Sunday, December 19, 2010

Unexpected Blessing

More often than not our Sunday dinners are at the Culvers on 86th street in Urbandale. Today was no different. Jon was preaching at the Bridge and I was at Meredith Drive doing my thing. And, of course, the kids were with me. We met Jon at Culvers. One of the perks of having Josie is that we get to park in handicapped parking. However, sometimes I get a few "looks" when I pull up and walk around the van to get the kids out. I am sure people are thinking something like this - "She doesn't look she needs handicapped parking, why is she parking there?" One time in a parking garage in downtown Des Moines somebody even told me to save the handicapped spaces for people who really need them. I was just about to open the van door to get Josie out - as I pulled her out, I told the lady that if she wanted to adopt a child who was unable to walk that she could park here, too. Not one of my finer moments, but it sure felt good. Anyway, I digress. As I was getting Josie out, I noticed an older couple in the parking lot watching me. I thought maybe they were upset with me using the handicapped parking space. I didn't really think much about it. I was hungry, my kids were hungry. It was time to eat.

We got there before Jon so the kids and I found a booth to sit in and we waited for him. I really wasn't paying attention to the people around me. I fed Josie, which is normal to me and my kids, but I forget that this isn't normal to most of the people around us. Jon came so I left the kids with him and ordered our food. I came back and noticed that the couple from the parking lot was now talking to Jon. They were asking about Josie. They then told us that they had a son who had cerebal palsy. He wasn't supposed to live past the age of 18 but he lived well into his 30s. I don't know how long ago their son passed away, but I could tell this woman loved her son very much. She lit up when she talked about him. They thanked us for taking Josie into our family. We continued talking for awhile. They were a blessing to us, I think we were a blessing to them. As they were leaving they said that they will see us again. Our faith was not discussed, but I think she meant that we will get to spend eternity together. Josie, her son, and our family. The Spirit was present at Culvers in Urbandale today.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I am Giving You a Gift

Wow. September 30. That is the last time I have done a post. I remember why I started a blog last spring. We had just moved and I was lonely. I had things to say and no one to tell them to. I felt like a stranger in a familiar place. I was going through a transition and to cope I wrote. Josie's adoption was going nowhere. To cope, I wrote. We were the first to move to our housing development. We were the only ones living in the neighborhood. No neighbors is not a good thing for this stay at home mom. Quite frankly, blog entries helped to fill my day.

I have to say I am in a much better place now. Some new friends have been made. I have a few people that will listen to what I have to say, most of the time. We have a lot of new neighbors now. Most of them from Bosnia - I have learned a lot from them. And I hope they have learned from me as well. Josie's adoption has been finalized. We are still needing to file for naturalization/citizenship/alien relative, etc. But, the adoption has been finalized. No more dealing with Haiti.

This fall I joined a Newcomers group. A group of ladies of all ages who are new to the Des Moines area meet every Tuesday AM for some social time, learning time, sharing and praying time, and a lesson. It was pretty cool. Kind of like a support group. There were people who moved here from Texas, the Middle East, the Virgin Islands, Delaware, Colorado, Pennsylvania, etc. Some were single, some were grandmas, some had teenagers, some had preschoolers. I absolutely loved the diversity. This group met a need. I had a name. I was heard. I got to share part of my story.

I was a pretty busy lady before we moved. Mom of four, home school group teacher, part time children's ministry assistant, piano teacher, MOPS co-coordinator, worship team member, etc. After moving I dropped everything (except mom of four). I have had the opportunity to reinvent myself. I thought about changing my name and dying my hair purple. That may still happen. Instead I signed up for a 10 week fitness challenge. That 10 weeks has turned into almost 6 months now. I am even working part time as a cardio kickboxing and resistance bands instructor! Who knew? I have made some good friends while kicking and punching things. Doesn't hurt that I have dropped 20 pounds either! I also have been hired as one of the children's ministry assistants at our church (no shocker there). I will be working with the 2.5-3 year olds. So fun! More importantly I am part of a team. I am looking forward to working with these talented ladies.

So, I guess what I am trying to say is that I no longer feel the need to blog like I did before. I will post updates as I feel led. I just gave you all a gift. A gift of time. Because you won't be reading my blog as much, you are free to do other things. Enjoy!


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sadness of the Heart

What causes you deep grief? What causes you deep pain? Go ahead answer that question. Even say your answer out loud.

Is it the abuse of children? Is it the people that die each day because of starvation? Is it incurable disease such as cancer? Is it obese people who desperately want to lose weight but just can't? Is it a single parent trying to hold everything together on their own? Is it a mother who has AIDS and can't get the medicine she needs so she can take care of her kids? Is it the millions of orphans domestically and internationally that need a forever family? Is it families torn apart by divorce? These are just a few things that cause me great grief. The kind of grief that can sometimes paralyze me. I have wept and continue to weep because of these things.

I read somethimg today about this grief being a clue to God's call on my life. Nehemiah is one of my favorite books in the Bible. I have read it many times, each time learning something new. Nehemiah was deeply grieved when he heard that the wall around Jerusalem was in ruins. He was saddened that the people left there were in great trouble and disgrace. He wept. He fasted. He mourned. And he prayed. In chapter two, the king even notices how troubled Nehemiah is and asks Nehemiah, "Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart." Sadness of heart. I like that phrase. What makes your heart sad?

What Nehemiah does next is what I have been thinking about today. He took action. Nehemiah resigned from his job and told the king he wanted to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall. Nehemiah was deeply grieved and he took action.

I often wonder what is God's call on my life? God used Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah obviously cared greatly for Jerusalem. Perhaps his deep grief was the fuel to take action and rebuild. Think about what causes you deep pain. Perhaps this is a clue as to how God wants to use you!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's a Hannah Happy Birthday!

You will notice two candles on the birthday cake. Hannah is not turning two, she is turning four! I just like this picture and she thought it was pretty funny, too! It's my blog, I can do what I want to do...

I have to admit that Hannah's birthday is a little extra special for me, too. Why so? Hannah's brithday reminds of my journey of carrying Hannah. Hannah is a fighter and a little on the fiesty side. She had to be. She had to fight everyday she was inside of me. At week 14 of her pregnancy we thought we lost her. It was one of the most difficult nights I can recall. I woke up in the middle of the night losing a lot of blood. I thought it was a miscarriage. I called our small city hospital and the nurses told me to wait to come in. It was a Saturday night. Jon had to preach the next morning and his sermon happened to be about being broken. He had to preach that morning knowing that his family was broken.

In the morning the kids and I stayed home. Jon was gone. I was alone with my two and four year old. I really don't remember much. I do remember that it was David's birthday. He was turning two. We celebrated the day before. Jon came home from church and we decided to head to the ER. (I was still bleeding a lot) I got the ER and they took my blood pressure - it was REALLY low. They immediately laid me down and started an IV drip. The doctor on call was assuring me that it might not be a miscarriage. But whatever was happening it was not good. My regular doctor happened to be there and she rolled her ultrasound machine over. After what seemed like forever, we saw a little heart beating - and it was a strong heartbeat. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. More tests, more detailed ultrasounds and two things were found. Placenta previa and a placenta tear. The placenta was tearing away from the uterus. Not good. I stayed in the hospital the remainder of the day and they sent me home on bedrest.

Bedrest. Yikes. I was a stay at home mom of a now two year old and four year old. I was told to lay down. Not even sit. Get up only to go to the bathroom. I had to lay there and watch my kids struggle with why mommy can't play with them. I had to lay there and watch other people take care of my family. I am extremely grateful for these people that helped us. We had meals brought in, people did our laundry, cleaned our house, watched our kids, and I even had people that would come over and keep me company. A dear woman came over two to three times a week and would bring me Taco Johns for lunch and teach me how to knit. I rarely ask for help - I was greatly humbled. I had to swallow my pride and let other people help me. I had feelings of guilt. Jon was busting his tail trying to hold everything together. I felt useless and had to remind myself that my job was to provide a safe home for my unborn child to grow. I felt bad for my husband and other two kids. Why did they have to suffer through this?

The only time I left the house was for doctor appointments. Once a week I would get to see the flowers coming up and the trees budding. But with each appointment we learned that the baby was growing and that was enough motivation to go home and lay on the couch for another week. I went down on bedrest at week 14. At week 24 I was allowed to sit up in a chair and by week 30 I was allowed to get up and "take it easy."

I carried Hannah full term. I was having contractions and they admitted me for observation. My baby was not handling the contractions well. All night long they shifted my position. I often heard the nurses whispering to each other whether or not they should call the doctor. To make a long story short labor progressed and I was ready to push. I pushed once and the look on the nurses face and the face of the doctor was alarming. An oxygen mask was placed under my nose and I was told to breathe. They told me I had one more chance to push and then I was going to have an emergency c-section. They told me to give this push all I had. I knew this push could potentially save my baby's life so I did give it all I had. At 11:14 am little miss Hannah was born. The push worked! The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck three times. She was basically being choked with each contraction. However, she survived the pregnancy, labor, and delivery! She had to fight each day she was inside of me to survive. Now when she is a little fiesty, I need to remind myself that if she wasn't that way, she probably wouldn't be here.

We had one little hangup with her heart rate and a heart murmur but that has all turned out to be fine and she is a happy, healthy, and fiesty four year old. So not only is it Hannah's birthday, it is the four year anniversary of me getting off of bedrest and God blessing me with a beautiful daughter.

I look back on that time and there were so many things that could have gone wrong. But they didn't. God is faithful. God gives and takes away. I am glad Hannah is here!

Happy Birthday, Hannah! You are loved! (And keep on fighting and being a little fiesty!)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's Time for a Haircut

I need your help. I am in need of a haircut. I have gotten my hair cut once since we moved 8ish months ago. I really miss Rachel, my hair cut person in Orange City. If I had time tomorrow I would drive there and get a hair cut, BUT I can't do that. I am also wanting something different and this is where I need your help. Tell me if you prefer the "top" hairstyle or the "bottom" hairstyle for me. Or, tell me if you have another idea. Thanks!
(By the way, I still can't figure out how to get the pictures to go somewhere other than the top of the post. I will keep trying.....)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Man on a Tractor

We live in a area where there is A LOT of new construction. There are houses going up everywhere around us. They are selling and selling quickly. It must be because they know they are getting great neighbors. :) Now, if only our house in OC would sell - that is a different story. (Sigh)

There are always various construction crews in our neighborhood everyday. Many of them speak a different language. They don't look like me or act like me. I like that. They work hard, really hard. My kids and I enjoy watching them. What I didn't know is that they are watching us, too.

Yesterday, I had a brief conversation with a man on a tractor. His job is to grade the dirt before the sod goes down. He goes over and and over the dirt until it is just right. He does a great job. They tell me he is the best in the business. I have him to thank for no water in our basement this summer. He is an older man. He looks like he has had a rough life. He works alone and seldom talks to anyone. And if he does, it is usually because he is mad.

Yesterday as I was taking out the garbage he got off his tractor and starting walking toward me. Someone else from the construction company was across the street and saw the man from the tractor approaching me. The man on the tractor started talking to me. He said he enjoyed watching my kids play as they waited for the bus to arrive. He then asked me about "that girl" in the wheelchair. I smiled and told him her name was Josie. He wanted to know what was wrong with her. I told him a little of her story and told him that we adopted her. He told me that I must have a heart of gold to do such a thing. I simply responded by saying that God loves me and this is a way to show God's love. I think he was thrown a little and he responded by saying that there must be a God for something like this to happen. And just like that, he was back on his tractor moving the dirt around. The other constuction worker who was watching came over and said he has never seen the man on the tractor talk to anyone else.

Our conversation was probably three minutes long. I may have been the only person he talked to yesterday. I have no idea of this man's faith journey. I do know that he experienced some of God's love yesterday. The man on the tractor is back today, perhaps another conversation will take place. Let's hope so.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I Am Still Here

Wow. It has been WAY too long since I last posted. Here are a few reasons why....
1. All of my kids are home from school. I have one in particular that likes to be on the computer.
2. I have been playing with my kids.
3. I have spent several mornings at the park and many afternoons at the pool.
4. I am feeling more and more settled here and feel even more connected with people. What I would normally share on a blog and I am now sharing with actual people. This is a good, good thing.

This summer we have....
  • finalized an adoption
  • made a trip to Minneapolis - spent time at the waterpark and Mall of America
  • spent many days at my parents house in Pella - swimming
  • completed a ten week fitness program with pretty good results
  • entertained the neighborhood kids
  • sleepovers
  • Van Dees ice cream
  • stayed up late
  • walked in two local parades promoting our church
  • sent our oldest daughter to camp - she didn't want to come home
  • checked out every Aquatic center in the Des Moines metro area
  • bike rides
  • had various groups of people over for either dinner or ice cream
  • provided music for a local farmers market

Three of my kids go back to school next week. It is time and they are ready. I will blog more regularly. However, we are going to enjoy this last week before school. See you next week!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Halfway Done

This summer I am doing something I thought I would NEVER do. Jon and I signed up for a 10 week fitness program called Farrells Extreme Bodyshaping. We started 5 weeks ago and we are at the halfway point. Before our first class, we had an orientation in which we were weighed, body fat measured, measurements were taken, we ran a timed mile, we did sit ups and push ups, and finally sit and reach. A before picture was also taken. I was really nervous before and during the orientation, and VERY self aware. New people, new place, and new situations. I reluctantly went through the orientation. And I have been going back six mornings a week. I have only missed one class, because, well, Josie was getting adopted that day and we had to be downtown Des Moines at 8:00 AM.

Today I had to go for 5 week testing. We had to do all the above, except the picture. However, they showed me my before picture, and that was almost as painful as taking it. I was blown away by my results today. I doubled the amount of sit ups in a minute, I did several more push ups in a minute, and I decreased my mile time by 47 seconds, and my body fat decreased almost 3 points! Perhaps the best part was that I didn't even walk at all while running. This is a HUGE improvement for me.

I write this not to toot my own horn...I have a long way to go. Some of my team mates had incredible improvements and I couldn't be prouder of them. I say this because this is something I thought I couldn't do. I thought I was too out of shape. I thought I didn't have time. I thought I would make a fool out of myself, etc, etc, etc. Do I enjoy getting up and going each morning? No - but I am so glad I am doing this. I am even contemplating continuing on after this 10 weeks is up!

So today I am going to celebrate and then on Monday I will buckle down and see what the next 5 weeks will bring. I say BRING IT ON!

Friday, July 2, 2010

I've Got Issues

Anybody who knows me understands that I have a few issues.
  • I really struggle with different foods on my plate touching each other.
  • I have issues with fruit roll ups, cookies, muffins, chocolate, soda... okay you get the idea.
  • I rarely make my bed in the morning, however, I will make it before I go to bed because I don't like to sleep with the sheets messed up.
  • I can't stand being late. It drives me crazy. I always wear a watch. I even sleep with my watch on my wrist.
  • I don't like coffee and I don't like to scrapbook.
  • I don't like sweaty people touching me. This did not help my short lived basketball career.

The one "issue" that comes around this time of year is fireworks. I just don't get them. I know they are pretty and all, but really? In my past experiences with fireworks I would load up all my bug sprayed kids into the van and drive to some open field. Then we would all unload with multiple lawn chairs in hand. We would then try to find a place to sit and watch these fireworks. We would always be there early, because, well, I don't like to be late. About five minutes into the wait my kids are fighting about which chair to sit in, or who has to sit by Hannah, or all the bugs. Or they need a drink or snack or something which I didn't pack because, well, that would make us late.

By the time the fireworks start it is way past the kids' bedtime and two out of the four kids are sleeping only to wake up to loud booming noises. They then start crying and want to go home. But, by golly, they are going to watch these fireworks and even like it!

So now the fireworks are done and we drag our half asleep, mosquito bitten, kids and lawn chairs back to the van. We wait in what seems like forever traffic. Four sleepy, cranky kids in the van makes for two cranky parents in the van as well. Hours later we get home and carry each sleeping child from the van to the house. The kids get settled into bed and hopefully don't have nightmares about the loud booming noises.

And then my favorite part - the kids are crabby the whole next day because they went to bed way too late. All just to watch some fireworks. I think we might skip the firework thing this year. Anyone have an issue with that?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Adoption Day!

Today was a very important day in the life of Josiane Francois, an abandoned child from Port au Prince, Haiti. Today Josie now has a daddy, a mommy, two sisters, and a brother. She has a forever home, a forever family, and she now has a place to belong. While she has been living with this family for 2.5 years, it is now official and legal! No more adoption paperwork, renewing of medical visas, homestudies, fingerprinting, and most of all, no more worry of Josie having to return to Haiti! God is good!
As I breathe a huge sigh of relief that this part of the journey is over, I can't help but wonder what is next. What does God have in store for Josie and the rest of our family? I have grown so much through this process and have learned much about myself and my Creator. We are so happy for Josie and we feel our family is getting her one step closer to meeting her Heavenly Father - the very One who created her. It is a great honor and privlidge that I get to be Josie's mommy.
I would like to thank those that have walked with us in this journey from day 1. I remember numerous times spent in prayer in the prayer room at Trinity Church. I remember the many words of advise, encouragement, and words of skepitcism. I appreciate those who even spoke out against us adopting Josie. You had the courage to show us you cared and wanted what was best for us. Thank you. After Josie came into our home, I remember the meals that were dropped off, the gift shower, the opportunity for me to share our story in church. Thank you.
Some of you have just begun to walk with us in this journey. Your emails, encouragement, respite care, and meals have been greatly appreciated. Thank you.
I heard a couple of times today that Josie is lucky to have a family. Perhaps there is some truth in that statement, however, I feel I am the "lucky" (blessed) one to have Josie in MY family. She brings out the best in me. She reminds me of how fortunate I am. She reminds me of the love God has for all his children, including me. We chose Josie to part of our family. God has chosen me to be part of his family.
My friends, this journey is not over. It has only just begun. There is one less orphan today, praise be to God!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

10 Random Things...

I really have nothing to say today so I am just going to post ten random things. Most of them will be about me, but some may be totally random. Hopefully you will learn something new about me.

1. I will NOT eat mayonaise or most salad dressings. Just the smell of mayo makes my stomach turn.

2. I have never been out of the country. Sad, but true. :(

3. I like the sun, heat, and humidity. I really like getting into cars that have been outside in the heat and humidity. I like to sit in them for awhile....then turn the air on!

4. I don't like cell phones. I have never sent a text. I don't know how to get my voice mail messages on my cell phone. (can't remember the password) And, if I had it my way, I would not have a cell phone. And I don't think anyone else should have one either. This was kind of confirmed to me when I saw a grown man sitting with his family texting during church. Not just one little text, but pretty much the whole service. I get kind of annoyed, too, when I see moms at the park or pool with their kids and the only thing she does is text on her phone instead of talking to or playing with her kids. I guess I did have something to say. I know, I know, one of these days I will be forced to send a text.....that will be a sad day.

5. I am trying to make healthier choices when it comes to food. I have my good days and I have my bad days. I just can't turn down a fruit roll up.

6. My mom was a Tulip Queen and made an appearance on the Tonight Show with Steve Allen. I was not a Tulip Queen and I was told when we moved from Orange City that none of my daughters will have the chance to be Tulip Queen either. They can always hope for Pork Queen or something. State Fair Queen? :)

7. I used to waterski all the time. I tried to waterski on Memorial Day after an 8 year break. I couldn't get up. Devastating. This is what prompted #5.

8. I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I went to school to be a teacher.
Any suggestions?

9. I learned today that my second oldest daughter likes and can even see the color yellow. I painted the bottom of our island yellow and I couldn't keep her away from it. She got a little messy, but it made me laugh. It was kind of like when bugs swarm toward light. I put her in a chair that she can't get out of and she got really, really, mad.

10. Funerals always get to me. I always leave a funeral wondering what will be written about my life in that little pamphlet thing.

I told you it would be random. There are more that are popping into my head as I type. There might be a part 2, but don't hold your breath.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Home Alone

I am home alone. Josie is at group respite, the other three are at their grandma's house for the day, and my husband is golfing. I don't quite know what to do with myself. I am having the internal debate of whether I should clean house and get groceries OR go and do something fun just for myself. I could get so much done in the house without the kids here, but, on the other hand, I could also get a lunch that doesn't come with a toy in the box. Perhaps I will land somewhere in the middle and get a few things done in the house, and then go and do something fun for myself. What to do, what to do?

We did meet with our attorney on Monday and things went VERY well. Josie's official adoption day will be Wednesday, June 30, at 8:30 am! Jon and I both testify in court and Josie's last name will become Nelson! We will walk out with the necessary documents to prove it. No more renewing of paperwork, fingerprints, homestudies, medical visas, temporary protected status, etc. She will become ours! We still have to go through the process of getting a social security number, citizenship, and then Title XIX. But, getting the adoption finalized is HUGE and we are feeling very blessed to have this step almost done!

I feel strong and confident in our decision to adopt Josie. The Evil One has been at work. It has been a hard fight with many roadblocks. Many roadblocks that seemed impossible to knock down. The kind of roadblocks that would have been impossible if God didn't show up. God has not only showed up, he has prevailed! And will do it again, and again, and again! The words to a Chris Tomlin song go something like this..."and if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us, and if our God is with us, then what could stand against" I want to have this song blaring in the court room, but I don't think they will let me. Instead I will be singing it in my head as I take the stand. I am confident that God will show up in the Polk County Courthouse on June 30, and His glory will be made known!

We love you Miss Josie! :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Adoption Update...

It has been quite a week! In response to my last post....well, lets just say and I am still standing, barely. I made it through orientation, barely. They snapped a picture of me, barely. (However today they said they couldn't find my picture and I might have to do it again....) If you have no clue what I am talking about you need to read the previous post. I am too tired to write about it again. Today we worked on lower body and abs. Enough said.

My kids are home on summer break. I am having a hard time finding time to blog, so my blog posts this summer will be few and far between. The kids all want their computer time and between runnning here and there I just don't have large chunks of time anymore. I will post when I can.

I will try to post with updates on our adoption process. Jon and I are signing some papers our attorney has prepared to submit to the court. To be honest I am not sure the exact process, but our attorney informed me that after the papers are submitted it will be three to four weeks! I think a hearing takes place sometime in I mentioned, I will keep you all updated. It has been over three years now, and to think it is all coming to an end is something I can't wrap my mind around. We are so relieved but yet don't want to get too excited because there is still a chance that a judge will say no, and we will have to continue our process in Haiti.

I am asking for prayers.....
Pray for our meeting with our attorney on Monday and that all the neccesary papers are in place.
Pray for our attorney. He needs to plea our case in front of a judge. We are extrememly grateful that he is willing to do this for us.
Pray for the judge that gets our case. We aren't doing things "by the book." Please pray that the judge rules in favor of the best interest of Josie. Pray for a compassionate heart.
Pray for our family. I can get pretty anxious about this whole process.

God has answered some prayers too....
A couple of months ago I saw no hope in our adoption. I was in a very dark place. I had a lot of questions and doubt. At times I didn't even know what to say or pray. Many people said prayers on my behalf. They prayed for mountains to be moved. People would ask how they could pray for us. I would tell them two things....Pray for God to be glorified in this process and I asked people to pray for the BIG one...that our adoption can be completed here in the States and we don't have to deal with Haiti anymore. God is working and He will continue to work. He can move mountains. Glory be to God!

Thank you to all of you who read this. To know I am not alone in this journey is what keeps going on some days. All of you are greatly appreciated! Blessings to you.... :)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Stressing Out

There is a phrase that rarely comes out of my mouth. It goes something like this..."I am really stressing out." I am pretty laid back and low key. I just pretty much go with the flow. I don't worry about much. However, I am really stressing out about something I have to do on Saturday. Intrigued? I thought so. Let be back up a bit.

The last six months have been, well, a little stressful. (I said it again...) My husband took a new job, we have moved, we haven't sold our previous house, the kids have started in new schools, our everyday lives have been turned upside down. I will admit that I am an emotional eater or I often reward myself with food. Emotions have run high and low the past few months and lets just say I have put on a few pounds. That doesn't bother me so much, but I know that if I don't make some lifestyle changes things could get pretty bad quickly.

So, here comes why I am so stressed out about Saturday. My husband and I are doing a 10 week boot camp called Farrells Extreme Bodyshaping. It is six days a week for 45-50 minutes. That sounds bad enough, right? When signing up my husband came home with this paper. On this paper it said that all participants must attend orientation on June 5 from 11:30 am - 2:30 pm. Not so bad. Here comes the bad part. This is what the paper said - my comments in red.

1. Be prepared to do physical activity and run 1 mile. I can understand the physical activity part, but RUN 1 mile? I haven't done that, well, since high school. And even then it was painful. This is orientation. I don't run on purpose. Just ask Kara and Lori. They tried to get me to run. I would much rather sing or play or speak in front of large groups of people, but not run. If the running part isn't bad enough, read the next line.

2. Make sure you where proper clothing for your before picture. Be assured this will be done privately and away from other participants. Women should wear a two piece swimsuit or a sports bra and bike shorts. We must be able to see the bottom of your thigh, 2" min. and your belly button. Just as I was in shock about the running part, I read this. Huh? NOBODY has seen my bellybutton for at least 10 years. Bike shorts? I feel sorry for the person taking the picture. It won't be pretty. This is another fear, getting my picture taken. I don't like to get my picture taken even when I am fully clothed. Just thinking about this raises my blood pressure.

Some of you are saying just suck it up. I hear you. I will go and do it, no matter how anxious I am about it. However, some of you who are reading this are nodding your head in agreement with me. You know exactly where I am coming from. This post is for you.

I assure you I will not be posting any pictures of this event. I am pretty sure there will be a blog post or two about this in the coming week. I will keep you "posted."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Eating popcicles on the back of the boat...
Mary and I tubing!

Hannah was brave and jumped on the tube!

David and I enjoying a tube ride!

Josie floating in the pool. She apparantly likes the water!

Today is June 1 and I could not be happier! There is not much that I don't like about summer. I like the sun...I like the water...I like the heat...I like a looser schedule. I had a great weekend with my family. The weather was beautiful. Welcome summer, I have been waiting for you!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mowing in my Snow Boots

Last night I mowed the lawn in my snow boots because I couldn't find my "old" shoes. As I walked outside in my shorts and snow boots, my 8 year old daughter had a terrified look on her face. I can only imagine the thoughts running through her head. My mom used to torture me as a kid and now I am doing the same to my daughter. Funny how that works.

I remember some of things my mom did when my brothers and I were growing up. I can remember on long road trips my mom would tell us to look for a certain kind of tree. It was usually those really tall and skinny pine trees. She told us that elves lived in those tress and if we yelled loud enough when we passed by they would give us treats, but we had to be quiet while "looking" for the trees. Sure enough, we would spot the said trees and begin yelling "ELFY! ELFY!" My mom would then say "I think I see one over there, look!" We would turn our heads and out of nowhere candy was being thrown into the back seat of the car. We would then wait patiently until the next tree was found. One time, three cans of soda were hurled into the back seat. Amazing. This was all fun and I must say it passed the time. However, I discovered that not EVERYBODY looked for elves while in the car. I was traveling with a friend and when I saw a tall skinny pine tree I began to yell "ELFY, ELFY." My friends' family just stared at me. I was embarrassed and never yelled for elves again.

I grew up in Pella and we made many trips to Des Moines. The trip was about an hour which as a kid seemed like a LONG time. To get to Des Moines we had to pass through this tiny town called Otley. There were no stop lights or stop signs but there was a speed limit of 35 mph. When we got close to the town of Otley my mom, in her best pilot voice, would say "Pilot to co-pilot, we are approaching Otley." Whoever was in the passenger side of the car was the co-pilot. (That was before airbags) My mom would then turn on the windshield wipers, the hazard lights, turn up the radio, and punch the gas. We had to roll the windows down (even in the winter). Instead of slowing down through Otley, we would "fly" through Otley. She would swerve a little. The co-pilot had to make sure the runway was clear and the backseat passengers were okay. Once we were out of Otley, the windows were rolled up, the hazards were turned off, and the wipers stopped. I always wondered what would happen if we got pulled over. I think my mom would just say that we were flying through Otley. We never did get pulled over.

My mom was, and still is, a little kooky. She even embarrassed me a little, okay, A LOT. I have more stories about my mom and perhaps they will surface another day. Mostly I remember having a lot of fun with my mom. I hope my kids are having a lot of fun with me. Sure, I might embarrass them a little here and there, but hopefully the fun far outweighs the embarrassment. I might just mow the yard every time in my snow boots.

What embarrassing or fun stories do you have from your childhood?

Monday, May 17, 2010


I tried the links in my latest post, they don't work. I think one of them does. I am just not tech savvy so give me some patience here. If you want to hear the songs, go to You Tube and type in the title or artist. I am so sorry. :(

Knock My Socks Off Music

Anyone who knows me just a little or really well knows that I am a fan of music. I like listening to it, I like playing it, and I like teaching it. You know the question: "If you could have thing on a desert island what would it be?" Of course my Bible would probably be the winner, however, my keyboard would be right up there along with my Ipod.

The last couple of weeks I have heard three songs that have given me some much needed encouragement. These three songs have stopped me dead in my tracks and have literally brought me prayerfully to my knees in tears. They speak right to my heart. I listen to them over and over.

I have been struggling lately with lonliness. I have been questioning why we moved here. I have also been struggling with our adoption process. Why so many roadblocks? We recently learned that Josie will need to have a painful hip surgery. I left the doctors appointment upset and grieving for Josie. Why her? Hasn't she been through enough? What I wouldn't do to make her pain go away.

The first song, "Our God" by Chris Tomlin I first heard on the radio. The very first line of the song talks about Jesus healing the blind. We all are blind, spiritually. But since having a daughter who is blind, this reference speaks right to Josie's situation. Since having Josie all the references in Scripture and in songs about being blind speak directly to my heart. In the middle of the song is a bridge and the words are "If God is with us then who can stand against us" We are the middle of an adoption nightmare. We have hit roadblock after roadblock after roadblock. It feels like we are taking on the country of Haiti and that is a pretty daunting task. Needless to say, it is over my head and beyond anything I can do. However, I strongly believe that God is with my family on this and NO ONE or NOTHING is going to stand against us. I needed to hear that song. It gives me hope. Here is the link to the song if you want to hear it.

The second song, "The Power of Your Name" by Lincoln Brewster I heard just last week on the radio on my to Orange City to go to the Tulip Festival. It speaks to all the pain in this world. Oh, how I long for God's Kingdom to come. It is so hard to wait. However, while we are waiting we can be the hands of feet of Jesus and show His compassion to others. This song reminds me why we have Josie in our house. Sometimes I don't understand why we moved here. It has been hard. In my struggle I need to reach out to those around me, no matter where I am. Please take a listen, you will be blessed.

And finally the third song. (Sigh) This song literally brings me to tears everytime I hear it. When I give talks to groups about Josie's story I hope to use this song in some way. Pretty much the whole song speaks to my heart. It talks about heaven. It talks about no more weeping. It talks about no more pain. It talks about no more darkness. It talks about no sick or lame. Wow! I so long for that for everybody, but I can't help but think about Josie's days in heaven! She will no longer be in darkness. She will not wail anymore. She will be dancing and singing with the one who created her. Her days on earth are so difficult but she will ultimately be healed. Knowing that she will one day be in heaven is sometimes what gets me through the difficult days . I am kind of at a loss for words because words can't describe what I am feeling. That is okay. The song is called "You Hold Me Now" by Hillsong United. Let me know what you think!

Your turn - What are some of your favorite songs? Drop me a comment and I will listen to your favorites!

Monday, May 10, 2010

From One Mom to Another

I had a great Mother's Day weekend. My husband and kids bought me an outfit earlier in the week. This was a 2 for 1 gift. I liked the outfit PLUS I got to enjoy 1-1/2 hours at home by MYSELF while they were out shopping - priceless. We went to Pella for Tulip Time and despite the cold weather we still had a good time. On Sunday, three of my kids and I went to Pella to spend the day with family from near and far. Jon stayed home with Josie and when I returned later that night, the entire house was picked up and clean! Jon also did 6+ loads of laundry! I have a great family, great kids, and a great husband!

There was one woman I thought about regularly throughout the weekend. I do not know this woman's name. I do not know where she lives. I do not know how old she is. I do not know what she looks like. I do not know how many kids she has. I do not even know if she is alive. This woman and I are linked together and we share one thing in common. We both share the title of "Josie's Mom." There are many things I would like to know about the woman who carried and birthed Josie. She has be to a beautiful woman because her daughter sure is. She must be strong, determined, and perhaps a bit stubborn because her daughter sure is. I do not know why she abandoned Josie. I would like to think it was because she was scared and couldn't provide for Josie and didn't know what else to do. Perhaps her motives were something else. I don't know.

I would like to tell her this: Josie has brought joy to so many. Josie has a new mommy who loves her dearly. Josie is the strongest person I know. Josie is the happiest person I know. Josie has the best daddy ever. Josie's laugh and smile can light up a room. Josie has the loudest cry I have ever heard. Josie is a fighter. Josie gives me strength and courage to make it through each day. Josie is a child of God and will one day be healed completely! I hope you will be reunited with Josie in heaven. I would like to thank this woman for the gift of Josie. Happy Mother's Day to Josie's Mom!

*On a technical note, I tried to get the picture on the top to the bottom of this post. For some reason it will not move, and I am tired of messing with it. So - scroll to the top to see a picture of Josie and me dancing. Photo courtesy of the Campbells from Wisconsin! :)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

New Connections

On Tuesday, I was one of many panelists for an AEA (area education agency) Lunch and Learn here in Johnston. The topic was Diverse Family Structures. To the right of me at the table was another adoptive mom, a caucasion woman married to an African American man and she has African American step children, a lesbian woman who has a wife and two adopted sons, a woman who worked for the Fatherhood initiative, an African American single dad who is raising his 4 year old son and 1 year old nephew, and an African American woman who works for Children and Families of Iowa and she adopted a caucasion daughter. The five people to the left me of me at the table have probably forever changed my life. On my immediate left was a single woman in her early 20s trying to raise two or three kids. Next to hear was an 18 year old girl who is pregnant and all alone. Further down the table was a 16 year old boy who was going to be a daddy. His girlfriend is 15. And next to him was a teenage girl who has dropped out of school so she can raise her brothers two kids. The woman responsible for bringing these four people had a story of her own that I am not going to get into.

We were there to talk about the stuggles and joys of having a diverse family structure. We were also asked what support and services we found useful and how educators can help and add more support. However, much more was going on in that room. God was at work and His Spirit was moving. I sensed this and I started to pay attention. The man who is a single father made a connection with the boy that was going to be a daddy. They are going to meet and I think good things will happen.

The discussion was quite heavy at times so to lighten things up a bit, I shared that one of my struggles with Josie is her hair! I got some smiles and nods of affirmation. Afterwards, somebody came up to me and offered to buy some hair product that she uses and to come to my house and show me how to care for Josie's hair and skin. If Josie's hair is long enough she is going to braid it! I made a new friend that I know I wouldn't have made if I didn't have Josie!

The girl that was two chairs down from me - she is pregnant and all alone. I felt led to talk to her afterwards. I asked her name. I asked her where she went to school. Nothing major, but I talked with her. Her responses were short, she was very quiet. We ate our sandwiches together. She didn't ask, but I told her a little about myself. She then looked at me and asked me if I was that lady on the news. She said I looked really familiar. I told her I was and that she had one good memory. She laughed and told me that she can remember a lot of things. She then looked at me and told me I was a good person. I didn't know what to say. I think I told her thank you and that she was a good person too.

I needed to get going and so I left. First of all, NEVER in my 34 years have I been in one room with such different people as me. I loved it! I found it fascinating. I have so much to learn from people. Everbody on that panel had gone though some kind of pain or struggle. Even though my pain and struggle was different than theirs, I came away knowing that I am not alone. Secondly, I felt led to pursue or perhaps mentor the young lady that I met that day. I contacted the woman that brought her. The woman emailed back and said YES, this young lady needs help. For those of you who know me, this is way out of my comfort zone. I would much rather work with kids. I don't know where this relationship will go, but I am confident that God will be at work. I have tried to call this young lady, but so far no answer. I will keep trying! For now I ask that you pray for my new friend. And pray for me as I try to reach out to her.

On another note - our insurance company decided to allow Josie to continue on our medical insurance. This is a huge answer to prayer, so I thank all of you who are out there praying!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Nelson Family Update

If you read my last post, thank you. Last week was a rough week and things are looking up again this week. We are still in the process of adopting Josie from the country of Haiti. I was hoping that the earthquke would speed things up a bit, but I was wrong. Horribly wrong. We were told a couple of weeks ago that we must complete our adoption in Haiti. This means starting over. It has been three years since we entered this process. I was devastated. We have renewed our paperwork several times now and it all comes with renewal fees. Our adoption agency told us this could on for YEARS! Too make a long story short, I contacted Iowa's senators and represenatives. Our story got on the local news. I felt like our story was heard, but nobody could help or knew how to do anything about it.

Last week, Jon was informed that our medical insurance was going to drop her. Another hard blow. We have had to stop therapies that Josie desperately needs because we can't afford it. It breaks this mommy's heart to not be able to help her the way that she needs. We had to postpone a surgery she needs because the recover period is difficult and we don't have adequate support (home health care, physical therapy, respite, etc.) Josie is in her developmental years and each day that passes by is a missed opportunity. It is extremely frustrating to just sit and wait and not be able to do anything.

I finally broke. I began to question why we were doing this. I began to wonder why God would put this child in our home if this adoption were never to be completed. I faced the reality of Josie going back to Haiti. We could no longer help her until her adoption is finalized. I needed help. I was hopeless and scared. I wondered where God was in all of this. This is not a fun place to be. My strength was gone.

Amazing things happen when my strength is gone because that is when God's strength takes over. My husband began making phone calls and things started moving again. We now have a lawyer that is going to plea our case before a judge and try to finalize this adoption domestically. He has done it before and thinks he can do it again. It is not a guarantee but it is worth giving it a shot. There are people praying for a miracle and for God to move mountains on Josie's behalf. I have hope again. This is far from over and I ask anyone who is reading this to pray for the following....

1. Josie's status - we are applying for TPS (temporary protected status). We have been applying for medical visas - those expire after 6 months and are very expensive to renew. TPS would give her a status and she won't be deported.
2. We need Josie's birth certificate. Her original is in the Haitian civil court. It was there when the earthquake hit and could have been destroyed. We have a copy of it and are hoping that will be good enough to present in court in the US.
3. We need to get Josie back on our medical insurance.
4. Pray for our lawyer - he is advocating big time for Josie. We praise God for leading us to him.
5. Pray for the judge that will hear Josie's case. We are presenting her case without all the necessay paperwork. Pray that the judge will overlook this and do what is best for Josie.
6. Pray for my family and my marriage. I believe that in my moments of doubt that the evil one creeps in. Satan really doesn't want this adoption to happen. Pray for protection of my family.
7. Pray for a miracle. Pray that Josie's adoption will be finalized domestically.
8. Pray for all of the orphans around the world. Pray for the people advocating for them. Pray for the orphanages. Pray for the countries they are in and their governments. Pray for those in the process of international adoption.

Thank you for reading. I truly appreciate all of you.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I Just Don't Have the Words

I am silent today.

I just don't have the words.

Silent tears stream down my face.

I feel helpless. I want my little girl to succeed. I can't help her. Each day that passes by is a missed opportunity. She is amazing and is capable of amazing things. It breaks this mommy's heart to not be able to provide what she needs.

I don't understand. I need to trust but that is




I am weak. I am broken.

I need His strength to carry me today.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Really want to know what I think?

It has been all over the local news lately that President Obama is coming to Iowa today and this visit is bringing much controversy. I am not all that political and sit on the fence on many issues. In fact, in many situations I could be persuaded to take either side. I should do more reading and research on the policies and stances, but I just don't. However, one thing I have noticed lately (and it is quite fascinating to me) is how divided people are over certain things. I mean really divided. I think the worst is being brought out in people. I think it is a sad day when one side won't even listen to the other side. I think we have a lot to learn from each other if we would shut our mouths and just listen. I always enjoy a different opinion than mine. It doesn't mean I have to agree. Everybody has a voice and everybody's voice should and ought to be heard. Perhaps it would be discovered that we have more in common than we think!

I have a few other things that have been rattling around in my head for quite awhile now so I will just throw them out there for fun. This is my blog so I can do and say what I want. Remember, I am totally fine with you not agreeing with me. :)

First - healthcare reform. I don't think it is a totally bad thing. However, I don't think it would be necessary if the church would step up and be the church. What would happen if Christians really, and I mean really, started to care about the poor, started to feed the hungry, and pulled out all the stops and gave their time, talent, and treasures until it hurt just a little, or dare I say, a lot? What if a small group of Christians pooled their resources and covered medical insurance for a family who can't afford it? What if a church invested in a family and provided shelter and food so the family could focus on getting an education to get a decent job so they could get health insurance? I could go on. It absolutely blows my mind that there are hungry people in this nation and around the world when there is more than enough food to go around. My response to that is SHAME ON ME. I am part of the problem. I am part of the reason why the government has to step up and pass legislation on healthcare reform.

Second - abortion. I am absolutely pro-life to the core of my being. It sickens me to think that women are having abortions. It would be a great thing if legislation was overturned and abortions would be become illegal. (I don't think that would stop women from having abortions.) However, what would happen if pro-lifers, instead of picketing around abortion clinics, would line up at abortion clinics and say we will lovingly adopt your unborn baby? What if Christian families would rise up and say we want your unwanted and unborn babies? What if adoption wasn't only for those families who want more kids or can't have kids of their own, but perhaps as a way to save an unborn child? Abortion may never become illegal, but I do think many unwanted pregnancies would not end with abortion if more families would step up and adopt, not because they want more kids, but because they want to save an unborn child. I do realize adoption is not for everybody and some families cannot adopt even if they wanted to. However, there are ways for others to walk alongside a family that is choosing to adopt - emotional support, financially support, etc. Or mentor teens who are at risk to sexual relationships, become an abstinence educator (I tried, but didn't get the job....), etc.

If you are still reading, way to hang in there. These are my honest feelings. You can take them or leave them but thank you for reading. I know there are many, many views out there and I just scratched to surface on these two. I welcome your comments. I am eager to read them. However, it doesn't mean that I will agree with you! :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

An Unexpected Not Ordinary Day

Have you ever had one of those days that you thought would be quite ordinary and it turned out to be just the opposite? Yesterday was one of those days for me. It started off quite normal. In fact it was pretty boring until 3:30 in the afternoon. That is when I got a phone call. The caller ID said "KCCI Newsroom!" I answered and they said they would like to come out and do a story on Josie and her adoption. I said that would be great and asked when they wanted to come. I thought in a few days - wrong - they said they would like to come within the hour. What? With cameras? Yikes! I said okay and called Jon to get his rear in gear and get home. I threw laundry in the closet and frantically picked up all the toys and threw them downstairs. I looked in the mirror and haphazardly put on make up and did my hair! And then I needed to find something to wear? All while doing this I was thinking about what I would say and what questions they might ask. I had no time to prepare or gather my thoughts! At least I could't get nervous about it. They came around 4:00 (the were definately there within the hour) just as my kids were getting home from school. I had no time to "prep" them and thank goodness for the editing process because my kids were at their finest! :) Anway, below is the story they did and I think it turned out pretty well!

Monday, April 19, 2010


Roughlly 5-1/2 years ago, my then smaller family moved from the west suburbs of Des Moines to a small town in NW Iowa. Our house in the suburbs had a large six foot wooden privacy fence in the backyard. We didn't think much of it. Almost every house in the neighborhood had a fence. In fact, shortly after we moved into our house, our neighbor put up a privacy fence. (We tried not to take this personally!)

When we were looking for a house in NW Iowa, I noticed immediately that few houses had fences! I liked that. I could see kids playing in back yards and playing in their neighbor's backyard. Fences keep people out. They keep people from entering your yard. I will agree that fences do serve a purpose. They keep small children from wondering to places they should not go. They keep dogs from running away. They keep potentially harmful strangers from entering your property. They keep nosy neighbors from knowing your every move.

I am certainly not "anti-fence." I am not not going to say I will NEVER have a fence in my backyard. However, I want my home and yard to be a place where people feel they are welcome. I want the neighborhood kids to run through my yard. I want our neighbors to join us when our family is playing a game of football or baseball. I want community.

Having lived in a small town, I learned there were times that people felt that my business was their business. People would notice when a new car was purchased. People would notice that my yard wasn't properly mowed. People would notice when my kids were not behaving at the grocery store or at the park. People would notice the massive swing set in the front yard. People would notice the pregnancy test in my shopping cart. I wanted to put a huge fence around me life and keep people out. I learned that I can not do life this way. As much as it bothered me that it seemed like I was constantly being "watched" it also gave me some comfort. People knew when I was struggling, people knew when I was hurting, and people knew when I needed help. I remember a time I was standing in the Hallmark store (before it burned down) and somebody asked me how I was doing. As much as I wanted to say "Fine, how are you?" I just couldn't. I looked at this woman and began crying. I shared my struggle, right there in the Hallmark store for everybody to see and hear. And in my weak and vulnerable state, this woman listened to me. There was no fence up that day between us.

Two months ago, my now much larger family (let's just say the pregnancy test in the cart a few years ago was positive!) moved back to Des Moines. We live in a new development. Right now we have no neighbors. But, they are coming soon! I am curious how many fences will go up. I am hoping not many.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Don't Judge Me

Adoption is near to my heart. We are in the process of adopting a child from Haiti. Our case is different. It seems my husband and I don't do things the way they are "normally" done. For example, my husband decided to get his Master's degree through a distance program. This was many years ago and not many people were doing it that way. He eventually got through and all is good now. I married after my sophomore year of college requiring me to transfer schools. I transferred from a college that was on trimesters to a university that was on semesters. That created some problems and I ended up with way more undergraduate hours than I needed when it was all said and done. Maybe that is why I am so smart. (joking!) Recently, we moved and we have yet to sell our house in Orange City. Some people own two homes, but it certainly has complicated things for us.

Our adoption case is so different because the child (Josie) we are hoping to adopt is living with us. Yip, she has been living with us for over two years now. She has multiple disabilities and special needs. She is here on a medical visa. Our paperwork was in Haiti for WELL over two years and then, you guessed it, the earthquake hit. I was hoping this would help our case and the U.S. would just finalize this adoption. To make a long story short we found out that our adoption must be completed in Haiti. This makes me really mad. We have had to keep up our paperwork, homestudies, and fingerprints while welcoming and loving this girl into our family. At first it was no big deal, but with each expired document comes a renewal fee and simply staying on top of it all has been very difficult for me. Have I mentioned that she is living with us? Most families that have children with special needs get help such as respite, or a case manager to give the family the support they need. Families also get waivers to help with the cost of the doctor's appointments and therapies (physical, occupational, and vision therapies). We don't get any of that because of Josie's status. I get extremely frustrated by this and quite frankly, I need help. But, we have to wait until her adoption is final and now that is again in the hands of the country of Haiti.

This brings me to the point of this post. Recently I read about a mother who adopted a child from Russia and ended up putting him a plane and sending him back. This is a terrible thing and I am horrified by this mother's actions. However, I do understand how she could get to this point. I am not saying what she did was right, but I will admit I have wanted to throw in the towel and be done. I would never put Josie on a plane and send her back to Haiti, but I do understand how this mother must have felt. I want to be done with this process. I don't know the circumstances that drove this mother to do what she did, but I have felt so overwhelmed and so alone in this process. Adoption is hard - the process is hard, the paperwork is hard, and welcoming an older child into your family is hard. Nothing can prepare you for it.

I judge people everyday. I judge people by how they look or how they act. I judge people I know and people I don't know. This is wrong of me. I also know that people judge me everyday. Some people let me know how they feel and most don't. What I am saying is that the next time you judge someone, take a moment to imagine what it would be like to walk in their shoes for a day. Try to think about things from their perspective. I need to be reminded of this everyday. Perhaps there would be less judging going on and more loving and understanding.

Until next time...

Monday, April 12, 2010

It seems today that everybody has a blog. It wasn't that long ago that I didn't even know what a "blog" was. I just didn't get it. As I read blogs of other people, I am realizing that it is a good way to keep in touch with friends and family from near and far away. That is one reason I am doing this. Another reason is that I am looking for an outlet to write my thoughts, to express my opinions, and a place to hold myself accountable. I am hoping to post once or twice a week (here comes the accountability part). I am not sure what my posts will be about - maybe about my family and kids, maybe about what I am learning, maybe about the things in which I struggle, or maybe about what God is teaching me.

I am going to warn you, I am going to be brutally honest in how I feel and react to certain things. Sometimes I surprise myself with my honest feelings. I am guessing what I have to say might offend some people. That is okay. Nobody has to agree with me. Another reason for doing this blog is so that I have a place to be vulnerable and honest. I often keep my feelings and thoughts to myself because I am afraid of offending someone or somebody doesn't really care to know about how I feel. I often get put in that "pastor's wife" box and that comes with many expectations. In this blog I am dropping all of my labels - wife, mom, pastor's wife, etc. This is my blog, so I can think what I want to think and say what I want to say. However, I welcome your comments and thoughts. I actually like and respect differing opinions. Differences help me grow. I have a lot of thoughts and ideas floating around in my head so it will intersting to see where this goes. Thanks for reading and have a great Monday!