Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Aftermath of Christmas

I love Christmas, it is one of my absolute favorite holidays!  Really I love all the Fall holidays, so I am a happy girl from October through the end of December.  And what's not to love? Quality family time and lots of good food. 
The thing with Christmas though, we plan and shop and wrap, waiting to see the sparkle of joy in our little ones eyes when they rush down the stairs and over to the gloriously decorated tree, and then in just about 30 seconds, its over.  All the gifts have been opened, all the carefully chosen gift wrap is shredded all over the floor, and if you are like me, you are exhausted because you stayed up until 1am or later to make the magic happen! 
Now I have been seeing around the world wide interwebs lately, we should make Christmas last all year.  Which if you take that literally, it is a terrifying notion.  My crazies would love it because, hey, who doesn't want to live a Christmas version of Groundhogs Day? I, however, and probably most moms out there, would want to bury myself in a spider free hole in the ground until I found a way to make it stop.  I think what that means, is to live in the spirit of Christmas, reveling in joy and peace and love.  Remembering every day that God sent his Son to Earth as a fragile baby to teach us those things.  We wait for that one day to marvel in wonder that the Creator of the Universe gave us the greatest gift of all.  When we should live every single day in awe of His grace and mercy to us.
 In Luke 2:19, "But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart." While Mary and Joseph's Christmas aftermath was a little different then ours, she gave birth to Jesus, and then much like us, hosted several visitors, received gifts, and probably had to clean up after everyone, yet she still managed to hold on to the spirit of the occasion.  Although it might have been slightly easier since the reason for the season was snuggled close to her heart.  Perhaps, if we snuggled a little closer to our Savior, the spirit of Christmas could live in us all year.

Monday, December 23, 2013


1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus in you. 
What exactly does it mean to pray without ceasing? It's funny, I was talking to my crazies about this the other day.  I am always telling them to pray for stuff, from lost socks, to meets, to good weather.  And they have been wanting to pray more at bedtime instead of letting me rattle off our usual "Thank you for today, keep us safe and healthy" speech.  Every so often one of them will announce they want to pray for their new sister.  Which of course warms my heart and encourages me so much.  So then when bedtime prayer time rolls around and they ask me what to pray for and I suggest our impending adoption or for their new sister, I usually get "I already prayed that."
Thus begins the discussion on praying without ceasing.  Bookie can tell me what ceasing means, not surprising since he reads so much.  Which leads to Little Guy to declare he can't pray without ever stopping, that's impossible!
Praying is simply talking to God, we all know this, and hopefully we do this every day.  I try to, and some days I feel like I am just having a run on conversation with Him throughout the day.  But it is so easy to just get into a prayer rut I think. Thank you for today, keep us healthy, help me find my keys, phone, and make my 3 hours of sleep feel like 10....  We are instructed in the Bible to "ask, and it shall be given to you" So does that mean being specific? I think so!  And ceaselessly so! Pray until you get an answer, pray until mountains are moved, pray until your faith grows so enormously God's call resonates through your very soul, and you have no choice but to pray without ceasing!
I believe prayer should lift us up, regardless of what we are seeking Him for.  It should restore our soul.  It is an intimate and beautiful thing, and it is for every one, not just those who are "good" at it, but the rough, and abrasive, the frenzied mom who wants a little peace, and especially my crazies whose hearts are so big they can't imagine God not blessing them with another little sister. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Blue Skies Ahead

It is 67 degrees outside, at 7pm, 3 days before Christmas.  Kind of feels wrong if you ask me!  As Bookie puts it, we are having a Blue Christmas because when you look up all you see is blue sky.  I guess they are too young to remember when we lived in Florida, it was disturbing to see lights on palm trees.  Flip flops and sundresses!  Illinois was wonderful, I loved seeing all the sparkly snow.  I still have hope since it does snow on very rare occasions here, but I doubt that in 3 days the temp is going to drop and we will be graced with a lovely white blanket. 
No real complaints here though!
December is starting to wind down and finally so are we.  Break officially started, the hubs and I managed to hit up all 3 of the kiddos parties at school.  Controlled chaos at best, but we all had fun.  And today? No plans whatsoever.  The house is clean, so we just lazed around.  Bookie spent the day with his new Kindle, and I let Little Guy and the Princess watch movies and play on the ipad. 
I spent the day researching, and working on looking into adoption agencies.  I know we are a couple months out of being paper ready, but I like to be prepared, and have as much information as possible.  I read up on countries within Africa, on laws, and costs, forms and applications.  It is all mind boggling to say the least.  And it is hard to know which agency to use, do we use one in the state we reside in? Or do we only have to worry about having the homestudy done here?  So if anyone wants to shed some light on this, feel free!  I will take any information you have to pass out.  Just wishing there was a website or a book that laid it all out nice and neat with everything I need in a very organized and plainly written timeline.  Maybe that is something I will take on when all of this is over.  Hopefully my mind won't be shot by this crazy adventure, and I will retain all this information so I can pass on and share what we learn with someone else looking to start this amazing journey.  The day we bring home our girl will be a wonderful day, the first time we can help someone else starting out will be a close second. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Its Time To Get Crazy

I am one of those people who has a really hard time remembering to do something extra.  Pretty much anything that is outside of my regular routine, I can't seem to establish any sort of habit to make it permanent.  Take vitamins?  Sure, for about a week or two, then I forget.  I can put them out on the counter, next to my cereal, doesn't matter.  Flossing? Drives my Hubs nuts, but I am the most random flosser.  And reading my Bible? That takes a TON of effort.  And I feel like it shouldn't.  I have been a Christian since I was 8, and have gone to church just as long.  Bible college? Yep, did that too.  Read my Bible every single day? Hasn't ever happened.  I read my Bible about as often as I floss....
Ok, maybe I read my Bible more often then that.  However, I know its not enough.
What has helped a little bit is the YouVersion app that is on my iphone.  Not only does it have the entire Bible on it, should I ever decide to go back to Genesis and read it from cover to cover, but it also has reading plans and devotionals that can be anything from 3 days to 31 days or longer.  So now I can pick a short devotional, and stay on top of it for 3-7 days!  It is the perfect amount for someone who can't seem to commit.
The one I just finished up was about Elisha and his ridiculous faith.  I know I mentioned it before, but it really spoke to me. Before I read this particular devotional,  I knew that Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah's anointment from God, and that he received it because of how pure his faith was.  That, however, was the extent of what I knew. Turns out, this man was seriously committed to following God's commands, no matter what the cost.  He burned his plows, butchered his oxen, and left behind his inheritance.  Elisha doesn't come off looking to bright to the average person.  He stepped out of his comfort zone and away from his security, into what God had planned for him! I'm pretty sure that when Elisha met Elijah, he had a dream of what he wanted to see happen.  How big was his vision? The size of his or our vision isn't intimidating to God! I love that!
Not only that, but Elisha humbled himself before God and submitted himself fully.  And sometimes that requires us to do something crazy or ridiculous, or even something life changing.  It might not make sense in the beginning, or even in the middle, it might stretch my faith and heart to a place I have never been, and there will definitely be a lot of unknowns.
Phillipians 4:19 says "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus".  
How can I walk in any amount of faith, if I don't trust in that verse? No matter what my vision, or need, big or small, I am going to commit myself, to get ridiculous in my faith, just like Elisha!  

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Another week down

I hate when I sit down to write something, and nothing comes out.  I started to write 3 days ago, and couldn't get past the first sentence.  I try to be witty and concise all at the same time, and sometimes it's an epic fail! 
We managed to get through another busy weekend, it was Christmas parties galore!  Any excuse to dress up works for me.  Then today, we had originally planned to head out to Busch Gardens, it was sunny and not terribly cold.  However, even though we have season passes, we didn't want to drop $120 more on Christmas Town!  I find that kind of ridiculous! I am sure it is fun, and pretty to look at, but honestly I am not altogether sure what all that $120 goes for?  Are there special rides in Christmas Town?  And if my kiddos are that hard up to visit Santa, there are always malls to hit up for free!  Because, did I mention that it is an extra $15-$20 a person to go to Santa's Feast? 
And we are trying to stay on budget this pay period, and save money, since you know we need to have an exorbitant amount for our upcoming adoption.  Instead, we finally went to see Frozen.  Can I just say, we LOVED it!  A-Maz-ING! And the tears... Yes, I may have cried a little.  To see the 2 sisters drift apart, it broke my heart.  I won't give away any spoilers, but the music, and the storyline, so well done.  Kristen Bell played Anna, I had read when it first came out, how she has this amazing voice, and no one knew about it!  She really does have a gorgeous voice. Combine that with Idina Menzel in the role of Elsa, who I adore, it was a talent packed movie.  I highly recommend it, all of us, including our 2 boys, thoroughly enjoyed it. 
Now we are down to 5 days of school until Christmas Break, 4 days to Bookie's birthday, and 9 days until Christmas.  I am so thankful we have the Hubs for all of it this year!  And I am soon to be the mom to a 10 yr old.  Where did all the time go? Talk about tears!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Can I Slow Down Please?

Talk about a busy weekend!  I am not a huge fan of going 90 mph.  And don't ask me to explain why I do the things I do, I have no clue!  Jam packed weekends are so much fun...  Ok, not really.  This weekend consisted of Friday: Volunteering in the morning, and then set up for my boys school's Santa Breakfast, then I hosted a cookie exchange!  Now originally, the cookie exchange was going to be Sunday evening, but due to Little Guys meet being scheduled for Sunday, we had to move the date.  Thankfully, set up went well, due to some very helpful volunteers, I love when people come through and honor their commitments!  And the cookie exchange was a lot of fun!  Of course now I have a house full of cookies that I am trying to not eat.  Saturday was the Annual Santa Breakfast.  I was asked to Head it up last year, which was crazy then, and crazy now.  Last year, the Hubs was deployed when I took it on.  And I swore at the end I would never, and I mean NEVER do it again.  Fast forward to this past Summer, my phone rings, I stupidly answered it and re-commited.  A few glitches, as is expected at an event that hosts 247 people over a 2 hour period, and it went surprisingly well!  I even heard from a few of the volunteers that people were commenting on how smoothly it went.  That is only because they didn't see the frantic scurrying going on behind the scenes! 
After the breakfast, and the Hubs was of course on duty, so we went it alone again, we came home and I went and laid on my bed for several hours.  The Princess and I even managed a nap.  I let the boys play video games, they definitely earned it.  And then I did an impromptu cut.  Our neighbors down the street have a little girl who is 10, and is good friends with our kiddos.  I got a text message earlier from her mom saying she had cut her hair!  Well her mom thought she had only cut her bangs, and BOY did she cut them.  But as I got her set up to section and pull her hair back so I could work on her bangs (or fringe as I have been trained to call them, but you say fringe and people assume you are talking about either an AWESOME tv show, or swingy little bits of fabric),  I discovered she had also cut the back up.  I ended up cutting about 5 inches off so it was all even.  I think it turned out pretty cute!  And Sunday, well that was exciting and boring all at the same time.  If you have never been to a gymnastics meet, go as a spectator, not as a parent.  It is nerve wracking and fun to watch all the very talented kids out there flip, and spin and pull off feats of strength that I cannot even hope to ever be able to do.  Which is all great and good until your child's team is finished, and then you go and sit. And wait.  And wait. Then they start the calling of who got medals for what.  Level by level, and age group by age group for each level.  Yay. 
Now it's Monday, and things have finally slowed down.  I still have a big errand to run, and a house to pick up, but tomorrow, well, tomorrow is MY day! I plan on getting the kids on their buses, and then doing nothing! Absolutely nothing, maybe I will take a nap, mostly I am going to lay around and watch mindless shows in peace and quiet. Without anything hanging over my head.  Sounds pretty good to me. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Pressing On

Little Guys first meet is coming up this weekend, and honestly I think I am more nervous then he is.  He has only been on team since June, and in gymnastics for a little over a year now, and while I think he is good (Mom bias here!) I am sure he could do better!  He goes to practice twice a week for 3 hours at a time, and they work on their 6 different routines.  I ask him how was practice, and his standard answer is good.  Every time.  I am glad he has confidence though.  

He used to tell us he only ever needed to practice at gymnastics.  That not a one of his team mates ever worked out at home.  Didn't lift weights, or run, or do anything.  Yeah, right! It took a while, but we finally convinced him, that while there was a few things he can't do at home, like rings, or the high bar, and no we were not installing either of these items in our house some where, that he could work on his floor routine, and we bought a pullup bar so he could, well, pullup.  

After a while, he developed more of a passion for it I think.  It became more than just a really long expensive play
I wish I had his strength though, Little Guy is 8 yrs old and is proud to sport defined biceps, a very defined back, and a 6 pack.  I suppose if I jumped around, did flips, handstands and pullups for 6 hours a week, I would look like that too.  But that my friends, takes a perseverance that I as a ....  certain aged woman... doesn't have.  At least for gymnastics.  What I am working on these days is my perseverance as a Christian, wife, and mom.  

Hebrews 12:1 says "Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."  Sometimes that seems nearly impossible.  First, do we always know what we are running towards even? And if we do know, are we running towards Gods goal for us? I think it can be easy as Christians sometimes to think any good idea we have is from Him. I don't always think that is the case.  Although I think when we make mistakes, and choose a path that wasn't in His plan, God can always use it for good.  I am trying to get better about being in the word, and spending more time in prayer.  And not just Oh God, please make my kids stop arguing with me!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Post Thanksgiving Thankfulness

Happy 4 days after Thanksgiving! We spent ours in a whirlwind of turkey, ham, and stuffing. Pies, cookies, and my personal favorite, a Gingerbread Pumpkin Trifle! Being surrounded by friends made it even better. Being military makes it hard to get together with our families, so having friends we can spend the day with helps a lot. We may not love where we live, but we do love who we live near! We have a lot to be thankful for, last year, the hubs was deployed and I was sad. This year, we have somehow managed to have him home for the majority of the holidays. That never happens!! We even get Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and Day! I feel so blessed. It's funny the little things you become thankful for as time passes. At bedtime last night I was putting the Princess to bed, she asked if she could pray. Of course! She started out praying for a good nights sleep, and then she asked for money for a house so she can have 2 pets.... Priorities. She occasionally throws in prayers for her new sister, her plan is that we buy her a GINORMOUS pink unicorn for Christmas, and then we can start saving to bring her new sister home. I am so thankful for her sweet heart. I am thankful for our boys, who came to us the other night and gave us their piggy bank to donate to our adoption fund! We must be doing something right, even though they fight and argue, and disagree with us and each other, they have huge hearts. I have a Bible app on my phone, today's verse was exactly what I needed when I woke up. 1 John 5:14,15 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him! What an awesome promise to us, His children. Even the last song we sang at church yesterday was exactly what I needed to hear. Hillsong United Oceans You call me out upon the waters The great unknown where feet may fail And there I find You in the mystery In oceans deep My faith will stand And I will call upon Your name And keep my eyes above the waves When oceans rise My soul will rest in Your embrace For I am Yours and You are mine Your grace abounds in deepest waters Your sovereign hand Will be my guide Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me You've never failed and You won't start now So I will call upon Your name And keep my eyes above the waves When oceans rise My soul will rest in Your embrace For I am Yours and You are mine Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders Let me walk upon the waters Wherever You would call me Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander And my faith will be made stronger In the presence of my Savior [x6] I will call upon Your Name Keep my eyes above the waves My soul will rest in Your embrace I am Yours and You are mine This spoke to all our plans and hopes and dreams we have for the new year. The hubs and I were both crying by the end of it. Such powerful words, His grace abounds in deepest waters! I know God is leading us into this new and fearful journey. It's crazy, and I am sure friends and family will doubt we are doing the right things from time to time, but I know God is our guide, I want to have ridiculous faith, a ridiculous commitment to what God has in store for our family.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Can You Say Overwhelmed?

People always laugh when I say I am busy from October to January. It's true, but this year its even more true with Little Guy in Gymnastics. We have practices and meets to go to. Our weeks are full, and our weekends are filling up as well. Throw in birthdays, cookie exchanges, Santa Breakfasts, Christmas, Parties, and whatever else comes up and I am surprised I am still standing when January rolls around. So let's add on top of that, the fact that next June, we are planning starting the adoption process. Seems like it should be simple enough, right? You pick a country, pick a child, and bring them home! Nooooo.... I knew it was an involved process, but until I started researching it, I had no idea how involved. For years I have always wanted to adopt a little girl from China, but as I read more, and pray more about this decision, I find my heart led to Africa. The past month or so, I felt like a slightly deranged person, China! No India! No, Romania? Ethiopia! Wait... Haiti? It is HARD. And I wondered how I would know when I hit the right country. My first inclination, since we put an 8 mo waiting and praying time frame on ourselves before we officially start this journey, was to pray, and work on our finances, pay off bills, and starting an aggressive savings account to put us in a good starting position. That is what my brain wants to do. My heart wants to look, and read, and research children, and their countries, and the laws. I have signed up on websites to receive emails on waiting children. Typically that is 2-3 emails a day. Today, I opened one for a little 4 yr old girl, from the Congo. I am pretty sure she didn't mean to, but she climbed inside my heart. How does that happen from just a photo? Adding planning to adopt to our plate is overwhelming enough, now add in the financial aspect of it! $33,000 That's the amount it will take. I can't say I understand the purpose of a lot of the fees. I feel like it should benefit the child, maybe the orphanage, but instead I feel like the country is using it for its own purposes. I could be wrong though. It makes you think about all those commercials, where they talk about how for $1 a day, or .50c a day you could feed a starving child, or provide fresh water. But it takes $33,000 to give a child a loving forever family and home?? Shouldn't that go to build another building, or dig a well, or make the country a better, cleaner, better fed place? It is overwhelming because I wonder how we will raise that much on our own. And that is when God reminds us, we won't be. He is going to provide for us. Through donations, fundraising, and however else He sees fit to lead us! Pretty awesome if you ask me! Bookie asked me this morning, "So, how far along are we in our adopting a child?" Today I didn't have much of an answer, hopefully that changes very soon! Questions like that? I am overwhelmed, but with love and awe that our children want to open our home to a child who has none, and I want to be overwhelmed like that every day.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pudding In A Cup

I find it so hard to believe these days that I have a 4th grader! My oldest is going to turn 10 in less than a month, and frankly that makes me feel old. I used to refer to him as Tj, or Train Junkie, but now his interests have turned to other things. Video games, Nerf guns, and reading. The last one makes me really happy, he loves to read, maybe I should start referring to him on here as Bookie! He has always been a little shy, last year was really tough on him as we were going through another deployment. Big surprise right? This year, he has turned it around completely! And I am so proud of him. Bookie has more confidence, I chalk that up to the twice a week when he practices his front kicks and tiger claw! I love to watch him spar, he giggles through the whole thing, and when he gets paired with a girl? Well, lets just say I really don't have to worry about him ever hitting one! Now we have always consider my Little Guy to be the ladies man, he is charming and silly, and really good at getting attention. That has not changed at all. And we have always joked about how Bookie will be the strong, silent type that the girls would all go nuts for because he does not wear his heart on his sleeve. Still the case for him as well, and it is working for him! About a week ago, Bookie came home from school telling me he thought a girl in his class might like him. All kinds of happy faces and an orchestra swelled in my head. I calmly looked at him and said, "What makes you say that?" Apparently another boy was picking on her and she told him to go away, so Noah told her he wouldn't bug her, to which she replied "Oh, I don't mind if you talk to me." Hmmmm..... Then this week, Bookie asked me if he could bring an extra pudding cup the next day in his lunch. Um, no, you don't need to eat 2 cups of pudding! If you're hungry we can pack more fruit, not more pudding! Yeah, my brain isn't always working at full speed these days. It didn't click until the next morning as I was getting the kids up and ready for school. Me: "So, why did you want another pudding in your lunch, did someone ask you for it?" Bookie: "Yeah..." Me: "Was it R?" Ding, Ding, Ding! Guess who went to school with 2 pudding cups?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Years Later

I thought long and hard about whether I should ever blog here again, I do have another one, but it's a Pinterest food blog. Which much like this one, I abandon on a regular basis. But I have so many thoughts whirling around in this head of mine, I really do need an outlet for them. What prompted this you may ask? Not that I even know who you are, I was really surprised to see this even gets visitors! 3 words. One Tree Hill. Yep, a television show that ended last year, crazy right? For those of you not familiar with it, it aired on the WB/CW and is one of those teen/drama/angst-y shows that for a lot of us are a guilty pleasure. I had never watched it until just recently and over the past few months, I have watched it from beginning to end. Not all at once, although thanks to Netflix, I could have! This show, in all of its silly, crazy problems and solutions, had made me think about what I want. I have an amazing husband, 3 crazy kiddos, and a sweet dog. What else could I want? The last time I think I was here, I owned an Event Planning company. I kind of still do, but since we have moved to middle America and back to the East Coast, I haven't done a lot with it. The website is up, but needs to be updated. I graduated Cosmetology school, really proud of that one. I love doing hair and makeup. I almost opened a bakery. Almost. So, what does all that mean? All 3 of my kiddos, are in school during the day. I work a little bit from home, doing hair and makeup for various clients, and the occasional events. It's perfect because I can make my own schedule. I always say I am an Empire kind of girl. I want to take all of my business ideas and merge them into one. A Salon and cafe, with an attached Event Planning business. And watching One Tree Hill has sparked all those desires in me again. Watching each character realize their dream and bring it into fruition. Probably a lot easier for them since there was a writer spinning their dreams out, and backers, sudden windfalls, and wealthy families written into their story lines. Anyone want to do that for me? I kind of feel a little lost these days. I am happy and blessed. I just need to be busy and contributing. Well, busy with my own things. I am SUPER busy with cleaning the house, when aren't I cleaning? Busy with carting kids to activities, my middle guy is in his first year as a competitive gymnast, my oldest, almost 10, is in Tae Kwon Do, and my girly girl is about to start ice skating. I am one of the Fundraising Directors for my sons gym, and the Chairperson for one of the committees for the PTA. So yeah, busy. Just not busy for me. We are still a military family, that kind of ties my hands on some things. Do I establish my business again, only to have to up and move it in another year or so? I want to for some odd reason, move to a small town, with a great community, small business friendly, where everyone knows everyone. Doesn't that sound appealing? Oh, and in other big news, we are getting ready to start the adoption process! I know, 3 kids and we want to add another one? Adoption has been something I have always wanted to do. And by always, I mean since I was a kid! Children have always been my heart. The thought of being able to help a child who was abandoned, to show them love, and what a family is, that is my dream. Maybe growing up in a church that had a lot of families who fostered and adopted, could have something to do with it I suppose. My kids are so excited, my daughter specifically since we are planning on adopting a girl. Trying to pick a country is intense! So many rules, Japan has one for BMI! I think we have narrowed our choices to Ethiopia, India, or Haiti. But we are open to whatever God has in store for us. And I am so excited about this journey we are preparing for. We plan to put in our application in June 2014, between now and then, we will be praying, seeking God's will on all of this, and to get all our finances in order. Adoption is a great thing, but it is EXPENSIVE! Another reason to really kick my rear into gear with starting my business. I know we can get donations, help from our church, fundraise, and apply for grants. All of which we plan on doing, but I want us to be out of debt before we start, and not go into debt doing it! Look for more posts in the future, I am going to try and post more often. If I can remember to that is!