My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 2 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Down and Dirty Dossier Style

I am having a hair ripping out kind of day today! I had a physical examination performed by my PCP over a month ago. They failed to fill out the one little line which stated what my vision is. So then I had to go have a separate vision exam. I thought that just a printed copy of the exam signed by the doc would be okay BUT I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER!!!

You got it! It needs to be notarized and once again I am at the complete mercy of the Optometrist to get this vital form completed. When I called the office his receptionist took a tone of voice with me that made my blood boil and let me know in no uncertain terms that this was quite unusual and would be up to the doctor's discretion whether or not he'd do this for us.

Oh yea!? Well I just spent, at my discretion, over $500.00 to have an eye exam and new glasses made in your store, I HOPE the darn doctor could spare a moment to write a letter and sign it FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE PEOPLE!!! I will even provide a mobile notary to come to his office for him.

UGH! I hate days like today! I hate jumping through these hoops and I hate the effect it has on my stomach (can you say ULCER!?)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

To Chew on

Go read this article.

This is what I'm chewing on today: Am I making full use of the scriptures daily as I ought to? Am I educated well enough about the WHOLE Bible to effectively glean information in my daily decision making and to feel like I am armed in the knowledge of truth enough to truly be authoritative (in prayer, in counsel and otherwise) in my life and the lives of others, enabling me to truly glorify God?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fingerprints, Got 'em.... AGAIN!

Yes. We did it. We made it downtown in time yesterday to have our fingerprint cards made. We then drove them all the way across town to Mesa and dropped them of with the Clerk of the Court. Just another step finished. I am so happy!

The SW contacted me via email yesterday to tell us we'd be scheduling our visits for Sept. She didn't peg down which weekends yet but at least we know we'll be done by the end of the month. YEAH!!

Since we were in the neighborhood we decided to make a stop in at Ikea. We needed a few rugs (since we are painting the concrete floors in the kids rooms) and I knew Ikea would be the cheapest place for them. We found two nice sized rugs for $50.00. You can't beat that! One is 4 x 6 and the other is approx 5 x 7.

I have a friend coming over who is very artistic and creative to help me figure out what decor to do for the baby's room. I want something cultural yet not too overboard, and something calming since I have read a lot about sensory overload for kids from orphanages. I am thinking of soothing colors. Like soft blue, brown and tan. I don't know how all those will fit together... that's what Julie is for! Anyway we're having a brainstorming session today.

We are still making the finishing touches on Rienne and Rory's room but as soon as it's finished I'll post a pic. Dustin and I are in panic mode now that we know we have only a few weeks to make the house presentable once more for the HS visit.

Why, I ask you, did we decide to remodel the kids' rooms at this point in our life? I guess we just aren't crazy busy enough, or quite exhausted enough.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

So Much at Once

Wow I haven't blogged in a week! I can't believe it. We have been SO busy it's been insane over here.

Well, On Thurs. we went downtown to the courthouse where our Sheriff's office is located to have our fingerprints taken for the state background check and found out they only do fingerprinting until 2pm (Oh so convenient!!) and it was a quarter to three. I felt strangely like I had been there done that before! What is it with us and fingerprints? Well, I hope that nothing will prevent us from having them taken tomorrow.

We also heard that our Social Worker (SW) will be contacting us this week to schedule our Home Study (HS) visits. That is so good. I need to feel like progress is being made. I can't wait to be finished with the HS. At this point I have lost most of my nerves about what the visits will be like. I am just so desperate to do this thing that I'll jump through whatever hoops they tell me to!! I should have some more exciting news to post about our adoption progress this week and things develop. I the meanwhile Dustin and I need to finish up the bedrooms for all the kids. We've been ripping out carpets and painting concrete, adding new baseboards and crown in the bedrooms and we need to finish that up before our HS visit... so that's what I'll be doing as soon as I finish writing this post!

I have so much other stuff going on and I really want to share... but I don't have the time tonight, and I don't know how to assemble all this info into something that will make sense. God has been doing so much work in our family. The LORD is so good!!

Wow I have a naked child out back riding a bicycle... I guess I better go handle that!!

Love to you all!!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

My Bag

You all know by now that I adore Eyes of Wonder. I was over at her site when her daughter posted about the cute bags they made and gave the link to Amy Butler Designs which I followed and LOVED! I bought the Nappy Bag pattern at and today when we got home I sat down to make myself a diaper bag.

I had left over toille from a window valance I made for the hall bath so I just ran out and got some basic cotton fabric to coordinate and whipped up this bag. I'm in love, and I am totally hooked! My next project: I need to make another one for my dearest sister who is due the beginning of November with another nephew for me to love on.

Wonderful Weekend

The lovely rose Dustin gave me.
The grill of an old Brush make car

Well, Dustin and I had a wonderful time in Prescott. We enjoyed every bit of our time together and were so relaxed we couldn't get over it! The hotel was decent. Being historic it had an old time elevator that had no doors on it save the door to each floor. The hotel staff had to operate the elevator. I felt like I was in an old Turner classic movie, the kind I used to watch with my grandma. So fun!

Our room was tiny (totally to be expected in a historic building) and so was everything else for that matter. We were on the fourth floor.The bathroom had a sink which gulped the water down the drain for the full four floors long after the water flow was shut off. There was a strange constant buzzing, and when the a/c kicked on I felt as if I were standing near a jet engine. Dustin and I decided it all added to the charm (although, to be honest, the Wigwam Resort's summer rates are comparable to what we paid to stay at the Hassayampa Inn and the accommodations are a league above the inn's)

We got up nice and early Saturday and had a beautiful breakfast.Dustin got me that beautiful pink rose and it was the most fragrant rose I think I've ever smelled. It filled our whole room with it aroma.

We headed out after breakfast to go antiquing. I found the most amazing thing while shopping. My maternal grandfather was the first of his family to be born in the U.S. His parents were from Lucca, Italy. While in an antique store I found an old picture out of an architectural magazine of a basilica in Lucca, Italy. I bought if for my mom as a thank you gift for babysitting our girls this weekend. She was thrilled when we gave it to her today and I felt blessed that I ran into such a treasure. I mean, what a real blessing!

We happened upon a classic car show and stopped to wander amongst the various oldies. It was so much fun. There were cars ranging from the 30's all the way through the 80's.

Next was lunch at a great restaurant. It was so fun to laugh with my best friend and just sit around lunching, laughing and enjoying the other's company (as apposed to the usual routine scarfing down our food before the kids have their fill of sitting still.)

We then went off to fish and picnic at Goldwater Lake. It was all so great!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I Hate When That Happens

I cut my bangs too short! Ugh it makes me so mad! You know, I've complained about this before but once again let me tell you how frustrating it is to be a hair stylist and not be able to cut my own hair how I want to, when I want to, ESPECIALLY since I know how to!!!

Well, maybe I don't actually know how to seeing as I am constantly butchering my own hair. It's so hard to get the right angle! That and my shears are a wee bit dull so it's hard to cut a perfectly straight line w/o holding the hair with my fingers (but if I did that they'd be in between my eyes and the mirror and then I'd be cutting blindly...ooooh I shudder to think of it!)consequently I kept snipping at my bangs to get them ever so perfectly straight and just like your momma used to do ya the night before school pictures.... I ended up with a fringe that's too short!!

I am not so brave as Julie that I would venture to snap a pic at such an up-close camera angle! Trust me My pores have issues ladies!!! Hahahaha enough of my digressing!

Anyhoo, I just hate it when my bangs are too short. It takes all the wind out of my diva sails and I was soooo hoping to feel like a diva on this my celebratory weekend with my husband! Oh well, good thing he loves me no matter what........ That, and he can't ever tell that I've cut my hair

Ok I just need to update this post with a little confession. I went to snap a photo of the atrocity that is my head just to be a kind blogger and share (large pores and all.) While I was looking through them I realized that I have perfectionism issues and that no other person in the world, save possibly another stylist, is going to look at my head and think, "you know those bangs are 1/16 of an inch too short." So I am officially over it.

We're good now. Until the next hair cutting debacle, then.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Happy Anniversary Day!

Dustin came home bearing this beautiful bouquet for me. Isn't it AMAZING!? He is so thoughtful!
Our anniversary is today. I love him so! What a life he's given me! What a family he's provided for me! I am so blessed. He is the most beautiful, loving, compassionate, hard working, strong, faithful, trustworthy, adoring, considerate, thoughtful, gentle, funny, generous, honest, patient, level headed, romantic, loving best friend and husband. I am so thankful for him. There's no man like my man!

In an earlier post I asked for help in deciding what to do to celebrate this our 8th year of marriage. Dustin and I decided that we would like to get out of the heat and so we are staying this weekend in Prescott. We really are outdoorsy people (it's just that we have hardly had enough time to get out of doors since we opened our business in Oct of 2004 to do the things we so love to do, like camping, fishing and hiking)

I am so excited about our plans!! I am hoping to talk him into a picnic up at a nearby lake in the evening on Saturday for our celebratory dinner (if the weather up there is not too hot still). I am sure I can convince him to bring along a fishing pole also, and thus inspire his interest in the picnic (wink, wink)! I hope to get some antiquing done while in Prescott which is always so much fun. Last time I went antiquing up there I went with my beloved friend Brooke F. who helped me find some great stuff. every time I look at those items I am reminded of our lovely day together! Now, I hope to find something that will remind me of my day with Dustin when we go!

Last night after we snagged the very last room at the Hassayampa Inn I laughed and told him, "Oooh, I'm gonna make you go in every antique store they have up there!" We both laughed hard because we knew it might be true! Good thing my dearest husband loves me so and indulges me every once in a while!!! But, I vow to be considerate of him too!
I will try to remember my camera to share some of our weekend adventures with you.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Oh What a Day!

Church was awesome today! I was so filled with joy. Just looking around at familiar faces, people I know well, and others that I have grown to recognize after months of attending the same service hour. I was enjoying watching them get their praise on! It was so uplifting to my soul. Everyone was getting down to thepraise music. We had a darling couple in front of us, which included a woman I got to know at the woman's retreat, she and her hubby were dancing and clapping together in a way which just filled my heart with joy. To our left (mine and Dustin's that is) were the parents of a child we've had in the 4/5 class and whom we adore. They were doing just like our friends in front and booging down. To the right of us was a couple I recognized from seeing them around church. The husband gave a huge whistle and a hoot after our Praise Band gituarist performed a great solo and once again I couldn't keep from smiling. There were others too. Too many to list for you. All of us in Christ. Praising His name together.

What fun! God is so good. There's nothing like the fellowship of Christ! Oh that all the world would join together in this way!

I forgot to tell you that on Fri we girls were having a designated "Praise" day in our house. We decided to sing our prayers instead of just saying them. Miss Allyse was singing her luchtime blessing and was on quite a roll singing to the Lord that He was "wonderful, beautiful," and my favorite after a tiny pause she added "Praise-i-full." I just loved it! Too cute!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Miracles and Suffering

Hello dear friends and any visitors who may be stopping by. Please Go Here and see this. (be warned the link for this is emotionally upsetting)

Really what is there to say? If those pictures don't stir us what will?

Lord I am so humbled. Who am I that You have given me such a life of privilege? I am one of the wealthy elite of this earth. Afforded pleasure when others suffer and die. I want for nothing. Oh Lord, I regret the days I have wasted! Forgive me that I have failed to use Your wealth as You would have me use it. I repent of every selfish indulgence, every greedy act of grasping for more. You, Yourself have granted me my every need and more. I am so grieved at knowing I have failed at times to give You thanks and praise for all that I have. Forgive my blindness and hardness of heart. Heal me and cause me to see, to feel, and to love in deeds and action. To look upon the needs of others and not merely gasp or shake my head while whispering "what a pity." Cause me to be faithful to Your cause!! Jesus what is this life but a brief flash and then it's gone. Grant me wisdom and recall to my mind how fleeting my time is. Do not let me grow distracted. Lord it would be better for me to die this moment than to live my days is wasteful rebellion and self indulgence! Do not let my lips fail to praise You all the days of my life! You, Mighty God do not need me to accomplish Your miracles. You don't NEED me for anything. OH but I NEED YOU!!! Thank You that You never leave or forsake me. Thank you that You will not leave me in this pit, but You will lift me out and cause me to share in Your work. Let me be blessed to be a blessing to others! Let me proclaim the greatness of the Lord and glorify His name! In Jesus.... So be it!!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Praise HIM in the Storm

I received an article from a woman whom I regard with the highest respect and the dearest fondness. She is a real woman of prayer. She is wise, loving, and a woman I would be happy to imitate! As she has been encouraging me during some of my struggles she directed me an article which I felt should be shared with all of you. It is an article sent via email to her from Bridge Builders International Leadership Network. I am not familiar with that organization but I enjoyed this email article.

Chuck Peirce wrote this about what he believe the Lord was saying to him about the spiritual battles he and others faced:
"The confrontation of the enemy is at hand. You must be filled with praise to enter into that conflict ahead. War is stirring in your midst. War is rising. Unless I rise and inhabit your praises, you will not be able to praise in the midst of the conflicts ahead. I am calling you into a place and I am going before you so that I am waiting to give you victory. I will establish Myself in your midst. When your conflicts arise, praise Me and I will assure you of victory in your wars ahead."

Oh that really strikes me as Dustin and I are engaged in battles on many different fronts right now. As we have been praying for our son in Ethiopia and asking the LORD to open doors for us to bring aid and comfort to anyone He may desire to place us into contact with I realize that there are forces of oppression which in essence those prayers are fighting against. When we are asking to join in God's work it is most assuredly the best way to find ourselves engaged against the enemy. Whenever we are attempting to work for the good of others we can be sure we are working against the enemy of their soul and ours, the devil. should we then be surprised that
“we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Eph 6:12).

The article seeks to remind believers of this:
"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds" (II Cor. 10:4). I believe the Lord would have us remind you today, that in whatever battle you are facing (whether it be in the area of finances, health, or relationships), praise is a powerful weapon against the enemy!

The whole concept of praising God in the midst of the battle is not one which is hard for me to visualize. We have many a story in scripture of God's children engaged in physical warfare. We see how the Lord gave them faith and so delivered people like David and Jonathan from their enemies. Those stories are not only true in the physical realm but also true in the spiritual realm.

I am interested to learn how praising Him changes circumstances and grows my faith.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Getting All I Asked For

I am a very blessed woman. I know it. God hears my prayers (Luke 11:9- So I say to you ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. Psalm 11:9- I call on you Oh God for you will answer me, give ear to me and hear my prayer) You see, lately I've been known to be praying BIG things like asking God to be glorified through my life and to rely on Him with all my being and and all the while I can't really fathom what these prayers really mean until I am neck deep in the answer to them. THEN, I begin freaking out.

God is so faithful to answer our prayers. We all have the same assurances in Christ that the Father will hear our prayers. God has even answered prayers I prayed years ago, prayers I have forgotten I had even prayed only to have him remind me once again at some much later date that He had been faithful to me that whole time. He reminded me that whether I recalled those prayers or not He had been working the whole time, causing all things to work together for for my own good according to HIS plans, NOT in my timing or according to my own plans!! (Romans 8:28)

And so, sometimes, when God is going about His plans, plans I've asked Him to carry out in my life through prayer, things might begin to become uncomfortable for me. You see, the plans I usually make for myself tend to include a high level of personal comfort and a path of the least possible resistance. HIS plans can be a completely different ball of wax! Oh my weak flesh gets all in a tisy when situations head toward a path in His plan which doesn't look like what I'd plan, if I were Him.

Dustin and are learning to continuously turn everything over to the Lord. When I say everything I mean we desire to leave no corner of our hearts, souls, minds and even our possessions set aside for our own use. We truly want to serve and honor the LORD. We acknowledged that if the whole of life comes from the Lord than it ought, rightfully, be offered up to Him as followers of Christ. Our prayer is that we will be willing to go where He says go, do what He says to do, and say what He says to say. We prayer that nothing in this life would be more precious to us than living life with Him, and living it to the fullest of His intentions.

So, here we are. We are not on a ledge, but hanging WAY over it and all of a sudden we're wondering "what were we thinking?" It looks like doom is coming for us. We know that the assurances of things is a completely different matter than the appearances of things BUT We, in our humanness, are super uncomfortable relying on the Lord's provision and not our own strength. For good measure the Lord has even been so loving and so gracious as to remove all traces of our strength and has set in the forefront of our daily existence the very truth that without His provision for us we will be completely and utterly ruined. Again, an answer to a prayer for which I had not fathomed the practical consequences of.

So, What am I doing here? What's the point Jen?? Well, I think the point is that we are at a turning point here. We can either give into the temptation the evil one so desperately wants us to buy into, which is: You never heard form God, He doesn't require what you gave, You are much better off living life the old way, out of your comfortable self-absorbed and self consumed personal strength; OR we can choose to ask for God to strengthen our faith and reliance upon Him no matter how bleak things may grow to appear before His glory is revealed not just by His assurances but also by His appearance in the situations of our lives.

I believe God is good and in Him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5) I trust He is loving and faithful and that He is actually working to answer all our prayers. Why should I worry what things look like, or about the methods He uses to accomplish His works and His will... because who can know and understand the mind of God? (Isaiah 55:8) If I believe all I say I believe, AND I DO, then I really can find calm in the midst of the storm and peace for my soul in Christ.

I know the personal things I've written about are a little vague on details and that many friends who've seen us might not have suspected that things were looking "bleak" over here. Sometimes isn't it the bleakness of our hearts and the negativity brewing in our souls which becomes the death of all our joy and vision? It's hard not to get caught up in circumstances of the appearances of life and still retain focus on the assurances of our faith. In fact, it's down right crippling!

I just want to say thank you to all my beloved and vital sisters who have served me a heaping serving of love and encouragement this week by praying for us. You have lifted us up more than you know. I love you all so much!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

The End of an Era

What can I say? We've lost a piece of history. A relic reminding us of the past. A workhorse of the decades.

It's our refrigerator. It died. Suddenly and without warning. It came with the purchase of the house and the manual states the model year is 1986. It was a good and faithful refrigerator. Huge and spacious and completely unsightly.

Now, when we had just stocked it to the hilt with all manner of fresh produce and meats it chooses to slip away silently. The fan was still working and so it was misleading us. The only warning that something was awry was the odor wafting into the kitchen. Things grew much worse after we cracked the door open. Lukewarm beverages and milk cartons. Wretched rotten left overs. Panic!

I NEVER like to make a purchase under such circumstances. One knows when one is susceptible to being on the losing end of a business transaction. The sheer necessity of a replacement had me concerned that we might rush into a purchase that I would have otherwise researched more thoroughly and found the best possible deal over. I did remember a store which I had heard offered good deals. Scratch and dent deals, etc.

B&B Appliance in downtown PHX. We went in and got a refrigerator for less than half the retail sticker price (I know because I did do my research hurriedly this a.m. and really began to panic!!) A Consumer Reports rated Whirlpool Gold stainless steel side by side with ice and H2O in the door. We are excited! Let me tell you!! There are some dents in the side and a tinsy tiny one on the lower front but for the price you can't beat it! We were planning to remodel the kitchen sometime next year (but now that we are adopting that may be postponed even further) and we were praying that our ancient appliances would last until then.... the refrigerator just couldn't hang. Even though this was an untimely forced purchase for us I feel good that we were able to get a fridge that will be fitting of our future remodeled kitchen at a HUGE discount. It looks totally out of place for now, but I don't mind. We had gone w/o an ice maker since we moved into this house. On the ride home we were celebrating how awesome it will be now that Dustin will never again have to hear me complain that he forgot to refill the ice trays!!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Some Help Please!

I need ideas! Please help me! Dustin and I will be celebrating our 8th anniversary August 14th and I am just plain out of ideas. Our budget is considerably smaller this year for many reasons and I am not even sure how likely it is that we will be able to get a sitter, SOOOOO I am reaching out to you, dear friends, for advice. I'm looking for you all to help me get my creative juices flowing, or I may just plain steal your creative ideas for celebrating our anniversary.

Now would also be a really fun time for you to share one of your personal favorite romantic memories (as I always love to hear romantic stories!) Maybe a great date you and your loved one once had, a special dinner, whatever you think might spark some ingenuity or maybe one that you'd just enjoy sharing. I have one which I already posted about (which could probably be voted least likely to be romantic but somehow ended up being that anyway.)

One of my favorite anniversary celebrations was the year after our oldest daughter Rienne was born. We packed up our truck, our 7 month old girl, two dogs, various camping paraphernalia (so glad Dustin made me register for camping gear instead of china!! haha) and headed up to the Mogollon Rim in the lovely Tonto National Forest . We had so much fun. The rim was so near the clouds that the evening rain showers left the impression that we could jump straight up into the nexus of the rain cloud and see the origin on the storm. Every evening we were treated to a spectacular show. Rain poured and instant streams were created (most of them heading straight for our tent... but never mind that.) The thick heavy evening air became chilled and refreshed with each fresh water drop. The lightening blazed bright and screamed so loud and near that I imagined we narrowly escaped becoming deaf and blind. Our dogs nearly peed themselves and ran off terrified (The baby amazingly slept through it all. Who says miracles don't happen in our time!?) I had never experienced thunder at that proximity before. The sheer nearness of it was awe inspiring. I sat there entranced by the storm. The sound waves rumbling deep in my chest, my eyes ablaze and nose filled with the scent of wet pine. It stirred something in me (see numbers 13 and 14) . Dustin felt it too. We couldn't help but wear beaming smiles. What a way to celebrate!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

One of the Best Books...

Ok, It's one of the best books I've ever read!!

You, Yea, you!!!..... Go out and purchase There is No Me Without You I promise you'll not regret it! I scarffed this book down in three nights. Most of the time I was drenched with tears. This book is a wake up call for average folks like us. It was especially important that I read this book because it is all about Ethiopia and the Aids epidemic. It is unique because the greater story of the Aids pandemic in Ethiopia and beyond to the continent of Africa as a while is entwined with the life of one woman. Her road is one that twists and turns through the deepest suffering of life. Death dying, and suffering surround her. She decides to begin to take in orphans who's parents died of the extremely taboo disease; Aids. She risks being shunned by her whole community (and at times she is shunned) Literally, there is no one else to take the children some of whom are infected or starving themselves and on the brink of death. I won't go further but I do want to say that it's not all death and gloom, there are some encouraging things included as well. The author has a knack for telling the grim deails without overwhelming the reader. You'll be touched and outraged but it won't push you further than your desire to become more informed can handle.

This is literally the story of my son's homeland. It's the life he'll be plucked up out of. Our family will never be able to walk away from Ethiopia's suffering now that we know about it, especially, once we have our son. I don't know what the future holds, but I pray that if there is any role for our family in serving to meet the needs of the people in ET that He would open those doors to us.

Please go read this book or borrow my copy. I need you to know what life is like for millions of people in Africa and specifically Ethiopia. I promise you that you will never look at life the same again!

It's the Small Things That Count

I mailed out a bunch of paperwork to our Home study Coordinator yesterday. We only have a few pesky papers to be hunted down and we will be finished with the paper chasing on the home study end of things. One of the things we need is a letter stating that our pool meets city code. I called the Litchfield Park City offices and they told me to leave a message for the city inspector. So, I did. He didn't call back until this morning at 8:30. I told him the purpose for which we needed the inspection and he was so friendly. He offered to come by free of charge to inspect the pool. When he arrived he was super friendly and helpful. He told us we needed to fix three small items and that he'd come back again and write us up the letter free of charge.

This might not seem to be such a huge deal but, let me assure you that some things included in the requirements for our adoption have been very difficult to cross off the list. The sheer ease of today's events lightened my heart and encouraged me to keep moving forward. We are heading into the last leg of our paper chase. I couldn't be happier!!

Thank you Lord for such a friendly inspector!! (The likes of which are pratically unheard of, for who has ever met a gracious and obliging city inspector!? You should know that as a contractor my hubby just had to laugh at our blessed fortune in our inspector's graciousness!)