Thursday, September 18, 2014


It has been several months since I have had the time to sit down and write. Over the past few months God has really been reminding me of His faithfulness to me and my family. His love at times is overwhelming and I want to share with you a few special moments that have made me ponder His faithfulness in a new way:

A few weeks ago David and I found ourselves at home with only our three adopted children. During dinner we started to talk about Ethiopia and this led to a discussion about the years that they spent in the orphanage. We had a great time as they shared fun memories from life before they came home to us. Garrett was talking and he said, "There was this one lady at the orphanage, who did our laundry, and she was so nice. Every day she would pull me aside and tell me that I was very special and that God had His hand on me." He continued. "She only said this to me and not to the other kids." As Garrett finished these words tears poured from my eyes. As usual, Garrett rolled his eyes and smiled at my tears. I was overwhelmed to hear God's answer to a prayer I prayed daily while waiting for my children to come home. Every single morning I would cry driving home from dropping Lindsay and Jacob off at school and I would pray for God to have someone make them feel loved and special until they were able to be with us. I had no idea that every morning in Ethiopia this sweet lady was speaking words of love and truth to my Garrett. Years have gone by and I had no idea how God daily was answering my prayer. I then shared with Garrett how each day I had prayed that God would send someone to let him know that he was loved.
After dinner we got out some photos from those years in Addis and it was fun to watch the three of them remember their friends, the room they slept in, and workers that had cared for (or had been mean to) them. We got to one particular photo and Garrett got so excited. He said, "Hey, that is her! That is the lady that pulled me aside and talked to me each day."  (See below the lady in red) What an amazing gift to me to see the lady that God used to answer my daily prayer. A sweet reminder of how much He cares for me and the desires of my heart.

We continued to look at the pictures and it was also amazing to hear the boys talk about one guy named Nebu. Nebu would come every evening and read the Bible with the boys. They had spoken about him before and they just light up when talking about the fun they would have with him each night learning from God's word. As they were turning through the photos they also found a picture of him. A guy that I hope to get to meet one day and thank for planting God's word in my son's hearts long before they became mine. As I sat and stared at that picture I was overwhelmed again by the blessing of His love and perfect plan for the lives of my boys. The fact that each night while we waited for them to become ours God had someone there to share His truth with them in a fun and relevant way made me stop again and give thanks for His faithfulness. (See Nebu below- notice Garrett on the far right)

A few days later I picked up these same photos again and started to flip through them alone. I stopped on one particular photo that I had seen a thousand times and noticed something that I had never noticed before. It is a photo of all three of our kids playing soccer together, long before they knew that they would one day be siblings. I have always loved this photo and it has always seemed special to me but today I noticed something new........Tia's pants. I noticed that Tia has on these cute, stylish pants in the photo. As I stared at them I started to cry. If you know our Tia you know just how stylish and fashionable she loves to be. You will rarely see her without a cute scarf, earrings and an outfit that is just perfect on her. In an Ethiopian orphanage there is very little style. You wear what you can find and usually it doesn't fit very well and it is far from fashionable. In this photo Tia has on these super cute pants that I am sure made her feel like a Princess. Again, God reminded me that He was there. Long before she knew what fashion was, He was there helping her to feel pretty. He provided a pair of pants in just her size with ruffles around the ankles just for my Tia. My God is an amazing God that goes above and beyond to love His children well. So may times I overlook or I am so unaware of the simple ways that He loves me and my family. He is so faithful and I am so thankful for these simple reminders the past few weeks of His goodness to me even when I had no idea what He was up to! Stop and think about His love for you- He cares more than you know and does so many things for you and your family that go unnoticed. Notice them today..........

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Our Sweet Tia

Thank you to each of you who have been so caring towards our family over the past month during Tia's illness. Each meal, gift, card, visit and prayer has meant so much to us as a family. We are so thankful to live life with such a caring community.
I have hesitated sharing much about what is going on with Tia but so many of you have been in contact with me asking about her and I have not had a chance to respond to many of you so this is the best way I know how. Almost four weeks ago Tia had what I thought was a stomach virus. I was not very concerned because several kids in her class at school had been sick with what seemed to be a 24 hour virus. After a few days of vomiting (Yes, this will not be a pleasant post) anything that went into her body,  I knew that we were not dealing with just a 24 hour virus. She had no other symptoms other that throwing up anytime she ate or drank anything. Tia was given Zofran from the pediatrician to help keep her food down but it didn't help her at all.
A few days of the Zofan not working we returned to the doctor and we were referred to a pediatric GI specialist a few days later. The day after seeing the GI doctor Tia ended up in the hospital and was given fluids and they cleaned out her entire GI system by means of a tube in her nose dripping medicine directly into her stomach (which was so much fun for both of us) for the weekend . The doctors were hopeful that Tia had a virus that had shut down her GI system and once it was cleaned out she would be back to normal. This however wasn't the issue.
During the clean out process they were able to do some testing and found that Tia tested positive for H Pylori bacteria. Her GI doctor feels strongly that this was probably due to unclean water (or maybe food) from several years ago in Ethiopia. The doctors do feel that her brothers from Ethiopia should be tested as well. As soon as our girl is better Garrett and Lemi will be tested. (This breaks my heart and I will one day blog about this- Tia and Garrett lost their birth dad, prior to their birth, to a waterborne illness that very well could have been this type of bacteria)
Tia has had several tests over the past few weeks and has another scheduled for Monday morning to make sure that nothing more is going on in her body. The treatment for the H Pylori is several antibiotics given at the same time for about a month. This will be a long process because these medications can make her nauseous and cause vomiting as well.
We are hopeful that this is the root cause of her illness and can easily be taken care of. She is continuing to be sick many times a day but we are thankful that she can now tolerate fluids and some of her food stays down during the day. The past week and a half she started to become very weak and tired from lack of nutrition- this has been so hard for me to watch. I am thankful that the past few days I have seen her energy beginning to return and she still is no where near her normal energy level but she is on the upswing.
I would love to ask you to join me in praying some specific things for Tia. She currently takes 5 pills and some liquid medicines twice daily. It is hard for her to get just one pill down and so 10 a day is somewhat overwhelming. She is literally in tears when I say it is time to take her medicine- just silent tears pouring as her willing heart tries to get the medicine down. Pray for her to be able to swallow pills like a champ! Also pray with me that once she gets the medicines down they will stay down. Yesterday and today we have not been successful keeping all of the medicine down. It is a crazy cycle of the bacteria making her sick and the medicine not being able to work because she is not able to keep it down. It is a very frustrating process as a mom and I know it must be even more frustrating for my sweet girl. The last thing that I would love for you to pray for is that if this bacteria is not the main source of this  illness that the main source would soon be found during the upcoming tests.
 I want to say thank you again for your concern, care and love this past month. It has been a long few weeks for our family and we are so thankful for the outpouring of His love on our family using each of you. I am so thankful that our girl is here with us where she can get the healthcare she needs. I have been reminded the past few weeks to pray for kids all over the world that do not have the resources to get the medical care that they so desperately need. I will keep you posted as she continues to heal.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


So the days have turned into weeks and the weeks into months and it has been months since I have taken the time to sit down and blog. I guess that is what happens when you live in a house of ten! So much has happened since October............
Megan returned home after 3 months serving in Ethiopia just before Christmas. We were thrilled for her to be back home with us and we loved hearing story after story about her time serving in Ethiopia. As a mom it is still amazing to look at Megan and see a beautiful woman chasing after God instead of the little girl I use to be chasing.  This trip that took her away for three months really made me realize what a blessing she is to our family- from her constant singing, her help with the younger kids, her love for Jesus and all of the laughter she adds to our home was greatly missed. We are thankful that she was obedient when God called her to serve the least of these in Ethiopia. 
After she returned Megan started college this semester and was chosen to be a part of an exciting program called Heroine Fellowship. (www.heroine For the next several months she and a few other young women will be studying many aspects of social justice around the world. This is a huge honor for her to be a part of this program and she is really enjoying having a mentor and studying issues such as HIV Aids, clean water, orphan care, sex trafficking, and several other global issues. She will be working with organizations around the world being educated on and learning to combat these issues. The team that she is studying with will be going to Haiti in July and she can't wait. Megan's heart is for the least of these and this opportunity is an amazing blessing.

In January we added to our family again but this time only for a few months. We decided to bring an International student into our home and it has been so much fun! Adriano will be with us until the end of May and I already know that is going to be a hard goodbye! He loves soccer (and is really good), beats David at FIFA on the x-box and enjoys some competitive ping-pong with our family. It has been a joy to watch all of our kids welcome him into our family and it has been especially neat to watch Lemi make sure that he feels at home. I am sure that it is still very fresh to Lemi what it feels like to be the "new" person and he has made sure that he feels cared for and at home. Our family has grown to ten and it is full of activity.

As for the rest of us it has been a very busy season. Jacob was on the school football team this fall and the basketball team this winter-  This was on top of all 4 younger kids playing basketball and soccer. There were weeks when I felt that we lived at the gym or on the soccer field- yet I was determined that as  family we would have dinner together each night. Some nights we were eating at 9:00pm but as a mom I know the importance of family time each day and that is one thing we will not give up no matter how busy we happen to be.

I am realizing more and more how quickly these seasons of life are changing and I am trying to enjoy every last second. I know that faster than I can imagine the days of having children at home will be a distant memory and so I pray that I am faithful today with where God has me.  Just the other day I reminded a younger mom to cherish this time with her preschool age children and she laughed just as I did a few years ago. I realize now that just as those older moms tried to warn me- the days turn into weeks and weeks into months and soon these precious years are gone!

Ecclesiastes 5:18-20:

 Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.