Friday, January 29, 2010

The job journey

If you've read this blog for a long time, then you know our story of Kyle's job journey. Back in July of 2008, Kyle lost his job, and the next week we received our referral from our adoption agency. It was a huge step of faith to say yes to Jack, trusting that God would provide a job both to support us and to not stop our adoption in it's tracks (agencies frown on people who have no income adopting children :)

God did provide a job and with Kyle's severance we were never a day without a paycheck. It turned out to be a great time for our family to grow close and to grow in our trust of the Lord. And when God provides, man does He provide. Kyle has gotten the opportunity to work for a company, Capsher Technologies, that we both really love, they do such a great job taking care of their employees and their families, and with our past jobs we don't take that for granted. They do such a good job in fact, they won a "Best Place to work in Texas" award. I'm so happy for them, they really deserve it. They were even on the news, want to see, go here.

It really is a great thing to take the time to look back on how seemingly "bad" things, were all apart of God's good plan for your life. It does me good to be reminded of His control, His goodness, and His love for me.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The blessing of health insurance

Health insurance is the big topic in the news and boy do I know just how important it is. The first year Jack was home we were seeing some type of doctor an average of 1 to 2 times a week. He's seen at least 8 different specialists to check out a variety of potential problems. When he had his cleft palate surgery, he was operated on by three different doctors, for three different things, and spent 3 or 4 days (I can't remember now!) in the hospital.

The medical bills would have broke us, except that we have medical insurance. We are greatly blessed, to have medical insurance. This is the third company we've had medical insurance through since getting married, and it is night and day, folks. We now have Blue Cross Blue Shield, and I want to invite them over for Thanksgiving dinner, I love them so much.

We have payed out so little money on all those appointments and surgeries it's ridiculous. We had to get a doctor approved to do one of Jack's surgery, that was out of network, and we didn't know that until the night before the surgery, but it was no problem, it was approved without a hitch. We have had to call them to add a child who we did not have a social security number or birth certificate for because they were adopted as well as later change that child's name because we had finalized the adoption. I've had to call them about bills that were paid as out of network when I thought they should be in network.

And here's the part where you gasp...I have never gotten bad service. I have always talked to someone who was amazing professional, knowledgeable, and genuinely friendly. They always ask how Jack's doing, about our adoption, tell me their own stories, and manage to pass the time like I'm talking to an old friend.

So today I did something I've never done before, I asked to talk to their manager so that I could tell them what a great job they did. The woman was shocked and told me how much she really needed that today, and ended up making my day that I could make her day.

Ever get great service...you know the opposite of the service I got with Verizon...tell the manager, if we don't who knows, we may soon never have anyone treat us with respect or worse never talk to an actual human again.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Can't help but be cute

Here's some moments from the last week of Jack being cute, he really just can't help it, he's so darn cute!

Mom is it school day yet? Because if it is I'm ready to go!
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I think he's going to be a good Daddy when he grows up.

"Reading" a book, Jack loves to sit down and babble along to a book, this time he decided he needed a desk too.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Laundry Day

It's Monday and it's amazing how much one's life can be flipped on it's head as you get older. For example Monday is one of my favorite days on the week, there was a time when I never would have belived that I would utter that sentence. When I worked outside the home Monday was the worst, the day the weekend came to an end and the work week began, goodbye relaxation, hello work.

But as a stay at home Mom, Monday is the day that I get back into the grove, and maybe it's just because I like what I do, but getting back into our routine is exciting to me. More likely it's because I have two young toddlers and toddlers thrive on routine, one that is easy to get out of when Daddy is home and it's fun time. Monday morning I wake up and slowly begin to put things back in order and get organized for the week ahead. Since I consider organizing one of my "hobbies", it's actually I really fun day for me, I know, I know, organization is not really a hobby, but it makes me happy

Monday is also my "don't go anywhere" day. I got the idea from an older lady in a bible study, who's children are mostly grown, and I loved it. When you spend most days running around trying to get to different events and get errands accomplished, a day where you just stay at home and re-charge is perfect.

Finally, every other Monday is laundry day in our house, and get ready to think I'm weirder than you already do, I love doing laundry. Give me a moment to explain, first it is the only chore that I do that seems to stay done for the full two weeks in between (I know it's just an illusion, but I'll take it). The dusting, sweeping, scrubbing, picking up, is so quickly undone by my family, but the laundry stays hidden in those hampers until the next time it's laundry day. Second, it involves organization: the first step is sorting all the laundry into the different color piles. And last but definitely not least, I can sit on my butt and watch TV and actually be "working" because I'm folding laundry.

Happy Monday Y'all!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sleep, I don't need no stinkin' sleep.

How is it that kids are often going through a phase of not sleeping all that much or all that well, I really cannot understand it.

I could sleep great all night long, still want a nap, and be tired again come 10 o'clock. And I burn a whole lot less energy everyday than they do.

Maybe that's the secret, run around the house like wild animals most of the day, eat little tiny bites of food from time to time, bump your head and cry approximately 8 times a day, and you too can suddenly stay up all hours playing and singing in your bed and wake up happy the next morning at 5:45 am, ready to face your day!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New blogs

I've added some blogs to my list of blogs I love (and read). The first one The Pioneer Woman, was one my dad told me about and it's really a wonderful blog/website. This woman is not an amateur, she has a published cookbook, that I'd actually heard of. Her blog tells the story of her life as a city girl who married a cowboy, and the life, cooking, kids, and pictures that ensued. Her recipes make me want to drop my kids off at daycare and spend all day cooking, yes they're that good, but they're also that involved, this is real country cooking. Her pictures are so beautiful and do an amazing job of making you feel like you are there with her...they carry me away to the fantasy life I sometimes go to in my head where we live on a farm (but are very rich and have people to do all the hard work for us). Check it out for yourself here. Warning: This blog can suck you in and make hours disappear, hey I warned you!

The second one is Kisses from Katie, my friend Sarah and the author of Sit a Spell, turned me on to this blog. It is an adoption lovers dream come true, it is just amazing to read. And strangely enough this blog carries me away to another fantasy life I dream about and pray about, living in Africa caring for orphans. It is the story of a lady of only 20 years, who has 13 children that she is raising in Uganda. When Sarah first told me about it I was a little confused, how could a 20 year old girl be raising 13 children, but then I read her story of obedience to God, of trust, of sacrifice, and I was smitten with her and her story. If you would like to know the story of how she came to be there, I've pasted below an excerpt from her blog. If you want to check it out for yourself go here.

From Kisses from Katie:
It is my 16th Birthday and I am eating sushi at my favorite restaurant with my parents when I tell them that I would like to explore the possibility of taking a year in between high school and college to do mission work. This is unheard of in my family and they say they are not sure and will think about it. I am nervous, but somehow I know it is right. He changes their hearts.

I have just turned 18 and find an orphanage online. I beg my parents to let me visit over break, just three weeks. A month later I am on a plane. I am so excited. I am so scared of being, but I know He is going with me. I fall in love.

I graduate high school having made the commitment to teach Kindergarten for a year at a school in The Middle of Nowhere, Uganda. In August I get on the plane. I’m apprehensive and I cry most of the way because I miss my Mommy and my boyfriend. I am eager, but so uncertain. I trust Him. I teach 138 children how to speak English and to love Jesus.

It is October and I am just not sure I can do it anymore. I live in the smallest room I have ever seen in the back of a pastor’s house. I am more uncomfortable than I had bargained for. No one understands, not people here, not people at home. I am tired. But I am prideful and I am not going to quit. I don’t like this. But I know He has a plan. I learn, I grow, He is there.

It is December and God has spoken very clearly about opening a ministry that sponsors 40 of the orphaned children in the village where I am working. This involves moving into a different house, ALONE. It is big and I cannot imagine how God will fill it up. I am lonely and I am anxious. But I am still trusting. He fills the house, and we now have 400 children sponsored.

It is January and I am looking at a little girl, crushed under a brick wall with no one to care for her or her younger siblings. I offer to take the three home with me until we find them a better placement. I am not really sure what to do with them, but I know they are God’s children. They stay.

It is three days later and the littlest looks at me and calls me mommy. My heart might break in two. Something clicks. I am even more scared than I was the day I stepped on that plane, but I KNOW. Today I have 13.

I have to deliver a baby, give a boy stitches, pull a tooth, give and injection. I am petrified. But no one will do it if I do not. He is present, He holds my hand, they are all fine.

It is August and I must get on a plane back to America to go to college, as I have promised my father. I do not remember how to be a teenager or what it is to be normal Brentwood, Tennessee. I will have to leave my babies. I will have to make new friends. I am sad and I am terrified. He wraps His arms around me. He puts just the right people in just the right places, and they help me and they make me feel at home.

First semester is over and He speaks clearly to me that I cannot serve two masters. “Go HOME,” He says, “and stay.” I am uncertain, but I want to be obedient. He squeezes tighter. I am thankful.

I have to look at my loving parents who have given me everything and tell them that I will not go to college right now, because I feel God wants me to be in Uganda. I know how disappointed and how angry they will be. I am more scared than I was when I got on the plane and more scared than I was when I took my first children. But I know that this IS the Plan. They love me anyway.

It is February and my daughter’s biological father comes to take her away. My heart breaks in half, and I am not sure I will ever be able to get out of my bed again, let alone foster another child. I am more than devastated, but I want what is best for her, what He wants for her. She comes back and her biological father learns about Jesus.

It is March and a lame little girl is brought to my gate. She is undoubtedly mine, but I am still anxious. What if I can’t do it? I don’t know what to do with a special needs child, especially as my 13th child. I am criticized and ridiculed. I wonder. I trust and praise God for her sweet little life. She starts to walk.

I find myself in a village full of starving people that for some reason seem to want to kill me. God says to serve them anyway. I am not sure how it is going to work, or if it is safe. I can’t figure it out, but I know He can. 1,200 Karamajongs, the poorest of Uganda’s poor, are now served hot meals daily.

We keep taking in more children until there are 400 in our program. There is no way we will raise enough funds, but by now I have stopped worrying. He has always provided. Blessings rain from the sky, and all 400 children go to school.

I am 20 years old and have 13 children and 400 more who all depend on me for their care. Who are all learning to love Jesus and be responsible adults and looking up to me. The reality of it all can be a bit overwhelming at times. However, it is always pure joy. There is a common misconception that I am courageous. I will be the first to tell you that this is not actually true. Most of the time, I am not brave. I just believe in a God who will use me even though I am not. Most mornings, before I even get out of bed I am overwhelmed with His goodness, with His plan for my life; I stand in awe of the fact that He could entrust me with so much. Most days, I don’t have much of a plan. I don’t always know where this is going. I can’t see the end of the road, but here is the great part: Courage is not about knowing the path. It is about taking the first step. It is about Peter, getting out of the boat. I do not know my five year plan; even tomorrow will probably not go as I have planned. I am thrilled and I am terrified, in a good way. So some call it courage, some call it foolish, I call it Faith. I choose to get out of the boat. To take the next step. Sometimes I walk straight into His arms. More often, I get scared and look down and stumble. Sometimes I almost completely drown. And through it all, He never lets go of my hand.

Friday, January 15, 2010

For no particular reason

For the grandparents. Here are some pictures and movies from the past two months, in no particular order. Enjoy!
Kylynn and Jack with their great grandmother.

Jack has learned how to "smile" on command from his sister, the resemblance is amazing, no.

Their favorite spot to sit and hang out together, in the window in our dining room.
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Jack showing us all how to use a sword

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Kylynn singing at her school's Thanksgiving feast



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Kylynn's first ballet recital.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Help for Haiti

I just wanted to pass on some amazing Christian organizations that are active in Haiti right now caring for the people in this tragedy who could desperately use your prayers and financial support.

Samaritan's Purse is an relief organization that amazes me to no end, I truly believe they are the best out there and in addition to meeting people's physical and emotional needs they share the love of God with every person they help.

Holt International, is the adoption agency that we used to adopt Jack, they have an orphanage in Haiti where they care for children, who need your help now more than ever before.

Kids Alive International is a organization that rescues orphans around the world providing them with a safe home and the love of God.

Trying something new

I've stopped washing my hair. I mean, not forever, I'm not that busy, but I've stopped washing it as often. It seems like every couple of months I read an article about how it's not good for your hair to be washed everyday/too often/more than once a week. This latest article I read said that you shouldn't be washing your hair more than once a week, that on the other days you should just rinse it with plain water.

I don't know about you, but if I'm going to get away with not having to wash my hair, I am not going to be rinsing it with plain water either, no hair washing should equal no hair drying and/or straightening. So I thought I'd give it a try, wash my hair only once a week and see how I liked it. Yes, I'm still taking showers to clean the rest of me, don't be afraid to get too close to me, I don't smell...I don't think.

So far, it seems that my hair missed the memo on only needing to be washed once a week, it is responding like it very much needs to be washed more often. The first week I made it a full 4 days before washing my hair, but on most of day 3 and all of day 4, my hair was very gross and greasy, it had to be pulled back, which is a bit difficult with the length of hair I have. This week I've only finished 3 days and I'm already pretty disgusted by it.

I decided to give this experiment a try because 1) it's winter, so it's best to try it now if ever and 2) my hair has looked pretty uninspiring lately, frizzy and I think it's getting thinner in the front. On the positive side, these past two weeks my hair seems shiner (even on day one and two), thicker, and smoother. I feel like it's making at least some difference on my hair. Now if I can just find some hair styles I like for days 3 and 4 and some hats for days 5 and 6! :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A gift for you

I just bought this beautiful CD, Painted Red by JJ Heller (am I the only who still does that?) and I also bought one for a friend who's world is shaking. I didn't want you to feel left out, listen below for a gift for you.

Listen to this song, listen to the words, take them in deep into your heart, where the hurts lie, believe them, the words are true, hide them in your heart, you never leave His hands, never.


Count down

Did you see my new gadget on my blog? Over there in the top left-hand corner. It's a countdown to the Winter Olympics, pretty obvious I know.

I've always loved the Olympics. When I was a girl I loved the summer Olympics and kind of liked the winter Olympics, then once I married Kyle I found myself loving both, and now, well I've become a bit of a nut about the Olympics.

Want to get together and play during the time the Olympics will be on TV, no way, not going to happen, I'm busy. Want to have a meaningful conversation about something going on in your life, fine, as long as you don't mind the olympics on in the background. Don't worry, I'm kidding...sort of.

Do you love the Olympics, too? Do you consider buying a new TV or signing up for a new cable package just for the Olympics? Do you decide that when the Olympics are on, your kids screen time is raised to 10 hours a day? If so join me in the countdown.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Stealing Kisses

Oh my dear Jackie is growing up so fast. If it were not so obvious in all the things he does I wouldn't be able to believe that he is almost two years old. Apparently another kid at school snuck him a copy of the two year old handbook, because it is so amazing how he suddenly knows exactly what a two year old does.

He got a step stool for Christmas, which he loves, because now he is truly a "big boy" and can do most anything by himself, including getting into food that was not for him or getting things off the counter that are most definitely not toys. He uses his stool to brush his teeth every morning and I often catch him re-brushing his teeth for the 5th or 6th time that day.

He has discovered an outlet for frustration, hitting, of course. If he is mad at Kylynn or me he will run towards us spitting bubbles and hit us. This is of course not acceptable and he is always disciplined, but the look of frustration on his little face followed by a swat I can barely feel is enough to make me laugh if I'm not careful. He has also discovered a way to get back at Kylynn for all the physical assaults he has endured, hair pulling, although he is not a good hitter, he is a great hair puller, don't worry he gets disciplined for this too (but I secretly think in my head, she had it coming!)

Best and worst of all, Jack has learned how to kiss. Whereas previously if you asked for a kiss he would lean towards you and offer you his forehead, he now puckers up and gives you a real kiss. Now when I say "you" don't think I mean "me", no in the two plus months he has been offering these precious kisses I am yet to receive one. His monkey, blanket, grandparents, Kylynn, Daddy, the concrete turtle outside, and frequently the toilet (don't ask) have all received kisses but not me. The first time he kissed the toilet I laughed out loud, I rank below the toilet! But really I think he knows how much I want him to give me a kiss and he also knows that he doesn't have to, so it's a fun little game and a small power trip for him, so for now I'm resigned to stealing kisses from him.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside

I cannot begin to tell you how much I've enjoyed our fall and the beginning of winter here in Texas. In the 13 years I've lived here, I cannot remember a colder fall or winter. It has been..well normal, as in the normal I grew up with, like we have seasons! I certainly have fully adapted to Texas weather by now and so I find it very cold out there, but I love it. There is something about walking out into the cold, it jolts you awake, it reminds you that you're alive. Here are some things we've been doing for fun during this cold snap.We made peanut butter playdough and really enjoyed shapping it with cookie cutters and plastic knifes. Of course the best part is eating it.Kyle and I have started reading a book out loud together, one of our favorite things to do that had gotten pushed to the back burner. We're reading The Lost Continent : Travels in Small-Town America by Bill Bryson, it is a wonderful book and several times a night we have to stop reading because we're laughing so hard, it's not often that a book makes you laugh out loud.


Kylynn has decided that she is now an artist after receiving a marker set with about 100 markers in it. She daily sits down to color, draw, and "write" things down. It's amazing to see that she can actually draw things that I am able to tell what they are now and write letters that are correct. Jack, who wants to be Kylynn when he grows up, has too decided that he is an artist, however he prefers other surfaces (it's more modern that way you know), so he finds stray markers and draws on floors, doors, toys, rugs, people, dogs...you get the picture. Thank you mom, for buying washable markers!

I have fallen back in love with cooking (at least temporarily). My sister gave me a subscription to Food Network magazine and I'm loving it. Most of the receipes in the magazine are not something that a stay at home mom has time to cook (although some are) but just reading the articles and recipes and seeing the pictures gets me excited about cooking, it gives me an idea for an easier receipe I could make or an ingredient I want to find a way to use. This week I actual planned out a full two weeks of recipes and did all my grocery shopping to last me that long, the way I used to before Jack came along, you should see my fridge! :)

Best of all we've been getting outside, yes it's cold, but really it's better than hot, and if this weather is an excuse to keep me indoors, then I'll never find a good time to go outside. So we've been going on walks, bike rides, and trips to the park. I've got to find some way to lose this holiday weight!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Lucky

I haven't shared one of my encounters with an overly curious person upon seeing me and Jack at the store in a while, so I thought I'd share my latest one with you.

I was at the grocery store and needed some meat from the meat counter, immediately the lady taking my order (who herself was Asian, although not Korean) noticed Jack, here's the conversation that followed.

Meat Counter Lady: Is that a boy or girl?
Me: a boy
MCL: He looks like Chinese or something.
Me: He's Korean.
MCL: Oh, are you Korean or something?
Me: No, we adopted him from Korea (of course this sentence was my mistake, I should have just said no and then the conversation would have probably ended, with a weird look.)
MCL: Wow! He's very lucky, very lucky.
Me: Well, really we feel like the lucky ones.
MCL: Was it hard to adopt.
Me: Not for us, I know it sometimes can be, but it was really quite simple for us.
MCL: But you spent a lot of money though, right?
Me: (cringe)...well it does cost money but you get a tax credit...(that sounded dumb)
MCL: (As a another meat counter lady approaches and she continues to hold my meat hostage) Hey look at that little boy, they adopted him from Korea, (to me) North or South Korea?
Me: South Korea (please give me my meat so my son doesn't have to be your side show any longer)
MCL: Well he's very very lucky, it's very bad there, very bad.
Me: (Ignore previous sentence, no point in letting her know she has confused North and South, and South Korea is actually a wonderful country that I wouldn't mind living in or raising children in). Well really we're the lucky ones.
MCL: (Ignoring me, walks up to Jack) Listen to me you are very lucky, very lucky.

Really the lady was not trying to be mean or rude, she just was a little rude. That's the problem, as someone who loves the Lord I find it very hard to be rude to people in order to get them to shut up, but I have to figure something out. Imagine the scene above if Jack was 12 or 13. In the middle of it all I actually thanked God that Jack was young enough to not entirely understand and completely not care about our conversation. Unfortunately the only way to shut, overly curious and sometimes rude, people down is to give a short, curt answer to their first questions. I need a go to quote, our training recommended that, and I've yet to come up with one that feels God honoring and protecting of Jack at the same time. You can pray that God will give me one.

But really I wish I could have got the meat counter lady to hear what I was saying because I truly mean it, really, we are the lucky ones. And maybe that's why no matter how much I doubt that what I say will make a difference or the chances that they'll ever consider adoption, part of me is always willing to talk about our adoptioin. To tell people what an amazing ride it was, to tell people that I would do it again in a heart beat, and again, and again.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Coats and blankets



Here in Bryan/College Station, Twin City Mission is collecting coats and blankets, and I imagine anything good for facing cold weather, for the many people in our area who need them.

I'm sure you've all heard that beginning Thursday we're going to have lows in the teens and that will continue through the weekend. If you can find anything in your house that you don't need please take it down to Twin City Mission so they can pass it on to those in need in our community.

You can drop off your items at any of Twin City's three locations, 803 Wellborn Road, 3808 Old College Road, or 424 Main Street (in downtown Bryan), today through Saturday 9am to 6pm.

Please pray for the homeless people in our area that will have to spend at least some of their time in this very cold weather we've been having.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Time



I've decided that taking down Christmas decorations is by far the most depressing task I do repeatedly year after year. I mean think about it, you spend hours and hours undoing all the decorating that you spent hours and hours putting out just one short month ago. I imagine that people from other cultures would look at this practice and add it to the long list of why Americans are so very strange.

By the time your done, you've filled up so many boxes with stuff that, had you still lived in that apartment you lived in in college, people would think that you were about to move. But you don't move, you just put them up in the attic and look around at your suddenly bland, slightly empty, and very dusty house and realize that it is now time to return to normal life.

This depresses you at first, especially when you realize that normal life includes dusting all the surfaces that had been for the past month covered in garland and nativity sets. But then you see the new book you got for Christmas, sit down on the couch and begin to read and you realize, you now have time. With the holidays behind you, the sparkle may be gone, but so is the busyness and stress. Your mood suddenly lifts, what a precious gift you've just found.

Here's wishing you a restful and peaceful New Year, one filled with lots of what we all want this year...time.