Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Father's Love

My first guest blogger! :)  A special message from my sweet husband...

John 3:16: For GOD so LOVED the world that he gave HIS only begotten SON that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 

Hope abounds as we quickly approach Christmas and the grand celebration of our Savior's birth.  I am so thankful for the precious gift given to us by Christ's great sacrifice and the promise of eternal life. 

Although my Dad is no longer on this earth to share Christmas with this year, I rest in the assurance that I will one day see him again.  I am grateful for all the time we had with him and all of his great love for his family. 

One of the things his grandchildren did to say goodbye was to release balloons to Heaven at his graveside.  Several months later our children wanted to send balloons to Grandpa again to say hello so they wrote notes to him on the balloons and let them go to Heaven.  It was amazing to watch the balloons released separately from my children's hands stay side by side during their entire journey as far as eye could see. 

I have posted the short video celebrating my Dad's life for anyone who was unable to attend his memorial service or wants to one again remember the life that he lived.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 2, 2011

A year ago today...

We met the most beautiful little princess.
We fell in love looking into her big, beautiful brown eyes.
We danced.
We cuddled.
She fell asleep with her hand curled in mine.

Love looks like this...

And this...

And this...

And this...

Monday, November 21, 2011

God's Gift of Multiplication!

In shock. In amazement.

An incredibly generous donor has thrown down the gauntlet: they will MATCH the next $130,000 given to build the schools at Adami Tulu & Ziway - Lifesong for Orphans by December 31.

That's $65,000 for each school!

So for every $1,000 you just magically turns into $2,000!

Now keep in mind, this is a real match, not a phony one. This is not a $130,000 gift. If we don't raise the money by December 31, it evaporates into this air.

I think I can speak for all of us working on this project, we are beyond excited!

Will join us in helping change the world?

your donation is 100% tax deductible

Great Post about Adami Tulu

Remember Spare CHANGE Children's Lives?  Remember Adami Tulu?

I hope you will check out this post from Aaron Klein about what's next for Adami Tuli Project in Ethiopia! We would love to have your support as we go forward in faith to complete Phase 2!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


October 31st, 2011 marked the begininng of a new family tradition!

The Parents...
aka Mickey Mouse & Mouseketeer

The Young...

Peter Pan!


Wee Little Miss Captain Hook!

The night's activities included:
2 crafts,
a game,
a candy hunt,
and yummy, yummy food!

The first craft was creating Happy Apples...
one for each member of the family, in the style of each member for sure!

2nd activity... making tiny caramel apples to have for dessert later!

3rd activity... while Mommy was inside making dinner...
Mickey Mouse and the kiddos were outside collecting leaves
to make Happy Leaves of course!

What's for dinner?
Flap Jack'o Lantern Pancakes (pumpkin pancakes with white chocolate faces)

& Mighty Apple chompers...

After dinner, the fun continued! 
Nothing like a game of Falling Leaves (dropping foam leaves from the balcony down to see if they can be caught by the person below!) to get the kiddos excited!

And finally, it was time for the Apple Picking (candy) Hunt.  Our kids love hunting for Easter Eggs... so we turned trick-or-treating into a bit of a hunt in their rooms upstairs.  They were delighted to find boxes of candy hidden under red apple cut-outs hidden in their rooms!

Time for dessert! 
How mini were the "caramel" apples (granny smith apples dipped in melted butterscotch chips and rolled in sprinkles... yummy)? ...
See for yourself!
For some of us, they were bite-size... others... just the perfect size!

Fun was definitely had by all!

Did our kiddos miss out on "trick or treating"? 
In the traditional sense... yes.

But, having our son exclaim (without prompting),
"This is the BEST night ever!"
We think that the first HAPPY festival was a hit!

P.S.  Yes, the "Candy Fairies" still did come in the night... replacing the piles of candy they gathered throughout the night... with golden dollars!  Ok... they replaced all except for the Junior Mints... which Peter Pan asked in a nicely written note that they please leave for him! ;)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Speeches and swimming and heels... oh my!

Nothing like a few adorable videos to make up for
7 months of not posting, right?
So... here is Beans practicing for his first speech meet.
A kindergarten speech meet you ask? Yes... it was adorable!

Then there is the new little swimmer!

She is having SO much fun!!

Can you tell?

And finally, not to be outdone by her older siblings,
our littlest Sweet Pea has taken to strolling... in heels. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lessons from a "Mommy Retreat" to the Beach...

One of my favorite authors is Max Lucado. To me, it seems as if he writes in pictures and parables the messages God lays on His heart. He describes times and lessons so vividly, it’s as if I can close my eyes and imagine myself there with Jesus… like a little child, who has come to sit upon his knee or sit at his feet and simply listen with childlike trust, love and simple understanding.

Our adoption journey that last four months has been difficult for our family. Each new week has brought with it the excitement of “Could this be the week we receive travel clearance?” and for 18 weeks now, the extraordinary disappointment of “Not yet.” It has been difficult to simply trust in God’s timing, to understand how he could purpose such a long wait for His glory, to calm the “Mama Bear” instincts that passionately rage inside my heart to have our daughter home.

God has blessed me with a husband who recognizes that God has created me as a “social introvert” (gotta love labels!). It simply means that while I love being around friends and family, I gain my energy from time alone… with God’s word, my bible, my guitar and a stack of sweet “chick-flicks”. Together we realized that I had not had such a time of refreshment since our first child was born… so 5 years later, here I am, in a quiet room at the beach… 36 hours later, refreshed, renewed and missing my hubby and kiddos like crazy! Exactly what this Mama needed!

Yesterday, I took a three hour walk on the beach. The beach wasn’t crowded, so many times I walked along with my eyes closed and simply listened… and prayed… and listened… and this is what I heard…

“Listen to the sea. What do you hear? How does it reflect Me?”

“Now look at the waves and beyond. What do you see? How does it reflect Me?”

“Close your eyes and feel the wind in your face. What is its purpose? How does it reflect Me?”

So, I listened.

The sound of the sea is constant. While the roars may ebb and flow a bit, the sound does not cease. While every once in a while I would become distracted by a sea gull, barking dog, or child giggling nearby, the sound of the sea was still there… constant. Not shattered by the other sounds. Constant. Not muted. Constant.

“How does it reflect Me?”

The presence of the Lord is constant. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. However, I realized that I’d let other “sounds” in my life mute His voice. Even in the constant chattering of my children, His voice is still whispering to me… constantly… if only I’ll listen. Even in HOA meetings, ministry work, part-time consulting work from home, laundry, groceries… His presence is constant, He is longing to direct my words and actions… if only I’ll listen. He is constant.

“Now what do you see?”

In the waves I saw bold strength crashing down upon the shore. I saw gentleness sweeping across the sand as the sea retreated back. As I looked beyond the line of crashing waves, I saw a vast sea of power and softness… so far beyond my vision… stretching beyond the horizon as-if completely endless.

“How does it reflect Me?”

It reminded me of how one of the children’s bible story books describes God’s love. His Unceasing, Unbreakable, Never giving up, Always & Forever Love. In two words “Be still”, Jesus calmed a raging storm. His powerful love brought gentle peace and safety to His children. Even to His children who were not fully trusting Him. How very much like me. His love is never-ending… His love endures forever. He is strong and powerful… yet gentle and wise. In His love, He has written the pages of each of our lives… given up His own life so we can spend eternity with Our Creator. His love is endless.

“The wind… close your eyes and feel the wind.”

On the first half of my walk, the wind guided me gently down the shore. On the second half, it pushed against my every step… strong, *chilly*, and gusting now and then.

“How does it reflect Me?”

The wind gave the gulls strength not just to fly but to soar! Sometimes we can feel the pressures of the world beating upon us at the wind in our face, but God is there to lift us, strengthen us, help us to soar above for His glory. I’m reminded of these words: Even the winds and the waves obeyed Him. Do not be tossed by waves of doubt and uncertainty. Hold fast to the Rock upon whom your foundation is built.

In 36 hours, I’ve spoken less than 1,000 words… no words of correction or discipline to my children… just simple words to my family of “I miss you. I love you.”

In 36 hours, I’ve listened… I’ve been corrected… I’ve been lovingly disciplined by my Father… and I’ve been restored.

His presence is always with me, strong, powerful and gentle… I simply have to listen, recognize His voice and obey!

His love is unceasing, always and forever. It is unstoppable… I simply have to choose to accept it, share it and live in and through it!

His purposes are always for good. Trials may come, but in them He does not leave. I am a work in progress, under construction… He has purposes for our family as we remain steadfast in His love. He is the foundation of our home and He reigns victoriously. I simply need to remember these things… and consistently put them into practice.