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.