Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Slideshow I made(see below for important instructions)

Be sure to PAUSE the player on the bottom right hand and turn up your speakers to hear the music with the slideshow

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I never get over the surprises

God just blows my socks off!  So here is the low down on the money(not exact specifics, but an idea).  Mike, Carter, and I had thought Carter and I would be heading to Nicarauga in June.  We had a jar on the kitchen counter marked Mission Trip Savings.  We would put loose change, money we got back from something, Abby contributed half her allowance, Mike put a bit of his Christmas money--you get the picture, little bits here and there.  We'd started this 2months ago and as of yesterday had 220.00 in it.  This morning, I looked in my "secret stash" that I've always tried to keep for upcoming expenses that I knew would be really hard to pay for.  I was preparing for Hudson's finalization in court for his adoption in late March, early April(about 800.00).  In my stash was 225.00.  I had a bit extra in a special savings and got that out this morning.  To the exact amount, I deposited cash in our checking account this morning to cover the check I wrote yesterday for Haiti fees(lodging, food, insurance and such).  Seriously, you cant make this stuff up people!!!!!!!!!!!  I love it.  So, out of our family budget, this trip will only cost me the souvenirs I buy and a few airport meals.  NUTS!  Mike and I have been reading a biography on Hudson Taylor the great missionary to China.  He firmly believed that God would supply all his needs.  He never asked for money or went into debt.  It wasn't easy, he didn't live in luxury by any means, but he was always taken care of.  I hope to become like that.

Oh, if you'd like to see where I'll be, go to

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sometimes I'm just floored!

You guys will NOT believe this.  Literally, God dropped a 1/3 priced short term mission trip in my lap.  Basically, we've been praying and starting a little savings for a mission trip. We just figured I'd be going back to Nicarauga since I loved it there. But, some friends of ours lead teams to Haiti several times a year. This morning I found out that someone on their team backed out and I got a spot with a free flight!!!!!!! So, in about 3 hours, we made the decision to jump in. I fly out this Friday night.  CRAZY I know, but you all know I'm a bit wild anyway.

Get this, I'll be on a medical team that does burn clinics during the day, we are distributing 3000 Christmas shoeboxes AND we are staying in an orphanage and helping with the 100 children there and distributing bags of rice. The team leader told me that the village children who don't live in the orphanage try to get in there because it is the safe place where children actually eat.  Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and we will see everything from starving children, burn victims with no medical care to voodoo temples. Could this fit me any better??? I don't think so.

Mike and I ran up to Goodwill and I bought 4 long flowing skirts(a cultural thing there for women to wear skirts) and cheap cotton shirts.  I don't think I'll be taking many pics showing much of me in them ;)

So, Please please pray for Mike and the kids while I'm gone. My nerves are shot, but I'm super excited and so is MIke.
This has been quite a year.  The Lord has rocked our view of "normal" and shown us His mighty power!  We have learned that our timing is just that---ours.  He has a perfect timing that we just need to go with.  I'm humbled, in awe, and pumped up to see how the God of the universe is involved in all the details of our lives.  May I work hard, not complain, be flexible, love the people openly, and basically be Jesus with skin on.  I can always work more at my job and accumulate more money and stuff---but this, this trip is the chance of a lifetime and will most certainly affect the way I look at the world from here on out!!!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Some battles you must win

Two year olds are something, aren't they?  Adorable, curious, sweet, kissable, funny, and STUBBORN!  Right before leaving Korea, Hudson's foster mother told us to be careful because Seong Cheol is curious and obstinate.  She was right on.  Tonight Hudson and I had an epic battle of wills.  I was taken back 13 years to when I read The Strong Willed Child by Dr. Dobson for Carter.  For the 896th time I told Hudson "We don't drive toy cars on table, cars go on the floor, say Yes Mam."  Now, I know there are some of you thinking I'm a super meanie for insisting on this cherub saying Yes Mam when he has only been here and hearing English for almost 4 months.  The thing is, he copies everything we say and I totally knew he understood.  He dug in.  You could see it in his eyes.  No way was he going to say yes mam.  So, being the peaceful and patient woman I am, I dug in too.  I placed his face to the wall about 2 feet from where I was standing and said "Say yes mam and you can come over here."  He shook his head and tears squirted out of his eyes.  This went on for about 10minutes.  Then, I went to get Dillon in the bath tub and left Hudson at the wall.  About every 3minutes or so, I'd come back and tell Hudson so say yes mam and he could leave the wall.  Wailing and gnashing of teeth!  Now I know how much Hudson loves bathtime so I enticed him by saying "Do you want to take a bath with Dillon?"  To which he piped up "Bath!"  I told him to say yes mam and he could take a bath--WAIL!  Again and again with Hudson saying "Bath!" but refusing to dare say yes mam.  Mike got out the video camera to record our war of wits.  Wouldn't you know it, as soon as he started recording, Hudson says "yeah, man".  There ya have it.  He said it!  So, I put  him in the bath and he was great the rest of the night.  In fact, it was a miracle.  He laid down, after bottle and snuggles, and went to sleep without the usual drama of flopping, snorting, getting up 5 times, kicking and such.  He peacefully went to sleep.  I'd like to think it was because of my supreme parenting, but more realistically, he was just worn out ;)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

White Christmas!!!

I don't think I've ever been able to really say this--we had a White Christmas!!  I mean a blizzard came on Thursday complete with horrible ice.  Friday was beautiful, sunny and soft fluffy snow.  We had a snowball fight with the cousins, Aunt Shana and Uncle Craig.  Papa got in on the fun and here I am with a snowball inside my sweater that he threw at me!

Well, let me be the first to say "Hooray Christmas is over"!!  To be completely blunt, I'm not a huge Christmas afficionado.  Today, we clean out toys to make room for the new ones the kids got.   We clean and organize my torn up house and take a big load to Goodwill.  I love getting ready for the new year. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Yes, he really is that CUTE!

So, here is Hudson, age 2 wearing mismatched PJ's and his sister's headband.  I'm sorry folks, you may think your little boy is cute, but this one takes the cake ;)  Hudson has been home 3.5months and is amazing us everyday.  He is happy, plays with little cars all day saying "Beep Beep", he is affectionate, smart, funny.  Mike and Hudson have a game where Mike makes a funny face and Hudson copies it.  Hudson is a little parrot and copies everything we say.  Today he had a big doctor appt for our post placement(complete with 3 vials of blood, a TB test and 3 shots).  In 3 months he has grown 3/4 inch and gained a pound.  We feel like we won the kid jackpot.  Frequently, we get the patronizing old saying "You guys are doing something so great for those kids."  HA!  Wrong--WE are the ones blessed.  Adopting children is not a hardship or call to suffer, it is an honor. 

Isaiah 1:17 (New International Version)
  learn to do right!
Seek justice,

encourage the oppressed.

Defend the cause of the fatherless,
plead the case of the widow.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Advent Conspiracy Promo Video

You need to scroll down to my music player and pause the music to hear the video. This is what I'm saying people, this is why I don't like Christmas very much. 450 billion dollars spent on blow up santas riding Harleys as yard decorations and such while children are dying from diarrhea becauase their water is contaminated! What if we all spent less and gave to people that really need a sweet gift??? Let's try it!

Friday, December 18, 2009

If only frumpy were fashionable

...then I'd be one hot momma!  My fleece pjs that are hot pink with cupcakes all over them sure feel good EVERY day after 6ish!  And, speaking of style(or lack there of), does it bother anyone that there are many days when Hudson never gets changed from his pj's??

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Diaper Give-away Part 2

My mother helping set up the diaper table.

Katy, Melody and mom with Hudson and Sissy in the stroller

Today was a blast!!!!!!!  About 11 of us met at a WIC office in the mid-cities area, loaded down with about 3000 diapers, tons of packs of wipes(thank you Gateway Church for amazing generosity).  Each wipe pack had a cd of Robert Morris' testimony on it.  We set up a table that said Free Wipes and Diapers.  The traffic flow was pretty slow so several of us loaded up Hudson and Sissy(my neice) in the double stroller that God blessed my sister with yesterday for free, grabbed diapers and wipes and walked over to the low income apartment complex.  We began knocking on doors.  It was so fun and I totally cracked up at Katy(my youngest sister).  The first door she knocked on , a lady answered and Katy sweetly asked "Do any babies live here?"  HA!  The poor lady had a look on her face like, why do you want to know and why should I tell you!! :)

So, we started asking "Could you use some free diapers and wipes?"  That worked well.  People were pointing us to apartment doors of people they knew had babies.  After a while, we loaded all the supplies up and moved to a public health dept.  Mom and I took a bunch of diapers and wipes to the laundromat across the street.  Jack-pot.  People were so surprised and happy.  They all wanted to take some to a grandbaby, neice or nephew, or neighbor who had a baby.  We were glad to hand them out.
We had the best time and loved seeing the surprise on people's faces when we just handed them the free goodies, no strings attached.  One young woman asked us, rather harshly I might add, "Why are you giving free diapers?"  We told her we just wanted to bless people who needed them.

So, get your copy of The Outward Focused Life, steal an idea or make up your own, and get out there.  It is soooooo much fun.  Write me and tell me what you did!
Outward-Focused Life, The: Becoming a Servant in a Serve-Me World by Dave Workman

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bring on the new ones.....

My sister just found out that on Friday, they get another foster baby.  YIPPEEEE.  Get this:  I've been asking God to bring them a Hispanic baby boy, and yes, this little one is a Hispanic baby boy!!!  Can you see me smiling from here????

Now, I totally realize this could be a temporary placement.  But, is there anything more fun at Christmas than a houseful of little ones???  Whenever someone asks my parents how many grandkids they have, they pause and say "Well, currently, we have 7, but one is about to be legally adopted so that makes 8, and then, as of Friday it will be 9"!  :))

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dillon turns 7

Here is Dillon shaving with a little play kit a friend gave him.  As you can see by his face, he took it very seriously!

Here is Dillon almost 2.  He was the cutest little fella!

Happy Birthday sweet Dillon(Dilbert, Dillywhopper).  You are an angel.  Your life has changed Mike and I so much.  We love you.  You are talented, funny, affectionate, funny, kind and loving, funny, and well, just GREAT!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I think I was in heaven this morning :)

I know, 2 posts in one day, do I have nothing to do but blog???  I am just so pumped I have to share.  Today was about the best day of church ever!  Mike taught an amazing lesson in Bible Fellowship(Sunday School) on the meaning of the Old Testament Feasts and how they are fulfilled in Jesus in the New Testament.  It was so mind-blowing to see how brilliant and detail oriented God was and is.  Then church service was our Christmas musical.  It wasn't a typical sit down and watch the choir sing Christmas music.  It was for participation--not just spectators!  I cried the whole time.  There were songs by the Praise Kids, songs by the Student Ensemble, Worship Choir, complete with drums and a rockin out electric guitar.  My friends' kids dressed as Mary, Joseph, angels, shepherds, and wise men(kids in Christmas musicals always make me cry!).  Within 2 rows of us was a Puerto Rican couple, a Brazillian family, an Indian family, a bi-racial(African American and Caucasion) family, and us.  WOW!  I just grinned thinking it looked like heaven is going to look:  peoples of all nations, including children singing, standing, praising Jesus.
AND, my brother-in-law called and offered Mike and Carter free tickets to see the Cowboys play in the new stadium.  Carter was beside himself with excitement.
Have a great day everyone.

Book Shout Out

Can't believe I've never read The Hiding Place before!!  Holy Cow, this book is unbelievable!!  Guys, seriously, you must read The Hiding Place.  It is about Corrie ten Boom and her family's ministry when Nazi's took over Holland.  They are so in love with Jesus and with serving that they bring many many people to Him during the most horrible times imaginable.  She is my new hero.  Her family fostered children for 10 yeas, she alone held church services for 20 years for mentally disabled adults, they hid Jewish people from Nazi's.  Her mother and sister fed the poor and visited the sick.  They were Jesus with skin on.  Here is an amazing quote from the book "There are no 'ifs' in God's world.  And no places that are safer than other places.  The center of His will is our only safety.."

Friday, December 11, 2009

Stinky week

This hasn't been the best week.  I'm glad it is Friday.  Dillon has had some poor behavior and had a note from school.  This is troubling because he is usually so sweet.  My mom reminded me that in 3 months, he's had a lot of life changes:  new baby brother and changes to his IEP at school that really threw him for a loop.  Wednesday I got pulled over and received a ticket for wearing my shoulder strap under my arm, not over my arm!!  I found out today it will cost me 142.00!  UNBELIEVABLE.  The comic relief in that traffic stop was that little to my knowledge, Dillon was sitting in the back of the minivan holding Carter's black paintball gun that was headed to the repair shop!  Whew, thank God the trooper didn't see it ;)
Carter is,well, a 13 yr old boy.  He's a good, kind, sensitive boy--but, there's just nothing like a 13yr old boy to make momma nuts, enough said!
Then, this morning I was canceled again at work.  That is 48hours lost since November 2.  Of course, it is Christmas time when you have to buy all kinds of crap, because that is what Americans do at Christmas--hooray, Jesus was born, now let's go spend money on junk our kids don't  need or even really want! We are trying to use this lean time to learn to live on less.  If we do move overseas someday to work with orphans, we will certainly need to live on a lot less.
I usually start every morning off in my closet with my daily Bible reading passage and my prayer notebook to write down my thoughts to my Lord.  Today I didn't get to it until just now.  Cool cause my passage for the day was John 16.  Awesome gift my Heavenly Father gave me:  John 16:33 tells us that in this world we will have trouble, but He has overcome the world!  So, thank you Jesus that we are victorious with you.  The troubles of this world are fleeting. 

I'm also sooooooo thankful that we did the diaper give away yesterday.  When I am tempted to feel sorry for myself, I think about that precious teen mom who grinned when I gave her the pack of free diapers and she said "We no have pamper!"  See, reaching out keeps our focus off ourselves, and, the diaper give away idea is multiplying.  A dear woman in the little town my in-laws are from is heading up one there.
Heck, I can't complain about anything!  My kids are healthy, I have a sweet godly husband, a warm home with blankets and food, clean water, health insurance, fun and kind friends, and too much to even list!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Great Diaper Giveaway Part 1

So, in 27 degree weather, Susie, Hudson, Melody, and baby J, and I  all showed up to the WIC office in a minority locale.  It was in a strip shopping center next to a Hispanic grocery store.  We sat there for a few minutes trying to figure out exaclty what to do.  Total diaper packs between the 3 of us was 21(25ish in each pack). From 9:40 to 11am we gave them all out. It wasn't as busy as I was thinking. We parked in the parking lot and stayed in the car(it was COLD) and watched for people coming out of the office with babies. I also gave away a small sack of brand new 2t boys clothes that we didn't need to a lady with a toddler boy. We felt odd, like stalkers, sitting in the car watching people coming and going. When we'd see a lady with a baby, one of us would grab a pack and walk up to her asking if she could use some free diapers. It was kind of like "lady with baby at 2 o'clock!!" Most everyone was geniunely surprised and happy. One precious young lady told me about her friend who just found out she is pregnant and due next month. She was saving her baby items to send to Mexico but decided her friend needs them more. I gave her 2 packs and she was so happy. If I'd had a complete nursery in my car, I'd have loved to give it to her.   Many had a look on their face like "So, what's the catch?"  We had a fun time and Hudson and my soon to be little neice had a blast playing in the car pushing buttons.
I don't know that we did anything heavenly, but it was a fun act of random niceness!
Next week we have more people, TONS of diapers thanks to Gateway Church, and we are moving to a new location.  FUN.  So, here is your challenge:  dream up a simple, inexpensive way to bless people who aren't expecting it.  Talk about Christmas! :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Battles not worth fighting

This is how Dillon prepared for the first heavy frost of the season:  t-shirt, tighty whiteys, flip-flops!  I told him get clothes and shoes on so he could see the "snow"(hey, it's Texas, give us a break!) and this is how he appeared.  Hmm, worth arguing over--NAH!  Life with a kid who gives no thought to social norms is very interesting.  I think God gave us Dillon because I'm a know-it-all.  Yep, I admit it, I struggle with that, and pride!  So, now I parent a child who doesn't really fit any of the parenting type books, not even the special needs ones.  We learn as we go.  It is sure fun though.  Last night was another post placement visit with our social worker to check on how Hudson is doing.  Good thing we've known her for 7 years.  Dillon was wearing a Mr. Incredibles halloween costume, Carter had Christian rock music thumping so loud the house was shaking and was shirtless, and Abby had 3 neighborhood friends over.  She showed up to our mad-house ;) 
Mom and Dad came to pick up Dillon to treat him to pizza for his birthday.  Yes he did, he wore the Mr. Incredibles costume to the restaurant!  Fortunately, my 5yr old neice came with them and she'd "dressed up" for the occasion.  She was wearing black tights, denim skirt, pink cowgirl boots, red velvet shirt, orange sweater and a black and white fleece scarf--the little diva!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bottles and Bonding, Serving and a Challenge from my heart...

The best advice we ever got regarding adopting a toddler:  bottle feed at bedtime.  Do not let the child hold the bottle, do not listen to the dentist about stopping the bottle, do not feel stupid about this ritual.  I really think this one simple act has fostered more attachment than anything else.  He looks at me with black almond shaped eyes and I say his Korean name over and over.  Sweet!!!

Here is Abby putting together packs of diapers for the Great Diaper Giveaway on Thursday!  I'm so pumped.  My friend, Susie, my sister Melody and my Mother, and I are meeting in front of the WIC office in a dowtown, lower socioeconomic neighborhood to hand out free diaper packs.  I'm practicing my spanish, since that is mainly the ethnic group this place represents:  Panales Gratis, Jesu Cristo te ama! (Free diapers, Jesus loves you).  I'll let you know how it goes.

And, a word on a different subject.  I seem to offend fairly easily when it comes to my passion:  orphans and adoption.  No, everyone isn't called to adopt or be a foster parent.  BUT, I stand adamant that the Bible commands Christians to care for these children.  Yes, every single stinkin Christian is commanded to CARE(once again, I didn't say adopt)  for the fatherless.  If you don't believe me, do a Bible study on caring for fatherless, and orphans.  If we all went without fast food, sodas, and treats for a year, how much money could we give to orphaned children in Uganda dying of AIDS?  I follow a blog of a young American woman in Uganda who cares for these children.  One of the boys is 7yrs old, dying of AIDS and weighs 15 pounds.  Yep, 15 pounds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Write me to tell me if you find otherwise.  Need direction in knowing how to help? 
Check out Love Without Boundaries, your local Dept. of Human Services foster program, orphanCare International, Amazima Ministries, Shaohannah's Hope, Food for the Poor, that should give you a good start.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Why it really does matter

Bruce Wilkinson, author of The Prayer of Jabez has a lesser known book called The Dream Giver.  In that book he talks about moving his family to South Africa.  They witness a homeless, orphaned boy dead on a street corner.  Nobody knew who the boy was, nobody claimed him.  In light of that profound experience, he writes..
"Yet it certainly cannot be God's will that any child die alone and abandoned.  Surely God placed a particular set of interests and abilities in one person, somewhere in this world, and put that person in a time and place where Great Things could happen-should have happened- for that boy.  Will you take up the challenge that so many have avoided?"

Photo taken from a waiting child photolisting-this child waits for a family of his own.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It isn't always hearts and flowers

Being a parent is tough!  Really tough.  My neighbor said something today that made me want to post about this.  Mike and I don't have it all figured out.  We struggle.  We get irritable.  I was super impatient with Hudson yesterday.  He is cycling through some attachment stuff this week and it gets really really old.  He cries constantly and follows me around saying "Up."  When he awoke from his nap yesterday, he had a panic attack and hyperventilated.  I was right there!  It isn't like the child sits in daycare 12 hours a day, he goes to a sitter once or twice a week.  The rest of the time, I'm constantly with him.  He has vomited in at least 5 public places because he gets very easily overstimulated and upset.  I don't talk about these kinds of things because most people have the attitude of "Well, you asked to adopt an almost 2 yr old!"  Being an adoptive parent is like being on display all the time.  I feel like I'm continually proving to people that I'm an okay parent.  Then, when things aren't going well, the feelings of inadequacy instensify.  Our nearly 14yr old son is struggling with some stuff.  He isn't perfect! GASP!  We fail as parents sometime.  Anybody watch that new TV show "The Middle"??  It is hilarious!  I swear, we relate so well to them.  Dillon turns 7 the 14th.  Do you understand how incredibly frustrating, heart-breaking, disappointing it is to have prayed for 5 years that God would heal him of his speech/language disorder?  He tried to tell a story about something at school the other day and we had no idea what he was saying.  How terrifying is it that we don't understand what he tells us?  What if something awful happens to him and he can't explain it?  Then, there is the momma guilt of our quite, low-maintenance daughter getting overlooked.  She rarely needs help with homework, she isn't needy and lets face it, the squeeky wheel gets the grease!  Does she feel unloved?  She mentioned the other day that she is tired of kids in her class asking her if she can see when she smiles because her eyes disappear into little crescent moon slits.  Is she struggling with some adoption/racial angst?  AHHH, it all makes me want to run away for a day and sit on the beach in Mexico with a cool pink drink!  So there, you can see that we have struggles like everyone else.  God keep me humble!  This is one reason living outward focused and serving others is sooooooo important--it gets your mind off yourself!!  And, there is ALWAYS someone struggling more.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Surprise Treat

We woke up this morning to a surprise treat--SNOW!  It is the soft flaky kind that wont stick(a big woe for the school kids--especially since daddy is the principal and makes the call about canceling for weather!!).  We ran around the house waking up the children to come see.  I don't think Hudson was too impressed ;)