Thursday, September 7, 2017

Isabella and Good Things

As we wade through medical things with the girls, mini blessings pop up all around.

I admit that I woke up this morning in a horrible mood...just bad.  I had gone through the weekend sick and, as every mom knows, the house isn't quite the same as before you went into the sick zone.  My husband is amazing and tries hard, but he has to juggle work as well.

Looking at the house made me...ummmm...grumpy.

God adjusted my heart very quickly as he laid deep and heavy concern for friends on it.  Some are evacuating Florida and some going through the fire, which they KNOW will bring refining, but it's painful none the less.  It's wearying and rending.

What brought peace to my heart was a little thing, but then I guess a nine month old baby is.  God knew I needed to see my oldest daughter today, her husband (who never fails to make me smile), and our little Isabella Grace.
Who needs a basket full of toys?!
 I have a brush!

I was able to watch her for just a little bit, while they enjoyed a bit of Mommy and Daddy time.  Isabella is good for my heart.

Wait...Grandma has a camera.

My Aunt Anna is SO cool!

She then climbed up into my lap, buried her head in my chest and hair, closed her eyes, and went to sleep.



It was after six, so I was only going to let her sleep 20-30 minutes.

I tried waking her, and this was the result.

Wake up FAIL

Finally, I saw eyes.


 Half asleep, she saw Grandpa.


She gave him a HUGE smile, hugged him, then snuggled back up with grandma.  She was so sleepy.

You may wonder why I write about this.

Sometimes stopping and enjoying what you have brings the most peace.  In such a rushed world, as ours often is, slowing down can bring such contentment.

Our children are joy.

Thomas and I have also appreciated the kindness of others today in events that are typically stressful. 

Our vehicle registration had expired.  We had to get the registration renewed (as well as our handicap placard).  Instead of waiting in a long line, a woman at the information desk (after meeting the children) took care of it all for us.  It took almost no time.  She asked us a lot about our family and our cuties...and just showed kindness.

A little kindness can make a world of difference in a day.  I don't doubt for a second that God was behind it (smile).

After we arrived home, Thomas ran the van down to get the brakes worked on.

Side note: We girls get to go on a little trip tomorrow, while the boys get "guy time".  We are going to see another part of my heart (including another adorable itty bitty). 

When Thomas arrived to pick the van up at the dealership, we were given a surprise.

As many of you know, two years ago (in a media event), we were given our current beautiful van.  We had never had a new car.  This was a gift from God.  (Seriously, the story behind it is a total God story.) With the van came a warranty of six years or sixty thousand miles (though this did not include brakes). This has been AWESOME for us.  Today, when Thomas went down there, we found that someone had upgraded our warranty.   It now covered 100,000 miles and included brakes.  Was it an individual or the company? We don't know.  This is massive for our family. 

Please understand, we don't come out of any adoption with savings.  We use everything at our disposal to bring our children home.  When something like brakes happens within the first year after an adoption journey, we just don't have it.

Yet God....

Thank you, whoever did this (if you read this blog), for taking one thing off our "how are we going to do this" plate.

Thank you...seriously...

So today, though my heart hurts in ways I can't share (situations that are not mine to share), we are blessed.


Thank you all for your continued friendship, support, and prayers.  They mean more than words can say.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Immanent:
1. Please pray that our (half of us) trip tomorrow is safe and the trip back on Saturday as well.  It may not be long, but I'm the only driver.

Prayer Requests:



1. Please pray for those still trapped (and devastated) by Hurricane Harvey and MANY natural disasters around the world.  I'm just beginning to read about them.  Please pray the fires throughout the U.S. are brought under control and that Hurricane Irma (and the other 
two developing hurricanes) dissipate and calm.  Please pray for the families of those lost in India and that part of the world to a monsoon.  Please pray for recovery...everywhere.


2. Please continue to pray for the Wood family.  The sudden and traumatic loss of Jack is not going to be over in a day, a week, a year.  They need continued prayers.  This trauma leaves waves that will be felt for a very long time.  Please pray for triumph for their family.

3. Please pray for my friend Julia and Rob.  They were in Ben's birth country adopting their newest child (and will be returning).  This country works different than many.  Please pray that every mountain is laid flat before them and that their child comes home.

4. Please pray for our friends the "A" family which were beginning the adoption process to bring home their new daughter.  Their new daughter suddenly passed away this week.  Please pray for peace that passes understanding.

5. Please pray for Ivan, my son in law, who is looking for a job.  Please pray he finds the perfect one quickly.

6. Please pray for ALL our health, that we can get well and stay well this year.  (Please include our adult children and grandchildren too.)

7. Please pray that we can find a schedule and routine (even with many appointments) and can stick diligently to it.  I don't know how to emphasize how important this is to make a large family work.

8.  Please pray God makes it crystal beautifully clear the next steps for our family
in serving Him.

9. Please pray for the continued attachment of Hope, Grace, and Timothy.  They are still in the journey.

10. Please pray Thomas and I can be the patient parents that God wants us to be, diligently serving him while raising our zoo.

11. For about six months or so after every adoption we are in "financial recovery".
Please pray for this for us.  It's always a bit hard, but we are fine.
God is good.

12.  Please pray that China reopens their hearts to big families.  They have
blessed us with amazing children, but new rules put in place no longer
allow big families to adopt.  They previous had a program that allowed, at times, for waivers to happen on a case to case basis.  I know many that cannot go back without
a waiver to this new rule.  They no longer allow waivers either. Can you
please pray that this changes?  Please also pray that closed countries (to adoption) open back up.   Many children wait and many wonderful
families are waiting to go.  We 100% know that many children here and 
around the world need homes.  We just want to stand in prayer for ALL children to be valued and cherished by a family.




Monday, September 4, 2017

Seventeen and My Wierd Self

I almost made it.  I did.  I had two things I longed to do on this extended weekend.

One, our special surprise that we had for the kids.
Two, I longed to go to Church.  This would be the first time for the girls.  I miss our family there.  I miss part of our village.

It's been five weeks since we've been home from a large Asian nation.  The first two to three weeks we knew we needed to keep the girls home.  We needed to get blood work back and check on Hope's heart before exposing them to any possible new germs.  We then had Grace's hospitalization and had to circle our wagons and recover a bit.

Strep then broke out...and another virus began going around.   Ironically, the doctor thinks the girls probably got it from one of the multiple specialist (or hospital) appointments we had.

My body stayed pretty strong.  I had to rest rest rest after coming back with the girls, but during the two weeks of illness, my body kicked some rear (smile).  I didn't get sick.

Friday night was my first hint.  You see, I'm weird...
*My heartbeat originates on the opposite side of a typical person.
*Until I was thirty, I would drink caffeine to make me go to sleep.
*My temperature drops if I'm getting really sick.  No doctor has been able to tell me why, but my oldest daughter is the same way.  My husband says I feel like ice.

In a warm house, under a blanket, fully dressed...not feeling good...my temp dropped to 97 degrees.  Ugg...

I was determined to not get sick and fought with extra vitamin C and some other natural "helps".

The next day came our surprise for the kids.  The "happy" is exactly what our kids need.  We don't have extra right now with all the appointments, BUT were blessed with some free tickets (and were able to get VERY reduced tickets for the remainder we needed).

It was hot and two weren't able to go (in our party of nineteen), but this was a blast (and a first for quite a few)!  Our teens each were able to invite a friend.

Sarah, Isabella, and Bekah
Isabella was fascinated by the lights in front of her.

Jael

Thomas and Ben

Grace, Hope, and Timothy

Noelle and Anna
Noelle, as well as being a friend of Anna, is Ivan's sister (who is married to our oldest daughter).

Max and Reid 
(Reid is Amy's son, who went to bring home Grace and Hope with me!)

Gabe and Rachel

Anna and Reid

There were LOTS of light and action.  One little miss named Isabella had eyes like saucers.


It's blurry, but I LOVE how big her eyes were in this.

My brother Steve and I were there too, just didn't end up with a picture.

I think the biggest joy, my favorite part was the kids.  Their joy is priceless!!!!



Who doesn't laugh and gasp....AT THE CIRCUS!!!!


One by one the little ones fell asleep.  Isabella conked out first.  She was so excited that it wore her out.


Next was Hope.  She wasn't too impressed with the circus.  The loud noises didn't make her jump and she'd watch the lights for a bit, but soon fell asleep as well.



Grace was nervous.  She climbed up me and would peek, but this was a little much for her.  She didn't cry or seem to hate it, but it made her nervous.  She seems a bit more aware of her surroundings and takes a bit longer to adjust.  She relaxed too though, in her Mommy's arms.  (I love saying that I'm her and Hope's Mommy.  I could say it a million times and not get tired of it!)


Just in time for the craziest part of the circus.

The Motorcycles


Three motorcycles in a tiny little ball.  None of us could breathe while they were doing this.  I admit thinking they had lost their minds (smile), but still...we were breathless.




We don't usually get to go on big vacations or go to some of these special events.  There's a lot of us (in case you didn't know...bwhahahahahaha).  

This was such a special treat.

The Gang...with Noelle behind the alien.

Being able to go to the circus was a blessing and a gift.  It was a time of fun, especially for the kids.

I came home with a fever.  I don't run fevers except as a second step when I'm really sick.  Yuck...I'm fighting though.  I am refusing to be taken down by a silly virus (smile).  

Well, goal number two didn't happen AGAIN this weekend....Church.  I appreciate prayer that we will be able to get there soon.

So, my husband spent his weekend taking care of me and the kids.  He's kind of amazing.  I'm just sayin'.   

I'm even now in bed, throat hurting, but nothing horrible.  

I look forward to being well.  I'm now the last person that needs to reach that goal.

Thank you for hangin' with me.  I know I'm it's a bit unpredictable (how often I write).  Yet, getting to know many of you has been such a joy.  .

May your night be blessed!!!!  I may be sick, but my night definitely still is!

 "..give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:18


Prayer Requests:

1. Please pray for those still trapped (and devastated) by Hurricane Harvey and several natural disasters around the world.  I'm just beginning to read about them.  

2. Please continue to pray for the Wood family.  The sudden and traumatic loss of Jack is not going to be over in a day, a week, a year.  They need continued prayers.  This trauma leaves waves that will be felt for a very long time.  Please pray for triumph for their family.

3. Please pray for my friend Julia and Rob.  They were in Ben's birth country adopting their newest child (and will be returning).  This country works different than many.  Please pray that every mountain is laid flat before them and that their child comes home.

4. Please pray for our friends the "A" family which were beginning the adoption process to bring home their new daughter.  Their new daughter suddenly passed away this week.  Please pray for peace that passes understanding.

5. Please pray for Ivan, my son in law, who is looking for a job.  Please pray he finds the perfect one quickly.

6. Please pray for ALL our health, that we can get well and stay well this year.  (Please include our adult children and grandchildren too.)

7. Please pray that we can find a schedule and routine (even with many appointments) and can stick diligently to it.  I don't know how to emphasize how important this is to make a large family work.

8.  Please pray God makes it crystal beautifully clear the next steps for our family
in serving him.

9. Please pray for the continued attachment of Hope, Grace, and Timothy.  They are still in the journey.

10. Please pray Thomas and I can be the patient parents that God wants us to be, diligently serving him while raising our zoo.

11. For about six months or so after every adoption we are in "financial recovery".
Please pray for this for us.  It's always a bit hard, but we are fine.
God is good.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Fifty-One and Nineteen

Fifty-one pounds may not seem very big.  We have a dog that's 125 lbs.  It's downright small to some.

Yet, to a little guy who is fourteen years old and seen every specialist under the sun, IT'S HUGE!!! We have been told by his GI doctor that he may ALWAYS struggle with weight because of his gut issues.

Taken today at the doctors.

We met Benjamin when he was almost ten and weighed in at around 36 lbs.


His weight has plateaued for YEARS at around 42 lbs (topping one year at 43 lbs).  At his last checkup a few months ago he was again 42 lbs.

Today, after much work (and research), he weighed in at 51 lbs!!!!!  HE GAINED NINE POUNDS IN THREE MONTHS!!!!  HE IS OUR CHUB-A-WUB!!!! WOO HOO!!!! We are loving this!  I have to credit Thomas for this.  He worked HARD to figure out how to up Ben's weight.

He grew 1/2 an inch too.  HE GREW!!!!

It may be little to many, but it's huge to our doctors/specialists and Benjamin!!!!  PRAISE GOD!!!!

Today was another medical day for us.  Ben had his physical and is doing great and healthy.

The girls chillin' at Ben's appointment.
I love how Hope flung her leg over Grace and 
Grace wrapped her legs around it.

Timothy had PT and new x-rays done to check on healing.


(Above and below)
Hope was really looking at the decorations
when visiting the Physical Therapist.


Bekah was a big help today with
Timothy and the girls!

Timothy strengthening muscles by
standing on his knees.

Max and Bekah found a video
game on the floor while waiting for 
x-rays.  SO COOL!!!

The big news for Timothy is that he no longer has to wear his "Rhino" (hip brace) except at night! He's so excited!!!

Our medical day ended around 3:30 pm, while driving past gas stations that were empty and out of gas.... and ones that had lines that ran a mile down the main street.

Yes, it's an odd site.

I got gas yesterday when I was at a quarter of a tank and had NO clue this would happen.  People are afraid with four oil refineries under water in Houston (from what I understand).

Jael and Grace...just because (smile)

So tonight we look forward to a long weekend.  We actually have a little surprise for the kids on Saturday.  The surprise includes nineteen people and  motorcycles.  

What could go wrong?!!! (Bwhahahahaha!) I guarantee it is NOT what you are guessing.

Our mouths were filled with laughter,

    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
Psalm 126:2

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Prayer Requests:


1. Please pray for those still trapped (and devastated) by Hurricane Harvey.  Daily we hear of more people still trapped.  To put this in perspective, Houston was not evacuated (just to name ONE city).  Houston has a population of 2.303 million (2016).  A friend's daughter, husband, and newborn were trapped in the second story of their house for days.  Good friends were evacuated and still are waiting to see if the waters will crest over the levee near their home (the flooding is not over for many).  Another family was rescued today from high flood waters, the husband life flighted to a hospital.  I've seen the maps of ONE rescue group.  There are so many that still have NOT made it to safety and are trapped. Please pray, find out needs, give where you can, organize where you can...but especially pray for those affected and those who are attempting to help with the rescues.  

2. Please continue to pray for the Wood family.  The sudden and traumatic loss of Jack is not going to be over in a day, a week, a year.  They need continued prayers.  This trauma leaves waves that will be felt for a very long time.  Please pray for triumph for their family.

3. Please pray for my friend Julia and Rob.  They are in Ben's birth country adopting their newest child.  This country works different than many.  Please pray that every mountain is laid flat before them and that their child comes home.

4. Please pray for our friends the "A" family which were beginning the adoption process to bring home their new daughter.  Their new daughter suddenly passed away this week.  Please pray for peace that passes understanding.

5. Please pray for a family member who is looking for a job to support their family.  They need one NOW.  They are not looking for a lot of money.  That's not what they are about.  This family 
member just wants a job.

6. Please pray for ALL our health, that we can get well and stay well this year.  (Please include our adult children and grandchildren too.)

7. Please pray that we can find a schedule and routine (even with many appointments) and can stick diligently to it.  I don't know how to emphasize how important this is to make a large family work.

8.  Please pray God makes it crystal beautifully clear the next steps for our family
in serving him.

9. Please pray for the continued attachment of Hope, Grace, and Timothy.  They are still in the journey.

10. Please pray Thomas and I can be the patient parents that God wants us to be, diligently serving him while raising our zoo.

11. For about six months or so after every adoption we are in "financial recovery".
Please pray for this for us.  It's always a bit hard, but we are fine.
God is good.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

High School, Aloe Vera, and Sleepy Babies

Today two children entered new stages.

Max began high school today.  How is that even possible?


Bekah entered the 6th grade...middle school.  I can be a little in denial here.  I was raised where we had Junior High and it was 7th and 8th grade.


While they were at school (co-op), the rest of us went on our first Home School Walk.  Jael about gave me a heart attack as she ran down the hill in her prosthetics.  I didn't get a picture since I was holding my breath.

Side note: The dot in the distance is Anna.  She likes to take a stroller and jog ahead (we stroll).  The weight of the stroller creates resistance on hills...that and she loves her siblings.  (smile)

The kids inspecting an Aloe Vera plant.

Sticks are cool, because...well, they just are!


Even weeds were to be inspected.


We have a "Home School Walk" rule. We pick one thing we see on the walk to research.  It can be a plant, a job, a car, a type of retaining wall...it doesn't matter.  The kids LOVE it and share with their dad (when he gets home) one fact they learned.

Today was the Aloe Vera plant.  We like to do activity sheets, but they are not always easy to find.  Today we colored...even the itty bitty ones.

I admit though, one little one made some choices and had to lay down during coloring time.  It's all part of learning! (No, not the babies! Smile)



Now, I will say that with starting schooling (even on a small/slow level) I've had to remember things are not always as easy with toddlers (laughing).  Grace felt MUCH better today.  No joke, I've NEVER seen her this active!  She was in to EVERYTHING.  You name it and she found it!  She kept us busy!

In order for the kids to color AT ALL where they wanted to in the house, we had to wrangle Grace into the walker.  She loves it though and it encourages more use of leg muscles.  For those that don't know, she CAN pull herself up on things and walk the length of the couch (while holding on with both hands).



Our sweet Hope has been giving me a run for my money too...chuckle.  It's not so much activity, though she rolls everywhere, it's her NOT wanting to sleep.  Grace will take about a half an hour to crash, but Hope has a "gift".  She has a "gift" of keeping herself awake.  I am one tired mommy.

After keeping herself up until 11:30 pm, she had an early morning.  So far the early rising has worked.  She is SOUND asleep.


Tomorrow is another early morning and long day though.  So, in an effort to not be sleep walking tomorrow, I'm going to run.  Today I will write down prayer requests.  The "tireds" will not stop me. There are just too many that need to be covered right now.  If you are one of them, email me.  I will be praying for you.

The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge,
    for the ears of the wise seek it out.
Proverbs 18:15

Picture of Isabella (who is currently sick, along with her mommy) thrown in for cuteness.
Sarah sent it to me today.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Prayer Requests:

1. Please pray for those still trapped (and devastated) by Hurricane Harvey.  Daily we hear of more people still trapped.  To put this in perspective, Houston was not evacuated (just to name ONE city).  Houston has a population of 2.303 million (2016).  A friend's daughter, husband, and newborn were trapped in the second story of their house for days.  Good friends were evacuated and still are waiting to see if the waters will crest over the levee near their home (the flooding is not over for many).  Another family was rescued today from high flood waters, the husband life flighted to a hospital.  I've seen the maps of ONE rescue group.  There are so many that still have NOT made it to safety and are trapped. Please pray, find out needs, give where you can, organize where you can...but especially pray for those affected and those who are attempting to help with the rescues.  

2. Please continue to pray for the Wood family.  The sudden and traumatic loss of Jack is not going to be over in a day, a week, a year.  They need continued prayers.  This trauma leaves waves that will be felt for a very long time.  Please pray for triumph for their family.

3. Please pray for my friend Julia and Rob.  They are in Ben's birth country adopting their newest child.  This country works different than many.  Please pray that every mountain is laid flat before them and that their child comes home.

4. Please pray for our friends the "A" family which were beginning the adoption process to bring home their new daughter.  Their new daughter suddenly passed away this week.  Please pray for peace that passes understanding.

5. Please pray for a family member who is looking for a job to support their family.  They need one NOW.  They are not looking for a lot of money.  That's not what they are about.  This family 
member just wants a job.

6. Please pray for ALL our health, that we can get well and stay well this year.  (Please include our adult children and grandchildren too.)

7. Please pray that we can find a schedule and routine (even with many appointments) and can stick diligently to it.  I don't know how to emphasize how important this is to make a large family work.

8.  Please pray God makes it crystal beautifully clear the next steps for our family
in serving him.

9. Please pray for the continued attachment of Hope, Grace, and Timothy.  They are still in the journey.

10. Please pray Thomas and I can be the patient parents that God wants us to be, diligently serving him while raising our zoo.

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