Sunday, September 26, 2010

First 5K....

It's official!  I signed up for my first 5K, to benefit the Run for Congo Women.  It's not a big event, but it is important for me.  You see, I almost went to the Democratic Republic of Congo a couple summers ago.  Through Hirss, a Congolese friend who lived with us for a while, God allowed the plight of the people of Congo to become very real to me.  And not long after that, I had the opportunity to go to both Congo and Uganda with Mending the Soul Ministries.  By June of 2008, I had an amazing ministry team to travel with, conference talks written, vaccines done, plane tickets purchased, and half the packing done.  And then God closed the door for me to go -- literally 3 days before our plane took off!  But that is another story....  (If you are curious, you can read a bit about it here and here.)

Congo is a beautiful country.  And the people are strong and resiliant.  But the need in Congo is desperate.  More than 5.4 *million* people have died in the conflict since 1998.  (That is approx. 450,000 per year in the past 12 years!)  Half of these deaths are children under the age of 5.  Rape is used as a weapon of war.  DRC is the rape capital of the world.  Women, children, and even babies are victims, and the men in the family are either killed or made to watch.  Victims are often ostracized by their distraught families and the community around them.  The poverty is overwhelming.  AIDS is epidemic.  The people of Congo have very few opportunities to pull themselves out of these struggles.  I feel honored to be able to do something to help, even just a little! 

Run for Congo Women, through Women for Women International, provides financial assistance, job skills training, trauma counseling, and a sense of community.  Each woman is matched with a sponsor who develops a one-on-one relationship with her 'sister' through letter writing. 

Through this 5K, we have the opportunity to raise funds for this organization.  If you'd like to support me, check out my fundraising page here. :)

Brooklyn and I are doing the 5K with a few friends.  Cami & Ryan have four beautiful children, including two they adopted from Congo last year.  Solange & Joseph, we can't wait to do this 5K alongside you.  We are so proud to know you and support the beautiful people you come from!

Anyone want to join in the fun?  Sign up here.

Now, about that training....  The 5K is just 2 weeks from today!

Note:  Lucas & Destany would love to do the 5K alongside their friends, but we can't afford to pay the $30 donation for each of them to join in. Would anyone like to sponsor them? :)  Update: They already have a sponsor -- thank you, Megan!  We celebrated by heading out for a 45 minute walk/jog.  They did great!  I'm so proud of them.

ps - If you want to meet another adoptive family that is passionate about Congo and blogs about it often, check out the Terry family here.  You won't be disappointed! 


A sweet Mama from our adoption group sent the most amazing gift for us, in celebration of Brooklyn's birth.  I love it!  And Brooklyn is already enjoying the cute new baby toy. 

Thank you, Valerie & Scott, for such a special gift!

(Monogramming done by Charalotte, at Whimsy & Wishes.)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bountiful Baskets

We've been enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables, purchased through the Bountiful Baskets co-op.  Can you believe all of this came in one basket?  And is that not the biggest mango you have ever seen???  The produce is usually locally grown or sustainably farmed, and we choose the organic basket for health and environmental reasons.

Today's basket was such a blessing.  Although we're definitely sold on the value and quality of the produce, we've passed on ordering the last few weeks.  We just couldn't squeeze one more thing out of the budget.  And then I received an email from Cate.  Cate had a giveaway on her blog recently, and she asked her readers to leave comments sharing what they are doing to stretch their budgets in these tough times.  I mentioned how much we are saving through cloth diapering, and when she did the drawing, I won! 

I needed this kind of encouragement this week.  It's like a whisper from God, a reminder that He is caring for us, even in this tough season.  We continue to pray for a job for Andy (anyone out there in bloggerland need a talented and dedicated architect? :), and in the meantime, God is showing Himself faithful.  Day by day....little by little. 

How have you been blessed lately?  :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010


This parenting stuff is tough.  Ongoing.  Endless. 
Been re-reading this post.  And trusting that God will give us wisdom. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Is was a cool was a happy morning!

After Destany's party yesterday, we invited Arjay and Dedrick to stay the night.  Thankfully, naptime was next on the agenda, and all but two kiddos slept, so even Mama was able to catch some Zs!  That was a great start to our time together. :)

After naps, first on the list was a snack and a nice long walk at dusk, followed by dinner, showers, and stories and prayers before bed.  Everyone was *wiped out*, and soon it was quiet.  Peaceful and quiet.  Blissful. 

And then....bright and early the pitter patter of feet, a 20-month-old who had forgotten where he was, kids excited to go outside and play.  And with the weather a cool 75 degrees, we lived it up!

Sorry - no pictures of the sleepy Mama. ;)  And Daddy was long gone, miles away, biking.  But, amazing Daddy that he is, he was soon home and took over so I could take a little break.  I can hear them wrestling out there right now.  Love it!

Friday, September 17, 2010


Half-way through the morning, the kids looked at each other and suddenly exclaimed, "Hey!  We're all matching!"

Funny Friday

Hmmmmm....  Now *that* is some creative new marketing!  Fresh prunes, anyone???

Saturday, September 11, 2010

This just in! Winners!

The kids were being goofy this morning, and thought it was so exciting to draw the names.  It was hard to keep them still enough to snap a picture!  They were dancing around the room, announcing their winner. :)

Kelli and April!  Please email me at and give me your address.  We will mail your book out right away!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Vacation in Big Bear


After years of hearing about my side of the family's beach and Flagstaff vacations, our CA side of the family decided to follow suit.  In celebration of Mom's 60th birthday, we all headed out to Big Bear over Labor Day weekend.  I can safely say it was as fun and chaotic as the AZ family vacations. :) 

Gabriel and Amy joined us all the way from Valdepenas, Spain. 
Phil, Amy, & Gabriel made their special seafood paella. 

Destany celebrated her 6th birthday.

Card games and good drinks filled the evenings after all the kiddos went to bed. 

Oh, and we can't forget the many games of pool in the game room, and a couple rock climbing movies.

Thanks to Aunt Sue, we came prepared to do a really cool

Gabriel is the tye-dye t-shirt pro.  His was awesome!
(About 10 minutes before we all traveled home, Dad announced that Gabriel had just asked his permission to marry Amy.  Hooray!)

And of course we went to the beach. 

The boys caught little crawdads in the lake.

Andy and Uncle Matt biked out to meet us.  It was a long ride, but they're tough. :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

First giveaway!

I've always loved blog giveaways, but never had a good excuse to do one.  Now, as we go through our (too many) belongings with the goal of keeping only those things we need or love, we are finding we have duplicates of some items that we no longer need.  We have TWO copies of this book to give away!

This book was a great encouragement to me when we first adopted!  We didn't know anyone else who was pursuing the adoption journey the way we were -- with the goal of growing a mutually beneficial relationship with our daughter's first family.  This book  really encouraged us and 'normalized' our adoption journey -- for us AND for our daughter's birth mom -- so I purchased a few extra copies and loaned them out to family and friends who were interested in understanding our adoption journey better.  Now that we no longer need the extra copies, I'd love for them to go to new homes, to encourage and help other waiting or adoptive families, or for a birth family considering or participating in an open adoption. 

If you'd like to read more about the book, check out reviews here.

You can enter the giveaway two different ways.  One entry for each of the below:  (please leave separate comments for each of these)
1. Leave me a comment.  (If you don't mind sharing, I'd love to hear where you are in your adoption journey and why you are interested in the book. :) 
2. Become a follower of our blog (or let me know you are already a follower).  

We'll draw for two winners on Friday at lunchtime.  The kids can't wait to help draw the names! :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Funny Friday

When Mama steps away...

"Who, me?  *I* didn't push any buttons.  Come on.....I'm only 4 months old!"
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