Sunday, October 30, 2011

It Is Good To Give Thanks To The Lord

Pastor Dom preached from Psalm 92 this morning. I have been thinking on it ever since then. Is has stirred great thankfulness and praise in my heart and I hope to share that with my kids as we work on our thankfulness journals this evening.
At this time last year, I was in the middle of depression brought on by long, hard trials and was so angry at God, I hadn't picked up my Bible for almost a month. We had been waiting and waiting for the girls' birth parents to have their rights terminated. I had testified in court at the Termination of Parental Rights hearing, we had waited for the judge's decision with great hope and were overjoyed when the decision came back...parental rights had been terminated! We were finally going to be able to adopt these kids! There was a 30 day waiting period, during which time, the birth parents could file an appeal to this decision. No one really thought they would, and it was wonderful when we got to the 30th day and were told that there was no appeal and therefore, we could move forward with adoption. The kids were told that it was over and that they were going to be a part of our family forever.
Two days later, our world seemed to come crashing down around us when we received a call saying that there had been some mistake, the birth parents had in fact been able to file an appeal on the very last of the 30 days and it would be 6 months to a year before we knew what the ruling on the appeal would be. It was the trial that just would not end. Even now, my chest hurts just thinking about it. I was so angry, so weary, and very much doubting God's love and care for me. I couldn't sing to him. I wouldn't read his Word. As far as I was concerned, God had failed and the enemy had won. It was all I could do to drag myself out of bed in the morning and take care of the kids. But God, in His never failing love for me, sent friends to speak the gospel into my life. I was reminded of his faithfulness over and over again in the following months. Thankfully, I can now joyfully say:

12Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O LORD, and whom you teach out of your law, 13to give him rest from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked. 14For the LORD will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage; 15for justice will return to the righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it. 16Who rises up for me against the wicked? Who stands up for me against evildoers? 17If the LORD had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence. 18When I thought, “My foot slips,” your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up. 19When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.
Crossway Bibles (2011-02-09). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (Kindle Locations 23942-23951). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

PSALM 92 It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; 2to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, 3to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre. 4For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy. 5How great are your works, O LORD! Your thoughts are very deep! 6The stupid man cannot know; the fool cannot understand this: 7that though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever; 8but you, O LORD, are on high forever.9For behold, your enemies, O LORD, for behold, your enemies shall perish; all evildoers shall be scattered. 10But you have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox; you have poured over me [212] fresh oil.
 11My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies; my ears have heard the doom of my evil assailants. 12The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God. 14They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, 15to declare that the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
Crossway Bibles (2011-02-09). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (Kindle Locations 23911-23920). Crossway. Kindle Edition. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Waiting for a job to open up in MN.
Waiting to move to MN.
Waiting to sign papers and officially sell our house.
Waiting to unpack (half of our possessions have been in storage and awaiting a move since our house went under contract last summer).
Waiting for the DRC Elections to take place. (Scheduled for November 28, and maybe will know the outcome by December 15?)
Waiting to take the next step in our Congo adoptions.
Waiting, waiting, waiting...
It seems like that has been our lot in life for the past few years...waiting. I have been reminded a few times lately to not JUST wait, but to live and to enjoy our lives during the waiting. I have started having a few minutes of "Thankfulness Journal Time" with the kids every night. We each have a thankfulness journal and we talk about all the things we are thankful for that day. The girls each pick one thing they want to write in their journal. Grace writes a sentence (working on vocab and handwriting), Hope traces a sentence (just to get her used the drawing the letter shapes) and colors a picture of what she's thankful for and I say aloud what I am thankful for as I jot them down in my journal.
As we have done this exercise, it has caused me to realize some of the benefits of waiting. One big benefit is that the longer we wait to move, the further ahead in our adoption we will be able to get (hopefully) before needed to redo our home study and such. We are praying that the November 28th elections go well and that adoptions will stay open.
Also, and this may seem rather trivial, but our neighborhood junk day (this happens twice a year) is this weekend and we are going to go through our belongings and get rid of anything that is broken, or in other ways just not worth taking all the way to Minnesota with us. Hopefully, that will cut down on some of the clutter and help keep me sane through the winter. :)
We have no idea if or when a position that Steve would want will open in Minnesota. We are praying for sooner rather than later, but are trying to enjoy our time here as we wait. We definitely made use of the fact that we live so close to Huber's Orchard and Winery and have a bunch of homemade apple cider in the freezer.
We also fully intend to enjoy the fact that autumn lasts so long here and the winter in Louisville is mild. We miss Minnesota, but the -0 temps in the winter will definitely be something we'll have to adjust to.
While waiting for our next two kiddos, I'm purposely trying to enjoy time with the kids we have now. I've instituted a weekly date night (Wednesday evenings), where one child gets to stay up with me for an extra hour. On Hope's week, we watched The Cosby Show together and cuddled on the couch. For Grace's date, we painted and talked. These have both been stretching times for me, as after bedtime is my time to get things done in the peace and quiet, but both date nights went very well and because of this date time, I was able to speak the gospel into my daughter's life last night.
I am enjoying the fact that Hope is still small enough for me to pick up and hold...I know this won't last long, and also realize that once we have two new little ones, I'll miss out on holding her so much as I'll spend a lot of my time carrying the new kiddos. So I am savoring the times that she still asks me to hold her.
Waiting is hard, but God is faithful, and for that, I'm thankful.

Monday, October 24, 2011

And We Have A New Reader In The Family!

Grace has been trying to read every word she sees. She is so excited to be able to sound some of the words out. Just last week, she was being super cute playing Rock Band with Steve and he said to me, "Hey Babe, want to get the C-A-M-E-R-A?" She sat still for a minute, then grinned and said, "I think he wants you to get the camera!" Stunned silence followed this announcement. We knew our days of spelling secret things were numbered, but we didn't realize they would be over quite this soon.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Last Few Months with Grace and Hope in Facebook Posts

August 2- Iris just came out of her bedroom with a helium balloon tied around her neck and she asked me if I could pick her up and hold her over the air conditioner so the air could make her fly and she could be "superhero to the rescue!" ??? She was disappointed to learn that she could not fly and that tying balloons around ones neck is just not safe. Ha.

August 2- So I was teaching the girls the "Cold/Hot" game where you hide something and then direct them to find it using "hot" and "cold" directions. Iris got tired of me saying "cold" when she couldn't find the item, so she wrapped herself up in a blanket and told me, "Okay mom, I warm now. Where is it?"

August 9- So I finally had to MAKE the kids go play by themselves. They were convinced that there was schoolwork somewhere that they just had to be doing. Good grief. Hope (Iris) sat and traced letters for over an hour today and was sad when she was finished. I think I've created a monster!

August 9- Hope (Iris) pulled out the chalkboard today and asked Grace (DeDe) to sit and watch her "be the weather lady". She drew storms and 'nados (tornados) and yelled they everybody needed to get in the basement! It was hilarious.

August 11- Grace was able to read her first few simple sentences today. She's hooked. :) I finally had to call it quits at dinner time. I can only take so many sentences made up of simple three letter words.

August 15- Had fun exploring our five senses with the kids today. Blindfolded them and had them figure out what things were by taste, smell, and touch, then had each of them find me and whichever girl wasn't blindfolded by following the sound of our voices and had them identify sounds they heard while blindfolded. They had a blast!

August 17- We decided to start our History lessons with the Pilgrims and Plymouth Plantation. Tonight, we read part of a book called "The Dreadful Smelly Colonies", which talked about the lack of sanitation, chamber pots, and outhouses. Grace responded with, "Mom, we need to pray that they will not have those yucky potties anymore. That's gross!" Ha!

August 21- My baby turns 4 today. Happy Birthday Iris Hope Casey! So thankful you are my daughter!

August 24- Hope just came out of her bedroom wearing some of Grace's dress up clothes. She punched both hands into the air and yelled. "Dey fit me! Pwaise God!" I think she's excited about growing. :)

August 25- Recently, Hope has been responding with, "Aw, nuts!" anytime I ask her to do anything. Who says that???? I am not a fan, though the first time was kinda funny because it was so unexpected.

Augusst 25- The kids are both packing up for a trip to the North and South Poles. They are planning to ride their cardboard box boat across the seven seas to get there. ???

August 30- Hope (Iris) was doing a new puzzle of the U.S.A. She found the piece that had Minnesota and the Dakotas on it and yelled, "Grace, come here! I have great news! I found Minnesota!" It cracks me up that she said, "I have great news!" Ha.

August 30- since reading "The Dreadful Smelly Colonies", Hope has been a little obsessed with the idea of an outhouse. It is just dreadful to her and she keeps worrying that we might find one and make her use it. Anyways, the girls are playing with blocks and just informed me that they built an outhouse for their princess dolls. :)

September 1- I woke this morning to Hope yelling this warning at Grace, "Hurry DeDe, Mama will be awake at any minute!" Oh boy. This could be a long day.

September 3- We bought Hope a new "computer" for her birthday. It has all kinds of letter and number games on it. She just ran out of her bedroom super excited and yelling, "Mommy, I can't believe it! I can learn vowels! I can't believe it!" So funny.

September 7- Grace is totally going to be one of those women with matching frilly aprons and rubber gloves. Probably will wear pearls as well. Right now she is cleaning the bathroom and the kitty litter box wearing pink heals and trying to be all dainty. Ha!

September 13- Is once again amazed at God's goodness in using our foster adoption story to encourage others to care for orphans. So thankful and humbled to be used in this way. Praising God for bringing so much good from that long trial. He is faithful.

September 22- so we've been juicing fruits and veggies every morning this week. Of course, Hope (Iris) LOVES the juices which are mostly fruit, or at least have a stronger fruit flavor. Grace's favorite has been the one I made that was basically a salad in a glass. Why are my children's tastes so opposite?

Sept 27- got my hair cut and highlighted today. Hope's response when she had thought about it for a little while? "Your hair's a little bit crazy, Mom. I don't like the yellow stuff. Next time, make your hair pink. I will like that." Don't hold your breath, kid.

Sept 27- Another hair quote from Hope: (With expression like a lightbulb turned on in her brain) "MOM! Your hair is like Tangled! It change color when you sleep?" Uses her fingers to search through the layers. "I see the dark stuff under here. Yep. It change color when you sleep."

Sept 29- Hope had her ears pierced a week and a half ago. We offered to let Grace have her ears pierced too, but she decided against it. This week, she said she was ready to be brave, so we took her to the store today and now both Grace and Hope have pierced ears. :)

October 4- Hope's first random question of the morning (I'm sure there will only be about a thousand more today): "Mom, how do cats pass gas?"

October 9- Grace's lunchtime joke: "When I was three, I asked for more and more green beans." She laughed at this for a while. Ha.

Loving life with my crazy kids.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Our Hearts Are Longing...

A good friend was kind enough to take some family photos for us. We asked her to make sure that in at least one of the photos we showed that we are waiting for our two kiddos from the DRC. This was my favorite.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I'm not sure why, but Monday has become our day to study geography. We didn't really plan it that way, but for some reason, it always seems easier to start the school week with geography, so we do. We spend most of the day on it. Sometimes I'll have Grace practice her handwriting skills by writing out some of the names of the countries we have studied or the names of Landmarks we've found. I also like to find free coloring pages online that coincide with what landmarks or countries we've talked about.
While in Minnesota, I found some really fun tools for teaching geography at a garage sale. There was a fan deck of cards giving info on each of the fifty states, a Jigsaw World Atlas, puzzles of the United States, a game for learning about the fifty States (which we have not pulled out yet), a "Goodnight America" book that's great for bedtime, an Egypt themed 50 piece puzzle, two Dr. Seuss books that I didn't even know existed, and a bunch of other stuff for the other subjects we are learning. I was one excited Mama. :)

This is the majority of what we've been using for Geography lessons.
The three puzzles to the left are all from the dollar section at Target. Two are 100-101 piece World and U.S. maps for Grace. The front puzzle is a 24 piece map of the world for Hope.
Obviously we have a globe and we use a deck of "Landmarks" cards, again from Target's dollar section. We pick out three new ones every few weeks and find them on the globe, talk about them, and find free coloring pages of them.
The "Where Do I Live?" book is from the library and is very good.
The Jigsaw World Atlas is a great book for the kids to work on puzzles together (has tiny little pics of the landmarks we've learned) while listening to Audio Memory songs listing countries.

I found this idea on Pinterest. Basically, we read through "Where Do I Live?" and made a circle for our planet, our continent, our country, our state/city, our street, and our house. The kids loved doing this project. I just used free clip art for the cut outs.

Love these books. They are very informative and we've taken some words from them to use as vocabulary lessons.

Also, because we are reading "There's A Map On My Lap" often now, we made maps of how to get from our house to our church and the kids now use them with their quiet time matchbox car box.