Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

Here are a couple of the images that our dear friend, Jenny Savage was able to get this last Sunday. It is NO SMALL thing to get eight little faces to look forward! She did a great job. We usually opt to have our picture taken outside as it yields great light and better contrast, but it is awfully cold outside and I imagined weeping and gnashing of teeth to accomplish that small miracle. So, to keep the littles somewhat happy, we stayed inside.

I hope to settle down and upload some more images and do a better update when I have time, but things lately have been pretty busy.

Until then, have a blessed time spent with family and friends remembering why we rejoice -
It's all about our Lord and Saviour ... Jesus Christ.
He came to die that we may live.

Merry Christmas
Phillip, Charrissa, Isaac, Gabriel, Ethan, Max, Elisabeth, Ivanna, Chloe, Justus and soon to debut: Christian Lee

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Grateful Hands

Every year we make hand wreaths. Each child traces their hands on different autumn colored paper and then we make a wreath out of it and hang it on the back door. This year I thought why not expound on that idea. So each scissor abled child traced and cut MANY hands on different paper. They not only made wreaths but they also had loose hands that we scattered on the windows ... sort of like Autumn leaves falling to the ground. Oh ... the best part ... on each hand every child wrote something he or she is grateful for. We call it "Grateful Hands". It is an extremely fun project and made for wonderful conversation and some giggles along the way.

I love Fall. I love the look, the smells, and just the overall coziness.

We love decorating around here for Autumn just as much as we love decorating for Christmas!

Kidlets gathered around the table after school.

Tracing and cutting. Now ... you could make this a more efficient and faster process if you traced/cut out one hand for a template and then layered paper under and cut out many hands. But ... I not only enjoyed their conversation as they worked ... but some much needed Mommy Tea time and a break while the process took place ... ;)

Gabriel hard at work. He is a PERFECTIONIST. Hmmmm ... wonder where he gets that?

Ellie girl.

Some hands on the window as Isaac worked on his.

Our dining area becoming a Fall Haven.

Some wreaths and hands up. On the wreaths I have the children write their names, the date and their age. I try and save every wreath. It is a sweet keepsake that chronicles their hand size.

More wreaths.

Gotta be thankful for food. ;)

And of course ... the Christmas season. Actually there were some very well thought out things the children declared gratitude over ... family, salvation, church, the bible, food, Christmas, The Lord ... and the all important ... pretzel. (that was Chloe's sentiment)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Grandpa's Hat

In clearing my Dad's stuff out of his house and packing it up, we ran across several of his cowboy hats. Gabriel found this one in the garage the other day and put it on. He hardly ever takes it off now and prances around with it all day, literally - almost unaware he even has it on. He loves the thing. It's a tender reminder to me of two things. Of course, my Dad ... but also of my Gabe's heart. I'm sure it is that much more special to him because this hat is no ordinary hat. It is the hat of his grandfather ... fisherman extraordinaire, outdoors man to the hilt and owner of pretty cool hats. I think this picture would bring a smile to my Dad's face.

(and yes, Gabriel just recently got braces ... such a big boy)

I know this is blurry. I just like how it shows the love between Gabe and his sister, Ivanna. He really is a tender boy and has a heart for each of his siblings. He is always right there to try and help or play with a little. Look at Ivanna's face - she loves the attention.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Big Brother

Monday, August 8, 2011

Woz, the Ladybug

Meet Woz

Woz (pronounced 'Rose' - for those confused) is a new found pet. Ellie, our five year old, came in with Woz the other day and declared her a pet! What do five year olds do with tiny bean sized pets? Put them in a Ziploc baggie of course! She then found a pen and wrote (phonetically) Woz's name.

I laughed hysterically.

I never figured that to her, when people say 'Rose' - it sounds like 'Woz'. How cute she is.

The name Rose, will never be the same to me...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Random Browning ... ness

I will apologize right from the start for all the pics. I admittedly got a bit carried away in this post.But, who can blame me when there is so much cuteness to behold?

Like this.

Or this.

This T-Shirt was from Uncle Lucas and Aunt Jessica. It says:

"Nothing Tips Like A Cow"

... or how about a cute little girl ...

This pic below is of two eagles soaring above our house.

Eagles are beautiful and in recent years, are becoming quite common around our home.

These pics below are of a recent project Ellie and Ethan did. "Snow"globes. Actually we took old chess pieces (civil war) and super glued them to the insides of canning jar lids. Then we filled the canning jars with glitter and water. Once the chess pieces are adhered, then you can tip them over, screw them on jar and super glue the lid on and viola - a pretty fun project.

Just don't be like me and super glue your own fingers together.

The day my Dad passed away, I decided to go for a walk down to the beach which is just down from the hill from our house. I took my camera to have pics of the day - I don't know why, just wanted to. Glad I did.

The ferry was coming in.

The sun was setting.

Then my husband found me and decided to try and make me laugh. He succeeded.

I am glad I got these images. It was as if God was just using His creation to help calm. Plus, my Dad always loved being outside, and when he was upset - he would often go for a walk to help calm him. It just seemed to be the right platform to reflect upon and remember him.

Yes, beautiful. The ferry passes right through as the sun sets.

And what is being down on the beach without throwing around big rocks?

Boys may grow into men, but somehow that little boy spirit remains.

... and it's perfect in times like these ...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Difficult Goodbye

There are times when silence is required. There are times when you try to vocalize those thoughts within and the feelings pulsing through you - only to fall short. The last few weeks I have tried to post - only to delete or sequester the post to "drafts". I praise God for allowing those times of quiet, so I could listen to His still, small voice. The Great Comforter - comforted. If you have wondered why there has not been much activity on this or our adoption blog, it is because those things become less priority when in the midst of difficulty. After all, it is only a blog. However, I do feel that I need to express what has happened as of late, and not simply ignore it - and in so doing express my deepest desire to come from it all.

The above picture is one of my Grandmother, and Grandfather Bender and their daughter and son (my father - Bruce). June 11th, a few short weeks ago, my Dad passed from this life to eternity. If that were the end of the story, that would be difficult enough, but it isn't.

Unfortunately, my father decided to take his own life - and died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

To answer what you might be wondering: no note was left. No good-bye. No voice message.

I am his only child, and Dad was not married at the time - although he had been married twice before.

Death is difficult - and suicide is very painful for those left behind. There are so many unanswered questions. There are so many "what - ifs" and grappling with remorse, guilt, a deep mourning, and yes ... a little anger at times.

But at the heart of it all, I miss him - I miss my Dad. I still have a hard time digesting it all.

Dad and I didn't always have the best of relationships. Much played a part in that. Divorce of both my parents at a young age didn't help and add to that different stresses that life can afford in general, made it hard at times.

That doesn't change this: he is my father. I love him so very much. I miss him and am so saddened that he is gone. That he felt that this life wasn't worth living anymore, it hurts so deeply.

We all have times where we have a fleeting thought of someone, thinking we need to stop by and visit them, or give them a call - only to get caught up in our day and forget. I can't tell you how often that happened to me with regards to my Dad. To my shame. There were many times that he was laid on my heart, and I got caught up in my busyness.

Many have offered that it isn't my fault. Nothing I could have done would have changed the outcome. Perhaps.

Trust me, I am not the type to dwell there. However, I do need to take account for what I know is truth, and that is HARD. Yet, it is required. The truth is I could have done a much better job of keeping the communication up. I can't stress enough how important it is. When someone crosses your thoughts or heart - it is for a reason.

This is my regret, don't let it be yours.

The other side of this - is that I can't speak to my father's death without recognizing that I so wish he could have experienced the peace that Christ can offer. The way he died is so hard because you know that he must of been in some inner agony and turmoil. I so wish he could have been freed from that.

I don't know the heart of man. I can't judge that - even though I have tried and tried to grab ahold of that surrounding my father's death - I have tried so desperately to sleuth out any evidence of faith that he may have had, only to be reminded that I am not God - only He knows the heart of man.

The heart of man. How is your heart?

Eternity exists. Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not. It is important to know where you will reside once this life here on Earth is finished, and you CAN know. It's not a shot in the dark. It's real.


Romans 10:13 "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
- Call out to God in the name of Jesus!

Romans 10:9,10 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
- If you know that God is knocking on your heart's door, ask Him to come into your heart. You can know for sure that your home is in Heaven when you die.

Having a relationship with Christ is just that. Salvation is not a church membership, or by baptism - although these things are good and should be studied out once you ask Christ into your heart.

Salvation is a free gift. It is simple and doesn't require elegant speech or specific words to say. It requires you to confess Christ with your lips and believe He died and rose again from within your heart.

That is why I feel compelled to be transparent and tell you not only that my father passed, but how he passed. Again, I don't know the heart of man. No one can. It is not for me to judge. However, I can say that God can get glory, even from this. Don't misunderstand. My Lord is more grieved than I at my father's passing. I know that. Yet I also know that God can get glory even through difficult and tragic situations.

There is a world of people before us. Hurting. In deep turmoil. In agony of spirit. Only wanting others to reach out to them. Are we about our own busyness, our own life and doings - or are we about sharing our hope that resides within?

Do we take the time to reach out to family, and friends?

It saddens me at length to know that it has taken this as a stark reminder.

Eccl. 7:2 "It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart."

This is tragic. This is hard. I hate that this has happened. That I have had to share with my older boys how Grandpa died. Yet, I KNOW that in even this - there is a lesson. Yes, a hard and horrible lesson . "... and the living will lay it to his heart."

I have laid it to my heart. I pray I will not forget. Souls are important. Relationships matter and have been placed before me for a reason. May I not be neglectful in them.

~~ I love you Dad ~~

This picture was taken not even two years ago. One month before my Grandmother passed. Dad is holding Justus - then just three months old. Dad was a good man, and loved his grandchildren very much.

Apart of me wishes I could go back for a moment in time. To be privy to what was about to occur, and somehow prevent it. To keep it from happening. I cannot. I cannot erase what has been - I can only go forward and glean what I can.

Thank you for your prayer.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Crazy Chloe

I love this crazy three year old.

(Isaac, my twelve year old took these pics unknown to me - what a fun surprise to get)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Wait for it ...

Just hanging out ...

No big deal.
Oh wait. That's Mom.

I know she holds me if I cry ... so here it goes.

Gotta make sure she is looking.

Going ... going ...