Monday, October 21, 2013

It Overwhelms And Satisfies My Soul.....

          The past few weeks have made me feel like I needed to add a part two to the On and on and on and on it goes post.....so here it is.

           The season of gifts and hard eucharisteo continues, and I find myself overwhelmed by God's love and grace....and master plan with the most impeccable timing that I often disagree with initially.  We've since moved into our new home (which still seems like a dream) and it's still partially a construction zone with no kitchen sink or counter tops, unfinished floors, half finished bathrooms and the list goes on.  But it's a home we would never have imagined God would bless us with and it will all get done in time.  We officially moved in on the 5th, but the next couple of days were also full of last minute moving and getting our previous home ready for our new renters.  We often collapsed into bed after 2 or 3am that last week and I wasn't sure how much longer we could manage at that rate.  But.....

          Months before this season of gifts, we had been asked by my brother and sister in law to join them in Florida with our new nephew....so we could meet him, they could meet Levi and we could enjoy some time relaxing together!  It seemed like forever away, and we didn't have anything planned....after all life was pretty comfortable at that point : )  The plan was to fly, but we soon found that tickets for the four of us were outrageous so we figured we would attempt the drive....the 21 hour drive....with a 2 year old....and a 3 year old......yes!  So the day before we were to leave to drive to Florida....we found ourselves just in our new home, attempting to pack for a trip out of boxes stacked to the ceiling, both running on a few hours of sleep.  But we managed to find what we needed, for the most part, and were on our way.  Our longest trip to date, in the car, was about 5 hours...and it had not gone so well....so I was a bit nervous.

The boys sword fighting with their surprise dollar gifts : ) 

           We traveled nine hours that first day and had an AMAZING time.  I didn't need any of the 75 things I had brought to entertain and distract the boys, aside from a few movies and surprise dollar gifts.  They were happy, sweet and Caleb kept telling us that he loved going to Florida!  What?!  The time to just sit and do nothing but enjoy my family was wonderful.....really just exactly, completely, totally what we needed....hmmmm.  We arrived in VA to stay at a friends home and were welcomed into the ultimate example of hospitality at its finest.  It was truly humbling to experience such thoughtfulness and generosity.  As I lay in bed, I marveled at God's timing....at the planning of this trip and how it really could not have been any more perfect.


Petting zoo/Pumpkinville in VA
         We ended up stretching out the drive into three days as the boys wouldn't sleep in the car (where did they come from?!) so overnight wasn't an option.  It turned into another blessing as we took our time each day, stopping here and there and doing fun, unexpected things as a family.  And then an amazing several days on the beach, being fully present with one another and enjoying one gift after another.  Meeting my absolutely adorable nephew, getting to spend time with family and friends, watching cousins get to know and love one another, swimming, relaxing, building in the sand, boys giggling, finding sea creatures, beautiful weather...and on and on.



   

  We spent another three days driving home, stopping at a safari and back at our friends house amongst other smaller adventures.  What a blessing it was!  And to have the time to take it slow and enjoy the traveling was another blessing.  Had Luke not been out of work we likely wouldn't have been able to take so much time.  I can see it so much more clearly now.....all of the gifts and the grace in what seemed so opposite.



         We're back home to our little construction zone and Luke's back to light duty work....I see so much all around me that needs to be done and it can get overwhelming, but as I recognize God's never failing love, compassion and grace ever present in my life I feel overwhelmed in a new light.  Overwhelmed in a way that satisfies my soul....and I'm so very grateful!





          As for the adoption....Caleb keeps asking when his sisters are coming!  I promise we'll update soon.  But in the meantime, before we've even officially started anything, God has been busy providing financially.  It's just another confirmation of where He is leading and when it is time to move.  People have been continuing to pour in the donations of items for future yard sales and clothes for consigning, supporting our fundraisers of selling handmade bracelets and the upcoming online auction....and even advocating for our family by spreading the news of the bracelets and adoption in general.  It is really mind blowing to see people we don't even know that well supporting us in incredible ways.  Overwhelming!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

And the milestones continue....

         While I really can't remember life without him, it's also hard to believe it has been one year since the day we met our son! (original post here) One year ago today we eagerly said Yes, we want to meet him!, to the lady at the ministry of education.  We drove the hour long route to his baby home in Ust-Labinsk and arrived in front of a large building with a gate and a security guard.....it was surreal.  Finally seeing where our son had spent his whole short life thus far...finally about to meet him for the first time!
         
First photo I took of Levi just after we met him (just over 13 months old)

          Sometimes when I share this journey, or think back to out trips to Russia, I still can't believe that this is our story.  It has been one of life's greatest adventures and blessings, and I am so thankful that God had bigger things planned for us than we had for ourselves.  And here we are one year later.....the baby we brought home, now a busy, independent, opinionated, stubborn, still super sweet and lovable toddler!

    
Dr. Levi....serious business!

Pretending the table is a tent....sweet boys!
Loving nature....who needs the playground toys?

Strengthening those legs! What a difference a year makes!


First photo of me and my boy.....
One year later......so blessed!!!