Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Psalm 139 :
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.
I took Daniel to the Neurologist yesterday, at long last. It took a very long time to get the appointment, her office over booked and we were bumped and canceled repeatedly and had it not been for Jael's more imminent need of a neurologist, and that I brought Daniel to her appointment to get him up under her nose, we might still be waiting. All in all the appointment I felt was more for the Neurologist's benefit far more than Daniel's. She had not looked at his films before we came, so really had no idea what we were there for or why. She took al ot of notes, asked me a lot of questions  but mostly, she was amazed at Daniel: amazied that he was breathing, alive, responsive to anything, did I mention alive and breathing ? Our sweet baby has less than 5 % of his brain . The Doctor said she had never seen such a severe case of hydranencephaly anywhere, living or not,  and certainly not in a child who was about 3 years old, had had no medical care for 2 of those years.She asked so many questions about our family, and repeatedly "You KNEW this baby had this condition and you still went to Africa to bring him home? What a blessed baby he is!!" It was an incredible opportunity to share God's love and His hand of direction upon our lives, and Daniel's. SINCE SHE ASKED "why would you do this?"  I got to tell her our whole incredible story and how we just knew ( OK  I  "knew "first"  out took Charlie some real "Jacob and the angel-type" wrestling with God before he too was ready to say out loud what he knew God had been doing in his heart. ) that Daniel was supposed to be our baby and that even in the face of a suspension on adoptions in Liberia, with our other two children still waiting, GOD paved the way for us to get Daniel home. I got to share a bit about God calling us to grow our family through international adoption and how He leads our family.
She didn't tell ME anything I didn't already know. I was able to tell her how Daniel's hydranencephaly affects HIM personally and about that  she took al ot of notes too. She re-assessed that he is totally blind, we knew that  but the MRI shows in photos I did not get to potograph, that while he has basic optic nerves, there is no wehre for them to "plug into" so to speak. That part of his brain is missing. The portions which govern growth and thermo-regulating are also missing.............hence my "3 year old" is 21 pounds and still 32 inches long ( and would not even weigh that much but his skull grew so much to accommodate all that fluid that his head is still disproportionately heavy for his body) and we layer lots of clothing and blankets to keep him cozy. I have bought ski caps in every color so I can coordinate them with his daily outfits,  but that's just how I roll!!
She asked if we wanted to have his hearing tested, but as she watched Daniel "track" my voice with his sightless eyes, she knew his hearing was quite fine.
The upshot of the visit is that he is a healthy very brain -damaged baby boy! Advising me to be aware of the devastating and life-threatening  complications of pneumonia should he aspirate any fluids, she told me that she does not need to see him for a year and that there is nothing she could do for or to him, that he is a miracle all on his own.
The most incredibel moment of the whole visit was when the doctor, looking at the MRI  images, said that Daniel had almsot no brain at all and DANIEL LAUGHED. He doens't laugh oftenk, and its usually when I am stroking his head and singing to him, but I was only holding him in a snuggle at that moment. "Fearfully and wonderfully made" were the Psalmist David's words and they apply every bit as much to a shepherd-turned-King as they do to a baby born in Liberia, left abandoned under a banana tree, "discovered" by a big seasoned family and adopted into that farm family.
ALL the reasons we'd said we would probably not adopt  a child with multiple disabilities fell by the wayside: things like " She/He'd feel left out if we went to do farm chores where the wheelchair or crutches could not go" "He/she would not be able to do.... etc etc....." "A blind child would have a very hard time in our house with its quirky layout and with  the farm itself.." THIS multi-issued baby will never encounter any of those things which would have been valid concerns for an older, LESS disabled child. We can carry him everywhere, he will never fall or stumble anywhere in his house or his yard,  never be or feel left out...
 In short, all those things we praised God that each of our bio-babes did not have when they were born, Daniel HAS: in large measure...all by himself. Who but God would know that a seasoned (OK  "older" ) family whose youngest child was almost 9 , needed this very special baby to be their baby?  But for that family asking God just what HE wanted them to do, and acting in obedience, rather than  reacting out of a sense of what was "practical" or "logical", we would not be blessed with our precious Forever Baby!
Daniel's  brain. The dark areas are brain tissue.

normal brain, same view

More shots than I was able to photograph from Daniel's MRI, but the same view, looking down into a normal brain 
This morning our severe thunder and lightening storm woke Daniel up. Only some good cuddle time with Mommy made it better and  calmed him down. How totally God is it that I just hit a crazy "big" number birthday but I  am thrilled and consider myself "blessed among women" to be the Mamma to a virtual/perpetual 6 week old?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Living Life, loving life!

It's that time in a dairy goat farmer's life when she begins to sell the offspring of the most recent  breedings. Since we have NO DOES to keep so far, we have 2 Sable Saanen bucklings and a Sable/Alpine cross buckling to sell as well as  a stray wethered ( neutered) Boer (meat goat who turned out to be a runt: too small to butcher but a nice enough size to be a companion goat or just a grazer). Hopefully by the weekend I will be less these 4 goats as I prepare for two more does to kid next month or so. These boys are beautiful and Nicholas, the brown and white boy is going to his new home this afternoon. The Boer goes on Saturday. I  "think" I have the other two boys sold as well...if I want to drive an hour + to deliver them. RELIEF!!!! We bottle the three youngest boys three times a day and milk, be it goat or cow milk  for those guys, starts adding up real fast when they drink gallons a day. It's always fun to have baby goats, but you "just know"  when it's time, and NOW is my time!

Naomi helps bottle the babies:Nicholas, Oliver and  Tristan


unashamedly our favorite baby so far this year!
Tristan, who is of the same father as Nicholas and Oliver, out of a different breed mother.
Daffodil, his mother is one of our triplets from last March, and has proven to be as amazing of a milk doe as I had hoped  when I bred her after several years of working toward  THIS  breeding. As  a first time mamma, she is giving us nearly 2 gallons of milk a day AND has the good milking teats and great milk production of her father's lineage along with her mother's superb milk production. I can't wait until her sister Topsy Turvy gives birth in May! Topsy Turvy is my  goat obstetrical miracle bottom-first breech baby . Trustfully she will NOT have triplets for her first kidding because that pretty much promises at least one breech baby when she comes due. If I NEVER deliver another breech baby, it will be fine with me!

Nicholas and Tristan

Nicholas and Oliver.How I wish their triplet sister  Pansy had lived! She looked just like Nicholas!
 Our winter this year has been extreme, even for the extremes we are so famliar with in Oklahoma, our  temperatures actually 100 degrees different last Thursday from the Thursday before! Taking advantage of the 82 degree days last week, we went outside to soak it up. We were babysitting Charlie for Hannah which added to the fun of a beautiful day!

 A week AFTER the -22 temps went away we had 82 degree temps so outside we went!
Charlie loves the swing!

It was even warm enough for Daniel to go out  for a ride in his wagon and enjoy it!

Naomi inviting Lilac our Calico to swing or play with  Charlie

Naomi in her cold weather boots taking Daniel out to visit with the horses

Holly, my Westie came out to play too

Back  in the yard, Daniel had a good ride thanks to his big sister!

Jael came out to play too. This was the beginning of a "Spin Charlie Around" game
` Now that the snow has all melted away and watered the eagerly waiting bulbs in my gardens I am thrilled to report that daffodils and crocus are popping rapidly, with tulips  and hyacynth not far behind. Also visible are the tiny grape hyacynth sproutings. My perennial dianthus are reemerging, joinging the pansies which never died off under all that cold and snow. I LOVE seeing blooming flowers a week after a snow storm!
As farm animals grow and thrive, as flowers do what God intended them to do, my next grandbaby is growing and thriving too!!

10 weeks and 4 days!! Wish I had the shot where Baby Rogers was stretching "her"  arms and legs too! Esther and Casey were super excited to see all that movement and hear the much welcome heart tones!
We are awaiting confirmation that our oldest daughter is also expecting a baby/babies within the next two weeks! The wonders of medical science boggle my brain and that God has allowed man to experience as much of HIS knowledge as he has boggles my brain even more.  I will miss being with Kari for this first ultrasound sadly. I was with her for her first ultrasound of her last pregnancy and I was I   who saw first  that there were TWINS, and not just one baby.
My youngest daughters are visiting  for a few days with their friend Taevy,  who is my dear friend  Anita's  daughter. The original plan was for the girls to be picked up on Sunday  but Naomi who does not do sleep overs very often, got a bit hesitant and THEN realized that she'd made a date with her brothers to watch the NBA  All-Star basketball game thatsame night, she was beside herself with conflict!! Rachel could not care less about basketball so she was fine with the afternoon plan and fine with later on to, but sweet Naomi!! She didn't want to be the least bit rude to Taevy and her family, she REALLY wanted to go, but brothers and basketball??????????????? NO brothers and basketball????????????? Taevy would  still be Taevy after THE Game was over so she picked my brain  and picked my brain and vascilated for quite some time before  deciding that she NEEDED to honor her promise to watch that game AND THEN  if her Daddy would take them to Taevy's house on his way to work the next day, she 'd be at peace with herself . APPARENTLY that   was a great plan because the girls called me this morning to ask if they could stay until Thursday instead of Wednesday afternoon. Ahhhhh, the joys and freedoms of home schooling:  take books along, take computer  work along, visit with fellow-home schooled kiddso and even school becomes a new adventure to share! I am so glad the girls are having a good time; they have been planning for quite some time and the next part of the plan is that Taevy will come visit here  for Spring Break in March.
Do I need to tell you that I MISS MY DAUGHTERS???????????????
WOWZA  I   miss my daughters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Amazing that my youngest daughters are old enough to be gone from me for days "for fun" and not just for a "have to" kind of occasion. God knew that I would not be ready for my babies to NOT be babies forever, so He blessed me with Daniel   who WILL BE my forever baby! Life is so good because God Who keeps blessing my life is SO VERY  VERY  AWESOMELY GOOD: all the time!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Birthday, Letters from Liberia, news from home

How can it be 17 whole years since the Valentine's Day dinner date Charlie and I didn't make because I was giving birth to Jael Shamar?  SEVENTEEN YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The  youngest of our bio-babies was born after a pretty easy two -hour labor at 8 PM on a Saturday night. We'd planned to go on a group dinner date, but I had " a feeling" and warned our friends that if we didn't show up, they could know we were having the baby, even though it WAS 5 weeks before my due date. Sure enough................. our 6 pound  10 1/2 ounce baby girl kept us home  but  that event did NOT keep our friends from coming by to visit us  later that night!! Jael had her first non-family  member visitors at 10 PM, shortly after being cleaned and tidied up and getting her first nursing! Thankfully our midwife  Kathy and her partner,  Giselle ( also  my midwifery partners)  made it to our house in time to tend to the rapid - paced labor and the birth. Esther came so quickly that Kathy and Giselle were 5 minutes "too late" and Charlie did a job he said he never wanted to do again!!! Kathy quickly reminded him as she arrived PRE-BIRTH  that he had gotten his wish for this baby!!

Strawberries and cheese cake!

Our family moves pretty quickly all around and these birthday photos are no different. HERe is my beautiful Jael with her beloved brisket dinner and fresh strawberries and cheese cake dinner! Naomi is helping her slice cheese cake.

Oh what a precious envelope arrived in the mail on Monday! Our friend Eric  who had been in Liberia for several weeks doing mission work has returned and with him he brought letters from Junior and Diamoh! Well a lovely colored picture more than a letter from Diamoh  but words of scripture and encouragement  from our precious 11 year old son, so far away. He told us to read John 14:14 because that was his prayer for "it  WILL come to pass" WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! John 14:14 " You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. "   Hallelujah and AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!  It's been along hard wait for our children and for us too, for the day that will come  when we get the word that we MAY come for our children. How awesome that our children are praying with us for their eventual home coming, and trusting God for that day. Our precious care giver is such a Godly  and wise young woman and she teaches the children well in The Word and how to grow in their walk  and relationship with God. We are so very thankful for her in their lives, and in ours. She humbles me with her strength and faith because she without hesitation,  praises GOD ALONE for all that He is doing through her life. He is doing  A  LOT! 

From Diamoh age 8

From Junior, age 11, my young son full of faith!

Isn't this a great envelope?!!

The other side of the awesome envelope!

This last month has been so full of busy days, I have longed to sit and journal my thoughts and prayers and our family activities but sitting has not been on my list of things needing doing "most". School work, lots of doctor's office visits including the long distance visits in OK City have taken a lot of time. Thankfully it seems Isaiah's MRSA is indeed cured/healed/cleaned up and gone and Jael is now more than a month without a black out! Naomi and Isaiah have both stopped coughing and running fevers, PRAISE GOD that no one else got sick along the way!! Still no foal from Sugar, but with our temperatures in the "below Zero" realm for several days and our newest accumulation of snow blanketing everything under, we were glad that we'd miscalculated the date of breeding. It's OK!!!
When the vet came out today to check on the goats and ultrasound for success or failure of the imported buck, we were pleased to see lots of babies on board for Rose, Sunflower and Topsy Turvy, but disappointed that Satsuma, perpetual mother of triplets is not bred at all, so back in the breeding pen she went with clear orders to her and Mr Norvel, the Stud Muffin-in-Waiting to "get busy". Should he fail at his task, I have another buck to put to work, but I am not thrilled about the possibility of a mid July kidding. I suppose I prefer that to Christmas Night kiddings, or kiddings in mid -Spring flood and mud but it's just not the "norm" for dairy goats. We are expecting some "Tax Day" babies from Rose and maybe just maybe I will be blessed with a brown doe who lives!! The Ultra sounding goats is really a fun thing to watch . As the spines and extremities start to appear on the screen we count the future babies growing in the mammas and start to guess about girls or boys, colors and color patterns. It's a cool thing to have a vet who owns a portable ultrasound machine!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Snow and cold, colds and snow, Pass the "Blow-Nex please!"

Really?  Oklahoma has had two major snow storms  in one week's time?? Not just dustings of snow, but deep accumulations, deep drifts, lots of snow days for the public school students and college students as well,  lots of talk about no Spring Break  because the Snow Days have to be made up...................One more benefit to Home Schooling: the bus never gets stuck, the roads are never snowed in, the students are never snowed OUT of school!! We are using the public school  Snow Days as "make up days"  for other events we canceled our school for. Should come out even by the end of the year! In the meantime several of my children have nasty colds,  and this Mamma does too.  Isaiah who is thankfully nearly HEALED of his MRSA has bronchitis. This week we did not have to incise and or re-pack that infected wound zone! It looks so good and feels much more like healthy tissue and not a swollen tennis ball sized abcess as it once did! How "nice" to be able to use that doctor visit for a bronchitis exam, get prescriptions and be done for the week. We've been to the doctor  at least once a week for Isaiah for 6 weeks, and thankfully we did not need to make an appointment for next week! Jael is thankfully still black-out free, her headaches are diminishing as are the vomiting episodes, Is it the Migraine meds or isn't it? Jael  had started to feel better before we saw the neurologist and before she started on those meds. We may never know, but that does not slow down our praises to God for sustaining her during those many unsettling  and unpredictable months !
Naomi, Isaiah, Rachel and I are playing "Pass the Blow-Nex" but it has not stopped Naomi from going  outside to play in the snow. She is a tough kiddo!! Rachel and Isaiah have opted to stay IN, under blankets and near the wood stove! "Blow-Nex" is a Naomi-ism for Kleenex - tissue, coined when she was probably about 2 and it stuck as a family word.
                                                 On our deck. LOVE the triangles!


Back to that Oklahoma  snow. This arid state in which we live even has DRY SNOW!  The powdery snow on the ground is absolutely no good for snowballs or snowmen, or forts. The one day we had 40 degree temps in between the Big Snows, the powder got moist enough to really play with so my boys and their pals   quickly  built a 5 foot tall fort in the pasture across the street. The cold returned all too soon (for me) and before that fort could melt. It stands as a testimony to the ambition of 5 tween and teen boys who refused to be defeated by dry snow. Fun will be had!!!!

Gideon gets ready to go out, his boot cast and broken foot don't  slow him down a bit

Gideon and Noah

Naomi takes on the snow and cold!

Lilac, our Calico Acres Farm mascot tasting the snow

Isaac and his fort. That's our house in the bckground

GrandToddler Charlie goes sledding!

Global Girls a group for internatioanlly adopted Tween girls!!

 Kuddos to my friend Anita for cooking this up. I had shared on our Oklahoma International Adoption group this morning that I (as moderator) was hoping to foster some new friendships by having a "Roll Call" for the members of our group.  A common thread seemed to emerge that a number of us had tween girls who were wanting to meet and chat with other girls their age. Anita has launched a group for Christian Tweens, which can be supervised by us the parents and I would encourage that, as I invite you to give the group some thought for your daughters.
Here is Anita's post:

Hi all,
A Yahoo email group has been started for Christian girls ages 8-12 who have been adopted internationally. The group is called "Global Girls." If you have a daughter in this age range that would like to connect with other international adoptees, she is invited to join! Likewise, one

parent is invited to join if you feel the need to supervise your daughter's involvement. [Parents will not be posting to the list.] Myself and one other mother are moderating the group. We will make sure all discussions are appropriate for this type of venue (from a Christian perspective).

The website is

***PLEASE NOTE: Yahoo does not officially allow children under 13 to have a Yahoo Group profile. In order to make the profile an alternative date of birth will need to be given. Alternatively, your child could join the group under your profile.***

If you have any questions don't hesitate to email me.



Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl, and a job lay-off

trumps writing because my family is all hanging out together, some of us cheering for one team and some for the other. What a fun night!!! 
I WILL say though , that even though Esther's husband Casey was laid off from his job this week, God is SO faithful  and within hours of our circle of friends and family knowing about it, their bills for Feburary were PAID IN FULL!! We helped, yes, but more than the mom and dad kind of help, GOD really moved and provided!! i love that Casey is leading Esther in prayer over their little family and that they ARE trusting God and not jobs or pay checks or people!!!  OH  HOW I  LOVE JESUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!