His Mercy

"His Mercies Are New Every Morning"

A Thought

In this life we can not always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.." :) Mother Teresa

Prayer Quote

“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis


I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mr. Will and The Gingerbread Village

Will discovered the special Gingerbread Village on Ya-Ya's counter.

What a good boy to just stare at it! Mouthwatering...

Maybe if I just put my mouth up closer, I can get a small taste?
Ahhh! Mercy. Katie shared with me. :)

Its Gingerbread House Makin' Time!

This year instead of one big gingerbread house, we found a gingerbread village. Each girl got to make their own unique design. It was a lot of finger-lickin' fun.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Anna Turned ELEVEN! NO WAY!!! YES WAY!

It is hard to believe that she is already 11.... She had a very nice birthday today. There were visits from the brothers and sisters and nephews, and there were presents to open..... We also visited the Nursing Home where she requested to visit a new friend she made named Robert, who has no visitors. She brought him a picture of Indian Ruins she found on the Internet. We had a play date with her favorite friends and then, it was off to come home and get ready for Pizza.
We never made it to making a cake. We'll try that for tomorrow. LOL

More Thanksgiving Highlights

Some Thanksgiving Highlights

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

RELAX ......


We're Eating Ham This Year!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Fun Visit

Our friends from the East Coast visited us yesterday. They left early this a.m. to continue their Thanksgiving Trek. We are so glad they could stop by for a visit on the way, and we could offer respite to the weary travelers. :)

The girls had a great time visiting with Daniel once again, and were right in play mode as soon as he arrived. We had a nice dinner of Tilapia, cucumber tomato salad, broccoli, and rice.
The girls went to Sprouts and the guys headed to Frys. LOL

It is so very special to have a friend to connect with in many ways. Our lives are touched by similar experiences and we both love to share and talk about our Lord with each other.
JJ has been a tremendous encouragement to me and I am thankful for her's and David's friendship. While I am sorry they moved away, they moved to a very strategic place, which could cause us to need to go on a vacation there quite soon.:)

What a great treat. Here are a couple of pictures of our visit. And yes, I did just wake up in the morning. :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Will And Charlie

Will, Ya-ya is SO PROUD of you! What a fast learner! :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gramma Names

One time, my daughter in law and son asked me what I wanted to be called by the kids.
I didn't mind, being called Gramma or Grammy or Grandmother, or anything as long as it was nice. :)

I have been thinking this over and there are a WHOLE lot of gramma names out there.

One thing I DON'T like, is when my girls get confused, as we have this large family and when the grand girls are over start calling me gramma. They don't do it to tease, because sometimes I say, "can you get gramma that pen?" or something along those lines.... then I say mom, then we all laugh.....

SOoooo, I have been thinking about gramma names.
I hope they don't hate it, but I really have decided to get called something fun.
I want to be called "Ya-Ya".... it is greek for Grandmother.
So it is a real gramma name. But I find it to be affectionate and fun.
Kids, is that ok?
You can respond in private. LOL
Yep, your mama is crazy.

The Adorables

This is Marcus, Ivy, Will and Charlie.
I call them "The Adorables".

Marcus is our youngest son.
Charlie looks like Grammy. :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

For Dad

The first time I met dad, he and mom were already living in Oklahoma. They had dropped kids off all over the nation as they moved around. The last 2 were still at home with Dad and mom.

I remember the drive up from Texas, being so nervous. It is always nerve- wracking meeting your new family, but even more so,when you come with 4 little boys. :) I was a whole package deal! What would he say? What would he think?

After a few minutes, my heart was relieved. He said, "Do you know how to play spades?"
"No, but I can learn. :)"
He said, "very good".....
and I learned.

After that, it was 20 years of discussion, interesting debate on everything from the Reformation to Politics, to the Ottoman Empire. Maybe politics wasn't so pleasant.:) But our most pleasurable conversations of all revolved around family and kids.

He LOVED kids. He gained energy from being around them. He loved the challenge and enjoyed the things they said. He laughed at all their jokes.

Mike said that when he was a kid, they would all pile in a van and drive to all sorts of places. They went to the lake to live during the summer and water sports were synonymous with Minich.
Mike said all 6 kids saw things like Niagara Falls, traveled to Michigan, the mountains, went camping, water skiing, visiting Aunt Judy and Aunt Noelle, and all the cousins, and many, many, places.
I remember so well, when we first became familiar with email, he and Joseph would write letters back and forth in poetry. It went on for weeks. And they were so clever together.

He taught the kids how to "snipe hunt".... unfortunately, he taught me how to snipe hunt too.
I got drawn in without even knowing it.

He was famous for his silly songs and camping songs and would love to introduce them to whoever would listen.

He and Bob took 2 of our guys on a 2 week camping trip to the 4 corners. They had a blast of a time and it was a REAL guy time, because the truth is, they came back wearing the same clothes and underwear they started out with. But before they came home, they stopped at a nice restaurant on a Sunday afternoon to have steak. My mind still cannot go there. =)

He took our youngest son Marcus and his cousin Tim to Arizona, and on the way, killed Bambi in the desert. That meant they to be towed into town, but he took it all in stride.

He was an amazing encourager and the biggest cheer leader for all of us. He always had something good to say.

It wasn't uncommon for him to call to find out what we were learning in History. We loved to talk about our history lessons. He said he had developed a new love for history and would read the same books.

He took the girls for a walk and they came back rather wet. He said, they sort of swam with the ducks. LOL

When we were in Ukraine, we called and he talked to Erika and sang with her on the phone.
She loved him the minute she felt his embrace. He made a musical slide show of Erika and sent it to us. I was so touched.

If I were to come up with a word for him, I think it would be accepting. He accepted everybody just as they were. He didn't have any preconceived expectations of anybody and enjoyed being with other people just because. You never felt that you had to impress him, or be anything, other than yourself. He made you feel comfortable in your own skin.

And I think that is what He was. Comfortable in his own skin.
He was happy just because. Not because life was easy or special or wonderful, but just because HE was happy, and his happiness was infectious.

Dad we are really going to miss you. You left HUGE boots for us to fill.
Thanks for being our dad.
Here is the slide show from the funeral.

Grampa and the Girls

This is Dad and Gramma, at her birthday party.
Goofing off with Sarah and Anna.
The first time he ever held Erika. She loved him at first sight. :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

In Memory of Our Dad

Our dear sweet dad slipped into eternity today, while we held his hands. It was such a priveledge to be there and and honor to touch his hands one last time and speak words of love to him before he died.
I will write more tomorrow. But this is how I want to remember Grampa. :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Leaving to Visit Dad

I will be leaving first thing in the A.M. to go and spend some time with Dad. I want to be there, even if he doesn't know I'm there. Please pray for travel safety. Mike is going to stay behind with the girls.
Dad's blog site is here.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Multifaceted World of Adoption

I have been wanting to blog about this all week. But, what happens? I type, then I delete, then I type, then I delete, then I think about it a little more, then I type and delete yet again.

Because the Word Adoption means so very many things to so many different people.
Adoption Awareness Month is November.
So here we are in November, and the word "Adoption" can bring to mind joy in the hearts of some, and heart break in the minds of others. It can also bring about the idea of "Oh yea, I gotta go clean that highway we adopted last year. " It may make others thinking of all the cats and dogs in the animal shelters waiting to be executed, and they can only get out of certain death, if they are "adopted". It may bring to the forefront of other's minds that adoption may be their only alternative for children, as they have run out of all other options, and their nursery is still empty.

I have friends who hear the word adoption and it truly brings about feelings of anger and resentment in them, because they were on the other side of the adoption paradigm. They were the birth parent, forced to give up that baby, against their will. Or, there was an abortion in the past, where they didn't choose adoption, and the thought haunts them. Life was ended, and that baby could be 10 or 20 or even 30. So during this month, of "adoption awareness", they may be feeling it as a giant finger pointing at them, "Failure Awareness". And it is a terribly painful.

For the child adopted.... the other side is loss. They have to deal with the loss of the birth parent. "WHY did she give me Up? Didn't she want me? Why me? What is wrong with me?
During a rather poignant conversation couple of years ago, Erika said, "My parents took one look at me when I was born and said, I was ugly, and left me."

Oh how my heart broke at that statement. I don't know that they thought she was ugly, but they certainly thought she was handicapped, and they abandoned her. Ugly no. Different, life changing, yes. They did not step up to the challenge, and they abandoned her to the state at the hospital.

The same for Sarah. but Sarah got a bonus in life. She was able to be adopted once, and then thoroughly rejected. Not just rejected for her personality but rejected for her very existence.
She was not touched physically, for months. Not touched emotionally, at all. Oh that breaks my heart to this day.

For Anna, not the same. She remembers her mother. She loved her mother. But there were numerous removals and her mother had addiction problems that would cause any person to think, "How can a baby survive all that?"
Besides the drugs, and alcohol, there was the severe neglect; the mixed messages. "I'm your mother, but I don't care to meet your needs." So Anna was subjected to the worst kind of abuse. Neglect, and exposure to things a child should never see, at the hands of her own mother. Then, at 2, foster home after foster home.....
Want to know how to screw up a kid majorly by the time they are 5? The recipe is above.

So for our girls, adoption is a coin with 2 sides. The side of loss, and the side of great gain.
I say that, not to puff ourselves up, because I KNOW we could not do this without the help and direction of our Lord Jesus Christ. We would fail miserably on our own. But in HIS DIVINE WILL, we walk, daily, broken before him, asking for direction, and taking our hearts to him to heal.
"Lord, only you can heal our broken children." "Only you can take these hearts of stone and turn them to hearts of flesh."

So here is Ma and Pa Kettle..... raised 4 strapping healthy young men.... and pretty happy empty nesters. The LORD knocked us on the head and said, "Hello! You have 2 empty bedrooms! Life isn't for you! You have enough space! You're burnin' daylight!

He opened our eyes to the impossible possibilities of these wonderful, beautiful little girls, who were all "Humpty Dumpies" in their own right, and asked us to aide in putting them back together again.
Has it been easy? No.
Has it been worth it? YES, a big Hearty Yes, over and over and over again!

Life worth living is never easy. Living true life is dangerous, daring, exciting, and you don't even have to leave your home to do it. LOL
The dangers are exposing your own selfishness, and having to face your own closet of skeletons and secret sins. The first one to go is pride. Then, those old grudges or hurts that you hung onto like badges of honor. You see, you cannot help another person to heal, if you are broken yourself!
And just when you thought things were ok, out pops another thing the Lord wants to work on.
It is an amazing life.

So now, we get to the positive side of adoption. After facing the loss blows that life gives.... we look to the future with great anticipation. We look at it together, as a family... a FAMILY!
A true family that God has brought together, AND is recognized by the Law of this land as one in the same with a child who was born of our flesh. On the birth certificate, it does not say, "born to unknown parents". It no longer says Orphan. On that birth certificate it has my name and my husbands name, and it states that OUR daughter was born in the actual place she was born, on the actual date, and our names are written there, just as if we had been there ourselves.
The LAW recognizes adoption and a new start. It erases what cannot be erased from the heart, but the intent is good. To give a new life, a new identity, a fresh start.

And now, there is the adoption I have not mentioned yet. It is the adoption of us by our Lord. We are adopted Son's and Daughter's of the most high God, wherein, we can call out to him and call Him, "abba, father".... or "daddy"; a most intimate term between a child and their father.
He calls us and welcomes us.... though we were poor, and naked and thirsty and hungry and blind, he has clothed us, fed us, given us life giving water, so we will thirst no more, and opened our eyes so we can see.
Though we mourn our past, we rejoice in our new and changed lives where we are given in the Spirit, "Love,Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control." And when we screw up, he is there to pick us up, forgive us and set us right back on the right path. His mercy and love cover us. He who sent HIS only begotten SON, so that We would have life, and life everlasting, the creator, the Father God, is the very one who has reached down and touched us. We were dead, just as many of our children were emotionally dead. Yet, now we live. Just as many of our children have been given a new life.

So, adoption effects us all. It is for all. It isn't about trees and dogs or highways. It is about life, NEW LIFE, REDEEMED LIFE.

Oh I am forever thankful that the Lord woke us up and let us know, he wasn't finished with us quite yet. We have much he wants to do in our lives. In Christ, there is no such thing as retirement.
For the mother who terminated her rights, for the baby or child who was removed from a parent, for the woman or man who longs to hold a baby in their arms, and for the adoptive parent who pours themselves out into the life of another, we are all offered Adoption.
And we are all brother's and sister's in Christ.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Dress Up

The girlies love to play dress up..
When I went to Walmart today, they were having a 75% off sale on all those Halloween Costumes. I saw some princess costumes that were pretty cool, and the price was just right!
Sarah's costume was 1.75, and Anna and Erika's was 6.50. Not too bad for Princess Dresses!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mr. Kittie Winkle The Hunter!

He caught his first Mouse! Yea!
The picture isn't very good, because it is dark outside and the flash was too bright.
His mouse in in the right bottom of the picture, waiting to be played with a little longer before his untimely demise.
Soooo glad, he will not be entering my house!

Ukrainian Adoption Halted Due To H1N1

From: Kyiv, Adoptions [mailto:KyivAdoptions@state.gov]
Sent: Thursday, November 05, 2009 7:11 AM
Subject: Adoption Public Notice on H1N1 in Ukraine, November 5, 2009

Dear Members of the American Adoption Community:
On November 3, 2009, Ukraine’s central adoption authority, the State Department for Adoption and Protection of the Rights of the Child (SDAPRC)informed the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv that it was suspending the issuances of referrals for both Ukrainian and foreign adoptive parents to visit Ukrainian orphanages due to the increased incidence of H1N1 in Ukraine. According to this notice, no prospective adoptive parents (either Ukrainian or from other countries) will be allowed to visit orphanages to meet their prospective adoptive children beginning November 3, 2009, until the measures taken by the Ukrainian Government are lifted. These measures include a cancellation of large public gatherings and suspension of school and university classes, but do not include travel restrictions. The SDAPRC will keep all pre-scheduled appointments and the adoptive families will still be able to choose children from the database, but these families will not be able to visit children and start the adoption process in the regions. Alternatively, foreign families may cancel their appointments at SDAPRC (they do not need to do anything special to cancel these appointments) and their appointments will be re-scheduled as soon as the Ukrainian government's temporary measures are ended.

As of the posting of this notice, it is unclear how long this suspension will remain in effect, but according to the SDAPRC it may last from three to six weeks, unless the Ukrainian government decides to end the H1N1 measures sooner.

According to the SDAPRC, several foreign families with the referrals issued on November 2, 2009, were already denied access to the orphanages.

The SDAPRC was required to enact this suspension in accordance with the Decree Number 3813 issued by the Ukrainian Minister for Family, Youth and Sports Yuriy Pavlenko, dated October 30, 2009. This decree was issued based on the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine Number 1152, dated October 30, 2009.

We will continue to monitor the situation and will post updates as they become available.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any additional questions.

Adoption Unit/Immigrant Visa Section
Consular Section
American Embassy
Kyiv, Ukraine
Tel: 38-044-4904422
Fax: 38-044-490-4570
In accordance with E.O. 12958 this message is not classified.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Grand Girls

Here they are in their Halloween Finest....
There were no trick or treaters in their area, so they swung on by because Gramma always has something good to eat!

Update on Groceries

Well, I feel defeated. I really did TRY to keep the bills down, but with medicine purchased this month, and 3 girls sick, so buying more homeopathic meds, our bills were 1,0005.00


I really tried too. dang.

Our food bill was actually down.
I'm beginning to wonder if I'm being unrealistic. 2 of us have special dietary needs that are expensive, and I also feed a lot of extra people every month.

Well, we try again this month. :)

You Are Still Holy