Sunday, July 30, 2006

1 Month Anniversary...

You know was lying here thinking just a few minutes ago that as of today 5 little boys have moved into this home and into my heart and lived here for 1 month as of today. CRAZY!!! So many people told me before this, Oh Jen it'll be just like these are your babies. I will be so honest with you, I thought oh it will be something like that but it won't really be like they're mine. I had no idea what to expect, and while I have no idea what it truly feels like to have given birth and have your very own children by birth, at this point in my life, I'm not sure I could imagine the love in my heart feeling much different than this.

Someone asked me the other day if I had a favorite and my response was something like this because it's honestly the way I feel...I have a favorite depending on what time of the day it is, they are each my favorite at different moments of the day right now.

As much as I hate to admit it, (because it's not the most opportune time) Antonio is my favorite in the middle of the night, when in those wee morning hours he wakes up because he got scared or got hungry or whatever, and he's standing there in that crib waiting for someone to come in and hold him. I have had some of the sweetest moments not only with him but with God in that rocking chair in the babies room while I sang him back to sleep or prayed over his little heart and life. I love those moments when he pats my arm to put himself back to sleep or curls his little fingers around mine just thankful that someone came to the rescue and held him. He cries and cries in that crib and then you walk into the room and pick him up and everything is again ok in his world. There's something about that that just reminds you, that you are a part of something so much bigger than you in this world and you feel humbly grateful for that.

Francisco is my favorite probably during bath time, although it's hard to pick a favorite time for him because he's just at this really really fun stage right now where he wants to hug and kiss you all the time and just snuggle and I'm loving that. We have this really sweet little bath time routine though where he comes waddling into the bathroom when I tell him it's time and he's all excited and he comes in grinning takes off all his little clothes and gets in the shower where he would stay all night if I let him. When he first came he cried every single time we gave him a shower, he didn't like the water in his eyes at all and just didn't want much to do with it. Now, we have to tell him 10 times ok Francisco your other brothers need a shower too. He plays and giggles and tries to squirt me with water and he is just joy. For the most part the kid is just happy and makes you just smile watching him. Then he gets out of the shower and I call him my little guapo chico, which means handsome boy. I take him in to the changing table and get ready to put his pajama's on him and then I say Francisco, "I love you." He says, I wuv ooo and I say, I love you more and he says I wuv ooo more and I say I love you most and he says I wuv ooo most and then I pick him up and give him this great big squeeze and we play montan de pico's (which means mountain of kisses) where he tries to kiss my cheek and when he does i get him and just give him tons of kisses on his little cheek and he just giggles. Ohhhh I love that!!!! Memories that I'll tuck away and treasure.

Mario is my favorite by far at bedtime. We go in and lay down in their room and the big boys crawl up into their top bunks and Jeff always lays down with Francisco and I lay down to tuck Mario in. We always ask who wants to say their prayers first and we go around the room and it's the sweetest thing because one of them will say their prayer and the other brothers repeat it. So we let them each have a turn every night and sometimes we'll get so tickled cause Mario will say the prayer he learned to say before meals for bedtime and Francisco's prayer sometimes is just 22 Senor Jesus's in a row and then in the name of Jesus amen. OH it's so precious and I have to imagine God up there just chuckling too as he watches these little guys beginning what I pray will be a prayer life that is both real and passionate and is always an important part of their days. After prayer time is over though Mario always takes the longest to go to sleep, he runs his fingers through my hair, he kisses my cheek a bunch of times, he rubs my back and then finally he rolls over with his little face as close to my face as he can possibly get it so our cheeks are touching and falls asleep. So many God pictures while you're walking through life with little ones isn't there??!!!

Marvin is my favorite when we're in the room after they're all showered and clean and we're putting pj's on and he always wants to romp and play and be ornery and some nights at 8:30 I am so tempted to get irritated with that and rush through it and tell him to stop but he's got the orneriest little grin that melts your heart every single time he looks at you. So we usually end up playing and he'll pretend like he can't get his leg into his pj's and fall a hundred times and I'll tickle him or he'll climb on my back or hide under the bed and we just play. He reminds me sometimes to just chill and laugh. His laugh just makes you want to laugh with him...but always after we're done playing and his pj's are on and his little hair is all combed and he's ready for bed we'll do the where's my hug game?? Sometimes I say it first sometimes he does but he always hugs me to show me how strong he is but when he does he usually just sits in my lap for a few minutes and lets me hug him. He's the one that after being at Casitas seems to have picked up some of the hard and so those are precious moments when he doesn't feel like he has to protect his heart and just lets me love him. I treasure those times and I pray and try to remember that to a 7 year old little boy it's important that he sees me take time to play with him when he wants to. The play days will be over quickly I know and I don't want to miss out on them either.

Yovani, the big brother, is my favorite first thing in the morning when I'm sitting on the couch waiting for them to get up and he's usually the first one to come barreling out of their room (with the exception of the baby of course) but I'm usually laying on the couch under a quilt and he'll come and just lay down right beside me and hug me and tell me good morning and I'll tell him I love him and he repeats it and just giggles. He does that everytime you tell him you love him, like he loves it but doesn't ever really know how to take it or what to do with it. Precious time cause he's getting to that stage where it's not always so cool to hug and kiss people you love and in the mornings he usually initiates the cuddling and it's sweet.

There are a thousand other moments during every single day when I look at them and think if I loved these guys anymore my heart would burst wide open. It's this new kind of thing in my world it really is because usually I get to control how much of my heart I let go in any other relationship in my world, and I'm a classic only let so much of yourself go that you could recover quickly if something happened, and I just have fallen hook line and sinker for these little guys. It's like just throwing your heart out there and knowing regardless of how hard you tried you'd never be able to control giving it to them anyway and so I just trust God to take care of it, that loving them with a heart that is wide open to doing so will be worth whatever hurts may come with it because the joy of having them wrap their little arms around my neck and knowing that they are trusting me to be a safe place where they can love and be loved just has invited me into this beautiful image of the way God is with us. I'm learning something every single day from them about God's love. Every day!!

Don't know if I ever really have told you their story but they came to us because their father had been put in prison for alleged homicide and their mother was simply too poor to take care of them. She had let one of them go at a time youngest to oldest, so Antonio went into Casitas first when he was about 2 months old because he had maylaria and was really really sick. Then Francisco and then Mario and then Marvin and Yovani about a month apart all of them were "abandoned" willingly by their mother because she knew she was unable to feed them. They all came extremely malnourished with several health problems and she really was just without options. We met their mother when we first went to pick them up from Casita's. She was standing in the corner weeping as she watched them leave to go with us and my heart broke for her then. We got an opportunity to see her again just Friday, the boys were so excited to see her and we got them all dressed up and gelled their little hair and they looked so doggone adorable and went to visit mom. The visit went so well and I just really really really like the momma. She is sweet sweet stuff. I don't know what the future will hold and some day they'll possibly go back to live with her if she can find a way to make it work and we're just praying about what's best in all of that for these 5 little boys that we all love now. Was a neat thing to look at this lady and just share this gratitude for each other. Her sorrow is our joy which doesn't seem fair somedays but when I looked into her eyes I could tell that there was joy there that her boys were doing well. As we got ready to leave the visit, she grabbed ahold of me and gave me this huge hug and she thanked me over and over again for taking such good care of her boys and again I had this awesome awareness that I am given this amazing privilege of being a part of something that's really huge, not because I deserve to be, I have no idea why most days, but I am so grateful for it.

So it's hard to believe that I've tucked these little hearts in 30 times already and I'll go do it again here in just a few minutes and I've bathed them 30 times and we've eaten breakfast, lunch, and dinner together 30 times and I honestly didn't know 30 days could fill my heart up this full!!

Thank you to all of you who are loving us and praying us through. We covet them and we couldn't do it without them. This ministry is as much yours, those of you who cover it from your knees, who help it with your pocketbooks, who send us supplies, who write us notes of encouragment, all of it. This ministry is yours as much as it's ours. God brings it all together to make something beautiful!! Thank you Father for the privilege of being a part of this!

Monday, July 24, 2006

A Hard Today...

You know the only bad thing about letting people into your heart and life is that the ebbs and flows eventually carry with it moments of attempting to let them go out of your daily life. Experienced so much of that when I came here. Difficult sacrifices were not the things or the luxuries of life...really...but the people, shewww still a difficult one somedays. I'll be perfectly honest and tell you I wasn't expecting to come here and develop friendships quickly that were deep and real and authentic. I wasn't. I don't do that easily (although perhaps I'm getting better) and honestly I wasn't convinced I wanted to fill the empty spaces left from some of my favorite people with any new people because I knew how bad my heart ached when I left them. Color me silly but I wasn't sure I wanted to sign up for that again.

Yep silly I am again...sat today in the middle of Church's Chicken with tears rolling clear down my cheeks and watched some other people I love do the same thing. Watched two grown men who have deeply journeyed together in this faith walk attempt to say goodbye to the way things have been for a while now and as one of them walked out the door the other one put his hands to his head and just cried, watched some boys I love more than life already at this point get hugged on and loved on by Uncle Joe and had to turn my head because I couldn't watch as he tenderly hugged them and told them he loved them.

You see I was reminded again today of a few really important things. I want to live my life in such a way that no matter how long God may allow me to stay in one place, there is a void when I leave, not because I'm anything spectacular necessarily, but because I've invested enough of myself in people that there's something to miss when I'm gone. I watched people who had been invested in today feel a void, a big void in the absence of our dear friend. Guess the second thing I was reminded of was that no matter how much it hurts or how bad it aches some days, real, deep, genuine friendships will always be worth it. I want to live open to them always. Allowing God to move people into my heart, challenging me to be a part of authentic community, and be better and richer because of it.

One of my favorite quotes for a while as cheesy as it is has been, "Some people walk into our lives and quickly go, some people leave footprints on our hearts and we are NEVER the same." -- You left some way big footprints here Joe and I know Karen and I have been so changed by your love, encouragment, and friendship. Parts of me will never be the same again because you've been a part of God changing places in my heart. Thank you for offering us your friendship. I am so much better because of it.

You keep running hard after Jesus my friend and we'll see you there - and miss you like crazy in the dailyness of here!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

To My Brother...


I've sat down to write this letter probably 5 times now and I'm having the hardest time coming up with the right words. It's just that there's so much left to say and no words left to say all of it with. Looked at the calendar yesterday and realized that in two weeks this chapter of life as it is now will be behind you and while I know the things you're moving on to have totally captured your heart, as is evidenced by that ever present grin on your face, there's gonna be a HUGE void here and think you should know it.

Joe, when you moved out to Santa Ana, I know you weren't crazy about the idea. You didn't want to be so far out of the city, it wasn't nearly as convenient, and I totally understand all of that. I am so incredibly grateful that you did however. In those couple months I gained a brother. Not just a friend that you really enjoy hanging out with and spending time around, but a brother that if ever given a choice I'd lay in the middle of the road for. In a few short months God has done this really cool thing and He's just sort of taken some hearts that love this place a whole bunch, put them together in the same place for a bit and formed a community that has taught me a thousand lessons.

Joe we've laughed together, we've cried together, we've prayed together, we've built together, we've planned trips together, we've loved on kiddo's together, and there will always be a trillion memories here that will have your heart attached to them.

Won't be able to build a house here without thinking about your selfless service you offer in your quiet and humble way as you lead and guide "newbies" who've never helped to put a roof over a Honduran families head before.

Won't be able to look at these little guys and hear them say "Tio Jose" without seeing your face and remembering how much they adore you already in just a weeks time.

Won't be able to see the words "El Rey" and not chuckle under my breath remembering how many times we've laughed and just enjoyed life together, and how many times you patiently took my ribbing when I chose to dish it out.

Won't ever sit on our back porch without thinking about hours and hours spent out there talking about life and what God was teaching us and realizing that hours spent out there nestled you way down deep into this heart.

Won't look at many children without seeing visions of you throwing them up in the air, being scared to death you'd drop one anytime and then watching them ask you to do it again and again and again.

But perhaps the thing I'll remember most about you being here my brother is the way I watched you bend down a thousand times to a hurting soul...old young or in between and love people like Jesus. You never did it for a pat on the back, you never bragged after it was done. Most often I watched you walk away with a tear in your eye and a burden on your heart - think Jesus probably did too. You offered your life here with a sweet humility and had every opportunity to become prideful or calloused to much of it and even now I watch your heart still be able to be broken.

Your love for this place Joe is inspiring not just to me buddy but to so many of my friends from home who have come to know and love you, to teams who come every summer who have been blessed by your servant heart, and countless others that it would be impossible to name.

So Joe this letter isn't just mine. It's from all of us, who've been blessed to be among you, to serve beside you, to journey with you. Thank you for everything you offered in His name here...much of which you'll not see the benefits of until Heaven I feel sure. It will be a beautiful sight to watch some brown eyes and brown skin folks walking up to you there and thanking you for showing them Him.

You are indeed the "brother I always wanted." Thankful that because of this year we've gotten to spend here, you're the brother I'll now get to keep.

I love you buddy and I wish you all the very best life has to offer. Wherever the road leads next, they're way blessed to get your heart.

We'll miss you so very very much!!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

A Zephaniah 3 Moment

So I was on baby patrol last night, which basically just means I take the monitor to my room for the night and am in charge of getting up when he gets up. I literally pray on those nights, as horrible as this is, ok God will you PLEASE just let him sleep until 5??!! PLEASE!!!! I can do 5, I can not do 3. I can not do 4. Please God just 5 please. Ok now for those of you who know me, you know God wired a night owl in this body and well let's just say there's a short circuit on the we love mornings fuse. I don't wake up singing. (I don't like people who do :) )

Anyway, but there's this really weird thing happening...ok now let me preface this...when I hear this little cry coming over the monitor I do not always think, "Oh I have a great life, allow me to get out of my bed and rush into greet this little one" No it's usually this stumble all over myself trying to wake up, clammoring to find my keys to get into the other side of the building, growling to myself wondering why in the world he is awake at this hour...but then it happens in the quiet of the night, I see this little face peering up over his crib waiting for "me" to come in and take care of him. There were moments last night when that was an overwhelming thought. He needs "me." Piddly ole me.

So I sit down in that rocking chair and I snuggle his little sweet self and I remind him that I love him and that Jesus loves him and then usually at some point I begin to sing. I Love You Lord has sort of just found it's way into being one of my favorite lullabies. Last night while I was singing (and for those of you have heard me sing you know this is no testimony to my own ability to carry a tune in a bucket...but) the baby had his head rared back just boo hooing and when I started to sing he put his head against my head and put his little ear right up to my mouth while I sang. Thought hmmm he's starting to know this screechy voice and then this thought came...I wonder if this is exactly what the verses are talking about in Zephaniah 3 where it says that "He rejoices over you with singing and will quiet you with His love"

In the dark night moments of my life when in my own ways I want stand in my "crib" wait for Him to come to the rescue and while waiting want to boohoo and wail, I want to remember that sweet that I might remember that even now there's a God in Heaven who is singing and if I just put my ear right up close to Him I'll hear His voice and He will undoubtedly quiet my heart with His love because I know His voice and there's nothing like it.

Bend your ear close, He's singing over you too!!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

And It's a Hallelujah Day...

This sweet little guy finally decides these white girls might not be so bad after all...that's right that is him smiling at us!! Thank You LORD!!! :):):) Think his ear infections are gone and he is feeling better so he's a much happier baby since last night. Yay for us...yay for him!! Posted by Picasa

A Few Updated Pictures...

Mr. Franciso...aka "Chubs" with the cutest dimples you have EVER seen!!
Me and Yovani after we had read ohhhh I think 15 books the other night together on the couch!
"Uncle Jeff" helping Francisco with his "coke in a bag." This little guy loves him and I know it wouldn't be real macho to say so but Uncle Jeff is pretty doggone taken with him too! :)
"Tio Jose" who is an absolute hit with the boys around here. This is at Didasko the other day when we were out there to visit. He was assisting the monkey on the bars.

Have I mentioned lately that we are having so much fun with these little guys. They are precious precious precious!!

Have a feeling for a while all my blogs are gonna involve "little people." They're taking over my heart!! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Just A Few Questions...

1) Who in the world made a child's internal clock to think that somewhere between 6 and 7 a.m. it was time to rise and shine and not slowly rise and shine but to rise and be in mach 9 speed in .2 seconds?

2) Why does this baby hate white people? :)

3) Is there anything better than walking into a room full of kiddo's to tuck them in for the night, all dressed in their adorable little pj's, getting kisses on your cheek from each of them and getting to pillow your head knowing that right near you sleep 5 little souls that you get to love on and invest in and thinking that at this moment you might possibly be the luckiest girl in the world to get this opportunity for "such a time as this?"

4) And last but not least...have you told your mother thank you lately...this is HARD WORK...beautifully hard work, but hard nonetheless...I am pooped!! SO goodnight...

Stay tuned until after bedtime another night :):)

Saturday, July 01, 2006


Jody this picture's just for you. These hooligans are LOVING your playground. What a crew...we are POOPED but are so loving having these little guys around. Makes every paint stroke and scraped floor and whatever else so worth it when you watch them crawl up into their beds at night under those sweet comforters, and play in that room with those toys, and eat in that room that was painted by hands that we love, and well just the whole thing brings so much of life into perspective. I can't wait for you all to meet them. They are awesome!! Continue to pray for all of us as we transition. The journey has begun... Posted by Picasa

Jose Antonio

This is the baby...who is about a year old. He's certainly had a rough first few days with the transition and on top of that has ear infections in both ears and isn't feeling so good. So we're learning all sorts of good things about how best to give a baby medicine, etc. Beautiful baby though, and in a few days when he feels better I am sure he will be a happier guy. Posted by Picasa

jose yovani

This is the big brother and he does a great job!! When we got ready to brush our teeth last night before bed he took them all in there, told them what they needed to do, then showed them, it was adorable. They listen to him well for the most part, I think he's had practice at taking care of them. Thankfully he can be a kid right now and have someone else help take care of them. He's as ornery as the day is long but such a sweet kid. Posted by Picasa


Mr. Chubs...what a sweet disposition...he has pretty much smiled the entire time, oh yeah except last night in the middle of the night when he woke Karen up 3 times. During the day he's great though!! ;) Francisco is almost 3. Posted by Picasa


mr. marvin...what an adorable kid. does this smile melt your heart or not??!! Marvin is 7 and is quite the card. today i took he and his older brother with me out to didasko to drop off some things and on the way bought them a coke and a bag of chips at the pulperia and he didn't want to open them until he got home cause he wanted to share with his other brothers that weren't with us. very tender hearted but is pushing the limits to see how much he can get away with for sure. :) Posted by Picasa


This is Mario. He is absolutely hilarious. Has a will of iron, but is so doggone funny and smiles a whole bunch. This is his first day here in his new outfit after his shower....oh and of course with gelatina in his hair cause that is supremely important here. :) Posted by Picasa

Home Sweet Home

hey we're here all safe and sound and I promise to send pictures very soon but as for now well let's just say we're beautifully busy!!

we'll post soon i promise!! love you all and you are gonna LOVE these boys!!