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

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Surprising Friendship

Just about a year ago, I met someone who would soon become one of my closest friends. 

The sad thing is how we got to be friends and get so close in such a short period of time.

For the privacy of her and her family, I won't give many details.  I'll just say that I was made aware of a crisis in her life and reached out to her during that time.

This family had visited our church with us around Christmas time and had been attending for a few Sundays.  The existance of a superficial relationship helped me be bold and confront her on some things.  God worked in her life and she was saved soon afterward.  But her crisis didn't go away; in fact, it got worse.

Over the next few months, I got to witness something I had never seen before in a friendship of mine.  My new friend, a new Christian, was seeking HARD after the things of God and challenging me to do the same!  We talked on the phone, texted and emailed and met when we could.  We read a book together and discussed what we learned.  Over the summer, when her schedule was easier, we met weekly at church to do a Bible Study together.  

She shared with me the details of the crisis in her life.  I was frustrated and sad for what she was dealing with.  She knew without a doubt that God had forgiven her and she had completely repented, but that didn't change what she was going through.  But she continued to cling to God and has gotten to see Him work a miracle in her life, one that even her young children and her husband noticed.

There were also times this past year where my new friend encouraged me... Through the countless adoption meetings and visits, through personal illness and a health crisis in a family member, through the stress of LEO life and in the fun times of the soccer season and vacations... She was there to text Scripture, ask how I was doing, give advice and laugh with me. 

If you were to ask me just over a year ago if I would reach out to someone I had met only 2 or 3 times and was 12 years younger than me and start a friendship and that we'd be as close as we now are, I would've called you crazy.  That's not what I do.  I don't reach out to people I don't know... I don't stick my nose into that person's life... I don't put myself out there like that...

The only thing I can think about this situation is that God knew what I didn't.  He knew that she needed my friendship and He knew that I needed her's.  And even now He is the only one that knows what lies ahead for her future.

If I had been content to stay within the circle of friends that I had a year ago, I would have missed out on getting to know a wonderful person... I would've missed out on seeing God work through the struggles she faced... I would've missed out on my own spiritual growth as well.

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Little Change in Tradition

For at least the past 5 years, our family has gone out of town on the weekend of my older kids' birthdays.  

It started as an easier alternative to having birthday parties.  With their birthdays only 2 days apart and with my husband's crazy work schedule, it was getting impossible to have 2 parties on a weekend where he was home to help.  I was getting tired of it all, especially so close to Christmas and only 2 weeks from my husband's birthday.

If I'm remembering correctly, we usually have gone to the mountains for a few days and one year we even had snow on my daughter's birthday!

This year, it didn't work out for us to travel.  With my husband's work schedule surrounding birthday weekend, all the planning, packing and unpacking would've been on me so it actually worked out fine to stay home to celebrate.

For our kids' birthdays, they pick the dinner of their choice (whether we are cooking at home or eating out) as well as the activity of their choice.

This year, we have a pretty fun long weekend planned.

They'll spend some time with friends this evening.

They'll get a surprise visit from longtime friends tomorrow.

The birthday girl will get to spend some time with friends after church on Sunday and then have the family celebration in the evening.

We're not quite sure what we're doing Monday,  but I think my son just may break out the 14 discs of extended edition and bonus features from the Lord of the Rings trilogy that my husband got for Christmas.  I know my husband will watch as well, if he's not able to work any off duty.

On my son's birthday, we're going out to lunch and doing a little shopping at the Lego store.

A friend of mine is making some delicious cupcakes for each kids' birthday dessert.  That takes a load of my mind in not having to make anything.  It's well worth the price to not have to make it myself!

It's hard to believe that this year, my teenagers turn 15 and 17.  I remember the days they were born as if they were yesterday.  They are sure growing up fast!  In just a few short years, they'll both be out of the house and living on their own. 

Our family is looking forward to another birthday weekend celebration for our teenagers and also looking forward to seeing what God has in store for them in the coming year!




Friday, January 4, 2013

Adoption Update

It's been quite awhile since I posted anything specific regarding where we are in the adoption process.  Since I actually have an update, I figured it was a good time to share!

In late August, in a phone conference with the social worker and Guardian ad Litem in the county where W was in foster care, we were encouraged to file the adoption paperwork soon after the early October date when we could legally file.  We had to wait 3-6 months from the date of his placement in our home before we could file.  Because things were going so well, it was recommended we file after 3 months.  We were all in agreement and I was told that the adoption worker in that county would begin preparing the paperwork we needed to file in our county.

October came and went...

November came and went...

Our adoption worker was keeping in touch with the other adoption worker and was only told that she was working on the paperwork.

Finally, in mid December, we were told all the paperwork had arrived to our agency!  Apparently we were waiting on the original birth certificate.  I thought that was an easy document to order, but apparently it can take up to 6 weeks to receive and who knows when the order was placed.  Regardless, the paperwork arrived just before Christmas and was ready for us to sign and get notarized.

Unfortunately, we received the paperwork on a Thursday afternoon, too late to go to the bank to get it notarized.  My husband worked all day Friday, Monday and Tuesday.  Our credit union was closed on the next Wednesday.  He worked again all day on Thursday and Friday.  So, it was 10 days from when we received the paperwork until we could get it notarized!  

I need to go with our adoption social worker to file the paperwork so we scheduled a date.... in another week!  

At this point it's really ok. What's another 1-2 weeks when we've already waited 3 months longer than we thought?  And while we wait, we still receive our foster care payments, which are much more than we will receive in adoption assistance.  So, it's all good and we really have nothing much to complain about!

After we file the paperwork, it will be an additional 30-90 days of waiting while it's processed.  We've been told it will take at least 30 days, but really shouldn't take as long as 90.  We'll just expect it to take 90 and then be pleasantly surprised when it's less.

I'll continue to use the waiting time to prepare for homeschooling W, either when the adoption is final or in the next school year.  I'll post more details about that in a future post.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Goals

Early this year, I posted my goals for the 2012 year.  I did well in some goals and struggled in others.  But I found it was good to have some goals written down so that I could at least see what things I wanted to accomplish this year.  It was also important not to get tied down to getting the goals accomplished, even when life happened and made it virtually impossible.

So, as we begin another year, here are my 5 goals for 2013!

  1. Read through the Bible in a year- AGAIN!  I did this last year and there's nothing wrong with doing it again.  I'm using a different Bible translation (NKJV this year; Holman Standard last year) and probably a slightly different format.  Our church preaches line by line through books of the Bible and at different points during the year I am involved in other Bible studies, so I find reading through the Bible in a year really does work for me in keeping me on a schedule and not sticking only to the books that I "like".
  2. Travel!  When I looked ahead to our month by month plans (as of now, God willing), I saw that we will be traveling somewhere almost every month of the year, minus the crazy 3 months of the soccer season!  We are thankful for the opportunities we have to go to a variety of places this year and at a low cost due to having friends and family in different areas with places we can stay!
  3. Enjoy & Prepare- Life will once again change when we I homeschool our youngest in the new school year.  He's different from our older children in how he learns and he will require quite a bit of one-on-one work with me to complete his work.  I'm used to my high schoolers basically getting their work done on their own, so this will be VERY different for me!  So, I'm resolved to enjoy these last few months of "freedom" before I move into a time where my time will be occupied much differently.  And because his learning style is different, I will also need to spend a lot of time preparing what he will be doing for school- finding the activities, games, books, etc that will help him learn.
  4. Relationships- Whether it's longtime friends that you've lost contact with or new friendships you want to nurture, it's important to leave some time in your life for friendships.  They laugh with you through the good times and encourage you in the bad times.  Sometimes you lose touch due to circumstances in your life, but they're always there to pick back up with you when you need them.  I want to be sure this year to spend time with friends, those good friends you know you'll have in your life for a long, long time!
  5. Healthy Living- Many people have the goal to eat right and exercise as the new year rolls around and they realize how much the ate during the holidays. I actually lost about 10 pounds over the holidays, but not in a way I would recommend to anyone- pneumonia and stress!  I'm sure I gained a pound or 2 with Christmas eating.  I think for 2013, I would like to continue healthy eating (little to no processed foods, infrequent eating out and healthy recipes) as well as being active (walks with my husband, hiking, riding my stationary bike).  I don't want to obsess about it, but simply to make those changes that will best help me to have an all around healthy lifestyle!

Last year, one of my most popular posts was on my 2012 goals!  That's good, because that gives me some sort of accountability in knowing that people know what I said I wanted to do and they just might ask me if I actually did those things!

What are your goals for 2013?