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 can't say it any better than my Mother did in the email she sent out to our family today.
"Good morning dear family,
This morning I am so filled with emotion as I look at the pictures of my grandchildren at the cottage two years ago and then last year. Two years ago, our youngest grandchild was Donnie, last year Joey and Bella were added. In 2007 even on this day we did not even know that Bella had been born. In 2008 we had secured Bella and we did not know the challenge that lay ahead. The picture in 2008 is so happy. And praise the Lord if we were to take another picture today, it would be even more happy. She has been secured to our family twice. And it has to be the Lords work. He chose her for us knowing all her needs. And I believe our needs also. All of us have experienced the strengthening of our faith as well as His love poured out to us through this very gentle, demonstrative, loving child. Happy birthday to Bella. Happy day to our entire family on the remembrance of the wonderful day that Bella came into the world. Let us not forget to pray for her birth mother, Elida, who gave her life.
With a big smile on my face, pride in all of you, and believing in God's continued favor and blessing, XONance"
We had a Dora Birthday today for our Dora lover, everything Dora, even her gifts. She was beyond excited. Speical thanks to my siblings who came out to help us celebrate the gift of Bella. It was a great day, and I admit, an emotional one for me. Just amazed and awed always by God's faithfulness to His Word, provision and plan.
Oh my goodness......I am sitting here racking my brain as to how we ever survived internet on dial up. This summer has been one road trip after another for us and I use my cell phone to "tether" to my lap top which works great to get info, but its S-L-O-W! This is the main reason I have not been good about updating our blog. We have two weeks of summer left in which we will be home for 1 week and camping the next. It's been a fun summer, but I am looking forward to having my wireless internet again.
We have been on yet another camping trip since I last posted, a few days at the cottage, Chicago for my brothers wedding, a visit from our MO friends and last night we had our last cottage blow out with a Wine Tasting event on the beach of the cottage with my siblings and our faithful neighbor Paul and Michelle.
As I just mentioned, Cheri and Malaena along with Donnie came to visit us this past week. It went by much to quickly. Bella and Malaena picked up right where they left off, as if they had just been together the night before. They were so sweet together and Bella was so excited when she seen Malae for the first time in 3 months, she ran right over and wrapped her arms around her. The weather at the cottage was not our normal August weather, but we managed to make great memories any ways. Cheri and I never have a problem finding something to talk about or laugh about, we are so incredibly compatible.
Bella continues to do great, we are back to once a month clinic apts. Her hair is really starting to come in and thicken and its just as pretty as it was when it fell out.
We had a terrible loss a week ago, Bella's only friend she truly made at clinic went home to Jesus. Her name is Hannah and she was 14 years old. Although we know Hannah is enjoying eternal paradise, we miss her. It was hard on me, I took to this young girl and her family and the loss has been hard. I rejoice in knowing that because Hannah was in Christ and Christ is in me, I walk and laugh with Hannah every day.
More pics later when I know I have wireless and they upload quicker. Thanks for checking in.
When I started this post, I almost said "first night without Bella" and then I quickly realized I would have thrown all of you into sinking stomachs fast! Bella is great! She is so stinking cute and also entering the joyful two's. :) This week she experienced her first "time outs" in the porta crib as she now throws fits when we take something away from her. I have not used this porta crib for anything other than sleeping when traveling and now, we have a great need for it. She get's 2 minute time outs when she throws a fit and cant get a grip. God bless her, most times, she is so obedient and sweet.
Tonight is our first night without Bella since she came home 15 months ago. I thought it would be harder, but so far, so good. My little brother Joe gets married in Chicago this weekend and a 2 year old at an out of town wedding would not be fun. So she is home with my in-laws and I am thrilled for Bella to get this quality time with her grandparents. Dave and I and the the boys are looking forward to a fun family weekend with no responsibilities other than fun...but we sure will miss our Princess, its just fun to see her smile, smell her head and kiss her cheeks. She can now say the entire alphabet by repeating it with us and can count to ten when walking up or down the stairs. She say's so many words, but her newest saying "love you" is my personal favorite. She lists off all her cousins names on a daily basis and walks around the house saying "cottage" with a question mark. Her eating is improving and she is beginning to try new foods again. She is still a "night owl" like her Mom and prefers a 10 o'clock bedtime. That works for the summer, but come fall, its over!
We get back Sunday evening and un-pack and pack again for our last summer camping trip with old neighbors and friends. This summer has been a whirl wind of living out of suitcases, yet I would not have changed anything. We spent an entire year home doing nothing with Bella coming home and then her diagnosis and treatment, its been wonderful to have a sense of freedom again. Bella has her monthly spinal tap chemo next week and continues to take oral chemo daily.
While during the adoption process I received a "blogging award", this summer, I am pretty sure you would aware me "worst update blogger". I hope to bring a new energy and look to my blog come fall. the 3 boys will be back in school and travel during the day will come to an end. I appreciate all of you keeping up on us and all your prayers and support.
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!