Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Fun

We've been busy celebrating the season ... the season our Savior was Born.  

We've decorated our Christmas tree.

We've done some reading

Whew! Christmas treats and Apple Cider make Christmas fun.

...and all the treats and celebrating are wearing on this little Princess!

I'm so thankful for the gift of family at Christmas!  We are blessed.

This is my Grandma and Hannah.  It is a blessing to be able to spend Christmas with all of our family. This Christmas my heart smiles as I think about the blessing it is to spend Christmas with my Grandma and Grandpa.   

Grandpa sang while "santa" was visiting us.  I love listening to my Grandpa sing.  My grandpa's winter project is putting together puzzles.  This year, grandma and grandpa had a puzzle that my grandpa put together framed for each of their 11 great grandchildren.  What an awesome memory for us and for our kids.

As we are pondering the birth of Jesus and holding Him in our hearts I can't but help ponder when we will be able to hold our little one and welcome him or her to our celebration.  

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Why Ethiopia?

I had a wise friend tell me why they adopted from Ethiopia.  Her answer when asked why Ethiopia ... "because our son was in Ethiopia."

One of our children is in Ethiopia too.   Right now.  We can't wait to til we can meet our little one.  Check out this video.  (You can turn off the music on the bottom of the page)

Ethiopian Orphans from Simon Scionka on Vimeo.
">Ethiopian Orphans from Simon Scionka on Vimeo.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Room or No Room

The thought of "room or no room" has been drifting in and out of my mind these days.  Partly, because it is the Christmas season.   Part of Jesus's birth in the Christmas story is the Inn keeper telling Mary and Joseph that there is "no room" for them to stay at the Inn.  The Inn Keeper closed the door.  But God opened another.  Not the door that was perhaps expected but the door that God knew would be open all along.

We were together with some dear friends last night, and Ryan mentioned that we looked at doing foster care many years ago.  I remember being really disappointed when we decided that foster care was not for us at that time.  It felt like the door closed.  It felt like we were saying there is "no room" at this Inn.  And, that door did close, but God opened another door.  Not only have we been blessed with some beautiful daughters since we sat at our dining room table with the social worker that was explaining to us how foster care worked in our county, but now the door as been opened for us to adopt from Ethiopia.  I believe God knew what we could handle and when we could handle it.  I'm in awe at how God has been preparing our family to adopt - really for years.

Taking the "room in our Inn" thought to have a much larger meaning, I believe that making room in our Inn could be smiling and encouraging our neighbor.  It could be visiting someone that is in a nursing home.  It could be adopting or doing foster care.  It could be doing some sort of respite care for a friend or supporting another parent having a difficult time with a child.  How about sponsoring a child across the ocean or mentoring a child in our local school district.  What about sitting with someone who is dying, comforting them. There are so many things that are open doors to be the hands and feet of Jesus if we have our hearts and eyes open to see the doors God has opened before us.

So, as I ponder the thought of "room or no room", I am so thankful that God is in charge of all the details.  I'm so thankful that God always opens that doors that should be open.  And, I pray that I keep the door open for what God has planned because I really don't want to miss out on the exciting adventures He has for me - for my family.

Ryan and I watched this video last night together.  It spoke to our hearts and  thought I'd share it with you.  As we think about "room or no room" - I pray we keep in mind the faces that are behind the reason we need to walk through open doors and find room in our Inns.  I am not in any way suggesting adoption is for everyone - but I do believe as Christians we all play a part in caring for each other - in whatever way that looks for each individual person.  Let's together find "room in our Inns".


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Season of Advent

Advent.  The season that Christians all around the world are in a "waiting" period of time.  A season of preparation for the coming celebration of our Saviors birth.  Waiting to celebrate His arrival and what that means to us.  

I looked up the definition of "wait".  One definition was: to stay in place in expectation of.  Another was: to be ready and available.  Another said: to remain stationary in readiness or expectation.

There is such joy in waiting for Christmas.  All the traditions that are done like making lefsa and Christmas cookies, putting up the Christmas tree and making Christmas presents.  Thinking about all the time that will be set aside to gather with all our extended family.  And, what about getting cozy in front of the fire watching our favorite Christmas movies.  Such Joy!  It is my prayer that as all those things are happening, that I remember that it is all in honor of the One who came to this earth as a babe - the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ that we are celebrating.

This year, as we "cozy" up in front of the fireplace sipping hot coffee my mind can not help but go to the millions of orphans around the world.  Those here in America - those in Haiti, Africa, China, the Ukraine - and all around the world.  

My mind wonders to where our little one is.  Where will he or she spend this Christmas?  Maybe with birth family and if that is the case it may be the last Christmas that is spent with birth family.  That makes me sad.   Or, maybe Christmas is spent in an orphanage as his or her heart is wondering what is next.  Maybe our little one will be in an entirely different place or situation that I can even dream up.  Never the less, my heart is with our little one - and the millions of orphans around this world that are hurting and alone.  My heart breaks for birth mothers and birth families who are agonizing over hard decisions that they are having to face.  

So, as I stay in place in expectation of celebrating my Saviors birth I will remain stationary in readiness to to listen to His call and go where he sends me.  My heart longs to be ready and available.  And, I wait in the hope and pray that He sends us to Ethiopia soon to unite with our babe He has there for us.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!  We have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.  Here are just a few that come to my mind.

*  For a God that is amazing and loves us with an everlasting love.  Jeremiah 31:3 "I have 
   loved you with an everlasting love"
*  For my Husband
*  For our Family
*  For my Children
*  For real people who share their life story like the man we heard today at a Fellowship of    
   Christian Athletes event.  
*  For our Friends
*  For clean water
*  For the Food that is on our table
*  For the pile of laundry laying on my floor that needs to be folded
*  For a business that provides income for us
*  For the sink full of dishes that need to be washed
*  For a God who has opened our eyes to the orphan crisis 
*  For the country that we live in 
*  For the bread that is baking in my oven right now
*  For the freedom to worship how we choose
*  For the strength that rises as we wait upon the One who is reigns forever
*  For a babe that lives across the world that we can not wait to hold
*  For the babe that came to save us all.  "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give 
   him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  Matthew 1:21

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Yesterday and Tomorrow

Yesterday morning I sent our authenticated dossier to our agency.  As I was filling out the UPS label to send it off and praying that it makes it to our agency without getting "lost" in the UPS system I was wondering when we would get a letter back from the Department of Homeland Security with the results of our I600.  We had our digital fingerprinting done last Monday - November 8th.  I went home, gathered the mail for the day and there it was!  Yesterday we also received notice that our I600 is complete.

So...  that means that tomorrow, when our agency will receive our dossier that I sent via UPS yesterday we will officially be on the "wait list".

I wonder what today holds?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Things seen and unseen

2 Corinthians 4:18 
"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."

Well,  now that fingerprints are done we are waiting for our USCIS paperwork to come back from that visit we made to the Federal building in Fargo.  We are also waiting for our Dossier to be completed at the Embassy of Ethiopia then we are officially on the "wait list" to meet our little one.  I just bought a gallon of paint and am going to paint the bedroom that is going to be our new little one's bedroom.  It is so exciting and fun to prepare a place in our home for our child.  

As we have been waiting our agency has notified us that there not many families on the "wait list" that are open to a boy over 36 months.  We are open to a boy up to 48 months.  That stirs my heart - and gives me the hope that we will not be waiting long to meet our little one after these last two paperwork pieces come back.  That also saddens my heart to know that just because of a child's age they are "waiting" for a forever family.  That thought makes me think that however long we wait, our wait is not what I need to be thinking about or focusing on.  If we wait for hours - days - months - years to meet our child that is nothing compared to the feeling of the "waiting" that a little heart feels sitting in an orphanage longing for a mom and dad.  

So little one ...  it is my prayer that today and every day that you feel the presence of your heavenly Father holding you - drawing you close to Him.  We are coming to get you. You will have an earthly father and mother and a forever family.  We love you so much. You will have a brother and sisters here on earth to love and play with you.  Most importantly - you have a heavenly Father that loves you perfectly and promises you that He will not leave you as an orphan.  

John 14:18 
"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you"

Saturday, November 6, 2010

We love because

(You'll want to mute the music below to watch this video)

We Love Because from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Count Down

The count down is on.  Nov 10th is the last day to order the new Drawn from Water T Shirt.  All the profit goes to Drawn from Water from the sales of these T shirts.

Go check it out...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's November!

We've had many fun days around our house.   We celebrated the smallest princess in the house's birthday this week.  Greta turned 8!  Happy Birthday, Greta!

And before that we had a few butterflies around collecting candy from friends and family.

And ...  today we sent our Dossier off to the Embassy of Ethiopia!  We have our USCIS fingerprints on Monday.  When those things are back and complete will officially be on the "wait list".  We are getting there.  We're praying for a little one on the other side of the world and it is becoming more real everyday that the time is coming that we will actually get to hold that little one in our arms as well as our hearts.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Orphan Sunday

Orphan Sunday is this Sunday.  Many churches across the country are coming together to look at the needs of orphans through out the world.  I have not attended an Orphan Sunday Event, but I did attend the Christian Alliance for Orphans conference this last spring with some dear friends.  It is powerful to come together for the purpose of serving and advocating for the orphans in the world.

There are many ways that we can advocate for the orphan.  Sponsoring a child, adoption and Foster Care are a few. I wrote about how sponsoring a child in need helped open our eyes to see God's dream for us to adopt here.

There are so many needs out there it sometimes feels overwhelming.   Like Sweet Terraffa who lives at at Drawn from Water who is experiencing some health issues right now.  He is in need of sponsors to pray for him and help support him financially.  And, there are so many more stories out there of orphans in need.

I'm praying for Orphan Sunday 2010 to open eyes to the needs and touch hearts in our family and through out the country.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Walk to Beautiful

It takes some time to watch this, but it shows what many women in Ethiopia have to go through and some amazing people that are helping these women heal.  What struck me, is how even though my circumstances are far different than these women's circumstances, my heart was right there with them.  One lady talked about wanting to be a good wife and mother, and if she could not do that because of this medical issue that she didn't know what to do.  There is a bond between women, even if we are on the other side of the world from each other.

Click here here to watch this special.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Beauty for Ashes

Isaiah 61: 3 "and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

Emotions and Feelings.  Ugh.  Happy/Sad ...  Joy/Despair ... Included/Excluded ... Peaceful/Overwhelmed ...  the list goes on and on.  I've been stressing over things that I didn't need to stress over.  I know in my mind and in His word that the Lord tells me that I can and should go right to Him and most of the time my heart knows that too.  But lately, I'm not sure what it is ... life just seems hard.  So many changes and challenges seem to be happening, which I think are all great.  Each of them are growing and stretching our family.  And then, I have read story after story of orphans being rescued and see the hurt that goes with it.  My heart hears songs like Matthew West's song "My Own Little World" that tells me about there being a "bigger picture" and I feel motivated.  Then the next day, I am still motivated but something happens to make me loose the wind from my sails.  I think often about what our little one is doing right now on the other side of the world.  I think about how when that little one is here with us how that will change the dynamics of our family.  How it will change my marriage and our kids that are here now.  

Then amidst my stewing my best friend came home with some flowers and said, "I love you".  I sure do love that man.

God is so much bigger than how I'm feeling.  He has all the answers I need.  He reminded me - He has promised a crown of beauty for ashes, oil of gladness for mourning and a garment of praise instead of despair and it's all for a display of His splendor.  It is really not about me and how I am feeling.  Not that I'm not important or how I'm feeling is not important - but to God be the Glory.  

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thankful Heart

"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever."  Psalm 30:11-12

I'm so thankful that God sees hurt and heals!  I've been reminded today of how God not only redeems, but turns wailing into dancing!  As I think about our little one in Ethiopia, I'm sure the the story includes wailing as all stories that include adoption do.  I'm so anxious to see how God turns that into dancing.

Today is my mom's birthday.  My dad's birthday was last month.  We usually try to make sure we have dinner together on these special occasions!  Tonight we doubled up and celebrated both Mom and Dad's birthday with Chicken Wild Rice Soup, homemade bread and Apple and Apple Raspberry Pie for desert.  

I remember as a little girl, about 8 years old I asked my Dad what I could bake for him.  He said, how about an apple pie.  My mom was always so patient and let me just dig in and cook and bake in her kitchen.  I called my grandma who was the "pie baker" in our family.  She talked me through and I was able to proudly present my dad with an apple pie that day.  It just reminds me of how much little girls long for approval of their daddies.  I'm so thankful that my Dad has always took such good care of my heart.

And my dear mom.  She is such encouragement to me.  She is (as we all are) wonderfully made.  She keeps life light with her humor and has been a better mom than I could have ever asked for.  I often hear what a neat mom I have from others.  I agree - she is an awesome mom and I am so thankful for her.  

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well"  Psalm 139:14

On another note ...
We got the certified copy of the document that we were waiting on back from the State today!  Yeah.  Now it is the authenticating process and our Dossier will be complete.  We are getting there!  

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Crazy Adoption Mission Trip Giveaway CORRECT information

Oh My!  Please forgive me.  I'm not sure what I was reading or thinking (or not thinking) when I read about My Crazy Adoptions Mission Trip Giveaway yesterday!  I for some reason thought it was only a one day thing.  I believe I was confused with the T shirt that she gave away yesterday - and yesterday only.  There is still time to enter the free mission trip giveaway.  You can still enter!   Here are the details.

Missions Trip Giveaway ENDS 10/28!!!!!!!  Winner announced 11/2 9:00am (CT)

  • Prize: Mission Trip to Ethiopia, February 17-26, 2011
  • Prize value: $3100
  • Number of winners: 2
  • Number of Tee shirts to sell: 183 + 183
  • Ending date of the giveaway: 10/28/10
  • Where it can be won: My Crazy Adoption Blog
  • The prize is from:
  • To enter this giveaway, you can: purchase a tee shirt at My Crazy Adoption Store
Good Luck!


Monday, October 25, 2010

My Crazy Adoption Mission Trip Giveaway

Since we've started the adoption of our child from Ethiopia I started following a blog.  My Crazy Adoption. Check it out.  Kari has amazing stories to share like her recent trip to Ethiopia that lead to finding out more about her daughter she adopted a few years ago.  She is an inspiration to me and is passionate about caring for orphans.

But, right now My Crazy Adoption -  is giving away a mission trip to Ethiopia.  You could win a mission trip to Ethiopia!

Here are the details:

  • Prize: Mission Trip to Ethiopia, February 17-26, 2011
  • Prize value: $3100
  • Number of winners: 2
  • Number of Tee shirts to sell: 183 + 183
  • Ending date of the giveaway: 10/28/10
  • Where it can be won: My Crazy Adoption Blog
  • The prize is from:
  • To enter this giveaway, you can: purchase a tee shirt at My Crazy Adoption Store

Thursday, October 21, 2010


We received a letter today.  We are one step closer to be officially on the "wait list" to bring home our little one. We have an appointment set to go to Fargo and get our digital fingerprints done.  Soooooo exciting!

We also received word from our agency that our Dossier is set.  They had us submit a copy of the Dossier paperwork that they look over before we send it off to be authenticated and they think it all looks good and is ready to go.  We are now waiting for one form to come back from being state certified and then we need to get it authenticated and it is off to Ethiopia with the paperwork.  Can't wait till I can say we are off to Ethiopia!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Drawn from Water Story

Here is a video that tells about Drawn From Water.  The people at Drawn from Water are doing amazing work in the tribes and their love for the children is so evident.  They are being a Father to the Fatherless.

"It Began with Bale" from Drawn From Water on Vimeo.

As I watch the faces of these children and think about the pain that comes with needing to be "rescued" my heart breaks for where our child is right now and what his or her family and friends are going through.  We know that the children living in the orphanage Drawn from Water are not available for adoption but we do know that our child is in a hard place like any child that lives in an orphanage rather than a home with their family.

This website tells me the definition of rescue is "to free from confinement, danger or evil."  It goes on to tell synonyms for the word rescue. 

Deliver - implies the release usually of a person from confinement, temptation, slavery or suffering
Redeem - Implies releasing from bondage or penalties by giving what is demanded or necessary
Ransom - Specifically applies to buying out of captivity
Reclaim - Suggests a bringing back to a former state or condition of someone or something abandoned or debased
Save - May replace any of the foregoing terms; it may further imply a preserving or maintaining for usefulness or continued existence.

After reading that, I am reminded of how I have been rescued too. 

I'm so thankful that the Lord has delivered me and continues to redeem me from myself.  The Lord paid my ransom by sending HIS SON, Jesus Christ to die for me - for you.  I have been redeemed, reclaimed by Him. Thank you for saving me, Lord Jesus.  I am honored to be preserved for usefulness and pray that my continued existence will be for your Glory.

So, again today I entrust the Lord with my life and hand my children over to Him, including a precious little one that I only dream of right now and can not wait to hold. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Another Drawn From Water T Shirt

It's so exciting.  Another Drawn From Water T-Shirt out!  A new design - New Colors - Women's Children's and Men's!  We have put this shirt out as a pre-order sale only.  This shirt is only available for a limited time.  Remember, 100% of profit goes directly to Drawn From Water.  Check it out and order your's at the Drawn From Water Store.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Unfailing Love

Sometimes life seems hard. But I am reminded of God's Unfailing Love for me - for you. The morning does bring word of unfailing love. God does show me the way to go. I'm so thankful for the path that he has created and that not only does my God show me the way to go He has gone before me.

Ryan and I spend a evening at Inspiration Peak this summer. This picture from that evening has reminded me that God shows me His path and that even though there is sometimes only just the beginning of the path clearly shown He will continue to pave the way to take the next steps on the journey of life with Him. I love the flowers along this path. They make me smile. I will will choose to rest in His hands as we journey together.

Psalm 143

A psalm of David.
1 O LORD, hear my prayer,
listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
come to my relief.
2 Do not bring your servant into judgment,
for no one living is righteous before you.
3 The enemy pursues me,
he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in darkness
like those long dead.
4 So my spirit grows faint within me;
my heart within me is dismayed.
5 I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works
and consider what your hands have done.
6 I spread out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.
7 Answer me quickly, O LORD;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD,
for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.
11 For your name's sake, O LORD, preserve my life;
in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
destroy all my foes,
for I am your servant.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Eribo Kala

Have you checked out Drawn from Water's Child Sponsorship? We are honored to be praying for a specific child in the orphanage - Eribo Kala. What a cutie!

Go to and check it out. There are still kiddos that need people to commit to pray for them along with helping support them financially.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Phone Call from ...

Today is September 29th, 2010. The morning has been filled with washing clothes, cleaning house and tackling putting our dossier paperwork together so that we can be put on the wait list to bring home our child from Ethiopia.

And then ... the phone rang. Seeing that the number was a 1-800 number I hesitated to answer. I am feeling behind on my "to-do" list and didn't really want to be interrupted by a "pesty" telemarketer ... and then have to listen to their long sales pitch on why I should donate to "their" cause. Pridefully, I justified where we have donated money and why I didn't need to even listen to what the person on the other end of the phone had to tell me about.

But, I picked up the phone. The conversation started like this, "Hello, Ma'am I'm calling for the _______ _______ and would just like 90 seconds of your time. Would you please let me share a little bit about what we do and why we need donations, as well as how you can help?" The organization that he works for helps raise funds for athletes with Downs Syndrome. Downs Syndrome is very close to my heart as I've been following a website of orphans in the Ukraine that have downs syndrome and need a forever family. I've even wondered at times if we are supposed to be looking at adopting a child on this website as I sit at my computer and the tears stream down my checks looking at these beautiful faces.

But, I have to admit, my tone was a bit harsh as I replied to this man on the phones request as I said "Okay", thinking how I was wasting my time and probably his by even listening to what he had to say. After he got done sharing I said, "I need to pass at this time". And he asked, "why?". Now, not thinking I really owed this guy any explanation, I explained that we had already decided where we were going to put our donation budget hoping this would force him to say "goodbye" and hang up. Then, I told him that we were adopting from Africa. To which he started really talking ...

This man on the other end of the phone started sharing with me that his wife is adopted from Korea and how adoption is close to their hearts. Then he asked, "where in Africa are you adopting from?" So, I explained that we are bringing home our child from Ethiopia. The man, who was nameless to me still at this point said ... that's cool, I'm from Ethiopia - have you thought about what you are going to name your child? I'm thinking at this point ..."why on earth is this guy asking me what we are going to name our child. He is supposed to be getting donations for the organization he is working for!" I was silent, he continued to share with me that the first day that he was born his parents named him Ephriam. His mother didn't like that name. So, the second day after he was born they named him Alexander. His father didn't like that. The third day he was named Benjamin and that is the name that he goes by today. At this point I was a bit speechless. I blogged about how God's has already used Benjamin here. I managed to tell him that we are open to a child aged up to 4 years old and had really been thinking about how to rename a child, what that meant to the child and how to include the Ethiopian linage etc. Benjamin was not speechless. He continued to share many more things with me. Like that his name translates to Biniam in Ethiopia. That his middle name is Melese which he said means "return". He explained that Melese was his fathers name and in Ethiopia they like to pass on names to their children and that in Ethiopia children are often named because of an event that is happening at the time they are born. When his father was born, his grandparents had been separated and just were reunited. It was a "returning" of their love. That is how his father was named Melese, meaning return. He talked about how sometimes Ethiopian children are named a name that means "Until something happens" when they are born. He said the name, but I didn't write it down. It sounded something like "Momal". Then when something happens, their name is changed to a name whose meaning describes whatever happened. He laughed as he joked with me that some children grow old with that name that means "until something happens" - like his grandfather - because nothing must have happened.

Then he shared that he has a half sister in Ethiopia still that is he trying to bring home. Her name ... Rachael. He told me what Rachael meant in Ethiopia, but I didn't catch it. It was an amazing phone call and I was overwhelmed. I was taking as many notes down on the scratch piece of paper as I could.

Benjamin shared with me that I need to see the movie "The Athlete" that is about a 1964 Ethiopian to win a Gold Metal in the Olympics. He told me to make up some Doro Wat and Injera to get used to Ethiopian food dishes. Benjamin told me about his love for goat cheese. I love goat cheese! And, then he shared that his mother is Irish and he thought it was quite neat that our family with an Irish last name would be bringing an Ethiopian into our home.

Benjamin shared his excitement for our family as we walk through the steps of bringing home our child. He told me that he wishes us the best on our journey as we ended the conversation and hung up. He never brought up the organization he was working for after his question of "why" are you not donating to this cause? I didn't buy the magazine subscription he was originally calling about.

So, I got a phone call today. From an Ethiopian named Benjamin Melese ... and a confirmation from the Lord that we are walking down the journey we are called.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Change of Seasons

Change of seasons. Summer seems behind us. Autumn is here. Another year of fun in the water is done.

Zachary loves to wakeboard. It is has been fun to watch him work hard, be brave and progress in the sport over the last years. Tonight, I am thankful for the joy that being a mom brings.

I'm looking forward to the leaves changing, the air changing, the seasons changing, the lake changing, the relationships with my family and friends growing and a God that is unchanging.

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Hebrews 13:8

Friday, September 17, 2010

Drawn from Water Child Sponsorship

Beautiful faces. Beautiful Children. Drawn from Water just launched their Child Sponsorship for the children that live in their orphanage. You can meet the precious children here.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Faith and Fear

The last few weeks have been out of the ordinary for me. They have been a blessing. I was able to spend last Tuesday through Labor day with my dad, mom and brother. We were on a mission searching for a bear - yes, we were bear hunting.

Even my mom went out in the stand one night. We played cribbage. We laughed. We had lots of fun. I can not remember the last time I sat around the table and ate meals with my dad, mom and brother. I felt like time had stepped back 30 years. I even got to bunk in a bunk bed with my "little" brother one night! How fun is that. I realized again that I am truly blessed. Thanks mom, dad and Michael. It was an awesome week!

Before I left a friend blogged about distance making the heart grow fonder. It hit home. While away from Ryan and the kids, I missed them so much! But, I love coming home after being gone. It brought many hugs, "I love You's", smiles and stories of what happened while we were apart. It is easy for me to fall into daily routine and forget about what is really important - Precious hearts and a longing for interaction and bonding. I was reminded of the story of Martha and Mary. I read Luke 10:38-42. I was reminded again that I am truly blessed.

Thanks Ryan for letting me get away. Looks like you had fun at LifeLight! You are an amazing husband. Thanks for sending me your picture - and pictures of the kids.

I missed you Zachary, Amanda, Hannah, Grace and Greta.

I had about 5 hours of driving to and back home from the hunting cabin. Before I left I had downloaded an audio book that had just come out by Anne Jackson - "Permission to Speak Freely" It was a great book - I'd highly suggest it. It spoke a lot about confession.

When I got home I started catching up with laundry, cleaning house, getting kiddos ready for school, and reading a few blogs that I missed while I was away. I read a blog that I have been following. This family was going through some really hard times in their life and it was in relation to the adoption of their little boy. Fear gripped me. I moved on to the next blog. Another blog - Another family that was going through a trying time. It did not explain details, but was obvious that something is happening. Fear gripped me again. I have a confession. For the first time since we started the adoption process I found myself fearful. Fearful that we have made the wrong decision. Fearful that we will bring hurt and pain to our family as we know it. Fearful that we are shaking up something that we should not be. Fearful that there will be enough time to take care of another precious heart in this home - and what that will do to the precious hearts that already live here. Fearful that financially this was not the right timing. Fearful of what this will do to my marriage. I began "dreaming up" the what-ifs and began to create situations in my head that do not even exist.

Then I was reminded - Faith, Rachael. Faith. Mountains move when you have faith. I am excited to move forward. We have a home study visit tomorrow to complete our home study. I'm working on Dossier paperwork. One foot in front of the other I will have faith. It is in God's hands. He will take care of it. I will have Faith and let go of fear. My heart longs to grow deeper in relationship with my husband and kids. To continue to grow deeper in relationship all my family and friends. My heart longs to hold the child we do not yet know and grow in relationship with him or her while watching God continue to show me the house He is building. My heart longs to be more like Mary at the feet of Jesus.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The House Your Building

God has been speaking a lot through music, lately. Songs seems to fall in my lap and it seems like they are written just for me - even though most of the time I do not even know the musician! I came upon a song this last week titled "Show me" by Audrey Assad. She has a beautiful voice and it has beautiful lyrics.

You could plant me like a tree beside a river
You could tangle me in soil and let my roots run wild
And I would blossom like a flower in the desert
But for now just let me cry

You could raise me like a banner in a battle
Put victory like a fire behind my shining eyes
And I would drift like falling snow over the embers
But for now just let me lie

Set me like a star before the morning
Like a song that steals the darkness from a world asleep
And I'll illuminate the path You've laid before me
But for now just let me be

Bind up these broken bones
Mercy bend and breathe me back to life
But not before You show me how to die
Oh, not before You show me how to die

So let me go like a leaf upon the water
Let me brave the wild currents flowing to the sea
And I will disappear into a deeper beauty
But for now just stay with me
God, for now just stay with me

The title of her album is "The House your Building". I am so excited for what God is building up our house to be. I am reminded again of the need to die to myself and look the the Lord. As we walk through these days of paperwork, paperwork and more paperwork ... while we are waiting, sometimes patiently and sometimes very impatiently I am thankful that God is building up our home and preparing us for our next child's arrival to be with us. I know God is working on my marriage - I know God is working on my relationship with each of our five children. I know God is preparing a very special place in our hearts for our sixth child. God is amazing!

Monday, August 2, 2010


Ethiopia, Africa. I can not wait to travel across the world to bring home our child. Until then, we are learning all we can about Ethiopia. We have some dear friends that are celebrating bringing home their son from Ethiopia a year ago. Tammy made an amazing Ethiopian meal for us and some other friends last night. It was yummy! We had injera and doro wat along with some other Ethiopian dishes. We are learning that injera is not only a type of bread, but it is a eating utensil. In Ethiopia this spongy, sour flatbread is used to scoop up meat and vegetable stews. Injera also lines the tray on which the stews are served, soaking up their juices. Injera is made out of teff flour, which is high in protein and flourishes in the highlands of Ethiopia. Doro Wat is a spicy Ethiopian chicken dish. It is so fun to be learning about and soon to be very connected to the Ethiopian culture.

Ryan and I ate out at an Ethiopia restaurant a few months ago. Here is a picture of our meal.

After the meal last night we had a sweet time with friends. I'm so thankful for all of our friends. We are blessed.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


"Come" answered Jesus. So Peter got out of the boat and started walking on the water to Jesus." Matthew 14:29

A devotion from Rick Warren that I read last week talked about how Peter stepped out of the storm-tossed boat and for a moment got a glimpse of what trusting in his Father was. Warren went on to say that as we step out of our own apparent insecurity we see that following Jesus is the way that we find our true security.

It spoke to me loudly. The last few weeks have been filled with some doubt and insecurity. Getting through adoption paperwork has been hard at times. Reading more and more about the loss that every child that is adopted goes through breaks my heart. Hearing life stories from friends that are grieving the loss of biological parents makes me so sad. I wonder why any child has to go through this hard place. This world is such a hard place.

As I was driving home from bringing my daughter to tennis a song came on the radio.

By Bebo Norman

God, my God, I cry out
Your beloved needs You now
God, be near calm my fear and take my doubt
Your kindness is what pulls me up
Your love is all that draws me in

I will lift my eyes to the Maker
of the mountains I can't climb
I will lift my eyes to the Calmer
of the oceans raging wild
I will lift my eyes to the Healer
of the hurt I hold inside
I will lift my eyes, lift my eyes to You

God, my God, let mercy sing
her melody over me
and God, right here all I bring
is all of me
Your kindness is what pulls me up
Your love is all that draws me in

'Cause You are and You were and You will be forever
the Lover I need to save me
'Cause You fashioned the earth and You hold it together, God
so hold me now

God reminded so gently, that I am His beloved. My husband is his beloved. My biological children are His beloved and the child that I hold in my heart for now is His beloved. God has everything under control.

When I got home, I searched my bible to find a verse about what the Lord has to say about His beloved. The verse I looked up was Deuteronomy 33:12. It says, "About Benjamin he said: Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders." I will hang on to that promise. I am so thankful that God does shield me and my family. I can rest secure in Him- right between His shoulders is an awesome place to be.

But, as I was reading this I needed to look up who Benjamin was. I had forgotten. So, I turned to Genesis 35:16. The subtitle of the verse hit me hard. "Death of Rachel, birth of Benjamin."

Genesis 35:16-18 "Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. 17 And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, "Don't be afraid, for you have another son." 18 As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son Ben-Oni. [a] But his father named him Benjamin."

Rachel in the bible died giving birth to her second son, Benjamin. Now, I am not worried that I am going to physically die. The Lord has shown me that I need to die to myself - and that is a daily thing. I need to let God be the one that controls my life. After all, He has much more beautiful plans for my life than I could ever dream up. I will adopt God's dreams. Bebo Norman's album with the song "I will lift my eyes" on is entitled "Between the dreaming and the coming true". I can't wait to continue to watch God's dreams come true.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Abba Father - "Daddy"

I just had a week of precious time spent with my family. My husband, our kids, my brother and sister-in-law and my mom and dad spent the 4th of July week at my dad and mom's new cabin they are building. It was so much fun!

I love spending time with my Dad and Mom. My mom is an encouragement to me. She has shown me what love is in many ways. I remember when I was pregnant and in labor with our first child, one of the things that I was feeling was ... I just want my mom. I'm not sure what she could do at that point, but just having a mother's heart close is a comfort. She will always hold a very special place in my heart and I love her so much.

As the days were passing this week and now especially since I have been home I have been thinking particularly about Dad's. I love my daddy. Even though I'm now an adult, married with children of my own, he is still my daddy. He has shown me unconditional love. He has shown me what it means to feel safe and protected. He has always taken care of me and I know he always will.

I went to the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit that was held in MN this last April. Peder Eide lead worship one of the days. He lead us in singing "Abba I belong to you" as we raised our hands as if we were asking our daddy to pick us up.

The lyrics are:
Abba I belong to You,
I belong to You.
Abba Father.
Abba I belong to You,
I belong to You.
Abba Father God.

I kneel now,
And feel how I've felt here before.
This pausing,
Is causing my heart to explore.
Why when I'm weary so often you seem far away,
Still I will say.

I do realize that I am blessed to have a daddy here on earth that has shown me love and protected me. It saddens me to think about all the children on this earth that can not say the same, for whatever reason their daddy here on earth is unable to care for them.

That is when Peter Eide's song started playing in my heart. We belong to a Father that loves us so much. So much that He was willing to send His son to die on a cross for us so that we can have eternal life with Him. Abba Father - "daddy". It is my prayer that all the children that are "Fatherless" here on earth will feel the awesome presence of their Abba Father - "daddy" they belong to.

I love watching our five kids with my husband. The daddy in our house is fun and spontaneous. Our kids love to play with him. It has been a blessing to see the love he has for his kids as we journey through life. It will also be a blessing to see love grow between our child that we bring home from Ethiopia and his or her daddy.

It saddens me that adoption starts in a place of hurt for each child. I can not wait to meet the child that God has picked out to be part of our family and watch how God can redeem that place of hurt. And, as we continue down this journey to our child, I want to continue to live the words of Isaiah 1:17. "Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless"