One aspect of my childhood that I truly enjoyed was listening to lots and lots of great music. My dad loved to sing, and my brother, sister, and I grew up surrounded by the sounds of his favorite artists—Keith Green, … Continue reading
Hooray! We finally had a real snow day in North Carolina!
Here are a few of the sights from our one-day winter wonderland…
Our neighbors’ picturesque barn
No driving today!
“Whatcha doin’, lady?”
A little snow-covered plant thingy
My little snow bunny
What kind of a sled is this?
Not too impressed with Mommy’s snow princess
Goodbye, snow day. Come again soon.
He sends out his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
He gives snow like wool;
he scatters frost like ashes.
He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs;
who can stand before his cold?
He sends out his word, and melts them;
he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.
Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
Happy New Year to you! It’s been over a year now since I last posted anything on this blog, and I thought it was about time for me to post a long overdue update on what God has been doing in our family. As some of you know, I didn’t plan to stop blogging completely, but due to some health problems it seemed best for me to step away from the online world to concentrate on getting better.
Thankfully, I can say that the Lord has strengthened me greatly, and I am in much better health now than I was one year ago. I wouldn’t call this a blogging comeback quite yet, but I do hope to return to sharing encouragement with you here at Precious Adornment as the Lord gives me the energy to do so. In the meantime though, here’s a bit of the news that I shared with family and friends in our Christmas letter…
Probably much like yours, our year seems to have breezed by in a matter of a few short weeks. Looking back over 2013, I can’t help but remember how the days, months, and years before Evangelle came home just crawled by in a painfully slow manner. That heartache is a distant memory now, and the Lord has filled our lives with more joy than we could have imagined. He is good, and every day that we share together as a family is a gracious gift from His hand.
Special Memories from 2013
In Ethiopia, Christmas is celebrated on January 7 instead of December 25, and this year our family had a double celebration of the occasion. First, we had a special dinner at home where I prepared a slightly Americanized version of Ethiopian cuisine including injera (a spongy flatbread) and doro wat (a spicy chicken stew). Evangelle enjoyed sampling a cabbage and potato dish and a bit of injera and didn’t laugh too much at my attempts to bring a little taste of Ethiopia home to her.
Later in the month, we were thrilled to reunite with some of the friends that we made during our 2012 visits to Ethiopia for a belated Christmas celebration at an Ethiopian restaurant in Charlotte. We think of and pray often for Evangelle’s special friends from Ethiopia and are so happy to see them flourishing with their forever families.
April 17 marked one year since the Lord brought our family together and we were finally free to bring Evangelle home! God is good!
Mother’s Day was another important day for our family as we participated in a child dedication service at church and publicly committed to raise Evangelle in the ways of the Lord. We want more than anything to honor Him with how we handle the tremendous blessing and responsibility of parenting He has so graciously given us.
Evangelle turned two years old at the end of May. She has very much enjoyed telling people that she is two whether they ask or not! Her language skills are progressing and Joseph and I understand a lot of what she tries to communicate, but translation is still required for most other people.
She is learning to count and sing her ABC’s. She loves looking at and having books read to her, and she absolutely adores music. Her favorite album (highly recommend!) has a song called “Make Me Wise.” A day doesn’t go by without her asking multiple times to listen to “May Tee Why.” It’s the cutest thing to hear her singing along at the top of her lungs.
In September, we were able to take Evangelle on a trip to the beach for the very first time. During our brief vacation, she went from despising the feeling of sand on her feet on day one to making sand castles and squealing with delight when we’d take her running through water on the ocean’s edge by our last day there.
November brought a special treat when our missionary friends from Ethiopia, Les and Maxine Williams, came to spend a few days with us during a short visit back in the United States. Les and Maxine house, care for, and share the Gospel with close to 60 young people who would otherwise be entirely abandoned and without hope. If you are interested in supporting a ministry that is changing lives in Ethiopia, please visit the Williams’s website where you can learn more about Hope for Youth Ethiopia.
One other major 2013 event for our family occurred when we decided after much prayer to begin the adoption process from Ethiopia once again! We have been gathering and completing the necessary truckload of paperwork over the last few months and hope to submit our dossier soon after the beginning of the new year. We would be grateful for your prayers as we begin another long wait (the current estimate is 3 years) to bring another precious child into our family.
May God bless you and keep you as you seek him in 2014!
You may or may not have noticed that my blog has been just a bit pitiful lately. For those of you who may be wondering why, I thought I’d provide an explanation…
I think I’ll just blame it on my sister. She and I have spent our lives doing things together—sharing a room, sharing a car, going to college together, etc., etc. Unfortunately, it seems that in recent years we have taken our sharing too far. About three years ago, she discovered she had hypothyroidism. About the same time, I found that my thyroid was also an underachiever. Thanks to God’s goodness and the wonders of modern medicine, that revelation was hardly life-changing. With periodic blood tests and a daily pill, the problem can pretty much be corrected.
Ah… but we still felt like junk. As many of you learned through Niki’s recent post, she had become quite ill and eventually discovered that Lyme disease was to blame. If you know anything about Lyme, you’re aware that overcoming it is anything but simple.
You probably know where I’m going with this by now, right?
For years, I’ve struggled with fatigue and other minor health complaints. Niki kept saying, “You have Lyme disease. You need to get tested.” [Side note: As a teen, I was bitten by a deer tick that tested positive for Lyme. A doctor prescribed a round of antibiotics as a precaution, but I was never tested to see if I'd actually been infected.]
Anyhoo, given the number of years that had passed since the tick incident, I simply didn’t think my symptoms could be connected to Lyme. “I’d be dead by now,” I reasoned. But then, my body began working harder to persuade me with muscle pain and twitches, joint pain and stiffness, mental fog and slight issues with memory, and extreme fatigue. Over the past year, I’ve had tendonitis in my arm and hand, plantar fasciitis, hip bursitis, and stubborn bronchitis. My doctor tested me for lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and a few other things, but all he discovered was that there was inflammation in my body for some unknown reason.
When I started feeling a pinprick sensation on the soles of my feet when I got out of bed in the morning, I began to suspect that Niki was right after all. The blood tests agreed.
So that’s the reason why my blog has been so lame lately. Some days or weeks are better than others, but in general, if I have enough energy to take care of Evangelle and keep the house clean, I’m doing well. As much as I would like to put more time into blogging, it’s really just better for me and my family if I go to bed instead!
Lord willing, I’ll be able to get in to see a doctor who specializes in treating Lyme disease at the beginning of the year. Until then, I’m trying to improve the way I feel with my diet (gluten & dairy free) and lots and lots of supplements.
I thought I’d write this post for two reasons:
- To explain why my blogging will probably continue at an irregular pace
- To let people know that Lyme disease is far more common than many doctors believe
From what I understand, Lyme mimics a number of other diseases, and as a result, people often go undiagnosed for years. I personally know around 10 people who are dealing with Lyme disease and many of them had to go through a number of trials before discovering what was making them so sick.
My general practitioner didn’t want to test me for Lyme since he believed the disease was rare, so I went through my sister’s doctor instead. Niki and I both had our testing done through IGeneX, Inc., a lab specializing in Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.
Make that 3 reasons:
3. To encourage people to take guarding against tick bites seriously!
Where my family lived in Northwest Indiana, tick bites were a common occurrence, and we thought little of them. Our feelings on the matter have changed considerably! Tick-borne illnesses are on the rise in many states, so take care of yourself and your children by watching out for the evil villains.
Learn more about guarding against tick bites HERE.
In summary, God is good, things could be much worse, and I know He’ll use this particular challenge in my life to help me trust in and rely upon Him more fully.
Here at the Griffin household, we like to do our part to keep the banana industry in business. Evangelle loves eating bananas, lots and lots of bananas. If we discover that she doesn’t care for a particular food, all we have to do is add some banana to it, and she’ll eat it up.
Now that Evangelle has approximately 4 ½ teeth to work with, we decided to see if she was ready to progress from eating the mashed version of her favorite food to eating bananas big-girl style. As it turns out, she was ready for the challenge…
I want to be like the noble woman of Proverbs 31, I really do, but I have to admit I’ve always felt somewhat hindered by a few of her outstanding character traits. In addition to that whole early-rising thing (although Evangelle is certainly helping me in that area!), I’ve also found her business savvy to be just a tad bit intimidating.
I don’t know anything about real estate or which fields would be worth buying. I think my sad little overgrown garden serves as sufficient proof that I lack the skills necessary for planting and tending a vineyard. And although I have taken a few sewing lessons, I’m still a long way from being able to sew linen garments or sashes that anyone would be willing to buy.
But…I have discovered in recent years that I do enjoy baking and decorating cakes. Maybe I could do something Proverbs 31-ish with that?
With that thought in mind, I’ve begun taking steps to turn my hobby into a little side business (probably very little). While I worked on getting the necessary license for selling cakes from home, I gave my friends the opportunity to help me expand my cake decorating portfolio by making their cakes at cost, and a few of them were kind enough to help me out.
Here are a few photos showing the fruits of my labor…
This week, I’m excited about having the opportunity to make a wedding cake for some dear friends who are getting married this coming Saturday. It should be fun, but a wedding cake is also a big responsibility.
Prayers for my sanity will be much appreciated!
Our little girl is turning into a big girl far too quickly!
Over the last couple of weeks, she’s been working on moving away from all fours to getting around on her own two feet.
Those are small steps for Evangelle, and a giant leap for the Griffins!
Anybody know where I can start buying energy in bulk?
At 15 months of age and after four months at home with us, Evangelle continues to delight Joseph and me each day with her progress. Here’s a quick update on the top news and events from her little corner of the world…
- She learned to say “Wow” this week. Super cute.
- Each day she seems to become a bit more balanced when she stands up on her own. I’m pretty sure her first steps can’t be too far away.
- Four sharp little teeth now! There’s a good-sized gap between her two top teeth. Joseph thinks it’s quite adorable and hopes it will stay there.
- Every day is a good day for dancing. If I’m not playing music for her, she seems perfectly happy to dance to the music in her head.
- Speaking of music, she has recently begun “singing” along with me when I sing. I’d post a video, but that would mean you’d have to listen to me singing too. Oh, well, just trust me, it’s truly precious (her singing, I mean). :)
- She graduated to drinking from a sippy cup.
- Sometimes when I’m lucky, she’ll voluntarily give me a kiss on the cheek.
- Other times, she makes me laugh by giving me zrbtts instead. (See HERE if you’re unfamiliar with what a zrbtt is.)
- She likes bugs—eating them, that is. I’ve twice discovered her chomping on the remains of some unidentifiable insect. While I try to control my gag reflex, Joseph just laughs and says it’s good protein.
- Shoes are apparently her thing. Although she’s a total wiggleworm when I try to dress her or fix her hair, she sits completely still and eagerly points her little toes when it comes time to put her shoes on. Her papa sent her the cutest pair of Skechers last week, and as you can see, they made her feet feel very happy.
Evangelle certainly does. All it takes is the slightest hint of music or a little drumming on the table to set her in motion.
Recently, Evangelle joined her aunt, uncle, and cousin for their nightly routine of prayer and singing before bedtime. While they provided the vocals, Evangelle decided to show off some of her moves.
I thought the result was too cute to keep to myself…
Joseph, Evangelle, and I just returned from spending one week in glorious Santa Clarita, California. I love that city for so many reasons—the tea room, the array of cupcake bakeries and coffee/tea shops, the beautiful scenery and amazing weather—but most of all, I love Santa Clarita because that’s where The Master’s College makes its home.
I’ve been working on a master’s degree in biblical counseling at Master’s for the past few years, and the summer sessions on campus are always a highlight of my year. Being able to spend a week or two at a time immersed in biblical teaching provided by godly professors and deep fellowship shared with precious friends is a great blessing and encouragement to me.
This year’s highlight was even brighter than usual since Joseph and Evangelle were able to join me for my cross-country adventure. I spent the mornings in class, then we would set out as a family each afternoon for a little sight-seeing. In spite of the upheaval caused by traveling and teething, Evangelle was a trooper and seemed to enjoy every last bit of attention my friends and fellow classmates were willing to give her. She really is quite a ham!
Throughout the week, Joseph and I kept remarking how quickly Evangelle seems to be growing. Even though we repeatedly plead with her to slow things down a bit, she continues pushing ahead to her life as a big girl. The day before we left California, she decided to commemorate our visit with two big events—the appearance of a new tooth and this…
Standing on her own for the first time!
As much as Joseph and I love having a “baby” girl, we’re also grateful to see God at work in Evangelle’s growth and development. We’re doing our best to cherish every little moment!
While my husband was out of town on a business trip over the last few days, Evangelle and I were able to spend some quality girl time together. We made sure to fit in plenty of the usual girl stuff like dancing, shopping, drama, and a few tears.
But most importantly, there was giggling, lots of giggling…
We’ve had much more fun around here since Evangelle finally realized that
One of the fun and interesting aspects of life with Evangelle has been learning about what she does and does not enjoy. Fortunately, she has such a happy and generally easy-going disposition that after 3 months together, we’ve been pleased to find that the first list is quite a bit longer than the second. We’ll see how long that holds out.
If you have a little one, are planning to have a little one, know someone with a little one, OR if you’re planning to go and bring home one of those amazing little ones from Ethiopia (hint, hint), I thought you might enjoy seeing this list of Evangelle’s favorite things.
So far, Evangelle’s diet consists mainly of fresh fruits, veggies, and oatmeal. I think she’d eat bananas all day if we’d let her, but we try to make sure she gets in a good variety from day to day. Because she experienced malnutrition in the first few months of life, I’ve been especially concerned about giving her as healthful of a diet as we possibly can to promote growth and keep her immune system strong. I’ve been incredibly grateful that so far she seems to really like healthful foods, and I’m hoping we can train her taste buds to stay that way.
When we’re out and about, we’ve found the HappyTot line of baby food to be incredibly convenient. The squeezable pouches were perfect for travel, so we stocked up before our trip to Ethiopia. They’re all organic and contain no added sugar, and Evangelle loves all 3 of the flavors that we’ve tried.
And, oh, my, does this girl love her HappyBaby Sweet Potato Puffs! They’re made with whole grains and sweetened only with fruit juice, so Mommy is pretty happy about her eating them too. You can find them in some grocery stores, or you can buy them in larger quantities through Amazon.
Hair & Skin
Caring for Evangelle’s hair has been surprisingly easy so far. We really like this line of organic coconut and hibiscus hair care products from Shea Moisture. The scent is amazing and may be part of the reason that I have so many people telling me that they want to eat Evangelle up.
You can find Shea Moisture products at Target and Walgreens.
I wash Evangelle’s hair with the Shea Moisture shampoo once a week and then I do a conditioner wash halfway through the week with Bee Mine avocado cream conditioner. Another adoptive mom said that it had worked wonders on her daughter’s hair, and it seems to be working great for us too.
As you can probably tell, I’m one of those hippie moms who’s pretty concerned about keeping her daughter away from chemicals and artificial products as much as possible, so I was happy to learn that I could use coconut oil to moisturize both Evangelle’s hair and skin. We massage it into her hair once or twice a day, and we use it in place of skin lotion after her bath and before bed.
Evangelle personally recommends using it as a snack while having your hair done.
On our way to D.C. for our flight to Ethiopia, I picked up a tin of this Night Night Balm at a Cracker Barrel store, thinking it might be helpful as we transitioned Evangelle into her new sleeping schedule. It’s made from essential oils like chamomile and lavender that are supposed to have a calming and relaxing effect, and it has a very pleasant scent.
Whether it makes a difference or not with Evangelle’s sleep, I really don’t know, but I do know that she gets very happy when she sees the tin coming out before bedtime. I only use a small amount on her cheeks, neck, and chest, so one tin of Night Night Balm lasts a long time.
Headbands with large bows and flowers have become quite popular for babies in the last few years, but Joseph and I aren’t exactly fans of the kind where the embellishments are bigger than the baby’s head. I found this set of 15 crocheted headbands with smaller-sized daisies on Amazon for a good price. Unfortunately, the price has increased by $5 since I bought them, but I think it’s still a good value for the number of headbands that you get.
I enjoy having so many colors to choose from, and Evangelle seems to have taken a liking to them too. She’ll try over and over to put one on her head. She hasn’t figured out yet how to get it on, but it’s certainly cute to watch her try!
Before we brought her home, the majority of toys that I’d bought for Evangelle were soft or plush because I thought that’s what she’d prefer at her age. I was wrong. What she likes best right now are plastic or wood toys that she can use to hit together and make a lot of racket!
She loves these stacking cups that a friend sent to her.
And she’s gotten a lot of enjoyment out of these linkable rings from Bright Starts.
Books & Music
You can check my recent post on Baby’s Hug-a-Bible and Rain for Roots for more details on why Evangelle and I like this storybook and album so much.
I hope you’ve enjoyed taking a peek at a few of Evangelle’s favorite things. Maybe a little one you know would enjoy some of them too.