Thursday, December 30

White Christmas 2010


Jeremy and I had a blessed Christmas this year. It was probably one of my favorites. We left our home in Florida on Wednesday and traveled to Callaway Gardens to see the Fantasy in Lights. 


It's something I've always heard about and wanted to see. Sharing it with Jeremy made it even more special. After we rode through the lights we went to the Lodge and at dinner by a fireplace. The next morning we exchanged gifts! We had our own special Christmas, just the two of us. From there we headed on into Atlanta and did the rounds of family functions.

 On Christmas day, around 10am, Jeremy and I headed to Chattanooga to visit his family. About 30 minutes south of Chattanooga, the weather became so bad that we were crawling along at 35 mph on the four lane. However, we still slid on ice and hit a guard rail, totaling our car. Both air bags deployed, but praise God, we were ok!  



Obviously, I was very emotional the next few days. Every time I hugged Jeremy I would cry. I can't imagine life without him, and the wreck made me realize how easily that could have happened. 

Thursday, December 16

Nursery

I love to plan-- just in case you hadn't figured that out by now. One of the things about this adoption that I was most excited about was decorating the nursery. I occasionally would search online and post ideas on Facebook. However, I kept holding back, thinking that I needed to wait until I had a little one promised to me. Not knowing how long that would take made me feel discouraged. However, I've talked to several other moms who adopted, and they feel the same way I do. Most new parents get 10 full months to plan for their child's arrival- so what's wrong with me starting to plan for mine. 
Now that Jeremy and I have turned in the home study paperwork, that we are in a better position financially, and  that we are 150% sure this is God's chosen plan for us, I decided to get serious about at least the furniture for the nursery. I mentioned to one of my friends about wanting white furniture, and she said I could borrow her changing table, which is white. So, changing table- CHECK. Next, I started looking on Craig's List (which is my fav) for white cribs. Little did I know that I would come across.... the nursery theme! This is what I was most excited about picking out (kind of like your dress for your wedding) and hadn't really gotten serious about it yet, but when I saw it yesterday- I knew it was 'the one'! 

This is called My Baby Sam. The colors are brown and green and the pattern is paisley. Three of the things I wanted- all in one. It's also not completely muted/pastel colors, which is something else I wanted. Now I can tie in some bolder colors, which babies love! And even better- I may be able to get it off Craig's List for $35!! I'm SUPER excited! I really hope when I share it with people, they will be too instead of, oh isn't it too early??? Also, I'm going to have to ignore Jeremy's reaction. He is NOT a planner/decison maker until WAYYYYY late. It's been hard to learn over the years that he just doesn't get as into details as early as I do. 

I also read a great blog on Crib bumpers vs. breathable baby bumpers. I figure I will leave the pretty colorful bumper up until my little one needs to sleep in the crib. I've posted a picture of a breathable  bumper below. I couldn't find the blog I read about it in.



Wednesday, December 15

Adoption Update

So much has happened, that I don't know where to start! God has been so amazing that I must give Him the glory. Here's an email that I sent out November 11th to several of our friends.

So, Jeremy and I applied for a $17K adoption loan a few weeks ago. That is a ton of money and there’s no way any bank in their right mind would give us that. However, we went with a Christian Credit Union in Calif that specializes in adoption loans, so they understand that once the adoption is finalized, the next tax year we will get $13K back in a tax refund.
Our loan officer has been so nice, telling me how she’s adopted her two children, and how she’s been praying for Jeremy and I.


Soon after we applied for the loan, Jeremy began hearing about BP claims. Well, since he works for a boat manufacturer, and b/c of the oil spill, sales are down, he decided to file for one. He told me the only reason he filed was so that it would help us with the adoption. It’s so sweet that he’s so excited about this adoption. We haven’t heard anything yet, and I’m trying not to pin all my hopes on this. I know God has a plan for us. We know that He wants us to adopt and its not our responsibility to figure out all the details (if that makes sense).

Our loan officer called yesterday with a tentative denial of the loan. She’s still trying a few things to get it to go through. At first I was disappointed, but then I reminded myself that God is in control. Maybe this denial is just God’s way of saying we don’t need the loan b/c He has other plans for paying for the adoption. Don’t get me wrong, my Type A personality really wanted the security of that loan.

SO I say all that to ask you to please pray. Pray that Jeremy and I will have wisdom. Pray that if it be God’s will, the BP claim will go through. Also, of course, please pray for the future birth mother and child that God has for Jeremy and I.



On December 1st, Jeremy and I came home from work to a Fed Ex door hanger. I didn't think anything about it, but Jeremy got online and checked his BP claim status, and it said completed. So, even thought Jeremy was supposed to drive to Atlanta that night for a 4 day conference, we drove over to the Fed Ex office. The truck carrying our envelope wasn't back yet, but the lady did say it was from BP. Jeremy went on to Atlanta, and I went on my lunch break the next day to pick it up. As soon as I opened it, I couldn't breathe. We had received all that we had asked for, which is something neither one of us ever expected. I called Jeremy and then everyone I knew to sing God's praises. This would put us in a much better financial situation for the adoption! We spent days, weeks, heck we're still doing it, praying for wisdom. 

We realize that this money was sent from God to give us something Jeremy and I both desire- a child. I have never felt God's presence in a situation as much as I have on this adoption. 

We mailed in our home study packet last week, and hope to start on the profile after Christmas. This is what is shown to birth parents to help them choose us. One night as I was sitting on the couch looking online at other adoption family profiles, I became discouraged. I thought, "How in the world is one birth family going to choose Jeremy and I out of all of these other wonderful families?" Luckily, I have many great friends. The next day when I posed that question on my facebook page, I received so many encouraging comments. I was reminded that God has led us each and EVERY step thus far. This IS His plan for our lives right now, and He has a child for us. 

I find myself getting so excited about picking out stuff for the nursery, thinking about having a baby next Christmas, even maybe for Mother's Day. I can't wait to see how my parents and sisters react to our new member of the family. Tears are in my eyes right now as I type this. I can't wait to meet the person God has chosen for us. 



What Christmas Is All About!!

Monday, December 13

Christmas Cooking!

Ham and Dijon Pastry Cups
1 (17.3 oz) package puff pastry, 2 Sheets, thawed (not filo)
1 chive and onion or plain cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
5 slices ham chopped
1/3 cup chopped red pepper
1 egg lightly beaten
2 table spoon Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 425. Roll out each pastry sheet to 12x9 in on a lightly floured surface. Cut each into twelve 3 in squares. Lightly brush with egg wash. Place one pastry square with corners in each 24 medium muffin cups. Mix remaining ingredients until blended. Spoon 1 tblspoon mixture into each pastry cup. Bake 15-18 minutes or until middle is heated through and pastry is golden brown.

Caramelized Apple Pecan Coffee Cake
3/4 c chopped pecans
Cinnamon Streusel
1/4 c packed light brown sugar
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Apple Filling and topping
1/4 c granulated sugar
1 large Granny Smith Apple, peeled, cored and cut into pieces
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out (I just used vanilla extract)
Coffee Cake Batter
1 c self rising flour
1/4 t ground cinnamon
pinch ground ginger
pinch ground cloves
1/3 plain whole yogurt
1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
1/3 c granulated sugar
1 large egg
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x 1 1/2 in round baking pan and set aside. (I just used a loaf pan.)
Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast until lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Make the streusel topping: In a medium bowl, combine the light brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir in the butter until well combined and mix in half the pecans. Set aside.
Make the Apple Filling and topping: In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, cook sugar over moderately low heat. Without stirring, shake the pan to melt sugar evenly, until melted and dark golden. Remove saucepan from heat and carefully add apples and vanilla (mixture will vigorously steam and caramel will harden). Cook mixture over moderate heat, shaking pan and stirring occasionally, until caramel is dissolved, liquid has evaporated and apples are tender but still hold their shape, about 10-15 minutes. Discard vanilla bean pod. Spread the apples on a sheet pan to cool.
Make the Coffee Cake Batter: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, finger and cloves. In another medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, applesauce, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg and butter until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and with a large spatula, mix until well combined. Fold in the cooled apple filling and the remaining pecans and pour into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the streusel. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes (Longer if you're using the loaf pan). Let cool 20 minutes then cut and serve.

Bacon Roll ups
1/4 c butter
1/2 c water
1 1/2 c packaged herb stuffing
1 egg slightly beaten
1/4 lb pork sausage
1/2 to 1 lb sliced bacon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in water in saucepan. Remove from heat. Stir into stuffing, and then add egg and sausage. Blend thoroughly. Chill for about 1 hour for easier handling, then shape into small oblongs about the size of pecans. Cut bacon into thirds. Wrap one piece around dressing oblongs and fasten with wooden toothpick. Place on rack in shallow pan and bake 35 minutes or until brown and crisp, turning at halfway point in cooking. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

Artichoke Dip
1 (8.5oz) can artichoke hearts (not marinated)
1 c mayonnaise
1 c parmesan cheese
1 tsp minced garlic

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash artichokes then add remaining ingredients and stir. Bake in greased dish for 25-30 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.


Cappuccino Muffins
Espresso Spread
4 oz cream cheese, cubed
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/4 c miniature semisweet choc chips
Muffins:
2 c all purpose flour
3/4 c sugar
2 1/2 t baking powder 
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1 c milk
2 tbsp instant coffee granules
1/2 c butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1 t vanilla extract
3/4 c miniature semisweet choc chips


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a food processor or blender, combine the spread ingredients; cover and process until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until serving. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir milk and coffee granules until coffee is dissolved. Add butter, egg and vanilla; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in Choc chips. Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 17-20 minutes or until muffins test done. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve with espresso spread. 


MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!


Tuesday, December 7

Bumber's Bumblings: Never Forget...sensitivity towards infertility and...

Bumber's Bumblings: Never Forget...sensitivity towards infertility and...: "We had a wonderful relaxing Thankful Thanksgiving! I actually didn't even black friday shop. I slept in until 8:30 that day(Brayden did to..."

Saturday, December 4

Clothing trends and my body image

All my life I have had about the same style in clothing- classy. If I could choose between a plain white or a trendy shirt, I always chose the white one. My sister has always been better at trendy clothes than me. Last winter she wore skinny jeans in boots. It was so cute and I really wanted to try it. However, my own hang ups got in the way.

I didn't really get into that look b/c I've always hated how skinny my legs are though I've gotten better over the years. I used to go all summer wearing turned down socks to hide how skinny my ankles were, but I no longer do that. I still get self conscious occasionally, especially if someone who has mostly seen me in pants sees me in a bathing suit and says, "Man, you're really skinny". This isn't in a hot-skinny way but in a starvation- skinny way. (yes that happened) The same old pain jabs at my heart, but then I get over it. God has really helped me accept myself for the way I am and I am very thankful for that. My husband also helps tremendously by always making me feel like a model. Everyone deserves someone like him!
So, back to skinny jeans and boots. Jeremy and I went on our fall trip to Chattanooga and everywhere I looked girls were wearing cute dresses with cow girl boots. IT WAS SO CUTE!! I knew I'd never pull it off. One b/c I don't wear short dresses except in the hottest part of the summer when my tan helps me get over my legs. and Two b/c my skinny chicken legs in cow girl boots would be so comical it would almost be sad. SO, I knew I couldn't pull off this really cute outfit, but I began to contemplate ways that I could adapt it for me. I've gotten really good at this- taking a look and adapting it to my skinny self. I began searching through consignment shops. (When I'm working on something like this, I don't go directly to the department stores first b/c I have to try a few things before I find something that works.) I found a really great pair of cowgirl boots that were high enough to make me feel comfortable. Of course they weren't my size, but I used them to try on a few things. I realized that skinny jeans in boots were a look I could actually pull off. (yes, I had to go through all of that in order to get over my hang up.) So the next day Jeremy and I went shopping! I found a cheap pair of skinny jeans (so I could try it and not feel guilty if I hated it) and some great boots! I really wouldn't have went through with it if Jeremy hadn't liked it as much as he did. Like I said earlier, he helps me have confidence in myself. I have worn this look out several times since then, and once even without the boots to cover my skinny ankles, and it's a success! I LOVE IT!! I feel so cute!

Tuesday, November 23

My love of history

A country without a memory is a country of madmen.
George Santayana

History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it.
Winston Churchill

College is such an important decision making time in our lives. I spent many months, even years, praying for God's wisdom regarding my major. It was a very hard decision because I knew I was disciplined enough to do anything I wanted.

Honestly, looking back, I don't know the exact point when I decided to choose history, though I do know some of the reasons. Mr. Glynn Swagart was my history professor at TTU, and I found I enjoyed taking his classes. I also enjoyed learning about our past from a Christian perspective, and it's impact on our present. I decided that if I had to spend four years in school, I might as well enjoy what I was learning. So my course of study began- history.

Now, sometimes I wonder that if I had been counseled better I would have considered a different major, one of more practical applications. Goodness knows I hear about it enough from some of my family.

It wasn't until my junior year of college in Dr. McCleary's History of American Architecture class that I found my true passion- central halls, trends in architecture, time periods of carpenter's lace, etc. From that point on, I began looking everywhere I went. I've been to Savannah, Charleston, St. Augustine among many other less insignificant places, and have been touched by unique aspects of each cities' architecture.

This past weekend I had a chance to go to New Orleans. A friend of mine got us all one bedroom suites at La Belle Maison.
The Wyndham Vacation Ownership conducted an extensive, three–year renovation to transform the 100–year–old Franklin Press Building into a modern resort. Located in the Big Easy's Picayune Place district, Wyndham La Belle Maison reflects the design, color and character of the famed French Quarter. The Wyndham Vacation Ownership development team partnered with the Historic District Landmark Commission during the project to preserve the fa├žade of the original structure and maintain this important cornerstone of New Orleans' history.

La Belle Maison was located only two blocks from Canal Street, a major thoroughfare in the city of New Orleans. Forming the upriver boundary of the city's oldest neighborhood, the French Quarter (Vieux Carre), it acted as the dividing line between the older French/Spanish Colonial-era city and the newer American Sector, today's Central Business District. The wide median earmarked for the canal was referred to by early inhabitants as the "neutral ground", due to the animosities amongst culturally distant residents on separate sides of the avenue.


St. Louis Cathedral was so beautiful and Jackson Square was a perfect picture taking spot!






Wednesday, November 17

My Grandmother

Granny fell a few weeks back, breaking her hip, and even though she was healing well, she still wasn't able to drive. Friday morning, my sister LeighAnn picked Granny up to take her to my sister Taylor's salon to have her hair done. Taylor started on Granny's hair, but had to step out of the room to get her a magazine and to greet her next customer. When she came back, Granny had fallen asleep in the chair- or so Taylor initially thought. When she couldn't get Granny to wake up, her co worker Russell called 911. Her coworker Lauren tried to get my aunt Patty on the phone, but when she couldn't she just ran across the street to where Patty worked to get her.
Taylor's salon is right off the square in our little town, but even better than that, its located right in front of the fire station. Several firemen arrived within 2 minutes of the 911 call. They rushed Granny the 3 minutes it took to get her to the hospital, b/c it also was very close by. She was there for several hours, getting tests ran. Later that night, she had a massive heart attack and was put in ICU. The doctor told the family that had she not been in the hospital when it happened, she wouldn't have survived it.

Looking back, I see God's hand on my granny throughout the entire situation. God made sure that she wasn't at home by herself Friday. He made sure that she was close to immediate help. He made sure that the first episode happened so that she would be in the hospital later when a worse one hit. My sister LeighAnn and I were discussing Monday night how it just wasn't Granny's time to die. I am very thankful to have a few more years with Granny. Maybe she'll be able to meet the child Jeremy and I are going to adopt.

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Tuesday, November 9

Financing Adoption

Jeremy and I have formally applied for an adoption through Bethany Christian Services, and are now in the paperwork process of the home study. We've gathered documents, birth certificates, rabies vaccinations on our kitties, proof of this and proof of that. We've filled out (or nearly anyway) a long questionnaire about ourselves, both past present and future. We're getting ready to submit it to Bethany CS along with the home study fee. However, I keep holding out, thinking that we'll get an answer from the bank about our adoption loan.

It's been an interesting journey just from debating about applying for, actually applying for and waiting to hear about the adoption loan. At first, I thought it was our one shot. Now, God has opened up so many other possibilities, that I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't need the loan at all. Don't get me wrong, my controlling Type A personality would LOVE to have that loan and be done with it. However, I"m at peace if God has another plan for financing this adoption for us. Hopefully, we'll hear something soon.

Another interesting and sometimes annoying issue Jeremy and I have had to deal with regarding this adoption is hearing everyone's opinions. Mostly we've received positive feedback, but occasionally someone will want to tell us some horror story that they have heard. I try to remind myself that God has led us to this decision and He will equip us to face whatever challenges that come up.

Friday, November 5

Funding Adoption

A lot has been going on the last few weeks. After two generous donations, Jeremy and I were able to pay the application fee. We quickly filled that out, got it in, and planned on going to the educational class the last Monday of October. However, we had just gone out of town to Chattanooga to visit family and friends, and were just too tired of traveling. We would have had to drive the two hours over there, spend three hours in the class and drive the two hours back, not getting home until around midnight. So we opted to go ahead and start out home study paperwork and go to the class in November. (Funny, its the Monday after Thanksgiving and before Jeremy's conference in ATL, but oh well.

Well, just found out I have to run over to the credit union before they close to pay our adoption loan application fee, so more later!

Friday, October 29

Fitness Balls Used As Office Seating

By: Wayne S. Maynard | May 10, 2007


Thanks to recent publicity in the print media, the internet and vendor marketing, the popularity of using fitness balls as office seating is rising dramatically. Also called Swiss Balls, exercise balls, activity balls, gym balls, stability balls, and physioballs, these devices have been used for years to increase strength and improve fitness during exercise routines. Cited benefits by vendors of using fitness balls for office seating include:

  • Ergonomics by encouraging proper seated posture and strengthening the abdominal muscles while sitting,
  • Relief of neck and back pain, and,
  • Permitting one to sit for hours without fatigue.

One newspaper article is quoted, “The benefits of the ball, which keeps people active while sitting, outweighs the concerns.”1 A vendor in the same article states, “Because you buy a ball that fits your height and your frame and your size you are sitting properly.” In reality, risks associated with the design and use of fitness balls as office seating far outweigh anecdotal benefits cited by vendors of fitness balls as office seating.

Ergonomics is the design of jobs, tasks, tools, furniture and equipment to fit the worker. Fitness balls as office seating are not ergonomic for the following reasons:

  • Fitness balls fail chair stability requirements and test standards for office seating.4
  • Fitness balls do not meet adjustability requirements for office seating as published in two known computer furniture industry guidelines.2,3
  • Fitness balls may not be appropriate for an aging workforce. One medical professional stated workers over age 50 should not use fitness balls as chairs as they could loose their balance and fall off.1 Plus, certain acute or chronic illnesses and certain prescription medicines can affect balance. Serious injuries or worse are possible if a worker falls off a fitness ball when used as office seating.
  • Fitness balls offer no known physical benefit. A recent study by McGill et al.6 concluded: “prolonged sitting on a dynamic, unstable seat surface does not significantly affect the magnitudes of muscle activation, spine posture, spine loads or overall spine stability.” In addition, McGill and colleagues discovered “some subjects reported discomfort while sitting on the ball possibly related to higher contact area and soft tissue compression.”
  • Regarding fitness balls as office seating, says Peter Budnick, Ph.D. of the ErgoWeb, “When someone tells you that a $19 ball will solve all of your back pain issues, you ought to be suspicious and when they have the audacity to label that ball ‘ergonomic,’ you should know better.”5

A successful office ergonomic program should include corporate furniture standards guiding what furniture will be provided for employees who use computers as part of their jobs. This standard should only permit furniture into the organization that meets ergonomic and safety guidelines. Fitness balls as office seating do not meet minimum guidelines for ergonomics or safety and should not be allowed in the workplace.

References

1. The Balls In Your Cubical; New Workplace Trend Replaces Office Chairs With Gym Balls; A Debate Over Health Benefits, Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2007.

2. BIFMA G1-2002 Ergonomics Guideline for VDT (Visual Display Terminal) Furniture Used In Office Work Spaces, BIFMA International, New York, NY.

3. ANSI/HFES 100-2007 Human Factors Engineering of Computer Workstations, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Santa Monica, CA.

4. ANSI/BIFMA X5.1 – 2002 General Purpose Office Chairs – Tests, American National Standard for Office Furniture.

5. Ergonomics Today™, On the Ball But Not Ergonomic, April 17, 2006 and Opinion: Balls As Chairs A Bad Idea, April 11, 2005, www.ergoweb.com.

6. S.M. McGill, N.S. Kavcic, and E. Harvey, Sitting on a chair or an exercise ball: Various perspectives to guide decision making, Clinical Biomechanics, 21, pp 353-360, 2006.

Copyright © 2008 Liberty Mutual. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 26

Peace again

So, one of the negative things about my trip home is hearing negative opinions from some of the people I love. Thinking like a Christian is differently than thinking like anyone else, and its hard for me to remember that.

All the way home Sunday and all day yesterday I was feeling discouraged. I was questioning a lot of things that I was at peace with prior to my visit home. Finally, last night God's still small voice got through all those tumultuous thoughts. My friend Jen and I had had lunch together on Friday and she said something that I didn't even know had 'stuck' with me until last night when God reminded me of it.

God is Sovereign.

That's all I need to know. If I am drawing near to God, and am daily walking with Him, then all I need to know is that He is Sovereign. Its not my place to worry about this or that. God already knows the ending to my story.

So this morning I got up early and was pleased to discover the topic of my bible study was Contentment in your Circumstances. Here are some quotes that helped me get back some of that peace that I was missing.

"...reality is a harsh reminder that life, even for the believer, includes daily challenges, painful conflicts, and difficult circumstances. The circumstances of your life are not a comment on what God thinks about you. THE CROSS is God's statement of how much He loves you and how determined he is to care for you. He sent his Son to provide salvation through His death on the cross. that act of love is an assurance to believers of god's devoted care and deep concern. My faith can't be put in _____, but in God."

(These are from "A Woman's Guide to True Contentment" by Rhonda Kelley)

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, ifthere is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:6-8

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:58

How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your word.
With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You. Psalms 119:9-11

Direct my steps by Your word,
And let no iniquity have dominion over me.
Redeem me from the oppression of man,
That I may keep Your precepts. Psalms 119:133-134

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble. Psalms 46:1

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:2-8

Chattanooga in the Fall


WOW! What an amazing weekend! I'm not going to say it was better than Amelia Island (my original plan) but it was almost perfect. Jeremy and I had perfect weather- sunny and warm during the day, then cool at night. Friday we went up to Signal Point, one of my favorite spots, and just enjoyed the view for awhile. We also were able to go to Oktober Fest at the Cricket Pavilion (yes, I know its changed) and enjoy locally grown organic produce. I bought a hand knit orange scarf that I LOVE and will go great with the $200 cream pea coat I've picked out that I'll continue to dream about.

Then of course Saturday night was spent at my sisters house with tons of friends watching Brock Lesnar get his butt kicked in the first round! I was so happy!

All in all, a very tiring trip, but a rewarding one.

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10 Creative Financing Ideas - Adoption Blog | Lutheran Social Services Of Wisconsin And Upper Michigan, Inc.

10 Creative Financing Ideas - Adoption Blog | Lutheran Social Services Of Wisconsin And Upper Michigan, Inc.

Tuesday, October 19

Free Frutista Freeze

@ Taco Bell

Free sample

and NO I don't know how to do this any other way. Sorry.

http://www.udderointment.com/Contact.html

Amazing Love

There is so much to say, to catch my blog up on, that I almost don't want to start. My heart is very full right now.

A few weeks ago, when I found out I wasn't pregnant- again- and I remembered that the first adoption MAPP class for FL Baptist Children's home was on the weekend of the special vacation I had planned, I became very discouraged. I knew I didn't have a peace about the class so I definitely wasn't going to cancel my vacation for it. Also, I was frustrated with Jeremy b/c I felt like he and I weren't on the same page regarding this whole adoption/baby issue. I, like I've said before, am a VERY open person, and its hard for me to understand/sympathize/empathize with those who are not- namely Jeremy. So, I began the long arduous task of talking to Jeremy, getting him to see where I am, and understanding where he was. After a frustrating, yet successful hour of 'talking' (it felt more like pulling teeth), I knew where Jeremy was, and Jeremy knew where I was. I was at peace again. (aside note- why he couldn't have been open with me from beginning would have saved me a whole lot of stress, but hey, he is who he is and I love him and accept him for who he is.)

So I can't remember if it was the next day or the day after that, but soon after our 'talk' I received an email from Bethany Christian Services, reminding us that their monthly informational meeting was coming up. Jeremy and I both felt this was God's way of leading us. So, we both got off work early and drove over to Pensacola. I tried not to get my hopes up too much b/c this hasn't been an easy journey, but when we walked out of that meeting, I felt hope and peace. Jeremy and I talked all the way home about how this might actually be a possibility for us. I called my family- I couldn't wait to share the news!

Well, one of the reasons we didn't go through an adoption agency first was because of the cost. Adoption through an agency is an average of $17,000. That is a LOT of money. However, at the meeting, Jeremy and I found out about grants, adoption loans, and most importantly, the adoption tax refund of nearly $13000, making our cost for the adoption around $4000- something Jeremy and I can actually afford!

So, Jeremy and I have spent the last week on paper work. I thought we might have to get the loan before we even were able to do the first step of the adoption process, but I was still at peace.
Of course my logical, type A mind started trying to figure out all the logistics of our child's entire life. I was mildly panicking on the phone to my sisters, saying "I know God's in control, but how are we going to do this and how are we going to do that, etc." Boy did he answer my questions.

On Friday Jeremy found a check for $450 in the mail from someone in our family that felt led to give towards the $550 application fee. While we were still in shock over that, my dad, who was in town to visit, decided to pay the rest of the fee, so he gave us $100. Words can't describe how we both felt. Even though this doesn't seem like a lot of money, its more of what it means. Jeremy and I both saw this as God's approval. (and Him telling me to Let Go and Let God!)

We are so blessed. I don't know how we'll manage- but that's not my job. I just have to be obedient and God will provide.

Thursday, September 30

Granny Jones

My sister LeighAnn and my Granny Jones
During a recent visit home, it hit me how old and feeble my grandparents had become. It broke my heart b/c I now live 5 hours away from them whereas growing up they were only 5-10 minutes away. I was very close to my mother's parents as a child and became close to my dad's mom after I began to drive. I miss them. When I go home now, I feel like I never have enough time to spend quality time with them.

I was doing my devotions this morning and praying for them, asking God to keep them healthy and alive for many years to come- maybe long enough for me to move home to be close to them again.

My sister called me. My dad's mom had fallen this morning and is on her way to the ER. My grandmother is a TOUGH COOKIE! She's 83 years old and still drives all over, visiting her sisters. She works in her yard and garden. It was hard for me to 'really see her' the last time I went home. Now, my heart is heavy, knowing she's in pain. I wish I could drive up there to be with her at the hospital.

One of the hard realities that God asked me to face when He moved me 5 hours from my family was releasing them to Him. This is one of those times. She's in God's hands. I can't be by her side and will her to be better. I'll have to pray from here.

Saturday, September 25

Contentment vs Resignation

I wanted to share this while my emotions were still fresh. I had finally reserved a vacation for Jeremy and I towards the end of October. I was already feeling guilty for putting it on the credit card, b/c that goes against all my financial ways of thinking. However, I felt it was something we needed and would be able to pay it off quickly.

I was so excited, telling everyone about the awesome place we were going. Then, I get the phone call from the mechanic this morning. Our main car, the Civic, is in need of some necessary expensive repairs. I can not in good conscience, put both the car repairs and my vacation on the credit card. I know I wouldn't be able to pay both of them off quickly. One was bad enough in my opinion.

So, after a few moments of self pity, (and a phone call to my dad to make sure the repairs really were necessary), I told the mechanic to go ahead. Now, I must cancel this vacation that I was so looking forward to. Why is a good question to ask, but I'll never get the answer. Also, its a pointless question to ask b/c God's will is what it is. You never question it.

This past Thursday, our Bible Study was on contentment. One of the phrases that gave me pause was, "Too often in our attempt to balance our cravings with a sincere desire for godliness, contentment is our canned answer. Written between the lines we communicate, 'Stop complaining, stifle you craving, just resign yourself to dissatisfaction.' Not true! When God says, 'Be content,' He means so much more. He whispers to those with willing hearts, 'I am enough. Find your satisfaction in me.'" So according to this, I am not supposed to just resign myself to cancelling the vacation, I am to turn to God and let Him help me really be ok with it. This will be a challenge.

Tuesday, September 21

Childhood Memories

My husband and I have been cleaning a condo out on the beach for a little extra money. Last night I walked out onto the balcony and was transported down memory lane. For as long as I can remember, my parents, sisters and I would all go down to the beach for a summer vacation. My mom was all about building up the anticipation for our trip. We would go get special clothes put on layaway that we couldn't wear until vacation. Sometimes she would buy us a bucket full of new coloring books and crayons or neat to do books that we were not allowed to DARE touch until daylight (usually around Eufala AL)! I remember how impossible it was to go to sleep the night before- knowing that in just a few short hours we would be beach bound!! My mom would always plan it so most of the driving was done in the dark hoping we would sleep most of the way. I remember as I got older how much harder that was and how eventually I was even able to help drive. It was always a fight for me to drive over the Hathaway bridge- which meant we had finally arrived! I also remember the one year we drove a car down rather than a van. Needless to say, it wasn't a pleasant drive.
All of the memories I have of us on the beach all have the same theme- laughter! Vacation was one of the only times of the year that we had my dad's undivided attention for hours on end! He patiently buried us in the sand, built sand castles, pretended gators were in the ocean, and threw us across the pool. My mom loved having that time to sit on the balcony early in the mornings with a cup of coffee and watch the sun rise over the horizon. She loved being able to sit under an umbrella and read a book for hours, ok more like minutes, on end without being interrupted. My sisters and I could play hours and hours with few fights (as I remember anyway). They were- after all- my best friends. It wasn't until years later after we had all changed that we actually brought friends. I now understand why this was important for my mom. I was lucky to have siblings who I actually liked being with and even preferred to be with.
Going out to dinner every night was a big deal on our vacations. Not only did my mom get a break from cooking three meals a day, but she also didn't have to clean up. We all had our favorite restaurants that we enjoyed going back to each year. We also loved finding new ones to try out. For years we would eat at a place called Penny's. All I remember about it was that it was a 'hole in the wall' where locals frequented and it took FOREVER to get there. My dad was very proud of that find.
All of my memories are painted with the innocence of a child. I know they weren't perfect. I especially remember my mother and I fighting with my dad always stepping in to keep the peace. I remember some years my parents would be stressed about finances, but we still always went. I remember the year my dad stopped coming with us.
Last night as I was standing on that balcony, I felt many emotions, but the most prominent was sadness. Sadness that that family is no longer. Sadness that we will never be able to experience an idealistic childhood vacation again.
I was also angry. Angry that my dad stole those future memories from me. Angry that reality would no longer allow me to ever enjoy times that like again. Life has changed each of us. Yes we still love each other and are still a close family, but those memories were when we were at our best.
My only hope and prayer is that I can give my child a wealth of memories to cherish, each just as special than the last. I also pray that my child will never have to feel what I felt on that balcony.

Monday, September 20

Article on Fertility

8 Natural Ways to Enhance Your Fertility (http://health.yahoo.net/experts/healthieryou/8-natural-ways-enhance-your-fertility)

When we’re young, most of us focus so much on not getting pregnant, we don’t think to wonder if we’ll be able to when we want to. But infertility is more common than you think, striking one in eight U.S. couples. Whether you’re trying to become pregnant now or hope to conceive down the road, there are some simple, science-backed steps you can take today to help enhance your fertility naturally. These tips work for every woman—whether you’re contemplating kids or your family is complete, like mine—because the health benefits extend way beyond boosting your baby-making abilities. Oh, and did I mention they might even enhance your love life? Now, that’s something to get excited about!

Practice, practice, practice!

Weekly sexual intimacy appears to regulate your monthly cycle, as well as delay the decline of estrogen as we get older, both of which can enhance fertility, according to research by Winnifred Cutler, Ph.D., founder of the Athena Institute in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania. More estrogen is also linked to increased bone density, a healthier cardiovascular system, lower “bad” cholesterol, higher “good” cholesterol and a milder menopause. After all that, what are you waiting for—consider this permission to get busy!

Weigh in

Having a body-mass index greater than 25 can increase the likelihood of a whole host of health troubles, including polycystic ovary syndrome, which disrupts your menstrual cycle—and may derail your plans for getting pregnant without complications. Aim for a BMI between 18.5 and 25; calculate yours at Self.com.

Butt out

You know smoking stinks for your lung and heart health—and now studies show that it can also raise your risk for early menopause. Toxins in the cancer sticks can disrupt ovulation, but the good news is that quitting today can help preserve your fertility. For new ways to kick the habit, talk to your M.D. or visit SmokeFree.gov.

Hit the hay

Some infertile women have been shown to have low levels of leptin, a hormone that affects hunger and weight regulation. Leptin levels drop if you fall short on zzz’s, sotry to log 7 to 8 hours tonight and every night.

Clean house

Chemicals in home products can impair fertility. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are flame retardants in some tech toys, plastics and fabrics, and a study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives reports that women with high PBDE blood levels took twice as long to conceive as those with lower levels. The chemicals may alter thyroid function and disrupt sex-hormone levels. PBDEs leach out and linger in dust we breathe and touch, so use a vacuum with a HEPA filter and wash your hands often to rinse away any residual toxins.

Ace your exams

Sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammation and scarring of the fallopian tubes, which can lead to infertility. Practice safe sex, of course, and see your ob/gyn annually to monitor your reproductive health.

Don’t rule out ice cream

All you ice cream lovers, take heart: Full-fat dairy foods (like cheese, ice cream and whole milk) may help you get pregnant, a study from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston finds. A fat-soluble compound in dairy may up your odds of conceiving. Pass the spoon!

B smart

Once recommended only for pregnant women, folic acid (400 micgrograms a day) is now considered good medicine for all women of childbearing age, says Mark Gapinski, M.D., an ob/gyn at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Illinois. We use the B vitamin to make and maintain new cells in skin, hair, nails and throughout the body. Found naturally in lentils (360 mcg per cup) and leafy greens like spinach (260 mcg per cup), folic acid prevents miscarriage and birth defects.

For the latest health and fitness news, check out our Healthy Self blog at Self.com.

Thursday, September 16

Possible Vacation Destination



Lately I've been really needing a vacation- time away from life with Jeremy's undivided attention. Even though we often go home to Atlanta or Chattanooga, its not the same. Labor Day Jeremy and I went to Eden Gardens. The small amount of time we had made me want a vacation more. I was talking with my friend at work today and she suggested Amelia Island. It has all the things Jeremy and I love (well mainly me, but he is happy if I'm happy)- historic district, bed and breakfasts, ghost tours, 5 star restaurants, history museum, and even something I've been wanting to try- horseback riding on the beach!! I think I will prayerfully start planning a long weekend getaway for mid October.

Monday, September 13

Together We Save: 2 Free Issues Family Circle Magazine

Together We Save: 2 Free Issues Family Circle Magazine: "Get 2 Free Issues on Family Circle Magazine from Value Mags. No bills, no strings, just 2 free issues. Thanks Mojo Savings"

Friday, September 10

new way to get antioxidants!!


WebMD

Black Rice Is Cheap Way to Get Antioxidants
Study Shows Black Rice Is Good Source of Healthy Antioxidants and Vitamin E

By Bill Hendrick
WebMD Medical News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Aug. 26, 2010 -- Inexpensive black rice contains health-promoting anthocyanin antioxidants, similar to those found in blackberries and blueberries, new research from Louisiana State University indicates.

"Just a spoonful of black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than are found in a spoonful of blueberries, but with less sugar and more fiber and vitamin E antioxidants," Zhimin Xu, PhD, of Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, says in a news release. "If berries are used to boost health, why not black rice and black rice bran?"

Xu and colleagues analyzed samples of black rice bran from rice grown in the Southern U.S.

He says black rice bran would be a unique and inexpensive way to increase people's intake of antioxidants, which promote health.

Black rice is rich in anthocyanin antioxidants, substances that show promise for fighting cancer, heart disease, and other health problems, Xu says.

He adds that food manufacturers could use black rice bran or bran extracts to boost the health value of breakfast cereals, beverages, cakes, cookies, and other foods.

Black Rice vs. Brown Rice

The most widely produced rice worldwide is brown. Millers of rice remove the chaff, or outer husks, from each grain to make it brown.

White rice is made when rice is milled more than is done for brown rice; the bran is also removed, Xu says.

The bran of brown rice contains high levels of one of the vitamin E compounds known as "gamma-tocotrienol" as well as "gamma-oryzanol" antioxidants.

Many studies have shown that these antioxidants can reduce blood levels of LDL "bad" cholesterol and may fight heart disease.

So black rice bran may be even healthier than brown rice, Xu says.

He and his colleagues also showed that pigments in black rice bran extracts can produce a variety of colors, from pink to black, and may be a healthier alternative to artificial food colorants that manufacturers now add to some foods and beverages.

He writes that several studies have linked some artificial colorants to cancer, behavioral problems in children, and other adverse health effects.

Currently, black rice is used mainly in Asia for food decoration, noodles, sushi, and pudding, and Xu says that he would like to see it eaten by more Americans.

Black rice bran could be used to boost the health value of foods, such as snacks, cakes, and breakfast cereals, Xu and his colleagues suggest.

This study was presented at a medical conference in Boston. The findings should be considered preliminary because they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.


SOURCES:News release, American Chemical Society.2010 National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Boston, Aug. 22-26, 2010.

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