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Friday, November 9, 2012

to love the wounded child-- repost

Please take the time to read, pass along, pray............  (click on link to read)

I was going to do an update on sweet little Abe and a procedure he did yesterday but felt led to post this first.  Will do that soon. :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

And the winners are.................

The lovely Izzy was my assistant today.  The lucky winners are: (send me your mailing address if you won and I will put your book in the mail!)  Congrats.

 Kathy from It's A Wonderful Life
 Kristi from Mom to 9 Blessings 
 Rachel Sarah from weReSoNate
 Traci from Total Momsense
and last but certainly not least---- Debi from The Jenkins Journey to Ethiopia Adoption

If you didn't win, treat yourself to the book.  It is an excellent read! Go buy it here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Book giveaway!! No Greater Love

I am giving away several copies of Levi Benkerts "No Greater Love" and all you have to do is leave a comment to be entered to win.  Why?  Because I love what Levi and Jessie are doing for the vulnerable orphans in Ethiopia.  I love their hearts and feel blessed to call them friends.  You will be blessed to read their story.

Check out their blog to learn more about their ministry in Ethiopia, Bring Love In.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Happy birthday to me- our family has grown!

Loving this rainy Saturday birthday morning!  Moody let me sleep in (glorious) and I'm feeling very loved from friends and family.  Seriously birthdays are just more fun with facebook right? :)

I have been meaning to post this for a few weeks and time keeps getting away from me.  Last night we added to our family in a new way! At the end of the summer we started to look at options on getting more help with Abe.  Since he was starting school, our current schedule would change. We have been so blessed with Gloria as she has been part of our family for years! We just needed additional help as we try to manage the busy teens and the very active little ones.  I started doing some research online one night and just typed in "nanny dallas" thinking some database would exist that I could get some leads on a special person to help with my special guy.  The first thing that popped up was "nanny vs. au pair, you might be surprised".  I was curious so I clicked, but I was definitely pairs are for the wealthy families living in the Hamptons (no offense.....the Hamptons are lovely!) but it was my pre-conceived attitude.

I started doing some research and we started to see this as a real possibility for our family.  Au pairs are individuals that have graduated from high school and desire to live in the States for a year and in return provide you with 45 hours of childcare.  They live with you, teach your children about their life and culture and get to experience a new culture for a year.  It is very affordable compared to other options. The hours are flexible based on your schedule.  This is huge for us as our schedule is always different based on the boys games, etc.

An adoptive mom (thanks Kristin) told me to look at Cultural Care as they have used several au pairs from that agency. We began pouring over profiles and videos.  Au pairs come from countries all over the world.  One day Avery ran outside and said, "I found her!!"  I went in to see a precious girl from Sweden holding a little brown baby.  We watched her video and just knew. She is from a small village in the southern part of Sweden.  At one point she said she loved to visit her church and then it showed her playing guitar while her father played the keyboards and they were singing "I Can Only Imagine" by Mercy Me.  The girl loves Jesus!  What a gift. She has done mission work in Tanzania as well.  She is one of 5 children and her younger sister has special needs.  We couldn't believe what a gift this might be to our family.

We love adventure, we love exposing our kids to new cultures and experiences and we honestly love having people live here with us.  We began emailing, had a precious Skype call where Moody prayed and her father prayed a beautiful prayer in Swedish.

So last night my dear mother, Izzy and Avery picked her up at the airport (We were already at the boys football game because her plane was delayed several hours) and brought her straight to the homecoming football game.  Man, talk about culture shock.  Friday night lights and homecoming mums, how do you really explain that?  She said it was just like the movies. :) We love her already.

We are excited about this next year.  I'm obviously looking forward to the help with Abe and crew, but are expectant for all the Lord has for us with this new addition.  I think Moody is thankful that I wasn't asking for another smaller Alexander!

So you will be seeing more of Ottilia here.  Pray for our time. Know the Lord has much in store for all of us.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

for the sake of saving one- from no great joy mom

Adeye has done it again, gone and ripped my heart out.....praying it stirs in the hearts of someone to claim these precious kiddos as theirs.  To love and to nurture.  They could be sweet faces one day grinning from ear to ear as they get off the bus, being welcomed home by a family that adores everything about them!

                                        Look at his face people!!! Joy.  The blessing is ours.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012

wheels on bus part 2

Short and sweet post. Abe just got home and his bus driver, John, said he drives the best kids in the district. He said he did his years of driving older kids and is now the envy of all of his bus driving buddies.  He told me after as many years of service with the district, he finally got this coveted route.  I mean seriously, would you rather drive big, stinky teens or this guy??  I agree.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

the wheels on the bus

My sweet boy is officially riding the bus now.  Took me a wee bit longer to get adjusted than he did. The lift scared him the first day, but now he rides it like a champ!  I drove him to school the first few days, then followed the bus a few days. (yes, I was that mom!)  On Thursday I just left a note in his folder for his teachers to call me and let me know how he did (they are amazing like that!). My stomach was in knots not knowing but I knew the teacher would call me soon.  I then got a text from my rockstar hubby that said, "I may or may not be sitting in the school parking lot!" Love him.  So he was able to report yet another successful bus trip! He is doing amazing now all by himself.

Love that my awesome neighbor, Sydney, captured the first bus day on film.

His face is simply joy.
 Here comes the bus! 
We can do this buddy!  Proud of you Abe. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Imperfect Vessels

The awesome folks over at 99 Balloons are doing a blog series on Imperfect Vessels.  Love these guys, their hearts and their ministry.  I was graciously asked to participate.  You can view the blogs HERE. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Abe Day!

Hard to believe this was 4 years ago!  Abe changed it all.  Rescued our crew from a life of lukewarmness.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I'm still here

Just a quick post to say I am alive, well and just really, really bad at this blogging thing lately. Been super busy this summer with kids and what not. I plan to go back and write about our trip in June to Ethiopia. It was amazing! Miss it like crazy. So, hoping this will jumpstart me back! Time will tell. :) I am a bit more active on Twitter an FB, find me there....let's be friends. Pray all is well in the lives of the 2 readers I still have (hi mom!)
This beauty was 2 yesterday! What joy.

Monday, June 18, 2012

dube bute baseball video

Friday, June 15, 2012

opening day in dube bute

I am trying to run out the door but this was too good not to post.  I just talked to Hill for awhile.  The team just returned to the hotel from Dube Bute.  He sounded like he was on cloud 9.  He said that he and Wick first got our their baseball gloves and were throwing the ball back and forth.  A crowd of kids started to gather.

He said that the got out all of the gloves they took and balls.  They passed those out and then those boys started throwing the ball back and forth.  He said they were giddy.  Then Wick got out a bat.  Hill said they did soft toss for awhile and the kids were fascinated by the bat and ball.  Hill said he hit one really hard and it went down the hill.  A group of boys took off for the ball. Then he said the few boys with gloves ran back there as if they realized, "hey, we can catch the balls back here with these!"

They started hitting balls and the boys began fielding them.  Hill said they were having a blast.  The "sports director" of Dube Bute came over to Hill and said, "so, how do you score points?!"  Hill thought, wow....we are really going to do this.

He said he hit a ball, ran around all the bases, hopped on home plate and said "1 point"!! Then Wick showed them how to try to stop the runner by throwing the ball to get him out.  The thought of watching this is hilarious to me.

They broke for lunch and when they came back, they were ready to play.

Moody asked the Principal to pick the best 18 male students.  Moody and Wick took 9 into one classroom.  Hill and Steven Archer took the other 9 into one.  They handed them jerseys, ball caps and gloves.  They came up with team names and cheers.

Hill said they made a HUGE deal about calling the team out to the field and everyone cheered!!!  They proceeded to play a few innings of Americas favorite pastime!!

They knew our group were leaving for the last time but asked Moody, so can we play again tomorrow?? Moody said, you can play tomorrow and the next day and the day after that.

I have tears writing proud of my boys for having an idea and implementing it.  Baseball is a huge part of our family.  We have family in Dube Bute.  It just makes sense they now can play the sport! They left all of the donated equipment with the PE teacher.  I pray this brings joy to them for years to come.

Kristin and Kurt got incredible footage, I imagine.  Can't wait to share.

I see a future baseball mission trip heading to Dube Bute........anyone interested?????

Day 2 in Dube Bute

Moody said it was another glorious day in Dube Bute!  The team was able to begin to dig deeper with those in the kebele.  Our pastor Mark and his wife Sarah met with the church, pastors and elders.  They did some teaching (will teach more today) and discussed needs of the church, how to come along side them, etc.

A group met with the principal of the school to find out the issues and challenges facing him.  They have 1400 children registered for school.  Praise the Lord.  That does create some challenges though and again, we want to help them figure out how they can be sustainable long term!

The awesome dermatologist on the team saw patients as well as the oral surgeon.  They will be treating again today.

Moody and crew were able to spend a good amount of time with our family there!

They played games all day long with the kids and had a blast from what I hear. :)  Love that.

I don't have a recap of the Jesus film yet as a big storm was rolling in and they needed to get out with the bus before the roads weren't drivable.  Praying the rain didn't prevent them from showing the film.  Storms tend to roll in and out quickly.

They were going to do a full on baseball clinic for the kids today.  Simply can't wait to hear how that goes.  Super excited to see them in the cool little league jersey's gracious donated by the Southwest Arlington little league!

Here are pics from day 1.  Love that several donors were able to see first hand their wells.

 Kristin at her well! She is usually behind the camera......
 Happy children in a new school room
 Moody's parents graciously donated the vet clinic.  Certainly didn't know how the sign would read.  So not necessary.  Very kind.
 Most beautiful faces ever
 A very hospitable welcome, as always
 My parents donated an entire school block- 4 classrooms.  Love the sign
 Barbara's well.  Her granddaughter Abbi (Avery's best friend) with her.  Moody said incredible moment for everyone as getting there was a BIG hike!
 Such gorgeous creation!

 CAN.NOT.WAIT.TO.SEE.MY.MAN!!  So proud of his vision and leadership.
 Callie's well- love that a college student sold Hope for Dube Bute shirts and it provided water for so many.

Kimmie Jo
My first born celebrated his 16th on Wed.  Hated to not be there but love that they found a cake in Awassa

I'm off to pack up and head out.  Will post from Addis!  Thank you again for following along and praying.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

team update from dube bute

The team had an amazing day in Dube Bute yesterday.  The text from Moody said: Driving back to Awassa (where they spend nights). Can't begin to describe this day.  God showed up. So beautiful and powerful.

I then got to talk to him and hear in detail just how incredible it was for the team to tour all of the completed projects from Hope for Dube Bute.  Moody said at the school they told of the difference these new classrooms are making in the lives of the children living there.  At the health post, the health care worker told the story of a widow that brought in her only child, a baby that was sick.  They were able to provide this child with antibiotics and the baby is currently completely healthy.  At the vet clinic a similar story of a man and his cow, his only livelihood. Each story caused great opportunity to give praise to the One that allowed it all.

He said they then started a trek to visit some of the wells.  3 of the team members had built wells and Moody said it was emotional for everyone as they got to see clean water running through and the very people that this water has helped!  To steal a line from charity:water, Water Changes Everything.  It really does.  At each well they would sing and celebrate with the people of Dube Bute.  Moody said thousands came out to celebrate!!

On a personal note, Eyasu's uncle was very sad to not see Eyasu on the trip.  Breaks my heart he thought he was coming. Moody had the translator repeatedly explain that he is too young and it is too far to make the trip again.  He promised he will return one day! Moody has new pictures to take to him today and I pray that they somehow soothe his heart.

The team is back in Dube Bute right now.  They will start the baseball clinic.  They will play with kids.  There is some teaching being done by our pastor.  They are also praying for clarity in how to best help in the future.

You can be praying about tonight.  They are showing the Jesus Film in their Sidama language.  This will be the first screen, moving images, etc that they have ever seen.  Can you imagine?

Thankful to those joining us on this journey in prayer!  Couldn't do it without you.  A few team members are sick.  Pray for quick healing and it no more come down with it.  I would LOVE you to pray for me tomorrow as I get on a plane with an almost 2 year old that isn't feeling very well.  Hasn't slept well in days and is generally SUPER busy.  I am flying solo on the Dallas- Frankfurt leg and then meet the rest of the team in Frankfurt.  I can't wait to be with my family that is already there.  Abe and Eyasu will man the fort here.  Praying they are healthy, happy and time goes quickly for them.  I'm so blessed by the people helping out and allowing me to go!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


The team made it safely to Addis yesterday.  Miraculously EVERY SINGLE bag made it through customs.  Not one was even checked.  Hill had one bag full of baseball equipment that he had to answer a few questions about but that was it! Praise the Lord.

Thankfully very different from last year!  They are now on the way to Awassa.  They will have their first day in Dube Bute tomorrow!

Thanks for praying.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

opposition and laying it down

Every adoption and prior to each EthiopiaSmile trip we are met with intense opposition.  While it is certainly not pleasant at the time, it reminds me that we are doing exactly what He has called us to do. It also allows me to SEE Him work in powerful ways. It gets me excited about the HUGE ways I know the Lord will show up, reveal Himself and humbly allow us to participate in while serving in Ethiopia.

So when the enemy is placing us on what feels like the front lines today, firing away......I am choosing to surrender to Him.  I think I have a plan, have it all figured out and all of this reminds me just how wrong I am.  The enemy attempts to rob, kill and destroy.  He would love families to say that adoptions are not worth it....he would love us to close EthiopiaSmile down, but it isn't going to happen.  God is bigger, and uses all things for our good and His glory.  I will lay all of this at His feet today, surrender and rest.......well rest in spirit as I have 5 Alexander's hopping on a plane to Ethiopia in a few hours.!!


Monday, June 4, 2012


This time next week, I will be sitting in my house with 3 little Ethiopians to myself.  Moody and the 4 big kids will be getting very close to landing in Ethiopia!  They will head to Dube Bute early the next morning with an awesome team to visit there for several days.  They will check on the project, show the Jesus film, do some teaching, some dental/medical care, love on kids, reunite with family and see how we can best partner with them in the long run.

My heart aches to not be going to Dube Bute, to be away from so many of my crew but it is best.  Gigi and I will hop on a plane to join them the next week in Addis for EthiopiaSmile.  Yes, I am flying solo around the world with one VERY busy almost 2 year old. PRAYERS APPRECIATED :)  It was too soon to leave her and I couldn't imagine missing this trip with my 4 big kiddos.  Only have 3 years left with Hill (how is that possible??)  So she goes along for the ride.

Abe and Eyasu will stay here with an incredible group of people willing to serve in this way to allow me to go! Thank you. :)  It will be difficult to leave them but simply not practical to take them either.  Abe much prefers his own surrounding and we found out last time he went that Ethiopia is simply not set up for a kiddo in a wheelchair.  Eyasu would love to go but keeps saying that he and Abe went on the first ETSmile trip, so it is Gigi's turn.  Precious boy.

I would really appreciate your prayers this week as we frantically finalize details, pack up and fight off the enemy that is attacking on all fronts.  We rest in the ONE that has called us to go, just ticks me off that he fights so unfair.  Prayers for safe travels for the team, CUSTOMS and patience here for me as I will be missing some really amazing helpers!!!

More on the trip in future posts.  Have some big obstacles that I know the Lord will show up in mighty ways to overcome.

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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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