Shine Like Stars

Shine like stars in the universe as we hold out the Word of life (Phil. 2:15)
We're not trying to be rock stars but just shed some light on a sad and lonely world. Stay tuned for how God works through weak and tired, sometimes really cranky vessels.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sleeping beauties

Melia has had some issues falling asleep lately. She usually falls asleep really quickly and has no problems sleeping in her crib. For about a week now she's been insane when it comes to sleep time. She screams and freaks out.

We've been doing a lot of rocking her to sleep but she knows that we're going to put her down eventually so she's been resisting falling asleep.

Last Tuesday she had (sorry this is gonna be gross) an explosive poopy when I went in to get her in the morning. This is highly unusual for her, in fact it's never happened before. Since then she has had a really hard time sleeping. So, we've been trying some unconventional things.

Addie's bed (which she doesn't sleep in because she likes to sleep in the boys room) is a day bed and I turned it so the opening is now facing the wall and it's like a really big crib. She was a little bit happier about sleeping there but it didn't quite do the trick, she still flipped out when we left the room.

Then I got really smart. I talked Addie into sleeping with Melia and bang! She now sleeps! The trick is to get Addie to fall asleep first (which isn't really a trick cause she falls asleep 2 seconds after she puts her head down).

Aren't they ridiculously cute?
Melia loves unbuttoning her shirt.....

So, who knows how long this system will last for, but I'm just so glad that Melia's screaming cycle is over. It was really sad.

While I was talking to our agency's family life education lady today. I realized that the poop in the crib was maybe a trigger to her early days as in infant. When we received her referral last September she had an enlarged spleen. All the doctors we talked to said that she could have had a case of malaria or something earlier in her life. So, I'm thinking that she maybe had a lot of messy poopy incidents as babe and last weeks incident triggered emotions in her. Of course all of that is speculation. But it helps for me to think through all of those things so that I can try to help her move past bumps in the road.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy Melia Day!!

I can't believe it's been a year since we finally got to hold our baby girl.
She wasn't so sure about us for the first few hours but she quickly realized we weren't giving her up and gave in. I am amazed at how much she has grown since we first met.
Here's the post we wrote a year ago about our first week with Melia Serawit.
I'm pretty amazed that all the things we learned about her in those first 7 days are still true,
well maybe not the shy part.

sorry these pictures are so huge, i've got issues...

I am amazed at the joy (and the volume) this girl has brought into our home.
The wonder of Melia has not worn off. All of us are still pretty enamored with her. Just last week Caleb got in trouble for waking her up from her nap because he "missed her".
Anyway, she's super great.
I can't believe it's been a year since she saw us and broke out into tears.
It's amazing how love can heal and how her love has forever changed us.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Advent Devotional

This year we are doing this advent devotional..... The Jesse Tree Journey. It's so easy to do and it's all on line. You can print out each day's devotional or you can just read it online which is what I am doing. It also has all of the ornaments available to be printed. So yesterday we printed all the ornaments, cut them out and glued them on construction paper. Then we painted our tree....

We started out with paint brushes....

Then we decided to dive in and just use our hands.
Melia wasn't too sure about it at first but then she loved it.

Occupational hazard

Cute cast girl!!

Here's our finished project. A little, funky tree.
Each night we will do our devotional and add a paper ornament.

We are also reading this book .... Barthlomew's Passage

I'm all about advent over here!!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Done and done.

Our kitchen floor is finished! Yay! I've hated our floor since the day we moved in almost 6 years ago but I just lived with it. The last couple of years I really started to hate it. I felt like I was always cleaning it yet it still looked dirty. We were planning on having my dad help us put ceramic tile in and when we pulled up the old floor we found hardwood underneath. It was underneath years and years of adhesive glue and lots of other layers of flooring. We found a guy who said he would finish it for us for cheaper than we could have bought materials for the tiling project so we went for it. Here's how it turned out....
It's a lot darker than our other floor (as you can see)
but it's a heck of a lot better than what we had before
so I'm happy.

The older kids got to sleep in our room tonight
since their room is downstairs and it's
really smelly down there.
They were excited about the impromptu sleeping party.

Now for Kids Say the Darnest Things....

Nathan spent a good chunk of his day with my dad aka Bubba. We had to be out of the house all day and my dad stopped by this morning to check on the floor situation. Nathan hitched a ride with him and hung out with him for the rest of the day. Which was great for him. He's my little introvert who's forced to be around all of us all day. He enjoyed being the only child with Grammy and Bubba today.

For some reason, he decided my dad was an "old man" and told my dad that numerous times today. Tonight at dinner he looked at my mom and said "Grammy, I have bad news for you. Bubba's an old man." Hahaha. I love that funny kid.

Then tonight as I was tucking the kids in Addie asked me to pray for her. I started praying... "Lord, I pray for Addie." She interrupts me... "Mom, my first name is A-dul"
Another funny kid. I love it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Inside out?

Maybe I'm the only mom that thinks this but my children are way harder to parent while we are around other people. They are excitable and attention-seeking, they are mommy-needy and sometimes do inappropriate things.

I know I'm not painting them in the best light.... they really are amazing kids. At home we have a pretty good flow going on and aren't as crazy. And the other day I took them to a playplace at a busy mall and while we were leaving I thought "Wow, my kids are great. Those crazy kids at the playland made them look like angels." So, they really are great... but shocker of shockers.... they're kids!

I realize that the busier that I am the more irritable I am with the poor cuties that are stuck with me. We have a lot of things going on around here and we drag our kiddos along on that ride. I need to be better at saying "no" to some things so I won't be quite so cranky. I also feel the need to care less about what others think of my children and my parenting. I'm not a super self conscious person, but sometimes when we are around other people I feel this yucky feeling rising up in me. I want my kids to behave well because that reflects well on me. My focus often turns from caring about what's going on inside of my kids or myself and quickly turns to having a good outward appearance.

Earlier this week I was reading about a time when Jesus was talking with the religious leaders of his day and they were challenging him because his disciples had "unclean hands" and didn't wash as the religious people did before eating meals.
Then Jesus in his amazing way of calling people out said "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.' You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of man."

Jesus wasn't (and isn't) concerned about outward appearances. He cares about what's going on inside our hearts. That is super reassuring to me. I don't need to be concerned about what our sometimes crazy family looks like to other people. I need to focus on blessing the little people I have been blessed with and as I continually refocus myself on His Kingdom then I have no space to focus on my/my kids outward appearances.

Maybe that makes sense to you. Maybe not. It felt good to write out some of the thoughts that have been bouncing around in my cloudy head.

I enjoyed these posts about mommy busy-ness and the need to slow down. Thanks Angel and Aimee.

Monday, November 15, 2010

All I want for Christmas...?

Tonight at dinner Caleb randomly asked "So Dad, what do you want for Christmas?"
Michael was pondering his answer when Caleb piped in with...
"Now that Melia's home you don't want anything, huh?"

That cute, random boy made me realize that Melia hasn't even been home for a year yet! It seems like she's been here forever. I love that every Christmas time we will get to remember the awesome gift we have in her. That's going to be a fun thing to think about as advent is coming up around the corner.

Last year our Christmas season was a whirlwind. Usually, I'm an elf. I love to decorate (I usual end up putting up my sister's tree and help my parents with their's, I love Christmas music and just get really excited about everything. But last year we were preparing to leave the country and I was a basket case. I just wanted to have Melia in my arms and I did not want to leave my other babies. In all the chaos my Christmas elfiness was lost. This year elf will be back (Caleb's my sidekick) and I'll be decorating away! I'm so glad this year we'll get to relax and bask in the blessings the Lord has given our family!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


This is our dishwasher.
We found it on the side of the road 5 years ago. It works great. It's a little irritating that you
have to move it to the sink in order to turn it on but it works and it was free so we're happy.
Just so we're clear, it is not attached to the floor.

This is our beautiful daughter....

Addie vs. Dishwasher...

The dishwasher won.

I'm not exactly sure what happened. I was in the dinning room. She was in the kitchen talking about the colors of the plates in the dishwasher (we were actually discussing the differences between dark and light blue) then I heard a crash and ran just in time to pull the dishwasher off of my baby. Lots of screaming and dishes breaking and other children running to the scene to find out what happened.

She was such a trooper the doctors said she was an amazing patient. She was a shell of herself for hours as she tried to cope with the pain. Meanwhile I was running through the worse case scenarios wondering if the dishwasher hit her in the head and knocked her senseless because she wasn't acting like herself and didn't want to talk, just wanted to cuddle and looked really pale.
While the docs were examining her arm she was so brave. She didn't want to cry and did a great job at coping with the pain.
Then the x-ray lady showed her face. I know she was just doing her job but it takes a special
person to be able to twist a baby girls broken arm through all the screaming in order to
take a picture. To add to that she made Michael hold the hand in place while she took the x-ray. That was the worst part though and it was over quickly.
When the doctors came in and said she needed a cast I was relieved. I was envisioning surgery and a closed head injury.
Literally a minute after the cast was on Addie completely perked up. She started smiling and got off my lap for the first time in hours. It was amazing. Her arm felt so much better!
I feel blessed that she wasn't hurt more and that we had
a great experience at the hospital.
Of course in 8 weeks I probably will be complaining about being sick of the cast,
but for now I'm praising the Lord!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I (heart) AR

I love Africa Revolution and I think you will too. Check them out. Oh, and I'm happy to say that we're related to this awesome couple!!

What this video about their vision to include Africans in their volunteer work. It's an awesome idea and they need help in supporting the Africans volunteering this next year. Allan explains it better than I do....

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Great chapter...

So weeks ago I shared that I was reading this book... Christ of the Indian Road. Well I finished it and I loved it. I wrote a little about it here.
This chapter so stuck out to me that I'm going to share it. I know most people won't read it and that's cool with me. I just feel compelled to share it.


Jesus taught but he did not speculate. He never used words such as "perhaps," "maybe," "I think so." Even his words had a concrete feeling about them. They fell upon the soul with the authority of certainty.

He did not discourse on the sacredness of motherhood-he suckled as a babe at his mother's breast, and that scene has forever consecrated motherhood.

He did not argue that life was a growth and character an attainment- he "grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men."

He did not speculate on why temptation should be in the world- he met it, and after 40 days' struggle with it in the wilderness he conquered, and "returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee."

He did not discourse on the dignity of labor- he worked at a carpenter's bench and his hands were hard with the toil of making yokes and plows, and this forever makes toil of the hands honorable.

As he came among men he did not try to prove the existence of God- he brought him. He lived in God and men looking upon his face could not find it in themselves to doubt God.

He did not argue, as Socrates, the immortality of the soul- he raised the dead.

He did not speculate on how God was a Trinity- he said, "If I by the Spirit of God cast out devils, the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you." Here the Trinity - "I," "Spirit of God," "God"- was not something to be speculated about but a working force for redemption.

He did not teach in didactic way about the worth of children- he put his hands upon them and blessed them and setting one in their midst tersely said, "Of such is the kingdom of God," and he raised them from the dead.

He did not argue that God answers prayer- he prayed, sometimes all night, and in the morning "the power of the Lord was present to heal."

He did not paint in glowing colors the beauties of friendship and the need for human sympathy- he wept at the grave of his friend.

He did not argue the worth of womanhood and the necessity for giving them equal rights- he treated them with infinite respect, gave them his most sublime teaching, and when he rose from the dead he appeared first to a woman.

He did not teach in the schoolroom manner the necessity of humility- he "girded himself with a towel and kneeled down and washed his disciples' feet."

He did not discuss the question of the worth of personality as we do today- he loved and served persons.

He did not discourse on the equal worth of personality- he went to the poor and outcast and ate with them.

He did not prove how pain and sorrow in the universe could be compatible with the love of God- he took on himself at the cross everything that spoke against the love of God, and through that pain and tragedy and sin showed the very love of God.

Ok, I was too ambitious. That's only a couple of pages and I'm too tired to keep going. The chapter is called The Concrete Christ. I love ESJ's focus on the person of Christ.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mommy Confession-- I don't want what's best for my kids

There's an attention getter for you!

I have moments where I second guess myself and my choices, recently-- "Should I really be homeschooling these boys?" My boys are smart, and I'm not just saying that because I'm their momma. They pretty much taught themselves how to read and they can soak up insane amounts of information. I'm not saying that they are smarter then everyone else's children, but they are pretty bright kids. So, I have moments when I think are we doing what's best for them? Should they be in an actual school, where people who get paid to teach them and are not constantly distracted by toddler girls and the desire for more coffee. Is this what's best for them?

Then I thought.... I don't care about what's best for them. Ultimately I do care, but as a Jesus-loving momma, I care about showing them Christ and that means me following Christ. And right now I feel like this is where He's leading. So my job isn't to do and figure out what's best for my kids but rather to point them to Christ. Now, don't get me wrong-- this is not a blog post about how homeschooling is best and that every Jesus loving parent should homeschool. It's exactly the opposite, everyone should experience Christ and figure out what that looks like in their family.

Speaking of experiencing Christ. Caleb has been struggling with some fear issues. He's got macho man type tendencies and instead of telling
us he's afraid of something he changes the subject and uses distraction techniques to avoid the issue. Tonight I put the girls to bed then went out with some friends. Before I left the boys were well on their way to snoozeland so I figured they'd be sleeping when I got home. I walk in the door and Michael says "you have to deal with him, I'm done." To which I laughed because I used that phrase many times when comes home from work about any given child. :)...I digress.

So I got Caleb out of bed, sat him down and said let's talk about what you're afraid of. He says poisonous bugs (ok, really?). So I go the route of 'there's no poisonous bugs in our house you are completely safe'. He wasn't buying it so I said 'who made bugs? who made you? who can take care of all your needs?' 'God, God, God.' He knew the answers but I could tell it wasn't going to make a difference in his mind tonight. So I told him to get in bed and that I'd come lay down with him in a minute.

Meanwhile I prayed. What makes the difference in my life when I'm stressed or tired or scared. Experiencing .Christ. makes .the .difference. When I'm stressed I think - the Lord has faithfully gotten me through many crazy times in the past. When I'm tired I think - the Lord longs for me to rest in him.

So I climbed into Caleb's bed and we spent some time remembering the cool things Jesus did while he was on the earth. Healing people, calming storms, loving the unloved, defending the defenseless, feeding the hungry and other stuff. We talked about how Jesus was with Caleb all the time and he's able to handle anything Caleb's afraid of. He's a big God. Then I prayed, and my sweet boy nodded his head the whole time in agreement. When I was finished I said I believe Jesus is going to bless you with an awesome nights rest and good dreams. He said 'me too.'

It was a good moment for me to lead my boy to experience Christ instead of pushing his fears aside. Because in his head those fears are really big. But in my life I've seen how no matter how big the problem, Christ is bigger.

My biggest hope is that my kids experience that too. It's not that they have the best of everything available but that they live in the knowledge of Jesus being a radical guy who is still asking us to live radically with him. I trust that if they are loving Jesus they're getting the best. So ultimately I do want what's best for my kids, it just looks a little different and my decision making process has to reflect that.

Matthew 7:9-11
Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, as bad as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sibling joy

Sometimes it's rough having siblings....
you have to share your parents with other little people,
you have to exercise a lot of patience since someone is usually have having a meltdown,
you have to share everything,
while riding in the car you have to wait until your sister stops screaming so your mommy can hear you, the list could go on and on.

Even though having a lot of sibs can be difficult at times. It definitely has it's perks.
I love that my boys love and understand each other in ways beyond me-they have some serious brotherhood happening.
I love that my girls freak out when the other one cries (even though many times the non-crying girl is the culprit for the tears).
I love that when one kid reaches a milestone the others are freakishly excited ~ Nathan riding a bike, Melia walking, Addie pooping on the potty, and so on. Sometimes it's weird things like "wow, Addie can stick a raisin up her nose!"
It's also great that when one sibling is in a bad mood you can always find someone else to laugh with.

All that being said, being a mommy to 4 little ones can be rough at times.
Like going out to dinner or going to Bible study or trying to have a conversation with an adult or even completing a thought.

There are times, like tonight, when little people want me to cuddle them at night because they are scared, and I'm all 'No thanks, I'm kinda done with the mommy thing. How 'bout you hop into bed with your sister.' I recommended the sister because she often climbs into my bed around 4am with a blankie and a boatload of other random things she sleeps with. So I'm hoping she'll feel the warm body and stay in her bed. He does and this happens....

I slept with one sister or another until they each moved out of the house (it's rough being the youngest). The running theory on why my siblings and I married young is because we hated sleeping alone. Good times, good times.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Yay!! My new Tom's. Do you see Ethiopia on my foot?
So cool. I love them!

My first cornrows.
Not the best work but my girl did such a good job and was
so patient with me.
It took a long time to do these 6 braids. I'm planning on doing
the back tomorrow.

Where's Toto?

Melia really wanted the wig on then
left it on for 3.2 seconds.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


My friend Trenda took pictures of my kids last spring. Since I haven't put up new pictures in a long time. I asked to create a collage for me and this is what it turned out like. Isn't it amazing?Check out her blog 6 Little Feet.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tea Party

Apparently, clothing was optional at this tea party....

Between the two of them they have a whole outfit on...

By the looks of it, Melia's tea was spiked :)

While the boys were away this weekend, we did some girly things. Mainly stayed in our jammies all morning and just hung out. Addie spent some q.t. with aunt Meg so I could get some homework done, it's amazing how productive I can be with just one little person around. Then I watched a scary movie with my friend, Elena (cause that's the smart thing to do when your husband's not home!) At least I got some exercise out of it. During the really freaky parts I was jumping around like a crazy person..... I hope Elena still wants to be my friend after that crazy display.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I'm excited about this...

Christ of the Indian Road by E. Stanley Jones

Amazing book written in the 1920's. I'm just going to share quotes that I'm loving. Enjoy....

~The Mayflower that carried the Pilgrim Fathers to religious liberty in America went on her next trip for a load of slaves. The good ship "Jesus" was in the slave trade for our fathers. Is it to be wondered at that race and color prejudice still exists in the West in spite of Christianity? It came in with it.

~It is a most significant thing for India and the world that a great people of amazing spiritual capacities is seeing, with remarkable insight, that Christ is the center of Christianity, that utter commitment to him and catching his mind and spirit, and living his life constitute a Christian.~

That is awesome reminder to me what a Christian is. It's not dependent on what church we go to or what semantics we use. It's about Christ and catching his mind and spirit-- to do that I have to spend time with him.

~As Bossuet says, 'Whenever Christianity has struck out a new path in her journey it has been because the personality of Jesus has again become living, and a ray from his being has once more illuminated the world. ~

All of that was just from the Introduction. I have a feeling I'm gonna love this book. Anyone want to join me in reading it???

Thursday, October 14, 2010

More Birthday Fun

We usually don't buy our kids big gifts.
I outdid myself this time- I bought her a package of
ping-pong balls and pretended that putting in different
plastic bowls was really fun.
She had fun with that for a few minutes then decided
shaking them and wearing the bowl on her head was more fun.
She was right.

These two were "helping" me make dinner while the
other ones were at soccer practice. We had breakfast for dinner.
Melia always covers her ears when the blender is on because it's
"too woud"!
Tonight she was busy eating a frozen strawberry so Nathan being the
sweet boy he is covered her ears for her!

Daddy and Birthday girl

Swapping tastes

Happy 2nd Birthday Melia

Bubba met Melia and I at an Ethiopian restaurant for lunch
My girl loves Ethiopian food!

Impromptu birthday party at Aunt Mamee's house,
Melia thought she should try out Micah's new costume.
Cute Birthday Girl!!
Sweet cousins..

I love that just getting part of my
family together looks like a party...
Yummy cake kiss

More to come when we celebrate when Daddy gets home.