16 December 2010

my thoughts exactly

The past few years Advent has been a very special time for me. This year I want it to be, but my mind is running in too many directions. I don't have time to sit still, and I probably couldn't do it even if I had the time. I feel frantic and scattered, even when I'm not doing anything.

I've been thinking since last night about how much I want to slow my mind and heart in time for the last week of Avent. I've missed most of it, but it's not too late to salvage it. I just don't know how. Then I read this:

Lord Jesus, Master of both the light & the darkness,

send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.

We who have so much to do

seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.

We who are anxious over many things

look forward to your coming among us.

We who are blessed in so many ways

long for the complete joy of your kingdom.

We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.

We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.

To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!”

(Henri Nouwen)

Thanks, Jody, for taking the time to post this quote. It's exactly what I'm feeling, and exactly what I needed to read this morning. I'm going to print it and make it my daily prayer for the next week.

13 December 2010

reflections on adoption

While I'm reposting thoughts from others, I couldn't resist sharing this wonderful post from Jennifer, a fellow adoptive mom. She clearly articulated what I feel all the time but don't always know how to explain. If you're an adoptive parent, you should read this. If you know an adoptive family, it would probably be good for you to read too.

"real" gifts with purpose

Since I love Advent but am having trouble making time to blog these days, I thought you might enjoy reading some great thoughts from someone else on "10 Ways to Avoid the Seduction of Consumerism this Christmas."

By the way, I might seem like I'm not into buying Christmas gifts, but I actually fought to keep gift giving alive in my family. I love giving and receiving gifts. I just don't think we need to go overboard. I also think that it's exciting to give donations, as I mentioned in my previous post, or buy "real" gifts that support a good cause.

Searching the internet will yield all kinds of gifts with purpose, so look for gifts you love that support causes you believe in. Two that I have used for Christmas are:

Gobena Coffee: Each bag of coffee feeds an orphan for a month. I bought a bunch last Christmas for gifts and for us. Nearly every time I serve it to guests, some coffee lover comments about how good it is.

Paper Bead Necklaces supporting From HIV to Home: I made these available to friends and family last year, so they sent me some again this year. They're made by women in Africa who are paid fairly for their handiwork, and they're beautiful. The proceeds support a great organization, so everyone wins. (Let me know if you want to see my supply.)

I also have a new favorite organization to purchase gifts from, but I can't tell you about it because certain people who might read this post will be receiving Christmas gifts from them this year. I'll have to tell you about it after the holidays, and you can make a note for next Christmas.

Really, the options for purposeful gift giving are neverending. If you have a favorite gift with purpose, please share it in the comments so we check it out.

07 December 2010

our crazy 2010

It's amazing to look back over this year and see what has happened in just 12 months.

In January, the CCO got excited about our dream to start an intentional Christian community for young adults in Norristown. We started the application process with the CCO and started looking into options for a new ministry venture.

By the end of April, we had a great location for the Norristown Community House and an amazing landlord who loved our vision. (In fact, he loves it so much that he's moving in next door to expand the community beyond just young adults!)

In June, our family headed to Pittsburgh for 5 weeks of training as new CCO staff members. The things we learned and the relationships we built were preparation for our new role as directors of the Norristown Community House and campus ministers.

In early August, we took possession of the community house and started working crazy long hours to get the house ready. If it weren't for some amazing volunteers who labored in the heat and filth, we might not have survived.

On August 21st, students moved into the house for our inaugural year, committing to grow in intimacy with God, community with others, and engagement with the world.

During the fall, we continued to invest in the students at the house while starting to build relationships with students at Montgomery County Community College. Just last week, we learned that we may soon be able to expand to Cabrini College as well. We're enjoying building relationships with college students and hope to see lives transformed.

As we look to 2011, we're excited about launching our monthly movie and discussion nights, Behind the Scenes: moving beyond the images to the issues. We're excited about the 2 groups who will be coming to stay and serve at the Norristown Community House in January and February. We're excited to go deeper with college students.

None of these things happen without funding, which is why we're so thrilled that a couple has stepped up and offered a $5000 matching grant for end of the year giving and the first 6 months of giving from new monthly donors in 2011. Those of you on our mailing list may already know about it. If you don't, you will soon. If you're not on our list and would like to follow what's going on, please let me know so you can receive our newsletters regularly in 2011.

We'd really appreciate it if you would pray with us about this exciting opportunity. Pray that God will provide abundantly for our family and the expansion of this ministry. If you are in a position to give financially, please pray about that as well. You'll have the opportunity to be part of something new and exciting. Our hope is that the Norristown Community House will be a catalyst for change in the lives of young adults, Norristown, and the world and that God will transform lives as we serve on local college campuses.

My email is beckybowersox @ gmail . com (without the spaces). We'd love to hear from you, whether you want to give or pray or just get on our mailing list because your mailbox is too empty. If you're ready to give now and don't want further information, you can donate online through the CCO. Just make sure you choose Peter & Becky Bowersox as the staff members.

06 December 2010

great gift ideas

We're currently picking out birthday gifts for Jesus. We will choose gifts that reflect things we believe make Jesus happy and are also close to our hearts. Here are some of the options up for consideration.

We might buy a stove for a family in Haiti or provide clean water for someone in Liberia or give animals to an Asian family because we believe Jesus care about our basic needs.

We might give money to help fund an adoption because we believe Jesus wants to put the lonely in families. We might do that through From HIV to Home or Lifesong for Orphans or Run for Orphans because they are organizations to which we're personally connected.

What do you think would make Jesus happy? What is close to your heart? I challenge each of us to think outside the box the Christmas and look for new ways to give. Whether you're looking for a gift for Jesus or for someone who really doesn't need anything, donations make great gifts and don't create clutter.

Later this week I'll be posting some of my favorite "real" gifts for those who may not appreciate a donation but would love a gift with purpose. Stay tuned.

05 December 2010

wonderful song

I received James Taylor at Christmas as an early Christmas gift, and I'm in love with the song "Some Children See Him." If you aren't familiar with the song, you should go listen to it. It's beautiful.

Some children see Him lily white,
The baby Jesus born this night.
Some children see Him lily white,
With tresses soft and fair.
Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
The Lord of heav'n to earth come down.
Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
With dark and heavy hair.

Some children see Him almond-eyed,
This Savior whom we kneel beside.
Some children see Him almond-eyed,
With skin of yellow hue.
Some children see Him dark as they,
Sweet Mary's Son to whom we pray.
Some children see him dark as they,
And, ah! they love Him, too!

The children in each different place
Will see the baby Jesus' face
Like theirs, but bright with heavenly grace,
And filled with holy light.
O lay aside each earthly thing
And with thy heart as offering,
Come worship now the infant King.
'Tis love that's born tonight!

By the way, I haven't forgotten my promise to share some alternative gift ideas with you. I'll probably put the first ones up tomorrow.

01 December 2010

world aids day

Today is World AIDS Day. We all know we should care about the issue, but it's easy to become desensitized to all the important causes and needs in the world. AIDS used to be one of those issues for me, but my perspective has changed drastically in the past few years.

Two experiences changed things for me. One was reading There is No Me Without You the summer after our kids came home. The other was getting to know Jennifer, a fellow adoptive mother and passionate woman. I could tell you how she has inspired me to understand the reality of HIV and AIDS, but it's probably better to hear it straight from her. Check out her blog post today.

29 November 2010

Christmas is coming

I love Christmas. The hopeless romantic in me died years ago, but it is resurrected every December when I revel in the wonder of Christmas with its pretty lights and Christmas music and tasty treats. I'm very sentimental about a lot of things during the Christmas season, but this year I'm especially excited about a new tradition we started at the very last minute in 2009. Now in its second year, I'm anxious to sit down with my family over the next few weeks to choose birthday gifts for Jesus.

I came across the idea on a blog last December, and it just made sense. Why hadn't I thought of it before? We tell the kids that Christmas is Jesus' birthday, but then we give each other gifts instead of buying them for the birthday boy. Kids know that birthday parties don't work that way, but we got it confused somewhere along the way.

So over the next few weeks we'll be talking about what kinds of gifts Jesus might like to receive for his birthday. Then we'll pick a gift or two or three from our family and put them under the tree. I'm pretty sure Jesus will be excited to see them waiting there until December 25th, even if he does already know what's inside.

As we go through the process, I'll share some of the gifts we discuss in case you want to buy Jesus presents as well. Or maybe you want a unique gift for someone who already has everything they need. I have ideas for that, too.

24 November 2010

happy day before thanksgiving

I know I won't have time to post tomorrow, so I thought I'd take a moment to wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration.

I love having a holiday that centers around remembering to be thankful. As I look back through our year, I see so many reasons to give thanks. It sometimes overwhelms me to realize, even in the midst of our struggles, how greatly blessed we are.

So Happy Thanksgiving from Peter and I and our 3 greatest blessings. I'll be back sometime over the weekend to post about some Advent and Christmas resources, but I'll be hanging out with family until then.

23 November 2010

turkey hunt

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, we're definitely ready around here. Yesterday after school, the 3 kids invented a new activity. 2 turkeys would hide while the hunter, outfitted with bright orange safety goggles, searched for them with a Nerf gun. If not immediately found, they would let out a few gobbles to move things along. Once the turkeys had been shot one or more times, they passed the gun and started over with a new hunter.

Evidently you can move the kids to the city, but you can't take the hunter out of little Krahn children. After all, their tribe is known for being great hunters. Of course, I only lay partial blame on their heritage. The rest goes on the unnamed relatives who took them to the garage last fall to see a hanging deer carcass, as well as the ones who polluted our gun-free home with a Nerf gun in the first place.

16 November 2010

alternative gift market

Last year one of my dear friends decided she was tired of status quo Christmas gifts. She wanted to find ways to give more meaningful gifts and to help others do the same. Our of her passion, an Alternative Gift Market was born. This year she is far away, but the gift market will continue. If you live anywhere nearby, I encourage you to come check it out this Saturday. Whether or not you decide to buy, you'll have the chance to enjoy some tasty treats while you check out some wonderful local, national, and international organizations. We'll be there all day, so you can chat with us to learn more about the Norristown Community House, our new ministry endeavor, and From HIV to Home, one of my top 10 favorite organizations. If you live nearby, spread the word. If you don't, find an alternative gift market near you... or start your own!

11 November 2010

4 year old genius

Yesterday Garty and I stopped at a supermarket that had a giant blow up piggy bank out front. When we picked the other kids up from school, Garty was telling them about it. He explained that we saw a huge piggy bank at the "butt money store." I couldn't figure out why he would say something like that until I realized that the store was called "Bottom Dollar Food." Evidently he's really good with synonyms.

02 November 2010

national adoption month

It's National Adoption Month, which reminds me how fortunate I am to know so many amazing families who have been willing to think outside the box and experience the tremendous blessing of adoption. I have so many friends (in real life and the cyber world) who have loved and sacrificed until they thought their hearts would break for beautiful children who needed a forever family. I consider it a great honor to experience the ups and downs of adoptive parenting with them.

I love that my kids don't think they're unusual because they know so many other adopted kids. I enjoy seeing them get excited about welcoming home new friends. I can't wait to watch them as we celebrate our friends' first Gotcha Day later this month. I'm thrilled that they think we should adopt more kids and that they talk about doing it when they grow up.

Today I'm especially excited because they're downstairs making cards for their three cousins who will be staying with us for the weekend. They're always incredibly excited when any of their cousins come to town, but this visit is unusual because they have a brand new cousin that they're not going to be able to hold on their lap like their other new cousins. This cousin is way too big for babying, but he reminds me again that families are formed in all kinds of ways. It makes me smile (and cry a little) to think about it. I'm pretty sure God feels the same way.

P.S. Welcome to the family, John!

07 October 2010

another reason to love Norristown

Some of you think we're crazy for living in Norristown... and even crazier for loving Norristown.

I'll admit that Norristown has certain qualities that drive me crazy. I don't like the fact that neighborhood kids destroy my plants. We weren't happy the day someone smashed our car window to steal our CD player and Peter's Leatherman. Graffiti isn't my favorite art form. I hate having to move our car for street cleaning day.

HOWEVER, I love this place for so many reasons. It's become such a part of us that it's hard for me to imagine living anywhere else. (Except France. I can always imagine living in France.) What I love most is the diverse population and all the beautiful things it brings to our lives. A few weeks ago we came home around 9pm anxious to put the kids to bed, and this party was going on next door.

How cool is that? How many of you have heard a live mariachi band outside your window recently? Did I mention that I love Norristown?

04 October 2010

I'm back... I think

If you're wondering why I haven't posted anything at all in 6 weeks, it's because I have too much to say and not enough energy to say it. We've spent the past few months dealing with major life changes, and I can't seem to feel settled long enough to sit down and focus. I feel like I need to post a long update about all the crazy and exciting things going on in our lives, but such a post seems like an overwhelming project right now. Instead, I've decided to start small and simply let you know that I'm back. I have many blog posts written in my head to share with you. I hope that at least a few of them will make their way here in the near future. We'll see how it goes. For now, you can prepare yourself to hear updates about these wonderful cuties.

You'll probably also have to hear about these two rapidly aging folks.

And if you just can't wait for the updates, you can see a quick glimpse of the fun we had the second half of the summer by checking out some pictures here.

24 August 2010


I enjoyed hearing Andy Crouch speak at Biblical Seminary this spring on The Use and Misuse of Power. He forced me to think a lot, which doesn't happen as much as it used to. Ever since that night, I've pondered purchasing a print of this amazing painting.

Now you can listen to Andy share about this beautiful piece of art. If you're interested in why I'm so fascinated, click over and watch the first half of Part 2: The Creative Image.

31 July 2010


This morning while I was cooking breakfast, I heard Joshua say, "I wish Mommy had 6 arms. Then she could do everything." After a few minutes of discussion amongst the 3 kids, the image had become even more bizarre, as they decided that my arms should be able to stretch all the way to the store to get everything we need. Just listening to their plans made me tired, and I realized that the real me must be terribly dull and disappointing. I fear they may try to turn me in for an upgraded model.

22 July 2010

a worthy motivation for parenting

Last night over dinner Joshua asked a new friend about his plans for having kids. When our recently married friend didn't give a definite answer about future plans, Joshua offered a suggestion: "Adopt kids from Africa! They talk funny."

There you have it, folks... the true reason why we adopted 3 kids from Africa.

19 July 2010


Tonight our oldest son had a meltdown. He went to bed a bit unhappy, but fine overall. 5 minutes later, he had worked himself up into an angry but controlled state. Knowing that he had himself under control, we gave him 3 options for how he could proceed. Unfortunately, he chose the option that ended with significant consequences.

Usually in these situations, consequences lead to full blown rage that goes on for quite a while. This time was different. Instead of reacting angrily, he reacted with deep sadness. As he cried and tried to get away from us, he kept saying, "I don't want to be your son anymore!"

As Peter assured him that the 2 of us love him very much and will always be his parents (whether he likes it or not), I realized that before bed I had talked with him about how our week would be very busy. I told him that we wouldn't have a lot of time to spend together, but then we would be going home and have plenty of time together next week. I suddenly wondered if that conversation had triggered his meltdown.

I told him that I wondered if his "big mad" (a phrase we picked up from our therapist) was really a "big sad." I wondered if maybe he was sad that we were so busy and if he really wanted us to spend some time with him. To my complete amazement, he calmed down and agreed that he was indeed sad. Then, with a little coaxing, he used words to tell us that he was sad and that he wanted us to spend some time with him this week.

Maybe this story seems insignificant to you, but I'm pretty certain that in 3 years we've never heard Joshua say he was sad except in therapy with help from the therapist. Not only did he let go of his "big mad" tonight, but he claimed to have feelings that he's never expressed before. On top of it, he wanted to be affectionate with both of us as soon as the conversation ended.

So tomorrow morning one or both of us will be up much earlier than we like to spend time with our little boy, but tonight we're celebrating a huge milestone while he sleeps. (If you can say that sitting here crying at the computer is a form of celebration.)

09 July 2010

cow appreciation day

In 2008, we went to Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A with a bunch of other mommas and kids. Last year we were out of town and didn't make it. The kids ask regularly when cow day is coming again, so today we ran out over lunch with a bunch of friends from New Staff Training. As much as I hated putting 5 costumes together for our crew, we all had a great time and a yummy free meal.

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08 July 2010

plenty of books

Between preparing to open the Norristown Community House in August and required reading for New Staff Training with the CCO, we're doing quite a bit of reading right now in the midst of everything else. I just updated our book list on the sidebar in case you're interested. We're always happy to give you our opinions about any books on our list.

05 July 2010

lots and lots of pictures

I have finally uploaded pictures from the past 6 weeks of our lives. They've been an extremely full 6 weeks, as we are in the middle of a huge life transition and still trying to have fun with our children in the midst of the chaos. Things are moving at a crazy pace, but I hope to sit still long enough to write a more detailed report on the state of our lives and ministry before long. For now, I hope you can take a few minutes to enjoy our pictures of the fun side of life. (I went all out and even added some captions for you. I'm sure you'll be impressed and amazed.)

another Garty-ism

As we were walking down to the riverfront to see the fireworks last night, Patience looked behind us and said, "Daddy and Joshua are slowpokes." Garty responded with, "But we're fastpokes!"

29 June 2010

our ego boost for the day

I just walked in the room in time to hear Joshua say, "Everybody's little to God." Garty emphatically responded, "Except Mommy and Daddy!"

07 June 2010

2 new websites

After months of hard work, Worldlink just launched its new and improved website! Peter was heavily involved in the writing and design, logging countless hours. Becky edited the majority of the site. You should check it out!

We're also super excited about our much smaller brand new website for the Norristown Community House, a great new opportunity for young adults 18 and up! We're still looking for 2-3 more participants before our 2010-11 launch in August, so please look over the site and then share it with young adults who may be interested. Someone may have a life changing experience because you took the time to share, and we'll be so thankful for your part in kicking off our new ministry.

03 June 2010

happy 4th birthday to Garty

Our baby doesn't seem like much of a baby anymore. Today we celebrate 4 years of life for our little man.

Do you remember our fear and helplessness when he was hospitalized and we feared that we'd never meet our baby?

Do you remember how God preserved him and turned him into a pudgy little boy by them time we got to Liberia?

Can you believe that last weekend that pudgy little boy was climbing around in a tree all by himself?

02 June 2010

weekend quotes

On Saturday, Garty was practicing his drop kick with a soccer ball. When he doesn't completely miss, he kicks it pretty high. After one particularly good kick, he said, "I kicked it higher than God."

In the car on Sunday, Joshua said, "I wish the dinosaurs were still alive-- but not the meat eaters, the plant eaters." In an effort to console him, Patience replied, "But the groundhogs are still alive!"

01 June 2010

so true

I just read this brief but significant observation regarding Jesus feeding the 5000.

"God never asks us to give what we do not have... But he cannot use what we will not give." (Richard Stearns)

24 May 2010

reliving the memories

Grove City College's alumni magazine did an article about our family this spring. (We show up on the cover and page 5, but our story starts on page 20.) After reading the story, I've been feeling nostalgic about the waiting days and our trip to Liberia and our early days home. Today (when I should have been working), I flipped through some old pictures and videos that I haven't seen for a while. As I haven't been up to posting anything new recently, I thought maybe I'd share a few memories that never made it on the blog.

The day we first saw our kids' pictures, we were with Grove City friends at a pool party. After driving around to get a wireless signal and downloading the pictures to our laptop, we returned to share our joy. Marcy thought we should have our pictures taken with each of the kids. At the time, I thought it was weird to have our picture taken with a computer screen. Tonight I'm so happy we have these shots!

By the way, if you really don't care to look at us and prefer to see close ups of our first pictures of the kids, we understand. Here's the link.

13 May 2010

a day in the life

Some of you are a bit worried about us because we've been out of communication lately. I want to reassure you that we've got everything under control. Here's proof from this morning's to do list.

Wake up at 6:45 to remind Peter that he was going to get up at 6 and go to work early. Check.

Turn off my alarm at 8:09 and fall back into a sound sleep. Check.

Wake up at 8:46 and jump out of bed in a panic. Check.

Put out clothes so Joshua and Patience can get dressed and brush their teeth. Check.

Make Garty drag himself out of bed and put sneakers on. Check.

Pack 2 lunches while feeding the 3 kids leftover waffles and milk. Check.

Do a quick repair of Patience's hair. Check.

Run out the door in my PJs and socks. Check.

Drive to school. Check.

Tell my kids how proud I am of them as they head to the door right before the 9:10 start of school. Check.

And the best part of the whole morning? (Besides managing to be gentle and encouraging and not losing my cool during the 24 minute process.) On the way home, I was telling Garty that we were going home to make a grocery list so we could go shopping. In a slightly concerned tone, Garty asked, "Mommy? Are we going to get my clothes on before we go to the store?"

24 April 2010

pondering spiders

All 5 of us were just out digging in the flower garden. We found a huge spider with a very large egg sack. After studying her for a bit, Joshua asked if the other spiders would have a baby shower for her.

20 April 2010

kidney & liver disease update

We had our regular 6 month visit to the nephrologist today to check Joshua and Garty out. In the middle of the exam, the doctor turned to me and randomly said, "The best thing that could happen is for you to feel like your visit was a waste of time." He then proceeded to remind me that one day the visit might not be routine, and that day will be a scary one.

But for now things look good. Garty's blood pressure meds seems to be working. They both had blood drawn for a bunch of tests, and everything looked good. We'll go back in October, hopefully to "waste" more time.

here's a winner

Patience often says "she" when she means "he" and vice versa. We've always assumed it's because English is her second language. This morning, however, she offered a different explanation.

She was telling Peter something and referred to me as "he." She quickly realized her own error and changed it to "she." Then she immediately told him that she gets confused because Peter and I are both white. She has to look to see who is wearing glasses to tell the difference.

Wow. That really makes sense of it all and proves that all white people really do look alike... even a 6' tall male and a 5'2" female.

17 April 2010

spring, glorious spring

We're a bit picture happy these days. I'm blaming it on the gorgeous spring days and all the outdoor fun. Some of the pictures were too fun not to share, so we hope you'll take a minute to check out our spring photo album.

09 April 2010

from the first day to now

April 9, 2007
April 9, 2008
April 9, 2009

April 9, 2010

happy gotcha day to us

3 years ago today we met our 3 beautiful children. It was the end of a long journey and the beginning of a very different long journey. Both journeys were stressful and exciting and hard, and we wouldn't trade either for anything in the world.

Tonight we will celebrate the anniversary of our first day as a family. We will set our mouths on fire with Liberian food. We will watch the video from the orphanage that day. We will look through all our pictures of Liberia. We will take a family photo and compare it to last year's photo and the year before that and our very first family photo ever.

I'll get back on to post the family photos later, but for now here are a few random pictures from our first few minutes with each of our kids.

05 April 2010


On the way home from church, Patience was talking about what God is like. My favorite statement was, "God is nice." There's a warm fuzzy for you.

And the best quote of the weekend... The 3 kids were talking in the car Saturday evening about their futures and who would live where and have how many kids. As Joshua was sharing about his future family, he wasn't sure if he would "adopt kids or get babies out of bellies." I think it's sweet that he wants to consider adoption, but we're a bit concerned about the potential baby harvesting operation he's plotting. Do you think we should worry?

04 April 2010

a weekend of Easter celebrations

A beautiful weekend of family fun with a few friends thrown in for good measure. I uploaded plenty of pictures to make up for my long hiatus. We hope you all enjoyed a wonderful weekend as well.

27 March 2010

good reasons to watch TV

We had the chance to watch Law and Order: SVU a week and a half ago and were surprised and pleased to see that they were drawing attention to a real and serious crisis in Africa. Peter wrote about it in a special Prayerlink, and I want to share it with as many people as possible.

The world can be an ugly place. Most of the time we in the US can ignore much of the ugliness if we so choose, but I believe we need to face it head on and take it seriously. Jesus certainly would have.

Christ has no body on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ's compassion for the world is to look out;
yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good;
and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.

(Theresa of Avila)

22 March 2010

world water day

I didn't realize until this afternoon that today is World Water Day. I hope many of you will join me in remembering the need for clean, fresh water throughout the world. Here are my 2 very quick thoughts about things you could do today.

Make a donation... $5 or $50 or $500, the size isn't the important part... to your favorite organization that is providing water for those in need. We love to donate to Water for Christmas at any time of the year.

Read a book about water. A Cool Drink of Water is a great picture book for all ages. Ryan and Jimmy is an inspiring book for older kids and adults. There are plenty of books about water, but these are 2 we really like.

16 March 2010

exhaustion and sadness

This will be short because I can barely see straight to type.

I realize I've been out of touch. I realize I still haven't reported on Joshua's surgery as promised. I realize that I haven't returned phone calls to a bunch of you. Life has been crazy here lately. Mostly in good and exciting ways that I look forward to sharing with you. However, the past 24 hours have not been good, and I'm hoping that you'll pray with us.

You may remember 2009's busyness surrounding a Liberian family that was being resettled in the US. The 10 of them came in February and then became 11 in June when one of the daughters had a baby. Knowing them and all their struggles to settle in to their new life has been quite a ride.

Sunday the family left for FL in 2 vehicles to live near old friends. Monday morning they had a car accident in NC, but no one was seriously hurt. As the 16 year old daughter was climbing out of the vehicle after the accident, another car hit her. She died in a local hospital.

It seems so senseless. Mattu showed so much promise. She was a truly great mom, something you don't expect to say about a 16 year old. She was full of life and hope. She was well loved by many. I'm trying to reconcile the truths I know about God's character with the reality I can currently see, and it's tough.

I spent much of last night and most of today on the phone with people who knew and loved her. We're trying to figure out the best ways to support the family and honor her. Please pray for Mattu's family, her 9 month old son, and all the friends who are trying to process this terrible news.

11 March 2010

love this quote

I just copied this powerful and convicting quote from a friend.

To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.

(Mohandas Ghandi)

04 March 2010

surgery tomorrow

Sometime tomorrow morning Joshua will have his 3rd (and hopefully final) surgery to close the hole in his eardrum. This time will be a much bigger deal than the last 2. We have to go downtown to the main campus of Children's Hospital because they need better equipment to do a longer more complicated surgery. He'll have a more difficult recovery because he'll be under sedation longer and because they'll be cutting through the back of his ear instead of going through his ear canal.

Last night a friend asked if he was nervous about it. I said I didn't think so. As far as he knows, it's no different than any other time. My theory was confirmed at breakfast this morning as I listened to a conversation between Joshua and Patience. I couldn't write it down at the time, so I can't pass it on word for word as I usually do, but you get the idea.

J: Tells P that he's having surgery tomorrow.
P: Asks if it's fun.
J: Assures her that it's really fun because you get to ride in a wheelchair and have a special treat. (They gave him an Icee last time after he woke up.)
P: Says she wishes she could have surgery, too.
J: Tells her she can't. She has to go to school. Then proceeds to describe in more detail how fun surgery is.

Despite Joshua's enthusiasm for tomorrow, we would appreciate prayers for him. The 2 of us will be fighting rush hour traffic to get into town. Then we'll have a long wait plus however long surgery and recovery take. I'm hoping to get caught up on my reading and finish one of the many books I'm in the middle of. We'll see.

I'll post a report once we're settled back at home.

02 March 2010

a great reminder

When you move with God, He always shows up. It's just difficult to predict what He will do or how He will do it. If you wait for guarantees, the only thing that will be guaranteed is that you will miss endless divine opportunities-- that you can know for certain.


What is it about our conversations with God that we seem to hear the
no more readily than the yes? Many times when we claim we are waiting on God, He is waiting on us. It is true that Jesus instructed His disciples to wait in the Upper Room until they received the Holy Spirit. But then He instructed them that once they received the promise of God's Spirit, they were to move out and change the world. We, too, have received the Spirit of God and are expected to move out with confidence that God is with us.

(Erwin McManus)

18 February 2010

great article

Every adoptive parent should read this short article. So should everyone who knows an adoptive family. Frankly, there's wisdom there for all parents. You should probably just go read it... Becoming More Real to My Kids

16 February 2010

it's snowing... again

The roads are slick again this morning as snowflakes dance past our windows leaving a thin fresh layer of snow to brighten up the the piles of snow from last week. Despite the inconveniences and the extended school vacation, I enjoy the simple beauty of the snow. Here's my favorite picture from last week of the path Peter shoveled through our yard to the garage and the large tree branch that fell in storm #2.

15 February 2010

tonight's dinner conversation

A conversation between a son and his father...

Joshua: Why are you starting to have so much gray hair?

Peter: Because when kids cause a lot of trouble, their parents' hair turns white.

Joshua: Noooo. It's because you're almost a grandpop.

10 February 2010

the power of memory

This morning I've been listening to Gordon Lightfoot and Peter, Paul and Mary. If I close my eyes during certain songs, I'm suddenly 45 minutes away from Norristown watching my dad rock slowly in his chair while he reads. I'm guessing most of us have those memory triggers. Sounds, foods, activities, places. I have lots of them for my parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Things that take me back to another time in my life. As I flipped pancakes and pondered the amazing way our memories work, I started wondering what those triggers will be for our kids when they grow up. What will make them think of me? Will they be happy or sad things; things I did intentionally or things I never even thought about? Although it's an impossible question to answer, it's interesting to ponder.

06 February 2010

birthday performance

First thing this morning the kids wanted to put on a show for Daddy's birthday. Here are the performers ready to go.

Garty quickly decided that he prefered to make phone calls. After all, he's evidently a bit of a celebrity. He pretended to call several family members. After a particularly long chat with Aunt Christy, he told us he was going to call Liberia. He dialed and said, "Hello, Liberia!"

The show went on without him. Joshua drummed.

Patience danced. She spent much of the time watching her reflection in the TV, but she was also happy to have her picture taken. She's become disturbingly excited about seeing her beautiful self.

And at some point there was a costume change.

02 February 2010

7 and counting

As of yesterday afternoon, the kids have a new cousin, and we have a new niece. We can't wait to meet little Sophie.

28 January 2010

we interrupt this regularly scheduled program...

There are those moments in life when reality rears its ugly head and interrupts my happy little existence. Hearing about the devastation in Haiti was one of those moments. Today was one of those moments, too. As I sat in therapy listening to my son talk matter of factly about the death of his mother, I was overwhelmed with a sense of how screwed up the world really is. Kids shouldn't have a personal story that involves death and fear and pain. And they definitely shouldn't tell the story as if they were talking about their day at school.

I'm not having a new revelation. It's just something that's easy to lose sight of as I make dinner and pick kids up at school and supervise the daily chaos. I don't look at my kids on a daily basis and ponder the pain they've experienced in their short lives. I look at them and think that I wish they would obey the first time I ask or that they look funny in the red clown wig. I think about how blessed I am to be their mom. What I can quickly forget is that my blessing came at a terrible price: a mother who didn't live to see her kids grow up, a father who had to make an unbelievably difficult decision, kids whose lives have been turned upside down and now need to be pieced back together.

By the time it was my turn to hold my sweet boy and tell him how I felt about what he said today, I couldn't hold back the tears. I told him that it made me so sad to know that he was probably scared when his Liberian ma died. I told him that it made me so sad to know that she didn't have the chance to see her kids grow up. I told him it made me happy to know that his Liberian pa wanted to take care of him so much that now I get to have 3 beautiful kids.

I felt like a baby for crying all over my son, but it was actually good. His reaction to my tears took us to a new level, and now we know what we need to work on in our next session. And as much as it hurts, it's good for me to remember that life is hard and the world is a disaster and I know the only one who can look at the mess and make sense of it.

20 January 2010

Honoring Christmas: reflections

I don't know why I haven't been able to get my act together and post my thoughts about our Christmas celebration. It's probably that my mind has been going in so many different directions since the holidays, and I wanted to give Christmas some focused reflection as I consider what happened and what we might do differently next year.

Overall, I was very happy with the way we honored Christmas in 2009. Life in December ended up being a bit more crazy than I envisioned because I was mildly ill for a while and Peter's grandmother spent most of the month in the hospital. However, life would have been out of control if those 2 things had happened and our December calendar had been full. Having plenty of space built into our schedule gave us the ability to absorb the extra chaos without losing too much sleep or forgetting what the month was about. I'm thankful for Simple Mom's 12 Weeks to a Peaceful Christmas. It was a useful tool for preparing holiday details even if I didn't complete it 100%, and it definitely contributed to my sanity in December. (And my sanity helps translate into peace and happiness for the rest of the family as well.)

The kids really enjoyed lighting our advent candles at dinner each night. Joshua initiated several conversations about hope in relation to advent. We all looked forward to reading our Christmas cards and praying for the family and friends who sent them.

We all liked our Jesse Tree as well. I loved using the ornaments from The Glorious Coming, but we were disappointed by the accompanying devotionals. Most were far too complicated for our kids. Instead Peter read the scriptures, and I paraphrased helpful reflections from the devotional. (The link says that the devotionals are being rewritten. I wonder whether they'll be more kid friendly.) Our only other problem is that being out a few evenings left us playing catch up. I think next year we will plan ahead to skip a few selected passages here and there so we don't fall behind.

Peter and I weren't very faithful doing evening prayers, so I can't really comment on whether we liked Phyllis Tickle's arrangements. We'll have to try again next year.

We loved thinking more about gift giving and considering what and how we give. We gave and received some very cool gifts and had fun in the process. It was very fun to be involved in an alternative gift market.

I'm especially glad we decided to choose birthday gifts for Jesus. We will definitely do it again but try to start earlier in December so we have time to wrap the gifts and have them under the tree. Talking with the kids about what kind of gifts would make Jesus happy led to our first discussion about homelessness and a more in depth discussion of HIV. We let each person vote on the gift they wanted to give. In the end, we had 2 winners and gave 2 smaller gifts. Joshua was certain Jesus would want a picture more than anything, so he drew this picture of himself helping someone with HIV who needed help in a storm.

As we head now into the new year, we will be considering how our experience will shape our lives apart from Christmas. Peter and I are talking about taking the kids to serve at one of the homeless shelters in town, as they really struggled to comprehend what it means to be homeless. I'm continuing to think about gift giving and all the great ideas I received from some of you over the past 2 months. As I process the ideas, I'll try to share them here from time to time. I'd love to hear your post Christmas reflections as well.

Previous Posts
Honoring Christmas: a series
Honoring Christmas: the hard work
Honoring Christmas: advent
Honoring Christmas: giving better gifts
Honoring Christmas: the cards are coming
Honoring Christmas: a baby is born
Honoring Christmas: gifts for the birthday boy

19 January 2010


I just updated our current reading list on the sidebar. I, who hate reading more than one book at a time, just finished a novel and am in the middle of 4 other books with several others that I'm anxious to start. I'll admit that I'm not making much progress, but it's fun to be reading at least occasionally. I missed it. Peter's been up late reading several nights recently, but he jumps back and forth between reading and remodeling.

My Honoring Christmas recap will be up by tomorrow morning. I should definitely win some kind of award for blogging so consistently.

13 January 2010


I must confess that I've become so desensitized to pain and suffering and natural disasters that I really wasn't even upset when I first heard last night that there was an earthquake in Haiti. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but it's true. Today, however, as I listened to the news on the radio, I was overwhelmed by the tragedy of it. The loss of life. The devastation to a country already experiencing great poverty. The need for more help than I can imagine. The fact that I have friends here in Norristown who are Haitian and likely are still waiting for word from their families back home. What happened in Haiti is horrific, and it's not OK for me to ignore it.

I think Scot McKnight said it perfectly today:

I make no claim to know what God is doing in Haiti, but I do know that God's intent is to reconcile all things to himself and so, in prayer, in giving, and in mobilizing humans to help the suffering of Haiti, we commit ourselves to enter now into the work of binding up the brokenhearted and healing the wounded.

May we crawl, with God, into this rubble and be the presence of God, bring the presence of God, and lead Haiti into the healing presence of God.

12 January 2010

redefining faith

I haven't been very communicative so far this month because life is full. It's mostly the good kind of full. We're dreaming some new and exciting and a little bit scary dreams. Maybe I'll get to share some of them with you sometime soon. We're at another one of those points in the journey where God is stretching us just a bit, and we're waiting to see what he wants to do. I like that feeling even when it scares me. Then I read about Katie, and I have a new definition of living by faith. I feel challenged to dream bigger and expect more. It's a pretty overwhelming feeling. Peter might get home from volleyball and regret that he left me home alone to dream for 3.5 hours. Thanks, Alanna, for introducing me to Katie. I had seen the Amazima badge on friends' blogs before, but I never knew the amazing story behind it.

06 January 2010

I found it!

On Tuesday morning we realized my engagement ring was missing, and a desperate hunt began. I had several logical theories regarding its disappearance, but we weren't having any success with the search. I was giving up hope of ever seeing it again, and I've been struggling with the fact that it's just material stuff and shouldn't be the most important thing to me... but it's my engagement ring!

A few minutes ago I was hanging up the picture Joshua drew in children's church on Sun. I had taught about Jesus' miracle at the wedding in Cana, and we talked about how God still does miracles, both big and small. Each student drew a picture of a miracle that could happen today and wrote, "God's miracles surprise us." As I hung the picture on the fridge, I told God that I'd really appreciate a miracle, even if my ring isn't the most important thing in the world.

It couldn't have been more than 3 minutes later that I found my ring! It was nowhere near where I left it with my wedding band and was likely relocated by one of our cats. Now, you could say that the ring was there all along just waiting to be found. There's nothing miraculous about it at all. I, however, will chose to believe that God does miracles every day, and it's up to us to pay attention and acknowledge them.

Water for Christmas all year long

Several of you got excited about giving the gift of water after my first gift post back on November 13. Others bought yummy Christmas goodies from me and donated the cost to water or came to the alternative gift market in December and bought water gifts. While I do not intend to turn our family blog into an advertising campaign for all my favorite charities, I wanted to mention an opportunity for those of you who are excited about the simplicity of making a difference through giving water. We've been doing it for the past year, and I just signed up to do it again this year. It's so easy. Water for Christmas, a movement through charity: water, has a monthly recurring giving option. $20 gives clean water to one person for 20 years. That means $20 per month for 12 months changes the lives of 12 people forever. (What makes me especially excited is that it changes the lives of 12 Liberian people, and you know that we're big fans of Liberians.) I could tell you how enthusiastic I am about this simple opportunity, but I'd rather let you hear the enthusiasm from the woman who started the Water for Christmas movement in November 2008. Click over and read her dream of changing the desperate situation in Liberia 12 people at a time. Then consider whether you should be a voice for water starting today. If you want to join us, it takes about a minute (2 if you're slow) to do it with a PayPal account. If you don't have an account, you can make monthly donations by credit card or check.

05 January 2010

Christmas pictures

A full report on our Christmas celebrations will have to wait a bit longer, so I'm hoping that lots of pictures of our 3 day Christmas marathon will suffice for another few days. Stay tuned for pictures from the New Year-ish celebrations soon.

04 January 2010

simple but important things

We now have hot water and heat for the first time in 74 hours, and I just took a wonderful hot shower! As I hear the news about the "code blue" here in Norristown and Philadelphia and the efforts to get homeless people indoors during these frigid days, I am reminded how blessed we are that our chilly few days were only a temporary inconvenience while others a few blocks from here are in danger.

01 January 2010

happy new year from the Bowersoxes

We've been very busy visiting and celebrating for over a week, and the fun doesn't end until tomorrow evening. I just wanted to check in long enough to say Happy New Year to all of you. I'll be back to blogging after the weekend with lots of pictures from our holiday festivities and a report on how our plans to honor Christmas worked out this year.