Friday, December 28, 2007


Okay, so we finally have arrived on the other side of Christmas and we are definitely ready for the "hustle and bustle" to settle down so we can catch our breath! Like I have said before, the waiting hasn't been as bad as I thought it would seeing as we have had many distractions with all the holidays! I am counting this as another blessing that we tend to overlook because it seems small but since we have a lot of "waiting" under our belt, I definitely see these holiday distractions as a blessing!
And like last week, the kids found it hard to make a number "9" so I just used week "6" and flipped it around! Whatever works, right? Maybe next week, the number "10" won't be so challenging for them. We may even have to get Daddy involved since we are entering the double digits!!!

There have been lots of referrals lately all matched with quick court dates so we are hoping the whole process is speeding up! We are still praying for our little sibling pair in hopes the Lord will reveal them to us very soon!! We are content in knowing that the Lord will bring our family together in His perfect timing as we continue to trust in His faithfulness! He is our Strength!

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock." Isaiah 26:3-4

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Time is Here

Christmas was so much fun this year as the kids are getting older and truly getting excited for all of the Christmas festivities! We had Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning at our home this year. Then, had Christmas lunch with Brad's family and Christmas dinner with my family, so we were able to see everyone this year. All the kids watching Isabella open her Marshmallow shooter!

My precious little nephew, John Isaac, all bundled up in his "little bear" suit while watching the fireworks and the kids sparklers! (I loved his blue bear suit so much that Brittany went to The Children's Place and bought one for our babe in Ethiopia!)

Isabella and Elijah on Christmas morning (see Isabella's shirt that says "glamou(RED)" given to her by Aunt Brittany on Christmas Eve, and she loved it so much, she wore it to bed!)Elijah and Daddy with their walking sticks from Mommy engraved with the words, "Walk with God". They loved it!The kids were so excited to give Daddy his blanket they made especially for him!Brittany got more (RED) products for our kids: This for one of our little ones in Ethiopia (that I really wanted badly!) .....
....and this warm sweater hoodie for Elijah that says "bo(RED)" which is perfect for him because that is his new saying when he doesn't want to do something I ask him. He whines, "Mommy, you are making me too bored!"

And I received some really special gifts relating to Ethiopia including this precious little boy figurine named "Eubie" from our family friend, Peggy. I just love him!

This necklace is so special to me because it is an pink Ethiopian stone carved into an Ethiopian coptic cross that Brad gave me.

And he gave me this Ethiopian girl figurine and her name is "Sadaka" which means "precious gift"! I love her too!

I love that Brad always tries so hard to find really special things to give me on my birthday and holidays and this Christmas was no different. This year he tried to find things that were unique to Ethiopia but since most of his research came from the internet, he found out the pictures given on the internet are difficult to see the true size of anything. He was so excited to give me this necklace because he thought it looked small but a little "sparkly" and would help remind me of our children in Ethiopia. Well, Brittany warned him that she wasn't sure about it but he ordered it anyway thinking it was perfect for me! It came in the mail and Brittany wrapped it without Brad ever seeing the real necklace. When I opened it, I was shocked! Yes, it was definitely "sparkly" and HUGE! We started laughing so hard because it is literally the size of a coaster! But what was even funnier is that at the bottom of the box, it said, "Hip Hop collection"!!!

We have decided to keep it because it is too funny not to and to use it as an ornament on our tree where it can really be "sparkly"! Have I mentioned that I am married to Clark Griswald?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Gospel of the Kingdom

With Christmas upon us, I felt this was a great quote to think about:

The Gospel of the Kingdom
“The kingdom of God is the new and final age that began with the coming of Jesus. His kingdom is not part of the present age — an age where the flesh reigns; where people are divided, relationships are broken, and suspicion and competition dominate; where money, sex, and power are abused; where leaders are first and servants last; where behavior is controlled by laws, and identity is defined by race, gender, or social standing; and where gifts and resources are used for the advancement of oneself.

Rather, the kingdom of God is the new age. It is the age of the Spirit (Matt 12:28). It is the age of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17). The Kingdom of God is about the renewal, restoration, and reconciliation of all things, and God has made us a part of this great story of salvation.

This kingdom is about the restoration of relationships, justice, and equality; about freedom from every lord except Jesus; about reconciliation, forgiveness, and the defeat of Satan. It is about compassion for the poor and powerless, about helping those who are marginalized and rejected by society, and about our gifts and resources for the advancement of others. It is about new communities and the transformation of society and culture, so that race, gender, and social class no longer define identity, nor are they used to control and divide. For Paul, to preach the gospel is to preach the kingdom, is to preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:24-27).

The gospel sums up the whole message of good news that he brought to the nations — particularly to the downtrodden and powerless. And since it is good news, our response to the message of the kingdom is to be one of repentant faith (Mark 1:15).”

- Neil H. Williams, Gospel Transformation, 2nd Ed. (Jenkintown, Pa.: World Harvest Mission, 2006), iii.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Week 8

It is almost Christmas and we have made it to another week! The kids gave up on making the numbers with their bodies since making a number "8" would have been easier if they were noodles! So they improvised and decided to make an "8" with the first thing they saw....socks! There are always socks lurking around our house, mostly without their mates, so for today we have finally found a purpose for "mateless" socks! I think they did a pretty good job!
Today has been filled with more cooking for the holidays! I love to cook and the holidays make cooking even more fun with all the festive recipes! The kids love to make sugar cookies at Christmas, so they are really looking forward to this weekend! We are going to try a new recipe for Christmas this year that is an actual African recipe. It is called Malva Pudding and it is similar to bread pudding, so we are looking forward to enjoying that and hopefully it will become a tradition in our home!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Kolfe Orphanage

The radiant faces of the boys and young men at the Kolfe Orphanage, ages 12-18, would never reveal that they are the poorest of the poor and have lost their parents and families. These orphans haven’t been absorbed by friends of relatives and now the only family they know is the one comprised of the 185 other kids at the orphanage. Unfortunately, this kind of thing is all too common throughout Africa. Poverty, AIDS, and malnutrition has left a devastating wake of 4.7 million orphans in Ethiopia alone.

The one affected most by the orphan crisis are the older kids that don’t have a chance to be adopted and are forced to spend the majority of their life in poorly funded and understaffed orphanages like Kolfe.

These young men have been placed in this facility with the hopes of attaining food, medical care, shelter, and an education. Unfortunately, budget constraints have severely limited the capacity to which Kolfe can provide these basic needs. The clinic is void of proper medical equipment, the recreational facilities are limited to one dirt patch used for soccer, and the basic structure of the majority of the buildings are completely dilapidated.

Gladney is trying to help by bettering the conditions in which they live. Others are giving of their resources to raise funds to help these boys. Here is a video of the boys and their situation:

"And the King will answer and say to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to me." Matt. 25-40

Friday, December 14, 2007

One Lord

Wow! Another post from Of First Importance, but I must say it has really been teaching and encouraging me lately!

One Lord
“‘One Lord.’ Ephesians 4:5.

The Lord Jesus is the one Head, as He is the one Foundation, of the Church. All believers are chosen in Christ, blessed in Christ, saved in Christ, preserved in Christ, and in Christ will be glorified. The work of Christ is the one resting-place of their souls. They rely for pardon upon the same blood, for acceptance upon the same righteousness, and for sanctification upon the same grace. One in Christ, all other differences and distinctions are merged and forgotten: ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither bond nor free; there is neither male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’

What a uniting truth is this! Jesus is the one Head of life, light, and love, to all His saints. He carried the transgression of all, He bore the curse of all, He endured the hell of all, He pardons the sin of all, He supplies the need of all, He soothes the sorrows of all, and He lives and intercedes for all. To Him all alike repair, it is true, with different degrees of knowledge and of faith, and from different points; yet, to Jesus, as to one Savior, one Brother, one Lord, they all alike come.

Oh! what a cementing principle is this! The body of Christ- the purchase of the same blood, loved with the same affection, and in heaven represented by the same Advocate, and soon, oh, how soon, to be ‘gloried together’ with Him. What love, then, ought I to bear towards him whom Jesus has so loved!”

- Octavius Winslow, Morning Thoughts (March 23)

A short bio on Octavius Winslow:
Octavius Winslow, 1808-1878, descended from Edward Winslow, a Pilgrim leader who braved the Atlantic to come to the New World on the Mayflower in 1620. Octavius?s father, Thomas, an army captain stationed in London, died when he was seven years old. Shortly after that, Octavius?s God-fearing mother took her family of ten children to New York. All of the children became Christians, and three sons became evangelical ministers. Octavius later wrote a book about his family?s experiences from his mother?s perspective, titled Life in Jesus. Winslow was ordained as a pastor in 1833 in New York. He later moved to England where he became one of the most valued nonconformist ministers of the nineteenth century, largely due to the earnestness of his preaching and the excellence of his prolific writings. He held pastorates in Leamington Spa, Bath, and Brighton. He was also a popular speaker for special occasions, such as the opening of C. H. Spurgeon?s Metropolitan Tabernacle in 1861. After a short illness, he died on March 5, 1878, and was buried in Abbey Cemetery, Bath. Winslow wrote more than forty books, in which he promoted an experimental knowledge of the precious truths of God. Several of his books have been reprinted recently.

Week 7

Today marks seven weeks of waiting and if you can see the expression on Elijah's face, you can tell they weren't too thrilled with making the number "7". At least it is one more week down, and who knows how many more to go!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Luke 2

Brad teaches at a private school here in Kingwood and the music teacher had asked him back in the summer if Isabella could memorize and recite Luke 2 for the school's Christmas program. We asked Isabella if she would like to do this and she agreed. I began teaching it to her a little at a time and she quickly memorized it and was so exited to say it to anyone who would listen to her! As December rolled around, we had taught it to not only her but decided to also teach it to Elijah (who already had memorized most of it just by listening to Isabella say it all the time!). Yesterday afternoon, we went up to the school to rehearse it with the music that was playing in the background as she spoke. She was uncharacteristically shy and nervous, so I began to think she might not go through with it, but after the rehearsal this afternoon, with all the people, lights, animals and other children, she did amazingly well!

So, tonight came and she was so excited to say her verse! She was at the very end of the program, so she had to wait a long time but then it came time for her to go up on the stage with Daddy! She was smiling and you could tell she was very excited! Here is a snippet of her because as I was recording her, my batteries died! Thank goodness, the school recorded it so we will have a copy!

She got a little nervous, and forgot to say some of the verses, but continued on like a pro (so well, that I don't think any knew she had forgotten anything)! Afterwards she was so precious asking me why she didn't say some of the verses and when I told her she did great and the Lord was pleased with her for knowing His word, she smiled and said, "Okay! Now where is my surprise!?" Children are truly resilient! Here she is after the performance with the flowers she received from Mommy and Daddy!
And here she is with the music teacher from the school:
But the best part of this is when she told me tonight after we got home, "Mommy, I am so glad I got to say my verses to all those people because now those people know about Jesus!" The Lord truly looks at our hearts and loves the faith of children!

Childlike Obedience

This quote from Of First Importance really encouraged me today:

Childlike Obedience
“God has declared in the gospel that whenever we come to him, we are to call upon him freely and openly as our Father, who has adopted us as his children. If we do not have this assurance, the thought of serving God will make us grind our teeth.

If, however, we are persuaded that God looks upon us favourably; if, though we are weak and can do nothing worthy of his approval, he accepts us in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, then we will surely be filled with courage.

We will be like a ship’s sail that has been stretched and filled by the breeze! Thus, our hearts will run to obey him, like a ship driven along by its sail, when we know that God delights in us and accepts our works, not wanting us to be compelled into servitude. He is happy for us to be his children, and that we desire to obey him.”
- John Calvin, Sermons on Galatians (preaching on Gal 5:1-3)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

You Raise Me Up

This video is from last season's American Idol on the Idol Gives Back show where Josh Groban sings "You Raise Me Up" with the African Children's Choir singing in the background. These kids are so precious!

I could watch this hundreds of times (and probably have!)


I went into Hallmark today amidst all the busy Christmas shoppers looking for the new Hallmark (RED) ornament since they have now become part of the (RED) campaign. I looked all over and couldn't find it so I asked for some help. The lady was unpacking inventory they had just received next to the display that the ornaments were hanging. I was disappointed that the ornaments were hidden behind all the boxes as I guess they wouldn't be selling many of them. While I was checking out, the lady looked at the ornament, then said, "This is the first of these I have sold and yet it is so pretty!" She had no idea what is was and when I explained it to her and that we were adopting from Ethiopia, she was so thrilled! She said it made her day and that she hopes we are united with our children soon! Hopefully now that they know a little more about the (RED) products they are selling, they might just put them in a more viewable place!

Immediately when I got home, I unpacked my little treasure and placed it right in front of our Christmas tree! It is beautiful and I love it!

Friday, December 7, 2007


Today marks six weeks we have been on the wait list for a referral. There are so many other families who have been waiting longer than us, so even though six weeks seems like a long time, we know we have more waiting ahead of us. There are several Gladney families who went through court yesterday, and some of them did not make it through apparently due to some missing paperwork (not on their part or Gladney's part). I guess I didn't realize that some families don't make it through court for some reason or another. Now, their travel dates have been pushed back and they have to wait through another court date to clear before they can travel. This process is truly about waiting on the Lord and trusting in Him. I really don't know how you can go through this process without knowing Him and trusting His provision for your life. We are all waiting anxiously for them to get cleared through court! Once cleared through the court system, the child(ren) are officially and legally adopted! We are praying for quick court dates!

In other news, all adoptive parents must complete 10 hours of training before traveling to their child's country. Training has always been a part of the process, but because of the Hague Convention, they instituted new rules for the training. So, last night, Gladney offered a free live stream workshop on "The Institutionalized Child" that Brad and I watched. It was a little over 2 hours and very informative. It is one of the required training topics for Ethiopia families and they offer a live-stream video every several months for free! In order to complete the rest of our hours, we will need to purchase them in DVD format or purchase to view online. I am anxious to finish these training hours so I will be a little more educated on adoption in general and so we will feel like we are one step closer to receiving our little blessings from Ethiopia!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Toothless and Tired

Today, Isabella had FIVE teeth extracted at the dentist's office. She was supposed to have six extracted but we pulled one last week that was loose! She was very nervous but never cried about the procedure. When we arrived at the dentist's office, they gave her some "silly juice" to drink to relax her and then we had to wait 20 minutes for it to take effect on her. She was totally fine until about 5 minutes into it, and she became incredibly smiley, wobbly and relaxed.
Brad had to carry her back to the chair because she was just like dead weight! They put a monitor on her little toes and then, put a mask on her giving her nitrous oxide to relax some more and she quickly faded into her "happy place"! It was time for us to leave, but I quickly got emotional leaving her alone when she seemed totally unresponsive to me. It reminded me of what we went through with Elijah during his surgery mishap and I became unexpectedly very nervous! The lady explained that they do 4-5 extractions every morning which calmed me some, but I couldn't stop the tears even though I kept thinking, "Seriously, Kimberly! They are just pulling her teeth!" It was over fairly quickly, and they carried her out to us good as new, just with 5 less teeth!
It was hard to see what she looked like because her mouth was stuffed with gauze to stop the bleeding, but I still thought she looked precious! We drove home and Daddy made her a comfy place on the couch and then went back to work. A little later, Granna came by and brought her a gigantic balloon that sings a Christmas song, some pretty flowers and some Christmas M&Ms!
Showing Granna "all the holes" in her little mouth:
And even Elijah got some M&Ms!
She is doing well now and sound asleep! Now, let's hope her top teeth will come out on their own!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Starfish Story

I do not know where this little story came from but it is one I have heard many times. It trult resonnates with where we are right the midst of "making a difference" in a child's life. Believe it or not, I have had several people ask me if we are trying to save the world or tell us we can't make that big of a difference with just our family. This simple story is so perfect!

A little girl was walking along a beach that was covered with thousands of starfish left dying in the sun by the receding tide. Seeking to help, she picked up a starfish and tossed it back into the ocean.

A man, assumed by her action, said to her, “Little girl, there are to many starfish. You will never make a difference.” Discouraged, she began to walk away. Suddenly, she turned around, picked up another starfish, and tossed it as far as she could back into the sea. Turning to the man, she smiled and said, “I made a difference to that one!”

The man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing the starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined and all the starfish were saved.