Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Florida or Bust!

Hoping it's not a bust!!!

Tropical Depression 5 (and Satan) are moving in to try to keep our family from the very vacation that God has planned for us!!!

After Chrissie went to Heaven, a sweet friend of mine (Hi Lisa!) offered her parent's beach house in Florida for our family to use whenever we felt up to it. We've changed our travel dates a few times now, but this afternoon we're heading to Florida in our motor home. (We're traveling in the motor home to make the trip easier on all of the kids. They'll be able to lie down, stretch out, play games, etc. while we travel...and we can even use the restroom without having to make 9 potty breaks every hour or so!)  Tropical Depression 5 is right in our path to Florida, so we'd love your prayers for safe travel and a wonderful family vacation in Florida at the beach.

We are very much looking forward to our trip. We'll be staying in a large, beautiful home on Navarre Beach (many thanks to The Harrells!).  The report is that there's no oil at this beach...WOOHOO! Some of our kids have never been to the ocean or step foot on a beach (our Haitian kiddos), so it should be a fabulous time. We're all wishing that Chrissie were here to enjoy it with us, but we know Chrissie is having a wonderful time with Jesus, free of pain, running and jumping and swimming and laughing and bossing! (And maybe even building a sand castle!) Gosh how we miss her so. Our hearts are longing for her right now. Next week will be 3 months since Chrissie went to dance with Jesus eternally. It's hard to believe it's been 3 months since she was on earth with us. Since Chrissie was on life support for her entire 31-day hospital battle, it's really been 4 months since we played with her, held her, heard her giggle, given her a hug (or received one back from her), and stared into her big, sparkling, beautiful brown eyes. Sigh.  So hard.  Wishing the rapture would come quickly so we could all be together again.

Since Asher (our respite kiddo) has been with us, he asks about Chrissie quite a bit.  I actually really like it because it gives us a chaance to tell another person all of the amazing things about our Princess Chrissie since he never met her or read about her.  Asher is quite intrigued about Chrissie, wanting to know if she was sweet and how long she was with us and where Serbia is...things like that.  He comments on how happy she looks in the photos we have in our home.  It's really sweet.

Speaking of Asher, I thought you all might enjoy this conversation we had:

Asher:  "Naomi don't look like she's from Haiti."

Me:  "Why don't you think so?"

Asher:  "Cuz she's always got a great big smile on her face.  I thought people from Haiti had torn clothes and were sad all the time.  And are you sure Kiefer is from Haiti.  He's always laughing, too.  And he speaks English.  Baby English."

A testament to Jesus and adoption and how He changes lives, straight from the mouths of babes.  Although it's OUR lives who He's changed.  He's changed our hearts and given us unspeakable joy with the children He's chosen for our family.  The sweet smiles of ALL of our kiddos are a testament to Jesus.  He gives us joy, pure joy, regardless of our circumstances.  I don't know how much Naomi and Kiefer smiled in Haiti, but I know they smile all the time now.  Great big smiles of pure joy.  Which gives us great big smiles of pure joy. 

And speaking of smiles, I'd like to announce that Meribeth, whom we adopted from Colombia at age 11, received the "Smiliest Smile" award at youth camp this summer!  She's been with us for 21 months now, and I can tell you that Meribeth didn't smile very much when she first came into our family.  She struggled with her value in Christ, with His plan for her life, with her traumatic childhood and so many hurts and grief and pain and let-downs.  But Meribeth came to know Jesus, and He healed her of her past and showed her PURE JOY, regardless of circumstances.  Oh how I love Jesus!

I'm so grateful for every one of of kid's smiles.  They truly bring us PURE joy!  Thank you, Jesus, for all of our precious blessings!

PS Last time we went to Florida (for Chrissie's Make-A-Wish Disney trip in February) we had horrible weather with freezing temps and lots of rain.  Praying we don't get stuck indoors due to rain and high winds from Tropical Depression 5!!!  Please pray that we'll have good weather and a wonderful family vacation.  And a big shout of THANKS to our good friend Stephanie and her daughters Emily and Samantha (who also call us Mom and Dad) for holding down the fort back at Forgotten Saw Ranch.  WE LOVE YOU HALL GIRLS!  Y'all ROCK!  (Em and will be weird not having y'all with us on this road trip!!!  College life and summer jobs have gotten in the way of your traveling with us, but please know that we treasure you and your mom and we're so grateful God brought you into our family.  Thank you for faithfully serving alongside your mom and for being who God created you to be!  We love you!)

PPS  It just started POURING, right as we're loading our stuff into the RV.  Oh how Satan loves to have a hay day when orphan ministry is involved.  We're heading out now...thanks for praying for us!!!

Chrissie in her Disney t-shirt!

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