Fall 2013

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Aren't we a "loving family?"

Recently, I added a link here on our blog for children who are waiting for their forever family. You may wonder "Why - if we are waiting for a child - aren't we considering making one of these beautiful children part of our family?" That's a very appropriate question.

There are usually several children on RR that touch my heart deeply. Mark will attest to the fact that tears come freely when I think about every minute that they are without a family to love them. And at any given time, I am praying specifically for 1-2 to find their forever home. It is so exciting to see these children move to the list of pending adoptions - God hears our prayers! I have been blessed to follow one child's journey, praying for her since she was first listed on RR and even now when she has been part of her forever family since December. Sometimes, I ask God if He has a plan for any of them that includes Mark and I, hoping that maybe He does.

But for right now, I believe that God's plan for us is to pursue domestic adoption. You can read about how we came to that decision in one of my earlier posts. We are open to that path that is laid out before us. In the meantime, I feel like I can advocate for these precious children who desperately need a family to call their own by sharing them with you. Perhaps you will feel led to bring grow your family through this journey called adoption.

Remember tomorrow's challenge!!

Just a reminder that tomorrow is Random Acts of Kindness day! Have you thought about what you are going to do to touch someone's life? Even if you just want to do this without using the above card, please consider. We may not always know what the people around us (the person we pass on the street, the bank teller, the grocery clerk, etc) are experiencing in their own lives. There is never a day that can't be made better by being a little kinder, a little gentler, a little more generous. By giving to others, we are truly the ones who are blessed by that act.
I have my cards printed - I have 10 of them and my goal is to give all of them away by the end of the day - so that is 10 Random Acts of Kindness. It seems like a daunting task and I may not accomplish it, but I'm going to give it a try. Tomorrow evening, I'll share about my day. And I'm looking forward to hearing about your day, too!! Drop a note here on the blog site!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Challenge for You!

My friend Sarah shared a wonderful site www.lovewithoutboundaries.com with me a while ago. On the LWB blog site, they are challenging each of us to participate in a Random Acts of Kindness Day on July 1. Read more about this here. I would like to echo that challenge - think about what you can do to make a difference in someone's life.

A few of the ideas I have come up with:
  • Contact your local woman's shelter to donate some gently used toys, clothes, or other items.
  • Bake a batch of cookies or brownies for your family. Double the recipe and share the extra batch with a neighbor, friend, or perhaps local fire department, police station, etc.
  • Buy a balloon bouquet and take it to the children's wing of your local hospital. Ask the nurses to deliver it to a child who needs it most.
  • Leave a bouquet of flowers on someone's doorstep.
  • Pay a local teen to mow an elderly neighbor's yard.
  • Leave your change in the vending machine for the next person to find.
  • Donate books to your local library.
  • Visit a nearby nursing home - visit with the residents, offer to assist with activities.
  • Share a smile and compliment with someone. It might be the only positive moment that person gets all day.

Print out a copy of the card on the LWB site to give with your act of kindness. There are sooo many things that we can do to make a difference in the lives of those around us.

I hope that you will accept this challenge and come back here to post what "random acts of kindness" you have done! I can't wait to hear from each of you!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fabulous Friend Friday

I know... I missed last week. Not very nice way to honor all of my wonderful friends... on the last Fabulous Friday, I had mentioned some special people that I wanted to recognize - now I'm behind in that. Oh, well. Life is that way sometimes.

Today, I honor my friend Delores. We met about 12 years ago when we worked on the same unit at the hospital. Delores is one of God's most faithful servants - she loves Him and encourages others to do the same. There are many things that make Del (as she is known to most of her friends) special to me. She is genuine and she makes me laugh. She is compassionate and has held me when I cried. Del is my prayer partner. She has prayed on my behalf in my darkest hours when I literally could not find the words and she has rejoiced with me in my happiest moments. Del has a heart for God that is apparent to all who meet her. She is tender hearted, compassionate, and someone that I am honored to call "friend." The following quote says it well,

"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares." ~ Henri Nouwen

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thankful Thursday

1. Our blog - It's been a hectic couple of weeks. I've had mid-terms and a pretty big project to complete for school so I haven't had much time to blog. So, first of all I am thankful for the opportunity to be here and sharing with you.

2. The thoughtfulness of others - A couple weeks ago, I shared that I was thankful for massages and how awesome Vicky (my massage therapist) is. Last time I saw her, Vicky told me about a book that she thought I would find inspirational. I came home from work today to find a package in the mail from her. She sent me a copy of this book with a personal, encouraging note inside. Her kindness touched my heart!!

3. Chocolate Chip Pancakes - That's what is for dinner tonight. I LOVE chocolate chip pancakes - probably one of my favorite foods! Well, chocolate in general ranks right up there - lol!

4. Doll*r Stores - Ok, I know that there is lots of cheap, tacky stuff at these type of stores. But, if you know what you are looking for, there are also some good bargains. And I leave the store without having spent much money, but happy that I was "shopping."

5. That we are officially "In Process." The first visit of our home study was Monday! It wasn't anything exciting, just more of a review of paperwork, overview, and scheduling - but it's still a step!! And it also means that if (by chance) the right opportunity came along, we could be considered as potential adoptive parents. I've heard many talk about how nervous the home study made them - I don't think that either Mark or I felt nervous meeting with Becky. We want her to get to know us as well as possible so that she can give an accurate picture of our lives. And we want any birth moms out there to know that a child coming into our family will be loved and cherished. So, we are excited about sharing ourselves as part of the home study.
Next week, Mark and I meet with Becky individually. After that, we meet as a couple again. Sounds like we can anticipate the home study process to be about 6-10 meetings. We were given a folder and for those of you who are familiar with the process, all I can say is "Let the paperwork begin." We've got a pile of it, but it is all part of the journey to our child and we are thrilled to be on this journey!

What are you thankful for today? I'll be waiting to hear!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Last weekend on Sunday the 14th we were at the cabin we got the Envoy stuck as we were starting home. Thinking back we should have taken some pictures.

This weekend I spent most of my time washing the deck getting ready to stain it. Betsy (my little sister) came down from the twin cities to see some friends, her boyfriend Tim and his son John helped move the hot tub so we could clean the deck under it and stain it too.Today for fathers day we went to Red wing to see a car show that had Melanie's dad and his Corvette in it. Then took Melanie's mom and dad out to eat at Kings in Miesville MN

So other than seeing Melanies mom and dad not much fun this weekend but it was work that needed to get done.

On Monday June 22 (tomorrow) we will be seeing Becky of Catholic Charities to start our home study, I know things will go well, but wish us luck anyway.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Prayer Request

Along with our "Good News" came an unexpected detail. Mark and I understood that we would have to pay 1/2 of our home study fee up at the beginning and the other 1/2 would be due when it was completed. I found out today that we have to pay the whole fee up front. Please pray for God's guidance as we try to figure out how best to accomplish this. Thanks in advance!

Thankful Thursday

Gosh, this morning I was really thinking hard about what I would post for Thankful Thursday - there was nothing specific I felt led to share. This afternoon, I have many things to be thankful for!

1. Air Conditioning - I am not a fan of hot weather. Never have been, 70 and sunny with a bit of breeze is about as warm as I like it. Today is warm and humid. It felt so wonderful to come into a nice cool house this afternoon!

2. Safety - We had storms come through our area last night, including a tornado about 30 miles from here. From the news reports, it sounds like one person suffered a minor injury but that's all. Property damage and lost power to many, but no lost lives! My friend Denise and her family (last week's Fabulous Friend) were driving right into the tornado path when she got a call on her cell phone warning them. Also, my mom blew a tire on her way home from work last night. I thank God for keeping everyone safe!

3. Purses - Now, Mark will tell you that he is NOT thankful for purses - lol! However, I LOVE them. Some women have a weakness for shoes, jewelry, makeup - mine is definitely purses. I have a good size collection and get lots of compliments on some of my unique ones. I love to find great bargains on them - I think the most I have ever paid is $40 for a purse. Best deal - $20 for a great Co*ch purse. Consignment stores and the good will shop are awesome places to find them. And today was a GOOD day to shop for purses. That's all I'm going to say since I might incriminate myself when my better half reads this blog. :)

4. Peace - The adoption journey is one of many ups and downs - I know that as we go along, we will experience the whole roller coaster ride (and I can tell you that I don't like roller coasters at all). But at least for today, I have an incredible sense of peace about God's plans for our family (and I had it even before I knew about #5). I can't wait to see what He has in store!

5. Last but certainly not least - GOOD NEWS! My friend Sarah told me that we should be persistent with our agency. Last week, I had posted that our SW had the unofficial FBI clearance on our background check and was waiting for the paperwork - hoping she would receive it by the end of the week. We hadn't heard anything so I decided to call her this afternoon. She was in the office and said that our official clearance arrived in today's mail! YAY!!! She asked if I wanted to schedule our first home study meeting. Hmmmm... do ya think?? Of course! We are meeting with her next Friday to begin our home study!!!!

What are you thankful for today? Are there any other purse enthusiasts out there?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fabulous Friend Friday

I received one of the most beautiful quotes today in an email. "Friendship isn't about who you have known the longest, but about who came and never left your side." There are a few people who immediately come to mind. Over the next three weeks, I will honor them on Fabulous Friend Fridays.

Denise W is who I choose to honor today. Denise and I have shared so much over the 15+ years that we have been friends. We met in nursing school, worked together, returned to school together and shared our lives. I am privileged to be god-mother to 2 of her 3 beautiful daughters. When the bottom dropped out of my world, Denise was there for as long I needed her to be before I could even ask. She has also shared many of the happiest moments of my life and was the matron of honor when Mark and I were married. When I called to tell her that Mark and I were starting our adoption journey, she was almost as excited as we were! Even though we are both so busy that we don't get togther as often as we would like, I know that if I called her right now and told her I needed her, she would be by my side. Denise has a wonderful sense of humor, she is a brilliant nurse, compassionate friend, and is beautiful inside and out. I am so glad that God brought her into my life!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Check out this special site!

Adoption is not a cheap undertaking. Those adopting internationally have even more expenses related to country fees and travel. Fundraising can be an important part of the process. I'd like to share a special blog with you about a family that is adding a beautiful daughter from Ch*ina. You can visit Lori's site to enter her giveaway - she has great items and an even more touching story!

Thankful Thursday

I am glad it's Thursday because it requires me to slow down for a few moments to consider what blessings I have and what I am thankful for - often, I don't stop to appreciate all the good things in life.

The first thing on my thankful list today is accountability. If you had asked me yesterday, I would not have been thankful for this. I was given some feedback at work that was quite hurtful. After having the night to "sleep on it," I have decided that this is an opportunity to pray for an open heart and ask God to work in me. So, I am thankful for others who care about me enough that they are willing to share observations that offer me the chance to grow and better myself.

Next thing I am thankful for is music. I especially love listening to internet radio!! I wish that my singing ability matched my enjoyment, but I limit my singing to the car (when I am alone) - lol!

Mark asked me to share that he is thankful for quality couple time. Since I have been in school, we don't have as much time to just relax and enjoy being together. We both miss that and are looking forward to post graduation days. This weekend, we're planning on heading north to our cabin. He needs to do some work on the floor and we'll hit the trails for some 4-wheeling. YAY!

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Good News!

Our social worker, Becky left a message today saying that she had checked the computer for our background check information. No surprise to us - there was nothing on our Adam Walsh check, but I understand the process has to be followed. She has to wait for the "official" document clearing us to arrive in the mail, but anticipates it yet this week or early next week so says we should be hearing from her soon. YAY!! The next step will be our home study. We have to pay 1/2 of the study fee up front so please say a prayer that we will have the money we need for this expense.

I am excited that we have accomplished one more "baby" step in the journey to our child! To use Linny's phrase "Yippee Jesus!!"

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Born from above

In church this morning, our gospel lesson was from John 3. In verse 3, Jesus makes a comment about no one seeing the kingdom of heaven unless they have been "born again." Our pastor talked about the actual translation being "born from above." That concept really struck me. I know that adoption is not what was being referred to - however, the phrase seems very appropriate as I think about our child. I've commented about how he or she is born in our hearts and I still feel that is true. However, I think that our child is also being "born from above" because God is in control of our adoption plans. He sees all of eternity and has known of Mark's and my desire for a child since the beginning of time. I believe in His promise of a child for us. God loves our child's birth mother, He loves the child we share, and He loves us. ALL of us are His children and we are born from above through Him - what an amazing gift!

Super Yummy Sunday

Many of you know that I love to cook. Recently, I was talking about baking that I had done over the weekend and a co-worker asked if it was stress relief for me. I'd never thought about it that way before, but yes... I guess it is a form of relaxation and something I enjoy. I've often thought that having a small little cafe would be wonderful - hard work? Absolutely. Long hours? Yep! But, it would be a way to nourish people's bodies and souls at the same time. Maybe I wouldn't enjoy cooking as much if it was an actual job - I don't know. But since I am nowhere near having my little cafe, I have to share my love of cooking in another way. If I had the opportunity to cook for each of you, I would love that! In the meantime, I've decided to share some of my favorite (and easiest) recipes with you on "Super Yummy Sunday" posts. I'll also label these posts as "recipes" so you can search for them if you want.

My recipe for today is an awesome Rhubarb Cake - even those of you who don't like rhubarb will enjoy this recipe.

1 package vanilla cake mix (can use any white or yellow mix)
4 cups rhubarb
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup Spl*nda
1/2 pint whipping cream
Prepare cake mix as directed and pour into greased 9X13 pan. Sprinkle sugar and Spl*nda over rhubarb and stir. Spoon this mixture over the cake mix. Drizzle whipping cream over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool; may invert onto serving tray if desired. Enjoy!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fabulous Friend Friday

It's a TGIF kind of a day - I'm ready for the weekend. But first, I need to take the opportunity to honor one of my fabulous friends!

Today, that person is Kari. We met in grade school - the summer between 4th and 5th grade - in summer band - we both played the flute. Although we went to different grade schools, we developed a friendship that was solidified when we started attending the same junior high. Over the years, we have tied up the phone lines for hours on end - laughing, crying, doing all those things that best friends are about. We have had many adventures over the years, some great stories, some much too embarassing to share with anyone else - we've lived close together and far apart. We were nannies in New York together and have shared some of the best and worst moments of each other's lives. Any lasting friendship is likely to have some bumps over the years. Unfortunately, Kari and I have also had those. We've been friends for nearly 30 years and in spite of those bumps, I consider her to be a very important part of my life . I look forward to being her friend for at least another 30 years and sharing many more adventures with her. And when our little one arrives, I am hoping that Auntie Kari (personal joke) will be involved in our child's life! In the meantime, I honor her as my friend today!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thankful Thursday

On this Thankful Thursday, I have to write about some indulgences. Over the past 5 years, I have learned the importance of caring for myself. Ok... I admit that I am not fond of exercise or eating healthy. Those are things I still need to create some self-discipline about. But, I am getting better at nurturing myself emotionally and spiritually. I've developed a couple of "guilty pleasures" which truly have become a blessing to me.

1. House Cleaners - I can't very well say a "cleaning lady" since Cheryl and Denny are the people who clean our house. But, I can say that I am thankful for them! I do NOT enjoy housework. I don't like a messy house and keep things fairly neat. However, dusting, vaccuuming, scrubbing floors - hmm... not so much. Mark and I have a cleaning person come in regularly and this is money well-spent. It is wonderful not to worry about what things look like if company drops in unexpectedly or we want to invite someone over at the last minute. Coming home after Denny and Cheryl have been here is such a good feeling.

2. Massages - where do I start? I had my first massage about 5 years ago - several months after Bob died. After nearly 14 years of marriage that included daily hugs, kisses, and affection - all of a sudden, I didn't have any physical contact (no, I do not mean sexual) with ANYONE. Although I knew I missed human contact, until I had that first massage I did not realize the restorative nature of healing touch. Unfortunately, massage is not cheap. I found a school of massage therapy which offered very reasonable sessions with students. Last year, God scheduled my appointment with a student named Vicki. She is a genuine, tender-hearted person who has become an amazing massage therapist. She went on to graduate and start her own practice, but offered to give me a discounted rate since I was her "favorite client." At the beginning of an appointment with Vicky, I often feel like my body is a big knot. She presses, kneads, massages - calming my body, mind, and often my soul. She is such a blessing to me! I LOVE to get a massage!

3. Mark - I know I that I say I am thankful for him almost every week, but I am thankful for him EVERY day! After commenting in #2 about how important touch is, I love holding hands with my hubby, kissing him, cuddling up together - being in his arms is about my favorite place to be.

4. Lunch with friends - this could go in my Friday post as well, but I'm putting it here. My friend Denise lives in Florida right now so we only get to see each other 1-2 times/year. We've been friends for 20 years - she was a bridesmaid in my first wedding. Denise is back here in Minnesota for a couple of weeks so we got together for lunch today. Spending a couple of hours catching up on each other's lives was a wonderful blessing and I am thankful for opportunities like that - friends are SO important!

5. One more thing - I am thankful that God is all-knowing. He knows everything there is to know about our child (children) - the color of their eyes, hair, shape of face, personality traits, etc. I love the idea that God has planned our family from the beginning of time - even though Mark and I don't know what our family will look like, God does! I imagine Him like an eager child saying, "I can't wait to show you the plans I have for you - be patient, be open to my will, and enjoy this journey to your child!"

What are you thankful for this Thursday? Come on... surprise me with some responses!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Need some prayers!

I'm feeling very discouraged at the moment. For those of you who don't know me (don't think I have mentioned in previous blogs), I am currently working on my master's degree in nursing. It is a dual adult and geriatric nurse practitioner program and required a total of 640 hours of clinical and residency time. I started clinicals in February and they will continue through the summer. In the fall, I will start my residency (360 of the required hours). Right now, I spend 3 days every 2 weeks in a clinical rotation at a small town medical center which is about a 2 hour drive (one way) from here. I found out a few minutes ago that the total numbers of hours for my clinical/residency time has increased to 760! That's 480 hours over a period of about 24 weeks - in addition to my regular job plus the course work. I haven't picked up my "certified letter" from the post office yet to find out the details/reason for the change, but it's a done deal.

Now, I know that there are plenty of people who work full time, go to school full time, have a family, and manage just fine. So, I probably shouldn't be complaining. It is just very frustrating to have the requirements change in the middle of the program. If they needed to be changed, fine - do it with an incoming group of students - not those of us who are over half-way there.

I ask that you pray for my attitude to be one of acceptance and willingness to see this as a learning opportunity/blessing - not the roadblock that it feels like to me right now. I also ask for your prayers that the time and financial stumbling blocks will be removed as well. Becoming a geriatric nurse practitioner has been my dream for many years and serving the elderly is the call that is placed on my heart - what an awesome blessing!

On a positive note, I feel like God has shared some "news" with me regarding when He will bring us to our child. No - it is not an immediate gift, as much as I would like that to be the case. There are no specifics about how, when, where, etc. He knows those details - not me. I don't want to have unrealistic expectations or get my hopes up, but I do claim this as a promise from Him. I will continue to pray and when the timing seems right, I will share this with all of you who are traveling this adoption journey with us. Until then, Mark and I eagerly await the moment when we will hold our little one for the first time.