Wednesday, November 28, 2007

We're Done!

Our case worker Karla came this morning to finalize our foster home study and do our home inspection. Officially we are finished! We are now just waiting for the great Commonwealth of PA to get our state police clearances back (they are backlogged and about 8 weeks behind) and then we are considered licensed foster parents, once all the "t"s are crossed and "i"s are dotted.

It is amazing to me how calm my nerves have been during this whole process. I am the kind of gal who will go nuts cleaning when guests are coming and panic at the sight of a dirty pair of socks left on the floor. Not this time. I did clean up yesterday for Karla's visit, but the panic and stress was just not there.

We decided from the beginning to put this entire process in the Lord's hands. If we were going to be foster parents, it was going to be because it was His plan, not because we were going to try and impress some agency of our great parenting skills and hide all of our flaws. They would have to take us, dirty socks and all. So far it appears that this is still the path the Lord has for us and we are really excited. Nervous, but excited.

Due to the fact we are going to be in New York for Christmas we might be on hold as far as a placement, but that too is in the Lord's hands. We would not be able to take a foster child out of the state without the parent's permission so it may work out better if we did not have all our "ducks in a row", clearance wise, until the New Year. From this point on it is just a waiting game. Maybe I will go make sure there are no dirty socks laying around. My in-laws are coming into town today.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I Stand Corrected...

I just have to say publicly that the post I wrote regarding my pending trip to the land of the Social Security Administration was off base. Pleasantly, way off base.

Exactly one week after applying for my corrected SS cards, they arrived in the mailbox.
And, I have to add that I only waited for an hour while there, not the predicted and aforementioned "eternity". Granted the waiting room did remind me of the waiting room scene in Beetlejuice, but what can you expect from government decor?

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Perfect Spot For Me

There are some days that I wish I was a little more equipped when it came to standing up for the Truth. While I believe we all should be ready to defend holy scripture and the Gospel, I am certainly glad the Lord has deemed a certain unique gift for all of us.

Last night I watched "Luther" (great movie by the way), and went to look up a certain actor in IMDB after it was finished. Being that I am usually not content to just look up one thing and then call it a night, since I suffer from LNIA (Late Night Internet Addiction), I browsed a bit. Then I went where no man/woman should go... the message board about the movie.

It started out innocent enough. Posts engaging people to chat about the cinematography, whether or not the movie had enough content, etc. Then there was that post. And I dared click my mouse on it, knowing full well I should just head to bed. The title of the post was, "Do any of you know Jesus?". I was doomed.

I am what is called a "lurker" in internet lingo, which is basically an internet wallflower. I love to read blogs, message boards, etc. and glean what I can, but I rarely put my two cents in on either. I read the hundreds of post; most were exchanges between the same two or three posters and it made my head spin. I wanted sooo badly to type something... anything. But I simply did not feel equipped in the knowledge I needed to form a coherent thought without stuttering and typing something intelligent like, "I know you are, but what am I?".

I am confident in my faith and the majority of the time I am a fairly good orator, but put me in a situation where I have not had the time to prepare and I usually clam up. Either I cannot remember exactly where in scripture a passage is or I have blanked out on a creative way to illustrate my point. Five minutes after the conversation has ended I turn into a brilliant debater. After the fact, once the "show is over", so to speak.

As I pondered all the many posts that either made no sense, would do with clarification or would begin a great debate, my brain began to swim aimlessly in my head. I could spend more time looking everything up that I wanted to convey and make brilliant points in research or I could just remain a lurker and then go to bed.

That is when that quiet voice said to me that it was okay that I was not the person I so envied. The one who could pull scripture and relevance out of thin air effortlessly. It was not my gift. My charge in life right now is to raise His children and make them His servants and enjoy seeing the gifts He has hidden in their hearts to be explored. It's time for contentment and maybe a tad more quiet time with the Lord.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LOVE!

My Sweet C'sa

You are the unexpected gift the Lord had planned for us and we could not have been more thrilled to welcome you into our family four years ago!
I simply cannot imagine my world without you.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sisters

When I was a kid, I wanted lots and lots of children. I had them all named and numbered and I knew exactly in what birth order each brother and sister would be born. Then, "poof", I was no longer nine years old and hit reality.

Once I was married I thought the ideal number would be three. Two boys and then a girl. I had various reasons for this and when it turned out that I would actually have one boy and then two girls, I was not sure how all my pre-conceived (no pun intended) ideas would play out. After all, I had the entire dynamic played out in my brain, the relationships and quirks decided and it all fit well in my head.

I am glad that the Lord had His own plans as I would have missed out on this exchange between my girls in the truck on the way to my mother's for Thankgiving...

"Are you tired?" Xena softly asked C'sa, seeing her resting her head on the side of her carseat.

"Hmm-hmm", was the sleepy reply from a thumb sucking C'sa.

"Aww, just go to sleep." Xena whispered as she stroked C'sa cheek and kissed her on the forehead.

It took everything I had not to gush out loud and ruin this small intimate exchange between two small sisters. What I would have missed had "my way" played out. Boy am I glad I am not in control.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The "Eyes" Have It!

My son has joined the fine family tradition passed down from my father to me of needing glasses in and/or about the second grade.

K.Z. can read but has been struggling with it since the start and would rather kiss his sisters than pick up a book for fun. He loves math but can easily get frustrated with something he did quite easily the day before. Both of these traits can easily be attributed to his age and inherited testosterone, but since I am a bibliophile and a numbers junkie, I simply had to get to the heart of the matter with my keen detective skills. No offspring of mine could dislike reading!

It also helped that he told us things seem "fuzzy" sometimes.

So off we went to the ophthalmologist today and the verdict is in... my boy needs glasses. All the time. His vision is not horrid, like his "blind as a bat" mother, it is just about 20/40, but he is farsighted with a touch of nearsightedness. He looked a little downtrodden at the diagnosis.

Until...

We got to the fun part of picking out frames. This is when my mild mannered little man turned into Mr. GQ. He found a pair he loved and checked himself out in the mirror. After that, there was no going back. I found several more that I liked and he looked great in, but he was hooked on the original frames on which he had set his grasps.

Once he found out that he would have to wait a whole 7 days or so for his glasses, he was sad. The boy that mere minutes before looked as if someone had stolen his Halloween candy when he found out he needed glasses, is now bugging me every 2.7 seconds as to how many days are left until he get them.

I will post the "before" and "after" shots once K.Z. gets his beloved spectacles.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Good Morning?

Several weeks ago I was awakened at 7 am by the door bell and my two barking dogs. On the other side of the door was an older gentleman who apparently had sold a used washer to one of my neighbors and was coming to deliver it. He had forgotten the address and thought it was my house. I assured him, as politely as I could at 7 am, that it was not my house he was looking for and tried to direct him based on his description of the neighbor a good 5 houses down. No big deal, mistakes happen!

At 7:30 this morning the doorbell rang again. Guess who? Yep, the same old fella. This time I told the kids not to go near the door, and I was in no mood to do so myself with my bed head and fabulous stained pajamas. I watched from an upstairs bedroom as he questioned my neighbor across the street and my neighbor motioned toward the same "other" house 5 houses down.


I think I might go and buy this guy a notebook and a pen, lest he show up again at 7 ish. Or maybe I should simply make him coffee. Nah, I will just go back to bed instead.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

What A Week!

I just realized that I have not blogged since Wednesday. Someone should smack me around a bit. I have faithful readers to amuse and amaze (okay, maybe just three and they are only amused and amazed when they remember to check my blog; did I mention that my sister has not read it since August? I guess I am down to two faithful readers...)

It has been a long crazy week, but it seems to be settling down. Tonight, four out of the six ladies in our small group (we have six families total) met for a "girls' night out" and went out for dinner. It was such a nice relaxing time with no rushing, kids meals or whining and we even got to stay for coffee and hot chocolate. I think we should do this at least once a week day.

Tomorrow I have to venture out to the land of "The Social Security Administration", as I need a copy of C'sa's SS card and need to get mine corrected after almost 12 years. The SSA issued my SS card after I got married and they combined my middle name and maiden name into one long name when they added my brand new wifely last name. What did I care? It was just a "little mistake" and would not bother much. Apparently I was wrong. The lady at the SS office told me that it, in fact, could cause the beloved IRS to audit me since the name on the card does not match the name on my tax return to the letter (or in my case, to the space) and it was a big deal. Fabulous! Off to wait in line for hours to convince some clerk that I want the name on my social security card to match my passport. Oh, and I forgot to add that the lovely Commonwealth of PA did the EXACT same thing on my driver's license. I think they are in cahoots with the SSA.

Fortunately we do not have much of anything to do in school this week, it is just a "catch up week" and we pretty much are on target and I convinced a friend to let my kids come over while I do this. I don't think she realizes that I may never return. After all, it is the Social Security Administration. I have heard stories of people going into the offices, never to be heard from again. Pray for me people.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Almost There

I am on the missions committee at our church and have always had a heart for missions. I would imagine myself off in a foreign land helping to teach or acting in a support capacity; cleaning, helping little ones with scrapes and bruises, cooking, field work, whatever.

When we were in the Czech Republic last year we had a week of manual labor, as some of the team did construction and the other half did "punch out work", preparing a newly remodeled residence for missionaries to move into. It was hard work, but fulfilling and such a blessing, of which I got to be a part.

As a member of the missions committee, I get an advanced glimpse and a hand in helping to plan future short term missions trips and it makes my heart sing at the thought. Except for one sobering reality. I more than likely will not be able to go again. The Lord has a different "mission" for me.

Last night our county case worker came by for part two of three different home visits which will make up our foster home study. We are well on our way to becoming licensed foster care parents for our county and it is coming up fast. There is a possibility we could have a placement within several weeks. This fact certainly puts a damper on any international travel plans I may have for a while.

Granted, I can ask for respite care for my foster child and have them placed in another licensed home and have my own children head to the grandparents' house while we head out on short term missions, but would that really be serving Him? I certainly do not think so.

I see a long term mission in my future right here in my house and it is one I would have never anticipated. Pray for the little ones that the Lord will place with us as their lives will be turned upside down. Pray for us that we will be able to offer a safe and loving home for them. Pray that the ones who need a "forever family" will find it here with us. We know that the Lord will put the exact children in our house that He intends.

Help me remember that this is the mission that the Lord has decided I should be on. The one that will have me teach, clean, help little ones with scrapes and bruises, cook, field work, whatever... And I am glad to be called to do it. Even state-side.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Gotta Love Them Canadians, Eh?

I love this song and the video is even full of more impact. Enjoy this tribute by Terry Kelly and remember that the flag and uniform may be different, but the sentiment is the same.
Besides, the artist is from Newfoundland, not too far from my mother-in-law's native Nova Scotia!


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thank You

To the many men and women who have served, are serving and will serve in the future, I salute you. A special thanks to my grandfathers, father, step-father, uncles, sister, brother-in-law, cousins and dear friends who have served and are serving. You are the true American heroes.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Desperately Seeking Science

I am not a huge science fan, but I know that my boy is and that I really do need to teach them something in that arena. The first year, I used Sonlight Science which was a great curriculum, but I just did not get through it all and did not have that much enthusiasm for it.

So I tried it again the next year with even more dismal results.
This year I was going basic (and cheap) and bought Rod and Staff Science. That lasted about two weeks, it just did not hold my interest nor that of my kids. So I am on the hunt again.

I usually stick out a curriculum until the year is out, but I have not been faithful in the science department so I am ready to start yet another curriculum.
Any thoughts?

Ideally, I want something that can be used with a kindergartener and a second grader, takes not much prep and is actually fun while being informative. Did I mention it should be cheap? Does it actually exist? Help!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Forgive the Rant, I Just Can't Take it Anymore

Let me start by saying that I adore my family and cherish my friends. But if I get one more e-mail that promises me "blessings" if I say the prescribed prayer and then pray for 12 people while I forward the e-mail to them, I just might scream.

I usually get these from people I have not seen in years or distant family members. People who have not picked up a phone or sent me a personal e-mail in X number of years. Why bother? I know that there is that sappy "forward" going around claiming that getting forwards are a way of someone saying, "I'm thinking if you". Can't fool me, it's just a forward.

I don't mind getting the forward e-mails as much as I mind the content. It is what I would call, "Christianity Lite" (if you can even call it Christianity at all, which usually you cannot). Someone knows that I am a believer so they send me anything that they have been sent that has the words, "God" or "Jesus" or "love" or "angels". What bothers me the most is the name of the Most Holy being thrown around so casually. The name of our King has power and I am seeing it and someone's rendition of His earthly image sent around in e-mails that sometimes are adorned with cutsie teddy bears and an animated "Jesus".

Where do we draw the line? When are these things simply blasphemy?

I have gotten to where I do a quick scan of the e-mail and if I pass 52 forwards I automatically delete it without even reading it. If I actually see content, I scan it for anything cutsie and then delete it. If I actually read the content, the minute it says anything like, "Remember God loves you and sent His angels to watch over you today", I hit delete faster than I would jump over my couch to rescue the last piece of chocolate from one of my children's grubby hands.

How can we have the audacity to proclaim to know anything that God the Father is doing for us today if we have not even stopped to consult Him? Does it say in scripture that sending eight e-mails in the next ten minutes will get me a blessing? Nothing remotely close in my Bible.

I am getting so sick of "dumbed down religion". Forgive me for ranting, but I just had to get it off my chest. Just once, I would like to see someone e-mail me with something "hermeneutical" and with some meat if we are going to "talk turkey". Anyone up for a discussion of Jan Hus or John Wycliffe and their contributions to the planet? How about just the Gospel? Not watered down, but biblically accurate? I have a feeling I may never be e-mailed again after this.

Again, excuse my rant, I really do welcome e-mails of almost any caliber, just nothing with teddy bears please....

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Strainers? Strainers? We Dun Need No Stinkin' Strainers!

Excuse me while I pat myself on the back. I am a city gal who loves the thought of being a homesteader, but my husband seems to laugh and snort milk out of his nose in hysterics every time I mention anything about it.

Every year since we have moved to Pennsylvania I have wanted to do the magical "go-to-the-orchard-and-get-tons-of-apples-and-make-them-into-various-homey-recipes" thing. This year I actually bought the apples and they sat in a huge bag on the floor of my kitchen for a week and a half. I figured it was time to get on with it.

I decided that I would make a small batch of applesauce since I had no forethought to borrow more than my own one large pot. No matter, it was the first time I had made cooked applesauce anyway and I figured I should start small. When my kids were little I would make them raw applesauce lest they lose and nutrients in the cooking process, but all that took was some cut apples and a blender. Not a lot of skill or "know how" there!

So I snagged a recipe online and I was off. I washed and cored and cut my apples and set them to cook on the stove. Off for the next step. Use a food mill. Um, a what? I have a lot of kitchen appliances as I love to cook, but a food mill. Quite sure I don't have one of those... well now. Hmmm.

After they had sufficiently cooked I mashed away and the result was lovely applesauce complete with lumps of skin. Not so attractive, I had not actually thought this all the way through. I knew quite well that the skins would not simply vanish on their own, so in the absence of a "food mill" I had to think of some way to extricate the skins.

That's when my brilliance shone through. I grabbed my handy dandy plastic colander and strained it that way. And it looked cool and tasted good and is almost gone. Why did I do this again?

The next project... apple butter and apple bread. This time I just might read the recipes all the way through first.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Just Another Night's Sleep Perhaps?

Lumiere:
"Ha ha, oui, my friends.
The day we have waited for may be at hand!"

Mrs. Potts:
"Oh, only if that were true,
Lumiere!"

Lumiere:
"Aaah...human again"

Mrs. Potts:
"Human again"

Lumiere:
"Yes, think of what that means!"

I have not officially lost my mind (or I have, but that is besides the point), I was humming this tune in the shower this morning as I was trying desperately to convince myself that, after 4 days of suffering from a fever and strep throat, I was up to the task of parenting. For some reason, it gave me a chuckle.

Either that or I have not had enough mourning time for Jerry Orbach (did you know he was the voice of Lumiere?). Or I have officially lost my mind. Tomayto, tomahto...

Whatever the case, pray for my offspring. Mr. Clean is off hanging out with Laverne and Shirley on Lake Michigan in a training class in Milwaukee. So maybe Laverne and Shirley were not really there to greet him as he got off the plane, but my point is, he is not here with us. He nursed me through the worst of it (ain't it cool when your devoted hubby has the kids come up and ask you if you need anything? What a sweetie!) and then fled like a bank robber this morning, lest he catch any of my infected cooties.

I think I have begun to babble now, so I will spare you any more of my ramblings. But, boy would this have sounded so much better if Lumiere sang it...










Thursday, November 1, 2007

It's Over.. Whoo Hoo!

I am not a huge fan of Halloween. I was as a kid and I think the kids look cute all dressed up, but the constant begging beforehand if they can dress up and the constant nagging after for candy drives me batty.

But I am a good ol' American soccer mom so I am obligated to post cute pictures of my offspring all dressed up. And since they really do love dressing up and eating candy, I guess in a little way, I love it too. Just don't tell anyone...

This is why Spiderman was not invited to join the Justice League;
he hangs out with Princesses (notice Cinderella's mismatched socks?)

Princess Anneliese and Cinderella looking regal!