Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My dearest husband

Here is Javi's "costume" today. His name tag says " All That" - those aren't his sunglasses either, but he doesn't own any so he found these and said he needed them because all the guys who think they are too cool where sun glasses.

OK - those of you who know my husband know that he is loud and crazy and always joking. He can actually be kind of stern and quiet and reserved before he is comfortable with someone, but usually he struggles to be serious. This picture shows his confident and silly personality. We don't do Halloween in our home, we just have a fun family night, but he couldn't resist dressing up for work today. Who do you think he is? He is "All that and the bag of chips". Ever since he was learning English he would learn a new phrase and say it over and over until he found a new one. I don't know if it is the second language, but he thinks it is so funny. Well according to the kids and me, we do think he is "All that and the bag of chips" :)

Actually, I have to share how proud I am of Javi. He came here at 17 to play baseball and played a couple of years in the minor leagues and didn't make it to the big leagues. When we were first married at 19/20 yrs old, he was working 2 jobs as a cashier at a grocery store and a cashier/stocker at a drug store. A far change from his dreams of making it big, but he never looked back and just worked hard at his new job. His English improved and he moved up to night stocker and then a low level manager, often working 70-80 hour weeks between the 2 jobs. When our first daughter was several months old, he took a pay cut to be a manager at a cleaning company so that he could be home more. He has really learned on the job and become the second highest manager in AZ for this cleaning company. This year he was a key person in securing more than 10 million dollars in business, including a contract to clean Sky Harbor Airport. He is not in sales, but he has been selling a lot of business the last few years. He taught himself how to build, fix and use computers better than most and he never even used a computer until he was about 19 years old. He never went to college either.

Besides this, he is an amazing father who teaches his children the Bible, trains them in baseball, cooks, mops, helps a lot with the kids when he comes home from work and always puts them to bed. He is a loving husband, at times too loving - if that is possible :), who always tells me I am even more beautiful when I have gained a few pounds (I lucked out there :)). He has also learned to be a wise investor of our money (which is good for anyone, but especially for someone who grew up very poor and never learned about $ management). I am so proud of him also because he completed 2 1/2 years of a rigorous Bible/pastoral training center at church. It amazes me how he can read and study the Bible and theological books so well in a second language. Those of you who know a second language know how it is very different to speak a language than it is to study at a high collegiate level in it.

It is funny because every time we go back to his country I hear all of the stories of how he got into so much trouble as a kid and they are all so surprised at how he turned out. They always say that America really changed him, but we know and share that it is his relationship with Christ that changed him. Of course, we have our share of struggles because we are two sinners, but I really do love and respect this man. He is more than I could have hoped for.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Off to China to get us a niece

So my sister and her husband left early this morning to go to China to get their daughter. I had butterflies in my stomach this morning thinking about them, so I can't imagine how they feel. First, they are going to volunteer at a special needs orphanage that they support before they join the other group of families also adopting. They actually will not get Elizabeth until Sunday I think - but still, they are very close. You can check in with their trip on .

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What crazy big families do!

We are still waiting on the Zambian government - no news yet. There are supposed to be important meetings tomorrow and next week. We are hoping that those are the last of the "important" meetings and that things will get moving soon.

OK - so while we wait we are preparing and organizing, trying to figure out how a family of 9 can function well in our 4 bedroom house. For us, the beds are not a problem. All of our kids would sleep in 1 bed if we let them. The problem is more with the clothes, shoes, toys and messes. These new houses now a days really scrimp on the kids' closets. Clothes for 4 girls was just not going to fit! We have gleaned ideas from other large families, especially that large family that I am sure you have seen on TV, the Duggars, who have like 18 kids (no we are not their groupies, but we too are a large Christian family, homeschool and name our kids with "J" names). SO . . . . I found some clothing racks at a garage sale and my dad hung closet poles and a shelf all along one wall and we moved all of the dressers into what used to be our nursery and . . . voila. . . we now have one big closet room. It stores all of the clothes for our 7 children. The beauty of this is that there are never clothes on the floor in their rooms anymore. Yes, I already have clothes for the boys - some handed down to us and others from garage sale - of all sizes from 3 months to 5 yrs old. I also included 2 pictures of the boys' room. I just found that Pottery Barn surf crib bedding last weekend at a garage sale. It goes perfectly with Jordan's surf/baseball room.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Extreme Makeover

I thought you would enjoy seeing our littlest's daily morning makeover - the pictures say it all.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

To the ends of the earth

For those of you that don't know us well, we have desired and prepared for several years now to go do work overseas. Many have asked if we are still thinking about going to North Africa to work at a physical therapy center for disabled children, or if adopting has stopped us from that pursuit. Adopting has not changed our desire to minister overseas at all. We feel like it has been a call on our lives for a long time and we do not believe that our call to adopt or raise a large family conflicts with our call to go to the ends of the earth. In fact, many more experienced Christian workers have greatly encouraged us and told us that having a large family can actually give us great credibility and respect in other nations.

Our desire stems from scripture and our love for Christ. We understand that we are only saved by God's grace. He sent His son Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus paid the price that we should have paid and God provided Him as the perfect sacrifice to be a substituiton for us. We rejoice in that truth because we can live in the freedom of Christ, knowing that we are no longer in bondage to sin. We can never do enough good works to get to heaven or to deserve forgiveness. Even the very "best" humans and nicest people fall miles short from the holiness that God requires. Jesus was the only perfect one, and we can only enter the presence of the most holy God when we are covered with the righteousness of Jesus. How can we be covered with His righteousness? We must confess with our mouths and believe that Jesus died and was raised from the dead and accept him as Lord of our lives. When you realize that you are a sinner and can never be good enough, the forgiveness that you receive through Christ's ulitmate sacrifice becomes so amazing and precious. The joy is uncontainable and for that we give thanks!

Because of this joy and thankfulness, we do good works and we desire to obey God's word. But we do not do the good works and obey him out of obligation, fear or personal gain. The good works may look the same, but the difference is that a Christian's motivation is strikingly different from others' motivation. The Bible also speaks of this life being just a vapor. It also tells us that our work is to go and tell the good news of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world. We feel like the more that we treasure our salvation and are in awe of it, the more we desire to go show love to and tell the good news to those who otherwise would live and die with never having a chance to hear. If our life is a vapor, then how can we cling to our worldly comforts of America and ignore God's call to go? Sure we/you can be a testimony here, but there are thousands of churches, thousands of Bibles, hundreds of radio broadcasts, and thousands of Christians here. What about the thousands of people groups that have no witness, no Bible, not even any scripture in their own language? God said His word would be preached to all of the nations and then the end will come. We say and we sing that we can't wait for Jesus' return, we even pray it in the Lord's prayer, "Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. " If we really want His kingdom to come, are we fullfilling His great commandment, His will, here on earth? Is our heart really like God's? His heart is for the people of all nations - IS YOURS? Lord make our hearts more like yours!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Geography and homeschooling

We had 2 funny geography lessons this week - one from our 5 yr old and one from our 3 yr old.

Jordan was studying and locating the eastern United states. He came to Pennsylvania and Julia (5) immediately said, "I know! That must be where we get all of our pencils from!" No - she was not joking. I think homonyms really confuse her- or maybe we should call it creative thinking :)(see the post about hymns)

Then Jacklyn (3) saw me making a coffee drink and she said, "Yuck, I don't like coffee!" I jokingly said, "Daddy and I both like coffee so where did you come from?" She said, "I came from the same place you did - RUSSIA!" I said, "what???" She said, "Russia - let me show you on the map." She ran over to our kitchen table where we have a large map displayed on it under a clear table cloth. She pointed right to Russia. I was so surprised that she knew where it was, but the kids constantly sit around the table at meal times and school time and locate different countries and quiz each other about the different countries all on their own. I still am confused why she thinks we came from Russia though!??