Hold that thought!

January 2nd, 2014


It’s that time again–time for the mother of this family to take a break from blogging!


Mothers are such busy ladies~



But this time the break will be quite extended, and probably permanent.

Many of you are good friends, some of you have become very dear friends, and countless numbers of you have been used by God to bless our family in ways you cannot begin to imagine this side of heaven!  Some of you have told us that you are faithfully praying for us.  Some of you are faithfully giving each month to Tommy and Katie’s ongoing medical and other special needs-related expenses.  God is using each of you to meet a very real, ongoing need and we are grateful!  Because of this, we would consider it discourteous to completely disappear!

So from here on out, this blog will slow to a tiny trickle–a few occasional photos and bits of pertinent news (mostly copied and pasted from others’ emails, I hope).


All is well here in the Musser household, never fear.

This Christmastime we decided to veto all activities that would increase stress.  It worked pretty well.  The plan wasn’t fool-proof, but the result was better than other years.

We more or less successfully weathered Joe being out of state for several days before Christmas.  He was attending his first board meeting as the rookie member of the board of directors of Samaritan Ministries International.  In the future, either I or the whole family will accompany him, as encouraged and supported by the ministry, but we couldn’t pull it off this first time.

We enjoyed the best Christmas Day we have ever had as a family.  We are so grateful for every evidence of God changing us and growing us as individuals and as a team.  I remember that after Katie came home, Joseph stated that we had become more serious as a family.  We’d have to say the opposite has happened since we brought Tommy home and life grew exponentially more challenging.  We are much more relaxed and flexible than we used to be.  More motivated to seek out fun and humor.  Much more likely to see the hilarious side of a situation or stay up late and be goofy together.  Breathing room and laughter are no longer optional extras.  They’ve become necessary survival skills!

Joe and I spent a couple of days away from home to celebrate our upcoming twenty-first wedding anniversary.  This year it was all about rest.  It was lovely.  If it hadn’t been for baby Ben, we might well have slept through the entire time.  As it was, we thought little, said little, wandered through a few antique malls (our favorite annual tradition), soaked in the hot tub and basked in the flickering glow of fireplaces with our feet up.  We came home rested and refreshed and ready to take on what promises to be another very strenuous year, together, with the help of God.

Before we left, I struggled terribly over leaving the children, but they were in good hands with big brother Daniel in charge.  This is the last sight I saw before being pulled out the door, heels dragging all the way…





We welcomed 2014 in good spirits as a family.


So, why a break from writing?


After years of having an average of six or eight blog posts waiting as drafts, after finishing up that “contentment in a small house” post, I have zero posts waiting.

I’ve only shot a few pictures since Christmas and they’re all in this post.


From the beginning of this blog, I’ve trusted God to pace the writing tasks for me.

I began as possibly the most reluctant blogger ever, thinking to keep our many caring friends and family informed about Verity’s health and heart surgery.

Just when I was questioning whether I had a compelling reason to continue blogging, in October of 2010 God propelled us forward into a new chapter.  New to us, but in reality, it was just part of the work He had prepared in advance for us to do. 

At times over the past two and a half years, it has felt to me like I was giving my lifeblood in order to do my part of the Pleven work, often staying up late into the night or even all night long in order to write.  I knew I could only bear up under the weight of it as long as God was calling me to do it, and I knew He’d make it clear when He was releasing me from the responsibility.

Now it’s very clear that the part God had for me to play in the story of Pleven–the blogging and advocating–is almost at an end.

The children in Pleven who most urgently needed a voice to speak on their behalf, those precious ones who in the past would have been considered unadoptable, are either home or almost home.  Other people have now taken up the torch for the remaining children and will carry the majority of ongoing responsibilities for The Pleven Project.   My part in the Pleven story has grown very minimal as my responsibilities at home have increased.

I trusted God to pace the writing work for me, and He has done so.


After Daniel began working full time, day-to-day life here grew exceedingly challenging.  After this two weeks of breathing space to celebrate Christmas, life will only grow more intense as we add in many therapy sessions each month for Tommy.

We have increased the hours and responsibilities of our fabulous Amish household helpers.  We’re reaching out for all the help and support that’s available within our community.  We’re praying for insight into two areas that still need improvement–my one-on-one time with Verity and my time for exercise and sleep.  We are confident that God will help us with these as He has been so faithful to do in other areas.


I can describe life best like this.  After walking for forty years, I’m now wearing roller blades!  At best, I’m still wobbly and at worst, I’ve taken a few tumbles, but I’m gradually learning how to live at this speed of life–

Accepting the new rhythm into my muscle memory so I’m anticipating the next stride rather than being overtaken by it unprepared.

Mastering the art of breathing into the wind, learning when to breathe and how to breathe.

When I fall on my nose, learning to laugh and let it go rather than stressing and seeing it as the end of the world.

Many times over the past couple of months I’ve gone back to mull over a few verses in James chapter one.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Testing of our faith?  Oh yes, our faith has been and is being tested.

The trials are in our face demanding loudly that we answer some pretty hard questions. What do we truly believe when push comes to shove, we’re firmly stuck between the two, and we see no solution?

“Is God truly the one who put our family together?  Is He truly who He says He is?  Is He truly big enough to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of this family?  Will we believe Him when we can’t see Him working just like we believe Him when we can see?  Will we trust Him in the dark?”

Our God is so faithful.

As hard grows harder and then harder, we choose to believe His clear word and reject the insidious, ever-present whispers of unbelief.

No matter how great the challenges of daily life may become, God’s mercy, His grace, His faithfulness–He Himself!–is greater still.

He will always be enough.

We can count on that.





“We do what we can as finite human beings in a broken world to heal to the extent we are able, to use what we have been given to love others and glorify God, but ultimately our struggles and daily reminders of how very imperfect our world really is make us long for eternity in Heaven with Jesus Christ.  We know this is our temporary home, we are just passing through, just shadows of what we will be with Him and in this truth we place our hope and find joy unimaginable.  And that’s not just a religious line we cling to, it’s absolutely true in our lives.  Our God specializes in taking what is broken and dirty in this world and transforming it into something beautiful and we get a front seat to that miracle in [our child’s] life.”

~Ashley Christian, another mom who lives the special needs adoption life every day





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58 Responses to “Hold that thought!”

  1. Monique says:

    I am going to really miss reading your blog. Your reasons are completely understood.
    Prayers and love to your family!

  2. Elaine Williams says:

    I will miss your posts and updates about your family.  I so looked forward to reading about your son’s wedding and the grandchildren that are sure to follow.  Take care and keep us posted if only from time to time.  May The Lord bless you.

  3. Beth says:

    We will miss you!
    I pray that your children continue to flourish, that your challenges are overcome, and that you and your husband continue to find ways to connect and to rest.

  4. Yes, a mama’s life is a busy one!!  I’ve so enjoyed reading your post and praying for you and your sweet ones.  Please keep us posted time to time when you do have a few spare moments with NOTHING else to do!  :)
    Blessings to you and your family.  It has been wonderful to witness the mighty things that only God can do. 

  5. Avivah says:

    Susanna, thank you for the sharing that you’ve gifted us all with.  I found your blog when I was about four months pregnant with our tenth child, and you caused me to look at Down syndrome in an entirely different light – your perspective helped me develop a positive paradigm.  Little did I know at that time that the baby I was expecting had DS.  We were told his diagnosis after birth and my immediate reaction was one of acceptance and peace.  I am unspeakably grateful that I was able to enjoy our baby from the first minute he was with us and that has never wavered.  Thank you for all that you’ve done to help so  many.  May you be blessed with goodness and joy in every area of your life.  

  6. Gina in Spain says:

    Wow..I am really going to miss reading your blog..esp. about Verity, Katie and Tommy…: ((( But I DO understand…Bless you and your family…

  7. Amy says:

    I have never posted on your blog, but I have subscribed and read and prayed faithfully.  I just wanted to thank you for all the time you have given over the past few years.  You have touched lives and ministered to people in ways you will never know this side of heaven, I am sure.
    I found your blog around the time you discovered the baby you were carrying had Down syndrome, and the timing of it was God-sent because a few months after Verity was born, I had a friend whose brother’s first child was born with DS that was not diagnosed before birth and the mom and dad were really struggling.  I shared this site with them and I know it helped and encouraged them in their own journey.
    Your adoptions and championing for those in Plevin opened the eyes of our family, including our two children, to the plight of orphans around the world.  You have provided teaching moments for us as we shared how God loves and values every person, regardless of size, ability, or any other characteristic.  We have prayed for your children and for those in Plevin and around the world.  Thank you for opening our eyes and hearts.  
    My kids know Katie’s and Tommy’s stories and they (as well as myself) look forward to seeing how they are growing and thriving now that they have a home.  If you ever have time to post quick updates from time to time we would love to see them.  We will continue to pray and wish you and yours the very best that God has to offer.

  8. Jaelle says:

    Thank you, dear Susanna, for all the long hours you put into helping to rescue the children of the Pleven Orphanage.  It is because of your work, that we will be welcoming home our precious son in just a bit over five weeks!  Your service to the Lord has blessed our family greatly.  Please stay in touch.  It would be a great blessing to become better friends over the years as our children from “unique circumstances” blossom and grow.  Many more blessings to you all…..more sacrifices and more growth, more miracles and more opportunities to see the Lord at work among you.  He is so good to those that truly seek Him.  Love you, friend!!  

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