pocket frogs 2


\\Dig Deep in Chuko

lilly pie

Lilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

Christmas 2009, St George Island, FL

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What a difference a year makes

The fellas on the slide at the park
Irene with the boys!
Phelix loves to swing, but he is about to fall asleep here, he was so relaxed!
Phisher, mr ton of FUN!!
Gotta love this weather! It was in the mid 70's here today. Looking to be in the 80's thursday and friday. Hope the weather holds for the twins first easter egg hunt :>)

REFERRAL DAY 1 year ago

This is our little PhisherThis is little Phelix

I was exactly one year ago today we received THE call from Leah our adoption coordinator. She called our home around 4:15 pm. These are the first photos we saw of the TWINS!

This is the blog entry from one year ago:

I had been expecting a call from our coordinator for an update on things. Denver had been hit with a big snow storm so the agency had been without power/phones for 5 days. When she called me at 4:15 pm and said I do have some news for you, I immediately knew it was more than the update. She started to tell me she had our referral, that it was for twin boys, they appeared to be healthy and only 1 1/2 months old. Did I want her to send me their referral over the internet so we could take a look at their medical form and their pictures. I yelled at Parker, who was upstairs, to call his Dad and tell him to come home. I hung up the phone with Leah, knowing that as soon as Jamie made it home we would be seeing our double blessings from the LORD.

Jamie called and said that he was on his way home, and said, "Parker didn't say if it was for a boy or a girl?" I said, "Well that is the funny part. . . pause, it is for TWIN Boys!!!" Jamie is like are you kidding me? What do you think of twin boys? I said, "I think God has a great sense of humor and HE thinks we can do this." Parker and I are in shock, waiting for Jamie to get home. Paeton is outside soaking up the sun, doing her homework. Parker keeps asking me if he can go tell Paeton to come in. I said no, I did not want to tell her until Jamie got home. Even though we all had been praying that our desires would be HIS desires in this adoption, I just was not sure how she would react to twin boys, she really wanted a sister.

Jamie arrived, we called Paeton in and set up the video camera, to record us seeing the boys for the first time, and then Jamie pulled up the files. Paeton, sitting on my lap, thought at first it was a boy and a girl, we told her it was twin boys. We all knew immediately they were ours! It has taken a week to really sink in that we have twin sons waiting for us to bring them home.

We called my mom and dad who were both very excited. Jamie called his parents who had plans to go out to eat to celebrate his dad's 1 year of retirement, we asked if we could join them. So we met them out for dinner. Parker had one medical/picture in his pocket and the plan was that he would tell his grandparents we received our referral. So as they were ooohing and ahhing over Phisher's picture Paeton says, "We have another surprise for you!" She takes out the medical/picture of Phelix and presents them with the reality that we will be adopting TWINS!!! This was a super fun surprise!!

We got home and printed off pictures for the kids to take to school to show off their brothers. I do not think any of slept real well this night, too much excitement for one day!! We just feel so blessed! I will post soon about the CELEBRATION LUNCH dear friends treated me to the next day, and about the gifts Jamie bought the boys and brought to the luncheon!


This is the video of us opening the boys referral and seeing them for the very first time!

From this day one year ago until the day I had both boys in my arms in Ethiopia were some of the hardest days for me. I could not stop thinking that they needed me and I needed them! This time and the whole adoption experience taught me dependence on the LORD! As I look back I can now see that He was continuing to mold me and shape me in His image. His plans are the best and although I could not understand the waiting time for us to be together I now see the greater benefit and I am thankful. I can honestly say I thought I knew what a blessing He was bestowing on us but I just can not comprehend it still today. There are not words to describe how totally blessed beyond measure we are and how thankful we are each and every day for the twins. They have just added huge amounts of good, love and fun to our family! God is good!

Friday, March 26, 2010

14 months

Phisher aka Energizer Bunny! Almost has that second top tooth! What a fun guy!
Mr Phelix! He has 5 teeth now. Two on top, three on the bottom. What a sweetie!
He was not a fan of the eye patch the first time he had to wear it. He is a champ and is doing okay with it now. Let's pray the Lord corrects this little weakness and restores his vision completely!

Can not believe the twins are 14 months old already! Phisher is still living up to his nick name of the Energizer Bunny. He is walking every where, loves to crawl up the stairs and help me with the dishes and laundry :>) Phelix is doing AWESOME! He is receiving speech tx, physical tx, and occupational tx daily. He had an eye appointment last week and the good news is his vision looks great! He has a minor weakness in his right eye muscle and it causes his right eye to droop a little. He is a little shy about showing you his eye patch he wears on his left eye 30 min a day. Good news is this should strengthen that right muscle and hopefully when he goes back in September he can give all of his eye patches away. The BIG news in our house is that Phelix is now crawling!! We are so proud of him! He works so hard in tx and is making huge progress! Way to go PHELIX, you the man little buddy!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ecuador Mission Trip - Photo Journal

These photographs tell the story of eight young men who came together to serve God's people in Ecuador. It is a story only HE could have written . . . about friendships and working together as a team for His glory alone. It is a story that embraces other cultures and circumstances very different from the norm for these young men. It is about how the first become last and the last become first. . . a story about the love for all of His people. Praise the Lord for the work that was done in and through these young men! They will never be the same. . . on a mission to teach and serve. . . coming home feeling that, we went to serve them, why do we feel so full? That is the "gift" the Lord gives to us when we come along side of Him and are the hands and feet of Jesus.

Ecuador Mission Trip - Final

Here is the final video of the mission trip to Ecuador. Parker is home, we are happy but he could have stayed serving the people of Ecuador. He fell in love with the beauty of the country. He really liked how green and lush it is! He made lasting friendships with those he served with and tells us new stories daily of the fun memories! We are so thankful to his counselors from Kanakuk Kamp that have invested in our son and his relationship with the Lord. As a parent it just doesn't get any better than this. . . watching your child grow in relationship with Jesus and serve others passionately!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

the last day of 2010 mission trip to Ecuador


Today was our last full day here in Ecuador and it's one we will never forget. We spent all morning at a school loving on kids and playing soccer. The school was located in a very poor part of town, so it was fun to see the smiles that our team brought to the kids faces. After playing for hours, we got to feed all 300 kids. Compassion International supports most of the kids at this school, so it was fun to see this incredible ministry in action.

Tonight, a local pastor and his wife prepared an authentic Ecuadorian dinner for our team. It was a great way to end our time here in Ecuador.
You know...our team came on this trip to be a blessing to the people of Ecuador but we find ourselves as the blessed ones as we leave this beautiful country. It has been a life-changing trip and really fun to watch the Lord open up the guys eyes and hearts to God's Kingdom. The Creator we serve and love transcends culture, language, and social class. It is one thing to see it on the TV, but it is another thing to see it, taste it, hear it, and feel it. We are so grateful for how the Lord used us and changed us at the same time. Praise God!

We are headed home tomorrow morning. Our bus leaves at 4:00am so we are going to bed! Thanks again for praying for our trip. God is good!

Ecuador Mission Trip - Day 6

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ecuador Mission Trip - Day 5

Ecuador Mission Trip - Day 5


It was another great day in Ecuador. The Lord continues to do neat things here. The memories are plentiful. The friendships are rich. The Lord's provision is evident. We spent all morning at a Compassion school painting classrooms and serving. It is always an adventure to paint with middle school kids!

After a quick lunch, we went to go see the Equator north of Quito. It was really fascinating and the guys loved it. Who would of thought that we would get a science lesson out of our trip? Lots of memories at the Equator today!

We capped off the day by watching the movie "End of the Spear" which took place here in Ecuador and is such an incredible picture of the Gospel.
Tomorrow is our last full day here in Ecuador and we plan to pack a ton into it. We will spend most of the day at a local school playing with kids and sharing the hope of Jesus! We have arranged a truly Ecuadorian meal tomorrow night at a local ministers house to cap off the week. The boys are hoping to try Guinea Pig...but I think they are all talk at this point. We'll see....

Thanks for staying updated on our journey here in Ecuador!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ecuador Mission Trip - Day 4

I am giving all the glory to God, "who is able to do immeasurably more that all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us" Ephesians 3:20b, NIV

Day 4 in Ecuador

MONDAY, MARCH 15, 2010

Wow! Today was a great day here in Ecuador. We left early in the morning for the Indian Market in Ortavalo and it was really fun. Lots of color, smells, sounds, and bartering going on. It will be a fun memory.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at a rural church up in the Andes. It was an incredible experience to interact with these people and see their true dependence on the Lord. There is something really neat about worshiping with other nationalities in different languages. It was a life changing experience for all of us. We even got to tell the I'm 3rd story! -We are back in Quito now and will be heading to a school tomorrow to doing some painting. In the afternoon, we will visit the equator and get a little science lesson. Should be awesome!
Keep praying for our trip. It has been so fun to see the Lord changing our lives during this trip!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Jesus lives in the hearts of Children in Ecuador!

Day 4 text from Ecuador!
8:20 pm here and another great day in Ecuador! Breakfast at the hotel in Lbarra. Lightly eaten due to "runny eggs" then off to shop at the Indian market. Boys all had fun shopping and looking. We ate lunch at KFC where we met the pastor of the church we were to visit. It was another hour + drive in the mountains to find the church. Small village and very poor. 30 min after we arrived, we learned that we were running the service. We rallied the boys and had a blessed time. All the boys shared in teams of two (via translator). We shared with the children and 15-20 came to Christ! VERY COOL! We layed hands on each and prayed. Then we laid hands on the sick. All of the boys did great! After a bunch of hugs, we struck out on the 3 1/2 hour bus ride back to our guest house. Pizza for dinner tonight. Still looking for a safe place to eat guinea pigs? Jennifer (missionary) is an RN and has given us a good food direction! Keep up the prayers. Dad Snapp

Ecuador Mission Trip - Day 3

Dinner after a day of being the hands and feet of Jesus in Ecuador.
The majestic waterfall!
Beautiful faces of the Quencha Indians, Ecuador.
Kanakuk IRONMAN missionaries loving on the children in Ecuador!
Do you see HIS face in these little ones?

SUNDAY, MARCH 14, 2010

Tonight, we are in the middle of nowhere and we have wireless internet...go figure! We are currently on an overnight trip north of Quito visiting the Quencha Indians and having a great time. It took us awhile to get here, but once we arrived this morning, we have been off and running. Here is a little preview from our day:

Tomorrow is Sunday, so we are heading over the the native Indian Market to pick up some goods and then off to an Ecuadorian church in the afternoon. We will finish our day with a drive back to Quito.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Day 2 photos

We received our first text from Parker tonight, this is what he had to say:
"Mom & Dad, Hey guys! How are you? This is so cool! I have taken lots of pictures! You can look at videos of us on the BARN 13 blog! Adios! Love parker

I love this boy so much! Can I just say we are so proud of him! When God trusted us to parent this boy, He gave us a true gift! We will, by His grace, return this gift in the form of a true servant and life long warrior for His kingdom! It is really awesome when you love spending time with your kid, he is one of the greatest people Jamie and I have ever met! We love you son!

Ecuador Mission Trip - Day 2

Well...we are having a blast here in Ecuador. Today was our first full day here and it was packed full of sun, kids, paint, Jesus, volcanos, and guacamole. We spent most of our day at the Carpungo school where we played with the kids. After lunch, we found ourselves doing a little painting around the school to help them out. The sun was out and shining so the sunscreen was in full effect today. After leaving the school, we headed to the mountains and took a gondola to the top of an active volcano. It was a really fun experience with incredible views...not to mention cool temperatures at 14,000 feet. We capped off the day with an authentic Ecuadorian meal. We were hungry and ready for bed. Here is a video recap of the day...

It has been really fun to watch the boys catching the vision for loving on the people of Ecuador. It was only day 2, but we have had some great discussions at night of how the Lord is working in our lives here.

Tomorrow, we are headed 2 hours north of Quito to Otavalo. We will be there for the next two days working with a rural school, visiting some waterfalls, shopping at an Indian Market, and going to an Ecuadorian church on Sunday. We will travel back to Quito on Sunday night. I'm not sure what our internet access will be like the next 48 hours, so it might be Sunday night before we get anything posted.

Until then, keep praying for us. We sure appreciate it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

MY Missionary in Ecuador

Yesterday I took Parker to St Louis, MO to fly out and meet the rest of his group in Miami, FL. He and 8 other boys are serving the Lord in Ecuador for the next week. These young men have completed a 2 year Bible study, IRONMAN, through Kanakuk Ministries. Each month they study a book in the Bible verse by verse, writing it out one verse at a time, write what it means, how they can apply it in their life and then write a prayer. At the end of the month they send it in to their counselor from KAMP who looks over it, writes them a note of encouragement and they send it back. It has been an asset for Parker and his walk with the Lord.

We met an incredible Christian family who live in St Louis, the Snapp's. The dad and son are 2 of the 12 missionaries. The Lord really provided the pathway for our relationship with this family. Jamie nor I were able to take off and accompany Parker on his trip to Miami, where he would connect with the group. (I offered and was willing to stay the entire week in Miami until they returned, but I had no takers on my twins for the week?) Dad Snapp secured Parker a ticket to mirror he and his sons travel plans and was the shepherd that delivered Parker safely to the group. Thanks, Dad Snapp. Mom and Dad Snapp hosted our family in their home last Saturday for a wonderful lunch. It was amazing how quickly we all got acquainted and friendships started to develop. The Body of Christ is the only place to live!

Dad Snapp has graciously texted us with updates all along the way. Their flight out of St Louis was delayed an hour due to the president, Obama flying out. They made it to Miami, were up EARLY to catch their flight to Panama, then into Quito, the capital of Ecuador. These are they 2 text we have received since they landed in Quito.

"We made it to Ecuador! Nice trip from Panama to Quito. Newer plane and only about 75% full. Yes all of our luggage did make it and we did not have to pay additional fees. The boys seem to be getting to know each other and having fun. Good group. Much of the focus is on food. Collin (leader) handed out a bible study and prayer focus spiral notebook to each of the boys. We are now off the plane and heading to baggage and customs. Please pray that this goes smooth and that all of our items arrive and we are not questioned about our gifts. We will meet Mickey(missionary) on the other side and travel to our lodging."

"We had a great first day. Spent time adjusting to the thin air. The guest house is very nice. 4 boys to a room upstairs and the 4 adults downstairs. 4-5 college age students are here to help from US and Canada. We ate lasagna (local style) for dinner. Everyone seems well, one boy was tired and slept 2-3 hours, another had a mild head-ache and needed a couple of Tylenol. Parker and son Snapp went full bore all afternoon! Mickey and Jenifer(a nurse) our missionary host are great. after dinner we had puppetry 101 and practiced songs in our new tongue. Breakfast at 7:30 then off to work with children at a local school and do some painting. Thank you for your prayers about customs! We went straight through and did not have one bag looked at! PTL!"

The missionary team has asked us to pray in agreement with them for
1. safety 2. life change for team and those they serve 3. that the Lords will be done
Please pray in agreement with us for these prayers to be answered in a mighty way!

Dad Snapp sent us this photo with this caption,"They tried to rest. Lasted about 10 min." :>)
Parker is in brown t-shirt getting ready to score the winning GOAL!, son Snapp is on the left on the ground, Collin/Sparky in gray t-shirt standing at the top right of photo.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Least of These Painting by Brian Keith Daniel

This is the video of Brian Keith Daniel painting at our Celebrate Hope event February 27, 2010. The lady singing, Robyn Hosp, wrote this song for this painting at our event. We were blessed with so many talented worship artist who donated their time and talents to support Heart for Africa's first orphanage on Project Canaan. ENJOY!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

God smiles on Celebrate HOPE!

What a weekend. . . where do I even begin? God showed up. . . literally . . . He must have been pleased with our earthly efforts because the night was divine . . . something only He could do. Meeting Janine and Ian Maxwell and hearing first hand stories and plans for Project Canaan in Swaziland was exciting.
Brian Keith Daniel, an amazing worship artist from Atlanta, GA came and painted "the least of these" for the first time. If you have not witnessed Brian's ministry first hand you are missing something powerful. He donated the painting back to us to auction off that night. The dear friend of Teresa Birk that bought the painting for $8,000 donated it back to Teresa so it can be shipped to Africa to hang in the childrens home that will be built and dedicated in honor of Teresa's son, Jared who drowned 3 weeks after she returned home from Swaziland last summer. What a loving thing to do. . . I am just speechless. Brian Keith Daniel signed the painting, "for Jared" on the back.
We were set for 520 guests. We had to set up additional tables and chairs. Our community came out to support Celebrate HOPE big time! We do not have our final numbers yet but our goal was to raise $100,000 to build the first children's home on Project Canaan. The last unofficial count I heard was that after our expenses we raised $120,000. . . again I find myself without words. . . God is good!
After hearing Janine speak about the country of Swaziland: and how it's population has a negative growth rate; in 2005 the population was 1.1 million people and in 2008 it dropped to 950,000. This is directly related to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. It is estimated there are more than 200,000 AIDS orphans in Swaziland today and 8,000 more children orphaned every month. The average life expectancy in this tiny Kingdom in southern Africa (the size of the state of New Jersey) is only 29 years. A recent newspaper article in Swaziland claimed that without significant and immediate international intervention, there will be no adults living in Swaziland by the year 2020.
We issued this challenge to the 520 guest at the event, maybe they did not know the facts before they walked in the door this night, but now that they do know, now what?
. . . 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
Jamie, Paeton and I with Janine and Ian Maxwell. True servants, the hands and feet of Jesus in Africa. Janine launched her new book, Is it okay with you?, earlier this day at our Barnes and Noble. If you have not read her first book, It's not okay with me, get it read it and then get the new book and read it.
Jamie, Yann, Rosalie, Melissa, me, and Daniel. These are our friends from the Ivory Coast, Africa. Yann, Melissa and Daniel are International students at the university here, SEMO. Rosalie is Daniel and Melissa's mother who is a Dentist in the Ivory Coast. The outfit Jamie is wearing was a gift from these friends. Yann brought it back with him from his Christmas visit with his family. Jamie makes a handsome African man . . . we teased him all night!