Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Enter his gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the Lord is good, and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

- Psalm 100:4-5

Madeline's handprint on our Thanksgiving card

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Little Singer

20-month-old Madeline is quite the little talker these days. Often I wonder where this big girl came from who seems to have replaced my baby overnight. Her vocabulary has exploded, and she even speaks in sentences now. She's constantly repeating everything we say, even long phrases. She's just like a little parrot. The funniest thing is when she imitates our gestures and inflections. She has us laughing all the time these days. I absolutely love this age.

She LOVES to sing. Her ability to carry a tune impresses me. Her repertoire includes: the ABC's, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, Jesus loves Me, The B-I-B-L-E, This Little Light of Mine, The Wheels on the Bus, and of course, Elmo's Song.

Here she is performing a couple of her faves. Love the Pigtails! (The very beginning is cut off of both of the videos...)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

For the Love of Lentils

I have gradually become more healthy in my eating habits and cooking over the past several years. I have read a couple of books about nutrition that opened my eyes about the effects of trans-fats, excess sugar, preservatives and chemicals in the foods we eat, etc. Having a child brings a lot of motivation to make better lifestyle choices. I want the very best for Madeline, and I must model the behavior that I want her to adopt someday. I don't want her to eat sweets and drink soda all the time or to live off of fast food. I want her to eat food that nourishes and blesses her body, that gives her energy, strengthens her immunity, and helps her to have a healthy, lean body.

We eat meat for dinner two or three times a week usually. But lately I have been experimenting with more vegetarian cooking. A couple of our favorite recipes that I have discovered recently are made with lentils. I was a skeptic before trying them, but we have found that we love them. You really don't miss the meat in either of these recipes. Really! :)

Lentil Loaf (Think meatloaf without the meat....)

1 can vegetable broth (or chicken)
3/4 cup dried lentils, rinsed
1 & 3/4 cups shredded carrots (I use my food processor)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup chopped fresh mushroom
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. minced fresh basil or 2 tsp. dried basil
1 Tbs parsley
1 cup shredded cheese (Italian blend or mozzarella)
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 egg
1 egg white
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Ketchup for top

In a saucepan, bring broth and lentils to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes until tender and most of liquid has been absorbed.

Meanwhile, cook brown rice as directed.

Meanwhile, saute onion, carrots, and mushrooms in oil for 10 minutes or until tender. Add basil and parsley; saute 5 minutes longer.

In a large bowl, combine the carrot mixture, cooked lentils, cheese, rice, egg, egg white, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well.

Transfer to a 9x5 inch loaf pan coated with non-stick cooking spray. Spread ketchup over top if desired. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes.

NOTE: I have found that this freezes very well. I triple this recipe and freeze two of them in freezer bags. When you are ready to use it just let it thaw, place in a loaf pan, and bake.

Lentil Taco Filling

3/4 cup dry lentils
3/4 cup dry brown rice
4 cups water
4 beef bouillon cubes
4 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Dump everything in a medium pot and cook on high until it boils. Cover and simmer for approximately 45 minutes, or until all water is absorbed. Stir every 5-10 minutes. Use just like regular taco filling for soft or hard tacos.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lord, Help Us to Hurt

Katie is 21 years old and the mother of 14 beautiful Ugandan children. She provides food and medical care for countless others, and she teaches them about Jesus. She teaches me about Jesus too. I have been following her blog for a year now, and I have been challenged tremendously by Katie's passionate love for "the least of these."

Please take a moment to read Katie's last blog post. And take a moment to DO SOMETHING for the children of God who are suffering in this world. Love without action is not really love.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Kinda Freaking Out

I follow our adoption agency's blog to keep up with news about the Ethiopia program. America World posts a monthly update on the number of referrals that have been processed that month for various age groups. Yesterday they announced that already during the month of November SEVEN referrals for infant males have been sent to families. That is a lot. And the wait time for an infant male referral has been reduced to 4-6 months. (It used to be 7-9, then was reduced to 5-7, and just keeps getting shorter!)

Whoa! Hang on a second! Four months??? Our DTE (Dossier to Ethiopia) date was 8/19. Four months means that it is feasible that we could receive our referral in as little as a month from now. Oh. My. Goodness.

Don't get me wrong... That is exciting news, indeed. But it's kinda like thinking that you are only in your second trimester of pregnancy then unexpectedly finding out that you are actually in your third. The baby is coming much sooner that you had anticipated.

I am overwhelmed by how much we have to do. We need to get moving on plans for Little Brother's bedroom and get Madeline ready to move up into a big girl room. I've got to figure out what we are going to do with all the STUFF in the spare bedroom. I need to starting thinking about what baby things I am going to need. And oh-so-important things like cleaning the carpets and weeding my overgrown garden. Oh yeah, and a name. We still need a name for him. Oh dear me...

But really, none of this stuff matters. If we got a call today, I would be out-of-my-mind delighted. (Well, after I got over the initial shock anyway.) I know that we have a community of friends and family who would help us with every need. It's not a picture-perfect nursery and a weed-free garden that is important. All that matters is bringing home our little boy as soon as possible from the orphanage that he will be in. But we had probably get to work on the name thing. I don't think we can put "Little Brother" on his adoption certificate.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

T-shirt Order Time

We will be placing a T-shirt order on Monday evening 11/9. The shirts will ship on 11/16. Everyone who has ordered in the last several weeks will be included in this shipment. If you haven't ordered yet, do it a.s.a.p. to get in on this one!

Friday, November 6, 2009


I just couldn't resist sharing. I was able to put real pigtails in Madeline's hair for the first time yesterday. She looks like such a big girl!

Here we are blowing bubbles out in the yard last night. Madeline had just eaten a homemade chocolate pudding popsicle and LOVED it. Can you tell?

And here she is kissing Baby Abigail, her cousin. She gives Abigail's birth announcement a kiss at least ten times a day. :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I have bronchitis. I have had one cold after another for a couple of months now. I normally have a very strong immune system, and I rarely get sick. It has probably been 10 years since I have taken antibiotics. I think that the stress of the past months is catching up with me.

My illness has reminded me of how thankful I am to live in America. A quick call to my doctor’s office, and I had an appointment for 24 hours later. I traveled 25 minutes in my car to the office. After a quick visit with her, I had my diagnosis and a prescription for antibiotics. After another quick trip to the pharmacy, I had the medicine that I need, paying only my small co-pay. I feel crummy now, but within 48 hours I should be much better and I will be able to put my illness behind me.

There is one doctor for every 390 people that live in America. By contrast, in Ethiopia there is one doctor for every 31,000 people. The vast majority of those doctors are located within three urban areas, far, far from the 85% of the population that live in rural areas. Many of those have no access to a vehicle to transport them to a medical facility. Not to mention, no funds to cover medical bills when a doctor’s help is needed.

In the past months I have thought about this every time we have dealt with an illness in our family: every ear infection, sinus infection, and case of bronchitis. Until recently I have always taken for granted our access to medical professionals, medicine, and the health insurance and wealth that we have to pay for it. What if I had no way to get the medicine that Madeline needed for an ear infection, and she ended up losing her hearing? What if my bronchitis turned into pneumonia and I had no access to treatment? For far too many people in the world, this is the reality that they live with. I

n Ethiopia 49% of the population is under the age of 15. AIDS is partly to blame for the deaths of so many in the older generation. But ordinary communicable diseases cause far too many deaths as well. Preventable and treatable diseases. But the people cannot access the doctors and the medicine that they need.

This is so unfair that it makes me cry. Why did God allow me to be born in America? I have done nothing to deserve the privileges that are mine just because of where I live. I do know this – he didn’t give me those privileges because he loves me more than the people of Ethiopia (and the rest of Africa). And he didn’t give them to me just so that I can kick back and enjoy my life of ease and comfort. I have responsibility to help, love, and pray for those whose lives are much more difficult. I still don’t know all the things that will entail for our family. But the adoption of one child is a stepping stone in the path that we are walking. Our eyes have been opened.

"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12