"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, December 20, 2014

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Kaylee has been singing this song a lot while she plays with the nativity set....such a joy to hear her beginning to understand what Christmas is all about!

The big kids each had a Christmas Party this week ~ just some friends over to have fun, be silly, read the Christmas story together and be prayed over :)  Such a great time at each party!

Sissy and her friends (and Kaylee) :)
 Sis is so sweet to always include her little sister ~ she even got to be part of the gift exchange ;)

 Keegan's Party ~
 Kolson's Party~
The boys were also very kind to include the girls in their party....after a Christmas message, we did some "Cookie-ditching" where we made cookies and dropped them off at friends' doorsteps, rang the doorbell and then they all ran back to the cars so no one would know who the cookie deliverers were ;)
Then off to frozen yogurt ;)

Kaylee Grace loves her new room!
It won't be long before baby sister comes home and shares that bed next to her! (With bed rails of course!) One of Brodie's client's wife painted that picture above Kaylee ~ the girls' room was the perfect place to put it!

We are looking forward to celebrating the birth of our Savior with our church family tomorrow night and our family next week :)

Merry Christmas ~ may the love of Jesus, our Lord and King, cover you this Christmas season and all through the year

Monday, December 8, 2014

Family Pictures :))) ~some of them ;)

Finally have my computer back and all hooked up ;) We moved a couple of weeks ago and haven't had computer access....so I have LOTS to share but for now I'll just share a few of our newest pics from Stacy Marini Photography ;)

LOVE having new family pictures that grasp Kaylee's JOY and smile :))

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Happy 14th Birthday Sissy!!!

Fourteen awesome years with this sweet girl!
She is growing up so fast...BEAUTIFUL inside and out!!!
Sissy, you are a JOY to do life with :)  I'm so thankful that Jesus entrusted us with your sweet life! You are an AMAZING young woman of God ~ Jesus is strong in you and He SHINES through you and pours out of you to those around you. I love your heart for Him and for His people. I love what a sensitive heart He has given you for those in need. I can only imagine the plans He has for you to be His Hands and Feet and change the world! Keep pressing on in Him!!
On our way to a special birthday dinner ~ just the girls since the boys are gone ;)
A few of your sweet friends joined us for dinner :)
Super fun night!
Lots of silliness and laughing :)
So proud of you!! You love your baby sister so well ~ she is BLESSED beyond measure to have you (and so am I!!). Always by her side helping her, always being silly and playing with her....I love to watch you joyfully and selflessly give of yourself ~
I see Jesus in you!
And your new siblings from Haiti have no idea how great they will have it when they get home and have you and the boys and Kaylee all here to love on them :)
We love you, Babe!!! Happy Happy Birthday :))))

Monday, November 3, 2014

Cutest Minnie Ever ;)

We had family and friends over for some super-fun trick-or-treating ;)  Kaylee doesn't remember trick-or-treating last year...so this was kind of like her first time. Same with cousin Claire...although Claire had more fun passing out the candy back at our house with the boys than she did doing the actual trick-or-treating
 Cutest Minnie Ever!!
 Cousin Anna is the BEST!!
LOVE that Sissy and cousin Rachel dressed up and trick-or-treated with the younger girls ;)  The "big" boys stayed home to pass out candy and had a BLAST!!

We are known in the neighborhood for handing out BIG candy bars that say, "Jesus loves you BIG!"...kids get super excited  when they are handed a large candy bar...and our kids have fun shinning Jesus' Light on an otherwise dark night ;)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Round 2 :)

Kaylee has had 2 eye surgeries since she's been home but before her 1st surgery we tried glasses to strengthen her right eye. She wanted no part of that first pair of glasses! 

After her 2nd eye surgery her vision improved a bit :). Since she needed a new prescription we decided to let her pick out her glasses....and today we got to go and pick them up
She likes them because they look like Sissy's :)

She wore them for the first half of our drive home....then she decided she'd take a little break ;). I told her we'd wear them for a while after nap ~ hopefully she will start to notice that they help her to see and want to wear them :)))

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

SPEAK UP Fresno ~ Show Hope Event Recap

About 2 1/2 years ago Brodie and I attended our first CAFO Orphan Summit....we were in the waiting phase of our adoption with Kaylee Grace- had no idea who she was yet- but knew that God was stirring our hearts to something MORE. We were being called to do more through this time of waiting. So....we went to the Summit. Our lives were forever changed! 

 God spoke so clearly to Brodie using Proverbs 31:8 "Speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves, for the rights of all those who are destitute." Brodie knew then and there that he would spend the rest of his life SPEAKING UP for orphans, the fatherless, the least, in one way or another.

Shortly after Orphan Summit, Speak Up Fresno was birthed....a city-wide event to draw our local community churches together to SPEAK UP for the vulnerable children in our community and worldwide. We strive to bring awareness and encourage the church to stand in the gap for these children. We believe that as Christ's Hands and Feet, we are all called to do SOMETHING to help orphans in their distress (James 1:27).

We hosted some AWESOME kids from His Little Feet International Orphan Choir and our lives were beautifully wrecked ;)  

Our kids have been ALL-IN from that moment on....this is truly when we saw Jesus birth a heart for the orphan in each of their hearts! It was then that we knew in our hearts that we would most likely not just adopt one ...our kids began BEGGING us to adopt the girls we hosted, they began to pray for us to adopt from another country after China....their eyes were opened ~ and they will never be the same...praise Jesus!!

Btw, we have the DVD from His Little Feet's performance from this year and Kaylee watches it OVER and OVER in the car (being in the car is still hard/scary for her...HLF helps us drive from one place to another in PEACE!....and we all get to sing praises to Jesus as we drive ;). She thinks that when she is "bigger" she will travel and sing with HLF....right now that is her ultimate dream ;)

Gracia and Mahader....sweet girls who changed our lives! May the Lord continually bless you, sweet girls!

We just had our 3rd annual Speak Up Fresno and we partnered with Show Hope and had "A Night For the Orphan"....what an awesome night it was! God graciously opened doors for Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman to be our hosts for the evening...hearts were touched and lives were changed for ALL eternity! Glory to Jesus!!

***Don't you love Kolson's SERVANT shirt? Our kids designed them (Isaiah 6:8 is verse beneath) to raise money for their plane tickets for our upcoming Haiti trip to visit their new siblings!
Want one? CLICK HERE to order!

We just came home from a Safe Families meeting at church and as I looked across the room of BRAVE people stepping out of their neat and comfortable lives (and even saw those who have some REALLY TOUGH life situations stepping up!), I was so in AWE of God and His Heart for the least.

I saw our church becoming a gloriously beautiful masterpiece....

people who are saying YES to being a safe place for a child to live for a short time,

people saying YES to pulling up another chair at their dinner table for a child in need,

people saying YES to seeing God's Glory in a whole new way.

And I felt as if (by His Grace) we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg....

Because once these couples and families step out and others see, "hey, they did that Safe Families thing ~ and not only did they make it through, they're stronger for it", and once they hear these families testify that they saw God's Glory in AMAZING ways, then others will say YES, and more families will say YES  to adoption....and step by step we will look a lot more like Jesus :)  LOVE how He is gracious and patient to make us more like Him and not leave us as we are! It is His kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4)   :)))

Saturday, September 27, 2014

His Love Never Fails

Kaylee Grace has been home 18 months now! It really does feel to me like we've had her forever. And I can only stand in awe of Jesus and how He alone has healed her. The other day a friend of ours (who is a brilliant doctor in town but not a Christian) mentioned how far she has come and was astonished. He was one of the two doctors who saw her file before we accepted it and strongly urged us not to accept it (Praise Jesus that He astounds the wise - "But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise....so that no one may boast before Him." 1 Cor 1:27, 29. And we Praise Him that He is bigger that any earthly medical opinion....what a BLESSING we would have missed!)

Anyway, he really couldn't believe how far she has come and was telling us over and over how great a job we have done. Ha! Brod and I just started to laugh. Like really loud belly laughing....because we KNOW it WAS NOT US....like not even a little tiny bit us. All we did was say yes. We accepted His invitation to see His glory in this way....which meant that we accepted His invitation to be His Hands and Feet and walk into the darkness that Kaylee Grace was in.....and in our case, it has meant that we have stayed in that darkness far longer than we would have ever wished to or ever imagined that we would have. I mean, we knew it wouldn't be easy....but we never could have imagined all the pain, all the fear, all the anger, all the trauma....and we never would have imagined what that would look like to WALK THROUGH with her on a daily basis.

I have learned more about Jesus' Love in the last 18 months than in my whole life. It is deep and fierce and steady and NEVER GIVES UP! It never ever runs out. Mine does. Like every other day. And if I don't sit with Him and abide DEEPLY in Him and His Word then I literally have nothing to give and I only cause more harm and pain. But when I sit with Him, and DENY myself and lay aside my life....just as His Word promises, I find True Life...HIS LIFE...I can literally feel Him and His Love flowing through me...and so can Kaylee Grace. She doesn't know it's Him yet ~ I mean, I tell her all the time that it is Jesus alone who helps us to feel better. And she has seen it for herself.....time and time again when she gets so far beyond herself in anger and rage that we can't gain control and we pray and speak the Name of Jesus and sing praises to Him, His PEACE comes....and she notices, because HE is the ONLY thing that calms her down.

"See how Jesus helps us?" I ask her. And she does...and one day she will put it all together....she will know how He held her in China, and how He called a mommy and a daddy to come rescue her so that she could be Rescued for all eternity by calling on His Name, and she will remember how He helped her to heal in the deep places where mommy and daddy couldn't even see and she will KNOW that He alone can SAVE and HEAL and REDEEM.

And not only will I have found TRUE LIFE by laying aside my life in these days of walking through the darkness with her to help heal the pain, but SHE will know TRUE LIFE. Life that not only is abundant now, but ETERNAL. Oh what an AMAZING GOD we serve!!! A God who RESCUES...so He asks us to GO....to be His Hands and Feet so that HE can Rescue one more....to GO into pain, into darkness, into trauma, and bring that pain and darkness and trauma right into our neat and clean homes...our lives that really needed some messing up so that we could be more like HIM and less like ourselves....and then He asks us to lay aside our lives so that HIS Life can flow through us... through the gift of His Holy Spirit ~ because He knows that ONLY His Love is Eternal! And His Love never fails....His Love heals, and Saves...and I'm so thankful that He has invited us on this journey of Him healing and Saving Kaylee Grace!!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Settling Into Our Fall Routine

Kaylee is loving her 2 mornings a week at pre-school! She's had a rougher time at home each day after school~ so we are just really paying attention to what may be causing that....overstimulation? Too stressful to be away from us those few hours? Or just starting something new and unfamiliar? Today was the first day I left her all morning and here is what she looked like when I picked her up:
But as soon as we got in the car, she got really angry with me and struggled all afternoon :(. We're keeping a close and prayerful eye on it.....but she really does have fun and can't wait to go back! 

Sissy is in full swing with tennis season~
She's doing awesome and loving every minute of it.....although she will tell you that she'd MUCH rather be in Haiti visiting her new siblings....hopefully soon!
She LOVES having her good friend, Kiki on her team this year :)))). Too fun! 

Keegan's football team had a scrimmage today....and Kolson runs at his 1st cross country meet on Friday...pics to come. But now that it's FB season, little sister can't wait to join in ;)
Are you ready for some Football!!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Kaylee Grace's 1st Day of School!

Kaylee had her first day of school today!

She did really well :)))

I went with her all morning and I will go next time, too ;)  We are trying to make her transition as smooth as possible

She only goes 2 days a week and just for the morning, so I think it will be just perfect for her ;)

Her favorite part was RECESS! She always hears the big kids talk about recess and even goes out to their recess sometimes if we happen to be on campus at that time....so she couldn't wait to have her own recess with her new friends :)

Claire is in Kaylee's class, too ~ what a blessing to have her cousin at school!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

First Day of School!

We had an AWESOME first day back....even though it came too soon and we would have LOVED a few weeks more of summer ;)

Our kids all have GREAT teachers and we are looking forward to a great year!!

 Kaylee Grace starts pre-school next week (2 half days a week) ~ but she just couldn't help but jump into the photo action ;) (Please pray for her to have a smooth transition and feel Christ's peace!)
 Kennady is our beautiful 8th grader! So hard to believe!! She is an awesome leader on campus and her love for Jesus is contagious!!

 Kolson is our joyful 4th grader! He was so excited to go back and see his friends ;)  He can't wait to start going to FCA this year and bring his friends with him!

 Keegan is our cool 6th grader ;)  He's ready for a great year of being a steady LIGHT for our Lord!

Our yearly picture with Mrs. Ribera...just not the same without Sis ;)

Looking forward to a great year of shinning JESUS in this dark world!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ending the Summer Well

We went to San Francisco with a group of 5 other families from church softball. We went into the city and to the Dodger vs. Giants game. 

All of the kids (minus 3) Before the game.

The girls at the bowling alley.

The boys at the bowling alley.

A few dads with their little girls on the shoulders (holding hands)! 

We went up to the cabin for a week to hangout and go boating for the last time of the summer!

Making pizzas

Some of our friends came up.

Kaylee and Kennady paddle boarded.

The kids on the boat.

The kids are selling shirts to raise money for their flights to Haiti in October/November. Click the link below to order:

Sis is really excited to head back to Haiti and the boys can't wait to go for their first time!!!