"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


A name is a powerful thing.

Chad and I spent hours and hours choosing the names of our kids.  It took a lot of time, energy, and negotiations before we settled on what we considered the perfect name.

In the mind of our oldest, we failed miserably.  Krissy has a "long name" and she HATES it.  Truly hates it!  Like she would rather have me cuss at her than call her by her legal name... seriously!  She vows to change it as soon as she turns 18, and I will be surprised if she does not.

The funny thing is, we still love her name.  I know you are very curious at this point as to what the "awful" name could be, but I would never disclose her legal name when it is truly a source of pain to her.  Part of knowing, loving, and respecting Krissy is understanding that her name is Krissy.

With Joshua, it is the opposite.  He is ALWAYS Joshua.  Many times when I introduce him to people as Joshua they respond, "Hi Josh!"  It totally cracks me up, because he is NOT josh.  It is not a name he likes or responds too.  Part of knowing, loving, and respecting Joshua is understanding that his name is Joshua.

I have often thought about how significant knowing a person's name is.  Over the weekend, JOshua shared his thoughts about names.

Joshua said, "Mommy. Some people not know me,  they call me Josh.  I NOT Josh! I JOSHUA! Only Joshua!  I not even 'ook 'ike Josh E Cook (the only Josh he knows)!"

Is he not so totally correct?!?  When we do not know someone, we do not know their name.  To really know someone's name is to begin to know their heart.

I so appreciate the wisdom my children share with me!  They inspire me over and over again - to be more, do more, and love more.  I am terrible with names! However, my three year old treasure has inspired me to try harder, because I want to be worthy of glimpsing inside the heart's of the people around me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Digging with Daddy!

Just as I drove into our day care providers driveway this afternoon, daddy called. 
He was digging a basement and knew a certain little someone would LOVE to help him!

Joshua was beyond thrilled when I told him about the surprise!

I truly do not know which of my boys loves equipment more... Joshua or daddy?!?
Joshua climbed right onto his Daddy's lap, and they got to work!
Joshua always has one hand on each joy stick, just like Daddy.
He told me, "I think Joshua can do it all by myself!"
Daddy says he is not far off!

We joke that by the time Joshua turns 5, we will need to keep the keys to our construction equipment hidden or Gubs will take them our for a spin... by himself! 

This is my favorite picture.
It is just so pure, so sweet!

I love that God planted the same LOVE of equipment in both Daddy's and Joshua's hearts.
I do not think it is a coincidence, but one of those amazing (sometimes unnoticed) blessings that God gifts us with just because He loves us so very much.

How has He blessed you today?

Monday, September 26, 2011

"Joshua Coming Home" By Sierra

(The following is a memoir, written by our sixth grader, Sierra.  I am publishing it here (with her permission) because it is so very beautiful.)

The day that Joshua Gebeyehu Chad D. came home was one of the best days of my life.

The adoption process felt like forever, but one day my mom got a call saying that she can go to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in Africa to get Joshua. (At the time we called him Gebeyehu)  We were laughing, crying, screaming, thanking God, and we were just so happy, and scared, and excited! My family was scared because we didn't know what Ethiopia looked like, sounded like, and smelled like.

The day after the last day of school was the day my mom, sister, and my grandma went went to the airport to Addis Ababa to get Joshua.  That night I cried.

After ten days of torture that my brother wasn't home, came the day I got to go to the airport to see my brother not in a picture.

My dad, brother, sister, Grandma, Grandpa, me, and a close family friend were waiting, and then we saw it, the plane that they were on fly by the window.  Then we saw my mom, sister, Grandma, and precious little JOshua sleeping in my mom's arms.  My mom had tears running down her cheeks when we finally got to hug and say I love you after ten days.  When we all saw and hugged everyone waiting and then we finally got Joshua to his permanent home and family.

Family is where your heart begins to beat!  I love you Joshua!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Tale of Four Fishermen

Bright and early this beautiful Sunday morning, we had 3 kids in our bed... begging to go fishing!

The morning air was crisp, but our fishermen huddled under blankets without a complaint.

Squirmy worms don't scare our crew!

 See? They were fearless!
 Once the hooks were baited, the waiting began!
 Brenna is a very patient fisherman!
 Pretty soon, Joshua insisted it was his turn!
 I snapped a picture right away thinking he would bore quickly.
 I was wrong!

He waited,
and waited,
and waited, 

 he and Daddy reeled in a fish!
Then - he was DONE!
No more patience, it was time to tell his first "fish story!"

He climbed right into the camper with his still flopping fish!  Then he climbed right up on top of his still sleeping brother, determined to show off his catch!

However, his brother...
slept through the whole thing!

It was a truly hilarious way to conclude our camping season! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Ever wonder why things happen the way you do?

Yep, me too.

Ever feel more cursed than blessed?

Yep, me too.

I love the thoughts shared below about Blessings,

And I really LOVE the song she wrote in response to her wonderings!

So, what if the trials of your life are His mercies in disguise?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mommy and Joshua Time

As soon as Joshua and I get home each day, he has one request, "Let's go snuggle on mommy's bed."

Why, oh why would I ever refuse such a wonderful request?!?

We get to spend the next 30 minutes snuggling, giggling, tickling, and wrestling.  It is a time I look forward to each day...BIG TIME!

Joshua's other new habit is calling me "mother!" which he says more like "moyer."  It totally cracks me up!  Especially because he only calls me "moyer" when I am not paying as much attention to his stories as he thinks I should!

The week has started well because Chad has been able to have JOshua with him quite a bit.  Daddy and Joshua spent most of the day Monday butchering Jay's deer.  This afternoon Daddy worked from home so Joshua could be with him.  It is so much easier to be at work when Joshua is with his Daddy! I so appreciate that Chad keeps JOshua with him whenever possible! 

Thanks for praying for us!  I hope your week has started well too.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Deer Hunting, Jamison's Rite of Passage

If you ever ask Chad to tell you a story about his childhood, you will more than likely either hear a story about hunting or fishing.  And the central characters in his hunting and fishing stories are his grandparents.  

As an adult, Chad continues to LOVE hunting.  The opening weekend of deer hunting is of equal value to him as Christmas.  It is a time he looks forward to each and every year.  It is an almost holy time spent with his Grandpa, Uncle, Mom, brothers, and our older kids. 

The root of that "holy" weekend is his Grandpa.  His Grandpa loves hunting more than any other person I have ever met.  In fact, when Chad's grandparent's got married his Grandpa made his Grandma promise to never get in the way of a hunt!

For these and countless other reasons, there is perhaps no other man as dear to Chad's heart as his Grandpa.  Which made today over the top special.

Today, Chad and his Grandpa watched Jamison harvest his first deer.  They watched as their passion was handed down to another generation.  No matter how you feel about hunting, it was a moment of pure beauty as 80+ year old Great Grandpa drove a truck across a field to congratulate his 13 year old Great Grandson on continuing a family tradition.  I am so thankful he was there!

Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of the three guys together - but here is my proud son as he crosses one step closer to manhood.  He has had a weekend to remember!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

He Raced, I Cried.

Jamison RACED  today, and it was awesome!

Jamison has run really well at each of the cross country meets.  It has been so fun to watch and cheer.  But until today he had not really raced.  He had always seemed just a little bit hesitant, a tiny bit unsure, not quite willing to push it to the limit.

Today he raced!  He ran with joy, bravery, and guts.  He ran with confidence.  He ran faster and harder than I have ever seen him run... all the way to the finish.  It was so awesome.

When he walked up to us after his race, I could not help but get teary.  I know my family thought I was a little loopy, but to watch my son totally go for it, to run his best race, and leave it all on the course was totally inspiring to me.  That is how I want to live.  I do not want to live carefully, I want to live each day with passion and courage.  I want to live a joyful, gutsy life. I do not want to be satisfied with running well, I want to race.

Just like my son.

Thanks Jay, for inspiring me.  I am so proud of you - not because you finished 13th, although that is something you should be proud of.  I am proud of you for daring to race.  You raced well son.  Congratulations!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Becoming a Working Mom

It was a long, hard, emotional week.

So hard, I did not allow myself to post anything.  Just needed to process, grieve, and "buck up."

You see, my new job is truly a gift... a blessing... just what we needed in so many ways.  I am just not transitioning very gracefully.  I am really struggling as I learn to be the working mom of a preschooler.

One of my goals in parenting has been to be with my kids all the time, until they are in school.  I totally enjoy my children.  I adore being with them.  And I have always believed that the best place for them to be is with their momma.  We fought hard for me to be home with our oldest four.  I did work much of the time, but I was always able to find jobs that allowed me to work with my kids in tow.  When Brenna went to Kindergarten I felt like I had completed a marathon just in time!  I knew the day had come where I absolutely needed to work more (for financial reasons), and I totally rejoiced that Brenna was in school.  The timing felt perfect!  I had accomplished my "preschool parenting goal!"  At that point, I totally enjoyed being at work, wearing more professional clothing, and having people care about what I had to say.

Then God threw a major curve ball as Joshua was conceived in my heart.  My biggest concern, from day one, was day care.  I knew working was a fact of my life, and I did not know if I could emotionally handle sending my preschooler to day care. 

(OK, so I know I may have some working mom's offended at this point.  I am sorry.  I have NO issue with working moms.  I do not think that one form of parenting is "better" than the other.  Some of the moms I respect most in the whole world work.  In fact, I was once a day care provider.  The working moms I served have become some of my closest friends.  The love, respect, and admiration I have for them as moms is what gives me hope during this transition.  I simply did not think I could do it, and I really did not want to try.)

Well, as you know, God is good.  He met both my and Joshua's need for TIME to bond, TIME to attach, TIME to play, TIME to giggle, TIME to tickle, TIME run and jump and climb, TIME to become strong, TIME to be mommy and son in every sense of the word.  I am forever grateful for the 16 months that I was able to stay at home with Joshua.

When it became clear to both myself and Chad that I needed to return to work, God provided once again.  He very quickly provided a job.  A job with great mommy hours - I am home by 3.  A job that I will enjoy.  A job that gives me some ministry opportunities.

But, in all honesty, I have not been grateful.  Not truly grateful.

If I am really honest, what I wanted God to do was send me a great big check making it possible for me to stay home two more years.  I wanted a miracle, and I got one...just not the one I would have picked.

I spent a lot of time this week being ungrateful, stressed, doubting, feeling sorry for myself, grumpy, panicked about the "what ifs."  I did not sleep.  I hyper-analyzed everything Joshua said about day care. I cried everytime I thought of leaving my little man.  I was a wreck.

While I realize that I have a right and even a need to grieve, I also know that I allowed myself to be sucked in too far this week.   I was not thankful for God's provision or trusting of His protection. 

I was having a temper tantrum because my life does not look exactly like I would like it to.

I was not the daughter I want to be.

So, next week I need to do better.  I need to look for things to rejoice in.  I need to listen for the things Joshua enjoys about day care.  I need to get excited every day as I leave work, feeling grateful to have afternoons with my kids.  God has not "short changed me."  He has a plan.  I need to trust Him enough to accept that plan with grace and gratitude.

I'm going to need you to pray for me.  This is really, really hard for me.  Ridiculously hard.  Especially because I do love my job. In a way, my whole identity as a mom is being reformatted and I am fighting the transformation... big time.

So pray for me to be grateful, peaceful, and joyful.
"Give thanks in all circumstances
because this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus concerning you all."
1 Thessalonians 5:18

And Joshua... in all reality, he is doing pretty good.  Not perfect, but really well, especially for a child that struggles with new situations.  He is still not eating at day care, unless it is food I pack.  He is also stressed about doing projects, which he enjoys at church and home.  So he is not "himself."  Yet he speaks happily about his time there.  He giggled and told me that Denise would be really missing him this weekend.  He is sleeping well at night.  He seems "himself" at home.  I have seen NO regression in attachment or trust. 

So continue to pray for Joshua to be Joshua at day care.  Silly, confident, and happy Joshua Gebeyehu.

Thanks for carrying me through yet another transition.  I am grateful, truly grateful.

Monday, September 12, 2011

"Dunked" for Dollars

Next summer, Sierra, along with other 5th and 6th graders from our church will go on a mission trip to Colorado.  To beginning raising funds for that trip, the kids took turns being dunked (really sprayed) for a price after church yesterday.

Here are a few photos I snapped of Miss Sierra.

Notice who is trying to soak his sister?

It was a really warm afternoon, and Sierra was pleasantly surprised that the water almost felt good!

She really is as sweet as she is pretty.

This picture is totally posed!
I teased her that half the fun of a dunk tank fund raiser was hearing the person you are soaking scream.
She gave me her best squeal!

As you can see it was definitely a fun way to begin raising funds!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Happy Ethiopian New Year!

Today is New Year's in Ethiopia!

In Ethiopia the rainy season is coming to an end and the fields are covered with beautiful wild daisies.  Children (usually girls) gather daisies and deliver them as New Year's gifts.
Joshua handed out the store boughten American version... at least they were yellow... to his favorite ladies at church.  Not quite in line with Ethiopian tradition, but an attempt at least.

It was an emotional morning for me as I considered the very serious famine that is taking place in the area of our youngest son's birth.  I think of his extended family in Ethiopia.  Are they able to celebrate?  Do they have their most basic of needs met?  It is a sobering thought.  Knowing my little man is safe, healthy, loved, thriving.  He lacks nothing.  Water is something to play with, not haul.  It is clean, not harmful.  Food is plentiful.  Clothes are not lacking.  We have so very, very much... ridiculous amounts.

So today, more than most days, I remember and honor Joshua Gebeyehu's, and thus our, Ethiopian family.
Melkam Addis Amet!  

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My "Grandchild!" and more Cross Country

Krissy has an exhausting homework assignment this weekend!  She is "mommy" to "baby" Kalika.  Kalika is actually a high tech dolly that Krissy is caring for as a part of her child development class.  Kalika cries at random times, day and night, and Krissy has to discern why.  She has bottles, diapers, a car seat, diaper bag, and clothes.  Baby kalika woke Krissy up three times last night.  Today krissy is tired!  She told me she really wanted a nap, but why bother?  As soon as she dozed off "baby" was sure to need something!  I told her I had "never" felt that way!

It is a great homework experience!  However, we are all really thankful that baby Kalika will be returned to school MOnday morning!  Someday I will be so very thrilled to be a Grandma, but NOT yet!

The best part of my day was spent at Jay's cross country meet!
"and they're off!"
Jamison is the "green guy" with red soles on his shoes.
He likes this picture because he looks so tall!
One of the things I love about cross country is that spectators do not sit in stands!  Each of these pictures were taken in different spots on the 1.8 mile course.  I love jogging across the golf courses to catch a glimpse of Jamison as he runs by at different areas of the route.  Today I got smart and insisted Joshua ride in the jogging stroller.  It was WAY easier than having him on my hip when we need to be really fast!  Daddy prefers to catch the beginning and end of the race.  He thinks I am a little crazy - but I am loving it!
Almost done!
Jamison is sporting new shoes this race.  He was experiencing killer shin splints.  I did a little research and learned that sometimes a new pair of shoes is the cure.  I was debating whether or not to shell out the cash for another pair of shoes... his were only a few weeks old... when Grandpa came to the rescue.  New shoes have been a major blessing!  Jamison has been pain free all week!
Racing to the finish!

I love this picture!  The man on the right is the kids' coach.  In the end Jamison ran down his teammates and finished 39th.  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

How is God working ahead of me?

I read that question in an email this week and it totally explains what I have been pondering the past 6 weeks.  How is God working ahead of me?  I am really not sure... but so many things have or are changed recently that I AM SURE He is working.

In the last six weeks we have:
  • decided to sell our house
  • decided that it was time for me to go back to work
  • traded off my precious SUV for a mega momma mobile
  • the kids started school
  • I started a new job
  • Joshua started day care
  • Daddy started having less access to me and sharing more in day to day household/parenting stuff
Whoa!  No wonder I am tired! 

So while there have been many changes, and they are changes that I have seen God's fingerprints ALL over, I am not sure where they are leading...

We want to downsize our mortgage, which most likely means a smaller house - but feel a bigger vehicle would be best for our family?  Huh?!  What?

We have our home for sale, but have absolutely NO idea where we will move if/when it sells?  Sure we are pricing building, viewing properties as they come on the market, and considering an auction house that would need an unfathomable amount of work...  We have lots of thoughts, lots of ideas, lots of possibilities - but no real plan.  Even our realtor is a bit concerned!  She asked me the other day what we will do if the house sells?!  She reminded me that I do have 5 children to care for and a plan might be helpful =)!

I am working...about 35 hours a week... and I am a stay at home momma at heart.  I have argued with God about all that and I just keep hearing Him tell me to trust and follow.  So I am.  And things are going surprisingly well.  I am really enjoying my new job!  Joshua is hanging in there with day care.  Chad is really doing his best to keep Joshua's hours away from us to a minimum, which has given Joshua more "daddy time" than ever before.  It is CRAZY BUSY and my floors desperately need to be scrubbed, but that is OK too. 

We are all adapting really well, yet I wonder... why?  Where is all this leading?  How can I do all the things I want to do, all the things I feel called to do AND work AND build/remodel a house AND, AND, AND...

AND THEN I stop my crazy swirling thoughts,

AND REMIND myself that God tells me in Matthew 6:34
"Do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own."

AND I am LEARNING to be content in the moment.  When I an overcome with worry, I miss out on so many beautiful moments.  When my mind is full of worry, I do not hear the crickets chirping.  I forget to savor Joshua snuggled under my chin as we rock before bedtime.  I do not really listen to the stories my children tell me.  Instead, I rush!  I focus on tasks that MUST? be completed.  I try to control the small details to somehow  compensate for my lack of control in the BIG details.  I become preoccupied with my own thoughts, quiet, distant.  YUCK!  That is not how I want to live!

By the grace of my ever patient God, I am learning to enjoy THIS moment.  In THIS moment I am content, joyful even.  I do not have many answers... I do not know where we will be living at Christmas, or when and how I will get back to Ethiopia, or if we will have more children, or how the floors will get scrubbed... yet He knows.  He has it all figured out, every detail.  So I do not have to freak out.  I do not have to worry about tomorrow.  I can enjoy today.  I can appreciate the laughter of Jamison and Chad wrestling and laughing in the dining room.  I can laugh deep in my belly as they chase each other around the table.  Because THIS moment is pure beauty, a gift from The Father, and I do not want to miss it!

Thank you Father God for the gift of this moment.  I trust you to take care of the details of tomorrow, tomorrow... You always do!  Thanks soooo very much.  I love you.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Riding the Bus

Sierra and Brenna began riding the bus this week.

Brenna is thrilled! 

Sierra is surviving.

Momma is feeling guilty. 

I HATED riding the bus when I was a kid.  I feel Sierra's pain all too acutely, but on the flip side, it is so very convenient.  It is free!  The bus comes right to the end of our driveway.  It only extends the girls' school day by about 20 minutes each way.  And I can pick Joshua up from Denise's house and arrive home just before the girls.  I feel so very blessed to be able to be home with all my kids in the afternoon.

So, we are all adjusting... compromising... adapting to a new routine.  Change is challenging.  Yet all in all I am shocked, awed, and totally impressed with how well each member of our household is doing.

I am thankful, very, very thankful for your prayers.

Joshua will be with me tomorrow, but on Friday will be back at Denise's.  Will you please pray specifically that he eats?  He did not eat at her house again today (might have had something to do with the 4 do-nuts his daddy let him have for breakfast) not even the sandwich I had packed him.  While I know he is not going to starve, it still makes me sad to know he is unsure enough to have a worried tummy.  He has done so well in the evenings and continues to sleep normally all key signals that he is handling things alright - but he is certainly being stretched.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Running 1.8

Jamison has chosen to run cross country this fall.  I am LOVING it!  (maybe more than he is)  He is liking it though!

Today was his second race.  (Believe it or not I forgot my camera for his first race!)  He ran with so much more confidence and speed than the first one.

I can hardly wait until Saturday for the next race!

*** In other family news, Joshua did great at Denise's house again today.  He is still not convinced he should eat Denise's food, but he did eat the lunch I packed for him.  He told me a few stories about the day, happy ones!  He told me, "Mommy needy look at Denise's toes.  They sooo pretty!"  We left Denise's house, ran a couple errands, and then went to Jay's cross-country meet.  Joshua did an amazing job through all the transitions of the day - truly perfectly, perfect!  He played nicely at home and fell asleep on my lap before we finished bedtime prayers.  I am so, so, so thankful he is doing so well!


These pictures made me smile this morning!

Joshua and I wish you a wonderful week!

Monday, September 5, 2011

I Caved...

Yep, I totally, utterly caved in to the peer pressure and finally joined facebook. 

I have totally resisted facebook.  It quite honestly freaks me out.  It feels so gossipy, so public, so artificial.  The act of "requesting a friend" reminds me of the notes passed in the back of sixth grade classrooms where you check yes, I do like you... or no, I don't!

But at long last, and to the utter delight of my teenagers, you can now find me on facebook.

Want to be my friend?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

"At Working" with Daddy!

Day care texted this morning...

Stomach flu, too sick to work!

Uh oh!  What is mommy to do?

Soooo, I called daddy. 

He said, "Pack up some toys and bring me my boy!"

Joshua was thrilled!

Instead of day care, he got to try on a welding helmet and watch daddy weld, eat lunch at McDonald's, shop for skidsteer parts, and scooter in the shop while daddy worked on the computer.

"At working" with daddy is really, really fun!