Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day 303 - Like a Pumpkin...

Christians are like pumpkins...
God comes to us and picks us from a lonely cold field.
He washes off all the dirt of our sin.
He removes the seeds of doubt, fear and hate that have grown inside us.
Then he places within us the light of his love.
This love warms our hearts.
What was once filled with darkness is now flooded with light!
Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 302 - Fall Fun...

This morning, Hillary Ashton had her last t-ball game...well the last two, it was a double header. We got their early for team pictures and it was sooooo COLD. Brrrrr! Luckily, Ganny and Papa Texarkana got a great parking spot where they could watch the game from their care and JuJu and Jonah happily sit with them in the warm car :o)

My baby got to play pitcher during the first game. In case you don't know alot about t-ball, the pitcher and first baseman are usually the only kids that touch the ball :o) She has been wanting to play pitcher for awhile, but she was just too cold to be excited about it today. She pretty much stood there with her hands in her pockets :o) She said, "It's too cold for baseball." I totally agree! Haha!

In between games...
She forgot her real glasses at home this morning, but she remembered to grab these glasses so she "could scare all those boys on her team." Haha! I cannot believe she was the ONLY girl in the league this year!

Mimi and Papa Paragould made it for the second game...

We liked t-ball this season, but I think we will choose a sport with a little more action from now on. I am thinking soccer in the spring. After the game today, I told Hillary Ashton that she played a great season and I was proud of her. She said, "I am glad the season is over. I am looking forward to getting to sleep in next Saturday." Amen, baby!

After lunch at Izzy's, we came back to the house to celebrate Sophie Le's birthday.

For birthday celebration #4 (whoo hoo...we made it!), Sophie Le chose yellow and blue cupcakes with chocolate sprinkles :o)
For those of you that have asked, we alternate doing friend birthdays with family parties. On even years, Hillary Ashton gets a friend party. On odd years, Sophie Le and Julianne get friend parties.
Cute birthday girl :o)
Happy 4th birthday, Sophie Le!

Today, Julianne and I got to go on a date :o) I LOVE spending individual time with each of the kids. We went to a Halloween party at Tricia's house.
Julianne LOVED playing in the sand box!
Thanks Tricia for inviting us to the fun party!

We were excited to drive up to the house to find the first fire of Fall! Yea!
Hillary Ashton had all of our chairs waiting for us by the fire :o)
The girls pretty much equate bonfires with s'mores :o) We were out of graham crackers so we substituted regular crackers. The girls (and Daddy) reported that the regular crackers make yummy s'mores :o)
Daddy and LeLe

Friday, October 29, 2010

Day 301 - Too Busy...

Waaaaaay to busy to post tonight...I've got an important date with these three girls...

We're watching It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Hope everyone is having a good Friday!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 300 - The Decision has Been Made...

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better. It's not.
~Dr. Seuss

I received AMAZING news today. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Ah-Maz-ing!

When we chose to partner with Charity:Water to build a well, we knew that we would NOT be able to specify the location of our well. Here is a blurb from their website:

"Charity: water currently works with more than 20 implementing water partners in 16 countries to assess and determine areas and communities of greatest need. To help reach those regions most effectively, we don't allow donors to designate where their water projects will be built."

Sooooooo, although we didn't know where (in the whole wide world) the Friends of Fanose well would be built, we KNEW it would be built in a place that NEEDED it and that was enough for us. I believed there was a great chance the well would be built in Africa...however I had NO IDEA where in Africa.

This evening I received an email from Charity:Water with these words:

"I wanted to let you know that your well will, in fact, be built in Ethiopia!"

I cannot tell you how happy I was to read those words. My cup runneth over. I am SO THANKFUL. What a miracle! Yipeeeeee!

Thank you guys soooooooooooooo much for supporting the Friends of Fanose well fund. Because of YOU guys, a WHOLE village of people in ETHIOPIA, WILL have access to CLEAN, FRESH, SAFE water!!!


I also got to eat lunch with my favorite first grader today :o)

A good day. A very good day!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 299 - Funfest & Staffing...

Tonight was Funfest at our church. The kids were super pumped to finally get to wear their Halloween costumes :o)

Hillary Ashton as Daphne (Scooby Doo)...
She might have thought she looked "really good" tonight :o) Haha! In related news, she is looking for mysteries to solve. So if you have any, send them her way :o)

Next up, Sophie Le as a four year old zoo keeper...

Where there is a zoo keeper, there has to be animals! Here's Julianne as the cutest little lion ever :o)
And she has added, "Roar!" to her animal sounds...whoo hoo!

Sophie Le took her job as keeper of the animals very seriously. That is good because I need all the help I can get :o)

Halloween 2010...Hillary Ashton, 6, Sophie Le, 4, Julianne, 2 and Jonah, almost one
Surprisingly, Jonah kept his mask on almost all night! He is such a good baby :o)

That hair...hahahahahaha! She reminds me of Dolly Parton or something.

One of the games was milking a cow. Hillary Ashton said, "This is the grossest thing I have ever done in my life. I hope we never move to a farm."

Her little sister, on the other hand, tried to position the handle toward her mouth for a drink :o) Haha! This one keeps me on my toes, for sure!

Today, there was staffing concerning Jonah's case. A staffing is where everyone involved in the case (DHS caseworkers, family, attorney ad litem (Jonah's attorney), DHS's attorney, Mom's attorney,etc...) comes together to discuss the circumstances of the case and state their position before court...we have court next Wednesday. Luckily, ALL parties are in agreement about what they think should happen in Jonah's case except for one person. This is AMAZING news for Jonah :o) However, the only decision that matters at this point is the Judge's decision. Keep praying!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 298 - Celebration #3...

Today at bible study, we had celebration number three for Sophie Le's birthday :o)

She LOVED (LOVED, LOVED, LOVED) handing out the napkins and cookies to her friends :o) It was soooooo sweet watching her!
It was {almost} as fun as watching her giggle and smile as her friends sang Happy Birthday to her.
Pure delight!
Making Wish #3 :o)
Happy Birthday, Sophie Le!!
I am thankful Sophie Le has so many sweet church friends!

Apparently my math skills are not great when shopping with three little ones...I bought 15 extra cookies at the bakery this morning! Haha! Her sisters and brother (and daddy) were happy to help take care of my mistake after we got home!
Hillary Ashton was truly delighted when I handed her a cookie while she was swinging. I hope she will always feel joy like this...
My four year old!
I have a confession...I didn't "fix" Julianne's hair today! Gasp! Haha!
This child lives to swing!

Btw, tomorrow is a BIG day for Jonah's case.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 297 - In Our Own Backyard...

When we were in process to adopt Julianne from Ethiopia, a friend on mine spoke at our church about the great need for foster care families in our county, our state. Honestly, before hearing my friend speak, foster care wasn't even on my rader. I was shocked to hear the statistics.

A few of the numbers I couldn't get out of my mind...

In Pulaski County, there are 1,100 children who are in foster care during the course of a year, and only 239 families to care for those children! 68% of children who come into foster care in Pulaski County are placed outside of the county.

*About 200 teenagers "age out" of foster care every year in Arkansas. They may have NO home to go to. The outcomes for many of these teenagers is alarming:

According to Pew Research:
*One in four will be incarcerated within the first two years after they leave the system.
*More than 20 percent will become homeless at some time after age 18.
*Approximately 58 percent had a high school degree at age 19, compared to 87 percent of a national comparison group of non-foster youth.
*Of youth who aged out of foster care and are older than 25, less than 3 percent earned their college degrees, compared with 28 percent of the general population.

Due to the shortage of foster homes, Arkansas is ranked #2 nationwide for the great number of moves our children make while in foster care.

Because we had two small children and were in the process to adopt one (or two) more from Ethiopia, I wasn't sure how (in the world) we could help...but I knew we had to answer the CALL. We went through the process of getting certified as foster parents with the intention of providing respite care (babysitting services for days, weeks) for foster parents. I really didn't think we would ever be foster parents.

Then we saw a video like this one...

...and we were goners! Haha!

Can you imagine being that little girl in the video? She is Hillary Ashton's age. I cannot imagine how scared she must be. We was just taken from her home and now she has no where to go. It is soooooooooooooo sad. It breaks my heart.

I am ashamed that I was the person on the other end of the phone call making excuses a year ago when they called me about Jonah. After the initial phone call, I had no intention of taking the child they described to me over the phone. I answered the CALL, but made excuses about why we couldn't take care of him. Others calls were made to try to find him a home. I prayed about and was convicted...big time. Thank goodness, I was convicted. I can't imagine missing the last (almost) year with our precious little Jonah!

Will you answer the CALL?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Day 296 - Happy Birthday Baby...

Today Sophie Le turned four years old. FOUR. Wow!

It is cliché, but goodness they grow up fast! Here is the earliest picture we have of our Vietnamese princess...
This picture was taken by a family traveling to Ninh Thuan to pick up their child. I am not exactly sure how old she is in the picture...I am thinking less than two weeks. Oh what I would have given to be there when she was born and cared for her in her first months of life.

Sophie Le requested honey biscuits and scrambled eggs for breakfast this morning before church. She also got to open one of her boots! I knew she would want to wear them to church :o)

She also wanted to wear her birthday ribbon :o) Four year olds are the best!

Since it was her birthday, we told her she could pick the lunch restaurant. She said she wanted to go somewhere where she could get olives, okra and big leafy lettuce. Haha! How many four year olds do you know that would request that for their birthday meal? After a little more discussion, she settled on Mimi's Cafe because she could get "Mickey Mouse pancakes,lots of fruit and a great big piece of lettuce."
She ate a couple bites of pancakes and then said her tummy was too full of pancakes and then she proceeded to finish off her fruit (and Hillary Ashton's) and her big piece of lettuce...haha!
Not sure about this one...all I can say is that she ordered chocolate pancakes and chocolate milk!

After a (way too quick) nap, we had birthday celebration #2 for Le Le...
Present Time!
She LOVES her new iXL :o)

Happy Birthday Sweet Sophie Le!!!