Friday, June 26, 2009

God and Me-Bible Blahs

This week, I've been reading in Genesis. Our minister has been preaching a series on Old Testament characters and he started with Cain so I decided to go back through the Old Testament as well. Unfortunately nothing has really stuck out at me as I've been reading. That's not such a bad thing really.

While I do believe God gave us the Bible as His word and that we should revere it, I think we set ourselves up for frustration and failure when we come to reading with with the expectation that everytime we sit down, we will encounter something life altering, fresh, and deeply convicting. Then when what we read doesn't make sense, when it all turns into a big blur of words, when we can't even remember what we just read, we get frustrated and wonder why we aren't getting more out of God's words. In its truest form, the Bible is meant to be an amazing, living book that convicts hearts and changes lives at every turn. But that is what God desired the Bible to be in its truest, purest form. I think most of us fall way short of what God desired things to look like and so consequently, our plans to read, understand, and be moved by the Bible look nothing like what God really intended. I'm not saying we can't sit down and ask God to make things more relevent to us, that we shouldn't ask for God to stir our hearts and reveal things to us as we read. I certainly believe fervent prayers like that are a great form of worship and communion.

But I also believe there is something to be said about plugging away at Bible reading, even when nothing you read seems to be sticking with you. God has conditioned our hearts to need His words and when we read it, somehow He works in our lives to create little footholds in our hearts where His words stick and cling. It's like He squirrels away the goodness of His word until a moment when we need it. And then somehow those words we read a week ago, a month ago, a year ago, even a decade ago come alive in us and make us question something someone says or make us understand faith better or make us love Him more. So I guess this week, even though I haven't felt like I've accomplished much, I do feel like God is still moving to complete a good work in me as I read His words.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

THE House?

We've looked at a lot of houses that are for sale over the last month. None have been what we've wanted. Too pricey, too small of lots, not enough space, poorly laid out, just not us. There have just not been any houses on the market that have fit our needs/wants. Today, we looked at a house that may be THE house. It is a foreclosure so it is priced really reasonably. It needs some work but at the price it is listed at, the work is doable. And most of the work is on the outside; the inside is very livable as is. It has a great large lot, tons of charm, and enough square footage.It has amazing details including a glass tile fireplace, original light fixtures, open staircase with bench, and several built in cabinets. We don't really foresee us trying to juggle two mortage payments while we wait for our current house to sell so we'll have to see if we can get our house sold so we can make an offer on this new house. Hoping that this is the house and that the timing and finances will work out, believing that regardless God has a plan for us...

Here's a few photos just because the house is awesome!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

This is one of my all time favorite pictures of D with Kenson. My friend, Cate, took it on our first trip to Haiti, right after we got off of the truck and met Kenson for the first time.
We spent today in a pretty non eventful way. Kenson made a card in Sunday school but was reluctant to actually share the chocolate out of it with Papa. He did manage to say to D, in his best 2 year old talk, "Happy Papa's Day!" D also got to talk to every person in his family today: his dad, his grandma, and his brother. A phone marathon of sorts for my husband who hates talking on the phone. I know he was glad to talk to them and I secretly think all the phone conversations made him feel really popular as they all managed to call at the same time today. We also went out to eat at Famous Dave's BBQ last week. (And somehow, D managed to talk me into going to a local Mexican restaraunt today for lunch so he really got to go out twice. Hmm...) I also managed to get our Father's Day cards actually mailed out on time which is a small miracle. (I am terrible about getting events recognized on the correct day. I often have a gift or card but rarely get it to the person on time. Eeek!) Hope you and yours had a great day!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

When 2 Houses Meet and Fall in Love

Wisdom from a 2 year old, as observed in the bird house aisle at Walmart:

When a boy house meets a girl house and they really really like each other, they make baby houses. (Okay maybe all he said was "baby house" but I think you can tell what he was really thinking.)

Friday, June 19, 2009

For Sale

The listing papers have been signed and the for sale sign stuck in the yard. We are officially throwing our hats into the uncertain real estate market and trying to sell our house.

We love our house. When we bought it, it was in need of major updating. Good bones but awful face! Okay, the siding/shape of the house was cute but the yard had ill planned landscaping and the inside had just survived the 80's country blue and peach. (Nevermind that we purchased it in the 90's.)

We have updated every room. We've done plumbing and wallpaper and flooring on our own, for the very first time. We've called my dad lots, asking for advice. We've waited for our kids in this house. We've spent most of our married lives in this house.

Our listing is finally up on the website and the sign is in the yard, both things that are kind of hard to see. But we're choosing to believe God has a great house for us in our new location, just a few miles down the road but closer to work and church and school. It's one of those let go of something sure to gain something better. So if you know someone looking for a house, send an email my way. I'll hook you up! (Or if you just want a link to photos, I can do that too.)

Pool Time

June in Nebraska usually means pooltime. But we've yet to actually get to our community pool. We went swimming at the hotel pool on our trip to Boise as well as in the pool at Uncle Daniel's apartment complex. We did finally get our small pool inflated and Kenson finally got to get in and splash. (It has rained here for like 3 weeks straight so we've been having to postpone our pool fun.)

Fun thoughts from a 2 year old brain on pools

Apparently motor vehicles like water too. Once we got the pool inflated, Kenson told me, "Wimmin'! Cars, wimmin'!" (And then every single toy in our house went swimming too.)

At seeing Mama in the bathtub, after waking up with the expectation of getting to go in our pool, he pointed at the bathtub and told me "Tame, Mama, pool" which loosely translated is "The pool and the bathtub are the same. They both hold water and you can go in them."

First words upon entering the pool? "No potty pool!" I'm hoping he can really keep that promise.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Menu Planning Monday

Chilli Dogs
Carrots & Celery

Slow Cooked Ham
Mashed Potatoes
Green beans

Vegetable Soup (Made with whatever leftovers are in my freezer, scary thought, I know)
Italian Cheese Bread

Brown Sugar Chicken
Pineapple Fried Rice
California Blend Vegetables

Leftover ham, grilled
Baked Beans with Apples and Jalepenos
Lettuce salad

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Boy & His Stick Cow

For the longest time, Kenson has gotten horses and cows mixed up. He wants to call them all cows. We've tried hard to convince him they are not the same animal. He'll say cow. Then we'll say horse. And he'll shake his head and tell us "no cow." It goes on like that for a while until we give up.

That said, his preference for labeling all large, 4 legged animals as cows makes for interesting conversations when he gets ahold of a broom.

We are quite possible the only family around whose child rides not a stick horse, but a stick cow. Giddy up!

Wouldn't be a real cowboy without some boots...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Where Are You?

Kenson has recently started using this phrase. Except it sounds more like "wuh are you?" And it is always followed by a noun. Whatever it is he is wanting at that moment. Looking for his drink? "Wuh are you, dwink?" Looking for his Little People toys? "Wuh are you, peeeple?" Looking for his shoes? "Wuh are you, thoos?" If only life were that easy. Just say the name of what you wanted or needed and it magically appeared. (Okay, maybe I wouldn't really want that. Flashbacks of the King Midas story have suddenly started within my head.)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Smoking Hot Kitchen

Literally and figuratively. I picked our strawberries today which yielded around 3 quarts of strawberries. My plan was to make Christmas Jelly, a cranberry/strawberry combination. However, the recipe I had made a large batch of jelly. I was a little worried about it boiling over. And sure enough, it did. I was watching it very closely, trying to keep it in the pan by just barely keeping it at a rolling boil. But alas! No such luck. The kitchen gods laughed at me, my kitchen filled with smoke, and I quickly tried to use a pancake turner to scrap the jelly mixture off of my burner. The slighty gooey, slightly crusty jelly is still on my stove, soaking underneath a dish towel. Regardless, it still turned out pretty tasty.

I also decided to make a Chocolate Cola Cake today. One of D's soccer players is going to an awards type soccer game on Thursday so we're having the boys over to celebrate. It's like a chocolate Texas sheetcake but it has cola in the cake batter and in the frosting. I haven't ever made it before so we'll see how it tastes; I'm sure the 2 cups of sugar and 1 1/2 sticks of butter will do the trick and make it delicious.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

It's Official...We are raising a boy!

I know big shocker! For some reason this week, Kenson has started pointing at himself and saying "Kenson. Boy."

But it's not just limited to those words. In all honesty, Kenson has been such a meek and mild little guy. Sure he loves anything with wheels or any type of ball. (In fact, while his vocabulary still has huge holes, he can identify what sport is played with what ball for soccer, football, and basketball. He also knows garbage truck, bicycle, school bus, race car, dump truck, train, digger, loader, car, trailer, and tractor.)

That said, he has not been rough and tumble. Until a few weeks ago.

And now it is like we are in full boy mode. He is constantly wanting to wrestle and push and play rough with us and with his friends. At church today, the junior high boys were being junior high boys and play fighting while they were waiting for adult Sunday school to dismiss. Kenson watched it so intently. And then, came over to me kicking and swinging just like the big boys. He burps at the table, laughs and then tries to force out another one. The level of noise that is starting to come out of him is getting much louder. He is constantly chattering or yelling or both. He actually went down the tornado slide at the park this week. (For a child who would not even walk on playground equipment unassisted until probably a month ago, that is a huge accomplishment.) The dump truck has been bathed in the toliet. (Baby, the rag doll, went in a few months ago.) He knows how to flex his arms and show his muscles. He has been fascinated by Papa's tools and likes to play with them or pretend tools. He decided earlier this week that if he puts his sand bucket on his head it is no longer a "bucket hat." It is a football hat. He seems to have more energy, so much so that he now finds the need to just run in circles for no real reason what so ever. He has just changed so much from the little guy who came home in January.

So we're embracing the boyhood! (Hoping we have a while before he wants to dissect dead cats, jump off of high places, and put mud in his pockets.)

Friday, June 5, 2009

God and Me-I've Prayed

This week has felt like it has been full of lots of uncertainity and unknowns. We've been working on selling our house and moving to a different town that will be more expensive as far as housing goes. And we've been dealing with delays in Conleigh's adoption process.

Today, I was looking through Discipleship Journal for my quiet time. The last article started with a verse from Phillippians, chapter 4 verse 6. It's a verse I memorized a long time ago probably at VBS or some other church event. A verse I guess I haven't really thought too much about because it seemed old hat to me.

"Be anxious about nothing... But in everything, through prayer and supplication, make your requests known to God." While I wouldn't say I've felt overly anxious, I have had some frantic thoughts flying through my mind, especially in the house department. My brain has really been on overdrive trying to figure out a way for us to find and afford the "perfect" house as we relocate. As I thought about this verse it was a good reminder of the Biblical model for thoughts like these. Frenzied thoughts should lead to prayer, prayers that lay a specific request before God, prayers that are full of supplication (thankfulness), a thankfulness that comes from remembering the ways God has provided for you in the past.

And then that's it. You leave it alone. I sometimes think we believe that God will be more likely to answer our prayers if we pray them multiple times. Or if we ask others to pray for us. It's like we think God is keeping a prayer tally somewhere and once we hit a certain number, the prayer is automatically answered. Truth be told, a prayer prayed once with a heart that sincerely believes God has heard our passionate request and will act on that in a way that is in our best interests is a perfect prayer. Can we repeat it? Certainly. Can we ask others to join us? Yes but those things are more about connecting us to God's presence in our lives than in His willingness to act on our prayer. There is something about praying a prayer once and faithfully believing that "I've prayed it, God has heard it, He will act in a way that shows His love for me"." So today, I prayed like that. About a house we'd really like to be in a position to purchase but are not in any position currently to buy. About Conleigh's file. I've prayed it, God has heard it, and He will act in a way that shows His love for me.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

8 Months and Counting

That's how long Conleigh's file has been in IBESR. Last night, we get an email saying the reason IBESR has not signed our file out is some missing paperwork. IBESR is wanting to see a letter from our doctor stating that we are infertile. Um, great...if only we were adopting for that reason. Supposedly, that is the only reason why IBESR has not signed our file. How frustrating that it has taken this long to find out they are waiting for something that they will never receive because it does not apply to us. We'll see what happens next.

With Kenson's adoption, we were in IBESR only 3 months. The timeline at that time for IBESR was 3-5 months. With his adoption, the adoption time line contained estimated processing times that spanned 3-4 months for each office that processed documents. It seems now that the timelines have been stretched and those gaps widened. I honestly don't think anyone has a good working timeline for a typical Haitian adoption anymore. Instead of having a few files with stays that have exceeded the timelines and become exceptions, it seems like those that are exceptions are those dossiers that have had no added delays and been processed within the old time frames.
So far, I have felt fairly patient with Conleigh's stuff. Or maybe it's just been distracted by all that's gone on with Kenson. I don't know. But now that we're on month 8, I'm getting antsy. I know lots of other people who are stuck in different offices; just thought I'd post to tell you all that I've come over to the "dark side" and now consider our file stuck and my patience tested.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


One of the things that has intrigued me the most about Kenson's homecoming is being able to see the differences in his play. I know I posted a bit about this before but play is an important developmental task and you really learn a lot about kids by watching them play. (Even when they are in elementary school.)

The nannies at Kenson's orphanage really need to receive some credit because the way that they cared for him allowed him to progress along fairly normal developmental milestones. He came home knowing how to do reciprical play. He played catch, enjoyed tickling wars and making silly faces back and forth. He also came home with a real love of music. He often sang as he played and liked to clap and dance.

That said, he played with toys in very general ways. He rolled cars on the ground but it was hard to figure out exactly what he wa doing. He had a whole slew of animals for Noah's Ark and a zoo but showed no interest in them. We deliberately kept the selection of toys to a minimum but even then, he often would only play with nor or two specific toys. I never saw any evidence of imaginative play.

Now, 4 months later, his play has just exploded. He uses toys for not just their intended purposes but for whole new reasons. A basket becomes a drum. A bucket becomes a hat. (In Kenson's words, "It's a bucket hat!") He puts people and animals and cars inside things and has a purpose in doing so. A Little People girl becomes Mama and goes into the airplane where Kenson tells me "Mama. Airplane. Up. Sky." A flat lego gets more legos on top and Kenson tells me "Pizza."

Some of that is due to his confidence. He is more sure of himself so he is more confident to be himself. He is also more confident in his language skills so it is much clearer now what he means. Some of it is due to peer modeling. He has gotten to play with kids at church and watch them play. We also do fairly regular play dates with twin boys who are a week older than him. Regardless of the why, it has just been so interesting to watch it all unfold, just remarkable really.

The Bucket Hat