Sunday, February 28, 2010

Latest Update

Pam and (L) are with our granddaughter(C). The "neighbor" actually turns out to be a cousin of Heather's boyfriend and the cousin's wife. Pam got to meet some other relatives as well. Pam and L are working on going through Heather's things (sorting, prioritizing, etc) A person's sudden death leaves so much guess work behind. It's mentally and emotionally exhausting trying to maintain your calm and composure while grieving over the loss of your child. I am so thankful to Jesus that (L) was able to be there with Pam.

(L) is to take custody of (C), this was in Heather's will, so it wasn't a decision they needed to make. Thankfully, (C) is in agreement with this as well. For some reason she didn't want to be swallowed up in the Johnson Clan to be one of 8 kids. Can you imagine that? (C) & (L) are fairly close as aunt and niece already, so the transition should be "relatively smooth" over the course of time.

They will be using Heather's car and will driving back, so please pray for traveling mercies for them. I'll probably have to meet them somewhere to pick up Pam. I'll let you all know when that is to be.

Friday, February 26, 2010

She's gone.

Our daughter, Heather passed away this morning around 10:00am. She was 36yrs old, and leaves behind her 14 year old daughter, and her loving family.

Please continue to pray for Pam as she is on her way to Dallas. Pray also for our granddaughter and our other daughter (L) who is also on her way to Dallas.


This is an emergency request for prayer.

Our oldest adult daughter is in the hospital and on life support at this very second. The doctors are doing everything they can to keep her alive.

Please pray for
Mercy, Peace, Wisdom and Strength.
Traveling mercies for Pam and our other adult daughter (L) as they travel to Dallas this morning.
The doctors, nurses, and techs at the hospital in Dallas Texas
Our granddaughter who is with a neighbor friend right now.
Bless this neighbor friend for being there and stepping in for us.

Thank you for praying with and for us.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Good Food

Here is a chicken recipe that my kids LOVE-- all of them love this WOW!!
And it is easy to make:


1 egg
1 Tbs water
3/4 teas salt
1/8 teas pepper
1 cup dry bread crumbs
4 boneless skinless chicken breast
4 Tbs olive oil
5 med zucchini - sliced
4 med tomatoes -- sliced
1 cup mozzarella cheese
2 teas minced fresh basil

In small bowl, beat egg, water and 1/2 teas salt and pepper. Set aside 2 Tbs bread crumbs. Place the remaining bread crumbs in a large resealable plastic bag. Dip chicken in the egg mixture, then place in bag and shake to coat. In skillet cook chicken in 2 Tbs oil for 2 to 3 minutes on each side (or until golden brown ) Remove from skillet and set aside. In the same skillet saute the zucchini in the remaining oil until crisp, tender; drain. Transfer the zucchini into a greased 13x9x2 baking dish. Sprinkle the reserved bread crumbs on top of the zucchini, top with the tomatoes slices; Sprinkle 2/3 cup of the mozzarella cheese and the basil and remaining salt. Top with the chicken. Cover and bake at 400 for 25 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle the remaining cheese on chicken and bake for 10 minutes longer (or until cheese is melted.
Yield- 4 servings.

First time I made this, I did just what it calls for here-- the 2 time, I added yellow squash to the zucchini and I used a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes instead of the fresh tomatoes. For my family, I double this recipe and use the amount of chicken to feed 9 of us-- I also use the frozen chicken tender- instead of the whole breast. (that works well for my smaller kids.)

Another recipe that we like and is easy to do--


2 cups water
1 pkg chicken flavor Ramen noodles (3 oz side)
1 pkg ( 16 oz ) frozen broccoli, carrots, and water chestnuts
1 Tbs oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast--cut into strips
1/4 cup prepared stir fry cooking sauce

Bring water to a boil in large saucepan. Add noodles and frozen veggies, reserving the seasoning packet from the noodles. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally; drain. Meanwhile, heat oil in skillet, add chicken; cook and stir until lightly browned; about 8 minutes. Stir in noodles, veggies, stir fry sauce and the seasoning packet; heat trough.
Yield- 4 servings

I doubled this and made 4 packs of the romen noodles. Again, I used chicken tenders instead of breasts- have to cut in strips anyway!!

Kids love both of these.

Hey girlfriends- sorry you forgot these yesterday!! but here they are! love you both!
Thank you for the girls day shopping!

Blessings, Pam

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Zoe' Update

I took Miss Z to her doctor apt yesterday. She has latin TB and is on a 9 month regiment of meds. She only has 2 more months and we are all happy about that! She is really doing very well on it all. The meds have some side affects, but she is coping just fine.

I actually drove to Kings Daughter for the appointment and home with out getting lost! It seems like the downtown area is always under some kind of construction!

Miss Z and I had a nice morning together and taking her back to school, I met up with her ESL teacher and had a good update from her. YEA!
Blessings, Pam

Sunday, February 21, 2010

We got our fix of OBX today

We went to our old Church on the OBX (Nags Head Church). We were starting to have withdrawal jitters ;o) It is always so neat to see our old family/friends. The kids even look forward to it. It's great to live close enough that we can decide to go the day before and just make a day trip of it. We get to hug and kiss our old friends, play a little catch up, and see how much all the babies have grown.

The music/song worship time was fantastic as always! Rick Lawrenson, the senior pastor is on sabbatical, so the other elders are filling in in his absence. The sermon series is on the 7 signs of a healthy church (I think I have that right) and today's sermon was on a praying church. Of course praying and faith could be the only 2 signs really needed, when you think about it. Nags Head Church is a praying, giving, and loving church. This church family is huge on local outreach and huge on missions works. They are also huge on being connected in and they make great efforts in making sure people are connected to small group involvement. I especially miss Saturday morning men's group meetings. These are a great bunch of real men. Real - as in open, supportive and praying Christian men.

We took a walk out on the beach for a little while before heading home. The beach was almost deserted, the wind and waves were calm - BEAUTIFUL!!. Then back to the land of reality. What a great way to spend the Lord's day!


Friday, February 19, 2010

Adoption Means Giving of Yourself

Adoption means giving of yourself all the time. All the time is just hard to do. I know that this is what we are called to do. Jesus gave his life and he gave his life ALL the time while here on earth. I think this is what I am striving to do, obeying Christ.

With children who come home at an older age, it is a struggle.
I long to truly love them as Christ loves me. This is something for continual prayer. It is a slow process.

Not because God is not faithful, but because I am not faithful. I try to be faithful in spiritual disciplines, but I give place to the enemy all too often. The times where I have really sought the Lord have been sweet times in my relationship with them.

I know what Jesus meant when he said, "without me, you can do nothing." Also, that if we remain in him we will bear much fruit."

One thing that has really helped me in the day to day issues,is to remember why I wanted to adopt older children. That I wanted to give my life away for the sake of others as Christ did.

The problem is that my heart is so prone to wander and I can easily let my guard down. This is the Christian struggle! The thing that we want to do, we don't, and the thing that we hate, that we do. If Paul struggled with this, we will as well. Who will deliver us from this body of death??? Paul asked, and his answer was Christ!
I was hoping that just sharing our struggles might help others, in the adoption world and in just life.

God is so very very good! Isn't that the whole story of the Bible from beginning to end.

Blessings, Pam

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Always Something!

The good, the bad and the ugly;

We started the children in a group grief therapy group. All 7 of them have experience so much loss in their lives. The stress that they must feel has to be off the charts. We have been to the group several times. The 3 newest kids (main reason for this) have started to open up and talk about Ethiopia. At this point, it is just the stories- not personal feelings. That is a great start.

All of the kids on the whole are "happy". They do not have joy. Some of them have started a relationship with Jesus Christ since they have come to their "forever home". We do however have some real issues that have just come up in the last few weeks. Please pray for the kids as you feel lead.

The good- Justin is doing SO much better in school than we thought- I am glad for teachers that care enough to return phone calls and e-mails. I am happy that he wants to learn.

I am not sure how much to share on an open blog. If you are a reader and want to know how to pray for us- please email me.

Blessings, Pam

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy New Year!

Here's our first family picture together (Auto timer) These faces are what it's all about.

The kids had a blast looking for the little red envelopes (like an Easter Egg Hunt). We're ordering out Chinese food in a few minutes. "Bring it on fat man!"

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chinese New Year

We are (well mom is ) busy preparing for the most elaborate, colorful, and important of all the traditional Chinese festivals. The Chinese New Year is celebrated annually on the first day of the First Moon of the lunar calendar.

This year's celebration falls on Sunday, February 14th. Similar to the Western New Year, Chinese New Year symbolizes turning over a new leaf and starting anew. In the Far East, it is also the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Socially, it is a time for family reunions and gatherings with family and friends.

On New Years Day, children are given red Lai-See envelopes, with good luck money wrapped in little red envelopes.

We are making a game out of our red envelopes. I have 3 for each child- and Juan and I will hide them all over the house. The kids will than find a # 1 each and #2 , #3 and then we have 3 bonus ones with a bit more money in them- who ever finds them, gets them!! Having 7 kiddos- the $'s in each envelope amounts to coins from the coin jar- but lots of fun doing this.

In China new clothes will be worn - preferably in red. We have found red shirts for all of us to wear to church tomorrow. Friends and family will exchange "Gung Hey Fat Choy" greetings (meaning "Wishing You Prosperity and Wealth").

The kids have been practicing how to say "Gung Hey Fat Choy"-- and it seems to always come out as "Bring it on fat man" that was TOO funny and the kids have kind of made it a saying around our house-- could be worse, I guess......

In China parades will be held and lanterns will be carried. Dragons made of bamboo, silk and paper will stretch for a hundred feet and dance in the streets. Schools and business will close for the week long celebration.
Preparations begin early and on the 20th day of the Twelfth Moon, the Chinese set aside the day for the annual "sweeping of the grounds". Every corner of the house must be swept and cleaned in preparation for the new year. Spring Couplets (short poems written in classical Chinese) are put on the walls or on the sides of the gateways. In addition, symbolic flowers and fruits are used to decorate homes and businesses alike.

Tangerines are symbolic of good luck as the word for tangerine has the same sound as "luck" in Chinese. And fruit from a tree with leaves is best as the leaves symbolize longevity. WE have a bag of tangerines to help with our celebration.

We will order Chinese food for our main meal, (a big treat!) The kids are excitedly waiting for tomorrow.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,
he is a new creation,
the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psalm 119:103 (NIV)

Blessings, Pam

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Journey

Over the last year several readers have asked me about my "before" life. Sometimes it is very difficult to talk about the hard things in life, but I do feel that it is time for me to share some of me.

In my growing up years, life was very difficult. My father was a very hard man. Our family did not attend any church. My brother, sister and I sometimes went to a church with the older lady across the street from us. Some of the live values I learned was to stay out of the way (away from dad) and that only you can make things happen. Very humanistic.

My father told me all of my life that no man would ever want to marry me. So of course, I married the first man that asked me. He turned out to be my father all over again, just 20 years younger. Why do we do this??? The only highlight of this marriage was my beautiful daughters, H and L. One night this man almost put me in the hospital (I ended up black and blue all over my legs and back, and had a black eye) I had finally had enough, and had developed enough strength and courage to take the girls and we left him. We moved from the south back up to NY to be near my mother (who had remarried) and a very close girlfriend. I should have left him years sooner, but you do only what you can at the time. I do still kick my self some about this.

In NY, I got the girls settled in school and found an apt. and started to learn to live again. I met a good man - He was my prince. At the time that I met him, I did not know that he had a very bad drinking problem. I was naive- and Bill was such a great guy. You have to understand that I had been around some really BAD guys- so drinking at meals didn't seem so bad to me at that time.

We got married, and I loved him so much. He really was a good guy. We ended up moving back to the south for his job. Than his company was bought out and in order to stay working we would have had to move to the mid west- He had kids in NY and I had kids in high school so we really did not want to move. He took early retirement and played golf everyday for about a year.

When he got bored of this, he bought our first restaurant. It was a NY style deli and bakery in a food court. We did have fun running this-- and after about 6-8 months, Bill bought a large full service, bar and restaurant. We had 40 employees and learned a lot about people and running restaurants. We however really didn't know what we were doing- The previous owner knew that a highway by-pass was almost finished and that new restaurants were going up out on the by pass that lead traffic around the city. We eventually had to close down the business and lay off all our employees. We didn't go bankrupt, and we paid off every creditor- (took me a long time). It was so difficult. Bill never got over this.

Between the 2 restaurants we lost everything we had- his retirement funds, my retirement funds, inheritances from his father and from his aunt, the money from our house in NY and from our house in Ky. We lost over a million dollars. I would love to have my retirement funds back.....

My first husband had been active in a church, but than would come home and was physically and mentally abusive to me. It did not give me a good picture of the church. My father gave me a horrible picture of a father. This made it hard to figure out where I really fit in this world. Bill was a radical atheist. He talked to people about it- He believed it. If all Christians would have befriended and talked to people like Bill did- boy what a difference. Our life style was very humanistic, NO God- No one who cared at all. With my background it was not difficult at all for me to follow right in Bills footsteps and become atheistic.

All thorough the years of the restaurants, Bill drank heavier and heavier. And it was easy, we owned a bar-- When we closed them, I took a job as an accountant. We needed the health insurance and the income. Bill never worked again. He started drinking first thing in the morning and I never knew what he would be like when I walked in the door at 5 after work. There were several Christians at my new job. Our life was hard- we had lost everything. I had lost my husband to the bottle.

I began looking for something that I could believe in. As I was questioning God, He sent lots of people into my life. Over several months, I was invited to go to a passion play (to a dress rehearsal). The minister of the church where this was held sat with me and explained parts of it as it went along. He talked to me about Christ and becoming a Christian. I decided at that time to trust Jesus as my Savior.

So, I went back to church on Sunday morning to do this! I put my full trust in Jesus on Palm Sunday 1997. After church, I went home and Bill and I talked about all of this-- I knew that it would make changes in our life. I really did not know how Bill would take my becoming a Christian. I do know that we loved each other. I also knew that I had a deep void in my life and only God could fill it. Bill listened to the plan of salvation (as much of it as I knew from that morning!) Bill did not accept Christ. He did not argue with me at all- He did say he did not want to be a church widow- and I said that I would not be in church everyday-- ;)

Monday, after Palm Sunday, I went to work and shared that I had become a believer. The beginning of that week was normal. Nothing different that I can even look back and see- Bill was drinking VERY heavy but that was not different. When I came home from work on Wed afternoon, I found my beloved husband dead. Unless you have been in this kind of place, you really do not know what it is like. I lost my best friend, my lover, my husband- yes, he drank, but he was a good guy. I still miss him. I am so glad that I found God in a deep real way before Bill passed away. I am not sure, I would have continued to "look" if I had not made that decision first. It is true, God knows what we need and what we can bare. That next months were almost unbearable. I was a new believer- so no Church family- I did have the Christians at my job, and I held onto that.

So, there I was a widow, broke, new empty-nester (my younger daughter moved to a city 5 hours south of me just a few months before Bill passed away) and my older daughter and my grand daughter lived in an apt several miles away. Empty condos are horrible. I am so glad that I had God, and I held onto Him.

After several months, Juan and I started to have dinner together- he was single and now I was, and we both had to eat. We had our first date more than a year later. We became really close friends. Juan had become a believer in his high school years. He was very stable in my big UPS and Downs-- Juan and I married in 2001. I am so glad that the Lord gave me another good guy- a Believer, my life is totally different than before. Juan is a bit younger than I am and he wanted children. That was the reason for our first adoption.Then the Lord placed on our hearts the great need to "take care of widows and orphans" and than the 2nd and 3rd adoptions just came as He saw fit.

Really, it is hard to write about years of "happenings" in a nutshell. I hope that this helps someone who is reading this. If you have been a reader of my blog, you know that I am totally open about everything- if you have questions or wonder about something- do not hesitate to ask me.

God is Good - ALL the time. I believe this and I am staking my life on this.

Blessings, Pamela Dawn

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


My daughter "L" asked me some time ago for some good recipes that the kids would like. So, I am writing a few out for her and anyone who might like them!!

Sorry "L"-- I found way too many for me to type-- (You know my keying issues!!!!)-- anyway hon, I am putting them in the mail --snail mail-- I am coping them today.

OK- someone asked for recipes using "lentils"-- Here are several that I use and my kids like. (I know I have interesting kids!!!)

Lentil,Kielbasa & Garlic Stew

2 TBS olive oil
2# turkey Kielbasa- cut in 1/2 " slices
1 lg onion-chopped
1 # carrots- 1/2 # half moons
4 med stalks celery
5 cloves garlic-crushed
6 cups water
2 cans (14oz each) chicken broth
2 cans (14.5oz ea) diced tomatoes
1 and 1/2 bags (16 oz each) lentils --picked over and rinsed

In 8 qt sauce pot heat 2 teas oil on med heat - add kielbasa and cook 4 to 5 min until browned- transfer to med bawl. In same pot use oil and add onions, carrots, celery- cook 15 min or until vegs are golden - stirring often. Stir in garlic --cook 1 min. Add water,broth, tomatoes,and lentils to pot; heat to boiling on high, Reduce heat to med and simmer uncovered 40 min. or until the lentils are tender. Stir in Kielbasa; heat thru. And serve. This makes 20 cups or 10 main dish servings. (this feeds my family with a loaf of homemade bread-- bread maker you guys!!!!

Vegetable Lentil Stew

4 cups V-8 or tomato juice
2 cans (14 oz ea) Italian stewed tomatoes
1 can (16 oz) kidney beans (raised and drained
1 can (15 oz ) garbanzo beans " " "
2 med carrots sliced thin
2 med potatoes cubed
1 lg onion-chopped
1 gr pepper chopped
1 sweet red pepper chopped
1 cup lentils
2 TBS minced parsley
2 tbs chili powder
2 teas dried basil
1 teas garlic powder
1 teas gr cumin
1 pkg (10 oz) fr chopped spinach
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup low fat plain yogurt
2 tbs chives

In dutch oven combine the first 15 ingred. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes or until the lentils and veg's are tender. Stir in spinach- heat thru. Combine the toppings and dollop a TBS on each serving.
makes 13 cups--
I added another 1 cup of lentils, another can of kidney beans and it made more than enough for our family main dish- I put corn bread with it. and I did not use the topping-- the kids do not like plain yogurt.

Italian Lentil and Veg Stew

1 and 1/2 cups dried lentils rinsed
1 and 1/4 peeled butternut squash-cut in 1 in chunks (about 3 cups)
2 cups marinara sauce
2 cups green beans
1 med red pepper cut in 1 in pieces
1 lg potato- cut in 1 in chunks
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 teas minced garlic
1 tbs olive oil
serve with grated Parmesan

Mix lentils and 3 cups water in lg slow cooker. In lg bawl mix remaining ingred except olive oil. place this on lentils
Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours Stir in oil.
this makes 5 main dish servings

I have not tried this one yet- I would just double everything for my family.

Last but not least- and my kids love this one!! weird

Black-Eyed Pea Sausage Stew
1pkg (16oz) smoked sausage links- halved and sliced
1 sm onion chopped
2 cans (15 oz ea) black eyed peas -rinsed and drained
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 cup beef broth
1/4 teas garlic powder
1/4 teas Cajun seasoning
1/4 teas pepper
1/8 teas salt
1/8 teas cayenne pepper
1/8 hot pepper sauce
1 and 1/2 cups fr corn

this yields 6 main servings- I basically did the recipe 1 and 1/2 times-- fed us
In lg skillet cook sausage and onion until meat is lightly brown, drain, stir in peas,tomatoes,tomato sauce,broth and seasonings. Cook and stir for 10 to 15 minutes until hot, and bubbly. Stir in corn until heated thru.

Blessings, Pamela Dawn

Friday, February 5, 2010

Little Girls Night Out

At some point you really need to teach girls how to shop "specials" "discounts" "On Sale"!!!!

So, last night, I had a wonderful coupon for dinner at Applebee's. (one kids meal and one meal at $5.50, $2.00 off another burger/meal leaving only one burger at regular price! ) YEA
So, the girls and I had a wonderful time-- This is when you find out about who likes who, if there is a "boy" friend in the picture, talk about classes- and little Zoe' feels so grown up!

Than we hit the mall- a going out of business store- kids got great shirts for $3.50 and 4.50. And another store a 70% off sale. All in all they did great!! And Zoe' got a build a bear- She named her Bailey. Love at first hug! I guess that was the only really "extra that we did- ;)
It sure made my child's day!

Blessings, Pamela

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Back to School---

OK, I love my kids- I do..... but, that love is stretched very thin by the end of the 4Th snow day and the 6th day in the house. OK they did go out to play some.

So, back to school today- I am so glad. I know that this is not about me- The kids are glad to be going back to school. See friends not have to do the silly things mom has asked for-- you know, play box games together with NO fighting. Put together a 3-D Lego monster. READ for 45 minutes and than tell me about the book (s). One of the days the kids got to clean!

I really have had thoughts of homeschooling. Several of the kids really need to move faster than they are are regular school and need more challenges. Today, I have really nixed that idea-- I know that I will come back to it- But, I need to figure out how to homeschool without killing the kids. (that defeats the purpose) Homeschooling would be different than snow days- as I hopefully would have the things for the kids to do each

Than I am even considering this idea is light years away from my former self- For years I was an enlightened atheist. I am so glad that God did not give up on me and sent people into my path along the way until I found Him. In the years before I knew Jesus, I thought that kids that were homeschooled were really anti-socal, were behind-- I have misjudged. I am sure that their are some anti-socal kids, but there are many in school too--- Anyway, I am really giving this a lot of thought-

Well, I am glad for school today! ;)
Blessings, Pam