Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Darth Vader and Queen Bee

I'm SO tired and sleepy ( I need one of those Reed Land three hour naps about now) that I just cannot post any more tonight about Halloween's fun activities. Here's a photo of Darth Vader and the Queen Bee. Many, many more stories about tonight at a later time.

Nursing Home Visit

Tonight we went over to take some candy bags to Grandmother to hand out to her friends for Halloween. As they usually do, they had candy for the residents to give out to trick or treaters, so Josh got his first candy there. They filled his basket up. Some of the residents had been dressed up for the night -- cute, cute!!! Here are some of the photos of the evening.

This lady was the funniest. They gave her the candy to give out and she hid it under her pillow and was eating it herself -- my kind of woman!!

This is my dear friend Kay who loves reading so much. She is the one we are collecting books for at church. I told her that since we both had wings on we must be angels and she said, "Well, I know I'm not!" Love Ms. Kay!!

Here is Josh with Grandmother.

And me with Grandmother -- Joshua did a great job of taking the photo.


Whew!!! Now, that cupcake project I took on was a doozy. And, I'm going to let you in on a little known fact:


Ok, now that that piece of information is out of the way, you will understand why my spiders have red legs. I began to compile all my ingredients for the cupcakes last night and realized I had bought regular Twizzlers and not the thin kind. In an offhanded way, I say, "I'm going to run over to Wal-mart to get some black licorice." I'll be back really soon. HAHAHAHA. I returned just shy of 10:00 and had NO black licorice. I went to Wal-mart, Kroger, CVS, Walgreens and the BP -- nothing.

Anyway, Joshua had already helped me make the cupcakes so they just needed to be decorated. So I mixed, colored, make decorator bags, and a HUGE mess (see the photo for confirmation here) and finally finished with the requisite 24 decorated cupcakes at 1:00 this morning. Yeah!!

I think they turned out really cute though, so it was worth it. Josh's two favorites are the mummy and the devil. In our house, that is the same person (ha!). Kevin and I liked the ghosts. Here are all the final product ready to go:

Now, I'm off to the party. Oh, here's a preview of "Dark" Vader (what Joshua called Darth Vader at first). The cape's long, but he is using it to double as Batman too! More (better) this evening.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Loan - Not closing now

I'm up; I'm down.

I was out working today and got a call from the loan processor who said she was so sorry to have to call and tell me, but when they were reviewing their final documents, they realized that the person who took our application and who provided them the value of the home did not include any supporting documents (i.e., the one that was lost) and so they were going to have to go with the appraisal, effectively reducing our loan amount by $3,000. *sigh*

I tried to not burst into tears on her (haha) and told her that I could not believe that this corporation has now secured three in person appraisals on my house in the past 16 months and one paper appraisal -- all of which said the same amount except for the last one and they are going to go with the last one. I can't believe that because they lost the appraisal, they are going to make us pay for that. She did say that she will send it back to the underwriters with that information and ask them to review it again and make an exception. That effectively cancelled our closing date on Thursday and now we will hear their decision on Thursday instead.

I'm tired. I feel defeated. I feel like I continue to Super-Glue my heart back together after every one of these defeats only to have Satan come along and take a sledge-hammer to it again.

I continue to try to be faithful. After each setback, I continue to tell God I will love him no matter what, but I am to the point that I don't feel like trying anymore. I feel like God is saying, "No" to us. I don't understand. I felt God so clearly speak to me on Wednesday. I felt that he was affirming us when we got the loan approval and closing date on Monday. Now, here it is Tuesday, and it's all just broken down again. I can't make sense of it all.

I just know that this whole process has broken me. I'm to the point where I just want to quit -- to give in and say, "Enough; no more." I want my baby girl so unbelievably badly, but when do you have to say, "This isn't working."?

I want to stay positive -- I truly do. I want to say, "Ok, just another small speed bump." But it's hard -- really, really hard to continue to do this.

I'm working really hard to get my regular inspections caught up from where I got behind with being out of town. Tomorrow is Halloween and I have cupcakes to make for Joshua's party. We need to go to the nursing home, and we need to help out at church tomorrow night. I have appointments both today and tomorrow. I've been in the field all week. I still have about 110 jobs to enter from the last trip. The yard sale stuff is not priced and is not washed. I have tubs of clothes that have to be washed and priced along with a storage building full of items to be priced. It is Tuesday and the yard sale starts Friday. Hmmmm.... Kevin leaves tonight to go to Memphis. I leave Sunday morning for the nine hour drive to South Carolina. I have 510 inspections to still complete there. I really just want some sleep, but don't have an opening for that. :-) Ok, so I'm whining--a lot. I'm getting on my own nerves. I just need to get this off my chest -- and then go make some cupcakes. Photos to follow of cupcakes!!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Loan Approved - Closing Thursday

You'll remember that on Wednesday of last week, after the appraiser came, I indicated I was washing my hands of this entire loan process and giving it to God.

Well GLORY to GOD!!! We got the call today that we are closing the loan on Thursday. We were told also that we didn't even NEED the appraisal, after all -- it was some sort of computer glitch that had ordered it. *sigh* At least we didn't have to pay for it. It did, however, cause me a LOT of anguish. She also said closing costs are about half what we had expected so that's more money in the "coffee can" for Ellie's adoption!!! Yay!! We are over the half-way hump now.

The yard sale is Friday and Saturday. After I go out in the field for work tomorrow, I'm coming home to make cupcakes for Josh's Halloween party at school. On Thursday, I'm going to price EVERYTHING in the storage building - hahahahaha - and have a yard sale the next day.

I think I'll just give all this over to God too. He knows I need some help with all that is on my plate right now and that we need to do well in the yard sale. You know, His burden is light when you just leave Him to do it! :-) Wish I could make my human self remember that every day!!!

I picked up the medical forms today. Lisa will notarize those later this week. I have Kevin's employment letter, and Lisa is getting mine printed, signed and notarized this week as well. We have police clearance letters done. We need a homestudy completed and sent off for our change of country, and I'll need to go to the Davidson County offices to get notarization authentications and then to the State to get further authentications, and we are ALMOST ready to send everything to the Vietnam Consulate for authentication. By the time I return home, I think most of it will be ready to have a day of running and signing and it will be ready to mail!!!

We have to go an apply for Joshua's passport and we need to start our Hepatitis shot series (YUK!). I think we'll wait to schedule those until AFTER I return from South Carolina.

We're a day closer to our Ellie-belly, ellie-phant.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


How's that for an original heading? It's after mid-night and I'm sleepy and about to head to bed. Kevin has discovered he likes having a desk at the house (in the former garage, now converted to ... well, some kind of room) so I have gotten the kitchen table back. I just don't see him a lot now.

Josh had football practice tonight and says he jammed his finger. He has been crying a lot this evening. I think it hurt and he's just tired. I know I'm tired. We all need a weekend where we do NOTHING except sleep -- really, really late, at least.

I worked on paperwork all day. I've still got about 140-something to enter from my last trip to South Carolina. I need to go out tomorrow to inspect here in Nashville and then I have days planned out for Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday is HALLOWEEN!!! and trunk or treat at church, along with cupcakes for a party, costumes to wear to school, etc., so that day has been taken. Thursday I plan to work on yard sale pricing ALL DAY and carting things over to mama's to get ready for the sale on Thursday and Friday. Hopefully, it will be pretty weather adn we will not see any rain. I need to send out some emails and send an ad to the paper still yet. I'm hopeful we will do well in the yard sale.

We did not hear results from the appraisal today. I did call the loan processor, but she indicated it could take up to three days for them to get the appraisal. Kevin secured his employment letters. I'm certain Dianne and her mom are working on the police clearance letters. While I'm in town tomorrow, I might ought to go get a certified copy of our marriage license -- hmmmm.... I don't remember where I got that the last time -- oh yeah, vital records. Tamera has our medical forms and I still need to gather the numbers for my letter of employment.

Kevin and I have not completed our training sessions and MUST do that this weekend. Maybe while Joshua has Scott over Saturday night, he and I can sit down and work on those.

One of our friends' husband passed away today from cancer. Sue and Cecil have been friends of my parents since I was a tiny child. They are the aunt and uncle to my friend Stoney. Cecil died this evening from cancer. I think, if I'm not mistaken, he was only diagnosed about a week ago.

Prayers for my friend Susan's children, Katie and Daniel, who both have strep and are out of town. Hopefully, everyone else will stay well and will not catch it.

Good evening to all!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Joelton Vikings Defeat Pleasant View in a CLOSE Match-Up

WOW!!! What a great game this past Saturday. The Joelton Vikings EEKED out a win at 36-33 against the Pleasant View Eagles in a game that kept everyone on the edge of their seats. The Vikings scored first leading 8-0, followed by a TD by PV with a score of 8-6. I truly don't remember how the score went from there (I lose track after about 2 minutes!!), but in the third quarter, we were down TWO touchdowns and the team was pretty downhearted. They managed to keep their heads up and go back out there to score two more TDs to win the game!!

My football boy -- back in the uniform

Bailey Baker got hit pretty hard in the neck after the first half and it was very scary as he didn't get up for a long time. Fortunately, he was able to get back into the game by the fourth quarter. Jacob Catignani and Bryce Collier both had good running games, and QB Alec Harris did a great job, managed to keep his spirit up and played with heart during the entire game. Scott Nidiffer got hit pretty hard in the stomach during one play and had to stay out for a couple of plays to catch his breath. It was good to have David Diviney, unscathed from this injury this week, in the game, wearing #35 since they had to cut off his #53 jersey. Chad Wooden hit some kids so hard I'm surprised they got up. He sacked the QB during one play. Wood, Redding, Pfeffer and Haycroft played well on the offensive and defensive line.

"B" after coming off the field with an injury

WHEW!!! Down to the wire, nail biting stuff. I took WAY too many pictures of the game. I was saddened to hear the coach on the other side making inappropriate, LOUD, comments about the skills and abilities of some of our players. I know if I could hear him on the other side of the field, the kids were able to hear him as well. It just seems so inappropriate to act in such a poor manner at a kid's sporting event.

Joshua playing defense (#74)

Joshua went back in for quite a few plays, but he is still limping and favoring his ankle. Even now (Wednesday), we are still seeing some swelling toward the end of the day.

Final score - Eagles 33, Vikings 36

We have practice tomorrow night and Friday night with our first playoff game Saturday against Station Camp -- there, of course.

Final shot -- Are these boys HAPPY or what?!

I think this was my Billboard

Blech! was the last post. I've thought many times to update since then, but what could follow, Blech?

I got home Friday night. When I awoke Friday morning it was pouring down rain and I was still in a funk so I came home.

And, the week has been busy preparing for the appraiser to come today. For our home equity line, we were "99.9%" certain we wouldn't need another appraisal. We, are apparently the .1%. Someone has to be, don't they? This was covered in "Blech!" He came today. I explained to him why we needed the appraisal to come in the same as it had the last two times. I told him that it was for our adoption. I gave him the amount. He explained he would really try but that the real estate market is down and that he could only use comps from 2-3 months back, not up to 6 months like before the rules changed. This one is now filed in the "God" file. Hands are washed here over it. He will give them his report tomorrow and we will hear from them on Friday. God is already there with the answer. We are just waiting.

AND THEN... (settle in here folks -- you might want to go ahead and get a soda and popcorn as this could get long -- I might be able to publish it as a thesis, who knows?), I went to lead my Beth Moore class tonight. I remind you, gently, that I lead the class, Beth Moore teaches the class. As I am perpetually behind, I spent from 1:30-5:00 cramming in the whole week's worth of lessons. (Ok, yes, I'm an unfit leader, but better today than not at all). Day 4 was on "The Gift of Support" -- allowing others to help you and how we are not autonomous. Beth Moore fittingly wrote, "God delights in allowing us the privilege of experiencing spiritual victories. When we refuse to allow anyone to share our personal battles, we risk two negative consequences: (1) We often lengthen the battle (how long has this adoption been going on now?) (2) When we do not ask for support, we cheat others of the joy of victory. Some of the greatest moments of ecstasy I have experienced in my Christian journey have been others' victories. I, too, remember the ecstasy of sharing with Brea Wusterbarth's family as she received the heart transplant we had all prayed so fervently for and how victorious we all felt knowing that we had played a tiny, tiny role in her life.

God has been dealing with my heart for a long time about this and our adoption journey -- my pride with not wanting to ask for help. Financially, this just doesn't make sense on paper or in our heads. God has blessed us with this project work, but it's a drop in the bucket for the total costs. We have some money we will get back from our first agency; we have some money saved; we will have some money from the yard sale; we have a grant from Shaohannah's Hope. All this adds up to a little over $8000. We hope to get another $8000-$9000 from the home equity loan. This is if we get the full appraisal amount. Assuming we do,we have $17000 of what will be a $26500 adoption. *sigh* So the burden is now "on paper". I know that to God this is small, but to us, it is large. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

We, both Kevin and I, are really tired -- physically, emotionally and spiritually and know that we are going to have to stop trying to do this all by ourselves. The joy of the adoption seems to have left us, and we really want to ENJOY this. Beth Moore writes, "You are a gift to the body of Christ. The body of Christ is a gift to you." We are going to have to begin to reach out to others from our church to lift us up during this process -- to pray God's will and divine intervention in this process. We need to share the victories of this process -- and to eventually to share the fulfillment of a dream in the gift of a little girl from Vietnam with the church family she will be coming to, growing up in, learning and sharing about Jesus with, and loving other members of the body of Christ.

The Bible says:
Two are better than one;
Because they have a good reward for their labor
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But, woe to him who is alone when he falls
For he has no one to help him up.

While we are SO FAR from alone in this journey, I felt so utterly ALONE last week in South Carolina when things seemed to be just falling apart. I remember pulling over to the side of the road and just sobbing and asking God, "What have I done to deserve this pain and all this trouble we are going through? Why is this so HARD? Why are you DOING this to me? Am I such a bad parent that you don't think I deserve another child? Did I miss the cues -- do you not want us to adopt? What more do you want? What am I doing wrong? Please, please, please, give me the answers." I remember my heart physically aching and my thinking I was going to be sick from the absolute pain of this hurt. I remember my mind wondering what I had done to deserve this, why having a child was so hard for us and yet others just seemed to be able to have them one a whim. I thought of all the stories of abortion, abuse, unwanted pregnancies and all my heart could do was cry out to God, "Why? Why? Why?" Later in the day, while pulled over in a church parking lot, after talking to a friend, I blatantly said to God, "Ok, I need a miracle. I want the miracle. Please give me a miracle."

To close the discussion part of our class tonight, I read what Beth Moore had written, "God is detailed. He is not a God of generality. Do not let Satan convince you that God is not actively involved in the intricate design of your life. Do you avoid asking certain things of Him because they seem too trivial?" I don't remember exactly how the conversation went, but Lea said that she needed a billboard, and yet, even if it said, "Lea, this is your billboard" she would probably say, "Well, I wonder if that was from God, because it didn't have my full name on it." How true!!! I mentioned that I ask for an email, and occasionally get them and went over to start the video.


Who KNEW that God was going to speak directly to ME!!! through Beth Moore on October 24, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. in a classroom at First Baptist Church Joelton?? And yet, He did. It was if, half way through this video (Session 6), God took the class away and began to speak directly to me. I began to hurt in my chest, choked on my tea, cried, and in my heart said, "Yes, God, I hear you."

I wish each of you could have seen the video. I wish I could capture the words she used. She recounted the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth from Luke 1:5-25 when Zechariah went to serve as a priest at the temple and was visited by the angel Gabriel who said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer is heard." It is no accident that Ellie's full name is Lois Elizabeth and God used the story of Elizabeth from the Bible. Beth Moore went on to utter the words of my prayer, "Why God does it come easy for some, but is so hard for me?" She used the example of infertility and the ache to have a child when babies are born to moms on crack. She addressed the insecurities felt by people who try so hard to live lives for God but yet have blessings and desires seemingly denied. She made the comment that every time in the Bible you see God dealing with infertility, it's when He is always on the VERGE OF A MIRACLE -- Sarah, Hannah, Elizabeth, Mary. Did I ask for a miracle, specifically, last week? Yes, I did. Is He on the verge of a miracle? Yes, I think He is. I wouldn't be surprised, in the least, if my Ellie isn't born TODAY. Today's lesson touched me that much. She said, directly to me, "Listen to what God says to you in this class tonight. It is not an accident you are here tonight." She went on to tell me that God doesn't do these things TO you, He does these things FOR you. He allows you to be a part of something SO SUPERNATURAL that it is a blessing that everyone can not be part of. I wish I had the words to convey the message she gave to me from God. It was so moving, I'm going to watch it again with Kevin after Joshua goes to sleep.

Psalm 145:18-19 says,
"The Lord is near to all who call upon Him
To all who call upon Him in truth
He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He also will heart their cry and save them."

God never receives more glory than when we can say beyond question, "The Lord has done this for me." John 1:25.

"Father, I thank you that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me" John 11: 41-42

When class was over, and I was fully in tears, I said to Lea, "I think this was my billboard." What a wonderful class of women God has blessed me with to share this study. They are each so very, very special and precious to me!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Danielle, Lauren and Emily Come for a Visit

Steve and Angie and "the girls" came home this weekend (well, it's OUR home, technically, theirs is in Ohio) to bring Mary back. I was glad to catch some cute pictures of my BEAUTIFUL nieces, Danielle (13 -- 14 in a few weeks), Lauren (9) and Emily (7).

Emily with Aunt Verbie's cat

Lauren with same cat

Danielle LOVES cats!

Danielle (top), Lauren (bottom left) and Emily (bottom right)

All the cousins in a "presentable" photo. It was hard to get all the
attitudes, faces and bodies all going in the same direction.
Steve and Angie

A rousing game of Monopoly. I'm really not sure who won, but someone had over $77 million dollars, I think. Steve decided the new Electronic Banker would be the way to go with money amounts this high!

Nana with Danielle, Lauren and Emily

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


It's the best word to describe today. I felt so bad last night I decided to sleep until I woke up to see if I felt better. I woke up at 8:00 (EST) and didn't feel a lot better. I got up and managed to get packed up and gone by 9:30. I wandered around in the desert (well, it FELT like one since I spent most of the day on dirt and gravel roads) for hours and couldn't seem to make any progress. Homes were too far apart, or just not there. I felt horrible. My chest feels like it's all congested.

I called Kevin and asked him to call the doctor to get a prescription called in to the Walgreens in the town I'll be working in tomorrow. He did, and they did, so I picked up a Z-pack of antibiotics tonight on my way to the hotel. I am now running a fever. I'm going to beg for healing tonight so I can work hard tomorrow. I won't even post how few I got done today. I think I probably LOST money being here today.

I had a break down mid-day because I just felt so bad and it was so hard to even breath, much less walk around the house. My head hurt and I was tired, couldn't breathe well, and I think I've got a fever. I just want to go home, but I've committed myself to this work and I've got no other time to get it done.

And then, if my physical state of mind wasn't bad enough, Kevin called to tell me that the home equity loan we are getting to help with the adoption costs is now going to require an appraisal. We have had TWO appraisals within the last year -- both paid for by our mortgage company, the same company who is doing the equity line. I was told two weeks ago that she was 99.9% sure that we would not need one. We just ripped up the floor in our garage room so we could build up the floor -- it's no where near ready for an appraiser to see. It's not MY fault they lost the appraisal we had done or that they can't find the original appraisal they pulled. Just getting the house ready for another appraisal is one more thing I just don't think I can handle. The yard sale is coming up in two weeks. I have all my regular work I haven't been doing that I have to do while I'm home. How much can one family do??

I just broke down, pulled over to the side of the road and sobbed. I just can't do anymore. I've hit my wall. My body is tired; my spirit is tired. I'm doubting whether we should even adopt, and if it will ever happen. This is a fact that I have never wavered on. I have felt called to do this for years now. But now, I don't know if all this difficulty is God trying to tell us something, or the devil trying to prevent this. I keeping saying, "It shouldn't be this HARD!!" I feel like we take two steps forward with God and then the devil pushes us five steps back. It's been three years now and nothing -- no closer, lots of money literally lost. My faith is weary. Myheart aches with physical pain from the emotional pain I have right now. I've begged and prayed to God for a miracle. I need something that I can say, "Only God could have pulled this off." I'm tired of the gut-wrenching, lay down on the floor pain that literally feels like my heart is being ripped out. I'm tired of tears. I have wrestled with the angel. I have asked, "Why?" so many times that I know God is tired of hearing it.

I tried to continue working, but I couldn't concentrate or stop crying and praying. My eyes were so red, I would have been embarrassed to knock on a door. I quit, called my friend Suzanne to check on her daughter who started school with Joshua today, and then burst into tears with her. She is going to add us to some prayer chains she belongs to. I'm glad because I need to be lifted up, to feel encouraged by others, to have God hear others petition for our family.

And, after all that, I realized I had left my phone charger in the last hotel I was in, which was too far to go back to. My phone died while I was on the phone with Suzanne, so I stopped at Wal-mart to get a car charger. While I was there, browsing the toys for Lego ideas for Josh, I hear the lady on the next aisle calling to her daughter, "Ellie, come here." How much more? What does it mean? God is definitely not accidental. I told my friend Susan, that at this point, I think if He came down and sat beside me and told me step by step what to do, I might just be too tired, discouraged and self-absorbed to even hear. How sad is that? How sad that I would admit that. I have to just let this all go--somehow.

Oh, enough whining. I have to get to bed so I can pick myself up by the bootstraps; get back to work and move past this. Grace sufficient for the day -- each day has worries enough for its own. Remember, remember, remember. God is in control. Let go, let God. I will love Him and praise His name no matter what the outcome.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My man -- my men

Lest I forget the reason I am able to come to South Carolina to work to help raise the money needed for our adoption, I want to share it -- my husband, Kevin.

I know that while I am gone, things are being taken care of. I know that every day, Joshua is fed, bathed, clothed, and he gets help with his homework (when he has it). I know that someone is there for hugs and prayer times. I know that he will be picked up, on time, from school every day and that someone will go in to talk to the teachers as needed.

I know that bills will be paid, pets will be cared for and the clothes will be wash (whoo hoo!!). I know that he will clean on the house while he tries to manage his workload as well.

I know that prayers are being said, each day, for me, by them.

I think he, and Joshua, have the harder end of the deal. After all, I get my bed made up everyday and the bathroom cleaned, too.

I know it's A LOT. I don't do nearly as well when he is out of town as he does when I'm out of town. He gracefully, without complaining, does what needs to be done to allow me to come here and do what I need to do.

And, not lost in that sacrificing role is Josh who is sacrificing his mom for three one-week periods. We all talked about it and agreed that we would each make these individual sacrifices for the end result. We are half way through the project work now.

Thank you Lord, for the wonderful, wonderful blessing of my "men".
Let me never forget how lucky I am to have them.
Remind me daily to not take them for granted.
Remind me, every day, to tell them just how much I love and appreciate them.
Let me be a blessing to them as well.
My little man is turning into a "real" man right before my eyes. In less than a month he will enter the world of double digits -- 10!! I love both my "men" so much!!! Thank you both!



Not a topic you'd think you would read about on my blog.

I didn't have a book on tape to listen to today (which I love to do while I'm in the car), so I spent a long time listening to a Focus on the Family series on abortion, partial birth abortion and the bill to prohibit it.

They had a speaker on, Gianna Jensen, who has cerebral palsy developed from being a victim of an attempted saline abortion -- who survived. One article I read says she lives here in Nashville. She is 30 now and talks about meeting her birthmother and the hate that the woman still has for her -- the disrespect for her life. This article describes her story very poignantly.

There was another lady, Jill Klopfenstein, who has adopted 11 children, most of whom are special needs children. One child was born after a partial birth abortion and was put in an isolette wrapped in a blanket with a note, "No Life Sustaining Measures, Comfort Only". WHAT???? He was given no oxygen or food or anything for SEVEN DAYS!!!! Finally, the doctor who delivered him came in and said, "Well, since he's not going to die, I guess we need to find a family for him." Dr. Dobson said, fittingly, "Why has the wrath of God not descended on our nation?" I cried listening to this story. I cannot imagine ANYONE being as cold and callous as this. I was so moved that God shared these stories with me today.

You can listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of these series by clicking the links.

I don't understand a world where Senators make comments like, "A baby is not a baby until the mother takes it home." Huh?? I don't understand a world where doctors who take oathes to save lives make comments like the one above. I don't understand why . . . at all. I know we live in a world of sin, and as I shared with another mother today, living outside of God's plan causes pain. Sex outside of marriage causes unwanted babies and decisions to abort. I can't understand a world where mothers LONG for babies, whose hearts aches and whose tears flow from want and where others toss away a baby's life as if it were a used Kleenex. I don't understand when baby's lives lost their basic rights -- the same "rights" claimed by women who choose to have abortions. I don't understand why adoptions cost SO MUCH when a child can be aborted for a few hundred dollars. I don't understand why I have to be fingerprinted, approved by local police departments, provide financial statements, get medical exams, be innoculated against all matter of foreign diseases, have social workers telling me how I should think and act and just BE, provide marriage and birth certificates, get government approval, agency approval, country approval -- approval, approval, approval -- but a baby's life can be terminated with no one's approval.

I'm ready for Jesus' return to take me to heaven -- anyone else with me?

Ramblings from the Day

Day two in South Carolina. I suppose I found my "groove" that was missing yesterday, but ended up doing fewer inspections than yesterday. The work is too spread out now as I did all the "good" work on the last trip. Tomorrow is my last day of "spread out" work and I'll move to Bennettsville, SC (where is that???) to start some good, concentrated areas and hopefully I can get a larger number of jobs done per day.

If you are reading and have a moment to say a prayer for me personally, please ask God to allow me to feel better for the next few days. I don't know if I've gotten "environmental asthma" again or bronchitis or maybe even pneumonia again, but I'm wheezing, feel like my chest is really tight. I'm really tired, sweating when it's cold and have no energy.

On to better things, though. I didn't have a book on tape to listen to today (which I love to do while I'm in the car), so I spent a lot of time listening to talk radio on the Christian station here. I made a note of a great comment that I heard today about what we as Christians have become. The speaker was talking about how surprised he was that we could know the life of Jesus and know the person He was and not want to "DO" something with our own lives. He was talking about a quote he had read somewhere that we were like the "bland leading the bland". It really struck a cord with me about how we are supposed to be the salt of the earth, the people who give life the "kick", and yet we are the "bland". I have another post entitled, Abortion, that also talks about some of the radio shows I listened to today. It's more grim, so it's best for another post.

I met a dog today, Misty. Misty is a Labrador who is still a puppy. She belonged, ironically, to the agent whose work I am inspecting. She and I had a great time playing. The agent has an above ground pool and when his wife opened the gate for Misty, she ran and JUMPED IN the pool and swam around gathering her "toys" up. I asked the lady if she doesn't rip the liner and she said, "No, she uses the steps to get out." Hmmmm . . . here is Misty, in the pool.

And, Misty after the pool while we were playing "horseshoes". Know that I keep antibacterial wipes in my car for use after such occassions.

I received an email from a friend today asking for prayers for her friend in California's son. He is three years old with a malignant brain tumor. He had surgery today at 3:00 our time. Doctors said if they were able to get it he would possibly not be able to ever walk or talk. I have prayed about this asking God for a miracle. I know He is still in that business. If you have a moment, could you pray for this family and this child? I will update when I hear something.

Speaking of that, praises are due to Him for His intercession for David Diviney who I mentioned as being injured at football practice last night. I called first thing this morning to see how he was. He was released at 2:00 a.m. this morning with no problems!!! Thank you Lord for this blessing and this answered prayer. I know his family is so relieved.

I just got an email from my mom. As many of you know, my grandmother is in the nursing home. While mama was visiting today, one of the ladies that I'm fond of there, Dot, (she's in her 50s maybe??) asked mama to sit with her that she was lonely, scared and depressed. Here's what my mom wrote:
Maria, pray for Dot at nursing home.
She called me over to her chair today and ask me to sit with her
that she was depressed and lonely and afraid.
She said the doctor told her she has six months at most to live.
Six arteries are closed off. She is on oxygen.
I told her as soon as I felt better I would come over
and stay longer with her and mama.
She said she was so lonely.
I will pray for Dot. I know it must be frightening to hear those words. When I return home, I will go visit her. Mama also wrote:

Kay said she was out of books. I asked Tracy if she had any.
When I get able I will go to Goodwill and see if I can find some.
I wish I was rich I would put a library in the nursing homes
and pay people to go visit with them.
Kristine said she has been missing me because her son
doesn't come anymore and she has no one else.

Kay is another of the ladies I really like. She lived in the apartments with my grandmother before they both came to the nursing home. She had the sweetest cat, Baby, that ran away right before she came to the nursing home. Ms. Kay LOVES to read. I try to take her some books every month. At first, I gave her the ones I had already read. Then I ran out. Then I went to the Goodwill to get some, but she's already read those too. I think I'll ask Brother David, at church, if he'll put a notice in the bulletin to collect some books and I'll gather and take them to her. She's a voracious reader -- it's all she does.

Joshua and Kevin went yesterday and got Josh's Halloween costume. He is going to be DARTH VADER. Why??? He told me he wanted to be the black Spiderman. When they got to Party City, he changed his mind. He also wanted the $40 helmet. I explained to him that that was too much money to pay for something he would wear once. If anyone HAS a Darth Vader helmet we can borrow feel free to email or call me!!

And then, there's the final story of the hotels. I got up this morning and saw the statement for my hotel room that had been slid under the door. IMAGINE my surprise when I realized that those only come the day you are checking out. I had planned to stay at the first hotel until tomorrow and then, when I moved to Bennettsville, SC, I had another reservation. HA!!! I had made this reservation to check out Tuesday. Thinking myself quite smart, I logged on and tried to make an online reservation -- FULL. What???? So I packed up all my stuff and made a reservation at another Holiday Inn Express farther south. It was actually closer to my work anyway, so no problem. I get here at 8:30 EST tonight and check in. I schlepp all my stuff up to the room and insert the key. All the lights light up but the door won't open. It is at this point that I hear the TV in the room and think, "Hmmmm, maybe I have the wrong room." I check the room number and yes, room 312. I try again and the green and red lights light up and the door opens??? I poke my head in the room and note that the TV is going but the air isn't. The room looks ok at first. Then I see a room key on the table and some papers lying there. I immediately leave and go downstairs and tell them I think they gave me someone else's room. "This is impossible" they say. I tell them this stuff and they decide, it must have just been left there from housekeeping not doing their job. WHAT??? And, they send me back. I roll all my stuff back up and go back in -- red and green lights still come on when I insert the card. I go back in and find change on the TV stand and cigars on the table. Likely they were there the first time, but I didn't see them. I'm freaked out at the point and go back downstairs and say, "I'm sorry you are just going to have to move me. I'm too freaked out to stay in that room." I did get upgraded to a suite, but, in all honesty, all I wanted was a bed and a shower, so it doesn't matter to me. This all comes on the heals of last night when I returned to my room to find all the pillows piled up in the middle of the bed with no pillow covers. Of course, everyone blames it on housekeeping. Oh well, I'm earning quadruple points during these stays so my last trip's hotel stays will be ALL FREE -- more money for the adoption -- YEAH!!

This is a lovely fall display I saw today. Is the tree wonderful?

OH... and I forgot about ZIPPLE and SLIPPLE. They are the goats I met at one of the last homes I inspected today. What, might you ask, is important about them? They are loved by a little girl, age 7, at whose home they live. In case you are wondering, yes, she did name them herself. She came out with her mother and was full of questions about why I was there. She walked around with me while I inspected their "farm" filled with dogs, roosters, chickens, goats, cats, turkeys and guineas. When I was done, she said, "Aren't you going to take a picture of the goats?" I told her I didn't need pictures of them. She looked crestfallen so I asked, "Would you LIKE me to take their pictures?" to which she nodded enthusiastically. I took each of their photos and heard how they are both pregnant and expecting babies soon. Slipple was just purchased this past weekend at auction, which is why she still has a number glued to her forehead. The owner said they would take it off this weekend when they gave her her shots and wormed her. Yuck.

Here is Slipple:

And here is Zipple:

That's all for tonight -- enough, eh? The people here are really friendly, many asking me if I'd like a drink or need to use the bathroom (out in the country it's a luxury I sometimes have to take them up on). Many have heard our adoption story and have said they would pray for us. What a blessing it is to have a job where I can share the stories I get to share and hear with and from others.

I have another song to "break down" later on in the week -- another Rascal Flatts song, "Bless the Broken Road". Tune in later!!

Monday, October 15, 2007

"My Wish" -- a love song from God?

Today, while I was working, I heard one of my favorite songs, "My Wish" by Rascall Flatts. I used the lyrics for part of the "wish" I used for the squares I sent out for my 100 Wishes Quilt (see link to right). I had thought I might try to put photos of Ellie's adoption and our time in Vietnam with it to make a type of slideshow when we get her. So... I was listening intently to the words today (as if I didn't know them), and realized that it was just like God was singing to me, in my funk, and how it was the perfect song of how much He loves me. I wanted to share the lyrics so you can read it and realize how perfect it is. I thought out the words: If one door opens to another door closed, I hope you keep on walkin' til you find the window and how that applies to our adoption, how we tried to open the door to domestic adoption; we found another door closed with China's wait time, and now, finally we have the window opening to Vietnam.

I hope that the days come easy and the moments pass slow,

And each road leads you where you want to go,

And if you're faced with a choice, and you have to choose,

I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.

And if one door opens to another door closed,

I hope you keep on walkin' till you find the window,

If it's cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile.

I thought out the words: If one door opens to another door closed, I hope you keep on walkin' til you find the window and how that applies to our adoption, how we tried to open the door to domestic adoption; we found another door closed with China's wait time, and now, finally we have the window opening to Vietnam.

But more than anything, more than anything,

My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,

Your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,

You never need to carry more than you can hold,

And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,

I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too.

I think about how His word tells us he will give us the desires of our hearts (this life becomes all that you want it to), how Jesus tells us His burden is light (you never need carry more than you can hold) and how God so loved the world that He gave His Son to die for us so we could be with Him forever (I hope you know somebody loves you).

I hope you never look back, but you never forget,

All the ones who love you, in the places you left

I hope you always forgive, and you never regret,

And you help somebody every chance you get,

Oh, you find God's grace, in every mistake,

and you always give more then you take.

We are told that we will be forgiven based on how we forgive others (I hope you always forgive). We are told to love our neighbors as we love ourselves (help somebody every chance you get). But I am most moved by the multi-levels found in the lines I hope you never look back, but you never forget, All the ones who love you in the places you left. For Ellie, I hope she never looks back, and also we don't let her forget who she is and where she is from and that we will never forget the mother and father who gave her life and a chance for a life with us. I am also reminded that as a Christian, I don't need to look back with regret or longing to where I came from, but I should never forget the grace of God and for the lifestyle that I was forgiven of.

But more than anything, yeah, and more then anything,

My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to

Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,

You never need to carry more then you can hold,

And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,

I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too.

Yeah, this, is my wish.

You have to wonder if lsongwriters Jeffrey Steele and Steve Robson were thinking of any of this when they were penning this song? Or, if they knew that God would use it to minister to me to use it to remind me of His love? We never know How God will use our everday efforts, our jobs, our talents to affect others' lives. I wonder if they had any clue that everytime I hear it I think of a little girl in Vietnam who will be my daughter? I'm sure not, as I read online that Steele wrote the song for his daughter and his wishes for her life.

Work Trip #2 to South Carolina

Today started week two of my three weeks' worth of inspection work in the Great Falls area of South Carolina. It was a hard day, and I'm not quite sure why. I think I started out the day tired and I just couldn't get my "groove" on, had an "Israelite in the desert" attitude of grumbling, and couldn't make up any time. I had left my plug for my battery charger at home so I had to make a trip to Wally-world this morning before I could start. I lost a lot of time this morning.

I called my friend Iris for a pep me up talk, and that helped, but I just seemed to be in some funk. *ARRGHHH* I did pray and ask God to take this away from me and to give me grace sufficient for the day, to help me with my attitude.

I knew these three days of clean up from the last project would go more slowly, but I only managed to get 77 done today. My schedule only said I could do 80, so it wasn't that bad.

I'm going to bed earlier tonight and hope to find that "groove" tomorrow. I'm hoping by Thursday when I move to Bennettsville, the pace will pick up.

Josh went back to football practice tonight after having two weeks off for his sprain. He's looking forward to playing Pleasant View on Saturday.

I am praying for David Diviney tonight that God will hold him and his family in His hand and that David will be fine. He is on Joshua's football team and had some sort of neck injury at practice tonight. He was taken from the field with his neck in a brace and in an ambulance. He took a serious hit during practice is what I am hearing. Saturday at the game he siddled up beside me and said, "Hey, I'm not seeing a lot of pictures of myself on the internet." I made a conscience effort to get some good photos of him this week. He had a good game, getting some awesome tackles. He is such a cool kid!! I will call tomorrow to check on him. So... along those lines, here's a photo of him with his parents that I took on Saturday.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Adoption Update

It's been a few days since we've had an adoption update, so here goes:

  1. Our application was received and approved by PLAN.
  2. Both agencies are working together to coordinate their services and to determine "who does what, how and when"
  3. I hope that our homestudy will be ready within the next two weeks.
  4. We have a few documents (in comparison to China) to gather for our dossier, but since I've gathered the same type of documents before, it should go quickly. I think I could do it in a couple of days.
  5. We got two binders in the mail today from PLAN that are specific to Vietnam. We are looking forward to reading those and preparing.

That's pretty much it for now. I finished my SC project work and got it entered during our trip to Ohio to see Kevin's brother and his family. I leave Sunday to go back for another week. I'll be home for two weeks and then will return for the final week.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Nice Day with Joshua

I had such a nice day today with Joshua and his friend Braiden. Braiden spent the night last night. Kevin was out of town so it was nice to have another person in the house.

Today we ran a lot of errands, including going to see Grandmother in the nursing home. She was in good spirits today. We dropped her off some sodas, candy, word search books and, her favorite, some Taboo perfume. *smile*

We went to Target to browse a bit, then to Bath and Body (for some smell goods for the house), a cookie break in the mall, down to Home Goods in Hendersonville to get a pan (mine has warped) and then back to Springfield to take the boys to see The Game Plan. It was SUCH a sweet movie; I cried. It was two hours but well worth the time. It was very clean, I thought, with a great story line.

After that, I took the boys back to our house where Kevin took them to the carnival in Joelton and I went to the church for a few hours of scrapbooking. It was nice to get that stuff out again. I wish I had more time to do those things.

I've been on a "tear" lately, trying to clean (I mean really clean) the kitchen. I think my dust bunnies on top of the cabinets had pet dust bunnies. I'm also trying to weed through the clutter to get things ready for the yard sale. Tomorrow we are going to take more things to the storage building. I suspect it will burst open soon. Hopefully, that will mean a good yard sale.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Day Three - "Fowl Weather"

My Fowl Friends . . .

Chickens and turkeys

Ducks taking a bath during the rainstorm


It was a [dark and stormy night] rainy, "fowl" day.

Today was not a very productive day. I was really tired and slept an extra hour this morning. That was really helpful. Then I was to the point on my schedule where the homes are further apart so I spent a lot more time driving. And then ... it started to rain. Fortunately, I had planned ahead and had gotten a pretty pink umbrella from Walmart so only my feet got "squishy" through the day.

I managed to complete on 56 today. *sigh* I need to do 98 tomorrow but the distances apart won't let me -- especially since I want to leave town by 4:00 EST. Oh well, I'll be back week after next.

I struggled and wrestled with my conscience over my job today. Day one in town, when I didn't know anything about where I was, I remember thinking, "I think I'm in the poorer section of town today; maybe tomorrow I'll hit a better area with newer homes." Day 2, I called the office telling them some agent was going to lose his job over the stuff I was finding. See example photo:

By day three (yesterday), I was saying things to Susan about how the town seemed "stuck" in the 50s, how there were no young people, few children, how the homes weren't too well kept -- like everyone had moved on or something had happened here. I made a comment about the large factory looking buildings I kept seeing. Today, I asked.

The Williamses were on their screened porch when I arrived to take photos. Mr. Williams is in a wheelchair and was on oxygen. He reported not feeling to well today so I talked with his wife. She was so pretty and very nice, wearing her apron. I estimated them to be in their 80s. I asked what the factories sitting up on the hill used to be. She told me that they were textile mills owned by J.P. Stevens. There were three mills, a dyeing plant and a sewing plant all situated in Great Falls during the 1940s-1980s. In 1981, the mills began closing to begin producing their products overseas. Here is a report from the New York Times dated June 2, 1981:

J.P. Stevens & Company said that it will close two South Carolina textile plants, in Jonesville and Great Falls, sometime this year, idling 425 workers. Depressed demand for polyester-cotton blends of apparel fabrics and for industrial fabrics was cited as the reason for the closings. Stevens said it was discussing with individual employees the options
of relocating to another plant or receiving severance pay in accordance with company policy.
Neither plant is unionized.

Mrs. Williams said that prior to the mills closing the town had a population of 5000, but now only had around 2000. The town has no fast food restaurants and, while quaint, appears old and tired -- like Mayberry would appear after 50 years of neglect and the loss of it's youth.

Here's one of the shots I took of town today. I'm going to try to get some of the mills tomorrow before I leave.

From what I can tell, two of the mills have been sold and one was recently demolished and some of the materials recycled. Apparently, there is a market for old brick in new homes, along with re-milling old lumber for use in newer homes. One of the mills caught fire back in June 2006 and the town was evacuated for a week as there was acid in the building that produced harmful gases.

Interestingly, as I write this, the news is on here and they are talking about an old, abandoned mill property in another city that is posing potential contamination hazards for that city and how they will have to do further testing.

Since that time, many have moved from here, but many of the older people who worked at the mills stayed (this was their homes after all) and found other job. Mrs. Williams indicates that she didn't work at the mills, but she worked the local bank. She said it was hard there as well because people had loans they could not pay and many lost their homes. Since then, it appears that the town has never really revitalized. Mill homes in the area are old and in poor repair.

Shortly after I left the Williams' home, I met Gertie. She was also sitting on her screened porch in a home she rents. She asked if I had a minute to come in to see something. It was raining and the end of the day, so I took the time. Gertie tells me she makes crafts and likes to show them off. She had a bed FULL of Barbies that she's made into the full bed pillows. She then decided to give me a gift -- it's a decorated toilet bowl cleaner. I'm not sure, exactly, what one does with it, but her thought was so kind that I am moved. She also gave me a flag pin she made from plastic and yarn. She says she made and given away over 2000 of them. It is now clipped on my lanyard with my name tag. Gertie makes stuff from all kinds of household things we would throw away: egg cartons, hairspray lids, bottle caps, plastic forks, baby food jars, golf balls and coffee liners. She is so creative. It was such a blessing to get to meet her. She tells me she sells some for a little money and others she just gives away. What a gift she has to make people feel special -- just like she did to me today.

This fan is made from lace and plastic forks.

So, the struggle? I feel as if I truly do my job and provide their insurance carrier with the condition their homes are really in, they will likely lose their coverage. And, yet, I am being paid to do a thorough job. I have never struggled with providing this information to carriers before, but I have never, ever worked in a community whose homes appear so neglected. It has been a unique experience, humbling, even -- a reminder of the many, many blessings I have. I am struggling with the fact that the information I provide will affect these people's lives. Many, most actually, of these insureds are elderly. I know how they will react and worry. But I also know that there is a personal a professional liability if I turn in a report that is not complete. Life is hard sometimes.

On the adoption front, I received a confirmation from the post office that our application for our new agency was received today. I then received an email from our current agency telling me what refund amount we could expect. The loss is too big. I am disappointed that an agency who professes to be a Christian agency whose goal is to find families for babies seems to be more in it for the money than for the establishment of families. We have made what we consider really reasonable concessions about what we feel we should have refunded. Considering we have spent two and a half years with them and have nothing to show for it except tears, a large loan balance and a homestudy, I'm not feeling quite as generous as I might would have a long time ago. They have not reciprocated, essentially thinking we would be willing to lose $6500. We are not -- especially since all we are walking away with is a homestudy. I think I will try what Beth Moore says works, jumping up and down in front of God, getting angry, telling Him how angry I am and then giving it to to Him. If you hear some yelling from East of you tonight, never fear, it will be me.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

This Trip is "going to the dogs" (and cats and goats)

Let me introduce you to my new friends . . .

This is Sandy. She walked through a neighborhood with

me today while I inspected houses. Her owner says she is

good at keeping squirrels out the yard. Oddly enough,

though, there was a dead possum in the yard

and she had nothing to do with it. She ssems very happy all the time.

This is Trixie. She lives with her family and has free run of the yard. However, the family had just painted the front porch so she was tied to the trampoline in the back yard. She promptly tangled herself up and almost choked herself. You know, Jeff Foxworthy might want to use this one: "You might be a redneck if you've ever tied your goat to the trampoline in the yard."

I don't know this little fellows name, but he was so tiny and reminded me of Bear when he as puppy. He didn't have any water in his bowl, so I shared some of my bottled water with him. HE was at the house with the three goats, empty inground pool (which was being used by two other goats as a play yard) and some rusty cars.

This kitty started yelling at me the minute I got out of the car. While he was not really happy to have me pet him, he continued to talk (loudly) to me while I was there and to roll around on the ground at my feet. I didn't have anything I could give him to eat, which is what I think he was trying to tell me, "Hey, you, I'm hungry." At least that's what my cats are always trying to say.

This goat was crazy. He was so strong he was tied to a tire with a rim inside and still was moving it around. Older lady (owner) indicates he has almost "cleaned that area up for us where our garden was this year.'

This little pit puppy was CRAZY. When I pulled up he was shreddng trash in the yard. He was all in and around my feet wanting to play. I'm still not sure how I got him this still to take his picture. I named him "Bruiser". I think he'll grow into it. He has such pretty eyes.

Cute sign on an old farm house. I lost count of the number of cats

out at the barn wandering around.

Now THIS cat has it made!

And last, but certainly not least, is Charlie. I thought it was a riot that he has the same name as my daddy. He appears to be smiling at me. He did the rounds around the house with me
while I took photos. He looked like he had springs in his legs.
So, I'm off to bed. I'm REALLY really tired today. It's starting to catch up with me -- a little to little sleep and a little too much work will do that. :-)

I completed 111 today. They were a bit more spread out and I just couldn't seem to make up much time. This is still a good number. Forecast is calling for rain tomrrow.. I really, really hope it doesn't. The weather has been really nice here so far with the highs in the low 80s by mid-afternoon. Mornings are a brisk 50* and it is so nice to be cool!!