Saturday, August 30, 2008
we visited school last wednesday for jenison christian's open house. we arrived earlier than everyone so that we could see the library and what they've done over the summer. for those of you who don't know.....we set up a memorial fund in honor of seth - it's a fund that purchases books for the library at school. you see, seth LOVED reading - at least since last spring when we got him glasses. last summer he INHALED books. he read the entire harry potter series, the lord of the rings series, the hobbit, another series about dragons - in other words....we didn't see alot of seth last summer, he was always in his room reading!! he broke a record at school for the most accelerated points earned in the first quarter. we always wondered how many points he would have ended up with. they started a "seth van wienen reading award" to be given to one student per year that exemplifies the love of reading that seth did. so cool. one of his friends (matt werkman) was the first to receive it last spring.
at the school's auction last march monies were donated to give the library a face lift - and what a lift it is!!! they constructed a tree (the one we are sitting in front of in the above picture) that is just amazing. it includes all the books that were purchased with the memorial fund. the details to this tree are awesome! honestly, i lost it when i saw that they had scratched in seth's initials into the tree - he would have SO done that himself!! the amount of work that was put into this was unbelievable (we'll always remember you for this james!)
there's also this absolutely amazing mural that was painted that has so many levels of artistic themes that one has to stand and just look at it several times in order to see all that is included in this piece of artwork. included in it are moons and stars among many, many other things - we just absolutely love it!
we have been so well cared for by our extended school family. it overwhelms us at times the many, many people who have continued thinking and praying for us these last 10 months. this wonderful space at school is yet just another example of the love we feel from jcs. we're speechless..... God is so good - and He provides....even things that we didn't know we needed ourselves - like a space where we (and anyone) can go and just honor our boy . thank you jenison christian...for being God's arms when we need to be wrapped in His love! we will forever be grateful.
Friday, August 29, 2008
greg is going strong back at work, and mom? well....i have only a few hours of sleep at night thanks to mr. ben-ben, i don't get a shower until at least 11am on a good day, i've taste-tested more baby food (to see if it's too hot) than i want to admit, my hair truly is coming out, the bags under my eyes are the size of the grand canyon.......and i'm loving every bit of it!!! i truly feel like i'm doing the job God has designed me to be doing - being the best wife and mom i know how to be. i pray that i will be able to do the job He has called me to do with as much grace and wisdom as He provides. my prayer is that we can raise these gifts God has blessed us with to grow in the knowledge of our Heavenly Father, that one day they too may experience the joy of children and have wonderful memories of their own childhood.
so.....we ready them for their next phase of life - some into their last years at middle school, some in their first. some in their last year of grade school and some right in the midst of it. some beginning to learn what family is and some just getting through a full night of sleep. i hope we're prepared.....good bye summer......let the new school year begin!!!
Saturday, August 23, 2008
so now we begin the process of teaching her what family is and what that means to her. the first morning she woke up she just laid there not moving anything except her eyes - just looking around as if to be thinking "is this really happening?" yes, sweet lydia - it's really happening.....you're finally home!!
we cannot thank you all enough for praying us through these last 22 months. it's been an agonizing several months, but we knew that it was all in God's timing that she'd come home. she's doing well and we just now pray for a smooth transition here at home with her and the kids and in a few days when school starts again. and then ben and lydia get some good "mommy time"!
our happy new daughter - Lydia Ruth Paola Van Wienen....
Monday, August 18, 2008
So we start on the last part of this trip tomorrow morning bright and early. i think that lydia is finally sleeping and we're going to be heading off to bed too. our bags are packed, the alarm is set, it's time to bring her home.......
Saturday, August 16, 2008
antigua was just as beautiful as i remember it from last october. we visited some of the same sites we did before but were so glad we could come back and experience it with mom & dad this time. the flowers there are beyond beautiful - there are no colors to discribe them well enough.
not only were the flowers so different from each other so were the people we saw. i saw a mother nursing her infant child while holding out a container asking for donations, a father giving his son a ride on a horse, people dressed in authentic guatemalan dress trying to sell their wares calling out to us "for you.....ten dolla", tourists taking pictures of the ruins, older men with amputated legs begging for food, and a blended "family" - some from guatemala and some from michigan enjoying the day together.
we were able to do some shopping in this open air market. my highlight of the day!! yes kids, we are not coming home empty handed for you!!! it was such a sensory overload! david was fantastic at getting the best prices!
lydia did amazing! she did great on the long ride there and back - and even fell asleep on the way back. she's showing us her independence a little bit by sometimes not wanting us to hold her hand when she is walking. we found out she loves pudding, likes rice krispies, and drinks alot of juice. she still doesn't eat alot and we've started her on some 3rd stage baby food. the orphanage director said that she's used to having her food pureed - so much to catch her up on but i don't think it'll be long!!
when it was time to say good-bye, we couldn't believe how hard it was. even though we've only met these people 2 days ago! we were in a circle in front of the hotel and william said a prayer for us. i had no idea what he said but i think it was the most beautiful prayer i've heard. we may all not speak the same language, dress in the same manner, or live in the same community but we all serve the same God. it was an experience that we'll always remember. we've fallen in love with guatemala.....we will be back (sarah - you won't be getting rid of these van wienens just yet!!)
thank you once again for your prayers......they are truly felt!!!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
so the rest of the day is a trip to the local "walmart" for something for her to eat - she doesn't eat very much at all. then the missionary, Joel VanDyke, who keith and monica have worked with is stopping by for a visit. the plan is to go up to the school tomorrow, antigua on saturday, zoo/market on sunday. thanks again for all your thoughts and prayers....looking forward to coming home!!!
greg and jolynn
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
PS: will post pictures tomorrow - we want to make sure the kids see her in their emails first before sharing her with everyone else.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
so friends.....our little girl will walk back into our lives in only 6 short days. 6 days left of this incredibly long journey. 6 days for her little heart to be ready to join our family. please pray for her. her world is going to be turned upside down in 6 short days and yet our world will be so much more brighter with her in it.
Like we sang 9 months ago in a hospital room saying good bye to seth "Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above the heavenly host. praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." God is so good......all the time.
Monday, August 4, 2008