Friday, August 28, 2009

A story from Ethiopia

I received this email from our pastor's brother, who works for Cure International. It is a testimonial he received from a staff person in Ethiopia. I do not know much about their organization, but I am going to research it a bit. Here is their website:

I deleted the last names, and did not include the three pictures. But they are a beautiful Ethiopian family, and little baby Danial had a cleft lip. He may be very close in age to Eli, and certainly has the same big brown eyes. Praise the Lord for his laborers in ET!

Deriba and Astedu came to CURE hospital with their six month old baby with a great hope that their son Daniel would have a chance to be like one of the boys on the posters of CURE Deriba saw in their nearby town Sheno.

It was after surgery I talked with them while their face was happy and looked excited. I asked them about their experiences and the impact of the surgery brought to their lives. Deriba, the father was willing to tell me their story. Here is how he tells it.

I am the youngest from the family of nine children and all my brothers (5 of them) have been married. After our parents died there was no one for me to look for a wife and I was busy on the family farm land. My brothers arranged my marriage and I got married to Askale. After some time we knew that she was pregnant and we started to hope for the experience of being a father and mother.

Our home is far from town and we live in our family farm land a bit isolated from other villages. We are like a little village living as a big family together with my elder brothers. There is no clinic or health post in the area. For every need we need to walk for three hours to reach the nearby town. When my wife's delivery time came and her labor started we (my brothers and I) started walking to town carrying my wife with a small wooden bed. When her pain became stronger we couldn't go further instead left my wife for the women with us to help her on delivery. It was day time on plain grass land. Miraculously a health worker passing by came to us and helped my wife.

After the birth there were no shouts of joy, "Eleleta". I hear the baby crying but no smile was coming from my brother's wives. My wife and our relatives hid the child from me. They said "don't come near to her." We went back home and I was not able to see the baby. After a month accidentally, I was able to see his face. That moment I was devastated. I never saw a condition like that. I was depressed; crying like a little child as if he is dead. Knowing my discovery, my wife said the health worker told her this kind of thing happens and the baby can live with it, but I didn't believe it at all. Day and night I was thinking that "what kind of curse or spell is upon us?" My brother's family was also talking about my wife bringing curse and sin to our house and to the whole family.

Deriba continued to tell the story how he came to know about CURE. As he told me that he saw the CURE poster when he went to town to bring some items for home. It was the very hopeful moment for him; he copied the telephone numbers and called to the CURE hospital. He Came to the hospital on the appointment day with his family.

Deariba says he can't wait to go back to his village. He is overjoyed. His wife, though she is so quiet says that God visited them through CURE. After Deriba told me his experience and we praise God together when he received Jesus with his wife. He prayed with me and thanked God for what is done into his life. We are hopeful that Deriba's family village will be transformed by the love of God.

Note: "Elelta" is a cultural way of expressing with shouts of joy. Semitic origin

Birthday Date

Today is Cora's 3rd birthday. Last night Josh took her out on a date. She has been looking forward to it for a few weeks. Yesterday we painted her toes and put on lotion. She picked out her dress and wore a gold necklace. She was so excited but she acted shy around Josh. She's such a girly girl. They went to Applebees, a park, Wallyworld, and McDs for ice cream. Unfortunately she started feeling bad about half way through the night, and she was sick by bedtime. Still, she had a special time with her daddy. I hope this becomes a tradition for them.

Today we are having a princess birthday party with family and a few friends...assuming the yuckiness has passed!

Thank you, Lord, for bringing Cora to our family. Help her to become a princess of the King. Bless her this day, and in the year to come. Amen

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

School Kick-Off

Our home school group had a back to school kick-off last Friday. We met at a local park and everyone brought snacks to share. Some families also brought activities for the kids. There was face painting, cupcake decorating, and homemade ice cream. There are about 10 kindergarten/1st grade boys, and Sam is getting to know them. Boys bond quickly over sticks and rocks.

I'm so thankful we have an active homeschool group because Sam has already expressed a desire to go to school like all his friends at church. He is sure he's missing out on something when he hears them talk about going to school and recess. The home school group meets every week, and I think that will help as a way to play with other kids.

Sam wants to learn how to read, but I told him he has to learn all his letters first. We are trying real hard this week, but letter H trips him up everytime!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Litter Patrol

After supper last night we did a little family community service project. Josh drove the gator while the rest of us walked (Eli was in the stroller) and we picked up trash along our county road for about a mile. Before we started we talked about litter and how it was bad for the environment. It was a beautiful evening to be outside, and the kids were as excited as if it had been an Easter Egg hunt! They walked farther than they usually do because they didn't want to miss anything. Sam was grossed out by two diapers we found, and Cora was very interested in the full Mt Dew bottle until we said it might NOT be Mt Dew.

At the end of the trail was my brother's house, where we were rewarded with Debbie Cakes and a new litter of barn kittens. It was a fun evening, just as I remember it was when I used to clean up this same stretch of road with my grandparents.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

School is in session!

Ausbrooks Family Homeschool has started for the year. Sam is excited, and so are Josh and I. This week we are working on letter recognition and calendar concepts and getting into a routine. Today we played a counting game with a deck of cards and chocolate kind of math!

Here he is on his first day of kindergarten. He made an "All about me" paper, which will be kept for future reminiscing. Cora made one as well, and I told her she is in preschool. She likes to work right along side of him, so I have to have materials ready for her too.

For those unfamiliar with homeschooling, laws vary by state, with Indiana's being fairly lenient. We will keep attendance, which must be 180 days per year, but its very unlikely we will ever have to turn that in. I am using the Indiana State Academic Standards for Kindergarten to set our goals. We did not buy a curriculum, since I've taught kindergarten before I think we can use a variety of materials available at local stores. The social studies and math standards will be very easy for Sam. I am nervous about teaching him to read, but I think he will pick it up quickly. We are using a devotion book as well, plus the themes his church classes are using.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Electric Bill

After reading an article in a magazine while sitting in a waiting room this week, I've been determined to lower our electric bill by a few simple steps.

This morning I washed and vacuumed behind the refrigerator and also vacuumed out the dryer lent vent. I had no idea how much stuff was accumulating down in my dryer, and its a wonder it still worked at all! I actually found a tooth brush down there...and I know I didn't wash and dry it, so little hands were guilty. Eli HATES the vacuum, so when I did these chores he cried big crocodile tears that quit as soon as I turned it off.

Also, I've been turning off the computer at night AND turning off the power strip, which I didn't know was helpful. We've raised our thermostat a bit and are using ceiling fans more when we are in a room.

Next on the list is changing the AC filter and defrosting the deep freeze. Every little bit helps! Now, how will we spend all this saved money? Did I mention that we had our first homeschool group meeting today, and that I went to the going-out-of-business teacher store? I'm so excited to get started...hopefully Sam is too!

We were able to go to the GREAT Indiana State Fair last weekend, and it was soooo great (and hot)! This was a last minute visit, and only lasted about 5 hours, but with 3 kids @ 92 degrees it was long enough. A nice 4-Her let Sam give her hog a treat, a rice cake! Josh and I showed hogs and cattle at the State Fair, and our hogs were never so spoiled! . Eli loved all the tractors, and each time one of the tractor/wagons went by he clapped. We hope our kids will love showing livestock like we did, then we will have lots more days at the state fair.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Learning Letters

We played the popular "Fly-Swatter" game today. Haven't heard of it? Well, it goes like this:

Choose a concept the kids are learning, in today's case it was letters, and find some concrete examples. We used magnet letters today. Spread the materials out on the floor for maximum enjoyment, but it you have an "Eli" around you might have to use the table. Then give the kids a flyswatter or two. Yell a letter name and they have to quickly swat it. Cora only knows the letter C, so I yelled out colors for her. We had a blast, and learned too.

This game is great for numbers, sight words, shapes, you name it. I got a good feel for Sam's receptive letters, but I wanted to know how many he could name as well, so I let him yell letters for me to swat. He thought that was great fun too, and I got to know what he letters he really knows.

We haven't offically started school, but Sam is ready to. This was a practice day, and we had a great time.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Happy Birthday Eli

Here is Eli one year ago:

WOW, Eli is 1 already. It's just not fair how fast a year goes when you start at 7 months! Eli's birthday was last week, and he really enjoyed all the attention. We started out the morning with me and the kids rushing into his room and singing Happy Birthday. He was all smiles and claps. Here he is first thing in the morning opening (actually Sam and Cora opening) his presents because Sam and Cora couldn't wait. He clapped for his new truck.

We had a family reunion the evening of his birthday, so there were lots of people to wish him happy birthday. Some brought balloons and gifts, so he was really happy. We had a cake and sang to him as well, while he clapped along. While everyone was singing to him, overwhelming sadness for one year ago and extreme happiness for now hit me all at once. I hadn't cried all day until then, when I was standing in front of all Josh's family holding him. I think if I had been at home, I could have balled for hours.

A few weeks ago, I would have said Eli was a very fussy baby. After discovering an ear infection and taking antibiotics, I say he is baby! What a difference a few weeks has made. Eli has been cracking us up with new tricks lately. And just today he took his first steps. He can take two steps and then fall, over and over. He knows exactly what he is doing, and I'm sure tomorrow he will practice many more times. It won't be long until he's running!
Thank you, Lord, for the gift of adoption and the gift of Eli. Help us to always remember he is Your child, and you have a special plan for his life. Amen.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Beach Bums

Here we are at our farm pond, turned summer beach. The kids LOVE it, just as I did when I was little. We haven't gotten to swim as much this year do to odd weather and a little baby who likes to eat sand:)

Friends and family either love to join us or wouldn't dare. Would you like to swim with us, and the fish, turtles, frogs, and - shhh - snakes?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Sam

Sam turned 5 last Thursday. We stretched out his birthday by having a party with one side of the family Wednesday, a friend down on Thursday plus the other side of the family party, and two friends down on Friday. His favorite present was a scooter I bought at a yard sale! And yes, I am that cheap...I mean, frugal! He even asked me where I got it, and I said somewhere nice. He exclaimed, "You mean Wal-Mart!"

Eli's birthday is this week. I can't believe that! When you start at 7 months, time flies by. He's loosing that baby look with all 7 of his teeth showing. July was very rough with Eli, and we now know that he had an ear infection. He is still cutting teeth too, which seem to really bother him. Anyway, he is a different baby now that he's had medicine, and we are so thankful he feels better.

Last week, we were blessed to have a family from church offer to take Sam and Cora with them for a day at a state park after church. They knew Eli had been sick, and we were just plain worn out. It was WONDERFUL! We had a whole afternoon to relax/do odd jobs. Eli took a 4 hour nap since the house was so quiet. And Sam and Cora had a blast with their friends. It reminded me that there are so many small things we can do for others to bless them. I am now on the lookout for ways to bless our church family, will you join me?

We also had the pleasure of swapping babysitting with another church family. They kept our three kids one Friday night in June so Josh and I could have a date. Then we kept their two kids (yes we got the better deal:) last week for a night so they could go out. The kids have a great time, and mom and dad don't have to feel rushed. Best of paying a babysitter at the end of the night!
I am in the midst of some major house cleaning to clear spots for school stuff, so its back to cleaning I go!