Friday, February 27, 2009

Gotcha Day Anniversary

Three years ago today, Ethan took a somewhat terrifying taxi ride away from his orphanage home. A lot has changed since then...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

When the going gets tough, the tough get sarcastic...

Yesterday was a tough day to be a waiting-for-referral Tapper. We received a phone call from our agency asking for more clarification on our request, with the suggestion that modification to our request might yield a referral soon. Despite the allure of a conclusion to our 9+ month waiting period, neither Mike nor I felt comfortable with the suggested changes and expressed our desire to maintain our original request. It is hard to hold out hope for something that you can't see or even guess when it might be visible, but I guess that is what faith is all about. In the meantime, I've been amusing myself with funny motivational posters from Laugh with me please!

Really, we do believe that this choice is the best path for our family. As the hymn says:

While life's dark maze I tread/ And griefs around me spread/ Be Thou my guide/ Bid darkness turn to day/ Wipe sorrow's tears away/ Nor let me ever stray/ From Thee aside. --"My Faith Looks Up to Thee" by Ray Palmer

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Good Fun in the Sun (with lots of Snow, too!)

The Tapper family took advantage of a beautiful Sunday afternoon and headed outside for some winter fun. We used the snowman kit that the kids got for Christmas to create a Mr. Snowman, but one snowman is never enough! So we made a few more friends!

Things have been pretty busy for us lately. Traveling for Gramma's funeral, preparing for our future move, and watching the progress with our adoption agency has kept us in high gear.
We hope to have very exciting news to share on the adoption front within the next few weeks!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Getting Closer

Tomorrow marks eight months since our paperwork has been in Ethiopia. While the wait has been longer than originally anticipated, we are definitely making progress. Several recent referrals from our agency have bumped us up "in line." According to the listmakers on our adoptive family Yahoo Group, the Tappers are actually next for a sibling group referral and in the "Top 10" for a single referral. (If no sibling groups were available for referral, our agency has stated that is is "very probable" that we could receive a single referral and then request another slightly older unrelated child.)

All that to say that we do expect a referral phone call from our agency in the next month or so. I must admit that I go back and forth between feelings of excitement about being so close and feelings of despair at not knowing. Throw in a little stress from moving considerations, schoolwork, travel arrangements, etc. and AGAIN, I realize how much work God has to do in me. My prayer is that I will be constantly moving toward the Spirit-led life described by Paul:

Live freely, animated and motivated by God's Spirit. Then you won't feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don't you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?

It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.

This isn't the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God's kingdom.

But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.

Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Going Home

My wonderful grandmother passed away during her sleep last night. This was not unexpected; in fact, many of us family were praying that her time would come quickly. We rejoice that she is "in fellowship sweet," to borrow a line from the hymn I remember her most often requesting: "Trust and Obey."

Here's a reminder of its text:

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we'll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go--
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

I am blessed with wonderful memories of exclamations over beautiful, pink flowers, tins filled with the best cookies in the world, a choice of pie for my birthdays, Thanksgivings at the kids' table, many summer days in the pool, noisy (zzzzzzzzz) nights in the trailer, treats hidden inside stuffed bears, and wonderfully warm hugs. I am also blessed with the assurance that Gram is most happy at home with Jesus.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sharing our News

Yesterday, Mike announced our intentions for him to resign at the end of his current term as pastor at Pathway. While this news was tough for many in our congregation to hear, our Christian family has been very gracious and encouraging in their response to us. What a gift!

After sharing the news at church, Mike and I had a conversation with Ethan and Abby over lunch. Abby was in a goofy mood and responded to the news of a future move with glib excitement. Ethan was much more thoughtful. After asking several questions about details, he was quiet for a while.

Then he said, "When you move away, you still love people. You just can't hug them."

Yes, buddy, that's right.

1 Thessalonians 3:12
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Worship Practice

This afternoon, Abby asked if she could play drums with my pots. That sounded like a good idea to me, so I laid out some ground rules and let her go. A few minutes later I overheard a conversation that went something like this:
Ethan: No, no, no, that's the chorus.
Abby: Ooooh, the chorus.
Ethan: Okay, let's start with the low part.
Abby: And then we do the chorus...LOUD!
Ethan: Yeah, we'll do the low part and then the loud chorus.
So here's a snippet of the end result -- Ethan and Abby's version of "Blessed Be the Name of the Lord"...