Friday, December 7, 2012

Priorities

After waiting this long between blog posts, I've gotten a little worked up about how thorough/touching/clever etc. etc. my next entry should be. You know, to make up for lost time. (So silly. I know.)

But this mama is so, so tired.

Sam and I are happy as clams. But I'm tired.

While I don't expect that anything too eloquent is going to pour through my fingertips tonight, I do have an important message to share with all of you.

(For those of you waiting for a Sam update, I promise it really is coming, but this is first priority!)

Some of you may remember my dear friend, Anna, who traveled with me to Bulgaria in April to meet Sam.

Dinner  with Anna in the hotel in Pleven

Seeing firsthand the plight of the precious children of Pleven changed Anna (and me!) for good. How could it not? She knew she needed to do something.

Anna's husband, Jon, without having had the opportunity to look into these children's eyes, but after hearing his bride's newfound passion, without so much as hesitating, opened his heart up to the possibility of welcoming one of these children into their home.

Here is Anna with her husband and son

Jon and Anna are now, together, working hard and fast to rescue a child many of us have prayed for and loved from afar. "Peyton". Or as his new mommy and daddy will call him, "Simon".



As many of you already know, adopting is not for the faint of heart. Jon and Anna are learning this firsthand everyday as they fill out piles of daunting paperwork, make one difficult decision after another, and pray for the son they dearly love, but cannot yet reach with their arms.

I've told Anna from the beginning, that of all things NOT to worry about, to not worry about money. Money is the smallest of issues to God. So instead, I've encouraged her to spend her precious energy on praying and preparing for this most valuable new family member.

And this is why I'm writing this post.

I want to put my money where my mouth is. And I hope you all will join me.

This Christmas, will you consider helping a family who is stepping out in faith and obeying God, even though it is NOT easy? Will you carry a part of the burden with them so they can focus on the stuff that really matters? Will you give a gift to help rescue their son?

  • Give a donation toward Simon's adoption in honor of a friend or family member. What a long-lasting, beautiful gift!
  • Or the next time someone asks you what you want for Christmas, tell them you want Simon to come home. Ask them to make a donation in your honor.
  • Some families take up a collection and donate it to a cause that is close to their hearts. Tell your family about Simon. Eight years old. Eighteen pounds. With a daddy and mama and brother on their way. Your family has the opportunity to be part of Jon and Anna's journey to bring Simon home.
  • Did you get a Christmas bonus from work? An unexpected check in the mail? Consider tithing the blessings you have been given toward the ransom of one special, chosen, yet still waiting little boy.

I know, at this time of year especially, we have so many opportunities to give of the blessings that God has given us. I totally get it.

But I will ask you still; will you consider making a contribution toward Simon's ransom?

If you've had the opportunity to meet my Samantha in person, you know why I am so relentless. You know that just like Samantha, who we prayed for and gave toward for an entire excruciatingly difficult year, Simon is real. He's a living, breathing child who desperately needs food, and love, and freedom.

I know now how incredibly difficult and all-consuming it is to answer God's call to rescue a child. I know that this Christmas will be bitter sweet for Jon and Anna, as they ache to have Simon safely in their arms. We can't change this for them. We can't change it for Simon. But we can help to carry their burden. And by helping we can bring encouragement and hope.

Won't you please, please pass this request along?

Let's heap blessings on the Keyzer family this Christmas. For Simon.

Visit Anna's blog to donate toward Simon's adoption. On the right-hand side you will see two places where you can give. If you add your donation to their chip-in, your gift will be made available to the family right away, for ongoing adoption expenses. To give a tax-deductible donation, contribute to their Reece's Rainbow FSP, which will be released to the family at the time of their travel.



"Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows." Isaiah 1:17




Saturday, October 27, 2012

Just Stopped By To Say...

I'll be back soon.

There's definitely a lot I want and need to say to you all.

Its been a few busy weeks since I went back to work, and I somehow lost track of how long I've left you all hanging. My apologies! You all have been THE best support system, praying and loving Sam and me, and I absolutely want to continue to share our life with you. We're just in a time of transition right now. I'm still figuring out how to be the best mommy I can to Samantha, while doing my job with integrity, keeping up with friends and family, and making it to our many doctor's appointments.

Here's hoping you'll hear from me tomorrow!

For now, please enjoy this photo of Sam at my little sister's wedding this last weekend. Isn't it a beautiful thing to see this little girl being treated like the princess that she is?



Lots of love to all of you.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Day At The Park

Sam and I ventured out to the park for the first (and second) time this week. Our friend Madi came along, and i'm so thankful she did! Not only is she super cute and fun (as you'll see in the video) but she's also talented! She captured some great pictures, which was impressive because I forgot my camera so she had to take them with my phone. 

Sam really enjoyed the fresh air, the breeze, the swings, the grass. She was one happy girl soaking in all the love and sunshine she could get!






She's coming alive again after fighting her first American cold. It started a couple weeks ago and resulted in an ear infection :( As you can see, she is feeling much better! Its nice to have her back to her happy, healthy self.
















The park we chose for our adventure is not the best park in town. Its small. It sits in-between two houses on an average-sized lot. But its the closest park to our house. 

I take back every bad thing I've said about our little park :) Sam loves it. So much so that she just had to sing about it! She sang and sang and sang...and sang. All while happily wiggling and looking all around. 


When we got home she was still excited and open to adventure. She even let us put this little tiara on her head. You'll notice I'm in the background scurrying around, looking for my camera. All the while Madi was shooting pictures, rapid-fire, on her ipad. Good thing she was prepared! Sam literally only left it on for a few seconds...but that was just enough time for some great photos.





Today brought about yet another first. 

I went back to work.

I. Have. Been. Dreading. This. Day. 

But, we made it through. Without tears! I had a super productive time in the office (very motivated to complete my work and not bring any home!) and Sam had a great time with Katie and her family. She enjoyed some water play, a ride in the wagon, and some quality time with her cousins. 

As hard as it is for me to leave her, I can tell that spending time with the "big girls" is going to be so good for her. She watches their every move and works extra hard to keep up with them. She has been crawling more, even at home now, ever since her practice run at Katie's house last week. This is a true blessing as Sam is still very cautious and can easily zone out and stay frozen in one spot if I let her.

I have to remind myself that this is good. For Sam, and even for me. God has blessed us that we only need to be apart for a few hours, four days a week. (Sam also comes to work with me for a couple hours a day) So I'm going to work on being thankful for what God has given us. An excellent babysitter/aunt who loves Sam to pieces and takes care of her at no charge. A job that I love, with a boss who "gets it", that I can work part time, that provides insurance. And on and on and on. 

We are so loved and cared for and provided for its ridiculous :) 

So I'd say we only have things to smile about around here. I'll have to repeat that to myself tomorrow as I leave Sam with Katie again. But that's the way it goes. Just because something is good and true doesn't mean its easy. And that's okay. We're okay. More than okay.

Love to all of you.




Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Jesus' Little Lamb

I am Jesus' little lamb,
Ever glad at heart I am;


For my Shepherd gently guides me,
Knows my need, and well provides me,


Loves me every day the same,
Even calls me by my name.


Day by day, at home away,
Jesus is my Staff and Stay.


When I hunger, Jesus feeds me,
Into pleasant pastures leads me;


When I thirst He bids me go
Where the quiet waters flow.


Who so happy as I am,
Even now, the Shepherd's lamb?



And when my short life is ended,
By His angel host attended


He shall fold me to His breast,
There within His arms to rest.




Truly, the most joy-filled baptism I have ever seen. 

Welcome to the family, Samantha Love. I still can't believe God chose me to be your mommy. I've got the best job on earth. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Everything And More

I don't mean to brag, but...my kid is seriously talented. And good looking! My goodness. Could her smile be any brighter? Her demeanor sweeter? Could she be any more beautiful, inside or out?

I'll answer that. No. Not possible :)

Here she is playing the drum, again. Her repertoire is expanding! She's been hitting the drum from every angle, exploring all the sounds it can make. And, she's discovering that as long as she has her trusty drumstick, anything can be a drum! 

video

As if that weren't enough, she's picked up a second instrument, as well. Baby girl can ROCK the piano.

video

And for those of you who may not be music fans, Samantha has something up her sleeve for you, too. Comedy, anyone? Or sweet little girl smiles and giggles? (This first video is full of mostly pity laughs :) She had just been cracking up, but as usual, when the camera came out she was all done...I'll catch a real belly laugh one of these days!)

video

(Check out that t-shirt! How cool is that?! My friend bought this at a garage sale while we were in BG. What a find!)

video

And how could I forget! She paints! (Well, she tolerates paint, anyway :) It was a great first try!)



What? Do i have something on my face?
And who could help but love a child who helps clean up after dinner?



She even let me put this cute little bow in her hair yesterday.


Well, to be honest she didn't "technically" know it was there :)


I am absolutely...


totally and completely...


In LOVE...


with my talented, loving, beautiful...


GIFT of a daughter.


Thank you, Lord Jesus, for trusting me with her life.

Someone asked for an update on how Sam is sleeping :) Like a champ! 11 or 12 hours a night!!

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I want to ask you all again to keep on praying for the kids left behind in Pleven. My adorable, sweet, talented Sam was in their shoes just one month ago. Caged like an animal. Starving. For food, but even more so for love. And now, after less than one month, her life has been changed forever. A true testimony to what love, family, and JESUS can do.

I truly believe God is able to perform miracles again and again for the children of Pleven. He can heal hearts and bodies. He can dry tears. He can drive fears far away. And if we let Him, He can even do this through us.

If you haven't already, please check out this blog post, featuring several BEAUTIFUL and worthy children who are waiting to be carried out of that still very dark place.

Just like Sam did; these kids need us.

They need our prayers.

They need us to keep shouting for them until they have homes.

Maybe even our homes?

Thank you all for your continued love toward me, Sam, and our waiting loved-ones in Bulgaria.

Lots of love to all of you.




Friday, September 7, 2012

Smiles!!

Well, all I can say is that Miss Samantha is doing very well! 


I got an unexpected call from the doctor yesterday saying, "I just couldn't wait until Friday to tell you that Samantha's blood work came back looking marvelous!" Did you catch that? MARVELOUS! :) And I might even add, MIRACULOUS! How in the world can a little girl who was starved and neglected for seven years have positively normal lab results? ONLY GOD.


Today we laid low in the apartment. We ate, played, cuddled, ate, cuddled, played, giggled, and...ate. She has another appointment tomorrow, and I would guess she weighs over 26 pounds. Of course, I'll let you know.


And now that I know she has "healthy blood"we can rough house (well, sort of) without having to worry! This girl loves to be tickled, and startled, and bounced and spun. She's a wild child, I tell you!


It won't be long before she gives me a run for my money! Good thing I baby proofed long before she came home. When she's ready, this place is all hers! Run, Sammers, run! (Ok, I'm getting ahead of myself. Maybe we could just start with a little mischief.)


I should really be sleeping.

Love to all of you.