Friday, August 31, 2012

Totally Crazy, And Excited.

In case you are sitting at your computer thinking we are crazy for moving ahead with our adoption, despite finding out we are pregnant, please rest assured you are not alone.  I join you whole-heartily in your assessment.  Please do not think we entered into this decision flippantly, without counsel and prayer or without understanding the implications of it.

No, we will never fully understand all that adoption entails pre-adoption....truth is, we have never adopted before, we are new to all of it and I'm convinced we have a road full of surprises and hardship awaiting us that we can not even imagine, having never been through it.   We really don't know what we are getting ourselves into besides the books we have read, the adoptive families we have talked to and the blog posts we subscribe to....we have a vague understanding that adopting is going to be an incredibly challenging part of our lives and that the first year will be very, very rough.  All of (the very little) we know, makes us realize that adoption in and of itself (without another little bio baby in the picture) would be enough to rock our world, our marriage, our family and our lives.  That said, the thought of doing all of that in addition to another small child who still needs constant care and assistance is daunting to say the very least.

This is something we have talked about. And talked about. And talked about. This has been (and continues to be) an area of prayer frequently prayed over.  This is something we have talked to numerous "older and wiser" people in our lives about and sought their opinion on the wisdom of continuing with the adoption, in light of the pregnancy.  I think we understand (to the best of our ability having never done it before) that likely the next two years will be some of the hardest years we have ever been through - that our marriage, our faith, our family and our parenting inability will be greatly challenged and tested.  This is something that, frankly, terrifies me.

There have been (and will continue to be, I'm sure) many times that I don't feel we are up to the task at hand.  I often think it would be easier and wiser to put the adoption on hold, put it on the back burner, enjoy this pregnancy and this next little one (you know, be normal!) and think about adoption again in a year or two...the famous "someday."

But again and again, we don't have peace with doing that.  I can't let go of it.  We feel so strongly that this is what the Lord has called us to and He has told us "Now."  Not Someday.  Not back burner.  Not "after this one."  Not "when life is a little easier" or "when finances aren't as tight" or "when we live closer to family who can help" or "when I figure this parenting thing out a little better."  Now.

The thing that keeps coming to mind is that the Lord doesn't call us to the easy. He doesn't call us to do what everyone else is doing or what is "wise" in the world's eyes or what makes logical sense.  He doesn't call us to do the things that we can do on our own....because if we are doing them on our own, why do we need Him?  What makes our lives any different if they are easily accomplished in our own strength?  Why do we need a Daddy if we can do it all by our self?

I think often the Lord calls us to things beyond ourselves so that we will be forced to need Him and see Him work. He hates our sin of pride and self-reliance. He wants to be seen for His Greatness. He wants us to trust and lean on Him and Him alone.  Not us + Him.  Not Us alone. Him Alone.  In a life where our income is more than sufficient, our routine is set, our job secure, our health adequate, our needs are met and our daily life doesn't require a lot of faith, it is easy to fall into the trap of self-sufficiency and the facade of control.  We go to God with the little things.  We remember to pray before meals and go to church but we don't live a life of utter dependence. We're doing just fine.

I fight hard against this.  I think the Lord has slowly been pulling me further and further away from my realm of "controlling my life" and "self sufficiency" and pride.....leaving well paying jobs and a double income, moving around the world, leaving family, leaving good friends, going into full time ministry, living in a culture not our own and without much of the conveniences and nice things we love about the States, giving up the dream of owning a home, going dumpster diving for our furniture, living without a car....He has slowly been peeling back layers of "self" and increasing my realization of my NEED for Him and Him alone.

And now this.  Calling us to something so far beyond our realm of control, our ability, our comfort zone, our gifting, into something completely unfamiliar and incredibly hard.  Adoption alone felt overwhelming and like a huge leap of faith....but adopting in the midst of also having a very young bio child (think 2 children under 15 months, one of which with incredible need to learn to attach and bond and both with the incredible needs that come with that age)....Impossible is the word that comes to mind, personally.    

What are you doing, Lord?

But He knows what He is doing.

I trust whole-heartily that He intends to see us through.  Not in our own strength but with His.  Not because of our own ability but because He is sufficient.  Not because we are equipped but because He plans to equip. Not because we are ready but precisely because we aren't.

In the words of a blog post I read recently, "You don't have to be a miracle worker; that has always been God's territory.  You just have to be the ordinary disciple that says yes.....In Him you can do this.  He is enough for us all."

Please don't sit back and critique our "craziness,"  shaking your head over our naivety.  Please join in prayer for us instead, we'll need it.  Please don't wait for failure to say "I knew it", there will be enough of that I can assure you.  Please think instead how you can come along side us and help and how you can encourage us towards the Lord and finding success in that.  Please don't judge this decision as being made thoughtlessly or without understanding.  Know, instead, that this has been an incredibly hard decision to make and one we don't enter in lightly.

And please, please, please don't mistake all of these thoughts to mean we aren't THRILLED over these two lives entering our family.  WE TOTALLY ARE!!!  We pray for these two souls constantly throughout our days and look forward to the day we can pray over them physically.  We think and daydream of them both often, wondering what they will be like and who the Lord is forming for our family and thinking of the joys that lie ahead.  We can't believe the blessing that is being poured out on us in the form of not one but TWO children coming into our family!!! We can't wait to meet each of them and hold them in our arms and be their mommy and daddy for always.

We do not move ahead without trembling, but we also press on with excitement and joy. We aren't entering this upcoming phase of our life blind to the obstacles we will be facing but neither do we move ahead without   great anticipation.

We know the Lord is at work - He is at work in us, He is at work in our family, He is at work in you.  He is doing big things and He has never promised the things He calls us to do to be easy...He calls us to suffer.  But He also calls us to Joy.

I have never heard someone say 'the deepest and most rarest and most satisfying joys of my life have come in times of extended ease and earthly comfort.' Nobody says that. It isn't true. As Spurgeon said: 'They who dive deep in the sea of affliction bring up rare pearls." --Pastor John

Taj Mahal

Michelle was able to FaceTime with Nelson today from India (and Steve was in the room so she got to see him as well) and they are doing well - thank you for your prayers!  They finished their conference and sounded very positive about it.  Nelson preached 5 sermons through the book of Jonah and Steve preached 4 sermons on The Attributes of God.  They are now doing some tourism and tomorrow will be visiting the Taj Mahal. They then fly out and should arrive here in Korea (Lord willing) late Monday evening.  We can't wait!!
File:Taj Mahal 2012.jpg
Photo Credit

Steve also had a little bit of time to write a brief blog post, you can read his thoughts from India here.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Our Week without Steve

Tristan Turned One!

In case you are wondering, we survived our typhoon and tropical storm.  Neither hit very bad or were much trouble.  The tropical storm today actually really cooled things down and it felt great!  I hope it stays this nice!  We are loving it.

I heard from Steve earlier this week via facebook that they made it safely to India, after a lovely boat tour in Thailand on their 7 hour layover (*so jealous*).  It sounded from his note that he had already been impacted by a lot that he had seen and experienced in traveling and his partial day in India so that is great. He sounded encouraged and really excited to start teaching.  I haven't heard anything since so hopefully they are having a great (and safe) week.

Caleb is missing Steve a lot - or in his words, "Alex the Lion (the character he pretends to be most often right now) really misses Zumba (that's daddy's character).  Zumba is off in India catching chickens for Alex the Lion (because, of course, lions eat chickens) and India has better chicken than Korea."  Yes, these are the kinds of things that come out of our 2.5 year old's imagination.  Keeps life interesting!  I (of course) really miss Steve too and it makes me appreciate him all the more...we are pretty blessed to have an incredible daddy and husband!

Overall, we have been having a fantastic week and really enjoying each other. I am convinced it is the Lord's grace and your prayers!! We have felt blessed by a number of friends reaching out to us as well, thankful for a community around us.  Today was the hardest day of all, Caleb really tested boundaries and was overall just exhausting to be around.  He didn't take a very long nap either and really fought bedtime tonight.  He is asleep now and I'm hoping some good rest for both of us will get us back on track for tomorrow!

A dear friend's little boy turned 1 year old today, so that was a fun outing and a great (much needed) diversion from our day.  We braved the tropical storm and walked over to their house.  I always enjoy seeing lots of little kids all together and the kids had a great time doing a craft, singing happy birthday, listening to a Dr. Seuss story (that was the theme), dancing around, eating cupcakes and being crazy.  The moms enjoyed the great food and adults to talk to!

I'm hoping I hear from Steve sometime soon and if I do, I will update you!  Please be in prayer for him and Pastor Nelson!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Typhoon Bolaven

Update to this post:  The typhoon hit today and absolutely did not live up to all the hype we have been hearing!  I have seen worse thunder storms than this typhoon - we basically had some stronger winds than usual and a few short, light scattered rainfall.  We are OKAY and the typhoon really wasn't bad at all.  Thank you for your prayers!

I have really never dealt with a typhoon before - this just isn't the type of weather one experiences in Minnesota!  But apparently we have a big one headed our way tonight and tomorrow.  It has been all over the news and facebook on this side of the world and is reportedly one of the biggest expected typhoons in over a decade.  We'll see.  My trust in weather-people is a little low (sorry Brian Nuss!) but hopefully it is not nearly as bad as they have been warning, this would be a good time for them to be wrong.  We did go ahead and cancel our camping trip for today, tomorrow and Wednesday that we were hoping to go on, which was disappointing but I suppose better to be on the safe side than experience a tree being uprooted or a mudslide!  Please be in prayer for safety for Japan, the Koreas and China in this large-scale storm!  You can read a news article here and watch a clip of the storm hitting Okinawa.  Please don't worry (MOMS AND GRANDMAS!!) - I really think we'll be fine (we are more mainland, away from the ocean, and only on the third floor of our apartment...additionally, reports from Jeju and Okinawa haven't been that bad, just a big storm with strong winds).

 I will keep you updated on how it goes - Glad Steve and Nelson made it out before the storms.  They are happily touring Thailand on their seven hour layover to India as I type (rough trip, I know!).

Update:  This is what the radar looks like this morning!

Picture from HERE

Picture from HERE


Michelle, Caleb and I dropped Steve and Pastor Nelson off at the airport this morning around 7am - they are headed for India and a week of teaching!  Please be in prayer for them - that they would have safe travels, stay healthy and a fruitful, productive time teaching at the conference they are leading!  

Please pray for Caleb and I too as we are home without daddy!  We have a great community around us, which helps a lot, but we will of course miss Steve (and do already!).

Friday, August 24, 2012

Joyful Additions

Are you ready for some exciting news?!?

We are expecting TWO joyful additions to our family:  One has been growing in our hearts through the means of adoption for 6 months and is expected to arrive in our arms {Lord willing} sometime 2014....The second one has been growing in my belly for 17 weeks and is expected to arrive in our arms {Lord willing}sometime winter 2013!  We are overjoyed to be pregnant and adopting!

Your prayers, encouragement and support are greatly needed and appreciated as we pursue adding to our family in these two beautiful, God-orchestrated ways.

Please check out our post over on Steve's blog that gives more detail to this exciting news and our decision that we do not feel pregnancy is a reason for us to interrupt our adoption, instead we feel the Lord is growing our family in big ways and blessing us with two special additions.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Southern Korea!

As promised and long overdue, here are some pictures from our recent and much needed mini family get-a-way.  We took a train down South, enjoyed mountainous countryside, the small farms and the lack of sky scrapers along the way....met up with some friends of ours who acted as our tour guides and found us a free place to stay for the 2 nights we were there (meaning we basically just paid for our train tickets, such a blessing!) and enjoyed their now almost 5 month old baby girl (I had the joy of attending her birth so I will always have a special little soft spot for her but seriously, she's adorable, I think you'll agree)....and got to take in some beautiful beach time, while also touring Busan, a large and famous city in Korea.

Leaving the station

On the passenger train - South Bound!

Vacation R&R

Arrived late Sunday night

Slept in until 9:30 Monday morning!!!!

Any time you can have mountains and ocean in the same picture, you are in a good place!

I'm really enjoying no painted toes right now - I know, very un-girly of me!

The Dads 

Cute Baby Alert

So. Cute.

Highrise meet ocean, mountains and blue sky

Koreans love little kids and blonde hair in Korea is a novelty.  Caleb attracts doting attention wherever we go.  That afternoon he was brought hot chocolate to warm up with after swimming, grapes, crackers and given a spot under a front row umbrella so he could play in the sand and in the shade. He also had a crowd of on lookers for quite some time.  I think he got tired of answering "what's your name?" and "where are you from?" and "how old are you?" and "can we take your picture?"  Towards the end of the day someone asked his name and he looked at them, smiled and replied "Mickey Mouse!" Then burst out laughing.  

The Moms

Headed Home

The "Cafe" car on the train...!!!

Arcade games, computers and noribong in the cafe car!
I wish airplanes had these!

Home again!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Caleb finally discovered some mail in our apartment mailbox! He was pretty thrilled. Even more so when it was full of Cars and Thomas stickers!  Thanks, Oma!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pecan Maple Pork Chops

I am finally back in the swing of things in the kitchen after a looooooooonnnnngggggg time away.  I'm finally back to enjoying cooking, which I was afraid might never happen again.  I'm pretty happy about that and I think Steve is too (although Caleb is having a rough time adjusting to not eating raisins, nuts, yogurt, fruit and peanut butter sandwiches I think! He didn't seem to mind that menu a whole lot).

I even ventured making a new recipe the other night and we really enjoyed it so I thought I would share. That and I have a tendency to forget my recipes so if I type it up, I'll have it for safe keeping.  I know several readers have mentioned they like when I post recipes (and if I'm honest, I stalk all ya'lls blogs and facebook pages too - to see what's on your dinner table.  I love seeing what other people are cooking)!

I found my inspiration for this recipe from here.

I hope you enjoy!

- Remove 4 Pork chops (I found some *kind of* pork chops at Costco that I used...they sadly didn't have a bone)

- Fill a shallow dish with several Tablespoons real maple syrup (I mixed some honey in as well to make it go further because real maple syrup is really expensive here and a special treat).  Add a little bit of juice from an orange and a little bit of all spice and cinnamon.

- Take about 2 cups of pecans and finely chop them (I did 1.5 cups in the blender super fine and then hand chopped half a cup a little chunkier).  Add with some salt and pepper into a second shallow dish.

- Add several tablespoons ghee (or you could use oil or butter if you wanted) to a pan and start heating it on low

- Dredge the pork chops in the maple syrup mixture and then in the pecan mixture (as if you were breading chicken).  And add to the pan, turning up the heat to medium.

- Chop up an apple into small pieces (I left the skin on and used a green apple but use whatever you want!)

- Flip the pork chops over and add the apples around them, let cook.

- Drizzle the left over maple mixture over everything and if you have any left over pecans, you can pile them on top of your pork chops.

- If it gets dry, add a little more ghee or a little more orange juice or both

- Cook until done, turn as needed.

We really, really enjoyed these.  Maybe it was just because we haven't eaten many good meals in a while but I hope you enjoy as well!

Friday, August 17, 2012