Monday, December 24, 2007

Angels Watching Over Me

Just wanted to let you all know that we were in a pretty serious car accident this morning. After enjoying breakfast this morning with some old friends at the IHOP, (Thanks for paying you two, very sneaky! :O) We love you both very much!) we were taking Sarah B to the pediatrician's office (has an ear infection so we'll be on a second round of antibiotics). On Red Mtn. Express Way, in front of St. V Hosp.

Honestly, I have no recollection of what happened. I was driving, Todd said that I said, "I hope they don't hit me!", and blew my horn. I don't remember any of that. I was hit by at least two separate cars, spun around and around across the other two lanes and wound up in the far right lane against the guard rail, traveling in the wrong direction, with cars coming head on, and my foot still on the gas! Todd reached over and threw the car in park about the same time I realized I was on the gas and hit the brakes.

I am telling you when we spun around and were facing the other direction, it was just like the Red Sea parting. No one hit us head on. One of the vehicles that hit me, veered off to the right, hit the curb and flipped. They crawled out the windows to avoid being hit again in their car by the on coming traffic. Amazingly, they were not seriously injured, certainly their car is totalled. The damage to our van is rather extensive and so it may likely be totaled as well.

People stopped all up and down both sides of the Expressway and came to see if everyone was okay, and to tell what they saw happened. Four people gave us their names, numbers and addresses as witnesses. Another woman, came "out of nowhere", said that she did not see the accident, but felt led to stop and tell me "He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways." Ps 91:11 She looked at the girls in the back seat and said, I see (His) peace all over her (talking about Sarah Beth), she then proceeded to tell the girls how God had watched over them and how He had a special plan for their lives. Whew, gives me chill bumps again, just thinking about it.

The Lord has once again, protected us, and our precious little ones. Praise be to God, my King and my Lord.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Pictures of Antigua

I am certainly not an expert at photography or computers, but maybe these will be adequate in conveying to you how beautiful this Country really is.

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Anna has her hair cut to donate to Locks of Love.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

We're home!

Well, we made it back in this afternoon, right on time. Thank you again - so much - to those of you who took the time and made the effort to come to the airport to see us home. Your love and friendship mean the absolute world to us! Coming home wouldn't have been nearly as fun without you there to enjoy it with us!

I'm only going to blog a sec as everyone else is fast asleep, and I should be too.

I am hoping and praying that one of you amazingly blog literate people will help me figure out how to make my pictures into a slideshow to post them. I have many pictures of Antigua I would like to share with you all. It is a beautiful city. In the meantime, I posted a few of the pics of us, and thought I would do a little narrating. I wish I'd gotten a good picture of all of us together at the airport with those of you who came. Anna took a shot with her camera, but who knows how that will turn out, and it doesn't include her unfortunately.

Anyway, here goes:

Picture 1) is the "momma" who was her primary caregiver at EN. She rode is with them to bring her to me and to meet us. She asked that we please send pictures of her back to them, she loved her so. It was translated to me that she was expressing how much she loved her and caring for her and that the pictures help to "keep them going", it's a reminder of why they do what they do.

Picture 2) is obvious! We love our new little addition, and we think she's just the greatest!

Picture 3) is of my sweet girls in front of the enormous Christmas tree in the Marriott lobby. This hotel is quite large, and that was some tree! One of the best parts about Guatemala is that you always heard "Merry Christmas" or "Feliz Navidad", none of this "Happy Holidays" crap - (pardon my language - Anna puts me in a one minute talking time out when I use that word)!

Picture 4) is of myself, and Sarah B with a lady named Ruth who hounded us like crazy to buy her authentic Mayan wears. She told us all about how they hand make the items, described how many hours they put into it, and Jose' our guide backed up everything she said. We purchased this wrap for carrying babies. She literally had the thing tide up and on me in less than a minute. She showed me twice how to do it to carry her on my hip, or my back. I don't know if I'll ever be able to figure it out again, but I had to have one. :O) I also purchased a beautiful brightly colored piece that can be used as a wall hanging in the baby's room. I'll try to get a pic and post that later. I laughed because when I asked her if I could get a picture with her, she then added the scarf to her head.

Picture 5) lastly is a picture of us with our guide Jose' without whom we would have been in BIG trouble. He helped clear up the fiasco mentioned in the last post, took us to our Embassy appointment and to get picture for her Visa. Then had someone else go back to the Embassy to pick-up our documents while he took us on a tour of Antigua. Can't beat that!

If someone can tell me how to do a slide show, I'll add those pictures too.

Oh, and one more thing... I have passed by the baby's room a hundred times since we got it ready for her. And tonight, I rocked her in her own rocking chair, sang to her the lullibies my other girls were rocked by and placed her in the same bed they slept in as babies. I walked by the room moments before I sat down here and just sighed with relief and amazing contentment. Those of you who are waiting, just keep holding on, they will come home soon.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

We´re Here and the Lord´s Given us an Angel!

Hello everyone!

I´ve had trouble posting to my blog. The keyboard is all different with lots of accent marks and punctuation for Spanish that are in all the wrong places.... But, finally, here I am...

Things started out VERY rough. Our flight was delayed in Houston and we were over 2 hours later arriving yesterday than we´d anticipated. I was very concerned that we would get to the hotel to find that they had been and left with the baby after waiting for us for so long. When we arrived, I was watching the lobby frantically looking for our little one, but hoping she wasn´t here yet so that we would have time to put away our luggage and prepare for her arrival.

Around five oclock, the phone rang, and we prepared ourselves for the trip to the Lobby. On the other end of the line was Jose´, who would be taking us to the embassy today. He was scheduled to meet with us lastnight to complete our final documents and make sure that we had everything in order.

We went to the lobby to meet with him and told him that the baby had not yet arrived. After making a phone call for us to the director of the orphanage, he learned that there had been a miscommunication¨and the baby would not be coming tonight¨. WHAT!!!???!!!! I was devestated. You´ve got to be kidding me. We are scheduled to be at the US Embassy in the morning (today) at 7:15 a.m. The orphanage is a good 3 hours away. When, how, will they get her here on time?? I was just about to have a complete melt down.

I had played over and over in my mind what our first meeting would be like, Nana was going to video tape our first meeting, I was sure I would ball my eyes out, etc... etc... etc... And now, I have no idea what this is going to look like. I am reassured that things will work out fine, but I´m thinking, ¨Things don´t seem to be working out too fine if you ask me!¨ Another couple, who checked in at the same time we did had their little one waiting here with it´s foster family in the lobby when they arrived. Overwhelming for them, and for me. Where´s my little one?

Fast forward to this morning......
Our meeting came just outside a photo shop beside the US Embassy where we were to take her to have 2 photos made for her passport. Here we stand on the side of an alley type street in Guatemala City when a large van pulls up. I see her, in the arms of the nanny (known as the ¨mommas¨) who has cared for her all these days. She works to make her laugh and smile for us. She is beautiful, amazing, indescribable. I would never have dreamed this type of meeting up ever, but it was beautiful, awkward, surreal. The ¨Momma¨tells her bye, asks us to send pictures back to them at EN often, lets us know how much she´s loved her and caring for her. They have lovingly packed a bag for clothing, food, diapers, wipes, toys, things to make her feel safe.

Immediately, she took to me, she has loved on me, and laughed for me, giggled and stopped crying immediately when she is my arms. She watches Todd cautiously, gives him an occasional smile, but does NOT want him holding her PERIOD! She laughs at Anna, who is in HEAVEN, entertaining this wee one. She finally has someone to watch all of her crazy antics and who thinks they are hysterical, when the rest of us think she´s being ridiculous.

Ah, I know it isn´t theologically sound, but Guatemala sure feels an awful lot like heaven right now!

Our embassy appointment went off without a hitch. Everything went very smoothly, took several hours and is all over. We will have her Visa tomorrow. Jose´will be taking us on a tour of Antigua tomorrow and we are thrilled about this. He is an absolute life saver! Can´t say enough about how great his help has been.

Currently, she is sleeping, in the room with her Daddy and Nana. Anna and I slipped off to the Executive Lounge where we have free internet access to email you all and let you know how things are going. She had her bottle, and lunch, and went to sleep in her stroller before we got back to our room after lunch. I even woke her a little to give her some tylenol because she felt a little warm (She has a horrible cough - I started her on the antibiotic that the pediatrician sent down with us. Please pray that this clears up soon.). She went right back to sleep when I layed her in her bed. She´s been down well over an hour. I´ll be interested to see if she is as pleasant when she wakes back up and realizes she still has us around. :O) I have noticed already that if my mother or Todd has her, she looks for me, that is a great sign. She also spent a lot of time studying my face when she took her bottle which is great for bonding. I am so thankful.

Hope she sleeps well tonight so that we all have a great trip into Antigua tomorrow.

For those of you planning to come to the airport on Saturday, be sure to check on the Continental website to make sure that our flight is on time. Hopefully things are not likely to get delayed on a Saturday. We are taking a smaller ¨lear¨ jet (not sure thats how it´s spelled) back from Houston to Birmingham, so I doubt it will have any sort of delays. Again, we are scheduled to arrive at 3:09 p.m. Hope to see some of you there.

God bless, keep praying! Gotta go check on Sleeping Beauty!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Big Sister Shirt and Bag

My precious Anna has decided we should wait about posting pics of her with her things, because she is in dire need of a haircut. She's been growing her hair out and is planning to have it cut for "Locks Of Love" (They use donated hair for wigs for children with Cancer, etc...). She can hardly see past her bangs right now. So, you get to see the shirt and bag, but not the model. :O)

We're planning to have it cut tomorrow. So, I'll post some pics of her sporting her new shorter hairdo and her things when we get all of that done.

Hope you all are doing well, less than 48 hours 'til we have our wee one!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It Won't Be Long Now!

Well, it won't be long now. In less than 72 hours I will holding my little girl in my arms! I am so excited, nervous, overjoyed, overwhelmed and every possible emotion in between!

This weekend has proved to be challenging for our 10 year old who is becoming increasingly more anxious about giving up her status as an only child. The other night, she asked me "What if I want to be an only child again?" I said, "We'll I'm afraid that will just be too bad!" She is very excited, but there is definately some apprehension that has surfaced in the last few days. We've been doing lots of talking, and getting ready for the baby. I've let her help with as much as possible because we definately want her to be a part of all of these new changes. Most of all, it seems she's afraid that the baby will touch her stuffed animals or slobber on them. :O) I guess if that's what the worry all boils down to, we can handle that. (LOL)

If any of you who are adopting also have older siblings, here are some things we've done to try to include our oldest:

1) She will be traveling with us to get the baby. We homeschool, so that will be easy to do, she won't miss any school work, and this will be an exciting field trip. We've been studying volcanoes, and the geography of Guatemala, Spanish, etc... preparing for our trip.

2) I made her a hot pink tote bag (using our computer, printer and iron on sheets) that says in big brown letters, "I'm the BIG sister!" to carry on our trip. Since I gave it to her several weeks ago (at the Baby Shower), she's been carrying it everywhere!

3) I made her a pink shirt that has an airplane on it in green, and has "I'm on the way to get my baby sister!" printed on it, for her to wear the day we travel to Guatemala.

4) I also purchased a shirt that has "Big Sister" on it with a picture from a website. She's got several items like this to take to wear while we're on our trip. She loves anything with words on it!

5) I have been looking at photo style adoption announcements online and have narrowed my search down to I'm going to include in the wording, "Anna McGuire is proud to announce the arrival of her new baby sister, Sarah Beth." The style I've picked out has a total of 6 photos (1 large and 5 small), so I'm going to use the large one for a picture of the girls together, and for the smaller ones - 1 of the whole family, 1- of the girls together, 3 individual pictures of Sarah Beth chosen from our favorites from referral 'til now.

Also, Anna and I are going to make a "LifeBook" for Sarah Beth to tell her about Guatemala and where she lived for the past year until she came home to us. I hope that this will prove to help Sarah Beth see where she came from and not have a lot of wondering and what if's when she gets older. I want to peice together for her as much as we know.

I'll try to get Anna in her shirt and post a picture to the blog later. So you can see it.

Keep praying for us. My packing is all done for the baby, now I've just got to finish up laundry and get things packed for the rest of us.

P.S. Please remember that we welcome any friends and family who wish to "see us home" to join us at the B'ham airport next Saturday, 12/22/07. Our plane is scheduled to land at 3:09 p.m. We would be so happy to see you there. A precious friend of ours (who does professional videography and website design for a living) asked us yesterday if it would be okay if they came and videotaped our arrival. I was stuned! "Well, yeah!" How amazing is that! Todd asked if they could just tag along with us to GC to capture everything there. :O)

Keep us in your prayers, as we are till trying to wrap things up with the company. We close our offices between Christmas Eve and reopen on January 2 each year, and we are really busy right now, so trying to figure out how all of that is going to work out. The great part is that this gives Todd another week once we're home to bond with the baby. We will definately have a lot to do when we get "back at it" on the 2nd of January.

God's richest blessings to you,

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Merry Christmas BABY!!!

Our pink slip has arrived this afternoon via email. We will arrive in Guatemala on Wednesday, Dec. 19th, our appointment with the US Embassy is on Thursday, the 20th (She'll be 13 months old exactly!), we will obtain her visa on Friday, the 21st, and fly back to Birmingham on Saturday the 22nd - just in time for Christmas!!!

We are so excited, shocked, and I am physically ill. Please pray for me. My nerves and my stomach are in knots!!!

I have so much to do, packing, and praying, and preparing, and praying, and celebrating and praying some more!!! Praise be to our God who can get babies home for Christmas!!!

We would like to invite our friends and family who desire to "see us home" to join us at the Birmingham airport when we land on Saturday. We are scheduled to arrive in Birmingham via Continental Airlines at 3:09 p.m.

God's richest blessings to you and your's,
Lori - a very happy, but nervous Momma - I sure hope she likes us! :O)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Still nothing

I know there are many of you who watch our blog faithfully - you bunch of stalkers (Just kidding! :O) I'm so glad you do!) I just wanted to let you know what was going on. NOTHING!! Zip, zilch, nada!

We still don't have any news. The only thing "pink" around here are the words on this blog and lots of clothes waiting for Sarah Beth to wear!

Keep praying for me, my nerves are shot!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

What a Roller Coaster Ride!

Well, Friday was a complete roller coaster ride, from the very depths of a valley, back to the top of the "mountain". As most of you know, we anticipated we would have our pink slip by the end of the week. Unfortunately that didn't happen.

On Friday, I spoke with our Social Worker who then called the DNA lab here in the States to find out about when the DNA results would be sent back to the Embassy. She was told that the 2nd DNA test was received on 11/30, but had not yet been processed due to "delays" because of the Thanksgiving holidays. She was told it would be next week before it was processed, that they would then overnight it to the US Embassy in Guatemala and they would then send her the information by email that it had been done. We were hopeful that would all occur before the end of next week but understood that this meant the likelihood of our traveling before Christmas was now looking quite dismal. I was distraught.

Then, I get home yesterday afternoon, to an email that said, "You won't believe this!" She had received the information back from them later Friday afternoon that the test had been processed and was being overnighted to the Embassy and should arrive there on Monday of next week. All of that said, we should have our pink slip by the middle of next week, but we will really be pushing it to get the appointments done and get back home for Christmas. We still don't know that we will even be scheduled an appointment prior to the holidays.

Please continue to pray that this all works out smoothly and that we are able to travel and get home before Christmas.

Needless to say, my emotional state is a bit "fragile", I feel like my emotions are all over the map. Up and down, back and forth. For "Pete's Sake" let's get this done and get home, I'm a basket case! For those of you who know me well, I plan EVERYTHING, so this is seriously about to drive me insane! :O)

Keep a watch out for the first updated news next week. We'll let you all know as soon as we know anything. Anna (our almost 11 year old) told me lastnight, "See I told you it could still happen." I thanked her for having big faith when mine was so small. I feel like the poor father in Mark 9:23-24. "And Jesus said to him, ... 'all things are possible to him who believes.' Immediately the boy's father cried out and began saying, 'I do believe; help me in my unbelief.'" Yes Lord, help ME in my unbelief too!

God's blessings to you, we love you all very much!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Still no news!

Well, we still don't have any news about our pink slip.

Pray for me, I'm beginning to get really anxious!!


Monday, December 3, 2007

Baby Stuff! It's everywhere!

Hello all,

Yesterday we had a baby shower for Sarah Beth. It was fun and exciting to see our friends and family who wanted to "shower" us with goodies for our new little one. We've got lots of baby stuff around here now!

I haven't heard a peep from the Embassy today, and I am guessing I've checked my email about a bagillion times - that's my own personal made up number :O) Obviously, it means ALOT!

Hopefully I will hear something before the end of the week.

I've been checking airline prices to see what we might expect for our trip. OUCH! Lots of money! Looks like the quickest flight travels through Houston, TX, and gets us into Guatemala around lunchtime. They are central time zone as well, so that will be nice. That means whatever day we fly in, we should have a baby in our arms by mid-afternoon!

I posted recently to the Lifeline board about pictures of Eagle's Nest, but I know some of you who visit here are also adopting from EN, but not using the same agency, so you may not have seen it. We are not going to visit the children's home when we travel, and I am trying to find some people who've been who would be willing to share some photos with me. If any of you have photos you'd like to share, please let me know.

Hope you all are enjoying the Christmas season with your families. We are enjoying a nice fire this evening, and will be doing our Jesse Tree devotion soon. Learn more about Jesse Trees at

Blessings to you and your families,

Friday, November 30, 2007

DNA News/New Baby Pictures

Hi Everyone:

News is that our 2nd DNA test was performed at the first of this week. Results should be back to the embassy by the first to middle part of next week, and then the US Embassy will issue our "pink" slip with our appointment date and time. We anticipate the travel to occur within 9-12 days of the issue of our pink slip. So, that puts us with an estimated time to leave of 12/14-12/17. Please continue to pray for a speedy "pink".

Our Social Worker went to Guatemala last week with another family who was traveling to pick up their little one. She was able to spend some time with Sarah Beth, and reports that she is pulling up, which means the walking won't be far behind. How exciting! Whew, I've got some serious baby proofing to do around here. Also, she says that she is pleasant, seemed to get along well with the other children, etc... Here are some of the pictures she took for me!


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pondering the ways of God

Hi to everyone,

I never cease to be amazed at how many of you there are who seem to be following us in this amazing journey of faith we call life. Many of you, whom I have never met, faithfully read this blog to learn what's going on in our little piece of the world. Welcome again, I'm so glad you are here.

Awhile back, Todd and I were talking and I was telling him then (and I know you guys in our Sunday School class have heard me say this already) that according to our timeline, it looks like Sarah Beth will be coming home at around 13 months of age. So what's such a big deal about that?

Our first child Kathryn Grace, died when she was 13 months and 15 days old.

I am absolutely amazed at the fact that God would work these details out in such a way that He would show Himself so amazingly clear to us - in all of our paths as He so beautifully directs our steps. "A man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." Proverbs 16:9

We have never doubted that this was what we were supposed to do, at just this time in our lives. We have every certainty that God created Sarah Beth and placed her in Guatemala for the sole purpose of directing our steps to travel many miles to bring her home to our family, but the amazing "little" detail of her age makes this even sweeter to me. I feel as though He is redeeming for us the days we've lost in such a precious way that has made us draw even closer to Him.

The same God who created the heavens and the earth, and who loves us intimately has seen fit in His awesome wisdom to show Himself strong and faithful throughout my life. And, this child of God stands completely in awe of HIM. I just wanted all of you who read this to know that.

Indeed, I, like David, can say -
"Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing; Thou hast loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness; that my soul may sing praise to Thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to Thee forever."
Psalm 30:11-12

As if it weren't enough that He gave us our precious 2nd child, Anna Kate and healed her through the miracle of open-heart surgery, He has indeed blessed us again. May I always be anxious to give Him praise, and never silent about His amazing love.

If any of you have stumbled across this blog, by "accident", please know that you've arrived here for a reason. If you do not personally know Jesus Christ (not just know about Him), I would love to introduce you.

God's richest blessings to you all as you prepare to celebrate the season of Christ,

Monday, November 26, 2007

On the Home Stretch!!

Well, it seems that we are on the home stretch! I got news today that our new birth certificate and passport for the baby have been issued, and the authorization has been given to take the 2nd (and final) DNA test!

What's next? As soon as they draw the DNA test, it will be sent to the United States for processing to verify that this is in fact the same child intially tested when we accepted our referral. The 2nd DNA test does not involve the birth mother. I do not know a date for when the test was scheduled, but it could be any day now!!!

Once that's done, I understand that it takes about 1 week to get the results back to the US Embassy in Guatemala. After they receive the results and review them, they will issue our "pink slip" giving us the date and time of our Embassy appointment!

We will be having a baby very soon! Thanks to you all for your continued prayers and support, don't stop now...

My next update, will hopefully be to let you know that we are "PINK!!!"

Now, if we just had a baby...

Well last weekend we finished getting everything ready for the baby's room. This past weekend, I've begun washing clothes, blankets, and other baby things preparing for the arrival of our newest little one.

Being that it's been nearly 11 years since I did this last, it has been exciting, frustrating and sometimes overwhelming. How many diapers does a baby need per day? What the heck do they eat when they are 1 year old and have about 6 teeth? How many outfits should I pack to make sure she has enough clothes while we're there? I can't seem to remember these little details, and there are so many much larger details I simply must remember to pack - documents for the embassy, on and on it goes.

Anyway, I am sure it will all come back to me when the time arises, and I'll make do just fine. In the meantime, if you can think of anything I need to know, kindly remind me :O) !

Enjoy the pics of the babies new room. It's in my favorite color "green apple" green and white gingham with white polka-dots. The walls are a nice yellow, and we've got a fun child's border at the top of the room that's in pink, green, blue, yellow and white. This was once Anna's playroom when she was smaller so it is bright and cheery. The colors in the photos don't seem to transfer very well, but at least you can get the idea.

Continue to pray that we hear good news soon about our 2nd DNA test.

God bless,

Saturday, November 24, 2007

When Queens Ride By

Hello Everyone:

I just wanted to let all of you ladies know about an absolutely amazing short essay you simple must read, and I'm sure even a few of you men would enjoy this wonderful tale. It is called When Queens Ride By. Simply splendid - you won't be disappointed! I was planning to buy the little booklet, when I found it printed free online.

Click the link below to read, it'll only take a couple of minutes.

In Him,

Monday, November 19, 2007

¡feliz cumpleaƱos!

Hello everyone:

Well tomorrow (the 20th) is Sarah Beth's first birthday. I hate that we are going to miss the official day, but we will most certainly have to have a celebration for her when we get her home. I figure we've got a New Year's, Valentine's Day, an Easter, a 4th of July, a birthday, 2 Thanksgivings and 1 Christmas we've missed celebrating with her in our family, so we'll just have to have one big Celebration blowout and invite everyone to join us and meet the new arrival once she's home! How's that sound?

I am going to put a picture or two here of her that the Allums family was so gracious to take for us on their recent trip to see their amazing little guy. He is gorgeous by the way! Check out their blog in my links section if you haven't already. I have seen his Momma's heart for the Lord so I'm wondering, hm, maybe Stephanie and I should start thinking ahead now about a possible arranged marriage??? Just kidding.

Anyway, here are two pictures for you, one of her with her birthday package and one of her with her 1st birthday crown on her head.

Love to you all,
P.S. For those of you who don't know any Spanish, the title feliz cumpleanos is "Happy Birthday" in Spanish. Even I knew that! See it does pay to watch Barney with your kids after all. As if the "Clean up" song wasn't benefit enough! :O)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Health Update and New Pictures!

Hi everyone:

Just got the health update and pictures for November. Sarah Beth is now weighing in at a whopping 20 pounds 9 ounces, and is 28 inches tall. (Oh my aching back, I can just imagine what a shock it's going to be carrying her around all the time!) Which reminds me, please be praying for me about that. I am still in physical therapy 2 days a week from the car wreck I had in July and I'm still having a LOT of trouble with my neck and back as a result of that "little" fender bender.

The "other comments" were that she is well, (Hallelujah!) sitting up by her herself and crawling around. It is good to see those milestones hit even though they are markedly behind what we would hope for here in the US. I am confident she will catch up when she gets home. She's going to have a big sister and a little puppy to run from around here! :O)

I'm posting a couple of the pictures we received this month too. She's getting so big! Keep praying that we get our 2nd DNA test out of the way and the new birth certificate and passport issued quickly. Then, we are just waiting on the coveted "pink" slip!


Are you desperate for God?

Recently I read a book that I found encouraging and uplifting and filled with Godly wisdom. The book caused me to ponder many things. Among them - am I truly desperate for God? Do I really desire to see His will worked in and through my life in EVERY area, regardless of what it means I must do? Am I willing to die to myself and my "plans" to live as Christ? Do I want nothing more than I want to be His child, His friend, His servant? Is there anything in this world that I seek to attain or achieve more than pleasing Him? Do I turn a blind eye to what I know His word says, so that I can continue on doing other things? Do I think that the Bible is full of wonderful suggestions?

The truth is, I want nothing more than to serve my King and my God. I want to please Him in every area of my life. I do seek to know Him more each day. That's led me to study even further! What is His plan for me, for my family, for Christian's in particular, and Christian women specifically. I do believe that God's Word addresses this, and not as mere suggestions of how we might want to live, but as directives, guidelines and commands of how we should spend our days on this earth.

As you can tell from my information concerning this blog, I am at Home For Him. Have I always wanted to be at home? No. Have I always enjoyed being at home? No. Are there days when I would love nothing more than to go to some flashy job, wearing a really nice expensive new outfit, earn a paycheck so I can feel as if someone appreciates what I do, get the occasional accolades from a boss? Sure. But is that what God's word says I'm supposed to be doing?

Now, before you jump ship and start surfing elsewhere, let me ask you (if you are a Christian), do you desire to know God deeply, to obey Him in all things, to do His will and His work in your life? If you do, I challenge you to study His word as it relates to every area and every decision in your life, because I gaurantee you He speaks to it in His word.

Lately, I have spent hours digging to discern if what I'm doing in every area of my life is in fact God's call for me. My relieved answer is a resounding YES, as best I can tell! Certainly there is more that God has not shown me yet, but in the areas He has revealed Himself, I am doing all I know to do to obey Him. I hope and pray with all that is within me that on that great day of the Lord, I will not need to be ashamed, but rather will hear those beloved words, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." I do not believe that we are to read God's Word and then each of us just do what's "right for you". God speaks directly to all people in all times and His Word is always relative to your life. Will obeying God always be easy? Of course not!

Years ago, when I first went from working full-time to working part-time, my husband's after tax income was a whopping $15,000 a year. Did we survive. Yes! Did we always have our needs met? Yes! Did we have everything we wanted? Of course not, but so what! Life lived for God is not about having what you want, it's about serving your God in the place where He's put you, and doing it faithfully and happily. I believe God's Word teaches that as a wife, my first responsibility is to help and serve the needs of my husband. I realize in today's world this sounds archaic, but it was established in the beginning for heaven's sake. Before the fall, so don't even try to use that arguement :O) ! I have to constantly remind myself that I was created to be my husband's helpmate, not the other way around! (Genesis 2:18) His second purpose for me is to train my children so that they honor their God and their father. (Duet 6:5-9) I am to be busy about keeping my home (Titus 2:3-5), and exhorting other women to do the same (which is what I'm trying to do here). I am to be willing to care for the needs of others who need help, after the needs of my own family have been met (Proverbs 31:20). The list of what I am supposed to be doing goes on. Is it a thankless job to make sure everyone has clean underwear ready to wear when they need it? Sometimes, but it is a wonderful feeling to know that the needs of my own have been met, at my hand. Why does God command these things? So that the Word of God may not be blasphemed (Titus 2:5). What does that mean? It means something, and If you're not sure what, I implore you to study to figure it out.

I understand that some women "need" to work, but the line between need and want has become extremely gray. Women who need to work are single mother's, women with husband's who are disabled, or those whose husbands insist that they work (we are called to be obedient to them too you know) etc... But, Ladies, there is no such thing as "Christian" Feminism, feminism is all about "me" and getting what I "deserve". God help us to see this, and to understand that being a Godly woman or man is about dieing to self to live to Christ. It's about embracing His call on our lives.

Recently my husband and I were driving through a subdivision during the day to go look at a job he was working on (we own a plumbing company). The greatest sadness overwhelmed me as I looked at all of these big, beautiful homes that were empty. No one there caring for them, no one there enjoying them, everyone - gone to work to help pay for them, kids in daycare, subdivision barren - except for one or two homes. I must ask, what is the purpose of a big, beautiful, empty most of the time house? I just really don't get it.

I know that I come from a different mindset than most, having lost one of my children early in my life, but I vowed then that I would never own anything that forced me to work outside my home and away from my children (who I'll only have for a short time anyway) again. I would go back to my doublewide mobile home in a minute, if that's what it took for me to be home with my children, and do it gladly.

It is a full-time job raising children, and caring for the needs of your husband, and those in your community or extended family who need you. There are seasons for all things (Ecclesiastes 3:1). What season are you in? God does have certain expectations of all believers, are you studying dilligently to know what they are? Or, do you go headlong into implementing your own plans, and dragging God along behind you hoping He will bless it and work through you in your disobedience? OUCH. I've been there!

You know how people sometimes say that when God shuts a door, He opens another one? Well, Todd used to say that you could tell when I'd been at the door because of the claw and hatchet marks left from me trying to get it open. I have been well known for going my own way and hoping the Lord would get involved and bless what I'd decided I should be doing. Haven't we all? I haven't heard my husband say that about me in a really long time, I hope that means I'm getting better in that area. :O)

Being committed to being at home, in our day and age, is a difficult thing at best. Even my Christian sisters often do not value what I am committed to. The first few years of being at home were very lonely and trying for me, why was God calling me to something that so many other Christians didn't see as necessary? All of those things plagued me for years, but it was because my heart was still divided. I missed working and having my ego stroked by a boss and a paycheck. I was not yet fully convinced that what I was doing was right and valuable. Now, my heart is at home, and whether anyone ever thanks me for what I do here or not, I know that I am being obedient to what I believe God has called me - as a Christian wife and mother - to do.

The book I recently read was Passionate Housewives Desperate for God - Fresh Vision for the Hopeful Homemaker. If you are a woman at home, I encourage you to read this book. If you are a woman who is confused about what God's word says on the matter, this book will certainly help you to sort things out, but be ready to be obedient to what God tells you.

If you are a sister who truly "must" work outside the home, God bless you, I know that your's is a sometimes exhausting and stressful situation. Mine is too, but in a different sort of way.

Here's a quote I found interesting, from a woman named Dorothy Patterson.
"Of course, much of the world would agree that being a housekeeper is acceptable as long as you are not caring for your own home; treating men with attentive devotion would also be right as long as the man is the boss int he office and not your husband; caring for children would even be deemed heroic service for which presidential awards could be given as long as the children are someone else's and not your own."

How sad is that, the double standards by which we live in our society? If you are a woman at home, this book will bless your socks off, and give you a new vision for who you are in Christ and what you are called to do.

God bless you for sitting through my ramblings,

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Paperwork Continues!

Hi Everyone:

I am amazed at the show of support we've had from friends and family, and even strangers!

The mound of paperwork continues as we begin to compile all of the things we will need to take with us to the appointment at the US Embassy. Please pray for me for clarity of thought as I try to get it all together, and that I will be organized! I know many of you who know me think I'm already too organized, but staying that way is extremely difficult for me. It is something I have to work at constantly! My inner slob desires to come out, all the time :O) !

I have added another family to the list of those we've "met" online who are also adopting from Guatemala. Their little one is in the same orphanage that Sarah Beth is in. I know some of you Sunday School friends have become "Guatemala adoptive family blog stalkers!" So, enjoy!

The Allum's should be settled into Guatemala on their visit trip. They are the ones who were taking the birthday package to us for SB, who's birthday is next Tuesday. I hate we are missing her first birthday, but I've had to resign myself to the fact that although we are missing many firsts, there will be many more once she is home.

Sorry, no pictures for November yet, hopefully we will have them before too much longer, the month is almost halfway over!

Love to you all,

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

WE'RE OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is official, we are OUT of PGN!!!!

Just got the call from our Social Worker with Lifeline. I didn't even think to ask her what day we exited, but must have been at the first of this week, because we checked in on Friday of last week.

Anyway, we are offically the new parents of a precious little Guatemalan, soon to be American immigrant, angel!

The next big step is to get the PINK slip from the embassy (so named because of the color of paper it is issued on).

Here are the final steps to our process: (Honestly, I am not sure of the exact order of all this, but here's what will have to happen before we can go to get her.)
1) The Lawyer has to go to pick up the documents from PGN. (This is the step which needs the most prayer, as he has been slow getting things done in other areas of the process.)
2) The new birth certificate will be requested and will take about 2 weeks to recieve. This is issued with her given first and middle name and our last name. (We will then do a simple "readopt" in the state of Alabama once she's home to change her name to Sarah Beth.)
3) The US Embassy will request a second DNA test. The baby is the only one tested this time, and it's to insure that the child is the same one originally tested. This also takes a couple of weeks for them to get back.
4)Once the USE has all of this, they will issue our appointment to pick up her up and get her VISA. This is what's known as "getting PINK".
5) She will need to see a physician before entering the US to insure that she does not have any contagious diseases, etc...
6) During all of this other stuff, the lawyer will apply for her passport.

All of these things can happen in as little as 4-5 weeks to as long as 6 or 8.

Please pray that they happen on the short end and we have her home before the end of the year! The Embassy will be closed the entire week of Thanksgiving and the entire week of Christmas which will cause delays for everyone. And of course, all of us anxious parents would love to have them home for Christmas.

Thanks to all of you for your continued prayers and support. It shouldn't be long now! I'd better get busy getting that room ready!

To those of you waiting for your little ones, God bless you, I know how hard it is. But, it really does finally happen!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Old Paths

Hello Everyone:

Sorry, I don't have any news yet from PGN. If we've not gotten an update by Friday, our Social Worker will be contacting PGN for us again then to see if we are OUT yet. Please keep praying.

In the meantime, my father-in-law sent me this little writing today and I wanted to share it with you all.

I liked the old paths, when
Moms were at home.
Dads were at work.
Brothers went into the army.
And sisters got married
BEFORE having children!
Crime did not pay;
Hard work did;
And people knew the difference.
Moms could cook;
Dads would work;
Children would behave.
Husbands were loving;
Wives were supportive;
And children were polite.
Women wore the jewelry;
And Men wore the pants.
Women looked like ladies;
Men looked like gentlemen;
And children looked decent.
People loved the truth,
And hated a lie;
They came to church to get IN,
Not to get OUT!
Hymns sounded Godly;
Sermons sounded helpful;
Rejoicing sounded normal;
And crying sounded sincere.
Cursing was wicked;
Drugs were for illness;
And divorce was unthinkable.
The flag was honored;
America was beautiful;
And God was welcome!
We read the Bible in public;
Prayed in school;
And preached from house to house.
To be called an American was worth dying for;
To be called a Christian was worth living for;
To be called a traitor was a shame!
Preachers preached because they had a message;
And Christians rejoiced because
they had the VICTORY!
Preachers preached from the Bible;
Singers sang from the heart;
And sinners turned to the Lord to be SAVED!
A new birth meant a new life;
Salvation meant a changed life;
Following Christ led to eternal life.
Being a preacher meant you proclaimed the word of God;
Being a deacon meant you would serve the Lord;
Being a Christian meant you would live for Jesus;
And being a sinner meant someone was praying for you!
Laws were based on the Bible;
Homes read the Bible;
And churches taught the Bible.
God was worshiped;
Christ was exalted;
And the Holy Spirit was respected..
Church was where you found Christians
On the Lord's day, rather than in the garden,
On the creek bank, on the golf course,
Or being entertained somewhere else.
I still like the old paths the best!

'The Old Paths' was written by a retired minister who lives in Tennessee.
(I have not personally verified this fact. But whomever wrote did a good job.)

I emailed him back with the following message...
It made me think of a verse in Jeremiah that I love.

Jeremiah 6:16
"Thus says the Lord, ' Stand in the ways and see,
and ask for the old paths, where the good way is,
and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.'
But they said, 'We will not walk in it.' "

I'm afraid our generation is much like that in Jeremiah's time, many have indeed said, "We will not walk in it."

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's Getting Closer!!

Hello Everyone:

Well, I spoke with our Social Worker today. She contacted PGN for us this morning and learned that we are on the last step of our journey there, awaiting the approval signature of Signor Barrios. We are officially "on his desk" so it could even come today!

Realistically we know that it could take another week or so, so please continue to pray for us as we wait anxiously for our OUT! I have noticed another family or two on the "boards" who have just exited PGN with the same submit date that we had, so hopefully that means we are really close! Just depends on how far down in the stack we are. I understand that PGN will be closed tomorrow for All Saint's Day, so nothing will get done tomorrow.

Thanks for all of your continued prayers and support, and to those of you who regularly ask to see how things are going.
We love you all very much,
Lori (Todd and Anna too)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hello everyone:

Thank you to all of those who have called, emailed, sent flowers and cards. We greatly appreciate your show of love and support to us since my dad's death.

We are all doing well, and handling it in a way that we hope brings glory to our God. We know that we do not grieve as those "who have no hope", and this does make things much easier. We have enjoyed talking about how wonderful he was and how thankful we were to have him in our lives. I told someone the other day that I even loved my daddy's "quirks". He had many, like we all do, and I just really thought his were great. It's what made him "real".

Please continue to pray for my mother as we go through the funeral this afternoon, and the coming days.

God bless,

Sunday, October 21, 2007

My Daddy

I just wanted to type a brief post to let you all know that my father went to be with the Lord in the early hours of Saturday morning. It was very unexpected, as he'd been feeling somewhat better the past week, and was encouraged by his recent Doctor's visits.

This was a man who exemplified Christ to me my entire life. As a father, he showed me grace and mercy; times, when as a teenager, I truly did not deserve it. He will be greatly missed. I am very sad that he was not able to see our Sarah Beth, and she will be poorer for not having known him. I do rejoice however, in the fact, that he is with our first born and with our Lord in the glories of Heaven. We do not grieve as those who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)

Please pray for my mother as she tries to navigate life without her best friend. They celebrated 47 years together in September.

Thank you all for your continued prayers as we work through the Guatemalan legal system to try and bring our little one home.
God bless,

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Brief Adoption Update

Hi Everyone:

Just a brief update to catch everyone up-to-date.

We received word from our Social Worker this week that we are still in PGN (whew!!) and still with the 2nd reviewer. I nearly want to throw up every time I hear her voice on the other end of the phone. She does all this, "Hi, how are you? :O) Are you having a good week? :O) Are you feeling better from your accident? :O)" And I'm thinking, "Get to the point, this is either good news or it's really bad news!" (I love you Anna - if you're reading this!) AAHH - out with it already!

I understand from others that this is the longest wait in PGN, and our last stop before signing off on it. PGN is still averaging around 8-9 weeks, so I am crossing my fingers and toes that we will make it out no later than the first full week of November.

Please continue to pray for us as we wait anxiously, and pray specifically that we get her home before the end of the year! This may be highly unlikely, barring intervention from God, as we approach Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and the US Embassy will be shutting down for that. But, we all know He IS capable!

Keep praying for my dad, he's been feeling a little better, and has been eating a little better. He got a good report with his cardiologist this week, and is awaiting some lab results from the oncologist.

Thanks for all of your love and support, and please, leave comments to let me know you're out there reading..... Thanks to those of you who helped me figure out how to add links to my blog.

How We Came to Adopt

Hi Everyone:

I know that there are many of you reading these posts that do not know us and are unfamiliar with the story of how we came to adopt. Recently another adopting mother emailed me, after reading something here, and shared that she had a friend who was going through some experiences similar to what we've experienced with our biological children. I wrote back to explain to her what happened and how we came to adoption. I am going to post that information here as well, for those of you who don't know our story.

Briefly, (okay maybe I can't make it brief!) here's what happened. My older brother and I were both born with "supra-valvular aortic stenosis". He had OH (open heart) surgery at 8-1/2 years of age and is now 41 and doing fine. I never had any surgery as my case was mild, I am now 37. Neither of our parents have this condition and no one we know of back in the family history. We were told as teenagers it was a "fluke" in the way my parent's genes had mixed and would not pass to our children. Obviously, they were mistaken.

Our first child was born in February, 1994. She had the same thing my brother and I have and also had "left and right peripheral pulmonary branch stenosis". Her problem was way out into the lungs and all of her vessels were to narrow. She had angioplasty done first at Children's Hospital in Boston in February of 1995, and we returned home just 2 days before her first birthday. What a celebration that was! We went back to Boston in April, '95, for her OH surgery, and she never woke up from that. She was unable to come off of the bypass equipment at the end of her surgery because her heart wouldn't start. So they put her on a bi-ventricular assist, that did the work of her ventricles, for four days (life support). They removed everything 4 days later. She was never awake again after she went to sleep for the surgery. I have precious memories of the day of her surgery. They gave her some meds to relax her, and allowed me to rock her to sleep before they took her to the OR. She fell asleep in her momma's arms while I sang Jesus Loves Me to her. It was the last thing she knew. Praise God for His infinite mercy!

I found out I was pregnant with our second child the Thursday before Mother's Day. What a gift! I had prayed repeatedly that the Lord would not allow us to have another child if it was going to die. I was willing for Him to completely close my womb (I was 26 years old at this point), and at that time we had already discussed adopting as an option. We discussed it alot during the few days Kathryn was on life support. I felt I could not survive her death if I thought I would never be a mother again. I know now that the Lord would have given us the grace, but praise Him, He had better plans.

Our second child was born in January of 1997, just 1 year and 9 months after our first child's death. She came here with the same problem, and of course, we were terrified. But, we had learned much about our God by this point, and new that He would sustain us whatever was to come. She was followed very closely for the first year and a half of her life, and had surgery when she was 18 months old, same surgeon same hospital as the first child. She has done beautifully! We are now on an every other year schedule with visits to her cardiologist. Even all these years later, I still get physically ill when I have to take her for her appointment. My brother's little girl was born with the same condition and has had no surgery yet. We continue to pray that she has "dodged the bullet" as I did and will not need surgery as she grows.

For the most part, we were always "open" to the possibility of adopting, but didn't feel comfortable going to heroic financial measures to do so. We just prayed and said, "Lord, whatever you tell us to do and whenever you tell us to do it, that's what we'll do. You provide the means and we'll do it." Fast forward to 2004, and the entrance of McGuire Plumbing Co., Inc. into the picture. God blessed our first two years in business in an amazing way, and all the while continued to tender my heart towards loving a child not born of my flesh. And, here we are! The Lord provided the means, we're providing the hearts and home and can't wait to love another little one as our own.

God's blessing on you and your families,

Monday, October 15, 2007

Before and After Pics

Hi Everyone:

Just wanted to post my promised before and after closet photos.
I LOVE IT! I am so pleased with the results! This took us about 2 Saturdays or so to get everything done. We also did some work in our hall closet as well, not pictured here.

You'll notice that our closet is really long on one side and shorter on the other. On the shorter side we have all of our hanging items. Todd's are up top, mine are on bottom, and my dresses and long items are hanging up top to one end of his clothing rod. You'll also notice that my items are separated by color. I love that for ease of selecting the right item quickly, and I love the way it looks. Couldn't get Todd to organize his that way. :O( Most of his shirts are not solid colored so it would be more difficult. He does at least have them sorted by type of clothing (slacks, dress shirts, golf shirts, etc...)

On the long side (this wall in nearly 11 feet!), we used several different storage items. We've mixed wire shelving with 2 sets of hanging drawer units (I love these!). I found them on clearance at Lowe's. I also have a wooden shoe rack that holds 25 pairs and have topped it with 2 wire shoe shelves that hold about 9 more pairs or so. To the right of that is a 3 section laundry sorter. We sort our laundry as we take it off - whites, darks and jeans. I have another laundry basket in our linen closet in the bathroom for towels. Anna also has a 3 way sorter in her room, and sorts her laundry as well. I've already bought one for the baby's room too! This makes laundry a snap! No sorting when it's time to do it, and I can easily see what are the largest loads and what needs my attention first.

On this long side, we have stored folded clothing items: sweaters, Todd's work jeans and shirts, and our winter fleece items. We also have a small bin with gift items in it. (These are things I've picked up on sale/clearance for Anna to have on hand to give as birthday gifts if we don't have time to shop. I also have a few items on hand I can take as hostess gifts if we are dining with someone else over the holidays, etc...) I also stored here extra bedding for our room and Anna's. These we stored in those "space saver" bags where you suck all of the air out with the vacuum cleaner. WOW! They really do save space!

Now, if your's isn't already looking beautiful, get to work and fix your closet too. You'll be glad you did!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Lamentations - a devotional

Well, most people wouldn't get up and start their morning with, "Hey, I think I'll read Lamentations today!" But, that's exactly what I did this morning. Why, well - providence my dear friend. It was exactly what the Lord wanted me to read today and hopefully my words here will be what you needed to hear today. I would encourage you to read over the book of Lamentations for yourself, it is a short four chapters, of total grief and anguish. A delightful read :O(.

Let's start with a definition of the word Lament. I am using a definition from the Webster's 1828 dictionary, my favorite resource for word studies. I especially like that it often includes words used in scriptural context. You'll have a hard time finding that feature in newer versions of the Webster's dictionary. You can access it here
Why not add it to your favorites list.

LAMENT', v.i. [L. lamentor.]
1. To mourn; to grieve; to weep or wail; to express sorrow.
Jeremiah lamented for Josiah. 2Chron. 35.
2. To regret deeply; to feel sorrow.
LAMENT', v.t. To bewail; to mourn for; to bemoan; to deplore.
LAMENT', n. [L. lamentum.] Grief or sorrow expressed in complaints or cries; lamentation; a weeping.

Here's what the introduction in my Bible says about the book of Lamentations. "Lamentations describes the funeral of a city. It is a tearstained portrait of the once proud Jerusalem, now reduced to rubble by the invading Babylonian hordes. In a five-poem dirge, Jeremiah exposes his emotions. A death has occurred; Jerusalem lies barren."

"Jeremiah writes his lament in acrostic or alphabetical fashion. Beginning each chapter with the first letter A (aleph) he progresses verse by verse through the Hebrew alphabet, literally weeping from A to Z. And then, in the midst of this terrible holocaust, Jeremiah triumphantly cries, 'Great is Your faithfulness!' (3:23). In the face of death and destruction, with life seemingly coming apart, Jeremiah turns tragedy into a triumph of faith. God has never failed him in the past. God has promised to remain faithful in the future. In the light of the God he knows and loves, Jeremiah finds hope and comfort." (I love that last sentence.)

I love the beauty of the picture this paints, because it is SO like my life. Todd and I have endured some of the greatest struggles known to any married couple, and praise be to our God - He is faithful! I just loved when in the midst of all of the tears and mourning in the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah bursts forth in glorious praise to the God he knows. I am so thankful that our God has revealed Himself to us in such amazing ways. (John 17:3 - "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.")

I've said it before and those of you who know me well are sure to have heard it, but as painful as the loss of our first child was, as painful as it was to take our second child in for a surgery our first born did not survive, as painful as those things were to us, we would never trade a moment of it because of what we have learned to be true about our awesome and amazing God! This is the essence of eternal life, knowing God as He is. How often we are guilty of seeing Him as we'd like Him to be.

Lamentations 3:22-25
"Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I hope in Him! The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord."

and verse 38
"Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that woe and well-being proceed?"

We, as a church body, have lost site of the fact that God is in control of everything. We quickly give lip service to it, but rarely apply it to our hearts. We want to believe that, "God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives." And, while that is true, we don't want to believe that part of that wonderful plan could ever involve suffering. How arrogant, how unbelievably pathetic that is. "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all..." (Romans 8:32) He allowed the worst suffering to come upon His own Son, for me and for you. That is truly amazing to me. "Oh the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!" (Romans 11:33) I never cease to be amazed at His wondorous love for us, and yet we think that this love will (should) cause Him to protect us from pain at all costs. This simply is not true, that is a lie.

So, how do we live as children of God with the knowledge that not everything is going to "go our way"? With complete peace and the utter assurance that ultimately it will all go God's way - which is always for our greatest good and His ultimate glory! We must live in complete submission to His will for our lives. We must start each day with, "yes Lord, here am I, send me". Whatever He has on tap for you today, you can rest assured that it has come through His hand and that you are to learn something from it.

What are you to learn today? Perhaps it is patience (we all hate that one don't we?). Perhaps He is teaching you to bear with one another in love, to cover the faults of others, to love in spite of frustration or fear, to give yourself in complete abandon to His plans and His purpose for your life, and to live in complete obedience TODAY. Yes, God IS in control, and sometimes we will suffer pain, loss, persecution, grief and anguish, as a part of His plan. How will you respond today? Will you feel like Job's wife, "Curse God and die"? (Job 2:9) Or will you stand firm like Job, "...Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?"

Some of you know our story of how God began to reveal Himself to us more deeply, some don't. At the first of the year, Todd and I were privileged to speak at a local church under their sermon series "Shattered...Broken Lives Restored". The church made a copy of the talk, and gave us one of the discs. If anyone would like to hear it, I can burn you a disc and mail it to you. You may email me privately.

Abiding in Christ,

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Once a Month Cooking resources

For those of you new to O-A-M cooking, you can learn more by reading these books. Many of them are available through your local library, and of course I have them if any of you close by want to borrow them.
Once a Month Cooking - by Mimi Wilson
Dinner's In the Freezer - by Jill Bond
Cooking Among Friends - by Mary Tennant and Becki Visser
I've not personally read this one, The Everything Meals For A Month Cookbook: Smart Recipes To Help You Plan Ahead, Save Time, And Stay On Budget by Linda Larsen

There are also lots of sites online, just Google search "Once a month cooking" and you'll find tons of great tips, ideas and recipes.


Creamy Grits Casserole

This one has not yet been taste tested. I am making it this month and will be serving it to our Sunday School class this Sunday morning, so I'll let you know how it turns out. This is from the current Southern Living magazine for September 2007. I have another grits casserole - Country Sausage and Grits that I've been making for years, also a SL recipe. It is one of our favorites and I've not had anyone yet who doesn't love it. It has been a cooking club staple as well.

Creamy Grits Casserole:
Makes 8 servings (That means I had to multiply all of this times 7 to get enough for our group! That's a lot of grits and cheese!)

1-1/4 cups uncooked regular grits
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1/2 cup butter, cut into cubes
1 (10 oz.) block sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (4 oz) smoked Gouda cheese round, shredded (This is located in the deli department of most grocery stores.)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

  1. Bring grits, chicken broth, and next 3 ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir in butter and cheeses until melted.
  2. Gradually stir about one-fourth of hot grits mixture into eggs; add egg mixture to remaining hot grits mixture, stirring constantly. Pour grits mixture into a lightly greased 2-1/2 quart baking dish. (This is an important step. If you just add the two together all at once, the hot grits mixture will fry your eggs.)
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly around the edges. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

To freeze this recipe for later, just skip step three. Put it in a freezer bag and lay flat to freeze. When you're ready to serve it, thaw, pour into the greased pan and bake as noted above.

Honey Mustard Bacon Smothered Chicken Recipe

Well, I received several requests (by comment and personal emails) for some of my favorites of our cooking club recipes, so here's one of them! I'll try to get together a few more as the week progresses. Happy cooking!

Honey Mustard Bacon Smothered Chicken (This is a making for 6 families! So, of course you'll need to divide by 4 to get servings for a family of 4.)

24 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (These must be fresh, not previously frozen, because you should never thaw and then refreeze raw meat.)
1 pound of bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
3/4 cup Dijon Mustard
3/4 cup Honey
6 tablespoons corn syrup
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 cups shredded Colby or Cheddar Cheese

For each family's serving, place 4 chicken breasts in the bottom of an aluminum tin pan. Crumble the cooked bacon over the top of the chicken (dividing the 1 pound between all 6 families.)
In a large bowl, mix together mustard, honey, corn syrup and mayonnaise. Spoon over chicken breasts and bacon, dividing evenly among tins. Sprinkle 1/2 cup or 2 tablespoons per serving of cheese over chicken breasts. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap, pressing down to cling to food. Wrap with aluminum "freezer" or "heavy duty" foil. Label with a sharpie marker and freeze.

To cook: Defrost overnight in refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove foil and plastic wrap. Re-cover loosely with foil to prevent drying. Bake until done approximately 30-40 minutes.

Okay, I went ahead and did the math for you -
If you want to cook this for four people, you'll need:
4 chicken breasts
3 or 4 bacon strips, cooked, drained and crumbled
For the sauce, approximately:
1/8 cup of dijon mustard
1/8 cup of honey
1 tablespoon of corn syrup
1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
1/2 cup of shredded colby or cheddar cheese

Freeze and cook as noted above.

Starting Your Own Cooking Club

This post is for those of you who are not part of our cooking club, and who might be interested in starting your own.

Our "Cooking Club" was inspired by the book Cooking Among Friends. For many years I did "Once A Month Cooking". Some call it freezer cooking, or other names, but basically it amounts to spending all day on a Saturday cooking or assembling enough meals for your family for the month. In the past, it had been a wonderful thing as it helped me better plan what we'd be eating, come up with healthier meal options, save tons of time, and money! So, I got to thinking, what if several people did this and swapped. Then, I could divide the labor, and save time again! This way, instead of cooking all day on a Saturday, I would just cook for a few hours once a month. So, here's what I did.

  1. I started out by asking around to see who might be interested. We currently have 7 in our group.
  2. Next we met to discuss family preferences. Who likes what? Who won't eat what? Food allergies? Picky kids. Etc... From that meeting we came up with a menu for the first month. Each person agreed to fix two dishes for all of the families.
  3. Then, we decided on a date for our next meeting to get together and swap food and choose menu items for the next month.
  4. Once that is all planned out, each "cook" is on their own. They are responsible for purchasing enough of the ingredients needed for their meals, and making the same thing for all 7 families. For instance, if you got spaghetti sauce, you would make enough spaghetti sauce for 7 families. Our guidelines were that it was to feed 4. Then, if you got chicken casserole, you'd make 7 chicken casseroles. Once you have them prepared, you label them and freeze them.
  5. On the determined swap date, we all meet at my house and swap food. Everyone goes home with 14 different meals for the month. We also take the amount that each person spent, put it into a spreadsheet that one of our members put together for us (thanks again Christie!), and it figures out who owes what. Some may spend $100 on their ingredients, while another only $45, so this helps us get things evened up.

We average around $65.00/month, most months. That's a very nice savings for the grocery budget! We've not encountered too many problems, but when we have an issue, we just talk about it at the upcoming meeting. If a recipe is a flop, we don't fix it again. If it's a hit, we make it a "staple" and it's on the menu each month. Spaghetti is one of our staples. We had our's for dinner lastnight as a matter of fact, delicious and ready in a jiffy!

Now you might be asking yourself, why not just buy frozen meals if that's what you end up with anyway? Good question. The reason is because this way, we know what's in our food, or better yet - what isn't in our food. You will not find preservatives designed to make them last for 2 years in the freezer! This stuff is fresh, it needs to be eaten within the month, it won't last forever. Fresh ingredients make better meals, and are certainly healthier for you and your family. Plus, we make items with brown rice, and other healthier options, you won't find that in many store bought freezer meals.

We try to stick to pretty normal sounding recipes and add in a couple of unusual items each month to make it fun. We always include one breakfast dish that can be used to serve brunch to your family on the weekend, or in our case to take for Sunday School breakfast when our time roles around. We try to make sure we have a good balance of beef, chicken, fish and meatless dishes. We fix a few dishes that are intended as sides, and always include one dessert. Great to have on hand when you need to take a meal to someone who is sick, just had surgery, or just had a baby.

So, if it sounds like fun, try doing it with a few of your friends. It is a real time and sanity saver! Here's a list of some of the meals we've had on our menus:

  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Homemade mac and cheese
  • Spaghetti Sauce (For a super quick night - heat sauce, boil noodles and your done!)
  • BBQ Chicken
  • Terriyaki Chicken
  • Beef tips with peppers and onions (for the crockpot)
  • Cheesy Chicken Casserole
  • Baked French Toast
  • Country Sausage and grits casserole
  • Honey mustard bacon smothered chicken
  • Marinated flank steak
  • Green beans amondine
  • Squash casserole
  • Taco meat (this is one for a quick night fix - tacos or taco salads)
  • Chicken and dressing
  • Baked Ziti
  • Chicken Enchiladas

The list goes on and on! Need help getting started? Feel free to post your questions, comments or suggestions.

Bon apetite!


Closet Construction

Well, since it's the middle of the night and I'm wide awake I thought I would post about some of the more recent goings on around our house.

Todd and I have taken on the project of reorganizing our closet. We just put up some basic wire shelving when we built the house and I'd done as much as I could with what we had. It just needed some tweaking. So, we have pulled everything out of it, gone through one thing at a time, and realized most of it simply has to go back in there. We've weeded out old clothing, belts, shoes and ties galore, but there's still a large mass of stuff that's got to go back in.

I made to scale drawings one night using some graph paper. I thought I was never going to get Todd to understand what I had drawn. This very mechanically minded husband of mine just wasn't "getting my vision" as he put it. Eventually, the lightbulb went on and he figured out what I was trying to show in my pictures. I thought they were pretty good sketches, and I measured and everything. I thought he'd be totally blown away by my wonderful rendering of our closet's likeness. He just said, "HUH?"

I am totally into organizing and reorganizing so don't think for a minute that I'm complaining about it, I love this stuff. I can't wait 'til we have a finished product. I'll post before and after pics for those who might be interested to see what we've "done with the place". Maybe it will inspire you to go get some graph paper and draw up your own little ideas.

Happy Organizing!

Adoption Update and Why am I awake?

Hello Everyone:

First of all, let me say, it is 1:40 AM and I can't sleep. I've prayed for nearly everyone and everything I can think of, just in case the Lord has kept me awake tonight for a reason. Got any prayer needs, let me know and I'll be sure to add them to my list in case I don't sleep again tomorrow night. :O)

I don't have much in the way of adoption news to share this month, but I'll share what we know. Tuesday marks 5 full weeks in PGN! We continue to pray that this will be over in 8 weeks with no further kick-outs. Our Social Worker called PGN for us on Monday and was told that we are still with the 2nd reviewer. It's about time we were moving on to the final reviewer's desk, so hopefully that will come soon.

Please continue to pray with us that things will move smoothly. I am still holding out hope that she will make it home before the end of the year.

My dad has had a few good days, meaning that he's eating a little more, which helps his strength. Please also continue to pray for him, and for his doctors to have wisdom as they treat him. Specifically, I am praying for strength and apetite, and of course healing.

Love to all of you,

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Comparing Ourselves with Others - devotional

Hi Everyone:

Yesterday I quoted, from my current read, a passage regarding contentment and our nature to compare ourselves to those around us. It is human nature, but God's word so warns against this very thing. Today in my morning quiet time, this is what I read, a - not so gentle - reminder about God's thoughts on comparisons.

Luke 18:10-14
"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself (I think that's hysterical! He was praying with himself, 'cause God wasn't listening.) 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men - extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.' And the tax collector, standing afar off would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

And another passage I was reminded of when reading that, is in
2 Corinthians 10:12.
"For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise." (Whew that one's a little wordy, but here's the picture Paul is painting. We don't dare class or compare ourselves with those who are patting themselves on the back. Because they are measuring themselves according to everyone else around them, and thinking how good they are and how good they're doing compared to others. THAT IS NOT WISE!!!)

Sheds new light on this thing we do to ourselves, comparing ourselves, who we are and what we have with others around us. Today, let's focus on who we are in Christ and what He has provided for us (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8; James 1:17; 2 Peter 1:3), and less on what we don't have. And by all means, let's not compare ourselves to one another!

God's blessings on your day!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

October Update Pictures Posted/Update on my Dad

Hi All,
I'm posting a few of the October update pictures we received. Don't have any health updates yet, but it is clear that she is FINALLY sitting up on her own. YEA!!!! For some reason the pictures look a little distorted, don't know how to fix that.

Daddy was able to come home from the hospital today. Best we can tell, the TB issue from yesterday was "much ado about nothing". Thank God!

I'll give you all an update when we know more about where we are in the PGN process, hopefully we'll get health updates and news about PGN by Friday.

Thanks for your continued prayers.

And now, a quick quote from my current read. "Our standard of living, the things we think we have to provide for our families -- from the latest electronics to gymnastics classes -- is precariously driven by what the families around us are providing." and "Contentment is a precious quality, one that oozes out of you to salve those around you. It is a strong antidote to comparison." (That is good stuff! From the book Dwelling - Living Fully From the Space You Call Home, by Mary Beth Lagerborg.)

Blessings to you all,

Monday, October 1, 2007

Timeline for our adoption in Guatemala


This message is for those adopting from Guatemala who love to look at timelines. I will warn those of you just starting out, I've been at this long enough to see that absolutely NO two cases look alike. So, you may see people in PGN for 8 months or 8 weeks. It just really depends on... well, I'm not sure what it depends on, too many factors to list, but they're all different.

So, with that in mind:
Here's kind of how our case has looked.
8/3/06 - signed with agency
8/8/06 - mailed application for the I600A
8/18/06 - announced to the family we were adopting
Worked on all the dossier "stuff", Dr.'s visits, passports, required reading, etc...
9/16/06 - Fingerprints with US CIS
9/28/06 - Turned in all completed dossier stuff, certified and ready to go to the consolate. Went on the waiting list with a particular orphanage as #17 for a little girl!
10/26/06 - Got AL DHR approval. Moved to #11 on the waiting list
10/30/06 - Jumped to #6!
11/?/06 - went to #1
12/30/06 - received the CIS 171H
1/17/07 - Referal - Lesly Josandy (aka - Sarah Beth)
1/19/07 - accepted referral
1/22/07 - Turned in POA (Power of Attorney)
1/29/07 - All documents forwarded to the attorney in Guatemala
3/2/07 - 6 weeks and still no DNA test scheduled!!!!
3/29/07 - DNA scheduled for 3/30.
4/3/07 - News that the BM (birthmother) didn't show for her appointment
4/7/07 - News comes that the BM DID show for her appointment. Don't know what the mixup was, but the DNA is a match!
5/22/07 - PA (pre-approval) came today.
5/22/07 - 8/3/07 - NOTHING! Had to have birth certificate reregistered because the grandmother did it and it had to be the birth mother. This was done right away, but then we had to wait for a document showing that EN is a legitimate orphanage. Waited over 2 months for that! Social Worker requests that another attorney get involved and we got the paperwork quickly, and were FINALLY submitted to PGN on 8/3/07!!!!
8/31/07 - Found out we'd received a previo (kicked out of PGN) on 8/16/07. Never found out from the attorney what it was for, or what was done.
9/7ish/07 - Found out we were resubmitted to PGN on 9/5/07.
9/24/07 - Agency contacted PGN and learned we were with the 2nd reviewer (there are 3).

So, for today 10/1, we are still in as far as we know. We will check in with PGN again at the end of this week for an update.

Best wishes to all of you in process, for a speedy PINK.

Prayer Needs and Some Thoughts From God's Word

Hi to anyone who might be reading :O) ! I suppose I'm still wondering, will anyone ever really read these posts?? Well, if not, at least I'll feel better after writing them. If so, post a comment sometime to let me know your thoughts on the topic, or just to say, "I was here and I read it."

I ran into a friend today in town and she suggested that I post some specific prayer needs on my blog, so in case she's reading (Hi Laura, and thanks for the idea!).

I spent the day at the hospital with my dad today. He's been moved to a room that is isolated because of a TB scare. The doctors have said that the likelihood that it's actually TB is slim, and if it is, it's most likely not an infectious type, but rather something he picked up as a result of a suppressed immune system, due to the chemotherapy he is on. For those who don't know, my dad was diagnosed a few months ago with multiple myeloma and amyloidosis. It's amazing how your life can just be trucking along like normal, and then all of a sudden you find out there's this awful stuff going on in your body. One day - normal, next day - not. Think about that tonight when you tuck in your precious wee ones, or kiss your dear husband goodnight.

Please pray for my dad as his body tries to recover and get somewhat better with all of these medications he's on. Hopefully he will be able to come home in another few days. I've only had one visit to the hospital where I stayed for several days (in pre-term labor with my 2nd child). I remember how absolutely awful it was being in there and hooked to an IV, where just going to the bathroom is a ridiculous process. I feel so for him, as I know he is bound to be getting tired of being there, and just trying to process his own thoughts involved with all that's going on.

On another note, a friend of mine asked today if I would pray for her about something, and of course I said, "YES!" I hope she won't mind my sharing that prayer need here as well, and a few of the thoughts I sent her way. Just in case, I won't mention any names. (You know I love you friend!) This particular friend is having issues with an annoying co-worker (Okay, so everyone in our Sunday School class now knows who I'm talking about because she requested prayer there too.), and is having a difficult time with her own responses to this co-worker.

I had a problem many years ago with my mouth (yes, I'm sure some of you are shouting at the screen - "You still do!"). So, I know all of the Bible verses about the mouth. One particular time, I spent weeks studying, with a Strong's concordance, every single entry in the Bible that included the words: mouth, tongue, lips, word, words, speak, speech, etc... Whew, that study took quite some time, but that experience and meditating on God's word helped me. Now don't get me wrong, I am certainly still tempted in this area, but the Lord has grown me SSOO much and the truth is that now I think about it before I say it, I truly hope to always please Him. Here are the verses and thoughts I shared, maybe the Lord will use them to speak to you today too (Isaiah 55:11), they've already reminded me how vigilant I have to be in this area of my life.
Dear Annonymous Friend : O )
Here are some verses I want you to print off and post somewhere so you can look at them often. Remember Psalm 119:11 "Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You." Remember that when you sin, it is against your God, youch! Yes I know that's harsh, but so true! So, meditate on these verses and BE WISE grasshopper. (Did you get that? My husband always calls us "grasshopper" when he's trying to teach us something wise. Like in the old chinese martial arts movies.)

Proverbs 15:1
"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."
1 Thessalonians 4:10b-12
"But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, (unbelievers) and that you may lack nothing." (Italics added by me for emphasis. Do you get what this is saying? Do these things so that unbelievers will see what you're doing, and that it's different!)
Proverbs 17:27
"He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit."
Proverbs 20:3
"It is honorable for a man to stop striving, (fighting) since any fool can start a quarrel."
James 1:19-20; 26
"So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of Christ." and "If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless."
Ecclesiastes 7:21-22
"Also do not take to heart everything people say, lest you hear your sevant cursing you. For many times, also, your own heart has known that even you have cursed others."

Remember that when someone else does something to hurt you, their sin is not against you, it is against their God. They will eventually answer for that. Don't add something to it that you will have to answer for one day.

Matthew 12:34b-37
"For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned."

Well now, that ought to help us all keep quiet for awhile.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Finally I did it!

Well, I've been thinking about creating my own blog for quite some time, but I can tend to be unwilling to chart new territory. My parents would have probably called that stubborn.

Here are a few things you should know about me, up front:

I have been married 17-1/2 years to a wonderful man of God. I fell in love with him when I was just 15, and I've loved him like C*R*A*Z*Y ever since. (For those who knew me as a teenager, or who've heard the stories, that has real significance.) I greatly anticipate growing old with him. Most important of all is that not only is he my husband and friend, but my brother in Christ, and that is the greatest joy of all.

I am the mom to two of the most beautiful girls ever born, and the mom- to-be of a third beautiful little one. I have one daughter, in heaven - on deposit we like to say : ) - who died at 13 months of age, she would be 13. She died when I was 24, and it changed my life, and who I am, forever. I have another beautiful one who is 10. We are currently in the process of adopting our third child, another beautiful girl, from Guatemala, who will be one in November. All of my girls are dark haired, brown eyed beauties, and I count it a joy and a privilege to be their momma. We are currently in the courts in Guatemala and there are many changes going on with the adoption system there. We are praying that things will "settle down" a bit and move on through smoothly. This will be my forum for posting future updates to friends and family about our adoption.

Now for the juicy stuff:
  1. I am a hopeless book addict. I buy them, I read them, I hoard them, I store them, it goes on and on. I just can't seem to get enough. Worst of all, my husband seems to be joining me in this addiction, and I think I've passed it on to my child.
  2. I am obsessed with organizing things. If I can organize it I will, and if I think of a way it might be done better, I'll reorganize it you can bet your life on that.
  3. I love Januarys and Mondays! They are the absolute best times for starting over and trying to get it right the next year or week.
  4. I spend entirely too much time online. (Don't lie, you do too or you wouldn't be reading this.)
  5. I am truthful to a fault. Some might call it painfully honest. Who it's painful for depends on what I'm saying.
  6. I love going to the movies with my family and eating Milk Duds. We saw a great one lastnight as a matter of fact, "The Game Plan". Very clean, good humor, and we all really enjoyed it.
  7. I enjoy listening to great Bible teaching from Bible scholars who have some depth to them. (ie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Kay Arthur, and my local favorite David Platt) I do not want to hear a single ounce of "Prosperity Gospel" or anything of the sort. Quoting a favorite Bible teacher, "that doctrine only sells in the United States." One of these days I'll get around to adding some good links to these fine men and women of God on the blog.
  8. I love to make people laugh. So when you're reading my blog, try to do so with a sense of humor. If it sounds like I'm on a rant, I probably am, but otherwise expect the tone to be comical.
  9. I am incredibly loyal - to my God, my family, my friends, and my dog.
  10. I homeschool our daughter who is incredibly bright (and of course I'm partial), and most days it's a joy. I like to say that, "Homeschooling is an amazing way to put a microscope on your sins and those of your children." So, you'll find my thoughts on homeschooling from time to time as well.

I hope that you will enjoy reading what you find here.

To God be the glory, I am indeed at HOME FOR HIM!