Friday, November 30, 2012

What Does it Mean to Visit Orphans in their Affliction?

As we prepare to celebrate all that Jesus’ birth and coming to “visit” us means, it has been so exciting to learn from Psalm 8:4 and Hebrews 2:6-8.  But then, on top of that, to understand more fully the correlation of that little word “visit” and how, being the same word used in James 1:27, it speaks of “visiting” widows and orphans in their affliction.   How awesome!   But what does this ultimately mean to us?

So much to wrap our minds around, so let’s continue with a few excerpts from Dan Cruver’s writing in his article “True Religion:  A Gospel-Centered Look at James 1:27.”

“Hebrews is clear that when the Son of God became man he did not assume a humanity that was untouched by the Fall.  To state it positively, the eternal Son assumed a humanity that was subject to decay, pain, misery, suffering, and death.  In other words, he took up a humanity that been affected deeply by the Fall; yet he himself was without sin (Hebrews 4:15).  Hebrews 2:17 says that the Son was made like us “in every respect.”  Why was this the case?  In order that he might redeem us from the profound misery of our condition (ie. from our profound affliction) from the inside out.  Jesus visited us in our affliction by entering into the very heart of our brokenness in order that he might restore our humanity to its originally intended wholeness.  God brought Psalm 8:4 to its climactic fulfillment not by merely meeting our superficial needs but by a real and profound entering into our affliction in order that He might deliver us from it.” 

Now, with all this profound truth in mind, what might it mean when the Lord asks us to “visit” orphans in their affliction?  Surely it means truly visiting them and helping, however we possibly can, to meet their very important physical and emotional needs.  But Mr. Cruver goes on to say, “But if we consider how it is that God entered into our affliction in order to deliver us from it, we must conclude that visiting orphans in their affliction necessarily and ultimately involves adoption.”

And then lastly, he brings out the beautiful significance of the adoption related terminology used in Hebrews 2.  “In verse 10, he (the writer of Hebrews) says that it was God’s intention to bring “many sons to glory” through Jesus’ redemptive suffering.  God did what He did through Jesus in order to add sons (and daughters) to His family.”

“It is a truly stunning thought that the eternal Son of God became man, suffered, died, and was crowned with glory and honor in order that rebellious sinners might become his brothers!!  What are we that God is mindful of us in this way (see Psalm 8:4 again)?"

“Not every believer is called to adopt an orphan, but every believer is called to somehow participate in visiting orphans in their affliction at some level.  And what a wonderful calling it is!  Adoption is a breathtakingly beautiful way to live out the gospel of Christ among the afflicted.  It provides another way for the Church to bring the gospel to those who, like we once were, are without God and hope in this world.”

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Psalm Fun

I recently read on a really great blog called, “All 4 The Glory of God” : -) about a little challenge to write a poem based on a Psalm of thanksgiving or praise.   I love the idea!  And I have even been studying  a little verse within a really great Psalm that would probably be classified as a praise song of our Creator.   However, I’m really struggling to write a poem about it.   I know the Lord has given each one of us very unique and wonderful gifts and abilities.  But, for now, for me, writing poetry would definitely not be one of those gifts!!  So, unfortunately, I probably won’t be able to contribute much to this challenge.    But you need to check out Kyle and Lydia’s poems . . .they are awesome!!! 
However, I am really excited about what I’m learning as I study Psalm 8.   As our family is in the midst of preparing simultaneously for the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; and also, Lord willing, for the blessing of another child through adoption, I am particularly excited about how timely and significant a study of Psalm 8:4 is right now!    

Psalm 8

O LORD, our Lord,

How excellent is Your name in all the earth,

 Who have set Your glory above the heavens! 

Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength

Because of Your enemies,

That You may silence the enemy and the avenger. 

When I consider Your heavens,

the work of Your fingers,

The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;

What is man that You are mindful of him,

And the son of man that You visit him? 

For You have made him a little lower than the angels,

And You have crowned him with glory and honor. 

You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;

You have put all things under his feet, 

All sheep and oxen--Even the beasts of the field, 

The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas. 

O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth! 

 Recently, I have been reading an interesting article by Dan Curver, of Together for Adoption, entitled “True Religion:  A Gospel-Centered Look at James 1:27.”  I had always wondered what James 1:27 REALLY means by “visiting” orphans in their distress.  (“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this; to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”)  His article, a study of Psalm 8:4 and a passage in Hebrews 2, has really helped clarify this for me.   There's so much depth and insight in his writing, so I best just quote him to help express all that I'm learning. 
Mr. Cruver writes, “I found it interesting that the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, uses the same Greek word translated “visit” in James 1:27 to translate the Hebrew word “visit” in Psalm 8:4.   In Psalm 8:4, this word is used to refer to God’s gracious redemptive care for man.  In James 1:27, it is used to refer to the Christian’s gracious redemptive care for orphans.” 
Then, he uses the cross-reference of Hebrews 2:6-8, which is a passage that quotes Psalm 8:4-6, to further elaborate on the connection between James 1:27 and Psalm 4.  “The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus became man in order that he might redeem us from our fallen condition, that he might rescue us from the power and fear of death.  According to Hebrews’ use of Psalm 8:4, Jesus is the one in whom God the Father’s redemptive care or visitation is climatically accomplished.” 
“Now, if Psalm 8 in general has been fulfilled in Jesus, how has Psalm 8:4 in particular (What is man . . .that you visit him?”) been fulfilled in him?  In other words, how is it that God has ultimately visited man within the unfolding saga of human history?  I think Hebrews 2 provides an answer for us when it tells us Jesus was made man in order that he might redeem us through his own suffering and death.  According to Hebrews 2, Psalm 8:4 was fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  Think of it this way:  Through the incarnation of his eternal Son, God entered into the very heart of our misery and brokenness (i.e. our affliction) in order that he might redeem us.  I think we are now very close to seeing how all of this opens up our understanding of James 1:27.” 

More to come! 



Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving and Annual Pumpkin Pictures!

We had a very nice Thanksgiving!!! 
It was a quiet and restful day.
And we were very blessed to have Richie and Lydia
join us in the evening for dinner!
The only regret I have,
is that I didn't get but this one picture
of Lydia and Richie!!! 
Pretty and sweet, huh?  
We just love spending time with Richie and Lydia!
They are two very special people
in one wonderful wedded package!
And so much fun!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I did snap these two pictures of the scrumptious food,
but I wish I had more photos of the beautiful people that sat around the table enjoying the feast! 

So, on to our annual pumpkin pictures!
Just the three smaller cuties,
as I couldn't seem to gather all the older kids this year!! 
Hmmm . . . I wonder where they all were? : -)  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Worshipful Early Start to Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! 
We thank God for you!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I couldn't sleep last night,
and the Lord put this song in my heart to sing! 
It sure is beautiful music!
And it has wonderful words to sing
this Thanksgiving day!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


What a day it’s been!  All of us loaded in the van this morning at 6:30am and headed for Olympia to try to knock off several things on our adoption paperwork list.   It is now 7:30pm, and we just finished our Costco and Walmart shopping, and are heading home as I type.  We’re all pretty exhausted, but so thankful for a productive day!

We started the day at 8am at the State Patrol office to get our first set of fingerprints and also a notarized criminal clearance letter for our Dossier.  (More fingerprints to be done later for the Dossier.)   We were excited to be the first ones to arrive and we were very blessed with the sweetest, Christian lady behind the counter helping us.   Soon into our conversation, we started talking about our mutual love for the Lord, and she asked us if we had ever read the book “Kisses from Katie”.   Oh boy, did that ever get us talking about like-minded things.  She shared with us that she has good friends (a family with 11 kids) that are serving as missionaries in Uganda, and she is going to go there in April to spend a month with them.  And she is going with the mindset of seeking God’s will for future service there.   It was so sweet having this encouraging conversation right there between the bulletproof glass window. J

I can get easily discouraged, and right out of the starting gate, I have already had many moments of wanting to wave the white flag on this mound of paperwork.  But, we KNOW without a doubt this is our assignment from the Lord for now, and that we need to keep our eyes fixed on Him and the end result.  I’ve also decided to anticipate, and look for God’s little blessings and encouragement in the journey, and this sweet lady was just that!   

We all surely needed a boost for what came next on our agenda.  (I think I heard Victoria say it will go down as her worst day ever!)  It was time for the dreaded physicals that are needed for each one of us.  But here again, another huge blessing from the Lord that we were able to schedule 8 physicals in one place, all on the same day, and less than a week from when I made the call to schedule them!   Oh, and all for free, without even a co-pay! 

I quickly became discouraged again though, (see, I told you how easily I get discouraged!) starting with the health forms the kids had to fill out.  We were really shocked by the questions that were on the 13-17 year-old forms.  It was such an eye-opening, and stomach-turning awakening to the signs of our times.   I was also surprised by the constant underlying tone of side-lining parental involvement in their health care.   It seems to be another sad sign of our times.   (Or, I guess it could be a good thing in the case of true abuse or neglect?)   Then, came the push for all the vaccinations that we were “delinquent” on.   We declined some, but felt it necessary to oblige on others for a good report, much to the dismay of the kids!  I don’t know which was worse to the kids, the immodesty associated with a thorough exam by a strange doctor they have never met, or the shots!   For myself, I was treated to three shots, as without a spleen, it was necessary for me to renew my pneumonia, meningitis and flu shot. (And the arm that took two of these three is VERY swollen and painful at the moment!)  I really can’t describe the discouragement at every turn I felt in that Olympia (if you know what I mean) office.  It was so very different from what we are used to with our wonderful, small-town, Christian doctors.    

On a more positive note again, : -) we were so proud of the kids for how well they handled such an unpleasant experience.   It was a long day for them, with helping watch the little ones and being stretched far beyond their comfort zones!   But we are so blessed to see their resolve in doing what it takes to be able to welcome an orphan into our family in the near future.  Even the unpleasant experiences can be good, when we are on this "mission" together, as a whole family.  We also kept encouraging one another as we thought about how tiny a sacrifice all of this is in comparison to what an orphan might go through day-to-day and without a family.   We are also so very thankful for the kids' sense of humor, that keeps us all laughing on our journey!   (Victoria and I had a great chuckle while she sat upon the examining table in her lovely hospital gown waiting for the doctor!  And I wish you could have seen Joseph's depictions of what he endured while getting his shots, drawn out on the little pad of paper he picked out of the nurses's treasure box!  She really was a very nice lady, just doing her job! :-) 

And another blessing we were grateful for is that, in between our appointments strewn throughout the day, we accomplished much!   We were able to get a financial report notarized that we had pre-filled out for our home study, and a certified/notarized letter started from our bank stating we are in good standing.  (This was actually just requested, and they will mail it to us when it is complete.)   And we also had a quick trip back to the State Patrol to pick-up our clearance letters, and the Post Office to get money orders to send to the FBI with our fingerprints!   And upon our return home, we had received Benjamin’s health report in the mail that I was able to request from his pediatrician, since he has been routinely seen these past 2 years.  Woo hoo!

The only glitch to our day was that the 3 notaries normally working within the Group Health building were all out today, so we were unable to get our good health reports/letters from the doctor notarized all on the same day.  (Since there are so many strict rules about how the dates all need to be the same on the letters, and the date of expiration of the notary’s commission needs to be out a couple years, etc., it is a little nerve-racking to leave today without our notarized letters in hand. ) We will have to wait until probably Tuesday, when this particular doctor we saw, who is a “visiting” doctor, returns to the clinic.   We need to pray that this goes well, as these letters are the more important ones for our Dossier. 

Well, we’re home now, and it is 10:00pm, so better get to bed so I have lots of `energy for giving lots of thanks tomorrow!   And on this Thanksgiving Eve, I want to thank you all, our dear family and friends, for the blessing of all your love and support!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving everybody!


Monday, November 19, 2012

The Wonderful Sound of a Helicopter Flying Overhead . . .

 . . . can only mean one thing this time of year! 
And we love it!!!
So we hopped in our van and drove down the hill
to watch him work!
This picture is a little blurry, but I just love the happiness and excitement written all over the faces of these two little boys!
And this little boy . . .
Filling up with gas!  Not a very big landing zone!
It was pouring down rain and VERY blustery!
We felt bad for the guys on the ground hooking up the trees,
and taking off the ropes on the other end.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Recent November Happenings!

So, on November 6, 2012, it became official . . .
all four of the quadruplets have their driver's licenses! 
And it is a wonderful life for all!
They will even be featured in our local newspaper soon . . .
maybe as soon as today!  : -)
 This picture below was taken on their "actual" birthday!
 They just received this huge box of chocolates from some very special friends of our family. 
They are such a blessing in many ways. 
Kyle works for Mr. H.  (or "Boss" as Kyle calls him.)
Unfortunately, Kyle was working over at Meemom and PapaBob's house when Mrs. H. brought over the box of chocolates. 
Too bad! :-)  We were sad that he couldn't be in the picture,
but he was way more sad that he wasn't around when the first pieces were being consumed! 
 So, later, upon Kyle's return home,
the divvying of the chocolates began.
Daddy, the accountant, was strictly supervising to make sure it was all done fair and square.

Yeah, right!
You should have seen him using every tactic he could think of
to distract them,
so he could enjoy his own "sampler"!! : -)

Yesterday, was Valerie's birthday activity day.
She decided to spend the day out and about,
thrift store shopping,
visiting our new puppies,
and bringing our beloved Anna back home.
(I'm sure pictures will be posted of Anna on their blog soon! )

 Meet Ellie and Annie,
the two newest additions to Pure Joy Labradors!
They are sisters born to Dempsey and Pure Joy's Riley.
Dempsey was born over four years ago,
as the daughter of Allie and Danny.
(Her dear family has been so good to keep in touch
with us all these years.)
Danny is the son of our very first lab, Annie.
So the puppies, Ellie and Annie, are our original lab's granddaughters!
Isn't that awesome! 

 Still thoroughly enjoying autumn!
Here, the girls and I are enjoying our home-made lattes!
All four sweet daughters and pumpkin spice lattes!
Doesn't get much better than that! : -)  
 Okay, maybe except for a slumber party by one of our first fires of the season!

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Babies are All Grown Up!

From four in a bassinette!
 To this . . .

From this

 To this . . .
From this . . . .
To this . . .
From this . . . .

To this . . .

From this . . .
 To this . . . .
Happy Birthday, Kyle, Caroline, Valerie, and Victoria!!
We love you sooooo much!

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