Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 241 (part 2) - In Other News...

I have spent the last few days blogging about the Friends of Fanose fund which means I haven't posted much about my precious babies! Oh no! How will the world survive without daily updates about my sweeties...haha!

We are expecting a call any day from Jonah's caseworker to let us know the results of the test he took a couple months ago. We are pretty sure we know what the test will reveal, but we are keeping our fingers crossed that everyone will be shocked by the results :o)

Jonah is currently cutting his second tooth (on the bottom) and has been crawling all over the house! Having three mobile girls and one immobile baby is one thing...having four mobile kids is a totally different ballgame! Whew! He is keeping me on my toes, but I LOVE it! It is so precious to watch that sweet baby develop on track and defy all of the odds.

Sunday marked a big day in Jonah's life...
He had his very first McDonald's french fry :o) He loved it and wanted another one, and then another, and another, you get the point :o)

There are four things I want to share with you about this picture...
1. This picture was taken during our THREE HOUR visit to Wal-Mart last Sunday. As we were loading into the car after church, Neil noticed that two of the tires on our family mobile were pretty worn so we stopped by Wal-Mart on our way home to get two tires changed. Is there anything worse than having to buy two new tires? The answer is Yes. Having to buy three! I think buying new tires is just about the worst way to have to spend your money! Haha! Luckily, the kids were easily entertained in the toy aisle :o)

2. See the dress Hillary Ashton is wearing? I wish I would have gotten a better picture of it! Anyways, it is soooooooo cute! A few weeks ago, I decided to buy Hillary Ashton's Fall clothes on Ebay. I like to search for clothes that are NWT (new with tags) or NWOT (new without tags). I think you can probably get some good used clothes, but I have a hard time judging the condition the clothes are in by looking at pictures. Anyways, you can get some really good deals on new clothes too! This sweet little dress was only $29...for a brand new Matilda Jane dress :o) I LOVE it!

3. The two big girls have been asking to go to McDonalds this week which is kinda weird because we never go there. Luckily for them, there is a McDonalds in our Wal-Mart so we dined there during our three hour stay :o) When the girls got their food, neither one of them ate much...at all. I asked them why they weren't eating and they said, "We just wanted to come to McDonalds to get these cool dolls...not to eat." Haha!

4. See those three girls in the picture above? They are all potty trained!!!!!!!!! Julianne started potty training on Friday and by Saturday evening, we had our first out the house trip in underwear! She has worn them since and has only had one tiny accident (after school today). I am sooooooo proud of Miss Julianne. She has taken to potty training like a champ. She has even been dry several mornings! Yahoo!!!

I am pretty sure most of you probably know this next piece of information, but I just wanted to share it with you...just in case :o)
A couple days ago I posted a series of pictures of Julianne gathering dirty water as many kids do in Ethiopia everyday. She hiked to a ditch on the edge of our property and gathered dirty water into her bottle and then hiked back to the house with it on her head. She actually loved the water gathering game. In fact, I had to bribe her several times to get her to QUIT smiling! Haha! That girl cracks me up! Anyways, even though it looks like she is drinking out of the dirty bottle...she is NOT. Just wanted to clear that up :o)

This evening, we traveled to a suburb of our town in an attempt to sign Hillary Ashton up for Fall Ball. She is SUPER excited about playing baseball! We waited in line and when it was our turn, the man said, "The lady that I registered right before you got the last 6 year old spot." Boo! He did give us hope that there would probably be a few spots available if a couple people did not show up to pay tonight. We are keeping our fingers crossed because this girl has big baseball dreams!
She wants us all to wear matching "Go Hill Go!" shirts (with a very specific design) and wave flags at all of her games :o) Gotta love six year olds!

Upon hearing the coach say that all of the teams are filled, she let out a huge sigh and said, "Oh man. I have wanted to play baseball my entire life." I said, "Maybe we can check on the basketball team at our church. She said, "If I can't play baseball, I don't want to play any sport. I am a baseball girl, mom!"

The Friends of Fanose fund is up to $3180!!!!!!! Only $1820 to go!!!!! Praise God!

Day 241 (part 1) - We Received our Miracle on Monday!

A few days ago, I posted about the fact that our Friends of Fanose well fund campaign would come to an end in a three short days. I also mentioned that we were praying for a Miracle on Monday...which was one day before our scheduled deadline.

What I didn't share with you is that I sent an email to Charity: Water on Saturday begging requesting additional time to raise the needed $5000. At that point, the Friends of Fanose fund was at $1515...a LONG way away from $5000!

I prayed that we would hear something from the organization on Monday (Miracle Monday!). However, the hours ticked away on Monday and I didn't hear anything. The amazing thing is that the donations started pouring in! It was wonderful to see so many of our friends and family open their hearts to the great need of clean water in Africa! Late Monday afternoon, I sent another email telling them that we making GREAT progress and again requested a little more time.

Guess what! Last night I received an email from Charity: Water telling me that our campaign was being extended to the end of the quarter which is 30 MORE DAYS!!! I am sooooooooooo excited. As it stood before, our campaign was set to end right now...around 4:00 p.m. We would have ended our campaign with (an amazing) $3105. Our $3105 would have been added to other campaigns that ended short of their $5000 goal so we would not have a "Friends of Fanose" well that we could track. The money that you have donated would have helped 155 people get access to clean, safe drinking water, but we wouldn't have a specific village that we could SEE enjoying their new well.

I am so incredibly thankful that we have 30 more days to raise the remaining $1895!!!! It won't be easy, but I am very hopeful that it can be done...with YOUR help!

I am beyond thankful to each of you that have given to the Friends of Fanose fund. Your generosity has been overwhelming.

I am praying that in the next 30 days, we will raise enough money to make the Friends of Fanose dream a reality.

Here is a great video to help us better understand the struggles the African people face everyday...although the actors in the video have nice paved roads to walk on instead of steep, rocky hills.

Click here to donate and track our progress!

The most important thing you can do is pray for our fund. I would also LOVE for you to share our mission with YOUR friends and family...it will make all the difference in the world!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 240 (part 2) - Uncle Ethiopia...

I am BLOWN away...seriously, blown away. More about that in a minute.

I have a story I want to share with you.

About two years ago, a family welcomed the birth of their eighth child. She had a beautiful, shining face that could light up the night sky. Unfortunately, the family's happiness was short lived. When the precious baby girl was only two months old, her father passed away from a very preventable, curable illness. Because he lived in rural Ethiopia, preventive care was not available to him. Two short months later, the baby's mom also passed away. The mom's brother (who has many children of his own) welcomed that sweet baby girl and her siblings into his home with loving arms. He did his very best to care for that baby for two months. He named her. He held her. He loved her. He prayed for her. He did is his very best to feed her. However, when he took in that baby girl and her siblings, the amount of food in his home did not change. But he took the small amount of food he had and he fed his newly, extended family. He is a good man. He was happy to do this for his sister that had passed away.

As a very small baby, her only source of food ended when her mother passed away. For two months, this uncle did everything in his power to care for that tiny baby. Unfortunately, he was unable to run to Wal-Mart and purchase a can of formula for her and she could not eat the same food he and his family ate. When the baby was six months old, he realized that the baby would not live much longer unless he turned her over to a government orphanage in his area. This made him very sad, but his love for her was pure and unselfish. She stayed one night in that local orphanage. The day after the uncle dropped her off at the local orphanage, the orphanage director rushed her to the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, where she was immediately admitted into the hospital. The precious, tiny baby girl was in and out of the hospital many times over the next two months as she learned how to eat and to recover from her severe malnourishment. To God's glory, she did learn to eat. To God's glory, she also began to gain strength.

And by the grace of God, we received a call on March 6, 2009 telling us that our family had been matched with that perfect, tiny baby girl!

This story, the story of my daughter, breaks.my.heart. It is so sad. It is tragic. It is unfair.

But you know what? It isn't that uncommon. It happens all of the time in Africa. Children are orphaned every single day because their parents pass away from preventable diseases. Did you know that "unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of diseases and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Children are especially vulnerable, as their bodies aren't strong enough to fight diarrhea, dysentery and other illnesses (source - Charity:Water)."

When I met Julianne's uncle (whom we affectingly refer to as "Uncle Ethiopia"), he poured out his heart to me. He told me about the area where he lives. He told me that it is poor...very, very poor. He told me that the living conditions in his village are miserable. He told me that food is scarce.

You know what else he told me? He told me that he was so thankful that Julianne was being adopted by a Christian family. He told me that he had prayed that Julianne would be raised in a Christian home. He told me that he loves Jesus.

I think Uncle Ethiopia is one of the most incredible people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I am honored to have him as a part of my family.

Uncle Ethiopia has an inner joy that can only come from Jesus. He loves Jesus even though he was born into a part of the world where food is scarce, disease is rampant and clean water is a luxury.

That is beautiful. That is pure. That is amazing.

He inspires me to be a better person. He inspires me to step outside of my comfort zone to ask people to donate money to build a well. Most importantly, he inspires me to strive to be a better Christian.

I want to build a well so people living in circumstances similar to Uncle Ethiopia will see that their sisters and brothers in Christ care about them.


Will you join me? Friends of Fanose.

With tears of joy in my eyes, I am thrilled to tell you that the Friends of Fanose well fund is up to $3005!!!!! $600 of which came in while I was writing this post! I am blown away by your generosity. Because of all of you, 150 people will have access to clean, safe, healthy water! No matter what...150 people WILL get clean water! I don't know about you, but that makes my heart soooooo very happy :o)

We are over half way there! We need to raise another $1995 to be able to dedicate the well in honor of that precious, sweet baby girl, Julianne Fanose and in memory of her birth parents. I pray that we are able to raise the remaining funds needed, but even if we don't I am thrilled (THRILLED) that 150 will have access to clean water :o)

Day 240(part 1) - ONE MORE DAY!!!

Remeber the post from Day 186 (I am reposting it below)? Seeing those images make my HEART hurt. I hope and pray it makes your HEART hurt too. I could post a hundred posts (and I may just do that...haha!) today and tomorrow about the Friends of Fanose well fund in an attempt to get you to join the cause, but if your heart is hardened it won't make any difference. PLEASE open your hearts. There is a real NEED.

I may think I NEED a certain pair of super cute shoes for Hillary Ashton this fall, but really that isn't a NEED...that is a LUXURY. That is MY luxury. Those shoes, a quick fast food meal, a new purse...will those things mean anything to you in five years? Heck, will they mean anything to you next month? I doubt it. However, I guarantee a fresh water well will mean everything to a person living in Africa next month, next year, in twenty years. And you know what? Being a part of this fund will mean a lot of you next Spring too :o) Your heart will be so happy that you helped...that you made a difference...that YOU SAVED A LIFE!

Let's make someone's wildest dreams come true today...let's build a well so they can have a fresh, refreshing cup of water anytime they want it!



All photos taken by: fotosagenda


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 239 (part 2) - Why Not Now...

If you gotta start somewhere why not here
If you gotta start sometime why not now
If we gotta start somewhere I say here
If we gotta start sometime I say now
Through the fog there is hope in the distance
From cathedrals to third world missions
Love will fall to the earth like a crashing wave

Tonight’s the night
For the sinners and the saints
Two worlds collide in a beautiful display
It’s all up tonight
When we step across the line
We can sail across the sea
To a city with one king
A city on our knees

If you gotta start somewhere why not here
If you gotta start sometime why not now
If we gotta start somewhere I say here
If we gotta start sometime I say now

Friends of Fanose

Two days left.

In Africa alone, people spend 40 billion hours every year just walking for water. Women and children usually bear the burden of water collection, walking miles to the nearest source, which is unprotected and likely to make them sick.

Time spent walking and resulting diseases keep them from school, work and taking care of their families.

Along their long walk, they're subjected to a greater risk of harassment and sexual assault. Hauling cans of water for long distances takes a toll on the spine and many women experience back pain early in life.

With safe water nearby, women are free to pursue new opportunities and improve their families’ lives. Kids can earn their education and build the future of their communities.

Day 239 (part 1) - Video of a New Well in Ethiopia...

Hi Guys! I am SO EXCITED to tell you that the Friends of Fanose fund has raised $515 since Saturday morning!! PRAISE GOD!!! This equates to 96 (NINETY SIX!!!!!!) people that will have CLEAN, SAFE, HEALTHY drinking water because of YOU!!! Thank you so much!! We have a tall order in front of us...two days to raise the remaining $3070 that is needed to sponsor a well in Africa. IT CAN BE DONE...with YOUR help. Spread the word, email you friends, post about Friends of Fanose on Facebook, blog about it, you get the idea :o)

There is an entire village depending on you. An entire village. A village of moms and dads that are forced to give their children dirty water...everyday. What if you were on of those moms or dads? It would break my heart. Julianne's birth mom had to do that :o( Julianne's sisters and brothers drink dirty water because they have no other choice. Let's change that!!!

How amazing would it be to see Scott Harrison (the founder of Charity: Water) say, "Hey Friends of Fanose. I have had the pleasure of visiting YOUR well today. I visited this community once before and saw them drinking out of a swamp. It's amazing to be here and see clean water flowing."


"For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." Luke 12:48

In twenty years, will you miss the $10, $15, $20 you donated to Friends of Fanose? No. You will remember the feeling you felt when you MADE A DIFFERENCE in someone's life. You will remember the time you helped build a well in Africa. You WILL NOT regret your decision.

Make a difference. Change a life. Click here to join Friends of Fanose!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day 238 - Miracle by Monday: ONLY THREE DAYS LEFT!!!

Oh my...I am ashamed to say this deadline has snuck up on me! I thought we had until mid-September!

As you may know, we are raising money to build a well in Africa, the birth country of our youngest daughter. The village she was born in does not have access to clean drinking water. She still has brothers and sisters living there today. It just isn't fair! We have partnered with a wonderful organization, Charity:Water. Their goal is to bring safe, clean drinking water to developing nations around the world. 100% of your donation goes directly to help build a well (and you will be able to track the well being built on Google if we raise the needed funds). We take clean water for granted here in our country, but to almost one billion people in this world clean water is a LUXURY! Please consider helping us raise the remaining $3385 needed IN THE NEXT THREE DAYS!!! Just click on the link below. If each person that visits this blog each day donates just $20, we will be able to build a well for AN ENTIRE VILLAGE in Africa! Please help us make a difference in this world!!! Please post this on facebook, your blog or anywhere else you can to help us spread the word in :o) Even if you cannot give, you CAN make a DIFFERENCE by SPREADING the WORD!

A fellow Ethiopian adoptive family just returned from the same area Julianne was born and the story they posted on their blog about their child's family is SOOOOOO similar to Julianne's story. You have got to go read it! Click Here.

Here is the picture they posted of the water supply in Julianne's area...

You guys, that picture was taken two weeks ago...that is the water MY BABY was drinking before we brought her home! That is the water her sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles are DRINKING TODAY! That is the water almost ONE BILLION people are drinking in the world today. It isn't fair! Let's make a difference!

Click here to change lives!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 237 - Tests, Important Lessons & Potty Training...

Hillary Ashton had another test today...phonics. She made a 100%! Yea! She also started speed drills in her arithmetic class. This is something that I have been dreading. My baby is NOT speedy. She likes to take her time. She will have speed drills everyday in arithmetic class unless it is a test day. Boo! She finished at the very last second today, but she did finish! I think it will be good for her to concentrate on staying on task. She came home almost everyday from kindergarten telling me that she didn't have time to eat lunch and almost always had a picture or drawing that she wanted to finish at home because she ran out of time. I love that she takes her time and doesn't really ever feel rushed. That is just another trait that she has that I admire. I am the total opposite!

These two were inseparable today.
Hillary Ashton dressed Julianne. She wanted them to be dressed alike. She even tucked in both of their shirts so they would look "neat."
She kept saying, "I have so much to teach my little sister." Haha! She said, "Mama, I know the secret of babies. All you have to do is call their name and when they look at you, smile. That's it. If you do that, babies will do anything you want them to." Haha! My six year old is very wise :o)
One of the most "important lessons" she wanted to teach Julianne was how to pump her legs on the swing. She kept saying, "Now Julianne, pay attention. This is very, very important. You really need to know these things."
I love those babies!

Miss Julianne did GREAT with her potty training today! She wore panties all day! I started her with miniature Hersey bar pieces this morning as a treat for success. She had one accident this morning. After her nap, she said, "Juju potty, Juju banana." Haha! That child LOVES (seriously LOVES) bananas! After she started getting bananas, she didn't have ANY accidents! Yea! A pretty cool side note is that her uncle (the one that took her in after her parents passed) grows bananas in Ethiopia!. He would be proud :o)

When I put her to bed tonight, she wasn't happy with mommy because I insisted she wear a diaper :o) Her sweet face was so hard to resist...but I did and I know I will be thankful in the morning that I did!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 236 - Tests and Jonah Update...

We had another wonderful day. The weather was amazing! It's crazy how 89 degrees makes you feel like it's time to break out the Fall clothes :o)

Today in school, Hillary Ashton took her FIRST TEST! Oh my! Is it crazy that I was a little nervous? Haha! The curriculum she is doing for first grade is accredited. She will receive progress reports every six weeks and I will send in all of her tests to the school. Today's test was the first grade on her progress report :o) On today's test, she received a written grade and an oral grade. The part that made me nervous is the strict grading scale. In our area, 90 to 100 is an A. At Hillary Ashton's school, 93-100 is an A. On the oral part of her test, she would receive a B if she missed one. I am not that concerned about her grades, but I am not sure that I could give her a bad grade...haha! She can be a little careless and I was hoping she would sense the importance of the test and take her time...and she did! Yea! I am happy to report she scored a 100% on both parts of her test!!! Yea, Hillary Ashton! She was sooooooooooooooooo excited! Of course, I took her picture...I will share it tomorrow :o)

I decided to make another effort to potty train Julianne today since we will be home for several days in a row. On a normal day, she uses her diaper four times a day. Today, with the treats flowing for success, she used the potty SIX times...haha! For the first few successes, I gave her a small piece of candy. When she used the potty for the fourth time, she took me to the pantry and pointed to the Oreos and said, "No candy. Cookie, Mama." She is so funny. She had two accidents and she knew immediately and said, "Tee Tee goes in the potty, Mama." Haha!

My blog friend (and fellow Ethiopian adoptive mom), Renee, was gracious enough to give me a topic to blog about today...Thank you!

Update on Jonah...

If you are new to our blog, I will catch you up. We were called last November about a three day old baby that needed a home. Upon his birth, he was immediately taken into the care of the department of human services due to certain laws in our state. After my first conversation with the dhs representative, I thought there was no way we would be able to care for this baby boy. Hubby and I talked about the challenges that we would face due to the circumstances under which he was born and pretty much decided that we would have to turn down the placement since we have three other little ones. However, we decided to pray about it and the next day we both felt that we needed to visit him in the hospital. The nurses told us that he had an awful day that day. We went home and prayed some more and the next day we called and told dhs we would love to have him :o) If I have learned anything in this life, it is that God's plans are SO much better than ours :o)

On the day we were scheduled to pick up the baby boy, he started having some complications. We were so concerned for this little, tiny baby without a name. Our family decided to choose a name to call him so we could talk about him and pray for him by name. We chose the name Jonah. It means "peace" and that is exactly what God had given us about the situation.

Finally when he was eleven days old, he was ready to come home! Our caseworker told us to expect him to stay in our home for 3-6 months because his case was being fast tracked, meaning parental rights were going to be terminated asap. Here we are nine months later and we are in love with this precious little baby boy. He is a part of our family and we cannot imagine our lives without him.

His case has had many ups and downs. We are currently waiting on a test to come back (end of August, beginning of September) that will determine whether or not it will be a possibility of him leaving our home for another specific home. If the test comes back in the way we are hoping or if that home is found to be unsuitable, he will be available for adoption. Adoption is our prayer for this precious, sweet, perfect child.


I would LOVE to share more details, but there are certain confidently requirements we must follow. I want to share enough of his story that people can pray specifically for certain aspects of his case...for example the upcoming test results.

Thanks for the topic suggestion, Renee! If anyone else has anything, please let me know :o) Another blog friend, Dawn, has suggested more crafts and giveaways...both of which I love :o) Thanks!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 235 - This is the Combination...

On day one of Hillary Ashton's school, she was introduced to a new bible verse that her class will work on memorizing. When I first heard her teacher recite the verses, I thought to myself, "Goodness, that sure was LONG and wordy. It is going to take those kids forever to learn all of that!"

Seriously...here it is...John 3:14-19:

And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

After supper tonight, the girls were showing daddy their school work from the day and Hillary Ashton just busted out her new bible verse. She just completed her 11th day of school today! That child never ceases to amaze me!

There are a few words and phrases that Hillary Ashton doesn't say exactly "right," but if you tell her we will no longer be friends! Haha! I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE when she mixes up words." It is one of my favorite things in the world! I will never tell her that the phrase is actually, "And this is the condemnation" when she says, "And this is the combination." It is the SWEETEST thing to me!

Of course, I got my little baby on video too :o) I just LOVE looking back at their videos...it is amazing how quickly they change!! Sophie Le learned a new letter sound (U) and a new bible verse (John 1:3). She also started her writing class today!!! Cursive I. She was pumped :o)

LOVE those babies!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 234 - I Got Nothing...

So I have blogged every day of 2010 so far, but here at Day 234 I am finding myself at a loss of words. Haha! Any ideas about I can write about? I am open to suggestions :o)


Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 233 - Winding Road...

These two sweet girls have been constant companions to their Mimi over the last few days as she has had the hard job of saying goodbye to her mom.
This morning we traveled from Paragold to North, Central Arkansas for the burial service for Grandma Great. During the service, Hillary Ashton and Ally sang Jesus Loves Me.
Of course, Hillary Ashton LOVED singing in front of an audience.
She also LOVED picking out a few flowers with Mimi after the service...
Julianne was so excited that Hill brought her one too :o)
The girls ended up with some beautiful bouquets! These two are about two months apart in age and they cannot get enough of each other!

We thought the drive to North Arkansas this morning (from Northeast Arkansas) was challenging with the super winding road...until we headed home after the service! Oh my goodness! Winding and steep plus four sweet babies that are ready to get home...not a great combination! We were sooooo ready to get out of the car!

Hillary Ashton was soooooooo excited when she checked the mail and found four packages...all for her!

The little girls were excited to find more okra ready to be picked in the garden.

I cannot wait for the watermelons to get ripe!!