Sunday, December 15, 2013

We're Home

We went to Africa. And it was amazing and hard and beautiful. And we are home.
I have so much to share; so many whirl-wind days of traveling into Kampala--so many surprises, heart breaks, and challenges. So many beautiful moments.
But for now, just a message that we heard at church before we went away.

You know, as a child of God, that you are adopted. But have you ever thought of the pain and intense work that your Father and Savior put into that adoption?

With our family's adoption, there was paperwork, money, sacrifice, fund-raisers, letters, traveling, time away from home, meetings with those who opposed our mission, prayer (oh, the prayer!), tears, laughter, pain, sleepless nights, more money, more paperwork (I filled out one set of on-line forms 5 times!), more tears, more travel and more laughter!

And I know this with all my heart: our Father and our Savior put far more into the adoption of their children than we have into the adoption of ours.

Be blessed this Christmas, and know that you were adopted at great price and through great struggle to a Forever Family!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Applesauce Muffins

If your crew is as fond of snacks as we are, these may come  handy for you!

Olivia's Apple Sauce Muffins
3/4 cup oil
1/4 cup flax seed
1 1/2 (+ or -) brown sugar
1/4 cup pureed veggie (I had some pureed carrot frozen and threw it in.)
2 cups of non-sweetened apple sauce
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 t. baking soda
1 cup old fashioned oats
(You can also add in several finely chopped apples if you like)
Mix all ingredients together and scoop into greased or papered muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Makes 24 muffins.

(first posted here)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Care Packages

One day while the kiddos and I were out running errands, we passed a man holding up a sign asking for help. The kids asked why he was there, and I explained that sometimes when people need help, they ask, and it is really up to Christians to answer. But did I have anything to give him? No. That verse about sending people away empty handed and praying for them and thinking wrongly that that is true Christianity was ringing loudly in my head. 
I feel very uncomfortable with handing out money--I have often thought that having $5 McDonald's giftcards or something similar would be a good solution. I determined in that moment that we would not let another opportunity pass us by like that.
Then I saw a wonderful pin on pinterest linking to a blogging momma who had created care packages to keep in the car and give out. Here was a great solution! So the next time we went to Costco, we stocked up and then the kiddos helped me pack the bags. We included a copy of Isaiah 55, my favorite chapter of the Bible right now, because it is essentially a perfect word to anyone in need.
Introducing our first batch of care packages. Including:
Water bottle
Juice box
peanut butter crackers
granola bars
Rice Krispy Treat
Wet Ones
Isaiah 55
This time, I stuck with things that anyone might need--not just if they are homeless.
Other things that could be included:
flash light
toothpaste and toothbrush
chewing gum
other food items
On the way home from the Y the other day we saw a man with a sign asking for any kind of help. I stopped, turned off our Spanish podcast lesson, had the boy climb in the back and get a care package and handed it out the window. He blessed us as we drove away. It has been much easier to remember to pray for the man after handing him a little tiny bit of Christ's love.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Backpack (and so the time has come!)

We are finally going to get our boys. 
There are really no words to say how excited we are.
Our God is an awesome God!
Since I really have no words for the feelings, I'll share something practical:
the backpacks for the plane

The oldest is nearly done with the fifth Harry Potter book (and that's as far as I let her go...she can read the last two in a few years), so I got her a new book for the flight.
This was a book that came with our Books by the Foot box.

empty water bottle to fill up at a fountain before we get on the plane or ask for a stewardess to fill as soon as we get on a plane.

This is the boy's set of books--though he is reading Harry Potter too, so he'll have that for his main reading material.

The youngest has a few books in her bag that are really for her sister or brother to read to her. 
And a coloring/activity book
And each kiddo has their favorite songs on their own little iPod (thanks Grandma).

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Praise Him in the Hallway (and visiting a fall farm)

I feel a bit like a racer, all squared up on my block and waiting for the gun to sound.
Wait for it...
Wait for it..
Wait for it...
I'm talking about a court date here, in case you're new to the loop. Any day now we should find out when we are expected in Uganda to pick up our two boys. Bags are partially packed, all paper work is in order, shots are scheduled for day after tomorrow. When that date comes, we will just need to buy tickets and go. At this point, we will probably receive the date three weeks or less before we leave. (Another family received theirs 8 days before they were supposed to be there!)

But still, the racer image is just not a good one for me to have in my head. 
No one gets ready for a race and then says, "Oh, well, since we're waiting, let me go finish some of those pre-race chores I didn't quite get to." 
I saw a  quote a few days, that is a much better image for me to keep in mind.
Until God opens a door,
I will praise Him in the hallway.
Those are such simple words, but the image is really a great one. In many ways, our family is in a hallway right now. We could feel stifled and beat on doors. We could be bored to tears.
Or we could use our time to praise Him.
Praise Him with all our might.
So, when the opportunity came to drive a couple of hours south to make my dad's birthday a little happier, I took it. 
And praise the Lord! It was a great!
Our hallway is a really, really nice hallway.
fishing from Grandad's dock

Visiting a farm

hay bail maze

the petting zoo at the farm had this beautiful pheasant

that's the creek that the hay ride took us through
You should have seen the boy's face light up when he figured out that we were going to pass right through the water. : )
Praise our wonderful, awesome God!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Nina and the Pinta

We "unschooled" at the Nina and the Pinta on Thursday. This was a light week for us, and having my kids be able to walk through history like that was completely priceless!  They probably learned more in the hour we spent touring Columbus's ships than they did when we studied Columbus and his era for an entire semester last year!

The Nina is an exact replica of the original. This replica was made in the exact same way as the original as well--the boards were finished with steaming and pine tar, there were no power tools made in its creation, and it was made by original descendants of the original ship builders. 

Can you imagine being on this tiny ship with 120 other passengers? On one of Columbus's journeys, when the Nina was the only ship to survive a huge storm, he picked up 120 survivors and headed back to Spain!

The Pinta

The Nina

If you're interested in seeing these ships yourself, check out their cruise schedule HERE.