Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Feeling Distracted

Hi All,
I have SO much to catch you up on! As is so common with summers, we are BUSY around here! So busy that I haven't had time to download the latest batch of photos and put together a real blog entry. But, I want you all to know I haven't forgotten and I will put together a real post sometime soon. We've had family visits, another trip to the zoo, and VBS going on around here lately....but eventually things will calm down.

As it turns out, though...there are some other people in the blogosphere who need your attention a little more than I do right now. So please, in my absence, continue to think about my dear friend Anita as she is in Ghana right now helping the staff recover from the recent attack. She has a lot of things planned for this trip, so send her some good vibes of healing and productivity! Please know that the donations that have come in since the attack are helping tremendously. I will certainly give you all an update when I know more.

And if you are of the praying persuasion, please continue to keep my friend Carolyn and her daughter in your prayers. They are having a very tough time in Ethiopia. Y is very, very sick and needs to get home to the U.S. to receive immediate medical care. Carolyn is such a trooper, but I can only imagine how tired and defeated she must feel. Please pray that they get on the soonest possible flight back to the U.S. and that Y has the strength she needs for the trip. Pray also that when she does get home that she is able to recover quickly so she can begin adjusting to life in her new family. You can keep updated on their story HERE.

Thank you all for continuing to read...I will have a Jellybean and Peanut related post soon!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Heart is Broken

Yesterday morning I received news that absolutely broke my heart. My sons' home in Ghana was attacked by armed men whose intention was to steal as many valuables as they could find in the children's home. These men shattered the sense of safety and security for the children at Eban House. They stole the innocense of some of the children, as they witnessed things that no child should see. They ruined the life of one of the Aunties...and they did it all for some money, a couple computers, and a digital camera.

I am struck by the amazing courage and bravery of the Aunties at the home and of the children who awoke during the attack. In order to protect the children in her care, one of the Aunties took on the brunt of the attack herself. She stayed quiet and refused to give in, even as the men repeatedly raped her. This Auntie is a hero, without a doubt. But this hero will suffer because of what these men did to her. Ghanaian culture dictates that her husband should leave her because she has been violated in this way. She is suffering the pain of the attack as well as the pain of likely losing her husband. This Auntie gave everything for the children at Eban House, even though she could have chosen to give the men everything they wanted in order to protect herself and her two children at home (one that is still nursing).

The older girls (age 7-8) who awoke during the attack showed unbelievable bravery. They could have screamed or run, waking all the other children and the home could have erupted into chaos. But instead these girls prayed. They PRAYED. These girls who have lost everything...who live in a children's home and have no idea what their lives hold for them....they still knew they could go to God in times of need. And that is exactly where they went. They prayed for the safety of the Auntie they love. They prayed for the men to leave Eban House. And they prayed for the attackers. They prayed for their forgiveness. Oh what a different world we would live in if more of us had the bravery and faith of these young girls.

Please keep the children and staff at Eban House in your thoughts and prayers. The staff (both in Ghana and the U.S.) are in crisis mode. Everyone is afraid. The safe refuge the children knew no longer feels safe. Pray for the senior staff at Eban House...and pray for my dear friend Anita as she plans an immediate trip to Ghana to help the staff handle the situation. Pray that they find reliable, responsible staff to work to guard the home for future nights. Pray that the children get the help they need to deal with things. Pray for the adoptive parents who have children living at Eban House waiting for them to bring them home.

And most of all...pray for the Auntie who was so brutally violated in the attack. Pray that she is able to get the help she needs. Pray that she will not have contracted HIV (or anything else) during the course of the attack.

Adoption Advocates International has set up a fund to help replace the items stolen during the attack. They have also set up a fund to help Auntie Esther and her two children. If you are so inclined to donate, CLICK HERE to go to the Adoption Advocates International webpage. Once there, click on the DONATE NOW button on the bottom right, where you can donate funds and designate them for Eban House or for the Fund For Esther.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Keep them in your thoughts...

My friend Carolyn is in Ethiopia right now to bring home her beautiful daughter. Her daughter is sick (seriously sick) and Carolyn is worried. Please lift them up in your thoughts and prayers today. Pray they are able to get Y home soon, so they can get her the medical care she needs.

You can follow their journey HERE.

Monday, July 7, 2008

A great idea

I found this article on CNN this morning. What a great idea! And, people from Ghana will benefit. Gotta love that!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

4th of July Fun

We had a wonderful 4th of July here in central Iowa....
The morning started off with a trip downtown for the parade.

Where Peanut sat on my shoulders for over an hour to see everything.
Jellybean sat on Z's shoulders for part of the time, too.
And we saw typical parade entries like several kinds of tractors (here's our two favorites).

The firetruck



Some horses

Our neighbor's band
Our local Superheroes
And even the GhostbustersAnd, of course, you have to have a wrecked car involved somewhere in the parade, right?

After the parade, we headed to Z's sister's house for Super D's birthday party. The boys were a little tuckered out after the parade, so they slept on the way...
At Super D's party they played frisbee golf...
And baseball
(as well as playing with toys, eating lots of food,
and having cake and ice cream)

After the partying was over, we headed home for a little down time before we were off to see the fireworks. While we waited for the show to start, the boys entertained themselves by catching fireflies.

We had a great 4th of July. We hope you all had a great day!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Dreamin'

Yesterday Z and I went to take a look at some houses in a town nearby. We are SO ready to buy a house. Our place is small, we've been renting for what seems like a lifetime and we want to have a place that's "ours". A place where I can dig up some ground to make a garden, a place where I can put some paint on the walls, a place where we can really, truly feel "at home".

Of course, since I don't yet have a full-time job, our price range is pretty limited. Most of the houses we look at are older homes, or smaller homes, or homes that need a LOT of work to make them feel live-able. Or, they are homes in smaller towns further away from the town we work in (which would force us to pay more in gasoline to get to work throughout the year).

Our real estate agent (let's call her Agent M) has been so great to us. Quite a long time ago (like years ago), Z and I were thinking about buying a house and Agent M showed us a TON of houses! We were close to making an offer then, but decided the timing just wasn't right for a series of reasons. We are glad we took the time to look back then, though...because now we know realistically what we are looking at. And we can walk into a house and know right away whether or not its worth looking at seriously. And Agent M, bless her heart, is STILL willing to show these two fickle kids a bunch more houses.

Yesterday, though....she showed us a GREAT house! A really great house. A house we both walked into and loved. A house that has tremendous character. A house that is totally live-able without major work. A house that is big enough for our family (even if we grow a little bit more). A house that has my very favorite choice of flooring options (hardwood floors throughout - and they're in great shape)! A house whose yard is nice...with a little landscaping can be great (and I WANT to do my own landscaping). A house with a yard large enough for me to sacrifice some of it for garden space. A house with a detached garage with electricity and a little workshop space for Z to do some of his hobbies outside. A house with a little office area (with great lighting) where I could do some serious quilting. A house with a tree house in the back yard for hours of play time for the boys.

Get it? We love the house.

So...now I NEED to get that full-time job (as if I didn't need to before). Please send positive energy my way - I could use it. I really want to get one of the jobs I've recently applied for so we know without a doubt that we could afford this house (and to be honest, we could probably afford a much more expensive house if I got a job, but this house is GREAT). We could probably afford this house without me getting that full-time job...but we don't want to have to make that choice.

Full time job, where are you?!?!