Sunday, September 30, 2007

East Bound and Down - Headed for South Carolina

I'm heading out this morning for South Carolina to start my project work. 500 inspections this week; home Saturday; leave Sunday to visit Kevin's brother, Steve, Angie and the girls (CANNOT WAIT to see them again!), back home Wednesday to catch up; leave Sunday to go back to South Carolina. 675 inspections. Back home for a week and then, possibly, one final trip to South Carolina to finalize project work for this year.

Thank you, God, for providing for our family--for providing a way to offset the costs of this adoption of Ellie. Thank you for giving us the desires of our heart. Thank you for the ability and health to work. Thank you for the opportunity you provided, the doors you opened, for me to have this work. Thank you for Ellie. If she is already born, Lord, please protect her; keep her safe, happy and healthy until we can get to her. Prepare her heart, and each of ours, to receive her into our lives. Help us realize how hard this will be on each of the four of us and grant us patience with each other. Thank you for Kevin, who is staying home with a son on crutches, a house that looks like an atomic bomb blew up in it and with all the day-to-day responsibilities that he will have to handle. Thank you for making him strong enough and capable and willing to handle it for our family. Thank you, Lord, for Joshua. He is the best son you could have ever blessed us with. We are eternally grateful that you allow us to be his parents. Help him do well with his crutches. Heal him, Lord, quickly and without pain or lasting damage. Touch his ankle and restore it. Thank you for my parents who are on "standby" to help out if needed at home. Thank you for my mom who worries about who will carry Joshua's tray at lunchtime. Lord, help her not have so much pain. Thank you for your Son Jesus, without whom I would not be able to spend eternity with You. Thank you for my church, my pastor, my friends and my life. Thank you for blessing me beyond measure. In Jesus name, I pray.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Application for New Agency Mailed

I mailed our application for our new agency today. It should reach them by Wednesday. Step 1 - check!! One step closer to Ellie.

Vikings Win Large against Ashland City - Joshua Injured

Today I went back to my alma mater. I told Kevin, as we were getting ready for football this morning that when I was in high school I never dreamed I be back at the football field watching my son play football. That was so far from my imagination!!

Today we travelled to Cheatham Co. High School to play the Ashland City Cowboys. Since we are required to have the boys there at 11:30 for pre-game warmup, I had planned to sit in the stands and watch the younger boys play before going to the sidelines to take pictures.

A few minutes passed and one of the parents said, "Who's that down? Is that Josh Latham?" HUH??? Josh Latham??? Down??? What??? Mommy-fear went into overdrive as I saw a player lying on the sidelines with Coach John looking at him. I got John's number from Trish so I could see what was wrong and to remind Coach John -- "No duct tape." (see photo from baseball)...

I decided to go down and check on the "Little Man" and WOW was he in pain. His face had broken out in a full sweat, he was near crying and saying, "It hurts!!" I called Kevin to bring down an ice pack and some Motrin. Coach John wrapped his ankle (and not in duct tape, haha!) and Josh lay on the ground.

After a lot of talk, we all agreed that Josh didn't need to play since he couldn't even put his weight on his ankle. The coaches had to carry him to the sidelines where he set up residence for the rest of the game.

The boys played an awesome game, defeating Ashland City 44-6. I was sad that Josh didn't get to play since LAST year he didn't get to play in the AC game either since he broke his toe at church before that game. It must be the Ashland City curse (smile).

After the game, we took Josh to the urgent care at Rivergate where he got x-rayed and pronounced officially sprained. The nurse wrapped his foot, put it in a splint, told him to walk with crutches and gave him a "Get out of PE free" pass for two weeks. WHOO HOO, huh??? Of course, he did say that only Josh will be able to determine when he can play football again, a week or two.

Our neighbors, Terry and Debra, loaned us crutches for Josh to use until Friday when Debra has surgery on her foot. Hopefully, he'll be able to walk again by then. Here he is with crutches and wrapped foot:

The best part of the game was thinking up reasons to tell people of how Joshua got injured. Here's a Top 10 List:

Top Ten Excuses Given for How Joshua was Injured:

1. He ran over three players in a tackle. (We aren't mentioning the fact that it was pre-game warm up and that the three players were his own teammates).

2. He decided he was tired of guarding Alec (you have to be Alec to get this joke) and wanted a day to let Alec guard him.

3. The CCHS band practicing distracted him and he got injured.

4. Coach Jeff N. was demonstrating "Gator Killing" with Coach Jeff W and they accidentally hit Josh, and as he fell backward he twisted his ankle.

5. It as all a carefully masterminded plan to make the Cowboys overconfident by seeing an injured player so they would think we were weak and we could take them out.

6. Josh wanted to see what it felt like to have the coaches carry him around the field.

7. Josh wanted to be waited on hand and foot by his mom and dad.

8. He was running to recover a fumble so he could actually carry the ball and was tripped by someone on the opposing team.

9. He was so busy "Working His Off to Kick Yours" that he became unbalanced and fell.

10. He knew if he got hurt he would miss a week's worth of sit-ups!!

On a final note, though, we are very appreciative to all his coaches, who cared for him, carried him and called to check on him during this time. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have the football coaching staff we have -- men who are not only knowledgeable in teaching the skills of football, but who also are teaching our son the value of caring for others. Thank you Coach Jeff W, Jeff N, Chuck, Chris, Hans and John for all you do!

Friday, September 28, 2007

GIrls and Cheesecake

Need I say more????

It was Girl's Night Out tonight and "The Girls" decided to go to the Cheesecake Factory. For once, not one of us complained about the choice and there was no discussion. Now, if you can EVER get six girls to agree on something, it's either ice cream, chocolate or The Cheesecake Factory.

We were sad that Iris couldn't go, and we missed her. We didn't even talk about her, probably because she's so nice no one wants to talk about her.
I tried something new -- Fish Tacos. Now, I had heard of fish tacos before but had never tried them. They were really, really good. I probably won't get them again, because it is my mission to try something new each time I go there. But, they were good.

We each had dessert, of course. I had White Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle cheesecake. I'm not sure what all it had, but there were chunks of stuff that tasted a lot like Reeses' cup - yum. Here's what's left of it.

I'm not sure WHY we couldn't get a good picture of any of us tonight, but we all looked, off somehow.

Sharon and Jennifer

Dawn, Dianne and me

Afterward, we rushed over to close down Target. *sigh* There wasn't a Kohls nearby! Does anyone see sarcasm dripping of the letters in Kohls?? Mind you, I like Kohls and all ...

International Adoption Training Class

Tonight we had our first training session with our current agency. Since we were already scheduled for this session of classes we decided to go ahead and do them. The first and last class are in the office and the other 6 weeks are by email.

It was informative and I look forward to the next 6-7 weeks of materials so we can be more prepared for Ellie's arrival. Kevin is doing the homework -- GO KEVIN!!! -- since I've read much of this information over the past year while researching. We will both read and study the materials, however.

We turned in our "notice" tonight to our social worker that we are changing countries and agencies. Of course, we will still work with them for our homestudy update and our post-placement visits.

This training is a requirement for almost every agency and we have checked with our new agency to see if it will fulfill their training requirements. Fortunately, it will, so that's one less new expense.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tea Room with Friends

Today my friends Iris and Dianne and I went to the Tea Room in Ashland City. Bad blogger that I am, I don't even KNOW the name of the place, but.... I know the food was great!! I had the tea room sampler. There was a small cup of broccoli cheddar soup, a slice of potato au gratin quiche (yummm!!), a cranberry salad and a small chicken salad sandwich. It sounds like a lot, and I guess it was, but the portions were just right.

We topped it off with a Peanut Butter cake -- double yummmm!!! Lunch with friends is just SO RARE for me. I can't remember the last time I got to do that and it was so much fun. I wish I had remembered my camera so I could have captured a photo of it.

There were some really cute baby onesies, bibs and shoes that had lambs on them. When we get our referral for Ellie, I want to go back and get a set for her!!

On that front, we are near closing with the loan for the adoption. They have misplaced or lost our appraisal so that's a bit of a stumbling block, but nothing that God cannot overcome. I have printed some of the forms we need to fill out for the dossier and am trying to wade through what we need for USCIS and when. I'm prepared to fill out the application for our new agency and send in that fee so we can "officially" start -- again. Tomorrow evening we have a training session at our current agency. We were told by the new agency to go ahead and complete the training as it will fulfill their requirement for training.

I wonder if Ellie has been born? I somehow, think she has. It makes it all seem so much more urgent -- to get the process complete so we can get her referral.

Our Beth Moore class tonight was absolutely wonderful and SO appropriate. It was about trusting God to provide -- daily -- and how the reason he wants us to turn to Him daily for our provision is because it will helps us develop a relationship with him. She also talked about the two reasons we are afraid to to this is because of pride and fear. WOW!!! Refer back to post from Tuesday to see where I talked about asking friends who were "safe" and how pride was standing in my way of allowing God to help us and how we wanted to do it "ourselves." It was a direct voice to my heart from God -- again. He's talking loudly to me and it's such a refreshing experience. It's the most incredible thing I've ever experienced. That's how I know this time -- it's right.

I don't know if I will blog much in the next few weeks. I'll be in South Carolina from Sunday-Friday next week. I'll return Friday night or Saturday morning for football on Saturday. We leave Sunday to go see Steve and Angie during Josh's fall break. We'll return Wednesday and the following Sunday, I'll leave again for South Carolina. My company called again today with more work. Who would have ever thought our blessing would come from Rob Cramer??? He will know what this means if he reads the blog!!

Cute Josh story -- we talked yesterday about Vietnam and the possibility we could come home with Ellie before school was out this year. We talked about travel and how we could work that with school and he said, "Well, I'm not going to go if I have to miss too much school. I don't want to fail. I want to go to Middle School next year." (funny!!). I told him we would work it out. Then I said, "Well, I hope you don't get jealous while we are there, because Daddy and I will have to spend a lot of time with Ellie." He said, "Well, I hope you don't get too jealous either because I'll be spending a lot of time with her too." CUTE!!!!

Today's verse:

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then
feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known,
to teach you that man does not live on bread alone
but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
~ Deut 8:3

"Manna" is God's provision in our life. Jesus is our "bread of life."

Blessings, from our home, to you.


I saw this license plate on a car at a house I inspected Monday morning -- before any of the blessing started to fall down. I'm sure it was a reminder for me.

I am overwhelmed, to put it mildly, at all the blessings we have been showered with just in the last 24 hours.

Five minutes after posting my previous post about how God will provide, He did. My phone rang. I looked at the Caller ID and noted it was one of the companies I work for. I knew I had a late job with them and figured it was them calling to ask me about it. I answered and heard Rob on the phone and I KNEW he was checking on the job. I told him it was right beside me and I would work on it next and fax it to him. He then said, "I have State Farm work." NOW, most of you don't have a CLUE what this means. I, however, did. My favorite work to do is State Farm project work. The inspections are plentiful and you can make a nice sum of money in a short period of time. Don't get me wrong; it's hard work. You start inspecting at 8:00 in the morning and work until 6:00 at night. You inspect as many houses as you can in a day (usually, for me, 75-125/day). You do this in a city that is not your home, usually when it's hot. You have to work whatever the weather (including rain) and you have to do it for a minimum of 5 days in a row. For this project, it will be at least 10 days -- not in a row -- but 10 days. I've never taken on a project this big by myself. My friend Susan always goes with me. This time I'm on my own. I will do a little over 750 jobs. It will provide EXACTLY the amount of money we didn't have to pay the agency and country fees. Do you see? God sold some cattle!!!!

Prior to all this happening, I had sent an email to several friends updating them on our decision to change countries, our financial situation and asking them for help in getting documents for our new dossier and help with our yard sale. I cannot TELL you how many offers of help I got in MINUTES. I have someone who will write my employment letter (since I'm self-employed it requires a CPA letter), someone to notarize documents, someone to get my police clearance letters, many "someones" who have offered to wash tubs of clothes for the yard sale, offers to help sort through the storage building and price things, offers for boxes to pack things up from the house, offers of items for the yard sale and offers to do "whatever" (my favorite ones). HUGE thank you's go to Dianne, Dawn, Iris, Jennifer, Sharon, Susan, Stoney, Lisa and Michelle for all their offers of help.

Later in the day, I sent out an email to some other folks, telling them of a magazine fundraiser we have set up online. Click here to go to the page that will allow you to order magazines at a discount while providing proceeds for our adoption. My dear friend, Diane, in Atlanta, shared this with all her online friends. WOW! What a simple gesture that could mean so much in our efforts to bring home ELLIE!!!

Just an added note: ELLIE could already be born. Would you say a prayer for her today? Ask God to keep her safe and healthy wherever she is. Ask God to provide peace to the mother who felt the need to give her up in order to provide a better life for her. Ask God to prepare her heart and ours that we will be the family for each other that we need. Thank God for His eternal goodness in putting the desire for her in our hearts and for providing a way for us to get her. Ask God to bless you for helping us -- we do this every day; we thank God for YOU.

So, we all are overwhelmed. In more ways than one -- in blessings, in opportunity, and in WORK!!! I will leave Monday to go to Columbia, SC for a week. I will return and we will drive to Ohio with Kevin's mom to see Steve and Angie and the girls who just returned from three years in Germany. We have missed them SO MUCH!! and look forward to seeing them again. When we return, I'll have a few days at home before leaving the following week to go BACK to SC to finish the project week. The following week we will have our yard sale. WHEW!!! In the midst of this, we are trying to gather items for this yard sale by clearing out the house. We have managed to gather too much clutter in our house and in order to ready ourselves for a baby, much of it has to go. We are overwhelmed, to say the least. But we know God will give us strength and that our friends will give us help. What more can we ask for?

I read this on another blog yesterday:

Be assured that if God waits longer than you wish, it is only to make the blessing all the more precious." Unknown

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Seasons Changing -- And So Are We

"Isn't it ironic, don't you think?
Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
Life has a funny, funny way of helping you out
Helping you out"
lyrics, Alannis Morrisette, Ironic
As the seasons start to change we come up, today, on our nine-month anniversary of our Log-In-Date to China for our adoption of Ellie. Nine months? If I were pregnant I would be really, really close to bringing home a child. Ironic. I'm not -- either pregnant or close to bringing home a child. Please, don't think I'm bitter, because I'm not. I'm just a little sad about that.
But, I am very happy that our family has decided to give God a big profession of faith in our decision (have we decided?? yes, I think we have) to step out in faith (I assure you it's faith, read on) and move our adoption journey from one agency to another, from one country to another and from our way to His.
We have tried to hard and so long to do this by ourselves. We wanted to acknowledge that it was His calling and His plan, but "our" way. That's obviously not working for us -- or Him.
For quite a while I have felt very unsettled in our China decision based on the long referral time. I kept "looking and looking". I like to say I felt compelled, almost driven, to find a country and an agency that were both quicker and trustworthy. I think God has led me there. I am very impressed with the agency I have been talking with and emailing. Kevin and I have prayed about this decision. On paper, it seems like we are definitely biting off more than we can chew, but to God, it is nothing. Our adoption fees will be significantly more than for China. We had a loan secured for China that we cannot use with this agency or this country. We know we are signficantly short on fees based on where we are right now, but it feels right. It's a peaceful feeling -- a feeling of, "WOW, this is coming quickly. We have to get to work." It's feeling of, "WOW! I can't wait to see how God is going to do this."
God has been working hard with my heart lately. He spoke to me at church on Sunday (literally) through Brother David. Those who were there probably thought I had done something really bad to be called out by name in church and to be crying the way I was. No, Brother David, God's timing is not our own. His timing rarely makes sense to us, but I am willing to listen and follow Him whereever He leads. God continues to remind me that I am a part of a body, not an individual, and that it is ok to ask others for help in order to allow them to be part of a blessing and in order to prove HIS ability to provide for me using whatever means He chooses. He has been talking to me about my pride -- my desire to "do it all on my own." No man is an island.
So, today, I branched out a little and asked for some help from my "safe" friends. A simple request to help me with our yardsale (to help raise some of the money for this adoption). WOW!! Was I bombarded with offers. Of the several things I asked for help with, I had offers, within minutes, to wash tubs of clothes, sort through the storage building, to price, to get boxes and hangers, to give us items to sell, to write my employment letter, to get my police clearance letters, to notarize and to have a donut sale. WOW!!! MINUTES -- just for asking.
IMAGINE what He can do for the rest of our needs -- our needs to secure funds for the balance of the referral fee and for our travel fees. I just need to ask, to lay down the pride and ask for help. I need to give up my "weary" and my "tired" and take the rest He offers -- the help. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
So, we are changing. Ellie will now come from Vietnam. She is likely already born. Our agency incidates after our dossier goes to Vietnam, we will likely receive a referral in 2-4 months. Travel will come 4-8 weeks later. We could be home by early spring (Feb/Mar) if we get on it. I am processing documents to include in our dossier while I wait to hear how God is going to help with the funds. We do not feel we can sign a contract and commit until we have a firm commitment for all the funds we will need based on the speed of the referral and travel. We are over half way there. God will provide.
Beth Moore noted that God has cattle on a thousand hills and that all He has to do is sell a few cows. I can't wait until I hear there's going to be an auction!! "Ironically" I am studying -- this week -- about God's provision of manna and quail to the Isrealites while they were wandering in the desert (this is where I am I ASSURE YOU! with regards to this adoption). He will provide what we need.
"For I know the PLANS I have for you," declares the Lord, "PLANS to prosper you and not harm you, PLANS to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 (my life verse). You will understand it's relevance as this PLAN unfolds.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Vikings Victorious over South Cheatham

What a great game the 9-10 Vikings had today against South Cheatham (Harpeth, for those of you who went to school in the 80s like me!). The boys won 18-0. It was Homecoming for the older boys who had their festivities during our half-time.

One of the things I really appreciate the most about our coaches is their decision to pray before every game. The sight of these men and boys with their hands on each other's shoulders and reciting The Lord's Prayer makes my heart full. It is so important that these boys know that they can go to God for anything in their lives -- including football.

Joshua was one of the captains of this week's game. Each week, the coaches select three boys to be the captain and to represent the team during the coin toss.
Joshua had a good game, getting in on some good tackles and blocking a REALLY BIG player from the other team.

Monday, September 10, 2007

In Honor of Reed ...

This blog posting is in honor of Reed finally meeting his forever family. Jeff and Abbey have been friends of ours since Jeff was hired as the Children's Minister at our church FBC Joelton. At that time, I remember having several conversations with Jeff about our adoption and their desires to have a child.

I'm so happy that God has finally made them a forever family. Here is a photo of Reed et. al (stolen from the Land blog). Don't they look so happy???? (Isn't he beautiful??)

I was thinking today (after getting up at the crack of dawn to read about their Meetcha Day) as I looked at Jeff crying and Abbey touching his feet (I know this was just to see how soft they were -- I remember touching my baby in awe and wonder!!), that this must be how God feels when we accept his Son Jesus as our Savior and are adopted as brothers and sisters and sons and daughters in Christ. I know He has tears running down His face because He is so proud that we are finally "home" where we belong. I know He must caress our souls in wonder of how beautifully He made us.

Here are some wonderful verses from "God's Little Instruction Book", the Holy Bible, to remind us that adoption was, after all, His idea:

  • Romans 8:15 -- So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”
  • Galatians 4:5 -- God sent him [Christ] to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.
  • Ephesians 1: 5 -- God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

How blessed is each person whose life is touched by adoption.

Congratulations, Jeff, Abbey and Reed. May God continue to bless your lives and overflow your cups with love for each other. May you always realize the gifts He has given you in each other.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

First Night of AWANA

Tonight was the first night of AWANA. I'm helping Michelle teach the 6th grade girls. I guess it would be the 6th grade, but no boys showed up. This makes me sad because there were several boys last year and I really enjoyed having them in class. Hopefully, they will come back sometime this year.
Tonight we had 8 girls in class. I was sad that none of "my" boys came back. Hopefully, they will come back later in the year.

Handbook time

I was so glad that "Emilemily" (see earlier post) - Emily and Kirstin were able to come tonight. Josh also brought Carson. Next week, Callie wants to come and hopefully, Braiden will be able to make it. Emily was a little scared, but of course, she is only 5. Afterward she told me, I think I'll keep going to my school. *sweet*

Emily and her Bible
I gave Carah and Cate their purses and hairbows tonight. They were TOO CUTE!!!!

The "big" girls modeling the purses for us

Carah and Cate get their purses

Carah's Purse

Cate's Purse

Brother Michael brought a great message about letting God take care of our problems and to stop trying to solve them ourselves (was he talking to me????). It was very age appropriate and I hope the T&T kids heard the message. I loved his example of the confused state of the Egyptian army who were chasing the Israelites across the Red Sea. You see, I KNOW God has a good sense of humor. He uses it on me regularly!

Michelle and I looked really excited???

I hope the kids have a great year. I hope I can encourage them in some way, be a good role model and have fun with them.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Vikings Tromp White House - Revenge is Sweet

Ok .... lest I sound like one of those crazed football moms out for revenge on some innocent 9 and 10 year old boys, let me defend myself.

Joshua's football team did not loose a game last year -- not one. I heard yesterday that our team had won 22 games in a row over the past two years, only losing to Greenbrier last week. We were going to the Super Bowl or so we thought. In the last playoff game there was some drama and we lost to White House, a team we had beat during regular season.

Today was the "re-match". It was touch and go during the first half with both teams getting their hands on the ball but not making enough movement to keep the ball. We went into half time 0-0. I was not really impressed, to be honest, with the Vikings by half time.

I guess the coaches gave them the "magic" pep talk during half time. I was away snapping photos of the cheerleaders. However, when the second half came up, WOW! Those boys started hiting and passing and running -- just like the Joelton Vikings from last year. White House scored first and the score was 0-7. Joelton scored next but failed in the extra point attempt, leaving the score 6-7.

Right after that MY SON!!!! (yes, I'm a little proud-Go #74), dug in a pile of kids and recovered a fumbled ball. As he said, "Well, it was just there in between his legs." (How is it that he can dig that ball out but can't find his clothes laying on the bed??). This fumble was recovered at about the White House 5 yard line and the next play resulted in a Vikings touchdown. A two-point conversion caught by Jacob Catignani added on left the score at 14-7 with about 2 minutes left to play.

Joshua digging in to get the ball.

Fumble - recovered.

Shortly after that, Joshua tackled a kid (#80 who is FAST!) with the ball that was running wide open up the sidelines. Poor kid probably weighed 50 pounds dripping wet and was literally wrapped up and body slammed by Joshua. OUCH.

#80 carrying ball - note Joshua to his right behind him

Joshua under #80 -- now down

Those last two minutes were some LONG minutes. The final White House play took place with 6 seconds left on the clock and they were running hard with the ball before they were taken down and Joelton got their revenge for last year's game.

Here are some of my favorite photos from this game:

Jacob Catignani stretches to get a much needed first down.

Alec Harris leaps up to catch a pass

Bailey Baker heading head first to the ground by several White House players.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Psssttt... Hey Maria, It's Me, God - Are you Listening?

On a regular basis, I look for other countries to "switch" our adoption to that will be a faster way to bring Ellie home.

I am not a patient person. I never have been.

I continue to question God regularly on why He is making me wait so long for Ellie.

NOW... keep in mind, I DO trust God. I know He is in control, and I WILL wait, but I'm like the kid you tell you will take to Chuck E. Cheese later on in the day. I will constantly ask, "Is it time to go yet? When are we going? What time is it? Can we leave now?" I've just GOT to be annoying to God; I'm annoying to myself sometimes.

So, yesterday I looked and looked at other countries. I even seriously considered Guatemala for a while -- until I read they are having serious problems there with the US Government advising potential adoptive families not to adopt from there at the present. There are issues surrounding baby trafficking, potential of birthmoms being coerced into releasing their children and possibility of inappropriate "donations" being made in exchange for services. *sigh* So very, very sad that people will turn adoption into something ugly. But... I digress.

This pretty much was a door slamming so I said, "OK" -- again.

And then, today... I was flipping through some sale magazine I got in the mail -- some company called Treasures of the Heart (this SHOULD have been my first clue). I get to a page with a picture frame that said, "Love is a Miracle Worth Waiting For" and in it is an ultrasound photo of a baby. The name written under it was ... "Ellie" (of course, are we surprised???). At the SAME time, I look up on TV and they are advertising the upcoming start of Survivor China. Coincidence? I don't think so. I just said, "Ok, I get the hint."

I know God -- I hear you! Go brush the man's hair. For those of you who have heard this story from Beth Moore, you are fully aware of what I'm saying here. If you haven't -- email me, call me, ask me. I hope it makes you cry like it does me everytime I hear it.

Everytime I try to look elsewhere, He thunks me on the head and says, "I told you -- WAIT" And I have to reply, "I'm trying, God, but it's HARD and I wwwaaaannnttt it now!!!" (I'm whining as I say this, I'm sure). God just shakes his head and says, "Kids -- you raise them right and this is what you get. Where did I go wrong with this one???"


PS -- On a more positive note, the Lands (see link to right) are leaving in the morning to go to Taiwan to get Reed. I know they are just in happy happy land (pun intended) right now. I can't wait until they come home!!

Monday, September 3, 2007

September China Referrals

CCAA posted the cut off for this month -- November 25, 2005 - four days. In one year, they have referred four months worth of children. *sigh*

Hopefully, fingers crossed and prayers being offered up, the speed up they have promised will occur in 2008.

I read this on a site (

As I've said elsewhere, I believe this is due to Chinese internal politics. An analogous situation in the U.S.A. is immigration. The delay to receive permission to immigrate to the U.S. from some countries is as long as 22 years. This is simply due to a quota on the number of immigrations from those countries. This delay could be eliminated at any time by simply lifting the quota - it would take only a few months to process the 22 year backlog. However, because immigration is a sensitive issue in the U.S., there is currently no prospect of that happening. China's situation is much the same. Adoption is a sensitive issue. China does not want to be perceived as a baby exporter, and all of the articles that have been written about adoption from China are not helping the situation. Apparently they are dealing with this perception by reducing their quotas for international adoption. This has nothing to do with the number of children who need homes in China, nothing to do with how fast the CCAA can process dossiers, and everything to do with political considerations

I find this goes a long way to explaining the true reason for the slow-up in China's adoption process.

Sleeping Soundly ... Now

Tonight as we prepared to put Joshua to bed, we told him his dad had to go to the office to do his time sheet. This is not an odd occurrence. Almost every Sunday night, Kevin has to make a trip to his office as his time sheet has to be on his boss' desk early Monday morning. Since he works a flexible schedule and she's an early bird, she usually is done reviewing them before he could get there, get it done and turned in.

So, Kevin got Joshua showered and in bed and I came upstairs to work in our bedroom while he went to sleep. Then it started, he heard a motorcycle drive by. He got scared (why???) and thought someone was going to break in. This is a recurring fear with him lately. He wanted me to come in and lay down with him. I told him I couldn't. I didn't want to start that routine again. He got up and wanted to call his dad to "tell him good night". I reminded him that he already had. The phone upstairs had a dead battery (surprise!) and I told him he could run downstairs to get one. He didn't want to do that as he was afraid (oh yeah! forgot that!). I went downstairs to get it and tried Kevin's cell phone and office. No answer either place. I knew it was possible the cell phone was in the drawer downstairs or on vibrate in the car.

So... I reminded Joshua that we were safe. I told him Sunshine wasn't barking and that she barked if the wind blew. I reminded him that Bear was in the house and anyone would be afraid to break in with Bear in the house (an aside -- we live in a blue siding house; we call our dog, "Bear in the Big Blue House" from the TV show!!). I reminded him the doors were locked and his bedroom is on the second floor. He said he was afraid someone would break the window and come in. *sigh* Again, I explained it was a second story window and unless they were Superman, it wasn't going to happen. I got a smile from that one.

I told him that God was with him and that He had angels surrounding him to take care of him and that He wouldn't let anything happen to him. I asked him did he trust God to take care of him. He shook his head and said he did (eyes still filled with water and a red face indicating crying was near). I told him that God told us to "Fear not, I am with you."

Then I asked why he was not afraid when Daddy was home. He said, "Well he's big and knows how to do stuff like hit and shoot to protect me." And, of course, my heart melted for him. He knows his daddy will protect him and he feels safe when Daddy's home. Doesn't that say so much for his daddy? Of course I said that I understood that, but that I could swing a mean baseball bat -- if I could find it. Another weak smile from him. I told him it was ok to cry if he needed to and he just sobbed. He was so afraid. I reminded him that our neighbor, Mr. Terry, had his front door open and could see our house and would come running if someone broke in. I reminded him of Mr. Jack next door and how strong he was and how he would be here in just a second if we needed him.

But nothing would do. Kevin finally answered at work and talked to him, and he teared up again.

And, I caved. I let him come sleep in our bed. He's snoring quite peacefully as I type.

And I began to look up verses about fear from the Bible. There were 170 verses that included the words FEAR and NOT in the King James Version. Here are some:

After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. Gen. 15:1

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Deut 31:6

And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed. Deut 31:8

And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed Joshua 8:1

Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Psalm 46:2

In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. Psalm 56:4

The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? Psalm 118:6

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10

For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Isaiah 41:13

Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not. Lam. 3:57

Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Matt 10:31

So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Hebrews 13:6

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Vikings First Loss - Greenbrier 26 Vikings 7

Pregame photo:

What a tough way to start the football season. We lost.
Our kids acted like they'd never heard of the game of football -- well, many of them did. Kids didn't seem to know when to go on the field or when to come off. They didn't seem to know where to stand or what to do once they got on the field. It was a LONG hour and a half.

We were down 19 - 0 at the half. After the half, they seemed to pick up some steam and scored two touchdowns, one of which was called back on a penalty.
I didn't hear the coaches yelling at Joshua so I think he did o.k. He was quite reserved on the field, but did manage to have some good tackles in the second quarter. He came off the field and said it was HOT. It was truly very hot and his clothes were soaked through. Here's the only photo I have of Joshua being in on a tackle today. We did hear his name called on the PA several times so I know he did more, I just didn't catch it on film.

The 6-8 year-old team lost as well; I think their score was like 14-30. The 11-12 year old team lost in the last minute with an intercepted pass run back for a touchdown. Their score was 0-7. All in all, it was a stinky day for the Vikings. Let's hope next week is better when we play White House. I don't really hold high hopes for that game, but we will see. They are the team that knocked us out of the playoffs last year - the last game before Super Bowl.

I have almost EXACTLY the same photo blown up to a 11x14 and framed/matted in purple/gold with the word VIKINGS cut into the mat. I took it last year during the playoffs when Joelton beat Greenbrier. How's this for irony?