Saturday, July 30, 2011


At the U2 concert, one of the first things Bono said as we all cheered and raised our hands in praise for him, was "We can celebrate our freedom here but in many places in our world ...."(I don't recall his exact words but you get the idea)

Before the concert, Steve and I were sitting on a ledge outside the gates. There were volunteers running around with clipboards asking for signatures for different causes. They were causes that dealt with injustices in different parts of the world. They were causes fighting against and drawing awareness to very heartbreaking situations. Steve and I gladly signed our names because well, they just merely asked for a signature, that's it and we thought the causes warranted a voice to be heard.

But each time someone approached us, they had the look of that fear of another rejection. Then each person looked surprised when we agreed to sign their petition. One volunteer even told us how this job was much more difficult than she expected and thanked us over and over.

All three petitions that were going around were backed up and approved by Bono himself. They expected close to 58,000 people to attend the concert. Outside the gates, we were among several hundred (maybe even thousands) U2 fans waiting to enter the gates. After each petition signing volunteer left us, we watched them go from person to person, facing rejection after rejection. In fact most people waved them on before they had a chance to speak one word to them.

I was blown away by watching this!

Do they not want to know how bad things are in other parts of the world?

I turned to Steve and said, "Wow! People really don't have any idea what's going on in the world, do they?"

One petition was for the UN to draw awareness of the famine that is affecting more than 11 million people in the Horn of Africa. This is close to my heart because included in these 11 million people could likely be Samson's birth family.

Is this why it matters to me? Yes, I suppose so.

I also believe that stories of injustice come to life and seem real when we put faces to the stories. millions of people starving to death for example, doesn't pull at our hearts as much as the picture of a family with the story of how the parents sold 2 of their 5 children standing in the picture so they could feed the remaining 3.

In regards to the hundreds who would not sign the petitions, well, I can't judge them by their actions mostly because they just don't know. They are disconnected from the rest of the world.

So, maybe since I know and understand, maybe it's my job to educate. Maybe it's my job to tell the stories to those who are so far removed from what is happening in the the world.

I have many stories to tell, most shared second hand. But let me start with this one. The sample story I described above, is not a sample. I've described a real family and real circumstances. Would it make a difference if I had a picture of this family with their 5 children?

A family of 7 will soon become a family of 5 if their situation doesn't change soon. (To my knowledge, the family is still in together.)

This is a real family: father, mother and five children, 9 years old and younger. The youngest is 3 months old, the 2 year old severely malnourished and on the brink of death.

When I asked how does a family decide which two to sell, I was told that they will sell which ever 2 someone will take for their slaves.

This family lives in a developing nation. They are so desperate that they will sell or may even end up giving 2 children away just so the rest of family can survive.

Up the street from this family is the town's "middle class". "Hidden" in the open are domestic child slaves EVERYWHERE!

I bet the people waiting outside the gate for the U2 concert hadn't heard about this family of 7. They don't know the stories. They don't have a face to put on the injustice.

Steve and I have decided that it's time to step up the anty (is that how you spell it??) and start educating people. Like really finding ways to be the voice against injustice. So this is one of my purposes for sharing this story with you today.

This family of seven attends a local church. The pastor of the church and his family are already struggling to support their own 6 children and several other orphans that they have taken in.

I'm working on helping this pastor so that he doesn't have to continue to watch family after family give up their children. He has recently visited this family of 7 in their home (if you want to call it a home). The two year old is weak, does not walk or talk. She is not expected to survive.

I have been thinking this over for several days, trying to think of a way I could help this church and its community because I know I can't do it alone.

So today I come to you with a request. First, please pray for freedom of oppressed people all over the world.

Then, if you feel led to make a contribution to my pastor friend, please leave a comment with your email address and I will send you details on how you can help. I will not publish your comments.

I know that if you feel God leading you to help this particular pastor, that you are walking out on faith and not by sight. I know this is a lot to ask. But if you are interested, I will share more of the story, where this community is located and pictures.

Thank you for your time!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I am a huge Bono fan! Some people think of him as no more than a rock star. What they don't know about him is his love for ALL people around the world.

In the early 1990s (I believe), Bono travelled to Africa for the first time. Actually, he travelled to Ethiopia. He was so struck by the poverty and the devastation of AIDS, he returned to the US a different person than when he left.

He set out on a mission to help with the AIDS epidemic and alleviate poverty. He set up the non profit, ONE campaign (go check it out if you are not familiar with it) and was spearheaded the talks with the US government that resulted in forgiving Africa's debt and providing life saving medications for AIDS victims in Africa.

And, the coolest thing about him is that he is a Born Again Christian. And the other 3 members of his band are also Christians!

Back in early May when we attended Lauren's orchestra concert, someone was selling raffle tickets for the U2 concert. Steve bought 2 tickets for $10 per ticket.

I left that night thinking, "Well, that was a donation going towards a good cause."

Several weeks later, I had already forgotten about the raffle tickets when Steve and Avery arrived home from somewhere. Steve had just taken a call on his cell phone and Avery shared the news that we won the tickets to the U2 concert!!

They were prime seats, worth $250 per ticket and selling on-line for $500 per ticket!!

So, this past Saturday, Steve and I attended the most amazing and incredible concert we will probably ever attend in our life here on earth.

Just a glimpse into our evening:

Thursday, July 14, 2011


I don't have much time for words but wanted to post these sweet pics from the Mehaber last weekend. We had an amazing time meeting new friends and reconnecting with those we already knew and have a special place in our hearts.
This young man in the orange remembered Samson from the orphanage. The first time the two have seen each other in almost 2 years.

These two have stayed in touch since home. They connected again like brothers at the Mehaber and were inseparable.

Ethiopian dance lessons!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I have written about the name "Ruby" before. Today I hesitated to write and share some more but decided that whether I publish this or not, I need to document this. I hesitate to share because this story is all so bizarre and I feel a little weird about it. But it is a story that has left our family searching and wondering what this all means.
If you don't feel like reading my past posts about Ruby, I'll quickly bring you up to speed and tell you that this name continues to come up over and over again. It is too often to be a coincidence, like God is really trying to get our attention.

Two weeks ago while Olivia was gone to camp, Samson and Avery were in dance camp. When we arrived at dance camp the first day, the director explained to us that all the kids are broken up into "cabins" and directed us to find our child's cabin name on this list.

Samson's cabin was "Hero".

Avery's cabin was "Ruby".

One of the times that God whispered the name "Ruby" to us was through Samson. When he came out of his first gymnastics class this past spring, he whispered in my ear, "Mommy, there is a girl in my class and her name is and in a very quite whisper he pauses and says, "Ruby". At the time, he knew nothing of our stories of Ruby. I wrote about this already but just had to share again because of what I'm going to share next.

"Mighty to Save" is our family's song. We have a testimony surrounding this song that I will share sometime. Essentially, God used this song to speak to our family many times throughout our journey to Samson. Soon after we were home, when "Mighty to Save" came over the radio, Samson at one point said, "Hey! This is MY song!". At the time, he spoke very little English and he had no way of knowing the significance of this song and how it ties to our journey to him. In fact, at his age, he would not really understand our testimony that surrounds this song.

Now, back to dance camp... Avery came home her first day of camp and was excited to tell me that her group was going to be performing to "Mighty to Save". I know! It gave me goose bumps too!! Not only was she in cabin "Ruby" but she was also dancing to our family's song.

Our friends just returned from Ethiopia with their twin boys and brought home some amazing gifts for our family. One was a children's book about the origins of coffee in Ethiopia.

I read this book to Avery and Samson Tuesday, June 28th, the same day they had their first day of dance camp. I remember it being 9:00 p.m. because I was thinking it was late and I should have had them to bed earlier so they would be more rested for camp in the morning.

Anyway, in the book, this young boy has a dream about the stars in the Ethiopian night sky looking like red rubies.

Then on Thursday that same week, I picked up Olivia from camp. She could not wait until we dropped off her friend because she had something important to tell me.

She first asked me what our family was doing at 9:00 Tuesday night. I just told her that I was reading a book to Samson and Avery at that time.

She told me her story before I told her anymore about our day:

She was at chapel Tuesday night and the name "Ruby" came to her mind. She claimed that at that very moment, they began worshipping to "Mighty to Save". She said she had this overwhelming feeling that God was also speaking something to us at that very same time. She said, she looked at her camp counselors watch and it was exactly 9:00, which was the same time and day I was reading our new story book to the kids.

Again, I don't believe this is a coincidence!

We don't know what this all means. We have been praying. We are trying to be patient and we are excited to see how God plays this one out.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A glimpse into our summer

Wow!! I was on someone else's blog the other day and noticed that it listed that the last update on my blog was 2 weeks ago. Oops!! So, if I still have any readers with me, here is just a little about what has been happening the past few weeks...

We started off our summer with cold weather and rain. So, the girls and I did some much needed deep cleaning through drawers, cabinets and closets. I was happy to see the warm weather finally arrive the beginning of July so that I had a good excuse to not clean anymore.

At the end of June, June 26th to be exact, Steve and I had the privilege to drive our friends home from the airport after arriving home from Ethiopia. What a treat it was to meet their 2 precious sons and hear about their adventures. Now we have someone that we can connect with at a very unique level. The next night Samson got to meet his new friends for the first time. I held back tears all day anticipating that moment. And it was very special indeed.

When July hit, things got busy!!!

Steve started taking sailing lessons, only one so far because of the weather of course.

Lauren started driver's training.

Over 4th of July weekend, we hit the beach one evening, attended a play in our community, shot off fireworks and took Samson to his first ever baseball game. On our way to the game, we were trying to explain to him why he would not be playing and that we were going to watch young adult men play. He seemed to be OK with that arrangement once we got there but was a little confused at first about what "going to a baseball game" was all about.

Avery is at Bible camp this week. Olivia was there last week and Lauren 2 weeks before then. Can't wait to pick my little June up from camp tomorrow!

Also, this week, we are hosting my niece while her sister is at camp with Avery.

I came home from a lunch meeting this afternoon to fresh baked cookies the girls made. They said they thought the recipe asked for too much butter, so they only put half the amount in that it called for. They were shocked to learn that the recipe was not wrong. But, you know what?? The cookies turned out great! I think I'll be cutting back the butter from now on!! LOL!!

The kids have enjoyed squirt gun fights in the back yard on the real hot days. Today I noticed Samson used the garden hose for his squirt gun and was making the girls scream as he chased them all over our yard.

Last week Samson and Avery attended dance camp. They performed a dance with just the boys and Samson is an amazing dancer! During the dance, they featured each boy and Samson did some funky break dancing kind of moves on the floor. It was so fun to watch him enjoy this!

Avery also danced very well. She is so precise and disciplined with her dance moves.

At the end of the week, Samson was talking about one of his friends who was part of the dance camp. He said, "Mommy, I was watching S... dance and she is a pretty good dancer. I think I'll marry her some day."

The biggest news of the summer is that Samson is riding bike WITHOUT training wheels! He insisted on getting his training wheels taken off and now he is completely fearless with his bike. There is just no slowing him down!

He has managed to keep the scrapes and bruises to a minimum on his bike. But the other day I must admit that I accidentally sat down on a stool with his big toe underneath the leg. OUCH!! Now he has a black and blue toe. The cute thing is that when he shows it to others, he calls it his "thumb" toe instead of his big toe.

I have many more things to blog. Hopefully more to come next week! Stay tuned.....