Friday, August 1, 2014

The Wedding....

 It was such a joy to  have most of our treasures and their treasures
home for the wedding.

We had 23 sleeping in our 4 bedroom home.


Not sure.

But we made it work.

There were kids on the floor, couches with bodies
{never quite sure who would be where}
and teething, sleepless, none-too-happy babies everywhere.

And Mimi was overjoyed!  

Thank you to all who prayed that Skype would work.

It worked perfectly as we waited for the wedding to start!!
I was able to walk around the little church and allow Emma
to say hello to dear old friends. 
I even tweeted that it was working great!

But literally, 
as the wedding started
Skype stopped!

Emma was able to see a speck of the wedding, 
but it kept glitching in and out.


As for pictures,
Graham and Savannah requested that
their wedding be "unplugged"
which in lay terms meant 
we weren't allowed to take pictures.
The thought being that we were just to enjoy the wedding
without worrying about getting pictures of the big event.
[New concept for this ol' mama and daddy.]

Hence, the pictures I have are what others took
at the reception, with the exception of a few I took 
before the wedding started.

The photos speak for themselves:
They both looked beautiful,
they clearly had a blast and
from the Instagram pictures they've posted
their honeymoon in Central America is divine!!

The wedding was at 
which was right out of the 1800's.
Our old friend Stuart and his wife Jennifer graciously
opened their home for the reception.  This is where we celebrated
last Thanksgiving.  Do you remember how beautiful it was?

So here's a few pictures in kind
of random order...
Lord willing, more pictures to follow one day.

At the reception - 
now Mr. & Mrs.  

Big brother was the best man...

Waiting for the wedding to start:  
Everlly Rain
{our 7th grandtreasure}

Our beautiful Autumn and baby Everlly

Ryan plays Mr. Mom while our Abi of 
uses her talents for brother's wedding

Ruby and her BFF Lindsey

Ask Isaiah what his favorite part of the wedding was?
The reception!!
{Food and friends, in that order!}

Liberty and some of her sweet friends...
They've all been to Uganda on different GO Teams...
great mission-minded orphan-lovin' kids now great friends!
{left to right: Caleb, Emma, Louis, Liberty and Logan}

Some of my dearest friends...
Kimmy and Sara 
{fellow adoptive, mission and orphan-loving mamas}

Joy of joys!! 
It's a new Mr. & Mrs. !!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Today Is Your Wedding Day...

Although separated by continents and massive oceans our family is joined by
hearts to one another.   We are all very close.  And trust me, I don't take that is a rare gift and a beautiful privilege.  We have each other's back.
We are fiercely loyal.  We share each other's joys, triumphs, griefs, cares and concerns.

We are family.

We have our quirks, we have our luny moments and we are definitely not perfect.

But we love each other.


Gathered from all over the world....

Blessed beyond measure with each other.

And yes, what happens in our family, stays in our home.

True story.

Today Emma wrote one of the most moving posts I have ever read.

Tears well at all the emotions associated with it all.

Today is Your Wedding Day....

Please continue to pray that Skype will work so she can join in....
Macey is curling Emmy's hair
she will be all dressed up to join via Skype at 2:30am her time.

And if you haven't "liked" The Gem Foundation on Facebook yet,
today would be a really beautiful day to do that.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Glimpse....


Newborn baby sweetness.

Discovering Mimi's pantry has cookies!

For one little grandtreasure who prefers to climb on anything,
Mimi's counter seems quite perfect.

And in less than 24 hours they will be husband and wife....
so we're finishing up last minute details and enjoying life together....and *always* missing Emmy and her Little Man. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Meriam Has Been Rescued!!

AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca

 Fox news and other major news sources 
are reporting -

Meriam Ibrahim and family 
are no longer in Sudan but
have been flown to Italy!

I cannot stop the tears!!

The prayers heard from around the world 
have been answered!!

Praise the Powerful Name of the Lord!!

Even when hope looked slim,
Almighty God, 
the maker of heaven and earth,
 was moving!!

Celebrate the mighty works of the Lord!!
For He has done great things!

The strong right arm of the LORD is raised in triumph. 
The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things!
Psalm 118:16 nlt

Please stop and pray with me for the many pastors, lay leaders
and Christians being held and persecuted around the world 
for telling others about the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Less Than 100 Hours....

The wedding is now just days away...and the added joy of this beautiful time is that most of our treasures will be coming home for it!

Abi and her three little boys arrived Sunday night just in time for a late dinner!

Ruby was very excited for everyone to come.  She loves her biggest sister, Abi.  Although
after a bit we weren't so sure what Ruby seemed to think of Indio.

However, much to our surprise, when we allowed her the opportunity to hug him, she actually leaned toward him and kissed him!!  Woot! Woot!

She had never given anyone a kiss before!!

So we are guessing she thinks he's a-ok!

Stone is a hoot and keeps us all on our toes...

And Indio, well who can resist that sweet face?

Finn disappears with his three uncles and they are barely seen
except to come around to eat!!

On another note....that hero of ours has just returned {thank you for all the prayers} and he will be arriving with his beautiful bride and their two little ones - the littlest Mimi hasn't even held yet!!

Such excitement is in the air!!

And then our newest grand-treasure will arrive with her mommy and daddy coming too!!.

Oh me.

We will finally get to snuggle Miss Everlly Rain Elizabeth!!

We admit it won't be the same without our favorite missionary being able to come home.
She has just welcomed a pile of treasures into The Gem Foundation Home!!

Actually Emma's been introducing each of the Gems individually because each Gem
deserves a proper one-of-a-kind introduction to honor each.  Such joy as each Gem is
highlighted and treasured for their uniqueness!  If you haven't seen the introductions
she's been doing, you'll want to check it out here.

Our hearts ache {literally}.  It won't be the same without Emma's instigating wit and
sweet spirit!  That girl has spunk and we laugh at her comical sense of humor daily.
Such a stink-butt.  Trust me, we are gonna' miss her dreadfully!!  But some of us have
been talking and we are going to do the best we can to have her "here" even though
she is across the world!   We have a few tricks up our sleeves...

Lord willing, she will Skype in for the ceremony!  She was telling me today that she is
going to dress up and curl her hair - Please pray with us that the Skype will work.
The church is in a remote area so it will only be God's grace that allows it!

It's down to less than 100 hours....

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

And Her Answer Was?

Over the years of sharing my heart here,
there is no doubt that those who've been hanging around have 
gotten to know our family.  

You've walked along with us through joyous seasons,
days of sweet triumph and victory 
but also some very painful seasons.  

We've welcomed you into our lives and freely most have had 
a sampling of the personalities, wit, 
charm and even "stinkheadedness" of many of our treasures. 

Usually, on any given day there are dozens of 
things I think of sharing.  

But time these days is slimmer than ever
and so I don't ever get to write as much as I wish to.

But clearly, when the day is done, 
with a dozen treasures, 
there is so much "blank space" 
between the posts.

Today I write one of those "blank spaces"
that must be shared.

Because it is a true glimpse into 
one of ours. 

Recently I shared how thrilled our family was that our Emma had
finally been gifted the joy of bringing 11 Gems into 
her home:

Emma had heard God whispering His plans 14.5 years ago and not once
had she deviated from the plan,
even when there could have been a tempting alternative.  

Her heart and mind steadfast on serving the God she loves so very much!!

Passionate about special needs treasures 
who desperately matter to God,
she worked diligently to complete every paper, dot every "i" and cross every "t"
as she opened the only home like it in the entire city of Kampala.

Those in authority over her home are thrilled with 
The Gem Foundation 
and she has had incredible favor.

But serving the Lord is not without a price.

It's been over 18 months since Emma left for her new home
and she has not been home for a visit yet.

We miss her dreadfully,
but her eye is sharply focused on "the prize"!!

 {I press on toward the goal for the prize of the
 upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Phil. 3:14}!!

I remember when she was preparing to move to Uganda and
you may recall Dw ended up in the hospital with an unknown
heart issue and a gamut of tests being run.

It was days till they were to leave, leading a team and
the plan had been that  
dad would help her settle and he would return home,
yet now, suddenly, he was in the hospital.

After a couple of days in the hospital and no closer to getting
out, I remember standing in the kitchen and asking 
Emma, "What will you do if Dad can't go?"

Her quick reply:  
"Mom, I don't want to end up in the belly 
of a big fish.  I'm going even if Daddy can't."  

That's our girl!!

Doggedly determined to serve the Lord.

And the Lord worked and Daddy was able to be released
and they left together to lead the team and
Daddy helped her settle and returned home a few weeks later.

Well something happened the other day that 
I knew had to be included in this post.

First off, 
today is Emma's birthday!!

And although we had dreamed and hoped and prayed 
that she would be home for it, 
the Lord's plans supersede ours!!

With just welcoming her precious Gems home
there is no way that Emma 
would even want to leave now!

In fact last night as we were heading to bed
we phoned her to wish her a Happy Birthday.

Daddy said, "Emma why don't you go 
get something fun to eat today to celebrate?"

Her response?

"No way Dad!! I'll make something here.
I have to run an errand, 
but I want to celebrate my birthday by 
playing with all our Gems!"

True enough, 
those who've had the privilege of being close-up
with this girl know what her heart is like...

And so this next story will not come as any surprise...

When Dw returned from Uganda the other day
he discovered that he had accidentally forgotten to give
Emma her bank card back.  

We had to mail it to her and fast!!

I was secretly kind of tickled because with her
birthday coming I had wanted to send her a little
something but been unable to get it together in time.
But now we would have to Fed Ex her her bank card.


Sweet joy!

So I went to the Fed Ex office and asked
how much could I put in the smallest package
since I was going to have to send the card anyway...

They told me that it would be able to weigh this much
and be this small to fit in the package for the same
price as sending the bank card with nothing at all.


So I thought about it and decided to ask Emma
what would she really, really, really like for her birthday?

I mean after 18+ months of not being home,
there are definitely needs that would minister 
to her soul and perhaps be just really perfect??

I questioned,

"Emma, I am able to stick something in the package
cause I went to the Fed Ex office and asked
what could fit without adding cost to the bank card package?
I want you to have something you really would love - 
after all, this is a very special birthday for you!! 
What Emmy would you like me to find and put in it
for your birthday?"

And in true Emma fashion...
Do you know what her answer was?

"Oh mama!! Put something in for Arthur!!
We do not have any premie clothes and
I want him to have something that fits him!
Please get something for Arthur!"

Arthur, the tiniest of the Gems,
probably doesn't even weigh 6 lbs.
has stolen the hearts of everyone at The 
Gem Foundation.

And if Emma can have something put in her birthday package,
what does she want?

Something for Arthur!

And so today, I wonder if you would be willing to wish 
our favorite missionary

Happy Birthday?

She truly serves selflessly, sacrificially and joyfully.
And I'm pretty sure Emmy 
would definitely get a kick out of you honoring her!

If you haven't "liked" 

on Facebook yet today would be an amazingly great day to do that!

Thank you for loving our favorite missionary!!

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, 
but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, 
in love, in faith and in purity.
I Timothy 4:12

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Nehemiah's Celebration

Yesterday our sweet Mr. Nehemiah Judson 
celebrated his 11th birthday!

{His 2nd birthday home!!}

What a joy this fellow of ours is.

We are hopelessly smitten.

I know I say that about all my treasures,
but seriously,
this guy just brings such joy to our family.





Lover of God.

Quick wit.

Sweet spirit.



Just love him so much!

As always, we started with breakfast in bed...
waffles delivered by the waffle-bearer....
{seriously this littlest brother always has a different get-up on}

{Nehemiah loves bacon}
and hash browns...

I regret I didn't get a group shot...

But everyone was singing and cheering him on...
including our favorite missionary and LM
singing from overseas and Ruby was giggling
cause Ruby l*o*v*e*s* birthdays! 

The day was filled with all the fun that Nehemiah had envisioned....
including playing lots of Legos!

 I have many thoughts about precious him rolling around my head....
thoughts that need to be verbalized...
and will share those soon as I pray about exactly to share them.

But suffice it to say, 
we cannot ever thank the Lord enough that this 
son of ours is home.


He is a delight to everyone who meets him.

And frankly, we get to.

Yes, we do.

We get to love him up close.

We get to show him the enormous love that 
Almighty God has for him.

We get to tell him how loved and wanted he is.

We get to.


How blessed we are.

Nehemiah would love any birthday wishes you would send his way.

He'll grin his sweet, kind of shy grin.

So wish-away - if you are able!