Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Special kids on RR!

Ok, have to spotlight four special kids from Reece's Rainbow. Please look at these sweethearts and help find their forever families!!



Colleen (newly listed on RR!!)

Anna B

Let's find their families!!

Sticks and stones can break my bones....

But words can break my heart. Hurtful words are something that leave such a lasting impression. Without going into details (because we've all been there and had similar situations), I had some very hurtful words said to me the other day, and I'm having trouble getting past it. Having a big mouth like I do, I snapped some hateful words too. Regretted it, and apologized to the person later. Then this week I've been seeing two people going at it verbally on FB in front of our whole community. I don't know either personally, and I don't know what was said, and don't care, but it irritated me enough to block the one that kept attacking the other. What does this person hope to accomplish? What kind of impression are they giving to everyone around them?

We had a goldfish pond in the yard for a while. It looked really nice for a while, we had several koi in it, a rock out in the middle with water running over it, flowers planted around the edges. Then but leaves started to clog up the pump, the kids threw rocks in it and cracked the liner, and it started looking worse and worse. We finally gave up on it, and it's been a sludge pit for a while (mosquito heaven). I've been wanting to fill it in with dirt and just use the rocks bordering it to form a firepit in the spot.

Yesterday Dave got the tractor and filled it in. (Unfortunately along with the border rocks.) Where the other day there was a slimy sludgy (is that even a word) mess, now there is a fresh blank patch of dirt. You can't see the plastic liner, old hose and rocks that are covered up. (And yes, I know it was very unfriendly to the environment to leave all that stuff, but don't judge. That stuff was nasty!) The point is, it looks nice and fresh now, ready to have some grass seed planted, a firepit made. But we know what's under that. And it's not pretty.

That's how it is with our words. We can apologize, try to make up for it, but the effects of our words won't go away so easy. They last. Before we open our big fat mouth (talking to myself here), take a second to stop and think if you want those words hanging over your head for years to come. Because they don't go away.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Birthday adventure, part 2

Kinda late posting about the rest of my birthday trip. I need a vacation to rest up from my camping trip! It's hard work. Worth every second of it though. Saturday, which was my birthday, was just what I wanted. I had planned to make a crockpot french toast casserole for breakfast, but that didn't happen. I got lazy. A and I both slept a little later, then made plans for the day. She wanted to hang out with her new friends she made at the campground, so I left her decorating a cardboard box/race car while I went out yard sale-ing and antiquing. Not that I left her completely alone with strangers. I'm not THAT bad of a mom. Our friends decided to stay at the campground and relax, so she was supervised! After they finished their cars, they hit the water area for some cooling off fun!

After about two hours of riding around and hitting yard sales, I figured I had done enough damage. For $18 though, I racked up! Got an old Coleman camp stove ($15), a little jar for my crushed red pepper from my garden($1), 3 plastic tablecloths (still in the package) and an over the door rack that I could use in the camper ($1), and probably what I was most excited about.... a huge box of silverware for $1!! I took it back to the campground and washed it all up and sorted it out. 12 table knives, 13 forks, 14 spoons, a whisk, and a large serving spoon and fork set. Oh, and about 6 baby spoons! Half of them were just the plain plastic coated tipped kind, but the others were old, one was even engraved. If I was a really good responsible blogger, I would have gotten pics of my goodies to post, but I was too excited to think about it! 

For supper we had some grilled chicken, tossed salad and garlic bread, then later my friends made an apple dump cake in the dutch oven. Again, I was too busy eating to take pics!

After supper, A and I played a game of mini golf  (she stomped me, but was gracious enough to not keep score) then decided to watch the karaoke on the beach. There is a pond there with a beach, and the shallow end is roped off so kids can play in the water. They also had dancing on the beach. Now, this isn't some dirty dancing type thing like in a club. This is mostly little kids out dancing with their moms or dads, occasionally a husband will get dragged out by his wife. The best part though? Watching Yogi, Boo-boo and Cindi out there dancing! Yogi doing the Wobble is hilarious! It's very much a family friendly event, and actually I never saw anyone doing anything out of line all weekend. Anyway, A wound up singing two songs that night! She loves to sing, and I am just busting with pride that she is brave enough to get up and sing in front of people! Her favorite song is by One Direction, called Beautiful. She sang it plus one other song. 

Here's one more pic for ya. I was not ready to leave. I can't wait to go back!  

Headed back on Sunday, with a stop at Cracker Barrel for lunch. I had made plans to go out to eat with my daughters for a quick supper when we got back, since two of them didn't get to go camping with us. What they didn't tell me was that they had been planning a surprise party for me! I thought it was strange that she texted me and said they had to get a table in the basement of our favorite Mexican restaurant. All my kids (my homegrown ones except for one and my in law kids) were there, plus 2 of my best friends!! Had a great dinner, complete with a turtle cake made by my bestie K. (yes I am slightly turtle obsessed, and another side note: Despite my frequent use of the word bestie in regards to K, she still has not taken the hint and gotten a giant oil painting of us to hang in my living room. I guess I'll have to get it done for her birthday!)

And even my husband remembered my birthday. (After being reminded by me and him fussing at our oldest for her not reminding him. Is that her job now???) He took me to see Avengers (awesome!!)

This has to go down as one of my best birthdays ever! Just because of all the love I felt from my family and friends. I am so blessed!!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Birthday adventure, part 1

For my 42nd birthday, I decided I wanted to go camping with my friends. I'll skip all the details of the drama leading up to it, it's all about trailer lights and wiring and whatnot. Long story short, my dad came through again. See this post about how awesome my dad is anyway. So, I'm here at Jellystone Campground in Natural Bridge for the weekend with my youngest, A, and our friends. This is the first time I've been here, and it is beautiful! I could have kicked myself for forgetting my camera, so all pics were taken with my phone. Not the best quality, but it will have to do:

There is a creek that runs directly behind one area of campsites. I mean like 5 feet behind it. If you like hearing the water, ask for the lower section near the creek. (Not that great in the morning when you have go to potty and the bathhouse is ALL THE WAY at the top of the hill)

Early morning on the James River. And for my friends who will not believe I am capable of getting up early on vacation, here's proof that it can happen. (see above note for a reason on WHY I was up that early though!) How gorgeous is this?

This was my spot for a while today. Watching the kids play and reading my book. Exactly what I wanted to do! While the James River is a very FAST moving river, the campground has cemented a slight embankment and the kids could safely play there.

The sites are nice and easy to get into. If I can back a camper in these spots, I would say anyone could. Very proud of myself for getting it backed in less than 5 minutes. (I can squeeze in a lot of tries in 5 minutes though! lol)

So last night I put together a yummy breakfast casserole in the crockpot and let it cook overnight. It smelled delicious when I woke up!

 It was so good too! I managed to screw it up, of course, by forgetting to add the milk to the eggs before pouring it over. I realized it as soon as I poured the eggs. I knew there was no way that could be right. So I just poured the milk over top and hoped it would be ok. It was! I wouldn't recommend doing it that way, but it fixed it! It makes a ton, so I will heat the rest up tomorrow morning. I have the stuff to make a brown sugar french toast in the crock pot too, so I will put that together tomorrow night.

Today was just a day of relaxing, watching A play in the pool and at the river, reading. Yogi, Cindi and  Boo Boo came around this evening!

Tonight we had dessert before and after supper. I'm on vacation, so yes, I had dessert first! Homemade peach ice cream, and I had brought some Girl Scout Shout Out cookies (my favorite, no matter what my friend Kristin says!) They went together perfectly!

And after hamburgers on the grill, we had s'mores. Can't camp without them! (inserting another shameless plug for Girl Scout cookies here - Thanks A Lot cookies are perfect for S'mores! Fudge coated bottoms have just the right amount of chocolate. Here's my friend's son enjoying his:
So now that you know EVERY minute of what I did today... I'm going to bed to be rested up for my birthday tomorrow!! Not sure what we will do, maybe tie-dying t-shirts here at the campground, finding some antique stores, who knows!

Life is scary!

First, an amazing update on the woman I mentioned in my last blog post. Katie has suffered no permanent damage from her cardiac arrest and lack of oxygen! They did install a defibrillator, and she could possibly go home tomorrow, 5/19. How amazing is that? God truly did an awesome thing for her.

So, I had posted the other night about her, asking for prayers, and had tried to write a post entitled the same as this one. But I couldn't get it worded just right, and wound up just writing a short one asking for prayers for her. 

Then Wednesday morning, I got a call every mother dreads to hear. My middle daughter, C, had been in a car wreck. Thanking the Lord every second, she was ok. She had been driving her grandpa's car, and lost control going around a curve. She went off the road, actually slid sideways into one of those metal carports, hit the van parked underneath the carport, bounced off it and came to rest against two of the poles of the carport. I won't embarrass her by posting pics, but it was really strange. If someone tried, I don't think they could have managed to do what she did. Her grandpa's car was a total loss, and unfortunately it only had liability insurance, so since the wreck was her fault, insurance will not cover any repairs to the car, only to the man's van and carport. And yes, C, I heard you when you said you weren't going THAT fast. Still don't believe you. :) Thankfully we knew the man, a very sweet older gentleman, and he was as gracious as he could be. He told C several times, "I'm so sorry this happened to you". How many people would say that when they walked out of their house and saw their van and carport tore up?

Her grandpa was so forgiving when she called him. All he said was "I don't care about the car, I'm just glad you are ok". Amen to that. When she left the house that morning, I told her I loved her. That could have been the last time I ever got to tell her that. How scary is that? We never know what's going to happen when we walk out the door (or even inside our own house, as Katie could tell you!) Make every second count.

So, Wednesday was filled with phone calls, getting the car towed back to the house, going by the insurance office to file a claim, and running other errands. And then on the way home I got another phone call...

My dad was in the ER again with his heart. He was just in there last week with atrial fibrillation, and they had to give him medicine to stabilize it. Now it's doing it again. All of his tests from last week came back, doctor said he's as healthy as a horse. Other than his heart randomly taking wild vacations from beating regularly. Who knows when or if it will do that and stop altogether. That terrifies me. My dad is my rock. Whenever anything happens where I need help, he's the first one I think to ask. Even before my husband. (sorry Dave!) I don't take him for granted though. Well, I try not to. He's the hardest working man I've ever met, and even though he is 68 and "retired", he can still outwork a man 1/3 his age. He grew up on a dairy/tobacco farm, where they had morning milking chores before school, and worked in the tobacco field until dark after school. He would remind me of this when I was a kid, how he had to get up at 4:00 am to go milk the cows then walk 1/2 mile out to the road to catch the bus. (About this time I would interrupt and say, yeah I know, in the snow and uphill both ways). I appreciate now what he did. It instilled a work ethic in him that can't be beat. It's all he has ever known. (Don't tell him I posted his pic, shhh)

So, yeah, life is scary. This week I could have lost my daughter and my dad on the same day. That's hard to think about. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Prayers for Katie John

I want to tell you tonight about a woman who I have never met. Never spoken to her, have never seen her in person. But tonight I am crying for her. I struggled with whether to even write about her or not, because of the fact that I have no connection to her, other than our mutual love for orphans. I know there are many other blog posts being written about her, by people who know her well, and I don't want to take anything away from them. Like I said, I don't know her personally. But it's on my mind, has been since I first heard, and I want to make sure there are as many people praying for her as possible.

Her name is Katie. She and her husband Brett have committed to adopting their son Jack from a foreign country.  He's 12, and since he was listed on Reece's Rainbow so many families have fell in love with him, but through an amazing series of events, Katie and Brett were the ones able to commit to bringing him home. Katie's blog is Summer4Anastasia, you need to go read it to see how this came to happen. It's one of those things that you just can't make up. I had read her blog on Sunday, Mother's Day, a beautiful post about all of Jack's "other moms", women who had been praying and advocating for Jack to find his forever family. I love reading her blog, she's so honest about her faith, trying to trust in God for whatever happens. The one thing that really stands out in reading her posts is she truly wants God's will to be done.

Yesterday afternoon Katie went into cardiac arrest. Her husband found her unresponsive, not breathing and without a heartbeat, by all appearances dead. They were able to get her heart started again, but she is in very serious condition. From what I read today on someone's post, they will not know for a few days what her prognosis might be. It goes without saying, but I will anyway, this family needs so many prayers going up for them. Healing for Katie, strength for Brett and their daughters, and for the rest of their family.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to my mom, grandma, mother in law, and all you other great moms out there! I know I've been blessed beyond belief with my family. My mom has always been such a great example of a mom and Christian to me. I wish I could be as patient with my kids as she was with me growing up. My mother in law is more of a second mom to me. She's treated me like her own since the day I met her, and such a beautiful person, inside and out. 

My own kids have been so great to me today. My youngest, 9-year old A, made me breakfast in bed this morning. Bacon, eggs, toast, and fruit, all done completely by her. (I love that my girls all love to cook!) She also got sick at church with a stomach virus, so we had to leave about the time the sermon started. I'm waiting and hoping she hasn't also shared THAT with me today! Yikes! (She is feeling some better, here's hoping the worst has passed!)

When we got to church, my oldest, Kacey, had brought me some beautiful flowers and 2 giant Reese's cups. She knows how I love my peanut butter!

C, my middle daughter, has promised me something "even more awesome than the other two, as soon as she figures out what that is". Everyone usually wants to know, what did your husband get you for Mother's Day? Well, his response is "she's not my mom, why I would get her anything". hahaha Hopefully he did get her something today, they were spending the day together.

Right now, there are moms all over the country (and world) trying their best to bring home their children from orphanages around the world. These moms don't call themselves heros or anything special. They don't see themselves as doing anything noble or courageous. They just saw their child's picture, recognized them as their son or daughter, and knew they would do whatever it takes to get them home. If you can, check out these moms and see if you can do something to help them bring their kids home.

Auction to bring Autumn home (If you live in the southern CA area, there are LOTS of cool local prizes to be won, in addition to items that can be shipped.) This is for the Quinn family.

Auction to save Sydney and Lucien (If this link doesn't work, just go to Facebook and search for "auction to save Syndey and Lucien) And you can go to Reece's Rainbow to get to their personal blog.

Auction for Jaxon (again, if link doesn't work, just go to FB and search for it.) This is for the Jaco family. Ok this one won't cooperate with me, it's the "Online auction for Heaven and Berkeley listed on Reece's Rainbow". The Barlow family would appreciate any and all help!

The Rogers family is very dear to my heart, such a special family, and there are two great things going on with them right now. First is the FB auction, Rogers' Family Adoption Auction, and also some great giveaways directly on a blog being done by their friends at Our Adoption Story.

And last, but not least, the one closest to me, is the doll adoption for the Pickett family. Chandres is making some adorable dolls to auction off. Here's the first one, just sold this weekend! Too cute!

Ok, so please check them all out, see if there is something you'd like to win to help out one of these very deserving families. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

This is the worst day ever!

 No, not really. (My young nephew uses this phrase ALL the time, to the point that it's become a family joke.) Today wasn't one of my best though. I had a not-so-good morning with a major pity party for myself. Totally overreacted to a problem, to the point of even saying my whole month is ruined. (Yeah, MAJOR pity party going on here). Well, maybe not a total overreaction, as it was a significant bump. But God used it to smack me upside the head and say "really? Will you just calm down and trust Me already?"

Tonight I can look back at it and realize that it all worked together. If the bump this morning hadn't happened, then this afternoon wouldn't have taken the wonderful turn that it did. We'll see how it goes, but I have a really good feeling. I'm really wanting to get my social work degree and help kids with special needs, and because of this morning, I may have a chance to start working towards getting some experience I've been needing. I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens next with it.

I'm slowly learning to listen and trust God more. I've always SAID that I trusted Him, but I never really put it into action before this year. He knows I'm stubborn and impatient, and He's been putting me in a lot of situations lately where I don't have any choice but to trust. I'm learning to let Him lead me where I need to go. It's really hard to do most of the time. I want things to happen RIGHT NOW.

I've learned that praying for patience is a double edged sword. There's only one way to learn patience, and that's in situations that require it. Which sucks, big time. James 1:2-3 "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience". Ouch. Now I know nothing I've ever been through compares to the trials the early Christians faced. I don't know what real trials are, I understand that. But even my trivial little concerns help build patience. Most of us don't live our lives going through major trials ALL the time. But we all do have little trials, bumps, and problems. They say life is in the details, or something like that. And it's true. We can all believe that if we go through some great test of our faith, we'd do the right thing. We'd take a bullet rather than deny Christ if at gunpoint, right? But how do we face the little things every day? With faith and patience, or with drama and self pity?

Maybe one day I'll learn to take things patiently from the beginning, and totally trust in Him. But until then, I'll keep trying to learn my lessons, one mistake at a time.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Half empty nest

Empty nest syndrome: general feeling of grief and loneliness when children move out. My nest is half empty now, with my oldest two having moved out. My son, just itching to be out from under mom and dad, and my oldest daughter, having gotten married last summer. Do I miss them being here? Absolutely. I wouldn't call it grief and loneliness, just boredom! My four are a very lively bunch, and when they are all together, it's chaos. The oldest three get along so good now (better than I ever would have dreamed), and they keep me laughing. They do still tend to pick on the youngest, who at 9, is way younger than them. She's learning to give it right back to them, and it's hilarious to see them all going at it. Some people say they wish their kids were little again, but not me. I'm having so much fun seeing them as the adults, and almost adults, that they are growing into. K, my oldest, has matured into a very mature, feisty, compassionate woman. She came down yesterday and we made a batch of strawberry jam together. (As my husband said, this little batch of jam will last us ten years.) Isn't it pretty?

Hope it tastes as good, we haven't tried it yet! Whether it is or not, the best thing about yesterday was just getting a chance to spend time with K, laughing and talking, just like two friends would. My mom has always been one of my best friends, and I love that K and I can be like that too. She is also just as passionate about adoption as I am. From the first day that I hit her with the idea of adopting, she was totally on board with it. Even now, she does everything she can to help other families that are adopting. She's even started her own blog to help advocate for orphans. Check it out at Rising Up for Orphans. And that's exactly what she has done. She has risen to the challenge, and is fighting for them. She shares so many of the children and adopting families on her FB, and she can reach a whole different audience. Younger people, in their twenties, who have plenty of time (and energy) to add to their family these kids who so desperately need a family. She's getting the word out about the need for families, teaching her friends what's going on. It's brought her (and me) closer to God, and closer to each other. Check out her blog, show her some love and encourage her as she fights with the rest of us to save these orphans.