Tell me what it is you want to do with your one wild and precious life? -mary oliver

Thursday, December 30, 2010


We all measure time differently.  Some use calendars, whether paper or electronic.  Some measure time by events, Super Bowl, March Madness, World Series, OSU vs. Michigan.  Others measure by seasons.

This year, we measured time by the completion of our adoption paperwork.  I've documented everything, responses, completion, and phone calls on a paper calendar, while sharing the big moments with you all on this blog.  This calendar of notes, jots, moments is a timeline of our journey to Sarah.  Our footprints, our path...

July 24th was our initial conversation about adoption.  August 24th, one month apart, we sent our commitment papers for Sarah to Reece's Rainbow.  The next two months were completing our home study paperwork and appointments.  October and November, we began compiling our dossier (international) paperwork, all the while waiting on clearances from our state to finish our home study.  December was mostly emails and calls seeking our clearances to be processed. Waiting, waiting, waiting...wanting so much to get this finalized.

Each piece of paper retrieved was a moment in time, knowing we were that much closer.  And now, I have a Celebration.    Today, we received word that our home study is complete and we should have our copies early next week.  Then, it will be sent to US immigration for one more piece of paper.  Once we have that last piece, our dossier will be complete and ready to be sent to Eastern Europe for translation.

We are over the moon, on top of the world, oh-my-gosh-it's getting closer, EXCITED!  A celebration in our household today.  Happy Dances all around.  Today, you are celebrating with us as we are getting ever so close now.  What a way to usher in 2011.  What a day!!

"Sometimes the paths we take are long and hard, but those are the ones that lead to the most beautiful views."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Memory Lane

After watching Breakfast at Tiffany's, I decided to channel my inner Audrey Hepburn...Enjoy

Reflections, strolls down memory lane, souvenirs, and mementos...all help us remember the big and small moments in our lives.  We are in a decluttering, organizing, purging, and nesting mode preparing to usher out 2010 and welcome in the endless possibilities 2011 will bring and the addition of the newest member of our family:  Sarah.  I've begun cleaning out the spare bedroom and envisioning how we'll decorate it soon.

Andy, too, is in that mode.  He was organizing the receipts for the year, a different stroll down memory lane.  Grocery, Target, and quick meal receipts are given a quick toss.  Others are sentimental, like our vacations and family outings.  He came upon a receipt dated July 24th, which doesn't ring a bell until I began going back to our Red Thread story. 

The kids were at my sister's for the weekend, so we went to a nice restaurant for dinner, and were going to watch a rental at home.  Alas, our DVD broke and we played cards instead.  It was this night we began the initial conversation of adoption and Reece's Rainbow.   It was this night, I shared with him the heaviness of my heart for orphans.

When he showed me the receipt from THAT dinner, he asked me to pay close attention to the server's name:

SARAH. Can you believe it?!!!!! And spelled exactly like we will spell her name!!!

 Flabbergasted, chills, astonishment are only a few adjectives to describe this moment we shared.  Coincidence, I think not.  Divine intervention, absolutely!!  Only God could have put these footprints in place.  July 24th, neither Andy nor I could have known whether we truly would walk this path.  July 24th, neither he nor I could have known we would adopt a little girl.  July 24th, neither he nor I could have known we would name her Sarah, our little princess.  But, God did.  July 24th was the day, we began walking this adoption journey together.

Whenever I begin to get impatient with our state, another footprint is drawn in our path reminding me of what truly matters... 

Memories are ways of holding onto the things you love, the things you love, the things you never want to lose.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Spending Our Coin

Life is but a coin.  You can spend it any way you wish, but you can only spend it once.l

Christmas Eve was our time.  We lazed around, finished wrapping the last few packages, and enjoyed one another. 

We made cookies for Santa, pressing them out in their own perfect way.

The decorating session was saved until after dinner, when every spare inch of the cookie needed sprinkles and colored sugar.
The afternoon of Christmas, we celebrated with Andy's family.  At one point, there were 8-10 cameras on the kitchen table and only 6 adults!!!!    For Christmas, Andy bought me a new camera in the same family as his parents.  That way, we can "share" the many lenses they've acquired over the years.  I do think I may need to "visit" weekly for camera button/knob classes on my new toy.  As always, there are family photos once everyone arrives, so this year, I brought some accessories for the grandchildren.
In the ever famous words of Kelle Hampton, we're photographing the heck out of life.

Spend your coin, embracing your journey.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Blessings

With our paperwork in pause motion (still waiting on the great state of Ohio), I was going to get a small stocking for Sarah as an emblem of our journey of faith and then order a matching, embroidered one for next Christmas when she is home.  As with all good intentions and best-laid plans, I never got around to finding what I wanted.  Tuesday evening, when I went to pick up the kids at Andy's parents, Addy came to show me a stocking with Sarah's name on it.  My mother-in-law had ordered a stocking for Sarah this year, but they sent the wrong one.  Since it was already inscribed with the name Sarah, they let her keep it and she passed it on to us.  When our heart is seeking, a small moment arrives with HUGE symbolism.  
Psalm 37:4: ...and He shall give you the desires of your heart."

While visiting a craft show, my parents found a gift for Andy and I, on parenting a special needs little girl.

 And on the back, were these...
 Our hearts are in a constant state of gratitude.  Our parents have, not only embraced our decision to adopt, but are embracing and praying for her in their hearts. We are a family, living daily to make a difference, and embracing our journey. 

Today, we found out the vote in Eastern Europe was postponed and most likely will not halt adoptions.  Another blessing, another praise.  We'll continue one foot in front of the other, preparing the way to meet our little girl, born in our hearts.

Tomorrow, we'll be staying home, making cookies for Santa, preparing Christmas Eve dinner, and enjoying coffee with french vanilla creamer.(Our Christmas calorie splurge:)  We'll celebrate our family, watch Christmas movies, enjoy one another, and candles.   Playin' games and putting puzzles together, it's doesn't get much better than this.  

May you all have a blessed Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Family Fun

The Dynamic Duo

No, they're are not channeling their inner Super Heroes.  Instead, enjoying their first fun toy of the season.  I wanted these to be a play room only toy, but then this happened...

And this...
What's a mother to do?!!
Thanks, Aunt Shannon and Uncle Bryan.  The kids, oops, the family, oops, Dad is enjoying your gift!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Magic of Christmas

The sights, the sounds, and the music fill my heart and life with so much love.  I begin listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving, because it's only around for a short time.  After a fabulous weekend with family, I felt it necessary to add Joy To the World to this post.    Saturday, as well as any other day our family is together, my heart and soul took an instant vacation to a land of laughter, joy, and celebration.  What we thought would be a Christmas celebration turned out to be filled with surprises and my head has been spinning with words as we drove home last night from our early Christmas.

We arrived at my parents and were greeted by my sister's family, all waiting for us so they could EAT!!!  After lunch, the grandkids posed for the obligatory Christmas photo.  From there it was opening gifts, the kids first, and then they were off to play with their new-found toys!!!  Addy and Austin received shovels to help me out this winter when Andy is traveling:)  Whenever a big snowstorm hit last year, he was out-of-town!!!

It was games, resting, and more eating until we headed to my Grandparents' Homestead that evening.

As we gathered around, sharing all our family happenings, I learned of an important gift that would happen later.  I immediately put Andy on said photographer duty, since I left my back-up battery/charger at home:(  I'm learning!!!!  My cousin Tiffany, would be opening a very special present indeed.  Now, this was the worst kept secret in the room.  Aunts, uncles, grandparents and more were conniving on how to get her to choose the "special" present.  Once the plan was laid out, the rest happened flawlessly!!

Tiffany opened a series of nesting boxes, one-by-one.  But when she got to the last box, she thought her present was a triple set of boxes with little in them but tissue paper.  After much coaxing, (with cameras and camera phones focused on her), she found a little black box at the bottom.  The little kids were guessing and yelled, "I think it's earrings!"  As she opened her box, her boyfriend walked to the middle, got down on one knee, put the ring on her finger, and asked the all-important question.  "Of Course!!"  What began as a simple gift exchange and Christmas celebration, morphed into a celebration of two lives embracing a new journey together!! 

Through the years, my grandmother has always written.  She writes daily, as a keepsake for the family.  So when she learned of our family's plans to adopt Sarah, she began writing her thoughts and memories from when my aunt and uncles adopted from another Eastern European country. Included are pictures, dates, and answers to prayer.   She shared this with me last evening, and I can feel the same emotions and thoughts as if I were there.  My two cousins were only in the states one day before they made their journey to Grandma and Grandpa's house for Thanksgiving!!!  Some frustrations and celebrations are similar, but every international adoption story is unique for every family.  A piece of history, for sure.

To My Grandparents who began this family's legacy many years ago...
Merry Christmas and God Bless Us Everyone!!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Family Night Out

I began the day completely horizontal in bed.  Thursday, I started having the headaches and sore throat that accompany any virus or upper respiratory infection.  I decided I should stay home on Friday, so I made sub plans and called off.  When I woke to make the kids' lunches, I could barely stand.  My throat was on fire and it hurt to open my eyes.  Andy planned a vacation day to meet with the accountant and work Addy's holiday party, but I never heard him leave nor return.  Finally, around 2pm I awoke and was able to become vertical and was feeling much better than the morning breakfast routine.  I talked to my mom at 10 and 4pm today, and even she noticed how different I sounded.  I'm glad it was only 24 hours:)  Feelin' oh so much better.  Thanks to the elves holdin' down the fort.
This evening, Austin's cub scouts were singing the National Anthem at our high school basketball game.  

What an honor and privilege!  We are blessed that one of the den leaders is our music teacher.  She has a heart of gold and cares about each of her students.  She was also instrumental in leading the half-time Script Ohio during the OSU vs. Ohio party!! All the boys and leaders were rockin' their uniforms, the basketball experience, and time together.  All the proud mama's, papa's, and den leaders were shooting pictures and video till their hearts were content.  Addy and I took in the whole experience, watching, cheering, and celebrating the men in our family.  What a night!

 There's nothin like seeing your 6 year old saluting Old Glory, while singing our National Anthem.  

Tomorrow, we're heading back home for a Day of Christmas.  First, we'll celebrate with my parents, and then we'll head over to my Grandparents for the last event of 2010.  Another celebration and farewell to my parents and grandparents as they head south for the winter!  Their journey to sun, warmer weather, friends, and time together.  Hope the weather becomes warmer than it's been!!
And so I leave you with another page in my book of inspirations... 
Make the most of your days and remember...they're far too precious to let them slip away.  
Lovin' My Family and Friends!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Inch by Inch...

Encouragement comes in small increments, which is way better than hearing nothing.  This afternoon, we learned our state clearances should be finished within the next two weeks.  Yeah, us!!!  Then, hopefully our home study will soon be notarized, sent to us, and then on to USCIS!!  On the USCIS front, we learned an officer will soon be assigned to our case. 

Unless you have traveled the adoption journey, whether stateside or international, you most likely will not understand the happy dance I am doing inside.  After school, I had to share this with my closest friend at school immediately.  This small moment for some, is unbelievably huge for our family.  We have waited for some news, a reply back from emails and phone calls, since the end of October.  A glimmer of light shining through as a beacon on this journey. 

Other celebrations, we finished Addy's video diary to Sarah about her country.  Completely adorable!! We read books, wrote notecards, and then she dictated the speech while I typed it on the computer.  Andy fabulatized it, adding pictures and graphics.  Tomorrow is her presentation day!!  Once Sarah comes home, I'll post it. I am so proud of her.

Austin brought home the sloppy copy of his first published book of first grade, titled Our Family.  He writes about our journey to Sarah, preparations for her arrival, and more.  We are looking forward to seeing the illustrated final copy of his book.  Both kids are anxiously waiting the day our family becomes a family of five.

Another small moment, I had a few errands to run and stopped in the store Tuesday Morning, which I rarely shop.  Meandering through the book area (drawn to like a magnet), I found a treasure and plopped it in my basket.
Another book of inspirations...little snippets of happiness through words.  A few favorites that I've embraced:

Enjoy the little things, the small moments, the memories.  The glass is always half-full!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Heart That Gives, Gathers...

Our oldest turned 8 last Sunday.  8 wonderful years and she continues to daily ask the question, "Can I sit in the car without a car seat now?"  The right of passage every child anticipates...We celebrated like no other last weekend with a friend party, ice-skating, and love.  It was her day, her moment, her time to shine.  Even on her day, her thoughts were on Sarah.  Sarah will celebrate with all of us this time next year.  

For her school project, Addy is to research a country from her heritage.  Instead, she is researching Sarah's country, making notecards, drawing pictures, and learning simple phrases in the language.  Since we have been learning about the country ourselves, we'll be shooting a video diary to Sarah, with Addy sharing her knowledge.  We want this to be a keepsake for Sarah as she grows to understand her country and heritage.  It's a part of the beautiful, perfect little girl that she is.  This weekend, is crunch time to get it all finished:)

On the paperwork front, we're still waiting, waiting, waiting.  One little piece is holding us up and there is nothing we can do.  On many fronts, it has been a challenging few weeks. It was difficult to write words, without sting, pain, and sadness.  But, even in the midst, I found blessings and small things to celebrate.    Kelle Hampton wrote about a glass that is always half-full, in her ever-inspiring, philosophical way.

Immediately, I found it online and bought 3.  Two for my friends struggling, and one for myself.  Meeting for coffee, my friend is choosing to use the glass in a way I never thought.  She's going to fill it with words.  As a circumstance, blessing, and gift appear in her life, she will write it down, fold it, and place it in her glass.  Her glass will be over-flowing with the blessings in life.  I too, am filling it with blessings. 

In the midst the challenges, there continues to be that inner voice seeking the good in the world, ways to help, and journeys to embrace.  Do good, quietly, randomly, and with purpose.

Sometimes we all meet at the precise moment to help one another.  A family we’ve prayed for had a need.  Without thinking, Andy suggested a way our family could meet the need.  Together, he and I worked out the logistics, wrote a letter, and sent a card with how we could help them.

A week ago, I was in need of time with friends, to laugh,and to not think of my challenges.  Another friend had planned a party earlier, unaware of how in need I was of some girl time.  Everything happens for a reason, and I don't believe in coincidences.   She had a fun time at the precise moment I needed one. 

We all have something to give.   It’s that consciousness, the awareness of seeking ways to make a difference.  Stepping outside of ourselves to help those in need. To whom much is given, much is expected.

Challenges will come always.  It’s inevitable. In the midst of our heartaches, challenges, and tough moments, seeking ways to do good, seeking ways your cup is always half-full, and having the awareness will aid us in our climb out of the depths.  It will happen.  One step at a time.

The heart that gives, gathers.  Marianne Moore

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Journeys. Birthday Beginnings.

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”  Anna Quindlan

I found this quote the other day, site-surfing through the web.  It's funny how I begin checking my blogroll for updates around 9pm after the kids are in bed, and the next thing I know 11:00pm rolls around:) So much gratefulness, blessedness, and love of life in my "blogging" friends.  They're celebrating the simple day-to-day pleasures, conversations, love, laughter, cluttered homes, the unpredictability of their days...they celebrate it all.  Life is not a perfectly, planned out road map where you're traveling a straight point a to point b.  It's got curves, man...mountains, valleys, peaks, the whole works.  Our days begin in our mind one way, but by 9am, we've embraced a completely different journey, that may be easier, or more challenging than the one we began. 

For me, my journeys begin on an emotional level, that soon settle into a "What can I learn from this?"  mentality. I need a good 24 hours to get there, but I arrive there, wanting to learn more about myself. 


It's birthday week for Addy that begins with an early party after Thanksgiving. 
My nieces and nephews are teen or near teens, way too cool for the craft mode that is a staple at parties.  However, a few enjoy decorating the downstairs in birthday fashion, complete with white lights, a birthday chair, eagerly anticipated presents.  The sprinkles for cupcakes show each one's artistic flair with sugar:)

How many can ride in the decade old Cozy Coupe car?


I want to give a shout out to a new blog I found...

Life.Rearranged....Life doesn't always go as planned. 
Help others anyway.

I dropped in during one of my "fly-bys" and WOW!!!  She has guest bloggers, her own story, and is fundraising for other special needs adoptions.  Stop by, "lurk", get inspired, mostly try to make a difference for someone, help someone along the way. 

Embrace your journey, celebrate the small moments, and
change the world for someone today.

I'm embracing my journey....