Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The joy of seeing my friends in Florida...

Last month I got to hang out with these dear friends in Florida.  Yes, that's right.  This home-lovin' Oregonian who hadn't flown in 18 years braved the journey so that I could hug and kiss on a handful of little ones who are no longer orphans, and spend some time with the families God had chosen for them.  Our family has had the incredible pleasure of being a part of our Father's work of setting the solitary into families over and over again for 11 years! 

"A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,
Is God in His holy habitation. 
God sets the solitary in families." ~ Ps. 68:5-6a

"The Lord watches over the strangers;
He relieves the fatherless and widow." ~ Ps. 146:9a

For the past couple of years, we have been specifically working alongside four families in the Tampa area.  We know the Shubins in the video above originally from here in Oregon. Now they live in Florida and God has continued to grow our friendship despite the miles between us.  They, and three other families in their church, began the adoption process and God gave us a heart to want to cheer them on in whatever ways we could.  Via emails and skype and phone calls and fundraisings, our hearts were all knit together in the process.  After all the kiddos came home, my hubby very sweetly took a week off of work, planned a week of fun activities with our three children, and sent me off to Florida so I could have some face to face time with all these folks.  I split the week, spending part one at the Shubins and part two in Ft. Lauderdale with my nephew Arthur and his family.  What a week!  What a gift! 

The adoption journey is just the beginning.  God has been pleased to graft 3 children into our family and now we get to experience the grand adventure of living the day to day together.  The same is true for these families, and I count it a precious gift to have them as friends.  

I have a number of pictures to share.  Here I am with a portion of the Shubin clan on "the other west coast."  I got to visit the true East Coast with my nephew later in the week when he kindly drove me over for the sunrise...thank you Arthur :-).  This beach had beauty all its own, and the company I enjoyed was fantastic, but I'll take the easy-on-the-feet sand of Oregon's coast lands over the itty-bitty-ouchy-on-the-feet shells of the other west coast any day.  Just sayin'.

 We hung out around the house a lot,
playing games, jumping on the trampoline, coloring, etc.
It was just good to be with these friends, whatever the activity!

Erica, bless her heart, took me to an Amish Ice Cream store.
After sampling almost everything in the store, this became my new favorite:

On Sunday I got to meet Mrs. B in the flesh!  What a treat she is!  
When I grow up, I want to be like Barbara 
because she wants more than anything to be just like Jesus. 
We were partners on the cheerleading team...
what should we take on next Barbara?  
We make a good team, don't you think? 

Meet the four adoptive Mama's...from left to right
 Rachel Walser, Melissa Maser, moi, Christy Waulk, and Erica Shubin.
I love these gals!

Right after church, Zahra (Shubin) and Abby (Walser)
grabbed handfuls of the remaining communion bread.
I found them giggling in a corner, munching away
and they let me join their little party.  
These two are SO MUCH FUN!

Speaking of fun, the party continued after church at the Shubins!

Karis (Waulk) is a hoot!
A few Sandra Boynton books later, she had warmed right up to me :-)

The last of the four to come home and the last for me to meet
was precious Caleb (Maser)...his smile melt my heart!
And those dark, handsome eyes!  
What joy to see him HOME in his family!
It was a wonderful trip and I am so grateful
for these families,
for my family who sent me to see them,
for the privilege God gives to love and be loved.
Now it is a new day.
New choices to make.
God entrusts us with time, talents and treasures...
Let's put them all to use lovingly for His glory!


  1. Yes we do, Connie :) Do you think the Lord is calling Shubinites to do this again!? Hmmm....

  2. Beautiful post. Our beaches are much better in nw fl. Soft squeaky white sand. So glad you enjoyed yourself and we're able to love on those darling little ones. What a treat!

  3. So happy you were able to go on your trip. You do such a wonderful job of encouraging others on their journeys! I'm glad you got see a few of the "fruits" of your good work. :)