Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's been awhile....

.....and the thought of catching up this blog is extremely overwhelming to me.....I have so many stories I would love to share, but the time seems to escape without the opportunity to sit down and actually do it. I really don't know WHERE all the time is fast! I'm trying to maximize it and ENJOY it!

We are all doing well. My sweet hubby has been working hard and has spent many of the last weeks training in the field and on assignments away from home, so we are super happy to finally have him home! The kids and I took a ROAD TRIP to Colorado to spend some time with him since he had been away so much and then we went to visit our families for 2 weeks!! We are super thankful that our driving across the country was totally uneventful with no car problems or major issues....We logged 42 hours of quality family time in the car over the last 3 weeks! The time with our family was worth it all! :)

The kids are doing well. We are working on our homeschool standardized testing this week and are planning to school through the summer this year. Joel and I read the book OUTLIERS recently and thought that the research presented in this book on year-round schooling was valid and really made sense. We're going to try it....but we are also moving to a new home in June and are hoping to go on a family vacation in July. Hmmmmmm. Don't know how this summer schooling will work exactly, but we're still going to give it a try! :) I'll keep you posted on our progress!

Joshua Nahome had his very first American birthday celebration last week...... it was very fun to celebrate with our extended families and it was super sweet to see his amazing smile and then the tears that welled up in his eyes as we all gathered around him and sang Happy Birthday. It was a priceless moment and he is still talking about the party and wondering when is the next one! HAHA!! Yes, he is 100% fluent now and of course,now that he is speaking English very well, we can't figure out how to get him to stop talking sometimes! HAHA! He really is doing well and seems very happy and content. He is a blessing to our family and we are so proud of him!

He does still ask lots of questions about Ethiopia and Tigist but he's never sad or crying or upset.....he's just curious and trying to sort things out in his mind. Usually, after I give him a straight answer he goes right back to whatever he was doing before. Here are two examples of his questions.....When we were getting ready for his birthday party, he came up to me and asked if Tigist could come to his party.

That question broke my heart but I took him in my arms, gave him a big hug and said, "No Joshua- Tigist can't come but she loves you and I bet she is thinking of you today on your birthday." He smiled, climbed out of my arms and ran to play. At dinner tonight, out of the blue, he randomly said, "Where is Tigist sleeping tonight?" Hmmm....this one was hard to because I really don't know the absolute answer so I said, "I'm not sure but I hope she is sleeping at Ayeu's house (his Ethiopian grandmother). That was what he wanted to know and then he started talking about other things. I've made it my goal to OPENLY discuss Ethiopia, Tigist, the orphanage, what we know of his past, etc. so that he never comes to a place where he feels like he can't ask, or where he is surprised by some part of his history. I am thankful we know as much about him as we do and I'm blessed that we met his birthmother and can share her love for him, with him.

On another note.....we're moving to a new home in the coming weeks. I'm super excited. Of course, I am dreading the pack up and the move itself, but I am really excited about moving into a really neat historic home on base. It will be a great place to live and will really "simplify" our lives some! So when you get an updated address card from us, don't be surprised... and if you want to come and pack some boxes or make a few truck-loads with us......I will gladly buy the PIZZA! :)

Lastly, please pray for our sweet Madilyn as she prepares to go on her first medical mission trip in the next few weeks. She has an amazing heart for the Lord and is so excited to go serve the people of the Phillipines. Actually, I guess I should be asking for you to pray for ME in this situation.....I am really excited for her to go and experience the joy of serving others in love, but do know that I am also a little worried about sending my 12 yr old to another country without me next to her! She is going to be well supervised and loved on by her grandparents, but still.....I'm a little Nervous Nelly here. I know, I know, I know.....Matthew 6:25. 1 Peter 5:7. Psalm 33:21. Romans 8:39. Jeremiah 29:11. I'm clinging to His words and trying to overcome my flesh and fears by renewing my mind and spending extra time studying His word and praying! Thanks in advance for praying for me, and for Madi and her trip!


Hoping you have been doing well over the last few weeks as well. Stay tuned for more updates, I promise-- I'm really going to TRY to do better!

BTW- I'm going to update pictures soon--- my camera broke awhile back so I had to borrow one and now the photos are all on another camera, 836 miles away. Will you mail me the memory card MoM? :)

Blessings and hugs,

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Training up our child with transparency......

So I've not posted in many days......It's been an emotionally exhausting few weeks for me as a mom...... but Praise the Lord, after much prayer, time, energy, and yes, even tears-- I can see positive progress happening in the life, heart, and discipline of Joshua Nahome! Many of my bloggy adoption friends have written or called to ask recently about the ways that we have chosen to d*scipline our older adopted child so I thought that maybe I should share a post about what I've learned so far about disciplining Joshua Nahome along this journey.....

Initially, there was lots of LOVE, GRACE and MERCY given to this little one that was transitioning to a new home, a new family, a new language, a new culture, etc. all at once! We tried to be ever so patient, explaining, loving, modeling correct behaviors and activities. We gave him lots of learning time without placing high expectations. We sort of pretended in our minds that we were dealing with a one year old so we used very soft methods of re-directing! So there really wasn't lots of "d*scipline" for a long little while but after we were sure that we had established trust, understanding, language comprehension, and familiarity for Joshua Nahome to our family and our family rules..... I can honestly say that we have both successfully and unsuccessfully tried MANY different techniques to begin disciplining Joshua Nahome as OUR child!

We had initially read so many adoption books that really scared us silly and most all of them said, in one way or another.... "DO NOT SPANK AN ADOPTED CHILD". I truly tried every "alternative" method possible, and honestly, most were ineffective. Let me share what the BIBLE says about parenting children.....Hebrews 12:5-8: "And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as children? It says, "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his child." Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate children at all."

Proverbs 29:17 "Correct thy son and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul."

Proverbs 13:24 "He that spares the rod, hates his son, but he that loves him is careful to discipline him."

I began to recognize that Joshua Nahome's disobedience, rebellion and defiance began to grow and worsen in my (unsuccessful :0) attempt to train him using various culturally popular and lenient methods such as time outs, loss of privileges,etc. His disobedience was becoming very problematic, even dangerous! One day a few weeks ago, he climbed in my car while we were loading up to leave and he quickly jumped into the drivers seat and began to push and pull buttons and levers. He was told "No! GET OUT of that seat!" but he ignored the words, smiled and laughed and somehow put the car into neutral and the car rolled out of my driveway and into the middle of our street. Thank goodness no one was could have been devastating. The moving car could have easily killed one of my other children or caused a car accident and killed him! I get chill bumps even thinking about what a close call it was!! I am so thankful for this situation though because it was in this moment that I realized that we were not going to follow the adoption book's advice about discipline any wasn't working and it was just plain dangerous to allow him to be disobedient all because he was adopted! Just like Proverbs says.....we love him too much to not discipline him! We have decided to show Joshua Nahome that we love him and accept him as our child by setting firm limits and using Biblical methods of consistent discipline for him when he chooses to disobey. Folks, IT IS WORKING-- his heart is already changing! I sp*nk him if he doesn't obey immediately, all the way, with a happy heart. This is exactly how I discipline and teach our other children, then I sit and hold him in my lap after I sp*nk and I love on him, explaining WHY he was disciplined and then we go over the correct response together. Before he gets out of my arms, he is always smiling and I can honestly say that he has been a more secure, more obedient and more pleasing child to be with this week! :) It has been a very hard and exhausting few weeks for me to focus on consistency in disciplining Joshua and ALL of our children, but I am so thankful for the blessings that come with having a peaceful home, obedient children and to enjoy the fruits of my labor every day as I spend time with my treasures!! here's my Disclaimer.....I am sure that many of you out there probably disagree with our parenting style. We do sp*nk our children and we are thankful we live in the state of Texas where sp*nkings are legal......We believe that God and His Word, The Bible, is the ultimate authority on love, discipline, and parenting EVERY child in our home (NOT the popular parenting/adoption books and magazines!). I understand that adopted children come from various, usually unstable and unhealthy family backgrounds and they may be emotionally fragile. We do NOT abuse our children and I am NOT advocating or recommending any type of child abuse or violence. We believe in deliberate, planned, un-emotional, CONSISTENT and loving discipline, even for the adopted child in our family! Praise the Lord.... I really have seen some amazing progress this week and Joshua Nahome is healthy, happy and doing great! God is good!

I hope this helps clarify our position of disciplining an older adopted child with some transparency. I pray that my struggle to "figure it out" allows you to also see that while we are blessed by adding Joshua to our family, adoption is challenging but the rewards are absolutely, eternally amazing! :)


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

In a heartbeat.....

UPdate time!!

Team Newsom is here and accounted for! We've had a very recent "BUSY" spell and are thankful to let you all know that we are all surviving, thriving, alive and well!! God is good and I am amazed daily at His strength in my weakness, His power to overcome bad situations, His grace during our hard moments, His unconditional love, His mercy that is given freely to me every single day, and His many blessings that I really, really, really don't deserve!

So here's a short version of the many things going on here for Team Newsom......

We've been celebrating birthdays over the last few months and I promise that I will download all the pictures from my camera SOON and post some photos of my sweet TEAM but believe me, it's been lots of FUN! Joel, Jackson, Madilyn and I all have had big fun birthdays with more birthday celebrations for Joel, Joshua and Hannah to come in the next month or two! The kiddos are truly growing up before my eyes and I am trying to soak up every moment of it! Each of them are such TREASURES!

News has finally gotten out that the Newsom Bed and Breakfast, El Paso is OPEN for business and we are all booked up for the month of March!! What an awesome month of company!! We hosted my sister, Amberly, my brother, DJ, my sweet sister-in-dating, Katy, and also the kiddos....Dawson, Crayton and Chloe this past weekend! We packed lots of really fun activities into a quick weekend and it was really INCREDIBLE! ;)

Tomorrow, Joel's parents arrive and will be here with us for a few days. Yea!! Next weekend, my parents are coming! Woohoo!! Joel's cousin Dale was also planning a family trip out west but unfortunately, the timing didn't work out but we're hoping to re-schedule a visit with them!

In the midst of all the company, Joel has been doing lots of Ar*y training and has been in and out of the field! He is really enjoying his job and I'm super proud of him. He works long hours but we have him coming home every night and we get lots of family time on the weekends so I'm NOT going to complain! I'm so very thankful he is not currently depl*yed!

The kiddos are doing great with their school work this year, they are enjoying home school PE class at the YMCA twice a week and the oldest 3are also playing basketball. Yes, 3 practices and 3 games a week keeps the taxi light on my suburban blinking! :) They have also made some very special friends here and are really liking El Paso!

I've stayed very busy homeschooling and loving on our sweet kiddos, teaching a Bible Study class on Wednesdays, loving on some new friends going through hard challenges, trying to exercise regularly, researching and looking at homes for sale here in El Paso (we're praying!), volunteering at the unit's family readiness group, working on Joshua's re-adoption paperwork, (BTW, you can PRAISE THE LORD with us in celebrating that Joshua Nahome Newsom is now legally Re-adopted in the state of Texas, as of last week! YEAYEAYEA!) I'm just running around like a chicken with my head cut off on most days but... I'm praising the Lord for every moment and every opportunity to serve Him and He has richly blessed me and given me great joy during this season of giving of my time and energy to MANY different callings. My cup truly overflows with joy and blessings.

So I'm sure you would probably also like an UPdate on the adoption and Joshua Nahome's continued transition into life as a Newsom so I'll give you a little update today and hope to focus a little more later on specifics.....

After 8 months home, Joshua is really thriving. He is happy. He is sweet. He is healthy. He is loving and kind. He is fun. He is smart. He is 99% fluent in English (at a 4 year old level) after only 8 months in America! WOW! He does struggle occasionally with all of the trauma and loss in his life but he grieves appropriately and it is really much healthier for him to grieve now than to suppress those emotions so I am happy that he talks about his feelings and lets those tears flow! We talk openly of Tigist (his birthmother), about Ethiopia, his time in the orphanage, about his brown skin color and our white skin color, etc. We believe honest and open communication lines are best! He does show some insecurities in new and unfamiliar situations and we now know that he needs lots of reassurance and explanations before we do something new. He has a few attention seeking behaviors that he does when he is nervous but they aren't show- stoppers, just small little annoyances and the time out chair usually does the trick. He has bonded with us amazingly well, he is a great sleeper, he is helpful, and he has a generous spirit. He is a true blessing.

I want to be transparent with you, though, and say that this adoption has NOT been all easy and every day is NOT always perfect......I truly don't want to sugar-coat the reality here..... Joshua Nahome is a sweet little boy and is perfect for our family but it has been a hard, but very rewarding, journey of obedience, stretching of ourselves, and it is a daily sacrifice of time, energy, love, money, and emotions. It has been hard but it has also been really, really good! I know some of you that occasionally read my blog are praying about adoption for your family and so, just in case you are wondering--here is the bottom line: if we could go back in time and start all over, WE WOULD STILL DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN. IN A HEARTBEAT!! It has been worth it all and God has grown us and taught us soooo much through the experience-- We are thankful that we took the leap of faith and stepped out of our comfortable little bubble in obedience to God's calling to adopt!

Blessings to you and yours,

Monday, March 1, 2010

Memorial Box Monday

It's been several weeks since I shared a Memorial Box Monday story with you-- life has been very full for Team Newsom and wonderfully overflowing with blessings, friendships, work and play!

If you are wondering WHAT a Memorial Box is, feel free to visit Linny and learn more about it. I've been inspired by Linny's life testimony at A Place Called Simplicity. I believe it is important to REMEMBER and SHARE with our family about the AMAZING things God has done in our lives!

So here's a Newsom Memorial Box Story that I want to share with you today......

Several years ago, we were stationed at West Point, New York. It one of the most lovely places I have ever lived. Our home was amazing, Joel's job was wonderful, the family time was great, and our friendships there are treasured! We lived only 0.8 miles from Joel's office and the commute to work for Joel was sooooo easy. He could be at work in 4 minutes, come home to shower after PT and for lunch. The not-so-great thing about him driving the 0.8 miles to work was that the parking was NOT easy at his office! If he drove to work, he would usually end up parking nearly as far from his office as if he had just walked from our home. He started looking at bicycles as an alternative mode of transportation for him to get back and forth the 0.8 miles to work at this point. This happened to be a time when God had called our attention to our finances and and we had been really budgeting, trying to get out of debt, and working through The DAVE RAMSEY Financial Freedom program. (What a blessing his program was to us!) Anyway, Joel really wanted a nice mountain bike, but the price of those things, at that time, was way out of our budget! We were really committed to getting out of debt and living within a strict budget ( what is really stinkin' cool about this is that we didn't know that the money that we were able to save after we finally got out of debt would be the money God had for us to use to pay Joshua Nahome's Adoption Ransom! SO COOL!)

ANYWAY~~ back to the story.... Joel had located a used, very nice mountain bike in our area that was still more expensive than we needed to spend but he loved it and he had been praying about it. The day he needed to decide whether or not to purchase the bike, he came home for lunch, went to check the mail, and found a letter from an old friend. Folks, you guessed it....... inside that letter was a check from our friend for the EXACT amount of the bike that Joel wanted to purchase!! No kidding!! The note attached to the check said that this old friend had owed a debt to Joel that he had forgotten to pay back and he had just remembered it and wanted to make it right after 9 years! WOW.

Joel was amazed and blessed. We were both in awe that our God was so perfectly involved in the tiny details of our lives and finances that he would send a check for the exact amount of the bike, on the exact day Joel was planning to make a decision. Joel did buy the bike that day knowing that God's provision of the money was NO small coincidence, but a true gift and blessing from above! The bicycle was the right choice for his commute/parking issue during our time at West Point!

Right now, that same bicycle proudly occupies a spot in our garage, (not in a memorial box!) but every time I see it, I am reminded of God's provisions for us during that time at West Point! That's what Memorial Box Monday is all about......remembering and sharing what God has done in our lives to encourage and remind us that GOD IS GOOD. He is always faithful. He is always loving. He is always with us. God is the provider for our every need!

Deuteronomy 8:18-20 "And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. As the nations which the Lord destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the Lord your God."

Many Blessings to you on this Memorial Box Monday!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Reassure. Build Trust. Show Love.


We have been planning a family trip to Ruidoso, NM for quite some time now and this past weekend was finally the weekend to sneak away as a family to a new place to explore, play, rest, and have some fun together. It was really a wonderful weekend. Such a nice, quaint place with tons to see and do. The mountains were beautiful and I am still amazed that it is only 2.5 hours from El Paso yet the scenery and land so very different! It was amazing! It was a refreshing break away from normal life, for most of us.........

I wouldn't say that it was refreshing to Joshua. I think it was confusing and scary for him but in the end, we all came home together and together, we overcame another adoption fear and hopefully he gained a little bit more trust.

He was really well behaved on the trip and he had lots of fun playing in the snow, but there were MANY MANY times that he asked lots of questions about our trip.... "Why are we at the mountains?" "How many days at the mountains?" "Is this a new house?" "Where are we going today?" Then on Saturday afternoon, he followed several of the above questions with the ONE QUESTION that let me know what he was REALLY concerned about........"In two days does Joshua go back to El Paso with Joel and Madilyn and Jackson and Hannah?"


It occurred to me that he must think that we were bringing him there to drop him off with some other family/home/orphanage. Remember our little trip to the doctor last week and the fear, insecurity and drama.....well, a trip to the doctor, followed shortly after by a "weekend getaway" and this little boy was feeling unsettled and he was a box of nerves! Poor little thing! It breaks my heart but also re-affirms my suspicions that he is still really trying to sort things out, trying to understand why he was taken from place to place in his past,and he's trying to figure out what will happen next from here.

REASSURE. BUILD TRUST. SHOW LOVE. These are our goals for now with Joshua. We're going to just keep trying to reassure him that he is here forever and that we love him! He will ALWAYS have a forever home with Joel, Madilyn, Jackson and Hannah, Mommy and Daddy!

The weekend away was really fun, but it was even more GREAT to bring Joshua back home to El Paso and say "WE ARE HOME!" I hate that our little trip grieved his spirit and caused him any anxiety but at the same time, I am also thankful for another opportunity for us to show him that as a member of Team Newsom, we will go places together and we will all come home TOGETHER!

If anyone out there has any tips or ideas on creative ways to explain the concepts of forever, trust, and permanence to a sweet little 4 year old, please leave me a comment and share the wisdom!

Many Blessings,

Monday, February 8, 2010

How many days is forever?

It's been a few tough days for our little man Joshua. We spent about an hour at bedtime last night listening to him tell us stories of Ethiopia and Tigist and the orphanage, he asked lots of questions and we answered lots of questions. We spent lots of this time speaking TRUTH to him as his fantasies about Tigist and Ethiopia have become much more elaborate over time. There were also many "WHY" questions that we just can't answer. At one point last night, I was trying to explain to him that he was going to live with Mommy and Daddy in America and be in our family forever. I knew he didn't really understand when he asked, "How many days is forever?"

Forever is a very hard concept to explain to a 4 year old child that has not had a life experience of stability and who is also just learning English! We finally said goodnight to him and really did feel like we had made some progress explaining things to him but we recognize that we still have a long way to go before he understands PERMANENCE. Today was even more evidence of that!

Joshua had an appointment to see the doctor. Going to any type of health clinic is one thing that just sends him into anxiety mode. I'm really not sure why, but I believe that he must be scared that after he goes to the doctor, we are going to leave him. He cried and begged to not go. I spent lots of time loving on him and explaining that we were going to see the doctor, we were NOT going to get any shots, and then we were going to come right home! He was still terrified. He cried lots. This has happened almost every time I have taken him to a clinic. Of course, I tried to re-assure him that it was all going to be okay but he is just so scared! I feel so bad for him and my heart hurts knowing that he still isn't sure that he's really going to stay here. FOREVER.

We made it home from the doctor after stopping for a little soda treat for both of us, and all was well.....for about an hour. Then there was a very small, very minor sibling issue over a toy that mushroomed into a full blown meltdown for Joshua. The meltdown was absolutely not about the toy. It was just too much emotional turmoil for him to handle without letting it all out! Did I say that it is super hard to see him hurt like that?!? I sat in the recliner with him for about an hour and a half, just exactly where we have sat through many meltdowns before, and I just held him tight as he cried and cried. After awhile I began to sing that little song to him from my all time favorite children's book....
I love you forever,
I like you for always,
as long as I'm living,
my baby you'll be.

He's such a sweetheart and such a blessing. We made it through the rest of the afternoon without any more tears but we are both just exhausted! Thankfully, he fell asleep very early tonight and I'm on my way now!!

Please pray for Joshua Nahome if you think of it. I am specifically praying that God will just just heal and replace all of his insecurities, pain, fear, and anxiety and fill his heart and mind with love and a peace that passes all understanding!


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Driving from the back seat......

Some might say that today was just another day in the Newsom house...... it was a day full of GREAT moments and also many NOT-so-great moments. I'm praising God that I'm FORGIVEN AND LOVED and that He extends GRACE to me when I don't deserve it, like today. Today really was pretty normal and honestly, I'll admit to you that all day I've felt weighted down with a heavy heart. I've been struggling with being overwhelmed with decisions, to-do lists, needs, chores, children, responsibilities, committments, etc. etc. The reason I share this with you is because tonight, during my quiet time with the Lord, my burden was lightened and I realized that my "NORMAL" overwhelmed feelings, were "NORMAL" because I have NOT been handing over the steering wheel completely to God. I keep reaching over to make sure that all things remain in control!! I'm a great back seat driver when I really need to just let the Lord take the wheel and I need to be a willing passenger--- not a back seat driver! :)

The Lord has placed so many burdens on my heart recently......for people He has placed in my life here in El Paso, for orphans that have touched my heart, for family trials both near and far, for our military families that are REALLY struggling to keep it together while being apart,for my children as they grow up in this fallen world and struggle to sort it all out, for my neighbors that are sick, for the people of Haiti and really, all third world countries, for the upcoming medical mission to Ethiopia, Etc. Etc. Etc. The list goes on and on.

MY list just keeps growing and all day my heart has just been hurting for all of these hurting people. I was so overwhelmed! I am so thankful that the Lord has REALLY opened my eyes, ears, and heart with compassion but, REALLY. Really, Lord?!? What can I possibly do? There is only one of me. There are 5 children in my home....I'm already so outnumbered! There are many friends that need time and a listening ear, but I only have 2 ears!! There are 147 million orphans out there.....but I am only one person. There are millions of earthquake victims....again, I am just one person. There are LOTS of hurting military families that have sacraficed so much......I have only me to offer. What can I do Lord? I am just me. I am not capable, or even able to handle all these things on my plate right now.

I've been mulling over this overwhelming list of concerns on my heart all day long now and I've been praying about WHAT God would have me to do about all these needs, burdens, concerns, heartaches, hurts, pain that the people in my world and in my life are suffering through, the things that I never get done, etc. etc.......

Then HE gently reminded me in my quiet time, that HE IS GOD.... and I am just me. HE IS IN CHARGE; I am just a servant. HE WILL PROVIDE; I just ask. HE WON'T GIVE ME A LOAD BIGGER THAN I CAN BEAR; I just need to be a willing vessel. HE IS MORE THAN ENOUGH; and I only need just enough every day. HE WILL DRIVE THE CAR; I'm just a passenger. GOD is GOD.

Acts 17:25 "Human hands can't serve His needs, for He has no neeeds. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and He satisfies every need there is."

Galations 6:9 "Don't get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time."

Matthew 11:28-29 "Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle and you will find rest for your souls."

My heart was so refreshed after I read these scriptures and poured my heart out to God. I am so thankful that He reminded me that I don't have to do it all myself, in my own strength. I don't have to do it, I only have to give God ALL of these issues that burden my heart.......I can give them all to my loving, gracious and kind GOD and HE WILL MAKE MY BURDEN LIGHT! HE WILL DO THE DRIVING!! The King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Alpha and Omega, the PROVIDER, HEALER, and MAKER OF ALL THINGS......God is sovereign!!! NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD!! He will take care of it all and He drives really well without any help from me in the back seat!!!

I pray that your yoke is not heavy today and thay you can unload all your burdens today and REST your soul! It feels really good to REST in the Lord and He is a much better driver than I am, anyway!

Many Blessings for you and yours,

Monday, January 25, 2010

My first attempt at a Memorial Box Monday

I have a sweet bloggy friend named Linny that I keep up with(I would say that I stalk her blog, but her post today was about a real life stalker so I won't say that I stalk her blog- but, um.... I do check up on her frequently :) ) Anyway, Anyway- I really do admire Linny's passion for serving the Lord, lovin' on her BIG family, and keeping life in perspective! So in Linny's blog (you can check out her blog at, she and her family celebrate what she calls Memorial Box Mondays. I've read her Monday posts for a long time and have LOVED the idea of a Memorial Box, but I honestly just haven't figured out how to do this type of thing in my life. I think I've even shared this with a few of my close friends.....I want to do this in our family......but I have so many questions......How big would my "box" need to be? Where exactly do you get a "memorial box"? How do you find the appropriate little trinkets to signify the GREAT BIG things God has done in your life? etc. etc. etc.

So-- I still don't have all the answers to my Memorial Box Monday questions but I've been praying about this, have been inspired by Linny to try it, and I am going to attempt today to START a little "Memorial Box Monday" posting of my own and hopefully by next week, I'll have found a memorial box and will use this creative idea to help our family have tangible ways to remember the goodness of the Lord in our lives.

I'm going to start with an Ethiopia story because I never really shared with you about the many BIG God things that happened while we were there. I just never could sort through my emotions enough to capture the whole week in a blog post or even in 20 blog posts! It was just so BIG for me! But-- maybe if I focus on just a small part.......maybe I can do this and share our testimony of the Lord's goodness with you while we were in Ethiopia!

Here's the story of our first two hours in Ethiopia........

There we were, finally in Ethiopia- all 5 of us. We had gone through customs and we were greeted at the airport terminal by an older gentlemen, an employee of our agency at that time, that we'll call Dr. A. When we met Dr. A, I immediately sensed that this gentleman did not have a genuine heart and I still don't know if he is a born again Christian. I sensed that this man was self-seeking. I had a moment of panic and sheer FEAR erupt inside of me when Dr. A abruptly and matter-of-factly told us that Madilyn and Robbie would be riding in the "taxi" with the luggage and that Joel, Jackson, and I would ride in his personal car to the guesthouse. Our arrival was at 10pm so it was not only dark, but this was also a foreign country for us, we didn't speak the language and I did not feel comfortable with this car arrangement. After a few minutes of loading all of the luggage (we had tons of donations!!) I finally gathered up enough courage to tell Dr. A that we appreciated his willingness to transport us to the guesthouse but that Joel and Jackson would go with the taxi and Robbie, Madilyn and I would ride with him. I knew he was a BFAS employee and that he would get us where we needed to go, but I was not so sure about sending my mother in law and daughter in a taxi with an unknown driver, in the dark, in an unknown city. I could tell that he was frustrated that I was questioning his decision and he mumbled some things in Amharic as we loaded up (my way) and headed for the guesthouse. This was the beginning of our trip, the first hour in country and it was an adventure!

There are not many "PAVED" streets in Addis Ababa, and no street signs or house numbers. The main highways and some streets are paved, but when you are driving in the neighborhoods- you are mostly on dirt roads with no navigational clues. We also travelled during the "rainy season" to Ethiopia- so the roads were very muddy. It was DARK. It became very evident that Dr. A was lost. The taxi stopped way behind us and the driver started walking up and down the mud roads yelling at the gate guards in Amharic asking for directions to our guest house. No electricity. No street lamps, or signs. The streets were just dark black and FEAR started to creep up into my soul, again. I was really scared now. There were 3 or 4 house guards that came out of their courtyards, into the muddy street, walking around our car and loudly discussing the route we should have taken in Amharic (at least that is what I think they were talking about!) I didn't understand why we were stopped in the middle of the muddy road and I really couldn't understand what they were saying! Robbie had a doubtful and concerned look on her face also and Madilyn began to cry. Then it happened, I felt a surge of relief as the Lord gave me FREEDOM from that fear of being lost on a dark muddy road in a foreign land! I remembered that I had brought a flashlight or TWO in my carry on bag and they were right under my feet in the front pocket! Thank you Lord! As soon as we turned on those flashlights and the darkness was changed to LIGHT, there was calm and safety in that car and in our hearts. We might have gotten to our destination even if I had not remembered that I had the flashlights in my bag, but the LIGHT did calm our fear and comfort our hearts!

God's word says it so clearly.......Psalms 119:105 "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." and John 8:12 "Jesus once again addressed them: "I am the world's Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in."

We made it to the guesthouse safely (the taxi did also!) and we were served an amazing dinner of lasagna, bread, and fruit by our sweet new friends and agency employees, Beti and Italgu. We only had electricity 3 of the 10 nights we were in Ethiopia but we used those flashlights every single night that we were there at some point or another and they did light our paths and help us to not stumble around in the darkness! We were very thankful for those small flashlights and lamps that we had brought with us!

When I find the perfect Memorial Box.....I am going to put a little flashlight in it to remind me that God did light our path that first night in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and during our whole trip there. I also want to remember that as Christians, our ultimate goal is this.....

2 Corinthians 4:5 "Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we're proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, "Light up the darkness!" and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful."

Many blessings to you,

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Bloggy Apology and Prayer Request......

So I've been pretty distant here in BloggyLand and I want to apologize to you, my sweet Bloggy friends.......but, I also want to ask for some prayers!

I've been pretty silent here, mainly because I've been overwhelmed. Not overwhelmed in a bad way---but instead, overwhelmed in a GOOD way. I honestly don't know where to start to catch you up on the crazy life of Team Newsom. God has been opening some amazing doors. He has been teaching me many Truths' over the last few weeks and He has answered many prayers. God has also given me some unbelievable opportunities to share our adoption testimony with new friends, and He is coordinating a medical mission trip to Ethiopia for this fall!! Wow!......and that's only a tiny bit of information that is swirling around in my head! God is really at work here and I know it but I haven't really known WHAT TO DO NEXT. So, I've been really quiet around here. I've been praying lots and I've been waiting for God's wisdom and guidance. Will you pray with me for wisdom and guidance as we strive to seek HIS will for our lives??

I do want to quickly share with you just a few of the unbelievable opportunities God has given me over the last few weeks-- I have been ASKED to visit/share our adoption testimony with 6 different ladies at 6 different times over the last 2 weeks. Isn't that too cool??? God loves the poor and the afflicted. He LOVES the orphan. His word tells us to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. I am just amazed that He has planted so many seeds in the hearts of people I've recently met and I want to be obedient, even in, YES- I WILL SPEAK UP FOR THE ORPHANS GOD LOVES!!

God has also given us an opportunity to serve Him in helping to coordinate and plan an upcoming Medical Mission Trip to Ethiopia in October 2010. Agitu, BFAS Staff, Fruitful Harvest Ministries, and many BFAS families are coming together to minister and show Christ's Love to the people of Ethiopia!! WOW! This is getting so much bigger that I ever dreamed or imagined and somehow--- God has placed me in this network of Christian servants as a coordinator of people and resources. I am so humbled and again, even though I feel UN-worthy and very UN-equipped; I am choosing to be obedient and I know that in my own strength I have absolutely nothing to offer, but then again.....there is that TRUTH in God's Word: "WITH CHRIST, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!"

Please pray that Joel and I will have direction, wisdom and guidance from the Lord over these opportunities to serve Him and also in those other areas of our lives that I haven't shared here with you because of the time constraint! I am really going to try to break out of my overwhelmed state of silence and be more faithful in sharing my thoughts, prayer requests and testimonies of God's goodness with you here in BloggyLand on a more regular basis. More than anything, I recognize the need for your support and especially your prayers, as we travel along this amazing journey!

Blessings abound,

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

This is YOUR house.

I'm speechless, exhausted, and overwhelmed but I'm also very joyful, so content, and super happy. Most of the books I read pre-adoption were right on with issues involved in adopting older children but I think I was really in denial at that point, that "WE" might face some of those issues. :) Most of them also didn't even talk about the the sheer joy that comes from GIVING an orphan a home, even through all those "adoption issues!" I have been so humbled by this journey and am still learning so much! Every day brings something new with Joshua Nahome. He is doing really well! Singing, dancing, clapping, jumping, smiling, laughing--- these actions fill his days with us. But then there are those....."MOMENTS" that aren't as easy to handle, like today......

Joshua and I were in the kitchen and I was sweeping the floor, he was helping by holding the dustpan for me. He said, "Mommy your house is clean, so nice." I said, "Thank you for helping me sweep Joshua. Yes, our house is very clean now."

He then said, "This is your house. My house is with Tigist."

I stopped sweeping and prayed a quick prayer for wisdom here at this "MOMENT".......

I got down on my knees and the Lord gave me the words, "Joshua Nahome, this is YOUR house, too. You do NOT have a house with Tigist. Tigist loves you but Tigist does NOT have food and Tigist does NOT have a house for you. Tigist wants you to live in America with Mommy and Daddy in YOUR house here. This is YOUR house. Tigist does NOT have a house for you. This is your house. Okay? Do you understand?"

Joshua Nahome looks into my eyes and says, "Yes, Ma'am. This is my house. Can I have some cake?"

Then it was back to life as normal and cake was served! WOW. Talk about some pressure for me!!! Whew! The "moments" just come and then just as quickly, they are gone. There is no major emotional breakdown, no tears, no crying, no screaming--- Joshua will just make these random statements that open an opportunity for me to SPEAK TRUTH into his heart and mind so that he understands and doesn't fantasize. I pray that he does come to understand the WHY without needless heartache and pain but just by openness about his past and Tigist. My hope is that one day he'll be able to say....."My birthmother was destitute and could not feed me, I lived in an orphanage for many many months until GOD gave me a forever family to love and grow up in."

I am also praying that the Lord helps us to grow our love deeper and have more compassion for Joshua, but also be able to see the need and ability to speak TRUTH, in love, to this sweet little boy in spite of the painful circumstances of his life as an orphan. These are hard conversations to have without having some reaction time-- I have to pray hard and think fast! God has provided each and every time I've been faced with these moments that I'm not mentally prepared to handle and he's given me grace, humility, and has helped me to speak TRUTH even when it is hard.

Ephesians 4:11-16 It was He who gave gifts to people; He appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers.12 He did this to prepare all God's people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ.13 And so we shall all come together to that oneness in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God; we shall become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ's full stature.14 Then we shall no longer be children, carried by the waves and blown about by every shifting wind of the teaching of deceitful people, who lead others into error by the tricks they invent.15 Instead, by speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head.16 (C)Under his control all the different parts of the body fit together, and the whole body is held together by every joint with which it is provided. So when each separate part works as it should, the whole body grows and builds itself up through love.

Proverbs 24:3 "Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

Blessings to you and yours,