Sunday, July 20, 2014

Waging War!

Against some nasty carpenter bees.

So on Friday I finally had enough of the carpenter bees that have plagued our house since we moved in.

They have been a nuisance since the day we moved in.  And so enough is enough!

The “old” part of our house is board and batten wooden siding. 

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Which we should have replaced when we built the addition….but money ran out during the renovations (like it always does when you do a remodel; double the time, double the money!)

We are hopeful that we can get new windows and put new siding up in the next two years but we had to do something about the swiss cheese that we found behind the shutters!

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So Travis and I sprayed the holes full of bee killer.

Then I spray foamed the holes shut.

Then I stained the bare wood to deter the bees from chewing again!

(Becuz I read on google (you can believe everything you read on the internet!) that the bees are deterred from chewing through the wood if it has stain on it.)

When Travis took the shutters off I’ll be honest….I was a bit annoyed at my Grandpa when I saw that he never painted behind the shutters!?!?

Bees LOVE raw wood!

But I chose to have a thankful attitude and instead focus on the fact that we get the privilege of living on this beautiful property and that we can “make it right” now.

When you buy a place like ours, there are certain “things”  you just inherit.

Some good….some not so good.

Carpenter bees was one of them.

When I was Lowe’s getting the need bee killing supplies I thought I might as well get paint for the old water pump out front too. 

And they had one yellow and just just happened to be on clearance.

And it was named…..Bumblebee yellow.

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That made me laugh out loud in the store.

I remember growing up that Grandpa would take great pride in painting the pump a fresh coat of yellow.

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And it was time to give it a fresh coat!! We have lived here almost NINE years.  That just seems crazy! Time has FLOWN by with 3 adoptions, equally 3 overseas trips, in the past 5 years!  So I guess we were a bit busy to worry about painting an old pump.

My Uncle Randy came over on Friday night and said, “Do you know that Grandpa’s been gone 7 years, today.”

And it just hit me how special it was I just “happened” to decide to paint the old pump on the anniversary of my Grandpa’s passing.

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So I actually enjoyed painting the old pump (it still works!) and as I did I remembered my Grandma and Grandma and the fun we had coming over to their house growing up.  Grandma would cook us a.m.a.z.i.n.g food.  We would play Skip-Bo and swing on the swing out back.  We would sleep upstairs in the little room above what is now Josie’s room. 

To purposely remember the good things and not dwell on the things that can annoy us.  That is a good rule of thumb for life in general I guess!

But as most projects do….this one turned into a bigger one.  After we got the shutters off and painted a nice fresh white again we realized how badly the siding was and so it is getting a fresh coat of paint tomorrow and Tuesday.

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Thanks to Travis and myself!

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(I sent Steve to Lowe’s for a gray/blue paint…..this looks pretty blue to me.  But we will see what it looks like when it fully dries! Either way we are using it as we have 2 gallons of it now!)

The finished project hopefully will be unveiled on Wednesday…..we shall see how it goes….I’m already exhausted!!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Don’t become…..

Complacent.

That is the answer I had to my own question this week on what should we be doing about the orphan crisis.

Now that we are done adopting I struggle with the feelings that we should be doing more.

The word complacent came to mind:

1. pleased, especially with oneself or one's merits, advantages, situation, etc., often without awareness of some potential danger or defect; self-satisfied.

To not forget that there are kids around world and here at home that need our love and support.

I also think we can get apathetic way too quickly!

Apathetic:

1. having or showing little or no emotion.

2. not interested or concerned; indifferent or unresponsive: an apathetic audience.

So I came up with some practical ways that can help us all not become apathetic nor complacent:

I’m not na├»ve.  I know that there are some whose hearts really are breaking for the orphans but can’t adopt.  I know about all the silly gov’t rules that don’t allow some to follow their hearts desire.

But I do want to encourage you that God is mightier than ANY government!!! He has moved mountains before and He will do it again! 

Becuz remember He promised to not leave them as orphans!!! That is pretty cool when you think about what that means.

So even if you feel you don’t qualify or don’t have enough finances but you feel called to adopt than I encourage you to just GO FOR IT

***If you would like to adopt a River of Grace child (where Josie was fostered) then I encourage you to contact American World Adoption Agency.  They now have a one-to-one relationship with the XY orphanage!!!

***If you would like to be matched quickly and have a great support system behind you I encourage you to call my friend, Sara Lang, at Madison Adoption Agency. Tell her I said HI!

Ok, so since we aren’t adopting again how else can we not  become apathetic?!?!?

1.) We can support those who are in the midst of adopting!!!!

I have 3 close friends who are in the the middle of adopting. (Actually I have more but will only feature 3 here.)

Sara and her family are hoping to adopt a domestic sibling group of 5 kiddos here SOON! 

Our friends,Vinnie and Mary, just got approved to foster to adopt!  They are smack dab in the middle of the hard waiting game of wondering when the phone will ring with news of a child needing a home. Feeling very ready for another child in their home but having to wait for God’s perfect timing can be really tough and emotional.

We can seriously commit to praying for them and support them.

And of course prayer is awesome but…..sometimes we need to do more than that!

When you step out and adopt it seems like everything starts breaking around your house.  Anyone who ever has adopted knows this.  Satan wants nothing more than to derail your plans and make life difficult.

Which brings me to my number 2.

2.) Any family in the adoption process could use a gift card for groceries, gas or the home improvement store to help make ends meet!

And our friends, The Rettew's, are awaiting their LOA and hope to travel by October!!!!

The are adopting a little boy they named Roy…..who just happens to be at the same orphanage that my cousin Chad and and his wife, Kristina, adopted their little boy, Matthew from!!!

(Remember that Chad and Kristina adopted Gracie who was Josie’s foster sister in China and are now cousins in America!)

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Oh and Kristina and Roy’s mom, Dawn are COUSINS.  So Roy and Matthew will be cousins in America.

How cool is that!?!?!?!?!?!

Two little boys from the same orphanage, will be reunited in America and will be related!

Only God.

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So please remember them as they await their LOA and get ready to travel this fall.

3.) We can give to organizations that help these kiddos adjust and heal from their trauma filled pasts.

Places like Green Meadow Farm where Ava gets to ride “her” horse.  But more important than “just” riding a horse is the way she talks to them in a clear, loud voice.  She has had such a positive experience with Jenica and the horses at Green Meadow Farm. Being able to ride on her horse has been one of the biggest sources of healing for Miss Ava.  It has been an incredible blessing. 

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But of  course horses cost a lot of money.  And places like Green Meadow depend on people to understand their calling and understand why they are doing what they are doing. So we need to support them so they can continue to help children from hard backgrounds find rest and healing.

Green Meadow is just one example of places that help kids who have been fostered or adopted.  Look around your area…I’m sure there are great ways you could get involved with a great organization.

The Ronald McDonald house comes to mind.  Also special need camps like our local Camp Ladybug are great places to start!

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4.) DO something for someone and not be so self-centered.

I think more then even giving money to some organization I feel we should all try and step out more and just be more involved.

Yes, we are all busy!!!  But we also need to make time for the things that truly matter in this life.

For example: A special and dear friend is coming to my house, TWO times a week, getting in our handicap van and driving Josie and our nurse to physical therapy up at Hershey this summer.

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It isn’t a “hard” thing to do but it is a big sacrifice of Barbara Ann’s time!

Can you even imagine what a HUGE of a blessing this is for me?!!!?!?

Incredibly HUGE!

I don’t have to take 2 hours out of my day, 2x a week. to drive Josie back and forth to therapy!

Barbara Ann came up to me one day after church and insisted that she wanted to help us in some way.

She is tangibility reaching out.  She isn’t apathetic.  She purposely chose to DO SOMETHING to bless us.

The possibilities really are endless on how we can tangibly help orphans or any kid in need.

**We can give financially to those in the middle of an adoption.

**We can give or volunteer our time to great organizations that help kids heal.

**We can give of ourselves and help those families that do bring home kiddos when life is hard and full of adjustments for awhile….if not forever.

To just have a tender heart and to not become complacent or apathetic.

I know I’m challenged to reach out more.

I hope you are too!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

It is time!

Time to harvest!

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The corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans and our cash crop…..organic garlic are ready for picking and eating!!!! Smile

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Well, technically the garlic needs to dry first.  Steve harvested and hung half the crop last weekend.

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It is nice to go out and get some fresh veggies out of the garden for lunch or supper.

And last night we found out that our chickens aren’t broken!!!!!!

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One of them laid an EGG!!!

A real egg!!!!

At least one of the girls knows what to do!  Now if the other 10 would just follow suit that would be lovely! Winking smile

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We reused the old dresser drawers as nesting boxes. (From the boys ruined furniture from the flood.) And Steve just happened to look in last night and low and behold there was an egg laying there!

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It is pretty amazing how they just “know” what to do.

God designed them to lay eggs.

Sometimes I wish we could be more like that. 

To just DO what God created us to do without over thinking everything.

Like caring for the orphan and widow and those in need.

See that justice is done.
Defend widows and orphans
and help those in need. Isaiah 1:17

God’s word is pretty clear.  It is a command.  Not an option.  Not a suggestion.

People tell us all the time, “Oh, that is your journey, we weren’t called to adopt.”

Really?

The question that came to my mind this week was:

“Has God specifically told you NOT t0 adopt or care for the orphan?”

Will it be hard?

Will it be stormy?

Will it be uncomfortable?

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You bet.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1

But our God is a God who fulfills His promises.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:18

And He will walk you through it all. 

The storms and the rainbows.

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Even though some raindrops will fall it still will be beautiful.

And His mercies are new every day.

I read a moving blog post over at No Hands But Ours this week.

(click on the above blue underlined link to read the entire post)

It pretty much is where we are at.

We know we are done adopting.

We have a peace that we are done adopting.

But there are kids who are still dying.

Kids who desperately need LOVE.

 

My plate is full.
Our house is full.
My washing machine is always full.
My hands?
are full.

But is that selfish?
Could I do more?
Yup.
Could we make room?
Yep.
Do we have access to an incredible cardiac team that could probably save their life?
Yes.
Would I wholeheartedly love that child?
Totally.
Am I feeling that we should?
Nope.

So here I sit.
And it’s here I feel stuck.
Knowing that kids are dying
and I am happily going about my life unaltered.

Where does the need and reality meet?

What could you do to help a child in need?

What can I do?

Some hard but good questions to ponder tonight.

Too bad we don’t grow chocolate…….

Monday, July 14, 2014

A girl and her dog…..

Ava and Willow are pretty much inseparable.

“Happiness is a warm puppy.”  Charles Shultz

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Quite of few well meaning people have commented that I must be crazy to add a puppy into our craziness.

But honestly it hasn’t been crazy.

It has been healing and good and just a real blessing.

Willow is just so cute and we all get a kick out of her puppy antics.  Boomer came to us at 9 months old, totally housebroken and perfect, so we never got to experience the puppy stage with him.

Sure she piddles on the floor sometimes (but amazingly very little!  She toddles over to the puppy pad and does her business more than the half the time and is sleeping through the night!) but her cuteness totally outweighs the accidents.

And I have a wonderful 13 year old who is also sharing the puppy duties/ownership with Ava.  Logan has been great at getting up with her early in the morning and also cleaning up after her!

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Boomer still isn’t too excited about having a puppy around.  But he tolerates her and then will do his “get away from me” bark.  I think if he would just “acknowledge” her/play with her once she would leave him alone.

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So thankful how God just directed us to the right pup.

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And just in time since we just found out that Ava will need another (minor) surgery on July 28th.

Her palate is about 1-2 mm short.  So Dr. Samson would like to try and do a fat graft to extend her palate just enough to hopefully make a difference in some of her nasal sounding speech sounds.

It is a fairly non-invasive procedure so I’m willing to try it.

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We also got “the long term plan” from our cleft team visit on Tuesday.

We will do this fat graft procedure in a couple weeks and then next summer (2015) do her bone graft surgery (pretty major) and then in the fall of 2015 she will start the long road of lots of orthodontics. Which includes having to break her jaw and realign it. Sad smile

  But it feels good to have a plan now and I can start researching and getting mentally prepared.

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And I’m so thankful she now has her puppy, her buddy,  to comfort her and help her heal during these procedures.

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Dogs have been known to help kids from traumatized backgrounds heal and gain trust again.  I really think having Willow here for her is going to bring her much comfort.  She is not looking forward to these surgeries. But she knows they need done. 

And we did need more entertainment around here that makes us all laugh.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Fun at the ballpark!

There are not many places or activities that we can all really enjoy and that are reasonably priced enough for us to do as an entire family.

So when we get to go and do something as a family and we all have a lot of fun it is a very special memory!

Friday night we had the blessing of being able to see a Barnstormers game at our local ballpark.

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All for FREE!!! Smile

This year the OTC company picnic was held at the ballpark and it included ALL you could eat Hess’s BBQ buffet, ALL the rides you could ride and ALL the soda you could drink.

The boys were in heaven……and the girls had a blast riding the rides.

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(We have been to the ballpark before but never have been able to eat or do the fun “extra” activities before!)

Let’s just say that the boys ate.  And ate.  And ate some more!

This is just round one for Travis!

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It was very handicapped friendly!!!

And the boys could eat and eat and eat…oh wait, did I say that already! Winking smile 

Josie even caught a fowl ball!!!!!

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Ok, by “catching” a ball I mean the manager came up to her and offered her the fowl ball!  But she was pretty pleased with herself!

It was a really FUN night for us…..the kids had a blast and it was good to hang out with the families that Steve works with.

Dan’s wife is an artist and she is very creative and had a craft table for the kids to make light sabers or flowers….out of pool noodles!!!!

Who knew you could do such neat crafts with a pool noodle!?!?!?

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Thanks Dan Dan for a fun evening!  Smile