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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Taking Measure

God's really been driving a message home to me. Like a slow drip His persistent words beat on in my mind burrowing deeper only to spring up in my speech days (if not months or years) later. That's usually right about the time I actually figure out what it is He's been trying to tell me all along

It's disturbing that I've been journaling and praying over this topic for so long yet missing (or possibly avoiding) one very important piece of the puzzle. What's even more disconcerting is the idea that I knew these things without really KNOWING them. Suddenly, God has seen fit to tie it all together for me with a neat bow and in such a way as is unavoidable. Since the moment I came to understand what it was I'd been doing I've felt a freedom to move forward. But, I'm blabbering and I haven't even told you the details yet. So, I'll get to the point.

I've been forced to take certain things into account since my health issues arose in December. God has allowed those events to quite literally challenge my adulterous relationship with personal comfort and safety. I realize I have been foolishly measuring God's love for me by temporal standards in many ways that previously had not occurred to me. While I'd gotten it right in some ways I'd been getting it very wrong in others.

God's love for me is NOT measured by the food in my stomach, the bed that I sleep in, the health of my physical body, the freedom I enjoy, and on & on. Unfortunately I find, in truth, that I foolishly end up resenting God when my personal definition of "love" (translation: the comfort I find in those things previously listed) isn't met. As a follower Jesus I must always remember God's love for me is measured by the lengths He went to ensure my salvation though Jesus Christ and secure my place as a citizen in His Kingdom. That fact needs to be enough for me even when life is painful which really requires some maturity out of me. I must change how I process God's love for me in the midst of extremely burdensome life experiences. That kind of work can really only be done through the Holy Spirit because it requires everything to pass through a thick filter of faith in, reliance upon, and adherence to Christ Jesus.

The fact that the physical world is not always a good indicator of God's love drives me to His Word with renewed passion. Truly, Divine revelation has to happen for us to comprehend the hope we have in Christ and I intend to pursue such revelation. In my study of Ephesians 1 it strikes me how much we should seek this understanding so that we may know Him better. When I was infantile in my faith God used the physical things of this world as object lessons in my life to point me toward the deeper spiritual truths of His Fatherly love and provision. He, being the loving God He is, gently built up my faith. Now it's time for His Word to assure me of His love once more, to round out my understanding of Him not through temporal things but through spiritual truths. I feel the Lord prodding me on toward greater faith. A faith that allows my comfort to wait to be gratified until the fullness of the Lord's timing and rest secure in His love during the meantime. A faith that requires I pull up my big girl panties and stop being so juvenile in esteeming my personal comfort over His spiritual agenda.

All this is not because God is mean or perverse. I'm ill equipped to be able to expound in depth on all the infinite ways God's plans for us are loving and good. The point of this post is not to preach a sermon. I'm simply saying I finally read Jesus loud and clear about why it's so important for me to give up the things below for the greater things He has to offer.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Live Like You Were Dying

Our Church is doing a series by the same name and while I was reading through the biography of Matthew Henry I came across this excerpt of a sermon made by an influential teacher in his life. It seems they did the same series also.

...Let the thought that you will be brought to death call off your affections from the things below. Redeem the time. Make your peace with God, and be reconciled to Him. You should not go to bed in wrath against others; and will you go to your graves in enmity against God? Be content with what you have. Be frequent in thinking of your removal. If you do but remove on earth you take care. Be as useful and profitable as you can, for when you are brought to death your work will be over. Be careful to be making preparations for it. We live to learn to die. Our business is not to get riches, honours, or pleasures, but that we may depart in peace with God. Every corpse is a sermon; every tomb a teacher; every funeral an oration- to persuade you to learn to die.

-Thomas Doolittle September 19, 1680

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bust a Gut

My friend posted this on facebook and it was TOO MUCH for me to handle. I'm still craking up!

Foreplay Redefined from Granger Community on Vimeo.

Another Blog Buddy

I've been reading at Convergent Paths for a bit now. Maybe it's because we share a name, or maybe it's because we share many passions that I like her blog. This post really struck a cord with me. Go check it out.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Adoption and the Three F's

There are a few questions I get asked often. No matter how people phrase their inquiries, the essence of what they usually want to know about adoption, especially HIV+ adoption, are three basic things.

I'm about to uncover my answers to people's three biggest adoption questions, but first, did you know that?:

Statistics from 2005 state that over one-third of Americans had considered adoption but no more than 2 percent of Americans actually adopted.

With so many people considering adoptions in the US it's a wonder the numbers of adoptive families aren't higher. I mean, two percent? That's it?

I've looked high and low but it seems the 2005 figures are the most current ones available. Even if the number of families adopting in the US doubled things would still look pretty bleak compared to the 147 million orphans world-wide. The reality is that few people ever move from the 'thinking about it' stage to the blessing that is the reality of adoption.

Adoption isn't the answer to systemic change and the prevention of children being orphaned but it is a very real answer for children in need of parents NOW.

My friends and I wondered at the large numbers of people who had considered adoption and were curious what was happening to prevent them from actually adopting. We began listening closely to the questions and concerns about adoption expressed by people around us. In response, we have come up with a theory that there are three places people tend to stop and ask questions at. We call these points the Three F's. They are Faith, Fear, and Finances. It's our experience that if the Three F's can't be addressed with a satisfactory answer when they arise families tend not to pursue adoption further.

While the Three F's don't always come up in the order they are presented here, I believe all three come up for every Christian family who is considering adoption at some point or another along the journey.


God loves orphans AND He loves adoption.

You may be surprised to hear that. Maybe your eyes weren't looking for all the references to adoption in the Bible before. Now they might.

If the idea that God loves adoption is new to you the book of Ephesians is a good place to begin. For more study John Piper has some amazing online articles about the topic of adoption and God's design. (you can watch a quick video here)

Faith, for Christians, should play a huge role in orphan care and adoption. I'm not saying every Christian family has to adopt but I think the Bible makes VERY clear we have a responsibility to help orphans in need. To be blunt, I think the Church today needs to be challenged on a deep level about the nonchalant attitude it's taking in light of the orphan crisis around the world. Largely, Christians are ignoring the SERIOUS call to care for widows and orphans.

I love the challenge Francis Chan, pastor of Cornerstone Church, issues in his message Who's the Cult (4/19/09). Francis talks about "one anothers" found in the Bible and whether or not our North American churches are behaving in a manner that is consistent with the Scriptures.

As a Christ follower it's clear from the Bible that the sufferings of others should not only constitute an emergency for the organized Church, they should constitute a personal emergency for me as well. I should be willing to ask hard questions of myself in order to ascertain whether or not I'm willing to give up even just a few earthly comforts to ease the sufferings of others.

We Christians love to cluck our tongues at atrocities like child prostitution or slavery, teen crime and drug use, but the truth is that if more of us would step up to care for those youths many of their lives would be redeemed from such horrors. Like I said, Christians should be willing, in light of all Jesus Christ has done for us, to sacrifice in order to ease the suffering of others.

Notice I said suffering. That's not even mentioning intense suffering. I call a child being without parents, without the covering of having their needs met with love and attention, INTENSE suffering.

If the plight of orphans doesn't constitute an emergency for those of us who call ourselves Christ followers what does!? If Christians believe that adoption is God's redemptive plan for children who have been abused, abandoned, neglected or orphaned then why aren't we acting like it? If we have a sense of gratitude for our own adoption into the family of God why isn't it showing in the DNA makeup of our families? Haven't we taken enough notes from the Master Gardener? Isn't it time to graft in some branches desperate for a family?

Sometimes I think the truth is we only kinda believe we can be God's answer to the orphan's prayers. It's almost as if we know it's a good thing but we're unsure if it would be a good thing for us. It's as if many of us are waiting for that lightning bolt to strike us just so we can be sure we've got what it takes.

The deal is: A thing like adoption requires a certain measure of leaping faith. The good news is the Lord is there to catch you! Always. And, when all else fails I like to borrow this prayer from a very wise man.

So here you are. You feel a spark of compassion rise up, maybe do an Internet search or attend an informational event because you care. You want to know more. At least a little. Whatever you do DON'T put this issue on the back burner. Unfortunately, embers often grow cold on the back burner.

I know this because I did the whole back burner thing. Thankfully the Lord got my attention loud and clear. If he hadn't I would still be missing TWO OF MY CHILDREN. What!? It's crazy to think about; life without two of MY KIDS? Oh, I shudder!.... So, let's not have you do that.

Fan those embers and let's see what happens next, because following right behind faith's knock on the door is our second "F".


Fear is to faith like kryptonite is to Super Man. Most Christians believe on a fundamental level that adoption is right. They just have a hard time coming to the conclusion that's it's right for them in light of a lot of their fears.

Education is key. Like, REALLY key. Because, everything is just that much scarier when combined with mystery (or ignorance).

My challenge to anyone out there who has really considered adoption before but stopped because they ran into a thick brick wall of fear is to charge straight ahead and see what answers you can get for those fearful "what ifs".

Fear of the unknowns surrounding adoption is common. The first and easiest fear to overcome is the weirdness people feel about not knowing anyone who has adopted or was adopted. People who haven't been exposed to adoption before tend to think of it as some really exotic way to live.

Given the chance most people would like to know more about adoptive families, but many don't have people they feel comfortable enough to take their adoption questions to. People just beginning to investigate adoption may be afraid to reach out to agencies for fear of being forced into a commitment they are not ready to make. This is where families in the adoptive community, especially those in churches, have an awesome opportunity to reach out. And, the deal is MOST adoptive families are only too happy to share their experiences.

I'll issue a warning here if you're one of those people who just wants to see what life is like for adoptive families but you're not what you'd call "that close" with an adoptive family: You've got to take the first step. Seriously, Just ask! Adoptive parents aren't mind readers, so you'll have to swallow that lump in your throat and go ahead, put it out there. You might need to say, "Hi, you barely know me, but I know you. Um... don't worry, I'm not a stalker or anything, but, like.... (giggle) funny, I said stalker. Again, I'm NOT. But I digress; listen, we're interested in adoption but we don't know any other adoptive families. Would it be okay if I called you sometime or maybe even met up with you to buy you some coffee and learn about your adoption experience?"

You might be surprised to learn how easy it is to make friends with adoptive families. Adoptive parents - or "APs" as I call them - know that folks just want to see and understand how things work. They know you need someone who you can ask questions of. APs understand people need to see real-life families doing their "thing" so they can get an idea of how family happens through adoption. APs "get it" when it comes to this stuff; mostly because they've been in your shoes.

A little known secret about APs is this: They're not faith giants. Nope, they're totally normal. They started out with fears all their own, but pressed past to take the plunge by God's grace.

Yes, every AP was once a PAP.

What's that? A PAP is Perspective Adoptive Parent.

I don't know of a single adoptive family who wasn't first inspired as perspective adopters by another adoptive family.

Or, haven't you noticed? Adoptions are contagious.

That's because when PAPs get around APs they realize adoption very much works. And, they get to meet the AMAZING blessings that are adopted children. So then, the PAPs want in on that action too. They see how much love happens in adoptive families and want to join in at every level.

I'm telling you; buddie yourself up to some APs and see if you don't catch the adoption bug. I dare you.

Talking with APs will also give perspective adopters a better understanding of the adoption process. Personally speaking, Dustin and I had such a distaste for what we thought would be a grueling home study process. We wondered if our previous parenting might be called into question. We feared that we could be judged harshly and that somehow we wouldn't make the grade. When we were able to speak with families who had completed the home study process we learned we had nothing to fear. Through online support groups our puffed up image of the dreadfully daunting task of completing our dossier was deflated. We drew from the experience of families who had gone before us and gained much confidence from their encouraging words.

If after digging you find that there simply are no adoptive families in your area never under-estimate the power of the good old world-wide web. That's how I met some of my closet friends; who happen to be adoptive families. There are countless blogs, websites, discussion boards, yahoo groups, etc., where you can link up with adoptive families and ask all the questions you can think of (and then some.) All this from the comfort of your home. You can totally find out about how awesome adoption is in your underwear, dude. I mean really!? What's better than that?

Lastly, but most importantly, people fear the biggies like attachment, special needs, and behavioural disorders. I haven't the time or the space to preach you the sermon I've prepared about how important it is for PAPs to realize that adoption is different and therefore prepare accordingly.

Okay, I said DIFFERENT, not bad. There are different challenges associated with adoption which yield different and wonderful rewards.

All adoptions come out of a MIND BLOWINGLY MASSIVE amount of loss and pain for a child (and their first family for that matter.) If you are seriously going to break through your fear related to topics like grief and loss you need to become educated about them. No wound can be healed without first being acknowledged. It is the duty of an adoptive parent to completely acknowledge the wounds their adopted child sustains. How can you know you're up to that task if you don't learn about the job at hand first? You might find you were made for this kind of parenting!

It's not just grief and loss you need to study. You'll need to understand attachment and bonding and how loving parent/child relationships are formed. You'll need to know how families work with therapists to help children who have been wounded deeply by a lack of proper attachment.

Perhaps the person you need to understand the most if yourself. Do you truly know what your fears are? Can you articulate them clearly to yourself? Have you searched the Scriptures and prayers to see what God would say to you about your fears? Are you willing to love unconditionally and with a motive that seeks the best intrest of your adopted child? Do you believe God can work in you to build the characteristics of a good adoptive parent? Have you given Him the space to do so?

If you would commit to invest just 10 hours reading, researching, and praying I'm willing to wager my first-born (NO not really!) that your fears will be lessened greatly. At that point, with fear no longer driving your decision, you'll be able to rationally and accurately assess whether or not you are a good fit for adoptive parenting.

If the answer is no, you'll no longer have to wonder. You'll never again have to say , "I've thought about adoption, but........ (and give a really lame excuse without ever really having put in the leg work to find out if it truly was right for you) You'll just know. And, knowledge is power.


Let's be honest. Money is a biggie. It's usually the first thing I hear out of people's mouths when they tell me why they haven't gotten serious about adoption. It isn't cheap but adoption is not impossible by any means.

Many people are surprised to learn there are a ton of organizations out there which provide grants and zero interest or low interest loans to adopting families. Some agencies have funds set up for family and friends of adopters to make tax deductible donations towards fees. Such a fund covered HALF of our adoption costs. America World Adoption Association (our agency) has a great list with links to some such organizations.

It is here that I really want to inject a personal story. Dustin and I felt the deep conviction that God was calling us to adopt the day after we wrote a check that could have paid for our adoption in full, twice. You read that right. And you might be asking a question similar to the one we asked ourselves at the time, "Why, Lord?"

You've heard it said that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills? But have you experienced God orchestrate the distribution of His wealth so that your family can include a child that would otherwise have no home, no parents, and no place to belong?

My family has. Twice.

God's answer to our financial concerns was made clear by His provision over the course of our adoptions. I can confidently tell you that God loves adoption and WILL move heaven and earth to bring His children home. Had I not experienced it myself I might never have believed it but - amazingly enough - ours is not a unique situation. Not by a long shot!

We have come to know so many families who have stepped out to adopt long before they knew the details of how the Lord would accomplish the work. Guess what? I don't know of a single family who sent in their application to an agency seriously intent upon adopting as a way to honor God that has ever failed to receive the provision necessary to bring their child/ren home.

God is not a liar when He says He desires that we care for orphans. He makes it possible for us to obey. Period.

The Three "F's" Challenge:

So here it is. The rubber shall be meeting up with the road, friend. I can't very well talk about the types of questions I get asked often without providing at least some of the answers.

As the saying goes, there's no such thing as a free lunch. I'll give you your answers but I want to challenge you in return. I'd really like you to commit the ten hours I talked about above. Just ten hours of your life for praying, reading, and educating yourself about adoption.

I'm going to make it SOOOO easy for you. Get out your library card because I've made a handy-dandy reading list for you.

Red Letters: Living a Faith That Bleeds- by Tom Davis

Adopted For Life- by Russell D Moore

Twenty Things Adopted Children Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew- Sherrie Eldridge

The Adoption Resource Book- Lois Gilman

Attaching in Adoption- Deborah D Gray

The Connected Child- Karyn Purvis

I'm also volunteering myself and the other authors of this blog to answer any questions you want to ask about our families and our adoption experiences. I'm serious. Ask away.

That takes care of Fear and Finances. The Faith part is between you and Jesus. Here are a few conversations starters:

James 1:22-27

James 2:14-26

Romans 8:14-16 (Amplified)

Matthew 28:19-20

Psalm 50:10

Psalm 24:1

Ephesians 1:4-6 (Amplified)

Matthew 17:20

Zephaniah 3:17

And, if you're taking the challenge shoot me an email or leave a comment. Let me know how well the Three F's addressed your concerns. If you have any additional questions don't hesitate to ask me!

*Published 4/2009, Updated 4/2010

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


That's the number of pounds Jonas gained over the last month. I'd say Operation Chubby Buns was a success.


I didn't know you could do this (but now I do) I am linking to Tom Davis's Facebook photo album so you can see the kids at Hope for the Hopeless that we love so much. Their faces brought us all to tears yesterday as we awaited every photo to download. Apparently Tom spent more than 3 hrs trying to get them uploaded. That's dedication!

Monday, April 20, 2009


ANSWERED! Now there's another voice in the chorus of people who believe in what Surafel and Fikadu and all the others at Hope for the Hopeless are doing.

I'm filled with joy and praise God Almighty.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Birthday Girl Allyse

When I asked Ally a couple of days ago what she wanted to do for her big day she told me, "Go to a salon and have my hair done, then go to a hotel and stay overnight with you, mom." Wow, I don't know where she gets that from? ;-) I was thrilled to have my child's request for her birthday be to spend quality time with me. So that's just what we did. We spent time. Our day started off with Allyse selecting my clothes for our "date". She made me wear some red heeled sandals that I haven't worn in forever. They hurt my feet so much but I wasn't about to argue with my girl. She knew what she wanted and my job on this day was to say yes as much a possible.

Lunch would be at Chick-fil-a. Then off to pick up a bottle of nail polish in any color she fancied. We'd be doing nails later in the day. She chose a lovely vibrant purple. Then we made a stop at Justice for Girls. A girly girl store which unfortunately doesn't carry anything under girls size 6. Ally got a purse and a small hairbrush to go in her purse. Old Navy was the next door down. Ally had asked for a dress as her gift and I knew she'd have success there. We found a darling little sun dress for $8.00. That left enough for a new pair of sunglasses. Whew her day just kept getting better!

I had told her that we'd spend the whole afternoon together. We still had a couple of hours to burn so I told Ally of a candy store in the mall. We drove 30 mins only to find the store had closed down. What to do? Head to Johnny Rockets for shakes.

Heading out the door of the mall toward the car with Ally sucking on her strawberry shake now poured into a to-go cup she looked up at me and earnestly asked "Can I drive?" My eyes grew wide and a smirk came over both our faces just before we both burst into laughter. "You've been getting everything you want today, haven't you? Might as well shoot for the moon kiddo! Well, it never hurts to ask.... but NO!" HAHAHAH That kid cracks me up. I love her!

Her new shades didn't come off all day. Indoors and out of doors they were a fixture on her face.

We HAD to sit at the counter and play Alley Oop on the jukebox

Taking a little siesta on the way home from the mall

Rory took this photo. I thought it was pretty good.

Ally chose this cake and carried it through the store with head held high. If you know our Ally you know she has a certain confidence in her stride that is just the cutest thing. She always walks with a bounce and her nose tipped slightly up. All the staff in the store ate up her cuteness as she carried her prized cake.

Happy birthday Allyse!

I Borrowed A Book

Sitting on the coffee table at my dad and his wife's home was a little book titled The Last Lacture authored by Randy Pausch. I had never heard of it and it's not something I'd be likely to come across in a book store but somehow it drew me in. Jan let me borrow it (thanks Jan) and I've just finished off the last pages. I recommend it heartily. You can even go to The Last Lecture website and poke around. Or you can view Randy Pausch actually giving his final lecture by following this link.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Watch This

I was responding to a friend on facebook who was looking for some possible orphanages for Tom Davis to visit during his next trip to Ethiopia. I had commented that he should check out Hope for the Hopeless and another woman suggested Drawn From Water. It's a really cool program. Check it out.

Drawn from Water from Drawn From Water on Vimeo.

The really fabulous news is that my friend Julie was able to connect Surafel and Tom's organization Children's Hope Chest. It appears Tom will be visiting Hope for the Hopeless to see for himself the work they are doing. I would appreciate your prayers for that meeting!

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Subject Revisited

I posted about Why Ethiopia long before we brought Jonas home but I've had plenty of opportunities to think about the subject upon his homecoming. I've been asked that question more times than I can count. Especially related to "why not a domestic adoption?"

I can't really answer why we didn't do a domestic adoption. Actually whenever Dustin and I had discussed adoption throughout our marriage we always spoke about domestic adoption as if that would be what we did "if we ever do adopt." Many, many times I've wondered why God's plan for our family included Ethiopia.

I don't have all the answers. In many ways coming home has created more questions. I do know that our son was intended for this family. That God had a plan in place long before Dustin and I ever realized it. Truly, Jonas is our biggest "Why Ethiopia" and these days I don't feel compelled to offer up more than that. But, still, I often wonder why myself. I may not completely understand Why but I'm sure glad we said "yes!"

We LOVE Ethiopia. I cannot explain it any other way. God has given me/us a deep love for the people and the land. It breaks my heart when all others can focus on is the suffering and poverty in Ethiopia. Ethiopia- The people are so much more than that. And, when you meet them you know that God's love and His Spirit is growing in them. I become crazy irritated (and not a little defensive) when people see Ethiopia's differences from America as somehow being wrong. As if the whole world ought to be the same or like us. I ache that sometimes people fail to appreciate our differences and treasure the good in them. The whole world is broken- Ethiopia is certainly broken but so is the U.S. Some sins are like leprosy and others like cancer. Some are easily observed with the naked eye while others require a microscope though both are deadly and cannot be ignored. I've tried hard (and will continue to work) to lay my preconceived notions down and view Ethiopia through the Lord's eyes. I'm not interested in what I desire Ethiopia to look like, but more about what God is doing there, what His dreams for His children are, and how I can help. Maybe it's because my family has now been adopted by Ethiopia as well. We are American and Ethiopian. Our hearts will always take up duel residency.

Back around to "why Ethiopia?" and how to answer that question. It's our calling. Now, when I say "calling" I have to reiterate that we didn't hear the "call" and totally understand it from the beginning. Sometimes when people say they were "called" it seems like they always knew exactly what they were meant to do and why. That wasn't our experience. We could have easily gone the US foster care/ adoption route but that wasn't God's plan for us and that was the only thing which became instantly clear to me. I still don't know why that wasn't for us. I would NEVER discourage anyone from adopting or fostering in the US because God has burdened our hearts for all orphans not just those in Ethiopia. I'm working with friends to promote adoption and orphan care at all levels in all countries. Maybe one day we'll foster or adopt domestically but, we were "called" to Ethiopia. Now that we've been there and back again that is the one thing we know in our hearts for sure.

I still don't have a quick easy answer for the mom at figure skating lessons or the nurse at the doctor's office. I doubt I ever will.

Friday, April 10, 2009

On a Day Like Today

It's Good Friday. Such an important day for me to meditate on.

Our friend Mark posted a really lovely video from his last trip to Ethiopia / Kenya with World Orphans. In thinking of all my Saviour suffered for me there's nothing more inspiring to me. This Good Friday I want to know how I may better bring His love to His beloved children here at home and abroad.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Between Now and Tuesday

Here's a list of things we have to accomplish by next Tuesday. (in no particular order)

Take Jonas to a doctor appt.
Visit with family coming to town
Clean the house
The Kitchen (need I say more?)
**Really meditate on the death and ressurection of Christ **
Visit 3 homes in one day to celebrate Easter
Dye eggs
Shop for candy for the kids' baskets
Sign readoption paperwork in an office across town
Celebrate Ally's birthday (I don't know how I am going to swing making the customary favorite meal for dinner or bake a cake. I may have to have a chat with the birthday girl and see if we can come up with a suitable compromise.)

Come to think of it I don't know what I'm doing sitting here. I need to get on the ball!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hello Bloggy Friends

I haven't had as much time as I'd like to post here. Though, I have been keeping up with my regular blog circuit, so I know what you've been up to ;-) I'm just hopping on to give a quick update.

Jonas has been doing so well lately. Operation Chubby Buns in in full swing. I am really hoping we post some high numbers when he returns to the doc on the 21st. Jonas also learned to crawl last week. He still prefers his army crawl on the wood floors but on carpet he'll crawl for quite a while. He's pulling up and cruising furniture as best he can with his twiggy little legs. He's too tall for his bouncer but he still needs some strength conditioning. His pampers pad a lot of his falls. It's pretty funny to watch his pull up and have his legs wobble all around. If you try to help he becomes indignant. He wants to run with his big sisters. I'm confident he'll be walking in no time. For now, I'm glad he's still limited in his mobility because he gets into everything!

The girls have been huge helpers while the kitchen is torn up. This morning Rienne washed dishes all by herself without being asked just to help mommy. What a loving girl we've got! Rory has been busy tinkering in the kitchen with us. She's a very hands on girl and mechanically inclined like her father. Ally is a WONDERFUL big sister. She's taken lots of responsibility for Jonas. She's extremely loving.

Today we interview at the private school we'll be sending the girls to next year. Yes, it's been a hard decision but we believe it's the best one. It's been very difficult to educate them sice Jonas came home. It's not at the level that it was before. Many distractions make it difficult. Also, I think Jonas will do well with some one on one time during his day.

I will absolutely miss the fun and joy of teaching the kids and knowing so intimately where they are at in their studies- their strengths/weaknesses. I'll miss the morning snuggles on the couch for story time. But I'm super excited for them to have a new experience and I know this school will provide for all their needs. With a great staff and many good friends attending they are sure to have a wonderful 2009-10 school year.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Things and looking up as Hubby and I have worked all day to make the necessary adjustments. I won't pretend we didn't bicker often today but through it all we worked as a team and consequently made progress. Granted, it's back tracking progress so it doesn't feel quite so gratifying. But, I'll take it.

I will say that life is so much easier when you can order cabinets to fit your space rather than amend your space to fit your cabinets. Because we bought these items from a builder who came in and took over a tract home development after foreclosure the builder had no idea who manufactured the cabinets, thus no way for us to order the odds and ends pieces that would have prevented so many of our headaches. We've had to custom build some things and that's laughable when I think about it because carpenters we definitely are NOT!

Tecno-Nanna Commented that she loves to watch the remodel shows on HDTV to see the pickles people get themselves into and then ultimately out of. Well, our day would have made for some great TV. I've been trying to come up with a suitable title for today's episode. I think I'll go with Deja Vu Remodel. Okay, it's not that good but I'm not going to spend any more time trying to think of a better one (Not that you're not totally worth it. It's just that 1) I have to get back in there and help Hubs and 2) my brain is pretty fried anyway)

We still haven't gotten things straightened out for the drywallers. I think I'll have coffee and doughnuts here for them tomorrow. :-)

The Surest Way to Go Insane.....

Is to remodel your home yourself. I don't have much else to report. Except that as I type hubby is ripping out much of what was accomplished last week because there was a problem with measurements. I'm trying to remember that somewhere in all this is a huge financial blessing.

It's a total mess. A complete and total disastrous mess. That's all there is to say.

And, the drywallers are going to HATE us.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

While I Was Away

I haven't been posting as much as usual. I've been sick and just plain busy.

We have officially begun our kitchen remodel. tomorrow marks my first day without any cooking appliances but for the microwave- my least used and most unappreciated appliance. It's a real challenge trying to come up with meals that don't require stove top cooking or baking. We won't be eating the healthiest of fair for the duration of the project.

Hubby hopes to have everything complete in two weeks. It's an ambitious goal considering he's doing most of the work himself. Drywallers come tomorrow to texture. Things stall over the weekend then Monday we hope the counter top installer will arrive. Tues our cabinet installer will come and we hope to have the kitchen operational before the following weekend. I will be tiling the floors but I'm in no hurry for that. I just need to have my stove back!

This remodel has been remarkable to say the least. When we moved into our home, almost 5 years ago now, we planned from the very beginning to remodel it top to bottom. We managed to do most of the interior but the kitchen was the most expensive and messiest project of all. Naturally we put it off until last. We assumed we'd get to it as soon as the other projects were completed. God had other plans as we made some financial commitments to our church. Then the adoption expenses followed along. And, so remained our kitchen, glaringly half torn apart. So NOT remodeled. I wondered if it would stay like that forever.

Dustin and I made a commitment not to go into debt over the remodel and everything we had done up to that point was paid for in cash, so we weren't about to go into debt over a kitchen. That left us with one option. We waited. I worked on being grateful for the home we had and not feeling embarrassed about the eye sore that was our funkified kitchen a la 1960.

About a year ago the opportunity came up to buy some cabinets (not my dream cabinets, mind you, but good solid wood cabinets) that a builder hand on hand and wasn't able to use. We took two homes worth of cabinets for $1200.00 (insanely cheap) and worked a kitchen plan around what was available to us. Since that time we've been storing them at our home in a large shed outback. That as much progress as we've made.

What if I told you that all of a sudden we found it possible to do our kitchen remodel for under $4000.00 dollars? You wouldn't believe me, I know, because I didn't believe my husband when he told me! The Lord has recently opened up the floodgates of blessing for us. Many building materials which were once so expensive have come down remarkably in price. Since my husband is in the construction trade (and he's one very generous dude when others need help) many friends have volunteered to do things for us for free or minimal cost which dramatically lowers our bottom line. I have had to make some adjustments to my expectations. (For we all know how grand our "dreams" can be) Truly, no compromise I make constitutes roughing it. No, roughing it is what I've been doing in my retro kitchen (and not the cool kind) for the last three years.

One way we've cut expenses is to do granite tile counter tops instead of granite slabs. A friend of Dustin's is giving us the tile at cost so it becomes and even bigger bargain for us. I had originally wanted a 36" range but those are ridiculously expensive and hard to find so we are keeping our relatively new 36" electric cooktop (which was given to us 3 years ago) and I found a new Dacor convection oven to be installed below the counter top for a STEAL of a deal at $550.00. (Incidentally now is the time to buy appliances. Websites like Craigslist are chock full of people heading into foreclosure trying to make a fast buck by selling off their appliances. There are major deals to be had folks!)

Needless to say this kitchen remodel is supernaturally blessed. I have to say, though, that it makes me wonder. One of our primary reasons for desiring to finish our home was to get it in a position to sell if need be. With economic times being what they are, being self employed as we are it's important for us to be able to get out if the need arises. We've considered selling it just so we can buy a less expensive and smaller home to ready ourselves for any financial storms as we've watched many a competitor close their doors around us. That's why the current events make me raise an eyebrow heavenward. I wonder what the Lord's plans are for this family moving forward. What does He want us to do with these blessings?

For right now He reminds me once again of His great faithfulness and provision. I'm glad we waited on him.