Sunday, February 28, 2010

Love and Sacrifice

I kept getting these flyers in the mail...We buy Gold! It was from a jewelry store we've used before.  Friday, I took a few things in and sold them.  I had been thinking about this for a while; then I just knew it was time. 

If you've read my previous posts you know I have a heart for orphans.  And, of course, especially ones who have Down syndrome or other special needs.  In many other countries, children with Down syndrome just have no chance at a good, healthy life.  Most are put in orphanages, then later moved to mental institutions by age 4 or 5.  It varies by country.  God has put this on my heart in a big way.  More and more, I'm thinking adopting ourselves isn't likely the way that we can be involved.  But, my eyes are forever opened, and my heart forever broken for those children, all children, that don't have a family to love and care for them.  I have to find ways to do what I can do.

We had found a bracelet at the beach, many years ago, that was gold and had real stones in it.  Jordan I think had found it and we had said that it could be hers, when she was older.  When I suggested to her recently that we sell it and donate to an adoption fund, she thought that was a great idea.  Just so you know, we were there a good long while that day, there weren't many people around and noone was looking for a lost bracelet or we would have returned it to its owner.  I felt sure if we had walked around asking folks if it was theirs, they would have claimed it whether it was theirs or not.

I had a couple pair of earrings that I hadn't worn in years.  I was happy to give those as well. Then, I had one more piece that I struggled over whether to sell.  My brother had taken his own life when he was just 21 years old.  He had few possessions, and had specifically wanted me to have a a beautiful herringbone gold chain that he had really treasured.  Somehow, years ago this chain had gotten tangled, and they told me at the jewelry store it couldn't be repaired.  It was really the only thing I had of my brother's.  I struggled with the decision but decided how better to honor his memory than to give someone else life.  Truly, in the country my online friend wants to adopt from, it is the difference between life and death for these children.

My brother's necklace was worth 145 dollars and the total I received was $350. I have to tell you the first thought that popped in my mind as I received the check was that amount would nearly buy the special needs stroller we need.  Also, almost the right amount for the Spanish program I need to purchase for homeschooling, or would certainly cover Jordan's dress for the spring formal.  I couldn't stop myself from having those thoughts for just a moment, but I knew God had laid it on my heart to donate this money. 

I met this online friend in such a God-way, if you know what I mean.  We both shared a love and burden for Corinna that I've blogged about before.  She has this huge heart, wants to adopt one or more children WITH special needs, and finances are the only thing slowing them down.  You can find her blog here.  Many times I have felt tugged to donate when reading blogs and felt the amount I could give was so small that it couldn't be of much help.  Several times lately I have donated just $25. hoping and knowing that it could really add up.  It was all I could give at the time.  If you're a coffee drinker you can help by ordering coffee from Just Love Coffee Roasters (they have an amazing story too) and every purchase of a bag of coffee gives them $5. for their adoption.  I ordered the African Skies, which it described as their favorite, and am enjoying a delicious cup right now! This link takes you right to their page, so that they will get credit for the sale.

I met Kelli online, but she lives just a couple of hours away and hope to meet her in person soon.  I can't wait till the time I can see her and meet her new addition/additions to their family.  I know God will bless them for their obedience; and that He will bless me for mine.  He's just good like that. 

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Jessie on American Idol

Daddy:  Jessica Hall, please step forward.

Jessie sings.....

Daddy:  Yay!!!!!!!!!

Daddy:  Jessica Hall, please step forward.  Yes, you're going to Hollywood!

Jessie:  Next week, on Tuesday?

Jessie sings again....this will be reenacted 20 times in the next hour.......<3

Mama Feeling Whiny Today......

Jessie has had diarrhea for a couple of days.  Wednesday and Thursday we stayed home together and I put off doing things that needed doing, finally, today they HAD to be done.  I had to do a quick run by at a doctor's office, go to Sam's to get prescriptions and some groceries, etc., go to Verizon to pay a bill and talk with Customer Service to decide whether to 1) make an insurance claim, paying the deductible to get a new phone or 2) whether or when I was eligible to get a new phone.  I've decided to TRY to hang in there till May but my phone is being very aggravating! 

I left Jessie at home with big brother and sister while I did all these things.  Most of the time I try to take Jessie with me when I run such errands, because it gets her out of the house a bit (she gets to talk to a million strangers while out which makes her happy and slows me down!) and Jordan and Evan can get their school work done.  One of two things happens when I leave her home with them on a school day.  EITHER, she watches entirely too much t.v. OR they don't get their school work done for entertaining her.   Either scenario leaves me feeling guilty. Even though it couldn't be helped the way things worked today, I told them they would have to finish their school work tomorrow :(  Soon as I got home from those errands, I threw things in the freezer and ran out the door again, taking Jordan to a friend's house to work on Chemistry and ACT prep, leaving Jessie home with Evan another couple hours.  The time between dropping her off and picking her back up left me with not really enough time to warrant driving all the way back to Headland, so I decided to run through a car wash, vacuum the van and get a few things at Walmart before picking Jordan back up. 

 Where the whining comes in........I debated whether I wanted to share this or not, but decided to do so.  It felt so wonderful today to do all those things without being slowed down by Jessie. Jessie doesn't have good endurance for a whole lot of walking, the walking she does is slow, and getting her in and out of the car, always a potty break or a snack, when we have errands to do it is painfully slow at times.  At Verizon she wants to look at what she wants to look at or talk to someone when I'm wanting to look at phones.  The last two trips to Verizon...when they called my name, I was taking her to the potty and lost my place in line.  When they realized I was there they called me again next, but you get what I'm sayin'.  I could never have accomplished all of what I got done today if she had been with me; I would have had to do part of the list today and finish the rest another day.  That's usually how I do things. Today I felt super productive (that always makes me feel good!) and felt guilty that I wish things weren't so hard. Maybe guilt isn't even the right word.  I felt tired of things being/seeming so hard. 

 Already, tonight I feel differently.  Tomorrow, I'll be completely back to my joyful self....but today....I felt weighted down. I have been mama to a little person for 15 years now.  Whereas Jordan and Evan were much more independent at the age Jessie is now (8), physically, in many ways with Jessie, it is still like caring for a toddler.  I still brush her teeth, wipe her bottom, wash her hair, help with getting dressed etc.  She doesn't do any of those things well enough yet to do them herself.  Today, just for today, I felt tired of having "a toddler".  I am ready for a new phase, that truly I don't think is right around the corner.  I didn't like having these feelings, even while knowing they are normal. 

While Jessie has had diarrhea, I have had to keep a towel under her wherever she sits or sleeps; she has had many accidents as she doesn't realize it in time to make it to the potty.  I have been constantly washing the clothes and towels.  Today, while I was gone, Jordan and Evan were dealing with that (not the washing but the taking care of her). What a wonderful big brother and sister they are.  When I dropped Jordan off and was debating on whether to come back home (which would have involved 1hr of driving back and forth with just 30 or 45 minutes at home before going back to get her) Evan encouraged me to just do the things I needed to do, that he and Jessie would be just fine, and that he didn't mind, it was no big deal.  He had no idea how I needed that today or what a big deal it was to me. 

It felt SO GOOD to clean out my van! That may sound crazy but the van was so dirty it was just gross.  When you have to pull up the big trash can and move it from door to door as you clean....that's a sign it was too long overdue. 

Today I couldn't help feeling aggravated at how difficult some things are right now.  I needed to have time to do alone, things that had to be done.  I worry in sharing these kinds of feelings, that someone who doesn't know me well enough will misunderstand.  I also worry that those that do know me in person, and not just online, will feel sorry for me....don't! I did for today, and that was enough.  I'm over it.  I am always thankful that Jessie is ours, our lives are immeasurably enriched and better because of her.  When I got home tonight, I kissed her all over her face and told her how much I missed her.  It was true, even though I was glad to get done things I needed to, I missed my sweet little puffalump and couldn't wait to get all her sugar and snuggle with her for a few minutes. I called her while I was at Walmart today and told her I'd found her a new swimsuit cover up and asked what color she wanted.  She loves to get phone calls, loves new, pretty things, and loves making the choices herself.  She chose purple.  Tomorrow, I can't wait to show it to her.  She'll be so excited....and that will make my day :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Stella: A Sweet New Addition To Our Family

For several months Evan had been pondering, thinking, trying to decide if he wanted the responsibility of a new dog or puppy.  It was understood that feeding and caring for the new dog WOULD BE his responsibility.  Accidents, etc., in the house, HIS responsibility.  He weighed the pros and cons of puppies vs. dogs but wasn't fully decided when we began our search.  We visited Animal Control and the Humane Society.  The only dog he fell in love with failed to pass their temperament test :(  Jordan and I fell in love with a beautiful lab puppy.....Evan just wasn't interested.  Still searching, we started looking online....Craig's List and Pet Finder....and found Stella.
Stella was fur and bones, very skinny.  She weighs 50 lbs, but the vet said she should weigh 70.  In the nearly two weeks we've had her, she has started to fill out so beautifully.  Her ribs and spine were painfully noticeable and bony.  She had been adopted by someone else just a few days before.  Kelly said she looked even worse before we saw her, that in the few days she'd had her, she'd filled out a little.  Kelly already had a bulldog and hoped the two dogs would be companions, but "Tater" wasn't having it so she had advertised her on Craigs List. 
When we first talked about the dogs Evan was interested in, Jay and I agreed that with certain breeds (Dobermans being one of them), that we would want to have them as a puppy to grow up with Jessie, being used to her.  When I first called about Stella, I misunderstood, and thought she was a younger dog.  She is estimated to be 2 to 3 years old. After emailing with Kelly several times, she sounded like a perfect fit for our family and decided to meet her, even though she was older than we'd  first thought we wanted. 
We loved Stella right from the start.  She is THE sweetest dog ever! She wants to be loved every minute of the day!  To be such a large dog, she is surprisingly calm.  She is loving to everyone in the family, and very tolerant of Jessie being somewhat unpredictable.  Jessie doesn't know if there are things dogs don't typically like; but Stella doesn't seem to be bothered by much of anything. At first she didn't pay any attention to the cats.......but now, if they run she will chase.  If they aren't running (or hissing at her because she has previously chased them!) she isn't concerned with them.  Boo (our other dog) has been terribly jealous, but is starting to calm down.  They have started to play together and it is HILARIOUS to watch because of the difference in their sizes, and seeing long- legged Stella playing like a puppy.  Evan is so in love with his new dog.  Getting a new dog/pet is always a bit of a gamble.  There are always things you can't know for sure.  Whew! Glad this one worked out! 

This is Jessie's handwriting from the day or so when we first got Stella.  I always try to make Jessie's handwriting (and other schoolwork) meaningful to her whenever possible :)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sticker No No

Jessie has liked stickers for a long time.  It hasn't been all that long since she has been able to pick up the smaller stickers.  We always have tons of stickers to use for making cards for different special occasions and just for fun.  Such a great fine motor activity, I'm happy that she is enjoying them....BUT not when they end up places like....

On the glass back door.  These have actually been there a couple of months.  It was cute and I didn't have the heart to remove them.

Newest addition: added a bunch of stickers to the laminate floor, all in a perfect straight line.

This isn't where Dora belongs!  Jessie, in the past, hasn't been able to scrape them off the floor herself.  This time she had to help remove them as I could see she's decided this is a really cute idea.  Sorry to have to spoil the fun :(

Friday, February 12, 2010


Jessie loves to help me cook.  She sometimes really likes to cook in her kitchen.  Lately, she wants to cook (play cook) in the real kitchen, with all the real utensils.  Funnels, measuring cups, pot holders, measuring spoons (translates....drag out everything in the kitchen!)......

In the past year Jessie has finally reached the level of understanding that when I ask her, "Keep it or give it away?", she has been able to help make decisions about what to get rid of when cleaning out her toys. So far we haven't made any big mistakes by relying on whatever she tells me when asked that question.  

She hasn't played with her toy kitchen much lately.  When she has kept getting out my real things, I've wondered if it was time to get rid of her toy kitchen.  So, I asked her, "Jessie, are you tired of (a phrase she uses regularly and understands!) your kitchen?  Do you want to keep it or sell it?"

She quickly and very adamantly replied, " I don't like selling!"  "Keep it!"  You could hear the little bit of fear in her voice.  Okay.  We'll wait a while, it SURE takes up a LOT of space in her room. 

Bath Time Fun


 She was pretending something about being in the "hopsital" (hospital :) 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

At the Doctor: Funny Jessie Moments

I never quite know what Jessie will do when we are in a group setting in public.  If strangers in Walmart, etc. speak to her, sometimes she doesn't speak back, sometimes it seems rude when they are being kind and making conversation.  On the other hand, she is not a respecter of privacy, she doesn't understand the "rules".  We were at the doctor's office for about three hours.  She was very well behaved, and certainly as patient as any 8 year old could be expected to be for that length of time.  From the beginning of when we first got there, every time someone else's name was called, she would say (fairly loudly), "Call my name!".  I would say, most every time, "We have to wait our turn, all these other people were here first."  Jessie: "No!" Next person called, same scenario, for most of the 10-15 people that were called before us.  She has complete understanding of the way that works, she just doesn't like waiting her turn (does anyone?).  Also, she isn't able to look around and think, ok, 5 more then my turn. Every time she thinks it might be her turn and is disappointed when it isn't.  She was thrilled when they actually called her name.

Jessie drew stick figures, labeled them with family members names, wrote some words, I helped her spell some.  That got old.  She got bored.  I realized I had dropped my phone in the car and stepped out to get it...BEFORE I GOT OUT THE DOOR, she started working the room.  I saw it as soon as I stepped out, through the glass.  She had a pretend Princess camera and went around the room taking everyone's picture.  She did this two or three times, then waited a while till more people had come in, that hadn't been there the first round, then she had to do it all again.  I am always unsure at first how people are going to react to such as that, but everyone seemed to think it was cute, most were smiling and some really got tickled with her.  One lady (an acquaintance of mine) said, "She has a way of making sick people feel better."

We drew and wrote some more, she texted her Daddy and sister.  There was an older gentleman sitting beside her.  After she'd been texting, she pointed at him and said she wanted to text him.  She knows how to go to text messaging in my phone, knows to put in the first couple letters of the name she wants, then selects the correct name and texts them.  She kept saying, "I want to find his name", pointing to the nice man we'd been talking to a little.  He was sitting there with his phone out and had texted someone while we were sitting there.  Finally, she wasn't going to give up, so I said, "She wants to text you."  He gave me a business card with his phone number on it (turns out he was a pastor :)) and I put the number in for her.  She texted back and forth with him several times.  He took a picture of her with his phone and sent it to her.  She sent him a picture of her that was saved in my phone.  Only Jessie.

Sometimes, right off the bat I am a little anxious when we get in that kind of setting, knowing she is going to get in everybody's business.  Some days it is annoying that she doesn't respect the normal boundaries of strangers.  Other days, like today, I can enjoy that difference. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Corinna: Answered Prayer

Seeing the words "My forever family found me" above Corinna's picture on the Reece's Rainbow website....there are no words to describe how that felt for me. Overwhelmingly thankful. Definitely what Oprah calls "the ugly cry". I am thankful for the experience of praying for her and seeing God provide.  This experience is a spiritual marker in MY life. 

I was completely brokenhearted over Corinna.  I know it was God, it wasn't me.  When I first began looking at the Reece's Rainbow website I wondered how anyone ever knew the particular child God would have them adopt.  There are so many.  I had read that people said God put a certain child on their heart or when they saw the picture they knew they were supposed to be a part of their family.  I was envious.  I am always envious when someone says they have a clear word from God.  I so desire that from Him.  I don't mean I never get it, but I desire it more than I get it.  Absolute certainty, clear direction. 

I wondered if we were supposed to adopt Corinna.  I won't know till I get to heaven if we missed out on a blessing there.  My husband didn't feel that was what we were supposed to do.  I don't know if he wasn't listening closely enough, being practical, or if that wasn't the role we were to play.  I do know that at that point I knew I had to do what I could do.  Pray.  God allowed me to feel for her very personally, painfully, in a way that I don't that often for someone I don't personally know or have a connection to.  I was asked, "Why do you keep going back to her picture and looking at it every day if there's nothing you can do?" and "Why do you do that to yourself?"  One day, I will know the details of all the inner workings of what was going on.  One day I will know the rest of the story.  For now, I know that my prayers were used for Corinna's good and God's glory.

I know some things that aren't yet common knowledge, and I'm so thankful God put me in a position to be able to know those things.  That was his gift to me.  I know that what is happening for her is supernaturally God good. I know that isn't a grammatically correct sentence, but it's what needed to be said. 

The Bible tells me that he collects the prayers of the saints....I know they have meaning and purpose and are pleasing to him.  I am thankful that this time he let me see all the dots connected...he doesn't always work that way...but I am thankful that this time he did that next time I will remember this marker, and pray, knowing it has meaning even if I don't get to see the completed picture.  It will help me hold on till the next time He knows I need what only He can give.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Update on Joshua

Wanted to update those of you who have been praying for Joshua.  He is doing so much better; this is his 2nd day off Oxygen. Thank you so much to those of you that don't even know him that prayed for him.  Now that he's perking up they're wondering how to keep him occupied!  That is a good problem to have at this point.  He has blown several veins and had to have his IV moved several times, we are praying now that that this IV (currently in this thumb!) will last till he is finished with antibiotics (for the pneumonia).

Thanks friends!