I'm so glad you found us! We love to share our story of what the Lord is doing in and through our ministry in Kenya. If you are a reader, please click the link on the right-hand side and "Follow Along!" And stop back by anytime! Karibu sana!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Letters to Julia - Happy Birthday, Nana!

Dear Julia,

Oh, do you know how loved you are?! With so much time and attention from Nana & Papa and everyone else who loves you, I have no doubt that you feel that love now, and I pray you never, ever doubt it a day in your life.
Today is a special day because you get to spend Nana's birthday with her. I am sure that your being here is the best gift she could ever have. She loves you SO much, and you have helped her heal so much the past few months, just by being here to love her. You two have a special bond, and it absolutely thrills me to see the joy that you share. You have made a difference in her life. You have made a difference in many peoples' lives.
I have missed you so much while I was in Pennsylvania at a conference this weekend, but I am coming home to see you soon! I am even waiting at the airport in standby right now, hoping that I can get to you before 10:00pm tonight. I hope you and Nana & Papa had a great day celebrating Nana's birthday!
Oh, and you look super cute in your little cowgirl Halloween outfit today! :-)

I love you, both!
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Saturday, October 29, 2011

I didn't know what I was signing up for

Kris and I are in Pennsylvania at a blogging conference. We are having a great time hanging out with each other and hearing some encouraging words. But this is October....I wasn't expecting snow! It is absolutely beautiful! It's hard to imagine that it was 90 degrees in Midland less than a week ago, and was close to 100 degrees less than two weeks ago. Now, I'm in a winter wonderland! :-)
I also didn't know what I was signing up for when I asked Kris to come to this blogging conference with me earlier this year.

What have I learned at this blogging conference? Well, first of all, I am not a blogger. Not like the ones here anyway. But what I am - or what I hope I am - is a friend who shares my life and stories with my friends, the friends of our babies, our boys and our aunties. Our blog is minuscule in the blog world, but it has huge impact in our family's life because it brings our babies, boys and aunties together with you, those of you who really know them, love them, and pray for them. And it is an honor to be that vehicle of relationship between you and them! 
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Welcome new baby, Charles

Two week old Charles is the newest member of the HCO Haven of Hope family!
Sweet little Charles was found on Wednesday in an abandoned silo. The person who found him took him to the local provincial hospital, who then called our manager to come take him. He is approximately two weeks old, small by American standards, at 6lbs, 8oz, but completely healthy.
We are so very blessed to receive another special gift of life! God has great plans for this little boy. Though he was abandoned by his earthly family in his first days of life, He will forever be held by his Heavenly Father, loved and cherished every single day of his life! And there is a mom and dad out there somewhere who will one day welcome this precious baby boy into his forever family. What a privilege it is to be a part of God's plan in helping this little guy as he waits for that forever family!
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ju's first trip to the pumpkin patch....or to a yard filled with pumpkins

Julia is three years old, but this is her first Halloween. She is at the magical age when everything is special and exciting. She is also my little girl who hears, remembers and connects everything. After reading books and talking about fall and pumpkins, she was absolutely in heaven in the pumpkin patch!

She had been telling us for days about all the steps to make a jack-o-lantern..."You cut a hole in the top and take out the gooly, gooly yuck, and make a face and put in a candle...." There was no way we were not going to be making a jack-o-lantern!

I carved my share of pumpkins as a kindergarten teacher for nine years, but I must say that doing it with my daughter was AMAZING! We had such a good time, and the thrill and excitement in her eyes was a priceless joy that I will always remember. These are the joys of our time in America. I am so thankful for each special moment.
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Welcome, Thomas Family!

We are so excited to introduce you to the Thomas family, the newest addition to the HCO family!
In June 2012, Andy and Ginny, and their four children, Hannah, David, Sarah & Joshua, will be moving to Kenya to join the HCO Kenya team as Co-Directors of the ministry. Their primary focus will be the HCO Boys Program, while they also help to oversee the overall ministry.

As the ministry of HCO has exploded this year, it has become more than I can manage by myself. In God's perfect timing and sovereignty, He has brought this amazing couple to join me in leading our HCO family. They bring a wealth of experience in ministry, full hearts, and a passion for serving where the Lord has called them. I cannot wait to see what God has planned!

I will definitely be sharing more about the Thomas's and their journey to Kenya in the next few weeks, but I wanted to introduce them to you. God has blessed me beyond measure with this amazing couple. I cannot wait to serve with them.

You can read their story of how God brought us together and led them to joining HCO by CLICKING HERE.
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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Letters to Julia - You are my treasure

"For where your treasure is, there you heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21)

Dear Julia,

You went on your first camping trip last weekend and had a wonderful time! Well, it probably doesn't count as a real "camping" trip when we stay in an RV with its tv's, oven, refrigerator and microwave, nicer than most homes in Kenya, but still....camping. I think it may help the "camping" part of it that you spent the majority of the time in the dirt. You LOVE to play in the dirt! Digging, building castles, making piles, cooking. So much fun for my baby girl!
You got a super special treat when you and I returned from Fredericksburg to find that Nana & Papa had found a hidden treasure map! It was a map of our camping spot with X's marking buried treasure! Oh my goodness, the fun! 
 You and Nana set out on your quest to find the hidden treasure, marking landmarks and counting steps.
You worked so hard to dig and dig and dig to find the hidden treasure! 

What a joy it was for you when you found it, silver coins!

You know, I think I had as much fun watching you as you did searching for your buried treasure. And it brought me as much joy to watch you find it as it did you. YOU are my treasure! Finding you has brought me so much joy. Being your mommy is the best gift in the world! I could search and search and dig and dig and never find anything as precious as you. 

I pray that as you grow, you will know the greatest Treasure of all....the love of God and his Son, Jesus Christ. I pray that you will want Him with your whole heart and will search for Him always, finding Him right beside you, in your heart, and offering you more of Himself every day. May you desire Him more than any other riches of this earth. May you seek after Him with fervor.

And I pray also that you will love Him more than anything of this world, that you will know that your greatest treasure is stored for you in heaven, and may you, one day, willing and wholeheartedly follow Him.

"...Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."
(Luke 18:22)

I love you, baby girl. YOU are my treasure!


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Friday, October 21, 2011

Little Longhorn

Just a warning....posts may be a little heavier on the Julia side than the HCO Kenya side for the next few days. We had such a great time last weekend and I have so many fun pictures of the new things Julia is doing, I just can't help but share!

Making her Uncle Barry proud, Julia was full force in UT mode last weekend. Too bad it didn't help them win. Last time we were in Houston, Kris taught her how to make her fingers say "Hook 'em"! She was so excited the first time she could do it by herself.
The next morning, she yelled at me from the other room in a voice of panic, "Mom! My fingers forgot how to say 'Hook 'em!'" Well, her fingers quickly remembered and she wanted everyone else to share in her UT excitement.
Unfortunately, Papa didn't quite share her Longhorn enthusiasm. He's more of a "Guns Up!" kinda Texas Tech guy. That didn't fly well with Julia.

So with great intensity Julia was determined to teach Papa's fingers how to say Hook 'em.
Yep, Uncle Barry has created a little UT darling. She points out every burnt orange 'T' and longhorn she sees. She even notices them playing on tv.

Here's a "Hook 'em!" for Auntie Kris & Uncle Barry! 
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Guys

I have loved getting to spend time with my guys. My little brother is such a good daddy. He has always been great with kids so I knew he would be a good dad, but actually seeing how great he is...I love it. He did have a wonderful role model, of course!
And little Will....precious! Julia absolutely loves him, and why wouldn't she? Isn't he adorable?! Little cowboy man. Once again, another blessing I am enjoying during this time at home.
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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Letters to Julia - America's first letter

Since coming to America I have not written a single letter to Julia. While in Kenya, Sundays were my days to go personal and write to or about my precious baby girl. For the past three months it seems that the majority of my posts have turned personal. I have enjoyed chronicling our time in America and sharing our American adventures and everyday experiences, but I have missed writing letters to Julia. There are so many special things that we share and I want her to have them to hold on to in the years to come. So, back to "Letters to Julia...."
Dear Julia,

We have been having such an amazing time in America! As much as you love Mickey Mouse, I don't think we ever need to go to Disneyland. Everyday in America is like Disneyland to you! America is full of so many new joys and simple pleasures.
One of our main reasons in coming back to America for so long is so that we can see our supporters, thank them for being a part of the team, and for you to meet and get to know our friends and family in America. Since we got here you have been inundated with people, people, people! Very few days have passed in which you have not met a new person. Most days you love it; a few days you have been maxed out and just don't want to talk to anyone else. But Kris always reminds me that you are doing remarkably well for what we are asking you to do. You are constantly being taken from place to place, introduced to tons of new people, you have no schedule whatsoever, and you are three years old. I am so proud of you and how you handle our crazy life!

Last week you touched my heart in such a special way. You asked me, "When is my turn to talk to the people?" I was unsure if you would really do it when the time came, but you did! And now you just naturally take your turn and tell about whatever you want to share. 
That may seem like a simple thing, but to me it was so special. I know that what we do in Kenya is special to you, too. You know and love our babies, and you know that it is our job to take care of them. They are special to you, and you love them. And I know that you love your boys, too!

I pray that you always know that you are a special part of our ministry. I hope that you will love it so much you will want to share it with others, not that you ever have to. God brought you to me for a reason ~ for many reasons, actually. I believe that one of those reasons is that you will understand the purpose of what God has called us to do and have a perspective of it that no one else ever could. 

I am so proud of you! God has given you a sweet heart of service and of caring, and I love to see you show it. You are a very bright little three year old and God has equipped you with a great ability to share and express yourself. I know He has great plans for you and I cannot wait to see how He uses you for His glory!

I love sharing this American adventure with you! You make every day special and fun, and I am so glad I am here with YOU! I love you, my best little friend!


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Saturday, October 15, 2011


Two of the people closest to me have experienced great loss this week. They are hurting, and so I hurt.

If you had not noticed by a few recent posts, I am doing a study on the fruit of the Spirit right now. This week, peace.  Is it possible to have peace in the hardest times of life? It is, if you are looking for the peace of God. And I pray fervently today that my dearest friend and sister-in-law are able to rest in His peace. What I read today reaches to the heart of my prayer for them. In Living Beyond Yourself Beth Moore says,
"Please understand this vital point of peace: peace means the absence of fear and turmoil, not the absence of pain and grief."

Oh, how we wish that our lives could be pain-free and grief-free! Yet, that is not always God's way. It is often in times of pain and grief that we can look through to see His greatest glory ~ the glory of that peace that transcends our understanding, the glory of that peace that reaches beyond life to the depths of the heart, that glory of the peace that shows us that God is still here, still holding us during the times that the heart pains and grieves.

Peace. Jesus holding us in hard times.
Peace. God's calming hand on us while the world spins wildly around us.
Peace. The Spirit soothing our hearts while daggers seem to stab at its core.

"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)

Once again, God uses my beautiful babies to give me a picture of what He is teaching me.
These precious little lives know the peace of God. Their surrounding circumstances have no affect on their internal peace. They can truly rest in peace. Days before these pictures were taken, Winnie's life did not bring peace to those around her. She was found days before inside a plastic bag, tossed aside as trash. She was the center of turmoil, struggle. So was sweet Annabelle, found deep inside a pit latrine. Certainly, not a place of peace. Yet, these babies, in the midst of strife, sadness and struggle, can rest in the peace of God.    They   rest    in    peace.
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." (John 14:27)

I pray for peace in the hearts of those I love. Though I would like to wish them a pain-free and grief-free life, my greater prayer is that they know peace.

Father God, reach to the hearts of our loved ones. May they feel your hand of comfort all around them. Let not their hearts be troubled and let them not be afraid of what life may bring in the days ahead. Rather, bring them rest, comfort, and peace. We trust that through life's turmoils and struggles, Your glory will be known and shown, that in You we have ultimate, unending peace. 
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Jeremiah's Family

Jeremy turned three and celebrated his first birthday with his parents!

What a privilege to see one of our Haven of Hope babies living a beautiful life exactly where he is supposed to be! And of all babies, our first HOH boy, Jeremiah! This little Italian boy is still living in Nairobi while his family completes the adoption process. Julia and I saw them the day we left for America and his little Italian accent was in full force! Jeremy is blessed to have wonderful parents who love him so very much.
THIS is one of the greatest joys of my "job." I am blessed beyond measure to see the fruition of God's perfect plan being played out before my eyes. To know that the mission of His Cherished One's Haven of Hope Baby Center ~ to promote the value of family and offer the hope of a future to abandoned and orphaned babies ~ is being accomplished according to God's perfect will is a gift of God's grace. 
We are so happy for Jeremy and his Mama and Papa. May God bless you, precious family!
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