28 December 2010

Hole in our Gospel

I just got a few new books for Christmas.  The one I'm most looking forward to reading is called "A Hole in Our Gospel".  It doesn't speak of a hole in the gospel as it is written but rather the hole that we put there.  Thankfully, I got this book in cd.  I'm hoping to listen to it when I get my lazy, and out of shape self back on the treadmill in the evenings.  I'll let you know more about this book when I'm done with it (which might be a while).  In the mean time, if you want to win yourself a copy and read it before I do, head on over to Kat's Everlasting Momentum where she's giving two away.  While there, you can also check out her adorable twins that have been home from Ethiopia for 6 months! 

26 December 2010

He's here

They've been asking for this daily around our house:

which is why we were quite surprised when they didn't give a rip when we gave them the puppy. Regardless, we have a new puppy around our house. His name is Harley.

21 December 2010

gift giving

It was Sunday afternoon and the house was quiet.  Ryan was busy wrapping gifts when the children started to stir.  The kids came down stairs at the tail end of gift wrapping.  It was actually good timing since the stuff was out and Scott wrapped the gift he bought and already showed his daddy.
This is the first time Bethany has really noticed gift wrapping.  And we're making a regular effort for them to know it's about Christ's birth, about giving to those in need, and not about our selfish wish list (yes, I have one too).  On Thursday night our bible study group had gathered to wrap the gifts for the families we adopted.  Two of the girls are a year older than Bethany so she certainly had interest in their gifts.  She and the other kids were great "help" wrapping (and crumpling paper).  When Bethany cried because she didn't have a gift there we were able to explain to her that the gifts were for children whose mommies and daddies couldn't buy them gifts.  Who knows if she got it, right?
Back to Sunday.  After Scott was done wrappring his gift with help from his grandma, Bethany had to wrap a gift too.  She chose a piece from her "my little pet shop" set.  When asked who it was for, she simply told us it was for a girl whose mommy and daddy couldn't buy a gift for her.  She got it!!!  Hearing that melted my heart.  I was in the kitchen working when she decided to wrap another of her "pet shop" toys.  This time by herself.  Oh dear.  As she worked on her gift, I heard her talking to herself.  She said "do you think I'll miss my my littlest pet shop toy?  Oh yes, I'll miss you my littlest pet shop toy! Momma's heart melted again.  Meanwhile, realistic big brother came in and tried to burst her bubble by telling her that it wasn't for anyone.  Geesh brother!  Can't you let a kid imagine?  And who knows, maybe she truly does plan to give it away!

18 December 2010

Cookie Frosting

Last weekend we were stuck at home because of a snow storm. This amazing man thought it would be a great idea to frost cookies with the kids.

It was a great idea. And as the wife and mom, it was great to see the kids doing something fun and creative with their daddy. He's great in and out of the kitchen! Right away Judah got removed from frosting fun because he licked the spreading knife. Silly kid. Another child was a little better at sneaking frosting into her mouth:

while our oldest child was the smartest. He'd occasionally get some on his fingers and ask permission to eat it. I love when he uses his manners. He's a doll!

Speaking of that little boy you see above, he finally got his glasses today. I saw him for just a brief second with them on. He was practicing for the Christmas play and I snuck in to get a peak on my way to the office. Imagine how cool his frosted cookies would have looked if he would have had glasses last weekend!

13 December 2010

still on a break

I really, really want to be blogging lately.  Lots of fun stories from the kids and life in general.  Some great pictures lately of sledding.  But, I'm also still behind on my bible reading so I'm not spending time blogging. 
Real quick though, just to share few fun things:
  • Hubby is amazing.  He had a friend of ours update my laptop for me and when he got it back, he opened up a bunch of blogs I like to read before bringing it home to me. 
  • Hubby couldn't get his snowblower started this weekend after the blizzard so this morning his "workout" was shoveling the driveway so I could get out.  Yes, he's good like that.
  • Scott frosted and frosted cookies with his daddy yesterday.  Bethany and Judah both had limited frosting experience cause they couldn't keep their frosting knife out of their mouths!
  • I've been looking at australian shepherd pups for the kids' and Ryan Christmas present.  I'm eager to have a puppy but not eager to have an animal in the house again.
  • Heavy, wet snow at 32 degrees makes sledding fun.  I'm not sure who had more fun - the kids or us mom's.
Okay, more reading for me to do but first I need to get to the office.

08 December 2010

now I remember

Now i remember what i started to post.  I printed Christmas cards last night.  Double checked the first one before printing.  It looked good.  When the printing was finished, I had 54 cards printed that one side was printed upside down.  I seriously thought about just sending them that way with a note that said something along the lines of "and this is how life has gone lately".  But, I'm anal and so I shredded them all instead!

real quick

Lots going on and several blog posts in the works - one from my favorite guy in the world - but I just wanted to share real quick:
...oh shoot, now I forgot what I wanted to share...
That's about how it's gone lately!  More from me later.

30 November 2010

Real Quick

So I’m catching up on my 90 days of reading and not really blogging. I’d love to write but it’s good for me to read. Tonight I sat down early and began reading. Planning to read a few chapters before I really dig in later when the house is quiet. For some reason when the house became quiet, I opted to write an article about adoption for a work newsletter instead of read. As I was finishing typing the article, Ryan joined me down stairs and opened our first Christmas card.

Seriously, who’s on the ball like that?!?!? You make me sick. I mean jealous. I mean encouraged. I started our Christmas letter over a month ago but just can’t manage to keep it brief enough that you can read it while you’re on the john. Seriously, it was hard enough to write about why we chose adoption and about the process in less than 600 words! So, I look over at the card, and it’s from Shiloh, a fellow employee in this great state who’s also adopted. I found it funny seeing as how I was working on an adoption article for a newsletter when I saw the card and cute picture.

So, I finished my article and closed up the lap top. As I stood up to head to bed, Shiloh’s beautiful family picture was staring me in the face. I couldn’t go to bed now. I had to start on a new Christmas letter, or card, or something. So, here I sit writing a blog post instead of a Christmas letter and still behind on my reading. I guess that will convict me enough that I stop blogging for another week or so and get back to my Christmas letter writing, I mean 90day bible reading!

edited to add: I did start another Christmas letter and almost finished it :)

26 November 2010

black friday

Just finished a little black friday shopping at wally*world.  It was a little different than last year.  I had 2 different items in my cart already when I heard over the speaker that sale items were supposed to be touched until midnight.  Oops.  Was I going to walk back over and put them back?  Of course not.  I also found some of the sale items in their regular places so I didn't feel bad about having them in my cart early.  All in all, it was fun.  I'm so thankful that I didn't have to push around a massive trampoline box this year!  In fact, I used a cart, bought stuff, put it in my van and then went back in to check out the movies.  Good times. 
And guess what...
Lord willing, I'll do it again next year.
By the way, I had an excellent Thanksgiving hanging out with family, working on a scrapbook on my computer.  Love family time.  And love that I have 3 more "stay at home days" before I head back to the craziness I call work.  Off to sleep now, that is after I brush the butterfinger grime off my teeth... I know, I know, you really needed to know that.

21 November 2010

More Fun

So Friday at lunch, I complained a little and shared about my bummer of a day. Well, it got worse. Way worse. Remember I commented about building relationships with my farmers. Well, when I found a HUGE financial error in a guys contract, I about puked. Seriously, how did that happen. Well, really I know how. And though I'm thankful it wasn't my error, I can't even explain the emotion that I felt knowing about this error. Without going into details, I will say that I was feeling a little depressed.

I had company coming for dinner and I wanted to call and cancel. Do you think going home, crawling under a blanket on the couch and having a pity party would help? No.

So, instead some family and friends came over. We shared a meal, played with the kids, put the kids to bed early, and then played Mexican Train with the Dominoes. Apparently several of us are really competitive which made for fun game time. I introduced my parents and aunt to some friends and it was fun to see them interact. I hope they all had as much fun as I did.

When I crawled in bed Friday night, I was glad that I had taken time to laugh and have fun even when I didn't feel like it.

On Saturday, we had a wild day too. A couple of extra little kids in my house, baking cookies, friends over to hang out. I felt like I did dishes ALL day long. But, it was fun. Fun to have friends around. I'm so thankful for JB coming over to hang out and be an extra hand with the kids so it would free Ryan up to help out another friend. I'm so thankful for the means to entertain and feed friends. I'm thankful for funny movies that make me laugh constantly throughout the movie. Tyler Perry, your movies, especially Diary of a Mad Black Woman, is hilarious!

19 November 2010

Great Day + Bad News

It's been a long week.  It's been a long couple of weeks.  Yesterday was quite refreshing though.  It wasn't the normal schedule for Thursday.  My appointment cancelled, I got to hang out with some friends and pray for them before they left for a mission trip, I got to pick my son up from school and I got to enjoy the afternoon rather than rush around like crazy.  Bible study was cancelled last night too so we had a quiet evening at home with our family.
So this morning when I woke up I felt a little refreshed.  The sun was shining and I was thankful that it was Friday.  Work was going great and I felt like I was having some really rewarding conversations.  And then all of a sudden, it seemed like one bit of bad news after the other.  Seriously, this morning alone, I think I said 3 different times that a certain bit of information ruined my day.  One was an overpayment on a contract the last 4 years which means a repayment in sum total.  Ouch for the producer involved.  I don't like finding mistakes - especially when it deals with money and moreso when it's 4 years later. 
The second bit of bad news just plain sucks.  I learned that one of my favorite little farmer guys is going to hospice care.  He's not just any old farmer.  In fact, he doesn't even actively farm these days.  But he still comes in here once a month for business.  And each month I chat with him and his wife.  They're sweet and I love that they stop by each month after her hair-do appointment.  A few months ago my buddy fell and has been in the hospital and rehab ever since.  Last I checked in with his wife, he was sitting up on his own and, I thought, doing well.  That's not the case.  So, I sit at a quiet lunch.  Do I call?  Would I just be a bother?  Do I send a card?  Do I stop by?  What heart break his sweet wife is going through.  My heart aches for her.
It's these times that I'm glad I have rewarding conversations and am able to build relationships with some of those who walk through the door.  These are also the times that having invested in people is hard.  But, today is they day the Lord has made.  I will rejoice, especially when its a Friday, and be glad in it.  And after yesterday afternoon, I look forward to a weekend of rest... that is if two extra kids in our home and a full plate of activities can be restful :)

17 November 2010

ah shux

So, I posted the other day about my daughter asking if I was pregnant. Unfortunately it posted on my adoption blog. Well, I'm neither paper or for-real pregnant. Sorry.

I'm struggling to blog lately because I'm a book behind on my 90 day reading. Yikes! No blogging till I read first. I didn't read much today and last night I was asleep before my kids were even in bed so that tells you how much reading I got done last night.

Maybe tomorrow friends. For now, we're heading off to see the Power Team at Awanas. And hopefully we'll catch them again Friday night in Elkader. Wanna come with us? Maybe next year I'll be on tour with them... hee hee

13 November 2010


My son had no more money in his "church" jar. He was eager to do some things to earn some money. I'm eager to teach him to do those things regardless. Him helping with dishes isn't super helpful. But he can help folk laundry. So, we've started with his own. He did a great job today folding all of his own laundry... and managed to earn some change in the process.

Bethany caught on to it too. She likes to help sometimes anyway. So, here's my princess folding her own clothes after she had dressed herself for the morning.

And this picture shows why Bethany has the nickname Laundry. Because she loves to play in the laundry basket.

10 November 2010

Glad to see This

So, this morning, I saw this after I finished in the shower and headed upstairs to get ready.  This was such a beautiful sight, I had to make a detour to catch this with my camera.  This picture also reminds me of a story from today at work.  I don't often share work stories, but there are two funny ones from today.
The first was out at a farm with some landowners.  I had taken my massive camera with me to capture some specific details to take back to the office.  On the 5th picture I peeked at my camera to make sure I caught the exposed tile line well enough in the shadows.  It was then that I realized my camera card wasn't in my camera.  Once I got past the embarassement of not being prepared, I became a little anxious.  Seriously, where did it go?  I remembered taking it out of my laptop and knew that I had to put it my camera.  I forgot about the pictures I took after that.  When I got back from the field, I searched high and low.  How could I have lost it?  How many pictures were on it that didn't get downloaded?  Where did it end up?  Back at my office, I sent Ryan and warning email about the lost card.  His reply grabbed at my emotions in two ways.  I was GLAD that the card wasn't lost.  But I was frustrated that I didn't communicate with him that I was taking the camera.  He saw the camera and thought it was a perfect opportunity to get pictures off of the card.  So, he grabbed the card out and  put the camera back on the steps.  If I only would have known.
Now sharing one work story made me think of another one.  It deals with a slight paranoia that I have.  I'm afraid, slightly, that something will happen when I'm in the field by myself.  Something like an accident.  Well today I pulled into a field where a truck was parked next to the driveway.  It's deer hunting season here so its not abnormal to see random vehicles parked on the side of the road.  I unlocked the gate and headed in the field.  As I was leaving the field, I saw dust but for some reason smelled smoke.  Now, I don't think I really smelled smoke but rather I was afraid I did.  Two falls ago (I can't link right now) I was in a field with a landowner when a corn stalk got caught up under neath the truck and the heat from the catalytic converter caught the stalk on fire.  So two years ago as I left the field, it acted like a drip torch setting the whole field on fire.  So, you can imagine my anxiety today when I thought something was burning.  I stopped the truck and started to get out to look but then remembered that last time I was encouraged to just get out of the field.  So, imagine me driving through a crop field like a mad-man (no need to be politically correct here) not wanting to light the field on fire.  I was so THANKFUL when it was indeed just dust.
Makes me think of a specific verse that I've been praying for a friend: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philipians 4:6
I should remember that verse when I'm driving through the field like crazy and when I think I lost my camera card.  Oh dear, I have a lot to learn!

Way Behind

When you commit to reading the bible in 90 days, you might also ask God to keep you healthy. Between all the craziness in our house and having a cold, I've been more than tired. A few nights I've been asleep before 9pm. If I'm asleep by 9, that's means several other things are a factor:

1. Ryan probably put the kids to bed cause he's amazing like that and
2. I probably didn't get my hours worth of reading in.

So are kids are getting their teeth brushed, read to and prayed with but the reading is lacking. In fact, if I really want to be honest here and confess, I'd share that I'm two days behind on the reading (granted, I haven't read today). That's 26 chapters. And not just any 26 chapters, but twenty six chapters in Leviticus. Whew. That's some catching up to do.

Fortunately, I found on www.biblegateway.com that you can choose an audio version and have it read to you. Awesome! We have the bible on cd which we've put on our ipods in the past but it's really slow and Ryan says it's not good for "catching up". So, I found this bible gateway to be helpful in getting me through a few extra chapters today during lunch. Suhweet! Unfortunately, when I had some quiet time at the church with wireless internet, I thought I'd work on a few things while my chapters were being read to me. I'm all about multi-tasking through Leviticus to catch up. But, it wouldn't work. Must be a setting on my lap top. Shoot. Guess I'll have to do it the old fashioned way!

No more blogging for me today.

09 November 2010

6 months

We're home 6 months and everything is normal. One fun story to share real quick.

So, I speak some phrases to my kids in spanish. I was hesistant to do this when Judah came home because I didn't want him to get confused between English and Spanish. When he was clearly getting English, I started using some spanish with the kids again. Judah hears it but I don't very often speak directly to him in Spanish. When I did so the other day, his response cracked me up.

I asked Judah in Spanish "do you speak English or Spanish?" His reply: "Espanol". It was the cutest thing ever. He has either heard that question before... or he was just repeating the last word I had said. Either way, it was funny hearing spanish out of his mouth.

So, to date, he's not perfected any language but he understands and knows some Wolytinga (his tribal language - found an audio new testament in that language), he understands and knows some Amharic (the Ethiopian national language), is getting really good at English and can even throw some Spanish in there. Funny since most Americans can only speak English.

08 November 2010

Burned But Still Blessed

About 3am, Ryan's annoying cell phone ring woke us up. He's not on call I thought to myself. Who could be calling? Then Ryan told the person that he'd be right out. Now wait a minute, he's not on call. What's going on? Ryan hung up the phone and I asked him about his random phone call. His reply had me up out of bed and getting dressed in a matter of seconds.

The wood pile was on fire.

Half asleep, I made a poor attempt to put some warm, cotton clothes on as Ryan did the same and we were headed out the door. He grabbed the hose and I headed behind the garage with it. In addition to the wood pile, the pasture was also burning. I started hosing down the grass fire which was up against the garage. And although the garage is beyond repair, I began hosing it down too to keep it from burning. While I did that, Ryan was moving his old ford which was backed up near the wood pile.

My neighbors 6 year old son had woke crying for his mom. This woke John, the dad. He got up to use the bathroom and happened to look out the window. The flames woke him right up to. John called 911 and then called Ryan.

I had the grass fire almost out but the far edge was beyond my reach with the hose spraying. Just then Ryan came back around the garage with another hose to hook on. He started spraying the wood pile while I went and moved the van out of the way for the firetruck. The Deputy sheriff showed up first but right behind him was the Clermont Fire Department.

It didn’t take them long to have the fire out (Ryan had soaked it pretty good to start with). Then they began unpiling Ryan’s wood pile so they could make sure the fire was out. As they chucked the wood pieces out into the pasture, I was sad for all the work that Ryan had done cutting and piling the wood. Small price to pay for getting the fire out.

Just as they were finished rolling up hoses, our furnace kicked on, which kicks on the blower on the wood burner. Right then embers started floating out the top of the chimney. The awestruck look on the fireman’s faces said it all. They stood talking for a few minutes before they came over to Ryan about it. It was then that one of them (our friend, Jerry) said well, I hope we’re not out here again in a few hours.

Do you think I was able to rest, or even sleep peacefully after that?

In the morning, when Ryan went out to feed the fire around 7am, it was ablaze again. Great. Ryan was able to manage this smaller fire on his own and didn’t need the assistance of the fire department. As soon as he was done, the addition to the chimney that had been added earlier in the week was removed in hopes that that was the source of the problem.

With a stack of firewood burned outside, we are so blessed by how God was involved with the details of the fire:
1. That our neighbor woke up and looked outside.
2. That we had water pressure to put out the grass fire and the second fire. With our previous well, that wouldn’t have been possible.
3. That it was cold but bearable (40 and windy)
4. That the grass fire didn’t carry. The pasture area behind the wood pile doesn’t get mowed or grazed and provides fuel for a fire.
5. That the fire burned to the corner of the wood-sided garage and around behind it but never burned the garage.
6. That it happened on the night of the year when we would have one extra hour in the night.
7. That the fire didn’t burn the whole wood pile. Most of the wood can be somewhat salvaged. Since it will be burned at some point, it’s okay that it’s all black and partially burned now.
I am so incredibly thankful. It may have burned a row of wood but we are so blessed. I’m thankful for my neighbors and for the Clermont Fire Department.

As I type this (Sunday afternoon), Ryan is out in the timber gathering up another load of wood that he cut earlier. That will come home and get added to the wood pile.

06 November 2010

Adorable Moment

Today while in the van, Scott grabbed a toy mp3 player. He plays with it like a hand held video game. As he was involved in his game, I heard him announcing the play by play action of the Hawkeye (college football and not “our” team) and Valley Tiger (local high school and not at all college skilled) football game. It was too precious.
As I sat and watched Toy Story 3 with my family, I wrote several posts in my head (one about my freezing cold but awesome morning working in the field, one about my studly husband, and one about the precious things my children say). Even though I really, really wanted to grab my laptop and begin journaling, I knew that 90 minutes with my kids and their little friends was more important. The one distraction I had took a few minutes of my time. But, it was my brother calling and that rarely happens, so it was a welcomed distraction. Now that the movie is over and the little ones are entertained with popcorn, I’ll take a few brief minutes to share one quick story, an educational one, from my week.

Today Ryan was driving home from gathering wood for the outdoor wood furnace. He was in his old ford pickup. Unsure of whether or not his blinkers worked appropriately, he chose to use a hand signal, as he turned into the driveway. The man following him saw Ryan’s hand signal but didn’t recognize it as a turn signal. As Ryan continued to slow down enough to turn, the man realized a little too late that he wasn’t able to slow down enough. In an effort to not rear-end my wood-cutting husband, he opted to pass Ryan on the shoulder. Only there was one problem. Ryan was turning at the same time. While I appreciate the man’s effort not to hit my husband, I do wish that he knew what hand signals were. While I’m thankful that nobody got hurt, Ryan’s old ford truck took a beating. I’m thankful that our kids weren’t in the truck. I’m thankful that the accident occurred off the side of the state highway on the shoulder. I’m thankful for Deputy Ben who was starting work in 5 minutes and came right over to take the accident report. I’m thankful that Ryan had a load of wood in the truck already that was able to make it home. And I’m thankful for a husband who loves his family and spends his time cutting wood so that I can walk into a warm house!

Now, I’m going to do a quick refresher on hand signals for motor vehicles. It would be wise for all of us to know these.

With that said, it’s time for my daily reading. I’ve really enjoyed my time in the Word. And even on the nights when I don’t start reading until 10pm, I’m thankful that I get a good hour of reading in before I begin to fall asleep. Tonight, having finished the last chapter of Genesis over a lunch break, I’m starting into Exodus. I’m excited to read this book again tonight. Now, off I go.

03 November 2010

The Bible in 90 Days

Can I read the bible in 90 days. Yes, I can. And so can you if you want.

Our Sunday School class is doing this together. We're using the Bible in 90 Days program. It's not easy to make time to read that much. But really, it's not that much. Why is it that I can sit and watch the Biggest Loser for an hour or two with no problem. A little bit of guilt, maybe, but I still manage to do it on occassion. But, I struggle to find an hour to read the bible. It's something that I'm trying to change.

Some times I sit and think about what I have to give up in order to make time for this. But then I also think I want to make this a habit and not rush through a chapter a day to keep the devil away. Today is day 4 of our 90 days. I'm already a little behind. Last night I wasn't feeling good (darn head cold) and was in bed by 8pm. I read 6 chapters in Genesis. I'm reading it in the ESV version using E-sword on my laptop. While I read, I'm taking notes. It's been great time learning again through Genesis and thinking of new questions. For me, I want this to be a new, fresh experience so I'm staying out of my study bible where I've already made notes and I'm taking a fresh read. I love it... except for when I get behind.

02 November 2010

Oreo balls and Evening Chaos

I wrote the other day about making oreo balls. My first problem was trying to make them last minute so I could take them as a little "thank you" gift to someone. Well, I got the balls made but never got them dipped in chocolate. Well, maybe one got dipped but it never even cooled before I ate it. So, last night I headed home and started again on the oreo balls. After all, I found out that Jamey isn't allergic to them and could use a few.

Unfortunately last night was a disaster.

The chocolate wouldn't heat up. Then the pan would boil over, then I would change pans. Then it would heat up a little again but not enough. Then something else would go wrong. I never was able to get it just right. It was frustrating to say the least. I've done this before - multiple times. Grr.

Meanwhile the kids were being entertained with a Curious George movie while Ryan was downstairs making me a new coat hanger/rack thingy. I was in the kitchen for about two hours, didn't eat supper and got two oreo balls dipped. They weren't even pretty. I ate the first one right away. After all, I can't give away ugly goodies. Before I left the kitchen, I'd eaten the other one. Sorry honey, I truly did have just candy for supper last night!

At 8pm, I gave up. I found my children and headed upstairs. Cause I'm a good mom and would never have my kids in bed late, and certainly not two nights in a row, we headed straight to the bath. Bethany still had hair full of hair spray from slicking it back and braiding it for her Jesse costume. Scott had a head full of goop from styling it Saturday and Sunday. And Judah, well, I might as well give him a quick hair cut right?

By 9pm, the kids were read to, prayed with and tucked in. I headed downstairs to see my new coat rack for the kids. Thank you honey, you are amazing! After that I propped myself on the arm chair, opened up my computer and began my reading for the evening... did I tell you that as of Sunday, my goal is to read the bible in 90 days? Day 2 and I was already behind but ready to catch up.

By 1030 I was headed to bed myself. Unfortunately at 5am when I got up with Scott it was the third time in a restless night that I'd been up. Seriously, I really, really need some beauty rest. Within 20 minutes, I was up to start my day.

After last nights disaster, I thought I would throw together a quick apple crisp to take along with my thank you card. A quick arm workout isn't the best thing to do right before making an apple crisp. My arms were like jelly so I had fun laughing at my shaky arms as I prepared the apple crisp. Tossed it in the oven and headed to the shower. The crisp will be a nice little thank you to share.

I may have failed at the oreo balls but I'll eat them without the candy coating. In addition to that, I was able to get up early, get a work out, fold some laundry, make a dessert and drop it off while I watched the sun rise. Now if I would have only remembered my lunch. Oh well, it's almost 8am, I better get in the office.

*** P.S. the blanket in the picture was made by my dear friend, Beth. Thanks Beth, we love the blanket and the kids sometimes fight over it :)

01 November 2010

Some People...

Some people are the coolest.  Not because they're famous.  Not because they're millionaires.  But rather because they are friendly and loving.  Isn't that what we're called to do?  After all, the bible does say to feed the hungry, give something to drink to the thirsty, cloth those who need clothes and invite in strangers.  You know, the golden rule: to treat others as you want to be treated.  It's nothing new.  In fact, its biblical to love your neighbors as yourself.  Recently, we've been blessed by some super cool people who've been doing just that.
They've taken time out of their schedule to invest a little time in our lives.  It has been super fun to get to know them a little more.  It was just over a year ago that they stopped out at the house and gave us a bunch of tomatoes after our garden had been ruined by a hail storm.  Apparently their kindness and generosity is who they are.  I'm thankful to know them.  Just last night we stopped out at their house to show them our Toy Story themed trick-or-treaters.  They had just gotten home from a long day of farming.  They could have easily said hello, handed the kids a candy, made basic chit-chat and sent us on our way (to Gunder for supper).  But, they didn't do that.  Instead, on their way home, they stopped and grabbed pizza, enough to share with my entire family for supper.  We were able to gather around the table, chat for a while, and have a good time. 
I left there ready to put my kids to bed but also thankful for these friends.  They think I'm half-way funny, they like my kids, and they take the time to invest their time (and food) in us.  I had made some oreo balls as a little thank you for them.  Last night I found out that D is allergic to chocolate.  Guess I'll have to think of something else to share my gratitude.  While I think on that, I'm looking forward to inviting them over some time.  Cause they're cool like that.

31 October 2010

Guess where we went this weekend

Maybe you can tell by this photo:

My kids were very excited to see and hear this coming around the corner:

Before the kids climbed in the combine and tractor, I was able to catch a few pictures

I can’t help but look at this picture and imagine it being his senior picture.

My sweet son... well, most of the time he's sweet.

my oh, so photogenic one. To give her a little credit, she had a nasty rash, a shot of benadryl and we were missing her nap time.
Bethany and her grandma being silly.

After Dan unloaded the grain cart into the semi, he quickly explained a few things to Eunice, who was also getting her first ride in a combine.

Then it was time for the kids to get in the combine. MaryAnn tried to get Scott to ride in the tractor with her be he assured her that he preferred the combine.

After a while, it was Judah’s turn to get in the combine. Bethany climbed out of the combine and into the tractor with her buddy MaryAnn (and me)

It becomes a little crowded in a combine with two adults and two children. Likewise, it becomes a little crowded in a tractor with two adults and one child. I’m really, really thankful for the Donlons taking time out of their busy harvest schedule to let us invade their lives for a few hours!

And just to show you again, getting a good picture of all 3 kids is about impossible:

Test run for tonight

I knew it wasn’t a wise idea, but I also knew it wasn’t a bad idea so after baths on Monday night, the kids got to put their costumes on. Here’s a little bit of what we encountered:

From this brief experience, I learned or recalled a few things:
1.Sizes on the package can be horribly inaccurate (aka no, these aren’t last years costumes for the two older kids).
2. A couple dollars spent can be LOADS of fun.
3. I’m so glad I’m not a single parent!

Tonight, we do it all over again. Hopefully having worn their costumes once already will limit the controlled chaos. As we stop by a few friends’ homes, I hope that my little toy story characters bring joy to a few friendly faces.

28 October 2010

more on the weather

I just looked outside.  It's a blamy 61 degrees.  It's beautiful outside... perfect weather for having company and hanging out. 
Oh, wait, that just made me think of Shonda's comment from yesterday.  Shonda, it would be a perfect time for you to come visit.  You guys should jump in the big 'ol van and come on up next weekend to visit.  I promise not to take you stompin' through poop this time.  Instead we can check out the fall leaves (there surely wasn't enough wind yesterday to knock any off) at Pike's Peak State Park, take a ride in the combine and enjoy a little bit of farm life.  This time, I even have amazing water pressure so rest assured your shower will be better! 
And by the way, don't look at www.weather.com or you'll know I'm completely lying about today's weather.  Next week's is supposed to be nice though :)


27 October 2010


With this (almost) record low barometric pressure combined with the wind, if we were nearby the ocean, we would be in the midst of a hurricane.  I'm so thankful that I'm not near the ocean.  This wind is bad enough... and then I walked out to take the kids to AWANA and it was 39 degrees out.  Seriously.  Cold and windy?!?!  This is not fun!

26 October 2010

Zone Defense

When going from two to three kids, you go from man-on-man to zone defense.

It's true.

Last night I was talking to various people at a church social activity. The conversations were intersting. One woman in her 70's was stunned that I was still working and told me that I should consider quality over quantity in regards to considering adopting again. I gently told her that I was considering life versus starvation but that I do realize quality time is important. This wasn't the "zone defense" conversation but it was a conversation I won't soon forget - remember my last post about sitting in the midst of a church body who doesn't get it?

Back to the zone defense topic. Yes, I know, I'm easily distracted.

A few friends who's kids are college age asked me how about feeling overwhelmed going from two to three kids. This is when I gave the little move to zone defense chat. Judah is easy for the most part. Scott and Bethany are mostly well behaved. They're not perfect, we all know that. They don't behave perfectly and for those who think they do, those people need to spend more time with us! The hardest part about going from two to three is not having enough hands when in a parking lot. Thankfully Wallyworld makes carts that hold three kids - that is my saving grace (and I'm still a little nutty by time I leave) when I grocery shop!

This morning got me thinking a little more about this idea of zone defense and how we train and discipline our kids.

Ryan came in this morning and shared with me that he knew why "such-and-such" friends never have us keep their kids. So of course I asked why. Their reason was that we discipline differently than they do. They were concerned that we'd discipline their kids the same way. Really? That's a valid concern but sad that it took this long to be communicated. We've kept multiple other kids at our house. Some well behaved and some not. We run a certain kind of zone defense for our young team. Training and discipline look a little different for each of our three kids. We wouldn't and haven't disciplined other people's children. When little A was at our house and bit my daughter, I pulled her aside, talked to her about her action and set her in timeout for a minute. That is not exactly how I would have disciplined Bethany if she'd been the biter. So, I'm hoping that this conversation will be just that - a conversation and no longer a big pink elephant in the room.

I'll run my team in a manner that teaches and trains them to be thoroughly equipped for the future. That may mean they are disciplined differently. That may mean we don't let them attend children's church so they can learn to listen to the Pastor. That's my team. I don't expect others to run their team the same way.

21 October 2010

Overwhelming Thoughts

Today I read several different things about orphans. And today it has rocked my world a little more than normal. Maybe that's because it's that time of the month. Maybe it's because God continues to bid me venture out of my comfort zone. But today, my thoughts are overwhelming.

Did you know that the bible calls the church to care for the orphans yet there is said to be twice as many churches in America as there are orphans.

I read about the wake-up that is occuring in some churches - one small town of 300 has adopted 130 children. Local churches in Colorado are working to reduce the number of kids in the system to zero. I think those efforts are amazing. But then I struggle as I sit in judgement on my own church family. What are we doing? I try to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they're supporting the oppressed and the orphans financially. Maybe they're praying for those orphans. All I know is that I see a church full of people and children and only one of them is adopted. Am I really wanting to pass judgement? No! Am I wanting to know how to encourage them to open their eyes to the need both locally and internationally? Yes.

This was one post I read today that grabbed at my heart:
http://www.owlhaven.net/2010/10/07/james-127-and-the-church/. I love how the speaker talked about Pharoah's daughter: maybe she knew what her dad was doing and went to save one of the babies in the basket. And since I can't manage to spit out what I want to say, I'm just going to copy Mary's text below so you can read her post in part:

And then, after telling his story, Robert Gelinas had a question for us: How do you live in America, a country with a half a million children in foster care, and not do something?

He said, maybe Pharaoh’s daughter didn’t just go to the Nile for a bath? Maybe she knew what her daddy was doing to all those boy babies. Maybe she went to save one. Maybe she wanted her life to make a difference. She couldn’t save all the baskets floating by. But she could save one.

These days baskets are still going down the river in the U.S. foster care system. Most of them are safe for now. But they’re floating down the river, growing up, 19,000 of them aging out of the system every year without ever getting chosen by someone. Without ever having a family to call their own.

We the Church are letting those baskets go right on by. Psalm 68 says God is the Father to the fatherless, placing the lonely into families. He claims them all.

If He is the father to the fatherless, who is His bride?

The church is. We are. We are to be the mothers of these children. We can’t let those baskets keep going by us. If only the church would come together.

God has been waking up the body of Christ. Churches all over are getting more serious about caring for orphans. Possom Trot, TX is a town of 300. Pastor Martin’s wife said there are kids in foster care. We should do something about it. He said, we can’t. She said, I know we ‘can’t’ but it’s the right thing to do. He knew she was right and he told the need to his church. There are fifty families in his whole church and they took the message to heart. In that little church they adopted and fostered 130 kids.

The bride of Christ is waking up.

Six years ago Robert Gelinas took a challenge to the 1500 churches in the Denver area. At that time there were 875 kids legally free to be adopted in the Colorado foster care system. He challenged the Denver churches to commit to adopt 10% of those kids. So began Project 1:27.

Money should never get in the way of getting families for kids. When we say we can’t afford adoption, we’re saying the Father won’t provide for the fatherless, that He’s a deadbeat dad. Untrue. Our daddy is a really good daddy.

Project 1:27 set out to find families for orphans. Families would pay no more than the $50 it cost to fill out the application. For every one family willing to adopt, 3-5 other families were needed to come around that family and help out.

Right away amazing things began to happen. One man said he couldn’t adopt, but he pledged to buy bunk beds for every family that did. Another man finished basements at cost. Another person started college funds. You see, not everyone can adopt. But everyone can help. Everyone can be part of the solution. That is the body of Christ in action.

Since 1:27 started, 136 children have been adopted. 71 children have been placed in families working towards finalization. There are currently 163 more families lined up applying to be part of this program.

The number of kids in foster care in Colorado right now? 365.

The eventual goal? Zero.

They are well on their way.

20 October 2010


a note from hubby that made my day:


We have constant pressure water!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Things to note.


Old well 77'

New well 85'


Water is safe to drink but it should be left in the lines for as long as possible (I'll explain later)

Run the hydrate outside for 20min three times a day for the rest of the week.

No good laundry for the rest of the week because of chlorine in the water (good thing hubby did laundry yesterday).  I'm guessing whites would be okay.

Fishing at the Donlon's

Mmm, I love me some old fashioned fun of fishing in a farm pond!

And I love this picture of my studly husband carrying a picnic bag on his shoulder and leading his little flock down to the fishing pond. He's yummy!

And this is Dan. I work with Dan and his wife on occassion at the office. He's told me that I can bring the kids out fishing in the pond any time. I finally took them up on that offer. Here's Dan getting ready to fish. How long do you think he'll do that before he's distracted by my three little ones???

My little fisherman with a smile on his face. The smile didn't stick around long when it got dark and he hadn't caught anything...

Meanwhile, his little sister who didn't even care much about fishing had caught TWO and had both D&M helping her out as she screamed with excitement.
And here's my youngest little fisherman. He doesn't quite have it down yet. Which is why he can be found most evenings practicing casting his line with Scott's old Mickey Mouse pole. He'll understand the concept soon. Until then he'll keep smiling and giggling and I'll keep untangling.

We had a great time at D&M's fishing with them. It's nice to have neighborly people who take time to do the simple things. Their willingness to take time away from harvest (which was yesterday's post) to entertain a busy little family like ours is much appreciated. Next time D&M, we'll try to plan a little better so we can have more time to fish while it's light out.
For those of you wishing you had these beautiful views and great fishing time, buy a license online at http://www.takemefishing.org/. You can even buy them as a gift for someone else since Christmas is coming up...
*this is a website wednesday link in case you wanted to know :)

19 October 2010

Harvest Time Fun

Friday night my phone rang and shortly after that we were on our way out to the farm to ride with the Donlon's in the combine. Pictures were tough to capture because it got dark quickly and it was dusty, but there are a few worth sharing.

We started out with Scott and me with Dan in his 4 day old combine. It was lots of fun learning a little about the process of harvesting corn. I had prepared Scott with some questions to ask Dan but Scott came up with his own questions. He even became an extra set of eyes for Dan while he was "unloading on the go" into the grain cart. It was cute to watch him interact with Dan. Meanwhile, Judah was riding with MaryAnn in the tractor pulling the grain cart below:

Eventually, we switched it up. Judah took the captains chair for a brief moment before letting Dan get back to work. Judah wasn't as enthused about the combine but then again it was dark out and about time for Judah to snooze.

Scott didn't have much fun riding in the grain cart. My well mannered child would have never told MaryAnn that "this is boring". Nope, not my son. Okay, maybe so. About that time, the hopper on the combine was full and Dan was ready to dump into the semi. We did just that and the boys were super excited to ride in the semi (aka wrestle in the sleeper) back to the house.

Thank you Dan and MaryAnn for showing us a little bit of what life as a farmer in rural Iowa is all about. We are greatful that you were willing to be inconvenienced, and maybe entertained, for a few hours while you put up with us.

Coming up tomorrow (cause I pre-wrote this one)... fishing trip out to D&M's farm pond!

18 October 2010

Well, it's all done. As of Thursday night, we had a well at 115' deep capped and done. This week they'll get it plumbed in. But for now, I wanted to share a little more about this project.

The well water has been a problem since Ryan and I got married. Filling the livestock water tank for the horse Ryan bought me right after we got married was the first time I remember the well running dry. Apparently the well was fine for one single guy but you add a woman and a horse, and the water didn't run so freely. You can imagine that adding a few children to the house, has added to our water usage.

With ongoing water issues in our home, we knew that our well was needing replaced. But it still ran clean, cold, fresh water. It just didn't always run water when I wanted it to. We decided that adoption was more important to us than a well and so we pursued an Ethiopian adoption instead. During the homestudy process, we learned that our water was slightly high in bacterial counts. Our water softener supplier (and friend) wasn't surprised. After all, it's the original well that went with the almost century old home. Thanks to state of Iowa requirements, our well water was tested. It was our state requirements that also made us put a UV filter on our water coming into the house even though we drink bottled water.

We brought Judah home in May and our family of 5 was all drinking clean, bacteria free, water. At this point, the well was more and more of an annoyance for me. You can say that I'm a snob about it but I think I put up with way more than most women would with our lack of water pressure. It was one thing to not have much pressure upstairs (3 stories above the well), it was another thing to not have water pressure on the main floor, or to lose pressure at the kitchen sink if someone flushed a toilet.

Over the 4th of July we had friends visiting and our water pressure was horrible. In fact, I was embarrassed about it. I tried to make light of the situation by saying it was an old house and didn't have great pressure. But something was seriously wrong. I dreaded each morning that I had to shower under the trickle of water that came out of the pipe. At least I didn't have long hair, right? Finally I'd had enough and was tired of casually mentioning this issue to my husband (who shaves his head and has no idea what it's like to shampoo and condition hair under trickle water). I demanded that it get fixed. Amazingly that night, it was all better and the next morning I had a full pressure shower. A-maz-ing! Too bad we couldn't have it that way when we had company I thought. I liked the new water pressure.

Only I learned that this was a band-aid sorta fix. See, our well was degrading and pulling dirt into it. The dirt was clogging our expensive but much needed UV filter. When Ryan replaced the $30 filter, water flowed again. With the degrading well, it was only a matter of time before the filter was clogged again. So let's recap: in February, the filter was installed. By June it was clogged. In July it was replaced, and by August sometime clogged again. Seriously we don't have $30 a month to replace this thing. Plus we knew it was a band-aid approach anyway. So, we began talking about wells. Gulp. They're expensive. Ryan said he didn't want to replace the filter until we got the new well. I was getting tired of trickling water and wanting the filter changed. Ryan was smart and loving and began getting bids for a new well.

Thankfully the last several months, we kept putting away all extra money to reimburse our emergency and savings funds that we'd emptied to complete an adoption (which officially isn't done, by the way). Now, with bid folders sitting around the house, we began comparing bids to the money in our emergency fund. I began spending with more purpose in mind. We were staring at three issues:
1. we needed a new well.
2. we didn't have the money for a new well.
3. we don't agree with taking on debt.

Great, those three things don't go well together. Fortunately, we weren't hopeless. We were looking at two bids:
1. Hit water at 120' like the neighbors 1/4 mile to the north = $9,000 bill
2. Hit water at 500' like the neighbors 1/4 to the South = $19,000 bill.
Like I already said, we didn't have the money to cover bid #1 but we weren't hopeless either. Thankfully we had not done a flex-spending reimbursement for months. So, we took care of that and came up with some more money. Plus another few paychecks came in which gave some more money. We also began praying that God would bless us with water at 120'. My prayers went something like this:

God, you know my heart on this. We could have saved up the first time for a well but we chose adoption. You care for the oppressed and the orphans. I want to be a good steward of the money you give us. God, would You see to it that we hit water at 120 feet so that we can use that money for other things like another adoption, or caring for those in need?

Ryan and I have prayed for weeks. Wednesday night, I arrived home to Shawver's in my driveway. Busy with other things, I headed right inside to the chaos at hand (preparing a meal for my family plus Grandpa, getting them to eat, and getting everyone back out the door - all in 75 minutes). At one point I was serving the kids, arguing with Scott about eating, trying to keep my cool and wondering where Ryan was at when I clearly needed some help. When Ryan came in and announced that Shawver's was drilling the test well and hit water at 115', I quickly forgot my frustration with Ryan and became overjoyed at the answered prayer.

Thank you Father for hearing our prayer. Thank you for providing an abundance of water at a short depth. You are good to us!

I went from being tired and overwhelmed to being energized and excited. Really, God didn't have to have them hit water. God really is involved with those little details. And now God expects me to continue being a good steward in His name. Wow.

Thursday, I came downstairs to amazing pink sky as the sun was coming up. As I looked at my window, my view was changed from the last sunrise I saw. This time there were Shawver's well drilling trucks and a reminder of God's blessing in the front of my view. That day the well was drilled and capped. It's done. This morning, the pressure was horrible. Not fun. This week they'll hook up the piping. I can't wait to take a shower with constant pressure!!!

15 October 2010

pet peeves

The other day I was trying to thinking of specific pet peeves.  Well, I just thought of one big one:
If you have a scheduled appointment for 11, don't show up at 1030.  If you by some chance happened to get through with your other business in town early, then call and ask if it would work to come in early.  Or stop and get gas.  Or stop and get a donut.  It annoys me when people come in here expecting to be helped early even though I may have 2 other things to accomplish before their scheduled appointment.
Thankful that it's Friday,

14 October 2010

Resonating Thoughts

Three things from yesterday are resonating in my mind:
1. When an middle-aged cranky woman sat at my desk for some planning, I'm so glad I looked past the crankiness knowing that I had no clue what was going on in her life. I ended up hearing about her crankiness: 3 years of chemo treatments one of which had been the day before, painful days and not sure how long she'll hang on. My am I glad I extended grace to her!

2. A friend asked me last night if I was spread to thin. At work or at home? I tried to clarify. Truth be told, it's probably both. Lately when Ryan has been out cutting wood, and working on the honey-do-list, I've felt like I've taken more than my normal load of the family. This means that my normal things still aren't getting done like sewing bags, playing my guitar, etc. Sometimes I like being spread thin but sometimes it does get too thin...

3. Well guys hit water at 115' feet in the test hole last night. Halelujah. More on that later because it's a detailed story about God's faithfulness as we seek Him.

Lessons you can learn from me today:
1. You never know what someone is going through in life. Be kind, you might be the only person to offer love and hope to them.

2. Don't spread yourself too thin. You need time to rest, and time to make yourself available when someone needs you.

3. Look for God working in your life in the little things. He is at work if only you'll acknowledge Him.

13 October 2010

Linebacker Evangelist

Thought you might appreciate a good laugh on this Website Wednesday: the Linebacker Evangelist on YouTube

12 October 2010

More to Life

Why is it that my my life at home seems to revolve around my kids bowel issues? I feel like that’s all I have to talk about sometimes. Really, isn’t there more to life than my kids’ stinky drama?

Seriously, making the story brief, I’ll share my morning so far. I took the *4* kids to the park to meet up with a friend. While there, Judah had to pee which he managed to get all over himself. Bethany had to pee so she popped a squat right out in the open. Scott, he was the only one who was taken to the bathroom 100 yards away because he had #2 issues. Not just once, but twice.

Now, this is the most frustrating thing in our family. Seriously, it’s annoying! Why can’t my kids, especially my 5 year old go like normal? He goes through multiple pairs of undies a day because he won’t even try to push poop out. Even when I take him every hour. He must like sitting there for 20 minutes! Thankfully, Bethany is outgrowing her issues. She has been going like a big girl for a few weeks now. This is not me bragging. After all, she is 3 years and 3 months old. This is me falling on my knees thanking God for the little things - including my daughter’s potty issues.

I know that my kids grow too fast and I’m going to miss the snuggle stage of my little ones. But for now, I look forward to getting beyond these issues. This too shall pass - quite literally I’m sure.

* any reference to 4 kids = my three plus my neighbor boy. Usually Scott is down at their house, or he’s up at ours a couple times a week.

A few pictures

*** I started this post a week ago and blogger didn't like me that day. So, here it is:

I haven’t had much time to play on the internet. That means I haven’t kept up with blogs, haven’t posted pics to facebook, haven’t blogged much, or taken care of several other things. Well, real quick I just want to share a few random pictures with you.

From Grandpa’s 90th birthday celebration:

Scott telling his Great Grandma what he’s been learning in school
Bethany and Judah not doing a good job of posing for a picture. Bethany is being sweet with Judah so I’ll take that!

From our short trip to Kahler’s Korner pumpkin patch:
The dog that tortured and then played with the kids.

Trying to get a group shot but Scott was cold and almost shivering and Bethany was trying to get her hands in her pocket.

Bethany sitting with the squash.

I can at least get Judah to crack a smile

Last night the kids playing Mancala:
Eating a sucker and playing. I had sticky rocks when they were done.

Bethany showing off for the camera making spooky faces.