Sunday, June 28, 2015

Company:)



Some of my most precious memories of seminary life were with my dear lady friends...

My Sunday Night Club girls...

Oh the laughs we would have as we shared half price appetizers at Applebee's after 9pm on Sunday nights:)

Oh the deep conversations that were shared as we all adjusted to the fact that each of our husbands had left  "real world"jobs to answer Gods call to go back to school to become a pastor...

Oh the fun we would have at the Seminary Wives Valentines Dance... seriously memories that I still smile and giggle about to this day...

Oh the fun of Friday night family BBQ's right outside our back door on campus in the Woods...

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was blessed by my upstairs Seminary neighbor MaryAnne coming to stay the night while Greg and that big boys were in Haiti... 
Last week I got to visit over the phone with my dearest most precious Friend Becky... oh the passions, and loves that we have in common!
 And last Monday my sweet Sunday night club friend Shari and her family came and visited from Texas! 

We used to be right on their way when we lived in Texas and were able to be a good stopping point for them on their road trips home... 

It blessed my heart to be with their family... The big boys got to experience exploring downtown on Segways with them.  And most of all, I just loved getting to visit!  

What a gift to my heart to either see or hear from 3 of my dear precious Seminary friends all in the last couple of weeks...
All 3 of these families tied blankets for our 4 kids after Samuel died,  and all together (with one additional family) made a huge family blanket for us... They stood tying that blanket and praying over us ... Those gestures won't ever be forgotten... And all 5 blankets still get loads of use in this house! 

Tonight my heart is thankful for friends... new and old...

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Family is more than blood...



And this is how we found them early in the morning last week... Heart melter!!!


We are family!  
We are different...
We don't all look or act the same...
But God creatively wove us together...

Biology makes us family... Adoption makes us family... Sacrificing birth mama's made us family... Setting aside fears made us a family...

God made us a family... I could never have dreamt it up to be any better...

Are we perfect... NO way!! 
But we love him first, then each other...
Thankful and blessed!!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A great summer read... You wont' be disappointed...


Hello friends from rainy Chicago...

When I think of the nature of our family and all that make up who we are and what we are passionate about... I think of all of the people and things that have contributed to and all that God has used to mold us in to who we are... and who we will continue to grow into in the future...

 I think of....

So many different members of our dear family...
So many different precious friends...
So many different difficult moves...
So many different crazy life experiences...
And so many tough times thrown in among the beautiful times... 

When I think of our passion for missions and caring for the orphans... I think of our sweet and amazing friends, Dwight and Linny,  the Saunders!  They are the founders of IVO (International Voice of the Orphan)  It is the group we have traveled with to Uganda over the past 4 years... dear friends and brothers and sisters in Christ.  

They break the mold when it comes to laying it down to care for the orphans in our world... 

Whether it means adding those kids to their own family, feeding them in the streets of Uganda, or watching their daughter give up her American life to start a special needs orphanage... it is all an integral part of who they are!

  I admire and look up to them... still opening up their home to another treasure from China while most their age are nearing an empty nest and retirement... 

Are they perfect?  No... but they are the real deal... sold out to walk their faith in action... And it is beautiful to watch... 


I am super excited for the release of my friend Linny's book Rescuing Ruby.  I believe it will be available from  Amazon in a week or so... It tells the story of their precious daughter Ruby and the amazing journey they have been on since she was basically left for dead in a field in Uganda... The transformation in this precious girl's life is REMARKABLE... 

My heart can not be shaken and amazed at the work of our gracious God... This photo taken of Emma the day they found Ruby at the orphanage and a year later after she had come home to their family... It doesn't even resemble in the slightest bit the same child... What a healing work God has done and continues to do daily in Ruby's life... 


Check out her book, Rescuing Ruby... you won't be disappointed... It will be perfect summer reading and I know will challenge you, stretch you, and renew your faith in our miracle working God!  


Here is Linny's blogpost announcing that the book is finally finished... 



In just a few weeks their  family will be touring the US and we will be blessed to spend a couple of days with them here... We are thrilled... They were so gracious to house us 2 years ago when we RV'd to California... And now it is our turn... YAY!!! :)

We will be hosting a dessert night while they present their story of Ruby, IVO, and the Gem Foundation (the orphanage their daughter Emma started in Uganda...  www.thegemfoundation.com 

Look for more information, but put the 9th of July on your calendar if you are in our area...

We would LOVE to have you join us!


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Typical Summer Days

I got to hang out just with the two of these snugglers before church on Sunday...
Biggest eyes on the planet for our Isaiah... well that is if you take out Louis' girlfriend's eyes... she has big beautiful eyes... kind of the ongoing joke around here:)


Wild woman with the cute adorable hair... She is doing so well... She Misses school and it's structure, but has matured so much over the last year... 


And these two!  TROUBLE!!!  2 peas in a pod... They are so different but love each other so much! The joy when they see each other first thing in the morning is so great!  It totally melts my heart!  
Isaiah is having his first week of loneliness as all the other kids are all either helping or going to Vacation Bible School this week...



We are blessed with Seminary friends, the Stinettes being here this week... It is so fun to catch up and share life with other people in ministry who understand the life as a pastor's family!

 The big boys are heading to the city to do a Segway tour.  That should be a blast! 
The littles and I may head to the pool... 

For now, off to get the crew ready for VBS and out the door:)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sunday mornings...

Sunday mornings as a pastor's wife with 7 don't always go as smoothly as we would like:)

Even when we live right across the parking lot from church...
(Trust me I consider it a HUGE BLESSING to be so close to church:)

But if the truth be told, most times there is either a blow out diaper, a big spill, lost shoes, some last minute teeth brushing or hair braiding that has to be done...

Last week I caught these cuties on our walk to church...


Is he handsome or what?  Serious love this munchin so very much!





The brothas!  They are the best little buddies and I am so grateful God gave them to us... Isaiah is gaining on Levi in height and I think has him taken in the weight department... So different, yet love each other so so much!


Don't ask me how Isaiah knows "fierce"... The kid is hysterical and on the move like our Hopie girl 24/7:)  Having Hopie prepared me for the curious, into everything, busy nature of Isaiah... 
Regardless of how tired these 2 make me some days, I know I will miss the craziness someday:)  I wouldn't trade it for a minute...  They are both such gifts and are loved so deeply!


My biggest Sunday morning helper, my Anna... 

And... this is how we looked on the way home last week... We picked up just a few extra:) 

Our friends have kids nearly the same age as each of our last five and it is a joy to have them hang out with us:)


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Last of Estes...

One of our last days in Estes we tried out a new trail...
The cub lake trail...
My sweet niece Ella hung with Hope, Levi, and I for a bit.  I treasure the memories of getting to talk and take in God's beautiful creation with Ella along the way as we hiked:) (Can you tell Hope is a little thrilled to get her picture taken with her cousin Ella? So cute!)

This picture really doesn't do it justice... the beautiful snow capped peaks are sort of blending right in to the clouds in the sky... It was gorgeous!





Above... Greg and Isaiah... 
Below... Greg and Jojo probably 8 years ago... 



The big boys, Louis and Caleb, taking a break:)

We were laughing hysterically at this chipmunk... He was so fat... The kids were feeding him these salted caramel peanuts and no lie... He had at least 15 in his mouth and cheeks... 

He would take the peanuts in, suck off the coating, bring them out, nibble a bit, and back in again and again... but if you offered another, he would just pack them in there... It was so cute~






Jojo and sweet Baby Poppy...


Anna and her good friend Liam...


Kim and I... Kim had her birthday while we were there and I couldn't believe all we have done together in the last 18 mos since we met... Especially since we live on different sides of the nation... Africa twice, family visits to eachother's home, and now this trip...

I am thankful for all the little facetime visits we get as well, when the kids are chatting... There are a lot of times they are like, why don't you just get on your own facetime...:) 

We have a lot in common, share a passion for adoption and orphan care, our kids are best friends, and our families really have a great time together...  I am so thankful for her friendship... 


The whole crew after a night of game playing... 

Friday, June 12, 2015

This is what is keeping us busy...



The weather has been perfect this week for some great pool time... We have been so blessed to be able to purchase a family pool pass for the last few summers... I think if we go three times we have it paid for... We have already been twice this week... 

And seriously, the place is great for kids of all ages... splash pad and kiddie pool for the littles, a pool,  and a couple of slides for the bigs:)  Grateful mama here:)


Anna finishes off the soccer season with a tournament this weekend... I think she has found her niche... She is leading the team in scoring:)  She is fast and furious... but slightly out of control... Totally just like I was when I played soccer... 

 These two are pretty much in separable... Church buddies, soccer buddies and pretty much down right silly buddies:)





And this little character is pretty much hands down the reason I struggle to get anything accomplished during the day... 

He thought it was a great idea to mix the already cooked pancakes with a drumstick... 

BUSY, CURIOUS... NON STOP is this little guy!  But I wouldn't trade it for the world... 


So while the big guys are away in Haiti, our days have pretty much been filled with...
Pool time... Cleaning up after the littles... some house organizing... soccer... More cleaning up after the littles... ordering school books for fall... late night movies with Anna and Jo...  A few moments of me time when I get out for a run... Some more cleaning up after the littles...

But like I said, I wouldn't trade it for the world... 
These kids are my greatest joy!