Tag Archives: winter

The Sweetest Christmas Story —part 3

With a burst of excitement the long waited adoption of Jenny took off.

Tickets were bought. Suitcases packed and before I knew it I was flying to Moscow.

Looking back today many years later I marvel at how smoothly it all came together.

But as always

when it’s right…it’s right.

It was difficult to sleep on the long flight to Moscow.

Memories of my first adoption came to mind

but no matter how you get a child

each time is different- each experience is laced with the sacred fingerprints of God.

After exiting the uneventful flight I connected with my Russian facilitator,

grabbed my luggage and got in his car.

Today I smile remembering the scene –

a cold late afternoon in December riding along on my way to Kostroma

talking as if we’d known each other for years.

The hours passed quickly as I watched the snow falling.

Would we make it all the way to the orphanage?

“Da”, he nodded. Nothing would keep us from making it to the orphanage.

But late in the night the mounting snow caused me increasing concern.

I’ll never forget the moments when we stopped at a small, rustic restaurant

that seemed in the middle of nowhere.

It was almost  like walking into a children’s fairytale.

Deep snow abounded outside

but inside there was music and laughter and colored lights of Christmas.

A warm fire was blazing in the fireplace and we sat and ordered a simple meal.

At that moment

although halfway around the world from all things familiar

I was at home.

The peace that God gave was real and it was as if He graced me with an evening of wonder.

But all too quickly we headed out into the wintry scene and continued the drive to Kostroma.

Our conversation slowed as we both tried to see through the snow.

I marveled that he managed to follow the narrow two lane road.

In the early hours of morning we drove into Kostroma .

I found my way to a hotel room and freshened up

as I prepared to meet my soon to be adopted little girl.

Then suddenly I found myself sitting in a big room at the orphanage.

Alone. Waiting. Waiting some more.

Then  I heard a sound and turned my head as the door opened.

There stood the tiniest little girl.

I caught my breath

and looked up into the face of my facilitator.

“She’s so small.”

And she was.

Born very premature weighing 1 ½ pounds she was a survivor now at two.

I held out my arms and scooped her into them.

We often speak of love at first sight

and this was my second time when that was my experience.

A mother knows her child. There is no other explanation for it.

Suddenly my heart that had waited so very long for this little one

was overflowing with joy.

But there would be more hurdles to cross before I could bring her home.

And I will tell you about the importance of one orange.


When Faith Pushes Fear Aside


Snow blanketing the world this week

transforming everything into a beautiful winter wonderland

instantly carrying me back

to another world

another time and I remember.

Russia.  December 2002.

I had flown alone on the trip

to complete the adoption of my daughter.

It was scary and intimidating traveling alone to the other side of the world

but I was buoyed by the hope of finally seeing my precious little one.

The air was freezing and it was lightly snowing at the airport in Moscow

as I stepped into the black car driven by the Russian facilitator.

Strange it seemed to be riding alone through the dark streets of Russia

with a man that I had just met. Very strange indeed.

Faith held me while fears teased my thoughts.


The snow kept falling as we traveled along that age long night

and the silence was broken by simple words shared

about seemingly nothing

but all the nothing meant so much.

A hardworking Russian and me, an American,

on a long snowy ride through the white wintry country.

Hour after hour passed

and the quickly falling snow mounted into high drifts.

Winds whistled and howled but

we kept going.

I wondered if we could make it

as the road narrowed to two small tracks and visibility dimmed.

But my driver assured me in his broken English

that this was normal –

nothing to be concerned about.

He would get me to my destination


He said it a number of times in his matter of fact way.

He knew the roads.

he knew the weather.

he knew where we were going to.

My weary body took some small measure of comfort in his words

and somehow managed to drop off to sleep

waking suddenly

when we arrived at our destination

in the middle of the night.


Mountain size  mounds of freshly falling snow

transforming everything into a glorious white winter wonderland.

There halfway around the world I stepped out of the car

gratefully shaking the hand of the one who got me there.

Faith. Trusting the one who knows the way. Pushed my fears aside.

Thick blankets of whiteness

transforming everything into a glorious winter wonderland I’ll never forget.

Life’s journey is often filled with unknowns –

Difficult situations we have absolutely no control over.

Giant size problems that cause us to fear.

But we can always trust the One Who leads the way.

Every time.

Every day.

Every moment.

He will get us right where we need to be

at the right time.

Feeling helpless and afraid?

He knows the way you take

and He will get you there safely. Russian winter santa claus







Singing In The Storm

It was a night that I will never forget for as long as I live.

Suddenly a snowstorm swept our region

sending massive amounts of snow

more than I had seen for a long time.

At first it was exciting as my two year old daughter and I

watched from inside the cozy warmth of our home.

But the snow kept falling and falling

mounting high on the sidewalks and streets

covering us in a world of whiteness and quiet.

The winds howled around the corners of the roof

and the trees outside swayed back and forth.

“Lord, help us to keep electricity,” I prayed shuddering as the wind blew hard.

No electricity meant no heat

and without heat our house would get very cold quickly.

After putting my little one to bed

I rocked in the old rocker –

the one that I sat on as I fed my baby girl  her bottle and dreamed dreams of her growing up.

The rocker creaked and I prayed

while the clock on the piano ticked away the minutes.

Then suddenly the winds howled with sharp fierceness

causing the lights to go off leaving us in darkness.

I sprung from the chair and began to gather some belongings.

There was no way that we could safely make it through the night staying there.

Upstairs I threw a few things in a bag and awoke my sleeping daughter.

“We’re going to have an adventure,” I said calmly so as not to frighten her.

“Come on, honey,” and I wrapped her in her pink snowsuit and hat.

The temperature was already dropping inside the house.

All we had to do was make it down the street a few blocks

to where Nana and Papa lived.

I held her tightly in my arms and opened the front door.

The snow was falling thickly and the winds were blowing.

You could not see your hand in front of you that night.

My baby girl looked out and then fixed her trusting eyes on me.

Into the strange whiteness I walked carrying my treasure

and a small overnight bag.

The snow was deep forcing me to go slowly as I worked to take each step

making a way where there was no way.

Suddenly I began to sing softly a familiar chorus

one that we often sang together.

All through the day

  All through the night

Dwell in His promises

   Walk in His light.

Step by step I plowed through the deep drifts


My heart held onto His promises of love and protection.

My heart clung to His promises of hope and peace.

Finally I made it out to the main street in front of our house

where there were some tracks of a vehicle that had gone through.

I laughed and spoke adventure to my child

all the while deliberately walking as quickly as I could

to get to my parents home.

Freezing winds blew and I pulled my scarf tightly around her body.

Icy tears trickled down our cheeks

but I kept on plowing through the deep snow.

Darkness shall flee at His command

All through the day and night we’re in His hand.

Minutes seemed like hours

but the reminders of His Presence strengthened me.

Finally I saw their home in the distance

and my heart lifted with thanks.

Coldness replaced with warmth

hugs and appreciation for their wood stove.

All the whilenoellie-8 deep inside a memory of walking down a snow blanketed road

holding my daughter

and singing.

An adventure

And though its been many a year since that snowy night

I find myself encouraged remembering His faithfulness.

My daughter?

Yes, she remembers it all too.


– All Through The Day by Ernie Rettino and Debby Rettino