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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hope for the Hopeless Video

..... from our trip with Mark and Julie.

Brooke and Kim this is especially for you :-)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hope in Pictures

Here we are at the Hope for the Hopeless property. L to R Akliliu (Aki) our awesome driver from Ethiopian Guest House who became a very good friend, Jen, Julie, Fikadu the director of Hope for the Hopeless in Addis, the construction manager, Mark. We prayed over the land and the construction looking forward to the day when the children could be living there. Notice the doors and windows thanks in large part to the benefit concert held in Phoenix! There's more work to be done but they are making strides.

Jen and Hanok. This guy's super bright and instantly endears himself to everyone he meets. His English in impressive and made for some great conversation. He's such a leader amongst the children. They all look up to him.

My buddie Kebron on the left. He never left my side. With huge eyes begging the question "Will you notice me?" My answer was YES!

Julie and the littlest girls. This crew was a hoot. So bubbly and full of laughter. They adored themselves in pictures all thanks to Brooke who took pictures of the kids on her trip to Addis last July and had the genius idea to make prints for the children.

The simple joy of seeing themselves in photos. It was a lot to realize they have probably never had their own photos of themselves.

Samson is THE MAN at the Drop In Center. The kids LOVE him. He is a kid magnet. He does the counseling and he is the man on the streets developing relationships with the street kids and bringing them to Hope. He was quiet but his presence spoke volumes!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I had to delete all the posts I tried to make from Addis. My blog has been acting funny. Hopefully deleting them will fix things.

I just hopped on to tell everyone we made it home safely after having major trouble with a cancelled flight out of DC. We flew to Minn and then to Phx and arrived late last night. It was grueling but we were SO relieved to be home. Jonas is well. He's sleeping right now in fact.

I am SICK today. I slept until 2pm. Woke up feeling very flu-like and having some GI upset. We're all being very lazy and enjoying each other. Dustin is taking great care of me and the baby ;-)

To all our friends, I will call you this week. I just need to recover and feel better! It was a wonderful trip yet a LONG trip. I had a great last week in Addis so it's pretty disappointing to arrive home and be sick. The baby is sick too. He's had the classic orphanage diarrhea and he's extremely congested. He goes to the doc Tues. I go Wed (?), I think.

........A full account of the trip including photos and video to follow.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Ride in the Ambulance

I got to ride in an ambulance yesterday. Always wondered what they looked like on the inside. Now I know.

I had been hanging out with my sister at her home. It was our last visit before Dustin and I leave in two days for Ethiopia to pick up Jonas. We were eating lunch when I began to feel what I can only describe as not-so-well. Something funny was happening to me.

I went into the restroom, and as I was washing my hands at the sink I noticed that they were a funny color. I laughed a bit at how pale they appeared. It was as if I was wearing purple nail polish.

I called my sister to come and take a look at how pale they were. When she walked in I brought my hands up to my face. In that short amount of time my arms had turned the most horrifying purple-blueish color imaginable. They didn't look like they belonged to me. They looked more alien than human. I thought, "Oh, this is what a dead person looks like without that make-up they put on them." That was right about the time I began to feel dizzy and nearly fainted. My heart was racing uncontrollably. I felt that adrenaline rush which happens when your body knows something isn't right and your mind hasn't caught on yet.

I began praying.

In that moment I was pretty sure something terribly wrong was happening. I felt I was in danger of dying.

Valerie, my poor sister, began praying and fighting the panic my condition wanted to draw out of her. She called my hubby who told her to call an ambulance. Unspoken between us was the thought that I was about to die. Right there on her bedroom floor, in front of all our kids.

"No you don't!" my sister yelled and began praying and calling on the sweet name of Jesus.

Questions like, "is this really the way I'm gonna go Lord? Like this?!" volleyed with, "I know this is from the enemy. I have a plane to catch and kids to preach the Gospel to..... MY SON waiting for me. This just can't happen right now."

I have truly never felt that close to death and I was scared. I couldn't be too scared though, because my poor kids were starting to panic.

As the paramedics arrived and then wheeled me out I left my poor sister with 5 crying kids, a wacked out barking dog, and tears welling up in her eyes.

"I get to ride in an ambulance, guys! It's fun! Don't worry kids. Mom's just gotta get to a doctor."

Had I known it was going to be such a public day I probably would have shaved my legs and thrown on some makeup or something. My goodness, it is so humbling to be so weak, so dependant on strangers- all while looking in shambles, at that. It did occur to me, though, that blue extremities don't coordinate with any outfit I own anyhow!

My brain scanned scenarios desperately trying to preclude any need for the EMTs to cut open my shirt.

"As long as this heart is still ticking I shouldn't have to worry," I thought, "I definitely am not in the mood to become that intimate with this group of EMT/Fireman."

The nervous looks on their faces were a bit disconcerting. They were looking at me heads tilted asking things like, " Are you sure you're not it pain?" and "You're not feeling tightness in your chest?"

Now, my sister lives quite near a retirement community so I figured I was in the safest place in the world to have heart issues considering that those are the bulk of cases the medical professionals in the area treat, BUT I was young, and they didn't quite know what to do with me.
I was taken to the sister hospital of the one my mother works at. Did I mention my mom works in QUALITY MANAGEMENT? Yup, Once the ER docs and personnel found that out they were so wonderful to me! I seemed to receive amazingly fast treatment. You know, like is usually unheard of receiving. Tests came back quickly. Results were read immediately. Yea, it's so nice to have someone on the inside.

Of course the down side (which isn't really a down side at all) is that my mom is also a nurse. That means she wanted to nurse me.

I literally felt like I was in the 6th grade again. My dad came down for a visit and I kindly greeted him by having another "episode" where my resting heart rate shot to 155. Bells were ringing and buzzers were going off. Dad looked a tad freaked out. I couldn't comfort him because I was feeling too crumby to do anything. A few other family members came in to visit ( I got a lotta peeps, you guys) and I started to laugh imagining the ER staff must think me a diva. My Big 'ol family had to come down for a little racing pulse. They're my entourage. What can I say? I'm cool like that.

So back to the tests. CT scan for Pulmonary Embolism: Negative. Echo- cardiogram: normal heart structure. Blood tests: normal. Thyroid function: normal. Resting heart rate between 112-155: not normal.

At the end of a very long day I was released and told that it is possible I have electrical conduction issues that will have to be monitored. I have been given a new medication that helps to slow down the heart rate.

I slept well last night, and feel a bit tired today but well. As long as my heart beats at a regular rate I'm fine. And ,the doctors cleared me to travel to Ethiopia with a caution to take it easy.

I ask all of my bloggy friends to pray for us. We need your prayers for protection. How could I be anything other than impressed with how fragile our lives are. How they hang in the balance. How the LORD our God is the Sustainer of our lives and if that Hand ever be removed there's no fighting it. You die.

Praise God for His mercy and for His healing hand over my life. I thank Him for protecting me and having me be in the right place at the right time (if ever there was a good place to be, or a good timing for something undesirable to happen this was it) and for giving me breath for yet another day; to go and live the wonderful life He's blessed me with. It is such a gift.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Red Letters Campaign- Preparing to leave

Well, This will most likely be my last post before we leave. I wanted to make sure to wish eveyone a Merry Christmas before things got really crazy around here.

I also wanted to include a list of blogs for the other families we are traveling with so you can keep up with our whole Travel Group if you'd like.

Stager Family

Burk Family

Caldwell Family

Sparr Family

Tennant Family

Monday, December 8, 2008

Thank you!

I want to thank everyone who gave via my Chip-In button for the kids at Hope for the Hopeless You all rock! We exceeded our goal thanks to your generosity. Some of you gave even while you're adopting yourselves and bringing donations to other orphanages. How can I say how much I adore you!? There are not enough words of thanks. Just know you're precious to me!

I can't wait to fill you in on how God uses that money to bless the kids.

I'd like to take a minute to thank you for all your comments of congratulations for our family. Dustin and I had a blast reading through them together. It was great to have so many sharing in our joy.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Red Letters Campaign- We Passed!

It's official! Jonas Liben is our son. Enjoy.....

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Red Letters Campaign- ?Travel?

Here's where things stand regarding travel.

Two precious families from our Travel Group did not pass court and we are aching so much with them. We are committed to praying with them through the wait to bring their children home. Another family has "until the end of the week" for their paperwork issues to be straightened out. It's a tough situation but not impossible, so we are praying HARD for them.

I told you yesterday that we hadn't heard anything. Seems not everyone in our Travel Group has had their day in court yet. Hence the reason WHY we heard nothing. We think it's our turn tomorrow or possibly Friday. Well, it's most likely this week anyway, and there are only two days left... so take your pick. I choose sooner rather than later but it's not really up to me, is it?

I, for some unexplainable reason, feel like we're going to hear tomorrow though I can't back that statement up with any proof. I also feel like we're going to pass though, again, no proof. Just HOPE.

So, I've got Hope. That and I colored my hair tonight, which means I'm pretty much ready to rock and roll.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Red Letters Campaign- Wait Another Day

I guess we won't be hearing any news today. A few families did not pass and we are so sad for them. I was sure we must have failed to pass courts when they told us their news but we haven't heard. Now I am wondering if our court date wasn't today and it is later this week? Looks like we have more waiting to do.

Thanks to everyone who has been praying, calling and sending notes of encouragement and solidarity to us. We appreciate it!

Monday, December 1, 2008

More Freezer Food

I made SEVEN freezer meals today with the help of my loving sis. She came over and helped me finish up the last of the items i was hoping to have made before we leave (Thanks Val!) Apyrl mentioned she might like some new recipes so this is for you , friend.

This is so quick and easy it hardly constitutes a recipe but on thing I love to do I stick a big 'ol pork roast in a crock pot with 2 cans of salsa verde and a few small can's of Green chiles. Cook all day and then shred. This freezes well. When It's time for dinner you can defrost the meat and serve on soft fried corn tortillas with some Jack cheese. YUM-O! We love 'em.

My hubby took my recipe for Mexican Lasagna to work with him on accident so I will have to post that later tonight......

PS- We should hopefully hear news tomorrow about our court case and if indeed we will actually be traveling on Sunday. I've been working hard to contain my excitement and to always keep a thread of reality that it's not in the bag yet. I feel hopeful though. Stay tuned tomorrow for an update. If you see a video with our precious Jonas in it you'll know we passed :)