Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
(This is a poem I wrote last Saturday morning and sent out with some pictures to friends and family. Most of you who are reading here probably got one, but in case you didn’t… here it is! Merry Christmas! Things have been fun and crazy around here… More info to come soon!)
08’s almost gone, 09’s drawing near
Much is the same, but Timothy’s here!
Born 7-07-07 (what a birthday!)
God brought him to us and he’s ours, here to stay!
In March, just a picture, a name & a promise
With July came a phone call! “Can you come in August?”
Mikaela & Toby would soon meet their brother
Surely we have a God who is like no other!
To Bangkok we flew as a family of four
August 24th, watched Kamin come through the door
And then, what adventure! Elephant rides,
Cousins to play with, a new name to decide
Finally home from Thailand, a family of FIVE
A new toddler and jetlag… By God’s grace we survived!
Now Mikaela is 8, thriving in 2nd grade
And Toby is 5, still at home he does play
Lowell still works for the Housing Authorities most every day
But when he comes home, he’s ready to play
Melissa is grateful for all of God’s grace
As she serves at home and at church—what a pace!
And our youngest son? Mr. Timothy Kamin
Such noise does he make
Such joy does he bring, he fits right in!
Life is often crazy and full to the brim
Of lessons and love straight to us from Heaven
As we look to the future only one thing is sure
If we rest in God’s hands we will be secure
So in all of our stress and in every mess
Jesus, help us remember: WE ARE SO VERY BLESSED!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
With Much Love,
Lowell, Melissa, Mikaela, Tobiah & Timothy
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Christmas is NEXT WEEK. You are all probably more aware of it than I am. It seems that every year I feel like I can’t think too much about Christmas until Mikaela’s birthday (which was last Saturday) is over. We had a lot of fun celebrating her birthday (party on Friday with a bunch of screaming happy girls that involved lots of glue and glitter) and ended with a trip down Christmas Tree Lane on Saturday. Then Timothy was dedicated at church on Sunday morning, which was very special.
I’m also leading worship at church again this week and helping coordinate the Christmas Eve service (for Christmas Eve of course)… so blogging has once again been bumped off the “to do list”. Because you do, after all, want to get a Christmas card/letter from us, don’t you? (If you don’t think I have you address, you can email me and at least I’ll email you an electronic version. J) I’ll probably post whatever we end up writing (because I can’t stand to send out a picture/card without a letter) here on the blog, whenever it gets written – which had better be soon if I don’t want people to get them after Christmas!
OK. I’ll stop rambling. Just wanted mostly to say HI and I hope you’re more prepared for Christmas than I am! But prepare your heart, if nothing else, because that’s what gift Christ wants from you more than anything. J
Friday, December 05, 2008
Hi Everyone! Long time, no blog… I know! I don’t like using the word “busy,” but I have been BUSY! There’s just no other way to say it! If you read my last entry, you might recall I said I had some opportunities to share come up (though come “down” from God would be more accurate). One of those involves leading worship at church (a couple weeks per month) and that by itself is taking up a bunch of time I wasn’t aware that I had. I have also been occupied cleaning up after Timothy who has learned how to climb onto tables and drag stuff ALL OVER THE HOUSE (oh, and I’m trying to keep him off the tables, too.) especially when I’m trying to get ready for worship practice. Sooo, thankful as I have been, I haven’t found much time to blog about it. Or anything else.
But at the moment, I’m having an issue I thought you might be able to help me with. AND I’m hoping to catch 2 birds with one cage (because that sounds nicer than killing 2 birds, don’t ya think?) Tomorrow morning (in oh, about 12½ hours) our church is having a women’s Christmas Tea and I’m helping coordinate the program part of it (because I’m too lazy to decorate a table and would MUCH rather talk and sing than cook, thankyouverymuch). I get to introduce the theme of the morning and also introduce the theme of our women’s retreat (coming in February 2009!) Trouble is, I haven’t written anything out yet. And I’ve learned that I ramble a lot more and sit down afterward thinking “why in the world did I say THAT?” when I don’t write out my thoughts before I get in front of a microphone. But I was having trouble figuring out where to start writing… which is why I’m “talking” to you. I thought maybe if I tried to explain what I’m talking about to you, I’ll feel less pressure and catch both birds (have the intro’s written and a blog post, too!) So, after that RIDICULOUSLY LONG intro, here’s what I think I’m going to say about our theme “The Glory of Christmas”.
A week or so ago, my son Toby told me he had figured out why the moon was normally in the sky at night instead of during the day. It had something to do with the moon not shining brighter than the sun. I let him finish his explanation and then I tried to explain to him that the moon doesn’t really have any light of its own. The only light the moon has is a reflection of the sun’s much brighter, more brilliant light. The moon is a reflection of the sun’s glory! Many times in the Bible, glory is talked about in a way similar to light. In talking about a new heaven and new earth, Revelation 21:23 says “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” I think light is amazing . You can see a source of light like a light bulb or the sun, but you can also see light reflecting off something else. Think about it for a second. Look around and see if you can see any light. What you will see is either a source of light or light reflecting off of something else.
God’s glory is the same! We see God’s glory in 2 ways: By experiencing God (through His word and Spirit as He reveals Himself to us) and by seeing His glory reflected in the world He created and in the people He has created in His image. We were created to reflect God’s glory! When Jesus was born, an angel of the Lord appeared to some shepherds and “The glory of the Lord shone around them” Then a GREAT host of angels appeared with the first angel praising God and saying (say it with me): “Glory to God in the highest!” And after the shepherds hurried off to see the baby, they returned “glorifying and praising God.” God’s glory was shining and being proclaimed like never before that night in a manger and the hills of Bethlehem and today we are celebrating the Glory of God that still shines when we celebrate Christmas today.
(And that’s all you get for now…) J
Friday, November 21, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to work on the questionnaire we're supposed to have filled out to submit tonight... you know... before I can be accused of procrastinating.
Friday, November 07, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Monday, October 06, 2008
My husband is an avid, very talented Do-It-Yourself-er. He is amazing! And I think he might need one of these for his birthday coming up this month.
It's always so hard for me to think of what to get him. But not this year!!!!! : )
Monday, September 29, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Here are some pictures taken in the last couple of weeks. We sent some back to Thailand and I thought I'd post some here too. Most of them are of Timothy, since he's a bit behind in the picture file. But I have a feeling, most of you want to see him at this point anyway!
I have several others things I'm really wanting to write about, but the time is eluding me. Actually, time in general is eluding me. But then, time has been eluding me for as long as I can remember. So you see, life is just back to normal. : )
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
"Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." "
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Well, we’re really home now. And really jet-lagged! Especially Timothy… Lowell and I took turns with him last night as he was up and fighting sleep and grieving last night from 11pm until about 4:45am when he finally slept for a few hours. But at least we know that we’re home, even if he doesn’t understand it yet. I just thought I’d let you all know we’re here and I’m going back to my once a week (or maybe twice if I really have something significant to say) blogging schedule. I probably won’t post again until this weekend sometime. Lowell is going back to work tomorrow for part of the day and Mik is going back to school and the boys and I will be here getting used to our new version of life. I miss Wicky (the amazing lady who did our laundry and dishes in Bang Saen) and Carmen and Andy and Connor and Isaac (who were happy to help entertain Mik and Toby and Timothy) but I know we’ll survive and the worst of it will be over soon (or someday anyway!). The suitcases will get unpacked and put away and we’ll get settled and little O will be back to his happy self once he gets his days and nights straight. I’m grateful for the time we spent getting to know each other in Thailand before we came home. While it certainly added to the number of transitions, it also helped us see what we have to look forward to once we’re settled and definitely made the trip home easier than it would have been otherwise.
Thanks for all of your comments and prayers and for caring about us. J
"If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast." Psalm 139:9-10
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
It was quite a long trip... over 24 hours from when we left Carmen's house to here, and it took a LONG time to get Timothy's ticket from the airline and then to get through Thai immigration - but we made it out of Thailand and back into the USA. The kids all did really well - even when our patience and energy was all drained by the lines and waiting and flying at the end.
I'm looking forward to being home and Timothy learning to feel at home there. We've moved around quite a bit since he joined our family, and every time things change, it's a bit hard for him - mostly when he needs to be sleeping... so I know finally getting settled will be good for all of us.
Well, he's waking up so I'm gonna go for now. Thanks everyone for your prayers!!!!! Thanks God for getting us so close to home!!!
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Sunday, September 07, 2008
1. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm using a computer with a fully functioning exclamation point!!!! : )
2. We're finally going home! In less than an hour we should be on our way to the airport. the plane leaves Bangkok at 1:10pm Monday (11:10pm Sunday night in CA) and we layover in Taipei for a few hours again before landing in San Francisco at 7:50pm Monday night. Our flight actually leaves Taipei at around 10:00pm Monday and we land a couple hours "earlier" the same day in CA... so very strange! thanks for all of your prayers! We know God is taking care of us and no matter how crazy the flights are, we'll make it.
3. Kamin has a new name!!!!! His new name is Timothy Kamin Ens. I love it for several reasons... Lowell picked it out, it has the name his birth mom gave him (Kamin) in it, it has the nickname his foster mom gave him (O as in TimOthy) and it means honoring God - and something about being energetic like the Timothy in the Bible was. Fits him very well. : ) It even sounds good in Spanish. : )
So I'd better finish running around gathering the loose ends. See ya all on the other side!!! Yahooooo!!!!!!!!!
Love, Melissa, Lowell, Mikaela, Toby & Timothy!
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Thursday, September 04, 2008
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
After Kamin woke up from his nap this morning, Lowell took him down to the community pool where Mikaela and Toby were swimming with their aunt and cousins. (I stayed home and did the dishes and laundry in a quiet house all by myself. Ahhh...) As you can see, Kamin and his daddy are getting along very well. : ) In case you don't know them... in this first pic in the background from left to right is Toby, cousin Connor, the back of Mikaela's head and Lowell's sister Carmen. Andy is taking the pictures.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Here's Lowell's post about the visit on Monday... written Tuesday morning:
This may be one of the very few times I (Lowell) ever post to Melissa's blog, but she graciously allowed it today! Yesterday, August 25, 2008 (Thai time), we got to visit Kamin's foster family and home. Quite an experience! The day started with Kamin coming to the hotel with the social workers, then us, them, and the other two adopting families from Norway went to a "western" mall, many stories high, and lunch there in the food court. Much like Macy's I would say...
After returning to the hotel, we brought Kamin up to our room for a bit, and enjoyed playing again. He was very tired by this point, and struggling to not let sleep keep him from monitoring these strange people that had dragged him around all over the place! We left soon after with the social workers in a van for the foster family's home, and Kamin finally fell asleep in Mel's arms. Toby joined him soon after, but Mikaela seemed to enjoy the 1+ hour van trip to the house, east of Bangkok just outside the city.
We drove down a very narrow street, and stopped in front of a small cement path leading down between two houses. As we got further, we saw Kamin's foster mom standing there, and he saw her too. He was quite eager to jump into her arms, and we let him go from us for the last time. He was handed around to different family members while we met with the family, and we enjoyed the time, although with some sadness since we knew big changes would be taking place very soon in his life. We sat down together in their living room, and the foster dad joined us, along with one of the granddaughters, then the other a bit later. We asked a bunch of questions, they asked some of us, and the foster mom was asked if she had any concerns about Kamin leaving with us. She said no, since she could see how we were with Toby and Mik - a very gracious comment since she had just met us. Guessing after having 11 foster kids, she can size people up quickly! We gave out our gifts, then walked around a bit to see the property. The family has a rice farm, raises rabbits, and seemed to love our little guy a whole bunch. Tears were shed by us all, yes, including me, and we said goodbye way too quickly. In the van on the way home both Mel and I stated that it seemed like a blurr, and that not enough time was to be had there, but in thinking about it further, realized there probably would never be enough time.
The ride home seemed quick, and we celebrated our last night together as a family of 4 with Burger King, but with high anticipation of today, when Kamin joins us for good. Not sure I am ready to be the daddy of 3, but guessing God is pushing me that direction, so I figure I will just do the faith fall into His hands on this one. Kamin joins us at 11 am this morning, or so, and we will spend the day together for the first time as the NNnnn's family. More soon!
(Sorry, but have been unable to upload pics from the hotel - hopefully will get some on the blog in a few days from Chonburi.)
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Sunday, August 24, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Thursday was a very good day! We FINALLY met with a real, live, helpful immigration officer at USCIS! He had our file on his desk and said he thought he could get it approved by Friday morning. We were amazed and so grateful! And he did it! I knew all along God was going to work it out somehow and was so grateful that He did it before we left. J Our physical file now has to travel to New Jersey to the National Visa Center and then on to Bangkok, but it should be okay. At the worst, we’ll have to make a second trip to the embassy there (I think.) We’re SO GLAD that saga appears to be over!
And when I got home from running around that day, my new Ergo baby carrier was waiting for me! Here’s a picture of Mikaela modeling it. She’s had a lot of fun playing with it. It’s so easy to use! (Especially with stuffed animals.) Hopefully Kamin will like it. But we bought it (huge thanks to some very generous friends!) from a site with a money-back guarantee so if we don’t like it or he doesn’t like it, we can send it back.
This weekend we’re hoping to finish shopping (for munchies to get us through our 7+ hour layover in Taipei, Pepsi for our house-sitter and stuff like that) and start packing clothes and all the other stuff we’re dragging along with us. Tomorrow morning will be our last morning at church as a family of four and I’m sure it will be an emotional one for me. Our church family has been so supportive of us through the last 2 ½ years and is so excited to meet our little guy!
Monday is Mikaela’s first day of second grade! I’m glad I’ll have a few days at home with Toby before we go and that she’ll have a few (meaning 3) days to reconnect with her friends and her new teacher before we leave.
I also have to mention I am SO grateful for how God worked the timing of our trip. It’s perfect for us in so many ways. It’s the best time for Lowell to be away from work. We were able to enjoy most of the summer without panicking about getting ready. We didn’t have to try to adjust to a new schedule with school and then start all over again after the trip. That’s huge for me – because transitions like that are ALWAYS hard for me. So to really only have to transition from summer to life after the trip instead of summer to school to life after the trip is a HUGE blessing! It also made the decision to keep Toby out of school for one more year easier than it would have been otherwise. And lastly, to only have 4 weeks to obsess about things (when we already had lots to do so I couldn’t obsess about it exclusively) instead of 2 months has really been so much better for our family. I think it would have been really hard on the kids to have had me so distracted for even longer (because I know I would have been!) I see so much of God’s grace in this. Even in the I-600 thing. God took care of it and stretched and strengthened our faith in the process. It’s no wonder He let it happen that way.
In case you’re wondering, we drive to SF Wednesday, fly out at 1:35am Thursday morning, stop in Taipei after 13 hours in the air and wait there for almost 8 hrs (unless we get on standby for the earlier flight) and after another short (less than 4 hrs) flight arrive in Bangkok Friday afternoon (about 24 hrs after leaving San Francisco.) Sunday is the day we meet Kamin and Tuesday he comes to stay with us for good! Wow!
Well, I walked away from the computer a couple of times since I started this and now have 98 ½ hours left so I think I’ll say goodbye for the moment. Hopefully next time I post we’ll be just about packed and ready to go! Keep praying for us!!!!! J
Monday, August 11, 2008
Beyond that, though, this time of preparing to go meet our son and bring him home has also been a test for me. We are having trouble with our local immigration office and haven't been able to get any information at all about the status of our I-600 application. It is quite frustrating. I also tend to get overwhelmed about the amount of things I want to accomplish before we go (like getting packed!) But it's not so much a test of my abilities as it is a test of my faith. Will I believe God will do everything I always say I believe He will do? Will I believe that He is faithful and will take care of everything as I trust Him and let Him lead me? I have been depending on and finding new strength from so many promises in the Bible this week and will continue to in the weeks to come. God has been so good and even though He's not making it easy, I know my faith is growing because of it.
So this is also a test for God. Will He once again prove to me that I can trust Him with everything? Will He prove to me again that He is more than enough for me? Will His grace be enough? Just a few days before we got the call about our travel date, I started an online Bible study by Beth Moore entitled Believing God. I thought I would finish it before our trip and that it would be encouraging while we waited to go to Thailand. I had no idea that in a few days we would find out we were going much earlier than we had anticipated. But God knew and He knew how much this Bible study would encourage me now and when we get home. And I absolutely believe He is going to pass this test and will once again prove that He has been answering our prayers and preparing all of us for this adventure in ways we couldn't ever imagine.
We leave for Bangkok in 10 days. I actually just figured that out. I've been saying "a week and a half" but somehow 10 days seems like even less! YIKES! We haven't started packing and still have to buy presents to take and figure out the immigration thing, but God reminded me the other day that when I trust in Him with all my heart and don't depend on my own understanding and wisdomer and I acknowledge Him in it all, He promises to lead me and help me. And I know He will.
I just have to mention a couple more things because I don't know when I'll be posting again... I've been getting emotional a lot lately. Like when I bought milk at Costco and the date on the carton was Aug 21... The morning our flight leaves. And watching the Olympics opening ceremonies! I am loving watching the incredible beauty of that Asain country and it seems extra special because of our family's now permanent connection with Thailand
Well, I guess writing here wasn't so bad after all. : ) Maybe you will get long drawn out descriptions of our days... If I'm awake and the kids are busy. Keep praying for us! It's going to be quite a week...
: ) Melissa
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
In case you’ve been wondering…
· Toby’s birthday party Sunday: simple, done and fun!
· Plane tickets: obsessed about and finally purchased this morning
· Other documents prepared and being sent to Oregon and on to Bangkok tomorrow
· Meeting Thursday with United States Citizenship & Immigration Services to figure out what’s going on with Kamin’s visa
· Lots of praying and praising and thinking this all seems impossible but knowing with God everything is possible.
And this weekend? We’re going camping. Because it was planned a long time ago to go with some good friends and their kids and it will be good to be in the mountains one last time without a toddler, spending time together and taking a break from the preparations, paying attention to my kids who are getting less than normal right now since I’ve been staring at plane ticket options for days at a time (or so it seems) (I’m so grateful for our local grandparents!) and breathing a bit before this rollercoaster starts up again next week.
So now you know. : ) And I’ll say it again… God is good!
"If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast."