Welcome to SneAdventure!

Jesus said, "I have come so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of." (John 10:10)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Savanna girl!

the princess and her royal subjects...aka brothers...
her new dollhouse (goodwill, $10...sorry, I'm just so proud of myself...)

the flower ceremony - each of her "men" gave her a pink carnation and told her
why they loved her...

Silas - a sweet speech about how glad he is that she is in our family, and he loves her for enjoying things they like to do (ie, she's not TOO girly)

Josiah - loves her b/c she is kind and pretty

Samuel - got a little too shy to speak, but LOVES to play with Savanna

After 8 years of Thomas the Train, Bob the Builder, Legos and Star Wars parties, the Snead family enjoyed its first "Princess" Birthday today for our very own princess, Savanna Komera Snead. Though we've only known her for 10 months, Savanna turned 4 years old today, and we hope that she was made to feel "one of a kind" special and loved! She recently asked me where her baby pictures were while looking at her brothers' baby albums. It was very sad to tell her that we don't have any photos of her before the age of 3. But I determined then to try to make her feel just as special and loved as her older two brothers whom we've had since birth. So today I'm sharing with you all a slide show that gives you glimpses of her first year with us. The first 4 photos or so were taken before we ever met her....you'll be able to see the progression of her smile in the photos that follow. Many of the photos show a head with no hair, as hers was pulled out by jealous girls in the orphanage upon hearing that Savanna was being placed in a family....you'll be able to see the progression of her beautiful locks in the photos that follow. You'll also see many "firsts" for Savanna - first dance with daddy, first swim in the ocean, first summer in a swimming pool, first Easter, first Halloween, ...and you'll be able to see the progression of her love for us and our love for her.

Happy birthday, "baby girl". You are loved beyond belief...and YOU BELONG!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cardboard Testimonies from Long Hollow Baptist Church

Check out this video from our services last weekend at Long Hollow Baptist Church...half are members of Long Hollow (and the testimonies are really their own!), and half are from kids at the orphanage our church started in Jeremie, Haiti. God is good!

Compelled: Cardboard Testimonies from Long Hollow Creative on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

"Charm is deceptive and beauty is vain; but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised." Proverbs 31

Oh God, though I fail at so many other areas of life in word and deed, let me succeed at this one, and instilling it in this precious (however strong-willed!) little princess! For ultimately she is yours - YOUR workmanship, created in YOUR image to be YOUR daughter and accomplish the things YOU have created her to do... don't let me or my silly little plans or my preconceived ideas, or my multiple moments of daily insanity get in your way!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tired...but blessed

I know, I know. Its been a LONG time since I've written any gut-wrenching, motivating, personal blog entry. I've got 3 words for you....


Tired from...

homeschooling, cooking, cleaning (okay, so I haven't been doing that one), trying to get highlighter drawings off of my bed sheets (no, I did not draw them myself, or I would have chosen a lighter color than florescent orange), attempting to teach one of our kids to count in English...to ONE...unsuccessfully, almost lighting the kitchen table on fire after teaching about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego,

taking 3 kids to baseball practices and games where I try to shout to Samuel where his "knees" are (cause the coach is wondering why he's not bending them while at bat), cleaning candle wax out of Savanna's hair (if you know her, you don't have to ask), making sure to pour the right kind of milk for each child (one needs extra calories, one does not, one needs lactose free, and one gets whatever is leftover at that point),

realizing that the temporary still and quiet moment I am experiencing is only because Savanna has found my makeup again and is pouring the base all into the bag, trying to explain to her the reason I can TELL she had my makeup is because she has put it on her face, and we have slightly different skin colors...., searching for shoes - not even matching, just any 2 shoes that will fit the child making us late b/c he can't find any, taking ibuprofen, cleaning out Goodwill, smiling at the employees of Publix who now greet us all by name, wondering why they know our names?...

enjoying visits from family and friends, learning 3-4 new songs each week for kids' worship at church, scheduling and enduring doctors and dentists appointments for 5 (sorry Art, you're on your own), collecting more stool samples from Samuel (or as we call it around here, "pooping in the hat"), tending to Josiah's continuous tube-feeds during the night and calculating how many calories he has taken in during the day, taking a little more ibuprofen,

Drinking more caffeine than I should, yelling more than I'd like, laughing a lot, crying occasionally, sleeping really hard when I can, clinging helplessly to power and wisdom from the Holy Spirit (when I remember to call upon God cause I can't do this in my own strength)...



Saturday, September 11, 2010

BUILDING THE BLOCKS...: While we wait...

A neat post I came across this week - something to think about! Also want to shout out a LOUD congrats to our cousins Curt and Lanaea who have just become adoptive parents to a precious baby girl! One less "fatherless" child in America! Praise God!

BUILDING THE BLOCKS...: While we wait...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Why, God?

"Sometimes I would like to ask God why he allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world when he could do something about it...but I'm afriad he might ask me the same question" - Anonymous

This is the incredible quote on the back of a great T-shirt you can order to help support another new friend's adoption! Please visit www.livingtolove.com and check out their journey, their t-shirts (kids sizes too!) and be a part of changing the world, one life at a time by participating in their fundraising and keeping them in their prayers. (They already have one adorable son from Tawain, and are in the starting stages of adopting sibling group from Ethiopia!)

God bless you and yours today!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Adoption is one of greatest things we can be apart of, whether bringing a child into our own home, or helping someone else do it through prayer, financial contributions or just practical service to the family.
Not only is it a scriptural mandate for believers, its an amazing way to change a life FOREVER.

Many of you have supported us through prayer and encouraging words over the last year and a half as we journeyed through miles of paperwork, homestudies, approvals and finally across the ocean to bring home Samuel and Savanna. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

And now I'd like to ask you to help a friend do the same! A precious little 10 month old girl in Ethiopia is waiting for her newly adopted parents to come back and pick her up! (They have already been once for the court ruling - and had to leave Lucy behind, as the new laws in Ethiopia require parents to travel there a second time to pick up the child). While they will relish your prayers, they would also appreciate your financial contributions (still need around $3600 for the trip back to Africa to pick up Lucy). Please go to their blog where you can actually make a contribution right away - no matter how small, every dollar counts! As Jennifer states in her blog post, if 360 people gave $10, it would be done!

Many Blessings!

The Sneads

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Happy Birthday, sweet Samuelli!

Fittingly, today's post will be all about Samuel (or "Samuelli" as he calls himself, and was called in Rwanda). I could tell a lot of funny stories, (like how he loves dancing naked), brag on his athleticism (like how he does perfect cartwheels with no prior training, and dribbles a basketball quite well, again with no prior training) or try to describe his fabulous laugh that lights a room, but instead, I've decided to give you some "one-word" descriptions of our precious gift from God, Samuel Irambona Snead. ("Irambona", by the way, is a word meaning "God sees me" - which fits him quite well. He is still overcoming fears of the dark and being left alone, and we can't wait until He finally meets the one whose eyes have been on him his whole life and been His Father even while his earthly father was not yet in his life...)
















And now some highlights from his happy day:

Samuel, Savanna, mommy and the cake (not the leaning tower of pisa, but the "yellow hat" from Curious George...)

Blowing out my candles and laughing hysterically when everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to me
shooting on his new goal!
sliding backwards with Josiah at Monkey Joes (we call Samuel and Josiah "the twins"...for obvious reasons....they look so much alike...)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy Fourth of July!

S & S's first July 4th! They're not technically U.S. citizens yet, but sure had a great time celebrating and watching the fireworks!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Going crazy. Wanna come?

Thought I'd send out a transcript of a comical, yet quite typical, car conversation that ocurred in the Snead van yesterday. I accidentally got on the freeway instead of the road right next to it which leads to our subdivision (don't ask....distracted and still getting used to a new city...) and somehow Samuel noticed....

Samuel: Mama, where goin'?
Me: Crazy!
Samuel: I wan' go!!!
Me: okay, Samuel, come on!
Savanna: Mama, where crazy?
Me: Anywhere we all are, sweetie.
Savanna: Oh. Okay.

And as if that conversation had made complete sense to them, they contentedly went right back to singing their rendition of "Days of Elijah" (which features their favorite lyric, "There no Gah like JehoBa"....)

So glad God has a sense of humor. Otherwise, taking a wrong turn would not have been so much fun!


Saturday, June 26, 2010


"Put on my baby soup?".....no, this is not a type of stew Savanna is suggesting, but rather what she calls her "bathing suit"! The kids have so many funny pronunciations of things, that some of them have just stuck, and we find ourselves all 6 using these "Savanna and Samuel - isms" - just for fun!

Another great one is "I beeya beeya beeya ..." for "I'll be right back"....Evidently, when we first got the kids, if we ever left a room temporarily we would be careful to say "I'll be RIGHT BACK". Because one day, Savanna was about to exit a room, but she stopped, looked at us meaningfully, and said "I beeya beeya beeya ..."....

"Si-lay" has turned into a new nick name for Silas because it was how Samuel and Savanna pronounced it for so long... He even calls himself that a lot now...

"moto car" - not many Americans call their vehicles this, but again, when S & S used it over and over (and sang it over and over every time we got in the van), it just stuck...

"Mama, I wan' play train-guh!" = seems like it'd be easier for him to say "train", but he just can't stop adding the "guh" at the end...so of course, Josiah has adopted the new pronunciation!....

some others include:

"Wallow" ("water")

"sitee" (sit)

"sockies" (socks - which by the way, I can't seem to pry off of Samuel. Everyday he comes down the stairs dressed in socks and tennis shoes, and everyday I send him back up to put on sandals telling him its too hot for "sockies"....To which he usually replies "Samuel no ot!" b/c he also has trouble with h's at the start of words - just ask Mrs. "Ah-ddy")

"book-ah" (again, Samuel always has to add an extra syllable!)

"Sho-siah" (Josiah)

"Music no too loud!" - Please turn up the music!

Words they have NO trouble pronouncing include: TV, cool aid, and Bible Study...go figure?

Hope you enjoyed a taste of our little "isms" .... we've had a lot of fun (along with many challenges) listening to their English come along, and are very amazed at how far they've come. But I must say I'll be sad when Savanna stops asking to put on her "baby soup"....its just so sweet and so "Savanna"....
This is Savanna with her newest cousin "baby Finn" (whose parents, Doug and Julie, she renamed "Papa Finn" and "Mama Finn")...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Samuel and Savanna's first views of the ocean!

Yesterday evening we arrived at Orange Beach in AL and our two newest children experienced the ocean for the first time....and loved it! But on top of that, our second oldest, Josiah has been to the beach a few times, but never been allowed to go in the water due to his trach (waves are too unpredictable and the water would've gone straight into his lungs!). So it was a cool experience for Art and I to have and watch them have! We were only able to enjoy the beach last night and today, though, as the oil has finally made its way to the shore now, and we'll most likely be staying away from the beach and hanging out at the pool.
But we're here with a large number of extended family and having a ball! (As my Aunt Linda pointed out today, S & S are probably thinking, "wow, we've moved in with some crazy people, and now they've brought us here to meet a whole bunch of other crazy people!").....
Savanna is completely captivated by her newest cousin, "Finn", constantly asking, "Where baby Finn?...".....Samuel is in love with the pool and cousin Doug's "claw" routine....... Josiah is enjoying getting some loving attention from his Sipes cousins.....Silas is enjoying his "twin" cousin (they are 3 months apart) ..... And tomorrow they will meet about 60 more cousins they've never met at the Headrick family reunion in Pensacola!
Made contact with a neat African Adoption Fellowship Group here in Nashville that meets once a month and can't wait to get to know them soon! (and hopefully get some help with Savanna's hair once it finally grows long enough to braid!!!)
Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

We are here!

Like the "Who's" in Who-ville (Dr. Seuss), we feel like shouting "WE ARE HERE!"
Still have many boxes to unpack and "junk" to sort, but have been enjoying the warmth of the climate and the people here in Nashville, TN for one week now! The kids have been swimming in the neighborhood pool everyday, attending VBS at a local church (Longhollow), and hanging out with their Uncle Jonathon and cousin Samantha who came for a few days to visit!
The first couple of days at the pool, I thought I would never be able to take all four of them by myself (Samuel and Savanna's fearlessness + their complete inability to swim = disaster!!!). But now after 5 or 6 days, they are both swimming underwater and having a ball! It's been amazing to watch them - especially Savanna who apparantly is a little "water bug"!
We certainly miss all of our friends and "family" in the Southwest, but Josiah has not worn oxygen ONCE since leaving the Sangre de Cristo mountains which were our home for the last 3 1/2 years, so we know the decision to move was definitely the RIGHT one. Silas came home from VBS the first day saying "I've met my new best friend", and they have all been calling the church we have visited here once "our new church".....all in all, everyone is doing well. Art is adjusting to work here, although putting in some long hours to catch up from the move and anticipating a little vacation we're taking this weekend to the beach with my side of the family.
Unfortunately we don't have internet hooked up yet so I'm writing this from Chick-fil-a while the kids are going wild....I'll try to post some new photos of my "swimmers" this weekend from the beach!.... thanks for checking in and thanks most of all for your prayers during this time of transition for us!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Really LONG road trip!

We have not dropped off the face of the earth.... just dropped off the face of the computer for a few days! (little time or access to on-line). But we're having many fun adventures along the way to Nashville, TN, where Art and Silas are waiting for us (and the moving truck) at our new home! (The truck will not arrive with our things until Tuesday, so the 3 younger kids, myself and my mom made a detour to my hometown of Auburn, AL for a few days).

I'll try to post some photos later, but we've made stops at Cadillac Ranch, many McDonald's playgrounds, Holiday Inn Expresses, and a water park to name a few. We have currently taken over a friend's home in Auburn until Monday afternoon when we'll re-load the car and head for Nashville.

Please pray for Savanna, who has had a cold and is having a rough few days of crying, clinging and overall frustration..... Everyone else is holding up, and we'll keep you posted as we can!

Friday, May 14, 2010

...with child-like faith...

Don't mean to focus on solely on Savanna lately, but since much of my emotional and physical energy is spent on her (these days, all I have to do is look at her sternly and she says "no touch, Savanna?"), makes since that she takes up a lot of our blog, too! So here's a funny Savanna story that might also make you think...

We were driving to the grocery store (the closest one is over 10 miles away....once again, I'm looking forward to Nashville!). Anyway, it began to rain and then suddenly turn to hail. Savanna and Samuel were both in the middle seats with their hands over their ears saying "too loud, too loud!". I informed them that while I could do a great many things, changing the weather was not one of them. It stopped just as quickly as it had started, and evidently Savanna had begun to enjoy it, because she said, "Mama, again! Again!", while pointing to the windshield.

I replied, "Savanna, I can't control the rain. You'll have to ask God about that one." She quickly responded by looking up at the ceiling of the van and saying very matter-of-factly, "God! Again!"

I could not control the laughter! But it did make me think of all the times I've tried to manipulate the outcomes I've wanted instead of asking the one who is actually in control of all things....
"I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure." (Luke 10:21)

A photo from this morning with our dear friends, the Morris children (on their trampoline which we frequent!), or as Savanna and Samuel say, "Mrs. Oddy!" (can't say 'H's or 'L's yet for some reason)...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Savanna, we've come a long way, baby!

Last night was our end of they year interns banquet for Glorieta Camps and Conference Center, so while all the adults were in one room for the banquet, all of our kids were being watched by volunteers in an adjacent room, watching movies, eating pizza, etc. I had stayed home with Samuel who was recovering from a couple of days of very high fever (thankfully, the ER confirmed that is was not malaria the night before). Around 7:45pm I went to pick up Savanna since she and Samuel go to bed at 8-ish, and when I got there, she had evidently just tripped and fallen (very common occurence for her as she is a "size bigger" than her age/brain!) Anyway, she was only mildly wimpering in someone's arms until I came into view, then she bursted into uncontrollable tears....exactly the kind you WANT to see from an adopted older child....the kind that says, "I can let it all out now, my mommy's here!"....

I held her tight all the way home, enjoying her clinging to me and feeling completely free to be comforted by me. Then, she performed the "clenching" act of the evening. With her head laid on my chest, arms around my neck, and crying slowly fading, she said "I want mama".... (She wasn't implying she wanted someone else, but rather that this was where she wanted to stay).

It was an incredible experience that I will never forget. She's been affectionate to me plenty over the last 3 months, wants to be held all the time, gives great hugs, etc. But this was a defining moment - Mine were the only arms that brought her the kind of comfort she desparately craved. When I shared this with Art later that evening, he said, "yall have come a long way since week 1!"....For those of you new to our blog, week one in Africa consisted of her being in Art's arms, bawling when I had to take her from him, begging strangers to take her from me, laughing hysterically for Art, but then noticing me watching and becoming totally stone-faced again. Now at the time, I knew all this would change, we had read plenty of stories to know this would likely happen to one of the parents. We overcame that chasm thanks to 5 packs of fruit snacks (Cristy - I'm FOREVER in your debt!).....but love and perseverance has helped us overcome the gulf......

On that note, I'll leave you with a minute or 2 of video footage of the first Snead Family baseball extravaganza, where Savanna is featured....

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day...let's try again tomorrow!

I was all geared up yesterday for the glorious post I wrould write on this one day of the year that honors the contributions and superpowers of me, the mom. Now, I'm glad I read J.B.'s post first so that I'm not alone in thinking I'd really rather try this again another day. This one has gone down the tubes. But I still wouldn't trade being a mother to these four precious children...

One of which now has scabs and sores forming around his ears where his oxygen tubing is rubbing him....(Hence, the attractive "cotton dressings" sticking up over his ears in the photo...) We can't get to Nashville soon enough!

The other middle child, Samuel, has a fever of over 103 - not sure any of my kids have ever had a fever that high.

The response of Savanna, the 3 year old little sis, "Savanna hurt. Savanna medicine.".... The response of Josiah, the 5 year old brother who's issues of his own seem to have made him apathetic, not sympathetic, "hmmmm..... I'm going to play trains.".

Then, there's the unprompted response of Silas, the oldest brother who immediately went and drew a get-well card for Samuel (even writing the "kenyirwandan" phrase for "I love you" on it), who then proceeded to tape pom poms on his face, put on a costume and juggle underwear to try to entertain Samuel (...who fell asleep during the "exhibit"). "A" for effort Silas....you might have just saved Mother's Day!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Has it really been three months?

As I write this post, my 5 boys (this number includes the daddy and the canine) are in the den watching the season finale of Clone Wars. Savanna has drifted off to sleep and I am putting off the 1000 other things I should be doing right now. (Why ruin a peaceful moment with responsibility?...)

I just spent the last 20 minutes reading the posts we made while in Africa. It brought tears to my eyes, and actually made me a little uneasy as I was reminded how absolutely hard and tiring those 2 weeks were. Meeting your new children for the first time is quite amazing, but the whole process probably sounds more romantic than it actually was - we were tired, hot, unsure of ourselves as we dealt with completely out of the ordinary child-rearing/caring issues, doubting the wisdom of getting 2 preschoolers at once, and stressed out over various paperwork issues that inevitably come up no matter how detailed you are.

But here we are, a family, enjoying things we never dreamed imaginable that first week! (A good reminder that God can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine!). We have good days and bad days - but who doesn't? There are days I bask in the wonder and joy of being a mother, and days (like yesterday) I'd rather be laying on the beach with a good book! Days I make great parenting decisions and display amazing patience, and days I think my actions or words have screwed my kids up for life!

At then end of the day, you just have to look at the bigger picture - not where you are, but how far you've come, not who you are, but who God can help you become, and not how you'll do, but how much you will trust God to do in spite of you! At least, that's the perspective I'm trying to have these days.....


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Blog Facelift!

As you can see, I've finally gotten around to giving our blog a "facelift" - hopefully it is a bit easier to read and navigate these days! Speaking of faces, I wanted to share a photo from our trip to Africa that includes 11 of the 12 children who were adopted on our trip by 9 families from the USA. The precious lady in the center is the POA for those of us who adopt through AWAA, and she does an amazing job when families are in country, getting them around, providing them with touching and special detailes of their child's life, and introducing them to Rwandan culture. (She does quite a bit of paperwork before the families ever get to the country as well!) I mainly wanted to show this for the benefit of those who follow our family blog but may not be in the process of adopting. There are many parents prayerfully WAITING for an email that basically says "here is a photo of your new child, and here is when you can come and pick them up!" I'd like to ask for your prayers not only for them, but for the Rwandan Ministry of Family and Children whose job it is to read every dossier thoroughly (and these documents are LENGTHY), approve the waiting families, go to the orphanage and select a child that fits their request, photograph these children and then get in touch with the waiting families with the good news that their wait is coming to a close! I know these families would appreciate your prayers!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Silas, would you please read some books to your sister?"....."Silas, would you please watch Samuel while I'm out of the room to make sure he doesn't feed his food to the dog?"......"Silas, would you please turn on the Wii for Josiah?"......"Silas, would you please take out the trash?" ....."Silas, would you please go in the garage and get an extra oxygen tank for the outing?"....."Silas, would you please fix your brother a snack?"....."Silas, would you please balance the checkbook and do the taxes?"....
Okay, so maybe I've never asked you that last question, Silas, but after shooting this cute photo of you and Savanna today, I was reminded of how much I expect, ask and require of you each day to keep our lives running smoothly (or at least, running!). You are an incredibly responsible 8 year old and live up to such high expectations on a daily basis. But you also make me laugh so much (like today when I told you something very ordinary, and with very sweet sarcasm you replied, "how touching." ) I love the things you draw and the machines you "build" on your engineering computer game. I love your voice, your compassion, and your insatiable appetite for anything Star Wars and a stack of saltine crackers. I love how you love your brothers and sister, all of which have had "celebrity status" most of their lives because of their unique entrances into our family.
But you are incredibly unique, and uniquely able to put up with my impatient outbursts, constant requests for help and constant nagging about the messes your hourly craft projects incur! I love you, son, and am proud to be your mother. I know God has great plans for your life, and I just wanted to say publicly that no one is more excited about seeing them unfold than me!
Your loving mom

Sunday, April 18, 2010


My Crazy Life

Today was Art's 39th birthday...its interesting that the more kids you have, the less focus the adult gets on his birthday! But we tried to make it special for him!
As many of you know by now, the Snead clan will be packing their bags (and everything else we own) and moving to Nashville, TN - where the elevation is around 600 ft above sea level.... which means Josiah will no longer need oxygen on a regular basis. We knew this day was coming ever since the doctors and specialists told us that Josiah's lungs were "as good as they're gonna get", but we never imagined how quickly the opporutnity would arrive, or how well-adjusted our newly adopted children would be this early in the "game". All in all, it is apparant that God has been the orchestrator in the events of our lives over the last 6 months or so, and has paid attention to every detail (even though I still have a few questions about "timing" for him when I reach heaven, I have to say, he's got my full support on this one!)
As I am living each moment of each day, it feels so normal - tiring and patience-depleteing at times, but normal. But if I stop to think about the last 6 months or so, I think, "wow, we're CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" A 7 week stint in the hospital with Josiah, followed by a 2 week trip to Africa to pick up 2 new additions, a few weeks at home to teach them English...and how to sit still....and how to speak without yelling...and how to keep food on their plates instead of putting it in their pockets....and that list could go on and on...., a quick trip for Art and I to TN to buy a house, and now 5 weeks to get ready to move there. Oh yeah, and before then, we'll have 2 kids in the science fair, finishing a year of homeschooling, end-of-year testing, soccer games and practices every week for the boys, a couple of classes of co-op PE to teach, and that list is going on and on too!
I told someone back in January that I wanted the year 2010 to be boring! (did God think I said "roaring"?...not sure...another question for heaven...) However, in reality, I'm not sure I could have it any other way. For better or for worse, we have been put in positions or put oursevles in positions where "boring" is not an option. Sometimes that means sleep is not an option, giving in to my natural tendencies can't be an option (something I am working on constantly), keeping the house clean or straight isn't an option (no laughing from the "peanut gallery" - my husband and friends who are wondering what my excuse was "before" crazy) and maybe even eating healthy can't be an option (right now I'm being sustained by coke and cookies!).
But the one thing that IS constant is peace. Sure, Art and I can get on each other's nerves, the kids can argue over the DUMBEST things, and I hear myself saying several times a day to various children, "you're making me coo-coo!" But in the midst of it all is a constant flow - or at least an intermitten flow - of serenity reminding us that he who called us is faithful, that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, that "this too shall pass", and that when we have finished the race, we will receive the crown of life that God has for us, as He says "well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter into eternal rest!"
Eternal rest...ahhhhhh. But for now, I'm content with crazy. I laugh so many times throughout the day when my children do hilarious things (Like Samuel's "putting on my clothes happy dance")! I pat myself on the back when my children learn new things in our homeschool and understand new concepts (even if Silas does seem to be figuring out his math problems while I am re-reading the lesson plan that I don't quite understand...), I feel my eyes water when I hear Silas telling his brother in the other room, "you know, when I trusted in Jesus as my Savior, Mom became not only my mom, but also my sister!", I smile when I hear my youngest two singing praises to God with their native accents and unspeakable joy, and I rest peacefully at night beside a man who loves all 5 of us dearly and does so much to take care of us not only physically and materially, but also emotionally and spiritually.
Are things perfect - no way! Are they slow and reflective - not a chance! But as long as I can count on the Lord to sustain us at this pace, I guess I'm okay with crazy!
(Next year, though, might be a good time for "boring"... and God, that was "B-O-R-I-N-G!"....)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Esse quam videri

"To be...rather than to appear to be." This happens to be the state motto of North Carolina, but although I lived there for more than 10 years, I don't remember hearing this phrase until reading through a John Eldredge book several years ago. Since that time, whenever I'm fortunate enough to remember it, I'm reminded and challenged to ACTUALLY BE WHAT I PORTRAY MYSELF TO BE. And I need to be reminded and challenged...on the days my c0-workers get my best throughout the day and my family gets what's left over (or even my worst) when I get home...because it's easier to ignore Colossians 3:19, 21 (and many other parts of God's Word) at home than in public...as I'm not particularly comfortable thinking about the future without knowing exactly what's ahead (even though I claim to and desire to trust the One who does).

As is the case with so many other things right now, I'm thinking about this phrase in light of our recent adoption. Are we simply doing things to make our home run more smoothly, or are we really growing together as a family? Are we focusing on discipline for the sake of making things easier in our home, or are we consistently keeping an eye on the goal of helping our kids become what God wants them to be? Are we doing all we can to give each of our kids the time and attention s/he needs, or are we looking for shortcuts which hopefully (but not certainly) won't cause too many issues down the road? Are we simply discussing how quickly time is flying and our kids are growing up, or are we living each day with that paradigm, trying to make each day count?

Lofty goals and genuine desires that sound (and are) great but sometimes lack what's needed to back them up: our actions (or perhaps I should say "my" and not "our", since I think my wife's much better in these areas than me). Lots of questions I need to consider and lots of reminders I need God to provide (and to which I need to respond).

A good week this week...we had Silas' Lego birthday party yesterday (his birthday is Feb. 14, but that was right after we returned from Africa) and a good time was had by all. Josiah had some sickness earlier in the week but is now doing well...Silas seems to have caught something (I'm home from church with him this morning...its almost noon and he's still asleep). Samuel and Savanna are still learning more words and phrases, trying new things (yesterday we had Icee's at Sam's), and melting our hearts when we put them in bed, they ask us to lie down with them, and then they sing us "Yes, Jesus loves me" and "Things are Getting Better".

Before closing, I'll share a link to a blog post Shelly came across last night...while I can't even pretend that I actually operate with the author's mindset as consistently as I'd like to, I can certainly identify with some of the hopes and goals that she has...hope you enjoy it.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010


With Si and Jos we had that parental set of "firsts" - first smiles, first steps, first foods, first words..... It's a whole new set with our adopted preschoolers, but just as exciting (and exhausting!) This month is was first ice cream cones, first Sunday School class attendance, first sentences in English (which for Savanna, was "no touch, Savanna" ... she obviously hears that a lot, and "I lov-a-yooooo" from Samuel. That makes it sound like they've really bonded with us and truly love us, but just as I was feeling quite confident they knew what they were saying, Savanna patted me on the back and said, "Good dog"....so who knows...). There have been first trips to the grocery store with 4 children (3 in the buggy...where do I actually put the groceries?....Samuel was sitting on the 1/2 gallon of whole milk unbeknownst to me and we trailed it through half the store before I realized it was busted and quickly leaking out...). First love affairs with shoes (Samuel and Savanna would wear them to bed if I would let them...Sometimes Savanna changes hers several times a day). First trip to Chuck E. Cheese (where Savanna helped herself to whatever food complete strangers had left on their tables...have I mentioned she loves to eat?)

Last week I took all four kids on what would be Savanna and Samuel's first field trip! They did an amazing job (especially since new environments usually scare them). It was to a children's museum in Albuquerque with our homeschool organization (whom I love DEARLY - and they have treated our new children like celebrities, making them feel very loved!) Samuel, Silas and Josiah attended a one hour hands-on class while Savanna and I watched a little and played a little. The funniest moment was when I realized that my 4 children were the easiest to locate in the large, crowded building. One of them is on oxygen, 2 of them were the only African-Americans there, and the oldest child had a walkie talkie that I could reach him on... That may become a place we frequent for that reason alone!
And there have been firsts for Josiah and Silas too: Josiah - first time swimming without a trach! He was cautious, but extrememly happy! Silas - other than his first trip to 3 foreign countries, he also constructed his first replica of the frozen planet Hoth (Star Wars...he lives and breathes it)....
Life is definitely not all smiles and laughter for us as we are learning to adjust to more bodies and noise, as well as getting to really know our 2 newest additions - the good and the bad! But God has faithfully sustained us so far, and as I've said before, the progress we see on a daily basis in their behavior, adjustment to new circumstances, relationships, etc. is so encouraging! Keep those prayers coming for us - we appreciate them!
posted with laughter from Shelly

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Our quiver is full...no, REALLY....

As you can see from the photos, we're having fun in the midst of the craziness of: adjusting to being a family of 6, having 2 children who don't speak English but love life anyway, homeschooling 3 1/2 kids, and falling on the couch in exhaustion when they're all in bed! I'll try to write more specifics later, but mainly wanted to share some photos!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Seeing Samuel and Savanna for the 1st time

Couldn't really upload videos while in Africa due to slow Internet connections, but here's a video I took as Samuel and Savanna arrived to meet us for the 1st time...

He's Got the Whole World in His Hands

Verse 1: The Whole World
Verse 2: Mama and Papa
Verse 3: Jar Jar Binks (yes, from Star Wars...Silas got them on this verse).
We are so talented.

Monday, February 8, 2010

we are home!!!

Praise God, we're home! Yesterday was our first full day home, and I thought the kids did exceptionally well adjusting to time zone, our home, new rules, etc. The trip home was very tiring, but we lived through it and now can begin our new life here with four children, ages 3, 4, 5, and almost 8! Our biggest hurdle so far has been Eli, our extrememly docile, old dog. But for Samuel, there may as well be a large roaring lion in the house! We sent the dog away the first night, but brought him back yesterday for the kids to go ahead and get used to. They have made much improvement, but still, if Samuel hasn't seen the dog in a while and kind of forgets he's here, he goes crazy when Eli appears (we're not just talking about a little crying, but paniced yelling, flailing, screaming, etc.). We saw imrpovement yesterday, so please pray that we will continue to be patient as he learns to coexist with an animal. If this is the biggest issue we have to deal with, I really can't complain!

We took the 3 younger kids to play in the snow today and they had a ball! Samuel and Savanna are always up to trying new things and seem to thrive on every new experience they have! (except, of course, owning a dog). Just getting them dressed is hilarious because they giggle with hearty laughter at the practice of putting on new pants, socks, shirts, etc! We are having to really work on teaching them to be "calm", quiet, etc., do sitting down activities that we take for granted with our other children (like sitting down while we read a - they are so figgety and not used to sitting for any length of time and focusing on something). But this too shall pass. Yesterday they worked puzzles and we read a few books to them. Progress already.

When will I homeschool the older two? not a clue! But again, the progress I've seen in the last 2 weeks has been amazing, so I'm hoping to use this week to teach them some independent skills, and thanking God that they both at least still take a nap each day! (so don't call between 1 and 3, I'll actually be accomplishing something! ha! ha!)

Please pray for Art as he goes back to work tomorrow. He'll have quite a lot of catch up to do, and we are all still adjusting to the time zone change. This morning at 3am we locked ourselves out of our bedroom (trying to keep the dog secured) and had to take the door handle mechanism off to get back in. Just another adventure that we'll be able to laugh about in days to come!! Again, if this is the most we'll have to deal with, I really can't complain!

Sorry we did not update much (at all?) the last week of our trip - we did not have free internet in the room, and it was a crazy week! Suffice it to say the children made great strides in language and adjusting to us as parents. They are both extrememely happy kids (who now seem to love BOTH of their parents!) and we are so thankful for all that God has done and is doing in our family! Keep us in your prayers, and we'll try to update again soon!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

this will be quick because i MUST go to bed! Today might have been our best day yet in terms of steps taken with our kids. I see that Art went really "easy" on me in his last post when he shared how Savanna preferred him over me. The truth is, she would completely lose it when Art left her with me, screaming, etc. (One afternoon I was carrying her during one of those times, and she was even reaching out to total strangers in a "please take me" position!) But today when Art, Samuel and Silas left for Giterama, she cried, but then began to calm herself much more quickly. She only cried once or twice after that, asking the bus driver 'where is my father?', but really had a great day. She took a nap for me, and even took 2 walks with me WITHOUT Art when he got home. The biggest step of all - she let me tickle her and laughed for me/with me.

So, maybe I did give her 5 packs of fruit snacks during our shopping trip and let her eat french fries and a milkshake for lunch....whatever works at this point!

Art and the boys had an AMAZING day at the project and home of our compassion child. I'll let him fill in the details for you later, but it was an incredible experience, and we now know first-hand what an incredible organization Compassion International is in making a major difference in entire families around the world. I'll try to post some photos before drifting off..thanks again for all the prayers - keep 'em comin'!