Thursday, December 11, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
When upon life's billows You are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged Thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings Name them one by one,
And it will surprise you What the Lord hath done.
Count your blessings Name them one by one.
Count your blessings See what God hath done.
Count your blessings Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings See what God hath done.
Are you ever burdened With a load of care,
Does the cross seem heavy You are called to bear.
Count your many blessings Every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing As the days go by.
When you look at others With their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised You His wealth untold.
Count your many blessings Money cannot buy,
Your reward in heaven Nor your home on high.
So amid the conflict Whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged God is over all.
Count your many blessings Angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you To your journey's end.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
On Christ the Sold Rock I Stand
- My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
- On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
- On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
- When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
- His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
- When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
Friday, October 31, 2008
We are home from dog/house-sitting! This is a ministry for our family and also a source of side income, but friends, it is HARD work. Our dear charge Rex was not the most well behaved dog during our stay. I think it would be fair to say I picked up more poo indoors than outdoors. He left various surprises all over the house for us to find or smell throughout our time there. Yes, I know why I don't want a pet!
It feels great to be home. Sure, the place we stayed is beautiful and fancy, but nothing I need or even desire! I feel so blessed by what God has provided for Brandon and I that I longed for our little town-home the whole time we were dwelling in the beautiful log home.
In other news. My mom and dad are coming to visit for the weekend. They have not been here in a year so I am so excited to spend a couple of days with them. I can already tell this is going to be a BEAUTIFUL fall day!
Here is a photo of life FOUR years ago. We were busy taking engagement photos and addressing invites for our wedding!
Saturday, October 18, 2008
P.S. The rest of the song it wonderful too, but when he sings this line I about have to pull over the car!
Friday, October 10, 2008
Last weekend my car needed to be repaired quite a bit. For a seminarian and a nanny/organizer/mother's helper a car repair can be cause for anxiety when the bill comes. Brandon and I truly trusted God in this situation and knew that several things needed to be done to the car to make it safe, esp with winter around the corner. Over $1,000.00 later our car was running and stopping much better!
Fast Forward one week...
Brandon announced at dinner tonight that he "got a raise." In most families this would make sense, but around here Brandon has a work study job which he didn't go to today and an internship which technically we pay for so... I was very confused. Well, our GREAT PROVIDER came through in a big way. The church decided to pay Brandon for this semester's internship! Wow, we stepped out in faith and got the car fixed, and God smiled knowing how it was going to be paid for. Thank you Lord for knowing our needs better than we know them. Help us to trust you in the future and remember the faithfulness of the past! Amen
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
So you can see, we have a major choice to make. It is hard not to be tempted by pretty packages. We got one the almost caused me to weep because it was so precious. There was a brief moment (maybe 3 days) when I wanted to say, "The prettiest package agency should totally win, because the people working there must be ethical and lovely just like their materials." Interestly, I had a question for the "pretty package agency" which I asked them about 20 days ago and I have heard no response. Sorry "pretty package agency", you were removed from the list! Actually, of our top 5 agencies, only one sent a package that could be considered pretty, but our top five agencies sent beautiful information and amazing children. So, what is important to us in choosing an agency and what is our criteria for choosing a country? Here is our list, complete with tiny justifications:
1. International (at some point we desire to adopt domestically from the US Foster care system, but we feel called Internationally for this one)
2.Healthy infant (at some point we want to adopt older children and will be open to special needs, but this is our first time around and we have been given lots of godly counsel on this one)
3. One Trip (at this point financially it just makes sense... actually we are strongly considering the escort option so that we can travel to the birth country when our child is old enough to remember the trip)
4. Less than 2 years application-Gotcha Day! (not sure I need to justify this one :))
5. Agency that understands graduate students and our financial postion.
6. Agency that understands pregnancy. (yes, we know we have a 1% chance of getting pregnant, but if God chooses to bless us in that way, we refuse to simply "terminate" the adoption, as we already love our adopted child)
I think that is the list so far. If any of reader friends have agency suggestions I am eager to hear them. As for the countries, we have narrowed it down based on the above criteria, but the truth is that all of the children are so lovely that the country matters much less than trusting God to lead us to our child!
What is the next step? Well, I am reading blogs of families who have adopted from each of the agencies and I am learning a lot. I am also asking lots of questions and taking note of who responds in a timely fashion. I am talking to everyone I know who has adopted and asking about their agency and our parents are doing them same, but above these things we are PRAYING... because friends, I believe God knows each of our children and He will open and close doors according to His good plan! We must... you guessed it... Surrender!!!
Saturday, September 6, 2008
~4 to 8 meaty chicken thighs
~1 large onion
~1 large green pepper
~2 cloves of garlic
~Small amount of oil to saute onions, garlic, and pepper
~1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
~1 15.5 oz can of black beans
~1 15.5 oz can of corn
~1.5 cups of uncooked long grain rice
~Crushed red pepper
1. Skin the chicken and set aside.
2. chop onion, pepper, and garlic.
3. Saute in oil until tender. (use a large cooking pot or wok)
4. Stir in crushed tomatoes, black beans, corn, rice, chili powder, and crushed red pepper. (DO NOT DRAIN anything. The liquid is needed for the rice to cook!) Bring to a boil.
5. Scoop rice mixture into two large casserole containers.
6. Set chicken on top of rice mixture and sprinkle with paprika.
7. Bake, covered, in a 375 degree oven for 50-55minutes
Special instructions on brands etc.
As you know all of my recipes are free of gluten, dairy, sugars, etc so reading labels is important!
~Crushed tomatoes- most brands OK (look out for sugar or flavoring)
~Corn (watch out for sugar)
~Black beans- most are OK (watch for sugar, food starch, or flavoring)
*I usually will not put amounts on my spices and I want you to make them to suit the taste of your family. We like things very spicy, but start out with less and test, you can always add more or season at the table.
*Always, feel free to sub in garlic powder for the cloves (I often do)
*Chicken breasts would work too, but thighs are such a nice serving size
*This meal serves 4-8 depending on the number of chicken pieces, however you will most likely have extra rice. The rice is great even without the chicken and has a good source of protein with the beans, so this meal can easily become vegetarian!
Thursday, September 4, 2008
As I unwind for the day, I sit in awe of my eternal Father in Heaven. God truly blessed me today with wonderful conversations about adoption. Adoption is the heart of the Gospel! The more I think about welcoming a child into our family the more I am struck with my heavenly Father's beautiful invitation to me to become his daughter and the wonderful adoption I received into the family of believers. I know the wait will be long, but hopefully not the 18 years the Lord waited for my homecoming! I praise God in the wait tonight! There is much peace and great hope in a MIGHTY God!
Saturday, August 30, 2008
My beautiful sister-in-law and I sporting the latest fashion in "cup" ponytails! My hair is not long enough, or the cup was too big... or both, but when it is done right, it looks so cool. You can also do two cups with pig-tails!
Standing with my wonderful dad in the water park that he is in charge of (he is the town's Park and Recreation Director)! I am so proud of him and so thankful for our special tour before it opened that day.
Friday, August 29, 2008
It is been SOOO long since my last post. Brandon and I have been traveling all around the Mid-west, visiting family and friends along the way. It is so refreshing to spend time with those we care about so deeply. God protected us a we traveled and truly blessed our time in each destination. There were many highlights during this trip! We got to: meet some friend's newly adopted daughter, have a mini college reunion, visit my hometown's new water park which is my dad's brainchild, attend my mom's family reunion, visit the boyhood home of Mark Twain, watch LOTS of Olympics, eat WONDERFUL food, have great conversations, laugh, cry and pray (we did so many other wonderful things too, but I can't mention each of them)! Yes, it was a bit hard to come home after 18 days filled with fun and adventure, but home is reality and it is good to live in the reality of the day... right?
Over the past several months God had really grown my (our) hearts in the area of adoption. As many of you know, we have walked the road of infertility for 3.5 years. We yearn to be parents and leave a legacy of love to our children, but my womb seems to remain closed. The medical community tells us we have a 1% chance of conceiving, but we know that nothing is too hard for our great God if that is His desire for us to conceive. Adoption is something we have always wanted to do. God has given us a huge heart for orphans and orphan care around the world and in the US. God has adopted me as a sinner and as a gentile to be His child. How awesome that we can welcome a child into our home and hearts! As we learn about adopting a child, my relationship with God my adopted Father grows! We now wonder what agency and country to choose... and so the research begins with info packets arriving in the mail and late night internet searches (we welcome your agency suggestions)! A wise friend told me to pray that God would lead us to our children, so that is what I continue to pray. Please join us in this prayer! We have received lots of advice and cautions about adoption so although we are excited, we understand the realities at least in part. We have chosen for the first time around to do an international infant adoption. At some point, as God leads we would like to adopt older children both domestically and internationally, but as first time parents, we prayerfully feel that an infant is a good place to begin. So many countries are appealing, so I won't give any hints yet, but we are excited!
I have Celiac Disease, which means no gluten (wheat, oats, barley, rye etc). I also can't have dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, cream), or sugar (refined sugar, sweetners, corn syrup, anything with "ose" at the end). When I travel people often wonder what I eat and worry about what to feed me. I know that there are others who have food issues just like me, so I have decided to start adding recipes to my blog as I cook them. Hopefully this will help others with Celiac and food allergies learn how to create wonderful meals using foods which are usually cheap and easy to find! When I first found out about these diet restrictions I spent WAY too much money on fancy gluten free foods. After several expensive grocery bills I decided to try to modify normal foods and this has worked very well!
Friday, July 18, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
I am so thankful for my husband and best friend, Brandon. I am thankful for the perfect way that God brought him into my life, and for the ways God uses him to grow and refine me! Since everyone (OK, most women) enjoys a good love story, I thought I would tell ours in one of my first posts! This is not just a story of two, but three, as God authored it, directed it, and is at the center of it. Even as I share the ways He worked I know this story is not complete. I am sure there are so many things that He did that I was totally unaware of and may not know this side of heaven... anyway... here is the story of Shelly becoming a Mrs!