"I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Acts 20:24

To Tell of His Grace

Monday, May 1, 2017

One Year of Forever!!!

What a JOY this last year with these two has been! We've laughed more than we ever thought imaginable :))) They have had a really beautiful transition overall ~ lots to learn and lots to grow through together as a family but God is faithful!

I told someone the other day how very scared we were a little over a year ago before we moved to Haiti. Kaylee Grace was still struggling so much throughout the day. I remember telling the Lord, "there's no way we can add more with how much she requires of me all day!" But we kept trusting and we kept moving forward in faith.......and we are SO thankful we did! Having not just one more but TWO more adopted siblings has brought such healing to Kaylee's life. We marvel that what we thought would tip us over the edge is what Jesus used to make our lives more manageable and peaceful!
Khloe's silliness, sassiness and joy makes us laugh all day long. Kaleb's sweet, calming presence has been the most precious blessing. Only the Lord can bring such glory out of what we fear the most! We are SO thankful they are home and that Jesus called us to be their forever!!

 We had fun celebrating their special day! Kaleb chose Pieology for lunch and Khloe chose donuts for a donut party :)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Fearfully Obeying....P.A.

One thing we know for sure at this point in our journey as Christ followers ~ our lives are not our own!!! And we are SO very thankful for that!!! HIS WAYS ARE ABOVE ALL and we have seen that time and time again as we have stepped out of our comfort zones and into the comfort of His loving arms.

About a year and a half ago I had a dream. A very real-seeming, vivid dream where I woke up and knew in my spirit that God had spoken to me. I was in a room in China and being walked towards a woman with a baby boy in her arms. He was all bundled up in almost like a snow suit and all I could really see was his sweet & adorable face. As I got closer I knew instinctively in my dream that this was our child. I began to walk at a faster pace towards him, ready to scoop him into my arms. The woman waved her hand at me saying, "not yet, not yet" and I woke up.

I had an overwhelming feeling that God had just showed me that we had a baby boy in China! I told Brodie and we just kind-of laughed it off......after all, we were in the THICK of praying through one of the biggest decisions (apart from adoption) that our family has ever made ~ moving to Haiti for the remainder of Kaleb and Khloe's adoption.

We moved on and continued to seek God's face regarding His will if we should move to Haiti. Ultimately, He made it very clear that He was in fact inviting us to experience His glory by surrendering our fears and desires and following Him to Haiti....which is exactly what we did a year ago. It was one of the scariest and hardest things our family has done but WOW did we experience His glory! We had Jesus alone to cling to and what a beautiful time in our lives it was. I look back now and can feel the sacredness of that season. We are so thankful that He invited us on that journey and humbled that He gave us courage to say YES!

We entered into a season of integrating Kaleb and Khloe into our family....teaching them what family is and learning yet again to lay down our lives and let Jesus' love flow thorough us to bring healing and wholeness to their precious hearts. Our new normal began to develop and I honestly didn't even really remember having that dream. Until.......

A few months ago I had another dream.....and I'm really not a big "dream" person. In fact, I rarely remember my dreams at all. I believe that Jesus desires to speak to each one of us. Especially those of us who call Him Lord and have become His children (John 1:12). He speaks in many different ways; sometimes He speaks through other believers, sometimes through His Spirit living inside of us, and He also speaks through His Holy Word. I have friends who often feel the Lord speaks to them through dreams and I can think of many times in the Bible where the Lord speaks to people through dreams - the main one that stands out to me is Joseph, when God shows him that he is to take Mary and baby Jesus to Egypt to flee from Herod (Matthew 2:13). So although I usually don't have vivid dreams like this I had now had 2 where I felt God was revealing something important to me.

This 2nd dream (which was about a year after my first dream) had the very same little boy in it. He looked about a year older but I knew it was the same little guy and I had the exact same feeling in my gut ~ that this was our child. This time I was holding him over my shoulder. I remember that he had a diaper on, and he was FILLED with joy! He threw his dead back laughing and I saw his face - the same boy - and there was something distinct about his right eye. In my dream I kept telling him to look at me with both of his eyes because his right eye seemed to wander a bit.

I woke up....this time I knew God had just showed me our son. I told Brodie. Again he was sure it was just a dream and that there was no way we'd be starting another adoption so soon after moving back home with Kaleb and Khloe :)  So I assumed that I was just to pray for this boy and if he was ours that God would reveal it at the proper time.

Just a few nights later I was laying the 3 littles down for bed and out of no where felt a strong nudge to look at Lifeline Children's waiting list ~ I ignored this prompting at first but kept feeling it so I finally logged on. I scrolled past dozens of adorable faces until I saw one that literally took my breath away! I saw the EXACT face (down to the snow jacket he was wearing!) from my 1st dream!!!  I couldn't believe what I was seeing! I clicked on his sweet little face to read about him......his special need???  Down syndrome.


What??!! Lord, there's no way! We are SO unqualified for that, Lord! Plus, we just got home 8 months ago, we are still bonding and adjusting, we still have days where we're totally over our heads! Jesus, You know we can't handle that!!

I felt His response so clearly in my spirit ~ "You're right, you can't handle a child with Down syndrome. You can't even handle what I've already entrusted to you. It is I who works in you to will and act according to My good purpose. Apart from Me you can do nothing. But with Me, ALL things are possible. "

I knew then and there that He was asking us to love this child and be his forever family ~ He was inviting us to love this child as He loves him. He perfectly knit him in his birth mother's womb for a glorious purpose. For His Glory!

I mentioned it to Brodie......he said he was 10,000% no. Jesus kept pressing this child on my heart. I asked Him WHY I was feeling this child was ours when Brodie was adamantly sure he wasn't. I felt in my heart as if God said, "I can change his 10,000% no to a confident yes in a moment ~ just trust Me." Both of our other adoptions the Lord spoke clearly to Brodie FIRST ~ that was so much easier for me to follow his lead and just trust that Jesus was leading us. Now it was me who heard the Lord first and I found myself doubting everything the Lord was speaking to my heart.

I asked Brodie if we could just request his file to find out more about him. He was fine with that so we did. I opened the file with updated pictures.....in the updated pictures I saw the exact little face I saw in my 2nd dream where his right eye drooped a little ~ again, I couldn't believe it! I felt like I already knew this little boy since the Lord had showed me his face as a baby in my 1st dream and then a year later He showed me what he looks like now in my 2nd dream!

Brodie knew the Lord was clearly doing something by giving me those dreams. He knows that more than anything I ONLY want what Jesus wants and he trusts me to hear from Him. We decided to take a few weeks to fast and earnestly pray & seek God's face. We decided we wouldn't talk about it at all together and only seek God's will. This was something we needed to hear His Voice clearly on and be completely unified in.

The last week of our fasting and praying (that makes us sound super spiritual but really we are just super desperate to only do what Jesus wants and doing some type of fast always helps us seek Him in a deeper way) Brodie and Kennady went to Haiti and Brodie had more time alone with Jesus then he's had in a long time. The Lord very clearly opened his heart and within a week or so of him being home we knew it was the Lord's will to move forward in bringing this sweet boy home!

I love how Brodie processed this all ~ he trusted and knew that Jesus had revealed His will through these two dreams. As he withdrew from his normal, daily routine and had no distractions he knew in his heart that this was God's will.....but as he says, he needed to grieve. He needed to grieve what his plans & dreams were for us in our future. We don't know what our future will look like but we do know that it will be very different now. I admire how he processed and even mourned giving up his dreams and desires for our future. As he says, we don't have to be "excited" right away about what God calls us to...we just have to obey and trust Him to work it all out.

So here we are, qualified only by the Spirit of Jesus living in us, at peace only because Jesus Himself is our Peace, obeying only because Jesus works in us to will and to act according to His good purpose and hopeful only because the God of all hope fills us with joy and peace as we trust in Him!!

Apart from Jesus we can do nothing....but with Him ALL things are possible!!

So without further ado we would like to introduce the newest Johanson.........

Kai James Johanson
We submitted our paperwork last week and already have Pre-Approval!!! We will keep you updated as things progress along :)))









Thursday, March 23, 2017

FOUR Years of Forever ~ Kaylee Grace

What a JOY to celebrate FOUR years of watching the Lord miraculously heal this sweet girl! 

Kaylee Grace, Jesus chose you & Redeemed your life for His Glory ~ we have seen His Power & might as He has done such a beautiful work in ALL of us. Always remember that He will never allow pain without a purpose and He will use everything to draw us deeper in Him. We love you and are so thankful for your life and the gift of spending forever with you :)))




Keep shinning Jesus!!!



Kennady is Driving!!!

Such a sweet & responsible girl! LOVE watching her grow into who Jesus has made her to be but oh how I wish time would just freeze sometimes.....this is one of those seasons I wish could last a while longer! She's barely had her license 2 weeks and already we see less of her!
Sis, we are proud of you!!!

February 2017

Off to Haiti again for these two...
Kennady was in our friends Nathan & Daphny's wedding....what an awesome experience!!!

The boys and littles and I celebrated Valentine's Day here while they were there :)

Lots of LOVE around here ;)

We had Kaleb & Khloe's dedication at church where we committed their lives for Jesus' glory before our church family ~ what a joy to have such a gracious, loving God to trust our children to. He loves them more than we ever could! 

We celebrated with family after
The Littles and the Nana's :)))

Keeg & Kols taught Kaleb and Kaylee to ride two-wheelers! 
Best big brothers in the whole world! 

And we celebrated Nana's 70th birthday with a girls beach weekend! My mom is the most loving, sacrificial person I know. ALL kids love her....she's a magnet to kids of all ages. Her patience and gentleness draws them in and makes them feel safe and loved. We are all so blessed by her constant love & care and thankful for her 70 years on earth and many more to come! 










Khloe's 4th Birthday!!!

Happy Birthday, Khloe Girl! Her 1st birthday home so we celebrated with her dream day.....
Started off with a donut date with Sissy :)))

Next up.....cupcake making!

And sweet cousins to share in the fun :))))

Then presents.......a baby doll was her wish!

A fun family party at Build A Bear and pizza at BJ's
Dory for Khloe, an elf bear for Kaleb and a horse for Kaylee ;)


A fun birthday for sure! Thank You, Jesus that she is HOME this year with a forever family to celebrate her.....she soaked in every minute of having her own very special day! 










Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Off To A Great Start ~ 2017

We started off our semester with a trip to John's Incredible........a reward trip!!!

For two kiddos who learned ALL their letters & sounds & can write them too :)

So proud of how hard they have worked!! 


The boys headed up to the cabin for a snow day- Best dad in the whole world!!

We've been hunkering down and reading - a lot :)

I love how much these kids love to read!

I am reading Pippi Longstocking to the littles - so fun! The bigs & I are reading Rees Howells Intercessor right now....life changing! 

Thank You, Jesus for a new year :). May we love You more, love Your Word more, love others as You love & grow deeper in You every day! 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Look Back at 2016.....

What an amazing year 2016 was for our family!!! 

We started the year off with a sweet update of Kaleb and Khloe in Haiti ~ each and every update was precious to us :)
About the end of January our church did a 21 day fast and towards the end Brodie and I clearly heard the Lord inviting us to move to Haiti.....we had no idea how long we'd be there, where we would live or what to expect but we knew His Hand was the One opening the door so we said yes. We began to plan and prepare. 

We enjoyed winter & Kolson had a fun basketball season

In March Kennady headed to Haiti with New Harvest on a missions trip & got to see Kaleb and Khloe & let them know in a few short weeks we'd all be there and with them FOREVER :)))


Keegan had a blast at Breakaway Camp
 
In April Kennady got her braces off :)
And we enjoyed celebrating Easter with family
We had a few going away parties before moving to Haiti



And off we went!! Not knowing much other than Jesus is Faithful and He is all we need!! 
Us girls went first with our sweet friend, Alese who helped us get situated that first week :)
And just like that we entered into forever with our two newest kiddos! We are incredibly grateful for the Lord's invitation to see His Love and His Glory as He alone was our life and refuge as we navigated life in a foreign country. So many challenges that He alone could help us overcome and for that we praise Him ~ we will never be the same! 

What a gift to have our boys arrive a week after us on my 40th birthday! 
All together at last :)

Together we learned to do life in Haiti where everything is pretty much completely opposite of life in America. It was SO good for us to have only Jesus, each other, and our Costco canned chicken (a special treat we packed plenty of from home to go along with our beans and rice!) 
Oh.....and our soccer ball we brought from home which was a favorite with our security guard and his friend :)
Days there were looooooong but oh so sweet for bonding time as a family :) 

We learned a lot about joy in the simple things from our neighbors who had literally nothing but Jesus and joy.

We enjoyed time with dear friends 

Royal Decameron was so good to us when we needed a breather (and consistent electricity and warm water!) 

Such a blessing!!! 
We also loved to visit the Baptist Mission for burgers and French fries any chance we got ;) 
Keeg celebrated his 14th Birthday there :)
And we will never forget Kaylee's accident and how Jesus healed her head and kept her from infection when we had no medical care.......nothing but Jesus and some super glue ;) 
Just like that we were sending the boys and Kaylee home 
Such a bitter-sweet day!!! It was so hard to see them go.......we had begged the Lord to let us all leave at the same time but still Kaleb and Khloe's papers weren't done and Brodie had already missed nearly 3 months of work. Plus with the risk of staff infection with Kaylee's head being open for so long we needed to get her back to the states. She had also had Dengue fever while we were there & lost 4 lbs.....we knew it was time for her to get home. We had no idea how long we'd be there without them but we had no other choice than to trust Jesus to cover it all. Kaylee had never been apart from me for more than a week (my last visit to Haiti) so we knew it would stretch her but she was determined to be strong. She's the bravest human I know for so many reasons and let me tell you, when she determines to do something you can consider it done. Once she set her mind to going home without me I knew she'd press through the hard and make it through ~ and sure enough she did! 

Kolson got home just in time to celebrate his 12th birthday! I was so happy for him to be home- it was his birthday wish :). These boys were SUCH troopers those 3 months! These big kids are my HEREOS and forever will be! 



We were apart almost a full month and though it was hard we felt Jesus' strength in us every second. Kennady and I had some very sweet time together living in Haiti that we will never forget and I will always cherish those sweet days navigating life there together :). I'm so proud of her and so thankful that we got to live in Haiti with her before she moves there one day after high school ~ if it is the Lord's Will her hearts desire is to spend a year or so loving the precious people of Haiti with Jesus' love.  

Kaylee celebrated her 6th birthday with Daddy & the boys, Nana & Papa & cousins :). I missed it by 5 days but made sure to smother her with her 6 birthday kisses as soon as I saw her in the airport! 


Finally the call came.......VISAS! Time to go HOME! What PURE JOY to be home all together!!! Again, bitter-sweet.......hard to leave so many we love but beyond grateful to Jesus for taking us home. 

A beautiful transition home and then if was time for school! It has been a treasured gift to homeschool again this year......so good for our family with adjusting to unique needs! It allows us to be present with our bigs and most importantly have the time to disciple them ~ we simply wouldn't have time to pour Christ's Word into them if they were at school & sports practice all day. A true blessing!


Kennady~ Sophomore
Keegan~ 8th grade
Kolson~ 6th grade 
Kaylee & Kaleb~ Kinder
Khloe has learned so well how to hang with Kaylee & Kaleb during class time and either color quietly or play. She is a little sponge learning right along with them! 

Kaleb was HOME just in time to celebrate his 6th birthday ~ he chose a pate' dinner and we celebrated with family :) 

First Halloween ~ the LOVED all the candy ;)


Sissy's sweet 16 ~ hiking Yosemite and a sweet & simple dinner with friends :) 

A beautiful thanksgiving with family 

First Christmas! 



Thank You Jesus for all of Your mighty blessings in 2016........we lay our lives down and surrender 2017 to You!