We truly are a family redefined. We are husband, wife, son, daughter, step children, biological and adopted children and most importantly, Children of God.

A friend pointed out that I needed to update my blog header. After our adoption from Ethiopia, I had updated it stating how the adoption of Sara Joy completed our family. Well... the journey continues. After much prayer, we have decided to follow what we feel is God's calling for us...we went to Ghana with the intention of adopting a four year old girl, Isabella Hope. Little did we know that she would be the catalyst to bringing home not only her, but her half brother and sister. We will now be adding not only Isabella Hope to our family, but also Mary Grace (9) and Gilbert (6) who we will transition to the name Nathaniel Timothy. The shock is wearing off and the JOY and EXCITEMENT are overwhelming. Now truly, our family is complete. The great part of journeying with God, is that it's always an adventure. He knows where we are going, and for us it is all a marvelous surprise. Looking forward to sharing our family adventures as we walk daily through life and as we venture off to Ghana to bring home Mary, Nate and Isabella! It's always an adventure redefining our family!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend 2010

What a wonderful Memorial Day weekend with my family!  The weather was nice when we needed it to be nice, and rained warm rain on my flowers when we weren't outside.  It was perfect.  After a long trip to / from Ireland last week, I was definitely ready for a long weekend.  I was also ready to spend time with the family. 

The highlight of the weekend was taking the family to the Riverbanks Zoo.  I know, not too exciting, and I really didn't think Cameron would like it, because he has been to it several times, but we all had a really great time.  It was sad to see the day end and find ourselves heading home.  We all really enjoyed it.  We didn't rush.  We spent time letting the kids do the things they wanted to do, and the best part was... the kids got along fabulously!  It was great.  We were all sad to see the day come to an end.  I was able to get some great pictures of our trip.

I asked the kids on the way home what their favorite part was.... it was a unanimous "spending time together as a family".  I guess we don't do that enough if that was their favorite part of the trip.  That should be a given!

Tim and the kids at the beginning of our adventure

Me and the kids at the zoo

The grizzly bear

This was the most beautiful Toucan

My very handsome son in a bamboo forest

The gorilla

It was very warm, so this elephant was cooling himself

Cam and Anna on "the rock"

A meerkat

The giraffe were beautiful

Not sure what this "red bottomed" animal was called, "butt" they were interesting :)


Look closely at this bird.  It was beautiful.  Maybe you can blow up the picture if you can not see it with it this small.  Look closely at it.  You will see bright yellow eyes on either side of the branch.  I tried forever to get a picture of this bird  because I thought it was so pretty.

Most would not find this bird beautiful, however I thought the colors were stunning.

This was the most interesting bird of the bunch.  It is called a rhinoceros horned bill.  It had a VERY loud call.... almost like a bark.

Tim and the kids

Cameron and Anna scoping out their next adventure

Isn't this an amazing picture?

The starfish

I call this one dinner... yummm!
Right now it it raining... the weekend is coming to an end and it is ending in a nice, warm summer rain!  I love it!

This afternoon I made an angel food cake and cut up some fresh strawberries for strawberry shortcake.  It is Tim's birthday tomorrow but we are celebrating today because it's back to work tomorrow.  So, Happy early birthday to Tim.  I won't share what number it is, because surely I would not want him to feel the need to share which birthday I will be celebrating soon:)

In Christ,

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Greetings from Ennis, Ireland!  I arrived in Ireland early Tuesday morning.  When the plane was landing in Shannon, it was absolutely beautiful.  I don't think I have ever seen that much green, and so many shades of it.  It was really beautiful.  As we were driving from the airport to the hotel, I got to see a lot of the countryside and it was beautiful as well.  Everything is so much different here than at home.  Riding on the wrong side of the road, and sitting on the wrong side of the car was actually kinda stressful - even with me not being the one driving... it just felt strange. 

The city of Ennis is very unique.  The hotel I am staying at is very old.  Updated, but old.  The room is HUGE and when I was finally able to find how everything worked, I found it to be very, very nice.  You can get lost trying to find your room though.  It is like going thru a maze.  Seriously.  I would hate to be in this building during a fire, because I'm sure I would never make it out.  I had a hard time getting back down to the lobby.  I met a colleague for dinner Tuesday and we walked to an Italian restraunt here in Ennis.  There was no way I could have made my way back to the hotel.  No road is straight here!  It is very nice here this time of year though.  We walked back to the hotel from dinner at around 10:00 and it was still light out.  Ann said that it stays light at this time of year until about 10:30.  It was great.

We were supposed to have dinner at a castle tonight, but unfortunately I was not able to attend.  Ended up with a migraine this evening and stayed at the hotel and slept it off.  Tomorrow is another day of meetings and then we may head to the cliffs in the evening if it is nice.  I really wish I had my good camera, becasue I hear that the view is incredible. 

I head back to the states Friday morning.  It seems like I just got here.... but I will be ready to go home.  Thank goodness it is a holiday weekend so I will have time to catch up on some sleep.  The time change is a hard one to adjust to!

Just as a side note... if you have never had an Irish scone, y0u are missing out on something wonderful.  I remember them from the last time I was here, and I was hoping we would have them again during these meetings.  I wish I could bring a bunch of them home with me.  They are so delicious!  They had them at the meeting today and I was thrilled.  Seriously, they are SO good.  This one had raisins in it.  Yummm!

I wish I had photos of the area to share.  It really is beautiful and unique.  There is a HUGE church across the street from the hotel that is amazing.  I have my room window open and I get to listen to the church bells constantly.  It is very soothing.

Well, with only one day left in Ireland, I highly doubt I will have to record and post that Irish jig that I promised if we got a referral while I was in Ireland.  There is still a slight chance, but I'm thinking I'll be safe!  Who knows though.. there is always tomorrow.

Looking forward to posting again from the good ole' US of A!

In Christ,

Saturday, May 22, 2010

5K Graduation Celebration

There are LOTS of pictures attached to this post... I'm sure many will be boring to most people, but they are here for me, and I love them... I'm just sharing them with you.  Not one of them looks the same to me (probably do to you) and they all make my heart smile differently.... they are all my baby girl...with that, here is my post.

Yesterday we had the 5K Graduation program for our little Anna Clare.  It was so nice.  I actually dread going to these programs though... for one reason and one reason only.  They are so stinkin' emotional for me.  It's not bad enough that they show pictures of the kids from the time they were in 3K thru 5K, but then they play sappy music to go along with it... like the pictures weren't enough to make me cry?  Please!  I'm probably the only one in the world who gets so emotional over a graduation program!  It's just a slap in the face reminder of how quickly they are growing.  Blink and a school year passes.  She is headed off to first grade soon.  I don't have a baby anymore... she was my baby and now she's really growing up.  I can't imagine what I will be like when the first one graduates from High School.... I'll be a mess!
There kids are AWESOME - especially my Anna Clare
It was a great program though.  The kids did an excellent job.  The morning started our kinda funny though.  We got to get up a little late, since we didn't have to have them to school until a bit later and Tim and I were not going into work in the morning so we could see the program.  Anna popped out of bed, all ready to go (because it was program day... otherwise she is like trying to push a boulder out of bed - uphill).  She put on her fancy dress and then we went to do her hair.  I got her little braids in and picked two little bows for her hair, got them all situated.... and then Anna said she could not wear bows in her hair.  She said it would mess with her cap.  Mind you the bows were on the end of her two little braids, almost near the bottom of her hair line.  I told her it would be fine, they were cute and we were leaving them in... she was not happy.  Surely she would not be able to put her cap on!

We got to the school at about 7:45 and Tim and I were able to go into the gym (which they said would open at 8:00 for parents) and get a front row seat.  5K graduation is a pretty big deal, so we were happy to get a good seat.  Included in the 5K graduation is the 3K and 4K programs.  So, in all, there were about 150 kids in the program.  Multiply that by parents and grandparents, siblings that came to see them, and the gym is FULL!  But, WE got a front row seat. 

I'll get back to the graduation, but first I have to say that the elementary school principal, Mrs. Bryant  came and spoke to me and Tim.  She said that Anna has done absolutely remarkable.  Mrs. Bryant has been with us through thick and thin with Anna.  She prayed with us for Anna, she rejoiced with Anna in the one green ticket she got every once in awhile when she was going through the really rough periods.  She worked through Anna's issues with us, and it was TRULY appreciated.  Anna loves her, and she loves Anna - that is clear.  She handles discipline with love - and that love just sticks on kids.  It has stuck on Anna.  Mrs. Bryant said that she missed seeing us.... sorry, but we didn't miss seeing her :)  We miss her, but are happy that we are not having to visit her!  She commented, like many, many other have, how Anna has changed like night and day.  She told us the story of how Anna rushed up to her one day and told her that she was saved!  She was SO proud of that.  She told the world!  I still believe that Anna's salvation had something to do with the change in her.  You don't get saved and be unchanged.  Anna is changed.  Her little sweet spirit RADIATES through her.  I was SO PROUD of her up on that stage. 

Ok, back to the program....  The 3K did their program, the 4K did their program and then came the 5K.  They walked in, in their cap and gowns - and eveyone stood up... as if it were a wedding and the bride was walking in.  It was so sweet.  The kids came in to the traditional graduation music and filed up onto the stage, and started their program.  Anna was in the front row!  Her teacher, Mrs. Langnecker, had tipped us off as to which side of the stage Anna would be on, so we were nearly right in front of her.  She was so pleased to see us!  Anna had two small speaking parts and then played the handbells in two songs.  They also had group songs that the entire 5K did. 
Mrs. Bryant introducing the 5K class
Anna in one of her hand bell songs (doesn't she look like she is concentrating so hard???)
Also, notice the boy in the hat - George Washington.... I'm eyeing him up for Anna's future mate ;)
Anna in her first speaking part - she did SO well!
5K singing praises!
Doesn't it just bring tears to your eyes when children lift their hands in priase?  And Anna's are SO way up there!  You go my little girl!!!
Another hand bell song.  All the kiddos did great!
Anna's handbell in action!
Deep in thought
Bells in action!
Wait for it.....
Now it's my turn again...
Anna waiting her turn for her next speaking part
She made it through with no issue - if only she would have been smiling... I guess memorizing and smiling don't go real well together
She looks strange in this picture... but she's waving to me - that's my girl!!!

George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Uncle Sam made their presence at the program.  The kids were ADORABLE!
Leave it to Anna.... remember the cap issue - her bows were going to interfere with her cap.  Well, they didn't.  However, about 1/2 way through the program, Anna's cap got bumped as another child was walking past her and her cap came off.  Anna's was the only one!  So, she played with it through part of the program :)  First I thought... ooohhhh STOP playing with that.  But then I thought... who cares.  That is my Anna!  It's her day!

Here she is, with the hat off her head... notice she is the only one.  Cute hair bows though!
Finally got it back on her head - making final adjustments :)
At this point, she is probably praying it will stay on!
It's staying on for now...

After the program, all of the 5K kids were escorted off the stage and Mrs. Bryant presented one of the 5K moms with a check.  Her son has been battling Leukemia since November.  He had to leave school to get treatment.  They found out just recently he is in remission.  Praise God!!!  Anyway, throughout the school year the kids raised money (just by placing jars in each classroom) and they were able to raise over $4500 for this family.  They presented the check to the mom at graduation!
The kids singing
After the presentation, Mrs. Bryant came back up and each 5K child was called up and given their "diploma".  It was awesome!
Anna receiving her diploma from Mrs. Bryant
The happy graduates
Are we done yet?
No, seriously... are we done yet?
When you blow into your "diploma", I think then it's really over!

After the program was completed, the kids went back to their rooms for a party.  They had pizza and cupcakes and a whole lot of fun!

Here is the last picture I have of my Anna Clare in 5K - after this picture, she was officially a 1st grader!

Not the greatest picture, but this dress looks BEAUTIFUl on her with her nice tan skin!

A little blurry, but beautiful still :)

In Christ,