Wind in our hair and screams of delight but also unpredictable turns and unknown outcomes. We are a family of six; Dave, Susie, Nate, Jake, Sam, and Bella.
God has been faithful in our marriage and through the birth and blessings of our boys.
God has been faithful during our adoption journey and united Bella with us in May of 2008. We were privileged to visit with Bella's birth mother; therefore, Bella's family in Guatemala will always be dear to our hearts.
On October 16, 2008, Bella was diagnosed with ALL Leukemia. We are now battling the disease with 2 years and 3 months of treatment. We believe God will continue to be faithful!
Our family is committed to living life to the fullest...even on the hard days. Thank you for checking in and journeying with us!
I have received so many wonderful comments about our new Blog Design, I want to make sure to give credit where credit is due, and its not me. I did donate the wonderful faces, however, my friend Jamie with Centsibly Chic Designs did this for us. She did an amazing job and I so appreciate her time and efforts. You can visit her business site at the link below. http://www.centsiblychicdesign.blogspot.com/
Just a quick note to let all of you faithful friends know that Bella is doing GREAT! The doctors are amazed at how well she has handled this bout of chemo, they said most children do not tolerate it this well. We can only attribute this to our Lord and Savior and the power of God's Word. We speak scripture over our sweet girl daily and only believe and speak the positive. She is having absolutely NO side effects from the chemo, we are enjoying every second. She is walking all over the place, getting stronger, and starting to really talk. She speaks so many words now: Natey, Jakey, Grandpa (Pa_Pop), gentle, pop, baby,no,hi,bye bye, Sponge Bob (Bob Bob), ball, book, shoe, socks, bubbles, uh-oh (my personal favorite, she is so expressive, lips and all), Big Bird, Elmo and of course, Mama and Dada. She is laughing all the time (especially at her brothers) and gives lots of hugs with love pats on the back. She is really in to her kitchen and her baby dolls. She is such an affectionate little girl and as you have all seen, loves to be snuggled and held...however, when her boys are around, she loves to walk around, play hide and seek, wrestle, play the wii (yes, she boxes with her brothers on the wii, that's my next video) and be chased. The only bad thing is, she's a toddler. I miss my baby, the time was not long enough. I keep telling Dave she needs a little sister, he's not there yet. I guess that means God doesnt have her ready yet. :) We shall wait and see what He has planned.
Ok, so this is my first post for "Wordless Wednesday". I truly dont even know what to say about this.
Last week, I visited with two of my girl friends who also have children from Hannah's Hope in Guatemala. Our girls were at one time all at the Orphanage together. They were amazed at how peaceful and content Bella was. Bella is a very good baby, but she has one little issue....she wants to be held ALL the time, and she has been this way since we picked her up last April 28th. I love it that she is so snuggly and loves her Mama so, but what am I to do being that I must get dressed.
It's been a great week! Looking at Bella you would never know she is a chemo patient...all the positive biblical confessions we pray and speak over her daily is evident in her demeanor and ability to handle her treatment. She had a pretty strong dose of chemo last week, the doctors expected a different reaction than she is giving. I didn't, I know our God and I know His Word is alive and active. Bella was happy all week and walking all over the place. This week she has double chemo on Thursday as she has a spinal tap and her chemo push.
Look who's walking!!!! One more reason to say every day "He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world"! Chemo may weaken the normal body, but when your child of God, you have super natural strength and endurance. Go Bella Girl...and then slow down so that you can still be my baby.
Oh this girl....she makes me laugh. I have really been working on Bella learning words the past few weeks. Therefore, I emphasize all my words with my mouth so that she can see how to use her lips and tongue to say words. Well, that has resulted in a Bella walking around all day with her lips out like the pictures above. She looks like she is in "Uh Oh" motion all day long. I was also cleaning out the refrigerator the other day, while dumping out food in the garbage disposal, Bella decided she would climb in to the refrigerator. A great sign that she is feeling better.
It's been a rather uneventful month for Bella. She has really done well, we had quit a few "throw ups" in the car seat, but we have finally figured out a way to solve that problem by giving her anti nausea meds before we get in the car and placing a rubber bib over her as well as a towel so that I am not continuously washing her coat and car seat. These episodes are a result of the chemo. Monday is clinic day and she gets a pretty strong dose of chemo that day...believing for the best and letting God take care of the rest. February-April will be her most intense months of treatment, the good news is, after that, she begins maintenance and we go to once a month. We are seeing the light...summer should be a good time for all of us.
As for the rest of the household, we are praising God for all our blessings. I must admit, I have personally struggled with a few losses....like my CAR! Right before Christmas my 2001 Pontiac Montana died...being that it has 163,000 miles on it, we decided it was not a good idea to fix it as the cost to fix the problem is high. However, with my not working and Dave being paid in commission, we decided it was best to try and survive on one car for the time being. Not so fun when he works 25 minutes away and you have 4 kids in school, sports and hospital trips. Not too mention that his car is the "point A to point B" car and is a small Ford Taurus Station Wagon. Like fun only different and very humbling. Yet when you stand back and look at the big picture, it is only "but a time" and we are not "of this world only in this world". I am focusing on who I am in Christ and not what car I drive...some days are easier than others. I am a spiritual being living in a physical body, and that physical body would like more functional wheels that are a little more aesthetically pleasing. :)
I want to thank everyone again for all the lovely and wonderful things you have sent Bella. My heart just leeps with thanksgiving and joy every time a package comes in the mail. Nancy, we received your package and the outfit is adorable as is the bear. We also received "Broviach"(Bella's official name for her port) covers from a nurse (I am so sorry, I cant remember your name off the top of my head) in Oklahoma a few months ago...they have made caring for her port so much easier not to mention comfortable for Bella. Thank you thank you!
Lastly, I am so very excited for a dear and special friend of mine, Amy. She is officially pregnant with her second...a baby boy from Ethiopia was born in her heart this week. I am going to love every second of sharing this journey with her and her beautiful family.
Thanks for checking in on us, I know posts have been few and far between lately, I appreciate your loyalty and prayers.
"For unto us a child is born". It truly in mind boggling to me that God himself would leave His holy throne, and submit himself to not only the life of a human, but to start at the very beginnings of earthly life...and humbly I might add. When I truly think about this truth, I realize just how loving and truly understanding my heavenly Father is. He lived this life, he felt our hurts, sorrow, joy and fear. He knows what we are up against, and He set himself to set things straight. It's easy to get wrapped up in the "American" tradition of Christmas....Santa, gifts, hustle and bustle, too much money spent, too many sweets eaten, Christmas music in stores before Halloween in efforts to push spending....its ok to celebrate Christmas this way, my family does too. Some of us want to focus on the spiritual side of Christmas, but truly, the real meaning of Christmas is a day to be celebrated the whole year through. Not just on one day of the year, but every minute of every day of our lives. In all honesty, I find it much easier to teach my children the love of Christ on a daily basis than on this one month of th year that is filled with so many distractions. So every year, my family celebrates the greatest gift given and received, Jesus...but we also celebrate the gift of living in this country and all the traditions that come with it. And we spend daily life taking the gift of Christ and glorifying our heavenly Father to the best of our ability.
I can't even believe its been over a week since I last posted. I can not let myself get this behind again, its too hard to catch up! Our holiday season was wonderful, we celebrated Christmas with my family on the 21st complete with a catored dinner from a Tapas restaurant, gifts for the children, Adult Yankee Swap (I highly recommend this, we laughed a lot) and ended it with a 2 hour Surprise Trolly Ride through the streets of Grand Rapids singing Christmas Carols, delivering gifts to a less fortunate family and checking out the major Christmas light display at our very own minor league baseball field, the "White Caps". It was a very snowy night, it could not have been more magical.
Christmas Eve was spent with just the 6 of us. We went to Christmas Eve Service, out to Dinner and then home for games, jammies and cookies for Santa. I am as excited as my kids for Christmas morning, I rarely get more than 2 hours of sleep if any. This year was no exception...I finally fell asleep at 6 am and my boys were up at 7 am jumping on our bed. Our rule is 7 am. Bella was a little confused but woke up rather quilkly. The boys were thrilled with their gifts but a little disappointed Santa did not bring a Wii. Then I pointed out the tiny gift under the tree that they missed and the race was on. Santa had sent them on a treasure hunt through out the house looking for a gift. As it turns out, our family did receive a Wii and a Wii Fit....santa left clues in all of our bedrooms and we found the big box in the basement! I am not an electronic game player, but I love this system....rediculously fun and entertaining. My family actually got together the day after Christmas and had a Wii bowling tournament.
We spent New Years home, quietly. Bella had chemo that morning and both of us were wore out.
I am so happy to see that all of you had such a wonderful holiday season as well. Praying for health, prosperity and joy for all of you this 2009.
Blessings to all!
I just thought this was so funny! 27 pairs of boots lined up at my parents in preparation for the "Surprise Event"....the Trolley Ride
All aboard the "Polar Express"!
My Mom "Grandma Nance" and Great Grandma Betty
My sister Mary, brother Peter, Nate and Bella
Sam and Dave on the Trolley
Bella and her favorite Uncle, Peter
My Dad and Joe Joe
Niece Morgan and my Jake
Aunt Erin, nieces Emma and Lauren
Dave and I
The Fam....after a 2 hour fun filled Trolley Ride!
The typical "Cry Picture"....everyone needs one of these
I know I shouldnt laugh...but it was a little funny
Every year my Mom makes all the grandchildren their Christmas jammies, this is a picture of all the girls...unfortunately, I did not get a picture of the boys in their matching blue snowflake jammies.
Jake on the Wii Fit. Ha!
Bella checking out Sammy's ipod
Santa Came! I am thinking its a midwestern tradition to wrap all the gifts and a southern tradition to put the gifts under the tree unwrapped. Its been fun to visit everyone's blog sites and see the differences.
We have been so blessed with emails and calls of people who want to help us through this time of treatment for our daughter. Per suggestion of our social worker and friend, we are posting here what we feel will be most beneficial to our family at this time. Although the help is easy to give, its hard to receive, but we have been told by medical professionals an social workers that we will need it. Your love and support mean so very much to us, thank you.
1. Prayer, please see "Pray with Us" 2. Meals 3. Car Pooling from school 4. Continued emails and blog posts with encouraging words. (This means more to us than you can possibly know.) 5. Loving on our boys, this will be a time of sacrifice for them. 6. Child Care 7. GIVE BLOOD! Where ever you live, please give blood in honor of Bella. Save a life!
We want to personally recognize and thank all of you who have graciously helped us in one way or another. Whether its through meals, house cleaning, driving, errands, donations, gifts, etc. We so appreciate you and recognize the blessing from God in all of you. Every moment of every day we are privileged to see the face of Jesus in all of you. From our home to yours, thank you and "May God bless you and hold you in the palm of His hand." Please note, your emails and posts are greatly appreciated and needed just as much as any monetary blessing, please continue to do so as they lift us up daily.
The Stanley Family (Gretchen and Gillibean) Candy and Kya Blue Michelle and Abby Riggs Deb Vangorder All God's Children International http://www.allgodschildren.org/ Kentwood Community Church Kitty and Larry Jerard The VanderZwaag Family The Angerbauer Family The Infante Family Annie Bulthuis The Edwards Family The Ambrose Family The Claeys Family The Fabro Family The DeMarchis Family Peter Harmon Joe and Erin Harmon Mary and Dejan Vukic Keith and Daphne Edwards Susie Harmon Betty Harmon Courtney and Stella Sue Marvin Beth Hartlien Pam Sult Keller Williams Realty Grand Rapids KW Cares Grand Rapids Sue and Rob Harkema and Family Jenifer and Brian VanZanten and Family Action Chemical of Grand Rapids Celebration Entertainment-Brad Eley Trish Borgdorf-http://www.vangels.com/ John and Michelle Lawrence Larry and Kitty Girard Stacy and Bella Gail and Johanna Pam and Rick Foster Amy, Fred and Grace Nagel John and Tiffny Harmon Tom and Sandra Harmon Nancy and Don Harmon Ray and Linda Ferrick Helen Devos Childrens Hospital Dr. Deanna Mitchell Dr. Ron Hoffman Jenifer Gerwig and Family Jane and David Lautenbach Greg and Shannon Ferrick Karen and Chad Janney Cheri, Donnie and Malaena Harris
Our Home Address
Many of you have asked for our home address, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like this information. Again, we appreciate all the support and prayers. It has meant more to us than we are even able to put in to words.
Our Praise from Psalm 103
With all my heart, we Praise the Lord, And with all that we are, we Praise His Holy Name. With all our heart, we Praise the Lord, and we will never forget how kind he has been. His kindness and love are a crown on our heads. Each day that we live, He provides for our needs and gives us the strength of a young eagle. For all who are mistreated, the Lord brings justice. You oh Lord are merciful, kind and patient, your love never fails. How Great is our God! You are kind to all who worship you, You keep your promises to those who faithfully obey you All of you who serve and obey God, come and Praise your Lord! With all our hearts, We PRAISE the Lord!