Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Other Mama

I’ve long lived in complete respect and gratefulness to the other two mamas who are intricately tied to my heart as I raise the children they have borne as mine. The three kiddos I get to hug and hold every day fill us with indescribable joy. As my due date has passed and the days stretch on and I mentally think about if every kick was possibly a contraction, my heart and mind think about the other mamas, the lives they have carried and the way our family has grown through them. Miraculously and abundant for us but twinged with so much loss for the other mama (and family) as well as for our kids.

At least on a daily basis now, the girls and I have a discussion about medical care and they voice their fears I will die in labor. We pray and move through that anxiety and I teach about the gift of lifesaving medical care I have access to in the US. They feel relieved but it brings so many questions for them of where this life-saving care was the day their birth mama gave birth and why she didn’t have access to it. We replay what the scene would have looked like, the hut birth, the awareness that she wasn’t okay and the teeny babies were early, way too early to make it. We talk about how she was carried on a litter down the dirt paths to a main road, where they finally got a ride to the hospital, but it was too late. I can imagine the scene, the quiet sighs of grief, not yet manifesting into wails as she was still alive, but with obvious signs she was nearing her last breath. The crowd would have swelled as it passed other villages before it reached the main road.

And then I think of Tiger’s birth mama. One of the bravest, most amazing women I have ever met. Our days together in Utah a mix of joy and grief. I am reminded of her in Tiger everyday and feel an acute awareness and pang of how great a gift she has given to us. 

Before we brought the girls home, I remember being at a social event and someone asking, “What if you never love these girls?” Attachment is no small issue and I don’t wish to simplify it, but as we prepare to deliver, I think back on that question because I think, “How can I ever love another the way I love the three God has given us already?” I know we will. 

This morning, as they still sleep and I am obviously sentimental, I reflect on all of this in gratitude and emotion too deep for words. God has been using my kids’ stories as reminders to me of His plans and provisions and I think of the beautiful women who carried them. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

She's Holding Strong

Today’s my due date and while the girls play and Tiger naps, I have come to terms with the fact that the next baby is quite happy inside there and nothing I can read on pinterest about natural labor induction methods can really change her mind. I guess I am also a bit lackluster in the more extreme ideas and I am pretty sure sitting on the couch eating anything with oozy frosting wasn’t on the list, which is all I really feel like doing. It’s probably okay, Jon and I talked late into the night last night, laughing about name combinations and we still haven’t settled on her name. 

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We are soaking up the time we have. On Saturday, Jon thought of teaching the girls to ice skate, a perfectly reasonable idea when it is 60 degrees outside.

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Tiger and I just sidelined it as infants and very pregnant women aren’t supposed to ice skate. We walked around the rink, because, you know, this was back when I was more hopeful about bringing on labor. :)

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The girls said it was a dream come true. The near empty rink and gorgeous sunshine didn’t hurt anything. 

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And I am enjoying each moment with this Tiger, who couldn’t be happier about the great outdoors!

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Melt my heart, he loves to sleep like this, his hand grabbing me.

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One of my biggest sad emotions the past few weeks is feeling sad that Tiger will be displaced as baby when he is still a baby, so we do all the snuggling we can.

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And of course, there has had to be some of this as we unload sister’s clothes. :)

Thanks for reading along and praying us through!


Friday, February 10, 2017

Baby, Baby

In just a short time, child #4 enters our world. All looks good at the doctor and I am in the habit of asking really well-thought out questions, such as, “Umm, is it possible for the baby to explode out of my belly button?” My intelligence has wowed the OBGYN staff, I am sure. Jon and I attend our first birthing class on Saturday, cutting it a bit close to the due date but I am very thankful the baby seems to want to stay put for a bit as we move next week. It is from one furnished place to another, so not like a move. WHEW. Most of our stuff is packed up, just more sorting to do, so it’s manageable.

I am so thankful for each of you who read along and pray for us!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017



To the dear, dear readers, still journeying along with us, even when this has been silent, thank you!

Thank you so much for your prayers on behalf of Jon’s trip. He, his dad, Wally, and a friend, Jim, had an incredible time in Ethiopia and it was all a bit surreal to only hear tiny pieces from this side of the world. The girls and I were so hungry for minute-by-minute news, something quite difficult when there was no internet. We were (a little) understanding about this. :) We all missed Jon. 

Pictures Jon took, in order of events I think. 

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Our dog!  She was doing well, in need of a haircut. 

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Jim used his lifetime expertise with sawmills to begin work on the Woodmizer sawmill as it has been out of commission since before we left!  There were more missing pieces than originally anticipated, but God provided and after much work, the machine was working before they left.

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Dad and Jim were able to immediately experience Awi hospitality.

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And then there is the weird feeling of toddlers who have transitioned into little boys while we have been away.

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When they got to our house, all was well…but there was a broken water pump and a pipe that had frozen and burst…which meant no water except what they hauled in buckets. Doing dishes with this predicament is not my favorite activity but from reports, all were good sports!

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Dad G taught a soil class. In Awi culture, important invitations aren’t extended much ahead of time, so the day before, no one had been invited but still 40 farmers were in attendance by the class time!

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A celebration parade of Timket, Jon took this from a hotel in town, trying to get wifi. :)

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a familiar scene, washing the green coffee beans.

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J and A had made some hot pads for friends. Which is funny because Imabet had no idea what to do with this, even after Jon described it. Women here have tough hands and even reach into hot fires to move coals around. :)

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Oh, faces we love. 

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To  market, to market. As we weren’t there, Jon filled the van with people and living things.

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Dad assessed oat trials (started by a summer intern, Andi) on Mark and Debbie’s land.

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Sweet little Yenewerk, looking so old with a picture of J, A and her together.

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When the girls heard Daddy was out eating in huts, J very seriously said to herself, “It’s okay, rejoice with those who rejoice.” As she could hardly stand to know all the food and experiences she was missing.

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On the way back to Addis, time with Yeshi. Can you see this kid?! When we left he couldn’t even crawl and now he is toddling!

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Aah!  He and Tiger are going to be quite the team. 

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So thankful for teammates

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Mark and Debbie saw Jon off at the airport. We are so thankful for them and miss them much!  Debbie took care of food prep for the whole time the men were in Injibara!

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Friends in Addis sent the girls and I three different Ethiopian stews with injera. J declared, “Best meal I have ever eaten!”

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Now, we are so glad to have daddy back and we continue to process. 

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And this little Tiger, oh how he missed his daddy!

Each prayer for our future, wisdom and clarity are much appreciated. Also, we are due with this next baby in three weeks! Aah!