Monday, December 29, 2008

Turtle Shells, Twigs, and an Amazing Brother!!!

These are pictures of a tea my brother is drinking to help with his healing! Would you drink this? At first I said, " ARE YOU KIDDING? NO WAY!!!" But then, life is so precious and it really does help him so he can eat and digest food. He is fighting like a true soldier at battle and doing it with such dignity. He left today to head back to Tulsa ( goes every two weeks) for another round of Chemo. He is so positive and looks amazing that honestly I forget he is fighting this monster. He is now weighing 167 and was down to near 130-- AMAZING!!! Not only he is doing his traditional treatments, but is seeking wise advice and help from natural methods too. He heard about this herbalist from China that is well known from one his his doctors and he made a special prescription for Kary and it does actually include the shell of a turtle!!!! I guess the tea smells HORRIBLE, but he drinks it with full force to get better. He knows God is healing him and has led his to some amazing help both at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, but also through alternative medicine. They (Kary and Regina) have cut out deodorants that are not natural, microwaves, plastics, drink gallons of green tea, eat organic and have amazing attitudes!!!! They are following the book called The Anti-Cancer Diet-- they think everyone should follow this even if you are healthy. I am praising God for my brother and that we were able to celebrate Christmas together. His wife is doing a terrific job of taking care of him and helping with his diet. We are thankful to her too. "Here's to Health!"

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008

We finally bundled Malachi up and took him out in the snow last night. He has been wanting to go out, but once out, he had second thoughts and shed some tears. We had walked quite far from home so the kids could sled and finally he fell asleep on the bumpy ride home. The jogger did ok in the snow. It was too icy to put him on our backs.

The kids had fun making gingerbread houses and even more fun licking their sticky fingers. They were so cute trying to get the walls to stay on the cartons. I am not a creative-type gifted mom, but love letting my kids just go for it. I was the student who never had things posted on the bulletin board as a kid-- truly! But the teachers were actually sparing my diginity. I LOVE letting my kids just get in there and get messy and figure things out. They do a great job and love arts and crafts and anything they can create. I enjoy watching them even more than if it was me making wonderful creations.

Merry Christmas!!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I Am A Happy Woman Now!!!

I just picked up my favorite tired man at the train station. Thank goodness for the MAX!!! He arrived in at 11:30 pm.

I am so happy to have him home. He had an interesting time riding home with two strangers ( I thought it was 3, but only 2). It actually could not have been better. One man was an ex-Crip and now sings amazing gospel music. In fact I am listening to his CD now as I write. Then the other man lives outside of Portland and runs a construction company so he had a great time talking shop with him. They all exchanged numbers and plan to stay in touch. Not all bad in a tough situation:)This is right up Aser's alley as he lived in so many places growing up around the world that he can get along with anyone. I will sleep peacefully tonight!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Nightly Routine With Our Now 21 Month Old Big Boy

" I will get there if I can..."

My tired man was on a plane at 6:00 this morning in Sacramento. We thought he was actually going to make it by plane. HOWEVER, Portland could not get the runway cleared so OFF of the plane he went. He was able to find three other men on the plane as determined to be home as he is and they all rented another SUV to drive home. Hopefully after dinner I will actually see my tired man and give him a huge hug!!!

I'll Be Home For Christmas.... Hopefully not only in my dreams

What a day to try to fly to Portland! My man flew from Dallas to Los Angeles on Friday to see family and friends before planning to come home on Sunday. This morning as I was hearing the weather news I was sure his flight would be cancelled. YEP- First flight with Alaska Air was.. they did not want to fly anymore planes into Portland. So I quickly got him a ticket on Southwest leaving close to the same time... Yep, that was also aborted. ( Yes-- with built up cabin fever I will say a few tears did happen). Then the airport service told him he could fly out Christmas morning--WHAT???? This is crazy... Well, my resourceful hubby rented a SUV to make it through the snow to come home. He just called me at midnight and was in Sacramento. Half-way home! He stopped to see if there were any flights leaving in the morning as he has the most dangerous part of the trip left. At first my searches said no flights available. I tried SW three times despite saying they were full and BEHOLD-- I was able to purchase a ticket for him for LESS THAN the rental for one day... YEP, a bargain right in the middle of the snow storm. Now we will see if he actually gets to the airport on four hours of sleep and hoping the plane actually braves the weather. Tonight they said it can take over a thousand gallons of de-icer to get a plane back into the sky.

As you can see in my earlier posts I love driving in the snow...but not the ice! So he will have to take a train home. Even parts of that are shut down due to ice on the lines--wow! They have a shuttle bus to get him the rest of the way though.

I think he will want to sleep when Malachi does tomorrow:) Hopefully this is the end of travel woes.

Oh no-- I thought I would have more time to clean-- I may not sleep tonight:) He will not care, but I do, so off I go!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mappin' It

It has been almost a week now with snow. Tonight it is freezing rain! Aser is supposed to fly in tomorrow night, but this evening most flights were being cancelled. I have been really feeling his absence this week and having to wait seems very hard. I really hope he makes it. I have to keep the big picture in mind. If we find out that his plane is coming in the kids and I may brave the MAX ( Train Systen in Portland) to meet him at the airport. It will depend on how stir crazy I am at that point and brave ( maybe stupid too) .... It will be GREAT to have him home for two weeks. I think the kids have missed him more than I know. Today my Rebekah mentioned how in the mornings she wakes up and it is hard thinking she will not see daddy all day long. My son has also said little things about how much he misses his dad and then much silence. Anna prays for him like there is no tomorrow and that is how her heart processes it all. Lydia misses having a fluffed pillow each night. I don't do it the special way daddy does:) I think I am just less patient than I want to be and stay up WAY too late for quiet time. Malachi is just not sure what is up with this family...

The map on the side of my blog is new. I am amazed how you can track such things from all around the world. Very cool... I do know they can not read blogs in Ethiopia so I will not have dots from eastern Africa. That is when I realize what freedoms we do have here and take for granted.

This is Lydia's snowman. Anna made one too with a skirt and shoes -- very cool!

I had fun driving in the snow today. Yes, they were asking people to stay off of roads, but Rebekah had a birthday party to go and that seemed very important when you have been couped up like a chicken. Then tonight I took the kids for a little spin around the neighborhood. Again, I am sure Malachi is wondering what is up with his family:)

We did do some more Christmas cookies and I even made a pumpkin bread. I have been trying to have normal dinners for the kids too and so we ate until our tummies were full tonight. It has been tempting to do just kid-type quick dinners, but I have wanted life to seem somewhat the same for them.

Hoping to see my guy tomorrow:)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Just Knew--

"I know!" is all I said as I answered the phone after midnight exactly 7 years ago. I did not wait for any, " hello" or explanation... I just knew! I had been in the shower for over an hour crying and coming to terms with what I believed was happening. It sounds so strange now, but I can go back with little effort even today.The voice was not audible, yet just as clear. I just knew!

We had just spent the day with my entire family, over 25 of us, in Eugene celebrating Christmas. My dad was sick and had been fighting cancer just like a warrior. We were hopeful he would be chosen to start a clinical trial in February that looked very promising. He was so loving that day to each one of his children and grandchildren. He always was, but went out of his way to say something to each of us. I wonder if he knew? He told me how proud of me he was and loved my children. Then he thanked Aser for being such a wonderful husband and father. He told him he would have never asked for better than him. ( I do agree!) Many of my siblings and nieces and nephews took pictures with him. I did not as I felt like it would be admitting that I thought he would not have another chance with a photo with me. He joked and rested with us for the whole day and even made it back home.

This was several hours later. My mom said he was tired when they got home, but we never thought it would be this.

After I was able to pull myself together I came downstairs to see if the light was beeping on the phone telling me that the call had arrived. There was no light, no bleeping... I thought I had just taken myself for an unneeded ride. I was relieved as I went to turn the light off. My hand had not even left the light switch and the phone rang. I did KNOW!

I raced over to my parent's home as many of my siblings raced to be by his bedside. As I entered the door I heard the breathing and knew that I knew. My tears had already been cried in the shower so I was able to have an unearthly peace and really be in the moment with my daddy. We gathered on his bed as he was very coma-like and prayed for a miracle. We told him how much we loved and appreciated him. I asked him to tell mother one more time how much he loved her. One time and one time only he sat up and reached to my mom and grabbed her hand. He could not speak and fell back into his coma-like state. It was shortly after that his breathing changed and then slowed down as we lay next to him. It was a strange peace that was with us. I know God was with us as we were saying goodbye to him on this earth.

I had no idea how hard it would be to get used to life without him. I can grieve with hope as I know I will see him again. I know my kids will be able to run to their papa again. It has been very hard watching my mom adjusting to life and she has shown strength she did not know she has. Despite the sadness God has comforted our family in ways I have no words for. We will be together again.

Seven years ago today I just knew!

Sliding to the mall

The kids did not have school today. I don't do well staying home despite the news saying you should. The kids and I made the trek to get grandma and then to the mall to walk around and have a treat. The roads were icy, but we did great. I am thankful for 4-wheel drive. I know this is funny to those living in the NE, but us Oregonians are just not used to this. I think this has been the hardest part having Aser gone for so far. He is the one who helps to make it fun with tying ropes on sleds and we usually take a 2 -3 mile walk in the snow. I am still trying to figure out how to do that with Malachi on my back. I am just feeling sorry for myself tonight without him. He is supposed to be here on Sunday right in the middle of another ice storm-- Oh MY!!!
We did have fun today with a big pancake breakfast and then the kids played outside and then we were off to the mall. We ended the night with DVD rental and the kids were so cute all pj'd up with pillows crashed under the Christmas tree...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Series of FORTUNATE Events

Aser had to be on a plane back to Louisiana this morning by 6:00 and the airport is about 45 minutes away. We were under a winter snow warning and knew lots of snow and ice were coming so did not want to take a chance with me being stuck at airport while kids were sleeping. Aser was going to drive his truck to the airport and I would pick up when weather allowed... BUT I was supposed to feed a neighbor's cat for this week and she called last night to make sure I was still able to do and mentioned she was leaving for the airport at 4:15-- BINGO! She had hired a shuttle and so Aser was able to catch it as well and made it in plenty of time to the airport. However, he first had to fly to MN and got VERY delayed leaving and so arrived in Dallas at 9:00 this evening ( Texas time) with another 3:1/2 hour drive back to LA. It will have taken him over 18 hours to get back for a 36 hour visit. I don't think I will be asking him if it was worth it or not--

Then my brother had to take his wife to work so they stopped by here and left Brittany for awhile to play with kids in the snow. They had a blast EVEN as the snow was blowing sideways and almost seemed blizzard -like. I wish I still had the desire to play that hard even if I can't feel my hands and feet. Hot Chocolate was more like cold chocolate milk in a matter of minutes. We are not used to this is the Pacific NW!

I did go out driving for dishwasher soap as I have a real problem with hand washing dishes:) Oh THE THOUGHT!!!! ( I am not really that bad--just close)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Home for 36 Hours

Aser flew in last night at midnight and leaves at 4:15 from home tomorrow morning. It was short, but wonderful and he was here for my side of the family Christmas party at my brother's house.

It is hard to get all the kids looking one direction for a picture. I have five kids in my family and four of us were there tonight. It is wonderful to have Kary, my youngest brother, there as we did not know if this would be a reality. We so miss my sister and I just hope she knows how much I still love her. I did see her briefly last February and am hoping that somehow I will run into her this Christmas. We are a huge group now and my nephews and nieces have started having kids too. Kary and I were 9 and 10 when our sibs started having kids so they are all adults now too. It is so cool that Malachi has young cousins( 2nd cousins) to grow up with. I also met a cousin that I have not seen since I was a young child and did not remember him. I have always heard about him but extended family things left us with no contact. It is so cool to meet someone with such a close family connection and see that there are so many familial things about them-- strange!

My kids just loved on their daddy and we are looking forward to Christmas. Malachi is very attached to his daddy and is at ease when he is around him. They are so cute together.

This Tuesday will be the first time I have had to hire a babysitter for Malachi. I feel very good about her as she knows him from the church nursery, but it is hard for me to leave him with someone other than my mom. I did have one friend watch him for a bit, but he has been around her lots. I am sure it will be harder on me than him, but I will be happy when this is on the other side of the calendar. My kids are in the Christmas program at school and I am the only one in our family that will be able to go and I want to be able to really watch and take pictures of them. M is not the quiet kind of baby that can sit through a program so I had to hire someone to come in...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Malachi does mean "angel"

Lydia loves playing the piano with Malachi. He is always asking to sit and play the piano. He LOVES music and I often wonder what the first song he ever heard was. Was it the song from his mother humming while carrying him or was he sung to while at Toukoul by his beloved nannies? This is the one way he loves to be comforted and I can sing "our songs" and you can just feel his body relax. He is precious and growing so quickly. The kids are just smitten with him. I don't think many babies who are 20 months have this big of a fan club.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Texas Style Cheese

This was my first visit to the south. I actually enjoyed it far more than I expected. I realized that I had my own "perceptions" about being in the south given the make-up of Aser and I. As with most perceptions I was incorrect based on my few days there. We actually had a great time and also went into Louisiana where he is working. I could not get over how clean everything was and the streets were so perfectly paved. One funny thing was we stopped for a quick taco and were served a HUGE bowl of Velveta -type cheese to dip chips in and I could only see saturated fat so we set it to the side... well, a lady sat down near us and wanted to know how we got our cheese. Well, she decided our bowl of cheese would be just fine for her and actually ate it off of our table. Her husband about died right there on the spot! ( and not from clogged arteries:) )

-- This was us at the MOST beautiful mall I have ever been in. It is in Dallas called the Galleria. The tree came up from the ice skating rink and was most amazing. We really have fun together and just love to hang out and eat, window shop, drink coffee, and walk and talk...

I am missing my man like crazy. This has been one of the hardest times for me so it was beyond wonderful being able to see spend time just the two of us. I so wish big blessings on my mom for making this possible. I came home to five happy children who were spoiled all weekend long.

Looking forward to Christmas--

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Feeling the Wind and Loving It

Malachi is now 20 months and one of his sisters thought he would look so cute in her scarf. He wore it ALL night and rode this bike dreaming of the journeys ahead... Sweet Boy!!!!

Root Canal or Trip to Build A Bear?? Decisions...Decisions...

No, I am not doing anything fun like Zoom Whitening or Plastic Surgery... just a root canal and the dental assistant thought it was funny that I was taking pictures and sending them to Aser to update him on my lovely progress. Hey, if I am paying $2500 for this thing I ought to enjoy it right:) ? I must say that really there was no pain before, during or after ( well, there was after and it is called "Payment Plan").

Then on a much happier note Lydia surprised us at the mall yesterday. She was asking us over and over to go to the Build A Bear store and once we were inside (The Big Boys were at the Blazers Game-- free tickets!!!!) she said she wanted her sisters to choose bears of their choice. I don't think I knew what to say and I did not realize she had been carrying around this wad of moolah at the mall either, but then when I saw how intent and eager she was to do this for them my heart was warmed in a very big way. Lydia works hard to save her money and I think that is why I was so surprised at her loving gesture. It truly is better to give than to receive and her face glowed that ALL night and even today. So we have added Carmel, Butterscotch and Kendra to our home. This was such a tender moment for me as a momma watching my girls bond with each other and seeing that they love each other. My heart's desire has always been for my children to grow-up and be close and good friends. Last night I think I saw a glimpse of Lydia's love towards her little sisters. Just look at her beaming!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Where my heart is so often...

You know that ache that is inside and wish it would go away because there is enough to worry about here in your little household right now??? But it won't go away. This is from the Hope Chest and Red Letter Campaign. They are now including Ethiopia and trying to help the 4.8 million orphans there. They are trying to get churches or groups to sponsor orphanages so they can have decent living conditions. The one orphanage for boys really makes me shudder.. and they have already had it so rough and then to have to live like that. Tough! This is when I wished I played the lotto:) I know God does not need to lotto, but I wish I had the means to really make a difference. Thank you for watching this!

Friday, November 14, 2008

My Alma Mater is on Fire

Santa Barbara is on fire right now and I will be praying big time for the winds to stop. Westmont is very close to where the fire started and so all of the students are in the gym, which is fire safe and they have food there too. Westmont has to be one of the most beautiful colleges and it is truly heartbreaking to think of this loss and I am hoping it is not as bad as the reports are sounding and that there are no injuries. All of those poor families losing their homes too... I hope this fire stops soon. This is unreal.

UPDATE: Westmont did pretty well overall and the gym and library and Kerr Hall are all intact. The gardens ( which are amazing) as well as the chapel are all in pretty good shape too. Part of my freshman dorm was destroyed and a total of 7 other buildings. Three of those were set to be demolished in the coming weeks for new contruction anyway. However, 14 staff members lost their campus homes. These were build after I left but are on campus. I think it is pretty clear they were protected when you see the pictures of the flames and all. It is strange how after something like this you realize how important something can be to you even after many years. I have been walking the campus all night rehearsing many wonderful times in Santa Barbara.I did not realize while I was there what a special place it is and often took it for granted and wished my time away. Praying for you Westmont!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Eleven Green Things

I just have to tell about my coupon deal this weekend. One of my children REALLY needed a new jacket. I had priced them out and found one she loved, but it was $79.00 and there just was no way I could swing that right now, especially with how fast she is growing. This weekend at Fred Meyer their coats were 50% off and then there was a coupon for another 15% off and then I received my bonus coupons( because I shop there way too much) and had another 40% off and almost $30.00 in bonus money in checks they sent me. Not only did I buy her a jacket, I was able to get a Christmas present for another child ( it is great they love getting clothes once they are older as presents:) ) for only $11.00!!! I skipped all the way to the car with a happy child beside me who LOVES her new coat. Funny how something small can bring such smiles!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I spell MIRACLE in caps today!!!!

My younger brother Kary found out he had pancreatic cancer just two weeks after I got out of the hospital in early June. His tumor was TWICE the size of normal tumors and when they found it he weighed as much as me. He is 6'3 and was VERY skinny and weak. ( I am not 6'3 so am not saying I am skinny:) ) When he went to the doctors here in Oregon/ Washington they wanted to open him up and take some pictures and observe his tumor that had wrapped itself around his main artery and was basically not operable. They pretty much told him to get his affairs in order. He would not let anyone who did not believe in hope and wanting to try anything and everything work on him so he took off for Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa, OK. They have been amazing and he has been on three chemos that are all different, radiation, accupuncture, and Vitamin C Therapy and many other things and TONS OF PRAYER! He flew back two days ago for another round of treatments ( which are paid for by CTCA... they fly him there every two weeks) and when his tumor markers came back today there were so low and he has gained 30 pounds they basically said he is almost cancer free... CAN YOU JUST IMAGINE OUR JOY???? They feel the tumor has probably already died and will be absorbed into the body in a few years. If this was another kind of cancer they would stop treatmens right now, but since pancreatic cancers are SO AGGRESSIVE ( it is called the demon of cancers) they will do 12 more rounds of chemo. So now you know why I am spelling MIRACLE in caps today. Yesterday he had to go to a funeral for a man about 10 years older than him that did not make it with the same cancer. They became friends while having treatments. The family had him sit with them and then the pastor of this church had Kary come up and they all prayed for him. It was hard on my brother losing this friend though and seeing his family so so sad. We are so grateful for the news today and pray that it will never come back again. THANK YOU for all of your prayers and questions about my brother. It means so much to me. Happy Day--

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Can you Say Barney and Smile???

I don't think my older kids really think they every liked Barney and believe I am just making it up. They do not smile when we say, "Barney!" They did smile when they saw Malachi dressed up though.

Here is Malachi getting ready for our harvest party at church. Nehemiah wore this outit almost 11 years ago and I think each one has been Barney at some point. Malachi loves Barney almost as much as he does Grandma! I wish I had the video camera rolling when he saw himself in the mirror... lets just say it was a happy day:) He was thrilled! Then Lydia dressed up like her American Girl doll Kaya, who is Native American, but she wore Ethiopian clothes (I think it worked??), Rebekah was a giraffe ( with cat whiskers-- hey now!), Nehemiah was living his dream as an NBA player, and Anna was a doctor (her dream too). Love the holidays I do!!!!:) I am such a sucker for tradition and LOVE this time of the year.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"Just Kicking It"

This is something that just a mother probably finds cute, but I had to post. I think Malachi has already found his sport. At only 19 months we are amazed at his "kicking" skills. It is also a word he says very clearly over and over, "ball...ball..." The other picture is of Nehemiah coaching Rebekah's soccer team. After two coaches did not work out Nehemiah stepped up and led each practice and games. He really enjoyed it and expected a lot from Rebekah. She was not going to have any part of that, but loved having her brother there for this whole season. Tonight we went to a pumpkin patch with families who have adopted or will be adopting from Ethiopia, I am just amazed how large this group in the Portland area is getting. It is so warm ( I can't think of the right word) to see all of these children playing together and getting to know each other as so many families make the time to stay connected. The support and care you also receive from other families is unusual. Tonight one mom and I talked and talked and could not believe how much our boys were experiencing the same things. It makes you not feel so alone and not doubt your parenting skills so much. One of my friends, who was also adopted and now has adopted herself, came along to reassure me that I am supposed to love him and not try to make up for all of his losses. Sometimes as a parent who has adopted the guilt is HUGE and you want to give them every opportunity and chance for success and happiness. Yet, I am only one mom with five kids and can't make his world perfect. That part is for God and I will set him up for unrealistic expectations if I fill all of his needs. I just wish I could see ahead 10 or 15 years from now and know that Malachi finds peace and knows how much we love him then I could sit back and not worry so much. I think I am feeling a bit more unsure about everything since Aser is working very far from home these days and not here to lend his support as much as he would like.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

26.2 -- Portland Marathon 2008

I felt so grateful as I crossed the finish line of the marathon today. I was so sick this past spring going into summer that I wondered if I would ever be able to exercise the way I had been able to. My friend,Lori,helped me get back into shape and was patient enough as I gained strength back to be able to make it walking the marathon this year. I have decided that marathons and half- marathons are quite addictive:)

These pictures are from the starting line and then at the end. It rained for over 90% of the walk today and yet I felt great! My time is nothing to speak of, but I finished! Aser and my children have been SO patient as I have trained and then came to cheer me on. Aser is the best cheerleader I could have in my life! Yes, that would be my hubby with the larger than life American flag waiving everywhere ( he is the most patrictic person I know and he did not even grow up here). Aser made this sign for me today. Each of the kids had signs too... they are all asking when they can try their legs out on a marathon. This is about the only time in a year that I can totally enjoy a huge burger with no guilt! Today I added sweet potato fries-- oh yummy!

I walked by a man today and he said this is his 37th marathon-- impressive! I wonder how many I can get under my belt before my joints will not allow this anymore???


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bring It On! Mom's Brag Book-- More to come on my other athletes too

I have to admit we are a bit over-scheduled right now, but it is fun! Malachi is learning many new things about being in a carseat as we drive from one practice to another... He is being so good about it all. Nehemiah, Anna and Rebekah are in soccer. Nehemiah is running some with the cross -country team and Lydia is in volleyball. There is band for my older two and they have to be to school 45 minutes early twice a week ( yes, I am their bus driver to and from school) and then the girls are all in piano once a week. I did not intend for the calendar to be this filled, but am also not sure how to stop it now. We are 4 weeks into and so it is not much longer and life will be a bit more slow. One things that has happened that has been really fun for Nehemiah is that Rebekah's soccer team has had some coach trouble and he has had to step up and run whole practices by himself and takes half of the team at games. I never knew he would be able to handle all of this, even at my ripe age I would be pretty unsure of what to do...

( these photos were taken by Don Best, a dad on the team with a great skill for photography)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Malachi at 18 months --

Malachi has been home for 6 months now. He was wearing 9 months clothes when we met him and is now pushing his way out of 24 months... he is growing and seems so healthy now. With the kids back in school Malachi and I have had lots of time together and I can really tell a new level of bonding taking place. It was severly halted when I was sick and he stayed with my mom. She is still the love of his life, but at least now I am on his radar:) He is calling me "mama" now and will kiss us all freely. He loves to be touched and have his back patted and rubbed. He is beginning to settle in and loves the daily routine. I always thought when I got home with Malachi it would just feel so natural and just regular. However, if I am honest in a painful part of my heart, I must say for a long time I felt like I was babysitting someones else's baby. He was not comfortable with me and I could not comfort him the way a mother does. Now that is all changing and I do feel like he is my son and even forget all we have been through this past 6 months. I think sometimes this part of the story is lost in adoption and so I had no idea that this could happen and is actually quite normal. I am head over heels in love with him and can't imagine a day without him in our lives. The kids are still thinking he is just about the BEST thing in life and I often have to beg hugs off of them as Malachi gets most of the loving from them these days:) His litle giggle lights up our days and today my heart melted when I picked him up at church. They told him his mommy was here to pick him up and he ran as fast as he could towards the door with his arms lifted up high for me to pick him up... I had such warmth in my heart as I picked him up thinking, "Here is my is my baby boy!" .

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First Day of School

How can this be that summer is over already? I truly miss my kids when school starts and it is always difficult to accept that they are getting so big. I have my baby starting Junior High this year. I can remember that day in my own life like yesterday. Then Lydia is starting 5th grade. I started teaching 5th grade when I was 23 and it is crazy that my second child is now that old. I remember thinking how old the parents were when I was teaching, yet NOW I do not feel that old at all:) Then Anna is in 4th grade and Rebekah is in 2nd. When I was having Nehemiah a cousin of mine told me that, " The days are long, but the seasons are short. " I grasp that more than ever now.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Girl and Her Horse

This is Smore and Lydia. Lydia's heart is fed by being with horses. When she was little she always dreamed of horses, not about being a princess, but about being on a horse and riding into the sunset. A family at the school our kids go to have an amazing horse farm appropriately names, "Heavenly Ranch" and they were kind enough to let her start riding before the age they usually accept riders. While we were in Ethiopia the first love of her life, Razen, died suddenly. The owner of the farm knew Lydia needed to get on a horse soon and fall in love again. We are not able to afford lessons right now, but she was able to go to two lessons before school. All I can say is that Lydia is smitten again. My girl is so content when it comes to being with horses-- she is in her element and her soul is being fed. I am thankful that she has found a passion in her life already and knows she needs to do something with horses when she grows up. She is even talking about helping orphans and foster children this way. It will be so fun to see how God uses this in her. Today her trainer said she really does have a natural ability. The horse almost threw her off today as he was spooked pretty seriously. She held on and directed the horse back around. The momma in me wanted to take her off the horse and never put her back on:) But she did GREAT and even the other riders around were amazed that such a young girl could handle such a situation. I guess it is called, " She has a good seat" when something like that happens. I admired her courage and desire to continue on with her lesson. I am so thankful for this family and the way the trainer has helped me understand this is a love in Lydia that will not go away and we need to continue to feed her:) It is so strange to see your child growing into this person with her own character that you know is from God. I sit in amazement as I am such a broken mom and yet God is still pouring out His love on my children despite my shortcomings. GO LYDIA!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Brothers For Life

Fourteen Years of Fireworks and Anniversaries:)

This past weekend Aser and I got away, just the two of us, for three nights! Yep-- that is one of our longest times away ever. So much has happened this year that it was great to have time to talk and eat and just hang out with no worries about time. We also walked and walked sometimes up until midnight just soaking in the time. I just love my time with us and remembering, living and dreaming about the future... the time flew,and had the most wonderful fireworks display I have ever seen following this picnic on the grass. All of the kids did great and LOVED being with grandma for that long. She is amazing and had special things planned each day. However, it has been hard on Malachi having us back as he is very attached to my mom after being with her for a whole month. He says "mamama" for grandma and will call her and look for her throughout the day. It does break my heart, but at the same time in is wonderful he is so loved by her and so attached and I know it time he will fall into the comfort of this whole family.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Uplifting News!

Good news finally! Kary,my baby brother by 13 months, had surgery this morning to let him use his stomach again. His tumor is twice the size of normal pancrease tumors and had closed up his stomach and he has been unable to eat or drink for almost three weeks now. He has had a patch of nutrients being fed to him, but he weighs less than I do now and is 6'3--ouch!!! Today the doctor said he saw no signs of cancer in any other organs and this tumor is shrinking. When he flies back to Tulsa after coming home later this week, they may be able to remove the tumor completely, Of course this is what we want so badly for him because then there is the chance of beating this horrid cancer. My brother is so strong and God is with him in ways that are so clear. Being in the Bible Belt of America right now people will come out of the woodwork and approach him to pray over him. They don't even ask what is wrong, but want to pray. This has been very powerful for my brother and his wife. There have been many answers to prayer along the way, but it is such a hard road with Kary being sick most days. This weekend there was fear that they would have to postpone the surgery as he was fighting infections and low blood counts, but they came back up and so things like this remind us that God is in control.

Can I just say that I HATE cancer?.... After losing my dad cancer became such a reality. Then in the past three weeks I have had two more friend's husbands diagnosed with cancer as well. It seems so much of my prayers are about cancer healing these days.

I have so much to post later about the kids with pictures-- will do it soon I promise!

Monday, August 4, 2008

My Anna--Wonderful, Funny, Smart, and so so Loving and Caring

Anna turned 9 on Friday! I just can't believe how big she is getting. She brings so much fun and laughter to our family. She has such a solid sense of wisdom and discretion. She was baptized this year at her request... She loves God with her Full Being. She truly challenges me with her questions and faith. I am still amazed that God has let me be her mom. Here is a song she made a dance to celebrate her day:)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Laughing to Fit In:)

Malachi is so funny and is always laughing when the kids laugh. We tried to catch it on tape, but it does not show how funny he can be. He is precious and so happy. He loves to laugh and laugh! He tries very hard to be one of the big kids!

Friday, July 11, 2008

July 10th, 1968 -- Oh Yeah! That Makes ME 40!

My family has made me feel more special than I have deserved. I will share more later as tomorrow we are off to look at over 10 lighthouses. I just love lighthouses!( we will be covering about 800 miles in two days) So this is a big treat for me! I also got to go with my one and only guy to my favorite breakfast joint and have raspberry crepes at the Original Pancake House-- that was wonderful! Then my mom took me to The Chart House-- I have not been there since I was suffering from prego sickness with Nehemiah ( yeah that would have been in my 20's). My mom had even arranged for my name and birthday to be printed on my menu:) and then I had two hours to shop by myself with a giftcard I have had about 7 months so that was fun. My mom had us all over for dinner and so this video was from her house. I had more cards, hugs and sweet words from my kids and hubby than I can count. My mom can't believe she is old enough to have a daughter who is 40 now. After being so sick and wondering if I would be here I can say I am truly jumping up and down to be 40 and be SO ALIVE:) Yeah, I have to overlook skin that is starting to do the aging thing and veins that are popping out on legs that used to be smooth...but this has helped me see the bigger picture in so many ways.

Lighthouses here we come!!!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Thought for Today

I loved a quote our pastor read today from Wells...

"Prayer is rebellion against the status quo!"

My brother is receiving two kinds of chemo and one type of radiation right now in a port they put in. They are addressing this as aggresively as possible since he is young and has a lot of lean muscle still. They usually would not give so much at once, but this is the best hope for him. He is blessed to be young and strong still. They hope this will either make the tumor disappear, or shrink and then they will give peroidic treatments until there is a cure. This pancreatic cancer is no small can of beans-- One blessing he has found is that he is not in pain as he sees with other pancreatic patients. Most of them are in distress most of the time and he is relatively pain free, but the treatments do have their impact. Thank you for caring and praying!

I will post new pictures of all of my babes soon... I am enjoying them so much this summer.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Here is what is NEW

Just a little update on my brother Kary. Today he met with many different doctors and nutrionists. This place is very focused on meeting the needs of the patient entirely. He has a counselor and pastor assigned to him and they go to laugh therapy to get the great endorphines working. They look at all medicines and natural therapies as well and everyone that is there loves God..doesn't get much better than this for cancer help. So far the plan is to have immediate bypass surgery ( this is not the big surgery yet) and will have fractionalized chemo starting right away too. He will be there for 4-5 weeks to have this done. He will come home for two weeks and then return for another month for radiation and then they will decide about the BIG surgery. He will also be receiving natural supplements and feedings too so he will not lose more weight. It is great because here in Washington and Oregon they wanted to spread everything out over many months and that just gives the cancer more time to spread. They said he is young enough to handle the intensity of a more aggressive treatment:) That is just what we wanted to hear. You can pray for their daughter Brittany as she will be apart from them for quite awhile with my mom.

Also, my liver has continued to cooperate and the levels are returning much more to normal. They said in one month I should be back to normal levels and then we will start to work on my chronic anemia and weird blood. I am having an MRI to make sure the spot on my liver is nothing. I am choosing not to be fearful over that!!! I truly never dreamed I would have a blog and then on top of that be writing about my LIVER!???! Life is strange:)

Also, we are so thankful we just received word that our friend Delynn, who is in Ethiopia adopting Dawit ( age 6) is doing great. Her new son has taken to her with open arms and keeps asking when they are going home to America. She is a first time mom and so we are so thankful that things are going great! He loves to ride bikes and his mom is an avid rider--perfect!

God is good!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Malachi's First Slide Ride--Hold On

My Brave Brother

Here is a picture of my amazing brother Kary and his wife Regina and Brittany ( 8 years old) this past Sunday as we had a family get together to send him off to Tulsa Oklahoma for his cancer treatment. He is so peaceful to be around and such a fighter. He is an engineer and is approaching this treatment in much the same way he works his math formulas and planning. If anyone can beat this with God's guidance it will be my little brother. We are 13 months apart and he was always the one that did well in everything. The teachers were always so happy when I would take a class after him and I would have to quickly explain that my brother and I are very different. I saw school in such a more social way than he did:) I was always proud of him, and his courage has made me more proud of him than ever. Thank you for your prayers!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

In His Shadow

I have been finding such comfort knowing we are truly in God's shadow. Psalm 91 lets us know that we are as HIS baby bird in a nest completely covered by HIM.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Timing is Everything--- or is it?

Today we found out that my brother's tumor is cancer. He is so strong and has a good outlook. They have had nothing but doom and gloom from the doctors here so he will leave on Tuesday for Tulsa to Cancer Treatment Centers of America. This is a wonderful place and my dad had treatments there too. We only wish this had been the first line of defense so my brother is going to make this his first. They are cutting edge, but look at the whole health picture and love God so we are thankful Please pray for him to have complete healing and comfort for our family-- this is very hard on my mom and his wife as you can imagine. Brittany will be staying with my mom most of the time so that will be nice and the kids are going to church day camp next week together.

The day in May I was rushed to the hospital is the day we were going to sign our acceptance papers for moving to Ethiopia. Aser even had to call and let them know it would not be faxed back that day as we had an emergency. The day before we had made an official announcement for us that we would be moving to Ethiopia and Aser would be building the translation center for Wycliffe Bible Translators and I would be teaching at the SIM school called Bingham Academy. We were going to live on the compound of the school and have to be there by August 11th. This would have been a whirlwind, but it seemed like God was laying such a clear path for us to move and then BAM we hit a brick wall that we could not avoid. It is going to take me up to 3 months to regain my total strength and I need to still figure out my blood stuff. Then when my brother was diagnosed we knew for sure we would not be moving to Ethiopia soon. I am not sure why God led us to the doorstep of Ethiopia and then the door would not unlock. Was He seeing if were willing to sell everything and step out in faith? Is it that we may still go, but now is not the time? I can rest knowing that God is in control, but sometimes it would be so much easier seeing a plot map detailing His will. I can still smell Ethiopia and see the vividness of it all. It seems easier to stay here with five children, but there is still such an ache in my heart for Addis Ababa. Just knowing that if I was an Ethiopian woman and got as sick as I did and did not have access to such great care and tranfusions I may have become a stastic-- it really makes you think about the suffering there. We will see where God leads us and I hope we will be open enough to still hear His voice.

Thank you for your prayers--

Thursday, June 12, 2008

We are begging for prayers in our family right now

I am sorry this has not been updated recently. I, Kimberly, have Hepatitis A that resulted from our International Travel Clinic oversight ( that is another story--since I did request it and thought I had it- Even for four days at hospital I told the doctors, " Oh yeah I am sure I had it!" ). Malachi was positive and his doctor missed it on him since they had such a hard time getting any blood when he first arrived. My liver enzymes have started to turn the corner now and I am still very yellow with intense itching. I have never felt anything like this before-- it is even under toenails at times. I am very slowly getting my strength back. Three weeks ago they were telling me I probably had a cancer that was not very treatable so I have been very thankful that this is something I will conquer with little side effects. It may take 3-6 months, but much better than the original prognosis. However, HERE IS WHAT WE ARE BEGGING FOR YOU TO COME ALONGSIDE AND PRAY WITH US FOR:
My younger brother Kary, age 38, was rushed into the hospital two days ago and they have been doing all kinds of tests on him. He has lost about 30 pounds lately and has not been feeling well in his stomach. Well late this evening we received word that they found tumors on his pancreas. We are hoping tomorrow they will go in and do a biopsy and then by early next week we will know exactly what we are dealing with. They did say he will have chemo no matter what which leads us to believe this is a cancer. We are stunned! My poor mother who has been caring for Malachi for me while I have been sick lost my father to cancer only 7 years ago-- this is so very hard on her. Kary is married and his wife Regina has a daughter that my brother has taken as his own. He is such a wonderful man and I am in agony over his pain and prognosis. WE NEED A MIRACLE and I do know God provides those. Thank you for once again praying for our family. He is a hospital right now in Vancouver, but will probably come over to the Portland side. God is faithful and I know we do not understand His plans, but I pray for mercy and grace over my brother right now. PSALMS 91!!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


We can't begin to thank everyone for their outreach of love and prayers at this time. Thank you for the help with food and groceries. Kimberly had more blood drawn today. Her liver is swollen to the point that it makes it uncomfortable to walk and get around. She is swollen as well from the liquids pooling in her legs and abdomen with an almost constant fever. The next appointment is on Thursday morning with one of the doctors who was on her team at the hospital. We are praying for another miracle and that this will leave as quickly as it came.Also, please pray that the spot on her liver disappears. The best case scenario the doctor said it could be several weeks until her energy starts to return. THANK YOU and we wish we could thank each one of you in person for your prayers and help.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

" I just have to live in Ethiopia"

Anna never ceases to amaze me. Today she was talking about a paper she had to write about the best country to live in. The teacher had them write about America and there were some wonderful things written about our freedoms here. Then I was telling Anna how blessed we are and she said, " Well, when I grow -up I just have to live in Ethiopia!" In a more determined voice, " I NEED to live in Addis when I am big!" I asked her why and she so surprised me on this one..."The donkeys of course!" Then she said she will adopt 10 children who are 14 who will not be adoptable due to their age when she is there too.

The mind of a child. She does remind me she wants to be a nurse or doctor to help the people in Ethiopia. She has also added that she will be a writer so she can share what she sees. This is what I am used to hearing from her so I so enjoyed hearing her thinking today:)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Dangerous Surrender--Kay Warren

Clicking on chapter samples will get you a read you won't soon forget! May God use us in the way He wants...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Off He Walked...

Today as my son walked down the path to his cabin at Outdoor School I could not help but to feel so proud of the young man he is becoming. Just a few months ago he did not think he could do this. He has never been gone this long from home or had to be so self-sufficient. However, with a brave face and a smile he walked with his gear in hand. I so much wanted to run and carry his things for him and set up his bed...However, I knew I must let go and that it is a series of these painful and yet wonderful moments that will make him a man. I have had to wipe a few tears this evening, but I am staying busy praying for him to have a great time and to come home safe. I once again realize how much I enjoy his company as I see his things throughout the house.