Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Orphan Care Video: Meeting Long-Awaited Daughters

"I will magnify Myself, sanctify Myself, and make Myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the Lord."
- Ezekiel 38:23

It's an odd thing to have friends whom you've never met. But in today's media-driven culture, it's definitely possible. Through the CollegePlus! forums, Tessa and Lissie became friends with a fellow student whose family was also in the midst of adding to their family through adoption. Since then we moms have also become friends.

Just a few weeks ago--after a 14-month wait--they were able to bring their two little girls home from Rwanda. I wish my technical skills were equal to displaying the video here. Instead, please click here to watch the video of the family's first few minutes together:

Together Day Video

We often talk about the negatives of the media, but a powerful good made possible through blogs is that we can learn about other nations and people groups. Our hearts can be stretched to be more like our Father's as we learn to hurt over their struggles. And we can develop mission-minded hearts that yearn for Christ to be shared around the globe. Let me please encourage you to visit Steps Directed. Page through our freinds' past few posts. You'll see some marvelous photos of their long-awaited daughters, but you'll also have the opportunity to learn about Rwanda. And please pray for Rwanda. As far as our friends know, not a single adoption has moved forward since they received their court date in February. In addition, elections are scheduled for August 8, and there may be a destabilizing of the government.

~Mrs. Beaver

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Colorado Moments

Recently we visited my parents in the Denver area. We were on our way to Manitou Springs to drop Tessa, Joe and Lissie at Summit, a two-week worldview conference set in the mountains just west of Colorado Springs.

High on the agenda during our stay with Nana and Grandpa was a visit to the pool in their complex. Princess Bink was the first to be ready. She told me the towel over her toy was its sunscreen.

A short walk down the street took us to cool relief from the heat.

Tatiana served as "Inflater of the Inner Tubes"...

...and Tessa created her own "umbrella" to fight the glare of a perfectly clear Colorado morning.

There were those who wasted no time enjoying the water.

However, Lissie first worked on Scripture memorization for Bible Bee 2010.

But she soon joined the fun in the pool.

Before long an energetic game of Pig-in-the-Middle developed that included the kids' cousin, Amanda, whom we were also transporting to Summit.

While she was playing, Lissie aggravated an injury to her right hand that she'd incurred during the games played by the CollegePlus! students who had stayed at our home the weekend before (!). We had wondered all week whether she could possibly have broken a bone. Her hand's tenderness and swelling that morning convinced us she needed to be x-rayed before heading to Summit so Lissie's dad whisked her off to urgent care...

...where they learned that she had broken her fourth metacarpal the previous weekend. The urgent care physician said Lissie must see an orthopedist within five days.

We immediately began praying because it was already 2 p.m. on Friday afternoon. We knew that if she couldn't see the bone specialist she would have to skip going to Summit and return home with us so that she could see an orthopedist there. God was so very kind! An orthopedist nearby was willing to squeeze her in. Our dog-loving Lissie even got to be treated in their room decorated in canines, which she found much more inviting than the shark room.

While Lissie and her dad were at the orthopedist we all went to a nearby park for a picnic with my brother and sister-in-law and their son, "Turtle." Lissie's siblings and their cousin waited for news about whether Lissie would be able to attend the camp.

When Lissie arrived at the park, she was greeted by an eager group of fans.

After greeting Turtle...

...she explained what she'd learned from the orthopedist. We all celebrated that she had been cleared to attend Summit, although she wouldn't be able to participate in the many sporting events due to the splint she'd have to wear.

During the picnic, my brother and I each tried to capture a photo of my dad and Turtle for a frame Turtle had given his grandpa for Father's Day. Turtle was very good natured about having many, many pictures taken.

 He eventually got the giggles as he thought of a way to liven up the photo shoot.

I loved watching my dad enjoy his grandson's antics. My parents have 14 grandchildren, but Turtle is the only one who lives the Denver area. He and his grandpa have developed a special relationship as a result.

The next morning we went to beautiful Chautauqua Park which sits at the base of the Flatiron Mountains in Boulder. There we had breakfast on the porch of a building that is 110 years old. This building and a neighboring amphitheater were used for a summer series of national lectures, called Chautauquas, around the turn of the century.

While we waited for our food, the kids busied themselves memorizing Scripture.

The morning was picture perfect in every respect.

We were grateful to the Lord for our time together. That sense of gratitude strengthened within just a few days. The following Friday my dad was hospitalized when he experienced a TIA (similar to a mild stroke). He was released on Saturday, and then on Sunday my mom broke her ankle simply walking across her bedroom. As scripture reminds us numerous times, we simply do not now what the next day will bring.

Thankfully, both my parents are recovering well.

~Mrs. Beaver

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday Musing: Hungry

When I began posting Monday Musings a few weeks ago, I told our readers that sharing these thoughts is an effort to help myself think biblically that I might be a better wife and mother. The Monday Musings have their origin in my war against my weaknesses, blunders, mistakes, and sins. This week's Musing is no exception.


I've come to realize that I am starving to death. Now anyone who has seen me, or even a picture of me, knows that I am in no danger of wasting away. But despite the invisibility of the condition, the starvation  is real.

However, the malnutrition in my life is subtle. This hunger doesn't nag and insist I address it. I've come to realize what's happening not through how I look or feel, but through how I act. I've slowly come to recognize longer and more intense periods of self-centeredness, self-righteousness, self-absorption.

Finally recognizing this pattern after an especially self-oriented day yesterday has helped to see that I have a dietary deficiency. I'm not getting enough of the Bread of Life. I'm not spending enough time with Jesus who calls Himself "living bread" (John 4:51). I'm not getting in long enough periods of reading the Bible. I am snacking on the Word, rather than feasting on it each morning (a concept my dear friend, Angela, shared years ago)--and it shows!

My statement that I'm starving to death probably sounds a bit melodramatic. But Proverbs 14:12 says,

"There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is that way of death."

When I don't spend enough time with God in His word before the demands of my day begin, my ability to patiently endure the stresses the day will inevitably bring decreases. The little things that happen when "sinners live with sinners in a broken world" (see Paul Tripp's writings) become big things in my eyes. I make mountains out of mole hills, and my family pays the price. I'm likely to respond with frustration, irritation, and anger, often building to a crescendo of self-pity. I become the foolish woman of Proverbs 14:1 who tears down her own house. I introduce "death" into my home and family despite my desire to be a woman who brings life and light to those with whom she lives.

What's been keeping me from long, leisurely quiet times? I'm refusing to get up early enough because I want more sleep. However, the truth is I don't need more sleep. I need more grace. I need the strength that can only be found in a growing relationship with a redeeming, rescuing Savior.

It is in Christ's pattern for the time He spent with His Father that I must find my model:

"In the early morning, while it was still dark,
Jesus got up, left the house
 and went away to a secluded place,
and way praying there."
Mark 1:35

Early in the morning. While it was still dark. I'm ready to finish this post and go to bed. I'll retire tonight praying that God will help me to rise early in the morning while it is still dark. I'll ask Him to help me trust that He'll grant me enough grace following my quiet time to make up for the sleep I'll miss. I am tired, but I'm even more desperate. I'm desperately tired of hurting those I love. I'm hungering for more of the Bread of Life.

~Mrs. Beaver

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday Musing: Too Many Words, Too Little Action

"It is an error to use too many words in governing. Instruction demands many words, government few; and these few closely connected with prompt, decisive acts, or they will be mere empty air. A fussy, scolding parent will usually have a careless, disobedient family.”
 V. T. Moore, “Family Government” quoted in Golden Thoughts of Mother, Home and Heaven, pg. 141

"When words are many sin is not absent,
But he who holds his tongue is wise"
Proverbs 10:19 NIV

From a mom who has tried to govern her children with way too many words
~Mrs. Beaver

Friday, July 16, 2010

143,000,000 Minus one, Part 2

We were blessed tonight to be invited to the airport homecoming of the Gitlin family
with their new 3-1/2 year old son from Ethiopia.

Initially, he clung to mom as the happy crowd mobbed them.

This allowed dad and his 5-year-old daughter to get reacquainted.

Then it was Dad time for her new brother.

After he started to feel comfortable, all four of the Gitlins began to interact.

Sister and brother began to exchange smiles.

And the rest of us got the privilege of watching a family, created on two continents, begin to form.

Thank you, Gitlins, for allowing us to watch such sacred moments in the formation of your family. We were so blessed! We have prayed for you and will continue to pray for you--all FOUR of you!

~The Beavers

143,000,000 minus one

This afternoon our family is traveling to the Omaha airport to witness the arrival of some friends (Our Hearts Are in Africa) with their new son from Ethiopia. We are in awe of God's great goodness in moving their hearts to provide a home for one of "the least of these."

We encourage you to watch this video to get a sense of just how many children are in need of homes...and parents...and families: Just How Big is 143,000,000?

~Mrs. Beaver

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Princess Bink's Version

Ever since Princess Bink began learning English at age three when we adopted her from Russia, she has shown real creativity in her use of words.Our family gets much delight out of her unique uses of the language. We call them "Binkisms."

Yesterday she was busy memorizing Romans 6:4. Her version went like this:

"Therefore we have been buried with Him through bathtism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life."

What a blessing this former orphan is to our family! She truly is a gift from God!

~Mrs. Beaver

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

CollegePlus! Gathering

Most people don't have 11 people over to stay whom they have never met before.

But, when you are doing college in an unconventional way, you have to do some unconventional things to hang out with your fellow classmates. Lissie, Joe and I are earning our Bachelor's degrees (in Humanities, Business with an Entrepreneurial Emphasis, and Music respectively) through CollegePlus!, an accelerated distance learning program. On the CollegePlus! forums we have made good friends across the country, from Alaska to Florida, with the same beliefs, goals and convictions. Who says college online comes without socialization?

However, our friendships have been confined to our computer screens. Over the July 4th weekend, we opened our home to facilitate a face-to-face meeting of our fellow CollegePlus! friends. Students came from Massachusetts, Tennessee, Minnesota, Kansas, Iowa and South Dakota.We enjoyed being "3D" with one another after having only experienced the "2D" version before this!

Back row, left to right: Tessa, Elizabeth, Annika, Amanda, Britt, India, Lissie
Front row, left to right: Samuel, Eric, Mac, Sam, Joe

We played Frisbee, Duck Duck Goose, Capture the Flag, Pig in the Middle (aka Eric in the Middle), the Knot game, Kum-Chai, Squealing Pigskins and Ninja. And that was just outside.

Inside we played Apple to Apples, Faces, and Phase Ten Twist. But we didn't just play games. We did a lot of talking and laughing--sometimes even falling to the floor holding our sides.

The very best part was the spiritual fellowship we found together. We watched the Louie Giglio DVDs Indescribable and How Great is Our God which gave us all a sense of awe for the Lord that had to be followed up by some intense prayer. How wonderful to pray together and feel as if we were in God's very presence! We also worshipped God through singing praise songs together.

Saturday morning we went to a park to have breakfast and take pictures. Two of the CollegePlus! students brought their siblings. We were blessed by their presence as well.

Unfortunately five of the students had to leave Saturday evening. We missed them when they were gone.

On Sunday morning the remaining students came with our family to church. We could sense that the Lord was with us during the weekend when the 17 of us in the house were ready for church 30 minutes early! Unheard of!!!

My six younger siblings enjoyed the weekend as much as the three of us who are CollegePlus! students. Our visitors were great about including them.

We spent the rest of the day laughing together--playing games and making music before we went to watch fireworks at the home of some friends in South Dakota. For some of the CP! students, this was the farthest west they'd ever been.

Here is a video that Britt made of the whole gathering:

Great fun was had by all and...

..."2D" friendships were strengthened as we spent "3D" time together.

Before they left, Eric and and his sister Kali shared a quote with us that fit our long weekend together perfectly:

"The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer...It is true, of course, that what is an unspeakable gift for the lonely individual is easily disregarded and trodden underfoot by those who have the gift every day...Among earnest Christians in the Church today is a growing desire to meet together with other Christians in the rest periods of their work for common life under the Word. Communal life is again being recognized by Christians today as the grace that it is, as the extraordinary, the 'roses and lilies' of the Christian life."
(Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together)
~ Tessa

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Musings: Effective Correction

Castle Combe, England

This week's Monday Musing is a favorite quote from Bible commentator Matthew Henry (1662-1714) as he reflects on Galatians 6:1: "Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness: each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted." (NASB)

Mr. Beaver and I have found this verse to be critical to approaching our children with the right heart when they have done wrong. I found Henry's words deeply impactful when I first stumbled across them. I have rehearsed this quote many times since, especially just before I correct a child.

"We are here taught to deal tenderly with those who are overtaken in a fault [and] the manner in which this is to be done: with the spirit of meekness; not in wrath and passion, as those who triumph in a brother's faults, but with meekness, as those who rather mourn for them. Many needful reproofs lose their efficacy by being given in wrath; but when they are managed with calmness and tenderness, and appear to proceed from sincere affection and concern for the welfare of those to whom they are given, they are likely to make a due impression." (Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible, Complete and Unabridged)

Following a wise God whose ways work
~Mrs. Beaver

Friday, July 9, 2010

Healing Love

Following our family's celebration of Joe and Lissie's graduation, Mr. Beaver and I blogged about the power of the love of extended family in the lives of our former orphans (More than Relative-ly Important). I was reminded of that last night again as we visit my parents.

Cassandra and her Nana (my mom) got the giggles together as went outside for a walk.

Then on our walk the two of them were inseparable.

As we returned to my parents' house, I was privileged to watch this interaction.

"A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
God makes a home for the lonely"
Psalm 68:5,6a

Grateful to the Giver of All Good Gifts
~Mrs. Beaver