Saturday, August 31, 2013

More Colorado fun

On Wednesday, our new friend Michelle set up a few opportunities for Bryan and I to share the story of Beautiful Gate. Both of the meetings went well and we had a little extra time to meet for lunch with Michelle and her friend, April. Michelle wanted to make sure the rest of our road trip went well so she had a "few" goodies to share :)

I'd say that Mercy liked some of her gifts :) Thanks Michelle and Dave.

Thursday and Friday were relaxing days. We stayed home and enjoyed some outdoor backyard fun and then had a nice dinner and a smore fire with Sara's parents.

Today, we went to Estes Park and it was an amazing day. We saw a lot of wildlife as well as beautiful mountains, streams, lakes and waterfalls. Lots of driving, but it was worthwhile to enjoy God's creation once again :) I think the kids and I are really enjoying the freedom to not be in a "compound" but to walk, run and play all over the place and not worry about fences or being in by dark, etc.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Colorado Fun with the Willetts

We left our cabin and met our friends Zach, Sara and Elly in Breckenridge for an additional 2 nights in the mountains. I can honestly say that the mountains could never get old for this family! Wow, God's amazing creativity is so apparent in Colorado and no offense to MI, but we think that Colorado is by far the most beautiful state we have been in as a family!

I'd say cooling off in the pool, but that would be a lie because we were at a pool heated by some hot springs! I would love to come back on a cool day and relax in the hot pool :)

Sara and Elly enjoying the warmth. It is the perfect pool for little kids because they will not get cold in this pool.

Enjoying a ride in the cable cars. 

A view from the cable car up to the top of one of the Breckenridge peaks.  

On our way home, Sara took us over a mountain instead of through the tunnel so I got to give my girls a little lesson on the continental divide.

What a view!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Back Online - update

We were given a beautiful cabin to stay in as a family and the timing of it could not have been better. I was very sick on Monday and Terp (Christina) had the joy of taking me to an urgent care for about 5 hours. They were unable to determine the cause of my symptoms and so I headed home with antibiotics and no relief from my symptoms. We flew from California to Colorado and headed to the cabin on Tuesday and I tried to relax and unwind and enjoy some family time, but mostly slept for a few days with headaches, nausea, and feelings of dizziness and lightheaded. On Friday, my poor family got to sit in the waiting room at an ER because it got to be too much and Bryan and I needed some answers after 5 days of constant symptoms. After MUCH testing, they determined that I have vertigo (virus infection in the inner ear). So at least that has been determined and I think the stress of knowing what was causing these problems has caused a bit more relief than the medicine they gave me :) Besides my being sick, we found some time to build a little teepee fort and spent one day in Colorado Springs doing some sight seeing. Our time as a family went way too quick, but it was a special time and we had a cozy place to share it together!

Lion's Head

Cut throat game of monopoly :) They were forced to play the Broncos vs the Packers Superbowl edition and it was only bad for them because they are all Packers' fans and the Broncos won that year!!!!!

The start of their teepee fort.

The finished teepee fort which was built especially for Pastor Bill. Elijah even made him a treasure map to see if he can find it on his next visit :)

Panning for GOLD! We even found some tiny specks of gold, but we were nice and left them for the next visitors.

We are now at a different cabin (for 2 nights) with our friends Zach, Sara and their daughter Elly as well as my brother Bob who they generously flew out here to hang out with all of us for a week.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


We are in Colorado now spending some needed family time. We will not have internet access until next Tuesday. I just did not want anyone to worry. We have been blessed beyond words with our trip so far and this time away is icing on the cake. God is good!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Our last days in Canada

Our friends showed us many cool places in Vancouver and gave us our own Canada T-shirts. We had such a nice time staying with them for 2 nights and learned a few fun facts such as how White Rock got its name!

Elijah made a special friend at the next home we stayed at. We took a bike ride around Stanley Island in Vancouver with our friends. We got to see some sea otters and Bryan and the kids saw a really big seal too.

This is the plane we flew on from Seattle to Ontario, CA.

The pilots were kind enough to show my kids the cock pit of the airplane which was really nice!

Future pilots :)
Tomorrow we will be speaking at Crosspoint CRC and The river CRC. Our time in California is flying by quickly!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Canada Pics

Here are a bunch of random pics of our time in Canada. It includes a lot of pics of our friends who have adopted, the 5K run, a fun Basotho Canadian get together, and an afternoon at the beach. Spending time with the children and their families was an incredible highlight of our time in Canada. Such an amazing experience to see kids from the start of their life when it was difficult, painful and sad and then  to see them with their family - happy, healthy and filled with hope. Wow, what an experience!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


California here we come...actually we are already here :) Wow the last few days FLEW by!!!! I do not have much time but wanted those of you who are following to know that we are all alive and well and safe in Chino, California. I have a lot to share and am hoping that I will find time soon to do so.

I want to take a second and just share that as we were driving to our board meeting this morning with American Friends of Beautiful Gate, Bryan took an opportunity to wish me a happy anniversary. To which I replied, "What, today is the 14th!?" So I am glad one of us remembered, hahaha. So today on the 14th of August, we celebrate our 14th anniversary. I love you Bryan and look forward to a lot more than 14 more!!!!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Day 8

I have no photos to add to the blog tonight because it was a day of reunions with 3 special kids. I did not ask their parents for permission to share the pics online so I will wait till I talk to them again tomorrow to see if it might be okay.
One little boy is the very first baby to have arrived at BG after Bryan and I got there in 2010. He was just a little baby and Bryan used to go and kidnap him from his house mother all the time and spend time holding him. What a great first memory and then to see him so well adjusted and happy with his mom and dad, well, it just fills our hearts to overflowing! God is so amazing and I am thankful that He has allowed us this special time to have new memories and pictures in our hearts of some kids that have been very special to us.

There is a sibling set that was at Beautiful Gate when our family arrived in 2010. I do not know what it was that sparked between us but these 2 kids and our family became very close, especially the older sister. Her and Elijah used to play tackle soccer at BG and Faith used to do cartwheels with her. Today the kids all had the chance to see each other again and she tackled Elijah right away. It made all of us laugh. Seeing the families in the Netherlands was such a highlight for me, but I have to say that seeing this reunion was priceless. She and Elijah were able to talk in English, play tricks on each other and just laugh that comfortable laugh of long lost friends. It was an amazing night that I will cherish for years to come. God is so good!

Tomorrow is the 5K run/walk fundraiser for Beautiful Gate so please wish us well :)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Sharing our hearts

Last night we had a tour of Sunrise adoption agency and had a lovely dinner with 5 of their employees. They asked a lot of questions for Bryan, Christina and I to answer and it was really nice to share our hearts about Beautiful Gate. After dinner, we headed over to a community center where we would be doing a presentation and then sitting on a panel to answer questions about Lesotho and Beautiful Gate. There was one couple who was matched and another whose profile has already been sent to Lesotho. Another couple who were filling out paperwork, but had not yet chosen a country and many others who were elsewhere in the adoption process. It was great to share a few stories of kids who have come and gone out of BG and to share about what BG's mission and purpose is.

Afterward I had the chance to talk a little more with a few of the couples and it was so nice to hear of the excitement and anticipation, but it was also heartbreaking to hear of their incredibly long and hard waits. One of our friends who was on the panel and has adopted from Beautiful Gate twice, gave one of the best analogies of adoption I have ever heard. She said that adoptive families are like extreme families. Many people can ride motorbikes and even do a few tricks, but then there are those who go to the extreme such as extreme motorbiking. The emotions of an adoptive family are extreme, from hopelessness, frustration, and longing to intense love, protection, and attachment. These families go through such a range of emotions and it is extreme and it lasts for life. Some of the trauma a child experiences before they are joined to their new family will be with that child for life and when these families adopt them, it will be their responsibility to walk through that trauma with their child. Some of the hurdles of growing up in an institution will also cause some frustrations for both the child and their parents, but these can be overcome. It will be hard, but I imagine when they walk through it together, it will bring them closer. Adoptive families are my heroes and it was such a blessing to be able to share our hearts full of love for their future children, if they are matched with a child from Beautiful Gate.

Photo Journal Day 6 & 7

Photo Journal Day 6

Candice and Kevin graciously allowed us to stay with them for our first 2 nights in Canada. Turns out they enjoy board games so we got to know each other better through a game of Settlers of Catan. Fun!

The kids were anxiously awaiting their flight from Denver to Vancouver. They are becoming quite the world travelers. 

Our view as we were almost to Vancouver. Apparently this mountain is in Washington, but wow what a sweet mountain!!!!!!!

Day 7 Photo Journal

So Beautiful!
We loved the scenic view!
Throwing rocks into the lake was so much fun.

Our crazy family (oops I think I blinked)!
Here we are trying to hug our little boy and have a nice picture and this is what we get...little photo bomber!