Monday, December 29, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

TOP TEN...well, almost 10

We had an amazing time in Mexico!!! Here is a quick review of the top things...

1. Warm weather...I am praying the Lord calls our family to live there. The sun does soooo much for me!

2. Visiting an orphanage....we were so encouraged to see how well these children are cared for here. They had so many volunteers and a beautiful facility. We visited them on our first day there and brought lots of supplies.

3. Swimming with dolphins....this was sooo much fun. We all got into the water with the dolphins...gave them kisses and hugs. We got to pet them and dance and swim with them. It was a blast! I wish we had more pictures....but the darn pictures cost $12 a piece!

4. The kids love the beach....building sand castles, looking for shells. I do not like sand but, hey I am willing to sacrifice that for my sunshine and the kids' smiles:)

5. Upon seeing the water slides, Caleb said "I am soooo going down those!" Both kids enjoyed the water park a lot.

6. The Marina.....this is a very fun area of Puerto Vallarta. We walked there a few times to shop and eat and to feed the pigeons....

7. Caleb dancing....

Thursday, December 25, 2008

2008 In Review...Grateful to be Caleb's Daddy

Beau here. So we all have fun family traditions, and our family is no exception. Back in 1987 my older sister Yvette started a journal for our family where one family member chooses another family member to write to. The purpose of the book is to provide a bit of a history of the year and to celebrate the family member you write to. The writer also gives the recipient an ornament. So that book has been going for over 20 years now. Well Natalie liked the idea and started a journal for her and me back in 1995. We also added the tradition of putting a family photo in our journal each year. Well this year, I have our (Nat and mine) book, and I decided to write to Caleb...a first for our journal after 13 years of just Nat and me! Since I always type the letter before I hand write it, I thought I would share the note with our friends in the blog world, so here goes. Merry Christmas friends!

Dear Caleb,

This is the first year that you will receive this book, and I think it is well-deserved. So far, only mommy and I have written in the book, but as I reflect on the young man you are becoming, I think this is the year to add you to the rotation of writing in the book. Caleb, as I so often tell you, I am grateful to be your daddy. Here are the top five reasons I love being your daddy.

1. By the grace and will of God, you are a follower of Christ. There is no greater joy I can have than knowing that I will be with you for eternity here on earth and in heaven. – Ephesians 2:8-10

2. You love God’s Word. Whether you are confused, sad, scared, curious, or unsure, you always come to me and say “Daddy, what does the Bible say about…” And, I love when I walk in your room every night, and you say “Daddy, it’s time to read the Bible.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

3. You have such a caring and gentle heart. For example today I didn’t feel well, so you gave me one of your teddy bears to sleep with to help me feel better. You have a special burden for people and respond to that burden. – Luke 6:36

4. You are a giver. You recognize that all your resources (money, toys, food, etc) are really God’s resources, and you respond to opportunities to use those resources to bring glory to God. For example, you used your money to buy food for families our church is trying to love and you love to give food backs to the homeless in our area. – 1 John 3:16-18

5. You challenge me to be more of the man God made me to be. Whether it is your Scripture memory, your actively loving others, your faith-filled prayer, your big vision of the greatness of God, or your desire to study our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world…you remind me of the crazy, huge, all-inclusive call to bring glory to God in all we do. – 1 Corinthians 11:1

Thank you God for Caleb being an instrument of change in my life, for growing me into being more of the man you want me to be, so I can bring more glory to You.

Caleb, as you know, we use this letter to reflect on what has occurred during the course of the year, and this has been quite a year to reflect on as a family. If there is one word that defines the highlights of 2008, I would say it is ADVERSITY. Obviously, our waiting for your brother and sister to come home from Ethiopia has taken much longer than expected at eighteen months and counting, with many unexpected turns and disappointing news along the way. Concurrently, my career has never been more challenging than it was in 2008 as I have had to make very difficult and often unpopular decisions, putting the firm’s interests before my own oftentimes selfish interests. But as I reflect on the hardships we have faced for our family, for my career, and elsewhere, I honestly reflect on them as blessings. You see, God has been at the center of this incredible and unpredictable story for our family in 2008 (Romans 8:28-30, Psalm 139:13-16). I have believed in God’s sovereignty (or active hand) since soon after I became a follower of Christ, but this year, my theoretical belief in this concept was made firmer and deeper as it went from the theoretical to the applied. As such, I feel like I love, savor, and know Christ more deeply now than ever before in my life. I fell in love with Jesus about nine years ago, but the flame has never been hotter than it is right now. Many of the potential idols in my life have been rocked or removed in 2008, and I have found Christ in their place. Caleb, I can attest that in 2008, nothing was sweeter than Christ.

And Caleb, I hope you have seen this year how much your mommy and I love one another. We have certainly experienced some hardships and instability in life over our twelve plus years of marriage, and the instability in life has often overflowed into our marriage relationship. But this year, I praise God that in the midst of the most challenging year of life in general, our marriage has been rock solid. The craziness of the adoption…our marriage has been a shelter. The craziness of work…our marriage has been a shelter. You see son, if we know Christ and follow Him we also know the purpose of marriage and find success in marriage (Ephesians 5:31-33). For that, I am grateful. I love having a bride who loves Jesus so much that if I just try to seek God, then I get to seek her at the same time.

To wrap this up, I thought I would share a few fun highlights that come to mind for 2008
• The May 21 call introducing us to your new brother and sister
• You riding your big boy bike
• Moving to your new bedroom on the other side of the house
• Hannah starting kindergarten
• You starting to read big books all by yourself

Caleb, I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be your daddy. God willing, we will have many more years together, and I pray God would continue to use me as a positive part of your story. More than anything, I want you to seek God’s glory in all your life; therefore, I pray that I would be so consumed with God that you see Him and know Him as you hang out with me.

Grateful and humbled,

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Feliz Navidad

We just returned *today* from a wonderfully relaxing and very warm vacation to Feliz Navidad!!!! It was a very last minute trip....we have done everything "last minute" over the last year as our lives have been on hold for our adoption. Well, Christmas cards fit into that category too....especially with two of our children missing from the annual Christmas card photo. With every delay in bringing B and Y home, we have waited on planning/doing many of which was taking holiday pictures and sending Christmas cards. Without having B and Y in a picture....well, cards didn't seem as fun to make this year. Though, we are having many wonderful holiday celebrations!!!!!!! But I hate not sending out cards...hate "missing" anyone on our list! I love love love sending (and getting) the cards each year....yet this year is different for us. Soooo while we wait....we will make you all wait too....

I promise more vacation pictures and video soon so check back:)

Praying for each of you to have a beautiful Christmas and blessed 2009!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Friend Victor

I laughed really hard at dinner tonight. It was a lot of fun.

So we go to this joint called Victor's. Right when we sit down they bring me a tequila "complements of the house." When it is time to order drinks, I see the sign "Beer $1.20", so I realize tonight is a beer night, not a margarita night. So they bring my Pacifico Beer, and lo and behold, they bring a tequila with it. Apparently, the tequila comes with the $1.20 beer. So then we eat some killer food. I had fajitas, and they bring me a huge bowl of jalapenos to go with it. My kind of place.

Later the three piece band comes around - three gents in their late 60s or early 70s. When they start playing at our table, Caleb gets his swurve on. Next thing you know, one of the amigos gives Caleb the mariachis, and Caleb is part of the band. We have a blast with that for a while. Video to follow later.

A few minutes later, Victor, the owner, comes to visit us. He calls to the waiter "we need some tequila here." I ask him "why do we need tequila", and he responds "because my wife doesn't get here till 7pm." So of course, my view is "when in rome..."

Next thing you know they bring free ice cream for the kids and free pina coladas for the big kids. Even my well-behaved wife had her drink.

We were in a marina, and the kids ran off to feed the pigeons while we hung out and talked. All in all a great night after a really fun day.

Grateful I am not in a southern baptist church where this post would be treason,

Friday, December 19, 2008

Puerto Vallarta Orphanage

Beau here. Chilling at the beach in Puerto Vallarta. We spent the afternoon visiting a small orphanage here. We contacted them Monday to get a list of needs and brought some stuff with us from Dallas - Christmas gift for each kid, food, meds, diapers, etc. We took some pics at the orphanage, and we will try to post them when we get back. Anyway, we had a blast and came away so encouraged. There are about 50 kids and two full time employees - a nun and another lady. In addition, there are a ton of volunteers, which is what really encouraged me. Lot of 50 and 60 somethings from the US and Canada who spend part (or all) of the year down in PV. These folks volunteer 3-5 hours a day about 3 days a week. One lady enjoys ironing, so she comes in to iron clothes for the kids for about 10-15 hours a week. Another guy plays with the kids, while another guy prepares the meals. I love how these folks are being purposeful with their time rather than clinging to some entitled view of retirement. Also, met one other family that took time out of their vacation to visit the orphans. That was a real encouragement too.

Right when Caleb and Hannah got there, the kids ran and started hugging them. Next thing you knwo they are all playing chase. Two sisters, about 3 and 5 years old, clung to me for about 30 minutes which was a lot of fun. I will try to post a picture of them.

These kids are often folks where their parents leave them for weeks or months while they go do migrant farming work. Others are abondoned while some are taken from their folks due to some tragedy.

Caleb asked me "why are these kids smiling and having fun?" I got to remind Caleb about God's extra special love for the orphans and mentioned God's words in James 1 and Psalm 146.

Came away blessed and encouraged.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

January 29th

Our next court date....attempt #6

It has been super cold the 4os right now I think....I laugh when I read my fellow bloggers entries about their temperatures....9 degrees or 15 below.....ouch......well 40 is too cold for me....we are heading south for a few days of sunshine.....we will catch up when we return.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Beau here. So I wrapped up earlier this morning on my two month study of the Psalms. I read through each Psalm and wrote out a prayer for each. So as I was reading Psalm 147 this morning about "praise" and what God had done for his people, I had like this massive twent car collission in my brain of a bunch of things in my life worthy of praise. I tried to quickly scribble down all the cars in the collission. Here was the list:

Father, you are worthy of praise. I praise You for Christ crucified and resurrected, for opening my eyes to Your gift of salvation, for my bride, for my children, for those who know and love me, for the church, for Your Word, for my reasoning and intelligence to know and use Your Word, for my freedom to worship You, for provision for my needs and an abundance to give in Your name, for Your sovereignty, for Your love for the oppressed, and for Your grace and truth.

Praying we are all overwhelmed by God's love.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Great 24 Hours

Beau here.

So the last 24 hours have been a lot of fun for me. Two highlights.

First, we booked a last minute vacation to Puerto Vallarta today. We leave Thursday. We have continually delayed or canceled family vacations all year because of adoption stuff. So this weekend I decided we needed to squeeze in a week on the beach. I am pumped..especially because the resort has a sushi chef.

Second, I got to get my preach on last night. I have been hanging with an African (primarily Kenyan) church here in Dallas for the past few months as we at Watermark try to discern how the Lord would have us serve and learn from this great local church. So on Wednesday I was given an opportunity to preach at their church last night. It was their annual married couples Christmas dinner, and they needed someone to do a 40 minute sermon on something related to marriage.

So here is my David Letterman Top 5 list of why I know I was at a Kenyan church and not your typical American church.

5. The event was supposed to go from 7-9pm but ended up lasting until after 11pm. Reminds me of my first visit to Africa and church went 6 hours...never in a rush.

4. See point 5 above. They told me to preach for 40 minutes, so I went for 60 minutes :) If the event was supposed to be over at 9pm, and I didn't get up to speak until after 9pm then what the heck! And nobody got antsy and walked out...definitely not an American church. I taught on the tie between the gospel and marriage. I have been listening to Piper for way too long and now feel like the gospel needs to be preached in every message :) If you want to see a copy of what I did, ping me at

3. Main components of the dinner was goat and chai tea. The sweet lady who set up the room did an incredible job of making it very formal. She had fine china for all 50 of us. So all the Kenyans, who absolutely love their chai tea, were complaining about the small china coffee cups because they had to keep getting up to refill their coffee cups. As the master of ceremonies, on three occasions between introductions she kept telling people she knew they were disappointed with the small cups but that they needed to enjoy using fine china. This was apparently a big deal.

2. When I was introduced to this lady later in the evening by the Senior Pastor, she asked me how I was enjoying myself. I said, "I am having a great time, but my coffee cup is too small." Hey, I couldn't help myself...when in Rome...

1. I was sitting beside a great guy who moved to America from Kenya four years ago. He asked about my family history which I shared. I then asked how many siblings he had. So he says "I am the 9th of 13 kids." I am thinking "holy cow." Then he says, "but my father was a polygamist." (note: in rural areas of Africa, this is not uncommon) So I am thinking "okay, so at least it was two women who bore the 13 kids." Then he says, "My father's other wife had 10 kids, so I am one of 23 children." I went to get another cup of chai tea.

I should be speaking at the church again early next year on stewardship. Looking forward to it. But right now, I am really looking forward to the beach in Mexico...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Delayed a 5th time

We still do not have what is needed to pass court on Monday. I am tired. sad. still hoping. longing to be with my babies.

We should know more on Monday or Tuesday about what is next. Thanks for your incredible support and prayers. We know God is good and we are reminded by each of you!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

are dants....our dance

The kids made invitations to a dance party. I grabbed my camera and laughed until I only a Mommy can.

Monday, December 08, 2008

One week

One week until our 5th attempt at court...please be praying with us that we will have all that is needed to have success next Monday!

Isn't this the sweetest little hand?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

December 15th

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3

While we still need "the document"....we are hopeful and are prayerfully trusting December 15th to the One who has it in His hands. Please be praying with us for the document and this upcoming new date. This is a surprisingly quick new date...we are humbled, nervous, hopeful, excited, and praying:) This is our 4th (I think) official court date...our kind of 6th attempt at court....we soooo appreciate your prayers!!!!

No other big thoughts tonight...those of you adopting already know how hard and how up and down this is. Thanks to everyone for your support!