Monday, June 30, 2008


Dear friends and family,

We are so excited to announce to the WORLD that we are adopting a child from Ethiopia! We started seriously considering adopting in September 07. We had our homestudy in February (We passed!) and completed our dossier just last week (compiling the paperwork was difficult while living abroad). I have it in my suitcase ready to mail today!

As I blogged day in and day out, I have wanted to share all the details with you, but I wanted to tell my Mom first and I wanted to talk with her face to face about it. As most of you know, we live in the Middle East and I had to wait until our summer break and our visit home to talk with her. I was nervous about telling her, but she reacted very well. She wasn't overly excited about the news, but she accepted it well and has asked some good questions.

Our plans are to adopt a little boy or girl, 3-6 years old. Our children at home are 7, 10, and 12. Our family is so excited, a little nervous, humbled, and happy to be adding another little one. Since we are finished with most of our paperwork, we will now be waiting for a referral and it could take many months. I will keep you posted with any news, but I think this part is mostly just WAITING!

SO, that is our BIG are invited to join with us on our adoption "ride" by praying for and anticipating the arrival of the new Collins kid!

Monday, June 23, 2008

BIG NEWS for the COLLINS family

We have some really great news coming soon!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

We are back in TEXAS

We got here on Saturday....our flight arrived in Washington D.C. Friday night and we stayed in a hotel overnight and flew out Sat. morning. I think that helped with the jetlag. The flight was from Doha was loooooong and by the time we got to D.C. every seam on my clothes was bothering me. On the flight, I watched 3 movies, 5 episodes of Friends and played video games (remember Centipede) and I don't even like video games. The kids were so good. Having the on demand movies and games is great for them! I think the Doha to D.C. flight was around 14 hours.

We are still going to bed early and waking up early, but last night everyone slept through the night and I am the only one up at 5:45, which is normal for some people, I understand.

We are having a good time. Everything is so GREEN and lush and beautiful. The kids are going to Vacation Bible School at mom's church every evening and we went to the library yesterday to stock up on books.

Life is good!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The New Kid

We have a new Compassion kid! Meet Bereket!

Bereket lives with his aunt. He is 11 years old. His aunt is sometimes employed. Bereket works at home running errands and cleaning. Soccer and hide-and-seek are Bereket's favorite activities.

In primary school his performance is average and he also regularly attends church activities.Please remember Bereket in your prayers.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Goodbye Doha!

Some photos of Doha for you.
It has been extremely dusty here lately. It is like a heavy fog that covers everything.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Happy Birthday to Cole!

Our oldest turned 12 and we celebrated by eating lots of chocolate....his favorite! Yes, that is a twix being dipped in chocolate! He had a few friends over for gaming, movies and a sleepover. They had a good time! We couldn't be prouder of you, Cole. We are so blessed to have you as a son!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Good book!

I am reading a really good book, How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. I have picked this book up now and then over the years and read bits and pieces of it, but I am attempting to read the WHOLE book this time. It is so good and such a good reminder. Of course, with every parenting book you have to take the good and skim over the not as good. The first part is excellent though. It deals with helping children deal with their feelings. I am going to give you the basics and if you want more, you should really get this book.

It is based on the idea that children need to have their feelings accepted and respected...even the bad, ugly feelings.

The way to do this is...

1. Listen quietly and attentively. (Instead of half listening while also watching tv, etc)
2. Acknowlege their feelings with a word. Like "Oh..." "Mmmmm" or "I see" (instead of asking a barrage of questions)
3. You can give their feelings a name. (instead of denying the feeling) "That sounds frustrating!"
4. You can give your child his wishes in a fantasy. (instead of long explanations and logic) "I wish I could make that banana ripe for you right now"

All feelings can be accepted, certain actions must be limited.

The typical way of dealing with your children's feelings is

DENYING your child's feelings....with comments like "There's no reason to be upset."
the PHILISOPHICAL respons...."Look, life is like that. Things don't always turn out the way we want them too."
giving ADVICE...."You know what I think you should do?"
asking too many QUESTIONS....
DEFENDING the other person involved....
PITY...."Oh you poor little thing. I feel so sorry for you."
AMATEUR PSYCHOANALYSIS...."Let's figure out the real reason you are so upset...blah, blah, blah"

What our children (and spouses and friends) need is an EMPATHETIC response where we attempt to tune into their feelings. It doesn't come naturally for most of us. Most of us grew up having our feelings denied and that is what we do to our children. But when someone is hurting or angry or sad they do not want our advice, psychology, philosophy or pity.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Good stuff!

I wanted to share a couple of good recipes from my cooking class with you...

Balsamic Roast Beef- When I was growing up, I thought the only way to cook roast beef was to buy a chuck roast or bottom roast and cook it hours and hours until it was fall apart tender (I still love this kind of roast!) This is a recipe for a different roast beef. I'm not sure how you can even call it roasted, because it cooks for such a short time, but it is DELICIOUS and easy and great for serving guest and family, both.

1 beef tenderloin
1 T lemon zest
1 t ginger, chopped
1 garlic clove, choppped
1 T soy sauce
3 T balsamic vinegar
5 T olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 t cayenne or chili pepper

1. Make marinade. Mix lemon zest, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and cayenne pepper.
2. Let the tenderloin marinate for 8 hours
3. Sear the tenderloin on high heat in a fry pan. Reserve marinade.
4. Bake tenderloin for 15 minutes (very rare), 20 minutes (med. rare-pink), 30 minutes (well).
5. Serve with marinade. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Update on Children's HopeChest Ethiopia

Our church here in Doha is giving $2500 toward the launch of Children's Hopechest in Ethiopia. Just wanted to share the good news!

We've been busy!

mekedes turned 25!! we celebrated by going to the local Ethiopian restuarant and having cake at home. the cake was so good with chocolate/peanut butter ganache icing. my two big kids were not impressed with Ethiopian food. we had to walk past a butcher shop with whole goats/sheep hanging in the window, so that kind of turned them off before we ever got into the door.

will performed his poetry during the 1st grade Writer's Cafe, followed by his end of the year music concert.

abbey dressed up as Dian Fossey and gave an outstanding report about her life work with gorillas during the "Day of Notables" wax museum, followed by her class concert. the next evening she performed with the concert choir and I actually caught it on video. I am going to try to post one of the songs. they were so good. I know I'm bragging!!

Been Sewing!

I made a new quilt top. I have 4 quilt tops done and hopefully will get them quilted this summer. For some odd reason, I get very crafty when I have a deadline looming. I made fabric bags to hold gifts for my oldest two children just hours before my third child was born. The closer it gets to our departure the more I want to sew. I have another quilt top in mind....we will see if I get to it.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

How do you like my new look? I had my blog stylized by Nikki at Blogs for a Cause. She is a college student that designs blogs for a mere $20....she gives $5 of that to charity. She put a link on my blog, if you ever need a new look for yours.

Oh yeah, only 10 more days!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Where I'm From

We have two more weeks of school! We reallly only have 8 1/2 days, because the kids have 1/2 days on Tuesdays and get out at noon on the last day (Thursday). When you consider field trips, choir concerts, and presentations, it is a safe bet that they aren't going to be doing much work these last few days.

I am so excited to be going home. My husband asked the other day, why I disliked Doha so much. I don't dislike Doha at all. I like it. I like our life here, my friends, our church! But, Texas is my home and I long to be there and see my family!

So, I wrote something. It is called Where I'm From and I first read this one on Owlhaven's website. You might want to write your own. It is easy using a guide found here It was fun and a little emotional for me all things considered.

Where I'm From

I am from "don't blink or you'll miss it" with stores named for the person that owned them, like "Bill's" or "Tom's" or "Billy Jack's" From long, dirt roads, slick and muddy when it rained and clouds of dust in the hot, dry summer. From towering pine trees and strong, thick pecan trees that would break before they would bend. Pitch dark nights with stars like city kids have never seen.

I am from red brick ranch style framed by trees and sky, country living and acres of land to explore. I am from fields of watermelon, corn, potatoes, squash, beans, hay and cows and horses.

I am from delicate dogwoods and bold azaleas, the first signs of spring. From the Big Thicket and the Neches river. From green, green grass and trees and rivers and lakes.

I am from deer hunters, hard workers and bible believers. I am from big family get togethers, all of us, Mike, Tricia, Cindy, Joan and me, husbands and wives, nieces and nephews, grandkids and always a few extras. I am from Jordans and Griffiths, from James Robert and Eleanor. From Thanksgivings and Christmases and 4th of July.

I am from RV camping in the heat of summer, swimming at Hen House ridge, and visits to the "big" cities to stay with my older brother and sisters. From Tyler County youth riders, Louisiana fox hunts, rodeos and county fairs for fun. I am from all-day shopping trips to the mall with my mama and sisters. From sewing and cooking and cleaning together.

From "Sometimes you gotta make that extra push." and "There's my pretty girl." And from "I'm just a baby." which I will never live down.

I am from First Baptist Church, every time the doors were open and Pirate basketball on Friday nights. From the game of "Life" or "Pay Day" with my sister and "42" learned by watching my daddy and mama play. I am from Brady Bunch and Happy Days and every once and a while The Wonderful World of Disney on one of our three channels.

I am from small town Texas, chicken dumplings, bar-b-que chicken, fish frys and fresh garden vegetables cooked with a little bacon grease. From driving one town over for Pizza Hut on Sunday nights and for steak finger baskets and dip cones at Dairy Queen.

I am from Easter sunrise services, sitting in lawn chairs in the chilled air and cedar Christmas trees found in the woods behind the house. From the memory of daddy singing "when the roll is called up yonder" and the memory of the day when he went home.

I am from photos in boxes and albums and frames recording a blessed life. Memories of faith and family so valuable no price could be placed on them.