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

Friday, October 18, 2013

Searching for Pumpkins

I decided I wanted to have some pumpkins for decorations this year. We are going to have a fall carnival for the girls from the children's home and the kids from church and I wanted some for my photo booth. Driving to Timisoara, there is a village where people sell goods from the gardens by the road side. I stopped and the little old man had 2 white pumpkins. I asked if they had any more and his wife brought out 2 more. He was surprised I wanted so many and then he asked me if I wanted to have pumpkins to last the whole winter. I told him no, they were for decorations. I'm sure he thought I was crazy....using food for decorations. Then I left the van parked there on the side of the road and ran across the street to look at another big pumpkin. The man came out and asked what I wanted and I told him I was looking for a pretty pumpkin. He looked troubled and asked if his 2 pumpkins by the road weren't pretty. I asked him if he had any orange pumpkins (so far I have only found white ones) and again, he looked like he had never before heard of orange pumpkins, but he did invite me to come look in his garden to see if I saw any pretty ones I liked! Well, I had people in the car so I didn't take the time to do that, but I got 4 white pretty pumpkins and I bought some orange spray paint :-).
I went on to do my errands with 4 pumpkins in the back of the van and I went to get the van washed inside and out and thy guy looked at my pumpkins and laughed and said I would have plenty of pies for the winter! I decided not to tell him they were for decorations. I have just kind of gotten used to being known as the crazy American lady. I'll post pictures of the final products...if they turn out nice that is!!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Winding Scarf

A new etsy account has been set up to sell items I have crocheted. The proceeds will go towards our new multi purpose building. If you are in the market for some pretty scarves, hats, rosettes, or headbands please check out this site: http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheWindingScarf you can also ask for other colors, everything I have made is not posted in a picture.

A Descriptive Paragraph

My 13 year old, Spencer, had to write a descriptive paragraph about an important person in his life. Here is what he wrote:

     I have alot of important people in my life and I will describe one of them. My mom is a very important person. She has brown hair, blue eyes, is very sarcastic, and loves to crochet. She smells like perfume when she puts  it on. She cooks alot of food and she also cooks my favorite, cookies. She has a nice voice and sings too, but she doesn't sound good when she yells at me. She fells like something nice, I don't know what. My mom is the best mom ever.

I guess I learned from his descriptive paragraph that I should put on perfume and I shouldn't yell at him :-)!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

We Have a Problem

This post is for followers of Christ here in Romania. I know that my blog doesn't have a huge following. Normally, the intent of this blog is for my family and friends to keep up with what is going on in our family but if this post touches just one then it has accomplished something. First, I want to share a verse from Scripture, "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." James 1:27

What we have here is a very specific verse as to what God says is "true religion", basically having a heart for the weakest of the weak in this world. Those who can't fend for themselves. Those who have no one to teach them and raise them. I am talking about the abandoned kids, those left by their earthly parents for one reason or another. The future of Romania is at stake. We have 23 million Romanians in Romania and another 23 million that live somewhere outside of Romania. That means, a lot of people are leaving this country to find a better life elsewhere. It also means that the country is full of a generation of kids who are growing up in orphanages, not being trained and loved and taught about simple things such as manners, how to act around other people, how to treat other people, how to function in society, how to become a productive citizen. Oh, a lot of people feel sorry for them and bring them gifts and candy but these gifts and candy do not help these children in the long run. These children are awkward, they are immature, they are needy, they are lost. They don't understand why they can't go home, they don't understand why no one wants them.

My reason for writing this post is to encourage those of you out there who follow Christ to pray and consider becoming either an adoptive parent or a foster parent. One benefit of being a foster parent is it is a paid job. Now, I think it's important you don't go into it looking at it as only a job, it is very important that a foster parent love the kids they take in and not take in a kid and say, "well, we'll see if this works out, if the child is troublesome I'll just get another one." Let me start by saying, almost all foster kids are troublesome, they have either come from a children's home where they have to be loud and aggressive to get the attention they so desperately want and need or they have bounced around in other foster homes. They need your love and discipline. They need to be taught that it's ok to struggle, it's ok to make mistakes, they need help getting back up again. I just want to encourage all you believers out there, all you who love Christ with all your hearts to consider this, He has a heart for these kids and we (those of us living here in Romania) need to do something about this, the future of Romania is at stake here, these kids are Romania's future. Another good reason for Christians to foster is to see the abandoned kids come to Christ. The goal is for them to see the love of Christ in you and know that their Heavenly Father loves them. Let the Father love these kids through you.

If becoming a foster parent interests you, please contact us, we'd be willing to do whatever we could to help you in this endeavor. We could have a foster parent support group, counseling for troubled kids, help with homework, and Bible studies. We want to see more of these kids get out of the orphanages and into homes, Christian homes where the love of Christ is lived out.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wholly Committed and Saying Yes to God!

I am doing an online Bible study with proverbs31.org and the study is about saying yes to God! I have been challenged to be wholly committed to Him in all things. I can get caught up with the every day mundane things in life and get in a comfort zone even way over here in Romania! The really interesting thing is, God is really trying to get my attention in this area because during the first week of the Bible study I was at a missionary conference in Germany and the challenge was on God's grace in our lives and how that because of His grace in my life I should reach out with grace to others...I think God is trying to tell me something!! I am learning that I have to be intentional about sharing God's grace with people. I am challenged in the area of seeing and reaching out to the hurting (I am surrounded and can become calloused to seeing this). It started this past weekend when our daughter broke her arm, instead of panicking like I would normally do, I begin to ask God to help me, to find ways to reach out to others. One way was simply hugging another mom who was crying with her little girl in pain, seems small right? Problem is, I am not a hugger :-)!! It was the middle of the night, there was another sick child and mom sleeping in the room, I really couldn't have a conversation with this mom, but a hug, that is quiet and simple and shows you care. I want to be wholly committed, which for me means, looking around me, being aware of God's grace in my life every moment of every day which makes me out of great love for Him want to reach out to others. His mercies are new for me each day, minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, every circumstance, every trial, always!! Because of his mercies to me I can share love with others. It isn't natural for me, I could live in my own little bubble happily taking care of my kids, teaching them ,crocheting, but that is not all God has called me to. He wants me to say yes to Him, be wholly committed which means getting out of that bubble and being aware of what is going on around me not simply running my errands, but running my errands with the intention of seeing who God has for me to minister to. Maybe it's just a smile, maybe it's a word of encouragement, maybe it's money for a train ticket, maybe it's buying someone food, whatever it is if I am just out with the intention of getting my stuff done then I look at the other things as interruptions not a way for me to minister for God. I want to be so near to God that I can't help but see a hurt and ask God if I can help in some way. I want to have His heart, my heart is so dark and empty and cold without Him, but He fills me with light, joy, peace. Because of His light in me I can do these things, I can say yes, I can be wholly committed!

P31 OBS Blog Hop

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

#SayWhat

This post is for my online Bible study I am doing over at Proverbs 31. I wanted to tell about several say what moments in my life some more recent then others! My first say what moment was when God asked me and my family to move across the ocean to Romania. The very first time I heard these words I kind of ignored them. They came from my then fiancee and I thought, well maybe we'll go someday but first I'm going to live the American Dream then I'll think about saying yes. Two years later we had been married for a year and my husband had been praying and asking God to help me say yes to the call. In 1997 he took me on a short trip to see Romania and within a few days of being there I had to say yes to the call of God on our lives. I knew living the American Dream could never compare to saying yes to all the exciting things God had for us in Romania. We have been here 12 years now. We came with 2 toddler boys and now we have 6 kids! It has been a learning experience more than anything and has opened my eyes to what it means to say yes to God.

My next say what moment was when God called us to adopt twins. We already had 4 boys when God led us to adopt. We have permanent residency in Romania so we are an exception to the rule that foreigners can't adopt here. After you live in Romania 5 years you can acquire permanent residency and then be cleared to adopt a Romanian child. We went through the adoption course then God very quickly led us to twins, a boy and girl. They were abandoned at birth by their very poor gypsy mother, who already had 5 children and she just didn't know what to do with two babies! There are so few people to adopt over here that the social workers don't waste there time trying to get parents to sign off their children for adoption, but when the twins were 3 their birth mother died and their birth father was not listed on their birth certificate, so the social worker begin the paper work for their adoption. God very clearly led us to them even though we lived about 5 hours away. We met them just one month before their 4th birthday and immediately decided to adopt them. It was at this point, after they visited in our home that I realized how crazy this was, our youngest son was not quite 2 and here we are getting ready to wedge 2 more children into this family! It would make 6 kids ages 2 to 9! I started to panic and I spoke with a friend who told me, you already knew it was going to be crazy, it's just becoming a reality now, you know God wants you to do this so do it! We moved forward and on their 5th birthday we were granted custody of them. The year long wait is another crazy story for another time but God worked and we were able to finally bring them home. We have had some pretty chaotic moments through it all but we thank God that we can live out the Bible by caring for the orphans. They are no longer orphans but are part of the Howerton family!

I'm so thankful that my sister introduced me to this online Bible study. I will definitely be doing more of them in the future.
P31 OBS Blog Hop

English Camp

We had an awesome week in July with a group from North Hills Community Church in Greenville, S.C. Ten of them came and we held an English camp at School number 6 for first to eighth graders. We had about 115 kids come. The day before they left to come to Romania we called them with the news that the number of kids had jumped from 60 to over 100! They spent the last day printing and putting together more books for the camp! It was a great week and the kids really loved it and we were glad to meet more people in our community and be able to reach out in this way.





We ended the week with a fun trip to Hunedoara and there we visited an awesome castle. Our kids again really enjoyed the team, they always love it when Americans come to visit us!

Sweet Fellowship

We have had the joy for the past two years of going to a week long Biblical Ministries Worldwide conference in Germany. Last year was our first and we just kind of got our feet wet and got to know some people a little bit and were encouraged by the messages and discussion groups. This year being our second year we got to know some people a lot more, enjoyed and soaked up the fellowship and were filled up spiritually with the messages on grace. The most important thing for us is that after 12 years of being over here and feeling rather alone, we have met this whole new family of fellow missionaries on this side of the ocean! Our children had the time of their lives being with other kids who are just like them, living in a different culture and always saying good-bye to people. The people in the BMW group are/were genuinely concerned about reaching out to our children. The American team from Berean Baptist Church in Georgia spent the week pouring out their love on our kids. Our two teens met a group of teens who, just like them face living life saying good-bye all the time and living in a culture different from their own. They stayed up late, laughed with new friends, and learned about how awesome our God really is. My heart really is overwhelmed at this new found family we have over here and we are truly blessed and thankful to have spent this past week with a group of fellow Christ followers who are just living each day in God's grace, knowing we are unworthy but grateful that we are known by Christ and discussing God's works with them. God has given us such a great gift in knowing these people and using the Louks to lead us to them, for that we are truly grateful!

Crocheting

I have learned to crochet and love it! I got an idea a few months ago, so many times we have to write home to churches to raise money for various projects and I thought, what if I could earn some money for the ministry over here in Romania. I started crocheting headbands, flowers, scarves, and hats. A team from America came over and immediately bought up a bunch of my stuff and I sent the rest back to America with them for my mom to sell...problem is my mom is not a saleswoman! So, I am posting here pictures and prices once again. If you live in the Greenville, S.C. area and are interested in purchasing anything (it's for a good cause) then you can contact my mom, Sally McAttee on Facebook or she goes to North Hills Community Church or you can contact me on Facebook and I will get you in touch with my mom. The headbands are $5, the flowers are $5, the hats are $15 (I only have a few hats), and the scarves are $15.








Saturday, August 3, 2013

From a 12 year old's perspective

I know, I know you probably don't even check my blog anymore due to the lack of interesting updates but I was looking through the scrapbook I kept of our year in the states and found a writing of my at the time 12 year old about his perspective of our journey to America. It's hard to believe we were leaving on an airplane 2 years ago this month to head to America, seems like forever ago! Here is the journey through the eyes of a 12 year old:

It was August 7th, we ate breakfast in Romania for one last time. Then we rode to church. We had one last Sunday School lesson (about Abraham), and one last church service. Then we got in Dad's golden van for one last ride. I'm gonna miss my old room, and my basketball, and my basketball book, hoop, and most of all my friends and home. At the border, no one seemed to mind we weren't going to be seeing Romania for a year. Even though America is my official 'home' it seems so foreign. We drove to the airport, said goodbye to Dad, who we wouldn't be seeing for one whole month, and hopped on the plane to London.

     Then we got on the plane to America. When we landed in Chicago, Spence was sick. What a sight we must have been, 3 arguing 1st graders, 1 quiet 3rd grader, a 6th grader throwing up, 1 tired 7th grader, and one VERY FRUSTRATED MOM!! When we went to see which terminal we needed to go to, mom saw the most horrible word a mom with 6 kids could possibly see: CANCELED. We got in some LONG pointless line for hours. Finally, it was our turn. The lady eventually (after another few hours) got us a food voucher and a fancy hotel. We hopped on this cool bus and drove to the fanciest hotel ever!!! We were on floor 14 and the beds were so comfortable I was almost glad our flight was canceled.

     The next day we flew to New York, and if I had been on the other side of the plane, I would've seen the Statue of Liberty. When we got to Charlotte, Papa Mac picked us up in the biggest van in the world. We ate poptarts and saw our new 'home'!! We explored, ate rice crispie treats for the first time, and hugged Aunt Gigi, Nana, and met our new neighbors-the Garzonys. Gina quickly became friends with Elliana, the Garzony's little girl. We slept in our beds for the first time. When we woke up, we ate breakfast for the first time, played outside for the first time, and best of all, the woods were right outside our door!! I wonder what kind of stuff we'll do in the woods...or how many friends we'll make...or what adventures we'll have in America...


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Paris

 Sometime last year while in the states, I decided I was going to Paris for my 40th birthday (yes, I know the previous post says I got a rose garden for my birthday but I also got a trip to Paris) and I decided that Rebekah would come with me.



First stop, was of course the Eiffel Tower!


We arrived Monday (the day before my birthday) and stayed until Friday! We walked, and ate, and talked, we also did a little shopping. Found some yarn stores and bought some French yarn...funny thing, half the yarn in the store was made in Romania...I wanted something made in France though!!  We had a wonderful time. I really liked Paris and would go again some time.

Fierce, Fabulous, and Forty...so they say!

I will admit, I was facing 40 with a bit of fear and trepidation! After Christmas I started thinking about the fact that I was turning 40...it sounds so old and ancient. I started thinking about it a lot. I tried to tell myself with age comes wisdom. I tried to tell myself I was just one step closer to heaven. I still did not look forward to turning 40. Ever since we moved to Romania almost 12 years ago, I had this little area of our yard picked out for a rose garden. I never had a fence to block it off so I didn't do any work in it because the kids and dogs just mess things up. There were two rose bushes planted in the shade when we moved here. I knew one was a climbing bush. Last fall we finally gave it something to climb up and look at it this spring...




Then, Baron started realizing he needed to get my mind off of turning 40. He got me a picket fence for my garden, with a gate (I'd always wanted one of those), then when the spring weather finally turned warm we were able to paint it white. He had me a pergola made and fixed me a little brick patio to go under it. He bought mulch and I started planting rose bushes. If it took me turning 40 to finally get my rose garden then I'd say turning 40 wasn't so bad. I water my flowers morning and evening. I can sit and enjoy hearing the kids play (and fight) as they play badminton or basketball or jump on the trampoline.

I think of all the young lives that have been lost and think of how grateful I am to have lived for 40 years. To see my children play and fight and grow. To grow closer to my Savior, my Redeemer, my Friend and think of how very blessed I am to be called a child of God. To have 17 years with a man who pampers me still and treats me with love and respect even on my bad days. God's been good to me and I cannot complain. I will say this, the older I get, the faster time seems to go. When you are the mother of babies and toddlers you feel as if that is life and there will be no life after that. Then you wake up one day longing to hold your 14 year old in your arms just one more time and remember that sweet baby smell. The older you get you realize you need to take time each day to enjoy that day, that moment because it will be gone in the blink of an eye. Today I choose a heart of thankfulness. Instead of looking at the negative things, I will like at the blessings God has showered on me and praise him. As long as I have breath I will praise the Lord and I'm so thankful I have my little garden to praise him in.