Monday, June 29, 2009

Do you live in a world of wonder?


This morning I read the evening portion of "Morning and Evening" by Charles Spurgeon and then spent some time reading all of Jeremiah 32...and I couldn't help but share with you the treasure that unfolded as I got to ponder the Words of God and the thoughts of Spurgeon, as well.


“Ah, Lord God, behold, Thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for Thee.”
Jeremiah 32:17

At the very time when the Chaldeans surrounded Jerusalem, and when the sword, famine and pestilence had desolated the land, Jeremiah was commanded by God to purchase a field, and have the deed of transfer legally sealed and witnessed. This was a strange purchase for a rational man to make. Prudence could not justify it, for it was buying with scarcely a probability that the person purchasing could ever enjoy the possession. But it was enough for Jeremiah that his God had bidden him, for well he knew that God will be justified of all His children. He reasoned thus: “Ah, Lord God! Thou canst make this plot of ground of use to me; Thou canst rid this land of these oppressors; Thou canst make me yet sit under my vine and my fig tree in the heritage which I have bought; for Thou didst make the heavens and the earth, and there is nothing too hard for Thee.” This gave a majesty to the early saints, that they dared to do at God’s command things which carnal reason would condemn. Whether it be a Noah who is to build a ship on dry land, an Abraham who is to offer up his only son, or a Moses who is to despise the treasures of Egypt, or a Joshua who is to besiege Jericho seven days, using no weapons but the blasts of rams’ horns, they all act upon God’s command, contrary to the dictates of carnal reason; and the Lord gives them a rich reward as the result of their obedient faith. Would to God we had in the religion of these modern times, a more potent infusion of this heroic faith in God. If we would venture more upon the naked promise of God, we should enter a world of wonders to which as yet we are strangers. Let Jeremiah’s place of confidence be ours—nothing is too hard for the God that created the heavens and the earth.


May you and I enter this world of wonder as we continue to be surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us with heroic faith (Hebrews 12:1). Though they have and we will be seen as fools, in the eyes of the world, we can rest with confidence in the character of our Lord and continue to live lives of great excitement and expectation!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

An encouraging step by the Southern Baptist Convention!

I was tickled to read the following article on The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Blog and the vote that was made by those of the Southern Baptist Convention regarding adoption! It won't take you more than a couple of minutes to read..but it might get your wheels turning for a lot longer than that! :)

SBC Messengers Enthusiastically Support Moore’s Resolution on Adoption
Tools: Print E-mailPermalink
Jeff Robinson
June 26, 2009

Messengers at the 2009 annual meeting of The Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a resolution proposed by Russell D. Moore promoting adoption and orphan care.

The resolution encouraged every Southern Baptist family to pray about whether God wants them to adopt or provide foster care for a child or children. It also called on Southern Baptist and other evangelical churches to devote a Sunday each year to emphasize "our adoption in Christ and our common burden for the orphans of the world."

Moore, who serves as senior vice president for academic administration and dean of the School of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, knows well of which he proposed; Moore and his wife Maria adopted two of their sons from a Russian orphanage a few years ago.

Moore hopes the resolution will provoke deep thinking that leads to action among Southern Baptists regarding the Gospel significance of adoption and orphan care; all who are saved by God’s grace were once orphans who were adopted into the Kingdom of Christ.

The number of adoptions among evangelicals has steadily increased in recent years, yet the need is profound: in the United States alone, more than 500,000 children were in foster care system in 2005, the last year for which federal statistics were available. About 115,000 were waiting for adoption.

“Something is a foot among Christian families and churches of virtually every kind,” Moore said. “God is calling the people of Christ to see the face of Jesus in the faces of orphans in North America and around the world. Southern Baptists have affirmed our belief in the authority of Scripture, and the Bible tells us pure religion is defined by care for the fatherless.

“We’ve been defined by our commitment to evangelism, and there is no greater field is 'white unto harvest’ right now as children in orphanages, group homes, and the foster care system, children who don’t know a parent’s love and who don’t know the name of Jesus. When Satan wars against children, we should be the ones who have compassion on them, even as Jesus did and does.

Moore authored a deeply personal and compellingly theological book on adoption that was published in May by Crossway books, “Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families &Churches.” In it, Moore argues that the church should view the adoption of orphans as a crucial part of its mission precisely because God has adopted helpless sinners to be His sons.

“The resolution by itself isn’t going to spark an orphan care movement among Southern Baptists,” he said.“Neither is my book, and neither are a thousand manifestoes. Only the Holy Spirit can do that as local churches start to embrace a vision for orphan care.

“The resolution though was meant to prompt some questions. If one messenger in the Convention hall is moved to simply pray, ‘Lord, how would you have me minister to orphans?’ then the resolution is a success, in my view. If one pastor is prompted to ponder how he could preach on adoption, or lead a foster care ministry among his folks, then the work is starting.

During the introduction of the resolution, Moore appeared on stage with Timothy and Benjamin, the sons he and his wife adopted seven years ago. More than 8,000 messengers met the resolution and its unanimous passage with lengthy, enthusiastic applause.

“I was overwhelmed with emotion on the platform to see my sons, two little ex-orphans, looking out on a sea of yellow ballots as thousands of Southern Baptists affirmed that we want to be the people who love fatherless children,” he said.

“I realized that, in an alternative story, my boys would still be in an orphanage, not knowing even the name of Christ Jesus. But here they are, at the Southern Baptist Convention, calling by their very presence the world’s largest Protestant denomination to recognize there are hundreds of thousands of children as helpless and alone as they once were.

“My prayer is that twenty years from now there are thousands of Southern Baptist pastors, missionaries, and church leaders who started their lives as orphans, now preaching the gospel of God their Father.”

Just a couple of quick thoughts!

Okay....I guess when I posted the article from the gal yesterday, I didn't realize that some of you might think that I am struggling right now in those ways. By the grace of God, this is not a reality at the moment...but I realize there may be days that are hard (because I have been there before) and there are many days that are so hard for mommy's of adopted children...especially those with special needs...just as there can be for children that God grew in your tummy!

I just thought it was a dear, sober reminder that life is often hard...but God is SO good and He sustains us!!! Sorry if I wasn't too clear yesterday!

Also, I have had at least one person say that there comments are not actually publishing on my blog...if any of you have had the same problem...could you email me (yakamom@gmail.com). Please know that I do not pick and choose what comments to publish and what ones to ignore...I really do publish them all!!! :)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Had to pass this on!


Whether you have adopted or not, this post that I read on the "Urban Servant Blog" was just too honest and real not to pass on! She summed up beautifully the hard reality of what it means to be a sinner trying to shepherd other little sinners. The blessing of it all is knowing that we are not alone. God has given us His Spirit to live inside of us and He has joined us to the body of Christ...both in our local church and abroad in which we find sweet encouragement and accountability! Hope the following challenges your heart as it did mine!

What kind of mom....
freaks out when the nursery workers allow her child to 'escape'
or looses her cool when sick children are allowed in and fragile ones exposed.

What kind of mom....
locks herself in the ice cold pantry because she wants
to shake this child she fought so hard to adopt - the one who has become the 'enemy.'

What kind of mom....
stomps her foot so hard at a toddler that she is thinking about fractures and wonders if it's worth it for the half day of respite a visit to the emergency room would bring.

What kind of mom....
loses the desire to hug the child that screams, and fights, and day after day pushes her away.

What kind of mom....
Aches for the sameness and calmness and peace filled reality of life 'before' this child.

That's God's chosen mom.

Those called to the special task of parenting children who can be unloving, unable, unwilling and unbending.

A select group of women called into the exhausting task of pouring grace after grace onto wounded hearts and bodies -only to have it thrown back into our faces.

An exhausted team that have prayed the endless hours of the night with children God placed into their unprepared arms - trusting that His ways are best.

Women with wounds and scars.
Cracked pitchers that loose half the Living Water to our own weakness before we can raise it to pour it over the thirsty around us.

What type of mom....
Truly asks to be a part of the weeping, misjudged and bedraggled army that God has raised up to care for His special children.

What type of mom...
Picks up this cross daily and follows the One True Leader because the voices around us clamor that we can't do this hard thing we are called into.

What type of mom am I today?
The one who embraces the suffering or the one who chafes under it and wants another way.

Day by day I have to ask..
What type of mom today?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Wild Week!


What a whirlwind of a week it has been...we have been busier than I would like, but we have also done some special things, too. I will be honest, though...I have started walking around the house picking up things and putting them down in the wrong place, starting a chore and then walking off in the middle of it and just plain feeling scatterbrained! I am hoping it passes soon or else we are all in trouble!:)

It started last Friday as Bryan, Micah and Titus left for an father/son overnight camping trip with our church. (And yes, Bryan was in pain and exhausted when he got back but they all had a great time!). The boys loved shooting a "real" gun! The girls and I enjoyed feeding the ducks and
spent Saturday afternoon with some other gals from our church watching Ginger Plowman's fantastic DVD series on parenting. I would HIGHLY recommend them (and her books, "Don't Make Me Count To Three" and "Heaven at Home")! They both wanted to sleep with me since Daddy was gone...and I they wanted me to sleep in the middle. I took a picture of them for fun and then I couldn't help take another one when I went to go get ready for bed :) The 2nd picture was a foretaste of how my night sleep went in between the girls!:)

The end of last week we also received two very BIG checks from The Lydia Fund (through John Piper's church) and Shaohanna's Hope. SUCH A BLESSING!!!! We knew we had received grants from them, but we could not receive the money until our court date went through.

And then yesterday, not only did we have the pure delight of finding out the boy's birth certificates came through but Bryan also had his first physical therapy appt. He has about an hour of work to do on his own each day and he is determined to work REALLY hard so that he can be well enough to walk on his own when we leave for Ethiopia. He still can't drive...so I am looking forward to the day he is released to do that too!:) Faith had a doctor's appt. in the afternoon and she will be joining the list of Pichura surgeries as she will be getting her tonsils and adnoids out on August 7th! In between both appointments, we got a flat tire...and it just so happened (of course, by the grace of God) that we had pulled into a parking lot to eat when we heard and literally saw the air coming out of our tire. PRAISE THE LORD we were not on the side of a main road somewhere...and praise the Lord for AAA!! While we ate, they came and fixed the tire and off we went! :)

Never a dull moment in the Pichura home and there is certainly never an opportunity not to depend on Christ! I will be honest, though. I find my mind so quickly wandering with all that still needs to be done and all that is happening presently that I am realizing I need to pray and ask the Lord to help me to be disciplined in my thinking. To take my thoughts captive to obey Christ (2 Cor. 10:5) and to seek to examine my meditations to make sure that they are pleasing and acceptable in the Lord's sight (Psalm 19:14). That in my "scatterbrained" existence I would still be careful as to how I am walking..."not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time"...(Eph. 5:15-16). And I have to keep reminding myself with words that CJ Mahaney has quoted many time, "Only God gets His "to do" list done every time!"

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ethiopia...Here We Come!!!!





This morning we received word that the CWA office in Ethiopia received both Samuel and Caleb's birth certificates!!! That means we are officially headed over to Ethiopia on Saturday, July 11th!!!! It is literally only 2 1/2 weeks away!!!!

Our trip itinerary looks like this:

Friday, July 10th we'll head over to Seattle since our flight leaves 7:30 am on Saturday.

Saturday we will depart from Seattle, make a stop in Washington DC, and then make the almost 16 hour trip to Addis Ababa after one stop in Rome to refuel. We will arrive in Addis around 7 pm Sunday night.

Prayerfully, we can get a good night sleep on Sunday night and then we will head to the foster home to pick up the boys Monday morning and fill out some paperwork.

Tuesday is our date at the Embassy (to fill out more paperwork!), Wednesday is a "down day" at the Ethiopian Guest House we will be staying at, and Thursday morning we should get their visas.

We leave on the 10 pm flight out of Addis on Thursday, do everything we did coming backwards :) and, Lord willing, arrive back in Seattle on Friday around 3:30 pm.

Friends from church will watch the kids and then more of our dear friends will drive our crew down to Seattle on Friday so they can all meet us at the airport and then we can drive home as a family! :) One big, tired, happy family!:)

We still have a lot of paperwork to fill out before we go and I am really looking forward to going shopping for some of the items the orphanages need. Some of you have asked if you could help out with that... I listed the items on a previous post, or you can send a check and I can go purchase things and give them whatever money we didn't spend. I know that the "cash" will go a long way in Ethiopia too!

There are still some things that we need to get for the boys, but we have slowly been working on that for the last couple of weeks so it does not feel overwhelming. My biggest dilemma is what to bring for snacks on the airplane ride home...not to mention entertainment on the "forever" 16 hour flight! I am sure most of the food is going to seem strange to them, but I still know how much snacks can help pass the time, at least for me it does...tee-hee.:)

As always we would covet your prayers...and we thank you so much for walking this road with us, for weeping with us and for rejoicing with us...I know it truly is only the beginning!!!

"What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me? I shall lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord." Psalm 116:12-13

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day, Bryan!


It's hard to believe in just a few short weeks my husband will be the father of 6!!! I can still remember the day I asked him what he wanted to name our kids (when we had them one day) and his reply was "One"! In God's providence, He allowed our other children to come pretty quickly, one after another, not really giving Bryan much time to say no!:) But our adoption...now that is another story. Without his whole hearted approval and excitement, we would still be a family of 6. I still look back in amazement on how the Lord has worked in Bryan's heart over the years to bring him to where we are today with the size family we have!:)

I know the weight of responsibility he feels in providing for all of us, of leading us in the ways of the Lord and of spending time with all of us...but I also know the beautiful joy of seeing God work through my husband and in my husband to accomplish those things!

Bryan knows each of his kids really well...both their strengths and weaknesses. He is quick to recognize things that will encourage them or show special care for them and then to do those things. He does a great job answering the MANY questions that are constantly flying around our house...or, more specifically...right at us!:) My heart has ached for him not being able to be active and do the things he has enjoyed doing with the kids since he knee surgery...but I have also seen him continue to be involved in their lives right from the couch!

Bryan loves Jesus more than he loves any of us...and there is nothing greater than that to ask for in a husband and a daddy! We are thankful beyond words to be able to celebrate HIM today!!!

In fact, I asked the kids why they loved their daddy and why they are so thankful for him...and these were their responses:

Micah - I love Dad because he preaches the Word of God and considers others more important than himself...and he plays baseball with me and goes to my games!

Grace - ...because when anything breaks he is willing to fix it and he provides for our whole family and he teaches us the Bible so we will know Jesus more and more.

Faith - ...because he loves me and takes care of me.

Titus - ...because we get to play whiffle ball and I love him...and that he married you (mommy)!

"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you..." Philippians 1:3

Friday, June 19, 2009

We have much to anticipate!


I read the most amazing text two days ago as I continue reading through the Bible. It was a text that was beautiful in the past when I read it before but I am blown away with how quick I was to forget the account. This year I am determined to meditate and dwell on it so that I am not so quick to forget. I encourage you to read all of 2 Kings 7 but, in a nut shell, here is an overview.

The Aramean Army besieged Samaria to the point where the Israelites were eating their own children (disgusting, I know..but true...read it for yourself!). The king of Israel is desperate and blames the prophet Elisha and seeks to kill him. Elisha tells the messenger that the next day, about the same time, the Israelites would be in want of nothing and have all the food they could possibly need. Seems impossible...but that is exactly what happened! The Lord caused the Arameans to hear what sounded like chariots and horses...a great army...and they fled leaving everything behind. Four leper's came into the camp, saw the great bounty and, just like that, God had kept His Word through Elisha and had done what seemed impossible in less than 24 hours!!!

"Our God is in the heavens; He does all the He pleases." Psalm 115:3

"Whatever the LORD pleases, He does,in heaven and on earth,in the seas and all deeps." Psalm 135:6


Nothing is to difficult for our Heavenly Father...and this text has been a beautiful reminder to me that God will accomplish His purposes and He may choose to do it in a way that just blows our minds. In a way that is beyond our wildest comprehension (like how we feel about our adoption). Or, He may display is glory in the most quiet of ways as He did to Elijah on Mount Horeb (I Kings 19)when He came not in the great, strong wind, nor the earthquake or the fire...but in the sound of a gentle blowing.

God is alive and at work doing as He pleases for our good and for His glory. Join me in watching and waiting with excitement to see how He is going to work in your life and mine...whether it be in mind blowing ways or in a gentle breeze...we have much to anticipate!

"Call to me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Caleb had quite the week too!


We just got an email from our case worker and I guess Caleb fell while playing last week and cut his forehead and had to get stitches. They removed the stitches today and said that his forehead is healing well.

We have prayed that the Lord would keep the boys safe...and it was just another reminder that injuries can and do happen. Faith said that it made her sad that I wasn't there to hug him and take care of him...I love how my kiddo's are getting it! Not just that they are going to have brothers...but that their brothers are going to have a mom and dad...their mom and dad...who can take care of them!

We are still waiting on birth certificates for the boys...but it is hard to believe that we may be leaving for Ethiopia in about 3 weeks!!!

"Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.." Psalm 17:8

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Peek into the Pichura's Week

Our life has been pretty crazy lately... and I am not sure if it is going to stop anytime soon.:) We have had to establish a bit of a "new routine" with Bryan not being able to drive and not do the things he normally does. I have realized just HOW MUCH my husband does to help our home and family run smoothly now that he is not able to do so! It has made me all the more thankful for the wonderful man that I get to call my husband!!! Here is a peek into the last few days of our life!

Grace and Faith "unintentionally" both wore white shirts and jean shorts yesterday and they were so pleased to be "matching". I just had to laugh seeing how they SHARE the same bedroom, but didn't seem to notice!:)


Titus learned to ride his two wheel bike without training wheels on Sunday. I am not sure that "learned" is the right word...he literally had it from the word go! He was so excited!!!


I took the kids to McDonalds yesterday after they all got their teeth cleaned. Micah had one less tooth to clean as he managed to wiggle another one out this past weekend!:) The kids were so excited to get their OWN Happy Meal and their own soda too!


Bryan went to the doctors yesterday and had his stitches removed and no longer has to wear any bandages over his knee which makes him much more comfortable. The doctor was encouraged with how things looked but also told him he has already lost a lot of muscle. Next Tuesday, he starts physical therapy to hopefully help strengthen his leg and gain full mobility of it. He will still be wearing the brace for the next month or so and is not allowed to drive yet. I'll be honest, it will be such a blessing when he can drive again! :)


This is our garden. I am not sure just how much produce it will give us...but I took this picture because I wanted to show you what you can't see...weeds!!! Here is the thing...I did not weed it. I have to tell you the story. I had finished making lunch and fighting back tears. I just was feeling drained...both emotionally and physically...and there was such a long list of things that needed to be done. As I prayed for lunch with the kids, I also just asked God for HIS strength...a strength that is perfected in my weakness...and that He would give me joy as I worked and that He would give us all a servant's heart. I proceeded to head out to my garden to water it (it had been a few days) and to see just how long I was going to have to weed for (it was getting really bad again!). I literally stood in shock as I looked at my garden. It looked BEAUTIFUL and there was not a weed to be found. A precious friend had blessed my socks off and weeded my garden for me without me having a clue. And, without knowing it, had been used by God to strengthen and encourage me when I was feeling very weak. It was such a precious gift...a labor of love that I won't forget!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Smiles (and pouts) from Ethiopia!

Every morning I turn on the computer and log in to my email in hopes that there will be some more information on how our boys are doing or, even better, some pictures! Today, we got pictures...a bunch of them!!! We were all giggling and laughing in delight at seeing the boys in the foster home in Addis. They look great and happy, too! It's hard to believe that, Lord willing, in less than a month we will be seeing them with our own eyes!!!





This picture was just a good reminder that our dear boys are sinners just like the rest of our children and just as in need of God's saving grace as we all are...plus, it made me chuckle, too :)


I also thought this might be a good time to mention the donations that we would like to take over to Ethiopia...and see if any of you might be interested in helping us. There is a need and shortage for so many things both in the foster home and in all 3 orphanages and we are excited to be able to help meet at least a few of those needs.

I emailed my CWA caseworker and here were some suggestions. They might not be items that you would put on your weekly grocery list...but they are, none the less, the most pressing needs. We also plan on taking some "fun" stuff too, to leave at the foster home...like deflated soccer balls and jump ropes and maybe some pads of coloring paper and crayons...but here are some of the big needs:

*Diapers
*Formula (Similac...in individual serving packets, I guess they seem to "travel" best)
*Shampoo for treatment of lice
*Anti-fungal cream for ringworm
*De-worming tablets
*Tylenol
*Ibuprophen
*Children's Multi-Vitamins
*Antibiotic Cream
*Toothpaste
*Hand Sanitizer
*Disposable Latex Gloves

When parents go over to pick up their kiddos, it is one of the best ways to get supplies to the foster home and orphanages...so we are excited to do our part in "supporting the fatherless" (Psalm 146:9)

Jesus...the Name above all Names or Illigitimate Child?


As one sinner to another...boy are we good at judging motive, assuming the worst and sadly, sometimes never caring exactly what the truth is. We set up a standard (which, believe it or not, is often OURSELVES...not the Word of God) and then spend way to much time analyzing how others either live or fall by it. We look at Adam and Eve as though they were crazy for eating the fruit and for ever thinking they could actually become like God but we do that almost every day. We become the judge, we think we are all knowing and then we go so far as to think that if others would just be like us life would be so much better. Well, maybe we really don't believe those things but we sure act like it sometimes.

I keep using the plural "we" because it makes me feel better...but really, this is a sin of which I am guilty of far too often. "Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from this body of death?"(Romans 7:24).

What got me thinking about this was a verse that I read in Luke. Luke 3:23 says (about Jesus), "When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as it was supposed, the son of Joseph...". In the eyes of all Jesus was an illegitimate child! Let that sink in for a minute! Most assumed that Mary and Joseph were engaged in sex before they were married and Jesus was the result. From the day He was born, He already had the stigma of being a child conceived in sin. God become Man, the Creator of the Universe, our Savior and our Salvation was looked down upon before He was even born. And I believe I would have joined the crowd in shaking my head and assuming the worst if the Lord did not open my eyes otherwise!

I guess what I am trying to say is, my assumptions about Jesus would have been oh so very wrong just as, there are times that, my assumptions about others are wrong as well. God's will for me is that I "rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks in all circumstances" (I Thess. 5:16-18) so I am to take everything (all my thoughts, frustrations and concerns) and everyone to the Lord in prayer. Only He can discern the thoughts and intents of others hearts and my job is to rest in HIS omniscience and HIS sovereignty and yes, be discerning and wise, but also make sure that that does not cross over into assumption! Ultimately, my job is to rest in the Lord and wait patiently on Him knowing that HIS name and HIS glory is infinity more important to Him than anything else and HE will accomplish HIS purpose not only in me but in those around me too!

And, as I preach those truths to myself they leave me resting in the Lord instead of judging, praying instead of assuming and passionately pursuing God's Word and truth as the standard for every area of my life!

"Fret not yourself because of evildoers;be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good;dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil."
Psalms 37:1-8

Friday, June 12, 2009

Busyness is not Godliness


My sister gave me a book as an early birthday present called "Practicing Hospitality: The Joy of Serving Others"by Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock and I am slowly working my way through it...not because it isn't good..it is! I have just not been able to devote the kind of time that I would like to reading these great books...so they just keep piling up! I won't give up, though!:)

Anyway, I LOVE quotes and this was one that was too good not to share! They quote Dorothy Patterson:

"Busyness is not godliness. God is not impressed with your production capacity as much as He is concerned that the product of your home - your own children - be chiseled and molded and perfected to the best of your ability. You may tire of this mundane task, but the Lord admonishes you to not grow weary and promises to supply the energy and strength as needed in this all-important task (Is. 40:28-31). God's strength is for what He plans for you to do - not stamina for everything you might want to do!"

I'll be honest, often caring for my kiddos and our house does feel really mundane. And, when I start to listen to myself instead of preach to myself, I find myself believing that it really isn't that important. YIKES! Just because it may feel mundane at times does not change the fact that my husband, my children and my home are my HIGHEST CALLING!!! If I am not busy living out God's calling for me as a wife and a mommy...seeking to diligently teach my children the awesomeness of God in all areas of life...than my busyness (and, believe me, I am always busy) is in vain! Sobering thoughts!

And, I loved what Dorothy shared at the end about God giving us the strength for what we NEED to do not necessarily what we want to do!!! How true is that?! There are too many times that I end the day frustrated that I was not able to do what I WANTED to do that day. I feel discouraged and discontent, feeling let down that I didn't have more time for ME! It sounds very rational in my head,in those moments, and I do a pretty good job of feeling sorry for myself. And, therein lies the problem. I am focused on ME and not on the God to whom all praise is due! The God who sustained me through one more day of life...who has given me life and breath and everything else (Acts 17:25). I have forgotten that God's will for me consists of being joyful always, praying continually and giving thanks in ALL circumstances (I Thess. 5:16-18).

So, I am very thankful for this beautiful reminder of what truly IS important and it looks like I am back to meditating on what is quickly becoming one of my favorite verses, 2 Corinthians 10:5:

"We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of Christ and we take every thought captive to obey Christ."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Memorizing with Music


“Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee” Psalms 119:11

We are called in Romans to be "transformed by the renewing of our minds" and in 2 Corinthians to "take every thought captive to obey Christ". Truth is, though, we cannot do that without KNOWING the Word of God...so I am always delighted to hear about new avenues to help me (and my family) hide God's Word in my heart! If you know me very well, you know that I LOVE Bible verses put to song and one of my friends from California directed me to her churches website for some FREE Bible verse music. North Creek Church in Walnut Creek, California has put 12 verses into song, one for each month of the year, and has made them available for downloading!!!

I'll be honest, the songs are more on the quiet and "soft" end of the spectrum...but, in my opinion, that makes them PERFECT for listening to as we all go to bed!!! I can't think of a better way for our kids or us to fall asleep than to the words of our Lord and Savior!!! In fact, Titus knows how to get comfortable even during the day when he listens to God's Word!:) I heard the "Seeds" music blaring in the family room and when I walked in the room, I cracked up! The above picture is what I saw. :)

Just click HERE and you'll have 12 more reasons to fall deeper in love with Jesus!

"I will meditate on Your precepts and fix my eyes on Your ways. I will delight in Your statutes; I will not forget Your Word." Psalm 119:15-16

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CALEB!!!


Your mom and dad and sisters and brothers just wanted you to know that, even though we cannot celebrate your 4th birthday with you...we are celebrating your special day here at home! We are so thankful for your life and that God has chosen to place you into our family. And we can't wait to celebrate all your birthdays with you from here on out!!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Overwhelmed...in the best way possible!




I have felt just overwhelmed the last 24 hours with all things adoption related. An overwhelmed feeling that has lead to tears...but not tears of sadness or exhaustion or frustration but tears of JOY!!!

It started yesterday when we found out that the boys are being transferred to the foster home in Addis Ababa this Thursday. This is about 3 hours north of the orphanage they have been in in Awassa and so it will require a car ride. I would guess this has probably been one of the first times they have been in a car and we are praying that this trip is exciting for them and not scary! They will be in the foster home for about a month and it will be a time of transition...those who work there will be getting together all the medical and other information needed for the boy's visas as well has helping the boys (along with all the other children there) to better understand what will be taking place in the coming month. It just makes it all the more "real" knowing they are leaving the orphanage for good!!!

Then, yesterday afternoon, we received two packages from CWA. One had 3 items for us that had been brought back from their trip to Ethiopia...a scarf, a bracelet and a picture. It was such a sweet unexpected blessing! And the second package brought me to tears. It was a DVD documentary made up by a couple of churches in Bozeman, MT who have a passion for the work CWA and Children's Hope International is doing in Ethiopia. It was sent to us because they needed the permission of the chidren's parents if their children were in the DVD...and Samuel and Caleb were!!!! We had the great privilege of seeing the foster home where we will go to get the boys, shots of the town of Awassa and of the orphanage and, of course, a couple of glimpses of our dear boys!!!! What a priceless treasure!!! A piece of our hearts is already in Ethiopia...their names are Samuel and Caleb...but I have a feeling that we will leave another piece behind when we go there. I can't explain it, but God has given us a heart not only for adoption but for Ethiopia and the people and ministries there!

And the sweet blessings continued this morning!!! We had inquired as to what had happened to the albums we had sent over for the boys (in light of the "off" and then "on" again adoption with them) and I received an email from our case worker at CWA who was able to find out for us. It was more than we could have hoped for. Because of the delay...the albums were taken all the way to Awassa and not only do the boys have them but their mom got to see them!!!!! I am getting weepy just writing about it. I can't even tell you the joy it brought to Bryan's and my heart to know that their momma has had a glimpse into the family her boys are going to join and to see, though it be in a small way, the result of her sacrifice. We look forward to the day that we can send her a letter with one of our post adoption reports sharing our love for Christ which has overflowed in a deep love for her and her boys!

We have also begun to make tentative reservations (we'll have to confirm them next week) for our trip over to Ethiopia. The tickets were a bit more than we had planned (almost $7,000 for our round trip tickets and the one way tickets of the boys). We crunched some numbers and realized we were probably going to be between $1,000 - $1,500 short for the total cost of the adoption. We received an email today from The Lydia Fund (part of John Piper's church). Here is a couple of sentences from the letter being sent to our agency:

Dear Tracy (CWA),

Your clients, Bryan & Krisitn Pichura have applied to the LYDIA Fund for help in their adoption expenses. Since the Pichura’s have completed the application and interview process with us, we are pleased to send this grant in the amount of $1500.00 to help with their costs.


Tears again!!! Overwhelming joy!!!! We have seen God's hand in ways that have caused us to be speechless... unable to do much more but stand in awe with hearts full of praise to our Almighty God! Never before have the words of Ephesians 3:20-21 meant more than in this past month! We are so thankful for the joy, the pain and the dependence on God that this adoption has wrought in our hearts...and this is just the beginning!

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21


Update:The boys were actually moved to Addis today...please pray for this time of transition for them!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Update

Just wanted to take a moment to let you know how Bryan is doing. He is still in quite a bit of pain...especially around his incision...but he was able to go to work today (minus the driving :)). Everything is much harder to do right now and takes double the time but we are all thankful to know that this is not a permanent situation but season of life God has called him to! He goes to see the doctor next week to, Lord willing, get his stitches out and I will let you know what the verdict is at that point. We are praying that he will be able to walk unhindered by the time we go to Ethiopia next month (I still can hardly believe it when I say the words "next month"!!!!). I'll share more tomorrow about what's new with Samuel and Caleb!


Before surgery!


I took this picture yesterday! Pretty nasty, huh?!

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us...And not only this, but also we ourselves,having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body." Romans 8:18,23

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Birthday Number 2!



We had the blessing of celebrating my Dad's birthday yesterday. The day was much like it was 5 years ago when Titus was born...full of my Dad loving through sacrifice. I had a c-section with Titus and my other three kids (who were all MUCH younger then) stayed with my parents. My dad's birthday was spent helping take care and entertain a 1,2 and 3 year old!

Yesterday was no different. He took all the kids on a bike ride...which is no small feat! Pumping up flat bike tires, loading them all in the truck, going to the gas station to pump up ones that needed a bigger pump, unloading, adjusting seats and giving out instructions. And that all took place before the bike ride even began!

It was a sweet blessing to be able to share with my kids that Papa was showing them a beautiful picture of agape love! Agape love is a love of choice that leads to willing, self-sacrificial service. On a day when their Papa could have told them he was going for a bike ride on his own or could have planned something restful to do by himself he chose, instead, to sacrifice his own personal space, peace and quiet and energy so that his grandkids could enjoy a special bike ride and make some special memories. He blessed their hearts and he blessed mine...for he is no longer just a precious, godly example to me...but his grandchildren are reaping the blessing of the godly heritage that God has placed them in and it is now their turn to look to Papa as a wonderful, godly example as well! My heart is full of thanksgiving for my dad's life.

Dad, so many things you do often go without a "thanks", without a word of encouragement and without you knowing just how much it means to me! Every time we get together, I have the privilege of watching the love of God shine through you...a love that has shown bright over the years and has often been the light that God used to make my paths straight! I love you Dad and I just want you to know that I am celebrating your life everyday, not just yesterday!


Friday, June 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Titus!!!!

Yesterday, our precious little boy turned 5 years old!!! We had a wonderful time celebrating with him and Grandma and Papa and we are so thankful for our little man's life (although he says he is NOT a little man anymore!). We pray that just like the Titus in the Bible, that our Titus would be a "true child in the common faith" (Titus 1:4) and that he would be a great partner in ministry to others one day as Titus was to Paul and the church in Crete!


Titus informed me very emphatically that he did NOT want a cake...he wanted "those cookies". When I pushed him for what he meant he said, "You know what I mean, mom, the cookies that make me messy". :) So, homemade oreo cookies it was! :)




He LOVED his catchers gear and is so excited to look a little bit more like Jason Veritek ( the Red Sox catcher, in case you didn't know!:) )

Thursday, June 4, 2009

There is still a heartbeat!



Almost three weeks ago I described our adoption process, that of "losing" Samuel and Caleb, as very similar to that of losing our firstborn son, Garett.

Today, this description would not be accurate. Today I am reminded more of a time in my pregnancy with Micah. I was 16 weeks along and at my routine doctor's appointment. After checking all my vitals, my doctor proceeded to listen to the heartbeat. No matter how hard she tried, though, she couldn't find one. I remember feelings of shock...could this really be happening again...could we really have lost our second baby? She sent me up to the hospital to get an ultrasound. I remember sitting in the waiting room and just praying...praying that God would spare our baby's life but praying even more that He would prepare me for what lay ahead and that I would glorify Him and not sin in my reaction to whatever He had ordained.

They called me in and I laid on the table and watched as the screen showed a womb full of a baby. The technician found the heart and with a click of a button I saw with my own eyes...a heartbeat!!!! That was the day we found out we were having a little boy...a little Micah James!

And today, what we once thought was "dead", has been "brought to life again"...our adoption of Samuel and Caleb! As of today (we got the call at 6:30 am), the courts have legally given us the right to be their parents and, Lord willing, we will be bringing them home from Ethiopia in July (Our tentative Embassy date is July 14th!). THIS IS FOR REAL!!!:)

We received a call last Friday. One of the women on staff with CWA (from the US) was actually at the Awassa orphanage last week. (This was the same gal who stopped our adoption with the boys so that everything could be done to reunite them with their mother, which we were and are still so thankful for the wisdom God gave her in making that decision). The trip she took was a trip that had been postponed a couple of times already in God's providence, making our adoption even possible! To make a long story short, after speaking with everyone involved, these were the facts: The boy's mom had returned to CCCE (the Christian organization that runs the orphanage) in tears over not being able to take the boys back even though she wanted too. She said she was sorry for not giving permission at the court hearing and wanted them adopted after all. CCCE desired to help her take the boys back but could not give her aid because she was homeless. She had no place to take the boys. (We are guessing that is why they have been in the orphanage over a year...she has had no place to take them back to) The court date that had been rescheduled for the 4th of June but was supposed to have been canceled when our adoption was stopped, by the providence of God, never ended up being canceled. Their dear mother said she would be there to give permission so that her sons could have a home. If she did not give permission, the boys would be relinquished to her care and, would live on the streets as, sadly, many children do. In speaking to my case manager, we would call them "dumpster divers" here in America. That is how they survive. She left the decision in our hands and we said we would call her back (this past) Monday with an answer. (Our answer, obviously, was yes...not just because of the physical need but, way more importantly because of their need for Christ. Every adoption has gospel ramifications!)

So, here we were with two new faces on our fridge... with hearts that were enlarged to love and take home two new children...but faced with the reality that God had brought these precious, dearly loved boys back into our lives and their situation was dire. They would either continue living in an orphanage waiting for a new family to adopt them while they continued to be raised by nannies or they would end up on the street scrounging for food and trying to simply survive. The pain we felt in our hearts could only be but a fraction of the pain their mom must be enduring...but it also awakened us even more to the reality of the cursed world that we live in. A world that is full of pain, of broken families, of poverty and sickness and death. A world that is decaying and passing away. A world that can be so dark and bleak. But it is in this same world that the backdrop of the consequences of sin make the light of the glory of God shine all the brighter. That causes the radiance of His grace and goodness to light up the darkness. The gospel shatters the darkness and brings hope. God Himself shone into our world of pain and despair and He adopted us and made us children of the light!

So,we have not just prayed for our adoption of Samuel and Caleb but we pray for the adoption of their mother,too, into a family far greater than the Pichura Family will every be...the family of GOD! We pray that God would shine the light of His glorious gospel into her world of suffering and pain and darkness as we seek to do the same with her sons here in our home.

She is not the first woman to give her boy(s) up...she follows other godly women like Moses' mom and Hannah, Samuel's mom (and even Sarah as she watched Abraham head off with Isaac for what they thought was his death). We pray that she will follow them in godliness, as well.

We also pray for dear little A and E...the new precious faces who have touched our hearts deeper than we would have thought possible. If only we had a bigger home and van ( and some extra cash!) we would be bringing them all home! But we also peacefully rest in the sovereignty of God and HIS plan for their little lives. We pray for their parents that God ordained before the foundation of the world...that they would love the Lord with all of their hearts and teach A and E the Word of God every day! And I can't help but hope and pray that maybe the Lord might even lead one of you to adopt them! :)

We know that not everyone will understand what has transpired and that there will even be some who do not believe we have done what is best...but we rest in the fact that we have actually done nothing...nothing but wait on the Lord, taking the next step as His will unfolds and trusting His plan above all! More than anything we are learning, through this adoption, utter dependence on God. We are learning more and more just how weak and fragile we are and yet how strong, wise and all-powerful our God is. We are being reminded continually that God WILL accomplish His purposes for us and that His will can never be thwarted. Out of those truths springs forth abundant joy and peace as we follow our Savior!

We sit here today in wonder and awe...much as I did as I watched that ultrasound screen of my wiggling baby boy. And we declare with the Psalmist:

"Come and see the works of God, Who is awesome in His deeds towards the sons of men. Wonderful are your works, my soul knows it very well!" Psalm 66:5 and 139:14b

PS Today is also our very own Titus' birthday, so it is and extra special day for all of us!!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Random thoughts!


No rhyme or reason for the following thoughts except that I thought they were neat and wanted you to know!:) Yesterday on the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood blog they recommended a new book for kids that is a one volume guide that takes you through all 66 books of the Bible. It looks great and I thought you might want to order a copy too :)...feel free to check it out HERE.

And, secondly, I read a blog post worth pondering today by Tim Challiestitled "Addicted to Entertainment". It caught my attention, in the first place, because Bryan and I are planning to cancel our Direct TV (for many reasons...and believe me, they are not all "super spiritual" ones! :) ) and I was curious where Challies was going with the article. But, when I got done reading, I realized I had been given a whole lot more to ponder on than just our TV. I am looking forward to the next few days as he shares more on this subject!

The Tale of a Quail Part 2


"Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?"
Matthew 6:26


Today, the baby quail died. There seemed to be something wrong with it's neck and it just got worse and worse. The kids all handled it fine except by dear, sensitive Grace who had several moments of floods of tears! I held her and let her cry...I knew she needed too...but when she settled down it became a good opportunity to remind her that even "Squeaky" was in God's hands and her death was allowed by God. God is sovereign even over the birds. But it was also a good opportunity to share how thankful we needed to be that it was only a bird and not a human life...and just how precious life is!

We could not find a box, so we decorated a bag, but some tissue in it along with "Squeaky" and went out in the backyard to dig a hole and bury her. It may seem like such a small thing...but it was a big deal to my kiddos...especially Grace...and that made it a big deal to me!

PS Sorry if you think the picture is a bit morbid...but I am just trying to document life as it happens! :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Tale of a Quail


Yesterday evening, I happened to look out the window and see a baby quail looking very lost and peeping up a storm. No mom or dad in sight. So, we scooped the quail up and have been trying to figure out just how to keep this little critter alive!

Earlier today, the baby did not look so good and we were afraid he/she was going to die. Grace was a wreck! I really appreciated what Bryan shared with her..so I thought I would share it with you!

He started by reminding her that the little quail did not have a soul like a person had so we could be thankful that it would never spend eternity in hell. But he also shared with her that the reason why the baby quail was not doing well is because she didn't have her mommy or daddy taking care of her. If we had left her outside, she would have died for sure. The same is true for orphans. Without their parents to take care of them many do actually die.

The picture he painted (in much better words than I can retell it) was a sweet reminder of the beauty of adoption and yet, through watching this little quail, it was also a picture of the suffering and pain of what brings these children to being adopted in the first place. I am so thankful for all the little experiences that God takes us through and how they point us right back to HIM!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

He made it!!

My dear husband was such a trooper today. It was I who had tears in my eyes watching him in the recovery room. I was so thankful for a friend of my hubby's from church (who is very familiar with the type of injury, surgery and recovery Bryan had)who stopped by and was able to join us in recovery. It was a real blessing having his reassurance in that hour!
His surgery ended up starting a bit late...around 11:30 and was completed by 1:15. They did have to "open him up" although I have no clue exactly how many stitches he received, there is way too many bandages over everything. Praise the Lord, he did not tear his miniscus but he did completely severe is ACL so the doctor had to reconstruct that tendon (or is it a ligament?). He struggled with nausea (and the aftermath of it!) after waking up from the anesthesia and that made it hard to get the pain under control in the beginning because he didn't keep the pain meds down. We are thankful to the Lord that the nausea past and he is doing much better now. We got home a little before 5 pm and he has slept a lot but also eaten and gotten up a few times. We are also rejoicing that they did NOT send him home with crutches and he has been told that he can put full weight on his knee as long as his brace is locked.

Bryan will see his doctor for a follow up and to have his stitches removed in a couple of weeks. This week, I have a feeling he will be keeping low, keeping the "ice machine" hooked up to his knee as much as possible and being the recipient of lot of love, hugs and cuddles from the rest of us!

Thank you so much for all of your prayers...it has been such a blessing to know that you care and have been taking my dear husband before the Throne of God throughout today!