Saturday, December 26, 2009

Amazing Faith

I have been listening to Steven Curtis Chapman's new album for the past few weeks. I can't believe I just said that because the first time I listened to it I cried so hard my head ached for the rest of the day and I swore I would never be able to listen to it again. But somehow I did. And then again. I still cry, but not so much that I'm incapacitated. And now I am able to hear the words more. I think of all the emotion packed into those songs, all the moments, all the ways God has spoken to their hearts. And then I think that this album of songs can only begin to scratch the surface. The complexity of emotions that they must be feeling can't possibly be captured in such human terms. But of any album I have ever heard I believe wholeheartedly that God is speaking through it. I believe He is using this music, this family, this tragedy. I saw Steven Curtis on GMA a while back and I just was humbled all over again at his faith and his willingness to be so vulnerable in front of the world so that God could be glorified. If you have experienced loss, if you have wondered if God is able to get you through it, if you have wondered if God even exists, I encourage you to listen to this album.

You can go here to read about it in his own words:
http://www.stevencurtischapman.com/music.htm

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I am sitting on the couch blogging from my new laptop. It is so fun. I guess my old desktop will now become the kids school work computer. And I get to be out where the action is and still feed my addiction. What a beautiful thing. We had a big snow last week that sort of hung around, but I don't think you can call this a white Christmas - it rained all day. Very yucky weather. And yet by the end of the day I think everyone in the family had uttered the words, "Best Christmas Ever". Apparently fun and family and new toys trump bad weather. I leave you with pictures.










Some of the morning unwrapping frenzy.

Sydney dressed as Sally for the Charlie Brown Christmas play at church.
Part of the baking frenzy that took place the first week the kids had off school.



















View from my kitchen window. It is always a sunset, but I swear every night God paints it new and special just for me(: It is one of my favorite things.

Friday, December 4, 2009

FIVE FOR FIVE #4

Welcome to Day 4 of our Five for Five campaign for World AIDS Day - a chance to give $5 a day for 5 days - each day funding a different project serving orphans living with HIV!
tlc.jpg
Today's project is "TLC Orphanage" in South Africa. TLC was founded in 1993 and has served over 600 babies through the years. They generally have up to 60 children in care and currently are caring for 11 positive children.
All "5 for 5" donations received today (December 4) will be designated toward TLC's education fund, financing schooling costs for their positive orphans.

Give:

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Five For Five #2

Welcome to Day 2 of our Five for Five campaign for World AIDS Day - a chance to give $5 a day for 5 days - each day funding a different project serving orphans living with HIV!
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Today's project is "AHOPE for Children" in Ethiopia. AHOPE Ethiopia provides two children’s homes exclusively for the care of children infected with HIV, with a capacity of about 100 children total. The Child Development Center is a community outreach program that provides services essential to enable a destitute extended family to keep its orphaned children at home. The first Child Development Center was opened in September of 2007 in an impoverished neighborhood of Addis Ababa. It has the capacity to assist 100 children and their guardians and is designed as a model that is suitable for replication in other needy areas as funding allows.

All "5 for 5" donations received today (December 2) will be designated toward AHOPE's Child Development Center - enabling extended families and communities to keep their orphaned children at home.


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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

FIVE FOR FIVE #1

Welcome to World AIDS Day and the start of our Five for Five campaign - a chance to give $5 a day for 5 days - each day funding a different project serving orphans living with HIV! .
agape.jpg
Today's project is "Agape Children's Home" in Thailand. Located in Chiang Mai Thailand, the Agape Home for babies with HIV/AIDS opened in May 1996 as a response to the plight of children impacted by the spread of HIV/AIDS across Thailand. All of the children who come to the Agape Home to live are, or are at risk of being, HIV positive. Many of them have already lost their parents to AIDS, and there are no other options for their care.
All "5 for 5" donations received today (December 1) will be designated toward Agape's current building project - a village of smaller homes where children will be able to live in a more family-type situation rather than in one large facility. .

Go here to learn more:

http://www.fromhivtohome.org

Or go here to donate now:

https://www.networkforgood.org/donation/ExpressDonation.aspx?ORGID2=26-2319340

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Instead of a sweater

that will end up at goodwill in a month anyway why not buy Heartline Ministries some hope for the future? Go to the Heartline Runners' Site and see how you can help. Or check out Corey's blog http://www.watchingthewaters.wordpress.com/. She's doing a cool raffle!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

For Suzette


2009 Preschool Graduate.


A classic Daniel hug for his best friend Brody (also from Haiti).


He loves the camera.


At the lake.







Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Heavy


Not as in "a problem with the earth's gravitational pull", but as in "holy cow could one more thing be weighing on my mind right now??".


Last Thursday Madeline's horse was down when the girls went down to feed in the morning. We brought her up to the house and called the vet. She was not good. At one point we thought she was dying right in front of us - slow breathing, glazed eyes, wouldn't get up. The vet arrived and got her up, took her temp and did a rectal (yeah). She was constipated and likely had an intestinal blockage. He shot about a gallon of mineral oil into her and a bucket of water. By evening she was not better so we called him back for more of the same. At night we set alarms to get up and walk her a bit to make sure she was moving. Friday afternoon she was still not great so he came back and gave another injection. Saturday morning she went down again and we knew she was not going to pull out of this. The vet said he would come put her down. She was 25+ years old and he thought she might have some other underlying issue like a tumor that was keeping her from being able to pass anything. There are lots of other details that I will spare you about watching an animal that large die. It was gutwrenching. When the vet finally arrived I was so relieved to see her stop suffering. My girls sat by her head and held her and sobbed. I thought at one point that I literally couldn't take it anymore. This horse was Madeline's best friend for the past 4 years, and she has been a dream of hers since she was 4 years old. The pain of a mother watching her child suffer like that is almost unbearable. Madeline is deeply grieving as the reality of Aesha being gone sets in. She doesn't want to find another horse right now. She is sad and she is not herself.


I feel HEAVY.


Then we realize that Gabe has some stuff going on that needs to be dealt with and call the psychologist, the only one we trust, and make plans to get him into therapy. I am his mom and I don't know how to help him. I don't know what's going on in his head most of the time. I don't know how to reach him, or if he feels loved, or if he feels safe. So many things about him that I just don't know.


I feel HEAVY.


Little Sweat Pea (our foster daughter) has a new diagnosis and a new prognosis that scares the @#%!*%#%$^%$^##$^*@#@!!!! out of me. Her mom is not doing so great at getting stable. I worry what this means for her life. I worry what this means for our lives. All because of one idiotic moment.


I feel HEAVY.


I can't believe I'm saying this, but could someone please send me one of those stupid email jokes or something. I seriously need a laugh right now. No....I'm not kidding...

Monday, November 9, 2009

God is good!

And He hears our prayers.

And He loves us.

And He always has a plan.

And He is always in control.

And He loves us.

And He shows himself in the darkest places.

And He is always with us.

And He loves us!

Want a little proof?
http://watchingthewaters.wordpress.com/2009/11/08/whats-missing/

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hodge Podge

I closed my facebook account. It started to feel a little weird. All those people interconnected artificially, peering into each others lives, vying for "most friend requested" status. This from an addicted blogger. Yes, I see the irony. My point is, if you want to reach me you will have to just old school shoot me an email or something.

We are now almost seven months into our first domestic foster care placement. I have millions of thoughts. Most of them will just need to stay in my head - atleast until more time has passed. Some of them I will share on the other blog - which I will probably not get time to do until 'more time has passed' anyway!

There was alot of debate/discussion/flaming/encouraging etc. etc. after Corey posted about her son's adoption. I also have a million thoughts about that. First, I am seriously ticked that anyone, after only reading a few paragraphs can make a judgement about what she is doing. If you actually are naive enough to think that nothing could be bad enough to end an adoption then enjoy your happy little land of ignorance and be blissful, but don't judge the one who is in the real world walking through the fire. And please continue to pray with all of us that this precious, broken, angry, hurting, sad little boy will be able to heal and love with the family God has prepared for him.

Tonight I am hitting a concert with my gorgeous guy and a bunch of friends from church. Now, I am off to shop for a cute date night outfit. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I Know Right?!

I am not going to do a catch up post. It is too depressing to think about - kind of like when you are cross stitching and you realize you messed up like six rows back and have to take it all out and do it over, which is why I quit cross stitching about a week after I started in 1985. I don't want to think about all that has happened in the past 3-4 months since I blogged regularly and try to recap it for you. There was some great, some good, and some bad. The end.


I did learn something though. This blog is very therapeutic for me. It helps me organize my thoughts when things are chaotic. But it is also good to get out of my head for a while, quit analyzing living and just live. First are some pictures of the "just living" part and then I will try to dive back into my brain and bore you endlessly with my analytical meanderings.
My July Birthday Boys

The month of July we had the beautiful and wonderful Iris come to stay with us. She is from Germany and was so fun to have around.


Over the summer the girls slept in the barn one night. They were not being punished. They actually BEGGED to do it. Too cute. They had great stories of listening to what the horses do at night, and being spooked because they had watched a scary movie on their portable DVD player - also their idea of fun. Weird. (The one on the left is the neighbor girl in case you are wondering if we adopted again while I wasn't blogging.)

First day of school, which I actually took on the first day of school. The fact that I am posting it on the 53rd day of school should not count against me!
On our ttip to D.C. the girls got to hold this thing at the Smithsonian. GROSS! They were thrilled, thought it was cute and probably would've brought it home if it were an option. Yuck.


Gabe is loving football - his team is undefeated and headed to the playoffs this Saturday(:



In September my bringin-home-the-bacon-kinda-guy was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel so we all headed to drill with him and had a fun weekend at the beach! Good times.


Celebration dinner at Joe's Crab Shack. Love this place!
Well, still not all caught up, but atleast you got some bits and pieces of the past few months. I'll try to be more faithful...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Please Help Spread the Word

This little boy's family is out there somewhere! God has a plan.
http://watchingthewaters.wordpress.com/2009/10/06/family-needed/

He was at Daniel's orphanage in Haiti. He has suffered so much. He WILL NOT be easy to parent, but he deserves a chance, and his family is willing to give it to him. God bless you Corey!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

15 YEARS!

My marriage is a gift. Even when other stuff in my life feels like it is falling apart or I just feel like I am falling apart my marriage is a constant that has yet to fail me. I'm not saying we are perfect and we have never disappointed each other. Over the years we have had bumps in the road just like any other couple. But somehow God has grown in us a powerful love that is indestructable. We are a team. The difficult things that pop up in life bring us closer instead of dividing us. We cling to each other instead of pushing away. And when the kids (i.e. Gabe) are driving us crazy we comfort one another with the fact that one day they will move out, and we will be alone again! We are best friends who would still rather be with each other than anyone else. We laugh, we talk, we get each other. I am still, after 15 years of marriage, blown away by the man God gave me.

I can't wait to see what the next 15 years holds...

Friday, July 3, 2009

Suffering Outside the Bubble

I am currently watching people I love dearly suffer. And it's not just one family. There is suffering all around me. But we, apparently are in some sort of protective bubble. Our lives are going along just fine. I'm thankful, but baffled. And often wondering when the bubble will burst. Not that the burst would cause some sort of faith crisis, or that I don't think we could handle some tough times. It's just weird watching suffering from the outside, specifically the kind of suffering that cannot be alleviated. (Not by me anyway). This is big time, life-changing, gut wrenching, ugly, nasty stuff. And apparently God allowed it. I don't know why I am more shocked by the big ugly stuff that God allows versus the usual toe stubbing or rain on my picnic kind of stuff. It is really all shy of perfection, so what does the degree matter? God allowed Sweat Pea to be injured. God allowed the Holocaust. God allowed Daniel to cut his knee at the pool. And God is perfect and good and in control. This is the truth. And the truth will set you free. So, in the midst of pain and suffering I can rest, or watch others rest, in the knowledge that God has allowed this for a season, for reasons we may never know, but He is still good and perfect and in control. He is still on His throne. There really is freedom in that. Freedom to relinquish control. Freedom to acknowledge that I am not God, I did not cause it and I cannot fix it. Freedom to just let my Saviour work out His plan.

And on a side note I want to say that one of my good friends who is suffering right now begged me to not take on her burden. She wanted me to know that she was being sustained by the Lord and did not want her suffering to affect my faith. How beautiful is that? I often think of those who would deny God because of a tragedy that did not ever touch them. I do understand that symapthy, and that anger, but I think those who are suffering and are being held up, literally, by the Lord in the midst of their trials would be very upset if someone used their hurting as a reason to deny the one thing that is sustaining them.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Can't Blog...Living.

Ok, so I had this funny picture in my head from a movie - I know, so out of character for me to relate my life to an on screen event - and the image is, 'can't talk...eating', but I can't remember the movie it is from. Anyway, all that to say that I have been so busy living that I couldn't blog. We are bUsy with a capital U, but things are good. we just got back from a week at the beach and are soon headed for a weekend in WI to celebrate Jason's Grandma's 100th birthday. When we get back from that, planning and preparing for VBS will be in full swing along with Sweet Pea's medical, early intervention, and social servives appointments. Sprinkle in several orthodontics appointments, the occassional IEP meeting and you have a recipe for "I May Never Blog Again Casserole". I may or may not be back...(:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Speaking Of Running

http://livesayhaiti.blogspot.com/2009/05/marathoning-for-haiti.html

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE GO HERE AND HELP TARA MEET HER GOAL. SHE IS AWESOME. HER HEART IS AWESOME. HER LOVE FOR THE LORD AND HAITI AND HURTING KIDS IS AWESOME. I CANNOT SAY ENOUGH GOOD THINGS ABOUT HER AND HER FAMILY. JUST GO DO IT. YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO......(:

Monday, May 18, 2009

My sweet Sydney joined a goup called Girls On The Run after school this spring. They teach about healthy body image, peer relations etc and simultaneously train for a 5k run. I decided I would run it with her. We had so much fun and met our goal of not walking at all(: Corey - if you are reading this stop laughing at me - it was a big deal! ;- Before...And after... We did it girly. I love you!

I got to attend a Mother's Tea with Daniel at his school last week. It was possibly the most precious thing ever. First of all, look how gorgeous he is! When I got to the school he came out and gave me his arm to escort me in, then he served me my treats. He stood at perfect attention beside my chair and said, "Mom, you wan sunsing on yo plate?" I almost lost it right then and there. What a treasure of a child he is!!








Saturday, May 16, 2009

New Blog

OK, so a crazy lot has happened in the past few weeks. There has been so much on my mind and so little time to write. I do plan on sharing it with you as I can, but I am taking my thoughts on our foster parenting adventures over to word press. That way I can share things that are best kept private with a password protected setting. Of course, still all names and intimate details will not be shared, but what I can share are my thoughts, fears, hopes etc. I invite you along for the ride. The address is www.lovehopes.wordpress.com and if you want access to password protected posts send me an email at sixprices at verizon dot net requesting the password and I will send it to you(: I will share regular old family life here as usual and no password is needed!

Promise to catch up soon...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Go Vote

Check out Carloyn's "Stitch That Makes The Sweater Perfect" blog for details and go here to vote.
http://www.uncrunch.org/uncrunchAmerica/uncrunchArticleDetail.action?guid=10502

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Recap in Pictures

Samuel is seriously precious! He is such a sweet and easy going baby. Easter...

Was...

So...


Busy...



We did two services at church, then off to friends for a cookout and egg hunt, then over to my Mom's for dinner and another birthday party for Madeline.





How adorable and goofy is my crew(:


Daniel's impersonation of Santa.

Madeline's party Friday night with friends.

My baby girl is 12. I have one more year to be officially teenager free. She is such a sweet, loving, and mature kid. I am so blessed by her - she loves her family, she loves the Lord. Thank you Lord for letting me be Mom to this treasuer of a girl!


Daniel lost another tooth - his third. He is FOUR! The photo above is of him holding the tooth fairy money AND the tooth. Apparently he went and found the tooth on my dresser the next morning, and then said, "Mom is you is the tooth fairy?"

Little stinker.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sam Is Here(:

We get to snuggle, love, and in general spoil him for the next two weeks while his host mom is away. I changed his diaper, I fed him, I got him to go down for a nap. So far so good. Will post pictures soon.

Friday, March 20, 2009

This Just In

From Samuel's Host Mom:

We are going home today!! Yippeee!!!!


Sammy is doing very well. The incision on his back has closed up and is healing nicely. There is one spot that the surgeon is concerned about, but all we can do at this point is watch it carefully. The stitches in his head and belly will dissolve and those two areas are looking good. The shunt is working; his head was another half centimeter smaller this morning and I can feel the plates are closer together like they should be. She was also very pleased with the leg movement he's showing. He will still need extensive PT and his feet are still fairly clubbed, so we're still working on them.

Right now, we are awaiting our final discharge papers and waiting for a travel bed since he still can't sit in a car seat. We have follow up appointments scheduled with the surgeon, his PT, and his PCP in the upcoming weeks. But we are looking forward to relaxing at home for a couple of days.

Sammy and I would like to give a big thank you with a hug to all of our prayer warriors who have been praying for us. Your prayers have definitely been felt and heard. Please continue to pray for Sammy's recovery including complete use of his legs and control of his bladder and bowels (two areas of dificulty for spina bifida kids). I will keep you posted of his progress. Feel free to pass this email on to other prayer warriors.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I Love Boys

The weekend was cold and rainy so we stayed in and made our own fun.

video

Also wanted to let you know that Samuel's shunt surgery went well today. Hopefully he will be able to leave the hopsital by the weekend(:

Monday, March 16, 2009

Samuel Update

Little Sammy was not able to handle the hydrocephalus. The doctors debated over whether to try an experimental surgery that would allow him to go back to Haiti shunt free, but apparently have decided against it. His shunt surgery is scheduled for tomorrow. Although they have drawn off some of the fluid it is building again so he is fairly lethargic, but is still eating well. Please keep praying for him. Hope to have pictures from his host mom to share soon.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Sister-Friend Corey Thinks It Rocks Too, But She Is DOING Something About It!

Love you Corey! Everybody who is not Corey should check her out here:
http://watchingthewaters.wordpress.com/2009/03/11/brother-can-you-spare-a-dollar-or-two/

THIS ROCKS!

This is a matching grant opportunity for one of the best ministries in Haiti. Please please go help if you can!
http://livesayhaiti.blogspot.com/2009/02/grantgrowth-opportunity.html

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sam Update

From his host mom on Friday:

"Sammy is doing well. He's been in some pain since the surgery, but for the most part it's controlled by regular use of Tylenol and only occassionally, morphine. The fluid and pressure on his head is increasing, and each day his head circumference is a little bigger. The nuerosurgeon said that she either needs to tap it again to relieve the pressure or put the shunt in, and if she has to do one, she'd rather put the shunt in, which is how we feel as well. He had the ultrasound today and she's checking her schedule, but probably won't be able to perform the procedure until next week. He's sleeping a little more and eating a little less, but all in all, doing well."

From his host mom today:

"Sammy is doing pretty good, all things considered. He's resting well and doesn't seem to be in any pain. He had some diarrhea and formulat spitting, but we changed his formula to soy. His BM's are firming up and the spitting has stopped. He is however, losing weight. Today is the second day of weight loss. The pediatric doctors here are on top of it, so hopefully we'll know something soon."

Please pray they can do his shunt soon. I believe he is not eating because he is probably getting very uncomfortable. Poor little man needs our prayers right now.

Also, here is a link to his story for a local paper:

http://www.roanoke.com/community/virginia/religion/wb/196950

Friday, March 6, 2009

Healing!

L to R: Leo, Daniel, Sydney, Madeline, Mom, Gabe, Dad, Chance

Last week Gabe brought this picture to me. I cried. It is the first one he has ever drawn of our family with him in it and we are all happy. He is turning eight this week. He draws alot of dragons, battle scenes, and faceless people. If you have a perfectly attached child you would not have been as shocked as I was to receive this picture. Notice the smiling faces and how he has positioned himself right between me and Jason and we are ALL holding hands. It is really beautiful. And the best part is - I can see it in his life, on his face, and I can feel it in his interactions. He is healing. Praise God!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Day One Post Op





This is the update we got from Sam's host mom yesterday afternoon.

"Sammy went into the OR at 7:30 am and didn't come back to the room until 3:30 pm. There is damage to the spinal nerves. And while right now Sammy is not showing signs of paralysis, we are seeing restrictive range of motion in his legs. We have already started doing some simple PT with him, but he also may need surgery on one, if not both, feet. When his back has healed, the surgeon will probably put the shunt in his head to reduce the pressure of the fluid even more. Right now, he is in a good bit of pain and discomfort."

Please keep him in your prayers for continued healing and less pain!