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Monday, September 21, 2009

Who knew?? ... that a farm could be such fun?

I'm from Iowa but I'm not a farm girl ... I'm a city girl and this becomes very clear to people when I am on a farm and I point and comment about one of the cows, only to be corrected and told that that is not a cow, it's a bull. But after living in MN for over 5 years now, I think I can finally say I am a Minnesotan. And in the Fall, Minnesotans visit the apple orchards on beautiful, crisp, sunny, fall days.

On Sunday, on the spur of the moment, we took the kids to one of the local orchards (Fall Harvest Orchard in Delano, MN) for some outdoor fun and some apple-picking. Events like this are extra-fun this year because our two adopted sons from Ethiopia have never experienced an apple orchard ... or an authentic, working farm for that matter. Fall Harvest Orchard not only has an apple orchard - but they have fields of pumpkins, gourds, squash, popcorn, flax, soybeans and broom weed. They also have cows (pumpkin-eating cows!), chickens, ducks, goats, and pigs - and of course, baby pigs, and baby goats, and chicks - oh and tractor rides too.

The kids spent most of an afternoon holding the baby animals (chicks and goats) and feeding apples to the cows. They hauled buckets of apples that they picked up from the ground in the orchard to the cow pen, where they held the apples out so the cows could snake them from their hands with their long tongues.

What a beautiful and memorable day for everyone - and I have the pictures to memorialize another "first experience" for the boys!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Connecting with one child ...

A group from Children's Hopechest is in Uganda right now visiting care-points and ministering to orphans and people in need. There is another group that I will be travelling with - leaving for Ethiopia to develop care-points and child sponsorship in November.

Please click here to read Brandi's blog ... her husband is in Uganda right now and has met the little girl that they sponsor. He calls it a life changing experience! Please read ... and consider sponsoring a child from one of the care-points we will be developing in Ethiopia! Email me if you want more information (!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sheep & Goats

Please take a moment and click over to Amy Savage's blog ... she is in Uganda right now with a team from Children's Hopechest. (I will be in Ethiopia with Children's Hopechest in November.)

Then read Matthew 24:31-46, the parable of the sheep and goats. I've read this passage many times in years past and it was one of those messages that I somewhat uncomfortably skipped past because it is so convicting. I don't know anyone who is hungry or thirsty or homeless, so how can I help?

And then the slow realization over the years that there are countless opportunities to reach out and help - and make a remarkable difference in someone's life right now. Someone who is made in the image of God and who HE loves very much. Even if that person is living in poverty and starving, or dying of AIDS, or orphaned with no mommy or daddy to love and protect them. God values and loves them as much as HE loves you and me. As much as my heart hurts for those that are suffering, God's heart hurts even more. Richard Stearns, president of World Vision sums it up like this ...

"For I was hungry, while you had all you needed. I was thirsty, but you drank bottled water. I was a stranger, and you wanted me deported. I needed clothes, but you needed more clothes. I was sick, and you pointed out the behaviors that led to my sickness. I was in prison, and you said I was getting what I deserved...whatever you have done to the least of these, you've done it to Me."

Matthew 24:31-46
"When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left. "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.'

"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me - you did it to me.'

"Then he will turn to the 'goats,' the ones on his left, and say, 'Get out, worthless goats! You're good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why?

Because - I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.'

"Then those 'goats' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn't help?'

"He will answer them, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me - you failed to do it to me.' "Then those 'goats' will be herded to their eternal doom, but the 'sheep' to their eternal reward."

Please click to Amy's blog and read about what they are doing right now in Uganda ... Loving the Least of These

Friday, September 11, 2009

Just because I love these photos ...

The boys have been part of our family now for about 9 1/2 months, and sometime in the last few months we have settled into feeling like a normal family again. It just kindof snuck up on me and I didn't even realize it had happened until another adoptive mom mentioned "feeling like a normal family" - and I thought "hey, we feel normal again too! When did that happen?!?"

The older 3 kids have started school, we had a wonderful summer full of activity, we really don't have the language barrier anymore, and everyone knows the normal family routines. Maea recently turned 11 (my baby is 11!!!) and we now have 2 girls that are beginning to exhibit teenager-like behaviour (yikes). All is well!

Oh, and I got a new camera (Canon 50D) and I really, really like it. We have 2 Fall adoption seminars scheduled in the Twin Cities (, and I'm leaving for Ethiopia in less than 3 months ( with Children's Hopechest!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ethiopia Trip in November!

I mentioned in an earlier post that there are several adoptive families going back to Ethiopia in November on a "visions" trip with an outstanding Christian organization called Children's Hopechest.

We will be visiting about 4 orphanages that need our help - to find sponsors for each of the children and to work with them on a long-term plan (3 year, 5 year, 7 year+) to develop the greatest needs in the community (greatest needs could include a well for clean water, a kitchen and storage facility for food preparation, and eventually teaching small-business skills so that these children become self-sufficient young adults, etc.).

Sponsorship connects one child there, to one family here, to cover basic needs of food, clothing, education, and medical care. But we will be taking it beyond the basics by connecting those sponsors together into an online community - a community here that builds a relationship with a community of orphans and caregivers in Ethiopia. Eventually we will endeavor with them to expand beyond sponsorship to develop the community, and to have a small group of sponsors actually visit the kids on a regular basis - to cement relationships, to create hope and to demonstrate the love of God for each of these precious children.

For a glimpse of the last Ethiopia "Visions" trip, check out this amazing video ...

If you would like to be involved, I'd love to hear from you. Email me at or find me on facebook and let me know.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A busy week ...

School starts next week and we have been busier than normal trying to pack everything in before the end of the summer! Last week, the three older kids took a week-long sailing class on Lake Minnetonka and became quite accomplished sailors. What a joy it was to watch them on their last day, maneuvering their boats around buoys as they used the wind currents to guide them. I found myself marvelling over the fact that 9 months ago, our sons were living in an orphanage in Ethiopia, and today, Jayden was sailing a small boat on one of Minnesota's most beautiful lakes! Here are just a few of my favorite photos from their sailing class last week.