10. My husband who is a much better smusher and musher than a Cuisinart blender or food process - I'm thankful for Will for so many things (more than just for the skill I mentioned), and I cannot imagine this adventure (or any of our other crazy adventures) with anybody but him!!! He is so good with Sophi...playful, patient, and gentle! He keeps me from getting to uptight, reminds me to have a sense of humor, encourages me when I'm doubting, prays for me (out loud and in public, even as we're strolling through downtown Sofia) when he knows I'm being attacked by the Enemy, and so, so much more! Oh, the Lord knew what He was doing when He chose Will to be the Daddy for Web, Palmer, Hank, Barrett, Evie, and S! I'm pretty sure S's first word is going to be DADDY! In fact, I think she's already trying to say it...but back to why he's better than a Cuisinart...Will has taken over the job of food prep at mealtime! I do the feeding, and he gets it ready and brings it to us (maybe that's why S's eyes light up when she sees him)! While some of the food that I brought for S from home has been great (applesauce, yogurt, and baby food), we've also tried to feed her some things from here, things she's more used to eating. The orphanage director said she was used to eating traditional Bulgarian foods as long as they were cut into small bites, but we've found that she really struggles with any type of solid or semi-solid food! She stuffs it in her mouth (as much as I will give her) and packs it in the top of her mouth until she can get it to a swallowable (I'm not sure if that's a real word) consistency! This makes mealtime lasts forever and she gets very frustrated and agitated when she sees that there is more food but that I won't give it to her because her mouth is already so full she can hardly open it. That's why the baby food textures are so much easier. She can just swallow without any effort! That's where Will comes in. He's been using the limited resources we have here in this little hotel room (a plastic spoon and leftover baby food containers) to create a mushed-up masterpiece. For example, today's lunch consisted of baby food oatmeal, applesauce, smushed banana mixed in yogurt, tiny pieces of deli meat mixed with torn pieces of bread and some type of white, soft cheese all mixed with milk in the empty applesauce container! Sounds appetizing, doesn't it? Well, S didn't seem to mind that it was an odd combination! She gobbled it up! The soft texture made it easier to swallow and although she still had food in the top of her mouth an hour later, it was much less stressful for all of us! We have so much to learn about this precious little girl, and I am so thankful that Will is my partner in this journey! Teamwork is crucial, and that's what we're doing here in Sofia...working together, laughing together, crying together (me more than Him), and praying together! What a mercy to have this man to share life with! What a sweet mercy that S has this man to be her Daddy as he is showing her a picture of her Heavenly Father's heart! No, he's not perfect...far from it, but then that's why there is Mercy!
11. Coke Lite - While it doesn't taste quite the same as Diet Coke, it has hit the spot for me this trip! :) Because the hotel glasses always seem to be full of mushed-up leftover bananas and such, I've just been drinking it straight out of the 2 liter bottle we bought at the market (they don't have drink machines around here). I don't mind one bit though as long as I have my caffeine! One side note about coke...It has a slightly different taste wherever you go in the world, BUT you can pretty much always find Coke everywhere! Last year, when I read David Platt's book Radical for the first time, I was struck by a story he told of a missionary going to an extremely remote and isolated village, a village that had never heard of the gospel, the Bible, or the name of Jesus. When this particular missionary was meeting with the village leaders, one of them went into his hut and came out with a Coke to offer the missionary. Platt told this story to make this point-that if Coca-Cola can do such a good job marketing and getting their product ALL OVER THE WORLD, shouldn't we as believers be able to get the name of Jesus out to a lost and hurting world too! Shouldn't we be as determined and motivated! How did we let Coca-Cola beat Christians to remote villages around the world? As much as I love my Diet Coke (or Coke Lite as it's called here), I love my Jesus even more! I might think that I need my morning, mid-morning, mid-afternoon...caffeine, but what I REALLY need, what S needs, what this hurting world needs is Mercy! What an honor to be the ones to get to tell her for the very first time, "Jesus loves you, little one!".
12. A windy afternoon at the park - The weather this week has been fabulous! We could not have asked for prettier days or more perfect temperatures...sunny and breezy...and S has loved it! I'm so glad she enjoys being outside! She is so cute when the wind blows in her face! She opens her mouth wide almost as if she's trying to taste it! :)
***We're past the halfway point for our time here in Bulgara! If I'm honest with you, I am so very, very homesick for my little ones back home! My mom emails me daily updates, and it helps to know that they are doing great! I cry EVERY single time I read her emails and texts and just thinking about them now makes the tears flow! They are good tears as I know they are safe in God's hands and loved by a merciful Father whose love far outweighs mine! But there are also some fearful and anxious tears, tears from a momma who easily becomes overwhelmed with all of the changes that are coming our way when we finally get back home! While I have ZERO doubt that we are exactly where the Lord wants us, I also am 100% sure that I am incapable of what lies ahead. As excited and ready as I am to go home, I am equally terrified! Will we ever get back into a routine? What will the other kids think? What will a normal day look like? Will our lives ever feel normal again? My heart is full of so many uncertainties, and it's easy for me to focus on all that is out of my control instead of the One who controls all things! Why do I keep forgetting that His name is Mercy! My merciful Father knows what is best, and He keeps reminding me of this promise that He gave me a few months ago as I pondered the reality of bringing S home and being the momma to half a dozen kids ranging in age from 7 to newborn...
And God is able to make all grace abound to you that always having all-sufficiency, you may have an abundance for every good deed.
2 Cor. 9:8
Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!
As I put my honest heart before you tonight, will you continue to pray?
Pray for us tomorrow as we have a full and busy day, including a trip to the Embassy and a doctor's check-up for S...Pray that these will go smoothly!
Pray for us to have continued wisdom in helping S with her eating issues.
Pray for Web, Palmer, Hank, Barrett, and Evie during these last few days of being separated! Pray that the Lord will continue to prepare their hearts for welcoming their new sister into our family! Our first day home is Hank's 5th birthday! What a day of celebration that will be! I cannot wait! :)
Pray for me, if you will, to take it one day at a time! I know each day has enough troubles of its own, so what good does it do for me to worry about the troubles we might or might not have next week. And while I know tomorrow will have its fair share, I also know that tomorrow's mercies will abound! They are new every morning!