Sunday, September 11, 2011

Windows on the World

When I was a child, I went with my dad on a business trip to NYC. It was a very exciting trip. It was my first airplane ride. First, and so far only, Broadway show....42nd Street. We went to the top of the Empire State Building. We stayed at a fancy hotel on Long Island. I have to say the most memorable, and now most precious memory of that trip, was our fancy dinner out to Windows On The the top of the World Trade Center Tower 1, on the 107th floor.  I was so in awe of this really awesome place. There was bathroom attendant, and tuxedo waiters and I really felt like I was on top of the world. Now10 years after the attacks on those buildings and this country, I treasure even more, that wonderful memory. I am so grateful to be grounded in my faith and know the promises of God. The plans that God has in store for this world and everyone in it, are far greater than the deepest grief, sorrow, pain and fear these attacks brought us. That thought reminds me very much Romans 8:18 ~ For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us. (ISV)

post signature

Monday, August 29, 2011

9 years ago today, my life changed forever........

Today is the anniversary of the very first email Steve ever sent me. We were both newly registered on and learning how to navigate our free 7 day trial. We were both freshly on our way out of our marriages and dealing with the pain of divorce and loneliness and fear of single parenting. We really turned to the online dating thing as a way to test the waters and see if we had a chance at love again, looking for friendships of people who could relate to where we were at and what we were going through. I had made up my mind that I was not going to pursue anyone as my choices were not working out too hot. I spent many hours in prayer over the decision to sign up for this site and my strongest prayer in all of it was that if God had someone out there who was what He wanted for me and my two little boys, that He would make it clear and obvious, I need a 2x4 on occasion, and that whoever it would be, would seek me out. So.......on August 29th 2002, came the first email from Steve285.

We connected right away and really clicked (obviously). We both had pain to work through and lots of ground to cover before we found our way to the altar, but it was clear early on that this was no ordinary situation. Soon after our correspondences were revealing a deeper connection than I had ever known with any other human being, it occurred to me that in case this turns out to be as special as I think, I printed off and kept a record of every single email sent back and forth. I kept them in order from the very first, to when we both signed off the site with our love match. Now we have an unbelievable record and account of our loves first blossoms. I really had no idea at the time that this would be such treasure. Its really a great resource for the occassionsal "oh yes you did say it is on day 32 at 9:15 a.m", but beyond that fun, it is so, so sweet to be able to see the growth we have had as individuals and the vulnerabilities we so openly shared with one another. I think most people who know us, see a certain uniqueness to us and I really believe it stems, obviously first and foremost from God, but also the avenue He provided for us to be able to so honestly and openly reveal our hearts and hurts and dreams with each other. I knew very early on that I was falling for this Steve 285, and I was terrified and certain all at the same time. My life changed forever that day.

We corresponded and talked and laughed and cried and prayed with each other for 4 months before we finally met face to face. I was head over heels by the time Dec. 20th 2002 rolled around. We met in downtown Chicago just 5 days before Christmas. Steve was everything I expected and then some. We went on a romantic carriage ride as the snow softly fell. We went to dinner and a show.  The magic of the season mirrored the magic that was happening between us. He treated me like a princess who just discovered the prince she thought only lived in her dreams.By the time I was headed back home to Indiana, I knew it was going to be a rough time ahead. I was in-love and Steve was still healing. Waiting has never been my strong point. But I knew this was going to be worth any wait and any heartache we had to go through, to get to where we were meant to be.

Over the next few months, I finished school and then packed up myself and my little ones and we moved to Wisconsin. This was a great time for the three of us. We settled into a new little apartment and Kindergarten for Zack, 3rd grade for Ricky and full time job for mom. Our life was on a new road. Steve and I were able to start dating more as we were only 2 hours from each other now, and our love started to develop on an even deeper level. We took our time with who we were becoming. We met each other's parents and friends and then we introduced the kids into our relationship. It wasn't long then, before he bent down on one knee and asked me to be his wife.

So after two years of learning about each other and discovering many things about ourselves, the love that started growing back on that day of Aug 29th 2002, became the celebration of our marriage in April 2004. This man who is my best friend and wonderful husband, still gets me blushing and smiling like he did in those earliest days. Looking back over this collection of emails today has had me beaming all over again. All of those butterfly emotions come flooding back and I am so grateful that I haven't forgotten, in the business of life and blending a family, what it feels like to fall in love all over again with my husband. He is a gift from God and the treasure that our love is, is one that has His fingerprints all over it. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Alabama Beach Pics!!!

So glad I found this photographer. This was great fun and a tradition we can carry on every Spring Break now. We are so hopeful that next year, our little girl will be in the photos too!!!!!

~Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.~

 ~Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of  singing has come.~



Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?

~And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;his leaf also shall not wither;and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.~
~I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:
marvelous are Thy works;and that my soul knoweth right well.

~But as for me and my house, we will serve The Lord.~

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spring in Coming.............

We are thawing out here in Chicagoland. little buds are showing up on the trees and tulips will be popping any minute. We started Spring with a FABULOUS Spring Break trip down south where the roses are in full bloom!!!!

We stopped in Nashville and The Grand Ole Opry on our way to Alabama to the Gulf coast. Oh how I love the south. Alabama is our new favorite spot for sure. If you ever cant find me....look south. I like to think of myself as a southern girl. I was born and raised in the south after was just southern California. In any case.....I loved the week of sunshine and surf. It was great to have Steve with us for a whole week too as he has been traveling so much lately.

It was much needed family time. We spent alot of time on the beach, went to the USS ALABAMA, did some shopping and of course made a visit or two to The Waffel House.

While we were away...our adoption agency went referral crazy and we went from #41 to #36 for an infant girl!!!! YAY. Still a ways to go, yes....but we will take it. 36 is my new favorite number!!!

Zack trying to catch his towel  in the wind.

Rick and Zack looking for some waves

loving the sunshine!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Jennifer's Walk

This has been a strange week for me. I didnt plan on it being this way, but it turned out to be. I wont go into the details about exactly how or why or what led to this, but I have had a week of deep contemplation. Contemplation of how I got here to this place in my life. Why am I who I am...and  how am I not who Im not? See what I mean, strange? As I had really been exploring some of these things...things at the core of who I am, I discovered one of my first books, if not my VERY first book. Jennifer's Walk by Anne Carrier appropriate????

I flipped through it and suddenly started to wonder if some of the ways I think about life and home and family and 'mommying' stem from this very book? There are sweet illustrations of a farmhouse and open land with fields of daisies and home and adventure (within the safe bounderies of the homestead). The story was of  a little girl's independence and the safety and security of her return home with open arms waiting for her....reaching out to recieve her. What I remember loving most about this book was the inside cover that showed the map of this girls "walk". Like little breadcrumbs...a bird's eye view. All of her adventures from beginning to end ~but showing the full picture!!! Looking through this book again made me think instantly about my life and all of my adventure's  and many mis-adventures too. About the dreams that I have been chasing all my life and have been so blessed to have many of them come true. Inevitabley it made me contemplate my 'own walk'. How my life's walk has become, by God's Grace, my Christian walk. How God has been leading me the whole way, even  before I knew Him. Preparing my steps and paving my way To Him. I just had to find the right road. That wasn't exactly easy...but it has been worth arriving at the destination.

My walk started in sunny southern California. There I grew up loving sunshine and how it feels on my skin  and how it looks on the water. I was born to love the ocean and mountains and being barefoot. I learned how to sing John Denver songs before I even learned to talk. I always loved babies and I am sure it started with my baby brother. In reaching back into the depths of my memories though, some things were scary to the little girl I was on the adventure through my young life. I remember walking to school in Kindergarten this one particular day (alone....UM...I guess I dont NEED to know why, but why?????? ) and  a group of three boys, big scary boys...probably 2nd graders, told me that I cannot walk on that side of the street any more and that if I did it again, they would  break  my nose. Well  you better belive I never walked on that side of the street again. I was terrified of their threat. I remember being so pre-occupied by the thought of them actually breaking my nose, that I know I worried about it ALOT. It's so strange to think about it 32 years later and remember that feeling of  fear. I also remember having to knock on the car window of my crossing guard to wake him up so he could get me accross the busy street. The feeling of being 5 and having to wake up the the person whose job it was to protect me from traffic was puzzling to me...even then. From an early age I got the impression that I had to be on my toes.

I also remember my mom being distracted. Sadly...but to be always felt to me like she was too distracted for me. She was sick alot. I remember her talking to me about dying. How if she died she would still  keep an eye on me and I would know she was near because she would "come back" as a bee and I shouldn't be afraid of bees, I would know it was her becuase she would land on me, but not sting me.  WHAT????? At the very young age of 5 or 6, when a little girl should be dreaming of growing up to be just like her mom, I remember thinking .....that is crazy. I was from that moment on, terrified of  (A) my mom dying and (B) Bees. She died when I was ten. I walked into the world of becoming an adult too young on that day. I assumed the role of  mother to myself  and my brother. Already my life was a winding road.

I survived Kindergarten and so did my nose. I survived the death of my mother~and I never had a bee sting. I survived Middle School and High School and my first love. I survived being a step-daughter and earthquakes and cross country moves and bad choices. I survived young adulthood. I walked into marriage at the very young age of 20. Then I quickly walked into the best years of my life when I was 21. No... not because I could finally drink~ that never held any allure for me~ When I was 21, Ricky was born. My first dream come true. My reason for being born. To love this child, to be his mommy to be his protector and peanut butter and jelly maker. To be his cheerleader through life and walk him to Kindergarten....(no one was gonna be breaking any noses on my watch). 3 years later, Zachary was born. How could one girl be so darn  lucky????  I had two of  the CUTEST and SWEETEST baby boys ever, and they were the center of my life. Life wasn't easy by any means...but those boys made life worth living. This marriage road was a rocky one. At times a scary one. Eventually I had a choice to make and contemplated with much fear which road to take....and I walked  towards the road to PEACE.

It was during this time that I discovered the identity of the still, small voice that had been guiding me and calling me and protecting me all my life. It was The Voice and The Call of my Heavenly Father and He was calling me to come and forever be protected and safe in Him. I have been on this walk with My Lord for 11  years now. I have learned to wait on Him. Hope in Him. Live in Him. Trust in Him. These things have not been easy. Discovering Him honestly was the easy part. Learning how to live for Him and re-define my life as His and not my own has not been easy. To put the pain down and leave it there. To search my heart and sift through my dreams, and find  the ones he planted there early on. To discover the ones to keep and others to leave  behind, has been a process. I have learned to like myself as I have learned to see myself ,with even a glimpse of how He sees me. I have sought Him out, and He has revealed  more and more of Himself to me.

He has taken me from being a scared little girl with a love for sunshine and a song in her heart, to a woman who is living the dreams He planted there before the beginning of time. He has set me on the road to eternity with Him. He has designed  me with a soft heart and a strong spirit. He has blessed me with a strong hand to hold and the safe protective embrace of my husband. He has blessed me with healthy wonderful children. He has blessed me with a strong network of great friends and brothers and sisters in Christ. My life is full and grand and perfectly mine. He has now set me on a path to be a mother to a baby girl on the other side of the world. With all of the mess that troubles this world and all of the hardship and heartache that infects this planet... He has designed a path for me to bring me closer to Him. He called me to be His and gave me ears to hear.

I have realized that I am not on this road alone, and I never was.

"Before I formed you in your mother's womb I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart."
~Jeremiah 1:5

"All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
~Psalm 139:16

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Latest News in TeunisLand

Well the date that we have been working towards for many months now, finally came and was assigned to our family last Friday. Teunis' are officially DTE ( Dossier To Ethiopia) on January 14th, 2011 for an infant girl 0-12 mos.We certainly still have a long wait ahead of us, but all of the paperwork, and protecting the paperwork, is done. It feels really good to finally be standing in line and now be able to focus on all  of the many things still to do to prepare for the life change of having a baby in the house again. We will be having a blast making a little baby girl room, of which my hubs has already started and actually almost finished. We will be taking a wonderful spring break vacation back to the Gulf Coast and thawing our from our wintery weariness and finally get some sunshine on this skin. We will be saving ,saving ,saving for the impending "To The Ends Of The Earth" journey for our baby girl. Mostly though, we are going to be looking ahead with wonder as we wait for ~The Call~  that tells us our wait is almost over and we have a daughter.

We look forward to posting the adventures of our  journey here and until there is more to tell, we ask that you continue to pray for the process and for patience for us.

Steve and Jen