Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Just a little update....

Though we don't update this blog anymore. It was requested that we post a new picture to appear...so here is our latest family photo. Taken last week in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina.
We continue to be amazed at God's abundant Grace, overflowing Mercy and Kindness to us every minute of every day.....

- Justin

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Another Birthday in the Darling Home!

Today marks another birthday in our home.  Elijah turns 12 today! 

Every birthday to me is important.  The twelfth birthday seems to mark a turning point though.  When Hannah turned 12, it seemed like all the sudden she began to show signs of "growing up".  She began to mature in all sorts of ways, and it happened all the sudden and pretty quickly.  The same thing seems to be happening to my Eli.  The past week and a half his voice has began to deepen.  He is sounding like a ....man!  Over the course of six months or so, he has began to shoot up in height.  He is very quickly approaching me, almost can look me straight in the eyes!  Eli has also become a very, strong young man.  He can lift about anything I ask him to and is a super big help to me when Justin is away at work. It is so wonderful to have another man in our home.  He helps me in the garden with running the tiller, loves to mow the yard and loves to use power tools!   Eli is growing up!

I remember when this young man was a wee little one.  He was a rambunctious, full of energy, strong-willed, little guy.  He loved his trucks.  He loved his G I Joes.  He loved to play in the dirt (and eat it!).  He loved the outdoors.  Still, he loves those things, just in a different kind of way.  He enjoys (maybe coveting a little?) cool, 4-wheeled drive, duel wheeled trucks, loves to watch war movies and likes to drive tractors and help on the farm.  He really enjoys camping, especially with the guys.  My little, sweet, baby faced boy is turning into a man.

Eli impresses me with his knowledge of stuff.  He takes after his daddy here....Eli seems to know little facts about different kinds of things.  He loves to look at fact books and seems to absorb the little tidbits of information.  One book he seems to be absorbing from is the Bible.  Eli seems to be soaking in the most important knowledge we have (and need!).  For his, what I call "Casual Reading", subject in school,  Eli has chosen the Bible.  He spends 30 min of his school time absorbing God's Word.  I am thankfull that God is laying on his heart the need to read His Word.

Eli and Abeba...Abeba knows who to go to if she is wanting to rough around!

Abeba loves Eli's horsey rides!

Eli getting his "army" ready for battle!
I do miss seeing Eli playing around like a 6 year old boy.  I miss his sweet little hugs and little boy kisses, but it is so sweet to see God maturing our little boy into a wonderful, young man.  It is such a blessing to see God working and maturing Eli into the man He has designed him to be.

Happy Birthday, Elij....we love you!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Israel is soon to be 7!!

 Tomorrow marks the day that Israel has been counting down for a whole month now.  Tomorrow our little boy will turn 7...just can't believe that 7 years have passed since I held this little fellow in my arms.  Israel has really been into his birthday this year, or at least into counting down for it.  I believe this is the first year that he actually understands days and weeks and how time really goes.  He has been making a lot of trips to the calender the past few weeks to count the days until the 27th.

Israel is such Mommy's little helper.  He has always enjoyed hanging out with me in the kitchen, flower beds and in the garden.  He enjoys nature and always takes time to "stop and smell the roses".  Literally.  He knows how beautiful God's creation is and isn't afraid to tell you about it.

Lately, he has been into space. He thinks he might want to be an astronaut.  Justin and often think this young lad will someday find himself in the pilot seat of an air craft of some sort.  He can be found on a windy day with his bat man cape (courtesy of my Aunt Janet)  swinging just as high as he can, pretending that he can fly.  When he was younger, he would even ask when God would give him wings.  This past week, Israel saw that Lunesta commercial (some sleep drug) that show people getting fairy wings when they sleep and asked if he could take that medicine so he could get some wings.  Good grief....thank you so much pharmaceuticals!!

Israel loves the elderly.  He loves spending time with them and prays everyday for a dear elderly friend in Colorado whom he has not seen in a few years.  I pray that God will use this special gift for His glory someday.  It is a pretty special thing to see a little 7 year old enjoy the company of his elders.

Anyway...Happy Birthday to our little Israel...I love you little Buddy!

Israel on his first birthday

Israel about a year old

Israel with his special bat man costume

What a goof!  Having fun on their new tire swing

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Special Days

The past few days at the Darling home have been super special.  This week in February is always a busy one b/c Valentines Day and Justin's birthday all fall within a day of each other.  I usually try to make the days each special and set apart, but frankly, the plan usually bombs!  Typically, surprises get thwarted by sick kids, bad weather or surprise job occurrences.  This year, the Lord was especially merciful and the plans went on w/o a hitch! 

Friday, I surprised Justin with a night alone...our first in the two years since Abeba has been home.  Wow, were we ready!  My mom and step Dad were super kind in taking three of the kids (Hannah had plans to go to a sleep over at a friend's house) on kind of short notice.  By the time Justin got home from work, the house was quiet and I was awaiting his arrival with flowers, dinner and such.

We had such a wonderful time together.  It was so nice to have an uninterrupted dinner, no noise and no interruptions through the movie.  There were no worries about who was getting along (or not!), what time it was (so everyone was in bed at the proper time) or whether or not the movie was too loud.  It was great. 

Sunday was a special day of worship with our church family and learning about our Lord.  Sundays are always special days to our family.

Valentine's day brought back a new tradition started by our wonderful kids, the Darling Diner.  The kids had a four course meal planned a couple weeks ago, and they had me get the groceries to fill their list.  Then, they cooked it ALL!  Did I mention how wonderful they are?

We had a special cheese fondue for an appetizer, a yummy salad, meat balls w/ baked sweet potato and this delectable, blackberry cheesecake for dessert.  They even made this strawberry lime drink to go along with it all!  They served us both at a table set for us only and then the older ones had the younger ones eat in a separate room.  We enjoyed a quiet (except for a couple minor distractions...when you have a 3 yr old, that is expected!) dinner together.  Have I mentioned what great kids we have?

This was a great end to Valentines Day!  Honestly, I needed this b/c the two littles were just a wee difficult all day!

Tonight, we will celebrate Justin's birthday with a special dinner and with vinegar pie (his favorite..I know it sounds gross but it is not that terrible).  I am so thankful for my man.  He leads our home in such a Godly way and with so much wisdom.  He loves us all and seeks to spend time with us.  He loves his Lord and shares that love with so many people.  I admire him; he is my precious gift.  The Lord has blessed our family through Justin.  He has blessed so many others through Justin's life.

I am so thankful for the husband God has given me.  He has given me someone special to spend my life with, to share in the joy of children with and to be alongside of through good times and hard times.  I am thankful that God chose me to be his help meet and to be his life long partner. 

Happy Birthday Sweetheart!  I am grateful for your life, your love and your commitment to me, to our children and to our Lord.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Two Years Home

My days go by so quickly.  There is always something going on.  With a large family, there is always something to do.  My intention is to keep you all updated through this little blog, but honestly, it doesn't make it on my to do list very often.  Every other day or so I keep thinking, " I will get to the blog, update you all, let you know what is going on in our lives, how Abeba is doing and update you with some pictures."  Unfortunately, blogging time takes the back burner and is put on a very low simmer!  I have wanted to post about Abeba's two year Gottcha Day, which was back on the 12th of Jan.  But, here it is the 24th and I am just now getting around to it.  As I like to say, better late than never, so here is an update!

We really can't believe that Abeba has been home for two years.   Our time with all of our children seems to go faster with each year and she is no different.  We celebrated her Gotcha Day with Ethiopian dishes (I am beginning to get the knack on how to do it!) and chocolate cake (definantely not Ethiopian, but Abeba's request!).  We ended the evening with home videos of our home coming at the airport and little snipets of her first year home.  It was fun.  We all had some good laughs and shed a couple of tears.

A little update on our little miss.  Abeba is doing really well.  Our bonding has happened, all the attachment has taken place...all those things that the social workers get you all worked up about.  Abeba is a spicey gal, full of spunk and energy.  She is everything that any typical 3 year old should be.  She loves to laugh, pick on her brother (and vice versa!), likes to eat junky stuff, and really loves to be the center of attention.  Justin and I have certainly been challenged as parents with this little gal.  We have seen how God has prepared us for these challenges with the little quirks that each of our other kiddos have.  Certainly, the challenge we face most with Abeba right now is her rebellion and disobedience (told ya..typical 3 year old stuff!).

Justin and I talk often about how adopting Abeba has made the picture of our heavenly adoption so much more clear. (These conversations surface most after a long day of repeated offenses!) How often as sons of the Most High do we rebel?  How many times does our Lord have to tell us to stop repeating a certain sin?  How many times does our Lord have to discipline us?    Honestly, it happens often for me..


Our Lord is long-suffering.  He is merciful.  He is gracious.  He is gentle.  He is kind.  Always.

The picture of our Lord being all these things to us has made this process easier.  We are constantly reminded of these attributes of God, through the life of our daughter.  I am thankful for that, for it reminds me to show her all these Godly characteristics......even when my sinful self doesn't want to!

The past two years have not been easy.  They have been the hardest Justin and I have gone through together.  But, we would both do it again in a heart beat. 

We both believe that our Lord does not want us comfortable.  He calls us to do hard things.  He calls us to serve.  He calls us to persevere.  Earthly adoption is NOT easy.  It is NOT always comfortable.  It is NOT always easy to serve a toddler who pushes you away, BUT we are told to do it wholeheartedly, as if we were serving the Lord (Eph 6:7)

The past two years may have been tough at times, but they have been a joy.  It has been a joy to see a small little girl grow to love her new family.  It has been a joy to see her be a sponge in her new culture.  She has learned so much, oh so much.  It has been an even greater joy to hear her say her prayers and to have an opportunity to learn of a loving God that has her life in his hands.

We wouldn't trade this for anything.  Our children are a heritage..... each one of them....a heritage from the Lord. A reward from Him.  (Psalm 127)  

We thank God for our children, each one of them.  We thank God for all the things that each one of them has taught us and the blessing that they have been and will be to our lives.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy 14th Birthday, Hannah!

 Today marks our daughter's 14th Birthday!  Justin and I are just amazed that it has been 14 years since we held our baby daughter in our arms.  Time goes by so quickly.

We are thankful to our Lord in how He has worked in this young woman's life already.  She has such a heart of obedience.  It is so refreshing to see a young lady want to please her Lord.

Tonight we will celebrate with some families from church.  We will eat her favorite meal, corn chip taco and we will have homemade ice cream cake.  We will play games together and will no doubt have a grand and glorious time!

We thank God for your life, my sweet daughter.  We look forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for you!

Happy 14th Birthday!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Mighty Man

The past month Justin and I have realized a change in our oldest son, Elijah.  Eli  has been given the opportunity (through some divine intervention!) to help out some other men out with their chores.  Eli has been helping a local farmer on his cattle farm and helping a couple men from our church with some physical labor chores like carrying brush and busting concrete.  We have noticed such a change in Eli's work ethic as well as his personality.  He is more willing to help out around the house both inside and out.  He does it without complaining for the most part.  It has been such a joy to see this change.  He seems to be getting the "value of hard work".

Lately, I have been noticing another sweet change.  One that he is modeling after his father. That is taking care of mom.  It has been so precious.  Yesterday, I came in from outside from taking care of the animals and he met me at the door and said, "You shouldn't be out there, it is too cold, you should have let me do it!"  Ahhh...amazing words.  Yesterday again, we were shopping at our TSC (one of my favorite stores!) getting about 250 pounds of animal food.  The food comes in 50# bags and he was insistent that he load them on the cart and into the van.  "You shouldn't lift that stuff mom!" is what he said.  These kind of things have been happening more and more.

Some women might take offense to those statements. That we should be as strong as men; being able to do what they do, but I see them as a quality given from the Lord.  I believe that is what God wants out of His men...to take care of the girls, to protect them and to cover them with their love.  A picture of what God does for his children.  I realized a few years ago what a challenge and responsibility God has given us as Godly mothers. He has given us the responsibility to raise Godly men.  I believe that this does not start when they are 16...it begins when they are small.  We need to be moulding our boys to the image of God.  We can't do it all, God does the biggest part, but we have a responsibility to do our part.  We need to be on our knees praying for them and teaching them every opportunity we get.

 It is such a blessing to see God moulding this young man's heart.  I don't know what God has planned for him, but I do know that it will be for His glory. 

Moms, we need to be doing our part in raising "Mighty Men for God".  We need to be praying that God will use them in great ways, that he will mold their hearts and minds to be Godly husbands and Godly fathers so that they might pass that on to the next generation.  What a legacy that our Lord can create!