Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy 2011

Anticipating a new year and trusting in God for the future! Happy New Year!
(Don't worry, it's sparkling grape juice)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hallie is Eight

Every year I take a picture of the kids with the stuffed animal they got when they were born or came home. Here is Hallie with her bunny.

Today my sweet daughter turned eight. We have spent much of the day reminiscing about what we were doing eight years ago. It has been fun to remember her birth but I must admit it also pulls on my heart strings. I can hardly believe how she has grown and changed over the past eight years.

This year we celebrated her birthday with a rock star theme, karaoke and a sleep over. She felt special and had a wonderful party.

I am forever thankful to God for...

636. Creating such a lovely girl and allowing me to be her mommy

637. Growing in her heart

638. Making me a mommy for the first time with Hallie

639. The pit in my stomach as I watch her grow because I love her so much

640. Her growing confidence in who You created her to be.

641. Listening to her sing

642. Watching her dance

643. That she ordered a doll for her birthday gift from Grammy this year

644. Her creativity

645. How she loves to be at home

646. The way she adores her girl cousins, the friendship she has with Brooke and Jillian

647. Her anticipation for Melia and her part in bringing about Melia's adoption

648. When I see her generous spirit

Hallie, you know this (because I tell you every night) but, I love you always and forever no matter what! You are so very dear to me and I am grateful God made you!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Break... here for the kids. What a wonderful morning we have had! The kids are playing the Wii mindlessly and I have all the Christmas lights on in the house with Christmas music in the background. Family is in town and all the presents are wrapped and under the tree. I am so looking forward to this next week!

Jesus came to bring peace on earth. Peace between God and his kids forever! I am thankful for the peace in our home that reflects God's gift of peace in His Son, Jesus!

626. Christmas music
627. Jake's joy in losing his tooth at school yesterday.
628. Zac's preschool Christmas program. His smile, signing "I love you" to me from the stage.
629. Talking with my nephew, Cole. He is so precious and delightful.
630. My mom's surprise visit last night.
631. Christmas cards from friends who live far away. Remembering you brings my heart joy and a smile to my face.
632. Hallie expressing thanks for her bedroom make-over. Thankfulness is growing in her heart.
633. Making nutritious, warm food for my family (before the cookie assault begins!)
634. Handmade presents from the kids under the tree.
635. Admiration in Jacob's eyes as he looks up to his older cousin, Cole.

Merry, merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

My Christmas Favorites

I really enjoy decorating our home for Christmas. It is fun to add something new or reminisce while putting up decorations that we have had for the last twelve years of our marriage. Here are some of my favorites...

I have had this small tree for the last several years but this year I decided to use on of my good friends ideas and put all our Christmas card pictures on for decoration. We are all enjoying looking at our friends every day of the Christmas season! Underneath the tree sits of basket of Christmas books. I love reading these books while snuggling on the couch with my kiddos.

This Nativity set was given to us by Ryan's Great Aunt for out wedding. Each year I let the kids set it up. They always make sure all the figures are looking at the baby Jesus.

We have had our stockings for several years. I bought six when we were only four in hopes that God might have six planned for our family. This year we hung up Melia's stocking to remember her as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. I love that my mantle is full! Maybe next year she will be here to find surprises in her stocking on Christmas morning!
This is our advent calendar. Each day at breakfast the kids take turns putting up one of the Christmas characters and tells the rest of the family how that particular character played a part in the Christmas story.
Although our trees lighting is not the best this year (the prelit branches are dying) I love our tree. It is filled with homemade decorations and watching the kids decorate the tree each year is so special. My mom started a tradition when I was little that I have continued with my kids. Each of the kids gets a special ornament each year. Hallie's is a collection of stars, Jacob's are musical instruments, Zac's are candy canes and Melia's started this year with bells! After we decorate our tree we always drink hot chocolate and watch White Christmas!

This is our advent wreath that sits on the kitchen table. It is not much to look at and I could see it maybe getting a little pick-me-up next year but it is homemade and I do love that about it! Each week on Sunday we light a candle and talk about how Jesus brought peace, hope, joy and love when we was born. Then we read a part of the Christmas story and try to figure out a way we can share Jesus' hope, peace, joy and love with others. The last two years we have started a tradition of Ryan and I matching the kids monetary generosity and buying chickens or ducks for families around the world through World Vision.

These beautiful decorations sit on our piano. I really adore the Peggy Carr ornaments and this is one of my favorites. Also, this year I have enjoyed listening to Hallie play Angels We Have Heard on High, Jingle Bells and other Christmas Carols on the piano!

Finally, this is my favorite, favorite collection. Each year my mom buys Ryan and I a new character to add to our carolers. I managed to get all the characters on this piece of furniture this year, but I look forward to having the carolers extend to other areas of the room in years to come!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Life is good!

Yesterday I took Hallie and Jacob's daily paperwork out of their book bags. As I looked through math papers and spelling words I found two treasures...

618. So, so thankful that even though we have our family quarrels and bickering the general theme in my kids' lives is that they are loved by their parents and that they love their parents.

Today, I asked Zac, "What makes you happy?" His sweet reply filled my heart with thankfulness...
619. "Jesus and making smoothies with you."

Each Sunday of Advent we have been talking about something that Jesus brought to the world (peace, hope, joy and love). So, on our way to church we were...
620. Making up Jesus tunes...
and Zac says,
621. "Ya know mom. Hope, Peace, Love and Joy is God's power!" He couldn't be more right! I was bursting with thankfulness for the truth that is growing in Zac's heart.

And, yesterday my sweet, always thinking of something husband calls me from work...
622. We call each other at least 2 or 3 times every day...
and says,
623. "We should think up a really great candy/cookie recipe. We could try out all sorts of recipes until we get it right. Wouldn't that we fun?"
So, tonight we spent the evening...
624. Baking together. It makes me smile even writing about it!

Lord, your goodness to me to too good! I am so undeserving and yet you just pour out these gifts to me day after day! I love you, Jesus!

625.Thank you for coming to earth to bring peace, hope, joy and real love into my life every single day!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

We have been busy!

Like most of you, we have been busy lately! But, let me tell you, in all the hustle and bustle I am overflowing with thankfulness to my merciful, tender-hearted Heavenly Father.

Last weekend my parents were in town and stayed the night. We ended up having time to work with Hallie on her 8 year old bedroom valence. My mom showed her all about the sewing machine and Hallie made the valence almost 100% on her own!!

597. Watching my mom teach Hallie with patience and care.
598. Hallie's attention to detail and work ethic.
599. Creating beautiful things with my mom and daughter.

While the three of us worked intently on sewing and creating Ryan played a game of Monopoly with Jacob. Jacob thrives on quality time so it was wonderful that he had his daddy's undivided attention for so long.
600. A dedicated father for my kids.
601. Jacob's delight in time spent with his daddy. I pray he is learning how to delight in his Heavenly Father too.

So, that left Zac. He played with Poppie, dressed up and also got hugs, kisses and tickles from our good friend, Hannah.
602. Zac's smile and giggle.
603. Hannah's adoration and genuine love for our kids.

So, after a fun Saturday together my folks left on Sunday. My dad took a big truck of furniture out to my brother and my mom headed to Lincoln to be with my grandma.
604. Ryan and my dad working together and their relationship.
605. God's protection over my dad during his long trip to Las Vegas.
606. My dad connecting with my brother and showing his love through his gift of service and time.
607. My mom's never-ending, enduring, difficult and loving commitment to caring for my grandma as she ages.

Meanwhile, we went to church and took the kids to visit Santa. At church we listened to a wonderful sermon, lifted our voices in songs of praise and enjoyed laughter and joy with our church congregation. You see, we just finished a sermon series on joy which was entitled, glee. So, to end the series we all enjoyed some glee together with a funny video. To see the video go to this website.

608. Santa smiles.
609. Laughter and joy from silly stuff.
610. The sincerity and authenticity of our senior pastor.
611. Raising my hands to worship God.

Finally, just last night we got to watch Hallie and Zac in their first Christmas musical at church. Oh, I was so proud of them! Jacob was beside himself with boredom, but before the production enjoyed taking pictures with my camera all around the sanctuary.

612. Jacob's delight in showing me his pictures. "Mommy, I took pictures close up, far away and in the middle!
613. Hearing my daughter's voice.
614. Watching her hold back a smile when everyone applauded for her.
615. Zac's confident one-liner, "What's taxes?"
616. Grammy and Grandpa showing their love with their presence.
617. Grammy's tears of joy with Hallie's song.

Monday, November 29, 2010

My sweet Zac

Today is a Zac and Mommy day while the older kids are in school. Well, after the turkey leaked in the stove this last weekend I had some major oven cleaning to do. My sweet Zac said he wanted to help and started scrubbing. He said, "Mommy, if you ever have show and tell at work you could bring me! You can tell them what a good scrubber I am!" A few minutes later..., "Mommy, when I grow up I am going to be a helper cuz I am really good at scrubbing things."

I love this kid!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

This is one of my favorite holidays! It is all about being thankful to God, sharing time with family and not giving any gifts! It seems like such a pure holiday.

Since this blog is mainly a thankfulness journal I can not pass up such a great day to give thanks!

Philippines 1:3 says, "I thank my God every time I remember you..."

God, thank you for...

576. Your Son, Jesus. My friend, my Savior, my example, my hope.
577. Your Spirit. My guide, my convictor, my comforter.
578. Ryan. My best earthly friend, my greatest love.
579. Hallie. My daughter.
580. Jacob. My son.
581. Zachary. My son.
582. Melia. The hope of another daughter.
583. My mom and dad. Patient, enduring, sacrificial love.
584. Doug and Jean. Adoption as a daughter into their hearts and family forever.
585. My sister. My dear, dear friend.
586. My brother. Family forever.
587. Jenni. My sister. She is so generous to me with her love and her life.
588. Shawn and Will. Brother-in-laws. The ties to other men, fathers through the gift of family.
589. Jillian, Tyler, Bill, Cole and Brooke. Cousins, nieces and nephews. The joy in each of their births, the opportunity to watch them grow into children and young adults. Fun, joy and laughter from time spent together.
590. Grandma. 94 years of life. The love and prayer she has poured over me and my family.
591. Aunt Anica and Uncle Jeff. Encouragement, friendship as adults.
592. Aunt Jonell and Uncle John. Intentional love, wisdom and devotion to my family despite the miles.
593. Aunt Marania and Uncle Wyman. Example of living a quiet dream.
594. Adam, Emma, Susanne, Aroha, John, Nick and Chad. My cousins. Different lives connected and bound by the gift of family.
595. Jen C., Jamie, Jacy, Lindsey, Emily, Darcie, Becca, Margie, Tami, Amy, Beth, Jenny Z., Cathy, Rhonda, Hannah, Jen G., Nicole. Close friends that I have and can share my life with. Accountability, faithful friendship. Answered prayer.
596. Church family. Real, genuine, kind, trustworthy Jesus-lovers.

Heavenly Father, in your abundant loving kindness you not only sustain my life with breath every day you also have lavished on me the gift of these lives. You have caused my life to intersect with so many others for my benefit and your glory. I thank you for each one of these precious, dear people as I remember them today. Love you, Father!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


566. Games and laughter with my family at Grammy and Grandpa's house tonight.
567. Little girls giggling for four hours straight.
568. They way Ryan processes things and thinks...he is spatial and sees things as patterns...amazes me!
569. Jacob in a pilgrim hat singing, "God bless this food" with all the Kindergarten kids at school!
570. Family support. Grammy, Aunt Jenni and two cousins all came to Jacob's 15 minute production at school.
571. Tickling Zac, hearing him laugh and getting a note from him with his name and a heart on it.
572. Forgiveness asked for and given by my 5 year old.
573. Writing Christmas letters.
574. A clean room. Reminds me of a clean heart.
575. The four boy cousins building legos, playing Star Wars and sharing fun.

Monday, November 15, 2010


So, here are some details about our decision to adopt.

A few months ago Ryan and I thought I might be pregnant for a few days. In most instances that would freak us out, but we were actually kind of excited about the idea. When I was not pregnant we actually felt a little sadness. This combined with the Lord prompting me during my quiet times to pray into adoption slowly led to our decision to adopt.

561. Lord, thank you for your patience in letting us come to this decision.

After deciding to adopt we decided gender. Hallie has always wanted a little sister and to even out the boy/girl ratio in the family we decided to adopt a little girl. Ryan teases that now I won't just have one to take to the bathroom (the easy one) when we go out!

562. Lord, thank you for longing in Hallie's heart for a sister and how it has helped us make a decision for a little girl. You use all these longings to bring about your good, pleasing and perfect will. Phil 1:8 "God can testify how (we) I long for all of you (our little girl) with the affection of Christ Jesus."

Next decision was where to adopt from. First, Domestic vs. International. From talking with the staff at NE Children's Home it seemed that it would be really hard to choose a young girl because their are so many families wanting to adopt young children. We did not want to take a child away from a family that desperately wanted a baby, but instead wanted to take a child that was in need and make her a part of our family. That moved us to International adoption once again. We considered Russia, Ethiopia, China and Korea. We wanted to use HOLT because of the wonderful things we have heard about their Christian affiliation, integrity, and the experiences of other families that have used them. They don't work in Russia so we looked at the other country options they had available. Obviously, China has a long history of having lots and lots of girls available for adoption so that combined with cost and one trip (instead of two) as well as Holt's long history of working in China led us to this country.

563. Lord, thank you for surrounding us with wise people that have gone before us in adopting from China and with Holt. Thank you that our lives are relational. Thank you for my running friends that have played a part in helping this story unfold and lead us to our daughter.

Next, was her name. Ryan and I have always named our kids early on. We love to think about names and begin to pray for our kids by name as soon as possible. Initially we just started looking on the computer for A names, B names etc... For God's reason we skipped to the M's and started to think about ways to use "mei" or "mee" in a name because it means beautiful in Chinese. After MUCH discussion and consideration we came up with a name that does not have "mei or "mee" in the name but, one that we love. Her first name will be MELIA (pronounced muh-LEE-ya).

564. Lord, thank you for giving us her name. We pray for you to guard and protect Melia's heart, mind and body in your Son, Jesus.

So, now we begin the paperwork process. We filled out the application to the agency and a list of minor/correctable special needs that we feel good about handling. Thanks to the wonderful International adoption physician who met with us for free at Boystown to discuss the list! We also each filled out a 17 page questionnaire about our personal history which will be a part of the homestudy and began filling out the paperwork for our criminal history check. Pretty soon we will be off to do fingerprints for FBI clearance.

The process has begun and we could not be happier!

565. Lord, thank you for the resources available in Omaha that make this process easier and smoother. We are so thankful for the doctor at Boystown and his generosity to us!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy News

Ryan and I have decided to begin the process of adopting a little girl from China! We are so excited about this decision! For those of you moms out there that say going from three to four is not that big of a deal...I'm counting on that to be true!

We have submitted an application to Holt Internationals Child of Promise Program. This means our little girl will most likely have a minor or correctable special need. We have discussed different medical diagnoses with the International Adoption doctor in Omaha and feel totally at peace with the information we have received and our application to use Holt.

I will write more as the story of our little girl's journey home unfolds. Please keep her in your prayers if you think about it!

Monday, November 8, 2010

When you need to turn off your mind...

...give thanks!

This week (yes, it is only Monday) my mind has been swirling. I feel like there are so many things to think about and figure out and do or not do and schedules to keep and..... I know you have all been there.

Well, I'm pretty sure one of the ways I am tempted into anxiety is to keep my mind preoccupied with stuff instead of CHRIST! So, I am choosing to see Christ and give thanks so that He will receive glory and my mind can know freedom and peace.

546. A crescent moon at sundown in a clear Nebraska sky.
547. 70 degrees on November 8 in Nebraska!!
548. Watching Hallie's graceful hands in ballet.
549. Playing dragon castle with Zac today.
550. Jacob yelling, "Mommy!" in front of all the kids running out of school today.
551. A letter to Jacob from Andrew that said, "Jacod is my bff!" (Still working on b's and d's
552. Listening to Hannah sing and play hymns at the piano.
553. Pushing Zac on the swings.
554. Zac's laugh.
555. Ryan's hug.
556. My mom's voice.
557. Reading grandma's evening prayer to her.
558. Quiet Reading.
559. My aunt's encouragement.
560. My uncle's silent, sweet protection and love for his wife.

Wow! That felt good to just think back on the day and praise Him. He is good, He is gracious, He is loving, He is peace!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Catching up... has been too long since I have sat down and written my thanks to God. It's not that I neglect to thank Him, but I want to stay committed to documenting His goodness. It's good for my heart, mind and soul to be intentional about recognizing His abundant provision and the Lord's loving kindness...
537. Hallie told me she had the perfect idea for a mom/daughter date. She want to go running with me!! I am so thankful she has seen fitness in my life and so glad that it is something fun to do in her life.
538. Forever grateful for all the wonderful things about my husband, but in particular, last night we were playing a game of tag at the park. I can never outrun Ryan and he was after me. So, I start running as fast as I can while laughing and frustrated. The best part is when he catches me and plants a big kiss on my lips. Thankful for these happy, silly moments.
539. Blogs. Whoever God gave the idea to for blogs, I am grateful. Just yesterday I read about my friend, Jen having a fun day creating and talking with her friends and it inspired me to want to do the same. I get great ideas and get to stay connected with far away friends. Thank you God for unique ways to stay connected.
540. My brother's happy voice. Yesterday I listened to a voicemail from my brother, who recently moved. His voice was happy and it made me happy too. Thank you God for making us family and creating in me a heart that shares joy and pain with him.
541. My running friends. God, thank you for bringing such ambitious, kind, welcoming and motivating women into my life. I actually look forward to getting up at 5:10 a.m. to run and talk with these women.
542. Ryan's family. I adore his family. Thank you God for giving me so many people to love and that love me. Thank you that my kids LOVE their cousins. Watching the boys wrestle and the girls giggle blesses my heart.
543. Picking up my daughter from school when she's not feeling well. Lord, thank you for letting me be a mom and giving me the opportunity to spend time nurturing my kids and being at home. This task is not always easy, but I am grateful you entrusted me with the job and equip me with all I need and more!
544. Reading with Ryan. Again, I can't get over how full my heart with love for my husband. Lately, we are spending each night on the couch reading the Hunger Games trilogy out loud to one another. The books are good, but the company is great! I am so thankful for these dates!
545. The Holy Spirit prompting me to more scripture memory. I don't know when and if I will ever not have the Bible to freely and openly read, but the Lord has asked that I hide his Word in my heart. So, for His glory and with His help I am going to try and memorize Philippines.
God directed me HERE for a guide on how-to memorize scripture.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I'm still here but...

...every free moment in the evenings has been spent reading the Hunger Games Trilogy with Ryan! I will be back sometime soon with loads of thanksgiving. Until then, you all should get this book it is a great read!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Two weekends ago some of my family from the East Coast came to NE for the Texas game (yuck!) and to spend time with us. What a complete delight it was to share our lives with them and have them share their lives with us. I love, love, love that God designed families. Why? Because I rarely see these people and don't often even talk with them, but without hesitation we hug when we meet and they sleep our beds and we share breakfasts and meaningful talks with one another. It's something special about the family bond that we share.

My heart was just overflowing with thankfulness to the Lord when they were here (and even now that they are gone) for...

526. Greeting each other with great big hugs

527. Sharing stories and experiences about healthcare with my uncle and cousin

528. Watching and uncle and seeing so much of my father. In awe of how God makes us unique and the similarities in us as well.

529. A morning run with my cousin.

530. Everyone making dinner together in my kitchen.

531. Good food and delighful conversation...thank you Lord for this pleasure

532. Rob reading to the boys

533. Hallie's admiration of Susanne

534. A walk through a NE forest.

535. My aunt's sincere interest in us and our lives.

536. An opportunity to share our faith, the most important thing to me, with our lives and our words.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Soccer and Birthday Party Pics!

Soccer for the boys 2010

Zac's 5th Birthday Party at the Pumpkin Patch

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Look who's FIVE!

Today marks Zac's 5th birthday. I am forever grateful for his presence is our lives. I never could have imagined that God would bring a child from Siberia into our family to be our son when Ryan and I first started our family. Here are just some of the countless reasons I am thanking God today for the gift of Zachary...

516. Zac's endless energy

517. The way he loves fruit.

518. He knows he is our son. Just this weekend I saw him point to me and tell some strangers, "That's my mom!"

519. How he makes up songs about God, "God is soooo powerful and soooo strong. God forgives us always, even when we are bad. God is the best." (His latest song went something like that)

520. The way he plays with and loves his brother and sister.

521. His confidence.

522. Watching him play a sport like soccer. The Lord made him to be a little fighter with lots of perseverance and toughness (most the time).

523. How he makes us laugh almost every day.

524. The way his tongue sticks out just a little while he concentrates on his artwork.

525. His bear hugs and huge kisses!

Happy Birthday, son! We love you always and forever!