Friday, December 30, 2011

99 years ago...

Today would have been my Nanny's 99th birthday.  She went home to be with Jesus almost 6 years ago.  I had meant to take a very special picture while I was at my mom's house to share with you all today but I forgot to do it.  I was going to take a picture of an old teacup that is crusted with sugar.  Why an old crusted over teacup?  That old teacup holds lots and lots of memories.

When I was growing up, my Nanny taught me how to bake.  I think that is one of the reasons I love baking as an adult.  Nanny loved it and she passed that on to me.  She used that old teacup to measure her sugar.  Of course when I was a teenager and taking Home Economics, I explained to her that it wasn't an accurate form of measurement and would most certainly mess up the baked goods.  Nanny humored me and we used measuring cups.  I'm not sure why I or she did not think to measure out one cup with a measuring cup and fill the teacup with it.  We never did.  I did that a couple of months ago.  Guess what?  I was exactly one cup!  In honor of my Nanny, my sugar canister now has a teacup from the stonewear set that she blessed me with for my hope chest when I was in junior high.  I measured it too.  One cup. 

Over my life, Nanny and I built many special memories.  I have tons of pictures but none of them are scanned in.  However, if you can picture the perfect grandma, you'd have my Nanny.  Just to clarify who Nanny was, she was my mother's grandmother...my great grandmother.  To me, she was just Nanny.  The woman who let me sleep with her in her full sized bed when I spent the night with her.  She even made sure my pillow had my special pillow case on it.  It was an old, vintage pillow case with ballerinas on it.  It was lovely with fair dancers wearing soft pink tutus.  She had a nightgown for me at her house that she made.  As I grew, I guess she made new ones because I always had a nightgown at Nanny's house when I spent the night.  Before bed, Nanny told me stories like Little Red Riding Hood and nursery rhymes like Little Boy Blue.  LOL...I won a nursery rhyme contest at a baby shower once because of that!

When we'd wake up in the mornings, Nanny would head to the bathroom first and light the little gas heater in the bathroom.  She wanted it toasty warm for me to go into.  Now, don't laugh, but I always asked her if she had used the bathroom yet because I wanted to know if the toilet seat was warm.  Yes, my sweet little Nanny went in there and sat on a cold toilet seat first so it would be warm for my bottom.  She thought about the smallest, silliest details.

It was a rare thing for me to have cold cereal at my Nanny's house.  I know she and Papa ate it because they always had corn flakes there.  However, when I stayed with them, Nanny cooked breakfast.  You would have thought she was a short order cook.  Papa liked his eggs fried as did Nanny.  I didn't care for fried eggs back then so she scrambled mine.  Just for me.  She also made biscuits and we put homemade jelly or preserves on them.  Nanny made the best peach, fig, and other preserves and jellies.

Sometime while I was with them, Nanny and I would bake.  It depended on my mood as to what we cooked.  She always baked whatever struck my fancy.  She made the best peanut butter cookies.  That was one of the first things I learned to bake.  Of course we used that teacup to measure the sugar.

Someday, many years from now, I hope I can build wonderful memories like these with my grandchildren.  I hope that they can look back at my old teacup and remember how much I loved them.  Of all my memories, the most precious is that my Nanny loved me very very very much.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My mommy!

Ok, so I meant to do this on my mom's birthday, but, well, I'm scatterbrained so I didn't.  My momma turned 53 this past Sunday.  I should have taken a pic for this post before I moved but again with the scatterbraininess so no pic.

My mom is great!  She can also be a little scatterbrained (see...I get it from my mom  :D).  She has been married to my dad for almost 38 years.  She's the mother of two GREAT daughters...see earlier post about my little sister and of course you already know how great I am.  <blushing>

In all seriousness, let me tell you about her.  She married my dad when she was 15.  By this time my mom was running her father's business.  After she had me, she took me to work at said business.  In case you're wondering, NO she was not pregnant.  She got pregnant with me 3 months after she got married.  She did it on purpose.  I wasn't an accident.  I was born exactly a week after she turned 16.  Mom worked part time at various places when I was a little girl and my Nanny babysat me while mom worked.  Um, MY personal favorite that she worked at was Dairy Queen (can we say yummy ice cream?!).  When I was in high school, my mother went to college.

Mom first got her BSW.  She worked in a nursing home for a while and then went to work for the Department of State Health Services.  She is, and has been for a looooooong time, a social worker for chronically ill and disabled children.  She is an amazing social worker.  She works hard to get kids the things they need to make their quality of life better.  Everything from transportation to doctor appointments (she's even gotten cars donated to families) to medical equipment to nursing services.  She's spent her own money to make sure her kiddos have gotten Christmas gifts and taken her own time to go take their senior pictures because their parents couldn't afford the ones from the school.  Through all of that, she's even made time to go back to school and get her MSW.  In addition, she teaches part time for the school of social work at Texas A & M University in Commerce, TX.  Yeah, she rocks that social work gig!

Besides being a social worker, my mom is also an ordained minister.  She has not only served as Childrens Pastor and Youth Pastor but also as Associate Pastor.  IMO, there have been a couple of pastors that have really missed out on having someone great on staff because they have passed her over.  She's an awesome preacher but above that, she LOVES the people and the church.  She is always willing to serve in the church in whatever capacity she is needed...secretary, preaching, scrubbing toilets...mom is there.  Mom is very dedicated to God and loves HIM more than anything or anyone else.  She also rocks being a minister!

Oh, she does more!  She is also a Make A Wish volunteer for the Make A Wish Foundation of Northeast Texas.  What does she do for MAW?  Why, she is a wishgranter, of course.  She goes out of her way to make every child's wish as special as that child is.  Everything from computers, to shopping sprees, to trips to Disney, mom is there getting the wish, throwing parties, and giving gifts.  She rocks being a wish fairy!

Of course she is also a wife and a mother and a daughter.  I could go on for forever about those things...how she took care of me when I was barfing up my toenails, took sister and I to all sorts of events and appointments, took care of my daddy after heartattacks, a stroke, and open heart surgery.  She took care of my Nanny and Papa when they got old.  She walked with them through life and stayed with them until they went to be with Jesus.  Yeah, she rocks that too!

So, you've caught a little glimpse of my momma.  She ROCKS!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ask and ye shall receive

Ok, I'll admit it.  I'm a stalker.  Since we've moved here, I've discovered the local Goodwill.  Now, I'll be honest.  I did NOT want to even go in there because I've had such rotten experiences with them.  However, several of the ladies in our church suggested trying there for a sofa (I don't remember if I blogged that find or not).  So, the stalking began with looking for den furniture. 

Well, the screen on my laptop has been in and out for several months now.  I've just been hooking up to the boys' monitor on the desktop when it's out.  Pastor Husband informed me this week that's not going to keep working.  That means I started stalking Goodwill again.  Holy moly.  The day before he told me that, there were FOUR monitors in there.  The very next day at 10 a.m there were NONE.  Of course I have been going back daily.  I even went into Indy to see if the one at Washington Square area had one.  Not one I wanted to spend money on (I think that was the Holy Spirit though).

While I was helping pastor set up the fellowship hall today for another church that is going to be using it, I mentioned in passing that I had been looking for one.  He told me not to buy one that there are a couple laying around the church not being used.  Wendon and I went down in the basement and sure enough, there was a monitor!  I brought it home and hooked it up...guess what I'm seeing this post on.  ;)

My point?  Sometimes it's just best to let people know what you need.  Ask, and you might just get it!  I could have saved myself all that stalking time!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, Autumn!

Today is my baby sister's 23rd birthday.  Happy Birthday, Autumn!

It was 23 years ago that my prayers for a sister were answered.  My dad came and picked me up from school early because my sister's birthmother was in labor.  We got to the hospital and waited.  and waited.  and waited.  Until finally my mom came out and told us we had a girl.  I knew we had a girl already.  I had prayed for a baby sister and I knew when my parents decided to adopt that baby that it would be a girl.  My parents trusted the doctor when he said SHE was a boy.  The bought boy clothes, boy diapers, and, well, boy stuff.  I told them to buy pink but no one listened to me.  Dad had to exchange everything.  <giggle>

Autumn was a little bity bit when she came home.  She weighed less than 5 pounds and could fit in my Cabbage Patch Preemie doll clothes.  Mom and dad had to special order her bottles and her diapers.  23 years ago they didn't carry preemie diapers at local stores and we couldn't find 2 ounce bottles with preemie nipples anywhere.    She was just so tiny and cute.

Anyway, I'm happy to call Autumn my sister.  She's become a beautiful young woman who loves God.  I'm proud of her.  I'm thankful to God for giving her to us. 

Happy Birthday, Autumn; I love you!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gidget Goes Squirrelly

LOL..I'm not even sure I spelled that right.  Oh well.  Pastor Husband says my brain just goes from thing to thing so fast it makes his head spin.  He can keep up with me but I think he feels sorry for people who don't know me.  I sometimes wonder if he has to translate for some.  Well, tonight I feel jumpy, squirrelly, froggy...I think you get it:  My brain is jumping around from thing to thing.

Our neighbors came over to meet us tonight.  What a sweet family!  Mom, Dad, and two boys (ages 11 and 13) came with cupcakes.  Ok, they won me over with the cupcakes immediately.  Yummy!  We had a nice little conversation with them.  We've never had neighbors come over to meet us with a welcome gift in hand and a Christmas card as well.

Saw The Muppet Movie today.  LOVED it.  If you loved the Muppets as a kid, you have got to go see this.  What made it even better was the family behind us was as into it as we were.  We all sang the songs, bobbed our heads to the music, and laughed.  It was great!  Our boys love The Muppets and had all of the TimeLife Videos of them (I'm hoping to buy the DVDs for them) so they were thrilled.  Now we're gearing up to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol.

BTW, I cried during The Muppet Movie.  I cried watching MASH.  I cried after the neighbors left.  Good golly, I'm just emotional.  I'm not sad at all.  Just incredibly emotional.  I have no clue what is going on with me.  <rolls eyes>

Guess it's time for my brain to do something else.  Like watch more M.A.S.H.  Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gidget Goes CRAZY!

I'd like to scream.  There are many many reasons I do not like to move.  Like reasons beyond the driving and packing and well, all that stuff.  For example, I can't find anything.  We finally found our stoneware plates so we got to eat on REAL plates.  However, the flatware is somewhere else.  Who knows where that box is.  Well, it's in the garage, but, really, do YOU want to look through all those boxes?


I didn't think you did.  Tomorrow my unpacking/getting settled goal is to move all the boxes into a more orderly fashion.  Each room will have a section in the garage for boxes and we'll put boxes with a mixture of stuff on the shelves.  My second goal is to set up beds.  We're sleeping on mattresses on the floor right now.  Blah.

So, there's the getting settled update.  It's driving me CRAZY!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Gidget Goes to Indiana---We're here!

It's been a long journey but we're here.  We got here Friday night (12/2) around 7:45.  On our way we stopped at the visitor center/rest area when entered Indiana.
We're happy to be in IN!

Map of Indiana

 Oliver's first time in Indiana

Noah and Copper's first time in Indiana

Pastor Husband reading some information on our new state.

After fighting traffic between that rest stop and home, we finally made it here.  We were tired but we had to unload some things.  Praise God our new pastor had some young fellas in our church lined up to help.  Our helpers were wonderful.  Before they got here, we were greeted by our pastor, his wife, the piano player, and the piano player's wife.  Brother and Sister Piano player brought us a little welcome gift...a lovely Christmas decoration that I have on top of the piano.

Pastor gave us a tour of our new house.  Here's your tour.
 Oliver standing in the door of Noah's room.


Noah's room.

The closet at the end of the hall 

Full bathroom.  Notice the wonderful curved curtain rod. 

 laundry room/entrance to half bath

laundry room:  washer and dryer hookups 

half bath 

Mine and Pastor Husband's bedroom

"The fondest memories are made when gathered around the table"
On the wall of our dining room


Formal living/dining room.  Pardon the fuzz from my coat in the lower right corner.

 
Kitchen sink area

Fridge with groceries from our church family.

Freezer with chicken and pork chops from our church family.

fridge

kitchen:  dishwasher

Kitchen:  built in china/curio cabinet


kitchen:  groceries and paper goods from our new church families.
"Family one of God's masterpieces"
on the wall in our den

Our den.

So there ya have it.  Our beautiful new home.  I'm working on getting it all set up and I'll take pictures of that when it's all done.

We're very very excited to be here!  God is great and we can't wait to find out what He is going to do through us here.  For now, I need to get back to unpacking.  Be blessed, my friends!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Gidget Goes to Indiana--Days 2-4

I've been having some issues getting my blog to work.  It could very well have been an IOE (idiot operator error).  Everything seems to be working great now so I'll just catch up.  :)

Day 2
We were in Clovis, NM getting our stuff out of storage.  Lemme tell ya, the day didn't start off all that great.  We got up too late to have a leisurely breakfast; anyone who knows me well knows I like to have a big, leisurely breakfast.  Ok, so that didn't go that great.  It's all right. 

Next we went to the home of some friends/former church members.  Everything went fine there.  We got our stuff they had been borrowing and headed to the storage unit.  Oh. my. goodness.  We got straight to work and I was near tears.  I told Pastor Husband, "If I knew who to hire, I'd hire someone to help us."  Well, Pastor's parents were there and had gone to breakfast.  When they came back, they brought help!  Pastor Mother-in-law (MIL) told Pastor FIL that he and hubby couldn't do much because of heart conditions and disability.  She said there was no way I could do everything; "we have to get some help."  She asked the waitress if she knew someone!  I LOVE my MIL!! 

With the help of the two young men Pastor FIL hired, we got it emptied and completely loaded into the truck in two hours.  Really, the only downside was that we had to pay a whole month's storage rent because we were two days into the new month.  My advice to avoid that:  Don't rent from Uhaul.

After we finished loading, we had to check into some personal financial business.  We had been praying about it for several months.  God completely worked a miracle!  Praising Him still for this!  We are now free of some bondage that has been on us since July!

We had lunch with Pastors MIL & FIL at Juanito's in Clovis.  It's our fave mexican place there.  All the employees wanted to know where we've been.  We were thrilled to tell them we're moving to Indiana.  :)

After a few tears, we said goodbye to hubby's parents.  I have a feeling Pastor MIL cried on their drive home.  Here's a pic of them.
My in-laws:  Don and Wenona Pettey

Finally, we drove and drove and drove some more.  We made it to Abilene, TX.  We were happy to stay in our usual motel, the Whitten Inn.  If you're ever in Abilene, it's a great place to stay!

Day 3
After a wonderful breakfast at the Whitten Inn, we headed out to my parents house.  First we had to fill up our gas tanks.  Here's another pic for ya!
 Pastor Husband putting diesel into the moving truck.

Our moving truck.

If you haven't been through Dallas, TX in a while (or ever), people there have driving issues.  Like many of them apparently don't know how to drive.  Ugh.  All in all, it wasn't too bad.  It was worth a treat though.  :D
My salted carmel hot chocolate from Starbucks.

We finally got home and loaded more stuff into the truck and packed and packed and packed.  My friend, Josh Miles, was kind enough to come out and help load our piano onto the moving truck.  Wasn't that sweet?!  He's a great guy!

Day 4
We started our day today by finishing loading the moving truck.  We ended up leaving 3 hours later than what we wanted to.  That's ok.  We just stopped in Texarkana, AR and filled up our gas tanks again.  Went inside and picked up lunch (thank you, mom and dad for lunch!).  We didn't have to stop again until we got to North Little Rock, AR.  That was just to stretch and go to the restroom.  Of course we waled the dogs.  Last pic...
Pastor Husband, the pastoral children, and pastoral doggies

Finally tonight we made it to West Memphis, AR.  I am NOT impressed.  I find it creepy.  I don't know why so don't ask.  I just don't suggest staying here if you don't have to.  If any of you are from West Memphis, well, I'm sorry.

So, that catches us up.  Tomorrow we'll drive and drive some more then end up at our new home.  I'll try to update tomorrow with some pics of the rest of our trip and our new house.  However, I might not be able to.  Please just bear with me.  Goodnight, friends!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gidget Goes to Indiana...day 1

This is the first day of our new big adventure.  Pastor Husband and I got a staff position at a church in Indiana.  We've never even been to Indiana!  We'll be starting up ministry to children and youth.  Pastor Husband will be leading praise and worship.  To say we're excited is an understatement.

Today we left my parents' house and left the kiddos with them so we could get our stuff out of storage in NM.  We drove over 600 miles today.  I'm exhausted.  We picked up our Penske truck in Lubbock, TX and drove on in to Clovis.  In the morning we will go load our belongings in our truck and head out.

I had big plans to take lots of pictures and post them every day but that didn't happen today.  Maybe tomorrow?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I'm not stressing either way.  I have too much to do to stress.

I'm off to bed.  I'll update again tomorrow night.  :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gidget Goes Reviewing: A Good and Perfect Gift by Amy Julia Becker

A Good and Perfect Gift by Amy Julia Becker is an awesome read that is a great reminder that all children are a gift from God…a good and perfect gift.  This is the true story of Amy Julia and her daughter, Penny.  Amy Julia’s world is shattered when her daughter is born with Down Syndrome but time and God soon teach her that every child is a good and perfect gift from above.  This book made me laugh and it made me cry.  It made me hurt for the babies who are sent to their deaths because they’re not perfect in the eyes of the world.  Amy Julia gives readers a great view of life with a child who has special needs, both the good and the hard.  I highly recommend A Good and Perfect Gift for anyone from teens to older adults.
I was provided with a copy of A Good and Perfect Gift by Amy Julia Becker from Bethany House Publishers for review.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.

Gidget Goes Reviewing: The Mercy by Beverly Lewis

The Mercy is the final installment of The Rose trilogy by Beverly Lewis.  This book provides the end of a wonderful tale of two sisters.  It brings a delightful ending to a story of love, love lost, friendship, and family.  This story took me for a wonderful ride.  I knew where the story just HAD to go but had no idea how Ms. Lewis would get me there.  I was both surprised and satisfied with the final installment that I had been waiting for with great anticipation.  Without giving the story away, the ending was no surprise but the curves thrown and corners that were rounded were wonderful!  This book, this entire trilogy is a must read for those who love a good Amish tale.
I was provided a copy of The Mercy by Beverly Lewis from Bethany House Publishers for review.  All thoughts and opinions of this book are my own.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Beth on being adopted as an infant

Today's adoption story comes from my dear friend, Beth.  Beth and I met about 6 or so years ago online.  She has been an awesome friend and I have loved getting to know her.  She lives in East Texas and owns her own business.  She's the momma to several little doggies (I just love seeing pics of them!) and has done a wonderful job of helping her dad raise her younger brother.  Beth is a very inspirational young woman!  Thank you, Beth, for sharing with us.

Adoption has always been something very special to me, since I was adopted as a baby.  To try and put it simply, my aunt & uncle adopted me from my aunt's older sister, and became my parents.  It was not an easy process though, adoption never is.

I was born early on a snowy morning in late December to a woman who was wonderful but into some habits that were not.  She was older and already a mom to two grown children:  a daughter that would become pregnant with her oldest 6 months after her mother realized she was pregnant, and a son.  I could have been terminated, but thankfully my birth mother did not believe in that.  She gave birth to me, and my family being the close one that it was was all there.  My future mother held me not knowing that one day she would become "Mom" to me.  My birth mother took me home, where ever home was at the time.  At one time after I was born I believe her home was with her older sister, another aunt of my maternal grandparents family.  I was loved and cared for, but my birth mother knew that she could not continue to care for me as I should be cared for.  Five months after I was born she gave me to the state of Texas to be placed for adoption.  From there I believe she moved on to another place to live, and went about her life as best as she could.

Little did she know, her younger sister & her husband had already been trying to get pregnant for about 4 years now, without any luck.  When the news came through the family grapevine that the older sister had given up her newest daughter for adoption, my future parents knew what they wanted to do.
They started the process with the state, filled out the paperwork, passed all kinds of tests and background checks.  They were allowed supervised visits with me in a secure facility every 2-3 weeks for only 30 minutes at a time.  They were fighting the State of Texas for custody, so they had to have a lawyer to help with the proceedings.  An ad was even put in the local paper to let my birth father know I was up for adoption, and he could put a stop to it if he wanted.  No one ever came forward.  I don't know who my birth father is.  Honestly, he was probably the kind of guy who didn't even know he got someone pregnant, and that's ok.  The process took months though, and my family stayed strong with lots of support and prayers, as well as completing family reference letters.  My maternal grandparents & extended family were really excited about the idea of me staying "in the family".

My future parents were not the only ones applying to adopt me.  My foster parents who had several other children wanted to adopt me as well.  There was one time that my future parents got to visit me in the foster parents' home, and after that my foster family decided not to try and adopt me.

The time came for the house inspection visit, and my future mother was nervous.  My future parents owned their own house, and everything was very clean and well cared for, but not new.  They also had three dogs, and that caused extra worry.  The anxiety of maybe not being the perfect parents didn't get to them though.  They aced that inspection!  Turns out the inspector was very similar to my future mother, and she loved dogs as well.

Three long months after becoming a ward of the state, my future parents officially became my legal parents-- the only people I'd ever consider parents.  My future parents and I were late to our court proceedings because I had to be changed first.  I think that made a good impression on the judge.  In the courtroom the day it became official the judge said to my parents with a smile, "Now you know you can't bring her back."  Haha!  After all the hard work, stress and prayers they had just been through, they never wanted to consider the possibility of giving me back!

I was probably four years old when my mother told me I was adopted.  It did not stress me out a bit.  In fact since that day I've been proud to be adopted, and not ashamed to tell anyone about it.  I am blessed and very thankful that I was adopted within my family.  I grew up under a watchful eye because my birth mother would make kidnapping threats while under the influence.  Aside from that I grew up hearing the good stories about her, and I know what qualities & talents that I have that are from her.  I've always been the "weird" one in my family because I like different things, and that's ok because I'm adopted.  Unlike some other adopted children, I never wondered about why I am the way I am.  I don't have this need to find my birth parents because I met my birth mother before she died.

I wish it was my mom writing this story.  She's no longer with me, so I'm relying on stories she and other family members told me.  My dad, who doesn't talk about things like this unless you ask him, was glad to fill in the details.  The adoption process took place in 3 months, but the love I have for them will last a lifetime.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Adoption from foster care

Today our blog comes from my dear friend, Pat.  I have known Pat for over 17 years and Pastor Husband has known her for much of her life as they grew up going to the same church camp and their families knew eacother.  Pat is the wife of a real sweetheart of a fella and momma to one sweet little boy and foster momma to currently one little girl.  Please let Pat know how much you appreciate her.  Thank you, my wonderful friend, for sharing with my readers!  I love you!

I never, ever thought that it would be me…

My dream was to be a wife and a mom…it took a long time for the former; I wasn’t planning on waiting too long for the latter.  On our first anniversary we stopped taking birth control and waited to see two pink lines on the pregnancy test. Month after month, nothing, finally, one month, I saw two pink lines…only to have a miscarriage two days later.   The trauma of two years of fertility treatments soon followed.  We discovered that we could conceive, but for some reason, I wasn’t able to carry a baby for more than 5 to 6 weeks.  

I was devastated.  I felt that I was letting my husband down, my family down and that God had cursed me with barrenness.  I especially felt that God had let me down.  I was so angry and so scared.  The desire to be a parent was SO strong in both of us, and we couldn’t have a child.  Every time I went to the grocery store and saw a baby bump, every time I checked Facebook and saw announcements that another friend was going to have a baby and every time I saw one of “those” news stories of a parent harming their children I raged against God.  Why was he punishing me, why was he hurting my husband through me?   That is a whole other story in itself, but I must say that I had to grieve.  I had to grieve the six angels that are waiting for us in heaven that we never held in our arms, and I had to get to a place where I said, not my biological child, but the child that God places with us.

The very first place that I began to look was into private adoption.  First, I wanted a baby…second; I had seen all the “lifetime” movies about kids from foster care.  I was very afraid that a child would be placed into our lives that we would love with all our hearts and 5 years later, it would be decided that they should go to their bio family and they be ripped from our arms.  First let me say that private adoption is a beautiful thing.  A birth parent that chooses to place their child for adoption chooses life for that child when there are so many who would tell them to kill it because it was convenient, BUT we didn’t choose an agency that helped us to feel that.  Instead, the deeper we got into the process with the agency the more expensive it got, and the more it felt like we were trying to buy a baby.  In the process of working with this adoption agency, we conceived and miscarried babies number 5 and 6 and our case worker decided that I was “too emotional” to be a parent.  She told us that we were going to be dropped from the agency…to me that was the final nail in the coffin of my being a mother, and again, it was my fault.  

One of the most devastating things that happened during these struggles was all of the commenters and “Christian” advisors.  I was told everything from, “relax and you’ll get pregnant” to “What sins have you committed that you haven’t confessed?”  I dropped completely out of church, I detached myself from all of my friends who had children, and I told my husband to find a wife who could help him be the father that I knew he could be.  I felt completely and totally abandoned and rejected. I gave up my dream of ever parenting, but the desire was even stronger than ever before. 

 (If you want my husband’s perspective on all of this, you would have to ask him…that’s his story)

In July of 2010, a friend who had known of our struggles sent me a message via facebook with the contact number for Arrow Child and Family Ministries (http://www.arrow.org/).  He posted that 3500 kid in Texas alone were waiting on families, but I wouldn’t contact them…I’d been dropped by another agency.  

In December of 2010, I got a call from a social worker in Arizona.  My mom had spoken to them about our desire to have children and that we were thinking of adoption.  Because I was raised on the Navajo reservation and am an “honorary Navajo” they were approaching me about the possibility of adopting a Navajo child.  I was floored.  I told the social worker that there was no way that she or anyone else would give us a child due to the experience with the previous agency.  She asked if there was something in my background check that came back bad.  When I explained the whole situation, she said, “That’s the craziest thing I ever heard, and she asked to send me an application.  This got me to thinking and that afternoon, I contacted Arrow.  

Mike and I transferred our file to Arrow and began our training classes in January of 2011.  Many of the fears that I had about adopting from foster care were alleviated.   I learned that children can come into foster care as early as 2 days old.  I also learned that in the state of Texas, a bio parent has about 18 months to change their behaviors and to work a parenting plan if their children are taken into custody.  I learned that adoption from foster care is virtually free, and that the state gives incentives for children to be adopted from foster care.  I also learned that children adopted from foster care come with baggage and I had to be ready cope with that. 

We completed our classes in February, had our home study done in March in in April received a call that a 4 year old boy was free for adoption.  We were approached to submit our home study for him because they were being very selective about who he would go to.  We said sure…this was on a Friday.  The following Tuesday, we got a call that we were at the top of the list for the child to be placed with us, please send pictures of our home and of ourselves.  Thursday afternoon, we got a call saying that we were selected to possibly be this child’s future parents and that his foster mother needed respite for the weekend…did we want to try him out.  All this came about without us ever seeing a picture or knowing anything about him other than he was 4 years old.

J came to our home Friday afternoon, Mother’s Day weekend.  Nia Vardolos talks about seeing her 3 year old adopted daughter and thinking, “I’ve found you”…That’s what I felt the second I saw J.  We had to take him back to his Foster parents that night, but he was with us permanently 4 days later.  We hope to finalize his adoption in December.  

We now have 3 year old foster daughter who came to us at 3 a.m., we are keeping our fingers crossed and sending up much prayers that we will get to keep her forever as well.  

Our story is not typical for adopting from Foster care…Here are some things that you do need to know about this journey.

Most kids already free for adoption are older, part of a sibling group (please keep them together) or have medical needs.  There are two paths to adoption from the Foster care system…matched adoption or foster to adopt.  Matched means that they are free, and you’ve been selected to parent (most of these are older children).  Foster adopt…most of the babies are put in these types of placements.  The children are not legally free for a time, but if they do become free for adoption you are the first one asked.  This is risky but rewarding.

1.        Find an agency that will support you.  If you are a person of faith, Arrow is wonderful and has a wide reach in Texas.

2.       If you can’t find an agency, DFPS will train you as a foster parent, just don’t expect much support.

3.       Things you MUST be able to do if you become a foster/adopt parent:
          a.       Get fingerprinted by FBI…this is one of the only expenses that you will incur
          b.      Get your home inspected by both the health and fire marshals, check with your agency or city about requirements.
          c.       Decide what type of path you want to take in adopting from the foster care system.
         d.      Know that you can discipline a child without being physical.  (You cannot physically punish or spank a child in foster care…after you adopt…different story, but not always best).
         e.      GET a support system. 
         f.        Get your home study done, and wait for placement.

4.       Foster parents DO get a monthly stipend for the children in their care…if you think this will help you earn money…it won’t…if you are in it for the money…we don’t want you.

Going this path to adoption is not the easier path…children are not in foster care for no reason…ALL children in foster care are there due to abuse, neglect or abandonment…the orphan child whose parents were killed and has no place to go doesn’t exist anymore.  Be prepared for great rewards, but be prepared for greater heartaches.  Have your own “stuff” dealt with, because a kid coming into your home will bring it to the surface.

I look back on my journey now, and find that God was leading us into a direction that I really didn’t want to go down, but at the same time he did some preparation along the way…the anger, the abandonment and rejection I felt are all things that my children felt and continue to feel.  Do I still want a baby?  Yes, but there are advantages to having your children come to you potty trained and able to tell dirty jokes (J’s favorite…the white horse fell in the mud).  Who knows who else God is going to put in our lives, but can I imagine our life without our children…no.

Once I heard a story about a couple of kids to be placed with us, and I asked Mike…Why could that person have children and not us?  He responded, “so that hurting children could have a place to come.”

Friday, November 4, 2011

On being adopted as an older child...

Today I have a guest blogger.  Her name is Angel and I have known her since she was 10 years old.  She is a beautiful young woman with a bright future ahead of her.   I have been blessed to have been a small part of her and her brothers lives.  Angel was adopted as an older child as well as being part of a sibling group of four.  Please let her know what a great job she did in your comments.  I'll make sure she gets them.

My name is Angel and I'm now 23 years old. I was adopted when I was 10 years old. I have to admit that it has been a very long journey.I lived with my real parents up until I was 9 years old. Life seemed like it was great. I had my brothers and my parents and my life was full of happiness. Then one day in January of '98  my world came crashing down. My parents were arrested and me and my three brothers were placed in foster care. My mom promised that we  would all stay together and that is one thing I'm grateful for today.

After going into two foster care homes, our case worker told us there was a family that was willing to take all four of us in. I wanted to be really happy but my heart was filled with sadness at the same time not knowing if we would ever see our parents again. That fear became a reality in 2000 when our foster parents of two years adopted us. It was a happy day for all of us because the uncertainties that come with foster homes kind of always added  a lot of stress to my life. We all had to grow up fast.  I took on the responsibilities of caring for my 4 year old brother and my 12 year old brother kind of took on the role of acting as a father. He always told us what to do and what not to do. He was really the one that kept us all together..

Any way, back to the day that we were adopted, that day gave me some relief because we had real parents that loved us, adopted parents that gave us a second chance at life and childhood, and we had real rooms with tvs and bears and all the toys we could ever want. Life was good. I was grateful for what they had given us, but I still had to go through the grievance process of losing parents , even though they were not dead, it was as if I had to believe that. I was angry that these people wanted us to call them our mom and dad.. OR so I thought. I could never come to acceptance of calling then "mom" and dad.

Till this day I still think of the what ifs and the life I would have had if I stayed with my real parents. I still miss them very much and not a day goes by that I do not think of them. I missed them seeing me learn how to do math, how to play the clarinet in band, graduation, and I'll miss them when I get married and have no one to walk me down the aisle or cry on the front row because their losing their little girl, and I'm sure I will miss them when I have kids and their real grandparents are not there to see the little moments of life that mean so much to me. I have searched for them but come up empty handed as so has my little brother and my older brother.

Some of my brother say that our foster mom is not our mom and will never be our mom and they still hold grudges toward her. Our adopted dad died a year after we were adopted so our adopted mom had to raise us on her own. we were a happy family until she got remarried and later divorced and all our relationships went down hill. Even though we are not close I still thank her for what she did for us. It was a selfless act to take us in and give us the life we have now. I can say without a doubt that without her I would not be where I am today. I am in college working on my early childhood development degree and I am really happy to be in east Texas.

To all those that are planing on adopting kids that are old enough to remember their real parents, don't come on too strong, given them time to grieve their loss, teach them that it is okay to miss them, and finally remind them that you love them and you adopted them to give them a fair chance at life. Every child deserves to be loved and natured in a way that will help them succeed in life.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Today begins National Adoption Month

Adoption is close to my heart; some might even call it a passion.  It would make my heart extremely glad if every single child in the world had a mommy and daddy to call their own and love them.  Why do I love adoption?  Am I adopted?  No, I'm not.  My sister is.  She is the daughter that grew in our hearts but in someone else's womb.  Is that why I love adoption?  No, it's a very good reason but it's not why I love it.  I love it because every single child should feel loved and cared for.  Every one.

There are children all over the world who have no mom and dad to tuck them in at night.  They have no one who tells them every day that they love them.  No one to cook their meals with love (and make Momma loves me casserole).  Every day there are children who wonder what it is like to be a part of a loving family. 

Where are these children?  There are children right here in America who need parents to love them.  Some are homeless.  Some are in childrens homes.  Some are in foster care.  There are children in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, Mexico, and Haiti...just to name a few.  There are babies, younger children, older children, teenagers.  There are single children and sibling groups. 

Isn't it expensive to adopt?  Well, it can be.  However, there are many ways to adopt.  Some are expensive.  Some are not.  You do NOT have to be rich to adopt.

This month I will be featuring several guest bloggers.  Two of those will be from my own family.  My mom will tell you about her experience as an adoptive mother.  My sister will be telling you what it is like to be adopted in a semi-open adoption situation.  I'm waiting to hear back from some friends; hopefully they'll be sharing with you as well.  Of course some time this month, I will be sharing what it is like to have a sibling that is adopted and tell you our adoption story from MY view.

I hope you enjoy what we have to share this month.  Perhaps I can give you some helpful links too.  Maybe I'll get you to think about adopting a child who needs a loving family.  Maybe YOU can be that family!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Momma Loves Me Casserole

Momma Loves Me Casserole
I struggled within myself what to name this casserole.  I thought about "How to use up a 10 pound bag of leg quarters", but since I didn't use the whole bag, that didn't seem right.  Then Oliver said it, "I'm so glad I have a momma who loves me enough to feed me good food!"  That's it!  Momma Loves Me Casserole.  I'm just glad he liked it enough to say that. 

Today's lunch started Friday when I took out a 10 pound bag of frozen leg quarters from the freezer.  I let them thaw Friday night and cooked them Saturday with the intention of making chicken stew Saturday night.  Well, we went to a birthday party and I didn't know we were eating there so that took care of most of us (everyone but dad).  Dad went out with the men's ministry of his church so that took care of him.  What did NOT get taken care of was the boatload of chicken.  I ended up putting the whole pot of cooked chicken in the fridge overnight.

This morning I knew I had to do something with the chicken.  I just didn't know what.  It's warmnig up today and soup just didn't sound good now.  I went looking through the pantry and Pastor Husband said chicken and rice sounded good.  Ok but prepared HOW?  He didn't know.  I found some boil in the bag rice that needed to be used, some California blend veggies in the freezer, some Monterrey Jack cheese (block) in the fridge, some Ritz crackers on top of the fridge, and some provalone cheese in the fridge (sliced).  Let the fun begin.  Pastor Husband deboned the chicken for me, putting the skin aside along with the bones.  I cooked the rice and veggies while I shredded the cheese.  Sprayed a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray, mixed the rice, chicken, veggies, and shredded jack cheese, topped with crumbled up crackers that I topped with the provalone.  Popped it in the oven until the cheese was melted and slightly browned.  YUMM-O!  We always add salt and pepper to taste after it's all cooked since Pastor Husband can't have salt.

There ya have it.  Now I just have to figure out what to do with the rest of the chicken!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Book review: An Unlikely Suitor

A few months ago I received a copy of An Unlikely Suitor, a novel by Nancy Moser.  Unfortunately, due to circumstances, I was just able to read this book this week.  I wish I had been able to read it sooner! 
In An Unlikely Suitor, Ms. Moser takes the reader back to another time and place.  While she expertly creates a picture of the poor of New York City in the late 1800s, she also recreates the magic of Newport, RI during the same time.  The beginnings of three couples were beautifully woven together seamlessly.  The author brought both the society of the time and the fashions of the time to life!
This book was very easy to read and a very enjoyable read to escape reality for a while.  I read it while on vacation with my family in the mountains and felt it was a perfect vacation get-away.  This is a great book for everyone from teens to more mature audiences who love historical romance. 


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Bethany House book review blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Judge Not

Sometimes when God talks to us, it hurts.  Sometimes really bad.  I had an "ouch, God" moment today.  I'm in my hometown and of course any time I go to town I see someone I know.  Growing up in a small town, well, you know everyone.  At least almost.  Not only do you know people, you also know their business:  the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I realized today, because God conked me on the head with it, how easy it is to judge people based on what you know about them. 

No one is perfect.  Not me.  Here it is, dear friends, God bonked me on the head today with my imperfection.  Pastor Husband is thinking of starting a church here.  I've been skeptical.  Yeah, I know people here.  I could invite them to our church.  Thing is, I know people here.  I know the good, the bad, and the ugly of some of them.  Know what?  That's why I'm skeptical.  Well, I have been.  God pointed out to me today that I'm not judgemental of people in a new town, people I don't know.  OUCH.  It's true though.

God loves the people here just the same as He loves the people anywhere else.  He knows our imperfections and faults and loves us anyway.  I should do the same. 

To those of you who live here, I'm sorry if I've judged you.  I'm so very sorry. 

Y'all wanna know what's kinda funny?  Several people I went to school with have been surprised that I married a pastor.  That means they all know me too.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Good thing God forgives. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

I've got PEACE

God is so good!  We're officially on vacation and probably will be until the end of August (or until the international offices process pastor husband's paperwork, whichever comes first).  We're staying with my mom and dad during this time.  We have been here a week yesterday.  I have lost 9 pounds.  The boys are at church camp for the very first time.  Pastor Husband is chillin' and helping out wherever he can.

We made it here just fine but had a flat tire on the Suburban last Friday when we were going to take the U-Haul trailer back.  That got fixed.  We went Saturday night to the 4 States GMA convention in Texakana and had an accident on the way home.  Our entire wheel came off while we were on I-30 about 5 miles from my parents house.  Praise God we were ok.  Because of that, we found out we needed new brake pads.  That little mess cost us about $150.  Of course that's using the spare tire/wheel; when we get ready to buy a new rim, that's gonna cost us!

I've started planning for our homeschool year for 2011/2012.  I've got a great peace about it.  I'm planning what to do since the plans I had have had to be ditched.  Our curriculum is in storage.  Well, I've been apprehensive about what was planned anyway.  I've always been kind of eclectic and I was changing to a formal curriculum (My Fathers World).  MFW is a great curriculum but I just haven't had a peace about it.  Pastor Husband tells me yesterday that he thinks it is because I feel tied down.  I think that's true.  Well, I'm back to my eclectic self again!  When we get MFW out of storage, I will use it but will be doing it MY way, not the way it's written in the TM. 

What have I got planned?  Well, I'm buying a skip counting CD for both boys and will put the songs on their MP3 players.  They will both continue with addition and subtraction at an appropriate level and Oliver will start learning multiplication.  I will be sort of following a Charlotte Mason approach this year and using some of the reading lists and suggestions from Ambleside Online.  I like this approach to homeschooling and I think it is going to work well for both of my boys.  I will be buying the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia to use as a guide for our history education.  When the boys get really interested in something, we'll stop and study that more in-depth; I figure this will be Oliver's doing!  Noah will be using starfall.com until we can get Homerun Reading out of storage.  He was doing great on this before and I think he'll do great with it until we can use our HRR.  We will have lots of copywork and narration as well.  I have a nice book to use as a guide for Science as well and Oliver will probably be using his Physical Science books I bought at a used book sale.  It's rough sometimes to have an advanced child but I'm working it out.  Oliver is at a 9th grade level in science so I don't think he would be completely fulfilled with nature studies.  I do think that Abeka's 9th grade Physical Science will challenge him well so we're running with it.  What will I do when he hits high school?  Use a different, more challenging curriculum.

One of my goals this year is to teach my children more BIBLE.  God wants me to raise them in the way they should go and learning about the Word is the way to do that.  We will be starting our school days with Bible reading and devotions.  I know the devil is going to fight me so keep us in your prayers.

All in all, I am at peace.  My world has changed and I have NO clue where it's going but I have peace.  God is in control.  He will take care of us and I am resting in that.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

GIGO

Do you remember GIGO?  Garbage in, garbage out.  Pastor husband and I were watching Cartoon Network with the boys this morning and there was a commercial for Kidz Bop.  Well, we've had experience with Kidz Bop before; a little over a year ago McDonalds was giving KB cds in kids meals.  Pastor and I listened to it and promptly tossed both cds in the trash.  It was adult themed music sung by children.  It was completely inappropriate for children!  The commercial this morning had Lady Gaga on it!  OMW!  Really?  Lady Gaga for children??  Why oh why would parents let their children listen to that??

You know, not much has changed since I was a kid though.  Well, adult themed music wasn't marketed as kid music because kids were singing it but kids listened to it.  Many of my friends when I was in 2nd grade were listening to Madonna's Like a Virgin.  It wasn't just my unchurched friends either.  My friends from church were bought tapes like that.  My parents wouldn't buy it for me and wouldn't let me listen to it.  My mother listened to everything she bought for me before she gave it to me.  It was worth it to her even if she had to waste $12 and toss it in the garbage where it belonged.  I didn't understand then, but I do now.

My mom and dad were guarding my heart!  They were protecting me from having garbage IN so I wouldn't produce garbage!  As a mom, I do that same thing for my kiddos.  What is on my boys' MP3 players?  Praise and Worship music, other songs about Jesus, and math songs (to help them learn math facts).  For as long as I can, I will guard my children's hearts.  That's my job as their momma.  God entrusted these beautiful boys to me and expects me to protect them until they can protect themselves.

Are you guarding your child's heart?  If you're not, please pray and ask God to show you how!  Don't let the garbage of this world feed your child's soul.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dinner tonight

Normally we eat dinner around 5pm.  I don't know why we didn't today; other than having a big lunch and I just wasn't hungry.  The boys internal dinner clock went off but I told them they had to wait.  Well, they waited, and waited, and waited.  Finally, Pastor Husband gets home from prayer and we still hadn't had dinner (he got home around 8:30).  At 9pm I was convinced these fellas weren't going to let me off the hook so, 4 hours late, I go to the kitchen to find something. 

By this time I don't want to cook.  I open the pantry door and start digging.  We're not as low as I had wanted to be after my pantry challenge, thanks in part to blessings from others and in part to failure on my part.  Anyway, I find two bags of "prepared" fettucine alfredo.  All I have to do is add water, milk, and pop it in the microwave.  Ok, I can handle that.  I also had some frozen broccoli in the freezer.  Yep.  That's what I whipped up tonight.  Probably not the healthiest but I'm standing my ground that at least it had a veggie in it...and milk!

Here's how it rated:
Pastor Husband gives it a thumbs up but he wouldn't want it every day.
Oliver gives it a thumbs up with, "Wow mom!  I love you and I loved dinner!  I want some more!"
Noah gives it a thumbs down and made himself a sandwich.
Me?  I liked it.  It tasted pretty good but would have been better with chicken chunks and some kind of seasoning.

All in all, I guess we can call this a win.  At least we ate, even if the boys were up 2 hours past their bedtime waiting on mom.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

More Pantry Challenge

Well, I figured I wouldn't be all that faithful blogging about our pantry challenge.  I also figured we wouldn't do all that great.  Well, we've done much better than what I thought!  LOL...probably helps that we're broke, huh?  ;)

Today for breakfast we had something from the grocery store.  Doughnuts from Albertsons.  Ok, that's one of our not so good moments.  Lunch was ham sandwiches.  Dinner tonight was extra cheesey cheeseburger macaroni.  I added garlic to mine.  Mmmmmmmm good!

Tomorrow will be an unusual day for us because Pastor Husband has a doctor appointment.  I'm going to figure out something easy for breakfast in the morning, after I balance our checkbook I'll decide what we'll do for lunch, and I'll throw something in the crockpot for dinner.  IF we have the money, we'll go out for lunch somewhere cheap.  Think Cici's Pizza.  If not, I'll make some sandwiches and take bottles of water to drink.  Everyone but little man #2 will have ham (no cheese since that little snot ate all of our sliced cheese today).  Little man #2 will have an almond butter sandwich.  I'm hoping I can trick him into drinking a refilled bottle of water.  I'll be thinking in the next little bit (while I'm being tortured watching High School Musical 3) what I'll be putting in the crockpot.  Guess that depends on what is available too. 

Everyone have a blessed day!  Enjoy what God has blessed you with!

Happy belated Mothers Day to me!

Pastor Husband forgot he bought me a Mother's Day gift a few months ago.  He ended up giving it to me yesterday.  I LOVE it!  It's a three movie set of....Gidget movies!  It's got Gidget, Gidget Goes Hawaiin, and Gidget Goes to Rome.  I love me some Gidget movies.  They always make me want to learn to surf.  LOL

These movies also make me realize that I'm not a typical "gidget".  If you've seen the original, you know that gidget is a combined word for girl midget.  Mmmmm....no. I'm not a girl midget.  At 5'8" I'm actually kinda on the tall side.  Gidget is outdoorsy.  Yeah.  Not me.  I probably would be if I weren't so fair skinned.  I just burn so I prefer to stay inside.  Gidget had a boyish figure.  Ok, well, I have a big boyish figure; does that count?

Does any of that bother me?  Not really.  I love my name.  I haven't always but I do now.  It's young.  It's cute.  Somehow it also suits me.

Thank you, Pastor Husband and family for the great gift!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

God is good!

Pastor Husband and I have been under a lot of stress lately.  Satan wants to knock us down and keep us there.  God has other plans though.  God has GREAT plans for us.  It's really good to know that even when I don't know God's plan, HE is in control.  I don't have to worry.  LOL...I have enough of my Nanny in me that I do, but I don't HAVE to.  In fact, God doesn't want me to.  He wants me to just trust in Him.  That's something I'm working on.  Time after time I've seen God work miracles in our family and ya know what?  He'll do it again!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Day 9? of Pantry Challenge

For breakfast this morning we had bacon, eggs, and biscuits.  YUMMY!  Lunch was different for all of us.  Pastor husband wasn't here so he waited until dinner, kids had ramen soup, and I had three slices of bologna, three slices of cheese (american), and 2 TBSP of sour cream.  Yes, sour cream.  I love bologna, cheese, and sour cream.  Dinner was chipolte seasoned italian sausages from the freezer, mashed potatoes from the freezer, and salad.

While I'm doing this, I'm working to keep my blood sugar under control.  It's NOT easy to do since I have a lot of things I don't need to eat in my pantry.  Today has been good though.  It hasn't gotten over 174 (that was after the tators).  Not too bad!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day 8 Pantry Challenge

Let me begin by saying I'm sorry for not doing better at posting about this.  I kinda have a lot going on right now.

Next, we were blessed by some friends with about $170 worth of groceries.  God is good!  Not sure how this effects our challenge, but I'll keep plugging away on it anyhow.

Today we kinda blew breakfast.  We had McGriddles on the way to Lubbock.  For lunch we had Nutella and PB (well, almond butter for Noah) sandwiches on the road.  I put dinner in the crockpot before we left.  It was pork sirloin steaks and stuffing mix with cream of celery soup (and a can of water).  I've made this before and it turned out fine.  This time it was a mess!  The steak was falling apart and the stuffing was on the runny side.  Soooooo, not wanting to have to toss all that food, I mixed it all up, plated it, put some whole cranberry sauce on top and called it pork chop casserole.  It was a hit!  Pastor husband had seconds.  It was good if I do say so myself. 

What's on the menu for tomorrow?  Probably a big breakfast with biscuits, eggs, and bacon.  Lunch of SPAM taco salad and dinner...hmmmm...I don't know yet.  I need to see what's in the fridge freezer that needs to be used up.  ;)  I'll let ya know what I find.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pantry Challenge

This morning it was a cold cereal day.  Lunch was a bust...we bought burritos.  I forgot to take out the pork chops to thaw so we didn't have that for dinner.  Of course the kids immediate response was "let's go OUT for dinner!"  Um, no.  I went in the kitchen and found some soup and biscuit mix.  I mixed the canned soups, a can of stew, and put it in a baking dish.  I mixed up the garlic cheddar biscuit mix and added some regular baking mix and made a topping.  Put it across the soups by the spoonful then baked at 400 for almost an hour.  YUM!  Everyone liked it save Noah.  Oh well.  Can't please them all.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Day 2 of 30 Day Pantry Challenge

Here's what we had today:
Breakfast--Eggs, sausage, and biscuits with coffee and/or milk
Lunch--a boxed "complete" meal
Snack--movie theater size dill pickles
Dinner--tacos (I had preseasoned ground turkey, some lettuce, canned tomatoes, and premade taco shells), black beans (canned), and spanish rice (from a mix).

Tomorrow I'm planning to do oatmeal for breakfast, Tuna helper for lunch, and stuffed pork chops for dinner.  I'll let y'all know how that goes. 

Right now this is easy.  Might not be so easy further into the month.  I plan to empty the fridge freezer before I dig into my big upright.  It's at the church and I'm not even sure what all I have in there besides some ground beef and milk.  I know there are a few veggies but I'm not sure what exactly.   I wanted to make a casserole that I learned from my sister in law but I don't have any butter crackers.  Oh well.  We'll figure something out.  Maybe one day a broccoli and rice casserole.

Hmmmmmm...love making plans.  :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

30 day pantry challenge

I am borrowing this from Anna at Molding Minds Homeschool and taking my own family on this challenge.  Here's what we're doing:

The Challenge: Eat mostly out of our pantry and freezer stockpile. Shop only for fresh fruit/veggies, dairy, and bread.

The Rules: Besides shopping only for the above each week, we will not be eating out at all the rest of the month except for the two special occasions that happen this month. We went out today for Mother's Day and will go out again around May 21 for our 16 year wedding anniversary (which shouldn't cost anything since we have a gift card).  I will pack us a lunch for everything else.

The Budget: $100 for the entire month. This includes $15 that I spent this morning at Albertsons

The Goal: To not only use up what we have neglected or forgotten in the pantry and the freezer but to also teach the kids good stewardship of the resources we have been blessed with. We will be no doubt be getting creative as the month goes on, so it will be a chance for us to work together to find unique alternatives for the foods we have.

I have to admit, I'm a little nervous about this but since our budget is REALLY limited, we're going to go for it.  The good news is I bought 5 gallons of milk this morning and we have 2 in our freezer.  I also have the stuff to bake bread and a stockpile of hamburger buns (don't ask).  LOL...we may end up eating oatmeal for breakfast every day or being REALLY creative for breakfast. 

I'll try to remember to update daily but please don't hold your breath.  You might pass out!

curriculum

I bought new curriculum in January.  I was really excited about it and couldn't wait to use it.  Now I'm not so crazy about it.  I've been trying to sell it but it just hasn't sold.  I had prayed about it to begin with and really felt like it's what God wanted me to use.  I'm starting to think I was right!  LOL...I've decided that if it doesn't sell, I'm just going to keep it and start it in the fall.  Maybe it just wasn't the right time to start it for my family.  I'm praying that God shows me.

I have sold quite a bit though.  Stuff we really weren't using anymore.  It's really nice to let go and bless someone else with it.  Some of it we used and really loved.  Some of it we never used at all.  Most of it I didn't pay retail for and it's a blessing to me that the people buying my stuff aren't having to pay retail either. They're all getting great deals! 

Even if I don't use the curriculum I was going to switch to, I'm so thankful for the opportunity to homeschool my children.  It gives me great pleasure and I know God has a great plan for our homeschool...no matter what is used to teach them.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Beginnings and Endings

Ok, so I've been meaning to blog about the Royal Wedding.  I just haven't taken the time to do it.  Now Osama bin Laden is dead.  Decisions decisions!  So, I thought I can just do both.

The week ended with the marriage of Prince William to his beautiful bride, Kate Middleton.  Yes, I was up at 3 a.m. watching.  How did I differ from everyone else who watched?  My wonderful husband stayed up the entire night watching while I slept on the sofa.  He woke me up for everything he knew I wanted to see.  THAT, my friends, is love!

The wedding was beautiful.  Kate's dress was divine.  I loved it!  IMHO it was much prettier than Princess Diana's.  Dutchess Catherine's dress was timeless. 

Wanna know my favorite part????  That they drove off together, him driving her, the car decorated, just like everyone else in the world.  So sweet.  So normal.

I pray that they grow old together.

So we ended the week with a new marriage.  A new beginning.

Today is the start of our week.  We get to begin our week with the ending of a life.  Osama bin Laden is dead!  It seems weird to be glad of someone's death.  Yes, I am glad he is dead.  I'm glad the US military is responsible for his death.  I am proud to be an American!

HOWEVER...
I also have to mourn.  Mourn a soul gone to hell.  I know I don't know for sure that he didn't, at the end of his life ask Jesus into his heart, but I think it's something we can be relatively sure of.  It really does make me sad for anyone to go to hell.  I want everyone to know the joy of salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ.  Jesus died for us all.  Even Osama bin Laden.  How sad it must make our Savior when someone, even someone as evil as bin Laden, dies and goes to hell.

So, I leave you with this tonight...if you don't know Jesus, meet him.  Accept him.  Admit your sins and ask him into your heart.  Don't let it wait.

If you know Jesus, tell people what He's done for you.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Allergies, allergies, go away...

And don't come back!  My boys got allergy tested on Monday.  Boy were they miserable.  The oldest wasn't allergic to much but what he was allergic to, he was REALLY allergic to.  Dogs and dust are his biggies.  The youngest, bless his little heart, looked like someone had rubbed his back with beets after he had been biten by mosquitoes.  He was allergic to more than half of what he was tested for:  Grass, trees, peanuts, soybeans, and dust were his.  Oh and cockroaches; that and dust were his biggest.  His biggest tree allergy was Cottonwood trees.

"What's the big deal?" you might ask.  Well, for most people most of that wouldn't be a big deal at all.  However, we live in a huge dust bowl.  The wind is constantly blowing here and we have almost DAILY dust storms.  We also live about 10 miles from a peanut factory.  What is the main tree here?  Cottonwoods.  The boys and I have been sick since we moved here almost a year ago.  Now we know why the boys have been.  My CFNP is sending me for allergy testing as well.  I'm sure we're going to find the root of my illness too.

I don't really have a point to this except to vent.  I'm annoyed.  Really annoyed.  I've had a constant headache for a couple of months and a sinus infection that doesn't stay gone for more than a few days.  I'm on my FOURTH round of antibiotics starting today. 

Yeah.  I'm annoyed.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pastor Appreciation Month

This month is pastor appreciation month in the Church of God.  Today we were appreciated.  We didn't have a big crowd but it was very special and I think those who were supposed to be there were there. 

After Praise & Worship we were asked to take seats on the platform (well, I was...dh was already there).  One of the men in our church did a human video to the song Thank You for Giving to the Lord (is that actually the name of the song?).  Then his wife read some scripture about the man of God.  We were presented with a gift certificate for Red Lobster and a promise of FREE babysitting so we could have a date!!!  Ok, I'll admit, to ME that was the bomb!  ;0)  I was also presented with beautiful flowers.  The husband then told Pastor Husband how broken hearted he was when hubby's guitar was stolen.  Pastor Husband was presented with a new guitar!  He was over-joyed.  It was awesome!

Another scripture was read and the husband washed our feet.  That was beautiful and humbling in and of itself.  However, it was even more special because the man has serious issues with feet!  I mean serious.  This was a huge sacrifice and act of love and it was so special to us.

To the people of New Beginnings Church of God:  Thank you!  You truely blessed us and surprised us with a special day.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Broken

What do you do when your broken?  Not broken by God but broken by people.  Especially those you love.  God breaks us because He is making us better.  Yes, sometimes it is painful but it serves a purpose.  Whether others break us intentionally or unintentionally, there's no greater good.  At least I don't see one.  Yes, God can and does turn it around for good.  Sometimes people think they're doing something good but they're not.  Lying because you don't want to hurt someone just hurts them more.  Not telling the complete truth just hurt them more.  Today my heart aches.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer

I'm a picky reader.  I get hooked on one author and won't read anyone else.  I also seem to get hooked into books about one thing and stick with them for, well, a long time.  For the past few years I have been reading christian fiction about the Amish.  There are a couple of authors I have read but no others.  Until now. 

A few weeks ago I was presented the opportunity to read Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer.  Since I'm waiting for the new book by my favorite Amish fiction author to come out, I thought "why not."  I was a little leery of reading a book by a man.  Boy was I off!

As soon as this book arrived Friday afternoon (yesterday), I decided I'd at least read the first chapter and I'd try to finish it up in a week.  What a joke!  I read the first chapter and was immediately sucked in.  I HAD to read the next chapter...and the next...and the next.  All of this while my husband was driving our family around running errands.  I just could not put this book down.

What hooked me in the beginning was an issue of parental rights.  Oh my!  My heart ached for the families in the story.  As I continued to read, I was introduced to a little romance.  Just a little.  As I read on I discovered a story about family and love.  The love of a father for his children.  The love of friends for one another.  The love of a husband and his wife.  The love of God for His children.  A story of  hope and forgiveness.

A fair book, I will finish in several days.  This book was excellent and I finished it 2 days.  I just couldn't put it down.  I can't wait to read book two in The Daughters of Caleb Bender series. 



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Bethany House book review blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Date night

With Oliver.  I love having dates with my boys.  It's my time to share something they love with them.  It's even better if it's something we both love!  Pastor Husband has a lot in common with our boys and it's easy for him to do stuff with them they love.  When either boys hear, "Let's play Star Wars Legos" come out of their daddy's mouth, they get excited (or any other video game).  I don't have quite as much in common with them.

Oliver and I both like to watch auction shows on tv.  We like Auction Kings, Storage Wars and Auction Hunters.  Tonight we watched an Auction Hunters marathon!  It culminated with two brand new episodes that rocked.  They were so cool!  I think they appeal to us because they appeal to our inner bargain hunter.

We enjoy guessing how much Allen and Ton will get for the stuff they find in the storage units.  Oliver almost always guesses under and I almost always go about $50 over.  I personally think it's a great show to teach him about estimating value, negotiating deals, and making money in business.  He sees that they have to make more than they spend on those storage lockers to be in business.  He also gets to see that it can be really fun to be in business.  LOL...he even gets to see that it's fun to do math...gotta do math to see how much ya make!

I can totally see Oliver doing something like this for a living when he grows up.  He's my little bargain hunter.  ROFLOL...he told his daddy one time when he was about 3 years old that dad couldn't have something because it wasn't on sale.  Atta boy!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

He doesn't LOOK special needs

Noah has been such a pill lately!  He misbehaves every single chance he gets.  I'm discovering that in many ways, he functions at a 4 year old level.  It breaks my heart.  Ya know what else?  He looks like a normal 7 year old little boy!  Um, well, actually he looks 8 or 9 cause he's so tall, but I digress.

Today we went to eat at Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Lubbock.  Noah doesn't eat burgers.  They had hotdogs so I thought that was great.  He likes hot dogs.  He apparently only likes hotdogs the way I fix them.  They split the weenie.  He didn't like that at all.  he didn't like the way the weenie tasted.  He made a scene.  I'm not entirely sure I handled it well either.  Everyone around us was watching him (and probably me too).  To stop the scene, I fed him.  I cut up the hot dog and bun and fed it to him with a fork.  What a sight.

He LOOKS so normal.  People don't understand.  They don't understand why he gets treated like a much younger child.  Honestly, if you talk to him, you wouldn't even notice that much.  I notice.  I'm his mother; believe me, I notice.  I wish I could explain my child to others.  I wish I could make family friends and others ONLINE understand the comments Pastor Husband and I make about him.  Why can't I?  What am I going to tell them?  I don't know what is wrong with him.  SOMETHING is certainly "off" but I don't know what it is.

We are on a waiting list at UNM in Albuquerque to see a developmental team and hopefully they'll be able to help us.  In the meantime, I am waiting for the dr's office to call me with an appointment for a local developmental psych and praying they can help us while we wait 3-6 months for UNM.

Until then, I'm going to love my little boy, take up for him, and discipline him the way his daddy and I feel is best for him.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Busy bee

It seems like I'm busier than when I was a working mom!  Nearly every day we have something going on.  Weekends are no different.  I guess that should be a big DUH since this is a pastor's home. 

We try to save Saturdays for family day.  Sometimes it just doesn't work out that way though.  Yesterday Pastor husband had a mens' prayer breakfast at El Rancho here in Clovis.  He said they had a great time.  We had a few errands to run after he got home then we had soccer pictures so we had to be at the fields an hour before our scheduled game.  That resulted in 3 hours at the soccer fields as the games were running late.  THAT resulted in me getting sunburned AGAIN.  I even had an umbrella this time.  Anyhow, after the games we had to cook dinner.  Then I get a text saying the church is out of toilet paper, paper towels and napkins.  Ok, well, we had to have those for today so I went to the store and got those.  After spending a couple of hours chatting with M & R at the church, I came home.  It may not sound busy but it was!

Of course Sundays are busy in a pastor's home.  We rarely have time to eat before we leave so most of the time we eat in the car on the way to church.  This morning we actually sat down to eat.  I'm still not sure how we did it and made it to church 15 minutes earlier than Pastor husband likes to be there.  We did good!

So now I get to sit in our HOT house blogging.  At least there's a breeze and I get to sit and relax (without getting burned) for a while.