2 Corinthians 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."

Monday, January 30, 2012


As I type, I am watching the movie "Courageous".

By myself...

In my bedroom...

While my husband is at work...

And my kids are in the living room.

My kids are teenagers, so they can handle this movie.  I just knew this was a movie that I needed to watch by myself.  I knew I would.....cry!

I'm not a public crier.  Sometimes, people think that means I just don't cry but that's not true.  I don't cry often, and I'm definitely not comfortable crying in public.  

So, knowing a little bit about this movie, I knew it would be best to watch by myself.  And BOY was I right! 

I may have only gone through one tissue so far, but it is well used.  I've laughed, cried, laughed, cried and now laughed again.

If you haven't seen this movie, do whatever you have to do to see it!  If you are one of my local friends, contact me and you can borrow my DVD.  

When "Courageous" came out in theaters last September, our church gave out free tickets to any first responder that requested tickets.  My husband attended, along with 2 co-workers and their wives.  He said the movie was, in his words, "Excellent".  Now, if you know my husband, you'd know that is a bit out of character for him.  I expected him to say it was "good" or even "very good", but not excellent.  After the movie, our church began a 6 week men's study using the companion book to the movie.  My husband and one of his co-workers attended when their work schedules allowed and the co-worker started bringing his family to church this winter.

Who would think God would use a movie to speak to people, first about marriage in "Fireproof" and now to fathers in "Courageous".  I think sometimes Christians think there are careers that we should not be a part of, such as film making.  I once heard just the opposite.... I heard that we should have Christian actors, Christian athletes (think Tim Tebow), Christian fashion designers and even Christian film makers.  "Courageous" has been seen by a wide audience, not just church goers, and I think this has been good in waking up fathers across America to see that they need to invest themselves in their children's lives.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Night Shift

I have a love-hate relationship with night shift.....

In the beginning of my husband's career, it was pure hate.  I did not like being home alone at night- that took a LOT of time to get used to.  We were newly married, new to town and knew few people, so I was lonely during the day and it was hard to not go and wake him up when I felt like talking.  I'm surprised he didn't lock the door to our bedroom so he could get some uninterrupted sleep!

Now I'm used to sleeping by myself at least 8 nights a month.  In fact, I enjoy not having to hear snoring while I'm trying to go to sleep.  I even enjoy having some time alone in the evenings after the kids have gone to bed.

What I don't like is trying to live during the day with someone asleep so nearby.  When we had our house built, we weren't thinking about night shift.  My husband was on a schedule where the latest he'd get home is at midnight..... sometimes later than that, but it was still easier than getting home at 7am and sleeping until 2 or 3pm.  So, without thinking about the chance of night shift in the future, we picked a split bedroom floorplan.  Our master bedroom is right next to the laundry room, the garage and the kitchen!   In our house, those are all the rooms with the most noise!

So, whether it's the laundry going and making noise, the mixer kneading the bread dough and making noise, closing the microwave and making noise or leaving the house and opening or closing the garage door and.....that's right, making NOISE, some days I just pray that my husband can sleep through it all!  And most days that's just what he does, thankfully!

The earthquake we experienced a few months ago, DID wake him up in the middle of the afternoon.....  But hopefully we'll never have to go through that again.

My kids have grown up with dealing with this issue of night shift and they are very good at being fairly quiet.  We don't believe in keeping a silent house while my husband is sleeping- he does need to be able to sleep with some noise going on.  But we do try to be more quiet than normal.

What I don't know is how the child we adopt will deal with this part of our lives.  I know it will take patience on our part as we introduce him or her to our crazy way of living.  It may even take some earplugs for Rich as the child/children forgets and runs screaming through the house (or maybe that will be me?!).

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Somebody(s) Getting Older!

My kids have birthdays this week.

Yes, you read that right.  BOTH of my kids have birthdays this week.  My daughter will turn 14 on Friday and my son will turn 16 (oh my!) on Sunday.

We brought my daughter home from the hospital ON my son's 2nd birthday.  I remember that day so clearly.  He was so young and so tired and really had no clue what had come into his life.  And he also was too young to remember life without his sister. 

They've been close from the beginning.  Even in their teen years, when you'd think a brother and sister would grow apart, they are still good friends.  There are days my son needs some time away from his sister and there are days she annoys him on purpose, but for the most part, they have a great relationship. 

My daughter loves soccer, Legos and texting.

My son loves soccer, Legos and watching football.  

They both love serving others and are excited about the upcoming adoption.

We love doing something special with them on their birthdays.  The each get to pick what we eat and what we do on their birthdays.  So, on Friday we are having Hamburgers, Boiled Potatoes with Sour Cream and Ice Cream Sundaes and probably going roller skating.  On Sunday we are having Subway, Doritos and Cake Balls and having a Lord of the Rings movie marathon!  (I don't mind watching those, but I've also been given "permission" to have my book with me in case I get bored....)

I can't believe my "babies" are so grown up!  I can't believe my son "can" (but won't!) get his driver's license this year.....that my little girl is babysitting....that we're thinking about the ACT and the SAT and college and majors.....I'm not sure I'm ready for all of that! 

So, since I'm not quite ready to dwell on how old they are both getting, I'll simply end this post by wishing them BOTH a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Failure....And Trying Again!

Well, I can tell you that "The Shred" was a complete failure for me!  Not the program, but ME!  I once again failed to complete Level 2 and never came close to starting or finishing Level 3.

Part of it was timing.  The holidays was not the smartest time for me to start an exercise program!  We also had a visitor in our home for a month and while we had a wonderful time with her, we were busier than normal and by the end of the day (when I was hoping to do the exercise program) I was often too tired!

Both my husband and I have 5-10 extra lbs lying around on us that we want to get rid of.  The good news is that it's an amount that we are both able to lose.  The bad news is we're not as young as we once were.  It used to be that I could change my eating habits and lose 5 lbs very easily.  No longer.  Now I must add in exercise and the process still takes much longer.

So, we have a new plan.  Our town has a community center with a small gym and we can join on a month to month basis for a reasonable cost.  We started going last week and hope to only need to do this for 1-2 months and then maintain our exercise/health goals with hiking, walking, jogging etc as the weather improves in the spring.

When my husband is working, there is little chance that he will go to the gym.  His best chance of going is when he has his four days off.  Many times this past year, his 4 days off have not been that.  Sometimes they have been 1 day off.  I'm hoping for this coming month he can go to the gym 2-3 times during those days off.  I plan to go with him probably 2 times and then 2 times on my own when he is working.  The gym is only open Monday-Friday (that's what you get for the cost, but it works well for us) so it will definitely be harder for my husband to find the time to go when he's off on weekends, but with our commitment being by the month, we can figure that part out when it's our reality.

So, my goal is to lose 5 lbs..... 10 lbs would be wonderful, but 5 is where I need to be.  I need my jeans to fit without feeling like I'm going to bust out of them.  I know some of you will roll you eyes that I'm complaining about an extra 5 lbs and I understand that.... But if I don't nip this 5 lbs, it could grow even more and I'm not wanting to go there.......

An added benefit beyond exercise will be getting to spend some time with my husband!  At the very least we have 10 minutes in the car on the way to the gym and 10 minutes coming home and if I can get that 2-3 times a week, I'll be happy!

So, once again I'm hoping for some accountability now that I've put this out there for anyone to see.

* Update:  I went to the gym 5 times last week!  I can only go 2 times this week, and I hope to go at least 3, maybe even 4 times, a week for the remainder of the time on our month membership.....  I can't believe that I am saying that I feel GREAT when I have gone!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

And Now We Wait.....

We've passed another "milestone" in the adoption process this week.....  We've sent our Homestudy to the social workers of several children!

Over the past few weeks (which have been incredibly busy with a visitor in our house and the holidays as well), we've been emailing back and forth with our social worker.  First, I sent her a list of approximately 20 children in our state who are currently available for adoption.  We had read their brief bios on the adoption website and felt there was a chance of a match with our family based on what was written about their situation.

With one child in particular, we learned that the bios are not always accurate.  Without going into any details, what was written about this child's behavior was not what the more in depth (yet still not highly detailed) report revealed.  Disappointing, but something we may have to get used to.  

From our list of 20, we received emails in return with a few more details, especially about what kind of abuse and/or neglect they had experienced, as well as some of their physical, emotional, and behavioral issues. 

We then asked for more information on 10 children..... and all of them turned out to be boys!

My son then created a file with information on each child that we received from the website and the emails from our social worker so we can access that in one location for ease of use later on.

I spoke with our social worker later in the week and received a little more info on each child.  We decided she should send our Homestudy to the social worker of each of the 10 children.  None of the info we received was shocked or scared us off from learning more.  It was all "typical" stuff for children who have experienced trauma and loss.  That doesn't mean that they will be easy children to deal with, but it's all issues that we feel equipped to deal with.

So, as the title of this blog says, now we wait.  For how long, we don't know.  Some of these kids may have no families interested in them, others may have 50.  We may never hear back in reference to some.  The social workers will read our Homestudy and contact our social worker if they feel we could be a potential match for the child.  I honestly don't know what happens if that is the case, but we will soon (or not soon!) find out!

I still have moments of scared.  When the stress and long hours of my husband's job has him falling asleep on the couch at 8pm......When I'm tired and don't want to think about dealing with more children....When I'm annoyed at whatever is annoying me that day....I'm nervous!  But that doesn't change the fact that these kids need homes.....and we have one.....and my kids want this....and I've wanted this for years.....and MOST importantly, my husband wants it....All that lines up as a big YES from God to proceed into this scary, nerve-wracking process..... Knowing that God will be with us through it all!

* Update and confession:

 First the confession..... Many times I write blog posts ahead of time.  I'll take a Saturday when my husband is working and write 1-3 posts.  So, sometimes things have happened in between the blogging and the posting.....

Now the update: We heard from our social worker that the social worker of one of the children we are interested in has read our homestudy and thinks we would be a great match for the child!  She is referring our homestudy to his team to review.  WOW!  Talk about getting nervous!  Even though this may not go any further than the team review, we didn't expect to hear anything this soon and so it really makes us realize that things ARE progressing now!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


We live a pretty easy life.  My husband has a job he loves & is good at, we have a home that is way more than we need and all 4 of us are healthy and have plenty of food to eat.  We have friends and family as well as a wonderful church.

That doesn't mean that we don't have our share of hard times or disappointments.  I don't want to linger on those times, but instead I just remind myself that God knows what is best in our lives.

For the past 3 months, my husband has been told by countless people at work that he was going to be transferred to another division.  This wasn't a request that he made, but it was good for his career and he was looking forward to it.  We talked a lot about how we shouldn't count on anything until we saw it in an email from the only person that mattered.  But I still thought about it often....

Oh, it was going to be nice... The schedule change... No more night shift... No more of my husband having to get up at 4:30am and falling asleep on the couch, exhausted, at 8pm... No more crazy dinner schedule- eating some days no later than 5pm, other days around 6:30pm, and still others days closer to 7:30pm, with every 6 weeks having the chance of eating our dinner at 1pm...

We be able to have a better chance of eating dinner close to 6pm every night... As a planner, I was very excited about that!

There would be less danger... Sitting at a desk downtown has got to be less risky than answering calls out in the field and having a target on your back wherever you go while on shift!

We'd have weekends together... We'd be like a "normal" family, able to plan fun things to do on Saturdays and going to church together every Sunday!

Even though he was assured that this change was going to happen, it turns out it's not going to.  

In the grand scheme of things, this disappointment is truly nothing and I know that.  I know that life moves on and we will continue to live this crazy schedule and we will be just fine.

But it still makes me a bit sad and that's ok too.  When I am disappointed I can remember that my plans are just that.... my plans... They are not God's plans!  I need to hold loosely to my plans and realize that God did not allow that transfer for a reason.  We may never know that reason and that is fine too. 

I actually think I'm more disappointed than my husband is.  We've had all of 2 minutes to talk about it...because of his schedule!  He's disappointed, but in his steady nature he says you just move on with life.  He'll continue to do his job well, he'll continue to be exhausted and he'll continue to do whatever he needs to do to provide for our family.

So in the end, it's not so much of a disappointment.  It's just our abnormally normal life!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

2011- Looking Back

Since I blogged about my goals for 2012, I thought it was also appropriate to take a look back at the events of 2011 and to see how God brought us through a wonderful, busy, crazy year!

January:  We ended our hosting experience with the kids we thought we were going to adopt, but it turns out God had other families in mind for them.  My husband dealt with the suicide of his Lt, as well as having to investigate it (the bad part about doing your job well is you get picked for jobs such as this....).  We celebrated the kids birthdays.  All in all, a bittersweet month.

February:  BIG changes- my husband got promoted and began a new schedule.  After 4 years of almost normal, we returned to crazy.

March:  We had lots of fun on a family trip to the mountains!  What a nice break from the craziness of the previous 3 months!

April:  I can sum up this month with three words: birthday, broken wrist, and beach!  My daughter broke her wrist on my birthday and we spent a few days at the beach that same week.

May:  Another trip to Charleston to visit some good friends.  Every time I go, I don't want to come home.  I'm pretty sure it's the good company, but the beautiful area doesn't hurt either!  (Can't wait to go back in 2012!)

June:  Another trip to the mountains (half the week was just the kids & I until my husband finished his shift and joined us).  I also spent some time planning for school while the kids volunteered at a church sports camp.

July:  We had a wonderful 2 weeks hosting Yana from Ukraine and showing her around the state.  We love that we can still keep in touch with her through email!

August:  We finished 48 hours of foster care/adoption classes, not realizing we would soon need to complete an additional 24 hours of classes.  But at least the ball was rolling.....

September:  This month can best be described with school (we were in full swing by this point), soccer (I love my kids' homeschool soccer team!), and State (football, that is...off duty work began for my husband...).

October:  My anniversary, State Fair off duty work for my husband, but the BEST thing the entire month was getting to Skype with Maria, who had just joined her forever family in America!  We are so happy to be able to keep in touch with her and her new family!

November:  Homestudy Complete!  We love our social worker....she's awesome and she knows what she's doing... We're looking forward to spending more time with her in 2012.

December:  Zana!  We had the privilege of spending 3 1/2 weeks with this wonderful woman from Latvia.  We laughed, played soccer, played games, shopped, and so much more.  She fit in to our family and we loved every minute of our time with her!

These were just a few of the highlights of this year.  There are many, many more memories of good times and hard times.  I'm looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us this year, but more importantly I'm looking forward to seeing how He will grow and change me through it all.

A few things I'm looking forward to for 2012 are seeing what child will join our family, getting to welcome a special young man into his forever family in NJ, and seeing my son get his driver's license.....  And continuing to blog about it all and more!

What memories do you have of 2011?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Goals for 2012

I know this is the time of year that people make New Year's Resolutions and then proceed to break every resolution by the end of January.  

I'm not one for the traditional New Year's Resolutions, but I do like to make goals for the upcoming year.  I know it's basically the same thing, but I seem to have a better chance at succeeding at my goals than with my Resolutions.

So, I've broken my goals down into 5 main categories.  If I have many more than that, there's no chance that I will get any of them done because it's too overwhelming and it's too much change.  I've seen that in my life in the past, so I'm not going to go there again.

1.  Read through the Bible in a Year: The kids and I have been reading through the Bible as part of their school studies, but I want to also do this in a year on my own.  I have a Bible that breaks it down by the day, incorporating the Old Testament, a Psalm, a Proverb and the New Testament into each day.

2.  Read more: I am currently reading "Parenting the Hurt Child" and it is excellent.  Next on the list is "Raising Adopted Children" as well as "Radical Together" by David Platt.  I want to read some good books on adoption, parenting and books by good Christian authors such as David Platt and Francis Chan.

3.  Exercise: This is usually on everyone's Resolution list and it's on my goals list for yet another year.  With my husband's change in work schedule in 2011, it's been hard to find a routine for walking or jogging together.  It's my goal in 2012 to exercise in some form at least 3 times a week.  This could be playing soccer or basketball with the kids, taking a walk with my husband, or doing an exercise video.  The point is to get moving and be healthy.

4.  Marriage and Family:  These are broad areas, but I'm breaking down my goals in this way.....  
  • Continue with monthly Date Nights
  • Re-evaluate and recommit in our Homeschooling- what's working, what's not, make any changes, but keep going!
  • Family Game Nights each week
  • Deliberate time with the kids, especially after we add to the family
  • Spend more time outdoors as a family- soccer, basketball, hiking, walks, etc.  This will also help with my exercise goal!
  • Listen to good books on audio CD

5.  Ministry: This also needs to be broken down into smaller areas....
  • Mentoring- I'm in two mentoring relationships.  I need to be certain to spend an adequate amount of time with each woman, as well as the 3 of us together.
  • LEOW Ministry- This is in the infancy stage, but myself and another department wife are looking into forming a group (through Facebook or email) where we can provide support and encouragement for the wives in our husbands' department.  Looking back, I needed something like this when my husband was first starting out and I was dealing with the crazy schedule, long hours and job stress.  
  • Family Mission Trip- Our church is taking one this summer and we'd love to go.  We'll see what God has in store for us in this area.

And so I'm reminded that even though these are my plans and goals for this year, I have to be flexible enough to follow where God leads our family.  

Proverbs 16:3 "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans."

Proverbs 19:21 "Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."