Archive for November, 2009

Megan is pestering the cat petty much non-stop right now.  Shega just said, "STOP MEGAN! You are making her horrified."

I am also horrified. The weekend is over. I did not crack open my school books. My house looks like a Good Will store, and we have eaten nearly every edible thing in the house.

I am definitely horrified.

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We are thankful for…..

  • A beautiful 17 year old girl, Emma Rose. She was born on Thanksgiving Day, 17 years ago, making her appearance right at noon. She is definitely a turkey baby!
  • Her birthday present. A kitten named Bella has entered her life and ours. We are thankful to love a cat again.
  • An hour long conversation with our son Joe and his lovely wife, Kendra who are serving in the Peace Corps in Paraguay. We missed them terribly today, but are blessed to experience their service and learning vicariously. We are thankful for Skype and the opportunity it gives us to see and hear them half way around the world about every 4 – 6 weeks.
  • A lovely gathering of family who came to celebrate the holiday with us. We missed  Aunt Barb, Heather and Leon and Nicole and Travis, but we are especially thankful that they are celebrating the holiday with their little turkey baby, Cailin Rose.
  • Cousins for the kids to play with. They all love when cousins come to play. It is a wonderful treat to see how much fun they have together. Six boys and two girls between the ages of 7 and 13 make for a lot of chaos and joy.
  • Steve’s new hip. He is doing very well. He can get around the house with crutches and he has very little pain.
  • My new kitchen! This was the first outing for my new kitchen. It worked great and I am so blessed by it. I am a lucky, lucky cook!

Wishing you joy and peace and many, many blessings this Thanksgiving!

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This piece written for the Northwestern College alumni magazine, the Classic, brought me to my knees. It was written by Liz Calsbeek Moss about the adoption and baptism of her Ethiopian son David.

It is a beautiful picture of God’s love for us:



By Liz (Calsbeek ’99) Moss

Photo by DOUG BURG

We live in different worlds. Most likely she lives in a small dirt hut in southern Ethiopia. I live in a four-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath house in a northwest Iowa town. Her education is basic, at most. I’ve earned a master’s degree. Her employment is petty trade. Until recently, I served as a pastor in a local congregation. We are different.

I don’t know much of her story—what her upbringing was like, what hopes and dreams she holds. But I do know on a spring day she gave birth to a baby boy in her parent’s home. She named him Dawit, which means beloved and translates to David. His second name was Desalegn, which means I am happy, I am proud. I can guess she was proud of this boy of hers. I can guess she was delighted with her beloved son.

Dawit was nurtured by his mother for a few months as they lived with his grandpa and grandma. But with circumstances too difficult to bear and an abundance of love, she placed him into the care of others. I can guess her love for him must run deep.

On another spring day, my husband and I stood over the boy’s crib in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. With his arms stretched above his head, he slept peacefully, as though he didn’t have a care in the world. The nannies said he had fallen asleep while lying in the sun, part of the morning routine to boost the children’s vitamin D.

We had traveled more than 24 hours, halfway around the world, to hold this child in our arms. We had endured adoption’s paperwork, waiting and unknowns. We were forced to give up control and patiently discover the wonder of God’s plan. At that moment, when the nanny handed this droopy-eyed little guy into my outstretched arms, the differences I once had with the woman vanished. We are both deeply in love with this same beloved boy.

When I rock David to sleep, I often look into his big brown eyes and wonder: What other world has he seen? What other eyes has he looked deeply into? What other kisses has he felt? What lullabies did she hum? What stories did she tell her son? What hopes and dreams does she hold for the one she gave in love?

I can’t help but recall what the psalmist wrote: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:13-14). Now, as David’s mom, I sing, tell stories, and hope and dream for his future too.

In the Reformed tradition, baptism is the sign and seal of God’s promises to God’s people. It is God saying yes to us before we say yes to God. Sometimes, when I’ve struggled to hold a kicking and screaming infant while trying to sprinkle water on the little head, I’ve thought about the poignant symbolism when a child kicks and screams into the kingdom of God. As much as we don’t always want to follow, God continues to say yes, yes, yes.

I wonder if in adoption, baptism is also something more. When I baptized him, I uttered these words to my child: “David Jacob, it was for you that Jesus Christ came into the world; for you he died and for you he conquered death; yes, for you, little one, you who know nothing of it yet. We love because God first loved us.”

I wonder if God has whispered into his little ear: “Dawit Desalegn—David Jacob, even while you were in your mother’s womb, I loved you and I loved your mother. Even before your mother called you beloved, you were mine. Whomever you are with, you are mine. You are adopted into my family and you are marked as Christ’s own forever.”

Perhaps, we don’t have so many differences after all. In fact, we’re pretty much the same—both adopted children of God. Yes, we may live worlds apart. I could never imagine what her life is like, and I suppose she could never imagine mine. But we both love. And we are both God’s beloved.

Liz Moss and her husband, Jon ’99, adopted David Jacob from Ethiopia this past March with assistance and support from Holt International. As an ordained pastor in the Reformed Church in America, Liz was blessed to baptize her own son.

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Jiggety Jig!

Actually, Steve is not dancing any jigs…yet.

He is feeling pretty good but still pretty tentative on his feet. He gets a little nervous when the kids are running past his throne, which is really a recliner perched on a pallet to make getting in and out a little easier.

We didn’t get to see the NIghthawk game. We were on our way home from Iowa City. We heard some of it on the radio and we kept up by text when we were out of range.

We’re thrilled they were second in the state. Maybe next year they’ll bring home that gold trophy.

Emma was a superfan and interviewed on camera. She brought home a sack cooler, grilling supplies and a $10 gift certificate for pork. Cool! 

I still haven’t seen why she merited the award, but I did hear that her faux-hawk was spectacular.

Here she is with her friend at another NIghthawk game. (picture stolen from her facebook profile. Photo edited by Whitney)

Emma Heitritter

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We’re almost ready to get into the car and head home. Steve is going to hop into the shower (emphasis on the "hop") and we’ll be ready to go.

We are supposed to stop and let him walk around every 1 – 2  hours.

Cedar Falls is about an hour away. Maybe we could wander around the UNI dome during the Nighthawk game

They tell us we shouldn’t try to leave here until after the Iowa/Minnesota game is underway to avoid game day traffic. That game starts at 11.  Go Hawks!

Thanks to everyone here who fed and cared for us. Thanks to everyone at home who fed and cared for our kids.

Can’t wait to see you kiddos! We’re coming home! 

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Steve is doing pretty well. He can’t believe how little sleep they let you have in the hospital. I hope he sleeps tonight. He is now disconnected from almost all tubes. They have an insurance IV tube inserted in his hand. It isn’t connected to anything, but I suppose they want to keep it just in case they need it.

He took a walking tour all the way down the hall and he took a few spins around his hospital room. He looks pretty good dancing with a walker decked out with green tennis balls. (Why don’t walker manufacturers build walkers with tennis balls right on them???)

Steve has funny socks on that squeeze his feet. He claims the squeezes come every 8 – 9 seconds. It is likely he knows. There isn’t  much to do except count foot squeeze intervals here!

I had some time out of the hospital today. had lunch with three of my brothers and our son, Paul this noon and dinner with Paul this evening. Both restaurants were fun little places within walking distance of the hospital. I also had an informal tour of landscaping projects from Paul Heits.  It was great to see how he spends his time and creative energy.

We’re hoping Steve gets some sleep. I think we should request a giant sleeping pill.

I hope you are all doing well!


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The bionic man looks great! He is doing so much better than yesterday and has been disconnected from most of the tubes. The tape experiment went well for him and he is generally doing well.

The PT department has already gotten him up and moving and he no longer has a pain pump. He tells me that he has no more pain than he had before the surgery. 

We have heard from the homefront, and things sound great there too. Shega has enjoyed the time with her cousins. Thomas is excited about heading to the game with the other Heits this weekend.

Megan was eating an ice cream cone for breakfast when I called. I am sure she is in charge and Auntie Dode is happy to comply.  Megan takes every rule exception as precedent setting, so I’ll have to construct a new rule. It will go something like this:

Everytime your Aunt Dode stays with you while your dad has his hip replaced in Iowa City, you can have an ice cream cone for breakfast!

Whew! That should do it!

Thanks for all of your prayers and good wishes. Things are looking up for the bionic man.

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The surgery went well.

Right now, Steve is wondering why he thought surgery was a good idea. He would like his old hip returned to him immediately. The folks here assure us both that those longings will disappear when he stops feeling nauseous and painful from the surgery!

He still has a sense of humor.

The nurse asked, "How do you do with things taped to your body?"

He replied, "I never tape things to my body!"

We are now beta testing how Steve does with things taped to his body.

The surgeon said that he did well. My brother Ed has been hanging around with us and keeping an eye on all of his former colleagues. He’s a retired Ortho surgeon and everyone here at the hospital knows him. My sister-in-law, Lorna was the recovery room nurse. She took great care of him and signed us up for a room with a view. Paul Heits stopped by and felt sorry for his dad for a few minutes. 

All is well. Thanks for your prayers and good wishes.



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Woo Hoo!

The Nighthawks move on to the championship game!

Steve, Shega and Thomas rode all the way to UNI to watch them play in the dome. How exciting for them!

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Steve has had trouble with his hip for several years. He needs a hip replacement. He has been putting off the inevitable for several years. Finally, the time has come to go bionic.

He went in for his pre-op on Tuesday. The Physical Therapy department gave him several cool accessories, like a long "picker-upper" thing to pick things off the floor. He chose the snazzy new crutches over the geriatric walker with green tennis balls. The doctor’s office took new X-rays, a little blood and gave him the old "once-over" to see if he was ready.

Surgery was scheduled for this Wednesday. Since the hospital is in Iowa City, which is several hours away, I didn’t go along to the pre-op. Steve drove for about 6 hours, had three hours worth of appointments and ate supper with Paul before he headed back home.

I’ll go with him for surgery. We’ll leave Tuesday after work. We’ll bring Shega to her cousins’ house. We’ll drop Thomas off at J, J and J’s house. Aunt Dode will come here to take care of Megan.

It’s a big scary week for all of us, but especially for the bionic man. If you think of us this week, say a prayer for a successful surgery and for a quick recovery as well as for smooth sailing for the kids here at home.


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Megan is a bit strong-willed. She enjoys an opportunity to be "the boss of me".  She likes to tell her siblings, "You are not the boss of me, I am the boss of me!"

I took Shega and Megan shopping to three second-hand stores this morning. Megan chose  crazy purple boots. Shega chose a skirt and a sequinned sweater. It was definitely a successful trip in the minds of two little choosers.

Later, we ate lunch and I told Miss Megan she could choose a movie to watch for a few minutes before nap time. So far she watched five minutes of "Spy Kids" changed her mind and watched a few minutes of "Garfield".

She just ran in here and ordered me to change the movie again. She said, "MOM! I CHOOOSED my mind. I want "High School Musical!"

Choice is a powerful thing!

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Poor Megs. She just couldn’t shake the fever so I finally brought her in to see the doctor. The stinky flu bug morphed into an ear infection and just general "yuckiness".

We’re trying some amoxicillin with bubble gum flavor. She comes running for her dose when I start  with the rhyme:

Dr Knickerbocker

Dr Knickerbocker, Knickerbocker, Number One

Megan got stuck in the bubble gum.

Now I’ve got the rhythm in my feet (stamp, stamp)

Now you get the rhythm in your feet (stamp, stamp)

Let”s both get the rhythm in our feet (stamp, stamp)

She loves it when we "get the rhythm in our hips" (Woot, Woot)

But she takes the medicine when we "get the rhythm" in our heads (bing, bong)

Soon, she will think my behavior is entirely weird. Right now, she likes it! I hope the medicine cures the yuckiness!

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We had a nice, low key, weekend.

Our oldest son, Paul came home from Iowa City. He wanted to see the big football game on Friday night. The Nighthawks and the Wolfpack were competing for a chance to go to state. He and Emma were on opposite sides of the field this time. Paul’s friend coaches the Wolfpack and Emma is a Nighthawk fan! Emma team won the bragging rights and is heading to the dome for the state tournament. Cool!

Emma and Paul spent some time with Grandma this weekend too. Grandma is a travel agent and is helping them plan their trip to visit Joe and Kendra. They can’t wait to see their brother and sister-in-law and spend some time seeing their work and surroundings in Paraguay.

Megan spiked a fever again tonight. I’m not sure if she is still fighting H1N1, or if she has developed an ear infection or something else. We may need to run her in to the doctor tomorrow and check her ears.

Aunt Dode hung out with Megan on Friday so I could go to work during the day and Steve, Shega and I could attend the Katelyn’s Fund auction. THANKS Dode! We had a super time at the auction and raised $30,000 for adoption grants.

We took the family to the Katelyn’s Fund church service this morning. It was a meaningful time in worship together. it was great to see so many families who have been blessed through adoption. The kids did great in church and Megan and Shega happily went off to Sunday School with the other kids.

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Poor Thomas has sensitive lips. He needs buckets of lip balm. Right now, his lips are red, chapped and have a "lick line" around them.

This morning I said to him, "If you don’t get some chapstick and use it, your lips are going to fall right off!  You would look funny without lips."

Thomas answered, "I wouldn’t look funny! I would still be handsome in my own way!"

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Megan was very sick. I have never seen her that sick.

She had temps in the 103 – 104 range with shaking and sweating. She had extreme lethargy, a cough and a little bit of intestinal/tummy trouble.

Notice I said "had". I think she has turned the corner. She called out for me in the night, but she was cool. She just wanted a drink.

Nobody else has it….yet!

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