Friday, May 29, 2009

Wild Olive Tees


Get Your Verse On!


I want to tell y'all about my friends over at Wild Olive Tees. It is a collaboration of women, all regular moms, who are united by a passion for God and His Word. God brought together these three ordinary (really remarkable) women to fulfill His purpose: to bring Him glory. And how much more glorified is He when He uses unremarkable people to do remarkable things for Him and His kingdom. They have these really awesome Tees with scripture verses on them. They donate a portion of their proceeds to great charities such as Love Without Boundaries . Go on over and check them out!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Back to Usual

The long weekend is over and things are back to normal. The next few weeks are going to be busy. The girls are out of school, but the boys have 2 more weeks. My mind has already gone on "summer break." Godzilla is happy, happy, happy. He passed his EOGs last week, so basically he will goof off in school for the next 2 weeks. In the meantime I am planning our church's VBS and trying to get the house presentable for our last post-placement visit. With 4 kids, you can't clean too far in advance as it won't stay that way.
Here are some highlights of our family over the past few weeks. You may wonder where Big Tuna is these days as I don't have any photos of him (again). Well, being a teenager he has been holed up in his room and definitely not hanging our with his family. Just wait till vacation time...I'll get his photo!

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day


I would like to take this opportunity in remembering our U.S. men and women who died while serving our country. THANK YOU to the men and women and their families who have and are serving our country. May God bless and protect each and every one of you.
My father served for 22 years in the U.S. Air Force. In many ways, I am glad my father isn't alive to see how this country is changing on a daily basis. No matter what others may tell you, this is the GREATEST country to live in. If you don't believe it, go live in another country for a while. I pray that God will not abandon this country and give us over to what we deserve.




Saturday, May 23, 2009

Four Years Ago On This Date.....




"Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land." Proverbs 25:25


For a few years God had been orchestrating a special event in our lives. He had called us to adopt a child from China. I will write about that later one day as it truly demonstrates that God can move mountains, tear down doors, and change a heart for His purpose and will. This is going to be a long post, so grab a snack, and settle in. Maybe grab a Kleenex, just in case.


Anyway, just to give you a little background info. We began our paperchase in October 2003. Our dossier was logged into the China Center for Adoption Affairs on October 20, 2004. Yep, took us one whole year to put together that bundle of papers, approvals, dotted "i's", and crossed "t's". We were finally paper pregnant for The Queen!


Up to this point CCAA had recently lifted their imposed "quota system" on adoption agencies, and the SARS epidemic was just beginning in China. Being the type of person that thinks you can never have enough data, I was vigilant in tracking dates of all kinds to try to predict when we would receive our miracle, our referral. This was all before the Rumor Queen started her website with referral rumors and predictive calculating. When we started the adoption process, the "wait time to referral" was taking about 18 months. But during this period referrals began to "speed up" with wait times shortening to 6 months. We were anxious for our referral, but also realized that we had to wait until the end of tax season and the school year before we would be able to travel. It finally looked as though we would be getting our referral in April 2005! The April referrals came in and we were not among those receiving referrals. The CCAA had only matched about half a month's worth of dossiers with the cutoff date of October 19, 2003. We were one day shy of the cutoff! We were so disappointed! But we trusted God and knew that He had a daughter for us.


The next month (May 2005) was extremely busy with end-of-school testing activities, etc. I trudged through the month. The CCAA takes a week long holiday the first of May, so we weren't sure that we would receive our referral in May. Now we were getting worried that we wouldn't travel before the kids started back to school in August. Of course, NOTHING, was going to keep me from traveling to receive my baby (more on that another day:)!


Everything had been so quiet on the boards, no hint of a rumor, nada. Days went by and no referrals came. Finally, it was the last week of school. I had spent the weekend cleaning as I had all kinds of restless energy. On May 23, 2005 (Monday) I had just come home from taking everyone to school. Captain Daddy was at work. I made coffee and logged onto the computer. I scanned the A-Parents China Yahoo group to see if anyone had any news. There it was “re: Referral.” Could this be the day???? There was another referral post! I logged onto our agency travel group. Everyone was posting that this HAD to be the day! As our agency is located in another state, we were going to have to wait for a few hours for them to open before we could contact them. We began discussing who should call the agency. I finally could not take it and I called. I explained who I was and asked if they had received referrals. I was told, “Yes, they had received referrals, and yes ours was included.” They would call us in a few hours after they had processed the referrals.


WAHOO!!!!!!! (I have tears in my eyes as I write this). I called Captain Daddy to let him know to be near a phone because this was our REFERRAL DAY!!!!


Boy, did things liven up on our Yahoo group. One by one the ###REFERRAL### posts began to appear. I was happy, excited, nervous, nauseous, and did I say happy? I didn’t want to leave the house or the computer. But, in the afternoon I would have to go pick up Godzilla and Big Tuna from school.


Around 1:00 p.m., I got “THE CALL” from our agency. I tried so hard to be calm. I had a list of questions, but all I could do was just scribble down the information as it was given to me. And not even coherently! I was told our daughter's name, where she is from, orphanage name, birth date, and probably much more. Our agency was going to send us an email with photos and the basic information shortly. As soon as I got off the phone I called Captain Daddy. I could tell he was so happy and excited. Everyone at his office was just waiting for the news.


As a family, we decided that when we got our referral, we would wait until all of us were present to open the email with the photos. That was going to be a hard thing for this Beach Mama to do! I left to pick Godzilla up from school. When I returned home, the email had arrived from our agency! I did not open it. I called Captain Daddy and told him to be home by the time I got back from picking up Big Tuna. I told the boys on the way home that we had gotten our referral and they would get to see their sister for the first time!


We all gathered around the computer screen and clicked open “Photo 1.”

Oh my gosh!! It was The Queen! We were giggly happy! All kinds of thoughts and emotions whirled around as we gazed upon her face for the first time. "Beautiful!" "How could someone so little have such a serious face." "She doesn't have any hair" "Is her hair red?" "She's wearing a Hello Kitty shirt." "She is so young." "Look at those lips."
Next came “Photo 2.”


The Queen looked quite inconvenienced by the whole photographic experience!

Little did we know then, "Photo 3" gave us a glimpse into The Queen's uniqueness.




We were head-over-heels-totally in love with The Queen! Our baby! Our sister! Our daughter!

There was a flurry of activity in signing our acceptance letter and printing out photos so Captain Daddy could take them back to the office. Phone calls were made! I sent out the emails to family and friends announcing our referral.
"For this child I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of Him." 1 Samuel 1:27-28

It was a happy, happy day!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

You Know You are a Southerner When...


you look in your pantry and you have not just 1-1lb bag of Grits, BUT 3-1lb bags of Grits! In addition, you have not just 1-1lb bag of Hushpuppy Mix, but also 3-1lb bags of Hushpuppy Mix (you do know what a Hushpuppy is, don't you?). And don't forgit the jar of Molasses on the shelf above for sopping up with a biscuit! Yes, those are the quantities of those STAPLE items in my pantry as I write. I won't go into detail on how many bags of Corn Meal are on the shelf:).



I love being a southerner and living in the south. We embrace our own uniqueness. So I present to you here a few other "tell-tell" signs if you were to encounter a southerner.


  • When a Southerner orders "tea" at a restaurant it is understood to mean SWEET, Iced-tea, not unsweet tea. No siree! We like our tea sweeter than a Coca-Cola.

  • Barbeque is PORK and cooked on a pig-cooker with vinegar-based sauce. None of that tomato stuff fer us. And don't forget a side of Brunswick Stew.

  • Boiled peanuts are yummy, and are sold at roadside stands, or in front of a store, sort of like Girl Scout cookies.

  • When you start seeing RC Cola in vending machines, you are probably so far south that you may need a passport to get home.

  • Speaking of soda, other favorites are Cheerwine, Sundrop, and Dr. Pepper. You can get your Dr. Pepper and Sundrop not only in a "diet" variety, but also "caffeine-free." Oh, and we say SODA, not pop:).

  • You know the difference between a Hissy Fit and a Coniption.
  • We also say "ma'am" no matter the age of the female being addressed.

Can you think of any? I don't have time to as I now have to go tend to my young-un.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

1 in 12

1 in 12 what?, you may be asking yourself. There's something more widespread than AIDS and more prevalent than any one cancer, and yet awareness is inexplicably low and the majority of those infected are unaware.
Today, May 19, 2009 is World Hepatitis Day. This one day is dedicated to educate people about a chronic liver disease that affects 1 out of every 12 men, women, and children across the globe. One in 12 people worldwide are living with chronic Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C. World Hepatitis Day is highlighting those who live with chronic Hepatitis B or C. Although different viruses, both can lead to cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer. Both are blood borne and commonly passed through used needles, sex, and from mother to child in the birth process. Hepatitis B and C are not sneezed or coughed onto someone. They're not passed through toilet seats or doorknobs. An infected person's blood has to get into the blood stream of another person. In the case of Hepatitis B, that other person, especially if they're under age 21, would likely be immunized.
One out of 12 is a huge number. It's a number that's often ignored because in most cases you'd never guess a person has hepatitis. If you think you've never met someone with chronic hepatitis, you're wrong. They're athletes, businessmen, mothers, fathers, children. They look fine. They often feel fine. They may live for decades completely unaware that a virus has taken up residence in their liver cells. The yellow eyes and bulging abdomen that people think of when they picture hepatitis happen only at the end. Seventy-five percent of people with Hepatitis B will thankfully never get to that point. They'll live long healthy lives and die of something completely unrelated to their hepatitis. That's wonderful news. But upwards of 25% may die of liver failure or liver cancer and that's far too many. The amount of research though is small. A drop in the bucket really. In this country, with an effective immunization readily available and required for all school-age children, Hepatitis B is considered a non-issue. Why spend money on something you can prevent from happening in the first place? A valid point. But what about those already living with it? It's near pandemic proportions in poor areas of Asia where mother to child transmissions are common. Yet those areas with the greatest need for a cure have the fewest resources to make it happen.
I just hope that this post may have raised your awareness of this disease. If you would like to know more, please go to the Hepatitis B Foundation or the World Hepatitis Alliance.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mama's Got A Brand New Thang...

I have a new thang! No, it isn’t my only passion (obsession). I have many passions, like Captain Daddy, my kids, all kids, adoption, adopting, helping orphans in China, scrapbooking, blogging, etc. It is just the newest one to get me fired up and motivated. Can you guess what such a hip and cool beach mama, such as myself, could get excited for????
Done guessing?? It is SEWING. Didn’t guess that one huh? I have always had an on-again/off-again relationship with sewing, all kinds of sewing (cross-stitching, quilting, embroidery). Back in my younger beach days I actually made my own clothes. Yep, I certainly did. You see even though I am hip and cool (enough that my sons bought me a Def Leppard CD for Mother’s Day!), I am not mainstream, and like what I like. I would find a pattern and change it to be what I liked to wear.
But my relationship with sewing, has been let’s say, out of sorts. First, I don’t like reading the patterns and trying to decipher the terrible illustrations. I am more of a hands-on, visual kind of girl. It also seems like there are a lot of unnecessary steps in a pattern; there should be an easier way.
Second, is this….
...my 30+ years Kenmore sewing machine that belonged to my beloved mother. It has always been a cantankerous machine, but durable. I took it to be serviced last year thinking that may make it feel better, and therefore, more cooperative to work with. But alas, it just doesn’t want to be touched and used.
So, for the past several years the only sewing I have done has been to begrudgingly hem a pair of pants or sew merit badges on Scout uniforms. But my infatuation for sewing resurfaced with all those Matilda Jane and Custom Boutique type clothing that I saw on-line. I loved the one-of-a-kind look, but not the out-of-my-budget price. So I started scouring the etsy shops. Then I discovered e-patterns. E-patterns with step-by-step photographic instructions of the work in progress. W-a-y cool.
I purchased a few e-patterns. I drooled over fabrics I saw on-line. I was inspired! My first project was this cute little, primitive Mae rag doll from Bit of Whimsy Dolls. I struggled with that old sewing machine, but managed to finish 2 dolls for my girls. They aren’t stitched perfectly, but good enough. Aren’t they adorable?
Yeah, the dolls are adorable too, don't you think?





The Queen's dolly.


The Princess' dolly.

There is definitely a learning curve in creating these dolls. I couldn't seem to get away from the "Hey Arnold" (old Nickelodeon cartoon), football shaped head. But I will keep on stitchin'!
By the end of the project I had made the decision that it was time to put the past behind and move forward into an advanced technological age. This was made possible by the fact that Mother’s Day had come and gone and Captain Daddy (not able to think of a gift) said a new sewing machine would be fine.


I am looking forward to getting to know my new machine!




Thursday, May 14, 2009

Back Seat Drivers or Life in the Fast Lane!


Yesterday we were coming back from a wake and this is what I saw when I looked back on the girls in the back seat. I cracked up when I saw the Royal Duo all glammed up in their princess sunglasses; especially The Princess who insists on wearing her glasses upside down (they fit better). Between the two, they also had 5 baby dolls + baby accesories, play cell phone, 4 pair of shoes, and their beloved nainais (blankets). That is why I drive an SUV, we haul a lot of stuff around with us.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Prayer For Parents

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Yesterday I started a post about Mother's Day and did not get a chance to finish. This isn't that post, but a new one. Friday I went to the Mother's Day Tea at the girls' preschool. Let me tell you that they really know how to treat us Mamas! The theme this year was "A Beach Party for You." Yes, I felt very much at home:) Each year a speaker talks to us and this year the chosen speaker talked of the 10 Commandments (Ladies, remember your children are watching you). She also handed out this prayer for us. I'd like to present it here. I do not know that author of this prayer, but it could have been written by anyone of us Mamas.
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Oh God, make me a better parent. It is the most important job in the world and one for which there is no prior training.
Help me to understand my children, to listen patiently to what they have to say and to respond to their questions kindly.
Keep me from interrupting and contradicting them.
Help me to be as courteous to them as I would have them be to me.
Give me the courage to confess my sins against my children and the generosity of spirit to ask them for forgiveness when I know I have done wrong.
Forbid that I should laugh at their mistakes or resort to shame or ridicule.
Oh Lord, reduce the meanness in me.
May I cease to nag. When I am out of sorts, help me, please, to hold my tongue and keep my temper under control.
Blind me to the insignificant shortcomings of my children and help me to see the good things they do.
Give me a ready word for honest praise. Make me ever mindful that they need the nurturing that comes with encouragement and appreciation for their small successes.
Help me to remember that my children are only children so that I may not expect from them the judgement of adults.
Allow me not to rob them the opportunity to wait on themselves, to think for themselves, and to make their own mistakes.
Forbid that I should never punish them as a means of ridding myself of anger and frustration. Help me top exercise reason and control.
May I grant them all wishes that are sensible and give me the courage to withhold a privilege when I know it might do them harm.
Make me fair and just, considerate and companionable, so they will have genuine esteem, respect and affection for me.
Make me fit to be loved and imitated by my children for this is the greatest compliment of all.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Why?



  • Why is it that my house constantly looks as though a hurricane has blown through?


  • Why is it that The Queen will ask me a question and when I reply "No", she thinks it means for her to constantly repeat the question louder and louder (to the point of shrieking) as though I didn't hear her in the first place?




  • Why is it that my cat will stay out all night, come in and eat breakfast then proceed to throw up all over the carpet and NOT the hardwood floor?

    • Why is it that the cat is always to blame for something The Princess gets in trouble for?
    • Why is it that no one in my house can actually put their clothes in the laundry basket, but can manage only to get them near the laundry basket?
    • Why is it that the laundry is never caught up?
    • Why is it that The Queen and The Princess feel it absolutely necessary to change clothes every 5 minutes and continue the process over and over until they have completely emptied their dresser?
    • Why is it that The Queen and The Princess refuse to wear the adorable Matilda Jane dresses that I bought for them (thank goodness at 60% off!)?
    • Why is it they don't make the same adorable Matilda Jane dresses for grown-ups?

    • Why is it that when I do discipline my children that I am actually the one that feels horrible?


    • Why is it that my heart would love nothing more than to bring another child into our home, but that for so many reasons it won't happen?

    • Why is it that any child would have to wait for a forever family?

    • Why is it so expensive to adopt a child?
    • Why is it that I can't get out of my mind the face of a specific little girl in China?
    • Why is it that I have dreams of adopting 2 more children from China (boy and girl) though that door is closed?
    • Why is it that I can't accept that the door is closed?
    • Why is it that God doesn't take this desire out of my heart instead of letting it torment me?
    • Why do I even think I can take on any more than I have now?
    • Why is it that I feel like I am in a desert, or at least Jockey's Ridge at the Outer Banks:)?