Monday, July 30, 2007

They started framing our house today!

They started framing our house this afternoon after the rain went away. We drove by this evening to see how far they've gotten. Here is our house...they were still working on it as we took the pictures around 7 pm. It'll be interesting to see what it looks like in the morning and later on tomorrow night. Definitely exciting!



This one is using the Arizona Sunset kit from USC. This was driving up Hwy 87. We wanted to take the scenic route from Winslow into Phoenix.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

What if?

My husband is so silly...can you tell he's a Simpson's fan? I'm going to see the movie with my brother probably tonight. After I decide if it's appropriate or not for Deidra to see, I may surprise him with tickets for him and Deidra one night next week as he really really wants to see it.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Baby J's 15 month well baby visit...

Baby J had his 15-month check this morning. He's in the 80th percentile for weight and height. He weighed in at 27 lbs and 2 oz. He's 30 1/2 " long. She said his eczema looks a ton better. He goes back to the dermatologist for a follow-up on the 1st (the clinic dermatologist is booked through the year so I have to drive him an hour away to go to his appt with a new doc...same clinic just different office area). The only concern that she had was she can't tell if both of his testicles have descended and so we have to take him in for an ultrasound on the 3rd of August. So, we may be possibly looking at surgery. I'm hoping that's not the case though. Guess we'll find out next week. Otherwise he's doing well. I noticed when she gave me a list of his milestones though...that we have a lot to work on. His therapy should be starting soon that will help as well. He was also behind in immunizations so he got 4 shots today and they'll give him 3 more at his 18 month appointment. He took the first shot without even crying, when they gave him the 2nd one he cried and by the 3rd one he was really crying. Poor baby! We also discovered that he doesn't like band-aids. Those got torn off by him within a matter of a couple minutes. He just took them off and handed them to me. He's fussy and doesn't want to eat too much now, but he's doing good. We have a mandatory training to go to tonight at the I'm hoping he does ok for them when we're in the training.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007


We stopped at a little fossil shop just before the Petrified Forest in Arizona to stretch our legs.

I used the Dino Adventure Kit from and the little Grunge Dinosaur from pjsthoughtsofrandomness for this page.

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We celebrated our 2 month anniversary of being foster parents yesterday and we're on our 2nd case manager with our agency. What do I find out today? She's leaving on August 10 to go back to school and be back near her family. I'm happy for her, but bummed that we face yet another change. I asked if we could go back to the first case manager that we had as we're familiar with him and he is with us...she said that she didn't know who we were going to get, but they wind up giving us back to him. So, I'm hoping that we can get him back as he was easy to work with and very nice. I hate change...can you tell?

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Need my prayer warriors...

I'm spilling the beans now after talking to Baby J's CPS worker (she's also his mom's caseworker). They talked about how they're trying to get his mom's level of care lowered so that she can go back into a foster home and see J more or even be placed back with him in the same home. However, I guess she has also been talking about giving him up in an open adoption. I let her know that we would definitely be interested, but I don't want to take him from her's something she really needs to think about. I also suggested that I would be willing to transport J down to where she is if they can set up someone else to supervise the visit if it was something that we'd only have to do every 3-4 months. She said if she does agree to the open adoption (she was going to talk to her supervisor and see how about setting it up with his mom as a real opportunity for her). Please pray that we'll be able to adopt this beautiful baby boy. I truly want what is best for him, his mom, and everyone involved. But the thought of losing him, also breaks my heart. So, here I am...I've spilled the beans...please keep us in your prayers that we'll be able to adopt this beautiful baby boy.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Battle of the Bugs

Man...I don't know if it's the southern heat that makes these bugs grow...we've never had all these problems up north. Deidra got lice again and passed it on to me. This time I spent the $122 on the lice shampoo to get rid of the buggers. Then, we noticed that something was wrong with Venus as she was scratching so much she was making herself bleed and we could feel all the scabs when we'd pet her. At first we thought that it was just a fluke or one of the other cats got her when they were playing since they like to scratch each other in the head...then we noticed that she was getting them all over and she has been scratching quite a bit. We checked her skin quite a few times and couldn't see anything so we brought her to the vet today. Fleas...she's allergic to did we get fleas when they're inside cats? He said that all it takes for them is to sit in the windowsill and the fleas can still get to them. He said it probably was just one and then it turned into a whole flea population. Anyway, she got a shot and we got some flea medicine for all the cats that we have to put on them once a month. We hadn't noticed an issue with any of the other cats, but when we were putting the medicine on...we did notice fleas on a couple of the others. And we're also battling ants...we wake up to zillions all over the doesn't matter how clean we try to keep stuff...they just keep coming back. So annoying...and I have to get ready for a home visit from J's CPS worker tomorrow, I'm washing all the blankets and sheets and I need to vacuum when J wakes up, I'm trying to get the house all cleaned up again for it's weekly scrubbing...I gotta go get my brother for his physical therapy appointment, and then Deidra has her first cheerleading practice tonight. No, I don't have anything to do lately...

Abba, please help us be able to get rid of all these bugs and please help me to stay focused today on the tasks at hand. I have so much to get done and I have a few errands that I have to run today too.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

The things kids do for entertainment...

we've been having issues with ants lately. It doesn't matter how clean the countertops are...the ants are all over. What's Deidra decide to do today? She's been making houses for them and now she's busy trying to make them a swimming pool. I keep telling her that they probably can't swim and she's going to drown them. But...hey whatever keeps her entertained I guess. She's been bored today.



my week is quickly filling up fast. It looks like today may be my only free day. Jimmie has therapy twice a week and I tote him back and forth, we have a training at the agency, Baby J's CPS worker is coming out for a visit, Venus has to go to the vet (she's started scratching and scratching and is making cuts in her skin), I have to get my car in for an oil change, Baby J has his well-baby check up, and we are planning a day at the water park on Friday morning after I get my brother from therapy.

Next week is totally more of the same. I had a bunch of appointments to get taken care of as well so that I can quit the Depot. I had to get all of us into the dentist, Andy and I need to go to the eye doctor, and I'm overdue for my pap smear. I just for whatever reason am so terrified to go to the eye doctor to get my glasses or contacts...I haven't decided on what to get yet. But, I need them to get my Texas driver's license and my license expires in September on my birthday. Deidra also has her first cheerleading practice next week. I can't believe that just around the corner she'll be starting first grade either. Just a few weeks away and I plan on being out of the Depot by then.

Help us to sail smoothly through these appointments and that we can stay on task, Abba. It's going to be a busy couple of weeks.

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I used the kit from Scrap Girls called "Arizona Sunset" to do this one. :-)

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Old Fashioned and a Heavy Heart

It seems like a few people that I know really have some heavy things going on in their lives and they've been telling me about them over the past few days. I keep thinking about them and some of it I don't happen to agree with, some things I think are going on that some of my friends aren't willing to see, and some of it I just didn't have the answers to.

One of my friends really keeps thinking about leaving her husband as she's tired of feeling like a single parent. She's tired of the same old pattern. This one, I think they just need to put more of an effort into communicating with one another and they could make things work. I understand how she's getting tired doing everything, but I think if she just asks him for help and they keep talking...they can make it work. This is the pattern of their relationship after all. Anyway, we've talked about all this and she doesn't really want to wind up divorced either. I know that they both love each other I think they're just experiencing one of their valleys and they'll be ok. I think it helps her just to talk...but sometimes I do wonder if they'll get past all this one day.

Another one of my friends is getting divorced and she's someone that I've always respected. We've talked many times and I thought we had many similar morals and values. She's been seeing someone else now and they've been intimate together. I guess I just thought she'd wait until her divorce was final and I thought she'd set a better example for her children. One child who is also sleeping with her boyfriend and my friend was furious when she found out. She's been battling whether to take her to the clinic for bc, but she doesn't want it to seem as she's condoning it. Yet, when you talk to her about it, she acts as though it's not any big deal that they're sleeping together either. I just think that someone needs to set the example for the children to follow and since they're living with her, I think it needs to be her. I don't know...I sat wondering about all this for a long time...I guess I'm just old fashioned in todays day and age. I don't judge anyone for what they do...I just have a different view is all. But, I talked to Andy about it all (my feelings) and I asked him "am I that old fashioned that I want to teach Deidra to wait until marriage and to keep instilling that in her?" I look at how my parents were with me...we talked openly about it...but they always instilled that in me that they didn't want me being promiscuous and they wanted me to wait. I can honestly say that I have only been with one person and I told Andy that if anything ever happened between us, I can see me being a lot like my Mom is now after her divorce. She's remained pure and she has a heart for God and while she has gone out on a couple dates here and there, she's always told us kids not to worry that it wasn't anything serious and she certainly would not be sleeping with them. She also tends to worry about causing us kids any pain and so she always tells us that she won't go if we're not comfortable with it. She puts us kids first. I told her the last time, that she doesn't have to ask us for our permission...we just want her to be happy. But, she doesn't want to cause us pain, like we had when we found out that my Dad was dating again and then later married again. But, she's said over and over again that the only time she's ever being intimate with someone again is if she has a ring on her finger and they are married. She has set a great example for my brothers to follow...I don't know if they will follow it with it being today's day and age...but she's set a good example there and I commend her for that. I guess to me, I just think that's how it should be...especially when you have young children and pre teens in the house that are at very impressionable ages. Like I said, I learned that I am very old-fashioned when I have sat and thought about it and I know that not everyone has those same views and I don't judge anyone for that. I want my friend to be happy, yet I'm just worrying about what her children are really seeing and getting the message about.

Another friend was having issues with her hubby. They seem to be doing better, but the more and more that I think about it I really am wondering about her hubby's actions. Nobody really wants to think outside the box about that, but I really am wondering if he remained faithful to her. He just seemed so manipulative of her and that makes me worry for her. I hope my feelings are wrong, but the couple people that I talked to about it thought the same thing that I did. Granted, we don't really know her hubby either and it's totally up to them to work through this. But, I just don't want her to get hurt and I keep worrying about her. I know people work through affairs and all that...and that's their decision...but I just hope that he really is being truthful with her. I just don't see how some of the info that came out could really come about without something totally inappropriate going on.

A friend at work took an old boyfriend back. She's seemed really different lately and people started questioning some things. We wondered if he had been abusive to her as she almost seems afraid of doing anything wrong or being late to get out to the car (he picks her up). Anyway, he was late picking her up on Saturday and she got a call from a church member saying that he was seen in a pawn shop pawning her daughter's bicycle. She was very upset that he would take something from her kids withour permission. She came to work Sunday and she came up to me on her break and acted like she wanted to say something, but she didn't know if she wanted to say it around everyone else. She finally came up to me and whispered that he had hit her in the head with a very large can and gave her a pretty bad gash in her head. When I went on break, she was just finishing up with her lunch and I talked with her with another friend from work. I asked her if he had ever done anything like this before and she said that when they wer together before, he pushed her down some stairs...she didn't get hurt...and he apologized and said he didn't mean to do it. I told her that no matter how she wanted to look at it, it was abuse. She's got kids in that house with her...she needs to keep their safety in mind as well and she needed to get out of that situation before it got worse. She told me that she didn't know what to do as she needed his income (he's not working right now but has applied for several things...although he says that he's not happy and the jobs suck down here). She kept making excuses. I told her that she was too sweet of a person to be treated like that...she said that he's alienated her and her family is mad at her and her mom won't talk to her until she gets rid of him. He's totally taken advantage of the situation though...the house is in her name...he tells her where and what she can do in the house, he takes her car on joyrides and takes her back and forth to work, goes on drug binges and disappears with her stuff, he stole her driver's license and she told me that she's got a warrant out for her for not paying parking and speeding tickets and stuff and so she can't just go get a new one, she couldn't go to the hospital to get the gash in her head looked at because she was afraid that she'd wind up getting arrested or her kids would get taken away. She doesn't want to have to go to a shelter because she'd lose her house and has a whole housefull of furniture and she kept telling me that she was nice enough to let him come live with her when he had nowhere else to go...she's just the type of person that helps everybody. But, I told her that although I am a lot like that myself, you have to start knowing when people are just taking advantage of you and they're not giving you the same respect that you are showing them. She started to cry and the other friend at work told her that she was being abused and she needed to get herself out of the situation. I just don't want to see more serious things start happening. So, now I am worried for her too. She's behind in her bills and she said that Home Depot helped her out one month, but she doesn't know what to do now...everything I suggested she is afraid to do. I told her that the things that she is worrying about can be replaced at some point...but she and the kids cannot be. I told her I would pray for her...I just hope that she can see what is really going on at some point and that he doesn't hurt her any worse than he already has.

Lord, I lift my friends up to You in prayer. Please watch over them and keep them safe. Help them to know what the best decisions are and to follow Your guidance. I'm not writing any of this in judgment...I care about each and every one of them and I've been worrying for them. These are just some of my thoughts about it all. I just want to see them all safe and for them to see the truths and most of all to make sure that their best interests are being kept in mind.


Saturday, July 21, 2007

House Stuff...

We've made it to our first major milestone of getting our foundation poured. If anyone wants to see house pics thus can visit our house blog.

The framing will happen on the 30th and then it's only 45 working days after that point and our house will be done. Wow!


Keep praying...

for us for awhile if you don't mind. Several people have asked us if I could reveal more info yet. I am still afraid of jinxing anything until I know more...but I will answer one question that a couple people have asked.

Q. Are you pregnant??

In which I calmly answer no.

I hope one day that I can experience the precious gift of pregnancy again, but no, I am not pregnant.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

More of New Mexico

Here's some more scenery of New Mexico. More of Eva Keplar's Bonita Santa Fe kit.

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Truly Beautiful

some of our sights of New Mexico that we saw on our way to Arizona.

I used more of Eva Keplar's Bonita Santa Fe kit to do this page.

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Our Hotel Stay in New Mexico

I used Eva Keplar's Bonita Santa Fe kit for this one. This was our hotel stay in New Mexico on Route 66. :-)

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Whatever happened to giving someone unconditional love?

I was talking to a friend last week and she was having a fight with her husband of 12 years. I won't go into detail about anything that they were fighting about, but he was upset with her over something she wouldn't do for him and she was giving me all the reasons that she wouldn't (she feels like a single parent with their children because he doesn't help her). I told her that she can't expect him to read her mind and that she needed to communicate her feelings to him. When she communicates these things to him, he does a lot better (pattern of their relationship)....she's tired of always having to tell him and feels that he should know by now what she needs from him. To a certain point I agree...but I know Andy doesn't always remember what my needs are and there are certain times that we'll have to talk and I have to remind him. I'd rather remind him and have things go better than to think he outta know something and then we wind up fighting about it over and over. Anyway, maybe they have other issues I'm not aware of...but she said that now she's really thinking about leaving her husband over it.

Then, I got to talking to another friend yesterday and her hubby was threatening her with "if you don't start doing these things that you're not comfortable doing, it's going to be a breaking point for me" and their marriage will then be over. There's more to it than that, but it's not my story to tell. The more and more that I think the way he told her these things and some other things that were going on, the more and more it angers me and I hurt for her.

Whatever happened to giving someone your unconditional love? A marriage is compromising, loving, and giving to the other person so that they feel that love. Why do people in today's society have to be so selfish in their feelings? If you don't do this for me, I'm leaving you.... Why not try to talk it out and reach a compromise...and I'm sorry but if someone is not comfortable doing certain things...they should not be forced into doing them...but why do people set conditions on their marriage? My Mom and Dad always taught me when I was growing up that you didn't mention the divorce word in your house and you certainly didn't threaten to divorce someone over something or that's when your mind started gearing up to actually do it and it would happen. And that's exactly what happened when my Dad threatened my Mom with something and mentioned divorce...a year or so after that he had it's something he wishes he had never done....

But, whatever happened to giving someone that unconditional love them in the good, bad, and everything in between and you love them no matter what...wait...we even say this in our marriage vows. I guess I just hate how prevalent divorce is in our society. We give our children our unconditional love so why can't we give that to our spouses?

Abba, I lift the marriages that our suffering up to you today and I pray that you will give them healing and that you will restore unconditional love in them throughout the whole world.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

My new addiction...

These are just too yummy. I drink one a day and many a day that's all I eat besides dinner. Very filling and just very yummy. I especially love the vanilla chai tea one and the mocha cappuccino. They're all delicious though. Mmmm!


Asking for prayers...

I'm afraid to jinx it until I know more by saying what it could possibly be...but please keep us in your prayers..this could be a dream come true for our family.



20 Questions

1. What is your hometown state? MI

2. Where are you currently living? TX

3. What do you do for a living? full-time mommy and a very part-time cashier at Home Depot (who is looking to quit before school starts again)

4. If married, what does your SO do for a living? he provides help desk support among other things at an architectural firm

5. How long have you been married? 9 years in September

6. How long did you date before you were married? 2 years and 1 week

7 Do you have children? yes, 1 beautiful 6 1/2 year old daughter, Deidra, and our 14-month old foster son, Josiah who I fall in love with more and more every day.

8. How many children do you want? 4-6

9. Do you have any hobbies? reading, scrapbooking, watching movies

10. Are you religious? What denomination are you? yes, I grow in my faith more and more as I get older...I converted to Catholicism when I was 12.

11 Are you close to your family? it depends on who it is...we talk to some more than others and those that we do talk to on a regular basis, we are close with. I'd say we're probably the closest to my Mom and brother, Jimmie...but we talk to Andy's mom and dad a lot on the phone too.

12. What is one dream that is close to your heart that you want to see happen in your life soon? for our family to grow through adoption...and I wouldn't mind experiencing pregnancy again someday.

13. Where would you go if you could take a dream vacation to anywhere in the world? well, I want to go to England for our 10 year anniversary next year...but my total dream place to visit would be Australia.

14. Do you collect anything? Cherished Teddies and bookshelves are overflowing yet I just keep getting more.

15. What is your favorite book or author? I love Jodi Picoult.

16. What fascinates you? I love to watch people...large families have always fascinated me...

17. Do you and hubby have the same interests or different? we share some of the same and yet we have our own too

18. What is your favorite movie? Titanic, Sleepless in Seattle, I have several actors that I like and I will watch movies that they are in also...Reese Witherspoon, Drew Barrymore...Julia Roberts...

19. Do you believe in angels? Do you believe in demons? yes and yes

20. What is your favorite food? chocolate


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Family Road Trip

Jenn and I have been working on our digital scrapbooks together tonight. I think I spent more time organizing my vacation pictures from March and trying to find kits to go with them than I did actual scrapbooking, but it was fun and we plan on doing it again sometime soon.

Here's our first day of vacation. :-)

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I used Kim Liddiard's Cute Cowgirl kit and Lauren Barvin's ghost town alpha for this layout. This is Deidra all dressed up for Western day at school. I think she makes one darling cowgirl.

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I used Erica Hernandez' Vibe kit for this one. It was fun and I love the alphabet effect. :-)

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Monday, July 16, 2007

In honor of my baptistmal patron saint...

In honor of my baptismal patron saint, St. Maria Goretti, I wanted to post her bio here as we just celebrated her feast day on Saturday:

Patron of youth, young women, purity, and victims of rape
b: 1890 d: 1902

Born in Corinaldo, Ancona, Italy, on October 16 1890; her farmworker father moved his family to Ferrier di Conca, near Anzio. Her father died of malaria and her mother had to struggle to feed her children.

In 1902 an eighteen-year-old neighbor, Alexander, grabbed her from her steps and tried to rape her. When Maria said that she would rather died than submit, Alexander began stabbing her with a knife.

As she lay in the hospital, she forgave Alexander before she died. Her death didn't end her forgivness, however.

Alexander was captured and sentenced to thirty years. He was unrepentant until he had a dream that he was in a garden. Maria was there and gave him flowers. When he woke, he was a changed man, repenting of his crime and living a reformed life. When he was released after 27 years he went directly to Maria's mother to beg her forgiveness, which she gave. "If my daughter can forgive him, who am I to withold forgiveness," she said.

When Maria was declared a saint in 1950, Alexander was there in the St. Peter's crowd to celebrate her canonization. She was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1950 for her purity as model for youth.

She is called a martyr because she fought against Alexander's attempts at sexual assault. However, the most important aspect of her story is her forgiveness of her attacker -- her concern for her enemy extending even beyond death. Her feast day is July 6. St. Maria Goretti is the patroness of youth and for the victims of rape.

Official Prayer to St. Maria Goretti

Oh Saint Maria Goretti who, strengthened by God's grace, did not hesitate even at the age of twelve to shed your blood and sacrifice life itself to defend your virginal purity, look graciously on the unhappy human race which has strayed far from the path of eternal salvation. Teach us all, and especially youth, with what courage and promptitude we should flee for the love of Jesus anything that could offend Him or stain our souls with sin. Obtain for us from our Lord victory in temptation, comfort in the sorrows of life, and the grace which we earnestly beg of thee (here insert intention), and may we one day enjoy with thee the imperishable glory of Heaven. Amen.

St. Maria Goretti, I thank you for always being there when I've needed to pray for purity or help in certain situations...and I pray for purity in our family and in my marriage and over my children. Thank you, Amen.


Crazy around here....

Well, my hard drive took a turn for the worst over the weekend...Andy totally had to save all my stuff on my computer and move it over to his so that he could work on it. He wound up getting me a new hard drive (from one of the computers sitting in the garage) and I still have limited use until he can work on it some more.

Deidra wound up getting sick on Thursday night when she came home from my Mom's and has been complaining that her tummy has been hurting ever since. She's not running any fevers or any other symptoms and had us quite complexed as to what has been going on. Then I happened to notice that she's had quite a hard time of going to the bathroom and then it hit me that she's constipated. We've been pushing water, giving her ex-lax twice a day, trying to increase fiber and fruits and keeping her away from bananas and milk and stuff that's only going to make it worse. She's going a little bit now, but it's awful hard and she's still crying that her stomach hurts. I went out and got some baby enemas that I'm going to try on her today to see if that helps. If not, I guess I'll be putting in a call to the doctor. I feel bad for her... She's soaking in the tub right now and she said her little bottom was sore from trying to go.

We have our monthly home visit tomorrow with our case worker. I'm not too worried about it, however I do have to get the house scrubbed. Why is it that I stress so much about having the house cleaned when company comes...I didn't always used to be that way...but ever since we moved down here I really do like the house to be clean...especially when company comes. Before I always had a clean house, but stuff was's still like that on a typical day but I do like the house scrubbed once a week and everything put in it's place however if I know people are coming over I do it the day before they're supposed to be coming too. This house has been getting scrubbed and scrubbed...and I've totally laxed about doing it since Baby E left. But, Andy helped me a little bit Saturday and I have to redo it all today (I hate how small this house is)...not totally...but most of it needs to be recleaned. Deidra said that she'd help me out and I told her that her main responsibility is just to get her room cleaned. She needs to go through her toys again and weed out what she no longer plays with as her room is getting out of control again. She keeps trying to give her stuff to Baby J, but he'd rather play with his trucks and blocks rather than her stuffed animals.

Anyway, just wanted to let everyone know why I'm on the quiet side....

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Prayers for my brother, Zach

He's been coming home a lot the past few weekends. He's the one that moved to Austin around Easter and still hasn't found a job. He's gotta start paying rent again in another couple of months and Mom sat down and had a very serious talk with him about how he needs to get his act together because she's not going to let him move back home. He's 19, doesn't like his family and doesn't talk to us unless he needs something, and he doesn't like following her rules. She said that she can't keep bailing him out everytime he needs something. He said that nobody will give him a job because he doesn't have his GED (that's all something we've been trying to get through his head for 2 years). He's mad at my Mom for not just letting him move back home and said that he guesses he'll just die then if he can't find work. She's tired of his threats of committing suicide everytime she puts her foot down with him. The doctors don't see him as suicidal and have offered him counseling many times (he always refuses). Anyway, he's back in town this weekend to register to take the GED test and hopefully he'll get to take it tomorrow. I told Mom to pay the school directly and not give him the money (he's proven so many times that he'll just use the money for other stuff). Please pray that he's able to pass the test and that he's able to start getting his act together now. He lives in a huge college town...there should be many opportunities for him there. I asked him why he doesn't just move in with his friends that live down there and he said his friends won't let him because they say that he'll only mooch off of them. I told him that should make him see that he needs to make some changes. It's time to join the real world and the land of responsibilities. He said he knows, but that's also something he's been saying for awhile. Mom told him she'd help him with the money to take the test, but this is the last time she's giving him money for awhile. I pray that she can stick to that...she's good at making empty threats with him and I told her that's a lot of the reason I think that he acts like he does. She said she knows and she just needs support to stick with it when he uses the suicide thing on her or she sees him hurting because of his choices.

Abba, I lift Zach up to you and I pray that You will be with him while he is taking his test this weekend and that he will pass the test so that he can get this behind him. I pray that you will help him start to make some good choices and be more responsible and accountable. Please help him to find a good job and to start living a better life and to be able to appreciate his family. I also pray for Mom and that you guide her with decisions that she makes about Zach and some other things going on right now. She's certainly got quite a bit going on.

Oh and a quick update since I never posted it here...she did go and talk to her doctor about the memory lapse a couple days after it happened....he checked her for signs of stroke and couldn't find anything wrong. She was under a lot of stress about many different things that were happening and the doctor said that was more than likely the culprit. She's been fine since.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

100 Books Read

This one I did with Scrapbook Flair. She was too cute sitting there in the window although I couldn't get her to sit still long enough to take cutesy pics...and she wouldn't stop eating. But, I did this layout to showcase the award that she won for reading her 100 books and earning her ticket to Six Flags.

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Man oh man...

My Mom just called and let us know that they have a white 2003 Chevy Venture van sitting on their lot for 9999 with a partial warranty. We so need a new car, but when we did our mortgage they told us they don't like to see any big purchases or anything on credit until after we close. UGH! What do we do...what do we do? I guess I need to just be patient and wait. Maybe, I should call the mortgage company and just see what they say.

Abba, if this is meant to be please open a door...if not..we'll be patient and wait.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Our first play group outing

We joined this playgroup a couple weeks back. We went to our first outing today to feed the ducks at the park. I'm very shy around people I don't know all that well, so I really had to push myself to get out there and go. I'm so glad that I did. Everyone is so friendly and nice and Deidra really like having other kids to play with. A lot of the mom's are new to the area as well, so it's nice that we're all getting to know the area together as well. It's always nice to have someone to do something with. So, I definitely am thankful that we found this group. Thanks Tiffany! It's something that will be good for us. It also forces me to get out and learn the roads and surrounding areas as well so that is doubly good for me.


A Marriage Needs Refreshed Inhabitants

Proverbs 17:17
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Ed and Carol Nevenschwander (a pastor and his wife) write:

"Although the shell of a union may endure, the spirit of the marraige may disintegrate in time unless mates take periodic and shared reprieves from the pressures they live under.

The pressures we must often escape are not those we create for ourselves, but those brought into our lives from the outside. Nonetheless, they can wear our relationships thin.

The key to keeping a cherished friendship alive may be found in breaking away long enough and frequently enough to keep ourselves fresh and our love growing. And usually that involves childless weekends. Without such moments of focused attention, it's difficult to keep the kind of updated knowledge of one another that keeps two hearts in close proximity alive and growing together. A growing marriage needs refreshed inhabitants."

It goes on to say that you need to sit down and plan out these times with your mate. Write down some individual and family goals and be in agreement that these things are a high priority for you and your mate. Under each goal write down what you want to accomplish and plan a date that you expect to accomplish the goal. Don't let excuses such as "we don't have the money" stand in the way. People do what they want to do and if you want things badly enough you can find ways to cut corners to make it happen. You can even put your savings ina special account just for these special times with your spouse...after all he/she is your special friend.

There's more too, but these were the key points that I took from it.

Andy and I have gotten a lot better since moving down to Texas about taking the time for each other. It wasn't always easy when we didn't have sitters, however, we've always tried to make time for each other each day after we get Deidra to bed and now the foster children too. It may not always be a lot of time, but it's "our" time to connect again. It doesn't always help too that we never really do get a full day together unless one of us is on vacation, but I know that there's an end to that in sight. And we've made it work for the last 3 years. Even weekends like the one we just had work for some connection time and I know we need to do family things as well. We have a get away planned for our anniversary this year (Deidra will go with Grandma and the foster kids will go to respite with friends of ours)...we have a couple places tossed around for ideas...nothing set in stone yet...just that we know we're going. I think if we can just get away for some long weekends together once in awhile, we'll be fine.

Father God, may I learn to be still and know that You are God. I truly want to get off this hectic merry-go-round and be serene and hear the precious words that You gaive me each day. I want to be refreshed for myself and all those around me. Amen.

So the thoughts for action are:

Plan a special day and time for your mate. Leave your troubles behind and get away for at least one night (two or three if you can).

Set aside a fund for this adventure

Mail your mate a special letter of invitation

Keep a modest level of expectation for this time. Too many expectations lead to great dissapointments. Try to keep it in perspective. Just let it happen. (I know that I'm guilty of not doing this one at times...because we don't get a chance for these moments very often I've fell into the trap of wanting...wanting...wanting...and wanting the very best...wanting the romance galore and to be treated like a queen...yeah I know I'm awful).


Well, my first day back on plan...

didn't go so very well. I got in a few supplements, but not all of them. Then, when it came time for dinner, I figured having a little of the sloppy joe bake that I made wouldn't hurt me since Deidra wound up going to Gramma's and I didn't want Andy to have to eat by himself...what a dumb reason for giving in. I will do Day 1 today the right way.

Abba, please help me stay on track today and fight anything that stands in my way or creeps into my thoughts. I need to do this!


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

April and Logan

This was a quick plopper that I found at DSP awhile back. I used it to do this picture of my cousin, April, with her son, Logan.

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I am the clay...

The thoughts of action from my post below....

Write down in your journal the pain you're feeling today that caused you to place your vessel on the shelf and secure the lid.

I think one of the biggest things that I'm trying to accomplish...something that keeps coming back to me over and over again in my own thoughts and with the people that I love is that I really need to start taking better care of myself. I need to lose weight, get my blood sugars under control for good, I want to be around for my kids and my Mom even said to me last weekend, "Jess, you need to quit eating so many sweets...we need you around for a long time. So many times I hear your Dad's voice talking about how your Mom didn't take care of herself and that's why she died so early. We want you here with us. You need to start taking care of yourself better again." I have lost about 6 lbs since having the boys here and constantly chasing them out of things, I forget to hit me want fast meals...get back on your Medifast. I listened to that voice and today is my first day back on plan.

Picture yourself pushing off the lid and allowing the Lord to continue healing and reshaping your beautiful vessel.

I pushed that lid off this morning and am restarting again. I will allow the Lord to reshape me not only on the outside in slimming down, but to work on the inside too...getting those blood sugars under control...bringing my blood pressure and cholesterol down. I want a good physical when I go back in a few months. I need to do this now not only for me, but for the people that love me so that I can ensure that I won't die early from things that I could have totally prevented if I just took the time to take care of myself.

Abba, help me on this journey...pick me up when I'm feeling down or overwhelmed. I eat a lot of the time for me find other ways to find my me only want good and healthy things and to be able to give up my bad sweet tooth.


God Has a Master Plan

This study I'm going to write out in all completeness today. So many of my friends are going through hard times and maybe this will speak to them today like it did to me.

Jeremiah 18:6
O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?

When our son Brad was in elementary school one of his class projects was to shape clay into something. Brad made a reddish dinosaur-type thing. It's on my bookshelf today as a display of Brad's first work of art--molded and shaped with his small hands, brought home to me with pride.

In high school Brad enrolled in a ceramics class as one of his electives. His first pieces were crooked and misshaped, but as time went on he was able to fashion beautiful works of art. He made vases, pots, pitchers, a butter pot, and many other kinds of pottery. Many pieces of clay were thrown on the wheel to become beautiful but during the process they would take a different direction. Brad would then work and work to reshape them, and sometimes he would to start all over, working and working again to make each piece just as he wanted it to be.

God has taken, so to speak, a handful of clay in each one of us. He is the Master Potter. We are the vessels in His house. Each one He knows intimately. Each one is different.

We might ask ourselves, "What kind of vessel am I?" Maybe the pot that holds a plant, its roots growing deep in the soil that produces the beauty above in a flowering bloom. Or a cup to hold the tea of friendship. Or a pitcher from which flows the words of wisdom, or a casserole dish which a tightly-sealed lid so nothing from inside will leak out.

Almight God picks us up like a piece of ugly clay and begins to shape our lives. On the potter's wheel we begin to spin around. God says, "I want you to be strong and beautiful inside and out." The hands of God move up and down as the wheel spins, forming with one hand the inside and with the other the outer side. He says, "I'm with you. I am the Lord of your life, and I will build within you a strong foundation based upon the Word of God."

It feels so goof to us as we grow in beauty. Then something happens in our life--a child dies, fire takes our home, we lose our job, our husband leaves, a child rebels. The world cries out to us, "Stop! Jump off the potter's wheel and come with me. I'll give you what you need to feel good." So we place the lid on our vessel and we escape inside ourselves to try to forget the hurt and pain we feel. The beauty God was shaping is pot on the shelf only to get dusty and pushed to the back behind all the books and magazines. We feel so lost and far from God as time passes. We've become sidetracked, and yet God has not sidetracked us. He says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

I love the bumper sticker I saw, "If you feel far from God, guess who moved?" It wasn't God who placed you on the shelf. We are the ones who tighten the lids on our hearts, who put ourselves on the shelf. It's time to push off the lid and jump back on the potter's wheel. We need to become obedient to Almighty God, the Master Potter. He will take the time we were sidetracked and use it to help mold us into His master plan.

In pottery the true beauty of the clay comes out after the firing in the kiln. Allow the Lord to use the negatives in your life to become someone of beauty.

Father God, You truly are the potter and I am the clay. Mold me into the person You want me to be, not what I want to be. I know that is placing a lot of trust in You, but I know that You love me and are concerned about me. May my clay pottery reflect Your light like a fine porcelain vessel. Amen.

Thoughts for Action...

Write down in your journal the pain you're feeling today that caused you to place your vessel on the shelf and secure the lid.

Picture yourself pushing off the lid and allowing the Lord to continue healing and reshaping your beautiful vessel.



Well, I joined a playgroup down here that just pretty much started a couple of weeks ago. A lot of people are new to the area from other states. I'm pretty excited to meet other people and they're great about scheduling weekly activities not only for us moms and the kids, but they plan mommy nights out too so we can get out by ourselves. I think it will be good for me, although I'm definitely out of my comfort zone since I'm so shy around people I don't know all that well or whom I have never met before. We're going to our first outing tomorrow (feeding the ducks at the park).

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Daddy Daugher Dance Page 2

More using Nana's Attic Magic Paper set.

I just can't get over how grown up my baby girl is getting.

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Daddy Daughter Dance Page 1

I used the Magic Paper Quickpage from Nana's Attic for this one. The alphabet is from Scrapbook Flair.

Andy took Deidra to the Daddy Daughter Dance that our church put on for Valentine's Day. She felt like a princess and Andy loved watching her play with the rest of the girls that night. Hopefully they'll have it again and it can become a yearly tradition.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Pure Love

Journaling just talks about how hubby gave me a dozen white roses for Valentine's Day. He picked white because he says that the love we share is pure and since the white roses stand for purity, he thought it was only fitting. I'm one lucky girl!

I used Meryl Bartho's Flowers in the Mist quick page kit. The glass heart is from Kathys Northwoods NooK creations.

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Deidra Singing at the Valentine's Day Pageant

Here is my daughter singing with her class at the Valentine's Day Pageant.

I used various kits that I found a long time ago that I had collected so I couldn't tell you what is what. The paper and Love button is part of a kit called Love Flow (couldn't tell you who made it as I collected this stuff before I knew that crediting was important) and the heart clip I found online somewhere and can't remember's been too long. Anyway, I hope you don't mind me sharing still.

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My Motivation and Blessings

I chose to stay at home again so that I could be here for my beautiful daughter and our foster children. It's been something that has been weighing heavily on my heart for awhile now. God has definitely provided for us here and He knew my heart and got me back home again. Granted, yes, I still work weekends, but I will be leaving that behind soon as well. Since I provide the dental and vision insurance through my work for all of us, I wanted us all to get into the dentist to get our dental work done and I need to get my eyes taken care of before I quit as well. That's the only reason that I'm still working. I should easily be able to quit by the time Deidra starts school in another month. But, I know that I am blessed to be back home again and I know that Deidra is really liking me back at home with her again. I'll be able to do more once she starts school up again as well. That will be nice. All along it has been important to Andy and I that one of us is with the kids at all really bothered me when I had to put Deidra in daycare...granted it was good for her...but I am glad to be back at home with her. This is where my heart truly feels that I belong. It's been nice and I feel so blessed.

Anyway, time to post my blessings...

* That I know my God

* That I can hear his voice when I truly take the time to listen.

* That God has answered my prayers that I have been praying for for the last few years. Maybe not in totally the way I had planned or in the time frame that I wanted...but He has provided the answers and He has heard my prayers and granted them.

* For my awesome husband that stays by my side no matter what. I have tremendous respect and love for him.

* For my beautiful daughter that God granted me (a total answered prayer). She is beautiful and sweet and has a huge heart for others and for God. I couldn't ask for a better daughter.

* For Baby J. He has filled my heart with so much love. He is such a loving little guy and is so full of smiles and giggles. It does my heart good to have him here with us.

* For Baby E. He taught me to be patient even in times of mischief and he rewarded me at the end with his cuddles and sweetness

* For being foster parents. It is teaching us so many things. I will hold these children always in my heart and prayers.

* For a roof over our head and clothes on our backs and shoes to cover our feet and food for our bodies.

* For our beautiful new house that is being built.

* For our friends that have always stuck by us and for the new ones that are coming into our lives that we're still getting to know down here.

* For my growing prayer life and for our church.

* For my family who is always there for us.


Your True Motivation

Matthew 19:29
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.

This bible study talks about what your true motivation is for doing the things that you do. She then goes on to talk about how a lot of people do what they do while at the same time asking the question "What's in it for me?" Like when you find out that you got a raise or a promotion and you immediately want to know how much more money am I going to get rather than just simply being grateful for the raise or promotion. Even Peter asked Jesus "What then will there be for us?" Jesus goes on to answer Peter's very basic question with three important principles for our daily living.

1. Whatever we give up we will receive a hundred times as much.

2. We will inherit eternal life.

3. Many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

The third principle confuses me a little bit, but I guess it means that in God's eyes it doesn't matter when you do what your called to do as long as you do it the reward will be the same. It's just a matter of doing what He is calling you to do that matters. :-) To me this represents God's graces and His giving spirit.

I think we always need to be aware of what our blessings are and it doesn't hurt to pray for blessings either.

I challenge my readers like the old church hymn says "Count your blessings, name then one by one...Name a few and post them in your blog. Write your motivations down for why you do the things that you do as well if you are so called. Mine will all be in my next post...

Father God, search my heart and test my motivation for what I do. Don't let any selfishness enter into my life. You know my intent. May my actions be done with a clear heart. Amen.


Beautiful Weekend!

What a beautiful weekend! The rain stayed away, the weather was warm, the sun was out, and we had some good times!

I took vacation from work this weekend and we really had a lot of fun. We took the kids to Six Flags on Saturday. Deidra had earned a free ticket for reading 100 books in kindergarten and it expired at the end of this month, so we wanted to make sure to go since she definitely earned it. Anyway, she was a little apprehensive about the big rides, but I took her on the Spongebob ride first (the seats just moved while a mini-episode played), but it was in 4D which she thought was a bit scary...she also didn't think she liked the moving seats...but then later she admitted that she did like it. Andy took her on her first real rollercoaster ride and she said that it was a bit scary, but fun. She rode a lot of rides in kiddi-land and she took me on the spinny things since Andy doesn't do those. Andy took her on a boat ride that was really cute (she took me on it before we left). And we watched the parade and got tons of pics with the characters (she found it to be a bit embarrassing...she really is growing up on me). Baby J loved seeing all the characters and wasn't scared of them at all. When I took him from Foghorn Leghorn he cried...he liked playing with his nose. lol. At one point, I thought I was going to get sick from the heat, so we went to cool off in Johnny Rockets (the only inside restaurant we could find) for awhile. Haven't eaten in one of those since our days of living downtown Chicago. The prices were way overpriced though...amusement park food I guess. But they charged us $9.99 for a plate of a hamburger and french fried and then the drink was separate. Geesh! It was good though and I felt a lot better after we cooled off and I got some food in my stomach. I was going to take Deidra on the big boat ride (you know the one, the log that you sit in...go down the big hill and it makes the BIG splash), however one side of the park experienced power failure and it shut down when it was almost our turn. She had begun to cry that she was scared in line half way through, but then after she talked to another little girl that had already ridden it and was about her size she said that she was going to be brave like Wonder Woman...and then it shut down. UGH! We wached the parade which Baby J loved and then Andy started not feeling so hot. He went and got some Powerade while Deidra took me on the boat ride. He felt better once we got off and I needed some Powerade after that. Deidra had wanted the Texas Size drink for $10 and at first Andy wasn't going to get it for her since it was $10, but then we found out that refills were only $1, so that cup paid for itself over and over with how hot it was and how much we needed to drink throughout the day. We took the kids to the carousel and I took Baby J with us and he absolutely loved it. I didn't even notice that I put him on one of the stationary horses though until I noticed we weren't going up and down. Yeah, the bolted down horse hoofs should have been my first clue. Oh well...he had fun anyway and giggled himself silly. On our way out of the park, Deidra spotted one more ride that she had to go on and since it was a spinny one, she took me with her. Andy got video of us riding the ride. It was fun, but combined with the heat, the fact that we had been in the sun all day (we were there almost 10 hours), my feet had blisters on the bottom, and it was past Baby J's nap time, it was definitely time to go. We had a lot of fun...snapped lots of pics...and a good time was had by all. That's all folks! (Well, for Saturday anyway).

Sunday, we got up and went to church and then headed home to eat a good breakfast before meeting back up with my Mom and my brother, Jimmie, to head out to the Fort Worth Zoo for the day. The kids all had fun seeing the animals and they had a really good bird exhibit (very similar to the butterfly houses that you can go in) with cockatiels and parakeets of every imaginable color flying around that you could feed and they'd come sit on your stick. Andy had more fun in there than Deidra I think. Baby J was enthralled with seeing all the birds though. We got some close up encounters with animals with them being right there on the other side of the plexiglass (one being a Mama Bear with her 2 baby cubs and the baby cubs were acting up trying to climb up the chainlink fence). We got to go in one of the little aquatic houses and they had a sting ray that you could pet (he was taking a break when we were in there), some sea anemones that you could touch, and they had all the facts of the sea coast in Texas there. My Mom said just from seing that she wanted to plan a weekend getaway to go visit the coast. It did try to rain on us a little bit, but it quickly passed. It did cool things off though, so that was good. We had lunch at Pizza Hut in Texas Town and visited the little shops around there. We got some M&M fudge and we all shared that. We went and saw the Arachnitopia exhibit with over 75 spiders (including the largest...the Goliath Bird Eating Spider) and then we took family photos in the spider web outside of the exhibit. For my fear of spiders...I did ok in there until someone dropped one of the specimen jars on the floor and I freaked wondering if one of the spiders got loose. It turned out that it was flat jars with preserved dead spiders in it so that you could identify them (brown recluse, black widow, regular house spider, that type thing). Anyway, we left shortly before the zoo closed and we all had a good time. Baby J loved seeing the animals and I think my favorite exhibit was the Mountain Lion exhibit...he was right there...we could have reached out and touched him if we wanted to...and he was beautiful. You could hear him panting too.

The weekend was beautiful (minus a fight that my Mom and I got into once we came home and the fact that Baby J pooped on the way home in the car and filled up his diaper, his clothes, and his car seat with it. Once we got Baby J all cleaned up Mom and I talked to each other on the phone for about 2 hours afterwards and Andy talked with her too and we worked it all out.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Valentine Friends

The layout I did today. :-) I used more of Sharia Braxton's Shapes of Love Kit and the Glass Deco hearts are Kathys Northwoods NooK creations.

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Our 4th of July

Fireworks were on the 3rd. We were going to go to the site of the new house and watch them, but with all the rain we have been having (it's literally rained for most of the day everyday for the past 2 weeks)...we decided to go to the school's parking lot. Baby E was the most impressed and learned to say "wow" after each one went off. It was too cute. Baby J liked them pretty well too, but E was definitely the most captivated by them. I got a little chocked up and teary eyed watching them. I don't think either of them have seen too much of the outside world and everything is such a new experience for them.

We got up ont he 4th and took the kids down to watch the parade downtown. E and J were both captivated by everything. E would practically stand up out of his seat (good thing he was buckled in nice and tight into his stroller) when he saw any animals coming. J had fun waving to everyone. They both thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Deidra of course loved getting the necklaces, coupons, and candy that they were all handing out. We wound up using some of the coupons for lunch at Chick-fil-A. After lunch, my Mom and I took the kids to the park for a 7 mile walk and then we let them swing. Even my Mom made the comment that she didn't think that they had gotten out much with the way they take everything in. They giggled and giggled on the baby swings and they were as content as could be on our walk. A butterfly came and sat on my finger during half of the walk and the boys liked watching it's wings open and close. We had a really good day and I was glad to have that time with E. I was glad to have that time with all my kids...but I cherished that time with E seeing as how he was leaving on the 5th. When we got home, Deidra wanted watermelon adn so we gave some to the boys too. They both sucked it down. I got some cute pics of them eating it too. Scrapbook pics here I come...

Anyway, 9 years ago on the 4th of July, Andy asked me to marry him. He always asks me each year...but this year I beat him to it. lol

It was a good 4th filled with family and I'm glad that we got to spend that time together.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Some Scrapbook Therapy

Today is quite the emotional day. I am emotionally exhausted. I tried to lay down for awhile, but too many thoughts were going through my head for me to really fall asleep and then my Mom called to check on me and so I decided some good ol' scrapbook therapy was in order. I made this page today while the kids were laying down. I used Sharia Braxton's Shapes of Love kit.

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Saying Good-bye to Baby E

I am so hoping that the first good-bye will be the hardest, but some how I doubt that is not going to be the case. We had a great holiday together and I've got some cute pictures of him. I also got to spend 2 hours with him this morning. I think he knew something was up, he kept pointing to his stuff and looking at me with this puzzled look on his face. But, we got lots of cuddles time in and he gave me hugs and kisses and I gave him hugs and kisses. Deidra made him a good-bye card last night that we all wrote messages to him in. I cried a lot while I was packing up his stuff and doing his last load of laundry. This morning, I just wanted to make the best of the time that we had left and we played and played and he was just as sweet as could be. He even gave Deidra a hug and a kiss and tried to cuddle with her. I got some cute pics of them. They came for him about a 1/2 an hour late...that was gut wrenching. She finally called to say that she was running a few minutes behind. I choked up after she called, but I didn't want him to see me cry. She arrived about 10 minutes later and she started packing his stuff up. I gave him hugs and kisses and then she came back to ask him if he said his good-byes. I told her to take him before I fell apart. She took him to the van and I just started sobbing. Then, I realized that his nebulizer was still on the table so I had to run that out to them. She looked at me and said "the good-byes are always hard." I waves good-bye to him and came in the house and when the van pulled out of our driveway I prayed for blessings for him and cried my eyes out.

My caseworker called to check on me a few minutes ago and she said that someone was supposed to call her and let her know the final verdict of the courts today and that she would call me to let me know what was going on for sure when she knew something. She also wanted to know whether we wanted another placement right away or whether we wanted to wait a few weeks. I told her to give me until Monday to deal with my feelings. I told her that they can start calling me with placement calls now, however, I don't want to take anyone until Monday. She asked me if we had a preference on ages or boys or girls and I said no. So, we'll see what God has in store for us. This good-bye business is hard's a lot harder than what I thought. Even with all of his could see the sweet little boy behind that and he really was doing a lot better this week and that made it all that much harder to see him go. I wish him all the best and I hope God blesses him all the days of his life.

I love you, Baby E and I am really going to miss you!

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Happy birthday, Grandma!

My Grandma lost her battle with cancer 5 years ago. Her birthday is today. I'm trying to figure out how old she would have been and I want to say she would have turned 80 today.

I went thrift store shopping with my Mom on Saturday after her episode as I didn't want to leave her side in case anything else happened. We found a few things and she was buying them for me. We left and as we walked out the door something caught her eye and we had to go back in and see. We wound up buying it for my new house and we were looking at some plaques. She held up one that said "The family that prays together, stays together" and there were a pair of hands folded in prayer at the top. I said that Grandma had a very similar plaque in her family room and I've always looked at it. She asked me if I wanted it and I said that it wasn't as nice as the one Grandma had and that I could always make something similar if I wanted the quote hanging in our house. Anyway, as we were leaving she said "you should consider that as Grandma saying hello." It wasn't until today that I realized when I saw the date (I kept thinking that her birthday was tomorrow cuz I thought today was the 1st) that her birthday is actually today.

Thank you for your hello, Grandma, and I will always remember that quote. You took great care of your family and your strength and faith in God will always be a strong example to the rest of us. I love you and hope that you are having one awesome birthday up there in Heaven. Abba, please give her a hug and kiss from me and tell her happy birthday for me.


Baby E is leaving...

The transporter came to get him for a visit with his mom today and his mom didn't show up so they brought him back early. She told me that he was being placed on Thursday and to have him all packed up and ready to go by 9am. I went into stunned mode and didn't ask any questions. I have no idea of where he's being placed or who he's going with. I wound up letting our caseworker know and she was extremely stunned as well with the fact that I found out from the transporter...not only that but our agency hasn't been contacted from them at all. We've both left messages with his CPS worker and haven't received a call back. She said that if she doesn't hear anything back by first thing in the morning, she will be contacting her supervisor or someone that can tell us for sure what is going on as we need to know no later than tomorrow. I was glad to know that I wasn't the only one who was wondering what the heck was going on. She's thinking that maybe a family member has stepped forward to take him, but hopefully we'll know for sure what is going on soon. I'd like to send the couple of scrap pages that I had made for him with him, but it doesn't seem like much and I'm not sure if whoever gets him would keep it for him or not. I may just work on the rest of his pages and try to e-mail them to his caseworker later.

Abba, please watch over this little boy. He really just started opening up to us and it's been fun to see him starting to bloom a little bit. Yes, he's been challenging at times too, but I thought we'd have more time to work with him. He's been here just over 3 weeks now. I never thought he'd leave so soon. Be with him and keep him safe and watch over him as he goes throughout his life. Bless him, Abba all the days of his life. God bless our baby E.

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His Outstretched Hand

Isaiah 53:3a
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering.

Father God, You know rejection far better than I do. I ask You to touch me when I'm rejected (or when I feel rejected) and ease that pain. Pleasemake me sensitive to the times when I reject people. You know that I don't want to hurt others' feelings. Protect my words, body language, and attitude, that they may heal and not reject. Amen.

Yes there have been times that I have felt the pain of rejection...there are times that I still struggle with it...however I'll talk about that in a minute. I wanted to take a minute to process what the bible study for today talks about.

Jesus Himself experienced rejection. His own people who He came to save and teach were the very ones who nailed Him to the cross: "He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him" (John 1:11). How could we reject the very gift that God gave us? Such a precious gift He is and still there are those who do not believe in Him... How we have hurt our beautiful Savior by rejecting Him...

And to make that even worse, Jesus felt rejected by His own Father. When Jesus bore the sins of the world He felt deep, deep pain. He cried out to His Father "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46). Yet, he finished his mission with for His Father who sent him on that mission, and love for those of us who crucified Him...Us.

When Jesus suffered on the cross to save us and to pay for all of our sins, he also gave us a promise "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus knows how we feel in our times of pain and suffering and he has given us His grace for our time of need and offers us His Strength to see us through. He will never leave us alone. We may be scorned or rejected by others, however God will always be there to comfort us and to offer us His Outstretched Hand. What a beautiful God we have to see us through our troubles...

I deal with feelings of rejection a lot from family...although I'm slowly letting that go with time. I won't say it doesn't hurt when I think about it. Then again, sometimes I think describing my family tree is hard.

I have my biological's mom's side of the family...they had issues with my Dad remarrying so soon after my Mom's death and I still to this day have a hard time talking about my life because they have no problem reminding me that my step-mom whom I call Mom isn't my Mom. I was Grandma's girl though and when she died, I really found myself putting more of a distance there. I tried for awhile to be close to them, but it only wound up hurting me more than it helped. I saw the way they treated me like I was the outsider. I never knew what to say to them, they'd have a get together or something would happen and I wouldn't be hurt. There are a few that I talk to occasionally, but other than seeing them at special holidays (usually Christmas Eve) I don't see them much.

I have my Dad's side of the family...his family is branched out in so many directions and is very confusing to me (his mom was married many times and to figure out who goes with who is very conufsing to me)...not to mention that they just live in a way that I wasn't raised in and they are always fighting with one another. I don't know them well really...other than a very select few. I try to visit when we go into GA though...I wouldn't say I have any close relationships with his side of the family though. The one aunt and cousins that I was close to, really fizzled out when my Mom and Dad divorced.

Then, I have my step-mom's side of the family...they're not a close family at all really. However, we were really close to the brother and his family that she had that was still in MI (everyone else is in FL). But, I still consider them all to be my family too.

Then, you have Andy's family....there are still some that although we've learned to get along there's still distances between us that are at times unsettling to think about. I still wouldn't say that I feel accepted by them all, but I've learned to deal with it. Anyway...I'll have to write more later...I've got some things to do and to deal with.


Busy Bees...

Well, I can't ever say that I'm bored...things are busy around here. While I will admit that there are times that I do get stressed or overwhelmed with everything going on and trying to remember this or that...Andy helped me figure out a better system to keep track of schedules, paperwork, and all that stuff. Thank you honey! But most of the time, yes we're busy...but it's a good busy. I can't believe how much these 2 boys have already taken up space in my heart and how much I worry for them. E just left about an hour ago for his visit with his Mom...and I so hope that she shows up today for his sake. I remember how I felt for him last week when she didn't show up. I was worrying for him already this morning when we were getting him ready to go. He woke up this morning before the rest of the kids did and I got to spend some one on one with him giving him hugs and kisses and letting him sit on my lap. He doesn't like to sit all that much, but it was nice to have that time with him. He's eating a bit better for us too so that is good...he could use some more weight. Anyway, I'm going off on a tangent of where I didn't intend this e-mail to go. Let's try to get back on track...

Anyway, last week was stressful with Andy gone. I'm looking forward to this week with my Rew back. We don't have that many appts to deal with this week either and I'm hoping it stays that way. Last week, we had something going on almost every day. I worry when we have people coming in and out of the house and I stress myself out trying to make sure that the house looks presentable. I try my hardest to clean up when the boys are napping and E is great with helping to pick up toys. J is learning by watching E and D will help too but it takes a few times of asking her before she'll really get in there and help and most of the time she whines about it also while she's doing it. I cannot wait until we get into our new house and we will have so much more space. This is the biggest problem here is that things aren't dirty...but it's definitely cluttered and I try my hardest to make sure that it gets decluttered daily...but it goes right back to that state. Easy enough with 3 kids running around.

We got a new caseworker today. We met her before and she came out with our other caseworker to do the home visit and she seems really nice. We've been blessed with 2 great caseworkers. It's nice to try and learn my way along the paperwork side of things along with someone else who is also learning. :-) Anyway, she's coming out to do a home visit tomorrow. I was hoping that the rest of the week would sort of be free time...but the visit shouldn't last too long.

Deidra is having a hard time too with not being the center of attention. She just hears the word "caseworker" and has started to act up...which stresses me out too. I think she needs to get back around the big kids to help pull her out of this regression. She takes her big sister role very seriously and loves to help and play with the babies, but she also likes to use sippy cups and baby spoons and stuff again too. So, we are going to put her back into her old summer daycare at the Montessouri school for 1-2 days a week again until school starts. They have big kid activities (swimming at the Y, movie day at the theater, VBS, pizza at CiCi's, and they go on a couple field trips) and I think she needs that too. It's hard for me to get out of the house a whole lot with 2 babies (we need a double stroller badly) unless we're going to the store and I can strap them both in the cart. Otherwise we don't leave the house until I have Andy or my Mom to go with us somewhere and I have an extra set of hands. I don't want her to get bored or not be able to enjoy her summer vacation. There are a few things that we are talking about doing as a family that will be fun, but she needs to be able to enjoy doing big kid things too. We did just join a Mom's club for our county that is brand new, but we haven't been able to go to anything just yet. They're having a park day, but I can't bring the babies to that by myself with them running in opposite directions in a wide open space. They have a restaurant day in another week with an inside play place and I think I will bring them to that as that's a confined space. That's my biggest challenge right now is to try and figure out how to bring them all to these things...I know it's just going to take time.

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