Monday, February 28, 2011

A Way to Help :)

If you are wanting to help orphans and aren't sure where to plug in, a friend of mine has some ideas on her blog today!

Click here to read a post at No Greater Joy Mom.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Around the end of last year, several of my friends decided to read through the Bible in a year and were issuing challenges for others to do the same.

No one issued a triple-dog-dare or anything, but still...the challenge hung out there in space over my head for a few days.

And then I decided not to do it because I didn't have one of those Bibles that broke everything down into a one-year calendar.

Excuse accomplished.

And then God ganged up on me.
{He's ninja like that.}

I was looking for a book on our bookshelf one day and suddenly noticed that I DID, in fact, have a one year Bible. I inherited it from my Grandpa when he died. I had forgotten I had it.

Excuse removed.

I figured there was no use in whipping up another excuse since God obviously wanted me to read through the Bible this year.

And wow...I am learning so much. I was dreading Leviticus and most of Deuteronomy.
{Most especially Leviticus.}

But I've read past it now and I am actually amazed by how relevant it all was when read in it's entirety. It totally made sense and it wasn't boring.

I'm in Deuteronomy now and I have been amazed at something I keep seeing. Seeing as in OVER. AND. OVER. AND. OVER.

You know how it is when you want your kids to really get something you said? You say it to them several times. You might even ask them to repeat it back to you.

Yeah. You know what I'm talking about.
That's what God does to His children in Deuteronomy. It's obviously very important to Him. Do you want to know what it is? I hope so because what He said to them applies to us.
You and me.
Every day.
In some way.

He tells them/us over and over...take care of orphans, widows and immigrants. Sometimes He adds, 'the poor.' And then He adds, 'because you were once immigrants in Egypt.' Or sometimes He says, "you were slaves in Egypt."

In Deut. 24:17, 18 He says, "True justice must be given to immigrants living among you and to orphans, and you must never accept a widow's garment in pledge of her debt. Always remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God redeemed you. That is why I have given you this command."

There are some things orphans, widows, immigrants and the poor have in common.
1. If you do something for them, they probably won't ever be able to pay you back.
2. They often need an advocate for one reason or another.
3. The are often treated as people with little or no value.
4. Sometimes they are uncomfortably different than we are. We don't really want to 'visit them in their distress.' {James 1:27} Throwing a check their way is far less bothersome. Actually spending time with them...well, that's a different story.

God gives specific instructions about how to make sure each Israelite family feeds and cares for orphans, widows and immigrants. He didn't say, "Some of you should leave some of your crops for the orphans, widows and immigrants to harvest." Nope, it applied to E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E.

And after each set of instructions, He would say again, 'Remember, you were slaves in Egypt..."

Perhaps we would be more willing to help others, especially those who can never repay us, if we would REMEMBER.... Remember that He redeemed us from a life of sin and misery. Remember that we were needy and had no hope. Remember that we once cried out for someone to rescue and deliver us. We had no hope of being able to save ourselves. It was beyond our ability to change ANYTHING about our situation. God was our only hope of salvation. And He was totally willing to give everything He had to redeem us.

And when He asks us to help others who cannot ever repay us, what do we say?
"Oh...I went on a mission trip once."
"I sponsor a child."
"Well, they should be doing more to help themselves. I have it rough, too."

Sometimes, I think we get our checkbooks out and give a small donation so that we can check the good deed off our list and feel better about ourselves. There is certainly nothing wrong with sponsoring a child or giving a donation to a worthy cause. But if we are doing it INSTEAD of what God has really called us God pleased with that?
{Read Isaiah 58 to see what He thinks.}

What would the world look like if all of us who call ourselves Christians, follow Christ's example and give Him our lives with reckless abandon? To do with as He wants. To use in amazing and exciting ways.

Satan tells us that if we lose control of what we want to do, we will never have any fun again.

Christ tells us that if we 'lose' our lives for Him, we will gain our truly purposeful lives and experience true JOY.

Who will we believe and what are we going to do about it?

{Don't take my word for it! Read Deuteronomy yourself and see what you think!}

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Visit Re-Cap

Ryan is now back in Korea and everyone is feeling the loss. We had a wonderful visit--in spite of having to endure the endless, obnoxious horsing around between Ryan and Taylor.

I was momentarily tempted to stop missing Ryan.

But I got over it, and they both calmed down after a few days. You know...about the time for Ryan to leave. Yeah.

Sadly, I have no photos to share. Ryan cannot stand having his photo taken and after posing for the engagement shoot, he was pretty much DONE with cameras. Not only that but we were often out running errands--where I didn't take photos. Almost every night we all just hung out in the family room watching movies together. It was fun, relaxing and, well....not all that photo-worthy.
Anyway, my family would have gotten quite irritable if I had started snapping pics. hehe

Ryan and Dani had a tough time saying good-bye to each other and are now counting the days until the wedding.

And to make up for the lack of photos of Ryan's visit, there were two that I took of Jake shortly after Ryan's arrival.

It seems that every time Ryan is here, the hideous mullet wig makes an appearance.

Oh come know you want one.

Friday, February 18, 2011

School Visit and a Sneak Peek...

We had a great visit at the kids' school yesterday. Sadly, my camera battery died because I had forgotten to charge it. Wah. I did get a few shots but not many.

The kids totally cracked me up! The boys in the first grade were bouncing in their seats to see a 'real soldier.'

"He's not a fake guy. He's real."
"This is sooooo unbelievable!"
"His clothes are real."

To one of our girls, "You have the best big brother in the whole world."

The older boys had other types of questions, like:
"What kind of guns do you use?"

Jordan's teacher told the kids, "You are getting to meet a real, live American Hero."

Ryan and Dani enjoyed seeing all the kids, visited their classes, ate lunch and went out for recess with them to play ball. It was a beautiful day--60 degrees--so everyone had fun.

Later, as we talked about it, Ryan's response to the 'American Hero,' comment was that he hasn't done anything heroic. Dani and I assured him that just joining and being willing to be sent anywhere, IS heroic and we appreciate those who stand between us and the enemy.

We found some time to do an engagement shoot so here are some sneak peeks...all at low resolution.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

All My Chicks are in the Nest! being able to say that!

Ryan and Dani arrived this afternoon after Jeff picked them up at the airport. We had made plans to have them text me from the driveway so I could come outside with my camera and try to get a shot of Chloe's face when she saw Ryan. So after I hugged both of them tightly, we trouped to the front door and Ryan rang the bell.

We forgot to tell Taylor to stay back. He was the first one to the door and he wouldn't get out of the way. haha I did finally get a shot of Chloe--but it's blurry. Despite that, you can still see the surprise and delight on her face so I'll post the photo.

And then he scooped her up!

Jake gets a whisker burn

Katie snuggles in with big brother

Dani was welcomed with lots of excitement, too
{photo courtesy of Ryan}

Dinner was loud and crazy--everyone is wound up and L.O.U.D. Hopefully they will settle down tomorrow and we can hear ourselves think! The kids were a bit shy with Ryan at first but they got over it within a half hour or so.

SaraGrace just stood staring at Ryan and finally looked at me and said, "Am I dreaming this?" No, sweet girl. This is real. And this is fun. Let's enjoy.

Ryan wants to go to the kids' school and have lunch with them tomorrow, so that is on the agenda. They are so excited! He also wants to visit Jordan's class because they sent him cards at Christmas. I have a feeling he will end up visiting all their classes--but we'll see.


Jeff and I have been trying to keep this a secret from the kids for weeks now...but today is the big day!

RYAN IS COMING HOME for a short visit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, I cannot WAIT to get my arms around that boy!!!

He was able to get a few weeks of leave from Korea, so he flew to MI to see his fiancee, Dani, and today they are both flying here to see us! He wanted to surprise the kids so we have been struggling to keep the surprise. Some of the older kids know.

Because they are so nosy. And observant. And their parents are really lame about keeping secrets.

I have been feverishly getting ready. We wanted to have some extra space for sleeping areas, so getting the attic ready for some of the kids was one of the goals. Then when the big girls vacated their tiny room, I decided it needed to be painted.

Right then.

So, Monday morning, I got paint, painted the room, sorted and organized a ridiculous amount of their JUNK treasures, ran to Walmart to buy a cheap bookcase, had the Teenager put it together, and managed to get the room looking decent. Today I will run back to Walmart to get a blow-up mattress and voila...a room for Dani to use while she's here.

Ryan will get his choice of sleeping in the basement with the troll teenager, or the family room couch.

As I was rushing around yesterday, Taylor looked at me shaking his head and said, 'Mom. Ryan used to live here. He knows what the house usually looks like. Why are you all worried about getting it to look perfect?"

I hate it went people point out the obvious.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Progress on our Special Project

I have been meaning to do some posts on the status of the attic project, but time seems to slip away from me.

Jeff finished hanging the drywall and hired someone to tape and mud the seams.
(Don't get me started on how much I disliked have the 'drywall guy' hanging out at our house for 3 weeks. So.Glad.He's.Done.)
One room

Other side which will be a play area and reading nook (I hope)

There was no place for bed placement, so we decided to have a loft area for two of the beds

Um...would you be nervous to see your husband doing this?


Next day--primer applied and flooring started
(the 'doorways' are under the eaves spaces that will have doors on them eventually)

Primer done

Next day, paint done, flooring almost done

Paint done...mess daunting ha

We've been busy doing this, hence blog posts have been sparse.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

So It's My Birthday's my birthday.

And if not for creepers online, I would tell ya'll how old I am. Since there ARE creepers out there in cyber land, I can only tell you that I am closer to 50 than 40. I am totally okay with people knowing my age. I honestly have never gotten the whole, "A woman doesn't like to tell her age," thing. What's that about anyway?

In China, age is something to be honored. Maybe I should move there.

Unfortunately, Jeff had to be out of town for my big day. There goes my day at the spa!
Well, a girl can dream, can't she?

I've been getting some odd email lately.

I logged in this morning and was excited to see that thanks to F*cebook, I had lots of birthday greetings. How fun! And wow...some of the comments were really sweet. Thank you, everyone!

Then my eye caught some other emails.

AARP. They somehow think I'm old enough for them to start spamming me. Every.Single.Day.

And then there was the ever-favorite, "Pajamajeans." As if the Pajama Gram wasn't bad there are Pajama Jeans. So never have to get dressed. Just wear pajamas that look like clothes. They are "stylish, sexy, comfortable and soft." Just lounge around your house all day, go to bed without changing and maybe even get a second day out of them if you aren't a terribly stinky person. And only $39.95! What a deal! They also come in 8 different sizes. Wow... I can hardly wait for mine to arrive.

And then there was another another email with the subject line:
"Ascertaining Your Awesomeness. "
Wow, really? Who wouldn't want an email like that?
It was spam.


The Valentine Grinch

OK...this is just annoying.

I was at the store this week and wanted to look for a Valentine for my sweet husband. I started reading through them and thought most of them were pretty lame--no great artwork or verse. I finally found one that had a nice verse--although sadly lacking in the artwork department.

I flipped it over to see the price and it was....


Um, seriously?

For a small, not-great-looking card. It had no embellishments...nothing fancy. Just a very basic--and did I mention SMALL--card.

Oh for Pete's sake.



So I put it back.

Because I refuse to pay $5 for such a crummy Valentine.

So honey, if you are reading this, please know that I am not getting you a card this year.

And newsflash to the card companies....Jacking up your prices for a measly card is not a good way to restore your dwindling businesses.

I think my husband would probably appreciate $5 worth of Snickers bars instead anyway. And maybe, if I can get my act together, I might make one. But no promises.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Still Chuggin' Along

SaraGrace continues to heal well and is getting stronger every day. She has been very tired about halfway through the day, though. I have debated about whether or not to send her to school with the PICC and have decided against it. I would hate for it to accidentally get pulled out.


I am so grateful to be home and able to give her meds myself rather than having to stay in the hospital. She has been great about me having to turn the light on in the middle of the night to do her infusion. She just goes right back to sleep without a fuss.
Some have asked where her PICC line is. The catheter is in her arm, just below her elbow. The blue part is where I administer the meds and that is above her elbow.

In goes the saline...then the meds....then some more saline and then heparin.

It's working....thank goodness!

Thursday, February 03, 2011


We are HOME and I am exhausted. Can't wait to sleep in my own bed tonight.

SaraGrace needs an infusion every eight hours, so I will be staying up late to get that done. It's scheduled for 8AM - 4PM - Midnight. I am allowed to change that slightly, which I will because I don't want to stay up that late every night. But staying up late is WAAAY better than spending the night in the hospital.

The visiting nurse came over and sorted all the supplies and let me start the infusion with her watching.

Our excitement at going home dimmed considerably this morning when Jeff sent me a text that although he was on his way to get us, Kate was throwing up.

UGH! Seriously?

When he got there, we were waiting in the lobby since he couldn't bring the kids in. Poor little Kate was sitting in her seat with a barf bucket, looking miserable. I'm not sure which was worse...being Kate, or being Jake who was sitting right next to her and her bucket.


She slept most of the day and tonight she said her tummy is starting to feel better.

Please, God, don't let it go through the whole family--especially SaraGrace.

That said, I am still very thankful for the way God took care of us this week. It could have been so much worse. It could have happened when Jeff was out of town. I am thankful that we took her in so soon. Normally, a child throwing up would not cause us to go to the hospital. Jeff said that "apendicitis" popped into his mind in the middle of the night. It did for me, too. I have to believe that God put that thought in our minds. Even though her appendix did rupture, she wasn't sick from the infection yet. She would have been much sicker had we waited another 12 hours or so.

So...we have much to be thankful for.

And last but not least, Happy Chinese New Year!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Much Better Day Today

Today was a much better day for SaraGrace. She woke up like this:
And that is pretty much how the day has gone. She had a lung scan yesterday and an echocardiogram today. Both results were good. Hooray!

She still doesn't have much of an appetite yet, but I'm sure it will return soon. She is quite infatuated with the newborn baby roommate that we got last night. He is so very tiny and just had heart surgery a week ago. She is amazed by his tiny feet and hands and pronounced him 'adoryable.'

He is adorable, although I'm not really looking forward to another night of lying awake listening to his monitors beeping and the flashing light from his mom's TV in my face. {She kept it on all night, presumably for the background noise?}
Like I said, sharing hospital rooms should be illegal. His mom is very sweet, so no issues during the day. It's just night time that I am dreading.


We are going home in the morning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So only one more rotten sleep and then we will be able to be in our own beds.

I was trained to administer SaraGrace's IV meds and it doesn't seem too hard as long as I remember all the steps.

Today was a nice opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with SaraGrace. After which she pronounced me the best mom...the perfect mom. I looked at her strangely because she has never said I am the perfect mom. She grinned at me and said, "You are! You're da perfect mom. You don't have issues."

Snort! Oh my gosh, I was cracking up! Somehow I doubt she will be thinking that when she is a teenager.
You just never know what is going to come out of that girl's mouth!

The tech who inserted the Picc line gave her his special marking pen for skin yesterday and she put it to work today. I especially like the happy face she drew on her heel.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

SaraGrace - Day two

SaraGrace had a tough day. It started out well, but once we had to prepare for the insertion of the Picc line, it quickly went down hill.

Unfortunately, they didn't wait long enough for the medicine to make her loopy enough for the procedure and it ended up being quite traumatic for her. The technician tried three times--thankfully on the third try, she got it in. However, you can imagine how painful it was for SaraGrace to endure three catheter insertion attempts. ugh. They were very complimentary and said they were amazed at how well she did. She was so brave. I felt awful for her.

After it was over, the medicine kicked in and it made her really dizzy and loopy. Oh...and C.R.A.N.K.Y.

It lasted for hours and hours. She really never recovered and is still sitting here beside me all cranky and refusing to go to sleep at 9:30.

She has barely eaten and hasn't been drinking much either. Thank goodness for popsicles because she's eaten about four of those and has the orange lips and teeth to prove it.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

We got a roommate today--a sweet one month old baby boy. His mom is also very sweet so it's about as good as having a roommate can be. Room sharing in hospitals should be illegal, don'tcha think? With the astonishing amount of laws in Mass., you would think someone would have already thought of that one.
Reacting to the technician who was getting her ready for the Picc line insertion