Wednesday, September 30, 2009

movie party

As you can imagine we are a little busy around here and I am just now getting to posting some pics from Tally's birthday. My oldest turned 11 this month and we had a great time celebrating her and the precious girl that God is allowing her to become.

One of the things that we prayed for before we moved last year was that God would supply us with friends. We have learned to make quick connections and we really do have dear friends spread all over the United States. I believe that God has brought some precious girls for my kids to connect with for this season of their lives.

For Tally's birthday we decided to invite some girls over for pizza and a movie. In order to make it easy and enjoyable for all, the girls had their pizza on the back deck while Chuck and I stayed inside. We were trying to give them a little space to giggle and have fun with out us hovering.
We then quickly sang to Tally, opened gifts and got ready for the movie.
We gave the girls each a baggie with 5 tokens and they could use those to pay for goodies at the snack stand. I thought this would help ration out the sweets. Popcorn was free, but each candy was one token. Some girls spent their tokens right away, and some made them last.
Then it was off to the theater. We had a curtain up in the doorway and we had moved all of the furniture around to make for optimal viewing for the kids. Our movie was Horton Hears a Who. Chuck had also rigged surround sound so it was nice and loud just like the theater.
We gathered bean bag chairs and dish chairs and there was lots of room to lounge. Chuck and I sat on the other side of the curtain and watched from the kitchen. Again, we wanted to give the girls a little space. I can tell they are growing up. It is so different from the birthday parties that require lots of games and work. The movie was the entertainment.
I have to say, it was one of the easier parties I have thrown. The kids all loved it, the parents had an evening to themselves and it was a supervised evening of fun. I am just about ready to have another movie night.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Call-Me-Card Fundraiser

If you have ever grabbed a receipt or a deposit slip to jot your phone number, email address or blog address in order to share it with a friend, than you might be interested in Call-Me-Cards. We are launching our Call-Me-Card ADOPTION FUNDRAISER. A Call-Me-Card is like a calling card custom made for families. We have had lots of affirmation about our customers satisfaction with the Call-Me-Cards and we thought it would be a great fundraiser. The girls started this as their business over a year ago and it is still going. In order to make it a fundraiser we had to adjust our prices just a bit, but it is still a pretty good value and all of the proceeds are going to the adoption fund.

Click on the girls website (HERE) to see some samples and how to order. Chuck posted it on his facebook page and we have had our first sale already. If you have ordered before, and have run out, now is a great time to order some more.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hard to believe...we had a yard sale in the pouring rain !

We ended up having our yard sale on Saturday morning (well...technically, it was a GARAGE sale). We never really had enough break in the weather to put our things out in the driveway. But we had gathered our donations and I spent the week pricing the items, so we figured we should give it a try. I am bummed that I was too busy to take pictures. I will try and remember next time. And YES, there will be a next time. We have some left over things and I am going to start taking more donations of items for the next yard sale.

When Chuck was putting the signs out early in the morning, he said he was doing it in faith that people would come and the effort would be worth it. And God blessed the effort. We were swamped with people and sold almost everything. We were not prepared to display the items in the garage, but that didn't stop our shoppers. They dug through boxes of items and clothes and didn't seem to mind the mess. It felt a little crazy and messy, but all in all it was a good day.

The girls sold baked goods (that my dear friend donated) and we had signs up that said it was an adoption fundraiser and people were very encouraging and many were generous. We raised $500 !!! We were thrilled and shocked that it went that well. Worth the effort it took and we are going to try and do another one in a few weeks. This last one we pulled off in just one week (no wonder I am tired).

I just love it how it was another reminder that even though the circumstances were not ideal, God isn't held back by it. I am grateful for the wonderful reminder that He is STILL in control.

Friday, September 25, 2009

We have been at the doctor every day this week and we aren't even sick.

Seriously...every day to the doctor for some adoption physical or testing.

MONDAY - Girls had their physicals and their arm test for TB (a requirement for the homestudy process).

TUESDAY - Chuck and I had our physicals and our arm test for TB.

WEDNESDAY - Back in to have the girls arms checked out for TB. Arms started to look like a positive result, scheduled to go back the next day to check again.

THURSDAY - Back to the doctor to have them look at the girls arms again. Sure looked positive for TB. Went over to a lab and had chest x-rays done to see if it was active TB. (It was NOT).

FRIDAY - Chuck and I went in for our blood work and had them look at our TB arm test. Those results all came out just fine. No worries.

So...all that to say, we have been to the doctor every day and we aren't sick. Of course sitting there in the waiting room as they mention that the arm TB test was positive made everyone there give you freaky looks. Like we are some kind of diseased family. Yep...I felt like I had to justify to everyone "We are not sick. We don't have TB, it just means we have been exposed to some TB sometime in our lives. We are not contagious."

As you can imagine, we were washing our hands every time we walked out of the waiting room.

On a positive note, we just got back from a fun play date at the park with other families in our area that have, or are in the process of adopting from Africa. I found out one of them lives in our neighborhood. How cool is that. What a neat area to be in and find such neat support. I love how God works out those details.

You will also notice, I have put up our adoption time line to help you get an idea of the process and how we are progressing. We just had our second and third (max of 4) homestudy meetings. And we have been really busy getting ready for a HUGE yard sale tomorrow as a adoption fundraiser. Please pray with us that it doesn't rain.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Do we really need TV everywhere???

Warning...this one may not be for little eyes and ears.

Have you noticed (or is it just me) that TV is everywhere? It seems like I can't walk into a waiting room or a office or a restaurant without a TV playing. I mean do we really need a TV at a Burger King? Has everyone else noticed this? It used to be you would go to the doctor and look at the fish tank and read the Highlights and instead there is a TV on and some show you are being exposed to (like it or not). Now you get to watch and listen to what ever is playing.

We try to avoid it as much as we can. I have found that it helps to place my kids with their backs facing the TV but even then when the volume is turned up, it is hard to ignore. This morning we had to sit in 2 doctors offices (getting our adoption physicals done) and I was horrified of the story that was being played. Typical morning news show had a woman on who was going into details about her sexual relationship with her father. UGH. The story was really disturbing and I kept trying to have my kids keep their noses in their books. I even had them step outside for a moment to call Daddy on the cell phone (mainly as a distraction). Then the next story was how to talk to your kids about sex. Again...a little more details than I was comfortable with.

Maybe I should have asked to turn down the volume. As you can imagine, we have pretty conservative values on TV, but these were just news shows (sometimes those are the worst). I would rather not have my kids listen to a story about murder and mutilating human beings. If it freaks me out, I am sure it will give them nightmares too.

Now I know...bring books and headsets with music to distract the little ones. Lesson learned.


Does anyone know what happened to my little box that had my blog followers in it? For some reason it is blank. And when I try to edit it, there isn't anything there. Any thoughts? Are my posts still coming up on your dashboard of you who are followers?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

my favorite kids Bible studies

I am often asked what my favorite Bible studies are for kids. I thought I would post it here as a resource for others when someone is looking for ideas of how to share God's word with their kids.

I believe that you can start this habit early with your kids. Time with God can and should be part of our every day life with our children. When my kids were just toddlers/preschoolers, I found a great devotional. We even used it in pre-k and kindergarten.This is still my favorite book for little ones. We read ours MANY times (even broke the binding). It uses real life stories to help kids learn to obey and have a heart for God. It is not a Bible story book, but more situational. We used ours as part of our story time in the evenings. To help the kids stay engaged, you hunt for "Nightlight" a little glow worm on each page. You can order it from Amazon for about $10 new (HERE).

We have also tried the God and Me devotionals HERE (for girls - the boys version is Gotta Have God HERE).
These are also situational books for kids. They break them down into different age levels, 2-5 year olds (can't do with out parents help), 6-9 year olds (my older kids have even done these) and then 10-12 year olds. They also have a second book for each of these levels (like God and Me 2). My girls are old enough to do these on their own and we have done several of them.There is a little story, a verse or passage to read, questions to answer and then some kind of activity or craft. My kids have really enjoyed these. If you are looking for something that your kids can do on their own to start the habit of alone time with God each day, I would recommend these. Also about $10 each and you can find them on Amazon or in some Christian book stores. I also get these at homeschool conventions and have found them at yard sales or Goodwill.

My all time favorite is the Precepts for kids series (HERE or HERE). I have shared about them several times before (HERE). But it is worth mentioning again. This year we are studying the names of God (God, What's Your Name? - HERE) and we have all really enjoyed the study. These are a bit more advanced. Even though they say they are for kids 8-12, I really couldn't see my 8 year old doing these on her own. We do them together for group study time.

These books teach your child (and you too) to study God's word. How to really study scripture at such a young age. What a fantastic thing. We read the bible passage, mark the text, and answer the questions. We work through these slowly and don't ever do a "days lesson" in one day. We usually take several days to accomplish the lesson. I usually do the reading and they do the writing. I absolutely love these books. I can see older kids (older than 12) still benefiting from them.

Just wanted to share some of the tools we have used to hide God's word in our hearts. I have been recently challenged of how purposeful I need to be to do this with my kids.

You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.

You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.

You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

flash back to our trip

We really did have a good time on our trip to visit Chuck's side of the family. It was fun to explore their world and see their friends and reconnect with family. One day we drove to visit Chuck's grandfather's home and all his family that was in the area. Since we don't get to very many family reunions, it was extra special.

Of course the girls had a great time playing with cousins and climbing in the tree house. I sure love that area of upstate. So beautiful and scenic. I could sit outside and stare at the garden and listen to the birds all afternoon. I still think we will end up back in the country someday. Maybe when we are old and gray and our kids come to visit us with all the grandchildren.

We have been blessed with loving and supportive family. This trip reminded me of how I am so grateful for Chuck's side of the family. I just love to see how they are so proud of him and who he is. They have been very supportive and encouraging. We are so blessed.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Lord Provides

His mercies are new every morning.

His timing is perfect.

He is trustworthy.

He is faithful.

I will trust in Him.

Again, I am blown away by God's provisions. I just want to give HIM the glory. Yesterday I was blessed by a devotional from this site (HERE). It was a great reminder that stepping out in faith requires a risk. Part of it read: If we could see every detail about where God was leading and how He would provide, we wouldn't need faith.

How true is that? We can not see every detail of how life will turn out and that keeps us depending on God. We need to continue to have faith in our Mighty GOD. And as we step out in faith to follow where He leads, we don't have all the plans worked out. We will need God to provide in His timing and in His way.

I was blessed by a mailbox moment. You know the kind, you open a card and out drops a check for the exact amount you need. That is right, for now, the exact money that we needed to continue on showed up as a delivery from God. How fantastic that a member of the body of Christ was tuned into the Spirit and responded in obedience.

I have been trying to figure out how to come up with this particular sum of money and God had it all worked out. He knows our needs and if it is His will, He will bless.

What an amazing thing to be blessed in this way. May God only receive the glory in all that we do.


The Lord will Provide

I'm hooked....

...on couponing. Yep, it is now a verb. Mainly because it is an action. I have to seek out the web sites, print the coupons, clip them, organize them, write my shopping list according to them, get myself to the right store on the right day, hunt for the B1G1 deals, make sure my coupons match, gawk at my savings when I check out, leave the store on a coupon high, rush home to show my family the savings, and plan my meals according to what was on sale.

It has been a really LONG time since I was able to feed my family on less than $100 a week, but it can be done (as long as I do my work). For us, right now, it is the best way to trim the budget. And we are saving every penny we can (I am sure you can figure out why). I spent a lot of time on this site trying to figure it out. HERE

Just wanted to pass it on if any of you are looking for a way to save some money (and get a new hobby). My cart was full on my shopping trip on Sunday and here is a little break down of what was spent. Not trying to brag here, just wanted to pass on some ideas of how to save.

Total bill: $151.15 - $83.60 (coupons and advertised deals) = $ 67.55 spent

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Eyes Wide Open

Scroll down and let the video buffer while you are reading the post. The video is worth the few moments it takes to watch.

We have been in full swing of trying to get our adoption paperwork done for our homestudy. Just a little background for those of you new to the idea of adoption, we are required to complete a homestudy in order for our state to approve us to adopt. It is more than just someone coming to our home and snooping around. Though the history of it is from when in the mid 1800's and the orphan train was popular, it was a small inspection to make sure that home had an adequate water supply. It is a series of meetings with a case worker who will write a report about our family. In order to do this, we fill out lots of paperwork and questions about ourselves, our feelings on adoption, our marriage, child raising, we complete medical exams, finger printing, background checks, financial reports...the list goes on. We also are required to take a 5 session education course to help us better understand adoption and how to prepare for it and hopefully help us succeed in it.

All that to say, last night was our first education class. We sat in a room with 6 couples, all adopting internationally (4 from Ethiopia, 1 from Nepal and 1 from Uganda). We were so blessed to come together with others who also have the heart of adoption. We had a genuine open discussion on different aspects of adoption and it gave us much to think about and should help us form our adoption plan.

We were reminded that it is our job to educate those around us that will be part of our new child's life. We need to set the tone and attitude for those around us of positivity and confidence. We have already in our hearts committed to this child and we are hoping to find support from our friends and family.

One of the benefits we have of emotionally being where we are is talking with other adoptive families, reading books and articles, and following blogs of others who have gone before us. We have spent months and even years doing this. God has opened our hearts to this call and we desire to follow in obedience to where He leads. We are going into this with our eyes wide open, we are beginning to understand that this will not be an easy road. Both emotionally and financially, even spiritually. We will be stretched, but it is there where God prunes us to be more like Him.

I wanted to share a youtube video that blessed me as I was searching the web one day. I hope that it will help be part of your education as you learn more about adoption through us.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Did I ever tell you that Tally wrote a book?

Yes...that is right she wrote a book this summer (when she was still 10) and we put it up on a blog so she could share it with her friends. Feel free to read it to your kids or let them read it themselves. If you do, please leave her a comment and let her know that you have read it.

Go HERE for the The Mystery of the Scratchy Pipe.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I must share the truths from His word

I have shared before of how blessed I have been to have found Precepts Bible studies. If you have followed the Peapod for awhile, I have mentioned before (HERE) how much we appreciate these study books. I just started a new book with the girls for our Bible time for school. This year we decided to study, God, What's Your Name? by Kay Arthur (found HERE). We are learning about the importance of calling on the name of God. Today we studied Psalm 20 and I wanted to share the truths that we wrote down about God.
  • May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble.
  • May the name of God set you securely on high.
  • May He send you help from the sanctuary and support you from Zion.
  • May He remember all your meal offerings and find your burnt offering acceptable.
  • May He grant you your heart's desire and fulfill your counsel.
  • May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.
  • The Lord saves His anointed.
  • He answers from His holy heaven.
  • May the King answer us in the day we call.

I found incredible comfort in these truths today. I can stand on God's Word and know that He is faithful. God's name is my victory and my salvation. I will call upon His name. As we spend this year studying God's names, I am sure I will share what I have learned and hopefully this will also bless many of you.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

9:09 9-9-09

We stopped our schooling and did a little fun at 9:09, 9-9-09.

9 jumping jacks
9 toe touches
go find 9 purple things and bring them to me
go get 9 sips of water and eat 9 crackers
pet the bunny 9 times
swing 9 swings on the swing and go down the slide 9 times
take 9 more sips of water and sit down for 9 deep breaths.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

This and that

  • We hosted a little get together for Tally and her tween age friends on Friday night. We did a movie and pizza and popcorn and candy. It really was a fun party and I will post some pictures and details soon.
  • I resisted the urge to school my kids yesterday. I feel like it is so hard to take a day like that off, but at the same time it is needed to enjoy down time as a family.
  • We all dressed in Chuck's team t-shirts and took part in the free chicken sandwiches at Chick-fil-A. It was yummy!!
  • I recently found some errors from both our bank and a different organization that accidentally charged us too much for a few different things. It pays to pay attention.
  • I have noticed some trees already starting to turn color. OH...I am going to love it here this fall. I haven't had a real "fall" feeling fall in several years.
  • Our first homestudy meeting was today. It was successful and we came home with LOTS of homework type of paper work. I will have to be very diligent to getting all these things done in the next few weeks.
  • Got our finger printing done today and I will mail those documents off tomorrow.
  • I couponed for the first time this week. I am hooked. My bill was about $120 and I saved $61 and paid $59. That's right...I saved more than I paid. Just what I need to help us save some more money around here.
  • I love praying for this new child that will someday join our family.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I can see God's mighty hand working already

One of our hesitations for finally taking that leap of faith and starting the adoption process has been finances. Let's be honest, it costs a LOT. And not many families have large amounts of cash stashed between the mattresses. I thought that I had it all figured out that we could use our extra money from our last home sale to help begin the financial part of the adoption process. Well, let's recap. Like everyone else in the country, we took a huge hit when we sold that house. We did not walk away with our adoption "nest egg" like I had hoped we would have.

God continued to call our family to step out in faith, not resting on our own ideas of how we could fund an adoption, but completely trusting Him. We recently started filling out paperwork and getting more specific quotes on what different stages of the process would cost. I knew the first large sum of money would be spent on the homestudy. We would have to complete that first before we could really do any other paper chasing.

Now to get to back to the mighty hand of God working part...

Somehow when we closed on selling our last home, we failed to cancel our homeowners insurance. We had recently discovered this mistake and canceled it and then we were notified that we would be getting a refund for the extra that had been paid and not used. When our refund check came in the mail it was for the same amount of the cost of a homestudy. A beautiful, gentle reminder to trust my Maker. Just a few days later we filled out our application (after MUCH investigating of different agencies) for the Ethiopian program with an international agency.

I was so blessed and amazed at how God provided our need. How could I doubt that He would provide in His way, not mine? I surrender to doing life God's way, not mine. He never shows up late. His timing is always perfectly on time. May God receive the glory !!!

Proverbs 16:9
A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

We are approved !!!!

We are stepping out in faith.

Following where God leads.

Starting a journey.

If the Lord wills, we are growing our family.


Needless to say...we all loved this old car. This is Chuck's dad's toy. We were all able to fit in the back seat. The girls loved that it didn't have seat belts and that they could hang out the window. Good thing we weren't going far. Thanks Grandpa for the ride.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Grandma Jane

This is Chuck's (step) grandma Jane. She is now 98 years old and pretty amazing. Her youthfulness inspires me and her sweetness is a blessing. Just think of all that has changed in 98 years. It is almost hard to comprehend. She is such a beautiful lady and she just makes you smile.

On our recent trip we made the effort to visit most of Chuck's relatives. It really was great to reconnect with all his family. On our last day we made the extra effort to go and visit "Grandma Jane". I just couldn't be within driving distance to her and not go and see her. She is truly one of the sweetest little old ladies around. She sends a birthday card (in her shaky handwriting) for all of our birthdays (she has never missed one yet). She is really quite sharp and able to keep up with the conversation (only a little hard of hearing). We enjoyed her telling us stories of her childhood and her favorite doll. She is just about as cute as they come.

Tally just opened the card that Grandma Jane sent for her birthday and she had included a hand written letter. It was such a special letter that Tally put in a special place to keep. She thanked us for coming to visit her and let us know how much she appreciated it.

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world ~ James 1:27

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I started the best job in the world....

11 years ago today. I am so grateful for my precious Tally and all that she is. Today we celebrate her eleventh birthday and the life that God blessed us with. September first has always been a special date for us. It was the day I met Chuck in Bible College. It was the day we became parents. And we are eager to see how God allows this day to be another significant date for our family.

Happy Birthday to my dear daughter. May God continue to draw you close to Him and may it be a fantastic year.