Saturday, November 28, 2009


"Count your many blessings, name them one by one. Count your many blessings, see what God has done!"
My husband's family begins each Thanksgiving celebration with this beautiful hymn, and each year we are truly thankful for our blessings. This year, we count our African sons among our many blessings! Victor and Dennis survived two family gatherings, two gigantic dinners and two afternoons of watching football! Some memories: Victor's amazing pass receptions during the backyard cousin FB game; Dennis' visit to the Care Center in my parents' golf cart; post-movie craziness at McDonald's (go see "Blind Side") where Victor tried to suck a McFlurry out of that special spoon; Dennis' fear of a wild animal he heard crossing the creek (he thought it might be a crocodile but it turned out to be a big buck); Victor's surprise at the "smoke" coming out of his mouth when we left for his early morning BB practice; Dennis helping put up the outdoor Christmas decorations; playing SPOONS!; our own children (now adults) loving their new brothers; the sound of laughter late into the night.
Blessings abound! We do indeed give thanks.

Can't wait for Christmas when we can introduce the rest of our kids to their new brothers. More celebrations! More people! More football! More Blessings!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

How do they see us?

I'd like to be a fly on the wall this weekend when the IRIS students are getting together in Waterloo. What are they talking about? Being teenagers, I think that it is very probable that they may be comparing their host parents, their rooms, their schools, their new friends. Certainly they are talking about family rules and siblings and school activities. Can't you just imagine the stories and the conversations? Well, I can. If I were a fly on the wall..........

"What? Your mom doesn't make you breakfast?? Mine fixes pancakes or waffles every morning. Sure wish I could have some cereal!" Or- "Does your dad keep trying to get you to eat everything in sight?? I think I've gained 10 pounds already!" Or- "Your mom washes your clothes?? You have your own room? You have to clean your bathroom??"

I can't wait to hear about their weekend. Hopefully, they will still be glad that they are living with us after hearing about the other families. Whatever they are thinking, I know they will be glad to get home and we will be glad to see them. And that's enough for me, regardless of the stories I'm sure they told about us this weekend!

Monday, November 9, 2009

It's Good to be Appreciated!

I tried to prepare the boys for the "Musical Season" at our house, but I'm sure they had no idea what that meant until they survived living at the director's house for the two weeks leading up to the show. My husband is used to it. My five children have been through it many times. They know what to expect and they have lived to tell about it. They remember the warmed-up (and sometimes non-existent) suppers, the bleary eyed answers to questions, the brief glimpses of someone they thought lived at their house, and the barely concealed lack of patience that was thoroughly exhausted dealing with talented, but moody teenagers.
I am happy to report that both Victor and Dennis have weathered the storm in fine shape. They put up with their dad's cooking, appreciated Grandma's freezer meals, scrounged in the refrigerator for snacks, and tried to keep the questions and the need for help to a minimum. They even went to the show and laughed in all the right places! I'm totally exhausted, but as proud as punch.
They told me they took a vote: 3-0 they want me back. Sure is nice to be appreciated.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

State Cross Country

It was a beautiful day for the end of October in Iowa, a great day for running and for watching those who ran! Our Tanzanian son ran like the wind, achieved his goal, and was the 9th fastest in the state. His coaches' goal was for him to be in the top 15. His personal goal was to bring home a medal by being one of the top 10. We are all so proud that he ran well under a lot of pressure. He was representing his country, his adoptive school, and his team. He humbly accepted our praise and congratulations ........... and mourned for his worthy competitor from a neighboring school who finished just out of the medals. Wow.