Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I went to conferences today with my middle school girles.  They made me proud.  Ryan stayed home with the little boys instead of going to conferences.  One of the boys loves his daddy and usually always picks him over me.  He cried when I left this morning.  Yeah!  Not that I like to see him cry ... and who knows, it might have been because he wanted to go for a car ride.  It might have been because he just woke up.  It might have been for a reason that I can not even dream up.  But ... he cried when I handed him over yelling "mommy".  I'm chalking it up to a successful move forward in attachment.  I'd say it has been a successful morning.  Oh Happy Day ... I love those moments!

Levi at Bring Love In posted a video that I wanted to share with you.  Here it is ....

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bring Love In

Thanks for the emails and comments of encouragement.   I am blessed and thankful.   

It's Friday!  I have to share with you another thing I'm thankful for and blessed to be a part of.  I have blogged in the past about Bring Love In.  Today, I'd just like to draw your attention to them again.  You might know this, but the Benkert family who started Bring Love In live in Addis Ababa and are working on creating forever families right in Ethiopia.  Their plan is to pair widows with orphans and create forever families.  They are working with the Ethiopian government right now on the start up and it looks like things will be complete and ready to open these homes very soon.

How amazingly awesome.  I'm so excited to see how God works out all the details.  I know I'm probably writing to an audience that has seen first hand the devastation that poverty brings.  As we traveled the streets of Addis and greater Ethiopia this year we saw children all over in need.  Adoption is one answer for that need, but I do not believe that it is the only answer.  That make me so thankful for families like the Benkerts who are there and have a vision for things like this.  

If you have not read Levi's blog you should go and check it out here.  He writes from his heart and what I most appreciate about Levi is that he doesn't hold back.  He has recently been sharing life experiences that have shaped his life ... made him who he is today.  He is very transparent and honest in his writing, which I believe is just how we should be.  

I have been privileged and honored to help in Bring Love In in just a small way.  A good friend and I have been working on designing a T shirt and getting it into the store at Bring Love In.   We also get to do the shipping of the store items.  It's so sweet to be a part in a small way of what the Benkerts are doing at Bring Love In.  The store is now open.  There are some awesome bracelets in there right now.  They were made in Ethiopia and are making there way to the states as I am typing this.  The T shirts will be in the store soon.  I'll let you know when we get them in.  

Levi and his sweet wife Jessie have shared with us that they are so thankful for the support that they get - that it's not just money but it helps them feel like they are not alone. So, as you are gearing up for shopping for Christmas remember the Bring Love In store.  

Or, you could help raise the funds needed for a van for Bring Love in.

Or you could hop on Levi's blog and give him a comment of encouragement.  I can only imagine the difficulty that must go with seeing poverty every day.  

Join me in praying for Bring Love In and the Benkert family in Ethiopia.  I'm so excited to watch and see what God does!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bath and Body Works

The boys and I went into Bath and Body works this week.   Not the typical store that I frequent with the boys but I needed a gift for someone.  They did great, but they LOVE to touch everything and with two of them it can get to be very hard to get any shopping done.  To my surprise, they stayed quite entertained at Bath and Body Works.  They like this product...  They were fixate on it ... because they thought it was a picture of Injera!

While they were looking at the "Injera" I was able to have a visit with the sweet gal who was working there ... it felt like a conversation that was meant to be.  She was so encouraging.  She was so sweet.  She understood things that are on my heart.  It felt like an instant connection.  

Then... we went home - and ate Injera for lunch while we took in the smell of Cinnamon and Clove Buds that has our house smelling so good on these rainy fall days that we've been spending inside.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Encourage One Another

We had a much needed weekend away.  Life has felt heavy and I think a weekend together as a family along with some awesome grandparents and  a fabulous uncle is just what we needed.  We headed up north to my parents' cabin.  We spent the beautiful weekend outside.  The fall colors were beautiful.  The fall air was refreshing.  The extra hands to chase little boys was a blessing.  The time spent with teenagers without TV and computers was amazing.  So, first I'll share some pictures with you.

We played some t-ball

And a family game of Volleyball (without the net).  I love having a family big enough to play games like this!

Went on walks and collected things like rocks and sticks (that is what little boys do!)

Went on four wheeler rides with grandpa

and wagon rides behind the four wheeler

Went grouse hunting (or was it a walk in the woods) with uncle Michael

And just plain had a fun, relaxing wonderful weekend :)

Now, onto some thoughts I've had.  As I said above, life seems heavy these days.  Not that it isn't filled with lots of smiles, fun times and joy beyond what I could have dreamed up.  My heart overflows with joy much of the time ... and yet there is a sadness mixed in there too.

I am simply amazed at how each of the kids have adjusted to life.  The little boys are doing great.  They are smart, resilient, amazing little guys.  I am blessed to be their mom.  That doesn't mean there are not struggles.   The big kids have adjusted well.  They help me so much!   Bringing them to Africa with us on our first trip was a bonding time for our family.  It opened their hearts to things that only traveling there could do.  They are so happy to have their brothers home. That doesn't mean there are not struggles.  Our marriage has deepened to a level it has never been.  I'm thankful for that.  That doesn't mean there are not struggles.

But, after traveling to a third world county my heart is heavy.   I can not know the stories of my son's life and not feel a heavy heart. Friends, there are things that are forever etched on my heart ... like a sweet little girl whose hand I held in Ethiopia.  She has a disease that if she does not get the medicine she needs she will die. She needs a medicine that is not accessible to her where she is.  She needs a family to love her and take care of her. Re-entry into a first world country after being in a third country has many challenges.  

And then, as I enter into a "what can we do about it" thought process there seems to be so much tension.  Tension on how to help.  Tension on rules, regulations ... tension on what the right thing to do is.  The picture is so very BIG.  This world can be such a messy place.  

I have friends waiting and then waiting some more to bring home their children through adoption.  I feel for them in that wait.  It is hard!  

I hear stories of children that were trafficked.  It's frustrating.  It's hard to comprehend. I say over and over again ... how does this happen.  It's back to the messy world thought! 

Injustice.  It's simply not okay.  And, it's heartbreaking.

If you have read my blog, I'm guessing you've figured out that I am a Christian. In saying that it means I also admit I am a sinner.  I mess up ... all the time. Another thing that is heavy on my heart is when I see people fighting.  I'm not saying that with a critical spirit.  I hear of people doing amazing things and then I see people being critical of what they are doing.   Time that is spent on being critical of one another rather than encouraging one another.   That is not suggesting that we should not call each other on things we see that are not right.  We need each other.  I need others to tell me when they think I am doing something wrong ... even if I don't like to hear it. I believe we all need that.  But that does not mean we should be working against each other.  We need to work together.  We need to encourage each other.  

Okay ... there is it.  Some things that are heavy on my heart.  

"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you many be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."  Hebrews 3:13

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up"  1 Thessalonians 5:11

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Just Horsing around

My sister-in-law took some great photos of Grace and her horse Montana. Thanks, Tanya!  Nothing insightful to share, although I do have some things on my mind that I'm trying to put into words.  Hopefully soon I'll be able to share those things but for today, it's just pictures ...  and a thankful heart for sweet gifts like Montana.  Thanks again, Shannon.  You've made one little girl smile!

Grace, her daddy and horse.

Grace and her adorable cousin

 Miss Brynn

Grandpa Pete