As for me, I know of nothing else but miracles. - Walt Whitman

Friday, August 28, 2015

Bits and Pieces...

 Malia recently picked these flowers for me:

Our basement remodeling project has begun! We are adding lots of storage space in the form of closets, my scrapbooking/craft room is becoming a bedroom for the girls (the baby will sleep in the girls' old room), and the toy room will eventually become a bathroom. Thank goodness I have such a wonderful, handy husband!

The gold walls became a more neutral gray:

Chris is working on built-in cabinets for around the girls' bed. I've been busy moving and reorganizing, priming, caulking, and painting.

 I have also been working on a few things for the nursery. I will post some photos when it is finished.

We have been hard at work preparing for 2 benefit dinners and silent auctions coming up for our Metekle school project in Ethiopia. In a few weeks, we will be taking a road trip to Arizona for one, while the other will be held locally. Watch for updates!

 A week and a half ago, we traveled out to Rittman to pick up some furniture for the nursery. We had van trouble on the way out, so our day didn't go quite as planned. Chris's uncle got us fixed up, though, and we still had a little time to spend with David and Larisa and their boys.

Kids say the funniest things! Recently, Jalen was reprimanded by his daddy. Afterward, Chris asked, " Do you still love me?" Jalen replied, "We'll work on that tomorrow." Chris asked, "How about 9:00 in the morning?" And Jalen answered, " Probably more like in the afternoon."

The other day, Jordan had a very thought-provoking comment: "Men are luckier than women because they get to have hairy armpits." Well, ok then...

The twins with Mrs. March, their new first grade teacher:

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Another Teenager!

This guy has reached a milestone today...he's turning 13! Happy birthday, Adrian! May God richly bless your teenage years. We love you lots! XOXO

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Back to School...

I'm really not sure how the summer can be over already, but today is the first day of school for the 2015-2016 school year! 

This year, Jordan and Jalen are big 1st graders!

Malia is so excited to be back in school as a 4th grader.

Ashton is in 5th grade.

Adrian is a 7th grader.

Shana is a freshman in high school. Again I ask, "Where has the time gone?"

Ready, set, go!

Have a great school year, kiddos! We love you lots! XOXOXO

Friday, August 7, 2015

Recent Happenings...

1. Last week, we attended a Party With a Purpose with All God's Children International in Indianapolis. It was a great evening with a delicious dinner, and we finally got to meet Lauren Saruk, AGCI's new Sponsorship Coordinator from Portland, Oregon. We worked with Lauren all spring getting ready for our mission trip to Ethiopia, so it was great to be able to talk to her in person. We learned more about AGCI's sponsorship program, and Malia got to pick out a little Haitian baby to sponsor. Chris even got to tell a little of our story and how we got involved with AGCI, and shared a a bit of our recent trip, too.

2. We recently had an exciting evening when a plane sprayed the field beside and behind us. It was crazy to watch the guy fly so close to the ground...a couple of times it looked like he was about to hit our house! We got some pretty awesome video of it, too.

3. The kids have been loving on the baby goats.

4. A very scary creature showed up one day.

5. Sara and I took all the kids to Camp Clay one day last week. They had a blast swimming with their cousins!

6. It was 4 years ago this past Saturday that we met the twins for the first time! We were exhausted but giddy after our long flight, and the twins weren't too sure about the strange ferenjis (foreigners). They still laugh when I tell them the story of that day and how we heard little feet pattering down the hallway toward the office where we were waiting. Then they rounded the corner, and there they were...2 little boys staring curiously at us and clutching dabo (bread) in their hands. :)

7. The boys finally got all of the animal buildings painted and finished. Whew! That seemed to take up an awful lot of our summer.

8. Saturday, we attended the annual Gateway Woods auction in Leo, Indiana. It's always an enjoyable time.

9. Sunday, we went to the Queen of Sheba restaurant in Fort Wayne for an adoptive child gathering. We had good food and met some new friends!

10. The twins have had a ball lately playing outside with their kinetic sand.

11. I found this in my bed this morning. :)

And that's all for now! Have a great day!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Our Trip to Ethiopia, Days 10 and 11

Sunday and Monday, July 19 and 20, 2015

We ate breakfast and got ready for church on our last day in Ethiopia. Today, we planned to deliver 100 Amharic Bibles to the congregation of an Evangelical church pastored by the husband of Martha, a former special mother at Hannah's Hope. The Bible fund from our home congregation in Ohio had generously given us the money for this purpose. My original intent had been to pass them out to the girls at Kechene Orphanage, but since it is government-run we were not allowed.

Wass picked us up and off we went, stopping by Seble's house one more time on the way. She pulled me into her shop, hugged me over and over, and then it was time to say goodbye. We continued on to the church, where we were welcomed in wholeheartedly. We recognized another face there as well...Fekadu, who used to be the maintenance man at HH. Mathewos, Chris, and Kiersten were invited up to the stage before the services began, and each one thanked the congregation for allowing us to worship with them. One of the pastors then thanked us for bringing the most precious gift of God's holy Word.

The service lasted for about 2 hours, and although we couldn't understand what was being said, we felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. The singing was so beautiful and joyful. On the way back to the guest house, we passed the Korah dump, where many of the poorest people in Addis live. They scavenge through the piles of trash to find something to eat or something to sell to make a little money. There is a leper colony there as well. :( It was so sad to see all the people climbing through the mountains of garbage.

We decided to go back to the market to pick up a few more things for our silent auctions this fall. Jessica and Alyssa opted to stay at Ember, and the rest of us did a little more shopping. Afterward, we started packing all of our stuff so we could head to the airport in the evening. While we packed, Wass took Shana and Alyssa on the bajaj ride that he had promised them all week. It was a first time for both of them, and they rode to the Safeway grocery store to buy us some Kolo (Ethiopian snack mix) to take home. They stopped in front of the old Hannah's Hope buildings on the way back...Wass told Shana to take some pictures to show Jalen and Jordan their old home. The buildings are now home to the Embassy of the Central African Republic.

These buildings hold so many special memories!

And I will never forget those big black gates.

After getting our luggage together, I took a quick shower and changed. Then we visited in the living room until it was time to leave. We ate at Antica, an Italian restaurant close to the Bole airport. While we ate, we discussed our week in Ethiopia and tried to mentally gear ourselves for the long flight ahead. At the airport, we hugged Kiersten and Wass goodbye, collected our bags, went through security, checked in, and walked through some shops until it was time to go through final security. Chris visited with the guys on Rwanda's national volleyball team, and they were trying to teach him how to dance. Hilarious! And my word, those men were tall! Lots of them were at least 7 feet.

Muslims in prayer at the airport.

We flew back through Dublin, Ireland so we could refuel. It was such a loooong flight, and I was so ready to get my feet on the ground in Washington D.C! Everyone clapped as we touched down, and then we went through customs, collected our bags, rechecked them, got a bite to eat, and settled in for our layover. We hugged Richard goodbye, and soon we were on our flight back to Indy. Once there, we collected our bags, told the girls goodbye, and waited for our very late shuttle back to the hotel so we could pick up our van. I was so tired by this point...about 45 hours without sleep, and all I wanted was to get home and crash.

We stopped back in Fort Wayne to pick up Chris's car, but we couldn't get it started, so we continued home. (We found out later that a mouse had climbed under the hood to escape the rain and had chewed a wire which blew the whole main computer amongst other things. Turned out to be an expensive fix!) We also found out that our power had been off for several days and no one knew it. So when we got home, we had to throw all of the food in our refrigerator away. And we discovered that our garage door opener had broken and needed replaced. I don't think satan wanted us to go on this trip! But we were home, and we had our kiddos around us. God is good!!!

Our kids met us in the front yard with a welcome home banner.

We had a great trip, but it was nice to be home. See you again next year, Ethiopia!