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!

Friday, November 25, 2011

What a difference a year makes! This was my baby last year on Black Friday, shopping at Village Market in Nairobi.....
Look at those baby fat cheeks!

And one year later (minus two days)...
Time flies and babies grow! I pray I will always see the joys in the everyday, not wishing away a single moment or missing a single blessing. Each day is a treasure, and I want to cherish every jewel.
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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yes, I am blessed and have so much to be thankful for....

I am thoroughly soaking up every minute of holidays in America!!!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Where am I?

Well, I have been without internet since Sunday evening. I first called the service provider on Monday and have been trying to deal with it since then. Finally, today they agreed to send a technician out - on Friday. :-(  It is absolutely crazy how dependent we become on technology! It is also crazy that Rebekah and I send an average of 6 emails back and forth per day - and yes, that is average. Sometimes we hit way more than that!

So, I am without internet - and I am at McDonald's at 10pm the night before Thanksgiving just to use their internet. Starbucks was already closing. I'm feeling a bit like I am back in Kenya.

So, a very happy Thanksgiving to each of you! May you recognize the blessing of His abundant provision this season! And may He continue to bless!
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Brotherhood

Yesterday I spoke at the Baptist Brotherhood meeting at First Baptist Church of Midland. What would possibly speak about to a group of men, but our boys?! And what better group of people to ask to pray for these boys, but a group of men who know and understand the value of their role in a family?!
These boys ~ Humphrey, Patrick, Freddy, Maina and Collins ~ are with us because I believe God has a special plan for their lives. There is something in these boys that sets them apart. Ask anyone who has met them and they can tell you that these guys are special.

As you spend time with family this Thanksgiving holiday, please remember these guys and pray for their "family" of brothers. I am thankful for them, and I know that they are thankful for you.
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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dear Julia,

I was just thinking today, as I was flying back from Houston to see YOU, how far we have come this past year. Then, I thought that I would go back and look at my journal to see exactly where we were in our journey this time last year. I only had my last two journals with me, so I could not look that far back. Instead, I looked at just six months ago...May 20th. 
May 2011
I wrote in my journal that day about our struggle to get your passport, being so far from even getting an appointment to apply for your visa. We were really fighting hard to get that passport! We spend countless days in Nairobi, more than half the month. I wanted so badly for you to come to America! And look....we're HERE! Our God is GOOD! 

I even looked back at the blog and found what I wrote later that day after I had written in my journal that morning. In the blog post six months ago today, I was tired and frustrated with many things. The title of the post was Wresting for the Blessing and that is exactly what we were doing. Wrestling. And our faithful God brought us through that hard time of waiting, to bring us to this place, to America. And we see His blessings of that journey every day.....bedtime stories with Papa, laughs and stories with Nana, day trips with Aunt Kris & Uncle Barry, playing in a tent from Grandma & Pa, baby Will's first birthday party and a cookout with family. 

Sometimes that is exactly what we have to do. We may have to wrestle through hard times to get to the amazing blessing God has waiting for us on the other side, but oh, is it ever worth it! Haven't we had a wonderful time in America?! You have experienced and learned so many new things. I know that when we return to Kenya, you will have some very special memories that you can hold in your heart forever. 
November 2011
I am looking forward to getting back to Kenya and seeing what all the Lord has in store for us this next year....or even the next six months! We are two blessed girls....God is taking us on some great adventures in His will. I can't wait to share more with you....the hard, the easy, the tough, the fun. I know that He has great plans for us and He will never leave us or forsake us. Even this journey to America is proof of that!

I look forward to many more journeys and blessings with you, my little jewel! YOU are my blessing!

I love you,
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Forgetful Mama....remembers!

As a kindergarten teacher, I was often on the opposite end of the forgetful mom who failed to send snacks to school on her kid's assigned snack day. You know, the end where the kids are. The kids who want their snacks. The kids who live for snack time, second only to recess time. But I could never really be upset with the moms who forgot (unless of course they were the moms who never sent anything back to school, regardless of what it was) because I knew that if I were a mom, I would probably be the one forgetting to send snacks.

Some people might think it would be easy to just have to remember one day out of a whole month. How hard could that be? Write it on your calendar. You are only inconvenienced that one day out of many. Not hard. Well, I'm the opposite of that. It's just one day - what are the chances that I would remember that one random day in the middle of many?! Not good.

Each day that I drop Julia off at Children's Day Out, I would think in my head, knowing that my day was the third Tuesday of the month. I even thought of it once over the weekend and I was so proud of myself that I was NOT forgetting! See? Just days away and it was not forgotten.

Well, fast forward two days and it had not been a blip on my radar since that brief flash of remembrance on Saturday morning, when I noted that I needed to go to the grocery store. My mom has to go to the allergist on Tuesday mornings so we usually leave a little early. Since her mishap last year, fainting immediately after getting her shot and ending up in the hospital for three weeks, recovering for over a year, they kinda make her stick to the "wait 30 minutes before leaving" rule. So, Tuesday mornings are kinda tight for us. And wouldn't ya know it....that blip on my radar shot out into a bright, blaring light - 30 minutes before go-time!

But did you catch that??? 30 minutes BEFORE, not after! I didn't forget!! Well, not technically! And, as Kris always points out, I put things off until the last minute, then pull them off in a rush and no one ever knows the difference. Yep, I did it. Without having to go to the grocery store. (Although I did go to planning-ahead-stocking-up-stash for what I am collecting to take back to Kenya and dug out a new jar or peanut butter.)

So, today's snack was individual peanut butter cups with fall sprinkles and pretzel sticks for snack, or "princel" sticks as Julia calls them.

Whew! Yep, I just had to document the fact that I DID remember snack day - Julia's very first (and only) snack day - that day I always feared I would forget!  I could be an American mom, afterall!

Oh yeah, and I am remembering right now that I have to bake cookies to take to her Thanksgiving feast on Thursday. Yes,  I am remembering. I will do that tomorrow. I will. I better.....I fly to Houston on Thursday and that would leave Nana scrambling to find cookies! Yes, I can do this. I can. Really. Watch....

~ Please, Lord, help me remember to bake cookies to send for Julia's first Thanksgiving feast! I don't want to be that mom, the one who sends her little child to the Thanksgiving feast without anything to contribute. Amen. ~
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Monday, November 14, 2011

Deli's future

I love Mondays. Though I talk and/or email with Rebekah, who is in Kenya managing things for me while I am away, most every day, Mondays are full of information. We have Monday Management Meetings (MMM), and getting the notes from that meeting is always a highlight for me. Although there are many items that are just business - the mundane daily goings on, frustrations being dealt with, problems being solved - there are also bits of information that I love to hear, things that make me feel good, connected, close.

Today's MMM notes held some exciting news. Angie, our baby house manager, met with the mother and grandmother of Deli today. If you don't know or do not recall her story, you can READ IT HERE. Short story is that Deli came to Haven of Hope as a place of protection, having been born into a situation that was not safe for her, in a less than desirable set of circumstances.
This is Deli, just as she arrived at HOH, 12 hours old

As time has passed and the situation with Deli's biological family has had time to settle, they have made the selfless decision to place Deli for adoption. Though we believe that it is best for babies to be with their biological families if at all possible, we also understand that adoption may be a better option in some cases. Please pray for this family as they make decisions for the future of this precious little girl. May the Lord's will be done in this beautiful baby's life.

God has a special plan for sweet little Deli's life. She is a sweet little baby, dearly loved by so many in her life. May God wrap His arms of love around this little darling every day of her life, and may she always know how that she is dearly loved and cherished to her Heavenly Father.
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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Letters to Julia - fun times in the dirt :-)

Dear Julia,

You are such a funny little girl! I have so much fun talking with you, listening to you (because you really don't need anyone talking with you for you to enjoy talking), and watching you play.
You are a typical kid. We could buy every great toy in the world and you would still enjoy the most basic things - like dirt. Yes, you love to play in the dirt. But just like when you were a baby, you still don't like for your hands to be dirty. Such a strange little combination. Of all the things we did when we went camping, playing in the dirt and digging for buried treasure was your favorite.
You always remind me to enjoy the simple things, to take pleasure in the most basic things God gives us.   I hope that is a skill you keep for all your life. I love watching and learning from you. I love you so much!
Oh, and you did a GREAT job this week! I love watching you share your heart and life with others. You prayed for the ladies' lunch at the Womens Missionary Union lunch, talked with the people on Monday, helped me speak at chapel at the kids' school, introduced "your boys" to all the people at the church we visited, answered questions for the RA & GA class, let all the teenage girls take pictures of you, and were a joy to the many other people you met this week. What a busy week you had....and then you got sick. :-( I pray that you are feeling much better today!
I love you, sweetie girl!
Love, Mommy
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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Want to help Lizzy?

We are super blessed to have a special needs educator and autism specialist, Melissa, that will be joining our team in 2012. (More on her later!) Though her main responsibility will be working with the Cherished Handworks ladies and developing their program, she also brings a wealth of experience that she will be using with our special needs babies in the baby house. Melissa will also be introducing Lizzy to a communication tool that can change her life...if we can get the needed devices.

Lizzy has made great progress and continues to advance more and more each day. She has a wonderful therapist who has done a great job in training our aunties to administer a developed home therapy program, which they do twice per day. Lizzy has come a LONG way! This precious little girl wants to do more; she wants to learn and grow and develop. And she IS capable! Lizzy has a very keen awareness of what is going on around her. Her little mind is bright! She wants to communicate....and now she can have the tools and equipment to help her do so.
Lizzy will be able to use the Proloquo2go program which operates on the iPod Touch and iPad. Now, we just need an iPod Touch and/or iPad for her to use! The iPad will be easier for her to see, touch and learn how to manipulate the program. The Touch will be easier for her to hold and carry around with her once she learns the program.
If any of you have an old iPod Touch or have upgraded your iPad and would like to donate your old one to Lizzy, she would be VERY grateful! ...Or if you know of anyone who has old ones lying around, please ask them. ...Or if you would like to donate money toward the purchase of a used Touch or iPad, please let me know!
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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

These Days....

Well, I have obviously slacking on the blog posting lately. Maybe that can tell you something of how these weeks have been going. I have been traveling quite a bit, as well as spending time with my family and helping my mom.

Traveling back and forth to Houston (an 8 hour drive - with a 3 year old) has become a normal thing to us, averaging twice a month. I enjoy meeting with friends and supporters, and it seems that there is always HCO work for Kris and I to catch up on. We have enjoyed some great trips to Florida and Pennsylvania as well.

In Midland, I have been enjoying time with my parents. My mom has had a tough year. So many times through her first 9 1/2 months of recovery I had wished I were here to help her. Some wonderful friends have stepped in to take care of her, driving her to and from work, therapy, doctor appointments, etc. Now, that is my job and I am SO happy that I get to do it! Julia is definitely loving time with Nana & Papa!

There are SO many fun things about our time in America, Julia's amazing developments, and the goings-on in Kenya that I want to tell you about....I just can't seem to find the time to sit and do it. I never thought I would be busier here in America than in Kenya. It is actually a weird thing - life is busier in running errands and going here and there, doing things while in America, yet it is busier in a different way in Kenya, running the ministry, solving problems, and living under the stresses of life while in that country. It feels as though I don't have enough hours in the day while in America, yet I am always more tired, exhausted and stressed while in Kenya.

Anyway, these are some random thought I had while I was driving around, thinking of why I have not been able to blog lately. So, there you have it....my thoughts for today regarding our time in America. And my excuse for not posting regularly. :-)
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Baby Update - Kennedy

Sweet boy, Kennedy. Kennedy came to Haven of Hope at the end of May, seven months old. He recently turned one year old.
Kennedy came to HOH via the Children's Department. His mother took him there as she was no longer able to care for him. In and out of various mental healthcare institutions, Kennedy's mother realized in a moment of mental clarity that he was not, and would not be safe in her care. After investigating the situation, tracing the family, and verifying her story with the mental care institutions, it was clear to us that Kennedy's life and wellbeing was truly at risk while in his mother's care. Since that time, Kennedy has been safe at home, in this haven, with a new hope for his future.
Also since that time, it has become clear that Kennedy is on the autism spectrum with some degree of autism. Please pray that I will know how best to help this little one and how to provide the needed care and instruction that he is due. At this time, he is receiving occupational therapy and the staff is being trained in to continue that therapy in a home program in the baby house, just as they do with Lizzy. The staff will begin more training on basic sign language communication when I return in December. We are VERY blessed to have a staff who loves these little ones and is beyond willing to do whatever it takes and learn whatever they can to help these babies grow and develop.

Thank you, HCO family, for making a difference in Kennedy's life!
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