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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Testing, Testing...

Sure enough, we have been tested!

After about 3 weeks of all of us getting used to our new family of 5, we finally saw it.  An entire day of testing!  

I won't go into specifics on it, but none of it was horrible, it just was constant.  It was as if he was saying "Let's just see how much of it they can take and STILL love me!"

Thankfully, my husband was home from work and he was able to take care of it.  There are rules we have to follow on how we can and can't discipline and we do follow them.  Time Out and removal of privileges is working well and in reading back through his bio, it has also worked well in the past.  We also talk with him about proper behavior and why he needs to listen and obey.

We are all realizing just how much patience we will need to have during this adjustment period.  What I think is funny, is that I seem to be fairly patient and I would consider myself one of the least patient people in the family!  Perhaps it's because I've read and re-read enough of his history to understand his limitations.  I am constantly reminding my older children that they will have to be patient and will have to explain things many, many times...

We are making a few adjustments to our night time schedule to allow the older kids some time to re-group.  Bedtime for "W" has been moved earlier and this has worked well for all these last few days.  Now that he's eating and sleeping well, he needs to catch up on all the sleep he's lost in the past few years and he hasn't fought us at all (yet?) on this new bedtime.

"W" does like us reading his Day By Day Bible to him each night.  I have enjoyed my Read Through the Bible in a Year plan and his Bible goes through the entire Bible, but in a format that is easy for kids to understand.  It keeps Truth intact while allowing for kids to follow along well.  I think we'll be reading this Bible over and over again through the years!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I have a friend who is on a two week mission trip to Uganda.  He is experiencing something that is not seen in churches here in America.  When he described it on a Facebook status, it caught my attention:

"We taught for 6 hours straight and they begged for one more teaching.  It was hot and crowded and most people stood and yet they wanted more.  You can't get Americans to sit still and listen for 30 minutes without looking at their watch.  Help us, Lord!"

It made me think about how I view my church experience.  

  • Do I want the worship to entertain ME or am I really listening to the words and singing them to God?
  • Do I look for topical or surface sermons that I can shake my head in agreement to or do I want the preaching to be deep, even if it's not entertaining to me?
  • Am I looking at my watch after the preaching has reached it's 20 minute mark because I'm ready to move on to the next thing?
  • Do I really want MORE or am I just saying that because it's the "right" thing?
  • Can I even comprehend sitting standing for 6 hours, without complaining... and then wanting MORE?!

My friend followed up the above statement with another one...one which I agree with 100%:

"America has a big problem and it's called spoiled."

How true that is, especially in my own life.

Can I even imagine spending six hours in church, not listening to our awesome praise band, but in hearing preaching from the Bible without complaint?!

Honestly, I can't imagine it...

When was the last time I spent 6 hours listening to a preacher, reading my Bible, truly studying it's words, spending time in prayer?

Sure, we're busy.... There ARE things we have to get done... But the point is that we would probably gladly spend 6 hours:

  • Playing golf
  • Watching our favorite sport
  • Shopping
  • Spending time with friends
  • Planning our next vacation
  • Researching a cause dear to us
  • Reading the latest bestseller...
As I was writing this, I was thinking of all the ways I am spoiled... There are MANY ways!

I am challenging myself, and anyone reading this, to really take a look at how time is spent in the coming week.  Take a look and see if there is anything you need to give up or get rid of in order to spend more time in prayer and Bible study, learning more of who God is and what He expects from you.

This doesn't mean we never have fun, never read a book, never go places.  It might mean we read less, watch less tv, spend more time studying the Bible, spend time mentoring a young Christian (this will challenge you to study your Bible more!)...  It might involve repenting to God for our prideful and selfish attitudes... It might even mean turning to God for His free gift of salvation...

Do you think you are spoiled?  Could you stand in the heat for 6 hours and then ask for more?  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Rollercoaster Week!

I can't believe we survived last week!

Thankfully, "W" continues to adjust well into our family...

Here's a brief look at some of the craziness that happened within the first 3 days of last week:

  • My husband was on night shift... Which is normally hard... But he had to start work at 6pm, which means I needed to have dinner ready by 5pm.
  • My son had two nights of soccer practice... Which started at 5pm...
  • "W" had an appointment that kept us two towns away at the moment that my husband needed dinner AND my son needed to be at soccer! 
  • Knowing the schedule for the coming 2-3 weeks would also be very busy, I was determined to get the house cleaned... I just was hardly home for two days in a row so it was virtually impossible to do...
  • I forgot to put dinner in the Crock Pot on that same night, so there was not hot meal for my husband to eat before he left for work.
  • The AC unit in our upstairs bonus room stopped working over that weekend, so add a visit from the repair man in to an already crazy day!
  • I tried to register "W" at his school and was told that since the school year had technically started the day before, I would need to drive 45 minutes away to register him... I'm still trying to figure out when we can add THAT in to the schedule!
  • On the first night my husband didn't have to work, he had a meeting at church that was longer than I expected, which meant he was gone for over 2 hours when we all had seriously not seen him for much more than an hour total over the previous 72 hours. 

In the midst of the crazy moments, there were just as many times of wonderful!
  • My husband is so low key that not only did he not mind eating a slice of 3 day old pizza and a hot dog leftover from lunch for his dinner when I forgot to make it, BUT he also cleaned our bathroom for me while I took "W" to his appointment!  All after working all night and sleeping through the noise we were all trying so hard NOT to make!
  • My friend and her husband went out of their way to transport my son BOTH WAYS for one of his soccer practices since both my husband and I were unavailable. 
  • The bonus room losing AC was the best case scenario since it is an optional room for us.
  • My husband sleeps so well on night shift that he didn't hear us trying not to make noise!
  • My daughter and her friend made dinner for us on the night I forgot about the Crock Pot... Mac and Cheese and Strawberry Smoothies never tasted SO good!
  • We were able to go on a tour of "W's" new school and he seems to be really excited, although I'm still not thrilled about spending 3+ hours getting him enrolled sometime this month.
  • "W" was invited to a birthday party of a boy he knows from church and had a wonderful time with his new friend at the pool!
  • Our family of 5 was able to spend 2 days at the beach... Thinking we'd cram into a hotel room... But ending up being able to spend the night in a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom house with a pool and hot tub... FOR FREE!  It was 15 minutes from the beach and "W" LOVES the ocean!  I think we'll go back next summer, maybe even for the week!
  • "W" continues to adjust well into our family, bonding well with us all.  He is starting to test us some, but it's nothing unexpected or all that bad.

So, last week really had MORE wonderful than it had crazy...

Looking forward to the coming weeks of wonderful and crazy!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Facebook "Break"

After several days on vacation with only Facebook access from my phone (and poor coverage so I really wasn't on much)... And with a long list of stuff to do the following week... And some much needed family time as we grew to a family of five...

I decided it was time for a break from Facebook...

It wasn't a complete break, just a serious cutback.

When I am home, it is SO easy to have Facebook up on the laptop.  But then I find myself lacking in self control and wasting countless hours on there.  This is one major reason I REFUSE to get on Pinterest... For me, it's just another way to waste time!

So, I had to have some accountability and semi-drastic measures.

Our Wi-Fi has very good internet security and parental controls (Open DNS- research it and give it a try- it's FREE!).  We have 2 teenagers, so internet security is a MUST!  I don't know if it's growing up in NY or having an LEO husband, but I'm over cautious when it comes to the internet.  That's why I don't post my husband or kids' names on my blog and why my Facebook page is tightly secure (or so I hope...).  My kids don't have Facebook and neither does my husband.  Sure, some might see that as being a "helicopter" parent, but I see it as keeping them from a lot of stuff they don't need to see quite yet.  Before they leave the house, they can have Facebook, but not when they're 14 and 16.  I don't care if your teens have a Facebook page, just PLEASE make sure their page is secure!  I can't tell you the teens that I am not friends with but I can see everything on their page!  If I can, then the pervert can too!  Protect your kids on the internet!

But back to the point....

I asked my husband to block Facebook on our Wi-Fi for the last week of June and he did.  Because my smartphone internet access runs off of Wi-Fi when we're home (to save my data plan), I didn't have Facebook access from my phone unless I turned Wi-Fi off.  Yes, I did that sometimes and I checked Facebook while I was out of the house, but I can tell you the time I spent on it was much reduced. 

And I have to say I survived and enjoyed it too!

So, my husband and I have a deal... 

When he's off of work, he'll block Facebook in Wi-Fi...

When he's working, I'll pick 1 or 2 days/nights that he will unblock it.

I'll still have limited access on my phone.

This plan will help me with the amount of time I spend on Facebook and the computer in general, and during a time when I need to focus my time elsewhere.   

Hopefully I'll learn some self control on my own, but until then, I like this plan!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

One Book Finished!

I have finished one book in my stack of books I want to read this summer and fall!  

It definitely helped that I was reading this book with a friend and so we had a schedule of what chapters to read and when to have them read.  Accountability is a good thing!

I can imagine that "The Excellent Wife" by Martha Peace would be seen as 'controversial' by many.  After all, it talks about biblical submission, a topic that not many churches even want to discuss.  When we don't have a correct view of biblical submission, we are scared of what we think it could mean.

Peace is clear that a wife's submission to her husband does NOT mean she is inferior to him.  It also doesn't mean allowing her husband to walk all over her.  If he is doing that, he is in sin.

For me, the focus of this book was not in changing my husband but in changing ME!  After all, I can't control anyone else, especially not my husband!

When my thoughts, attitudes and actions are negative toward my husband what I need to do is change those things in me.  Obviously (and this is clear to those who know me!) I can't do this by myself.  I need God's help to change into the wife He wants me to be.

There were several helpful chapters in the book that showed what is a sinful thought, attitude or action that I need to "take off" but it also showed what godly thought, attitude, or action that I need to "put on" in order to work toward that change in my life.  I can't merely stop acting a certain way, I also need to begin to act more godly, whether my husband is doing right or not.

Personally, I have found that when my attitude toward my husband is positive, those little (or big) things he does that annoy me aren't so important anymore.  There is a lot more forgiveness in my heart toward careless actions when I am aware (and repentant of) those same actions in my life.

One thing is for certain, becoming an "excellent wife" will not guarantee a lasting marriage.  There are two people in a marriage and we can only control the actions of one of those people.  Our husband is responsible before God for his actions, something that we are often very aware of.  But are we just as aware that WE are also accountable to God for OUR actions?  I know many times I conveniently forget that.

So, while I know there are many women who wouldn't like this book, I enjoyed it.  It's hard to have to look at ME and see where I fall short.  It's much easier to look at my husband and point out his faults and where he needs to change.  But nagging him about that will not change him and it certainly isn't being a godly wife.

Both my friend and I agreed that we enjoyed reading and discussing this book and we will definitely use it in the future as a reference when we need those reminders of how we need to act in our marriages.

** I am reading two books at a time to get through as much of my list as I can this summer and fall.  While reading "The Excellent Wife", I was also reading "The Fitting Room" with 2 friends.  We should finish that by the end of July and I'll blog about that one too... It's another GOOD book.  So, right now I'm reading that one and trying to finish up "Authentic Spiritual Mentoring" before moving on to a book I think my husband will be happy that I am reading.....  ;) (It may not be what you think it is.... More to come on that soon!)


Monday, July 2, 2012

It's Move In Day!

After over a year of active work, over 72 hours of classes, stacks of paperwork, a homestudy, a list of 20 children, a couple thousand miles on the car, many trips for pick up and drop off, 8 visits totaling over 30 days.....


In some ways, this feels like it has taken a while... In other ways, it's been a short amount of time.  I know there are people who are waiting YEARS to adopt through foster care.  From the time we submitted our list of children we were interested in until the date of our first meeting about him, it was only 1 month.  That is pretty quick.

Then came the meetings and visits, too many to really count.

The visits were important in us getting to know him and in him getting to know us.  It was hard to give up so much time (a full day each week was spent in picking up and dropping off) in transportation, but it was worth it in the end to spend time together. 

Our schedule has been CRAZY during the past few months in trying to figure in these visits along with my husband's work schedule.  He doesn't have weekends off like many other people do.  He needed to take some days off in order to spend any time with us during each of the May weekend visits.  Thankfully, he has a lot of time he can use as well as some understanding supervisors who were willing to work with him to give him time with his new family.

It all comes down to today... It's our last trip 2 hours away to that Chick Fil A we have spent so much time at these past few months.  This time, it's forever.

My husband has taken a few hours off to be here when we get home. 

We have planned an easy dinner but one that he has enjoyed in the past: Chicken Quesdadillas, salad and homemade vanilla ice cream with crushed M&M's and Heath Bar on top.  We'll probably play some Wii (it will be too hot to play basketball) and he'll have 3 small gifts to open in celebration of him joining our family.

And then will start the adjustment period.  

We'll have lots of appointments to go to to get him established at his new doctors.

I'm curious to see how he'll be after about 2 weeks here.  Even with his longer visits with us, none were over 12 days.  I'm sure he'll have some sadness at missing his foster family, even while he's excited about being with us.

We've got some fun things planned for the summer... A day trip to the beach, swimming at friend's pools, going to the local museum, going to the movies, and more.

I've tried to not overschedule my days so that we have some time to spend together. Obviously, there are things we need to get done, but some things can wait while we have good family bonding time.

I won't be posting any pictures of "the boy" on Facebook because as of now he is our foster child and there are rules about those things.  I don't even know when or if I'll be able to post his name.  I'm already kind of secret about those things out here in blog-land...  So, just put up with us as you are able to hear some updates but really not experience it all like you might want to!

Continue to pray for our family as we bond together and as we need patience during this transition time!