Monday, October 18, 2010

A Very Important Reminder

I am leaving in the morning to visit my dear friend, "Diana of the Lake of Shining Water". After visiting with she and her family for a few days, Paul will meet me at their home and we will head down to Tennessee for an exciting couple of days with my family. I can't wait!!! It will be our first time home since our big move.

I won't be blogging until I get home, so I thought I would direct you to one of my previous post that I feel I personally needed to be reminded of once again (Oh my weakness! Lord help me to be a better wife, mother, friend and Your daughter.).

You can link to it HERE 

The whole mouse thing sounds much worse than it was now that I read that post again, but the marriage stuff is something that is a very important reminder to me, especially now that I have a two year old underfoot and I spend most of my day having toddler level conversations.

Hope you find it to be a helpful reminder too. Have a great week, friends!

Fostering & Other Fun Thoughts

Hubby and I both managed to wake up early this morning and we were able to enjoy the luxury of sitting in bed together each doing our morning prayers in peace and quiet. Bliss!

I'm attempting to pack up summer clothes, pack things that are taking up much needed room in our apartment and prepare for visiting our house in Tennessee for the weekend. Unforeseen circumstances are making packing impossible right now, so I decided to take advantage of this time to enjoy a steamy mug of coconut tea that Paul and I brought home from our last trip to the BAHAMAS and a coconut crunch donut. Have I ever mentioned that I'm obsessed with coconut??? I know it won't be long until its so cold here that I will be longing to be back on a white sandy beach, but for now I'm enjoying the fall weather and enjoying the memories of a warm, wonderful time spent with my dear husband.

This picture was on our Christmas card last year. We drove all over the island on our moped to find that banner!

Anyway, I thought I'd share a little bit about how Lil' Man came into our life. Since before Paul and I were married we had discussed adoption. After we lost our first baby and then struggled for the next two years with fertility issues, we realized that adoption might be our only option to start a family of our own.

We honestly hadn't thought a lot about foster care. We knew that we wanted a permanent family and we knew other families who had become foster parents in hopes of adoption only to have the children placed back in the home after they had been told that it would be almost impossible for the child to go back to their birth family. It was emotionally difficult to give back a child whom they had hoped would be part of their family forever. They were able to see the blessings and graces that came from their time with the child[ren], but it is still difficult.

We also knew a family who has blessed many children's lives by taking them into their home in a strictly temporary situation. But, Paul and I realized, that at least for now, that wasn't what God was calling us to do.

Paul and I knew that we couldn't start a family while we were still trucking, so our first step was for Paul to quit trucking. We hoped that not being on the road would be less stressful on our bodies and maybe God would allow us to get pregnant. Our new job situation was wonderful, but our salary would only be a quarter of what we were making before, so we knew that we wouldn't be able to meet the "USCIS Income Requirements" for the type of adoptions that we were looking into.

We had several people call us at different times to tell us that there had been a baby saved from abortion and the mother was now looking to choose a couple to adopt her baby. Both times this happened we prayed and discerned that those children were not "our" children. It was kind of strange since we were almost desperately wanting to adopt, but in those moments we just knew that God had a different plan for us.

We knew that in God's time he would provide the finances and would lead us to the child he was calling us to help. Our only real concern was that we knew we wanted a large family and we knew that most children in foster care and in orphanages have been sexually abused. We were concerned about the physical and emotional damage that had been done. Many children who have had such experiences abuse other children, sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally. Very young children who have been abused act out things with themselves and with other children with out even realizing what they are doing. Trying to protect and keep all of the children safe and healthy can be very difficult despite even the best efforts of a parent.

There were just so many things to take in to consideration. Put we knew that God had put a desire on our heart so strongly that He had a reason and He would share it with us when we were ready. We just had to be open.

I can't go into a lot of specifics about our situation, but the basics story is that a week after Paul gave his two week notice we got a call that a mutual aquaintence was being deployed for an extended period of time and need a place for Lil' Man to stay during that time. There was no social work involved, etc. (there were some legal papers to be signed and taken care of, but it was very different than a "typical" foster care situation". It was God just saying, "The timing is right, if you are open to My Will you can recieve an incredible blessing that will change your life!"

Unlike previous calls we had recieve, Paul and I both knew that if it worked out it was totally God's Will and we were completely ready for this to happen. We found out a few days later that it probably wasn't going to happen and, though disappointed, took it in stride and knew God had a plan- looking at so many negative pregnancy test will helps you cope with those moments!!!

A few weeks later, on our wedding anniversary, Paul and I were out at lunch with friends when a recieved a call from a familiar number. I stepped outside to take the call in private and was told that Lil' Man would be coming to live with us for at least 6 months, if we were still open.

I walked back in, sat down at the table and began to cry when I told my husband that we were getting a baby! My heart was pounding so hard and it was honestly one of the most incredible feelings. We knew that it was only a temporary situation, but for as long as it lasted we would be able to love a child and bring him closer to God. It was the greatest wedding anniversary gift ever!

A week later we were able to meet our Lil' Man at a park and it was love at first sight. Days later he came home with us and our life has never been so blessed, so joyful, so crazy and so messy!!!! It's perfect.

About 1 month and 1 week after Lil' Man came into our home, God gave us our second miracle baby! Every night Lil' Man prays for "his new baby!" and asks to see him or her (while trying to pull up my shirt enough to look in my belly button!

Only God knows what is in store for this crazy little family of ours, but for now we are enjoying every second we have together. Please pray for us and for God's Will to be done in all of our lives.

Also, my apologies to those who are interested in how an "actual" foster care process takes places. I must say that I am grateful that I don't know, but I do wish I were able to answer your questions. If God is putting that desire on your heart, He will also put the resources in your hands. I am praying for everyone who is going through the process fostering and/or learning about it. It can be a blessing to both children and families.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Fallen Warrior

Today was the funeral of a thirteen year old boy who was my student and whose family I've been close to for many years. Noxah was in a Little League game 15 months ago when he collapsed and was taken to the hospital. They discovered that he had leukemia. After battling these many months, Noxah went to God this past Saturday surrounded by his family, friends and priest.

Please pray for his family. He has young siblings and I can only imagine his parents grief. He was a dear, sweet boy and I am sure he is now interceding for us all.

If you would like to read more about this little warrior and see his picture you can go HERE

God bless those who He calls to suffer for His Name sake.

Eternal rest grant unto Noxah, O Lord! And let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and all the souls of the faithfully departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day One: It's a long way to Gitchi Gummi

We packed and left early Friday morning for our trip to the Porcupine Mountains on Lake Superior. I was losing my breakfast only minutes before we left our house, so I was worried about how the drive would go. I managed to survive the entire way thanks to prayers and a lot of Tums. We enjoyed a beautiful picnic lunch on a lake in Michigan on the way up and we were very surprised that it had warmed up to 81 degrees even that far North!

A fun post-lunch photo with Nee-Gaw-Nee-Gaw-Bow in Wakefield, MI!

It was a long drive with Lil' Man not napping as much as I would have liked. The girls that were riding with us were saints for patiently handing toys and snacks to him and having him shake them awake when they would try to nap!

When we arrived at the Porcupine Mountains we split up. Paul, Lil' Man and I took the less steep 3 mile trail to Mirror Lake where we were all staying for the next three days. The ranger informed us that we weren't allowed to take the stroller with us (later we found signs that said no motorized wheeled vehicles and I think the woman had misunderstood that it was just a stroller- oh well!), so we had to coax Lil' Man into walking as much as we could.  Not a fun task!

Like Linus from Peanuts, Lil' Man carried his blankie the entire time. After he tripped and scrapped an elbow and his arm, Paul had to carrying him for at least 2 and a half mile along with his 55+lbs pack. Lil' Man is not so little! He currently weighs somewhere over 35 lbs. and had all his weight on Paul's neck, so Paul got him to sit on top of the pack!

Lil' Man enjoyed his throne (for the most part!) and was fascinated by the chipmunks!

I wasn't really as prepared as I should have been. In my mind, three miles is nothing and I really didn't think I'd have any trouble, but with my pack and being pregnant I really had to be careful. Even relatively mild inclines left me drained and puffing, so I stopped a lot to make sure I was getting enough oxygen to the baby. When we got to a difficult area, my wonderful hubby insisted on carrying both of our packs! The man is a saint! He had to carry mine across his his chest. He is hard-core. :)

It was such a relief to arrive at our cabin. It was so cute and well off the main path (unlike the two other cabins on the lake). We couldn't believe how nice it was for a rustic cabin! There was a bunk bed, beautiful wooden table with benches and a chair, a wood stove with a supply of firewood, a hatchet, bow saw, buckets, and pots for cooking. We had packed in all those things (well, not the firewood) not knowing that their would be anything in the cabin. It even came with a canoe, paddles and plenty of life jackets- even a tiny one for Lil' Man! 

After unpacking, we paddled out onto the lake to find the rest of our group. We didn't know where they would be, so we just enjoyed paddling until we found several of the girls filtering water out of the lake for dinner.

I wonder how they got the name "Mirror Lake"????  : )

After catching up with the rest of the staff from camp, we paddled back to our cabin to pick up a few things. Paul ran up to the cabin while Lil' Man and I sat in the canoe waiting. Lil' Man had been sitting near the back with Paul and I was in the front. As I looked at the lake, Lil' Man and I chatted about the colors and the water. Before I knew what was happening, I felt the boat rock and turned just in time to see Lil' Man falling into two inches of mucky water that our canoe was sunk into. His feet were still in the canoe, but everything else was wet and covered in old leaves. It was sad and hysterical all at the same time. I took him back to the cabin to change him and find Paul. Paul took this video clip.

The highlight of the entire weekend, in my opinion, was when Paul, Lil' Man and I left the staff camp after dinner to head back to our cabin. There was a new moon on Friday night. It was an inky, pitch black and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Floating in the lake with out a single thing to take away from the celestial view made it the most breathtaking sight I have seen since Paul and I were working on Sequoia Lake in California. The Milky Way was indescribable. The entire night sky looked like the photographs you see in an astronomy book. 

It felt as though we were in the nursery rhyme about Winken, Blinken and Nod because not only were the stars dazzling above us, but it felt as though we were floating through them! The lake was mirroring the heavens! Every so often a huge fish would leap out of the lake startling the stillness and causing the stars to float about in chaos. We drifted in awe on the lake for so long that Lil' Man fell asleep (he swayed this way and that before plopping backwards!).
It is moments like those that make you feel the awesomeness of the power of God. I feel sorry for those who only see a breathtaking sight and have no one to thank for it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Off to the mountains we go!

The camp staff (including Paul, Lil' Man and myself) are going on a retreat up north along the Boundary Waters at Porcupine Mountain State Park tomorrow. We will be hitting the road after breakfast at 6am, so we have been doing all of our packing this evening.

This will be our first back country camping experience with Lil' Man. We are blessed to be staying in a rustic cabin on the water, but it will be a several mile hike with gear (winter clothes, food, cooking supplies, sleeping bags, etc.) into the cabin, so we can't bring the pack-n-play and other things Lil' Man is used to having at bedtime.

I've never had to think about packing in and out disposable diapers. Paul's boss was saying that we'd need ziploc bags for the diapers to keep the scent from attracting bears and other critters. Lil' Man has never slept on the floor or in a bunk, so it will be interesting to see how bedtimes go and I've pretty much realized that naps just aren't going to happen!

We have taken him camping (with the pack-n-play and a car full of supplies) and he LOVES it! I am looking forward to an exciting weekend with unique challenges. Any suggestions?

The other special treat that hopefully won't last the weekend, is that my morning sickness had almost completely gone away for several days, but is slowly creeping back. Is that normal? I was great for several day, spent a few hours for the following three days feeling queasy at times and then threw up once yeasterday and a couple times today. Yuck. Its amazing how a few days with out can erase the memory of the yuckiness until it comes back and then all you can think is, "How did I manage to forget this so quickly?".  I'm praying that labor will turn into a far distant memory very quickly afterward.

Sooooooo, I was sitting on the couch feeling yucky and Paul was packing my bag for me and he calls out for me to try it on to make sure the weight is okay. I had a sudden flash of Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride toppling over backwards as her fiancee puts a large backpack on her. Hmmmm!

Luckily, I didn't topple!

So here I am sporting my pack and my mini-baby bump. All I have to add is my Tums and ziploc bags in case I get sick and need them to keep from feeding the fishies in Gitchi (Big) Gummi (Water)!

Paul, taking his pack for a test drive.

Lil' Man watching Paul packing. Lil' Man had just pulled off all his clothes and was running around the house doing a diaper streak!

Anyway, we'll be back in a few days. Hopefully with lots of beautiful pictures and wonderful memories. When we are back and I have some time, I will be blogging about fostering ;) and a few other fun things. Please pray for our adventures!

God bless, friends!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Eternal Song Family in the News

By the way friends, I never posted that an article was run in the Rhode Island Catholic about Paul and I this past summer. Someone mentioned that I should share the link in case anyone wanted to check out the article, so read all about it HERE .

Many thanks to Laura Kilgus from the RI Catholic for this beautiful article and for being such a wonderful and amazing person. I pray that people will find the article inspiring.

A little bit of trucking fun:

This is a picture of me making Christmas dinner (hamburgers with mushrooms) for Paul and I last year at a truck stop in Virginia. It was pouring rain outside, but we were warm, cozy and happy to be together inside. : )

It is so funny to think about how much our lives have changed since last May when we stopped trucking.

This year we will spend our first Christmas at home since we've been married. We will have a loving two year old with us to experience the joy and magic of Christ's birthday. And I will be over 5 months pregnant and waddling around like Mrs. Claus! God is so good!

Good night and God bless, friends!

My Papa

Paul and I are getting ready to head up into the mountains this weekend for a staff retreat. When we get home we will have two weeks before we head back down south to visit my family and our farm and I am just sooo excited!

I was skimming through some pictures from last autumn and I found this picture of my dearest papa taking a little cat nap! It made me homesick, so I just had to share it and ask for my readers to send up a quick prayer for my wonderful father who still doesn't fully know the love of God.

Half asleep, but smiling anyway!

I "splurged" the other day and bought the most adorable onesie that says, "I love my Grandpa!". I say that I splurged because I spent all of 5 cents on it. I love the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop! and I love my baby's grandpa!
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