29 March 2010

I just wanted to share quickly that I have the most "helpful" little daughter ever. Though I kept asking her to go play, she wanted to help put away clothes for her new little brother, try on his shoes, and arrange his drawers. I was getting annoyed that I was trying to accomplish something and she was in the way. Ryan gently reminded me that she was just trying to help.

Oh Lord, help me to find great joy in those "helpful" little moments with my kids.
So, I’ve neglected blogging, I know. It’s been busy; crazy actually. Wednesday is a huge deadline for me to get contracts signed at work so I’ve been there longer hours which is normal but considering that I’m also preparing to bring a child home, I could use some time at home too. I also haven’t posted much because I like to break up the text with pictures and until this weekend, my camera had been in hiding and on vacation. Friday night after the fish fry, Ryan hung out with the guys to watch the UNI guys in the basketball tournament. I took the kids home for some snuggle time. We watched a movie in my bed and S&B were snuggled up together which was cute but my pictures were less than cute. They were in bed by 845 and I was asleep by 9 which was lovely. Now, apparently I’ve trained my body to function on 6 hours of sleep so by 3am on Saturday I was wide awake for two hours. So much for sleeping in.

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

Quilt Raffle - please join us...

Buy Quilt Raffle Tickets online at
to help support our Ethiopian Adoption.

$1 buys 1 ticket
$50 buys 55 tickets
$100 buys 115 tickets

23 March 2010

Helping Orphans in Nepal

Bizarre chaos surrounds me. Needing a quiet break, I retreat to the only place in the building for 5 minutes of peace and quiet. No phone calls, no contract questions, no emails about necessary training to complete. Having worked through lunch, I knew that 5 minutes would be refreshing. The place I found rest: the two-stall, air conditioned bathroom. I even locked the door.

Since I needed quiet and not a bladder break, I checked out a little magazine on the back of the toilet. I skimmed through it to get caught on a particular story. The headline read: "Helping Orphans in Nepal" and had this picture

Anything related to orphans right now catches my attention. If I'm willing to dig into it at all, it also tends to tear open my emotions and suck me in.
I was able to read these few paragraphs before my silence was distracted while someone was jangling on the locked door:
Conor Grennan crept along a cliff wall, the yellow beam from his headlamp the only light piercing the black Himalayan night. He could hear the icy rush of the river far below him and knew that one misstep could send him plunging off the narrow path. His knee throbbed with pain from weeks of trekking, but he pressed on.In the remote mountain villages of Nepal, even natives avoid walking at night. They had warned the 32-year-old American that it was far too treacherous. But Grennan offered two porters double pay and insisted he had no choice. This wasn't an adventure. It was a mission.
I'm not one to sit and read on the porclain throne. I've done so on occassion when our home is quite chaotic; but not at work. After reading this intro, I was hooked. I found myself wanting to go back for another reading break. Today was one of those times. I read a few more paragraphs and was totally impressed with this guys willingness to give of himself to those in need. I want to be like that when I grow up! Today, I couldn't justify the reading break when I have contracts to get done. So, I came back to my desk, googled the guy's name and found the article online at Readers Digest. Tamara Jones (nice first name, don't ya think) wrote the article and I thought you might enjoy and appreciate reading... from your computer screen and not the porclain throne. Here's the link to the Helping Orphans in Nepal article.


My dad bought the kids a trampoline for Christmas. Since we are no longer covered in snow, we put the trampoline together for the kids last night. They were so excited that they circled around us the entire time asking if it was done yet. The neighbor boy was even there to play and they played on the swingset/treehouse for all of 3 minutes before circling around us again like a pack of wolves.

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

What a weekend!

Our weekend was full of random activity. Tiring but enjoyable. Busy but relaxing.

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

posting my thoughts from earlier today....

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…

I need to get to work...

so I'm making it whirlwind quick:

- 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 don't like having to work. I like serving others. Today was a little of both. I always enjoy working with one of my cattle ranchers because he challenges my intellect and makes me think outside the box. Other parts of the day were more like "work" that wasn't quite as enjoyable.

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

Mabel's Labels

The other day I posted about this really cool company called Mabel's Labels. As of yesterday, their coolness (is that a word? it is today people) reached a whole new level. I mentioned in my post that I had contacted Mabel's Labels about potential labels for my journey bags and they got right back to me. We had a brief email conversation and this was the last email I received from Martha over at Mabel's Labels:

Hi Tamara,

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!

How cool is that? Very cool! I originally contacted them about the labels because I'm considering making the bags to sell in the future. I'm looking for a label like the one on most t-shirts. I wanted them to say "journey bags, stitched in prayer" or something like that. The donated labels will be going on the bags to Ghana. I'm trying to decide what to put on the labels that will be meaningful or encouraging to the children in Ghana that get the bags and labels. Got any ideas? In the mean time, go on over to www.mabel.ca to help me show appreciation for their donation by purchasing a little something.

The Real Me

Bible study is at our house tonight. Will I let them see the real me? The me who hasn't done dishes this week cause I haven't been home one night this week? The me who has laundry, albeit clean, left in baskets next to my bed? The me who had the wood floor refinished in one room but have yet to put anything back in the room? The me who hasn't found my son's Awana book for 3 weeks because I haven't looked? The me who will probably open a package of oreos for snacks that I really want to use for oreo balls instead because I've not planned anything else? The me who bought clothes for our kids, albeit on the clearance rack, even though saving every dollar for adoption is critical right now?

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

So blessed

Okay, so I thought I told you about my dear friend M, who bought me this really cool purse at www.haitiancreations.com. When I went back to link to the post, I couldn't find it so now I'm guessing that was the one time last month I got on FB and must have wrote about it there. Anyway, back to my, now new, story.

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

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!

Emotional Rollercoaster

Today was my day to get a million things done at the office. Though I was productive, I was also distracted by a rollercoaster of emotions.

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.

Not good.

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.

Excited again.

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

Mabel's Labels

Have you ever heard of Mabel's Labels? If not, you should totally check them out at www.mabel.ca. I first heard of Mabels Labels from my friend Jody over at www.iowageekonline.com. She made use of the labels with her kids somehow. I perused the site and thought it was cool but this thrifty mama just couldn't justify the cute labels at the time. I continue to drool over their products and hope to buy someday but for now I'm being content with money going to adoption.
Do you want to know what some of my favorite products are? The 411 wristbands are pretty cool. Do you ever take your kiddos to big public places like the zoo, the state fair, camping, the mall? These wristband labels help identify your child and give contact info so that when your child gets lost or runs off, they can contact you. How cool is that?!?!? They also have an allergy wristband. If you're little one is allergic to something or several somethings and you send him to a birthday party, to summer camp, etc. then you can add that info right to his wrist band so others can be informed of his allergy. Very cool.
Mabels Labels also has label packs. If you're extremely organized like me (or like I wish I was), there's perfect packs of labels for you. The cord control pack is my favorite. No more wrapping them with scotch tape and writing on the side to identify which cord, of the 100's we have around the house, goes to which electronic product.
The last of my favorites is an entire grouping of labels for clothes. I could have so used some of these when Scott didn't get his snowpants put back in his cubby at school and some other little guy took them home. If we would have had a label on his snow pants, that might not have happened and we certainly wouldn't have missed several good days of sledding!
The Mabels Labels products are cool. What I also appreciate about them is that they know they're generous. For example, when I was at the iblog conference last fall, Mabels Labels gave us cute little tags for our swag bags. I also appreciate their prompt response today when I contacted them with a concern. Way to go Mabel's Labels for having good customer service - something too many people lack these days. If you haven't checked out Mabel's Labels, stop on over by clicking here.

08 March 2010

Weekend Fun

For some odd reason, my body is begging for a break but I keep on movin' and God keeps sustaining!

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:
  1. Fruit punch spilled all over pizza is NOT going to be the new thing.
  2. 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!

More on Journey Bags

Well, this is the finished bag that I showed you last week. I made it for my Aunt's little granddaughter since my aunt is always making stuff for my little ones. Jennifer is about 7 months older than Bethany and I hope she likes it.
After I finished that up, it was back to the canvas bags for the kids in Samuel's village:
(let me also clarify that I am not expecting. After seeing this picture, this is definitely not my favorite shirt anymore and I'm not even sure if I wanna wear it again...)
This project wouldn't have been such smooth sailing without my helper, Aunt Janie, who helped me cut out the bags, surged the sides and argued with me about how I chose to design them. Thank you Aunt Ugly, I love you dearly!
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

As we were wrapping up our work one night, I layed what I had done so far out on the carpet to see... it's nice to see progress when you're working
Bethany proceeded to dance on the bags even though some had pins in them. When we finally got her off the bags and she wanted to show them off:

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


My friend high school friend, Donny Querin, past away yesterday. It was a courageous and inspiring battle with leukemia. For those of my Kingsburg friends who know him and want to read more, check out the web page where his mom was keeping people updated: http://www.abbasheart.com/donnyupdate4.asp

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


Thank you neighboring agency for the gift of a headache today! I look forward to the next time I can bang my head against the wall dealing with your nit-pickiness.


This drink has grown on me. The first taste I had of it was not good. But I tried it again. It's an aquired taste for sure. Kombucha can be bought in health food stores or brewed in your own home. It's a fermented tea. A bacteria/yeast scoby added to a super sweetened tea and left to ferment. The scoby eats the sugar and leave you with a drink full of probiotics. Some claim that kombucha helps with digestion, and other things I can't remember right now cause I'm tired :)

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

Lunch Break

Some thoughts real quick that are circling in my chaotic mind:
  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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 :)

01 March 2010

Journey Bags

I would love to introduce you to my friend Janel via her blog. When we decided to adopt, a friend connected me with Janel's blog and I've kept up with it ever since. Over New Year's Jake and Janel were in Ghana, Africa working on their Kingdom Hoops project. While there they met Samuel, the boy they're adopting, and gave gifts to the children in his village. When I read her journal entry from day six and saw this picture, the bags immediately caught my attention. I left the following comment for Janel: "...then I read of the bags. The first time I saw the bags I knew it was likely something that would not get recycled or thrown away here. And as I read on about how you wish you would have bought better ones, I automatically thought of how simple it would be to sew some. Maybe we can get together and sew up a bunch of bags to take with you when you go to get Samuel. That would be awesome!"

That was mid January. Fast forward a few weeks and the bags are coming together. It has been a fun and a huge blessing to work on these bags. I wanted to do this project with a couple of us girls. On Saturday I started to do a sample bag just to see how they would turn out, how long they would take to make, etc. I used one of Ryan's old veterinary scrubs that he hardly used. One scrub made two bags. That was pretty simple. I added a little embellishment to one and gave it to Bethany. I did a few more for fun and then decided to cut into my good fabric. It's very cute asian fabric that I picked out specifically for bags. I pieced it together and added an embellishment to the bottom specifically for Addy and was proud of my own little creation.

In the process of making these smaller bags, I realized I would quickly run out of the much needed black fabric I used to line Addy's bag. With a quick phone call to my mom who was out shopping, I asked her to pick up more fabric. That afternoon when she and my visiting Aunt showed up to the house, I got them involved in my little project. Aunt Janie had found canvas and purchased 5 yards of it for my project. We decided that on Sunday after church, we would dive into these bags.

Sunday afternoon we did just that. We cut canvas for 16 bags and started designing them with a little color. I picked out the colors and designed them and Aunt Janie helped out and surged the ends. Mom and Ryan chased my kids while we worked. As I worked, I prayed for those who would receive the bags, those who would deliver the bags, and those others who could use a simple gift that would potentially be life changing.

These bags that we're sewing together will have quite the journey to Ghana. With our own personal interest in Ethiopia, I might have to make extra so I can take them there. In thinking about these simple bags, the journey they will make from my house, to Janel's suitcase, to the hands of a Ghananian, I started referring to them as Journey Bags. I'm excited to see what journey they'll go on and also what Journey God will take me on as I seek to give of my gifts and talents for someone else.

Friends, I'm headed back to the sewing machine to finish up this little bag...