Friday, May 25, 2012

Beck Gudeta

We've been home from Ethiopia for 3 weeks now. Or has it been 3 months? Or 3 days? Sometimes it feels like forever ago and sometimes it feels like yesterday! Anyway, I've never gotten around to posting the BEST pictures of the ENTIRE trip: Mr. Beck Gudeta Cheatham! He is seriously THE cutest! We couldn't have asked for a better day with him- sweet sweet day from the Lord! I absolutely know for certain, without a doubt that the Lord whispered into his heart that the Cheathams were HIS family. It was just breathtaking to watch him just KNOW them. He was super sweet to me and Aimee but he really couldn't care less if we were there or not (he'll be so thankful one day when he gazes at the one million pictures taken of him that day;) but when one of HIS parents or siblings threw him a ball, or twirled him around, or hugged him and kissed on him, he just lit up! That was such a blessing to witness!
 Seriously, the cutest!
 Then I, oh so casually, went up behind him to measure him!:) He immediately turned around and looked at me like "what in the world do you think you're about to do to me?":)
 But as soon as he turned back around I got it real quick! These things are important people:)

 Then it was time to say goodbye. We all knew it would be hard but man that was gut wrenching. I love this next picture- Heather trying to keep it together (ha!) and Derek's eyes just seem to say I can't let him go.  It was precious.

It was such an honor to be there and I'll never forget it! Hurry home Beck- we cannot wait to love on you!!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Remembering Chelsa

Today was beautiful. Today was hard. This is a glimpse of her life, in pictures. Thank you all for all the prayers, cards, meals, encouraging words. We are blessed with great people in our life. We are so thankful.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


What a week it has been. I still cannot believe that I haven't even posted actual pics of "little man". That will come- hopefully tomorrow:) But today I want to share about my sweet aunt Chelsa. I have several aunts, and all are special to me. But Chelsa is my only aunt who doesn't have children of her own, and therefore has treated me (and my sisters) as if we are her own children our whole lives.  In a word, SPOILED us completely:))
She is not only one of the most generous people I know, she is one of the most creatively generous people I know.  You want cold hard cash for your birthday? Ok- she'll give it to you but it will be several bills formed into a shape of something your into that year, or put in something like this...
Our "salad bowls"   Best salad I've ever had!!
Chelsa was diagnosed with ovarian cancer about a year and a half ago. She has fought this with such grace and dignity and strength. She would go for a horrible round of chemo and show up for one of our kids events the next day. We would meet for lunch almost anytime she had an appointment in Fort Worth- or really just for any occasion! There were A LOT of lunch meetings with this crew:)

 Or just be physically exhausted from chemo, and insist on going with us to our annual black Friday shopping. (seriously anyone who says that shopping on Thanksgiving is evil has NO idea the memories I will always have and cherish of sweet Chelsa on black Friday!!) She would push our carts around- and stay with them while we ran up and down the aisles so we wouldn't have to drag a big cart through:)  Those were some of the most fun and funny times! (and yes we matched so we could find each other easier:))
 But 3 weeks ago she outdid even her generous self!!:) She very cryptically texted me, my mom, and my sisters to meet on a Thursday morning at 10:15 in the food court of North East mall.   Hmmm, lunch at 10:15? I mean, I certainly don't turn down the food at any time so ok I can do that:)  We gathered around a table and she just had the biggest smile on her face! She said- "ok- here's the deal. I have envelopes for each one of you. Inside is cash. Here are the rules: You can ONLY buy things for yourself, you can't even GO in the kids sections or look at anything except for yourselves. You have to come show me any purchases made (and leave them with her so we didn't have to carry around stuff), and try to get something you may not normally buy for yourself."  SERIOUSLY?? Who does that??

I shaded the money:) didn't want to be like counterfeiting or anything:)

It seriously was one of the best days ever! Not because of the money but because it was so much fun to see her genuinely happy that we were doing something for ourselves. She wanted to make our day, make us smile, see us laugh, make a memory, show us love. Like she does every.time.we're.with.her!
I kept looking around to see if we were on camera:)! I mean, really, have you ever heard of someone doing that for someone and it not be a reality show?? SO MUCH FUN! It has taken some of us, Ashlee and Channing (not mentioning any names) more than THREE weeks to spend theirs! Mom and I were done in about 3 days! I will honestly never forget that day!
 This week has been brutally hard for me to watch our sweet Chelsa fight the fight of her life. She is one strong lady. And this insanely horrible disease that will claim her body soon, will not claim my memories of her.  We sit by her side daily, caught between wanting so bad for her pain to be over and so not ready for her to go.  With each agonizing breath, you cannot wait for her to be at the feet of Jesus! Rejoicing and praising and FREE of all of the pain of this life. And at the exact same moment- Lord I am not ready for this to be the last time I see her, the last time I hold her hand, the last time I hug and kiss her and tell her I love her. How can we say goodbye to Chelsa? How will she ever know how much she means to us? How much we love her?
  But she will know. And she will want to say to us "I am home! I am where I belong!" Until then, we will cherish every minute with her. And thank God that we got to be hers.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Big Day!

Cannot express enough how well this day went! Thank you for all your prayers! We left this morning about 9:00 and headed 2 hours away from Addis in a van, on bumpy roads, dodging cars, monkeys, cows,and it was hot and dirty... BUT guess what? This girl never felt even a smidgen sick!! (that alone is a miracle in itself)  We arrived at the orphanage and they took us all to a back nursey room where "little man Cheatham" was waiting! He was shy and a little timid at first but didn't cry or get upset at all when Heather picked him up! The whole family took turns holding him and he went to all of them- so precious! Then we took him out into the courtyard to sit with him and talk and love on him- he warmed up quickly! but after about 30 minutes you could just tell he was getting SO tired! One of the nannies said it was his nap time but that he could stay with us. So Heather just put in him in her lap and in about 5 minutes he was out! It was the most precious thing! We got to play with him for hours and it was just such an amazing time! We won't post any pictures of him until they pass court but I did get some shots of our drive out there and then some precious ones of his hands and parts of the orphanage- I took 878 pictures just while we were there so rest assured as soon as we can you will see LOTS of little man!....
                             These were all the gifts that were donated for the orphans and widows!
Finally at the orphanage and walking in to see Little Man! Aimee and I took our jobs seriously!!:)
This next picture is one of my favorites- I'm not trying to brag but I had some mad skilzz today!

We got the grand tour of the whole orphanage and it was really nicely run. All of the nannies and widows were so so kind and welcoming. When we were taken to the directors office this was the first thing that caught my eye....

When he went down for a nap, Aimee and I took the girls to go meet and love on the widows. It really is the coolest thing-orphans and widows together, they both benefit from being around each other and those ladies were just so precious and thankful! We brought them nail polish, lotion and bracelets and had such a fun time giving each woman her gift! This next picture is one of my favorites too! She was just absolutely beautiful and was so happy all the time!
This precious lady didn't know what lotion was or what it was for so I just told her I would show her. Well after getting her hands and arms rubbed she pulled up her skirt for me to do her legs as well! It was an honor to me- she was so greatful for something so simple and I was the one who was blessed.
It really was just the perfect day! We were all so tired on the way home but stopped for dinner and then headed to the hotel- which is where we are now and I should go to bed!:)
I am so thankful to be here! Little man is a perfect fit for the Cheatham family and I just can't wait for him to come home with his forever family!  Hopefully Heather will be able to post actual pictures of him soon! They appear at court tomorrow at 1:30 so keep the prayers coming!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Officially the Cheatham 6!!!

The Cheathams passed court today!!! Praise the Lord! They were bumped from a 9am court time to a 1:30 so we were all anxious the whole morning! Derek and Heather left the hotel around 12:40 and Aimee and I stayed with the kids at the hotel- (we are excellent babysitters, didn't let them have junk food or stunt in the pool or anything like that at all;))This hotel is honestly a little embarassing how nice it is, I mean like even REALLY nice. But since we had points and you have to stay in a guest house on the second trip we just enjoyed it!   So, while they were off doing court....
We were doing some of this....
and a little of this....
And a LOT of Stunting Ellison in the pool:) had some awesome video footage of that but it won't upload:( I know you are all very sad

It was a tough gig but Aimee and I were up to the challenge!
Then, tonight we went to an authentic Ethiopian restuarant- it was quite the experience!
Then it came time to eat:/   Yall know I have the taste buds of a 4 year old, so yeah, I was a little nervous! At the beginning of the buffet line we washed our hands, then sweet Abey went down the line with us and told us what everything was!:)
Here is my plate- adventurous, I know.... I was hoping I wouldn't have an "Along Came Polly" episode:) But all was well and we all managed to find something on our plate that we liked (or at least could eat!)  Jeff would have loved this place:)
Then the REAL entertainment started- I have wished for my family to be here with me many times this week- this was NOT one of those times:) they would have been so HUMILIATED!!! Abey said the dancers wanted a tip- so I went up and put a tip in the jar...BUT the dancers pulled me up on stage to dance with them!!!! So, naturally, I went!:)
haha- I know yall are dying of embarrasment right now!!!  Then Aimee got picked to come up!! If Heather had any doubts of us coming along with them, this TOTALLY made up for it because she didn't have to do it!
We were quite entertaining!
We did a little more shopping today- we may or may not have gone a tad overboard with the beads but I'm not sure...
So obviously this day was a STARK contrast to yesterday but any one of us would tell you we would have MUCH rather been back seeing Little Man again!! But only one day was allowed so we made the most of getting as much Ethiopian culture cramed into our minds as possible! We are all so sad to be leaving tomorrow but so excited to be seeing our family and friends! This place is just wonderful and I hope this is not my last time here!!!