Saturday, December 05, 2009


We get about 4-or 5 pictures a day from Erin. She loves to draw and the artwork is precious. I have the scanner hooked up to my laptop, so I thought I would share this one, since we just got our first snow...not enough for a snowman, but....

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Our family is thankful for time to be together and relax with G'pas and G'mas and cousins!!
Enjoy your day today and be thankful to GOD for his everlasting goodness and mercy.

The Henn's

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Why Adopt from Ethiopia?

Adoption Sunday is coming!!! November 8th, 2009.
What are you going to do? Check your calendar...

Put a poster in your Church, Office, Grocery Store? Print bulletin inserts?

Ethiopian Orphans from Simon Scionka on Vimeo.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Flag Football season 2009

I put together a little video of some of the highlights from this years football season. So much fun! He is number 32. He got to play almost every position.
From Video

Trusting in the Lord, Not Self

Jeremiah 17:5-7

"Thus says the Lord: Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord."

When my life gets even more crazy and busy than usual, my time in the Word of God suffers! This verse explains in word pictures what happens. I am trying to really imagine what it would be like to be in a parched place in the uninhabited salt land..............I am definitely thinking a very THIRSTY ME! God's word is the LIVING WATER. I am so thankful that God reminds us as, his children, we will be blessed when we trust in Him!

Today my "to do" list seems very overwhelming. (kids out the door, watching a newborn, homeschooling, laundry, changing out closets from summer to winter, cooking meals) If I trust in my own strength I am already feeling parched and thirsty. I feel overwhelmed and lacking joy. However, AFTER reading God's word, I am encouraged and dedicated to confessing my sin of self dependency and lack of a reliance on Christ! God's word is true and right. "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Where do I start?

The last few weeks of our lives have been so hectic, but fun, it's hard to know where to start.
I can think of a good start, Our dear little Kbugg turned 11! She had such a good birthday and her school year is getting off to a good start, because she recently auditioned and was accepted for Philharmonia of the Sioux City Youth Symphony! She was very excited!!
We did our first family camping trip with the camper in Adel, Ia over Labor Day. This was a TOTAL blast! We spent three days and 3 nights in the camper! We visited Living History Farms and got to slop the hogs!! The kids loved it, met lots of new friends and were so sad when we had to put camper down and pull away! We are going to try to get one more camping trip in during fall, (Sure hope the heater works!)
Just returned from Twin Lakes Christian Center from our Church's Annual fall retreat. This was 2 nights and we had great teaching from Pastor Tom Steller, but awesome worship and tons of fun on waterslide into the lake, archery, paintball war, rock-wall climbing, and amazing food!
Isaac and Levi have been asked to be OFFICIAL WATER BOYS for the 2009 USHL Fall Classic
So, I guess we are going to be catching some Hockey!!
We are about half-way through Isaac's football season, so fun to watch 7 & 8 year olds play this game!!
I'm posting some pictures below, hopefully these shots will be worth thousands of words :)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A very hectic month

There are about a hundred posts to write just for this month. However, that is NOT going to happen.
Here's a list of events since the last post in July...
Layne finished School Law class in 3 weeks instead of 4, so he could go on vacation and enjoy it.
Our family loses a good friend to cancer
Erin has fever and goes on antibiotics
Vacation in Northern Minn.
Layne and 3 kids get Staph Infection while on vacation (no, I won't be posting pictures)
Tanya's cousin gets married, 2 of our kids in wedding party :)
School starting for Layne (teachers return)
Layne still healing from MRSA (staph infection)
Kids Start school
Isaac starts football
Isaac fever
Layne starts 2 more classes
Garage Sale
Erin starts the Cello
Switch banks
more to come....

Friday, July 24, 2009

Freed to visit orphans (Ethiopia)

Watch the video below and then visit this website.
If you would like to sponsor a child please call Amanda at (406) 446-1648 or email You will receive a packet including a photo of your child, and an introductory letter about how to get started on this journey of love, hope and relationship with your child. All contributions to Look Development and Hope Ranch are tax deductible.

ht: Justin at

Monday, July 20, 2009

Omaha Zoo

Sunday we drove my friend Alison to the airport. She was visiting from Michigan last week. After dropping her off we motored on over to the zoo. Layne's cousin is an employee there and gave us a very up close and personal tour of the aquarium. The kids marched with the penguins, touched the scuba gear used to clean the tanks, visited the kitchen where the SHARK food is prepared.

We are always so thankful to the Lord , for special times and memories made as a family. It was also a very wonderful way to introduce Levi to new vocabulary words. He now knows exactly what a swamp is and what a fruit bat looks like. I had no idea they would be sooooooo BIG in person. Small dogs with wings is how I describe them. Ha!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Saturday, July 11, 2009


7-7-07 we became a family of 7! So every year we celebrate this day on July 7th. This year we loaded in the Yukon and drove to the beach in Spirit Lake. We discovered it was family night at the water park conveniently located next to the beach and got in at a fraction of the cost. (Always a huge plus for a large family!!) We ended the night eating at a fabulous local restaurant, Boz Welz. We all ate burgers, fries, and chicken. The waitress brought us homemade icecream with a candle in it and we sang "Happy Famiversary" to ourselves. Cheezy, but fun and memorable.

We have been very blessed in the last two years. We continue to learn how to depend more on our faith in the Lord Jesus. We are thankful to see how far we have come in bonding together and we look forward to more in the future.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Righteousness Is Sown In Peace

James 3:17-18
"But first the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."

This verse jumped out at me this morning. As many of you faithful readers know, we grew our family through the wonderful journey of adoption almost 2 years ago. We are blessed by the addition of our sons. There have been however some issues of attachment. Our children by birth have also had many adjustments.

Isaac and Levi are struggling with bonding together. After receiving some Christian counseling last fall we began what we call, "Super Fun Time". This is a time that we carve out to interact and play with the boys together. We are actually the mediators and teachers. We are trying to teach them to play peacefully and lovingly. Lately with our busy lives we have not been focusing on this.

Recently we had anger issues resurfacing. Yesterday I attempted to try to resume "Super Fun Time". It was a disaster...........Ugh! Fighting, tattling, selfishness, anger. All with me in the room trying to help. I ended up sending them away because I was so frustrated. Some days it feels like so much work.

The part of this verse that resonated in my soul was that a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. I looked up the definition of righteousness: morally upright; in accordance with virtue or morality. I long for a "harvest" of these qualities.

I want to press on being a peacemaker in my home. To make time to help my children be peacemakers. This takes time and attention on my part. I need to slow down, let the daily "to do" list go and just be more available emotionally for them. I really do tend to just "get through the day" so often.

Today I am asking the Lord to help me be gentle, open to reason, peaceable, full of mercy, impartial and sincere. I definitely need the GRACE of the LORD to do this. I am thankful for a powerful God!

If there are any of you readers out there that have some ideas for us as "date" ideas for two active boys struggling to get along and see themselves as brothers, could you please post them! Lincoln logs and Legos are getting old!

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, June 29, 2009

It Is God Who Arms Me With Strength

Psalm 18:31-32
"For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect."

Colossians 3:2
"Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things."

Our family just returned from a wonderful weekend get away at my sister's house in Minneapolis. (pictures in future post) I always struggle with facing reality when we get home. Things like unpacking, laundry, kids who are tired and grouchy, phone calls to return, a schedule to pick back up..............

As the house is still quiet, I have by His grace started my day in the Word of God. He spoke to me in such a gentle way. I need him for the strength not only to do my daily tasks, but to do them in a way that brings Him glory. I most fear my sin of anger. I don't want to get mad at my kids today........Getting back into the swing while dealing with five little ones in a manner that is gentle and peaceful seems so hard.

The truth is however, it is GOD who arms his children with strength. God wants us to succeed in His ways of love, patience, gentleness and self-control. I have these verses written on cards to tuck away in my pocket today. I hope to read them and pray them as I face the day.

Deuteronomy 4:29
"Seek the Lord your God and you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul."

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Springfield Ilinois

During our time in Springfield, we stayed in KOA camping cabins. Our cabin had a loft on each side. This is the girl's loft. They played "Little House on The Prairie" each night before bed. It was precious. I am always so thankful for time spent with my sister and family. We did miss ourother sister, Jaimee on this trip. Maybe next time......


We had such a fun time at my sister's house in Chicago. We went into the city to Shed's Aquarium. In this picture the kids are at the penguin exhibit. We first saw the real ones and then they pretended to be penguins as they dressed in penguin suits and slid down icy slides.

After a few days in Chicago we all packed up and traveled to President Lincoln Land, Springfield Illinois. We camped at KOA camping cabins and visited Lincoln's home and a wonderful Lincoln museum. It was very educational, but also interesting and fun for all ages.

Erin Turns FIVE!

I cannot believe Erin is five. She had a "Tinkerbell" party. We just invited grandparents and family. We left the next day for Chicago to visit my sister Lea and family. That's another blog post..........
We have been crazy busy. Layne is taking two classes in June that go towards his principal endorsement. He is studying every night. This is my first attempt to upload a picture to the blog.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Happy Birthday, 8 year old

It was a great day to turn 8 years old.
An awesome party at Stone Park with friends, a hike, hot dogs, baseball, and an obstacle course. Lots of presents, lots of family and lots and lots of Fun!!
Happy Birthday little buddy!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Snow on May 5th, 2009

It was a very odd storm, but the kids thought it was pretty cool.
Almost like having a snowstorm in the summer.

The kids made the video below to share the experience.

Ethiopia Memories

We were watching it rain and hail this morning as we sat on the couch and looked out our picture window into the backyard. We could hear the forceful rain on the roof. I asked Levi if he remembered it raining in Ethiopia. He said that when it rained Abahba (this is the word he uses to refer to his birth father) would check to see if the grass fell off the roof. He would put it back if it fell off. Here is a direct quote I recorded, "Abahba would get on the roof and fix it. Get some more hay and put it in the hole."

Sometimes the reality that my son lived in a hut in Africa with a grass thatch roof, hits me like a ton of bricks. I could just picture him cold and wet watching his Ethiopian father patch a roof with hay. Words really don't express my feelings. I just am reminded that God is the author of our destiny and I am blessed to be a mother to my children. We are blessed by the beautiful road of adoption and the ways we experience our Lord in a deeper way. All of our children our His, lent to us for a short time. Let's make the most of the time we have with them before they are grown up and living out God's plan for their lives.

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, May 04, 2009

Ethiopia Update

Wow! God is really doing something in the area our boys were born in Ethiopia. Last night we met for the first time with the board of a ministry entitled "Generosity International". God has united us with our dear friends, Awoka and Tess who were born and raised in the same area as our sons. This couple now live in the US, but have continued to try and minister to the needs of their homeland through there church in Ethiopia. Layne is going to work on updating the website so we will post this soon so anyone interested can read more.

Lord willing, at some point Layne would like to travel with Awoka back to Ethiopia. We are excited to see what God has in store for this ministry.

Also, last week we talked on the phone to a couple we traveled with to adopt our children. They used the same agency as us and we have become close friends. They have been back to Ethiopia and become friends and ministry partners with people there who are trying to care for orphans.

Matt, is actually traveling today with a team of 10 people on a work project. They have been given 5 acres of land by the government and are hoping to develop this into an orphanage, school, and medical clinic. While they are there this week they are digging a well.

Of all the places the government could have given them land, it again is the SAME area our boys are from, their daughter was born and our friends Tess and Awoke are from.

WE ARE IN AWE...............What is God planning for us???????? We really don't know yet, but continue to feel a pull to help in the name of Christ in the area.

Here is a verse Layne and I read this morning that speaks of the hungry and poor:

Isaiah 58:11,12
"If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail."

Let us all, where ever the Lord has us, not forget about the hungry and afflicted. God calls us to pour ourselves out to them.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Come to Me All Who Labor

My kids are sick, Layne and I are very sleep deprived and needless to say that makes us a little more on "edge". God was so sweet to remind me this morning that this is the day He has made. I want to rejoice in Him despite my dread to face this

As I was reading my Bible, this verse hit me. It is Matthew 11:28-29.

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

God calls us to come to Him. To learn from Him. He reminds us that he is gentle and gives rest for our souls.

I am so weak, yet God is so strong!!!!

May God bless you today!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tanya is mad at me

I taught Erin to ride her bike without training wheels. Now, Tanya thinks it makes her look too big and wants her baby back.
See video below - I helped with the bike riding, but the dance....She came up with that ALL by herself!
oops :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Anger Issues.........

Two years in July, our family grew to 7 through adoption. We have been blessed in many ways through our journey, but continue to learn new things about ourselves and how that works out tangibly in our daily lives. One of the areas I have really struggled in is anger. God is ever so gently drawing this struggle to the surface so I can learn to turn toward Him when anger hits. I have been angry at my children in ways I never imagined before and toward my husband in ways I am not proud of. My anger has affected my children. One in particular is REALLY struggling. I believe my anger towards him has done damage, but I am hopeful that God can repair and I can use it as an opportunity to relate to my son in his struggles.

One of the hardest things for me is to NOT become angry when my child is using disrespectful, disobedient talk. Arguing........Arguing......! I want to PULL my hair out, run screaming up and down the street or hibernate in a hole where no one can find me. I confess it is humbling to experience this anger.

I begged God one morning to reveal to me something in His precious word that would help me turn to Him when I need to correct my child and instruct him, all the while trying to be a sweet aroma of Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:15a "For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved")

This verse is now hanging on my wall where I can see it:
Proverbs 23:9 "Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words." God opened my eyes to a new strategy..............when my children are not wanting to listen to my words and I feel my temper rising, I can send them to a designated spot and leave them there! I in turn take the opportunity to pray for my own anger and for that child. I am not letting the person leave there spot until they are ready to listen respectfully.

Today was a challenge because this process repeated itself over and over with one child through out the day. BUT finally at the end of the day I could see God penetrating his angry heart. I believe God blessed this because I walked away from the situation and prayed prayed prayed. It was HARD HARD work. I wanted to get angry but kept begging God for mercy. By HIS grace I did not blow up and speak harshly to my son. ( Believe me the temptation was there.)

This is another verse that God has used to help me:
Proverbs 15:1 "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up

I am thankful for a new day tomorrow.

Monday, April 13, 2009

This post is for you, Greta!!!!

Last week a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group in Meriden, Iowa invited me to come and share about our adoption story and things God is teaching us through our journey. I was enthusiastically greeted by my new friend, Greta. She was ooozing with warm hospitality and joy. I soon discovered that she had faithfully read our blog since it beginnings. How humbling!

What a JOY it was to be a visitor at this gathering. God's presence was very evident. Thank you for inviting me.


PS. Greta, I would love to have a response from you on the

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Influenza A

This past week Erin contracted Influenza A. So far no other family members are showing any signs. The public schools did not have school this Thurs. and Friday so we had made fun plans with friends. Well bummer, we had to cancel these plans, but we tried to make our own fun inside.

Layne made me promise I would do NO housework or daily routines and declare it a total holiday. For any of you that know me well, this doesn't fit my Type A personality. I thrive on structure and routine. However, we all had a BLAST, including me! We made fun stuff for b'fast, stayed in our p.j's all morning and never made the beds the whole day!!! One fun thing we did was gather as many craft supplies in a laundry basket from around the house and pile them in the sun room. The kids spent hours off and on all day crafting, painting and glue gunning. Cool temperature glue guns are a perfect invention especially when used in collaboration with popsicle sticks. I keep learning new ways to keep 3 active boys busy indoors! Ha!

So if there are any people out there who can relate to the "hesitation" of getting out messy craft supplies because of the added mess, let me encourage you to take a risk and get dirty!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Most Impressive

Awana Grand Prix tonight, big night for Kaylee.
She was so excited about her car, not because it was going to win, because she loved how it looked.
We were told before we came that it probably couldn't race because of it's ginormous size.
However, when we got there, the officials checked it and it wasn't going to impede the other racers, so they let it race.
It ran four heats for time and got 2nd 3x and 3rd once.
At the end of the race, it just barely fit underneath the finish bar and it slammed into the catch box at the end of the line.
At the close of the night, the gave awards and the Mystery Machine got the "most impressive" award.
It's actually made out of Balsa wood (otherwise, it was waaaaaay to heavy). A special hat tip to DP at NMS for helping on the cutout :)
What a fun project and great memories, it was fun to watch all of our kids cheer for Kaylee's car.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

More Snow

Today we were snowed and iced in all day. We have been getting signs of spring, but just enough to mentally think it IS spring. So, needless to say today I needed God's help to remind me that He is in charge of the weather and I need not complain. God blessed us with a few sweet moments that I wanted to record.

By the grace of God (and the time change smile........) my kids slept in later than normal. I had some quiet time in the Word of God. Here is a verse I wrote on a note card to put in front of my eyes when I struggled with my own sin today.

Galatians 5:22-23; 25-26

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."

"If we live by the Spirit let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another."

In the quietness of my home I prayed that God would equip me to seek Him for the power to live by the Spirit. To love during sibling disputes, to be patience at all the things that grate on my nerves when we are inside most of the day. To be gentle and self-controlled when having to correct my kiddos. To have JOY in the job God has given me in raising up my family and loving my husband.

Daily Record Today ( a snowed in day)

Today we had everyone home and we home schooled ( other days the oldest two dual enroll to public school)
  • mommy awake/Isaac coughing and in our bed
  • everyone up and hungry
  • morning chores: beds/pick up rooms/ dressed/ b'fast
  • Kaylee starts school/ review lessons with mom
  • little ones play( mommy plays referee to break up disputes Ha!) This makes for lots of running back and forth between school lessons and little ones
  • Isaac school time
  • Did I mention I have not yet gotten ready for the day, Ugh! I really like the days I am up and ready before the kids, but I chose to read my Bible first and forgo shower and make- up yet.
  • put something in the crockpot for supper and defrost bread dough (store bought!)
  • laundry laundry laundry
  • run one mile on treadmill (trying to make myself exercise more for heart health)
  • Layne home for lunch
  • I get ready for the day (at noon)
  • Little ones down for nap
  • Isaac reads aloud to me. He has been reading so much lately. I needed to check his comprehension on books he is reading.
  • More school
  • Levi and Jesse up and we read library books. One book was about a tugboat so we go to the computer and find a video tour of a real tugboat. Levi is intrigued and is always soaking up any new vocabulary. We also find video of steamboats and the Mississippi River.
  • Erin up/ clean up HUGE toy mess. I need to supervise this and make sure it happens.
  • Piano lessons (K and I go across the street for lessons, great perk!!!)
  • Dinner prep
  • Dinner
  • Layne sends me out the door to Panera. I gather a bag full of books and plant myself close to the fireplace there.
  • I write some cards, read a novel, a parenting book and delete my text message "in" box.
  • Now Layne is done working on someone's computer.
  • We are going to talk and connect on the couch.

Whew this day was full!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Happy Birthday, 6 year old LEVI!

Yesterday (Sunday, March 1) was the big day for Levi,
but we were out of town with some friends and seeing some family.
We celebrated Levi's birthday.
Pictures and video to follow, but this is just a quick post to say that I can't believe he's 6 already!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Crossing the Delaware

The kids worked so hard on this video.
For President's day, Tanya gave an open-ended assignment.
Do a project that has something to do with a president.
This is what they came up with.
Daddy did the editing, but I think it turned out pretty good.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Turn My Eyes From Worthless Things........

This was a verse that I came across during my Bible time this week.

Psalm 119:37
"Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things, and give me life in your ways."

There are soooooooo many distractions in my daily life that keep me from thinking of my real purpose of being on this earth. It is my desire to love the Lord with all my heart and mind and love others. As a homemaker and momma, I get very wrapped up in all the details of keeping a home, caring for little ones, meal planning, school planning, helping Layne out, reaching out to others..........the list goes on and on. I guess this verse just reminded me to keep my eyes on loving Christ and reading His word and he supplies new grace each day and more true joy while living life. Seems simple but yet such a daily battle at the same time.

Also, thought I would post a picture of the three little ones playing "Moon Sand". I confess we don't get this out often because I don't like big messes. However, once again this verse reminds me that keeping things neat for my own comfort is worthless. (not to mention pointless when you have five kids!) Ha!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Daddy-Daughter Date Night

Tonight we had a date night sponsored by the city parks and rec.
Just Daddy, Kaylee and Erin joined other Daddy's and daughters for a FINE meal and dancing.
We had soooo much fun. I took some pics and video and put them together, it's about 41/2 minutes, but fun too look at.
They are growing up so fast and I just want my girls to always remember their daddy spending special times like this with them.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Back to blogging

It's been a month since we've written anything and I'm going to attempt to get things up to speed here with some pics and some descriptions. We'll right something of more substance later. (I promise!!)
This is pretty recent. When it warmed up a little the kids had fun building a snowman. Levi was at school, but the built a snowlady later.
Another favorite indoor activity when we are KOOPED up in the house and its 30 below ZERO outside. We all love LEGOS! including Daddy.
Erin is starting violin. She actually has a REAL violin now and really enjoys.
Kaylee was in a program at school to celebrate MLK day. She had a speaking part and the singing was very good. They are performing it again at Western Iowa Tech Comm. College next week.
Levi is going to be 6 years old in 3 weeks!!!! I can't believe it. He is getting so big. We registered him for kindergarten this week and he will go next week to kindergarten roundup!
Jesse loves to go out in the snow, but bundling up is always a chore. He is going to be 3 soon and is talking like a magpie!