Sunday, November 30, 2014

Goodreads winner!

On a complete whim, I decided to enter the drawing for the new book Petticoat Detective. I'm not very familiar with the author but thought that the premise sounded interesting enough, a woman detective who goes undercover as a lady companion. Hopefully it's good! I'm just excited I won a free book.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Bible stories in Chinese

I decided tonight that it was time to tackle some stories in Chinese. It took a bit of searching, but I finally found some children's Bible stories written in traditional Chinese characters. What's great about these stories is that you can read them in both English and Chinese to make sure you understood everything correctly.

All I studied was the first three sentences and found 13 new vocabulary words to learn. Some of these will probably be used repeatedly throughout the stories. Here are a few of the words I need to learn:

Hanzi / Pinyin / English meaning

上帝 / shàng dì / God
天地 / tiān dì / heaven and earth
因此 / yīn cǐ / thus, consequently, as a result
怎樣 / zěn yàng / how, why
這些 / zhè xiē / these

I need to learn all 13 of these words before moving on to the next paragraph. I'm excited to see how quickly I'll be able to understand what I am reading.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Note to self

When the Tofurkey directions state that the roast needs to defrost overnight in the refrigerator, do not leave it in the freezer until four hours before you plan to eat. Oops.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Kitchen shortcuts

This afternoon I decided to try a new method of cooking pumpkin in preparation for pie.

My normal method is to cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out all of the seeds, put the two halves face down in about half an inch of water, and bake for an hour. It works great, provides an easy method of peeling off the skin, but adds a lot of extra water to the pumpkin flesh. This means that it's harder to get a good consistency in my pie.

But today I found this method which is even easier! Wash the pumpkin, stab holes in it, bake it, and then cut it open to scoop out the innards and peel off the skin. It worked great! We'll see how my pie consistency turns out after the pie cools overnight in the fridge. I'm so excited about this new method of baking a pumpkin!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fun stuff!

Our agency expects that we will receive pre-approval to adopt Jenny sometime in December. If that is God's will for us, we are hoping that it will happen very soon! Once we receive pre-approval, we are allowed to send Jenny her first care package. In preparation, we ordered a photo album from Amazon this weekend.

We can record a 10 second message so that she'll be able to hear our voice while looking at our photos.

I love that there is space provided next to each photo to write a description.

And there's even a page to write an inscription to her.

We have to take a few new photos, primarily of her bedroom, before printing all the photos and filling out the descriptions. The care package is almost ready to go and I can't wait until we receive the word that we're ok to mail it off! I hope she enjoys this album!

Friday, November 21, 2014

God's secret

I recently finished reading Washington's Lady (Nancy Moser) and was really struck with how applicable one of the thoughts was.

"All things - fine or not - belonged to the Lord, and if He should choose to take them all away from us, I would grieve (and ponder why) but finally accept His will as superior to our own. George and I both believed the Almighty had His reasons for all things. We relished the occasion when He let us in on the secret" (pg 117).

Today we received the final refund check from the failed adoption attempt. I can finally close that door and face the future. I'm sure I will continue to miss the girl we thought was going to be our daughter. But I want to start looking forward and concentrate on the girl we're trying to adopt now.

I still don't know why God closed the door on our previous adoption but I will have to trust in Him. And maybe someday He will let us in on the secret.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cranberry orange muffins

When my husband bought me a muffin pan last month, I was so excited! I haven't made muffins in over two years since we left our rusted metal tins back in Arizona.

The very first batch of muffins I made was an old favorite, Cranberry Orange. This recipe is fantastic. It's a little bit more work than a boxed muffin mix but so worth the effort. I especially love adding the fresh orange zest. We only have two muffins left and I can't wait to make another dozen!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Waiting for God's promises

I haven't meant to ignore my blog but I also haven't felt up to posting. I still feel like I'm trying to get my feet back under me after having our first adoption process cancelled and my grandfather dying. I've been plugging away every day, trying to find joy again.

Yesterday I was praying that God would make His will known in our family, if we are supposed to keep trying to adopt. I'm frustrated that we've been working on adoption paperwork for almost a year and a half and still don't have a child. I thought I had heard God's voice clearly last year that adoption is the path He laid out for our family.

Well, I picked up my Bible and started reading where I last left off. The very first story I read was about Abraham and how God promised Abraham "I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you" (Genesis 17:6). Abraham had to wait for years to see God's promise fulfilled. Years! God didn't promise Abraham and then immediately open Sarah's womb. No, Abraham had to wait for 14 long years to see the fulfillment of God's promise of children.

To be truthful, the story is both encouraging and discouraging. It's discouraging because Abraham and Sarah had to wait so long for Isaac to be born. But it's also encouraging because God promised them children and did give them children. Granted, it wasn't in their timing. Both tried to find ways to force God's promise to come about. But God eventually did grant them a child. He followed through.

I do believe that God intends for us to adopt. I am trying to hold fast to my faith and pray that God will bring it to pass. I hope that I don't have to wait years and years like Abraham did. But I will try to have faith that God's way is ALWAYS best, even when I don't understand.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Last day for the giveaway

Last chance to enter the drawing to win a copy of Life Not Typical!

Just leave a comment on this post.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Book review - with a giveaway!

I'm so excited that I get to post a book review that includes a giveaway! Adams Group contacted me about reviewing the book Life Not Typical: How Special Needs Parenting Changed My Faith and My Song by Jennifer Shaw.

When I read the description, I knew this was a book I needed to read. Life Not Typical is a memoir about a parent who discovers that her son Toby has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Toby refused to walk on grass, screamed when he got wet, and hated the wind. Even though people told her that he would grow out of it, Jennifer fought to figure out exactly what was going on with her son. When he was diagnosed with SPD, he was able to get the therapy he needed and his life was changed.

Jennifer and I are different in that Toby is her biological son and we are adopting internationally. However, I still felt this book would be extremely beneficial to read. In international adoption, SPD is rarely diagnosed and listed in a child's adoption file but is often diagnosed after the children come home. I have read blog posts where parents talk about their children having SPD but didn't know much about it until I read Life Not Typical.

The book does deliver on both aspects of the subtitle. It talks about special needs parenting, what it's like to have a child who is challenged with sensory issues, how therapy worked for their family, and about how Toby was able to improve over time. Jennifer also talks about her music ministry, how God worked through both her music and her parenting to increase her faith in His guidance and care. I thought the book was a great overview of both SPD and how God builds our faith through life's trials. I do wish the book was longer, that it had covered both topics in more depth, but I thought it was a great overview.

Adams Group is offering a copy of the book to someone who reads my blog. Just leave me a comment and I will draw a winner on Tuesday (Nov. 11). Please make sure I have a way to contact you. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Surprise updates!

I was surprised this morning with an email from our agency. A five page update on the girl we're applying to adopt! It took less than a week for them to send us the update. And it even included two fairly recent photos.

I wish I could share more but don't feel comfortable doing so because we're not formally matched with her. As soon as we receive our pre-approval, I will be sharing her photo! She's beautiful.