Sunday, February 28, 2010

Could it Be?

Today has been a very blessed day!

I woke up this morning to the sound of giggling girls and a cooing son. Not too long after that, my Solomon playfully flipped and poked me.

I enjoyed a hot shower in peace.

We thought we were going to run late, but we were ready BEFORE our load up time.

Our ride to church was beautiful with a big sky to look at and fluffy clouds.

We were welcomed into church with open arms. No one gasped that we had "three!?!?" We were even called "blessed." My heart jumped in my throat.

We had a helper guide us around.

The second song we sang was a favorite of ours. The hair stood up on my arm.

The last song was yet another favorite of mine. At this point I was almost in tears.

Solomon danced during worship.

The sermon was convicting, encouraging and honest. It was on a topic near and dear to my heart: The Covenant of Marriage.

We'll be returning this coming Sunday. Dare I ask if we've found a home? All I know for sure is that we will return for another week. And today I'll rest in that peace.

With a happy heart,

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Stinks. It's something I've struggled to control my reaction to for well... my entire life. I'm in a foul mood. Frustrated, annoyed, and disappointed. I'm just being real folks. I never want to portray that I have it all together, because I'm human and don't. I feel emotions, just like the next person. Of course I have the added benefit of having God in my life... but it doesn't make me perfect.. if anything my relationship with God magnifies just how imperfect I am.... and how much I need Him.

Once again... we are in waiting mode around the Bee House. Waiting to find out what exactly we are in Richmond to do. Do we have another child here? Is Brandon supposed to get his promotion here? Are we here waiting to go somewhere else?

I'm not a good "wait and see" kind of person. *sigh* Again, just being real. But God has definitely shut the door on our most recent attempt to transfer out of Richmond. Brandon was passed over for a promotion... again. I'm not quite sure what happened. He looked like a total shoe-in and was even told so. *sigh*

So we wait... Today I choose to trust that God has a plan for us. Not sure what it is, but I have to stand on the Truth today so I'll be repeating a verse that we've clung to for years...

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. - Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Our Crazy Life

We are on the go again... Go Go Go!

Brandon and I have prayed over moving to a larger apartment (if we are to stay here in Richmond, which is up for discussion right now.) We feel that we are being led to move to a bigger apartment, to spread out a little and set up some roots. We found a great one, one complex over. The apartment is 1667 sq feet. It's a good bit larger, has more storage space, bigger bedrooms and a room that can be used as a school/playroom (while still leaving us a livingroom and a diningroom.) Right now our diningroom serves as our school room part of the day, and our closet under the stairs is where we store our toys. It's tight but we've made it work.

Another plus to the new apartment is that there is a playground for the kids, a very nice swimming pool and a kiddie pool, a 24 hour fitness room to work out in, and the apartment is a FLAT! After THREE (yes.. really three!) back surgeries, stairs are not very nice to me anymore and it would be a much larger issue if I end up delivering via csection. Another plus is that since the space is much larger we could potentially be approved to adopt again.

On a side note.. wanna hear a crazy cool God story? In December, I went through a major nesting/decluttering spree. I literally went through every drawer, every paper, every closet and cleaned things out. But I never came across our homestudy. And it grieved me. It kept me up at night. I tore the apartment apart a second time and STILL couldn't find it. Having a homestudy done was part of Xander's story. Plus I didn't want to pay for ANOTHER copy so we could have it updated at a later date. Updates are much cheaper than original homestudies.

The other night after Brandon and I discussed the new apartment and prayed.. guess what I found? Our homestudy... in a manila file folder, on a bookshelf that I use... I had cleared that entire shelf before and it wasn't there. Could this be a sign of things to come? Did I find it now because now we might actually be able to do something about it? Only time will tell... but I'm excited to find out!

We are being let out of our current lease without penalty, which is HUGE and totally a God thing. So everything is all set up for us to move March 20th.. right before our big trip in April. LOL It's how our life works, ya know?

And we've been busy with other things too. Brandon started a new shift this past Monday, with a new set of employees so that is taking some adjusting. I've been battling it out with the Social Security Office here and plan to return in just a bit for round 2. I'm gonna win this... if anything I'm a persistent person that doesn't give up very easily.

I've been doing our semi-annual clearance rack searching so I can save oodles and still have clothes for everyone. (More on that later!) I'm also trying to use up food in the pantry and freezer so that we don't have so much to move, scheduling the transferring of utilities, continuing homeschooling, growing a baby and keeping up with the housework.

Oh yeah.. and we are starting to pack, so we can unpack, and repack for vacation. Fun times!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Memorial Box Monday

I have a sweet "bloggy friend" that does this and I just love reading her stories on Memorial Box Monday. While I don't have a Memorial Box yet, each time I read one of her stories it makes me think back to different times in my life that I've had "faith building" moments.

Steph, what is a Memorial Box, anyway? Linny at A Place Called Simplicity puts little reminders of different blessings in a Memorial Box... and is actually working on rebuilding her Memorial Box after a house fire. I first heard of Linny and her family right after her house fire. . She has a beautiful family and a heart for the orphan... and well you know how highly those two subjects rank up there in my eyes and heart. The fact that she used to live near where I live now, was just icing on the cake.

If I had a Memorial Box, I'd put a miniature mailbox in it. Let me explain.

Shortly after Brandon and I were married in 2004, his two little sisters came to live with us for a short while. It was an adventure and a total step of faith for us. His sisters were 10 and 12 year old. Brandon had just changed companies and was on straight hourly salary while he was in training. Back in this time, Brandon worked in sales and we REALLY loved his commission checks and somewhat counted on them. During his new hire training period it was hourly only and it was a stretch. I was a stay at home mom to little Lainey, who was a little over a year old.

Money was tight.. much tighter than usual. We were definitely in a shoestring budget situation and once we added two extra mouths to feed and bodies to clothe, it didn't really work on paper. We tried very hard to remind ourselves that this situation is what we were called to and that God never calls you anywhere that He doesn't provide for. But we all know that we each have our stress moments and our moments of doubt.

One morning, I loaded everyone up in the car and headed to take the two older girls to school. Our checking account was VERY low.. like less than $20 and it was a few days until payday. EEKS. I had robbed our piggy bank for lunch money for the girls and when I cranked the car, I noticed that my gas gauge didn't even move. I was very scared I'd run out of gas during the morning carpool lines and be stranded with Lainey! I laid my head on the steering wheel and prayed that we wouldn't run out of gas.

I made it through both carpool lines and when I pulled back into the driveway I noticed the neighbors mail flag wasn't up anymore. I thought it was odd since our mail usually ran late in the afternoon. I walked over to the mailbox and checked the mail. There were a handful of envelopes but instead of putting them aside for a quiet moment I flipped through them. One envelope caught my eye. It was from a company that we had closed an account with the year before. My eye kept being drawn back to the return address.. and curiosity got the best of me.

I ripped the envelope open and there was a check inside! The letter said we overpaid them and they were sending a refund. We had long forgotten about the account and obviously didn't know we overpaid. But it was perfect timing!

I put Lainey back in the car, said another little prayer for my gas to last to the bank and then the gas station and headed out. I didn't run out of gas but when I filled the tank I put in more gas than I ever had before! And the amount that was refunded was just enough to get us through to payday even after a tiny trip to the grocery store.

God is SO good... and has abundantly blessed my life in big and small ways over many, many years.

How many times have you wanted to step out in faith and the world (or that little voice of doubt in your head) tells you that you'll never have enough money, time, resources, knowledge, or patience? Have you wanted to step out in faith because you've heard the calling to adopt an orphan... but yet you can't see how you'll ever pay for it? Or you want to start a ministry yet you are afraid you won't have enough sponsors or funding? I'd encourage you to pray again... ask God and see what happens. Oh and of course, come tell me about it! I love a good story of provision!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Today is a "Tie a Knot" day...

It's one of those days that threatens to push me to the end of my rope... but I'm going to tie a knot and hang on.

We have several things going on around here (Ahem.. when do we not? LOL)

1. Brandon's father's triple bypass surgery was moved up to today because the blockage in his heart was so bad. Last I heard, he is still in surgery.

2. Brandon got very little sleep last night. He has alot on his mind. I slept amazingly well, thanks to my Benadryl due to chronic hives for no reason at all. Thankfully Benadryl is very safe and I can use it regularly during pregnancy.

3. Because things are a little out of sorts around here, the kids are going insane. Right now is naptime and I'm soaking up the quiet... It won't last long.

4. Brandon has some big things going on at his work. He's waiting for some news that we were supposed to hear by tomorrow... We've waited a week and he's starting to get a little edgy about it.

5. We are contemplating moving to a larger place if we are going to stay in Richmond. We rented this place with two children, a cat and a hope to adopt. We will soon be a family of 6 and we are homeschoolers now. Of course, this is something that we will bathe in prayer since it means that our living expenses would go up...

6. We are SO SICK OF WINTER! It's sad when your 7 year old announces that it is "grassing" outside after just asking a few days earlier to remind her what grass looks like. "Grassing" is Lainey's term for the grass coming out from under the snow. People, I wore sandals in 41* weather because I'm SICK of being bundled up. I can't take much more cold.

7. Julianne has some congestion and a cough to go with it. She's always hit hardest out of the kids when it comes to sickness.

8. I have a to do list a mile long today... and I'm making very slow progress.

So today I'm tying a knot in my rope... This too shall pass. I just keep telling myself "Stephanie you are blessed and you have Jesus right by your side.. just do the next thing."

Good thing I can press "repeat" in my brain and hear that over and over.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Another adoption dream... Ramblings

I had a dream two nights ago and it's left me feeling unsettled. I don't remember this one as vividly as my last one but it is still "very there."

I've been trying to figure out why I've been having the dreams since we are ineligible to adopt at this time. We have several factors that have made us ineligible right now. First, we were approved for two more children in this apartment (due to the space) and Xander and Solomon will fill those two slots. We are not eligible through our agency until Xander has been placed for a year (that will be the end of April) and I'll be very close to delivering Solomon then.

And yet.. I have adoption dreams often. They stay in the forefront of my mind as I go about my tasks for the day.

Guess we'll have to wait and see....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

True Love

(The picture above is one of my favorite pictures of both Brandon and I. It was taken at the San Diego Zoo in April of 2006 with his District Manager at the time. Oh! And that is Julianne in my very large tummy.)

I think I'm an abundantly blessed young woman. (That sounds funny.. I typically call myself a girlie... Let's try that again!) I think I'm an abundantly blessed girlie. I have a great life although it isn't "perfect," I do recognize that it is great.

One area that I feel is very blessed is my marriage. It wasn't easy, but we've been through some hard times and came out closer, stronger and more connected in the end.

You see, Brandon has loved me even when he felt unloved. I'm ashamed to admit that looking back, I didn't fully take my marriage vows as seriously as I should have. I had a TERRIBLE, failed marriage in my past and I was jaded. I didn't really believe in "til death due us part" or "forever." In addition, my mother had been married three times and had a quite dysfunctional marriage for 13 years of my life. (They've since divorced.) I spent the first few years of our marriage with a Plan B in my back of my head. And I often said "When he leaves.... " I had no successful marriage models to look to and honestly didn't believe that marriages could last anymore.

I tested, I pushed him away, I got snippy with him and raised my voice. I threw verbal low blows in an attempt to get a reaction. Friends, I am SO ashamed of my behavior for the beginning of my marriage. And yet, he loved me, he kept a quiet voice with me and he rarely reacted to my verbal low blows. He gently reminded me that he was in this for the long haul.. and if anyone was going to leave, it would have to be me, because he was going to be stubborn and stick it out. He meant his vows and took them to heart. I was his wife and the one he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.

I look back and am just in awe. Would I have stayed married to me if I were him? Probably not. And yet.. here we are in our 5th year or marriage.. excited to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary on April 4. And yet, I can clearly see what the turning point was for our marriage.

In 2007, I did a Bible Study called For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men By Shaunti Feldhahn.

I did the study at a very hard time in my marriage... things were tense and felt very shaky... we had just been through a miscarriage and we were being pulled in a thousand different directions. Add in that neither of us are from homes with successful, lasting marriages but what the world saw as strong, independent mothers, and we were really blind and trying to feel our way around.

As I cracked open the book for the first night of homework, I immediately disagreed with the first chapter. I thought it was WRONG and when I asked Brandon and he answered the way the book said it was AND the Bible says it is (love vs. respect) I cried my eyes out and realized at that exact moment just how unloved he had felt. And it dawned on me.. If I had felt unloved for that long, would I still have been there by his side? I cried face down in the carpet in our study.. and right then our marriage changed for the better.

It was that very moment that I realized just how much Brandon really loved me. He WAS in this for the long haul. He'd told me over and over, yet at that very moment I realized that he had showed me over and over as well.

That Bible Study was a turning point in my life and marriage. I highly recommend it! It doesn't really matter how long you've been married... I sat next to women in that class that had been married for 25 years. I'm pretty sure you'll glean something out of the book. In fact, Brandon and I have talked about encouraging our girls to read it before they are married.

I've since changed my ways and apologized immensely to my husband for my terrible actions those first few years. And he has forgiven me and never brought them up again.

One of the things that our facilitator recommended was to keep a list of ways we know our husband loves us. Although I think that Valentine's Day is a huge marketing scheme by Hallmark, I figured I'd share just a few ways that I know that Brandon loves me.

- Brandon loves me enough to gently tell me when I'm wrong or when there is a better way to get something done. He holds me to our convictions even when I get weary and think things are "too hard" or when I say that I'm "tired" of being "so different." He doesn't correct me or confront me in public because he is very mindful of my feelings and would never embarrass me.

- Brandon picks his battles. In general, he doesn't care what we have for dinner, or what the children wear. The things he does voice an opinion about, I've learned are things that are very important to him and I try very hard to honor that.

- Brandon gets up every morning and goes to work. My husband went to work with WALKING PNEUMONIA once! He has never played hooky from work, and in almost 6 years of marriage, I can count on one hand how many times he's called out. He is a wonderful provider for our (growing) family.

- Brandon prays for me I've accidentally overheard his prayers for me... and they are the sweetest, kindest, most beautiful things I've ever heard!

- Brandon does everything in his power to protect our marriage and trusts me to do the same. We do not have secrets. We have an open door policy on email accounts, facebook, text messages, phone calls etc. We are never alone with the opposite sex. We avoid even the appearance of evil. Rumors hurt and can start to cause mistrust. If there is a situation that could be misconstrued, we come to each other and explain before it has a chance to linger or grow into something else.

- Brandon often jumps right in with whatever is going on when he comes home. Even after a 10 hour shift.

- Brandon knows me well enough to know when I'm fibbing when he asks what is wrong and I say "Nothing." He often can tell what is going on in our home, when he calls, just by the way I answer the phone.

- Brandon tells me every day that I'm a great mother, wife and friend, even when I struggle with my roles.

- Brandon has shown me Biblical Love. Not the Romanticized Love that is shown in children's storybooks and the media. I pray that each of my children find Biblical Love and that they each know how seriously Brandon and I take our vows. Our marriage isn't easy...but it is SO worth it! Brandon and I pray often that we are an example of a successful marriage for our children and that we change our family tree.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ahh.... Dreaming...

After weeks and weeks of looking at snow (and being SO over it.) I decided to google for some warmer pictures to gaze at. I'm not sure if made myself feel any better. In fact, I'm pretty sure it just made me want to wish most of 2010 away to get to October... and our weeklong beach trip (which might need to be rebooked... but that is a story for another day!)

Here's my favorite:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A belly picture for the curious cats out there!

I've always been a curious cat.. and was told "Curiosity killed the cat" so many times that I could own a house debt free if I'd just been given a penny each time!

Since it wasn't paying off, I became a smart alek and responded with "But satisfaction brought it back." Those of you who know me in real life, can certainly see me saying it back right? *blush*

Anywho... I've gotten a few messages asking for a belly pic... so I figured I'd put it here instead of embarrassing myself on Facebook.

Before scrolling down, keep in mind that I wasn't a tiny mama to start with.. and this is my 5th pregnancy... things happen a little faster each time. ;)

Here is January 12... I was 16 weeks ish (I can't remember and don't want to count backwards.)

And here is the most recent picture I've taken... January 29th. (Again I'm not counting backwards)

I'm 21 weeks 1 day as I post this.. so you can do the math. :0) Remember.. be kind!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I had a meltdown and it was ugly...

I typically only share things like this with very close friends, but I figure that if this blog is going to accurately portray our lives, I should share the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I have my flame suit on and ready.

Last Wednesday night, we visited a new church for their Wednesday night services. (Our 17th church since we've been here.) We were happy to get out of the house after a big snow the weekend before so we attended their Wednesday dinner and then wanted to go to their Biblical Parenting Bible Study. Since Brandon is currently working on Sundays for his new project, Wednesday would have to be our visiting day.

We packed up and went. We were all very excited and hopeful that we would find a place to call home. The dinner was yummy and seemed to be run well. A few people came and introduced themselves when we were eating and the nursery staff was very welcoming and assuring. Lainey's age group was a little unorganized. Julianne's class was well organized and she was happy to see "friends" (defined by my three year old as anyone that is a kid. LOL)

We went to our class and it was awkward and vague. It was almost as if the facilitator was afraid to pick a side of the fence to stand on, for fear of offending someone. We've seen it here.. alot. *sigh*

After class, I went to go gather our children and a man walked up to me in a very crowded hallway and loudly exclaimed "Have you figured out what causes that yet?" and motioned towards my three children and my obviously pregnant baby belly. A few other people laughed.

Let me pause here and say that I completely understand that the "world" doesn't see children as blessings. I don't see it that way and I have trouble wrapping my mind around it. But I know it is there.

But in a church? Obnoxiously asked by a stranger loud enough to make a scene in the children's hall.... I was floored. And for a split second, I almost wished I wasn't standing in a church. *blush* That's just being honest with you.

But I was... so I took the easy but polite way out. I used humor. I said "Of course! And we obviously like it because we keep on doing it huh?" and I winked.

And then I fumed during the drive to the grocery store. To be perfectly honest, I wanted to march back into that church and ask him what he was really getting at. Did he think my children were mistakes? Consequences of irresponsibility? And if I have too many.. which one SHOULDN'T I have had? And how does he suggest that I "put one back?" But I didn't... I fumed... quietly in our van, upset that my children (and the other children in the church) were exposed to such rudeness.

Coincidentally, in the grocery store, as we were checking out with our provisions for the next snow storm, a lady complimented my family. She told us we were very blessed, that our family was beautiful and the children were very well behaved. She also told the girls that it is "very exciting" that we are adding a little brother.

And then, I once again fumed on the way home. How is it that we are mocked and ridiculed in a church, for simply accepting the blessings that God has given us (and answering the call of the orphan)? And praised and encouraged in a grocery store? Doesn't the Bible call every child a blessing? The Bible surely doesn't specify or qualify which children are blessings, and which children are not blessings. #1 and #2 are not any more of a blessing, according to God, than our #3 and #4.

I tossed and turned that night while attempting to sleep... I was hurt and angry.

And the next morning, the tears started. I cried off and on for hours. I know part of it was hormones, part of it hurt from the incident the night before, and part of it just complete and utter homesickness.

But the tears came and they flowed. They flowed until my face was splotchy, my eyes were bright red and it hurt to blink. Brandon came home for lunch that day and even him holding me couldn't make my tears stop coming. I sobbed on his shoulder and left a big huge wet spot and he still wore the same shirt back to work. After several hours of crying, I eventually ran out of tears.

I am homesick. I am hormonal. I am the mother of soon to be 4 children.. and I love them deeply and fiercely. And I hate living in liberal, children-are-a-burden-and-inconvenience Richmond. I'm NOT sorry that God showed me what a blessing my children are. I'm NOT sorry that I *gasp* enjoy my children. And even when I start to think moving to Richmond was a huge mistake, I look in my Xander's chocolate brown eyes, and KNOW that God called us to be here. Without Richmond, there would be no Xander in our lives. And the addition of Xander makes it all worth while.

And yes Mr. I-am-going-to-attempt-to-make-a-scene-and-embarrass-you, I do know what causes it.

God abundantly blessing my life as I follow His will and ignore the world.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It's a....... BOY!

Brandon and I had a blast during our ultrasound watching our sweet baby on the screen. I nearly jumped off of the table when she said "Dad.. it's a boy!" I think I said something really dumb like "Let me see what that looks like! I've never seen a "turtle" only a "hamburger!" She laughed and then showed me what she saw.

Little Solomon however was NOT cooperating for all of the pictures they needed to get. He is breech (which is fine at this point and not something to worry about.) I had to go back after my doctors appointment so that they could try to get the picture they needed of his heart. We eventually got it.

So without bogging you down in words.. here is our little guy!

As I expected, Lainey was thrilled and Julianne burst into tears. She is feeling much better about the whole thing today and even sat with me and "talked" to Solomon for a long time. She is three and still learning how to react to disappointment and not having things her way. I know the disappointment won't last long and now she has til June to wrap her head around having TWO brothers! The teams are even... for now. ;)


Monday, February 1, 2010

Overheard in the Bee House...

I've heard some hilarious things lately and I really want to journal them before I forget them.

We were discussing our appointment for the ultrasound with the children... Lainey has been adamant that she wants another brother. She started praying for a brother after my miscarriage in early 2007. Then when we told her that we were going to start the process to adopt in 2009, she started praying for TWO brothers. When we found out that we matched with Xander, I told her there was a baby at the hospital for us and she asked immediately "What is my brother's name?" Oh childlike faith. Well she always takes the opportunity to tell me that she prayed for a brother and got Xander so SURELY God has heard her prayers for a second brother right?

Usually when she says this, Julianne gets huffy, crosses her arms and said "NO! I prayed for a SISTER!"

Someone will have a lesson about unanswered prayers tomorrow. *wink*

I guess DeLainey decided that she needed to start showing God some advantages of us being blessed with another baby boy... so the other night as I was walking by her bedroom door I heard "Dear God... please give momma a baby boy in her tummy... so she doesn't have to do so much hair before church." Thatta girl.. trying to plead your case yet remaining practical.

I've heard the following over the last few days..

"Dear God.. Please give my momma a baby boy in her tummy...."
- so that she can buy more shorts and pants. She is tired of buying so many dresses. (The girls only wear dresses these days so buying shorts and pants for Xander has definately been different. LOL)

- so that Xander will have a buddy to do yardwork with when we have a big yard. (Way to look ahead.. we live in an apartment right now LOL)

-so that we will have the same numbers. (She is very into "teams" right now.. and a boy would leave the boy team even with the girl team.)

- so Xander doesn't just have to throw a ball up in the air and catch it himself. He can actually play catch with someone. (I guess my little Tball player forgot that girls CAN play ball... and whatever happened to playing with daddy?)

- Because there are already two Daddy's girls.. and our Daddy only has two hands to hold and two legs for us to sit on. (Has she really seen Daddy's that have more than that? She makes Brandon seem incomplete or hindered. LOL)

We are very excited about our appointment tomorrow. I'm praying we see a healthy, wiggly baby. Once we see that I'll be happy to know the sex.... but having had a child that refused to show us at the big ultrasound appointment, my heart isn't set on it. I am thrilled to be pregnant and to be carrying yet another little person... and I love, love, love seeing the little baby on the screen! I know that we will ALL love the baby no matter what gender our little baby is! No matter who is been praying, it will be exactly what God has planned for us.