29 March 2010
Oh Lord, help me to find great joy in those "helpful" little moments with my kids.
Note: this is a little lengthy, you might wanna grab a cup of coffee or read it in two parts.
My house is chaos. My dining room has become a sewing room and needs to be organized and picked up. No, it needs to become a dining room again by time we bring our son home. Before that though, I have some flannel blankets to whip up quick (much quicker than the journey bags I’ve yet to finish) for the kids’ easter baskets. The floor of my walk-in closet has disappeared and the closet is shrinking as things get piled in there. The kids’ rooms are under re-organization/construction. Over the weekend, we turned Scott’s room into a room for the two boys. That meant kicking Bethany out of Scott’s room and into her own. In Scott’s room, we went from two twin beds back to bunk beds where the bottom bunk was manipulated to fit a queen size mattress. It looks kinda like a dorm bunk. We bought some storage things and put those together to help with clothes and toys for the two boys. In Bethany’s room, the crib was taken apart and the base of it which was drawers is now the base of her big girl bed. She’s been in a twin bed for a long time but now the mattress is in her room with a different frame so its all new to her. The asian beetles that invade us every spring and fall are hiding in the window sills and will soon be removed when I finish cleaning. Crib parts will go the attic along with some other baby items that I’ve held onto. B3’s clothes need to be moved from Bethany’s room to his room. Both of the kids rooms need to be fine-tuned with cleaning and organization.
In the midst of the chaos upstairs yesterday, I had to run my in-laws truck back to their house. While there, I needed to stop at wallyworld to pick up a few things I’d missed the day before after having lost my shopping list. To say I was in a hurry and acting impatient was an understatement. Waiting at the fabric counter, I even decided to help myself. I had bought the same fabric the day before and watched the lady scan it, plug in the yardage, and print out a label. It couldn’t be that hard right? So I scanned and cut the first yard of fabric. While folding it up, an employee walked by and let me know that she’d be right back. I waited for her to come back, but not long. Being naughty, I finished cutting what I had started and she walked up just as I was finishing. She was, rightfully so, not happy. Now, I’m not trying to justify myself completely, but I did wait twice. They didn’t have anyone nearby in the store. I knew what I was doing. The part of me that shows that I need work, is that I was in a hurry and didn’t want to wait. Bad me. I’m sorry Wallyworld lady that I royally ticked off. I should have waited longer for you to come back. In fact, I should have searched for you the first time and not started at all. One suggestion though, maybe have a little bell ringer or some way that a customer could try to get the attention of an employee would be helpful so momma’s on a mission can receive help quicker. Yes, I’m admitting that I’m not perfect!
Speaking of my lack of perfection and things I’m working on, the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking through 3 different verses, one at a time. Each verse needs to change my life, I need to own it. These are not verses that I’ve come up with as a self-help type of thing. Each verse has come out differently. For example, one verse is something that my friend encouraged me with, one is a verse that my small group encouraged each other to memorize. All 3 have been good for my life right now and verses that continually need to impact my life.
The first verse is from James (chapter 1 I think) where Paul is saying that we should be slow to speak and quick to listen. When I stop and really consider that, I realize how quick I am to speak. And how worthless the words are that come out of my mouth. I certainly haven’t perfected this one yet and have a long way to go. I’ve found myself lots of times realizing after the fact that I wasn’t slow to speak and quick to listen. It’s a process for me.
The second verse is in Proverbs (19:13) where it refers to a nagging wife like a dripping faucet. This verse came to mind one morning while praying for my husband. The dripping was ANNOYING. I so don’t want to be like that annoying faucet. And besides annoying, the dripping is wasteful. I don’t want the words out of my mouth to be wasteful.
The third verse is Ephesians 4:29 which says “do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen”. Man, if you break that verse down, there’s a ton of stuff in there. But the way I’ve simplified it in my mind is “no unwholesome talk, only what builds others up”. Wow, do I also have a long way to go on this. I’m realizing that even fun little jokes, aren’t useful for building others up.
So basically, it’s a process all across the board. The house is a process and things are coming together for #3 to come home. I’m in the process of doing a better job at bearing the image of Christ. The weather is a process too and it won’t be long before I get the garden planted and begin fighting weeds!
24 March 2010
23 March 2010
It was freezing cold last night when we finally finished but that didn't bother my kids. Bethany climbed onto the trampoline and pulled her socks right off. The high 30's temp didn't seem to bother her at all. I, on the other hand, was shivering so I climbed on to warm up. Bethany informed me that she didn't want me jumping, that it is her trampoline.
Thank you Dad for buying Bethany (and the rest of our family) a trampoline.
Scott has already invited Aaron over to jump tonight and is planning his first camp-out on the trampoline!
22 March 2010
Friday was Ryan's birthday. The evening was a bit of a rush having left work early. I grabbed the kids, ran home, picked up Ryan, and headed to The Barrell Drive-In. It's always a treat to go there and since it was Ryan's birthday, it was the perfect place. Since we were having a late supper with some friends, Ryan and I had a snack and ice-cream and the kids had their usual hamburgers.
We left The Barrell and headed to our friends house where we all gathered together with two of the international students for Nigerian food night. It's always interesting when you have food from another culture. When I taste tested the chicken half way the process, it had good flavor with a fishy after taste. I must say that ground crayfish, canned mackeral, and some other Nigerian additions weren't my type of meal. I certainly didn't enjoy the meal quite like Ryan who ate the meat dish and Tom who ate two bowls of it! It was great to interact with the guys and Michelle got some excellent video of them which was fun.
Saturday I spent the morning hanging out with my kids: reading books, giving Scott a haircut, etc. Around noon we headed to mom's. Bethany was entertained with sweet slumber while I worked on journey bags and Scott played in the floor. Mona (my friend Nick's mom) came over around 2pm and helped me for a few hours with my not-so-little project. That was really cool to have her help since I hardly even know her!
I had so much going on this weekend that I don't even remember the details of Saturday evening. At the clinic, we packed up the kids' big trampoline that dad bought them for Christmas. It's in the back of the van and needs to be put up so the kids can burn off some of their wild energy! After my family settled into bed, I headed downstairs and started on another bag. This time, it's for me. I made it different than the others and hopefully that bag will get finished and make it's debut here on my blog in the next few weeks. When I finally decided that I should head to bed, it was midnight!
Thank you honey for letting me sleep in on Sunday morning.
I skipped out on Discipleship Hour but made it to church. Wild ones in tow and apparently NOT on their best bahavior. Scott even got to leave the sanctuary to have a little chat in the bathroom regarding his behavior. Following church I headed back to mom's and continued working on bags. Cutting the strips out for the handles, I made one mistake that cost me some time for sure! But that's no big deal and the handles are coming together well. I was able to finish 4 bags before leaving to hear a wildlife imitator.
What's a wildlife imitator you say? First off, he's Jess' dad. But he's also a very cool guy that makes lots of weird animal noises. Picture being in Hollywood, getting ready to go on the Letterman show, standing outside a ritzy hotel and all of a sudden, this wildlife nut from Missouri starts calling in the crows that are up in the palm trees. The crows came in like crazy and other people were a little nervous about all the birds. He's amazing at what he does and is a wonderful story teller. I had a blast hearing him. Check him out online at www.ralphduren.com or check out his videos on you tube. He's worth the time for sure!
We got home last night after a fun but late night. Gave the kids cake for supper (it was healthy cake) and put them in bed. Though I really wanted to go downstairs, I headed to bed too. So much for my goal of getting a good night of sleep, that didn't happen. We'll see how the work day goes today!
Also, wanna mention that I love to see how God shows up. Our church purchased a building recently. We put it to the congregation to raise money for the building. We prayed about it and asked God to show up. Man, oh man. At our special offerring yesterday, we were able to exceed the goal for the congregation. How cool is that? I'm so thankful to be a part of that. And also thankful for the humbling that I received knowing that God didn't need my measly gift to help meet the goal. He exceeded it, He's God. Yes, Lord, thank you for keeping me humble!
Okay, better get ready for the day! Things at work are major crazy with 10 days to finish contracts we've not started on... yikes!
18 March 2010
A computer glitch at the office had forced me to take a quick break from the craziness. The orange in my purse doesn’t provide for much of a lunch so I ran to the kitchen and scraped up some bottom-of-the-bag Doritos, melted some cheese on top, grabbed a few baby carrots and a cup half full of flat diet caffeine free coke and half diet pepsi. Boy, is this an incredible lunch or what!?!?! There’s obviously no need to sit and ponder how wonderful my meal is and since my mind is currently not at work, I have time to think.
I just don’t understand how men can be in their “nothing” box. I don’t have one of those. Do they exist for women?
Anyway, I wanted to share a little of what my wild mind has been processing in the last few minutes:
1. I’m so thankful to have a group of adoptive parents to connect with. Right now I’m especially thankful for 3 moms in the group: Kandace, I’m praying for you as you travel to get Tucker in Ethiopia. Especially praying that you and Mike can experience Ethiopia and its beautiful culture while Mike plays it safe in the food area. Thank you for your willingness to take a book to our son. Jen, I’m praying for you too while you’re also in Et getting your kiddo. I can’t wait to see an update on your blog. I’m praying especially for your trip to Durame, that you will be blessed and be a blessing! And my new friend, Megan. Sometimes the posts I read on your blog (except for the book review ones) are as if I wrote them. It seems like we’re a lot alike. So today I’ve been praying that you will pass your first court date and accel at super speed so we can travel together.
2. Thinking of girlfriends, I want to share about another friend of mine, R. She’s a great friend and someone I can confide in. Someone I know will pray for me. And this week I found out that she’s also someone who’ll call me out on my bad attitude. Thank you dear friend!
3. My world seems to revolve around our adoption right now. And I think that’s okay for the most part. As we tell more people about our adoption I keep hearing “you’re doing such a noble thing!”, etc. I’m really, really, at a loss for words when people say this. I by no means want to pat myself on the back but at the same time, we are doing a good thing. So, I don’t always know how to respond. Also in regards to that, I want to tell people that they too can do this. We’re not extraordinary parents. We’re not rich (by American standards). We just see the value in caring for the orphans and acted. For some sponsoring a compassion child is enough. For us, that was easy, too easy and God has called us to do more. I wish more people would act in obedience. The end of James 2 says faith without deeds is dead. Dead friends. I don’t want a dead faith.
4. Was I crazy to volunteer to make 25 bags for Ghana right now? Yes, maybe. But I acted… funny how that works. So, I’m in the middle of making these journey bags and this process has so incredibly blessed me. It’s not about me at all! I love it. I’m already trying to think about making more and have bought some additional fabrics but need to finish these bags first so Janel can take them with her to Ghana soon!
5. I’ve been having an amazing prayer time lately. One of my friends has challenged me to begin praying for my husband. Well, I do that already but I don’t prioritize a time to do that. It’s been great. We’ve been ending our work out session a little early to spend some time praying for our husbands. I’m so thankful for her challenge/encouragement. Praying for Ryan early in the day just puts him on my mind throughout the day to be praying for him.
6. Speaking of Ryan, oh how I love him. I’m so glad I’m his wife. I still have a lot to learn in this arena and I’m thankful that he shows me patience! Happy birthday tomorrow honey!!!
Okay, that’s it for now…
- Just read a cute phrase in relation to eating lots of fruits and veggies, the person would be a "rabitt dying for a hamburger". Thought it was funny.
- Talking to my son last night, I thanked him for doing something. His reply: "your pleasure mommy". Ah, I love the manners son but next time you should say "it was MY pleasure mommy".
- Trying to teach Bethany to pray last night, she wanted nothing to do with that. She wanted her typical cutsie prayer where she says "thank you for my mommy and daddy" and maybe adds something else in there and then says "amen". I tried getting her to pray again and asked her to obey me. She said she didn't like God. Oh Lord, that you would find humor in my two year old who doesn't know what she's saying. It was 10, I was tired, and didn't want to deal with her cuteness so I said okay, you don't want to pray? That's fine. I covered her up and walked out. she CRIED: I'm sorry momma, I want to pray. Stinker.
As this was happening, Ryan was coming in the door from church choir practice. I went back in there and prayed with her and asked her again to obey. She apoligized for being naughty and then her daddy came in and saved the day - for both of us!
15 March 2010
I have a new boss today. Great deal so far. One problem though is sitting with him realizing how far behind I am, how far behind we are as an office. Wishing I knew more about all the programs that I typically run but have let go of while being overwhelmed with other things.
It was a wonderful Monday at the office. Typical craziness but followed by a great weekend with my family. We had an afternoon with Ryan's family and supper on Saturday. In our time there I played outside with my kids, cut some more journey bags out and made oreo truffles. Sunday I tried really hard to make it an actual day of rest even though there were a million things I needed to get done. I snuggled with my hubby and watched a movie while the kids napped, took a long walk with the kids and played outside. Got muddy out on the swing set with the kids before we all headed inside to eat and get cleaned up. Visited with some friends for a few hours just cause. It was nice.
I managed to rest until we got home. While waiting for Scott to finish in the bathroom, I started folding a load of laundry. It turned into folding two loads and putting four away. I almost made it a whole day. It was certainly progress for me and not at all work.
I'm looking forward to a quiet night at home with my family, more laundry and working on bags after the kids go to bed... woo hoo!
11 March 2010
I just read your blogs – we love it! The whole Customer Service Team has read about Journey Bags and we decided we’d like to help.
Send me your address and we’re going to send you 25 Bag Tags for your Journey Bags – how does that sound? The best part – no charge! Mabel’s Labels would love to help with this project! We think our Bag Tags will look fabulous hanging from the handle of your Journey Bags and we hope you do too!
This is a picture of our Bag Tags. Let me know what you’d like them to say.
You can even pick an icon from our list of 47 and we’ll include that too!
Talk to you soon!
Or will I leave work early to run home, quick clean the living room, grab something for a snack (funny that I accidentally typed nap instead of snack first), and put on a face that will fool the world? They're my friends, they know I'm a crazy busy mom. Am I only fooling myself?
10 March 2010
My friend M bought me this really cool purse. Yes, I know, I already told you that. It started when her SIL bought her a purse from the same ministry. It's a very cool purse and I had commented on my appreciation of the purse. Well, with my birthday coming up coupled with the fact that the proceeds go back to women in Haiti (where M was born as a missionary kid), M decided to buy me a purse. It was very thoughtful but to M, the thoughtfullness of the gift didn't cover over the fact that she didn't like the bag at all. In fact, she wanted to cry. She was so dissapointed. She even offerred to just order me a new one. I took the gift she ordered, did a little cleaning up with my seam-ripper and voila, I had my own Haitiancreations bag. Not near as cute as M's, but such a cool gesture in multiple ways.
That was a few weeks ago.
Last night, M also took me out for dinner and had even arranged a sitter for our kids. We chatted over Chinese food. She picked up the tab even though I didn't agree with her doing that after buying my bag. It felt so wonderful to be spoiled by a friend. I do occasionally get that from Ryan and other family and I appreciate that, but it was different when it came from one of my buddies!
Thanks M. We should do this again before your birthday in July.
DJ, the dog, Buitenwerf
born on 7/7/1997
Ryan's buddy his whole life
crossed the rainbow bridge 3/10/2010
DJ has been Ryan's dog for almost 13 years. He kindly welcomed me into the brick home when Ryan and I got married. DJ thanked me when Scott was born and I kicked those pesky cats out of the house. He quickly realized that another human addition to the house meant that DJ was once again pushed to the side a little. Even then, he was Ryan's faithful dog. When Bethany came along, it was yet another human invading his space. In a few short years DJ had gone from top dog sleeping at his master's bed side to being kicked out in the hall to sleep. He managed to put up with the kids because he was still Ryan's buddy and still went everywhere Ryan went in the vet truck.
We have watched DJ's healthy slowly decline this past few months. It has been hard to watch, and annoying to clean up. This morning one sad veterinarian made the decision to put his buddy, his dog, down. DJ while sleeping/dreaming kicks his feet and runs and we've joked a lot this past year that he's trying to cross the rainbow bridge. This morning, DJ did just that.
Ryan told me that he put his dog down this morning. As much as I despised dealing with DJ's anxiety and elderly issues, he's the family dog. I was sad for Ryan's decision but it did seem like it was time for that decision to be made. At least he was put down by someone who loved him!
Last night I talked to Ryan about taking the kids to the Dells after we get home from Ethiopia. Today he received word that one of the drug companies is treating us to a 2 day trip to the Dells at their expense. Yipee! Thank you Lord for providing the opportunity to go and not have to worry about the financial side of it.
In the same email, Ryan told me that he had to put his dog down. I felt like I was at fault since I've been cranky about DJ issues and inform my husband about every single thing so he's aware and can make informed decisions about DJ's health. I even started to cry... and the dog annoys me.
Trying to be positive, I went to a work friend to tell her about the news of going to the Dells. She and I had talked about it yesterday since her family is going next month.
She asks me if we'll be in Ethiopia then. I hadn't thought about that! According to my calcu-guesses, we'll be travelling 8 weeks after we pass court tomorrow. That puts us leaving for Ethiopia at the same time we're supposed to go to the Kalahari Resort.
Excited? Not so much!
I come back to my computer to see that someone has finally posted to the Holt yahoo board about the 2-trip issue in Ethiopia.
Now, I'm sick to my stomach.
I stop for a moment to pray: Lord, Your ways are higher than my ways. This is YOUR adoption. You have provided for every little detail. You know the details of our lives and things have worked for Good. Lord, in my selfishness I ask that we not be affected by this 2-trip issue. If we are Lord, would You continue to provide in every manner as You have before. You know our situation with finances, time off work, needs of our child... everything down to the number of hairs on my head. I trust you with this Lord.
updated to say that I got an email from Holt and it sounds like we won't be affected. Thank you Jesus!
I'm glad that tonight I'm meeting with a dear friend for a belated birthday celebration of Chinese food. Last week when we planned it, I asked her if we could spend some time at supper praying about our court date that will be occuring in a matter of hours. How little did I know that I would also be praying regarding this new information from Ethiopia.
I have many blogger and yahoo group friends who will definitely be affected by this news. Would you pray with me that God would work out the details - change of rules, financial gifts for extra airline tickets, or whatever He sees best to meet their needs? Thanks.
The rollercoaster will continue through the night as I lie awake and pray about our court hearing. I love real rollercoasters, but definitely not the emotional ones!
09 March 2010
08 March 2010
It started with a quiet night Friday. Popped Monsters Inc in for the kids and had popcorn and potato chips for supper. Once they went to bed, I sifted through all of Scott's old clothes to see what could be used for boy #2.
Saturday morning we stopped at mom's for breakfast and hung out with Aunt Janie for a little bit before saying goodbye to her and hitting the road ourselves. We were off to spend a short weekend with Tera and family in Iowa City. Arriving with our McD's bag in hand, we had a few bites before we headed to the mall.
Only we weren't there for the mall, but for my eye doc appointment with Dr. O'Neill at Mc Donald Optical. I couldn't recommend him enough. He was wonderful at asking questions, explaining what he was doing, asking for questions, clarifying issues, etc. I wouldn't typically drive 2 hours for an eye doc but I was so sick of not receiving help with my current guy. In a 20 minute exam, I learned lots about my eyes and specifically why I was having problems with my contacts. Dr. O'Neill was easy to understand, spoke in layman's terms and very genuine. I walked out with a new pair of contacts and a place I'd be willing to come back to. When you're in customer serving, it's important to feel like you were served. The staff at McDonald Optical did just that. (Let me also share that Tera is the office manager there so they already knew of my complaints, had a general idea of my prescription, and had my paperwork all filled out for me. All I had to do was give them my insurance card).
While I was in my appointment, Tera took the 3 kids for ice-cream. Their faces looked like they enjoyed it but it was a moment in my memory cause I didn't have my camera.
From there we hauled the 3 napless kids to Kohl's and then over to Old Navy for some clearance rack shopping. I had to wonder over to the sale racks too since spring is coming and my darling Bethany has nothing cute to wear. I also realized that though brown colors look good on my pale kids, it likely won't be the color of choice for A. At both places I felt like I got good deals but nothing GREAT.
We spent the evening hanging out. I played with baby Gavin while the 3 other kids played and watched a movie. It was nice to catch up with Tera and Kevin a bit. I learned two important things on Saturday night:
- Fruit punch spilled all over pizza is NOT going to be the new thing.
- Just because the bed is big enough, it doesn't mean you should try to sleep with two kids - the couch would have provided much more rest!
Starting out Sunday morning was way too early. Bethany moved ALL night long and every half an hour let out a painful scream. She must have had a gassy belly like me so I gave her the one drink that was left of my pop on the night stand. Scott fell off the bed once and had a bad dream later so I was awake twice with him too. Needless to say 630am came way too early!
I must be glutton for punishment because I had two kids who hadn't napped the day before, didn't sleep well during the night, and weren't going to have a nap that day but I decided to take them shopping anyway. And not normal shopping either. By normal, I mean a store with carts and fairly wide rows where you can confine the child and keep them from grabbing at everything even if they are whining the whole time! Nope, we went to the outlet mall. Fortunately I found great deals here but we all had to deal with my two plus Tera's son's cranky attitude. Not so much fun! And who knew that at McD's you could wait over 15 minutes to get your oder at 2 in the afternoon!
When we finally left at 4pm, Bethany fell asleep shortly after and Scott played with his new happymeal toys. Tera was probably glad to see the cranky kids go! Bethany slept the entire drive home and I was thankful!!!
My kids, all 3 of them, now have some clothes for the coming months. Hopefully that will be enough to get them through the coming months cause every penny needs to be going towards adoption at this point. Whew, I'll be so glad to not have that financial anxiety hanging over my head anymore!
Of course, I had two other little helpers: one of which was doing this while I was trying to work and the other who played nicely while I ignored him
If I can get all my appointments scheduled for work today AND I can find my shopping list, I think I might take a little leave this afternoon and head over to WI to do a little grocery shopping and pick up some more canvas. After a break from sewing this weekend, it's time to warm up the sewing machine again and get the handles made for these bags...
06 March 2010
Donny was a wonderful friend starting in our elementary years. We lived near each other and in junior high we walked home together. I remember his parents building the new house, I remember running through the vineyards on our walk home. As we grew and matured a little bit, I remember watching him work on his pickup with such dedication and interest. But most importantly I remember my friend Donny leaving home to spend a month or so in Africa serving others. It was an amazing experience for him and for me. I got to watch from the outside as he prepared to go and then meet him the night he returned home. I remember the stories of reaching out, trading with the natives, etc. It was Donny's influence that tapped my interest for going to Africa someday. His example, and that of his family, was definitely an encouragement in my decision to do mission work abroad.
Though I hadn't seen my friend since high school, his friendship and his life continue to impact mine. It has been a joy to watch him walk with Jesus through excruciating pain of leukemia and the problems that were associated with that. He told his mom recently that "I just wanted to be sure that God will be able to tell me I did everything He told me to do. I don’t expect Him to tell me I did it good, but I do want to know that I tried and I want Him to know that I did my best.” What an amazing man of God.
Donny, I'm guessing that as you stepped into the presence of our most Holy God, that He did say "well done my good and faithful servant."
05 March 2010
I started drinking kombucha less than a year ago. My health-conscious brother in law brews his own and got me started. I took a break this winter cause of the craziness of life and finally "canned" another batch. I can't wait for it to carbonate some and I can drink it.
Kombucha may sound crazy. Don't knock it until you try it.
04 March 2010
- Had our "carpeted room" wood floor redone finally. We pulled the carpet up last July and have been waiting on the guy to refinish which we said he could do at his convenience. The floor is looking awesome and it wasn't even done yet. I wanted to lay on it. Bethany danced on it. Beautiful!
- I have 15 of the journey bags partially done. All I need to do is add the handles and sew a quick corner on the bottom to give them depth. Woo hoo! With that in mind, I need to get more canvas to finish the project which I hope is easy to accomplish.
- Bible study is tonight. That means its Thursday. After being up till 11pm last night and getting up at 510 this morning, I could use a nap. But alas, I'm alive, I'm awake and I feel great!
- Made a batch of kombucha. The first batch I've made in months. Taste tested it the other day and didn't think it was quite finished. Tasting it again last night it still wasn't done... and then I realized it's missing the carbonation cause I need to put it in jars. Will do that tonight hopefully.
- I'm going to Iowa City this weekend to see the optometrist and hang out with Ryan's cousin. Our kids are close in age so it hopefully proves fun for all of us :)