Sunday, August 30, 2009

Better than good birthday!!!

Today I turn the big 39. My last year before 40. I am good with it, lol Most every one today said "How old? 29?" funny.

It's actually been an excellent Birthday weekend! Started Friday with dinner with our dear friends. Yummy food, good company, red wine and white chocolate cheesecake!! yummo!

I have gotten amazing news from 2 dear friends about changes with in their families. HUGE blessings in both.

Saturday I got on the treadmill, did 3 miles and jogged the whole last mile!!! When I realized I was almost to a mile and was still jogging I just could not stop smiling. Then I got to the end and still had enough air to hoot and holler and bring the house into the room to find out what was going on. ;o) I WILL get this 10k done, praise God!

Then my mother in law came over with my birthday present. Scroll down to the last pic to see what it was. I was hooting and hollering again ;o)

Today was church, and then lunch with family. You will see right off what a dork I am ;o) I LOVE Optimus Prime! So my mom gave me an Optimus Prime Birthday party. Do you love it??!! My gifts today were a shopping spree with my brother to get running shoes! and if you are on FB you so get to feel amazing when everyone you know tells you happy birthday! ;o) Love that too....

OH! And I almost forgot. God even stopped by in the form of scripture. The scripture this morning was from Matthew 5:15 - 16 15. Neither do (men) light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand; and it shineth unto all that are in the house. 16. Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

That is my favorite scripture. God is amazing! I am blessed, truly blessed!!

My mom is amazing!
My niece with her balloon ;o)

S and my mom in law. Cute huh?
He tries so hard not to blink he looks a little freaked Love this man!
Ok do they come any cuter???!!!

Me and the big boys ;o) That's a hat sticker on my instead of party hats we had stickers and that's where mine got... not sure why.
LOVE this mug. There was a song in the 80's that had this saying in it... "Ain't nothin gonna breaka my stride. Ain't nothin gonna slow me down, oh no, I got to keep on movin" Anyone remember it? I actually woke up singing it this morning. My mom always called me when she heard this song on the radio because she always said it reminded her of me. So when she saw this mug she had to get it. See my mom is amazing!
My Transformers 'I can read' book. My mom being creative with this present.
E checkin out my Optimus Prime stickers...
And last but not least my new tat!!! LOVE IT! I actually have to go back and get more red in the bottom, I think it looks too pink. The word is Love in Amharic.

That's my day, lots of love, lots of blessings, and more to come tonight with some good preaching!

ETA: AND My favorite family called and sang the Happy Birthday Cha Cha Cha song! Made me cry!

THEN... we watched Such a Dork, but I am going to bed with a smile on my face and a heart full of blessings.

Thank you to all of you that make my life better! Today was BETTER THAN GOOD!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Just fun...

So we found out yesterday the boys are going to be in a calendar! ;o)

The agency we used for E's HS also does alot of other adoption related things, as do most agencies. ;o) But each year they do a calendar with the kids faces that they helped to bring home. They asked for pics, I sent one, and they were chosen!!!

They will be the September picture.

How fun is that?!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Faithful Friday

O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him. Psalm 34:8

No whining today promise. ;o)

It's Friday! YAY! Happy dance with me!!

We have a packed weekend again. Honestly I am going to deliberatly plan an EMPTY weekend some day and see how that goes. hhhmmm yeah like that is going to happen.

So we have guests coming to stay with us. Friends of Z and J (our friend that stayed for Christmas) are coming up from Wilhmington NC to stay for the weekend. They will be bunking with us, but hanging out with the guys. They are sisters, and one of them travelled to Botswana a couple of summers ago with Z and J. The sisters were in Uganda this past summer and I can't wait to hear about their trip!!

Tonight though we are going to a friend's house for dinner. Can't wait for a night out with my DH.

Tomorrow isn't all that busy other than cleaning house.

Sunday we have church, then mom is making me lunch for my b-day then we are going to Z's church to hear a speaker.

This week has been good in the health realm. Mom and dad brought me their treadmill and I have used all but one night, and that night I did a DVD work out. The treadmill is kicking my butt. Is that weird? I can do 4 miles with Leslie Sansone in my living room, but doing 2 miles at 4mph is killer on a treadmill.

I did lose 3.3 lbs this week though, so sticking to the treadmill it is. At this rate I should be able to complete the 10k in under 2 hours. That's my goal!!

One more week left of summer for the kids and then it's back to school. Next week will consist of School open houses and planning. D will be in PA working on my grandparents house for the week.

If you think about it pray for all those in the foster system and in adoption. There's so many avenues and ups and downs and waiting and pain and joy involved with adoption. Just general prayers for wisdom and peace for all involved.

I pray you have a blessed weekend. Enjoy it!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Random fun...

OK so I thought I would share some random fun... cause we all need a smile and these guys make me smile

Gabriel not eating
Budman looking handsome
It's blurry, but look at how high he is jumping!!! LOVE it
N decided that he wanted to put on a cooking show "like the lady on TV" Yep Rachel Ray better watch out!

Here mom try it.

Boys proudly displaying their handy work.
Do we have a pediatrician in our future?

God is in Control

I have that song by Twaila Paris stuck in my head....God is in Control... good thing you can't hear me singing it ;o)

After my "oiy" post I found more reason to just give God control ;o) It's my new morning chant... "Let go and let God because God is in control"

Working with this mission team has been almost a 3rd full time job. One that I have enjoyed actually. I have had moments of frustration but every time I am reminded that I am going back to Ethiopia those frustrations just fade away.

I was reminded yesterday of God's sovereign grace when I had assumed something about our financial obligations with YWAM. We all know what 'assuming' does to a person don't we? ugh

It ended up actually being a good thing, but I had decided to take some matters into my own hands and it turned out that I should have just left well enough alone.

Do you ever do that? Probably Don't you hate it when you find out that things were already under control and you needed to get out of the way?

Truly I am learning so much in this process.

The psalmist wrote, "It is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works." Psalm 73:28

I have trusted that God will do what needs to be done, but I haven't given my fellow man the trust they deserve to do their parts. Well, how very arrogant is that?! ouch!!!

I was speaking with my co-leader last night confessing my assumptions about the finances. Eating my humble pie.

The funny thing is that we both have control issues. lol uh oh. The good thing is that we are both able to say to the other "Let go and let God" It's a pruning and growth process for us both.

This "God is in control" attitude is also so very applicable to my home situation with the listening ears and the hormones and the ego business. ;o)

So I will just continue to sit here singing God is in Control... and let God handle the issues. Perhaps when I get back out of the way things will just fall into place...imagine that?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Revelation Song

Because it's one of my favorites and it's been a daily song of praise for me.... enjoy


Last week I posted how great things have been... settled, good, happy.

What I should have remembered is that obviously Mr Ugly reads my blog too and every time I openly declare goodness, he sends me ugly... gggrrr!!! ;o)

The boys have been truly testing. Both have seemed to have lost their listening ears and are just testing all waters. I know this too shall pass, but it's hard on all of us. Them because they spend lots of time in the corner or on their beds. And on us because our patience is worn thin which effects the whole house.

S is having 15 yr homonal issues... man do you remember those years? Or have a daughter at home going through it? tough stuff!

D is having a hard time with the job situation. He is working for someone else at the moment, but his man pride is hurting.

LOL so between the boys testing, S's hormones and D's ego hurting... phew... life at home is no longer settled.

I know this is just a short test. I know this too shall pass but it's hard to keep my JOY. ;o) Trying to be all happy happy joy joy when I just want to lock myself in the bathroom and dare them to come in. :o)

Ever have one of those days?

I have been spending this last week in prayer and on a journey with God. I have felt Him pruning and bending, and lifting and changing me. I feel like this angst at the house is a direct attack because I have been working on the ugly within myself.

I will continue to praise Him. I will continue to look at the good, and dog on it, I will not be ruled by Mr Ugly.

Here are some things to praise:
School is starting and all my children are excited about it.
E has now been home a full year and he's 100% better than he was 1 yr ago. MIRACLE!
E can walk up the full flight of stairs and then back down all by "hisseff".
N has a new back pack and new school supplies and is thrilled to be going to big boy school.
D is working.
S is ready for her sophomore year at school! yikes!
Z has started his 2nd year at Leadership college and is so very happy with life.
I can do 2 miles on the treadmill at 4 mph. ouch
My birthday is on Sunday and I will be surrounded but family and friends.
We are close to booking the air tickets for our mission trip for the team. SO exciting!!!!!
My God loves me... and you!

See that... life is better than good. I just needed to remind myself. ;o)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Weekend wrap up

ok so the pics are all out of order.... but you can see the excellent concoction they ended up with first. ;o)

Nothing terribly exciting happened this weekend, it was a good quiet time with family.... ok well not completely quiet but good.

Saturday was spent around the house with the boys, cleaning and hanging out. We had another major rain event with flooding. Nothing near our house, but some people in the area were still trying to recoup from the last one that almost lost my van.

Sunday was actually a busy day.

The pics above are from our Sunday church service that was down at the ocean front for the morning. It was a beautiful, if not humid morning. The pastor did an illustration with an ice cream sundae, and to be completely honest with you I didn't so much pay attention cause my boys were up there. I don't know what possessed me to pick up the camera on the way out the door, but I am thanking God that I did.

The pastor asked for volunteers, and N jumped right on up there. When E saw his brother running up he was having no parts of being left behind. SO cute! I wish I could have captured their faces better. They were thrilled to have this sundae, and let me just tell you it had all the fixings including like 7 different kinds of ice cream.

Then we spent some time with D's, cousin's wife, and 2 of their boys. That was fun. It has been 3 yrs since we saw them last. The boys have just GROWN. It was fun to catch up, even if only for a short time.

We went to visit some friends who were traveling back to KY to finish seminary there... and relax in the pool.

THEN... it was on to Z's church to hear the special speaker of the night, Brian Houston. I went by myself, D had stuff to do at home. It was really good stuff!!!

Next week is what I am really looking forward to though... the speaker is Chris Hill. AND it's my birthday, so I am going to get me some praise on, and get me some good preachin!! ;o)

I didn't really do an update on the exercise stuff on Friday because frankly I was not doing so well. But I have been doing some conversing with God, and I am needing to get rid of some more junk so that I can truly embrace taking care of myself.

I did more strongly recommit to the 10k on Halloween, and I think I have some people coming with me.

My dad brought over his treadmill so that I could work on that at home. woo weeeee can I just tell you that doing 2.6 miles on that tonight was way harder than working with Leslie Sansone's walking DVD's?!!! It's good stuff though. I cannot wait until I can say that I completed a 10k!

Well that's about it. D sort of has a job going on, but this job loss has been a real blow to his ego. He's been taking it hard. He is really turning to God in it all though, so I am counting that has a HUGE praise.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fun Friday

I took today off to enjoy the family. We went to the beach, and since all the beach pics really look the same we didn't take the camera with us. Which is actually too bad because with Hurricane Bill churning off the coast the waves were pretty impressive!

Here are some pics from tonight's boys will be boys night.
N and E had a wrestling match with daddy.

Oh, and the sun set, because God's Glory was amazing!!!

E doing his Gene Simmons impersonation, which would be funny if he actually knew who that was. ;o)
S and daddy... cute huh?!

Squishing daddy's head

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A little more about our year...

I was thinking as I was reading the responses to the last post about other things I wanted to share.

Just in case someone was thinking of adopting, and more specifically an HIV+ child.

Our E was an exception to the rule, not the norm.

E was infected with some icky stuff in May of 2008 and with his compromised immune system he didn't have the forces he needed to fight off the infections well.

His recovery before we got there to pick him up was nothing short of miraculous really. His medical reports while he was in the hospital in May were not promising. He was not expected to live. So the fact that he was even walking and moving when we got to ET was amazing in and of itself.

The hard part for us at first was the reality. It's 'easy' to be objective and resilient when you are only looking at pictures and getting reports. We had seen his pics from travellers before us, we heard their stories about him, we heard how very bad he looked...and how much better he was looking before we got there. But the reality was harsh.

We weren't turned off by his looks because of vanity, but because of the pain we knew it caused him, and because we knew it was going to be a long road. For him and for us.

When we got to the country and found out about the possible heart issues (these were not true) and saw the burn marks, the impetigo scars, the molluscum and the wound on his head (which ended up being MRSA and a crazy Staph infection) we weren't prepared.

We thought we had prepared for the HIV but I will admit that when we got there and were actually with him, I was scared to death. I wasn't scared of actually contracting it myself... I just became overwhelmed with the thought of all the ramifications. On top of all the other health issues presented I wasn't sure how in the world I would handle it. IF I could handle it.

As I laid on the bed with E, sobbing while he slept, I prayed, D held me and cried too. I cried out to God. I knew He had brought us here... but dog on it if I could figure out why. I didn't think I had the strength in me to do this daunting task...of taking care of this little bitty boy.

God reminded me as I laid there that our prayer when we thought he was going to die in May had been that if His will was for us to adopt him, that he would spare E's life. And spare it He did. So we needed to just trust in Him and move forward.

I can't tell you how many times I cried out to him with those same fears in those 12 days we spent in the Children's Hospital. Or when I was doing IV meds every 6 and 8 hours around the clock while D was out of town. Or when I called our employee mental assitance help line because I had been crying for days and could not stop. Or when I finally had to give in and tell the Dr that we wanted the g-tube for his meds. I was terrified of that G-tube. I am now SO thankful for it.

I used to read other blogs of parents who had adopted children with special needs or found out their children needed all this extra help and think "man, I could never do that" I would stop immediately while reading and pray for them. I would pray for their strength and God's provision. And here I was living that life.

Through this whole time God never left us. He never once left our side. He placed people in our lives that we needed to keep us going. To remind us of His care for us. He held us close and held us up.

Over this past year we have found that we CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

We found that in all the crazy medical stuff the HIV is/was the least of our issues. That part is easy. We aren't wearing rose colored glasses we realize we will run into issues with those that still do not understand the illness. But we feel like God used our time of medical trial to sharpen our resolve in fighting for him. And fight for him we will when we need to, and fight with him when it's appropriate.

Isaiah 40: 28-31 says
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings of eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

In those days that I wanted to faint, when I was weary, when I just wanted to crawl into bed and not get out. He was right there.

He led us to our E. He gave us a blessing that cannot be replaced, on so very many levels.

So if you have ever thought of adopting, or adopting a child with HIV, please pray about it. Most of the children that come home are really pretty healthy. Some don't even need meds right away. E was the exception, not the rule and we do think he's pretty exceptional! ;o)

We are cautious with his blood, but it doesn't hinder our lives at all. We have learned to make sure he takes his meds on time, and we just make due when we have to be somewhere when it's med time.

Think about it pray about it! ;o)

Life is good. God is good...better than good really... ;o)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

We met him a year ago

I hope you all will bear with me this week as I reflect on the past year with my Little E.

One year ago today we met our little guy.

It was pretty unconventional and extremely emotional. But so good at the same time.

We arrived in Addis from DC in the morning. We were exhausted and our ride was no where to be found. The guest house we were staying in was to send someone, but we had gotten our wires crossed and he thought we were arriving in the evening not the morning. The blessing was that I had the phone number for a driver who was able to show up after about 45 mins to take us to our Guest House.

We arrived at the guest house, unpacked a few things and laid down to catch a few minutes of sleep to prepare for meeting our son.

We had been there for about an hour when we were called and told they were on their way with him. ??? Yikes??? What? um ok, here he comes! ;o)

They drove up and placed him in our arms. He looked at us and we looked at him and we all just tried to drink it all in. He had just woken up from sleeping in the truck and we were jet lagged so none of us were in the best of places.

He was dressed in a faded pink sweat suit and was just so tiny. He was quiet but seemed to enjoy the toys we brought him.

We didn't know if he had eaten or had his meds, or anything about him. It was pretty crazy. They brought his meds a bit later and told us a bit more about him and handed us some medical paper work.

After reading the info we found some new and improved medical items that were worrisome. Possible heart issues, the TB, skin lesions and burn scars, and the molluscum that was harder to see in person coupled with the wound on his head ... were almost more than we could handle. We put E down for a nap and I laid on the bed next to him and just cried and cried.

He was very weak, he could hardly walk much less run or jump. We would try to take him outside in the afternoon to play with bubbles or throw a ball and he would just fall over. Poor little guy it was so hard to watch. He wasn't all that keen to have us help him either.

We would try to give him his meds while there in country and he would have no parts. (thus the g-tube when we got home)We ended up wearing much of it, and cleaning up the other off the floor (sorry for the TMI) .

One thing we found that was just too sweet was his singing. He would sing in the morning. His favorite song...and it was in English... was "Good morning, I love you" He would walk around the table at breakfast and sing. He also loved to make little noises and sing other Amharic songs. He still does this.
We learned about him and he learned about us. He was stubborn and we were shell shocked. He was tired and in pain and we wanted to help. He tried to push us away and we tried to pull him close. He wanted to go back to the orphanage and stay with us at the same time. We called home and cried. We cried out to God for His strength and guidance. We prayed with each other and for each other. It was one of the worst and best of
When God came through with Erin at AAI and Carolyn at Project Hopeful and got us our Visa in 2 days we were over joyed.
We had mere hours to pack, each lunch, change our airline tickets, have a going away party and get to the airport that very same day. It was a whirlwind, one that I still cannot believe happened and worked. God was SO SO good! He is still is!

Today E went to see the PID and was given a clean bill of health. His numbers are all fantastic. The Molluscum is all gone with no traces left. The wound on his head is also gone and completely healed. His is strong. He can run without falling 99% of the time. He can climb stairs by himself, and come down them without holding on. Where he couldn't get himself off the ground to jump a year ago, he can now jump a foot. And the best part is that his blood work shows that his HIV is undetectable where is was so out of control when we came home. He's grown from 35 to 39 inches and from 25 to 35 lbs!!!

He asked me last night why he keeps growing, and I told him it's because we keep feeding him and loving him.

Daddy brought him by to see me at the office today after his appointment and I was just so overwhelmed with how very much he's changed and how very very glad I am that he is in my life.

Thank you God!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place.
Exodus 13:3

I was getting ready for work the other morning and thinking about life. It's time to send our 1 year home with E, report to the agency so I was thinking about what to write.

It occurred to me as I was contemplating... that life is good.

Boy what a year it has been.

The life of can either make you or break you. I can tell you with honesty that I worried that we may be broken on some of those days

First we had the hospital stays, the IV meds, the G-Tube surgery, more hospital stays and wound care. We were stretched, pulled, pushed and prodded out of our comfort zone. God used those days to prune us and help us to grow in so many ways. Some we would have been happy to have missed and others that were priceless gifts.

N was especially affected by E's arrival. Again his world was rocked and somewhere in his little psyche he was not sure what to make of this new world any more. Poor little man was just lost with no real way to express his pain.... and we were at a loss as to how to help him.

What I realized as I was contemplating is that life has settled. E is healthy. He is strong and growing stronger. He is trying new things and growing more confident. He worships his brother and is over all a really happy kid. He's so stubborn when he wants to be, but pretty easy going other wise. Those moments of utter fear a year ago as we contemplated our new life have been replaced with moments of sheer joy in the son we now have to call our own. Just in the last couple of months he has started initiating saying "I love you" randomly. That is a joy that cannot be described.

N has really settled in as well. I believe with the passing of time he has realized that he isn't being replaced, nor is he going anywhere. One of the things in the cognitive test I spoke about before that was completely inaccurate, was his results in long term memory. They told us he has virtually no long term memory. This is simply not true. He remembers so much of what we say, things that have happened and things we have all forgotten until he brings them up. He remembers the conversation we had about not being able to send him back to Ethiopia. He brings it up to E and 'reassures' him that he can get married and move away some day, but that he can always come home. He is still a fireball of energy, but so much more easily re directed.

It just feels like the house is so much more's a home again. It used to be this place that had so much strife... in ways that I had no idea how to fix.

D and I have truly recommitted our efforts to focus on God and His place in our home. I feel like this is the thing that has changed. There is more peace, more calm, more patience, and more laughter. We are more relaxed about ...gosh everything. It feels good to us all.

We still have our days and our moments... of course... but we have been delivered and are moving into the place where God promised us that He would be. He led us to adoption, the adoption of both of our boys. He led us to follow through with E's adoption although we were so unsure about what the future may hold. He showed us that He would take care of things. And He has.

D is still out of a job, and the boys have not gone back to school yet, so I could come back next week crying on blogville's collective But right now I feel like God's got us pretty firmly in His hand and in His will. I will just rest in that.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Random fun...

Me and my this one!

Looks like he's crawling on water. ;o)
He loves the water now that he's git this float. Love his smile!

No the dog isn't going to bite his