Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What are YOU reading?

I happened to see this in the carousel in our library when I went to pick up the girls one afternoon, and it looked too intriguing to dismiss.  So I checked it out.

And it is AWESOME.
He Still Moves Stones (The Bestseller Collection)

So relevant to what we all face today and written in a way that just makes you sit up and go "Ahh.  That makes sense."

[I smiled when I saw a chapter on handling relatives, since we are living with my parents at the time!  Very timely!] 

Several chapters really made my frustrations with our adoption process much more bearable and understandable, and for that comfort that it offered more than made it worth reading.

Max Lucado really has a gentle way of looking at life's challenges, reminding us of similar life challenges faced in the bible by people just like us, and leading us to a biblical solution that makes sense and is do-able.  I really enjoy his grasp on the meaning behind so many of the parables and how these stories from so many years ago mirror some of the struggles that we face yet today.

It's like a Here and Now Devotional, and Max reminds us that God still speaks to us today and cares when we hurt.  You will be surprised how much you will enjoy reading this book- I guarantee it.


Timeline tracking seems to be the focus of our days lately...we are on day 19 of our wait on Travel Approval, day 30 of our time spent here living with my folks, month 15 of our adoption journey... You get the picture.  It seems like we are obsessed with deadlines and milestones, trying to get our house move/renovation completed before we leave for China, trying to get our little girl adopted before the end of the year, trying to meet paperwork deadlines for the bank.

I know we are to take time to enjoy the journey, but these days, I feel as if I'm too busy sprinting towards an invisible finish line to notice much of anything else.

I have to say that spending this time at my folks has been a blessing.  Even though we only live 12 miles away (although, now we are going to be much closer!) it isn't often that we spend this much time just hanging out and doing normal things like making dinner together or folding clothes.  My Mom seems to be enjoying the company, but then again, maybe she's just too polite to look irritated!  My Dad, on the other hand, just looks around, shakes his head, and I'm sure is wondering how to get all these extra people out of his house :-)  To say that we are messing with the routine of his life is an understatement!

I have to think that in a few months, we will look back on this time of being held hostage by our deadlines and approval notices, and remember the fun we had being at Grandma's House.  

Bri and Tanner playing cards.

Bri and Camille working on their Great Wall and Chinese Horoscope on Grandma's kitchen table.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Christmas? Already?

Being in the process the last few months of moving our house to be relocated, prepping the new location, and now being relocated ourselves at my mother's house for the past 3 1/2 weeks, the fact that Christmas is less than a month away has escaped my radar.   Actually, I haven't had time to even think about the upcoming holiday.

Being the control freak that I am, I like to have my Christmas shopping DONE by Thanksgiving. Black Friday is just a day that I make fun of other people, people who are just starting their shopping.  This year I am one of those people. <CRINGE>

We still are not back in our home, and once we DO get to move back, there are many hours of unpacking, cleaning, and repairing left to do. We don't even have entry steps yet- we are using a ladder to climb into our house. 

 The basement still does not have windows installed, so today we had two (yes TWO) bats in the house.  Fun.  "Watch Michelle Michelle hit the Michelle grab the broom!"

We have electricity as of yesterday (YAH!) but no water, sewer, or heat. We are pretty psyched that our septic tank was put in today, as was the basement in-floor heating. However, neither of them are hooked up yet.

With all this going on, I'm not sure when I will squeeze in Christmas decorating, shopping, and baking. As it was, Loren and I skipped Thanksgiving dinner at my Aunt Gayles so that we could get some work done with the temperate weather and the kids went up with Mom for a traditional Turkey dinner.  Thank goodness for Gayle and Mom, otherwise the kids would've been eating sandwiches that day :-) 

Oh yah.  And then there's that little detail about a possible trip to China.  Hmmmmm.  I'm daily still feverishly scanning my email each day, and still, no TA.  But I've made the committment to trusting completely, so there's no worries.  (Does that sound a little Australian?!  "No Worries, Mate")

Since I can't count on getting the family gifts from China now, I guess I'll have to get started shopping this week. Darn it- I thought I was going to get out of shopping for the mundane toys/books/electronics and be able to look for exotic gifts in Beijing!  

I guess I didn't inherit the shopping gene from my mother.

Besides, the kids are getting a new little sister- isn't that a good enough gift?!! 

Monday, November 21, 2011


I'm sure you all remember the baby that I spoke so much about awhile back; the baby that we had hoped to adopt but couldn't because of Quinn's adoption?  Well, through a series of God Winks, we were able to connect this sweet baby with some very special friends of ours.

Friends who welcomed the opportunity to adopt, so we explained the situation and made the introductions.

They and the Birth Mom hit it off, and the rest is history! 

Here is where we come in.  Loren and I were incredibly honored to be asked to be Godparents for this Very Special Baby Girl. 

Baptism at Our Saviors Lutheran Church

She is telling me stories!
 She is such a lucky little girl, with so many people who love her! 

It has been so miraculous, watching God in action when it came to finding a home for this precious little girl.  She is with a remarkable family and her future is bright and full of love. 

And boy, is she gonna get spoiled!!!  Cuz that's what Godmothers are for, right??

Anna Jo Rose

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Adoption Update~

I keep hoping that I will have incredibly exciting news to relate, but as of yet, there is nothing monumental to announce.  (sigh)

However, I think the wait forces me to sit and contemplate our situation, evaluate our preparedness, and pray for more patience!

Last Thursday I sweet-talked my two friends, Sara and Staci, to attend the Katelyns Fund Adoption support meeting in Sioux Falls.  They both have connections to adoption- Sara as an adoptee, and Staci as a new adoptive mom.  We turned it into a Girls Night Out, and brought our daughters Moyra, Kaylee, and Bri.  And yes, it included a stop for a Mocha Frappe!

The meeting was very informative, and the fellowship chat session afterwards almost more informative than the speaker session!  They also handed out an Adoption Devotional that is focused on the many "difficulties and faith challenges" that face those who take the adoption journey.  I read it within 2 days and have to say that it has been instrumental in changing my attitude as we wait for our travel approval.

Two of the devotionals really hit home this week- the first one addresses the struggles in adoption that trace back to everything from government corruption to paperwork mistakes, expenses that you weren't prepared for, and changes in the rules while you are in process.

"My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.   He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.  Psalm 62:1-2

Warfare will always be part of adoption, and we need to remember that the caseworker, the country we are dealing with, the calendar, or the mounds of paperwork isn't our enemy.  God is our rock, and we just need to know that He will fight for us, when it is right.  Sitting back and trusting like that isn't easy, and this is something I REALLY need to work on.

The second devotion that really spoke to me was in regards to having a grateful heart.  How easy it is to grouse about all the obstacles, the delays, the never-ending redundant paperwork, and slow moving government offices.  These obstacles can cause us to miss the blessings that are all around us. 

And since the past few weeks have been so incredibly frustrating, I decided to make a list of the blessings that I have to be grateful for.  (Seems like a good topic on Thanksgiving week, wouldn't you think?) 
  • A place to stay- my parents have opened their home to us while our home is being worked on, and as there are no hotels within 30 miles of here, this is BIG!
  • My mother- helping out whenever she is able, with the house, the kids, with laundry!  She is a saint.
  • Amazing contractors and house movers that are doing their best to get our house done.  They can't control equipment failure, the weather, or competing jobs that also need to be done.
  • Great weather, even this far into November.
  • Wonderful friends, who continue to offer help, lodging, and moral support.
  • That Loren's parents left their homeplace to him, and that he is getting a chance to "come home" again.
  • Adoption support groups, such as Advocating for Waiting Children, and Katelyn's Fund, that give me been there-done-that advice on adopting, traveling, and parenting.
  • Our kids, who have been flexible throughout this transition and who would love to extend their stay with Grandma indefinitely!
While we can't control the speed of our adoption paperwork being processed, the speed of our home being moved and connected, or the speed of our mortgage refinancing process to be completed, we can continue to TRUST.

I can remind myself that the world does not revolve around my needs. 

 I can use this time to spend quality time with Luke, Bri, and Camille, knowing that they will have to be more patient about having their needs met once Quinn is home.

I can use this time to reconnect with Loren and have a Date Night before our evenings are again controlled by a toddler. 

I can get our home unpacked, reassembled, and cleaned after it's roadtrip.  I've been nesting for weeks, but haven't been able to work on the house since it's been "in trantsit".

I can prepare myself to receive this incredible gift of another child; a child that will need alot of love, patience, and understanding. 

I think I've got plenty to keep me busy for awhile :-)

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Big Move

I can finally breathe again.  My house is done with her road trip, gallivanting around the countryside, and is finally ready to settle down again. After being put on hold Tuesday because of an overlooked powerline, the move was back on again for Wednesday.  

And I totally missed it.

We understood that once the movers had the go ahead to move, they would give us a call.  I guess they understood something different.  The girls and I couldn't stand the wait any longer, so right after lunch, we drove over to the farm to ask the movers when the big move would be.  

We got there, and stood with mouths open, staring at the spot where the house used to be.

We drove quickly over to the new farm to find our house sitting, pretty as you please, in the driveway.  We had missed the party.

So much for documenting this for our children to see someday.  I had both the video camera and digital camera on stand-by, charged and ready for action.  Considering how often I'm caught unprepared when a Kodak moment occurs, I was pretty proud of myself for being like a Boy Scout.  ( you know.."prepared")

Best laid plans...yadda yadda.

So the next time the kids are looking through the old photo albums, and come across all the pictures of the old brick silo whose move from one farm to the homeplace was documented ad nauseum, at least I have a few pictures of our house sitting on a truck trailer.  That's got to be good for a few Oohs and Aahs.

Anyway, the good news is that it didn't end up sitting lopsided in a ditch somewhere, which is what I had been dreading.  And I can breath again. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Orphan Sunday

There will always be obstacles in the way of doing what is right.  We must see through the earthly distractions and material concerns to find what is really important.

In honor of Orphan Sunday, I decided to feature a post from Amy at

Dear Orphan,

I saw your picture today and heard about your plight. Your face is so beautiful and sad, 
and it tugs at my heart.

I hear you don't get enough to eat, and that there isn't always medicine if you get sick. 

You sleep in a room with many children, but you still feel alone.

You have never had anyone wish you a "Happy Birthday", give you a gift, or even sing 

you a lullaby goodnight.  No one has ever told you about Jesus or that He loves you.

I wish we could adopt you, but....

It is such a long way to travel, it would cost so much money, and it involves so much 


Our home isn't very big, and we already have children. Adding another child to our family would mean they would have to share a bedroom as well as our love and attention...

What if you have health issues or special needs that are not yet diagnosed?

You might have a hard time adjusting to a family after never knowing one, or have 
"issues" from years of neglect, malnutrition, mistreatment, or abuse....

I'm sorry, it just feels like too much of a risk and sacrifice.


 Adoption doesn't really feel like our "calling". 

 Maybe there is another family....

Quinn- age 8 months


Monday, November 7, 2011

MORE housemoving posts

You can never have enough pictures of a house on wheels, can you?

This shows the entire house disconnected from the basement and jacked up.  This is just the beginning...

This shows how they roll the house onto girders and away from the basement.  Those are the front stairs in the bottom left corner of the picture.  Luke had to use a ladder to get into the house!

This shows the entire basement exposed.  Yes, that mess was our basement.  I will be SO GLAD to have a basement that isn't drowning in water every spring, and isn't home to every spider in the county. 

I know....I'm demanding.

And here it is on wheels.  To say that the thought of my house being pulled down a gravel road by a truck freaks me out doesn't begin to describe the panic I feel whenever I think of the process of getting it moved.  I mean, what happens if it slips off into the ditch???  I know- have a little faith, right? 

So meanwhile, we are sharing digs with my parents and most likely testing their patience, but they are being such good sports about having us invade their home.  And we are being treated like royalty, so I'm guessing it will be hard to convince the kids to leave when it is time to move back into our house. :-)

When we were at the farm, I took a minute to take a few pics of Luke and Bri in a few of their favorite places on the farm.

Bri just loves our barn, so we took a pic of her in the doorway.  It's a beautiful old barn built in the 1940's, and you could play basketball in the loft- it is THAT big!

And here is Luke, draped across the classic pick up that belonged to Loren's grandpa.  Wish I could get the kid to smile....

That's better!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trick or Treat!

Not sure how Oct 31st snuck up on us, but all of a sudden my kids were discussing what costumes they would be wearing and what candy they hoped to get.


I believe that was one of the first boxes excavated from the basement crawl space and taken over to the other farm during our first Moving Purge of the basement.

  So Camille and I went over to the other farm, crawled under the broken garage door where our first items were stored, and climbed over boxes to get to the back of the garage to find the costume box.  Thank goodness we found it.  Camille was planning on going as Austin Powers, so she could be a pair with Moyra, who was going as the 60's Austin Powers girlfriend with the poofy hair.  It was imperative to her that we find that costume.

[The funny part of that costume is that it wasn't a costume originally. It was items that had once hung in my closet...]

First stop on Halloween afternoon- the nursing home for a show given for the residents.

Dietrich, Moyra, Camille, Sara, Bear

Then, after running home to do chores and milk the cows, we re-dressed, and met friends in town to make our Trick or Treat run!

Lani, Kaylee, Camille, Dietrich, Moyra, Bri

Camille, Aunt Shirley, Bri

You will notice that Luke isn't in any of the pictures.  Of course, he had ditched us even before we got into town to walk around with his friends, because they were really too old to trick or treat, but they still wanted to dress up and be with their friends. 

He was kinda hating his older-kid status later that night when the girls spread out their candy on the floor to begin the traditional candy swap, but he ended up guilting the girls out of several pieces of candy, so he was content.

As we walked around, I 'waxed nostalgic' about my hometown of Anoka, which claims to be the Halloween Capital of the World.  Because of it's claim to fame, our Halloweens there were always a big deal, complete with a parade down mainstreet, school and neighborhood parties, and lots of treating. 

My kids were like "yah, yah, Mom, now let's go hit that next street, okay?"    Not exactly the respectful attitude that I had expected, but no matter.   I still enjoyed remembering the fun times spent in the suburbs of Anoka, and we had a beautiful, crisp fall night for walking the suburbs of Viborg, so it was a memorable evening for all of us.