Monday, April 25, 2011


UPDATE: AS OF 1:00 pm WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON, JUST 6 BRACELETS REMAIN--DON'T DELAY (and I'm overwhelmed by the generosity of those of you who read this blog and by the way God continues to use it to make a difference in Ethiopia-to Him be the glory)

As I posted last week, we've been submitted to embassy--YEAH!!!! That means I'll be travelling back to one of my favorite places--ETHIOPIA. It also means I will be travelling back to one of my favorite places in Ethiopia--TREES OF GLORY.

I contacted the TOG coordinator a while back to get a list of needed items that we could take back to the care point this time. It's really a blank canvas there and I know that they appreciate any donations that they receive, but I wanted to be sure to bring something that would be really useful. One of the items she listed was, "blankets for the chilly nights." Now, you might not think of Africa as being chilly, but it actually gets into the upper 40's and 50's at night during the cooler months.

While that's not super cold, imagine that your home is a grass hut, a makeshift tin structure or if you're really lucky (like the staff and kids at TOG), a block building with cement floors (one of the few structures like this in the area), those temperatures are hard to handle--especially without a blanket.

Aside from the warmth a blanket provides, think of the feeling of security it provides. When I was a little kid, I fell asleep every night with the covers pulled all the way over my head--I was a big chicken (still am--drop me a comment people and tell me I'm not the only one here). It's just more comfortable to be snuggled up under a warm soft blanket.

For most of the kids who are served at Trees of Glory, they don't have the luxury of having their very own blanket.

We want to change that by providing each of the 99 kids currently enrolled at TOG with a nice new blanket to cuddle up with. We want to WRAP THEM IN LOVE.

How cool is this? The same day that Karen wrote me back with the list of needed items, a local friend of mine wrote to me asking how she could get involved with Trees of Glory!!! She doesn't even have a sponsor child at Trees of Glory, but she's heard me talk about it and wants to help this specific community. I just LOVE how God orchestrates these things don't you?

Well, she was going to hand make all 99 blankets, but we discovered it will be much more economical (both money and time wise) to purchase them. We found them for about $4 each. Multiply that by 99 kids, and we need about $400 to complete the WRAP THEM IN LOVE campaign.

I've had these bracelets since Nick's mission trip to Ethiopia back in September. We've been holding on to them waiting for an opportunity to use them to raise money for a TOG project and this is it.

So, here's the deal. We have 20 of these handcrafted authentic Ethiopian bracelets that we'll be sending to the first 20 people who donate to our blanket fund. We'll accept donations in any amount, but in order to receive a bracelet, please make a minimum donation of at least $10.

The "Love" Bracelet with English and Amharic lettering

side view: bracelet has adjustable tie closure

I've added a handy pay pal button to the top left side of my blog so you can conveniently donate to this project. Be sure to type in your address so that I can ship your bracelets to you. They'll be coming to you priority mail, so you should receive them 2-3 days after your payment has been processed.

We will hopefully be leaving in the next 2-3 weeks, so time is limited. I'm praying for these bracelets to sell out asap. Any money that is raised in excess of the $400 will be applied directly to the clean water well fundraiser, so rest assured that it will get to these kids in one form or another.

Your love will be felt through the simple gifts of warmth and potentially water. So each time I'm able to send one of these bracelets to you, remember that you're sending your love to them.

Please email me at with questions and feel free to SPREAD THE WORD.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

John 3:16

Friday, April 22, 2011

One Step Closer

We received great news Wednesday that all of our paperwork has been submitted to the US Embassy for approval. Approval is the final step before we travel to bring Rahel home. I was shocked to see this email in my inbox as I was prepared to wait at least 2 more weeks for this to happen (glad I don't have to :-).

Now, two things could happen. One, we could be cleared to travel on the first try and be on our way to Ethiopia in the next couple of weeks or two, the embassy could ask for further documentation or clarification regarding our file (in which case we'll wait some more). We of course are hoping for the first option and no more delays. It has been over 9 weeks since we last saw Rahel and we are definitely ready to bring her home. We will hopefully hear some news next week.

Keep up the good praying!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

And Then There Was One

Here's our sweet Rahel holding little Haben in Ethiopia this past weekend. They were the last two kids remaining in the care center from our local "adoptive moms" group. Haben's parents said that he would go to Rahel easier than to them at first-I'm sure she's been a big help with him and the other little ones while she's been waiting.

Airport homecomings-gotta love em.

Haben safe at home in the arms of his mommy surrounded by lots of loving family and friends.

Four out of the 5 mommas sporting our "hearts for Haben" tees.

Now she waits for her turn. Not only have all of her local friends gone home, but all but one of the older girls that have been her family since September have left as well. I know she is lonely and I pray that her turn will come SOON.

Congratulations Jeannie and family on your precious new arrival!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I Just Want To Be Closer.....

Our small group just started a new study by Mark Batterson and so far, I love it. It's based off of his book "Chasing the Goose." It's called (not so creatively) "Chase the Goose" and over the next six weeks, we'll be studying how the "cages" we trap ourselves in (responsibility, routine , assumptions, guilt, failure and fear) hold us back from living our lives freely for Jesus. In the intro, he compares the modern day "caged Christians" to wild animals caged in zoos. He asks, "Have churches done to people what zoos do to animals? We try to take the risk, struggle, and danger from following Jesus, and we end up with caged Christian." While we are busy living in safe, comfortable environments, deep down inside of us, there is a longing for something more. We have traded in the adventure God has for us for our safe and comfortable lives and we are missing out on what God has created us to experience.

How many of us are living out our God given passions? How many of us seek out God's plans instead of our own?

I have personally lived out the majority of my Christian life striving to be a "good" Christian. I went to church, worked to obey the commandments and to posses the "fruits of the spirit," but I was seriously missing God's purpose for my life and I never once thought of my Christian walk as an adventure just waiting to be unwrapped. I praise God for getting my attention with our adoption journey and trip to Africa. I honestly do not know what our lives would look like had we never gone down that uncertain, scary, uncomfortable, and often overwhelming road of adoption.

I expect that I'd still be living my life as a "caged Christian." Why do you think so many of us limit God and His plans for us? I don't believe we consciously do it. I don't believe that most of us would say that we planned on being idle, but the fact is that life (our agenda) gets in the way of life (living for Jesus) sometimes and before we know it, we are so buried under our RESPONSIBILITIES that our God given passions are never realized.

I'm sure that most of us could fill pages with lists of things we are responsible to complete on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. But how many of those things are actually on God's list? How many of those things is God passionate about?

What is your God ordained passion?

Like I mentioned above, I didn't really have one until about two years ago. Now, I can easily answer that question: taking care of the widows and the orphans in their distress and raising up a family that does the same by loving God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength and loving our neighbors as ourselves. It is what I'm passionate about. Not a day goes by that I don't think about a starving or needy child across the world, an orphan without a family to love them, and the hearts of the children in our own home. Mind you, I'm not always living this passion out perfectly, but it's the goal.

When we seek to be in touch with the heart of God, He leads us to our passions. Our God ordained passions. So if you've always wondered what your God given passion is, don't get stuck trying to figure it out. Like Batterson says, finding your passion isn't really about you discovering; its really about God revealing. So start dwelling on the word of God, praying, worshipping and developing a sensitivity to the Spirit of God and He will reveal your passions to you.

When you're given a God-ordained passion, or if you already have one, it's time to act. Pray and prepare for the path God has for you and be willing to step out. Batterson says, "When you step out God will begin to work. I don't know what it may be for you, but you need to do something, and you need to do it now. Don't let what you can't do keep you from doing what you can. Come out of that cage of responsibility and chase the Goose."

I bet that once you come out you'll find that you're more tired of your mundane, responsibility laden life than you even knew and more ready to step out on God's adventure.

My new favorite song-it sums up life on passion-life closer to God. (pause music at top)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

To Ethiopia With Care

During the adoption process, we are lucky enough to get updated pictures of our kids when other families travel over for court and embassy trips. The first time around, I delighted in trying to match names with faces and faces with parents as the new pictures would come in. You feel like you know them and their families after a while. We went through the journey together via our yahoo group, emails and phone calls, but rarely ever actually got the chance to meet face to face with the other families. This time, God has woven four local families together and we've been able to take this journey hand in hand. Over the past few months, I've been able to meet up and become friends with 3 new adoptive moms (and one old one-Heidi) to support one another through this process of ups and downs and witness families unite. The coolest part of the whole thing is that as we met together here, ALL of our kids were hanging out in Ethiopia together at the same care center! Isn't that so cool? So when Rahel finally gets here, she'll be reunited with all of these sweet faces (well-minus the nanny-although I'm sure Jeanie wouldn't mind is she tagged along).

After this weekend, Rahel will be the last one standing as all of the other kids have recently come home. Jenny's three girls told me that Rahel cried as they were leaving-so sad. Having spent time with them all in Ethiopia, you could just tell how close they all had become. They've been each others' family for the past 6 months. It makes me sad to think of her being left there and having to watch all of her friends leave. One thing that has helped is that I've been able to send care packages over each time one of my friends have travelled over to reassure her that we haven't forgotten her (it's already been 8 weeks since we last saw her which I'm sure feels like forever to her).

It's nice to know that our little packages of "care" reached Rahel and were delivered by friendly faces-faces she will be seeing again (hopefully) REALLY soon.

Please continue to pray for a speedy embassy appointment to be assigned.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I had the honor of having a shower thrown for Rahel this past weekend. We were truly overwhelmed by every one's generosity. So many people worked together to make every little detail special. I wasn't expecting a shower at all, but my Aunt Debbie had other plans and put everything together with the help of some of my friends, family and my mom. Thank you to all for a wonderful celebration.

My aunt did a fantastic post about the shower with lots of pictures on her blog here.

We are so grateful to have such a supportive group of friends and family and can't wait for Rahel to meet you all.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fishing Fun

Nick took the boys over to a friend's house this weekend for some fishing fun. He said they were pulling them out left and right-which sure does make fishing a whole lot more fun.

Caleb was a little hesitant to hold the bass at first, but he got the hang of it.

Colton pulled this one in by himself.

The three cutest guys I know.

I love this picture of my boys.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


SO ARE THEY (our friends at Trees of Glory)



photo from Karen Wistrom's blog

Can you imagine the effort it takes each day just for the staff at Trees of Glory to cook a meal for the nearly 100 kids served there? Everyday, they must make the trek to obtain clean water necessary for cooking and drinking. This is no easy task in the very rural and hilly Ethiopian countryside. When we visited in February, clean water and a generator to pump it to the buildings were their number one requested needs. Think of what a difference that would make for them. The staff hopes to be able to serve 200-300 children at the site once they have a working well!

Alisa, a Hopechest sponsor, has created an opportunity for us to help provide the precious gift of clean water to the children at Trees of Glory while at the same time honoring our mothers this Mother's Day (May 8th). Click over to Alisa's blog to read details on how you can donate to this much needed project and receive a beautiful handcrafted card for your mother.

I love giving gifts that really matter and give back to others. How many more arm corsages or generic Mother's day cards does your mom really need anyway?? If you don't have a mom around to honor, you could always honor another mom-your sister, mother-in-law, friend or co-worker this Mother's Day or, just choose to donate to this great cause without receiving a card.

To read more about Trees of Glory and the clean water well project, check out Karen's post here.

She's also posted an update about Webit and the progress she's made (click here for an update on Webit).

In just over a week, more than $4000 was raised to help Webit receive the medical care she needed-isn't that amazing! When we all come together and give just a little, God uses that for BIG change.

Keep praying for her and her treatment and recovery and please feel free to pass on the Mother's Day fundraiser information. Together, we can help be the change for the Trees of Glory community!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Waiting Children

I found this poem on a blog that I read sometimes. Since we are waiting for our third "waiting child," I thought it appropriate to re-post. I've often thought about how older kids must feel-especially the ones that have waited years-hoping for a family of their own to "pick" them while they watch baby after baby go home. It's so sad. This poem describes so well how they must be feeling.

The Waiting Child - An Adoption Poem

By Debbie Bodie

I saw you meet your child today

You kissed your baby joyfully

And as you walked away with him

I played pretend you'd chosen me.

I'm happy for the baby, yet

Inside I'm aching miserably

I want to plead as you go by,

"Does no-one want a child of three?"

I saw you meet your child today

In love with her before you met

And as I watched you take her out

I knew it wasn't my turn yet.

I recognize you from last year!

I knew I'd seen your face before!

But you came for a second babe.

Does no-one want a child of four?

I saw you meet your child today

But this time there was something new

A nurse came in and took MY hand

And then she gave my hand to you.

Can this be true? I'm almost six!

And there are infants here, you see?

But then you kissed me and I knew

The child you picked this time was me.

Copyright 1997

We have been so blessed by our "waiting children." Although it comes with it's challenges, I'm so thankful that path was chosen for our family.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Florida Keys

We took a little family trip to the Florida Keys this past week and had a great time. My mom goes every year for Spring Break so we decided to join her. Sounds awesome right? It was, with the exception of one little detail--we were CAMPING in the Keys. I'm not really a "tent" kind of camper (or much of a camper at all) and we were tent camping. It was hot, we got rained out and our tent flooded (ended up sleeping in our care 2 nights). But, other than that (and I really do mean that) it was a great trip. We'll just be taking an RV next time we go :-)

We spent a beautiful day in Key West

We found this cute little ice cream shop there.

Colton picked a cookie instead of ice cream (don't worry, we shared it).

We had so much fun kayaking-we even kayaked out on our last morning to watch the sun rise.

And there was lots of boating fun too!

This is a glass bottom boat ride that my mom took us on. I don't know what I was thinking, but I had no idea that it was going to go 6 miles out into the ocean. Let's just say that I'm not pictured because I was hanging out in the back of the boat feeling pretty green.

As I took this picture, I thought how amazing it was that just a little over a year ago, these kids were struggling for the basic necessities of life and now here they are fully enjoying life sailing the ocean without a care in the world.
To end each day, we got to watch these beautiful sunsets.

Thanks mom for a great trip!