Category Archives: FamilyLife

Freedom and Traditions

Flag cakes and a houseful of cousins at my sister’s in Lake Tahoe. I LOVE that Dzintars has now experienced this family tradition for the second year with us!
Last year:
And this year:
(That sweet hidden face is another L@tvi@n cutie whose picture I can’t share. He is being hosted again by my sister’s family. Can you all please pray for “D”?!)
In past years we have hiked from my sister’s home, across the meadow…
and onto the crowded beach where we watch the incredible fireworks display over the lake. This year the long walk was not possible for me. (Hip surgery in the near future. I’ll share more some other time.) So my sweet family accommodated me, and we were beyond blessed to watch the event from a friend’s secluded back yard overlooking the whole lake.
I think our kids had the best seat ever!…
Our tradition continues the following day with a visit to Nana and Papa’s in the high desert of Nevada, beyond Lake Tahoe, where the kids spend their time catching lizards and riding go-carts…
While the adults relax under beautiful sunsets.
Breathing in the beauty of God’s creation!

With the persecution that so many Christians are enduring in the world today, I don’t take such freedom for granted. I’m very thankful for this great country of ours! We are blessed!

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things

1.The Sound of Music.
Kids gathered around the piano singing together, teaching Dz the English words to sing along. A patient cousin, realizing his great desire to learn piano, sits him in front of the keys and begins teaching him. He picks it up quickly, and she teaches even more. They spend hours together laughing and singing as he plays.
Favorite words, repeated again and again as he practiced with a giant smile on his face until his fingertips turned red: “I love very!”
2. The Fourth of July
A walk across the meadow to Nevada Beach. Sitting on the water’s edge watching a rather spectacular 30-minute fireworks display choreographed to music over Lake Tahoe. He was amazed.
Favorite words whispered every few minutes throughout: “Wow. Very good. Oh wow. Very, very good.”
3. Caples Lake with Papa

My dad took the boys and cousin Natalie(the pianist) for a day of fishing. (I tagged along to take pictures.) Beautiful; a picnic, hiking, sunshine, and smiles. Nick has a new fishing buddy who is just as patient and determined as he…


Favorite words yelled out from every direction, including Dz’s: “Papa! Papa!” Someone needs help casting. Someone’s line is caught. Someone needs more bait. I think a very happy, tired Papa slept gooood that night.

Laughter and Tears

And here begins our second hosting of Dz as we continue to wait for adoption progress. Yesterday was laughter and today was tears. Two amazing days of hosting so far. Shall I catch you up?…

Dz arrived close to midnight on Thursday. He had another long and exhausting trip full of flight delays and long layovers, but he made it, Praise God! And we pulled into home around 3am. Straight to bed and “I love you” on the very first night this time. Swoon.

Day number one happened to be Indy’s birthday…

My sweet 9 year old said he got the best present all the way from Latvia. But we tried to spoil him more anyway. We took the kids to see a movie, followed by an afternoon of swimming. That evening my sister and her family came to stay the night on their way to the airport in San Francisco. (Did I mention they are hosting again too?! Their poor host child had even more flight delays than Dz, so he arrived 2 days late. But that will be another blog post friends.) Cake and ice cream and a houseful of kids meant a lot of smiles and laughter for Dz, soaking it all in again. I can’t wait for the day that I can unveil all the great pictures of his time with us. Soon, I pray!
Two days of travel and a full first day here!… Today was a day for rest. We stayed home, played Uno and Swap, and just tried to catch up with each other. Hugs and cuddles, smiles and laughs, it was another good day. Somewhere in the middle Dz pulled up a video on YouTube for us… of his 9th grade graduation ceremony. 9th grade graduation is a big deal. His last year of school in L@tvi@. Time for life decisions and often bleak outlooks for orphans… But that’s another blog post as well. The point is… I had really wanted to be there! We had seriously hoped that maybe we could travel in May so that we could attend his graduation ceremony. But it didn’t work out. God had other plans. Maybe today was part of that, because we cried together with my arm around him as we watched. He looked so handsome in his suit as he walked up to receive his diploma and gifts. I told him how much I wished I could have been there, and he told me he had wished the same. It was a hard day for him. More tears. Then I pointed to an empty bench in the crowd and told him I was sitting right there in my heart. His smile beamed.

I’m ready for whatever tomorrow brings, thankful to be tucking him in again, with hugs and “I love you”s each night.

And The Seasons Change

If all were ideal, time would move much slower and never run out. Every flower’s fragrance would reach my nose, and the kids would dissect them in their minds as we strolled by. I’ve never wanted the calendar to be all filled up, and the gas tank to keep hitting empty. But I’ve found myself in a season of being scooted along by full schedules, paying too close attention to the tick of the clock.

As I place dinner in the oven, I hear His whisper… “Life is meant to be led by the Spirit, not by the clock.” and I realize He’s saying, “slow down.”

I’m thankful to look around my home and see a slower season approaching.

I leave the meatloaf to cook in the oven and I pick up my camera. A glimpse of our world…

Drum practice. (Another reason to be thankful I’m hearing impaired. Shhh, don’t tell him I said that! Oh wait, he can’t hear you anyway when he’s playing drums.)
Father-Son football time
Legos, Legos, everywhere. Really, EVERYWHERE!
And look who’s driving himself to school.

Shared from my heart ~ Stacy