Ethan, Not a Kevin Lehman Fan?

Yesterday, while Ethan and I were looking for some books in our personal library (too many are *still* in boxes!), I pulled out another book (a book by Kevin Lehman) that might be good to have on hand in the days to come. Fortunately, it’s not a book we’ve needed too much yet, but you know what they say about prevention!

Anyway, Ethan had something to say about it …

Making Moments 2.0

Last March I wrote a post called Making Moments where I listed some of the days we will always remember.

Making moments is a good discipline. Most of us are accustomed to marking days like birthdays and anniversaries. But what about other days? What days you mark?

As we near the one-year mark of some of the best moments in our lives, I recently reviewed the posts we wrote (and the comments of others) while we were in Korea (February 2008) as well as the days before and after. I’m so grateful that we blogged in Korea. Not only did it give us a great connection point with others, but it also put some things in writing that we would have otherwise forgotten.

As I reviewed the events we wrote about, I realized there were things I had already forgotten. For example, we remember (very well) Ethan screaming for an hour and a half on the evening we picked him up from his foster family at the Social Welfare Society. And we remember him screaming a little while when he woke up in the middle of the night. But while we also remember him screaming the next morning, I forgot how long he screamed on our first full day together. As we wrote that day, Ethan screamed for 4 hours that morning!

There were other little things too. And it’s not because we have bad memories. In fact, for months after we got back from Korea, it seemed that I had daily flashbacks of being in Korea; they were so vivid, it was like I was actually there.

Those flashbacks are fewer and further in between now. But I want to do all I can to remember those moments, to mark them, so that we will be able to tell Ethan that part of his story (and our story) someday.

How do you mark the moments in your life so that you will remember and celebrate them?

Home Rules

Last Sunday my sermon was based on the book of Galatians where Paul’s main point is that we don’t live by rules anymore. If we rely upon the law then we rob the cross of its power. We rely solely upon God’s grace. But Paul also says that this does not lead to lawlessness, but to mature Christian living.

Seems like I’ve been talking a lot about rules lately. Last week’s sermon was based on Reuben P. Job’s Three Simple Rules (see post). Job, in his book, which is an interpretation of Wesley’s Rules and Paul in Galatians point to one rule … the rule of love.

Jesus says the law and prophets are summed up in one rule: love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind; love your neighbor as yourself.

I came across a set of “Home Rules” that are based on “Love one another.”

Always be honest.

Count your blessings.

Bear each other’s burdens.

Be kind and tender hearted.

Comfort one another.

Keep your promises.

Be supportive of one another.

Be true to each other.

Look after each other.

Treat each other like you treat your friends

but most important

Love One Another, deeply from the heart.

Snow Day

Last year, after we brought Ethan home from Korea (mid-February), winter was already well under way in central PA, but Ethan didn’t seem too interested in snow at the time.

This year, Ethan’s first experience with snow was the trucks that come and plow the church parking lot, usually while he’s sleeping. It scared Ethan the first two or three times (not only does he hear the plow, he feels it each time the truck drops its plow on the parking lot). It still wakes him but it doesn’t seem to scare him anymore (but he does like for us to hold him so he can watch the truck plow the lot).

Today, we got our biggest snowstorm of the year so far and Ethan got to watch cars, buses, and trucks (including snow plows) drive in the snow on Nichols Street. He also got to do a little snow shoveling in the back yard with his new toy shovel that he got for Christmas.

Here are some photos from the day …

What a Year!

New Year’s happens to be one of my favorite times of the year. I think it has something to do with new beginnings and fresh starts. It’s an opportunity to look back and reflect on where I’ve been, and then move on to new adventures!

I’ll admit, though, that I’m a little sad to say goodbye to 2008 because it has been such an amazing year. As 2008 goes into the history books tonight, we pause to give thanks to God for an incredible year!

We entered 2008 living in Mooresville, furiously finishing up dissertations, and *waiting* for a call that the boy we were adopting was approved for travel. Near the end of January, we completed our first full drafts of our dissertations. And a day after emailing them to our mentor, we got the call that Ethan was approved for travel.

We traveled to Korea on February 5, 2008 (read about the 30-hour trip here). While in Korea, we wrote 20 posts, which included 30 photos, and even though we were approximately 7,000 miles from home, we were able to communicate with family and friends through the blog. More than 70 comments were posted during our time in Korea.

Our time in Korea was an amazing experience all around! To this day, most nights during our family devotional time at Ethan’s bedtime, we pray for our friends in Korea, especially the (then) 5-year-old daughter of one of the members of the small group; she had been battling cancer (we wrote a post about the small group).

One of the easiest ways to read the posts from February 2008 is to go to the archives page, and click on February 2008 to see all the posts from that month. Posts from 2/6 to 2/15 cover the entire trip. And there’s always the Ethan’s Adoption link at the top of the page for a more in-depth summary of the experience (with links).

But in February the year was just getting started, and a couple months after returning home, we were asked to consider moving to new appointments. In late June, we moved to Clearfield, where we have enjoyed spending the last half of the year getting acclimated in new ministries.

What an amazing year, indeed!

So at the end of 2008, we are grateful for all of God’s gifts, and we look forward to new adventures in 2009!

Christmas is Fun!

After we got up this morning, we brought Ethan downstairs to the Christmas tree. It didn’t take him long to start checking things out. We read a Christmas devotional and prayer then Ethan began opening gifts.

Opening gifts was a very slow process — about all morning, including a break for breakfast, not because there were so many gifts as much as he took time to play with each gift before moving on to the next one — but it was fun!

After some time playing with his new toys, Ethan was ready for a nap. During Ethan’s nap, we connected our camera and computer to the TV and reviewed the photos and video we shot during the morning as well as some video clips of Ethan from the past 10 months of our life together.

It’s a good time to celebrate God’s blessings!

The Night Before Christmas

Even though we celebrated Christmas in February earlier this year (a week after bringing Ethan home from Korea), this will be our first Christmas (in December) with Ethan, so it’s a very exciting time for us!

It’s also a busy time. I had a Christmas Eve service at Centre Grove tonight at 7:00 pm and Joleen had services at 7:00 pm and 11:00 pm, which is probably finishing up as I write.

We put Ethan to bed between services (Grammy and Pappy are here too). As we dressed Ethan for bed and prepared for devotion, I kept telling Ethan, “Tomorrow is Christmas, tomorrow is Christmas …” He didn’t really seem to get it, though. 🙂

After EBT (“Ethan’s Bed Time”), we wrapped Ethan’s gifts and placed them under the tree. We are looking forward to our first Christmas morning with Ethan. He loves the tree, and likes to turn on the lights, and it will be interesting to see how he reacts to it in the morning.

One of the photos below is from the second round of professional photos we’ve had taken (see the first from March 2008 here). The others are of our Christmas tree.

It’s the night before Christmas. Tomorrow is Christmas!

More Family, Food and Gifts

Last month, we began our Christmas celebration while visiting family in Tennessee (at Thanksgiving). There, Ethan received Christmas gifts from grandparents. Today, we had our annual Christmas gathering with the Flaughs in Roaring Spring, PA.

Families exchange names of the children at the Thanksgiving gathering and buy Christmas gifts for them. As you’ll notice in the photos below, Ethan didn’t waste any time putting his gifts into action; he also really enjoyed the guitar Hannah got for Christmas!

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

What an amazing Christmas this is already! It’s wonderful to experience things through the eyes of Ethan. Everything is new and larger than life!

Here’s a little of what we’ve been up to.

Weekend before last was the Christmas Parade in Clearfield. Tradition has Santa arriving by train. It was so cold, we looked for another option. We enjoyed “Breakfast with Santa” at the Agricultural Building at the Fairgrounds sponsored by the Fire Co. It was a scrumptious breakfast and it was Ethan’s first encounter with Santa and Mrs. Claus. He wasn’t so sure of the strange-looking couple, but the relaxed atmosphere allowed Mom to sit with Ethan in her lap beside Santa.

This weekend, we went shopping in Altoona. The Logan Valley Mall has a train for children to ride. Ethan saw the train and he literally ran back and forth, running beside, chasing after the train. I took that as a cue that he just might be ready to ride and he did.

Ethan walked through the gate, taking the hand of a stranger, letting her buckle him in the seat, and he never looked back at Mommy and Daddy. It was amazing. He is growing up so quickly! He hardly looked at us when he would ride by in the train. He was so enamored with all the other sights and sounds.

We also visited the “Holiday Lights on the Lake” at Lakemont Park. I brought Ethan up to the front seat of the car to sit on my lap so he could see better. At first, he was so taken with all the lights and buttons on the dashboard that he didn’t care anything about the lights. Daddy dimmed the dashboard and soon his attention went to the light displays. His favorite was riding through the tunnel of lights — it is a neat effect!

Following the ride through the park, there is a shop with Santa and a model train display. Ethan again ran to the model train display when he saw it. It is a grand display with several trains running here and there and the middle is filled with amusement park rides turning this way and that.

On Saturday, Grammy and Pappy came for a visit. The first thing Ethan did was take them in to see the Christmas tree. He even turned the lights on all by himself!

Sunday morning was the children’s program at West Side UMC. Ethan was a cow in the manger scene. He went right up and sat down, but only for a few seconds before beginning to wander around and visit and wave at people. It was a lovely program and it was wonderfully exciting to see Ethan in his first play!

Thank you, God, for the gift of celebrating the birth of your Son with our son!


In the months before we brought Ethan home from Korea, a friend told us about teaching her children sign language even before they were able to communicate with words.

One of the first signs we taught Ethan was “more” (to help us know if he was still hungry and wanted more food). And recently, we’ve been working on increasing the number of words/signs Ethan is able to communicate, including: banana, cold (which he also uses for “hot,” at the moment), finished (we use “all gone,” and it’s a modified version of the official sign), water (a hard word to sign so Ethan uses his own version), and his favorite, milk!

Signing is a fun way to communicate with Ethan and we’ll try to continue to expand his signing vocabulary. We’re currently working on car (which has been one of his favorite spoken words) and bath.

You might enjoy checking out a fun/helpful baby signing video dictionary (American Sign Language) which uses an animated baby to demonstrate the sign (there are also written instructions included as well). The site shows how to sign quite a few words, including the ones mentioned above. Check it out.

What has been your experience with signing (and perhaps teaching children how to sign)?