Fall 2013

Fall 2013

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thankful Thursday - winding down the year

As I reflect back over the past year, there are many things that I am thankful for.

#1 - Health - Mark and I have been blessed with good health this year. My mom had a scare with melanoma earlier this fall. Thankfully, the surgeon was able to remove all the cancer and she is doing well. Our families have been safe and overall healthy - this is always a reason to be thankful!

#2 - Another year of school completed - When I first started school, I had planned to be graduating this month. Unfortunately, my work scheduled didn't allow for me to take as full of a courseload as I had hoped so I had to add an additional semester. But, with the support and encouragement of my friends and family, I have finished another year of college - AND I will begin my last semester in January. Graduation is only 126 days away - YAY!!!!

#3 - Family and Friends - You are such a wonderful blessing in our lives!

#4 - My terrific husband - 5 years ago this week, Mark and I were just starting to email each other, but hadn't met yet. I had no idea that our relationship would develop into something that fits both of us so well. I am so thankful that God blessed my life with this man!

#5 - Our adoption journey - Last year at this time, we were starting to talk about adoption and look at our options. Today, we have completed our home study and are approved for adoption! The journey has been and continues to be happy, sad, fun, challenging... oh, so many things. But, we are glad to be on it and we can't wait for God to bring "baby Hansen" into our lives!!

I hope you all have a safe New Year's Eve and blessed 2010!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas

Hope that everyone had a wonderful and safe Christmas! The weather kept everything kind of uncertain this year. Church services were canceled Christmas Eve so I ended up with a quiet evening at home. Mark made it home from work Christmas Day morning - later than expected because of the roads. My parents were supposed to come to our house and then we would travel to my cousin's but again weather kept us all home. Mark and I enjoyed the day together - I had cooked a ginormous (HUGE) fresh ham to take to Marge's house so we didn't have to worry about having enough food - lol! I had the right ingredients to make cheese potatoes and green bean casserole (two of my favorite holiday dishes) so we enjoyed lunch, watched some Christmas shows and took a nap. All in all, it was a good day.

Yesterday, we celebrated Christmas with Mark's family. I didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked, but here are a few.

Mark's sister Betsy and her SO, Tim


Tim's son John and Mark's mom, Joanne


Mark's sister Sandy

We'll get together with my parents next weekend and probably go to my cousin's house sometime in January. Isn't that the fun of living in Minnesota?  Never know what to expect with the weather so we have to be prepared for all possibilities!

Today, Mark had an extra load to South Dakota. I went to church this morning - I love singing the Christmas carols and seeing the beautiful poinsettas decorating the sanctuary. The kids are so fun to see dressed in their Christmas best and full of energy from all those Christmas goodies! I'm looking forward to a Christmas when our little one is part of the festivities!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Thankful Thursday Merry Christmas

Although I am thankful for many things today, I'm going to write about the obvious one.

I am thankful that over two thousand years ago, a baby was born in a simple stable. Born to a young woman who showed complete faith and trust in God. Can you imagine Mary's conversation with Joseph? That had to be interesting. Yet, she believed and accepted her calling.

I am thankful that God cared enough about me (and YOU) to send His son - knowing the price He would pay in order to save us. That we were worth that ultimate sacrifice. Amazing, unconditional love - far beyond anything I can imagine.

I am thankful that Jesus chose to die for our sins, to act as the reconciler between us and our heavenly father - unselfish, compassionate, beyond compare.

And I am thankful for the chance to celebrate the birth of the Christ child and thank God for the gift which I did not deserve and cannot repay, but received anyway.

Merry Christmas to everyone!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Few Christmas Favorites

TV Show - The Year Without a Santa Claus or How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Hymn - Silent Night

Movie - Probably National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - Cousin Eddie cracks me up!

Funny Song - I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

Cookie - Mini Chip Snowballs

Gift - Last year, I was just getting ready to start my clinical rotation in Fairmont. It's a 2 hour drive each way and although February isn't usually the snowiest month - the roads can be difficult at times. Under normal circumstances, I would not consider this romantic, but my sweet hubby put together an emergency kit that was so thoughtful and caring that it made me cry!

Tradition - Mark and I each have a stocking that hangs in our family room. On Christmas night, we fill each other's stockings. As soon as we wake up Christmas morning, we get the stockings, climb back into bed, and open our presents. It is one of my favorite parts of the holiday. I can't wait to share this tradition with our little one!

What are your favorite Christmas things?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

How much can one squeeze into a day?

I'm pretty sure that I am one of those people who tends to thrive on chaos. It's 8pm and I am finally sitting down for a few minutes - I've been up and running since about 6:30am. Now, that's not much different than usual (and a sure to be expected experience if motherhood happens).  At least I've been productive!

Does anyone else feel like they are way ahead of the game and then when the week before Christmas comes realize that they still have a LOT to accomplish - or is it just me? Last night we had some snow and freezing rain - I was all set to leave this morning for my blood donation appointment and opened the garage door to find out that I probably wouldn't make it out of the driveway.  Hmmm... what to do? I had so much to get done! An angel in the form of our neighbor Jason saw me and zoomed over with his 4-wheeler, he had the driveway plowed in a matter of a few minutes - thank you so much Jason!!  You are terrific!! The bad roads probably kept people at home because the crowds weren't bad and the last of my shopping  is now done.  All but 3 presents are wrapped (I need Mark's help for those). Christmas cards are in the mail. Ham is defrosting in the fridge - it's HUGE! We took it out on Saturday evening and it's still pretty icy - must be about 15 pounds. Hopefully, it will be unthawed by Friday AM. More cookies baked this evening. Gift bags put together and spinach dip made for work holiday party and potluck tomorrow.  Laundry in process. Oops - forgot one thing - the kitties are reminding me that they haven't had their dinner - lol!!

But, I think I'm ready for Christmas - now I can relax and focus on the real reason for celebrating. Rett wrote an awesome post on her blog - I echo her thoughts.  Check it out here!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

the weekend before christmas

Melanie and I did some last minute shopping.  We ( I mean Melanie) have the Christmas cards set to go, I need to put stamps on them. Ken and Tasha should be coming over any time now for supper. We went to see Grandma Hansen on Saturday and gave her a goodie bag with some bread (gift of the Magi bread), honey, bisquit mix and pumpkin butter.  It was a good weekend

Mark

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I'm cutting it close, aren't I?  I was tempted to skip posting today (just pooped out after a long day), but decided that it is more important to take a few minutes to reflect on what I am thankful for.

#1 - A good movie - I admit it, I love some of those really stupid movies. So... I have to say that I was excited to turn on the TV this evening (something I rarely do) and find one of the Austin Powers movies on.  Watching it was a fun way to pass time as I was wrapping some presents.

#2 - I'm also thankful that most of my Christmas shopping is done.  I have a few small items left to buy, but overall - I think I'm in pretty good shape. Anyone got a good idea for a food gift for  my preceptor who is a vegetarian?

#3 - I have to say that I am thankful tomorrow is Friday. I'm ready for the weekend - think I'm trying to accomplish too much during my school break! We're going to visit Mark's grandma and I'm looking forward to that. I need to get Christmas cards ready to mail - I was hoping to have them out by now, but it's my goal to get them finished by Sunday. So... I"m looking forward to a productive couple days.

#4 - That my hubby will be home later tonight. We've both had a busy week and I haven't seen him much. It will be nice to have some time together this weekend.

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy News for Dwight and Linn

I've mentioned Dwight and Linn before - they are an amazing couple who love God and have filled their home with children. They have been in the process of bringing Jubilee home from China for nearly 2 years and the road has been filled with blockades at times. Recently, they were told that their chances of adopting Jubilee were not looking good - yet they trusted God's promise to them and chose to act as if they had not even received this news. As I write this, Linn and daughter Emma are in China - their court date for Jubilee's adoption is Monday and they will be bringing her home on December 23!  What a reminder of God's faithfulness!  Click here to see their "Gotcha day."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Faith & Musings

I prefer to live my faith quietly.  Yes, it is the heart of who I am. Without my faith, who knows where I would be today?  God has sustained me at some of the lowest points in my life and deserves all the credit for the happiest and most joyous moments as well. Friends have told me that their faith has been deepened and strengthened by watching some of the struggles I have went through. I say that VERY humbly because although I want to be an example to others, I am the first to admit that I am soooo human! It is easy for me to go about my day without stopping to seek guidance or fully consider my words, thoughts, and deeds.  My actions fall far short of my intentions when it comes to living out my faith.

Our church's choir concert was today.  Our teenager group "Mountain Movers" sang a song that really touched my heart and convicted me. It is by Casting Crowns and is called, "While You Were Sleeping."  I've added it to the songs on the play list and I encourage you to listen to it.  If it doesn't play right away, you can always scroll to the bottom and select the song to hear it play. The words that spoke to me were:

"United States of America
Looks like another silent night
As we're sung to sleep by philosophies
That save the trees and kill the children...

America, what will we miss while we are sleeping
Will Jesus come again
And leave us slumbering where we lay
America, will we go down in history
As a nation with no room for its King
Will we be sleeping?"

I don't know why this struck me so profoundly today, but it did. Where are my priorities?  What is important in my life?  Do I put God at the top of my list or does He get "fit in" after I  have accomplished everything else that I think I need to get done in my day?  Where does He fit in your life?  I'm pretty sure that I need to be more conscious about keeping God at the top of my list.  We talked about this recently in our visionary parenting class at church. #1 - God, #2 - Spouse, #3 - Children - then everything else falls into place. 

Yes... just my thoughts and ramblings.  I'd be curious to hear what you think!!

And on a little less serious note, a couple of pics to share with you...


I meant to take some pictures of our Christmas open house yesterday, but as people started showing up I totally forgot.  However, I did get one picture as we were getting ready for the fun.  Vivien felt the need to supervise and direct.  Yes, I chased her off the table before getting any food out!!  We had a nice time - small turnout, but it did give us the chance to visit with people a little more.




My Reeces's Rainbow ornaments arrived yesterday!  Duncan has found his forever family, but Anastasiya and Jeffrey are still waiting for theirs.  What beatiful angels they are!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thank you Sarah!!

I wanted to share the very special items that I won on my friend Sarah's blog giveaway.  What is even more important is that Duncan - the little boy that Sarah is a Christmas Warrior for - has a family who is committed to bringing him home!  And other children on Reese's Rainbow have found their forever families, too!


This picture does not even come close to showing how adorable this little tutu is!  You'll have to take my word for it - or check out LeeAnn's website - she is making these to raise money to bring Olga home.



And here are my other goodies from Sarah - some absolutely yummy soaps and a beautiful soap dish,
3 soft and very pretty dish clothes, and my favorite noodles made by Sarah's mom Judy (not much better than a crockpot of beef and noodles)!

Thankful Thursday

A couple things come to mind right away this morning as I think about what I am thankful for today.

#1 - Heated car seats - It is chilly out there!! Although my car is parked in the garage - that seat was awful cold this morning - well, at least until the seat heater warmed up.

#2 - As many of you know (first hand), we have had some nasty weather over the last couple days.  Yesterday morning, I was not looking forward to the drive to work - but hey, the bills have to be paid.  :)  Mark had not made it home yet as I was getting ready to leave around 6am - he called at about 3am to tell me he was stuck and waiting for a tow truck to pull him out. I opened the garage door and found a snow drift about 3 feet high in the driveway. There was no way that I was making it through that! As I was trying to decide what to do, my sweet husband called to tell me he was almost home.  After about 30 hours with minimal sleep, he still drove me to work before coming home to clear the driveway out, getting a few hours of shut eye, then coming to pick me up from work.  Then, he had to leave for work again. He is a thoughtful, considerate man who I love VERY much!!

#3 - I need to get some pictures posted (I'll try to do that later today) - I am excited about my recent "winnings" from my friend Sarah's blog!  I can't wait to use them, especially cooking with her mom Judy's awesome noodles!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

What have I been up to?

It's been a busy week!  I was at my clinical site on Monday and Tuesday.  Finals Wednesday and Thursday.  I had planned to get a little more blogging done, but time got away from me.  So... what other than the above, what's kept me busy the rest of this week?


Decorating the house for Christmas


Our family room has a snowman theme - it's also where my Precious Moments nativity is set up.

Friday was spent getting ready for Cookie Day. Each year, my mom and I host friends and family for an annual Christmas cookie bake.  We average at least 10 different kinds of cookies and other treats - and at least 10 dozen of EACH kind.  It's a fun way to visit and get holiday baking accomplished.
Yesterday was THE day.



Spritz cookies are Gail's responsibility



Mark is "supervising" Gail and Tasha as they make sugar cookies.


Just a few of the different cookies and goodies that everyone went home with!



Tasha and I at the end of a long day of baking cookies!

Thought I might take a day to relax, but the week is looking pretty full.  So... Mark and I decided to get a few things done in preparation for our annual Christmas open house which will be held next Saturday. 
I put him to work making meatballs - always a favorite!



We are looking forward to sharing our usual holiday traditions with our children
as well as making new traditions together as a family -
hopefully next year, I'll be here posting pictures of us with a precious gift from God - our "baby Hansen!"

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I meant to post some pictures and my Thankful Thursday earlier today, but our internet was down.  Now it's late and I am pooped out so this is going to be just a quick version - I'll have to save the pictures for tomorrow. 

#1 - Final exams are finished for the semester!!  I can't tell you how glad I am that this semester is over with.  Working part-time, going to school full-time, plus trying to get as many residency hours in has really been a challenge. There were definitely days that I had to pray for strength and determination to keep going.  Not sure how I did on my exams yet, but at least they are done. I will continue to work on my residency hours over the holiday break, but no classes until January.  YAY!! 

#2 - The comfy bed that is calling my name right now! 

Yep - that's about it for the night!  Have a good one!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wishing

Tonight, I am just wishing that our little one was here so that I could be holding him/her in my arms right now.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

How much difference a year makes

Last year (I believe it was summer or early fall), I noticed a beautiful little girl on Reese's Rainbow.  Her name was Darina and she just touched my heart. Mark and I had really not discussed adoption seriously at that time, but I wondered if she was meant to be our daughter. I began praying like you would not believe for Darina - praying that God would ready a forever family for Darina, that He would bring them to her and create exactly the right circumstances for her adoption.  I prayed that just as God was preparing her family, He would also prepare Darina to join this family - opening all of their hearts to this new phase in their lives. I had her picture in my office at work so I could pray for her throughout the day, I had picture on the desktop of our computer so I could pray for her while doing homework and on the fridge as another reminder to pray for her.

One day I was on RR and noticed that Darina's picture was no longer in it's usual place. As I kept looking, I found her picture with the caption, "My forever family found me!" I have to admit that while I was happy that she had a family, a part of me was sad that Mark and I were not meant to be her parents. Darina's mom has a great blog site and I have been fortunate to follow along on their journey. Michelle and Eric met Darina for the first time one year ago today.  It's hard to believe that she is the same little girl that I began praying for - does adoption make a difference?  You bet it does - the proof is right here!

Winning again? Trusting...

As I have shared, my friend Sarah has been doing a blog giveaway as part of her Christmas Warrior efforts for Duncan.  I was excited when I saw one of her weekly prizes that included some of her mom's awesome noodles and told Mark that I hoped to win that week's drawing. I am not one of those people who win things so I was thrilled when Sarah's blog announced that we had won the weekly drawing!

This week, Sarah has been doing a daily drawing as part of her "grand finale."  Yesterday, she was giving away a precious little tutu made by Olga's mom.  Olga is a sweet little girl with DS who will be coming home to Sarah's church family - mom is selling these tutus as part of fundraising efforts. They are adorable! I didn't give much thought to the giveaway because we don't have a little girl - besides, we had already won the other drawing.  But, I do have to say that there was a little "nudge" in the back of my mind saying, "What are you going to do with a tutu if you win it?"

Yesterday, Sarah posted a comment here on our blog telling me to check out her blog. Curious, I went to her blog and sure enough... we had won the tutu. My first thought was "Hmmm - is there someone we could give this to?"  I also thought that maybe I should tell Sarah to have an additional drawing and give it to someone else.  Neither of those felt quite right to me, but I wasn't quite sure what the answer was. This morning, I added Sarah's comment to our blog and really stopped to consider her words. "You just got something to put in your future daughter's room." The words "future daughter" echoed in my head and my heart!

I felt like God was asking me if I trusted Him or not. The title of our blog is "Trusting His Promise." All of a sudden, it was VERY clear to me that if I did not accept this gift from Sarah, I would be denying God's promise.  By receiving this beautiful present, I am again claiming the promise of HIS plan for our lives - an even more beautiful present - the child that God has chosen for us.

So yes Sarah - I believe that the tutu is meant to be in our future daughter's room - my heart is touched beyond words and I thank God for reaffirming His promise about our child through your gift to us!   

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving - Thankful Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Mark and I are thankful for so many things..

Friends, Family, and YOU - Last night, Mark's parents came over for dinner (Mark's choice - ribs and oyster hot dish). It was nice to have some time together relaxing and visiting. Today, we went out for a turkey day feast with Jeanne, Ken, and Tasha. Life sometimes gets in the way of seeing them as much as we would like to so enjoying all the traditional yummy stuff along with their company was a special treat.  We'll celebrate with my family on Sunday (turkey is defrosting as we speak)! Our family and friends are an important part of who we are as individuals and as a couple. If you find yourself here on our blog following this adoption journey, you are part of the group - even if you are friends that we just haven't met yet!

What does today find you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Get in on the giveaway!

Just a reminder that my friend Sarah is doing a blog giveaway party this week.  Make sure you visit her site by clicking here.  You can win some great prizes - it's easy and doesn't cost a thing!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Does Down's Syndrome Limit a Life?

I hope that after reading this post, you will never consider a "no" answer to that question again!  First, I want to tell you about a very special woman that I will call "Hannah."  Hannah is around 30 years old and the daughter of one of my mom's friends.  Like other adults, she is employed (working for an insurance company) and has someone special in her life.  She loves listening to music on her iPod and talking with friends on her cell phone.  Hannah  is an athlete who has competed nationally and internationally.  She races sled dogs and is an advocate for others like her.  Hannah has done things I would never imagine trying - she is amazing!  The fact that Hannah has Down's Syndrome has not limited her experiences - perhaps it has even given her opportunities that most of us would be afraid to take.  I decided to share a little about Hannah after reading a story of another young lady with DS who is not limited by what society often expects of people with DS. I hope that Sarah's story (yes, a different Sarah) will touch your heart like it did mine and make you really think about your perceptions of people with different abilities - not disabilities. 

Listening when we are called

As I shared in my previous post, I had planned to tell you the story about our donation to Reese's Rainbow next week.  But, I woke up this morning with the strong sense that I was supposed to tell this story NOW.  So, I did... and went about my day.  I've been busy with schoolwork while waiting for my sweet hubby to get home from a very long work day (about 60 hours).  I decided to take a break from studying and look at my blogger dashboard.  Sarah (Duncan's Christmas Warrior) had posted this week's winner in her giveaway and guess what?  Mark and I won!!  I was so excited!  More importantly, I was incredibly moved by her post about us and especially the PS that she added.  Please take the time to read it by clicking here.  When we listen to God's call, He truly rewards us for being faithful. I have been blessed by my long friendship with Sarah and her family - they have been a precious gift to me, more than I can ever express to them!

Christmas Tree Angel Donation Story

I had planned to post about this next week, but when I woke up this morning - I really felt led to tell you the story today so here I am...

A couple of weeks ago, I told you about Duncan - a little boy on Reese's Rainbow who needed a forever family.  RR has a great Christmas Angel project to raise adoption grant funds to help bring Duncan and other beautiful children home to their forever families.  Many families would love to bring these angels home, but find the cost and required travel times of international adoption insurmountable. By helping with adoption grants, RR makes it easier for families to adopt children with Down's Syndrome or other special needs.

I had hoped to be a Christmas Warrior for one of the children on RR, but realized that it just wasn't feasible this year.  Instead, Mark and I decided that we would donate to Duncan's adoption fund through my friend Sarah who is his Christmas Warrior. If you click on the above link, you can find out more about Duncan.  She is doing some fun giveaways as part of this, too!!  I am happy to report that Duncan now has a family committed to bringing him home - YAY! 

Another blog I follow is raising money to bring Olga home for a forever family and I wanted to help Michelle out in her efforts as well.

Finances are a little bit tighter this year so I was wondering how I would come up with money to donate to these 2 children.  I asked Mark if he was ok with me cashing in our "change jar" and donating whatever amount was in there.  He readily agreed, but cautioned me that he thought there was only about $35-40.  Ok... I was a little disappointed but decided that was still something we could contribute. Michelle and her family were going to match funds if you donated $10 on certain days.  Plus, if you donate $35 to a specific child on RR - you get a porcelain Christmas tree ornament with a picture of the child whose fund you have donated to - and I was excited about having Duncan's ornament to hang on our tree! So, I figured that we could come up with $45 to give to both of these efforts.

Off I went to the credit union to get the change counted.  I stood there watching the "counter" as the numbers went up... past $45 - whew... past $55 - nice... past $65 - yay... past $75 - wow... past $85 - REALLY?  And still the machine kept going...  It finally stopped at $104.98!!  I was ecstatic - the lady at the counter probably wondering what the heck I was grinning about.  I also had some dollar bills from the change jar as well so all totalled, I had $114.98!!

My first thought was to donate $10 to Olga's fund and the rest to Duncan's fund.  However, the more I thought about it - the more I was convinced that we needed to make a difference for more children. We could donate $35 each to 3 children (Duncan and 2 others) plus still give the $10 to Olga's fund - total $115 - of which we already had $114.98!!  YIPPEE!!!  It was so fun to look at all the Christmas Angel Tree Children and decide who to select - I wanted to help them ALL.  Still had to choose, though so here are the angels whose adoption grant funds we are donating to.


Duncan



Jeffrey

Anastasiya

Such cuties!!  If you would like to see more about them or any of the other Christmas Angels, click here.  Would you consider "giving the gift of a family" by donating to their grant fund or becoming a prayer warrior for one of the RR children?  Every child deserves a family to call their own - parents to tuck them in at night, kiss their "boo-boos," and love them to pieces!!  And I believe that when we reach out to help others, God honors those efforts - how else would $35 turn into $114.98??

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday

1. Adoptive Families - Last week, I posted about Duncan - a precious little boy with Down's Syndrome who would be institutionalized if he did not find a family soon. I am happy to share that Duncan now has a mommy and daddy to call his own. 14 of the waiting angels on Reese's Rainbow Christmas Angel Tree Project have already found homes this year. Please consider donating to the grant fund of one or more of these beautiful children. You can find out more by clicking here. I'll share more about our donation next week.

2. Tasha - 5 1/2 years ago, a special little girl named Tasha came to spend the summer with her aunt and uncle - my dear friends, Jeanne and Ken. Her summer trip turned into a permanent move and she now calls Jeanne and Ken "mom and dad." I have been blessed to become Tasha's "honorary" aunt and know that my life is better because she is a part of it. Time goes quickly and the 7 year old is now a beautiful young lady of almost 14. Spending time with Tasha is a gift to me - I love her dearly!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tough Day

Our hearts are aching tonight. It has been a very difficult afternoon and evening. Out of respect for the privacy of those involved, I am going to be vague in details. This afternoon, we received news of 2 separate situations that involve people we care deeply about.

The family of one of Mark's closest friends suffered a tragedy that resulted in the loss of life as well as multiple injuries. We don't know much about the circumstances yet, but do know that the effects will be far reaching.

Equally heartwrenching is news that I received from some friends who Mark and I consider to be part of our family. They are facing some personal challenges and really need to feel God's love and healing touch right now.

I know that it is sometimes tough to pray without knowing what specifically to ask for, but would you please take a few minutes just to ask God to comfort both of these hurting families who are so, so precious to us. He will hear your prayers and know who they are for.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Friday and Saturday

Nothing new on the adoption front, but I got to go to Harbor Freight tool store. I got a new cordless drill and the main thing I went for was to get a winch for Melanie's new four-wheeler so we can use the snow plow. The winch lifts the plow off the ground. I was able to fit the plow on Melanie's four-wheeler by adding a few feet to the plows framework.

Saturday I was able to get it all together after making a mount for the winch. It seems to work great.

Adoption Portfolio - the important stuff!

I started looking more closely at the adoption portfolio file that I had uploaded and realized it is missing some very important information - a welcome to those reading it, as well as our journey to adoption and plans for parenting. I've uploaded those documents - unfortunately, they are in a separate file for now. When I get them combined into one, I will update the link - but for those of you who looked at our adoption portfolio before - be sure to check out the new link. You can click here or in the upper left corner of our blog. This will give you a little better idea of how we came to adoption and how we view the future with our child.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Mark asked me to share that he is thankful that the weekend is almost here. Actually for him, it will be here in a matter of a few hours. Once he gets home, he will be off work until Monday evening. He has been working some extra shifts lately and could use a little well-deserved "down time."

What I am thankful for may sound kind of silly, but that's ok. I'm thankful for chocolate chip pancakes! :) They are an awesome treat! Mark isn't a huge pancake fan so I took advantage of only having myself to cook for tonight and whipped up a batch of buttermilk, choc. chip pancakes. Yummy!

And actually, that leads me to another thing to be thankful for. Growing up, I was influenced by and fortunate to learn from some excellent cooks. I've enjoyed baking and cooking since a young age - even won a few awards over the years. Some of my best childhood memories involve being in the kitchen as my mom, grandmother, and/or great aunts were cooking and baking. My recipe box is full of memories of people I have met over the years who have shared their favorite recipes with me. Cinnamon rolls from a former supervisor... beef and noodles from my dear friend Judy (who owns her own noodle business)... pumpkin bread from my kindergarten teacher... marinara sauce from an Italian family that I was a nanny for... I could probably write a cookbook with recipes and memories. I love trying out new recipes and sharing the results with friends, family, co-workers - for some reason, it lowers my stress level and I am able to bless the lives of those around me just a little bit. So... I am thankful for family members who shared their love of cooking with me (even though my waistline isn't quite so thankful - lol). Maybe I will be able to share this appreciation with our child as well. If not, that's ok - but they will still have to eat my cooking. :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

God doesn't forget our prayers

Sometimes, we forget what we have prayed about - but God remembers. One of my friends is an accomplished photographer, her focus is really nature and animals - but she was kind enough to take some pics at our wedding, too. A couple of years ago, I lost the CD that had all of her pics on it - still had the hard copies, but I felt really bad that I couldn't find the CD. I prayed about it for a while and over time, just came to the conclusion that perhaps the CD had been thrown away by mistake. A couple of weeks ago, a disc showed up out of nowhere (literally) in our closet. It said "Mark and Melanie's wedding." I didn't pay a lot of attention to the disc because I was pretty sure that it was a DVD that Mark's sister Sandy had recorded of the ceremony.

Today, I decided I was going to take a few minutes and look at the CD. When I put it into my computer, I couldn't believe what I was seeing! It was the CD of pictures that D had taken at our wedding.

God may not always answer our prayers in the way that we expect. Sometimes, the answer is "yes" - sometimes, it is "no" - and sometimes, it is "be patient." But, He always hears us when we come to Him.

What a great reminder for those of us who are waiting for God's answer for our lives. Often, I am impatient and want my answer yesterday. I would love to have our little one home in our arms right now. Instead, He is saying "Be patient and trust in Me. I know the plans I have for you." If you want proof, you can see it in the picture below - God's plan brought a wonderful man named Mark into my life and I am so blessed to share each day with him!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Christmas Warrior for Duncan


As you know, I am a huge fan of Reese's Rainbow - an adoption ministry. Each year, they have a program where people can become Christmas warriors for waiting children. The goal is to raise grant money for families to adopt these precious kiddos. Many people would love to adopt internationally, but finances can make it difficult.

I had hoped to select a child to advocate for this year, but after discussing with Mark - I realize that waiting until next year (when school is behind me) will be better. Instead, Mark suggested that we allocate our resources to my friend Sarah's Christmas warrior efforts for an adorable little boy named Duncan who will be institutionalized if he does not find a family soon.

Please visit her blog and consider making a donation to Duncan's grant fund. Sarah is having weekly giveaways and you can win some great prizes. Even if you are not able to help with a financial donation, there are other ways to help Duncan find a family AND earn entries into the drawings. Click here to learn more.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Today I am doing Friendly Friday and Thankful Thursday.

My friend Brad who was my best man, is going to talk to his dad & see if we can use his skid steer up at or cabin for a day or two. It is nice to have good friends like that.

Now for Thankful Thursday.

I was able to work Friday and deliver Christmas candy to some Walmart stores. This would normaly not be a good thing for most people to work one of the weekend days (Friday is one of my weekend days). But it does make for a good payday. It should add a little over $400 to my paycheck.

P.S.

We had dinner with Melanies' mom and dad tonight at Famous Daves. It is always nice to eat at Famous daves.

Mark

Monday, November 2, 2009

Thought for Today

My daily bible verse calendar had a great reminder for me this morning. The verse is Psalms 138:8, "The Lord will work out His plans for my life." Notice it does not say that He will work out my plans for my life. It also doesn't say that I will work out the plans for my life.

I have a tendency to do that - I will pray and ask God for His guidance. But instead of listening for His answer, I take it upon myself to choose MY path. It isn't specific to our adoption, I'm guilty of the control issue often in my life - it is definitely something I need to work on.

God spoke to me early on in our adoption process saying that I needed to trust Him to bring our child home. Sometimes when I get impatient, I need a reminder that His timing may be different than what I think it should be. But God knows the plan for my life and He will work it out - His way.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Adoption Portfolio

I've been hoping to share our adoption portfolio for a while and finally figured out how to link to a pdf file on the blog. You can view it by clicking on the link in the upper left corner of the home page. Enjoy!

Nice Weekend

Each year, Mark buys me a gift certificate to a bed and breakfast as part of my Christmas present. 2 years ago, he took me to a beautiful place in Stillwater, MN. We had the opportunity to see one of the other rooms and I told him that "some day" I wanted to go back and stay in this room. The theme of the room is Agatha Christie and it supposed to look like a train car from Murder on the Orient Express.

For our anniversary, Mark surprised me with reservations to stay in this room Halloween night. Getting away with my hubby was a wonderful treat by itself. The stay at the bed and breakfast was everything I could have hoped for and more. Stopped at an apple farm for Mark's favorite Honeycrisp apples today and had a late lunch at one of my absolute favorite restaurants before heading home.

Finish the weekend off with a Vikings win over the Pack and what more could a gal ask for??

Thanks to my thoughtful husband for taking me on a much needed and appreciated get-a-way!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

One late Thankful Thursday item

When I joined Mark's family, I was blessed with not one, but two grandmas. I was very close to my maternal grandparents growing up, my grandmother passed away in 1989 and my grandfather in 1996. So, this was a precious gift to me! I have special memories of time spent with Grandma Paulson - she passed away a couple of years ago. Grandma Hansen is 97 years young and recently was hospitalized after a fall. We found out last night that she has returned to her apartment and I am SO thankful for God's healing. I know that Grandma is happiest in her own space (as we all are) - she is blessed with a wonderful caregiver Joan who helps make this possible.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I've written and re-written this post for the past hour and for whatever reason, the words are just not flowing right this evening. Grrr... but, there are things to be thankful for this Thursday.

1. All of you - Mark and I appreciate the ability to share our adoption journey with our bloggy friends and family. I'm always hoping for more "followers" so feel free to join us as we travel this path and share our blog with others. You may be instrumental in helping our dreams of parenthood come true! Hmmm - I've even been thinking about some type of contest along these lines. Still working out the details, but doesn't everyone like the idea of winning something?

2. Weekend plans with my hubby!! We are celebrating our anniversary a little late, but I am looking forward to time with this terrific guy that I am married to!


I know... nothing profound this week, but that's ok. Is there such a thing as blogger's block (like writer's block)? If so, I'm pretty sure that's what I have! :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Huge Thank You!

One of my projects for my gerontological nursing class this semester was to teach elementary age children about safety hazards for the elderly.

I contacted a private Lutheran school nearby and asked if they would be willing to have me talk to their students. I was thrilled when the administrator agreed.

So... today was the day and there are a few thank-you's to make!

1. Thank you to Grace Lutheran School and Patty for allowing me to visit the students today.

2. My co-workers provided some terrific ideas to incorporate into my teaching project and I am grateful for their input.

3. My wonderful husband and terrific mother-in-law were kind enough to be my assistants for today. Not only did they both do an awesome job with their groups of kids, it was nice to have a little "moral support," too!

This really turned out to be a fun project. We set up interactive stations for the kids to simulate what is is like to have vision and sensory impairments and talked about what they could do to help out their grandparents/older friends. I think they enjoyed the experience and I know I did.

So again, thank you to everyone who was part of this fun learning opportunity.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Power of Prayer

It has really been an up and down week. We've been on "vacation" - doing things around the house, trying to catch up on school work (unsuccesfully), and enjoying some time together. That has been very nice!!

But, we've had some not so great things happen which have been very discouraging. It started out with the 4-wheeler and generator being stolen. A few other incidents occurred over the course of the week (won't go into specifics) and the final straw was yesterday. Mark had bought a replacement generator, brought it home, and it wouldn't work. He called the store Friday evening and was told bring it in, no problem - it would be replaced. Yesterday, he took it back to the store where he was told he could NOT exchange it. He called to tell me this and it really upset me. To spend $400 on a generator we can't use is not something we can afford right now. After hanging up the phone, I started crying and then decided that maybe instead of just crying I should pray. I poured out my heart to God, told Him that I was feeling so discouraged after everything that had happened this week. That I know Mark and I are very blessed in our lives and that I wasn't complaining, but that I felt like the devil was working overtime focusing on us. I asked God to intervene on our behalf.

No more than 2 minutes after I finished my prayer, the phone rang. It was the manager of the store calling to say that there had been miscommunication. He asked if I could reach Mark and have him to return to the store. They would exchange the generator!! :)

Now, this in itself was proof that God listens to our concerns and responds. However, something else happened that made it even more precious to me. Two of my classmates are experiencing some VERY tragic situations right now in their personal lives. I found out about these circumstances on Friday and Saturday evening and have been praying for them since then.

When I think about God, who cares for Audrey and Kerri (my classmates) - and meeting their great needs, mine seem very insignificant in comparison. They are not matters of life or death. However, God reminds me that every prayer is important to Him and that He wants us to come to Him in everything. So... when you question whether you should "bother" God with a small matter, I encourage you to remember that no problem is too small to take to Him. Even if He doesn't answer the way you hope, it doesn't mean that He doesn't care - just that He has a different plan for you!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Today would be thankful Thursday. I am thankful that Brad was able to help me get the motorhome back from the cabin before the lines froze.

Oh one more thing. Today is our 4th aniversery, I guess that is something to be thankful for. That Melanie has put up with me for that long.

Mark

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Melanie's Birthday


Tuesday was Melanie's Birthday. On Monday she wanted to go 4-wheeling. About 2 weeks ago I got her a new 4-wheeler but didn't let her know until she said she wanted to go use the wheelers. I picked up her new one (2006 Suzuki) and brought it home. My Mother made a nice red bow to put on it. As we were using them at Snake Creek (by Kellogg MN) she forced me to try it, she took off with the old one and I drove her new one through a big mud hole. Well maybe not all the way through. I got it stuck bad and had to sit there 'till she came back to get me.

Mark

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Officially ready and waiting!

I've shared that we have been officially approved for our adoption, but we had been waiting for our profile to be posted on our agency's website. For me, things just didn't seem "real" without that last piece.

As of yesterday, we are now a "waiting adoptive family!" If you would like to check out the website, you can click here. A short version of our "dear birth parent" letter is there as well.

Just another step in our adoption journey - a little closer to holding our precious child!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Forever families - a beautiful video!

Please take the time to watch this video (before you start it, scroll down to the bottom of the page and pause the sound) - you will see some of the Reece's Rainbow kids with their forever families! Every child deserves a mom and dad to call their own. Is one calling your name?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pretty Discouraged

Most of the time our 4-wheelers and generator (for the cabin) are kept at the small farm where Mark keeps his ultra-light plane. We found out today that one of our 4-wheelers and the generator were stolen.

Mark and I are an ordinary, average couple - we aren't particularly materialistic (yes, I know that Mark makes that claim easier than I do). Our "toys" were not the newest, the fastest, or the most expensive when we bought them. And now with me going to school, we don't have extra money at our disposal. Finances are tight and some of the things we used to enjoy have been put on hold until I graduate. But, we do enjoy our 4-wheelers and our cabin. There's not much better than a beautiful fall day spent on a trail with leaves that are changing and the sun shining.

The 4-wheeler that was stolen was our "best" one. It was Mark's and not just used for pleasure, but also plowing snow and projects that required heavier pulling. This is the second time our generator has been stolen. Last year, someone broke into our cabin and took many items that we are still trying to replace including the generator that we use for electricity. Because of that break-in, we started bringing the new generator home every time so that it would be safe. I guess it didn't make much difference.

I remember feeling very violated after our break-in at the cabin. It was hard to feel safe knowing that someone had been on our property and inside our cabin. I know that in the scheme of things, a stolen generator and 4-wheeler are not that important. We are both healthy and have been very blessed in our lives. Eventually, we will find a way to replace the items that we have lost.

In the meantime, the feelings of sadness and violation are there. It's hard for me to understand why someone thinks that it is acceptable to take what doesn't belong to them. I know that there are always reasons, but do they stop to think about the impact that it has on the people they take from?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Yep - it's that time of the week again! What are you thankful for today?


#1 - Snow - Not a great picture, but it snowed earlier this week. Here's what our deck looked like as the snow was falling. It melted quickly, but I love snow!! Don't like driving in it, but that's ok.
#2 - God's encouragement - It has been a tough week. I haven't done as well as I would have liked on a couple of tests and I've been pretty discouraged. Now for those of you know me well enough to be shaking your head at my "not as well as I would have liked" comment - seriously, I did not do well. I have been filled with self-doubt about my ability to be a good nurse practitioner, wondered if the self-induced stress of school is worth it. I miss spending time with my hubby, my friends, my family... I've been at the breaking point lately. Yet, in the midst of the struggle, if I stop long enough I can hear God's encouragement. "I don't care what grade you got on your exam, so you weren't perfect, it doesn't matter. I love you anyway." What a great reminder for me personally and as I think about becoming a parent. God (parent) saying to me (child), "So you weren't perfect... I love you ANYWAY!" That is such an important message. Doesn't mean that I don't have to try, doesn't mean that I can give anything less than my best effort - but love is accepting of imperfection. And even more important - love encourages!!
#3 - A few minutes with my hubby - Mark has an extra run tonight and will be leaving with another load as soon as he gets back to work. Fortunately for me, our house is kind of on his way back to work so he is stopping in for a quick shower and peck on the cheek. I'll be happy to see him!
#4 - My brother - 36 years ago today, my brother Jacob was born. If you ask him, he will probably tell you all about what a rotten sister I was. Picking on him, blaming him for things I did, generally making his life miserable. He might even tell you a story about a sister who kicked him in the shin hard enough to warrant an ER visit (yes, there is more to the story than he would tell). Fortunately, I have matured a little bit over those 36 years! Jacob and I are very different souls - and he is a terrific man! Today, I wish him a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

today was a good day to do nothing. I fixed a GFI outlet in our upstairs bathroom. tried to fix the hot tub but that didn't work. we had breakfast at the Byron fire department pancake breakfast then had lunch at church for Norwegian days.

mark

Friday, October 9, 2009

today is friendly friday, Brad is one of my best friends. He is going through some hard times now & I hope it all turns out well for him

mark

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday Night Musings

Had a nice weekend - Mark worked on cleaning out the garage so that I can get my car in there. It's been a while... I wouldn't mind too much except with the weather getting colder, I'm not excited about scraping windows in the morning.



Yesterday, we went to church and our parenting class. It was a good class, talking about the influence that parents have in their child's life. It seems so obvious, but there were some really good (and not so obvious points) as well. Children view the character of God through the actions of their parents. If I tell my child every day that I love them, but my actions don't show it - what message will they take away? If asked, they may say "Yes, my mother loves me." But if asked if they feel loved, the answer will be "No." I want my child to know through my thoughts and actions how much they are loved. Another key concept for me was the importance of a "God-filled normal life." I am definitely imperfect and have a lot of work to do in my personal relationship with God. Still, I hope to be a role model, teaching our child to talk (and listen) to God freely and easily, praying, asking for guidance, wisdom, sharing joys and sorrows, thanking Him for his many blessings. I want it to be a natural part of their life.



Had dinner with Jeanne, Ken, and Tasha last night - it's been too long! We used to get together on a weekly basis, but schedules (mostly mine) have made it challenging. It was wonderful to just sit and catch up. It was also a reminder to me of the importance of making time for friends - and especially Tasha. She is a beautiful young woman and I am very fortunate to be part of her life!



Ok, now on just a cute note... as you may or may not know, I love those croc shoes. I even have a pair of Vikes crocs. Last week at work, we had a Toys for Tots fundraiser. I just had to pick up a couple pairs of these baby crocs - aren't they adorable??? Now, if we are blessed with a boy - I will have to come up with another plan for them, but in the meantime... I will just enjoy looking at these cute things!

Ooops - one last thought for the evening. GO VIKES!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Hmmm - what am I thankful for today?

1. I'm thankful that my first test in my Gerontology class is over. I took it this evening, don't know how I did yet. But, the first test in a class is always the worst because you don't know what to expect. So, I can breathe a little easier. Overall, I really like this class and the instructor - it reinforces that working with the elderly is what I want to do!

2. Along that same line, I am thankful for the opportunity to be in school - completing this master's degree. Wish I could say that I enjoy the work, but I can't go that far. However, I am blessed with a husband who supports my goal and has helped to make this a reality for me, as well as friends who provide encouragement and support when I am tired of the journey.

3. I will probably mention this in future Thankful Thursday posts, but I am really thankful that I am on the downhill stretch with school. I am finally starting to feel that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Graduation is in 217 days - not that I am counting or anything!

4. A family for 2 precious children... There is a beautiful little girl on Reese's Rainbow that I have been praying for, knowing that God had a family for her somewhere. Several months ago, I was so excited to see that a family had committed to bringing her home. This family made an even bigger commitment because they chose to bring home 2 children, "Annie" and a little boy named "Alan." Finding out that the adoptive family lives here in Minnesota made me even happier. There are 2 trips required for this country and the Enbergs are leaving this Saturday for the 2nd trip - finalizing the adoption and bringing the kids home. YAY - 2 less orphans in the world!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It's Official!

I came home from clinicals today to a message on our answering machine from Becky (SW). Her supervisor has signed off on our home study and we are "officially" approved. YAY! It's not feeling quite real yet for me. When I see our picture and birth parent letter on the waiting family page maybe... We've made a few changes to our portfolio and I just need to print out a couple more pages. I think it looks really good (thanks again mom!). Our portfolio really is a family project. My mom helped with the layout and design of the pages. Mark's mom is going to make some covers for the portfolios themselves.

So... you may be wondering what exactly is an adoption portfolio? This is a 3 ring binder that the birth families can view to get to know us a little bit. The first page is a "profile" of Mark and I (age, profession, hobbies, salary, etc). Then, we have page 1 of our "dear birth parent" letter - kind of giving an introduction to who we are. This is followed by pics and some info about us, our family, home, community, life, travels, activities. After that, there is more of our letter, talking about our journey to adoption, plans for parenting, etc. We ended with kind of a fun page, "Mark and Melanie in Twenty Questions." It is probably my favorite page in the whole portfolio. It has a picture of us very light in the background of the page. Not sure if there is a way to post a link to it or not... I may have to experiment.

In the middle of my day today, I all of a sudden had this peaceful feeling come over me and a quiet "voice" that seemed to whisper, "I have the perfect child planned for you." Now, don't get me wrong - I know that our child will not be perfect! Believe me... my parents are probably hoping for a little bit of "payback" for the child (and teenager) that I was. Anyway, Mark has made this comment several times and I actually included it in our portfolio to describe our relationship. "We may not be perfect, but we're perfect for each other." So, I think the same perspective should apply to our child - our child may not be perfect, but God is handpicking our child for us and since HE is perfect, the same applies to His choice of our child. I can't wait to see what He has in store!

Monday, September 28, 2009

the weekend is over and I need to go back to work. I aCheck Spellinglso had a short weekend, I did an extra load on Friday. we got the hot tub fixed today and I hope it stays running this time. last time it only ran for a few hours. I hope all of you had a great weekend.

mark

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday! Have you given any thought to what you are thankful for today? Take a few moments to consider this - surprise me with a post!! Today, my thankful list includes:

1. Fall - This is my absolute favorite time of year. To me, fall is all about home and family. I don't quite know why or how to explain it, but there is just a cozy feeling that I associate with fall. I love being able to sleep with the windows open and lots of covers on, get out my favorite sweatshirts, fuzzy socks. It's a great food time, too - squash, pumpkin, apples - all sorts of yummy comfort food. Halloween is probably my favorite holiday (note new blog design - lol) - it is so much fun to greet the trick-or-treaters! I can't wait to enjoy Halloween with our child. The changing colors are beautiful and I just love to be outside - so yep, I am thankful for fall.

2. Flip-flops - Ok, I know that sounds silly since I just said I was thankful for fall and flip-flop weather is coming to an end. Maybe saying I am thankful for bare feet is more appropriate. Taking off my shoes as soon as I walk in the house is always a treat. I like feeling the floor on my bare feet, wiggling my toes, and showing off a cute new pedicure.

3. F*cebook - Now you are really wondering about me, right? Why am I thankful for a networking site? Well, my cousin Katie lives in North Dakota and we don't see each other very often. It's probably been 2 years since I saw Katie and her family. We recently became "friends" on FB and last night, who should pop up with an instant message, but Katie. We chatted for a while and it was great to catch up with her. She is a beautiful, faith-filled woman who inspires me and I am thankful that FB has allowed us to be a little more connected.

4. I'm thankful for the opportunity to share Thankful Thursday with you!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Adoption Update

We received our draft of the home study in the mail yesterday. I've had a chance to review and Mark will look at it tonight. Basically, a few wording adjustments to make - that's about it. Hopefully, we can return it to Becky tomorrow so that she can make the updates. Then, it will go to her supervisor for final approval. Then, we will be officially ready and waiting! Yay!

Our church started a visionary parenting course today. Some of it may not be applicable since we aren't parents yet, but we're attending anyway. I've probably said this before, but I feel like adoption is allowing us to be more thoughtful and proactive about some parenting things than we might be if we just got pregnant and had a child.

It's so exciting to be on this journey!!

Domestic Goddess I am Not!

I love to cook, bake, entertain - and yes, I think that I have some talent in those areas. I can throw a load of clothes in the washing machine, put them in the dryer (if I remember), and fold them (eventually). Usually, they don't look too bad.

However, other domestic duties - hmmm... not so much! Case in point... I don't iron. My mom didn't iron much when I was growing up and my grandmother's ironing gene did not skip a generation to land in my gene pool. Over my adult years, I have ironed on occasion as the need arose and maybe even went above and beyond the call of duty every now and then. But, it's been a long time since I ironed - probably since before Mark and I started dating. Thank goodness for a husband who doesn't care about that stuff. Truth be told, before he met me, Mark had two clothes hampers: one for clean clothes, one for dirty. I'm not quite that laid back, I do like to get things in the dressser. Ok... I'm getting off track. I had an iron and ironing board when we got married, never used it. When we had sewer back-up in our basement several years ago, those items got wet. Finally got around to replacing them about a year ago. Since then, the ironing board and the iron have remained in their packages untouched.

So... today, I'm getting ready for the week. Trying to decide what to wear for my clinicals tomorrow and Tuesday. Glance at a blouse that I haven't worn for a while, I really like it but it is WRINKLED! I try dousing it with wrinkle release spray and tossing in the dryer. No luck. Can you guess what comes next? Yes, I decide I am going to be ambitious, call upon that domestic goddess of ironing that is hiding somewhere inside of me. Get out the iron, turn it on (I think), get out the ironing board, but I don't want to actually set it up so I just lay it across the counter in the bathroom. Back to check the iron - guess I must not have turned it on so I figure that out. Let it warm up and iron my blouse. Not perfectly mind you because I would need to have the ironing board set up correctly and probably set the iron at the correct setting for the fabric I am using. But... enough ironing to get by so that I can wear the blouse tomorrow. I'm quite proud of myself, pick up the blouse to kind of shake it out and look at it from a hanging perspective. In the process, I knock over a bottle of diffuser oil and spill it on the blouse I've just finished ironing. Grrr...

I KNEW there was a reason I don't iron! Back to the closet for an easy, wash and wear sweater or something like that.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Update

Becky (our SW) emailed today to say that our home study is in the mail! We will need to proofread it and then off for it's final stamp of approval. Yippee!

In our bedroom, I have a daily calendar of bible verses. Yesterday's verse was Jeremiah 32:27, "I am the Lord, the God of all mankind, is anything too hard for me?" That seems so appropriate right now and a confirmation of His promise that we will be parents.

Tomorrow, one of my dear friends and her husband are renewing their vows in honor of their 25th wedding anniversary. What a special celebration of their life together!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Yep - two Thursdays in a row, can you believe it? Ok, my next goal will be to get my Thankful Thursday post in the morning instead of right before heading to bed.

#1 - God's goodness in healing. The pathology reports from my mom's surgery indicated "clean" tissue in the area surrounding the melanoma. YAY! One of my co-workers has been battling breast cancer for several months now. She finished chemo and had surgery. The lymph nodes that the docs biopsied came back negative! Another YAY!

#2 - Encouragement. This semester, school has got me running. Two of my classes have several major projects and require a LOT of time and effort. I was feeling pretty down tonight with the weekly grade I received from the instructor of one of the classes. It wasn't a big deal, but I was discouraged. God reminded me that on Tuesday night, the other instructor gave me about the highest praise I could ask for - saying that I was setting the bar for the class with my writing skills. Talk about a warm fuzzy! And probably a good thing to remember when I am a parent. Sometimes, that negative comment lingers long after all of the praise. Thanks to my instructor for the positive comment that helps me keep the bigger picture in mind. I can't make everyone happy ALL the time, but I can give my best effort.

#3 - Completing one more step in our adoption process. We had our last "official" home study meeting with our SW this week. She will be writing our home study and hopes to have it ready for us to proof in the next few days. Then, it will go to her supervisor for final stamp of approval and we will be added to the "waiting families" list. DOUBLE YAY!! Little one - we are dreaming of bringing you home!!

#4 - The author of one of the blogs I follow is currently in Russia with her husband adopting a precious little boy and girl. She commented about how the little girl has no concept of what a "daddy" is - to her Eric, is "the man." Every child should know the love of a mother and father - it makes me sad to think about the children in orphanages never knowing about mommies and daddies. It also made me thankful that our child is going to have such a wonderful daddy!! Mark is so good with kids! I can just picture him on the floor with our children climbing all over him, laughing, playing, and loving on him. Can't wait to see it in reality!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

adoption profile

We spent all weekend making a profile of us for the birth mother to look at and pick us as the parents for their child. This task turned out to be a lot bigger than we thought. We must have spent 16 hours working on this.

mark

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Thank you to our friends and update on mom

Spent much of the day working on stuff for our portfolio. We need to finish up our "dear birth mom" letter tomorrow and I will feel pretty good about what we have accomplished.

Tonight, we went out for dinner with friends who are references for our adoption, Denise and Guy, Ken and Jeanne with our "niece" Tasha. Got home and remembered that I wanted to take some pics - oh, well. It's been a while since everyone's schedules have allowed us to get together and we really enjoyed the chance to catch up. We need to do this more often!!

Thanks to everyone for their prayers yesterday. My mom had surgery as planned and the surgeon was able to remove the entire area of concern. She was sick today in response to the pain medication, but is doing well.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Prayer Request - Melanie's mom

My mom is having surgery this afternoon to remove a melanoma from her arm. Please pray that the surgeon is able to remove it all and that any lymph node biopsies will be benign. Thanks!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thankful Thursday

On time... two weeks in a row - yippee!!

#1 - My mom - We are working hard to get our adoption portfolio put together. This is a file for the birth mom to look at as she is selecting a family for her child so we want to brag ourselves up a little bit. My mom has a great deal of experience in graphic design and is graciously helping us. I know that the portfolio will look much better with a professional (mom) working on it and I am very thankful for all of her talents!

#2 - Yummy (and easy) recipes - I made one of my all time favorite recipes tonight, Caramel Krispie Treats. They are beyond wonderful - I am going to take some to work tomorrow to share. Yes, Mark... I will leave some home for you as well (and yes, I also know you think I am nuts for "baking" when I have so many other things going on - what can I say... it decreases my stress level).

#3 - The chance to do nice things for others - Ok, this really isn't much and I am not trying to pat myself on the back, it's more just such a good feeling to make someone else's day. I had clinicals today and brought rolls for the staff - they are always so welcoming and have really made me feel comfortable there. So bringing treats was not a big deal, but everyone was thrilled to have them. Also, one of the nurses loves Eyore. I had a partially used pad of Pooh/Eyore post-its at work so I took took them with me to give to Donna. She was very touched. Again, it wasn't about "me" - it was about bringing a smile to another person's face and that was a wonderful feeling! One of my favorite quotes is "Be kinder than necessary to everyone you meet for we are all fighting some kind of battle." Sometimes, things that we don't even stop to think about can make all the difference for someone who is having a tough day. What can you do to make a someone's day a little brighter??

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I thought we would have no problem making our profile stand out. I have looked at some other profiles and everyone has a cabin, goes four wheeling, travels and has a nice home. We have a Grandmother that is 98 years old, parents that have been married 40 and 50 years.

It is very hard for us to brag about our life together, we were not raised that way. But that is
what we need to do. Give us some help and ideas for us in this area.

Mark

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Is the weekend really over?

It was nice to have a long weekend, but gosh it went fast! As noted below, I got my puppy fix on Saturday. Ok, well I didn't really get my fix because I would love to have one of those sweet things at home. It's a good thing my sweet hubby is the voice of reason...

On Sunday, we spent the afternoon at my parents. My mom is helping us put together our adoption portfolio. Don't know what I was thinking when I figured we could get it done in one day. Ugh!! If I had been better prepared, that probably would have helped. Oh, well.

Yesterday, we were pretty lazy. I spent the day doing homework (not housework, although I guess laundry should count) and working on a couple of portfolio things. Mark had to work last night so he took a nap.

Today, I was in Fairmont for clinicals. I really enjoy working with the nurses and my preceptors there. There are quite a few patients that I see on a regular basis and it has been wonderful to build some relationships with them. The last patient I saw today brought in a beautiful cross-stitch bookmark that she had made. It said, "Faith can move mountains." The picture was mountains with a sun peaking over them. How appropriate and true!

Hope everyone is having a good week and the kids are getting back into the school routine without too much difficulty!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I went out to the deck so I could put bird feed in the bird feeder for MELANIE!!!. As I was getting the bird feed out I got stung by a hornet. I forgot how much that hurts. Did I say I was doing this for MELANIE!!!

OUCH!!!


Mark

Puppies!!

I am an animal lover, no doubt about it. I have 2 very spoiled kitties and look forward to a schedule that allows us to have a dog (after finishing school)! I really would like a mastiff and have been waiting for the arrival of some very special puppies this summer. Today, I had the chance to see them for the first time and do a little bit of cuddling.


Bella and Bailey (a.k.a. mom)

What a snuggler!

Sucking my thumb

What a cutie! I think he would make a great birthday present!!





Openness in Adoption and other thoughts

When Mark and I first started talking about adoption, I was very apprehensive about having an open adoption. But my heart has really been changed and I see how important it can be for everyone involved.

At first, I was scared - mostly insecure about having ongoing contact with our child's birth family. What if they decide they want to be parents later on? What if they try to undermine our parenting? What if our child loves them more? All sorts of anxieties...

However as I have thought and prayed about this as well as listened to kids who have been adopted, it has become increasingly important to me that we consider as much openness in our adoption as the birth family is interested in. Of course, it needs to be in the best interest of everyone involved. Heritage is a vital piece of one's identity. Knowing our origins allows us to have a better sense of self, who do we look like, what traits have we inherited from our parents, etc? Children who have been adopted may want to know the circumstances that led to their adoption plan, ask questions, be reassured. Birth families want reassurance that their child is being cared for and loved, given opportunities to grow and reach their highest potential - to know that their adoption plan was the right one - it is completely understandable!

Mark and I will be open to sharing letters, photos, perhaps phone calls and visits with our child's birth family. We feel that openness is what's best for our child!!

One other thought that has been on my mind. Every now and then, I start getting impatient about adopting. I want it to happen on MY time frame. A couple of weeks ago, our pastor spoke about trusting God - specifically Abraham and Sarah as they waited long into old age for God's promise of children to be fulfilled, how Sarah became impatient and took matters into her own hands instead of trusting that God would be faithful creating a situation that was not God's will. It was (and is) a reminder to me of the importance of trusting that God does have a plan for my life.

This thought was reinforced for me today as Mark and I looking for pictures to use in our adoption portfolios. I came across a paper that I had written for a faith development class that I took while completing my bachelor's degree. The date on this paper was exactly 2 months before my first husband died. I wrote that lately I had been hearing God tell me, "Your plans are NOT the plans I have for you." At that time, I had no idea of how quickly and dramatically my life would change. Over the past 6 years since that paper was written, God has been faithful and blessed my life in ways that I never would have imagined.

When I begin to get impatient and think about creating my own timeline for our adoption, I will stop and remind myself that God is always faithful. I trust that when the time is right, He will bring our child to us.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Can you believe I'm actually on schedule today? My thankful list really focuses on our agency and the adoption process.

#1 - I am thankful for the group panel discussion that I was able to attend on Tuesday night. Our social worker hosted this meeting and had several people who have had unique adoption experiences talk. It was neat to hear their stories as well as be reassured that they have went through similar things as they waited to adopt.

#2 - Birth parents!! We finally have our "dear birth mom" letter finished and I will post it here very soon. As Mark and I worked on this, I thought about the selflessness that is demonstrated by birth moms. Putting their child's life and needs above all else is such a gift of love. I can only imagine what these women must experience as they consider all of their options and try to make the best choice. I hope that I will somehow be able to convey to our child's birth parents how much their decision means to Mark and me.

#3 - Social workers - As I've mentioned before, our social worker is terrific! I also want to mention the social workers who advocate for the birth parents. In listening to the adoptive families talk about their experiences, I realize how important it is for that birth mom (and perhaps dad) to have someone who will really help them make the right decision (whether it is adoption or raising the child themselves).

#4 - Last weekend, I got to spend a little time with Tasha - who is our "adopted niece" - the daughter of close friends Jeanne and Ken. She's been away most of the summer and I've missed seeing her. I am thankful that Tasha is a very special part of my life. She is a beautiful young woman!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

life

life has been very hectic for the past few weeks, I hope it will slow down soon and the blog will be back on track. I will be bringing Halloween candy to the stores from now until mid October. so my time will be in high demand, but I hope I will get the blogging in for you

mark

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A little late

I meant to get a combination Thankful Thursday/Fabulous Friend Friday posted one of those days, but I'm late so here it is. After my first year of college, I decided to take a year off and moved to New York to work as a nanny. The first friend I made there was another nanny from Utah, Josette. My best friend Kari came to New York also and the 3 of us hung out together frequently. Josette and I kept in touch for a while after we both left New York, but over the years we had lost contact. I last saw her very briefly as I was passing through Salt Lake City on a trip to California in 2004. Well, my phone rang last weekend and it was Josette asking if we could get together while she was here in Minnesota!! I immediately called Kari (who had also lost touch with Josette) and we arranged to meet for dinner on Thursday evening. Here's a picture of the 3 of us. Wish I had a then/now comparison... well, wait - maybe I don't! LOL! Anyway... getting together with old friends is always a special gift and something to be thankful for!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Getting set for the fly-in

I took a day off work to get set for the fly-in. If you don't know what that is, it is a get together for people who fly planes and ultralight planes. We have this every year on the last Sunday of August. On a good year we get about 80 airplanes and over 500 people to show up. I do a lot of work to get set for this. It is at Wanamingo MN on a private airpark. Click here if you want to see it.

Thankful Thursday

I know this is a day late, but here it is. I am thankful for Melanie and that she only has 8 months of school left. I miss the time we had been able to spend together. Now her time is spent at work or school related things (studying or doing clinicals at Fairmont ) I am not complaining, this will make our lives better, but for now I miss the time we use to have together.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Please pray!

As you may know, I follow a wonderful blog - A Place Called Simplicity. Linny and Dwight are in the process of bringing their daughter Jubilee home from China and have hit a road block. Please click here to read Linny's message asking for your prayers. Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Reference Interviews Completed! (and a brief musing)

Just time for a quick note this evening. Part of our home study includes Becky meeting with the friends that we have listed as references. She finished the final reference check today. I just want to say thank you to Denise and Guy, Jeanne and Ken, and Brad for being willing to vouch for us (hopefully, we paid you well enough.. oh, yeah, I forgot that we didn't pay you anything - lol!, well, we will have to figure something out).

We have started the education piece of the process now, receiving information about adoption, education modules, we have homework assignments - watching some videos that talk about issues that adopted children often deal with. It's interesting and eye-opening. I'm glad that this is part of the requirement to adopt.

One of the videos we watched was interviews with young adults who were adopted. One of them talked about how she always felt like she was her parents' second choice (first choice would have been a biological child). Her parents didn't act that way, but she "felt" like that was the case. That really touched my heart. Mark and I talked about how we might approach this situation and here's what we came up with. Our first choice is to have a child. Biological vs adopted - doesn't matter. We want to have the child/children that God intended for us to have. There is no second choice with Him. The child He brings to our family will be the FIRST choice, loved and nurtured, perhaps treasured (not spoiled rotten!) even more because we know that he or she was chosen by God Himself. I hope and pray that our child is able to trust and believe that in their heart.