Thursday, December 29, 2011

Start the New Year back on budget pt 1

The new year, a perfect time to get back on track with our finanical stewardship plan. We totally stunk up our Dave Ramsey's plan the past 6 months. Sad, we worked so diligently for several months, got completely debt-free(except our house), and then backslid. Our emergency savings is nearly obliterated and we crept back into a little bit of debt. UGH! You know why don't you?? We abandoned our budget and flew by the seat of our pants. Bad bad idea. Where there is no plan, there is a plan to fail. So, I've filled in a beautiful and detailed cash flow plan(sounds nicer than budget). My youngest sister, Katy and her hubby Kyle, are a jillion times smarter than Mike and I were at their ages. They made a gorgeous Excel spreadsheet complete with sums formulas for their cash plan. I borrowed it, added many new rows to reflect our family, and man am I super proud of this baby! Nerd--why yes. I've also made all our new envelopes to return to the cash system. Forking over the hard earned greenbacks is so much more painful than a swipe of a debit card. Once again, Katy outdid me. She's a creative designer type--I'm your plain vanilla, whole house is tan type.

And here are hers.

My envelopes are plain white with black letters.  I have one for:
groceries and household items
Minivan gas and maintainence
Mike's gas
Eat out as family
Mike's on the job eat out
Christmas fund
Offerings and gifts above tithe

The ideas is that you calculate your monthly cash needs, withdraw that amount when you get paid, and take the cash out to pay for the items.  Only pay cash!  We use automatic bank draft for a lot of our bills so that they are deducted from our checking account.

Let this soak in a few days, go check out Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and then we'll chat more.  Off to work!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011 wrap up

I know many of you will proceed to roll your eyes when I say this, but....

It is over!!
Christmas was great, but I'm glad it is over for another year.  My house is a wreck, there are items that need a place in the kids' rooms and the kids' rooms are already too full(I get a nervous twitch in response to clutter and mess--I'm an organized neat freak, yes I am!).  But, back to the fun part. Christmas Eve was my mother's extended family annual get together.  They ate snacks and sang carols.  I'd asked Carter to take his guitar for the sing-a-long as I knew it would thrill my 95 year old grandparents to have Carter accompany the traditional singing.  However, the crowd didn't exaclty follow along with the music.  Carter texted me at one point saying "This family doesn't know how to sing!"  That is one of my yearly favorite traditions.  My uncle belts out "5 Goooold Reeeeings" and we all sing parts of the 12 Days of Christmas. I missed it due to working.  That night, we put the kids to bed at 9:30.  The little ones all wanted to sleep in together  in Abby's room.  At 11:07pm I went to make sure Carter's XBOX was off and his light was off.  In the hall I heard frantic whispering.  A peek in Abby's room revealed Hudson lying next to her in bed, telling her all about how "tomorrow will be Christmas and Santa is coming."  Funny thing is, she was fast asleep!  I was a bit tired and exasparated and told him to hurry up and go to sleep or Santa wouldn't come :)
No worries, Santa came.

 He brought Carter a punching bag and boxing gloves.  I am soooo sore from punching the bag a few times.  It seems I don't use those muscle groups often.
 Precious Dillon and I(when the HECK did I get so many wrinkles, especially on my neck???) on the couch while Abby's reads us the story of baby Jesus:  so simple and humbl, so unexpected, so completely unmerited!  Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice, love, and life.
 Shocker, Hudson is thrilled with more Thomas paraphnalia.  Side note here:  you can see the Operation Christmas Child shoebox behind him.  No, he wasn't a shoebox recipient and no, we didn't hijack a shoebox from the truck we helped load to go to the processing center back in November and then regift it to our kids.  I happened to have 4 extra empty boxes and they fit some of our gifts beautifully.

 Abby was thrilled to death with her iPod Touch.  No, it isn't new.  I'm a huge fan of the 3 Rs:  Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.  We bought it from a good friend whose daughter isn't using hers anymore.  Abby knows it was Faith's and is pleased as punch :)

We then loaded up and went to Mike's folks.  Nice and sweet little Christmas gathering with tons of delish homemade food.  The cousins played all day.  My mother-in-law spoiled me greatly!  Carter was sick with wheezing, fever, and coughing.  Thank you Jesus for our nebulizer that we don't leave home without. We spent the night and drove home today--minus the 3 younger ones--they stayed to play at Nana's another 2 days.  Carter just got 2 shots and should be better by tomorrow.  I'm painting our cheap and plain metal front door today...Hunter Green.  Can't wait to see the wow factor from the street!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Last time (I hope)

I hope this is my last holiday season to work at the bedside in acute care.  After 15.5years, I'm pretty well done.  Don't get me wrong, I love my job, I love being a critical care/cardiac nurse, I love the sick patients, the monitors and labs and the iv's, the rapport I have built up with the docs, the other staff members, the adorable old people, the scared young people and everyone else in between.  But, alas, it is enough.  I'm ready for a steady, predictable job(yes, boring) where I work 3 8hour shifts or 2 12hr shifts and no weekends or holidays, no calls at 4:30 asking if I can come in extra due to short-staffing, no staying over until 8pm after leaving my house at 5:50am because a patient coded at 6pm and we are running around the unit trying to catch up, no more days of coming home late and kissing my little ones goodnight without seeing them at all that day. I'm not in a hurry or desperate, so I'm waiting and praying for the right position to come along.  Hopefully, this is my last Christmas Eve to work.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fun Christmas weekend

These pics are all out of order and it requires too much time and effort to rearrange them.  So, we shall reminisce in random order

Above you have my side of the fam.  We all gathered at my parents for a lovely Christmas dinner and present opening.  Fun and wild, that is the standard for us :)
 And above is a awesome picture I snapped of Hudson loving every minute of a train exhibit that my mom and 2 of my sisters went to see last week.  He, as you all know, is obsessed with Thomas the Tank. 
Above are the grandkids on Mike's side of the fam.  We spent Saturday at Mike's grandmother's home.  We had lots of fun playing Dillon's Michael Jackson Wii game.  You try to dance along with Micheal and his sidekicks and it is hilarious(not to mention hard and a good aerobic workout).

The angel pictured above(not allowed to show her full face) is my sister and brother-in-law's hopefully foverever daughter!!  OH MY WORD, this beautiful child is to die for.  She has been in foster care since birth.  In about 2 weeks, a judge will decide her future.  Brad and Melody, along with the rest of us, are praying for the judge to place "baby sister" with them and their 3 yr old Aspen.

Here we have Dillon opening his birthday gift at my parent's.  He wanted a popcorn maker and, as you can tell by his face, he was thrilled!  It is the air popper kind and we all watched and screamed with joy when the kernels burst forth.  He says he's going to sell popcorn in front of our house!  If you drive by, please by some of Dillon's popcorn :))

Saturday, December 17, 2011


For those of you who've been visiting my blog a while, you know my Christmas cheer is seriously lacking. I seem to have the hardest time reconciling the simple truth of the real Christ story with modern day American Christmas. Grinchy--yes I am.

This year I'm trying to not be grumpy, grinchy, Scroogey, cheap, irritable, judgemental...fill in the blanks.   This morning as I ran in a very crisp 36 degrees I prayed for God to help me chill and enjoy!
It is hard.  This is what I see in my mind....

fyi:  I don't know who to credit this amazing picture for.  It is not my original and kudos to the person who designed it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I'm now the dumbest mother around

Breaking news:   My kids know everything!  I'm old and stupid and they are much cooler and smarter than I.  Likely, I'm not the only one in this boat.
My 15 yr old told me that his lack of attention to his studies are his problem and not mine.  My 11 yr old gave me an exasperated "What?" when I called her to come pick some toys up.  My 4yr old already says "nuh-uhhh"  when arguing with me.  Really, the only dedicated 100% "moms the greatest" child left is Dillon--who turns 9 today--sweet little blessing.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

North Korean Refugee Adoption Act

First, scroll way down the far right and pause my Music Player so you can hear.  Now then, PLEASE take 1 minute to watch this clip. There are hundreds of thousandsf N. Korean orphans living as refugees, castaways.  What if we could do something and provide a loving forever family??  I think if these children become adoptable, that is the one thing that would cause Mike and I to revisit if our family is really complete.  In 2009 Mike, Abby, and I stood at the DMZ, looking through binoculars into that closed, crazed country, where the people are starving.

 If you are ignorant about what is going on in N. Korea, please educate yourself.  Pray for these children and sign the petition.
James 2:15-17 says If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,  and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what [does it] profit?  Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

morphed into a new type of family

We've entered a new phase of family life..

We are a No-Leftovers kind of family!  Booohooo.  We eat up every last bit of my meals now.  This is bad people, bad I tell ya.  Do you realize how much I've relied on leftovers through the years?  I only plan a menu and shopping list for 4 dinners a week.  The left overs, occastional trip to Rosa's, and fill-in  meal of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwhiches finish out the blanks.  My kids are eating so much!  Carter is nearly a grown man, Abby is near my size and we are starting to share a few clothing items, and don't forget little man who has a quite the belly! 
So, for all you No-Leftover Families like ours, do share your smart-shopping, menu and budget stretching ideas.  email  me at

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas season starts with a bang

And we're off! 
We pulled decorations out last Sunday afternoon to put up the tree.  Carter wanted everyone in their pj's to decorate.  So, after lugging the loot from the attic, and changing into pj's, we began.  I soon found myself alone.  Everyone conveniently scattered.  I did what any psychologically stable and uplifting mother would do, I yelled.  In fact, I yelled this..."Guys, I don't even like Christmas.  If you want the tree up, YOU get in here and help!".  Oh yes, I did. Of course, the tree is beautiful--complete with all the decorations in the front middle, cause that is where little kids place them(and I wouldn't dare rearrange).  Nothing like a cold evening, wearing flannel, and a lit up Christmas tree! 
 On the shopping note, I'm soooo proud of myself.  I've barely stepped into a store this season.  You can get anything you need from Amazon, and I nearly always get free shipping.  Shop in my jammies, it comes to my door 3 days later.  On the crafting note, remember my plan to make a Menorah?  Didn't happen.  So, I decided on an advent wreath/candle display for the dining table(I got the easy directions and family devo idea from the last book in the Yada Yada Prayer Group Series.  What???  You haven't read it?  MUST read!).  Unfortunately, one cannot locate pink or purple candles anywhere in December.  So, I am stuck with the Christ candle, the tall white one, sitting alone in the greenery.  It is pretty, but lacking the meaning of the full advent.

Thursday was the 4th and 5th grade musical at our school.  I realize I'm biased, but our school has exceptional music/theater talent and the kids put on wonderful shows.  Abby was the lead angel!  She looked stunning and Mike and I projected what it would be like to see her wearing an all white gown on her wedding day(tears!). 

Today Abby and I have a mom/daughter Christmas brunch.  Driving home from work last night I realized "OMGoodness!  We are supposed to bring a gift each for the exchange". So, I woke up early to     1. update this blog 2. run 2 miles 3. wrap the gifts for the angel tree child we shopped for 4. dash out to find something cute to exchange with people who need nothing and have better taste than I do 5. finish my last government chapter and take a test.  This afternoon Carter and the highschool show choir performs at Christmas on the Square.              Whew, in the words of Dori the fish,  just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hudson is 4!

Little man  turned 4 on Sunday.  We had a small family celebration at Mike's grandmother's home last week.  Today we are meeting my mom, sister, and niece at "Flick Fil A" for play time and lunch.
  Bless his hilarious and smart heart, he was expecting turning 4 to be something of the magical sorts.  I guess it stems from me telling him that when he turned 4, he'd be really big!  He thought that once the ripe age of 4, he'd have "scratchy hair on my face like daddy's" and that he'd get to drive "like Carter" and that he'd begin school!  Suffice it to say, the morning of his birthday, none of those expectations came to fruition.  He's so stinkin' smart, it is scary.  He loves Thomas the Tank more than life itself, drinks his drinks in one gusto without a breath, is a short squatty-body, has a huge grin, sings Jingle Bells constantly, must touch e..v..e..r..y..t..h..i..n..g!!!  I'm sad his birthmom can't see what a great kid to whom she gave life.  I'm also so happy to give Jesus all the glory because not one of his risk factors on his background and medical papers have surfaced.

On another note, a few pics from Thanksgiving.  Here are 2 of my crazy sisters making a run through line as my niece walks to the food at my parent's home.  Never a dull moment, and I mean Never!

 Here is the whole crew outside at my folks.  We were missing 2 families who usually come so the crowd was "small."!  Of course, we have a few extra people who are always welcome.  At our place, the motto is always the more the merrier!

Here are the kids at Grandma's home.  We served ice cream sundaes with "spinkles" on top!  Carter wasn't feeling well and slept most the day in the recliner.
 Lovely warm day out in the beautiful country at Grandma's.  We played baseball for a long time.  Below is my niece Taylor playing with Dillon.

Friday, November 25, 2011

post turkey coma

Lovely Thanksgiving.  Large exuberant gathering at my folks.  Restful and quiet time at my mother-in-laws.  Boycotted Black Friday(Amazon and I are fast becoming best friends!).  My mom and sisters went, like our usual tradition.  I missed it.  Apparently they had quite the hilarious adventure and I can't wait to hear the details.  I, however, slept past 7am, ran 2 miles on a country road, and chilled. 

Thankful:  not just one day of reflecting, but an attitude of gratitude.  I'm overflowing with gratefulness.

  • personal relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ in whom we have hope, meaning, and a reason to get up in the morning
  • husband who supports me and loves me and puts up with my flighty new ideas and preachy rants
  • healthy children
  • sweet extended family
  • warm home
  • jobs, health insurance
  • our awesome church
  • electricity and clean water
  • great friends
  • my chance to get more education for almost free
  • memories of a great 2011
  • oreos dipped in milk

Monday, November 21, 2011

Working to get into the real spirit of Christmas

We had fun this morning.  As stated earlier, our church is a relay center in our city for Operation Christmas Child.  This was truck loading day.  The shoeboxes are packed in cartons and loaded into a semi's trailer.  They are then driven to one of the national processing centers.  Guesstimates indicate that almost 10,000 shoeboxes would be loaded today(I'd posted 5000, but the director told me yesterday it was closer to 10K)!  Carter worked like a muscle man.  Really, everyone got into  it.
Here is Hudson "helping" our youth pastor tape a carton.
Abby was a great helping packing the cartons.  You must place a minimum of 14 shoeboxes in each carton. Speaking from experience, pllleeease, do not buy great big or irregular boxes, they are impossible to pack!  And just in case anyone was having a tiny coronary event looking at the shopping basket at church and wondering if we swiped it, no worries, someone dumped it a while back and the workers were returning it to the store later.  Sure came in handy ;)
And here is Dillon, making sure the carton has a number in the designated corner, indicating how many shoeboxes were in it. We found out that the processing center where this truckload of boxes are heading to will be sending the treats to several countries, including South Africa!!  What a great and exciting idea to think that we just might be loading up a child's gift to go the the slum in South Africa were Mike visited last March AND where we are praying and talking through Carter going this Spring Break.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Shop with a purpose for Christmas

It's here, the most wonderful time of the year....well, unless your a bah-humbug Scrooge like myself ;)  Yes, Christmas shopping is in full swing!  If you've been to Blessed Family Life blog much in the past 2 years, you know I rather dislike shopping, especially for more junk that commercials convince my kids that they need, in order to make companies like Wal-Mart richer!  To get myself in the Christmas mood, I want to post about shopping that will help others.  What if we all bought one less coffee mug and spent more on helping those who truly can't help themselves?  I give you some of my top picks for shopping with a purpose.

Love Without Boundaries ministers to Chinese orphans living in institutions.  You can help buy formula, pay for heart and cleft surgeries, and sponsor kids getting out of orphanages and  into warm foster families. Click HERE

Operation Christmas Child
Certainly a favorite Christmas organization.  Samartian's Purse totally rocks the house in the way of doing good around the world and sharing the love of Christ.  Our church has been a relay center in our city for years.  We help pack up about 5000 shoeboxes and ship them to Charlotte for distribution around the world.  My sister-in-law's church is participating and the girl's class that Shana teaches sent 100 boxes last week!  They learned that children carry water in many 3rd world countries so they packed the gifts in rubbermaid boxes with lids, to be used over and over again. Click  Operation Christmas Child for more info

And of course, you can't forget the mainstays of well-run relief agencies like Compassion International and World Vision.  We sponsor a 10 year old girl in Ghana through Compassion.  Rebecca will receive a new dress this year for her Christmas present.  I wish I could see her in person!

Ten Thousand Villages in a great organization!  They ensure human trafficking is not used in any of their products and pay the laborers a fair wage.  We bought Mike's grandma a beautiful crystal beaded necklace through them last year.   Click HERE to see their work. 

I know there are tons of great ways to give a gift that truly keeps on giving.  Share them with me!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Trust and tithe test

You know how things snowball and get tight sometimes?  Always around the holidays!  That has happened to us.  Few bills here, a needed new roof there, our school's auction this week, a minivan door that needs work, a shower door that won't close, a Capitol Campaign kick off at church that we want to be heavily involved in, and of course, Christmas right around the corner.  When my check was direct-deposited in the wee hours of Friday morning, I fought with myself!  It was tempting, just a tad, to use the 10% off the top, pre-taxes, and use for other things.  Oh yeah, I had the little debate in my head!  But, we can't turn our backs on years of watching God provide in crazy ways.  We trust, we believe, we have seen, and we know, without a doubt, that God blesses when we give to Him first.  Period.  End of story.  Not out of a dread or duty, but out of love and thankfulness.  In fact, many many years ago, we didn't have money to pay our electric bill.  We got paid and made a choice, do we tithe or pay our electric bill that was due?  It didn't make sense on paper.  But, we obeyed and tithed.  A surprise envelope came in the mail the next day, a surprise "gift" that was the exact amount we needed to pay our electric bill.  So, yesterday, we tithed with grateful and expectant hearts.  No, I don't look for a check in the mail to magically cover all expenses.  Heck, sometimes, God wants us to re-evaluate how we are living and blowing our money-make better choices and be better stewards.  It will be fun and exciting to see what happens!

"tithing is what brings the blessing on the balance of our finances.  Tithing is what causes God to rebuke the devourer and open the windows of heaven.  It is the foundation on which our giving is built." Robert Morris

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What does a nurse do?

I stole an excerpt from my friend's Facebook status.  I don't know who wrote this, but if I did, I'd clap my hands and glady give he/she credit.  This a snippet of life as an acute care nurse
I make holding your hand seem like the most important thing in the world when you're scared. I can make your child breathe when they stop. I can help your father survive a heart attack. I make myself get out of bed at 5am to make sure your mother has the medicine she needs to live. I work all... to save the lives of strangers. I make my family wait for dinner until I know your family member is taken care of. I make myself skip lunch so that I can make sure that everything I did for your husband today is charted. I make myself work weekends and holidays because people dont just get sick monday thru friday.

Today, I might save your life.

I LOVE this!  Of course, don't get the wrong idea, it's not all glamorous.  There is plenty of pee, poop, vomit, sputum and grumpiness to deal with too :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pictures finally posting!

 Abby, the volleyball queen(I know, we are already hoping to hone her skills for a scholarship to TCU-ridiculous!)
 The garter I made for Carter--that rhymes, as he pointed out ;)
 Carter leading worship at the dedication of our new secondary building
 My dad with Dillon on his shoulders. 
Cutest, and craziest, man-child on earth!

Oh, guys, I'm picking out paint color for my very plain, tan, metal front door.  My friend sent me the coolest blog post about front door colors.  If I find it, I'll share.  I'm also planning on making a Menorah for the holidays(dowels and candles).  Anybody made one before?  I'm a Christian, but the Jewish symbolism in the Menorah is fantastic!!

PS.  Sunny, email me, I want to chat about our latest attention struggles

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This Sunday is National Orphan Sunday

"On Orphan Sunday, Christians stand for the orphan. We are a people called to defend the fatherless…to care for the child that has no family…to visit orphans in their distress."
For more info, click HERE to go to the official website
Is your church body doing anything to highlight the plight of the world's 147 to 163 million children in the world without families?  Id love to hear about it!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"that girl with crazy hair"

Cute story:
Yesterday Dillon said "I want to play with that girl, you know, that little bitty girl with crazy hair"!  He stretched his arms out about 1 foot.  I thought for a minute and couldn't come up with anyone we know.  Then he said, "you know, like Emily."  Well, one of my sister's name is Emily and she has a 2 yr old.  So, I said "Kylie?"  No, that wasn't it.  He went on to ramble about a few different attributes, none of which made any sense to me.  We picked up Abby at school and went about our business.  About 10 minutes later, out of the blue, he says "Sissy!"
Aha, got it.  My 3yr old niece, Sissy, is little bitty and has crazy hair :)

And, in other great news, her parents are officially back on the list for another foster/adoptive placement!  I'm asking Jesus to send them a nice dark brown boy--we've got the market cornered on gorgeous fair-skinned, red-headed girls and boy, gorgeous Asians, and a gorgeous Hispanic(above).
There is just something so sweet and precious when they bring in a new foster baby at Christmas time.  Little miracles.  Speaking of little miracles, I never announced that their sweet baby C. was indeed placed within the biological family. Yes, we all loved her and prayed for her to become Brad and Melody's forever daughter.  I didn't want to post about it because my attitude stunk and I was a bit mad at the system.  Alas, Brad and Melody have a much more positive and mature outlook than I do!  So, we await their new little pumpkin pie.  Below is a glimpse of the baby C. that they loved wholeheartedly for 3 months.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Go team

Here is Dillon taking his soccer career very seriously!  No, he hasn't made a goal.  However, that doesn't matter to him.  He keeps everyone in the Upward Soccer spirit. Our church has Upward Soccer every year and it is such a sweet blessing.  Speaking of our church, Chris Clayton will be leading worship the next 2 weeks and then....Jeff Johnson on November 13!!  Whootwhooot.  The only problem is I'm working that day.  Drat, there are days I LOATHE being in healthcare.  Uhum, maybe my throat is starting to  hurt and I might be sick by then?  Just kidding....sort of.

Speaking of sick, I just paid 120.00 today to get a new hard-drive in my 8 months old laptop.  It seems, and they conveniently don't tell you this when you purchase a laptop, that they devices are super sensitive and if you move them while they are running, or if you are a bit rough setting them down, the hard-drive breaks!  Yeah, I found out the hard way.

Oh, can't end a post this weekend with out saying GO RANGERS!!!!!!  Anyone notice last night that our family hero, "number 5 Cleanser" was the MVP of the game??  My bro-in-law won tickets to Sunday's game in Arlington--soooooo excited for him.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Weekends and Homecoming

Last weekend was a fun one. It was Homecoming and Carter took a girl to the game, his first boy/girl event like that.  Miss. M is a beautiful, gracious, selfless teen who loves to sing.  I don't feel comfy putting their pic up because I don't have her mom's permission and you know--internet weirdos are lurking! They had a great time and looked awesome.  Carter didn't seem to mind that his mom and little brother drove them around all night :)  I felt completely honored to have been a part of his life. How many mom's can say they have a memory like that?
Poor Dillon, we got in after midnight(hey, you must eat pancakes at IHOP after a Homecoming football game).  He was soooo tired, but such a trooper.  Abby and Hudson spent the night with Nana.

In other news, I became a bit crafty--surprisingly enough!  I made mum hair bows for Abby and her friends.  I also made Carter's garter. And, not only that,  I copied my sisters' crafts and spray painted a pumpkin with a Texas Ranger T, along with other things.
Saturday mornings we are up early for Dillon's Upward Soccer game at our church.  So cute watching him jump up and down and cheer on his team.  Abby is playing city league volleyball again(also on Saturdays--in a town 40 minutes away from Dillon's soccer games!  Yeah, complicated).  She is becoming a really good player with a mean serve.  Cracks me up how aggressive she is on the court, but not an aggressive bone in her body otherwise.
Sorry, but my computer is jacked up and won't load pics.  I'm taking it to the shop today.  Pics to come later?  Hopefully!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

And he's only 3 yrs old!

Hudson is crazy smart, verbal, and a smart alec.  Yesterday he got a hold of the garage door clicker.  I said "Hudson, don't click buttons."  I was watching him and he basically was defying me, aiming his chubby fingers to push.  I said, a bit louder I might add, "Hudson, don't push buttons."  He continued going for it.  At this point, I was mad and I said, in a loud mad-as-fire-don't-mess-with-momma voice "Hudson DONT push buttons!"

Calmly, he looked at me and informed me "It just has one button"

That kid understood the difference in single and plural.

Its a good thing he's so dang adorable!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Heart Gallery debuts tomorrow

I'm so stinkin' excited!  Last Februray, my friend and I launched Project PAPA(p-protect, a-advocate, p-provide, a-adopt), our church's ministry to orphans and at-risk children.  Friday, we set up the Heart Gallery for this area.  Basically, in Texas there are approximately 1500 kids whose parental rights have been terminated and they are legally cleared for adoption--the only trouble is--they have no forever family ready to adopt them and they wait in foster homes.  So, the Heart Gallery is 30 portraits, a small representation of those kids.  I'm praying for our church to be smacked upside the head, have their hearts broken and their spirits stirred to care for children like these!  I get to  introduce the display from the pulpit, so, while I'm getting stage and mic time, I'm wearing my 147 Million Orphans--Feed One tshirt
       Click Here to get yours
I'm so grateful that our pastor and staff are supportive and excited about this.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The yearly ARD meeting

If you have a child with special needs, you speak another language.  For instance, ARDs, IEPs, Content Mastery, Resource minutes, and such.  It stinks to know this language.  Sitting in the ARD meeting with the principal, the diagnostician, the speech-language pathologist, the special ed teacher, the general ed teacher can be overwhelming.  We are so super blessed.  The sweet little public elementary that Dillon attends is top-notch.  We are certain that the staff truly want what is best for him and they really like him!  Mr. B. told about the huge difference he has seen over the last 3 years.  The SLP has been with him for almost 5 years.  His Resource/Content Mastery teachers act like he is their child and send home pictures they take of him at school events, even gifts for him!  If you are a special ed teacher, hats off to you!!

Today we talked in depth about his apraxia.  He has made great progress, just has a long way to go still. They mentioned evaluating him for an assistive language board.  The problem with giving him the board is that we are afraid he will quite trying to communicate.  As Mr.B pointed out, you can see the wheels turning, Dillon tries so hard to form the sentences and communicate his thoughts.  Yes, he gets frustrated when the words don't come out; but when he quits getting frustrated and decides to not try anymore, that will be the real tragedy!  So, if he gets the assistive board and begins to see that it is easier to use the board than talk, our fear is that he will quit trying.  The SLP feels that there is nothing more powerful than him being able to communicate effectively with the world.
Here's the hard is getting harder and harder.  The other students are reading books alone and learning about solids, liquids, and gases.  WHY is everything much harder for my son???  I'm not lamenting for us, I'm lamenting for him!  It breaks my heart to watch him, 3months shy of 9, try to tie his shoe.  He shoots baskets over and over and over, never giving up, but almost never making a basket. 
For now, he loves school, LOVES food and music, actively participates in his classroom, takes up the offering every Sunday at church, loves the Texas Rangers(especially number 5 Ian Kinsler--or as he says "Cleanser").  Dillon loves to worship, lifts his hands and sings loudly.  He is a great checkers and Connect 4 player. He has 10 sight words memorized, is doing well in math, and has a blast on his Upward Soccer team at our church.  He's a pure delight, a rare jewel of a boy who loves his family with all his being.  We are so thankful.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Affording Adoption

My mother told me about a conversation she had with a young woman at church last week.  The lady is about to get married and she and her fiance are really burdened for orphaned children in the world.  She was telling my mom about how she felt called to adopt.  Funny thing is, she didn't know that my mother has 4 grandchildren through adoption.  Of course, mom was all gung-ho and told about ours and my sister, Melody's stories.  The young woman couldn't believe we'd adopted from Korea 3 times and said "but it is so expensive, how did they do that?  Oh, I know, God provided" (don't you just love the woman's simple faith that where God guides, God provides!?).  This is the good part--my mother said "No"!  Then she said "Well, yes, God did provide, but they made it a priority, a lifestyle, and sacrificed other things to be able to adopt."  Preach it Mom!!! 

It absolutely burns me up when people act interested in adoption and then when they ask me how much the fees are, they suddenly believe they aren't called to give a home/family to a parentless child.  What I'd really like to tell them...."So, your bank account, college savings, house and decor, new cars, vacations, and basically meaningless JUNK are worth it, but the 163 million orphaned children in the world aren't?"  And, not to mention the fact that fostering costs nothing and adopting through the state has very nominal fees, and many are waived! There are 500,000 children in the US foster system.  Texas has about 3500 children with parental rights terminated, waiting for a forever family to call their own.
  In  Luke 12:33-34 Jesus says "Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also"

I love the last line.  Where your treasure is...your heart follows!  Where is your treasure?  Your heart will be there also.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Entertainment value

I can't resist sharing some hilarious old pics to make you all grin!  Last night Mike was spending quality daddy time with the little ones.  His favorite activity is to lay on the bed with old photo albums and show them pics.  I dug out some that will crack you up. Or, maybe they won't, maybe my brain's a bit fried.  I just mopped with Ammonia.  What is ammonia anyways?  I remember my mother mopping with it when I was a kid.  So, in my mind, if you don't get a slightly singed nasal hair after cleaning, then it isn't really clean? 

First off, here is Dillon at age 3. He looks like a Compassion Int. chid that needs sponsoring.  This picture was taken at his 2 day a week childcare center.  I did not send him to school in light blue knickers!  I guess he'd gotten dirty and they dug out clothes from a leftover pile.  Of course, it would be picture day!  When he came home, I peeled the tight knickers off him and they were size 12months wind pants.  Classic family pic!

Next, we have Mike's artwork.  This is his rendition of sitting in between 2 older Korean gentlemen on the subway in Seoul.  I giggled the whole way because he looked like a giant!

There is one more that I keep loading and loading, but alas, after 5 attempts, I'm sick of it.  The picture was of Hudson at about age 9months.  He is in a walker, in his foster mother's home, and I kid you not, has a pink flowered head band on!  Umm, excuse me?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Church Sunday night

A dear teacher at Mike's school was being ordained Sunday night as a minister of the gospel.  He leads worship at a tiny church in the poor, minority section of the city.  The pastor of the church also teaches at our school, and they've been serving at this church for 5 years.  We were invited to Max's ordination.  First, about Max.  Max was raised in Panama.  He is trilingual, teaches Spanish at the school, plays guitar and sings.  He leads mission trips to the jungles in Panama(think travel 3 hours by canoe to get to the villages) each summer--Yeah baby, you know I want to go!  We love Max.  So we loaded up Sunday evening and went.  The church is behind a liquor store in the hood in the part of the city where people have big fences around their front yards and strangers to the neighborhood probably lock their doors when driving by.  Really, I'm not exaggerating at all.  It shares a building with a Head Start daycare for educationally at-risk children.  I LOVED being there.  Talk about an authentic church.  Everything was old.  No fancy PowerPoint presentation, no hands-free mics, children sitting with their parents instead of being wisked away to nursery, hymnals from 1975, different ethnicities together.  It was similar to when I was at a church service in Nicarauga(except for the air conditioner).  The people there weren't waiting to be entertained.  A breath of fresh air.

Monday, September 26, 2011


No time for a real post. I'm running out the door to work and I started a  new class last night.  Here is a preview of what I want to "chat" about.
Dillon's soccer team--PRESH.  Out of 6 little boys, 5 are Korean.  Too cute!
Last night we had the sweetest experience.  We went to church in the hood!  It was humbling and beautiful.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Real Texans Now(we got a pickup)

We had so much fun Tuesday.  As you long time visitors to psalm139verse14 blog know, we have driven the same old(yet perfectly reliable and wonderful) vehicles a long time.  We try to follow Dave Ramsey's financial plan(but don't do that great!).  So, Mike's driven a great Accord sedan for 11 years.  It has over 200,000 miles on it and works perfectly.  He's been saving and wishing for an extended cab truck.  Saturday he was with the boys at Target.  Driving in the parking lot he spotted "it".  The heavens parted and shone on this used, but in pristine condition beauty!  The driver was a mechanic and I think we could eat off the engine,it is so clean. So, we prayed and talked budget.  Tuesday he bought a new to him truck and it is gorgeous!  The kids went wild when he drove it home.  It's been 8 years since we purchased a car.  Mike's face was pure joy :)  The next morning, Carter opened the front door and stopped.  He said "Wow, I can't believe something so nice is in our driveway."  We are really having fun!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Oh yes He did!

God gave us some big gifts the past several days.  I actually wrote this post Thursday morning and then, after talking with Mike, realized I'd misunderstood him and almost blew a huge secret to smithereens!  So, I quickly deleted it and now that it is safe, I'm reposting.

First off, you all know how I preach about keeping a prayer journal.  This is one I'll be loving to reread someday.
Since last early spring, one of those crazy, how in the heck is this gonna happen, prayer request was a 1 million dollar donation for our school.  We  just built a new secondary building and had zero dollars left.  They gym was a shell and wouldn't be built until there was money.  So, a bunch of us have been praying for a miracle--a million dollar miracle to be exact.  Last week, a couple who have no affiliation with the school, came for a visit.  It seems they came into a very very large amount of money and felt God told them to donate to our school.  They want to be completely anonymous.  They man handed the chief admininstrator a hand-written check for 1MILLION dollars!!!!!!!  Not only that, he wrote a separate 100,000 dollar check to cover all the scholarships the school has had to give to families in hard financial times.  Over and above, that is God's way.  What a sweet time of saying "Thank You" and remembering that He really does answer prayer.

A couple more:  my dad's shop sold.  In this economy, in a small town, that is darn miraculous. 
 Mike's sister and her husband, along with their 2 girls, had a really neat answer to their prayers over the weekend.
My sweet friend, Jessica, had a miracle baby by birth.  She was born 8 weeks early.  Yesterday I got to help bath her and feed her.  She is 4 weeks  now, at home, weighs 5 pounds and is perfect.  They will travel to Ethiopia in about 5 months to bring home the 4 siblings they've been waiting on for a year! 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Attention challenges

One of our kids has attention and organization challenges.  I'm  not talking about the usual kid type stuff, it's more severe than that.  Anyways, I thought some of you out there may be struggling with the same thing.  Here is what we've learned.
Grades schmades:  really, in the grand scheme of things, who the heck cares what you made in history?  We aren't aiming for Harvard.  We are aiming for whatever it is that God has called this person to do in life, to serve Him
Use color:  use colored-notebooks and highlighters for homework and notes.  Lots of color stimulates these kids minds and grabs their attention
Get physical:  these kids need to run it off
Let them listen to music:  Really, listening to music(not blaring drums) during homework can help
Be creative and try new strategies
Don't blow up and blame the kid all the time:  Soooo hard to not do!  Confession time, I threw a computer mouse across the room a few nights ago.  Trying to help your kid write a paper can push you over the edge.  My outburst was shocking to  the child and now, you all know, I'm a looney mother just like everyone else :)
Last but not least:  choose your battles.  Does having the closet clean with clothes hung up really deserve to be a hill worth dying on?  NO.

I'm reading "Learning Outside the Lines."  It was written by 2 guys who were labeled ADHD and Learning Disabled as children and basically labeled as stupid and problem kids.  They finally came into their own and graduated from Ivey League colleges.  It has awful language and is more for college students, but I'm learning  good tips.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Stole my mom's post--A New Name

Here's the deal. I have a 20 page paper on in-depth health assessment due by 0800 tomorrow. I don't have time to think of much clever or wise posts.  My mother is the women's pastor at her church and wrote a really good post on her women's ministry blog.  I copied it(and  no, I haven't told her yet). It is really good and I think you'll be blessed.

Last night at our Kick-off, we talked about names; how we got our names, what we like and don’t like about our names, what name we have wanted to be called, and what our names mean.

I like my name, Jeannette. I think it is a pretty name. It means gracious, or gift from God, and I like that. BUT, somehow, it does not seem right for me. It is too long and sounds too formal. Often, when I hear it, I feel like I am in trouble, because it sounds harsh.

Our names are important, but they are given to us by our parents before they know what kind of person we will be. The name may not reflect the person at all. According to the Bible, God has a remedy for that.

Isa 62:2…and you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will give.

Rev 2:17 To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.'

God often changed the name of people in the Bible. He gave them new names that reflected their new character or their new calling. Abram became Abraham, Jacob became Israel, Simon became Peter, Saul became Paul. I think that God has a new name for each one of us. I imagine that at the time of the coming of the New Heaven and New Earth, that He will tell each of us our new name. It will be a special name that only He knows, a name that will perfectly reflect each of us, a name that will connect with your heart. Each of us will have a unique name. In heaven, if I say Nancy or Emily, I won’t have to say which Nancy or Emily. There will be only one. God has infinite wisdom and infinite creativity, so there is no end of names, so He won’t have to repeat. Each individual person, with unique gifts and abilities, unique ways of thinking and processing things, each one will have a unique name that God made up just for you!

P.S.  It is time to register for Kairos.  If you want to join me Oct 21 at Gateway for a conference on freedom, emotional healing, breaking free of besetting sins and generational strongholds, sign up!  My sister is on staff in the freedom ministry dept there and it is a top-notch conference.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never Forget

Along with everyone else, I'll never forget 9-11-2011.  I was at home, Abby was at the sitter because I was going in to the hospital late that day, Carter was at school, Mike was working at school.  Someone called me to say "Turn on the TV", I don't remember who, maybe Mike.  I stared in disbelief.  As the buildings crumbled, it was like my whole world as I  had known it crumbled too.  Should I drive straight to pick up Carter?  Should I drive straight to the hospital for possible other attacks and casualities?  Should I hide in my closet with my Bible and pillow?  All sounded equally sane.  What were you doing that day?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Chinese Eyes

Funny conversation overhead yesterday:

I was sitting in the courtyard at our school waiting for Carter to come out.  Abby, Hudson, and Dillon were with me.  There were 2 kindergarten students sitting near us.  I overheard them talking and it was too good to not share(you transracial adoptive families will totally relate).
  Little girl- "She has Chinese eyes, he has Chinese eyes, he has Chinese eyes, but she doesn't have Chinese eyes."
  Little boy- "Ohhhhh, I get it, adopted, adopted, adopted, not adopted."
  Little girl- "Maybe she has Chinese eyes too, but we can't see them because of her sunglasses!"

These innocent and curious child conversation crack me up.  I don't mind the natural curiosity of children.  What drives me batty are the stupid adult comments like "Where did you get her?"  Uh, she's a person, not a handbag!

FYI, there is an old adoption book called Chinese Eyes that tells the story of an Asian girl and her Caucasion family.  It is a bit wordy and the adoption lingo is a little out of date, but the story is pretty powerful.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

We who labor on Labor Day

Here's to all the people who don't get a 3 day weekend(like me, apparently sick people need help on holidays too!).  Mike just left with the kids to head to the country.  He and Carter will  hunt dove at Grandma's place, while Abby, Hudson, and Dillon will be spoiled rotten by their grandparents and play for hours with their cousins.  I don't get to go.  I work at the hospital tomorrow.  I'm a tad sad because I miss several fun events a year due to work.  But, can I get a Boo-Yah for time and a half tomorrow???  Oh yeah, my sadness turned to joy pretty soon when I figured how much more my check will be :)  Hey, don't judge, Christmas is right around the corner and I have ZERO stashed for our Christmas budget.  You want to know the other reason I'm over my sadness?  I'm all alone!!!!!!!!!!!  Hooray for alone time.  I've got grand plans for the rest of today:  balance checkbook, do dishes, study for my Assessment quiz, grocery shop(I plan on indulging in lots of Pita chips with sea salt--addicting!), get the oil changed in Mike's car.  Sounds like a rockin' grand time eh?  Well, if you have 4 kids and a tight budget, you totally understand my jubilation at having some alone time that doesn't cost babysitter money. 

To perk me up, here are some pics:

Dillon's first day of second grade

Abby's first day of 5th grade

Carter starting 10th grade(where does the time go????)

Hudson trying to blend in to Abby's class(he wants to go to school so badly)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

So what is Christian education anyway?

 So very often, people don't really understand what I'm talking about when I say that Carter and Abby attend a Christian school and that Mike is a principal there.  I see in their eyes they are thinking "ohhhhh, snooty private school, you must be rich!".  Hmmm, no, that isn't it at all.  Many of my friends and family don't understand the what and why's of Christian education so I thought I'd give a whirl at explaining it.  Probably the easiest way to do this is to explain what Christian education is not.
1.  An exclusive private school for people to keep their children away from "bad" kids.
There is a big difference in exclusive private schools and Christian schools.  Our school strives to be available for many families who are sacrficing and struggling to pay tuition.  We do not aim to be an Ivy-league prep school.  We aim to reinforce to children that Jesus is active and intimately involved in every aspect of life:  home, academics, athletics, fine arts, and fun. Literature is evaluated through a Biblical world view, Physics is taught and demonstrates our God of order who created every molecule, the gospel is presented before the high school's production of Narnia.  Children spend an average of 130 hours a month at school.  It is nice when they are learning the same things taught at home.

2.  So, you guys think public schools are not good.
Certainly this is not the case.  Mike and I have been to 10 countries, between us, and have seen that America's free and appropriate education is a huge blessing.  Did you know that Haiti has a dismal 50% literacy rate?  We are supportive of children all over the US receiving an education, not based on finances.  Our son Dillon goes to public school because they have the services he needs, like speech therapy, content mastery, and more specialized services.  We happily pay the same taxes that everyone else pays, and we pay for private school tuition. There are some awesome public school educators who do really great jobs at teaching kids(Dillon's school is especially warm, efficient, and well-run).

3.  The only things that make a Christian school different are the uniforms, tuition, and chapel.
I wish you could spend a day at our school.  You'd see that those are the outside, inconsequential differences.  The differences are actually in the details.  Science fairs with Bible verses that the kids choose to reflect how God's intricate hand made everything and keeps everything working together.  A time of prayer requests for the teenagers to share with their teachers and classmates the areas in their lives that they need prayer.  A parent-intensive atmosphere that realizes that parents are the primary teachers and the school comes alongside the family.  An atmosphere where sports and jocks are not the heroes of the school.  Principals who help lead children and teens to a saving knowledge of Jesus every year.  Principals who call teen's parents in for conferences when there is talk of rebellion and disobedience in the life of their child.  Principals who know every kid by name.  Classrooms with 15 second-graders, not 25.  I bet you didn't realize that Christian schools get zero funds from the state.  State benchmark tests are not the goal when teaching the kids.  The flip side of no state monies means that the teachers make 1/2 of what public school teachers do, so they really want to be there and consider it their ministry. Of course, that also means that the only funding comes from tuition and fundraisers(we only do 1 a year).  Therefore, many of the amenities, like instruments,dance classes, and busses, just aren't possible. 

4.  Here's a classic line " some of the worst kids I know go to Christian school!"
I can't speak to the kids you know, but I can say, that just like churches, Christian schools are full of regular humans.  Humans make mistakes and bad choices sometimes.  Yes, students at Christian schools blow it sometimes.  However, in 11 years, Mike has had about 4 of the "big-time" problems with teens(like drugs, fights, teen pregnancy,weapon at school).  I think those are great statistics.  The neat thing is that the Bible is the ultimate authority to the morality enforced at school.

5.  And, finally, there is the argument that "if you take all the Christian kids out of public schools, who will share Christ in the public schools?"  I agree completely.  Where your family and children serve Jesus is between you and the Holy Spirit's leading.  If you strongly feel that your child needs to be a light in public schools...great!  Teach your child how to stand tall and strong for Jesus' love.  If you feel that God is calling your family to Christian Education...great, be prepared to make financial sacrifices to be way more involved(as far as time comittment as a parent) than you would if they went to public schools.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

teen parenting

The dilemna of being a parent to a teenager:
One day you feel as if you aren't doing enough on the job parenting and you have slacked off too much.

The next day you feel as if you are over-parenting, being a helicopter parent, and not letting your almost grown child make decisions and fly on his own.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A new school year prayer

The 2011-2012 school year begins this week.  Beginning of school, such an exciting and nutty time isn't it?  I have some prayers for this year.

For my sweet Dillon who started 2nd grade this year:   healing from his communication disorder so he can speak clearly, a friend who will invite him over to play, a teacher who advocates for him and pushes him to reach his potential and doesn't accept the "I can'ts" 

Abby starts 5th grade Wednesday:  for a continued love for school and learning(she was begging me to let her go to school today!), for no tween girl ickiness to start, for no identity issues related to adoption--that she will remain comfortable in who she is--a beloved daughter of the King of the world, and our Korean Kong-ju(princess), that even right now, God is growing up a sweet boy to be her husband one day

Carter begins his Sophomore year of highschool:  for him to grow to be a man of integrity-who chooses the path of righteousness, for continued musical skills to thrive, for more order and maturity in being responsible for his school work, for a new friend at school to take the place of his best friend who moved.

Hudson:  Well, poor little man wishes he was going to school so badly.  He says "me big, what about me school?".  He doesn't realize it yet, but he and mommy will have one last sweet year together.  I'll  not lack for entertainment, that is for sure.  His favorite cartoon is "fun-Bob, scare-pants," he sings Jingle Bells all the time, he wants to read so badly and asks what everything says. 

Mike:  It's been a stressful summer with the new secondary building being built.  God has blessed and provided many more students than we had in May.  My our sweet Christian school be a light in the community, a testimony to the Lord and His faithfulness.  May Mike slow down, enjoy the opportunity to shape young minds and hearts to be servant leaders.

For myself:  I'm taking it a bit slower and only taking 10 hrs August through December.  I've decided on the grad school I want to attend and will apply in February. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

2 big adoption events coming up in DFW

For those who love the fatherless, there are 3 big events coming up and I want you to have plenty of time to plan

Tuesday, October 4th is the Give Hope Golf Classic.  This tournament promotes awareness and raises funds for millions of children around the world with no momma and daddy.   I've known them several years, they adopted from S. Korea through Dillon International and are on fire for adoption and orphancare.    Click GOLF to go to the website

Saturday, October 29th is the adoption and foster care conference at Irving Bible Church.  This is a well-established, effective ministry and their conference promises to be awesome!  I have taught adoptive parenting classes alongside one of the breakout speakers(Melanie) and she's down-right amazing.  Foster parents:  you can get education credits at this conference.  Click here for the link

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

20th year reunion dilemna

I was going to post about 2 important adoption events coming up, but that can wait a few days.  Here's the dilemna:  I got info for my 20yr class reunion today.  UGH.  I graduated in 91.  Not a close class.  In fact, I don't talk to or visit with a single person I graduated high school with on a regular basis.  If not for Facebook, I wouldn't have a clue where most of them live.  Don't misread me, I didn't have a terrible time or dislike my classmates.  It was typical late 80's early 90's teenager life-- Def Leopard, Bon Jovi, Depeche Mode, big fried hair, rolled jeans, MC Hammer pants, and lovely other styles.  We cruised the main street in our town, singing with Information Society tapes and such.  I had a group of down right hilarious friends.  We could quote every word to the Sarah Jessica Parker movie "Girls Just Want To Have Fun."  But, here I am 20 years later.  All grown up and done with teen angst(believe me, I had plenty of it!).  I love my life now and have zero desire to go try to catch up with people I haven't seen in many years.  Plus, the weekend is is planned for is the same time as Kairos, the freedom ministry conference at Gateway Church that I've been really wanting to attend.
  Oh, I'd love to bring my gorgeous hunk of a husband and darling kids to show off!  But, is there going to be a hole in my life if I don't attend my 20th reunion??  Help me out here people.  If you didn't attend, and you have issues now, please message me :)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Class is over

Image Detail

I took my Statistics final exam this morning!  Let me tell ya, I've been way stressed out over this, I"m not good at math and it has been 20 years since I've taken a college math class. 
I had a 75 average in the class.  The final counted for 40% of the grade. All my witchiness(is that a word??)  and being a gripey mommy paid off.  The hilarious thing is that I ended up making a 80.6 for my class grade.  Yes--a B!!!!!!!!  I was praying so hard to pass(heck, 70 is degree right?).  So we celebrated this huge feat with a free Chili's dinner, thanks to an old gift card I had. 
Just jumped over a big hurdle toward grad school 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dave's debt comparison

This is awesome!!  Good ole Mr. Ramsey puts the federal debt situation in real-live family terms.  I copied and pasted from his website

The federal government will take in $2.173 trillion in 2011. That’s their income, and it sounds pretty good. Until, that is, you factor in that the federal government will spend $3.818 trillion during the year. So, just like many families, the government’s outgo exceeds their income—to the tune of $1.645 trillion in overspending. That’s called the deficit. Altogether, the government has $14.2 trillion in debt.

What would happen if John Q. Public and his wife called my show with these kinds of numbers? Here’s how their financial situation would stack up:

If their household income was $55,000 per year, they’d actually be spending $96,500—$41,500 more than they made! That means they’re spending 175% of their annual income! So, in 2011 they’d add $41,500 of debt to their current credit card debt of $366,000!


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Looking back on 8/6/2010

Why do I recommend you keep a prayer journal?

Psalms 77: 11-2 I shall remember the deeds of [fn]the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.

 I will meditate on all Your work And muse on Your deeds.

 It becomes an invaluable treasure of memories, prayers, answers, and feelings.  Over and over, Scripture tells us to remember and remind ourselves of God's faithfulness and blessings.  It is such a trap to live in the past and in the world of "But what if?"  I know I've struggled with that many many times. 
This day last year I was at a crazy juncture in life.  Infertile for 10 years, happy momma of 4 kids(one had just been with us 11 months) and content.  I strangely found myself pregnant.  Unfortunately, I wasn't happy or ready for that news.  It blew me out of the water and totally freaked us out.  Sadly, the pregnancy ended several weeks after, in a maddening kind of way(you can read about it under the title Choosing to Bless).  I journaled, as I have for years.  My prayers and thoughts were raw and honest, heck, why hide anything from my maker when He already knows my thoughts anyway?
On  8/6 last year I wrote
     Praise you Jesus, the sonogram shows it is in the uterus, there is a heartbeat. Help me have a joy for this life.  I can't work and take care of 5 kids--God what is going to happen??
On 8/7 last year I wrote
      Okay Lord, I may be totally off my rocker, but I think my baby is dead.    Could my hormones have plunged super quick? 

Psalm 42:5b  My soul is downcast within me, therefore I will remember you

Why do we remember the Lord when our soul is downcast?  Because remembering brings to mind the good and bad.  In this world, you can't have all good.  There is always going to be good and bad, in a fallen/sinful world.  Remembering and reflecting on the journey the Lord has brought you on requires acknowledging that somehow, you make it through the tough stuff and you see how El Shalom, God of my peace, walks with you and uses everything for His ultimate glory. 
Reflecting on the blessings of the journey keep you grateful.  Reflecting on the trials of the journey keep you dependent on Him to provide.  Reflecting on the mistakes made on the journey, keep you humble.  Reflecting on the victories in the journey, make you trust Him to carry you again, in the next trial!  Isn't that exciting? 

So, here I am, one year after my surprise baby died in my body(makes 2 we've lost in utero), I'm reflecting:
blessings:  sweet family and friends who loved on us, my 4 children are healthy, recognizing what an amazing and supportive husband I have, I now have an opportunity to furthur my degree(and the hospital pays for it!)
trials:  anger, ungrateful spirit, lack of trust in His plan(what the heck are you doing God??), physical illness
mistakes:  a few from the above-like anger, lack of trust, ungrateful
victories:  sealed in my heart how much we love our children--no matter how they came to us, worked through some deep personal loss and grief issues I'd repressed, and now I can more effectively walk alongside women who are or have experienced miscarriage

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The talking toddler

As you are well aware, little man Hudson, is crazy!  He is so dang smart and precocious, talks non-stop(like, every second of the day filled with his talking).  For you entertainment:
Tonight he picked up a bottle of baby bath, turned it over and looked at the label and said "Mommy, how many calories this have?"  I said, "That is baby bath, it doesn't have calories."  He didn't believe me, pointed at the small typeface and said "Uh-huh, see, it have calories."
Nuts, he's just nuts!

And here is sweet Dillon's bedtime prayer this week.  We are in a severe drought and heat wave(it was 108 yesterday).  He prayed "Dear God.....rain, rain, no give us any, we need it so bad....rain, rain, rain."
That sums it up perfectl :)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fav new song(and album)

First: Scroll way down to the far right of my blog and pause my music player, then enjoy this awesome song! I first saw Aaron Ivey at the Together For Adoption conference in Austin last year. This song, The Name, plays constantly at our house(Carter loves it too).  Not only is he an amazingly talented musician, but his heart for children without mommas and daddys is huge.
If you really want to cry a good one, watch his video on You tube called Amos Story(written about his son from Haiti). Great album, run and get you one.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summer to do's...

Abby's birthday is the end of August.  About 2months ago, I started stripping an old desk that my parents bought for us when I was really young.  I think it is about the most valuable heirloom they have to pass on, so far.  It has been through so many changes, been painted everything from 1970's bright orange, to 80's seafoam green, to red, to white.  It has watched my sisters and I grow up and held notes and craft projects for us all.  I'm planning on stripping all the way to the wood, sanding it, and repainting it.  It has been in my garage, with about 10 different colors showing for the past month. But, I'm totally swamped....

 or so I thought :)

This morning, I did my nursing class quiz, studied for statistics.  Then, after hearing Mr. Smiley(aka Hudson), repeatedly say "Pweese you paint me room bwuuu wike Thomas!" I could figure the probability of drawing a red marble from a box of 1000 marbles no longer.  So, contrary to what is sensible and prudent(which I almost always lean to), I began painting.  The letters above are being painted black to go in Abby's new puprle and black room.  Hudson and Dillon will soon have a beautiful denim blue colored wall.

I'm not sure why I'm painting the room.  We are praying over a much bigger house 2 streets over that is headed to foreclusure.  IF, and that is a capitol IF, God wants us to have a bigger house to use for more ministry(we are leaning toward providing respite foster care), then we will be putting in a very low offer on this big, abandoned home.  So, painting our house seems a tad silly.  Oh well, it will likely not happen, so my boys may as well enjoy a bwuu room wike Thomas(the tank engine for all you moms of girls).