Friday, February 12, 2016

She's Gonna Be a Big Sister!

See those perfect little lips? Well, it won't be long before they have a baby sister or brother to kiss! That's right, Jillian is going to be a big sister! Anna is pregnant with their fourth child. She's due in late July, Lord willing. This time Aaron and Anna have decided to wait on learning the baby's gender. So we're all eager for the big day to learn if Aaron and Anna will add a fourth daughter or their first son. When this fourth blessing is born, Brielle will have just turned 4, Evelyn will be almost 3 and this peanut will be about 13 months old. God has richly blessed their family...and these grandparents!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Such Cuteness!

Months have passed since I last posted, but a recent trip to see Anna's family has given me the perfect reason to begin again. I got the chance to take some pictures of Aaron and Anna's third little girl just after Jillian finished lunch one day.

Who could resist this smile?

I think this is peek-a-boo, seven-month-old style!

This sweet little girl started smiling real earnest smiles before she was even a week old, and she's been smiling ever since. Jillian is one happy baby and a true blessing to all. We're all thankful to God for such a loving gift.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Update on Christina's Injury (A God Story)

I have left our readers dangling -- a bit like the light bulbs in the photo in my last post. I deeply apologize to those of you who are loyal followers and supporters of our unusual family. And now I'm going to add injury to insult by not even posting a photo of Christina.

Let me just make a promise to post a photo of Tina very soon. However, in a way this photo is almost more fitting. God's glory was on display late this afternoon as I wandered outside to take a few photos of the tail end of a beautiful autumn. God's great grace was also on display in how He healed Christina. Her surgeon prepared us for a rough ride of continued swelling of her internal organs before any healing would begin. And, that was if no complications occurred that would require surgery.

However, God had His own way with Tina's healing. There was no additional swelling. There were no complications. Tina's hospitalization did last five days; it took that long for her to be able to digest food again. She was admitted to the hospital on Thursday night and released the following Tuesday evening. Before she came home, we made a trip to the grocery store to stock up on special foods for her to eat during the long healing process to digestive system. However, Christina came home completely well. Completely healed. Despite the horse's well-aimed kick, she was ready to eat every day food. She was also ready even that night to resume her normal activities. We were nothing short of shocked! How could she be We made her take it easy for a day or two, unable to believe what we were witnessing. However, by Friday of that week Tina had convinced us of God's great grace having made the impossible possible. She was so healthy that she joined her brothers and sisters as they wove they're way through a corn maze that covered 17 acres.

We know that God can always heal, but that He doesn't always choose to do so, or to do so as quickly as we would like. In this case, we're very grateful for the mercy He showed our family in healing her so thoroughly and so quickly.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Light in Our Current Darkness

As we're living through hard right now, God's word has become that much more the light which guides Mr. R and me.

I'm really hungry...but not for food. I'm hungry for the Bread of Life! Here are some of the verses that are comforting me as we walk this road:

"Light is sown like see for the righteous and gladness for the upright in heart."
Psalm 97:11

We can trust the Lord to light the way through the darkness of our current situation.

"Make me know Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation:
For You I wait all the day."
Psalm 25:4,5

We can trust the Lord to lead us. He will teach us how to walk the unfamiliar path He has ordained for Christina and our family as a result of her injury.

"Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name."
Psalm 29:1b-2a

We can trust the Lord with every nuance of this trial because His greatness is unfathomable. He is everything we are not. He is faithful and trustworthy. He is Light. He is Life. He is our everything all the time...but especially now.

I'll finish with one last favorite verse. We're expecting the surgeon to round on Christina any moment so I'll shut down my computer and return to her room. (Her daddy has been sitting with her.)

Here's that favorite:

"Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me with not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life."
John 8:12

May God bless you and keep you and light your way, dear ones!

Update on Christina's Injury

Our deepest thanks to those of you who have been praying since Zhenya posted for Christina. She is pictured here on the right in Moscow five years ago this fall with her two biological sisters, Hope (middle) and Faith.

I will do my best to share more of the startling twist that took place four days ago later today. For now, I'll share a quick update on how 17-year-old Tina is doing since being kicked by a horse four days ago. God has been exceedingly merciful. The kick broke no bones but landed squarely in her abdomen. Remarkably, she's had no internal bleeding. As a However, her internal organs have been enlarged since the trauma. This has caused significant pain for Tina. God has granted her much grace though through the gift of drugs like morphine. She is slowly showing improvement which is ahead of schedule based on the surgeon's original estimate following an MRI. We don't know how much longer she will be hospitalized.

If you happen to be on Instagram, I have been keeping a running "journal" of sorts of this odyssey. You can find me at "barrennomore83".

I continues to amaze our family that anyone follows our blog, but we sure are grateful for your kind support. Thank you again to those who have been praying for Christina! Prayer MATTERS because our God LISTENS! We're so grateful to you! Denise

Friday, October 2, 2015

Please Pray!

Dear friends and followers of our blog, this is Zhenya writing on behalf of my mom. We would humbly ask for your prayers today as my sister Christina (pictured on the left) is in the hospital after being kicked by a horse yesterday. She was admitted into the hospital last nigh and was there overnight. She was kicked in the abdomen and seemed to be suffer some pain at first, but as the night went on, she got worse and worse. Christina has had several tests done and we are now waiting for the trauma specialist to let us know whether or not she will need surgery.  Please pray for her as she is in a LOT of pain! And please pray the wisdom of the doctors and nurses who are there. And last but not least please pray for my family, that we would have strength, wisdom and comfort in this situation, and that we would depend on God.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Summer's Last Wave

Friends, I have big dreams of blogging again. To try to get back in the groove, I'm starting with a post that's wonderfully simple. Mr. R and I drove to Minnesota today for a business meeting. My wonderful husband went out of his way to take me by one of my happy places on the way downtown Minneapolis. Please share with me the wonder of Noerenberg Memorial Gardens on the shore of Lake Minnetonka at sunset. The last of the year's foliage is rich with color and texture. Enjoy!

Goodbye, summer. Goodbye, Noerenberg Gardens.

To God be the glory!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Presenting Mr. and Mrs...

From my seat in the front pew, I was delighted to witness that wonderful moment when the pastor said, "I'd like to present to you Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Castille!"

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

From Hopeless Orphan to Beloved Wife

The day we first met Zhenya on her orphanage grounds.

Then. And...

God abounds in lovingkindness!