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... could help to feed one orphan for a month in Ethiopia. Coffee, anyone?


Baby, It's Cold Outside

So, why not warm up with some creamy, cheesey, potato-ey soup?! This is one of Don's favorite recipes, and it's a great winter meal. I usually serve it with beer bread or some other hearty carbohydrate. It makes a big batch, so if your family is small you may want to cut it in half. Enjoy!

Potato Soup

  • 8 medium potatoes- peeled/diced
  • 1 carrot- shredded
  • ½ tbs. minced onion
  • 6 cups water
  • Can of cream of chicken soup
  • 8 tbsp butter
  • 8 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 3 cups milk
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
  • Cook potatoes and carrot in 6 cups water until tender
  • In a saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt together butter, flour, salt, pepper, and milk, stirring/whisking continually (it helps if you add a little bit at a time instead of everything together at once)
  • Whip/Beat together cream cheese and soup
  • Add the cream cheese/soup mix and the flour/butter/milk mix to the potatoes
  • Stir and keep over medium/low heat until fully combined
  • Garnish with cheese, bacon, and green onion


A Bit of Encouragement

I have to apologize for the decidely somber tone this blog has taken on in the past weeks. It has felt like the fire has been turned up a few notches again, and many days feel like a battle to keep believing and to keep trusting.

I admit that I've been tempted to try to find some kind of "distraction", something to keep my mind occupied and busy as we continue to wait (redecorate a room, start a new hobby, sign up for a 25k- not that these things are bad, but my desire to find relief in them is bad- who knows, I might end up doing all of these things in the next months- with a better motive).

I had to give myself a stern talking to the other night as I was making dinner and remind myself that if I'm not satisfied now, I'm never going to be satisfied, and that the answer to my "problems" is not going to be found in a hobby or even in a child (as wonderful as that is going to be).

The answer is to drive more deeply into Christ and to find comfort and satisfaction in his love.

So, on that note, I want to turn this somber tone around...

I hope you find as much ENCOURAGEMENT in this quote as I did:

“If you knew that there was one greater than yourself, who knows you better than you can know yourself and loves you better than you can love yourself, who can make you all you ought to be, steadier than your squally nature, able to save you from squandering your glorious life, who searches you beyond the standards of earth . . . one who gathered into himself all great and good things and causes, blending in his beauty all the enduring color of life, who could turn your dreams into visions and make real the things you hoped were true, and if that one had ever done one unmistakable thing to prove, even at the price of blood — his own blood — that you could come to him, and having failed, come again, would you not fall at his feet with the treasure of your years, your powers, service and love? And is there not one such, and does he not call you?”

A. E. Whitham


4 Months

Today marks 4 months waiting.

Trusting in "...him who works all things according to the counsel of his will" (Ephesians 1:11)


Childbirth in Ethiopia

Follow the link to watch a video about childbirth in Ethiopia.  This story aired on the Today Show on Wednesday, December 29th, 2010.



A New Year's Tradition

Every year over New Years, Don and I go to the city, get a hotel on Priceline, eat at our favorite restaurants, and take time to talk through the previous year and set goals for the coming year. It's one of my favorite traditions!

Our goals are more just things that we want to pray about and ask God for in the coming year. If you are married, I highly recommend doing something like this! It's so good to take time to talk through different areas of our lives, pray together about these areas, and set goals for the future. Time just goes so fast, and if we're not intentional, we find that we don't end up doing the things we want to do or making the progress we want to make.

We have specified four major areas that we talk through and set goals/prayers for. Our areas are: family/marriage, ministry, finances, and personal (meaning personal goals/prayers for each of us individually). We write these things out in a notebook (used only for this purpose) and try to pray through them together at the end of each month (we pray about them more frequently than that, but once a month, we go through the whole thing together). This is a great way for us to stay accountable and to see the ways that God has answered our prayers over the months and even years.

This year, I couldn't take any pictures because our camera is broken once again. If I could have taken a picture, it would have been of us outside of Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinders, bundled up and waiting for close to an hour to be seated at 3 in the afternoon. This place is ALWAYS busy, but it's totally worth the wait. The food is amazing, and so far we haven't found any place that comes close out in the suburbs. 

Luckily, I did find one of us from a few years back. We're a little younger, and it's obviously not winter, but you get the idea...


Another "No News" Update

Well, there hasn't been much news on the adoption front in the past months. It appears as if we're still "unofficially" 17th on the list- the same place we were in October. Bummer. 

However, on a positive note, many of the families ahead of us in the process are getting through court and are receiving embassy dates, which means that they will be bringing their babies home soon! 

On another positive note, a family from our agency that recently traveled to Ethiopia reported that there are "lots" of babies in the transition home right now. Many of these babies haven't been referred to families yet because either they do not have all of the necessary paperwork or they are not healthy enough right now. The babies are receiving really good care from the doctors, nurses, and staff at the transition home, so as soon as they are healthy (relatively speaking) and/or as soon as the documents are obtained, they will become available. I heard about a baby that arrived in the transition home in October, but wasn't referred to a family until December, so it's possible that our baby could even be there now... though I'm not getting my hopes up on that one. 

What I have learned through all of this is that there is no "normal"- we really can't count on anything in terms of time frames. We're still hoping to receive our referral within the original 4-6 month window we were given, but we're also anticipating and trying to prepare ourselves that it could be longer than that. 

And it's hard to wait. Really hard. It feels like we've been in a perpetual state of waiting for the past four years, and sometimes it feels like there's no end in sight. I honestly sometimes wonder if the pain and the longing and the tears and the crying out to God are ever going to end... they've been a constant companion for so long, I almost can't imagine what it's like to not feel this way- to not be waiting anymore, to not have to bear up under the sorrow and disappointment, to not experience moments of acute, gut-wrenching, take-your-breath-away pain. 

And I know we aren't the only ones who experience these things... lots of people wait, wait for spouses, wait for healing, wait for employment, etc. and none of it is easy- especially when you can't see the end in sight and you wonder if there ever is going to be an "end". I'm not trying to evoke pity or sympathy, this is just reality for us (and so many others- we are keenly aware of the fact that there are others suffering under the weight of burdens far heavier than ours). 

So, with all that said, here are three things I'm trying to take away from all of this...

One, we don't deserve anything from God. We are his creatures and we exist for him. He doesn't owe us anything. But in giving us Jesus, he has given us above and beyond what we deserve, not to mention all of the other earthly blessings we enjoy that we don't deserve. Despite the pain and sorrow, we are still overwhelmed by the mercy and grace of God in our lives... 

Two, the pain is a reminder that we live under the curse. This world is not our home. Let the pain be a catalyst to stir and intensify our longings for the day when Christ will return and take us to heaven where there will be no more sorrow or tears.  

Three, we have the precious promises of God to look to when we don't see the  end in sight. We know that "no good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly." We know that our suffering is not in vain; the bible tells us that we can even "rejoice in our sufferings, because suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character and character produces hope and hope does not disappoint us because God's love has been poured in our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us." 

And we know that God is not absent in our trials... He sees us and he loves us. And that is enough.