Friday, August 17, 2012
Counting Mercies: #18 - #33
18. Pure silliness...If you could hear the sweet sounds that come out of her mouth while she is "napping", you would be smiling just as I am right now! She makes herself laugh and will start giggling out of the blue! She seems more and more capable of learning to imitate a variety of different sounds. I think this little girl will be talking before we know it!
Thank You, Lord, for continuing to fill me with HOPE, JOY, and EXPECTATION! You alone know how much I have needed this encouragement! Mercy for my overwhelmed heart!
19. The look of delight to find out there is MORE food...If you only knew what this child ate for lunch today! :)
20. Becoming a picky eater...I can't believe that Sophi would actually pass up any food we offered her, but this morning, she refused her scrambled eggs! This made me smile for two reasons. First, I am hopeful that she is learning that she will not be hungry! There will be plenty, and plenty of good things at that! Secondly, I smiled thinking about all of the other picky little eaters at my house (I'm probably the worst one of them all!!!). She will fit right in! How fun it will be to introduce Sophi to so many different kinds of new and yummy foods. She gets giddy right now when I give her a bowl of milk and smushed up jelly pastry...the soggier, the better! :)
Just wait, little girl! There are good things coming! In fact, your first day home, you'll get a piece of your "big" little brother's 5th birthday cake! I hear that he requested a white coconut cake without the coconut!
(Thanks MiMi for taking care of the birthday preparations! We can't wait to come home!)
21. The taste of freedom - You should try it sometime! Next time you feel the wind blow, open your mouth as wide as you absolutely can and taste it! Sophi loves it!
22. A determined spirit - I know that I've mentioned this before, but this little girl is so spunky! On the playground, Sophi always looks at what the bigger kids are doing and then wants to do the same! Now, unless her little legs get tired, the only way she will swing is standing up! She's pretty fearless, which makes her Daddy nervous. I think it will be so good for her to watch her big brothers, and I know they will be great teachers!
23. Learning to kiss - One of the ways that Sophi has shown affection is by putting her hand on my mouth or Will's mouth. She did this on the first trip and would always smile really big when we would kiss her hand! So, now, when she reaches her hand to my mouth, I move it away and plant a big kiss right on her lips! :) I love the surprised look in her eyes!
24. Big brown eyes - Sophi has the most beautiful big brown eyes. She's always looking and studying everything around her. On Sophi's Gotcha Day, those wide eyes didn't miss a thing! I told Will on the drive back to Sofia that God gave her such big eyes because He knew that she would have so much to see in this big world!
Just hang on a little longer, Sophi! There is so much more to see. You don't even understand what a home truly is, but I'm pretty sure you are thinking that this little hotel room is our home! Just one more day...
25. A clean and safe hotel - Our "home" this week has been wonderful! The staff has been so helpful, and most of them are able to understand English. This has been very good, enabling me to ask for specific things from the hotel restaurant (like Sophi's chicken soup blended in the food processor or my salad, without the "crunchy squids" on top and the dressing on the side!). Even for my picky palate, the food here has been fantastic, and for this mercy, I am thankful!
26. The United States of America- Yesterday afternoon (after our morning trip to the doctor), we had to take Sophi to the Embassy! I don't really understand why they make this mandatory, since it was a lot of waiting for a very short "interview" that consisted of questions about how the process had been and telling us what to do when we enter back into our country (this is when Sophi officially becomes a U.S. citizen). We managed to make it through that excursion without any major meltdowns, but it had already been a long day, and Will and I had to work hard to prevent a tantrum! Being at the Embassy and seeing our flag reminded me how very blessed we are to live where we live and enjoy the freedoms we enjoy! One day earlier this week, my mom encouraged and challenged me in an email:
"While you are in Bulgaria pray the Name of Jesus over that nation…..you are used by God to proclaim the greatness of His Love for that people group!!!"
Wow, what a reminder!!! There is such an oppressive spirit here...so much poverty and prejudice towards certain people groups...so much concrete...stone cold hearts needing Mercy...so many chains... so few churches (I have seen only one, although I hear from our attorney who is a Believer that there is a rise in the number of Protestant churches here)...so many hopeless looks in so many eyes!
One afternoon on our way home from the park, we passed a lady rummaging through a dumpster. It was obvious that she was Roma, the ones who are the outcasts here. She was looking for clothes and pulling out whatever she could find in the piles of trash. (Side note: Many of the Roma population here in Bulgaria still ride around in carts pulled by donkeys!) Anyway, back to the woman...a woman who could have been Sophi had she been left in her orphanage and had she somehow survived and gotten out of the mental institution that she would have surely been placed in...a woman who could have been me, had God not so mercifully let me born into my family and into the country that is soon to be Sophi's home...a woman without hope, without a future, possibly without ever hearing the name of Jesus, a woman who needed Mercy!
One of the things about my husband that I so admire and respect is his generous heart. While it didn't even cross my mind, he stopped and started to do his own rummaging. While she was looking through trash, Will looked through his wallet. He pulled out some money and said, "Let's do something crazy!" I was thinking we would just give her our loose change, but God put it in his heart to do more! What an honor I had to go tap the lady on the arm and give her a wad of bills and speak the name of Jesus over her! Mercy!
We are blessed to be Americans! Spending a week in a former Communist country has reminded me to be grateful for our freedom and to pray for the leadership of our country, especially as we approach a big election...
27. Music to my ears - I really think Sophi loves music! She cocks her head to the side and moves it just a tiny bit to the beat of the music. She taps her little fingers in such a way that make me think she likes the sound! She especially seems to like the "dance, techno" type music they all seem to listen to here. :) We've had music playing the whole week here in the hotel...proclaiming the name of Jesus any chance we get! The sound of mercy...just to think how our Father delights to sing over us, His children!
I might be off-key, but, Sophi, get used to the sound of this Momma's voice, singing and proclaiming the name of Jesus! You are chosen! You are special! You are loved! And while I will proudly tell anyone and everyone that you are OUR little girl, really, You are His!!! This is Mercy...music to my ears!
*There have been so many, many more mercies during our time here in Bulgaria...too many for me to record, but I'm so thankful for the opportunity that Will and I have had to share at least a small part of this adventure with you. The truth is that you are all part of this adventure, too. So many of you have encouraged us with your words, supported us with financial gifts, helped out with our little ones back home, and, most importantly, prayed for us! Thank you all so much for becoming a part of Sophi's story! We are incredibly grateful and know more than ever what a huge mercy it is to be surrounded by family and friends!
I will continue to count God's mercies as we move into the next chapter of this crazy story! I have a long way to go to reach 1300! I can't promise that we will continue to record them all here on this blog, but I will do my best to give updates as I'm able. When we get home, I know our hands will be so very full...but they will be full of six beautiful gifts...
28. Web, age 7
29. Palmer, age 6
30. Hank, 2 days away from being 5
31. Barrett, 19 months
32. Evie, 2 months
33. and the newest Blackmon, Sophi, 6 1/2
*Well, I think 33 is a good number to stop at! It's the age I turn next month! I'm thinking it's going to be the best year yet! It maybe the hardest, but I know the Lord's mercies will be new every single day. I can't wait to see how this story unfolds and what the next chapter looks like!
Thank you again for your prayers throughout this entire process. We're working on 14 months since we first saw the picture of Sophi in her crazy striped stockings, and the Lord has been faithful every single step of the way! I know He will be with us tomorrow... I do ask you to pray for us tomorrow, though, as we have a very long day of travel in front of us. We leave for the airport very, very early in the morning (5:15 am!!!). You can pray specifically for us to make our connecting flight in Rome since we only have a very short layover! Of course, you can pray for Sophi! It is sure to be one of the longest and most stressful days of her life! Our last flight is over 11 hours... Will you join us in praying for more mercies...traveling mercies...and for Sophi to be calm, peaceful, and able to sleep a little! Right now, she is all tucked in and sound asleep. Finally, we've made it to our last night here in Bulgaria!
Mercies will come in the morning!