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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Good Mom or Bad One?

We allowed Krissy to get her nose pierced today.

I am not sure if that makes me a good mom or a bad one

but I am sure

it made my daughter happy!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Joshua Is 4!

Joshua Gebeyehu Chad D. is 4 years old today!

He opened most of his gifts last night.
The difference a year makes was crystal clear!
Last year he was unsure about gifts, uncomfortable with the commotion of lots of people, and in NO hurry to see what was in each box.

Last night he dove in!
He called a cheerful "Thank You" to the giver of each gift.
He was thrilled to have us sing Happy Birthday!
He had a blast playing with his friends and cousins!
 Last year, his dad and I bought him a trampoline for his birthday - in the hopes that he would learn to jump.

This year his Godfamily bought him rollerblades!
He can jump, run, climb, and so now it is time to learn to skate!

Thank you God, that my son is learning to skate!
 He is lovin' the rollerblades!

(I did learn one important thing.  When helping a little guy learn to rollerblade, wear shoes!  He rolled over my toes and it hurt!)
 Daddy's boy!

Mom may have been lazy and had a combined party for the extended family - but I still want each of the birthday kids to have some time that is just about each of them.  So today, Joshua got to pick lunch.

Any guesses?
 If you guesses pepperoni pizza and root beer, you were right on!
 The pizza place brought him a special dessert.

He was thrilled!
He even insisted we sing to him before he blew out the candle!

After he got done eating his Birthday meal, he said "OK everybody! Close your eyes!"

We kept chatting - it is hard to get the attention of our crew!

So he repeated, "Everybody! Close your eyes!  I am gonna pray!"

I was shocked!  He has never asked to pray at a restaurant, in fact he often is uncomfortable if we do. Additionally, praying after a meal is "out of order" and Joshua likes routine.  I was truly surprised.  

But what the birthday boy wants, the birthday boy gets!
So I quickly quieted our family so Joshua could pray.

He closed his eyes, bowed his head and said,
"Thank you God, daddy mommy buy me two toys.
Thank you it my birthday.
Thank you pizza and cookie dessert.

Some days, I can not even believe how incredibly blessed I am.

Happy Birthday, Joshua Gebeyehu!
We love you so very much!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Birthday Bash X3!

Of our 5 children, 3 have birthdays in a span of 14 days!

Sierra's birthday is Nov. 18.
Joshua's birthday is Nov. 27.
Jamison's birthday is Dec. 2.

So, to make it easier on Mom, we had our extended family members over for a combined birthday bash for all three kids tonight.

It was a fun night!

For These Many Gifts, I Give Thanks!

This list is finally being typed up a few days later than I had planned.  Life is full and rich and beautiful.  I have savored these thankful thoughts, recognizing each for the treasure that it is.

It is a long list because in the last year I have been learning about counting gifts.  I have been so inspired by Ann Voskamp's words, "I discover that slapping a sloppy brush of Thanksgiving over everything in my life leaves me deeply thankful for few things in my life." 

I totally agree with Ann.  I have found that as I examine the minute reasons I have to be thankful, my life has become much more bountiful, my soul much more joyful, and my perspective much more positive.

My list is alphabetical, because for many years I have counted my blessings mid-run.  It seems when I have run long and hard enough to slow my mind from my list of daily duties, PRAISE emerges.  When my mind is clear, my heart sings praise.  It is a beautiful thing, really.  And because even my mid-run, oxygen deprived brain demands structure (sad but true), I tend to go through the alphabet naming gifts letter by letter as I run.  

It is no wonder that I always feel more joyful after a run. Focusing on all that God has chosen to bless me with changes my whole perspective, every time.

Pictures speak volumes, and this picture beautifully how I feel surrounded by my kids, and smiling into the eyes my husband.  I am one lucky lady.  I look at this picture and I truly can not believe how blessed I am.

And now, after much explanation, MY LIST!

A - ALL mighty God, Author of my life, abundance, appreciation, awe, adoption, Ashlee, Ann Voskamp

B- Bible, BCC, Brenna, boating, Bekelech, brothers, boys, beds, beauty, birthdays

C- chad, children, capabilities, clothing, camping, coffee, creativity, computers, Creative Construction

D- Dad, daughters, daily duties, doing, delight, delicious, dishwasher

E - Everlasting relationships, encouragement, eye-sight, emotions, eucharisteo, excitement, enthusiasm, Ethiopia

F- faith, faithfulness, family, friends, fun, fellowship, following, Flachs, food, fathers, flowers, future

G- God, grandparents, grace, gratitude, girls, growth, growing, goodness, giggles, groceries

H- husband of mine, happiness, health, hair, hands, home, heat, hugs, Holy Spirit, honesty, help

I- intelligence, insight, information, I-am, Isaiah, internet, IPod, in-laws

J- Jamison, JOshua, Jesus, jobs, joy

K- Krissy, King of Kings, Karri, Kristen, kindness, knowledge

L- love, life, listening, laughter, longings, Lindsey, Lunch Ladies, Lee's, laundry

M- mom, motherhood, miracles, money, mercy, music, mentors, memories, Mary, mission

N- now, newness

O- Omnipotent God, originality, opportunities

P- provision, perseverance, parents, parenthood, promises, presence, peace, presents, prayers, passion, providence

Q- quiet

R- running, Riley, righteousness, rainy-days, road-blocks, rest, relaxation, revelation

S- Sierra, sisters, salvation, sons, sunshine, singing, sleep, secrets, Sharlene, surprises, summer, snuggles

T- time, Teresa, tickles, tenderness, truth, trials, transitions, trust, toilet

U- understanding, uniqueness

V- vacation, van, vision, vacuum

W- water, wonder, wine, works, words, writing, worship

X- experience, excellence, excitement, expression, exercise

Y- You!

Z- Zephaniah 3:17 "The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."

The really cool thing about that very long list is that it is just the very tip of the iceburg.

Thank you, GOd, thank you!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Brenna Joy is Thankful for:

One of our family's Thanksgiving traditions includes making lists of things we are thankful for.  In fact, my kids are never allowed to make a Christmas or Birthday Wish List before they make a list of things they are grateful for.  My goal in doing this is not to discourage them from wanting things!  We all wish for things and there is nothing wrong with that!  However, we can sometimes get so wrapped up in the things we wish for that we forget about what we have already been blessed with.

Making thankful lists is something that my kids enjoy (especially the youngest three)!  If I forget, they remind me about this tradition.  I am so thankful for their hearts filled with gratitude!

My youngest three have allowed me to publish their lists.

Enjoy! (and yes! mine is coming tomorrow)

This year I am thankful for:
14.Treasa and Jeramy
23.video games
28.Shaleen and Tom
29.Ashlee and Luke

Too be continued. . . Brenna chose to interupt this list writing to watch TV. (Shocking, I know) But she says she really wants to write more later!  (If you know Brenna, you know this is totally her!  It makes me smile to record it.)

Joshua Gives Thanks

It was so fun to record the thinks that Joshua told me he is thankful for this year!

He watched his sisters write their lists and wanted to write one, too.  He was serious and sincere when he made this list!

  1. Sharlene buying me a toy and a card with lights
  2. Peperoni pizza
  3. Peperoni pizza ("Two times", I asked?  "YES!" he told me. "I love it pizza soooooo much!")
  4. Snuggles with mommy
  5. Tickles with Daddy
  6. Sierra
  7. Brenna
  8. Krissy
  9. Jay
  10. Riley because he is the best dog in the whole world!
  11. I love sing, play guitar!
  12. Auntie Teresa
  13. Uncle Jeremy
  14. Milk, coffee, and root beer
  15. Grammy and all of my whole family
  16. Going at my Kristen house
  17. Tesfa
  18. Drew and Ashlee and their whole family
He is not thankful for - the camper, boat, or any toys because they can not talk!  "I only really, really love things that talk!"

Sierra's Thankful Thoughts 2011

  1. Mom
  2. Dad
  3. Krissy
  4. Jamison
  5. Brenna
  6. Joshua
  7. Cindy and Brian
  8. Grammy
  9. Grandma and Grandpa
  10. RILEY!!!!!
  11. Oreo balls/desert
  12. My daddys wings (YUMMY!)
  13. my room
  14. my bed
  15. my extended family
  16. my education
  17. Tishina and Sydney
  18. music and my voice
  19. food
  20. Teresa and Jeremy
  21. adoption
  22. the camper and the boat
  23. the lake
  24. our church
  25. the pastor to our church
  26. Jesus Christ
  27. The Bible
  28. God
  29. Fortune (the little boy i am sponsoring)
  30. The house
  31. clothing
  32. airplanes
  33. love <3
  34. jobs/work
  35. solidiers
  36. my teachers
  37. shoes
  38. milk/drinks
  39. vitamins
  40. cups,plates,silverware, ect.
  41. paper
  42. pencils
  43. T.V.
  44. computers
  45. the Sun
  46. the Moon
  47. electricity
  48. The world
  49. Bismarck, N.D.
  50. rappers, Christian singers, ect.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thankful for my Husband

This song has made me cry the past several mornings when it "just happened" to be on the radio while I was driving to work.

While I do not personally understand the cancer aspect of this song, I do understand what it means to have a husband that "loves you through it."

I am beyond blessed to be married to a man that chooses to live out the lyrics of this chorus, every day.

When you’re weak, I’ll be strong
When you let go, I’ll hold on
When you need to cry, I swear that I’ll be there to dry your eyes
When you feel lost and scared to death,
Like you can’t take one more step
Just take my hand, together we can do this
I’m gonna love you through it

This Thanksgiving week, I count you, Chad, as one of the things for which I am most thankful.

It is an honor to be your wife.

Thank you for loving me through all the "its" past, present, and future.

I love you.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bunk Beds for our Big Boy!

At long last, we bought Joshua big boy bunk beds!
(He has been in a toddler bed.
I have put off buying a big bed because our home is for sale - but Joshua will be 4 next week, it was high time he had a big boy bed!)


 Climbing up and down is NO problem!
 He chose the bedding!

It is covered with construction equipment - dump trucks, cement trucks, cranes, bulldozers, etc...
Last night  he and Brenna tried out the new beds, sleep-over style.
She took the top, he took the bottom.
They both fell asleep in a wink!

Let's hope they sleep just as good when he is on his own, because Daddy says now that he has a big bed, Joshua needs to sleep in it! (As in no more sneaking in for cuddles in mommy and daddy's bed)
When Joshua heard that news, he suggested we send the bunk beds back!

It could be an interesting transition...

at least they look cute in his room!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sierra's Makeover Birthday Party

In our home, I let the kids have birthday parties with their friends until they turn 13.  Which means, this was Sierra's last BFF Birthday Bash!  Sad Face, (as Sierra would say!)!

What Sierra chose to do was have makeovers done at the beauty school with her 2 BFFs.  They had a superb time! (And for $15 the girls got manicures and updos, so momma was smiling too!)

 Here is Sierra in process.

Watching her get braided totally brought me back to Krissy getting her hair braided by the girls in Ethiopia! I so hope I get to bring Sierra there someday!
 Tishina getting prettier!
 There is a beautiful Sydney under all that hair!
Oh boy, they were beautiful
they looked WAY too old!

They loved it!
 This is totally Sierra!

She said the stylist asked her if she wanted a classic or edgy look.  She chose edgy of course!
Such beautiful friends - front and back - inside and out!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sierra's Birthday Wish

Our beautiful, spunky, and oh-so-very-kind Sierra turned 12 today!  

I love birthdays, but for weeks Sierra was dreading hers.  At first I ignored her comments of, "I don't want to have a birthday this year."  I figured she was just thinking she was too cool for a birthday.  However, last Sunday, I finally sat down with her and asked why she was not looking forward to her birthday.

She told me, "I don't want to have a birthday!  Everyone will come over and bring me presents.  Mom, I have everything I need!  I feel sad and selfish getting more stuff.  I just want to forget my birthday!"


So, I told her that she was WAY to SPECIAL to ignore.  I refused to forget her birthday - she is totally worth celebrating!  BUT, if she really wanted to skip gifts, then maybe she could think of a way to give her birthday gifts to someone else?!

She perked up right away!  Joy reentered her eyes, and she said, "Mom could I ask for money to sponsor a child?"

I gave her a big hug and (maybe a bit tearfully) told her I thought that was a great idea!

She was so excited to "shop" for her birthday gift!

 She spent hours looking at different children's profiles on World Vision's website.
 Finally she saw a little boy that she connected with!
"MOM!  This is him! Can I sponsor him?"

She joyfully completed the online form - 
and now she is officially Fortune in Uganda's sponsor!

Here is the introductory email she sent him:
My name is Sierra D. My birthday is November 18.  I am 12, today is my birthday.  This year I chose to sponsor a child instead of birthday presents. I could not choose which beautiful child I should sponsor, but when I saw your purple shirt (purple is my favorite color). I knew you were the one.  You are beautiful and it was my good fortune for me to sponsor you.
Sierra Faith D

She is a pretty special girl, don't you think!

It costa $35 a month to sponsor a child.  She has 4 months covered so far.  What she does not receive in birthday money, she plans to cover with her allowance and extra jobs for mom and dad.  She has a plan, this girl of mine, and she is determined to follow it through!

WE did do a few "normal" birthday things.

Sierra chose supper,

 chinese take-out, of course!
And for dessert she chose Oreo balls.
Super yummy!

Tomorrow I am taking her and her 2 BFFs to get their hair and nails done (at the beauty school).  Then we are going to a fancy restaurant, since they will be all fancied up, for dessert.  A (no) sleep-over will follow!

It should be a super fun day!

Happy Birthday Berra-girl!
I am pinch-me-proud of you!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I Love Thursdays!

Thursday has become my favorite day of the week, because it is the day (Joshua and) I work for Chad!

Today was extra fun because Chad was doing dirt work, and because Joshua LOVES riding in Daddy's equipment, we went to check on Daddy's workmanship.

Joshua got to ride in all the equipment.
First he tried out the mini-might blade.

 Can you see him in the back?
He loved having the seat all to himself!
 He looks so tiny!
 He liked the blade, but he missed getting to steer!

So, he and daddy took a turn driving the packer!
 Aren't they so cute?!
 He told me, "the packer is bumpy!
 and COLD! The packer no have a door!"

(It was VERY cold - as in 20*)
 Not to fear, they were not cold for long!
When they got cold on the packer,
They tried out the backhoe, it has a cab and heat!

They felt sorry for me standing outside in the cold,
 and picked me up for a ride too!
 Joshua drove!
(Seriously, he DROVE!)

Chad jokes that in a couple of years he will have to pull Joshua out of school to help run equipment when he is shorthanded!  That boy just has a way with machines!
 Eventually, our field trip came to an end!
Mommy had office work to do, 
 and Daddy needed to get some dirt leveled.

We watched the big guys work for a couple of minutes.
It is fun to watch all the equipment running!

And I for one am so thankful that they are moving dirt instead of snow!

I was thinking today about how well Joshua is doing!  It is simply amazing!

He is stuttering rarely these days!  Our family working on speaking more slowly has made a big difference.  When I hear him starting to stutter, I will remind one of his siblings (usually Sierra - she is our fastest, fast talker) to slow down their words.  Usually as our words slow down, his flow with ease.

The other thing that has made a HUGE difference in his speech is being able to be at Kristen's house while I work.  He is just flourishing there.  He loves it!  each new experience he has under Kristen's gentle watch helps his confidence grow that much more.  I am so, so, so, so, soooooo thankful for our sweet Kristen!

I have also been thinking lately about how picky he once was.  He is no longer a picky eater!  He eats almost anything.  He likes most fruits, warm and cold beverages, and some vegetables.  He still prefers things to be cool rather than ice cold, and soft to crunchy veggies - but compared to months ago that is minor!  He also has learned to love candy and baked goods.  

I laugh when I watch him eat at church on Wednesday nights. Last year he always asked me to remove his dessert from his plate.  Sugary treats grossed him out!  Fast forward one year and it is the vegetables that need to be removed. . . and his dessert is eaten first!
Today he insisted on making his own lunch!  He wanted a "Barney Sandwich" (peanut butter and jelly) without the jelly.  So he got out the bread and knife and peanut butter - and fixed a sandwich all by himself!  Then he lay down on the couch to watch TV with Jay (who is home sick) and fell asleep.

I Love Thursdays!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Treasure from A Treasure

Ever find a treasure in your email?

I did today.

In  one glance, I knew this photo would be one I treasure forever.

Just like the amazing photographer who took it.  I did not grow up with a sister - but I am so thankful that my sister-in-law has become my sister.  You are a treasure, Teresa.  I love that you trust me with your heart.  I love that you laugh at all Chad's jokes.  I love how you love my kids.  But most of all I love how you love me, even when you think I am nuts ;)

Thanks for being such an amazing sister to me.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Our Sausage Factory

One long standing tradition on Chad's side of the family is deer sausage making.  And today was the day!

 Sierra was by far the best helper.
She helped Chad cut all the meat off the deer bones. (Yuck!)
She helped him cut up both pork and beef to mix with the venison.
She helped grind it all up.
She helped mix the seasonings into the ground meat.
 Joshua wanted to help so badly!
Chad let him pour in the cheese.
(This year they added pepper jack cheese to the secret family recipe for sausage.  YUMMY!)
 Joshua begged to help mix!
 He was SO happy and proud when Daddy agreed to let him help!
 After the meats, spices, and cheese were mixed, it is time to TASTE!
 EVERYONE makes an appearance when it is time to taste!
 After the sausage has been given the "Dietrich Family Seal of Approval" it is time to stuff the sausage into casings.
Everyone gets into the action at that point.
Krissy cranks the stuffer.
 Jamison keeps it full of meat.
Chad cuts the casings into sausage links.
 Sierra twisted them up.
 Joshua could hardly contain his "helpfulness!"
 He was into everything, until
Daddy found him a job too!
His job was to put the sausage into the cooler.

Tomorrow Chad will smoke the sausage.
Then we will help him package it and fill the freezer.

I am not much of a sausage maker, which makes me even more thankful that our 5 beautiful children are so hard-working and helpful.  Making sausage is a lot of work, but they all pitched in, happily!  What a blessing!