Monday, April 27, 2009

Peace like a river

Mondays with Michael

Have you ever had one of those "lightbulb" moments? You know the type, where something just clicks. After knowing something for so long, it finally makes sense. I had one of those moments a couple weeks ago with Deacon.

We were running errands in town and listening to his Veggie Tales CD. They were singing "I've got peace like a river, I've got joy like a fountain, I've got love like an ocean in my soul." I have probably known that song for 25 years, but for some reason that day everything made sense. I don't know why, it's not like I was really concentrating on the lyrics. Maybe it was Larry & Bob's moving rendition of the song. :) Whatever it was, the lightbulb finally came on.

"I've got peace like a river." Picture a river. Not the murky, brown Wabash. Not a raging rapids (although sometimes it can be like that). It's still. It's constant. It's tranquil. It's peace.

"I've got joy like a fountain." Picture a fountain. The water is bursting out. It can't be contained. It's bubbling over. That's our joy.

"I've got love like an ocean." Picture an ocean. It's vast. It's endless. It's all encompassing. That's our love.

When I came home and told Jane about my "revelation", her response was "Yeah?". She didn't say this, but I'm sure she was thinking "Are you serious? Of course that's what those lyrics mean." And I'm sure a lot of you are thinking the same thing. I guess I'm just 25 years slower than most people. Anyway, I was excited about my discovery.

Make it a great Monday!

Monday, April 20, 2009

God Weeps Too

Mondays w/ Michael

Ten years ago today, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris marched into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado and killed 12 of their classmates and 1 teacher and injured 23 others before turning the guns on themselves. I was a student at IPFW at the time. I had planned on going to Anchor Room to purchase the "Things I Prayed For" CD by Eli when I got out of school. At some point during the day, I found out about the massacre. After school, I purchased the CD as planned. I still remember driving down 469 with tears streaming down my cheeks as I listened to the song below.

God Weeps Too

This is for the man who never learned to read or write
He worked two jobs instead of going to school
I know it hurt you as a child,
But please remember all the while
That God weeps too

This is for the widow who now must sleep alone
When the memory of a kiss will have to do
Every night when she lays down
You can almost hear the sound
When God weeps too

God weeps too, God weeps too
Though we question Him for all that we go through
Still it helps me to believe and my faith it does relieve
When I think that God weeps too

For every survivor of the wickedness of man
Whether you're a black man or a Jew
Some people kill in Jesus name
But He is not the one to blame
Cause even God weeps too

God weeps too, God weeps too
Though we question Him for all that we go through
Still it helps me to believe and my faith it does relieve
When I think that God weeps too

God weeps too, God weeps too
Though we question Him for all that we go through
Still it helps me believe and my faith it does relieve
When I think that God weeps too

And I never really thought about it,
Not that much about it,
But God weeps too.
And I never really thought about it,
Not that much about it,
But God weeps too.

I remember another time listening to that same song, driving down the same road and the passenger in the car asked me "Do you really think that God weeps?" John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the Bible. Even though it's the shortest verse, it is very powerful. It simply states "Jesus wept." Why was Jesus weeping? He was weeping over his friend Lazarus who had died. A few verses later in v. 43, Jesus calls out "Lazarus, come forth" and Lazarus arose from the dead.

If Jesus wept over His friend who was dead, who He knew He would call back to life, imagine how He feels when we, His children, disobey Him. Imagine how He feels when we sin. Imagine how He feels when He sees His children, who He came and died for, killing others simply because of the color of their skin. Imagine how He feels when He sees His children being aborted, simply because they are not convenient.

Yeah, I've never really thought about, not that much about it, but I believe God weeps too.

Make it a great Monday! I'm going to try to not make Him weep.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Coming Home

I am a little late on this post, but better late than never!

A year ago on April 15th was the day that we FINALLY got to come home!!

Let me start from the beginning. . .

We were planning on coming home on that Friday, the 11th, I think-it was going to be perfect. We would get back to Ft. Wayne around 5 and we would have a 'Welcome Home' party for Deacon at Mom and Dad Reinhard's, then we would go to the Loving Shepherd Auction on Saturday. . . .

But as often times goes, that was not God's plan.

All we needed was a simple phone call saying that Florida recieved the 'ok' from Indiana that we could leave the state. Lynn and I were torn as to what to do! We had tickets to go home, and were due to return our rental car, so we had to go to the airport anyway-so we decided we would pack things up and go to the airport and hope for the phone call. We waited, and we waited. . .

and the phone call never came. After tears of being let down, we refocused and reminded ourselves that things could be MUCH worse (ie. Leslie changing her mind. . . ). So we did what anyone would do in our situation-we made the best of it and enjoyed the beach for 3 more days! We rented a new car and headed back to the Holiday Isle Yacht Club. I called Harry, and told him we could not go home yet, and of course he said, 'It ain't no problem!' So we moved across the pool to another condo. Because we were there for so long, we had plenty of time to enjoy ourselves. I know what you are thinking, 'But you had a newborn!' That is true, but Deacon slept ALL the time-really! I think we visited every mall within an hour of us and we would just walk around and enjoy being outdoors. We also walked to and toured 'The Bonnet House'. That was very interesting to see! We ate out for dinner and had seafood, Italian, Thai, (and Italian again because their lasagna was FABULOUS!), and I think Italian at another place. . .
we were getting really familar with this part of Ft.Lauderdale!

Lynn, you must know just how much your going with us meant, to all of us. That was one of the funnest and longest sleepovers I have ever experienced, (and probably will ever). We had so much fun talking, eating, laying by the pool (her in the sun, me in the shade!)-Lynn even grilled for us one night!

Not to mention, feeding and holding Deacon which allowed me to sleep! We will never forget all those memories! I was truly thankful to be going home, and yet, I would miss our time together. We got the call on Monday afternoon, so we were right on the phone with the airline, and they got us a flight for the next morning, leaving around 6 a.m. and flying to Houston, Cleveland, and finally Ft.Wayne. Deacon was able to be in 2 other states, other than Florida, before actually making it home. We took pictures on the beach Monday night and worked on getting ALL of our stuff together-actually most of it was Deacon and mine:)

Tuesday morning came, and I was feeling bittersweet. We were off on our adventure home! We had to get one of those 'Smart Carts' for all of our stuff, and even still, it was overwhelming!

It was overwhelming for Michael and I when we came into Ft.Lauderdale, and now we actually had the baby that most of this gear was for!
Deacon laying on the folding tray on the plane!

I am a very analytical person and HAVE TO figure out why things happen. . . so, Probable Reason #1 that we were delayed from leaving Florida our regular schedualed time: Deacon and I were seated and waiting for take off and the stewardess was walking down the aisle checking on all the passengers, and she stopped at Deacon and I and said, "So you adopted him?" And I replied with joy in my heart, "Yes we did!" And she replied that her daughter was pregnant and going to give the baby up for adoption. I could tell by her tone and countenance, that this not only extremely difficult for her (of course) but that perhaps, until now, did she not completly support her daughter in this very difficult decision. Who knows? God, of course! But after that, I thought, "Ok Lord, that was our purpose of leaving later than WE had planned."

Deacon in HOUSTON!

Lynn, Deacon, and I before boarding our plane in Cleveland

Lynn held Deacon most of the flight from Cleveland to Ft. Wayne. We had all formed an even more special bond and I was going to miss seeing her everyday, and (I think) she was going to miss us and especially her special time with 'little Deacon'.

We were greeted at the airport by Michael, Brad, and my mom and dad, and John and Pam. It was an exciting reunion. That was the longest time that Brad and Lynn had ever been apart and the longest time Michael and I have been apart! We went back to John and Pam's to visit and share stories of our adventure , and of course for dinner!
Finally, everybody else had left and it was just us, 'The new Michael Reinhard Family' there, and it was time to go home! This was exciting and yet scary, because now it was finally Michael and I on our own. Could we actually do this!? Well, we did and Deacon is still with us, even after a year-so I suppose we must be doing something right! Praise God for our miracle-our CHOSEN ONE!

Monday, April 13, 2009

What does God want from me?

What does God want from me? What does He want from each of us? Does He want me to sell all my goods to feed the poor? Well, if I am the young man in Matthew 19:16-22, He does. Does He want me to move my family to Haiti and become missionaries? Well, if I am Rich and Amber Pfister, He does. He calls some of us to marry, He calls others to remain single. He calls some to adopt, He calls some to preach. So what does He want from me? I think that everything God wants from us can be summarized in one word: obedience.

I Samuel 15 tells the story of the Israelites at war with the Amalekites. God told the Israelites to destroy everything. But the people saved some of the sheep and the oxen to offer as a sacrifice to God. Sacrifice is good, right? The people were doing a good thing, but it displeased the Lord because that is not what He had commanded. I Samuel 15:22 is one of my favorite phrases in the Bible "To obey is better than sacrifice." That's all God wants from us, our obedience. He may call you to sacrifice. If He does and you do anything else, it's wrong. He may call you to move to Ethiopia. If He does and you do anything else, it's wrong. I don't know what God's plans are for my life, all I know is that I only need to trust and obey.

Well, I spent all of March talking about Rich Mullins. Here is a song from another late musician who I really appreciate:

Make it a great Monday!

Friday, April 10, 2009

'See you later'. . . .

Yes, I am still in the land of the living, although I haven't felt this exhausted in probably a year! It was such an emotional weekend! I'll begin with a year ago this past Sunday-which happened to be the day that we celebrated Deacon's birthday. It was the day that we would finally get to leave the hospital with our little boy! Michael and I arrived at the hospital early so we could go over our end of the paper work, but Leslie could not sign the papers until exactly 48 hours after Deacon's birth. Lynn Fiechter was coming to stay with Deacon and I because Michael had to go back home to go to work and she was supposed to get in on Friday, but because of the weather, she missed her connecting flight, and did not get in until Saturday. Because we were in the middle of paper work when her flight got in, she decided to take a taxi to the hospital. We were so excited to see her!

After the papers were signed, I could officially go back into the nursery and dress my little one to leave the hospital.

I was feeling more and more like his mommy, because I was being treated like his mommy, rather than a stranger, by all the nurses. The time was coming for us to say our 'good-byes' to Leslie and Bruce. Nothing could have prepared me for what was about to take place. Of course I had envisioned how the transition would be-we would say good-bye to them and then leave the room and then Leslie would give Deacon to Ava (the social worker) and then Ava would bring him out to us, and we would leave the hospital. Well, it didn't quite happen like that. We went in their room and they were holding him, telling him how much they loved him and just looking at him.

This was more than I could take. Lord, why do they have to hurt so much , and yet, through them, we are being given this bundle of joy? We all got our pictures taken together and the time came to say 'good-bye'.
Broken, and with tears in his eyes, Bruce came and gave Michael and I a hug and said, 'Take care of my boy'. It came time for us to say our good-bye to Leslie, and she hugged Michael and then me and placed Deacon into my arms (I was sobbing) and told me that she did not want me to ever feel guilty about this (thank you Lord, I needed to hear that) and she reassured us that as difficult as it was, she knew they were doing the right thing. We told her again how much we loved her and that we would always be thankful for the gift that she gave us. The nurse came in with the wheelchair (apparently you can't just walk out of the hospital carrying a baby, you have to be in a wheelchair).

We took Michael to the airport that following day and I remember just being so exhausted that day, overwhelmed with emotion. (I will share more about the rest of our time spent at the Holiday Isle Yacht Club next week.)

Deacon's 1st Birthday Party!!

We decided to do a Carnival theme for Deacon's 1st birthday! We enjoyed Italian Sausages, Corn Dogs, fries, fruit and cheese kabobs, cake, ice cream, cotton candy, and pop corn! Angie put together a DVD of pictures with music. It was beautiful and meant so much to us, and of course Leslie.

Deacon and Lynn!

Deacon opening gifts

Deacon with Cousins Luke and Liam

Deacon and Cousin Kaitlee

What would a carnival be without a clown?? I looked high and low for this clown-I needed to find one that could do balloon dogs and at least juggle. Well, it was apparent that this clown was just in the beginning stages of his career as a clown, but as far as being a daddy-he's the BEST!

Michael and Deacon winding down after the party

Monday morning came all too soon and it was time for Leslie to go home. We all took her to the airport and saw her off, back to Florida. We were sad to see her go, but there was a big difference between now, and a year ago, beacause this time, it was 'see you later'. . . . .

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Easy money update

Well, friends, it might be more difficult to win that $1,000,000 than I had originally anticipated. A couple of friends pointed out some more startling statistics.

Klint pointed out that to create his 307,445, 735 Yahoo accounts, he would have to open approximately 10 accounts per second for the entire year.

Aaron pointed out that there are only about 90 hours from when the brackets are announced until the first game. That means we would need to enter 28,467,191,358,025 brackets per second during those 90 hours. He also suggested that I might want to invest in a second computer.

Thanks for the input, guys!

I'm still not convinced that we can't do it. I just need to work out a few glitches.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Are you interested in making some easy money?

Mondays w/ Michael

I assume that most of Jane's readers are female, so you may not realize it, but there is a basketball game tonight. Tonight's game will determine the 2009 NCAA basketball champion! The tournament began 3 weeks ago with 64 teams. And now only 2 remain: Michigan State and North Carolina. Every year, millions of people fill out brackets predicting who will win each game. To make a long story shorter, this year Yahoo said it would award $1 Million to someone who predicted each game correctly. Each Yahoo user is allowed to fill out 5 brackets. (I only filled out 3). Of course, I wasn't even perfect after the first day. But that got me thinking. If Yahoo decides to do this again next year, I will be ready for them. I can talk to a bunch of friends, we can each fill out 5 brackets, cover all the possibilities and walk away with $1,000,000! Then I started doing the math.

Once you get down to 4 teams, there are 8 possible outcomes. Let's assume A plays B and C plays D in the first round. In the championship, A could beat C or A could beat D or C could beat A or D could beat A or B could beat C or B could beat D or C could beat B or D could beat B. Eight possibilites once you have it narrowed down to 4 teams.

What about if there were 8 teams? I calculated this by hand too. I knew there had to be a formula, but I wasn't smart enough to come up with it on my own. (Yeah, it's a waste of time, but I enjoy math and I enjoy sports, so it was fun!) Anyway, if there are 8 teams, by my calculations, there are 128 possible outcomes.

But that's as far as I could get by myself. My dad is a former calculus teacher and he knew the formula that I would need. In the Elite 8, there are 7 games (there are 7 losers, so there has to be 7 games). In each game, there are 2 teams playing. So to calculate how many possibilities there are, you take 2 to the 7th power. 2x2x2x2x2x2x2=128. So this proves my math was correct.

Ok, but now lets look at the tournament as a whole. How many possibilites are there in a 64 team tournament? Well, using the logic above, there are 63 losers, so there are 63 games. 2 to the 63rd power is...are you ready for this....9,223,370,000,000,000,000. That's nine quintillion, two hundred twenty-three quadrillion, three hundred seventy trillion. Ok, and you are only allowed to fill out 5 brackets, so that means I only need to find 1,844,670,000,000,000,000 people to help. What's that? Oh, there aren't that many people on earth. Ok, assuming there are 6 billion people on the planet, each person would only have to fill out 1,537,228,673 brackets. But Yahoo only allows 5 per person. Simple solution: each person has to have 307,445,735 Yahoo accounts. So, if we can pull this off, we can split the million dollars with the 6 billion people on the planet and each of us would walk away with 16 one-hundredths of a cent.

So who's with me?

Make it a great Monday!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, Son!

April 3, 2008 7:15 A.M.

"Your birthday!

Your father and I are in awe of your upcoming arrival as we sit here on the beach. The beach has, for a long time now, been my place of refuge. We read Psalm 104 this morning. 'The glory of the Lord shall endure forever: the Lord shall rejoice in his works.' You are a gift from God, child. The gift we have been praying for, for years. My arms long to hold you. We pray you have a wonderful transition, out of your birth mommies womb and into this world. We will see you soon! Love, Mom"

. . . .to be continued. . . . .

We went to the hospital at about 9:30 that morning because Leslie was going to have a c-section at 10:30. Deacon was finally born at 11:09 a.m. and Bruce (Deacon's birthfather) finally came out and told us that he was born and said to Michael, "Well, he has more hair than you do!". I like telling that part! :)

We were finally able to go back into the nursery, but we were still limited to what we could do because of the situation. We decided this would be a good time to take a break, leave the hospital and call all of our family and friends and tell them the news of this 'great event'! When we came back to the hospital, Leslie and Bruce invited us back to their room and we were finally able to hold our baby! We stayed for a couple of hours, but we really wanted to give Leslie and Bruce their time, because they were giving Deacon to us for the rest of his life. Our sweet baby boy was finally here. . . . . .

April 3, 2008 10:58 P.M.

"What a day! You were finally born at 11:09 am and weighed 7 lb. 12 oz. You were 20 inches. We named you Deacon Michael. You are so cute! We took many pictures and got to hold you a little more than 2 hours. And I got to feed you and you tooted on my lap. You are so precious. I am bringing clothes for you tomarrow. I can't wait to see you again. I love you, Deacon. Love, Mom"

Do not ask me why, of the little that I wrote in my journal to Deacon that night because I was so exhausted, that he 'tooted' on my lap. I really think I was even delighting in that!

Present Day

We had a fun-filled day that started out with a play date with some of Deacon's little friends. The children had fun playing and we moms had fun chatting!

In introducing Leslie to Bluffton, we felt like it would not be a true experience without Bummies, so we had Bummies for lunch. I am sure she thought, "What is so great about this?" Perhaps you just have to be a true Blufftonite!

After dinner we went for a drive around Bluffton and then came home and sang 'Happy Birthday' to Deacon and let him open a couple gifts. Of course, he was more interested in the wrapping paper!

As I read Goodnight Moon and put his pajamas on and gave him his bottle, I sang to him as I often times do, and just thought back on the past year. I wept as my heart ached because I truly do not know where this year has gone. Again, another gentle reminder to never take any moment, milestone, memory (or even the toots on your lap!) for granted, because there will come a day where everything changes. . . . .

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Wow! What a day!

It was an emotional day, and I think this whole weekend will prove to be emotional.

I'll start first with Leslie arriving. She got in to the Ft. Wayne airport at about 3:00. It was such a special reunion! One of my biggest worries was that Leslie wouldn't feel the love and support from all of our family and friends. I wanted her to experience what we experience everyday. When she got off the plane I also noticed a woman get off the plane with a head-covering on, and I wanted to meet her and ask where she was from. As it turns out, she goes to our church in Latty and was visiting her sister in Atlanta (Leslie had a connecting flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Atlanta). She was so kind as we met and asked what, or I should say who, brought us to the airport-and I went on to give her the 2 minute wrapped up version of our story. As soon as Leslie and Michael came over (they were working on getting her luggage) this lady embraced Leslie with love and support and did everything she possibly could to make Leslie feel welcome, love, and support! I thanked God for giving us that, even before we left the airport. I later informed Leslie that that was actually the first time WE had ever met that lady! God is so GOOD!!

We came strait to our house and enjoyed a nice dinner together, and then my folks came over to visit over ice cream.

So far, we have not run out of things to talk about, and I don't think we will. There is still so much I want to know, and so much I want to share! God is so good!

Now for the reminiscing. . . .

A year ago today was the day we left for Ft. Lauderdale. Jessica (Nicks) came over that morning and brought me Chai (so thoughtful!) and we loaded 'the girls' up in her van to take them to Greg's because they would be dog sitting for us. Sarah and Amy Meyer ended up coming over as well. I did not really need help packing, it was just to help keep me relaxed-and it worked! Thanks gals! Before Dad R. picked me up, we all gathered in a circle and held hands, and Sarah had a prayer for us. Well, 3 pieces of luggage, a stroller, and a car seat later, and we were on our way! When we arrived in Ft. Lauderdale, Michael had to go pick up our rental car. I had to stay and gather our luggage (ALL of it) and pull it off the conveyor belt, but after I did that, I was stuck because I could not move with all of it, and I had no way of contacting Michael. He finally came, and by this time Ava (our caseworker) had called us because she was drawing up the papers and needed a name for OUR BABY! That's when I said it. . . . .

Deacon Michael!

There it was-we finally made a FINAL decision.

Well, when we arrived at our rental car, I began to worry about how we would all fit inside-it was a VW Rabbit. Very cute, but very small! There is truth to that name!

We got settled in at Holiday Isle Yacht Club, and then enjoyed a wonderful dinner at P.F. Changs-our last night as a couple without a child! We were filled with excitement and anticipation as we awaited what the next day would bring- when we would finally be able to meet our 'little one'!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

From God's Arms. . . .

Where was I one year ago?

My heart was ". . .pounding with anxiousness. . ."

I was running around the house like a chicken with my head cut off, packing and cleaning, and packing some more. Not only did I have to pack for myself, and for Michael-but I also had to pack for a baby. A BABY! I was clueless! Thankfully, in the days before leaving I had great friends and family come through to help keep me sane (thanks Mom R., Ang, and Sarah!)

Now, one year later, things aren't much different. I'm still running around the house like a chicken with my head cut off, and I have plenty of people helping keep me sane, BUT. . .

. . .this time, it's a little bit different. And not something that I would have believed that I would be doing if you told me a year ago, that just one year later, we would be visiting the very same airport, (on the very same day that we left to go to Florida to pick up our son) to pick up his birthmother, Leslie, that we invited to come stay with us. (Breath.)

Wow! God is so GOOD!

I will leave you with the lyrics of a beautiful and very special song to us-

From God's Arms to my Arms to Yours

Written and sang by Michael McLean, from the birthmothers perspective

With so many wrong decisions in my past,

I'm not quite sure if I can ever hope to trust my judgement anymore.

But lately I've been thinking, 'cause it's all I've had to do.

And in my heart I feel that I should give this child to you.


And maybe you can tell your baby,

when you love him so, that he's been loved before;

By someone who delivered your son From God's arms, to my arms, to yours.

If you choose to tell him, and if he wants to know,

How the one who gave him life could bear to let him go;

Just tell him there were sleepless nights;

I prayed and paced the floors And knew the only peace I'd find is if this child was yours. (Chorus)

Now I know that you don't have to do this,

But could you kiss him once for me

The first time that he ties his shoes, or falls and skins his knee?

And could you hold him twice as long when he makes his mistakes,

And tell him that he's not alone, sometimes that's all it takes.

I know how much he'll ache.

This may not be the answer for another girl like me;

But I'm not on a soapbox saying how we all should be.

I'm just trusting in my feelings and I'm trusting God above,

And I'm trusting you can give this baby Both his mothers' love.