We have taken lots of time to slow down and just be....playing together, working together, decorating together and celebrating together....lots of pictures which I will share later. We are doing well despite a round of the stomach flu making its rounds today at our home.
This picture was taken at a recent party...it is missing our oldest who was away visiting with my folks.
Enjoy the last few days of the holiday preparations....prepare to celebrate the King!
Giving thanks for the things we are given is powerful....there all days that seem crazy but looking around and starting to Count our Blessings....naming them one by one, count your blessings, see what the Lord has done....sound familiar?
So many things to be thankful for this Thanksgivng week...
Simple things that we take for granted....a warm home, firewood stacked, hay in the barn for the winter, food in our cabinets, family around, our military and emergency workers on duty, our health....
Looking back over our year....big things...
Ben and Eli are home....this past week Ben celebrated his 14th birthday. In his country, when you are 14, you "age out" of the orphanage. This day was not lost on this mamas heart....a day that we found having fun as a family getting to know each other could have been quite different. I am excited they are home.
Our other children are settling in too. I a super grateful for this because I know their hearts for the orphan.
God has provided in big ways from our church family....meals, money for winter gear for the new boys, prayers and acceptance of our newest family members.....they had the men playing an intense game of Uno with them....our family favorite game.
Today, we went to our children's hospital here in NH to receive amazingly wonderful news on Ben's "special need"....it is so minimal, nothing needs to be done. Another blessing.
So many things here at home.....
As we prepare to give thanks here at home and as a nation, let us pray that God will have favor on us, he will let us see an enemy before they strike and give us wisdom to respond appropriately, He will open our eyes to our neighbor and then have us reach out in love to those around us...it could be simple....a prayer, a hug, a word of encouragement. It could be big...how ever He sees fit to move our hearts, be ready to respond. God Bless You and Happy Thanksgiving!
See this big ole family....they are our dear friends in Real Life.
Doing life with this gang is always part of OUR adventure....their daughter Grace teaches piano to our kiddos, some of their daughters run Bright Lights that our daughter Kiara is a part of, camping trips, Alert Cadet trios together, retreats, and even home school days together. But..... the coolest thing about their family and ours is our LOVE for Jesus and the Orphan!
Our journey began around those last two things and we have walked along side their family through all of their adoptions....it has been fun to see them grow in size as well as experiences.
They have stepped up to bring home this little sweetheart and make her a part of their family.
We thought it would be fun to step up for them to be their Reece's Rainbow Family Warriors....
What does that mean?
Our job is to support them in prayer....we are working on a prayer team right now to lift up their needs as they come in.
We also put their financial needs out there....did you see their blog? They have a matching grant right now from LifeSong....it needs some boosting folks! There is a deadline on that...what a GREAT way to double your money ...more bang for your buck!
We are also working on a fund raiser....look for that soon.
So....check back often for the latest and greatest on this new endeavor at our home ....so excited for the Winslow Gang and their new sweetheart....oh, and I thought I would add this photo from our camping trip together this summer at Moosehillock in NH.
Today is Orphan Sunday. For those of us on the advocacy sites....that means some big things are happening every day in the world of the orphan. People are crying out for the ill, unwanted, older kids to help bring them into families.
There are millions...yes, millions of kids who are true orphans ....there parents might have abandoned them because of a medical diagnosis they felt they couldn't deal with financially or they thought was a curse in their culture, they might have been killed in war, the aids epidemic, or some other tragic accident.
Right now on the site we watch there are about 9 orphans who are aging out this month ...what does that mean? No family ever.....never...no home to come home to....no one to call Mom or Dad....no one....out there on their own....some at 14....some at 16 ....some at 18....but alone is still alone. The statistics for those children are tragic....truly tragic.
Orphan Sunday was created to raise an awareness to do something....anything....
Did you know that during Roman Times, orphans were kicked out of the city? Christians stepped in and brought them home and cared for them as their own....it isn't that simple anymore but there is plenty to do....
Love an orphan today....
Pray for them.
Advocate for them.
Donate funds to help bring them to a home that can care for them.
In James 1:27....we are called to Care for the Orphans. It is actually called true religion...caring for the orphans and the widows.
There are so many BUT......Every face has a story to tell. They didn't chose to be an orphan, they weren't ready but here they sit....waiting.
Oh....and caring for them is life changing--for them AND you! You will never be the same...
What is it that you can do today for someone who longs for family....home....belonging?
One week....one week for the boys to be home....we have tried to settle and be a family between activities and classes. When we are home....we have tried to focus, slow down and work on just being a family.
We have filled our days with activities to unify us....hiking, bird watching, playing games, singing together...learning about one another. Our boys have been like a a layered gift that we continue to find out details of their lives....they love sharing...we love finding out the details.
Taking it one day at a time here at our place.....
The emotions were rolling from excitement and wanting to SAVOR the moment when our family met up a bit changed with 2 new boys.
Benjamin and Elijah....
Tears threatened to break through when I gave a moments thought to actually what was happening....the 2 boys we had worked for wading through paperwork, appointments, many road trips for notarization and apostiles from our state offices....all of those things brought us to this day....this day we had longed for and hoped for....
A gift totally orchestrated by God....he took care of the details ...for those things we are grateful.
Oma and Opa were there with us to celebrate. They have helped get things ready at home and keep everyone going in the right directions while dad was away. They have been a blessing to us.
Our dear friends, the Winslows, joined us. They even beat us to the airport. It is so sweet to celebrate with friends. We are grateful for this family!
Here all the littles are lined up waiting for the expected arrival....
Sweet and tender moments of lots of daddy hugs and meeting Benjamin and Eli for the first time.
Fun moments of introductions....we even connected with another adoptive family that traveled on the same plane back to the Boston area. Their children are soooo sweet.
Lots of stories to tell dad.
Then.....all 25 or so of us headed to Cracker Barrell to celebrate....they were so wonderful with us and gave us lots of attention.
Good times, good friends, good food, hugs, happy tears, smiles, and now....
I sit in their room quietly reflecting on our day listening to soft and quiet breathing as the boys drift off to sleep...all of them together....brought together by two thing as my dear friends Rochelle would say...Jesus and adoption.
What a gift today was for our family....so glad we walked through it, so glad we had folks to walk along side us....looking forward to the adventure of tomorrow.
Visa's are in hand this morning as our Team Lowman prepare to leave. They are headed to bed as we are waking up and have an early morning wake up for the airport. Praying them HOME!
Meanwhile, back AT home, we have some majorly excited kids.....its kind of like Christmas excitement ....Dad is coming home, Dad is coming home and guess who he has? Trying to keep their feet planted on the ground and moving forward. It is so wonderful to see there immense delight in what the next 24 hours will bring.
Here at home we are holding it together. Today we ventured into the White Mountains for a drive on the NH famous Kangamungus Highway. It was stunningly beautiful despite the dramatic clouds amidst the fleeting sun rays. One moment it shines sunshine and the next the skies threw rain and wind our way. That is kind of how it happens up there...
Oma with the grand kids at a Lower falls.
Here is a picture of Ben, Elijah and Mike.
Asking for prayers as some paperwork is amiss for an appointment tomorrow. Most offices are closed and people are working frantically on it...it wasn't on a check list. Fifty families have appointments in Saturday for their adoptions...wow...50 sweet children who found family. Beautiful...
Paperwork was take care of and there were NO problems! Thank you!
Director, Elijah, Darrell, and Ben....these boys are huge!
Ben, Mike and Eli
Ben, Michaela and Eli
After ALL the official paperwork was done they headed to Pizza Hut....Darrell let the boys pick...mayo, chicken and all the toppings. They said it was delicious....sounds like a future here as the kids here were thinking it sounded pretty yummy'
We awoke this morning with the realization that God has provided. We are fully funded for our adoption of Ben and Eli. We are humbled and grateful for the provision that the Lord himself orchestrated....
He never arrives early and He never arrives late....it is ALL in his perfect timing. We stand amazed, awed, and know the blessing of Ben and Eli were perfectly orchestrated by the one who created us, loves us and provides for our needs.
Here is our Team Lowman...Michael, Darrell and Michaela.
These three arrived in country today after a delayed flight and many hours in the air. Once again, we are thankful for each step...thank you Lord. May you alone be Glorified!
Michaela, Michael and I were dropped off at Logan Airport in Boston on the first leg of our journey to get Ben and Eli by our family.
After checking our bags we found out that our flight was delayed about 2 hours.
We were flying Hainan Airlines direct to Beijing. The airline feed us a sandwich, water and cookies due to the delay. I believe that is a first for all of the traveling I have done. Thank you Hainan Airlines.
Here we sit reviewing our paperwork and making sure we have everything in order and it is official. The kids are in bed and it is quiet...a bit too quiet.
Excited and tear-eyed, I sit here as we review the reality of the change for our family....blessings on their way!
Benjamin and Elijah....the boys are really coming our way....and soon.
Even though our computer died this morning, we know God has our back and it will all work out for His glory. As we figure out life without some basics, we are thankful for what awaits in the next few weeks.
In just a weeks time, we will be headed to meet out boys, Benjamin and Elijah! We are working from lots of lists of what to pack for each person and "the new boys". Our children are creating cards of welcome since they aren't going to be there to meet them right away and excitedly talking of the welcome off the plane.
We still are selling scarves to help raise funds for our adoption! Please consider a purchase to help us finish strong.
This is our Reeces Rainbow account. This is a tax-deductible way to help us bring home our boys Ben and Eli. The end of the year is coming and these funds help out at the end of our adoption process which we are at now. We travel in a week. Please consider helping us here.
God Bless and thank you!
But this post is about the scarves that Jess made for us....she donated them to us for our adoption. Some have sold....exciting to see and I have relisted them individually...all 19! If you don't see a color you want....let us know.
Each scarf is $25 and that includes shipping. If you are local....we could meet up and that would save you the $5 shipping. It is pretty easy....each one has a number. Leave a comment in the comment section of which ones you are interested in and we will get it out to you.