Thursday, January 27, 2011

Micah James Sloan

Micah James Sloan
Born: January 26, 2011
at 12:17pm
Weight: 6 pounds
Height: 18 1/2 inches

Less than 24 hours ago, my beautiful baby boy was born in this hospital in Decatur, Texas (and this is where we still are, until we are discharged in a couple of hours): Below: Look at that sweet poochy lip, just minutes after he was born!

My four angels
Yes, he is very small, as you can see by the size of his head and hands compared to ours. He was even classified as a preemie at first, for fear that his lungs were not quite fully developed. However, he is doing very well on his own and will get to go home today!
We walked into the hospital about 7:35am yesterday. Less than 5 hours later, I was holding Micah in my arms! It is very typical for me to have my babies very quickly after the induction process is started... so much so that my epidural could hardly keep up! There were tears from Mommy - tears of pain, tears of emotion, but mostly tears of concern when the doctors were pretty sure that Micah had a cord wrapped around him. However, when he was born, the cord was not at all wrapped around him and he was a beautiful, healthy pink!
Oh, I am in love with this new little man in my life! Thank you, Jesus, for this perfect gift from God!
(To see more pictures of Micah, click here. Username: micahjames Password: 12611)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Having a baby soon!

These pictures were taken today.... I am 39 weeks and 2 days... just a few days away from my due date of January 28th. I am scheduled to be induced on Wednesday, January 26th.... just three days from today!
All of my babies have been induced, so this is perfectly normal for me. I have yet to go into labor on my own... usually I go quite a bit after my due date, and when nothing happens, we induce. This time around, we are just skipping those miserable days of being overdue, and this gal is one happy camper about that!
So please pray for me... and my little man Micah James... for health, safety, and comfort. I have had a head cold and been fighting fever the last couple of days, so I am praying that we do not have to reschedule!
As you can well understand, I will be taking "maternity leave" from this blog and from my e-mails and correspondence. I have worked really hard to catch up as much as possible, though I haven't been 100% successful. I will try to get some pictures uploaded, but I will be without internet during the month of February... not a bad thing for a "new" Mommy though. I do not want to miss these very special first moments of Micah's life, and I'm sure that you, my dear friends and readers, understand that!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Christmas for the Orphans, 2010

This Christmas we were not able to be in Ukraine, but our work in the orphanage continues strong. We have a young lady who works for us by the name of Nelya (I have mentioned her on here numerous times) who keeps the work going on a regular basis. Others in our church have picked up the vision and go with her to the orphanage to teach the children from the Bible and help with songs, activities, etc... They also help her with getting the orphans to our church whenever it is possible. Many times the kids are under quarantine or not allowed to church for one reason or another which is why her weekly/bi-weekly Bible lessons are vital to their spiritual growth.
It is amazing to me to see how the Lord faithfully provides for us to give the children special Christmas gifts. Last year, a supporting church took on the vision of providing for this need. This year, a family who came to Ukraine to adopt during the summer, the Fritz family, brought gifts, some of which we saved for the orphans' Christmas gifts. We also had another family, the Lechnowsky family, come with their four children and donate backpacks and other small gifts. We enjoyed watching them give these gifts themselves, but the books and Bibles they had ordered and hoped to give as well did not get shipped in time, so they left disappointed. However, the Lord knew, and we were able to give these books and Bibles at Christmas time!
The books I am referring to are entitled Good and Evil, which were just finished being printed in Russian this past summer. This book has been written by Michael and Debi Pearl from No Greater Joy ministries, and I have been following the progress of the Russian translation for some time now, thinking what a great evangelism tool it would be for the orphans, our teens (I tried ordering one for each teen who attended teen camp this summer but it wasn't ready in time), and our deaf (who would really benefit from the picture layout).
In case you are not familiar with Good and Evil, it is the story of the entire Bible written in comic book form. Someone sent this book to my own children several years ago, and they have spent literally hours pouring over its pictures, asking questions, and using it to tell each other Bible stories. When a book gets this much interest from your children, you can't help but take notice! So you can only imagine my excitement when I found out the Lechnowsky family had already ordered one for each of our younger orphans!
Then, for our older orphans, the Lechnowsky family donated a good quality, full Bible. I have been dreaming of and praying about giving the kids their own Bible for quite some time now. And how it pleases my heart to see how fortunate these kids are to now possess their own copy of God's Word! If they never have a loving mother or father; if they never know what it means to have a home - they are still blessed beyond compare because they hold a Bible!
So, thank you Fritz family for your gifts (which also included three brand-new Bibles) and Lechnowsky family.... and all their friends who helped make our orphans' Christmas possible! May you reap the benefits of one day seeing the results of what God's Word will do in these childrens' lives!

Friday, January 14, 2011

28 Twinkly Stars

Twenty-eight Twinkly Stars
A fairy tale about children stars and their journey into our hearts

For Christmas, I made a very special grandbaby "brag book" for my mother-in-law who has 28 grandchildren and two on the way! I thought it would be nice for her to have an updated picture of each of her grandchildren... all in one place... to show others. I mean, what grandma doesn't love to show off her grandchildren?!
I put all of the grandchildren in age order (age 14 down to 11 months), included full names and birthdates, and then wrote a poem to make it more like a "real" book, to not only be looked at, but to be read.
On Christmas Day, we sat Mom down in a rocking chair, had her grandbabies gather 'round, then let her open her book and read to her grandbabies. It was such a touching moment because every grandchild sitting there listening was a "star" character in the book!
I made this project through and thought I would share the idea on here. I am also including the poem, which may give you an idea for doing something like this for your own family one day! The possibilities for making your own photo book are endless!
(Above: Small picture of the front of the book)
Poem/story included in book:
Twenty-eight stars from Heaven above
Twenty-eight stars sent down with love

In ’96 fell the first surprise
Joanna her name, a twinkle in her eyes

For not far behind her another delivery
Floating down on a cloud fluffy and silvery

A girl by the name of Karla Rae
Bubbling and bouncing and ready to play

Another soon joined them, Miss Lydia Jean
The prettiest thing you’ve ever seen

But before more pink could be predicted
They needed a boy to feel protected

A cowboy star fell by request
Hank Mueller came straight from the West

For Heaven we’re told is indeed four-square
North, South, East, West – each direction is there

Then dancing and twirling so quickly behind
A Christmas gift of the rarest kind

A sweet girl full of merry delight
Desi Liane made her home so bright

Then two sweet boys - witty and clever
Held hands and jumped from the sky together

Steven landed just barely before
‘Cause Davey was riding a rainbow once more

With a sprinkle of fairy dust in their hair
Two maidens appeared in a swirl of air

Abi and Gaby dressed all in pink
Joined the others just quick as a wink

However, to bring the number to ten
Andrew Jonathon was a perfect win

Ten twinkly stars roamed the earth to and fro
But this was just the beginning, you know

For Josh and Nate and Sophie Grace
To make the world a better place

Brought laughter and smiles on their way down
To share with others who might wear a frown

Kenneth Dean with his talents to bring
Trailed just behind them on a little blue string

Elisabeth Grace, with glee and beauty
To shine with delight her only duty

Debbie, Jackie, and Sammy did leap
Staying close together, in an effort to keep

Their giggles and snuggles, oh so many
All within the same happy family

The next year their number soared to twenty
When two blue stars brought joys aplenty

Two cupids with bow and arrow in hand
Shooting love throughout the land

Charming Paul and Stewart Avery
Sparkled with courage and oodles of bravery

Star light, star bright,
The end of this tale is far from sight

For twenty stars made a wise little choice
To stand in a circle and call with one voice

Their call to Heaven in unison heard
By two splendid stars who heeded their word

“We need more stars with swirly glitter.
We need more stars to make things better.”

Brianna and Alyssa skipped hand in hand
With bows and bells and a happy band

With a skip in their step and joyous news
That three more stars would be coming too

Esther and Benjamin - another pair
Then Olivia’s brilliance joined them there

These three little stars came all in one year
These three little stars brought flowers and cheer

Then blue, yellow, orange, and green
The most enchanting boys you’ve ever seen

Mark and Levi, the names they were given
Stars number twenty-six and –seven

The last little star that has fallen down
A princess girl with a princess crown

Elisa Faith sits on her throne
The last little girl for all we know

For she has whispered in our ear
Of two more boys coming next year

Micah James and Caleb Philip
How we’re excited they’ve started their trip

For with these two boys, thirty we’ll be
Thirty shimmering stars so free

Free to roam the earth and play
To romp, run, and jump all day

If you gaze upward when the night is clear
You just might see three stars so dear

These three stars - the brightest of all
Who stand proud and firm and tall

Isaac, Elijah, and Jonathon too
Three boys we love who always knew

That in Heaven they wanted to stay
With Jesus forever to laugh and play

Twinkle, twinkle little star
This story’s end is truly quite far

Up above the world so high
More stars wait up in the sky

We never know when they might start
Their journey down into our heart

For now we enjoy our twenty-eight
But for more we delightfully wait.

THE END… for now

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Three Christmas Celebrations

This year Christmas held many celebrations for us. We were greeted with this beautiful tree (below), complete with gifts, when we visited one of our favorite churches, North Valley Baptist in California. This is home of the Thompsons, the very special family who visited us in Ukraine this past summer. We were spoiled beyond compare here... so much so that I could never begin to tell you all they did for us. Just suffice it to say that we were treated so much better than we deserve, to be sure. It is humbling to think back to our week and a half there and remember all they did for us. Thank you, North Valley!Our second Christmas celebration was held in Chapparral, New Mexico, with hubby's brother Joel and his family. We exchanged gifts here and enjoyed a mouth-watering Christmas dinner in the warmth of the winter desert (certainly a treat in itself to enjoy a short-sleeved Christmas celebration!)
Then, on to our third celebration... our actual Christmas Day celebration. What do you do when practically everyone in your family is just like you... missionaries who have no real home of their own in America?! Well, you do like we do and meet in a church! Four of the eight children from hubby's family were able to be together with their families... for a total of 25 people (16 of these children) sleeping in one church building! There was only one shower that only gave HOT water for one day. The rest of the days everyone took cold showers or "bucket-type" showers. Families were bunked out everywhere... on blow-up mattresses, in sleeping bags, on church pews... and spread throughout Sunday School classrooms for nearly a week. It was the most chaotic, memory-filled, FUN week ever! Thank you to Beacon Hill Baptist in Forney, Texas, for allowing us to invade like we did!
Stunningly beautiful tree, gifts, and stockings for the children... mostly provided by Beacon Hill
Hubby's brother Tommy and his family
Hubby's sister Sarah and her family
Hubby's sister Anna and her family
Our family
And Mom... for a total of 25 people under one roof!
Just looking at these pictures makes me laugh... there were Sloans literally everywhere!
16 of Mom's 28 grandchildren together for Christmas

My gift to hubby... an afghan that I special-ordered online that says David and Jolene Sloan, June 9, 2000, I Love You Most of All (title of a song sung at our wedding)

I do not think we will ever forget our Christmas 2010... certainly one of the most unique, seemingly unorganized, crazy, happy Christmas Days of all time! I am so blessed with the family the Lord gave me when I said "I do" ten and a half years ago!