Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Happy 1st Day of Advent and World AIDS day

Hello all! Just wanted to wish everyone a happy start to the advent countdown. Bethany was so excited to put up the first piece of her advent calendar this morning. She didn't quite understand that she has to do one a day but hopefully after 25 days she'll get the hang of it.
Our Thanksgiving was great and we ate like pigs. Then we got our tree the next day and started decorating. I'm one of these people who likes to get the tree and decor up asap so I can enjoy it before it has to come down. I was disappointed to skip a personal tradition this year... Black Friday. I'm also one of these people who LOVES to get into all the shopping mess the day after Thanksgiving. I get energy from all those people fighting over gifts and scampering from one store to another trying to be one of the first 100 people so they can get a free snow globe at the door! I was grumpy for missing it but then perked up once we went tree hunting!
It was truly a special time decorating this year. It's Bethany's first year that she's really interested in all the Christmas hoopla and she is really into it. She loves all the nativities and arranging the animals in their special places. Poor baby Jesus doesn't get nearly as much attention as the camels, sheep, and donkeys! She decorated her little pink tree in her room and I'm sure it will be knocked over by the end of next week. She can't keep her little hands away from the ornaments! We have so much to be thankful for this season, my heart is full.

Today is also World AIDS day. Being an HIV case-manger and always having a special place in my heart for this cause, I wanted to bring attention to it. Many right here are thriving and living a "normal" life. But all over the world, millions are dying because the lack of medical care and medications. So, say a prayer today for those who are battling this disease and lack the resources to control it.

Pregnancy update: I'm 28 weeks and still doing well. I failed my first glucose test but passed the next one with flying colors (thank goodness)! I did not want to have to deal with a diabetic diet during the holidays. The weeks are starting to fly by now and we have only a few weekends "free" before the baby comes. I have several things that need to get done by then and we need to convert the guest room into babies room! Exciting stuff around here. I'll keep posting the progress!

Monday, November 02, 2009

This month in pictures

Baby bump at 23 weeks

Family Photo after my birthday dinner. Monty is never in the pic because he can't behave, but he did okay in this picture.

Miss B at the pumpkin patch picking out her pumpkin

Gutting the pumpkin for our jack-o-lantern. It was her first pumpkin carving!

Mom was the offical carver but couldn't have done it without her helper.

Daisy the cow came to her school fair. She and some of her classmates enjoyed Daisy while the rest of the kids ran from her!

The finished pumpkin, it says "Trick or Treat"

Cinderella and Lighting McQueen at the Aldersgate UMC "Trunk or Treat"

The Fairy Godmother, Prince Charming and Cinderella on Halloween:)

Who knew the Fairy Godmother had such hip friends; Priscilla and Dr. Carlos Acosta?

We had a busy but fun-filled October! It was Bethany's first holiday that was really fun and enjoyable for her. She really had fun dressing up and trick or treating. Hope your October was as good as ours!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pregnancy update and Happy Halloween

It's time to update all on the pregnancy. I am days away from my sixth month!!! I can't believe that time has went by this fast. We've had a lot going on and since we have a 2 1/2 yr old to keep us busy, this pregnancy has flown by. For those of you that don't know, it's a GIRL! We're excited that we will have two little girls and that Bethany will have a sister to journey through life with. I know from personal experience how special a sister relationship is and I'm glad my girls will have that. Joey is very excited to be getting another girl. He and Bethany have such a sweet relationship and she's such a daddy's girl, that he is excited to experience that again. We always felt like our Ethiopian baby would be a boy, so we still feel like God has a boy in the cards for our family too.
Thankfully, I have not had any problems thus far and hope it is uneventful and unlike my last pregnancy. So much of this pregnancy has been different than the last and that's a good thing! She is a very active baby and has been hurling kicks at me since about 16 weeks. When other moms are still trying to figure out if what their feeling is baby, I'm watching my stomach move in waves as my baby rolls around in my belly. She is measuring a week ahead, putting her due date at Feb. 14-16. We are still debating baby names but have it narrowed down to two names! I'll post baby bump pics soon. I download my pics at the end of each month and we still have Halloween to capture for October! I know it's a little OCD, but I don't like to mess up my picture files:)

Monday, September 14, 2009

A day I'll never forget

So, the day I dread weeks before it comes is finally here. September 14. There have been some years that got close to me forgetting the date but it's never just come and gone without a second thought. It looms around and shadows the whole first part of my September. It's the day my mom left this life and entered eternity. A day that will always be at the top of my list for one of the greatest privileges of my life along with one of the greatest losses of my life. Nothing can quite describe the honor I felt to be next to my mom, after a 2 year battle with breast cancer and a month of hospice, as she took her final breath and met her Jesus face to face. I wish this day was filled with the memories of the years that she spent cheering me on, encouraging me to be a Godly woman, watching her carry my little sister and giving birth to her, watching her grow in her faith, and loving her family unconditionally. But today I always remember the end and the fight and the struggle and the days that led up to her last moments on earth.

As other hard things are going on in our lives today, I needed this day to roll around to remind me that God is faithful to those who love him. He has a plan to give us good and to prosper his children. In my mother's death I learned those lessons. That she didn't really have the losing end of the deal, but the most glorious. She got to be in the presence of the Almighty God that had created and loved her since the beginning of time. He showed that love by dying on the cross for her while she was still a sinner. Her death was not in vain. It was used to turn the hearts of people back to God. I've seen those changed lives. Today, I needed to be reminded that God loves me and you in that same way. He has plan, even in our brokenness.

Mama, I'm overwhelmed with the knowledge that I never have to question where you are. I knew that you were a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ and that was the most important gift you could have given to me. Assurance in your salvation. I've realized that anyone can make an impression but it's much harder to make an impact. You certainly impacted the world around you. I'm proud to call you my mother. I love you and miss you more than any words can express...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ready to Share with the blog world...

So our family has some BIGGGGG news! I was reluctant to announce this news for a while because it was a BIG surprise and it took some getting use to. I wrote my previous post right after finding out this news and you can see how God was working it out in my heart and mind. In our family's heart and mind, too. Well..... we're expecting another baby!

Yes, you read it right. I'm pregnant. It's exciting now but it was a big shock. Since we are in the last stages of our adoption we didn't know how this would all work out and what God was doing in our lives.

On the issue of adoption, we are still pursuing. It's a kind of wait and see what happens but it could be delayed or we could continue from here on out. Our Ethiopian child has become such a part of our lives since last September when we ended our "paper chase". We have grown this baby in our hearts and prayed unceasingly for this child. So that thought of abandoning this adoption was heartbreaking. But God called us to this child and we anxiously await the arrival of our son or daughter.

On the issue of pregnancy, I am really excited now. Joey and I both are! Thankfully, I have not had any problems thus far and it seems to be uneventful. With Bethany I was already having issues and problems by this point. I will be 15 weeks on Monday. Joey did an ultrasound this week and the baby is measuring a week ahead which is great! Bethany was always smaller than she should have been. He/She is very active in there. I'm not able to feel the baby yet but we could barely get the measurements on the ultrasound because he/she was soooo active! This one will keep me on my feet!

We never imagined having 3 children in our home at this point! But God has other plans. I guess he wanted our children to have each other when we left for the mission field. We can't wait to see how all this turns out and what the Lord has in store for us! Please pray that we will find God's direction easily and that our household will make an easy transition with all the changes that will occur.

Father's Day with Dad at the hospital.
Before our big news
Happy Father's Day x2!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I will trust in YOU

So it's been a while since I've really updated... sorry about that. I know I have a few faithful readers but most of you are faithful friends too, so my news really isn't news. But I do like to share my thoughts.

We were in Memphis last month and got to meet some really neat people doing mighty work for God in some of the worst areas of our nation. It was really encouraging to meet these docs and teachers and pastors. We had a really good conversation with the "chaplain" of Christ Community Clinic. Hang with me on this story because it's so applicable to life.

Nathan was telling the story of how he and his family moved into the area and felt a peace about doing something that seemed totally illogical to most everyone, even themselves. He was telling us about the story of the Israelites that Moses had led out of slavery in Egypt to the desert. God had promised them a land flowing with milk and honey. A land that was rich and plentiful. They had wondered in the desert for 40 years questioning God. Finally, God told Moses to send spies into the land and bring evidence of the milk and honey back. So, spies went in and brought back branches bearing fruit. They gave the account and said that it was true, this was a prosperous land. But there were giants in there. They could never defeat this great city. They grew angry at God and said they would rather return to Egypt and live in slavery rather than die fighting this battle or wondering the desert.

That is so like us people. We see God move and don't believe. We experience His miracles and still question. And when he brings us to our promise we would rather return to being a slave in sin and disbelief and distrust. Over centuries in time this still holds true to the human condition.

God did eventually bring them to that promised land. And they marched around that city for 7 days and shouted and the walls came tumbling down! Who would have thought that would be the way God would bring them to their land. Without a weapon used.

I needed to be reminded of that this week. I needed to remember that God doesn't bring me to something and then back away from it. He accomplishes His plan but it's usually much different than I expect but it's also more glorious.

Romans 8:28
And we know that all things for for the good of those who love God and are called according to HIS purpose.

Here's some pictures from our Memphis trip

Baptism House Church style.... in the back of a truck

Memphis Redbirds Game ( we all just happened to be wearing yellow, it wasn't planned)

Joey and Bethany at Overton Park enjoying a sunny Sunday

Me and my girl seeing the Peabody ducks
She had to wear her Memphis Zoo shirt everyday...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Need your phone number!!

Hey Everyone,
So, I washed my phone and lost all my numbers!  AGAIN!  Last time it was Joey's phone, this time it was mine.  Please send me an email with your number or send a text or better yet, call me!  I need to get these back in the phone.  Some of ya'll might get this again on facebook.  Please get me your numbers.  Hope everyone's doing well.


Thursday, April 09, 2009

My Redeemer LIVES!

I really have a deep sense of unity and bond with the body, or church, of Christ on Christian holidays. Something just amazes me about the fact that not only is my family honoring and remembering Christ on a particular day, but so are others all around the world. Others that I have no common bond with, I don’t speak their language or eat their food. I don’t look like them or live under the same circumstances, but I am bonded to them in an unexplainable way. One day I will be ushered into the presence of God and worship the great I Am with every tribe and nation and all these differences won’t matter. There’s something powerful about that. I was reminded this past Sunday, Palm Sunday that the Kenyan’s, Filipinos, Peruvians, and Panamanians were doing the same thing that our church body was doing. Probably swaying Palm Branches and reading the account of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

“The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the King of Israel!”
John 12:12-13

It made the beginning of the Holy Week all the more special. Holy week is such a special time in the Christian calendar. It really sums up the hope that’s found in being a follower of Christ. As Good Friday approaches, I hope all who read this take time to reflect Christ sacrifice on the cross and the glorious hope that’s found in that empty tomb!

“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”
Luke 24:1-6

Last year I listed my favorite song on this Easter post. This year I’m switching it up and posting the video to my second favorite song!
Check out the song and video here…..


Sunday, April 05, 2009

4 referrals this month!

I am so excited for the Bethany families that got referrals this month. It was a little disappointing not to see any families getting referrals last month, so I am over the moon that children are getting forever families and families are getting gifts from above. Congrats to everyone.
This also means we move up on the list!!! By my calculations, we could get a referral by the end of summer. But hey, who am I to calculate? The last time I calculated I would be getting a referral this month! Anything can change with international adoption. But I'm praying for loads of referrals each month.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Slumdog Craze

Although I haven't seen Slumdog Millionaire yet, it was definetly a hit at the Oscars last week. Now I can't say I condone the 2 young cast members that were actually cast out of a slum in Mumbai, but that's a post for another day. I was just glad to see that something bringing awareness to the world's need was winning awards, and not just another movie to add to the "trash" list. Anyone, who has ever went to another country and worked in or saw a slum in their travels is deeply..... touched, for lack of a better word. Something just doesn't seem right with the world when you examine your resources and see the vast needs of so many. It feels really unfair and can bring an overwhelming feeling of guilt. More than anything, this one issue of poverty has challenged my faith. Unlike Slumdog Millionaire, most of those living in the slums don't strike it rich with a million and end the struggles of their lives. But there is a hope for them. And really for all of us who struggle in our circumstances. Whatever they may be.

I ran across this clip last week and have been meaning to write this post since, but it's a true story of a slum dweller in Nairobi, Kenya. Listen to what she has to say....

Agneta's Story

The bible teaches us that as believers we have hope, not only hope, but an inheritance!

"In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.... though now you for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of triials. these have cocme so that your faith... may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus is revealed." 1 Peter 1: 3-7

Sweet Agneta knows trails that many of us may never face. As the body of Christ, we need to join in the suffering of Agnus and those like her, and pray for them to share the hope they have found despite their circumstances.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ethiopia's children

This is a very moving article that our Social worker sent to us. It's long, but very good. I was crying at the end... no surprise there!

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — One year ago Aschalew, Genet and Yesalemush Kinfe were three of the Developing World’s 143 million orphaned and abandoned children. These Ethiopian siblings had been housed for seven years in two separate orphanages after the tragic death of their father, and the ensuing reality that their poor, blind mother was incapable of caring for them.
Aschalew, the 17-year-old brother of Genet, 15, and Yesalemush, 14, was settling into a harsh reality. He and his sisters would soon be past adoption age, and they would be forced to fend for themselves in the crowded alleyways of Addis Ababa, the fourth-largest city in Africa.
After many years of praying for a family, it was time for “plan B.”
Aschalew, trying his hardest as the big brother to help his sisters see hope in the future, was studying hard for the Ethiopian national exams. Unfortunately, he rarely saw his sisters, who were housed in another orphanage. Often Aschalew would try to allay his worry for Genet and Yesalemush through his evening prayers.
While the pages of Ethiopian history are filled with stories of old world glory from ancient cities like Gondar and Aksum, the nation — said to be birthed from progeny of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba — is much different now.
Around 40 percent of the population of Ethiopia lives in abject poverty, largely the result of almost 20 years of a brutal socialist regime. Nearly every street in Ethiopia is sandwiched in by roadside shanties with people begging and pleading for enough money to feed their children for one more day.
This is the fate of many of Ethiopia’s orphans and was the worst fear of the Kinfe siblings.
Enter Liberty University
Half the world away, God was still working on “Kinfe plan A.”
Liberty University was in the middle of Spiritual Emphasis Week, led by evangelist David Nasser. Thousands of students were piled into the Vines Center with open hearts, praying for the Lord to do something miraculous during this beginning-ofthe- year revival.
Nasser was challenging the student body to match their actions with their confessions through a special offering that would be taken on the following evening, with all the money going toward changing the destiny of people for Christ around the globe.
Nasser showed a picture of three Ethiopian teenagers he had learned about through Scott Brown, the Executive Vice President of the Gladney Center for Adoption, and said that the money collected could be used to make a difference in these three orphans’ lives. It could be used to move this sibling group from “unlikely to be adopted” to “likely to be adopted.” All that would be left was to find a family.
The next night just over 4,000 Liberty students donated a staggering $80,000.
Kristin Wolfe, an LU senior, was in the crowd during Nasser’s presentation.
“When they showed the picture of the three kids, I said to myself, ‘I have to call my family.’” Before the final “amen” Kristin had sent a text message to her mother in Michigan.
Kristin’s parents, Randy and Kathy, had just visited an adoption agency two days earlier as the next step in a journey that had begun with a Thanksgiving conversation between Randy, Kathy, Kristin, Brad and Bonny about the prospect of the Wolfes adopting.
In a fantastic act of sovereignty, involving a family of five Michiganders, thousands of students in Virginia, and three unaware kids in Ethiopia, God was conspiring a miracle of reconciliation. It was Psalm 27:10 in action: “When your mother and father leave you, the Lord will take you up.”
Ten months later I travelled to Ethiopia with the Wolfes to retrieve their three newly adopted children, an adoption fully funded by the student body of Liberty University, and I watched the miracle.
In only one year after their initial Thanksgiving adoption conversation the Wolfes had to buy a larger dining table for Thanksgiving 2008. The five-member “Wolfepack,” as they call themselves, had become “eight” thanks to the generosity of Liberty’s students.
“It’s interesting how many times we’ve been asked, ‘Is it overwhelming that you’re adopting three kids? Is it overwhelming that they’re from Ethiopia, they’re learning English, they’re teenagers, you already have these three kids, they’re all gonna be in college?’” said Randy. “And really, none of that is terribly overwhelming for us. What has overwhelmed us is that these [Liberty] kids did what they did.”
Liberty helps secure their future
So that the “university might match the generosity of its students,” Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. has offered fulltuition scholarships to each of the Kinfe siblings should they choose to attend Liberty University.
Aschalew, a studious devourer of books, received high scores on the Ethiopian national exams, which makes it no surprise that he read for nearly the entire 16-hour flight to the United States.
“After he read each of the magazines on the airplane, he started reading the air sickness bag, then the safety instructions, so we finally let him borrow a book,” recalls his brother, Brad.
When Randy told Aschalew of his scholarship to Liberty University, his face was painted with a cheekto- cheek smile as he said, “Does that mean I get to read books?”
Randy Wolfe placed his hand on the shoulder of his African son and said, “Liberty University is the college where Kristin and Brad go to school. Chancellor Falwell has granted you, Genet, and Yesalemush the ability to come to school to learn as much as you want. You’ll have books and whole libraries. You’ll have teachers and professors. Whenever you’re ready, it’s available to you, as much learning and as much study as you want.”
Aschalew cried.
Later on, I was sitting with the three kids in the living room of the Ethiopian Guest Home, and I asked each of them about what they were feeling and thinking about their new family.
Genet fought through her broken English to say, “We love them, and we’re happy that we’re going to be their family.”
Aschalew said in better English, “I love them. They are a wonderful family, and words cannot express what they have done for us.”
Yesalemush said something I’ll never forget: “I’m so happy … I am praying that my friends in the orphanage to also have a family.”
Genet chimed right in, “Can we find family for our other friends?”
Through the beginning of tears I replied, “We will try.”
One week later I read an Associated Press article citing the State Department’s latest adoption statistics: “The number of foreign children being adopted fell 12 percent in the past year, reaching the lowest level since 1999.”
I thought, while we can’t solve all the world’s problems and save all the world’s children, we must do something. This time, we changed the lives of three.
Hopefully, this is just the beginning.

Monday, February 16, 2009

"Anyone who lovs his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me;
anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
whoever finds his life will lose it and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The blizzards of the deep south!

So, we got our first (probably only) snow of the year. It's been horrible reading about all the blizzards up north. My thoughts are with some of my friends up there braving it. I thought I'd share our "inclement" weather with the cyber world! Don't laugh, but the stores were packed the night before with people buying bread and milk. For those who don't know much about us southerners, we like to buy our bread and milk at the first mention of snow or ice. My grandmother actually came the night before and was scared she may get "snowed in". She's a bit of a drama queen on top of our heightened sense of fear of black ice!

The first pic is B on our porch. You can tell the sky's gray, right? That can be scary, maybe.
Next pic, the snow covered ground! B and her best bud and neighbor, Lu. No snowmen for B and Lu:( That's Momo's car in the back. Needless to say, she left later that day and made it home fine!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Joys of a Two year old!

Sorry it's been so long updating the blog with pictures and updates on our current life! I still hope to blog Kenya some more but right now it's a daunting task. On January 11, 2009 my baby turned 2 years old! The time has flown by with her and it's been hard on me to move on from the baby stage. She had a Clifford the Big Red Dog party and all the kids from the residency program and good friends from the neighborhood were there to celebrate, too. It's challenging to plan a winter party because we can't do anything outdoors and our house would bust at the seams with her party brood. So, we had the Clifford party at our church fellowship hall. It was a great space and the party was a hit! Clifford even made a special appearance and Bethany is still talking about it!Here are some pics of that....

Our little Clifford Pup took time out to give her mom and dad some love! A rare moment for our busy toddler!

Singing Happy Birthday to the birthday girl. She tells people that Clifford tried to eat her "Happy Birthday" (the cake).

Clifford stopped by to play with the kids. Most of the kids wouldn't get near him for a while but a few brave the initial meeting. Bethany wouldn't have anything to do with him but she likes to brag that he was there!

Reminding me that she is no longer a baby, Bethany is doing lots of big girl things. She is using the potty daily. Actually, this weekend her dad is going to try and completely day train her while I'm at the women's retreat with our church! We'll see how that goes.! Bethany has also thrown all her paci's away herself saying that "I not a baby anymore". However, she found a stash that I didn't know about and therefore still has one that we hope to get rid of by the Spring. She insist on taking naps in her big girl bed and has been pretty good at staying in the bed. On a few occasions she has been up and playing in her room but gets a pop when this happens:(

Bethany on Christmas morning after she insisted that she wear her princess panties that came in her stocking!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The "Call"

An interesting article that I found and really expressed our feelings exactly, besides the fact that this couple is actually serving in the mission field presently...

Missionary's calling 'undeniable, irresistible' force
By Chris Watts
EDITOR’S NOTE: Christopher Watts and his wife, Colleen, serve as Southern Baptist missionaries in Rome. Originally from Georgia, they were appointed in 2000 and have a 1-year-old-son named Cotton.
ROME (BP)--Calling, to me, is a funny thing.
In my experience, it comes upon you with a furious intensity and drowns you in an incredible desire to do something huge and glorious, something that is completely beyond the measure of your own abilities.
It changes your path completely and thrusts you into a new and unknown world where utter reliance on the plan and providence of God is an absolute necessity. After a time, though, once the realities and routines of this new world have set in, some of that initial intensity fades a bit, and the calling evolves into the stabilizing foundation upon which every facet of your new life is built.
It never diminishes in its strength or importance, but it becomes more of a compass for staying true to your path, than a sword with which to storm the walls of a lost world. I believe that this evolution is necessitated by the fact that “the calling” serves two distinct roles.
People contentedly strolling along in an easy and comfortable life often need something violent and fierce to move them powerfully and awaken them to the harsh realities of a lost and dying world. Our Baptist cocoon often insulates us from the pain and hopelessness of a world without Christ.
Some of us, me included, need to be slapped pretty hard to see things clearly and hear the voice of God. Oftentimes it seems that change never comes to those who can stand to live without it, and this initial calling is the thing that causes us to be dissatisfied with anything else. It is undeniable and irresistible.
However, once you start down that path, you are confronted on a daily basis with these hard realities. You no longer need to be awakened, you need to be sustained. This life is incredibly difficult. A missionary must make the conscious decision every day that this lifestyle is still worth it. “The calling” is the thing, always lurking in the background, that often gives you the strength to keep trudging forward.
This doesn’t mean the passion diminishes. On the contrary. As you witness with your own eyes the incredible ways in which God is at work in the world, as you see lives being transformed and you sense the intense pain in the hearts of those around you, the passion for the work grows. You begin to understand the power of the Gospel and you long to see people receive the love of Christ.
I am convinced that this job to which I have been called is the greatest, hardest and most worthwhile way in which I could spend my life. And until I am called, kicking and screaming, to something else, there is nothing that could make me quit.