Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Update on Abey Baby

We were delighted to receive an update today on our little guy.  We're clinging to every glimpse of him we can get.  I admit, today's update has made us a little more concerned about the transition.  We've yet to hear that he is flexible or a people lover, so we're preparing our hearts for the cold shoulder, but praying otherwise.  Here is some of what we heard from the in-country staff:

"Nahom is joining the growing list of kids that don't really like me.  I am a big scary white man, not something he sees everyday.  I also caught him just as he was waking from his nap, so let's just say he didn't run into my arms.  He is doing well.   He continues to be a good eater and likes to play.  He continues to practice his walking skills, and is much more comfortable holding hands than taking steps alone.  He is developing nicely.  I hope you had a great Christmas, and I will see you soon."

Did you hear that?  He'll see us soon- very soon, almost single digits soon!  Hooray!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Favorite Christmas Gift

Insane can not begin to describe the to-do list at our house right now.  Between Christmas, New Year's, preparing for a baby, preparing for a trip to ET, preparing to leave 3 children with grandparents for a week,  preparing for Lily's 5th birthday party, and well, you get the picture, it's insane!  Let's just say we have spreadsheets of the spreadsheets!

So as a short escape from the madness, I thought I'd take a minute to share a picture of my favorite Christmas gift this year.  It came from Ryan's sister.  I didn't ask for it, it wasn't the most expensive, I don't need it, but it is definitely my favorite.  I think you can see why:

I have to say that I take comfort in the fact that there is actually a market for an ornament with that many little folks on it.  At least if we've lost our minds by adding another, there must be some good company out there!  

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


It's funny how with our planning for travel mixed with the holidays, I have been reflecting a lot on being a mommy.  There are certain skills that I have acquired with mommyhood that I simply don't think I could have acquired any other way.  These are including, but not limited to the following:
  • Scraping soggy Apple Jacks out of the sink drain no longer makes me gag
  • I can distinguish exactly what kind of emotion my children are experiencing according to the pitch, volume, and frequency of their cry/scream and I know when I need to run and when they need to take a sit in THE chair.
  • Snot bubbles no loner make me flinch.
  • I can beat all of my children on nearly every game on Webkinz.
One of the other things I love about being a mom is getting to see the world through the perspective of a child.   Sometimes they say the funniest things.  Here's a couple of my favorites from the last week or so:
  • Isaac says to Abby as we're preparing to leave for our co-op Christmas party, "If this ends up being another surprise baby shower, I just don't think I can handle it."
  • Said by Lily to Elizabeth as she was describing our trip to Babies R Us. " They had this place where the babies could play, but we didn't bring r baby because he was in Eseepoia."
One of the highlights of being a mother for me was definitely my first Christmas as a mom.  I don't think I'll ever forget that Christmas.  I have always loved Christmas.  It was always a very special time at our house.  I always "knew" that it was about the birth of Christ, but I didn't KNOW that.  But the first Christmas after we had Abby, it was as if someone had flipped a switch and Christmas had so much more significance for me. Every song, every reading of the Christmas story, and especially every mention of Mary brought tears to my eyes that year.  I would gaze at my baby and imagine that journey to Bethlehem, that birth in a stable, and I would just cry over the sacrifice that was made for me.  What a blessing of mommyhood that has been!
With that said, I need to go get back to my number one job, that of being a mommy and a wife.  I don't want to miss a moment of these special days!  

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Plane tickets- check!

Okay, I must admit that I can not believe this is really happening!  But, it is.  In 23 days, we leave to meet our son.  We purchased the plane tickets yesterday afternoon and we are so excited.  We felt as though the Lord gave us a gift as far as the booking of the tickets went.  You see, my husband and I were a little at odds about the tickets.  We both really wanted to fly Emirates Air, we've read many positive things about the total experience vs. Ethiopian Air.  But, every time we had sat down and priced the tickets, there was a significant price difference between the two.   A few hundred dollars times 3 tickets, well that's a chunk of change.  And I, being the practical one, could not justify paying that much money for 24 hours of our lives.  Ryan didn't necessarily agree.  So, we weren't sure what we were going to do.
Yesterday, when we called Susan Parr, a highly recommended travel agent in the adoption community, she worked some sort of industry magic.  We were able to get tickets with Emirates Air, and we're only paying a total of $30 more for all of them.  We were thrilled.  Not to mention the airline will put us up for one night in Dubai and so we'll arrived in Addis a little more refreshed than we would have otherwise.  What a blessing! 

I thought I'd end with a sweet story about my precious husband.  Before our oldest daughter Abby was born, he read something that convinced him that newborn eyes could focus best on the colors black, white, and red.  She was induced, so he had plenty of time to plan his wardrobe, and he insisted on wearing red, so that she would be able to focus on him.  Lizzy made her appearance quite dramatically when my placenta ruptured during the night.  Still, Ryan grabbed a red shirt on our rush out the door.  Isaac was scheduled for an induction, but decided during the night he didn't need to wait for the morning appointment.  Fortunately, Ryan had already laid out his red.  Lily, came with an emergency c-section.  Ryan was in a staff meeting at work when the secretary grabbed him and told him he had 30 minutes to get to the hospital or he'd miss the whole thing.  He'd worn red to work that day.

Now, Ryan has always liked red well enough.   There are usually a couple of red items hanging in his closet at any given time.  So, I thought nothing of it when he left for work yesterday wearing red.  Then, last night, Ryan was reviewing with our two younger ones why the court date was so significant for our family.  And he said, "It's kind of like a birthday, this is the day when he became a Campbell.  That's why daddy wore red today.  I wore red on the day when everyone of you children were born.  This morning when I was getting dressed I debated about if I should wear red.  I decided that I was going to step out on faith that today was going to be a birthday at our house."  How sweet!   I love that man!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Good News!!!

Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land. Pro. 25:25

This is the day!

This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

Several of you have e-mailed or called to ask about exactly what today involves.  So, I thought I'd take a minute to explain.  WE will not go before a judge today.  A judge in Ethiopia will review our case and file today.  A gentleman from our agency has the power of attorney to be present for us today.  After it has been reviewed with a fine tooth comb, if everything is in order, we will be approved.  If not, we will be postponed, probably until at least late January.  

Please understand, today is not really about determining if we would be an acceptable placement for the child.  That's what we spent the first six months of this year doing.  Today is about making sure that everything is in order and that the paperwork has been correctly completed on both sides.  The majority of issues come from the Ethiopian side of the file.  This is simply because they want to assure that all of their adoptions are done in an ethical fashion, with no coersion or exchange of money involved.   I appreciate that!

When we are approved, we will be assigned travel dates.  We should get those by Friday.  The dates will be somewhere between 3 and 5 weeks from today.  We can't wait!

We will know the results today, probably sometime between 1 and 5 PM.  We will update the blog as soon as we can this afternoon.  Ryan and I are attending the church's annual staff Christmas luncheon for a couple of hours this afternoon.  Not so sure how we're going to eat- but hey, it will be a great distraction while we wait those last few hours.  

Have a great morning, and we hope to have some good news and some precious photos of our boy to share with you this afternoon!  Thanks for all of your prayers and encouragement! 

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Comfort, that's the meaning of our son's birth name.  Isn't that beautiful?  Comfort is such a tender word.   All of us want to find comfort in something.

Through this whole journey to our son, God has showed me over and over again that HE is the only source of true and lasting comfort.  Again, this week, he has comforted me with his word. With less than 36 hours remaining until we hear the outcome of our case, I have been running the same few verses through my head again and again.  I'll leave you with these words from Daniel ch. 6.  They've brought me great comfort as I've prayed for favor with the judge in Ethiopia this week. 

"Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
He changes time and seasons;
he sets up kings and deposes them.
He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.
I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers:
You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Two days and to-dos

Ladies and Gentleman, give it up for a mere 2 days until our court date!  That means only two more nights of trying to sleep with a onslaught of what-if's running through my mind.

With two days left, I am reflecting on my to-dos.  Back in March, when we were in the throes of paperwork I made my "Before Baby To-Do List."  With Ryan by my side, I have diligently whittled away at the list for the last 9 months.  We have organized, painted, decorated, scrapbooked, bought, sold, and a variety of other verbs in an effort to complete all of the included items.  It's been a great distraction during the tough times of the wait.  For the most part, I am pleased with our progress.  The last of my household projects was completed this weekend- just in the nick of time.  It was listed on my list as:  Cover all naked windows.  Thanks to my talented mother and my staple gun savvy hubby, I can now check that one off.  Here is a photo of the last of the windows- no longer naked!  

Now I can start on my "Before We Travel To-Do List."  Hooray!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Knowing today is going to be a busy day, I wanted to take a minute and post my 3 days to court date photo. I just had to use this picture today. Back when we were first waitlisted for our referral, I thought I would post a little countdown photo every Tuesday to mark each week of our waitlist time passing. This was the only one I actually did. At the point I posted this photo to mark 3 weeks on the waitlist, we were only expecting about a 12 or 13 week wait for a boy.

It's probably a good thing I didn't find the time to do it every week, because it would have been really tough about weeks 18 and 19. In fact, just a few weeks after I posted this photo back in early June, I purchased a coordinating Christmas outfit for baby Abe at the annual Patsy Aiken Warehouse Sale, I didn't want him to be left out of our fireplace photo! I e-bayed that outfit in early November when I realized he really wouldn't be joining us for Christmas. Wasn't it so cute?

Everytime I reflect on this amazing journey, I praise God for who He is and for the fact that he has just hammered home to me that HE is enough. Yes, I have struggled with frustration, anxiety, broken expectations, and even some grief during each twist and turn, but He has always been sufficient. He sustains me through every step of the way and I know that no matter what happens on Wednesday, he will still hold the Campbell family in the palm of his hand. And I mean all of us-- on both sides of the globe. Come on Wednesday!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Last year the girls and I started a new Christmas tradition. Years ago I noticed that one of my favorite authors, Sally Clarkson, often mentioned a family tradition that she and her girls had shared for a number of years. Every year they hosted a Mother-Daughter Christmas Tea. I thought it was a neat idea and I filed it in the back of my mind. Last year, I decided it was the right time to try it in our home. So, we tweaked it as we're not tea drinkers and we hosted our first Christmas brunch. We had a great time and we decided to do it again this year. We trimmed the guest list down a little, because quite frankly I was overwhelmed last year. We decided to do a Mexican Christmas theme, and we had a great time.

Since I bought a new camera last night, here are some photos of our morning:

Here are some friends listening as I read our Mexican Christmas story book.
Here we are making a "creche" craft to go along with our story.
Elizabeth's finished product.
The line-up.  Everyone was waiting for their turn at bat with the pinata.
Lizzy's try at the pinata
We had to call on the mom's to get it done!  Ms. Linette finally sent it flying!

The garage floor scramble for pinata goodies.
Lily and her good friend Ashlyn showing off one of their pinata treats.
My three tired hostesses.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Camera tragedy

You'll be glad to know I've clawed my way out of funkland, at least for the moment. I decided yesterday that we would switch things up a bit for my mental health. So, the kids and I did a light load of "real" schoolwork and did a lot of home economics. The girls and I are hosting our annual Christmas brunch on Saturday and so we spent time making preparations for that. We don't stray from the books too often, so it was good for everyone to do something different.

Last night we worked on our gratirosisty projects. What is gratirosity? I'm so glad you asked. At church, the kids study virtues each month that coordinate with what they are learning. In November, their virtue was gratitude which we define as, "letting others know you see how they have helped you." This month is generosity. We define generosity as "making someone's day by giving something away." So, we've combined the two and we're using the phrase gratirosity! This means we are being generous to those whom we are grateful for. Okay, really we just made some cute little teacher gifts, but it sounds so much more intentional when you call it "The Gratirosity Project."

Anyway, in the midst of our creating, I sent one child after the camera so that I could capture the yards of grosgrain ribbon and the large amounts of flour and M and M's on film. But, alas, the camera is dead. I mean dead. We tried multiple sets of new batteries and it won't power on. AT ALL! I spent the latter part of last night trying to diagnose it's illness online and it looks like it's a common problem with this particular model. But, Sony will look at repairing it for $188!?! So, guess who then began reading camera reviews and is now changing her Christmas request to a new camera? You guessed it, Mama is going camera shopping today. There are very few earthly possessions that I would replace that swiftly- but my camera is one of them.

After all, I'm going to need it in 5, FIve, 5 days to capture our court date victory dance on film, right?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

One Week

Well, here we are! I didn't know if it would ever come, but we're at the one week mark. Just one week from today we will find out something. We're hopeful and excited, but I must admit I have also found myself in a funk these last few days and it frustrates me.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I went through a real funk a few weeks before our referral. Funk is my pet name for that stage I go through where I cry for basically no reason, no one can do anything exactly right, and everywhere I look I see something that needs to be accomplished-making me feel overwhelmed. It is not fun, I don't like being in a funk- my family doesn't like my being in a funk. Boo for funks. But, try as I might, here I am dealing with one of my funks again.

Last night, as I was lying in bed, I was trying to figure out exactly what might have triggered this funk. I mean, it's the "most wonderful time of the year." I am looking forward to two weeks of my family being together for the holidays- one of my favorite things. I actually have already accomplished at least 75% of my Christmas preparations. I was really irritated by my bad attitude.

Then I realized. I am facing an enormous change. Hopefully, in one week I will begin preparations to travel to a developing nation. While there I will meet my son. I will bring him home. I have no idea what his personality will be like, how well he will adjust to our schedule, our foods, our family, or even how long it will take him to acknowledge that we are a part of his life? Will he let me hold him and hug him and kiss him right away? Or will it take weeks or months? How will my other children respond to this child? I mean right now they love him, pray for him, and are excited- but when the rubber meets the road, what will it be like? Will we be able to return to our school work in a few weeks and if we do, what will our schedule be like? Will we spend weeks fighting viruses and parasites like so many of our fellow adoptive families have?


In one week we could be delayed. Then I will set aside preparations for traveling. I will begin figuring out how to best dig in and move forward with life here. Not sure for how long or if it will be the only delay or the first of many.


I realized that though my funk is not what I want and I need to control myself, it is not necessarily outlandish that I'm struggling with a funk again. So, I have decided to try using some of my classic funk fighting strategies which include but are not limited to: reading God's word often, praying my way through my "moments", apologizing to my children and husband frequently, reminding myself of what's really important, and assuring myself that God is sovereign and he already knows all the days written for me. So, off I go to face my day- wish me luck with my funk fighting!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


We were so excited yesterday to receive an update on our little guy. We get these about once a month from our agency, and they always provide a little bit of comfort coupled with an urgency to get to him. This is what the text from this month's update said:

“N**** can walk! He took a few steps on his own while I was watching him, before falling into the arms of his caregiver. He's not a marathon runner, but it's a start. His confidence is very high, though he doesn't like being left alone on the floor for too long. With so much unknown, he seems much more comfortable in his bed, where he knows the surroundings, but rest assured that we make him get his exercise! His voice is coming along as well, and in addition to Mama and Dada, he can say "come" ("nay" in Amharic). He looks great, and seems to be really loving his environment. He has a huge room with only two other room-mates, so they have plenty of space to run around, that is when they start running!

Needless to say, we're excited to see that he's continuing to develop normally, though we are sad that we missed his first steps. I have to remind myself that there will be many steps that we'll be beside him, and that God's timing is perfect.

The biggest shocker was certainly the photo. They shaved his head. I don't mean they cut his hair, I mean they SHAVED his head. Slick bald, shiny, shaved! The kids and Ryan were so upset. I have to admit, I was a little taken aback, but I kept reassuring everyone that it would grow back and telling them to look at his cute cheeks instead. The kids were downright angry, but when I explained all the reasons why they might have decided to shave his head and I showed them our previous progression of photos and how quickly his hair had grown in each of those, they calmed down. They have decided that he will NEVER have his head shaved while in our care!

I wish I could share my photo of our HEALTHY (read chunky) boy here, but I suppose we'll just have to wait 8 more days for that, won't we? Have a great day!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Single Digits

Well, here at the Campbell Circus we have two countdowns going on. Of course, we have the annual countdown to Christmas. However, this year that has paled in comparison to our countdown to Courtdate! It's hard to believe that we're down to single digits, but, we are. NINE days, that's it NINE days! Needless to say, there is some nervous tension in the Campbell House.

Someone asked at church yesterday why we were nervous, we were sure to pass, weren't we? Well, yeah, probably, eventually, we are pretty sure to pass. But, there are often delays- not usually a few days of delays, they can turn into weeks of delays, months of delays, over a variety of little things. We don't want delays- at all! But, we do want God's timetable and we've already learned that sometimes means delays. So, we are waiting with hope and trying to take baby steps toward welcoming our 15 month old. But, I'm also trying to prepare myself for the possibility that he may be a 16 month old or an 18 month old or !?! Please pray for us as we continue to wait- the days seem to be getting lengthier and the anxiety comes in short and frequent bouts. I am answering the anxiety by whispering a prayer every time I feel anxious and I use scriptures like these to remind myself of what I know to be true.

 The LORD is my strength and my shield; 
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. 
My heart leaps for joy 
and I will give thanks to him in song.
Psalm 28:7

I leave you with a photo of some of the cutest "stairsteps" I've ever seen in my life.  Every time I get a photo of all of them coordinating, I wonder if it's the last one of them I'll get.  I just don't know how much longer Abby will be willing to match or how much longer Isaac will be willing to wear green knit Christmas pants- he's already a little skeptical.  There's just one thing missing from this photo, and hopefully in 9 days, the courts will agree!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Yesterday the kids and I got dressed in our red and green and bopped out the door for a Happy Birthday Jesus party hosted by one of the moms in our co-op. I must admit I was a little irritated when I got the invite for a Tuesday morning at 9:30. We are usually schooling on Tuesday mornings at 9:30, but I knew the kids would enjoy the party and I felt obligated to attend. So, off we went to the church to participate in the festivities.

However, when we entered the "party" room at church, I noticed that the crowd was certainly not a "Happy Birthday Jesus" crowd. We had walked right into a surprise shower for our family. The children's ministry staff had invited all of the church employees to a shower during their normal weekly staff meeting time. So, we received a sweet surprise. The kids enjoyed helping with opening the gifts and we are delighted to say that we now have a good starter supply of diapers and wipes! The girls who planned the shower made each of the kids a little treat bag, but Isaac did lament on the way out, "I was really wishing it was a Christmas party."

We feel very loved. Everyone is getting excited about our trip. We are cautiously optimistic that we'll be celebrating a court success two weeks from tonight. We can't wait to introduce you all to our boy, who Isaac has affectionately nick-named Abey Baby.

Here I am with Jennifer, Daphne, and Sarah- the girls who pulled one over on me!

Our cute diaper cake made by Ms. Sarah. Also notice the diaper bag tag hanging in the background. Ms. Daphne was thoughtful enough to fill it out completely so that I wouldn't have to worry about it on our first Sunday at church. That's the sign of an experienced pre-school director!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

Today has been a fun day. The kids spent the morning with the men of the family while my mother-in-law and I worked on our part of the meal. Uncle Charlie suggested that they take the kids up to his job site and see the truck he drives every day at the mines. So, they had a field trip which gave them some good exposure to strip mining and big equipment. They found it to be pretty cool. You can see the trucks were gigantic. Apparently just one of the tires on Uncle Charlie's truck costs $40,000 to replace! Ryan's family has lots of history in coal mining and it was neat for the kids to get a glimpse of that world.

This afternoon lots of the cousins, aunts, and uncles were here for dinner. Ryan's daddy is one of 9 children, so there are always lots of kiddos around on the holidays. We spent the afternoon surrounded by lots of family and LOTS of food! Couldn't help wishing our little Abe was here to taste some of his Nana's chicken and dumplings or Aunt Stella's famous fruit salad- next year! Thought I'd include some photos of the day.

Pap and the Grands next to some BIG tires!

Isaac in the cab of Uncle Charlie's truck.

Lily showing just how massive the tires are.

Uncle Charlie giving Lily a boost up.

Isaac and his cousin, Christopher

Aunt Stella with "the babies."  Hudson and Eli are such cuties!
Lily and her beloved cousin, Chelsea

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

No news is good news

Things here at the Campbell house are moving along.  We have no news on the adoption front, which we consider to be good news.  We don't expect to hear anything from our agency unless there is a problem.  So, this is one of those times when we don't want to see their number on the caller ID.  As far as we know everything is in place for our court date and we are hoping and praying for a smooth approval.  We can't believe that we are only 22 days away from our assigned date!

We are trying to finish our 10 hours of Hague training which must be completed before we travel.  We're learning about such fascinating topics as attachment and bonding, grief in children and institutionalized children.  You can imagine how fascinating that is.  I am however trying to multi-task and get my gift wrapping done while we watch the videos.  I want to be ready to shift to travel prep and baby purchases on the 17th!

While waiting we're enjoying the holiday season and all that it brings.  Here are some pictures of some things that have been going on in our world.

We got our first BIG snow of the season. I let the kids go out in it at 7:15, because I knew it would be gone by 8:30 AM. Don't laugh you yankees! We haven't had a measurable snowfall in Raleigh in almost 5 years, so we get excited about any and all snowflakes. The weatherman seems to think we might get a "real" snow this year. I say, bring it on!

Saturday we had Thanksgiving dinner at our house. We go to KY to Ryan's parents for Thanksgiving every year on the actual day. It's always very fun, but, they have tons of people there and so it's potluck style. I decided early on that I wanted the candlelight, carve the turkey, tablecloth experience for my kids too. So, the Saturday before Thanksgiving I always do a dinner for just our little family. This year my parents joined us since they now live in the area. The kids and I spent Saturday AM making napkin rings, place cards, etc. to add to the festivities. It was fun. Here are some of our creations.

Yesterday we did several Thanksgiving activities for school. I realized it had been several years since we had really discussed the real Thanksgiving story and so we did. The kids enjoyed making these edible teepees. I know, I know the Indians that helped the pilgrims didn't live in teepees. I made sure the kids knew that too. We even took a few minutes to look at the different types of Indian homes so I could avoid some "serious" historical misconception. However, I had seen the teepee idea on Family Fun and I knew they would love it, so we did it anyway.

We are traveling to KY tomorrow and we're excited. We have only been once since last Thanksgiving and Ryan wasn't even with us then. So, we're ready to go. Wishing all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Pictures

We got a sweet surprise today.  The family who took our care package to Ethiopia arrived back in the States this weekend and today they sent us a few photos they took of him.  He was asleep when they got to him and they decided against waking him.  So, the photos are of him sleeping in his crib with the contents of our package lining the edge of his crib.  I wonder what went through his mind when he awoke and saw those items.  I wish that in some way he could know that we are coming and that we desperately miss him and that he is SO very loved.
We can see the photos of us in the crib with him, and it makes it seem so real.  At first, I was disappointed by the fact that he was asleep in the photos, but I quickly rebounded when I saw his chubby little thighs and his sweet hand outstretched in sleep.  Plus, I got a good look at all of those little black curls on the back of his head. It did my heart good to glimpse his peaceful expression and though Ryan and I both got choked up, it was a real treat.  This waiting is so stinking hard!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Who's counting?

Just in case you're wondering, there are exactly 30 days until our court day.  Saying that makes me want to vomit while simultaneously laughing, crying, and praying fervently.  I have never experienced this many intense emotions at one time for such an extended period of time.   We're trying hard to keep busy.  We've re-organized the garage and attic, almost finished the Christmas shopping, done multiple painting projects, and we are constantly extending the list to keep ourselves busy. 
We are not however ready for a baby.  We have no bottles, sippy cups, diapers, diaper bags, high chair, wipes, blankets, shoes, or most of the other items generally considered to be necessities for a toddler in the USA.   We do however have a decked out crib, some stinking cute clothes and several very beloved board books- what more do you need?   Okay, maybe you do need diapers.  I guess I'm a little afraid to go there yet.  However, if we do pass on the 17th and we do travel 3 weeks later, I will be insanely busy during the week of Christmas and New Year's gathering all of the items one might need.  What to do?  

Friday, November 14, 2008

Why I Do What I Do

Ministry is hard.  Really hard.  Ryan and I have been in "full-time" ministry for almost 8 years now.  It's still hard.  Parts of it are harder than ever.   This past month it's been, well how shall I say this, um, how about hard!?!  
Ryan and I often deal with the really intense times by forming an escape plan.  It usually goes something like this... We'll move to some "safe" small town area where the cost of living is low.  I'll go back to teaching, Ryan will go back to banking, we'll eek out a decent living.  Once a week we'll teach a third grade Sunday School class and no one will ever have to know that we've spent the past decade immersing ourselves in children's ministry and all that in entails.  
Inevitably, before we can spring our plan into action, God uses some person, some scripture, some song to remind us of the big picture.  He brings to mind concepts like: eternity, perspective, and sacrifice to kick our tails.  We always end up hiking up our big girl panties, rolling up our sleeves, and returning to what we know we're called to do.  
Often in the midst of the tough times God allows me to see that there is SOME fruit from what we're doing and that it is possible to make a difference.   He reminds me that he can use my pitiful efforts to effect change.  Last Wednesday night, I got a sweet reminder of why I do what I do...

This sweet picture was given to me by one of the first graders I teach at church on Wednesday nights.  The text says, "Dear Mrs. Cristy thank you for leting me come to your class.  I love it because we here a Bible Story.  I love you.  Love Katie.  Thank you."  
Let me just say, thank you Katie.  You brought me just the reminder I needed last week.  You helped me to remember what is really important.  Oh, and Katie, I love you too!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Note to Self...

Next time you plan on taking one of your children to a developing nation, do NOT divulge information about the upcoming immunization appointment until your vehicle is parked just outside the doctor's office.  Lest you forget, the 24 hours before afore mentioned appointment WILL be painful with intermittent bouts of crying, anxiety, and change of heart concerning approaching travel.  However, after the 2 minutes of actual pain, you can expect 60 minutes of non-stop commentary on how it really wasn't so bad- to which you will have to routinely bite your tongue so as not to say, "I told you so!"

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wild Week!

Last week we had the opportunity to send a package to our boy in Ethiopia.   Another traveling family was kind enough to take some pictures to him and promised to take pictures of him while they are there. We can't wait to see updated photos!

After our great news on Friday, we couldn't help but follow it up with a fabulous weekend. We were very pleasantly surprised to receive our court date assignment on Friday. We were so far down on the list of people who were waiting and the dates seemed to be coming so slowly, we had really resigned ourselves to waiting a long time. So, we were thrilled when Natalie called on Friday. We didn't have much time to process our news though as we had a busy weekend planned. Here are some of the highlights of our weekend:

Friday night we trick-or-treated and celebrated my dad's 70th birthday. My brother surprised my dad and came in from Louisville to spend the weekend with us.  We baked Pa a giant remote control cake as his favorite past time definitely involves a recliner and a sporting event.

Saturday we spent the day at a local tourism farm. They have a great "back forty" set up with all kinds of fun activities. We had beautiful weather and everyone had a blast.

Here are Ryan and the kids jumping on an enormous jumping pillow.  I think Ryan liked it as much as the kids!

Lily and Aunt Dawn had a great time riding in the cow barrels pulled by the ginormous lawn tractor thingy.  Dawn wasn't so sure it would meet any safety standards!

Grandma braved a ride in Susie Q!

Grandpa endured getting dumped out of the hillside tube slide.

Isaac and I had fun playing in the jumbo corn box.

Sunday, we all headed to downtown Raleigh to cheer Ryan on as he ran his first marathon. He beat his goal of 4:30 by about 5 minutes. We then gorged ourselves at the Olive Garden to celebrate his accomplishment. It took several dinner table conversations to convince the kids that daddy would be victorious just by finishing and that finishing first was not his goal. We were all very proud of him.

Go Daddy!
Crossing the finish line!

So, for the next few weeks, we are trying to complete a few projects before the holidays take off full force. We're hoping that we'll be following taking down the Christmas tree with packing our suitcases for our trip to Ethiopia!