Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pre-Marriage Thoughts for Lissie

Mrs. Beaver:

Following the news that Eric and Lissie are engaged, I thought I'd share some photos of them taken when they shared two weeks together at our home in early January. I'm going to alternate the photos with some quotes regarding the role of the wife in making the marriage a lifetime success--and, hence, a glory to God. These are ways in which I pray Lissie will bless Eric throughout their years together. (The quotes are by Kim Brenneman from her book Large Family Logistics.)

"The heart of her husband trusts her, and he will have no lack of gain." (Proverbs 31:11)
"In Hebrew, "no lack of gain" literally translates to "prey, plunder, and spoil." The Excellent Wife is prudent and careful in the management of the home and its expenses. She increases her husband's prosperity. She is so proficient that her husband is at peace and able to focus on his own workload. A wise woman takes care of those things in her charge which not only glorifies her heavenly Father, but blesses her husband." (pg. 24)

"She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life." (Proverbs 31:12)
"Jesus'went about doing good' (Acts 10:38). With Jesus as our example, a wife should try to understand her husband so that she can learn how to do him good. She should study him and learn his likes, dislikes, gifts, faults, so that she can understand how to be an effective complement to him." (pg. 25)

Lissie, I echo what Kim Brenneman has to say to her readers:
"Hear your husband's dreams and help him to reach his goals. Listen to his suggestions, and be attentive to his needs when planning your day and organizing your long-term domestic goals, whether you are shopping, taking care of your children, or pursuing a remodeling project. Make sure your priorities reflect his." (pg. 25)

 "Our men work so hard for us. They are sweating and striving against thorns and thistles. We should seek to be a jewel and a crown for our husband and to make our home a castle and fill it with comfort for him." (pg. 25)

"An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones." 
(Proverbs 12:4)
"Becoming a crown to our husband in not something that comes automatically. It takes diligent focus and effort...That is a strange concept in our culture which equates love with romance and lust. Biblically speaking, love is a choice and commitment. It is seeing your husband as God sees him and loving him as God loves you. It is a deeper and richer love than worldly love. I would encourage you to learn more of God's love and how we are to love, as He does." (pg.25)

Lissie, my beloved daughter, most of these quotes imply denying self, putting your own priorities to the side and working at making the relationship a happy one. With nearly 30 years of experience as a wife, I would tell you "Follow these words of wisdom and you'll have something even better than happiness--you'll have joy as you walk the path of life together."
With love, Mumsie

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Grandma and Her Boys

Mrs. Beaver:

Since my mother-in-law's sister, roommate and best friend passed away in mid January, Grandma, who is 82, has been living with us. The situation is temporary because she'll soon move to Kansas to live in a small apartment of her own near one of her other sons and his family.

Our entire family will miss Grandma very much when she leaves. Each of us has a unique and blessed relationship with her. As a result, I've been trying to be intentional in capturing some pictures of our special season with her. Late last week I had the chance to capture a few photos of Mr. Beaver and his mom, as well as one with Grandma's grandsons.

I love my mother-in-law dearly. Always have. Always will. She is a gift from the Lord in my life--and the lives of my children and granddaughter. From the day I first heard her life story, I've admired Jane. She was widowed after just twelve years of marriage. She went on to raise her three sons, who were 10, 9 and 7, at the time, on her own. She's now the grandmother of 18 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Here's a link to a story of courage and love.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Even 6,300 Miles Couldn't Stop This!

In Central Asia
In the Boston area  

Eric and Lissie entered their courtship to try to determine if it was the Lord's will for the two of them to marry. After hundreds of hours of communication, Eric had his conclusion. He secured the permission of Lissie's dad and popped the question via a Skype call early this week. She didn't even breath before responding, "YES!!!"

Lissie will return to the America in early summer. It looks like our two families will celebrate their wedding this fall. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

It Takes Love to Make a Family

Grandma listening to Oksana last night as she excitedly
 talked about leaving for her Bible memory program

"Love is extravagant in the price it is willing to pay, the time it is willing to give, the hardships it is willing to endure, and the strength it is willing to spend." Joni Eareckson Tada

John and Grandma just before he took her out on a "date"

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"Is That...Me?"

Mrs. Beaver:

I can't believe it's been four weeks since Aunt Jean died. God gave good in the midst of the very, very hard, and I don't want one particular gift to slip by.

One of our kids' cousins wasn't able to get to Denver until the rest of us had been there for a couple of days. When Diane arrived, she kindly brought a gift for our granddaughter, Brielle. That hat she'd made fit Brielle perfectly and couldn't have been a sweeter surprise for Brielle's mom, Anna, who loves owls.

As we wiled away time in the hotel room the following afternoon while funeral arrangements were underway, the 7-month-old, who was wearing her new hat, sat on the bed with her mama exploring her own reflection in a mirror for the very first time.

(Forgive the dirty mirror--this was a real-life moment, not some set-up photo shoot. We didn't have any Windex nearby to clean off the slobber.)

And finally after about an hour of happy exploration, Brielle grabbed her hat, gave it a good tug or two and yanked it off. Her mommy said taking a hat off on her own was a motor-skill milestone.

Wasn't God so very kind to give us the gift of baby wonder in the midst of our grief?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Therapeutic Ice Cream

Mrs. Beaver:

Our family has been going through a great deal of adjusting the past three weeks following the sudden death of my mother-in-law's single sister (see In the Blink of An Eye). Aunt Jean was beloved by all of us so a deep wound has been left in our hearts.

Mr. Beaver's mom, Jane, is wresting with even more grief than the rest of us. Returning to the care of the home and yard she shared with Aunt Jean was too much for the 82-year-old so she has been staying with us. Overall she's doing remarkably well, but, of course, she has waves of sadness sweep over her. Some of these waves are due to pure grief at the loss of her sister, best friend and roommate. Then there are also tsunamis of fear over what her living situation will be as time goes on. She lost her security, as well as her sister in mid January.

Tonight, my wise husband knew we could all use a bit of laughter. So he packed us into the 15-passenger and took us to the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor. A great time was had by all!

And we did laugh!

Grandma joined in the fun, first looking a bit leery over the size of her sundae...

...but then a quick change of heart left her ready to enjoy every scrumptious bite.

Perhaps her guilt was assuaged by forgoing the whipped cream!

Oksana enjoyed a Root Beer Float, as did several of the other kids.

As our kiddos finished their ice cream, I gathered them on the parlor's sweeping staircase...

Judging by the smiles, I'd say that laughter had been good medicine!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Adoption Update: The Ban's Impact on Our Hope

Mrs. Beaver:

Our youngest daughter in her
orphanage--September 2012
I last posted about the adoption by dear friends of a pair of older Ethiopian siblings.While we were at the airport celebrating this amazing event, a number of our friends asked for an update on our adoption's status.

Let me start by saying that a part of us that is still in shock. We were so very, very close when the news came. Our paperwork had reached the judge, and he'd made three or four requests for additional documentation based on our case. We'd fulfilled each of these except the last, which was in progress. We thought we might get THE call that a court date had been set literally any day, pending the completion of the last documents. This is what happened in our last adoption a little over two years ago.

Our initial reaction as we heard about one of the houses in the Russian legislature, the Duma, taking action that would keep us from making the Fab Four part of our family was simply numb disbelief, coupled with frantic, fervent prayer. When the second house followed almost immediately, our prayers increased. We thought, "This just can't be happening!" And then Russian President Putin signed the bill into law. The door to the three brothers and little sister we already loved very much slammed shut in a matter of days...

Perhaps the hardest emotion we've faced during the past few weeks has been in thinking about the Fab Four's pain. We visited them in September. We played with them, colored with them, laughed with them, praised them and hugged them. We showed them photos of the family we thought would soon be theirs. They had to leave our two days together with the unmistakable sense that finally someone wanted them--all four of them. The hours we spent together had to have left them with heart-deep hope. After three years in an orphanage they were going to join a family. We have no idea what the four children have heard or been told, but the Russian government's ban has been much talked about in that country. Our kiddos attend a public school; we feel certain that some schoolmate must have passed on that which was plastered in the news. We have to wonder if they've even been taunted by children who have families...

Many encouraging leads have been touted by the media. However, there hasn't been any real change. We know because our agency has been so faithful to keep their families updated; the dear women would contact us immediately if there were a breakthrough. Despite the seeming hopelessness, we haven't given up. We continue to "hope against hope" (Romans 4:18 NASB). We continue storming the gates of heaven. Our God is almighty. Our God has a special heart for orphans. So, we walk by faith, not by sight. We've since finished every bit of the judge's requested paperwork so that we're ready if the door reopens, even briefly.

We would appreciate your prayers--but not just for our four trapped kiddos. Please plead with God to raise up Russian Christians who will adopt their country's orphans. The need is so large that even as this happens, additional families will still be needed. For the sake of the 700,000 Russian orphans, please also pray the government will reverse the ban and welcome all fit and healthy American families who are willing to adopt to do just that. That would be the best outcome--that the needs of the children would paramount. And that's our family's God-sized dream--Russians and Americans providing loving homes for Russia's most vulnerable children. We pray that politics will be put on the back burner for the sake of orphans. God is able to do above and beyond even this audacious prayer (Ephesians 3:20). Praise Him!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Home...and Loved!

Mrs. Beaver:

If there's one thing our family loves, it's going to the airport to watch a family grow through adoption. Today we got that blessing as some dear friends returned from Ethiopia with former orphans, Kindi and Joshua. The sister and brother are 11 and 9. 

Here, the family's two oldest, Jack and Katie, await the big homecoming. Their brother, Tommy--who is several years younger--was too busy racing from window to window watching for the plane to pose for a photo.

When the crowd who'd gathered sensed that it couldn't be long until the plane landed, Jack made sure the poster holders were ready.

As passengers began to exit the boarding area, the family's attention was riveted on one spot.

And then...the wait was over. Kindi and her daddy were within sight. Joshua and his mama would follow a few minutes later. He required a wheelchair to de-plane after breaking his leg a few weeks ago while still in his orphanage.

As soon as Kindi reached the crowd, her new Grandma began introducing Kindi to her siblings. 

Jack and his little sister were quick to hug.

...while a proud, happy and very tired dad watched.

Next Joshua appeared to the clapping and loud cheers of the crowd.

Kindi watched her brother's entrance...

...wrapped in her new aunt's arms...

...already happy to receive the affection.

(Adoptive parents travel with photo albums to familiarize the
kids with things like family members and their new home.)

Meanwhile, Grandpa beamed as he gained two grandchildren.

This was one of my favorite moments--look at the glance exchanged by these new brothers!

Joshua then looked straight at me.

However, he immediately returned his eyes to his big brother again.
Isn't adoption amazing? Isn't our God amazing?

Despite being surrounded by strangers in a new country, he never lost his grin.

Grandma was radiant as she introduced Joshua to extended family. Isn't adoption amazing?

Meanwhile, Kindi was surrounded by children eager to become her friends.

Jaynie, who was adopted from Russia 11 years ago, remembers well what it's like to be overwhelmed at the airport as you join your forever family. She made the effort to help Kindi feel comfortable.

Kindi's mom was also aware of her daughter's need for security in this radically new situation.

After both kids enjoyed countless greetings...

...Joshua climbed back into his wheel chair.

Jack pushed Joshua to a spot where the family could pose for their first photo together.

The last step before the seven of them headed home? 
A group picture of the crowd who'd gathered to celebrate God's goodness.