Monday, December 31, 2007

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, AMY !!!

1975

On New Year's Eve 1975, our daughter came into the world -- a bit early. We had just moved to Columbia, Missouri, in June of that year. None of us had seen much snow in our lives -- being from Texas, you know. However, the day Amy was born there was a SNOW storm.


Amy Home From the Hospital


Amy and her big brother, Alan (who was five years old)


Amy was 18 months old the first time she spent the night away from home. She went to Texas to stay with her grandparents (my mom and dad) while Arville & I went to a meeting in Louisville. I don't think Amy cried at all, but her mom sure did !!!



Amy -- age 4 ---Columbia, Missouri

Amy saw plenty of snow during her first 4 years of life, but we have always teased her about loving snow so much -- and then spending most of her childhood on the edge of the Sahara Desert in West Africa!!!

She finally has her wish because this birthday she lives in Indiana.


Amy (age 5) in Tours, France, with her dad

(Burkina Faso, West Africa)
Amy and Her Best Friend, Laura, Bobbing for Apples in a "Bucket" !! This was Halloween and as I recall, Amy got her head stuck in the bucket. Laura thought it was so funny that she had to try it too. This became a Halloween tradition !!

Amy's 18th Birthday, Prairie Village, Kansas
From left: Alan, Layla, Amy and Arville

AMY GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL (SHAWNEE MISSION, KANSAS) IN 1994.



A FEW MONTHS LATER, WE LEFT THE STATES TO LIVE AND WORK IN ALBANIA. ALAN AND LAYLA WERE MARRIED IN JULY 1994 AND AMY STARTED TO COLLEGE -- ALL WITHIN 2 MONTHS OF HER HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION.

AMY AND CHRISTOPHER MET IN COLLEGE AND WERE MARRIED ON
AUGUST 17, 1996

HER WEDDING DAY

Amy and Christopher in San Antonio, Texas , 2006



Amy with all but one of her children.

With Elijah
With Anna


With Sophie
And "Almost" with Nathan

Here is what her dad and I got her for her birthday this year.


This necklace was made by Tracy Hanson. We met Tracy on-line through the adoption blog community. Her work is exquisite.

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We tried to think of something original to put on the blog for you, Amy, but this is all we could come up with:

These are some events and important happenings from the year you were born --- 1975!!

Hit Songs of the year:

Love Will Keep Us Together, The Captain and Tennille

Rhinestone Cowboy, Glen Campbell


"Philadelphia Freedom and "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" ... Elton John

Elton John and Cher

Before The Next Teardrop Falls, Freddy Fender

Fame, David Bowie

Thank God I'm A Country Boy, John Denver

Popular Movies



Rocky



Academy Awards


Best Picture: "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"
Best Director: Milos Forman ... "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"
Best Actor: Jack Nicholson ... "One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest"
Best Actress: Louise Fletcher ... "One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest"
FAVORITE TV SHOWS:

Six Million Dollar Man & Bionic Woman


Rhoda & Laverne & Shirley


SPORTS:
Super Bowl IX: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Minnesota Vikings Score: 16-6

World Series: Cincinnati Reds vs. Boston Red Sox Series: 4-3

Nobel Peace Prize Winner:

SAKHAROV, ANDREI DMITRIEVICH, USSR: Soviet nuclear physicist. Campaigner for human rights. Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov (Russian: Андре́й Дми́триевич Са́харов, May 21 1921December 14 1989). Sakharov was an advocate of civil liberties and reforms in the Soviet Union.

Most Popular Books:

"Ragtime" ... E. L. Doctorow. Random House
"The Moneychangers" ... Arthur Hailey. Doubleday
"Curtain" ... Agatha Christie. Dodd, Mead
"Looking for Mister Goodbar" ... Judith Rossner. Simon & Schuster
"The Choirboys" ... Joseph Wambaugh. Delacorte
"The Eagle Has Landed" ... Jack Higgins. Holt, Rinehart and Winston
"The Save-Your-Life Diet" ... David Reuben. Random House
"Bring on the Empty Horses" ... David Niven. Putnam1
"Breach of Faith: The Fall of Richard Nixon" ... Theodore H. White. Atheneum/Reader's Digest
OTHER EVENTS THAT HAPPENED IN 1975:

The Altair, the first home computer is introduced. No screen, no printer, not a single luxury.
A kit computer you had to assemble parts for yourself, based on the Z-80 microprocessor.

Computerized Supermarket checkouts begin to appear.

Catalytic converters are introduced on cars.

President Gerald Ford assasination attempts: Lynette "Squaky" Fromme, a Charles Manson follower, pointed a gun at Ford, though no shots were fired. This was followed by Sara Jane Moore 17 days later who shot the president in a crowd.

Metric Conversion Act passed in the USA and was a big failure, widely ignored by people.

Patty Hearst Is Arrested By The FBIAfter a 19 month search, Patty Hearst is arrested.

Founding Of MicrosoftMicrosoft was founded in 1975
Bill Gates and Staff -- 1975

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY --- AMY RENEE EARL WAS BORN !!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMY

WE LOVE YOU, MOM & DAD

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A COURT DATE !!!


This is the most recent photo of Nathan - December 2007

Amy & Christopher got a call from their agency yesterday to tell them that the court date for Nathan's adoption is next Friday --- January 4. We all thought that it would be at least the middle of January before we even heard about a court date. What a surprise to find out that it is only a few days away. January 4th was my (Shelia) dad's birthdate, so that would be very special for Nathan to become an "official" Breedlove on that day.

We are so glad that it has come so quickly because the timing is so much better for us to travel to stay with the girls (Anna & Sophie) at the same time that we will need to be in the Kentucky for a reconciliation meeting. It couldn't have worked out any better if we had tried!

Even if they don't make it through court on the first try, the next date would only be about a week later -- so travel plans would still work out great! We will take some vacation time (which we haven't done for years) before and after the meeting to be with family. We have lots to do to get ready for the trip to the states, but at least February is the slowest time of the year here (in Macedonia).

We will keep you posted about how the court date goes next Friday; and more about actual dates of travel. Thank you all for your interest and expressions of love during this exciting time in our lives.

Shelia and Arville

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Good-Bye to a Dear Friend


DECEMBER 20, 2007

During the span of 8 years, Mejzin Dalipi and I had become very close friends; but it was not the length of time that we had known each other nor how old we were that made this extraordinary relationship possible. We became friends through a continual process of shared experiences.

One of those shared experiences was our first meeting in Gostivar on the street corner near his home. It was there that we discovered that we could communicate in the French language. Mejzin had been a French Language professor in the local high school for 30 years, and I had learned French 27 years ago and had used it to do the major part of my work in West Africa for 12 years. From that initial contact, we found a place to rent in Gostivar and met another man who is still a very significant part of our lives (Brane Gavrilovski).

Mejzin (along with Agim) was very instrumental in helping us with contacts in the refugee camps around Gostivar during the Kosovo War in 1999. He and Agim worked together to gather supplies and transport materials to the camps at a time when foreign organizations did not know people in the area to get the job done. Mejzin and Brane had worked together and known each other for many years; and all three of them made a significant contribution to the beginning of the reconciliation movement that continues today.

Volunteers (most of whom came from US churches in Texas, Missouri, Virginia and Georgia) were privileged to know Mejzin personally. He made a tremendous impact on their lives. We have heard from so many of them this week -- sending their love and prayers for his family. When Mary Beth was here last summer, she made a visit to Gostivar --- primarily to see Mejzin. Mejzin worked with us and many of these volunteers in the village school at Gjorgevic (even during VERY hot days).



VILLAGE OF GJORGEVIC

If Mejzin had been in the shape he was a few years ago, his death would not have come as such a shock. He was diabetic, smoked heavily, and had other physical problems due to these conditions. At one time, he went into a coma and was in the hospital for several weeks. When he came out of the coma, he was left with partial paralysis on his right side and with impaired speech. However, he had a spiritual awakening during this near-death experience. When he came out of the coma, he told me that he knew that he had received God's grace and that God loved him and wasn't finished with him yet. From this time on, he never smoked another cigarette, exercised his way back up to good physical condition, and was careful about his diet.

However, during the past few months -- and especially since the death of his daughter, Rena, in July -- his heart was broken. Our daughter, Amy, who met Mejzin and his family when they visited us in Macedonia, said that she felt like he really did die of a "broken heart" not just a heart attack.

The day of the burial (because there really is no such thing as a funeral service here) it was very cold and snow was on the ground. Agim and I went by to get Brane at his apartment and drove to Gostivar.


ROAD TO GOSTIVAR

We went to Mejzin's home, but did not get to see his wife, Zijarvere. The women were separated from the men. They had prepared his body for burial, and it was the men who actually put the body in the grave. There is no insulation to protect the family from the stark reality of death. The family went to pick up the body when he died (because he was out walking when he had the heart attack), the women prepared the body, and the men buried him (having dug the grave themselves).


GOSTIVAR - NEAR MEJZIN'S HOME

After Mejzin was buried, we were all standing around the grave. I noticed Lek (Mejzin's son - who is about the age of our daughter - 32), standing back by himself. I went over to put my arm around him, and he cried. Through tears he said, "I've lost my father, but you have lost a very dear friend, too." Then I cried too, and told him how true this was.


ROAD BACK TO SKOPJE

On the way back to Skopje, both Agim and Brane (almost at exactly the same moment) said, "We have lost a precious friend today." How blessed we have been to have known Mejzin Dalipi -- not just because of all he taught us about ministry -- but because of the person he was. But in Mejzin's own words to a group of volunteers a few years ago, "I might not see you again -- here in this place -- in Gostivar --- but I know that I will see you all again in heaven." Amen, Mejzin, my dear friend.