Saturday, December 31, 2011

Much to be thankful for in 2011

We have had some much needed time together as a family over the last few weeks.  Christmas this year was a break from the daily routine that goes with having 2 toddlers at home, 2 girls in elementary school, 2 girls in middle school, 1 son in high school and a husband that puts in many hours at work.  I'm so thankful that we have been able to enjoy time together playing, eating, and just "being" as we have been pondering our Saviors birth.

Here are some things that have been happening around our house...

* Buche has been announcing to us his name.  He says his first, middle and last name.   I love to hear his full name come from his mouth.  After he say's his full name, he tells me all of his brothers and sisters full names and then mine and Ryan's.  It's like he has decided in his heart that he is one of us. He is part of this family. It's a hard to explain the beautiful feeling that comes over me as I hear him include our last name when he tells me who what his name is.

*  We've spent time ice skating on our lake.  It is a blessing watching all 7 of my kiddos "play" together on the ice.  B & B think it's quite amazing to walk on the lake.

* A big part of our heritage is Norwegian.  My grandpa was born in Norway and came over as an young teenager.   Part of this heritage is "Krumkake" at Christmas time.  If you don't know that krumkake is - it is a waffle type Norwegian cookie.  It's really, really yummy! This year, when the Krumkake came out our 9 year old wrinkled her nose and said ..."yuck ... Krumkake just doesn't sound good!".  Now, I think it was only our family that was laughing at with her.  "Kahkah" (which sounds like the second half of that cookies' pronunciation) is what our little Ethiopians do in the toilet. :)

*  We were able to celebrate Christmas with family ... grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins... I couldn't ask for more.  I treasure time with family.

*  B & B got a little leap frog "phone" for Christmas.  They walk around the house with it telling us it their i pod.  Guess that is what happens when you have an older brother and sister.

And, we forgot our camera at a Christmas celebration that we were at, or I'd have pictures to share with you ... oh well ... maybe later.

So today, as we close the year of 2011 I can not help but to be overflowing with Thankfulness!  2011 has been a year like none other has been.  So many changes, so many blessings, so much stretching and hopefully  growing has been done over this last year.  It has been a year that seems like emotions have been all over the board!  Bring on 2012... we're ready.  Happy New Year, friends!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Praying for this guy today ...

You may follow Adeye at No Greater Joy Mom already.  She has been advocating for children that are soon to age out of their orphanages.

This is Kyle.  Please join me in praying for him.  Time is running out for this young man. You can read more about him here.

Friday, December 23, 2011

One Year Ago Today ...

  Anniversary's.  There are anniversary's of things that are fun to celebrate and there are anniversary's of days that were very hard days and it's hard for our hearts to think back to those days.   

A few days ago it was my parents anniversary.  They have been married for 41 years.  I am so thankful for the legacy that they are leaving for our family.  I'm sure that they can think back to the last 41 years and come up with many memories.  I love you dad and mom!

Yesterday was the anniversary of Ryan's dad's passing.  Dec 22nd was a hard day.  It had been a few hard months leading up to that day.  It is still a hard day as we think back to that loss.  Words can not do any justice to the pain that is involved when a son looses his dad.

There are new anniversary's that are a part of our lives ... like the anniversary that our sons were relinquished to their orphanage.  Like the day we passed court and an Ethiopian judge said "they are yours". 

I have a special anniversary playing over in my heart today.  

First, let me take you back many years ago.  I first approached Ryan about us adopting like ... 10 years ago or so.  He said no, that was not for us. At times I had given up, but yet there was this tug on my heart that just would not disappear. But waiting is soooooo very hard!

 Speed ahead to December 23, 2010.    At this point God had spoke to Ryan's heart and we had started the adoption process.  We had our home study done and our dossier was submitted to Ethiopia.  One year ago today ... in the afternoon ...I pulled up the "waiting list" of children from our agency.  Children's photos that were waiting to be adopted populated my screen.  And, there they were.  Our sons.  I knew it then.  I know it now.  Emotions have wavered.  Some moments of this journey have hurt my heart like I didn't know a heart could hurt.  Some moments have been the most joyous moments ever.  Some times I have trusted fully in my God who has clearly been writing this story.  Some moments I have grabbed the reigns myself and tried to run the show.  I'm so thankful for an unchanging, always steady God.  I'm so thankful for the family He has blessed me with.

This is it... this is the picture that I first saw.  

I took a picture of my computer screen that displayed this picture and texted it to Ryan.  Then I quickly called him.  You see, we were thinking at this point that we were going to choose to adopt a in (1) one.  It has taken 10 years for Ryan decide this.  But, God had different plans.  He had two amazing little boys on the other side of the world that He already knew where our sons.

When I got Ryan on the phone I said ..."I want you to look at the picture I just texted you and I want you to keep an open mind.  I think I just looked at a picture of our sons".  Sons!!!! as in plural was his response.
It has been an amazing year of growing and stretching and loving more than I ever knew we could.  Jesus has shown up in Mighty Ways!  

Last year (just a day before I saw a picture of my little guys for the first time) I was reflecting in this blog post on how we were preparing for Christmas and pondering when we would welcome our "little one" into our celebration.  

Last year as I sat singing Christmas songs with my family at Church on Christmas Eve I remember closing my eyes and pondering ... would I have our new "little one" on my lap next year on Christmas Eve to sing with me?  God knew  ... it was not a surprise to Him that this Christmas Eve we will have TWO new little ones to join us in singing this Christmas Eve. 

For those of you who are waiting this year ... waiting for your children to come home or for something else... Plain and Simple ...It's hard!   I can not do anything or say anything to change the feelings or make it better.  But I know that strength does rise as we wait upon the One who is writing the story.

 Merry Christmas from our home to yours the Christmas!  May we all ponder the good news and great joy that Jesus is to each of us.

"But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you; You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger".  Luke 2:10-12