Tuesday, May 28, 2013


In January, I met a lady at a parents' council meeting in Ella's school who told me that she had an art studio where people came to paint. My friend, Stacy, had an art studio in Texas where you could go and learn to paint. I did it once and had a blast. Well, Ella wants to be an artist when she grows up...not exactly sure what that will look like, but after I left the meeting all I could think was, "Oh I wish this lady could host a painting party for Ella's birthday." I kept thinking I would run into her at school...after all, it isn't that big of a school. But I never did. I prayed about this...seriously this was a prayer request. And I thought about it often.

Well in April, my friend Ute hosted a lunch for a few of her lady friends. I was excited to go and meet new ladies. Well of the 6 of us there, lo and behold, one of the ladies was this one! Thank you, God! So I asked her what she thought of hosting the party and she agreed! Woohoo!! So we sent out the invitations and planned the details. Three of the 6 girls in Ella's class were able to come and then her friend Blix tagged along...this was not so much a party for boys, but he did great! Macie was also able to join in the fun.

When they first started, she taught them how to look at their "inspiration" and do a quick sketch of it in pencil on a piece of paper. Then they hung it on their easel and went to town painting their interpretations of the flowers on a table. Each one was so unique. After this we had pizza, cake and presents and then they did finger/hand painting all together on a HUGE piece of paper and created an outdoor scene. This was so messy but they had so much fun!!! I have thanked God many times for answering my prayer request. It seemed silly but Ella had a great time.

Ten Years with Ella

Ten years ago right now I was laying in a hospital bed feeling desperate to deliver my baby. What would she look like? Would she have hair? Was she big or little? How was life going to be as a mommy? I was only 23...TWENTY THREE!! I was just a baby myself. I could do this, I remember telling myself. And then at 4:13pm my sweet 7lb 8oz 20.5 inch baby girl was born. She was perfect! She was bald with big blue eyes. I was in love.
Over the past decade she has learned to walk, talk, read, write, ride a bicycle, swim, play the piano, sing, work the computer way better than I can, and many other things. She has lived in 5 cities in 2 countries. She has gone to 6 schools (including preschools). She has learned to speak, read and write in a 2nd language...which was much more challenging than we ever expected, but she stuck it out. She has been scared to ask Jesus in heart because she thought it meant she would die immediately. But then one night she could not say no to His gentle knock and opened the door of her heart to His salvation. She was baptized by her daddy.

She is a beautiful singer. We are told by people all over how well she sings. She was asked to be in the choir at school this year. She is so creative and artistic...something she did not get from me. She is great problem solver. She is friendly and not afraid to talk to people. She has a HUGE heart to help others. She is kind and a very loyal friend. She is loving sister who (most of the time) is willing to give up something she loves for Macie to have the opportunity to use it.

She has read 4 & half of the Harry Potter books among countless others. She was a slow learner when she began to read. I wasn't sure she would ever get it, but she has surpassed her grade reading level greatly! She does 2 languages...amazingly well.

And this is all just in the first 10 years. What will the next ten years hold? These may be the most difficult...we are seeing more attitude than we have ever seen, but we are also watching her learn self-control in a way we haven't seen before. I pray she learns this now before she is a real teenager. I pray that she uses this self-control as she receives more and more influences from the world around her. I can't isolate matter how desperately I want to protect her from knowing all of the junk this world has to offer. I pray that God would protect her little heart from being hurt by mean girls and fleeting boyfriends. I pray she will always see the good in people and help the one that is not always loved by everyone else.

Most of all, I pray that she would grow in her knowledge and understanding of who God is. I pray that her relationship with Him would be her own and that she would see Him work in amazing ways in and through her life. She has a purpose on this planet. I pray that she would seek and find what that purpose is. I am so thankful for this unexpected, unplanned blessing that God gave us 10 years ago. I cannot imagine my life without her!

I love you Ella Christine!!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


We work with some pretty cool national partners here in Poland. One of them is Ola. She leads our college bible study/ministry, Boże Lejdis, which means God's Ladies. But she also goes to another city each week to spend a few days with some kids at an orphanage and work with a church in the area. A few weeks ago, she organized a girls' day for the kids that live around the church and from the orphanage. She asked if I would like to go and help. I am so glad I was able to go. We had a great time. Unfortunately, only 3 girls came for the whole day. But I pray that they were exactly who needed to be there and hear what Ola had prepared. She talked about our beauty and value in God's eyes. Her hair dresser came to fix everyone's hair and help make the girls feel beautiful. We also painted fingernails and then took silly pictures. I made bow ties and mustaches to use as props. It was a super fun day!!! 

Britni/Aunt Boo

In February, my sister came for 2 whole weeks!!! It was such a fun time. We spent the first week in the north and then took a trip to Krakow for a couple of days. I miss her so much!! 5 days before we left for Poland, she got married and became a mom. I haven't seen her since this day. It was neat to see how much she has changed as a mom and wife now and fun to compare our lives in a different way. I am so glad she was able to come.

Waiting at the airport for Aunt Boo.

First hugs in 2 years. 

Reunited for FUN!!!

Yes it did snow a little while she was here!

We were able to visit Auschwitz while we were in Krakow.

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Bonus of our trip to Krakow, seeing my BFF Traci!!! (Note to self, quit asking people to take pics and expect them to look good!)

Wawel Castle in Krakow

Britni was teaching me how to photo bomb.

Trying to catch pigeons in Gdańsk.

This day was beautiful!!!

If you come to visit, you MUST try the donuts.

The sea in Sopot...another pretty day.

We took Aunt Boo to the Aquarium while she was here. 

And she got to spend time with President Reagan and Pope John Paul II while she was here.

I am so glad that she got to come. It was a big sacrifice in many ways for her family, but we really enjoyed the time she had here. Hope she can come again sometime. We love you, Aunt Boo!!!