Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Homeschooling has officially started :)

OK so our homeschool year officially started with well...we actually school year round.  Although summer is very light hearted and not intense in any way.  We are a learn as you live kind of family.  Yes, we have curriculum, but it does not get in the way of the many things we learn all the time.  Isn't that they way it should be?  YEAH!  So August 21st we had our school orientation on a Saturday of course- why not?  he he he one of the great things about homeschooling- so flexible :)  We then had our first day on the 23rd.
This is our Abigail who officially is in 5th grade, but considering I am not really into "grades".  I am more into making sure our children are learning as much as they can in the best way that they can.  She is 10 1/2 and the most helpful compassionate child.  When we did our list of things she likes her favorite song was - What I Really Want For Christmas by Steven Curtis Chapman.  If you have never heard the song- you should.  It talks about the only thing I want is a family.  Yep, that is my babe :)
Here is our Andrew who is 8 1/2 and in 3rd grade ish.  He is smart as a whip and very sensitive.  He love to learn and is quick to pick up on everything.  He too has a sweet spirit and melts me as well as infuriates me too.  I tell him all the time he is too like his mommy.  It's true.  YIKES!  His favorite movie (we don't watch regular tv here, and very little movies), but he loves Little House On The Prairie.  It's something the older kids have been watching with mom & dad when the younger kids go to bed earlier.
Joshua although taller than Andrew....is younger by 6 months and is between 2-3rd grade (told you I don't like sticking to one grade).  This young man is all muscle and has an appetite that is sometimes a bit challenging.  His favorite place is Nashville- HE LOVED staying with the Johnson's and having fun meeting their family and other adoptive families.  I think he really loved all the FUN going on all the time with so many playmates.  He also wants to have billions of children :)  hmmmmm.....wonder where he gets that from???  He is protective of his family and I can't wait - well yes I can- to see him be a great daddy!
If you can't tell this little man is our ham- Matthew who is only 6 months behind Joshua and in 1-2nd gradeish.  He is small in stature, but has a huge laugh  inside.  His comedian lifestyle makes me laugh :)  With his hero listed as Jesus you can guess where his heart is.  Love that he loves polar bears and wants to chase them when he gets older, bring one or more home and play with them.  He is doing so well being in the middle somewhere is a hard place...not yet old enough to get to stay up with the other 3, and too old to really be a "little kid".  He is a charmer for real.
Sarah who is 6 has the face that will immediately draw attention.  I mean look at her!  She is in K-1st gradeish.  She has great reading skills and LOVES to read- ALL THE TIME!!!  Which I totally love.  She has learned a lot in the last year.  One of the first years I have really been able to really work with her (maybe more on that later).  She loves to entertain with her side kicks Elizabeth and Jonathan.  If you want entertainment- they are great!  Who needs to go out?  What can I say....if I am honest she is our hardest child, and yet has sooo much potential.  So we know that God has soo much planned for her.
You can tell by the poses- this is Elizabeth who is in pre K- and is age 4.  She lives life FULL ON!!!!  She is rarely without a smile.  She is very crazy, but oh those cute cheeks are soooo squeezable.  She has enough energy for the whole planet and I think there should be a way to tap that...for me I mean.  She has a beautiful voice and loves to sing.  If you have a bad day- she loves to just wrap her arms around you and love you which of course melts my heart to a puddle.  I love working with her although only a few minutes at a time will do for her- she is very very smart :).
Then there is Jonathan who just turned 3 this summer.  He is another ham...and loves to be cute....which of course he is and man could I just eat him up.  I love that he absolutely 100% adores his baby sister.  I mean if we would let him and if he could he would carry her around like a doll.  Every time she makes a noise he is there going "oh Joanna it is ok".  He loves to be cheesy, and is too cute!  Loves to have his mommy time and is of course great at being moody because well he is 3 :)
And of course last but definitely NOT least Joanna at 5 months....look at that face!  I mean her personality is pretty calm.  She loves to be held all the time, snuggled, and kissed.  She may not know many words yet but that does not stop her from talking your ear off.  Her newest tricks include lifting up her top half of her body (nothing like doing some easy upper body curls?), she loves to help hold her bottle, is starting to like tummy time in short doses, she is starting to "eye" things and be intentional about reaching for them, and spitting to her should be a sport.  he he he he!  She of course is adored by the crew and totally spoiled.  Whoever thought that your 8th child isn't spoiled has never been in our home!  She even has her own chant that kids do for her specifically.  Yeah, that's how we roll here :)

More on homeschooling and a family that was able to visit during our first week of school- that we totally LOVE!  We are excited about what God has done in our family this last year...we have grown in sooo many different ways.  This year- excited to see what else God has planned for our family.  Never a dull moment here!

Monday, August 30, 2010

So much on my mind

What can I say....there is so much on my mind....and yet....almost too much

*The little boy I advocated for- a few families have stepped forward- praying a match for this precious life will found and a family formed.
*Friend experiencing severe depression.
*Blog friend - having a very very dark time.
*Blog friends- Rwanda program temporarily closed- hearts breaking especially the 1 million orphans that reside there.  Praying that they open up soon again as a Hague accredited country......praying it will be soon!!!
*Blog friend- hurt, betrayed, and broken- husband's unfaithfulness.
*Blog friend- moving with a large family across the country.
*Our own questions of where we need to be.
*Blog friends- who have children that may be dying before them...in their arms.......whom doctors have already written off as not worth it- (making me sick to my stomach)
*Blog friend- wanting to bring home special needs child- waiting, painfully waiting, praying, hoping.......

Yet there is hope- there is always hope!  Because OUR GOD is a BIG GOD!!!!!  Earlier this year...end of last year.....when our world BROKE!  Our whole lives felt as if we were dying.  Naomi slipped through our hands....and our lives were CRUSHED, DEVASTATED, OBLITERATED!!!  I woke up and thought I would not survive.....I couldn't enjoy my life.....I wanted to just simply sleep.....but .....never mind.....just couldn't.  I wanted so much to forget the nightmare that was my life and just be normal.....but it wouldn't come.  I prayed- attempted.....tried to focus on scripture.....couldn't concentrate.....everything was horrible.

And yet- HOPE still shown through in the tiniest little speck.  God still said - I love you....in still small whispers.  As we searched for ways around uscis....as I did a massive search for how we could still have hope.....as it slipped away all together.....as I then frantically said- WHY GOD??????  I started searching....and found HOPE!  Hope of another child...hope of living again....hope of healing......and then......

Like a SUDDEN STORM that brings rain and refreshment to a dry and weary land- MY GREAT BIG GOD SAYS- DON'T GIVE IN!!!!  My plans for you are perfect, and although humans mess them up constantly....I have a gift a very very very unexpected gift- and as if to say TADA- JOANNA came into our lives and wiped away my hurt.  Does it mean that I never think of Naomi- NOT!!!!  Does it mean that my pain has never returned when I think of her....when I saw her picture of her with her new family?  NOT!!!!  It does mean though that our GREAT BIG GOD- LOVES, HEALS, and YES SURPRISES us in sooo many ways!!!!!

PRAYING for my friends, bloggy friends, and yes the orphaned are heavy on my heart.  The children, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers who are sick, the ones who live in a dump with nasty running down their faces, with a stench so awful you can't stand it, the ones who have lost a child, for those who feel like they can not cope, for those who want so desperately in their depths to reach out, but have no one..........for all of God's Children who are hurting.  God says- I LOVE YOU MORE THAN YOU FEEL RIGHT NOW, and I WILL COME TO YOU SCOOP YOU UP AND CARRY YOU UP THE MOUNTAIN!!!!!

And where is the HOPE- in a family that is searching where God is going to use them next!  In baptisms and dedications of some pretty amazing young people, in the smiles of all of those sweeties going off to school or staying at home to school.  In all of those amazing testimonies of Memorial Boxes, in the hope of small changes amongst children with RAD and other hard to help hurdles to overcome....in the brightness of the sun on a new day!  FIND HOPE- LIVE IT- HELP OTHERS TO SEE IT!  HOW you ask- bring them before the Lord in prayer!!!!

If you are one right now searching frantically for HOPE- Look to HIM!!  Do you know who I am talking about?  Our Lord and Savior!  The One Who Wrote The Book- what book- the Bible!!!  He sent HIS WORDS to us to comfort, love, share His heart with us.  So go ahead- read the Psalms, the many many many promises of LOVE, TRUTH, JOY, PEACE.  The struggles of so many laid out to give us HOPE!  If you do not know my JESUS- leave a comment, e-mail me, facebook me, and let me introduce you- Because without MY JESUS- I WOULD NOT BE ALIVE- LITERALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!


Need a family immediately for a domestic adoption situation. Baby boy, Chinese. SPECIAL NEEDS: Treacher Collins Syndrome and cleft pallate (not lip). fees- 12K, state TX...for more info please call Tracie Loux 816.550.4707 
(same person who did Joanna's adoption)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Visitng The Johnson Family & lots of other adoption friends too! LOADS OF PICS!

Joanna here- OK There are like a million pics in this post.  So if you love cute pics of adorable children- myself included - YOU WILL LOVE THIS POST!  If you love larger families, adoptive families, and great times then you will love this post.  You see we went to visit this family they Johnson's my mommy follows Kristi's Blog.  Their cutie pie Lucy was from the same orphanage as my brother Jonathan- are you keeping up with me here?
Anywho- this crazy family said sure your family of 10 can come stay for an entire weekend.  While we're at it lets invite several adoption friends over as well just for fun.  Hey over 20 children in the house both Saturday night and Sunday night- why not?  I mean children are a BLESSING right?
All right mommy get on with the one million pics already which only took an hour to load- not even joking......
 Here is Joshua giving his- really another picture look

See the above - yeah this is there really really fun backyard.  with a little house to play in, a zipline for kids, swing, sand box, playground, man- we should move here :)
OK so these two were inseparable all weekend.  Where you found one- you found the other.  Talk about a cute couple :)
Hey, mom look how cute Lucy and I are.....well you know especially me......
Yep, mom still me looking gorgeous.....yeah, and that is Lucy in the background.....my new friend- but shhh don't tell her.......
Yeah- so she is a real drama queen, but in a very cute sort of way......
OK Lucy you just got to post like this....and tada- cuteness....come on I have seen your mom's blog you've got the cuteness.....go with it girl.
OH yeah....who needs a pool?  Not us that is for sure.  Their driveway is wayyyy too cool.  I mean 2 spigots of water fun....loads of fun tubs to dump, refill, even sit in.  Who could ask for more?  Then you have a hose, a little ramp with a car, firemen's hat, and you have it made!  Really!!!  It was a blast and most of the weekend- this is what our kids did :)  

Well.....and this - which is also great fun :)
Well....then you just add a few more children to the mix......
Look 4 All God's Children International adoptive mommies and their cuties (oh yeah the one without her cutie yet traveled last week to go pick him up....oh yeah- big bunch of cutey pie!!)
The Johnson's Family who we stayed with that have 5 cutie pies to play with
Now these are some really fun families :)  Thanks for hanging with us!
Oh yeah, and we can't forget this awesome family- with their cutie pie Macy - hhmmmm.....what are they doing?  Who knows, but look at how cute they are doing it!  Macy's daddy has written an awesome adoption book, and we can't wait to buy a copy!!!!!!  Again, awesome heart for God's children :)
Jonathan:  So hey cutie, did you know we were in the same orphanage at Hannah's Hope in Ethiopia.
Lucy:  Ummmm....is that a line you use with everyone?  Cause I am totally unimpressed.
Jonathan- no really you are cute just let me stick this toy on your head........
Or we could put it on your arm.......
Or.....ummmm........did I mention you are cute?
Lucy- Ok my mommy doesn't let me date yet....so it is time to leave me alone please.
Jonathan- ooopppps sorry. 
Now this is more like it more pictures of MY cuteness.  I mean after all I am the youngest.  I was fought over by these to wonderful people.  And you know I am worth it.  I mean look at my eyes and tell me I am not the cutest thing ever? 
Ok folks....sit right back and let us entertain you.  You say you want to pay good money on going to the movies, or a broadway show- aw shucks don't waste the money .  We have a show that is free and much more fun.  I am talking some serious fun, and full of beautiful children.  Who needs anything else?
Now look at our crazy mommy....yep that is her being silly.......
OK yes that is her eating a rice krispie bar on the trampoline as she bounces.  That is some serious talent.  he he he he he - I mean isn't she wondeful?
And that would be Jonathan who wanted mommy to jump and bounce him around.  Hey, made him laugh :)
So as if having 12 children 10 and under isn't enough fun.  And having our guest over on Saturday....well we invited these crazy fun Jesus loving, adoptive crazy families over on Sunday night :)
The Oatsvall's  &  The Mayernick's  Who have this incredible ministry of supporting and caring for orphans.  So you can go here   147 ministry store  and get really cool gear to show how much you love orphans & feed them while you are at it!  Now the craziest part of the night is between these four families there are 26 children......and yet while talking they burst out in laughter saying- yep can't wait to see who else God has for our families.  Yep that is some serious craziness....for JESUS going on.  I mean why would we let the fact that we have larger families already stop us from adopting more?  Don't let those minor details get in the way!
So the next time you think.....well we have too many children to adopt more....yeah just look at these smiling faces and know- there are more out there that NEED HOMES, FAMILIES, and you shouldn't let small things like buying a 15 passenger van (which is what 3 of the 4 mom's drive- don't be too envious Kristi your day is coming) get in your way.  Because children are a BLESSING and a GIFT from the Lord.  That is what my mommy repeats to herself all the time :)
OK so one last picture- with the cow from of course Chick Fil A on our trip home.  I mean who doesn't want to take their pic next to the cow?  he he he he :)

So there you have it.  Meeting and staying with the Johnson's - a huge highlight of our vacation.  Meeting other adoptive families - BONUS!!!!  What a beautiful blessing to share in the experience together. God has blessed us all beyond imagination.  Thank GOD we didn't miss the journey!   Are you missing yours????