Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ugandan Magazine Necklaces for Sale!

We have been trying to come up with unique and creative ways for us to fundraise. Running the half marathon was one way ... and update on that training coming soon ... the good and the bad. We thought that selling the Ugandan Magazine Necklaces from 147 Million Orphans was another great way to raise money ... and it's a win-win. We are helping a feeding program in Uganda and we are helping bring our daughter home from Ethiopia.

I know you need one (or another one if you have one). Think of that mother, sister, daughter, best friend that needs one. Are you an early Christmas shopper? Have a birthday coming up? Here's your chance for a very unique gift that you can't find at Kohl's or JC Pennys.

The cost is $25 per necklace and $2.95 for shipping/handling. If you purchase more than one, shipping will still only be $2.95. There is a "Buy Now" button on the left side of our blog,, for you to pay through Paypal. If you live by us, just let us know that you want one (or 10) and we can get them to you (to save you the shipping).

Here's a couple pictures of my bride modeling what the necklaces look like. Each one will be unique but amazing nonetheless.

Sample of a necklace

Amber wearing it doubled as a necklace. It could also be worn as a long necklace going down to your waist.

She tripled it around her neck to make it shorter.

It can also be used as a bracelet.

So, remember with your purchase, you are helping bring our daughter home, Katie's feeding program in Uganda, and the Ugandan women who are making the necklaces. Please let me know if you have any questions! Thank you!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

One year with Silas...

One year ago yesterday, we were in Ethiopia, walked through the gates of Hannah's Hope, and met Silas for the first time. What an amazing day! This past year has been filled with so much joy, laughter, learning, and smiles. There is so much to say here and so little time to say it ... mostly because I can't keep my eyes open.

Silas is an amazing boy. At some point, I need to do a year-in-review recap ... until then, I will just say that I am so blessed to be able to call him my son.

We went out to eat at Chuy's last night and then came home and had some cake (after a song, of course). The boy loves the word 'happy' now. Ever since my birthday when Amber and he sang happy birthday to me and he helped me blow out my candles. We'll say cake and he'll say 'happy' :)

I know some people don't prefer the term 'gotcha day' but we're ok (at least for now) with it so please reserve any of those comments (well, for the 5 people that read this blog still).

Here was our boy on June 15, 2009 at Hannah's Hope in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We had just met him and he was sound asleep ... the boy still LOVES his sleep ... makes his daddy proud! :) . We waited a few minutes before his special mother said it was ok to wake him's still so surreal.

And here he was last night...

We love you Silas!! I thank God everyday for allowing me to be your daddy and for His provision in your life. I can't wait to see what the next year has in store for may even be a big brother by then!! :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

For Me & My Daughter In Ethiopia

So you know how you have those things you want to do before a certain age, before you die, etc, etc? Those things could be God-centered or worldly. You know, your bucket list?

And then there are things you sign up for that you have no idea that you'd ever do that. Better yet, that you'd say you'd never do. Yeah, that's where I'm at right now...

Let me back up before moving forward...

Growing up, I was always a big kid. I was always a big adult. Check that. An overweight young adult. Check that again ... an obese adult. I've always "justified" some of the weight because of the scoliosis (curvature of the spine) that I have and I would be taller if my spine was straight. I had surgery in 1995 due to a 64 degree curve in my shoulder. They straightened it halfway to about 32 degrees but my spine is still over in my shoulder. One good side effect from surgery was that I grew 3 inches during surgery. I went into surgery between 5'10"-5'11" and came out of surgery 9 hours later between 6'1"-6'2". To tell you how bad the curve was, I was supposed to be 6'5"-6'6" so I had ~7 inches of spine curvature in my shoulder. Nuts. Nonetheless, I justified my weight because my body 'thought' I was 6'6" and the weight wouldn't be as bad on someone that height. I know. Sad.

OK, sorry for the tangent.

So before meeting Amber, I decided enough was enough. So, about 10 years ago (wow, can't believe that was 10 years ago), I bought a treadmill, started running and eating better. I got up to running 20+ miles a week and lost over 100 pounds. Through the course of many, many events, I got out of that routine. After our marriage, I gained alot of that weight back. Throughout the past 3-4 years, I lost some and have maintained close to what I've lost ... +/- 10 pounds probably. But I'm still ~30 pounds heavier than I want to be.

OK, so couple that story with the story of our adoption. With Silas, we were able to use savings and a HELOC on our house for his adoption. With our baby girl, those aren't there and now we're having to trust God in a way we didn't necessarily have to with Silas' adoption. For those who know me, you know I don't like asking for things. If I can figure out a way to do it myself, I choose that path every time. I know that is limiting and creates obstacles where God is trying to give me freedom, but honestly my pride usually gets in the way of that.

So, a few months ago, I decided I needed to start running again. I know my metabolism and I have to exercise ... it doesn't matter what I eat. My metabolism is slower than (enter slowest thing you know here). Well, easier said than done. It is just so hard to find time in my schedule. I am up at 5:15-5:30am, at work by 6:30am, home usually around 4:30pm, hang out with family and then eat supper with the family around 5-5:30pm. We will then hang out/play outside/etc and Silas goes down between 7:30-8pm. By that time, the farthest thing in my mind is working out. So I don't. And I selfishly do not want to give up that family time together.

A couple months ago, I get this wild-hair idea that I could force myself to work out if I signed up to run the 1/2 marathon in our town this fall. And then thought I could get family/friends to sponsor me for our adoption. So I tell a couple people about my idea and they think it's great. I kinda laugh and say that I doubt it will happen but it's a good idea for someone. Well, then Amber starts telling people I may do it. The snowball is growing and I honestly didn't have any intentions on training for this thing. I can't find 20 minutes to work out ... let alone training for a 1/2 marathon! So, I still joke that I doubt it will happen. I mean, seriously, for those that know me, that's actually a pretty funny thought. Me running 13.1 miles. Yeah, pretty comical.

Well, that thought hasn't been able to go away over the past few weeks and has been growing stronger and stronger daily. I have felt like it has been an true invitation from God. So, last Friday, on my birthday of all days, I signed up for the race. I know, a day of weakness thinking I'm a year older and realize how old I thought 34 was at one point in my life. That's a whole 'nother topic there. Nevertheless, I'm committed now. Paid my money and everything. Still can't believe I will actually be doing this. But, here is what I do know through this invitation.
  • It's for me. I need to get back healthy. For me. For Amber. For Silas. And for my daughter in Ethiopia.
  • It's for my daughter. God showed me that I can spend time with her while running, especially since I'm not doing as much on this blog. I can be praying for her and for her birth family. I can imagine what it will be like for her to be in my life. I can dream of what her face will look like. I can envision what it will be like to see her picture for the first time, to hold her for the first time, to be together as a family of 4.
  • I can ask others to sponsor me in the race to help bring our little girl home. This goes back to the pride thing. Nonetheless, I know walls will be broken down here for me.
  • For Jesus. At the end of this, He will be glorified. It is He who is giving me the strength to run this race. It is He who has marked the course of my life. It is He who all good things come from. It is He that has put the love of the orphan in our heart. I can't wait to see what He'll do through this ... how He will change me physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

OK, so there it is. It's public. I have started training to get my cardio up. It looks like Silas will be helping me train a couple days a week in his jogging stroller. We'll see how long he enjoys that in the hot summer but he and I can talk about his sister together ... that is, once I'm able to breathe while running and don't sound like I'm going to fall over hyperventilating. If nothing else, it should lead to some entertaining Facebook statuses.

For my friends out there, hold me accountable. I'm going to need your help! I will keep you informed of my progress. The good thing is that my posts are so scarce here that it will look like I'm making good progress between each post :)