Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas post 2(long)

How do you live your life according to the words of Jesus without being "weird"?  Is that possible? I come by being weird honestly- I grew up weird.  From the time I was about 3 until I was 14, we attended a very strict and conservative non-denominational church.  Think of lots of denim jumpers, no makeup, supposed to live humbly, girls don't talk to boys, give your every dollar and spare minute to the church kind of place.  We didn't celebrate Christmas like others. 

We knew Santa was fictitious and not Scriptural.  I was the obnoxious 3rd grader telling kids at school that Santa wasn't real :) I know, you are shocked that sweet lil o me would do that!  We had no tree, no elves, no lights, no Santas, no reindeer.   Our grandparents celebrataed Christmas traditionally and my parents enjoyed taking us to their homes for Christmas fun.

There were certainly wonderful aspects of being in this church.  For example, they were multicultural before it was cool(think early 80's).  We had close friends who were Hispanic, Chinese, African-American.  Some of my favorite Christmas time memories are when our family would host several single ladies from Taiwan for the big church training during the Christmas break.  We had a blast.  They'd play with us and cook.  I grew up speaking a good deal of Spanish too.  We always had extra people in our home and we grew up feeling comfortable with all races.  Anybody in the church who needed a place to stay--they were welcome to move in a while.  We kids would make big pallets in the walk in closet and voila--instant extra bedroom.

My parents left that church when I was 14.  We found much more freedom and joy in a more mainstreamed type of body of believers.  Christmas appeared at my house and boy did it go over big!  We went ALL OUT!  Tacky sweatshirts, tree, lights, carols, Christmas dishes, driving around looking at lights while singing(think Griswolds here), holiday movies, etc.. 


Fast forward to now. I feel torn between 2 worlds.  I want my kids to have fun, feel like they belong in the world and yet.....a part of me wants them to feel weird.  Anyone understand this?  Jesus was weird!  In Luke chapter 9 we says some radical things like:
If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.
24"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.

25"For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?

Society rulers thought he was nuts.  If our family blends in with society and isn't considered "weird", then most likely, we are not living according to Jesus' words and  and we are having zero impact in the world around us. 

If being weird is having a pared down Christmas and not glorifying Santa--then we want to be weird.

If being weird is giving money, resources, time, help to others and the church--then we want to be weird

If not watching sexual shows or letting our teens car date is weird--then we want to be weird.

 If staying married to one person through good and bad times is weird--we want to be weird.

  If adopting children without parents who don't look like us and not having as much stuff, free time, etc  is weird--then we want to be weird.

Really, I'm confused and a tad stressed about all this.  I remember feeling so different from my friends at school and wanting to just be "normal"!!  I don't want my kids struggling with that.  BUT, Mike and I do not want to settle for  normal!  hhhmmmm, makes me think of that cheesy song from the 70's "if loving you is wrong, I don't want to be right."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sing-a-long

FIRST:  Scroll way down to the far right had side to pause my music player so you can hear the video.  The video quality is poor since I was using our regular digital camera.  But, this video portrays our wacky family Christmas sing-a-long and how much fun it was.  Dillon embelished his part.  Carter is the nutty 10 Lords a Leapin that you hear yelled out. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas pics

The boys listening to Abby read the Christmas story




Abby was so excited to give daddy the wallet she got.  She kept wanting him to open it early.


Dillon with his new bike(with a spedometer on it!!).  It is in the shower because we had a treasure hunt for him to find it.  The last clue was "Look where Carter gets clean."  Such fun.  When he pulled the curtain back and saw it he yelled "Thank you Carter."  Uh--wrongo--that was from us!



Me with my darling neice Kylie at my mother's side of the familiy Christmas. 



 

Christmas day Mike took the kids to his mothers.  I worked :(  They had fun riding the mule in the country with Nana and the cousins.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Holiday season update

Happy Birthday Jesus

 

Yep, it is Christmas Eve and I'm blogging.  Therapy for me really.  Santa came to our house last night, since he knows mommy works tomorrow.  We told the kids they couldn't wake us up til 6:30 and  low and behold--Abby "thought" her clock said 6:30am, when in fact, it said 5:30 am!
We've had fun today going to church(Mike let Hudson hold the little candle and I was terrified he'd light the man in front of us on fire).  Then we had a party with my mother's side of the family.  The kids were pooped out and I'm about to hit the hay.  Mike got me 3 new books that I'm dying to dive into:  The Ragamuffin Gospel, Half the Sky, and I am Nujood, age 10 and divorced.  Only problem is that Mike just flipped the channel and Pretty In Pink is on--my all time FAVORITE!!

   So happy to report:  
 we didn't swipe one single time this holiday season!!  And, yesterday I sent the last of Carter's ER payments.  Dave Ramsey debt snowball---here we come!!!!!!

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And, as for our Christmasing, we have 4 events down, and 1 to go.  Actually, I'll be working tomorrow(seems people have lots of heart attacks on Christmas).  It's stinks sometimes to be an ICU nurse, but it's okay, I've had my fill of fun Christmas events--and let me declare here, they've been a blast(food, fellowship, music, toys, friends and family, tacky clothing and such).  I'll make a fat check this week with critical shortage differential(we are short staffed) and holiday pay.  I think I'll survive missing out on one last Christmas get together. 

In a few days I'll post some pics of the last few events.  I'm also working on a long post about why I'm so weird--especially at Christmas time :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas fun




We kicked off our first Christmas celebration at Mike's Grandma's house.  Fun times with cousins.  They played for hours and hours with their new toys. 


Christmas celebration number 2 at my parent's house. We had a tacky Christmas outfit contest!  Mike's sweater was hideous,but an almost exact replica of one he wore when we first dated as seen above.  Don't ask me why I wore clothing 3 sizes too large or white hose with red satin shoes!  Hey, it was 1992!



The whole tacky family!  The funny thing was that my mom and sister, Emily, bought their sweaters at resale shops.  When checking out, the salespeople exclaimed over how cute they were :)  My brothers-in-law looked AWFUL---slicked hair, awful sweaters and sweatshirts including one with a Christmas tree made of stacked cows!!  Abby was in the spirit and wore Uncle Wayne's obnoxious snowman tie.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Anybody have a little more room?

My sister Melody, the one involved in foster care, told us a heartbreaking little story about a sweet 10yr girl needing a family ASAP. She's been in foster care for a long time now.  Her parental rights are being terminated anyday.  She will be free and clear for adoption.  The little girl told Melody "I'm going to be on a bulletin board!"
 This excited her. 
It broke our hearts.  A 10yr old girl, excited to be have her picture on a bulletin board because she needs a forever family.

I've been around this child twice now.  She's darling, engaging, loving, super affectionate, healthy, smart, and basically---terrific.  Pray about calling this blonde sweetie your daughter.  It will be a free adoption through the state.
Here is a poem written from a waiting child's perspective.



The Waiting Child

By Debbie Bodie
I saw you meet your child today

You kissed your baby joyfully

And as you walked away with him

I played pretend you'd chosen me.

I'm happy for the baby, yet

Inside I'm aching miserably

I want to plead as you go by,

"Does no-one want a child of three?"

I saw you meet your child today

In love with her before you met

And as I watched you take her out

I knew it wasn't my turn yet.

I recognize you from last year!

I knew I'd seen your face before!

But you came for a second babe.

Does no-one want a child of four?

I saw you meet your child today

But this time there was something new

A nurse came in and took MY hand

And then she gave my hand to you.

Can this be true? I'm almost six!

And there are infants here, you see?

But then you kissed me and I knew

The child you picked this time was me.

Copyright 1997

Friday, December 17, 2010

So tired of my kids being "aliens"

Here is a ranting that must be done.  I am soooooooooooooooooo sick of dealing with beauricratic idiotic policies regarding adopted children. 
The simple story.  I have made 4 trips to the Social Security Admin office in the city since Hudson came home.  Only one of those trips was simple and successfull.  I went this morning to have a simple name change on his SSN card since his first one is with his Korean name.  After 3 different workers couldn't figure it out, a supervisor came over and asked if I had his green card.  I said "No, that is the one thing I didn't bring"(had adoption decree, amended birth certificate, original sscard, my identification).  She informed me that I had to come back with the green card and they'd change his name, but he'd still be classified as a lawful alien. I told her that this was our 3rd Korean adoption and we'd been dealing with this for 10yrs.  The Child Citizenship Act of 2000(11yrs ago people) states that adopted children would be considered full American Citizens after the adoption is finalized and WHEN could I see SSA reflect that law??  Of course, she had nothing to do with the SSA's policies, she's a worker bee, I get that.  But, this is ridiculous!!!!!!!!! 

I've made 3 different trips to the bank to open Hudson a savings account and they always need something else.  They wouldn't open one in his name until we had a new birth certificate.  Now they won't open it because his SSN card has his Korean name.  The SSA won't give him a new SScard until I come back with the green card.  Then his SScard will be flagged as a lawful alien until we get a Certificate of Citizenship from the Dept. of Homeland.  The Department of Homeland charges 460.00 to process one Certificate of Citizenship!  You can't claim an adopted child on your taxes until he/she has lived in your home for 6months but if you give birth Dec.31--there's your dependent claim.  AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH 

I can't deal with this anymore. We have jumped through hoop after hoop for these children.

At the office, I stood, spoke sweetly, face beet red with tears coming and told the women
     "I know you guys have nothing to do with this, but over and over and over, it is made clear to me that adopted children are considered second class."

I left.

No more guys!  It is not right and it is not fair.  Our adopted children do not deserve this.  We pay thousands of dollars of taxes every year and we don't deserve this.  An illegal immigrant can show up at a hospital and give birth--that baby is instantly an American Citizen and granted as SSN.  What gives people?  I don't have 940.00 to file for Certificates of Citizenship for Dillon and Hudson.  I shouldn't have to do so.  They ARE citizens NOT aliens.  I beg you other adoptive parents, start calling or writing your senators and the State Dept.  There has to be a better way.  If anyone knows who or where to write--let me know.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

the 3yr old dictator

Occasionally, I think Kim Jong Il is in the house.  I know, not really funny since he is deranged, but go with me on this.
Hudson is chalk full of personality and zest for life.  He also, is chalk full of attitude.  We lovingly tease that he is the Kim Jong Il of our family.  2 funny stories for you, but first a picure to  laugh at


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Anyone else notice a similar pout expression? 

So, a few weeks ago I gave Hudson's little hiney a pinch.  He turned his head around and in no uncertain terms told me "YOU NO PINCH ME BOTTOM" then his hand went up in the shape of a claw and he growled at me!!!!  No lie!  It is hilarious after the fact and I've written it in his journal.  But, that day it wasn't.  I got down in his face and made it clear that he would not speak to me like that.

Last week he had been in a foul mood all day.  I finally put him to bed at 7:30 a screamin' and a kickin'!  He laid on his bed screaming and crying "MOOOOOOMMMMYYYYY".  I did what any therapeutic mother whose been through many attachment parenting classes would do:  ignore the kid.  After wailing a few minutes I hear "Mommy, I crying"!  Poor kid.  He won.  I scooped him up, headed for the wooden rocking chair my parents gave us, and sang to him.  I sure taught him  huh?? :)


Off to clean and bake.  I'm hosting a neighborhood Christmas party for the ladies.  I have no business blogging at the moment--so much to do.  But, alas, I love to blog!  I always wanted to write a book. I guess this in my writing outlet.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Christmas post part 1



I love that video!  I love the people that started the Advent Conspiracy.  What awesome swim against the stream people :)

So, here it is....I don't like Christmas much.  It is no surprise to those who know me or if you've followed this blog the last year and a half.  Here is what I wish Christmas was:

   simple, 
peaceful,
quiet,
 giving to those in need(lonely, sick, hurting, poor,orphaned),
humble,
 gentle,
no flash and bling,
candlelight Christmas eve service at church
time with family,
sweet music,
simple and lovely little green trees,
loving our Saviour and Lord. 
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Because you see, that is exactly how it was when Jesus was born(which, by the way, nobody on earth knows the exact date).  Our Messiah came in the lowliest of circumstances: 
poor,
lonely,
outcast from society,
unexpected circumstances,
quiet,
gentle,
lowly,
humble,
teen mom,
adoptive dad,


Here is what Christmas in most of America has become:  loud, obnoxious, credit card swiping, frantic, wasteful, battery-sucking, Santa loving, bloated, overfed, junk kids and adults don't need, stressful.  Our pastor says that Christmas is like having a huge birthday party for someone and everyone buys themselves presents, but ignores the birthday boy.

My very favorite blogger lives in Haiti with her family.  Here is an awesome post she wrote about her thoughts.  I loooooover her and her posts.  They are truly a swim against the stream kind of family.  And, since I've walked in the exact streets and visisted the ministries where they work, it means so much more to me.  I think you'll enjoy or be challenged by her.
http://allthingshendrick.blogspot.com/2010/11/christmas-christmas-time-is-here.html

I'll post a bit more in depth about my personal Christmas journey later. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Not your grandma's christmas carols



First, scroll way down to the far right of the blog and pause my music player.  Then, enjoy a snippet of our school's praise band playing Christmas carols.  Carter plays acoustic guitar.  You guys know I'm a non-traditional kind of gal so this rockin caroling is much more my style!

And, while we are talking about Carter, Lord help us!!!  He turns 15 in Feb. and yesterday we signed him up for Driver's Ed classes(not the driving part yet).  He is currently grounded for making stupid choices.  Oh, my, we have no idea what we are doing as parents of a teenager.  But, last night, we saw that it was going to fine.  He jumped in our bed, snuggled with us, wrestled his dadddy, and basically, for a moment--we were cool again :)
I'll never forget that moment.  It reminded me of when he was about 15months he'd play on our bed every night and we just thought he was the most funny and amazingly cute child ever. 



Tuesday, December 7, 2010

GO....in 2011

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I am thrilled to let you guys know about our exciting travel opps.  I am so lucky.  Mike takes the seniors from his school on a mission trip every year.  This year he is returning to Nassau Bahamas, where he took the kids a few years ago.  Now, I know what you are thinking....Bahamas??  Mission trip??  Really???  Give me a break.  Before you discount that there is a need, read about the place we will be working
The All Saints AIDS Camp:


Rennovate, Rebuild &; Restore
Once a leper colony, the residents of the All Saints AIDS Camp, in Nassau Bahamas, find their day-to-day activity about survival in a run down facility where they've been cast aside by society to live out their final days. Our hearts desire is to raise enough funds to renovate, rebuild and restore, not only the facility, but the lives of the people who live there. It's our hope to provide them with a beautiful refuge they can call home while bringing dignity, hope and the Love of Jesus to their lives, as well.
They also care for orphans and people with disabilites.  Mike loved working there and was struck by the stark contrast of luxury tourism and then a few blocks away children living with AIDS, cast off, not to be seen by wealthy tourists.

The reason I say I am so lucky?  I am going!!!!!!!!  Yep, the 2 teachers who were to be the lady sponsors couldn't go.  It didn't take a twisted arm to make me say YES!   Not only am I going to serve in the Bahamas in May, but I don't have to pay, my fee is paid for!  Unbelievable.

Next, this opp just fell in Mike's lap a few days ago.  We are 99% sure that he is going to S. Africa over Spring Break!!   They will be looking into partnering with a ministry that provides hospice care for children dying of AIDS.  I'd like to say I'm the mature and kind wife, BUT, I'm so jealous! ;)  Really, I'm thrilled for Mike and this amazing opportunity.  What an incredible experience.  But what about money you ask?  Aren't you guys doing Dave Ramsey's Money Makeover?  Yes, we are, but, God!!  That is a fragment sentence, I realize, however, with God, that is all you need.....God!  He works out the details.  He has provided a very large chunk of the expenses already.  And, to be flat honest guys, when Mike and I are on our deathbed and looking back over our lives, I'm pretty dang sure we won't say "Gee, if only we'd put more money into our new truck account(or our 401K, or our new furniture fund, or our kids college fund, or whatever).  I think it will be more like this....
    Mike:  "Honey, do you remember that crazy time you flew to Haiti with 4 days notice and emptied our little savings, and did medical care in the jungle and played with orphans?" 
    Me:  "Yeah, deary, that was INCREDIBLE!!!  What about that time you were asked to go to South Africa and it was a huge leap of faith because it  made zero sense on paper?"
    Mike:  "Oh man, that was so sweet of Jesus to send me there and show me how He is working around the world."



Anybody have some cool trips coming up in 2011?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

conspicuous family

I don't notice it much anymore--you know--the stares.  The looks like, "wait, how did this family come to be?"  When Abby first came home, it was big time obvious that we caused great confusion.  That was April 2001.  Transracial international adoption wasn't nearly as common as it is these days.  Mike and I were super sensitive that people were staring or saying rude things about our looooong awaited beautiful princess!!  I think I was defensive and was looking into strangers eyes daring them to make a face ;)
Now, we rarely get comments or stares.  Or, maybe I'm just so busy trying to corral all these kids.  Last night we ate at a hamburger joint near the college in the city.  This one lady was having a really hard time figuring out what was happening at our table.  I mean, the woman probably has a crick in her neck this morning from staring.  Bless her buttons, because the table next to us had 2 ladies at it and one of them was a little person.  The starer could hardly eat her dinner!!!  I think I shared this last year, but it is the best response I've ever heard and must share again.  Our dear friends Mark and Ruth have 2 biological daughters and a little boy from S.Korea.  They were in a restaurant one evening.  An older lady was staring like crazy.  As Mark and the boy walked by her, she rudely stated "He doesn't look anything like you!"  Mark deftly replied, "Yeah, well you don't look anything like God, but He adopted you!!"  Classic.  Any other adoptive parents out there want to share funny comments or retorts?

I don't know why I'm posting about this.  Maybe delaying my Grinchy comment about Christmas in middle class American suburbia---kind a makes me nauseated ya know?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

for the gal who has it all

I just ordered 2 glass beaded necklaces for 2 women in our family.  They have all they need and want(and could buy anything they wish for), but I wanted to to get a little something for Christmas to show our appreciation.  So, where did I turn?  Ten Thousand Villages, of course.  Everything sold on that site supports fair trade aritisans, fights human trafficking, and is hand made.   My mother gave me a purple beaded necklace a few years ago that she bought from Ten Thousand Villages.  It was made by women in S. Africa supporting orphans.  Everytime I wear it I feel like I'm helping orphans! 
The necklaces I ordered were made by women involved in an organization that helps persons with disabilities in India.  They were very reasonably priced.  Check it out!
http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/

Monday, November 29, 2010

Baby Steps to the Makeover

How's the Total Money Makeover going?
Step 1:  establish a 1000.00 cash emergency fund
    We took a hard look at how we were managing our finances and found something interesting.  In the long term arena, we were actually doing  well.  It was the everyday problems that were dragging us down.  Not having an accessible emergency cash fund has had repercussions and caused us to use debt in a pinch.  So, we can retire okay at 65 but in the present, we were doing a crummy job.  Last week we looked around the garage and found several nice items that we never use.  We hate having garage sales and so we drug the items out to the curb with sale signs on them.  People snatched up the items and voila--we began our cash fund. 

It isn't going near as quickly as Dave Ramsey would like, but hey, it's Christmas time--not the easiest time to find extra cash.  And yes, the credit card is still frozen in the pink bowl in the freezer.

Step 2:  Build a Budget:  okay, so I've been making out detailed family budgets for us the past 17yrs.  I make it all look perfect on paper then stash is away in the B file in our cabinet and we never look at it again!  Last week Mike and I sat down and analyzed it.  He was mortified with  my paper and ruler style so he spent hours making a color coded Xcel spreadsheet with Assets, Debts, Budget, and Debt Snowball.  It was extremely satisfying to see an action plan for us to be completely debt free, except the mortgage, in a short time(if we work hard and never use credit again OR God forbid another child has an emergency or I get hit by another car!!!).

Additional step:  envelope system.  We bought an accordion folder just the size of long envelopes to allocate a budgeted cash amount.  This is a pain in the butt--yep, for real!

Super Saver:  conquer electricity waste.  I had NO clue about all this.  I assumed if an item wasn't on, just plugged in, that it didn't use electricity.  My sister told me that she and her husband did an experiment.  They unplugged every single non-esssential in their house.  So, everyday she unplugs the coffee pot and such after use.  They are also washing in cold water.  Their electric bill was 50 dollars last month.  I don't know about you guys' wattage, but my bill is waaay more than that!  So, I'm checking it out.  I walked around and unplugged 14 electrical items(we had 3 cell phone chargers plugged in!).  I'm going to compare watt usage next month and see if it goes down dramatically.  I'll let you know.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Report on the trip

Katy is back from her trip to Greece and Bulgaria.  Here is one of her pictures.




Poster they hung up all over Thessaloniki
It says: She came to Greece for a dream but is living a nightmare. 1 out of 7 prostitutes in Greece are slaves.

I had previously copied and pasted a story off of A21 Campaign's website.  I'll repost it.

Imagine...you're walking into a coffee shop one morning to meet your friend, as you do every Saturday morning. He is already seated and has ordered you your favorite drink (grande vanilla chai latte, soy milk, extra hot.) The conversation begins, and the two of you talk about the latest news, that funny thing you did yesterday, and your plans now that you have finally finished university...
Suddenly, you wake up, in a daze, and completely disoriented. Instead of a cozy coffee shop, you are in a dark room, somewhere in an unfamiliar city. For 5 days you are held captive, repeatedly raped, and starved. You are so tired, and emotionally drained; you don't even have the will to resist. You have lost track of how many men have come into the small room, how many times you have been used, abused, and then left alone....yet, the time to think on such things is limited as the next client is already entering the room. You are a victim of human trafficking, sold by a "friend", and left without hope.

Katy met the lady whose story is above.  It isn't a made up scenario, it is real.  The lady has a son in Bulgaria that she doesn't see.  A21 Campaign is trying to set her free and restore her family. The team also met a 20yr old young woman who had been sold into the sex industry several years earlier by her own mother-to feed the starving family. 

I'm excited to see Christians across America wake up to this real nightmare and get involved--like they are doing with the global orphan crisis.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving--well, it's a stretch

Hmmm, not your TV show Thanksgiving.  I worked.  Suffice it to say, I deserved triple pay for that day.  The hospital was nuts.  Kick in the pants!!!!!!  My family went off to relative's homes and had a good time.  After work, I was headed home to let the puppy out, change clothes, and head to my parent's.  Not...even....kidding....I was swide swiped in a hit and run while going 65 on a freeway!  I'm fine, mad, but fine.  Actually, my tailbone hurts and my left leg feels weird(but that was from being hit by a car 14years ago--another story some day).  Perfect ending to a stinky holiday.  No, we will never find the driver-he had to have been going 85miles an hour.  You know, we aren't high drama people.  In fact, I don't like people who constantly have drama going on in their lives.  What the heck?
So, trying to be thankful..
   I'm thankful I wasn't hurt, that my kids weren't with me, that I didn't get pushed into oncoming traffic and hurt someone else, we were in Mike's old car and not in a nice pretty new vehicle, thankful to have a job AND we sold off several unused items in our garage and have a cash emergency fun started :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Temporarily insane

Yep, we got Abby a puppy.  No, don't know what the heck we were thinking!  It actually is a funny story.  You see, last Thursday, we were offered this adorable 3month old boy puppy for free by a teacher at Mike and the kids' school.  We certainly turned it down as we do not need a puppy.  Then, that same night was the school's yearly auction fundraiser.  We were all having a grand time, including Mike(the secondary principal) sitting in a dunking booth in the freezing cold while students greatly enjoyed forking over dollars to dunk him.  Turns out the puppy's owner decided to place it in the auction.  There was a darling picture on the auction table with the other items.  Abby comes up begging, with her beautiful Korean eyes "please can we bid on the dog?  I  promise I'll take care of him!"  At that moment, my normally practical brain went mushy and I made gestures to Mike to bid on the dog for Abby's Christmas gift.  Well, in another brilliant economic display, we turned the dog down when it was free, but spent 20.00 to win it :)  At least it was for a great cause!  Unfortunately, the owner did not want to babysit the dog til Dec. 24th.  So, Abby got her gift early.  It really is a darling and sweet puppy.  She named him Sandy.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A good friend

In Growth Group(Sunday School) last week we talked about life's storms and how to bear one another's burdens. Man, Mike and I have sure weathered some storms in our 17yrs of marriage.  Our teacher is a hospice chaplain and had excellent practical tips for helping friends going through storms of life.  He said how people in crisis need friends to come alongside and jump in doing practical things that will lift off some pressure in their lives.  How many times I have I thrown out the old cliches "Call if you need anything" or "We are praying for you" and not done anything to really help?
 I've thought about my mother-in-law in regards to this.  Her friend, a young mom of 3yr old twins, was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer a few years ago.  My mother-in-law, Kathy, brought meals and watched those children all the time.  On the day of surgery, Kathy and her husband drove 2hours to the city where her friend was and took care of the twins(in a hotel no less!!) all day!  Now those kind of love in actions are really bearing burdens.  I'm going to try to be a more practical and loving friend when people around me are going through storms.
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:11

In other news....be on the lookout for a picture of Abby's early Christmas gift.  Can you see the                      S U C K E R  tattoo on mine and Mike's foreheads???

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Got tunes?

Great news!  Newest worship CD from Gateway Worship team is on sale now.  Talk about a Christmas gift that keeps on giving. Trust me....if you like incredible praise and worship music....you must get this cd!  I keep listening to Faithful God over and over and over.  I've seen Kari Jobe leading worship many times.  Listening to her sing O The Blood--WHOA baby, goosebumps big time!

                                                  
Another great news---I got an email from the hospital where I had my procedure and they owe ME some money!!!!  Who'd a thunk it possible???  Hooray to me!  I think Dave Ramsey is smiling somewhere.  By the way, Abby was getting frozen waffles out of the freezer this morning and pulled out the bowl of ice block with a look on her face like "What in the world?"  I nonchalantly said "That is our credit card."  :)  No tellin' what things she'll think you are supposed to do when she's married and has kids!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In the Red Light District today

My youngest sister, Katy, is in Bulgaria visiting the poor villages where girls are taken from and trafficked--forced to give pleasure to disgusting men.  Tonight, they will be in the red light district hoping to rescue girls.  Yesterday, in Thessaloniki Greece, a young woman was rescued from a brothel and taken the the shelter that A21 Campaign runs.  Please be in prayer.
Here is a very common scenario that I copied and pasted from the A21 campaign's website



Imagine...you're walking into a coffee shop one morning to meet your friend, as you do every Saturday morning. He is already seated and has ordered you your favorite drink (grande vanilla chai latte, soy milk, extra hot.) The conversation begins, and the two of you talk about the latest news, that funny thing you did yesterday, and your plans now that you have finally finished university...


Suddenly, you wake up, in a daze, and completely disoriented. Instead of a cozy coffee shop, you are in a dark room, somewhere in an unfamiliar city. For 5 days you are held captive, repeatedly raped, and starved. You are so tired, and emotionally drained; you don't even have the will to resist. You have lost track of how many men have come into the small room, how many times you have been used, abused, and then left alone....yet, the time to think on such things is limited as the next client is already entering the room. You are a victim of human trafficking, sold by a "friend", and left without hope.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Rockin the Hanbok


Hudson is wearing the Hanbok that his Eomma(foster mother) sent with him when we picked him up in Korea last year.  A hanbok is the traditional ancient costume in Korea.  No, they don't associate colors with gender so it is okay for him to wear pink!  Speaking of Eomma, this is flabbergasting!  Hudson is a genius-pure and simple!  I don't have to be humble about his brains, my genes had nothing to do with it ;)  So, on his Gotcha Day in Sept I was asking him if he remembered Eomma.  He said no and looked blank.  I kid you not, 2 weeks ago, he walks up to me and says "Me member me Eomma!"  With a cherub grin he looked right at me and said that. I was like "Huh??"  Seriously dude, you blow me away each day.

And, just because I'm so proud of my little "gift"that I wrote about a last week, here is a pic of my free shelving unit!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

The makeover begins!

Sick and tired of living paycheck to paycheck and wondering "where did all our money go?"  It is really nobody's business how our money makeover goes, but I'm betting(cause I hear it at work ALL the time!) that many of you are in the same boat.  So, I thought I'd post occasional updates on our endeavor to make you laugh, smirk, cry, cheer, or get irritated and move on ;) 

I finished reading Total Money Makeover last night.  Great practical help and goals.  I do wish to make a clarification though.  Mike and I do NOT have the end goal of wealth building, which is what the book seems to point to as the end all.  We couldn't care less about being wealthy.  In fact, not only do I think it is selfish to save and hoard tons and tons of cash for when we are older, but it is totally against what Jesus teaches in Scripture.  I know, I just really offended some people.  Hey, if you aren't living your life according to the Word of God--then you think I'm some religious nut who doesn't know what she's talking about.  If you are living your life according to God's Word and you don't agree with me--then read the Bible for yourself.  25,000 children die everyday due to lack of clean water and the effects of severe poverty.  Little girls are sold as sex slaves. Do you think Jesus gives a rip if I'm able to retire "comfortably" and spend it on my pleasures while there are 147million orphans in the world.  Uh---hello???? 
 I want us to be debt free and have emergency savings and work on retirement funds, and then, if the Holy Spirit prompts us---have the freedom to outlandishly give to hurting people, go on mission trips withou being hindered by lack of funds, and whatever else we are prompted to do.  So, now that the disclaimer is out there--that is the one thing I didn't agree with Dave about.  Really, The Blessed Life, by Robert Morris, is  better regarding the Scriptures and giving.  But, as my younger sister Katy(don't ya hate it when your younger sis is smarter than you ???) pointed out--use the great tools for money management  and debt elimination in Dave Ramsey and follow the giving principals in the Blessed Life. 

Quotes I just loved and wanted to share:
   Christmas is NOT an emergency!  It comes every December.  Personally, I'm super guilty of this.  Every October, I get that panicky feeling in my gut about Christmas.  Not only did I not budget and save a little every month for it, but sometimes(in an "emergency") I use the plastic!  Not only do I use plastic, but I end up paying interest for junk the kids don't give a rip about by February!
   If you keep a 378 dollar car payment throughout your life, which is "normal", you miss the opportunity to save that money.  If you invested $378 per month from age 25 to 65, a normal working lifetime, in the average mutual fund averaging 12 percent, you would have $4,447,084!!!!!  Wow, that totally blew my mind.  We are trying, oh it is HARD, to put a typical car payment in a savings account to save up and buy Mike a nice used truck with cash in 1yr.  At the rate we are going, it may be a 10yr old clunker
It is going to rain.  You need a rainy day fund.
You know, it wasn't our fault that Dillon had an ER visit in April(darned inflammed omentum!), then Carter and Hudson had an ER visit in June(clutz!), then I had outpatient surgery in August. We never could have predicted those medical bills. But, if we'd been good stewards, faithfully saving for those types of emergencies, we'd not have been blown out of the water with the bills.



So, where do we start?  With Dave's Baby Step One:
           Save 1000 cash for an emergency fund and do it fast!  I'm looking forward to doing what one of the women in the book did.  I'm going to take 10 one hundred dollar bils, place them in a glass picture frame, write "In case of real emergency, break glass" on it and hang the framed bills in our closet.  I love that idea!
            Never use credit for anything else but a home mortgage.  Ever!  No debt.    
That's the basics. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

closets, makeovers, and prayers

First off, DRAT, my camera doesn't seem to be communicating with my computer today.  Very stinky because I took several adorable pics of Hudson wearing the Hanbok(traditional Korean costume) that his foster mother sent with him last year.  I'm getting a letter and pics ready to mail her for his 3rd bday in a few weeks. 

Remember me needing help with the boy's closet but I didn't have money to spend??  Well, you see, God cares about the little things too my friends.  I was out before daylight this morning trying to get this tired and out of shape body a little exercise.  I was "wogging" around the neighborhood(Mike's term for a pitiful combo of jogging and walking).  When, low and behold, a beam of light shone on a pile of trash at the curb.  There was one of those shelving uits that has 9 coutout cube shelves that holds baskets or toys.  It was in great condition.  So, I schlepped it all the way home, sweating and straining.  It was a gift, I'm convinced.  I've got in the the boy's closet with Legos and toys.  I took a picture of it too, darn the luck, you can't see how cute and organized it all looks and fully appreciate it! 

I checked out Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover at the library yesterday(thanks Dania for the tip!).  Actually, I checked out 2 of them--1 for me and 1 for Mike.  I admit it, we've gotten real lax about our finances.  We don't have a thing in the world that is fancy, we drive 2 old paid off pieces of crap, and we don't wear fancy clothes.  But, our adoptions, travels, and additional daycare expenses have left us a bit strapped.  The big medical bills that we've been saddled with from the summer wouldn't have caused such a problem if we'd been following Dave's rule of an emergency savings fund.  Soooooo, I'm super excited about making wise choices, getting financially fit.  The credit card is now sitting in the freezer, in a ziplock, under a block of ice in a bowl ;)  I'm not exaclty sure if 5 weeks before Christmas is the best time to embark on a Money Makeover, but no time like the present huh?  Hey, anybody else want to join us?  We can pray and encourage and share stories with each other.
You know, for a few years now, we've felt like one day we would be moving to Central America for missions.  But, we certainly can't do that if we have debt and no savings.  I cannot wait to be debt free someday--including no mortgage!  Yep, it will be slooooooow and steady, but I know God will richly bless our efforts.

And, last, but not least, this has been a heavy prayer week.  So many super important things I'm praying for.
1.  My sister Katy leaves for Greece on Friday.  She'll be on a mission trip working with anti-human trafficking and the A21 campaign.  Please pray for their team to be effective, for great ministry opps, for safety, for endurance.
2.  A few couples I know are praying and thinking(what Francis Chan calls "prinking") about HUGE adoption decisions.  We aren't talking about cutesy little infants--they are considering much older, hard to place kids and it will rock their world.  I'm praying for them to have wisdom and peace, but  most of all for these kids--who deserve incredible families of their own--to be placed into the forever families God has planned for them.
3.  Tomorrow I would have been 20 weeks.  I should be finding out this week if we were going to add a boy or girl to our family.  Honestly, I don't think about it much.  But, every once in a while it just smacks me upside the head.  Saturday afternoon was one of those times.  Mike says he thinks about it all the time.  As for the gender, in my mind it was a girl.  I've named her Amy, after Amy Carmicheal--the great missionary to India who rescued and raised girls offered to false gods as child prostitutes.  Talk about the ultimate adoptive mother!
Okay, that ought to fill us up for a few days.  If my camera is healed miraculously, I'll post some pics.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Orphan Sunday!!!


Somewhere between 147-163 million orphaned children around the world including
500,000 children in the US living in foster care
 with 120,000 of those children legally available for adoption
Just reading the numbers makes you numb.  Can you really even comprehend those statistics?

Mike and I have traveled to several countries.  Just between the 2 of us we've seen first hand rows of orphaned babies in a nursery in Korea

 63 children with 2 adult caregivers living in a concrete orphanage in Haiti,

orphans in Puerto Rico

orphans in Costa Rica

orphans in Nassau

orphans in Nicarauga

orphans in Jamaica

 watched and prayed as our beautiful neice went from being a foster child to a forever child of my sister and her husband......we
know the reality of orphans! 


You know, there is a very interesting few verses in the Old Testament.  God had set up a way for the Isrealites to take care of the needy.
Deuteronomy 24:19-22
When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 21 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 22 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.


I wonder, what if we all followed this principal today?  What if every person who claims they are a follower of Jesus Christ didn't go back over their harvest and glean?  What if they always saved the surplus from their jobs for the poor, the orphan and the widow?  BUT, here is the reality.....we don't have a dime to spare do we?  We spend every bit we make on US.  Not only do we spend every bit we make, but we overspend and charge beyond what we make(believe me, I'm preaching to myself here, we don't have any left either!!!).  We can't care for the poor, the fatherless, and the widow because our cars, houses, over fed bellies, and giant inflatable Santas riding Harleys in the front yard at Christmas
 cost so much.  Have mercy on us Father God.  We are consumed with ourselves.  Forgive us!

I'd truly love to hear from some of you about what your church and/or orphans ministry did for Orphan Sunday.  Leave a comment or email me.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tips to share???

I'm betting someone reading this can help me.  I need some tips, especially from those who have large families.
1  My closets are terribly unorganized.  I need to maximize the storage we have, but really, don't have a good grasp on where to start.  So, any tips(minus buying those cool closet organizers), especially from families with kids with share closets would be appreciated. 
2  Next, our grocery bill seems to be getting waaaay out of hand.  Carter and Abby now eat like adults.  We are constantly running out of things and going back to the store.  Remember my strict budgeting for groceries?  Well, not working!  Pretty much that has fallen by the wayside.  I speak a good game, but really, I'm a wimp at following through.
3  Does anyone know if I can sweet talk my way out of paying on medical bills?  I mean, really, they got my insurance payment and I've made a few months payments, but it is really stressing me out.  So, if you have some tips in negotiating with hospitals(yeah, I know, I work in one) I sure could use them.
4  Anybody know of cute, inexpensive, and easy to make teacher gifts that they will actually enjoy?  Mike's been a principal for 10 years now and I know how many mugs and candy teachers get.  I'd like to make something.
5  Books?  Id like a few new suggestions.  I prefer ones that beef up my faith, but I also enjoy decent fiction, like The Nanny Diaries.

So, if you can help me out, post in the comments or email me

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lots of Treats--no Tricks

We had so much fun on Halloween.   We always have lots of family and friends over.  Mike is known throughout our little neighborhood for setting up a firepit, making hotdogs and passing them out to the trick or treaters. 


                                             Carter and our friend Jake--too cool huh?


Like my skeleton shirt?  I matched Hudson.  Mike is Mike(anybody watch The Middle last week???)


                                  Before sundown, here's the shindig beginning in our front yard.


Neices Kylie and Aspen looking darn cute! Brad and Melody's sweet foster baby K was there too, dressed in a bumble bee outfit. Unfortunately, we aren't allowed to show her face on the internet. She'll most likely be returning to her family in 2 weeks.





Cousin Lexi was a "spring fairy."  Dont dare ask her if those are GoGo boots ;)

                          Hudson the skeleton(well--he's the chunkiest skeleton I ever saw!)
                                                              Pizza Man Dillon


                                                       Cousin Maddie and Abby

                  All the kids(minus Carter) plus some extra friends.  They are all looking at my mom's mask.        My dad is dressed in his own words "a weird grandpa".
                                        Aunt Katy and Uncle Kyle, the robot.

The goody basket.  See the admit one tickets?  Well.....Halloween is the perfect Outward Focused Life click HEREevent.  Along with hotdogs, water bottles, and candy, we passed out invitations to church.   I can't think of an easier way to invite all your neighbors to church.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Part2

Well, I hope everyone wasn't hoping for some great revelation or announcement that I was flying off to Asia somewhere to help in child rescuing!  I've gotten nothing since Thursday night--nuttin!  My friend, Susie, wondered if maybe the dream was a confirmation for Katy--you know--how important this trip is.  Maybe it was a wake up call for all of us living in our safe bubble.  Maybe I will end up going somewhere in the next few months-who knows.  I'm open for whatever God sends my way.  In the mean time, here is a little more education.  Oh, I've mentioned it a zillion times on here, but please, read Jantzen's Gift by Pam Cope.  She was just an ordinary suburban mom whose life was changed and she got involved in rescuing children from slavery.

This is a video from Destiny Child Rescue(scroll way down to the far right to pause my music player so you can hear the words on the video)




Now, before people think "Ahh, that only happens in 3rd world countries", wrong!


Taken from trafick911.com
U.S. Scope
100,000-325,000 U.S. children trafficked each year within our country...and growing.
1 out of 3 homeless youth in the U.S. sold into sex slavery within 48 hours of running away or being kicked out.
The average age of entry into sex trafficking is 12-13.
 Domestic trafficking more prevalent in the United States than victims being brought in from the other countries.
Texas Is A Hub
The National Human Trafficking Hotline receives more calls from Texas than any other state.
Department of Justice designated the I-10 corridor as the No. 1 route for human trafficking in the U.S.
Breeding ground for predators thanks to numerous interstate highways, airports, malls.
Easy to market: Internet, truck stops, modeling studios, etc.
Demand skyrockets when major sporting events and conventions come to town.  Like the World Series and Super Bowl!!!!!!!!! 
So, be in prayer. Be educated.  Be aware.  Be an advocate.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Truth about Sex Industry Part 1

This is so weird and amazing.  As you know I'm reading a book about hearing from God.  I posted about it 2 days ago.  I'm tellin ya, last night God spoke to me in a dream.  Well, I guess you could say he gave me a vision.  It was so real and so awful.  I woke up with my heart racing and knew He was telling me something big.  My sister, Katy, is traveling to Greece(the center of trafficking in Europe) to work with the A21 campaign and fight human trafficking.  I've talked about that issue on here before.  Surely, there aren't still people out there who don't realize that human trafficking and children being sold into the sex industry is a huge huge business!  Well, in case you haven't heard about this problem, here are some facts:

Trafficking in women is the second largest global organized crime today, generating approximately US$12 billion a year(from theA21campaign.org)
A child sold every two minutes; 1 million children forced into the sex trade each year. (from traffick911.com)

Well, yesterday Katy emailed us saying she was freaked out because her trip is 2.5 weeks away.  This isn't a fly to a foreign country, paint a concrete building, hand out church invitations and call it a day.  They will be assisting in midnight brothel rescues.  She's nervous and excited at the same time.  I had been praying for her and the team during the day.  Last night God brought it home!  Here is my dream.

           I was at a large football type of sporting event.  For some reason I knew some of the visiting teams cheerleaders(teen girls).  Afterward the bus left 2 of the girls and they were lost.  They wandered the city streets alone.  Somehow I found where they'd gone. It was a shady row of store fronts that I've passed by in our city a million times.  If you live in a big city you know the kind--run down building, crappy signs for an odd business--like massage--no windows, not nice part of town.  There were several men standing around.  I told them I'd come for the girls.  Suffice to say, they did not cooperate.  I caught a glimpse of the 2 girls I knew inside.  Enter crazy super Libby.  I began bashing in the boarded window with a stroller(strangely appropriate for my weapon!).  After quite the fight, the girls who'd been kidnapped and forced to "entertain" men where brought out.  Here's the kicker.  When the door opened I saw them..... 2 little 6yr old girls, dressed in french maid costumes....hollow blank stares that spoke volumes of what they'd been forced to endure. 

Hold on a second, tears are coming and I may wretch! 

I'm not telling a bunch of internet strangers and blog friends about my dream to shock you and think my mind is warped.  I'm telling you this because it was a clear message from God.  GO GET THOSE GIRLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

I couldn't sleep and got up.  I clicked on our email inbox and guess what?  There was our monthly newsletter from Destiny Child Rescue(destinyrescue.org)  It was no coincidence!!  Here is a little bit of the 2 stories they shared of recent rescues in Asia.
     Although Narm was barely 14 years old, she felt the burden to support her family and left for the city to try and make some money to send home to her mother. With only a grade 4 education and knowing what more than 90% of the girls in her village were already working as bar girls... Narm quickly found herself working in a brothel for little over $2 a day plus a free room in the brothel.
     Wai wanted to go to school but was pulled out in grade 4 to help her grandmother in the fields. Wai's cousin suggested that she came and worked in the same Karaoke bar (brothel) as she did to earn money for the family... so at the age of 15 Wai went with her cousin and started working in the brothel for a little over $2 a day.

On behalf of these girls we thank you for all you do to help rescue and restore these beautiful children.
Be sure to visit our website - http://www.destinyrescue.org/


This morning I relayed the message to Mike and told him "get ready, I think I'm going somewhere." Mike is totally supportive and said "Okay, that sounds good."

What does all this mean?  I have no idea where it will lead, the hows, the whos, the wheres.  But, I do know the WHYs!
Isaiah 1:17

 learn to do right!
Seek justice,
encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless,
plead the case of the widow.

I need to think and pray for a day or so.  Part 2 is coming.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Is that you God?

 I'm reading The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God, Having the Guts to Respond by Bill Hybels.  Mike and I certainly have struggled with wondering if we were hearing God telling us something to do or if it was just our own imaginations or longings.  Tough question for sure.  This book offers some very practical tips for believers to discern God's whispers into their lives.  I talked with a close friend last night and she and her husband are trying to seek out the Lord's will for their lives regarding a leap of faith that could really blow some minds!  I'm excited for them and yet I certainly understand how hard it is for them to figure out if that is really what they should do.   Last night  these were the words I read in the book:
  Don't ever buy into the idea that everthing God prompts his followers to do will be uncomplicated or low-cost.  Sometimes God asks his children to carry heavy loads, as he did with the apostle Paul.  But even-and often especially-under those backbreaking burdens, God's purposes are fulfilled.

Another few nuggets from Pastor Robert Morris makes it even easier:
  When I believe I've heard a word from God He confirms it by:
        His principals(the Scriptures never contradict what He prompts us to do) 
        His people(godly counsel will pray with you and agree or disagree that you are hearing God)
        His peace(sense His calm---Just because it takes great faith to follow through doesn't  mean He won't give you His peace).

I hope that these words will minister to someone out there.  I've certainly enjoyed learning more about hearing God's whispers.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rainy day and how I proved I'm the best mom....

Yesterday was great.  We were supposed to go to Dillon's soccer game, but that got canceled due to approaching thunderstorms.  We headed to the mall.  Abby and Carter had hefty gift certificates to spend at their favorite stores(thanks to Aunt Beverly!).  We hit my fav store, Old Navy first.  You wouldn't believe some of the deals.  We got Dillon a hilarious Halloween costume for 4.00!!  You will laugh hard when you see a  pic next week--it totally matches his personality.  Ab and Cart shopped with their cards and had fun getting stuff without spending "real" money.  Next, the big test!  How do you prove that you are the ultimate parent willing to sacrifice anything for your kid??????
                      Chuck E Cheese
Yes, Dillon had a birthday party invitation for noon at Chuck E Cheese.  I despise that place.  Oh, I know it is supposed to be fun and all....BUT... the carpet looks like food has been ground into it.  I always always get stuck watching strangers kids in the play area!  It is a huge money trap.  Despite all  these strikes against it, I took Dillon and Hudson for the party.  Dillon doesn't get a whole lot of party invites so it was big time fun for him!  He and another boy scampered off for fun.  Hudson, the little genius and stinker that he is, figured it all out.  You know how usually you can get away with no tokens for kids the first few times before they figure out the games don't work without money?  Not this brainiac.  He walked right over to the skee ball, watched another kid and started pushing the coin return button, then looking in the slot for tokens that may have been left.  When that didn't work, he began stealing kid's balls and rolling them up the ramp.  He enjoyed wandering from game to game, pushing buttons, stealing tickets and looking for coins.  Then.....the real fun started.  We were at the birthday boy's table having pizza.  In walked Chuck E himself.  Dillon jumped out of his seat, ran towards the back and began crawling under a table.  Sheer panic.  I went after him and that set Hudson to wailing!  The three of us hid behind a large trash can from the abominable Chuck E!!!  That's when I called it a day.  We didn't even say goodbye to the birthday boy--he was dancing up front with the giant rat.  At home Hud and I napped.  No nap is so great as a Saturday afternoon when it is raining.  FYI, yes, it was chilly and I broke out the hot pink fleece pj pants that have cupcakes on them!
Carter and his best buddy, Joel, hung out.  They got creative and wanted to make a contraption to ride down a hill in the rain.

Oh, just wanna throw this out there......IF you have extra World Series tickets for Arlington....and IF you wish to bless another person for free......Mike would looooove to take them off your hands.....just sayin!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Heard a funny comment

You adoptive families will get a chuckle out of this.
I was in town a few weeks ago for lunch with a friend and met a lady.  She had twin babies and I admired them.  Hudson was with me so I'm assuming she felt some kind of infertility connection or something.  Out of the blue she said "They are ours genetically but I didn't carry them.  We used a surrogate."  Okay, so I smiled and wondered what I was supposed to say.  Later in the lunch I mentioned my 4 kids.  The mom of the twins was astonished at me having 4 and said "We just have these 2, if we ever have more, we will just adopt.  Surrogacy is a long and strenous process!"  I grinned and said "Yeah, so is adoption."
In no way am I diminishing how difficult it is to bring children into the world via surrogate.  But, so many times it seems like people have the view that you go to a baby store and pick out wich version of kid you want to adopt.  Viola!  Kind of like a cabbage patch baby doll.  My friends who've been fostering 2 toddlers over a year and are fighting losing those babies to distant relatives who just happened to show up a year later would certainly argue that adopting is a long and strenous process!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

If life was more like Upward

 Dillon is playing Upward soccer.  Our church runs a big Upward soccer program.  There are no score boards.  Every child gets equal playing time and sportsmanship, Christ-likeness, and fun are celebrated.  There are no starters or star players.  Don't ya wish life was really like that!!??  They get to run through an inflatable to the Rocky theme song.  It is awesome for him and he loves it.
Alas, life isn't an Upward game.  We have struggles.  People love to keep score and win.  Bigger, better, stronger, faster, smarter, better-looking, richer......that's what is valued on this earth.  I think Heaven will be like an Upward game.  After all Jesus touched lepers, cared for cripples, held children, ate with prostitutes and crooks, washed feet of betrayers, called out the simple--not the wise, spoke of orphans and poor people over 2100 times in the Bible!

1 Corinthians 1:27  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise;  God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

some random updates and ramblings

This isn't a post about anything really, but my blog is kind of my journal.  I happen to have a few hours alone(whoohooo!).  I'm listening to Gateway worship and Hillsongs loudly while doing laundry---yippeeee!!!  A wonderful appliance repairman came out this morning.  You wouldn't believe how much laundry a family of 6 generates in 5 days.

I wanted to post about this yesterday.  As you know, Hudson has been home just over a year now.  We've adopted internationally 3 times now.  I think I'm qualified to say that it takes at least 6 months to a year to really get in the groove and feel bonded/attached/settled.  These things take time.  As I lay down next to Hudson yesterday at nap time and watched him sleep, I felt this huge momma bear feeling of love, wonder, and protection.  The words to Steven Curtis Chapman's song that he wrote after adopting from China played over and over in my mind....
     When love takes you in everything changes
     A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
     And this love will never let you go
     There is nothing that could ever
     cause this love to lose its hold

It would have been so easy to hit delete when we saw the email from our adoption agency regarding a waiting toddler boy who needed a family.   When we put him to bed at night he says "Good night, I love you, I love you best!"  Knife in heart--really---how precious is that???  I finished reading Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman(his wife).  Holy cow--that book about killed me!!!!  But, it was just what I needed;  a great reminder to cherish the moments with our kids.  She told a story of an orphaned baby boy she named Hudson.  It made me ugly cry, you know, the snot running out your nose kind of cry.  I'll share it soon.

I've been a tad sad over the pregnancy loss this summer.  I was bloated after dinner the other night and rubbed my belly.  Man, it really hit me hard--like I'd been robbed!  Like rubbing my belly triggered the reality of life and death that came and went--and I wasn't even happy about it when it was still life!!  Guilt, sorrow, pain, anger, reliving fertility crap that we'd worked through years ago--all comes bubbling up again.  I guess that is just how loss is huh?  You do fine for a while, then slap, hit with something that triggers it?  It also makes you kind of wonder "well, who's missing?"  Like there is supposed to be another little person here.  Don't worry, we are in no place to adopt again, and most likely never will, but your heart does wonder if there was supposed to be 5.  Even Mike verbalized that thought back in August.

And, how's this for awesome?  As you know, Mike is a Jr/Sr high school principal.  One of his former students called today and offered 1 ticket to the Rangers vs Yankees opener tonight.  LUCKY!  Or, I guess I should say blessed.  He hasn't told me if he accepted it or not.  He had to work out some details.  What a sweet sweet young man Josh is.