Monday, June 30, 2008

Faithful decisions

Our dear friends, David and Julie, arrived in Haiti today. This is the conclusion of an adoption process that has taken over 2 ½ years. I am so moved at the thoughts of these wonderful parents and their conscious choice to love two children, that were not given to them by birth, but definitely given to them by God. I’m certain that when the Lord put the idea of adoption on their heart, there would have been a great deal of reasons why not to pursue it: financial, potential heart ache, it would be a hard thing to do, simple fear, and it would require risk. But God did given them this purpose and spoke it into their hearts, giving them the courage to accomplish the task he has given them. Only God could put this desire in their hearts, and only God can bring it into being. And now He has.

This is a picture from Julie's trip to see the girls over a year ago. Katie is now 4 and Yolanta just turned 6

“It is a real gift to have some one in our life as an example of faith”

Pastor Shane Fookes, Westport Church, Hillsboro, OR – June 29, 2008

Pastor Shane was teaching from the book of Ruth. (You can find the online sermon here) Here are some of my notes:

Life rarely cooperates with our desire for safety and comfort. Life interrupts. How do we go about making decisions in this life of uncertainty?

Ruth had to answer three questions:

1. Who or what do I love the most?
Ruth’s love when translated from the Hebrew is Hesed which often describes God’s character as loyal love.
We may have fears and justifications, but then must ask ourselves, “Do I love God more than the fears of unknown consequences?”
Orient our direction more Godward

2. Where will I find guidance?
Ruth knows God’s word and is willing to obey, even when it doesn’t seem to make sense in her own limited knowledge. (Ruth 2:1-3)
Ruth also chooses to listen to a mentor (Ruth 3:1-5)

Ruth will wait (Ruth 3:18)

3. In whom or what will I place my trust?

Ruth puts her trust in Gods providence (defined) God’s direct and personal involvement in His creation and in the events of history to accomplish his purposes.

Ruth puts her trust in God’s sovereignty. He provides for her, food, famine (which brought her in to Boaz’s country), Godly ‘coincidence’ that the Kinsman redeemer is there, that she happens onto Boaz’s field, that she was able to conceive and bear a son. (Ruth 1 says she was married 10 years before becoming a widow, and no children) God had touched Ruth’s life.

God followers make faithful decisions and not pragmatic ones. Because of Ruth’s faith, her child became the grandfather of the great King David and ancestor of Jesus the Christ.

This decision of David and Julie, to adopt, and to adopt from Haiti, and to adopt two sisters, was a decision that was made by faith. They, and their example of faith, trusting in God, is a real gift.

Love Personified in Haiti

For those checking in on the Penn Family and their adventures in Haiti - a treasure hunt of sorts....I received this email today:

We made it. It was an exhausting nearly 24 hr journey but the meeting was joyous! David and Julie asked me to mail you (they are at the Consulate and I stayed behind) and let you know so that you can pass the word on. Our last leg of the journey from Miami to Port au Prince was delayed twice and landed in 35 mph winds that made our tummies roll. David has a story to share but I will leave that for him.

Walking into this home and having Yolanta and Katie greet their parents is something I will never forget. It was love personified.

As far as I know everything is as scheduled for Wed but if it should change we'll let you know. No cell service here but I expect David and/or Julie to get on this computer later.

Take care and thanks for spreading the word.

With love,


(Grammy :)
I will continue to provide updates as they are made available, including the information on their return flight status Wednesday night. Continue to pray for their stay, as Port au Prince isn't the safest city, and for a quick and easy flight home.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Expirements in Produce - Beets

Today we picked up our second "Harvest Box" from Sun Gold Farm, our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture farm) that we have purchased a share from.

I am excited to get a large variety of fruits and veggies, while they are in season, from a local farm that is organic and sustainable, and supporting a local farm.

We are trying new things.
And we are trying old things.

for example, beets!

New - never served to my family since we have been a family. I'm not totally sure if my husband has ever consumed a beet before, at least not intentionally.
Old- My parents grew beets in their garden when I was a child. I remember eating them, mostly roasted with butter and salt.

I was nervous about trying them again. It wasn't something I loved as a child, I remember eating them, but not loving it. i was also nervous about putting them on the table as a required part of dinner.

We really don't tolerate picky-ness in our kids.... if it is on their plate, they are expected to eat it, sometimes it just takes longer than usual, so new and less kid friendly foods are approached with caution.

My sister has some experience with local farm harvests and CSA farms, as well as hanging with a bunch of veggies and vegans, so I asked her last night if she had some suggestions. This was her response (names changed to protect misfits):

Beets! How can you not LOVE beets? I can't remember if (MAN) did anything particularly special with them. We like to roast them with a bit of olive oil and rosemary -- they're good to roast with other veggies like potatoes, carrots, brussel sprouts, etc. Sometimes we just wrap 'em in tin foil and bake them (cutting them into a couple pieces if they're large). I like to chop up left-over beets and put them in a salad. And, just the other day, I made a wrap with hummus, left-over beets, cheese, salad greens, and a drizzle of balsalmic -- YUM! One time (MAN) did make a beet soup, but I don't remember that being as good as beets themselves are. I think he found the recipe on ... there are lots of great beet recipes there. They're a fantastic color (FRIEND has used their juice to make paper towel art) and they're very sweet for a vegetable, so if the kids know what's good for them, they should love 'em!

I hope your CSA helps you re-discover the greatness of beets.

L-beet lover

I told her she should start her own blog and call it (site name still available....)

So, I searched and this is what I found: Grilled Flank Steak with Sauteed Beet Greens and Creamy Horseradish Beets which did use the rosemary like Liz said, and I think it's a good paring. The only alterations we made were that I used Flat Iron Steak vs Flank steak because it was in the freezer already. I also would recommend cutting down on the horseradish in the cream sauce if you have kids, a little goes a long way and can be too spicy for the kids. The sauce, after sitting turns a bright, almost fluorescent fuscia color. It reminds me of one of the imaginary foods from the food-fight scene in the movie Hook. Hannah wanted some mostly because the color was intriguing.

The kids ate it. Shane ate it. I enjoyed it. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the sauteed greens. I used butter instead of the oil and salt. I also ate most of the greens by myself, HAPPILY! I think I'll do something with the leftover creamy beets like Liz suggested with hummus and greens.

So! What do you do with beets? Do you like them? I'd love to hear some other ideas.

Now the tooth is just silly

I don't know if we'll blog every single tooth for every single kid.... but this is pretty funny!

Once I got over my despair at fleeting childhood, I realized how goofy he looked with the other front tooth, hanging crooked. Yesterday's bagel spun the second front tooth around 180 degrees...but still hung on. It is better that we accept these inevitable tooths than try to prevent them from happening... it just hurts!

I wasn't sure if I dreamed that Noah came in at 4:30 am and told me that his tooth fell out while he was sleeping, but as he verified that it in fact had come out!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The sad tooth...

My heart was broken about two weeks ago.... my eldest notified us that his tooth was loose. As much as I try, these beautiful children are always showing signs of becoming less of children. Is that strange? A mother wanting to send her children to 'Neverland' so that they might enjoy the whimsy and delight of a Peter Pan life??

Despite my hopes, they will grow... they will loose their baby teeth and gain adult teeth.

The loss occurred this morning, during breakfast... as it just hung on by a thread he pulled it out and came to me with a bloody grin, and bloody tooth in his hand... "I pulled it out!"

And as one reaches an end, another begins...

A week ago, while trying to catch a matinée with the kids, Maggy's first tooth cut through. Painfully. Maggy and I didn't get to see the whole movie.

(I have yet to get a picture of said tooth)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fantastic Fathers - Part 2


I am who I have become in a large part because of the purposed care and loving guidance of my father. The older I get, I realize that the experiences he has imparted to me were invaluable. I repent that I have not always received his help and wisdom with graciousness, weakness of my own pride.

But as the years pass, I have learned to come to him for that advice, help and wisdom...

...and have learned that he is not only my father, but a treasured friend.

I look forward to many more years as friends. :-)

Fantastic Fathers- Part 1

Happy Father's Day 2008.

My husband is a fantastic man, fantastic husband, but most of all, a fantastic father.

As an only child of a single mother, I become more and more amazed at his strength as a father with each passing day. He has always behaved and parented as if he has had the most wise, just and loving father for his example. And in fact, I think that is the secret to his success... he has looked to his Heavenly Father as an example. He has established biblical order to our home. I can look to him for guidance, wisdom and encouragement.

He takes his daughter's lovingly into his arms and tells them how beautiful they are. I don't think they will question or doubt their beauty - inside and out, because of how he loves them.

He teaches his sons the important boy stuff that they just have to know, but also leads their hearts to a place where they grow to love Jesus and to turn to God in all they do.

He also, almost magically, brings security to his home and wife. The rush of excitement and sqweals of "DADDY!" as the key turns in the door, when he comes home every night is the best part of every day.

Thank you my dear and loving husband for being the man God created you to be.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Theives or scavengers?

Isn't this thing GORGEOUS?!?!?!
honest to pete, it's growing in my front yard!

When we went to the farm a few weeks ago, our farmer (a professional) said gardening is an expirement, every year. boy! That is sure nice to hear. I thought I was the only one who was so recklessly trying to create stuff from dirt!

So my rose bushes... I kind of stole them. I think it depends on how you define stealing.... if stealing means taking something that doesn't belong to you, well then, yes, I stole them. But I really prefer to say that I am a scavenger, not a thief. The house was about to be torn down and the lot was to be plowed for a new development. We (me and my wonderful neighbor) went and dug them up and replanted them in my yard. I figured I wouldn't feel so horrible if I killed them and I hadn't paid for them. Really, I just rescued them... and this is my reward.

Not a birthday

We just got home from an afternoon at Rood Bridge Park in Hillsboro. I had no idea this place existed before today, and it's a real treasure. The kids are already trying to plan our next trip out there. Its only about 20 minutes from our house, so I think we can arrange that.

Why did we go? Well, we were getting together on the occasion of our friend Gabe's 25 birthday (wow, that seems young... I must be getting old!). But it was "not" a birthday party.

It was nice to catch up with some of our friends who were a part of our home groups before we left our old church 5 months ago. It is amazing to see our babies growing...

Nyah (Tausha and Alex's daughter) will be one next month.

Judah (Gabe and Tracy's son) was born 4 days before Maggy.

Junia (Josh and Michele's daughter) was born 9 hours after Maggy, just a few rooms away at the same hospital.

Thanks for the fun party guys!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A nice Junuary day in Oregon

So...I hear its hot out East...

Dad said it's been 90 degrees with 90% humidity

(I don't miss that part of the North East at all!)

It hasn't made the national news the way that the rest of the country's weather has, but the Northwest is experiencing an unusually cold June - Seattle's coldest on record. The AM news this morning showed the WA mountain pass covered with snow... yup, in June....

So I don't think I was all that surprised when the phone rang at 7:30. My friend that I invited to come to the zoo with me wasn't so keen on hanging out in the windy, rainy, out of doors... I totally don't blame her! Actually, I really can't even explain why I didn't want to just say "nay" and stay in my p-jays. Call it a need for adventure, "it's good to do hard things," glutton for punishment, or simply a desire to stick to our original plan. I knew that the Mom's from Westport would be there at 9:30, so, like Marvin K. Mooney, WE WENT!

Let me provide some recommendations for you, the next time you find yourself considering a day out with the brood:

1. Meet someone. It'll make you get there and get there at a reasonable time. We met a few other hearty Mom's near the sea lions.

(L-R Emily Powell & her mom and Charlotte and Molly; Devon Johnson with Aiden and Connor; Chelsea and Haley Cook).

2. If you have a toddler or two, provide a comfy stroller, or double stroller, to allow for the necessary nap, snack, front row view of the Visayan warty pigs or a comfy ride!

3. Catch as many of the wild animals awake. And catch some cute poses of yourself and your kids when possible...

4. Enjoy the sleeping animals... quietly...

5. Don't avoid icky creatures because of irrational phobias. You might just learn something!
We learned that spiders molt out of their exoskeletons...the exoskeleton doesn't grow with them. It makes sense, I just didn't know. They were tarantulas, so the molts were pretty icky... but cool! We also learned that the entomologist at the Zoo , Suzanne, really likes the giant cockroaches, who, fortunately, are not native to this area!

6. Find learning opportunities with what is right in front of you and reward accordingly...
Noah took the Z-O-O (spells ZOO) map to find and sound out new words.... BLACK BEAR, LORIKEET, AFRICA. And McDee's as a reward. We had packed PB&J for lunch, but worked up an appetite after walking the zoo for 3 hours.

So if you find yourself considering a day out and about, I say, take on the world... pack a lunch and dress in layers, especially if it is Junuary in Oregon.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Certainly! 147 of CS Lewis' The Horse and His Boy

..."will she live?"
" I who know many present things by my art," replied the Hermit with a smile, "Have yet little knowledge of things future. Therefore I do not know whether any man or woman or beast in the whole world will be alive when the sun sets tonight. But be of good hope. The damsel is likely to live as long as any her age."

This same thought seems to be pursuing me these last few days. I continue to hear the same idea, said in different ways. Just as the Hermit implies, likelyhood is a far different thing than certainty. We can not be certain of, often, even the most certain things. Regardless of wisdom, learning or status, we will rarely ever be prepared for the unexpectedness of life.

Yesterday morning, Maggy and I were the first ones up. As I sat down to nurse her, as I often do, I grabbed the remote. Not certain who he was, but there was a preacher sharing a sermon. He said God's answers to our prayers are yes, no or wait... but when we wait, he most certainly provides for us a sustaining grace.

2 Corinthians 12:9
And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you... "

and then in Pastor Paul's sermon yesterday (so nicely summarized here), we were encouraged to discover dependence...

Philippians 4:19
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
...confess and release control to God. He provides all we need. As the Israelites came out of the wilderness into Jericho (Joshua 4) and started to eat off the land (which God provided) and the manna no longer fell from the sky. He provides all we need.

and,yet, how often we seek more, unsatisfied. Regardless,

God has no pretense
God is always truth
God is always grace
God does not manipulate.

We most certainly can recklessly trust in God's sovereignty... it is the one thing that we can be certain of.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tonight's dinner - Easy Shepherd's Pie

I tried this recipe a year or so ago after running across it on RR's 30 minute meals on food network.

My motivation tonight was use up some stuff in the fridge that was pushing it's left-over limit, but keep dinner easy. I altered the original recipe... this is a really quick and easy meal, about 20 minutes from prep to oven, cleaned up all the dishes and after we ate, there was only one Corningwear dish that went straight to he dishwasher. Here's what I did:

2 tbs oil
1/2 white onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 green onions
1 carrot sliced
1/2 lb ground Italian sausage
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup left over spaghetti sauce
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 cups left over mashed potatoes
1/4 c butter
1/2 c sour cream
1 tbs ranch mix
1 cup frozen peas
1 egg yoke
1/2 c warm water.

Start sweet potato to boil in water. Cook the onion, garlic, green onion, carrot in oil till tender. Add meat, cook through. Add spaghetti sauce. Removed from heat.

When sweet potatoes are tender, drain water, add butter, ranch mix and sour cream. Mash. Add left over mashed potatoes and combine.

Pour meat into casserole dish. Spread peas across top of meat. Spread potatoes on top. Beat egg yoke, add warm water and whisk to combine. Pour over top of potatoes (makes crunchy top).

Put under preheated broiler for 3-4 minutes until top gets crispy.

Served with a garden salad and a glass of milk ;-)

4 years ago....

May 31, 2004

4 years ago

3 years ago

2 years ago

1 year ago


feels like moment and a lifetime at once.

What a blessing, beautiful child, sweet heart.

Happy Birthday, our dear darling Hannah Elizabeth.