Sunday, March 28, 2010

Little Trips...


Jack--first on left with some friends.

It was an "Ah HA!" moment.

Truly the type that makes you stand a bit taller, listen more attentively, lean in a little closer,and review the message--rewinding to hear it again--for confirmation of a message that so matches what God has been speaking to Mommy and Daddy..."Yes, Lord? We're all ears!"...

This time it was little Jack (our Kindergartener) who took our breath away.

Cute little Jack,
With that swingy hair and the wide open eyes...
Little puppy one moment--little preacher the next!!

A group of the children had just exited our kitchen to play Stratego in the Family Room. Only Jack and I remained,--a rare moment-- sitting on the floor, leaning up against the dishwasher. The dishwasher--still working the grime off the night's dishes for 10--busily worked behind our backs as we took a moment to rest against its humming door. (oh, how thankful I am for my electronic helpers!!--I really should name them!!) :)

Jack snuggled in and then looked up with such an earnest expression--you know the one--the type that both breaks your heart and makes you willing to say yes to any reasonable request!--

"Mommy, I HAVE to ask you a question."
Yes, Jack? (sweet heart thump)
"Mommy, I need to know something.
Yes?
"I want to know if there REALLY is a Hell.
I can take it, Mommy. REALLY."

And looking into those eyes--seeing how the Truth would register--knowing the Truth--slayed MY heart too--tears rose and I glupped out,

Yes.
Jack.
There really is a Hell.

"OH, NO!!!
" Mommy,
" Mommmmy!
" You HAVE to TELL me...

"... What happens to people in Hell?"

My stomach sank--like I was hearing it for the first time...
Like I was realizing the finality for one of my friends or dear family member...
A face came to mind...Then another dear face...Then another!
Truth struck in the gut.

Well, Jack,

Big blue eyes fixed on mine...

Honey...They burn up.
It never ends.

"OOOOHHhhh, noooo! NOOOOOO!"
It wasn't that this information was unbelievable--his spirit was grieving. To hear pure grief for the lost crying out was Love's raw sound.

"But you have to help me TELL them."

Tell what?
To who?

"YOU HAVE to tell them everything!! So they won't burn up"
Who, Jack?
He names friends from his school.
"MOMMY, I KNOW--they DON'T know Jesus!--we have to TELL them!"

We pray for his friends, we go over the simple message of Jesus's love and good news for his friends. We agree to speak ALOT of how to tell his friends about the love and salvation of Jesus.

Then he sits up and gets out of my lap and leans forward on the floor and reaches over and puts my face in his chubby hands.

"Mommy, YOU don't know anyone who is going to Hell, do you?"

The room feels heavier...

Yes, honey I...

"NOOOOOOO!

"WHHHyyyyy? WHY hasn't anyone TOLD them???"

He just settled back on my lap and we rocked there together, aching for the lost--in tears over the lost that we know...that we live with and among...every day...

Praying, crying , rocking there...

--just burdened.

In a moment, Jack sat up straight--full of something to say.

"I got it! I know what to do!!"
And a gift of evangelism/missionary call was imparted...listen to this...

"I KNOW what to do. What we need to do is to get ALL the Bibles in the house and go to school and TELL everyone about Jesus... AND we need to make sure they have a Bible so that they can grow... THEN we need to go tell everyone in our City about Jesus and...(he stands up, really excited)...then we need to go on LITTLE TRIPS ALL around America and tell people about Jesus...

And Mommy, (he pauses) I really don't think SCHOOL is as important as telling people about Jesus SO I think i need to stop school for a while and just go on little trips to tell people about Jesus. ACTUALLLY...the WHOLE WORLD needs to hear about Jesus so we are going to need LOTS of bibles and are going to need to go on LOTS of trips all around the world to tell people.

(he earnestly thinks of another layer)

...And oh, oh,oh! SOME people in the world are HUNGRY and they need FOOD. And if you don't have FOOD you can't LISTEN very well. SO we are going to have to bring a WHOLE BUNCH of food and bibles on our little trips."

"Can we do it, Mom?"

"Can we go on little trips?"

And in that moment--especially after recently asking God in my own prayers for more of Himself for more of a burden for the lost--it was as if my prayer was answered with a new question put in its place--from the Master Himself--'what IS your answer? WILL you go...on these 'little trips'?'

' Well?'

I hugged Jack tight with the energy and Joy that only the Spirit of Jesus pours on and prayed an answer into his ear.

Mostly, was just knocked over that the Lord was suddenly birthing and displaying in my kitchen, after dinner, in one of my littlest sons--what Richard and I had been experiencing and asking for/waiting on in this past season of our walk...What we have been practicing walking out in our daily lives...while knowing...hearing...God is bringing more fullness to this...

Confirmation, awe, wonder, worship...

So, Jack goes to school the next day with Joy about telling his friends about the love of Jesus. The next day, he is down with an illness, and the next...and the next..He continues to talk of "little trips" filling out his vision...

A corner of my kitchen fills up with bags of bibles ...
and books--"cause the children that we are going to see need things to read"
FAVORITE toys and treasures
and boxes and cans of food too.

I do not forget, but there is a lull in time and life is full of many things to wonder over here in the midst of other ministry here at the Tucker camp...
I sign an illness note 3 days and a weekend after our first conversation and drive Jack up to the Elementary School after watching to see if he was well enough to head into the classroom that morning.

We enter the classroom to much attention.

"LOOK!! IT's JACK T. (there are 2 Jack's in the class and this is the way to keep them straight...)
"Jack T's back!!"

Our most wonderful, Ms. Fitch (we just LOVE her!) stops what she is doing to ask how Jack's trip around the world has been.

(I am not the quickest to think on my feet--just horrible at small talk or thinking quickly--just think she is making a reference to a fiction story or is playing pretend and I play to it with a feeble joke)

"No, Really, (Ms. Fitch is absolutely serious) "Jack TOLD all the boys and girls about his LITTLE TRIPS."

Ohhhhhh,my.

I'm hit with a wave of Wow and just am unable to speak.

...the boldness of my little boy--so clearly making Jesus known and believing what the Spirit has called him to...Just telling it like it is.

This time I answer more fully to his teacher...and store up wonder in my heart...
I hear the question again,

'WELL? What's your answer?'

...to be continued as God reveals more...

Love and Grace and "little trips",

Gillian

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What I'm Singing Today

This is the song of my heart. How beautiful our Jesus is.
Jesus is real.
Jesus is a King.
and He's coming Back Soon.
Make time to soak Him in today...



Be Blessed,
Love, Gillian

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Graham's post

Life through the eyes of our 8th grader, Graham today. ;) A more colorful view of life here in the Tucker home!-- Meet Graham, may his photos take you back a few years to those middle school days--zany as they may be :))...



Eyes for an awesome Dad/Buddy.



Hey, Ash!



Graham's love--he named her Anna-belle, "Annie" for short (love it!)



Head of Graham's fan club. :)-- little Ava girlie.



AWWWwww a boy and his dog--life couldn't be sweeter! Outfit ordered for Annie by Graham himself!! The boy has style!



HMMmmnnn--Graham makes our lives colorful and fun--you're "the bomb", Graham!

Friday, March 19, 2010

To Market, To Market

Definitely one of the highlights of our week!!
Just love getting out and about with little Bruik and Ava.
Bruik still remembers eating Ethiopian food and so this Market is a neat connection to Ethiopia. We see Ethiopian nationals each time we are in the store and they visit with us and hug and kiss our children like we are back in Addis--very sweet.

Ava and Bruik with a cartful of goodies at the International Market on Thompson Lane.

The eggs in the cart are from a local Mennonite Farmer--Farm Fresh--Yum!
See the Injera Bread in our cart as well? We know the lady who makes it. Abay Injera is tender and delicious.



And who can resist chocolate covered wafer candy? The kind shop owner GAVE these to the children.



O.K. Mom, that's enough, let's head on home now...
We'll be back soon!!



Have a great weekend!
Love, Gillian

Sunday, March 14, 2010



M showing Jack and Bruik his wrestling medals.

Its been an incredible journey for our foster son and daughter and us this school year.

In the end of our Tucker Praise countdown from this week...2...1... We want to celebrate VICTORY for M!!

This fall he joined his first team ever--a wrestling team at school. The coaches and families poured SO much into him. He has come home beaming, telling stories of the whole gym chanting his name. :) God has given him some GREAT natural talent that was uncovered as the months went by. He even impressed a retired professional football player that saw unusual talent in him at a recent meet--"this guy is raw talent--he could do anything". Different messages in this new season of life...Stand tall, M! We believe you could head toward WHATEVER you want in life in this life hidden in Christ. A destiny. A "Hope and a Future" is in store for you for sure!

"Mom! LOOK!!"--medals brought one-by one through the door,big broad smiles on this teddy- bear- of- a- big -13 -year- old kid. Confidence splashing over in other areas too. New friends, new mentors, a community on the edge of its seat--cheering for a miracle on the mat...

Then, just one week ago, M placed in an important tournament. This terrific kid is going to the STATE level!!! "MOM!! I'm going to STATE!! It was haarrrd. I even had to wrestle a girl at a time. Gross. It was real haarrd. I did it...I'm goin' to STAAATE!!"

About a week from now. Pray him through, won't you?

Blessings,

Gillian

Friday, March 12, 2010

"It's Just Painful"--by Jack T. :)

Praise # 3--Number Three-- Just a little "HEE"!! I had planned on "reporting" something else in our "praise countdown" today--but like alot of life here at the Tucker house...we were interrupted! :)

video

Someone told me when I was a young(er) ;) mom to view these little happenings as little opportunities from God.

--Not a sidetrack to the plans of the day(frustration) but a redirect.

--some of my biggest "interruptions" have brought the biggest rewards/lessons/fruit in the kids or me...

So, in the busyness, I'm ever asking for God to keep me alert to what He's up to in our midst.

After all, its those conversations between loads of laundry when one of my 13 year old sons will spill a secret from his heart,

the willingness to be pulled away from my weeding project in the front yard that leads us to discover God's fingerprints on the wings of a butterfly my little daughter has found.

--or to be invited to a bird funeral by the 3rd graders--how hilarious that one was--The bird was only stunned by a neighbor cat and ended up shaking off that dirt and flying away!!

--Often the joy that buoys my days comes in these little moments of shared life--they are gifts!

This morning we were in full swing --3 already breakfasted and out the door--some more at the elementary bus stop--my Kindergartner, Jack was ALMOST late and my preschoolers were rolling into their before school schedule thing--

When Jack laid his hand on my arm.

(This is our "interruption rule" gesture--a hand on mom's arm to let her know you need her attention---otherwise we would ALL be talking over each other)

" MOMMMMMMMY, listen".

"MOMMMMMY!" I almost hurried him out the door before I understood he was concerned about his teacher's doctor appointment.

You've GOT to listen to this gem--this is Jack in his cute glory,
Oh, my he brings me joy!!
He thinks in the video that his teacher is 100 years old!

--did you TELL him that, Ms. Fitch?

You are the BEST!!

And he's really concerned about her.

He says next that I shouldn't have laughed cause Ms. Fitch would RATHER be at her desk ANY day than be "poked and pressured" at the doctor's office.

We love you, Ms. Fitch and truly think you are the most wonderful Kindergarten Teacher in the World!! We hope it wasn't too painful for you! :)

Check out the bedhead in the video too--the little bird's nest that we tried to wet down and comb through (didn't really help!) after our little talk "interruption" and before jumping on the bus.

Enjoy your interruption opportunities today!

Happy Friday!

Love and Joy to you,
Gillian

" It's Just Painful", by Jack T.

video

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Number 4 in the countdown of praise this week...

Number 4....in the countdown of praise this week...

#4 The Mihnovich Four....

It is so amazing to hold the answer to your prayers in your arms! I speak for many of us who counted down the days to first the release and then the arrival of the Mihnovich children. These four children --JUST arrived to America from Ethiopia --see Tracy's blog, Unveiled Faces at the sidebar here--this little family group is completely and utterly precious.

We have the honor of being backyard neighbors with the Mihnovich and Worton families and so cul-de-sac time is a festival of nations--Ethiopia the prominant one!! To see our previously adopted children from Ethiopia and birth children all running joyfully around with the new lambs from Ethiopia is a heavenly sight. I praise God to be included in such JOY!!

Each one of these children, especially the ones in transition have a inner beauty and tenderness to them that is a gift to behold. Yes, transition has its mighty challenges but God has given such a beautiful Mama and strong Daddy to these children. To see the multitude of kisses,to watch the incredible sports potential with bikes and balls--Wow!!-- to see the children safe and comfortable in their home of one week, to hear little Isaiah say "Mommy" and "Daddy" in his Amharic accent,to witness the grin and the gleem in James' eye when you mention his Father will come home tonight, to see Nati relaxed and going about the business of being a young teen boy, to feel a tender hug from Mercy and to look into her deep eyes--to watch her play baby dolls with Neighbor, Mackenzie a sister of newly arrived, heart-melting Micah. To see my children in the mix, growing up in a sea of children from many lands--that each of these children already understands that Love has taken them in--is sacred ground. It reminds me of a promise God used in our own transition and holds out so freely for this one, "Your sons will be taught by the Lord...And Great will be your childrens' peace".

Love to the Mihnovich family who is living an incredible truth --that Love truly "covers all" things. Miracles in the midst...miracles to come... Grace to you.

Love, Gillian


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

5,4,3,2,1 Praise Reports Countdown

We are going to do a Tucker countdown of the goodness of God in our midst...

Starting with... #5...

Number FIVE...

Their mother is ALIVE!!

Another commitment to Christ in our midst!!

We received the news in a precious group phone call the other day!!!!!!!!!

We invited the newly- born princess over for a pizza dinner and we all hugged and cheered and laughed and watched the children dance that night.
In the midst of pizza and laughter and hair fixin', a funny movie, and spazy kid dancing--our Friday pizza night --you gotta love it!...

We were told this night was a first.

...The first family night--ever for the guest at our table...

And so, another life was added to our family group here--but not a son or a daughter this time

but a sister.

He never gives up on us

--Never.

--in fact, as Revelation shares, when God opens a door NO MAN can shut it.

It is NEVER too late for a new beginning

--IN CHRIST AND ONLY IN CHRIST ALL things are New

--All things are made possible.

I believe this.

Recently we prayed to understand --to see what God means by transformation--"show us more of this we asked"--we stayed down on our knees,

Asking,

Fasting for a breakthrough of His Presence in our midst

--for salvation for these new family members and a new friend--

Then, to actually SEE it before our literal eyes--God is real and wants to fix the lonely, broken,even you even me--He is searching for us...

Who are you asking for?

Who has God placed on your heart?

It was that name that just flashed across your mind.

Yes, that one--

Start asking--NOTHING is impossible--

More praise reports to come!!

Love to you!

Gillian

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Springtime Nestyness




Spring has sprung!! This morning as I was emptying the dishwasher for the first of many times today ;) I heard a rustling sound in my garage--as I opened the door i found a little sparrow busying herself in my camping equipment box with bits of fluff, mud, and grass--getting ready for a springtime blessings. I can't wait to see her babies! I'm doing my own rustling around here. Mama bird, you're not alone!! And thus are the inspiration for the egg in the nest on our painted shirts....and got out the sewing machine to sew little dresses (we'll show and tell that later!)...whipping up cookies and are having lemonade sales...just living and playing out of doors...laying in the pool of sun on our trampoline...singing our hearts out and writing new songs...cooking lighter and with more bright veggies...checking all the garden beds for signs of my little friends in there--checking for tender green signs of life...you know, its SPRING!!

What is it about the seasons--how a simple change of light and breeze can lift the spirits so. Perhaps that we are made for light, made in love by the one who IS LOVE to respond to new life--always searching for what IS Light, what IS Life...we resonate with renewal--life springing forth after a cold season in which growth was slow and hidden--in which all that once was alive and green had folded up and fallen away... dry branches the only evidence of former life... wrapped in shades of quiet grey . Made in this way so we so naturally would "get" the unfolding story of the renewal and restoration that He made at the cross for us.



"Spring" actually began a bit early for the Tuckers this year and we have lots of praise reports to share--up coming this week. Just living and experiencing the reality of the newness that comes as we press into Jesus. (so available in any season of our lives!) "Behold I am creating something new, can you not perceive it?"
We look forward to sharing alot of JOY with you this week!
Enjoy the sunshine, everyone, AND especially delight in the ONE who made it all out there!!

Love, Gillian

Friday, March 5, 2010

Injera -- Our new Comfort Food--Go and Get you Some!--Or Let us Bring it to You :)


Oh, YUMMMY!! This is our new comfort food. We have learned to make Ethiopian food since coming back home with Ava and Bruik--but it is only completed eaten with savory/tart/pancake-like injera bread. Injera is made of Teff flour and water and has an incredible amount of nutrition in it. This may be why my children arrived so healthy from Ethiopia--this was such a staple in thier lives in Ethiopia--almost 3 years later they have the strongest immune systems in the house...
We have found an authentic source for Injera right here in the Nashville area.
It is call the International Food Mart. This is an international grocery store that sells items from all over the world. The two men who work there, Hamid and Zabih, are friendly and kind and very helpful in answering any question. You can find many things for cooking Amharic food there. We like going often for they have freshly made bread on racks up in the front. Injera is about 4 dollars for about 8 large pancakes--we never make it home without diving into the bag to tear off a strip. They also have split yellow dried peas, dried red lentil (YUM!!) --our fav!!--and the ever needed Amharic staple--Berberie spice. Their spice combo is just right and when you put about 2 Tablespoons (add up to a 1/4 of a cup to taste--be careful though it is very spicy and you can always add more later but will not be able to bring the spice level back down if it gets too hot) in a saute of about a cup or two (yes, lots) of olive oil, with about 4-6 sliced onions, then let the onions turn clear and saute for about ten minutes, then add chicken drumsticks and about 2 teaspoons of salt and let it simmer covered for about an hour or until it falls off the bone(hours longer)--you are WELL on your way to enjoying Dora Wat (a favorite chicken dish).

There are other spices that can make this even more authentic that we add but this is for another post. :) You can also add more berberie for those with palates that can take more hot spice--especially those coming in country from Ethiopia--this would be comfort food for them. We kept a shaker of Berberie on the counter --in a metal spice shaker/salt shaker thing --and the children felt comfortable knowing they could ask for this at any time to make their food feel more familiar.

Serve all of this food over a "plate" of Injera (on top of your regular plate)--tear off pieces of Injera to scoop/pinch up the food to eat it-kids love it--no forks!!Lots of napkins!!--BUT in country the people so neatly and graciously eat this--no napkins are even needed!--

We like to serve all the mentioned foods together--placed in a colorful array--like a clock--around the plate--it is so beautiful--especially when you place a hard-boiled peeled egg in the center of each plate and drizzle sauce from the meal over it.



Thanks to Tracy for the photo from their first trip to Ethiopia to bring home Levi!!


We serve this meal with Canned (yes, we cheat) collard greens cooked in a savory sauce. and a fresh green salad with the closest dressing we can come up with--a mix of lime juice and olive oil, black pepper and salt-- with goat cheese crumbles or feta cheese crumbles on the side --yummy fresh with this meal.

To make yellow split peas saute 1 onion, 1/4 olive oil, and about 1-2 teaspoons to taste of turmeric, a shake of garlic powder and salt to tast and lots of water (saute those onions first in the oil in the bottom of a Soup-sized pot with and spice -- then add about a pound of the split peas --then fill up the pot--half up with water bring to a boil then reduce to a medium heat --close to a simmer until the peas absorb the water and turn very soft--they take about 2 hours to get just right--try not to burn on the bottom--you may need to keep adding water by the 1/2 cup full--they absorb alot of water as they cook.
To suite our American tastes I added dried basil to our pot last week and it made it very savory.

The red lentils are delicious when you first saute about 2-3 onions in lots of olive oil--1/2 cup-to a whole with about 2 Teaspoons of Berberie (or less to taste) the sauteing really infuses the spice into your oil. Then add about 2 teaspoons of salt and add water so that your lentils are covered by about 3 inches of water--this cook to a boil and then turn down to a simmer and simmer until the lentils are mushy--Keep adding water by the 1/2 cup to full cup if your lentils look too dry or are not getting mushy--this will take about an hour--until they would be easily mashed. We take them at this point and put them through the blender or a food processor--this dish is SO savory and ends up being our favorite with injera bread.

Sorry that these are not in receipe form but I am repeating how I learned to cook Amharic by "word of mouth" just like I learned it from a lovely young Ethiopian Mother, a wife of an Ethiopian Market Owner, who owns the A&H Merkato Ethiopian grocery store on Murfreesboro Pike in Nashville, who was in the international market one day and poured out her kind advice for cooking to a very clueless me. She also told me that the "secret" to these dishes is cooking the spices in the oil in the beginning for an infusion of taste. She said that to be absolutely authentic, she would add to each of these dishes about a Tablespoon or two of Ethiopian butter --it has special spices infused in it(sometimes found at the International Market--always found at the market in Nashville, near the airport called , The Merkato, that carries ONLY Ethiopian food.-- And at the very end she would sprinkle something called 7(sorry detail people out there--the number could have been 5) spice --its a tan/green color just a pinch and a sprinkle at the end of a dish deepens the flavor noticeably and brings it to Amharic levels :). The Merkato is further out for me to travel to but only ten minutes more than the International Market and also carries injera bread.

This friend of mine also shared that it is very hard to make injera here in our area due to the humidity--so congratulations for those of you amazing folk who have downloaded recipes to try it out!!
The Injera that we have found most tasty at both these places is the Injera made by the sweet wife of the owner of Abay restaurant--she makes a ton of it each day and sells it--so you are receiving something very fresh. Look for her label--ABAY Injera when you buy it.

Addresses and Info. for the adventurous, foodies, and families with Ethiopian children out there

International Food Mart
206 Thompson Lane
Nashville, Tn 37211
(615)333-9651
Halal Meat and Global Grocery
Hamid Toloo
Zabih Shah

They also carry DELICIOUS homemade meat pastry pockets and their homemade pita is made simply with whole wheat flour and water only and is large, puffy and so yummy.

Bererie is 11.99 a pound--I bought about .36 lb for 4.32 and it lasted a long time.

They also carry farmer free range eggs--fresh from a local Mennonite Farm in the area.


A&H Merkato is at
2131 Murfreesboro Pike #107
Nashville, TN 37217
(615) 366-9377

The Shop owner is so kind to children and to other people. He spent a LONG time introducing me to Ethiopian cooking and showing me where all the spices were. He even told me to put some things back from my internet generated list... He is originally from ET. but raised his babies in California and now is here due to the family friendly nature of our area...

Thier butter is 7.99 a pound--it lasted us about 5 meals of cooking for ten And hosting a missions meal for about 20 here...

They also carry the powder needed for Shiro paste--another side dish that is very yum and very Amharic--all you do with this is to gradually add water to it--kinda like cream of wheat and it makes a quick taste of home to be scooped up by my honeys.
Shiro was 5.99 for a pound--it lasted as long as the butter did...

the 7 spice can be found here too--it is wonderful.

The Merkato's Berberie is 12.99 a pound I bought .40 lb months back for $
5.20 and am still using it.

They also sell Injera.

Go get you some!!

OR if you do not have time on your hands due to nesting and live in the Nashville area or South Nashville suburbs--Brentwood, Franklin, Spring Hill -- I would be glad to gather together these items for families for a delivery fee based on gas and time spent to pick them up.--Contact me at livingwater4u@hotmail.com

I also am available for those of you in the African fellowship group and/or prospective Ethiopian parents for a modest fee to come to your home and teach you how to make Amarhic food--It would be my pleasure to share what we have learned!

For those of you who catch this blog out of town. I would be glad to gather these items together for you and ship them to you (can't ship the butter) for a gathering/delivery fee plus shipping. Contact me at livingwater4u@hotmail.com

We will also be putting together a video tutorial the next Amarhic meal we make--let us know if you would be interested in something like this.

Any funds will be used toward educational costs for several of our children next year and our family's adoption/fostering ministry.

We are putting together today a brand new website related to these ideas it is called, Bruiky Bruik. Please visit us at www.bruikybringsdinner.webs.com/
For all our ideas formated in a more organized way than this posting

Happy Friday!!
Love,
Gillian