Saturday, May 29, 2010

These are the days

Psalms 16:11
You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of JOY; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Enough said!

Evan was so thrilled to see the balloons launch. Who
doesn't love seeing that look in a kid's eyes?!

We actually talked Claire into smiling instead of making her usual silly face.

Jason can't escape the love of his little girls. They are crazy about their daddy, and it's no wonder why.....

Here are a few pictures of the girls wearing the cute shirts my mom made for them. I love the one of the girls on the couch. It shows their true colors: Claire being silly and Sophie being dramatic----Go figure!

I love this picture of my boys. Jason wonders where Evan gets his sense of humor. Hmmmm, I don't know.

Evan tried on Uncle Adam's helmet and hopped onto the motorcycle for a tough guy picture.

I caught the kids "playing sleep" again on this day. It's cute when they play together, especially when they play "sleep!"

Sophie is showing signs of being ready to potty-train. Lately, she's been changing all her babies' diapers. I hope it doesn't disturb you that she's changing Elmo's diaper right on the same table Evan is enjoying a snack. You can see in the "sad Sophie" picture that it's not as easy as you think to change a monster's diaper!

We helped Sophie try on Evan's baseball helmet for a minute. She didn't want to take it off, so you can see her here playing sidewalk chalk at our neighbor's house with the helmet on. Never hurts to play it safe, I suppose!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hard to believe

This past weekend, our family had a successful garage sale. All the left-overs (some of it is still pretty nice) is staring at me in the garage. I do not look forward to packing it all up. I will remember this if ever I get the urge to go shopping again.

We made about $300 from the sales of some furniture and lots of kids' clothes. If you count the donations, however, the total is more like $875. Yeah, that's not a typo.

My favorite story from the garage sale: an un-named friend (you know who you are) came by and shopped through our things this weekend. She brought the items to me to pay, and 75% of the items were things she'd given to me. There was no way I'd let her pay ME for her things! She pulled out her check-book and went on about how her kids had been saving for this cause and she had been keeping track in her check-book. When she handed me a check for $500, I was speechless. Okay, I wasn't speechless, because when I am in shock, I fill the void of silence with chattering. I was blown away once again (thank you, God) at the heart of our friend and the willingness to give so generously.

Another great story about giving: We are part of a "Radical" small group on Sunday nights. We are studying David Platt's "Radical" series. If you haven't ever heard of it, PLEASE LOOK IT UP! Just google David Platt Radical and look around. He speaks pure truth from the Bible and it is refreshing yet transforming. Anyway, last night we were enjoying the questions and answers that go along with the series, when the oldest son of the house (I think he just turned 11, but I could be off a year or two) decided to do something radical. He decided to give Jason and me the money he'd just received the day before for his birthday. When I understood what was happening, I nearly dropped to my knees. This little boy, who could go spend his birthday money on any number of toys or gadgets, chose to give it to us so we could give it to someone we've never seen. It was roughly $100, which is a fortune and can go really far for a little boy in the United States, and to infinity for little boys and girls who will receive the blessings of his giving.

Time is getting VERY close for Jason and I to hand over a large amount of money we've been saving and watching over for quite some time. It's really just ransom money if you think about it, and totally worth it. If these little ones come here and make our life more difficult than it is right now, let it be! After all, we are loving Jesus through this decision. It is HIS heart we desire to know. It is HIS heart we desire to show to others. It is HIS satisfaction we are seeking.

I'm rambling, but maybe it's because I'm "speechless" about these acts of loving kindness. Until another time, I thank God for His people who He is moving toward His purpose. I thank God for asking us to do His work and to be His hands and feet and mouth and eyes.

Good night!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Yard sale

We are having the yard sale of all yard sales tomorrow and Saturday. If you live in or near Kansas City, come by and browse. We have furniture, and tons of clothes (maternity, adult, children, babies---both genders, ridiculous amount of shoes, etc).

The money we make on this sale will go toward our massive travel expenses to Ethiopia. It will only get us started, but I guess one must start at the beginning ("a very good place to start!").

I had a moment of "Mendy" tonight. That is when Wendy leaves the building and another person overtakes her body. I hit a wall with the overwhelming task of getting rid of the stuff we've acquired over the past 10 years. It's really quite embarrassing to look at all the stuff. I hope we can get rid of even a fraction of it and take the rest elsewhere. We consider ourselves non-hoarders, but by the looks of the garage tonight, I'm wondering......

A yard sale creates a happy state of mind, to some extent. It is a walk down memory lane. For me, it's not easy to sell clothes. It's not the monetary value of them; it's just the fact that so many of my maternity and baby clothes brought such JOY to my life. I thought tonight about how much JOY they will bring someone else.

I look forward to seeing the response we get at this, our first yard sale. It would be great to raise $500.....we'll have to wait and see!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

1st Annual 5K benefitting the Wilma Cook House of Hope

It's hard to count the victories accomplished yesterday morning at our 1st annual 5K benefitting the Wilma Cook House of Hope with the Global Orphan Project.

The most notable victory was the fact that we had so many friends and family who came to support our cause. Your presence was a huge statement to the world that this work matters.

Penny: A HUGE thank you to you. Without your hard work for the past several months, this would have never happened. The way you have cared for and nurtured this event has been pure delight for me. Mandy Sharp: A special thank you to you. The fact that you were with us on this big day meant the world to me and your help was invaluable. One hundred thank-you's to everyone else who pitched in to help, whether big or small!

The second most notable victory was the weather~~~all week the weather forecasters predicted heavy rain/t-storms and 50ish degrees. It was a beautiful morning, of 60 degrees and NO RAIN!!! Wow! It rained after the event for the entire rest of the day, but the race was dry!

A few other victories prevailed yesterday in personal accomplishments of the runners and participants. Amy Bonjour ran all the way without stopping and in much less time than she expected. That is a BIG DEAL! What a reason to celebrate!

There are so many stories worth telling from yesterday that I will have to save many for another day. God was very present and made Himself visible to Jason and me. As Jason was gathering the crowd and speaking to everyone before we began the race, we were reminded again of the mission we have to serve Him. A special song was playing on his Iphone/speaker set-up which conjured up a distinct focus on the glory of God. In fact, it's by Jeremy Riddle and it's called "God of all glory." It's one we heard the night of the Big Event with Global Orphan Project, where Jeremy Riddle played live. Awesome! No one else probably noticed, but I did! To stand next to Jason and listen as he OPENED HIS MOUTH for the speechless and told of the orphan crisis in the world, I could not have been more proud. What a faithful man I have to love and share life with......

After all the donations were counted, we had a grand total of $2680 just from the 5K. Praise God! Our up-to-date fund-raising total is $10,500. This has all come in, just since January. It's all His and will be used to serve His children in Uganda who are living homeless today and eating dirt and garbage to survive.

We will be sending His money to the "least of these" very soon! Very soon, 10-20 children will have a home and a mama. And we aren't done, yet. We have many more plans for the fatherless. We are hoping to partner with a few other wonderful people who have set up orphanages and charities. Plans are being made and details will be shared in the coming months. We have a big "plan-making" weekend set for the 1st weekend in June.

The two people standing next to the Global Orphan sign were the top male and top female runners. The top male runner received a generous golf prize from Excelsior Springs Golf Club, and the top female received $50 gift cards to Pottery Barn. Enjoy!

Jason was really huffing and puffing to get to the finish line in this shot. Looks like he lost a kid somewhere in the run......

This was the finish line and the man who stole the show with his unbelievable talent. He finished in 18 minutes! And, he had run 5K just before this, just to warm up! That makes me tired, just thinking about it!

My friend, who happens to be Evan's teacher, Angie Roeder (along with her son and husband) came out to show their support. Thanks, guys!

We had several people who chose to do the 1 mile run/walk. Lots of strollers and little ones running off their donut energy!

Here is a picture of Amy Bonjour and her friends who came to support her! Way to go, Amy!

This is a shot of Claire in her tu-tu, eating her 3rd muffin. She thought she was hiding behind this table, until Uncle Adam found her and got this picture!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Too excited to sleep

The day has arrived. It's the day of our 5k race benefiting the Wilma Cook House of Hope! It's 4:30 AM and I'm way too excited to sleep.

We have had fewer people pre-register than expected, and some of the details are not what we had envisioned. However, I could not be more excited to do this today! Finally, I feel like I've discovered a way to honor God and help His children that DOES NOT FEEL LIKE WORK.

I was going through the details in my head (all day) yesterday. There is quite a lot to arrange when hosting a 5k: t-shirts, food donations, timer, volunteers, balloons, streamers, posters, lists, prizes, registrations, etc. Having been a participant in several other 5Ks, I realize that the details of our's are very am-mature. We are not in the business of hosting 5Ks.

In all the other races I've participated in, there have been fancy DJ's, fancy timers, fancy "goodie-bags." Last night when I looked at the popsicle sticks we are using for placing people and the IPhone/computer-speaker music combo Jason is using for our music, my heart smiled. I was filled with the most thrilling joy, as Evan prepared the name-tags for the runners today. We were able to have that fruitful conversation, once again, about why we are doing this. His heart has grown in this process, although it was probably closer to being in the right place than our's was to begin with!!! God reminded me, in a moment of humility, that this work is for Him.

I fully expected to be stressed over baking my dozens and dozens of muffins late last night, but I truly enjoyed it. In fact, not one moment of stress entered my world.

I pray that we are His hands and His feet today. May our work glorify Him and create blessings for His people that will multiply.

Pictures to come soon! Wish us luck!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sweet Evan

Evan loves Jesus. He is always stumping us with really great questions about God and eternity and angels and WOW! He keeps us thinking.

After I put Sophie to bed last night, the thunder began to roll. It wasn't a terribly strong storm, but a couple rumbles of thunder did scare her. She started crying, just as Evan and I were saying our bedtime prayers. I told him we should hurry, so that I could go console Sophie and help her to settle down. Evan agreed, and went on to pray the following:

"Dear Jesus, Thank you for this wonderful week we had. Be with the orphans and be with Sophie tonight. She is scared of the storm. But, a storm is just when hot air meets cold air. Amen."

It was adorable and I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. He is learning so much in school. I'm so proud of the smart young man he is. I'm thrilled to share these years with him.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Small steps and a thought about Moses

We made another small step this week. In our mailbox tomorrow goes our corrections to the draft dossier! Cross your fingers that we signed/dated/notarized everything the right way this time. We will hopefully hear from our case manager this week and get the "go-ahead" for the next several steps (authenticating the dossier at the state level, then off to the federal level, then off to Ethiopia for a review before it is all approved----ugh). We are hoping this can be completed in a few weeks, so that we can kiss it good-bye at the end of May/beginning of June. We look forward to officially being on the waiting list. It's important to us that God's timing prevails, so we are not sweating the timing of any of this. If it takes 8 months or a 18 months to see our children's faces and know their names~we'll wait. We know it is already well-planned out and we are just surrendering to whatever may come.

Thank you for praying along with us that our children will have a peace that surpasses all understanding tonight. Pray that God will begin to knit together the threads of our hearts, in the same way he knits us together in our mother's womb. They are in my thoughts and prayers everyday. In fact, when someone asks how many children we have, it almost hurts to say 3 when we know there are 2 more waiting for us out there!

On another note: I wanted to post this yesterday, but time got away from me. There are many profound stories of adoption in the Bible and in the history books. In fact, Jesus' life began and ended with an adoption. Joseph adopted Him as his own son at birth, and Jesus appointed "the disciple whom He loved" and told that disciple: "Behold your mother!" just before His death on the cross. Read John 19:25-27 for more insight.

Here's another one----the story of Moses. If you haven't read Exodus 2 in a while, go pick up your Bible and re-read it. Ask yourself where would we (all of history) be, if an adoption hadn't occurred in the life of this lowly Hebrew baby boy. An unlikely event: a Hebrew boy adopted into the home of the Egyptian Pharaoh. The Pharaoh's daughter opened her mouth for the speechless baby in the river. What if she hadn't?

Proverbs 31:8-9
Open your mouth for the speechless In the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

What is old becomes new

Few words can express the feeling I had tonight about our life change. As I've noted before, we have not always included adoption in our Rust family life vision. We were putting together a mission statement a year or so ago and never landed on one we fell in love with. I know now that it was because we had not stumbled across this very significant detail of our lives God had prepared.

On this side of our life story, old songs, ideas, quotes, scriptures have all gained new value. For instance, the song "Bless the Broken Road," by the Rascal Flatts, used to have a special romantic message to me. Now, all I hear is our adoption journey and how God is
blessing their broken little road and leading them straight into our arms. There are more examples, but I'll share more of them on another post.

What I
really wanted to share was my favorite poem by Robert Frost. I don't know why I stumbled across it tonight, but all I had to do was read the title and SMACK! It hit me!!! This is another great emotion-filled example of how our lives look different now compared to this time last year. Our choice to adopt has taken us down the path we had once completely refused. We boasted in our decision to be "done" having kids after Sophie came along. We laughed at the opportunity to be "kid-free" earlier in life than our friends, who were taking longer than us to procreate. Dreams were born and plans were in the works to create some independence from service to others. I don't ever want to go back to that. We were fooling ourselves all along to say that we didn't "want any more kids." Hind-sight is 20/20, don't they say?

This is all so very fresh in my heart, as tonight, we put more finishing touches on our dossier. We are hoping these corrections will complete our original draft dossier mistakes! Our goal is to have everything submitted and pay the final lump-sum price by the first of June. It will go in the mailbox (again) this weekend. We will keep the blog updated, as adoption work will be heavy over the next few weeks, before it (hopefully) grows quiet for a little while. For now, go on and read the poem that now holds so much more meaning to our lives. I'm sure it holds great power in your life, too.

The Road Less Traveled

WO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 10
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back. 15
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A great day to be alive

Disclaimer: I have no idea what happened to the order of the pictures on this particular post, but I never claimed to be a blogging expert! Just read and try to make sense of it, the best you can!

"It's a great day to be alive; I know the sun's still shining when I close my eyes."

I don't know who wrote that country song, but it sums up the last 10ish days of our lives.

We have had many moments of joy over the past week. A day in the park while in Farmington at my parents' place provided many happy memories: throwing rocks in the pond, seeing snakes and turtles warm themselves in the sun, and a run in the pouring-down rain. The kids thought it was funny, and when it was all over~we did, too!

Our oldest, Evan, participated in his first school concert. It was a cute kindergarten program called "The Runaway Pancake." The kids all had hand-made pancake masks. They were cute. I practically knew every word of the song, thanks to my daily commute side-kick. I heard that song no less than 100 times over the past month!

Also, the kids have started to play a new game. It's called "Ideas." Thank you, Evan, for such a creative name for a wonderful game. Basically, they all sit on our swing and think up different tasks to complete and see who can do it first. The other day, Claire's "idea" was:

1. Touch the fence.
2. Touch Evan's tree.
3. Touch Claire's tree.
4. Touch the sand box.
5. Spank Sophie's bootie.
6. Spank Elvis' bootie.

It cracked us up, watching the kids run around completing their little tasks. Sophie was a great sport at letting her big brother and sister chase her around to spank her. We have had many memorable moments this week that we cherish. Tonight, I ended my very long day with a rock-a-by baby Sophie and some cuddling. What will I do when the rock-a-by stage is gone? That's what I was made for.........Not much brings me more joy. I love these little people and the man I share my life with who leads our family to big and bold and wonderful things. Thank you, Jesus, for allowing these blessings to flow through our family.

May we be an eternal funnel of You and Your love!

"....But why can't every day be just this good?"