Thursday, October 29, 2009

Post #92!

This is my 92nd post to the blog. Wow ... I as hoping to make it to 100 and make a nice grand blog entry ... but, I have a feeling I'll forget and I'll remember only when I'm at another odd mark anyway. So here's BIG #92 (just incase!)

The weekend before last my husband MADE.MY.DAY. by saying, "So, if I travel to China again would you like to go with me?--I'm not sure what you'd do the whole time I was busy with work..., "where are your friends in China? (meaning New Day)--Beijing?--Hmmm," This was right before bed and well, as you can imagine I couldn't get to sleep very easily just thinking about this potential trip sometime in the hazy future! I was giddy just with the thought.

Ahhhh, but as one of the lines from my favorite movies (Out of Africa) reminds me, "the Earth was made round so that we cannot see so far into the future."
I had gone and picked up my passport application promptly on Monday morning ... had it filled out by the time Jeff came home from work ... and ... on Thursday he broke the news to me that he had been informed that there might be a reorganization in teams and he might be moving from the China project ... to one in Japan. I think we both may have felt my heart hit the floor.

And it's true, it has become official. Thankfully he has a job and that it's just a shift in position within the company. But it's disappointing for him. He's worked so hard, built a team of people that he's hired, gotten to know and really likes ... and now for the second time, as this happened last year around December when he was working with projects in both Italy and France, he's gotten super submersed in a project and then he has been asked to move programs. Last time however I had been praying that God would make China's orphans so clearly set into his path ... and WOW ... he came home one day and said he had been moved to a project in China out of the blue.
Talk about goosebumps! God felt very close!

So, as you can imagine, I'm kinda disappointed along with him with his position change. But thankful at the same time because in this economy being out of a job would be very scary! And I know that Jeff will do such a great job on any project he works with. I think I'm mostly disappointed in myself ... for thinking that I had things all so neatly worked out in my head even if I won't fully admit it.

On a very timely note, I heard a Focus on the Family program on the radio this past Saturday that featured the creator of Big Idea productions and VeggieTales. Apparently in 2003 Big Idea Productions was about to go bankrupt and he needed to break away from the company-- the company that he envision, built from the ground, loved so much, which was his dream, his passion. He was at a crisis point in his life and wanted to know "God, why did you give me this dream and then take it away from me?" Okay, I'm not having a crisis here ... but I did find the topic somewhat appropriate and it kinda struck my heart. Someone told him an answer that kinda fits me too. It was suggested that, "God wants to be the center of your passion and maybe you think He is, but is He? Has something gotten in the way?"

I am always excited about what the future might hold. It's just a little scarier when you need to go on faith and not just seeing a path flowing out in front of you easily and comfortably and totally as you would imagine it. Someday I know I'll look back and be amazed about where God has taken me and that it is so much better than I could have planned or imagined myself. It just kinda stinks right now, because I was enjoying the "thousand points of light ... all coming together!" haha! (to borrow from SNL ... who borrowed from a former president.) And to borrow from my earlier self ... back in grad school when I kept a sketchbook journal instead of an online blog and when I was fascinated by the Tao te Ching and not burdened by the plight of 143 million little souls that long for families ...
"... And me ... with my life unfurling before me like The Great Wall of China..."--Valerie (circa 1995)

I am reminded--"Impossibilities are opportunities for God to reveal Himself."
And I cling to Him and pray that He remains my passion and the center of it all.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A day in the life of a muffin mom

Yesterday (well, actually that is now a couple of days ago as this post has been set aside in order to do 101 other half done projects before being officially finished-ha!) I dove in and decided it was THE day to break open that other can of paint that I had bought a month ago and finally paint the entrance hallway. I was able to get part of it done in the morning when Nolan laid down for his morning nap ... and then today was able to do the larger wall and the second coat during everyone's afternoon nap. It was a bit of a race as nap time is at 2pm (although don't tell the kids that it was actually 1:45) and I had to finish, clean up, make supper in order take WITH us to the hockey arena while remembering to also grab the hockey bag and stick AND to stop at the school and pick up Brayden all by 3:20.

(whew!) Ya. busy.
But I did it ... of course the laundry was half done on the floor and the paint stuff still cluttered the mudroom and the counter in the kitchen was piled with dishes from lunch that we rushed through and the supper that I quickly had whipped together. When the family returned from hockey practice (and Open House at the School which was last night too because it just was not a busy enough night,) Jeff happened (unwisely) to mention that perhaps I could find time to put away the 30+ cans of pop that were still on the counter from the weekend's shin-dig at the airport. Nevermind that I had lugged the cooler full of 30+ cans of pop and melted ice into the kitchen, emptied it and dried all the cans and put the cooler away. He then added that if he were to start a project like painting he would block off time JUST FOR THAT ACTIVITY until it was finished and then move on.
He has obviously not walked in the shoes of a mom.

And for that I am going to post this gem that I found last week. It is a keeper. (As is my husband ... he just doesn't realize I'd love to concentrate on one thing at a time too ... but that just isn't an option now is it?)

If You Give a Mom a Muffin
by Kathy Fictorie

If you give a mom a muffin,
She'll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
She'll pour herself some.
Her three-year-old will spill the coffee.
She'll wipe it up.
Wiping the floor, she'll find dirty socks.
She'll remember she has to do laundry.
When she puts the laundry in the washer,
She'll trip over boots and bump into the freezer.
Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan for supper.
She will get out a pound of hamburger.
She'll look for her cookbook ("101 Things To Do With a Pound of Hamburger").
The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail.
She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow.
She will look for her checkbook.
The check book is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two-year-old.
She'll smell something funny.
She'll change the two year old's diaper.
While she is changing the diaper, the phone will ring.
Her five-year-old will answer and hang up.
She'll remember she wants to phone a friend for coffee.
Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup.
And chances are...
If she has a cup of coffee,
Her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A mother's pleas, a Father's love

I find it amazing how God meets us where we are over and over and over again. I was certain that I was going to start not posting so much stuff about adoption on our blog ... it's not like we're in the process of adopting ... or anywhere close to it ... and really my followers aren't that large of a throng. I'm kinda typing to the choir so to speak. But then I was brought to THIS post this morning and once again it becomes so important to me to be a voice for those who don't have one. Even if it doesn't make a lot of sense in the realm of our family right now, maybe someone who is reading our blog is supposed to be encouraged or led through the words they read and this will be a stepping stone for them to speak out or act or become an advocate too. After all, it's not about me.

I read this post entitled ABANDONMENT this morning on the LWB blogsite and it is one you will need to get a kleenex box for because it will tear at your heart as a human, as a parent, as someone who is not perfect but also has imperfections even if they are not surface attributes, but deeply entrenched and not as easily seen. God sees. He knows our heart. He created us in our mother's womb and has known us from the start of time. And HE loves us in spite of it all. Deeply. Passionately. Forever. Never to abandon us.

I cannot CANNOT CANNNNNNOT imagine the pain these parents ... especially mothers ... endure. Looking down at their beautiful baby knowing that for whatever reason they cannot keep him or her. If they could just fix this or that and make it all right with the family, the society, whomever it is that is saying NO we cannot keep this child ... that has been a part of them for 9 months ... that IS a part of them still ... that they love regardless of whatever special need they have. Because I am sure most mothers would go through and do anything for their child. The questions that must swirl unbearably in their heads over their child as the impossible becomes the inevitable and they are forced by reality or the hands of another to let.go.of.their.child. Please make sure to click on the blue word above to read the original post. This paragraph especially gripped me. It describes LWB founder Amy at a cleft-lip clinic set up in a rural area and it spoke to my heart and I hope it does yours as well:

"I was sitting in the intake room one morning when an anxious young woman came running in holding a tiny bundle. I could immediately tell that the baby was a newborn, and I asked our Chinese director to break the bad news to the woman that the baby was far too young for surgery. As she was given the news, the young lady burst into tears and began pleading and begging to have her child be seen. My friend came over to me and told me that I needed to go and speak with the woman in private, and so I did. She pulled back the blanket to reveal a tiny baby girl with severe cleft lip. The mother told me that her daughter was 28 days old, and that their period of confinement was over in just 2 more days. As she was crying and talking, the mom kept kissing her baby's forehead, and she kept telling me again and again, "I love her....I love her so much."

But then she went on to tell me that her extended family would not accept her daughter since she had been born with a cleft lip. They felt this tiny baby would bring shame to them all. With tears streaming down her face, she told me that her mother-in-law was coming to take the baby away from her in two days' time. The mom was begging me to heal her daughter, to make her daughter beautiful, so that she could keep the baby that she had carried inside of her for 9 months….the daughter she loved completely. When I explained that the baby could not safely be put under anesthesia at four weeks of age, she fell on her knees and was sobbing at my feet, pleading and crying and begging me to help her. Right now...even typing this brings a pain to my chest that I cannot describe."

The pain that that story brings is nowhere near the anguish the mother felt. Pleading, begging ... knowing this was her. last. hope.
I have often wondered about children who are abandoned after a month or a couple of months ... what love the parents had for this child to hold out all hope for any solution other than abandoning them, knowing that with each moment, each sweet coo and breath they were falling more and more in love with their child ... and it takes me again back to this little boy ...

and his abandonment story at the doorstep of the civil affairs office after one month. Was his mother pleading with other family members to keep him knowing that without legs he would have such a difficult if not impossible time surviving or providing for himself let alone his family who would depend on him in their later years. I can imagine his mother unwrapping him from his newborn blankets praying each time that his legs were certainly just fine and that her previous thoughts that they were not was just a dream brought on by the slept deprivation of a new mother. I am certain that she loved him not only because he was abandoned at the one month mark and not a moment before. I know she loved him because I see it in his eyes and in his cheeks and on his forehead. I am sure that the kisses and tears that were placed on this child are still visible in the right light--especially in the light of a Father that sees all and heals all. I am praying each day for this little boy and so many others that they will find their Forever Families ... that instead of "No" a mother will hear "Yes" ... that a child will not be seen by what he or she doesn't have, but what he or she does.

“For I know the plans I have for you,”
" declares the LORD, "
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”
--Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Reminder, Fall Leaves & Pumpkins

Tomorrow (Oct. 22) is the final day for THIS raffle which I posted about earlier in the month. Just a reminder to check it out! Please pray for their journey. Maybe you can forego a lunch at Subway and instead settle for a PBJ sandwich or skip the fancy cup o' joe and have a nice glass of ice water or walk quickly past the aisle of Halloween candy and instead ChipIn $5 for Ben. It would be such a blessing. I'm hoping that their ChipIn thermometer has a glitch, otherwise I may have been the last contributor way back at the beginning of the month! I know times are tight, but if you read the story you can probably scratch up $5 that you wouldn't miss too too much ... and if that isn't enough, look through the prizes you'll be excited for a chance at some of those!

In other news, Easton and Nolan and I spent the early afternoon at the park yesterday for one last fling on the playground equipment before it gets too cold and rainy. And maybe we'll make it to the Pumpkin Patch today if the rain isn't too heavy. (Easton's preschool class will be going and Nolan and I may have to drop in!) I'll update with some photos when I get a moment. Hope you too can enjoy these fleeting days of autumn before the snow flies. And remember to look up into those beautiful fall colored leaves!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bun Seeds

We had a BIG day yesterday of events that included an afternoon at the small airport at a local town where my husband was hosting a department get-together. Never mind that the 60 degree beautiful weather that was forecast was actually cloudy, windy and more like 42-ish! BUT ... it was fun. We dressed warm (and warmed up now and again in the office which they may not have totally appreciated! ha!) We had the choice to go for a small plane ride in the 4 seater plane (although the kids and I were all too chicken.) And the food was fantastic thanks to the international group that Jeff's department is comprised of! Seriously, there is someone from Ethiopia, India, China, and probably 3 other countries ... oh yes and a couple other Americans. Since I was holding onto a frozen Nolan all afternoon I wasn't able to try too much of the food ... but the Chinese-soy-chicken that Tony brought was DELICIOUS!

We brought some American food ... from Arby's* (We provided the meat since we were hosting) along with a way-yummy zucchini spice cake (and I'd be glad to share the recipe.) Did you know you can bulk order the meat, buns and sauce from Arby's*? It's very popular around graduation time and it is SO good and a nice change from sloppy joes or ham or grilling out!

Because of the weather and the other great food, and over-estimating on our part, we had a good amount leftover which we enjoyed today. Easton was absolutely hilarious as he took out one of their fantastic buns ... oh I love him! He can have the silliest fun comments sometimes that just warm my mommy heart to the core! We usually buy the store-brand cheaper-by-the-dozen buns that are seedless. So when he saw these GIGANTIC buns with seed on them he was SO EXCITED! --Imagine his little-4 year old eye-brows as high as they can go, his eyes wide with excitement and his voice exclaiming, "MOM! LOOK! Bun Seeds! We can plant them! And grow buns!"

He was SO serious too! I got such a chuckle out of it ... and it stuck with me all afternoon as I mowed the lawn for the last time this year (which is a good hour plus long job.) So, when I came inside I HAD to get a photo of him and his bun to hopefully make this memory stick in my mind FOREVER! And of course, we gathered up a bunch of seeds, went outside, and planted them. I hope we get a bun-tree to grow! That will be really exciting! I'll keep you updated on that this Spring. ;-)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Grandparents-Part 1: Treasures in the Closet

Treasures in the Closet

Yesterday after I dropped Easton off at preschool I was determined to make the most of my morning and return home and accomplish something on my TO DO LIST before I returned to pick him up. But as I've found with most of my projects I tend to get a little side tracked mid-way through the process and it doesn't get totally finished and sometimes I end up with a bigger project of cleaning up than what I had when I started!

So my project yesterday was to go through my closet and get rid of ALL of my maternity clothes and post maternity clothes that worked well during those post-baby nursing months but that really aren't very flattering! I tend to get a little bit sentimental about things and so even though this might seem like a happy task I instead reminisced about when I wore such and such etc. In fact, I'm way too sentimental about clothes and I'm going to try to pare down my closet a little bit at a time because even though I don't buy clothes that often I still tend to wear the same things. (I seriously have things from the late-90's) Why have all that clutter? And I'm sure it's out of date. (We'll see how this goes if I can detach from them?)

In the process of making piles of "keep" and "donate" and "throw" Nolan was happily crawling under the clothes racks, snuggling with dad's shirt sleeve cuffs and playing peek-a-boo. Somewhere between the tank tops and the button-down flannel shirts I came across a wooden crate that I had bought for Jeff when we were dating that had since been turned into a box holding some old "love-notes" and some church things from long ago and a couple "sad-irons" that were given to me by my Grandma.--I cannot believe they used to iron clothes with those things! Man are they heavy!) I also found a white cardboard box that had also come from my Grandma Esther's house about 14 years ago. Many of the things from my Grandma Esther are so cherished but remain boxed up ... some because I don't yet have a China cabinet to display them and some because they mean so much and bring back just too many memories of her and how much I miss her and my dad (her son who died of a heart attack in 1999, 5 months before our wedding.) It's strange how one thing has strings that attach to so many other places in the heart. You can't untie one and not loosen or be led to another. In this box was a treasure of memories that many wouldn't appreciate or see the value that is so deeply sewn in every color and stitch and seam. My grandmother was a quilter ... mostly working on "Crazy quilts" that incorporated fabrics from old clothes that were wearing out or out-grown. She made quilts for all of her grandchildren for their graduations and weddings and it is so fun to look back and see some of the fabrics ... the argyle patterned poodle dog from an outfit when I was 5 and another piece from Grandpa's shirt and another from something my mom wore and another from the first quilt I sewed. She was sewing together the memories of a lifetime and similarly those memories are linked together that make the fabric of our family ties.

I'm sure the usefulness of old material was actually a necessity of making the most of everything a practice that she had kept since the Depression era in which she grew up but it also is such a reminder of how not to waste and to appreciate and value the memory of things beyond the shirt or coat or outfit ... and instead the person who wore it and maybe the event that you remember going to when they did.

It was not a surprise for me to find the box--I've known it was there--I just had not looked at it in a long time and it seems like I saw it all a little differently this time. The box contained 2 unfinished quilt tops. The first was a Crazy Quilt brightly stitched with Feather Stitching around EVERY piece that secured it to the flannel middle layer.

And the second was a beautiful "Grandmother's Flower Garden" pattern that I still vaguely remember her working on when I was little. I remember bursting through the screen door announcing "Hello?! Grandma?!" with the boundless energy of a little-girl! Running upstairs and seeing her in the bright sunlit East window by her sewing machine. (We lived next door and spent SO MUCH time with her and Grandpa! We literally would run across the back yard, through the alley and into her yard and into her house for a cookie or M&Ms or just to chat on a whim. It was very Andy Griffith-ish however instead of our town being "Mulberry" our town was "Mechanicsville"--honest.) So when she gave me this box of quilts when I was in Grad School it was like a passing of a legacy, one I did not want to fully look at quite yet. Part of me didn't want to take it without HER being able to finish it ... because I knew that would mean accepting that she was getting older and would not be able to finish it. And also I would have to accept letting her go at some point.

So, when I took the edges of the quilt yesterday and snapped it open over the surface of my bed it was as if her beautiful flower garden bloomed right in front of me and it was almost like in some way she was there in the room with me and my young son whom on this Earth she never met or even knew would be born. She stitched the memories so that I could remember and share them with him and his brothers and perhaps someday with their children when they come bursting through my screen door and ask for a cookie or M&M and watch me sewing memories for their children.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Samuel: God Heard

I started writing this post yesterday. But instead of getting finished and posted, it sat in the EDIT mode as the morning turned in other directions of a thousand things that came up keeping me from finishing and posting it. But in retrospect I think God just wanted me to be still for a moment and SEE and HEAR the things happening around me. Not to speak ... but to listen. To name just a few, let's see, there was the post on "Not enough money for adoption" and how God provides beyond any measure. And another post from a friend on how her adoption journey has officially STARTED after so much patience and faith in God's direction! And still another post on "Being Careful What You Ask For" and Unfamiliar Grace.

Let me follow that yesterday was one of those dips in the road kinda days when I didn't feel like I was doing a very good job with ALL that I have been blessed with. So badly I would like to make a difference and not just watch from the other side of the computer. But just look at the last 2 sentences ... how many "I's" can be used in so few words? It's not about me ... or shouldn't be and even though I can't SEE the things that God may be doing with my life, I am certain that as I turn to Him and ask what He wants from me ... He will not be disappointed. I just need to be patient and keep turning to Him to know where and what His plans are.

Here's where yesterday's post was going:
(my apologies for its length)

This is not the way it was supposed to happen. According to me (here's where things obviously start to fall apart) I was supposed to mention the idea of adoption to my husband and he was supposed to fall deeply and instantly in love with the idea.

That was 3+ years ago.
So much for instant.
And because we are SO blessed with WONDERFUL boys I was supposed to amazingly be drawn to little girls. In fact that is what seemed to be the spark that lit this fire so many moons ago. But maybe that was just God getting my attention.
God's love is SO much deeper than that. So much deeper than we can comprehend.
After a recent email that I responded to brought that out of my heart and so clearly to my eyes in my very own words of response, it confirms in me that it's not about raising a "girl" ... but that adoption is about a child, not a gender. And of course that seems obvious ... but really searching for motives and agendas and asking God why this path is even here, it was a sort of epiphany for me.

This is not the first time I have been swept away by God's surprise move. In March, when I first came across New Day Foster Home's website that I am certain came after much, much, much deep prayer. I remember searching every nook and cranny of the website. (No, really, I even took the online tour and probably could navigate around the place having not even been there in real life!) So when they posted about their newest children I was excited ... but then I found out that they were "older"--not the cute little babies that everyone just falls in love with. My heart was admittedly not where it should have been ... but in a surprise move by God ... I was SO moved by Elizabeth's story and in such an unexpected way. It stayed with me and I thought of her so often and prayed for her spirit that had been rocked beyond anything I can imagine ... It led to me sharing this passion for orphans with my husband, a wonderful opportunity to bless Carrie at New Day and to also shower some love on Elizabeth and to see God moving and doing so many things. It was an answer to prayer of "Where was He in all the hurt?" AMAZING. My short synopsis there does not accurately relay the awesomeness of it all.

Fast forward through the summer and so much growth on our part as a family. I kept reading about families who would mention that on their journey when they saw that very first picture of their child they just "KNEW" it was their child in the deepest part of their heart ... wow, that always kinda escaped me because as much as I have a heart for the children I saw, it seemed a little different than the deep overwhelming love that I have for my own children. I didn't want to ever view adoption as adopting an orphan ... but adopting my son or daughter. I wasn't sure if this was even a normal thought. Would I ever feel that feeling? Of course I felt so drawn to Elizabeth, but her story has so much more wrapped up with it along with New Day and so many other feelings. I wondered how people ever know. What is this feeling like? I prayed about it ... and figured that since I didn't have this magical "feeling" for any specific child that my role was probably that of an encourager and an advocate for adoption. (Let's pretend that my husband has been swayed by the voice of God and that he is on board with growing our family ... okay? )

That was until I saw a little boy named Samuel.

Funny how his English given name means "God Heard."
I don't know him but his sweet little face makes my heart hurt as deep as it would for any of my other children. How is that for a bold statement?! And it is not a surface love that I have for my children. So I cannot explain how or why I would feel this way about another little person whom I don't know, have never held or really know anything about. But I now know how it can happen. How someone can fall so in love with a little person from afar. Maybe it's falling in love with an idea that has a face to it knowing that in reality they may be so much different than your mental picture of them. And yet you just love. And I think it's the love of the hope and potential that they hold. When you "see" that, you see them so much deeper.

While responding to Operation Giggle I at first thought I could just let God decide who we would sponsor ... well that lasted about one day and I broke down and had to re-email and reveal that I would especially love to have one of three possible children if they were still available. It wasn't that I wouldn't be overjoyed to buy a Christmas present for any and all of the children (if I had the means to do so) ... but I seemed especially excited if I could be matched with one of these children. I wished I could have had the patience to let God choose ... but I couldn't. Then yesterday (Tuesday) with the updated list I noticed the 2 little boys on MY list were on the bigger NOT YET TAKEN list. I felt sick to my stomach with angst about Samuel. Not disappointed that I probably had been matched with one of my very special other choices ... but I really felt so deeply that I was missing out if I didn't sponsor him too. I cannot express how overwhelming this was. SO I re-emailed Sherri again (at this point she's probably throwing darts at my blog photo) and asked that if it wasn't too selfish of me I'd love to have 2 children to sponsor. So I wait to hear what direction my shopping cart will head. Three pounds is the max weight for gifts. That seems so small. But that way I have to focus and streamline and really pray about what this child would love so much. And any time I turn to God ... that's always good.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Happy Monster Tunes

Make sure to pause the music at the bottom of the sidebar before you hit the play arrow.
This is a hoot!

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Benjamin Waits and a Chance

Remember the fund-raiser for Drew (see his button on the sidebar) that was held just about a month ago? Well, from that fund raiser I was blessed to win one of the seven prizes! (A gift certificate that I have yet to fill with Girly Girls Bowtique. DON'T you laugh at this mom of all boys. I am a girly girl and maybe need this girl-boost most of all after hanging deer stands all weekend with my boys!--see post below from yesterday.) I still am in deep happiness and disbelief over my name being drawn AND in the fact that they exceeded their goal for this portion of their paperwork! Yay! (and as a sidenote, the dad has now been called back to work and with OT income!)

Well, another fund-raiser was brought to my attention earlier this month for another little boy awaiting his family. At the time I didn't forward a link on through my blog since I didn't know the family or have a connection to their adoption story and I didn't want to become known as "the chip-in" connection blogsite. But it's kinda lingered in the back of my mind everyday nudging at me until it was brought again to the forefront yesterday. This little boy may not be someone my family knows ... but he is part of the larger "family" of God, and he is WAITING for his parents to love him and hold him and I really feel compelled to pass along the link. I do have the opportunity to be a part of his adoption story. Maybe you too will take advantage of having a chance at the really neat prizes by entering your name for a chance to win by mentioning it on your blog or chipping in too! ... Maybe God will bless this family because of a prayer you say for them ... maybe their story will just stick in the back of your mind and be an encouragement for you down the road to also step out in faith on behalf of the least of these. Benjamin waits ... and this is your chance to help make a difference and be a part of a larger story.

Please check out this blog and the story of this family that is having an A-mazing fundraiser to bring home their little boy, Benjamin James. Benjamin waits for the Leonard Family in Luoyang, Henan. This is their third child through adoption and by the sounds of it has a pretty cool story of referral so very close in timeframe to his new-to-be older sister. The raffle is going on until the third week of October (DRAWING TO BE HELD ON OCT. 22) and there are TONS of great prizes - including some beautiful Vera Bradley, $100 worth of Mary kay, some handmade jewelry, a $100 visa card & my personal favorite - PEARLS from the Pearl Market in Guangzhou :) So not only can you help a family bring home a little boy from the other side of the world, you can win some great stuff for yourself! Last I checked there was plenty of opportunity to chip-in and have great odds at winning. Quite honestly, I'd deal with having less odds of winning due to more entries! Check it out today! Come on ... I know you're curious! And if I become known as the adoption chip-in connection, SO BE IT!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Camouflage and pine needles

*Disclaimer--If you're not a hunter or not someone who lives with a hunter, this is probably going to turn you away from the sport forever. My apologies in advance.

There are a couple of things that are not so pleasant about my husband's passion for hunting ... especially when I consider that since we have THREE boys this will undoubtedly triple in size in the near future! Surprisingly it's not the early alarm clocks getting him out of bed on frosty mornings to go sit in a cold tree stand (I usually sleep through that), or the occasional poison ivy that he brings home on his clothes (that gets on me who has not been out in the forest), or even the long hunting trips far away (leaving me home with kids who never fail to get sick while he's gone.) No, what I really don't like about hunting is ... the smell.

No, I'm not talking about the earthy or leafy smells of autumn or the woods ... or even the attempt that he has to have NO smell (which is hard in our fabric softener, candle ladened aroma-ed homes.) No, I'm talking about the smell of pure hunting. Something so ... well ... purely man. And do I dare even type it? Okay ... I'm going to ... I cannot stand the smell of elk urine or doe pee.
No ... I am NOT kidding you. Some hunters (including my husband) take hunting very seriously and they wash their clothes in special laundry detergent to get rid of all smells ... and then apply the aforementioned smells to attract deer, elk, moose or whatever game happens to be their target. And it is (as you can imagine) rather stinky.

Now I don't mind if they do that. Whatever works ... as long as I don't have to put it on ... and that he showers when he gets back ... and as long as it stays far away from me! But unfortunately the "FAR AWAY" part hasn't been FAR AWAY enough in my book. In fact my nice laundry room has on more than one occasion been made into such an odor-rific place that I am simply amazed at the power of a breezy open window and what some good ol' fashioned pinesol can do! I guess there is a reason why his nose smeller is just not as good as mine ... because I just couldn't do it. NO way.

I was so over-joyed today when I came down to the basement to find my husband putting away his elk hunting clothes now that his big trip was over (and also getting out his deer hunting clothes now that archery deer season is open--because you just can't have enough camouflage ... and unfortunately I happen to like camouflage, so I can't really complain too much here,) anywho ... he was packing away his gear into sealed, smell-proof plastic totes and he threw in not an "Elk scented wafer" like I would normally expect ... but a PINE NEEDLE scented one! I couldn't believe my nose! "Honey," I said, "this is SO terrific! I don't mind this smell at all--in fact it's a really great candle scent! Our whole house can smell like pines if you'd like!" Which he was all for too.

Ahhhh--We can all live in harmony now in our house free from the smells of hunting thanks to the WONDERFUL pine needle scented pins that my husband got to put in the plastic totes with his hunting clothes! (Unfortunately, I'm sure when they come out of their totes next fall there will be the added "aroma" once again.)

New tunes

Anybody just tired of the same songs on the blog? (Maybe you're just tired of them and you turn them way down.) Well, turn 'em up because I just updated not only the songs but to a whole different mixer as they have such nicer tunes available! I absolutely heart these songs. When I was on another friends' site the other day I heard "Now What" by Steven Curtis Chapman and never having heard it before I just was so moved to tears. (The kind you don't want your kids to see because they'll think you're really hurt.) But then again ... I was. How can a song written by someone else probably long ago just speak to the heart in such a perfect way? God is just so cool in how he makes us love words and music and how it touches us so deeply at just the right moment.

Thank you so much for putting up with my streaming tunes ... I play them in the background all day long so I always have the songs I love right there.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Join Operation Giggle

If you haven't heard about "Operation Giggle" already you really MUST click on the button on my sidebar with that name. What an incredible opportunity to reach out half way across the world and warm the hearts of children on Christmas morning! And not only will you be bringing the joy of giving to a special little one but also giving to yourself. By sharing just a small portion of the deep and rich blessings that you have been entrusted you will be filled with so much love. AND you get to shop for toys!

You can meet the children by clicking here and you can request a specific child (unless someone has beat you to them.) But with around 50 beautiful children there is bound to be someone special you could shower with love. (If you click on their photos you will learn a little bit more about each of these precious sweeties!)

I cannot wait until Christmas morning as my chlildren unwrap their gifts. But my mind won't just be focused on them ... I will be thinking of the little package that I sent far away long before that day and the anticipation of a child who is opening that Christmas gift, perhaps his or her very first gift ever, and how much excitement and love will grow from it. I am already giddy just waiting to hear who I'll be matched with and I can't wait to start shopping for them. I pray that there will be such an overwhelming response that all the children will be matched with their own very special donor and all the shipping will be covered and then some. JOIN IN THE BLESSING TODAY!

The family

The family