Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Time!

Wow - What happened? Was that Christmas? Oh, yes the paper fog has lifted and I can nearly see through the piles of new treasures that have found their way into our home. To think if we didn't limit ourselves to three gifts per child....

Christmas was wonderful - as was expected. I love Christmas at our house. It has always been a great low-key day considering it is - well...Christmas. This year we even added three children, three stockings, and nine more gifts under the tree but managed to keep the energy level satisfactory.

Brent's family is out of town and we get to celebrate with them at a later date. My family is quite small - only two sisters, one of whom lives too far away and the other who gets to bring her husband over for the morning fun. My mom is a welcomed staple at family gatherings and I am the luckiest girl I know in that she is a wonderful guest. She has never said anything but supportive and uplifting things about the condition of my home, my children, or my food. Thanks so much for that, mom.

Hope your Christmas was wonderful, too.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I have been having some fun with Ellie's math lately.

Math is an area that I lack not only interest but also experience. We use what I think to be the greatest math curriculum of all time, Math-U-See and I am really understanding math concepts for the first time! (A+ for Kris!)

Last week Ellie was learning how to write enormous numbers in place value notation. I "learned" at an early age to be very intimidated by lots of zeros - and I saw Ellie beginning to feel the same way. I don't want my daughters growing up thinking math is for boys - or that is it is something to fear, so I pretended to be excited about it. Getting excited about it meant that I needed to be darn sure that I understood how to do it, too.

And so my story begins.................... After a week of practicing this concept I found myself "thinking" in terms of place value notation.

For instance:
*There are 10+2 months in the year.
*I spent 100+40+7 dollars at the toy store last week.
*There are 100,000+80,000+6,000+300+50+2 miles on our van.

And here is the kicker:
* There are 4,000,000 +600,000 orphans in Ethiopia.

That is a lot of zeros. I was sitting at the eye doctor the other day waiting for my daughter's appointment to be over and my mind was thinking of the 4,000,000 + 600,000 orphans in Ethiopia. I wondered if other people get intimidated by lots of zeros like I used to. Do people really understand HOW MANY children that is - living without families? No mom or dad? No home or bike or dog? I started to break the number down into more palatable increments.

I thought to myself...suppose there were only 9 orphans? Or maybe 60+2 orphans? What if in my neighborhood, or city, state, there were 800+30+7 orphans? That is a ton of children growing up with out the love of a family. But in Ethiopia there are so many orphans that the reality gets lost in all of the zeros. I wondered if people would help more if there were actually fewer. Maybe if people could wrap their brain around a number it would be more real? I don't have the answer - I was just wondering.

My fun with 3rd grade math concepts has made me even more grateful for the three beautiful, smart, funny, happy children that have joined our family this year. I thank our God of miracles that they are no longer one of the zeros.

This photo was taken the day our children learned they had a family waiting for them in America.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pass Through

We had just loaded bags of clothes into our van. They were on there way to the Salvation Army drop box. This was the 3rd or 4th or 5th time we had done this this year. It got me to thinking... "how much we have been able to give away this year for others in need when it is really our family being blessed by others giving us stuff."

Since we have had children, it has been our practice to take in and pass out clothes that our kids needed and then didn't need. Your family may experience the same thing. Each year, we have been able to set aside certain items and contribute a few bags to those less fortunate. But this year, it has been overwhelming! Since our adoption in April, it seems we have been blessed on every side in an overflowing, abundant manner. We have been overwhelmed with canned goods and dry goods that exceeded our storage ability, so we passed some through to others (10-15 bags full) that could use them and might even need them more than us. It hasn't stopped! We have been overwhelmed with gifts of clothing, hand-me-downs, in wonderful condition at such a level that not only do our 7 children all have boots and coats for the winter, and clothes for the next 2-3 stages of growth... we also were able to pass 15-20 bags (conservative estimate; hefty size) through our hands into the hands of others who had need. Isn't God amazing?

Only He could figure out how to overflow our cup while we were opening our house up to total strangers. Only He could use us to provide for others while we were needing provision. Only He owns a cattle on a thousand hills, and allows some of that provision to pass through our hands into the lives of those around us. As a man, and the leader of my house, and the provider for my wife and children... I am learning to trust Him. His provision far exceeds my ability. I'm excited about letting more pass through!

Friday, December 7, 2007


Winter has arrived.

Whoever said our Ethiopian children will not like cold weather has never met my kids. I am constantly saying "Sweetheart, aren't you cold? Why don't you go put on more clothes?" I look at my kids running around the house in bare feet and I shiver. This must be another unfortunate sign that I am aging. As if I needed another reminder.

At precisely 7:10am on Wednesday I heard the pitter patter of little feet turn into a herd of the masses running down the stairs to announce "SNOW!" Then right outside they went, pajamas and all. Evidence as shown.

They didn't make it long out there in their pj's. But Joseph and Ellie came in, got decked out in their winter gear, and played for three hours. Great example of the fun homeschooling can be. I decided to just go with it - and we actually got school done in a "cut in paste" format which was a fun little shake-up.

By evening I lost count of how many hours the kids had all been outside. It was a great first snow fall. Seasons are so refreshing!