Thursday, October 29, 2009

Daisy, Daisy, Ava Aday -- We love you!

We picked this cheery flower for you today :).

It is the Aday flower--

the Ethiopian version of the American Daisy.

Aday flowers grow on the high plains of Ethiopia in April--
the month we went to pick up our precious children.

I have shared recently about how we "picked" out--
how God picked out
Bruik's name.

Ava's name story is just as special.

Often as we prayed for Ava and gazed at her referral photo in the months between our referral and when we traveled, I would talk with God about a name for her.

Over and over my heart was impressed that our family needed the delicacy and tender beauty of this fragile "flower" before me in our little photo.

We desired much out of a name!! For both children, we wanted to have a name that reflected their unique identity--what kind of a gift they were from God, a family name from our heritage, and an Ethiopian name to celebrate their beautiful culture and heritage.

Ava's original Ethiopian name meant "one who cries out loudly" and while that makes me smile now cause she really IS a loud one :)--this name was not going to do for it was given by her nannies at the orphanage and was related to how she was found on the streets of Addis Ababa.

Instead, she was named, Ava, meaning, "Breath of Life", and she would share my middle name, Leigh--NOW for the ET. name,--not just any name would do,--I searched high and low for Ethiopian flower names and found the beautiful flower above--a tiny yellow daisy that blooms only in the month we were to pick her up and bring her into our arms--perfect!

Ava Aday-Leigh... so many international children could use some extra spaces on name forms, right, adoptive parents?

But here's where our story takes on the fingerprints of God...

What a JOY it was to meet our little Aday flower--she was as beautiful and bright and tender as a little wildflower for sure.

As we brought Bruik and Ava onto the plane--into all the newness of a first sight of a plane, first ride on an elevator, first experience in close spaces with so many pale faces :),first tastes, sights, smells...the children did remarkably well. They joyfully bounced up and down in their seats as Bruik sang this specific song we assumed from the orphanage over and over. Over and over he sang to Ava to make her smile and to calm her down. The song worked every time and went something like,

"Aw wah et
Lah Lem" (repeat)

Throughout our first year, whenever the children needed a special connection --they would speak toddler speak in Amharic (their language) and jump up and down Ethiopian-style and sing this happy little song. Its a song that can go on and on but that remains sounding really sweet--especially watching the sweet bond --Bruik protecting and enjoying--and Ava trusting and giggling.

About a year and a half later, on my birthday, we went to our favorite Ethiopian restaurant in town, Abay. We had become friends with the manager and on occasion had tried singing this little song to him to find out what it was. It never registered--we thought it was something cute the children had made up or a toddlerized version of another song.

On this night, however, a new waitress came to our table and after some conversation we asked this young Ethiopian girl if we could sing her our little song. She laughed, we attempted and pretty much embarrassed ourselves in front of a roomful of Ethiopian nationals enjoying their dinners. BUT our new friend's eyes immediately lit up and she began to sing WITH us--she filled in all the gaps of our little song with Amharic words and song. We stopped singing and listened to the completion of what we had only heard in snippets. It was a gorgeous song!

"OOOOOHHHH..." she smiled at us
"That is the song that little Ethiopian girls sing. Each year they sing this song as they go from house to house bringing flowers at our new year. They first go out into the fields and pick ADAY flowers and then they carry them from house to house singing this song about the ADAY flower."

I jumped up and down and clapped my hands in delight--I must have looked like my little children in their joy as they sung this song so often!

The song Bruik had been singing to comfort Ava all those months was HER NAME!!
What confirmation for us that God had chosen that name (and I thought I was being so clever/creative when I first found it :)-ha!)

As we tend to and delight in the Aday flower in the colorful array of our family bouquet we are so humbled to see that it was truly God's hand that reached out and picked her for us.

God's hands are always busy tending to what He loves most. The orphaned, the lost, the wounded, the lonely, those in distress, the widowed, the forgotten... I just am thrilled to hear stories like this one ALL THE TIME from those who are choosing to walk in places alongside of those who particularly touch His heart. We currently are experiencing stories like this one almost every day with our new foster children. Just storing them up--one day perhaps we'll have the permission to share them--until then (keep praying us along please!!) we live so amazed at the power and LOVE of a loving FATHER God who is ALL about transformation -- hope and a future for each of our lives.



American Black-Eyed Susan Flowers

P.S. A Shout out to the REDINGTON family--see their link on the side of my blog to their blog "Journey of Hope". They have JUST brought their little girl, Wylie, home to her forever family!! They have gone through fire to bring her home--this is a day of rejoicing!! We celebrate with you, dear Redingtons!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What's in your Brownies?

A modern day parable...

Hey, kids!! Your'e home! Hey, come on back to the kitchen--we're making browinies today! You get the mix out...O.K. let's see ...what do we need next...
a little sugar {yum, sugar! who doesn't love it?!!}
some eggs {watch out! They are fragile--they might break!}
salt {make sure its the salty kind--we can't use it if it loses its flavor--taste it, test it to make sure--is it salty? a little goes such a long way! great!! you kids are GREAT bakers!!}
What else do we need...Oh, yes!! OIL {It holds EVERYTHING in the receipe together} Let's pour in the oil and mix it ALL through our receipe

Hmmmmn, kids you know what? These brownies are going to taste terrific? Can't wait to eat em huh? Let me JUST slip in ONE more thing before we bake and eat them up--I saw alot of my friends putting this into their brownies recently. Yeah, it doesn't smell so great's brown isn't it? Yes, it looks kinda gross but we're just putting in SUCH a LITTLE bit and maybe JUST this week we will add in this extra ingredient and then we'll go back to making our brownies the way we usually do. O.K. Let's mix this in--this is going to be FUN--does everyone want a turn stirring? Good JOB. Hey, I know, let's share some of these brownies with the neighborhood kids too--so that we all can try em. GREAT! This is fun--now let's pop them in the oven...setting the timer...

Hey, hand me that bowl over there--wow, it really is stinky, huh? But I sure wouldn't want our friends to not like us if we didn't make brownies like this, this week. We might miss out on some great fellowship--I heard they are even bringing brownies like this to church fellowship groups and celebrations this week in addition to all the brownie parties in the neighborhoods and schools this week. You, know if its being brought to church--it MUST be O.K., right?

DING, DING, DING--Oh, that's the oven buzzer let's take out our treat. Who wants a glass of milk with our brownies today? YUM!! FUN!! Oh, you're welcome!! :)
Yummy, soooo good! Should we pack some up and hand them out now? Great?--Yes, honey, what did you say?--Oh, what was the special ingredient? Is that what you asked? Well I just added in what everyone is adding into baked goods this week...

Dog Poop...

Oh, don't look so horrified!:) was only a little bit...
Now...who wants some more?

A little break down of our receipe and why I'm telling this story this week:

Brownie Receipe is what we are pouring into our children's lives and hearts.
Mix is God's best, His Truth for them, the foundation of God's Word

Sugar--the pleasure this world has to offer can be a gift from God and also a distraction for our hearts

Egg--a reminder that their hearts are fragile. As parents we are the guardians of our children's hearts--our wellspring of Life flows up from well-tended hearts.

Salt--Our value to the Lord and our influence for His Kingdom in our World. Just a little of our influence shines SUCH a long way.

Oil--The abiding presence of the Holy Spirit in us. We are to stay in step with Him. Choosing ways that are not of Him actually brings grief to Him. Every bit of us should be "mixed" with God's holiness--His presence--His anointing--His anointing is light and cannot mix with darkness.

And the mystery ingredient? GROSS!! you say! Yes!! Totally Gross!! But a picture of what so many believers in Christ do every Halloween week. Taking just LITTLE bits from a demonic celebration and injesting them--mixing them into their lives--feeding these elements to their children with much festivity!!

You may have not heard, and if not, you need to know that Halloween is not just about candy, good times, costumes, and acting. NO, the origins of Halloween are downright creepy. As my kids would tell you, I'm sure there are no Halloween celebrations going on in heaven this week and so there will be none at our home either!
Halloween has pagan origins. There is much more history that would be helpful to know but simply, the people worshipped dark spirits and were afraid of the undead who walked on the earth once a year on this night. They would leave treats outside of their door so that demons would not carry them off to Hell--some "trick"!--and the costumes were to hide from the evil spirits as well. Even without knowing this, there are obvious signs that this celebration glorifies death, fear, and witchcraft--

-all things that Christ died on the cross to get VICTORY over!!

There just is NO fellowship light with darkness.
In fact--when light appears--the dark must run away!

Many, many cool and nice people--really likable people that I know celebrate Halloween--some only in measure. But PLEASE remember the brownies--even a little bit -- is dangerous. If I am now not "likeable" for writing this post to you, that's really o.k. with me for although I like you very much, I love you so much more and needed to share truth with you today.

"This is the message, we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in Spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the llight, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar andshowing that His word has no place in our hearts." I John 1:5-10 "And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever." I John 2:17

"Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living...clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ..." Romans 13:11-14

Children of Light--don't eat the brownies!!

Love, Gillian

Thursday, October 22, 2009

We Talk all Day --No, Really We Do!!

Ava is talking about a lady taking a nap--from a book at school...

In a family of 8 kiddos, talking is like getting a turn at Karaoke night--
pretty much someone "on the Mic" at all times and alot of singing along-
in tune,in harmony, off-key or off- subject...whatever goes!! :)

Ava's getting her "turn" in the above video--("Bruik, it's MY turn!") talking about a book from school. But to further get a window into our bunch--imagine the rate of talking streaming on at the point the video turns off--and INCREASING as the bus comes home --then INCREASING at dinner time until suddenly its SO VERY QUIET at tuck-in time--oh the bliss!(jk)--I have found that life with so many kiddos couldn't be more precious and entertaining--an amazing blessing!! I've also found that silence actually has a SOUND. My ringing ears can attest to that!! I wouldn't have it any other way--what an amazing group of children --I'm honored to get to serve them--or just to simply listen in getting to know each one--..."Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."

Blessings to you today--be they quiet or loud!!
Love, Gillian

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cute Mornings at the Tuckers

Made you Smile!!
Love from the Tucker Ten :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Dream

Today our little Bruik--affectionately known as, "Bruiky" or "Bruiky-mon" by our Daddy is a little under the weather. I get the snuggly privilege of holding him and bringing all the right sorts of treats that make little boys feel better--you know--fizzy drinks, snuggles in our favorite chair, treasured books, and just the right Tom and Jerry movie--I may not know the title but Bruik loves it by heart! His laugh is infectious even on a "sick day". I love resting my cheek on his soft curly head and pondering the wonderfulness of this beautiful boy.
I have blogged in the past about how the name we chose off of Ethiopian Name lists, Bruik, means, "Gift of God". Months later, when we received our referral for our little boy, we only received a couple photos which we carried in our pocket, put on the dashboard of our car, and showed to whoever we came in contact with--you know this well, adoptive families!! No videos or updates--just the bare bones-- but it was mystical and wonderful...and perfect for us. You see, the only other piece of information we received about Bruik was a faded copy of a form that was in Amharic and English translation. It had just a couple of informing details on it --no birth date-- but our little boy was healthy, details of how very tiny he was for his age, information that he was a true orphan-both parents deceased but that they had given consent before their deaths for him to be brought in to care--and something that immediately confirmed that this was our son--in the name space--out of all the names that could have been in that space--his given name was, BRUIK. His mama and papa in Ethiopia and his mommy and daddy in America ALL had chosen this special name for him. "Gift of God".
We have treasured our gift from God. How we are made for one another. What would we have been without his gentle ways? The way his pure heart just "gets" the Lord? The other day I cleaned his room. When he came back home and went up to his room he exclaimed, "Mommy, thank you!! You cleaned up my room with God's strength!"... Watching him play with his brothers and watch over his baby sister makes my heart both ache and beat at once. Often, when it is time for bed, after he is tickled by Daddy (a must!!) and we have prayed over him and spent time pondering how amazing the Lord is before he slips off to sleep, Richard will then bend over his ear, so perfectly nestled in all those soft curls, and whisper, "Bruik do you know who you are?" Bruik smiles and sleepily answers, "I am God's gift to you. or, "I am a gift." "Yes, you are God's gift to me" Daddy hugs back.
The other morning Bruik came downstairs very animated. "Mommy!!!DaaaDy (in his Ethiopian Accent)I had a dream!! After telling us his dream, he then told his brothers and sisters and shared about it for days--it must have been very real to him and very special--and we saw the fingerprints of God--and again got holy chill bumps as we listened to it. :)
"I had a dream. In it we were all in the living room. The whole family was there. Mommy and Daddy were there. In the middle of the floor was a big present. Daddy opened the present. He looked inside... And IT WAS ME!!!! I was the present!!!"
May God Bless you today as you love on your PRESENTS--or maybe long for a present from afar--blessings to you today. As for me, I'm off for another Bruiky snuggle!!

So Grateful,