pocket frogs 2


\\Dig Deep in Chuko

lilly pie

Lilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

Christmas 2009, St George Island, FL

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sunset with God

I found this devotional book, Sunset with God, yesterday while shopping in Tallahassee. I was gently reminded of the "quality time" God desires to spend with His children in the reading today. I wanted to share it with you here. . .

Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy. Psalm 16:11

Busy-so busy! The sun has long since set and there is still so much to do. Work, family, church and much more seem to demand hours God never put in the day. Still, we Christians think all these accomplishments will please our heavenly Father. After all, faith without works is dead, right?

When we finally fall into bed at night, can we say we've actually spent any time with the Father we're trying so hard to please?

In his book, Unto the Hills, Billy Graham tells a story about a little girl and her father who were great friends and enjoyed spending time together. They went for walks and shared a passion for watching birds, enjoying the changing seasons, and meeting people who crossed their path.

One day, the father noticed a change in his daughter. If he went for a walk, she excused herself from going. Knowing she was growing up, he rationalized that she must be expected to lose interest in her Daddy as she made other friends. Nevertheless, her absence grieved him deeply.

Because of his daughters absences, he was not in a particularly happy mood on his birthday. Then she presented him with a pair of exquisitely worked slippers, which she had hand made for him while he was out of the house walking.

At last he understood and said, "My darling, I like these slippers very much, but next time buy the slippers and let me have you all the days. I would rather have my child than anything she can make for me."

Is it possible our heavenly Father sometimes feels lonely for the company of His children? Are we so busy doing good that we forget-or are too weary- to spend some quiet time with Him as our day draws to a close?

Take a walk with your heavenly Father as the sun sets. Spend some quality time, talking to Him about anything and everything. You will be blessed and so will He!

Welcome to Florida Ms Irene

Phisher thinks it is great fun to chase down the tennis balls. He comes in pretty handy, he just doesn't like to give them back.
Irene and the kids had a great time playing tennis today. Look out Williams sisters, these two ladies will challenge your tennis skills!

The sun rise.
The sun is rising in the above photo. The photo below is just before sun rise when the sky and clouds are painted with the suns colors.

This morning, the twins got me up early, before sunrise. Yes, it is true, the little p's are not known for sleeping or for sleeping in. It was just amazing to be out on the deck with my warm coffee and sweet babies waiting to see the sunrise over the ocean. I just stood in awe, and thanked the Lord for this blessing. When I am here on the island or on any beach really I just can not help being taken away with His beautiful creation. I know for some it is the mountains and I love them too, but there is something special for me at least about the beach. I love the sound of the waves rolling in on the sand and the water being pulled back out again, only to come crashing or gently rolling back to the shore. I love the sounds the sea gulls make as they fly over head. My most favorite sound of all is when the water is calm and you can hear the water rolling over the sea shells. It sounds kind of like a wind chime, it is hard to describe the sound with words, but if you have heard this sound you know what I am talking about.

After we ate breakfast this morning, we all went for a walk on the beach and collected sea shells. Irene told us this is the first time she has ever been to the beach. I think she loved it!

We picked up Irene at the Tallahassee airport yesterday at 12:30 pm. It was so fun to see her.
We had lunch at, "On the Border", one of my favorite places to eat and then we did a little shopping. We drove back to St George Island and the road runs along the Gulf of Mexico, it is a beautiful drive. As we were driving over the 2 mile bridge to the island the sun was setting, it was a perfect evening.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Week 2 on the Island

The kids and I drove Jamie to Tallahassee yesterday so he could catch a flight home. We really encouraged him to call in with shell fish poison, H1N1, anything so he could stay the second week with us but as much as he wanted too, the old German work ethic, responsible and honest person he is flew home so he could work so we can play. You gotta love that guy, we sure do!

This morning when the twins woke me up this is what we saw. . . I don't think I will ever tire of seeing a sunrise over the Gulf. (I can't get my photos to post where I want them, forgive me)

After breakfast we decided to go for a walk on the beach. I found this awesome back pack/child carrier at the Goodwill in Tallahassee. It is awesome, Phisher and I loved it! We also bought some tennis racquets and balls and we are going to play some tennis here on the island after lunch.

Last but not least, while shopping at Dillard's, also in Tallahassee, I found these C U T E shoes for the twins. The twins love Sesame Street and these shoes are made by Polliwalks. They had Cookie, Elmo and Oscar. They are a little big now, but Phisher enjoys eating his : )

Tomorrow we are heading back to Tallahassee, we will be picking up Ms Irene at the airport. She has never been to the beach before and we are looking forward to experiencing it with her for the first time.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from the pool

We started the day off with an hour of beach time. The BIG P's even got in the surf! I relaxed in my favorite lounge chair and read my book and the twins napped. The BIG P's created this masterpiece gingerbread house. I am thrilled that they enjoy each others company and play so well together. I keep wondering when/if that will change but I am happy that it is still the same : )

After lunch we all went for a swim. It was pretty great to be in Florida and swimming in the pool on Christmas. After a delicious Christmas dinner we gave the little p's these cute cupcakes we bought in Apalachicola at a gourmet bakery, Thats a Moray, their logo is a green eel! True to their personalities, Phisher got right in there and thoroughly enjoyed his and Phelix was a little shy about his cupcake but did enjoy having cake!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas on the Island

Christmas 2009 is a special Christmas for us for many reasons. Having been blessed with two additional sons, Phelix and Phisher will make this Christmas one we will cherish for sure. Parker and Paeton continue to amaze us in their love and care for the twins. God sure knew what He was doing when he choose them as big brother and big sister for the little guys. We are often asked how our older children are doing with the addition of the twins. We always answer, "Amazingly, they just love them so much!" To which the asker will reply, "Oh, that's good that they have accepted them", or something to that effect. I think the asker is truly concerned, but I just can not imagine Parker and Paeton reacting any other way than total acceptance and genuine family love for their brothers.

We are spending Christmas on St George Island this year. If there was another place that feels like home to us it would be here. We have taken our family vacation here for the last 8 years. It is truly a vacation, and one we enjoy spending quality time together as a family. We will miss seeing our families and attending our church but we are having a relaxing, wonderful time together. We have been invited to attend Christmas eve services at the Methodist church in Applachicola by, Sandra, our new friend and sister in Christ.

We are so thankful for all of our blessings this year. Our children, families and friends. Our home, church, school and teachers. For the experience of adoption and how it has changed our hearts and lives for the good of His kingdom. Our health and our wealth which keeps our tummies full, cute clothes and shoes on our bodies and gives us the ability to be a blessing to others. Most of all for continued growth in our friendship with the Father, as we grow closer and deeper into relationship with Him, He lives in us and by His grace, may others know Him because His light shines within us for all to see. Merry Christmas from the Island!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Evian Roller Babies international version

Jamie and I caught the last couple of minutes of the tv show the funniest commercials of 2009. This was our hands down favorite!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I married my sister

Okay, now that I have your attention, I really did marry my sister, just not in the physical sense. My sister, Wendy and her now husband, Aric, asked me if I would officiate their marriage ceremony. It is true, that I went on line and became an ordained pastor on Valentines Day 2009. It is also true that I took the charge very seriously. I referenced the movie, "Fireproof", and the book, "The Love Dare" during the ceremony. Marriage is a lifetime commitment, that unfortunately ends in divorce over 50% of the time. Wendy and I came from a divorced family, like over half of our friends and family members and you can say I am a little passionate about leaving a legacy of marriage for my own children. So to say I took the charge of being the one to marry my sister seriously is really an understatement. Our Pastor, Ron, did a 4 part sermon series on Marriage last spring in preparation for his only daughters wedding. He had written a blessing for his daughter and her husband that he would then share with them at their wedding that he would be officiating. I used his sermon series as my inspiration for the blessing I wrote for my sister and her husband. You can get a copy of the sermon series at lacroixchurch.org , it is titled, THE KNOT. The you tube video I have below is a song from the "Fireproof" sound track, Love is not a fight, by Warren Barfield. I like the song a lot and I truly believe the lyrics. I have promised to support Wendy and Aric in their marriage in any way that I can. It is my prayer that their marriage succeeds, because our marriages and our families are worth fighting for. Congratulations Wendy and Aric on your marriage and new life together. Thank you for allowing me to play a part in the ceremony. Your wedding was truly one of the loveliest weddings I have ever been to. It was so sincere, so full of love and friendship. God loves you both and with HIS help you will leave a legacy of marriage for your girls as well. I love you all!

Who's this handsome guy????

You all know Parker, our oldest child. You know he has worn his hair L O N G for the last couple of years. Yeah, he takes a lot of crap for it but he likes it that way! I'm a huge fan of his long hair, he keeps it clean, it is soooooo thick, he truly has great hair! Well, yesterday he decided to make a change. Yes, it is true, he cut his hair. He looks so different. Many people did not even recognize him this weekend at church or at his basketball game today. He has made a big impression with his new 'do. Paeton even said to me last night, "Mom, I really like Parker's hair, he looks really good."

Here is a recent photo of Parker and his hair just 2 weeks ago at my sisters wedding.

Isn't he just the most handsome fella you have ever seen. Yes, I know I am being THAT mom right now, but he is just the most AWESOME kid!

And now, presenting, the shorter hair version of the same drop dead gorgeous kid! He looks so much older, I'm still getting used to this new fella. He looks taller too, I know it sounds crazy but this is the very comment that everyone has, "Parker looks taller and older." Well, they say change is good, Parker likes his new hair cut and so do we.

My sister got married on November 7 like I mentioned above, a post a photos coming soon about this special day!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

VISA Interview

I just heard from Zufi today that she was able to schedule her interview with the American Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The date of her interview, she told me is October 1, Tuesday. Jamie and I looked at each other funny and then remembered the Ethiopian calendar is 2 months behind ours. Here in America, her interview is set up for Tuesday, December 1. It is during this interview that she will either be granted a visitors visa to come and visit us or she will be denied this opportunity. Would you please pray for God to just open the doors and provide the way for her to come. We believe this is HIS plan and we are believing that He will give her the pathway to America. Come on all you faithful prayer warriors, please pray for Gods own hand to bring Zufi to visit us. Pray for His Spirit, the Holy Spirit to be with Zufi at the interview. I ask that you would also pray for our family and Zufi that the time we are able to spend together would be glorifying and pleasing to the Lord. That HIS will would be done during the time He allows us to be together.

On a separate note, another baby girl is coming home to her forever family soon. We met the cutest couple while we were in Ethiopia this summer. Andrew and Holley, visit them at, www.thebrownbagspecials.blogspot.com flew from Texas, to meet the little girl they had just accepted as a referral. They flew thousands of miles within a couple of weeks of accepting her referral just to meet their sweet girl. Well it was the most fantastic thing until they realized they would have to take her back to the orphanage (after the best week of their entire lives together) and wait for all of her paperwork to be approved and for the courts to approve their adoption.
I am happy to report that they will be leaving soon to go back to Ethiopia and bring their princess home to Texas forever. I am so full, so full of happiness for all of them! So full of Gods love for Andrew, a new father, for Holley, a new mommy to a precious daughter, for Ethan, a first time big brother and especially full of thanksgiving for Lila, the Lord has heard her prayer and answered in this wonderful family!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The letter arrived

Zufi received her invitation letter from us yesterday! It took almost 3 weeks to arrive to her address in Ethiopia. She is now trying to get through to the US embassy on their web site to schedule her interview for the visitor visa. We believe this is God's desire to have her come to the USA to visit us. You know, when you know, and when He starts planting seeds in your heart that germinate and grow into these plans and desires that only He can come up with! Then you KNOW this is HIS plan! Please pray for open doors for Zufi to come stay with us so that His true plan may be revealed for her, for our family, for His kingdom.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

November in the Park with Irene

Tuesday was just beautiful here in SE Missouri. It seems like the last month all it has done is rain and now this week it has been in the high 70's with lot's of sunshine. Irene, (above) my dear friend who comes a couple days a week to help me care for the boys, and I decided our walk with the boys that morning just wasn't enough outside time for us. After lunch, we packed up and went to the park. The boys love being outside! They enjoyed swinging, sliding down the red slide and the leaves!
I have posted about Irene before,(September 8), she and her family are waiting to hear if they have been approved for their green card status. They were suppose to hear something in October, but today is November 14, and still no word. Please pray for her family, that God would pave the way for them to stay in America. Her husband has been here for 12 years and has earned 3 masters degree. He has to be a full time student to meet the requirements of his visa. This limits the work he can do to provide for his family. Irene and their two sons joined Willis here 6 years ago. They are a very hardworking family who wish to be given the opportunity to work here in America and provide for their family. They do not want anything given to them, they just want what many Americans take for granted. . . a job, an education for their sons and to practice their Christian faith serving the KING!
I love Irene and her family. She and her family have become family to us. She has blessed me in so many ways. She teaches me everyday about the love and faithfulness of the Lord. Born and raised in Kenya, an educated and successful business woman there, joined her husband here for a better life for their boys. Her life story is a testimony of the Lords grace and redeeming love. I ask for your prayers on behalf of my sister, Irene.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Rainbow and Spiders

Happy Halloweenie too all!

Friday, October 30, 2009


This is Zufi! (like Sophie but with a Z) Isn't she GORGEOUS! We love her! Zufi works as a receptionist at the Ethiopian Guest House where we stayed while we were in Ethiopia this summer. She has gone to college for nursing in Ethiopia but she can not get a job as a nurse there. She is super friendly and outgoing. She has a contagious smile. She speaks very good english. She is super smart. Zufi loves the LORD! Our family just fell in love with Zufi, she was so helpful to us while we were totally out of our element in Ethiopia with two new infant children and trying to care for our big kids who were sick. Paeton developed a very special bond with Zufi. Paeton made her a necklace and Zufi braided Paeton's hair. Paeton started asking if we could bring Zufi home with us after a couple of days. They had so much fun together.

After we arrived home our friendship continued to grow. We have decided to invite Zufi to come to the USA and visit us. As we understand it, she can obtain a visitor visa and come to stay with us for up to 1 year. Today we mailed our letters to Ethiopia, 1 to the US Embassy to invite her and request she be given a visitor visa and the other letter to Zufi, to invite her to come. We are very excited to have her with our family again, she just seems to fit with us! Would you please keep Zufi, our family, and this situation in your prayers. We are praying for the Lords blessing to bring her here and blessing her visit with our family. We are excited to share our home, our lives and America with Zufi!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Registration of Foreign Adoption

It is official today in the state of Missouri and the United States that our family grew by 4 feet this summer. Because the adoption of the twins was done in Ethiopia the US requires us to register their adoption here. They will be issued new birth certificates and it will appear they were born in the state of Missouri. We kind of think this is beside the point, because we all know they were born in Ethiopia, but this also allows for us to change their names. Tariku, is now Phisher Merritt Outman and Babi is now Phelix Merritt Outman. Merritt, being my maiden name. Their date of birth is January 25, 2009, which they share with their BIG brother Parker; who happens to think this is super cool! It was an exciting morning and we celebrated over breakfast at one of our fav little places downtown, Socials. Parker and Paeton were a little late for school this morning, they did not seem to mind. The Judge asked the BIG P's if this adoption was okay with them and if they thought it was in the best interest of our family. With beaming smiles, they said, "YES!". We have so many reasons to be thankful, but right now I am counting my blessings in my 4 children and my wonderful husband, thank you, Jesus!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Little Pumpkins

The BIG P's and I took the little p's to Deibolds Orchards for a little fall fun while Jamie went and sat in a tree waiting for Bambi to walk by so he could shoot his arrow through Bambi's lungs. We had a blast and came home with lot's of pumpkins. The two in the photo's below are the cutest! Tomorrow morning we have court to register our adoption here in the states and officially change the boys Ethiopian names, Tariku and Babi to their American names we have given them. Keep us in your prayers that everything is approved and final tomorrow.

Friday, October 9, 2009


You may need to turn up the sound on your computer to hear the song, Holy, Holy, Holy. The twins are watching a DVD from the praisebaby collection. This is one of their favorite gifts they have received. The DVD is approx 30 min long and includes popular praise and worship songs with images of children, colorful animation and real world objects. go here to check it out and get more info: www.praisebabycollection.com Some of the songs included on this DVD are:

I could sing of your love forever, Open the eyes of my heart, Lord I lift your name on high, Wonderful merciful Savior, Shout to the Lord, and more.

The twins love it and I love watching them raise their hands and worship their Lord! It is a great way to start the day. We love it so much I have recently ordered the other three DVD's in the collection. Be blessed.

Crawling. . . Almost

I got home last night from buying baby food and diapers and look what Jamie captured on film. He really thought Phisher was going to do it and he didn't want me to miss it : )
From a sitting position he gets himself on his hands and knees and starts rocking back and forth. The BIG P's and dad are so excited for Phisher to accomplish this milestone. I however, can wait! : ) Did I mention that I CAN WAIT! : )

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Phelix talking to Phisher

Phisher is usually the most vocal of the twins so last night when Phelix started talking and talking and talking to his brother we were so tickled! Phelix was using a very complex vocabulary, words we did not even know he knew! Enjoy this little bit of the conversation : )

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bouncing Octopus

Phelix loves this bouncy swing that you attach to your door frame. He is laughing at Paeton jumping with him and shaking her hair wildly.
His laugh is contagious and his smile could warm even the 'grinches' heart! We seriously walk around all day saying to ourselves or anyone else who will listen, "I love this little fella!"

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Water Tornado

You know after you take a bath and you release the drain and the water begins to go down the drain. It reaches a certain level and then it looks like a mini tornado is whirling around your drain. Okay, you with me this far? Well Jamie showed Phisher this phenomena a couple of bath times ago and now he tries to catch it after every bath : ) Is he not just the absolute CUTEST!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Reflections on turning 40

I know some women who dread this birthday but for me I am thankful for the 40 years of life I have lived. I have always had clean water to drink and bathe in, enough food to nourish my body, a home to live in, clothes and shoes to wear and a family who loves me. I have had the opportunity to be educated and graduate from college, have a career and earn an income. I am blessed to be married to my best friend. We celebrated our 15 year anniversary in Ethiopia with our FOUR children; who can only be described as gifts from God.

So I am celebrating my 40th birthday looking back on a blessed and fortunate life. I am looking forward to using all He has gifted me with to serve Him and make a difference for His kingdom with the rest of it!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Selah, "Unredeemed"

A friend and mother of an Ethiopian adopted son had this new song and these lyrics posted on her blog over the weekend. Not to be a copy cat but I post them here to share the TRUTH! Our family has been hit recently with unimaginable betrayal from the evil one. Jamie and I were completely taken off guard and were trying to process this for ourselves but at the same time wondering how we were going to talk to our kids about this. As adults, we know we will be let down and as christians we know our walk will be challenging. But if you mess with my kid then you better watch out because then you have awakened the mamma and pappa bear and we will come after you.

We prayed for nearly a week and got guidance from pastors we trust. We had the conversation with our kids a week ago and they were hurt. It was crushing to watch our children hurting because of someone who abused their position as a spiritual mentor and actually did evil, physical damage to the very children they were trusted to grow in CHRIST! Not to mention the hundreds/thousands of other kids that are now hurting and will struggle with this betrayal for a long time.

I want to share a few things that I found helpful in getting through the hurt because I think there is something here we can all take away from this experience:
1. "As you love your kids back to their feet again, let them know we don't understand many things this side of Heaven, but God is STILL in control and reigning from HIS throne."
'And so Lord, where do I put my hope? MY ONLY HOPE IS IN YOU.' Psalm 39:7

2. A child's mom and dad will someday fail them. A child's coach/teacher will fail someway. And yes, a child's hero will fail in someway. God never wanted us to have idols made of gold, silver, or even human flesh. Our hero, Jesus, will never fail!

'Blessed be the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by
GOD,' 2 Corinthians 1:4

The cruelest world
The coldest heart
The deepest wound
The endless dark
The lonely ache
The burning tears
The bitter nights
The wasted years

Life breaks and falls apart
But we know these are
Places where grace is
Soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But when anything that's shattered
Is laid before the Lord
Just watch and see
It will not be

For every choice that led to shame
And all the love that never came
For every vow that someone broke
And every lie that gave up hope
We live in the shadow of the fall
But the cross says these are all
Places where grace is
Soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But when anything that's shattered
Is laid before the Lord
Just watch and see
It will not be

Places where grace is
Soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But you never know the miracle
The Father has in store
Just watch and see
It will not be
Just watch and see
It will not be

Written by Chad Cates, Tony Wood, Brian Petak

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


In the middle of the basement finishing project we decided to replace all the toilets in the house too. The toilet in the hall off the kitchen had a tendency to not flush well and even went as far as over flowing twice, making it "rain" in the basement, YUCK! We have a Habitat for Humanity, ReStore here in Cape and before they came to pick up the old potties we captured this. Jamie thinks it is Christmas card worthy. Please leave me a comment and let me know if you agree.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ab workout or bouncy seat?

Phisher decided he was not going to nap today. I had a weeks worth of laundry to do, so I put him in his bouncy seat. I came around the corner and saw him using the attachment bar as handles for his ab crunches. I had to run to grab the flip cam and before I could start filming he already had at least 1,000 crunches done. He is a little tired out here but this is what I was able to capture on film : )

Sunday, September 20, 2009