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Friday, December 21, 2007

Our Company Christmas Party

We enjoyed hosting our annual Christmas party for our employees last night. We went to Macayos and had a room all to ourselves. This year we had 22 guests including some dates our employees brought. As Dustin looked around the room he told me he was emotional to see all that God had done for our small business since we began out of our house, only the two of us, Oct. of '04. We are blessed beyond words to be able to serve our employees and we thank the Lord continually for each employee He has made a part of our team.

This year has been a tough year in our industry. Many businesses have folded or cut their labor forces dramatically. There was a point when we were wondering if that would be our fate also. We are blessed to have made it through without layoffs. Many of our general contractors weren't paying on time. Some even closed their doors without ever paying what they owed us. This year there have been nights when we were on our knees crying and begging the Lord to bring much needed funds so we could make payroll for our employees and pay our bills. Every time we had a need the LORD supplied. He is so faithful! We have gone without a few paychecks lately but you'd never know it because the Lord has met every need we've had.

This year we have been blessed to be in a position where we have been in need. I know that is a strange thing to say, but it's so true. I have learned so much more this year about giving and faith than I could have ever learned any other way. When everything is said and done we are still the most blessed people on earth and rich in so many more way than merely monetary. This year we don't have much to get the girls gifts (but never fear our faithful Lord had that in His plans too. That's what grandparents are for!!) but we know that our family is in the midst being blessed with so many precious gifts. How could we be anything other than thankful!?

Thank you Lord for being You!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Here's What I've Got

3 letters of reference notarized properly

1 Certified Birth Certificate.

Now I have to have to wait until the new year for those physicians letters but it's exciting to know that, ONCE AGAIN, we are just waiting on a few pieces of paper and then (I say this with fear and trembling) we will be done. Hopefully FOR REAL this time!

Oh my, that's a lotta


..... and paper. I should own stock in Hallmark! We are running out of room for all our Christmas cards.

Thanks so much to everyone who loving sent us cards and pictures. I love walking by them and thinking of you!

I plan on making everyone who comes over jealous by showing them how popular we are!! I think I'll say something like, " so did you notice how many Christmas cards we've got? I bet you don't have that many do you? No, you don't..... That's because we've got the best and most organized friends ever!"

I'll say that AND, "......I've got more friends than you do, I've got more friends than you do!" HEHEHEHE. OK that's not very nice, so I'll just think it instead.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Red Letters Campaign- Catching The Bug

God works in wonderful ways.

This week our good friends announced that they too will be adopting from Ethiopia. They are with a different agency and are adopting an older sibling set. I had so much fun with my friend Julie during the beginning stages of their process. Talking about books she's read. Discussing our thoughts, the risks, etc of international adoption. But, the most fun I had was watching the way God flipped the switch in their hearts, just as he had done in our own hearts.

By "flip the switch" I mean that nearly inexpressible event which happens in the heart and mind that can best be described as being like a heat seeking missile. You just can't stop until you hit the target. Once God set the idea of adoption in our hearts it was on! From that moment the commitment turned into a consuming passion. The intensity which the decision to adopt brings about is almost always surprising to those who are first experiencing it. Literally, it's like a switch has been flipped. One day you were not adopting and the next you are...... and now everything has changed, for the better!

Dustin and I are thrilled for Julie and Mark and their kids! Of course, we have many self interested motives for being thrilled with their choice of Ethiopia!! It's nice to have such a wonderful family in our church adopting from the same country we are. Our kids will have each other nearby to relate to and share the common thread of ancestry. How cool is that!? Maybe now I can even convince Julie to try to learn some Amharic with me since her kids will be older and fluent...she'll need all the help she can get! hehehehe.

So being the dear friends that you are, would you please head over to Julie's Blog and send her your congratulations Then keep updated as they progress. She will be starting an adoption blog soon. I'll keep you posted!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Red Letters Campaign- Dossier Update

Hi there friends. Are you totally losing your minds yet with all the to-do's to finish up before Christmas is here? I know I am! I still have to figure out what the heck to put in all the cute containers I purchased for my neighbors (which were supposed to be filled with my baked goods).

Here's the news on our paperwork:

1) Dustin made an appearance at the court today in Mesa. Seems they are a bit confused by our need to have two individual letters, one for each of us. They had printed up two of the same letter which had our names combined on it. Dustin spelled out the details for them and they promised to have the letters to us by Friday. That means we will definitely NOT be getting our dossier in to AWAA before the New Year (The deadline for shipping them in is Dec 21st). I am not sad, though, because I truly feel blessed to be as "ahead" of schedule as we are. Originally I had hoped we would have our dossier to ET be the end of Jan (this was back in July) and so now it looks like God sees fit to make it happen that way.

2) Our dear references are hustling like crazy to get us new letters. We appreciate them doing this as it must be one of the LAST things, I'm sure, that any of them would want to be doing this time of year!

3) My Birth Cert. flew Next Day Air on Fri and should be on the SOS's desk today. The website says processing takes anywhere from 5-7 days. We'll see.

4) Still working on our doctors letters. This should be a HUGE pain in the butt since the last time we had to deal with them it was a total nightmare. No one over there is super excited to help us out. SO GLAD we don't use them as our docs anymore!!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Merry Christmas?

In our family we have a saying. You might find it vulgar but we, being the wackos that we are, find it pretty funny. Here's why. My sister and I have MANY a childhood memory of Christmas but some of the most vivid childhood memories we share are of events that adults would porbably prefer to forget.

For instance, the best and most hilarious memory wasn't funny at all at the time. Only with our acquired adult perspective has this memory come to be, truly, the most hilarious of Christmas memories. You see one particular year Dad took me and Valerie to pick out a fresh cut Christmas tree (as was traditionally done) and Valerie spotted what was to her the most spectacular and magnificent Christmas tree EVER! Of course she had to have it. There was no arguing with her. Dad purchased the special tree.

When we got home he had to lug the tree up three flights of stairs (he lived in a condo at the time) and from the grumbling he made I'd guess it was a bit heavy for him to carry by himself.
Soon after the tree stood glowing, decorated with love and care. Valerie and I were thrilled, dad was glad to be done with it.

So, the first time the tree came crashing down it fell over the coffee table and broke a few items on the table. Most of the ornaments were spared. Dad was annoyed. We heard a few choice words from under his breath. He stood the tree back up, primped it and all was well.

The second time the tree fell it fell on me and Valerie. We were crying and upset. Dad was now visibly furious and most of the ornaments were broken. After getting out a saw and a spare stand the tree was erected once more. It was a bit less magical, yet still festive.

The third time the tree fell dad flew in to a fit of cuss words that any programmer on any TV network would have a field day bleeping! After heading out to the store to purchase a completely new stand of industrial strength the tree was finally secure. Dad was no longer in the holiday spirit of cheer. Valerie and I felt that maybe it would be a good idea for us to retreat to our bedroom and let dad have some quiet time.

Somehow, over the years we have dubbed that Christmas the Merry Bleeping Christmas. We find it funny how dad has NEVER purchased a fresh cut tree again. Since then, whenever a holiday faux pas happens we say, "well Merry bleeping Christmas." It's just a thing we do. Probably, if anyone ever heard us saying that without knowing the back story they'd think we were the most vulgar people on the planet.... but to us it's funny.

The expression took on a whole new meaning when Dustin and I had our own official "merry bleeping Christmas" a short time after we were married. When our own tree fell several times I was tempted to reenact my father's bleeps.

This leads to today's post:

This is the best of what I came up with after my sister, mom, aunt, cousins and I (plus 7 kids) had a baking day.... pretty sad.

We had a great time together, but the baking day was a bust! I had visions of bountiful baked goods in mind, each wonderfully made and delicious. Instead, everything I had planned to give to our neighbors as gifts this Christmas didn't turn out well. My sister had her own baking troubles with her desired cookies and so the only thing we made which is presentable as gifts are some chocolate covered pretzels and the few cookies you see above.

The kids really enjoyed decorating their sugar cookies with every known sprinkle and gel available to man. Those things we piled so high with frosting, etc. that they were inedible (but very pretty!) They also overdosed on sugar and so they were a blast to try to contain all day! wink, wink.

My mom and sister agreed that we felt a tiny bit discouraged to have purchased so many ingredients, and with such hopes, only to have little to show for our efforts. Mostly we HAD overly decorated, slobber contaminated, kiddie sugar cookies that no adult on this planet would touch, even with a ten foot pole (the kids, however, WERE thrilled with them) I use the past tense in reference to the sugar cookies because my dear sister called this a.m. to tell me her dog had polished off every last one of them off the counter and so now she had only the pretzels left! HOW QUAINT!!

Guess what I said to Valerie next through the phone, "Merry bleeping Christmas!"

Ah, what a tradition!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Red Letters Campaign- Another Hiccup

It's the name of the game folks.... DELAYS. I just remembered in the midst of our mounds of paperwork that we have been waiting since November for the court to rewrite the Police Clearance letters for Dustin and myself separately (as opposed to the single letter the have written for us so far). So far our HS Coordinator has been unsuccessful at trying to get them for us. I guess the courts don't want anything to do with us once they've pushed us through. (Hmmm I wonder if that's how the Lord compelled them to finish our case so quickly. Maybe he put a bad taste in their mouths for our family and so they want nothing more to do with us? Just kidding!)

So to recap, here's what we need:

1) Jen's Birth Cert. Certified by the SOS (out of state)
2) Separate Police Clearance letters from the AZ courts
3) Original letters from our physician following up our physical exams.

Dustin seems to think that he can head down to the courts tomorrow and just ask them to write the letters. I love his enthusiasm but I tend to be a pessimist and I'm thinking they might say, "and WHO are you?" You never know, though, Dustin can be pretty convincing and tenacious when he needs to be. He may just get what he wants tomorrow.

Just in case, I have an email into our HS Corrd to she what progress she's made, though I assume it's none otherwise I would have heard from her.

Yup, that Dec 21st deadline for dossiers to be in at AWAA seems SUPER unattainable right about now. No worries. We are still ahead of schedule the way I see it.

Red Letters Campaign- Gonna Have To Wait After All

We ran into some roadblocks today. I forgot to have my Birth Certificate authenticated as I was born in another state. Went online to see if the website had info about where to mail the goods and couldn't find it. Bummer!

All three of our letters of reference were invalid due to the fact that the notaries failed to include the appropriate verbiage...and we should have known better. SO those have to be rewritten! TRIPLE Bummer!!

Lastly, I mailed off the originals (BY COMPLETE ACCIDENT) of our doctors letters following up on our Physical Exam forms. I have a call into our HS Corrd. to see if she has them on file or if we'll have to have the doctor rewrite them for us. UGH, I dread this last one! I am terrified! I do not want to have to deal with the office staff again.

No Dossier to ET until after the holidays for us!

If the day didn't stink already, we got such sad news about our friends the Carpenter family. The had another unsuccessful court appearance and this one was difficult to bear. Say some prayers for them please!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Red Letters campaign- Shows How Much I Know!

Well, we are back from an evening filled with racing around town running errands. After the shock of receiving the I-171h form I about collapsed. Then, I immediately went into freak out mode!

I am not usually one who procrastinates so this caught me completely off guard. I had resolved to try not to obsess over our adoption paperwork this Christmas season and spend the time enjoying my family and our traditions. I wanted to focus my mind on the Lord as much as possible and so I resolved that my objectives would be best met if I took a breather from the paper chasing.

When Dustin walked in with a huge pile of mail holding a piece of paper I barely glanced at him ( I was checking our YG.. oh it's an obsession!) while he calmly asked me, "So what happens when they send us our I-171h form?"

"We'll be done" I replied with a tone meant to imply that we had gone over this WAY too many times for him to not know this.

"Well, we're done then." he chirped back in a 'I-bet-you-didn't see-that-one-comin' sorta way.

"WHHHHHAAAAAATTTT!?" so loud that the neighbors heard me. "Are you kidding me?" I asked as I yanked the papers rudely from his hands just to get a glimpse. Next came my thundering "WHHHHAAAAAH-HHHOOOOOO!"

By this time all the girls had gathered around to see the spectacle. They instinctively knew a celebration was happening because they joined in with me by hopping. (You must know that they are super bouncy little things. They truly remind me of Tigger and so whenever I see them bounce this way I mentally say, "Boing, boing, boing..... It's absolutely the funnest sight ever!)

We did manage to calm me down and successfully have our passport photos made. When we got home I edited the photo pages which will be included with our dossier (as upon looking at them in this more official feeling mood I seemed to like them less. Can I just say less is more and I needed to get that point! I was able to delete some BUT our family is HUGE and it seems so weird to have some of them pictured and not others. Oh well, these are the types of things that adoptive families can get nutty over during the paper chase. I am so glad that soon I will be free to freak out over new and different things.....) We organized our paperwork for the umteenth time, "just to be sure!"

Tomorrow Dustin will be taking our paperwork to the Secretary of State. Hopefully things will go well there.

I am humbled once more to see the unmerited favor and blessing of the LORD poured out over our family. I definitely feel like a blessed child of God!

I have so many friends who I am reminded tonight. I am thinking of dear friends who are experiencing many difficulties and trials. Some are waiting like watchmen on the wall for the Lord to return an answer to the prayers thay have earnestly been praying for some time now. I am still praying for you friends. I haven't forgotten you.

With so much love,

Red Letters Campaign- So Close

We got our I171h today!!! I am SOOO excited!!!

Have no time to type more... off to do things like get our passport photos taken. And we were taking is easy this Christmas season because we thought it would take them forever to get it to us. Boy were we wrong!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Court Delays

I am sad for our friends who are waiting once more for a successful court date. You see, five of the families who received referrals on Oct 3rd are STILL waiting for word that their kids are officially theirs. I can only imagine how difficult and near heart breaking this wait is on them.

My friend Penelope wrote this update for our YG:

Susan came in today (on her day off) to let us know that the MOWA did not have the letters needed for our court date today, so our courtdate is delayed yet again. The MOWA has promised the letters by Thursday and the judge has graciously rescheduled our court appointments for that day (12/13) in the afternoon.

Just a glimpse into the working of the ET courts and what we can expect when it's our turn. I am praying for all the families who are waiting anxiously for their good news, and the opportunity to finally sigh a breath of relief. Then we will be able to see the photos of their kids!

Monday, December 10, 2007

More Fundraising

We were accepted into the Eternal Family Adoption Assistance Program. Family and friends are now able to make tax deductible donations toward our adoption expenses.

We have been approved to receive up to $5000.00 in funds which will go a LONG way in assisting us bring our boy home. You can check the progress of our fundraising goal by looking at the thermometer to the right in the sidebar.

If you would like to make a donation please copy and paste the following voucher and include it with your donation.

Thanks so much!
Jen for the Slonigers

Eternal Family Adoption Assistance Program

Name of Adopting Family you are requesting to support:
Dustin and Jennifer Sloniger


Please record your name, or organization’s name, full address, phone number, and the
amount of your contribution in the box below. Be sure to include this form with your
check. Checks can be made payable to America World.
America World is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization; therefore, all donations
are considered tax-deductible contributions in the year they are given. The funds
donated are not refundable to the donor or to the family. The maximum amount of
donation money for a family’s adoption expense is determined by household income
(with a cap of $10,000). Any amount above this will be used to fund other families or
America World projects. In order to fully comply with the law, America World retains
discretion and control over the use of all donated funds. Contributions become part of
a fund used to assist families with their adoption expenses. While we cannot guarantee
that all funds donated by you will be made available to your designated family,
America World does work to honor the wishes of donors.

Name: ______________________________________________________
Address: _______________________________________________________
City, State, and Zip Code:________________________
Phone Number: ________________________________
Please indicate the Amount of Contribution:

○$ 10
○$20 ○$50 ○$100 ○$200
○$300 ○$400 ○$500 ○$750

○other $_______

Friday, December 7, 2007

Summing Up What I Learned in LBY

I got a phone call from a dear friend Kim, who headed up our women's Bible study. It was so great to hear from her. We chatted about some of the things God has done over the course of the Living Beyond Yourself study in the lives of us women who joined together on Thursday nights. I was reminded that this post is a long time coming.

Some of the highlights of what the Lord impressed upon my heart over the course of this study:

1) I knew very little at all about the Holy Spirit and especially the fruit (Gal 5: 22 -23 ). Now that I have learned more I cannot imagine my life without having the knowledge this study brought. It is one of my all time recommended studies!!

2) I have heard from the Lord that I am to invest myself in praying for others. Not just part time, but much more regularly and much more fervently. More like daily. I feel Him asking me to be much less concerned with my personal circumstances and concentrate on what He is doing and desires to do in the lives of others. For me, I believe what He is after is more an act of faith to let go of my tendency to worry about situations and instead spend time praying for others. I will really need to learn to be led by His Spirit if I want to accomplish this. I know that it is worth the effort. Pouring out myself in prayer for others has it's benefits, especially, after experiencing His blessing after living out Isaiah 58: 6-11 for just a day!

3) In 2007 the Lord has seen fit to completely turn our world upside down and with that change has come a sense of vulnerability and real needs have arisen. We are learning daily about God's provision and to place our whole trust in Him and rely on Him to work even in seemingly the most impossible of situations. Sometimes we do this faithfully and filled with His Spirit and other times we are very weak. His faithfulness, however, has never failed and we have been blessed to be in His care this year! I have a sense that 2008 will bring some more strengthening of such a faith. I also expect to see some answers to some prayers that we have waiting a long time to receive. So, stay tuned because I am excited to see how God will tie all these things together.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Good Reminder

I really liked this article. It was a quick and easy read but it was the perfect reminder for the Christmas season. I especially asked myself how often our church does something without self promotion. I think it can be very challenging to truly gift a "free" gift. Give it a read and let me know what you think.

I am brainstorming about ways to personally "get out of the building" so to speak and really serve this Christmas.

We'll see what the Lord leads me to!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


After the heavy rains we enjoyed on Friday and Saturday our yard is full of worms. Yesterday I enjoyed watching the girls hunt for their "friends" most of the afternoon.

Aurora, for some reason unknown to us, really, really likes worms. It is strange to me because she is our most girly of girls. She's the dress up and dancing queen. She flutters and bounces everywhere she goes. She loves all things pretty, so worms just weren't on our radar as one of her favorite things.

She had mentioned a while ago that she wanted a book about worms. We went to the library but alas, all the worm books were out (shocking, really. How could we have known they'd be in high demand?) But that was the last she mentioned of them. Until....

She collected 13 worms yesterday and taunted her sisters with them, chasing them around the yard. She finally convinced Allyse that worms really weren't gross and that they don't bite. Ally grabbed one and decided she enjoyed their squishy texture. When Rory decided to give her worm a kiss that was more than Rienne could handle! She ran inside completely disgusted and locked the sliding glass doors leaving Rory and her beloved worms out in the cold. Rienne takes after me where creppy crawlies are concerned.

Before bed that night Rory put her worms to 'sleep' in one of my plastic containers. This morning, when she awoke, she ran straight to the patio to check on their status. I had never seen a dried up spherical mass of dead worms before, but now that I have I can assure you that it's a pretty disgusting sight. My dear Aurora, in all her positivity, pronounced that her precious worms were merely "sleeping in" and that they would be fine later on, while simultaneously pitching them from their 'slumber' into the yard as if to discard them. Hmmm, Wonder what that was all about? Perhaps she felt conflicted by the idea that the bed she lovingly made was the cause of their demise?

I guess I ought to toughen up and get used to the idea that bugs and kids go together! When our son comes home I wonder if he'll be like most boys and love to hunt down and collect various insects, etc. He will at least have one sister to join him in the hunt.

A friend asked a while ago if I thought our girls would like an ant farm as a Christmas gift. Visions of broken glass and an ant infestation flooded my mind as I blurted out "NOPE! Don't think they'd be interested in that AT ALL!!"

I distinctly remember her eyes piercing through me. Her sarcastic eyes assured me that she was on to me. My friend Brooke knows my girls all to well, and their mother for that matter. She is the mother of three young ones, the oldest of which just turned 3 (barely old enough to begin using him against his mother in torture as she has so loving done with my kids!). I haven't yet had the opportunity to pay her back for some of her "gifts" but I can assure you (are you reading this Brooke) that if she indeed ever decided to purchase an ant farm for my kids she could most definitely expect to receive an Anaconda or Boa Constrictor with a bow around it the soonest holiday or birthday thereafter!!