Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Happy Birthday to my very best friend!!

Today is my dear friend's 25th Birthday!!

Happy 25th Birthday Ashley!!


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Connections breakfast

We woke up early (well earlier than normal to get up and get dressed and go out in public) this morning and headed up to church at 9am for a connections breakfast for new members and visitors. Basically, because our congregation is so large, it's just an opportunity for new members to come together and meet the pastoral staff and get to know where they can be involved and who heads up what ministry.

It was fun to hear Pastor Jim tell the story of how he came to Faith and how he then was called to The Point and then called to The Rock and finally, our church, The River. We knew a lot of the story as we've been attending one of his churches since 2006, but we finally have settled where we are going to stay and we have joined The River in our home town. It was fun to hear the history again of the church and Pastor Jim's history and testimony in a more one on one.

Pastor Jim was one of our references that we used for Foster Care and he actually came up to us this morning and asked if we had heard anything from the agency yet. That was fun to be able to sit there and talk about what we've got going on too!

Also at this breakfast, I was able to chat for a few minutes with Pastor Jim's wife, Carole, who is the head of the women's ministries, as well as the other woman who is the campus head of the women's ministries. Both Carole and Leah basically said, if we don't have a women's group.... we are willing to start it! Jack said he had been feeling for a while that I need to be prepared to step up and start a ministry for couples struggling with infertility, so I'm thinking that maybe that might be something I will do! Actually, after I typed that last sentence, I clicked over to my email and quickly wrote an email to Carole! Hopefully that gets the ball rolling.

Not sure what we are going to do for the rest of the night, but this afternoon Jack is out four wheeling with his buddy. I bet you he comes back covered in mud from head to toe after getting his jeep stuck. Ahh boys :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Moving right along...

Today Jack took a vacation day from work. His maybe 3rd day that he has not been at work in over a year now. Even sick and with his back out, my trooper goes to work! (Sending a little love and appreciation my husby's way right now :-* )

What a better way to spend our day off (aside from sorting out some college stuff) than to move forward with our foster care preparations. We wanted to go to the minute clinic to get our medical form filled out since we don't have a primary care physician but it turns out minute clinics just have Nurse Practitioners and not Physicians so we can't go there. Bummer, that would have saved us some dough and some time.

But in other news, we did find a doctor's office relatively close to home and I like their attitude over the phone, so I think we will go with them... unfortunately, their office hours are not conducive to Jack being able to get there without taking some time off of work... so that won't do. Anyone know a doctor we can go make friends with and have him do this for us on his time off? Anyone? Beuller? Beuller?

We will just have to figure that out next week or something.

We did, however, get our fingerprints done and got our police clearance! And I was able to talk to the girl at the office about our emergency plans... we apparently need to have a tornado plan and a fire plan, written and drawn out. Sweet. I can do that.

We need only a few more things, just pet vaccinations, which they are due at the vet in a couple weeks anyhow, so they can have all of their vaccinations from there. And, let's see... Not much left on our check off list!

So hurray for progress!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Infertility surprises me.

On Monday night, I went with my best friend's mom, who just recently started going to our church, to a Women of the Word event. Basically, it begins at 6pm with an hour of prayer time, then Pastor's wife does a 45 minute sermon and then after that the women are dismissed to all sorts of different bible classes that you can pick from. All was going well until about the last 10 minutes of the sermon. Suddenly I was reminded why the Spring is the most difficult time of year for Jack and I. Mother's Day and Father's Day. Barf.

The sermon went from "Bloom where you are planted" very quickly to "What Are Mother's Day Plans?" I felt like disappearing.

All of a sudden, I was reminded how once again, I don't fit in. I'm not a mother. I couldn't run out of that place fast enough.

I have been in a funk since :/

Jack and I have been wanting to try the couple's class on Wednesday nights but now I'm afraid the same thing will happen. I hate infertility. I hate the isolation that comes with it. It's 6:22pm and it starts at 6:30. Somehow, another week has gone by where we have been able to talk ourselves out of going.

I hope this is our last Mother's Day and Father's Day without children.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Can I get a double thumbs down??

Now, if you know me at all, you know that I am never the one to complain about crazy Michigan weather... or long winters. I love Michigan and I love the weather here.

But this... this just isn't cool.

It's March 22nd.

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This sort of weather is leaving us finding other ways to amuse ourselves.

So I decided to share with my faithful readers an odd tid-bit about our house... or rather, something in our house.

Please, do not be offended. I just want to prepare you in advance, what you're about to see is a little racy.

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From the first day we put these cabinets up, Jack and I have spent countless time just laughing at this.

The weather lately has inspired a little silliness... which inspired this:

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In other not so exciting news...
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I painted the door to our laundry room the other day. I don't know why I waited so long! Why do I wait so long to do such simple things that make such a huge difference in the look of our house? The color is Snow White :)

Oh yea, that is a little doggy treat jar. That's Bessie's. For her first birthday, my mom came to visit us in Wisconsin. Bessie is also our first baby, so we constantly and incessantly gushed about how smart she is and all that she could do. In Bessie's defense, she really is the smartest dog I've ever seen. So anyway, I digress, the dog treat thinger... My mom thought it was so cute and was sure that Bessie would never figure out how to use it. It took me about 5 minutes to teach her how to use it... and she's been using it ever since. She likes to be entertained and that's actually how she eats her food... so it's not treats in it, that's her actual dog food. Another random Irons household ditty.



Here's Bessie being taught how to do it for the first time in 2008. Bessie just turned 3 this past Christmas, so she's been eating like this for two years.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thursday's Foster Parenting Class

I haven't had a chance to write about what happened at our most recent Foster Parenting class from Thursday.

First of all, the girl teaching the class (yes, I intentionally wrote girl because I'm pretty sure she was 19 years old at most) was a big air head. She seemed to really have a passion for the class, but lacked the experience to control the classroom. There was one particularly obnoxious man in the classroom who was aggressive and rude throughout the entire class. He very clearly resented having to be there as required by the State to be able to adopt a grandchild of his.

The class itself was good! She was talking about how children that come into Foster Care are coming out of a traumatic experience and that trauma can stunt their growth in so many ways. The effects of abuse are long reaching and long lasting. We didn't learn much we didn't already know, and mostly the classes are geared towards teaching parents that these children are not going to be able to be successfully parented the way they parented their own kids. Jack and I don't have children, so we have no set in stone ways of parenting that we have done and now have to re-learn new ways. I think that will end up being a positive thing for us.

On one hand, we have no parenting experience. But, on the other, we have no behaviors that we have to change. So it will probably be a smoother transition for Jack and I than for most of the other parents.

I have been noticing over and over again that we are the only couple there experiencing infertility and that we are growing our family and serving others through the ministry of Foster Care. Infertility has such an interesting way of isolating you, even in this. They have support groups on how to parent these children differently than your own... What about the support groups for those who don't have "their own."

Aside from that aspect, we are still feeling every day more encouraged and assured that we are still following God's will for our lives. It's amazing to be able to share this testimony about what God has done in our lives. How God has taken us through this journey and how He has changed and molded us year by year. It's also really comforting to be allowing him to light our path and follow where He leads. Your word is a light unto my feet and a lamp unto my path. Psalm 119:105.

I was thinking yesterday about how I have been afraid to make any purchases for children's things, that fear inside of me about how we have a big container of the baby items we purchased in the first year of trying to get pregnant. A box that I have now not looked through in 2 years. I'm afraid because of the pain and reminder that all of those baby onsies cause me when I think about how much hope we had.

I need to have my Hope renewed in this! THIS is what God picked for us! THIS is the time that we are supposed to be excited and purchasing things. On top of that, for our home study we do need to have the basic necessities set up.

Speaking of the home study, I'm not sure when exactly we are going to be able to do that. Since Jack got this new job, he's probably going to start in about 3 weeks. For our licensing they need 3 pay stubs. I think we should just give them 3 pay stubs from his current job and then when he's worked at the new job for 3 weeks we can send over those? I'm probably way over thinking this.

Our home study can be started as soon as we send in the rest of the remaining paperwork. We need to go to get our police clearances, finger printed, Jack's pay stubs, fire escape plan (which I'm still not sure exactly what that is.) We only have a few things left really and then we will be referred to our licensing caseworker!

In other big news, probably by next weekend, my mom will be moving in! That is pretty exciting! As for right now, we are still waiting to get my little brothers things out but he works 6 or 7 days a week, he said his next day off is tomorrow. I wonder if we could get it all done in one morning... that would be lovely.

We are planning on building a bedroom downstairs and also a big closet for my mom's bedroom. It probably won't be too big of a deal. My mom is anxious to have her own space and get started on making it her own, but we just need to take it one step at a time. Jim's stuff has just got to go first.

Today I'm heading over to my in law's to Zentangle with my mother-in-law. We are just going to visit and doodle which should be super fun and relaxing. I'm still trying to decide if I'm going to bring one of the mutts this morning... I kind of want to bring Dixie but I am not sure. I don't think my father in law will be home, and we usually just bring her to see him since he is in love with her!

I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30

Friday, March 18, 2011

There's no God like Jehovah!

Since we have been praying for our Foster Parenting situation, God has really put it on our hearts to pray for a job for Jack that would allow me to stay at home with the children and care for them at home. We were praying that he get a job at GM. Turns out God wanted Jack to stay a Chrysler man. Jack just accepted a position designing for Chrysler which will allow me to stay at home with children!
PRAISE Jesus.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

3:16 Day / Foster Parenting / Zentangle

Today is 3:16.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son...

That whosoever shall believe in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life!


I worked this morning at the nursing home. Jocelyn had her gallbladder surgery this morning so she had two workers at the house, Deb and I. Deb did most of the morning routine and I got a few of the girls dressed. I was so excited to dress them all in green and make sure none of them got pinched... and by the time I got Charlotte out to the table, I had green pants, green socks, green polo and a green zip up sweater on her. Deb gently reminded me that today is March 16th, not March 17th yet. Oops! Good thing Charlotte has more than one green shirt!

I only worked for a few hours today, and after work I came home to find that my new book had come in the mail. Finding Grace by Donna VanLiere. I finished it and then had some time to finish up my Zentangle for the day too!

Donna VanLiere is going to be speaking for an event at our church in April for the women's event called Finding Grace. I was really looking forward to going to this event just because I had never been to a women's event yet. I looked up Donna on youtube to see if I could find any videos of her speaking and I found out that she is a Christian Fiction Author! My kind of lady! Then I began to read about her book called Finding Grace. She has an amazing story about overcoming molestation as a child and then dreaming her whole life about how she wants to have a husband and a house with a white picket fence and a family. Turns out the picket fence kept getting swept away by the flood waters (literally, from the river in her back yard) and she struggled with infertility for almost a decade! She eventually grew her family with two baby girls from China, first Grace and then Kate. And afterwards, a son from Guatemala named David. It was an amazing story and a pretty quick read. I had decided that I wanted to get her book(s) before her seminar and read them. Unfortunately her book isn't in my library yet, so I ordered it off of Amazon. Her book was witty and sad and happy all at the same time. It touched on some aspects of adoption that I absolutely loved. It also talked about God's Grace and, even though I felt bad because I just bought this brand new book, I didn't hesitate to underline a few parts of the book that I just loved. This is one of those special parts:

We had held out our arms for years; we had held them out till they ached and our bodies shook under the strain. Perhaps that is when a gift is most valued and loved. God is excessive, even reckless, when it comes to grace but it is never wasted and I wonder how often it is acknowledged.

That small excerpt was talking about how many years they waited with their arms outstretched, waiting for a baby and waiting for God to fill their arms and also is symbolic about what infertility is like... just years of waiting with outstretched arms to God... Just reaching! And I totally get the analogy of holding your arms out until they ached and bodies shaking under the strain, because that too is what infertility is like to your physical body and spirit.

I took a little break in the afternoon to head over to Michael's to buy some black markers for my Zentangle hobby too. On my way home from Michael's, I decided to stop by the church and drop off the rest of our money for our trip that we are going on this spring and on the way to church, I happened to drive by the elementary school. I looked at the clock and it was 3:35. There were small children everywhere and crossing the roads every which way being directed by other small children wearing yellow reflective gear and holding stop signs. At the same time that I stopped to watch the children cross, I tried to guess the ages of the children and I watched big brothers and sisters holding hands with little brothers and sisters, helping them carry their backpacks. Then, I Refuse by Josh Wilson comes on the radio and I sat in line behind the other cars where the small child held up the stop sign and just bawled.

The lyrics to this song that I have loved since the first time I heard it go something like this:

Sometimes I, I just want to close my eyes

And act like everyone's alright

When I know they're not

This world needs God, but it's easier to stand and watch

I could pray a prayer and just move on

Like nothing's wrong

But I Refuse


I don't want to live like I don't care

I don't want to say another empty prayer

Oh, I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else

To do what God has called me to do myself

I could choose not to move

But I refuse

I can hear the least of these, crying out so desperately

And I know we are the hands and feet of You, oh God

So if You say move, it's time for me to follow through

And do what I was made to do

And show them who You are

I don't want to live like I don't care

I don't want to say another empty prayer

Oh, I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else

To do what God has called me to do myself

I could choose not to move

But I refuse

I refuse to stand and watch the weary and lost cry out for help

I refuse to turn my back and try and act like all is well

I refuse to stay unchanged, to wait another day to die to myself

I refuse to make one more excuse

I don't want to live like I don't care

I don't want to say another empty prayer

Oh, I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else

To do what God has called me to do myself

I could choose not to move

But I refuse






This song has really moved me since we have felt that very strong pull towards doing Foster Parenting. I refuse to sit around and wait for other people to do what God has called US to do. He has a plan for us and a purpose for us, and we are following Him in what He guides us and calls Jack and I to do.

Tomorrow is our next couple classes for our licensing. We only have 3 more until we can start our home study. We still have to have our local clearances/background checks done. Jack needs to send over a few copies of his pay stubs, we need to get the vet pet records and vaccine records sent over to them, but I was going to take the dogs in a week or two to get all of their spring and annual shots since they are due and send the records then. It seems like we only have a few small things left to do... I am so excited for the Homestudy process too!

And back to John 3:16! Here is my Zentangle that I did today, I was inspired by John 3:16.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I apologize for the terrible cell phone picture and terrible lighting, but it's the best I've got right now :P

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Just one of those nights that I can't sleep!

I was just laying there listening to Hillsong United with my headphones on so I'm not keeping Jack awake, and all of a sudden this loud snoring starts to fill the room. I think to myself that I should be patient and that it will stop soon. When it didnt, I picked up my pillow and gently hit Dixie who sleeps on the floor next to my side of the bed. The snoring didn't stop!! Suddenly I realized that it wasn't poor Dixie this time, that terrible loud snoring was my husband!



Friday, March 11, 2011

Reading through the Bible

I am officially over 50% through the Bible. I finished the Book of Psalms last night and I absolutely LOVE that book. I am on Chapter 13 of Proverbs now. It's smooth sailing pretty much the rest of the way for me. I have read almost all of the rest of the Old Testament here and there before and also read all the way through the New Testament when I got my first Bible. So I'm guessing there is about 5-10% that I have never read before! I'm so excited!

That is one of my New Year's Resolutions that I will absolutely keep!

In other super super exciting news, Jack's brother and his fiancee have set a date for their wedding!

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I had the privilege of going with them to look at the chapel they ended up booking for their ceremony! It is going to be a beautiful wedding and I couldn't be more excited for my brother-in-law and future sister-in-law! How fun to have a sister-in-law.

I'm so incredibly blessed to have these two as family :) I love you both!!!!!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

March Fourth / March Forth.

James 1: 5-7 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.

So today, on March 4th... Remember whatever you're going through, God is with you and will never leave you. March forth!!

Praise you in this storm!

I was sure by now,God, that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it's still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away.

And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to You
and raised me up again
my strength is almost gone how can I carry on
if I can't find You
and as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away


And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth
I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth




Thursday, March 3, 2011

Logging

I meant to upload these pictures two weeks ago, but I lost my camera cord!

Anyhow, this is what it looks like when we go get wood :)

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Dixie outside before the driveway was plowed... you can barely see any wood behind the boiler because there isn't very much there ;)

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Dixie showing me what a big girl she is... she can jump up and grab ahold of the clothes pins that were left on the clothes line!

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The depth of new snow that we were working with... this is what our deck looks like!

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Snow at our front porch.

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Dogs getting ready, making sure our neighbor's yard is free of villains.

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The tree to the left is the one we took down.

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notching the tree

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Me watching

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Jack cutting

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Double checking

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Me praying... Did I mention this part stresses me out so much I feel sick??

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Timber!

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She's down!

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Jack and Jim (my brother)

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Me bundled up and ready to load up the wood

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There's a lot of down time for me while I wait for Jack to get ready to cut it up.

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Jim and I loading my truck

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Jack finishing cutting up the trunk

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Our wood pile before.

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The wood first load.

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Handsome Jack ready to go :)

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Our road to go get wood ;)

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Wood pile after the first load

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Coming back out to get the second load of wood

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Jack loading my truck

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Jim loading my truck

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Jim

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Truck load

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Sometimes it's a two man job

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Back home to keep stocking the wood pile

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And that was the whole tree!