Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ad hoc Family Reunion

Mom, Dad, Pam, and Sister "T"
"A" and cousins

Dad, Pam, and Sister "K"

Sister "T", cousins and Sister "K"

Warning - Our camera is crapping out on us so these will be a bit blurry. I have to get a new one.

This is going to be rather lengthy, I believe...

We planned to travel down to Lawrenceville GA to see my parents for Thanksgiving. What was to make it special what that they hadn't seen the last 3Who R Ours. And, we were to see my two brothers who hadn't met any of the 6 from Ethiopia. Well, actually I have one brother who I hadn't seen in almost 20 years (long story -another time perhaps), so he hadn't even met Pam or any of the kids. Then I find out just a couple of days before Thanksgiving, that my two sisters were going to be there too. One sister I hadn't seen in a few years hadn't met any of the kids from Ethiopia, and the other sister hadn't met the newest ones. OK, so we don't travel to visit each other much (we're kind of spread out, and there's always some excuse or other for someone not being there).

Unfortunately, my brother who I hadn't seen in 20 years couldn't be there (another long story) to see the kids, but all the rest of us were there. It was the first time in 30 YEARS that the 4 of us had been in the same place at the same time. It was 30 years ago September that I left home to join the Air Force.

Now I have 12 children (between hers, mine and ours) and 3 grandchildren; Brother "D" has one adult daughter; Sister, "K" has 4 adult children, and 2 grandchildren; Sister "T" has 5 children, and Brother "B" has 3 boys. So that's 25 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren for my parents. Of course we're spread out all of the country and we're no where close to being like The Waltons. But hey, I can dream.

Anyway, the get together was phenomenal! My parents have a little house, and we were all stepping all over each other trying to get around. The kids tried to play outside as much as they could. They played video games together, talked, went to the movies together. (I had 10 boys in our van - it was a blast!) My mama fretted about having such a small house, I had to reassure her that it's not the home that grandchildren remember, it's the love. And let me tell you there was LOVE all over that house. We had a blast, the kids had a blast, and my parents were in Grandma/Grandpa Heaven! My daddy got to sit and tell stories to my daughters - I get my humor and love for story telling from him. My mama got to sit and just watch her "grand babies" and she was in tears she was so happy.

Nothing on earth beats having a family.

A side note... Our family is working on being "trans ethnic". My birth family is African American, my wife is white (I figure Scotch/Irish-red hair abounds), one son is Chinese, and 6 children are Ethiopian. Our son "C" is dating a young lady who's El Salvadorean. Brother "B" was married to a Jamaican and he has the 3 boys. Sister "K" has one son married to a Russian young lady (They're both struggling models/actors in NYC), and has one daughter dating an Iranian young man (He's from Alabama, LOL). I can't wait for the family reunion 10 years from now. We'll have quite the pictures to share.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

We're all doing fine

Our son "C" is doing well. He called me on his way home the other day and was happy to be out and about. His doctors will have to ascertain whether it is best to keep him "in" and work with him or put him before a medical board and perhaps medically retire him. We'll see what the Lord decides.

Thank you all again for all of your prayers.

Our landlord had to pull the carpet out, and Pam talked him into just leaving the old vinyl flooring the way it was. We'd much rather put out area rugs that we could roll up in future flood situations. We finally got the kids computer hooked up and running last night, they missed it terribly. We had moved it out of the family room and didn't have anywhere to set up a temporary station for it.

We lost a lot of momentos in the garage. That was the thing that hurt the most. We've been slow about moving things into the house to hang up, and had much less room to put them around to they're gone. Oh well, on to making more memories!

Report cards came out. We got 2 honor roll kids, and 1 that had all highest marks (too young for honor yet). We have one that's struggling fiercely. The new ones are all progressing well and working hard.

Funny story:
"A", our 8th grade daughter, was in line to get her H1N1 flu shot at school. The person at the desk asked for her name. For most people in 8th grade that's normally not a problem. Well, we changed all of the children's first names when we brought them home. However, we'd been dragging our feet about re-adoptions, so their legal names are still their birth names. They have to remember that when asked. The school uses their legal name. Ok, still not a problem, if you've spent your life spelling your name in English letters...which she hadn't. She hesitated first because she couldn't remember it, then again when she was asked to spell it. She saw the name on the paper and pointed to it and said, "There, that's it." What made it even more difficult for her is that the school had had it misspelled for the first couple of months before we finally got someone to correct it, so she wasn't sure if they had it right or not. Then the lady asked for her birthday! LOL She knows what day her birthday is, but couldn't remember what year it is because she just used to responding with how old she is. LOL (With the Ethiopian calendar being nothing like ours, it makes it hard for her to transition)

By the way, we just finished our re-adoption of our first 3 (L, H, & J) and are waiting for some letter from the Dept of something or other that allows us to get their new birth certificates.

We have to start on our next three. We did the 1st 3 in NC, the next 3 will be in VA. Is there anyone out there who've done re-adoptions in VA by themselves? I found this one web site that tell you how to do it (for Norfolk residents) and I just need a little help in understanding some of the steps and documents.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Daddy's Home

I drove to Charlotte NC to see our son who is in the hospital for a few days for observation. "C" is an active duty US Marine, who served two tours of duty in Iraq. Because of his experiences, he struggles on and off with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Unfortunately, this is not like the flu or any other disease. The symptoms are different for each person, the timing of issues are unpredictable, and the reactions to stresses can sometimes be extreme. Therefore, the treatments are not always successful or at least not long lasting or permanent.

I felt that I just needed to be there for him to assure him of our love, and the Lord's love. Our visits went extremely well and I expect to hear from him midweek when he goes home.

Thank you for all of your prayers for me, our son and our family.

B-T-W, Charlotte was beautiful, and the weather was fantastic.


The rain has finally stopped! Yesterday it rained on and off, but not hard at any point. Today the sun is out! YEA---
The carpet guy came late yesterday afternoon. Dried out the carpet as much as the machine could!-- and now we have BIG industrial fans blowing. They pulled the mat out from the carpet, to help it dry faster. We do have nice floor under the old carpet, so I call the landlord to see if we can just get rid of the carpet. Waiting on an answer for that.
So, with Juan on the road I had to move everything out of the family room-- (In the storm, we moved all of the small things up on to the desks, table chairs-- you get the idea!-- So, I moved all of the "big" things- desks, etc to the mud room and out into the garage. I AM so thankful that those 2 areas are dry.
We have about 15 storage boxes that are ruined. I am thankful- about 3 weeks ago, I moved all of our boxed Christmas things into the house from the floor in the garage. Or they would be gone too- Praise God!
Our family is pulling together more, and none of us were hurt in this storm-- only "things" are gone-- and they are just things!
Blessings, Pam


Daddy made it to Charlotte in really good time- Saw his son "C" at the 5;00 visiting hours. "C" was very happy to see his dad and it made the long trip worth every minute. Juan's son is doing well and will be able to be discharged from the hospital on Monday or Tues.

Juan is staying today to visit at the first visiting hours and then will start the trip home. He is so new at his job, he really can not miss work on Monday.

We are thanking the Lord for His mercy in all of this. Things could be so much worse with "C", but God is merciful.

Sometimes our kids just need to be hugged and have us there.
Blessings, Pam

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Please PRAY

Please Pray

Juan is on the road to Charlotte, NC. It is about a 7 hour drive from us. Please pray for his adult son. At this point, "C" is in the hospital there and we are not sure of all of the details- just know that Juan needs to be with his son.

The kids and I are home, and have started the clean-up. The whole first floor of the house was under about 5 inches of water- the water has gone down, but left ed a mess and smelly wet carpet! We got a wet-vac last night. Helpful but not the end-all!

We are not sure how long daddy will be gone- And we are in prayer for "C".

Blessings, Pam

Friday, November 13, 2009

Water, Water Everywhere!

Front yard
Back yard. Our cars are actually on a hill that's about 2 ft about the street.

We are in the middle of our first Nor'easter here in the Tidewater region. Now I know why they call it "Tidewater". We've had virtually non-stop rain since Wednesday and yesterday the water came in the house with the high tide. We lived 3 years on the OBX, and never had so much as a drip (except for a leaky skylight once). Last night we had 3-4 inches of water on our first level which is our family room and our oldest daughter's bedroom. We cleared everything off of the floor that we could.

The neat thing was listening to my children's heartfelt prayers as we stood in a family circle of prayer. We could actually feel the water getting deeper as we stood there praying. Within an hour the water was ankle deep.

When we finished praying, I called my prayer warrior of a mom. My mama got out the word to all her prayer warriors (my sisters and brothers, her sisters and brothers, and friends).

We didn't know about the tide flood, so when the water first started coming in, we all got out as many towels as we could and started forming makeshift "sandbags" at the doors and started sopping of the water with the rest of the towels. Our arms gave out as the water got deeper.

The water started going down about 10pm or so and by morning it was all out of the house, (except for what was in the carpets). But as I sit here right now, the morning tide has come in again and I'm watching the yard slowly disappear. The water in the streets are about 2-3 feet deep.

Please pray for our family, neighborhood, city and region.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A sign of maturity

Tonight Pam and I were up in our bedroom when our 10 year son, "D" came in the room. "Mom, I did something stupid." I turned around and I saw his face, red and covered in tears. Then I saw that he was holding his right thumb in his left hand and blood was all over the place. So we rushed him in the the bathroom and started rushing water over it to see what the extent of the damage was. "It was really stupid, I'm sorry" He was crying out of both physical and emotional pain.

So I took the soft approach, "What happened big guy?"

"I was looking in the trash can to see if I accidentally threw away my notebook and I shot myself with a needle?" This was very curious, because I see blood coming from the pad of his thumb and through a hole in the middle of the nail.

"A needle? How'd you get a needle into your thumb like this?" At the same time, I wrapped him in a hug so assure him that everything was going to be alright.

"I was stupid and shouldn't have bothered it." So "D", Mom and Dad head downstairs to get some ice on it before it started swelling.

"Hey, mistakes happen 'D', don't worry. It's going to be alright." We went and looked in the trash can that he indicated and found a spent Epi-Pin. I had thrown it out because it expired a few months ago. It was my fault, I should have disposed of the thing outside in trashcan. It's a spring loaded hypodermic needle we have because "D" is allergic to bees and red ants. Thankfully, we've not had to use it before. Unfortunately, "D" didn't know that the needle was so long, so he thought he'd just push the trigger and see if it would hurt. Yup, it hurts! The spring was so strong, the needle went completely through his thumb, apparently just missing the bone.

The neat thing was watching how mature he was during the process. He admitted his mistake, told the truth, and sought help before letting things possibly get out of hand.

It made me proud.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Injera and Doro Wot

My little princess made Injera and Doro Wot for dinner Sunday. It was great! We ordered Teff on the Internet. You should have seen her face as she was stirring and making plans. I could just feel her heart swelling.

The smell was enticing through out the house as the onions were simmering in the Berbere. Everybody had a blast, especially A. Everybody but Princess herself, something was upsetting her tummy and she didn't get to eat any because she was nausous the whole time. :o(

This was sort of dress rehearsal for Christmas when we will have a full on Ethiopian Christmas dinner. We're not making the traditional drink though. I forget what it's called, but essentially it's a homemade beer. Pam and I laughed ourselves to tears when we figured out what it was that they were trying to describe, not knowing what it was in English.

Another Birthday Boy

J. Our oldest son at home is now 12 years old.

J. chose Chinese food for dinner and we had vanilla cake with cream cheese icing.

He received a new skate board and a"Bop it". At the pace the Bop it is being played with by all the kids, we'll have to buy a new one for the next kids birthday to replace it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pray for your Husbands

She does him good . . .” (Proverbs 31:12a)
Bless your husband by praying for him! The Apostle Paul instructed all Christians to pray for one another (Ephesians 6:18).
This includes wives’ responsibility and privilege to pray for their husbands.
Earnest prayer for your husband is good for him, for you and the spiritual health of your home (Proverbs 31:11-12).
Satan desires to destroy your husband, especially his character and his leadership in your relationship.
Trust God through prayer as you daily surrender your husband and marriage to the Lord’s wise, loving care.Days 1-7
I Encourage you to print these off and pray each day and see what happens!

Day 1
Pray that your husband will grow spiritually and consider his accountability before the Lord. Pray that he will guard his heart by developing spiritual disciplines—Bible reading and study, prayer, meditation, scripture memorization, etc. (2 Peter 3:18; Prov. 4:23)

Day 2
Pray that your husband’s relationship with God and His Word will bear fruit in his life. Pray that he will be a man of wisdom and understanding, fearing the Lord. (Prov. 3:7, 9:10; Ps. 112:1)

Day 3
Pray that your husband will be humble and quick to agree with God about his sin. Pray that his heart will be tender toward the voice of the Lord. (Ps. 51:2-4; Micah 6:8)

Day 4
Pray that your husband will grow in leadership skills in your relationship—protecting and providing for you. Pray that he will lead you wisely and love you sacrificially, so that God will be glorified in your marriage. (Eph. 5:25-29; Col. 3:19)

Day 5
Pray that your husband will be faithful to his wedding vows. Pray that he will have a desire to cultivate your relationship as a sign of his loyalty and commitment to you, and as a picture of Christ’s love for the Church. (Prov. 20:6; Gen. 2:24)

Day 6
Pray that your husband will love righteousness and hate wickedness, especially the evils of the culture. Pray that he will recognize and avoid wickedness in his own life, and if necessary, take a clear, strong stand against evil. (Prov. 27:12; John 17:15; 1 Cor. 10:12-13)

Day 7
Pray that your husband will safeguard his heart against inappropriate relationships with the opposite sex. Pray that his heart will be pure and undivided in his commitment to you. (Prov. 6:23-24, 26; Rom. 13:14)

Day 8
Pray that your husband will work hard to provide for your family, to the best of his ability. Pray that the character qualities necessary for a successful career and ministry will be a growing part of his character—persistence, decisiveness, strength, an analytical mind, organizational skills, positive relationships with people, determination, etc. (Rom. 12:11; 1 Cor. 15:58)

Day 9
Pray that your husband handle finances wisely, will have discernment concerning budgeting and investments, and will be a good steward of his money in regard to giving to the Lord’s work. Pray that money will not become a source of discord in your family. (Prov. 23:4-5; Rom. 12:13; Heb. 13:5)

Day 10
Pray that your husband will cultivate strong integrity, and not compromise his convictions. Pray that his testimony will be genuine, that he will be honest in his business dealings, and will never do anything that he needs to hide from others. (Prov. 20:7; 1 Tim. 1:5, 3:7; Eph. 6:10-12)

Day 11
Pray that your husband will have a humble, teachable spirit and a servant’s heart before the Lord. Pray that he will listen to God and desire to do His will. (Prov. 15:33; Eph. 6:6)

Day 12
Pray that your husband will yield his s*xual drive to the Lord and practice self control. Pray that your s*xual intimacy together will be fresh, positive, and a reflection of selfless love. (Prov. 5:15, 18; 1 Cor. 7:3; Song of Solomon 7:10)

Day 13
Pray that your husband use practical skills to build your family and make wise decisions for your welfare. Pray that he will serve unselfishly. (Gal. 5:13; Phil. 2:3-4)

Day 14
Pray that your husband will speak words that build you and your family, and reflect a heart of love. Pray that he will not use filthy language. (Prov. 18:21; Eph. 4:29)

by Nancy Leigh DeMoss