Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Happy Gotcha Day!

One year ago today, we laid eyes on our beautiful little boy and held him for the first time. What a year it has been! It's gone by in a flash! We feel so blessed that God gave you to us on this day 1 year ago, Gabba Goo! We love you!









Here we are now, 1 year later, as one big happy family!


Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Truth about God

Get ready for some hard truths, but then revel in the Truth of who God is! This post was a HOME RUN!! Check it out here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Call to Action

We need your help. Sign the petition after reading here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

CUTE, CUTE, CUTE!!

I love these tees, and I also love her other artwork. Go here to enter the Giveaway Contest and check out her stuff!


Watch for more modeling soon (once my order comes in)!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Gospel in Action!

Truly inspiring. Found this from a fellow blogger's site .

Beautiful photography, but even more beautiful servanthood.

"Whatever you do for the least of these, you do unto me." Matthew 25:40

Friday, April 9, 2010

My Shining Stars

My oldest son serenaded me this morning with this little tune after just learning it on his own minutes before. Amazing! I think we have a "natural musician" on our hands! He's already great at piano, but I guess I need to enroll him in guitar lessons too!


video


My youngest son is becoming more and more verbal as the weeks pass. He is so cute with his newly forming words to his most favorite song--"Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star". I just had to share!

(I know, I know... it seems like he LIVES in this chair. Not true. It's just the only time he sits still long enough to be recorded!)

video

And I just had to show off my latest purchase. Isn't it so cute?! (Of course the model is pretty darn cute, too!) Go to 147millionorphans to get yours and help feed an orphan in Uganda!


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Is God Talking? How do I know?

Love this post from an inspirational, Godly woman. It was so good, I wanted to share with those of you who don't already read her blog. It's called "How to Hear God Speak--Part 1"over at "A Place Called Simplicity". Good stuff!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Birthday Girl

Happy 10th Birthday to our firstborn daughter, Emma. Now she is "double digits" and so excited to be growing up despite the directives we keep giving her to "STOP GROWING"!
What a fun-filled day it was!



THIS is what we woke up to this birthday morning...A Winter Wonderland!!



This was our gift to her....a bike with GEARS so she can keep up with the rest of us!



Five hours at Boondocks went by FAST! WHEWW!!



Fun was had by all!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Beautiful

As we prepare to celebrate Easter, I want to always be mindful of the beauty that is Christ. His life. His ministry. His words. His love. His sacrifice. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lamb! Thank you Jesus for paying the price for me.



Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sunshine on a Rainy Day



What a sweet hubby I have....these were sent "just because"! I love those kinds of surprises! And I sure love my man!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Birthday Boy & Dedication






We celebrated Gabriel's 2nd birthday (his very first b-day with his new family) on Sunday and had him dedicated at church the same day. What a testimony of God's divine will. Gabe's story, his joy and just his sheer existence in our lives has touched so many already. There wasn't a dry eye in the church!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Empowering Women Through Design

I wanted to share this inspiring video I first saw on Emily's blog. I love seeing women across the world using their gifts and talents and being rightly compensated for it. The proceeds go directly to the women who actually made the product! No middle man! No giant corporation getting a cut! Pure, simple FAIR trade. Check Raven + Lily out!






Raven+Lily: EMPOWERING WOMEN THROUGH DESIGN from raven and lily on Vimeo.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Things that Bring Me Joy...

No more bashing of self....it's not healthy. I just thought I needed to share the previous post to begin taking off the mask. Now I would like to change gears and share some of the things that bring me JOY. I hardly ever participate in those questionnaires my friends pass along to find out my favorite color, my favorite food, where my cell phone is right now, etc. etc. I wanted to make up my own list of things I find WONDERFUL. So if you really care, continue reading. (But, I'm really doing this for myself to remind me of how many gifts God has given me and to remember how wonderful life CAN be. I tend to get so bogged down in the atrocities of the world, the ugliness of people, and the pain that comes with life that I forget too easily the beauty all around).

So, here are a few of my favorite things:

big cumulus clouds floating in a sea of blue sky

snow-capped mountains; clean crisp air; spring starting to emerge as baby buds pushing away the cold

new life: a newborn baby, crocus in spring, a soul coming to know her Savior

my child unlocking the world of learning through the gift of reading

a tiny hand grasping my finger

a toddler's hugs around my neck

little fingers combing through my hair

the smell of freshly baked ANYTHING (bread, cookies, donuts...AHHHH, happiness)

listening to a songbird sing to her lover

hearing the trickle of a mountain spring

watching the sky explode with vibrant warmth at sunset

eating a delicious meal with a glass of wine, candlelight and my high-school sweetheart

watching the grace and beauty of dancers on stage who float on air

the drama of a symphony or the whisper of a sole violin

hearing my children play piano and liking it

leaves morphing into blazes of fire in fall

sweats, blanket and a good book to snuggle down to on a cold, rainy, quiet day

speeding down a powdery slope with the sunshine glinting off the diamond-flecked snow

riding a four-wheeler in the lush green mountains of Kauai

skating along on a jet-ski across water smooth as glass

movies that make me think long after the credits have rolled away

the beauty of words on a page that paints like Rembrandt in your mind--richly textured and so lifelike

the smell of freshly ground Ethiopian coffee beans

the healing power of a good swedish massage (body, mind & soul)

the flood of the Holy Spirit washing over me while worshiping in the presence of God

the knowledge that I am a child of God, dearly loved and blessed beyond measure


"The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy". ~Psalm 126:3



I think I need to make this a regular occurrence. I sure do see life a whole lot differently when I take the time to think about and list the things that bring me joy. It's good balm for the soul.... You should try it, too!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Getting MORE Real...(PART 2)

Ok. So I recognize that I also become a little preachy at times and STILL do not reveal much detail of myself. I may need to be a little more specific in my "transparency" to effectively speak to others in the same boat. So, although my last post opened the window to my soul just a crack, I may need to open it a little further to the point of PAIN so that others may heal.

Here goes:

i suffer from depression and have to take medication for it. (Failure as a Christian? Not enough Faith? or just a broken person who has the courage to recognize it as a disease/chemical imbalance and get help for it)

NOTE: Thanks to Sheila Walsh, author of I'm Not Wonder Woman But God Made Me Wonderful! and other dear people in my life who have given me the courage to speak up about this disease. It's not something I have control over or can just "gut it up" "get over" or "think positive thoughts" to overcome. God MAY choose to deliver me from it and He MAY NOT. In the meantime, I pray, educate myself (and others) and praise God for modern medicine.

i am a poor communicator when talking to others (Good listener? or just afraid to speak up for fear of showing my flaws)

i hate to clean but do so only when someone is coming over

i hate to cook and plan out meals---way too time consuming

i don't enjoy playing with the kids (Candyland, ugh! Barbies, ugh! Uno-- not so much) but i'll do it if i HAVE to

INSTEAD, i spend way too much time on the computer reading blogs & emails rather than doing housework, meal planning, cooking or playing with the kids

i hate crafts

i get nervous in social settings and would rather just be a fly on the wall, unnoticed but observing

i am scared to fly in airplanes ---ONLY GOD got me to Ethiopia & back without a nervous breakdown

i'm lazy....if i can't do something GREAT or all the way, then i don't even want to try--thus my house is always a mess or I end up spending hours and hours and hours getting every dust speck off--All or Nothing! (symptom of perfectionism)

i'm a homeschool drop-out (taught Sonlight Curriculum from Pre-school to 3rd Grade with first 2 kids and then got too frustrated with toddlers interrupting and kids not focusing. I MAY try again with my next 2 who are approaching pre-school age).

i have a temper (but doing much better with self-control lately)

i desire approval of others more than i would care to admit (Let me elaborate: My husband has a prestigious job, is well-known and well loved for what he does, and i sometimes feel invisible and insignificant, having no identity other than being Dr. Pruitt's wife. i want to stand out in my own way and approved of for who I am, on my OWN merit, but I feel it gets a little self-centered at times).

PHEWW!! There, now I REALLY feel exposed, RAW & REAL!


I'm sure there are many more things I can pull out of my "Vulnerability Closet", but my palms are sweaty and I'm not sure if I'll have the courage to press "Publish" if I don't just do it now.

Just know that I am praising God for giving me His Word so that I can put off the old self and put on the new....ever changing, ever growing as I learn to be a Christ-imitator. I'll leave you with this verse & quote that Sheila Walsh highlighted in her book (mentioned above)

"So if we say we have fellowship with God, but we continue living in darkness, we are liars and do not follow the truth. But if we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other. Then the blood of Jesus, God's Son, cleanses us from every sin." 1 John 1:6-7 (NCV)

"When the pain of remaining the same becomes greater than the pain of change, then you will change." --Anonymous


HE LOVES US DESPITE OUR FLAWS!! HALLELUJAH!!

Getting Real (PART 1)

If you follow this blog at all, you know I don't share much about myself. I am usually promoting someone else's words of wisdom, words of encouragement, words of conviction, etc. I have been challenged by the blogger at Storing Up Treasures to stop "faking it," or as I am calling it "getting real". I am only doing this in the hopes that it encourages someone else out there who, like me, feels insignificant, unimportant, inadequate at times. I am not writing this so that I can sound eloquent (which I'm not) or to promote myself or my words (far from it) OR even to be "bashing" myself. I am just trying to show a vulnerable side of myself that you haven't seen because I haven't let you in. The desire to hide is a result of my disease called "perfectionism". I don't want to show my flaws or have you really "see" me and then not like me. What I have been learning over the years as a believer in Christ is that PRAISE GOD I don't have to be perfect! I don't have to have it all together. I don't have to be the Super Mom I strive to be but fail at miserably. I struggle with patience like every one else...I struggle with the weight of responsibility that comes with being a good parent like everyone else. I often wonder if what I'm teaching my children is going to be helpful or harmful in their lives down the road? Is my example going to be a good one or a bad one? Sometimes the answer is yes, and sometimes it's no. And it's OK because "...love covers a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8)

What I do know is that I am called to live my life for Christ. That means I am called to die to self, to recognize that I AM NOT PERFECT, never will be and need a savior who is. He covers all my sins, all my flaws, all my imperfections. I just need to walk in obedience to what He has called me to do, and let Him take care of the "how it's going to all turn out" part. (Taking Beth Moore's study called Esther--It's Tough Being a Woman" where we just talked about this concept).

I sometimes gain more insight, comfort and encouragement from those blogger moms (and in-person moms) who are willing to "put it all out there", be vulnerable and REAL. Why can't I be that for someone else? Well, here is a small attempt at doing just that....so that someone else can benefit and revel in the fact that "when we are weak, He is strong!" Paul says this in 1 Corinthians 12: 7-10. He is talking about "the thorn in his side" which he pleaded with the Lord to remove. But Jesus replied, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

What is MY thorn? My thorn is self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy & insecurity. Perfectionism creates "accomplishment- driven" thinking, and when I don't feel I have accomplished anything, I don't feel adequate, like I don't measure up to my own standards. The TRUTH is, God is pleased with me no matter what I do. He LOVES me in spite of my imperfections, in spite of my failures, in spite of my self-centered pride. "While we were STILL SINNERS, He died for us." (Romans 5:8) Go here for more elaboration on the depth of Christ's love for us in spite of our weaknesses. I have written in the back of my bible this quote from Chuck Swindoll so that I would never forget it. He said, "Not until we come to the end of our own strength does God do His best work." Amen!


I hope that this post in some way helps someone else out there who may be struggling with these issues. If so, I encourage you to step out of hiding, be vulnerable, and share your thoughts. It is very therapeutic and freeing! Join the revolution!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Creating a Culture of Adoption

Dr. Purvis is an expert on attachment and sensory processing methods, and she wrote a wonderful book called The Connected Child. All you Gladney adoptive families (and many of you other adoptive families) are probably very familiar with her from the required education videos &/or conferences, or from reading her book. Here is a short video about how we, as THE CHURCH, are called to minister and to create a culture of adoption in our communities. I love how she emphasizes creating a culture of healing, a culture of acceptance, and a culture of unconditional love--as God loves us. Thanks to Amy at Building the Blocks for this video post.


Creating a Healthy Adoption Culture in Your Church from Tapestry on Vimeo.

Dads 4 Adoption





From the Oatsvall Team ( founders of 147Millionorphans.com)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My Little Ethiopian Superman!






Check out Mama Enat's handiwork if you want one of these cozy little blankets. (They come in a smaller "snuggle" size, too).

Monday, February 22, 2010

Featured Book--Forgotten Girls by Strom & Rickett





Opening my eyes to the plight of women around the world....

For those who want to make a difference in a girl's life now, this is a great place to start learning about the needs & how you can use your gifts & talents to help meet those needs. Creating awareness is the first step. Pass it on!!


Review
"This is a moving and inspiring collection of personal stories about real girls from Asia to Africa surviving violence, abuse, discrimination and injustice . . . and the role of God's hand in turning lives of desperation into lives of hope. Strom and Rickett make the facts and sociocultural realities of their worlds come alive, and they challenge us to question our own assumptions about whether or not any single person can make a difference. . . . Everyone's help is needed to truly end this oppression and abuse." --Dean Hirsch, president, World Vision International


Product Description
Think of the little girls you know: your daughter, a niece, a friend's child.

And then think about this: little girls are tossed away every day.

All over the world, women and girls face

* starvation
* displacement
* illiteracy
* sexual exploitation
* abuse

In fact, statistics show that the world's most oppressed are overwhelmingly female.

Moved by their plight, Kay Marshall Strom and Michele Rickett took a trip across continents to partner with ministries working to help females and to interview girls in some of the most difficult places in the world.

These pages hold those girls' stories: stories of deep pain and suffering, inspiring courage, and incredible hope. They are the stories of girls who have discovered their value in God's eyes, in the midst of cultures that have rejected them. They are stories of rescue and redemption by God working through compassionate people--people like you.

These pages might hold pieces of your story as well, as the authors invite you to pray and speak on behalf of the millions of women and girls who still need to know how much they're worth. For each of the five sections of the book--physical suffering, education, sexual protection, prison and war, and spiritual life--the authors provide specific, practical action steps and prayer points that allow you to get involved as God leads.

Opening these pages will open your eyes to situations you couldn't imagine, to places you've probably never been and to young girls--not so different from the ones you know--who are dearly loved by God. And our powerful God will help us as we read, speak and pray on their behalf, that the forgotten might become free.

Friday, February 19, 2010

6 Months Today/ The Call of Christ


Today marks exactly 6 months from the day we were officially PLACED to be Gabriel's parents (called Date of Placement on our forms). Our GOTCHA DAY was the day I got to hold him in my arms for the very first time (2 days prior). I wanted to commemorate this day with a picture of mommy & Gabe on GOTCHA DAY and post another moving video I found on Emily's blog entitled "The Call of Christ". Is Christ calling YOU to step out and "die to self"? Are you called to serve "the least of these"? Check out this ministry Visiting Orphans to see where you might be used by God to do just that.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mens Cross Country Skiing: Robel Teklemariam

Although he finished 93rd out of 95 competitors yesterday, Robel is still a hero to Ethiopia! Check out this article and the following video. It's not everyday that you see an Ethiopian Cross Country Olympian Skiier!






Monday, February 8, 2010

Good News!

Dear friends of ours, who happen to be one of the teaching pastors & his wife from our church, are officially on the paper chase trail with Gladney for Ethiopia adoption!! Yea God!

Bring on the SNOW BALL effect!!



Thursday, January 21, 2010

Timely Words of Wisdom

I got on the John Piper website to listen to his sermons on adoption, and I discovered this nugget of encouragement that I wanted to share. It spoke to me in many ways and I needed to hear these words of wisdom today. I could probably stand to hear them on a daily basis. Anybody else with me?

Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Orphans in Haiti

Our hearts ache for the people of Haiti. Orphans are highlighted now more than ever. Romans 8:28 says "And we know that in ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Good can come from calamity. But would adopting a child from Haiti be prudent at this time of crisis? Please read these two posts (from Sarah who is an advocate for Children's HopeChest and Gina who works for World Orphans) that describe both the tug to "save a life" and the need to WAIT. Biological families need to be found and reunited. That might take time.

Pray for God's leading in this matter, and in the meantime, find a place to help the people of Haiti. The above posts mention a few places. Samaritan's Purse is another organization that has been working hard in immediate, tangible ways since the day of the earthquake.

Remember...microgiving can make a MACRO difference!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!!

As we are all enjoying our "day off" (or at least some of us are), let's not forget why we are celebrating this day. It has always been an inspirational day and one I am very grateful for--- to remember such a courageous man who advocated for such a huge change in our American culture, but now it has become more personal. Now we are even more aware of the obstacles and the challenges African Americans were (and still are) up against. Now we will need to educate others on a personal level because of the color of our son's skin. I thank God for courageous men like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who aren't afraid to fight for what is right, noble, just, EQUAL---a human right!

Here is a post from a dear friend of mine who has 3 children--1 bio and 2 African/American children. She says it so well!

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." These words begin the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. Although these words were included, we all know it would be many years before this would actually be true for African Americans and women. Because Dr. King had a dream and was courageous to be the voice for so many, we can now say our government recognizes and upholds these words for ALL people. Unfortunately, the hearts and minds of many individual people has not changed. I encourage you to stand up in the gentle, peaceful and unrelenting way the Dr. King did. We should not deny each of us our God given differences, but we should also not use those difference to divide. I ask you to honor one man and his dream today. I thank you Martin Luther King, Jr. for making it possible for all my children to stand firm in their right of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.




Another great post to check out is Emily's who highlights "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Sterns. Check out her whole post.

Hope for Orphans by FamilyLife

If you are interested in starting an orphan ministry in your church in the future but aren't sure where to start, check out this video produced by the people from FamilyLife through the ministry called Hope for Orphans. Join us in praying for how we can spread the word of HOPE to "the least of these" through the Body of Christ---our local churches!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Big Art Give-Away

If you haven't seen it already, go to this website to check out some wonderful watercolor originals & prints made for adoptive families. A percentage of the proceeds are going towards the Kolfe Youth Orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Very cool!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Survivor's Guilt...

....is something I have just a taste of.

(Disclaimer: I don't usually write about what's swirling around in my head because frankly you wouldn't really want to know or be interested, but I have the need to get this out and "on paper" so to speak. Forgive me if I don't make sense. Another blogger friend Sarah put it so much more eloquently than I ever could, so check out this post, but I thought I would give it a whirl and write down in my own words what I mean).

Let me explain....

Some days are better than others, but MANY days I am slammed with the reality and the question of WHY? Why was I born in America where everything is so readily available, easily accessible, quickly attainable, instantly consumable (you get the point), while millions around the world were born in a place where they can barely survive on scraps. Where having 1 pair of shoes would be miraculous--a Godsend.



Where an occasional piece of meat would be treasured. Where fresh, clean water would be something to rejoice about.
Where a home and a family is only dreamt about in fairy tales. It breaks my heart!! It's NOT FAIR!! What can I do about it? How can I justify all my "stuff-- all my time spent buying stuff, saving for stuff, trying to get rid of stuff, managing stuff, fixing stuff, organizing stuff, giving stuff, etc. etc. when others have NOTHING?!! How can I plan trips to Disneyland (not this year) or trips to the zoo, or piano lessons or dance lessons without feeling extravagant or guilty? My perspective is all skewed. It is so hard to live in America now that I have seen. It is so hard to take my kids to fun places without feeling like that money could go towards saving a life, towards giving the "barest of necessities". How do I live in two juxtaposed worlds? How do I find peace, a balance? Although my husband and I now give more than we ever have to wonderful organizations like Drawn from Water, Compassion International , charity:water(not bragging....really!....), I still don't feel like it's enough! Because it's not. What is God calling me to do, then?

I think God is telling me #1 that I cannot control this situation. I cannot solve world hunger, the orphan crisis, famine, disease, etc. I AM NOT IN CONTROL!! HE is. What He wants from me is a willing heart to do something....anything. To have compassion for those who are poor and needy. To show love. To pray more. To tell others of the need. To not get so bogged down in the world's suffering that I am no good to my husband or kids. To have joy, show joy, create joy for others. To do what I can, but know that He is taking care of it all. He's got it all under control, whether I like it or not. HE HAS A PLAN! His ways are NOT my ways. I can't FIX the world. I can do something, however, no matter how small I feel it is. It is something. Writing this blog is something very small, but it is something. Adopting an orphan seems small, but it is something. Giving to good charities is small, but it is something.

If we all did SOMETHING small, ("micro-giving" as they say at Hope Mongers), the world would change in a HUGE way!

So, I guess I should amend the title from "Survivor's Guilt" to "Survivor's Conviction"---food for thought.

Pray with me:

Father in Heaven,
Thank you for opening my eyes to the needs of the world outside my own little bubble. Thank you for allowing me to be used by You for Your glory. Help me not to try to control things by trying to "figure it all out", by trying to see how I can FIX this world-- thus making me feel so overwhelmed and so weighed down with sadness that I am frozen & ineffective in life. It's not my job to fix it. I know the suffering will not be "fixed" until your Son's return. Thank you for that. Thank you for allowing us a "second chance", a chance to have Eternal Life with You through the suffering of Your Son, Jesus. Help me to spread that Hope of a Second Chance to others. Help me to see the need & act on it, but ask for your guidance and strength every step of the way. Help me to encourage others to do the same. Lord, I ask for healing on this suffering world. I ask for mercy. I ask for peace. I ask for a stirring in fellow believer's hearts to rise up to the injustices, to ACT on behalf of those who have no voice. No choice. No chance at survival without other's help. No one to protect them. No hope without You. Let us be lights for You in the darkness. Help us, Lord. Give us courage & strength to act. Show us where you want us to go. Let us be used by You.

In Jesus' precious name,
Amen

Ethiopian Christmas--Jan. 7th


Merry Christmas to the beautiful people of Ethiopia! Check out this wonderful slideshow presented by the BBC with commentary and read about their Christmas traditions here.


Melkam Gena!!!