Monday, January 30, 2017

January Family Fun . . .

To the bike park! 

Daddy and the boys stayed back at the bike park while us girls went to the coffee shop! : -)

 Saturday, we had the blessing of ice-skating with a bunch of awesome friends!
The picture taking was challenging through the plexiglass walls! 

   These are all the awesome friends that were there. 
The first one is missing Ryan and Anna. Then, they jumped in for the second one. 
 We're also missing John, who was taking the picture! : -( 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Kyle's New Book is Ready!

We are very excited to announce that Kyle's new book is published
and ready for you to purchase here . . . 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Monday, January 23, 2017

Sanctity of Human Life . . .

. . . from God's perspective and our testimonies . . . 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
We are so thankful that God has revealed in His word,
 that He is the creator and sustainer of life.

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know this full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
Psalm 139:13-16

"This is what the Lord says--he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life the those who walk on it."
Isaiah 42:5

The Bible is full of such verses!
And we are so thankful, that we had this foundation when we were faced with "a choice" nearly 21 years ago. 

When at 7 weeks pregnant, we saw four little hearts beating on an ultrasound screen, we knew that God had created these little hearts, and that He would sustain them (and me) if it be His will. Thankfully, knowing this, we had the confidence to stand firm when given much advice from medical professionals to "reduce" two of the 7 week old babies.  We trusted that our Almighty God would take care of all of us.  And He did!

This is a testimony from one of these babies!
 Victoria just shared this on her facebook page:

"I am a quadruplet. It's been an amazing experience! Those 3 siblings are my best friends. They've always been there for me and my life has been blessed immensely by them. I can't imagine life without them! Right after my parents counted 4 little hearts beating on the monitor screen at a pregnancy clinic, the doctor handed them a business card to a nearby abortion clinic and told them not to worry, "he'll take care of it". They were advised to "eliminate" at least two of us.... I often wonder who of us 4 wouldn't be here. By God's grace, my parents decided to keep all 4 of us because they believe that life begins at conception and knew that every life is a precious gift from God. Yesterday was Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. My heart goes out to the little lives of the unborn who will never get to experience life here on earth. I could have easily been just a part of the abortion count statistics but I wasn't. Life is precious, friends! Lets do what we can to be a voice for the unborn!"

Another one of these now 20 year-old babies : -), Caroline,
has taken on leading the Centralia 40 Days for Life campaign this year! 
She is doing what she can to protect the unborn! 
You can join her at: 
Centralia 40 Days for Life

Then, again, when I was several months pregnant with Joseph, we had another medical professional advise us to abort him, because of it being too risky of a pregnancy.   We had the same convictions then, that God created his life, and would sustain it and take care of me, if it be His will.
And He did!
We cannot imagine life without three of our beautiful children.
So, let's do everything we can to share the truth of God's word with others . . .
that God is the creator of life from conception, and that He will provide a way to care for this life,
no matter what the circumstances!

Recently, we were challenged again when some dear pro-life, pro-adoption friends shared their conviction that since an IVF infertility procedure was violating God's design for natural conception, that they would not have a peace from God about embryo adoption.  But this begged the question of do we really believe life starts at the moment the egg from a woman and the sperm from a man are united (at conception, even if this is outside of a womb?) If we believe that, then even if the embryo is in a temporary location and environment for a time, it still is human life, needing protection and a chance to live!!
This excerpt from a letter to our dear friends explains our convictions on embryo adoption . . . .

"As you know, Robyn and I had our own journey in regards to infertility.  We had to carefully consider what we were willing to do in treating a medical condition . . . and what would be “crossing the line” of tampering with things that belong to the Lord.  Our general principle was to do what we could to restore the natural reproductive function God had designed, similar to a person using eyeglasses to restore the vision God had designed.  We concluded that as Christians we could not do in-vitro fertilization (the process that results in frozen embryos) for two reasons.  It violated God’s design for conception and, more importantly, it created babies (just very tiny ones) many of which would likely go “unused” or discarded.  If we believe life begins at conception, those embryos are babies and destroying them is abortion.

This is why we believe wholeheartedly in embryo (tiny baby) adoption.  In adopting these “unwanted” babies, a couple does not take the place of God in creation . . . they glorify God in reflecting His love for human life at every stage and every age.  The babies are already created because the sperm has fertilized the egg . . . and life has begun.  The couple willing to adopt one of these tiny babies is not condoning the method of their conception, nor their being frozen, just stepping in to lovingly care for a modern orphan.  We see no difference in this than what you did for your precious children.  You weren’t condoning the actions that resulted in them being orphaned, but lovingly stepping in to care for the innocent victims . . . all the while modeling God’s heart of compassion for orphans.  This is a beautiful thing!

We also see an inescapable connection between being “Pro-Life” and “Pro-Embryo-Adoption”.  For all of us who believe abortion to be the killing of a pre-born child, the big question is always “when does life begin?”  The reason we believe abortion is killing is because we believe pre-born babies are alive human beings, created in the image of God.  So based upon scriptures like Psalm 139 we conclude that once a child is conceived, it is life, and must be protected even before birth (egg + sperm = life).  If we don’t believe this, we have to come up with some arbitrary definition of when life begins, which is what abortionists do to justify their killing of pre-born babies.  So if we’re consistent in our belief that abortion at any gestational age is killing, we are saying that once a child is conceived it is alive . . . created in the image of God . . . and should be protected.  So to be consistent, we have to believe these frozen embryos are living babies that are no less valuable in God’s sight than the 10-year-old child also waiting to be adopted.  Couples may have a variety of reasons to adopt one child rather than another (and no-one can adopt them all!), but if we say that any are more valuable or deserving of adoption than another . . . then we are playing God."

Our most recent testimony of the Lord's leading our family
 in valuing life at its earliest stage . . .  :-)
Richie and Lydia ~ parents of an adopted itty bitty preborn baby girl : -)
A good way to look at these tiny little babies is summarized in the SLED test,
first written by Stephen Schwarz, in his book, "The Moral Question of Abortion."
He addresses how Size, Level of Development, Environment, and Degree of Dependency are not determining factors in whether a human being is a human being and valuable in all circumstances. 
It can be found on the internet in various paraphrases by other pro-life authors. 
Here is one version:

Friday, January 20, 2017

Remembering What the Lord has Done for Us . . .

As the dust settles from the whirlwind that hit our family in the fall, I feel compelled to write out and document our testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness and all He has done for us this past three months.  Since my time for writing is so limited right now, I am not able to think through writing this, nor write with orderliness and well-articulated eloquence! : -)  It will definitely look more like rambling with lots of grammatical errors!  But I really wanted to just write from my heart for our family’s journal, and at least get what I could down in print so that we will never forget this journey the Lord has taken us on for our good and His glory!  (Chances are your time will be limited in the reading of the entire post anyway, and I completely understand that! : -)

Three months ago, on a very stormy night in mid-October, our home was turned upside down by two little people that landed on our doorstep at 8 o’clock in the evening.  It was very fitting that they should come to us in the middle of storm, as turmoil, fear, uncertainty, pain, and loss had been the one consistent backdrop in the story of their young lives.   We were so surprised when the social worker left after being here for just a short time, and the kids were totally fine with her leaving them with us. . . total strangers.  They waved goodbye to her from a distance, with a smile on their face, as if they experience this every day.
Their social worker had to move them quickly once again, as the foster home where they had been staying couldn’t handle them anymore, and wanted them to be moved immediately.  Also, the preschool/daycare where they were attending was forced to have a 1-1 worker/child situation with W. due to his hard-to-manage behaviors.  They had even mentioned the possibility of needing to put at least W. in a therapy home.  
We were told that W. had some challenging behaviors . . . like hitting, throwing things, screaming, yelling, kicking, punching . . .  even over the smallest of irritations like someone saying “no” to him.  Of course, this behavior is understandable when he had witnessed anger toward others in a violent way (perhaps was also physically abused during outbursts of anger), and had such an unstable, unstructured, uncertain existence for most of his four years.  We have not been given the details of his story yet, but we know enough to know that he has had such a difficult journey, with at least 5 moves that we know of. And the state wanted him to have counseling for the trauma he had experienced  before coming to us.
It was a difficult decision for us to make, even as our hearts had been willing for a long time to say yes to the Lord to take in more orphans and minister to these precious souls that desperately need to know the love of Jesus. But the reality of how this case would affect all of our family weighed in heavy on our minds, as the state was not looking for another temporary placement, but a permanent home.   We told our social worker that we would pray about it overnight, and let them know in the morning.  I don’t know that we ever really had a peaceful feeling about it, but we knew that God was leading us to this, and that He would provide all that we needed.  We had long ago counted the cost of being a follower and disciple of Jesus.  We had said yes to being His ambassadors and vessels of His grace and mercy to the broken world we live in and the hurting people He brings into our lives.  We are striving to serve like Jesus and be His hands and feet to the needy. So He brings us two precious souls that have been rejected by so many and were so in need . . . how we could say "NO" now!!! 
They told us that W. would need to be watched closely, and that he would need a safe place where he could go to calm down when things escalated to the point of harming others.  So, we made the first bedroom down the hall his safe place/bedroom.   At first when he needed a time out (which was often), we would have to pick him up and carry him, all the while he was kicking, punching, yelling, and screaming at us.  When we would try to put him in the room, he would rush back at the door, and a wrestling match would ensue, trying to keep him in the room while we got out of the room. Once we finally got the door closed (it is an outward opening door into the hallway) he would kick and punch and yell at the door, while we held it closed on the other side.  We soon got a lock on it, so that we could walk away, and regroup! : -)  It was truly heartbreaking.
W. would then, in another fit of rage, throw everything in the room onto the floor.  It was so sad to hear him in such a frenzy in there!  We just wanted to be able to quiet him down with love, hugs and a gentle talking to, but there was no chance for that until after a long while, when he would eventually calm down.  We then could go in and talk with him, and de-brief the whole situation.   We would talk about his behavior both that led him to a time-out and while he was in time-out. Then, we would pray with and for him.  We also expected him to put everything back in its place that he had thrown onto the floor before he could come out of the room.  Ted was especially good at this whole process with him, and we were so thankful that Ted’s request to his work to have 4 weeks of paid  ½ days off was granted.  (As part of the Family and Medical Leave Act) This was such a tremendous blessing for all of us, but especially for W. who really needed someone strong but gentle, without emotion, to speak quietly and lovingly to him in the midst of such a volatile situation.
This went on for many weeks, and slowly, he began to stop throwing things on the floor during his time-out; then, he began going willingly into his time-outs; and finally, after three months, the behaviors that cause him to have time-outs have also been greatly improving. 
Foster parenting is always challenging, with the kids belonging to the state, and needing to parent them according to the state’s lists of rules and regulations; and then being monitored regularly to make sure that you are doing everything correctly.  We have twice a month visits by social workers (one from the state and one from our licensing/adoption agency), and weekly trips to visit their biological family members.  It feels like we are being watched closely on every side.  Since Ben and Brielle were infants when they came to us, and had no biological relationships that were ongoing, parenting W. and G. is a much different learning and stretching experience!   
Now that G. has figured out who we all are to her : -) and is not asking "What's your name? and "Is that mine? over and over and over again, and is  potty trained, : -)  life seems to be settling into our new normal very nicely.  The Lord has been so good to us in answering our prayers and helping W. through his anger, and both W. and G. feel safe, secure and loved so that they can trust us and begin to bond with us without worrying about moving again.  We thank the Lord for all He has done for us, especially in giving us the strength and wisdom we’ve needed through the transition. 
I want to write this all down, as in the hustle and bustle of the day, I feel like I'm already forgetting how far the Lord has brought us!  And I don’t ever want to forget all that He done for us.  Those first 2 months were so very hard for all of us.  Emotionally, I was so fragile.  I had meltdowns easily, and cried many tears.  This of course, greatly affected the whole countenance of our household.  My sweet older daughters, who also felt and took on most of the daily stress, would often hug me and say, "We can do this! We're in this together!" Physically, my heart rate and other various heartbeat irregularities were off the charts, and I thought this might just be too much for my aging heart . . .in many ways!  Our existing family relationships were put to the test and stretched so thin.  I wondered if we would ever recover from the stress this put on all our relationships.  I felt so weary, and longed for encouragement.  But there are few who understand what this journey is like, and since most folks just think we’re crazy, or well on our way, ;-), I felt pretty alone.  And I felt like I needed to appear that I had it all together for everyone watching.  It was definitely all bringing the worst out in me (my sin!) which also made me feel terrible!  And actually, God was/has been revealing some big areas of sin in my life, and has been doing some major pruning!  Ouch!  Though it has gotten much easier, I still have my meltdown moments . . .like this past Sunday at church when a sweet friend just asked how I was doing and the tears immediately started flowing! : -)
We all had an especially dark day just four days in to our difficult transition with W. and G. (and on the morning of my 50th birthday), when we got the call that our dearly loved one was in a coma after an attempted suicide.   We just felt the weight of our enemy’s evil schemes all around us to kill, steal and destroy life however he can.   Our hearts were so heavy that day, and we felt so sad and discouraged. It just seemed like the enemy was winning the day with all the brokenness in the lives of those around us.  But greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world!   He brought our loved one through her near brush with death that day, and of course, was already in the process of bringing good out of what the enemy meant for harm in W. and G.’s lives.
So in the midst of it all, I have to admit, I often thought maybe we had made a mistake . . .maybe the Lord hadn’t called us to this. Maybe we needed to “rethink our lives” and reconsider what we agreed to! But then my next thought was . . .  how ridiculous, faulty, selfish, and evil this thinking is!  Of course God has called us to this. He put the desire in our hearts, and has directed our every step to that life-changing day in October when He brought us two vulnerable, precious souls.  He has not called us to a life of ease and comfort, doing what pleases us.  Loving and serving others takes sacrifice, and requires surrender of our selfish ways and reliance on the Spirit’s work in our lives.  Without a doubt, placing orphans in families, and even more so in families that will lead the children to Him, is at the very heart of our Heavenly Father.   It is our enemy who is placing the reluctance, doubts and fears in my heart!  I think often of how our Heavenly Father loves us so unconditionally and sacrificially, while we were still sinners (and not very loveable), and I am so thankful for this and really want to love that same way.   
I wish I could say that we have always selflessly and sacrificially thought this wasn't about us and what we were going through, but all about the kids and their needs, and rose to the occasion with great spiritual strength.  But, in this process and in reality, having our family change so drastically in an instant has truly been exhausting and overwhelming; even when that change was something we’ve been wanting and waiting for, and certain that it is a part of God’s good deeds that He has planned long ago for us to do.  We now see that God had just as much work to do in us than what He was working out in and for the kids.  And it has been good, because He is good, and all that He does is good and He loves us all so much!  We are so thankful that He is so patient with us and so faithful to complete the work that He has started in us . . .even when it hurts. 

We’re constantly being reminded that when God calls you to something, He is faithful in providing all that is needed.   He has graciously carried us through this season for our good, to grow us, to build our faith and to show us more of Himself that perhaps we wouldn’t have seen any other way.  Oh, and to bless us!!!  : -) Children ARE a BLESSING, no matter what!  

And, of course, He loves W. and G. soooooooo much, that He did not leave them as orphans.  He has placed them in a forever family that will love them always, no matter what, and lead them to Jesus! I can’t wait to see more of the good plans God has for W. and G.!!!
These three months of being a shelter in the storm for W. and G. have shown us many things, but one of the biggest lessons by far is just how faithful our “Strong Tower” is for His children!  We pray that we will continue to preserve in the Lord’s strength in loving, nurturing and protecting our two new treasures that He has given us, just as our Heavenly Father does for us!
Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.
 Proverbs 14:26

Sunday, January 15, 2017

From a Mother's Heart . . .

My heart is feeling so sad this weekend seeing the grief Victoria is going through with a very unexpected and significant loss of her super special boer doe that had just delivered triplets.
Roxi was so special because she was born here to Crossroads Boer Goats, as part of Victoria and Caroline's hard work in researching and producing quality show goats. 
At the national show in Nebraska in 2015, at just 10 months old, she was highly respected
and judged to have a very promising future ahead. 
Indeed, Roxi went on to win many other victories in the show ring!
~ ~ ~ ~
When Victoria made the difficult decision a year or so ago to leave the boer goat industry, she sold most all of her herd, but it was hard to think of parting with Roxi, and she wanted to see what beautiful kids she might produce.  This was Roxi's first breeding, and she was having some complications at the end of her pregnancy.  As it turned out, Victoria ended up delivering the triplets about 8 days early this past Friday, and two bucks were already stillborn.  Victoria took the surviving buck and Roxi to the vet shortly after the delivery to have them checked out.
That night, Roxi passed away very suddenly.
Then, just this morning, the third buck died, 
despite the round-the-clock nursing by Caroline and Victoria. 
It is just so hard to comprehend such an unexpected, profound loss.
Her heart aches, and so does mine for her.  :-(

Please pray for her as she processes this.  
Pray that the Lord will comfort her heart as only he can do. 
And that she will find strength and comfort in knowing 
that the Lord is working all things together for her good.

 Victoria is also feeling so sad over the loss of two additional goat kids that she delivered to a good friend's special doe.  Victoria is watching the doe here for her friend as long as is needed. This doe also delivered triplets, just a day or two before Roxi's triplets.

Victoria is so experienced, and knows all the right things to do. 
 She takes such tremendously good care of her goats and goes above and beyond the call of duty to care for them.  She has worked sooooo hard through the years and has learned soooo much!
She has never experienced this kind of significant loss.  
It is so hard not to know the why's behind all the sickness and death.
Victoria keeps wondering if there was something more she could have done if she just knew what the problems were.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
But . . we are sooooo very thankful for what we DO KNOW . . . 
 God loves Victoria so very much!
He is good in all things!
He has a wonderful plan for Victoria!

This is true for you too, dear friend, if you know the Lord and are going through difficult trials!
He will bring you through as He works everything together for your good!

This is What Figment Looks Like . . .

So a few years ago when PapaBob and Meemom came here for their first Christmas in their new house, we told them they wouldn't need to worry about it snowing here, 
as it "hardly ever"  snows here. 
Well, that winter, they happened to get snowed in to their house. 
We had to dig them out. . . literally. 
So, PapaBob won't ever let us live that one little comment down. Since then, he teases us about any snow here just being a "figment of our imagination"  . . . because we said, "it doesn't ever snow here." 
Well, Papa Bob, I guess this is what figment looks like . . . 


 Hey, PapaBob!  All of this figment that has fallen is only because our little guy W. has been praying fervently for snow!  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Last Few Pictures From Christmas 2016!

Before taking the Christmas tree down, we snapped a few more pictures of our four littlest ones in their handsome/pretty Christmas clothes.  : -)


Saturday, January 7, 2017

A Few Random Pictures!

These pictures Lydia took when Benny went to spend a day recently hanging out 
with her and Richie, 
and helping them out on their farm! :-)
He loves that time with them sooooo much!!! 
(I stole borrowed them from her FB page! ; -) 
First one up . . . picking cherries. . . ;-)

This picture of Richie and Lydia I just found on Meemom's camera when I was taking some Christmas photos off of her SD card. : -) 
It was from Richie's birthday party back in August. 
Aren't they cute???  Love them soooo much! 
 The next two photos are two of the photos that Meemom took on Christmas! 

This was taken on New Year's Eve . . .
Valerie was making chicken taquitos at PapaBob and Meemom's house! Yum!
  We had quite the wild party with playing Scrabble on New Year's Eve!
 A sweet moment caught on camera! 
 This was an impromptu cowboy/cowgirl dress-up show Benny started . . .
The only problem was that W. didn't have a hat!
So we went shopping the next day and found him one!  
We'll be updating this photo soon!

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