Saturday, January 22, 2011

God has weaved a beautiful web of relationships in the last year for our family and many others. There might be a day when I can express the miracle He worked when He connected us with so many people who are fighting for the same little ones we adore. Until then, just trust me when I say that it's just a miracle. Plain and simple.

One of the life-changing relationships God replanted in our life was with a high school friend of Jason's. Her name is Erica Rust, and oddly enough, she married a DIFFERENT Jason Rust of the same high school in Ozark, MO. We have grown to know and admire the work she does in Sierra Leone, Africa.

It is the poorest country on the face of the Earth. She has an amazing story of saving orphans from a terrible existence in a wretched home. There are now 80+ children who live in the home bought by her organization, The Raining Season. The 30 adult workers take such good care of the kids, and the Erica has found sponsors who provide clothing and many of their basic needs. Several of these sponsors SKYPE with their sponsored children every week.

We have 3 friends we've known for 7 years who are now traveling with Erica to The Covering (the name of the home where the kids live). Today, they fed 5000 orphans in Kroo Bay, the trash dump of Sierra Leone. They will meet the children in the home tomorrow and spend a week with them. One of the days they are there, they will travel to a children's hospital, where only 1 child per month leaves alive. When 19 of the team members return at the end of 9 days, Erica will stay behind to meet with the Minister of Social Welfare to petition for the ban on international adoption to be lifted. She has put in countless hours working on the actual writing of the law to allow for international adoption, and it passed in December. Now, if the ban is lifted, 20+ children will be leaving The Covering and going to their forever homes with the families who have been waiting to bring them home. This will, in turn, allow the Raining Season to serve additional children in the community who are still in need. PRAISE GOD!

We have another very close friend who will be traveling there in about a month to do some physical therapy for the children and love on them as well.

Check out the Raining Season blog and website:

Here's a great video I've already posted in an earlier post, but it moves me every single time I see the conditions these beautiful babies and people live in. Just watch it. You won't be sorry.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Snapshots of the sweeties

Life at the Rust house:

Making Christmas cookies together included the donning of our new matching aprons from my mom (Mama Cookie). Look close, and you can see "mom" embroidered on mine. The girls each have their initial on their's, but you can't see it in the picture. Evan and Claire were both a big help. Check out the masterpiece Evan created! Sophie just ate the sprinkles, mainly.

Evan lost another tooth, can you tell? Anyone else notice the lovely milk mustache, too?

Claire got a new leotard for her new dance class and it's like pulling teeth to get her out of it.

The kids got a new easel for Christmas and have since turned into little Picaso's. I love their art work and find myself wondering if I missed my calling to be a children's art teacher----not because I'm good at art, but because I have developed this great satisfaction with kid art. I love hanging it all over our house. It makes a mom proud.

This is the best shot I could get at Claire's dance class. It will have to serve as the "first dance class" picture, since I forgot on her actual first dance night.

And, for the grand finale, my favorites from the last few weeks. I dare you not to smile when you look at's impossible for mommy and daddy. These were taken before church this week. They are two peas in a pod (most of the time!).

Monday, January 17, 2011


We are ready to claw through the concrete and see our babies. Lord, let it come soon.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Take me out to the ballgame

Making her world debut, here is Sophie with her hit "Take me out to the ballgame." She's been stealing the show all over Missouri with this number. Her back-up singer seems to want all the attention. He might have to get his own show someday.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The view from here

Please excuse the very last picture of me. It's a really worn-out first time mommy right after giving birth. Not exactly a "kodak" moment, but a life-changing one, for sure!

I'm sorry for all of you who want to hear how bad my life is.........I just don't have those words tonight. All I have is praise to Jesus for the life I live. I don't deserve one single moment of it.

I refer to this time as the "mountain top." I feel like it simply could not be better.
I've spent the better part of my days looking ahead to this time, and I believe I'll spend the rest of my days reminiscing about this very short stage of life.

I have always dreamed about having a handsome husband who revolves his life around God, me and his kids. Got it.

I have always dreamed about having numerous (a house full) of ankle-biters calling me Mommy. Got it.

I have always dreamed about being a teacher and enjoying snow days and lazy summer days with my kids. Got it.

I have always dreamed about having a yellow lab who spends his days laying by the fire. Instead, I got a yellow lab who has tumors everywhere and licks his body 24/7===pausing only to pass gas and run everyone out of the room.

I was talking to someone tonight about this year being my "grand finale" with teaching and it hit me. I am about to turn another page in this very brief chapter of my life. This sweet time with the first 3 children God blessed me with is about to pass. I am excited, of course, to move on to the next, even crazier, chapter; however, I want the world to know how much I absolutely love this one.

Call me crazy, but I went in to work over Christmas break one day when the girls were in preschool and Evan was at his mama's house. As I sat at my desk, my memory was flooded with all the time I've had with Evan in the mornings and afternoons in my classroom. It is exactly how I always wanted it: teaching in the school where my children attend. This year, I am teaching literally next door to his class. I can hear him sneeze in the middle of my lessons and be comforted in knowing how close he is. I am crying even as I type this, knowing how soon this will be over. It has been a lifetime of work to get to this point, and it's about to be over. It's very bittersweet.

My little Claire-Bear was my baby for so short a time. She became a big sister at the young age of 15 months. Since then, I've tried desperately to make sure she gets everything she needs and everything she deserves. I don't want to slight her at all, since she is the "middle" child. She is just as precious (if not MORE) as all her brothers and sisters, and I want her to know it. She went to her first dance class tonight. I had visions of bringing her home from the hospital when she was only 24 hours old and then fast-forwarded to a vision of her dancing with her daddy at her wedding. I know it will happen so fast----I'm trying not to blink. I could've watched her dance tonight forever.

Our sweet Sophie girl has been such a gift to us. She saved us from ourselves, we think. If not for her, we believe we'd be decently comfortable and MUCH less stressed out. We might even have time to think about ourselves every once-in-a-while. Tonight, as I rocked her before laying her in her bed (yes, I know you're thinking that she will be 3 in a month, but she is my BABY, people), she said "Mommy, I'm hungwy." I let out the most authentic laugh I've had in a while, because her little voice brought me the most satisfying pure joy. Her sweet little chipmunk voice will be gone before we know it.

We are excited that Evan will know what life was like before his Ethiopian siblings came home, and thrilled at the same time that Sophie will not remember life without 4 siblings.

I hope I never ever forget what this chapter felt like. I cherish it. The view from here is breathtaking. Thank you Jesus for letting me live even one day in these shoes.