Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chalk creations and wedding dress!

The kids were off school yesterday for Easter break and temperatures were in the 60s!!
So, we spent every moment possible keeping busy with outdoor activities.

Olivia and Avery prepared us a picnic lunch:
Followed by some fun on the swings:

Between shooting hoops, throwing the football, a short bike ride and jumping on the trampoline, we managed to fill our entire driveway with these beautiful chalk creations. Most of these are Olivia's drawings. I like them all, which made it hard to decide which ones to share. Here are just a few:

Recently, the girls have been begging me to show them my wedding dress. I have shown it to them maybe twice before and last night this seemed like the perfect way to end our day. For the first time, each girl got to model my dress and veil. Don't they make beautiful brides?!!

Overall, it was a fun day had by all!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Aging out of the system and an URGENT request!

One thing that pulls at my heart more than the stories of those waiting in an orphanage for their forever family are the stories of precious beautiful children who age out of the orphanage and are out on their own. Many times there is no where for these orphans to go and many times they end up swept up into the slave trade.

One thing that God has put on my heart is to advocate against human trafficking. There are three areas of human trafficking we can serve to make a difference: Prevention, Rescue and After Care.

Today I'm advocating for prevention. There is one girl in particular that I'm advocating for and her name is Elange. She is a beautiful, bright girl who lives in an orphanage in Haiti. Elange has watched other children at the orphanage matched and united with their forever families. As weeks and years have passed by, she sees the hope of having a family of her own diminish more each day.

Elange March 2011

Elange dreams of becoming a doctor some day. But what she wants more than anything is a forever family. Without a family, both her top wishes will not be possible.

In recent days her chances of ever having a mom and/or dad has become dangerously close to reality.

If not matched soon with a family, she will be released from her orphanage and she will become yet another target of human trafficking.

 If you are paper ready or you know someone paper ready and interested in Haitian adoption, PLEASE go here and learn more. Remember that time is running out so we need to act quickly to save Elange!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The 3 Little Pigs

This is Samson's favorite book. He loves to "read" it to me. He knows the story, word for word. In our version, there is a pig that builds his house out of straw, one of his brothers builds his house out of sticks and the third little pig builds his out of bricks.

Yesterday we were driving to pick his sisters up from school and we passed a business that has log siding and Samson says, "Mommy, that house will not last long."

I said, "Why not?"

Samson said, "Because it's made out of sticks."

Friday, April 15, 2011

My Baby Girl is Eight!

Eight years ago today, our precious Avery June came into this world.

She is named after her great grandma, June, who is 90 years old. We call her Avery June Bugs. She is incredibly sweet and always ready for a hug and a great snuggler.

Avery continues to love gymnastics. Earlier this week, she gave herself a fat lip twirling too fast around the bars on the school play ground. Poor little thing...her lip was the size of a large marble.

She has mastered may stunts in gymnastics, most of which I don't know the proper names for but what she is most known for is her head stand. Almost every class period, she can stand on her head longer than anyone else in her class. She can do splits in the air, bend her knees, move in a circle, among other things, all while standing on her head.

When Olivia asked her what she wanted for her birthday, Avery told her to "Figure it out for yourself! You should know me well enough by now!"

She may be small and petite but she can be a spitfire and she is not afraid to let you know what she thinks!

She loves giving us gifts on our birthdays. If she thinks of something she wants to get one of her sisters, she just tells me to buy it for them and then she wraps it. Sometimes she is very economical and finds treasures around the house to give as gifts.

This past year just before Lauren's birthday, she asked me to hand her a little vase with a tiny flower in it from the kitchen window. I gave it to her and the next day on Lauren's birthday, Lauren unwrapped this tiny vase, which was placed on it's side in a small box - flower and water included. The cuteness and thoughtfulness of it brought tears to my eyes.

Then for Steve's birthday, she wrapped up a set of his golf balls and tees. Too precious!
Avery is very much a "go with the flow" kind of person. She is so easy to please. She shares a room with her brother and doesn't ever complain about having to share this space with him. May times when I wake her for school in the morning, I find her brother sleeping in bed with her, practically smothering her. She explains that when she hears Samson wake up and call for us, she tells him to jump in bed with her so he doesn't wake us up.

She is my girly girl. She loves to have on nail polish and something in her hair almost all the time. She will brush and brush her hair each morning before school and then on her way out, she pops a clip or barrette in at the last minute, not caring if it goes with her outfit or not.

When we are all gathered in the kitchen, Avery is almost always sitting up on the counter. She even does her homework sitting on the center island!

I love her dearly! I am so lucky and privileged to raise her as my daughter!

Look how our June Bugs has grown over the years!:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Last Chance!

We are selling out on ALL inventory of the current Drawn From Water T-shirts! Hurry over to our store for your last chance to purchase this special shirt for $15!
(Please note: we are limited on some sizes.)

If you have been following the Drawn From Water blog in recent weeks, you know about all the changes they are experiencing. New exciting opportunities are on the horizon for this team as they continue to serve in Ethiopia. Please continue to PRAY and follow their story. Look for new changes to their website and new store items coming soon!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hard Lessons to Learn

Some of the toughest lessons for me to learn are lessons from situations when God reminds me that "IT IS NOT ABOUT ME".

Yesterday, I had a situation that caused me to come unglued. I had been planning a special celebration for Avery's birthday this weekend for the past 2 months. I made arrangements way in advance. I confirmed everything not once, not twice but three times. I arranged for family to come from out of town. I made Avery's invites for the girls in her class. I received RSVPs from parents expressing how excited their girls were about the celebration.

Then yesterday morning, I went to sign a form and make a payment and that is when I found out that there was a mix up in the schedule and there was no reservation for Avery's party. Another party was in the slot that I had reserved and confirmed 3 times!

I became angry! How could this happen???!!! This was suppose to be something very special, something I had been planning the details for the past 2 months!!

I am embarrassed to admit that I let someone have it. I expressed my disappointment without holding back. And then if that wasn't hard enough on this poor person on the receiving end of my frustration, I went home, called this person and let them have a few more of my words.

I had a very good argument. I fought for that spot back because that was our spot and the other family should be bumped. Why us??

I eventually lost the fight and I had to make phone calls and new arrangements and I made sure the person on the other end knew the inconvenience she was putting me through.

During the heat of the moments, I thought for just maybe a few seconds about how wrong I was to treat someone like I did but that thought did not stop me. I did it anyway.

Then Steve reminded me of the sermon we watched TV just the night before about how it's "NOT ABOUT ME". The pastor preached about how people make mistakes and that's just part of life.

Well, the situation I was faced with yesterday became all about ME. It was "I this" and "I that" or "this has put ME out" or "poor ME", all because someone made a mistake.

I will be making an apology this evening. It will not be easy to take back all I said and move on but I know it's the right thing to do, so I will.

On another note, but along the same theme, I find myself getting all wrapped up in "It's all about me" as I work towards my attachment with Samson.

We have had several weeks that have gone well. He has let go a lot and shown more trust in me. The more relaxed he becomes and the more he allows me to do for him, the better our attachment feels.

In recent days, I have had flashbacks of how it felt when Samson was first home. I hate this feeling and I want to go back to the way things were just a few days ago.

We have been back and forth before so I have faith that he will come around again. But in the meantime, I like to mope and walk around feeling sorry for myself.

After a couple frustrating days, it just hit me yesterday that I am thinking more about how this is affecting me and less about why he is pulling back in the first place.

Over the weekend, we visited a close relative who brought out several folders of pictures of the girls. Each of our girls had at least 2 folders with oodles of photos. Samson had one folder with very few photos.

Samson is no dummy. He demanded to know where all his baby pictures were. We have had this discussion before and each time he continues to press us for more information. He wants his baby pictures!

The topic of baby pictures seems to touch him to the core. At first I was angry with this relative for bringing all these pictures out. Each time Samson grieves over a loss, he takes it out on me. It's my fault. After all, he has let down his guard and trusted me for several months and now I've let him down.

This is what triggered the "setback" in our attachment. The past couple days he has not let me do things for him. He won't even let me put his diaper on at bedtime or get him dressed.

I was angry. But while I was calling out to the Lord for help, I remembered why Samson is responding in this way. He is grieving. Seeing pictures of his sisters and not of himself is his way of grieving a loss. And then I wasn't so angry at my relative anymore because actually these things needs to surface and be talked about and grieved over. Grieving is healthy. It's just not fun for us on the receiving end.

I just need to remain patient, have faith and pray that some day he will learn to trust me again. And before I go to that place of feeling sorry for myself, I need reminders that it's not about ME!

It's really about Jesus. He will heal, restore and will always know what's best for us.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Father-Daughters; Mother-Son Dates

Friday night Olivia and Avery attended the Father - Daughter Dance at the girls' school.

 Painting their nails

 Applying makeup

"How do I look?"


Earlier in the week, Samson asked if there was a "Mamma and Son" dance, which there is not. He was feeling a little left out, so the two of us got all dressed up and went to a play! I had the most handsome date at the theatre Friday night!