The day I got married, one of my closest friends looked me in the eye and said "God has many wild and wonderful things ahead for you and Jeremy."

Being called mom by 7 kids is definitely wild. Each day I look for the wonder in it all...and give thanks.

Partnering with my husband in life, parenting, work and serving is definitely wonderful. He is my favorite.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rwanda 11.19.10

And we're off!

It's hard to believe we are REALLY on our way!  The last several days I have prayed so much about all our checked luggage--14 bags holding all the donations and gifts given by so many generous friends and people we have never met.  Praying we would pack exactly what the Lord wanted us to bring, that we could fit it all in bags weighing less than 50 pounds, and that we would get it all checked smoothly.

God always does better than what we could hope for or imagine.

Two days before we leave we find out we can add another piece of checked luggage (woo-hoo!!) making it



3 of the 15 bags could be up to 70 pounds!!!!
(double woo-hoo!!!!)

Seriously---that means more gifts for the orphans!!

I guess I should have prayed more about our carry-on luggage too.  All our personal things were going in carry-ons.  I was not in charge of loading suitcases into the truck. 

(I'm not naming names, but just sayin')

Anyway, we get to the airport, unload all the luggage and I keep asking,

"Where's the other carry-on?  Where's the other carry-on??"

It's not in the truck.
It's not on the curb.


We are about to board the first of 3 flights, traveling 24 hours, across the ocean, to another continent

and someone forgot their underwear!!

I'm so thankful God knows our needs AND how to meet them even before we do.

We went in and proceeded to get checked in

and our awesome chauffeur, also known as Papa, headed back to the house to get the other carry-on.  Thankfully, my brother met him with the bag to save some time too.

15 bags checked without a hitch

Papa got back with the missing carry-on in plenty of time

First flight is on time and we even got to sit together (mostly)

Thankful for all the prayers!!

Rwanda Mission Trip--November 2010

This is the second night we have been home and I was sleeping peacefully

(dreaming about rolling hills)  

until my sweet husband stirred me awake at 1 am---my body is still adjusting to Texas time because now I can't sleep.  In Kigali, we would be out the door by now at 9 am starting our projects for the day.

If you are new to my blog, we just got back from a 10 day mission trip to Rwanda with All God's Children International.  You can read more about how and why God led us to Rwanda here.

My mind started thinking about all the things I want to share from the trip and all the things I am still processing.  It will certainly take a few posts to get out what I want to share about our experience in Rwanda. 

I kept a journal while we were there so I thought it would be fun to post some highlights from each day

as if it just happened. 

I think there will be some things that will take time for me to digest, and so there's probably more posts coming.

Jeremy teases me about how much I think, process, digest things before talking about them.  He says that when I share something with him, it's usually been on my mind for weeks or months,

which is great when we are making important life decisions,

but not so great when I need to say I'm sorry.  =)

So here we the picture below is our team.....our AWESOME hosts....Mike and Lisa McColms and their 3 kids, and our WONDERFUL interpreter, Christine (in the middle):

Monday, November 15, 2010

Making progress...

Wesley and I are so stinkin' excited we can hardly sleep.  Last night he jumped from his bed, to the couch, to our bed.  He was up at 5 am this morning with Jeremy.  I think he got some good ZZZZZZzzzzzzz's from 6 am to 7 am and then it was time to get ready for school.

We got 4 more suitcases packed this weekend

only have 5 more big suitcases to fill---we will definitely have donations left over to take on our next trip. =)

I also gotta get started packing our carry-ons with all our personal stuff.....aye-ya-yi.....

Friday, November 12, 2010

God does miracles in Walmart

Okay so I go to walmart about every other day.  It's not that I love shopping at walmart, but I just don't run out of everything at the same time. 

You know what I mean?

And these days as we get ready to go to Rwanda, I am picking up things here and there as I see it....

"oh yeah, we gotta get that for our trip" kind of thing.

So I had this extra pack of paper plates sitting in my car for the last couple of days. 


Well when I was in walmart a couple days ago, I picked up this really big pack of paper plates....or so I thought.

When I got home, I reached for the pack to put them in the pantry and ended up peeling two packs apart.


So I thought for a split second about sticking them in the pantry anyway.
(don't judge me)

Couldn't do it. 

I walk into walmart today and explain to the old greeting man
(why are they always old?)

that I did not have a return but wanted to stick the plates in my shopping cart today and pay for them when I was finished getting my other things.

he was quite surprised.

That was not the miracle, by the way. =)

EARLIER today, a friend of mine, we'll call her Susie*, gave me a check for $100 to help with our Rwanda trip.

a generous gift, but still not the miracle....keep reading.... 

She left the "Payable To" part blank for me to fill in.  I stuck the check in my pocket and went on my way.

(note to self, fill it in)

I also carry my phone and keys in my pockets.

You can see where this is going.

Fast forward to walmart--As I got out of the car to go in the store, I put my phone in my pocket that also contained the check from Susie*.

After shocking the greeter man by bringing in my $1.56 plates I had not paid for, I needed to call my dad to ask about his camera we are borrowing for the trip. 

I make my way to the back of the store as we talk.  A few minutes pass, we say good-bye and I stick my phone back into my pocket.

That's when it hit me.

I had no check in my pockets.  No check made out for $100, signed, and left blank for anyone to fill in their name.


I quickly started retracing my steps and P-R-A-Y-I-N-G!

I checked my purse just to make sure I had not put it in there--no check.

Lord, uh, now is a good time for a miracle. 

I comforted myself, "Someone else might really need $100."

I just started praying that I would find the check or if I didn't, that someone who really needed it would.

I backtracked all the way to the front of the store, looked at the cashiers and thought about asking one of them. 

I saw the greeter...
I couldn't bring myself to explaining this one to him.


I hear on the loud speaker....

"Susie*, please come to Customer Service."

NO WAY!!!!

I R-A-C-E-D to Customer Service and another lady who was waiting in line said,
"Did you lose something?"

YES, a $100 check!

I asked her if she turned it in and she said another lady did.  She was already gone.

I don't know who it was, but God, bless this person in a super-duper, huge, fabulous way!!

Truly a miracle!

I just wonder what would have happened if I had kept my $1.56 plates without paying for them.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Busy packing...

I have so much I want to write about---what God is whispering to me, nudges from the Holy Spirit, still want to post about Savannah's Birthmother----but I need to be p-a-c-k-i-n-g. 

We have got to get as much of THIS....

into 14 of these....

I am SO EXCITED to go to Rwanda!

I can't wait to get to the airport, check all the luggage, get through security, and


make our way to Africa.

The other day I found a youtube video about one of the orphanages we will spend some time in.

The kids watched it too.

I was afraid they might become nervous or anxious about staying in a place like that.

But to my delight...

their response was

"I can't wait to go there!!  Mom, we need to adopt some more kids."


Thursday, November 4, 2010

a little bit about emily

I want to share a little bit about Emily.

She is my oldest daughter, at the wonderful tween age of 11.

She likes to get together with friends and cousins.

She loves each Holiday. 

She loves Christmas and her birthday especially.

She likes school, but would rather have the day off.  She would probably watch TV all day if I let her.

She likes books, plays, and movies.

She loves animals and is personally offended if animals or the environment are mistreated.

She loves roller coasters--the faster the better.  Loves a day at the amusement park!

She loves desserts---but chocolate must be involved or it is not really dessert.

s'mores are a favorite

She has autism.

Autism has many faces so let me explain how it is for Emily in a way you might understand....

imagine living in a foreign country where you not only have to learn the language, but also

the accent

the slang phrases

jokes that you can't really translate literally

the culture

what's acceptable

what's not

Sometimes it can be really overwhelming.

Sometimes people don't understand you, don't like you, maybe even mistreat you

because you are a foreigner.

But God has placed you in that country for His purpose....

it is so that the works of God might be displayed in you. (John 9:1-3)

God, thank you for creating Emily
Thank you for entrusting her to us.
May Your works be displayed in her.

I often meet other parents who have newly discovered their child has autism.  There's a lot of depressing stuff on the internet and I encourage them to stop reading all the negative junk. 

I often share this short story someone shared with me after we got our diagnosis: Welcome to Holland

Don't miss it, you gotta read it

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Who's next?

Okay, so one of the things swimming around in my head as we get ready to go to Rwanda is our next adoption.  I have to first say that this mission trip is not about "shopping" for our next kid.

(I am just kind of hoping God happens to show us while we are there.)

I have a feeling that I am going to want to hit the ground running when we get back and get the process started.

I have been in conversation with God for a while

where is our kid

show us our children

make it abundantly clear who you have chosen to be in our family next


He gave me a verse to start praying

I Thessalonians 3:11

Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you...

I am the kind of person that reads God's Word on the edge of my chair.  Like I really believe He is going to speak to ME....and you know what.....He does.

Yes, there are passages of Scripture that I just kind of skim through like there's nothing in it for me, but then He does something GREAT and gets my attention and shows me He can even speak to me through all that. 

Sometimes I just have to remember that it's all part of a bigger picture.

Back to our adoption dreams, I understand that most often with adoption, the adoptive parents are chosen by a birthmother, a governing agency, or something like that.

But I also know of adoptive parents who meet their child or children and then go to great effort to bring those children home.

I wonder what it will be like for us.

I'm praying for a miracle.  

You see, right now, new adoptions in Rwanda are on hold because Rwanda is in the process of entering the Hague Convention.

It could be next summer before that is complete.

And I have read on the State Dept website that Rwanda prefers adoptive families with two or less children already in the home.

We have 3.

You can see why I am praying for a miracle. 

I would like to think that I am open to adopting from any country in the world.

And I think we very well could do that before it is all said and done.

But right now my heart is on Rwanda.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Just take a look at this!

Just a few quick pictures to show you how our garage is filling up with donations for Rwanda orphans!!

 clothing, toiletries, baby items....

 ...more clothing....

...that's 4 shelves, FOUR shelves, full of blankets, diapers, baby clothes....

and I did not even get a picture of the books!