Monday, January 31, 2011

If we had known then . . .

If we had know two years ago what we know now, I wonder if we would have made the same decisions regarding adoption that we made. January 2009, we went to the sancity of life service at church.  There was a representative from agency's local office there. I picked up a few brouchers, and we began to seriously talk about this thing that had been in our hearst since before we married. We took six months to pray, discuss, decide on a country and an agency. In June 2009 full of hope, we turned in our application our agency.

One thing I can say for sure is that international adoption is not easy. It is terribly hard to wait.  Our agency lets the waiting families know each month how things are progressing.  There were 8 referrals in December and 9 in January.  Seventeen referrals since we had to let go of Baby D, and not a single one of them was within our age/gender/medical preferances????  I feel like we are just spinning our wheels with no end in sight.  I know that feeling will pass once we do get matched with another child, but who knows when that is going to happen.  We thought we'd have another referral by the New Year.  That didn't happen.  Then we thought surely we'd have another on by my birthday.  That didn't happen.  Then we thought we'd have one by the time some friends of our left to get their baby from Ethiopia - hoping that they'd be able to take pictures for us.  That didn't happen either.  They left today to bring their son home.  Right now, I'm just hoping that we pass court in Ethiopia by July because if we don't there will be several things in our dossier that will have to be re-done because they expire then.

This road has been a hard one.  Full of difficult things that we never expected. James and I have talked about what we would have done differently if we had known that we'd have to go through what we've been through. Would we use the same agency? We've wondered if we would have choosen to adopt stateside or exercise some other options. There's nothing else we can do for now. Our agency will let families pursue domestic and international adoption at the same time, but that is not free by any means. One thing at a time I guess.

I've wondered why God wanted us to go through this. What is he trying to teach us?  What sin is he trying to work out of both of us?  I'm beyond ready for this season of sadness to end. Last year was hard - the death of three people we loved, grandparents who were ill, leaving a church, a broken leg. There were blessings in the hard times - lessons learned and love grown, but I was so hoping that this year would be better. This year is already off to a sad start.  We buried one of my uncles last week.  I don't want to know what is coming next. It has been hard to feel God's kindness and love through all this.  I'm doing better than I was a month ago, and I can hope that God will continue to heal my heart in order to trust him better.  A few days ago we were reading in Psalms and the following verses struck me:
I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
   turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
 Show me the wonders of your great love,
   you who save by your right hand
   those who take refuge in you from their foes.
 Keep me as the apple of your eye;
   hide me in the shadow of your wings
 from the wicked who are out to destroy me,
   from my mortal enemies who surround me.
Ps 17:6-9 NIV
"Show me the wonders of your great love. . .keep me as the apple of your eye. . .hide me in the shadow of your wing."  I realized that was David's prayer.  Why hadn't I been praying for that?  Well, I had never thought to pray for those things.  But I am now.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

This is one time I hope the weather man is wrong!

Here we are at the end of January with still no end to winter in sight.  The past two winters, by mid-January we had a bit of a reprieve.  We were past the bitter cold and most of the snow.  We got 10 inches of snow 12 days ago, and it has not all melted yet.  Another storm of "historic proportion" is supposedly headed our way.

Here's the word from one of our local news stations, KSDK:
"A Winter Storm Warning is in effect Monday morning through Wednesday morning.  Significant ice accumulations (.25" to .5") Monday into Tuesday will be followed by a powerful snowstorm Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon with most areas getting 8" to 12" and some, especially north of St. Louis, 16" or more. Tuesday night through Wednesday morning very strong winds are likely further stressing trees and power lines."

Ugh.  James and I spent a little while this evening getting prepared for the worst.  If we loose electricity, we will still be able to cook on our gas range.  It just has to be manually lit, and we tested it today with no problem.  We will still have some heat too, thanks to our gas fireplace - it has to be manually lit no matter what.  I went to the grocery store to get my staples for bad weather: canned tuna and peanut butter.  And, no I do not eat them together :-)  It is going to be so cold that we will just move the food in the fridge out to a cooler in the garage, if need be.  James went out to get some other items.  We've got plenty of candles, flashlights, and batteries.  We should be OK.  I'm just ready for winter to be over.  I've got an appointment in the city (40 min from home) tomorrow morning, and I really want to be able to make it there.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Birthday

James and I had a good day yesterday celebrating my birthday. He brought a bouquet of flowers home for me and we went out for dinner at The Melting Pot
Opening a gift from James' bother and his wife.  It was a little ceramic sign from The Mustard Seed.  It is an organization for adults with developmental disabilities.  One of the ways they raise money is by the sell of ceramics that have been painted by the adults that they serve.  The sign has the last part of Eph. 3:18 written on it.  I'm not sure where I want to hang it yet, but I think it would look cute in Samantha's room.
This is my camera bag, and while it is very functional it is not very pretty.  The backpack style bag has served me well for hiking in the Grand Canyon and walking the streets of NYC, but I was a little tired of taking it to for formal events like weddings.  James got me a new camera bag that was designed by a photographer that we went to college with.  You can find her collection at Kelly Moore Bags

Here's the bag with the camera, three lenses, memory card case, and battery charger in it.  There are exterior pockets for keys, a wallet and other small necessities.
I also got this pretty handmade scarf from my mom, but I opened that package before James got home so I don't have a photo of me opening it.  It matches a hat that she gave me last year.
My birthday cake.  James got it at a nearby bakery called French Gourmet Cafe.  Carrot cake is one of my favorites.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January Snow

We had snow on Christmas, but we were not here to see it.  It started snowing last night.  I took the day off, and stayed inside for most of the day.  I think the snow is beautiful, but my body doesn't adjust well to these cold temps.  Growing up in the south, I never thought I would ever come to think of 30 F as "warm."  Well, 30 degrees is warm to me now.  In fact, I make myself get outside with the dogs and walk them along our walking trail whenever it is above 30 F in the winter.  I cannot stand to be outside long at all when the temperature is below 20, and that's what it has been today.  I wanted to take a few pictures of our doggies playing in the snow, so I bundled up and went outside.  I put on long socks that went up to my knees, two pairs of pants, two shirts, a hat, a jacket, and hiking boots.  Here are a few of my favorite pictures:


 front yard

 I want to go inside!

 We are going to mail the photos of the two of us and one with both of the dogs in it to our Compassion child in Ethiopia.  It never snows in Ethiopia.  There is not even a word for snow in their national language.  So, I think he will enjoy these pictures.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Meramec Caverns

James and I both had Friday off, so we decided to visit Meramec Caverns.  It is about an hour's drive from where we live.  The temperature inside the cave is 58 degrees year round, so it was a nice outing where we didn't have to be outdoors in the cold weather for very long.  It snowed here off and on all day yesterday.

They were not very busy while we were there.  There were only three other people in our tour group.  We had a nice tour guide, and I noticed early on that he had an accent.  An accent that I love to hear during the cold winter when I'm missing Baton Rouge.  I whispered to James that he sounded Cajun.  After the tour was over I asked the guide where he was from.  I was right.  He was from Lafayette, LA. We told him that we used to live in Louisiana, and chatted for a moment.  Two of the other people in our group overheard us, and they told us that they were also from Louisiana.  What a small world!

We enjoyed the tour.  The cave was very interesting.  We picked up a few postcards to send to our sponsored child in Ethiopia.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Wine Glass Charms

I did a little crafting over the holidays.  Whenever we have a party, we always have the problem of "whose glass is whose."  I had been looking looking for some kind of charms to use for a while, but I wanted something that appealed to our interests.  I finally decided to make some for James to give to him for Christmas.  James is an electrical engineer, and he likes math.  So that was the theme I chose - engineering and numbers.  Now, if you know me, you know that I have far more business with a paintbrush in my hand that I do a math book.  So, I was kinda kicking myself for getting James to take all of his textbooks to work.  I have taken physics, but I don't remember that the symbols for a diode and resistor are.  I did a little searching on the internet and found what I wanted though, thanks largely to Wikipedia. 

1/16 inch hole punch
jump rings
wire hoops
glass beads
needle nosed pliers
acid free paper
acid free glue stick
5 mil laminating pouches
1 inch scalloped circular hole punch
3/4 inch circular hole punch

I got all the supplies at Michael's, except for the laminator and laminating pouches.  We already had those. If you don't have a laminator, you could take the charms to an Office Depot and have them laminated there.  They don't change much for that service.  The other items can be found with the jewelry making or scrapbooking supplies. 

 James was so funny when he unwrapped these.  He didn't know what they were, and he said, "You got me earrings!?!"  James has never had a pierced ear, and I can't envision him ever having one - although it wouldn't bother me.
I told him to guess again.  Then he saw what they were.  He has encouraged me to sell these on etsy.  We'll see.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sewing to meet a Need

 This might be a post with a little "TMI" for the guys out there, unless you work in the medical field, so feel free to stop reading now.  I've started a new sewing project.  Andrea at Babe of my Heart inspired me to do this.  GO read her post, if you have time.  It will tug at your heartstrings!  Until my trip to Haiti last year, it never crossed my mind what women in less than fortunate circumstances did when they got their period each month.  Lets face it, feminine hygiene products are something that no one here enjoys shopping for.  I've see more than one woman who has been embarrassed to buy those items.  I saw women in Haiti who were in such need of those items that they were willing to steal them.  I've heard of women using old mops and newspaper when they did not have access to pads or tampons.  I can't imagine having no other choice than newspaper.  It tugs at my heart as a pharmacist. . .newspaper is far from sanitary & it puts the women at a high risk for infection.  So, I decided to do a little something to help.  I'm making reusable pads that can be washed reused.  We are going to donate them when we got to Ethiopia.  I'd love to have some of you join me in this project too!  The pattern and instructions that I used can be found at Ask Pauline.  Refer to her website if you need more detailed instructions that what I gave.  Her pattern is also available for no charge.  I made one last night, and I hope to make some more this weekend.  This is pretty easy.  I'm not much of a seamstress, so if I can make these I think most anyone who knows how to operate a sewing machine can make these.

Here's what I used:

100% cotton batting (Don't use polyester because it is not as absorbent.)
1 yard of flannel
1 yard of Rip-Stop water-resistant fabric
1 old towel
sew-on snaps

I bought the supplies at Hancock's.  I spent about $35, and the batting was the most expensive item.  I got one package of crib-size batting and it was about $15.  

Cut out the batting, towel piece, and the top and bottom.  The top will be from the flannel and the bottom will be from the Rip-Stop.



 Layer together the flannel, batting and towel.  Sew a zig-zag stitch down the middle.
Sew a zig-zag stitch around the outer edge of the towel and batting.
Pin the Rip-Stop to the side with the flannel.

 Place the pad on the sewing machine with the towel side up.  Sew a straight stitch around the majority of the edge - wings too.  You need to leave about a one inch opening so you can turn the pad right-side-out.
 Turn the pad right-side out and sew a straight stitch all the way around it outside of it.  You can close up the opening by doing this, if you care careful.
 Sew on the snaps.
 This is the backside.
It snaps closed into a handy little pouch.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Potato and Corn Chowder

I've been trying to add a few more meatless recipes to our regular rotation.  Vegetables are cheaper than meat, and we just don't eat enough of them anyway.  I made this yesterday for a friend who had a baby on Christmas Eve.  She's a vegetarian, and I hope she liked this.  I saved a little of it for us, and we enjoyed it.

Prep time: 35-40 minutes

4 Russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
3 stalks of celery
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1/2 stick of butter
30 oz niblet corn (drained)
2 (14 3/4 oz) cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cups 2% milk
8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese (cubed)
1 tsp. Zatarain's liquid Crab Boil
1 tsp. Tabasco
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in large stock pot, add the green onions and celery and simmer until done.  In another pot, boil the potatoes until tender and drain.

Once the green onions are cooked, add the rest of the ingredients.  Stir constantly until everything is well blended and the cream cheese is melted.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Remember Y2K?

It's hard to believe that all the hysteria over the new millennium was over a decade ago.  There was much talk of computer systems failing, the electrical grid going down and panic from the general public.  People stocked up on water and canned goods.  It went off without a hitch.  It is interesting what the fear of the unknown will drive us to do.

Much has changed for me since 2000.
2001- James graduated for college.  We got married and moved to Little Rock - where we had an apartment fire and had to move again.

2002- We got our first dog, Daisy.  I was rather unfamiliar with boarder collies before we got her, but I think we're hooked.  She's been so much fun and she's so smart.  She obeys and follows instructions better than some people I have encountered! Ha!   I also started my first job in pharmacy that year.

2003- We went on a missions trip to Broken Arrow Bible Ranch in New Mexico.  Broken Arrow provides Christian teaching to the Navajo people in the area.  We went with a big group from our church, and we had a great week.

2004- We visited St. Louis for our anniversary, totally unaware that we'd soon call that city home.

2005- This was a year for the history books, a year we will never forget.  Not all the memories are sad.  We got our Sheltie, Lily.  I graduated from pharmacy school, and we went on our first cruise afterward.  James started grad school at LSU.  We moved to Baton Rouge and bought our first home 6 weeks before Hurricane Katrina hit.  We had lost power at our house, and I'll never forget sitting in our living room listening to the radio and hearing the news that the levees had been breached.  My heart sank & my mind went straight to James' cousin and his wife who had been living near Lake Pontchartrain.  People had talked for years about New Orleans' vulnerability to a strong storm. . .I knew when the levees were breached that this was that strong storm that would bring the city to her knees.

We go to see these Mayan ruins on our cruise.  We climbed to the top of the pyramid.
The Louisiana State capital building

2006- I got laid off and changed jobs. We volunteered with the relief efforts in New Orleans.

2007- We took a trip to the Grand Canyon in April.  We began talking about what life after grad school would look like.
2008- James decided not to pursue a PhD, and he left LSU with a master's degree.  In March, we both applied for jobs in St. Louis.  I quit my job at Walgreens six weeks later.  We sold our house in April and we bought a home outside of St. Louis in May.  My grandfather passed away that summer.

2009- We began the process of adoption.  We visited New York City in September.

2010- We watched the Saints win the Super Bowl.  I began to cry a little when the trophy was presented.  It was so good to see the city celebrate again.  I went to Haiti after the earthquake.  We went to Yellowstone in June, and that trip included an unplanned hospital stay in Montana.  We lost out first referral for a child.
 This was taken our first day in the park.  The accident with the horse happened the next day.

We've been through good times and sad times and God's been with us through it all.  He promises that hard times will come.  I think it is comforting in a way that He does promise that we will suffer.  It makes me remember that He is in control and He is our refuge.  He knows what each day of our lives will hold.   Happy New Year, and may you fall more deeply in love with our Savior, Jesus this year.