Many years ago, our family chose to attend a very poor, inner city Church. That decision changed our lives forever. We were among very poor people, with many problems. We saw the effects of drug use, abuse, bad home situations, and many poor choices. We learned so much from those we walked beside in those days, and they were so often at our home, that it was almost as if we adopted them. As with so many small, nondenominational churches, the doors eventually closed. We never lost contact, though, with those with whom we shared so much. Eventually, one of the girls from our old church asked us to care for her little boy, who had been removed by DCS (Department of Child Safety). We agreed, of course, thinking that DCS would never consent. They agreed. Not only did we end up adopting little Efrain, but that got us started on the grand adventure of being foster parents.

So what began with us informally hosting little kids with big problems in our home turned into expanding our family by a little, and then by a lot. We do our best to love them all, and God has greatly enriched our lives throughout this ongoing journey. This website is about them, and us, all that we share, and all that we learn.

Somewhere along the way, my wife picked up photography. We have lots of pictures, and those are on display here as well.


Family photo on Adoption Day!
Back Row:
Laurent, Annette, Jacob, Xavier, Elyany, Paul, Natalie, Megan
Front Row:
Alyssa, Geneva, Grandma Heidmann, Ruben, Oma Pauline, Jordan, Efrain

Where do I even begin…

If you would know me, then know this: I do my very best to live as a disciple of Christ. I very often do not succeed, I very often have motives and intentions that are contrary to this calling, but this is, nonetheless, my goal and purpose. I was raised Lutheran, and while in college was mostly Baptist. For much of my married life I was reformed, and now, at long last, I am Catholic. It has been a very long, and very difficult road, but my faith has never been more vibrant or more real (real here in the sense used in the “The Great Divorce”, by C.S. Lewis). You can read about my decision to become Catholic (here).

Through it all, for reasons not known to me, I have always had a very clear calling to carry Christ’s love to troubled youth and their parents. In college, this meant going into the county juvenile detention center, a short term adolescent psych ward, and a big brother relationship. Later in life, my family specifically choose an inner city church, and now, I am a Vincentian and a foster Dad.

When I married my lovely wife Annette, neither of us intended to become foster parents, but that is exactly what happened. In addition to our four biological children, we have fostered and then gone on to adopt seven children. Our home is a very wild and crazy place indeed, but we love it, and we love our kids. All of them.

A few years ago, I attended Kino Catechetical Institute, and now that I have graduated (and am a certified catechist in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix), I am teaching the parent formation class at our parish.

Much less importantly, I am a software engineer by trade, focused on C++. My current employer is Garmin International. My professional activities are outlined over on my professional website, which is here. I am a graduate of North Dakota State University (NDSU), with a BS in Electrical Engineering, a BS in Mathematics, and an MS in Mathematics.


A long, long time ago, I was a young mother, living almost two thousand miles from my friends and family, just starting to home school, and feeling rather alone. I needed to keep in touch with my people, and as I loved writing, and my little people were a constant source of story material, I wrote letters. They were lengthy and frequent, and as my list of recipients grew longer, I decided there must be an easier way to stay in touch. Blogging was barely on anyone’s radar, but I decided I should give it a try.

I began a little blog with my own domain name (I called it “” and it was as basic as basic could be, but I was ridiculously proud of it). Over time my little website grew through several iterations and blogging platforms, until I came to WordPress, and Nettie’s World was born. I’ve made many dear friends through blogging that I’ve never met in real life, but with the advent of Facebook, it’s been wonderful to maintain these relationships and continue getting to know one another and stay connected.

Here are some things to know about me and our family:

  • I’m a former protestant who, together with my whole family, “crossed the Tiber” and came into full communion with the Catholic Church in 2011. There is nothing in this world or the next that matters to me more, nor for which I am more humbly grateful, than my Catholic faith, and making sure that I pass it on to my children and share it with as many others as I can. I am woefully inept at evangelizing! I second guess myself, say too little, worry about being misunderstood and rejected, and generally fail far more than I succeed. But small as I feel, I know God is far bigger than my failures, and by His grace I aspire to become, like St. Teresa of Calcutta, a “pencil in God’s hand.”
  • Having spent nearly 20 years as a home educator, I can say with confidence that that is the parenting paradigm within which I feel the most comfortable. And, although I reject the premise that there is only one “right way” to educate/raise children, in all honesty, homeschooling was really ideal for our family, which includes gifted and challenged learners, some ADHD and ASD. Our oldest three daughters raced through high school and started college around 16-17, each of them pursuing their passions with determination and enthusiasm. They are now building their adult lives with careers and families of their own. Our youngest-born but oldest-son recently spread his wings and left the nest at age 23 and is both a you-tuber with a growing channel as well as an author with 9-10 titles published.
  • I’m going on 57 this year, or as I like to say to the kids, I’m “an old, old lady, which is why I know more than you!” I’ve been beyond blessed to be partners with Paul (my beloved brilliant mathematician/ software engineering husband of 30 years) in forming this family, and at our age, most folks are anticipating an empty nest. Yet, God had a surprise for us, and brought us a sweet little foster boy 10 years ago, whom we were so very blessed to adopt. Hearing the call to provide a loving and stable home through foster care, our entire family embraced new little ones as the Lord brought them to us, always with open arms and hearts and the understanding that we were here for the long haul or the short, however long we are needed. We know that each unique and precious child will be in our hearts forever, and we were willing to be their forever family if that is what they need. Our family size has fluctuated between 5 and 11 children over the years, and that was a roller coaster in all kinds of ways. We adopted six siblings in 2018, and have devoted ourselves to the journey of loving them through the sometimes rocky road to adulthood.
  • In recent years I have also discovered a passion for photography, and am self-taught (which means I learn things very slowly and am thankful for You-Tube!). I’ve reached a point where I feel like I can call myself a photojournalist, because that’s what I do. I record the world as I see it through words and photos. Since my world is overflowing with my people, my photos are mostly lifestyle and portrait shots, with some urban, ranch and desert landscapes thrown in whenever I can get out of the house and see the world. I’m so grateful I get to share them here and I hope you enjoy looking around our site!



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