About Me

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Married twenty-five years to my wonderful husband and best friend. We have 3 "home-grown" kids and 1 hand-picked by God from Africa. Our life is blessed. We are a close knit family with strong Christian beliefs. Come along with us on our journey…you might have a great laugh or two.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A helpless feeling...

It is an incredibly helpless feeling that you have when your children are sick. However, it's even worse when your son is in another country fighting for his life and you can't be there...to hold...to love...to just be with him. We have just gotten word that our adoptive son right now is battling some serious infections. It seems to be one problem right on top of another. We are praying that God will lead the doctor's hands so that they can heal him. He is so tiny and I am scared that he won't have the strength he needs. We have been told, in the midst of all the medical issues, that he has such a "natural beauty and smile"...isn't that such a wonderful thing to say about someone. So today if you can just help us and pray for my son....he could really use a whole bunch of prayer warriors right about now.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Wheelin' and dealin'...

Well, our garage sale was a huge success! We sold just about everything we had including our old van (Yee-haw!). I tell you if it wasn't nailed down I was wheelin' and dealin'. It would have made even the best used car salesman jealous. Even better than that, it just feels great to have gotten rid of that much stuff. Gettin' clutter free, baby!

Now, it's on to the next project...no rest for the weary here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A crazy life...

You know your life is crazy when the only place you can find to do school is on your driveway as you price clothes/toys in your garage. Someone "whop me upside my head" iffin I ever get the notion to do another garage sale again.

On an up note, I made a pot roast and sweet potato casserole for dinner (...from the south remember...and I was in some serious need of comfort food)...bring on the comfort.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's my privilege...

What if you could do it all? Obviously, you can't but let's leave reality for a moment...what would your home look like? How would your family function? What would you love to do with your children? (I'm sure you would NOT be doing a garage sale...)

The more I get into homeschooling...reading, teaching and just being with my kids...the more I am realizing that life...just life...speeds by. I see changes in my kids today that weren't there a few years ago. I don't mean growing up size-wise, but growing up - period. I think the author of the book I just finished sums it up perfectly when she says....

"Don't we often have the mistaken idea that it is our job to finish training our children? God gives us the privilege of training them in the beginning; it is God who finishes what He wants to accomplish in them. Philippians 1:6 says, I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

The outcome isn't always what we expect or necessarily what we want. Life moves fast and it's messy, even when children aren't toddlers any longer. We survive through hard times, tears, laughter, disagreements, joys, work, accomplishments, prayer, and praise all mixed together to form our unique family. Nevertheless, we can be sure that the outcome is what God has designed. Certainly, we are to do our part, and we will by God's grace, but He is the author and finisher of each of us, including our children." (from the book Homeschooling by the speed of life by Marilyn Rockett)

So this week as I seem to be "hanging on for dear life" just to get through...I am reminded (yet, again) that I am not in control of the outcome. Right now, I have the privileged of teaching/being with my kids...whether my home is in perfect shape or not, whether dinner is home-cooked or pre-bought, or whether we are schooling in our classroom or at the pool. God has us in his hands...and he's not letting go.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Don't stand still...

Well, I'm pretty sure that I've gone crazy. ("er"...as in "crazier"...my husband so lovingly says) I have decided to have a garage sale this upcoming weekend...because homeschooling full time, gymnastics, awanas, swimming and soccer just weren't enough things on my plate. I'm crazy enough...I just think I'll add more. Our house has become an official disaster area at the moment, as I have begun to go through all our girls clothes, toys, and everything else I can think of to sell. The good news is that in a day or two these things are going outside and are never allowed back in (whether they sell or not) ...and that to me is an accomplishment.

So right now in our house, you'd better watch out. If you stand still long enough I'll either tag you, organize you or throw you out.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Out of my comfort zone...way out

My son has just begged me lately to start and coach a Lego League - Mindstorm team. Not familiar with Lego Mindstorm? Well basically, you have a team of kids which create a robot that can do certain challenges in a competition. The idea is to incorporate science and technology with Legos. Sounds cool, right? Well, maybe for someone who is technologically savvy. I admit...I am not. I mean I just found out what a "tweet" was a year ago. And don't even ask me to text anything...heck, I can't even read the text messages when they're all ...BFF...LOL...PTNGBRF (I made that one up, but really, who would know).

So see, God did not put me in that (computer savvy/technological) line when I was born. I guess I just stayed way too long in the artistic line. So as I branch out to coach a Lego League team, I realize that this could go one of two ways...it could be as funny as me trying to text someone, or we could hit it out of the ballpark. Either way...

I am out of my comfort zone...way out

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I just know I'll get this done...

I have been reading a book lately called "Homeschooling at the speed of life" by Marilyn Rockett. Obviously it's about homeschooling, but mostly it deals with balancing home, school and family in the real world. The chapter that has captivated me lately is the one on clutter. O.k., I admit it's frustrated me actually and more times than I care to admit I've slammed the book shut and put it down thinking...no way, she can be right about that one.

Now, you would think that since we've had to relocate a few times I would not fall guilty under the "clutter chapter". I mean who would WANT to move all of that clutter from one house to another and another. But humbly, I admit...we do. Pathetic really. This past move I did try the hardest and threw out/gave away/sold an enormous amount of stuff...and still...sadly to say it took one large 18 wheeler and half of another one to move us...so sad. Thus, the reason why I'm captivated by the clutter chapter. What could I possibly still be doing wrong?

At the beginning of the chapter she asks several questions which I admit I could answer no to (whoo-hoo for me!) but then came the second half of the list (and reality set in)...they were as follows:

1. If you had to sell you home today, would you be able to show it to prospective buyers within a twenty-four hour notice without embarrassment? (O.k....my answer...CAN ANYBODY DO THIS????)

2. Do you have boxes in the attic or basement that only God knows for sure what they contain? (I loved that one...we really do. We've moved enough that some boxes don't ever get untaped)

3. Do you attend yard sales regularly and come home with bargains you couldn't resist? (O.k., this for me is toys...LOTS OF TOYS)

Finally, this last one hit me like a ton of bricks...

4. If the Lord called you home today, would you be horrified if your spouse accepted help from friends, relatives, or especially your mother-in-law to sort through your things? (For me, I just wouldn't want to put extra burden on anyone)

So how do you achieve the balance that's best for your home? How do you not throw everything out and also not keep everything at the same time? The book called it "functional neatness"...neat enough to be peaceful and messy enough to be happy. I liked that.

So, here's my thought...I've got a few months before our new son arrives (after he gets here, I'm not going to get anything done...), I've decided to take control of our "clutter issue". My goal is to NOT move the mountain of stuff in our house one more time. I know it won't be easy (I've got to let go of the girls baby clothes...sniff, sniff), but I really feel that this is important. So, I'll take all kinds of tips for organizing that worked best for your family...from toys to paper clutter.

With a few tissues, plastic containers and lots of trash days...I just know I'll get all this done.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Thank goodness for wood floors...

Before I had children (in the "pre-kid" years) I was an art teacher, teaching grades K - 12. (Funny how that came back around full circle...I quit my job so I could stay home with the kids...only to teach again in the end). Anyway, as we started our school off I was not surprised that my kids just begged me to do clay/pottery as our first art class. Probably a crazy thing to start off in art with, but I'm so use to kids making a mess with art that I really didn't mind one bit. So we dragged out our pottery's wheel, clay and everything else I could think of to create what the kids said were beautiful clay pots.

Actually, it's really good therapy for kids...or anyone for that matter. It has a wonderful calming effect on people when they focus on smashing, smoothing and creating with clay...(playdoh, has the same effect). That's why it's used so often during many different kinds of therapy. For my kids though (as calm as they were), they just settled down to make a good ol' fashion mess....

...thank goodness for wood floors

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Say cheese...

On Friday I took the kids to go and have their "school pictures" taken at a local portrait studio. It's a pretty sweet setup actually called "Portrait Innovations". The photographer takes a ton of pictures with her digital camera with all the kids...individually, together...all kinds of backgrounds, poses...you get the idea. They even allow for you to change outfits during your session (I laugh at this though...I'm just happy to keep them all clean, combed and wrinkle free in one outfit...much less two).

Anyway, after your session is up you get to look at all of the pictures on a big screen and they can digitize it whatever way you would want. O.k....now here's the best part...you can pick your pictures up in about 15 minutes and if you buy the basic package it's only around 10 bucks. Granted, with three kids there was no way we were walking out of there for 10 bucks, but on the flip side...I was very pleased with everything. I mean everyone smiled, there were no major fights, and for a brief moment everyone was combed and clean (that is until snack was handed out at the end in the car and chocolate ended up on my son's shirt...to be honest, I'm really not surprised).

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Waiting on you...

Lots of people have asked us when do we get to go to Ethiopia and pick up our son. That's a hard one for me to answer. We believe and hope that, that time is around Christmas or the new year. Why so long??? Well unfortunately, lots more paperwork has to be filed.

They have to apply for a birth certificate for him (in Africa birth certificates are not given out). Next, a court date is issued for us, which, if we pass, will legally give us custody of him...(however, you sometimes fail if your paperwork is not all in order). We, personally, are not putting the paperwork together, the court in Ethiopia is...so we can only pray things will go as planned. As of right now (in the month of September), the court is closed for their annual break...UGH! So we can't even get into the line to get a court date until they open back up...talk about frustrating.

After we pass our court date, then a travel visa is issued for us and a passport is issued for our son (so he can exit the country). Finally, our final travel arrangements will be made that will allow us into the country.

So you can see, it's not an easy question to answer...not because we don't know the date (that's part of it), but because it's hard to be patient through all of this knowing your son is on the other side...waiting on you.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Where do I sign?

With Labor Day behind us, our life is in full swing here. With school full-time now, we have squeezed in swimming lessons, awanas (a church organized Wednesday night event), home school get togethers, soccer practice/games and gymnastics. It seems that everyday day and night are filled to the brim with something to do. I know that this is normal for most families you meet, but it doesn't always make it the easiest. It's like being on some kind of reality show...you know, the "survival of the most organized family" wins.

Let's see...hmm, it might go something like this...you stand on the starting block and rip open the paper and read...travel to America, land in your kitchen and make dinner for 5 in 20 minutes...all the while doing two loads of laundry, finishing history assignments, teaching piano practice and organizing Spanish lessons. Making sure you make it to soccer practice on time with all the gear on that your kids need, and entertaining the rest of your crew located in the back of the van. You will encounter a "road-block" along the way which will probably be the fact that you have to stop for gas or buy milk for the umpteenth time for that week as you are running late out the door. Oh and yes...did we mention that at the end of this "amazing race" you will receive no money, no endorsements, no "hoop-laas"....just a whole lot of love, kisses and "thanks Mom and Dad".

O.k....I'm crazy enough...where do I sign?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Being blessed...one bag at a time

We have always tried to teach our kids to be polite, considerate of other's feelings and to reach out and help those less fortunate than themselves. Today we had a wonderful opportunity to "practice what we preach" and to show our kids what it's like to really extend a helping hand...we packaged food at an international food drive.

There is a fantastic non-profit organization here called "Meals from the Heartland", whose sole purpose is to feed hungry children in different parts of the world. One of those countries really hit home for us...one on the continent of Africa. In fact, as we poured and measured and weighed, my smallest one said to me..."Is this food going to my little brother's African family?" I smiled and said..."Very well could be".

So as we stood in the middle (of what looked like a big hair net convention), you could not help but smile and be blessed. Because each bag that was filled and each box that was taped up fed that many more children. By the end of our time there, we had filled 540 bags that would feed 3,240 children.

For our family, God has truly blessed us beyond measure...our only hope is that we could give some of that back to others in need.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The feeling of completion...

This past weekend we had beautiful weather...clear, sunny 70's to 80's....and beautiful projects being done around the house. Ahhh, the feeling of completion...I love it. I love to stand back and see the fruits of all that hard labor (o.k...granted I didn't help one bit with putting up the ceiling fan in our family room...no wait, I take that back. I did open the door while "the boys", my husband and his dad, brought in the "mo-jo" ladder we had rented).

Now, because we had rented this ladder all day I wanted to utilize it as much as possible so I decided that I would paint the walls in our family room...did I mention that it was a cathedral height room (it is crazy high when you get up on a ladder holding paint). Well, that was also a "group" effort project and between all of us we got it done. YEAH!!!!...don't ever want to do that again...personally, I am not built to go up high places. Anyway, it's all done, looks great...on to the next project (something on the ground preferably).

Tomorrow my husband has the day off...we'll just see what we can get into.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Help is on the way...

Today my mother and father-in-law are coming for a visit over the holiday weekend. It's so nice when they come because it gives my husband the needed help (his father...) for certain projects around our house. This weekend we are installing a huge ceiling fan in our family room (it happens to be a cathedral height ceiling...no way do I want to get up there and help on that one). I also hope that they can do some shelves in my storage room (I'll see how the first project goes before I mention that one to them). In any case, I'm just so thankful that...

...help is on the way

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Oh, the things our parents taught us...

My father loved to fix things...as I like to call it "tinker with things". You would find him quite often out in the garage, or the backyard...wherever, really...with a hammer in his hand. If you asked him what he was doing he would say..."I'm going to fix...(whatever it was)", but he always had a hammer with him. Now, this I came to understand after many years of watching him, was his last ditch effort at trying to fix the item...he beat it with a hammer. Funny, yes...did it work?...no.

Actually, the only time I ever saw it work was on a car that my husband and I had (early in our marriage) that had a tendency for the thermostat to become stuck and would over heat. We had stopped at a gas station with him on a trip and he went in and asked if they had a hammer. My husband and I burst into laughter at the scene as out he came with the "prize" tool. He proceeded then to "pound" the engine (who knows where...) and low and behold the thermostat began to work. I tell you I've never laughed so hard in my life and my Dad never looked so proud.

Fast forward to today...as I have been having trouble with one of my window blinds (it's stuck, really and won't stay up...frustrates the fire out of me). After working for several minutes and trying different things, I headed straight for the garage to get...what else but...a hammer. And as I hopped back up onto the chair I stopped dead in my tracks and busted out laughing...

Oh, the things our parents taught us...