Thursday, August 6, 2015

Nadya Cuteness

I know I am biased, but I have one of the cutest nieces :) The other day Nadya was over our home for the day and she looked so absolutely precious I had to take a few photos to capture her cuteness to be able to treasure for the future.







 

She was beginning to tire after showing off her smile for so long :)

 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Proud Sister

Being told you are worthless and stupid by people's words and actions for almost seven years of your life does extensive damage. It leaves one broken and scarred. The process to mend a spirit that has been so greatly crushed takes a great deal of time, patience and love. For my sweet Maxim this is sadly the case. When those are the lies you are fed as a child, they soon begin to feel true and no longer feel like lies, but facts. Everyone needs to have a little self esteem, I'm not saying the prideful, boasting type, but to know your life matters, it is of worth.


As I stood and watched Maxim compete in his gymnastics competition Saturday night, I saw a boy whose strength and ability in the sport of gymnastics to be incredible. Yet as Maxim performed his routines he seemed unaware of how naturally talented he was. My heart was filled with joy and pride for this sweet boy. This was my brother who was told he was worthless, couldn't obey, wouldn't fit in, and labeled unadoptable. Now here he was proving those people wrong, being a part of a team, cheering his teammates on, showing he was worth something, and not just because he could do well in gymnastics. I'd love and be proud of him even if he couldn't do another routine again. His life matters, he is loved, he is cherished.

 
 
 
When it came time for awards and over the speakers I heard "Maxim Lukens, 1st Place New England Champion", the look of joy, shock, wonder, could this really be happening, and oh did I mention joy which came across Maxim's face was priceless. I will not soon forget the infectious smile that spread across and lit up his entire face. That is a moment in time I want to keep forever in my mind.


After the meet Maxim was sharing how he couldn't believe he was good enough to have won, the lie he was fed for so many years still haunts him. I know one competition won't fix years of heartache and scars, but this was a loud voice saying, "you are not worthless, you do have talents." Maxim's win in the competition was more than just a win in a sport, it was a victory, defying the lie he had been fed for so long. I know we can't find our worth in human praises. We must find our true value in Him, and over the past two years God has brought much healing to Maxim's hurting heart. And I believe he used this instance to do just that, to bring a little more healing to Maxim's still hurting soul. God has given Maxim a talent and I am so thrilled he has the ability to use it.

His older brothers were just a little happy for him :)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

What's New~ Part 1

Once again much time has passed since I have blogged, though it is not due to a lack of events going on around our home, quite the opposite.

The biggest event that is transpiring is.....wait for it..!! We are looking to adopt again! Yep, we are probably totally crazy, but I love our kind of crazy. Right now we are in the praying, waiting, and paperwork stage. So would you pray with us?! Pray that if this is the Lord's will all the right doors would be opened. These children need a family, a forever home, a place to be loved and cherished. And yes I mean kiddos as in plural, we are not just looking at one child, we are looking at a large sibling group. Once I am able I will write another post with more details, but for now please pray - be in much prayer on our behalf and in behalf of these children. Every child needs someplace to belong and feel loved.

In mid April my brother and his family came from Pennsylvania to surprise our dad for his birthday.


Dad's Birthday!
 I adore time spent with them. My nephew is absolutely adorable, he has such a precious smile.


Quilan enjoyed exploring the grass in Boston on a beautiful Spring day

 
My stunning sister-in-law
 
I am a little obsessed with this photo. It is currently the background on my computer. When I look at this photograph I see a story - one with a very happy middle, the story is yet to be finished. I see an uncle who adores his nephew. I see a little boy who has come so far and healed so immensely. I see a little boy who previously struggled to love or accept love, now lavish love on his nephew. To me that's why this photo speaks volumes. This was not a posed photograph, it was one snapped by my sister upon seeing the interaction.


I recently had the honor of being in a dear friend's wedding. She was a radiant bride. I love witnessing the joy and love as two become one before God, their families, and friends.
Isn't she breathtaking?! Making sure her veil is in place before she headed down the aisle to meet her groom!

I love this lady dearly, I am so thankful I have had the privilege to have her by my side in life since we were little girls.

Soon (well hopefully :) I will follow up this post with part 2 of the latest happenings in our ever growing, love filled, crazy home.

~Jessie

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Rise Up!

I have trouble sleeping many nights and what my mind goes to many times is the plight of the orphans. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am not someone who cries easily, but when it comes to orphans I have wept many tears on their behalf - they have my heart. Though their names remain unknown to me they are known by my most powerful God. He is the one who has set them on my mind, and I am thankful for that.  Left to my own I wouldn't desire it, wouldn't desire the hurt and struggle that comes along with it. Before we adopted for the first time I always had a heart for orphans, but once we welcomed my siblings into our home it became like a match lit under me. It is now constantly on my heart and mind. For me I can't not desire homes and a safe place for children to be, especially after hearing what my dear siblings have endured.
Am I crazy?  Probably,  but do I care? Nope! I have heard and read of countless stories of families adopting and feeling alone and not supported. Sadly, often by brothers and sisters in Christ no less. Shame on them, shame on us! People mean well many times in their objections to someone adopting.  They are concerned about a variety of things - the struggle you will have, finances, health, the strain it could put on a marriage, the time it will take away from your "own kids",  space in your home, not the right time, and so on. May I ask who then is supposed to adopt? If the body of Christ is not willing to lay themselves aside to care for the least of these who will? Are we to wash our hands clean and be blind to their plight? I have told my mother many times "I worry too much about what people think of me in many areas of my life, but when it comes to caring for orphans, I don't care." But that does not mean I don't care if people support us, if people are there with a lending hand, a praying mind, a loving heart. I want those things, I pray for those things.  But if someone thinks I'm crazy or my family is crazy and shouldn't adopt, shame on them. Are you willing to? How can we always expect someone else to do the church's job? (James 1:27) And I have said this before,  not everyone is called to adopt, but everyone is called to care for the orphans.  Pray for them, help a family who has adopted, bring a meal, lend a caring ear, financially support orphans or families desiring to adopt but don't have the means. We should be so moved by the orphans of this world that we can't just sit around and not think or pray for them day after day. We are called to!
Maybe my thoughts haven't made any sense (these are some middle of the night ramblings :) but I pray my heart for orphans and my plea for the church to rise up came through. I pray that you know all of what I have said I say in love, love for my fellow brothers and sisters, love for the orphans.
I have seen what having no one to love and care for you does to someone and I wouldn't wish that on a worst enemy, let alone helpless orphans.
Pray, pray fervently for the orphans!!!


~Jessie

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Life

A child's life matters, no matter how small, no matter the special need.

People have many different reasons why they decide to abort a baby in the womb, ultimately it comes down to selfishness and sin. One reason you sometimes hear, is that the baby won't be "normal", he or she may be born with health complications and will not be able to live a "normal" life and that's not fair to the child or me. Oh how you miss out on a great joy if you feed yourself that lie. Just because a child may be born with a handicap does not make them any less important, any less a human. Special needs children are challenging - you will probably have many sleepless nights, many hospital visits, many ups and downs, but oh the immense joy they bring into one's life. They change you, they give you a different view, a better view on life. When I look at my little brother I see joy, not sadness because he is not living a "normal" life.  I see someone who is so extremely happy in life and he isn't missing out on anything. He is probably one of the happiest little guys I have ever known. I am so grateful that his biological mother chose life, that she didn't see that he would have special needs and decide to take his life. I am grateful that God brought him into our family. To the world it's just one life, but to our family he is everything, he is joy on a hard day, he is laughter at the dinner table, he is my sweet baby brother. A life I am truly grateful for!


~Jessie

Monday, February 9, 2015

Open Your Hearts

As the years go by, my view on adoption has changed. I have gone from desiring an adorable newborn, cute and cuddly-one that would fit "perfectly" into our family, one that would love you from the beginning, to also thinking -what about the million other orphans? The teens, the special needs, the ones who won't love you right off, the ones who might even detest you, the ones who may be hard to love, the ones who will push you away. God has graciously opened my heart to see the enormous need and to experience the joy older orphans and special needs orphans can bring into your home. Though I would still be thrilled with a newborn, my heart now desires any child that may need a home. An orphan is an orphan, no matter the age. Every orphan matters! There are millions of children that aren't "adorable" babies, teens who need someone to want them - to love them, to cherish them. Just because your age is older doesn't mean you don't need someone to love and take care of you. Even now as I am an adult I still need the love of my family; that will never change. We are made to love and be loved. 

Consider the call to love the orphans, to open your heart to the immense need around the world!


~Jessie

Choosing to be thankful, instead of annoyed!

Over the past couple of weeks New England has been hammered with snow, and I mean a ton of snow. We have had storm after storm with massive amounts of accumulation. I am not a winter person, never really have been.  The warm summer sun on my face and my toes in the sand is more my type of season. But yesterday as I was thinking of the impending storm and dreading its arrival I was struck with how un-thankful my heart was and I didn't like it. This verse also came to mind~

"Yours is the day, yours also the night;
you have established the heavenly lights and the sun.
 You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth;
you have made summer and winter." Psalm 74:16-17

God is the one who brings the snow in its season and my complaining and annoyances at it messing with my plans is actually me sinning and not being content with what He has sent my way. So today as I woke I tried to dwell on all the blessings I have and be thankful instead. 

The majority of my plans were cancelled for today, so I decided to take the opportunity and do a little baking. I have always loved to bake, though recently I have gone gluten and lactose free, and it has presented challenging to me to bake and have it actually taste like something I would enjoy eating. I figured today would be a good day to work on those skills. Hopefully with some more trial and error I'll have it down :) 

Orange Cranberry squares
Things I am thankful for today that I far too often take for granted-
~A warm home to keep me from the elements
~The large amount of coffee I was able to enjoy today :)


~A neighbor who graciously helped with snow cleanup 
~Time to read and blog
~Hugs from my precious 3 year old brother
~The beauty that the snow creates on the trees
~A new oven that works fantastically
~Fuzzy socks :)

What are you thankful for today?

The view out our front door this morning. The snow has since made much larger piles

~Jessie