Monday, January 7, 2013

Melkam Gena!! (Merry Christmas in Ethiopia)

Happy Birthday Jesus!!
Christmas is celebrated on Dec. 29th in Ethiopia, which is actually January 7th here. 
We have talked about going to Denver for the celebration, but it didn't happen this year so I wanted to make it special for Aregash and also let our boys know how important it is to keep her country's traditions alive.

 We've never made a Birthday cake for Jesus so this was a highlight. 

Dorowat is the most popular Ethiopian dish....
made from chicken (doro)...and traditionally, legs are used.  
Berbere' spice, ginger root, garlic, and onions give it it's taste. It can be pretty spicy.
 Oh, and every person should get a hard-boiled egg.

Miser wat is made with lentils and some of the same ingredients as the dorowat, minus the red spice. Injera is a sour bread.....we love it, but it's pretty difficult to make.
Some day I'll try it.


Aregash & Mama in our cultural dresses.
Mine hasn't been worn since one of her "baby" showers.
It was time. 
She was soo happy.

Christmas is not the big production in Ethiopia that it is here in the states. 
The focus really is on the birth of  Christ, so gifts are not the focus (which i really love). 
 I read that if gifts are given it is usually a piece of this is what we gave the kids.......with a fair trade chocolate bar.

They thought this was pretty fun.

 My pretty girl.

 I am soo grateful that God brought us to a place where we can embrace another culture.
I never would have dreamed 5 years ago that this would be our journey.

A journey that I treasure.

"in all our lives, we experience mysterious happenings.
some call them coincidence. others synchronicity. 
and others, god.
but when you look at the world through the lens of gratefulness and thanks for what it is,
 life becomes an answered prayer. 

grace steps in and we develop a faith that hope is possible."
~living life as a thank you~
(a book i'm reading) 


Merry Christmas.
Melkam Gena
from the Chiolis family.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

new to the world

I KNOW!!!!  Can you believe it's a post in less than a week?!?!
I just had to tell you what IIIII got to do!!!  
I was asked to be in the birthing room for my little brother and sis-in-laws baby's birth.
What an honor.
I have never seen a birth before. 
It doesn't really count when it's your own cause you don't get to see much....and then there's the pain and all.
 i had someone video my baby's births, but i know i recorded over the last one. ugh. the newest member of the THOMPSON family!!!
Riess (sounds like Reece) Elly Thompson
5lbs 6.5 ozs. 17.5" long

(our hospital doesn't allow pictures or video during delivery anymore, but i got to get some pretty awesome photos after.)

teensy weensy, but healthy as ever

the mama and the papa

proud parents--minutes after she entered this world

the auntie
 (Kenj is what they call me)

Riess 1 day old

and her cousins...
 who love her oh-soo-much

this doesn't help the "i wanna baby sister" situation we have going around our family right now :)

that's 15 kids total between me and my siblings

does anyone miss my music like i do??? 
 i can't figure out how to add music anymore since Mixpod died. :(

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


it's all about aregash. 
that's right....i have 4 children, but it's all about her. 
because i am feeling rather grateful. and not because i am not usually, but because i feel a truly BIG sense of gratitude when i recall all that she and i have endured together in the last year. 
some day i will tell our story, but i have to find the words and it isn't easy to open a can of share on something soo big.
 it must be done very delicately.  
i have to say that our relationship has come soo far that i am having a difficult time grasping it. 
 i really wondered if we'd ever reach this point....and i am feeling blessed.  
i am feeling true love. 
 i am feeling compassion. 
i am feeling peace.

 this past week has made me look at how far we've come and the journey that we've walked because there are soo many families right now that will not be soo lucky.
  families in-process in russia are in limbo and aren't sure if they will ever see or know their children. 
and there are those who have had their children home for a period of time and are still struggling greatly.  
my heart aches for them all.

 aregash and i have made strides in our trust and love for one another that seemed soo far away, 
even 6 months ago. 
it's something that most people don't understand unless they've been there.

most of us don't realize how you have to work for love, because it just seems to happen.
but when you want it to happen soo badly and it doesn't...... heartbreak sets in.

we don't have to worry about that now.
grace has shined upon us.
i am thankful.
 there are friends who haven't made it this far. 
but they will. 
god-willing, they will.

they will feel the joy. and the love. and the compassion. and the peace.
and their child will feel it too. 

they need us. 
they need families. 
through their hurt and their pain and their quiet suffering of loss.

they need to know that there is someone who will dream for them. someone will stand up for them. someone will guide them and reassure them. 
someone will love them because they are worthy.
 they are meant for love.
they deserve love.
every one of them.
every.  single.  one.  of.  them.
needs love.

and a family....
 needs them even more.

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