Alive and well

February 7th, 2017

[NOTE:  This blog post was tweaked from an email I sent to an online friend tonight.  Not hard to plunk in a few photos without stopping to edit first.  Thank you for responding to the need to pray for Tsvetomira! God has had mercy and spared her to her family! There are three more big needs I want very much to tell you about soon, Lord willing, one a new and vital ministry to special needs adoptive mom caregivers, the second a boy whom Josie knew in China–finally able to be adopted less than a year before he ages out, and the third the revitalization of the Pleven Project.]


To the kind online friends and readers who have checked in on us over the past months, thank you! Yes, we are alive and very well, indeed.  Joe and I agree that our family goal for the foreseeable future should be stability.  Somehow in spite of an formidable schedule, we are in a period of the most stability we have enjoyed as a family since before Verity was born and I began blogging seven years ago.

I have left many people hanging during this time, but when I take time on the computer, it always seems several other important things suffer, often including sleep.  It’s undeniable that our overall family well-being has benefited from my dropping the regular blogging.

I can always tell when life has switched to super-hyper-overdrive, because I don’t have time for my beloved reading, and that’s where we’ve been since Josie’s surgery the first week of November, three months ago.  We are finding our footing in a new season with the help of God.  We lost our Amish cleaning girl last fall.  Since the end of December, I have had to be gone from the house most of two days a week, and sometimes more, for therapy for Josie and Verity. Then beginning a few weeks afterward, Laura started her college class three afternoons a week and is now working part time during tax season.  In the midst of everything else, my skin began to react more and more to chemicals in our environment, so we have needed to make some major changes, which as you know can seem overwhelming when added to an already jam-packed calendar.

God has been faithful to answer my cry to Him for help and provide JUST the help we need. A young woman from church had been complaining to her mom about being bored and wondering whether there was some family who would let her come and help them. !!! She wants to work with children someday and really desires the experience. She cleans floors and bathrooms one partial day each week (we are paying her what we used to pay the Amish cleaning girl) and comes to help in general two other partial days, mostly spending productive one on one time with Verity.  She’s now being trained to do Verity’s neurodevelopmental program with her those two days. What a fabulous help she is—quick to catch on, looks for ways to be helpful and stays right on top of things! Maybe in the past, I would have been reluctant to accept the help, but no more!

During this same time period, another thrifty adoptive mom of a supersized homeschooling family introduced me to Norwex, and that ended up being part of our solution to simplifying and going more natural.

And the other major help He sent was in the form of (our version of) the Mom Bucks system for the five middle kids.

On the spiritual front, after one failed attempt, I was recently able to spend seven whole uninterrupted hours of purposeful time in God’s presence in the Quiet Place of a local couple who offers it as a place of respite for those in ministry. God used the time and quiet to speak clearly to me. I was in desperate need of this and am so grateful.

So–coming through a time that could have been impossibly overwhelming, but instead we are all thriving and have a definite sense of peace, happiness, wellbeing, and yes, stability. Not to mention all the fun we get out of life! Joseph summed it up well recently when he was sitting at our kitchen table working on a computer and paused, looked up, and stated, “There’s a nice atmosphere here.”


Katie undergoing step one of The Treatment for Aquaphor Ointment in Hair!



Stephen and Nathaniel accompanying Joe and me to his final Samaritan board meeting.



Ben wearing John Michael’s backup pair of glasses!


Verity enjoying a new favorite activity.

Katie missing some school due to sickness.



Josie realizing how comfy it can be to be able to bend one’s knees!



Verity acing her school workbook.



Twins enjoying a birthday outing.



Nathaniel doing his baby job of being utterly lovable.



Josie after making us very proud of how she handled getting a filling in a chipped tooth!  It wasn’t easy for her, but according to the staff, she did better than many adults!  We were already so proud of her for once again making the honor roll, which she’s done every marking period since coming into our family!  Go, Josie!!


Share it!

8 Responses to “Alive and well”

  1. KMT says:

    It’s lovely to read an update. Are you the cornstarch treatment for Aquafor hair? That’s how I got the ointment out of my daughter’s hair after her cranial surgeries. I think I posted pictures, too!

    Funny, I was drowning in poop today – not my own, of course. One of my daughters blew through her medical device and needed a complete wash down at bedtime, then my youngest blew at midnight, in two layers of jammies. I’m blaming eating restaurant food after 8 days of mostly plant-based eating, even though the restaurant was Sweet Tomatoes, I think they ate too much. I know you completely understand after Poop Wars with Tommy.

    Glad to hear you’ve got a lovely young lady to help you. Just tonight I was thinking that it’s time to find someone to help with the house cleaning. This single mama just can’t do it all and my girls can’t do it without supervision, which takes at least, if not more time than doing it myself.

    I’ve been following ‘Mila and ‘Mira on their family blog and am so pleased that ‘Mira is about to come home from the hospital. Our prayers have been answered. I’m looking forward to seeing her continue to bloom.

    Lastly, I love seeing the picture of Josie’s knees bent. Surgery is always a big step, but when you get such a good result, it’s so worth it!

  2. Julie R says:

    So wonderful to read an update on your lovely family, Susanna! I hope God allows our paths to cross again someday. I have been following Mira’s mom’s blog and my heart is warmed at today’s post. Praising God for her healing already! Love to you & your family! Julie

  3. D. says:

    It’s nice to hear from your lovely family. :-)

  4. Colleen Krizak says:

    Yes! I’m so relieved that Mira is stable and in the watchful care of so many. She has waited so incredibly long. It’s a blessing to also hear that God is giving you and your family stability and peace as you lean on Him.

  5. Barb says:

    I think of you and your family often. I’m glad to hear that things are still humming right along. :)

  6. Ruth G says:

    My boss at work also reacts to chemicals, so we use Melaleuca cleaning products everywhere we can – and Norwex cloths for the tables (I’m in food service. ) I know everyone’s body and reactions are different, but using Melaleuca and switching from a propane stove & grill to electric have both helped her tremendously. Glad to hear you’ve found some things that are helpful.
    Also, it made me smile to see Verity coloring. The fine motor skills, the hand-eye coordination, the creativity, the focus, all wonderful things – not to mention the bonus of pictures to hang on the fridge! :-)
    Thanks for the update on your family; I look forward to reading more about the needs you shared at the top as you have time to write.

    P.s. I, too, have been following Mira’s journey in their blog and am loving watching God work. Thanks for alerting us to their need.

  7. Elaine says:

    Thank you so much for the update! It is great to see the family is doing so well. Looking forward to your next update but not rushing you back into blogging….just like to know and see how everyone is doing!

  8. Bless you my friend. It’s always so good to read and hear where you are at. : ) Sending lots of love to you all!!!

RSS feed for comments on this post. And trackBack URL.

Leave a Reply