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Six Months Home

It is surreal to me that six months have gone by. Abby has done so well, adjusted so well, attached so's like we've always had her here.

I went back and reread my post on Abby's first month home. We had some concerns then about her bonding and attachment. Abby's personality has always been so outgoing, and she displayed indiscriminate affection towards anyone who showed her attention. We didn't know if she would hone in on us as her sole caretakers and providers. We were not sure if she would continue to respond well to our boundaries and correction.

But she has. She has a heart that wants to please, and though she feels the freedom to push boundaries sometimes, she always responds well when we set her back on course. There is no doubt who her parents are and who to go to when she has a need.

This is a little girl that LOVES life. Everything is fun. Everything is exciting. Joe laughs every time we're out and she says she has to go to the bathroom. He knows I dread it. Public restrooms are the worst. They are not exactly the most sterile environments, and yet she wants to explore every aspect of them!!:the seats, the paper dispensers, the flushing mechanisms, the locks on the doors, the faucets and soap, the paper towels or air dryers---it's exhausting to try to keep her on the simple task of actually using the restroom!!!

Abby laughs alot. Her giggle is infectious. She adores her siblings and they adore her. Sure, the honeymoon phase is over, and at times she annoys them like any good little sister should. : ) But there is undeniable love and delight in their relationships, and she has brought a levity and energy to our lives that often leaves us rolling in laughter.

In the last six months, Abby has met almost all of her extended family, which has been a feat as spread out as our families are. We have been blessed that many in Joe's family have come here, and I was able to take her to Texas a couple of weeks ago to meet most of my side of the family.

Abby eats just about anything, and she eats as much as her teenage brothers! Her preferences change often, but she loves peanut butter, pizza, pasta, burgers, and anything with sugar! She never really hoarded food or ate too much to the point of becoming ill, as many kids can do. While she seems to appreciate food and is always up for a meal, she isn't desperate about it and I don't get the impression she was ever without food. She cleans her plate like someone who's been trained not to waste food, and no one in this house can clean a chicken bone like she can! But she seems secure that food will always be provided.

Abby speaks very good English and there really isn't anything that we say that she doesn't understand. There are still a few Amharic words and phrases that she uses, but for the most part she uses English. (With a little Spanish thrown in, since she loves Dora! : )) Her vocabulary grows daily, and I think she is ready to begin learning how to read in the fall.

If you would have asked me last week if Abby is secure in her place in this family and home, I would have said without a doubt. She has absorbed all the changes and adjustments from life in Africa to life here in America with ease, and she shows no outward signs of fear or insecurity.

But yesterday, she crawled in my lap when she woke up, as she does most mornings, and as I smothered her with kisses, she giggled a bit, then turned serious and looked up at me. She said, "Abby stay here long time?" To clarify, I asked her, stay where? She said, "America?" I spent the next half hour assuring her of course, you live here now and we are together forever! We talked about who her sisters were and who her brothers were and how we are a family! She giggled, hugged my neck tightly, and ran off to play.

I guess there are still some things her little heart is proccessing that I may never fully grasp or be able to anticipate. It makes me realize there will be times in the future that moments like this, conversations like this, will seemingly come out of left field--and give me a glimpse of how she is reconciling where she has come from with where she is now.

I still don't know much about what the first 4 years of her life were like. I may never know. I don't know if she'll ever be able to tell me what--if anything--she remembers. She, like most kids, lives in the moment, and her thoughts from the past seem a bit blurred and run together. And while sometimes I'll ask her things about Africa, most of what she shares are things from the orphanage and transition home, which makes me wonder if she has really forgotten what her life was like before last spring.

So we will continue to speak love and assurance to her little heart, not just of her place in this family, but as a child of the King. We will try to be sensitive and open to her as we watch her continue to discover how God is weaving her unique story, consistently providing a secure and loving place to grow and develop.

It has been a wonderful six months. But I am under no illusion that the adjustments are done. I try to expect and be prepared for anything at the same time that I enjoy the relative ease with which Abby has integrated into our family. I know there are many who fear adopting an older child, and I would certainly never suggest our experience would be everyone's. But I am blessed to say any problems we have faced so far have paled in comparision to the joy we have experienced with Abby in our lives. Becoming this little girl's family has been one of the greatest gifts God has ever given to me, to Joe, to Josh, Nathan, Hannah and Danielle. We all agree: we are richly blessed.

one month home:

two months home:

three months home:

four months home:

five months home:

six months home:
(at the top of the post)


One year ago today, we said yes.

We were told by the social worker that these referral pictures
didn't capture this little girl's personality at all.

For us, what they did capture was simple.
A child with no family. No home.
A precious soul.

And we fell in love.

So, over dinner, we discussed. Prayed.
[Like we would have said no....]

And we said yes.

What a difference a year makes.

Happy referralversary, precious Abby girl!
You have brought life and light into our home,
and our hearts are overflowing with love for you.
We are the lucky ones.

We love because He first loved us.
1 John 4:19

(To celebrate: Today, we'll skype with two of Abby's friends from the House of Hope! And tomorrow, I'll post about 6 months home.)


WOW my summer has been a blur, how about yours?! It has been a busy month or so for my family.

But this weekend, guess what's on my schedule? NOTHIN'!! What a glorious thing!

This morning I spent some time catching up on my blog reading. I was way behind, so I had to do some skimming and very little commenting, but at least I kinda know now what's been going on! (Speaking of--if you're a blog follower of mine and I don't have you in my blogroll, would you comment or email me and leave me your blog address, so I can follow yours as well??)

I also spent a little (too much) time on Pinterest. It has definitely begun to outweigh my facebook time. (Are you on Pinterest? Holla so I can follow you there, too!)

When I realized it was past noon, I finally unglued my bottom from the sofa. Can't say I was very productive even then, but at least I was moving! : )

Tonight is family night.

We're gonna make some of these

and these

and these

oh and these.

We might play this.
or this.

Oldies but goodies.
(What games does your family like?)

Then, we're gonna watch this.

Yep. Should be a great night. As for the rest of the weekend, well...not sure what I will do.

I might make this.

Or paint this.

Or read some more of one (or all) of these.

I just. don't. know. One things for sure, I'm not gonna flip out if I don't do any of it.

Sometimes, you just gotta chill!

Whatever I do, I know I'll be thinking of Mel, who's meeting her son for the first time this weekend! As I type, she's probably navigating the chaos that is Addis Ababa airport. Praying for her and Jon as they love on little Caleb and prepare for court on Tuesday!
And of course, Mrs. B, who's lovin' on the ladies and orphans at Rafiki Village in Rwanda. Two friends in Africa. I confess: makes me want to go back. Maybe soon?.....

Have a great weekend!!

Don't waste your retirement

(me, my mom, & Ms. B)

I am beyond blessed to have my friend Barbara in my life. She has been a friend to me for about 10 years, and we have been through much together. We have shared many laughs and rolled up our sleeves together on many occasions. Despite my shortcomings and idiosyncrasies, through some rough waters and tough times, she has stood by me (and my entire family) as a faithful friend. My husband could not do what he does without her. My kids adore her. And I have learned by watching her what it looks like to "offer your life as a living sacrifice" for the King. No one has consistently modeled the heart of my Savior and "the basin and the towel" quite like she has in my life. And I know I am only one in a line of many who feel the same way about her.

Tomorrow she leaves for Rwanda. This will be her first time to Africa. I asked her to guest blog for me today about her trip. But before you hear her words know this: this is a woman who has decided to be on mission wherever she is, be it Florida or Africa. She is not following a fad or trying to get inspired or motivated to do Kingdom work. This lady serves her King day in and day out, and this trip just broadens her territory and her impact a bit. Here are her words:
As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires,
but rather for the will of God." 1 Peter 4:2

God's own are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them [Ephesians 2:10]. That verse in Ephesians is crazy!! The CREATOR of the universe, the Alpha and the Omega, the KING of Kings has works -- good works -- for me and others of His own to do. How crazy is that?!! It boggles the mind. Some years ago, I read a quote -- "Watch to see where God is working and join Him in His work." Crazy!!

Joining GOD? That is like a 4 year old joining Da Vinci as he painted the Mona Lisa, or a construction worker assisting Dr. DeBakey [the great father of modern cardiovascular surgery] while performing heart surgery. Crazy that God calls us to join Him in kingdom work, and yet He does.

Ten years ago, the King brought a young pastor and his wife [Joe & Rachel Walser] to my then church in New Jersey. From the very first moment to use an old idiom, I knew "I was to hitch my horse to that wagon." God was working in and through them to advance His kingdom, and I wanted to join in. God, by His own plan, had it in mind that this then middle aged couple would co-labor with Joe & Rachel. Crazy!! And now as a senior couple, we got to join in planting a church with them here in Florida. Larry and I get to serve in so many ways here ALONG WITH alot of peculiar people (See 1 Peter 2:9) who we are crazy for, and it is CRAZY, absolutely crazy. I like to say, we get to do what angels long to do.

"All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan. The length of our days is seventy years, or eighty, if we have the strength yet their span is but trouble and sorrow for they quickly pass, and we fly away."
Psalm 90:9-10

I just turned 60, and God has prepared another work for me in which to join Him [I know, crazy!] - I get to go to Rwanda through the Rafiki Foundation.

It takes my breath away. While writing this, I was reminded of a story... posted here which describes, I think, God's plan for His own.

A Bike Ride with God - Author Unknown
At first I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there, sort of like the president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I really didn't know him. But later on when I met Christ, it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me pedal.

I don't know just when it was that He suggested that we change places, but life has not been the same since. When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring but predictable ... It was the shortest distance between two points. But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds, and it was all I could do to hang on! Even though it looked like madness, He said, "Pedal." I worried and was anxious and asked, "Where are You taking me?" He laughed and didn't answer, and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure. And when I say, "I'm scared," He'd lean back and touch my hand. He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance, and joy. They gave me gifts to take on my journey, my Lord's and mine. And we're off again. He said, "Give the gifts away, they're extra baggage, too much weight." So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him at first, to be in control of my life, I thought He would wreck it; But He knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten scary passages. I'm learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I'm beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ. And when I'm sure I just can't do anymore, He smiles and says ... "Pedal."

I love that story.... I love Jesus! So grateful that He does crazy things!

This Saturday, July 16th (returning August 2nd), I travel to Africa. I covet your prayers as I serve there. Of late, my mind has been on the times of Noah, before the flood when people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until Noah entered the ark, and the people were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. People busy with life, not expecting that Jesus could come back at any time. (Matthew 24:36ff). Please pray that I take every opportunity to witness. That God open for me a door(s) while traveling for the word, "to declare the mystery of Christ,...that I may make it clear which is how I ought to speak. That I walk in wisdom ..making the best use of the time. Pray that my speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that I may know how I ought to answer each person."

I believe it is God's plan for me to serve, here in Florida with LifeBridge Church and to go and serve in Rwanda at this time with the Rafiki Foundation, and in every place to take every opportunity to witness [Colossians 4:2-6] .

To God be the Glory!
What a way to spend your retirement! Will you join me in praying for her?

Barbara~ I love you and am praying for His glory to shine through you in Africa as brightly as it does here in Florida. Have a wonderful trip and hurry back to all of us who will feel your absence for these two weeks. You will be missed but we can't wait to hear every detail when you return!


We have a winner!!!!!!

What a FUN FUNdraiser!!! This has been a blast!

My partner in crime said this on her blog:

1 iPad. 6 Days. 491 Entries.

Many donations, Multiple posts on facebook and blogs.

I know I can speak for the Masers when I say that they are so INCREDIBLY thankful.

Several have asked how much was raised and I am blown away and completely blessed to watch everyone participate and be a part of little Calebs story.

A total of $3,494.00 was raised in SIX days!! That's not counting the fact that Lifesong is doubling a portion of those funds. Glory to the King of Kings!!! The Masers now have just under $1700 left to be fully funded!!! What an AMAZING God we serve!

So who won?!?! Check it out:


Last day for iPad and update on bringing Caleb home!

Today is the last day to have a chance at a brand new iPad 2! The Masers have raised all they need for their first trip--PRAISE GOD!-- and now everything we raise goes toward their second and final trip to bring Caleb home!! We want to see them FULLY FUNDED, don't you?!?! They are soooooo close!

The Masers have received a Lifesong matching grant, giving us another great way for you to get a chance at the iPad. You can still get a chance by donating through my blog (donate button to the right), Erica's blog, or Melisssa's blog. BUT NOW, if you donate through Lifesong, not only will you get a chance at the iPad, but Lifesong will match your donation, DOUBLING what goes to the Maser fam!! WOW!

Here's how to donate:

Go here to Lifesong.

Donate $10 for one chance.

Donate $25 for three chances.


Repost on facebook for an additional chance.

Leave a comment here to let me know you donated.

It's the last day, folks!!! Someone's gettin' an iPad!!! Will it be you?!?!?!

Who wants an iPad?!?! Help bring Caleb Maser home!!

I am so excited to share that the Masers have gotten their court date!!!! What seemed impossible in light of the upcoming court closure in Ethiopia has happened and they will be headed to Ethiopia in a couple of weeks! They will meet their son for the first time. They will
finally meet him, hold him, and kiss him, and he will hear their voices and know their love for him! What an amazing thing God has done!!! Their court date will be 3 weeks from today.

So, friends, we're rolling up our sleeves to do what needs to be done so the Masers can buy their tickets and plan their travel. We don't have much time. So let's have a little fun, whatdaya say?!?!

Is there anyone out there who DOESN'T want an ipad?!?! I used to think I didn't...until our church gave Joe one and now I wish I had one, too---I admit it!!

This is your chance!!!
If you'll be a part of bringing Caleb home,
we'll give you a chance at your very own iPad!

Here's how it works:
Use the paypal button on the right side of my blog to donate.

Donate $10 for a chance.
Donate $25 for three chances.

After you've done one of these above you can do one or all of these below for an additional chance:

  1. Repost on your blog or facebook.
  2. Donate directly to the Masers adoption fund through their blog in any amount for another chance.
Be sure and comment to let me know if you've earned another chance!

The fine print disclaimer. In order for this fundraiser to happen we must raise at least $550 for it to be ON! If we do not we'll refund everyone and there will be no give*away. We will announce when we hit that point and once we do the give*away will end 5 days later. This is NOT a r-a-f-f-l-e, please do not mention that it is. This IS helping to bring a child into his forever family!