Once upon a time....

Flash back to 1999, we were a family of four. Happy in our new roomy house and comfortable in our ways. A few years later, the Lord blessed us with an additional little package, little boy #3. Now we were a family of five and sure that would be the end. As time moved on, so did we. The Lord used the time that passed to open our eyes to His will. Several years ago, Bob and I individually heard the call to adoption. It has been a long "pregnancy", but during this incubation time, the Lord has brought us to where He wants us to be. Spring 2010, we traveled to Ethiopia where two little angels were waiting for the Lord's timing - to become our children. Now we are home and can't imagine life any differently! What a blessing to be in His will.

Galatians 4:5 says "God sent Christ to buy freedom for us, who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as his very own children." We are just following his model. A Perfect picture of salvation.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


In all situations, there will be blessings and trials. That's the nature of being human. What sets one event from another can boil down to where you put your focus. I choose to focus on the blessings. Sure I see the trials, and sometimes I even shift my gaze to them, but in the end, I have to take my head and turn it intentionally to the blessings. Some might say that I am not realistic...but aren't blessings a reality too? In fact, I find that focusing on the blessings is a much nicer way to go about my day. It feels better, it is brighter, in the end, I sleep better! So, my glasses may be rose colored, but I like my view -- blessings!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Filling in the blanks

So, Bob was reading our blog... because you never know what I might put out there :) and he realized that there was a major gap in my flow.  I will try to summarize:

In October, Bob interviewed for and was offered a job with Compassion International.  It is a non-profit company that is focused on obliterating poverty! (my word choice)  We prayed about this long and hard.  We knew that accepting the position would also mean moving to Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Complicating factors:  I have 40 years of roots here in Missouri, mostly in Independence.  Bob moved a number of times as a child and his passion for the work that Compassion International does was deep.  In fact, we have been involved with Compassion for almost 10 years - we sponsor a young man who lives in Indonesia.  He communicate with him often and have been blessed by being connected to him.  So, we decided that WE were not in a position to clearly discern direction considering our deep emotions over a move.  At that point, I told Bob, "God can clearly raise the dead and has performed numerous (understatement) other miracles....then surely He can offer a job or block the offer ~ according to His will."  That is where we left it, in God's hands.  Bob was offered the job, by God.  That's truly how we see it.

So, In late October, Bob began his position with Compassion International ~ something to do with application support...computer stuff.  The company is amazing.  Very faith and family oriented.  We made a number of decisions.  We didn't want to transition the kids to new schools and such in the middle of the year, so that meant I would be "single" mom for the remainder of the school year.  If we could find a house, a mortgage payment would be almost identical to a short-term rental and a house would give us a place to crash when we go out for our visits (Christmas and Spring Break).  So, at the end of October, we also drove out - yes, all seven of us - and went house hunting.  One of Bob's new coworkers gave us the name of a Realtor.  He is amazing!  In our one day of looking at houses, we saw 13!  The turning point really was at lunch.  Our Realtor, Bryan, was checking his phone and said, "Do you want to add one more house to the list???  It just went on the market today and is bank-owned which means it is priced to sell and will go fast...but it fits what you are looking for and in the right area."  LONG story short.... we went to see the house and fell in love!  It is exactly what we need!  That is what the house pictures in the previous post are all about.

So, this Wednesday, we close on the house.  Bob was home for a week for Thanksgiving and headed out this morning with a 24 foot Budget truck filled to the gills with what he will need to live at the house for the next 6 months (as well as all the stuff we decided we could get out of the house so that it shows better).  He made it safely to Colorado Springs in good time and most importantly, in one piece.  All day today I have prayed, "God, please get him there safely with no surprises!"  And He did.

In the midst of all of this, one other major decision was reached.  I have found that I am unable to be a full-time working, single-mom of five kids...and get a house ready to sell.  So, I made the difficult decision to quit my position at the school at semester.  Now, I can just focus on being Mom, getting the house ready and KEEPING it ready!

So, there it is.  The last few months....so many blessings, so many tears, but always trusting God that he DOES know more than me!  :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

House pictures

This was our favorite house that we saw.  We won't know for a few days if our offer was accepted.  Here's hoping!

office-ish area in kitchen

dining area and sitting area near front door.  levi sacked out on the floor.

family room in the basement where there are three large rooms for the kids and a full bath.

view from dining area near front door - toward the fireplace sitting room.  kitchen is on the other side of the wall near levi's feet.

front door and sitting area.

front of the house.

kitchen - as seen from fireplace sitting area.

fireplace sitting area and kitchen as seen from hallway leading to office, spare room, master bedroom, laundry and another full bath.

master bath


three car garage!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Is God Enough?

Several friends of mine have been through difficult times.  We have had a few of our own.  This theme has been buzzing in my heart lately, "Is God Enough?"  I was struggling with a certain topic ~ which is actually irrelevant since the theme keeps popping up regardless of the topic ~ and I was literally listing the reasons to God why I believed that MY plan was the best option.  Very clearly, I heard in my heart, "Am I NOT enough???"  It stopped me in my tracks.

On good days, I find myself pretty comfortable in my plans, my ways, my priorities.  So, it is natural for me, when facing a challenge, to try the same approach.  Tough times, hard times, times that stretch me, I look for my plan and use my own priorities to find a light at the end of the tunnel.  All the time, trying to stand it up next to God's plan and then justifying the heck out of it to try to make it match.  I fail every time.  The reality is that tough time or not, I really need to focus myself on His Plan, His Priorities, His Ways.  "His ways are higher than our ways" all the time, not just the tough-to-figure-out ones.  Not just the confusing ones.  In fact, if I spend my efforts looking for His Ways, I will have more time to rest in His hands.  It's like finding out that instead of washing clothes by hand in a river, you discover that there is an all in one washer/dryer that even folds your clothes.  I labor so hard to try to make my way work and all the time, God is saying, "If you will just listen to me, this will go so much more smoothly."

One thing that I find both loving and frustrating about God is that He waits for me to see it.  Loving because he doesn't impose His will on me, frustrating because sometimes I would like Him to put it in an email and send me the directions!  Just tell me what to do!  So, my daily thought is to look for His Plan.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Princess Hair

Nardos and Beti needed their annual hair trim. The shop I called said it needed to be straightened before coming for the trim. For Beti, not a problem. Thirty minutes and a blow dryer. Done. Nardos...an hour (PLUS!)and kinda straight, and definitely poufy! The trim went really well. Then we went swimming and we are back to curly.

Trouble is brewing: Nardos is already planning for Sunday. Picked out her dress, shoes, and clips for her...yep, you guessed it, straightened hair. I'm sure we will have tears when the Missouri summer humidity ruins her perfect "do".

So then, we got into the plan to prepare for Sunday.  I had read and heard about the Instyler straightener.  So, we bought one.  Beti's hair took about 45 minutes.  Well worth it.  She loves it.  Nardos had gone swimming yesterday with her hair "all down" and not "contained".  Needless-to-say, it was a rat's nest!!!  I have never seen so many knots!  It took SEVERAL hours (I lost track), but she loves it!  We talked about how we would not be doing this every day and that God had made her hair beautifully curly and that we would also take days to show that off!  I am afraid that tomorrow's prediction for rain may very well crush our ideas of straight hair, but one can only wait and see.  Enjoy the pictures!

Beti in progress...

Nardos' nest



Almost there....

All done!

And, NO, you can't go play outside!  :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Colorado or Bust!

We just arrived home last night from an exciting, fun-filled family trip to Colorado.  We stayed at Lone Duck Campground just outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado.  We visited the Garden of the Gods, a park full of natural rock formations.  While there, we hiked around the rock formations as we avoided stepping in horse doo-doo.  Nardos found it entertaining to name the piles as various foods that we eat (chicken and rice, meatloaf, meatballs) stating that she had prepared it especially for her siblings.  What sense of humor and creativity!

We drove up the Pikes Peak Highway ~ kudos to Bob for driving that freakish highway!  I really think they could use some of that improvement money to add guard rails!!!  It was quite chilly at the top, so we went into the gift shop to use the restroom, took the commemorative photo, and headed back down the hill.  We had to stop at the halfway mark to have the obligatory break check, which resulted in a 20 minute layover to let the brakes cool down.  Finally, we made it down to the base of the highway and headed back to camp for our daily swim.

On Monday, we packed our cooler with picnic fixins' and headed up to Mueller State Park for a day hike.  We stopped at the visitor center where we learned that a small black bear had been spotted near the entrance of the park just 5 days earlier ~ which they shared as a selling point, not for fear factor.  The back of the park was off limits due to elk calving season, okay, so we viewed the trail map and found a nice little hike.  The hike itself was only 2.4 miles ~ a nice little walk, but turned out to take a sudden dip in elevation, which we would later have to make up for in up-hill climbs!  For the most part, the kids were real troopers.  Nardos and Alex even had a race or two during the hike.  We did spot wildlife - other than the ones we brought with us - three deer wandering through the forest.  At the end, we were rewarded with a picnic lunch in the beautiful weather while a yellow swallowtail butterfly danced around us!

Tuesday we planned a trip to a local Dinosaur Museum.  It boasted of real fossils, a hands on children's area and an area where you could view real paleontologists at work.  It was all that, but after an hour and a half, the kids were done.  That was the disappointing part, since we paid a chunk of change to get it.  Our visit there was followed by a trip to a local sports complex, where we could spread out and play.  We topped of our excursion with lunch at Buster O'Brian's Cafe.  It was delicious and we received a very nice compliment from the owner on how well the kids behaved.  That's always nice to hear, especially on the rare occasion that it happens... just kidding.

Wednesday was a real hit!  We went to the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center.  We took a tour with a real...uh, caregiver..... for the animals at the Sanctuary.  She told us stories about how the animals came into their care and a little about their personality.  Obviously, they are against euthanasia of animals, especially unnecessarily so (like in the example of trapped animals being shot for sport), but they didn't shove it down your throat.  We were pretty up-close and personal with the animals (they have wolves, coyote, and foxes).  It was fascinating and although the sun was pretty toasty, the kids really enjoyed the visit.  At the end of the tour, the guide had us all stand in one area and howl.  We did - as commanded - and were rewarded with a chorus of wolves and coyote howling.  It was amazing!  The tour guide stated that the wolves are more active in the winter and that they do tours year-round.  You can imagine the ride back to camp "Mom, let's come back in winter!!!!"

Other camping news:  We swam every day, we cooked s'mores and had hot chocolate.  The kids were great on the ride out (which we split by stopping overnight in WaKeeney) and then drove straight home at the end of the trip.  It was fun and we are already planning our trip for next year!