"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

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Happy 17th Birthday Sis!!!

We love you!!!

 Keep laying down your life and finding True Life in Jesus!
Thank you for your peaceful, steady ways that keep us all in line :)  I love seeing Jesus grow you deeper in Him.....He alone is worthy!!!
7 years ago and today :) Beautiful inside and out...love you, Babe!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Kaleb Jasse is 7!!!

September 8, 2017

It's hard to believe this is Kaleb's 2nd birthday home! He had just come home last year.....so I'm not so sure what he understood or thought about birthdays. But this year he was ready! He knew what he wanted for his birthday breakfast, his birthday dinner and his gift :)

Kaleb it is a joy to celebrate you!! You bring a sweet calm to our family and we are so thankful for YOU!! Thank you for always wanting to help and for looking out for each one of us. Jesus delights in your kind spirit! Keep drawing near to Him. I love how you desire to know Him and His Ways! He is all we ever need :)))

Birthday dinner in Hawaii :) 
 Chosen Yogurt for his birthday dessert :)
 A new bike and the game Trouble
 Cupcakes from Ben and Alese
Which everyone enjoyed!

Happy Birthday, Kaleb! Let the light of Jesus shine in you all of your days!!! We love you!!

Hawaii ~ 2017

Four and a half years ago we went to Hawaii as a family of FIVE. A couple weeks ago we went with all 8 of us ~ LOTS of life has happened in the last 4 1/2 years!   About 4 months after our first Hawaii vacation we traveled to China and brought home our Kaylee Grace. We had no idea what was ahead of us. Jesus drew her out of darkness and into HIS glorious LIGHT!! We walked though trauma and grief we never could have imagined alongside her sweet little soul. Jesus did a deep and powerful work in and through her life. We still marvel everyday at the ways He has healed her. 

Without Kaylee Grace our hearts never would have been broken in the ways His heart breaks for the orphan. We gave up our rights to our lives and the plans we had. His Ways are so much higher! Then He blessed us with Kaleb and Khloe :) As we were in the thick of Kaylee's healing He invited us on this wonderful journey of being their parents. In the earthly realm it looked as if there was no way we could handle more. But with God all things are possible and He made our lives so much MORE beautiful with them!!

He has taught us that our lives are not our own though Kaylee's adoption and difficult transition. He has taught us that we must LEARN to be content in any and every situation.....we can't just pray for contentment. We must be put in difficult circumstances in order to learn contentment. Living in Haiti was our season of learning to be content. Learning to rely on Him alone. One of our most difficult and beautiful seasons as a family ~ we say all the time how thankful we are that He invited us to live there for a while as Kaleb and Khloe transitioned into our family! We will never be the same

Through it all we have grown so much with Jesus. When we have to give up all control He is gracious to do that- to make us more like Him and show us His ways are better. I thank Him everyday for the ways He invites us to see His glory! What if we had been too scared to say yes to His invitations of adoption? Or living overseas? Our lives would be so empty. And we wouldn't have half the fun we do with these littles! Sure there has been sacrifice - which is beautiful in itself - so we wanted to get away somewhere where we could pour into each other and have sweet time away before we enter a new season with Kai. Truthfully we have no idea what his needs will be. Jesus does and that's all I need to know. But we don't know what's ahead so this pause, this breath together as a family was a precious gift. 

 We pretty much lived on the lazy river!


 Even got a date night in ;)  19 years ago we were in Hawaii for our honeymoon!!!
 Kolson was always up for a swim with the littles whether in the ocean or pools

 Glamimng it up for the beach ;)

 The kiddie area was a favorite!

 Family dinner celebrating Kaleb's birthday (early) :)


Monday, July 31, 2017

Kaylee Grace is 7!!!

July 25, 2017

Happy Birthday, sweet Kaylee!
 We say it all the time, but WOW! We stand in awe of Jesus when we see you!!! He continues to miraculously heal your precious life and make you whole in Him. The plans He has for you are beyond what any of us can imagine. Keep turning deep into Him and His marvelous love!!!
So fun to celebrate you.......donuts for breakfast, swimming, Skywalk as a family, then pizza and games where you won the Ultimate Jackpot of tickets :))))) 
Keep shinning Jesus, girl!!! We love you :))))

Monday, July 10, 2017

Happy Birthday, Kols!! (13!!!)

JULY 7, 2017

It's official! We now have 3 teenagers in the home :)))

 Kols, you are such a joy! You have the most caring, thoughtful heart.....always thinking of others! We know Jesus is shaping you into a godly, young man that will follow Him wherever! Keep growing strong in Him!!
We love you and we are so thankful for the fun, carefree, creative spirit you have been given that brings joy to our days :))))

Monday, June 26, 2017

Happy 15th Keeg!!!

June 11, 2017

HOW can it be that Keegan is 15??!!! Last year we celebrated in Haiti and now we're all kinda wishing we could do that again! Not cause it was easy or fun......but because of the holy ground we were on. We knew without a doubt Jesus had us there for that season...and we were stretched and pruned. But we experienced Him in ways far deeper than ever before. Hard to believe it has been a year!
(last year in Haiti)

Keeg, you bring so much laughter to our days......like all day long...every day :))) We love you! More than anything it is a joy to watch you grow in Christ's ways. He is strong in you and He is calling you to a set apart life.....follow Him with all you've got!

We love you!!! You make life fun for your siblings and you always take care of the littles :)

Keep pressing on in Jesus towards the goal for the prize which Christ has called you heavenward! (Phil 3:14)

Monday, June 5, 2017

SUMMER ~ And Why We Homeschool

We love summer for so many reasons but mostly we love the slow pace it brings.

 Everyone here is officially finished with school for the year...yay!!! However, we haven't really told the littles they're done, lol! It helps them so much to keep life structured and predictable ~ so we are keeping our same routine....including "school".

We will keep our same routine for the littles ~

Bible Time
Play Outside/Bigs clean up breakfast
School & snack time
Play outside
Nap/Quiet room-time
Free play (which in summer will be in the pool!)

But school will be much more relaxed and easy, fun activities....mostly review ;)

The boys have some sports camps & activities and Kennady will be working a lot this summer so their days will be full but here at home we are going to keep things as simple as possible.

We have found ROUTINE & PREDICTABILITY to be so very important in all 3 of the littles emotional well-being. When we veer off of our normal schedule and a simple routine of time spent mostly at home, we are quickly met with 3 "off" kiddos! And they all react & cope in different ways. Kaylee goes back to having a very difficult time self-regulating & managing her emotions, Khloe gets wild & acts as if she's driven by a motor, and Kaleb holds it all together so well to where we think he's not affected at all and then suddenly its as if everything crashes in all at once & he falls apart over they tiniest little thing. SO....simple routine it is for us!! Thankfully all 3 littles do well with the big kids having friends here hanging out so that's often how our big kids spend their free time :)

Also, with Kai coming home in Fall, the big kids are going to get a jump start on some of their classes by doing summer school. One of the many blessings we have found with homeschooling is the flexibility of WHEN we do school.....and for us heading to China & bringing home a new brother this will work well!

We just finished our 2nd year of homeschool and we are settling in to this being our new normal for now. Last year was the first year the Lord pressed homeschool on our hearts and NOW we know why since we ended up moving to Haiti in April! As we prayed about it and saw all the fruit that came from just one year of having everyone home, we decided to do another year. The time that we get to spend reading, studying and learning about God's Word & His marvelous love is the greatest blessing of all. AND the time we get as a family to try and LIVE out what we learn is priceless! Whether it be here in our home loving littles that are still so broken OR serving in whatever way Christ asks us to. Being available to GO and DO what Jesus tells us in His Word to do has been huge for us. When the bigs were in school all day, then after-school activities and sports, we just didn't have the time to say YES to who or what or where Jesus was asking us to. We were too busy! So often people say, "you must be so busy with 6 kids and the needs of your littles" and I am being so honest when I tell you that we are LESS busy than when we had 3 kids!!! Homeschool has slowed our pace of life considerably and now we get to ENJOY life together and enjoy growing in our relationship with Jesus!

One fear I had before we brought everyone home was if they would have enough time socializing. First of all, I have learned that socializing means SO much more than connecting with just your peers and people your exact same age. Our kids have grown socially as they have had more time spent with people of all ages whether though serving or neighbors or having more time with grandparents. And they still have plenty of time with their friends and peers through sports and activities ~ win-win!

Homeschooling in our area is rare ~ so it really took a step of faith and us making sure that we were certain we heard from God. He is so faithful.....calling each of us to our own walk and journey. Each of our walks looking different from one another's. But at the center of it all is our loving Heavenly Father who longs to have an intimate relationship with each one of us. As Christians, the Bible is our guide.....but it won't tell us each and every specific answer. So we listen to His still, small voice in our hearts telling us, "This is the way! Walk in it!" (Is. 31:21) I'm thankful He guides each and every step....He gives wisdom lavishly when we ask (James 1:5-8) so long as we do not doubt and waver once He reveals His Way for us. So we trust Him and His call......I know there is one way through this life on earth and it's HIS WAY ~ beautifully different for each one of us, yet so the same as He is the center of it all!

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!