Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sisterly Love

Zoe has had a fever blister for a week now. Tonight it came off and she was so happy. She ran in and said, "Look Mommy!!! No more. It's gone!"

I told her I was so glad and she ran off with Kaitlyn to the next room. Then I heard this precious conversation in the next room.

Kaitlyn- Oh Zoe!!! Did it come off??? OH GOOD! Did Jesus help you?

Zoe- Yes. I happy.

Kaitlyn- Do you want me to pray for you?

Zoe- (kind of giggles) Yes.

Kaitlyn- OK!! Jesus, thank you for helping Zoe's blood chest come off and for not making it hurt. In Jesus name amen.

Zoe- Thank you.

Kaitlyn- Your WELCOME! Hey Mommy! Zoe's blood chest came off. Jesus helped her!!

Me- Oh Kaitlyn. That is wonderful. You are so precious to pray for her like that.

Kaitlyn- THANK YOU! Now you say it Mommy. You say, Jesus, thank you for helping Zoe's blood chest come off and for not making it hurt. In Jesus name amen.

Me- (I did what she said!!!) :0)

Kaitlyn- Good. Good job!

I have no idea why she thinks a fever blister is called a blood chest but seriously... how SWEET is that? I love those girls. Angel

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Because it makes me smile...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Spontaneous Sea World

Well, last Thursday I decided we needed to do something fun. Since we have season passes to Sea World I thought WHY NOT???? So Friday we got up and I told the kiddos we had a surprise today and they better help me get ready. They got in the car and I never told them where we were going. Zoe did her school in the back seat. School on the road!!! She did awesome. They were so excited when we pulled up 3 hours later.

Have you ever seen this face??? :0)

That's what happens when you see a whale FLY!

If you see Shamu give the trainer a hug....

you might be lucky enough to get THIS face. It's a personal favorite of mine!

This is the girls' favorite ride to go on. See Zoe waving?? This was her third time riding that day! One of the reasons I decided to go Friday was because it was an off season day. It's crazy during Spring Break and summer even though it's fun. It's just too tiring to do it in one day and drive when it's so wild. Friday was perfect... 76 and cloudy...hardly any line. SUPER FUN and low stress.

I didn't say NO STRESS! This is when Kaitlyn could not go on a ride with Zoe because she was on red light. I think she was surprised that I would actually put her on red at Sea World. (FYI- being on red means that the offending child must stay within 3 feet of me unless instructed otherwise until said child "changes their heart" and shows obedience)

Kaitlyn decided to stuff herself into the cubby in protest of her "red" status. MEAN OLD MOMMY!!! When that didn't seem to phase me she straightened up pretty quick!!!

Before long life was peachy once again.

Overall it was a wonderful day together. I love having fun with my girlies in lots of big and little ways. It's not the activity that means so much... it's the moment. We had a girl day at Sea World. It was just really special and WAY FUN! It's so easy to get in mom mode and forget to just enjoy life. I so don't want to be that way. We are in a season of life where it is easy to take off with the girls and have fun. I am taking full advantage while we have it!
When I got home my hubby actually thanked me for taking the girls. I was so surprised. He said it meant so much to him that I would do that for them. AWWWWW!!! The house was kind of messy and I wasn't home to make dinner and he didn't care a lick. How cool is he???
Forget sweeping the floor one more time. This is what life is all about!
HUGS! Angel
PS Here is Shamu splashing the crowd. It's kinda grainy. I guess cause it was low light.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Oh yeah, I forgot!

One really important tip! If I could go back and change things during our adoption process I would march myself straight to the cell phone store and buy a cell phone that allowed me to check my e-mail. This is worth whatever amount of money they will charge you. You know and I know that there are days, MANY days when waiting mommies feel CHAINED to their e-mail. This one little thing could have given me some major sanity. There were literally times when I could not grocery shop or pick up dry cleaning because it would mean leaving the house when I might get important news. When you have a complicated case that drags on for a full year that is not good. I know it's sad but I am just getting real here! Being able to check my e-mail while at the zoo or grocery store... it would have changed my freaking life last year. Go get the phone.... SERIOUSLY! :0)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Hindsight is 20/20

Sooooo.... I have been thinking a lot about it. If I went back and lived our adoption again what would I do differently? How would I handle it if I could go back and do it over again? How do you NOT go crazy when half your heart is in another country? My baby girl was away from me for one full year after I saw her little face. One year after I gave my heart away she came home. It was the longest, most painful year of my life.

There are no easy answers to these questions. Honestly, some of the answers I am about to give might have ticked me off if I had read them on someone's blog a year ago. All I can do is tell you my thoughts and what I would do differently. Everyone has to come to their own decisions about these things.
One- the most important thing.... TRUST. There is a huge difference between having faith in God and trusting God. Faith is the knowledge that God can do something. Trust is letting Him take the wheel. Trust is closing your eyes and falling knowing that He will catch you. Trust isn't the absence of heart ache but the absence of fear. If I could go back I would not just have faith in God- I would trust God.
Two- I would let my friends in more. I wouldn't pull back and quite life! I would let myself recieve help and support. I would tell people just how broken I was. I wouldn't be afraid to not be okay.
Three-Frankly, I would be more open to getting some kind of counseling or getting on supplements. The whole year my husband was telling me to go see someone. I kept telling him I was fine and everything would be fine once the adoption was finished. The truth is, that level of stress was more than I should have tried to handle on my own. I felt overwhelmed and sad most of the year. It bothers me that I lived a year of my life that way because I was afraid or felt weird about needing help. The fact is that I still felt a numb sort of sadness even after Zoe came home. It had nothing to do with her. I just had trouble rebounding from the deep stress involved with our especially difficult process. My pride got in the way big time.
Four- I would recognize that this was MY problem and not so much about Zoe. This is a hard one to hear when you are in process. I kept feeling like Zoe was hurting or feeling abandoned. The truth is that God gave her a foster family who loved her very deeply. She was happy and loved and healthy. I WAS THE ONE WITH THE PROBLEM! I wanted to say she wasn't okay because the situation felt so unnatural to me. It was not truth though. I have asked her a lot about her feelings during that time. She says it was sad when I had to go but she was very happy. She loved where she was and did not in any way feel abandoned. She knew we loved her and would be back. It was me that had an issue. My Zoe was fine.
Five- I wouldn't try to be Zoe's Mommy before God gave me the title. This is the toughest one to swallow. Honestly though.... this revelation helped me the most. It made me bawl my eyes out but then gave me deep peace. Unfortunately I didn't get to this place till late in the game. You see, when I was putting myself in a "mommy" position it was a lie. I wasn't her mommy yet. I was putting pressure on myself to be something that I had no way of being. I could NOT be Zoe's mommy. Yet, I felt I SHOULD be. Sooooo constant TORTURE. The position I held for that year was more like an aunt or a grandparent. I would visit and play and bring presents. I would even discipline and take care of her. BUT she knew and I knew that it wasn't forever yet. That is what Zoe knew and she was OKAY with that. She knew I was the sweet lady that visited a lot and that someday she would live with me. She wasn't tortured or feeling that her mommy abandoned her. I didn't hold that place yet. Mommy is a position not a title and I didn't hold it yet. As incredibly difficult as that was for me to grasp- it was deeply freeing. I was like a grandma.... go have fun and enjoy it- but do not try to be a mother yet. The moment I went on that pick up trip I was MOM and it was right.
Six- I would get really busy serving others. It is so easy to crumble in on yourself when you are so stressed. Reaching beyond myself would have forced me outward.
So that is my view on it all. Again, these are just my little bitty opinions. I just want to share them in case they might help. I KNOW the deep fear and sadness that many of you are facing. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Love to you waiting mommies, Angel

Friday, March 23, 2007

Adoption #2- the update

OK so it's going slowly so far... which is fine with me right now. Here's how it has gone so far.
Monday March 5th- I called the agency/pregnancy center. They were great. We chatted. They said they would mail me the first packet.
Wednesday March 7th- I recieved the packet. It contained all their information and the process. It also contains all their rules and procedures. We agreed with everything so I called and asked to proceed. They said they would send the second packet.
Monday March 12th- The packet still wasn't here. I called to make sure they sent it. She said they did and to call back if it didn't arrive.
Friday March 16th- The packet still hadn't arrived. I called again. She is shocked. She mailed it herself. It's a mystery but she mailed me another one. Very sweet lady.
Monday March 19th- We recieved the second packet. It was a screening packet. They asked some questions about our family and ourselves as well as our belief system. We needed to answer certain questions about the types of children we are open to adopting. We also sent in two pics of our family and two of our house.
Tuesday March 20th- I went to the post office first thing and mailed it.
Wednesday March 21st- I called the agency to let them know to watch for the packet and let me know if it didn't show up. They said that when they recieved it we would be evaluated. If it is determined that we are a good match for their agency then they will contact us to set up a meeting. At the meeting they will discuss with us the process at a deeper level. We will be asked to take a couple of days to be sure that this is what we should be doing and then call them and let them know. Then we will proceed with the process. I asked how long it usually takes to be "evaluated." She said it depends on how busy the lady in charge of that is. She said usually a couple of weeks. So I figure we will hear from them around April 6th.
So here is the deal. I love the way they do this. They lay everything out on the table. You know exactly what they think and believe. You know the rules and the processes before you sign on for it. They seem to really have their act together. With our past experience we had a lot of surprises about the system and the rules after we signed up and paid money. I have a new found appreciation for this kind of process and clarity!
It isn't happening at lightning speed but I am beyond peaceful about that. Boy have I learned the hard way about trusting God's timing! I am in no hurry but I am NOT dragging my feet. When I get something to work on I get it DONE but when I don't have anything I feel fine about it. I feel confident that God already knows who our next child is going to be. I don't want to work against that. I see clearly how God brought us each of our children. I don't doubt it will be the same this time around!
The only thing I feel a teensy twinge about is being "evaluated." I feel a little silly about it but I guess it always feels weird to be examined. I know they are just looking for what is a good "fit." We want that too. Still, it would be sad if they were like, "Ummmm, we'll pass thanks!":0( That's just my raging insecurity talking. Hee hee.... I gotta get over that. Cause' that is all in the plan too!!!
My goal for this adoption is to be so different from who I was last adoption. I don't want to be a raving lunatic, control freak, crazed irrational momma. It's no fun for me or anyone around me. Seriously, I was such a wreck. It was wild. I want to do so much better this time around. I want to be obedient to God's voice and trusting His timing and His plan. I want to be unswayed by the circumstances and my lack of control. That is not an easy thing for me but I know it is one of the most important things I will learn in my life. Here is my goal...
Philipians 4:4-9 NLT
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.


I hope all of you will help me remember this as I go through the process. It's easy to say here at the beginning. Many of you know all to well how tough it can get in the middle of things!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Okay here's what we have been up to..

Sorry for the blog abandonment! We have been very busy. We had a visit from a very special friend. Before you can begin to fathom how special this friend is you should read this blog entry from my old blog.

April 06, 2006
I have a story to tell you.
WARNING. It's long but I think it's worth every word.

It's a true story.... I think you will like it.

Once there was a precious little Guatemalan princess named Esperanza. (yes the one I have told you about before) Her birth mommy could not feed her enough and her life was so hard. Her birth mommy had already made a heart breaking decision more than a year before to find an adoptive family for her two little brothers. Now she decided she must find a family for Esperanza too. Esperanza went to live with a foster family who was very kind to her. She had two best friends who were also waiting for families. She saw one of her friends find a family... Then the other friend found a family. She wondered sometimes why she didn't have a family when the other girls did. All she could do was pray and wait.

WAIT... Before I can finish this story there is another story I have to tell. This one is true too.

Once there was a sweet couple. This couple bought a house that was too big for two because they dreamed of filling the rooms with children. Their children did not come to them as quickly as they thought they would and they went through so much waiting and pain. One day they found out a baby was on the way. There was life growing inside her and she would finally have the baby they had dreamed about. Soon though, her body lost this life. Their hearts mourned the loss yet in faith they knew that God had children to fill their rooms. They just didn't see the whole plan yet. They waited and prayed.

Soon they called an adoption agency they had been working with and asked to be placed on the list for Guatemala. Much sooner than the couple thought possible they recieved a call. A baby boy needed a family. Of course they said yes and their hearts leapt with joy. Soon though the doctors in Guatemala began to realize that this little boy was sick. Not just sick sometimes but every single day. They told the couple that this was a child who would have great needs. They did not know how to help him or whether he would live. The couple made the decision to go forward with the adoption. They felt confident that THIS was the child that God had given them. They would not leave him in Guatemala.

Meanwhile the birth mommy of this sick little boy decided she must also relinquish another little boy- the birth sibling of this sick little baby. He was a sweet little toddler she just could not feed. This couple decided that they would adopt him as well and keep these brothers together.

The baby brother got sicker and sicker while they waited for paperwork to be processed. They flew to Guatemala to get him the best care possible. The doctors and nurses were so kind and gentle. Yet they had no clue how to really help him. They literally watched him dying as they waited to bring him home. They waited and prayed.

Finally they brought him to America and admitted him to the hospital immediately. After many months he was diagnosed with a rare disease that only 500 people have been treated for. In Guatemala he would have had no chance to live. Here he had a chance but it would be a fight. For a year his mommy lived with him in hospitals while he recieved treatments to overcome his illness. He would need a bone marrow transplant but the timing had to be right. They waited and prayed.

While they waited their adoption agency called and told them some surprising news. Their boys had an older sister who had just been placed for adoption. She needed a family but they weren't even able to do it. They had a son who could die. They lived in a hospital. The agency would never approve this situation. They decided they would have to pray that the right family would come to this precious sister of their two little babies. So they waited and prayed.

Finally the doctors said the time was right and their baby boy recieved a bone marrow tranplant. He was so sick and they waited to see if he would make it through. Meanwhile the boys sister in Guatemala waited for a family. They couldn't understand. Why wasn't she finding her family?

Their baby boy got better and better. The doctors said he was doing remarkably well. In fact they were amazed how well he was doing. They said he was going to live. Not only would he live but within a year he would be able to live a competely normal life. This would never come back again!

Immediately the couple's thoughts turned to the little girl. Was she theirs? Could this be the plan? They called the adoption agency and told them that wanted to adopt her. The agency said that with the news that their baby would be okay they felt that the family could handle it. They said that they had NEVER had a little girl wait this long for a family. It was as if God was holding her for them.

So with great joy they moved home from the hospital. They recieved pictures of their little girl in Guatemala with her friends- happy and loved. They made a photo album of their family and sent it to Guatemala.

OK... NOW I can finish the first story.....

Sometimes Esperanza was sad that she didn't have a family yet but she waited and she prayed. Then one day she was told that she had a family in America. A kind lady sat her down and pulled out a photo album of this new family. Her little heart pounded as she wondered about who they would be. When they opened the album the faces of the two little boys she saw looked so much like her. They were faces she knew. They were the sweet little faces of her baby brothers. Could she have imagined it? Could she have pictured that this was why she waited all this time? Did she fathom that God would give her a family and give her back her siblings? In a few short months she would have a new life with her brothers.

Joy. Pure joy.

Yesterday I had the priviledge of visiting this amazing family. AMAZING! Today I wrote the director of Guatemalan adoption at my agency. Here is part of what I shared with her.



The coolest thing about this visit was getting to see a glimpse of God's purpose. Just to see dimly how when things DO NOT ADD UP to us God is STILL WORKING!! The fact that if Mason (the baby) had not been given up for adoption he would NOT be alive. God snatched him from the fire!! A jewel!! God's healing of Mason just in time to be able to get Esperanza. Esperanza being with her brothers is amazing.

All three of our older girls being in Guatemala together at the same time when they don't usually have older kids (at our agency).... They are best friends and we want to keep it that way. I am grateful that Carol (the mother adopting Esperanza) and Lisa (mother of Lidia) both want to keep our girls close. Carol had a picture we had taken of the three girls together in her kitchen framed. It touched my heart.

If this is part of what God is doing through these delays I can accept it. Does God care SO much about little Esperanza's heart that he will not let her be left without her friends until her heart is ready? I believe He does care that much.

It's amazing to watch the way God has given Esperanza all the tools to make it through this time. He gave her a sweet foster family, clothes and food. He gave her friends and parties and trips to fun places and even English lessons. She had to watch her friends get families and she didn't have one. They had so many toys and visits and she had to accept that her family hadn't come yet. It's like God hid her under His wing. Dark, safe and a little frustrating. Out of sight where no one could touch her and then wow.... She saw a glimpse of God. Could I see it two months ago? Not so much. Now I do. God had a plan all along. It didn't surprise Him.

I know that God gives me the tools to get through the tough stuff just like He has for Esperanza. I fight the pain. Our girls in Guatemala all have so much faith and grace. Just like Jesus said- if we could just be more like children then we could really GET IT.

God is ALWAYS on time even when He seems VERY VERY late.

Sorry for the book but I couldn't help it. Since you see all the ugliness that comes out of me while I am pressed by this process... you should get to see what God is doing in me too.


WOW!!!! WOW!!!! Did this get you the way it got me??? DO YOU SEE IT? DO YOU SEE IT?!?!? God didn't forget her! God didn't forget.. He wasn't late. WE JUST COULDN'T SEE IT!!!! What a priviledge to see but a glimpse of God's plan. What an honor. Take heart friends. Here is what God has to say.

Jeremiah 29 (New International Version)

10 This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. [b] I will gather you from all the nations .......

YES!!!! God has good plans for us. Soemtimes we don't see things as good though. We see it as pain. We see it as TOO SLOW. God sees it as perfect timing. God sees it molding us into who we need to become. It does NOT mean we are forgotten.

1 Corinthians 13 (The Message)

9We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. 10But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
11When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
12We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Let's face it. We are so small. If we believe in God why do we assume we can understand everything? Why do we presume to "get it" at all? We can't even understand our own bodies. We are so limited. Someday in eternity we WILL see it. We will get it. Faith means believing that God is in control when we can't see the whole picture.

Habakukk 2:3 (New Living Translation) "But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. IT WILL NOT BE DELAYED."

God's idea of right on time is very different that ours. Guess what? He is ALWAYS right. Always. He promises that it WILL NOT BE DELAYED!! That means in His book all this is EXACTLY according to schedule. EXACTLY when He meant it to happen. According to God there will be no "delays."

Do we believe it? Do we REALLY believe it? I do a little more every day.


Friends Forever

Esperanza's American name is Lauren. She and her sweet mommy Carol flew to visit us this past week! This is a picture of the girls Feb 2006 at the Marriott in Guatemala!

Here they are- Zoe and Lauren- on US soil! The first thing we did Saturday when we picked them up at the airport was go shopping for clothes!That is because Zoe has grown THIS much!!!! See that bottom line? That is how tall she was when we met her in Nov 05. See the middle line? That's how tall she was when she got home Nov. 1 2006. The top line is now. She has grown 6 inches! Lauren had no summer clothes so she was in desperate need too.We found a TON of awesome buys for the girls. They are very cute and stylish! As I was piling on shirt after shirt for Zoe to try on she started crying. She said she was so happy to be able to go shopping and buy clothes. She was so happy that her friend was with her. OH MY WORD! I wanted to buy her the whole STORE! She is so precious.
These are NOT the outfits we bought BUT the girls had tons of fun playing dress up together.

What a joy to get to see them being giggly little girls together in our house. :0)

They spent all day Sunday playing and giggling and jumping on the trampoline.

Sunday evening Russ was sweet enough to make us dinner. This is the third time he burned the tostado shells. Gotta love that man!
Monday we went to see "Bridge To Teribithia." It was the second time I've seen it and I still cried like such a girl. It is a really great movie. Bravo Disney.
Then Carol treated us to lunch at "On The Border" for some great Tex-Mex.

Since it was such a gorgeous day we sat on the patio.

It was so windy that we nearly got blown away.

We got some fun pictures though!

The rest of Monday was just more goofy girly fun. We also had some great "talk time." The girls shared a lot of their memories of what life was like in Guatemala. That was nice.

Tuesday the girls were in for a very special treat.

We took all of them for pedicures! SO FUN!

At first KK wasn't sure about this lady touching her feet but she caught on real quick! She is the ultimate girly girl.

Then all of us went to the zoo! YAY!

We even got to see Mac the baby elephant. Awwww...

Lauren thought Mac was pretty sweet.

THEN we went HERE for dinner. ANYONE KNOW WHAT THIS IS?? If you have been to Guatemala you do. YEP! We got it in Texas! The girls were SO excited.
Soon it was time to drop our very special friends at the airport. Zoe shed some tears but we have already made plans to meet Lauren and her family at Sea World in a couple of months. She is already counting the days. No matter what happens these girls will be friends forever. They shared a time in their lives that none of us can begin to understand. I am so incredibly grateful that God gave them that friendship. I know it helped Zoe make it through the hardest year of her life.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Mom My Ride!

One of my new adoptive mommy buddies just sent me this! Thanks girl! Made me laugh out loud!! Since I just introduced you all to my awesome mom mobile I knew you had to see it. Too funny and scary accurate. She's going to need that Zima when she gets home.

PS It was hard for me to push publish!

I could hardly push the button to publish the blog entry below this. I am so freakin scared to talk about race at all. What is the right thing to say? What is the wrong thing? Am I going to be offensive? It's easier to ignore it all together and just hope that eventually it won't matter but that ISN'T WORKING! So it needs to be thought about.

A Girl Like Me- by Kiri Davis

Please give me your two cents on this documentary and the topics discussed. It's about 7 minutes well spent. I want to know what you think. I think it is important for all of us to see. ESPECIALLY if we are raising children of a different racial background. That said, we all need to see this. First- when I watched this, it made me want to cry. Now I don't think this test was run exactly the way I would love to see it run. I would have loved to see lots of ages, races, and a lot more children tested. I also think you have to be careful of the way you ask questions.
REGARDLESS, I believe that she is bringing up some very real issues. The insight and talent of this teenage director is wonderful. It WILL make you think and that was the intent. It makes my heart ache for these little ones.

One of the things that stuck out to me is the fact that one girl interviewed said it bothered her that she didn't know her roots.. I was thinking that I have no idea what my heritage is REALLY. It's some mix of a bunch of European places I THINK. However, I think what I hear her saying is that she doesn't feel a sense of purpose or direction in her heritage because of the trauma in her family's background. It's a feeling of not knowing what her culture really is. Of course this is just me reading into it in all my naive glory.
I think purpose and direction are such a key difference for all of us. Purpose is what allows people to do anything. A man will run in front of a bullet during the heat of battle if he feels he has purpose. Take away that purpose and he'll shrink inside.
I can see why it would be hard as a culture to develop that purpose and direction quickly when all rights and freedoms are stripped away and then given back- kind of and slowly. For generations to be treated in such an abhorant manner. It's beyond comprehension.

I love what is said in the second show discussing the documentary. It is up to US to change this. We have all got to make an effort to reach beyond ourselves and our racial identity. I DO believe we can change this. It's going to take time and purpose but it is vitally important. Want to change the world? Change this and you change our country.

I think there are very few of us who want children growing up in a world where they think their color is not okay. I believe that the only way we can truly have "equality" in our nation is to BREAK DOWN the walls on BOTH SIDES. Embrace each other. No more- what color is the child I am adopting?...that might be hard. No more-what color is the person I have a crush on?... what will my family think? NO MORE! The power our country would have if we weren't divided... it would be staggering. If we weren't still struggling against each other what could we accomplish?That is the kind of place I want my grandchildren to live. So despite the fact that I am a little bit scared I am going to try to do something about it.
Is it controversial? Heck yeah it is... Anything that means anything is hard, scary and almost always "controversial." I'm okay with that, even if I am a little scared. (

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

This video is so great.

I am not a huge country music person but this song is amazing. I had to share. What a great message for all of us. Wherever you are in your life QUIT trying to drive. You're just going to wreck things. :0) Hugs! Angel

The beautiful mystery woman...

in the picture below is Zoe's foster mommy. She is precious. This was taken 10 minutes before she left Zoe in my room during the pick up trip. What a heart wrenching moment this was for all of us. I feel like crying just typing the words. As you can see Zoe was (and is) very loved. I am forever grateful to this woman. She truly has the heart of Christ. Zoe was not a job for her. She lavished her with unselfish love and kindness. Why is it that the people with the least seem to be ready to give the most? Zoe still calls her every other week and tells her everything. I love that. Angel

Monday, March 12, 2007

Hebrews 12

How do we live the life God is calling us to? How do we stretch our hearts beyond their limits? It's no easy task. Yet that is what God asks us to do. There are so many of you reading this who are running a spiritual and emotional marathon. DON'T GIVE UP! You can do this. When you look back you will know that you are CHANGED- a new creation. Your old life will seem like a sad little shadow of the glory God has brought you into. Please don't make the mistake of thinking you know what you want or need. God knows us far better than we could ever know ourselves. He has better things for us than we can fathom.
Hebrews 12
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.* He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God's throne in heaven. Think about all he endured when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you don't become weary and give up.
After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.
And have you entirely forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you, his children? He said,
"My child, don't ignore it when the Lord disciplines you,
and don't be discouraged when he corrects you.
For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes those he accepts as his children."*
As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children.
Who ever heard of a child who was never disciplined? If God doesn't discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children after all. Since we respect our earthly fathers who disciplined us, should we not all the more cheerfully submit to the discipline of our heavenly Father and live forever*?
For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God's discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening-it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs. Mark out a straight path for your feet. Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong.

With Love, Angel

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Welcome to our home!

I've been working on stuff for our application to adopt again. So I have been taking some pictures of the house. It occurred to me that it would be fun to "invite" you all over! So here goes... a virtual tour of our house. I am going to take better pics of certain rooms when they are a little bit neater for the application but- oh well. This is the real deal folks.

This is our street. We live in an older neighborhood. I love it. It is super safe and quiet. I love that I can open my windows and hear nothing but birds, wind chimes and the occasional lawn mower or kid screaming with joy. It is also a lot less expensive than living 15 minutes further into town. Taxes all of a sudden shoot up a bunch when you drive closer. I like it though. I am a city girl who loves peace and quiet!! I want to see squirrels and hear no traffic and then drive 15 minutes to Banana Republic and Super Target. So this place is perfect for me!
I know you people in New York and California may think we live in a freakin expensive neighborhood. Seriously, Texas is TONS cheaper. This house and neighborhood are very inexpensive. When we moved to Seattle we almost flipped our lid at the cost! It was crazy. I thought we would never be able to afford a house if we settled there. Michigan was the same. To give you a clue... we spend the same amount on our 4 bedroom 2,800 sq ft house as we did on rent for our little 2 bedroom apartment in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Can you believe that?

I think of our house as kinda "beaver cleaver." It's not fancy. It's just really comfortable.

You know- everyone has to decide their own priorities. When we were younger we used to buy fancy stuff but we figured out really fast that it wasn't good for us. It didn't make us happier. It just made us want MORE stuff. We aren't against nice things by any stretch. We just want to keep our priorities in a very strict order.

So we made a decision to switch our focus. "Stuff" is not a priority in our house generally. Of course there are times we are tempted to focus on it but we work really hard to keep our attention on things that matter to us. For us-as a family- it is a priority that I am home with the kiddos and our children go to part time private school. We want to be able to adopt and be generous. We also like to go on fun family vacations and have savings for the future. We cut a lot of corners to make sure that is possible while we still live a comfortable life.

Like I drive THIS!! Hee hee... Are you jealous of my super cool mommy van? It has always gotten me from point A to point B and the payment is really low and almost gone so I love it! I really never thought I would get a mini-van when I was younger!! The funny thing is that I was never any happier driving my Mustang Convertable with the leather seats than I am driving this. I liked it- don't get me wrong- but it isn't important. It's just what I drive. It isn't who I am. You should see Russ' car! It's even better. I'll get a picture of that soon and tell you the story. He loves his car.

Come on in..... I use those baskets under the bench for stuff that goes with us in the car. My purse, keys, the girls bags... when I get ready for the next day I put everything we will need that day in those baskets. One is for for the girls.

We are going to paint that bench mahogany... really we are, eventually. I just haven't gotten to painting it. I LOVE decorating on a dime. I would much rather be spending my money on things that are more important to me. So our house has been a work in progress. BUT I do want it to be comfortable...soooo here goes. I'll give you all my secrets. Hee hee.

Take a right and you are in the family TV/ hangout room. Putting down those wood floors a year ago was our first BIG home project. It was pretty easy really and cost half the amount. You just snap the boards together and you have a floor. Very cool. We were so excited! Go through those green curtains and... are in the kids playroom/ TV room/ office. This room was originally a dining room but we aren't really dining room kind of people. We like having the girls' area right next to our TV room. Then they can be with us playing or watching their own show while we hang out and we can always see them. The shelves and baskets were my birthday present from Russ. I LOVE having the girls' toys all organized. Worth every penny! Take a left and...

you are in the kitchen. That table has been four different colors. We got it as a gift when we got married from Russ' mom. It was from an unfinished furniture place. We just paint the table and chairs to match each new home. Only bummer is we need to repaint the table. We did something wrong this last time and the paint is coming off! Arrggghhh!!
This is the backyard.

Right by the kitchen is the sitting room. I call it the "water room" because I have my beloved water wall and pictures I have taken on the beach framed as the wall art. It is such a peaceful room. See ALL the laundry PILED on the khaki couch. Yeah, that happens A LOT!

Here is the pantry- otherwise known as the art gallery. Also, the girls' craft table.

This is our "mud" room and to the right of it is the laundry room.

Both of these rooms now hold the big toys and dress up stuff. See the stuff on coat hangers?? That would be tons of dress up outfits for the girls.

OK. Now we will go upstairs. That basket is the "upstairs basket." We put everything in it that needs to go upstairs. You can see it is very full!

Up, up, up

Straight up the stairs and to the left is our room. We just put in all these wood floors a few months ago. It was pretty easy but we still haven't done the trim.

Here is our bathroom. This one still needs work! :0)

Coming out of our room here is the hall.

To the left is the girls bathroom. We are working toward a surfer Hawaii theme but we haven't quite gotten there!! Hee hee.

To the right is the guest room. Do you like how I moved the bed but not the picture yet??

Straight ahead is Zoe's room. Our sweet friend helped us to decorate it with her sewing skills. Our canopy is drooping. OOPS! Need to break out the hot glue!!!

Other side of Zoe's room... I made the sign over the window. It is one of my favorite sayings. "It is not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us." I think that was Dickens... Isn't that sweet?

KK's room.. We redid this for her 3rd birthday present. She picked the colors and everything. It used to be dark blue. We put up the chair rail. I was scared but it wasn't very hard.
Other side of KK's room. :0)
This is the most important part of my house. The people in it. This is where I spend most of my time and energy! :0) That's where I want to spend it.
These people are the difference between a house full of stuff- and a home.
I really love living in our home. It is full of memories and love. I hope we don't feel the need to move up or out. I suppose if God sends us many more little blessings we may need more space but I think I would want to just add on somehow. I hope we are content to stay in this home as long as God has us here. We have everything here that means anything at all.
OK... that's it for now. Hugs! Angel