Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wish You Were Here!

You can tell J and I have spent most of our lives in a land-locked state by how often we head to the beach. We try to go about every other weekend, and we love every minute of it. It is as if we go enough times we can soak it up and always have it with us. It is a strange thing that we have friends in Illinois and Kentucky who are enduring ice storms while we are able to sit out on the coast and dip our toes in the (albeit freezing) Pacific Ocean. So, while we have this great privilege of amazing weather and gorgeous creation we are thoroughly enjoying being by the coast. The toddlers have lots of fun running around in the sand, running away from the waves, digging with shovels and buckets, feeding seagulls, and eating plenty of their own snacks on our well-worn beach blanket. Below are pictures from this month’s trips to a beach just South of Malibu and to Huntington Beach. (Note: Upon arriving at Huntington Beach I realized my camera battery was dead! I was so bummed until a very kind couple overheard and let us take a few pictures which they emailed to us later – their sweetness brightened our whole day – especially mine!)

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Friday, January 23, 2009

What A Beautiful Day…

"I have a dream that one day… little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope."
- Martin Luther King Jr.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

There is No Me Without You

I love this book. I’m only a few chapters in, but I love it. It brings back so many sweet and heart-wrenching memories from our trip to Ethiopia three years (!) ago. It reminds me about the things that I loved seeing, and the things that were hard to see.

In There is No Me Without You, Melissa Fay Greene is telling the story of a widow who has taken in countless orphans as her own, and in the process, she provides commentary on: the epidemic of orphaned children in Africa, the history of Ethiopia, and the history of HIV/AIDS itself. Hargewoin, whose life the book details, is a captivating and moving person. At the same time, I have found the author’s story to be equally moving.

The author talks about how, once she found out about the number of children orphaned in Africa (due to numerous reasons – read the book!), she had to do something about it - and she subsequently adopted 4 children form Ethiopia. That was similar to our experience and why we began the adoption process three years ago. But, she also goes on to discuss that simply adopting all of the children (were that even possible with the outrageously growing number) wouldn’t fix the problem. Adoption is a wonderful thing and these adopted kids are able to act as “ambassadors” here for the many other precious little ones across the world who need to have families, too.

Yet, adoption will not fix this gargantuan issue, nor should it. If possible, the best thing in most scenarios would be to help these children remain in their home country with their own extended families. So, now what do we do with that? What do I need to do in honor of my sweet baby boy to help the millions of children like him?

One thing that makes sense as a step in the right direction is the idea of a foster-like system, which would prevent the orphans from being abandoned (as our Little Man was), being taken to institutions, or worse, ending up on the streets as prostitutes or beggars. In the bleekness of this issue, one thing that excites me is that the organization J works for ( is empowering local churches to enable families within their congregations to love and take care of orphaned children in a family setting. Most of the time it isn’t a lack of love that orphans these children but a lack of resources.

You can check out how they do this by clicking here. They also have things you can do if you click here. I am trying to brainstorm a special thing for us to do in honor of T’s gotcha day, Feb. 24th. More to come on that.

So, I get excited about us, who have much to give, being able to help prevent children from becoming just another addition to the number of orphans in Africa. It breaks my heart to think of my little man being another number. I hope our ultimate response can make the children in his home country thankful he is one of their “ambassadors.”

Friday, January 16, 2009

Here we go...

So, I decided to start a blog this year. I am doing this mostly for me because I feel like I am so much better able to process and internalize things when I write them out. I intend for it to be musings from me and some funny little kid stories and some pictures of our family and some more thoughts. It really is more for me than for you. But, at the rare possibility that I might write something interesting or be going through something you are going through or have gone through, I thought I’d let you know I am starting this. Because of the weirdness of the internet and it’s public-ness I have decided to use initials or nicknames to describe family members. I am not really sure why honestly. I have seen other intelligent people do it though, and I am sure they have a good reason. I trust their judgment. Luckily, everyone in out family has a different first initial. And we didn’t even plan that!

All in all, I really enjoy living life in community with others. This journey I am on of trying to follow Jesus with J and our two toddlers in tow is proving to be interesting enough, so far, thus the title of the blog. I’d love to have you comment and correct and challenge and encourage and laugh with me if you’re willing. Thanks for being our family and friends, and therefore our community.

So, here we go.