Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thanksgiving Pics....

I think I posted a long time ago that I would try to post some pics from our trip to Texas....and I never did..so here are a few. Enjoy.
Could that wad of gum be any bigger??
Making gingerbread houses at my brother and sister in laws.

Jillian and Madison

Collin and Charlotte wrestling in the backyard.

Chandler and Madison at the George Ranch.




Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas just CANNOT be over!!!

We had an absolutely fabulous Christmas. One of those Christmas's that you just don't want to end. I have to admit, that sometimes, Christmas is either too exhausting, or just plain too chaotic, that sometimes I'm really just ready for it to be over. Ready for that fresh start....anybody out there know what I'm talking about? Well, not this year. This year was just ideal. My kids were great...very grateful for their gifts...not too wild. My only regret is not getting more pictures of Chandler. I was filming, and taking pictures, and cooking breakfast, and cooking my designated items for our lunch...and just didn't realize that almost all the 'film' I had on Chandler...was from my camcorder. Bummer. Other than that, for my personal family, it went off without a hitch. This year, it was so good, that I've almost found myself sad to see the season passing. For those of you who don't really know me well...I could really listen to Christmas music year round...and have been known to pull out a cd in July for my own personal "Christmas in July". It doesn't last very long though...because my kiddos usually beg, and beg, and beg for me to stop...which I truthfully find hilarious for some unknown reason. And I would put my Christmas tree up right after Halloween....if I didn't think my family would commit me. Saying all that....is basically just to say, it's not unusual for me to be sad for the season to be finished. But this year is different. I can't even pinpoint it...but it's a stronger feeling. Like...I really, really don't want this Christmas season to end. So, I've been trying to think of what makes this year so different. And bottom line...I think really more than Christmas itself, I think it's because I just love it when the kids are out of school and Roy's off of work. I know that sounds SO spoiled. Really, I do, but I don't think it's as bad as it sounds. I remember, one time, after a holiday season, I posted on my old myspace something like how reality came back way too fast. I had someone ask me if reality was really that bad...and of course I knew it wasn't....but the truth of it is, our family time together, not family time at soccer games, or some of us at Wal Mart, I mean, TRUE family TIME just seems so stinkin rare...that the absence of reality...is just really almost fairy tale. I know...you are thinking...spoiled again. But seriously, hear me out.... We are such an active family...and this last week..as any of you with children know..all activities were cancelled. No soccer practice or games, no dance, no art, etc. And while I know those ARE great things for my children, and I think it would be unfair for us to take those things away from them, it sure does make family time squeezed. Another thing that has just been a total extra bonus this year, is that Roy isn't usually off this long for Christmas either...it's just the way Christmas day fell in the week this year. I have to say, that also, sadly one of my dearest friends has lost so many family members in the last month, that it has increased my commitment to pouring into my children, and my husband. I'll talk about all that in another post..maybe tomorrow...but needless to say, I just don't do it enough, and having this week off to have the freedom to do so, has been wonderful. Roy has told me over and over again that fairy tales just don't exist...that my expectations are too high...and while that's 100% true...I feel like the last week has been as close to it as you can get. Family, food and the celebration of the birth of my Lord and Saviour. What could possibly be better??

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Time

China is slipping away from me. It doesn't seem too long ago that it seemed like yesterday that we were boarding that plane not only to go to China..but then to come home from China. But for some reason lately...it's seeming like that whole entire, amazing, life changing experience was a million years ago. I don't know if it's because Jillian is totally a part of our family...so it's hard to imagine not having her...or if it's because we are so busy that I just don't have time to dwell on it any longer....or just what. And I'm not sure I even realized it truthfully. Tonight, I'm painting. I've got several paintings due...for teacher gifts....but I took a break to check my email. I haven't been reading my adoption related emails lately...because frankly...I'm just too busy right now. Not only with work stuff...today I was totally consumed with room mom stuff...which I did love by the way. Tonight was different though...for some reason tonight, I read through several. Maybe I was trying to procrastinate a touch...but whatever the reason...I realized how far, far away it seemed. The overwheming sense of sadness has totally come over me. I don't want it to slip through my fingers. I don't want forget how amazing it was. I don't want to forget what all the Lord has done in my life. Roy and I have not one time gotten out the videos from China and watched them...so I think that is definitely in order. I know...and I really do know...that in time, I will forget this and that about the trip. I'll forget the smells of China. I may forget about that Chinese opera....I may forget how much Jillian like congee...I know I'll eventually forget some...but I'm not ready to forget anything yet. So....movie night..here we come....because, I guess movies will just have to be what we settle for until we are able to go back.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Day after....

So I'm officially 37. Yesterday was my birthday..and it was amazing. I had lunch with friends...dinner with family...and realized I am amazingly blessed. The girls that work at my store even bought me gifts...which I loved!!! Roy offered me a proposal.....possibly that of a nice new digital SLR camera. This year, there is very little I actually need or want...(other than to get my quilt tops quilted), so Roy offered for my birthday and Christmas....from both he and his mom...to pool that money and put it towards the camera. At first I told him we really should put that money on debt, etc...but then I realized, if they didn't buy me the camera, then the money would be spent on lotion, perfume, shoes, etc. Stuff that I don't need..even though I might want. They aren't not going to give Christmas presents...so this really is the smartest thing to do, right?? I will say, I have a digital camera that works great outside..but the flash stinks inside. I've always been a picture nut..thanks to my daddy snapping pictures of us everytime we turned around...but I am ever so thankful to have those old pics now. Unfortunately most of them are slides, so I've got to figure out how to turn them into prints...or get them on a computer somehow. I'll think of that another day though... For now, I'm camera shopping. Daddy is doing some research for me, which will be very helpful....but I still have a touch of anxiety about it. Maybe once I get it in, and get those pics taken...I'll feel better...but of course, then, I'll need photoshop!! Haha!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Scrapbooking...more than a hobby....and I'm not selling you anything.

I'm going to set the scene for you...... the weather channel says we might get snow Wednesday night/Thursday morning. For all of you people from Virginia, etc.....snow in Louisiana is rare, and is cause for great celebration!! Chandler, my very down to earth 12 year old...tries to calm Madison and Collin by reminding them how often the weather channel has said that..and how often we have gotten nothing. At that point, my mom jumps into the conversation and says that really, the best chances for snow are in January....and she is, so very correct. HOWEVER, I remembered that December 11th, 1997....it snowed in West Monroe. I remember that because firstly, it's my birthday...and snow on your birthday in Louisiana is EXTRA special...and secondly because my brother and sister in law were here, and they were heading out to go home that day. So, I immediately jumped up, pulled out my scrapbooks to prove it. There they were...the pics of Chandler..approach his terrible 2's very rapidly....playing in the snow....right in front of our townhouse. The same townhouse that a year or two later we affectionately named, "the mouse house"....but that story is for another day. As our bedtime routine progressed, and while I was rocking Jillian, Madison turned on her little radio to Christmas music. I muted the weather channel....just rocked Jillian, and looked at my Christmas tree. We have so many old ornaments on there..and I love it. It's not a fashionable tree at all...but it's ornaments are full of more memories than I can count. As I'm rocking, and zoning out....I realize Madison is still in the kitchen...so I tell her it's time for her to get in the bed. She tells me she has only one more page to read, and asks if she can please finish it..and then go to bed. I'm thinking to myself, "reading?? what is she reading?? and in the kitchen no less??"...but of course, I tell her that's fine, but as soon as she's done...please go straight to bed. She finishes up, and walks in the living room, and just looks at me. While I wasn't looking, she evidently had pulled out a different scrapbook...from her preschool days...and had been at the kitchen table just pouring over it. It's at this point that she says, "just looking at that book almost made me cry. All those memories, and seeing all those pictures of...(insert special friend's name here that we've lost touch with)...I just wonder where she is. And all you wrote about us...just made me remember how much I miss her." It's now at this point that I almost start to cry as I realize....all those hours and days that I spent working on my 'scrapbooks' weren't wasted....and it's way more than a hobby. They are our memory books...and I am so thankful to have them. I am determined to get back to my scrapbooking before I forget everything from the last 3 years...and yes I'm that far behind. I spend so much time on facebook....which I will absolutely admit is a great way to keep in touch with friends, and have some fun with them...but it's also a great way to get your nose into way too much, that's really not even your business. I think back to those scrapbooking days...with no blogs, no facebook, no email, etc....but I have physical copies of my memories....that will last way longer than anyone's interest in this blog, or what was said to who about what on facebook. I've got to change my focus. Tonight I learned a wonderful, softly spoken, life lesson...and maybe the Lord was whispering to me how way off my focus has become...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bragging.

I have to do it. I have to brag on Chandler. He came home Monday or Tuesday telling us that he had tried out for one of the solo's for the Christmas program. I suppose I'll need to give you a little background fyi....he's in 7th grade, and in the men's advanced choir at Good Hope Middle School... So he tried out, and his main competition was 2, 8th graders.. He came home on Tuesday saying he did very well...saying his friends in the class were high fiving him, etc. However, one of the guys he tried out against, is known to be THE strongest singer in the choir. So, we knew "the man" would get one part...and we just had to hope Chandler did well enough get the other part. Soooo, he came home today to tell us he had gotten the solo. I asked him who else got it, and he said NOBODY...it was a one man solo. He beat out THE man. I am so excited and proud for him....although now, he is extremely nervous. I know he'll do great...and I can't wait to see him singing in his tuxedo.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Heading home...

Tomorrow we are leaving my brother's house. Usually, I'm reading to head home regardless of the situation...but this time, I really truly am not. It has been so heavenly to be out of town not only with my husband and my children, but with my mom, brother and his family. Roy's phone has virtually been silent. I only had one glitch at the store...but nothing too major. My brother's house is beautiful....and he loves to cook all kinds of amazing meals. I think tomorrow morning before we go, he's going to be cooking us Pumpkin pancakes, with cinnamon whipped cream, and home made root beer syrup. Now, before I give too much praise to my brother...my sister in law is a master planner. She has had every meal planned...every activity well thought out....so the combination of their hospitality has just been amazing. It's been such a blessing to have my mom here with us too. She's just so helpful!! I told her the other day that she literally was just going to have to move in with me....so I could have an extra set of hands...and an extra brain! Ha!!

My niece Charlotte, and Collin are like little soul mates. We have giggled at them over the years...but they really truly so precious together. You can tell they LOVE each other. In Charlotte's early years...she loved Chandler so much...I think almost in a little crush way..but as soon as she and Collin were old enough to click...they did. Now, we have Jillian and Adam. They are only 6 months apart...and I am praying that they have the same relationship Collin and Charlotte have. It's much like the relationship between Chandler and his cousin Cole...from Roy's side...and Madison and her cousin Peyton....also from Roy's side. We are very blessed with each of them to have that special cousin that they can always look forward to seeing.

I suppose it's really just been an ideal Thanskgiving holiday. We rarely ever take an entire week off...and I'm so thankful we did. We are rarely all together...I either travel with my mom, or Roy...and this time all of us were able to come. We got to visit some amazing places...and the kids had a ball everywhere we went!! So...other than eating so much my clothes are ridiculously tight, it's been perfect. Literally. Thanks to my brother and sister in laws well planned food.....which included not only the entirety of Thanksgiving detail..but orange cinnamon rolls and biscuits with sausage gravy for breakfast...(and then of course gourmet pancakes tomorrow)...homemade pizza one night, grilled hamburgers another....fresh with blue cheese and guacamole...yum!!!!.... So, other than the fact..heading back home to reality is going to be difficult just because of financial stress, time stress, pre teen stress...but now I look trashy in my clothes. Ha!!! Sorry...I just got a mental picture...eww. Not for long though...Roy is determined for us to lose some weight...so I'll be able to mark that one stress off my list! Whew...now if I could just get that financial stress to go away!!! I keep telling myself if I just move in here, and never go back home...then I'll have nothing else to worry about...but Roy keeps telling me that's not quite how it works....Ha!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The George Ranch


Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I have so very much to be thankful for...I am truly blessed in so many areas of my life. I not only posted this Norman Rockwell painting because of Thanksgiving, but because it reminds me so much of some of what we saw yesterday. Yesterday, we went to a place called the George Ranch. It is one of my favorite places ever. Usually, when we get together at my brother and sister in laws house...they always have all kinds of fun things planned. This time is no different....but I did have a request to go back to the George Ranch. We went years ago when Collin was about 1, and my niece Charlotte was about 6 months old...and it was in the middle of the summer...and steaming hot. Chandler and Madison thoroughly enjoyed it...but we wanted to go back for the little kids...and really, truth be told...for me again. It's a working ranch between Pearland and Lake Jackson, Texas. It's a place...where they have recreated history...and are living it. It's a series of dwellings, houses, homes....and farm land that dates from the 1830's all the way to the 1930's. The first house you go to, is the 2 room pioneer house from the 1830's. There are people in there dressed from the time, working as if they are living in the time, and explaining to you every single thing they are doing. Then you leave there, and go to the 1860's house....then from there you go to the house that was built in the 1890's. That was an amazing elaborate, beautiful, Victorian style mansion. It was really amazing the transition from the 1830's to the 1890's...and then lastly you go to the 1930's house. That is the one that reminded me so much of the Norman Rockwell painting. They have preserved almost every detail of the last 2 houses....even Mrs. George's clothes were hanging in her closet in the 1930's house. Her brush was on her vanity...their stationery was on the desk....the rug that she made was on the floor. It was absolutely fascinating for a history buff like me. They were wealthy people...but lived relatively modestly, especially after the 1890's house....and they were generous. It was just really awe inspiring.... I am thankful we went back, and I'm thankful we went back this time of year. It was just perfect. I'll try to post some pics later....but until then....think of all that you have to be thankful for....and Praise the Lord for it!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ridiculous!

First and foremost...I must say something....Hello Phil!!! And Hello Renae!!! My faithful followers!! LOL!!

I know, I know...it's ridiculous how long it's been since I've posted. I have no reasonable excuse whatsoever. I had a really bad couple of weeks...but I usually can find the shiny spot in the middle...but lately, there just was none. I'm working on that though. I am working on finding a place of peace. Joy. Hmmm...does that sound familiar?? Why is it that I am on a stinkin constant search for peace. I feel it so clearly one day....and then the other, I allow myself to fall into total despair. I let the outside circumstances affect every aspect of the attitude of my life, and that's not at all what I want to happen. Outwardly, I can usually put on a smile, and be a goofball at anytime, anyplace but I want to FEEL that way....so that's my goal....

Over the last 2 weeks, we've been running like crazy people...Chandler is playing soccer for Good Hope, and is doing fantabulous!! His coach had originally told them that the first year players would likely not play at all...and he's played every single game...sometimes virtually the entire game. Maddie Licious has started dancing again..preparing for next year at Good Hope...and maybe trying out for the dance line. I can't believe I'll then two kids in middle school...and then the next year I'll have one at West Monroe High School!! AGH!!!! But I digress....as usual....Jillian and Collin are doing just great as well. Collin has been playing his little heart out in football...and loving every single minute of it!! He even got the coach's award for the offensive line for his willingness and wantingness to do whatever the coach's asked of him. He really is such a good kid. Wild, but good.

We have come to my brother and sister in law's house in Pearland, Texas for Thanksgiving week. We got in today about 5ish....right before the 5:00 rush in Houston thankfully. I'm hoping to post more...since their computer is a million times better than mine...and hopefully I'll even be able to post some fun pics!! Please forgive the relative superficialness (I know that's probably really not even a word) of this post....I'll be back to normal soon...I promise!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A sentence???

Tonight a whole group of us went out to eat for a friend's birthday. I thought it was just going to be a few couples, but when we got there, the husband had planned a decent sized shin dig for his wife! I really was quite impressed if you want to know the truth. However, right in the middle of eating...my phone rang, and it was time for Madison to be picked up from her friend's house. I told them I would be there in about 30 minutes or so....if they didn't mind...which they didn't. So, pretty much as soon as we finished eating....I headed out the door of the restaurant to go get her. I then see Roy bringing Jillian to my car crying hysterically...(we brought seperate cars for a variety of reasons). She got in, and clearly just didn't want to go with him for some goofy reason. As he locked her in the car seat, and closed the door, I asked her if all she wanted was just to come with mama....to which she replied with a waving finger pointing straight out the door..."no no daddy....mama!!!". Could you consider that a sentence?? I am pretty sure you could!! 4 words...with a pause. It's got to be a sentence!! Progress!! We are officially making progress!! Woohoo!!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Random pics from the last week.....

Jillian and I at the Chinese restaurant.
Cheese.

Grandma and Jillian at our Gotcha Day celebration.


Collin and Jillian.



Please...no more pics...can you tell her smile is fading! LOL!!




Chandler was a jamaican ninja...in case you are wondering...which you should be.


Madison and her friend Alana....at Alana's house.


Cute random pic at the Children's Museum.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

One Year Anniversary

This is going to be gushy....I can feel it. I can feel the tears coming....so be forewarned. One year ago this morning, I was getting on a bus, to board a plane, to finally have Jillian put in my arms. I remember it like it was yesterday. I hope I always do. The last year has flown by where Jillian is concerned.... Jillian immediately fell right into our family. The adjustments over the last year have been small compared to what I expected them to be. Remembering all the stuff you need to have in your diaper bag...potty training, speech, etc. Those are all basics that you would have to do with a toddler anyway really. But for the most part, adoption carries so many other challenges that you just can't even prepare for...but you try as hard as you can to. These are those things that have been minimal for my family. No adjustment issues. No attachment issues. No night terrors. It has been amazing to watch her.

Tonight, my mom, the kids and I loaded up and went to eat Chinese for dinner. I always kind of thought that was kind of cheesy, and never thought I would do it myself, but I couldn't resist. On the way there, I started asking the kids what their version of gotcha day was. I could get almost no information out of them...except for the fact that they had wished each day that I would post more pictures on the blog. I remember that day, and the entire trip so clearly. I remember after we got Jillian, walking forever and a day to the grocery store...and wondering how on earth we were going to walk back with groceries, and a baby!! I remember those first smiles. I posted them on the blog that day. She had just eaten some of that baby food that we walked so far to get....and she was so happy. I expected not to get a smile for a LONG time, and I got one that day. (here come the tears!) And as I think of all those precious memories...that I pray I never forget as long as I live....I realize that I miss China. Who would have ever thought that would come out of my mouth...or off my fingers in this case! The smells of China were so clear....not that it was my favorite smell, but it was China. The people worked SO hard. I still often think of those older ladies sweeping the streets with bamboo brooms. It still blows my mind. Guangzhou was my favorite of all the cities that we visited...it was huge...but Shamian Island was just gorgeous. Shopping was great....I still regret not getting more. One day, I'll go back. I don't know when it will be...but one day....

If you've been a follower of my blog....thank you for joining us during these ups and downs of this last year. I know we've sure had some downs in other areas of life. But Jillian has been my up. I am convinced that the Lord put her in my life for proof of His knowledge and power of what is best for us. If there is anything I've done right in my life...it's been this journey. I have said before....I know this adoption is bigger than just this adoption. I overheard Madison telling Roy tonight that when she grew up she wanted to be a photographer, and an orphan mama. I love that the Lord has changed, and softened the hearts of my children. I love that the Lord has blessed me to be part of this miracle. My heart is so full today....and I am so very thankful.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Do you love it??

Do you absolutely love my new blog look?? Seriously! If you are a blogger...you HAVE to get Carla to do you a blog makeover!! Go to her blog.... lewterfamily4.blogspot.com Click on all the different links....and get her to do one!! All the proceeds go to her adoption!!! I love it!!!!! Woohoo!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

I've been tagged...

I've seen this on so many blogs....and I think I've even been tagged once before...but never filled out the info. So, here is my answer to my tagging...7 random/weird things about myself......

1. I worked at Burger King in high school. How embarassing is that...but I had to pay for my clothes somehow. That was when the Limited was a HUGE thing, and my mom refused to buy anything like that...so it was Sears..or get a job and buy my own clothes. Job won.

2. I grew up all over South Louisiana...I lived in Lake Charles, Lafayette, and New Orleans, before finally moving up here to West Monroe...and I was shocked!! For those not from Louisiana, North Louisiana should be a different state. I grew up going to crab boils, fishing, and cajun. Up here....is nothing like that. It's not all redneck...but we sure do have our share.

3. I am obsessed with history. Ok, obsessed may be a strong word, but it absolutely fascinates me. If I were to ever read a book, it would be something historical. When I was in late elementary school, I had to do a social studies project. I decided to do it on the holocaust, ( I guess I was already obsessed then), and it blew me away. I still remember making those playdough people with big yellow stars on their shirts. It was very impactful.

4. Part of me...and I'm not really sure how big of a part, but at least part, would like to live in a foreign country. Not sure why. Well, maybe I do, but I just don't know how to say it.

5. I've been to 2 Olympic sights, right before those various Olympics started. (struggling here). Barcelona, and Beijing.

6. My nervous habit is to type....on my fingers. If you are ever around me, you'll notice my fingers going ninety to nothing. I'm probably typing what you are saying. Weird, I know.

7. I can't stand anything that has to do with eyeballs. If one of my kids gets something in there....too bad. Somebody else will have to deal with it. I could never, ever be a doctor.

That's about all I can think of. Unfortunately, I'm such a transparent person, that almost everybody knows most things about me. Maybe something of this will be a surprise. I'm supposed to link someone else to tag...but I don't know how...so that'll just have to be that.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Last year....we pretty much missed Halloween. When we had our layover in Detroit....most of the workers at the airport were dressed up for Halloween...so that was nice. We ate at Chili's...I called my friend Angie to find out exactly how many xanax I could take...(really!), and then boarded the plane to head out for China. The next time we saw ground in Tokyo, Japan..it was November 1st. And by the time we got to Beijing...November 1st was pretty much over there. Crazy huh??

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Twas the night before....

Twas the night before leaving when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, including my spouse.
The luggage was packed and repacked with care
in hope that our daughter would soon find us there.
No child was nestled or snug in our bed,
she slept that night in her orphanage bed.
And Mama in her kerchief with luggage in sight
had just settled our brains for a long sleepless night.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
tore open the shutter, And threw up the sash.
The sun on the grass and the newly formed dew
gave promise of morning time to bid our adieu.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a yellow airport taxi and our friends we hold dear.
With a little old driver, so lively and pip,
I new in a moment we start our big trip.
More rapid than eagles, from our cities we came,
and we whistled and shouted and called them by name:
Jackson! Detroit! Tokyo! LA!
Beijing! Nanning! Guangzhou today!
From the Great Wall of China to the Province of Guandong
now dash away…dash away…dash away ALL!
Like treasure from heaven in our arms they did place,
our precious new daughter tears fell from our face.
So up to the hotel room with our child we flew
our new bundle of joy "We have presents for you."
Then, in a twinkling, I heard from the door
"Paperwork to do!" I heard myself "MORE?"
Like rain from the heavens when hurricanes fly
tears just like raindrops fell from our eyes.
We bathed her and dressed her from her head to her toe
with ribbons and dresses and a giant hair bow.
A bundle of clothes we had that were too big or too small
we sent to the orphanage to be shared by them all.
Her eyes- how they twinkled! Her dimples, how merry!
Her cheeks were like roses, my nose red as a cherry!
Her beautiful smile was drawn up like a bow,
and both of her parents seemed to give off a glow.
A stamp of her foot and a print from our thumb
made a family of us the adoption was done!
Passport and Visa then the Consulate Visit.
Our paperwork done? Afraid that it isn't.
The paperwork workshop we held in the hall
when finished a sigh, came from us all.
A wink of an eye and a twist of a head
soon gave me to know we had nothing to dread.
He spoke a few words, went straight through our work
double checked our documents then turned with a jerk.
He wanted to know "was this the daughter we chose"
and giving a nod; up from his desk he arose.
They gave the approval, we gave a loud whistle,
and away we all flew like the down of a thistle.
They heard us exclaim, both me and my wife:
"Blessings to all and to all a good life!"


I still cannot read this without crying. One year ago tonight...I was terrified. I remember laying on my sofa...after visitors had gone...and everybody else was in bed, thinking, "I can't do this!!". I never imagined that this trip...that I dreaded more than anything in my entire life, would be so magical. The Lord blessed me 100 fold. I knew getting Jillian would be a blessing....but the entire trip was so amazing...words just can't describe it. Last year, on this date, I didn't know what Jillian's personality would be...what she would look like...if she would be healthy....how much she would grieve. Frankly, I wasn't convinced I was going to get to her. I remember one time praying...and I so clearly remember saying, "Lord, if you have these great plans for Jillian's life...then You can't kill us in a plane crash." I really did say that. And I really did mean it. What a year it's been. I never imagined last year, on this night, that this year, on this night, I would be crying at my computer thinking I wish I could do it all over again.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Uh oh.

Clearly I have messed up my blog. It's late...everybody is asleep....and I'm bored. Of course, I should TOTALLY not be bored, due to the fact that my house is a disaster... Just a little fyi about myself...I rearrange my house all he time....so I thought I would try it on my blog! Thank goodness my travel buddy Carla made my page. And since I'm going to beg her to help me fix it...I may as well give her a plug. Her family is going back to China to adopt another special needs child. She's got link on her blog for donations....and for blog makeovers, with all the proceeds going to her next adoption! Her blog address is lewterfamily4.blogspot.com. Go check it out...and maybe my blog will be fixed soon...and it might even be totally different. Maybe with a little red in it?? Who knows???!!!

The boy who cried wolf...or was it a girl?


Since I've not had a great day, and I'm determined not to go down that road...I thought I would tell ya'll a dramatic story that happened to Madison last week. Last year and the year before, Madison literally called me about every other day with some ailment that needed my immediate attention. Each and everytime, she would want to come home. When she called me last week, I probably rolled my eyes or something like that, thinking 'here we go again!!' She proceeded to tell me how she had been choking in the cafeteria....and because of that, she was crying so hard that she needed some advil for her head. I told her she probably just had some drainage....she of course, said, 'no, I was choking on food'. Again, I reassured her and told her all was well, but I would come asap with some advil....but it would not be immediately. About 30 minutes later, I left the store, certainly not in a rush, and brought my little Maddie Lee some advil. When I got there, the secretary buzzed down for her to come down to the office without me saying a word. This should have been a warning sign...but I ignored it. Since no words were needed, I went and waited in the hallway to watch for her to come. She is in the very last classroom at the end of a fairly long hallway, but I still saw her coming...but her teacher was walking her. Keep in mind, she is in 5th grade.... which means middle school next year...no teacher is needed by now. This also should have been a warning sign, but I know this particular fairly well, and thought she just wanted to say hi. I could not have been more wrong. As they got closer and closer, I could see that the teacher was fairly red...and was beginning to well up a little bit in her eyes. Strange. Finally, they get to me, and Mrs. Munn says...."GIRL!". I look at Madison....and she starts to well up in her eyes. The whole story is....Madison and Mrs. Munn were sitting at lunch talking about Ashley and Phillip. Madison took a bite of an orange about the time Mrs. Munn asked her a question. When she went to answer, she breathed in and sucked the orange down her throat, where it chose to stay. Mrs. Munn threw her arms up, called the other teachers over, started doing everything they knew to do. Mrs. Salazaar was going to do the Heimlic maneuver when the orange popped out. By then, Madison was so hysterical that they had to physically carry her out of the cafeteria. When she finally calmed down, poor Mrs. Munn then lost it. She said she immediately called her husband...who is clearly a great guy...and he immediately brought her a sweet tea to help calm her down. So here I am, standing in the hallway, watching both Madison and her teacher starting to cry while telling me this awful story....and all I could think was....'I told her it was probably drainage!!!!!' I felt like dirt! And get this....to make matters worse, the next morning, I had to go up to the school to help judge a little art contest. No lie, every teacher I passed asked how Madison was. Parents stopped me and asked how Madison was. One mom called me very shook up stating her daughter became very frightened, and just yesterday, a mom sent me an email checking on her....letting me know that her son also had become very frightened. Yeah. Drainage. I bet I win mom of the year!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Joy.

For some time, I've really been praying for the joy of the Lord to come back to my life. But I've been stuck in such a rut for SO long that if I'm not a stay at home mom, and my kids can't participate in all their various activities, then it is just not possible for me to be happy. Don't get me wrong...I definitely have my good days, and my bad days...ask the girls at the Depot...they'll give you the real scoop...lol!! But I mean that true joy...that inner peace regardless of what is going on. So I've been thinking about my job, and my kids, and really, how very blessed I am....even with the pressures of owning your own business. Today I got up, got Jillian up about 9:30 so we could go to a funeral for a dear friend's family member. After that, I went to the store for a bit, left the store to go eat lunch with my kids at their school. After that, I went back to the store until it was time to pick the kids up from school. We came home, I made them a snack, took Collin to art, ran to Wal Mart, came home, and cooked supper. And then the rest of the evening was just normal...cleaning the kitchen, laundry, telling the kids over and over and over to pick up their clothes up out of the bathroom floor. But I digress...my point of all that is...how many jobs out there could I do that at?? Unless you count a drug rep that is working like a drug rep, but should be working more...none. And I DO make money at my store. If I really thought about it, my price per hour is probably petty stinkin good!!! Now, if I could work like a dog to get my mind off of it when it's not necessary....then my problems would probably be solved. So, as I struggle with what to do, and how to do it, I am going to focus on the good things about my job. Starting right now. I got some fairly frustrating news today about my competitor....but so be it!!! There is absolutely nothing I can do about it...so why let it keep me up all night!! Right?? Right!!! Ok, so tomorrow when I'm devestated again....remind me to come read this blog!!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

To stress or not to stress.

I know what you are going to think after you read this..but don't judge me too harshly!! Just call me fish. As I've thought of the freedom that selling the store would bring....I remembered why I was looking for a job in the first place. We need the money. And I remembered being so stressed about everything! How would we pay for this and that. How would Chandler ever be able to get braces?? How would we ever be able to do home updates that need to be done...not that we just want to be done. And then I asked myself...am I just trying to run from stress?? I can either have the stress of working, or not working. I wasn't the mother I needed to be when I was stressed about money. So what is the answer?? It is not an option for my husband to get another job. He loves what he does. And I mean loves it. Frankly, he's happy enough for both of us. And likewise, I'm stressed enough for both of us. How awful is that?? He seems to have the mentality of "what's the big deal...we'll sell the house if we need to...". Unfortunately, I don't have that attitude. And boy do I wish I did at this point in time. So, that brings me all the way back around to what on earth am I supposed to do? Just pray for me and all these decisions. I either need the Lord to send a buyer that would offer what I need, or I need Him to bless my business. Until tomorrow at least, when I feel something different. LOL!



So am I questioning the Lord?? Absolutely not. Am I questioning myself hearing the Lord. Yes. Unfortunately that's what I do. When we got the call about Jillian, I questioned myself every step of the way. I was so afraid of making the wrong decision....the one the Lord didn't want me to make. I was convinced if it was my flesh that answered the call, something dreadful would happen. I know deep down, that's not really the way the Lord works. He knows my heart. My days of being a happy stay at home mom with no financial worries are gone, unless the Lord steps in. Is He capable....absolutely, but is that what He wants from me?? What does HE want from me???? AGH!!!

Surrender, and listen.

Yesterday was a really, really bad day. But my eyes are very open now to what the Lord has been wanting me to see for some time, I believe. The Lord has strategically placed 3 people in my life over the last two weeks to open my eyes to the fact that I am not surrendering, and I'm not listening to anything He has to say. The first one made me really think about things....and ponder some things that I really have not let go of, that I should have. I'm not doing the best job at that...but I am conciously working on that, and thinking about things that I can change. Not the things that everybody else can change...which is what I tend to think about way too often. The next person, stopped me randomly in the hallway of the kids school, and out of the blue...told me, "I haven't told you what the Lord is telling me now."...then proceeded to tell me that the Lord was calling her to homeschool her 4 kids, one of which is entering high school next year. She doesn't want to, doesn't really feel capable right now...but clearly has heard from the Lord that He is calling her to. He's not even just calling her to just do it, but He is calling her to pour her life into it. We talked for probably an hour about what the Lord has spoken to her. I realized then, for the second time in a week or so, that I am so stinkin busy that I just don't really hear from the Lord anymore. She asked how the store was, and I started telling her how I thought it was for a season, but that I'd like to sell it. Which I do. I don't generally tell people that though these days, I tell them it's great! Then, yesterday afternoon, I found out that a project that I had been working for months on at work, was handed to my competitor on a silver platter. It seems a touch shady to be perfectly honest. I had worked with specific people looking for some specific items, and they ordered it from me. But, someone in the higher ups, decided to ask my competitor for a bid, not ask me, and give the job to my competitor. I literally felt like the wind was knocked out from me. I cannot even tell you how upset it was. Immediately, my first reaction was..."that's it! I'm closing it down!!". And then I realized a conversation I had had in the spring with the 3rd person the Lord strategically placed in my life. In the spring, I desperately wanted to sell the store...my heart was at home with the kids, but my mind was very preoccupied with everything at the store. I had counseled with this person, who knows me inside and out....and she confirmed what I was feeling. She told me that it was clear to her that I should sell the store, based on everything I had been telling her over the time, but I couldn't flounder on my decision. At the time...I thought, "I'm not floundering....I want to sell it, no questions asked.". But as we did my taxes, and realized how much money I really made....and then I floundered. There was no way I could sell it, and not have that money. So, as all this came up...all I could think about was how the Lord had given me the opportunity to sell it, and I truthfully felt like I was supposed to sell it...but I let money get in my way, and went outside of His will. I firmly believe He is trying to speak to me, and has been since about December of last year....but I am simply not listening. I then spoke to that 3rd person again yesterday afternoon, and it was as if she knew this was coming...she's been experiencing similar things in her life. It's so hard when the Lord is telling you to do something, but you literally cannot figure out how it will work, if you obey. I don't know where the extra money will come from if I sell it. I don't know how we will have any extras in our life. And truthfully, I don't know who would buy it, and pay us what is needed....since I have just recently restocked the entire store!!! Maybe He's just wanting me to be obedient....or maybe not. Maybe He's got so many much bigger plans....for all of us involved in the Depot! But I know, that I know, I've got to trust Him. In all things....not just our financial state. And then I ask myself...why is that so hard to do...with ALL that He's shown me personally that He is capable of doing. Surrender. What a hard word.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Costume Party #2

At church, we have a small group called 'girlfriends'. We get together once a month, play some crazy games, eat some food, have a little time of worship, and prayer. It is always absolutely amazing, and the coordinator is an amazingly gifted woman. Since this one fell so close to Halloween, they decided to make it a costume party. I absolutely had to redeem myself somehow after the frightening "joker" costume from last week. I decided to attempt June Cleaver...and I think it turned out pretty well. I ended up going to an antique store, and racking up with all kinds of good things...for dirt cheap. Here are some pics...enjoy!



Caroline...aka Mimi from Drew Carrey show, and...me...aka..June Cleaver.
Richard Simmons came back to join us!
June and her little friend....Lil Taryn.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mish Mash

That's what we call it when I don't cook supper, and everybody just gets what they want. Cereal, toast, sandwich, chicken noodle soup, ravioli, and spaghettios are some of our favorite mish mash items. Not that that really has anything to do with my post....other than this may be a little scattered. What else is new is what you are thinking right?? I know...but really, that's how my mind works. I am an amazing multi tasker. I can literally do a countless things at once...but what I've realized...is that's how my mind works too. Hence the sleeping problems, etc. It's just going and going. Anyway...this weekend was Chandler's all state choir concert. We went last year...and he thoroughly enjoyed it. This year...we didn't know if Chandler would make it again since he was grouped with older boys with much mature voices. Thankfully he did, as it was another thoroughly enjoyable year. We stayed at the host hotel this year which made a huge difference in Chandler's 'fun' level. While I loved the cost of staying a my daddy's, and the fellowship between Daddy and I, Chandler really did miss out on alot of fun that the other kids were having after practice just hanging around the hallways, etc. We also got to take a tour of the capitol because Chandler's friend's Mom is dating a Senator. It was a great tour for the boys! I passed on going to the top of the capitol. Chandler told me later that he was glad I did...because I would "have freaked!!!". They went up on the very top...and looked over the balcony...24 floors up. Yes, I would have freaked...and then I would have thrown up.

While we were in Baton Rouge, we drove around to see Daddy's house which is ruined right now due to Gustav. It really is stunning when you see the massive amounts of 100 year old trees that are uprooted and gone due to this Hurricane. So much history wiped away. Of course it was nothing like post Katrina New Orleans....but it's still devestating nevertheless. Daddy will probably be in this rental for another 3 months or so...until they can get to his house. The list is a mile long for all these contractors. Daddy said this weekend, he would give anything to be in the roofing business during Hurricane Season. And I said I would be happy to join that business!! LOL!!

There are still so many scattered thoughts in my head right now....I so enjoyed time with just Chandler, and I know he will be a teenager in a few short months...and my time 'talking' with him is limited. Oh how I am praying for the Lord to have His had on him. I have also reunited on facebook with one of my elmentary friends....and it's made me so sentimental....I know, that's not hard. My mom took the kids to the zoo today while Roy had a church function, and I was still in Baton Rouge..and I'm so very thankful for that. She's really the best grandmother anybody could ever ask for....even when my life is so crazy that I become a pitiful daughter. Another friend of mine is going through one of the toughest times in her adult life...so say a prayer for her tonight...the Lord will know who you are talking about. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. But for now, I suppose I'm going to try to turn in...and turn my brain off. Really...if anybody has spare prescription of Lunesta...please feel free to send it to me anytime!!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bunco Pics....

Tracy!!!
Me and Tracy....
Richard Simmons....aka Angie!! Excercise Girls!!!
Check out the pit hair!
The whole group of us.
Tracy working on fixing my hair!
Sarah and Shannon....the nun.

We had such a fun night that night! The pics of me are really scary aren't they?? I kind of look like a mix between bozo the clown...and something else that I just can't figure out! Anyway...get a good laugh!!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sleepless days and sleepless nights.

I can't sleep....again. I've got so much on my mind it's ridiculous. I'm heading out of town tomorrow... headed to Baton Rouge with Chandler for his All state choir concert. Last year it was so much fun. I was really, really impressed with the level of excellence these kids sang at. It was fantastic. As usual though, the timing is pitiful for this weekend. Roy is going to be busy virtually the entire time I'm gone. I've already asked Mom to come in and help as much as possible for Saturday....but now Roy's going to be busy Thursday night and Friday too. I have no concept of who possibly is going to help during those times. The girls at the store schedules for this weekend got all mixed up, so getting that worked out took up my entire afternoon today...all because of lack of communication. None of these issues are life threatening...none of them are relationship ruining...none of them can't be worked out...but man are they frustrating. Jillian's not been quite acting herself lately either....which is throwing a kink in our daily routines. This too shall pass.

However, on the flipside of all this....I went to Roy's uncle's funeral today. I saw him once a year for about the past 20 years or so at family reunions. I don't think I've ever had a major converstion with him at all. In fact, I can't say that I knew he even lived in our town. Sad. I did find out today though, that apparently he was an absolutely amazing Godly man. He lived each and everyday for the Lord. He made it clear to everyone around him what his priorities were. He lived 85 years, raised his children, knew his grandchildren, and great grandchildren. And now it's over. He evidently made his life to be a life for the Lord. Not rich in material possessions, but so very rich in all the other areas. So, after days like today....of LOTS of running around, trying to find a tie for the concert, run here, run there, place this order, etc., etc...I have to caution myself to remember...this will all be over one day. And soon, this entire busy, frustrating day I've had will not even be remembered by anybody involved. I just wonder why I let my mind get so filled with such clutter, when it is all in passing. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has given us peace.... and peace of mind. I know I for one just have to reach out and grab ahold of it. And while I'm at it, I'll take a little rest too. :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bunco.

Does anybody out there play bunco? I have had friends that have played it for years, but I never really thought it was for me. In the past, I never took a girls night or anything like that really. However, I am now at a point in my life, that I want to get out, once a month, and enjoy myself. I have always thought that would be selfish of me to do that....and it just wasn't for me. I never thought bad of people who did...it just wasn't for me. Truth be told...I need it. I don't work lots of hours everyday, but I am one of those people who can't turn their mind off. So, regardless of whether I've been at the store for 7 hours, or 3 hours, my mind is still on a 24 hour schedule. Not to mention the fact, that I do have a 4 kids. Again, they aren't non stop like they used to be....but sometimes I just get mentally exhausted. I also have never really been invited to join a group, that had lots of my friends in it either....until this group. I think this night tonight was my 3rd time to play. Last month, I thought there was no way I could laugh any harder than I did that night. In fact, at first, everybody seemed a little bit quieter than usual tonight. But then it got started. I truthfully have some of the craziest, and funniest friends in the entire world. This month, we decided that for tonight, since it was October, we would make it a costume party. I guess since men aren't involved...we all just cut loose. My friend Angie dressed as Richard Simmons, and literally laughed so hard she peed in her pants. Another friend dressed as a nun...and acted it out the entire night. Actually, we met those two at the dollar general parking lot so we could all ride together...and to our surprise, they walked out of dollar general, instead of their car....which obviously means they weren't afraid to walk around in public like they were!! And so on and so on. I was dressed as an old lady, with crazy teased hair, and LOTS of makeup. I think by the time it was all over I ended up looking like one of the Who's from the Grinch. Truly, it was one of the most fun nights of my entire adult life. I am so incredibly blessed with such amazing friends!! The Lord as been so unbelievably good to me in that area of my life. I'll have to download pics and post them tomorrow so you can all have a good laugh.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fried Squirrel.

I ate it! I did....I really did. Fried squirrel! There is a relatively long story behind that, but I'll try to make it short. My friend Alisha had asked if Collin could go hunting with Finley this weekend. Long story short again..we said yes. In the meantime, Chandler was asked to go stay with a friend, and Alisha hates to stay at her house by herself...so she asked me and Madison to come stay with her. I absolutely couldn't pass up that request, (especially since that meant Roy would go home with Jillian... just them two), so Madison and I headed out to the country. Madison played with Aubrey, Alisha's daughter, and Alisha and I talked and talked. Literally, we stayed up till 4 am talking about anything and everything. I never imagined that we would have that much to talk about!! I think at 3 or so, I said, "we have GOT to go to bed!!"...and she said back..."but how often do we get to do this!!". Of course, the answer is never, so we chit chatted some more! Alisha is my friend that I had blogged about a long time ago... about going to her grandmother's every Saturday to eat lunch. And how wonderful I thought that was, and how great the food was...I think I even said..."amazing food" maybe. Well, since I had spent the night on Friday, I was privileaged to be able to go out to Chatham, to the grandmother's house. This particular weekend however, they had decided to fry up some squirrel. I had never eaten it before, but I know tons of people that do on a regular basis....so I thought...."if I'm gonna eat squirrel....where else better to do it, then in the country in an old country house, on beautiful property..on a beautiful day." So I did. And it really wasn't so bad after all. I don't know honestly if I ever want to eat it again. It was an awful lot of work for about 2 bites of meat. But that's neither here nor there. I have to tell you though, each and every time I go out to that grandmother's house I am in awe for so many different reasons. Just the fact that this family gathers, for the most part, every single Saturday amazes me in and of itself. But the house is as it has been for years and years. Very little updating per se. And they liked it like that. I thought, you know, if I can hold on to what I don't like about my house, eventually....I'll like it again. And eventually, it will be what comforts me. And hopefully, what will one day comfort my children when they come 'back home'. Sometimes I think how much I would love to move...even maybe to out in the country....but I'm just so sentimental....I think it would hurt me to leave my house. I know it would hurt Chandler..he freaks out every time we even mention moving. It's not a great house. But it's a good house, and there are just so many great memories here. I want my kids to have a 'go back home' house to go home to. And honestly, I would really, eventually like to have a 'camp' out in the country. But I don't think I could move out there any time soon. Especially with gas so expensive, and as many kids as I have!! LOL!! So now that you all know that I have eaten fried squirrel, I hope you don't think less of me. Who knows...one day I might even eat rabbit. I hear its better than squirrel anyway!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Looking back.

I couldn't remember the exact date last year that we got our travel approval. I knew it was sometime about now, but not the exact date. So, I went back in my blog to find out the official date. I have to tell you, I am overwhelmed with the memories that came flooding back. I know I've said often, that we thought we went to China for a one time deal. I can't express to you all what kind of zero interest we had in going back. But that trip of a lifetime became so much more...if that's even possible. I know we have so many emotional ties to it simply because of the fact we met our daughter, but truly the culture of that country is just incredible. This morning, after I saw we got our travel approval of October 15th....I kept reading. Those feelings of excitement, fear, anticipation, and pure joy came back totally over me. I also realized how much I relied on the Lord to get me through it. I think about the trip now, and realize, once again, how much the Lord's hand was on it. And how much I leaned on Him. I know, at I know that I couldn't have done it without the peace and knowledge that He Himself had put Jillian in our lives....and we had to go get her. And when we went to get her...He blessed us. Literally, we had not one piece of lost luggage, not one delayed flight, not one issue of weather the entire trip, etc., etc. All the things we had heard countless 'horror' stories about. I remember when I was packing, I intentionally separated all of our clothes in different suitcases in case any one piece of luggage got lost. None did. I packed all kinds of powerade, tums, pepto bismol, and antibiotics just in case any of us got sick. None of us did. It truly was a fairy tale trip....for the most part. I suppose it can't really be one of my fairy tales with 2 24 hour airplane trips! lol!!

As I was reading up to the point of our travel, I also realized how so very similar my life is this year as compared to last year. Chandler went to his first dance party last year...and he went back to the exact same dance party this year. He also made all state choir...and did again this year...so we are off to Baton Rouge in a week or two. I remember going to pick out fall festival costumes realizing that when they were at the fall festival, I would be in the air somewhere between Detroit and Tokyo....and we just picked out our new costumes. Just good memories. Warm fuzzies. I am so thankful for the work the Lord has done. Is our life perfect?? No way, no how...just ask my mom....but the Lord knew exactly what He was doing when He put Jillian YuLu Duffey in the lives of Leslie, Roy, Chandler, Madison and Collin Duffey. She has changed our lives....and I literally cannot imagine life without her.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fireproof.


Tonight we went to see fireproof. One of my dear friends from the church called out of the blue and said she wanted to come watch the kids for us to go. It really is a must see for every couple...and I really mean couple. I know sometimes there is a tendency for girls to go to the movies together on a girl's night....but don't make this one of those. Go with your husband...you'll see why when you go. I'm not sure why, but over the years, sometimes people I don't know very well just open up to me. Not just chit chatting, but really, really open up to me. Again, I'm not sure why..,maybe I'm a good secret keeper....or maybe I was just there when they needed to vent. But I have to admit, that I have become frighteningly surprised at the amount of people....and great Christian people at that who have struggling marriages. Not just the normal frustrations of marriage... I mean REALLY struggling. Don't get me wrong..I'm sure every marriage has it's ups and downs....and frankly, the end of last year and the beginning of this one was pretty stinkin' down for us even. I know I'm getting a touch personal....but unfortunately I'm about as transparent as they come. I also think for us all to pretend that we have perfect fairy tale marriages, sets others up for disappointment. You know..you always point to 'that' couple that seemingly has it all together, and you end up comparing yourself to something that's so totally unrealistic, that it's absolutely impossible to live up to your own false expectations. Anyway....let me get off that rabbit trail....and back to the movie. I think it's a good eyeopener for all of us. Every marriage on the face of this earth, has a bullseye on it straight from the enemy himself. Make it a Godly marriage, and the bullseye just got bigger. I don't remember the names of all the characters in the movie....but the lead guy's best friend made some outstanding points. I'm sure any of you out there that have gone through a divorce can testify that the scars run so very deep. My parents got divorced when I was a sr. in high school. At the time, I thought it was fine. In my mind, I understood that they had grown apart, etc., etc. I was the only child at home at the time, so it wasn't that big of a deal...in my mind. It wasn't until many, many years later that it hit me. Roy had bought me Barry Manilow's greatest hits one year for Valentine's Day. My mom was a big Barry Manilow fan, and we listened to it often growing up....along with the Bee Gee's and the Beatles, mixed in with a litte Styx and Queen. How's that for variety?!! LOL!! Anyway, I started playing the CD, and started to tear up. I didn't think too much about it, since I am a big cry baby. But then I couldn't turn it off....my tears that is. I cried and cried and cried. Harder and harder and harder. And I finally realized that it brought back the memories of my family, that I would not ever have again. I could feel it in the pit of my stomach. And in my late 20's or early 30's....my parents divorce made me sad....for the first time. The sense of loss was overwhelming....more than 10 years after the fact. My parents divorce wasn't a messy divorce...they actually still think the world of each other. So I can only imagine, different circumstances, and the depth of scars. Our society made it seem like nobody really gets hurt...does anybody else hear how relaxed people talk about their divorce. I'd be freaking out!! Maybe that's that transparent person in me....and maybe everybody else can keep it together much better. We have, as a Christian community, as young families, as friends, GOT to get a grip on our marriages. Pray for them. Pray for our husbands that are being lured by not only porn on their computers, but half dressed women ALL over the place. I'm shocked at how some people walk out of the house. Frankly, I'm shocked at how some moms and dads let their middle school girls walk out of the house. What are they thinking?? The bible tells us that even lustful thoughts are adultery. I know I'm branching out of my prayer requests for children, but in reality, praying for our marriages IS praying for our children. So now that you know my life story...go see the movie. You'll love it!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Facebook.

I know....I'm not in college, and I'm hardly a teenager, but I do really like facebook. How crazy is it, that one of my bridesmaids that I had lost contact with, and have searched for, for several years really, would find me on facebook. I was SO tickled when I got that 'friend request'...and found out who it was. Actually, if you are like me, you'd be excited to get any friend request...lol!! I know facebook can be so time consuming if you let it, but I have found more positive than negative so far. And it's certainly not near as time consuming as myspace for sure!! I also found 2 other girls that were so close to me during college. We were all in Interior Design at Tech....and our studio classes lasted forever. Needless to say, we all became very close. For now though, I'm hoping to find more of my old friends....and make them my new friends all over again. I'm loving this! Just my little tidbit for the day.

UPDATE: Woohoo!! I've gotten more friends on facebook since this post!! Yippee for me!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Thoughts...

I almost got up this morning and apologized for my post last night. I didn't want to delete it, because it was how I felt, and deleting posts always seems a little fishy to me. I told Roy, when we were discussing why I was so tired today, that I had just really gotten myself all worked up last night thinking about Romania again. I literally cried and prayed for hours, to the point of needing eye drops this morning. Truth be told....that rarely happens....but it's not the first time it's happened either. And then I realized, for whatever reason, (I personally believe it was God ordained), the sense of urgency that was put in my 'gut' for Romanian orphans was so very real. I actually didn't get myself worked up....I truly feel like the Lord put it there. When I sat down to my computer, I fully intended to blog about something different. I had had a great night with some amazing friends, and I wanted to tell the world how blessed I felt. But as I typed, it just wasn't right. No telling how many sentences I deleted. And then out of the blue, I started to blog about Romania. I had really decided not to even write about it knowing good and well that any family of mine that reads this will think I've lost my mind. But I suppose that was established a long time ago! :) So as Roy and I were talking about it, he asked me what I felt called to....and my response sadly was.."I don't know....what can I do??". I am trusting the Lord to guide me once again. Obviously, I can't keep adopting children....and Romania wouldn't even let me....(and neither would Roy! LOL!), and our budget is stretched as far as it can go and then some, but I am convinced there is something out there that I can do....and not only that I can do, but that I'm supposed to do. I'm just going to have to wait on the Lord, and listen for that still small voice....once again.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Romania.


I felt the call to adopt probably still when I was about 11 or 12. Of course I didn't know then it was a call at the time. In fact, I probably didn't even know what a call was!! I just saw all the stories on tv about the plight of Romanian orphans, and my heart broke. From that time on....through the years of Nadia Comaneci, I wanted to grow up, and adopt. As the years went on, Romania put a halt to all international adoptions for who knows what reason. I was so upset at first when I heard that, because I was so sure for so long that I would adopt a baby/child from Romania. What now? And why on God's green earth would they do that, when SO many children are suffering?? I still have no answer for that.....I guess it goes back to that eight letter word that I hate so much....politics. Anyway, for me, in the adoption realm, my mind turned to the Eastern European countries....like Russia, etc. As many of you know, when we started the adoption paperwork, our original application was for the Ukraine. It was only once our application had been received that every single door was slammed in our face as we tried to proceed. We know now, that the Lord had called us to Jillian, and through an often confusing, and extremely long road, He brought us together. I am still in awe at what a perfect match we are for each other. She truly was meant to be in this family. But even through that amazing journey, that I wouldn't change for anything, my heart never left Romania. I always stare at the Romanian gymnasts during the Olympics and wonder what their life must be like. I'm sure most of you don't know...and probably don't care too much....but it's an unbelieveably hard, corrupt road in Romania. Full of poverty, and everything that comes along with it. All that to say, this last Sunday, we had a missionary from Romania come to our church. I truthfully didn't even know our church supported a missionary in Romania. His stories were awe inspiring! The Lord is doing such an amazing work through him in the rural lands of Romania. Sadly though, I learned that the conditions and plight of Romanian orphans is still just awful. In fact, just googling images of Romania brought up some of the most horrendous images I have seen recently in terms of orphanage conditions. I am literally sitting here distraught at the thought of what these children go through for their entire life. Very commonly, in Romania, as well as the Ukraine, when a child turns 18, they are no longer fit for state care. They are turned out to the streets and often become the worst of the worst...and you can only imagine what that would be. They have learned no skill, no trade, nothing to help them survive. So this missionary that came to our church builds group homes for these teenagers and teaches them skills that they can use to get a job. I've know for so long that my heart was in Romania for who knows what reason...but I want to go there. I so desperately would LOVE to do some mission work there. I truly feel like it's not even a want anymore, but a need. I know not everyone has a heart for the orphans....just like not everybody has a heart for the elderly, or a prison ministry. But if you are reading this, because maybe you started to follow our journey to get our precious daughter...please say a prayer tonight...not just for Romanian orphans, and Chinese orphans, but for all over. Even for the ones that live in the "bad part of town" here in the USA, and have to go to school just so they can eat because momma never comes home....and yes that really does happen...and it really happens here. I've seen it first hand. James 1:27 says "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world".

Jillian has a mad face....

And here it is.....



Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Answered Question...


Not that this is anything profound or anything...but I thought I would write a little something that tickled me. Today, I went to my mailbox to find my monthly Southern Living magazine. I absolutely love Southern Living, and I love fall...and the holidays. Therefore, the October, November, and December issues of Southern Living are my favorites!!! Back to the story though...today, I got all snug in my chair to look through the issue and find all the goodies of fall that it has to offer, and saw immediately this HUGE section of "The Fair"....the Texas State Fair. And it was just as I imagined in my mind fairs should be like....nothing like ours attall. That's how southerners often say at all....pronounced atTall. Anyhoo.....I felt slightly validated in my wishings of something more...because now I know it's out there, and if I ever get the hankering....I can go and take the kids to a "real" fair. I do seriously doubt that will ever happen though.

On a drastically different note....my 10 year old started shaving her legs this week. It's time. I continue to look at her as if she is in 3rd grade, but she's not. She's in 5th, and will be at the middle school next week. We had been discussing when a good time for me to teach her would be, and we finally found a night that we were at home, and available. We went into the bathroom, got the water warm, and proceeded to "practice shave" with a razor with the lid on. She did fantastic, and really was ready to move forward all by her lonesome. She did the other leg totally by herself, without the lid on the razor, and only cut the back of her leg one tiny little cut. I told her I still even cut myself with tiny little cuts all the time. She did great. She left it alone yesterday, and then came home today, and immediately got in the bathtub to shave again. She literally told me this was a "dream come true!!". Now she only has 2 wishes left....an ipod and a cell phone. She's so crazy!!! She's always been so growny. Just acting SO grown up....and now she actually is growing up. Middle school...next year.....youth group...not rainbows. I really, really don't know if I'm ready for all this!! But she is....and has been for about 8 years now!! Yikes.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The fair.

I wonder what "the fair" is like in other cities and towns. I always think of "county fairs"....where there are rolling hills in the background...and girls in red and white checkered dresses showing their prize hog. Maybe I get that from Charlotte's Web....or maybe it's that...I really do live in a fairy tale world in my mind. I can just imagine Aunt Bee showing her prize pickles just hoping desperately to get that blue ribbon. If any of you are Andy fans out there...you'll get that joke. Anyway, our fair is not really anything like that. It's in the parking lot of our civic center....and about every 5 minutes you get this whif of something that you just don't quite know what it is....but you would swear there was some kind of open sewer right at your feet. The rides are worked by people you really wouldn't trust to be around in general...and yet you are trusting them with your life as you hop on the ring of fire...to be turned upside down over and over again. The irony of the entire thing...is that regardless of how nasty it is...or how bad it smells....we HAVE to go every single year. We did take a year off when all the Katrina evacuees were up here and it was packed out, shoulder to shoulder. The kids LOVE it, they must get an elephant ear every year, and I really so very much enjoy a chicken on a stick. If you haven't had one...go find one....somewhere!! They also do happen to fit perfectly on this crazy no carb diet I'm on to drop those pesky 10 pounds. But I digress...this year....the oldest 3 kids really stepped their riding variety up a notch or two. They rode almost every single thing. The most heart stopping ride is the one that Chandler declared to be his favorite of all time. Madison did come off of one ride crying...and pretty hysterically at that....but she regained composure fairly quickly. And was off again to ride more breath taking rides. The funniest part of the entire night was when Chandler, Collin, and my nephew Tristin went through the haunted house. I was standing outside with my brother in law Jason, and Jillian. Jason had JUST said..."I think Chandler and Tristin are hiding at the back door trying to scare people". Not two minutes later, Collin comes running from around the back screaming hysterically with his hand over his mouth...."help me! help me!". And I don't mean he was just trotting out...he was running full force. I immediately thought Chandler and Tristin had met their first victim....and they got him good. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. Collin had gotten spooked, tripped and fell, and somehow ended up hitting Tristin's elbow or something and knocked out a tooth. So after Collin comes running...Tristin and Chandler came running telling me this. Of course, I then felt HORRIBLE for laughing at Collin...but I promise if I had that on video...I'd be winning my family $10,000!!!! Collin did settle down...and realized it was a tooth that had been loose literally for months. Now he can finally get that tooth fairy money for it!!

Well, that's it for the Duffey day at the fair. It was a great day....with great friends!! And not just for my kids...my great friends were there too! I suppose with that kind of company, it doesn't really matter if it was in the middle of a parking lot with a sewer at my feet! LOL!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Stuff, stuff and more stuff.

So for the last couple of days I've sat down to blog about several different things at several different times.....and I just can't seem to get it straight. I saw a great movie that made me do some thinking....which was good, but I couldn't figure out how to put in words what I was trying to say. Then one of my fellow adoption families asked us to come speak at an adoption seminar in Shreveport to give our adoption "testimony". That was great...we actually can't go do it, but it did get me thinking about how exciting it would be to do that. But truthfully, all I can seem to think about is the crazy state of our country. I literally have had to boycott the news because it stresses me out!! It also literally has put me in kind of a bad mood for the last several days....and so I try to distance myself from all the bad news. I think that I think if I turned off the tv, just go sit on the back porch with my coffee, that all will be good. Because of course, as a general rule it is good at my house. So I sat in my house this morning, doing a little painting, drinking my coffee, getting ready to head to work. Just a little background FYI, I ALWAYS stop at this one particular gas station to get a diet coke. They offer .50 refills in any size cup you want to bring in....and I LOVE that!! But when I stopped at that gas station today...after turning off the news....enjoying my coffee, yada yada yada....I saw a lady standing very suspiciously on the side of the gas station. I got a touch uncomfortable but still went inside to get my heavenly diet coke, and overheard the workers talking. Evidently, one worker had gone outside to find out what was up with her, and found out that she was eating out of the dumpster next to the gas station. So the worker immediately came inside to get a can of vienna sausages because she couldn't just let this woman continue to eat out of the dumpster. I just felt so sad. I do realize that in our great country, you have to make some really horrible decisions to get to the point where you are having to eat out of a dumpster. I do also realize that sometimes there are just some people with 'bad luck' out there, that often never have a chance...but I feel like that is definitely a minority. But regardless of how she got there, or what she did, she was still having to eat out of the dumpster. I know I need to get my head out of the sand and realize our society is what it is, and something really needs to change. I feel like the Lord is calling us to our knees, and reminding us that HE is in charge. That regardless of how this election turns out....He is still in charge. He has a plan. I take comfort in that...and I really wonder how those without the Lord go through the ups and downs of life....without that hope that only He can give. I encourage you to turn your burdens over to Him....easier said than done....and rest in His sovereign power....again, easier said than done...myself included. Maybe that should be another challenge for me this week....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Susannah is home!!

I don't know if you remember the little girl I posted about a few days ago named Susannah. Well, that's her.....isn't she happy!!?? When the family arrived in China to get her, they found their baby girl deathly ill, (literally) in a filthy hospital with a dr. that wasn't really a dr. They had to fight for the care that she so desperately needed. And they prayed. After seeing how sick she was, they weren't really sure how she would do on the flight, if she even made it to the flight. Well, she got better, and made the flight just fine. She is finally on U.S. soil, and has a dr. appt. with a specialist to finally give her the care that she so desperately needs. Not only for her clept lip, but especially for her heart. If ever you wanted to see the Lord's work first hand....go read their blog. It's www.roomforatleastonemore.blogspot.com . I know one time when I posted the link, she had changed the settings to private, but she quickly reversed that. The Lord was, and is being glorified. If anybody out there knows anything about the red tape that China puts in place with the adoption, you will know that almost every single issue in this entire adoption process has been a miracle directly from the Lord. He is great, and greatly to be praised!!! Continue to pray for Susannah and her family....she will have LOTS of doctor appts, etc., and we all know that isn't easy for any child. Much less one that has had such awful experiences in such awful hospitals. But for today, we are rejoicing!!! I'm so excited to see what the Lord has planned for this family!!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My breakfast date.

Since we have such a crazy life, sometimes we take turns going to eat breakfast with one child at a time. This morning, my breakfast date was Collin. Just trying to think of some good conversation for just the two of us to have, over donuts, I asked him if he still wanted to be a "preacher". He said he did, and I off handedly said "well, you just keep praying, and the Lord will guide you to whatever He wants you to do, and where He wants you to go". And his response also was very off handed...and he said, "Well, I'm sure God would like for us ALL to be preachers". Which led into a small conversation over he difference in just sharing the gospel, and being a preacher for a living. To which, my 7 year old son said, "I just don't understand, if I tell one person and they tell one person, and then they tell one person....then eventually everybody would know the gospel....so I think God would just like for us all to be preachers. " I had to then tell him that sometimes, even when people hear the gospel, they choose not to live for Jesus, so then someone else needs to come along and tell them again. And then I started thinking....how many people have I 'shared the gospel' with personally this week, this month, or this year? Do I feel like I'm living for the Lord....absolutely. I know my own faults, so please don't point them out in a comment....lol....but I do feel like I am "living for the Lord". I also try to glorify the Lord when I can. At work, I never hesistate to talk about the Lord with customers, or dealers, etc. But I am just talking about the Lord. I am not really sharing the gospel. Why is that so hard for me to do? I guess I chalk it up to "planting a seed", when actually the Lord may have already planted the seeds, and needs me to water, or fertilize....and I have not done so. If you've read my blog for any length of time whatsoever, you'll know I always go back to "what's it all about".....and I have just dropped the ball way, way too many times on that. So, I am challenging myself to step outside of my comfort zone....and do better. And all that....was because my 7 year old wants to be a preacher....and thinks we all should be to.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pictures....in no particular order!

So, after my computer has been in and out and in and out of repair places....which actually have made things worse....my hubby decided to get on here, and fiddle with it for hours. And low and behold...it's working. I really can't remember the last time I was so excited...mainly because of the amount of pictures I had on this computer...that I will now promptly be downloading to discs. So I thought I would post a few for those of you that don't live near us. You can see some recent snap shots of our crew. The only challenge I have though..is that I don't know why I still after all this time still have trouble getting my pictures in the order they are supposed to be in. Sometimes I can drag them, and other times I can't.... So, here are some recent pictures....in totally, random order!!

Jillian, with her once again, "show me your teeth" smile, and Madison. Jillian was trying So hard to keep the towel on her head like her big sister.

Being silly out at MaMaw and Papaw's house on Labor Day.


Pouting because I won't let her play in the rain.
4th of July....I just love this pic.

4th of July again.


Since I was doing some 4th of July pictures...I just had to add this one. Collin and his best friend Finley had just gotten in trouble. Collin was clearly over it by now...NOT....and this was the best smile I could get for awhile!

One of my dearest friends, Alisha....who is also Finley's mom.

And here is Chandler...looking all cool in Wal Mart parking lot....just before heading to a boy/girl birthday party/dance. Yuck. I didn't like it one bit....butI didn't last year at this time either.