Thursday, January 28, 2010

A picture worth a thousand words


I don't know the story behind this picture, but I really wish I did.  Praise God for everyone pulled alive from the rubble, and especially for one so small!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A story worth praising God over!

A friend of mine in Austin, Lynn, sent me the link to a blog written by a missionary family in Haiti.  I'm not sure, but I think her church may help support them.  Their names are Tara & Troy Livesay, and they are in Port Au Prince.  I've been reading their updates since the earthquake so I don't forget and so I know some things to pray for specifically.  This is a story Tara posted today that is awesome!  We've been praying for orphans to be reunited with family, and it is happening!! To God be the glory. Read on to find out more... 

I wish we had more time to make note of every single story that we've been blessed to watch unfold. I am basically picking one in twenty to share ... and that is just us and our one clinic. I'd have to imagine there are a half a million stories to be told.

A couple days ago a little guy came in from Simone Pele. They picked him up and he seemed disoriented and no parent or guardian could be located. He needed treatment for wounds from the earthquake so they took the risk and brought him in without a guardian.

His wounds were treated and he went to recovery. In recovery he started seizing. He ended up seizing about twice a day for the next two days. We still had no idea if he had living parents or what his story was. The Docs speculated that he is a kid that has always had seizures.

There are two amazing Paramedics from New York City working with us. We found them by accident when Scott Salvant, a super-cool guy we know, found them in the D.R. as they were trying to get here to work. Their names are Christophe and Rhona and they are truly awesome at what they do. They have been riding the truck in and out of the slums picking up patients and they begin to work on them in the truck before they ever get to the clinic. Christophe was very troubled about our little mystery orphan boy. He took personal responsibility and brought him back into Simone Pele today and walked around asking everyone if they knew him.

It turns out he comes from an intact family. His mother and father had been looking for him since the earthquake. He is autistic and had run away during the earthquake.

He is now at home, reunited with his family and doing well.

That's how God rolls.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Homemade Marshmallows

I've been wanting to try homemade marshmallows since Food Network Magazine came out with a recipe in December.  I didn't think I had a candy thermometer, so I put the recipe away for a later day. Then, as we were moving, I came across a candy thermometer still in the packaging! How convenient!  Here's the recipe I used.  As a side note, I used Lyle's Golden Syrup rather than Corn Syrup.  Lyle's is imported from Britain, and is a pure cane sugar syrup with a mild caramel flavor.  The Pastry Queen says, "It has more flavor than corn syrup, which is cloyingly sweet but entirely lacking in character."  If the Pastry Queen says it, it must be true!!  Anyway, I could definitely taste the caramel flavor in my marshmallows.

Homemade Marshmallows
Makes: 40-50

3 packets (about 3 tablespoons) unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1 -1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
powdered sugar, for dusting

Combine gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water in a medium sized heat-proof bowl. Let it sit for 20 minutes.
Combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/3 cup of water in a small heavy saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar has dissolved. Turn stove to high and heat until mixture comes to a very brisk boil, stirring occasionally. Let boil for about 2 minutes. If you have a candy thermometer, the temperature should reach about 240 degrees.

Take pan off heat and very carefully pour contents into the bowl containing gelatin. Add vanilla extract. Using an electric mixer, beat mixture on high speed for at least 10 minutes. When the mixture becomes very thick and white and has at least doubled in size, it is done.

Butter a wooden spoon and scoop mixture into a 9×12 casserole dish that has been generously dusted with powdered sugar. Dust tops of marshmallows with powdered sugar as well. Let marshmallows sit at room temperature, uncovered, for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Don’t panic if they look incredibly sticky at first. They will thicken up as they cool. Cut into squares. They’ll still feel quite sticky as you cut them, but cut them as cleanly as possible with a wet knife. Then dust cut edges with additional powdered sugar, and they will feel like ‘real’ marshmallows.

They were pretty yummy on their own, but also good in a cup of hot chocolate!

This picture has nothing to do with marshmallows, but is good for a laugh.  This is Benjamin in his exersaucer.  See all those fun toys he's surrounded by?  Notice what he's actually playing with?? He's just as happy playing with the labels on the toy as the actual toy itself!  I've learned when we take him out, we don't need to bring baby toys.  Just give him a straw or even a straw wrapper for that matter, and he's just as happy!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Praying for Orphans

What I know is, we serve a God who is very interested in the orphans of this world.  James 1:27 says, "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."  As hard as this picture is for me to look at, God cares for these babies infinitely more than I ever could.  I do just want to scoop one of them up and hold him close and tell him it's all going to be okay.

I also know this is not a situation to rush.  There is an outpouring of interest in America to begin adopting these babies NOW!  But, many of them may still have family out there!  A mom or dad or an aunt... I'm praying that God would reunite every one of the children with living family members that exist.  Then, I'm praying for these orphans to have someone today to hold them and tell them they're special and reassure and love them.  After that, I pray for permanent homes for these orphans.  I pray for families to open their lives and homes to the orphans of the world.

I heard somewhere recently that if every church in America had just one family who would adopt a child out of our foster care system, there would be no more need for foster care!  Derek and I are very interested in adoption.  We don't know when or how... maybe we'll adopt from Haiti and maybe that will happen sooner rather than later.  We're not making any rash, emotional decisions, and I don't think anyone else should either.  We are praying, and I guess that's what this post is about.  We can all at least do that!

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Tour of our KY Home!

Since most of our friends and family live in far away places relative to KY, I thought I'd give you a tour of our home via our blog! We've been here for 10 days now, and the place is starting to feel like home. If you were here, I'd invite you in and offer you something to drink. Probably I'd offer hot tea or hot chocolate because it's pretty chilly outside! Okay, that was cheesy, but welcome to our home!

First, the living room/office...


Here's the kitchen...



And the baby's room...




And our room...


There's plenty of space for an air mattress if anyone want to come for a visit! There's supposed to be a great fireworks display before the Kentucky Derby (maybe in April?). But, any excuse for our friends & family to come and visit us will do.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

Praying and Continuing On In Faith

It's 12:17 am here in Louisville.  For some reason I can't sleep tonight.  I've read some, and I've been on my knees praying for the people of Haiti.  They are weighing heavy on my heart right now.  I just read that teams carrying medical supplies are having a hard time landing because of limited space to land and the number of planes trying to land to provide relief.  I'm praying specifically for God to get those planes in and out fast, for medical workers, for needed supplies, for relief from pain, for comfort.  I pray the gospel would go forth in Port-Au-Prince.

A local church is sending supplies to Haiti, so I've gathered a few things from around the house.  It amazed me how many things on the list we had just laying around! Candles, baby formula, towels, gauze, flour, tylenol, ibuprofen, bottles, clothes... It's all sitting on my kitchen table, waiting to be boxed up and sent.  I pray these things are useful to them and not just making me feel good about being able to do something!

I thank God for all the earthquakes He has stopped from happening, and I pray he would use this one he has allowed for good.

In other news, we've been in Louisville just under a week now.  We arrived on the coldest day I've experienced all winter!!  There was snow and ice on the ground, but God got us here safely.  The men got the truck unloaded while the women started unpacking boxes.  It was pretty overwhelming at first.  I'd never seen the place before, so I was trying to take in my new home, direct furniture placement, and take care of Benjamin without having a meltdown!

So far, I've figured out how to get to Target, Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, and Babies 'R Us.  I mean, what more does a girl need.  We've gone for a run around our neighborhood and determined the sidewalks are not the best for stroller running!  We've got the place all put together - pictures on the wall and all!  This will be our 5th move in three and a half years, so I guess experience pays off! 

We are living in a house built in the 1920's.  The first floor is a business, but the other floors and surrounding structures have been converted into apartments.  It's almost like dorm-life, only we're all married and have husbands in seminary.  Two of the families have small children and stay at home moms, so I've got someone close by if I need to chat!

We are praying for Derek's job interview on Saturday, and trusting God to provide for our needs.  It's been awesome to see Him provide every step of the way on our journey these past few months.  My faith has grown, but there have also been moments of freaking out! 

One verse that has brought me great comfort these past few weeks is 1 John 2:15-17

     "Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father   is not in him.  For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes, and pride in possessions - is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever."

So, we continue on in faith!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Benjamin Discovers Cooking Utensils

"Mmmm... this is a tasty shiny thing! I need to slobber all over it!"

"Is this okay?"

"Oh, I just can't resist."

"Oops! How did that happen?"

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Some Christmas Pictures & A Little Reflecting

It's hard to believe fall has come and gone.  We leave Friday for Louisville.  I'm feeling a little sad tonight.  This is our last week with my parents, tonight was our last first Wednesday supper and singing with my old church; Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas have all come and gone.  It has been a wonderful first fall with Benjamin.  I've absolutely loved living with my parents and sharing this time in Benjamin's life with them.  I'm feeling a little mean for taking him away from Ju Ju and Papa Ray!  Even Derek is feeling sad tonight, and I'm usually the emotional one!

Benjamin has changed so much since we moved to Texarkana in October.  He's sleeping through the night (sometimes), he's rolling over like crazy, he's putting everything in his mouth!  I think he's going to be a thumb-sucker.  He won't suck on a pacifier, but he'll certainly chew one up.  Sucking is reserved for fingers and bibs, which he must wear to avoid several drool-related outfit changes!  He loves his Johnny Jump Up, and smiles at everyone.  He's quite a little charmer.

Right now he's fighting sleep, but Derek is rocking him.  Derek's going to miss all the time he's had with him lately.  We're trying hard to have me stay at home.  So along with school, Derek will also be working to support us.  We're looking at it as this being a better time for seminary than when we have more than one!

I keep coming back to the fact the Christ is worth it.  That has to keep going through my mind, or I'll just go crazy!  I've been reading in John, and the words of Christ, "Let not your heart be troubled" have been so sweet to me this week.  He was speaking these words to the disciples regarding His nearing departure from them.  Christ goes with us on our departure, but these words still hold a lot of meaning and comfort for me.

Here are some pictures from Benjamin's first Christmas:

Me & D

Uncle Zach, Aunt Brooke, Papa Ray, Ju Ju, Uncle Will, Aunt Amanda, Mom & Dad

Aunt Amanda, the Baby Whisperer.  Seriously, I can't even get him to fall asleep on my shoulder!

Amanda & Will

Brooke & Zach showing off his new Toms

Cousin Shelley and Benjamin

Cousin Casey & Benjamin

Nielson, Aunt Brooke and Benjamin... he loves dogs!

Thanks for the great photos, Uncle Zach!!