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.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Still here...

Still here, but busy with work, kids, homework, chores, making life-changing decisions


enjoying times like this....
We're playing pictionary and Savannah joined in later. 
She drew a picture of the "moon."

I had whispered in her ear what to draw and told her
"Don't tell."

As she drew and the others guessed,
she said....

"Don't tellllllllllll."

Just so you know, everything she draws looks like a smiley face....
peanut butter jelly sandwich
everything looks like a smiley face.

Love nights like this...

especially with this!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Oh Brother

We are missing a brother. 

If you have ever longed for a child and couldn't or didn't have one at the time you had hoped, you will be familiar with that feeling of

missing someone.

It's a dull ache. 

Sometimes it's a big heartache.

Everyday I think about him.  I don't know who he is yet and I don't know if he will come with siblings.  But I missed him on Christmas day when we were opening presents.  I missed him at church the other day when we got there a little late and had to sit on the second row.  (can you guess what kind of church I attend?) =)  We were all sitting there, all 5 of us, and I looked at the empty chair next to Wesley...missing him.

I pray for him. 
I pray for him to be safe, to be well taken care of. 
I pray for him as he waits for a forever family,
as he waits for us. 
I pray that he puts his hope and trust in God.

I pray that God makes a way for us to be together. 
I pray for the days that we will first meet,
learn how to be a family,
learn how to love and trust one another. 

I'm learning some lessons here lately about building trust. 
Setting boundaries.

(funny the thoughts our little dog has brought up since she showed up last week)

I really miss him! 

I see his face in my mind and the other night I dreamt about the day we meet and call him son. 

My prayer:

I Thessalonians 3:11

Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you...
Would you pray with us and also pray for more families to open their hearts and homes to the orphan?


Saturday, January 15, 2011

A little surprise on my doorstep

Okay, you HAVE to read THIS before you continue reading this post.

I'm not gotta go back to Puppy Love first.
(Don't worry, it's short and full of pictures)

So Wednesday, January 5th I end the post with "is there a dog for us?"

Tuesday, January 11th, I find the answer is....

I came home late Tuesday night---about 9:45 pm.  I had gone to a meeting for parents exploring homeschool.  Jeremy was home, the kids already in bed, and I pull into the driveway, thankful the porch light was on.

When we forget to turn on the outside lights at night, it is soooooooo DARK out here.

So I park the car, come around the van to the door and......

there she is.....

a sweet, small dog sitting in the middle of my Welcome mat by the door.

She was sitting up like, "Hello, I've been waiting for you."

I was startled and gasped and then she kinda gasped.

Where did she come from?

I did not see her when I pulled into the driveway.

I opened the door and asked Jeremy if he knew a dog was out there and he had no idea. 

Earlier today, I had heard on the radio to take care of pipes, plants, people, and pets because we were going to have a hard freeze.  I checked off each thing in my brain, and thought to myself,

"no pets here"

Jeremy said we have to bring her in because it is going to be freezing tonight.

I invited her in and she very timidly, with her head down to the floor, crawled, very slowly into the house.

I pet her carefully as she cowered away from me---like she had been mistreated. 
She was very skinny. 
Looked like she had been on her own for a while.

I texted my neighbor to see if I could get some dogfood.  She ate and drank as if it were her first meal in a long time.

We made her a bed of towels on the floor in our room, which she later ditched and found a spot on the couch.

She looks like a young boxer, with a copper coat and some unique features (like the pinky toe on each of her back paws are black).

So I'm asking her, "Who do you belong to?"

I think the answer is.....US.

You see, after Jeremy and I talked about getting another dog the day a friend emailed me about a lab,
I started making a mental checklist of what I wanted.

Don't judge me for being picky, but these are some of the things I thought about....
~I don't want to spend a dime choosing a dog.  She has to come free.
~I don't want a puppy puppy because it's like having an infant---getting up at night and the crying.  AND they are so rowdy and CHEW on EVERYTHING.
~I want a sweet dog that is loving and likes to be loved on.
~And it would be nice if she was already house-trained.

This dog is exactly what I wanted!

And she shows up out of nowhere on my doormat. 

Only God knew my thoughts about what I wanted.

I'm just sayin'.

We put up tons of signs in case she has a long. lost owner.  I took her to the vet to see if she has a chip---nada.  I am not surprised.  Turns out she is probably about 2 years old and likely a mini-boxer or maybe a mix.  NO ONE called me saying they have lost a dog.

I almost KNEW she was our dog the moment I saw her. 
Because that's how God works sometimes.
Dropping off little gifts out of nowhere.
Giving us gifts we don't really deserve
just because.

So now.....let me introduce to you the newest member of our family....
Maddie Madeline
It took hours to decide on her name.  I thought we had decided on "Ginger" Thursday night, but then Friday morning Savannah had determined to call her Madeline.
(as in the story character of an orphan in Paris)

Emily was not completely happy with Madeline, so she suggested Maddie Madeline.

Maddie Madeline it is!
And we are happy to have her!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Obedience is costly

I was reading about Abraham this morning.  Have you read it lately?  The one about how he and Isaac headed out to make a sacrifice, and the sacrifice was going to be ISAAC. (Genesis 22:1-19)

Can you imagine what Abraham was thinking for the 3 days he travelled? 

Can you imagine what Sarah would have done if she knew? 
Maybe she did know--it doesn't say.

Can you imagine what Isaac was thinking and saying when he was bound and staring at the point of Abraham's raised knife?

What if Abraham had said, "God, no way.  I can't do that.  He's my son.  I love him.  I can't do what you ask."

But he was obedient. 

Even to the point of losing his son. 

And God stopped him and provided a ram.

And He said, "because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son--blessing I will bless you, and multiplying your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore, and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.  In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."

And I started thinking....

Do we tell God, "No way.  That's my family.  I love them.  I can't do what you ask."

And what blessing do we miss out on by not being obedient? 

What magnificent work do we miss because we think we can't do what He asks?

Did Abraham really fathom all that God promised? 

Did he really grasp it? 

Do we? 

He says He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,

according to His power that is at work within us. (Eph 3:20)

What blessing, what power, what incredible work of GOD
we forfeit when we say, "I can't do what you ask of me."

Obedience is costly.

BUT the reward is immeasurable.

Monday, January 10, 2011

thinkin' about...homeschool

Okay for some time now, I have been thinking.....
about homeschool.

I NEVER thought I would want to homeschool.  I always thought if I ever did,  it would be because I was FORCED to.

But I am finding that I don't really fit in with the culture around me.  I am okay with that. 

If you have read very much of my blog, you can see I am kinda crazy already.  The thoughts I share on here just confirm it.

My kids are already kinda goofy---one is on the autism spectrum, and the other two don't really have any excuses, but goofy just the same. (and I love 'em!!)

I am okay with them not fitting into our culture too. 
I am okay with them being sheltered from a lot of junk.

(and just so you know, if you don't homeschool, I am not one of those parents that thinks everybody should do what I do.  And what I do now may not be what I do next year.  I have learned even with my 3 kids that every kid is different and has different needs.  So if what you are doing is working and bringing glory to God, keep doing it).

So now I am exploring the possibility. 
Asking questions. 
Researching what's out there. 

Trying to figure out how I could fit everything in.  I work.  It helps that my office is at home and my boss is my husband, but still.  Can I handle being wife, mom, office manager and teacher?
(and those are just the four main titles!)

If there are other working moms that homeschool out there---how do you do it?

Like I said, I am still very much exploring the possibility and praying that we do the right thing for each one of our kids.  I really love the schools they are attending right now and I don't want to mess up a good thing. 

I am open to not doing the same thing for all three (and counting, Lord willing we may adopt again---posting about that soon!)

There are a few things very appealing about homeschool for me--saving a ton of money on tuition, gas, ez tag, having a more flexible schedule for mission trips, not being in the car 3 hours a day.

But those reasons are really kinda selfish.

Other reasons include bonding and transitioning if we are able to adopt from Rwanda, having a better and deeper relationship with my kids, learning how to teach them in a way that they thrive and progress--not just academically. 

I don't have an answer yet.  
Praying and researching right now.
I would appreciate your prayers--thanks! 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Just thinkin'

Have you ever had one of those things you thought you would NEVER do,

I mean had NO DESIRE,

like even prayed, "Lord, please don't ever ask THAT of me."

and THEN

 you find yourself thinking,

just wondering,

pondering "what if..."

And then that "what if" turns into

is it possible?

and hmmmmm

I think I would really like to...

but how could I?


like I mean 180 degrees!


(I hinted this post was coming at the end of this post--just took me a while to get it on here.)

But you're gonna have to wait til next post.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Puppy Love

Jeremy and I got two Labrador retrievers in 1997 when we bought our first house with a BIG yard.
Sundance and Hazel
(that's not our yard pictured above)

This was our yard....

The idea was to breed them and sell the litters. 

But after surviving puppyhood with both of us gone at work all day, we had Hazel fixed and decided it wasn't the best idea for us.
 Our nephew and niece loved them!

Our First Christmas
(you know, when you don't have kids, the dogs MUST be in your family picture.)

We loved them!
(even though they chewed the siding off the back of the house, scratched the door and windows, tore screens, ruined shoes, messed up the floor, barked at night, jumped on guests, and were stinky)

And they loved the kids

Have you ever seen the movie Marley and Me?  Our dogs, especially Hazel, were a lot like Marley. 

As they got older, they calmed down, slowed down, and laid down just about all day and night. 

At the end, Sundance was content sleeping all night and taking 10-12 hour naps in the day.

Hazel passed away in 2008 and Sundance passed away in May of 2010. 

And they have been missed.

When he was old, Sundance would thump his tail on the floor when we came in the room (he was too old to bother getting up).  Or if he had been napping and we woke him up,

I miss that thump.

We both grew up with dogs.

Emily, Wesley, and Savannah have always had a dog until Sundance passed.

But since he passed, we had not talked about getting another dog....until....

the other day a friend was looking for a home for this gal.

Before I saw the email, Jeremy came into my office and asked,
"did you see the email about the dog?"

He had this silly grin on his face. 

A grin like, "Can you believe I am even talking to you about this?"

Like, "Do we really need to get another dog?"

It's a big commitment.  Dogs aren't just something you get for the fun of it.  They become part of the family.  If we got a young dog now, she would probably be with us at least until Savannah was in high school. 
(Lord willing)

We entertained the idea (not talking about it in front of the kids) during that day, but that dog soon found a home.

We were off the hook....

so I thought.

Now that the conversation has started, I'm still thinkin'

what about another dog?

Is there a dog for us?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Wesley--I love this kid!

At age 9 Wesley brags to his friends that his mom can do the moonwalk and that she is a tetherball champion.

(I 6th grade.)

How much longer do you think that will last?

He likes to draw, paint, and make books.

Usually has something to do with Star Wars.

He loves both his sisters

but Savannah is his favorite.

There's no denying it!

I wish I could copy his entire Rwanda trip journal on here---but I don't think everyone else would enjoy it as much as I do.  (plus it took me a month to get my journal on here!)

So here are a few little tidbits about our Rwanda trip
 in his own words:

11.19.10 My favorite part about going through airport security is taking off my shoes, it is really fun.

11.20.10 When our 3rd plane landed in Kigali Rwanda everyone got really excited especially me!  But we all got there really late. And it is the night I got to sleep in Africa.  It's also the very first time I've been below the equator.  In other words the first time I've been to the southern hemisphere.  (hehehehehehe!!  love that!!!!!!)

11.24.10 Today in the morning we went to Home of Innocence.  We raced cars and built our 2nd rabbit hutch.  It was really fun until we went to the Gahanga orphanage.  Worst orphanage ever!  Then we went back to Christine's house to show us her house.  Finally we went back to Ms. Lisa's house to eat dinner.  We ate pizza and it was good.  I can't wait until thanksgiving day tomorrow but tonight me and my dad had a little talk about the Gahanga orphanage.  And he told me that some are offcast and really different and when you're doing it for them you're doing it for Jesus.

11.27.10  Today is our last day in Africa.  Imagine being in 3 continents in 1 day.  Africa, Europe, North America.

I love this kid!

He thinks a lot.

He asks questions.

He likes to be right, first, and doesn't want to miss out on anything.


He is competitive
Finishing his first triathlon

He loves to play games as a family. 

He enjoys, I mean, gets as giddy and tickled as can be when he knows something cool or funny is about to happen to somebody else.

Sometimes Jeremy calls him "ball"
~ which is short...

for goofball 

He has such a sweet heart.

Did I tell ya that I love this kid??

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My running shoes

I have a running buddy.  We started running together a few months ago because I wanted to get faster.  She is a marathon runner and stays in marathon shape.  I ran one marathon back in 2000. 

I finished. 

I ran the whole way. 

And I really don't have any intentions to run another one....

anytime soon.


We run at 5:30 on Tuesday and Thursday mornings most weeks.  I set my alarm on my phone and labeled it "Run Faster" so that I read those words when it goes off in the weeeeeee hours of the morning.

Soon after we started running together, we started praying during our run.

We pray about everything--each other, our families, our husbands, our jobs, our church, neighbors, people we know who are having hard times.

Now my alarm label says

"Run Faster, Pray Harder"

Those mornings when I really don't feel like running, I eagerly get up because I am more excited about praying. 

Isn't it cool when we think we start something for one reason, and then God does something totally greater, totally better, and blesses us in a way that we didn't even ask for.

I wanted a running partner, and He gave me that plus a prayer partner. 

Battles are being won in our running shoes.

So is there anything we can pray for you about?

feel free to leave it in a comment