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.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Egg Nog Mile #3

Yesterday Drew helped plan and organize the 3rd annual Egg Nog Run!
For those of you who missed the fun last year, here is how it works..

This crowd of crazy young people gather together in the freezing weather to run a mile...

The only hitch being they must drink a large glass of egg nog before they start...

And at the beginning of each subsequent mile!
Drew and his friend, Richard, behind him on the right, won in 5:34.
Caleb was the youngest participant...

But we did modify for him this year, as last year he was sick all day!

No fun.
Yep, Hannah, I agree!

Being the youngest, and the sweetest, she volunteered to pick up the many gross cups laying all over the track.
Here is our finisher picture.

In case you are wondering, those with their hands up are the ones that finished, at least to this point without throwing up!

Not sure if they are the real winners as most of them were pretty green around the gills!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


This was our quiet house on the day before Christmas.
Quiet, contemplative kids.
Sweet, thoughtful kids.
Beautiful cookies in the making.
Nicely designed frosted cookies.
Then Drew.... know there is not much to say!

But he sure makes life interesting...

...and boy and I gonna miss him when he goes back to school this weekend!

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Rockin' Mama Challenge

I joined up with the Rockin' Mama Challenge today!

As I have talked about many times on this blog, attachment is not always an easy thing.

Even after 5 years we see big gaps for both of our treasures.

After Caleb and Hannah had been home for a year I was talking with a dear adoptive mom friend about the struggle I was still having with Caleb and his attachment. She so wonderfully pointed out to me that I also was not attaching to him!!

Interestingly I had never thought about it in this way, nor heard about it, nor read about it. It was always the child attaching to the parent being the issue.

So at that point we did lots of research and I sought lots of advice from experienced adoptive moms, and we started the 'over loving' phase of adoption.

We praised EVERY small thing, we let some things slide that we never would have with our bio kids, we took every opportunity to touch and hug, we said words of affection at every turn. We found our hearts learning to love in a new way and him responding in a new way. It was great!

This is not to say everything was wonderful. We still had our struggles, but things were so much better.

And I would say now he knows we love him and we will never leave him. He still has behaviours that are related to trauma and loss. But overall we are on a good path.

This challenge with him, is hopefully to go deeper and help him with touch and expressing feelings at a new level.

With Hannah things have always moved at a different pace.

Due to her delays we have always worked with her a little differently from Caleb.

I have missed seeing that her attachment issues are definitely not going in the right direction.

Just in the last week it was confirmed in my heart that some intervention was going to need to happen and soon.

Thankfully my blogging friend, and now face to face friend, Lisa, posted a couple of days ago about a new challenge her great therapist gave her for one of her children with past trauma issues.

It was a rocking challenge!

You simply rock with your child on your lap with nothing else going on. Just you and them and a rocking chair for 15 minutes.

Now for me that is 30 minutes of uninterrupted time.

Not easy to find, but essential as I see it for my family right now.

You can go to Lisa's blog post and read more about it if you are interested. I will be posting here as we move through this process and let you know how I am doing and what responses we are seeing with the kids.

So day one looks like this:

Hannah-after 5 minutes laid back and started looking me in the eye and giving me full dialog of her day with prompting!!

Caleb-after trying for 5 minutes to remove himself sneakily from my lap, relaxed. He told me it was starting to feel comfortable after 10 minutes. He told me how much he liked his building sets and what he was reading about. Never really got more than a few fractions of eye contact.

Let me know if you decide to take the challenge and we can encourage one another!

Christmas Fun

We had a last day change of plans at our house, when Drew volunteered to cover for someone at work on Christmas morning. It gave the other guy time at home on Christmas day with his family and Drew got double time pay! Bonus for everyone.

So we surprised the kids with a Christmas Eve opening of presents.

As you can see they thought it was a good idea and I believe this little change of plans really helped us to avoid the over kill of excitement and activity on Christmas day.
Three of the kids getting their stockings.
Caleb and Hannah with some crazy modeling of their new pajama pants made by big sister Erinn.
Drew with his new quilt I made a couple of months ago.
And this made all the effort worth it.
My sweet husband with his knives he has been wanting for years.

I would put some of me with my gifts, but my 'sweet' husband was having fun taking pictures of me yawning and such! Guess you will miss out on those-LOL
Snuggling with Drew's new blanket.
On Christmas Hannah received her Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy doll lovingly made by Grandma.
My sister, Carol, and her husband, David, came for the day too. Carol was fighting a migraine all day and was quite the trooper.
Oh and by the way, yes, my sister is married to a David too.
Oh and so is my little sister!
Yep, all three of us married David's--kinda strange, but it makes family gatherings fun!
Dad and their new puppy, Anna.
Hoping your day was filled with as many fun memories as ours was!

Friday, December 24, 2010

A day to Relax.

Our day in Cabo San Lucas was so relaxing and refreshing.

This is our ship as we headed to the dock on our tender. We were pleased again with the service and food and everything else on our Princess cruise.
We enjoyed a leisurely 2 mile walk around the marina to this quite little part of the sandy beach. We swam, watched fish and napped on the warm sand.

We enjoyed watching all the activity coming and going from the 3 large ships in port that day, all the while sitting on our quite little part of the beach by ourselves.

David spoke with a young father selling wind chimes on the beach. We heard of his struggle to take care of his family and his thankfulness for the tourism that brings in much needed income.
We had to take this picture of the Carnival Cruse Ship and it's smiling face. Reminded me of the movie Cars.
I was so blessed by our entire trip. I feel relaxed and ready to see what the Lord has for us in 2011!
So good-bye to Cabo and hello to HOME!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What to do?

After such a wonderful day in Puerto Vallarta we wondered what the Lord had planned for us in Mazatlan!

So that evening we were sharing with the two couples we ate dinner with each night about our day in Puerto Vallarta and how it would be great to do it again in Mazatlan, but we did not have any contacts at all there.

In steps Felix, our waiter for the week, who just HAPPENS to live in Mazatlan.

Is God amazing or what?

Felix tells us there is an orphanage just down the road from his house and he has time off ship the next afternoon and he would be happy to bring us there!

Really, seriously, no way!
So we invaded on Felix (who speaks wonderful English) and his wife, Silvia (who speaks only Spanish) on their day together at home.

And we drove about 1/2 hour to his quiet little orphanage.
Where we met this wonderful woman who has spent the last 42 years of her life caring for orphans in this orphanage!

Sorry to say I can not remember her name---Maybe that will be the next miracle the Lord will provide for us---a better memory! LOL

She has watched many generations of children come and live their live out her at this home and go on to live wonderful productive lives.
Again, sadly for us, but very happily for the 35 or so orphans of this home, the children were all privileged to be in school on this morning.

We were blessed by a tour of their clean home and grounds. And privileged to leave a package of pencils and colored pencils for the children when they got home.
The children of this home were not adoptable, and would be cared for and loved by the staff till they left for university.

David was pleased to see these two plaques on the wall. They are for two of their students who have participated in the Rotary Student Exchange Program.

As many of you know, we hosted an exchange student from Germany through this program a couple of years ago and this past year David was in charge of the program for his local Rotary.

It makes our hearts glad that some of the 'fatherless' are able to partake in this program as well as the privileged.
One of the blessings of this journey for us was seeing how well the children were cared for in this situation. Though I do believe all children deserve the blessing of a family, I know that is not always possible. It is wonderful to see children cared for in their own culture in a loving, safe atmosphere.

Our children's orphanage was not at all like the one I saw. I found myself crying and realized that it was both for the joy I felt for these children and the sadness I felt for the many to whom this is not a reality.

May our hearts always plead for the fatherless before the throne of God.
Since our time at the orphanage was shorter than we anticipated, Felix took us on a tour of HIS town. You could tell how proud he was of it.

We saw the Mazatlan that most tourists will not see.

The busy city streets that almost look like home.

The small shacks along a back road that are the size of our shed.

The modest homes on bumpy dirt roads.

The amazingly large resorts.

And of course the wondrously beautiful beaches and ocean.
Felix has been serving on board cruise ships for 19 years. They have a 10 month contract followed by 2 months off. He has been all over the world, but has spent little time at home.

He is thinking of starting a touring business in Mazatlan instead of signing up for another contract.

He was touched by our visit to the orphanage, that though it is around the corner from his house, he had never been too.

Maybe the Lord is working in bigger ways---tours to include a visit to an orphanage to touch many hearts?

You would not believe how many people we shared with aboard ship that asked how we had done what we did and that they would like the opportunity to do more than feed their own pleasures at port.


We picked up Felix's son to drop him off at the University, on our way to downtown to catch another bus back towards the ship.

On the way back we saw this beautiful church building.
I was saddened to feel the oppression in my spirit of the many seekers in this building. I found myself lost in prayer for the lost of this city.

Thank you God for giving us eyes to see, and hearts soft to hear your longing for the lost.
And as we journeyed away from this beautiful city, we again were overflowing with thankfulness.

The privilege that was ours to watch the Lord work in our lives, and touch our hearts.

And He tops it off with one of the most beautiful sunsets as our ship sailed out of harbor!
Isn't that just like God!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Open Our Eyes....

Oh Lord, let our eyes be opened to what you have for us!

This was our prayer at we left for our wonderful vacation. We felt blessed to have the time and resources to take this wonderful vacation and wanted to be used of the Lord in our time.

So we made plans to spend our time at our first port, Puerto Vallara, Mexico, visiting at an orphanage.
So we stopped at, where else, Walmart!

Did you know that almost everything we saw here cost about double what it does in the states?

I had no idea.

Mexican's make much less on average than we do, but pay twice the amount for the same products we purchase.
Now we watched God in His wonderful Providence change our plans and replace them with more!

Ain't that just like Him!

As David asked me the exchange rate of pesos to dollars, this kind Christian couple, Rick (who spoke flawless English) and Rosie (who spoke very little English), stepped in with the answer. They asked if we had just come off the ship and what our plans were for the day.

When we explained our plans for the day, they were excited and asked if there was any way they could help out. They, at the last minute had run to Walmart for a few groceries and were pleased to have the opportunity to change their plans.

And a new friendship was started and a new adventure begun.
So with bags of toys in hand we started out, Rick letting David know we would be OK on public transportation.

Which is a leap of faith on it's own--LOL.

I don't think I will complain of crazy American drivers for a while--they drive very fast down very narrow roads, with few traffic signs, lots of cars, lots of pedestrians, all while starting and stopping letting people on and off and making change for people!
Our first stop was to a local government orphanage. We were told most of the children were street children.

When we arrived, most of the kids were at school. An opportunity they would not have in most cases. We found 4 boys home that day.
We were able to bless the younger boys with toys, but had brought nothing for the older boy. We gave him some money to go buy a soda.

Of course the little one here, he is 7, was quite the charmer.

But it was the older boy's hopeless look in his eyes that caught our hearts. He will be in our prayers for a long time!
Though we had hoped to see more children we were so thankful to hear they were in school.

Our treasures, Caleb and Hannah, were not afforded that opportunity.
Our next stop--

the trash dump--

where a large number of families make their home living off what they can scrounge and sell.
We found a few children walking around.
We gave gifts and asked where their 'amigos' were.
A few more--no school for these kids.
Do they look excited?
Now where did all these come from?
See the boy in the yellow--they were all running down the road like that!

News spreads fast!
The same boy, with his bubbles, off to sell their dump finds.
A young mom hoping to find something to give to her children. We were blessed to give her something to hopefully brighten her day a little.
Rick rejoicing with a little girl and her new coloring book.
What can you say?
Rick and Rosie helping to distribute coloring crayons.
Oh the joy that abounded--for all of us.
Children caring for younger siblings.
And younger children caring for even younger children.

Back to their homes (on the left behind the piled high trucks) with gifts and smiles and a prayer from our hearts.
A glimpse of a neighborhood a little different from yours and mine.
The school, for those privileged enough to afford the cost of tuition, uniforms and books.
We finally took a journey though the Puerto Vallarta the tourists do not see to find a small restaurant to treat Rick and Rosie to lunch.
And as we enjoyed our tacos, Rick and Rosie shared their hearts with us.

Let's just say marriage is as much under attack in Mexico as it is here.

I am sure they would love your prayers as well as ours.
We left with new friends and 4 hearts changed towards the heart of the orphan and those who spend each day just trying to keep family together.
The dump as seen from our ship.

Looks pretty innocuous.

Let our hearts look past the frivolous and become Radical for You!

Yes, we read the book on board ship--more on that later!
And with the setting of the sun, we sailed away leaving a little part of our hearts left behind with many young beautiful faces forever etched in our minds.

And two new friends in the Lord to pray for!