Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Catching up on Creativity

OK, so a few months ago, I talked about this "52 Weeks of Creativity", and while I have been keeping up with actually doing a creative project every week, I most definitely have not been keeping up with posting pictures...So...here is a quick catch-up:


Week 4(a): My mother-in-law found this cute valance at Pottery Barn Kids for $3.50. But since we have two windows in Jadon's room, I had to get creative with how to use it!...
Week 4 (b): Add to it the fabric from a few extra receiving blankets, a clear vinyl shower curtain, and a cheap sewing measuring tape, and whala! A measuring tapestry.
Week 5: After consulting several friends, I decided to forgo the diaper genie and use all those extra grocery bags. But I needed a place to store them in Jadon's room, so...some extra fabric, ribbon, and a few little animals I broke off of a cute little "coat rack" Jim's sister gave me. I drilled holes into them and sewed them on like buttons.
Week 6: (Spoiler alert!) We made this beaded serving spoon in MOPS. Cute and easy...So, if you're related to me, you just might find something like this in your Christmas stocking...
Wek 7: A different sort of creativity...Jim and I spent 2 days with our director from To Save a Life doing some major work on our new script. Our dining room was filled with posters like these diagramming characters and their motivations, plot, conflict, etc...It felt like being in my own English class--but way more intense!
Week 8 (a): This was Jim's when he was a kid. His aunt did an amazing job embroidering it. However, it just didn't work in Jadon's room...
Week 8 (b): So I pulled out the power tools and some creative "fudging", and got the following result:
Week 9: Jadon's cousin Kylie turned 1, and since I "learned" how to make balloon animals in Haiti this summer, I volunteered to be a "balloonist"...Then I realized, I should probably practice. So I spent an afternoon watching online tutorials, and came away with mad skills! I can do a butterfly (usually), a flower, a dog/giraffe/other animal with 4 legs, a fishing pole with a fish, a sword, and...my piece d' resistance: (I learned it under pressure at a little boy's insistence!) a radio. Yes, that's right, a radio. :o)
Week 10: Jadon has a ton of extra receiving blankets, so I sewed 2 together, and then embroidered and sewed on this little monogram, so his blanket will be labeled when he goes into the nursery at church.
Week 11: I really liked how the monogram turned out, so I made another one for (and added some exterior pockets to) his diaper bag.
Week 12 (a): I've been wanting one of those waterproof outdoor blankets, but because they're a little expensive, I thought, why not try to make one myself? I had already bought this green flannel throw for $2.50 on clearance after Christmas last year, and then found the leafy shower curtain at Target for $10. Unfortunately, they have different elasticity, and I didn't take my time to keep the green blanket from overstretching...so it ended up a little funky. But I still like it. And of course, why not add another monogram, while I'm at it ;o)
Week 13: Decorating for Christmas is a whole week of creative fun!
Week 14: I've been wanting to do this project for a few years, and finally got around to it! YAY! Every year for Christmas, I use clothespins to hang our Christmas cards from ribbons, and I wanted to embellish them. I found these cute little mini ornaments at Walmart for $2 for 6. I love them!
Week 15: This week, we hosted our annual youth volunteer Christmas party. Feeding 40+ people and figuring out how to cram them all into our house definitely took some creativity!




































Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Why I LOVE My Husband

Early this morning, Jim walked into our room where I was cuddling with our precious sleeping son and told me he needed to read me something out of the book he was reading during his quiet time with God. It's about Christians' response to the AIDS crisis in Africa, and he proceeded to read about a 17 year old girl whose parents had died of AIDS and was now walking 2 1/2 hours to work EACH way, EVERY day, so that her two younger siblings could eat and go to school. It was as if Jim was reading verbatim one of the storylines we have created in the newest movie script we've been working on--except this was real, not conceived in our heads in the comfort of our American home. And her story is not unique. At 17, this girl was one of the oldest living people in her village--all the other adults had died of AIDS. It was a village of orphans, doing their best to survive in a harsh world that wants to take advantage of them. As Jim finished reading it, his eyes brimmed over with tears. "Rache," he said, "This is why we've got to do this..." Like our last movie, this isn't just a fun project we work on because we have too much extra time on our hands. No, real lives are at stake. And if we don't do something, they will die.

After he went back downstairs, I quietly opened my Bible, hoping not to disturb Jadon (the world's lightest sleeper!). God showed me favor, and I continued my journey through Psalms. After reading a few, I couldn't get past the end of Psalm 62.

Verse 11-12: "One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done."

My God is strong, and he has the money and people and resources and actors that we need to make this movie impacting so that we can rescue a generation of dying 3rd world orphans and apathetic 1st world teens. He can release those resources to us in a moment, so we pray that he will indeed do so when we are ready for them...

Because my God is loving, and he loves the orphans and teens more than we ever could. And beyond just seeing them healthy and well fed here and now, He wants to see them all join Him for all eternity.

And because our God is so strong and loving, we will press on to do our part in His plan.

What a great reminder. Especially in this Christmas season. I love Christmas--the lights, the decorations, the smells, the cookies, the family time... But as I fret over what Christmas gifts to buy, and how to store all the decorations, and how to get everything done, etc. I have to remind myself, in the grand scheme of things...Who cares?!

James 1: 27 --"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widos in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Jadon's Room Makeover

So, Jadon has been sleeping in his room (mostly!) for about a month now, but I just haven't gotten around to taking pictures of it. I think it's pretty cute, but of course, there are always things to do/fix/rearrange...(for example, I don't love how the floating wall shelves are arranged, but oh well...). So today, Jim hung out with the kiddo (who is currently going through a phase where he isn't a big fan of long naps--we're talking 20-30 minutes 2 to 3 times a day!...And he doesn't sleep through the night, yet, either...Ay ay ay, we're tired!) while I finally captured the "nursery" on camera.

Oh, important to note, all the furniture except the crib was pre-existing, I just stained it with this really great Minwax Polyshades--you don't have to sand the old finish off. The changer/dresser were Jim's childhood furniture (identical to mine, ironically!), and the shelves were old, cheapo, mismatched units I used in my classroom, but obviously don't need there anymore. I trimmed one down, adjusted the shelf levels to match, added a scrap of molding to the top of the smaller one, and stained the fake wood laminate, and shockingly they turned out pretty nice! Yay!

So, here it is, before and after:

















Thursday, October 14, 2010

Trust

Jadon is now 4 months old. Time is flying and he is growing like a weed (against my wishes!). One of the ways I can tell is that he has started hanging out of his bath tub with the sling. It seems like just the other day we brought him home and I was petrified of giving him a bath because he was so tiny it seemed he would just slip right into the water. Now, he is barely getting wet.

So, I finally took off the sling. But I wasn't really thinking. Because Jim wasn't home. What if the bathtub was now too deep, and he slipped?

But Jadon was already undressed, and he really needed a soak...so I gingerly dipped his feet into the water. He jerked back and looked at me. Dang it. The water was a little warmer than usual. I was not doing so well, so far!

I kept lowering him, hoping he wouldn't start crying, and he complied. Before I knew it, his cute little bum was resting on the little butt-bump on the bottom of the tub, and he looked up at me. Oh that look. His big brown eyes showed uncertainty at his surroundings, but complete and utter trust that I would not let him down. It was a surreal moment, and oh-so-precious.

Such unwavering trust is somewhat overwhelming. It reminded me of my first year of teaching (and many times since) when I would stand in front of a classroom full of eyes staring at me and writing down my words, believing that I knew what I was talking about. (ha!) What a responsibility. And what a great reminder of how I'd like to be before God: in spite of uncertain circumstances, being fully confident that He loves me and will take care of me (and unlike myself, God is all powerful, and really cannot mess up!).

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sentimentality

My mom is an amazing mother! She grew up without one, but somehow figured out how to be everything she missed out on and more. While my sister and I were growing up, she put everything in her life on hold, and we became her life. She loved (and still loves) us more than anything except God. I have such good memories from my childhood. She played with us, did craft projects with us, allowed us to destroy the house in the name of setting up forts or orphanages or Barbie mansions or racetracks or...She took us to the library and then out to lunch every week. She spent hours cleaning up horse poop (and conquering her fear of horses) so that we could have free riding lessons. And she cuddled with us...

One of our favorite spots to sit in her lap and cuddle was this rocking chair:

So when she told me this summer that she was finally going to get rid of it, I was shocked. And then, when we got Jadon, I devised a rescue plan. I talked my dad into hauling it all the way down here, and then I got to work on giving it a face lift of sorts. (Not that 70's gold isn't my favorite color, but y'know...)

This was my first serious slipcovering project, and so I first decided to create a pattern out of scrap packing paper:

Then I got to sewing, even making my own piping for the edges. I discovered that my two favorite new tools are my zipper foot for my sewing machine (it's so much easier to use than I thought!!!) and my $2 seam ripper from Walmart (oh how many times I used that life saver!!!).

And here is the final product:
It may not win any design prizes, but I'm happy with it.
And I hope Jadon gets as many happy memories here as I did...and that I can come close to being as good of a mom as mine is!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Creativity, to-do lists, and moving out...

Well, having a baby around sure changes my normal routines and habits! (duh)
I'm lucky if I even think of this blog these days...
Oh well...
I've had a pretty productive week, all things considered: hung out with some girls from the youth group, started MOPS, finally scrubbed out my sink, had people over for dinner twice, finally framed some pictures of Jadon, finished thank you notes (finally!), went running [only]twice, bought diapers at Costco, backed up my computer hard drive, and...my elements of creativity for the week...duh, duh, duh...I FINALLY finished my Haiti album this morning, thanks to Costco.com and a long nap by the J-ster. AND I made these really cute ice cream balls for dessert for both dinners we hosted:
When we bought our house 8 years ago, they gave us a $5,000 carpeting allowance because the carpet was so nasty. Being struggling newlyweds, we just appreciated that the mortgage was $5,ooo less and forgot about the carpet. But now 8 years later, we figured it was finally time, especially before Jadon starts crawling around...sooooo, we get our new carpet installed on Monday! YAY!!! Which means that this weekend consists of essentially packing up the entire upstairs, and next week will consist of re-setting everything up, hopefully in an even more orderly, clean manner (we'll see how that goes!). And since we'll finally be setting up Jadon's crib, that means (sniff, sniff) that we're going to be moving him to sleeping in his own room. I know he'll be fine, but I'm a little sad about the distance...

Monday, September 6, 2010

52 Weeks of Creative WEEK 1

Holiday weekends always throw me off a bit. So I'm a day late on my submission, but who's counting. I started a few "creative" projects this week, but none are yet picture worthy, so here's the least creative but most finished endeavor:


We had some new neighbors move in down the street, so I thought a giant cookie might welcome them into the neighborhood properly. And we had three students from our youth group head away to college, and I thought a giant cookie waiting in their mailboxes may be fun for them. Of course 2 of them only went down to Point Loma, and have been back every weekend, so it's not exactly like they could be homesick yet. The other one went to Biola (woo woo!). Notice the appropriately colored writing on the cookies. Oh yeah, I'm good! :o)

Let's see what I can finish this coming week! By the way, if any of you want to exercise your creative muscle at all, join our Flickr group and show off what you do!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

52 Weeks of Creativity!

One of my fellow teacher friends turned stay-at-home-mommy due to layoffs has issued a challenge: once a week, do something creative (whether sewing, photography, baking, scrapbooking, building something, crafts with the kids, etc...), take a picture, and post it. I'm not sure if I'll be able to hang, but it sounds like a fun challenge! Anybody want to come with me?
She's started a Flickr group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/52weeksofcreative/
Join with us!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Showered with Blessings!

OK, I'm a little slow here, but two weeks ago, some ladies from my church hosted a baby shower for Jadon. He is the answer to so many people's prayers, so it turned out that a ton of people wanted to come and support him...which was a wee bit overwhelming...and humbling! The ladies planned a few games and normal baby shower activities, but after a brief opening ice-breaker, we got started on presents, and that took the entire rest of the time...which was a little awkward, to say the least! But I/we totally felt loved! Thanks to all the women who planned and organized it, to everyone who came and gave so generously, to Jadon's "extended" family whose support means so much, to my teacher buddies who stepped into my "other" world, to friends who drove long ways to get here, and to everyone for enduring so graciously watching me open presents!














Friday, August 6, 2010

Listening Prayer

This past weekend, my church hosted its annual leadership conference, called Oasis. The big theme this year was Listening Prayer--slowing down in the busyness of our fast-paced lives enough to give God the chance to communicate with us...and actually be prepared to listen. I, of course, was preoccupied with a new baby, so I only made it to one session, but it got me to thinking...

I'll admit, I don't think I'm a good listener to God. Jim has frequent experiences where he feels God directing him to something or even actually hears God tell him something. I on the other hand feel like my communication with God is shaped far too much by my own thoughts and opinions. And as a result, I'm usually hesitant to put my ideas in God's mouth.


However, hindsight is 20-20, and quite often I can look back after the fact and realize that God was indeed speaking to me or through me in a moment...And that's always pretty cool. So as I was thinking about all that, I suddenly remembered back to an incident a year ago, when I wasn't sure if God was speaking or I was putting my words in his mouth.



Every summer, Jim's family spends a week up at Donner Lake. We join his parents and his sister and her husband for a fun time of swimming, hiking, running, card-playing, and general great times.

As usual, last year was wonderful, except for one nagging detail. After a year of trying, we still weren't pregnant, but Jim's sister was. And as excited as I was for them, I really struggled with sadness and even a little jealousy. On the outside, I was able to maintain a bright, cheery attitude and ask all about the pregnancy and be excited about their plans, etc...But on the inside, as I lay in bed each night, it was really tough. To top it all off, toward the end of the week, my cycle ended (a few days early), and I was faced head-on with the reality yet again that this was another month of failure. Whew! Talk about bad timing!



That morning, I sat in bed reading my Bible, not really into it and my thoughts totally elsewhere. But I continued on with my journey through the Old Testament, reading about Elisha, who was a total stud. In 2 Kings 4, there is a woman who feeds him and provides a place for him to stay repeatedly, and he wants to repay her, but she says she needs nothing. But Elisha's servant tells him that she has no children, so Elisha calls her and tells her, "At this season, about this time next year, you shall embrace a son" (verse 16). And a year later, she gave birth...



So, I read that and it immediately got my attention. God, I thought, Is this your promise to me? I didn't know. I mean, maybe it was just a coincidence. I even asked Jim what he thought, and he just shrugged nonchalantly. So I figured I was just getting my hopes up and tried to move on. (Secretly, however, I did the math, and figured out that to have a baby by the next July, I'd have to get pregnant by October...)

Well, October came and went, and we definitely didn't get pregnant. We did however start the adoption process with our first class. I put that passage out of mind.

Fast forward to this summer. We made plans to join the family--with our 8-month-old niece--and again I felt a little sad.

And then we got that fateful phone call...

And then we brought Jadon home...

And then, Jim's parents and sister/husband/baby went off to Donner Lake, and we stayed home with...OUR SON!!! This time next year, we actually had a son!!!



I didn't think about all this until this conference. But wow! Jadon means "God has heard"...and He really has!!! And this time, so had I!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I'm in love!

This last month has been quite the whirlwind, and I figure it's about time to update everyone. What do you think?

So, just about a month ago exactly, on Friday, June 25, I was feverishly trying to finish the final chapter of our To Save a Life sequel novel. My brain had hit the wall several days before, but Friday night was our absolute deadline, because then we were leaving for Haiti early Sunday morning, and it had to be in to the editors before then. It was around 2:30 in the afternoon, and I was struggling with about 1 1/2 pages to go. The finish line was in sight, but the words just weren't coming. Agh! The agony...

And then my phone rang. It was Jim. He asked if I was ready for some exciting news. I said "yes", but little did I know...

He had just stopped by his church office between meetings, to change his voicemail greeting to an "Out of Office" response, since we'd be gone for the next 2 weeks in Haiti. Most people just call his cell phone, anyways, but you never know. He hadn't even checked his office voicemail for days, but realized he should probably do that first. And there he heard the fateful message from A.G.--left earlier that afternoon. She said something about having a baby that was adoptable, and that started the wheels moving. The next hour was a game of phone tag, each message providing us with a few more details...

I can't share all of them, but the basics are that A.G.'s relative had a baby but couldn't keep it. There are some pretty remarkable circumstances surrounding the baby's birth, and bottom line, it's pretty remarkable that it turned out so healthy and strong. It was taken into foster custody, and A.G. and her family were contacted, as they had already adopted a previous sibling. They had kept this new baby for the past week, but just felt that one more kid was too much, and that there was another family out there who would be blessed by this child. In her mind, she couldn't shake the image of a guy named Jim Britts and his wife who had been in their adoption CPR class back in January. She remembered that he was a youth pastor at a local church and that he'd made a movie...Meanwhile, at her community pool, she talked to various people about her indecision on keeping this baby, and 2 of the women happened to go to our church and said, "Oh, our youth pastor, Jim Britts, and his wife really want to adopt!" She couldn't escape him! :o)

So finally, Friday morning, she knew she had to make the call. She first called her social worker, to see if picking a family for the baby was even possible, and the social worker indicated that while it wasn't normal, she could make it happen.

And so, A.G. called us.

After a flurry of phone calls to our own social worker, etc. (keep in mind, it is now right before closing on a summer Friday afternoon), we were given no assurances, but the thought that they could probably make it work...So we drove over to meet the little guy!

On the drive over, I remember thinking, I know all babies are "cute" in their own way, but there are definitely some that are less cute. What if I don't find this kid attractive? It was a silly prayer, but I figured God could help in this area.

We tentatively walked into the house, and met this tiny 17-day old baby boy...and it was love at first sight. Instantaneously, I looked at this perfect little creation, and everything within me jumped out and wanted to be his mommy. I don't know how the bonding process works during a pregnancy, but I didn't need 9 months to feel a bond toward him. I can't speak for him, but I was attached!

We hung out for about an hour. Fed him, changed him. Having never dealt with an infant so young, Jim and I both were pretty timid and overwhelmed. But we were hooked. And A.G. was so great! We made plans to hang out with him again the next day. Before we left, A.G. asked if we had any ideas for names. Well, I've made lists of names over the past 2 years, but we'd never really talked about them much (besides Jim claiming whoever the latest Sacramento Kings star happened to be...last year was Tyreke, and their new draft pick-up is Demarcus. I put my foot down!)...After a nearly sleepless night (Oh yeah, I finally just finished the novel at like 1am, never getting inspired, but just getting sick of it and typing up something. I mean, who cares about a book when there's an adorable baby waiting?! :o)), Jim and I went for a run early Saturday morning...and talked about names. We wanted something with meaning and significance, preferably out of the Bible. I've always liked Daniel (what a stud, who changed his society for God!) and David. These two names happen to be those of our dads, so I thought that was cool. But Jim wasn't a big fan of calling his son by his dad's name--too weird. So we talked about Daniel as a middle name. We threw out some other Bible guys, but nothing was sticking. And then I just tossed out a name I'd read somewhere--Jaden. It meant something like God has answered, which I thought was appropriate for our situation. Jim loved it. We got home, jumped on the computer and discovered that it actually means "God has heard"--same cool significance...He has truly heard all our prayers, and everyone else's!--or "thankful"--which again pretty much hits the nail on the head! And, not only is it a cool name, but it IS in the Bible--a very obscure reference in the book of Nehemiah (my favorite book of the Bible!). JadOn was a non-Israelite who helped rebuild Jerusalem's wall, which is really cool--he came from the outside to get involved in God's work. That holds so much significance for us! And that's why we decided to spell it with an "0"--JADON--to follow the guy in the Bible. Oh, and we also found out that Daniel is the name his mother would have chosen for him, but she decided not to. So that's a perfect middle name!

We hung out with Jadon Daniel all day Saturday, in awe of every little thing this adorable little guy did. We agonized over whether or not we should still go to Haiti, but both of us just felt like we should. We didn't know why, but it seemed like God's timing was too ironic, like he did it just before we left so there wasn't much time to change plans or find out anything concrete--but so we would have 2 weeks to mentally prepare for this gift to come. So we sadly said goodbye, stayed up until the wee hours of the morning packing (something I planned to do all day instead of hanging out with a cute kid!), and I never got my laundry finished or bathrooms clean or house generally presentable. Oh well...Life goes on, huh?! (Note: this is no easy thing for me to let go of. I'm usually quite the OCD house cleaner before leaving for a trip!)

We printed up pictures of Jadon Daniel, and looked at them and prayed over them several times a day while we were in Haiti. At the same time, my 2nd big prayer was that God would enable me to be fully present there, and not just dreaming about returning to my little boy. And He did. Haiti was AMAZING--in so many good and sad ways! (Some day, I still want to blog and post pictures of all that!)...Half way through the trip, Jim was able to text A.G. and find out what the progress was--which was none. Some social workers were even saying no, this can't be done. So we were immediately reminded that God wanted us there in Haiti--that we wouldn't even be able to be with Jadon if we had stayed home. But I started to battle anxiety, too--what if everything fell through, and I wasn't there to do anything to stop it! God promptly reminded me that I had done NOTHING up until this point to make this happen, it was totally in His control, whatever HE decided to do...That helped, and we finished our trip out strong (praying that much more fervently, though, don't you know!)...

We flew into Miami on a Thursday, and immediately got on the phone to see what we could do to make Jadon ours. A.G. said she'd been calling social workers incessantly, and now the one she needed to talk to wouldn't call her back. We called ours, and she said that she couldn't do anything until the no-call-back one called back. So we flew to L.A., again battling anxiety, and struggling to trust that God was showing that He was in control.

On Friday, we "babysat" Jadon all day, and prayed desperately for a phone call by the end of the day. But none came. What if we didn't get him, after all this?!
Ironically, Jim was scheduled to preach that weekend, of all topics, on adoption! (how God adopted us, and His heart for the orphan). When it became clear that we wouldn't be able to use Jadon as the best sermon illustration ever, instead, we used it as a plea for prayer. And so that weekend, maybe close to a thousand people were praying that we would get to bring Jadon home.

On Monday morning, we went over to "babysit" Jadon again. That afternoon, he napped while I finished up some edits on the novel (even once it's "done" it's still not done-done!). Just as I attached it to an email to send back to our editor, Jim got the phone call. The one social worker FINALLY called back. It was a go! Jadon was ours!!!
A.G. brought over Jadon's stuff to our house so that we could "babysit" him overnight before our 2:30 appointment on Tuesday that would make it official. At 2:30, the social worker came over, we signed the paperwork, and Jadon Daniel became our legal foster son. He still has about a year's worth of court dates and hearings before the adoption part is completely finalized, but it looks as if that part should go fine.

And that is the story of how God heard our prayers of the past 2 years, and answered them in His hilarious, ironic, not-always-convenient-but-totally-worth-it timing. And we are so thankful.
And totally in love with a boy named Jadon!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Health Care!

We finally got all our bills in the mail for my lovely "little" surgical procedure a month and a half ago. Whew! I had no idea. The grand total for everything, including anethesiologist, doctor, and hospital services came to almost $25,000. How can the medical profession sleep at night?!

This included $40 charges for 9 different drugs. Are they serious? First of all, I only remember taking ONE pill, so anything else should have fallen under the anethesiologist, right? And $40 a pop! I wonder if they would have let me bring my own Tylenol in. The worst was over $16,000 for supplies. I guess that included my spiffy heated hospital gown and purple slippers. At least I got to bring the slippers home, and the plastic bag they came in. At $16,000, though, I may never wear them again--maybe they'd better be served in a frame on my wall.

Having been relatively healthy my entire life, I had no idea how ridiculous health care is! And I don't think Mr. Obama's plan is going to make it any better. (BTW, have you heard that Canada--which we based our new health care plan on--is revisiting their health care system because it's going bankrupt. Great! So glad we've got that to look forward to!) It just irritates me to no end that they can charge so much for stupid little things...and there's no one to complain to! I would have preferred a bill that listed rental costs for the hospital for 4 hours, and the wages of each nurse that served me for 4 hours, and the rental cost of the beds and chairs I sat in over the course of the 4 hours, the cost of electricity they used on me, etc...and then a buck for the Ibuprofen, $5 for the slippers, etc...That would have been at least a little more palatable.

But what can I do?

Shut up and pay my $6,000 deductible. The crazy thing is the $6,000 now seems like I got a good deal (compared to $25,000!)...which is disturbing on a whole new level. Since when am I okay with a $6,000 bill?!?! Fortunately, God has provided in some unexpected ways, so with a little budget-adjusting, we'll be able to pay it off before I get my final paycheck at the end of this month. But it still makes me mad!

Especially since the procedure didn't do me any good.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Our 8th Anniversary!

It's hard to believe, but 8 years have flown by since Jim and I said "I do!" What a wonderful, adventure-packed journey we have enjoyed since then. As I've described before, when Jim proposed after disembarking from the Ghostrider wooden roller coaster at Knotts Berry Farm, he concluded it with the promise that every night after pouring our lives into teenagers we'd be able to hit the pillow, look into each others' eyes, and sigh, "What a ride!" Boy, has he stayed true to that promise! And I wouldn't have it any other way.



Since Tuesdays are our busiest day, we celebrated yesterday, going out for dinner at Claim Jumper (site of our first official date), and then we went to a movie. Jim voted for Robin Hood, but I won with Letters to Juliet. One of my former students was the ticket seller, and he gave us free tickets. Cool! Then, when we came home, Jim surprised me with my gift. Here it is:

video

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Our Kids (part 3?)

Today was "Senior Sunday" at church, the weekend where our graduating high school seniors take over the mainstage service, sharing from their hearts about how God has worked in their lives. It's one of my favorite weekends of the year, and I usually end up all emotional. I mean, these are our kids. I'm so proud of them! This year we had about 30 kids graduating. Here are some of my highlights:




This is Jenny. She's actually not a senior, she's a sophomore. But Tuesday night we had our every-two-year (is that biannual?) Purity Ring Ceremony, where we give kids the chance to pledge abstinence until marriage and provide a support system to help them stick to that commitment. Jenny's parents couldn't make it, but she calls me her 2nd mom, and I was proud to give her her ring. It has been such a blessing to be a part of her story!

This is Whitney. She was my TA at school last year, and then I kept running into her in the grocery store, and last summer she finally came and checked out our youth group. Since then, I've been able to mentor her, and I'm so excited to see how much she's grown!


Ryana's the one in the middle. After mentoring her older sister for two years, I then was blessed to mentor her for the last three years or so. This girl is a stud muffin! I'm talking about full-IB/AP course load (and like a 4.7 overall GPA!!!) plus Varsity Volleyball plus volunteer in countless ministries around church plus an amazing heart for telling people about God's love and compassion for those in need. I'm supposed to be mentoring her, but she regularly challenges me!



This is Matt. I still remember when he was an annoying 6th grader that used to drive me crazy! Now he has a sense of humor that cracks me up, and a maturity beyond his years.



This is Trevor. Another stud. We're talking spiritual disciplines that would put the best of us to shame. I wish I could recount all of his stories here. The crazy thing is this time last year, he was MIA...He'd taken a several year break from his faith, only to realize that life wasn't nearly as satisfying without God. I am so glad he's back...and oh boy! is he back!! Watch out world!


Here are Ryan, Orin, and Trevor doing a cool beat-box rendition of one of my favorite worship songs, "Lead Me To the Cross"

video



There are so many other cool kids and cool stories, but I forgot my camera during one of the services and the other shots came out too blurry. Oh well. What a pleasure it is to be able to pour into these kids' lives. It hasn't been without a fair share of frustrations and heartache and struggles, but on a day like today, I'm blown away by the amazing, encouraging parts.





Friday, May 14, 2010

It's Official!

Just received a wonderful email today: After being lost in the shuffle for months, our foster-parent file has finally been cleared, which means we are open for business and are simply waiting to get matched with a child. Woo hoo! We are certified foster adoptive parents in waiting...and we are so excited!!!

In other official news, according to my post-op appointment with my doc, my surgery was a complete waste of time. She found nothing of concern. Not even a polyp. Well, maybe a polyp. She's not sure. (I think it was her way of making me feel better.) Everything looked great, she told me encouragingly.

The only problem is, I'm still getting the exorbitant hospital bill. For nothing. Great.

Oh, yeah, I forgot. She did actually find some scar tissue around my appendix that she removed. Check out the pictures...

This is what my appendix looked like when she first went in:


This is what it looked like post removal of scar tissue:

(Oh yeah, all that yellow stuff is fat. She said it was normal, but I'm thinking it looks pretty disgsting, like my poor little appendix is getting swallowed up!)

Apparently, the scar tissue wasn't necessarily causing any problems, but it's not a bad idea to get rid of it. I guess I might as well get my money's worth from the stupid procedure! I asked her what the scar tissue was from. She suggested that I may have had a minor case of appendicitis at one time, and that the scarring was from my body healing it on its own. Weird though, because I can't recall ever having and serious pain on my right side.

Of course, then Wednesday morning, I woke up at 4:30 am with a sharp pain in my right side, and I just knew my body was getting revenge. Maybe it liked the scar tissue! When I went to school with it still throbbing, I checked online for symptoms of appendicitis, but they didn't match up. I checked a few other things, too, but couldn't figure it out. The pain continued through the day just as sharp, but I didn't want to call the doctor, because I'm pretty skeptical of them right now. I took an ibuprofen before bed and woke up Thursday with the pain a little less. Did the same thing Thursday night and woke up today with the pain even less. But it's still there. My dad says I should call the doctor. But if it keeps getting less, I don't want to waste my time or money. But I still wonder what it was. I bet if we took some pictures today, the scar tissue would all be back.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

For the record, when you want to be a mom and can't, this holiday officially sucks. If I didn't have such a great mom and mom-in-law, I'd boycott it altogether.

The good news is, this time next year I should have a much more optimistic opinion about the day, and Jim had better be buying me some flowers! :o)

The other good news is Jim and I escaped to Lake Arrowhead this weekend and ditched church so I wouldn't be bummed by any of those carnations-for-the-moms celebrations. Holed away in our friends' fabulous "cabin", I'm going to go figure out what Jake does after he and Amy...Oh! I probably shouldn't be giving away these details, huh? Hee hee hee...You'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I am 32 oh baby

Jim thought he'd write my blog today. What a funny guy...


Today I got the greatest gift from my amazing husband. He really thought about stuff that I would like and then turned it into a really creative coupon book. Every day I am just blown away how God has blessed me with a great husband. To think that we’re age 32 together for the next five weeks is really cool too because now he can’t say to respect my elders anymore. Oh, what were the items in the coupon book. Okay, I’ll tell ya. There was a cruise trip, chik fliks at Red Box, a future iPhone, Buns of Steel DVD workout together, walks and my favorite: a no fart promise on nights I present the coupon. Seriously, Jim is just so romantic that he would even write this blog for me. Oh yeah, this is the last coupon, that he would write my birthday blog for me. What a guy...seriously.