Monday, September 29, 2008

Good Times & Some Parenting Practice...

Ethan, Kara and Ty came home with us after church yesterday so their parents could have a date. My creativity in childcare is limited but I make every attempt to prevent the dreaded words..."This is boring!" to spill from the lips of any child. an attempt to be a "fun" aunt and uncle, we first headed to the BIG park, where the most exciting activity seemed to be chasing & treeing squirrels. Go figure! I had to remind Ethan that we were NOT on the farm and he should not pretend to shoot a gun! :)

A teenage couple was swinging nearby Kara and she found their dark clothes/make-up and brightly colored hair fascinating (INSERT: staring). At one point, she SHOUTED from her swing..."What words are those people saying?" I explained to her quietly that some people use God's name differently than how we use it in Sunday School/church. I told her the couple was choosing to use the word "God" in a way that did not make Him happy. At least, that's what I attempted to explain but I am certain I need some more 'parenting practice' to come up with applicable answers on-the-spot. Hopefully, my fumbled words made sense to her.

Next we headed to Glen Ellyn's newest food establishment, "2 Toots!" It is a novelty resturant where a small toy-train delivers one's food. Between the toy-train food delivery system, the TV screen playing a Thomas the Train cartoon and a large picture window overlooking the REAL train tracks a 1/2 block away, it would be safe to say the food was NOT the main attraction. The kids did manage to put away their chicken nuggets, fries and chocolate milk WITH a whip cream dollop!

We walked home via the prairie path, Ethan pointed out the rats scurring in the grass (thanks, Ethan!) and Ty was our commentator announcing each passerby..."Look! 1 biker. 2 runner. Big dog! Where's the dog going?" We passed a homeless man and I quickly distracted his attention; not sure what he what he might come up with. About halfway home, he looked at me and said in his sing-songy voice..."This boring." OH NO! Good thing Uncle Blake was sighted headed in our direction & the kids were distracted with a footrace. Boredom avoided ;)

Upon arriving back at our house, we discovered we had at least an hour before Eric & Gina returned so we headed to the SMALL park just up the street. Fortunately, the lack of play equipment was overlooked due to there being a 'big, dark, scary forest behind it'. The forest had a walking path so we spent some time exploring and accumulating more & more mosquito bites.

It was a REALLY fun afternoon. Thanks for coming kids! HAPPY Belated BIRTHDAY, Ethan! We love you!

Saturday, September 27, 2008 Steve Green

I 'stumbled' across this song recently. The lyrics/melody reached deep inside my heart, a reminder of God's faithfullness....ALWAYS.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Remembering Leslie...

It's been almost 2 months since my friend, Leslie, defeated cancer.

1990's. My first memories of Leslie were on the volleyball court; we played on opposing/rival teams in central Illinois. I cannot accurately recall the winning/losing ratio of our many matches but I do remember one very clearly. We were both seniors, playing in the championship match of the single-elimination Regionals tournament. The match was hard-fought. We left everything on the court. My team won. Admist the high-fives and cheers and laughter and celebration, I saw Leslie sitting in the corner of the bleachers. She was crying. Amidst much badgering from my teammates, I crossed into 'enemy territory' and wrapped my arms around her. The words, if any, were few. Friendship superceded victory.

FLASH FORWARD: 1 year later. This time, we're not in a gym. We're in a church. Leslie and I stand side-by-side moments before we are baptized. Unaware of what lies ahead, we publicly acknowlege our desire to surrender our lives to the will of the Father, to live by HIS grace, regardless of the cost.

FLASH FORWARD: 13 years later, yesterday. I witnessed the baptism of two high school-aged friends. As I listened to each one make a convenant to be true & faithful to the Lord all the days of their lives, my knees trembled. With silent tears pooling in my eyes and a few trickling down my cheek, I turned to Blake and whispered, "Leslie. I am remembering Leslie." His compassionate reply was uttered without a moment's hesitation, "She won...remember. She fulfilled her promise."

Although our path's seldom crossed in the past 13 years, my heart has been touched by her life & grieved by her death. It's a new experience for me; losing a friend/a peer. Questions lurk in the corners of my mind, the most significant: What if it were me? Am I keeping my promise to God? Am I living my life for His glory? What if it were me? Am I impacting the lives of those around me? Do I understand & live out the Word, leaving no question as to Whom I serve? What if it were me? Is my marriage a reflection of God's unconditional love? Do I verbalize to my family & friends that I love them, that I respect them & value their contribution to my life? What if it were me?

At Leslie's memorial a few weeks ago, two of her friends sang a song by Natalie Grant entitled, "In Better Hands". In those time when I can override my emotions & listen to the reality of what I know to be Truth, the following words speak comfort.

"There is hope when my faith runs out
Cause I'm in better hands now
It's like the sun is shining when the rain is pouring down
It's like my soul is flying though my feet are on the ground
So take this heart of mine there's no doubt...
I'm in better hands now."

Praying that each one who reads this entry will seek & discover God's love personally so that whether we live or whether we die, like Leslie, we can find ourselves IN BETTER HANDS.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Things I am Learing (AGAIN)...

I am a terribly slow learner. For instance, I have been a follower of Christ for many years but I find myself learning the SAME lessons over and over again.

I find myself learning...and learning again...and learning some more...that salvation is a GIFT. Freely given. No strings attached. "Salvation isn't about what I do; it's about what Jesus did. The Cross did more than pay for my sins; it set me free from the bondage of the "shoulds" and the "if onlys" and the "what might have beens."

"In my eagerness to serve Jesus, I have often missed the opportunity to KNOW Him. Life is filled with anxiety in regards to all the things I didn't accomplish and should have, about all the things I have accomplished, but not very well."

As I reflect on my actions/thoughts in the past 24 hours, I am burdened by all my self-imposed requirements. Insisting that I do better...DO, DO, DO. Interestingly enough, along with the anxiety to 'do' comes an exhaustion from trying to acheive so much thru my own efforts.

Can I let you in on something I have learned...again?

We cannot prove our love for God by DOING great things for Him. We prove our love for God by obeying His Word ( obey is better than sacrifice...1 Samuel 5:22), by loving others (...let us love one another, for love comes from God...1 John 4:17), by coming into His presence ( still and know that I am God...Psalm 46:10).

May the balance of my day/life (and yours) be spent in KNOWING Him...

NOTE: Quotes from "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" by Joanna Weaver.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fair Time...Fun Times...

Fun times at the Sandwich (Illinois) Fair! Last Tuesday, I was able to watch my nephew, Ethan, along with the assistance (not so much!) of his little brother, Ty, show Dorsets at the Sandwich Fair. Unfortunately, I missed the Sheep Lead class again this year but my parents forwarded some pictures from the day.

Here is my niece, Kara, and Ethan proudly displaying their 'winnings' from the class. For all you non-sheep experts out there (myself included), in the Sheep Lead class, you are required to wear an outfit made from wool (i.e Kara's jumper & hat along with Ethan's AND the sheep's scarf). Too cute!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Here's a question to toss around your head this afternoon. Exactly how do one's fingerprints expire?

Long story short (or at least shorter), because of our adoption delays, our fingerprints expire on October 19th, 2008. Since we won't be travelling prior to that date, we were required to re-apply for a I-171H and were assigned a new finger-printing date of today, September 11th. A Tip to Any Future Adoptive Parents in the State of Illinois: We actually drove to the Application Support Center last Friday, because Blake had the day off & we were told by our social worker that as long as we had the 'official letter' we could show-up any time & wait in line to be fingerprinted. Nope! No way! Not a chance! We were resolutely denied!
Anyways, we showed up today at our 8AM appointment and were in-and-out in less than 20 minutes. Now we wait...hoping there is no glitche in getting our second I-171H. It should be just a matter of paperwork processing but I am anxious to get the documentation back so we know we are 'in the clear' as we anticipate the Ethiopian courts re-opening in a couple of weeks (beginning of October) & things once again moving forward.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tipping the Scales...

It's quite interesting how our family of two has so quickly been invaded by our little boy from across the world. Alexander is everywhere!

Freshly printed & positioned for the DCFS license monitoring visit last week, his picture takes precedence on the front of our refrigerator. Faded and wrinkled, his image gazes back from the dashboard of our car. Tucked just inside the front cover of my Bible, his little face often slips out when I unlatch the pages to read within.
As of last week, he's now 6-months old...and (PTL) growing quickly. We just received updated measurements today and our little guy has gained almost 3lbs in one month, tipping the scales at just under 15lbs and stretching to 25+ inches.

That's all the information we know about our little boy...and we cling to every update, every detail. And yet, this mommy, wants to know SO much more.

Does he giggle with glee when its time for a bottle? Can he roll over yet or does he get stuck in the oh-so-cute 'halfway there' position? Does he share his toys or snatch the blanket harshly away from his playmates? Do the nannies rush to his side when he cries out (b/c he's usually calm, cool & collected) or do they roll their eyes because he's such a demanding little one? Should I be taking out stock in burp cloths; is he a '3-ounces in, 2-ounces back out' kind of guy? Does he smile when he catches a glimpse of our photograph placed inside his crib or use the laminated card as just an ordinary teether?
And the BIG question...when, oh when, will he be home? We do not know that answer but I smile as I realize that whenever THAT day is, it is one day closer today than it was yesterday. Hang in there, my son, you'll be home just as soon as God opens the way.

Happy Birthday to You!

The lovely lady here is my sister-in-law. She married my 'little' brother last November. They are 'kids in love'. What a blessing when God brings two lives together!
Here is a shout out to Jolynn whose birthday is TODAY.
I hope it was a good, good day AND...I hope Kevin remembered to send flowers or has something equally special planned just for you!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

And the Winner is...

...Sara Huber!

Please send an email ( with your mailing address and I will drop the gift certificate in the mail before the week's end.


May the conference be a reminder of all the ways in which the Lord has blessed your marriage and provide challenges, too, for serving each other & Him more in the coming years.