Wednesday, August 31, 2011

We started, did you?

We started our fourth year of home schooling the first week of  August. Basically as soon as we got back from Africa, yes even during my horrible jet lag, we started school.

I was feeling convicted about the extended break we took and I knew that I needed to get back on a routine.

Plus the kids actually like doing school work (ummmm most of the time) and they also missed the routine.


Even though I thought everything was going great God has decided to change some stuff for us this year.


We started Classical Conversations (CC) on Tuesday. We go once a week in the morning for three hours and I also tutor there.
WE HAD A BLAST!!!

I am so thankful that God's plans are ALWAYS better then my own.  I was beyond stressed about adding this to our schooling and I didn't know how it would all work out with my four (soon to be five) kids who all learn differently.

On Tuesday I woke up with such joy in my heart. We had an amazing first day. Not everything went perfectly but we had a blast! I am tutoring seven students ages 8 and 9. Which is also another blessing. My oldest is 8 1/2 (he is in my class) and I am able to learn with him. He told me in class that I am the best teacher he has ever had and he is glad that I was teaching him at CC as well.... Such a sweet boy! But ummmm I am the ONLY teacher he has ever had :)

First day at CC in my classroom
Obviously the kids are not as excited about geography as  I am!


Along with adding CC into our schooling we have also decided that we are no longer going to take a break with regards to math. (just like we don't take a break with reading) What I mean by that is my kids will be doing some sort of math every single day! Yep, I mean it. It only takes 3 minutes on the weekends or vacation breaks, so it is not a big deal. But I was super annoyed with spending our first month of home schooling relearning all the hard work we just did. I want my kids to be able to do math in their sleep. The sooner they understand and remember what they have learned the better they will be when we introduce harder concepts.  So far the kids love it. They have more confidence in themselves as we are moving forward.

We have also added pen pals this year. Which we are all really excited about. I wrote On facebook asking for pen pals for my two oldest and was able to get them three each. We have not started on writing letters yet, but I will be incorporating them soon. I wanted them to get through our first day of CC first.

Also by request of my kids, we will be incorporating more art. Anything they can paint, draw, or create they are all about. I am looking for some fun , not to messy ideas if anyone would like to share!

So this is our school year so far! I am so excited and can't wait to share some of our fun field trips that we will be taking this year.


Have you started yet? And if so what has the Lord changed about your schooling this year! Please also feel free to share any fun ideas :)


Friday, August 26, 2011

Fully what???? and a Winner!

I have been thinking about how I would write this post..... and no words form, just humble tears. I guess because I am still in shock.

I remember writing a post well over a year ago about how we would never allow money to stop us from serving the Lord. When God called us to adopt we knew this would be no easy task. Money is never a fun subject to talk about and having to constantly put our selves out there for each and every fee was hard.

But God had amazing things in store for us.

He exceeded our expectations every single time. He brought tons of people into our lives who have not only helped out financially but who are emotionally invested with us. 

He brought someone into our lives that was excited about helping us get a grant.

He brought someone into our lives that made beautiful jewlery for us to sell.

He brought amazing ladies into my life that have linked arms with us before we even knew this was the road that God was calling us too.

He brought wisdom and encouragement from so many of you.

He rained money from Heaven exactly when we needed it and not a minute late.

He brought miracles after miracles.


I have never felt more prayed for in my life!

"Thank you" will never be enough. 

Through all the many fundraisers, garage sales, shirt sales, jewelry sales, grants, church, and all of you. God funded our full adoption which was a little over $27,000!! How can you read that and not see that God owns it all? 

I will be honest and say that I did not always believe that God would bring it. I would make myself sick with worry, I would cry out to him and others, I would get upset, angry, annoyed, you name it and my sinful self felt and probably said it.  

I deserve nothing and yet He sings praises over me anyway. (Zeph 3:17)

Forgive me for not being able to truly express how I am feeling and how thankful I am to each and every one of you! I try to write and all I can do is cry happy tears. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! 




And now as I wipe my eyes so I can see what I am writing, here is the winner of the $25 Amazon  gift card!!!! I put the name of each person that donated in a basket and had my crazy kids draw a name.
video

                                                                         CONGRATS!!!!


            From the bottom of my heart THANK YOU ALL!!!



Please be in prayer with us that we fly though Embassy!

Sweet Caleb so many people here love you and are dying to meet you. We will not stop praying and I just know we will be on a plane soon coming to bring you home <3


 
Singing His praises,

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cookies for Caleb!

 WE NO LONGER HAVE COOKIES CUTTERS FOR SALE!!!!

We are so excited that Caleb will be home soon. We are not sure exactly when, but we do know it will be sometime in September!

To be fully funded we still need $3000. That is to cover travel cost to bring him home for good! Because of our awesome Lifesong grant we only need to raise $1500 of that and they will match the rest!! Such a blessing.

Caleb's 1st birthday is August 28th. I am so sad to know that I will not be with him on his first birthday, but he will be home soon!
As we were praying on what to do to raise the remaining funds to bring him home, some friends of ours thought of COOKIES FOR CALEB!

We are going to be selling Africa cookie cutters!


 For a minimum  donation to Lifesong of $15, you will not only be helping us become fully funded, you will also get a tax receipt and an additional  little gift from us!

But wait there is more!!! LOL

For everyone that buys a cookie cutter you will also be entered to win a $25 gift card to Amazon as a thank you gift! You could potentially earn your money right back!

 Even if you can not buy one could you please spread the word? We need to sell 100!!

These would make awesome gifts, fun for homeschooling or every time you look at it you will know that you brought a sweet boy home to his forever family!!


You can paypal LIfesong here  make sure in the comments you put Maser 2167 or we will not get the credit. or you can mail a check to:
                                                                  Lifesong for Orphans
                                                                          PO Box 40
                                                                      Gridley, IL 61744

                                                  In memo : MASER ADOPTION #2167
                                                                        So we get credit.
Make sure you EMAIL Me after you made the donation so I can get your address and let you know when they ship!






                                                              Cookies for Caleb!                                                          
                                  Help Bring our sweet boy home!!!

Minimum donation of $15 gets you the Africa cookie cutter, a little surprise from us, and a chance to win a $25 Amazon giftcard!!
 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Introducing......


Our boy!!!






CALEB LEYKUN MASER 
(LAY-KOON)

                                                           How blessed are we!?!

I should not have been surprised when we got the call that not only did we receive our MOWYCA letter, but also the judge had signed the decree!  Truly a miracle. On Tuesday we got an email from our agency saying "Sorry, the courts closed and you won't be getting your letter until October when they reopen." Hubby and I read the letter and we jokingly said " So your saying there's a chance!"  Normally reading a letter like that would have given me a mini break down, but I honestly thought that it could still come. And it did! On Friday we got the call!!

To God be the Glory!!

My God is bigger, My God is stronger, God you are higher then any other.......
And if our God is for us, then who can ever stop us.....
 (This song has been in my head since we were in Ethiopia)


What happens now:

They translate all the paperwork into English and then send everything to the US Embassy. From there the Embassy will get his visa and passport and other paper work ready and then when they do all that, WE GO GET HIM!!!
We have been told that it will take 4-6 weeks. So in September our BOY WILL BE HOME!!! I can not wait! There is still so much to do! I can't stop looking at pictures and remembering what it was like to kiss his squishy cheeks and smooth skin. <3

Soon precious Caleb mommy and daddy will bring you to your  home!!!

We still have money to raise... sigh... We still have the grant and if you are feeling led you can donate to the right and Lifesong will double it and you will get a tax receipt at the end of the year! Another HUGE blessing. We are praying through what to do next to help get our funds in.

Thank you all for your continue support. God has been so gracious  to surround us with such amazing people, most whom I have never even met.

Thank you Jesus for doing abundantly more then we ever expected or could even imagine.

Praising the Lord and counting our many blessings,









Monday, August 8, 2011

It's a matter of Faith!

 A note from my hubby.....



In Matthew 7:7, Jesus says, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find,
knock, and it will opened to you." What Christ is saying, it's a matter of faith. If you
have faith in Him, then ask Him for your need. Seek Him in your prayers, for His will to
be done. And knock, means to stand firm and persist in prayers, knowing that His plan
is great.
I would like to say my life is very simple and boring, but I would be lying. My Savior
has redeemed me, and lives inside me. He has called me to help build His kingdom,
and how can that be simple or boring?
I am in a very exciting place in my life right now. The best way to describe it is with
one word: CHAOS!!! I am married to an amazing women, who loves the Lord with all of
her heart, and have four beautiful children. We are in the process of adopting a little
boy, whose name is Caleb, and is from Ethiopia. We have already gotten the chance to
hold him and just love on him. We have been to court, in Ethiopia, and the judge stated
Caleb would be ours. All that was needed is a letter from the Ethiopian government, so
the judge could sign and make it official.
Now lets welcome Chaos to the story. The courts in Ethiopia close for the rainy
season, which this year is from August till the middle of October. What does this mean?
It means that it is possible that the judge will not be there to sign the letter, until October.
So what shall I do? Shall I sit back and wait, saying, "well this is the Lord plan, let me
sit here and wait?" Or shall I step out in faith, and ask the Lord, seek the Lord, and
knock!
It's a matter of faith. Look at the blind man in Mark 10:46-52. Just a little background
on this blind man. The same story is in Matthew 20:29-34 and Luke 18:35-43. Matthew
speaks of two blind men, Luke and Mark speak of one. This doesn't mean one is
wrong, but just Luke and Mark are specifically talking about one of the men, in which the
Gospel of Mark names him Bartimaeus.
Now, Bartimaeus was a blind man, just in case you didn't realize that yet. He was
sitting by the road, outside of Jericho. Now, another quick pause for those who are
comparing the three Gospels. There are two Jericho's at the time of Jesus. There is
the Old Jericho from the Old Testament (Joshua 6) and a new Herodian Jericho, which
was to the southeast of the old one. Both were on the same road, and one would walk
by both. The Gospels of Matthew and Mark could be speaking of one, and the Gospel
of Luke another. The Bible does not specify where the Bartimaeus was located, the old
or new, so that means it does not matter. Which means there was a blind man,
Bartimaeus, sitting by a road.
When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was walking by him, he began to cry out and say,
"Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Now, here was a man that had faith. He had
faith that Jesus was the son of God, and he asked. Scripture tells us that Bartimaeus
was rebuked, and by many, telling him to be silent. But did Bartimaeus remain silent?
Nope, not one bit. He continued to cry out to Christ, seeking him. Jesus stopped and
called for Bartimaeus. Did Bartimaeus just sit there and ask his request? Nope, the
complete opposite. Bartimaeus sprang up, ripped off his cloak and went to his Savior.
Jesus asked Bartimaeus what he wanted, and Bartimaeus stated, "Rabbi, let me
recover my sight." Just think about that for one second. God knows everything. Jesus
knew what Bartimaeus needed, his sight. Jesus wanted Bartimaeus to ask, seek, and
then knock. In Philippians 4:6, Paul tells us to "do not be anxious about anything, but in
everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made
known to God."
I absolutely love my chaotic life. I love that when I cry out to the Lord, he not only
answers me, but invites me to seek Him. He lets me make my request known (lets me
knock) and then he answers me. To finish the story of Bartimaeus in the Gospel of
Mark, Christ immediately restored Bartimaeus sight and told Bartimaues "go your way,
your faith has made you well" (vs. 52). Did Bartimaeus go his way? Nope, he followed
Christ!
This is the Gospel message. Just as this message is replayed over and over in
Scripture, it will be so in my life. Now, as I stated before, I have faith that God's plan is
perfect. The courts in Ethiopia are closed. Just as Bartimaeus was blind and could not
change it, there is nothing I can do to open the courts any quicker. But, I can ask and
pray for a miracle! Christ himself tells me to make that request. I absolutely know
without a doubt that this may not be a part of His plan. I also have faith that He will
bring comfort and understanding if our letter does not get signed until October.
The Gospel message is very clear, but my sin blinds me. It's very simple, but I
complicate it up all the time. It's a matter of faith, meaning Jesus is my King. He will
complete the good work inside of me, and I have been redeemed. Now, it's time to build
His kingdom!!!


I love what my hubby says. " I also have faith that He will bring comfort and understanding  if our letter doesn't get signed until October."
We have peace friends. Peace doesn't mean that you still don't hurt and long. We are standing firm in our Faith. COME WHAT MAY. Jesus is all we ever seek and His will is all we ever ask for. The pains we have in our heart were put there by Him. Making our requests known and believing with out a doubt that If He wanted to get our letter by tomorrow He could.  Also believing without a doubt that our hearts are being transformed and prepared for whatever His will is. Thank you Jesus!  Being "caught in the closures" has no bearing on my King. If we are "caught" it's because God willed it. 

Thank you Jesus for the chaos. 


** We will be doing one more giveaway soon to help us become fully funded. There will be more then one winner. Trust me you don't want to miss it!**


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Torn into pieces....Ethiopia!

God had broken our hearts specifically for Ethiopia prior to ever adopting. We figured when God finally did call us to adopt then that was why our hearts were yearning for it so much.

We now know that was not the only reason.

We prayed before we left that God and only God would open our hearts to whatever He wanted to show us. Good or bad.

When we got off the plane in Ethiopia hubby and I gave each other a look. A look we both knew what it meant. We were home! It was instant. We were tired, smelly, excited, and yet before seeing anything or talking to anyone we just knew this is exactly where the Lord wanted us.

We loved everything. And trust me that is only God because I like being able to do my hair and take hot showers and flush my toilet paper and eat my processed food :)  The culture, the smells,  the people, the food, the hurting, the land, the culture! We were in love! Oh I can not forget the coffee.. YUMMY!






We met some of the most amazing people. People who are now forever family. We met some people who didn't really like us being there, but it was great talking to them about why. It was great seeing all the religions there and having people ask us by whispering if we were protestant and then get a huge smile when we said yes. It was almost refreshing for them to know that we love Jesus.
So many of them, just like here need Jesus. 



Don't think we were so in love because our experience was good. There was some rough stuff that I haven't processed through yet, but it was all the Lord.

When we had to leave I wasn't just devastated about leaving my precious boy, I was also devastated about leaving this country that stole my heart. We honestly did not want to come back. If we could have found a way to get our kids there then that would have been it for us.

I know.. Crazy!

When we did come home and we were driving around looking out the window of our "home" I cried. Hubby and I gave each other another look and he said to me " I feel so lost, this doesn't feel right." I couldn't agree more.

Don't get me wrong. We did not come back here to judge. "There are so many people who are starving and yet, that person is eating out." That is not our hearts and we could all, including us change many bad habits. That is for God to convict, not me. We were yearning to go back to where we knew God was calling us. The simplicity of Ethiopia actually made me jealous.

We went to the beach for a little bit to get the kids out and I have always said that I could never  move away from the beach. The sun, sand and water is my happy place. That no longer had an effect. Hubby even asked me if I could leave all this and I said in a "heart beat!"  Only God!

I have no idea what plans God has for our family and the country we desperately love, but we are now more then ever open to whatever He wants!


Some interesting observations from Ethiopia:
- All their mannequins in the stores are white.
-Their whites are very white! What I mean is that their clothes look brand new. They have the whitest cleanest clothes. I can not keep our whites looking bright to save my life and theirs are beautiful. Even in the muddy rain.
-They sell meat in their stands. Some have a cross by it and some have a half moon and star. The cross shows the Orthodoxs that it is safe for them since it was blessed by their religion before eating. The moon is the same but for the Muslims.
-They throw dirt on your shoes so you will have them shine it. They take pride in having clean shoes.
-When you go out to eat they don't bring you a check. You have to ask. They just assume you will sit for hours. Why rush. :)
-You bargain for everything.
-You hear chants from the Muslims the first half in the wee hours and the the last half are from the Orthodox. If that does not keep you awake the sound of  dogs mauling each other will.
- They have blue and white "taxis" that the locals Al qaeda buses. You would not believe how many people they shove into one. Also the rules of the road is, whoever is bigger wins. They honk to tell you to move and if you don't then.... splat.. LOL  They even have tiny little kiddos walking around and even they know to move. Craziness at its finest.
-There is so much more........ I MISS IT!

We can not wait to go back to a place that, thanks to the Lord, has our hearts.I can't wait to see how we can serve Him there.  I can't wait til we can move there..... Just sayin :D

Monday, August 1, 2011

Torn into pieces....Our Boy!

We arrived in Ethiopia on a Friday night and that Saturday morning we were picked up in a van to go see our boy for the first time.

The night before we actually slept really well. We just crashed when we saw our bed.

On the ride to the transition home I was to busy taking all that I was seeing in, that I didn't really think about what was going to happen.

                                     Then before I knew it, we arrived at the gate to where he was.

                                         I tried to take it all in as we walked through the court yard.





                                                   Then they take you up stairs to a waiting room.
Hubby walking up to the room.



I normally get really nervous and I will shake and feel sick to my stomach. This time I didn't . I had peace and was just excited.

                                         We then all wait in the room for them to bring our kids to us.

The new parents!

One of the men was keeping a look out to see which kid was coming so we could all be ready with cameras. Two if us were getting babies and another was getting a toddler. When he said it was a real little one coming we assumed it was the other persons baby because ours is a chunker. Turned out to be ours. So we were not exactly ready with the camera, but we did get the first shot of them handing our new son to me.
                              
                                  Everybody keeps asking if I cried and I honestly only cried one tear.
It was not a sad tear. It was a " I have seen so many pictures and now I am actually here loving on him" kind of tear. I was beyond happy! I really couldn't believe that I was holding my boy. The boy that God laid on our hearts years ago. The boy that we have prayed for non stop as a family for a year and a half. The boy that melted my heart as soon as I saw his referral picture. The boy that God so graciously said would be a Maser.

Our boy! Thank you Jesus!!




Somethings about our Caleb: The time that we spent with him was amazing. He loved my hair and would hold it in his hands and just stare at it. He loves his daddy and laughs at him alot. We taught him how to say Da-Da and blow raspberries. He is not quite crawling but tries. He has two bottom teeth. He looks bigger then he actually is. He is wearing 9 months clothing and then they layer them a lot per their custom. He loves to snuggle on my chest. He has never had any toys before and we gave him one that crinkled and it scared him. He smiles a huge smile when I tickle his face.



Saying goodbye to him was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. You can not truly prepare yourself with how bad it hurts. Knowing that he is sick and all that we saw, I have to keep reminding myself that if he had the proper care and love then he wouldn't be an orphan.
I was laying him in his crib for the last time
Everyone keeps asking us how it was and how we are feeling and it has been very hard to talk about. This pain that you feel, this love for a boy who is miles and miles away and you have no clue when you can bring him home for good just sucks! There is no other word. In this adoption process this will be the hardest thing you will ever do.

I watch the videos that we took of him and I just break even more. I miss him. I want to desperately hold him again. 

I don't want to be this downer or walk around with a poor me attitude. I do have peace from the Lord and I know that God loves Caleb more then I do and I know that God will bring him home at the right time. But trusting in the Lord and holding on to His strength and peace doesn't mean that it still doesn't hurt.

My heart is broken. A piece of me, a huge piece, is not here.I will not feel better until he is home where he belongs.

In the midst of this indescribable pain, I am thankful!
I am thankful that I know what he sounds like when he cries, when he laughs. I am thankful for his smell which is so good and I can still smell him on me. I am thankful the he will forever have a family that will love him.  I am thankful that God called us down this incredibly hard, painful, exhausting, rewarding journey to our boy.


I am thankful that when I am weak, then I am strong.





Lord please let our letter be here soon. I can not wait to show you his face <3