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amazing photographer
.......she captured our trip on film

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Thursday, December 12, 2013


I know I failed miserably at the trip updates.  Internet was terrible, I got sick and had a 3 year old to chase after (those are my excuses!) :)  We felt the prayers in a big way though so THANK YOU.
The team was awesome.  Everyone worked really hard and got along great (which in a group of 60 is a pretty amazing!) The dental, medical and vet teams were able to treat many patients.  We actually heard today that several people had suffered YEARS with either skin or tooth issues and are now HEALED! All glory to God.  What a gift to be allowed to serve the people of Ethiopia in this way. Will post pics at bottom.

I also am asking for prayers for my sweet boy! Abe is having a big surgery in the morning on his hips.  They are coming out of socket (a sad reality for kids with his type of CP) and they need to be fixed.  Sadly, the fix for what is going on is a long orthopedic surgery.  It will last between 5-6 hours. My heart just aches for him!  He will actually wake up in a body cast that will remain on for several weeks.  I have heard from numerous people that this will NOT be fun for we really would covet your prayers for him, for us.....

Pray that the surgery goes well, is successful with minimal blood loss
Pray that his pain is managed well in the hospital and once home
Pray that he will not develop any skin breakdown as a result from the cast
Pray for our time as a family over this break!  May we truly focus on the true meaning of Christmas as we are home bound.  Sad for the reason but looking forward to the time with my kids.

Merry Christmas to each of you (not sure if anyone still actually reads this neglected space) xoxo

 Moody talking to the beloved people of Dube Bute
 Gigi in Dube Bute
 How great is this?? Texas Rangers meet Dube Bute
Praying over the people
 Organizing supplies
 Gracious welcome
 Outside the medical clinic
 Nephew Travis and his posse
Sweet friend Lori

The Ross' and part of Alexander crew- love these people
Sunday, November 24, 2013

EthiopiaSmile4 Update

We have arrived in Awassa after multiple vehicle break downs! Our group has had an amazing and humble attitude; the team is doing great and already creating a strong bond with one another! What a blessing it is to see the Lord in every turn and know that His promise of "going before us" (Isaiah 45:2) holds true. Continue to lift up our team as we are headed to Dube Bute tomorrow! 

Remember you can also follow @ethiopiasmile on Twitter for updates. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013


A large crew heads out tomorrow to love and serve the people of Ethiopia.  This is the 4th large dental mission trip we have led and Moody and I continue to be humbled beyond belief that the Lord allows us this privilege!  Each trip brings new and returning teammates and each time we are awed at His putting the perfect team together.  This trip is unique in that it is over the Thanksgiving holiday.  We have entire families experiencing this trip together because of the timing,as well as many making a sacrifice to be away from their loved ones this week.

I am going to try to update (please disregard fact that last post was in May!) here for those at home.  You can also follow @ethiopiasmile on twitter

Below is the team prayer card.  We would appreciate your prayers while we are gone. Added prayers for our over 100 bags of supplies to get through customs!  Above all else, might His name be glorified in ALL we do.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Abe update

I know, I'm a terrible blogger.  Seems like 140 characters, quickly posting a pic or status seems much easier these days!  I did read through the blog not long ago and was quickly reminded of the incredible graciousness and faithfulness of the Lord.  I like having this journal and wanted to do an update on our precious little man.

I don't even know if I mentioned that he got really sick in December and this resulted in a swallow study.  The study revealed that Abe was aspirating both purees and liquids.  Not good.  He was then allowed nothing by mouth, all nutrition and hydration had to go through the feeding tube.  It was hard but everyone hoped that a repeat swallow study 6 months later would show improvement and he would once again be able to resume oral feedings.

Oral feedings are "normal" and when you have a child with severe special needs you like to have a few "normals" it was difficult to let it go.  Our repeat swallow study was yesterday.  I just knew it would show my boy was a swallowing king! It

He is indeed still aspirating solids and liquids, even his own saliva.  Bam.  It hurt.  I was not prepared for how sad it would make me.

Abe on the other hand is just fine with this!  He made it very clear during the study that he did not want any of it...... he can't communicate with words but he made it known that he is not interested in resuming oral feeds!  He pushed his tongue out, gagged and bit the spoon to prevent it from going in his mouth.  So the problem is me.  The loss of a "normal". The worry of him aspirating his own secretions.

I have some amazing friends and family that sent encouraging texts, let me cry on their shoulders and phone, reminded me of an awesome song (Oceans by Hillsong), brought me wine and cookie dough and a precious hubby that took me to a patio with a margarita.  We sat out there and cried together and quickly reminded one another what a gift this kid is to us, to others.

I'm thankful the Lord is faithful to encourage.  Faithful to reveal truth.  Faithful to remind me that He is God and I am not.  Faithful to provide the right scripture.  Last night He gave me Jeremiah 33:3.  "Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known."

He always answers prayers.  He does not always answer them the way we would like.  I do trust, rest in the knowledge that His ways are good.  That He loves Abe and knows his deepest needs.  So we keep pressing into Him and pressing on..........

My sweet friend Heather gave me this song, such rich truth.  Interesting enough, she sent me her journal entry for yesterday am.  Guess what scripture He gave her??? Yup, Jeremiah 33:3!  Our God is certainly in the details my friends. :)

"Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)"

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

Monday, January 21, 2013

living the dream

 “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” 
“There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.” 
― Martin Luther King Jr.
 “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” 
 “We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” 
 “the time is always right to do the right thing” 
 “I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls.” 

“Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, "Love your enemies." It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies. (from "Loving Your Enemies")” 
― Martin Luther King Jr.A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Gigi home 1 year and we got a puppy

I think since I have become so horrible at keeping up with this blog, I should try to cover as much as possible in this here post.  I will use pictures to help get you up to speed.

 Seriously, have you seen two cuter Indians?  Abe came home from school wearing this and Eyasu was in his first ever school program.  Moody and I both fought back tears, not going to lie.

We added to our crew.  This pretty girl is Skylar.  She is a blue great dane.  LOVE her.  She came itty bitty and is literally growing every day.  She will eventually be the size of a small horse. 

 Hill and Wick had a great football season.  Wick played JV and Hill Varsity.  Was super proud of both of them.  
We said good bye to this precious one.  Tibbi gave us 16 great years.  Hard for sure.  Skylar has helped for sure.  Puppies have a way of keeping you busy.
Moody and I had about 48 glorious hours in sunny California together.  Moody had a meeting and I met him out there for the weekend.  SO good to reconnect and recharge.
Wick turned 15, not sure how that happened. He got his drivers permit.  So back to white knuckling in the car for a few weeks.  Honestly, he is a pretty good driver so far. 
Avery was busy with her dance studio all of December.  They put on the cutest "Elf Shows" in nursing homes.  The residents love it and it is a wonderful way to serve each year.

The boys got out of school a few days before Abe so the whole crew visited his class!  Oh my word Abe is cute.  


 Christmas was very relaxing

Capturing all 7 looking and smiling, not so easy.....

It was Gigi's first with us and she was cute as ever.  Agree?

First snow for Gigi.  We had a rare White Christmas this year.  Such fun.

  Unfortunately this cutie was sick almost the whole week.  Thankfully he has rebounded back to his normal, happy, smiley self!
 We celebrated Gigi's homecoming on New Years Day!  What a gift she is to our crew.  Can't imagine life with out her.  She is pure joy.

 Izzy has started basketball practice.  First game is in a week.  Only girl in an all boys league.  So not only is she an awesome big sis, the girl can play ball. :)

Pray each of you had a blessed Christmas and are off to an excellent 2013!  I personally think it is going to be a great year. :)

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"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from becoming polluted by the world." James 1:27
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