The Lord is our Portion

The Lord is our Portion

Monday, December 30, 2013

our lil girl turns 2 today

Rejoicing that this will be her last birthday without her family…Praising God for our new daughter and all that He has done in her life so far.
2nd Copy (1) of Copy (1) of fei fei 2
Red Thread Poem
A red thread to China was cast today
From us to a child so far away.
This thread symbolizes an attachment of hearts
That distance alone can't keep us apart.

Her mother and I are caught in a chase
That time alone will bring us to face
This loving young child we want so much to greet
With love in our hearts before we did meet.

This tiny, thin thread may stretch, tangle or fray
But our love for her grows stronger each day.
Through the test of time it won't break or sever
She'll be part of us forever and ever.

With oceans between us, the distance is spanned
By a love that is greater than man could have planned.
For God in His mercy loved her and us
And decided our family would be a great plus.

So for now we'll just love her and pray every day
That God keeps her and loves her for us till we may
Travel to China, that land of great past,
To the side of our daughter, to hold her at last.

Dear Little One-How we wish that you were home here with us to celebrate you on your birthday. Soon - we are coming! Next year we will be able to celebrate Christmas and your birthday together. We are excited to see what the Lord has planned for you in your life as you grow. We are humbled to be on this journey again and so blessed to be able to be called your Daddy and Momma. Praying that the Lord wraps you in His love as you turn 2 and prepares your heart for all the changes that are coming your way. Trusting in His care and timing. Love you little one.

We love this song....
Next year we have her in our arms to wish her a Merry Christmas.
 There's a little girl trembling on a cold December morn
Cyin' for momma's arms
At an orphanage just outside a little China town
Where the forgotten are  But half a world away I hang
The stockings by the fire
And dream about the day
When I can finally call you mine It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone
So tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in His arms
And tell you from my heart, I wish you a Merry Christmas As I hang the tinsel on the tree and watch the twinkling lights
I'm warmed by the fire's glow
Outside the children tumble in a wonderland of white
And make angels in the snow And half a world away you try
Your best to fight the tears
And hope that heaven's angels come
To carry you here It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone
So tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in His arms
And tell you from my heart, I wish you a Merry Christmas And Christmas is a time to celebrate the Holy Child
And we celebrate His perfect gift of love
He came to us to give His life and prepare a place for us
So we could have a home with Him above It's Christmas time again and now you're home
Your family is here so you will never be alone
So tonight before you go to sleep, I'll hold you in my arms
And tell you from my heart and I'll tell you from my heart
I wish you a Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Merry Christmas

Our mandatory Christmas morning picture…the kids love it!!! Hubby and I love having pictures from every Christmas since we were married(even before kids) and looking at them seeing all the changes and growth…we could do without the age progression for us though!
Lil Guy loves Captain America outfit his siblings got him! Oh yah another book for Blessing #1 and a little bit of Christmas  morning loving……
Lil Guy and Mamma made Daddy a song/hymn book to use at night when we sing to him “so Daddy won’t forget the words” Blessing #5 wanted a pirate ship so when he opened it he said “that’s what I was talking about” too funny we all had a little laugh over that.            
Blessing #4 sporting her new Boston Terrier hat, the girls got more puppets – they love writing plays and doing puppet shows for people and our stylish Blessing #3 being silly.
Funny girls….Blessing #2 has been wanting a pair of Tom’s shoes for a while – she was happy to get a pair. We like that Tom’s gives a pair of shoes to a child for every pair that is bought.
Our dog loves the excitement in our home on Christmas morning she gets her own stocking and tears open the gifts-usually some kind of toy so the kids can open gifts without her trying to “help”. Blessing #4 has been wanting a Hearts 4 Hearts doll like her older sis and she was excited to get one- those dolls help support World Vision. Blessing #1 got an electric kettle along with tea and cocoa that he wanted for his dorm room.
Our whole family is all anxiously waiting for our lil girl to come home!  It was so sweet her grandparents got her the blue snuggly animal to help comfort her and with bonding -we are going to take that to China with us for sure, so thankful for that. Also, a Christmas/birthday card with money which we used to buy her car seat-that was a blessing!  Her other grandparents got her the ornament that looks like a snowflake but its angel surrounding her picture and on the back it is engraved –may angels watch over us. Blessing #2 bought her lots of hair bows (the girls in our home are all a little excited about having a lil girl to dress…) Blessing #3 and #4 got gift cards for Build a Bear workshop so while we were there the three of us made that bear for her 2nd birthday. The girls loved that I made a bear with them this time-I think that was a favorite part of the trip for them…I even did the heart ceremony and spun around (which took me a few minutes to not be dizzy from! gotta love getting older). I love making memories with my children.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

an update on our lil girl

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We got an update on our daughter a while ago here are some things about our little sweetie:
measurements -- height :81cm    weight: 9.5KG    head: 42cm    chest: 47cm    foot: 12.5 cm          teeth: 16
She is very good with speech. She can say a lot of words such like, Baba, Mama, Grandpa, Grandma, Yes, No, I don't want, I can etc...
She goes when adult ask her during day time, and wear diapers at night. (Hubby is so excited about the possibility of no diapers!)
She needs to hold a baby doll to sleep. Doesn't like insect, such as flies, bugs, mosquitos..She loves to watch TV cartoons.
We are excited to be so close to the end of our waiting and she will forever be in our arms soon. The way things are looking is we are hoping and praying for January travel!

Also, we finally decided on a name for our new sweetie - we are going to name her Tabitha. Since being saved hubby and I are drawn to Biblical names and Tabitha in the New Testament(Acts 9:36-42) was full of good works and charity. She became ill and died but Peter prayed and told her to arise, she opened her eyes. Then many believed on the Lord because of that! Hubby and I love the symbolism of her name and new life which parallels what adoption is…our adoption to Christ is new life -a rebirth. It is our hope and prayer that our little Tabitha will be like the one in the Bible and we await for the day that the Lord adopts her as His own.

Dear sweet little daughter, Daddy and Momma are so ready to have you in our arms. We are praying for your heart as so many changes are coming your way, it grieves us to think of all you have and will go through.  The Lord is good and we trust in His special plan for you. Soon you will be with us your forever family, your brothers and sisters are so very excited to have you come home. We are praying for safety and wisdom for the upcoming surgeries you will need after coming home. Lord willing we will travel to bring you home in January. Until then the Lord will watch over you and keep you in His loving care. We love you sweet little girl.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Been Busy! fingerprinting, NVC, Article 5 & visas

Finally, all of our prints are completed and all the U.S side of paperwork is complete! Blessing #2 became an “another adult in the house” so we had to get her USCIS prints run for homeland security…we got our letter saying her appointment date was scheduled for Nov. 15, 2013 at 8 am –Hubby took her the day after we got our letter and PRAISE God they did them! They were in and out of the office within an hour!
uscis mimi 1 - Copyuscis mimi 2 - Copyuscis us 3 - Copy
Well Hubby, blessing #1 and my original USCIS prints were going to expire on Feb. 5, 2014 which was to close to our estimate travel dates….so we had to get ours redone also! Our scheduled date was Dec. 3, 2013 at 8 and 9 am. Well, this was a little trickier cause of blessing #1 rigorous college schedule and trying to get him home with the least amount of missed classes. Plus we didn’t want to wait that long just to get our prints done and our officer working on our case suggested we try to go in as quickly as we could. We were able to bring him home and go try to get our prints done on Nov. 15th…we went in and the USCIS officer gave us a little bit of a hard time for not coming on our scheduled date and told us they would try we may have to sit and wait a while. We all began praying! Well we ended up being out of there within an hour!! PRAISE God again!  When you get your prints done there it is scanned onto the computer and between our 2 adoptions this was our 4th time being fingerprinted just by USCIS!!!(that doesn’t count the ones for local/county, state and FBI-seriously my neighbors should feel super safe living by us!) So I was curious why if they were done on computer why couldn’t they just re-run them without us having to go there. I asked the officer why did we have to come back in there, why couldn’t they just run the ones on file, do they keep records of them? She replied “not all prints are kept on file?” I must of looked at her strange cause she said, “If you have a record then they are” OH! so I said, “ it’s actually a good thing then that I have to keep getting them run?” to that she smiles and says “yes” OK I will never complain about having to be re-fingerprinted again!
hague diagram
After all our prints were done we got our I800 provisional approval and our paperwork went to NVC(national visa center) all of that is called Article 5 went to US Consulate in Guangzhou on Dec. 5th the pick up date is Dec. 19th then it is forwarded to Beijing and we begin our wait for official travel approval (TA)!
What is the Article 5???
The consulate needs to review our new child's visa application (the DS-230), make sure it meets the qualifications for an immigrant visa, and then signs off that everything is in order for the adoption to be completed. This is called the Article 5 letter. You cannot obtain custody of your child until the Article 5 letter is issued! Once it's picked up from the consulate, it will be delivered directly to the CCAA for Travel Approval! Basically, once we have the Article 5 letter, then we just wait for China’s official invitation for us to come and gain custody of our daughter. The Travel Approval typically comes  about 10 days to 2 weeks after the Article 5 letter is issued. THEN we travel 2-3 weeks later. So that is where we are at in timeline of bringing our daughter home. We also sent our passports to a courier to the Chicago China Consulate to get our visas issued  in there. Things are moving along…hoping to enjoy some time over the holidays as our oldest son will be home till middle of January! Hopefully it won’t be long till we travel still hoping and praying we miss Chinese New Year and can travel in January – February seems so far away…but resting in the fact that the Lords timing is always best.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


A couple weeks ago we had dinner with dear friends of ours, it was a great time.  Our families have been friends for 16 years. P and I met when I was invited to a mom’s Bible study that was P’s home, by a woman I used to work with. At that time P and I each only had 2 children! I was not a Christian at the time- I knew about God but not the Gospel message about how Jesus died for me so I could be saved from my sin.  I had never been to a moms Bible study but I so needed the “mom” part…mostly because towards the end of my 2nd pregnancy we moved  to a small town where I didn’t know anyone, none of my friends were moms yet, and after my 2nd child was born I experienced post partum depression…so I totally needed to have some mama friends. Immediately upon entering her home I felt so welcomed P has an amazing gift of hospitality her friendly caring personality put me at ease. She has a gift of making you feel like you’re the only person in the room  by caring about you - without making you feel singled out.We quickly became friends sometimes talking on the phone for hours! We knew our hubbies were similar and would get along great - and were right when within minutes of going out as couples they were telling jokes and laughing together. One of our greatest memories was camping together - and P’s hubby W was singing it was hysterical.

It is because of P that I heard the Gospel message and received Jesus as my personal Savior and was cleansed from my sins. P had invited me to attend Hearts at Home conference with her in 1997-to say that it was a life changing experience is an understatement! I am amazed at how the Lord used P to change the course of my life, my husband and children lives and our future generations. I am so thankful to have the hope that our family will all spend eternity in Heaven worshipping Jesus. So thankful P responded to the need and opened her home for Bible study.

They are the kind of special friends that you do life with – even when life is busy and you may not see each other a lot, you still pray for, think of and when you do talk you can pick up like there has never been a gap of time between you. So thankful the Lord has moved them closer to our neck of the woods! We are looking forward to many more good times and memories together. Love you guys.
a few of our children

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Orphan Sunday

Temesgen pic 4
orphan no more-cherished son

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orphan no more-beloved daughter

Today is orphan Sunday…so thankful for the many churches across the globe that are willing to recognize today and be a voice for the orphans. I especially appreciate this video on Orphan Sunday by David Platt you can watch on Vimeo.
It breaks our hearts that the orphan crisis is not being mentioned or addressed in many churches. As the body we should be furthering the gospel but also caring for the least of these. All through scripture you can see God's heart regarding this however it seems so often the church shies away from social injustice. Also, there are churches that loose focus in the spreading of the gospel by devoting themselves only to social injustice and that is not right either, but there needs to be a balance to ignore the cries of the oppressed is wrong too. 
On Orphan Sunday, Christians have the opportunity to stand for the orphan. We are a people called to defend the fatherless…to care for the child that has no family…to visit orphans in their distress. While on our trips to Ethiopia and since then we have met several families that adopted after their eyes and hearts were opened because of a message they heard on Orphan Sunday! So thankful that there are churches out there that are willing to stand in the gap and be a voice for the orphans.
As I sit here thinking about the orphans I am reminder how I am loved and adopted by our heavenly father.  I love what David Platt said, “Important to realize, we adopt not because we are rescuers. No, we adopt because we are the rescued..." He is the father to the fatherless… I once was lost, lonely and brokenhearted….so thankful that the Lord has called me and adopted me into his family. The same passion and desire we adoptive parents have when we pursue our adopted children is how God pursues us!  Adopting a child is the physical example of our adoptions into Christ.

Friday, November 1, 2013

halloween 2013

We had not been trick or treating in years – and the kids were wanting to go out this year.  So in the morning they picked out costumes to wear from our dress up bin! We had a puppy, waitress, pirate, Sacajawea and Batman. They had a blast getting ready and going out that evening.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lil Guy turns 4!

Our Lil Guy turned 4! Amazing how time goes so quickly. He is becoming even more inquisitive!Seems like most answers about things are not enough anymore and often is questioned with a “why”. He likes to know how things work, why they are the way they are or what makes things happen the way they do. He loves reading and learning about things through books. Some of his favorite things to read are Bible stories and then he acts them out…like David and Goliath(which explains the crack in our mirrored door as he was being David throwing the rock to kill Goliath in the mirror) or the Good Samaritan.  This always has been his personality but seems even more elaborate now that his vocabulary has grown a lot this past year. I remember in Ethiopia, Alm*z who ran the transition home he was at told hubby and I that Lil Guy (wasn’t even 1 yet) was going to grow up and be a scientist or something smart because how observant and curious he was.

This was a big year for little guy some of his accomplishments this year were: sleeping through the night, getting out of diapers, a new big bed in his own room, learning to ride a big boy bike, swimming underwater across our pool (freaked mom out a bit), going to Sunday School by himself without one of us in there, and of course becoming a older brother (we have to say older cause he takes big literally!).

We celebrated Lil Guys birthday after church and both sets of his grandparents came over to share in his birthday. It was extra special because his big brother was home from college for a long weekend. He chose gluten/dairy free chocolate chip cookie cake for his special birthday dessert and blessing #2 made him dairy free ice cream. It was a nice family day.

4 special things about you:
1. your smile
2. you like to share
3. you can be silly
4. you like to give random hugs and kisses

Dear Blessing #5, We are so thankful the Lord has put you in our family. What a blessing you are to us. Excited to see what a year brings as we continue to grow in Gods love. We love you Lil Guy. Love~Daddy and Momma

Thursday, October 10, 2013



We are asking for prayer - if you could please add us to your prayer list and share this with others-we would be so thankful.

Three weeks ago today our case manager called us with a huge surprise that she already had our LOC (letter of confirmation-which is your official approval to adopt your child-this typically takes 2-3 months!) She proceeds to tell us our little girl would probably be home by Christmas! So needless to say we were ecstatic! She wanted to talk about paperwork but I needed to let her go so I could get ahold of myself because I was crying and couldn’t focus on what she would say.  Wow! she would be home for Christmas, in time for her 2nd birthday, blessing #1 could possibly go with - or at least would be home from college when she came home ( a huge desire of this mommas heart), hubby is off the week between Christmas and New Years so he would have extra vacation time at home with us bonding and for the many doctor appointments we will need to do when coming home. My heart was overflowing with joy because of what the Lord had done!

Then I remembered that Blessing #2 just turned 18 –she is now “another adult in the house” so she has to have her fingerprints done at USCIS.  In order to get an appointment to do that she has to have all her local finger prints/background checks done, she has her county and FBI criminal checks done we are just waiting on our state clearance (they wouldn’t do it until she was 18) as of today we are STILL* waiting for this!!!!  Our case manager thinks this could delay us a month to get our sweet lil girl…this is breaking our hearts. Well a month delay puts us at the end of January right into Chinese New Year -which wisely our agency doesn’t allow us to travel then.  Hubby, Blessing #1 and my USCIS prints expire Feb 5…so we have to redo (and repay) for them to get done again. Which is going to be interesting seeing Blessing #1 is college now.
*UPDATE- right after I posted this we found out we got our state clearance on our daughter! Praise-now waiting on updated homestudy.

Here's how you can help: We are asking believers to please pray specifically that she will be home between Christmas and Chinese New Year.  It would be so exciting to know that many are praying for her and to see what the Lord has planned. We know that no is an answer too-and will praise Him regardless. The Bible tells us to take all our cares to Him nothing is to big or to small for Him. He knows our hearts longing to bring her home to a family who will love her and to start getting the medical care she needs. So will you please join us in prayer for this?

Recently one day when I was worrying about all this (I know…not supposed to do that) and having to wait on all this paperwork need- I was saying” its just a piece of paper”. Well the Lord reminded me of something that happened with our 1st adoption. We didn’t pass court in Ethiopia which isn’t too unusual typically due to a missing paper from Ethiopia and they just reschedule. Well we didn’t pass even our 3rd court date which  was not common- we were going for our agency’s highest record of reschedules (not a record we were wanting)! The next day my caseworker called I was assuming to tell us our next court date, but she said there was some kind of miscommunication and we actually did pass court – Lil Guy was now legally our son! Well when we traveled to pick him up we were talking with Al**z who ran the transition home our son was in, I mentioned the miscommunication on our court appointment. She gave me the strangest look and said “No, there was no miscommunication-you did not pass court!” Then proceeded to tell us that after our 3rd appointment she had received a call from the court for her to call regarding one of her families, when she called they then told her we actually passed. Al**z said they never do that-call her to change a ruling, usually they will just reschedule and pass the family next time. She said “You know who did that-who changed that paper-we just need to trust in Him who does that!” Wow! Such a wonderful reminder how powerful our God is.

So we are trusting and believing in the Lord who is bigger than any paperwork or government-He who can do all things. Our Lord has it all under control. We know that the Lords plans are always best. His timing is perfect. He is rarely early BUT He is never late. We are trusting in His plans-rejoicing in the things He has done. Hoping in Him for the things He can do and  is doing.

We would be so thankful to have you pray for this with us! Also each year we are going to print our blog as a memory album to look back on all the Lord has done; so if you would like leave a comment so our daughter can see that people were praying her home.

Habakkuk 2:3  For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end- it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

for our little sweetie

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We finally got our care package assembled and ready to mail for our little girl. It was little harder to do than we had thought…I mean we have 3 girls already-we should be pros at this girl stuff! We know she sleeps with a rag doll so of course we had to get her a doll. The one we picked is a little young for her but we had to be careful with the package weight for shipping costs. Daddy picked out her outfit. Blessing #2 made her the little tag blanket that we slept with so it has our scents on it. We all made photo album for her –the girls all helped do their own pages, lil guy helped as well, even Daddy with some of the layouts. In it we put pictures of  her, our family, pets and home in it so she hopefully recognizes us when we meet. We may make a second copy of the book to take with us just in case we don’t get this one back, so we can look through it with her in China.  Lastly disposable cameras that have her name on it, we included a letter with our wishes they take lots of pictures of her and her surroundings then return the cameras to us when we meet her…so hopefully (please pray for this)
Dear sweet lil daughter, Daddy and Momma can’t wait to hold you in our arms. Praying that you come home soon. We have to get some more paper work done otherwise you would be home around Christmas and for your 2nd birthday. We are all very thankful and humbled that you will forever be part of our family. We know that Jesus is watching over you and we are praying that you are well cared for and loved everyday until we have you in our arms. We love you lil one.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

My heart is rejoicing this morning…

Psalm 92:4 For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.

This is the cutie I found waiting for me to wake up this morning. My souls sings praises this morning to the Lord for all He has done in Lil Guys life. Earlier today when I got up to work out I went to check on Lil Guy as I always do, he was stirring a bit because he needed to be covered up. As I pulled the blankets on him he whispered, “thanks Mom” as he snuggled himself under the blankets and went back to sleep. Now to some this may not seem like much ….but to me his mama this is H.U.G.E!  One of Lil Guys big issues was sleep in fact he has only been out of our bedroom for a little over a month. Since coming home anytime I would cover him up during the night he would startle in his sleep. Also, when I would need to wake him in the morning he would be so startled and his poor little heart would just be racing. My heart is so full of joy in how far the Lord has brought us with Lil Guy.

Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Lamentations 3:22-24 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;  they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

His is Lil Guys new Curious George bedroom…we completed this in less than 6 days! (we did this the week after we dropped of Blessing #1 to college)
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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy 18th Birthday… Another adult in our home!

So our sweet spirited 2nd born turned 18 today and is an adult now! Blessing #2 is my right hand girl and is always wanting to help. I can’t believe how quickly times goes by! She has begun applying to colleges and we are excited to see what the Lord has planned for her…ever since she was 8 she has had a desire to be a missionary to Ch**a.  Joy radiates her whole being when she is making something for someone, whether it be a sewing project, crocheting, drawing, cooking/baking or any other craft - she is a giver.
Dear Blessing #2- We thank the Lord for you! You were our sweet 1st bundle of pink. We praise God for His protection over you by bringing you safely into this world and healthy (and BIG! 9 lbs  3 weeks early!) We love your tender heart and remember how you used to cry in the movie Bambi when you were only 2 1/2 or 3 years old. You have brought much joy into our lives and those around you. We thank God for all He has done in your life and are so excited to see where He leads you! We love how you beam with joy as you are doing things for people around you. We are blessed to have you as our daughter.


18 Things Your Family Appreciates About You:
2.tender hearted                                                                          
8.self motivated/diligent
10.servants heart
We had a nice day celebrating Blessing#2. Started out with her choice for breakfast with homemade blueberry muffins, sausage and smoothies. Later in the day we had an early dinner with the grandparents-we are so fortunate that both sets grandparents live close enough to celebrate and share in our kids special events. Then Blessing #2 went home with my parents so grandma (an artist) could help her put together her art portfolio to show colleges.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

21 years ago I married my best friend

we celebrated this past weekend at an Ethiopian restaurant- hubby was so sweet he called ahead and ordered injera made only with teff so I that I could eat it! The food was great it tasted just like in Ethiopia (thanks Mom for keeping the kids all weekend!)
Wow! 21 years ago today we were married… Couple years ago we passed the mark of being together longer in our lives than we had lived separately. Its been wonderful so far!  We have had good and bad times-mostly good! So thankful each day that we get to walk this path of life together. Excited to see what the years ahead bring. Praise God for His grace, goodness and faithfulness to us in our marriage.

Thought it would be fun to list 21 things we have experienced together in our 21 years of marriage:
1. I was saved 1997
2. Hubby was saved in 2004
3. had blessing #1(even though at 18 I was told there was a chance I could never have children)
4. had blessing #2
5. had blessing #3 (even though after #2 I was told shouldn’t have anymore children)
6. had blessing #4 (umm yeah…see above)
7. adopted from Ethiopia blessing #5
8. adopting from China blessing #6
9. We were both baptized along with our oldest 2 children in 2004
10. Hubby has had 6 different jobs
11. I quit working while pregnant with blessing#1-never worked since
12. Hubby started his own business doing engineering contracts at home
13. went through post partum depression once
14. felt God calling us to homeschool in 2003 (have been doing it since)
15. went to Ethiopia -twice! (will go to China soon!)
16. our best family vacation was 2 weeks in Florida
17. have been to Niagara Falls in every season (love it there)
18. went on a cruise before having children
20. bought 3 houses
21. have had 13 different cars


Dear Hubby, I am so thankful the Lord has put us together and that I get to be called your wife. Serving you and seeing your smile, hearing you laugh (even with your strange sense of humor) brings me joy. We have had so many good memories and some tough times but there is no one else I would rather be able to go through those with than with you! Thank you for always wanting the best for our family, working hard, also for being so kind and patient with me. I look forward to growing older together! LOVE YOU I!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Happy 19th Birthday

Blessing #1 turned 19 recently…this year his birthday was a little different due to the fact that he is away at college in another state (that will be another post). We actually celebrated with him twice- once at home as a family then again when hubby and I moved him in the dorms we got to take him out for a birthday dinner (actually three times if you count the goodies we left at the dorm and the gifts his sisters mailed to him!). Even though it was different this year it was still special. 
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Dear Blessing #1-You are our gift that made us parents. When I was 18 due to some medical issues I was told there is a chance I would never have children. Dad and I were so excited when we found out we were expecting our first child.  After 27 hours of labor and three hours of pushing, my body went into shock  I also  began spiking a 105 degree fever (we later found out was due to an infection from internal bleeding) so I needed to have an emergency C-section. You were born totally healthy and huge 10lbs 1oz, 21 inches long and 15 inch head!
Son, we rejoice that you have an unquenchable desire to love and serve the Lord with your whole being and life. We are so humbled and blessed to be your parents. We love how your testimony challenges us.  Our relationship has changed now from us directing you, and it so neat to watch you making decisions, being such a responsible young man, and following the Lord’s leading on your life. Thankful to see all that the Lord has done in your life this far and excited to see what the Lord has planned for your future. 
Here are 19 things your family appreciates about you Blessing #1- we love you bud!
1   love for Lord – your testimony – theological
2   fun to be with
3  loving/loveable
4   caring-thoughtful
5   handsome
6   good sense of humor
7   playful
8   easy going (like Dad)
9   peacemaker
10  calm/patient
11   brilliant
12  talkative
13   the girls are thankful you would eat their meat if they didn’t want it! (they really miss you!LOL)
14  diligent
15  helpful
16  charming
17  genuine
18  kind
19  good teacher