Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ahhhh

Reading a book listening to the waves crash being reminded of Gods magnificence. That's this mamas idea of a good time.
Sent from my iPod

Friday, July 29, 2011

A lesson learned

So... my iphone went swimming today.....sigh......sigh......and sigh again.   It was totally my fault.  I had been reading in the pool - I was leaning over the concrete on my towel with my book and my phone was on the corner of my towel all covered up.  I had been talking with our adoption agency and took a picture of me and my sister and instead of getting up and putting the phone back - I laid it in the towel and forgot about it - so when I got up and pulled up my towel with me - guess where my phone went.  Yep in the pool - of course I dove in to get it but by then as we all know it was too late.  I tried really hard not to get upset and realize it is just a phone but if I am to be truthful with you - that didn't work out so well for me.

Here is the real me - I profusely tried to revive it this included calling Apple and my brother calling Verizon for me.  I cried - yes I had a few minutes of complete meltdown.  Of course this isn't really how I wanted to feel or act like Paul says I do the things I do not want to do - it was just a phone- a nice one - but just a phone.  I still acted what I now can call ridiculous and sinful.  My poor husband who is watching my emotional fit even offers to take me out to eat - I decline (don't worry I came to my senses) then he offers me chocolate - again I decline.  Finally I snapped out of my woe is me attitude and remembered this phone is a possession I cannot take to Heaven.  It's nothing and I have an old phone I will be able to get hooked up and use.  I am so ashamed of my sinfulness.  The phone isn't a soul nor will it ever be.  I know God used this incident for my benefit - while at the time and maybe even now it doesn't feel good - it was still a beneficial lesson for me.  See I have three precious children whom are in my care and they have souls.  Lately it seems as if all I have been doing is handing out discipline.  This is an area where I really struggle - I want to discipline my children and teach them in the way of the Lord and I don't want to be legalistic and I do want to extend grace it is a never ending battle for me.  When we are in the midst of discipline I remind the kids that God disciplines adults too - even mommy.  Its not the same kind of discipline I explain but there are still consequences to our sin.  Today I was irresponsible and a dead phone is the consequence.  God gave me something tangible for me to explain to my kids the next time I have to have the responsibility talk. More than anything I want to conform to be the mom God wants me to be and I want to be just as grieved over my sin and the sin of my children as I was over my dead phone.  And not grieved because of how our sin affects me but grieved because I've offended my Savior.  I want my children to see this - see that I am grieved over my sin, see me living out the gospel everyday.  I'm so thankful that ultimately the penalty of my sins and the sins of my children has been paid.  I'm thankful for the cross and I am working on being thankful for a dead phone.  

Pool time with my sista

Hanging at the pool with my sista!!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Christ and the cross...

I read this quote below today on a blog I read often.  I am thankful for the reminder of my true self and I am reminded how I need to be thankful on a daily, hourly, moment by moment basis for Christ and the cross.  As one of my favorite songs puts it "Jesus Thank You."

Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to say to us, “I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.” Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is here, at the foot of the cross that we shrink to our true size.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Home Sweet Home

I'm grateful for the time I got to spend with family and friends this weekend but I must say it is good to be back home.  I think of Heaven when we will finally be home and we will never long to be anywhere else but for now I am thankful for the home I have now and it is good to be back in it.

Alma Georgia - home away from home!  I visited my old small town stomping grounds and spent some good quality time with my Alma family.  I am so thankful for them and how God used them in my life.  I love how I can go back and just pick up right where we left off - and I would have to agree with my dear friend Jennifer there are not many people that you can do that with.  I love spending time with my friend and watching our children play together and talking about the joys and struggles in our own lives.  The kids play so well together and I wish we lived closer to one another.  I'm truly grateful for these people!! I love them dearly!!  Here are a few pictures from our time together!! Enjoy.

Me and my sweet friend Jennifer - she is could be my sister!

Nathan on the 4 wheeler

the rest of us take a ride and even pick some blueberries :)

Jenn's hog just had baby pigs - soo cute!


From youngest to oldest Ethan, Abigail, Luke, Grace and Nathan (little Rayson was sleeping)
I have a few more pics I want to post but blogger is acting funny - I will try to put them up later!





Monday, July 25, 2011

Reconnecting

Tonight I was able to connect with a girlfriend from college, Melodie.  We met up at a local park so our kids could play while we played catch up.  It had probably been 10 years since we had seen one another.  The kids had so much fun.  I think the merry go round was the favorite.  It was good to catch up with an old friend!  Tomorrow I am heading to Alma, GA for some more catching up with old friends!!


The kiddos - Nathan, Bailey, Ethan, Luke and Chloe

Me and Melodie

Fun Times

The kids were up at the first sign of dawn ready to hit the beach.  We waited a little bit and then headed to St. Simons Island of course with several "how much longer" questions.  We had a fun time walking around the island a bit and then had a small bite to eat a local restaurant  Iguanas, famous for their shrimp and boy was it good.  We even got a free ice cream treat and that was a nice surprise -especially for the kids.  After that we headed to the beach to play and they boys played hard.  Ethan was not so into the whole beach scene. He did play in the sand but he is not one to like to be messy (what can I say he comes by it honestly) so he was being stretched.  He most certainly didn't like the water nor did he want to be remotely close to it.  I kept asking him if he liked the beach and he would say "I don't want to go to the beach I want to go to the ocean."  He's a funny little guy.  Nathan and Luke on the other hand loved everything about the beach.  From playing in the sand to riding the waves in the water.  I had to drag Nathan out after I got stung by a jelly fish.  There were multiple incidents so knowing him and his personality I thought it best to take a little break.  After some sand time he headed right back into the water and thankfully no more jelly fish attacks occurred.   They had a really great time and are really ready to go the beach for more than a day!



Mommy and her boys

cheese ...


Playing in the sand

Mommy's little hot cakes...

Worn out...

That's my Pop Pop....


Mommy, "Pop Pop" and Ethan
Growing up I called my my grandfather on my dads side "Pop Pop."  I am not really sure how I came up with this name or if it was made up for me - but that's what I called him and still do today.  Pop Pop is in his early 80's and I am so thankful to still have him around.  Well as much as I love Pop Pop I cannot say that Ethan has been his favorite fan.  I'm not sure what it is or was about him that E didn't like but anytime we would go over to their (my grandparents) house he wouldn't have anything to do with Pop Pop.  In fact he wouldn't go anywhere near him and when it would come time to leave he wouldn't even tell him goodbye and if I made him he would cry.  I'm happy to report that E is not so afraid of Pop Pop anymore.  Last night we had a little "that's my Pop Pop" war :).  Ethan was getting such a kick out of going back and forth about who's Pop Pop he was.  I'm thankful he's a Pop Pop fan now!!

A Mama of boys...

Have I ever mentioned I love being a mom to boys!  Don't get me wrong I eagerly await the day I can bring home our sweet girls but there is something to be said about being a mommy of all boys.  It actually is a feeling I don't think I can put into words - all I can say is that I love it!  I think I live vicariously through them.  I so much enjoy the looks on their faces when they are having fun - it really is priceless.  Having said that the boys and I took a little adventure to south GA to visit my brother and then some friends.  Being down here has brought back many memories as I went to college and interned at a church around the area we are in.  Daddy is at home keeping things burning on the homefront.  We miss him terribly and I think if I hear "I miss daddy" again I might develop a complex :)  But I do wish he were here to enjoy these fun memory making moments too!

This morning and this evening we went to church but we had time in the afternoon to get in a little river fun.  Ethan wasn't so sure about this whole river adventure and being in a boat - but he warmed up to the idea.  Nathan and Luke loved it as you will see in the following pictures.  We road on the john boat,  played in the river, N and L rode on the tube and the jet skis and N jumped off the dock - almost 18 feet down plunging into the river.  We really had fantastic afternoon as you will see through the pictures!


Mommy and Ebear

Luke on the tube

sweet brothers...

tubing together

check out these expressions

having fun!!

"fishing" with a stick...

river play

Ethan got in the water!!

Nathan was doing a handstand!

getting ready to jump

taking the plunge 18 feet down into 12 feet of h2o!  I love the shadow in the water.

hey mom!!
We are beach bound tomorrow!! The boys can't wait!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hamburgers anyone?

David and the kids love to "wrastle" with each other.  I think maybe the kids love it more than he does since he isn't 25 anymore - but I know he loves those boys and the time he gets to spend with them.  Sometimes when he is "wrastling"/tickling them he grabs their upper legs and says he is going to "eat him some hambones."  He has done this with all three boys and they just love it.  Well tonight my brother was wrestling around with Ethan and Ethan says to him "I want you to eat my hamburgers!"  I just busted out laughing knowing he meant "hambones."  Joseph "ate Ethan's hamburgers" and lots of laughing followed.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bows for babies..

I have wanted to know how to make bows for awhile now - but since next year this time I am actually going to have girls in my house I thought I might better go ahead and learn how.  So tonight my good friend Shellie taught me how!! So thank you Shellie!! I gathered what ribbon I had around the house and started playing around.  Here are a few that I made.  It took me making a few to get the hang of it - so I made a few. You know I had to make a cow print one - that one is probably my best one - it was the last one I made tonight.   If I get good at this I just might have to start selling some bows... for my babies.



Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Out of my hands...

Today I sent off all of the paperwork that we have been collecting since we started the adoption process to our agency.  PHEW!!!  These are the papers I have been gathering and putting in our fireproof safe deposit box and today I turned them in.  I had mixed emotions.  I was super happy to be sending them on their way as the agency will in turn get them certified and authenticated and sent to China which is the goal!! I was also apprehensive I told DP I wished I could have driven them to the agency myself - as opposed to handing them to the mail lady to have them fed exed.  It truly shows where I am weak and it makes me abundantly grateful that I serve a God who strong and in all the details of this process including very important papers going in the mail.

Yesterday we were able to go and get our fingerprints done at the Homeland Security office here in Atlanta.  This was a true blessing.  When we got our appointments this week they were scheduled for a time when we were not able to go.  Thankfully they let us walk in and we were able to do them early - 19 days early!!  Thank you to those who prayed that we would be able to get this done.  Hopefully this means our waiting days will be lessened some as we await approval from them.

I must say I think I get more excited as each day passes!!  And as time passes on we encounter more families who want to pursue adoption.  Just in this week I have talked with 3 different families.  I love seeing God work in the lives of those around us.  I am so thankful for His goodness.  Thanks for sharing in this journey with us!  We'll keep you posted!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Game time

It's Battleship game night!!

Best buddies

Samuel and Luke
Best buddies!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

So I have a favor to ask....

As most of you know and have read by now we are in the process of adopting two little girls from China - you probably read my whole countdown post and yes we are still waiting.  But we are not the only ones waiting.  It just so happens that our dear friends Wade and Natalie are waiting too!  Just a little 411 - Wade and Natalie are our friends from Berachah, our church.  We have known them for a few years but have recently become much closer as God has put us on the same adoption path.  We are using the same agency, adopting from the same country, had the same social worker, you get the idea.  The only difference is they started the process a bit before us.  So what that essentially means is they are one step ahead.  I have to say what a blessing it has been to be on the journey with someone you know and not just someone you know but your close friends.  Natalie and I were already bonded for life because of our hope in Christ but now we are really bonded even more because of this process that we are in.  I can't tell you how many coffees we have had or phone calls that have taken place over the last few months I am so thankful for her and how God has seen fit to knit our lives together in only a way HE could do.
So this brings me to my favor.  We REALLY REALLY REALLY would love to be able to travel to China together.  Looking at it from a paperwork standpoint - it seems nearly impossible because they, Wade and Nat, are ahead of us in the paperwork trail journey.  However we know that we serve a God who makes the impossible possible.  So that is where you come in - you can pray.  Natalie and I have been praying for this because it is a desire we have and we also know that it may not be God's will but it certainly doesn't hurt to pray.   Specifically you can pray that the Lord would work out all the details i.e. our paperwork moving faster than ever and that we got matching consulate appointments in China.
Nat has been on vacation for 9 days which seemed like forever to me so we got to catch up tonight and we both again stated how we wished we could travel together.  It's something we both pray for so I said to her why are we not asking other people to pray that for us??  So that's my favor - would you join us and pray that we could travel together.  We do know that this may not be God's will for our lives but we know He is faithful to bring about His perfect will whatever that may be.  Thanks for praying!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cow Appreciation Day 2011

Happy Cow Day!! Thanks Mr. Doug for great service!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

60 some days but who's counting??

Thought I would give you and update on our adoption process.  And I'm the one counting not David.  So here is where we are.  We finished our part of our home study in May right before we left for Italy and in record time might I add.  Funny how the Lord works - we weren't even going to turn in our adoption application until we got back from Italy.  Then we decided to turn it in (late March) but thought for sure we wouldn't even begin our home study until after our Italy trip in mid May - and yes we finished our home study before we left for Italy.  I digress sorry.  Before we left we filled out our CIS papers - for homeland security and immigration but we could not mail them until our home study had been written and reviewed and notarized etc.  We finally got all of that done on June 14 and got our papers in the mail and off to our agency who in turn sent them off to the govt.  I got a letter from the govt this week saying that they had received our application and would be sending us our appointment time for our biometric fingerprints.  Here is where the 60 some days come into play. We have some good friends who just got their approval from CIS and it took about 64 days from the day the govt cashes the check we sent them.  So yes I am counting down the days sort of.  I'm not literally marking the days off the calendar but I am thinking about them.  If the time frame is right then we should receive our approval from homeland security at the end of August.  You might be wondering why I have a countdown on this - well let me tell you what happens next.  After we get approval from CIS/homeland security our paperwork goes back to our agency and they get all those papers (which makes up our dossier) notarized, certified and authenticated, then our paperwork/dossier goes to China!!!! Yay yay!! Once our paperwork goes to China and they get it we can be matched with our girls - so see why I have a countdown.  I am so ready to see the faces of our little Linnea Hope and Kaylah Claire.  I get so excited just thinking about it.  If time frame follows the pattern of those who have proceeded us we should be logged in with China at the earliest late September but more likely early October. Here is a timeline our caseworker sent so you can see kind of what the process is like....


1.    Home study completed
2.    800a application submitted with finalized home study to USCIS
3.    Fundraise
4.    Immigration approval received from USCIS (approx. 2-3  months)
5.    dossier docs certified/authenticated (approx. 2-3 weeks)
6.    dossier sent to China
7.    Log-in date received ( LID) from CCCWA (approx. 3-4 weeks after DTC)
8.    Letter of Acceptance (LOA) received from China (approx. 2-3 months after LID)
9.    800 paperwork submitted to USCIS
10.  800 provisional approval received (approx 3 weeks after submission)
11. information for visa sent by USCIS to National Visa Center (NVC)
12. information for visa cabled to the US Embassy in GZ by the NVC (approx. 2 weeks after information sent by NBC to NVC)
13. Article 5 letter received (approx 2 weeks from cabling)
14. Article 5 letter couriered to the CCCWA
15. Travel Approval received from CCCWA (approx. 3-4 weeks from being received by CCCWA)
16. Apply for Consulate Appointment
17. Receive Consulate Appointment (2approx 2 business days after application)
18. Travel (approximately 2 weeks after receiving TA)


Hopefully that makes a little sense.  Our agency has privileges with an orphanage in Maoming China in the Guangdong Province.  We have seen some of the children from the orphanage on our agencies website so you can probably see where my excitement is coming from.  And I am excited.  So where does that leave us right now praying and fundraising.  I know God has all the details worked out.  I wish I could say waiting was easy but it isn't always.  However I rest in knowing He knows Linnea and Kaylah.  Thanks for keeping up with us and keep praying!!

Oh the places we've been

Seems since it is summer I should have slowed down some - but that is not really the case!  Since May we have been truckin it!!  Right before school finished up David and I were very fortunate to go to Italy.  We were with our Chick-fil-A family on a Winshape Marriage cruise.  We were on a big sail boat touring some of the islands of Italia.  We started out in Rome and cruised around to Ponza, Pompei, Naples, the Amalfi Coast, Sicily, Capri and then back to Rome.  I absolutely loved Italy and am hoping to get to back someday!
Rome - The Colosseum

Amalfi Coast

Sicily

Once we got back home we had one week of school left and moved right into VBS.  David and I along with a few other couples are in charge of VBS so we hit the summer running!  VBS went really well our theme was God of the City and our locale was NYC.  I love being with the kids all week.  In fact N said he wished we could have VBS every week.  So thankful for our church body and their dedication in making the gospel known to our kids.

We just came back from a road trip to Michigan where we celebrated Greats (David's grandmother) 90th birthday.  It was a short packed trip and we had soo much fun.  We reconnected with family, had lots of picnics in parks, played and Lake Michigan and on the way home stopped at the Creation Museum.  Let me tell you how rich that was!! WOW!!!  I rode a camel - pretty cool! I am so thankful to know the Creator and I thankful that he shared His thoughts with us through His word.

Great's 90th Birthday Party

Creation Museum

Other than that you can just call me the swim taxi.  The boys love the water well I should say N and L love the water E has a love/hate relationship with it.  Most mornings we pack up our lunches in the cooler and head for the pool.  I am so blessed to be able to stay at home with the kids. I LOVE the summer!

So he says...

Before the school year ended Mrs. Grega was reading the the students Mr. Poppers Penguins.  Time did not permit her to finish the book so we decided that we would get a copy and read it ourselves.  It was a really fun read for all of us.  Each night the boys yes all three of them even E would curl up on the couch and read a little.  I even found myself laughing at some of the book.  Our goal was to read the book and then go and see the new movie.  Well so much for that idea.  I researched the movie online on a really great website and was disappointed to read the reviews.  The movie wasn't going resemble the book at all.  I should have known better.  So I had to go back and apologize to the kids and tell them that we were not going to be seeing the movie because there were just some things I wasn't sure about.  I am not going to say we won't ever see it but I don't want to pay and then have to walk out.  We'll just wait and rent it and then if we have to we can turn it off.  All that explanation to tell you this..... N walks in the kitchen the other day while I am fixing sandwiches to take the pool and says this to me :

Nathan - "Mom it is a good thing we aren't going to see Mr. Poppers Penguins.  It isn't going to be anything like the book and you were right they say some bad words. "
Me - "How do you know this?"
Nathan - "Oh I saw a preview."
Me - "Really - what did you see/hear??"
Nathan - "The E word"
Me - totally puzzled "Nate - what is the E word - you can tell me and you won't get in trouble because I am asking you to tell me."
Nathan - "Idiot."

Hope you got as much of a laugh out of that as I did!! I am so thankful for innocence right now!