The miracles continue to appear- day after day.  This blog post is a chronicle of their journey, and I am blessed to have a front row seat. Terri, I pray for you to continue to be bold and brave. God has made you strong for such a season as this. Rich, may God bless you financially for your willingness to add two to your family and raise them to adult hood; may you see grandchildren that always tell of the Papa who provided for them. Erynne, may your gentle spirit know how to minister to your new sisters. For all, may our faith increase as we review the Gardner's journey of miracles: 
God continues to write a miraculous story in the lives of the Gardner family. Rich, Terri, and Erynne Gardner have been experiencing an increase in their faith over the last ten months as God brings miracle after miracle. This journey involves events and people that God orchestrates as only He can.
The Gardners have seen unprecedented events unfold before their eyes as God intricately planned this a…

Psalm 127:1

“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that build it. . .” Psalm 127:1 God has been building a new home for our growing family, and he has been doing it with one brick of blessing after another.  Brick #1:  God found a home for us in Plainfield, Illinois that will fit our family of five. He actually provided a home that is like a dream come true for us! When I think of Joseph from the Old Testament, he exemplifies that God is in the business of making dreams come true; sometimes He makes tangible dreams come true - like a house or car or vacation. But, other dreams are not so measurable. How about the dream of an orphan to have a room of her own and a family that loves her?  Every plan for this house has been provided for by God, and I marvel at His servants who have donated their time, talents, and money.  Brick #2:  God continues to provide the necessary money for this adoption. God  builds one brick at a time, and he recently provided a $10,000 anonymous gift toward…

Trouble Comes, but Miracles Occur

This is the true story of what happened this week - told in very short sentences:
Terri plans to sell her inherited estate. Closing date is December 20th.  Buyer’s lender is terrible, and is fired. New lender “Newbie” is hired.  Closing date is December 29th.  Newbie does not answer calls or emails.  Terri’s attorney gets nervous.  Closing date is now January 5th.  Newbie still does not respond.  In fact, Newbie engages in breach of contract and tries to change the title company on the sneak.  This information is discovered on January 3rd.  Terri’s attorney flies into action: she withdraws so close can occur, new paperwork gets to Terri at 4 pm, it must be overnighted, Terri signs.  Rich gets home early.  Notarized at 5:20. Off to UPS that said they were open until 7:00.

Not my will but His

“This is not the way that I would do it.” Have you ever thought this when God was bringing you through a trial? Have you ever been stunned into worshipful awe when you saw how the details came to a perfect conclusion that only God could orchestrate? 
I reflect that just 12 months ago I was dealing with the grief of losing both my aunt and uncle within six months of each other. I loved and cared for them, and I carried out their wishes. Just one year ago, I was readying their home to be rented, and clearing out the estate. I rented the home to a single-mom, and she signed a two-year lease. Done deal. God had different plans!!
As I began to pray about the provision of the $50,000 to adopt Nina and Katya, God began to provide in strange and amazing ways. Gofundme (but it takes 10% of the profit), neighborhood collections, and even the pasta dinner. What a dinner it was!!
The pasta dinner was a startling provision of more than $5,000. God accomplished this with the donations …
Waiting. Is. So. Hard.
I am realizing that sometimes there is much good in what is hard. Right now, I am working so hard, yet I find myself waiting. I wait on paperwork, fingerprints, and others’ decisions. I wait to hear from or about the girls. I wait to see how God will bring the money in. Sometimes, I wrestle while I wait. Oh, not a physical wrestling, but a mental wrestling match- usually on my knees. One match in particular, I kept telling God, “I don’t understand, and I have nothing else to say.” Over and over for four hours this was my mindset. 
But, guess what?  I have been humbled to realize that often when I am waiting, the answer is on the way or already done. I wake in the morning to find my prayer is answered in the middle of the night! I think of the phrase, “back to His dear loving arms would I flee when I remember that Jesus loves me!”  I wrestle, but my Saviour has it all in control, and I am right where he wants me- in His arms.  
My arms prepare for the silent auc…

Silent Victories

Silent victories! This sounds like an an oxymoron. These last few weeks have had some quiet, but intense times as we make preparations for Nina and Katya.
My anniversary passed last week on the beautiful fall day of September 30th. Rich was at a men's retreat and was concerned that I know he didn't forget. He sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers with an equally beautiful card. These silent flowers remind me of our love and dedication in our home. These same characteristics anchor our home as we have passed some non-financial milestones.  Our meeting with the adoption agency went so well, despite the stress of getting there- Rich got off at noon and off we went. We passed our health exams, references are answering phone questions and written questions. All of these are silent, but golden moments. Donations for the silent auction are coming in- so important. 
A wonderful surprise is the $2,000 Ukrainian stipend that will be put towards our adoption! Another Ukrainian adoption…
How can a journey be both glorious and challenging in only three-and-a-half weeks? My heart has been overwhelmed, my brain has been blown away, and at times I have been a basket case of nerves. All of it from the peaks and valleys of this incredible journey to bring our girls home! 

 The valleys:  the home study fee would be larger, the sheer amount of money that we are trying to raise, and realizing that Nina is unhappy being away from her sister at "college."  Questions flood me daily:  can I sponsor for Christmas?  How will we make it through a seven hour home study? Do people judge me? 

 These valley times have a golden thread though!  Sometimes, I find myself on my knees - a good place and position to be in. "God, I got nothing more to say than what I have already said so I will just keep repeating myself."  He hears. He loves. He comforts. I rest. 

 The peaks: here is where I feel that I coast downhill, like a child riding a bicycle for fun! "Peak" da…