Bemm Family

Bemm Family

Friday, May 24, 2013

Toddlers and Teenagers

Esther Gloria is the youngest Bemm child. I have been blessed to witness her personality blossom in the past few months. For a long time we described her as a quiet, bump on the log. Although she still won't miss an opportunity to sit on someone's lap and snuggle, she is much more vocal and has turned into a complete goofball.  She is always singing, she is ticklish all over and has the best belly laugh. She is the definition of Mommy's little helper; and unless she is in cahoots with her brother and sister she is very obedient and loves to make people smile. She is my saving grace between the three midgets always loving on you when you need it most, or disrupting the chaos with a funny comment. We gave her the nickname babushka, because she tends to show some grandma like qualities in the way she walks and talks and how she loves her sleep. Her goofiness comes out in very few words and lots of giggles and is very spontaneous; but her timing is always perfect. At nap time she is always the first one in bed, sometimes even skipping her lunch and going right to sleep. Esther is our accessory queen. When she is sitting on your lap she will play with your necklace and earrings, ask to braid your hair, and she always has to carry a purse. She loves wearing bracelets, shoes, and she loves to have her nails painted. She changes her shoes about 10 times a day and most of the shoes she wears are not hers and extremely big for her. This causes her to trip and fall multiple times throughout the day which brings about the need for a bandaid whether there is actually blood or not. 

That smile..
Cheeseball Queen
Ellie is the second youngest. Her real name is Elizabeth Mercy, but we call her Ellie (which is very fitting to the little person she is becoming.) Although she is older than Esther she is much smaller in size. When I think about words to describe Ellie the words spunky, feisty, energetic, mischievous, and smart come to my mind. She is a thinker and a quick learner, always picking up new concepts and ideas. Ellie is full of energy and spunk. She is constantly moving, running, dancing or flipping. When you go to tuck her into bed at night you almost always find her upside doing a headstand. She loves to climb, hang on my back and be flipped upside down. She is a complete monkey. Ellie has a high pitched giggle and is one of the best snugglers I know. She knows exactly how to get under her brother and sister's skin and when caught in the act has a fairly convincing innocent smile. She loves to sneak off to the Kelley's house and play with Baby Hannah's toys all by herself. Although, she loves her alone time she is quite the conversationalist. She just talks and talks and talks, then pauses to take a breath, and then talks some more. When Ellie talks, if it weren't for her squeaky little voice one might assume that it is an adult talking and not a toddler. She has a very large vocabulary for her little three year old self. She also loves to sneak off and usually eat or drink something she is not supposed to. Just the other day we were all outside and Ellie went inside to go to the bathroom. After she was gone for longer than it should take for someone to use the bathroom I went inside to check on her. I found her under the dining room table with her hand in a huge tub of cheese balls and cheese all over her face and fingers. When I asked what she was doing she just smiled at me and took another bite. She is the cheese ball queen. I find that she is the hardest one to reprimand because she is just so cute, even when she cries. 

Shaddie and Ellie pretending to be Chuck and I.
In the car on the way to Nairobi
to get some gummy bears
Shadrach, or Shaddie as we call him, is the oldest of the midgets. I am forced to adjust to the way a toddler boy shows love as opposed to the girls. When Ellie or Esther want to show me that they love me they usually grab onto my leg or crawl on my lap. Although, Shaddie does this too sometimes, most of time he shows his love with a head butt or a punch in the leg around 7 in the morning. Behind the head butting he has a sweet, tender heart and is constantly looking out for his younger sisters. Shaddie is very protective of Esther and Ellie. He is very animated when he speaks and we are fairly convinced he will be a comedian when he gets older. It's not in just what he says, but also in how he says it and the delivery. He loves to play with trucks, motorcycles and trains just like any other 3 year old boy; but we also often catch him wearing his sister's bathing suits, dresses and asks to have his nails painted. We are convinced he needs another brother to toughen him up. For now, Levi Kelley (the youngest Kelley boy) is assigned to that job. He is very particular and detail oriented. If something is not the way he likes it he voices his opinion, usually pretty loudly and multiple times. He smiles at you and tells you he loves you at just the right moment. 

Yes, Shaddie is wearing Hannah's bathing suit, backwards.
Yes, we are still praying about another brother for him

Hannah on her 2nd birthday!
Hannah is the fourth youngest; we like to call her the tall midget. Hannah is very independent and adventurous; and sometimes these qualities get her into a little bit of trouble. Such as climbing up too high in a tree and getting stuck. Like Ellie, she is full of energy and always on the move. She was a pretty chubby baby but has long since outgrown that. She is now skin and bones and has an impeccable speed for a six year old, which is a given because she's Kenyan. She has a very compassionate heart. If she sees that someone is upset she immediately feels their pain and tries to comfort them. She doesn't like it when people are sad and certainly hates to see people upset. Not only does she sympathize with people in pain, but also in joy. She has a contagious laugh that echoes throughout the house and even the compound. She loves to share with everyone. Anytime someone gives something to her or shares with her, she turns right around and shares with someone else. She has a sweet tooth just like her mommy; which is evident by the crumbs and wrappers you often find in her bed. She is outgoing and quick to make friends. It seems to me like she is friends with everyone in the neighborhood. Hannah has a knack for art and math and tends to combine the two. She is very gifted artistically and creative. In the mornings, when mostly everyone is asleep she can be found in the basement do some  craft or another. When she does her schoolwork you tend to find more drawings on her paper than answers to math problems. Being six years old and given her personality she is distracted very easily.

Lydia loving on baby Eden
Abby and Lydia
Turtle Bay 2013
Lydia Joy is 12 going on 20. I promise you, she looks older and grows more everyday. She is loud and feisty and loves to cuddle with her younger siblings as well as agitate them. When we were at the beach a month or so ago, I watched her splash and jump through the waves as she galloped along the shoreline. I remember being envious at her ability to be so playful and so in love with life. Lydia is not afraid to be her own person and speak her mind. She has a great imagination and doesn't necessarily like to read, but loves to be read to. She is outgoing, loves to laugh and makes friends easily. She has a caring heart for babies, children and children with special needs. Although she seems feisty at times, she has a way of comforting you and making you feel loved when you need it the most.  She loves to care for people and animals and knows exactly what kind of little actions or things to say that can turn your day upright. As she continues to grow, it has been amazing to watch her discover who she is as a daughter of the King. It has also been a blessing to watch her relationship with her older sister, Abby, grow. In the past year or so they have gotten closer to each other. Lydia admires her older sister and it is beautiful to witness them grow together. Along with Hannah and her mom, she has a sweet tooth;and you can tell by the large bags of candy and Cheetohs she has stashed away in her closet. She won't admit to you that she likes school, but you can tell that she does by how hard she tries to do her best in everything. She is strong-willed and determined in everything she sets her mind to. When I watch her ripstick up and down the hallway or make a funny music video, it makes me miss being 12 years old and care free. I pray everyday that as she discovers who she is in Christ and continues to grow that she will never lose her sense of adventure and she would fall even more deeply in love with life and with Jesus. Over the past couple months she has dealt with some very painful deaths. She taught me to find the joy in pain. She showed me that it was okay to cry, but it was also okay to be joyful even in suffering. I witnessed God stretch her and shape her heart as she relied on God for strength instead of herself.

Our oldest 3
Turtle Bay 2013

David doing what he loves.
Deep sea fishing with Dad
Turtle Bay 2013
David is second from the top. As a 14 year old freshman in boarding school for the first time he is just trying to figure out who he is and where this life is taking him. He is strong and tough on the outside, but behind the tough guy he has a sensitive heart and he is very protective of all his sisters. He plays, lives and breathes rugby. This is his first time on an official team, but he has been waiting for these practices and games for what seems like forever. He is determined to do his best. His leadership abilities really shine on the field as he encourages and guides his teammates. He shows you he loves you by teasing you until he drives you crazy. We always thought he was shy, but his friends tell us a different story. After he made the adjustment at RVA his personality really shined through and he is friends with almost everyone. We are convinced that he grows in his sleep. Every time we see him I think he is at least an inch or two taller. 

Abby playing JV volleyball for RVA
Abigail Faith is going to be 16 years old by the end of June. She continues to ask if she can get her drivers permit when we return to the states. We are very hesitant because we are fairly positive she would lose her head if it wasn't attached to her body. She is also a freshman at Rift Valley Academy. After she made the adjustment to boarding school life she also flourished and made friends very easily. She is bubbly and friendly with everyone no matter who they are. She is one to observe your heart before she observes your outfit or your make-up.  She played on the JV basketball team earlier in the year and is currently a member of the JV volleyball team. She loves sports and she is motivated in athletics as well as academics. She said to me one day, "I might like to be a neurosurgeon..." we are still talking that one over with her. Not sure she is quite coordinated enough for the job. Hopefully she will end up in the research field of neurology. She is a night owl and loves to take naps. She loves playing banana grams with her mom and big Hannah. Just like her mom she has a great sense of humor. One may often refer to her as an airhead or a goober, but she embraces it beautifully and never refuses to laugh at herself. She is so in love with Jesus and you can tell by the way she cares for other people and loves them regardless of their faults. She strives for a deeper intimate relationship with Jesus and is His voice to many of her friends at school. Although we miss both her and David dearly while they are away at school we absolute love watching them grow and transform into the people God has created them to be.

You could say they're pretty good pals
There they are. All my teenagers and toddlers and one in-betweener.

Monday, May 20, 2013


I want to apologize for not blogging in such a long time... no excuses really!! I want to start by saying that we as a family really appreciate all your love, support and prayers for us.  We would not be able to continue to serve here without them.  

The month of March was one of the most difficult months we have ever experienced.  As most of you have read in our last blog, our dear Ruthie from the baby center in Nakuru went to be with the Lord on March 7th.  As I sat by her bedside in continuous prayer I held her little hand and just kept thinking that she was alone...but I know she wasn't' alone. God was holding her the whole time.  I cried so many times when I thought about how she did not have an earthly family, but I knew she had a Heavenly Father who loved her more than we ever could.  

Ruthie after eating a yummy meal at the baby center
To back up a little, I received a call from the director of the baby center that Ruthie was vomiting coffee grounds; to us medical people this was not a good sign.  We immediately told them to bring her in.  When she arrived she was smiling at me and doing do well with all the exams.  As I held her in the emergency room for hours, we sang and I told funny stories (OK it was mostly to amuse myself since she was only 1.) As the day progressed I started to get impatient, I called the surgeon and my husband and asked them to come and examine her again.  We moved to the surgical waiting area and I saw her eyes change...she wasn't responding to me anymore.  She was dying in my arms. I love my husband and the work that he does.  He immediately whisked her from my arms and ran into the surgical suite and started resuscitating her with the help of a surgeon and the anesthetist.  I paced around the surgical table praying and assisting wherever hands were needed. After what seemed like forever she finally got her heart rate back.  I stayed with her throughout the surgery and watched our surgeons do wonderful work.  Ruthie never woke up from that point on.  We prayed and prayed for her to recover.  I learned once again that it is not up to me. God is in control all the time and not just some of the time.  

Little did I know that God would teach me this again just a week later in Little Princess Hannah Kelley's death on March 14, 2013.  We received a call at around 3am from one of our neighbors that their one year old, Hannah, had stopped breathing. She had been sick for a couple weeks, but it wasn't anything that seemed too serious. My heart stopped as I watched Chuck get dressed as fast as he could and run over to their house. They only live a 10 second walk away from our front door to theirs. As I stood on our front porch watching chuck run over, I prayed.  I heard their door shut, and then about a minute later I heard the door open again, my heart leapt for joy as I thought, "Oh good chuck is on his way back and Hannah is fine."  Then the image I have had a hard time getting out of my nightmares is hearing Chuck counting, then watching Hannah's daddy, Aaron, carrying Hannah up the sidewalk in a little blanket and then stopping in front of our house for Chuck to give her a breath.  Then they started running again up the sidewalk. Watching that scene made my heart so heavy.  I cannot begin to describe how the next 24 hours transpired.  Please refer to the Kelley’s blog to hear how these parents are my heroes.
Their faith in our Lord has inspired me to examine my heart in so many ways.  Scripture has come alive to me in a new way.  These are just a few of the scriptures that mean so much more to me now.  I urge you to read the Word with an open heart to hear what the Lord has to say to you.  Don't miss out on His voice. Listen.
Princess Hannah at 1 year photo shoot

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you: he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  Deuteronomy 31:8

“I will give thanks to you, Lord with all my heart, I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.  I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.”  Psalm 9:1-2

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.  He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.  They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support.”
 Psalm 18:16-18

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." Psalm 91:1-2