Sunday, October 19, 2008

Is it Possible to Start this Post Without Apologizing?

Maybe if I just jump to updating everyone, you'll be distracted enough to forgive my lapse in blog postings. I don't really know where to start and that makes things that much harder. Our last few posts informed you that our move to Mississippi has been a difficult transition. Difficult is a mild word. We are still adjusting. I kept hoping that at some point God would clue me in to the reason behind all the difficulties, I would make the spiritual connection, and be that much better for the experience. However, He obviously is still working on me. So I keep my head down and push through, knowing that He walks with us and all these things have come to pass for His glory, in His time.

Let me focus on the good things. There have been good things and that is worth noting. My job is phenomenal. I love, love, love my students and am surrounded by the best collegues. The school system that the kids are in is unparalleled. Spending time together has helped us weather the uncertainties of this journey. All seven of us are adjusting and we have each other to make it a bit more pleasant.

We have thouroughly enjoyed rediscovering Mississippi and our beautiful surroundings. We've been canoeing and kayaking down the Okatoma River. We took this trip right before we moved to Orlando. The twins were 5 and I had to keep telling them to sit still for fear of them flipping us over. Josh was so small, he was swallowed by his orange lifevest. This time, no one wanted to ride in the canoes with mom and dad. Everyone wanted their own kayak to stear down the river. Kristina caught on in a flash and we had to repeatedly shout to her to slow down and wait for us.

Keep your eye on Samuel at the back of the canoe in this clip. We laugh until we cry everytime we watch it.

We've gotten in the habit of making day trips to fun nearby places. We've visited Natchez to view antebellum houses and climb ancient indian ceremonial mounds.

Two weeks ago, we made our way to Vicksburg for the day. We loved the rolling landscape. The kids spent the day running up and down valleys that had once served as battlegrounds during the Civil War.

Last weekend, we drove into New Orleans to shop the French Market and stroll along the river. We wandered the Quarter browsing shops and visiting historic St. Louis Cathedral, dined at our favorite resturant Cafe Masperos, and grabbed a dessert of powdered benigets at Cafe De Monde.

We stuck close to home this weekend. Saturday was Kristina's 13th birthday. It is the first time she can remember celebrating her birthday on her actual birthday. Until the adoption, she had believed her birthday was in April. A big hug and kiss goes out to missionaries Babushka Lela and Michelle who never failed to acknowledge our daughter's special day while she was in the orphanage. We can't begin to thank these two women for the tireless work they do day in and day out to minister to orphans in Kristina's internot.

We spent a simple day together, letting Kristina choose a resturant for dinner. We presented her with an MP3 player, something she's been asking for since the day she arrived. Maw Maw and Paw Paw showed up with gifts in hand and a cake made by special request (pink cake with white icing and yellow flowers). She glowed the whole day. The blessings of family.

A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
God sets the solitary in families;
He brings out those who are bound into prosperity.
-Psalm 68:5-6


Tony and Dawn said...

Thanks for the update! So glad to hear things are better with the new home. God Bless -

Tami said...

Oh how I've missed you, my friend! :) I'm so glad to read the update and see these great picture! HAPPY BIRTHDAY Kristina!

Zack, Jenn and William said...

So glad to hear from you - you've definitely been missed! Thanks for catching us up on everything. I pray that God will give you guys comfort in your new home and environment.

Happy Birthday Kristina :)


Stephanee&Zach said...

So excited to see you posting again!! It was just about a year ago that I was on the edge of my seat following your journey to bring Kristina home. And I never would have thought that we would be bringing TWO home within a year!!! We are here now and in the wait period. We are loving it except for our breaking hearts for the children that we have come to love so much that we will be leaving behind. It is so much harder than I thought and I pray for God to intervene in their lives. I will continue to pray for your family as you adjust to the move. Moving so far with five children is really tough!!! I just read a devotional this morning that calmed my heart.
Sorry for the length of this comment!!!

"How can anyone be calm when everything and everyone are unraveling? Isaiah's explanation is, 'You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.' Trust is at once the easiest and hardest thing to do. ... It is simply relinquishing your hold on things and letting God hold them. He is holding them anyway! That's why not trusting God is so exhausting; it is our effort to control what can't be controlled.

"A little boy was trapped on the second floor of a house on fire. He stood at the window, surrounded by smoke and flames, crying for help. He heard his father's voice below, yelling for him to jump into his arms. 'But I can't see you, Daddy,' the child cried. His father shouted back, 'That's OK, I can see you, so jump.' We walk by faith, not by sight, do we not? Beneath us are the everlasting arms. We need not fear what we see, because the one we cannot see has everything under control."

Whatever the Lord is allowing in your life right now -- whether it be pain, suffering, frustration, anxiety, sorrow, fears, economic struggles -- I pray that it will lead you to a deeper trust in Christ alone. We might not be able to understand His ways but we can always trust His heart.

Unknown said...

It is great that you are posting again. I was beginning to worry that one of the hurricanes got the better of your family! (so glad I was wrong!) Moving can be so hard, even when God is the mover. The fun weekends you've had look awesome, they must be great encouragment! Happy 13th Kristina!

Chris and Virginia said...

Happy Birthday Kristina!!!

Ashley said...

I am also happy to see you posting again. Love the comment from Stephanee...very encouraging.

It took me awhile to adjust to the move to MS, but now there is no other place I'd rather live. It was the best decision our family has made.

I am so glad you love your job and students. I know that is a huge plus.

Great pictures and the video of Samuel falling is hilarious. I keep watching his foot coming out of the water. Glad he wasn't hurt or I wouldn't be laughing. Thanks for sharing thes great trips with us.

Happy Birthday, Kristina!

Anonymous said...

omg i laughed sooo hard when i watched the video of one of the twins fallng out. HAHAHAHAHAH.. it remiding me of some sweet video Robert showed Whitney, Sasha and I..hahaha. must run in the family leslie =] haha


Jim H. said...

Hello old friend!

I thought of your family when I saw the cover story of the latest byFaith magazine, titled "U-Haul Theology - Redeeming the Pain of Moving."

See here:

When we moved three years ago, I was surprised by how difficult it was in so many unexpected ways. And this move was ten times easier than yours.

As the story says, moving is a manifestation of our fallen, sinful world. But your trials have already been redeemed as you know.

We've been praying for you all and shall continue to present your needs before the throne of grace.

Much love from the Hales.