Days 2 and 3 “on the Beach”

Day 2:

Day 2 on the beach went alright. We successfully stayed away from the carbs and sugars we are eliminating for right now. Supper looked like this (from my point of view, it was missing a nice baked potato or other equally delicious rendering of this most beloved starch, and maybe in general was a bit heavy on the green veggies, but all in all very tasty!):

And after supper the two oldest children helped me bake a “delicious” Lemon Ricotta Creme Souffle, an SB Phase 1-approved dessert. Now, if I’m being completely honest, only the book claimed it was delicious. I personally give it a rating of “so so”, but admittedly, I am a fan of the white flour, sugar, and butter!! Still, this was interesting and I’m glad we tried it. But in the future I will likely spare myself the work to bring about this end result.

With that rave review and since I am now posting the recipe, I know you are going to race straight to the kitchen and whip up some of this souffle for you and the ones you love….but before you do that, check below for the Day 3 report.

Creamy Lemon Vanilla Ricotta Souffles:

1 cup part-skim ricotta

2 large eggs, separated

3 tbs granular sugar substitute

2 tsp grated lemon zest

1/2 tsp lemon extract

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

pinch salt

Preheat oven to 375. Coat 4 ramekins with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk ricotta, egg yolks, 1 tablespoon of the sugar substitute, lemon zest, lemon extract, and vanilla until combined.

In another bowl, with an electric mixer (I used a handheld) at high speed, beat egg whites and salt till soft peaks form, 2-3 minutes. Add remaining 2 tbs sugar substitute and continue beating till stiff peaks form. Gently fold a third of the egg whites into ricotta mixture till combined. Repeat with remaining egg whites.

Spoon ricotta mixture into prepared ramekins

and bake till souffles have risen and are set and lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.


So yes, these are the finished product. Please note that the dark spot in my picture above is not a roach, but a little section of our countertop which has peeled away from the rest of the formica. And yes, those are a set of goggles and some sunscreen in the photo; I am trying hard to just capture a slice of real life here.

After tasting my souffle, I decided a sprinkle of cinnamon and some very light whipped cream (has less than 1g of sugar per serving so I don’t think I am cheating too awfully) added something to the overall enjoyment.

Day 3:

Day 3 on the beach started out just fine. Despite fantasizing hourly about gooey chocolate chip cookies warm from the oven, I was greatly encouraged by my morning weigh-in (actually the creator of the diet really discourages weigh-ins, but on this point I really do not listen well). Feeling more comfortable already in my clothing was quite encouraging, and Jay said he could tell a difference at his weigh-in too. So in spite of our cravings for the carbs we missed, we felt motivated to press on.

And then around midday, our tummies began rumbling in a most unpleasant way. I’ll spare you most of the details, but let’s just say that for the remainder of the day there were plenty of strange gurglings and many other unpleasant symptoms we experienced. Due to our little woes, supper on Day 3 consisted of a couple of spoonfuls of plain yogurt. With a side of Immodium.

Frankly, this was the hardest stage of the diet for me so far. When my tummy is sad, all I want are some saltines and then maybe a nice plain 1/2 a bagel, slightly warm from my toaster. Even a plain frozen waffle feels comforting (after it is toasted, and no longer frozen, of course). I google searched for “what to eat on South Beach Phase 1 when you have _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ” but found nothing helpful. I did learn that we are not the first South Beachers to experience this most unpleasant side effect. Some attribute it to possibly the extra fiber in one’s diet during this first phase, while others believe it to be a combination of the fiber and the consumption of some sugar substitutes which are known to cause stomach upset in some people.

Regardless, I give Jay credit for helping me to stay “on the beach” on Day 3. I feel certain I would have just given up and grabbed myself a saltine or two had he not held firm. Let’s hear it for awesome hubbies!

Accidental Recipes and the Best Broccoli Ever!

A couple of days ago we returned home from a trip to Target to discover

1 – We had a flat tire


2 – The large freezer in the garage was apparently defrosting inside, despite the door being firmly shut.

The tire had to wait till the next day for my sweet husband to attend to it (thankful both that Jay saw to the tire, and that he kindly switched cars with me so that I could ferry the rest of us to our appointment we needed to keep that morning).

The freezer worried me a little (had it stopped working suddenly?) but after a thorough questioning of the troops, I discovered that a little blonde-headed tyke had come upon the door slightly ajar earlier in the day (likely thanks to the youngest member of the family) and had dutifully shut it immediately, but didn’t realize he should maybe let the Momma of the house know.

The only food greatly affected other than my beloved Tin Roof ice cream appeared to be a package of pork chops near the opening, which I snatched out of the (mostly still) icy box, and took to the kitchen for a thorough inspection. Deeming them still slightly frozen and safe to cook with, I rinsed them with water, then dumped them into a ziplock bag with the following hastily-concocted marinade:

Grilled Pork Chops (aka the main supper course on Day one of South Beach Phase 1):

7-ish pork loin chops

1/2 cup remaining white balsamic vinaigrette in the fridge (Wow, I just learned how to spell “vinaigrette” been doing it wrong for years!)

splash of low sodium soy sauce

few more splashes balsamic vinegar

couple splooshes of dijon mustard (yes, I did say “Sploosh”…if you are wondering, I think a “sploosh” is just a tad larger than a “splash”.)

Toss into fridge overnight. Heat grill, and plop the pork chops on the rack. Cook till done, give yourself bonus points for nice dark grill marks in special patterns on either side of the lovely chops.

You can see that we also enjoyed broccoli that first night. Shout-out to my friend Chrys, mom to four boys ages 5 and under (God bless her) and the wonderful woman who shared this recipe with me. It is absolutely my favorite way to enjoy this delicious vegetable.

Oven-Roasted Broccoli:

About a pound (maybe 2 heads?) of broccoli, cut into pieces

2-ish cloves of minced garlic

2 tbs olive oil

sea salt to taste

fresh cracked pepper to taste

Fresh lemon juice (use half a lemon)

(optional) small sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese

Toss broccoli with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. You careful cooks will do this in a bowl, me, I hate to get one more dish dirty so I just toss it all together on the cookie sheet I’m going to roast with. Pop the broccoli into a 425 degree oven, and roast about 10 minutes or until slightly browned around the edges. It will smell wonderful!! Remove from oven, spritz all over with the lemon juice, and if you like, sprinkle with parmesan. Now: try to keep from eating the entire panful before supper starts!!

Note: I will sometimes add cauliflower to the mix for fun, and to change the recipe up a bit. Ina Garten also has a wonderful take on this recipe, it makes about four times the amount listed here, and adds some additional ingredients which look delicious. I see Ina tosses her broccoli with the garlic and olive oil right there in the pan, too, so I consider myself in very good company!

South Beach

It’s been a week since my clumsy run-in with my bathroom door jamb and I am still much more bothered than I thought I’d still be at this point by my pesky toe. Never you mind that my new friend, the Orthopedic Surgeon (whom we’ll assume for the sake of argument knows a bit more about broken bones than I) assured me to expect a full six weeks’ time to allow the toe to properly heal. I like to push the envelope a bit. For now, I am contenting myself with having graduated from walking with crutches to gimping around with the help of this bit of glam footwear.

I’ve done alright, but am still in a fair bit of pain. Today the metatarsal which I broke back in 6th grade began plaguing me painfully; I attribute this new ache to the weird way I am walking on my injured foot.

But you don’t want to read all about my aches and pains…

I decided that if I couldn’t work out (envelope-pusher or not, that is absolutely out of the question for now) to help rid myself of these few pesky pounds I’ve acquired, I could do the next best thing: change my eating habits. And so after a bit of research into various diets which span the gamut from crazy fad diet all the way to the simple “Eat Less” (kudos to my awesome brother, Pete who has lost and kept off a significant amount of weight with this ground-breaking method!), I have settled on and begun the South Beach. Yes, ok it might sound a little “2003”, but it seems a fairly reasonable way to knock out a few pounds while still eating in a mostly balanced fashion. Being the smooth talker that I am, I have gotten my darling husband (who has, himself hinted at wanting to drop a few pounds) to jump on board with me, and so as of today we are two days into the first phase of South Beach, aptly termed “Phase 1”.

I won’t bore you with the science and chemistry behind what you are allowed to eat and not eat in the various phases of the diet; suffice to say I think it is sound for the most part, and it is centered around eating the right kinds of carbs and really minimizing sugar for the first couple of weeks. The hardest part of this is foregoing any and all starches which I LOVE LOVE LOVE. Not to mention saying goodbye to alcohol for a full two weeks.

Here is the one observation I have to share at this early stage: in spite of feeling somewhat hungry as I gaze longingly at the Wheat Thins, homemade granola that a sweet friend made us (M, I promise I enjoyed quite alot of it before succumbing to SB!), Cheetos, bread, cookies, ice cream, Triscuits, my wonderful friend Tia…

and so many more delicious things that are, for now, off limits….

That in spite of this, or maybe, because (I am starting to believe), because these things are off limits, I have had more energy yesterday and today than I can recall in a long time. A very, very very LOOOOOOOONG time.  And it has given me pause. I have read over and over about how refined carbs will ultimately lead to blood sugar crashing, and then inevitably, a craving for more of the same. I have never been a gluttonous eater, but I enjoy mostly what I want to enjoy, in moderation. Admittedly, along with the better carbs, there are a fair amount of the more refined variety in my regular diet. Which isn’t a bad thing. BUT….I have been truly amazed at the way my body has responded to the removal of starches. Two days is not nearly enough time to draw huge, sweeping conclusions, but let’s just say I am encouraged to stay the course through the end of Phase 1 and see how I feel after two weeks of eating this way.

For his part, Jay called me during his commute home today and begged me to have some sort of”South Beach approved” snack ready and waiting when he walked in the door or he vowed to eat his steering wheel right then and there. Despite his good-natured whining, my man has way more willpower than I do, so I believe he’ll be a perfect diet partner and either encourage me faithfully or drive me nuts with his ability to “be good”!

I have faithfully taken photos of our suppertime meals in addition to a couple of new recipes I’ve tried and I hope to post recipes and observations as we progress. So for now I will leave you with an iphone pic showing what we enjoyed for supper our first night “on the beach”: grilled pork loin chops, roasted broccoli, and a garden salad.




It Was Inevitable

Summer is officially here, folks. Oh joy! My little darlings and I have looked forward to swimming with friends, consuming copious amounts of ice cream, making many trips to the library and spending lazy hours with good books, watching movies late into the night while we all snuggle on the couch and so much more. All my kids love school, but after 9 busy months, we are all so ready to not be tied down to a strict schedule for a while.

I, however, in the midst of all this summer merry-making had one serious personal goal I really wanted to attain during these next 3 months: given my calendar is now clear of most activities, appointments, lessons and carpools, I wanted to take the opportunity to proactively focus on fitness.  For a couple months now, things in my closet have felt a little tighter than they should, and despite keeping a pretty stiff pace day to day, I have just felt sluggish and not as good as I probably ought. Those of you who know me well know that I LOVE to contemplate the idea of exercise a whole lot more than I enjoy starting the actual exercise itself. But I had already made a verbal commitment to those who are closest to me that working on my own personal fitness was at the top of my “to do” list for June, July and August.

I had no intentions of trying to achieve an Elle MacPherson-like physique; that, as my dear friend Steph broke it to me gently, is impossible simply because well…God made her tall, and me, not so much. I can do nothing about the fact that Elle is 6′ to my 5’4″. I’m glad Steph pointed this out to me…after all, that’s what friends are for, right? To help you deal with reality. Thanks, Steph, because we both know that were it not for the shortfall in height, it is almost certain that after a rigorous summer of exercise I could totally stand in for Elle. Ahem.

No, I just wanted to do the best I could do with the body and abilities God gave little old me. And I can tell you that starting from a place of almost no regular exercise, one cannot help but improve the status quo. So, in spite of feeling suitably intimidated over how sore my body was going to be, and how much pain I was likely going to be experiencing a matter of days, and despite bemoaning all the ice cream cones I would likely have to forego in the pursuit of my clothes fitting nicely again, I was ready. Ready to bite the bullet and get back into better shape.

Well, sadly…I think I am going to get a lot more friendly with the status quo for the next few weeks, because for now at least I have had to say farewell to my lofty fitness intentions. This morning while simply attempting to walk into my bathroom, I missed the doorway and instead smashed into the doorjam in a most horrid way, fracturing at least one toe in the process. Not sure if the toe next to it is just bruised or also broken, but it really doesn’t matter. I have broken many toes in the last 12 years and this is about as bad a break as I’ve experienced. No P90X, faithful elliptical workouts, or trips to the gym are in my immediate future. Bummer.

I gotta say though, if one has to break a toe and be laid up, I am blessed to have some of the sweetest folks around to lend a hand and help cheer me. Like this little guy, who despite not finding the ice pack he wanted to give me for my poor toes, quickly reached for the first handy cold thing: his yogurt drink, which he faithfully held on my foot for as long as I would let him. Oh my heart.

And even though I’ll be sedentary for a little while to come, I did manage to find a really awesome personal trainer to work with me. Her name is Tia. She is snappy, wonderful, and tastes delicious! Here she is with her sidekick, Joe.

Joe T. Garcia to be more precise. I hear he’s pretty fabulous to work with too. While Tia and Joe are working with me, I think it might be practical to look for another personal goal to pursue. So maybe, just maybe…I might work on getting back into the blogging thing. We’ll see…


Updated to add:

A visit to my PCP the day after my little run-in with the door jam netted me a pretty set of x-rays confirming a triple break in my 4th toe. The complexity of the break and its proximity to a joint necessitated a visit to a very cool Orthopedic Surgeon who at least for now has told me that he thinks the breaks will heal without the benefit of surgery. What a relief to this Momma! I am on a cool new drug called Vimovo — rolls off the tongue in a lovely way, dontcha’ think? Unlike most anti-inflammatory meds, it contains an ingredient to minimize the most unpleasant side effect I experience while on these drugs, that of my stomach being ripped apart by all the “stuff” in them. Good times, y’all.

Why International Adoption???

Recently a friend asked me what it was that prompted our family to choose International Adoption over Local or Domestic Adoption. Okay, actually….if I’m being anywhere near truthful, it wasn’t all that recently that our friend asked us this. It was back in uhhhhhhh, (clears throat) July. (Sorry, Melissa, for taking so ridiculously long to write the post I promised!)

Regardless of how long it has taken me to answer Melissa, I have to say GOOD QUESTION! And one I am happy to answer.

But first, I have to say that I love getting questions from people who are genuinely interested in why we are adopting, where we are in the process, how it is all going, etc. Thanks to everyone who checks in with us and for all the encouragement we have received already. We feel so very blessed by our family and friends and all the support we are surrounded with. If you ever have a question about adoption, whether in general or more specifically about our journey, I absolutely encourage you to ask it! I also encourage you to be patient like Melissa because with the pace of life around here lately, I may or may not be timely with my response!

So: the question about how we chose international adoption. It is a fact that there are orphans both here in the United States as well as all around the world. Children here and children abroad are in need of parents who love them. In need of family. Far be it from any of us to stand up and state that children here in the United States are more deserving of a family than the children who live across the world. Or vice versa.

Truthfully, deciding which type of adoption our family was going to pursue was both easy and hard. How did we do it? Why did we decide to go international?? Well, the short answer for our family is that so many doors opened in that direction and we honestly felt very led to pursue International adoption. We pondered, prayed, asked lots of questions, and researched a ton, and the people and events that were placed in our path all pointed toward going International. Most specifically, our school and church friends, Michael and Jana Funderburk, who were part of our church home group, adopted their own precious Ruthie from Ethiopia, and not too long after, moved their family to Ethiopia to work in country with Gladney Adoption Services. And so we have started on the journey that God appears to be leading us on.

That is not to say we didn’t wrestle with the fact that there are orphans right here in the United States who are in need of families. There are currently about 130,000 children in the American Foster Care System who have been cleared for adoption. These children need moms and dads every bit as much as the orphans who wait around the world for a family to call their own.  We are thrilled that some of our very best friends in the world, Mark and Susan Peck, are even now in process to adopt a child or sibling set from their state’s foster care system. For over a year and a half now we have waited excitedly as they work with the folks in Missouri to prepare to adopt children out of foster care and into their family.

If you ask Mark and Susan what led them to adopt from CPS, they will tell you that it felt very natural to them because people who were put into their lives have themselves adopted from CPS and they have lived among these families and seen their adopted children thrive. These children go to church and school with them, they live in their neighborhood. They are friends with Mark and Susan’s four kiddos, and simply put: they are in a community where they have seen local adoption done well, and where they have a ton of support in place as they prepare to add two more children to their already large family.

I ramble on about the Pecks because their adoption journey is very similar to ours in that we have responded to what we have seen around us here, and when we see adoption, at least in our circle (admittedly a small sample size, but it is where we have been put!) it is almost always international. When you are stepping out into new territory, there is comfort in knowing you have families around you who have navigated that territory as well, and that you have some built-in support going into it all. (I know families who have been the first in their circle to adopt, and my hat is off to them for being the pioneers in their world as they see it.)

One of our younger boys’ best buddies from church is a beautiful little guy from Guatemala. Our families are in Home Group together. One of my daughter’s sweet friends from school is a hilarious little girl from China. Our beloved Kindergarten teacher and friend, Jami and her husband brought back gorgeous twin girls from Ethiopia. The list goes on…but after Michael and Jana moved to Ethiopia to work with Gladney, we learned a lot more about the plight of children in this particular country and the gigantic need for adoption.  Our hearts were moved to welcome home one of these many little ones in need of a family. Here are just a few stats that tell some of the story in Ethiopia:

– Ethiopia has approximately 5 million orphans and the country is twice the size of Texas.

– One in ten children die before their first birthday.

– One in six children die before their fifth birthday.

– 44% of the population of Ethiopia is under 15 years old.

– Half the children in Ethiopia will never attend school.

– 88% will never attend secondary school.

– Ethiopia’s doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000.

– Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any country in Africa.

Did you read my first stat? 5 MILLION CHILDREN. When people ask us about where we are adopting from, and I tell them Ethiopia, and they then ask “Why Ethiopia?”, I often drop that number into the conversation because honestly it is just so staggering. It is so desperately sad that there are any orphans on this earth, but once we felt drawn to this particular country, the immense need that we saw there compelled us. Statistics tell the sad truth: that of the 5 million children in need of homes in Ethiopia, less than 1% will find their way into a family. The rest will never experience the miracle of adoption.

The future prospects for children in Ethiopia who age out of the system, much like orphans in Russia and elsewhere, are very, very grim.

One of my children asked me what good it would do to adopt just one little girl when 5 million children in one country alone need homes. Good question. In reality, the answer for most of Ethiopia’s orphans is probably not ultimately adoption. Or perhaps better said, not just adoption, but adoption as part of an overall plan. Organizations who give aid, and help families in country to be able to support the children are definitely needed. Gladney, our agency, in addition to facilitating adoptions, provides much-needed aid and support in country to children and adults of all ages, including many children who will never be adopted. In addition, I have seen a trend that families who adopt from Ethiopia have a heart for the people of their child’s birth country, and they often look for ways to give back. We are seeing wells built, schools and homes established, and other wonderful forms of support put into place. I hope and pray that such efforts and compassion poured out will indeed begin to make a huge difference in the plight of orphans in Ethiopia.

But back to adoption: there is no replacement for a family. Growing up in an institution, while admittedly much better than living on the street, or in slavery, does not in any way begin to equal the love and support of a family to call your own. As long as there are children who need families, there will be a need for adoption. So….as to the question of what good does it do to adopt “just one” out of millions?  I leave you with what is an old, old story, but one which beautifully illustrates the “why”…

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”

The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and politely replied,

“Well, I made a difference to that one!”

– adapted from the Star Thrower by Loren C. Eiseley


4 Months on the Wait List

Tomorrow marks four official months on the wait list in Ethiopia with Gladney. Four months closer to our referral for a little girl we haven’t yet met or even seen a picture of, but whom we are already in love with.

(Thanks to my adorable in-house models for their help in illustrating “FOUR”!)

Well, after saying in February that the months on the waitlist have been the quietest so far in our adoption journey, I am ready to eat my words!! It’s not that we have had a long list of “to-do’s” to accomplish like earlier in the process. But wow, this last month of waiting has seen some very interesting activity: some very wonderful, some not so wonderful. Here are some highlights:

* We have located 2 amazing doctors locally who have a wealth of experience and knowledge specific to children adopted from Ethiopia. The stories behind finding these doctors are encouraging and I look forward to sharing more with you in a future post. We are so thankful to know we have these women on our team as we bring our daughter home.

* A couple of weeks ago Jay and I were humbled to learn we have been awarded a Matching Funds Grant from a partnership between Lifesong and Irving Bible Church. We are blown away and grateful for this HUGE provision for our adoption and again, please stay tuned for more information in a future post.

* As you may already be aware from reading the news reports, there have been some significant changes these last couple of weeks in the country of Ethiopia which affect how court cases are processed for adoptions. We do not have full information yet as to what the ramifications may or may not be in the long term for the children who are waiting, and for prospective adoptive parents. For now we are praying and hoping that things may be resolved soon and that so many children who are in desperate need of families will be able to come home sooner rather than later.

When we started the adoption process almost a year ago, four months was often well inside your “window” of time for when you’d receive a referral if you were requesting a child of toddler age (as opposed to an infant). The last year has seen some increases in wait times and so we know we’ll most likely be waiting quite a few more months. As we wait, we pray for not only our tiny girl but for all the precious children who wait and hope for a family. We are so thankful to be on this journey.

3 Months on the Wait List

Today, February 16, officially marks 3 months that our family has been on the wait list in Ethiopia for a referral for our girlie.

I think it is safe to say that of all the months since we began our adoption process last year, these last three have been the quietest (related to the adoption itself). There was such a lot of paperwork and activity to bring us to the point of being approved to adopt, and completing our international dossier. Now that all those i’s have been dotted, and t’s have been crossed, there is not a ton to do in the “making a list and getting things done” sort of way. I have heard the phrase “Hurry up and WAIT!” used many times when people refer to their international adoption processes, and now that we are on the wait list, we are seeing how true that is.

I love when friends or family ask us “Is there any news?” or “Do you have an update on your adoption?”. So many people are very faithful to check in with us, and ask, which I appreciate. After all, I don’t have a growing tummy or any other obvious physical reminder that another little Horne is on the way as I did when we were “expecting” our other children.  I can honestly say that I don’t miss the stomach upset, the weight gain (55 pounds gained for EACH of four pregnancies, thank you very much!), or the additional stretch marks and wrinkles to add to my already rather vast collection.

On the other hand, this is a different sort of waiting, I am learning. People say jokingly “You are paper pregnant!!” which is true. Sort of. But with our other babies, I knew that at the end of nine months, we’d have a child in our arms. Not so with international adoption. Our process will likely take longer than that, and things are prone to change. As my sister noted last week, unlike when you carry your baby inside your tummy, and know they are safe and cozy (in most cases), we truly do not know where our daughter is right now. And as far as the “safe and cozy” I find myself wondering often: is she safe? is she warm enough? does she have enough to eat? when she cries, does she have someone to comfort her? and the list of questions goes on….

Based on the amount of time toddlers spend in care before they are referred, she is most likely not already in one of Gladney’s foster care homes. Our assumption is that she might still be with her birth family at this time, but of course we do not know.

Our family prays together each night. We don’t know where our girl is, but God does, and as hard as it is not knowing her situation, we trust her to His care. Our children’s prayers often include “And please God keep our baby sister in Ethiopia safe and healthy, and help her be able to come home soon.” Even they at their tender ages understand that this little girl is undergoing a different and likely much more perilous sort of journey than they did to join our family.

The best number I can give to all who are curious is that the current average wait time for a referral once you are on the wait list, is about 9 months ’till you see a picture and receive information about the child your family has been matched with. That time frame might be longer or shorter depending on the particular children in care, the families ahead of us on the list, and many other factors. Based on that general information, we hope to maybe know something more by August, but we’ll see.

To those of you who check in with us to ask how things are going, thank you! To those of you who pray for our daughter, we are so grateful. We appreciate and love that so many are thinking of her, and remembering her in prayer. It encourages us greatly as we wait. This entire process has been, and will continue to be a huge exercise in faith and trust. We look forward to seeing what happens next. And for now….we wait.

Wonderful Adoption Video

My dear friend Susan (little sis to our “Uncle Greg”) sent me a video this week. Susan and I have been friends since we were in college together at Baylor, and I am so blessed to have her in my life. Sweet Greg took this photo of us:

Susan and her family are also on an adoption journey, but she thought of us when she saw this video since it was created by a family who brought home a little 11-month old girl, Violet, from Ethiopia last year. The Amaro family blogs here, (and I am so enjoying reading their blog b/c their daughter, Violet turns two years old soon, and as you know, we will likely receive a referral for a two year old girlie ourselves!). This video was the winning entry in a contest sponsored by Adoptive Family Circle. It documents their first week together as a family of four and is just beautiful. Absolutely warms my heart to watch it, and I think it will make you smile too. Thanks, Susan!!

The Little Things…

I went to look at my adoption email distribution list today because I wanted to send out an update to the folks who follow our ongoing adoption story. And a thought hit so hard it almost knocked the wind out of me: I have to take a name off our list. Greg Hewlett will no longer be receiving news from us of our ongoing process, or prayer request updates.

I already knew this, in theory. Our friend Greg (or as my children refer to him: “Uncle Greg”) lost his earthly battle with cancer a week ago today. This last week has felt like a blur in so many ways. While we are thankful our friend and brother is in the presence of Jesus: out of pain and that he finished his earthly race so beautifully, we are sad too. Sad for those of us left behind. Who didn’t realize when we last saw him it would be the last time we’d hear his voice, eat a meal together, listen to him tell a joke, play a song for us, give us a hug, smile at us in that kind and easy way he always did.

My feeble writing could not do justice to who Greg was, so I shall not try to eulogize him here. I am not gifted with words and his was a remarkable life. We know how blessed we are to have called him our friend. Our entire family is richer for having had him in our lives, and we are thankful for the kindness and friendship he showed us. We had the precious blessing of vacationing with him this past summer in Alabama; at the time we were so glad he was with us, and we are even more so now. None of us had any idea then that God only had a few more months planned on this earth for Greg. We cherish memories of our sweet friend, and look forward to the day when we will see him again in Glory.

Right now, as we wait for that day, it’s the little things that give us pause. That cause us to remember him, sometimes with a smile, more often right now with tears.  Tears that have hope in them, but tears nonetheless.

The little things: The clarinet he played long ago when he was a child, and recently gave to my oldest son who now plays it in school band. The pho soup that Jay and I love and eat a couple times a month because Greg first took Jay to the Vietnamese soup place in old Richardson and introduced him to the wonderful stuff.  The funny songs that he wrote and recorded even while suffering through chemo and all that goes with that. Board games and how they remind us of how when we played with him, he could beat all of us single handed because he was so stinkin’ smart! His blog, where he shared so many personal thoughts and insights as he walked the road God had for him. Greg lived life more fully than many people I know who have both legs, and who aren’t doing battle with cancer.

We first introduced Greg to House of Horne when he was diagnosed with cancer in 2003. In this entry, Jay shared the story of the first time he met Greg, which was an embarrassing moment for my husband, but which showed so beautifully Greg’s gentle spirit and keen sense of humor.

There have been entries where we asked our readers to pray for him at some critical moment in his battle. And there were more lighthearted entries like this one where he astonished us all by managing to poke fun (in that most creative way of his) at the very disease that was slowly killing his earthly body.

Greg, you are so missed by our family, and by so many, many others. We are thankful that you have run the race God had for you, that you are free from your earthly sufferings, and glorying at being in the presence of Jesus. I can only imagine the look of joy on your face when you saw your Saviour and He welcomed you home.

(this last pic was taken by Nicolas, who loved snapping photos of Uncle Greg in Alabama)

Tonight our youngest prayed, “…and dear God, please help Uncle Greg to be having a good time with you in Heaven.” Amidst our tears, we are certain that yes indeed, Uncle Greg is having a glorious time with his Lord. Amen.

How to Kick Leftover Spaghetti Up Just a Notch…

Not too long ago on a Saturday night, leftover spaghetti was on the menu. Probably not all that exciting in your world, but in my world? Everyone at our house LOVES spaghetti, so that alone makes it a great meal around here.  But on this particular night, sheer genius struck yours truly, and we festivized our plain ole leftover spaghetti into a spectacular Saturday night experience!

Drawing inspiration from Lady and the Tramp (hey, everyone’s got their own muse) we pulled out the red checkered tablecloth. Eldest daughter happily ran off to pick flowers and whatnot from the yard. We opened a bottle of the famous rooster: Rex Goliath.  (Even the children got teeny tiny little glasses for the occasion.)  We dimmed the house lights, and lit some candles. Jay turned up the Italian tunes, and we enjoyed leftovers in the grandest, funnest way I can imagine! See for yourself….

No clothes required, heheheh!