Sunday, February 28, 2010

Identical Twins

Go ahead, look them in the face and try to convince them they're not twins -

cause they really think they are.....

and by the way....

did you notice their shoes?

One cowgirl boot and one shoe each...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

My Father vs. My Children's Daddy

Somedays my blog posts are light and fluffy. Somedays they are passionate for the orphan. Always they are filled with the faithfulness of God. Today though I have to share a bit of my past so that you can hear my heart about my present.
As I've eluded to many times before here, my growing up was anything but ideal. Abuse was rampant and life was painful every single day. The only word to describe my dad, for me, would be "cruel". Some day I will write more about it, but really, I lived in fear any moment that my dad was at home. His almost daily threat was that he was going to kill me. It was a not flippant sentence. His form of discipline was going to the knife drawer and pulling one out.
Not really pleasant words, but a bit of background so you are better acquainted with my life and and my full emotional healing brought about only by Almighty God. I was thinking the other day about what I used to play when I was a little girl. I always played alone. I never wanted to have friends over....what would they think of me if they saw my dad like that? I never wanted to go anywhere else to play....if my home was scary, what went on in other people's homes? I definitely was not brave enough to find out.
Back to what I would play when I was a little girl. I would always play that I was the wife of a military husband was deployed in VietNam and we had a baby girl, my doll (who was black!!) =) How God must have smiled knowing that one day I would have two children (so far) from Africa.
Anyway, everyday I would play that the camera crew would come and interview us as to what it was like to have my husband deployed. And do you know how I would end every "interview"? I would always say, "But God has been sooooo faithful."
I read my Bible as a little girl and saw God's faithful hand throughout my life, even in the midst of the pain. I would lay awake and pray each night and talk to the Lord. He was so faithful. He brought me out of all that pain...and healed me from all the abuse. And don't misunderstand for a second...I love my dad. I have completely forgiven him. (I am only sharing what my childhood was like.)

So you can imagine what my prayers were like when I was growing up. Begging God for a husband who was the opposite of my dad. A man who would love me and our children, who would be tender and who would represent Jesus in everyway. Oh how He answered all those prayers.
Last week-end our church sponsored the first Annual Daddy-Daughter Dance in our community. There were almost 200 men and their daughters. My eyes welled with tears as I looked at my precious husband as he prepared to take our three little princesses to the dance. They were beaming and so was daddy.
Liberty looked stunning....she was wearing the dress Emma wore for the Autumn bash in the fall...again an Antique store find...
God's infinite love and grace being shown in a tangible way to my heart....look for yourself.....three little girls being shown day in and day out how a daddy is supposed to be....a daddy who loves them unconditionally, who treats them with tenderness and respect, who points them to Jesus, who supports them, who will always treasure them and would never, ever, ever consider hurting them.
Grown up Princesses walked through the "ballroom" ....(Daddy, Emmy and I found her dress at an antique store for $19.00 and it was gorgeous!)
One princess and the prince....

And let the record show....that the Miracle-working, Mountain-moving, Awe-inspiring, Gasp-giving God who delivered me and set me free, has blessed me more than words can say -
how I will praise His name until my last breath!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Homefront

A little catching up today....

Thank you for all your kind comments about Jubilee's first "okay". One thing I forgot to mention is that I have tried desperately to get her to hear her name in the song, "Days of Elijah" since it's so special to us knowing it says, "It's the Year of Jubilee." To date, she cannot recognize her name in the midst of it all. And yes, Adeye, there have been at least a thousand times that I have thought she reminds me of your sweet Haven.

Many of you have wondered about Autumn. She is sick of feeling sick and all the symptoms. She is sick of it all. The Mayo docs have now put her on a form of Chemo. She has been really, really, really sick and throwing up all day long. Your continued prayers would be appreciated.

And last, but not least, Mark. Sweet, sweet, Uncle Mark. I mentioned yesterday about his mutterings. I have no clue what prompted it all, but he even told the kids that he was "goin' home - ha-ha!" They were bewildered. It had been a good day. Even a fun day. Anyway, as best we can tell, he is dealing with homesickness and missing his mom. He told me he was getting a dog and moving home.....the dog would keep him company. Since he doesn't even get a bowl of cereal himself, this was almost amusing.

Dw and his older brother Steve, have had to make a game-plan. Steve is the "bad guy" and last night told Mark that he won't be going home, except to visit mom. Steve told Mark that this is his permanent home. Mark was bawling. We have told him, but I guess he was still hoping against hope. Difficult days. Thankful for Steve reinforcing the truth, even though it's so very painful.

I had gone to Farmington yesterday when this not-so-fun conversation took place. Really bummed about that.

When I came in the door Mark immediately told me, "Steve mean to me tonight. He givin' me a hard time. Boy, I bawlin'. He mean." I asked him what he said and he told me. I said, "Mark we love you and want you here. I'm sorry you can't go home, but we are your family and we will take good care of you." Today has been a better day, but he has mentioned that mean ol' Steve a few times.

Lastly, just a few minutes ago I remembered something I needed to ask Dw so I ran out on the porch where he had been hauling wood. But instead I found him clearing this glider off. I started to laugh. "What are you doing?" He said (in total and complete seriousness) "I'm clearing it off so it can dry easier, then when we want to come sit down we can." Are all husbands this delusional? The bright side is that he is so doggone handsome!!

Sweet friends, look around. Yeah, I'll be headin' over there to sit down real soon. Definitely relieved he's clearing it off. So bloggy friends..........Wanna' meet me on the glider for a nice cup of coffee?? And not to worry, I'll bring the coffee and the half and half too.My kitchen window view taken just minutes ago.....I sat on the front porch and snapped the camera....this is the view sitting on the porch.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I know many of you have asked how Jubilee's adjustment has been going. She fits in like she's always been here. You who have adopted know what I mean when I say, "I can't remember a time when she wasn't here." But there still have been some really tricky stuff to manuever (to say the least).

We knew when we we first started pursuing her that she had many special needs. Obviously, we weren't sure what that would look like, but we knew that God was in it and so we forged ahead. We also knew that one day Uncle Mark would most likely be with us and since he's a "lifer" (meaning he'll be with us for the rest of his life although today he keeps muttering under his breath that "i goin' home and i gonna' stay there" - not sure why he's so unhappy. ugh) we were really comfortable with the possibility that Jubilee also might be a "lifer".

Adopting an older child has its uniqueness, shall we say. Some have many struggles. Some have fewer. With Jubilee being almost eight we wondered what that would mean as well. We really had no information on her throughout the 600+ days we waited. We only got one update during that entire wait, and so we had no idea what to expect.

Many people bringing home kids use "sign language" (more like charades) to help them communicate between each other till the kids become so emersed in the language. We have been doing that on our end. But from the get-go, it was obvious that Jubilee didn't have a clue how to "show" us what she wanted or needed. I would try to make her understand that using charades would help me to understand her - but was always met with a blank stare. Time after time I tried to get her to "show" me and time after time she would just look at me in bewilderment.

Dw and I would look at each other and say, "Do you think she will ever understand us?"
We both weren't so sure.
Teaching her to say things went sort of like this:
Mom: Jubilee say thank you.
Jubilee: Jubilee say thank you (or at least something that sort of resembled that)
Mom: Jubilee say I love you Isaiah
Jubilee: Jubilee say I love you Isaiah (more garbled talk)
Mom: say please
Jubilee: say please (more garbled stuff)
When something was upsetting to her and she would be trying to tell me something I had no clue. She would chatter away trying to get me to understand and it really has seemed that she hadn't realized that we were speaking a different language than her. Graham remarked that it seemed to him that she was saying the same things over and over and over. I thought so too. It's been tricky, to say the least.
We began to really pray in earnest that she would begin to understand, even a tad bit, of what we were trying to say. We have prayed and prayed, cause really, if it is frustrating for us, we imagine it is pretty frustrating for her as well.
Well the other day I went to her and did some hand motions along with saying, "We are going to eat now, can you please go wash your hands?" She looked up at me and said, "Okay." The glazed look was not there. The bewilderment gone. I shrieked and giggled and scooped her up in my arms and jumped up and down cheering - "Yippee Jesus, Yippee Jesus, Yippee Jesus!! You understood me! You're getting it!!"
Just a simple "okay" but to us, words of gold. There was a breakthrough. Since that day there have been teeny, tiny steps. She is beginning to understand a speck. Our hearts rejoice!!
And so this Thankful Thursday, We just want everyone to know - don't stop praying - but we are encouraged -
It's going to be

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I Would If We Had the Money.....

I woke up with some thoughts on my mind at 3 something this morning. I was so wide awake that I thought it must be my “get up” time. Each night, before going to bed, I ask the Lord to wake me up when He wants me to spend time with Him. I often “hear” a knock or what sounds like someone calling me. I usually instantly get up. In fact, yesterday I jumped up and out of the bed with such a start that Dw woke enough and mumbled, “Don’t get out of bed so fast!” Ooopsie. Sorry babe.

Always very exciting to me that the King of the Universe wakes me to hang out with him. And yes, He wants to do the same with you. If you’ve never asked Him to wake you up to hang out with Him, just do it! After spending time with Him, I am even more convinced that He wants me to share my heart. So here goes…

Being an adoptive mom I have often heard (what seems like a zillion times), “ I would adopt, but we just don’t have that kind of money.” Let me be real honest here. Those words actually kind of tick me off. What is it that the general population has the notion that everyone who has adopted won the lottery or inherited a boatload of money or their income generates enormous amounts of money? Seriously?

This is what I want to say to each of those who have said that to me:

God’s heart is for the orphan. He longs for every single one of the orphans to be in a family. When a family purposes in their heart to bring one (or a dozen) home God will move every single mountain, hill, bump, embankment and obstacle (financial, immigration, job situations, health issues, etc.) to bring them home. Bar none. There is not one thing that He cannot and will not do or move to bring home an orphan to a family (or single mom) whose heart is willing.

That being said, I am convinced that Almighty God is looking to see how serious we are.

In fact let me go out on a limb here……I am equally convinced that HE will bless each one’s home immensely when they choose to bring a little one home. He will bless beyond measure, beyond what anyone could have dreamed or hoped. The blessings won’t necessarily come in ways that were expected, but they will come ~ and hearts and homes will overflow in abundance.

Over the years I have run into many nice and often well-intentioned people who are “pursuing the American dream”. They have duped themselves into thinking that this is where happiness and joy come from, that this is their “right”. They’ve gone to school for “it”, they’ve then worked for it, thus they’ve earned it and so they most definitely deserve it. Really?

Friends, God did not put us on this earth to indulge ourselves. He put us here for one purpose and one purpose alone. And that purpose would not be to die with the most toys. In fact if a person is someone who easily generates money, it is a gifting from God and it is only for the purpose of giving away. It is not to hoard or spend frivilously. It is to give to those in need.

He put us here to love Him first and serve others. Period. To care for the orphan and widow. To minister to the poor. To live selflessly. In fact “selflessly” is defined this way:
“having little or no concern for oneself, especially with regard to fame, position, money”
“devoted to others' welfare or interest and not one's own”.

But serving others boils down to a few basic things… giving up our selfishness and our stuff. Giving up the pleasures as we know them. Giving up our time (ouch! That’s a big one, probably equal to the “money thing”). Giving up our freedoms. Giving up the things that tie us down, both financially and materialistically.

And frankly speaking, if you don’t want to give anything up, then you’re right – you can’t adopt. It takes an intentional act of our will to live selflessly - to be able to “afford” to adopt.

We could have hid behind the “we can’t afford it” and rightfully so. Dw's a pastor. We have had many, many medical bills and expenses (wheelchairs, canes, handicap accessible ‘stuff’) over the years dealing with the Multiple Sclerosis, etc.

But here’s the bare-naked truth. We decided to go against the flow (just like many of you did!). We decided to “throw caution to the wind”. We opted to cause all our peers to shake their heads. We voted for sleepless nights (at our age!) - waking up to put little ones who’ve fallen out of bed back in, or snuggling with a little one who’s throwing up or coughing or having a bad dream. We chose more kids knowing that we would be denying ourselves more “stuff”, fewer invites out, more clutter, endless bickering to break up, more medical bills, more teen years to maneuver through and more weddings to pay for. We knew what we were getting into and ran for it anyway!

So how exactly did we pay for each of the four adoptions we’ve done in the last just over 2 years?

Well! We opted to sell our big home and get out of mortgage debt. We had lived mortgage free for many years, until we moved to this expensive town. So we took our equity, built a sweet home and then turned around and sold it, so we could, once again, be mortgage free.
With our equity we opted to buy something half the size and in wrecker condition, but not have a mortgage. We opted to have two yard sales where we sold everything that we could. (Both yard sales together we made $3,300. – that’s a lot of junk sold!) (On a separate note, only the things that were most loved of all did we not part with, but ended up losing in the fire. I sometimes wonder if there is a spiritual nugget in that, and one day if the Lord should give me clarity I will write about it.) We opted to sell our beautiful camper that held tons of fun memories....

And since many are visual learners and can picture it better…..let me put it this way....

By our choice, we said good-bye to this beautiful home we built:

To trade "up" and have no more mortgage at this little log home:

That meant trading this kitchen that held some really fun memories.....

And the beautiful Colorado great room with a huge loft.....

For this log home with this view from it's loft:

We chose to SIMPLIFY our lives....

and that became our "theme song"...

Ya' know? A Place Called Simplicity

So that we could snuggle with this treasure from China.....

And this treasure from Africa......

And this Princess from Africa.....

And this Princess From China.....

Knowing that our view would no longer be this from that home....

And our family picture would no longer look like this.....

But instead we would have our arms full and our hearts overflowing.....

And, no, we wouldn't trade the journey nor do we wish for our old lives back....

We are so grateful for the simpler life (even with all the pain we have walked this past year)....our hearts are thankful that we've heard the cry of the orphan and we were obedient to God's plea...cause serving Christ and serving others is the only way to true happiness.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

True Story Tuesday - Graham & Emma

Since we celebrated Graham's birthday just a few days back, I thought it would be a good time to tell you a hysterical story from when he and Emmy were little. With all the things that Isaiah, Elijah and Elizabeth have gotten into, lest you think that they are the only ones who can be's a true story from just a few years back.

We were pastoring outside Richmond, Virginia and living in the house (pictured below) with a nice big kitchen. Emma was probably 4 and that would make Graham 3. They were inseparable (still are) and always lookin' out for the other. I had always prayed that I could have some kids really close together because it sounded like so much fun. Emmy and Graham together didn't disappoint me. Really, they never argued. They had a blast running, snuggling, playing and yes, getting into trouble together! Best buds to be sure.

Well this particular day I was doing dishes and Emma and Graham were playing right behind me. You know how that is? Mind totally preoccupied as I worked away at the dishes, but in the back of my head quasi-listening to them playing. As long as I could hear their voices, all was good.

A little background: Graham, from the time he was old enough to toddle, would take all the Cool Whip containers and Tupperware bowls out of the cupboard and line them up just right to play his "drums" with spoons. He did this We knew after watching him do this day after day that one day he would be an accomplished drummer. No doubt, it was a prophetic forecast! That kid sure can play!

Anyway, this particular day they had gotten all the containers out, and I could hear their voices chattering to each other right behind me, so I wasn't really paying attention.


All of a sudden.

It got real quiet.

And I heard Emma's little voice say rather disgustedly,

"Oh greeeeeat Graham! You got it on Mom's wallpaper."

Huh? My mind whirled. They were playing drums, weren't they? Those words certainly woke me out of my mommy-stupor!

I whipped my head around to find that Emma and Graham had not been playing drums with the containers. Not at all. They had, instead, lined them up all along the wall. Probably 12 containers lined up flush against the wall.

And there was my sweet baby boy, britches completely pulled down and holding his you-know-what with his chubby little hands as he slowly walked along "depositing" his liquid yellow gold in each of the containers with almost perfect by one.....and helpful Miss Emma holding his elbow helping him steady himself as he walked along.....


How do kids think these things up? I laughed and laughed. I mean, really.....what the heck?

And we still laugh today, "Oh greeeeeeat got it on Mom's wallpaper."

True Story Tuesday is brought to you by my sweet friends Rach and Mr. Daddy over at Once Upon a Miracle - join in the fun - I'm sure all of you have some hysterical kid stories to tell of your own.......

Monday, February 22, 2010

Memorial Box Monday - Check These Out!- New names added

New names & blogs added!!

Yippee Jesus! These ladies have joined the

Memorial Box Monday group!!

Check out their stories.....cause they are sure to build your faith!!

Shannon @ Throwing Our Arms Open Wide

Leah @ Fast Time of.....The Wentzels?

Stephanie @ Prose from Printy

Karen @ Karen Dawkins

Kathie @ Goodness and Mercy Shall Follow

The Neiboer News

Leigha @ My Snuggle Saurus

Marci @ She Can Laugh

Tina @ One Blessed Nest

Memorial Box Monday - One Rubber Duck

From time to time I will be repeating some of our Memorial Box Monday stories. I feel that I am supposed to repeat this one today because of a current situation we are in. I'll explain in a couple of minutes (at the bottom). Also, if you do a Memorial Box Monday post, just tell me and I will link in a post later today. Do it! Do it! Do it!

Anyway, Memorial Box Monday is a time of remembering all the things God has done. Huge, gigantic things as well as things that might seem insignificant to most. God's word is clear: We are to cast every care upon Him, because He cares for us. (I Peter 5:7). "Every care" means just that - every care!

Many years ago we were pastoring outside the Richmond, Virginia area where we had planted a church. We had a home on 15 acres and really wanted a swimming pool as we had six or seven kids at home at the time. Not a fancy pool, just a pool to splash around and cool off in. We started praying for one. We asked the Lord to provide a very specific pool. God's word also says, "You have not because you ask not." Based on that scripture we decided many years ago that when we bring our requests to the Lord we need to ask specifically.

So we asked for a pool that was shaped like a figure 8 and was used (but in great condition), so it would be very affordable. There was a used/swap kind of newspaper that was for Richmond and surrounding areas. I started checking that. Before long I realized that that little used/swap paper covered many miles. Some places advertising could be hours away. So I changed my prayer - Lord, you know how busy Dw is, could you please provide a used, figure 8 pool right here in our neighborhood of our little town? Now if you knew how rural and little this town was, you would have laughed. Dw did. Come on, what are the odds that a used, figure 8 pool right was right nearby? Odds in the world's eyes? Slim! But in God's eyes? *giggle* =)

Before long we were leaving to go to Western New York for our family vacation. Just before leaving I saw an ad in that little used/swap paper. It was for a used, figure 8 above ground pool that had only been used one season. It was for $700.00. And where was it listed? In our little very rural town!!

I called the man and left a message, but didn't hear back. =( We left on vacation. I thought about that pool and asked the Lord to hold it for us till we got back two weeks later. When we got home there was a message on our answering machine. It said, "Don't know if you are still interested, but my pool has not sold." =)

Dw had already gone to the church office, so I called the guy. He explained that he had just bought the house, the pool was in the backyard, he didn't want it and he had the receipt that it was only one year old. The previous owner had paid about $5,000.00 for it!! I said I would call my husband, but just before he hung up he said, "Listen, I just really want it out of here...I will sell it to you for $500.00" I was so excited (as I despise negotiating - ugh!!)

I hung up and called Dw. I forgot in my excitement to tell Dw that he had lowered the price to $500. Well Dw called the man and was talking to him about the pool and said, "My wife told me about the pool, but I can't even remember how much you are asking." He said, "I started at $700. but really I just want it gone. I will sell it to you for $300.00." When Dw called me I was whooping, come on now friends - it started at $700.00, was just $500 and in the time it took for me to tell Dw and have Dw call him right back he had dropped it by $200 dollars!!

Dw called me to tell me we were going to look at it and it was $300. I was laughing - come on dude, we aren't even there yet and you are dropping the price like a crazy man!! We said we would come to see it the next day. Where did that guy live? *giant giggles* Being there is rural farmland - he lived approximately 60 houses from us! =) We went to look at it the next day. He wanted to show us the receipt. It had just been installed the year before by the previous owner for over $5,000. It was a figure 8. It was wonderful!!

Then the man said, "I really think you will need a new liner because of the heat shrinking it (or something like this)...I just don't feel comfortable selling it to you for $300, how about just for $200.?" LOL So for $200 we drove away with an almost brand spanking new pool which we didn't even have to negotiate for - it brought us boatloads of fun for the years we pastored
there and it daily reminded us that God is into the details - if we just ask!! Yippee Jesus!

And so in our Memorial Box there was a little rubber ducky representing the swimming fun of a pool (picture taken prior to fire)....A Memorial Box is explained in detail right here.
And why did I need to remind myself of this story? Because we have been praying and looking for a van/little bus for months that would accomodate all of us - seven kids, Dw & I and Uncle Mark (and a few more). We have asked the Lord to provide one by March 3rd as we have will be leaving to take Jubilee to the doctor in Denver. We have found some that look interesting, but they are in Ohio and far away places like that, which would take a few days to drive it back. So I have been feeling like the Lord is saying, "Can you not ask me again to provide one close by?" (ouch, yes, Lord, I should have learned that lesson from the swimming pool, huh?)
So here I am reminding myself that He was faithful with the pool, He will be faithful with a vehicle as well. See just how important a Memorial Box is? Ouch, ouch, ouch.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Don't Ya' Need a New Tee-Shirt?

My sweet friends, Amie & Stefanie sent me two tee-shirts for my 51st birthday from their Wild Olive Tee-shirt Company. I first wore them in China (pictured below) and absolutely love them. They are the most comfortable shirts I have ever had.
Bar none.
Not kidding at all.
Not even slightly. (Thank you so much guys!)
Recently Amie wrote to me and told me that Wild Olive was selling a tee-shirt with ALL the proceeds going to relief work in Haiti.

You can click on the Wild Olive Shirt for more information. What kind of sweet deal is that?!!

Wild Olive

I am placing my will be an act of faith though....cause with all the snow we keep getting, it's not lookin' like Spring is comin' anytime soon. ugh.

PS And for those who have written and asked about the missions trip to Africa - WOW - We are soooo excited!! We know that God has a specific team planned and are so stoked that there will be some bloggy friends joining in. We will be sending out the applications tomorrow. So keep your eyes peeled!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Uncle Mark & Being Grateful This Thankful Thursday

Many of you have asked about Uncle Mark and how the adjustment is going and many of you have been praying for him and us as we all adjust. Thank you. So I have written this post, rewritten it, and written it again. It is so not in my character to complain, because there is nothing in life to complain about. Every person who is reading this has at least one eye to read it with, a computer to use, electricity, probably a warm place to sit and read it. Most likely you had a warm meal today too. And if you are really blessed you had a piece of chocolate somewhere in there. =) Complaining should really be illegal, as far as I see it.

And on that note, I just never, ever want this to come across as complaining. I love having Mark here. If he were to have gone to live somewhere else, I would have felt ripped off. He is a treasure. Period. No matter what though, whenever someone comes to live in a home, from newborn to a 70 year old mentally handicapped man, there's gonna' be adjustments. Hear my heart......

From the time Dw and I were first married 31+ years ago, we just kind of planned that one day Mark would come live with us. We have expected it, talked about it and yes, we've wanted it. We are family.

Infact we built this house with five bedrooms. Of course, we have seven kids at home, so there would be an extra guest room knowing that one day Mark would be in it. Surprise! It was only empty three weeks, how crazy is that??

Mark's handicap has him somewhere around a 5 year old. Think about most five year olds you know.....He loves attention, even craves it. He loves to talk!! He has never met a stranger. He loves to hear what people say about him. He loves to hear that over and over! (and over!). So if we go somewhere without him, he always wants to know if someone asked about him. I try to remember to mention this to friends, so they can indeed ask about him and then I can tell him that they asked about him.

He was never really required to do many chores around his home, and so he is learning to do little things around the house, like put dishes away. I have had to explain to him that we are a big family and a team and everyone on the team has to pitch in.

He never even got his own drink of water at home so he has had many adjustments. =) On a funny note.....He has had a habit of burping without saying "excuse me"....which just for the record, I cannot stand burping. It just grosses me out. Forgive me bloggy friends, if you can burp with the best of just is something that I have never been into. So I have had to ask him to learn to say "excuse me" when he belches. I told him that he has to be an example to the kids. This has been a repeated learning curve and so recently I said, "Gracious Mark! You burp all the time and how is it that you never learned to say 'excuse me'??!" He said, "You should hear Mom!" Oh my! My mother-in-law would just croak if she had heard him "tell all". But yes, I know from first hand experience that he is not kidding. Too funny.
Mark has been lonely for his mom. He cannot talk about her without crying. It makes us cry too. No wonder - he lived with her for 70 years!! He calls her and talks to her and in a couple of months he will be able to go visit her, Lord willing.

He misses his friends in his hometown: Perry, New York. His days would consist of walking downtown and making the rounds of the stores and shops. At most stores he would get a Pepsi and often a candy bar. He had put on alot of weight. That's not good for him. So when he came I said, "Mark I want you to live to be 100....but you cannot keep eating the candy bars and drinking the sodas to do that." Each night my mother-in-law would give him a big dessert in the evening too.

Since coming home to our house, he usually eats a tangerine before bed and only drinks Pepsi on Fridays. He hasn't balked about it, and no doubt he has lost weight!! It is so much healthier for him.

I found a Special Olympics 'club' for him and he now goes two evenings a week to play basketball. He has been over-the-moon happy about that. Jerry, Dw's bud, set him up with some sneakers and sweat pants (I took the pics of him so you could see....he said, "you going to put it on feemale Linn?" ("Female" is how he says "email".) He also has a new bag another friend of ours gave him to carry his sneakers in and he is soooo proud of it! (Thanks Ben!)

We can tell that he is so thrilled that after all the years of watching Dw play basketball in high school, it is finally his turn!! Sad he had to wait 70 years, huh? To our knowledge he has never had a 'uniform' nor has he ever played anything!! We are tickled for him. There is a chance that he can play on the official Special Olympics team from our town.......we'll see. For now, he practices with them.

We want Mark to know how welcome he is and that he is one of ours. Last night the kids came home from Youth group and Emma, Graham and Josh were sitting in our bedroom laughing and telling us of some of the stuff that happened (which is another post for another time - hilarious!) so we called Mark to come sit in the bedroom with us all laughing and talking.

So for now, we are settling into a new normal. We are looking for a big van or bus (you think I'm kidding?) for all of us to ride in. We are running Mark here and there along with the rest of the kids. (My mom has helped with some running too! - Thank you Mom! We love you!! xo)

I cannot help but know that our kids will be blessed for having Uncle Mark live with us as they are growing up. So many people are so stinkin' selfish in life. We pray that this breeds "others focused" instead of "navel gazing". We pray that they always love those around them who have special needs. That they understand that Uncle Mark could be any one of us. He is a treasure and made in the image of Almighty God and we are grateful that we have the privilege of having him live with us.....long, loud burps and all.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

And The Winner Is......

You guys sure have made me many new friends since I announced the giveaway of another Memorial Box. It's not too late to join in....just have to become a follower. I have had lots of fun checking in on many of your blogs....and bummed when some of you just have a profile but no blog listed, or worse yet - a private blog! ugh.

So what exactly is it about women that we love to win stuff so much??!

I'm right there with ya sisters!!!

I thought it would be fun to tease y'all and show you where I found

the Memorial Box that I'm giving away to one of you.

I found it on our "RV" trip at this adorable little shop outside Perry, New York:

Drum roll it is.....The one I'm giving Away....

it's kind of a smaller version of

our family's new one.....sweet, huh?

And as always, we would sure love you to join in a Memorial Box Monday posts of your own.

Please feel free to grab this button....from the right sidebar.

The winner of this Memorial Box Giveaway is.......



My Nine Lives

Interestingly enough, I titled a blogpost the other day "Okay, Carla Here Ya Go"....just for the record, they are two very different Carla's. =) Just in case you wondered if it was all rigged. Liberty did the drawing for the contest.

And tomorrow we are giving away something else...but what could it be?

My bad.

Wait till you find out.