Tuesday, September 29, 2009

a little news on Junior and Diamoh in Liberia

Our best family photo happens to have two other boys in it. The boy next to Junior, also sporting a huge friendly grin, is 13 year old Charles, and the boy popping the wink is Foster, also 13. These were among my favoite kids. Charles has a family waiting for him.

Diamoh absolutely loved it when her daddy gave her foot rides. She would laugh with absolute ,total delight at this simple interaction. It was a joy to see and a heartbreak to leave, not knowing when daddy and daughter would play this game again.........

NO, there is no news about the suspension being lifted by virtue of newly passed and signed laws, so based only on that, Daniel is no closer to being allowed to come home either. That said, there is some good news afoot. The village up the road from where Junior, Diamoh and the other Addy's Hope orphan children now live in their newly completed building, has a school. The village leaders or powers that be, have agreed to let children from the orphanage attend school there! The children have had virtually no schooling for a year, with a teacher on site doing her best, but she had a daunting job. I saw her work so hard with the children when we were there in March, but that's a huge job for one young woman to oversee. Yesterday I sent off funds to get our two Liberian children enrolled in school, to buy uniforms and supplies for the school year, and to hopefully invest in their future just a little bit more...........We have been growing more and more concerned that the longer the suspension is in place, the farther and farther behind the children will be academically when they do come home. God has enabled me to accomplish a lot with our other adopted children who also came home older than the age of 5 not speaking any English, or writing it either, and we are now nearly where I want everyone to be, in less than 4 years. If it takes till next summer , Junior will be 11. I have not started from scratch before with an 11 year old. Diamoh will be 8. I have done that, but its tough, for student and teacher. I know God will give the children the needed resources, and me too, but that is so much less time they have to be in school to learn so much essential material. I ache for them having to be so burdened through no fault of their own. We will be praying for the village teachers who are graciously taking on our children!!!!
Still no word about anything related to Daniel's case............praying fervently for him!!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Three Things Every Parent Should Teach Their Kids

I was pretty sure what I'd say to answer this Blog Hop question, but I asked 15 1/2 year old daughter Jael how she'd answer this, if it were posed as a question. VERY INTERESTING and after she gave me her input, she asked me what three things my parents had taught me which were "have tos". We set as parameters for our discussion that this would be aside from the obvious in a God fearing, salvation believing ,teaching, living family. In short she said, and my assessments were similar #1: Respect for others and for self,.This for all of us is giving each other lots of space to BE who we are, to treat ourselves and others the way we want to be treated, to be able to stand up for ourselves and what we believe because we understand that we have value: value to God , and even if it seems like we have value to no one else on the planet, we know we have value within our family. #2 The ability to articulate clearly , with supporting statements,what we believe about anything : be it spiritual, political, moral or ethical , relational, or pertaining to the desire to participate in an activity and to do so in a way which is respectful yet forceful, #3, loyalty to family and friends. Family sticks together, friends stand by friends and don't bail or walk away when something gets sticky. Wrapped up in all that was the unspoken understanding we have taught our children that there is nothing they can not come and talk ot us about. We have taught them trust:Mom and Dad can be trusted to steer the children in the right direction, trusted to listen, trusted to care and to act accordingly.
MckLinky Blog Hop
Special thanks to Shoplet.com-Purell Hand Sanitizers for sponsoring this blog hop.

Please pray with me for Chris Klicka and his family............

From the HSLDA e-lert service

Please Pray for Chris Klicka and His Family
Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Chris Klicka, HSLDA’s first full-time attorney, who has been fighting multiple sclerosis for many years, became very ill at our National Leaders Conference in Colorado last week. Chris was admitted to St. Francis Medical Center in Colorado Springs, where he remains in critical condition.

His family has traveled from Virginia to be with him. Please pray for them as they wait on the Lord during this difficult time.

For updates on Chris’s status visit CaringBridge.org. http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/chrisklicka/journal/1

For more about Chris’s years of service to the homeschooling community, view his bio at HSLDA’s website.

Photos from Thursday's back yard BBQ and Friday morning play time

Abby, Hannah, Rachel S and Naomi have their picnic on the trampoline!
Rachel and Hosanna D picnic sitting across the table from these guys:

Picnicking on the deck Isaac, Leah, Noah, Sarah and Ben

Ben joins the trampoline jumpers Above, a good jump or two while the eggs and grits are cooking, Below bad view finder /aim, part of a close up of the kids: a chopped off Sarah D, Leah, Rachel S, Isaiah, Isaac, Elijah and Josiah

Below: Ben, Noah, Hosanna, Rachel D, Sarah D, Leah, Isaiah, Isaac, Josiah, in front Rachel S and Elijah S, Naomi is missing

I have warned you: my photographic skills are not skills, even with a good camera. I have tweaked these photos as much as I know how; they are now better than when I took them, but , just not very good. HOWEVER, we had so much fun and I so enjoyed having our new friends
the Diacogiannis and the Riggs that I have to share anyhow. The kids had such a good time and are asking when their new friends can come back and visit again! Laurel has more photos on her blog too. Please go visit her at http://http//www.imghanaadopt.blogspot.com/ . Her photo of the kids all piled into Naomi and Rachel's room to watch a bed time movie is so cute. MY camera however, gave me a totally blacked out screen. BOO HISS!!! I mayscoot over there myself, do a copy and paste and come back "home!!"

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Not my usual genre, but there is a great message in this video, especially for the teens


This is a spin-off on a not-so-nice song if I understand it correctly, but a GODLY spin-off. Jael called me over this morning as I was getting my thougths ready for Sunday School and leading Praise and Worship to watch a vieo with her. I could hear a rap beat-"song" in the back gorundand told her that was not what I wanted in my brain as I got ready for church. She was adamant that I listen with her. I am glad that I did. I smiled, I laughed, and together we said a big AMEN at the end!
Have fun, share this with your teens and tweens! (Please don't forget to mute the volume on my Playlist before you start the video!)

Friday, September 25, 2009

12 more people come to dinner!

I started to write "12 Different People Come to Dinner" but that didn't sound quite as nice or as innocent as I intended, so I scrapped that title. We did have a whole 'nother group in our home last night though and it was SO SO SO fun!!!!!!! I love having people over! I love that God blessed us with a great amount of space so that we can be "instant in season" for guests. lots of them at one time. My "Bloggy friend," Laurel from Washington State and 7 of her 13 children are on a 6 week road trip while her husband has their house up for sale. Its a bit challenging, to say the least, to keep a house show ready while home schooling a houseful of even the best and neatest and most low maintenance of children, so Laurel took the kids out of the house and on a road trip that will take them as far east as we are in Central Oklahoma and as far south as Corpus Christie! A mutual "bloggy friend" Michelle who is now also my flesh and blood friend, Laurel, another Oklahoma friend and I began to plan last week for a get together at our house to welcome Laurel and children and get to know them in person. Our other friend Anita couldn't make it, but Michelle with 3 of her children, Abby, Landis and Hannah came up from south of OKC to join the Big D Family and the Smith Crew for a hot dog roast, a lot of great outdoor fun, a bonfire thanks to the efforts of my boys in preparing the burn pile and Charlie for getting a great fire going. The kids were a bit shy with each other at first, some less than others, but before long there were kids from all over the globe tramping on our trampoline, swinging on the swingset, playing soccer, baseball, checking out the horses and milking the goats! We discovered that our older children had a lot in common in their strong-faith stands, their desire to live for Jesus and their callings to full time mission work (even in related fields ofoutreach...in Argentina and in Cambodia, but almost identical visions!)
After a yummy breakfast this morning of farm fresh eggs, grits and toast, AND a good round of back yard baseball, trampoline bouncing AND photo taking, Laurel and kids had to hit the road, but not until we had the opportunity to pray over them, Smith family circle -stlye. My kids have asked all after noon when their new friends can come back again. My invitation is OPEN!
Oh Michelle, BOTH Abby and Hannah left jackets here. SEnd me a physical addie and I'll pop them in the mail!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

13 men come to dinner!


OK so some of them live here, and one of them didn't eat dinner directly, but this is a photo of the men folk who sat at our dining room table(s) last night to celebrate Caleb being home from Iraq, and to wish and pray him God speed as he returns today! Believe it or not there WAS leftover ham for tonight's stir fry, but itwas a very large whole (homegrown) ham. Along with that yummy baked ham we had mashed potatoes and cheesy potatoes, rice, (have to accommodate all tastes from either side of the globe or either side of the Mason Dixon line too!) corn on the cob, greens, cornbread stuffing, and a jack-lantern shaped chocolate cake iced in incredible OSU orange home made butter cream icing. I knwo that not all the details were "quite right" but I am hoping that Caleb has a heart full of family and friend-love memories to hold him through the next few months!

Here's Caleb surrounded by his oldest round of sibs, Joshua being in Iraq right now himself and Kari being in Texas, but otherwise........

Monday, September 21, 2009

Why You Should read "Smithsoup"...a Mc Linky blog hop topic

The McLinky Blog Hop topic this week is to talk about our blogs. I love visitors to Smithsoup. I love to share from the wealth of experiences with which God has blessed our large homeschooling, home stead farming, international family.If you follow Smithsoup regularly or occasionally, you know we have 7 bio children and 7 adopted children and we are adding three more children from Liberia and that I love music. Our daughter Hannah gave birth to our latest grandson Charlie last Monday, our son Joshua is in Iraq and son Caleb is concluding his two weeks' leave and returns to Iraq tomorrow. We love the Lord passionately, love opportunities to serve Him, love to share God's wondrous plan and provision in our family life. Sharing our life in this blog challenges me to journal. I've been encouraged to write a book for years, but so far this is as close as I have gotten......... I hope the things that God has done in our family encourage your faith, make you smile, sometimes send you to your knees in Body-life prayer. When I read my own writings, they often remind ME afresh of God's faithfulness by helping me to step back a bit and look at the really GREAT LIFE that God has blessed us with! I hope you'll drop in from time to time to see stirring in this "pot" which is our growing family. Smithsoup, my title actually came from a photo of all of us in a hot tub together, and I made a comment about us looking like "a big pot of Smith Soup" and it was with that photo and title I started this blog.
I hope that you are living in the knowledge that God loves you and has a plan for your life..........."plans for a hope and a future, a plan for good and not for evil" as God promised in Jeremiah 29:11. If you ever want to ask me anything about what we believe or why, please please, ask away! I love comments from readers too! It is always fun to hear from YOU!!!<
MckLinky Blog Hop
Special thanks to Grace Jacobsen for sponsoring this blog hop.">

Back to the newest star of the family: Charlie David

Sunday is always dinner together for our family, for pizza somewhere or whatever I decide I want to mess with for my Sunday "DAY OF REST" meal, but Sunday is always the day that our house is full of family and friends. This was a special Sunday because my mom got to meet her great grandson for the very first time!

The proud Grammy!

With Uncle Caleb

Love those wide open eyes!

one happy Hannah Mommy!

It's still about Esther

Esther's then boy friend, now fiance' Casey's birthday was back in March, before baseball season started but he is a faithful Boston Red Sox fan. She wanted to get him opening game day tickets (big dream!) , but that was just way more ticket than a pe-dental student working her way though college as a Super manager at a Mexican restaurant can fork out. Next best thing? Kansas City v Red Sox in Kansas City! She bought tickets for she and Casey, and for Charlie and Isaac to go together! They left this morning for the game which is tonight. How cool is all that?? Go Esther!!
I hope they have a totally awesome time!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Esther was not happy that there were not as many photos of her on my blog, so HERE'S ESTHER! Two photos are from Hannah's Labor Day, and she was definitely IN those photos, but so that Esther knows how special she is to me: I love you Esther !

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Cambodia, with Malachi and Isaiah

sisters, and YES Esther and Jael look more alike as time goes by, BUT if you see Hannah with her glasses on, you'll see how alike ALL 3 sisters really look!

Esther and Caleb

Esther as Clifford the Big Red Dog. with Jael and Malachi

Esther and Casey

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Praising God for His faithfulness to my friends!

My freinds Kim and Ben have a house! not just " a house" but an awesome answer to fervent, faithful, prayer.....HOUSE! Please read the widget at the right , if you've been following the CHIP IN block , you know that friends, family, strangers, have been chipping in to help Kim and Ben raise funds for a down payment on a house for their wonderful family of 10 adopted children who are all 10 and under in age! After several offers, rejections and pull-outs, more prayer and lots of praising and praying, God showed them yesterday which house was to be theirs. I am so excited for them , I had to praise God here so those of you who don't know Kim or follow her blog can praise God with them too!

In Kim's own words,"Our mortgage will be for 190,000... plus a 5,000 cash pay out that the court ordered in the divorce (we have to bring 5k to closing so that the bank will release the title). They won't be paying any concessions, but we "got" 3.5% down ... so I will be changing the minimum chip in amount to reflect the things we need at closing. Of course, should God provide it debt free and want to blow our sock off... we'd be Aokay with that!"

Friday, September 18, 2009

27 years ago today

What a week!! Charlie was a full time student, I was graduatingfrom Nursing School on that Thursday night, we had our rehearsal on Friday night, our wedding on Saturday morning, a weekend together, and I went back to work on Monday while Charlie went back to school. He'd been living in the house we were going to share, and I'd been moving things in little by little. By Sunday night we were in our house together, the first of 12 which would be our homes !
Through college educations, births of babies, miscarriages, military life, civilian life, Army Reserves, self-employment, nursing career, a midwifery career, more babies and miscarriages, a total loss house fire, a rebuilt brand new house, a son in prison for a very strong anti-abortion stance, un-employment, older children marrying and acquiring children, having children, company failure, a move away from the one place and time we'd put down roots , our now almost 10 years in Oklahoma, two deployments, 7 adoptions, retiring from the military, 3 more adoptions in the works, two weddings, a grandbaby and suffering with a son though a divorce.............God has been our center focus and our strength through it all. I can tell anyone who would read or listen: People can do what they want to, but when people want to do what God wants them to, nothing is too hard, too complicated, too big or too small. When our lives are focused on being God's people, things may feel hard or impossible, but only until we lay them before the feet of Jesus, on an altar if you will, an offering of what we have and who we are, to be used, burnt up, spent at God's discretion. There is a peace that truly passes all understanding when we give all that we are to the Lord of Lords. Do we fail sometimes? OH TO BE SURE! But God forgives when we ask, restores, rebuilds, renovates and revives!!!
Happy Anniversary Charlie! I do love you so very very much and I am so thankful for these past 27 years, and I look forward to the next 27........and then some!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

had to step back a few days and share another birthing day photo

Esther got such wonderful photos from Charlie's birth!

Mady got to meet Charlie tonight and was quite smitten with her new baby brother, not so pleased that she could not help feed him, but she thought he was definitely worth the wait
Just a reminder that babies are not all we grow well around here! Rachel and Naomi went out to the garden to see what they could see and this was the first harvest of the day!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

a little reflecting

Life is PRETTY AMAZING, that is for sure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am sure I will take lots more photos if Baby Charlie today! We are continuing to praise God for this next generation of saints-in-the-growing and we pray that we, who are teaching these young ones, will teach them thoroughly, completely, honestly, passionately: by our words and by our examples equally! My prayer truly is that we will choose to be a blessing for LIFE.
Caleb is praying very hard about seeeking counseling with his wife; whether or not she will be agreeable to this we don't know. There is a lot of baggage, which of course GOD can lift and heal them from..................IF they are willing to be His 2 Chronicles 7:14 people " if my people, (interject here: IF CALEB AND COURTNEY ) who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land (interject here: their marriage, their home) ." That is a process which starts with bowed heads and knees, not "bowed -up" backs and attitudes!!! This is hard teaching for a Mamma to share with her children. I can't say DO NOT GET A DIVORCE or ITS OK TO GET A DIVORCE IN THIS SITUATION.........that is God's leading,subject to God's laws about marriage and divorce, and honesty before God about how they have, and will follow God's laws.
I'm glad that Courtney read the letter I sent her, and that she told Caleb about it. Her take was that I was blaming her exclusively, but he quickly told her that she HAD to look at what had happened through someone's eyes other than her own. She didn't deny any of what had happened, just her responsibility for her actions. We continue to pray for GOD to be allowed to BE GOD all over this!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

ANNOUNCING...Charles David Toves

Our beautiful grandson was born at 5:55 PM and (just like his Grammy estimated Sunday afternoon when I "midwifed around" and spent some time feeling Hannah's belly for baby size.) he weighed almost 8# 8 oz..........he was 8#, 5.75 oz and was 21 inches long, also my estimation! Everything went SO well, her contractions really didn't kick in till early after noon, she was completely dilated by 4:25, and shortly thereafter began that pushing stage to bring Charlie into the world. Even with an epidural which Hannah decided she wished she hadn't had after all, she was so in tune with her body and how to make it do what she needed it to!!! The nursing staff was wonderful and so laid back,so supportive of the Gramma/Midwife and midwifery in general. An old friend of mine was working L&D today, she too is now a midwife, but working as an L&D nurse, and was part of Hannah's care team.It was WONDERFUL! The kids got to come up and see Hannah during the day. I was so blessed to be with Hannah and Jon all day long . Although Jael was in the waiting room until just minutes after the birth, Hannah told Esther it was OK if she stayed in the birthing suite. Hannah had said earlier "NO PHOTOS," then as the day progressed,
"well OK" so Esther took the role of photographer, and she did an EXCELLENT JOB !!
She was able to stay for the whole labor and birth, although she did miss two classes, for which I felt badly, but she was in absolute amazement at the whole miracle of birth as she witnessed it with the camera.We had been talking with out of state daughter Kari on the phone and I had the phone at my ear while I was helping Hannah. As she delivered Charlie, Kari was able to "be there" by phone. I won't go graphic here, but Esther's photos are book quality! Jon's mom Karen, Esther and I were all SO blessed to be part of this wonderful day with Hannah and Jon! How I loved it when Jon asked me if I wanted to hold Charlie ( I told him I was waiting to be asked!) and I took my new grandson in my arms and praised God for him and prayed for blessings all over him and a prayer of dedication of his new life and his life in his family.
Family and friends converged on the Labor suite within 30 minutes of Charlie's birth and it was pretty non-stop for over an hour, but most only stayed a while. When you have a huge loving family on BOTH the Mommy and the Daddy's sides, and both are well loved by many friends, having little or no company is a bit out of the question, but people were considerate. All the immediate Grand-family, aunts and uncles left just as the wave of friends began. Baby Charlie is GREAT GRAND BABY # 13 for Jon's Gramma Lou. HOW precious it was to see her loving on the new arrival! We called my mom pretty soon after Charlie had arrived and she too was so thrilled!!! This is her first bio-great grand child. I'm sure we'll work something out to get her a visit soon.
WHAT A DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hannah, all settled in to her room for the REAL LABOR DAY!

I didn't get the photo I planned to later on in the day, with two computers, 5 cell phones and three cameras sitting on this table, but Jon with his computer kind of sums it up!!

Labor Hannah style: cell phone and orange popcicles

Esther and Caleb , hanging out in the Labor Suite

Yes, that is Pappa Charlie hugging Hannah

WOW a photo of Hannah and her mom!!!

Big sister Little sister bonding

more sister bonding

Another sister bonding moment

Cutting the cord. Jon's mom, Gramma Karen in the background

A very proud Mommy and Daddy with their son

Pretty cone-headed for now!

A tender Daddy -son moment

Baby Charlie looking amazingly like Uncle Isaac!!!!!

Pappa Charlie holding Baby Charlie, Grammy looks on, just a bit pleased!