It’s no secret that Abreham loves running. Well…now, anyway.

If you ask him why he likes running, he’ll tell you “because God gave me fast legs.” But when he came home 10 months ago, it wasn’t this way.

A running 1

 He of course didn’t speak English yet, so he couldn’t have told us so, but he didn’t understand the point of running. A boy from his village named Tamrat would run to school each day and Abreham tells me he didn’t understand why he would make himself tired when he could ride a sheep, donkey, or camel to school like he did.

Can you even imagine riding a sheep to school??

When I asked him about how far away his school actually was, he thought for a moment and said, “our house to King Soopers {our grocery store}, and home. One. Our house to King Soopers and home. Two. Our house to King Soopers and home. Three.”

What? Seriously?? That’s a long way!


When I mapped how far our house was from our neighborhood market, I realized he lived 10+ miles from school. Walking…or riding a pack animal would have taken hours! No wonder Tamrat ran {and was tired at school}!

When Abreham came home and school was about to start, we knew we needed to get him into a sport or some activity to meet students, begin making friends, work on english, and a slew of other reasons.

He spoke no english and had played no sports before, so that limited us a bit.

A running 2

So we chose track.

And slowly he fell in love with it.

In August, a mere week or two after coming to America, we had signed our older boys up for a week long Speed Camp. Abreham seemed into it, so we put him in at the last minute, too.

Day one he was skeptical but really enjoyed it. And he was relatively fast, though pretty awkward. He laughed with Ezekiel the whole time, Ben and I were excited to see a smile on his face as he began bonding with his little brother. Day two, he was tired but still worked hard. Day three and on however, he wouldn’t take part. He wouldn’t go out onto the field, wouldn’t even lace up his shoes.

Instead, he hobbled around and repeated a thickly accented word “hospital” to me with fear in his eyes.

Ben and I continued to show him how to stretch, run hot baths with epsom salt, and tell him in simple english that he was simply sore. He’d spent a year of inactivity within the grounds of the orphanage. There was lots of playing, but not to this level. Not enough to keep him from becoming incredibly sore when he began to finally get some exercise.


And so he really thought there was something seriously wrong with his legs.

We laugh at that now.

Once school began and he won every track meet in the mile distance, we all realized that um…this kid can RUN! He eventually won Districts in his event and became known in his incredibly large middle school.

This kid who fell asleep in class because he had no idea what the teacher was talking about, becomes not a weird new kid who speaks no english and essentially has no idea what’s going on for the first quarter of school…but rather “the fast kid.”

A running 3

The kid everyone tries to beat in gym class but cannot. The kid who gets encouragement and pats on the back for winning yet another track meet, and poses for photos as he stands at his locker trying so hard to figure out this lock combination thing.

He becomes known.

He has an identity aside from being the orphan from Ethiopia.

And that’s HUGE.  Really HUGE.

Now we spend our Saturday mornings as a family waking early, driving around Denver for various 5K races. We have a wonderfully generous friend who’s a running coach and has created for him a training plan.  With the winters in Colorado being so cold, we never pushed Abreham to train. It was only bits here and there, we wanted him to love running without pressure.

Several months ago, we began looking for a running mentor for Abreham. Someone who had African ties and found the most amazing man, Roberto Mandje who ran in the Olympics a few years ago for one of the African countries. Its who he is though, that makes him really amazing. He and his wife have become like part of the family and they drive to see Abreham at various races, come to our house for dinner, and give him tons of encouragement.

A running

My incredible husband is the type of guy who researches something to the point of exhaustion so he can know all about it, especially if it’s something the kids are interested in. He wants to know it all so he can help them, so he can bond with them through it. And this has been so for Ben and Abreham.

Ben continued to Google around, looking for information on training and the best American cross country or marathoners. And he stumbled upon Ryan and Sara Hall. Ryan has posted the best-ever American times in the Half Marathon and Marathon and has represented the US in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Sara was the 2012 US National Cross Country Champion and Gold Medalist at the Panamerican Games in the steeplechase.

So Ben emailed them about our son.

Turns out they’re outstanding people who love Jesus and even started an organization called The Steps Foundation, which amongst other things, provides micro loans to blooming entrepreneurs in Africa.  And they have a particular love for Ethiopia and it’s people.

We have seen firsthand how micro loans work and the impact they make, and trust us…IT WORKS.  A little bit goes a long way {see the woman making us Sambusa on the side of the street in this post. She had a micro loan. It changed her future}.

Abreham was so excited as Ben told him about these two remarkable runners and inspiring people, the good they’re doing in Africa, and that they would be at BolderBOULDER {the 10K he’s been training for that’s over Memorial Day weekend}.

Not only that, but also that he gets to spend time with them because we’re having dinner with them after the race.

So…sweet boy that Abreham is, he decided he wanted to use this race to help kids back in Africa by partnering with The Steps Foundation and has raised $1,ooo so far thanks to the generous support of people like all of you that see a need and go after it {feel free to check it out here}.

He’s in awe that people would give money for others like they have.




We have some other REALLY exciting things going on that I can’t wait to share with you later this week when I get the green light to do so.


Stay tuned for that!!

Thanks to all of you who have been on this journey with us. It’s not been an easy one, but I’m so excited the Lord is so good and we’re in a really, REALLY good, happy, joyful, season as a family.


///// Want to learn more about Abreham? Here are some more posts. /////

. Meeting Abreham . It’s Not Always Peachy . Learning to Trust . also click on Adoption .

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printable mothers day questionnaire

 all about my mom

If you’re like me, you find what your kids say to be {{ absolutely }} hilarious!!

And you’re likely looking for another gift idea for Mother’s Day. I love last minute and free gift ideas because face it, we’re all a crazily busy toward the end of the school year.

{I know…I had you at Free and Last Minute}



click here for mom


click here for grandma


click here for nana

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What do you have planned with your family on the big day?

We’re doing a Mother’s Day 5K {the kids are making signs for me…so cute} and Ben was planning a fun picnic with all my favorite things and a family trip to the zoo…BUT it’s supposed to be really cold and maybe even snow here in Denver. {sigh} But no matter what we do, I’m sure it’ll be great.

Happy {almost} Mother’s Day!!

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spring centerpiece

I made this centerpiece for the first Easter I spent in my apartment, years and years ago. It was a fun little project I did with my mom. I thought I’d make it again this year.

Want another fun little live flower project? {click here}

. . . . . . . . . . .

Items Needed: box, flowers in containers, moss, hot glue gun, scissors. Ribbon & faux eggs, if desired.

Time Needed: 20 minutes

spring centerpiece

Here in Denver no one buys outdoor flowers until Mothers Day weekend, because we have crazy unpredictable snows! The Guy at Home Depot even reminded me of this fact, bless him.

Assuring him I was doing an indoor project, he smiled and let me go on my merry little way.

spring centerpiece

Once you’ve purchased your flowers, find a box {or really, the other way around would be better so you know how many to buy…}. This one carried some of our groceries from Costco. The only real specification is that it’s low-ish and around the same height as your flower containers.

Because you’re not planting the flowers in the box, they remain in their containers so you can plant them outside when your ready {or when your weather is}.

spring centerpiece

You can use whatever moss you like, my favorite is the kind that comes in sheets from Hobby Lobby {they’re in the floral section, near the grapevine wreaths}.

spring centerpiece

Measure the height of your box, add an inch, and cut!

spring centerpiece

Hot glueing the moss sheet is crazy easy, making sure the extra inch is at the top so you can fold it over and hide the rim of your box.

spring centerpiece

When you get to the corners, cut in diagonal just long enough to reach the box.

spring centerpiece

Fold over the moss and glue with your hot glue gun.

spring centerpiece

Continue glueing the top, cut each corner diagonally, folding it in.

spring centerpiece

Once the box is completed, place the flower containers inside, as closely together as possible. You want them to fit extremely tightly and have next to no gaps.

spring centerpiece

Grabbing my favorite striped ribbon, I stretched it around the box, securing it with a pin. Then sprinkled a few faux robin eggs throughout.

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And voila! A gorgeous live centerpiece, just waiting to be planted once the weather is warmer!

spring centerpiece

Absolute perfection for Easter, Mothers Day, or any reason your table needs a little Spring!

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I wasn’t planning on doing a blogpost on my time at Hope Spoken a few weekends ago. Yet, here I am sitting in the sun-filled windowseat in our family room, peering out at a gorgeous Denver day doing exactly that.

Hope Spoken.

Yes it was.

Hope Spoken

This incredible weekend away, at a conference where I knew next to no one became one I will remember forever…because it reminded me how important it is to share our own stories.

I used to hate telling my testimony. I thought it was boring and incredibly lack-luster.

Hope Spoken

Yet, I now feel I have an interesting story to tell…because of all Christ has done in and through me and through our family. But I didn’t always feel like this.

Hope Spoken

I’d become a Christian at age 5 and have basically stayed strong in my faith my entire growing up. I’m not perfect, I’ve definitely made my mistakes, but all-in-all, I thought my story to be immensely boring.

Hope Spoken

This weekend away, I had the privilege of hearing so many stories…some incredibly difficult to listen to as my heart took on some of their pain as they spoke.

They were all offered redemption and grace and refinement…and have grown tremendously as they have grasped Him tightly.

One new friend mentioned how she wished she had a better story to tell. A story that showed how she had come back from rock bottom, one showing the goodness of God.

Hope Spoken

I understood where she was coming from, but I wanted to shake her and say, “That IS the goodness of God! He is SO good to have brought you through life WITHOUT such pain!” I refrained from said shaking and instead reminded her that He isn’t finished with her yet.

And realized I was speaking to myself as much as to her.

I thought about it all afternoon and while in our small group, the topic came up again. This time after a few hours mulling it over in my head, I had more to comment:

If you feel your story is boring, reach out to Him. Ask what you can learn from it. Or perhaps ask Him to prepare you for something bigger. Tell Him you want it. You crave it. Like Jabez, ask Him to expand your borders.

It was such great conversation as I realized so many of us who have walked the Christian life for a long time, feel this. Like we don’t have enough to share. Does that mean we don’t think He’s DONE enough?!

Please tell me no.

Oh goodness, how He’s done so much.

Hope Spoken

Whether you have a dramatic story or not…

Remember, your story IS important. It is YOUR story. And it’s not finished yet.

There’s no need to be perfect to inspire others.
Let people get inspired by how you deal with our imperfections.

Hope Spoken

So take delight in the messes. The imperfections. Let Him teach and refine you.

Take purpose in the people He places into your life.

Hope Spoken

And smile at the fact that He’s not done.

God is looking for people to use, and if you can get usable, he will wear you out.
The most dangerous prayer you can pray is this: ‘Use me.’
{Rick Warren}

Hope Spoken

He began a work, He will complete…we’ll see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
{Jenny Simmons, from the song “Don’t Lose Heart“}

Hope Spoken

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easter egg ideas

Though it’s fun to simply go the store bought box route to dye eggs with the kids…{I’m gonna be honest} I’m kinda bored of it after years of doing the same thing.

Don’t you think I they’d love to try their hand in a little more creativity?

I know mine will freak out at these fun eggs…let these inspire you for prettier Easter baskets this year!

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easter eggs 10

{gold leaf easter eggs by sugar & charm}

easter eggs 9

{source unknown, but looks like plastic eggs with gold sparkles. yes please!}

easter eggs 8

{painterly pastel eggs by paper & stitch}

easter eggs 7

{water color eggs by spoon fork bacon}

easter eggs

{doilies as stencils by counting graces}

easter eggs 5

{paper napkin eggs by las recetas de la felicidad}

easter eggs 4

{diy golden eggs by stylizimo}

easter eggs 3

{white paint pen eggs by joy ever after}

easter egg ideas

{neon dip-dyed eggs by oh joy}

easter eggs 1

{silhouette easter eggs by dear lillie}

easter eggs ombre

{ombre eggs by Country Living}

easter eggs

{make your own perfect hue with mccormick}

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I have to include one more because I can’t get over how cute they are…

easter egg ideas

{silhouette eggs by le papier studio}

Ok yes, so that makes 13 ideas, and I already had a silhouette idea on my list. But I just couldn’t handle how darling they look! Especially the one with the little girls.

Which is your favorite? Goodness, I’m going to need to buy a bunch more eggs…

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