Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cruise Control

This week has been one of "cruise control".  We have completed many documents and are now waiting from responses from various agencies.  The home study site visit is completed and we await final production of the home study report.  There is much done but much else to do.  The reality of bringing these boys into our home is starting to become a part of life and we just wish it was sooner than it is.  But at least there is a sense that we are making some progress at this point.  We are putting together another round of fundraisers throughout June and July.  It feels like were at this long straight stretch in the road where we just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep running for the prize!  Until another day...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Running the Race

This week has been a wonderful week!  The saying is that flowers don't grow without rain and people don't grow without challenges.  What that means for us is that we grew leaps and bounds this week!  The home study site visit is in the books and we completed a myriad of forms and paperwork.  While we are somewhat exhausted and weary right now, we also have the assurance that everything is as it should be and that God is in control of our adoption, not to mention lives!  We're at that point of the race where we've covered some ground, enough to feel a little exhaustion, but still have much race left.  If you look too far ahead there is a sense of being overwhelmed.  So the thing to do is to break down the race into smaller "chunks" of tasks.  This next week we accomplish several "next things" on the task list.  Then, this time next week those things are completed and we're that much closer to getting our boys.  When I (Russell) get to feeling a little exasperated with the process, I simply go into the boys' room that Karen has so wonderfully prepared for them,(see previous post) and I get a different feeling.  Its one where I imagine the boys being in there safe, happy and part of our family and I get a sense of peace and joy...until next time...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The room is ready for the boys!

If only the rest of the adoption process was as easy, or fun :-) Fixing up the room was so much fun!
I guess the first step in the process is preparing a place in our hearts for the children we are going to adopt, which we did and then came the legal steps to follow, now it is mostly waiting on paperwork to be approved and decisions to be made that are out of our what to do while we wait? Prepare a place in our home.

It was so much fun to go through toys and find age appropriate things to fill the room. We chose to go with a transportation theme b/c all boys love cars and trucks no matter what country they live in. We set up the train table and tried to make the room as kid friendly and inviting as we could. The map on the wall has a marker where each boy is from and where we live. The Bible verse above the map is Isaiah 43:5 in Chinese. It says "Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west." We felt like that verse is appropriate for our adoption.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Its been a long process and one that has required a combination of endurance, patience and focus.  Because we are adopting 2, basically all our paperwork has been doubled.  It seems like such a cumbersome process and we often find ourselves either overwhelmed or exhausted with the process. Its tempting to just take some kind of “lesser route” at times, but we know what God has spoken to our hearts so we ask for perseverance and strength to run the race.

This week we will have our long awaited homestudy.  We ask that you pray for us as we complete the homestudy and that the process may move forward quickly.  Our complete dossier must be to China by July 15th.  This is now a tight deadline.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Today is the much anticipated end of our fast.  Its funny though, we have very much ambivalent feelings about it.  There’s no question that its been tough at times.  Accomplishment and achievement requires that of a man or woman.  The journey has been nothing short of spectacular.  Between the four of us, we have lost some 40 lbs and we feel great!   Mentally and emotionally we feel strengthened.  One of the major benefits of this fast is the restoration of will.  There is a renewed sense that we have the necessary discipline and strength necessary to move into the next phase of our lives.  Spiritually, the breakthroughs have come in the past 23-48 hours.  I (Russell) have been asking God for a “strategy” or a path in my work and career.  I feel that I have gotten that strategy and we are in full agreement as to how to proceed.  Our spirits are like spring plants that were parched from the sun but just got nourished from a refreshing shower. What was feeling wilted is now nourished and there are blooms on our vines just waiting to bring forth fruit.  So, our DANIEL FAST comes to end today with a “Daniel Friendly Meal” plus Salmon and/or a small portion of a New York Strip Steak. Nothing drastic, as we don’t want to return to the land of grease, sugar, and junk.  We will continue with water as the primary drink and establish a new eating habit.  But most of all, we will cherish the closer feeling that exists amongst our family for having done this together. 

And oh yeah, the adoption!  We are feeling the closeness of getting our boys as Home Study is scheduled one week from today. We are busy preparing for that event.  The expectation is that things will begin to pick up significantly at this point. 

We’ll keep you posted.  We’re going to continue blogging daily for a while to keep you up to date on the longer range results of our Daniel Fast.  We suspect that we have yet to realize all the impact the last 21 days have on our lives.  Until tomorrow…


  Today is Day 20.  One more day to go, but we find ourselves with mixed feelings.  The physical benefits of changed eating habits have been so profound that the idea of going back to previous ways is not a welcomed thought.  We have decided that we will not go back and that this fast has, in fact, changed our lives forever.  Emotionally, we are starting to feel the breakthrough as well.  Make no mistake about it, this has been an effort and a battle, a lot of which was fought in the area between the 2 ears.  And like any battle that you’ve won, there springs a new found sense of strength and confidence that is always the product of effort, self-control, discipline and team work.  Our family shares this journey together and we have become closer during this time.  Any time a group of people purpose together and then successfully journey together the relationships are enriched.  Finally, there is the spiritual dimension.  Things that we have prayed for are coming into perspective.  More on that tomorrow….

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Day 19

DAY 19 FAST:  Today was a strange battle, a mixed bag of sorts.  We have to speak of the spiritual implications of this fast today.  While most of our posts have spoken to the physical impact and how we felt while dramatically altering the foods we eat, today the emphasis switches to the spiritual and mental aspects of our fast.  If any of our readers are not familiar with the spiritual roots of our fast, read Daniel 10.  The crux of the story is that Daniel was trying to understand something very important.  He was trying to discern the times and gain a greater measure of insight about his life and the lives of those people he cared about.  In essence, he was facing hard times and he was trying understand the way out.  What does he do to try to calm down the “noise” in his head and heart?  He “eats no pleasant food, no meat or wine…” for 21 days.  This is what we’ve been doing.  The process of adoption had become laborious and obstructed and we were trying to understand.  Now on Day 19, our focus has turned to more of a spiritual dimension.

Day 19 simply put has been a battle.  A battle defined by will.  Our minds and bodies grow weary of the discipline and there is temptation to “call off the dogs”.  And yet, the way is not yet clear.  It feels like there is tremendous fight, beyond just the temptation of breaking the fast.  The body grows week and there is a combination of weariness, sadness and irritation.  At any given point, we can be experiencing any one of these in full intensity.  But there is something inside that says the “Glory is in the Garden”.  Translated, that means that before Jesus was raised from the dead in all the Glory of that event, He first sweat drops of blood in the garden.  Today has been the garden and it has taken every ounce of energy we could muster to maintain course.  But there is a feeling that what comes after the garden is a clear path and an entering into a new, liberating life.  We’ll talk more in days to come about that part, but for now, I’m exhausted and need to lay down!...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Day 18

DAY 18 FAST:  Today is a different day.  We can’t believe that we have been abstaining from so many things that have been a part of our diet basically all our lives.  No meat, no sugar, no bread, and no dairy products or eggs for almost 3 weeks!  And the thing is, we feel healthy and sharp and good.  Yes, we miss some of those things, but the feeling of completing this fast for 3 weeks and exercising our will power over these things have given us back a sense of control and confidence.  Today, we begin to feel as though some of the things that we have been praying about are taking a perspective and a path is opening to us.  There is a renewed sense of purpose and, for lack of a better word, life that is operating.  The air has a certain crispness, there are brilliant colors and the season of our life seems to be pregnant with possibilities and hope.  For the first time, it seems that we are truly getting closer to having our boys home from China with us.  We are doing things daily to prepare for their arrival.  There is a wonderful atmosphere of anticipation today that we simply pause and enjoy.  Until Day 19…

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Day 17

Here on Day 17 the body has adjusted to eating different and the mind does not scream as loud for the old food.  We are looking forward to not having the same regimented eating schedule, but not looking forward to eating many of the foods we used to eat. The thought of grease and heavy foods is not appealing.  Others that have done the Daniel Fast talked about how they couldn’t wait to enjoy their favorite beverage or burger.  We don’t necessarily feel that way.  It is if we have been reprogramming our brains, putting things in a healthy and unhealthy category and the thought of immediately returning to foods in the unhealthy category is not all that appealing.  Unhealthy things are those things that aren't necessarily sinful or anything, but impede the goal of being in the best physical health that we can be. 
Likewise, there is a parallel process in action and it has to do with things getting sorted out in other domains of life as healthy and unhealthy.  When we begin to contemplate what it is that we really want in life, we must also ask what we are willing to give up to get it.  These questions have ask for a re-evaluation of priorities and exactly where it is you spend your time.  Too much time reading the sports page or playing computer games or watching TV is time away from those things that are important and likely to generate the kinds of outcomes we desire in life.  Not necessarily sinful, but certainly impede our goals and things that we want out of life.  Day 17 reveals an important life truth:  not only do foods get placed in healthy and unhealthy categories, but so do our activities and ways that we spend our time.  Until Day 18…

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day 16

DAY 16 FAST:  Day 16 we continue to be steady.  What was once a disciplined effort has now become routine.  In terms of eating, we have found ourselves thinking about various foods that we used to eat and they sound good.  We've talked about everything from cookies to pizza.  But the idea of actually eating them is a bit more hazy now as we are in no hurry to return to unhealthy eating.  Physically we feel too good, strong and have gained tremendous benefit from the Daniel Fast too quickly return to our old eating habits.  Mentally, there is always a sense of self-control and gaining back some “will power” that comes from fasting. The Daniel Fast is no different.  We have felt satisfaction and strength of mind that has come from sticking with the fast this long. It is a mental strength that generalizes to other activities as well, i.e., getting paperwork finished, making that call, doing those minute things each day that are a pain, etc.  Spiritually, there is a sense of freshness and as if the fog is starting to lift and we can see clearly again.  Its amazing how much clearer and alive the Bible becomes when you are quieting your earthly vessel and soul, so that the still small voice can be heard.  Until Day 17, be blessed…

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day 15

Today we write and feel exhausted.  We’re tired of eating rice, beans and bananas!  But we do it anyway.  I’m tired of not reading a good story from the sports page, but I abstain anyway.  We’re tired of filling out paper after paper for the adoption and feeling like Karen & I are all alone in this process but we take heart again anyway.  We’re tired of wondering where the money is coming from, but we keep believing anyway.  We’re tired of this whole Daniel fast thing, but I do it anyway.  We’re just tired of disciplining ourselves.  We are where Jesus was when he was praying in the garden.  Not the glory part, but rather the gory part. We understand though, without the gory, there is no glory.  There will be an end to this exhausting process and we know it.  But for the moment, we wonder why did this.  All that said and today, we look at each other for just a moment and notice that Jeffrey looks healthy and vibrant, Russell has lost over 10 lbs and Karen glows like a bride.  Karen bought some clothes for our new boys today and we got excited all over again about having them join our family.  There is something to be said for discipline and waiting…I just can’t seem to find those words right now though.  I’m too tired to think!  Until Day 16…

Monday, May 3, 2010

Day 13

Today is Day 13 of our Daniel Fast.  We find ourselves with all types of “knee jerk” reactions to food and eating behavior. Yesterday, we were shopping at the grocery store.  It was late afternoon, low 80’s and I was feeling a little fatigued and weak. Many times under such conditions I would resort to a Dr. Pepper.  For the first time on the fast, it went thru my mind, “hey, a Dr. Pepper would be good right now”.  And while there’s not anything terribly sinful about a DP, there is also nothing nutritionally redeeming in it.  The body is not craving the sugar and caffeine, but the brain is still programmed that “this is what we do in the afternoon when we’re feeling fatigued”.  Changing unproductive behavior is a challenge and the part of the fast that we now deal with each day.  And just for the record, it can be irritating.  I have noticed that we all are a little more grumpy, particularly when it comes to decision-making time.  During these moments, and it doesn’t have to be a big decision, it just seems irritating to have to think about it and make a decision.  Sounds silly but its what we’ve experienced here on Day 13.  All of this struggle thought, enhances the spiritual dimension.  It is at these times of challenge that the awareness of the human frailty and the need for a strength that comes from beyond your own resources kicks in.  The simple dependency on God and His strength and resources is refreshing, planting an entirely different perspective on the entire process of fasting.  Until Day 14…be blessed!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Day 12

Today starts day 12 of our Daniel Fast and we begin our day refreshed and revived.  We have hit a time when we are starting to run on commitment more than anything else.  There is a deep down conviction that we are receiving something special out of the fast.  There is the realization that our bodies feel a range of things from really, really good and healthy to tired and fatigued. Mentally, there is the realization that this is good, but also old habits rise up and it seems easier to just call in a pizza.  While eating no sugar, no meat and nothing processed has been rewarding, eating rice and beans is now starting to be a little bland. Spiritually, we are strong.  We pray together as a family every night and have been enjoying reading the book of Daniel together on most nights.  There have been certain “enlightenments” along the way and life’s path seems a little clearer as a result of quieting ourselves and our appetites.   Its hard to think clearly when your body is screaming for things that it really doesn’t need to begin with.  While we look forward the fast’s end, it is clear that we will not return to our former regimen of eating.