Thursday, March 31, 2011

Debt be gone!

Scratched off!  Zero.  Line through the entries in red.  FREE.

Our tax refund came.  Thanks to the revised adoption tax credits, (click HERE if you are a new adoptive family, or just looking into adoption and need help figuring out how to finance it) we got a very large sum back.  I marched down to the bank this week and paid off our unsecured adoption loan that we'd been paying interest on for 2 years!!  Yippeee, that felt sooooo good.  I also paid off the balance on our credit card.  We are totally out of debt, except our mortgage.  We don't plan on getting into debt ever again.  And, let's be frank, we've had some challenges over the past 2 years:  trip to Korea, trip to Haiti, 2 sets of new tires, Hudson's 4 porcelain caps on his teeth, 2 children's hospitalizations and abulance rides, and Mike's S. Africa trip.  Whew!
It is and will be worth it--I know it will be.  And before you think we are super disciplined or something--we aren't.  We are very fortunate to have steady good jobs that haven't been affected by the recession.  Also, the old saying is so true--Where God Guides God Provides.  We are living testimonies to His grace and provision.

Funny story:  My minivan is a 2003 with 167,000 miles on it(runs great and been paid off a while).  Well, apparently, Abby isn't too thrilled with its aesthetic qualities.  I offered to drive on the 4th grade field trip.  She asked me "Could you please wash and vacuum the van first?"  HAHA, cracked me up!

On a totally unrelated note:  I'm ready for an Outward Focused Life event--whose with me??

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Do Over Day

Yes, I realize I'm supposed to be doing school work while Hudson naps, not blogging!!  Oh, by the way,  after many many hours of work last week, I brought my Tech Writing grade up from a 79 to an 88 :)

     Today is Do Over Day.  I'm trying to be a good mommy today.  Mike's been gone a lot lately to trips, leaership meetings at church, school conferences.  I was a big ugly witch last week-especially Saturday.  Poor Hudson bore the brunt of it.  I won't even tell what I told the lady at Wal-Mart last week, when my nerves were shot and I was exhausted, and he'd just run away into to the bathroom without me!!!  It was poison though, pure poison from my mouth.  I couldn't believe I said it.  So, today has been make up time. I've edified and congratulated him on every little task...from peeing in the potty to putting a puzzle together correctly.   I've baked banana bread with him--he cracked(or shall we say obliterated?) the eggs and held the mixer.  I put together the Thomas the Tank floor puzzle 4 times, the Elmo puzzle 2 times.  We crawled the Thomas the Tank tunnel and tent, and I read a Thomas book.  Have I mentioned that he is obsessed with Thomas??? 
I was telling a friend at work yesterday about how I lost my cool when Hudson did something deliberately to irk me.  Let me explain, that boy is a darling, happy and easy going fella most all the time.  BUT, there are those times when he looks at me with a "go to you-know-where" look on his face and deliberately does the opposite of what I tell him to do.  I can't stand disobedient children.  Like 50 nails sliding down a chalk-board.  Makes me nuts!  My friend was shocked when I told her how mad I got.  She said to another co-worker, "Can you imagine Libby ever losing her cool?"  Friends, I was born with a sin nature, just like every person on this planet.  I struggle with caring about ME more than other people.  I want it MY way, just like my cute little 3 yr old.  I have a sharp tongue that I lose control over at times.  I'm asking the Holy Spirit to bring words of life and encouragement, not death, from my mouth.  Thank goodness 3yr olds wake up each day not remembering if mommy was a witch the day before--they just love mommy!  Dear Jesus, would you please bring about some more blooming fruit of the Spirit in my life?

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galations 5:22-23

Saturday, March 26, 2011

it came in the mail today

My totally rockin' and smokin' hot swimsuit.  Yeah, be jealous.  This summer I'll be sporting the dowhill-slide toward 40, mommy of many tankini and skirt. 

You know the type right?  Double lined, cute tennis-style miniskirted bottoms, bright-eat-your-heart-out-blue, bathing attire!  When I was 20, I never ever thought I'd be so excited to order my hardly showing some skin, yet ever sexy, Land's End suit.  Times have changed people!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Clueless or just plain rude?

We've had our share of stupid comments and/or questions over the years.  Funny how strangers feel entitled to ask about your fertility, how your children joined your family and your motivations to adopt, how much it costs and all kinds of personal questions.  Really, it doesn't happen near as frequently as it used to.  Last week I experienced the end all of annoying conversations.

I was in a fast food restaurant that, I swear, fries everything but the sweet tea!  It was me, Abby, Dillon, and Hudson.  There was a line and we were waiting.  This grandmotherly women was in front of us with 2 boys, about 9 yrs old.  She looked at me, looked at the kids, and smiled.  I braced myself because my spidey-nerves were tingling.  I could see the ignorance that was about to come my way.  "Where did you get these kids from?"  Yep, the kids were standing right there.  I tried to fake that I didn't know what she was talking about.  So, I said "What do you mean, oh, you mean originally?  They were born in Korea."  I patted Dillon's head and smiled through clenched teeth--my sweet Southern way of signaling her to back off.  Didn't work.  She asked "So, they aren't natural brothers and sister?"  Seriously, my blood pressure had to have shot up to 200 systolic.  I was feeling the heat in my face.  I said "They are now!"  The grandson piped up and said "So, are they adopted or something?"  I smiled at him and nodded my head.  The other boy who was standing there said "Sssh, you're not supposed to talk about that."  To this, ignoramous grandmother said "Oh, it's alright, just look at them, it's obvious they were adopted, they are Oriental" 

I have never experienced such blatant disregard for people's feelings.  Thank goodness it was their turn to order.  I know she didn't mean to be ugly and offensive.  She probably thought she was quite enlightened. 

By the way, rugs and food are Oriental, people are Asian.
Becoming a sibling through adoption is just as natural as giving birth.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Trip wrap up and home

A few pics to wrap up.  Below are the AIDS patients at Genesis Care Center that the church in Marburg runs.  They are given the antiviral meds and then taught a trade so they can live.  The women make beaded jewelry by hand.  Mike bought a bunch of necklaces and a few ornaments.  Each piece comes with a card and is signed by the person who made it.

What amazes me most is that this church is not enormous by our standards.  They run about 800 people on Sundays.  The members truly are invested in the community--healthy, sick with AIDS, white, black, in between, young, old.  They run community centers, youth centers, feeding program, sports programs where Jesus is presented, drug rehab, HIV clinics, AIDS hospital, orphancare, and home visits for sick people.  Really to the heart of the matter huh?  Thousands of dollars aren't spent on new carpet and stained-glass windows, video game consoles for youth to play with so they aren't bored at church.  Lives are being poured out and changed--for eternity.  Cool huh? 

Yes, this is really a house

 This is the beach outside of the little bed and breakfast that is run by a church member.

Here is little man greeting daddy.

Ahhh, the world is right again!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day 4

Below is Mike's Day 4 wrap up.  They were busy! He's loving it there and is amazed at what God can do through people and a church who are totally sold out to making much of Christ and ministering to the needy around them.

 I dropped off the kids at his mom's house since I work tomorrow and Saturday.  I had the rudest ignoramus lady ask about my kids today.  I'll tell you later--you transracial adoptive families are gonna die!  I am supposed to be writing my nursing paper, but alas, I am enjoying hearing about Mike's trip too much.  I'm going--that is for sure--just not sure when.  Oh and honey, if you read this:  if one of those darling babes with the huge brown eyes happens to jump in your suitcase, I won't mind too much :))

Nokhukanya Crèche(means feeding center) is operated by Mbuse (sp? … m-boo-say), an impressive woman who is openly HIV+.  Most people do not want to be tested because a positive test can mean loss of a job, being socially ostracized, and even being kicked out of one’s home, so to be openly positive is pretty gutsy.  Mbuse uses her status as a means to encourage others to be tested and to get on antiretroviral medications in order to manage the disease.  She is a believer and has a tremendous ministry to care for the sick and dying in her area.  She operates a crèche that was basically built in her backyard by funds God provided through Two Tunics (used to be operated out of her home).  Her arms and legs were covered with small lesions and she was thinner than most other women I’ve seen.Many of the children in her crèche are HIV+.  They were adorable.  In other places, kids wanted to have their pictures taken and then look at themselves in the viewfinder.  These kids were motioning to me and holding up their hands.  I thought they wanted their pictures taken, but Robin told me, “Mike, they just want to be held.”  I put the camera down (I was worried they might grab for it, but they completely ignored it), and took turns picking these beautiful kids up and holding them tightly.  They fought and jumped up and down for attention just trying to get to be hugged. 

Home Visits1) The first home we visited was in Murchison near the community center we visited yesterday. It was about the size of our kitchen and dining room and the walls were bare concrete blocks.  At first I thought the pallet was empty until I realized we were gathering around it. Then I noticed the gray haired head on the pillow. The body was so thin that it didn’t even show underneath the covers—only the side of a head indicated that someone was there. The little old lady was ill and not doing well. Mike encouraged them to continue giving her the medicine she’d gotten at the hospital and to feed her well. Amos led in a song, and Dr. Nash prayed over the woman. I never would have guessed that this was one of the nicer homes we’d visit today.
2) The second home we visited was half destroyed.  It appears that it halfway collapsed (it was primarily made of mud and sticks) and now the government was going to build them a new home, but they ran out of money midway through, so there’s a half-finished cinder block house next door with no roof on it. The kitchen had no ventilation and the walls were black with soot since all cooking is done over open fire.
That home currently houses the sons of the family who used to live there. Amos was telling us that the mother and grandmother lived nearby when he pointed and said, “There she is.” We looked across a grassy, narrow gully about 40 yards away and saw something moving in the grass. Robin asked, “Is she crawling?” and Amos said she was—that she had lost her legs to “sugar diabetes.” Sure enough, the grass parted and we could see this woman dragging herself toward us with two small children (about 2yo) following her through the high grass.  Basically what’s going on is that the grandmother (no idea how old she was—said she was born in either 1912 or 1915), mother, and two small children lived in this two-room shack. Dr. Nash and Robin gave them a parcel of food and the grandmother clapped her hands and thanked us over and over. I just can’t describe how poor these people were. They truly depend upon God for “daily bread.”
Dr. Nash took a look at a cut Robin had found on the woman’s knee—probably sustained from crawling over the rough, trashy ground. She had the elastic upper section of a sock pulled up over her knee as a sort of knee pad, and under it was a pretty good cut. I went back to the car and got my antibiotic ointment and some Band-Aids which he used to bandage it up as best as he could. She was very grateful. I wish we could get her some knee pads or something—there’s no way a wheelchair would be of any use on this hilly, rough terrain. Amos said that the ladies used to come to his church, but they can’t get there now, so we sang and prayed with them. When it was time to go, the ugogo (grandmother) thanked us and told us not to forget about her.
3) The third home we visited belonged to a Christian woman named Evelyn who runs a crèche(feeding program) out of her home called Salvation Place. It was nap time and there were about 25 kids laying in rows on the floor in her living room. Needless to say, our arrival didn’t help facilitate naptime!
4) The fourth and final home we visited was a shack in Mkholombe (the shantytown). It was just dreadful.  We weaved down paths between houses about 10X10 made of old pieces of junk lumber, sheets of discarded tin, old signs, and even cardboard. Mike told us that the government owns the land and lets people live there, but they cannot build anything permanent. I don’t know how they ever found the house they were looking for, because it all looked the same to me, but we finally entered a tiny room with a small cookstove, a bed, two plastic lawn chairs, and small shelf/counter.  On the floor was a baby about a year old asleep on a neatly folded blanket under another blanket. An older woman knelt on the floor by the baby, and once my eyes adjusted to the dark, I could see a younger woman on the bed. Amos explained that the woman on the bed was named Tendaki, and that the older woman was her mother and the baby was her son. Tendaki is HIV+ . The older woman stood up, and we prayed and sang. During the singing, the baby woke up and looked up at me (I was standing right over him) and had a major “When the heck did all these white people get here?” look on his face!
The room was stifling hot because the walls were sheets of tin and there was no ventilation.  Yet here lay this poor, sick woman under a heavy blanket on a rickety bed with no running water and the nearest toilet a fairly long walk away. Mike said that the family actually consists of 10 people who share this room and the one next door.

 Mkholombe was probably the most hopeless place I’ve ever seen. There was trash everywhere. Everyone in the entire camp shared a few toilets (outhouses really) on the edge of the camp. Children wandered the alleys between shacks unattended. There was nothing green anywhere.

42yr old HIV+ man at Genesis Care Center who told Mike he was too young to die.

Stinkin adorable darlings at a community center program!

Day 3

Mike finally sent me 2 pics--that is it--2!!  Here they are , along with his wonderful descriptions.  Can you tell  he used to teach English and wrote for the college paper?  My points are in blue so you don't get confused.    

      Trevor(their guide at the church) started our day by taking us to Youthworx which is in a converted home on Marine Street which runs adjacent the coast.  It’s near a mall and many other businesses catering to tourists and middle class shoppers.  The house was donated by a man who had made a tremendous amount of money in heavy equipment.  When he miraculously survived a race car wreck, he made an appointment with Trevor to ask why God had spared his life.  Trevor told him that he didn’t know—ask God!  He did say that it could have been so that he could donate his home in a prime location to NSC to begin a youth center, and the guy did it!   
     Youthworx is staffed by members of the Becomers program who live in apartments behind it along with a youth pastor named Stef.   
NSC’s Becomers program is an alternative to a traditional university for Christian young people who want to pursue an education but either cannot afford to go to university or who want to pursue a ministry option.  They are given 1000R per month, one meal per day (lunch), and lodging for as long as they want or until they complete their online studies.  Students must complete an application for the program.  In Trevor’s words, these students are in the prime of their lives, and while they are young, excited, and unfettered by a family or career, the church needs to leverage their passions for Christ in reaching other young people.   Becomers work the Friday night youth program and spend afternoons (mornings are strictly reserved for studies) working at NSC sponsored community centers or building relationships with area teens. 
 Can't you see Carter loving that program??

     The rehab centre was run by a local farmer named Tim who attends NSC along with a woman named Eustace.  Eustace’ husband founded the center after he overcame an addiction to alcohol.  The centre can serve up to 20 people at a time, depending on government funding.  It also provides drug abuse education to local schools.  It looked very poor and we didn’t see any people there. 

     This center was a ministry of NSC and a local church.  It has a feeding program (they call them “feeding schemes”) that provides a meal a day for about 120 area children.  When we were there, a group from Grace Church in St. Louis was presenting a program for the children at the crèche.  These kids were all 4-5 years old and there were about sixty of them from what I could tell.  Supposedly another sixty will come in during the afternoon, also to be fed.

     There was a well near the Khula centre that Trevor told us is called Jacob’s well.  When a team from Lake Pointe came a few years ago, a sophomore in high school named Jacob was came to the center.  He was moved by the difficulty these people had getting clean water for the children, so when he got home, he began raising money for a well.  Completely on his own, he raised the funds for a well and had it sent to Trevor.  The “experts” told them that there was no way that they would ever find water around there, because it had been tried.  The church prayed, dug the well, and found water anyway!  Trevor calls it Jacob’s miracle well.  The cool part of the story was that Jacob came back on a 2nd trip and was actually there the day that they began pumping water out of that well!
      The community centre was next door to Murchison Primary School which is a large school for students up to grade 7.  When we arrived there were maybe 15 small kids playing basketball, Frisbee, and drawing with chalk with a group of teenagers from Lake Pointe in Rockwall.  After school let out at 3pm that place filled up!  Kids came in for after school programs.  Kids were singing, coloring, playing games, shooting hoops, and a couple were even taking guitar lessons.  One group of girls called the Angels sang us a song from the movie Sister Act

these are kids at the community center getting pics taken by our Pastor

     The squatter's camp was unreal.  Literally, these homes were made out of garbage.  A few planks, an old piece of a discarded sign, sheets of corrugated tin, and bamboo made up the walls.   There were a couple of places where a pipe with a spigot would stick up out of the ground, and that was where the entire community got their water. (see guys, I've been preaching about clean water for the past year and a half--so cheap for people help-donate to water for life instead of sprinkling your grass twice a week!).  Trevor said he estimates that there are about 3,000 people living in that particular camp. 

     He showed us one location where, a few years ago, he had seen a body lying on a pile of garbage while he was driving through the camp.   He figured he would at least see if he could give this person a decent burial, and found that there was a little life left in him.  Trevor took the man home (this was before Genesis Care Centre opened) and he and Helene cared for him.  For several weeks, families in the church with extra rooms took him in.  With proper nourishment, anti retroviral drugs, and a loving home, the man recovered and actually lived another year and a half before succumbing to AIDS.  His story is the inspiration for the Genesis Care Centre.

squatter's camp

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 2

Mike is having a great time in South Africa.  He sent a looooong email yesterday.  I'll just give a few snippets.  They are touring and meeting with lots of ministries that are based out of the church there.  And, what an amazing church--totally involved in the community and Relevant!!

     "Genesis Care Centre was established in response to Trevor having driven up to church one Sunday morning to find the body of a man who had died of AIDS lying in front of the church’s gate. That morning he told the congregation that it didn’t matter what they did in church that morning if the church wasn’t reaching out to people and if local residents didn’t know that they were welcome. The GCC was initially simply a hospice where AIDS patients could die with dignity. Soon they realized that with basic care (proper nutrition, retro viral drugs properly administered, and compassion), the AIDS patients that were simply coming to die could actually live productive lives. Now about 50% of patients actually recuperate and are able to leave GCC and return home.

     We dropped in on GCC chapel services. The chaplain, another gentleman, and about 4-5 women walked through the men’s ward and then to the women’s ward singing songs. The chaplain was wrapping up his talk in the men’s ward when we arrived, so we followed them to the women’s ward afterward where they asked Wes to speak. He shared about the thief on the cross—someone whom Christ valued and loved even though he could not (and never would) do anything of worldly value for Jesus. This was a great theme for a talk to these bed-ridden women.

     On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, volunteers come in and help the women of GCC make beaded trinkets which are sold. This supports GCC and offers these women a small way to earn money once they recover enough to go home. Several women were working on small beaded items in their beds while we were there.

     I spoke to two women briefly. The first, Viola, spoke English and asked me to pray for her cancer (cervical) and bedsores. The name of the second woman was one I can’t remember (Sudzkale or something like that), but at the time I supposedly pronounced it correctly—the nurse smiled big and nodded like I’d done a great job when I tried. She spoke Zulu, so the nurse interpreted for me. I asked her about her family, and she told me she has children, the oldest of whom is a young man who cannot find work. She was very, very thin and looked like she will not live long. When I prayed for her, she cried and cried. It was heartbreaking to see.
     We went to the men’s ward where I visited with a man named Milton. He has 3 children, the oldest is a 14yo girl and the youngest is 5yo. The girl is in 8th grade and does well in school—she wants to be a doctor and he wants this for her. When I asked him how old he is, he said “Forty-two. Much too young to be dying.” He said that even if he gets well enough to go home, he cannot find work (he worked as a cook and a driver). He said that the children’s mother comes to visit him sometimes. He said that she does not work because women are not supposed to work—it is the man’s responsibility to provide for the family. He just seemed so hopeless. I prayed for him and for his family. Afterward, he asked me about my life in America. I felt so guilty telling him because I have so much! He brightened when I told him my oldest was about the same age as his oldest and that my son plays guitar. He said that is good because you can make a lot of money playing the guitar
     Trevor gave us a tour of the huge new youth center under construction. The center will include a gym, daycare, tutoring, and various training/discipleship initiatives. A goal is for the center to provide childcare for teens who are raising younger siblings due to their parents having died of AIDS. These older siblings often cannot take advantage of community programs for teens and young adults because they do not have a place for the younger brothers and sisters they must care for.
     Before dinner, we met with Mike and Robin. Mike is a physician who has come to be something of an expert on AIDS treatment relative to African culture, and Robin is a Pre-K teacher. They are from Seattle and when they found themselves as empty nesters (actually grandparents now), they wanted to do something with the freedoms they found with the kids out of the house. To make a long story short, they’ve been heavily invested in SA for the past few years. Mike helped GCC get a large amount of funding from the US government geared toward AIDS relief and they have founded Two Tunics (  They go into low-income areas and minister alongside local daycare/PK programs called crèches."

There you have it, amazing stuff!
As for me?  I'm doing fine.  I'm used to Mike traveling and the first 3-4 days I'm good.  Day 5 I'll be crazy!  I've been slaving away on my stupid tech writing brochure "How to Make JELL-O"  Not...even...kidding! 
The kids are good.  Dillon had a melt-down last night asking for daddy.  Not to worry, he is always emotionally unstable at 8pm.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Made it there

Mike emailed yesterday evening.  They had smooth travels.  Thanks to the marvel of iPhones, he can text me!  The Bed and Breakfast they are staying at is run by some of the church members.  It sounds awesome.  He was going to sleep to the sound of the Indian Ocean through the windows.  The owners did warn to close their windows during the day because monkeys may come in ;)  Dillon thought that was pretty funny.  Today starts the heavy-duty stuff.  He was warned that he'll see "seriously sad stuff."

Remember what I said yesterday morning about people saying things like "I don't know how you can do that"?  Funny cause the tables were turned on me.  Our church is recruiting workers for VBS in June and I got the heebie-jeebies! I don't know how people teach children's Sunday school or VBS!  I'd much rather jump on a plane to another country than teach a group of 8 year olds...and CRAFTS....loathe them!!!!!!!!!

And now, off to do more technical writing homework...H..A..T..E that class.  I was telling my sister, Emily, about the stupidities of it.  She is an art teacher, and all around talented person.  She had a great perspective.  She suggested I try to really apply it to the future.  What if we do move to Nicaragua and run a school/orphanage?  I'll need to apply my technical writing skills of fonts, color, and design to make appealing brochures and support letters to send to the States.  With that in mind, I'm headed to get coffee and dive in.  My maniac neice, Aspen, is coming to play with Hudson today :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring Break begins and Mike's trip

Well, not really for me.  I have school this week and tons of assignments.  I've figured out the key to get it all done is to get up at 5:15 every day during the week.  This way I complete my work and submit by Friday evening.  I have Sat and Sunday to be "normal."  Currently I have a 99 in Professional Nursing and a79 in technical writing!  Carter is gloating over me having a 79.  Mike flew to S. Africa yesterday.  We watched his plane on a satellite map at flytecomm to see his progress.  I'll be posting pics and such when I get them.  The motel where they are staying is directly on the beach of the Indian ocean and boasts of frequent whale sightings. 
 Daylight savings time really fouled up Hudson.  Here he is last night around 7:30.  Weeping and gnashing of teeth--for  no apparent reason.

This is the treat we found when we got home from visiting my 95yr old grandparents yesterday.  Everytime Mike goes on a long trip he leaves surprise notes for us to open.  Such an awesome man(and not just because he left me chocolate!)
As for where he is going, you can clickCHILDREN to read about the hospice for orphans with HIV in S. Africa.  This was taken from the website for, which is one of the ministries they will be touring.
      All children cared for at Rehoboth have been abandoned or orphaned and are HIV positive .The children are placed on anti-retro-viral treatment (ARV’s) as soon as possible. Rehoboth tries to meet every need that a child has by using a 5-way holistic approach.

People ask us about our mission trips and say things like "isn't that hard?  I don't know if my heart could take seeing kids like that, or I don't think I could leave my children for a week."  The only way to realize how darn blessed you are and to realize that you were meant for ministry is to allow yourself to be placed in those difficult, uncomfortable, stretched thin, heartbreaking, poor, unfair, serving the least of these types of situations.  It is in those situations that we really feel alive.  Plus, we have a goal of obtaining stamps in our passports from the most countries possible.  Heck,  we only live one life.  We want to see it all, do it all, and have no regrets!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Drama at the orthodontist

How embarrasing!!  Yesterday was such a nice day.  I ignored my school work and took the little boys to the zoo.  It was a brilliantly sunny day and the animals were out and playing(heck, the lions were really playing if you know what I  mean!).  I took amazing pics of the boys, but alas, accidentally deleted them.
Then, came the every 3months check up for Dillon a the orthodontist.  I've described before his underbite and malocclusion.  He'll need intesive orthodontia at some point.  We got there at 4.  By 4:30 the doctor hadn't come to Dillon' chair.  He was getting really antsy and didn't want to play the supplied PSP anymore.  The assistant let him and Hudson play with toys and little equipment.  Dillon was getting really riled up!  I pulled him aside and told him, a bit harshly through gritted teeth, to act like a big boy and sit down for the orthodontist.  Not the most therapeutic response late in the evening after a full day of zoo fun.

Tears shot 5 feet in the air.....right when the doctor came to check Dillon.  NO amount of cajouling, bribing, negotiating, or threatening could make Dillon sit and open his mouth.  I picked him up to help him re-regulate his system(if you have a kid with Sensory Integration Disorder you understand).  At this emptying of the dental chair, Hudson took his cue.  He climbed in the chair.  A lady gave him a fake dental mirror and Hudson hammed it up.  SIX, no less, dental assistant women were standing around admiring and laughing.  Hudson put the mirror in his mouth, opened wide, and said "aaahhhhh".  The ladies died laughing and took out their cell phones to take pictures.  I was mortified.  In the mean-time, Dillon was offered chocolate by the orthodontist!  At the end, we played the adoption card.  Really, the doctor is an older man and he brought it up.  He leaned over, patted Dillon's back and said "I know you've adopted these boys, he probably had a bad experience with a doctor."  I nodded and smiled and said "Yes, he has a had a hard time!"

So, big deal.  I played the adoption card.  It was so embarassing to see the drama and circus with the boys. At least this way the office personnel or the doctor weren't made at us for wasting an hour of their time!!  Sue me.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

And more kids will wait

Friends, please pray for Ethiopia.  They've decided to slash the number of court proceedings to grant adoptions by 90%.  I cannot fathom how their officials could seriously be thinking about what is best for the children.  UNICEF estimates that more than 1 in 10 children in Ethiopia is orphaned.  Many many of their children were finding loving, permanent families.  This is so sad and breaks my heart.  Now those kids will sit is institutions....and families who would love to give them a home will wait for a loooong time.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

How was your weekend?

Hope yours was good.  Mine was fantastic!  I finished my speech for the ladies' conference and printed it at 2:25 on Friday afternoon.  Susie and I headed for Abilene at 3:45.  We had a great time of fellowship, worship, and learning.  My sisters Emily and Melody spoke that night on A Life of Perspective and A Life of Perseverance and were wonderful--poised, insightful, funny.  I only teared up one time ;) 

Saturday morning was my turn.  My stomach was in knots as I walked up to talk.  But, as soon as I began with my power point, I was completely comfortable.  I'm not the most gifted communicator, but my life experiences and God-given passion comes through--I hope.  The 3 words that God gave me to center my speech around(Living a Life of Purpose) were Aknowledge, Accept, and Activate.  Maybe I'll post the powerpoint someday.

Next was my youngest sister, Katy, who spoke on A Life of Passion.  Last was my mother.  Her topic was A Life of Pressing On.  Both of them were awesome and seemed like they do this all the time.  You know why women need to go to things like this?  We all need to be fed and hear different perspectives sometimes.  Being a woman, wife, mom, working woman, etc is so draining at times--you serve and give of yourselves.  We need to let other lead us to the throne of Grace and let God minister to us with His Word.

We wrapped up early and Susie and I treated ourselves to Dairy Queen ice cream for the long drive home.

Sunday--PERFECT!  Sunshine, church was absolutely awesome, naps, playing basketball and jumprope with Dillon(did have some close calls with the old bladder during the jumprope!).  Tonight was a concert with Jeff Johnson(awesome worship leader) to benefit Shoes for Orphan Souls.  He was performing at a church near here.   I'm launching an orphan ministry at our church and the first event is a Shoes for Orphan Souls(ministry of Buckner Int) drive during April so I wanted to see how another church did the event.

The awesome thing is that Dillon and I stopped by Dollar General to get a new pair of athletic shoes for the drive.  Well, they are clearing out for summer and all blue-dot tagged shoes were 3 bucks!!!!  I bought 8 pair.  Mike is going to go back this week and buy some more.  We sure enjoyed imagining sweet little ones running around orphanages all over the world in those shoes.

You better believe I busted out my shirt that says 147 Million Orphans on it.  You don't get too many opportunities to wear shirts like that.  Not so sure the crowd "got it" but maybe it sparked a thought in someone's head and heart.
You can order the shirt HERE and help feed children in Africa.  Speaking of Africa---this time next week Mike will be flying to S. Africa--LUCKY!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I just finished my assignments for this week :))
Truly, it kicked my butt for the past 5 days.  I'm pretty sure I gained several pounds.  It is really hard to return to academia when you've been out for 15 years.  It is all online and I am creeping along at a snail's pace. Want to know my secret?  Nutella!  I'm addicted to it.  Chocolatey-hazelnut spread on graham crackers.  I've eaten about 2 full jars in the past 5 days--always with a little milk.  Straight to the thighs baby.  Oh yeah, I've also got the most supportive husband and friends. 

Tomorrow the ladies' conference begins.  I'll be stressing about my speech and praying for the Holy Spirit to speak through me.

Mike is gearing up for his South Africa trip the week after next.  He is also getting to have a 24 hour layover in Amsterdam.  They will go see Corrie Ten Boom's home(wrote The Hiding Place).  I'm so jealous.  That is one of my favorite books.  If we ever adopt another daughter, Corrie is one of our girl names.

We are seeking the Lord's wisdom to help us determine what to do with our tax refund.  I'd love to go with our friends to Panama on a medical missions trip, but alas, both of our vehicles are OLD!  I'm thinking it is time to buckle down and save a good bit.