

We met another AGCI family through blog world.  They are the Bennett family.  They have five kids and are adopting a 2-6 yr old boy from Ethiopia - creepy similar, huh?

I wanted to share their very first post from their blog,  The link is a quote from Oswald Chamber's book, "My Utmost for His Highest."  Click on the link here and meditate on the words. It's very, very good.

It's amazing the people we continue to meet and to be able to read about the hearts that God has stirred.

Friday, June 4, 2010


We were so excited when we were placed on the waiting list.  We have found that there is a drawback to being on the waiting list.  The drawback of course is that we have to wait.  No more paperwork to be working on or documents to gather or phone calls to make.  We just have to wait.

In our minds we have a clear understanding of what the proper timing of all the events should be.  Waiting is not included in that timing of events.  Waiting is never included in my view of how things should work.

I know that God is sovereign and is in control of all of the details of life.  I know that He has a little girl chosen for us who is waiting on a family.  So while we wait, she also waits.  And God moves things in His time, His perfect time.

And why don't things move so that we don't have to wait?  Why does the world seem to come to a stop as we wish for the next event in our lives to come more quickly?  Why does God include the concept of waiting in His governance of the universe?  I know the answer to those questions in my mind, but my heart still struggles to joyfully grasp those answers.

I know that it all ties back to faith.  Faith in trusting that He is in control.  Trusting that He is in control when we don't see what's over the next hill or even when the next hill will come.  Faith is blind to the events around us.  Faith is blind to the feelings within us.  Faith resides in the truth of who God is.  That His purposes for our lives are always good and are always accomplished in perfect time.

So we wait for His perfect time.  Fully resting in Him.  This is much easier to type than to live.  We need much grace to live this out - the grace which flows freely from His hand. The grace that enables obedience and enables resting joy and enables satisfaction in Him.

Heb 11:1 - Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Ps. 130:5-6 - I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait.  And in His word do I hope.  My soul waits for the Lord. More than the watchmen for the morning.  Indeed more than the watchmen for the morning.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Livin' on the Edge

     My car had a bit of a hard day yesterday. He was so happy because it was the last day he had to go without air conditioning!! I guess some things just are not meant to be.
    After going to see my dad at his work office for his birthday yesterday, I went over to a friend's house to hang out. It had been FIVE WHOLE DAYS since I had last seen her. (That is much too long for a social butterfly like me.)
    About ten minutes before I had to leave, my friend's mom informed us she was taking the rest of my friend's family-which was four younger siblings-to the park. Two minutes later, she reappeared to inform us she had hit my car. Thinking she had done something only minor, I told her it was no big deal and there was nothing to worry about. (I hate it when people make a big deal out of those kinds of things. Ex: "She hit my license plate!!!! We're all gonna die!!!! It's irreplaceable!!" or something to that extent.) But she continued on to say that it was pretty bad. My friend then said that she must have been joking! (That would make sense!) Still trying to convince us, her mom said that she would not come and say something to us unless she was REALLY serious. I was clinging to a hope that it wasn't horrific damage. But as you first car owners know, damage to your first car isn't always pretty. Anyway, to my disbelief this is what I saw:
    She kept apologizing over and over, while I assured her it was FINE over and over. The car she hit my car with was a minivan. Unfortunately, there was a hitch attached at the back which didn't exactly help matters. I then proceeded to call my dad. Of course, he was stuck in traffic on his way home from work due to the endless road work and unreasonably slow speed limit. But, he calmed me down and told me he would be there as soon as possible! After a wonderfully cheerful phone call, my friend and I struck out to survey the overall damage. I unlocked the car but I was afraid to open the door. I was scared one of those 'movie moments' would happen. You know when the character's car is severely damaged and when they open the door, it just falls right off! Well, that was NOT going to happen to me. So, I decided the door was just going to have to stay closed. After a few moments of reasoned thinking from my amazing friend, the door was opened. It actually didn't look too bad from the inside. (No, it didn't fall off.) In fact, from that point of view, it hardly looked hurt at all. My dad finally came and he and my friend's mom exchanged insurance information. Thank goodness for amazing dads!! Without them, I would've had to do it all on my own!! Can you say, Disaster?!
    So after a long day, I headed home to a baseball/ movie filled night. It felt very good to relax. And in case you might be wondering, my car is on the mend. He is on a leave of absence until he is inspected, taken to the repair shop, and returned to his distraught owner. By this time next week, he should have a new door and.....drum roll please.......... AIR CONDITIONING!!!!! But this is what he looks like right now:

    That was my excellent adventure for the summer. (maybe)


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dad`s Birthday!!!

       Today is my dad`s birthday!! We all went down to the plant to have Taco John`s and McDonald`s with him in his office. I think all of us enjoyed lunch. Part of "celebration" is to go to Big Fella`s coach pitch game tonight. Well, anyway, post a comment and wish him a Happy Birthday (it`s the big 44!)!!!

                                         --Rye Bread