I am wife to a magnificent man and mother to five wonderful children. Three of my children were born in the Northwest and two were born thousands of miles away in Liberia, West Africa. Birthplace is no matter, all of my children were born in my heart. This is our journey.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My favorite sound...

is the sound of my kids worshipping and singing to the Lord. Last night Em was taking a bath and we were all treated to her own rendition of several worship songs. Then this morning Bub was singing along with the radio, eating his breakfast and working on some string art he and his dad started last night.

It does my heart good and stirs emotions that come with tears. I remember the day before my wedding I was packing up my room at home. I had put on a worship CD and was singing at the top of my lungs not knowing anyone was nearby. At one point I turned around and saw my dad standing there with tears in his eyes. He hugged me and told me how proud he was of me. There was a lot of history beind that moment but I think I understand a bit of what he was feeling, though not completely. Last night and this morning I had a glimpse into that moment. There is something so deep and right watching them in their own thoughts and listening to songs of praise on their lips.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Our house is a very very very fine house...

This is the back of our home that we purchased two years ago last week. It was a diamond in the rough. After selling our home in a neighboring town and living in a travel trailer for eight months we were ready for four walls as the long as the property was ours. But honestly we had prayed and prayed and looked and looked. We wanted God's best for us and when we stepped on this property we knew.

We didn't see the junk all over the yard, the ugly paint or the rotting deck. We saw 1/3 of an acre, 4 bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms and lots of trees. A living room, family room, kitchen, dining room and laundry room all on the first floor. We also saw the vaulted ceilings and brick hearth waiting for a woodstove. Most of all our peace rested here and we knew. Within 10 minutes we said we wanted to make an offer. It was a lesson in people are always watching you. We found out that there was another offer made the same day. Both offers were full price offers and the family selling chose us because they wanted a nice family to live here. They saw our names and knew us from a sport their son had played with ours.

I wanted to post some pictures of some of the changes out back. A few weekends ago my husband completed a phase we have been working on. It's amazing what a little paint, new windows and some greenery can do to a place.

This is our new outdoor living/dining area. We removed the old rotting deck and built a new much larger one. Thanks to Craigslist we now have a nice new patio set. Brand new in the box and for 1/3 the cost of the one that I had priced that was exactly the same.

I would like to get some plants to set around. We have been spending a lot of time out here since it has been done. The hot tub there on the right is another Craigslist find and my husband is grateful for that one, what with all of the back breaking work he has been doing around here. It's so nice to do the work yourself and have it look like you spent so much more than you did. Fine wine on a beer budget? Something like that.

There behind the patio set by the fence we now have a firepit area between those chairs. The kids can't wait for some roasting by the fire. Our resident food critic, aka Bub, asked the first time out if we thought we could cook a crab on top. We had been joking the night before with some friends how long it would take him to ask if we could cook on it. He didn't let us down. If you're ever in the area you should give us a call. Bring your suit and we might even start up the BBQ for ya.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Time for a picture

Lil decided that Els should try on her hair piece that she wears on those between hair appointment days. Is it her? Els laughed the whole time she was wearing it. In this picture it looks more like a head covering than a hair piece.
I plan on posting soon about my new yard happenings but pictures of my kids are so much more interesting don't you think. I will post about that soon but for now a cute kid picture.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Update on life

Update from yesterday. My taste buds are on the mend and the pico de gallo incident should soon be a distant memory. A little less jalapeno and outlawed mouthwash in the future. Thank you to those of you who were concerned.

The track season is in full swing and the twins are doing quite well. They are both taking first place in most of their events. They weren't too sure about the sport but once the meets started they have been having a great time.

Lil has become fast friends with another girl her age that was adopted from Haiti. It's been neat to see them run around together giggling. My sister-in-law overheard the young lady at the last meet ask Lil if her mom was white. She responded yes and the girl said yeah mine too. Then silence and lots of wheels turning in their heads I'm sure. Sometimes it's nice to have someone around like you.

Bub has just been living it up running around with the kids tossing the football after practice and talking to some old friends from school. It's nice for him to see some of the kids he knows and check in. One of the kids is from a church that we have visited a couple times.

On that note we are visiting churches in our town. We said goodbye to our church that we attended as a married couple for 10 years. It was hard and bittersweet. We have been feeling since we moved to a neighboring town that we have needed to fellowship here also. We took about six months as a family having church at home spending time getting to know our kids spiritually more. We may continue to do that and invite some other families but for now we are visiting some local churches getting a feel for them and meeting some other Christian families in our community. It's important to check in and fellowship with other Christians. Proverbs 18 begins by saying that a man who isolates himself pursues selfish ends. That he defies all sound judgement. That doesn't sound like a good way to go so we are seeking what God has for us in meeting with other people however that looks.

Back to kids...
Els is in the second grade but her teacher told me that she is reading at the 6th/7th level with comprehension at the 5th. How she loves to read. It is important to keep her in books that are age appropriate that challenge her. She now wants to write book reports for fun and "teaches" our 5yo and 3yo in her free time.

Em has her first loose tooth and is eating like she hasn't eaten in days at every meal. We are expecting her clothes to look like she's waiting for a flood any day now. Since she weighs all of 35 pounds it should make clothes shopping interesting. Thank goodness for belts. She is reading now too and her vocabulary never ceases to amaze me. The ladies in the office at school crack up when she comes in. They tell me they just can't believe the big words that come out of that tiny girl. Yeah me either. Thanks Aunt Deb for teaching her chrysalis. ;-)

Lij is well. Today he spent the afternoon with his aunt and when he came home he greeted EVERYONE with a hug and hi fill in the blank! He was gone for 5 hours but acted like it had been weeks. Such a sweet little man. Although our puppy does not appreciate him laying on her or wearing his hats.

Hubby is hanging in there working and going to school. He met with an advisor this week to plot a course. He is working on a transfer degree so that he can enter a 16 month program and finish his schooling sooner. So much work. I reminded the kids this week during their track meet that Dad was at class during that if they ever think they may want to go to school to do it when they are young. Their Dad just hates missing an event that they are in. They agreed that it's a good idea and they will keep that in mind. Dad did surprise the kids during a break in class. He made it just in time to see both compete in their relays. What a hero! The looks on their faces as they ran across the field to greet him was priceless.

Me? I am looking forward to summer and a little less structure. Maybe some fun projects that the kids have thought of that we haven't had time for.

Off to read some other blogs now. Goodnight.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Word to the wise

No mouthwash chasers after a spicy pico de gallo treat. Wowza. Wrong, so wrong. I hope I can taste food tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It's about that time...

to plan for next year. I am at a stand still trying to decide what do curriculum wise next year. We currently use our local online charter school. It has it's pros and cons as does most programs but it is free to us and this is a big bonus. I don't care much for the frequent testing which can take the fun out of learning sometimes. I enjoy the work sample requests that plague my email inbox about as much as a bout with chicken pox.

In trying to narrow down the options that will work for us one thing has become clear. I don't like anyone telling me what to do. When to do what lesson. How long to spend on each one. What things to keep and what things to send in. When to do this test and when to move on. We have a lot of learning activities and games at our house so our kids spend a lot of time learning and not knowing it. The new "Snap it up!" game is a good example of this. You have to find the correct factors to multiply to match the product in the draw pile. It's the newest rage here. They are learning their multiplication facts while having fun. Isn't that sneaky?

Anyway, back to my dilemma and personality. Maybe the same thing? Hmmm. My Aunt does enjoy telling the story of watching me on a family trip to Canada and me snarking "You're not my boss!" Oh how embarrasing. It's funny but such an accurate glimpse into the idiosyncrasies of my psyche. I'm such a work in progress.

Yeah, well. Moving on. I would like the freedom to stay on a subject for longer if we need to or just skip some things that my kids have a handle on. We can do that some but it's a pain. My husband would like us to use something that is more PC based to keep things focused and teach them some technical skills that are important today. I would like to find something that's a combo of those things. Does it exist? I am sure that it does. I will just need to be creative. Ok, creative. That's something I can do.

So I get to head out in June and attend a homeschool convention. My next door neighbor (and great friend) is in the same quandry as me and we are trekking out together. We are spending the night at my sister's home in a suburb of the city and will be taking in some great seminars on Friday afternoon and Saturday. I expect the company booths will be a tad overwhelming but I am such a hands on kind of person. I need to see the stuff, get my hands on it, turn the pages myself. I love researching online but I like to read the newspaper instead of online as well as magazines. I enjoy seeing things in print. I see e-books for sale and I think, "Bleh, it's not worth the paper it's printed on. Oh? No paper? See what'd I tell ya?" I'm sure they have their place, just not on my nightstand. Magazines and books look nice stacked there next to the lamp. Much nicer than a laptop.

If you are in the same convention headed boat, may the Holy Spirit be yours and my guide. I hear it's a jungle out there.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


I am introspective.

I have salvation.

I love my family.

I am concerned.

I wonder.

I have shelter.

I desire more children.

I have too much to do.

I have food.

I am redeemed.

I have peace.

I am loved.

I am blessed.

I rest.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Casting your Cares

As you know, two of our children are adopted from Liberia, West Africa. You also know if you have been reading here that we homeschool them and are planning to add the other children next school year. For the past couple of weeks we have been studying about humanitarians in the history of the US and some of those people include former slaves. Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass are two examples.

About 6 months ago we learned that our nine year old son from Liberia has been desperately worried that at some point someone is going to take him from us and make him a slave. He was sobbing and heartbroken one night as he shared this with his dad. My husband assured him that this would not happen and that slavery is illegal now. Fast forward to two days ago with a little background. My son has a hard time with writing assignments. They frustrate him and getting his thoughts down is hard. We keep plugging away and he is making progress. The other day he brought me a paper and asked me to read it. It was not an assigned task, just something he wanted to write about.

This is what is said:
"I'm always worrying about what others might think or say. Instead of being a normal kid I am sometimes in constant fear because of all the things I've been through. It is hard to understand why Africans were slaves."

It wasn't very long but I was so proud of him. Proud that he wrote feelings down on his own, proud that he was willing to be vulnerable and so touched that he then wanted to share them with his dad and me. It breaks my heart that he worries so much. I don't want him to go through life carrying that heavy burden. I do look at this an opportunity though to pray with him and help him learn where to cast his cares. I too am a worrier and have spent so much time over and over giving my cares back to Jesus. Giving Him my burdens. Not letting everything rest on my shoulders. My shoulders simply are not big enough and were not made for that.

So today I say to any of you who have burdens. Cast your cares on Him. Let Him give you solutions and rest. What do you have to lose? 50 or 60 pounds of baggage? Your shoulders will thank you. Your heart will too.

Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the Lord; And He shall sustain you...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Healing the fatherless

My Dad wrote a book. Yes he did. I couldn't believe it either! I mean I knew he had it in him but it's just so cool. It's a good one too. Both of my parents are pretty fantastic people. I am proud of both of them. My Dad is pastor of a church that has a large adoption/fostering population that attends there. My Mom is director of an adoption agency. They spent their lives working to raise and support us girls doing jobs that they enjoyed ok. When we were almost grown they decided to adopt. Long story short 2 boys, several years, a college degree and things have changed so much. They are now doing things that they have a passion for. I think they had positive impact where they were before but I believe now what they are doing comes from the depths of who they are.

The book is called Exploring the Spirit of Adoption - Healing the Heart of the Fatherless. It's a short read, maybe an hour? But it's a fantastic way to spend an hour. A very worthwhile investment. It's not just for those involved in adoption tangibly either. He explores our own adoption into the kingdom of God and how physical adoption is a visual expression of our own journey and walk with God in our lives.

Here's an exerpt from the back cover (I can copy it, I know a guy):
"The selfless act of adoption comes replete with the widest possible variety of human experience. There is joy and reward along with trial and challenge. Dennis weaves the lessons of adoption into a tapestry that parallels the Christian walk. The Apostle Paul alludes to these lessons in his writings to the Romans. This book explores what Paul meant by the 'Spirit of adoption' as well as some insight into the healing and potential wholeness that awaits all who have experienced insecurity, uncertainty and brokenness."

I was blessed by reading this book and not just because he's my dad. There were some things in my heart that were minstered to by reading this. There were some areas that I did not understand the reason for their existence. I remember having a whoa! moment that was life changing while reading it. Tempted yet?

If you would to purchase the book you can visit the website for ordering information at www.healingthefatherless.com . For those who know me I have copies of the book for $9.99 plus media shipping if you are not local.

Thanks for enduring this shameless promotion of his book.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Orderliness goes a long way

I called the kiddos in from riding bike for a snack. When I looked out to make sure the bikes were not left in the cul-de-sac this is what I saw. I was so impressed at their parking skills (ignore desperately needing to be weeded flower bed).
Hmmm. 3yo and 5yo's bikes are the same size. Might be time for 5yo to move on up to her sister's lonely abandoned bike and ditch those training wheels. The ones on the little bike look like they are being a little stressed. What do you think?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Coffee anyone?

More than 10 years ago I was a new bride. I had decided that I wanted to find out who my man was and treat him. I wasn't working yet at that time and let me tell you that I had some time on my hands. We lived a few miles from the town that my extended family lived in. This is an important detail. I didn't know them very well and I was 2 hours from my family so I was a bit lonely in those days. You can only clean house so many times before you need something else to occupy your time. I digress.

My guy loves coffee so I thought to myself we don't have a coffee maker. Aha! So I ordered a very nice one and the day it came I went to the store for supplies. I spent a long time trying to choose the perfect coffee and probably some half and half. I had never purchased coffee before but I wanted it to be special. I was so excited sure that he was going to be so pleased with his new bride.

When I came home from the store I unboxed the coffee maker to wash it. To my horror the carafe was broken. There were large glass pieces all over and I could not believe my eyes. I was devastated, my surprise ruined. My new husband came home shortly after to find a tearful bride. Not sure what to do(poor guy) he asked what was wrong. I explained the saga of ordering the coffee maker and purchasing the "special" coffee in hopes of surprising him. He felt bad for me and let me know that it was alright and that he so very much appreciated my efforts. As he turned to go into the kitchen to inspect the damage he spotted the "special" coffee on the counter. He then asked "What's this?" I then told him about the "special" coffee that I had spent so much time selecting. My dear sweet husband then dissolved into laughter, unable to speak for quite some time. Well now I was annoyed. I mean really. In my time of sorrow and defeat he was now laughing at the "special" coffee?

When he was finally able to control himself my dear sweet husband explained to his teary eyed naive new bride that one cannot make instant coffee crystals in a coffee maker.

Oh brother.