Friday, March 29, 2013

Learning To Drive (Again)

Remember my “pre-missionary” list of skills to acquire?  Well happy Friday to me.

I have a mental block regarding me and any piece machinery.

Driving a stick shift is something I avoided my whole life (even growing up on a farm).

While living in Mexico, I did learn a bit…


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Here we go!

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It may have been a bit overdramatic and possibly fed into my fear that I cannot learn to drive!

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(CVE peeps, I love you!)

Okay, onto today.

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This morning, Jon, The Littles and I spent some time on the open country roads.

It was surprisingly fun, although still a long way from perfection, I am no longer immobilized. We didn’t even need neck braces. Although The Littles yell from the backseat encouraging words like, “We are tubing! Aah! Hold onto the rope!”

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

When Life Gives You Snow…

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…on March 25th, you bundle up and head out. The bundling up part took The Littles and I so long that Daddio arrived home from work just as we were heading out. Win for the girls!

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Setting out to make a snowman…

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Little A almost gets squished…

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Sitting on top of a very large snowball.

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Little J preferred to slide down instead of holding still for a picture.

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Jon’s ambitiously sized snow creation was maybe a bit too much. The Littles really just wanted to slide.

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New plan.

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Goodbye snowman, time to build a slide

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The Littles sat down in their “chairs” and ate snow while Jon worked and I tried to help.

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Much better.

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When life gives you snow, make a slide. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Blessings In This Weird Limbo Land

This past summer, Phil and Steph shared the wonderful news that they were expecting their first child. We were thrilled for them and the news…

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Conversation swirled around me about due dates and stories of early pregnancy nausea and I realized that we would be in Ethiopia before the baby was born. Biting my lip to get through the moment without crying, I thought, “I hope baby is born early!”

After a few months, we heard the news, it was twins.

Our timeline for leaving for overseas has shifted and changed and we learned about a training that would hold us in the US until May. I am a heart divided. There is the part of me that just wants to get there, start our life there, see what God is going to do after our several years of seeking His direction, so anticipating our new life. In our trainings, we learn about how difficult the first few years are and how much stress we will be under. Let’s just rip the band-aid off! Yet, here we sit, in this weird limbo-land, waiting on work permits, slowly putting things in suitcases, realizing, this may be the last snow I see in years (although I have had that thought about four too many times! Come on Spring!) and soaking up the sweetness of each moment that can be enjoyed with family, community, church and friends, never wanting to leave.

At Christmas time, the genders were revealed, two boys.

Look who we were able to welcome to the world.

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Jordan and Seth. Two precious nephews.

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They are intricately perfect.

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Praising God with you Phil and Steph and so glad we are here. It makes all these changing plans worth it.

Friday, March 22, 2013


We have a jump on Easter, already celebrating with two families! 

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The Littles have been spoiled to the joys of Easter baskets and egg hunts.  We are trying to teach the reason behind Easter. I thought we were getting it. While driving down the road I quizzed the Littles, “What do we celebrate at Easter?” Little A responded, “Umm…Christmas?” 

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What? You mean there is candy inside these eggs?!

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I tried to bake the eggs based on a trick online, I wasn’t totally impressed and probably won’t do it again.

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Shoe With A Story

It is easy for me to grow passionate about something and talk about it continually but then never actually do something.

Am I passionate about fair trade products? Absolutely. In word. Of course I don’t want my love of chocolate to cause some small child to be in slavery. However, how often does that affect me? Do I think about that while standing in the candy aisle? Very rarely.

After reading When Helping Hurts, I wanted to make choices in lifestyle and the way I viewed others as responsibly as possible to empower change, not perpetuate a cycle. (If you have not read the book, I highly recommend it). Going back to the issue of teaching a man to fish, not just giving him one.

Needing new shoes, I was delighted when Cherise posted these links and have actually ordered two pairs of shoes.

Sseko Designs is a sandal company based in Uganda. We make beautiful leather sandals with interchangeable fabric straps that can be styled in hundreds of ways…We believe that our stuff has a story and that every dollar you spend is a vote for the way you think the world should work.”

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Check out to how this works!  There are dozens of ways the sandals can be tied. You order one pair initially but can order as many additional straps as you would like. They are very high quality and seem to be really well.


On their website, there are easy tutorials to learn your favorite ties. You can even accessorize them.


The second set of shoes are handmade in Ethiopia!

Sole Rebels is a fair-trade company in Ethiopia.

Here is what they say about themselves on their website.

“At our core, we at soleRebels are creative artisans who aim to craft the coolest and most comfortable eco-friendly footwear. We do this by combining our heritage artisan crafts with modern design sensibilities, while pouring our creative selves into our shoes. The final result is that when our footwear is bought, the purchaser can SEE, FEEL, and enjoy all the elements of heart, soul, and creative craftsmanship that have gone into their construction.”

They have many styles and I love them!  My shoes were very high quality, well made and VERY comfortable. Not to mention, how fun is it to know your soles are recycled from old tire?

The downside is, because every pair is handmade and shipped from Ethiopia, it takes about 4 weeks for them to arrive to you. 

I ordered “tootoos” but there are many styles to choose…


What fair trade items do you love?

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Donation, A Giveaway and Why It Matters

The ache is back.

The Littles rock the world of pretend play. While stirring food on the stove, I listened in as they played and their voices wafted into the kitchen.

“We don’t have a mama and and daddy. Waa, nobody wants us, nobody loves us.” They pretended they were orphans. Immediately stooping down, I asked, “Can I be your Mama?, I love you. Can Daddy by your daddy, forever?”

They smiled, melted into my arms and said, “You will be my Mama”.

My mind is full of thoughts of the future, things we are learning, where we are heading and in the midst of it, the sorrow of the orphan that burdens me has grown silent. My brain can only handle so many things and when I allow myself to walk down the road of thinking of orphans, imagining my Littles being in an orphanage or worse, on the street, or worst of all, in slavery, my heart literally cannot bear it.

Hugging Little J, I envisioned her, now, having her “Gotcha Day” and my heart was flooded with ache at the pain she would feel, her insecurity, her fear at crossing the ocean with strangers and leaving EVERYTHING she knows.

I had strong yearning for future children, to spare them from the ouch, to wrap them in my arms and say, “I am so sorry for the long roads your little legs have walked. Can I be your forever Mama? Will you share your grief with our family and we together beg God for healing of your little heart?”

God sets the lonely in families, whether that is through prevention programs that enable birth moms to have the resources to keep their children or not die from preventable causes, grandparents who scoop up their grandchildren and go through parenting all over again, homes where children are placed while staying in their home culture, foster parents selflessly pouring themselves out, broken-hearted time after time after a child is moved and adoption, where an orphan becomes a son or daughter.

We rejoice for each life that is told in some way, “I love you. You are worth it.”

Friends from church, Jarod and Molly, are adopting from Colombia and God can use us to carry out His plan of setting the lonely in families.


Yay, yay, yay a giveaway!

A great giveaway is going on over Emily’s blog for the adoption of her niece/nephew. Some really incredible items have been donated by Molly’s sisters.





You can donate at this site and enter the drawing.

Go to this post to see how you can be a part.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The TCK Tension

Third Culture Kids (TCKs) are defined as children (0-25 years) living outside of their birth parents passport country or home country. 

This makes international adoptees in many situations, TCKs.  The Littles are TCKs in some ways now, in that they look different, think alike to the family that currently surrounds them now. Because of their age at coming to the USA, they were not influenced heavily with an Ethiopian worldview but rather, have taken an American way of thinking. Without having to explicitly teach, kids pick up worldview and issues of importance in their “passport culture”. Moving to Ethiopia, The Littles will continue to be TCKs and are actually called “hidden  or invisible immigrants” in that they will look alike, think different from the culture into which we are moving.


Being a TCK is a deep blessing but it comes with a cost.  I came across this post that concisely highlights some of these tensions and instead of reinventing the wheel, I would like you to read the informative post. 15 Things I Want to Tell My Third Culture Kids.

So many paradoxes in this post.

So insightful. So exciting. So sad. Such a blessing. So many fears. So much to look forward to.

Here is a wonderful resource on the blessings and obstacles of raising TCKs.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Sweet baby girl was born near the beginning of our training in Colorado and we finally made the trip to meet her!  The day trip, though way to quick, was wonderful to catch up with family.

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Will holding a newborn be enough to cure Jon’s baby fever?

Leo woke up with just a bit of bed head. :)

The Littles had a bit of time to play with Charlie and Leo, not enough according to them.

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They graciously shared their jeep…

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Much to Little J’s delight.

Before we rushed off, we tried to get a picture of the kiddos.

Notice the transformation…

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Begging for smiles with little success.

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Then using some bribery positive reinforcement of chocolate if they smiled.

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Little J wanted to do all she could to get that treat.

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Hmm. Not sure what to do with a baby added in the grouping.

So fun to experience the blessings of nieces and nephews.