Sunday, June 21, 2009

Under HIS Wings -- In Your Arms

The glory of sons is their Father.

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; Psalm 103:13

From the mouths of babes:

"I like him because he tickles" -- Jack - 5 years

"Free food cause he loves me. I like him to tickle me and tickle me and tickle me."-- Bruik - 5 years

"Daddy is my Fahder. I lob him." -- Ava - 3 years

From an older child:

"Daddy, You're awesome! God put you in charge of this family!!" -- Anderson - 8 years

From the mouths of teens:

"I love you so much and really enjoy being around you. you are the funnest man to ever be around with in the whole entire world! But it doesn't mean that I'll be nice when it comes to the pool!" -- Graham - 13 years

"You're the best! Better than I ever guessed. You're kind, fun, and funny too. You're quite good-lookin. Its's really true. I love you!!" -- Ashley - 14 years

Happy Father's Day to Our Precious Richard!

Love Always, Gillian

Friday, June 19, 2009

17 Years Later...

Happy Anniversary to my Sweet Richard!! He'll be so impressed that I REMEMBERED!!--We are not ones to remember dates very naturally!! :) Last year we were in the midst of tucking in the children at the end of a longish day when we grinned at each other --Oh, my! Its our anniversary!! "Happy Anniversary, Honey!!" This year, after spending the day with the kiddos in some Father's Day card making (yes, I forgot it was around the corner as well!!), we might mark these blessed years with a trip over to Abay restaurant--Ethiopian Food--our Fav! But mostly with thankful hugs on our children and hopefully a dance or two to some Kenny G. at some point :)--yes, how very 80's of us!! :)--happy nerds!! :) Love today to my Godly, hard-working, tender, patient, incredible.... husband and best friend!!

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

17 years later...

We had big dreams and visions then
Yet, never would have imagined,
or even asked
for the sweetness
of this love
or painted a picture of 4 cherubs in baby blankets
Or... of our sweet boy received in the Arms of the Jesus...already...
What a connection to heaven we now daily have,
He dances with the angels and in our hearts...
and then, dreams realized
and shattered
health broken
and restored
scary nights of incredible fear
and sorrow
beyond what we could have ever asked for or
shocks that shook us awake
Were the cords that drew us to His presence
and to His Word
Utter Dependence on the One Who IS our LIFE
and our Breath.
These events were exactly the place
Where He would have us to walk and grow,
and to know Him.
Uniquely blessed in His plans and His favor through every bit of our lives.
Many of them moments of dancing and leaping
and laughing
Oh the JOY in Him!!
Years later, led into wide open fields,
Under stretched out tenting and between pulled -out stakes,
He brought us children of our hearts,
Travelers on the sea of grace,
A visit from a tiny prince and princess,
A new land to traverse in,
and yet is not our home,
For our hearts are set on pilgrimage,
Our eyes are set on Him.
We believe He is getting us ready to see Him,
A Father preparing a Bride for His Son,
What that will be like we could not ask or imagine!!
At almost 40 years of age
A new call rises on our life.
We sense its pull...
We feel His hand,
We recognize that voice that calls.
We hold hands and answer back
"We Do"
"We Will"
Speak, Lord,
for your servants are listening...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Complacency Quiz

This little zinger is written by Paige Benton--a speaker at a women's conference I visited this Spring and a close friend of a precious family member of mine. Some of these questions have been following me around in my daily life. This is meant to be a thermometer of types for our hearts' passion for Christ. Not to be used to invoke guilt but rather to spur us on/wake us up to press in more deeply to what we say we believe...


You have talked with the Lord several times today.

You remember the words of the songs and hymns you sang Sunday.

You can hear the Lord's name used in vain without noticing.

You have recently asked your spouse, your child, your friend for forgiveness.

It is embarrassing for you to be around Christians who are very verbal about their faith.

You get more personally involved and excited at a movie or sporting event than you do in worship.

You know of close family and/or friends that are going to hell and have not shared the gospel with them.

You would rather spend time on your looks than your holiness.

You pray regularly with your spouse.

You have formed your perspective of our world based on the news media rather than the Bible.

You "fit in" socially with non-Christians better and more easily than with Christians.

You only have "Christian/Church" friends in your social circles --you do not have any "non-Christian" friends.

You respond humbly to criticism.

You have increased your giving in the past year, even in a bad economy.

E-mail, Facebook, Blogging, and Twitter are a priority over personal time with the Lord in His Word.

You have recently lost sleep over your own sin.

The Lord's day is obviously different then every other day of your week (including Saturday).

You are more bothered to have gained weight then to have gossiped about someone.

You are presently involved in serving the poor, the disabled, the elderly.

You can comfortably watch degrading movies and TV. Or you can comfortably watch shows or movies you would not permit your children to see.

You have memorized Scripture in the past month.

The acquisition of money and things is a dominant part of your life.

You pardon your own sin by saying the Lord understands.

You are never overcome with emotion in your personal time with the Lord--your spontaneous songs are silenced and your tears are dried up.

"Therefore say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, "Return to Me," declares the LORD of hosts, "that I may return to you," says the LORD of hosts." Zachariah 1:3

" Return to Him from whom you have deeply defected, O sons of Israel. " Isaiah 31:6

"I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud And your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you." Isaiah 44:22

"From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you," says the LORD of hosts. "But you say, 'How shall we return?' Malachi 3:7

How 'bout I don't show you my quiz and you don't show me your quiz--but let's continually be returning to Him. God is at work getting a bride ready for His Son. It won't be long until He RETURNS to us on this Earth--could be any minute or hour--let's get ready!!

Love, Gillian

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Bruik is the Number of Grace Today

Happy Birthday, Dear Bruik! Happy Birthday to you!! Bruik Clement "Gift of God", "Merciful One" is 5 years old today. Bruik is one of our treasures from Ethiopia. I had a dream last night in which I was retelling the origin of his name--how fresh it is on my heart, let me tell you as well.

During our 10 months of waiting to meet our new children from Ethiopia, we nested as most parents do--dreaming, envisioning what these precious ones would be like and how they would knit into our family. As you may be able to see in my blog, I love language and the meaning of language--thus the choosing of a name is a special pleasure in our family. Richard and I wanted to grace our new children with a family name full of special meaning and charge for thier lives--a connection/an identity with thier new family plus an Ethiopian name to carry thier homeland with them, always honoring the fabric God chose when He fashioned each of them -- creating an unbreakable link to thier beautiful people and amazing homeland. We poured over Ethiopian/Amharic name lists until we found a boy name and a girl name. Bruik so pleased us for it means, "Gift of God". And Clement is Richard's middle name as well as Richard's father's middle name and his father's first name--quite a family connection! And just what we would desire for a man, its meaning, "mercy".

In our family~out of God's mercy,

Encouraged to live a life of mercy in God...

All that to set the stage for the day of our "referral", the announcement from our adoption agency of Bruik and Ava. In a joyful phone call we got word of a 2 year-old boy and a 1 year old girl. There was only one sheet of information and 2 photos online and there was much jumping around and shouting for joy!! Yet, what I want to give you a picture of in your mind that made me weap as I opened our computer screen to first see my son and his information--in the first blank that stated the child's given name, written in over-copied smeary letters were the letters that spelled out the name...Bruik.

Yes! The same name we thought we had so carefully chosen on our "own" was the name God also had his parents in Ethiopia, in the little town of Nazaret, give to him at his birth. From the beginning, God's fingerprints, all over the story of our lives. Bruik is the gift of God for sure!! Every night as we tuck him in we remind him as we snuggle that we are SO happy that God has given such a special gift to us.

This little boy's smile lights up the room--and our hearts. From the moment we met him, he jumped into our arms and has remained a joyful, extremely obedient, cheerful little boy. He is kind and very generous. On the first birthday in our home and at 2 Christmas celebrations, he walked around the room with his gifts and offered to share them -- to give them away to his siblings out of the simple joy of receiving them. I learn from our "Bruiky" every day lessons of a simple heart, purity, lack of a materialistic spirit, true/joyous contentment. His prayers are beautiful. After experiencing such depth of sorrow in his homeland, including the death of his parents and a loss of all familiar and "home and family" to him, he always first prays for us "not to die" as he begins his prayers and then goes on to worship and to intercede for others in ways I have never heard from a child so young.

And is he ever atheletic!!! He learned to ride a bike in one day atthe age of three and taught himself to swim by watching another child's swim lesson one day at the age of 4. We have had to ask Bruik to stop racing the brother his own age and move on to racing his older brothers--who he can beat with more fairness in the races!! -- The other day he mentioned that when he is a man like Daddy he will be the fastest man in the world. Why not? He definately is speedy ;) and what joy he has when he is moving fast! --The world is open to this precious child. We praise God that we get to be the foundation from where he will be launched.

Yesterday we celebrated Bruik's birthday. It was all things Bruik!! We started our celebration by going to a soccer clinic where he ran around with a huge grin and patted his brothers on the back every time he passed them on the field. The clinic was part of a cummulation celebration for international soccer teams that play in the Nashville area. There were men from many nations there, Bundi, Somali Bantu (we had some friends on this team), Mexico, South Africa,and Saudi Arabia. At the end of our day, we got to watch the game for the finals between Mexico and Somali Bantu--it was an awesome game and such a highlight for our children--I wish we had events like this every weekend!!

Between soccer events we had a 5 year-old party at my parents' home. Our new tradition is to "knight" our sons as they reach the age of five and first enter young boyhood. We have written a "code of chivalry" , a list of values that we would want our sons to embrace through the Spirit of Jesus. We have a ceremony that they highly look forward to and love where they first agree to the code--Each family member asks the knight to be a question regarding the "code" and the child answers an agreement like,"Yes I will, fight for what is right..."--{The cutest yesterday was when "Sir Jack" (our 5 year old who was recently knighted in December) asked Bruik if would "be brave in Jesus" and when 3 year old Ava asked him if he would "be nice to the girls".}-- Then my dad gets out a huge sword he brought back from a travel in Spain and he "knights" them on thier shoulders. Its a priceless end to babyhood and beginning of the age of young boyhood. A first rite of passage...

I have included a picture of our "code" and some of our boys "fighting for what's right" ;)--Yea, what can you expect from mixing 5 year olds and plastic swords!! Well, anyway--some pictures to give you a bit of a "picture" of the ceremony...

This year before our ceremony came a new "proclaimation" written by my dad to give a special name to our knight to give some encouragement of special identity--he's where I get much of my creative juices so enjoy! :

"HEAR YE HEAR YE HEAR YE Be it Trumpeted and Known Throughout the Kingdom That: Squire Bruik of the house of Tucker, having faithfully served the brood of Tuck for the appointed training period, and having been recommended for knighthood by his leige Sir Richard the Tuck, is hereby and forthrightly dubbed Sir Bruik the Swift, Knight of the Realm."

Sir Bruik was delighted!! He then ate cake with Sir Jack and Sir Anderson and Sir Graham , ate burgers from the barbeque, played an assortment of outside party games and then went off to see the teams of Bantu and Mexico battle it out on the fields of Christ Presbyterian soccer fields. Five was Fabulous with our "Gift of God"!! Happy Birthday, Dear Bruik!!

Some promises the Lord has spoken over Bruik--please continue to pray them over his precious life:

"All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children's peace. In righteousness you will be established." Isaiah 54:13

"Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the
age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer
of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings" Isaiah 58:12

"They will rebuild the ancient
and restore the places long
they will renew the ruined
that have been devastated for generations." Isaiah 61:4

"And you will be called
priests of the Lord,
you will be named
ministers of our God." Isaiah 61:6

Love, Gillian