Tuesday, December 30, 2008

First tooth lost!


Our 5 year old is such a trooper. I kept bugging him when his tooth got loose, and joked with him about sneaking up to him to pull it out... Then I had a genius idea if I do say so myself. I got on youtube with him and showed him videos of other kids pulling out their loose teeth. :) He got all excited and laughed through most of them. So today he decides he wants to get the dental floss out and pluck it out! After lunch, we put the 2 yr old down for a nap, and got out the camera and the dental floss... HE DID IT! He pulled it out all by himself! Check it out:
video

Proud little man!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Woo Hoo! Home Study finished!

Woo Hoo! Finally, the home study is finished. On to the next and even more expensive parts of the process... :) Nothing like paying hundreds of $$$ to get your fingerprints done... again... :)

I'm really just over the top excited that we're putting another notch in our 'adoption process' belt, and putting the home study behind us.

We had a great week last week in OK with my mom and brother's fam. It was fun, relaxing, and I ate my weight in sweets.

Now I'll plug along, back to real life. Thankfully I have a week before we start back to Preschool and other scheduled events.

I cannot believe it's almost 2009!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I bought her a Christmas present.


So, I went on a girls' weekend and had a glorious time. We had relaxing times by the fireplace, good conversation, some dinners in, some dinners out, shopping, laughing, devotions, and SLEEP (although none of us slept great because we weren't in our own beds...).

While out shopping, I had to remind myself that in order to afford the adoption itself, I can't start buying things for my daughter yet... If I fill her closet, we won't have the cash to actually bring her home. :)

Then I went to the Carter's outlet...

I am a complete sucker for a good deal. They had these cute little 1 pc long sleeved outfits that snap up the legs... and with my friend's coupon, they were $3.19 each... I bought 5. I picked some out in three different sizes (what size will you be, little one?). So, we're officially $17 farther away from our adoption savings potential- but I don't think I regret it (at least not yet). :)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Adoption video

I stole this off youtube and wanted to post it even though I didn't personally make it...

I was laying in bed last night doing adoption math- and realized that our little girl has not only been conceived already- but she might be born... and if not- she'll be born soon. It makes me pray even more for our birth mom. God give her strength to make good decisions in these last days... Let her birth go smoothly, and although she knows she cannot raise our little girl, let her have some assurance that we'll do it for her- and do it well.



Will she be home next Christmas?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Home Study Scheduled!

I'm so excited. After a period of waiting (which I know will only continue with other paperwork/processes in the adoption)- we're scheduled to complete our home study! We've got the appointments on the calendar and I'm sooo excited and ready to go!

Woo hoo!

Oh- and as far as God coming through for us financially... He's amazing. We didn't get the check when we thought- but sought him out and waited. We got the check today... and it was for 2x as much as we were hoping/expecting! Hallelujah! He's definitely a God who acts at 11:59- but He's so good.

Monday, November 24, 2008

God always provides.

Psalm 37:23-25
If the LORD delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.

Today I'm grateful. I wish I could say it was the case every day- but I'm trying. Life with Christ is a walk, a process, right?

So, in praying about the holidays- we felt/decided that we should drive to see family this year. Because of the adoption we don't know what next year will look like. We don't know when we might be traveling to go pick up our cutie in India... and a 2 week trip to India will not only demand our finances and our energy but it will demand all of my hubby's available vacation time (and then some...).

So, we looked at the books and thought: It is not possible. We're doing our best to live without using debt/credit as an option. While this invigorates and excited us, it also challenges us immensely. It's so easy to look at the upcoming pay periods and think... we'll have extra money in a few weeks- let's just do it now and pay for it when that paycheck comes in 2 weeks... But I have been really convicted about that kind of living lately and so we're challenging ourselves to truly and honestly live with delayed gratification. And, sometimes that means forgoing big things. We started to get worried this week because we were expecting a check that did not come.

So- we asked ourselves. Now what? The fact that the check should have come is true. The fact that it did not is also true.

I'm reminded of one of my favorite Jim Elliot quotes: (paraphrased based upon my memorization of it from about 15 years ago) What is, is actual. What might be, simply is not. Therefore we must not query God as though he has robbed us of something that is not. Let not our longing slay our appetite for living.

Live in the now. Not in the almost or maybe or hopefully.

So, we believed that we were supposed to keep planning for a trip, even though we would be down to the wire on it budget-wise. Because we are without this check, we're literally budgeted down to the $10 mark... We can do the trip- as long as we pack meals on the way, etc. and not eat out.

Then God came through. We got three checks this weekend totalling $55. Andy's Bday party cost $47.21. I got 5 secret shop jobs over the weekend that totalled (not including all the reimbursed items) $25 of payment. Andy's cake was $22. So, the money that we had originally budgeted for his party- was left untouched. Isn't that just like God. The earned/expected $ didn't come. The unexpected $ did come. With $10 to spare.

So, we'll have what we need. not because we earned it- but because God is Good.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Operation Christmas Child


We packed our boxes up full of goodies for kids around the world, then prayed over them.. The kids prayers nearly moved me to tears. I love these kiddos!

It ended up being Lindsay, Buffy and me- but I forgot to get the camera out until the end... and I had anal retentively pre-packed the boxes- so the kids only put stuff on top and we finished up... :) My kiddos were excited about the whole process. The ladies at the church ooh-ed and ahh-ed over our kids too- so that helped as well. We got to see where the put all the little boxes in big boxes, and then they got to see the giant truck that will get loaded up with presents!


What a wonderful experience... Next time I'll be less comandeering (I was so focused on packing those boxes like a well-fit puzzle- but Buffy said they just dump them to check them anyway- so next time I'll let the kids pack them.)...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

For my friends who were interested:

Yes- I sec. shop.... As long as you have access to a computer, and in most cases, a digital camera or scanner to get a pic of the receipt/business card from your job, you can do this.

I struggled with the same issue of wondering whether a company is legit or not- so I can totally understand. I found the Myst Shop Providers Assoc online, and ended up getting certified with them (it's not mandatory to get good jobs though). They have two parts of their website, one is for shoppers, one is for companies. I actually went to the company pages and found companies there- since I figured if they paid to be members of this legitimate association, then they're for real.

http://www.jobslinger.com/ is a kind of monster.com-like website that posts job openings. I can't verify the legitimacy of the companies though- so you might want to see if they're MSPA members, or if they're listed below before you sign up. (not all legit companies are members of the MSPA- but I just started there for safety then signed up with more as I heard about them in the MS Meetup or other places online.)

Since there are so MANY companies out there- if you'd like to know which companies shop specific industries, just ask and I'll lead you toward those specific industries... I'd be happy to answer any questions you have- since it's such a huge industry with many facets. All companies do require that you sign an confidentiality agreement though... so some things will remain hush hush... :)

There are jobs for oil changes, groceries, movies, clothing/retail, restaurants, hotels, etc... Some have reimbursements or payments, some offer both...

If any of these sites ask who referred you- ask me and I'll give you the email address I use for that so i can get a possible referral bonus if you live in an area that they desperately need people...

This is not going to be terribly profitable overall. It is definitely a good way to eat out and then get reimbursed for it, or get small (or sometimes big) items for free because the company reimburses for part of your purchase... I average about 20 jobs a month, and usually get about $200 in payments and about $250 in reimbursement.

Some companies pay really quickly (like a week after the job), others pay like 2 months after the end of the month that you do the job. So- read the info on their site before you accept a job, so that you know how long you'll be waiting to be paid, and/or reimbursed. Some pay by direct deposit, others by paypal, others by check. It should say on their 'agreement' form that you sign how they pay and how often.

Some jobs are super easy, 5 minutes in the store, 5 minutes reporting online. Other jobs take an hour in a store, and an hour to report online. When you sign up with a company, they'll start sending you email job postings, and you can read the posting, click on the link to read a little more info about it, and then you'll have the opportunity to accept it or just ignore/delete the email. You could sign up with 30 companies as an independent contractor, but then never accept a job if the jobs don't look like something you'd want to do... (Independent Contractor means they don't commit to hire you for anything, and you don't commit to work unless you accept a specific job. They also don't take any taxes out- so you'll be responsible for reporting it on your income taxes. You basically report everything you get paid as self employment income, then subtract out the 'required purchases/reimbursed things' as a business expense, and what you're left with is the actual 'income' you get taxed on. Talk to a CPA if you can't do all that yourself though...)

Also, shops get posted in waves, so if you check and there's nothing in Tulsa (or your city) right now, it's likely that within a few weeks, something might be posted, and you'll get an email. Some jobs are self-assign (the first person to accept it gets to do it). Others are by application, and then the scheduler picks who they want to do it, based upon experience and demographics.

Hope this helps- and doesn't overwhelm you too much. :)

Ok friends- I had a really hard time emailing this- but maybe I can get it to post here... Here are the links for you:
Mystery Shoppers Providers Association (MPSA)http://www.mysteryshop.org/index-na.php
Mystery Shopping and Merchandising Resource and Message Boards links
Volition Job Board http://forum.volition.com/
Volition Main Board http://www.volition.com/mystery.html
Mystery Shop Resources http://www.mysteryshopresources.com/home.html
Mystery Shop Forum http://www.mysteryshopforum.com/list/3
Lila's Lounge http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/LilasLounge/join
Shopping with Debby http://www.shoppingwithdebby.com/
Cathy's Corner http://forums.delphiforums.com/cathyscorner2/start
MSFreedom http://www.msfreedom.org/
Free access to mystery shopping company lists http://www.krowtensatellite.com/shop.html
Mystery Shopping Wallboosters http://walletboosters.com/mysteryshopping.html
Company Name - - - - - - - -

Web Site (click on links)
Sign up with each company that uses KOIOS for online reporting individually.All Shop Group http://www.allshopgroup.com/ (No online reporting at this time)
Reflections Mystery Shopping http://www.reflectionsms.com/
Sign up with each company that uses Sassie for online reporting individually. Ann Michaels & Associates http://sassieshop.com/2annmichaels/index.norm.php
AQ Services International https://www.sassieshop.com/sassie/SassieShopperSignup/Signup.php?EmsID=3MrwqqIl%2FRA%3D
Ath Power/Courtesy Counts http://www.sassieshop.com/2ap123/index.norm.php
Bank Atlantic (Florida Shoppers Only) http://sassieshop.com/2bankatlantic/index.norm.php
Bare Associates http://www.sassieshop.com/2bareusa/index.norm.php
Benchmark Collaborative http://www.sassieshop.com/2benchmark
Beyond Hello http://www.sassieshop.com/2beyondhello/index.norm.php
California Marketing Specialists http://www.sassieshop.com/2californiamarketing/index.norm.php
Capstone Research http://sassieshop.com/2capstoneresearch/index.norm.php
Cirrus Marketing http://www.sassieshop.com/2cirrus/index.norm.php
Confero Inc. http://www.sassieshop.com/2confero/index.norm.php
Corporate Risk Solutions http://www.sassieshop.com/2crs/index.norm.php
Customer Service Experts http://www.sassieshop.com/2csexperts/index.norm.php
Customerize http://www.sassieshop.com/2customerize/index.norm.php
David Sparks and Associates https://www.sassieshop.com/sassie/SassieShopperSignup/Signup.php?EmsID=QT90iJJJ2c4%3D
Draude marketing Service http://www.sassieshop.com/2draude/
Franchise Compliance http://www.sassieshop.com/2franchisecompliance/index.norm.php
Harris Teeter (BAI) http://www.sassieshop.com/2harristeeter/index.norm.php
Intellishop http://sassieshop.com/2intellishop/index.norm.php
Ipsos-Insight http://www.sassieshop.com/2ipsos/index.norm.php
Kern Scheduling http://www.sassieshop.com/2kern/index.norm.php
Market Trends Pacific http://www.sassieshop.com/2markettrends/index.norm.php
Marketing Endeavors http://www.sassieshop.com/2me/index.norm.php
Mercantile Systems http://www.sassieshop.com/2mercsurveys/index.norm.php
Mystery Shoppers http://www.sassieshop.com/2mysteryshoppers/index.norm.php
Mystery Shoppers Inc. http://sassieshop.com/2mysteryshopinc/index.norm.php
Mystique Shopper, LLC http://www.sassieshop.com/2mystique/index.norm.php
Nationwide Service Group http://www.sassieshop.com/2nis/index.norm.php
Phanton Shoppers http://www.sassieshop.com/2phantom/
Professional Review http://sassieshop.com/2proreview/index.norm.php
Quinn Marketing and Communications http://www.sassieshop.com/2quinn/
Reality Check http://www.sassieshop.com/2rcms/
Restaurant Evaluators http://www.sassieshop.com/2resteval/index.norm.php
Secret Shopping Services http://www.sassieshop.com/2sss
Service Alliance http://www.sassieshop.com/2servicealliance
Service Check http://www.sassieshop.com/2servicecheck/index.norm.php
Service Excellence Group http://www.sassieshop.com/2serviceexcellence/index.norm.php
Service Impressions http://www.sassieshop.com/2serviceimpressions/index.norm.php
Service Performance Group http://www.sassieshop.com/2serviceperformance/index.norm.php
Service Savvy http://www.sassieshop.com/2servicesavvy/index.norm.php
Service Sleuths http://sassieshop.com/2servicesleuths/index.norm.php
SG Marketing http://www.sassieshop.com/2sgmarketing/index.norm.php
Sparks & Associates http://www.sassieshop.com/2dsa/index.norm.php
Speedmark http://www.sassieshop.com/2green/index.norm.php
TNS Intersearch http://www.sassieshop.com/2tns/index.norm.php
The Zellman Group http://www.sassieshop.com/2zellmangroup/index.norm.php

Ok- for some reason, I can't get the others to post normally again and reveal the web address. I'll try again later! As you can see the only ones I listed are the ones that use sassie software for reporting.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Wow!

Ok- so I'm trying to be content with the length and feel of the process of adoption- and am constantly before God's throne about it, even though we've just barely started!

So, I decided for some encouragement I would go to the website I had found and look at pictures of the orphanage and babies that had been adopted out of there (the actual orphanage where our little one will be/is). So, I'm on that site, looking at the same pictures I have looked at before, when I see links to families that have adopted from there. I randomly click on one and start to read a post. I realize that this family looks a lot like ours... and that they're in the process of adopting a second little girl from India. :)

Then I start to read the latest post. I'm so moved by it, and so encouraged, because it's all about the DAY they are picking up their second daughter in India! I'm so excited for their family. I think to myself that I didn't notice the date it was posted. I look and see that it was posted TODAY! They are with their little girl for the first day RIGHT NOW! I am so blessed to be a part of their experience- even though they don't know who I am.

One of her comments on her post was to all the other families who are waiting in the process- she said something about resting easy- because our little ones are getting hugs from her today. That brought me to tears. I know the Ayah's there are doing a wonderful job- but knowing that another mom is there, hugging potentially on MY little girl just so moved me.

I'm so excited. God help me get through all this paperwork!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Amazing worship time tonight... Here are the lyrics just in case you could use an amazing worship time too:

Lyrics to When You Are Near
by Jeremy Camp :

There’s no need to say a thing,
When I’m before you in this silence
I feel refreshed with peace
Break this noise
That binds the voice
That tries speak
Open up my eyes to see
Your gracious sovereign reach

[CHORUS] It’s hard to talk when I feel that you are near,
When all is quiet it’s the beauty that I hear,
This hidden place where I know that you calm my fears
I know that you’ve washed my tears

The seasons of change I’ve faced
Have never left me wounded
Only scars of hurt
But never deeply rooted
This healing I have felt
No burden can replace
Redemptive hope has been the story of my pain
All is lost without the breath of life you give
And you give so much
I want nothing more than you
so here’s my heart

Find this on youtube and worship Jesus with me- in spirit- if not in real-time...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Donate your frequent flyer miles?

(I grabbed this image from someone's flikr page... I can't wait to meet my own sweet pea!)
Ok- so I'm looking into all possible areas of saving money for the adoption, and I realized... what if we were able to accrue enough frequent flyer miles to redeem toward part of our flight to go pick up our child? That would be amazing- and would save us a considerable amount of money at the end of our adoption journey!
Update as of 11/19/2008- I found out that it costs a significant amount to even
'give' your miles to us *Around $200 for 25K (the equivalent of a domestic ticket)! What a bummer! If you're still willing, that would be great- but it looks like unless you've got enough to redeem for 2 tickets to India and back, we'll need to go another route... :) So, calling all friends with 150,000 frequent flyer miles... :) wanna redeem your miles for two tickets to India for your friends? :)

So- if you stumble upon this blog and want to help- email me and we'll see how to do it... Maybe you have just enough miles accrued to get us bumped up to where we have enough for a flight? I imagine that there are a lot of us out there who have a small amount of miles- but not enough to redeem... so maybe if you don't have plans for accruing more, you could donate them toward a good cause. :) It takes a minimum of 25,000 miles with most airlines for a flight... 75K for an international flight (at least that's what it used to be).

Anyway- I don't know if it would work- but hey, it's worth a try...

"A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."
Proverbs 11:25

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

On the road to adoption.

So, we've officially started the adoption process. As of August 26th, we mailed in application #1 (of the many forms we'll be filling out over the next year or so).

I'm nervous, excited and in awe of God's grace. I'm amazed that we're able to start the process- and even more amazed because I know God will walk us through it and provide for us along the way.

I need to go buy a journal that I can start writing in as we walk through the process. I want to write down my prayers for our little girl, and write down what the experience is like as we go through the waiting and preparation time.

I don't know if you're even conceived yet, little one- but mommy and daddy are already praying for your development, your attachment and for God's spirit to be with you and your birth mommy, every step of the way. While your birth mommy may not have 'planned' you- we have planned to bring you into our family for years! I know with every ounce of my being that you are 'fearfully and wonderfully made' that 'before you were formed in your mothers womb, He knew you.'

We're praying and waiting for you.
I know that Rebecca St. James' song was written as she waited for her husband- but some of the words are ringing in my memory now as I wait for my little one:

Darling did you know that I
I dream about you
Waiting for the look in your eyes
When we meet for the first time

Darling did you know that I
I pray about you
Praying that you will hold on
And keep your loving eyes only for me

Cause,I am waiting for
Praying for you darling
Wait for me too
Wait for me as I wait for you
Cause, I am waiting for
Praying for you darling
Wait for me too
Wait for me as I wait for you
Darling wait
Darling wait

Lord, give me a true Mother's love, that only you can impart, and prepare the spot in my heart for the little girl you will bring us, in your timing, and by Your hand.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

More tears for India:

[This is email is from someone working in tribal areas in the region near Orissa. For security I have abbreviated and eliminated proper names and place names. Clarifications are in italics & brackets.]

[Beginning of report] “Dear Friends, Orissa burns… Pray for our beloved fellow believers in Jesus. DR. GRAHAM STAINES suffered with his two sons some years ago in a fiery blaze when his vehicle was set ablaze. Now other believers in Jesus are suffering the same way.

“We awoke this morning with the sun shining brilliantly in through our living room windows. What a JOY it was to see it appear after an all night vigil, waiting for reassuring reports that our Children’s Home in B--, Orissa was safe and sound. Plus we have had continuous rain for over a week and the tumultuous clouds had ruled the skies… Yesterday in the evening, phone contact revealed that some 25-30 miscreants, with a container of petrol, had attempted to forcibly enter the campus in B--, Orissa and on not succeeding, broke down the two crosses that had crowned the pillar posts of the main entrance gate.


Gate Entrance to Church & Children’s Home - Crosses were torn down on 25.Aug. 08


Worship Hall in B-- Orissa.


Boys in the B-- Home
.
“THE ABOVE WERE SAVED FROM DESTRUCTION WITH THE TIMELY ARRIVAL OF POLICE YESTERDAY…AUG. 25, 2008. Seven armed constables arrived soon after and the gang scurried for cover. Reports then in came reports of church buildings that had been set ablaze in D--, P-- and V-- and some other ten places in this immediate area. The Indian version of CNN T.V. continued a report of the conflagration spreading throughout the state, every few minutes. A few kilometers outside of B--, a Catholic orphanage for destitute, lower caste girls was set ablaze after the children were allowed to evacuate. It was later revealed that two young girls, fearing for their lives, stayed behind in hiding and went up in flames. A young Catholic nun..(sister) pled with the mob to spare their place of abode, but instead in vengeance they threw her into the blazing building and burnt her alive. The Catholic Priest managed to escape with severe burns from the fire and beatings. He succumbed later to his wounds in the hospital. These reports were conveyed by the constabulary stationed on the B-- Campus.

“On receiving this news 3 battalions of armed Security personnel arrived in the city to protect our property and the Children’s home. Even then, they were apprehensive of the outcome of such a possible encounter and requested Pastor B-- to leave the Church property and to go into hiding outside. He pleaded…”No, I cannot go and will NOT leave the children,” who were some 56 in number. He would have been committing suicide to leave the campus and be confronted by an unruly, angry mob armed with axes, spears and clubs. The armed forces then packed the boys into the girls quarters, with three lady staff members, Pastor B-- and his family and were told to remain quiet and out of sight. They spent the night in prayer, listening to the shouts of the mob outside, seeking revenge for the murder of one of their highly respected [Hindu] priests, by the Jungle Militia, some 100 kilometers to the South. We can say confidently that Christians had nothing to do with that incident, BUT while “ Rome burns; destroy the Christians”, was their goal. The negative report given in the media states that this ‘COMMUNAL TENSION’ has arisen due the large number of convrsons to Christianity by the missionaries, is totally unacceptable and could well be the match that will ignite future fires. The prayers of GOD’S PEOPLE world-wide are requested. Pray for peace and reconciliation in these troubled waters. May His People shine like the morning sun in service to the masses.” [End of report]

What is happening is more or less a pogrom against Christians in Orissa. Currently most of the violence is happening in two districts of the state – it is feared that this will spread. The Hindu, a major national newspaper has carried reports of the violence on the front page for the last several days. This violence has spread due to the murder in Orissa of one of the leaders of a Hindu social / political group called the VHP. Though an investigation of the murder has been ordered by government, elements of the group have framed the murder as a Christian conspiracy against the VHP and violent reprisals have ensued leaving many Christian homes, churches, & other institutions burned. The death toll as reported by The Hindu today was 9 confirmed on Wednesday morning, expected to rise to 14 with unconfirmed incidents during the day on Wednesday.

Please pray for the church in India that it would make Christ’s Name famous in the way it responds to this suffering. Is. 52:13 & 53, 1 Pet. 3:13-18, 1 Pet. 4:12-19.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Praying for my little girl, who will probably come from India:

I've been pretty focused on how to get this adoption process rolling lately- and also excited by all the resources on the internet that are helpful/interesting.

Here is a quote I found that makes me want to expedite the process all the more:

(This is an article about adoption within the country of India- the way it has been for their orphans over the last 10 years...)
Over the last decade, although the male child is still preferred, the number of families that have registered to adopt a baby girl has gone up. Couples who want a male child have to wait for three to four years while the waiting period for families who prefer girls is no more than six months. However, the notion that fair is beautiful and fair is class has impeded the adoption of dark complexioned babies or those who have flat noses in the belief that these babies were born to parents of an inferior caste and class. Unless this mindset changes, the many children who have no say in their physical appearance will continue to languish in institutions, longing for a home and a loving family. (Courtesy: Women's Feature Service) ⊕
Swapna Majumdar 23 Oct 2005
http://www.indiatogether.org/2005/oct/rvw-adoption.htm

This was taken from the website of a Muslim orphanage in India: (And I know it's only a matter of semantics or different word choice in different cultures... but it saddens me that the orphaned kids in this place are being called 'inmates.')
The girl inmates are housed separately in the newly constructed 3- storied building at 2, Sharif Lane, Calcutta 700016. On 31.3.2001 there were 290 girls in the Girls' section , all of whom are provided with free food, lodging, cloth, medical aid and all necessities of life. They are provided basic education in the Government approved primary school inside the building and thereafter sent to High School for their Madhyamik or High Madrasah Examination. Besides one whole time residential teacher there are three part time subject lady teachers for giving them tuition after school hours. Special attention is paid to impart Islamic Education as well as tailoring, Knitting and other handicraft works, three specially for religions teachings, and two for sewing and knitting works. To provide complete and thorough health care for the girl inmates there is a 10 bed medical word. The Girls' supervisory committee assisted by ladies sub committee, Lady superintendent, office assistant, Matrons and other staff look after administration of Girls, section. Pardah system is strictly in vogue for girl inmates.
http://www.calcuttamuslimorphanage.org/girls.html

Join me in praying for my little girl. I don't know if she's even been conceived yet- or what the circumstance will be of her conception and why she'll be up for adoption- but I pray in Jesus' Name that she'll be covered and protected from the plans of the enemy. I pray that she'll know the One who created her and who destined her to have purpose and hope and a future. I pray that she'll bond with our family and truly 'adopt' us as her own, for life. Father, go where I cannot, and protect my baby. She is truly, wholly in your hands Lord.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The most beautiful prayer time

I just had one of the most beautiful prayer times I've ever had.

I was feeling selfish and grumpy because I didn't get to go to a prayer meeting that I was hoping to go to tonight- because I never heard back if there was childcare available... (funny to re-read that and feel selfish and grumpy about not going to pray...)

So, I decided that the boys and I would have our own prayer time and pray for all the stuff they were covering at the meeting I was missing. It was a prayer meeting for a team from our church going to the Olympics in China to do outreach.

So the boys sat down, and I went to get my Bible out of the car. Andy then said "Oh, let me go get mine out. And then he ran also and got Evan's bible out of his room. He brought both little Bibles down to the table where we were sitting, and they pulled up their little yellow plastic chairs to the coffee table with me. We then opened up their picture Bibles and would pray over the pictures that we saw. I loved it! We first opened it to a picture of David and Goliath, so we prayed for the team not to be scared if they were facing something big and fearful. We prayed for them to be victorious.

Then we opened to where Jesus healed the 10 lepers/people with skin diseases- and prayed that the team would be anointed to pray and see healings wherever they ministered. I prayed that God would open doors for the team- and then Andy prayed for the actual doors of the houses of people who don't know Jesus to be opened as the team was walking by! (Brilliant that we would actually take the prayer literally!- that DOORS would open.)

Then Evan opened his Bible to a picture of an angel... so we prayed for angels to guard and watch over the team wherever they went...

Andy has a little tiny globe that we use to pray over countries at night before bed. We both put our finger on China and prayed for all the people there to know Jesus. Andy prayed that they would all hear Jesus' voice. Then even Evan laid his little hand on China, and repeated after me "Dear God, I pray for China, Amen."

Then I mentioned to Andy that the team had been ministering in orphanages. I asked him if he knew what an orphan was... I told him it was a child with no mommy and daddy... because either the mommy and daddy died- or something else happened where the parents couldn't take care of the child. He then started to cry- and then I started to cry- and so together, in tears we prayed for the orphans of China. We prayed for them to have a mommy and daddy and brothers and sisters to adopt them and love them.

I then told Andy that the team leader had to stay home, and couldn't go on the trip because the Doctors said his heart was sick... Andy said "Oh no!"- and then we prayed for Al's heart to be healed. He also prayed for EVERYONE in China to be healed. (Ahh the faith of a child! Let me have it Lord!)

It was wonderful.

Yes, I would have loved to have been at the meeting. But I wonder if this is what God wanted from my family instead... What a precious gift.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Support Andy in the JDRF Walk for a Cure!

Support Andy in the 2008 Walk to Cure Diabetes

As you may know, our 4 year old son Andy was diagnosed in February with Type 1 Diabetes. We have had a steep learning curve with this devastating disease in the last 6 months. Basically, Andy's pancreas stopped producing insulin, so we give him shots twice a day to help his body to function normally, without his organs shutting down (what happens if he doesn't get insulin).

This year, our family will be taking part in JDRF's Walk to Cure Diabetes (along with 500,000 other walkers across the country) as we raise money for research to be done to find a cure.There is some good news, though. For the first time, scientists are predicting that we CAN expect to see a cure well within our lifetime!

Now, more than ever, you can make a crucial difference. Won't you please give to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation as generously as possible? Together, we can make the cure a reality! Our family fundraising goal is $1500. I personally think we can raise much more than that though! Would you please contribute? If everyone receiving this letter gave $25, we'd reach our goal! If you decide you'd like to give more, we'd exceed our goal and kids like Andy would be that much closer to getting a cure!

Please visit my Walk Web page if you would like to donate online or see how close I am to reaching my personal goal:http://walk.jdrf.org/walker.cfm?id=87039487

Thanks for joining us in finding a CURE!

Sarah

P.S. If you're interested in joining our team, the walk is held on Sept 13th at America the Beautiful park in Colorado Springs. There will be lots of events for kids, vendors with snacks, etc. Registration starts at 9:00, the walk starts at 10:00. It's a 5k, so bring your kids in strollers and walk as much of it with us as you want!

Neat Video on YouTube about Type1

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Grateful.

OK- so I am thinking of a song I learned on my first trip to India, and I realized that particular trip was 10 years ago!

The chorus of the song is "I am, I am so Grateful."

I have been singing this in my head all evening- even though my day started out much differently.

I was ANGRY!!!

I was angry at God for allowing this disease into our lives. I was angry that he would give the disease to my 4 year old son, and not to me instead... I was angry that although I've attempted a number of times to get involved or get to know others with Type 1 Diabetes in this community, every effort has ended in frustration. I was angry that everyone is not as detail minded as I am. I was angry that I was ANGRY!

So I cried. A lot. And now I'm not angry any more. I'm still sad- but at least I'm not mad, right?

So, I do believe that since the word says that we don't think about God unless the Holy Spirit prompts us to do so-- that it means that the Holy Spirit is active in me tonight. For me to go from Angry this morning, to Grateful this evening, is really nothing short of a miracle.

I choose gratefulness, Jesus. I choose to recognize all that you have done and all that you will do in my life- and in the lives of my family members. I'm grateful in advance for the healing you will bring my precious son. I'm grateful for how you're going to deliver us from a place of dependence on insulin- to a place of only dependence upon You.

And- I'm grateful that you're providing a job, and a future for Dorothy and her family. I'm grateful Lord that you're healing Dana's dad, as I type this. I'm grateful that you're taking my friend Aimee through an incredible mothering journey right now- and teaching her more about love than she ever knew before. I'm grateful that you're causing a bond to form between Comfort and Caleb that will never be broken. I'm grateful that you're stirring up a hunger within Shannon, to feast upon your word- and find joy in it. I'm grateful that you've shown Katie how to love Scott, through her own discomfort and loneliness. I'm grateful that you have a bosom friend out there for Britta- but that most of all, you're her BEST friend. I'm grateful that you're healing John and Sabrina's bodies- and making the rough places smooth... and that you're taking care of Sabrina's mom when Sabrina can't be there with her. I'm grateful that you have a little girl out there, who might not even be conceived yet- who is going to be mine someday- and that YOU will teach me and lead me into the adoption at just the perfect time- so that she's ready when we're ready.

I choose gratefulness God. I choose You.
Thanks for choosing me.

Here are the lyrics (I think) of the song I learned on the mission trip to Calcutta:

Eternally Grateful- Kenny Carter

I am eternally grateful to you Jesus
For your love, for your love
Eternally grateful to you Jesus
For the giving of your blood
I am eternally grateful to you Jesus
For the coming of the Dove

Chorus:
I am, I am, I am so grateful Oh---
I am, I am, I am so grateful

You are the Fountain of Life Eternal
Saying, thirsty one, drink your fill
The Fountain of Life Eternal
Saying, weary one, peace be still
You are the Fountain of Life Eternal
Flowing from Calvary's hill

You are exalted as King forever
And I find myself praising your name
Exalted as King forever
And I watch for Your coming again
You are exalted as King forever
And forevermore You shall reign

You are, You are, You are Messiah Oh--
You are, You are, You are Messiah Oh--
I am, I am, I am so grateful Oh---
I am, I am, I am so grateful

Monday, July 28, 2008

God is so faithful.

God is so faithful to answer the cries of his people.
I've been so hungry lately for answers, for God to speak, and for more intense forward motion in my walk with Him.

I'm really being met lately- and I'm sooo grateful.

I listened to a teaching online from a friend's church in California a week ago or so. In that teaching, the speaker mentioned that in 1 Cor 14, it says "Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy." And when he shared about that- about EAGERLY desiring the prophetic gift- he mentioned a time in his life when he was challenged to give a word over every person at a specific meeting... and that God came through, and spoke something to him for each person that came up...

I was amazed hearing that. How different from my past view of prophecy. My past view of it is more of an idea that God would speak something very specific for someone very specific, and then it's done... or that maybe God would speak to 5 out of the 500 in the room... and that it was this 'sacred' experience that was for only a select few. But I'm beginning to think that the only real restraints on God speaking are:
  • the giver hearing,
  • the person receiving being willing or not to receive,
  • and that practically speaking, there is not enough time to use one person with prophetic gifting, to speak to every person in the room...
Maybe that's why we're to 'especially' desire prophecy. Because God needs more willing people to step up and speak what He wants to say... He's eager for some earthly hearts (and mouths) to submit to Him, so that He can speak...

So, I met with some girlfriends last Tuesday, and earlier that day, I sought God. I asked him for a word for each of the girls that I would be meeting with. I prayed, I read the word, and I wrote down the things I thought he was telling me for each friend. Then that night, I shared with them what I felt like God had told me. I think (?) the words met each of them... but one of the scriptures seemed particularly strange for a friend that had recently had a baby, but I shared it anyway- only to find out that it really met that friend, and was right on...

I'm learning so much through this process, but probably the most important thing is that I have to let down my pride, and my self-consciousness, and just share what I think God is saying, even if it doesn't make sense to me. I have to be willing to look foolish for the sake of the Gospel (I GET IT!). In order for others to be met by a 'surprise' word from the Lord... I have to let it be a word from the Lord, and not tamper with it or question its applicability.

So, thanks, my friends, for letting me practice on you. It's scary, and potentially humiliating. But it is soo exciting and wonderful to me to feel used of God, and because you're my friends, let you respond back to me about close or far off the words might be.

Proverbs 25:11 says: A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

In other words, it's beautiful, and desirable.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Angelfire in a nutshell

Our trip:
Eat at the slowest McDonald's known to man. And they were out of apples.
(You might be getting the idea that this blog post is going to be a bit of a rant...)
Escort my 2 kids up to the 3rd floor of the condo, past the two barking, growling German Shepherds on the way up and down the stairs, each time we enter or exit the condo.
After a little less than an hour, my 4 year old says "I'm bored."

Explore the town by car (takes about 10 minutes), then head to the local grocery to pick up various items, while kids throw fits and run away from me in the store.
Go have Chinese food, while the little guy screams and the big kid says a bit too loudly "I don't like poo poo" in reference to the poo poo platter we ordered...
Diabetes numbers ALL over the place, since most of our eating was done in restaurants, and the carb count was unknown...

they woke me up at 5:15 and 6:15.
Andy fell out of bed and I'm trying to shush his pained cries so he doesn't wake Evan...
the rollershade in our bedroom fell out of the window in the middle of the night and scared the peewaddle out of me.
Or the diarrhea diaper Evan had that leaked onto the white bathmat of my mom's friend's bathroom.

On a positive note:
Evan made a poopie in the toilet.
We got to put rocks in prairie dog holes.
We fed and petted alpacas.
Although the service was deplorable at the pizza place, the pizza was excellent.

:) enough whineyness from me. It was actually an interesting trip. I just feel a little sorry for my mom that she had to endure all that at her expense, and still call it a 'vacation.' i'm not sure that constant discipline of a 2 year old is anyone's idea of a retreat.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My son's dream...

My four year old has been having bad dreams lately. When I ask him to tell me about them, he cries and won't tell me. He says they're too scary.

So, finally a few days ago, I asked him to tell me, and he did.

He said that he has dreams that "a bad man throws a stick at me, and it lands in my stomach." Then he said 'It pokes a hole in my pancreas.'

oh my little man.
God protect him in his sleep and in his wakeful hours.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My cute kids:

We went to this awesome fountain today- and the kids had a grand time. Here are some pics- The boys trying hard to use their 'walking feet'
when all they really want to do is run and splash everyone. :)

This was his favorite position... he'd splash then plop down on his tummy and stay there for a really long time.
I can just hear him saying "Woooo" while he splashes and kicks around.
This is my son's sad moment. He said 'no one wants to play with me.' We had a tough love talk about how that happens sometimes, but that he has a choice to make. Be happy and find someone to play with, and enjoy the awesome fountain, or he can mope. It's tough being a kid.

and also a cute video of my almost 2 year old...

video

Monday, July 14, 2008

Awakening myself to the prophetic

I've been really challenged lately to awaken myself to the gift that I believe has been planted within me. Every spiritual gift test I've taken says that my top gifting is Prophecy. I've always agreed with it- but never really known what to do about it.

Until now.

I've been really challenged to take a hold of it, seek out God's explanation for it, and pursue eductation and healthy experiences with it.

My encouragement actually began when we chose our new Pastor, last fall, Brady Boyd. He came to the church, and stated that he wanted to bring back a healthy excercise of the prophetic gift to our church (it had not been openly allowed to operate for a while really). I got really excited about that. I thought "This is my chance to learn and grow in what has laid dormant in me for the last 10-15 years!"

So about 2 months ago now, our church hosted a 'Prophetic Presbetry.' I had never heard that term, nor seen it done before- and I was very interested. I attended each of the four meetings where a team of 3 ministers from outside our church, had fasted and prayed in preparation, and then came to speak the words they felt that God had given them for selected staff members.

One of the ministers in particular, was doing using mostly pictures to describe what God had shown him for the staff member. That resonated sooo loudly with me because that's how God often speaks to me- only up until that point, I hadn't known that it was actually part of my prophetic gift. I had lunch with some friends shortly after, and was talking about how I had always thought that prophecy was this 'hokey pokey, ooh, aah, "Thus sayeth the Lord," slightly uncomfortable experience... And then I saw at our church how healthy- and NOT weird it was being done!

One of my friends that was eating lunch with me that day, told me of how she had done a prophetic ministry training school a while back- and how they said there are two types of prophetic words- one is through a picture that the Lord gives (that's me!), and the other is like a faucet turning on and then off- where the person shares the words and they don't even know what will be said until it comes out... (definitely not me). That was another confirmation for me that what I've been 'seeing' and speaking for the last 10 years or so, is actually prophecy and not something else...

So- I've felt God's prompting in the last few weeks to learn and grow in this area specifically. So- I've joined a prayer group with some ladies, and hope to learn and grow from their maturity. The leader is gifted in the prophetic- and I'm hoping to really glean wisdom from her. I'm also looking for good resources to read/listen to that would better educate me. I feel pretty wary though just searching for 'prophecy' books on the internet. I want to make sure I'm reading an author who is of sound doctrine and has a strong Biblical foundation. I don't want a lesson in spiritual hoo ha... you know?

If you know of any authors/speakers that I could read/listen to, I'd welcome any suggestions you have. I also have the financial restraint though- that prevents me from just buying stuff willy nilly... so anything free will get to the top of my list pretty quickly. :) I found a really neat prophetic ministry training session at Bethel church in Redding CA that looks amazing- but that just isn't going to happen...

Anyway- seek the Lord and ask Him to grow you in your gifts- and ask Him to make you hungry- and He surely will!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

We were like men who dreamed

A friend recommended this Psalm to me last night...

Psalm 126
1 When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion,
we were like men who dreamed.
2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
3 The LORD has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
4 Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like streams in the Negev.
5 Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy.
6 He who goes out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with him.

Wow. Psalms have really refreshed me lately. The friend that sent me this Psalm encouraged me to dream... I have so many dreams, but I feel like I've told myself to put them in check. To not reach quite so far in my hopes. I'm not sure why I've told myself this. Either to avoid disappointment, or because I feel unworthy, or maybe because I don't have the faith to believe that they'll actually come to pass...

So being encouraged to dream should not sound unusual- but yet- if I truly allowed myself to dream, what would that mean?

I decided to look up the definition of dream: Beyond the usual noun form, here are some available definitions:
  • A wild fancy or hope.
  • A condition or achievement that is longed for; an aspiration: a dream of owning their own business.
  • One that is exceptionally gratifying, excellent, or beautiful: Our new car runs like a dream.

Ok- so if I'm to dream, my 'exceptionally gratifying, excellent, and beautiful' form of dream would be that my life would be like a dream. That it would be 'exceptionally gratifying, excellent, and beautiful. I also would like to have a wild fancy and hope. My two main 'wild fancies' that I 'long for' right now are for a beautiful little girl to adopt, and for Andy to be completely healed from Diabetes. I have definitely sown in tears. I'm ready to reap with songs of joy.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

here's a quote that made my day a little brighter:

Mommy: I love you so much.]
Andy: How much?
Mommy: Bigger than that mountain.
Andy: Which one?
Mommy: All of them.
Andy: Stacked on top of each other?
Mommy: Yup.
Andy: Wow.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Unfamiliar Paths

Just thinking last night before bed- and this morning again- about the passage at the top of the blog here... Isaiah 42:16.
It reads as follows:

"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known. Along unfamiliar paths I will guide them. I will turn darkness into light before them and will make rough places smooth. These are the things I will do. I will not forsake them."

I was thinking about this in regard to what Pastor Brady was talking about on Sunday. He talked about Psalm 23:3- ...He leads me in paths of righteousness, for His name's sake. Pastor Brady talked about how when we think of 'paths' they are usually well-worn and easy to see/follow (unless we get WAY off the path). So- as long as we're on, and we're following it, we're doing well (he mentioned in this section about those that wonder if they're really in the mysteriously presented 'will of God' that often is taught as intimidatingly hard to find and/or follow). I was comparing the two verses- and thinking that not only does God promise to LEAD us in times where we CAN see where we're going (ps 23:3)- he also promises to lead us when we're blind (is 42:16), and CAN'T see. When we don't know where we're going or even where the next step on the path is...

I love that in both of these passages- he talks about LEADING. Not pointing in the right direction, giving a little shove, and saying 'off you go." He leads us. I love the imagery of that. In order to lead someone, you go first, you walk ahead of them, you take the person by the hand, and gently guide their steps, correcting so that they don't fall/trip. It sounds so gentle, loving, and so intentional to me.

If He's so close that I can feel His warmth and His touch... Hear His voice warning me of danger- why would I ever choose to look elsewhere and walk my own way?

Oh Father, let me always heed your still, small voice. You wooing me to stay with you, to keep step with you, to stay in a place of undeniable safety.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Tie Dye Party! So much fun!

Here are some pics from the playgroup Tie Dye Party. :)

















Andy sucking in his tummy...
Evan pushing his tummy out...
I need a tan, seriously! Eating lunch in the shade.
Playing in the sprinkler.
My sweet friends.
Look how cool they turned out!
Such neat shirts!
Here's where it all went down... (and where my
mulch is slightly more colorful than it was yesterday).

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Gabby's birthday Party

Here are some pics from Gabby's party:
Happy Birthday Gabbers!












Here's a video I took of Gabby:

video