Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A picnic at the park
















































Posted by Cate and Naty:

Today Mary took us to the park.It was a blast!At first we were planning to have it in our backyard because Mary was afraid to drive the big van.Then she decided to give it a try and she did it.So you can see that we made it to the park.We ate, played and even took a picture with the sheriff. Gracie loved it and so did our niece Ava. We are blessed to have Mary this summer.
The reason we are blogging tonight because our mommy is having a sleepover at baby Mady's house.She is helping Mary Kate and Keith take care of Mady.Our mommy is the best!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Keith has totally lost it... "new baby sleep deprivation"





























Welcoming them home and as you can tell she is loved by lots of people... and poor Keith I snapped this while he was playing with Ava tonite... He is such a good daddy.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ethiopia and Eli bound....







This am Paul and some of the kids met Jenn and Jeremiah at Dulles airport. Jenn and Jeremiah had an 8 hr layover and so they went down to see them off. I was going but stayed home because Keith and Mary Kate came home with Mady. Paul took them to the Air and Science Museum by the airport and they ate at McDonalds . Then they said goodbye to them... the next time we met will be when they fly home on Sat. and they will have a 4 hr layover at Dulles and we will welcome Eli personally ! Can't wait and please pray for them and for Ella and Ezra at home.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

more pics...Ava just loved her today !







Welcome Mady- at 10:37pm



































She was born last nite at 10:37 pm- 7lbs 7oz., 20 and a half inches. Mary Kate, Keith, Ava and Mady are all doing well! She has lots of black hair and so far seems very laid back. I got home at 2:30 am after Paw Paw came to visit :) Today Ava will meet her... be prepared for picture overload :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Keith, Mary Kate, Ava and Mady....




I don't yet have a picture of Mady ( outside of mom) but Friday Mary Kate is having Mady and I will share one when I can post .... Because of Mary Kate's history of pre eclampsia they will be inducing her tomorrow am... and she is ready :) I will be with them during her birth and so should have some first pics of Mady Ruth Johnson. Please pray for Mary Kate and them as they transition into a family of 4....
We are feeling so blessed by our children.... to watch your own child give birth to new life thru a bio. birth or an adoption is a joy ! We are watching 2 of our daughter's give birth this weekend and we are praising the Lord for these precious ones.

Then there were 5....






















We are multiplying around here fast :) Jenn and Jeremiah leave on Sunday for Ethiopia to bring home their son, Eli Cade Hambrick... They have been in process since Sept. and are anxious to bring him home. He will join Ella and Ezra. They are our first children to adopt and it has been a joy to share in something that is so close to our hearts and to welcome little Eli into the family....Please pray for them as they travel and for the transition of Eli into their family.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thank you to those who left comments.....

Karla- Thank you. I love Charles Spurgeon. I have not had a chance to go yet to that site but I will. Thanks for sharing it.

Momma P R- I have not heard that about Joni and Friends.. but I would agree with her.

Hevel- It is not to me a contradiction... It is a completion but I understand where you are with this term.

Kate- I visted your blog and you live somewhat close to me. What church do you attend ?

Mary- I love your "expectant" heart- just waiting for the Lord.

Penny-We have wonderful praise and worship. It just is not enough of it.We also have been blessed by several families in our church. It is just that as a whole ( it is a large church) most don't seem to get it... and that is not just the present church we have been in... all of them.

Christie- Do you ever visit your kids that live up this way? If you do make sure we connect.

Diff. 2 this 1- We have thought the same about "helping " them to understand or change. Thanks for your encouragement about our older adopted kids. I wish more older kids were considered for adoption... we have loved them dearly ! Hope to adopt older ones again... after our 2 from Ghana who are little ones.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Heart for Adoption, Worship and Praise in Church...some ramblings

Something that I care about and seem to struggle with is well.... church and the lack of what seems to be Christians who don't "get it" when it comes to orphans and special needs children. For me it is the very breath of air that I breath each day... I have shared my heart and soul about the needs of the orphans and sometimes it seems like it just falls on deaf ears... There are so many orphans in the world and it really would not take much for Christians to help many of them if people just would open their hearts to a child. Even if you do not want to adopt yourself there are other ways to help: give to another family who is adopting, give to aid orphanages,encourage families who are adopting, celebrate an adoption the same way births are celebrated, for that matter celebrate all "births" of children into families no matter if it is the first or 5th..., life should be sacred and given the same expression of joy no matter if the child is a bio. or an adopted or from the USA or another country.....or is "normal" or has a special needs.....A church should be the place that leads people to orphans thru an orphan ministry and thru a special needs ministry.....

But instead I find often adoption is not the same as giving birth bio..... and if a special needs child is adopted or even birthed bio. the family often struggles with being in church when they have a different child....What motivated me to write this blog was another blog mom and friend who is not able to attend church because her son is just not able to sit and behave like most children and so they do not attend church....they are Christians but the fellowship of other believers is not there for them when they need it most.....

I can so relate to this as we have adopted so many children with special needs and at diff. times they have not been able to attend their regular class or worship because of their behavior or medical needs... Many times when we our children have had a surgery ( we have done 66 surgeries in 7 yrs with the new kids) Paul and I are there by ourselves at the hospital... even Luke's 17 hr leg surgery or his open heart surgery it was only Paul and I in the waiting area.... Why?..we think because we have done it so many times "they" don't bother to care enough to come or call ...It seems almost like hardly anyone would care once again about our adopted child by the behavior of these Christians in the churches we have attended.In the churches we have been in, if we did not have some connections to some strong believers whom we can call on if we need to it would feel even more lonely that it can feel as a family who is raising several special needs children.

We can not take Andrew or Gracie to church right now... we have but he is not always quiet and she gets sensory overload... actually she can go and stay with one of us now...Andrew can only thru the music part... if he does come we usually walk out when the sermon begins and walk around with him.... sometimes this has been just as ministering to me to be with him or often I will get the chance to share with someone else out in the halls of our church... neither child is able to go to a regular class.....Some churches will not allow a child to sit in a Sunday school class with the parent for any length of time and most do not offer any offerings to the special children who are in the families of people who attend.....this is such a shame to me.... Why even the regular classes, youth and services struggle for workers...

For us we alternate with two teens or Paul and I will stay by ourselves and watch them... so that some Sundays Paul and I can attend together... or we all will stay home and have Home Church...that actually right now is my first choice. We worship , read the Bible and share our hearts with each other and pray. In our last Sunday am adult class we were talking about what the temple or church was like in Jesus's day... a messianic Jewish man in the class was sharing about how it is the responsiblity of the father to teach his children his faith and about Jesus. He said that temple was for worship not teaching of children and families... that was done in the home. I grasped that idea and turned to Paul and said, " I wish I was Jewish." What I long for is a church that we can go to on Sunday am that is all about worship, people sharing what the Lord is doing in their lives and prayer... no sermons ! Sermons can be done as a teaching aspect at a diff. time but I never feel worship during the sermon... in almost all churches I have been in.... I am deeply longing for just worship... and you know what I believe my special needs children will do well in that church.... because they love music and to worship... Andrew even has raised his arms and hands during our special time of singing and praise around the campfire... it is natural and so life giving to worship the Lord.... instead of the emphasis being on a sermon or teaching... we can do that at another time... but Sunday am should be all about worshiping the Lord.....

Sorry for rambling but this has been on my heart for awhile.....I plan on researching the early church in the Bible... but my heart sings for joy and I am so encouraged when I hear someone share about something the Lord is doing in their life and so desire to be in a church that lets it's people share and be encouraged and praise the Lord thru song and music making instead of the often dry and lifeless presentations of another man's interpretation of the Bible. I am 53 yrs old and do not want to spend another Sunday unless I can praise and worship thru song, dance and the sharing of other lives . I ache for my blog friend... and wish we lived closer so that we could invite her to our "Home" church to celebrate all the Lord has done and is doing in each of our family's lives..... Amen!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Meet Malachi...Our toad




This is Malachi our friendly toad.... no kidding. You can see the brick toad house he is in during the day when you walk up to our front door. He is always out when we come home at nite on the front walk... eating his dinner of bugs. He is not afraid of any of the kids.... and actually we have lived here almost 11 yrs now with him. We had our first Malachi in Roanoke, VA . He would sit on our front deck and we could sit by him and watch him eat bugs too . We told the kids when we moved he" hopped all the way here to be with us" when we discovered Malachi one nite yrs ago here on our front walk...We think he is amazing... how about you?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day... Happy Daddy Day...
























































After dinner Daddy had a quick nap before he was given special things to make him feel special... and then it was outside all afternoon... We are loving this new pool and deck. Even though the deck is not quite done we sure enjoyed this afternoon... the kids played games using both pools like throwing a ball from one pool to another and if you drop it you loose a point... if you catch it you get the point...then it was " get Daddy" with water ball throw and water balloons. He was a great sport about it and then we ate pie and ice cream! He had a super day and we enjoyed being together all day... last nite we had a date nite at Molly's and Mike's for Fathers Day. Mike grilled and we sat outside enjoying the evening... thanks Molly and Mike it was fun.

We finished our Father's Day with dinner at McDonalds after church....







After we went to church tonite- Abraham, Rachel and Naty were singing and playing the piano with the Traditions Band- a blues band that was started years ago and our friend, Dick Livermore who is in it asked the kids after Christmas if they would perform with the band. They have performed a few times at church and one other outside function...We had eaten a late lunch-early dinner at 1:30 and then at 5pm we ate pie and ice cream sundaes. So we decided to eat out for a treat... You can tell we don't eat out often and it really makes it special ( even if it is McDonalds). That is alot of fries and we also bought 7 happy meals, 10 double cheeseburgers and 2 Big Macs. We did not have Ben, Joseph or Andrew with us... they were visiting with Mary Kate and Keith.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

He is starting to "escape"











Andrew is starting to want to be "free" of his jolly jumper or any other toys. He wants to go, go go...Here he discovered our back door and he loved throwing it open and catching the door...He is changing so quickly now and it is very exciting to watch him.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Gracie wanted "more" prayer time with Mya :)

video

Tonite Mya "settled" Gracie... part of the routine is to pray with her. When Mya came down she was so excited to share that Gracie wanted to pray more with her. So I asked Mya to tell me again :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Making peanut butter.... yummy !
















The kids made peanut butter with Mary... they all loved it. Then they made peanut butter fudge for our dessert- yummy! Even Abraham got into making the peanut butter :)