The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.
-Buechner

Monday, June 29, 2009

Passion

It's an uphill climb.

[...] If everybody would just look inside themselves and see what it is that lights their fire to make a difference for this world, we could change this world. And I really believe that with all my heart.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Baby Babble

On the way home from church this morning...before heading on to the camp for lunch:

Noah: "Mama, why do we walk to camp but Nicole and Danika drive their car?"

Me: "Because Danika's Mama has a baby in her tummy so it's hard for her to walk all the way there and back with Danika in the stroller."

Noah: "But our baby sister is in another Mama's tummy, right?"

Wow

Never underestimate how much your child understands.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Scared

I am so excited.

There's a new novel floating about out there. I say floating because right now it is online. Ah hem, it is free online. Hello!! Nothing is free anymore...or so we've been told, right?! (This offer is only good until July 10.) If you must have a hard copy then by all means, please do support the author and his ministry.

However, if you're into going green and want to cash in on this incredible opportunity I would strongly encourage you to download this book.

Okay so I've not actually read it yet. But I've been waiting for it. I've previewed it. I know of the author (he's amazing). I've downloaded it. It's a sure-fire, must-read.


Scared - A Novel on the Edge of the World from Children's HopeChest on Vimeo.



I think we live in a time when we need to know about what is going on. We need to have our eyes, hearts, and minds opened to the reality of the humanitarian crisis, to the plight of the millions of orphans around the globe, and to the sovereignty of Christ through and in the midst of it all.

So read, enjoy, let me know what you think...and I promise to do the same.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fundraising

Thanks to many, I am happy to report I received this email just a few moments ago...

Hi Ashleigh!

I just wanted to let you know that we received your RVM money and pledge form. It looks like you have done really well!! [...]

Thanks Ashleigh!

--------

Program Administrator

CHOICES Adoption & Counselling Services

www.choicesadoption.ca

250.479.9811

toll free 1.888.479.9811

fax 250.479.9850



I am continuing to fundraise so if you wish to help children in BC's foster system (as well as a Humanitarian Aid program helping a village over in Nepal!!!) my big goal is $500! I have raised over $250 so far.

Thank you again - for helping me but even more, for helping kids who need Forever Families.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Nine Months Gestation

Well, if this was a physical pregnancy I would be as big as a house, as grumpy as Eyore, and as tired as a hybernating bear.

Thank goodness this pregnancy is on paper.

Sort of.

We've reached 9 months into our wait today.

Today.

I had to double check it on the calendar.

No, I'm not enjoying the wait.

I am enduring it.

I am using it purposefully to embrace things I simply cannot miss.

Life.

Growing boys.

Opportunity - it's been knocking, remember?!

And today, marking 9 months into the wait, I received an email reply from our caseworker that was encouraging, exciting, and hopeful.

Right now we still have a few more families in May, but very close to starting June dossiers. So it’s around the 12, 13 month mark.

We continue to pass on referrals. Have seen many very tiny children being referred, 2-4 months old. They’re just beautiful. I’m really looking forward to passing on the good news your way one day. When you see that picture, you’ll know it’ll have been worth the wait. We had a new mom and dad come in yesterday, with their new child. He was just sooo unbelievable cute, just beautiful. Referrals come in fairly regularly, and the courts are running smooth.

I hope you’re keeping busy, to pass the time.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Petition

I have just signed a petition in support of Bill C-397, An Act To Amend The Citizenship Act.

You'll likely recall my ranting and legitimate frustration with our citizenship woes.

If you would sign it, I would be so thankful.

We would be so thankful.

Our daughter will one day be so thankful.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

This Is Our World

This is a map of our world.

(I apologize for the blur.)

If you head over to Africa - the colourful continent - and head east then slightly south you'll find Ethiopia. It's the pale blue, landlocked (does not touch ocean/ports) one bordered by a yellow, orange, green, pinkish, light green, then dark green.


Here's a close up of Africa. It'll give you a better mind's eye.

Can you see it a little more clearly now? It's bordered by Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya, and Somalia. Due to a (border) war in the nineties, Ethiopia no longer uses the port (for imports/exports) in Eritrea. It is landlocked. Djibouti is now the only country through which food aid can be brought in to help fight famine.

The battle for food and against famine isn't going well.

Ethiopia is one of the countries in the Horn of Africa. And they are desperate for food. The African Horn countries include Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Uganda. "There [is] little prospect of supplies [food] arriving for the next five months." (UN spokesman)

Harvest season is about 3 months away.

The final shipment of food aid has been cut by 1/3 since July 2008.

Here is the BBC article reminding us that the UN is about to run out of aid for Ethiopia.

And if you check this out, I know you'll be moved, educated, and more fully understand this crisis...

Crisis in the Horn of Africa

Friday, June 19, 2009

Music: It's In His Soul

Because we all need a great reason to smile - at least once a day.

Composed on his own.

I can't tell you what he's saying - I don't actually understand the majority of the words, myself.

What I do understand is that this music, it's in his soul.

video

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I Have A Story To Share...

...it's a story about a girl.

I met her one summer and she left an impression. I still remember her bright pink and green rimmed sunglasses - you know, the ones that were pretty much unbreakable. It wasn't just that. She was the type of person to ask any sort of question. Fearless of what other thought, she spoke up when others were simply wondering. She spoke up and stood up for the helpless. She poured her heart into everything she did.

She still does this.

I haven't seen her in a long long time.

We keep in touch...moreso over the past year.

She's served in Africa at an orphanage (or a couple?)...and is now on home turf, still pouring her heart into kids.

She has a true passion for kids and an obvious desire to make a difference.

While encouraging others with comments on their passion, she is actually the superstar.

Thoughtful beyond measure and quick to inspire.

Not only did she pledge the marathon, she is one of those who faithfully offered more than many potentially would. The dollar amount invalid (though extremely helpful!) the motive behind it was the clencher.

Upon reading a post published just a few days ago and after reading Noah's comment about his baby sister's lack of a certain garment, she wasted no time. In less than five days she read, purchased, mailed, and lifted up a Mama-to-be's spirits.

And today, in our post office box arrived the sweetest pair of "Baby Girl Keizer's" first jammies.

I Am Touched

Monday, June 15, 2009

Busy Much?

The past several days have come in and out of our lives so quickly and with such a flurry that I can only be thankful for the large memory card in my camera and the sun.

Activities have jam-packed our days from beginning to end. It's been wonderful. It's been simple. It's been perfect.

This won't be wordy as I am quite certain my few readers, all you ever really want to see are pictures (and of course adoption updates when they come about...maybe I'll let you know about what's been blowin' in the wind at the end of this post). I don't have anything deep and wordy to share as my morning jogs have been full of prayers mainly pertaining to thoughts of the day's activities and of course the never-leaving-my-mind knowledge of our little girl out there...or perhaps still in utero.

Where do I start?!

Saturday was our annual Open House. It was a jam-packed day and well over 1000 guests attended. With the beautiful weather and heat, who wouldn't want to soar on the Screamer or ski along the wake?

Apparently our kids.

They chose to spend their time in the playground, because you know they don't do that 24/7 anyway.

The food was great...burgers the size of a small child's head.

Hot dogs full of...whatever hot dogs are full of - let's not go there.

We started Noah's birthday celebration with a pre-party-party. A mini cake was all part of "the deal" and he was elated to open and practice hitting with his first bat!

Throughout the following afternoon I would look over and see Tait picking it up and giving it a try (on a newly acquired "real birthday party" gift - the T and home plate). Over and over he would repeat, "batting stance, batting stance". His technique includes cutting vertically through the air, often knocking the ball off the T. Words don't do the cuteness justice.

However, after all that pre-party-partying, Tait was wrecked.

Noah took advantage of the one-on-one time...can you blame him?

Sunday included the "real" party. It was small, quiet-ish, and perfect.
The cake is tied for first with the Thomas cake from Tait's second birthday...
Tracy you outdid yourself again.

Ben and I had a great chuckle as I chopped carrots, orange & apple slices as the alternative to cake. And, I caught myself once when I asked Noah if he was going to put his veggies down and enjoy the cake?! Only at the Keizer's.

With time to kill today, the boys and I hit Transfer Beach after swim lessons. It was warm and sandy. It was quiet and relaxing.

We had a great little visit with the ocean.

And it ended with a perfect picnic.

And, as I have had a few friends comment lately that each time I add a new post they jump to the blog, I will forewarn you that THE post will likely commence with a shot of our phone's call display showing you our agency called. I will not give you any sort of fancy title. It will plain and simple be an obvious one. That said, don't expect anything until late September or October.

Details pertaining to the adoption which are blowing in the breeze** include but are not limited to the following:
  • Courts close for summer holiday on August 5. This is normal and expected, however, it does not mean that referrals stop. It simply means that any referrals made cannot go to court until it reopens. Summer holidays usually last 3-8 weeks.
  • Courts in Ethiopia have just started be open on Saturdays. This is apparently to help with much of the backlog. While not all cases heard are adoption cases by any means, it is hopeful that some may be.
  • Our agency has given several referrals in the past couple of weeks - yay. It means things are picking up, people.
  • Currently our agency is working on end of May '08 and beginning of June '08 files. This means that the wait is still approximately 12 months. Thank goodness for a timeline that hasn't moved in a while.
**Information has not come directly from our agency is all cases, however, I feel confident enough with the source(s) to share it. Please take it with a grain of salt.

We spoke at church on Sunday about the progress of our adoption and of what is to come. Included in the talk was the video below. I don't recall if I have posted it before but it is moving, inspirational, devastating and finally, hopeful. I feel that God is raising up a nation and He is beginning a movement to instill responsibility among his people to seek those who have nothing and to come along side them...as brothers and sisters should.

Enjoy.

Drawn from Water from Drawn From Water on Vimeo.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thought Full

I've always been shocked at how much kids understand and pay attention. Especially when we assume they aren't listening - they continue to impress, amaze, and scare me...just a little.

Today for example, trapped in the jogger with a few minutes to kill before heading out I decided to clip Tait's nails. Noah leaned forward to watch over what I was doing and reassure Tait that it doesn't actually hurt.

"No. Sit back, Noah" Tait said..."I'm cranky".

My two year old telling his (almost!) four year old brother he is cranky and warning him to back off? Wow.

And yesterday the boys and I headed up to what is currently referred to as Nana's Room, (but will someday soon be their little sister's room). We had to hang a beautiful new shirt just given to us. As we admired her clothes, (and she's doing quite well in that department I must say) Noah made the keenest of observations. Just as I had finished commenting on all her lovely dresses, skirts, and sweaters, Noah reminded me in the sweetest of concerned tones...

"But Mama, our baby sister doesn't have any pajamas..."

You're right Noah, she doesn't.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Purpose

I've often wondered how, and been in awe of, the fact that after witnessing birth (or creation in general) some people still do not believe in a one single...The Creator. I wonder that too, with adoption. How can a family be connected with a child - who lives a town, a country, or a 1/2 world away - so perfectly.

And lately I've thought the same thing about Purpose.

How can we live and exist without a purpose?

How do we know what that purpose is?

Where do we find it?

Do we grow into it?

Does it change as we evolve throughout our life and personal journey?

Is it there from the beginning and some of us simply find it sooner than later?

I've been at a crossroads lately. Feeling a desire to seek more purpose...or maybe I am needing to find my true purpose. I don't want to be apathetic. I can't sit back and wait for something to happen...I am not a sideline watcher...I need to be getting in there and doing. I don't want to do something simply to say "I've been there and done that". I don't want recognition outwardly and by others. I do want to leave the earth better than I entered it. I want to have purpose in all things and only do what will make a difference. I've been thinking quite a bit about how one goes about doing this.

If at first I don't succeed do I "try, try, again"? I think I could spend a lifetime doing this.

What I have realized through hours of thinking, praying, brainstorming, and observing is that I will never find my purpose if I am not first doing a few things...
  • following God's lead
  • making a difference to others (and myself) with whatever it is I am doing
  • growing
I've been at a crossroads lately. I've been engaged in things that I have signed up for that I don't feel are making a difference. And as I mentioned, I don't want to do something simply to do it. I've been really torn as to how I should "fix" this problem. I've been really seeking (and by seeking I mean praying) about how to get out of this rut and begin being more purposeful.

And, as always happens when we are still...purpose is becoming apparent.

Opportunity is knocking. Change is happening. Purpose and inspiration are becoming apparent.

I am feeling more full. I am realizing why I am here, what I am made to do, what makes me tick.

And I am plugging in.

All it took was consciously stepping aside from busyness, seeing the forest for the trees, and listening in the still quiet of the moment.

The glass is filling.

Each drop in the bucket makes a difference.

Purpose is revealing itself.

Or maybe I am opening myself up to what my purpose truly is.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Busy Boys Are Happy Boys

We're having a blast this week with our friends (hence the lack of blogging).

The weather has been ever-so-helpful and we're not wasting a minute of precious playtime.

The lake's been a spot of enjoyment.

(Note To Self: When small child has completed swim time, remember not to wrap said child up in mummy-form. Small child will likely walk, trip, and eat beach. Oops.)

Our camp family work weekend was also a source of fun and kite flying...ish.

And birthday parties...what is a summer without birthday parties.


I feel like I'm on an incredible holiday - but I still get to sleep in my own bed.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I Think This Is What It's All About

Friends arrived from Alberta last night.

We'll play with them for a week.

The laundry was done. A "real, full" load. This is the first time in about 2 weeks...it's drying on the line.

The bathrooms were cleaned yesterday, for the first time in awhile - I am embarrassed to tell you how long it's been.

I usually catch the cleaning bug about once a week - it hasn't visited in about 2 1/2 weeks. Hmm, that's about how long the weather's been incredible.

Ironic.

We're enjoying tractor rides and sandbox time with friends.

It's almost supper time and it's still hotter than ten fires outside.

The boys are playing out in the yard.

They are as naked as the days they were born.

It's been a good day.

This is what it is all about.

Because, I think that if we don't stop and enjoy these moments when they are around we miss out on how life is intended to be lived...

...carefree

...joyful

...freely

...to the fullest

Dirty laundry, bathrooms, cleaning will always be here.

Sun, young giggles (and screams), playtime...it's so short lived. We spend our days rushing from one activity, chore, or job to another.

What's the point if we can't stop to enjoy ourselves?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Good Times In The ER

When we shared our adoption news, there were several hesitations and questions about health. Africa has become known for HIV, AIDS, and other such diseases. Concerns also included the Heps, TB, and other communicables.

While all adoption holds much unknown, biological children do to.

While we always knew our biological children would not be born with FAS, etc, we didn't know exactly what would be included in "their" package. Babies are born with malformed hearts all the time. Trisomy 21 reveals itself often "randomly". Apparently, healthy parents often give birth to children who aren't.

We've always been fortunate to have healthy kids. We work hard at it - you know, the normal things - good eating, lots of fresh air, exercise, laughter. Yet, Tait has always been succeptible to lung problems. When he was just over a year we thought he had a bad cough - actually it was a double ear infection and near bronchitis/pneumonia. Oops. He's a tough kid.

So, yesterday when he began to wheeze a bit we were mildly concerned and I made a mental note, (Ben a verbal one) to book him in with our GP this week. By the time he went to bed, his little tummy was really working to get air in and out. He was quite wheezy but still his usual chipper, feisty self. The words, too, a bit more effort but when he asked for things like "blankie" there was still a please Daddy and tink-you Daddy to preface and conclude the request.

We were more concerned when he woke up at 9 something the breathing was still laboured. So, around 10pm, he and I headed into the ER.

Fun.

About 1/2 way there he threw up all over himself and the carseat.

Excellent.

Fortunately, it was quiet. We were in and out in about 2 hrs - which from my experience in the ER is pretty good. After listening to his chest, his cough, checkin' the other body parts and giving him a really good doze of Ventolin we were discharged. Oh - he screamed blue murder during the mask of ventolin. Pinning a freakishly strong 2 yr old at the end of a long day, in an ER with a lady a curtain away who was about to get a blood transfusion and then head up to the OR (moaning, may-I-add) wasn't how I'd planned my June 1st. It worked wonders though - the ventolin, not the screaming.

"He's got quite the set of lungs?!" the doctor remarked as she returned to our room.

"No sh**, lady" I thought. The verbal filter is a little lacking at midnight. I can assure you. (I'm also thinking - you ain't seen nothin'! Let him go when he's not exhausted and sick and we could give you a real show.) My rudeness aside (and I did keep it inside) she was a very very kind, young doctor. It was a "good night" to hit emerg...if there ever is one.

A new inhaler in hand, and the instructions to use the old one at home (flovent), we were discharged. It was midnight by the time we were in the car and Tait was calling Daddy to let him know that he'd be in Noah's seat on the way home. (His was of course covered in puke.)

Finally about 1/2 way home he fell asleep.

Then he puked again. Everywhere.

Super.

Ever tried to pull your half-asleep, puking, 2 yr old child out of the car on the side of a road after screeching to a halt at midnight and a half?

Not cool.

So the moral is this:
You never know what you're gonna get.
Home Made
or
Globally Sought Out.
You just never know.