happy thanksgiving!!! it's my favorite time of year. i want to share with you one of our traditions that i love. last year we found a branch outside and turned it into our thanksgiving tree. we cut leaves from paper, tie them with string, write what we are thankful for and hang them on our tree. then whenever we have anyone come to our house we have them add their leaf to our tree. it's so fun to watch our tree grow as thanksgiving gets closer and to see all the things we are thankful for. this year mia even wrote her own leaf. she was so proud to be able to write all of her letters and add her leaf that she had done to the tree.
so here's a short list of the things that we are so very blessed and thankful for this year:
*our Father God and His amazing love, protection, provision and presence in our lives
*family - near and far who all bless us and whom we all love!!
*my kids - i would write this any year but especially after being at an orphange with children who so desperately need someone to love them, someone to cuddle them, someone to show them how amazing they are and to tell them they are beautiful, wonderful and precious. i am so blessed by each of my little heavenly blessing and that we are all together.
*our little one on the way!!
*friends - who make us smile, support us, share their lives with us and bless us always
*amazing opportunities -in so many areas of our lives we have had opportunities this year that have been life changing from our marriage growing stronger, closer and more connected to the business world where pete is following God on an amazing journey to travelling to africa to love on the forgotten to being able to simply be present everyday with amazing children who show us God's face and teach us something new everyday
we love all of you and enjoy sharing our lives with you. we wish you the very best today and a very happy thanksgiving full of blessings and love!
Thursday, November 26, 2009
so here are the pictures of our guys getting their haircuts. for eli it was his very first. he started off okay but had his moments where he was just not enjoying himself. a sucker soon solved all the problems ... or at least most of them. =) we may eventually get brave enough to try to cut his hair on our own but for the first one we did take him to the local kids place where he could sit in a fun car while the beautician worked quickly around him and was ready with a sucker when it got to be a bit too much. his hair is just so straight, yep, he got his mama's hair, that i'm afraid it will be terribly obvious if we don't do a good job. for now he just looks way too old all of a sudden. i know he's growing up but i'm so not ready for it. he looks like a little man and not like my little baby. i do love it though and he looks amazing.
as for asher with his sweet, sweet curls to hide any oopses we cut his hair at home. it is definately not his favorite thing to do and no fun thing to sit in or movie to watch has changed that. this time however he got it in his head that only mana could cut his hair so we called her up and headed over to her and papa's house for dinner and a haircut. the whole afternoon all he talked about was having mana cut his hair for him. the tune quickly changed when it actually came time to have it done. the tears started so daddy quickly stepped in and off the three of us went to the bathroom for a quick hair cut. i didn't get a before picture but it was soooo long. we're still thinking he may need a little more of a trim but this was a good first step. he just looks so handsome now (of course i though that before too!). my little guys ... man, how i love them!!!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
i have had little time to sit and write lately but am trying to quickly get a post here about my trip. everything happened very quickly. lovelyn returned from her first trip knowing she had a son in uganda who they would name clayton elijah. the process of trying to get a court date to determine custody began and she and her family anxiously waited to get their entire family together. the courts would be closing for november and possibly december as well so a court date at the end of october was the hope and prayer.
i had taken the day off work thursday just to kick the last of a cold that did not seem to want to let go. pete had to really convince me to stay home and it turned out to be a true gift from God. my friend lovelyn called later that morning with news that their court date would be the following monday!!! we very quickly had to decide if i was going, when i was going and how we were going to make all of this work. you see since the initial decision to go with my friend we found out i was expecting our fourth child. the pregnancy prevented me from getting any of the vaccines recommended for the trip. also, in order to be at court on monday with my friend we would have to fly seperate flights and the flight was going to be quite a bit more then we were planning. we prayed, trusted God and committe to me not only going but being there with my friend on monday.
phone calls to doctors were made, lists drawn up, childcare figured out and errands run in a flurry of activity trying to get ready to go. we flew out on saturday and arrived in uganda late sunday evening. thus began a week of watching God move mountains that seemed to grow ever higher, move in ways the proved He was good and finish the good works He began in so many families. i won't go into all the details of every day but we learned that "no" in uganda means wait awhile, stay here, be visible, ask again, wait some more and the answer will belikely change to yes. it was a time of completely trusting God and letting Him move before us and prepare a way. there was simply no human way to get anything done in a manner that followed our western ideas.
while we weren't waiting in an office or chasing down paperwork we played and helped out with the babies. the baby home (aka orphange) we were at worked with kids from birth to ~3 years. it was a mix of emotions being there. to be completely honest and vulnerable part of my wanted to take all of them home and part of me just wanted to run back to my own children and not have to see what was really in front of me. though i knew these children were blessed to be in a home, off the streets and taken care of my heart broke that someone had abandoned, left, and deserted them. that no thought they were important enough to remember the day they were born. no one really knew how old they were, no one was there to cuddle them when they fell, snuggle them at night or even just change their diapers as fast as a mom here would do. please don't misunderstand, the home was understaffed, underfunded and doing the best they knew how to do. the kids were fed, clothed, looked after and the "mamas" (workers) were trying to take care of 47 kids under the age of 3 - a daunting task by any stretch let alone in an extremely poor country where in order to feed the kids water had to first be boiled and then used to prepare bottles or anything else. it's still hard when you're a mom to not want to change the life that these adorable and amazing children are currently living. how do you not look into one of those precious faces and decide that you don't have enough love to for him/her? how do you look at those little hands and not want to bend down to hold and touch them? how can you know that there are 147 million other kids just like this around the world that have been left abandoned and alone and not do anything?? how can it not change you? how do you return to your comfortable western lifestyle and not think about those kids every day and realize that perhaps some of those "have tos" in society are really not as important as a child getting taken care of and off the streets?
from the moment you sat down near the kids they were eagerly vying for attention and cuddles. they loved to giggle and play and run and climb all over you. usually though they wanted most to simpy sit with you, touch you, stay with you. even the older kids sat amazingly still for time with an adult. God was good and protected my heart and though i had my favorites i was able to be there and not completely attach myself to any of these amazing children. most of my little friends that were quite attached to me were not adoptable. they either had families that were already working toward bringing them home or were not adoptable period.
evenings consisted of feeding all 47 kids then attempting to either change or bathroom them, possibly bath them, change them and put them to bed. needless to say it was an experience i will never forget and though it was completely exhausting at times it was amazing to be able snuggle, sing, pray and tenderly put as many kids to bed as possible each night. the smiles and snuggles were all worth it.
at the end of my trip i had to leave clayton and lovelyn with one final mountain to climb. God was so good and they were able to quickly get his visa to the US and follow me home a few short days later. all in all their entire journey to bring him home took less then two weeks from their initial court date. the fastest time we had heard of prior to that was 3 weeks! it was truly proof of God's hand in their journey and process and i felt amazingly priveleged to be there to intercede, support, help and do anything i could to make the process easier. believe me i was as blessed by their new little man and his journey if not more so.
so i feel i should at least start writing about this more as a chronicle of the journey that God is taking me on. it never ceases to amaze me how He works in my life. so let's start at the beginning. i have always had the "thing" for africa. since the day pete and i started dating we talked about going, possibly about staying. we've entertained the idea of going several times but never felt like it was the right thing to do so we always just kept praying and listening and watching for what God was going to do. it truly breaks my heart to think of the millions of children who are in the world waiting for someone to love them. waiting for someone to wrap their arms around them and tell them they are valuable, important and meant to be here. waiting for someone to realize the gold that God has place inside them and that the world has tried to strip away with circumstances. i won't tell you how many times it has truly brought me to tears.
at the beginning of this year pete and i went away to talk about life, reconnect and just see where God was taking us. we try to do this at least a few times each year. while we were there two things relating to africa happened. one, pete clearly felt God say that we needed to get our passports in order because we were going to be going before the year was over. second, i strongly felt we were to support another orphan in africa. here's the catch. we definately didn't have money to do either. at pete's insistence i found everything i needed and renewed my passpot. i continued to pray about the orphan in africa. God told me that the things in the garage would cover it and to sell them. so that was our plan. to have a huge garage sale in the summer and use the money to support another orphan. we began to gather a rather large pile that we added to often.
in april friends of ours announced that they would be adopting from africa. they asked us to write a letter of recommendation for them. now i want you to understand this next part. though we completely love our friends it was not something we immediately jumped on we wanted to pray about it first. not really was this God's plan for their life (that's between them and God ... and something we felt pretty sure He was all for!!) but really what was HIs plan for us in the whole process. we knew God was calling us to not only write the letter but to stand with our friends and to do whatever we possibly could to make their dreams a reality, in our minds we were pledging to stand with their famly no matter what happened from here on out. from the day we wrote that letter to the day those babies are adults, on their own and beyond we will be here to love, encourage and support their family in any way we can. so i hope it doesn't sound bad that we wanted to pray first but to us it was a deeper commitment then a simple letter.
shortly after that lovelyn mentioned that they would be having a garage sale to raise money for their adoption. i knew immediately that the ridiculous amount of stuff in my garage was on it's way to my friend's garage. i told pete about the sale later that night and without blinking he goes "so i guess i'm going to need to get a truck to haul all that stuff over there." (you see why i love him!! i didn't even have to say anything, he and i both knew.)
as our families continued to talk they mentioned they would be needing people to go with lovelyn at various times so she would not have to be over there alone. again, it was that monent where your spirit just knows that agian, those thoguhts, conversations, feelings earlier were all leading you to that moment. of course we volunteered for me to go with her. she will travel in two weeks to pick out her precious new little ones. come home. wait a month then fly back to do the court things and to bring her sweet babies home. i will be going with her at the beginning of the second trip and can not tell you how amazingly excited i am. it is an answer to pray, a dream fullfilled and a trip i can not wait to take with my friend. i'm sure there are details i have forgotten but those are the highlights and proof of God's amazing goodness and love. more details to come!!