26 March 2016


Covenant Dean,
You are the big 2 today!
Mommy & Daddy love you dearly and you live up to your name of "promised" in so many ways.
You bring joy to us and your sister and can light up a room with your smiles, laughs and your ability to EAT. Trucks, tractors, trains and anything on wheels including wagons, strollers and bikes bring you great delight. You love puppies and most animals. You also love Thomas the Train, Winnie the Pooh and Daniel Tiger and love visits to the farm.
2 years ago you came into our world after a very hard labor. One year ago you were still wanting to "see" Mommy every night. And today, you are beginning the toddler stage of "no's" and tantrums. Yet, we wouldn't trade any of that for who you are.
Covenant-you are a "promise" to us from our Almighty and we pray you are in Perfect Hands.
Much love,
Mom & Dad

["Perfect Hands" is performed by The Mariners]

01 November 2015


Unbelievable how time. flies.
I feel like yesterday we were potting training. Teaching her ABC's. And now-she is growing. Learning. Reading. Writing. Spelling. Loving. And growing into a beautiful little girl.

Dear Haven,
You are 6 today. Happy Birthday sweetie.
You love life right now. School. Friends. Carpool. Your sense of loyalty and deep, deep love is admirable. You absorb your surroundings with uncanny ability for a 6 year old and ask great questions. When challenged, you shy away at first yet have a sense of adventure and intrigue in your spirit. You have a quick mind and even quicker tongue. You LOVE LOVE being a big sister and your brother lights up when you walk into a room. You learned to ride a bike and swim more confidently, traveled to 16 states & 1 country, and made LOTS of new friends along the way!
We love you to the moon and back dear Haven. You are our first born and more than we could have hoped for...and we thank God each day for the gift you are to our family.
Mom & Dad

07 September 2015

a simple phone call

"Hi Dad...how's your day going?"

"Ah...well, er, not terrible...but oh, this line...so I'm stuck in line at Sheldon. It's my 4th load of the day...probably pushing it, thinking I can get 4 loads in today. Butch is 2 trucks ahead. I wanted to get back to town and get my trailer warshed...things were running smooth and now they broke down and oh...hey, I'll call you back-looks like we're moving!"

A phone call. A simple phone call.
This is how a typical conversation would go when I'd call my Dad throughout his day. It seemed monotonous at the time...now, 4 years later, those monotonous words seem like gold.

I was on my way to a friend's house last Friday. No kids so thus maybe why I had time to quietly reflect and think. And I had the sudden urge to pick up my cell and call my Dad. A really strong urge. For the first 6-12 months after his death, I had this urge all the time. It was how I communicated with him...I knew I most likely would find him in his truck, waiting in line, or busy about his day. His generation ALWAYS answer their cell phones. :) But as days turned to months and now years, the urge to call him lessened.

Today marks 4 years since he passed. He was in so much pain those last several months. And as time goes on, and people remember seeing my Dad and reminiscing, I really wonder how much pain he was in much longer than even we realize.

And so while I had tears sting my eyes last Friday, I heard the Lord speak comfort. He reminded me of His words of peace, comfort and the treasure my Dad is enjoying...even more of a treasure than the emotion that 4 loads of beans will get hauled to Sheldon because the plant is moving again :)

The best way to have a piece of heaven in your home...
is to have someone you love in Heaven.

Haven & Grandpa Iowa
Oct. 2010


01 June 2015

one month

"It shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give 
thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear..."
Isaiah 14:3

It's been one month.
Many days it seems like yesterday and yet many days, it seems like it was long ago.
Calendar days have a way of doing that...stretching out emotions, or helping you forget them.

We continue to feel your prayers and many of you have patiently asked..."what have you heard?", "any more updates?", "how are you?"...thank you for this continued care and concern...

A couple weeks ago our agency passed along a letter from Keziah's Aunt, now her caretaker, that she is willing to raise Keziah until adulthood, she understands it is long term, she has Keziah's 2 biological siblings as well, and that she is sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.

So many emotions and thoughts cross our minds as we read, re-read and analyzed that letter. First, we are thankful Keziah is taken care of and she is with her siblings. We are also at peace as this seems to be a long-term placement and Keziah prayerfully will no longer be moved around. Lastly, this also helps to give us come closure on this portion of our journey...

So, now, some of the more difficult questions arise. Where do we go from here? How do we continue to honor our Father's heart for the fatherless? What are the next steps for our family? For these unanswered questions, we would ask for your continued prayers. We have been able to take some much-needed time as a family as of late and reflect on the blessings He has already given us...on the many prayers He has answered over the years and the promises He continues to hold out to us. It has been good. Thank you for continuing to point us to the Father and the comfort and answers He provides. Thank you for loving us and being our family at this time...we remain overwhelmed, humbled, and grateful.

07 May 2015

the Body

Prayer Journal
May 7th, 2015
Thursday morning

Father Jesus,
May 7th-the date for our court date in Kampala. A court date that would give us legal guardianship of Keziah and be the beginning of the end of paperwork to bring her "home" to her forever family.
A court date that will not happen. My heart aches as I think of dear Keziah and I pray she is loved, fed, clothed, educated...cared for. I pray for her Aunt-that she may love and do diligence to Keziah's care just as I pray she would have wanted for us to care for her. And that she...and Keziah...would know You.

The Aunt is not the enemy.
The process is not the enemy.
Satan and turning our hearts from our Sovereign God and the mind of Christ is the enemy.
Yet even as I write this prayer, the peace and love of the prayers of so many Believers wash over me and our family. Their prayers, love, cards, emails, texts, Facebook comments have all sustained us. The Body of Christ in action is awe-inspiring. It's humbling. It's a privilege to be part of.
Thank you Jesus for who You are to us, for what You love, and for grace during hard times.

Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.
Habakkuk 3:17-18 (emphasis mine)


30 April 2015


Today was the day we were heading to Uganda.
We were to leave shortly after lunch, head to O'hare, then to London, then to Entebbe & on to our guesthouse in Kampala.

The last several days have been hard. Several tears. Lots of hugs. And much time embracing family time-bubbles and chalk during these beautiful spring days, walks after dinner, lots of snuggles and books after tub time and taking deep breaths. Re-arranging an entire room of packed clothes, toys, medicine, diapers, etc. was my therapy for the first day. And then I cleaned. I cleaned my kitchen-I mean, REALLY cleaned my kitchen :). I listened to God through scrubbing my floors and scrubbing my cabinets. God often speaks to me when I clean. And so...I clean. It's monotonous. It's therapeutic. It's also easy to wipe up tears if you're cleaning.

We are humbled by the love we have felt through many of you-your texts, comments, calls and emails are encouraging and felt. Your prayers have sustained us, dear friends. Saturday night's adoption fundraiser was so humbling. To have to share such vulnerable and difficult news only 24 hours after we found out was made a bit easier as we looked out and saw so many dear faces...and you cried with us. And you hugged us. And you prayed for us. To see an entire room of college kids praying for Keziah's care and for orphans around the world is awe-inspiring. It's the Body of Christ in action. Thank you for this.

So today...today, we continue to grieve. We continue to heal. We continue to place Keziah and her aunt and her care in our Almighty's hands.

There is also hope. We had a good conversation on Tuesday afternoon with our adoption agency in Texas...asking for updates regarding Keziah and her well-being. They are waiting to hear back from the probation officer & the lawyer team regarding Keziah and her placement with the aunt. The aunt is a school teacher. This is encouraging as this means she is employed and likely to be able to provide for her niece. That gives us some comfort. We also began the "what now?" questions in our dialogue with our agency. We ask for continued prayers for wisdom in this regard...

About 6 months after I lost my Dad I read this quote...

I can't go back
I can't stay here.
I must go forward.

Going back tends to boil up bitterness or frustration in me. And while grieving is necessary and healthy, I know staying in my grief and sadness for an undetermined amount of time isn't wise. And so forward, I/we must go. Forward with our family. Forward with decisions. And most importantly, continually forward into His outstretched arms.

Much love,

25 April 2015

change in the journey

"They found an aunt."

This is the post you never want to write. Friday afternoon we received a phone call from our agency. Earlier that day, during the last visit by the lawyer's team to the village in Uganda where Keziah was located, they were told she had been given to an aunt in another village who wants to raise her and does not want proceed any longer with the adoption...

In the span of 24 hours, our lives of packing up our family and traveling overseas for 2 months to grow our family came to a halt. On the surface this appears to be good news for her. To be raised by a loving family member in your country of origin is always what one would want to see happen. So we pray this is truly what is happening and we pray the "Redeemer" of the fatherless will protect and keep her as His own.

Underneath the surface, this means three years into our journey, eighteen months after bringing this little Ugandan into our hearts, and seven days before we were to board a plane to finish the adoption, we must...barring a miracle...say good-bye. This unexpected change in the journey is hard. Very hard.

So we are asking for prayer...
  • Pray for Keziah, that she is safe and that our Father will continue to take care of her and bring her into a forever family.
  • Pray for our family as we grieve, process this news, and adjust.
  • Pray for wisdom as we consider the next steps in our family journey.
Thank you, dear friends, more than you will ever know....

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear..."
Psalm 46:1-2