Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A little bit of recently....

Planking and drooling, that's some talent!
Figured out his name, by himself, without us prompting or showing
Some last days with two teeth...top ones are swollen and ready to drop any day.
Caleb's best bud Sadie and younger brother Tristan, BBQ on our roof
Starting some solids...so far, sweet potatoes and bananas are her favorite.
Enjoying Daddy time
Crawling everywhere, gaining speed.
We hosted and made pizza for 10 adults and 8 (young!) kids...It was a lot of fun and a lot of food. These were our 7 pizzas waiting for toppings and baking.  And this is my kitchen and computer station, smile. Now you can picture me blogging! And cooking dinner....
P.S. Don't ever let me hear you say your home is too small to host people or large groups at...we live in an apartment and we regularly have large groups over....It isn't about having "a big house," people.
Steve reading to Littles.
First pair of jeans.
Baby jeans are just so cute!!
Sleeping beauty baby!
This is not a regular scene in our home these days, the past 6-8 weeks have been pretty miserable in the sleep and nap department...a great prayer request!
Babysitting for friends, no sleep over is complete without games we were told!
Or bedtime stories...and grumpy looks, apparently.
I have never met someone with a bigger imagination....And he's always got a plan and a story.
Check out that ladle!
He "reads" to her (aka recites the books he has memorized)!
My heart melts!
Sibling love.
 Entertaining Sissy!
"Protecting" himself from Sissy...
She's thinking, "hmmm...how can I get past this one...!?"
His suit from Auntie Renee's wedding is his favorite thing to wear...so he "can be just like Daddy." Not sure what we'll do when he outgrows it....My handsome men of the house.
And our little lady.
Keeps me laughing!
Korean American Friendship Festival 2013
I got out for an all-day adventure in Seoul with some dear girl friends.  It was great to "get away", go shopping, enjoy some nummy food (we tried Kimchi fries!! I'll take you if you come visit me!), go shopping and enjoy good company.  It was a gorgeous fall day and a refreshing, fun time "away."
You only have 13 days left to buy one of these limited edition tshirts and help us fund our adoption!
We have sold 52 shirts and have 198 to go to reach our goal.
There are a few pictures from our recently...What have you been up to?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

T shirts for sale!

We are excited to announce the next phase in our adoption fund raising. Steve designed this T-shirt and we are selling it to benefit our adoption. A percentage of each T-shirt will be sent directly to Small World Adoption Agency, on our behalf, and that percentage goes up as we sell more T-Shirts. If we reach our goal, we will make almost 60% of the profits. Thank you for considering our fundraiser and if you would like, please feel free to share on your own blog, facebook page, twitter account etc. We really appreciate your support...as I write, we have 22 days to sell 220 more shirts.

Curious? Interested?  You can check out our design and our fundraising page by clicking HERE.

This is what Steve wrote about our shirts:

Design Details

The design is meant to show the importance of Child adoption to our family while also reminding anyone who is in Christ of their Heavenly adoption.

The verses placed under the heart beat are there to remind us that the HEARTBEAT of every Christian is our adoption as into God's family. This adoption was so impactful that God says our HEARTS have been changed to call out to God as father. "Abba! Father!"

The words "This Family's Heartbeat" are very dear to us. Our families HEARTBEAT has always been the place we have as sons of God, and more recently our HEARTS have been molded to what we see in scripture as at the very HEART of God; caring for orphans.

So Child Adoption has become a new part of our families HEARTBEAT! Please help us in our pursuit of our child by purchasing one of these T-Shirts!

        Then once you have purchased yours,
                   spread the word for us!



Friday, September 27, 2013


You know it's a good story when you receive a book on Tuesday and finish it on Thursday of the same week without an excuse of nothing to do or too much time on your hands!  "Unplanned" by Abby Johnson kept me up late, got me up early and found its way into my purse to follow me around to the park with the kids.
This past Tuesday the thrift store was giving away free books. Steve had a chance to stop over and check out the selection and this was one of his finds. I had never heard of it before but it immediately intrigued me. Half way through the first chapter I was hooked. 
This is the story of Abby Johnson, a former employee at Planned Parenthood.  Regardless of which side of the fence you stand on - pro-life or pro-choice - this book is worth your time.  Abby does not condemn either side.  In fact, she is quick to point out that she has friends on both sides and that there are "good people" on both sides.  she says it best in the introduction:
"To this day I have friends on both sides of this polarizing debate. We all long for a story that shows that "our" side is right and good and "their" side is wrong and bad, don't we?  But I testify that there is good and right and wrong on both sides of the fence. And even more shocking - we have far more in common with the "other" side than we might imagine.  But don't slam this book (or this review!) shut because of what I've just said. Read it for that very reason....

So what side of the fence are you on?  In all likelihood as you look through the fence, you see faulty thinking and harmful behavior on the other side. Here's my question for you: are you ready to look through the fence and see goodness, compassion, generosity and self sacrifice on the other side too?  Did you feel yourself just squirm? If so, welcome to my journey (pg. xx)"
Her point being, that a person can have good intentions and motives, even if on an opposing side of the fence.  She is quite clear throughout her story about her change of heart, that she now realizes that abortion is murder - it really is a LIFE that is being taken - but she shares that before becoming pro life her motives were not necessarily in the wrong place. She had good intentions, she just was believing a lie.  She felt duped. And she regretted not coming to her own convictions and doing her own research sooner. 

This is the beautiful story of Abby's journey into Planned Parenthood, her time spent there trying to help women and her jolting realization during an ultrasound guided abortion that pregnancy was not a mere "medical condition" but a living baby inside a living woman.
It is also a testimony of the power of prayer and a story filled with how prayer changes things.  For years The Coalition for Life had stood outside the Planned Parenthood building she ran.  They prayed, they were kind, they were friendly.  Daily she saw them praying and one day she realized the power of their prayers.  In her book she documents the years they prayed and how their prayers finally prevailed, changing her life.
Her book had several strong "take aways" for me:
One of which, was to consider the ways I/we go about trying to make changes or address abortion (and other hot topics).  She shared early in her story of protestors dressing up as the Grim Reaper and standing outside the clinic, of protestors shouting hurtful words and radicals slinging accusations outside her clinic.  She also talks about abortionists who were gunned down by "pro-life" members.  And she shares how un-helpful these demonstrations were.  If anything, she felt they rallied and bonded the pro choice staff in a common dislike of "the other side."  She also shares the quiet presence of faithful prayer warriors day in and day out that stood outside her clinic.  She shares of the kindness they showed.  The smiles they gave her each day. The flowers and card telling her they were praying for her.  She saw genuine care and love and concern from them and in the end, this is what won her respect.  I think it can be easy to get caught up in "I'm in the right" and share your "rightness" in ways that does more harm than good.  It doesn't matter how "right" you might be on a topic if you treat others wrongly in the process. This was a good reminder.
Another was a strong reminder of the power of prayer.  This must be a theme for me this year.  Just 8 months ago, Evelyn Grace's birth and recovery was one of the most powerful examples of prayer that I have ever personally experienced.  I literally have never felt prayer so strongly around me, felt so brought before the Lord in prayer, had so many people praying for me/my family or seen it so strongly at work.  This book was another - less personal but powerful nonetheless - example of how faithful prayers do make a difference.  These people prayed for over 2 years for Abby (a stranger to them) and the clinic.  They could have easily had reason to give up and move on, as they saw no immediate answers to their prayers. Yet they persisted and saw answered prayer in the end. 
Whatever you are praying for - keep praying! Don't stop pleading with the Lord....He is Faithful!
I was also struck by how human we all are - every single one of us.  None of us is perfect. We may think we have the "right answer" or are on the "right side" but we always have more to learn, we can always grow in humility and it is important to realize those you  might "oppose" (and therefore easily villain -ize in your own mind), are only human after all. They have feelings and emotions and lives too. They have their own battles and demons and hurts.  They are likely more similar to you than you care to realize...."treat others like you want to be treated" could not be more true.  Why do we think, because someone is on the opposite "side" of us that it gives us cause to treat them wrongly?  None of that is to say that one can't share your views or talk to someone about their wrong beliefs but it is to say that there is a right and a wrong way of doing it and the motive needs to come from a right heart, a humble spirit and from genuine love and a desire to restore, not a desire to be "right."
Lastly, this book made me think of the unborn.  I think of abortion and the lives lost and the unborn on occasion but it isn't frequently before my eyes and therefore is something easy to forget about.  I go through phases of passionately praying or thinking of the unborn and the topic of abortion but it isn't always as lasting and consistent as I would like.  This book renewed my desire to pray (and see the importance of it).  Will you pray? Right now? This week? And continue?  Pray for both sides of the fence, for the unborn victims in it and for eyes to be opened? 
I encourage you to check this book out for yourself - whichever "side" you might find yourself on - and challenge yourself to a new perspective and a renewed vision.  This book is sure to draw you in, change you and challenge you!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Just wow.

I ask the Lord to do things but I am still surprised when He answers my prayers.  I trust 100% that the Lord will bring in the funds we need for this adoption.  How do I know this? Because He has to.  We feel He is calling us to adopt and if indeed He is calling us to this, we know He will have to provide for it simply because we know we can't. It is a humbling and really cool place to be when you are asked to do something and you are absolutely unable to do it on your own.  The cost of this adoption is several times more than our annual income so if the child is to come home to us any time in the near future it will only be because of God's provision. And once again, He has provided in a way that I can't NOT share with you!

Our next step in the adoption process is to submit our dossier.  We have it together but did not realize that we needed an additional $2400 to be able to submit it (processing and translation fees - the entire huge file has to be translated, what a process!).  We knew we would have to pay this fee at some point but did not realize it was NOW.  This was discouraging because it felt daunting to come up with these funds and it meant delaying our dossier further, which was disappointing.

We were encouraged recently by an unexpected check that arrived at our parent's house for our adoption....it was recently deposited in our adoption account and was a generous start but where was the rest going to come from?

So this past week, I resolved to pray about it (why do we so often wait to come to the Lord?! If only we would learn...!!).  I prayed this week that the Lord would place it on people's hearts to donate. I prayed that He would unexpectedly bless people financially this week and that out of that abundance they would choose to bless our adoption fund.  We prayed and we began some fundraising plans.

This Sunday at Church some friends handed us an envelope and told us it was for our adoption.

Sundays are very busy days and we had to wait until much later that day to have a chance to open their gift.  Of course it shouldn't have surprised us as much as it did that it was a very generous check. We were completely blown away and brought to tears over this generosity and answered prayer. 

In bed last night I was thinking a lot about this....and then I had another thought.

For almost a year we have been stashing away "random" money in our adoption folder (the huge binder with all of our adoption paperwork, letters from people who have donated etc).  If we were given an unexpected gift or had earned a little extra money babysitting, money someone had gifted us or had sold something we didn't need any more, we had been sticking it in a ziplock bag for our adoption....we had intentionally tried not to keep track of this extra money, waiting for "just the right time" to add it up and use it towards our adoption.  Of course this was just that time!

And I am sure you have guessed by now that when I added those "random" gifts and "extra" income up, together with the two recent donations we received, we have the $2400 we need for our dossier sitting on our living room couch.

That's right.  Hello Dossier Submission!

We have all the funds we need to submit our dossier this week.


Just wow.

The Lord once again has provided for the next step in this adoption process.  Stay tuned for more stories of Him bringing in the needed funds.  It is an exciting thing to watch happen!

If you would like to be a part of this story and what the Lord is doing in our family and in the life of this soon-to-be-Houser, please check out our donation page here!

Thank you to all who have donated and those who have set up recurring donations and those who will donate again and those who are yet to donate.  We pray often for you, we pray the Lord pours blessings on your head for the ways in which you have blessed us. We pray the Lord provides for your needs and that in your abundance you will help us bring our baby home.  We thank Him for the many ways He is at work and for His provision.  Thank you for joining us on this adventure.

To Be Continued....!

The Waiting Child

A Book Review!
The Waiting Child: How the Faith and Love of one Orphan Saved the Life of Another
By Cindy Champnella
I have had a stack of books I have been trying to read through recently but when a friend leant me her copy of "The Waiting Child" by Cindy Campnella, I just couldn't resist.  I dug in last Monday and couldn't put it down all week!  I finished it Friday and thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in its pages, being swept up in this beautiful story of love, determination and adoption, and rekindling that "I-can't-put-this-down" feeling.
The story follows the adoption of a 4 year old girl from an institution in China.  It is her adoptive mom's perspective of the adoption, her daughter's journey and the story that began to unfold as her daughter learned English and started sharing pieces of her past.
It quickly unfolded that she left behind "her baby" in the orphanage:  a younger child she had taken under her wing and (at only 4 years old!) assumed the responsibility of "mother" for.  She was distraught to be separated from "her baby" and insisted repeatedly that her adoptive family must do something to help him. 
One thing I really appreciated about this story and Cindy's perspective is her openness of both the hardships and joys in adoption.  It is easy to gloss over many of the difficulties that come from adoption but she doesn't shy away from the harsh realities.  However, neither does she see them as deterrents to adoption.  She has a very balanced and healthy view (in my opinion) of adoption not being easy but being *so* worth it despite the difficulties.
I also really appreciated her view of what adoption must be like for the orphan.  Can you imagine having someone who looks completely different than you show up and take you away?  Or what it must be like to be called upon to trust a total stranger and have no say in the matter?  Or as a young child what getting on an airplane and traveling to a completely new country, becoming the minority, taking on a new culture and plunging into a language you have never heard must be like?  As a potential adoptive mom, it feels natural to focus on all your feelings of excitement and joy and welcoming a new family member into your family....But so important to realize the fear, strangeness and terror that might be involved for the child.  All those things, as well as all that goes in to that child learning to be safe with you and learning to trust you.  That is a lot for a baby or young child to take in, whether they are fully aware of it all or not!
The final big "take away" I took from it was the beautiful way Cindy (the author and adoptive mom) helped her daughter walk through the painful parts of her story - most prominently the abandonment of her birth mom.  I felt Cindy's approach to helping her daughter come to love her birth mom - her "China mom" as she came to call her....(in addition to her love for her adoptive mom) was a helpful approach.  At first, Jacklyn (the daughter) felt a lot of bitterness and negative feelings towards her birth mom.  Rightfully so, she felt abandoned and she felt abused by her birth mom (sharing examples of not having food to eat and being starving).  But with Cindy's help, she began to see that it was okay to have love for both her moms (in different ways and depths) and come to realize that perhaps her birth mom was doing the best she could (perhaps her birth mom did not have any food and was also starving, not intentionally starving her child) and was trying to make the best choices she could for her daughter. 
If you have ties to adoption or not, this book was a beautiful read.  It portrayed a depth of fierce love and also the realities of orphans around the world.  I enjoyed the read and wanted to pass along a recommendation I recently enjoyed. 
 What have you been reading recently?

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Dear Caleb,

It is hard to believe that when we packed up our home and moved half way around the world to Korea you were Evelyn Grace's age.  It feels like only a few months ago that you were that smiley cruising "baby" that I thought was "so big."  They really do mean it when they say "it goes fast."

You are now on the tail end of three, speeding towards 4.  You say you "can't wait to be 6!" and you keep our days busy, loud and full.  According to our growth chart you have grown 2.5 inches this summer and I'm fairly certain your speed and volume have increased as well.  You are full of imagination, full of ideas and plans, checklists and instructions, thoughts and questions. Oh the questions! 

You have seamlessly become a big brother; loving every minute of it and absolutely adoring your "little sissy."  You bring her toys, make her laugh, tell her all the things she can't eat and marvel over her milestones.  She can't get enough of you, chases you around with "bra bra" and cries when you leave.  I'm pretty sure you are the center of her world right now. 

You continue to appear an extrovert to the highest degree. You adore your friends, having company over and just being around people in general.  You ask daily, multiple times, to call Sadie or Gavin or Victoria or Lawrence (and on and on).  You no longer ask "What's for dinner" but instead "Who's coming for dinner?"  The sweetest thing (to me) is your constant questions about your cousins:  "What do you think Luke is doing today?" "Where's Audrey?"  and how you proudly show off their pictures when people come over, "this is Luke, it is his birthday this month."  "This is Natalie and the baby Andrew." "Audrey is like really big...one day maybe Luke and I will be big like her too." It makes me wish so badly you were growing up close to them....but it is so precious to me that you have connected so well with them in the short visits you have had.

You beg to "play school" and I have a hard time not jumping the gun in this area.  The more I read about it, the more firmly I think you are better off playing outside, reading books and running around in that imaginary play world you are almost always in.  I try to teach you things when we walk and as we read books and hold off on the phonics and numbers, pencil work and sitting for now. It'll come but you can never get these little boy days back again.  Some days I play along and we color or do an art project, we talk about what month it is or check on the weather, we memorize a psalm or learn a new song.....but mostly, I think play should be your learning for now.  And you are so good at it.  I've never heard an imagination like yours...play on, dear one!

Recently, you ask frequently to hear about "the day you were born" and "when you were thumping around in my tummy."  You delight to hear the stories of when I was pregnant with you, our thoughts when we found out you were a boy, the story of the weeks leading up to your birth and how you did not want to come out, and the day you were born.  It has been fun to reminisce.  I am so glad you were given to us and we treasure the gift that you are....It has been fun to watch you unfurl and change, to see the person you are becoming.  I pray frequently each day that I will be the Mommy you need me to be. That I will be wise in raising you.  That I won't neglect to train you.  Your strong leadership personality scares me most days....I pray the Lord uses it and blesses you with a humble, servant leadership that loves Him and loves others more than anything else.

Keep growing Sweet Pumpkin Boy.  And may you never lose your enthusiasm and love for life.

I love you,

What in the World are we doing in Korea?

I think I wrote a blog post (or something) once about "where in the world are the Housers?" The answer to which would be, "South Korea." But it seems often people aren't quite sure WHAT in the world we are doing in Korea.  It is a rather unique situation. I did a (very brief) blog search and didn't see anywhere that I specifically addressed this question so I'll answer it now, in case you are wondering.

Three years ago we felt the Lord very specifically call us to a Church in South Korea.  Steve had been looking for a job change and was wanting to go into full time ministry.  He felt very specific about the type of Church he wanted to work and serve with and as he searched for "the right one" he came across a job posting for Songtan Central Baptist Church.  He read over it, felt excited about it, liked everything the Church believed, liked the looks of the Church and the job position....Until he reached the end of the job posting and saw:  "Songtan, South KOREA."

Asia was most definitely not in our plans or thoughts.  In fact, only about 8  months prior I had told him we weren't moving out of the 50 mile radius we were currently living....I wanted to stay in Minnesota, close to family and friends.  I grew up moving around and I wanted to stay put for a while.  Plus, I really liked my job and didn't want to give it up. 

He came home and mostly joking asked if I would move to Korea with him.

I stunned him with "sure, check it out."

What he didn't know, was a friend of mine had challenged me a few months prior that maybe I wasn't opening my hand to what the Lord might have for us....that I shouldn't be so closed to the idea of moving....that maybe there was a job somewhere for Steve that wasn't Minnesota.  I had decided that was pretty sound advice and been challenged.  However, when I responded "sure"  I really didn't think anything would come of it.....I was mostly joking back.

Fast forward a few months and we were packing our things and moving our lives to Asia.

So what do we do here?

We have a very unique situation. We work for a large Korean Church. They have a ministry outreach to English speakers in the area (mostly American military, school teachers, contractors and Koreans seeking to worship in English).  They hired a head pastor to lead the congregation (of about 150-200 members) and then they hired Steve.  He was hired as the youth director but has taken on quite a few roles in addition to that (sometimes I tease him that youth ministry is more like 40% of his job).  Our ministry aim is primarily Americans and English speakers.  We work in the community and in our Church doing a wide variety of things.

We have grown to love Songtan Central Baptist Church and the ministry and community here in Korea.  There is no doubt in our minds that the Lord's plan in bringing us out here was perfect.  He knew what He was doing, as hard as it felt (and sometimes still feels).  As we have found true, most worthwhile things in life are not easy....and most easy things in life aren't very worthwhile.

How long are we planning to be here?

Funny you ask.

We were initially planning to be moving back to the States in about 2 months!

But the Lord has a way of changing hearts and plans....

We have no idea how long we are here.  For the foreseeable future is the best way to answer that question. Stay tuned....

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

8 Months!

Dear Baby Evelyn Grace,

My how time flies!  You are 8 months old this week.  The Lord has blessed you with 8 months of life that have filled our hearts to overflowing and brought a new level of joy to our family.

You have an infectious smile that beams from ear to ear and scrunches up your precious cheeks and little nose.  You are healthy and full of chunks that we love to squish with kisses.  Your precious little hands and feet are reaching to touch everything these days.  Your hair has started really growing.  You are a very inquisitive little girl, observant and noticing everything.  You take it all in, you notice the little things and see the changes - new earrings, a different necklace, a new crumb fallen to the floor, the ways the little balls are attached to the toy, when someone new walks into the room or if someone walks out, if there is a tag on something you will find it.....

Your favorite person in the whole entire world is your brother.  Oh how your eyes light up when he comes bounding in. He can get smiles through your tears, he makes you giggle harder than anyone (except maybe your Daddy), and you watch him intently.  Now that you are more and more mobile, you like to scoot over to him and play with whatever he is playing with....You just can't get enough of your "bra bra."  We refer to him as "Brother" often and recently you have started very obviously calling him.  He is overjoyed that, "She knows my name!!!!"

You have 2 little bottom teeth now and have started taking some bites of "real" food these past weeks - avocado, a little apple and sweet potatoes.  You love your sweet potatoes, promptly reminding me to give you "more please." You love to drink out of real cups (and can do it fairly well on your own, surprisingly).

You love your bath time, your stacking cups, and splash splash splashing. Your favorite toy is our Little People barn and farm animals.  You seem to enjoy "planking" and "doing push ups" or at least you find yourself doing them often....


Today I met someone who I didn't know and she introduced herself as having prayed for you back in January.  It brought immediate tears to my eyes.  I love that.  So many people have prayed for you  - and here you are! Enjoying your 8th month of life BECAUSE OF THOSE VERY PRAYERS and because God answered.  Enjoy it sweet Baby Girl. Enjoy every moment.  We sure are and we soak it up - soak you up - every last smooshy beautiful smiley second we can breathe in. 

We love you.

Always and Forever, Mama, Dada and BraBra

Friday, September 6, 2013

Rice Patty Sunset

A friend of ours took this picture (Thanks Lori!), so I can't take credit but I thought it was a beautiful capture of a Korean sunset, overlooking the green rice patty fields.
Good Night, Korea!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Sibling love


What's wrong with this picture?

Can you tell me how many things are "wrong" with this picture?
At least "American wrong"?
Let's see here....
1) A child is riding a moped
2) He is riding standing up
3) No helmet for one and wrong size helmet for the other
4) They are driving on the sidewalk (although eventually they got to the street)
I'm realizing there are some things my mommy heart will never agree with but when it comes to little boys and their daddy, I just need to let go and let happen.  None of the above items are illegal or considered weird in Korea. In fact, you see multiple kids on mopeds, with babies strapped to their backs.....And driving on sidewalks to avoid traffic is a regular occurrence as well....

When in Korea....

Do as the Koreans do!
Enter, the Korean Double Stroller:
PS This fantastic stroller was given to us by someone we don't even know! It retails at over $300 and we received it (used) about a year and half ago.  It is just one more example and reminder to us of the Lord providing for our needs (and desires)! It encourages me every time we take it out and use it.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What's in a name?

One thing about me: I love names.  I like to ask people's middle names, I love finding out what a new baby's name is and I find the process of naming children to be a hugely important, fun and a little bit stressful too!  I have found most parents have some type of "guidelines" they go by when naming their babies....some like uncommon names, some like family names, some like to make up their own names, others like Biblical names and so forth.  For us, we like traditional/"older" names, we really love the meaning behind names and we prefer names that are less common without being too "out there."

When we found out we were pregnant with our second, we immediately started talking names but waited until we found out she was a girl before really pursuing it.  When we were pregnant with Caleb we had a long list of girl names we liked and struggled with finding boy names....but now that we were pregnant with a girl we decided we didn't like most of those names anymore! There were a few we still really liked but for some reason they just didn't feel "right" this time.  They were names we might very well use again but neither of us felt like they were "it" for this baby.  We had the distinct feeling that she needed a special name.

One day (I remember very clearly), I was riding the Nambu bus up to Mediflower Birthing Center (where we were planning to have a beautiful water birth) and I was thinking of what her name would be.....I realized that we hadn't prayed about it so I prayed and asked the Lord to help us figure out what the "right" name was supposed to be. Literally as soon as I finished praying, the name "Evelyn" came to my mind. At the time, I didn't connect it with the prayer, just thought - "hm. That's a really pretty name! I've never thought of that before. I wonder what it means?"  Evelyn was not a name that either of us had ever talked about or thought about before that prayer.

When I got home, I looked it up and found it meant "Life" or "Life giving."  I really liked that.  It was a beautiful, very girly name, it had a meaning I really liked....now what would Steve think?  I decided to wait and see if he would come across it on his own. I didn't want him to just go with it because I liked it. So I played cool.  Several weeks later, I casually added it to the growing list of "maybe" names we had started. He didn't say anything or seem very "wow-ed." So I let it go.  I waited and secretly kind of hoped he would decide he really liked it too. We kept adding to our list and talking about it.

Fast forward to end of November (I was "due" in February) and we were getting ready to head to the States for my sister-in-love's wedding.  Still no name. We both hoped to table the discussion and maybe come to a conclusion later.  While I was gone, Steve told me "I think I've decided on a name" I was curious because Evelyn was still my top choice.  He wanted to wait to tell me until he got to the States. And I made him go first because I didn't want him to change his mind based on my answer. 

His top name choice?  Evelyn.  :)

Now to find a middle name!

Fast forward again.  We arrived back in Korea January 1, 2013 (almost one month before her guess date).  Two days later I was in the hospital and we were facing one of the scariest times of our lives. We had learned a new vocab word: Hydrops.  And our baby's life was in danger.  Then my health began to also deteriorate from her condition.

 And we had to get her out. Fast.

 And then she sat in the NICU, fighting for her LIFE.  The whole experience was the hardest thing we have faced as a married couple, possibly the hardest thing we have ever faced, period. 

And Evelyn was the perfect name

It meant "life" and as we prayed and cried and sat in suspense, awaiting doctor reports and more testing, we clung to her name like a promise from the Lord.  The story of how that name came about offered us some measure of hope. Months before, the Lord had known and I believe had answered that prayer:  This child will have life. 

We didn't know at the time if that meant eternal life with her Maker or if that included physical life here on Earth with us, but it gave us hope. And we clung to it in those frightening days and weeks.  The Lord had named her Evelyn and He had a plan and held her in His Hands. 

There were several middle names we had thought about but Steve decided in the hospital that Grace would be fitting - knowing that any outcome would be "God's Grace", and praying that He would grant her grace as she fought for her life. 

Evelyn Grace.

It was perfect. Fitting.  Her name.

And now that she is healthy and the Lord has graciously granted her 7 months of LIFE, we pray that she will grow to be a gracious woman, marked by His grace and that one day she will be given new life, as a new creation in the Lord. As my favorite blogger frequently reminds us, "All's Grace"

For those of you asking, yes, I do like calling her "Evelyn Grace."  I love the tradition in the South to frequently use both first and middle names and I think it is a beautiful testimony to her story. Do I always refer to her as "Evelyn Grace"? No. Do you have to? Not if you don't want to! Do I love it and will we continue to use it and would we love for you to join us in that? Yes!

Family Pictures

We had a very talented student in our youth group who offered to take some family pictures for us this summer!  Since getting nice pictures done is quite expensive, this was a generous and greatly appreciated gift of love.  We were really happy with what a great job she did and thrilled to have some pictures of Caleb at 3.5 and Evelyn Grace at 6 months and Steve at 30 (ha ha!).