Thursday, December 31, 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

3 year old trivia games

Short answer question, topic 3 year old body functions: What body function is most accurately described by a 3 year old as "my pants are burping!"?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Welcome home!

Nothing says "welcome home!" like being baricaded from your house by 3 foot tall snow drifts. Aah, good to be home after a 5 day "extended vacation" at my folks. (ie snowed in by a blizzard)

Friday, December 25, 2009


Kenson's first Christmas home...what a blessing to experience a moment we've waited so long for.

He has been generally not sure of the whole Christmas deal. Giving and getting presents, Santa and reindeer, the Baby Jesus story. He's got bits and pieces but is still not sure how all of it works. He went with D a few weeks back to pick out a present for me. As soon as they picked me up from my shopping following their shopping, he promptly pointed to the sacks and told me 'There's candy canes in there for you, Mama!"

Those candy canes would come in to play later as we visited my mom and dad's/aunt and uncle's house. As we left for Christmas Eve, I went over the night's events with him. Going to church, eating supper at my aunt and uncle's house, and opening presents. To this, Kenson wanted to know what was in the presents to which I had to say, "I don't know. That's the fun part." At the church service he was thrilled to find a picture of Baby Jesus on the projector screen and kept talking about it loudly. Then when the minister mentioned Baby Jesus, Kenson quickly perked his head up from his toy cars and again loudly repeated the Baby Jesus words. At my aunt and uncle's we enjoyed supper and lots of new goodies including a toy ambulance (the hit gift so far) and a plethora of Little Debbie Christmas tree snacks for my hubby who happened to mention he liked them which means he now owns about 5 boxes of them. On Christmas morning, D and I reminded Kenson that Santa was maybe coming and that he should go check the living room. The stockings were stuffed with semi matching gifts for Kenson and Conleigh: monkey pj's, books, baby bottles, and my personal favorite-recorders. After that, breakfast and more presents from my folks and Uncle Jared. When hearing there were more presents, Kenson wanted to know if the packages contained candy canes, I suppose thinking of the package he wrapped for me.

We are now enjoying a blizzard complete with howling winds and snow. Our plans were to go to D's family this afternoon and tomorrow but I think we're staying put. I 80 is closed from Grand Island east and, while it doesn't affect us, there is a whole county in Nebraska that has every road closed. My father-in-law said the drifts in their driveway were shoulder high. And a couple places on the news were reporting 8 to 10 foot drifts in spots.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Christmas Story

One of my favorite Haitian missionary families does a "Christmas Extravaganza" every year. The video is a priceless look at the Christmas story. And the out takes are a riot. Be sure to check out their blog at .

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Still stuck like a duck in the muck

One duck stuck in the muck, for months and months now. (That's a children's book, in case you're wondering.) It's actually one child, stuck in the muck of government for way too many months but that doesn't wax poetic.

Conleigh's file hasn't moved anywhere. This month is month 15 in IB*SR. Just a quick recap for all who are interested...we were told originally we didn't qualify for presidential dispensation because that was only for families who had bio kids. So our file sat and sat and sat in IB*SR while our lawyer kept trying different things like giving the number assigned to our case for Kenson's adoption to prove we had been approved before or having us write a letter explaining that we weren't infertile but that we really wanted to adopt from Haiti. Then at some point in time that no one seems to be able to pinpoint, someone somewhere decided our file could be sent for Dispensation from the President. We were notified of this sometime at the end of October or so. With Dispensation taking anywhere from 2-8 months, we weren't really sure whether that was good or bad. (Another 8 months on top of the 13 we had already waited would mean 21 months in one office...for a couple who has previously been approved by that office!) So for the last month and a half, I've been trying to pinpoint when our file was sent, if there is any more information about Dispensation, etc.. Not because I really think I will probably gain any new information but just because I feel like I need to be a bit proactive and try to do some advocating for our file as best as I can. Well after not hearing anything but hearing through the grapevine that several stuck files from our orphanage had been released, I did hear from the director but she had no news other than, "I'm trying to get your file withdrawn from Dispensation as you meet all the requirements." I'm not sure what she means by "meet all the requirements because we are too young for the 1974 laws, but our file was in IB*SR way before the new director said she was going to start enforcing the old laws. So maybe that's what she means. And I certainly don't know what it would mean if they did withdraw our file from the stack waiting Dispensation. Would we be back to sitting on the desk at IB*SR, with a director who has already basically said that our file is not okay the way it is? Or is it worse to be sitting in the stack of documents awaiting Dispensation and have that take another 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, God only knows how many months? (And I am not kidding about the God only knows part because that's the truth.)

It is just generally depressing and frustrating and completely bewildering. I have had several people say to me, "Oh but just remember how long it felt with Kenson and how blessed you are now by him." That is true and he certainly is a blessing. (Tonight as I'm reading this newest bit of news from the orphanage director, I'm teary and sad so Kenson wants to know what's going on. So I told him I was missing Conleigh just like I missed him when he was in Haiti. Pretty soon, he comes in the kitchen with one square of toliet paper, hands it to me and says, "Mama, for your eyes.") But the people who say that don't realize how long this adoption could take. We are still at the beginning; we have a LONG way to go. I've been taking some solace in the fact we don't have to process things in Port because it seems like things that are processed in the different regions move much faster than things in Port. But still this is nuts. And just terribly sad for one little girl who has spent almost all of her 3 years of life in an orphanage. (And for this Mama who is tired of the whole mess.)

T is for tree (and tragedy)

Ever have one of those projects that didn't go as planned? Well, our tree experience this week would qualify as one of those projects. We did a bit with "t is for turkey" but did a little more this week with "t is for tree." To start, I had Kenson make a T on the floor and then took a digital picture so he could see the shape.

Then we cut out a tree from a book I have on practicing cutting and we taped it onto a toliet paper roll so it would stand up. (It's all going well so far.)Then I wanted to do something with some tree shaped pretzels that I had bought. I was thinking just chocolate dipped pretzels but at the last minute decided to make them extra special by doing a variation of a carmel dipped pretzel that I've made previously. The recipe I have has you make homemade carmel, dip pretzel rods in the carmel, and then roll the warm carmel end in chopped up chocolate, nuts, etc.. Why not make the carmel and then double dip the trees into chocolate almond bark? So I made the carmel and Kenson helped me dip the trees in the carmel. We set them on a baking rack to cool. I got the brilliant idea that perhaps doing some kind of fast cool might be a good idea, that maybe a cooler pretzel would do better when I went to dip them in the almond bark. So I stuck them in my deep freeze for an hour or so. Once I got them out of the freezer, I discovered they were really stuck to my pan. To thaw or not to thaw, that became the question. After making myself bleed with a metal spatula, I opted for thaw a bit. But of course, I broke quite a few in the process. Once in the chocolate almond bark, the pretzels that were left intact started falling apart. Apparently, because they were thinner than the pretzel rods, the carmel softened the pretzels and they started falling apart. Big clumpy chunks of pretzels. I thought I might be able to resurrect them by sprinkling Christmas sprinkles on. So I gave Kenson the shaker and hoped they would look like they were supposed to be globs of pretzelly, carmelly goodness. Um, 3 year olds and shakers full of sprinkles are a bad idea. Especially when the adult in the room is preoccuppied with dipping pretzels in chocolate.

Round sprinkles roll, especially when you try to sweep them up with a broom. Trust me, I know. I will be finding Christmas sprinkles at random places in my kitchen until Easter, that much I am sure of.

And, lest I keep you waiting...the finished product....looks just like a tree, don't you think?

Monday, December 14, 2009

How Many Kings?

I always send out my God and Me posts to my friends via email. That's actually how the whole God and Me thing started was as an "accountability, what's God doing in your life" type email inspired by the church we visited in Lima, Peru where daily faith conversations were a part of their community. Anyway, a family friend replied back to my email with a link to this video. It's a great song that captures the heart of Christmas and is good for reframing your perspective.

God and Me-Distraction

Distraction. I think that sums up the past few weeks for me. It is the advent season and generally I have been too distracted to really care. We've had something break about once a week now for the past 6 weeks or so. The transmission in D's truck. The suspension in my car. Our corn stove. A leaking water pipe under the street in front of our house which to make a long story short, may or may not be our responsibility. A non working furnace last Friday which is now working but needs someone to come look at it to see why it stopped. And a dead car battery in my car. Those have been financial distractions as well as things that have just been irritating. Of course, there is no news on Conleigh. I know some files from her orphanage that had been stuck saw some movement based on what someone else said online but no one has replied to tell us it was ours. So I'm assuming we're still in the same place we have been. We're going on 15 months in one place. That's a distraction. And ABC has been running night after night of classic Christmas movies which have been fun to watch with Kenson. But also distracting because they shift the Christmas focus from Jesus to Santa. I know that sounds silly but I have felt like we've been on Santa overload with little emphasis on the baby Jesus story. It seems like the times I've had to center my heart on the meaning of Christmas have just been when I'm at church. (Which is good because it means our church is helping people see the the true meaning of Christmas, but I wish my heart were living with the true meaning a bit more during the rest of the week.)

I want my heart to remember how Christmas is this wild story of a pursuing God who hatched a crazy plan to draw His children to Himself. How God Himself put on flesh and came to earth to be the One who crushes sin. How this arrival on earth is part of an amazing thread of events and people from the Old Testament who were promised that He would be coming. How a baby born to a virgin, laid in a manger, raised to be a carpenter, turned water to wine, healed sinners both physically and spiritually, and raised the dead. How that wooden manger became a wooden cross where He bore my sins (and everyone else's) so that we would come close to the God who created us. And how He refused to be defined by a humble birth and a dark cross but instead rose from the dead. How this resurrection is just a foreshadowing of a second coming where He will reign over all the earth and a new heaven and earth will ultimately be established. That's the Christmas story I need to hear. That's the story I want to have in my heart, not worries about money or impatience over problems or even the stories of a kindly but totally invented character named Santa Claus

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Digging out

Sometimes housework requires a shovel...

especially if you're three and your Mama told you to pick up the Candyland cards all by yourself.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Conleigh info

I got a handful of photos of Conleigh this week. No adoption news. GLA had 12 files come out of IBESR not too long ago, some that had been in for over a year. And HCH (Conleigh's orphanage) has 4 kids going home this week, plus some files advanced that had been stuck but no word on what files and if ours was one of them. (Do you suppose my "please, let it be us" whining makes God want to say "I can only hear kind calm, voices. Whiney voices hurt my ears."?)

Just for the record, because I'm sure you are all wondering, between the two adoptions since October of 2006. We're edging up on the 40 month mark. No one should be expecting that long. (And the scary thing is, I think we're going to do this again at some point. No plans yet, but at some point down the road.)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Snow Day

Today and yesterday, I've spent some time thinking about the classic children's book, A Snowy Day. If you've never read it to your kids, you really must. Little guy heads out in his snowsuit on a snow day and has all sorts of great adventures. Written in a very simple but not boring way. I used to use it in first grade the first week back to school after Christmas break. It was a great way to start edging kids back into school without asking too much of them right away.

Seeing as we had no school today and about 12 inches of snow, today is our Snowy Day. I'm a little skeptical that we will have school tomorrow because we are supposed to get another 3 inches or so yet tonight and the winds are supposed to pick up.

Snow days mean cookies, right? I was going to have Kenson help me and then decided I'd just do them while he was napping. I was wanting to making something new so I opted for Almost Oreo Cookies with Peppermint Cream Frosting. I had seen recipes for homemade Oreos before but I've never made them. This once is super easy because it uses a cake mix. I didn't have the ingredients to make the frosting using gelatin or shortening, which was recommended in other recipes. And I didn't want a cream cheese frosting with a heavy cream cheese flavor. So I decided I'd make my own Peppermint Cream Frosting. (Beat together 2 T. butter and 2 oz. cream cheese. Add 2 T. half and half, cream, or milk. Add powdered sugar until desired consistency. Crush 2 candy canes into fine pieces/powder. Add to frosting. Add mint extract, if needed, to pump up the peppermint flavor.) Pretty yummy, I have to say.

Then D and Kenson and I went outside in the snow. D shoveled while Kenson and I played. Across the street from our house, we have a huge snow pile from city snowplows. The snow was too soft to really climb up it but Kenson slid down it a few times, made holes, yelled into the holes (he was checking to see if someone was in them) and filled the holes back in. We live next door to a lovely sledding hill so I'm hoping tomorrow we can go sledding.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Lunchtime Conversations...Where is God?

Have I mentioned how much I love the kid God has blessed me with? He is so fun, especially now that his vocabulary is growing and he is able to really say what he means. He is so full of one liners which send D and I into giggles. I am seeing a very perceptive, contemplative, smart little boy burst forth. (Of course, I'm biased but it's true!)

Today at lunch, totally out of the blue, Kenson asked, "Where's God?" Um, I'm kind of amazed that has even crossed his mind. So we spent five minutes talking about God being everywhere, how He is in heaven and all around us and in our hearts. What a sweet time of sharing how God has been at work in Kenson's life from the moment Kenson was born, how God saw Kenson when he was in Haiti and how at the same time, God saw Mama and Papa. How God saw how baby Kenson needed a mama and a papa and how God told Mama and Papa to go get baby Kenson. How God still is in Haiti and how He sees Mama Juislene and the orphanage nannies and Conleigh. How God is always beside us to keep us safe and to help us when we're scared or have a problem. How God loves us so much He wants to be with us always and wants live in our hearts.

And after all of those touching thoughts, Kenson got a big smirk on his face and quickly said, "Brian [our friend's Papa) is here too!" And it quickly descended into a big silly story about Brian being in our house even though he really wasn't. Ah to be three!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

More gift ideas

My friend, Kristi, just launched a new fundraiser for her family's adoption of their daughter, Janae who lives at the same orphanage Kenson was adopted from. I have fond memories of Janae cuddling up to me on one of our visits during lunchtime, gladly eating the anchovie bits (which I really didn't want since I'm not a fish fan) out of of my beans and rice. Their adoption has truly been a labor of love, emphasis on the labor part. They have been in process for over 3 years and 7 months. They committed to Janae when she was 11 months old; she is now almost 5. Their daughter is a true orphan, meaning she has deceased birth parents which, surprisingly, actually makes her more difficult to adopt because of US immigration laws. With no family member present to declare to the US government their desire for Janae to be adopted, the process becomes more complicated and time consuming. I have been inspired as I've watched their family lovingly pursue Janae even though their wait has been considerably longer than they ever imagined. From the outside looking in, I have never seen them waiver in their belief that Janae is a part of their family and will come home, despite the grueling wait.

Kristi is offering three Christian themed shirts which would make great gifts and would support their family's adoption.

In the random world, Kristi and her family actually used to be ministers at a church near my house. And they have actually visited my church. But we were unaware of each other and missed our opportunity to meet in person. She and her husband now minister in a different state but still have some ties to Nebraska so perhaps someday we'll meet.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Different Approach to Gift Giving

Anybody else dread Christmas junk? You know, obligatory gift giving that basically results in you swapping a gift with someone else who maybe really didn't want to get you a gift either but felt like they HAD to.

I'm really not a Grinch or a Scrooge. I do enjoy presents, especially thoughtful ones or those where I receive something I need or want but might not have the time or money to purhcase it for myself. Gifts are a love language, a way to show people that you value them and that you are intimately acquainted with their personalities, likes and dislikes.

But at some point, it all gets stuck in my craw. Mindless gifts from coworkers like lotions that irritate your ezcema and Christmas ornaments that will not become treasured possessions because you barely even know the giver. Gifts from students that make you smile but also make you fat, like banana bread and cookies. Gifts from friends or family that are nice and appreciated but also really unncessary because you already have 25 washclothes or 2 pairs of slippers or a box crammed full of stationary. I'd much rather have my family and friends take the time and plan a "date" with me than buy me something. (I'm really quite fabulous and just expect people to want to spend time with me...just kidding. I think you know what I mean though. I treasure time more than stuff.)

That said, I'm still giving gifts this year. But I hope my gifts are thoughtful and useful rather than just fluffy, because-I-have-to-get-you-something purchases. I do like giving gifts. It is fun to watch friends and family receive something special. At some point, I'd love to have a year where all my gifts had a greater purpose than just to make me or the reciepient happy. It does require a little forethought. And probably a bit of saving because I'm generally thrifty and often buy gifts throughout the year at rock bottom prices. If I looked for gifts with a purpose, I couldn't search clearance racks or snap up deals on free shipping. But I could know that the money I was spending was going farther than the circle of me, my friends, and my family.

Have I piqued your interest yet? Here's a set of websites that are full of ways to give a gift with purpose, a gift that is far reaching and really stretches your Christmas budget.

Water 4 Africa-jewelry, scarves, pin cushions, pillowcase dresses, and more, provides clean drinking water to people in Africa

Haitian Creations-purses made by Haitian women as a means of self sufficiency

Artists for Hope-jewelry, supports various groups including Real Hope for Haiti in Cazale, Haiti

A Flicker of Hope-candles, supports various projects both domestically and internationally

Samaritan's Purse, For His Glory (Kenson's orphanage) and Heifer International-use their gift catalogs to buy various necessities for people around the world including clean water, seeds, animals, and sewing supplies, then give these "donations" as gifts to friends and family

Don't forget local options where you could donate in honor of a friend. Local rescue missions, foster care groups, a family pursuing adoption, literacy programs, churches, Christian colleges, the possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy Birthday to my Mom...

about 20 some odd days late. I cut it out and pieced it but my cousin, Alissa, finished it for me by hand quilting it. I tried multiple times to machine quilt it myself but couldn't get it stretched right. I don't know why. After three times of spending the evening with a seam ripper, I gave up. Anyway, it matches my mom's living room and has beautiful hand quilting that can't hold a candle to machine work.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Also overheard at our house today...

A loud spitting sound followed by "Kenson, did you put pizza in Mama's pop?"

I got a phone call during lunch and stepped out of the room to talk while he ate. Unfortunately, I left my Diet Dr. Pepper can unattended. So about an hour later, when I decided to take a drink, I was unpleasantly suprised by the taste of Diet Dr. Pepper mixed with pepperoni chunks. Not good. Really really not good.

Hey, where's my band?

Overheard today while Kenson was playing "parade"...

"Mama, where's MY band?"

Isn't that how we feel alot of times...where's the music just for me?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Rundown

We just returned from completing our 11 hour circle tour of southeast, central, and northeast Nebraska. We spent Wednesday through Saturday with K's folks, including Thanksgiving at her aunt's and uncle's. Kenson enjoyed singing with Uncle Jared and decorating a few turkey cookies as well as his first taste of turkey.

Uncle Jared rescued Kenson from the monotony of making turkeys; I'm not exactly sure what this was other than "let Kenson do whatever he wants."

We took the turkeys we crafted from food boxes to give to Grandma, Grandpa, and Grandma 2. On Friday, after we gave all of our turkeys away, Grandma 2 came to visit. As soon as she walked in the door, Kenson said "Where's your turkey? At home?" Not even a hello, how ya doing.

Kenson also enjoyed my cousin's very pregnant Yorkshire terrier, Molly who has apparently been gallavanting around with a Boston terrier. We were hoping for a Thanksgiving miracle, well, because we're weird and wouldn't having puppies while you were enjoying Thanksgiving with your family be memorable, especially for a first Thanksgiving? But alas, Molly waited until we left. She is now a 3 puppy Mama. (And I'm guessing those puppies will be available so if you're wanting a little house dog, I'll hook you up!)

Saturday, we headed to D's grandma's where we enjoyed supper, a good night's rest, and then her normal treat, Village Inn. Gotta get her great grandson some pancakes...and syrup. When the waitress asked him what he was going to have, he quickly told her "Syrup." That's really how he is with breakfast items. Oatmeal, eggs,'s gotta have syrup. We ordered him chocolate chip pancakes which he had had on another trip but for some reason, this time, the chocolate syrup was not okay. He wanted the maple. And given our traveling adventures and how close we were to melt down, we let him. Can you say sugar overload? Beats a screaming crying child in the middle of a crowded resturant.

Anyway, we're home now and thankful for the family we were able to visit.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cute fleece flowers...need I say more?

While shopping for fabric yesterday (at the premier crafty establishments of Wal-Mart and Alco), I was unable to find a specific shade of sage green fleece and suitable lining material for hats. But I did manage to find a freebie instruction sheet with a wonderfully cute fabric flower. The actual directions were for a photo frame and for cotton fabric but I improvised and used the same idea with fleece. Here's the finished product. Stinking cute!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

T is for Turkey

Loved this project. But it was a bit hard for Kenson to help with. He did a lot of gluing, not so much of anything else. Maybe would have been better for a bit older kiddo. Maybe would have been better with a kiddo who was more into following directions. Regardless, it was still fun to talk about the parts of a turkey and to see how the different boxes made interesting layers when stacked.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Warm Fuzzies for a Mama's Heart

Last night, D and I put Kenson to bed and I went downstairs to sew. My sewing space is right under Kenson's bedroom. Our old house has the big, oversized floor grates and his room happens to have one. He was fumbling around in bed, making funny noises, and then finally he starts calling for me. It wasn't frantic, more like "I don't really want to be in bed so I'll just try to get out of it." After a bit, I sent D up. D told him to go to know the standard, just go to bed business.

But of course, Kenson continued to say my name. I ignored him for a while as I finished the sewing I was doing, hoping he would stop. But he didn't so after I finished, I went up to see what he needed. When I got in his room, he was laying in bed. He looked up at me and said, "Cuddle, Mama." So I crawled up on his toddler bed and snuggled a bit. He quickly kissed the hand that was laying against his cheek and quietly said, "Thank you." What sweetness.

And those of you with kids who came home to you later in life will know what I mean when I write that there is something special about those times when your child articulates his need for the comfort that a Mama brings. Kenson has had a fairly easy transition and has loved and responded to love very easily. And he has come to us for comfort, has longed to be held, has soaked in all the moments of nurturing. But, like most three year olds, he struggles to say what he needs. And unlike most three year olds, I suppose there is a bit more scrutiny on my part regarding his emotional needs and his ability to relate them to others. Those quiet moments of Mama-needing vulnerability are really warm fuzzies for my heart.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Just a Good Ole' Boy...

Never meanin' no harm. Beats all you ever saw, been in trouble with the law since the day they was born. (You really needed to have some Waylon Jennings in your life today, didn't you?)

Anyway, Kenson is really a good ole' country boy at heart. Our babysitter, whom we adore, lives on a farm with her hubby and five kids, including her twin boys who are a week older than Kenson. Kenson, of course, loves it.

Last week, he came home and had to add "going potty on the corn" as an item on the things we want to thank God for prayer list. No big deal, farm kids do that all the time. D and I both chuckled at that. It's actually come up twice now as a thanks item. (If you're a city person who is reading this and you're mortified, really it's okay. I grew up on a farm and am not appalled. And there are way worse things in life than 3 year olds going potty outside.)

Yesterday, D was hanging up Christmas lights outside. Kenson was playing outside while D worked. Pretty soon, D hears Kenson say "potty", turns to find him, and sees him sans pants, peeing on the leaves. It's funny because whenever he has to use the regular potty, it takes him like a month to get his pants off. So it's official, we're a good ole' boy. Headed for trouble with the law, I reckon.

I am!

Kenson's newest favorite phrase is ...I am!

It's just funny to hear him use such gramatically charged words. And it's funny because he uses them even when he should use something different.

"Are you watching horses on tv?" "I am!"

"Do you have something in your cubby?" "I am!"

"Do you want to take a bath?" "I am!"

The other day I asked him something and he replied, "I am." Then he quickly said "No different one." In other words, "it's not supposed to be I am but I don't know what to say."

I'm guessing he says it no less than ten times a day. So cute to hear the little voice...I am!

Ohhh...I think I figured out where it came from. We've been reading Green Eggs and Ham a lot lately. He knows the whole story really well. "Not in a house. Not with a mouse. Not in a box. Not with a fox." He'll just start saying the nots. And today at supper he said, "You let me be!" I'm guessing that's where the I am business came from, Mr. Sam I Am.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

L is for Leaf Shaped Cookies

To finish up talking about leaves, Kenson and I made some leaf shaped cookies last week. I have about a bazillion cookie cutters thanks to my brother-in-law, Daniel, but couldn't believe I didn't have a leaf. So we improvised and used a football. I added some stems to help with the leaf likeness. Kenson, of course, insisted they were footballs not leaves. A friend of ours who is in ministry with Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Colorado was back in Nebraska for a visit so she helped us decorate them. Great fun with Stacy! We're definitely not decorators extrordinares but it was still fun...and yummy. Best of all, I think I actually found a cut out cookie recipe I'm keeping. I like soft cookies, especially for cutouts and just hadn't found one that did the trick for me.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Weekend reviews

The last few weeks have been crazy around here, especially the weekends.

Going backwards...

This weekend...
Went to Lincoln and truck shopped since D's truck is out of commission (Anyone want a '96 Chevy S-10 with transmission issues? It's priced really cheap. And not only is it a bit of a beater, it does have a heater which makes it a beater with a heater!) Didn't find a truck though. Kenson is now playing "broken truck" which consists of some version of him getting the toy pick up truck out and telling me it's broken.

Last weekend...
Real estate agent calls at 6 p.m. on Friday, wants to show house on Saturday morning. Frantic cleaning. Saturday was my grandma's estate auction in Atlantic. Bought nothing I needed but did get some good primitives like two cut out brickabrac shelves, an enamel tea kettle, and a painted plant stand. Then we trucked shopped along the way as we headed to Norfolk where we watched the Nebraska football game with D's dad. Spent the night there, then lunch with D's grandma and home.

The weekend before that...
Halloween and the church festival. My folks came on late that night and stayed until Sunday. They stayed with Kenson while D and I went to Omaha to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert, per the recommendation of my brother in law.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ham and Bean Soup, carrots and celery

Gingerbread pancakes, bacon, fruit

Roast beef sandwiches, frozen fruit cups, cooked carrots

Orange chicken, California blend vegetables, rice

Blushing Penne Pasta, California blend, Autumn Apple Salad

Swiss steak supper, jello with fruit

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How Cute Are These?

I just ordered some barrettes off of etsy for stocking stuffers in Conleigh's Christmas stocking. They are seriously adorable. I shopped around for "clearance" items from different sellers and ended up paying $12 for everything, including the shipping. Might be a good place to look for some stocking stuffers of your own.

God and Me-Faith as a Possession

Praying has not been easy for me in the last six months. In fact, there have been times I've avoided it because I have felt slighted, as if God has turned a deaf ear to me. But even so, I've worked though that and have continued to pray, ending up with prayers that sometimes feel flat and repetitive. And today as I came to the task of my prayer time, the prayer part pressed me almost like a burden. It seems like my prayers have been lacking in spontaneous praise and in wide eyed adoration. It's not that I think every prayer needs that. It's just that I have not verbalized praise and adoration for a long time.

So I decided to write to the Lord about that, to come to Him with a heart that honestly has not felt up to a peppy or awe filled prayer life. And what I started with was the question, "Do my prayers reflect a love for You?" My answer somewhat surprised me.

Here's what I wrote: "I have loved You but in a way different than praise and adoration. It's been a holding on by a thread, clawing and scratching kind of love. Something deep seeded inside of me that I count too precious to let go of. But a love that is crossed with doubt and anxiety, that questions if You will give me what I need. And strangely enough, it's loving despite my doubt and anxiety that has made me grow. When we fight for what we love, we become so closely tied to that thing. And that truth includes our faith. I do not bring you a cherishing, eyes full of stars kind of love; instead I bring You a worn and battered, gnarled yet strong love, one that chooses to believe, that counts love and faith as a choice not a feeling."

Interestingly enough, this just ties so well with some words I read this week by Oswald Chambers. I'll leave you with those, believing that my daily walk, both the struggles and triumphs are just evidence of something deeply personal, of a faith that is a possession not an identity or a label.

"Faith must be tested, because it can be turned into a personal possession only through conflict. What is your faith up against just now? The test will either prove that your faith is right, or it will kill it. "Blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in Me." The final thing is confidence in Jesus. Believe steadfastly on Him and all you come up against will develop your faith."

Monday, November 9, 2009

God and Me-Small Acts of Provision

God has continued to remind me to leave behind my fretting and worries. I can't say life is making that any easier. D's truck is having transmission issues which means we are in the market for a new truck, not something I wanted to have to be doing. Conleigh's file is still stuck in the same place. Two people who had been stuck with us, for the same amount of time, recently got out of IBESR. Even though you're glad they are unstuck, when people "leave you behind", there's always a twinge of jealousy. If I thought it meant they were going in some kind of order and our file was getting closer to being released, I'd probably be more excited. But there is no rhyme and reason to it and it really means nothing for our file.

Those things said, in the grand scheme of life, we are generally unscathed. There are a lot of other people who are dealing with things I certainly wouldn't want to be.

And as I said, God is continuing to remind me of His faithfulness to us. A friend recently posted Roman 5:3-4 on her Facebook page, something I had read last week as well. "And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope." I so appreciate God's sense of humor, timing, and divine way of putting things right in front of your face.

And in my own reading, I read from John 8:13. As translated by The Message paraphrase, from the words of the Jewish religious leaders as they tried to sort out if Jesus was the Son of God, "All we have is your word. We need more to go on than that." That was a good reminder for me. When you think about how your own action, doubt, and worry are a nonverbal version of "all I have is your word; I need more to go on than that" it leaves you thinking how empty that sounds. Especially when it's not just His words we are left with. God continually is at work in our lives and continually reveals Himself, often in small acts of provision as we live out our weeks. I often focus on the big things and don't take stock of those small acts of provision. But it is often those small acts of provision that demonstrate most how God is at work in our lives.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Menu Planning

Ham and Bean Soup, Fruit

Corn and Cheese Enchilladas, Avocado Salad

Chilli, Carrots and celery

Cincinati Style Chilli over Spaghetti, Green Beans

Chicken Cordon Bleu, California blend, lime jello with pears

Gingerbread Pancakes, bacon, fresh fruit

Crafty Pre-school Stuff-More leaves

Here's another good leaf project:

We started by cutting leaves into small pieces. (You could also crumble them. Mine were not quite dry enough to crumble.) I printed the leaf shapes onto colored paper as well as some scrapbooking paper; then I cut the leaf shapes out. We then used Elmer's glue and used the leaf pieces like glitter, pressing them lightly into the glue that had been applied to the paper leaves. Once the paper leaves had dried, we glued them on, collage style, onto another piece of paper.
I've also seen similar projects done using shavings from colored pencils and crayons.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Good Read

I'm just about finished reading He Talk Like a White Boy by Joseph C. Phillips. It's a collection of essays on faith, family, politics and authenticity. Phillips is most known for playing Bill Cosby's son-in-law on The Cosby Show. He writes from the perspective of a conservative, well educated black man in America. He is witty, sometimes irreverant, yet thoughtful. The theme of race is loosely woven into the book as he has had to address the way his blackness is juxtaposed with his conservative beliefs, his middle class upbringing, and even his speech pattern. Race is also explicitly addressed in several of the essays. (And take that word "essay" with a grain of salt. The essays, while intellectually powerful, read more like short stories. It's not heavy reading that will leave you feeling like a dunce because you have to get your dictionary for every other word.)
I picked the book out initially because I thought it might help me have a better view the challenges my black children will have as they will be Haitian Americans who are viewed as black African Americans while being raised in a conservative Caucasian household. Not only have I gained insight into the issues my kids will probably be confronted with, I also found myself enjoying the challenges Phillips issues to not just black Americans but to all Americans. Good read that I had not heard about until just a few weeks ago.

Monday, November 2, 2009

God and Me-The Provision of a Godly Word

This week, God has continued to speak the same message to my heart. He has continued to be steady and unwavering, pouring out provision in all sorts of forms.

On Sunday, Gregg preached from James 1:12. "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. " He started by having three people share how they have endured in trials which allowed me to gain some perspective. There is something about seeing the lives of others that often reminds me that I don't want to trade my "junk" for someone else's.

Gregg also followed in Sunday school with Romans 5:3-4. "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." Then my friend, Lisa, emailed this very verse to me, not knowing Gregg had just used it as a connected text for his sermon.

This week, I also read from Don't Waste your Life by John Piper. He writes, "If we only trust Him to give us gifts and not Himself as the all-satisfying gift, then we do not trust Him in a way that honors Him as our treasure." That is important for me to hear because I often get frustrated when my obedience does not produce the results I desire, when it feels like God should fix my life just because I've been doing the right things. Indignation over the "injustice" of me not getting what I want does not honor God and does not show a deep appreciation for the ultimate gift God has given me, a redeemed life.

Piper also writes, "The health, wealth, and prosperity "gospel" swallows the beauty of Christ in the beauty of His gifts and turns the gifts into idols. The world is not impressed when Christians get rich and praise God. They are impressed when God is so satisfying we give our riches away for Christ's sake and count it gain." Again, something I needed to hear. I often turn my prayers into idols. As in, the thing that becomes most important for me is an answer to my prayer, specifically an answer in regards to Conleigh that would have her file progressing rather than sitting in static. It also was good to be reminded of how shallow it is to love God and serve God when things are going well. I don't want to be the person who loves God only when they get what they want from Him. I want to be the person who loves God because they get what they need from Him. As Piper says, "God, in love, will use whatever trials are necessary to intensify our savoring of His glory." He will use the circumstances of my life to teach me what I truly need, to cultivate in me a desire to glorify Him no matter to what, to bring me to a point of enjoying Him no matter what.

Praising God for His words of life to me this week...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

K's thoughts on Halloween

Mallowcream pumpkins, candy corn and dry roasted peanuts...I can now die happy.

Is it wrong to pass off the real spider woven cobwebs on my staircase as holiday decor? (True story, they really are there. And the worst part is, I've seen them every morning for the last 7 days but have been too lazy to do anything about it.)

Who's Your Favorite Raggedy Andy?

I know who mine is...Happy Halloween!

(Yes, we have a Raggedy Andy doll and we loved dressing like him.)

Friday, October 30, 2009

It's the Great Pumpkin

The Pumpkin

The Master Carver

The Plan...A jack o lantern wearing a Huskers football helmet

Pumpkin guts

Seeds to roast

The candle goes in there

Don't blow it out


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pre-school Cooking (Naan)

We made Naan this week. Can you say yummo? Naan is a traditional Indian flatbread, usually grilled. We did ours on the stovetop in a pan but I have done it on my George Foreman grill. It's kind of time consuming but it is wonderfully crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and slightly garlicy. Even though it's Indian in nature, it goes great with all sorts of soups and Italian dishes. And it was a perfect item for Kenson to help with. Once your dough has risen in a bowl, you add your garlic, punch it down, and form it into small golfball sized spheres. Then they raise again. After that, you need to roll them out, brush them with butter, and cook in your pan/on your grill. It works best if someone can roll while the other person butters and bakes them. What a perfect task for a preschooler: rolling out the dough using a rolling pin. I really didn't have to offer too much assistance and he had a great time. He so loves to help so he was thrilled to have a real job.