Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Feeling better and pushing hard

I'm so excited to be up and at 'em again today! I had to be careful not to overdue as I'm still not at 100%. But I am feeling MUCH better. Woohoo!!

Because I spent most of last week focusing on finishing the baby quilt (which didn't get finished when I got sick), I let most of my housework slide. Then I got sick and didn't have the energy to do any of it. Now my house is a mess! So... today I caught up on a few things. I washed all of our laundry, including putting it away which is the hardest part for me! I caught up on the dishes and started scrubbing the kitchen. I also redid our financial form for the adoption and took it to be notarized. After doing all of that and cooking three meals, I was wiped out. But at least our house is looking a tiny bit better.

Right before five, hubby received a voicemail that the bug people are coming to spray tomorrow. Spray in my messy house! Eek! First thing tomorrow, I'll be tidying up the rest of the house and sweeping the floors, which is desperately needed. If I don't stay on top of the floors (all faux wood), they end up covered in little kitty fluffs. Our cats shed like crazy!

I did manage to stay on top of my Chinese flashcards while sick but haven't learned anything new in almost a week. I'm hoping that tomorrow I can get back into my class.

So much to do and not enough energy to do it!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Random Friday Thoughts

Still sick here. I'm at that point where I have absolutely no energy. I'm doing the bare minimum - dishes, very simple meals, cleaning out the cat boxes. The rest of the time I just flit from website to blog post to book to television. Yup. I wanted to take a nap earlier but had to wash the sheets. Bad timing!

These days I am reading A Thomas Jefferson Education, a book about inspiring children to learn and become leaders through mentorship (the parent mentoring the child) and reading classics. I have tons of thoughts about this book but want to finish reading it before discussing it. My biggest question is... have other parents used this education method with an older adopted child who comes home with little to no English?

I'm also in the middle of A Novel Bookstore. This book took awhile to get started. I was about to give up on it but the main characters finally started talking about the history of The Good Novel, a bookstore that will only stock quality literature. Now I'm intrigued!

I haven't been able to work on my baby quilt. I need to recover my energy so that I can buy a new spool of thread.

Our adoption grant arrived last night so our adoption is now officially fully funded. The funds are available whenever we need to write the next check!

Along the same vein, I've been thinking about names. Are we going to give our girl an English name? As her first name or her middle name? Do we keep her Taiwanese name? Who named her? What name should we pick? I wish that we could get to know her so that we could see what names "fit."

I'm excited that Sabbath is almost here again. I won't be going to church tomorrow but I will be spending time in God's word. I also hope to write at least two letters to our sponsorship kiddos. We received two letters this week so I need to send out a reply.

My brain is actually fairly active today, even though I have no energy. Hopefully Jeff's work call finishes up in time for me to finish my Chinese studies for the day. I'm skipping my video lesson, as I don't think I can learn anything new. But I do plan to review all of my flashcards.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

New home study on its way to Taiwan

I've had several projects that I have wanted to post about this week. Instead of posting, though, I've been concentrating on making significant progress on said projects.

We did receive a terrific piece of mail today: our new home study! Because of the additional adoption funds we've received, we had to revise the home study to reflect that and the new positive net worth. I was anticipating receiving the home study on Monday or so next week but we received it today! Jeff was praying that we would receive it today so that we could overnight it to our Taiwan coordinator. The guardian in Taiwan wants to see the new home study before mailing us the adoption contracts. Hopefully everything will get processed quickly!

The downside of today is that I'm now sick with a cold. It came on yesterday afternoon and today I feel under the weather. It's just a cold and I'm trying to remain positive. I just hate being sick and losing my productivity flow! I'm trying to treat myself well so that I can recover quickly and get back to my projects.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Sabbath!

I'm always glad when Sabbath arrives. I love spending a quiet day with God and with my husband, going to church and not having to worry about anything. It's God's weekly gift to us!

Have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Busy but waiting

I keep meaning to post but get distracted by other things. Before I realize it, the day is gone and I missed another post!

This week has been all about emailing our social worker, dossier specialist, and Taiwan coordinator, making sure we're all on the same page and that the right forms are getting filled out. Last Friday, we filled out our new financial forms to reflect the adoption grant. We emailed the notarized form to our social worker, who is working on updating our home study and getting new copies mailed out to us. Once we receive the new home study, we'll be forwarding one copy to the Taiwan coordinator, who will be forwarding it to the social worker in Taiwan. They have to re-evaluate us in light of the new financial situation before we can get approval and contracts from them.

I'm tired just thinking about it.

I've been following a couple families who are currently adopting from Taiwan or finalized their adoptions in 2013. The average wait between dossier submission and travel is 7-10 months. We aren't even ready to submit our dossier. I'm reminding myself that God has everything under control and that it will happen on His timing, not ours! In the meantime, I will keep knitting, quilting, learning Chinese, and taking care of my husband and our household. There is plenty to do in order to stay busy!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

We've received our miracle!!

My thoughts are all over the place so I'll have to post again when I can put together something coherent. But for now...

God is so good!! We received our miracle!! My husband's boss just gave us a $10,000 adoption grant and we are now fully funded. Our adoption is moving forward!!

I am so thrilled and overcome with thanks to God and crying tears of joy. God said we'd make it across the lake and we did!

And... her first movie!

I have been saving my Amazon credit for a long time. I earn Amazon gift cards through the Swagbucks search. I also put all of the loose change from our grocery shopping into a jar and, once I have enough, change it into Amazon credit through CoinStar. And, I've recently been earning a few (very few) dollars through Amazon Mechanical Turk. All of that finally added up to enough Amazon credit to place a small order.

I ordered a couple useful things. Cleaner for my husband's coffee grinder. A 3-ring binder to store my letters from my sponsorship kiddos.

I also ordered something fun! Our daughter's first movie!

Cinderella in Mandarin Chinese.

My husband and I already own Tangled and How to Train Your Dragon but we need to slowly expand our collection. We're rather picky about our animations and will be picking and choosing which ones we show our kids. We avoid those that portray characters communicating with spirits or those that involve dark magic but enjoy some of the classic animations and a select few of the modern ones. We hope to eventually acquire Beauty and the Beast, Lady and the Tramp, and Robin Hood, plus a couple others I'm forgetting.

I'm looking forward to sharing some of our favorites with our daughter!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Our daughter's first book!

I am so excited! Our daughter's first book arrived today!

We've been on a spending freeze since we're still funding our adoption. I keep wishing that we could start shopping for our daughter but the timing dictates that we wait.

I really, really wanted my first purchase for my daughter to be a Bible. It's symbolic to me, giving a visual reminder of the desire we have to share Jesus with our children. I spent hours looking for a Chinese/English parallel Bible. I found quite a few but they all use simplified Chinese characters. Our daughter is from Taiwan, which still uses the traditional Chinese characters. If I bought her a simplified character Chinese Bible, she probably wouldn't be able to read it. We finally discovered that we'll need to visit a bookstore while visiting Taiwan to locate a traditional Chinese Bible.

My second attempt was focused on finding a good English children's Bible. I had no idea there are literally thousands of options. I was completely buried in choices and had no idea what to buy. Because I had been saving Amazon credit, I was limited to buying something online instead of through a brick and mortar bookstore where I could spend time browsing.

Fortunately, I love to review books! When I visited Booksneeze's website last month, I discovered that they were offering an NIV Bible for review called The Jesus Bible. The study helps and format are designed for children, while the Scripture translation is the traditional NIV. This Bible is geared for ages 9-12. Perfect! I'll be reading a number of the study helps so that I can review this Bible version, since that's why Booksneeze sent it to me.

I am ecstatic that I finally have something in my hands that was chosen specifically for our daughter. It makes the adoption just a little bit more real.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

"Cassandra, where is your faith?"

Last week's sermon hit me where it hurts - the need to work as a community instead of insisting on doing everything myself.

This week's sermon also hit a sore point - not having enough faith that God is going to finish what He started. Our new pastor preached from Luke 8.

Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth.

But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.

And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.

And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.

The pastor talked about the traditional interpretation of this passage. "Where is your faith?" The pastor said that we, himself included, usually think of this passage as a reassurance that God is ruler of the winds and the waters. God is all powerful. And that's true!

But the pastor pointed out another application of this passage. Jesus asks, "where is your faith?" Why would He ask this? Because He told the disciples that they would reach the other side of the lake! When Jesus says that something is going to happen, it will. When He and the disciples set out in the boat, Jesus said that they were going to go over unto the other side of the lake. His Word is sure.

This message applies to our adoption. "Where is your faith?" God gave us reassurance that we are going to adopt. When we first started praying to determine if adoption was God's will for our lives, He reassured us that it was. One morning, when I was opening up my Bible to read that day's Psalm, my Bible fell open to Isaiah 54:1-3.

Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord.

Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;

For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.

As an interesting side note, I'm typing this out of a different Bible than the one I was reading that morning. Isaiah 54:2 is circled in this Bible. I first marked this passage years ago. God is faithful.

If God has reassured me along the way that adoption is His will for our family, where is my faith? Why do I doubt His plan for our family?

Last week we started a fundraiser, feeling overwhelmed that we need just over $10,000 in one month in order to continue our adoption. In the last seven days, we've been blessed with over $1,600 contributed to our adoption account. God is good. He has promised that He will finish what He started.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

More UFO progress

More progress!

Home organization
    Spare bedroom
    Living room storage
    Clothes closet

Our clothes closet is all sorted and tidied! I can't post pictures because I store everything on those shelves that cannot be hung up. But I went through everything, got rid of whatever was worn or didn't fit, and folded everything else. We have four shelves in that closet. Each time I open the door, I am take aback at how tidy it is. That makes it plenty evident that I need to make a habit of being tidy instead of it being a rare occurrence!

I'm fairly certain my next completion will be a knitting project. I took my project to my knitting group on Friday and made a lot of progress. I'll probably finish within the next two days and can't wait to see how it looks off the needles.