Chapter 41: New Beginnings

Through wisdom a house is built,
And by understanding it is established;
By knowledge the rooms are filled
With all precious and pleasant riches.
Proverbs 24:3-4
This year is filled with new beginnings.  On January 6th, Michelle and I celebrated (might be stretching this a bit) our 9th anniversary.  On January 7th, we celebrated Loralie’s 6th Birthday and had the Grand Opening of our new coffee shop/bakery, Sweet Life.  If that doesn’t sound busy or crazy enough, we visited the hospital where Michelle will be delivering Dottie at sometime in the next 3 weeks.  Talk about a lot happening in a short amount of time!
Sweet Life is doing very well.  We have received a positive response from our local community and can’t wait to continue to make our presence known.  Of course it is not just our presence that will be made known, but God’s grace, mercy and love.  One awesome example of this from one of our barista’s:  One of our barista’s ended his shift and upon leaving the building he spoke to a woman standing outside.  Not only did he encourage her to enter, but when asked, agreed to watch her child outside.  When she came back outside, she mentioned that he should receive good Karma for his deeds.  Quick to respond, he said he didn’t believe in Karma but Jesus, for He is the way, the truth, and the life.  Then walks the opposite direction he planned on so he could share his testimony and take time to pray with her.
This is what I want us to be known for.  Not our coffee or cakes, but Christ.
After 5 days, the staff has begun to open and close on their own.  What a blessing this is, because I will be taking time off to welcome Dottie into this world and support Michelle.  I know that I will be able to leave full of peace and turn my focus to my family.  Times are changing.
The Hospital is a step above the typical public hospital here in Poland.  Once Michelle arrives, she will be shuttled to the birthing floor where there are a handful of private 1 person rooms, double and triple rooms.  Then we travel upstairs to the maternity area.  Here we pray to receive the only single room available on a first come (deliver?) first serve basis.  This room allows me to be able to spend the mandatory 3 nights with her.  Otherwise, she will be placed into a double, triple, or quintuple room.  Here I will not be allowed to spend the night and will only be allowed to visit during the 10-8 open visit window.  Not exactly how you want to spend your first three nights with your child.
There of course is the super mandatory detailed outline of what she needs to bring.  Which is practically everything but the furniture in the room.  But, can we really truly be upset?  A birth in the United States, with a healthy baby, averages $30,000.  For in Poland, this number is slightly different.  We are looking at 4000 for Michelle, 1500 for Dottie,  1600 for guaranteed (within understandable limits) access to an English speaking Doctor.  This comes to 7100….zloty.  So that means the total cost of delivery (at today’s exchange rate 4.11 to 1) is about $1,730! Praise the Lord!  If you desire to assist our family financially during this time of new life and beginnings:
1.  Go to
2.  Select First Time to create an account (recurring options) or quick give (one time)
3.  Change “my donation” to “Missions- Poland Missions”
4.  In the “Other Comments” you can say “Graves Family”
5.  Give as the Lord leads.
– OR –

Make checks (or cash) payable to: “Centerpoint Church”
In the notes say it is for: “Missions- Mission to Poland”
Send to:
Centerpoint Church
2750 Cornerstone Dr
Pagosa Springs, CO 81147

A lot of change is occurring.  We ask that you keep our family in your prayers.  Please pray for…
…peace during all the major life events, changes, transitions, movements.
…joy unspeakable, even amid difficulty and trials.
…Michelle and I not to lose our priorities in this season of our lives.
…Michelle and I as we change from “man to man coverage, to a zone defense.”  (As we grow from a family of 4 to 5)
…Sweet Life.  That we would be a blessing, positive influence, and a powerful presence in our community.  That we would be rooted in Christ in all things we do.