Tuesday, February 28, 2012

More Snow Fun

Mrs. Beaver:

Although the snow storm was a few days ago already, I can't resist sharing a few more pictures from my impromptu shoot of Oksana (7), Alexander (12) and Amy (9).

That afternoon I hadn't planned on being able to get any photos of them playing out in the white stuff that's been so rare this winter. When they went outside, big, wet flakes were still falling, and I knew I couldn't risk getting the camera wet.

However, when I heard laughing and giggling from my bedroom, I peeked out the window to discover they were romping just below. I had the perfect perch to catch some of their silliness without putting the camera at risk. (I apologize for the graininess of these photos, but they were taken through heavily falling snow.)

And they were silly--what a variety of expressions and reactions I got to watch as the trio kindly posed for me!

I think here Alexander is reacting to Oksana throwing her very wet and cold glove around his neck. He's so good-natured, though, that he just grimaced a bit and carried on with his posing, smiling all the while!

Then, for some resaon Alexander decided it would be helpful if he leaned down. The only problem was that then both sisters followed suit.

About this time I realized the melting snow on the window frame was dripping on my lens. Needless to say, the shoot immediately ended, but not before three kids and their mom had shared some serious snowy silliness.

Recently, one of our friends commented that he enjoyed when I posted pictures of the siblings together. Isn't our God amazing that these three are just that--siblings? None of them is biologically related and yet they're family. Love is thicker than blood. God places the lonely in families. (Psalm 68:6) He is so good!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Kid's Dream Come True!

Mrs. Beaver:

After a nearly winter-less winter, northeastern Iowa finally got snow today. Many thankful children in our home, watched eagerly in the early afternoon as the white precipitation flew sideways.

I took these photos during the time each afternoon when I read aloud to our youngest four children.

I wasn't surprised to see Oksana's happy countenance as she watched the snow fall. If EVER there was a child who loves sledding, it is Oksana!

While his sisters watched the weather, Alexander was more interested in his Legos.

Although Alexander hadn't shown much interest in watching the snow, he was more than eager to play in it. By late afternoon, the wind had calmed enough for those who've waited all winter for snow play to go out.

Homeschoolers don't usually take snow days. While traditionally-schooled children get time off for weather, we just keep pluggin' away. But tomorrow I'm calling a snow day around here. What fell today is the wet, sticky kind of snow that is a kid's dream--perfect for fort building, snow angels, snowball fights and the crafting of snow men.

I better get the hot chocolate ready!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Great news -- Jaynie's Arrived!

Mrs. Beaver:

With deep gratitude to the Lord, we share the news that Jaynie has arrived back at her "other home". We're so pleased to report that all went well on 96-hour journey for Jaynie and the family with whom she traveled. Thank you for your prayers! We've already been able to talk to her on the phone and Skype with her.

Just before we arrived at the Omaha Airport on Tuesday, Jaynie requested we listen to Matt Maher's song, "Christ is Risen." The song is a family favorite, really that's too weak. The song is more of a theme for our family.

After Jaynie requested the song once and we all sang along heartily, she requested it again...and again.
Then Jaynie quietly said, "That's why I'm going back." I looked back to the seat behind me to see tears rolling down her checks. I squeezed her hand. No matter how hard the good-bye...no matter how much we all will miss each other, Jaynie went to live her faith.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Baby Hats on Way to Afghanistan

Mrs. Beaver:

A few weeks ago, Lissie posted a video produced by the radio station K-LOVE about a need on the other side of the world. In the video, K-LOVE's DJ, Scott, made a plea for Americans to knit baby hats for Afghan babies. He shared the heart-rending news that the infant mortatlity rate in Afghanistan is the HIGHEST in the world. Scott begged listeners to knit while praying for the baby to whom the hat would go and for the baby's mom. Our hearts were especially touched since Jaynie had just recently come from Central Asia.

So, the very day after the broadcast we visited Hobby Lobby and bought knitting needles and yarn. Lissie, Daria, Cassandra, Tatiana and Natasha all knit the little head coverings. Lissie was so enthusiastic that we even caught her knitting during an intermission at a Toby Mac concert the family attended in late January.

Yesterday, eleven baby hats were mailed to K-LOVE. And many prayers went with those hats, asking the God who loves all the nations and people groups to extend His tender mercies to the precious women and babies of Afghanistan.

Photo by Lissie

Photo by Cassandra

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Jaynie's Departure

Mrs. Beaver:

We went to sleep early last night, thinking we'd be rising before the sun to take Jaynie to our local airport for a 7 am flight. Despite the early hour, we all planned to see her off (with the exception of Mr. Beaver who had an unavoidable business meeting in Florida).

However, about 11:30 Mr. Beaver got a call from Delta Airlines telling him Jaynie's first flight on her long trip had been cancelled. Mr. Beaver scrambled with the agent and was able to get her on a flight out of Omaha in the early afternoon, that would still allow her to connect in Atlanta with the family with whom she's traveling. She'd also still make her connection to her flight to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, where she'll stay for a couple of days before heading on to her final location. Mr. Beaver got a very groggy wife when he called me to tell me of the change, but I went back to sleep grateful to God that the travel glitch had been no worse than a slight inconvenience.

So, this morning we got to sleep later than we anticipated. Then, however, we had to make rapid the preparations for a full day traveling to and from Omaha. We arrived there with plenty of time to spare. When Jaynie checked in, God was gracious to us, and the airline over looked the extra three pounds in each of Jaynie's suitcases.

After we ate lunch, I asked the kids for a group photo--the last one that would include Jaynie for four months.

We then headed to Jaynie's gate, all of us experiencing heavy hearts at the thought of the goodbyes that were now inevitable.

Before the individual goodbyes began, we dropped our belongings on the ground and joined together in a prayer huddle. God blessed Jaynie "above and beyond all we could have asked or thought" (Ephesians 3:20) on her previous trip to that dangerous corner of the world. We pleaded with Him once again for mercies in her life.

After the prayer huddle, many hugs took place and a few tears.

Just before Jaynie made her way down the ramp to the security line I asked our first trio of older Russian adoptees for a photo. When we celebrated their tenth anniversary with us last September, Jaynie was gone and the photo op was impossible.

Mark (16), Jaynie (18) and Cassandra (17)
Then it was time.

Jaynie couldn't resist turning around a couple of times as the distance between us grew.

When she did, we loudly yelled, "We love you, Jaynie!" Okay...I loudly yelled that, but I'm sure the others were feeling the same sentiment!

In some ways the photo below captures what I will miss the most while Jaynie's gone--her enormous grin that gives evidence to a heart filled with peace and joy.

She's not the same child we adopted 10 years ago. That little girl was sullen, distant, rebellious, and even belligerent at times. God has truly healed her orphan hurts. When we adopted her she was in serious need of love. Now she's fully ready to pour out love among the least of these. God is so good.

As the rest of us headed back the way we'd come, we saw Jaynie's plane arrive.

Her siblings watched the jet with sober faces.

After the plane rounded the corner, we continued our march through the airport, knowing Jaynie was going exactly where the Lord was calling her--a central Asian country which is poor in so many ways.

For those of us left here, we had to redefine family yet again.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Give Us Strength, Lord!

Mrs. Beaver:

Tomorrow at 7 am Jaynie begins her long trip back to the Central Asian country where she serves as a home school teacher to two American families, who serve in aid jobs. While there, Jaynie will also be teaching English and Art to a group of street children between about 7 and 11 years old. What a long way this former orphan has come as she seeks to impact her remote corner of the world! Now she's a Pied Piper with an incredibly open heart for children whose families suffer heart-wrenching poverty.

Jaynie loves the local people, thrives in her work and truly adores the family for whom she will be teaching (the other family is in the US to give birth to their fourth child.) Mr. Beaver and I are utterly confident that she will be exactly where the Lord her. As we've prepared for her departure, we've been blessed once again with the "peace that passes all understanding."

Jaynie will be traveling back with the family for whom she will teach, and they have a wonderful way of keeping her laughing. I know the Lord will sustain her, but tonight Jaynie's tears have already begun flowing over having to say good-bye to her family. She just crawled in bed with me, and we cuddled and talked and cried for quite a while. But its hard knowing this will be our last opportunity until June.

These photos were taking at the airport when she left last August. Please pray for all of us as we separate tomorrow!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Six Helpful Words

Mrs. Beaver:

For the past few weeks, Mr. Beaver has been using our evening Bible time to teach us how to get more out of our individual daily reading. He's adapted material from a book by Howard Hendricks called Living by the Book, which he first read about a decade ago. He'd tell you the book significantly altered his relationship with the Lord by increasing his ability to understand and apply God's word to his life.

On Friday he taught the kids that when reading a passage something as simple as asking six questions can significantly improve your grasp. To help the kids remember the questions, he had them write the six words on their hands. They are:
  • Who? (Who is involved in the passage?)
  • What? (What's happening in the narrative?)
  • When? (When is the narrative happening? Time of day, year? Historical timing?)
  • Where? (Location of narrative?)
  • Why? (Why do you think God included this passage in the Bible?)
  • Wherefore? (How might this apply to my life?)
Give it a try! I think you'll be amazed how these simple questions can enrich your time in the word!

Monday, February 6, 2012

She's Going back

Jaynie's visa arrived last week. She's eagerly looking forward to returning to the central Asian country in which she served two American families as a home school teacher from August to December. With nearly her first step on the dry, dusty soil of that nation, Jaynie fell in love with the people of the area. She was especially enchanted with the local children, and enjoyed spontaneous opportunities to teach them English and drawing. Some of these children's families are so impoverished they live in the city's dumps.

Here are some photos as she transitioned in August to the country in central Asia in the company of her dad and brother, John. This hotel would be the last bit of anything approaching luxury and even comfort they would see.

Hotel in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on the Persian Gulf

The Arabs love their Arabian horses and statues of them were all over the hotel grounds

Before night fall, Jaynie, Mr. Beaver and John would have entered the capital of Jaynie's new country. All signs of civilization would have disappeared.

The first morning Jaynie was required to purchase and don a burqa. At first John helped her navigate because she lost her peripheral vision. All the women in the city in which she lives are required to wear a burqa as soon as they leave their own compound (walled area around their home). Within their own home and in the homes of friends and relatives, the women are required to keep their heads covered with a scarf.

Jaynie will be returning to Central Asia in mid-February, traveling with one of the two families she has been serving there. We will miss her dearly, but know that she is going where the Lord wants her. We will look forward to her return in early June, Lord willing.

Saturday, February 4, 2012