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.