Thursday, July 31, 2008

Village of Hope

Please click on this picture to make it larger so you can read the words on their sign...
Last year when Payton and I visited Benin, West Africa one of the most touching experiences we had was getting to go to an orphanage called the Village of Hope. From the beginning it was obvious the Lord was at work. Though every child there had an incredibly tragic story...there eyes were filled with hope. When we were able to give them money that some people at the church had given us for just such a circumstance, all the children broke into praises and dancing to the Lord. It was one of the most beautiful expressions of gratitude to the Lord that I have ever seen.The director later told us, We had been hoping you would come. These children are being lead by great people of faith who are trusting the Lord for their provision.

Next month, my sister and Randy are heading back to Benin to visit the Christians there and take some desperately needed funds to this orphanage. This provides the perfect opportunity for them to raise money and hand deliver it to these precious children and their caretakers. As Tony and I have prayed about this we continue to have James 1:27 running through our minds..."Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." We know this mission is one that is close to the heart of our Lord. I am including a link to Randy's website that gives even more details...If the Lord puts this on your heart...your investment in these children is an investment in the Kingdom.

Here are some words my sister wrote recently,"These children have lost their parents due to the HIV AIDS virus and others have been rescued from child traffickers. These children are lovingly cared for and blessed by adults who have sacrificed a great deal to protect them, feed and educate them. Recently we received a letter from the director there describing the present needs of the orphanage. The Lord has put it on our heart to raise what money we can to take and bless these children and their caregivers."

Here is a link to my brother-in-law's business website where they are currently raising money as well.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Because of Payton

Payton is 6! He walked into our room yesterday (On the 15th) at 6:45 and crawled into bed with us. I said, "Happy Birthday Pater!" and he responded, "You are kidding me, it had completely slipped my mind." I started telling Payton his birth story and mentioned that the day he was born was the first 100 degree day of 2002. He looked at me and said, "I will tell you one thing, you can be sure I never saw that coming."

My word we love that boy!

Because of Payton we have learned life is way more fun with his commentary.

Because of Payton we have seen that his cousins are worth screaming and jumping up and down over every time we mention the slightest chance we might see them.

Because of Payton we have learned that someone actaully can have nightmares about Veggietales. He is still frightened by extremly large cucumbers.

Because of Payton we have had to remind him that even though he can tell time does not mean that his parents, grandparents, teachers, etc...want a running account of how many minutes they are running behind.

Because of Payton I am still asked everytime we pull in Starbucks, "Does dad know about this?"

Because of Payton, I have actually heard the words, "Let's go someplace that has vegetables...I know I have eaten enough sweets to last me a month."

Because of Payton if I ever wander across the aisle at Walmart to get something I hear, "Excuse me, are you leaving us unattended because this basket specifically says DO NOT leave your children unattended."

Because of Payton and examples like the one above...I get lots of smile as we grocery shop.

Because of Payton I am well aware anytime we encounter a smell that is not good. We are working on NOT trying to figure out the source as this can become embaressing when strangers are around.

Because of Payton we see daily a tender hearted little boy who really does think through everything!

Because of Payton Tony and I feel completely loved...He is our encourager and is always expressing his love for us.

Because of Payton our life is overflowing with more and more of every good thing. 6 years ago we walked into a hospital with no idea what it meant to be parents. When they released us from the hospital Tony looked at me and said, "They are not just going to let us leave with him are they? Isn't there more they should tell us before we take him home?" Tony drove 20 mph the whole way home (on the highway) and I cried the entire drive wondering how we were going to make it. Payton has taught us so much...We have enjoyed almost all of it. :) His life and the deep desire we feel to raise him in a way that honors the Lord calls us to our knees time and time again. We are beside ourselves with thankfulness that he is ours...Line up every 6 year old in the world and we are going to search until we find him...Of course we will just have to look for the part of the line that is a little more organized than the rest and he will be there. May the Lord continue to grow and develop this boy...May every dream He had in mind when he created him come true! We love him so!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Because of Benjamin

Our Benjamin turned 4 today! (on July is running a bit behind)

He woke up to great confusion because his parents were singing Happy Birthday to him his older brother was trying to explain that because his party was not today he was not really four. After older brother was silenced(temporarily), the celebrating began!

How we love this boy!

Because of Benjamin we have read more parenting books than any one person can count.

Because of Benjamin we have laughed harder than we thought possible.

Because of Benjamin we have watched two brothers forge a friendship that survives through great laughter and through tears.

Because of Benjamin we have watched Payton's deeply protective side develop.

Because of Benjamin we have a better view of what Tony was like as a little boy.

Because of Benjamin we know what its like to lose a stare down battle with a 3 year old.
Because of Benjamin we know what it is like to lose your 3 year old at a water park for 20 minutes.

Because of Benjamin we daily know how loved we are...He is great at affirming us.

Because of Benjamin we are reminded daily by him to ask the Lord that he would have no bad dreams and that someday he will hit a ball out of the park.

Because of Benjamin we daily go out and watch him slide, hit, and catch the ball.

Because of Benjamin we have had to start imposing the rule...No matter how badly you need to go to the restroom, the garage is not the place.

Because of Benjamin we have learned that someone can actually get full on an almond.

Because of Benjamin we have been told, "That when I disobey you I DO NOT (caps reflect yelling) want you to spank me!" This did not go over well.

Because of Benjamin we have learned to recognize "a mischevious look" and run frantically through the house looking for what has just occurred.

Because of Benjamin we live our life fuller, smile bigger and sleep better at night.

Our list could go on and on. For 4 years we have treasured this boy...and raised our hands in thankfulness to the Lord that he is ours. I must say at least 10 times a day..."I am so crazy about him." Tony always smiles and agrees. Payton will say he has no better friend than his brother. When we went into the delivery room 4 years ago we had no idea who was coming...When they said. "Its a boy!" We both screamed with excitement...We so wanted brothers who could play together, be strong together, and glorify the Lord together. We have not been disappointed. Daily as we hear something thrown a bit too hard against the wall, or perhaps we see a wrestling match taken a bit too far, I smile (sometimes after I have gotten a bit of perspective) and thank the Lord. This is exactly who we wanted...and we praise Him for the gift that is our Benjamin! Line up every 4 year old in the world and he is our first choice...after all...We are crazy about him!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

It's July?!

I am overwhelmed that July is here...Where does the time go? We are 7 weeks away from Eden's due date, 8 weeks away from Payton starting school, 9 weeks away from me being locked in a padded room somewhere.:)

We are enjoying every moment of togetherness we can get our hands on...and loving every minute of it! Here are some stories I am wanting to remember...

1. I am moving slower these days. The other day we were late to church and Payton's teacher said, "Are you guys running behind?" Payton replied, "My mom is as cute as a bug, but as slow as a turtle these days."

2. The other day Payton wanted to know how you get your last name...I was explaining how boys carry on their family name and girls often take the last name of the man they marry. Payton responded with, "I have no idea who I want to marry." I reassured him he had a good many years before he even needed to consider that. Benjamin said, "I know exactly who I am going to marry." We asked him who and with the sweetest smile he said, "My mom." Payton then said, "OH benjamin, that is so embaressing, mom is so much taller than you."

3. The other day I got the boys both a cheesestick for a snack. Payton said we sing about these at church...puzzled I said, "What?" He started singing (To the tune of Shout to the Lord) "My cheesestick, My savior" Ummm...we are still working on basic theology over here.

4. One of our friends gave Eden a swimsuit. Benjamin was very concerned about how she would get it off to go to the bathroom. I explained that she would wear a diaper under it and she would just go to the bathroom in that. He sat there for a second and said, "I am sitting here waiting for you to tell me you're kidding. That's disgusting."

5. In what could be an entirely different post, our house was on the market, got a full price offer and then we took it off the market...(we both felt our timing was off, sometimes you don't realize you are pushing yourself until you get to the edge of the cliff)...However, during the time it was in process we were looking at a bunch of different houses...Payton one day told us that we needed to be sure our next house had 5 bedrooms. When we asked why He said, "Because Benjamin and I don't want to share a room anymore and I am betting you and dad don't either."

6. The boys (for some reason) love the thought of Dairy Queen though we do not frequent it. I told them we could eat breakfast there after I noticed it opened at 8 AM. We got up and went and they do not even have a breakfast menu, they do not even serve juice. However you can get the full belt/hunger buster menu in the AM...we were happy to get this picture, enjoy drink and head to McDonalds.

7. Last week we finished our summer swim lessons...Both boys made huge strides. Payton, ever our cautious insurance adjuster (He evaluates and calculates risk before entering any unknown) is now doing quite well. Benjamin is still working on "Get the wall"(My goal for him was just to be able to get out if and when he falls in, which occurs almost everytime we are around a pool) and he is doing better. We are crazy over Ms. Jody...and all of our friends that took with us. Such a fun time of watching hte kids interact and having some sweet time with my friends.

8. Totally unrelated to my family...but how long can Dippin Dots say its the ice cream of the future? They came out with that stuff while I was in college 11 years ago...The future has arrived and it is not Dippin Dots.

9. This Thursday, the 3rd, my sisters family will have been home a full year from Benin. It has been a year of adjustments and victories for their family. They have done great. Here's to the next year being even better!


My dearest friend BJ made this wreath for Eden's baby shower/to hang on the hospital room door. I find myself staring at it several times a day, praying for this sweet baby girl who we cannot wait to meet.

I hope to do a better job of documenting in the coming weeks...We have Benjamin's birthday on the 10th, Payton's on the 15th...a month full of celebrations. I am so thankful for this season of anticipation in our life.