Saturday, June 23, 2012

No Crushing Allowed

Mr. Beaver - Today, Mrs. Beaver posted something very worth reading on her personal blog. In fact, I think it's so important, I won't even ask that people go to the trouble of clicking on a link. Here's her post. And as one of my favorite preachers says, "If you can't say Amen! Say ouch!" For me it's a great reminder!


No Crushing Allowed!

We all recognize the fragility of a newborn. So tiny. So helpless. So dependent. What's easy to miss, however, is that as our bodies grow there continues to be a fragility to each person's soul. And because of the delicacy of the soul, our words have the power to hurt. Thankfully, the Lord has also given us the ability to use our words to heal.

Proverbs 15:4 (NASB) reads:
A soothing tongue is a tree of life,
But perversion in it crushes the spirit.

Bible commentator John Kitchen has this to say, "What potential lies within our words! We are endowed by our Creator with the capacity to bring either genuine, substantive help to those around us or to inflict incalculable lasting harm upon them -- all of that by simply opening our mouths!" Proverbs, pg. 327

When I think about crushing the spirit, the picture that comes to mind is one of those monster trucks rolling over and flattening an entire line of cars in it's way as though the autombiles were nothing. I don't want my words to do that to anyone. Ironically, those easiest for me to hurt with my words are my own children. Whether its my tone or the very words themselves, I must remember the power my words have for good or grief and speak to my kiddos in a soothing way that protects their fragile souls. I'm commanded by God to build them up and encourage them, instead of tearing them down or belittling them. No crushing allowed!

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Mr. & Mrs. Beaver:

This week we dressed up for a special occassion.

With God's above-and-beyond grace,
our twins, Lissie and John (20), have completed college!

Such a milestone called for a visit to the fanciest restaurant in town
that we might declare God's lavish goodness to our family.

We only visit for very special celebrations.

John earned his Bachelor's degree in Entrepreneurship in May. He feels so blessed to have been selected by Wells Enterprises, maker of Blue Bunny Ice Cream, as the one and only summer intern in Marketing. We're all praying this opportunity will lead to permanent employment with Wells. In any event, he's already gaining tremendous experience which should equip him for future employment.

Lissie earned a Bachelor's degree in Humanities. She is currently preparing to spend approximately 9 months in Central Asia, working as a homeschool teacher for some dear friends. (She'll be in a different country than that in which her sister, Jaynie, lived). Lissie will also study one of the local languages at the university there. She already has a violin student awaiting her arrival, so she will be taking her passion for music half way around the world.

Both John and Lissie had a blessed experience in earning their degrees. They "attended" college through a distance learning approach called College Plus!, a program that allowed them to earn their degrees on accelerated timing at a very reasonable cost. These parents are grateful to God for the CollegePlus! program!

"Marmee" Meets Brielle

Mrs. Beaver:

(I'm sliding back in time to this past week. Since this blog serves as our family photo album and the diary of events important to us, I still want to capture more of the sweet moments from the trip Lissie and I took to visit Aaron and Anna.)

When Lissie and I entered the Nix' home, I was greeted by Aaron's mom, Tina, who was holding Brielle. Tina immediately placed the little girl who is the first grandchild on both sides in my arms.

What a special handoff, from one grandmother to the other! As I've said on this blog before, the unity between Aaron's family and Anna's is a very special gift from the Lord that we all treasure.

Aaron's sister, Amber, was poised to capture photos of the new grandmother & first grandchild

Aaron's parents, Ric and Tina, have chosen to have their grandchildren call them Papa and Nana. Mr. Beaver wants to be Grandpa. I debated long and hard as Anna's pregnancy went on what I wanted to be called by our grandkids. In the end, I settled on "Marmee". Marmee is the name the four sisters in the famous children's chapter book Little Women call their mother. Although this woman is fictional, I have admired her character for many years. The book is set during the Civil War, and the girls' father is voluntarily serving as a chaplain to the troops. At one point in the novel, Jo questions her mother about how she can be so supportive of their father being away at war when it means hardship for her. I love Marmee's reply, "I gave my best to the country I love, and kept my tears till he was gone. Why should I complain, when we both have merely done our duty, and will surely be happier for it in the end? I have a better friend, even than your father, to comfort and sustain me. My child, the troubles and trials of your life are beginning and may be many; but you can overcome and outlive them all, if you learn to feel the strength and tenderness of your Heavenly Father...The more you love and trust Him, the nearer you will feel to Him, and the less you will depend on human power and wisdom. His love and care never tire or change, can never be taken from you, but may become the source of life-long peace, happiness and strength. Believe this heartily, and go to God with all your little cares, and hopes, and sins, and sorrows, as freely and confidingly as you come to your mother."

I hope to be a grandmother who is wise enough to winsomely point her grandchildren to that Heavenly Father whom "Marmee" speaks of so lovingly in Little Women.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Birthdays are Hard

Mrs. Beaver:

The boy who will some day be the youngest of our six sons turned 10 today. (He's the little-dare devil poised to fall shoulder first into the pool. The other two are his older brothers.) While he may not be our son yet legally, the Lord has deeply written this precious child on our hearts. He's our son. He's our boy. We love him already, which means our hearts ached knowing that he reached double digits without a birthday celebration. We know from Alexander's stories of his life in the orphanage that while the "home" kids (children who have a home and parents) at the community school bring in candy to hand out in the classroom on their birthdays, the orphans aren't able to take a in treat for their class on their special day. So on the day that should stand out for its extra happiness, the fatherless children face the stigma, perhaps even tinged with bitterness, of being "different."

Birthdays are hard. But at least his birthday has nudged us to pray with extra fervency that God would cast His light on this orphan's life, preparing Him to rapidly grasp the beauty of the gospel.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Encouraging "Math"

Mrs. Beaver:

Oksana and Alexander on the day we went to court to become their parents
October 2010

Mr. Beaver shared a quote from John Piper recently that I have found very encouraging:

"Mom (never enough) + God (infinitely enough) = Mom enough"

As I anticipate next week's surgery and the recovery afterwards, this "math equation" has become even more precious to me. I can never be all my children need in a mom in my own power, but during this season of chronic pain, surgery and recovery that's especially true. It's okay, though. God is meeting my children's needs. The same God who calls Himself "Father to the Fatherless" is also more than willing to help our family during this season of hardship. Mr. Beaver and I need only lean into our saving, rescuing God and He makes us "parents enough" by His abundant grace!

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Comfort of the Word "My"

Mrs. Beaver:

I found a wonderful book recently through Grace and Truth Books (a favorite web book seller!) called Voices from the Past with short-but-powerful daily readings from a variety of Puritan authors.

Today's reading blessed me deeply as I face major surgery at the Mayo Clinic next week. I'm clinging to God tightly and the words below encouraged me. Perhaps they will comfort or challenge you.

"God is the happiness of man because of His suitableness to the soul...Tasting this manna tramples on the onions of Egypt. God is true happiness of the soul because He is an eternal good. As the sun never sets, so the soul that rests in God has an eternal Sabbath...This all-sufficient, suitable, and eternal God is the saint's peculiar portion, and therefore causes infinite satisfaction. God is my portion forever...The pronoun 'my' is worth so much to the soul. Luther said much religion lies in the pronouns. All our consolation indeed consists in this pronoun. He is my God. All the joys of the believer are hung upon this one string. Break this and all is lost. I have sometimes thought how David rolls this word as a lump of sugar under his tongue: 'I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold' (Psalm 18:1-2). George Swinnock, Works, IV:7-12
Clinging to my perfect, precious Saviour,

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Former Orphan's View of Her Daddy...

Mrs. Beaver:

One of my favorite photos of Jim in his role as father
Taken on "the little girls" first Christmas with us
Two years ago, when Tatania was just twelve, she wrote a very special letter to her daddy as his Father's Day Gift. Her words have an eternal truth about them regarding a father's role in his children's lives. Even though Tatiana was a former orphan and had only had a daddy for 5 years, she really GOT his significance in her life. Take a peak at her powerful assesment of what every child needs in a father here:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

What a Happy Milestone!

Mr. & Mrs. Beaver:

Happy First Father's Day, Aaron!

We're so grateful to the Lord for blessing you with precious Brielle!

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one's youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!"
Psalm 127:3-5 ESV

Your in-laws' counsel now that you have reached this momentous change in your life is to yearn for God's word like a newborn longs for her milk. (Peter's word picture in 1 Peter 2:2 is powerful now that you've witnessed Brielle's zeal to be fed, isn't it?)

The time you invest in your Bible will pay off richly; God has truly given us everything we need for life and godliness (including parenting) (2 Peter 1:3). As you grow to be more and more like Christ through time spent meditating on the Living Word, you will wash your wife and children in His wisdom and truth. Your family will reap strength and peace, and, most importantly, they will develop a desire to know and draw near to your Savior. And isn't that the ultimate goal of parenting?

Teen Travel for a Purpose

Mrs. Beaver:

While Lissie and I traveled to Cincinnati, others in our family were on the road also.

Jaynie (19 -- in the center) and our four high school-aged teens, left to right -- Mark (16), Cassandra (17), Tatiana (14) and Daria (17) left Friday, June 7 for New Orleans with many other youth from our church. Their reason? To bring hope, love and the gospel to the desperately poor inner-city children, almost all of whom are at least fatherless. Our teens are finished now and driving the long way back, but while in New Orleans they worked with a long-term ministry there called Urban Impact.

We've missed the missing fivesome very much! We're eager to hear their stories and sees ways in which the Lord has changed each of them through their denying-self service to Him

Friday, June 15, 2012

Secretly Glad

Mrs. Beaver:

Since Brielle's nursing had to be supplemented with bottles due to her initial weight loss, Lissie and I each got the delight of aiding in her feeding many times during the few days we spent with her.

Here Lissie is feeding her first niece on a quick stop we made at Aaron and Anna's to say our good-byes early Thursday morning before we headed to the airport.

New Take on an Old Ad Campaign

Mrs. Beaver:

This is week-old Brielle's version of "Got milk?"

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

For Anna's Birthmother

Mrs. Beaver:

Photo Credit -- Lissie
Photo Credit -- Lissie

Photo Credit -- Lissie


New Generation Joy

Mrs. Beaver:

Both Aaron's mom, Tina, and I are first-time grandmothers...
very, very happy first-time grandmothers.
God has been so kind!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Perfect Nap

Mrs. Beaver:

Tonight Lissie and I offered to babysit for the new parents so that they could get in a date. Not long after Aaron and Anna left. Lissie decided to rest for a bit.

Puppy Spurgeon immediately decided he wanted to share the cuddle time.

It wasn't long before the canine got evicted so the real napping could begin.

Then Aunt and baby slept on and on...

...the very picture of peace.

Their slumber reminded me of Psalm 4:8:
"In peace I will both lie down and sleep
for You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety."