May your holidays be filled with the HOPE of Jesus, and the JOY of God's love!
From our family to yours,
Monday, December 20, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Thursday, December 09, 2010
I'm in a bloggy blah mood...but I think it's because I don't want to talk about deep topics. I feel kind of shallow right now. I wonder if God is going to do a work in me soon? Here am I, Lord send ME!
So in the mean time, I stole this from Jaime at Fearfully.Wonderfully.
I totally stole this from Whitney at The Glamorous Life of a Housewife
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Under the tree, I like wrapping paper. There is something about tearing open a gift that a gift bag just doesn't deliver. I have memories of sitting in a wrapping paper flood. Honestly, I would like the smell of wrapping paper to come as a candle scent. Don't judge! Ha!
2. Real tree or Artificial? Growing up, it was artificial all the way! And my mom was a bit of a matchy girl. The tree was either all shades of blue, red, green, etc, depending on her mood. I loved it. I love personalized ornament trees too, so we do both in our house now! And yes, all on an artificial tree. But I want a real one next year. When we first got married, we got the plantable kind. They were SO heavy, but such good memories!
3. When do you put up the tree? Usually the night of Thanksgiving. This year? The week BEFORE Thanksgiving! I love it!
4. When do you take the tree down? I have taken it down Christmas night, or at the latest the next day. Once Christmas is done, it's done.
5. Do you like eggnog? Yepper!
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Cabbage Patch Kids and Pound Puppies. (That was Jaime's answer and those were favorites...but my most favorite? My pink and gray ten speed bike. Oh yeah, I was cool!
7. Hardest person to buy for? My mom and dad.
8. Easiest person to buy for? My kiddos (all THREE this year!!!)
9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? You can email them and it's ok to do so? I must investigate this! I want to do that!
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Hmmm..Gold shoes. Thanks big sister, Renee! (wait, that was for my birthday, but it still counts!)
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? A Christmas Story, and Charlie Brown's Christmas
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Black Friday...or randomly before.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
No. Ok, um, Yes. Go Green! (heheh)
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Cookies!
16. Lights on the tree (colored or clear)? White lights! But if we get a real tree next year, I think I'll throw caution to the wind and go with colored lights!
17. Favorite Christmas song? There isn't one I don't like. Seriously.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Travel to my parents and his family's Christmas.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen. And of course, Rudolph.
20. Angel, star or ribbon on top of tree? Bear angel.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Eve at the in-laws. Our family Christmas morning. My parent's house next, then his family's. Lots of gifts. Complete with a birthday cake for Jesus!
22. Favorite children's Christmas song? I Want A Hippopotomus For Christmas
23. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? The overemphasis on gifts. I'm all about the shopping, but the stress can be daunting.
24. Favorite ornament theme or color? Like I said above, we usually do colors that match our living room (red/black). But now that the girls make ornaments at school or church, I treasure those.
25. Turkey or ham on Christmas day? Why alienate one? Both, I say!
26. What do you want for Christmas this year? It sounds selfish. I only asked for diamond earrings. But by diamond, I told Tony, the $9.99 kind at Walmart. heheh.
27. Does anyone in your family dress up as Santa? My dad wears a Santa hat when he passes our gifts. So sweet!
28. Age you discovered who Santa was? Don't even TELL me Santa isn't real?!?!?
29. Eggnog, hot chocolate, or apple cider? Eggnog latte from Sta*bucks
30. Traditional colors (red and green) or other colors? For Christmas? Red and green!
31. Do you have any Christmas decorations on your roof? Yep...lights are strung!
32. How does Santa get into your house? Chimney or magic key? Magic key!
33. Do you prefer gifts or gift cards? It depends on who it's from! :)
34. Favorite children's Christmas Cartoon? Charlie Brown Christmas!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I'm not sure when I'll have time to do another post this week, because I'll be busy living life with my blessings! Woot woot! Which is just one of the many things I 'm thankful for!
So, I thought I'd do a variation on the Memorial Box Monday posts that Linny does over at A Place Called Simplicity.
She asks us to think about a time God has been faithful, or a time where His voice has been clear. Then, choose a memento to represent that time and display it where you will remember. This allows us to recall the goodness of God when times might not look so good.
Well, God has come through in a big way lately. He not only blessed our family with Stinker, He included a good relationship with her siblings. We are able to text, call, and see them just about whenever we want to or they want to! He has somehow created a relationship between us all that does not include jealousy. We are constantly aware that S's siblings could be jealous that she is with us, while they are not. But they aren't. They have confirmed in many ways that S needs to be with us, and they with their cousin in order for everyone to heal. They have said to us directly, that our home is the best place for S. How could two children, who have endured just as much as S, extend such caring and grace? Only God. Only God.
Our families both welcome S's siblings into the family as well. They ask about, pray for, and care about those kids just as much as us. And her siblings love our family as well. Matter-of-fact, S's sister recently asked for a get together, so we could all get together and eat and enjoy each other's company. How could two families, so vastly different in backgrounds and history, be so accepting and open to one another? Only God. Only God.
God was also wonderful to my family, by blessing my mom with a wonderful surgeon who did her hip replacement. She was so hesitant to have surgery again. So worried about the outcome. Well, worried until she handed it over to God. Then, in the holding tank (that's what I call it), right before she went in for surgery, we got to see her. The peace that was in that curtained room was breathtaking. The peace on her face. The calmness in her voice. Only God. Only God.
And my mom is healing! She is stretching, and working out. She is doing the therapy they are telling her to. My dad is such a good support for her. He sees the future for them. And it looks so much brighter than it did mere months ago. Man performed the surgery. Man helps with therapy. But the ultimate Physician? Only God. Only God.
Finally, as weird as it sounds, I'm so thankful that Abby started sobbing when I was leaving this morning. I think other mothers do the same thing, but I often question my parenting. Am I good enough? Did I respond correctly? Why did I yell? Was I tender enough? Did I just act like a child, just like them, just then? Will they need therapy as an adult? Those are some of the questions I ask myself. (and God) Make no mistake, we are trying to raise our girls, all three, to be independent and confident in who they are. This usually means that when I leave in the mornings (I leave first) they give me kisses and tell me they love me, and run off to play or finish getting ready. I'm going to be transparent here. Sometimes, I get sad. I hate that I have to leave them in the first place. Then, I hate that they so easily let me go! So when Abby started crying this morning, I was, in a weird broken-hearted-yet-joyful sort of way, happy. She wanted her Mama to stay with her. She didn't want me to leave. Oh, my heart! I have since called and checked on her at my sister's house, and she's fine. Just needed some more Mama squeezes this morning. And I'm so glad to do it! Just over three years ago, Tony and I were longing for a child. We ended up with gorgeous twins! (and now S too!) Only God! Only God!
There is much more I could write, but I want to know something. What is your "Only God!" story?
What are you thankful for?
Happy Turkey Day! Thank you, GOD!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
On the eve eve of our family birthday, I'm feeling sort of reflective. But oddly enough, it's a swirl of emotions about our first babies in China, and our newest chickie here.
We prayed and prayed about attachment and bonding before we ever left for China. We wanted our girls to be loved so much that they'd transfer that bonding to us. Well, having twins, we got a little of both types of reactions. I often joke that Abby had the reaction of, "Oh! YOU'RE Mama and Baba! Where have you been all my life?" Seriously. One Cheer*io and she was hooked on us. (And we were hooked on her too.)
Laney? Well, she didn't like us. It took her a while to warm up to us. And by a while, I mean...like 20 bags of Cheer*ios later. Heh. Even today, we're working on bonding. But I'm thankful we have come so far.
Then, there's S. I feel like we're somewhere in the middle. She can be silly and affectionate (as in, sit on me if I'm layinug on the floor...NO personal space.) Or, she can be distant and stand-offish. Like, tonight, I kind of snapped at her during homework. After she got out of the shower, I went in to apologize. I told her I wanted to give her a hug. She was like, "No. It's fine. I don't want a hug anyone." I won't lie, my feelings were hurt. She hugs my mom, and others!
But I have to step back and remember:
A. She's 11.
B. She's emotional.
C. I had just snapped at her.
D. We're still settling into our new normal.
E. It's totally uncool to hug.
F. Any other thoughts?
So other tween moms...tell me everything is normal. Yes, I'm the QUEEN of OVERANALYZING! So it's ok if you tell me that too! Hehehe.
Ok, last request...since our Family Birthday is coming up, do you have any good ideas for how we can celebrate? We can't until Saturday because Tony has a meeting, but we want to do something fun! Three years ago we became a family! Any ideas?
Saturday, November 13, 2010
1. My mom's surgery went smashingly well! She has a new hip and has been doing therapy beautfiully! Now if she'll just EAT to keep her energy up! Thank you for praying! God is good!
2. We're all pathetic. How in the world did NONE of us see on my sidebar that you can follow my Tweets. But, um, upon further inspection, my last tweet was some 180 days ago?!?!?!?! Yikes, time to take that off the blog.
That's it. It's 2:30 AM and I couldn't sleep. Random, I know. But that's how I roll.
(Yes, I'm a little slap happy)
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Ok, if anyone was still checking back to see if we got guardianship,WE DID! Matter-of-fact, we received the paperwork today that makes it 100% official! WOOT WOOT!
Our stinker is no longer a "foster child" but a child of ours! (Well, not adopted, but loved just the same.)!
I know it seems odd that I chose THAT to be our first picture of her posted on here, but that picture, friends, speaks volumes. S (she doesn't want me to post her real name yet--she prefers Stinker. ODD GIRL) is such a fun girl. She is always up for an adventure and loves to laugh. She is so tender with the girls. She cheers them on when their afraid, does gymnastics with them to make them strong, prays with them, tickles them, encourages them, and just plain loves them. And, oh, that feeling is mutual. We're so thankful to have her as a part of our family!!!!
Sorry for delaying that good news. The hearing was Friday, followed by a HORRIBLE virus hitting our house Saturday. Satan did NOT like what happened on Friday, for sure! So, I'm finally among the living tonight. Bottom line, THANK YOU FOR THE PRAYERS!
On one last VERY important note...my mom is having hip surgery tomorrow. Total hip replacement, actually. PLEASE pray with me for accurate surgery, my mom's safety throughout, swift healing, and strength for my dad and family. You guys are the best at praying, THANK YOU for loving us, through this blog.
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Isaiah 43:2 (NLT) "When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you."
That was the scripture on my daily devotional today. I thought it was a good reminder. I posted it in case any of my two readers needed to hear His promise today.
Also, tomorrow is a big day for us. At 3:45 we will going to a guardianship hearing for S. We will find out tomorrow if we can gain guardianship of her. We KNOW what our hearts say. We pray it aligns with the judge's heart. But, ultimately, God's will be done.
STAND IN PRAYER WITH US, PLEASE!
Monday, November 01, 2010
Oh, my heart. You have to go HERE and follow the link for the Angel Tree sponsorships. Or go directly HERE and scroll down to stare into the most beautiful eyes of some of the most gorgeous children. Each of these children need sponsorships to help their family find them. You will help lower the costs to bring them home, and away from the tragedy of certain death for them!
WHAT could be more important than saving the life of a child?
You don't even have the exccuse of..."Oh, if my husband would agree, we would adopt." Or, "If we had the money to, we would adopt." Well, YOU might not be the one who adopts one of these cuties, but you might help another family take that leap because the costs are lower! Or who knows, God might knock on your heart by having one of their faces leap off the page at you.
Go ahead and look. Don't be afraid. Sponsor one, or sponsor all. Help save their lives!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
The past few days, all of my girls (Abby, Laney, and S) have been walking around singing, humming, and dancing to the song, "He is Mighty to Save".
...Savior!...He can move the mountains...He is mighty to save...He is mighty to save!
...Forever. Author of Salvation...Our God is mighty to save...He is mighty to save!
Those might not be the exact right words, but that's what we've been hearing! What's cool is that S has had very little church experience. She basically knows nothing about the Bible and does not have a personal relationship with Christ. But GOD! He is working in her little heart. She sings praises to Him all day. She BEGS to go to church for youth group and the weekend services (during which she sits with us). She is learning about the purpose and power of prayer. And sweetly enough, our daughters have been a huge part in learning about God. They teach her so much! Thank you, Jesus!
Well, like I said, all the girls have been singing it. I heard a bit of Laney's rendition last night. Her's went something like this:
...Savior, He can move the mountains! He can move the cars! He can move the heavy stuff! He is mighty to save!!!
Bwhahaha. I thought that was so funny! But, Sister, He CAN move the heavy stuff! We just have to let Him!
Also, if we come to mind tomorrow...please pray for us. We have a court hearing. S will be staying with us, YAY GOD! but some other changes may occur within her family. Thanks for praying.
Monday, October 11, 2010
No pics to accompany, but had to share two sweet moments that happened over the past week.
A couple of weekends ago, S had a friend stay over (we talked about it in an earlier post). Well, S had a blister on her lip, so S, her friend, and Tony went to the pharmacy to get some lip balm for it. While they were there, they bought me a rose. It was entirely their idea, I guess. But they came home with a long- stemmed red rose for me. They said they got it because I was so sweet and nice. :) I looked for the sarcasm and found none. Ha! (See how much I trust two sixth grade girls?) They were honestly trying to be nice! That rose sits in a C*ke glass on my counter. Every time I look at it I smile. And I thank God that He chose us to have S for this season of our lives.
And then yesterday, Tony and Abby ran to the grocery (after he let me sleep in until 11!!! Yes, be jealous!) Well, S and Laney were out back playing and our neighbor's grandchildren were out there. Our kitchen window was open so I could hear and see them. S walked up beside Laney, and I heard her proclaim loudly, "THIS IS MY SISTER!" and point directly at S. Oh, my heart! S immediately ran back in giggling to tell me. I could tell she wasn't sure how to process the emotions that went with Laney's declaration, but was pleased, nonetheless. We knew she loved it when she repeatedly told the story to Tony's mom and dad and mine later that evening. She also wanted to tell a co-teacher I work with this morning. Sweet Laney. Sweet S.
Oh, God! Prepare our hearts now, if she is to only be with us a short while. However, if she is ours for a loooong season, we will be overjoyed! If our home is the safest place for her to be, Lord, bless us with this child! Your will be done!
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
So I was sitting on the floor at home talking to the family. We were just being lazy and hanging out.
Abby was getting sleepy and ready for bed. Abby looked over at me and said, "Mama, sit on the couch please." When I asked why, she said, "I want to love on you."
We hugged, snuggled, and LOVED on each other!
Thank you, Jesus!
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
The girls (including S) and I attended the Duck Tail Run in Gas City with Rob and Ally and my parents. It is quite an awesome car show. Rett stayed home and went shopping with her sisters. Regardless, I just had to share some sights from the show...
Monday, September 27, 2010
Yes, I know how to spell it, but I'm in awe...this weekend was UH-MAZING!
Our little eleven year old S is settling in and becoming one of us. She is getting into a routine and melting our hearts daily. I figure she's truly settling in because I sigh, grin, giggle, sing with, pray for, hug, get firm with, and roll my eyes at her at least once daily. Life couldn't be any sweeter.
S had a friend spend the night Friday night and it was really big fun. I told Tony before we brought Abby and Laney home that I couldn't wait until the girls' first slumber party. Their first sleepovers. I had plans...big plans of what we would do. I have such fond memories of having friends over and my mom making the time so special. Or, heading to one of my friend's houses full of excitement. I wanted to recreate that for Abby and Laney...and now, S. And I think we did. We sang in the kitchen (into whisks of course), and they taught me dance moves. They baked brownies and oogled over a neighbor boy who S is sure she's in love with now. :) They stayed up until 4:00 am (we were snoring they informed us) and got up early. They let me sleep in and fed Laney (Abby went with her Baba to pick up some tires.) I mean, could it get any better? We geocached all day, which all the girls love, and just had a fantastic day. We topped it off with church that evening (which S's friend came too!) Unbelievable. It definitely filled my heart up with joy. Now, the next time though, my neice Kristy is coming over and we'll party like it's 1999! hahah!
I wish I could share pictures...but alas, I cannot. Just know there were lots of smiling girls, both young and old. They weren't too cool to hang with us, OR with Abby and Laney. We just all had fun together!
I am still a roller coaster of emotions, because, simply put-fostering is hard. There are meetings, counselors, appointments, dos and don'ts a mile long. But would I trade this time with S and her family? Nope. Not in a million.
I'm going to kind of switch gears here. All the fun we had this weekend made me think about those who cannot or will not have that opportunity. WHICH, led me to thinking about my friend, Adeye's, blog. She has such a heart for the orphan. And the least of the least are her passion. She is sharing information about a little girl who is languishing in a crib on the other side of the world who needs rescued. She's raising Yulia's ransom and sharing about her in hopes that her family will come forward. The adoption is NEARLY paid for! PRAISE GOD! But can you help? Read her blog and pray about what you can do. Is Yulia yours? If so, email Adeye IMMEDIATELY! Yulia needs saved! If she's not, can you spare a couple of dollars to help her family-yet-to-be found bring her home? Hop over and read her latest three posts. You'll be changed. I promise.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Just because I need a cute kid fix, I thought I'd post pictures of the girls. My MIL took these when they were at her house recently. I uploaded them to Picnik.com and played with the features. I settled on HDR-ish because I like the cartoon quality with the silly faces.
Ok, ok, ON TO THE CUTENESS!
Monday, September 20, 2010
Ok ok....for anyone who was actually wondering what I was talking about....
We have our first official "foster" daughter! YAY!
This is a big deal because this is the same child that was my student last year that started coming home with us once a week. She and her siblings (who are still at home with dad) spent a lot of time with us at the end of last year and over the summer. Unfortunately, we don't have the legal space for all of them. They're not in any danger per se (so don't email me) it was just a yucky situation where the youngest kiddo needed out. We'll call her S from now on. She's S because she's a STINKER! hahah. Not really. She's perfect. A little ornery, very pretty, funny, and smart, and just a great kid! She makes her bed, asks permission, AND wanted to learn how to do laundry last night! I know it won't last, but let this girl dream, ok?
THANK you so much for praying. We can now help S get back on track and be as successful as she deserves!
I'll keep you posted!
Friday, September 17, 2010
Psalm 59:16 (NIV) "But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble."
This is the scripture from my daily devotional. God knew JUST what I needed. He loves me, he's strong, and my fortress.
But what I needed to hear more was that He is my refuge. And today, I needed to remember that.
Thanks for praying friends!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Thank you for those of you who prayed for us today. I still can't reveal much but I can give you some of the ingredients in today's recipe.
1 dash of courtroom
Several sprinkles of tears
A pinch of fear
Mixed thoroughly with prayer.
Bake for two more days. See end result Friday late afternoon. Could be warm, toasty, with the aroma of love. OR, could be burnt, deflated, and moldy.
I'll update you as I can. Please continue to storm Heaven!!!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Yeah, God amazes me.
I am not going to say much...but we would LOVE your prayers tomorrow.
No, we're not adopting. But, it involves a kiddo.
No, it's not one of our kiddos. But, it's a kiddo we care a lot about.
So pray God's will be done tomorrow. Pray that Tony and I are ok with whatever God intends to happen.
Tomorrow could be really great. Really really great. Or..."Definitely not so great" to quote the girls.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Ok, there are some funnies I have to document so I don't forget them...and so they will have proper reasons to be mad at me when they're older!
Abby: She is one big snuggle bug. She's funny, clumsy, forgiving, caring, flexible, and just flat adorable. She's been showing a bit more of her opinions lately, which for now, I want to enourage. Usually, Laney just bowls right over her and leads the activity, story, or play time. But now, she's being a bit more assertive.
Future job for her at this point? She'll be a Mama and a missionary. I can feel it in my bones.
The other night, they were both on the couch because I was sweeping. (Quit looking so surprised! I DO sweep occasionally!) Anyway, they were giggling and wrestling and just having fun. Suddenly, Abby jumps down and comes running to me. She said, "Mama! Laney's THROWIN' ATTITUDE over there!" Bhahahwwhwhah! Never heard that one before, sweetness!
Laney: This chicka has become more attached as of late. She snuggles in, and seeks us out more than ever before! I'm soaking up every second. I would describe her as the dominate, loud, bossy, creative, artistic, beautiful child. Both girls are capable of all of these adjectives, but this is what we're seeing shine through most right now.
Future job for her at this point? CEO of her own fashion company.
We were en route to their gymnastics class the other night, and as I was getting off at the exit, we went over some rumble strips. The girls have named my car Ruby because she's red, and so Laney pipes up and says, "Ruby tooted! It's because she has a lot of GAS!" Bwhahahahaah! Clever girl!
No, she doesn't always talk about tooting, but when she did once in Ruby this week, she said, "I toot loud, but not as loud as BABA's!" I thought I would die!
Also, both girls have taken to saying, "That's definitely not great!" They say this if they mess up, or something is a mess, etc.
Thank you, Jesus for blessing us with laughter. It is a perfect salve for my soul.
I'll leave you with one funny school comment I had. We were talking about the author Roald Dahl. He wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, among other great books. I was showing some students a website on him when all of a sudden a child said above the others, "I thought he was dead!" Another student immedicately replied, "No, he's not dead, he's DUTCH!" ? Huh? I was so confused and we all laughed and laughed and laughed!
Ok, have a good weekend! Go laugh yourself silly!
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Going to admit something here...the girls wouldn't settle down for bed last night, so we separated them and brought Abby to bed with us. Well, after chatting with Abby for a few, I felt guilty that Laney was all alone in her bed, wide awake. So I yelled for her to bring her blanket and come sleep with us too. So yes, two adults, two four year olds, and two dogs were all in our room last night. All humans were in our queen sized bed and one dog is on the floor while the other is in his crate. And yes. This happens more often than not. Go ahead and criticize. I mean, my neck and back yowl in the morning from all of the funky positions I have to sleep in, but it is
sometimes so worth it.
So anyway, we had just settled in and everyone was calming down. Next thing you know, Abby says, "Mama, I love you...(insert dramatic pause) Chicken Lips." I was just starting to get all misty, with warm Mama feelings when that Chicken Lips part came out. I thought I was going to roll off the bed from laughing.
Bwhahahahahahaah I was like, ok, sure. "I love you too, Chicken Legs!" Which brought about hysterical giggles from everyone but Baba and the dogs. They were all actually TRYING to sleep! BAH!
So tonight, after you say your prayers, night time routine says, and give kisses. Don't forget to tell the ones you love, "I LOVE YOU, CHICKEN LIPS!" It's sure to bring a smile and sweet dreams!
Monday, August 30, 2010
We did it once again, we've modified the girls' play structure to keep it interesting. This time we removed the rope ladder and enclosed the back. We added a door (which they love), enclosed the other side, added two shelves (they pretend like they're running a drive up window) and even added two tap lights. They love it. All for about $12.00 (and the priceless memories with them telling me how they wanted it built). Dad helped Sunday (Thanks Dad!) and we wrapped it up tonight (with the exception of paint/wood stain).
Thanks for visiting!
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Yes, we're (uh, Rett) way behind on blogging. We'll get you caught up soon.
Since I have a few spare moments (and just finished uploading pictures to our computer), I will post a few pictures, hopefully a few of you are still checking in from time to time. Enjoy - Tony.
Girls hanging out in the back of a rat rod at an awesome Saturday night downtown car show in a nearby community...
No caption needed....
Have a good day.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
I lied to you. I'm sorry. I haven't been back with Disney pics, or updates of any kind. The summer ended, school started, and life took a turn. A couple from our home group/bible study group, and good friends of ours, lost their seven month old son. He was having heart surgery when a technician made a life ending mistake. To say I am grieving is an understatement. Sweet Tressel, aka Mr. T, is now in the arms of Jesus smiling his big grin down on us. He's whole. He's complete. And we're left here. Sarah posted more about it on her blog. I just couldn't bring myself to. Sweet boy.
However, Tressel's death has changed many people. More are praying. More are returning to church. And more are seeking Jesus. His death was not in vain.
And that cutie, Tressel, and his wonderful scrapbooking mommy, Emilie, remind me to cherish each moment. Not only to cherish it, but to document it. I have to. For my daughters. For my family. For me. Emilie is a gifted scrapbooker and has Tressels short seven months marked in pictures and musings. I owe my girls that...so I'm back. To blog. To document. In honor of Tressel.
Back to the title of my post. Three Years Ago....today, we saw pictures of our daughters for the very first time. Tony got the call while driving home from a meeting out of town. You can read about the whole event HERE.
WOAH. What a day that was!
These are some of the pics we first saw...
Sweet and sassy girls they are! Last night, Laney woke up crying and said she had a bad dream but couldn't recall it and couldn't seem to settle down. I had her in our bed and settled down next to her. She drifted back to sleep rather quickly and her soft snores began. As I looked at her sleeping face and listen to the breath of life, I thanked God that I was the one who got to see peace across her face after an unhappy dream.
Round two was Abby. She started whimpering and crying. She had a bad dream too, just minutes after Laney's. Weird since she had NO idea that Laney had a bad dream. I went in to calm her down. She wouldn't get back under the covers and relax, so she too, headed to our bed. As she settled, I just snuggled in next to her. I rested my nose on her arm and felt the warmth and smelled her sweet scent. I thanked God he chose US to be the ones to comfort them in the night.
It might sound cheesy to some of you...but Tressel reminded me to reflect on my girls. Reflect on the life God blessed me with. Reflect on His goodness. So I am.
I hope to take pictures of the girls holding their referral pictures tonight so you can see the differences now. Three years of Jesus, love, nutrition, family, laughter, hugs, whispers of affirmation, stories, and dreams have made them into beautiful children.
Thank you, God!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
I'll just jump right in...we had to get a new computer because our laptop was WAY outdated and wasn't working at all. After getting all pumped to get it, the stupid keys wouldn't work. About every fifth letter wouldn't show up. Talk about frustration!
Sooooo, we had to take it back yesterday. They gave us a whole new computer. I'm so glad we hadn't loaded all our pictures, etc on it! BUT, that explains why I haven't posted pictures from Disney yet. I don't want to upload them here either, until we know this one will work.
Please just bear with me! I'll try not to be MIA for long!!
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Woah, I thought I'd come back to the sound of crickets! You're still with me family!!! I'll be on more often, I promise!!!
It sounds like the "Nearly a Family of Seven" was the popular choice so I wrote a post about that. Then, I sent it to Tony who, like usual, thought about it and thought maybe we should protect the kiddos privacy a little better. I mean, My post was cryptic, but not so cryptic I could just put it out here for the world to read.
I DID, however, email some of you the post I wrote. Those of you who didn't get an email from me, but left a comment you wanted to know what was going on...well...I couldn't find your email easily.
Email me at tonyandrett at aol dot com and let me know you want the story, and I'll send it your way.
Sorry to disappoint...but their privacy comes first. I totally forgot how many people in our local community reads this blog! And a few of my students! Yikes! Good thinking, Tony.
So it looks like on to Disney pictures later this week! :)
Love you all! Thanks for being so supportive!!!!
Monday, July 05, 2010
WOW. We pretty much dropped off the face of the planet. But not without good reason. Below is a list of what has been going on. Here is where you come in. Which do you want to hear about first?
- School is out for the summer
- Safety Town
- Vacation--Disney, Daytona
- Computer Troubles
- New car
- Nearly a family of seven
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Wow. I have such sweet friends. I already knew I did, but I got a FB message asking if everything was ok since I hadn't blogged. So sweet.
Yes, we're all alive and kicking. We're working on our relationships with God, finishing up school, trading cars, gearing up for our Disney our vacation, losing a cell phone, and, well, other things. Things I can't write about yet. Things that will impact our family. Things that could be so stinkin' good. But things I can't share about yet. (I know, I know, you hate me.)
One thing I CAN share is that God so abundantly spoils me. Last night, in a moment of desperation, I cried out to Him. I begged him to reveal His plan. To show us EXACTLY the path He wants for us. We're idiots, we need it in black and white. I often joke that I wish He'd just send me an email or text.
Well, email was His communication tool today. This morning, while at school, I got an email that made me sit right up and pay attention. This email includes some of that secret info, but lest you be confused, it was the answer I needed. Because of what will happen as a result of this email, our path has been perfectly laid out.
Then, just because I am thick in the head, I read a blog post that cemented what He was saying. Yes, friends, God uses blogs to speak to us.
God didn't have to answer me. He didn't have to make His answer so abundantly clear and answer so abundantly fast. But God is good like that. Every single time I have been at the end of my rope...in tears...in anguish...yelling for Abba, my Father, to answer...He does. Not one minute sooner, but right when I need it most. Kairos...His QUALITY of time. Not quantity. I don't deserve His love.
Sorry for being so cryptic. Just know, we are at the height of all the chaos that will be this summer. Pray for us if we come to mind. Pray we're good stewards of what He's blessing us with. Pray for guidance and direction. And pray that we are diligent to thank Him for His blessings.
By the way...the cutie with the short hair is ABBY! She wanted it cut, so we did it. And she looks ADORABLE. Everyone says they can tell them apart now! It's too bad I'm at school and don't have a forward facing picture to show you. I'm sorry!
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Any guess as to which wonderful daughter of mine decided to get her hair cut? She was tired of it getting in her face. She wanted it short like Mama's, but not too short like Baba's.
Which one went from this...
(This is Jill...our fantastic beautician.)
So, which one has made it LOADS easier on the world to be able to tell them apart?
Abby or Laney?
Friday, May 07, 2010
Yes, we've been MIA.
Yucky, emotional week last week.
Strep this week.
So, I'm once again, trying to post something fun.
Sarah's giveaway blog has some awesome prizes right now! The most recent is an ADORABLE fairy or gnome door. Can they use the same door? As a child, my nieces and I would have loved having one of these attached to our house or tree outside. OH the creative stories we would have made up!
So, go ahead and check out her giveaway. Check out the Etsy shop. Just DO NOT ENTER her giveaway. heheh, I want to win!
Thursday, April 29, 2010
It has been a week...one I choose not to relive.
So, with that being said, I wanted to blog about something fun!
Sarah is doing a GREAT giveaway on her blog right now! They're PoppyDip dresses!
Renee, Nikki, and Jennifer...you're SO going to want one for the girls!!!
Check it out!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
SHOOOOO....life is nuts right now!
We have a homestudy visit scheduled for Monday to renew our foster care license! We have been cleaning like mad every day for a week! I actually emailed our social worker and asked, "Do you have to actually SEE the laundry room? It's a wreck!" She wrote back and said she did need to see it, but not to meticulously clean. So I take that as a green light to leave some clothes in the hamper, and some on the floor, if necessary. I'm just saying.
I'm shocked at how nervous I am! This is our, um, third homestudy visit. (One for the China program, one for our initial foster care license, and now this one.) Why am I so freaked?
About a million moons ago, I mentioned that one of my students would be coming home with me. Well, she has been riding home with me on Tuesday nights for over a month now. She has also gone with my family to the children's museum in Indy. AND, she has spent the night with us a couple of times on the weekend. So how is it going, you ask? It's wonderful!!!! We are really enjoying getting to know her on a different level. The girls adore her. And she is very respectful and caring in our home!
Well, last night, the honeymoon was over and she tested me a bit. But, honestly, I was so glad she did. She now trusts us enough to let her guard down. She flat out told me she did some things just to see how I would react, or what I would say. I think that's healthy progress! I'm actually very happy about it. It wore me out, but psychologically, it was such a good step.
Where is this going, you ask? I have no idea. But what I do know is that Tony and I adore her. Our girls adore her. She has met everyone in both sides of our family and everyone sees how well we all mesh. It is a great situation. We pray steadily for her and with her. (She even asked her sister to pray before bed the other night! Yippee!!) And every time I think about what the future might hold for she, and her siblings as well, I hear God clearly whisper, "Just be in her corner for now. She needs you in her corner." So for now, that's what we're doing. And we're happy to do it. Does it give us gray hair? You bet. Would I trade it? No way.
I'm so glad that once again, when God called us to do something...to step out in faith...we said yes. Obedience is never easy, whether your two or 102. But, it is oh so worth it to please God. And we're being stretched, challenged, and blessed all because of it!
What has God called YOU to lately? Have you said YES?
6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Friday, April 16, 2010
I've explained many times before on this blog how I am the baby of my family. I am the youngest, and by default, the most spoiled.
My sisters and brother often complained I got more and got to do more. My nieces and nephews would whine because I would tattle on them when we were all little (we're very close in age) and they would always get in trouble. Yeah, it wasn't pretty, but that is the truth.
Well, last night I was downstairs folding towels. As I began folding, I was chatting with God. And I got to thinking. (DO NOT thrash me here...I was young and dumb) When I still lived at home with my parents, I remember I would use two towels per shower. I would use one for my hair, and one for my body. I would put those in the hamper afterward, and use two new ones for the next shower. *GASP* It was ridiculous! Once I started doing my own laundry, that certainly stopped!
Anyhow, that further cemented into my mind that I really was spoiled. My mom and dad would just do the laundry and never say anything to this princess. And I never did one single load of laundry. How insensitive and ridiculous was I? That was just one of the many ways my parents spoiled me. (Thank you mom and dad, I love you!)
And then I got to thinking about how my Heavenly Father spoils me too. I can be such a BRAT to Him. I can be selfish and demand answers to my prayer. I can cry out at the injustices of the world and beat my fists on His chest. I can fill my schedule with junk, yet never schedule time alone with Him. And through it all, He loves me. He unconditionally loves me. I did nothing to deserve it. He still heaps blessings upon blessings on me. He still listens to my pleas and holds me when I cry. He carries me when I am weak, and celebrates victories alongside me.
Thank you, God, for spoiling me. For loving me through all my faults. I love you!
Am I the only spoiled brat in the house?
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Want a peek into my mind? Here was my train of thought today...
I was driving to school this morning, enjoying the gorgeous day. As I was driving, I was wondering if I brought lotion since I ran out of time to put it on this morning. This led me to think about how dry my skin gets. THEN, my train of thought went to, "You know, I won't ever have a biological child. He or she will never have to deal with the possibility of getting my trait of super dry skin, among other horrible traits." It's weird how that infertility demon will appear out of no where.
Well, then (yes, bizarre jump here) but I got to thinking about historical times where women were judged by their fertility (yes, I know, they're STILL judged). And that led to me thinking about a simulation I did back when I worked AmeriCorps. We took part in a simulation set during times of slavery. We walked to the Levi Coffin house (huge abolitionist) and took on the roles of slaves. We were being bought and sold according to physical attributes.
I distinctly remember one slave owner (guy in costume who yelled a lot) looking at me and saying, "I want her. She's got good birthing hips. She'll give us lots of babies. More farm hands." I wasn't offended in the least because I was totally caught up in the role. It was super emotional and humbling.
Well, fast forward back to this morning. On my drive, I honestly got to thinking about what my life would be like if I couldn't have produced any babies for them. *shivers*
Regardless of what anyone says, I believe those who cannot or choose not to have biological children are still totally judged today. People look at me differently because my children are not biologically mine. People assume a lot of things. And the pain is real.
Childless couples often feel as though they haven't received a membership into the "Parents Club" and have to stand outside the circle and just watch. Families fall apart due to infertility and these issues. It's real, and it's ugly. (It's still not as ugly as being shunned by your tribe/family, beaten, or killed because of it--all of which happens worldwide.)
My conclusion? Infertility (or not being able to have biological children) just sucks. There's no way around it. It feels totally unfair to those who are affected by it. But I'm preaching to the choir to some of you.
After my hysto this past summer, I had to come to grips with the fact that I will never even have the option to give birth to a child. I grieved it in July, again in August, and September, and October...you get the idea. But it wasn't until several months later that I really had a breakdown about it all. I thought I had gone off the deep end. But, I needed to really truly grieve it, and I did. Am I over it? Today, right this second, I'm ok with it. But tomorrow, I might not be, who knows?
But I'm one of the lucky ones. God saw a bigger picture. My daughters. My life. Abby and Laney. He knew what I did not. He knows the end of my story, THANKFULLY!
I wouldn't take back any of the heartache, pain, prayers, and tears. If taking any of that back would change the course of my life, I wouldn't take them back. I am who I am supposed to be. Where I'm supposed to be. With my daughters and my husband. Living a life dedicated to God. Striving toward obedience. All thanks to some sperm and eggs being socially inept.
Which all leads me to thinking about how blessed I am that international adoption was an option for us. It soon, might not be an option for others.
I'm scared to death that recent stupid decisions made by an adoptive family (TN woman sending her son back to Russia with just a note) will affect the future of adoption. It will negatively impact the lives of orphans worldwide. That heartless move could be forever known as, "The child sent 'round the world" (play on the shot heard round the world). Governments worldwide tend to already be shifting as far as adoption goes. What message does this ridiculous action send them? All it takes is one bad apple...
So it's our turn to pray. Pray for government officials that are a part of the adoption arena. Pray their hearts are softened and that they don't lump all adoptive families together and associate them with this bad apple. Pray for orphans worldwide that may not ever know the love of a family. Pray for the childless couples that long to love a child and may not have that opportunity to because of this situation.
Pray first. Then follow the directions in the post below this one. It's important that you take action!
There you have it. Welcome to my train of thought. Pretty deep for a Wednesday morning.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
One disgusting move on an adoptive family's part could impact the future of adoption.
Click the following link to read and take action for orphans worldwide! Do not rely on someone else to do it! The face of adoption depends on us to TAKE ACTION!
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
10--the number of minutes until my lunch break is over.
2--the number of daughters I have and adore.
3--the number of days left until this week is over.
210--approximate number of orphans worldwide.
1--more artery surgery for my mom.
1--delicious Payday candybar I just ate.
2.5--years since we became a forever family.
41--days left of school.
2--weeks I will work at Safety Town this summer.
81--days until we leave for DisneyWorld! (Shhh, the girls do not know it yet!)
18--days until my nephew gets married!
1--Husband whom I love very much!
25--newly widowed women in the West Virginia Mine tragedy.
2--days until my sister has surgery on her shoulder.
2--the number of points Butler lost by. :(
3--the number of angels in the Ukraine that are getting to know their families.
765-the number of pounds I need to lose before said Disney trip. (Yeah, yeah, I ate a Payday, I know)
Monday, April 05, 2010
Ok, with spring break and Easter, I have been HORRIBLE about posting! However, Tony finally uploaded the billions of recent picutres we have and so, expect a ridiculously long post or posts to show up this week!
My comments have dwrindled to like two, and that's just pathetic! I need to get back at this!
The Lord is RISEN!
He is RISEN indeed!
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Did you see my header? Isn't it ADORABLE? I LOVE IT! My sister-in-love, Allyson, designed this in a matter of hours! She has some major talent! She and her hubby just got this program and she has already mastered it. Ally said she could make others to switch out. I just love it! It makes me smile, for sure!
My spring break is over :( but it will be a short week. My mom has surgery Tuesday (PLEASE PRAY!!!!!) and then we have Good Friday off. I'll be back to post more! I want to do a post about cooking with your kids, my mom's surgery, and the girls' new room! Lots to talk about! Stay tuned!
Have a great week!
LOVE my cute girls-turned-cartoon! Love it!
Monday, March 22, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Today, we had a FUN field trip to a local high school that has a hydroponics lab. They were growing GORGEOUS tomatoes and the biggest healthiest looking lettuce I have ever seen!
This is a sample of what the set up looks like. It is entirely run by high school students. They sell the produce to keep it up and running! It was awesome!
They also raise Tilapia through their animal science classes. They have these massive tanks of fish. Mr. Redden, the ag teacher, said they had nearly 3.000 fish. One of the tanks was an old cottage cheese/dairy tank...reused!
Finally, we went into a classroom and talked about all that we had seen. Being the ultra cool teacher he is, he brought out dried mealworms. Then, in Fear Factor style, he offered a mealworm to anyone who wanted one! The kids looked at me to see what I'd do. Well, like any good fifth grade teacher, I took one and popped it in my mouth! It was crunchy and disintegrated into dust. It was a bit spicy because they were seasoned like corn nuts. Hmmm, come to think of it, they tasted like corn nuts!
I know, random post, but it was such a cool trip! I'm looking forward to going back and buying some of that produce!
So...would you have tried the mealworm?
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Here I go with my numbered lists...
1. Thank you for the comments yesterday. I'm so thankful I don't walk alone in my struggle. I'm also so thankful I serve a forgiving God. I'm working on it.
2. Have I told you...lately...that I love you? Ok, bad song reference aside, I really do love you all. You have such open hearts. You're such good friends. I love that you'll listen/read and encourage/challenge me. LOVE YOU!
3. Note to self: get a second job to support Etsy habit. No, make that a second job to support Sarah habit who supports her Etsy habit.
4. One of my students came home and hung out with us last night. It was a great experience (for both parties, I think). She wants to come back and spend some time with us again! The girls loved her and she fit right in with us. She gagged when I showed her guacamole. Poor girl has never seen or heard of it. She about flipped. The girls dug right in and she literally gagged! I told her if she is going to hang with us, she'll have to try some new foods. She looked like that might be the deciding factor on coming back! Haha! Such a sweet girl who is naive in so many ways, and yet she has been exposed to far too much for a fifth grader.
5. Note to self: lose weight. I could barely button my pants today. Yikes. (Yes, I heard you, it COULD be the guac that is making me fatter!)
6. Tony is sick, poor guy. Allergies. They are directly from the devil!
7. The girls are learning about Jesus. They want to know when they get to go to Heaven. Laney told me she prayed and asked Jesus to come into her heart (hold the applause) but she didn't see Him go there, so it must not have worked. hahahah! So she's getting there, but not quite. She'll understand soon. They were able to tell us about the crown of thorns and Jesus carrying the cross. One more reason I'm so thankful they're going to a private christian school. (And yes, I'm a public school teacher saying that.)
8. I only have two more days until spring break. Can I get a woot woot!
9. We have homegroup tonight. So glad to learn about God with some of my bestest buddies.
10. I still have orphans on the brain. I'm praying for, asking for, begging for direction on how I can change the face of God's kingdom through orphan care. What is my role? Where does He want me? What should I be doing more of? Where does God see us in five, ten, twenty years in relation to orphans?
Ok, that's all I've got. Just had to spill my brain!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I'm a fake and a phony. I can recite scripture. I can encourage others with God's words. I can comfort others with God's promises. But when it comes to me...my life? All bets are off.
With my mom's recent illness, I have been challenged. She was so very sick. She was literally, at death's door. Many didn't realize that. I didn't want to acknowledge it, so I didn't share that fact. It was during this time that I would lean in and tell Mom that God had her in His lap, but when I'd lean back I would hear in my subconscious, "Really? Do you truly believe that?"
There were many times when I would sing praises to Him. I would be shaking with joy over her progress. But it seemed (and sometimes still does seem) that she will take a few steps forward and one step back. It was as if I'd barely be finished thanking God for His latest miracle in her, and she'd take a turn for the worse. Or my dad would get sick. I knew satan was at work. Taunting me. In my head, his lies sound a bit like how Yoda speaks.