Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Be Not Dismayed...

The words of an old hymn came to my mind as I was starting this post...

"Be not dismayed what e'er betide
God will take care of you
Beneath His wings of love abide
God will take care of you."

There has been no improvement in Lance's condition. Thank you so much for praying and please don't stop! Lance has a wonderful attitude and says that he just wants God to use him however He needs to. All the nurses fight over him because he knows all their names and how many kids they have--takes a genuine interest in them. That's Lance... He's always thinking about someone else. They are in the midst of a fiery trial but God is taking care of them and holding them tight.

While our hearts are heavy for Lance, God has given us a sweet gift by showing us how He is taking care of Ryan.

Ryan is allowed to have his cell phone now (yay!). I try not to pester him with constant texts and calls. ha. I called him on Sunday afternoon and asked what he was doing. To my surprise, he said, 'I'm at a Christian camp.'


How did he get permission to leave the base? He was told he wouldn't be allowed to leave for the first four weeks.

Well...it seems that there is a church near the base that has a ministry to the soldiers. If the soldiers ask the Army Chaplain, they are granted permission to leave the base for this activity. The ministry operates a camp where the soldiers can pay $15 for the weekend and come there for a soft, comfy bed and home cooked meals. They supply spiritual food for the guys too, and allow them to rest and relax in a calm, woodsy atmosphere. Ryan sounded so good--so refreshed--and relieved to be able to be there. I know it is an oasis for him. There had been one spot available by the time he found out about it, and he got it! The camp is available 3 weekends a month and Ryan is going to try to go each time it is available. He said they also gave the soldiers a directory of other camps because they operate near many of the bases in the US and even some in other countries. I cannot begin to tell you how it helped his Mama's heart to know that he has a sanctuary to go to where he can be ministered to. God is so good.

The kids have been really missing him. I hear a half dozen wails a day of, "I miss Ryan." They can't wait to see him again.

Until we see him again...we can rest in the knowledge that God is "watching over those who are watching over us."

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Urgent Prayer Request

My brother in law, Lance. whom I mentioned before in the "Whispering Pines" post, is in the hospital. The doctors are not totally sure what is going on but think he may have an autoimmune disease that is attacking his platelets. This is on top of having leukemia. I don't want to invade their privacy by divulging too many details, but his condition is life-threatening, so I am asking for prayer. He is only 48 or 49 years old with four children. Three are grown but he has a 16 year old daughter still at home, and of course, his lovely wife. Please pray for healing and for peace and comfort for the whole family.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring has Sprung

Spring is coming to Massachusetts! I am so excited to see daffodils and crocus' flowers, grass greening up and a few buds on the trees. It was nice enough yesterday to try to feed the swans, so we headed over to the bog with bread.

We soon found out that Mama swan is nesting, so only Daddy swan swam over to see us. It will be fun to see the babies when they hatch. The kids had fun just running around and watching the waterfall. And I took a boatload of photos.

"I have a secret to tell you, Katie-bug."

"You can't catch me!"

"Mom, take a picture of me sleeping on this gate."

Checking out the waterfall from the safety of the bridge

"Yep...you caught me eating the bread that is supposed to be for the swans."
Little boys, rocks and water are a perfect combination

Climbing hills takes lots of concentration

Falling down is just as fun as climbing

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Adoption Tax Credit

Thankfully, I can say that Congress has done one good thing in the past week. Here is an update on the adoption tax credit if you are considering an adoption!

"To encourage and support adoption, the adoption tax credit was expanded by President Bush and Congress in 2001. This increased the value of the credit from $5,000 to $10,000, and indexed it for inflation (meaning the credit would increase each year to keep up with inflation.) For 2010, its value had risen to $12,170. However, the 2001 increase was scheduled to "sunset" at the end of 2010. This would mean that any adoptions finalized after December 31, 2010 would be eligible for—at most—a credit of only $5,000.

The Adoption Tax Credit which would have expire at the end of 2010 has been extended for one year. That means that it will need to be extended again before the end of 2011. For the present, however, this extension comes as very welcome news for families considering adoption or in the adoption process.
Specifically, the provisions contained in the health care bill include:
• The current adoption tax credit has been extended until the
end of 2011;
• The value of the adoption tax credit has been increased from
$12,170 to $13,170.
• The increase is "retroactive, " meaning that any adoption
occurring after January 1, 2010 is eligible for this higher
• The credit is now refundable. This means that even families
that owe zero taxes can receive the full tax credit in the
form of a tax refund to help with their adoption-related

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Road Trip

I meant to post about our first day on the road but we arrived at the hotel too late. So here is a recap of the trip down to South Carolina and back.

We knew we were heading almost directly through Washington DC and I really wanted to show the kids some of the monuments there. We didn't have time to walk to all of them but we did drive by some and hopped out for a photo op. Most of the photos were taken as I was driving, hence the crummy quality.

Very cool rock formations through Maryland and Pennsylvania
Still lots of snow left in PA

And then on for some fun...I was able to meet two of my bloggy friends in North Carolina. Jeff and Taylor have bugged me to no end about meeting people I've 'met' on the internet.
Our husbands...who were good sports about meeting Internet friends
Lisa has a Kate, too. Isn't she adorable?
Lisa and I have a plot for Jake and Kate to marry--haha. They are both from Guatemala. This was their reaction to each other. The matchmakers will have to work a bit harder!
We managed to corral all of our kids for a photo.
Sunday was our last day with Ryan. He was able to stay overnight with us at our hotel on Saturday night. We had originally been told we could have him stay with us on Friday night and planned to start for home Saturday evening. But in the Army, things change. Frequently. We were told after we got there that he could spend Saturday night with us, but not Friday. Sigh... We decided to stay an extra day so Ryan could get off the base, spend some extra time with us and wear civilian clothes for a few hours. (You have no idea how bad he wanted to wear 'civies.')

Jillian and Molly liked to feel Ryan's hair stubble
Ryan started to look very sad about his time with us coming to an end. His Mama's heart started to break.
Katie crawled into Ryan's lap for some snuggle time
Inevitable good-bye.

I think I cried most of the way through South Carolina. It was so hard to leave him there.

We traveled through the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley on the way home. The mountains really DO look blue.
We knew we were getting close to home when we started to see snow again.

It was a really nice trip. It was sooo wonderful to see Ryan but equally hard to leave him again. He will be staying at Fort Jackson for the next phase of his training which will last for 13 weeks. He then gets two weeks leave and will be able to come home for a visit. After that...he will be sent somewhere--we have no idea where.