Monday, January 31, 2011

Library trip.

I returned 9 books, renewed one and borrowed 11. So I'm bringing home 12 books!

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I deem it a successful trip!

Brittan - I took your advice, I'm checking out the Karen Kingsbury collection that you suggested, plus there was one more that I haven't read yet. (Well there are quite a few more, but the ones I picked had the full series available to borrow.)

I am always open to good wholesome book recommendations! So if you're reading a good book, pass it along to me!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Amazing day!!

Church was unbelievable this morning. It is amazing to worship with a group of believers who believe together that God can do amazing works. Our whole church building is an amazing work of God. Well we have 2 big buildings that the church owns and one of them is an old furniture showroom that is this huge warehouse that stands behind the building that currently houses our offices, sanctuary, nurseries and classrooms. I just checked and unfortunately, the part where God really did amazing things wasn't recorded.

But let me just tell you about it. Pastor Jim walked in and said hello after the worship time, just like any other Sunday... But today he told us that we had an opportunity to open the big huge white building in the back, but that it needed to be done in the next 4 weeks or the township would no longer allow it. And in order to finish the project, we needed $25,000. So he said, if you can help, here's a card. Write what you want to contribute on the card.

This building will house a gym, basketball courts, all sorts of stuff like that. Pastor Jim also said while he was passing out the cards that he was ordering the things that the gym needed to be built tomorrow. He was walking by faith that God would make that happen.

He got the cards back... they were added... we raised over $60,000 between the 9am service and the 10:30am services!!! More than double what we needed! God is so amazing!

After that church experience, Pastor Jim went on to preach an amazing sermon! Watch or listen to it here. Yesterday, after calling and checking in with Jocelyn to see how she was doing, she said that she could really use some help after I got out of church tomorrow since she still isn't feeling well and could just use a hand by having a break from lifting the girls and all that. I called Jocelyn after I got out of church to see if she still wanted me to come over, and she said that she would like me to come in from 2pm to 8pm.

Now, I have had a VERY strict policy for a long time, no exceptions, I do NOT work on Sundays. Sunday is the day of worship. Sunday is the day for Jack and I to spend time as a family. Sunday is NOT for work. Of course Jesus talks about how if your animal was stuck would you not get it out regardless of what day it was. And for a friend, I wanted to be able to be there for her. So I went in... begrudgingly.

I also had to do 6 showers today... which each and every one of these ladies hates showers. They don't like to be cold and wet, they don't like the whole 15 minute process and they fight it the whole way. So the ladies were miserable and I was busy the whole time. By the time it came to do dinner, I had finished with 5 out of 6 showers and then I had to cook dinner. Jack brought me over some beef stew that we made together before I left for work and it was super yummy, and he stayed through the girls dinner.

The oldest lady there, Florence (Flo) is and has been stuck in bed for about a week. She barely has the energy to get up out of bed and use the toilet right in her bedroom, so she never comes out of her room any more. She is absolutely at the end of her life here on earth. Her skin is yellow, her eyes are yellow, her belly is swelling. And every day for the last few weeks God has been saying to me, "talk to Florence about Heaven."

And today I finally got up the courage to talk to her! Florence told me that she hopes that she's going to Heaven and I told her that there was a way to know for sure. And that all she had to do was pray the prayer of faith and ask Jesus into her heart! I offered to pray with her and she said, oh no, I wouldn't want to take up your time. I sat down next to her and held her hand and prayed with her! She accepted Jesus as her savior and prayed for God to forgive her of her sins and for Jesus to come into her heart! It was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced! Thank you God for sending me to work on a day that I would rather have scrubbed my kitchen floor grout than gone to work!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Midnight call.

Last night after getting home around 10:30 from hanging out with Lisa, I was sitting on the couch watching a couple episodes on Hulu while Jack finished up in the garage. I was really getting into my Royal Pains episode and I didn't realize that it was 11:45pm. My phone rang.

It was Jocelyn, my friend that I work for, my friend that owns and runs the nursing home. At 2pm when I left her house yesterday, I asked her to call me and keep me in the loop about Flo, and that if she passed away this weekend to give me a shout and let me know. So immediately, my stomach sinks and I think that it is Jocelyn telling me that Florence had passed away. When I answered the phone, it was Matt, Jocelyn's boyfriend! I'm thinking okay, Jocelyn must be upset, that's why I'm hearing from Matt.

Turns out Jocelyn was having terrible chest pains and needed to go to the Emergency Room! He says, I hate to ask you this, but is there any way you can come over so we can go to the hospital? Um. Yeah.

Jack and I put the dogs in the cages, threw on shoes and made it to Jocelyn's within 15 minutes of Matt calling me. Jocelyn and Matt were in the garage waiting to hop in the car and go, and as soon as we got there they did. We went inside, I checked on all the girls and calmed down Ardith who was awake, got her back in bed and we sat on the couch and waited to hear from Jocelyn.

We were there probably an hour and she called and was able to talk and said that she was feeling much better and that she was going to come home and see the on call doctor that was coming to her house in the morning, and that she was coming home. She got back maybe 20 minutes later and was able to talk and explain her pain and she said she think she can make it through the night.

We were home within 2 hours of getting the phone call. So while we're a little tired this morning, we still have a lot of work to do today with cutting up wood and stocking our wood pile. I think I'm going to take some before and after pictures just to give ideas of what we're up to!

Jack is out getting gas for my truck and for the chainsaw right now and I should probably get dressed in some warm clothes to get ready to truck out in the 5" of extra snow we got. Plus we are going out into the field so we might have as much as 12" in some places or more. Fun! I'm glad it's not that cold though! It's only 25°F, so it shouldn't be too bad. It might get to the point where we're just working in sweatshirts and vests instead of having to wear the full winter jackets.

So prayers for Jocelyn if you can spare them, I haven't heard back from her about how the doctor's visit this morning went. I'm hoping she's out of pain now.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Amazing video about Adoption.

I am incredibly blessed to hear this Adoption Story from a Birth mom.

First Blog Award!!

Jack and I got our first Blog Award!

Thank you Stephanie of Infertile in a Fertile World!

7 Things About Me:

  1. I will be turning 25 in 10 days.
  2. I love my English Mastiff.
  3. I like looking for new recipes more than I enjoy actually making them.
  4. I have had an online journal for 9 years now!
  5. I love to run and love the way it makes me feel.
  6. I really enjoy working at a nursing home taking care of ladies in their 80's.
  7. I love to sing.

Update for the end of January on 2011 resolutions!

# 1 : My #1 most important goal for 2011 is to finish reading the Bible cover to cover. I am ashamed to say that I have barely read through one chapter of one book. I've had my nose in so many other books! I need to finish at least the rest of the book I'm reading before the end of the month! I'm reading 2 Kings right now I think.

# 2 : Spend more time with my husband and getting to know how better and growing closer to him. Jack and I are doing awesome.

# 3 : Get to my goal weight!! Still watching what I eat and so looking forward to the thaw so that I can start running again!

# 4 : Quit biting my nails. Working on it!

#5 : Get pregnant. Not yet... maybe this cycle?

# 6 : Personally lead at least 1 person to know Christ as their personal savior. Not that I know of yet.

# 7 : Spend more time growing my friendships. Definitely working on that. I've made plans to actually hang out with friends instead of just chatting with them through texts and it's been much better. I plan to spend Friday evening with a girlfriend (Hi Lisa )

# 8 : Join some kind of a small group. Haven't yet.

# 9 : Get more involved with our church. We signed up for a couple's retreat for this spring and also we are planning on doing a couple's conference and date night in Frankenmuth on the 11th of February.

# 10 : Become members at our church. DONE! We joined the church last Sunday!! On January 23rd!

# 11 : Finish at least 10 quilts. (For me!) The only thing I've sewn so far this year was 2 pairs of pj's for my mom. Haven't felt the pull towards my sewing machine yet. I think I'm still pretty burnt out from all my Christmas sewing.

# 12 : Read at least 75 books. I am working on book # 12 right now! I am 14.67% done!

# 13 : Keep my house cleaner! Yup! Doing great with this. Jack has really been a huge help, especially with how much I have been working the last months. Now that my last week at my office job is next week, I can definitely see me being much more on top of my housework... especially with my new vacuum. :) Can you tell I'm excited about it??

# 14 : Get to know my neighbors better. We did spend a few hours this month chatting with our neighbor on the north side of our house.

# 15 : Sing in front of my church congregation. Not yet.

# 16 : Save $20,000. I think I might ammend this... but maybe not. We are going to get back the $8,000 for the first time home buyer tax credit so that really only leaves us to save $12,000 plus the rest of our taxes, I think we will have a pretty good head start when we put all of our tax return money into savings. I think we also need to consider some type of CD.

# 17: Pray for my family and friends daily. I have been doing really well with this. So friends and family, know that you are thought about and prayed for!

# 18: Finish reading the Bible through the first time (I'm about 55% done) and read it a second time all the way through. Still going.

# 19: Rely on God for the big things and the little things. Working on that. Letting God lead us through the possibility of Foster Parenting currently.

# 20: Share my faith with at least 1 new person a week. I have really not been doing all that well with this. I am a part of a wonderful Christian forum where I do share my faith there daily, so maybe that should count for now. I need to become connected with more people in person and then I can begin sharing that way as well.

# 21: Find a person to bless each week. I haven't been 100% committed to this. The first week, naturally, I chose Jack. The second week, I chose a woman from the nursing home where I worked. I have to say it is absolutely better to give than receive. I have been more blessed by this than I can even put into words.

# 22: No Fast Food and No Pop. We have our weaknesses but I am happy to report I have not given in!

# 23: Paint my 2nd Bedroom. Hoping to pick a paint color this weekend. I don't know why I'm being so indecisive. I think it's because now that we are looking into Foster Care, we are planning that this room is going to be for our little ones and we wanted to make sure if that comes to fruition we will be ready with a room that is painted appropriately.

# 24: Learn something new. I can't say I've learned anything new yet.

# 25: Take a vacation. Hasn't happened yet, but I think that our 2011 Couple's Retreat with the church definitely counts as a vacation. It's just a weekend trip up north to a log cabin that we will be staying in together. We are also planning a trip to see Lancaster, PA and Washington, D.C. some time this Spring!

Weekend plans and goals

This weekend is going to be a busy one!

This evening, I work at the nursing home from 2:30 to 6:30, just to make dinner and clean a bit. Then tonight, I plan to finish all of the laundry so that we have a weekend full of everything else we have to do instead of making it about cleaning the house.

What we absolutely need to get done:
  1. Cut down a few trees to really build our firewood stash back up. We have learned that it really is nice to have a lot of the 4"-8" circumference instead of a lot of huge logs which is what we have whittled our wood pile down to. If we don't cut some trees down this weekend, we are going to run out of wood next week! So, no pressure. But I'm looking forward to it because we haven't fell any trees since the fall. Jack and I really work together well, especially when it comes to felling trees. He cuts the trees down and I stand off in the distance praying that nothing goes wrong and that he is safe. He seemingly effortlessly fells the tree and then he cuts it up as I backseat chainsaw and tell him which branches to cut off. It's really quite fun. Then while he's cutting the branches and trunk into sections, I load up the truck. The great thing about the size of the wood we cut is that I am capable of carrying it, if I can't, then the log is too big and needs to be cut smaller. I should really take pictures of this process because it's awesome.
Well I suppose that's the only thing that we absolutely need to get done.

What I would like to get done:
  1. Finally decide on a paint color for the bedroom upstairs.
  2. Buy said paint.
  3. Begin painting the bedroom and finish painting the bedroom. That will likely be the Sunday project.
  4. When we go to church, to pay for our registration for the couple's retreat we are going on in May.
  5. Also when we go to church, to pay for the couple's dinner we are going to on February 11th in Frankenmuth. I'm super excited about both of these events. Yay for resolution # 9!!
  6. Go buy a park pass for 2011. I keep meaning to go to the dog park with the dogs but it's been so darn cold and we've been so darn busy that I haven't had time. I think the park pass is $30 for the year. It's completely worth it and we use the snot out of it. We have so many county parks that are beautiful, one within a few miles of us here and then the dog park at Orion Oaks of course. If you go once, it's $6 for a day pass. Since in the summer we go a few times a week, it will definitely be worth it. The dog park is one of mine and Jack's favorite things to do together. We both love our dogs and find it super fun to go hang out at the dog park with 100 other dogs just running around. Plus everyone is always super interested in both of our dogs. Bessie is ridiculously fast and LOVES to play fetch with anyone and everyone who will throw her ball. Everyone is always amazed that she will remember who threw the ball last and will return each ball to each person. And, in the summer, when we take them swimming, Bessie amazes everyone by how she jumps off the dock as fast and as far as she can each time and by how fast of a swimmer and how competitive she is with the other dogs and getting the ball in the water too. And then of course, Dixie is enormous. People love that too.
Those are just the things I'm itching to do, I have no idea what's on Jack's to do list. I know that the trees on Saturday are definitely #1 on both of our to-do lists, but I'm not sure about everything else. Pretty much everything else on my other list is things that I do by myself.

But, so far, it's definitely shaping up to be a pretty busy and pretty full weekend!

Also, this Saturday was what Jack and I were planning to have a joint birthday party for the two of us because his birthday was last week and my birthday is next Sunday, but we are very happy that our birthdays are going to be much more low key this year! I think we try to hard and then end up disappointed, so this year we did exactly what Jack wanted for his birthday and it ended up very peaceful and fun! So hopefully my birthday will be the same. I mean, how can I not be happy about my birthday, I've been using my brand new Dyson for a week now and I am still in LOVE with it!

Hope everyone else has a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Book 11/75 Finished today!

It's amazing really, the more I read, the faster I read. I am almost all the way through my stack of library books. They aren't due until next week. I am thinking I won't have time to go to the library again until Friday after I get out of work.

I don't even have a list of books that I want to read. At this point, I kind of go into the library blindly and pick up whatever looks good and hope that there is a complete series there.

Anyway, on to the book.

Autumn's Promise by Shelley Shepard Gray

Summary from

Some promises are meant to be broken. . . .

Until Robert Miller met Lilly Allen, his world had been dark. A widower after only two years of marriage, he'd been living in a haze, feeling that, at twenty-four, his life was already over. But thanks to his friendship with Lilly, he now has new reasons to wake up each day. He knows his connection to her doesn't make sense. She's only nineteen, with a past the whole town talks about. Even more, she's not Amish, like Robert. A marriage between the two of them could never happen.

Lilly's heart is drawn to Robert, not to his faith. No matter how much she admires his quiet strength and dependability, she doesn't think she could ever give up her independence and reliance on the modern world. Is their love doomed before it even begins?

It was a good finish to the Seasons of Sugarcreek series. I wish there were more books, but I will settle for this.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Changes in the job department

Jack has applied for a new job and we are praying that he gets it. No details yet, but it would be an amazing opportunity to be sure :)

I put my notice in on Monday for my job at the office. After much thinking and praying about it, I am much better serving God through working at the nursing home than I am sitting in a chair 6 hours a day with nothing to do. I felt an enormous weight lifted off my shoulders. It's funny though, I emailed on Monday to let them know that my back was hurting and that I wasn't going to be in that day. And also because I wanted to be able to give them notice, I let my boss know then that my last day was going to be next Thursday.

So today, like every day, at 7:30am, I went to use my remote start to warm up my truck for 10-15 minutes before I drive to work. But I couldn't find my keys anywhere! And I realized that yesterday, I didn't even leave the house. And I only used my truck to move a load of wood from the back of the yard to the front and I used Jack's set of keys that he left on the counter. And those keys he had remembered to take with him to work. So I had to let my work know that my keys were with Jack on his way to Southfield.

Then this evening, on my way to the nursing home, I noticed that something seemed a little bit off with my breaks. I couldn't put my finger on it but it just barely registered on my "I-Better-Pay-Attention-To-That" scale. I was about 1/4 mile from the nursing home so I got there and worked for 4 hours. Then when it was time to drive home, backing out of the driveway I thought my breaks felt a little squishy but I mostly don't use the breaks out of the neighborhood so I didn't think too much about it. Then I was attempting to come to a stop before turning off the dirt road onto the main road and my breaks barely worked and I knew something wasn't right. I drove maybe 1/2 mile and then called Jack and explained what was going on. I asked if he wanted me to drive very slowly home and he said, No. You need to pull over right now.

So he drove to me, turns out there was a hole in my back break line. NOT GOOD! He dumped a bunch of brake fluid in and said okay we have to go home now so we can get home as quickly as we can while this slowly drains out. Any further away from home and we would have to have used our AAA membership to get a tow home. Oh the adventures that I have :) I drove Jack's truck home in front of him in my truck, in case he needed to stop and couldn't that I could be the cushion that stopped him. We made it home safely and he started taking the truck apart. By 8, he was about the make an autozone run and I asked him to just come in for dinner since neither one of us had eaten yet.

I emailed my boss and said, you're never going to believe this... and explained what happened. And also that ordinarily, if one of our vehicles was out of commission, that wouldn't be a problem... since we have 3 trucks and 1 jeep. My truck - No brakes. Jack's Jeep - No Water pump, was torn apart in the garage at the moment my brakes went out. That is unable to be driven. Jack's dually (truck #3) - Doesn't have plates and doesn't have insurance so it can't even be driven legally, not that we drive it in the winter at all. And then the last truck - Jack's Dakota, he drives to work. So I also explained that while normally my truck not being drivable wouldnt be a problem, this was the off chance that all of our other vehicles were unable to be used as well! I told him that I was pretty sure that God was trying to keep me away from them at this point! I'm fairly certain they are going to think I'm making it up, but my life is so crazy that I just can't make this kind of stuff up. I felt like one of those tv episodes where I felt like I needed to watch my back, someone had cut my brake lines!!! Dun dun dun!

I'm just thankful that God gave me the good sense to understand and know when something wasn't right and know how to handle the situation. (Even if that means to stop what I'm doing if it doesn't feel right and call my smart Husband :) ) I'm also thankful that God gave me such a handy husby <3

I've been taking the time to read since I've been not working this week. I've also been using my brand new vacuum that Husby and I got for our birthdays. I love love loooooove my Dyson Animal :) It works like a dream!

Book 10/75 Finished today!!

Spring's Renewal by Shelley Shepard Gray

Amazon's Review:
Tim Graber arrives in Sugarcreek to help his aunt and uncle with spring planting. At first, Tim doesn't fit in with his many cousins and their crowded lifestyle. But when he meets Clara Slabaugh, the local school teacher, he understands why the Lord brought him to Sugarcreek. Clara is shy and quiet. Scarred from a fire when she was small, Clara has resigned herself to living alone and caring for her mother, who tells her that no man will ever see past her scars, and that Clara needs to keep teaching in order to make ends meet. Her father passed away years ago, and her mother depends on her. But the scars mean nothing to Tim. He appreciates her quiet nature and her wonderful, loving way with children. Yet Tim has a sweetheart back home in Indiana. As these two hearts struggle to determine their path, tragedy strikes, and every other worry seems insignificant in comparison. Though they now face a life they never imagined, will Tim and Clara have the faith to step out and risk everything for a chance at true love?

Very cute book and a great follow up to the first book!

Book 9/75 Finished

Winter's Awakening by Shelley Shepard Gray

This is Book One in the Seasons of Sugar Creek series. I don't know why I'm so drawn to series, but I think it's because I love to keep on reading and reading and reading about the same set of characters!

Amazon's Review:

As the coldest winter on record blows into Sugarcreek, will three hearts have the courage to discover the life that God wants for them?

In the small Amish town of Sugarcreek, Ohio, Joshua knows what's expected of him: to work at the family store and to finally marry Gretta, whom he's courted for years. But when a new English family moves in next door—and their teenage daughter catches his eye—Joshua wonders if his future plans are too firmly set in stone.

Gretta is shocked by the sudden change in Joshua. Their arguments followed by tense silences feel too much like the frosty atmosphere at home between her parents. When Roland begins to take an interest in her, she considers what her life might be like with Joshua out of the picture. With Roland, Gretta would have steady, kind companionship...although she knows she could never love him.

When Lilly moved to Sugarcreek, she never imagined she'd be enamored with the Amish way of life—and especially with her handsome new neighbor, Joshua. But she guards a secret that will surely drive him away, one that compelled her family to leave their old home and move to Sugarcreek in the first place: Lilly is pregnant.

I really liked this book. I found it to be an easy read. I read it the night before last before bed while Jack read his book.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

We met with Pastor Jim today

I wasn't sure what he'd say or really what we were going there to see... but we kinda just wanted to update him in our life. The last time we met with him in person was almost exactly a year ago, we met with him to talk about all the crazy shennanigans that happened surrounding Jack's birthday last year and he helped us set up healthy boundaries to protect our marriage. We have talked through email but not in person for a long while.

He asked how everything was going with our infertility and we filled him in. We told him about how the doctors tried to blindly get me to have surgery that was going to cost me $1000's out of my pocket and that by the grace of God and a good friend, I didn't end up having that surgery and found out that God had healed all of my physical problems that stood in the way of getting pregnant and that we had Jack tested and found out that this was one ailment that only God could fix. We told him about how we went to the adoption seminar and felt a very clear NO this is not what I want you two to do right now from God. Then we told him about how God really used so many little things to whisper into our hearts about foster care.

He told us how hard it was going to be. How so many of these kids in foster care are sexually abused as well as physically. How these kids are going to be given back to their parents who more often than not are going to continue to abuse them. He told us how much it blessed his life to adopt his daughter and how difficult it has been for her birth mother to come back into her life unexpected and unwelcomed and how that has changed and been difficult for his daughter.

He basically gave us his blessing and said that he would love to help us through the process. He said to go sign up for classes and get going. He also said to go through with all of this until God speaks otherwise into our hearts. He also said he would get us set up with a few other parents in the church who have been foster parents. I'm really excited to move forward. I feel really really good about it!

I'm so glad we got to meet with him. If you haven't met him, you're missing out. Pastor Jim is an awesome dude. We're really blessed by him every time we hang out with him. Jack and him even stood for a few minutes and compared tire sizes on their trucks and lift heights.

Book 8/75 Finished Today

Hidden by Shelley Shepard Gray

Taken from

Anna has finally seen her abusive boyfriend for what he is, an overgrown bully, and she knows that she will have to go into hiding to escape him. Since Ron has completely bamboozled her family and support system she knows of only one place to run. She runs to the place where she has always felt completely safe - the Brenneman's Bed and Breakfast. Anna does not have much trouble fitting into the Brenneman's simple way of life as Amish plain folk, and it actually seems to help her to decide what she really wants out of life. Anna is glad she and Katie have stayed friends since the quilting class she took years ago. Now if only Katie's brother Henry would just stop jumping to conclusions about her.

The longer she stays the more she figures out what she wants in life. And the more that Henry learns where he might have misjudged her. Will Anna decide what is best for her or will Ron catch up with her? And will her parents abide by her decisions?

Hidden was a sweet and thoughtful story surrounding not just the simple lifestyle of the Amish. It deals with an individual's real path in life and also deals with actions of abuse, and how someone might get in too deep to see what is happening. I found I was drawn into this story from the beginning and when it ended I was hoping the next book in the series was already out, I'm not that lucky and am now left impatiently waiting for it to be printed. But, that is ok as it will allow me to share my thoughts on Hidden. I think Ms. Shepard Gray did a fine job in telling the story of Anna and what is really important in her life and where she is the most comfortable. It also shows the strength of a community that many see as too simple. I thoroughly enjoyed Hidden and hope you will also.

Good book! I picked it up to read last night while Jack was reading his new book that I got him for his birthday, Decision Points. It was so fun to be able to lay in bed and read with my husband. What a lovely and relaxing blessing!

I read the whole book cover to cover last night.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Meeting with Pastor Jim

On saturday afternoon we are meeting with Pastor Jim at his office. We are going to share with him that we are wanting to foster. He can kinda be difficult to get a hold of sometimes. This time when I emailed him, he replied in minutes! He seemed pretty excited to speak with us.

We are going to see if he personally knows of anyone at the Church that fosters. It would be great to hook up with someone to hear about their experiences and lessons learned.

I am looking forward to it for sure!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Reading books

I was reading an Amy Clipston book last night and as I read through the first chapters, I started to think that the story line sounded vaguely familiar.
By chapter three, I realized that I had read that book before! And the sequel! So that knocked out two of my books that I borrowed from the library. I think I have three left then I need to get some more. Amy Clipston is a great author by the way. Her first book is called Gift of Grace. Check it out!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy Birthdays!

Happy 23rd Birthday to my very favorite little brother! I love you Jimmers!

Jack's 30th birthday is on Wednesday :))

We were going to have a joint birthday party for the two of us in a few weeks, but we are a little over throwing get a together, we might still do it. But I have no idea, most likely not. I have always had birthday parties ever since I was 13 or 14 years old and my dad let me have parties and invite all my friends. When I got older, my dad always ended up out of town on my birthday because he has a tradition with his friends to go on some sort of a cruise during the Super Bowl which always ended up the weekend of my birthday. So lucky me, I always got to continue throwing parties ;)

This year, my birthday is actually Superbowl Sunday.

But back to Jack's birthday! His birthday is Wednesday and he and I are going to go out to eat. We both gave up pop for our new year's resolution (one of them lol) and neither of us has touched it (as far as I know) and I think we'll get pop on his birthday haha. He wants to go to BW3's. Pop and hot wings... perfect way to ring in the 30th year!

On Friday, Jack's Dad, Mom, brother Daren and his fianceƩ Kelly are all coming over for dinner. Jack still hasn't decided what he wants to have for dinner. Then on Sunday, my Dad and Kelly were going to take Jack (and I) out to dinner at a steakhouse by our house. All week long we will be celebrating Jack's birthday. If he wanted to forget that he's turning 30, he can forget it!

I got him a present that I know he's going to like.

Oh yeah, and the day after Jack's birthday is our "official" 5th anniversary from our "official" first date. We have been dating since the fall of 2005, but our official first date where we called it a date and had our first kiss, that was January 20th ;)

And after that... it's MY birthday :)

Listening to that still small voice.

My whole life, I have had a passion and a heart for those who come from a not-so-perfect family and home life. I have always been attracted to those who are hurting or who need help in some way or another and I have always done whatever I could to help out. I know what it's like to not want to be at home and to feel like your world is falling apart as a child, and my heart breaks for people in that situation. Somehow God has always brought people who are or who have hurt in that way into my life. I don't ever know when I first meet these people, but I am instantly pulled towards them.

I would seek out the new person in school and be their friend, only to later find out that her dad beat her and she needed someone with the courage to stand up and let someone know. I went with her to the police liason at our high school while she filed a police report. I would feel drawn to the quiet person in the back of the classroom, only to find out later that their boyfriend made them have an abortion and it was the biggest regret of her life. Anyone who was hurting in any way immediately got my attention and I did what I could to help, even if it was just be there and listen.

Jack came from a completely different household and home life than I did, and because of this he had never experienced these situations first hand. He also was blessed to live in a community where the people he knew and was friends with never had to go through most of these types of heartaches.

When we first began to struggle with infertility and with medical problems concerning infertility during the first year we were trying to get pregnant, I asked Jack at what point would we consider adoption. He said after we had been trying two years. In a few weeks, we will lament over our third anniversary of trying to add to our family. I had felt a small tug towards foster care from early on, but never wanted to give in to that feeling. I was like Jack, we wanted to conceive children. We wanted our son to have my eyes and Jack's nose. We wanted to be able to look at little people that were half of me and half of him. What we wanted was only natural. We were made to reproduce, right?

After months of fertility treatments and over $10,000 out of pocket expenses for tests and treatments and diagnostics, I was at my end. I began to pray more for answers of what do we do next. That is when Jack and I finally went and checked out the adoption seminar. The idea of going to that seminar was what motivated and inspired me to start this blog to share with the world that experience. And that experience of God opening our hearts to adoption.

It turned out that neither of us in any way felt any sort of pull towards infant adoption. We weren't ready. We left the seminar and I cried most of the way home. I was overwhelmed and unsure and surrounded by families who had to be hurting and confused in the same manner that we were, and they just wanted to be parents, like us.

Not very long after that, while listening to my normal Christian Radio station that I listen to all day, every day, God began to speak to my heart... through Bethany Christian Services' radio ads about Foster Parenting. The advertisement talked about how these children just need a safe and loving home environment to go to after they are ripped from their home. These kids are abused and neglected and mistreated and hurting more than most can even imagine. Bethany just asked if anyone out there had room in their hearts or in their home to give these children a refuge for a little while, then to give them a call.

I knew after our seminar with Bethany on domestic infant adoption that Jack would not be open to it. I talked to him about it a little bit and he had no understanding for the kind of suffering that can happen to a child when they are abused or neglected at home. When their parents who are given the gift of a child squander it and allow their lives to be run by addictions or anything else that leaves them neglectful or abusive to their children. These children desperately need someone just to love them for them, someone who will feed them dinner at night so they don't go to bed hungry, someone to push them on the swing at the park, or show up to their school play and just support them. I knew that someone could be us!

I told a few close friends about how I felt like God was really calling me to do this and that I knew that Jack wasn't there. I knew that Jack's heart wasn't in it and there was no way it could happen if it wasn't that way. My dear friend encouraged me to pray for Jack and for God to soften his heart. And I spent months praying. Of course my prayers weren't the most loving at times, in my desperate hours of wanting so deeply to become a parent.

Then one day, as clear as day, I was walking upstairs and putting laundry away and praying for Jack. God, please help me change Jack's heart. And immediately, I heard that small voice answer, That's my job. I will do it. Right then, I felt this huge weight lift off my shoulder. I changed the way I was praying for Jack and for his heart to be opened, I began to pray for God to reveal the need of these children and the very real pain that they were going through to Jack. I prayed for God to open Jack's eyes to suffering that he had never seen before and for God to show Jack that there was something that we could do to help.

At church a few weeks ago, there was a small boy sitting all alone in the front row of the church. We were sitting the next aisle over, in the second row back so we could see his face very clearly. During the worship time, while the band played and the worship leaders sang, this little boy sat in the front row singing his little heart out. He couldn't have been more than 10, but he sang with his arms held high and his eyes closed. Just worshipping and loving every minute of it. I elbowed Jack and nodded towards the boy.

After we got out of church, I asked Jack what he thought of the little boy. I told him that I saw that little boy as a possible foster child. That we might be the only chance these children ever get to go to church or be involved in any way in a community. We might be the only way that they will ever hear the Gospel and hear that no matter what, Jesus loves them and God sent Jesus to die for them so that they may have eternal life in Heaven with Him. Jack said that he felt the exact same way.

We began to talk more and more about the practicality of Foster Parenting. Still not having done any research on Michigan regulations or talking with a social worker, we talked about what little we did understand of it. That these children would just need a temporary home. That we would be serving God by opening our hearts and our home to them. We talked about fears of parenting and concluded that there was NO way we would do more harm to them than the situations that they came from. There was no way that our home wouldn't be a positive in their life that was so full of negatives.

More and more that we talked about it, I finally started to look up some rules and regulations for Foster Parenting in Michigan. I was surprised to see how open they were to Foster Parents. You can be single or married, owing your home or renting, you may even live in an apartment. You can work full time, or stay at home. They just need good, moral, law abiding and loving families to take these children in who literally have no place else to go, and they can't go home.

Jack said to me, "So... what happens if this kid comes to live with us and we fall head over heels in love with him, and then we have to give him back to his parents?" I said, "Jack, that IS what's going to happen." We WILL fall head over heels in love with these children. We were made to be parents and both of us have this extreme love for children. And the primary goal of foster care is to help these families while they get their lives back on track and then they can bring their kids home. To work with these families in rehabilitation to get these kids back to a safe home, and in the mean time, to keep them in a safe home where they are loved and cared for in every way.

While researching Foster Care, we discovered room size regulations and last night we measured our other bedrooms. Both bedrooms, by their standards and regulations, can hold up to 3 children each! We could technically have 6 children in our home!

We discussed how we would like to be able to be more financially stable and secure before doing this so that I would be able to stay home with the kids. That was always our plan, that when we had kids, I would stay home. Most likely, what we were thinking, was that I would only work one job instead of the two that put me over 45 hours each week. The more we researched it, we discovered that they will give stipends for child care if need be, they also financially provide for clothing for each season change and birthday gifts and christmas gifts. We were shocked, we had no idea that we would have that much help and we were willing to do this before we found that out!

As we read through the rules about foster parenting, we were disgusted by the fact that some rules even had to be there. "The foster children must eat at the table with the rest of the family." Are there really families who would not allow these children to eat at the same table? The last thing these children need is to have one more group of people making them feel like they're not worth anything! Or, "The foster child's bedroom must be free of major appliances." So these children were put in bedrooms that were actually the laundry room or something like that. Or the furnace room! What on earth? How is this even happening? These kids are so broken hearted already and then they get put into a foster home where these foster "parents" treat them like slaves? One more that was another should-be-not-mentioned-and-common-sense: "Children can only do age appropriate tasks or chores." Again, these poor children are basically treated like slaves and being made to do things that are far above what they should ever be expected to do. It's terrifying to think about these poor children being removed from abusive environments, supposed to be protected, yet placed into another abusive environment.

We wouldn't do any of those things. We would never abuse these poor children in any way.

We watched a video on Bethany's website about Fostering and this woman was talking about how they almost immediately in their marriage started fostering children and they were 25, 26 years old, fostering children who were 17 and 18. She was laughing at all the strange looks that they would get. And she also said, she felt like God said to her, "If not you, then who? And if not now, then when?" That really resonated with me, and it speaks volumes in my heart. It is like God is saying to me, "what are you waiting for??"

While there is still a constant ache in our heart, especially with our third anniversary of trying to conceive approaching, I feel this amazing joy and hope for what's to come. I feel like when we paint our upstairs bedroom for it to be the kids' room, it really will have a child residing in there. Whether God gives us this child for a week, or a month, or 15 years, we will be so grateful for every minute that we get to be parents. Maybe God will still allow us to conceive, maybe not. But we aren't going to stand in our own way. We aren't going to stop ourselves and make excuses about why we can't or won't foster parent, when we are more than capable and called to do it!

The Bible says in James 1:27, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."

My job at the nursing home really blesses me in so many ways that I never thought possible. It is such an honor to be able to help these women who are widows, all at the end of their lives on this Earth and to see how big of an impact just a little kindness and compassion has on them is just overwhelming. By doing so little, I can change their lives so much.

Now I can also see that by doing so very little, Jack and I can change and have the opportunity to better these children's lives, even if just for a small amount of time. Nothing that God does is by accident, and, if it truly is God's will for us to be Foster Parents, each and every child He brings into our home will be by divine appointment. Each of these children will have certain needs that we will be given the opportunity to meet in their lives, and at the same time, each one of these children will be there to meet needs in our lives.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Finished book 7/75 today!

This Side of Heaven by Karen Kingsbury.

I've read quite a few of Karen's books before but none of them ever struck me as much as this one.

I am really wondering how I walked into the library blindly and grabbed as many Christian Fiction books as I could in a short time and the first 3 have been such amazing books!

This book is a real tear jerker, but if you're anything like me, you won't like anything unless it has a happy ending. So, let me assure you, this book does in fact have a happy ending.

From Amazon:

Christian fiction author Kingsbury is well loved by her fans, and this newest story, based loosely upon her own brother's death, will further endear her to her faithful readers. Kingsbury tells the story of a strained relationship between picture-perfect Nate and Annie Warren, whose son, Josh, a tow truck driver, has been a disappointment to them. Even though Josh's mistakes are now history, his current joblessness—owing to a drunk driver's recklessness—serves to ratchet up his parental disapproval rating. Only a few people know the truth: Josh is a real-life hero and his one heart's desire is to be united with a daughter he's never met. When Josh's life is struck again by tragedy, his immediate family must come to grips with the recognition that they never really cared enough to ultimately know their son. Kingsbury does a fine job communicating the emotional struggles of individuals, and readers will resonate with her characters' sorrows and losses. Yet much of the story is formulaic, which detracts from its otherwise powerful message about acceptance.

Check this book out :)
Don't forget to read the letter from Karen at the end. This book is inspired by the real life story of her own brother, Dave.

In Memory of Eleanor

One of the residents, Eleanor, passed away on Sunday. Her family came to the house so that one of her children who lives in Colorado could see where she has been living the last bit of her life since he never saw it. They all loved visiting with the girls and they even visited with me a little bit, even though I only had known Eleanor for a month or so. She was such a sweet lady.

You can search her on Amazon. She was a children's book illustrator. She had a few drawings hanging in her room that were just amazing. Why on earth did I never snap a picture of these?? That is a huge regret of mine for sure!

She was this spunky lady who didn't talk very much. I liked Eleanor, makes me sad that she's gone and I won't see her again for a long (God willing) while. I did know that she believed in Jesus and loved Him and accepted Him as her Savior so I know I will see her when I get to Heaven. :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Book 6/75 Finished

I'm plugging right along!

Book 6 / 75 : Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen.

I read another one of her books, The Apothecary's Daughter, last year when I first got my iPhone. I downloaded the free kindle app and then that was one of the first free books that I downloaded and read on my kindle app. It was a really good book!

Lady of Milkweed Manor was just as good... and it turns out, this was Julie's first book!

Another great book! It had so many twists and turns from the first page to the last, I was always surprised.

From the Author's website:

Even a proper vicar's daughter can make a mistake…and now Charlotte Lamb must pay a high price for her fall. To avoid the prying eyes of all who know her, she hides herself away in London's forbidding “Milkweed Manor,” a place of mystery and lore, of old secrets and new birth.

But once there, she comes face to face with a suitor from her past--a man who now hides secrets of his own. Both are determined, with God's help, to protect those they love. But neither can imagine the depth of sacrifice that will be required.

Sprinkled with fascinating details about the lives of women in Regency England, Lady of Milkweed Manor is a moving romantic drama about the redemption of past failings and the beauty of sacrificial love.

The bottom line is that this book shows us how God knows the bigger picture and weaves all things for the good of those who love him. It is so subtle and though God and His plans are not the main focus of the book, when you put the book down after reading the last paragraphs, you will feel an overwhelming sense of how great and amazing His plans are.

Great book! Go borrow it from your library today!

And at that, I also recommend The Apothecary's Daughter. Good book too :)

Transition period

One of the residents at the Nursing Home where I work passed away on Sunday. Another is 96 years old and has been on hospice for a month or more, and the owner is not in any way expecting her to make it through the month either. And yet another one of the girls is in the hospital because she is having complications from a lung transplant and may need to be on IV antibiotics and our small home can't do that legally because we don't have a doctor on call or an RN on staff. So we might be losing that resident as well, we will see on that one, depending on the diagnosis and prognosis from the doctors. There are 7 residents... so to be down 3 in such a short period of time is a big shock.

There are referrals coming out of the owner's ears and the phones have been ringing off the hook since I started working there hoping to be placed in the home, so I don't think the transition period will last all that long, but there is a potential for three new people. So far, and for sure we know there will be one new person coming, and hopefully very soon. If there is some lag time in between clients in the home, I will be looking at some lay off time. Which will be lovely in that I won't be working two jobs, but who wants to get laid off?

Jack has been plotting and planning to find a way to buy me the birthday present that I so desire this year. Jack will be 30 on January 19th and I will be 25 on February 6th, and I wanted us to get something good this year... so, I asked Jack to find a way to get us:

Dyson DC28 Animal.

All the reviews on this puppy are top notch and I am so beyond pumped to imagine cleaning my house with one of these suckers! And by suckers, I really mean suckers.

Alright it's 10pm and Jack should be home soon from taking my mom home (I picked her up and cooked her dinner, she lives about 10 minutes down the road from me!) and putting gas in my truck. He's such a crafty little bugger, I just wish he'd get home sometime soon so we can head to bed!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Book 5/75 Finished Today.

Shadows of Lancaster County by Mindy Starns Clark.

WOW is all I can say. This wasn't really Amish Fiction per-say... and I only picked it up by chance because it was sitting a row away from some of the other books I picked out. This was an awesome book. I started it at probably 5:30 and just finished it at 9pm. That was a GOOD book. A page turner is not usually something you find in that kind of good, clean fiction. Definitely give that ✮✮✮✮✮!

I borrowed this review from a reader on Barnes & Noble online.

I dare say I have discovered the perfect suspense/mystery novel today when I finished Shadows of Lancaster County by Mindy Starns Clark.

Phenomenal. Intelligent. Masterful. Complex. Amazingly well-written, and full of intrigue. These are a few of the things that come to mind as I reflect on the mystery/suspense aspects of the story. The entire novel was edge-of-your-seat suspense, but there was also a very complex and believeable plot that thankfully didn't insult my intelligence. By that I mean it was easy to follow but brilliantly plotted. I learned a lot while putting the pieces of the mystery puzzle together.

And the red herrings actually worked! Plus, the "surprise" at the end was totally believable, which is often not the case. Sheesh, I don't even like mysteries or suspense novels all that much but even I was riveted to the text. The romantic element was pleasurable, too. This was simply an incredible story that captivated me from start to finish. It's going to make my best fiction list, too.

One final note. I love it when I am so into a story that even I don't know who to trust. Did I mention this was an incredible story? It's one not to miss.

Definitely worth reading!!

I had a productive day so far... and it's only 4pm.

Today, I:
- vacuumed downstairs and upstairs

- returned drapes and got new ones, along with a small trash can for our bedroom and a small wire basket to hold our potatoes and onions in the pantry so they don't keep going bad.
Color closeup

This is how it looks with the color in the living room. (Of course, it will look much different once it's not so bright outside.)

- went to Pier1 and got some new gems for my candle holder and a new candle to go with my new drapes in my formal dining room.
(Sitting on top of my Cocobolo wood placemats my Dad and Kelly gave me for my birthday last year.)


- got some small apothecary bottles for our bathroom so that I can keep mine and Jack's vitamins out on the counter so that we remember to take them, but this way they aren't in ugly vitamin bottles. Now they look all pretty:

- bought a stand to hold the decorative pie dish that my dad's Kelly got me.

- went to the library and got 10 more books to go towards my 75 books.


Now I'm sitting down to get started with my next book.

Playing hookey today (and testing out a new iPhone app)

This is my first post from a blogging app that Jack bought for us on our iPhones. Cross your fingers that it works!

I'm playing hookey from work today! Jack wakes up usually an hour before me because even though he starts work at the same time, he has about an hour drive to get to work where my drive is between 10 and 15 minutes, depending which job I'm driving to. My alarm goes off at 6:37am and for some reason at a certain point where Jack is out of the shower and getting dressed in the morning, I inevitably wake up and ask him what time it is. Every day he answers with a time that is somewhere between 6:29 and 6:36am. Never fails. Today was 6:30.

And in the morning if Jack is in a bad mood, his bad mood will literally wake me up out of a dead sleep. I'm not sure how, but it really does. I'll wake up, roll over and ask him what's wrong. This morning, Jack had the good fortune of taking a cold shower. Apparently the fire went out through the night.

(We have an outdoor wood burning stove that heats our house and our hot water.)

Since this is our first winter with the wood burner, we are still learning how to burn our wood most effectively and efficiently. The last few days as we are really settling in to the cold of winter we are struggling to keep the fire lit. Sometimes the logs are too big and when they burn down they get suspended over the coals and the fire extinguishes or sometimes the ashes need to be cleaned out or raked forward. It's an artform apparently and as we fumble through, sometimes we wake up to cold water. In that event, Jack bundles up and goes outside to stock the fire and shuffle logs around.

Which brings me back to this morning. Jacks grumblings about his cold shower woke me up exactly 7 minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off. As Jack went outside to stock a d rearrange the fire, I penned (is that still the right word since we are now in this technology stage?) an email to my boss and coworkers letting them know I wouldn't be in today. Luckily, I'm not a very important person at my work, so I'm not really missed when I'm not there.

Today, I plan to make the most of my day off and home by myself. I had forgotten how nice it was to just have the house to myself! I plan to do some deep cleaning in the bathrooms and organize my closet a bit. I want to get some sewing done and go return those drapes and bring home the replacements. I plan on having a very productive day. :)

So good morning all & happy Monday!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

All's quiet on the Irons Front

It was an incredibly busy week for me this week. I worked only Monday through Thursday, but on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I left the house at 7:45 am and didn't get home until 8:15 pm. I was exhausted, to say the least. Friday morning I had court for a speeding ticket that I got back in October. Thankfully, no points but unfortunately, $130 fine. Shucks.

This weekend was a lazy one for me. I was so exhausted from being so busy and running from place to place and thing to thing all week that I basically did nothing. On Saturday, we had absolutely nothing to do, and thanks to my wonderful husband, the house was completely clean so I didn't need to catch up on laundry or on housework! We trekked to Target and bought some dog food and a big box of fruit snacks that was only $5! (There were 50 pouches!) I eye'd some faux silk drapes that I wanted for the formal dining room, but in the end decided against them.

Today we woke up and headed to church. Loved every minute of Pastor Jim's sermon and the music was great too (nice job Jeff!). After church we were thinking of going to see a movie at the theater but then I decided I would rather spend money on drapes to finally cover that doorwall (it's only been naked since we moved in 8 months ago!) so we went shopping again. Jack really liked these brown ones with embroidered flowers on them and I was really leaning towards the faux silk that had the insulated lining in them too. But really for the faux silk, the color was what was drawing me to them. Both of the different colors are a deep vibrant color.

Jack hung them and I really didn't like how much light they let in, you can barely see the color of the drapes and that was the whole idea behind putting them up. Our formal dining room only has the off-white color on the walls and doesn't have any other color in there besides one stitchery that my mom made and I inherited.

Formal Dining Room before

Jack working on it

Happy Husband


This is where I decided that the curtains let way too much light in and they weren't what I was looking for. I was looking for a stark color to brighten up the room, and this just wasn't the look I was going for. It was much too airy.

This is after dark. This is more the look I was thinking about, but I don't know how the curtains match each other with that pattern on it, with both of the panels the same. This is when I decided for sure that those two curtains are going back and I am going to try the deep red or the deep blue. We will see!

What do you think?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Book 2/75 Finished today.

A Miracle for Miriam by Kathleen Fuller

Very cute Amish Romance. Pretty short story.

Miriam fell for Seth, but he broke her heart. Years later, after he's nearly killed in an accident, Miriam sees him at a Christmas party and notices something is different about him-not just how he looks, but how he acts. When Seth pursues her, she must decide whether to guard her heart or accept his love.

(Summary is from the Author's website.)

Monday, January 3, 2011

30 for my 30th year! My 2011 Resolutions

# 1 : Spend a lot more time studying and reading the Bible and learn as much as I can.

# 2 : Take the time to get to know my wife better. Get to know her needs and be able to fulfill them without constantly having to ask. Fall deeper in love.

# 3 : Lose 30 pounds (or get into the physical shape that I want to be. I'm guessing it's about 30 pounds that I'll shed while doing it.)

# 4 : Get Allison Pregnant.

#5 :
Personally lead at least 1 person to know Christ as their personal savior.

# 6 : Don't be lazy.

# 7 : Spend more time growing my friendships.

# 8 : Join some kind of a small group.

# 9 : Get more involved with our church.

# 10 : Become members at our church.

# 11 : Be more open and willing to share my faith and less inhibited about my worshipping.

# 12 : Maintain our vehicles better and not get behind on oil changes and rust prevention and rust fixing.

# 13 : Keep up on my chores.

# 14 : Get to know my neighbors better.

# 15 : Be careful with my back and take my time so that I don't injure my back, and when I do, take care of it with the chiropractor as soon as I can.

# 16 : Save $10,000.

# 17: Pray for my family and friends daily.

# 18: Build a Shed.

# 19: Rely on God for the big things and the little things.

# 20: Strike up a conversation with one stranger and share my faith.

# 21: Find a person to bless each week.

# 22: No Fast Food and No Pop.

# 23: Paint our 2nd Bedroom. When we moved in, that room was determined for the "nursery." We may or may not ever have a nursery and I have not been able to bring myself to paint it since my plans were to paint it blue or pink, and obviously we woudn't know if it should be blue or pink until I was pregnant. We've lived here 8 months and I still haven't painted it and I'm still not pregnant. I am going to paint the room and finish it as a guest bedroom. I am letting go of that room as a possibility and if God allows us to get pregnant and gives us a body to put in our nursery, I can re=paint. If not, I will be content with off-white walls.

# 24: Learn something new.

# 25: Take a vacation. Go up to Trout Lake and relax and bring our dirtbikes and let the dogs swim and go off roading in the jeep. And bring as many of our loved ones up there as possible. And go camping!

# 26: Spend more time riding my dirt bike.

# 27: Keep my garage organized and remember to lock it.

# 28: Insulate the garage.

# 29: Start really saving for the pole barn and getting ready to figure out where to put it.

# 30: Give more of my time to my church.

This is going to be a long week.

I have a court date on Friday for a speeding ticket I got two months ago. 5 over. BLAH! I haven't had a speeding ticket since I was 17 years old. Oh well... do the crime, pay the fine.

So because of that, I won't be able to work my normal Friday morning shift at the group home.

J, the owner of the group home, suggested that I work until 8pm instead of 6:30pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to make up my hours and then just take all of Friday off.

So I am going to be working from 8am to 8pm the next 3 days... But I will have Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. That will make for a long week.

These two jobs leave me utterly exhausted on the weekends! :) But I really do love them both so it's a good kind of exhausted.

I also went to the chiropractor today. I've been having back problems from lifting the women at the group home. He literally had to re-align every single vertebrae in my spine and my hips and knees. Yeah... no wonder I was in pain this weekend! I feel so much better! I love our Chiropractor. He's a miracle worker, I swear!

It's 8:30 and Jack and I got all of our chores done and watched some videos on Now I'm planning on getting started on book #2. I made a list of books I want to check out too. I'm pretty excited to start some new series.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Finished reading book 1 / 75

White Christmas Pie by Wanda Brunstetter.

Very cute story about a boy who was left with an Amish family while his dad, Frank, was out doing a trucking run. His dad had an accident a few days after leaving him with this Amish family and was stuck in the hospital for many months recovering. By the time he made it back to pick up his son, it had been a year since he left his son there. The Amish family moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio and no one in Pennsylvania knew of that family any more. This man, discouraged, went on to miss his son terribly for the next 16 years.

Meanwhile, his son, Will, grew up a happy Amish boy who struggled with his Dad's disappearance and struggled with feelings of abandonment. As his wedding with Karen got closer, he wondered if he would turn into the same kind of man his real father was. While this Amish family loved him and raised him as one of their own sons, he still wished that his real Dad hadn't left him without even so much as a note or ever contacting them again.

On Will's 22nd birthday, Frank's new wife noticed that Frank was incredibly depressed. She ran an ad in The Budget (Amish Newspaper) searching for Will with Frank's phone number. The Amish family saw the ad and contacted Frank immediately and let him know they had moved to Ohio, and also invited them for Thanksgiving dinner.

Will and his dad are reunited over Thanksgiving dinner and Will is still bitter about being left without an explanation and storms out without giving his dad a chance to explain leaving his adoptive parents and fiancee in the cold. Will gets in a buggy accident and severs an artery in his leg and almost bleeds out. While his adoptive dad is taking his fiancee home, they discover him and hurry him to the hospital.

Turns out, Will has a rare blood type and he needs a blood transfusion. His real dad offers up his blood and Will makes a full recovery. All misunderstandings are hashed out and Will and Karen get married and they all patch up their differences.

Very cute story!

I love Wanda Brunstetter's books. This one was a very quick read, it only took me a few hours today.

Also, check out my list on the side of the blog!

Well, my facebook is going away too...

I've decided that Allison is 100% correct about her facebook convictions. I too have decided to delete mine. I posted in my status that I'm going to be deleting it to give anyone a chance to swap contact info a chance if we don't already talk on a regular basis. That's all for now. Love you Allison.

I'm so grateful!

I just wanted to say how grateful I am to all of you who wanted to stay in contact! We are so overwhelmed with love and support :) So hi to you all and much love to you all! I had no idea that many people were reading and keeping up on what we were sharing.

What an amazing start to the new year!

On New Year's Eve, we had Jack's brother, Daren, and his fiance, Kelly, over for dinner. We had cheese fondue (and silly me, I didn't take any pictures, so I will have to get Kelly to email them to me.) It was a pretty impressive spread. Lots of different dippers of different kinds of breads and crackers and also lots of fruits and vegetables. Then we relaxed for a while and came back for round two and had chocolate fondue with an equally impressive set of dippers. This is the third new year that the four of us have rang in together. 2007, 2009 and 2011! We should make it our tradition because we just have such a good time. We are incredibly blessed to have family that are our best friends too.

Today is my dad's 56th birthday! We went to his house for a party for him this afternoon. Happy birthday Dad!

Yesterday, thanks to the unseasonably warm weather, Jack and I went and got a whole load of wood from one of Jack's friends who has a tree trimming business who saves wood for us. We brought back 3-4 weeks worth of wood for our wood burning stove to heat our house. I'm so thankful we made that decision to buy that before this winter. We spent about $9,500 on it all together and so far this winter, I would guess we have probably saved about $800-$1000 worth of propane by using it and burning wood we got for free.

Our wood pile isn't all the way back to what it was before winter, but it is probably enough to get us through until the weather comes back above freezing again. We have another almost full load full of wood back at Jack's friends house and then we have a full tree that we cut down and couldn't haul back to our house from the in-law's property that should still be there. It's an hour drive from our house to out there though, so we haven't made it back out there yet to get it. Maybe 45 minutes but still it's a hike.

I am starting to calm down and relax after all of the holiday festivities for the past few months and I'm starting to get back into the swing of things. We drove past the library today and I realized that I can't wait to get working on my 75 book goal. I think I'm going to make a tally of the books I read on a side bar at the side of the blog here. That way I can keep track of exactly what books I read, plus people can see what I'm reading and follow along if they want to or ask for book reviews. I'm also realizing that in 17 days Jack will turn 30. I think we might have a party for him, but I'm not sure. And then my 25th birthday is in 5 weeks. Maybe we will have a combo birthday party since there's only a couple weeks in between. That would be fun.

It's only 5:16 and the dogs have been out, we ate until we were stuffed at my dad's birthday party and now there's a load of laundry finishing in the washer and one more ready to go in and we will have all of all of our laundry done and ready for the week. I think I'm going to go pick up a book and get started on my book reading goal.

Hope you all had a very happy and safe New Year!