Fall 2013

Fall 2013

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.




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.


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


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!!