Tuesday, October 27, 2009

In honor of Pastor's Appreciation Month....

I thought I'd take the opportunity to tell you what I appreciate about my favorite pastor (who happens to be my husband in case anyone reading this doesn't know).

1. He treats me like a queen. He makes submission easy. seriously.
2. He sacrifices for our family (ask him how many times he has played golf this year, and you'll see what I mean)
3. When he watches shows like "America's Funniest Videos", he laughs with his whole being. It's better than watching the show!
4. He has regular "dad and lad" days with Bryan.. .and always will, I'm sure.
5. He and Ellie go at least once a week on a "bagel breakfast date".
6. He plays shoot-em-up XBOX games one minute with Bryan, then has a tea party while wearing a feather boa with Ellie the next.
7. He asks me out on dates still.
8. He's pretty hot...
9. God is supreme in his life. Always has been. Always will be.
10. He is gifted at the ministry. It's what he was made to do.. no doubt about it. He's in his element when he is serving our community.
11. He says some words really funny and it always cracks me up, but he doesn't mind.
12. He led me to Christ while we were dating.
13. He asked me to be his wife, and he still tells me he is glad he did!
14. He teaches me how to be a better parent, mom, Christ-follower and all around better person.
15. He plays Scrabble with me when I've had a rough day.
16. He puts the toothpaste on my toothbrush in the mornings to help me.
17. He ALWAYS opens the doors for me.
18. He is teaching Bryan to always open the doors for me too!
19. He kisses me first when he comes home.
20. He is passionate about his love for Christ. It's because of this that all these other things exist.

I love you Jeff. I'm proud of the work you do for the Kingdom of God. I'm honored to be your wife in this journey. I'm humbled to walk beside you. I'm undeniably head over heels in love with you!

So... go tell your favorite pastor what it is you love about him! they work hard and need to know they are loved!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mommy's Girl...

People ask all the time how things are going with Ellie. I always answer the same way.. it's going great. And overall, it is. She's learning so much, so quickly. It's really quite amazing to watch! but it's not all easy, and if truth be told, there are times that it's just downright hard to handle! The emotions, the unknowns, the language barriers.. it's all hard sometimes. It's worth it, no doubt! but it's still hard!

Tonight while giving Ellie a bath, I was overwhelmed with a flood of emotions. I won't share all of the details because that's her story and I'm not gonna share it here. But I will tell you that Ellie told me about a horrible experience in her life tonight, in as much detail as she can in her part English-part Amharic, two year old vocabulary.

Initially I was angry. I called Jeff in and she told him the same story. We know it's true. We've known about it for a while. But she has never said it herself to us until now. We were both overcome with feelings of wanting to hurt someone, to take revenge. I wanted to lash out at someone at the injustice that has happened in her short little life.

But the other part of me was grateful. Tonight was proof that we are making progress in our bonding. Ellie trusts us enough to not only be goofy and silly and sing fun songs with us. She trusts us enough to share her hurts. That's what family is all about! Isn't that we all long for with our children- for them to be comfortable enough with us to tell us everything? That's exactly what happened here tonight.. right in my jacuzzi tub with soap suds all over her fuzzy little head.

Tonight's conversation also made me see once more just how much I love this little girl. No, I didn't give birth to her like you normally think of mothers and babies. But I gave birth to her in my heart, and tonight that bond was solidified even further, as she entrusted to me what is likely her biggest hurt in life. She didn't want me to fix it; it's already fixed. She just wanted me to know. And as I picked her up out of that tub, she put her arms around my neck and kissed my cheeks so sweetly (she kisses both of them, always!).

For a moment, time stood still. There was no hurt, no worries, no unknowns in her past, no uncertainties. There was just a mommy and her little girl, sharing a sudsy kiss. It was just the way God intended it to be. It was pure, peaceful.

It was perfect.

Thank you Lord, for the gift of my daughter.. my sweet little girl.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Here's the latest video of what Ellie has been learning.. check it out!

And Sue, there's a special message for you at the end! She loves you so much!

Monday, October 5, 2009


Ellie has been home with us for 8 weeks now. The difference is astounding really. She's gone from a timid, quiet shy little girl, afraid to even let us hear her voice at times to a boisterous, happy, singing ball of giggles and smiles. I'm in awe of how God brought her to us. Sometimes I just sit and watch her in amazement, and thank God for the gift of her in our lives.

I went back to work last week. I didn't really want to go, if I'm being completely honest. But... that's life, and I believe that there is a reason for my being in that place as well. Jeff is now on Family Leave for 8 weeks, and he is loving it! I'm so thankful that he has this opportunity to be with her. I'm grateful that she will grow to see her Daddy even more fully, and know that in him she has a wonderful example of her Heavenly Father.

I have to say that my favorite part of the day is 1:30pm, when I get off of work. I drive to pick Bryan up at school and then we head home together. I love that drive home with him (when he takes his headphones out!). And when we get home, I love hearing Ellie yell "mommy" and run to me for a hug and kiss! Awwwww.. you can't beat that people.

I'm learning more and more that it's the simple things in life that make it worthwhile. I'm learning more and more that God gives us countless blessings each and every day that we often overlook (like when your 13 year old turns his music off to talk, your two year old tells you that you are beautiful, and your husband cooks dinner for you and says that he'll clean up too just because he loves you and wants to serve you!!). I guess after having seen the depravity and poverty in Ethiopia where Ellie's life began, I'm more determined than ever to not let the little things slip by without notice. For that matter, I don't want to let the big things pass me by either. God has given me too much to ever take for granted a single moment here on earth.

Scripture tells us that "God sets the lonely in families..." (psalm 68:6). We are seeing that lived out in our home. There is no doubt that God set Ellie right here with us, and we are so thankful for His plan. So many people have said to us that we are a blessing to her. I would argue (again) that she is the blessing to us! I learn more every day about God's greatness in watching her story unfold.

So, go hug your kids, kiss your spouse, and write that long-overdue letter. But before you do that, get on your knees and thank the Lord for His mercy and Grace upon you, and for the gifts He gives freely every day.