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We have lived in Romania for 16 years now. We have 6 kids.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

God is good.

It is hard to believe that the time we have spent in the states so far is usually the total amount of time we spend in the states. Previously we have only spent 3 months here and 3 months is already up! I wanted to share some blessings of this past week. We were part of a missions conference in Fort Scott, KS. We stayed on a 150 acre farm with a family. I want to share with you what a blessing this family and this church were. These people are true examples of people living out the gospel. Humble and sweet spirits. Never afraid to quietly share their testimony and faith in their community. The family we stayed with had no t.v. They were a true example of what it means to write the Word of God on their hearts and the hearts of their children. They do chores on the farm together, learn how to care for animals and provide things they need for their family. They lead a simple life, not caught up with the things of this world. Their father has his own buisness and he is not concerned with making money, the first thing he does even if he looses busines is share his faith with potential customers and give them a track. These peoples mission is to live a life with a passion for Christ that is above all else. It was really refreshing and convicting and I'm so thankful for the time we had with them. They memorize Scripture together, they pray together, they have missionaries stay in their home often (and it is not at all a large home, the kids were kicked out of their rooms as we invaded them). They shared their food with us from Saturday night until Wed night. The kids LOVED the farm. Spencer has decided to become a farmer. The drove "Mater" around (a small off road vehicle for driving around the farm), the did chores, fed the animals, played tag on the hay bales, made boats and raced them in the water running off from the pond after it rained all day, and they made new friends. It was difficult to leave. Our oldest son especially took it hard. If you think about it pray for him especially. He is almost 13, the oldest child, an mk and this is the first time he has made friends really his age. The last time we were here he was still too young to understand what it means to say goodbye, now he understands and it isn't easy. He really enjoyed this family and their children, especially their 15 month old daughter. My kids just love babies and continue to ask when we are "getting another one." He understands now that he either won't ever see these new friends again or by the time he does, they will all be 3 or 4 years older. He is enjoying things here and meeting people but he struggles with good byes and he is missing his home in Romania. It is hard to explain but really our hearts or in two. We love being here and seeing friends and family but our hearts also miss home!

On a lighter note, we are going Christmas shopping tomorrow for the cousins. We will be busy next week with two missions conferences and won't have time before we celebrate with them on Thanksgiving week. We bought our first bags of Christmas M & M's. But I noticed that people are already saying Merry Christmas and playing Christmas music...have they forgotten that Thanksgiving is next and not Christmas?

We took the family to IHOP this morning since we got back late last night we didn't have anything here at the house for breakfast. We sat down and ordered. Then the waitress surprised us by telling us the 3 men (veterens) sitting at the table next to us wanted to pay our check...wow, God's kindness in meeting our physical needs while here has just really been overhwelming!

I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving. Thanks be to God from whom ALL blessings flow! We have been overwhelmed with the gifts He has lavished upon us!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Twins

The twins speak English really well without much of an accent BUT, you can tell sometimes they haven't completely grasped the English language. Joey takes everything literally. For instance, I said we were going to "run over to the church office." We got in the van and headed over there and he said, "but I thought you said we were running over there." I had to explain to him that "running somewhere" meant we were going to make a quick trip!
Another Joey moment. My sister told him to , "talk to the hand" and he put his lips near her hand and began to speak to her hand...soo funny! So, she explained to him what that meant. She said it again a couple days later and I looked at Joey and said, "you better talk to her hand, that's what she told you to do." (I wanted to have a little fun with him) I could see his wheels turning, my sister reminded him of what it meant and I taunted him a bit and said, "come on Joey, talk to the hand" so he kind of got a funny look on his face, bent over and said (to her hand), "ok, I'm talking to your hand." It was so funny!!

Scripture memory with the twins is always fun. We use the NKJV just because most of the verses I have memorized are in the KJV and it is hard for me to learn another version BUT I may have to re think that because the twins really struggle with the words like, therefore, whosoever, etc. We have to repeat, repeat, repeat those words before they can even say them let alone memorize them. We are learning Psalm 1 and I just have to re phrase some parts so they can understand and so they can actually say the words!! They really struggle with words where a letter is said quickly and not heard.

Another example of a language blunder. We were at the zoo yesterday and we heard the Gibbons before we saw them. We discussed going to see the gibbons and Gina commented, "I'm ready to go see the bigots." She was referring to the gibbons!

We struggle a bit with phonics and reading so if anyone has any brilliant ideas with how I can help the twins with this let me know!!

Baron is stateside and will join us Friday...I think I need a month long vacation to recover from taking care of the kids for 6 weeks without him :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

God's Kindness

I would like to share with you of God's kindness to me and my family. He is so kind to give us the love and support of many friends and family and of many people we have never even met! I have a dear friend who worked so hard to grocery shop and fill the mission house kitchen with a weeks worth of groceries, ah delicious American food! Another family spoke with Shepherding Groups at North Hills and arranged for people to leave gift cards and games and puzzles at the house for the kids. We were greeted with envelopes with money for grocery shopping and we were ushered into a beautiful mission house! Sometimes after a really dry spell and a really hard time God says, ok enough for awhile let me show you my love through your fellow believers pouring out love on you. My God is so good and I am so thankful to all those who showered us with your love through these gifts and well wishes!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Journey!

I would like to say first that, I will not be doing that again alone :-)!! There were some moments I didn't know whether I should laugh or cry so I did both. God kept reminding me the whole trip that his grace is sufficient and he never puts us through anything we can't handle with his help. I guess you would have to ask my kids to get their perspective but I feel I remained fairly calm and stable through out the trip. I cried a little but nothing out of control :-)! (My sister enjoys it when I cry because I am not a cryer).

Well, our trip started off Sunday afternoon. We had said goodbye to our church family that morning. We left for Budapest and met the Tyler's for KFC lunch in Timisoara. They had just returned from the states the week before so we wanted to see them again before takin off. We arrived in a town near the Budapest airport and attempted to go to bed early. It was difficult to sleep in the little twin beds and with the heat of the rooms, the rooms cooled off finally after the sun went down. I believe the kids got in about 8 hours of sleep that night so I was pleased with that.

Our day started Monday morning at 5:00 a.m. We were heading to the airport at 6:00 a.m. The adventure that seems like we have been waiting for forever was finally here! Baron got us to the airport got us checked in then we were on our own, through the first security check of many. I tried to organize us throuh this but it seemed through every security check I had to be delving out commands to the children, put your back pack in this box, go through the check one at a time, wait on the other side etc... We didn't have to take our shoes off though and we didn't wear belts or anything else that we had to take on and off. Our flight to London was uneventful.

We arrived in London and went through security again, they had a family line and were very helpful in calling the kids through one at a time, two of the kids "beeped" and had to be searched. Made it through to our flight to London and we were on what I thought would be the hardest part of the trip...little did I know! The flight was 8 hours and 30 minutes long. The kids were entertained almost the whole time with the movies and kids shows, they watched Kung Fu Panda 2, Rio, and some other cartoons and animal shows. Since my kids don't watch tv much they were enraptured for almost 6 hours of movie and tv watching!! Everything was great until the last hour of the flight when Spencer got motion sickness and started to vomit. He gave me warning though and we made it to the bathroom everytime. The trouble came when it was time to land...I moved Nate across the aisle next to Gina and sat next to Spencer and Joey. We were landing and not allowed to get up and Spencer started to violently throw up, we had a barf bag when all of the sudden with no warning, Joey vomits all over himself (and no I didn't not have a change of clothes with us!!) arms with barf bags were coming at me in all directions...at that point I think I almost chuckled because it was just to funny to be true! I don't think the people around us or the flight attendent will ever forget the family with 6 kids in their red shirts and all the vomiting!! So, now the fun begins, you would think that the vomiting would stop since we had landed but poor Spencer just kept on, by this point it became dry heaves though because he had nothing left in his stomach. We had about 8 barf bags on us. So, I'm trying to be excited about landing in America with the twins but poor Spencer was so miserable and Joey had puke all over him! He cleaned up as best he could with wet wipes (thanks Rebekah for telling me to bring wet wipes). In Chicago we had to go through customs and immigration. We had to get all our luggage which meant 3 carts and poor Spencer had to push one as he is literally vomiting ever 10 minutes as we are walking through the airport. We first went through the first agent and he stamped our passports and then sent us to the immigration agent. First we had to get our luggage. Big challenge, then we went to the agent and it only actually took about 10 minutes. He opened their big envelopes and told me, they are citizens, just go to the social security office to get their numbers issued and you can get them passports anytime! It was hard to be excited with little Spencer still vomiting. We then had to put all our luggage through a security check, it all had to go on the conveyer belt and through the xray, then we had to load it back up on the carts and go get rid of it again. We realized that at the security check we had swapped one bag with someone else, so we had to stand around and wait as Spencer continues to vomit for someone to find our bag and bring it to us...I almost just abandoned that bag (Kendra's car seat) but we waited and it came. Then we come out into the Chicago airport and there are people everywhere and reporters everywhere, I have no idea who was coming but it must have been someone important and they must have been a little bored waiting because one reporter hollered out to me, "hey, m'am, we would like to interview you on what it's like to travel with so many kids!" And then he started laughing! We transfer over to domestic flights and look on the screen and low and behold our flight to Charlotte says cancelled! I didn't panic yet, surely I thought there would be another flight out. We had to go wait in a very long line to talk to a ticketing agent, had to leave the line with the whole family as Spencer was just so violently ill. Came back and asked the people to let us back in line where we were. We get up to the agent and she tells me there are no more flights out tonight and that is when the tears started to flow, Spencer at this poing was laying on the floor sleeping, the other kids were sitting on the place where they weigh the bags. The agent tells me there is a flight out tomorrow but we have to go through New York and get to Charlotte at almost 4 the next afternoon and that she can get me a discount on a hotel and I started crying and told her I couldn't afford a hotel! Then she told me that maybe we could sleep in cots in the airport and I really started crying, and then Zach started crying. She then went to talk to her supervisor, and I decided I would use the cash I had changed into dollars that the boys had saved up and just re pay them later when the agent came back and said her supervisor authorized her to give us a hotel vouture and food vouture. It literally took over an hour with the ticket agent to get everything worked out. The hotel was the Renaissance Hotel and she told me my food vouture would go farther at the airport then at the hotel but I didn't want to go back into the airport and the vouture was for $84 and I knew my kids wouldn't eat that much food. The agent asked me to just wait a few moments more and she went to the vending machine with her own money and bought us some bags of big pretzals and gave us some granola bars she had. We walk again to find the hotel shuttle and wait for a while when we finally spot the shuttle for the hotel. Spencer is still vomiting. We got to the hotel and my kids are in awe..."wow, this is like a palace!" They put us in a room with 2 double beds and a pull out couch. I order some food we eat, and are in bed by 8p.m. and as soon as the kids heads hit the pillows, they are out like a light. I slept from 8 until midnight when Spencer got up to vomit again and then I couldn't go back to sleep due to the jet lag. I was so thankful though that all the kids slept through until about 4:30 a.m.

So, our day Tuesday started at 4:30. We split some breakfast from Starbucks and take the 7 a.m. airport shuttle. We arrived early enough that there wasn't a long line at the ticket agent and got our tickets and once again, went through security, taking off our shoes this time and putting all our back packs through the x ray. They also had a family line for us to go through. I forgot to mention a couple funny things. Zachary on the London flight told me, "mom, I like what they say when they ask to take my trash, 'may I collect your rubbish'" he thought that was so funny. He also at one point said, "mom, I get the feeling we are being watched." And sure enough we were watched and approached many times with the question, "are they all yours?" I was very thankful for their behavior and thankful for the comments on how well behaved my children were :-). Airport food is soo expensive, so I bought a few bananas and we split those. Made our flight to NY, and had a short lay over in NY where we only ate a box of Ritz crackers due to the prices again of airport food! We finally arrived in Charlotte where our bags were already waiting for us in the luggage office. We went out and found Papa Mac and breathed a sigh of relief!
There were several nice people along the way of our journey who stopped and just were so kind when we were in distress Monday late afternoon and evening. I can't tell you how kind God was to us along the way, I am just unable to put it into words. I did want to share this story as much as possible and thank those who were praying for us because your prayers are what kept me sane the whole trip!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Long Time No Post

We are counting down the days until our big trip to America! We leave 12 days! We have mixed emotions about this trip. It has been long anticipated, we have not been home on furlough for 5 years. Nate has spent all but 3 months of his life in Romania. Drew has spent all but 6 months of his 8 years in Romania. The twins, well they have never been to the states. Spencer has spent 9 1/2 of his 11 years in Romania and Zach has spent 9 1/2 of his 12 years of life in Romania. In the past 10 years we have been in the states for a total of 7 months. I'm excited but also realize it will be quite an adjustment! For one thing there will be sensory overload, lots of sights and sounds and way too many choices! We are excited to see family. Some of Baron's side of the family we haven't seen in 5 years. We haven't seen his parents in 3 years and my parents haven't seen the grandkids in 2 years.

The down side of leaving, is leaving behind a family that is sad to see you go and worried of how they will cope without you and worried you won't come back! We keep assuring them that God is their Rock and He holds all things together!

We have seen God working in the lives of people. I'll share one story about a boy who I will call John. We have known him since he was a toddler. He is almost 10 now. He lives in a two bedroom apartment with his grandparents, his mom and dad and sister and uncle. His grandma is raising him. Grandma has 3 grown children who are all in some capacity mentally unstable. The youngest of the sons married a lady who was of a limited mental capacity and they have two children whom I will call John and Sarah. John is a little slow but he has come such a long way. He is passive and quiet but is learning to think for himself. We always wonder how much the kids at church are really soaking in well, after camp we were excited to see that John is soaking in a lot! He was being made fun of at camp and our son reported to us that John stuck up for himself, he told the boy making fun of him, "It doesn't really matter what we look like or if we are good at sports, God cares about our hearts." Our Sunday school teacher, Cristina has really been teaching the kids to accept each other not based on appearance or wealth but to accept each other as Christ does. John also has talked a lot with his grandma since camp and told her how he has invited Christ into his heart of sin to make it clean. He told her he doesn't like playing outside anymore with the kids who are mean and only talk ugly (he lives in a rougher side of town). He reads his Bible alot. When you think of him pray for him. He also told his grandma he was really sad to see our boys leave because they are his only friends. We are so thankful to see God working in this young boy's life and pray that John will always stay open to the working of God in his life!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Kindergarten

This year we were blessed to have a recent graduate of Northland Bible College in Wisconsin come stay with us and help with teaching our 3 children in K-5 and she also played the piano at church. The twins were 6 years old and they needed a full time Kindergarten program to get them ready for first grade and with homeschooling 3 other boys I didn't think I could prepare them properly so we sought out a teacher. She had her hands full with the twins. I am so thankful for all the work she did with them. We sent Nate over just because I thought maybe it would entertain him and give him something to do. He had just turned 4 and I told Sarah if he was a problem to let me know and I wouldn't send him anymore. I had no idea that before he even turned 5 he would actually graduate from K-5 and be ready for first grade in the fall!
I am finishing up the last week and a half of K-5 since Sarah has gone back to the states and I am so thankful that she took this off of my shoulders this year.



I am also thankful for the close friendship she made with a young lady in our church, Cristina. Cristina has such a servants heart and helps us immensly with the children's program at church and with after school tutoring. Cristina and Sarah became close friends and it was a blessing to see this. I don't think Cristina has ever had a close Christian friend before and it was a real answer to prayer.

Please continue to pray for Sarah, she will spend the summer with her mom and sister and then they will move to Guam and Sarah will come back to another part of Romania for the next school year. After next year Sarah is unsure of what God has for her so pray that God will give her clear direction.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bucuresti

Last week we took our long anticipated final trip to the U.S. embassy in Bucuresti, Romania. We were told that we would spend much time at the doctor waiting for test results so we planned on the doctor one day and the embassy the next day. After much thought we decided to fly instead of drive and cut out one night motel stay and cut out much stress and exhaustion on Baron's part, and much stress of two chattery twins for a 8 hour car ride each way! We got up at 4:30 a.m. Wenesday morning for our 6 a.m. flight. We arrived at the doctor to find out that what we thought was going to be about a $400 visit was only $80. They didn't have to get any immunizations or have any blood work done!That also meant we were done in just an hour and we could have had our visa appointment the same day and flew back the same day without staying the night, but we couldn't change the appointment or the flight so we just roamed around Bucuresti! We found a mall that we thought had Ruby Tuesday and found out we were wrong so we had dessert first at Cinnibon...oh so good. It was our 15 wedding anniversary and so we figured we deserved to have dessert first :-).





We then rode the subway back to the other mall that has the Ruby Tuesday. I enjoyed my all time favorite American food, chicken fingers with honey mustard sauce. We enjoyed a nice quiet anniversary dinner...ok minus the quiet part since the two chatter boxes were with us!



Thursday we went to the embassy and it only took an hour and the twins had visas in their passports. Pretty simple just a little costly! Our flight out wasn't until 9:40 in the evening since we just weren't sure how long it would take at the embassy. A certain girl was very tired and became very cranky and we had no place to go so she just got crankier and crankier and we got quite a few stares because of her behavior but thankfully she snapped out of it after a few hours! We hung out at a mall (it was rainy so we couldn't enjoy a park). Then made our way to the airport. We caught the bus to the airport right at the Arc of Triumph so we snapped a couple of photos.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Adoption News

We are very close to all being American citizens! On April 28, Baron goes to Bucharest to file the twins I 130. We are thankful to announce we have the money needed for that appointment. It will take a couple weeks to process that and then we can go for our second appointment. The twins have to be present for that interview and we need $1,100 for that appointment. Please pray with us. The rate of the dollar has been dropping recently and that makes it even harder for us to save for the adoption needs!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April

I always hate tagging a blog as one of my favorites only to visit it over and over and find there are no new blog entries...I am guilty of having a blog and not keeping up with the entries! Maybe not too many people come to my blog and are disappointed because, well, not too many people come to my blog :). If you are one of my huge number of followers I aplogize for not keeping it up!!

I haven't had much to say, not much going on so I haven't written. I don't like to put up an entry if I have nothing to say. There has been a lul in life, the winter is turning into spring for that I am thankful. I have planted some flower seeds and bulbs and hope they take off. The kids and I know we are coming to the states on August 8, we have our tickets. We are plugging away with school with hopes of being done the last week of May.

The twins are Howertons, that is old news. They will be American citizens by this fall. The first step is April 21 after our two year custody date we can go to Bucharest and file the first papers for $420 per child. Then after they are approved we have to take the twins to Bucharest and fill out more papers and pay another $550 per child. Then they get a green card and when they step foot into the states, it will actually be at the Chicago airport, they will officially be American citizens.

We look forward to visiting with family and friends and getting re aquainted with what life in America is like, I guess it will be me getting re aquainted, the kids have never really known what life in America is like so it will be fun for them! We will enjoy the library, going to Walmart and seeing "where poptarts come from". I will have to really work with Joey on keeping quiet, he sees something strange to him and he will open his mouth and say very loudly what he is thinking. So, far it hasn't been a problem here because he usually says it in English and they don't understand but when we go to the states, we may be embarrassed and have some explaining to do! I was thinking of putting a sign around his neck that says, "do not listen to anything he says, if he said something to offend you, please forgive him for he knows not what he says is offensive!"

Monday, February 21, 2011

Jehovah Jirah

We have asked our friends and family to pray for the details of our upcoming trip to the States and I wanted to share with you how our Great God has provided. In just two months time individuals have sent us enough extra money that we have been able to set aside $2,000 for our plane tickets. We just found out today that a supporting church of ours is sending us another $2,000 for plane tickets. So far, the one way tickets we have found for the kids and I in August total $4,000 so we are almost there! We have also been praying for a translator who also knows how to play the piano and today we received a phone call from a Romanian pastor that his son is interested in fulfilling this role and he plays the guitar and piano! He is our great provider and when we trust Him and wait for His timing He always comes through.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

February

We made it through January. This really is the hardest time of year for me, from about the second week of January through the end of February. It is so cold, my kitchen is very cold and I get unmotivated to do any sort of cooking. My husband has been so kind to get up at 5:30 a.m. this week to start fires so the house can be semi warm by 7 a.m.

Good news, we have the twins birth certificates. This spring we can file for them to become American citizens, we just have to figure out which way is easiest and cheapest. They are officially Howertons...still no "blue passaport" as Joey says, but we are closer.

More good news, we are really looking forward to a trip to the states later on this summer/fall. In the almost 10 years we have been here we have only been in the states for a total of 7 1/2 months. This will be our longest time away, we plan on staying the whole school year. I am really looking foward to being part of a Co-op and the fellowship for myself and my kids. I am focusing though on not letting us get so caught up in all there is to do that we run ourselves to death. Life in Romania is so laid back I need to try and keep it that way for my kids. I am thankful though that they are very flexible for the most part and seem to adapt well, I worry most about the twins. Please pray with us about all the details of this trip, there are still alot of things to work out, translator, replacement, finances, etc. Also, be in prayer for the people that we minister too, it will not be easy for them, it will be big adjustments for everyone involved. I do think though, that if we all have a positive attitude it can be a learning experience for us all, learning to depend on God and not ourselves! Please also be in prayer especially for Gina still. She has a very strong will and for about two months now has had more screaming fits then in the whole time she has been with us. Pray that we will have wisdom, love, and patience to deal with her and that God will get a hold of her little heart. I can't believe the twins will be turning 7 in just two short months. They grew especially fast I think because we never knew them in their babyhood. The year they turned 4 was their only "baby" year that we knew them and only through visits. That is really hard for me.

The twins and Nate are enjoying kindergarten this year with their teacher Miss Sarah. Please remember to pray for her also.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bucharesti, Romania

We took a trip to Bucharest on Monday and Tuesday of this week. We had an appointment at the embassy and we took a couple from our church so she could see a cardiologist there. Let me start by saying, I'm glad I don't live in or near Bucharest. It is not really a pleasant city. They do have lots of stores and "things" that we can't get on our side of the country but I would much rather drive across the border to Budapest, Hungary for a shopping trip (4 1/2 hours on decent roads) then to Bucharest (7 hours and terrible roads). There are so many street dogs in Bucharest. The people drive crazy, for example, we were in a long line at a traffic light, maybe half a mile long, and an SUV decided he didn't want to wait in that long line so he just jumped up on the sidewalk and drove all the way up to the light so he wouldn't have to wait any longer. The drive to and from Bucharest was so foggy we really couldn't see any of the country side. We drove along the border of Serbia and were stopped by border police. On the way back we were also stopped by police but no tickets. I thought it was funny, about 45 minutes out of Bucharest begins a 4 lane highway. You would think that with cars speeding along that road the police would pull people over the regular way, by turning on their lights and chasing them down with their car but they don't, they still clock you, then stand out in the road waving their arms for you to pull over...kind of dangerous when doing 150 km/hr! So, I guess I have said all the negative let me mention the nice things about the trip.
We knew there was a Ruby Tuesday restaurant there but didn't even bother to look it up on the internet because we decided it would be too expensive (TGI Friday's in Budapest is very expensive) and that we couldn't afford to also pay for our traveling companions food and they couldn't afford it. I put it out of my mind. Tuesday after we had seen the American doctor he sent us to a mall that had a pharmacy where we might find a heating pad. We decided to just go up and check out the food works and eat lunch there before leaving town and low and behold in a city of one million people we stumbled upon Ruby Tuesdays and our friends said they wanted Chinese so they went to eat lunch and we ate at Ruby Tuesday's AND it wasn't that expensive, we ate lunch for around $25! I love how God says I love you and here is a little something for you to show I care. I had my favorite meal, chicken fingers, and Baron had a big American hamburger! We also were able to find a heating pad. We have been looking for one since I started having neck and back pain and they didn't seem to exist in Romania but we found one in Bucharest for which I am thankful.
We also went to the embassy to get pages added to my passport. The last time I had to do this it was free and now it cost $85. I can understand them charging something but when something used to be free and then it cost $85 you have to wonder what in the world all that money is for...surely 26 extra passport pages don't cost that much?? We also found out a little bit about the complicated and expensive process of the twins becoming American citizens. We could really use your prayers if we are to ever get to America!