Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year's Eve

Gosh, where did the year go?

And what a year this had been!

It started pretty quietly for us, and then in May kicked into a year of some serious faith building exercises. We have seen the face of God in SO many circumstances and people, that I can't even begin to explain. We have learned more about ourselves than I think we really wanted to ;o). And we have been blessed beyond any reason by those that have prayed for us and with us, those that have brought meals, cleaned our house, shared their wisdom, listened to us cry, and answered the phone at all hours of the day and night to calm frayed nerves.

We have been reminded that we need to think out side of ourselves, and in caring for others we are blessed beyound measure.

We have strengthened bonds, and made new unbreakable ones.

We have leaned more on our savior and He, of course, has held us close to his heart.

I have been thinking alot about what I wanted to do in this new year. You know, the whole "New Years Resolution" thing. I mean there are things that I want to accomplish like, eat healthier, lose weight, watch my mouth, be kinder, love more, be a good friend, a better mom and wife, a better steward of the rewards God has given us... all those things I pray for almost daily anyway, so I am not sure why this day is any different. ;o)

Then today I read a devotional from Milan Ford was the contributor and he said:
It kinda makes you wonder......what will God say (about 2009) on tonight?
Well, while millions across the nation prepare themselves to hear the answer, I want to leave you with a quote I came across recently that summarizes what I want my 2009 to look like.
"The oppression of the poor isn't driven by the power of the oppressor, but (rather) the vulnerability of the oppressed." - Gary Haugen
As you prepare for tonight, it is my prayer that 2009 will be a year that you and I will put an end to our excuses. A year that you and I will no longer blame any oppressor, spiritual or natural, for the things we desire to accomplish in our lives next year.
2009 is indeed going to be a great year.But it may be one that involves will bringing an end to some things.
2009 is not a year for to be lazy and vulnerable. We can no longer wait on God to bring a conclusion to something He has already empowered us to do.
This year involves succeeding at obtainable goals, just as much as it involves reaching for some impossible ones. This year, you and I must become (sorry for the dirty word here)...responsible.
Tonight, be careful not to become too consumed with asking God (yet again) to begin some new things in your life, without examining the things He has also told you to bring to an end.
Although it may not be comfortable and popular, it is time.
Happy New Year!(In fact, make it more than happy. Make it productive!!)

So today my prayer is for God to show me the things He would have me change, so that I might move forward without the baggage of holding on to the old. ;o)

Hope you all have a blessed and safe night.
We are going to a church service, then to visit a friend in the hospital, and home to celebrate quietly at home with family and prayer.

Blessings and Happy New Year to you ALL!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

(RED) Wire

My friend, Aaron, and I seem to be sharing blog stuff ;o)  It's part of what I love about blog world there is so much to learn about from others.

He posted today about (RED)Wire.  Yep, (RED) of Bono fame. It's a music site that you join for $5.00 a month and half that fee goes to give medicine to people living with HIV in Africa. It's actually pretty cool, and you can sign up without a CC for the first 2 months to see what it's about.  
I think it's pretty cool.  Thanks Aaron!


Today I would just like to ask if you would add a few people to your prayer request list.

Pray for my friend Erin who's son is having some medical tests done today.
For little miss Abby and her family as she is battling leukemia.
For my friends who are dealing with closing a business, trying to complete nursing school and deal with health issues.
For my friend who's grandfather had a heart attack recently.
For my friends that are waiting to pick up their adopted children.
Those that are still transitioning new children into their homes.
For my brother... that's kinda personal for him, but God's aware. ;o)
For our friend's R, J, and Z who are amazing young men. That they continue to feel God's mighty presence in their lives.
For my S who is trying to navigate her teenage years.
For my N who is trying to navitgate life in general.
For my E who is still learning what life is with a family and for his health.

For all of my friends who read this and need that extra hand of encouragement, peace, joy, strength, and love. May you all feel Him surround you in a special way today.
Where ever 2 or more are gathered, there He is also. ;o)

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Sunday, December 28, 2008


You know what I love about God?  His timing and His word. ;o)
I also love how every week in church He speaks to me in ways that I didn't know I needed until I hear them.

Today's sermon was about "pondering".  In Luke 2:19 "but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often".  How Mary had been chosen to carry God's child.  Of all the people in the world, do you think she wondered... 'Why me?'  When she held that child in her arms and gazed into his eyes, did she wonder what her life would be like?  Did she think, 'How in the world do I raise GOD's son?'.  Did she feel alone, or fully surrounded and loved by His presence?

How often are we given things in life to ponder?  How often are we handed a task, or experience when we just think... "How in the world am I going to do this???"  Or "Why on earth would God choose me?"

When we first decided to adopt a child the second time and chose to adopt a child with HIV, we weren't sure we were hearing God right.  Several family members were SURE we weren't hearing God right.  We prayed, did a ton of research talked to dr's and other parent's who had been there done that.  And we still were scared to death. When we got to Ethiopia and found E in the state that he was in, and then spent those endless days in the hospital, there were countless times that we just sat in a daze and asked God what in the world were you thinking?? Why us, we aren't special, we aren't profound, we aren't worthy...and at some points weren't exactly sure it's what we wanted to be honest.

But again in today's sermon our pastor said that those things we ponder as His will, that are true and right, are things that He already pondered before us and chose us to fulfill. God pondered ... before us, He thinks about us, He chooses us.  

An analogy pastor used was, it's like when we first learn to ride a bike, we aren't alone.  As we wobble and teeter we are being held and steadied by the hand of a loved one... someone guiding us and keeping us upright.  That's how our God is, He holds us steady, He is always there guiding and steadying.

We still have no clue why God chose us to be the parent's of any of our kids to be honest, but more specifically N and E.  Why E is our son.  Why we were chosen to be the parents of this little gift.  Now we thank God for placing him in our lives, we thank him for expanding our horizons and views.  We thank him for showing us that there is so much more to life.  Why we are having the trial of N's behavior's and as they are easing... what we can continue to do that is right for him and his little being.

Someone asked me the other day if we were done adopting.  lol  My hubby would tell you yes... but I will always have a place in my heart for another.  Just today I saw a picture of a young man that touched my heart... I will pray.  But honestly it would take a lottery win for us to be able to adopt again...LOL  

So today I will treasure those things that God has shown me.  The lost, the scared, the unloveable, the loveable, the joyous, those in pain, those in fear, the homeless, the widows and the fatherless.  I will treasure His love and His trust and pray that I am able to return that trust and have Him guide me where He may. ;o)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Z turns 19!!

So my first born turns 19 yrs old today.  Good grief!  Where has the time gone?  

Friday, December 26, 2008


Saw this on Tara's blog.  I happened to find hers through someone else's blog...gotta love the blog world.
My son goes to a Hillsong affiliated church. I felt this was a pretty powerful representation. This is a sort of trailer for a full length documentary coming out sometime in 2009.

Best Gift

S made this for daddy and I.  I think it's the best.

Just a couple more pics...

Here are some of the boys playing... it was nice to have our friend J over for the holiday.  The boys just love him.

What a day! ;o)

The boys were so much fun!  We have been reading them the true Christmas story every night since the beginning of December, but even little E was excited for Santa.  The first thing he said when he rolled over in the morning, before even opening his eyes was, "Santa?"  He didn't quite get why Santa wasn't still at the house.  And then he went to the top of the stairs where he could see down to the tree and presents and said "WOW!"  He was so good and had so much fun opening.
Here are some pics of our day.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

First Christmas

Tomorrow will be E's first Christmas here in the U.S.

I am so excited to see his face when he sees all the presents. ;o)

He's so funny. He really just takes so much in stride. When we went to get the tree, he was sort of confused I think, that we would bring a tree into the house, but I think that you can tell from previous pictures that he totally embraced decorating it.

He's enjoyed driving around looking at the lights on the houses. Down at the boardwalk on the beach there is a 30 block light display. We took the boys down a few weeks ago to look at the lights, he loved them. N is funny, he gets confused when people turn on their house lights before it's really dark outside. He told daddy last night that the stars had to be out before people could turn their lights on. He was very indignant. ;o)

Tonight we have church with my parents. I love the Christmas Eve service, it's my favorite. Tomorrow will be a low key day. We are blessed to have family close by. We will have some family over for a good sized breakfast and present opening. Then let the kids play with toys and just relax and enjoy the day together, then over to mom's house for a light dinner. This year we are going simple. I like that idea. ;o)

We will have a house guest as well. A dear friend, a young man, was going to have to spend Christmas eve and morning alone. His home life just makes me SO mad, but since there isn't anything I can do about that other than offer our home when he needs it... we offered to have him stay with us for Christmas. So he is. ;o) I am looking forward to having him there. And I know the boys will enjoy it as well, he's really a great kid!

I wish you all a wonderful and joyous Christmas. I pray that you feel the love, peace and grace that is offered in the form of our Lord and Savior who was born on this day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Shack

So again, I succumbed to the pressure of someone reading a book, loving it and telling me I should read it. In this case several someone's recommended this book so I got it. ;o) (ok I am a sucker for a good book)

I am not really sure how to explain what reading it did to me... or for me. To be honest I wasn't really digging the book in the beginning because the story line is a parent's worst nightmare.

Then the "shack" part comes. I believe I have to read it again to really explain how it's life changing...or perhaps not life changing, but affirming. Many things I already believed, and this book solidified those belief's. There were parts where I was really put off initially, like God presenting himself as a woman...I mean I know there are those that believe He is a woman, I just don't happen to be one of those people. It is however explained in the book why He presents himself this way, it then makes sense.

There's alot that's hard to grasp, some things that make you take a look at yourself and cringe. I must have cried 5 or 6 times while reading it. There is hope, and love, and a freedom that comes from reading it. Some of the things I have been struggling with lately... the ugliness and that hurt in the world...are so well explained... and interpreted here.

It's a book of fiction... but so well written and so believable. I am still taking what I have read to God in prayer, to see what He would reveal. I really do think I have to read it again to really decide what I am truly feeling about it.

If you have read it... tell me what you think.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The real reason for the season
Sorry I can't figure out how to fix it so it's the right side up.


Had to get an early Christmas present ;o)
Yep that's my cell phone, one little piece near the hinge broke off and the whole thing fell apart.  AT&T


So we decided to change the house around a bit.  Well the stuff in the house, not the actual

We have a great room, that's not all that big and it houses the dining area as well as the TV, and up until today most of the boys toys ...every  So we decided to make some changes.  Z is no longer sleeping here at the house. With college and work and after school activities...and it's just plain quieter at his dad's house, he's staying there full time now.  It stinks, but I understand. Anywho, we decided to make his room into a sort of den area.  It's on the second floor but both kids have small group bible studies and that room has a door and it will afford them both some privacy when they have friends over.

We made the office that is down stairs, without a door, into the boys play room.  Right now it's wonderfully  

The wonderful part about moving every thing around is that it got us to purge stuff.  All those things that were collecting dust, the things I felt like we should hold on to "just in case" they are all gone. We have filled an entire  And we were able to go through so many of the boys things and get rid of broken, unused, and useless items.  

So in a few days we will accumulate more junk ;o)  But for now it's clean and orderly.  

Oh that life could be that way huh?  Last night we went to a service and we were reminded that this is a season of Joy.  Joy to the World, the Savior Reigns.... I love that.  This is a time of joy because tho there is so much in the world that is scary, and ugly and confusing, the one thing we can count on the one thing we can look forward to is that our Lord came that this isn't the end. This time earth shall pass and someday we will be in Glory.  That's an awesome thought!!!

I am making the conscious effort to find and keep my Joy.  

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Picture tag

ok, so Andrea H, picture tagged me. Thanks ;o)  
I am to go to my 6th folder, and the 6th picture and tell you about it.

This is the cross that is atop the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Addis Abba.  This picture was taken in December of 2006 when we were picking up N.  This was one of the wonderful places we got to go see while in ET.  The rest of the church is gorgeous as well.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Is it just me?

Or does the world seem to be in some kind of weird upheaval?  

I mean, I am trusting my God, and I am feeling so many of his blessings, even in those times that I just want to crawl in a hole.

I still believe my God is the Emmanuel, He is with us.  But can I just tell you that forces that are throwing things, curve balls and full on head shots, are really making me mad! 

I posted earlier about some of the issues that are facing some of my best friends.  And the attacks we are feeling are ugly.  I wish I had answers, I wish I could hug all the pain away that my friends, and family are feeling.  I wish I had the power to make it all better. To tell us all that this too shall pass.  And I guess in theory I do have that power... the power at least to say the words.  Knowing they are true.  Knowing that all the uglies eventually pass... not usually when we want them to, and sometimes things get worse before they get better... but they still pass.  The psalm says "tho I walk through the valley", there is another side.  

I was reading a book today about uncluttering life...from the inside out.  And something that caught me was contentment.  We as Christians are to be content.  Not just with stuff, but in life in general.  I want to be content... not give up, not lose hope, but content that I know my God has me in His all powerful hands.  He knows what we need, and SO many times he provides, in ways we never thought possible.  

We have been struggling with N's behaviors still... we are exhausted, we are turned upside down, we are at a loss as to how to help him.  But we know this will pass... it will get better, we will find the core of the issues and we will work with them.  God placed him with us for a purpose, and we will honor this gift, and love him through it all.
Will you help us pray for him...still? ;o)

And E's belly isn't looking wonderful, we may need to take him back to get checked.  Will you pray for his healing?

Will you pray for families touched by the economy, will you pray for those losing businesses, for those with sick children, for those facing death, for those facing complicated surgery, unknown health issues, for those that are lonely, for those children praying for a family, and for families praying for children?  God is with those that gather together to pray... let's pray together.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

no more ER

For now at least.
We went today to see his regular Dr, as planned. And they were pleased with his progress, and with lab work that was taken about 3 hours before we went to the ER last night.
His belly looks better and he's feeling a bit better, eating more and moving better although when we move him he says "Careful. Belly!"

He was very good again today while there.

Can I just tell you that we finally had a good experience with the staff at the children's hospital. The ER was swamped, I mean standing room only when we got there. We were triage'd and told to have a seat. Not big shocker, and we sat for about 1/2 hour when we checked his belly again and thought it was bigger so we went back up to the triage nurse who had us just sit in the back and they 'upped' his level of urgency. While we waited we got to talking with her and it turns out she is adopting from China, she is 3 months from a referral. That was a fun conversation.
While we sat there E's surgeon came into the trage area looking for him. Apparently this is not heard of because all the nurses said the Dr's never come out to look at but she came out, looked at him and changed our status again so that when we actually got a free bed we would bypass all the preliminary mess that you normally need to deal with and we would have the surgeon on call come to us immediately. (Our regular surgeon had already worked a 14 hour day and was on her way home..she needed it poor thing)

So we got back to our bed and the nurse who was caring for us was the very same nurse who had helped us the night E came home from ET and we were in the ER. She remembered us and just kept exclaiming about how great he looked. She kept us updated and well informed. She was so great.

It turns out he had an infection and we were able to leave. We were there more than 5 hours, but as we left there were still people in the waiting room that had gotten there before us.

Today we were supposed to see the surgeon again, but after seeing his regular dr we were told we probably didn't need to see her. Well this is the very same Dr that came looking for us in the ER waiting room. She came out to the office waiting room, looked at E said helooked better, go on home, and gave me a hug.

We could, and can still see all the wonderful ways God had His hand all over this. Thank you Lord!


So we got to spend several hours in the ER tonight with little E.  
During dinner he began to complain of stomach pain so I took him to the bathroom thinking he may have to go.  And he did, but I noticed the site around his tube was swollen.  
So we called the surgeon and they of course said come in!
So we took him in, and then spent the next 5 1/2 hours

The tube is fine.  
But they think he has an infection. Weird that it popped up so very quickly because he was fine earlier today.

They said we can admit him and put him on IV antibiotics, or you can go home and give it to him orally.

hhhmmm, tough choice.... we came home. So it's 12:45 am and I am waiting for D to come home with the meds.  ugh!

E was SO good!  He sat very still for the Dr's and once he realized that most everything they were doing wasn't going to be "ouch", he showed them his belly and let them poke.  he was also very specific about where the pain was and would re direct the Dr if he poked in a non painful place.  So cute!

He and daddy had such fun playing with the medical equipment. He out the minute we hit the car and we hope he sleeps through his medication after daddy gets home with it.

So off to sleep with me, daddy's home with medicine

Sunday, December 14, 2008


...God with us.

Today at church the sermon was about God being with us.  Always.  He was named Emmanuel, God with us.

It was talking about the times when we just don't get why life throws us curve balls, and why things just don't seem to be working the way we had planned.  But that even in the times when things just don't seem right, God is there.  Always there. 

I loved this message.

These last couple of weeks we have been struggling with N's behaviors, and E's behaviors, and daycare.  We have taken them out of daycare and are working with friends to keep them at home.  We have amazing friends.  Things worked, and fell into place that not only were we being blessed and helped, but that we were able to help our friends by giving them some extra money when they needed it.

We have several very close friends that are dealing with some very hard situations, children sick, weird lab work, businesses closing, lost jobs, school issues, health issues... and the common denominator is that we all know our God as Emmanuel.

We don't under stand it, we don't pretend to have the answers, and we don't always do so well in trusting that God's got this, and us, in His hands.   But He does.  So we pray. We are reminded in sermon's like this morning's that this Christmas we are celebrating the God, who is with us.  Who became flesh so that He could be one of us. And so that we would always have the knowledge that He loves us above ALL else.

Emmanuel.... Gos is With us... Praise your name!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


So it happened, I got sucked in.

I hadn't planned on actually reading the Twilight books. And I certainly didn't plan to get sucked in as I did.  I mean they are teen books for heaven's

But the author is amazing.  I love reading anyway, but these were great.  They are an easy read, but they thoroughly draw you into the characters.  I read the first one, and couldn't stop.  It's great to be able to read books with no gratuitous sex or language, not much violence...and when there is, it's not terribly gruesome and the vampires don't actually eat humans.  There's a bonus. There's a whole attempt to not be monsters.  

S and I went to watch the movie last night and we loved it.  It's not as good as the book of course, but not bad.  

Now I am back to the real world.  
And back to reading more practical books. ;o)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Stolen Butt

E has the tiniest behind you have ever seen on a 3 yr old kid. I mean both cheeks could fit in one of my hand's. Tiny!
Last night daddy was putting his diaper on him and stood him up for lube time.
He said to E: E! Someone stole your butt!
E: Huh?!
Daddy: Someone stole your butt, it's gone!
E smiles huge: uh! butt all gone! ;o)
N says: E! Where's your butt?
E says with hands in the air as if to say I don't know: Uh! stole it! ;o) (smiling) {I so wish you could hear the way he says things. SO cute!}

So we have found mommy's heart and lost E's derriere all in one week! Crazy times.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


So E discovered that mommy has a heartbeat. ;o)
Tonight we were sitting in the rocking chair with his head on my chest and he looks at me and says "Mommy, bump"  I listened to his and then he listened to mine.
He smiled huge... as he said "Mommy bump" ;o)
He likes mommy's heart beat.

Monday, December 8, 2008


I LOVE Willow Tree ;o)

The boys hamming it up
Look it's shiny!
Look what I did!
Someone's been eating candy
So although we said we were going to scale back we decided to get a tree and decorate a tiny bit.

We had fun. E got right into the spirit of things and loved putting ornaments all on the same branch.  We had to go back and rearrange a bit. ;o)  He had so much fun.  And N, was of course hamming it up for us all to laugh. 

E insists it's his tree and then allows the rest of us to share it with him.  And N is very proud of the special ornaments he was able to place.  And S was pleased to see all the "First Christmas" ornaments we still have from her first Christmas.

2 Years

Our referral picture.
This was the first time we saw his little face, September 18th 2006.  What was behind those eyes, what was he thinking, what had he lost?

Then December 8, 2006 we walked into the care center and saw those eyes... and BONUS his sweet beautiful dimples.  Our first meeting was a rough one, he's a smart cookie our little N, and he knew were there to change his life.  I k
now he wasn't sure how much, but he'd seen his other friends have families come and be extra nice and then they would leave forever.  He wasn't sure he wanted any parts of that.
We stayed and played with him and fed him and tried to let him know we were ok

We left that day in awe and a little fearful to be ho
nest. What if he decided that he didn't like us, what if this didn't turn out the way we had dreamed?  What could we do tomorrow to he
lp him warm up?

This was his face on the day we said good bye to the orphanage forever.  Poor little face.  He was lost, and scared, we couldn't wait to get him home.  We took that grueling, 19 hour flight home and cried most of the way. He cried and screamed most of the way, and I was sick as a dog.  All I could think was "God, you brought us to this, I know you will bring us through it."  

In the last 2 years we have seen this sweet face blossom, he's strong willed, and loving and exuberant, and stubborn, and funny.  I can't tell you how many times over the last 2 years that I have thanked God for putting him in our lives.  How many times we have marveled at the amazing spirit he has.  

This is N yesterday while we were decorating for Christmas.
There are days that I wonder if I am honoring the decision his birth family made to give him to us for safe keeping.  Am I being a good mother, am I loving him enough, or the right way.  Am I giving him all that they had hoped?

That tiny sweet little boy is growing and changing and becoming his own little person, he's a boy now, no longer a toddler.  Where does the time go?

I love you my N, I love you with all of my heart.  I hope that you will always know that you have a special and unique, and amazing place in our hearts.  That the part of you that is Ethiopia, is the part we will always treasure above all, and that we too miss what has been left behind.

Love you,

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I need Africa

The video below is so very true.  And describes for me, better than I can what visiting Ethiopia has done to and for me.
Please take a minute and watch.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Like these too...

Just a couple more....

My kids...

Here are a few more


Family pics... look what we had done ;o)

done by


This has been one of those weeks, and it's been a week that I am SO thankful for my friends.  

Being able to share joys with C while as her husband is in ET meeting their son for the first time. Hearing all of her accounts, and reading the updates reminds me of the joy we experienced while picking up our boys.  I get to be taken back to ET for a short time and remember the sights and smells and the beautiful people there.  

Being able to read the Twilight series and email E, with my comments, as she doesn't tell me what's happening  I love that we can enjoy our lives with each other, even from SO far away.  

And last night we got together with our couples group.  We get together with 2 other couples once a month.  Last night was one of those nights.  We had dinner, played a game and just basically recharged our "adult people" battery's.  We are all having some kind of issue of some sort, either with kids or money, or business, or health.  So just a night to unwind and laugh until our sides hurt was such fun!  

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What a week!

Oiy, it's been one of those weeks.

Poor little N is having one heck of a time.  He's acting out something terrible at school.  We have had calls from the director every day.  This has actually been going on for about 3 weeks, and just not getting better.  We have tried everything we know how to do to help him.  
If you could say a little prayer for us all that we are able to get to the bottom if the issues and help him control the behaviors that would be wonderful.  He has some of the same issues at home, but we are able to control the out comes better here, one on one.  
If things don't get better he may have to leave school.  
My poor sweet little man... just pray for him will ya?

And this weekend S is going on a retreat with the Youth Group.  I hate it when she's gone for some long.  I know she's grown up, and she's going to be heading for college soon... and she's spent the night out PLENTY of times.  But I am gonna miss that little brat.  I like having her around.  But I know she's going to have a good time, and we have been trying to get her more connected with this group, so maybe this weekend away will help.

Well... off to read ;o)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Funny boys

Driving home from daycare today.
N says: "MOM! We miraculously made to this street!!"
????Do you think he was critiquing my driving?

Then we were eating dinner at Golden Corral and I had an ice cream with peanuts (not doing so well on the keeping off the extra 10 lbs) and E was sitting next to me. He looks at my ice cream in confusion and says "Ice cream? Cereal???"  I told him no they were peanuts.  Again the confused look. Then "Peanuts???? Crazy!"

Later as E was eating his own ice cream he noticed that the over head fan was reflecting in his spoon.  He obviously was disturbed by this as he looked at me and then at his spoon and said "Spinning" then "Spinning. STOP!"  He just kept telling his spoon to stop spinning until i told him to put ice cream on it and it would go away.  He tried it, reluctantly because I don't think he believed me, and then said joyfully, "AH! Spinning stopped!"

They keep me laughing ;o)

Scaling Back

SO every year I think... THIS is the year... I am not going to go out and spend a bunch of money, I am not going to attend each and every event, and I am not going to eat myself 10 pounds heavier. ;o)

I feel like every where I turn I am getting the message that I need to focus on the real meaning and spirit of this time.
Necessity will also play a big part in what we can and cannot do this year as far as shopping. lol So I don't have a ton of choice.

I am also really bothered by the commercialism that has become Christmas. Not trying to get on any soap box ...well maybe I am... but I was at the mall the other day and the reindeer were dressed in island clothes. So not only are reindeer not really what Christmas is but reindeer in island gear drinking beverages with umbrellas seems a bit much to me.

There are so many things I love about this time of year, that even though most everything is becoming secular, at least there are movies and shows attempting to get people to think outside of themselves, to think of others and 'hint' at the true meaning of the season.

It's funny to hear the boys exclaim over the lights already displayed on other houses. E just sits in his seat and says "wow" and N wants to know when Daddy is going to put lights on our house. Lights seem to conflict with my thoughts of scaling back, but then so does a Christmas tree and I can't imagine not having one. ;o) I love the smell of a fresh tree, the feeling of warmth it brings the fun our family has decorating it while eating cookies and listening to Christmas music.

So I guess I need to decide what's important to me and just work on enjoying life and being thankful that we are celebrating the birth of my savior.

I am not going to worry about gifts for all my friends and we exchanged names for my family so there is only one person to buy for instead of 8. ;o)

We are giving simple, but from the heart. I am going to worry about spending time with the kids, baking, doing crafts, teaching them about Jesus' birth and life.

I pray that this doesn't become yet another season of hustle and hurry and stress.

Monday, December 1, 2008

December 1 2008 World AIDS Day

This has been a very emotional day for me, and it caught me off guard because I wasn't prepared for it.

I mean I knew it was coming, but I wasn't prepared for the feelings I would experience.  I have found myself grieving over so much loss.  Completely preventable loss.

The loss my son has endured, at the hands of this illness.  The illness that now inhabits his tiny little body.  The years of stigma that have permeated this world, and continue to invade the lives of innocent people.  People that either didn't know the consequences, or who chose to ignore them and now live each day remembering.  The years of wasted time on research because of prejudice and misinformation.

For instance did you know that HIV cannot be transmitted casually?  HIV is NOT spread through contact with saliva, urine, sweat or feces and cannot be transmitted through mosquito bites. Did you know the virus HIV is actually VERY hard to transmit.  A quote given to me today out of the book '100 Questions and Answers about HIV and AIDS' by Joel Gallant MD says, "The simple fact is that if no one shared needles and everyone wore condoms during sex, the HIV epidemic would disappear."

Tonight we attended a service at a nearby church where we were asked to speak about HIV/AIDS.  It was a small but moving service.  Don and I spoke about how HIV has affected our lives.  There was a candle lighting service.  We lit candles for those that lost the battle with AIDS or those we want to honor who are living with it now.  I couldn't help but grieve for the loss that made my son an orphan.  For the loss of those children left behind, who by no fault of their own have become the least of these in the eyes of their society.  That are also waiting for a family to call their own.

Little Tilahun, who passed away recently.  Those that passed while my little E was fighting for his own life in the hospital in ET, with no mommy or daddy to love them.

The other day I was reading an article in S's Seventeen magazine about a teenage girl that contracted HIV through unprotected sex. I chose to use that article as education for her.  To remind her that this is a serious and 100% preventable illness.  And that her body is sacred and holy in the eyes of God.  

Please take a minute to visit:

And to learn even more from someone who says it better than me go here

If we each learn something new, and share it with other's perhaps we can help eradicate the stigma that surrounds this illness. 


Saturday, November 29, 2008


Last night 20/20 aired a show about the hard parts of adoption and how it affects both the children and the families. 

I only watched part of the show because honestly I was getting pretty mad, at both 20/20 and the parents on the show.  Then I decided I wanted to watch the rest of it because I felt perhaps I shouldn't judge so harshly and see how they portray the end.

I have written a couple of times about the adoption of older children and how I feel they are the most in need of homes.  I still feel that way.  The sensationalism and fear of what "could happen" comes from shows like this one.

The beginning of the show had a set of parents that adopted 2 older girls from Russia.  The oldest ended up having some issues with grief and loss.  The part that bothered me the most was that after a week home, the older child was having a full blown grief episode and instead of sitting next to, and just being supportive and comforting, they followed her around with a camera and filmed her grief.  Ok, I am no expert on grief support, but you follow me around with a camera and film my grief outbreaks, I might have to break a camera. They started immediately labeling her with an attachment disorder, instead of just realizing that perhaps this little girl just needed someone to be there, hold her, tell her that things would be ok, and put the daggon camera down.

I will be honest with you. If you had followed us around those first few weeks with E, you would have thought we had some issues.  E had some behaviors from being in the orphanage for more than a year that were hard to deal with at first.  That didn't make him broken, or attachment impaired, he was little, and scared and had no way to communicate to us his fears and grief... and very probable anger. 

Adoption... shucks, parenting... is hard.  Our kids do things that we have no idea how to handle, we do the best we can, we love the best we can, we hold them and love them and in some cases ask others for help.

Adopting an older child can be scary, and sometimes down right hard, but that doesn't make them less deserving or less lovable.

E isn't considered and "older" child, but he certainly wasn't an infant and already had some very definite personality traits. He has his own thoughts and his own feelings, and certainly his own opinions... and he still thinks he is the boss.  ;o)

We have been home only a little more than 3 months.  And now if you were to follow us with a camera you would see a totally different kid than he was in ET.  And in another 3 months he will be even more different I am sure. He is loving, and snuggly, and just the other day started spontaneously saying to D and I , "I  uv ooo".  We aren't perfect parents, we haven't always done or acted the right way.  We make mistakes, but we love him.  We hold him, we understand that he will grieve the life he has left.  

I pray that the family in the 20/20 show will somehow be able to heal, be able to help this young lady realize her full potential, and her worth as a human and child of God.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a day!

My kids, my grandfather, aunt, brother, mom, itty bitty grandma and dad... gotta love family huh?!   We got up and just sat around watching the Macy's Day Parade, then took a pie to a friend who is stuck in the hospital for the holiday...yuck!... then over to my parents house where we got to just spend time together, the kids played and we ate way too much then went into turkey coma.
My grandfather just turned 90 this year doesn't he look AMAZING!  He is truly an inspiration. What a guy!
Hope you all had a wonderful and blessed holiday!
God Bless

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Thanksgiving is why Fall is my favorite time of the year.  

I think if you go to almost any website, or blog you will find someone talking about the things they are thankful for, and why.  When else during the year do we do this collectively?  Where we actually think about and are reminded to be thankful for the big things ... and the little ones? 
So here is my list of things I am thankful for... not necessarily in order ;o)

1. My faith in my Lord and Savior.  I would not be the person I am now without Him.  
2. My husband.  He is an amazing husband, dad, friend and son.  He is the man I will spend the rest of my life with, because I want to, not just because of vows that we took.  Neither of us are perfect on our own but together we make the perfect pair.
3. Z, my first born.  The child that will always have a special place in my heart because we grew up together.  I think he probably got the short end of the stick on that one since we had to learn together.  He's an amazing young man now and someone I am so proud to call son.
4. S, my sweet girl.  We are the only female's in the house now.  She is amazing.  Texting and all, she truly is one wonderful kid!  She is smart, strong, sometimes head strong ;o), she stands up for others, loves all people, and is not too embarassed to go shopping with mom and even hold hands and offer a hug or a kiss in public.  That, to me is a gift.  I am blessed to call her daughter.
5. N, my wild man.  The child who first showed us that God is bigger than we could have imagined.  He taught us about patience, and hope, and pain, and love, and loss.  He opened a world to us that was completely out of our realm.  He is full of life and love and wants so badly to please.  He has more energy in his little pinky than our household combined.  Our lives will forever be better because we chose to listen to God and love this sweet little boy.
6.E, the boss! ;o)  He has only been home about 3 months, but it seems like forever.  In a good way.  He has taught us to live outside of ourselves.  That life is not to be taken for granted.  That there is blessings to be found even in the midst of chaos and pain.  That we are not worthy, but SO thankful to be his parents.
7. Our parents.  Who have always loved us and supported us even when they didn't agree with us.  Who bring us food, and babysit kids when we are overwhelmed.
8. Our siblings... and siblings in law... LOVE YOU!  Those that are close and those that are too far away.  Oh and D, N wants to know when you are coming back to visit. ;o)
9. I am thankful for my friends. My friends here locally who call to check on us, who show up with food, or a shoulder to cry on and those too far away.
A who has one of the biggest hearts I know.  Thank you for being a friend and a sister in Christ, thank you for allowing me to obsess about stuff and still love me. ;o)  And J who is such an amazing friend and brother to D.
L who tells me like it is and keeps me accountable, and will someday be my inlaw if we have any say about it.  Love you.
My group, who still loves me even though I can't come fellowship any more.  
C, who is the person who's life is so wonderfully parallel to mine, and who God sent to be the person I can discuss kids with, life with, faith, adoption and even politics with.  Who will pray for me and I for her and we know that God hears us. Who understands my joys and pain. Who helped to keep me sane and grounded as we prayed about adopting E. We have not met (YET), but our friendship is forever.
E who is such a HUGE blessing to me. Who changed my life by introducing me to my son, and then became one of my very dearest friends.  She 'get's' me, she understands my dreams and desires for all lost children.  She understands the joys and worries of parenting our children. She listens when I need advice and laughs and shares her joys and concerns with me.  We can talk for an hour on the phone and it seems like only  Can't wait to be able to hug your neck some day... soon.
10. Our church, who supports us and loves us and loves our kids.  Who opened it's doors to us and became our home.  Our Emmaus family that is more of a blessing to us that we could ever even try to express.  God is SO good!
11. I am thankful for accessible medical care, medications that can be easily obtained, the roof over my head, the 2 vehicles in my driveway, the food in my fridge, the warmth in our home, our dogs, my job, coffee in the morning, the right to vote, the freedom to worship, the water to shower with ( I am sure others are happy that I can shower as well), the grocery store up the street, schools and education.

Edited to add:  I am thankful for the internet, that allows me to meet so many amazing a wonderful people.  I have said before that I know the internet can be used for so much ugliness. But it's brought amazing joy and friendships to my life.  Thank you all that read this blog, those that comment and make me smile and those that just read and shake their heads at me ;o)

May you all have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving day!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Today I was thinking about the boys.

And them being home.  Not just physically but emotionally.

N was only in the orphanage for a total of 4 months, and that was mostly taken up by court junk in ET, but had been with and loved by family prior to that.  Weird how I miss that family when I don't even know them.

But his transition started almost the minute he walked in the door.  It was almost like he walked in and said, "ok, I'm home".  He's been that way ever since.  He wasn't always easy to parent in the beginning, but he was always a love and always knew this was his home.  He still talks about his home in ET, and his family there, but I am not sure how much of it he really remembers.  He was so little and has now been here almost longer than he was there.   I am actually getting ready to prepare his 2 year post placement report.

E, however was in the orphanage for more than a year, and not all that healthy for most of the time.  Then with coming here and dealing with hospital stays, and surgeries and stressed out  He is now "home" a few short months after arriving.  He loves his home, he claims it as his... and of course he's the boss.  He has his own chair, his own bed with his own blanket he loves his brothers and sisters.  He knows who nannie is and when he sees bugs he knows which cousin loves them.  ;o)  This is a kid that been through so much pain, and yet is still a snuggle bunny.  He is the kid that puts his face in your neck and wraps his arms around you and squeezes.

N is the guy that out of the blue says "Mom? I love you!" And will run to me for kisses.

These boys who didn't have a home, didn't have a future, had lost what little security they had... and are now thriving and loving and belonging here.  At Home.

On this thanksgiving week I am thankful to be a mom.  To be a part of this journey to bring them home.  I am thankful that God provided so that we could bring them home.  That He planted the seed to make us realize that we needed them as much as they needed us.  That He chose us to grow in ways that we would never have grown without them.   Ten years ago we wouldn't have been prepared for this.  God's timing is perfect...although some days I still think we are

I am thankful that they have a home and love and security, now and forever. My heart hurts for those that don't.  Those children not celebrating (even if they don't know that Thanksgiving is) those kids that watch others leave and go to homes with new families.  Those that have no hope in their hearts.

Will you pray with me for those kids?  Maybe you can sponsor an AHOPE kid.  I can tell you it's rewarding, and I have even met some of them.  They are amazing.  But be careful, you may fall in love. ;o)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Who's the boss?

Here's the scenario:
N is doing something that E doesn't like.
E says with authority and pointing finger, "STOP!"
N keeps doing it.
E says again with more force "STOP!"
I say: "Hey!  You are not the boss here, mommy is"
E looks at me and says: "No!  E the boss."
I said: "You are the littlest you don't get to be the boss"
E says:"No. E the boss"

oiy... I think we are in for some fun. ;o)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

one more...

Just had to share a "Loving my husband" moment...
Tonight he was chosen to read a book to E, as i had read one to N while E was bathing.
The book he picked was called "If I Were Your Momma".  It incorporates a story and then a lullaby with new words to familiar lullaby tunes.  
Now if you know my husband the term 'make a joyful noise ' was written for him.  But God bless him, he sang each lullaby and did a pretty darn good job of it.
He's a good daddy.
On this week of being extra thankful... I am thankful for him!!!


ok, so this is a follow up to the 'technology' post.

I began to think about what Aaron said about remembering us having this conversation in the van on the way to the embassy.  See, we were only with Aaron and his family for a few short hours. So the fact that he remembers this conversation has me thinking that perhaps WE are the ones with the obsession over the phone and not S.

When we first got her the phone we were pretty strict on when she could use it.  It was really only because she was starting middle school and we wanted a way to be able to 'keep track' of her when she went out.  Well of course those rules lapsed a bit and she was using more and more.  We did have to keep a limit on the minutes she used to speak because it's a family plan and she was using the family minutes.  

Then came her 13th birthday and daddy wanted her to have texting. I was against it from the beginning, I knew it would end up to be an issue.  But we tried it.  I hate to say I told you so, but I told you  And now we have 14 - 17k texts a month.  

I have been reading on some other blogs about the things they do, and don't with their kids.  Like no tv, and no cell phones, and no hand held computer games. ( I TOTALLY respect these choices by the way!!)

But I think to myself that we have truly spoiled our kids  Although, perhaps it's not the kids that are spoiled but us parents (as in D and I)  that don't really do anything about it because we enjoy these comforts as well. Even though we can't really afford them at the moment.  I mean shucks I walked out of the house the other day without my cell phone and was almost panicked.  sheesh, am I mess or what?

So what do I do?  

We still have family time, we still turn off the tv every night at dinner and have dinner at least 5 out of 7 nights together as a family.  We try to sit with the kids as they watch their shows, and I try to only have Disney or Noggin on so that we can interact with them during the shows.  LOL listen to me justify. ;o) 

Not really sure where to go with this thought process... perhaps some cutting back and soul searching myself is in order. ;o)

Sunday Sunday

This has been a lazy weekend for me.  I have a nasty winter cold, and have not been feeling like doing much. Didn't even get to church this morning. ;o(  We did have an appointment yesterday afternoon to get family photo's done though so I did get out for that.  I can't WAIT to see how they turned out! ;o)  The boys were cooperative as well.

Here are some pics of E this morning as he was getting ready to go with daddy and S to help Grandma in the
 yard.  Check out the boots!  He wasn't really sure about wearing them at first, he has bity feet and is still
 gaining strength in his legs so at first they were heavy.  
It wasn't long though before he was chasing N.