Philippians 4:4-9
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. and the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Dinner Invitation?!?

When you have these two in the car and they get going, you never know what you are going to hear. I must say it is so very fun, especially now that Hannah's speech is blossoming.

So yesterday's drive home from the softball game we had a great conversation with two of our pastor's daughters.

It goes like this:

Brenna gasps at the sight of a cat dead on the side of the road. This brings it to everyone's attention.

Caleb--"Why is it there?"

Hannah--"I think it was killed by a tiger or a bear!"

Me--"Hannah there are no bears and tigers in town!" (Trying to avoid being to morbid to a child who has seen too much death) "Caleb the cat was probably trying to get across the street at was accidentally hit
by a car."

Caleb--"Mom I wanted to know why no one has picked it up!"

Me--at a loss for word for a moment there is silence.

Hannah--"We should pick it up and take it home and cook it for dinner!!!"

A bunch of laughter! Some silence!

Caleb to our pastor's daughters--"Do you want to come over for dinner tonight?"

He really had no idea how that came out and was confused about the crazy laughter.

Me--"Yes, you just caught us and figured out that mystery meat we serve at our house--it is really road kill!!"

So there is the thread of discussion that you can run into with my little ones in the car!! Never too boring around here. You got to love it!

Friday, June 26, 2009


Caleb, Hannah and I went to see the movie "UP" today! Now here is a movie I can recommend! What fun for all of us. Hannah and Caleb especially enjoyed it, as it was only their second time in the big theater. The sweet love portrayed in so many aspects was a delightful change from so much we see today. I encourage you to take the time to see it and support good, clean family fun!

Taking Action

This message was in my email this morning. I encourage you to take a look and pray about what God would have you do. Just watching the trailer for this movie made me cry for the untold numbers of children who share the name "orphan".

Take a moment to take the side of those who cannot speak for themselves.

Orphans Deserve Better is a grassroots campaign to counter the new Warner Bros movie Orphan.

However far-fetched some stories are, they can still subtly shape the way we see the world. So when a major motion picture leaves the impression that orphans are damaged goods and that adoption can destroy your family, those who know the deeper truth must speak up.

People deserve to know better. They should hear about the great needs orphans face…the joy found in loving them…and practical steps each of us can take to do so.

“Defend the cause of the fatherless,” urges the prophet Isaiah. We invite you to join in doing just that. At, you can:

· Build a “counter narrative” to the movie by sharing your personal story of how loving an orphan brings joy.
· Send a message to Warner Brothers urging them to contribute a portion of proceeds from the movie to help orphans.
· Consider ways you can act to help orphans today.

Thanks for taking the time to consider what this movie may mean to the orphans of the world.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pain in the Back!!

My back totally went out a couple of days ago! Ick!

I have seen the chiropracter twice and am now going to try to keep it going forward alone. Strectching, ice, and rest. So there has been little blogging as it is still a little uncomfortable to sit.

David and Drew have headed to Eugene for a long weekend together to watch the US Track and Field Championships. Praying for a good, safe time for them together.

Caleb and I worked through some issues this afternoon. Tried some of the things I have been reading about. Let him talk, urged him on and then did a redo of the mistaken communication. Been doing a lot of the redo's, he seems to be responding to the corrections in this manner. I am so thankful for the things I have been learning to help him.

I will be slowly posting some of the pictures we just got from the photographer. It was nice to get some good pictures of us all. We have struggled getting the lighting good with both black and white faces in the picture. If the lighting is not right you wash out one or the other. Clothing is also important, brown shirts can really hid brown faces and white shirts make white, winter skin really white. Get it!! LOL!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Agutaynens Update

The following is an update from David's brother and his team who are presently presenting the chronological teaching (creation to Christ) in the Philippines. Praying we soon have brothers and sisters in the Lord in this village.

JUNE 21, 2009

Our second week of Bible teaching is now completed. We again had a full crowd, with approximately 150 people in attendance, including children. We are thankful that the Lord enabled us to build a big enough building for everyone to fit under the shelter! And there is still room for more. Pray that the Lord will continue to bring the Agutaynens to hear His Word.

In reminiscing with a friend this week, Stephen was reminded of what the Agutaynens thought about us when we first moved in amongst them. Stephen's friend said that people thought we were just coming to search for lost gold. Then he said, “Now we know that you came to bring us a different kind of gold, from above.” How thankful we are that God’s Word is going forth! It is a precious treasure, and will bring many precious souls to Himself!

This week our lesson on Monday night will be about Noah & the Flood. Wednesday night will be about the Tower of Babel & Abraham. We greatly appreciate your continued prayers.


We finally got to the passport office this morning to apply for Caleb and Hannah's passports. We were hoping we had all the proper documentation. I had lost their permanent resident cards and was hoping we did not need them. Thankfully they were able to move forward with their State birth certificates and US adoption decree. It is hard handing over the only official copies I have of either of them and pray nothing goes wrong. Guess it is easier than sending notarized blank copies of power of attorney to a foreign country and we did that too!!! Amazing the journey you take to bring a child into your family by adoption. Ever make you think of the journey and hard work that God did and does to bring us into his family!!

Catching Up On Life

What a crazy weekend!!!

Drew and 6 cross country boys and girls had a huge ($900) garage sale in my garage this weekend! Tons of work to go into setting up and such, plus having on average 7 hungry teens here for 2 days and nights!! They were raising money for cross country camp ($400+) a person for high altitude training, with no running water, outhouses, and army tents!! This is actually the same camp David went to in high school with about the same services and activities.

David decided for Father's Day weekend we would do some TOUCH UP painting on the house. The problem with that being, that the paint was so faded from the sun, we ended up totally doing two sides, both stories!! Looks good now!!

We were blessed with being able to find a used zoom lens for David for Father's Day. Keep watching to see the new improved pictures.

Caleb celebrated his birthday with donuts for breakfast with candles and everything. We then were going to go out to his favorite lunch place (McDonald's) just the three of us, then Drew joined us and Dad asked if we could go to a different McD's so he could join us. On a lark I called Erinn and caught her just sitting down on her lunch break and she joined us!! What a spur of the moment surprise for all of us to be together. He then requested spaghetti for dinner and opened his presents after. Tonight we will have a couple of friends over for cake and ice cream after the track meet.

So after this whirlwind weekend I literally did laundry all day yesterday, including all sheets and blankets from my sweaty African children's beds!! I also found my kitchen and garage!! Yeah! Last load for Salvation Army is waiting for Drew to get home from work to deliver, then I will somewhat have my house back!

Now I am just praying for my back to be normal. This morning I went for a walk/run and it was very sore. I am now fighting for any normal movement. Think I will get some serious stretching and icing in today! Praising God for the energy to accomplish so much this weekend!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy 9th Birthday Caleb!!!

Caleb is 9 years old today!!This is our referral picture of Caleb July 2005 Monrovia, Liberia
Did you ever wonder what it would feel like to travel across the world with a stranger and be placed in the hands of your new family that looked and sounded very different from yourself?
If you look at Caleb's face here you can see what it looks like!
Meeting Caleb for the first time in the Portland airport, November 2005!
Helping put Hannah's bike together. The joy of new bikes, when only the richest kids back home ever dreamed of having a bike!!!
Caleb's second Christmas, December 2006.
First time to the Pacific Ocean!
Erinn and Caleb 2007
Big brother fun!
The excitement of finding a praying mantis-2008
Big sister and little sister and Caleb!
Our new 9 year old with his very healthy breakfast!!!
Caleb, we pray that God may bless you abundantly in the next year as you seek to become more like Him in every way. We thank God for the blessing of placing you in our family forever!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Not a Spring Chicken Anymore!

One of the first posts I did on this blog was about David running the Portland Marathon for a fund raiser for disabilities ministries. Well us girls talked about walking it this year and I guess that is a go at this point!

Two weeks ago we went on our first walk together and have been training since.

Yesterday three of us tackled a 10 miler!! We walked the first 5 miles in 1:09 and the second 5 miles in 1:11 for a total of 10 miles in 2:20!!! Pretty good for beginners. We did do a little jogging to loosen up the muscles and change up the pace.

So the reason for the title would be--I am very slow moving this morning!! Not sore muscles, but my back is out!! I felt it about 10 minutes after we stopped walking yesterday. I was prepared for sore legs, a swollen knee or even another black toenail, but not my back.

Then David asked me this morning if I was 10 years older than both the ladies I walked with yesterday? Yes!! And what is your point??
I guess a mom with daughters this age should feel their age just a little?!?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

And The Not So Competitive!

With a house full of competitive kids, I guess God decided I needed a break with my youngest!!
Notice the graceful form!
OK she throws like a girl, but I have never had one the does!!
This picture is great, I snapped it right before she went running through the long jump pit!
She does not quite have the jumping thing down yet.
And these have to be the best!
Wonderful hopping up and down form!
But look at that grin with the tongue hanging out and all!
Notice there are no other kids in the picture, they were all way in front of her, but she did not care at all!
And the best part??? Your big brother waiting at the finish line with a really cute pink ribbon for you!!! Lest you think I am in anyway serious, let me put your mind at ease.
After 4 very competitive children it would be wonderfully relaxing to this mom to take life a little less seriously and stressful with this one!!
Isn't she great!
And my awesome son having a great time with the kids at the track meet.
Thanks for being such a great role model for all the kids!

The Up and Coming Track Star?!

I think David is going to have to read up on how to train a sprinter!!
Look at that face!
He passed 3 guys coming into finish of the 400M for 3rd place of all the boys 12 and under.
I think we may need to work on that form! Look at the head in the air!
He was actually leading the 50M and the boy you see to the right of the picture started on the left of Caleb and crossed over in front of him!
The next pictures are fun because the camera was on some crazy setting and took lots of pictures in a row!
He's up! He misses the other boy!
He's down!
And he is laughing!
Then a first try ever at the high jump!
Notice he is running straight into the pit. Not the best way to go!
He's up!
And he is over!
Maybe a decathlete?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Blue Clay People

Just had the opportunity to finish the book, "Blue Clay People" by William Powers

This book is not written from a Christian perspective, so be warned on some of the language and situational content.

It did show a good picture into the life of those living in Liberia during the civil war. The struggle that the people have just to survive day to day. And some of the reasoning behind the in depth corruption from the top levels all the way to the bottom.
It is hard to condemn poaching when a person is starving.
It is hard to condemn stealing when your family is starving.

It does bring to mind the passage in Romans we studied this week:
Romans 2:1-4
1 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2 But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. 3 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and long suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

The book was a good reminder that life is not so easy to read, that we do not all walk similar paths, and we all need the saving grace of our Saviour.

Are You Hurt??

My beautiful daughter with the fake kitty. Isn't she cute?
So how does a sweet face like this hide so much fear and pain?
On Sunday she was mopping the kitchen floor with the swifter. She decided to run while she was doing it and the inevitable happened that happens when you run on wet floors! Her feet went up and she landed flat on her tail bone! All I saw from my vantage point was feet in the air, I heard no crying. David called her over to him, there were huge crocodile tears, but no sound! He comforted her and she went back to finish the floor with no sound.
Monday morning we decided to bike to VBS. She said nothing about still hurting and got on her bike. She was having trouble getting on and off, I wrote it off as she was wearing a skort and it made maneuvering difficult. About half way there we got off to walk up the big hill and she was limping. So I ask is anything wrong? No she says. We keep walking with the limp getting more pronounced. I ask again, Hannah you are walking funny, are you sure you are OK. She says she is tired. So I know I am slow, but it then dawns on me about the fall!! So I ask Hannah does your butt hurt? The silent tears well up in her eyes and she says "yes"!
We finally got to the bottom of the funny walk, but we are in no way near the 'bottom' of the issue!
We discusses that it is OK to tell mom what hurts and what you need--again! That I will do anything that I can to make it better. No real response.
So we tried humor. Hannah, it is OK to say "My butt hurts!" I get a smile with that and hope we have reached an understanding.
Fast forward to this morning. My first question for her after she gets up.
"How is your butt?"
"It doesn't hurt?"
So I have her sit so I can take a picture of her with her new fake kitty and she very carefully lowers herself to the ground and tenderly sits on her backside!
So I ask you, do you think it is OK? Have we gotten to the 'bottom' of the issue?
I am sure we are dealing with needs not being met in her first years. Not that her birth mother did not want to meet the needs, but most likely, she was unable to meet her needs. So we read and research ways to meet Hannah in her pain and fear and help her work through it. But mostly we lay our precious daughter before the Lord, the Great Physician and ask Him to heal her broken heart and to open her heart to His love that she may walk fully in His grace.
Psalm 103:3-5
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Life is Moving On!

This is Drew and Erinn, pre tooth extraction and finals!

Drew is still a little swollen around the lower jaw from his tooth extraction, but feeling better overall. He has been busy getting ready for a garage sale with a bunch of his team to earn money for Steens Mountain Running Camp this summer.

Erinn will have her last final tonight and officially be a college junior. I must say she is already moving on and is looking forward to a much awaited trip to Texas to see Mike! Details are in the making as I write.

Danielle is trying to keep busy and looking froward to Ryan's break coming up in a month or so. Hard time for her to be working for a non-profit group. But she is enjoying the learning experience one way or the other.

Hannah is my easy going Hannah. We all need one like her to slow us down and force us to smell the roses a little. She is presently playing in a large bucket of water out back, where she has been playing for the last hour all by herself. She is very easy to entertain. She showed me her letter E's this morning she was practicing! They had about 6 horizontal lines on them!! Some of her visual processing issues. To her they looked great!

Caleb and I had a big exchange this morning about telling time again!! He sure knows how to push my buttons! After I discussed it with him for 1/2 an hour with him not getting it at all (though we just went over it last week), he just all the sudden got them all right in a row, as though someone just turned on a light in his head (you know like the cartoons). Now all I need to figure out is how to turn the light on sooner!!! He is such a good kid that loves to please, I think most of it is fear that he will get it wrong and disappoint. He is now busily working on Knex and having a great time working with the wheels and finding all the different ways you can put them together.

I have been battling some lows this week. Get that way once in a while, usually due to too much stress I am not dealing with, which sends my already precarious hormones into a tail spin. Thankful to be leveling out again. Looking forward to seeing that sun sometime this summer. Think it is playing havoc on things too. My big blessing right now has been increasing my walking time. I have been able to listen to some great sermons by John Piper this week while I was walking. Also my bum knee has not been giving me any trouble-Praise the Lord!!

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Colossians 3:15

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

They're Out!

Drew did forbid me to place the picture of him post tooth pulling on this site. I will honor his request this time. Suffice it to say that his face somewhat resembles a chipmunk's at this point!

All that aside we are thankful that all 3 wisdom teeth came out well and he is resting and recovering.

His biggest obstacle so far was the fact that he has never had more than a cleaning done to his teeth! So he was surprised with the numbness in his lips and cheeks. With all my beautiful fillings I never thought about warning him about what that felt like, for me it was a normal part of going to the dentist!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Braids and Beads

Hannah sporting her new braids and beads! She likes the sound the beads make when they clink together, so she asked for beads this time. It is amazing how much her hair has grown.

Granite Man Triathlon

Drew and this Crew from our church ran the Granite Man Triathlon yesterday.
Nate, Andrew, Nate, Marty and Drew
Having to laugh at wearing wet suits for the 3/4 mile swim in the cold lake.
Sometimes I am amazed at how much he looks like his dad!
Serious face before the swim starts.
Can you see him? HaHa! He is actually way on the outside, probably the bare arm directly below the guy on the jet ski.
Drew finished the 3/4 mile swim in 19:53. I believe he was the 5th individual athlete out of the water. Not bad for a kid who has swam only once in the last 6 months. I think just being in good shape helps him out a lot in this part.
After some slower transition times last year, he knew it was an area he could work on for this race. The wet suit without sleeves helped a lot. He had it down to his waist by the time he reached his bike.
1:59 was his swim to bike transition. Longest part being getting his socks and shoes on, but he would not need to do this at the bike transition, as he just wore his running shoes to bike.
Off he goes in chase of the 4 guys in front of him.
Notice the smile! Not sure I would be smiling at this point!!!
Here he is coming off the end of the 13 mile bike on a single track hiking trail along the edge of the lake. If he is looking a little sore, he was nursing a shoulder injury after hitting a tree root and going head first over his handlebars!! He slid down the hill head first and was stopped when his shoulder hit a tree!!! His was worried about the 2 minutes he lost during the accident!
His biking time was 1:02:45.
Drew had the fastest transition of any one in the bike to run-only 12 seconds. He just threw off his helmet and ran with his gloves on!
And off he goes on the start of a 5 mile run to the finish along the road and trails. He was favoring his shoulder but felt good on the run. His run time was 36:29.
That gave him an overall time of 2:01:20!!!
Ending up 5th place over all and first in his age group.
His shoulder is bruised this morning, but we are thankful that is all it seems to be!
All the guys from church finished and we had a great time at the lake too.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Childhood Trauma...

Yesterday was Hannah's last day of ballet class. When we were leaving I asked her if she wanted me to sign her up for more classes? Without hesitation the answer was NO!

You see, Hannah is scared to go to ballet!! Odd thing to be scared of huh. Well, as I am learning, when you parent a child with early childhood trauma you never know where, when or what will trigger a memory of fear.

I am thankful that a friend had the opportunity to see the refugee camp that my children lived in for most of their young lives. She was able to tell me that the building which houses the ballet classes is very much like the building at the refugee center. The difference being is that the building in Liberia is full of bullet and rocket holes!!!

From what I can ascertain, Hannah lived there her whole life till she was placed in the orphanage at 2 1/2 years old.

This is the first memory that Hannah has shared with us, that was not first told by Caleb. And really I do not think she realizes yet that it is a memory, just a fear of being shot while in the building. Interestingly enough, Caleb does not show the same fear. I guess we all process our fears and needs in different ways.

Consistent reinforcement of her safety were needed till we realized what was going on in her little mind. We have talked about it since and I think she understands as well as she can at this point.

So we walk though another path with our blessings, praying for guidance to help their hearts heal.

Just to let you know we did offer ballet at another location for her. She still said no and said she wants to do basketball dance class!!! I have not heard of that class before!!! Let me know if you know where we can sign her up! LOL!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Special Treat!!

Yesterday we had the privilege of spending some time with one of Danielle's old track buddies, Lisa and her boyfriend, Aron.
In one of those God appointed moments we ran into them at a restaurant while eating with our unexpected out of town friends-Andy and Kris-if not for their unexpected visit we would not have been eating out that night! You see the whole God thing-Right!The special treat for our family was that Aron is from Kenya! Talk about connection. Hannah and Caleb immediately attached to him and the familiar African accent. Aron was such a good sport, letting Caleb and Hannah hang all over him!

The other special treat was that Aron is a college national champion in distance running. Bet you are starting to see the other connection! David and Drew had a great time talking running, racing, training and anything else having to do with distance running. Too cool!

To keep adding to the surprises of the night. Our Erinn was so excited to talk with him about his life in Kenya and how he ran to school five miles every day and then back after school. Some days just because he did not bring a lunch he would run home and back for his lunch hour!! As many of you know Erinn is studying Anthropology and she wrote a paper last term on the "magic zone" as this area of Kenya is known as, for how it produces so many world-class distance runners. Her teacher marked her down on her paper saying that this may have been true in the past, but not so much anymore. Here Erinn sat with her 'proof' that she was right!

Our final surprise of the night was Aron and Lisa making us Kenyan tea and flat bread! Caleb just glowed, and now I know he likes his tea really sweet or not at all. He said it tasted like African tea! And when Aron was mixing up the flat bread batter, Caleb wanted to know if he was making fufu? (Not sure I got that spelling right) When he first came home he kept asking for fufu and I did not know what he was saying. As I learned what it was I found that it is made from ground Cassava root, which to this time I have been unable to find anywhere locally to try to make for him. Anyways he liked the flat bread and said it tasted close to his memories of Liberia.
We thank God for this wonderful visit with these Christian young people and the way they shared of themselves with our family! Be praying for Aron as he seeks to lower his times a little more so that he may run professionally for a time. His ultimate goal is working in the UN!