Monday, August 25, 2008

Tapper Creativity

I feel compelled to show off some special handiwork produced by my husband and my kids.

First, sparkling above our dining room table, is a school of fancy fish crafted by Ethan and Abby. August evenings in Maine have been providing wonderfully refreshing cool breezes, and our windows have been opened for the enjoyment of this splendid gift. Tonight, as I sat at the table with the family after supper, I found myself captivated by these four flashy fishies gently gliding and turning in the moving air. And I was thankful for such a simple pleasure.

Second, there are the delicious delights my husband bakes. Over the past several months, Mike has spent a considerable amount of time in the kitchen. There may be many reasons for this new interest: It's a great way of ensuring quality time with the family. It provides a opportunity to follow a clear formula and to achieve a measurable sense of accomplishment (in the midst of a job and an adoption in which success or even measurable progress can be difficult to define). It is a safe and relatively cheap hobby. It promotes connection with others -- I mean, who in their right mind will turn down an offer of New England Maple-Walnut Cake with Maple Butter Cream frosting or Butterscotch Tart with Ultimate Meringue topping? And, of course, the Tapper sweet tooth must be satisfied by some means!
At any rate, last night Mike baked his classic Tollhouse Pie, but he was seeking a special touch for this particular occassion. The three observing Tappers were tickled with his final product.

So, what have you been creating lately???

Friday, August 22, 2008

Living the Abundant Life

Wow! It seems our lives have been rather full since my last post. I have much about which to write today. First, an adoption update: We have passed our two-month waiting point. At times, the days seem to pass so slowly. Sometimes, though, they go by in a rush (and one has no time to update one's blog!) The Ethiopian adoption community is currently in the midst of the national court closures. From early August through early October, no court procedings will take place. This means that families that have received referrals (been matched up with a particular child/children) or who do receive referrals in the next couple months will have their travel delayed somewhat until official court decisions are processed. There are several families working with our agency that are in this difficult circumstance, forced to "practice patience" (as I define waiting for my kids). Our agency has communicated to us that referrals will continue to be sought during the court closure. In fact, there were referrals for three families this week. This appears to be resulting in a significant accumulation of children at the transition home in Ethiopia (where referred children are kept until adoptive families can come for them). Concerns about space (a lease for a new, larger building is currently needed) and childrens' health (a number of severe health issues have been reported among the children there -- even the sad death of one baby girl ... please lift up the grieving family who had accepted her referral) are being addressed. Prayers for these needs are encouraged!

Secondly, we celebrated Ethan's fifth birthday last week! On his actual birthday, we strapped him (and the rest of us) into the van for most of the day -- making the long drive to my parents' home in Pennsylvania. Before I describe our fun time there, let me take a few moments to brag on my special five-year-old!

Ethan continues to be affectionate and fun-loving, enjoying wrestling, outdoor play, reading books, and snuggling. He has also shown increased skill in some physical activities like swimming (underwater is his preferred method) and baseball (he can give the ball a pretty good knock off the tee and also has quite an arm)! He's not overly eager to learn his letters and numbers, but he has a keen memory which has enabled him to learn several memory verses in the last year. He is a hard worker and loves to help with jobs around the house and yard. Perhaps one of his most special characteristics is his emotional sensitivity. This is revealed by perceptive questions about people and situations, insightfulness-- and perseverence -- in prayer, and thoughtful, emotionally-appropriate gestures toward individuals. What a great kid!

And speaking of great, I must also mention my husband to whom I have been married for ten years as of Friday! Mike continues to be my best friend. I greatly respect his integrity, his ability to connect with different people, his willingness to grapple with tough questions, his committment to his own physical discipline (what a strong runner he has become!), and his courage and perseverence in the face of opportunities or challenges or uncertainties. I have the incredible gift of never having to question his love for me or for our children. I love his goofy humor and his strong ethics. Oh, and did I mention how handsome he is! One of the things we did to observe our anniversary was mattress-shopping. I know, very romantic. Hey, it's that time!

I will close this long post with some pictures from our time in Pennsylvania. It included trips to the Crayola Museum and Knoebels family amusement park in addition to lots of grandparent time.

The excitement is contagious!

(I think Ethan and the crayon man's facial expressions are eerily similar, don't you?)

Princess Abby happily creates a masterpiece.
Ethan gets comfortable on "The Whip."

Abby takes the driving responsibilities very seriously.

Ethan and Pappy did some workin' and some talkin'.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

'preciation, porches, and provision

Hearing my kids call something beautiful is one of my favorite things. We might be leaving the house in a rush, getting here or there, and as we navigate the steps from the porch, Ethan will lift his face to the sun and say, "It's a beautiful day, Mom." Or we might be walking somewhere and Abby will stop in her tracks, eyes transfixed on one small growth. "Look...look...look! Look at this beautiful flower!" And when they say it, the vowels are often elongated and the consonants are crisp, and it always makes me smile. I can't help it. There is a certain joy in knowing that I am doing something to cultivate an appreciation for beauty in my children.

We had a great weekend in a lot of ways. Mike had planned a simple project of repairing the screens on our back porch. Unfortunately, when he took off some screens, the frames weren't in the best shape. More unfortunately, when he stripped back another layer, he discovered that the wood of one whole corner of the porch was almost completely rotted through. Not good for structural integrity! So his simple project was transformed into quite a big job. Fortunately, he had some good help!

On Saturday, we received wonderful news in the mail. Shaohannah's Hope has approved our request for a grant! This money will cover a large chunk of our international program fee. How grateful we are for the Body of Christ's generous support of this adoption ministry. How we praise God for His provision -- whether it comes in big chunks, in small chunks, or in tiny trickles! A few weeks ago, we opened our mail to discover a little card from a family in our church. Inside was a brief note, stating that the family had received some unexpected money and wanted to pass it along for our adoption fund. A check, made out for some obviously unrounded amount, was enclosed. We continue to trust that God will provide all that we need!
Finally, at church today, we celebrated Baby Day with two special dedications. As we celebrated our youngsters and recommitted ourselves to raising each one for God's glory, my heart was full.
Did I already use "finally"? Sorry. I have one more thing to share! I found this link on another blog recently and wanted to share it with you. It communicates well some of the reasons that we feel so privileged to participate in our the adventure of adoption! Check it out here:

Thursday, August 7, 2008


"Your love has given me great joy and encouragement..." (Philemon 1:7)