Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Day 246

The strategy continues to work!! (Blogger was acting funky and didn't post my 12/25 blog until the 28th, you may need to go back and read my last post to hear about my new lease on life!) I just got back from an uber-relaxing vacation with my immediate family and survived the down-time beautifully [Usually down-time = sit around and think about baby-time]!

I had fun loving on my sister's little Nya....

The highlight of the week was family ice skating. Pictures didn't turn out that great due to all the movement, but here's what I have:

Me and my youngest sister, Gabrielle.

The newly engaged: Mom and Peter

Even Nya tries it out!

Fun with both my sisters!

Ben shows me up with his fancy moves and ability to skate backwards!

My little brother mastered jumps and spins by the end of the night!

It was such a nice trip. My body is rested and my mind clear. I am looking forward to the new year and am trying to move on with my life (planning trips, setting goals, spending money, etc). I am not going to live my life in a "waiting" state anymore...I can't. I cannot continue next year with my life on hold, in hopes that a baby will come around the next corner. Obviously, I do hope our baby is in the very near future, but for sanity purposes, I'm moving on!

As usual, God's timing and stirring is perfect. I had two important packets of information waiting for me when I got home. The first was from Adoption Associates (our agency) and the second was from Bethany Christian Services (the agency I requested info from during last week's rage...and the agency I would pick if we decided to sign up with a second agency).

I opened our agency packet first [I treat every correspondence like gold]. It was a very long letter painting the current picture of Michigan adoption and economic hardship. Nothing really came as an extreme surprise (I get monthly updates) - International adoption has nearly stopped as baby trafficking and border security increases and Domestic adoption has stats equal to half that of last year. Economic hardship has kept new adopting families away and the glamor of celebrity single parenting encourages birthmoms to raise babies on their own (keeping birthmoms away). The letter went on to say that many agencies are being forced to close due to financial strain and that all the above issues have not escaped Adoption Associates. We are required to attend a mandatory meeting on January 12th. The letter was certainly gloom and doom and didn't offer an ounce of encouragement....but miraculously I am at complete peace. I don't foresee the agency closing all together (especially since they just bought out some out-of-state agencies) but I'm sure their news will dramatically effect international adoption (most of the letter was focused on the international issues)...which affects me because those families may jump to domestic....or I could be wrong and they could tell us that they're shutting the doors and we're out our initial investment. Not sure.

I opened the second packet from Bethany Services and didn't have even the slightest interest to thumb through the entire packet. I know that the days I'm on speaking terms with God are outweighed by the days I'm not...but that doesn't erase the lifetime of intimacy with him that I've experienced. The quiet knowing in my soul and peace in my head tell me one thing - God is moving. I have no idea what he's doing in terms of baby, but in terms of me, he's moving mountains in my heart.

I quietly put both packets away for safekeeping and resolved to do nothing (accept attend our meeting on January 12th). It feels right and good.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Day 241

I am so thankful for all of you, today! My email box was loaded with encouragement from my bloggy friends and I cannot thank you enough! I was so down in the dumps yesterday, I issued a personal mandate...no more baby thoughts! I simply could not go on in my current state of mind so something had to change! The new strategy is to pretend that nothing extraordinary is going on in my life...to move on, continue living, and re-focus my attention and energy into some crucially neglected areas of my life (number one being Ben). I know that ignoring adoption and pretending that we are not waiting for a baby may not scream mental health, but sometimes you have to do whatever it takes to survive! And you know what? So far it's working. I had an awesome day today...and it's Christmas (aka the hardest day of the year for those that are barren)! I don't care if my strategy only last two days or two weeks...it got me through today, and for that I'm thankful.

There are two things that really made this Christmas special. First, I was more than a little touched at how many people bought us a gift for the baby. I loved the actual gifts, but this was truly a case where it was the thought that counted most. To know that people are thinking, praying, and loving our baby, right here with us, is too tremendous to handle. Here are a few pictures of the said thoughtfulness:

This cute little bear came from Ben's grandparents. They asked us to keep it under the tree for our little babyheart!

This one is from my sister, Rachael. It's just about the cutest cow I ever did see!

A precious Christmas story from Chris, Meeg, Melia & Eva.

This one nearly made me cry. It's from Ben's dad. He is not exactly Mr. hugs and tears, affection and emotion, but every year he goes out and does his own Christmas shopping (separate from all of the lists and shopping that Ben's mom does). He even does all the wrapping himself - usually with brown bags and newspaper [smile]. I was touched before I even opened the gift. to see that he was thinking of our baby in the midst of his shopping truly reveals the thoughtfulness of his heart. The gift for Baby Pinch ("Pinch" was Ben's nickname in high school) was a darling, baby-sized fishing cap from Bass Pro Shop. The whole family loves to fish [minus me] and I know they'll be teaching baby the ropes, soon enough!

My second highlight of the day came from talking with one of our family members who recently revealed to me that she was a birthmom to a beautiful little girl that was placed for adoption. We were able to have a lengthy conversation about her experience and it gave me such a clear picture of her heart. We may have walked (in our case still walking...) different sides of the path, but both of our hearts cry for a baby...Mine for one I've never know, hers for one she did. I walked away from the conversation with a newfound love and respect for her and birthmoms in general. God truly works in mysterious ways, and I know he's not quite finished with our story....

I have many more things to share on the adoption front - I wrote a pointed email to our caseworker and received a response and contacted a new agency and received a response...however, this email is not sounding like it came from a girl pretending that she is not pursuing adoption! So...you'll have to wait [smile]. I'm headed to Pennsylvania tomorrow for some R&R with family and I can't wait. It'll be the perfect way to end a chaotic and emotional year.

(Let me know if you live in the Harrisburg area....I would love to meet you!)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Day 240

Surely, you have forgotten me, Lord.
Do you remember the passion of my youth?
The infinite praise on my lips?
I shouted your name on earth
and daily danced in your glory.

I have done all that you've asked me to do,
I've lived a life of surrender...
Not because you mandated, but out of love.
You have given me breath to live
and wings to fly.
Your faithfulness has been sung through generations,
and your hope has carried me through.

You are not a lowly god.
You are King of the universe,
Master of the sea -
My friend, my lover, my guide.
You know my heart
and whisper me peace.
My head can't help but bow
in your majestic presence.

Have you forgotten me, Lord?
How much more must I endure?
Do you truly have a plan?
I know your power and speak of your strength.
Why then, O Lord, have you withheld a miracle from me?

Are you going to answer?
You'll have to be loud....
for I cannot hear over the crying in my heart.
Please answer.
Lord, I need an answer.
I need you.

I cannot go on.
Long has been this race.
Your power has escaped me
The song in my heart gone.
And I feel no hope.


I am certainly not a poet. But rolled in restless sleep last night, wrestling with these words, shouting them in my head, crying them from my eyes. I went to my Bible this morning and found a friend in David. I couldn't help but look at Psalms as David's blog to God. I relate to his realness. The sameness in days - both good and bad. He too wondered about God's plan and questioned his nearness. His paralleled words are my only comfort this morning...

The words of a real poet:
[Psalm 13]

"How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, O Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes or I will sleep in death;
my enemy will say, 'I have overcome him,'
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
for he has been good to me."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Day 239

Got our second update from the agency.

We have not been shown.

Not once in two months.

I know it's hard to keep track of all the activity so let me do a recap [dripping sarcasm]. In 4 months of waiting our profile has been shown one time.

I don't have any words. I'm trying to hold it together on my last day of work, but all I really want to do is curl up in a ball and hide in bed until the end of the year.

I want to scream....and yell...and maybe throw a tantrum, but all I can do is cry.

My heart hurts. Bad.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Day 235

I did it. I finished. [Did you hear that?] I ACTUALLY FINISHED MY BACHELOR'S DEGREE. Okay, well presuming I got a passing grade on the 30 page capstone paper I just turned in....

I know people graduate every semester, blah, blah, blah. But, this is different. Seriously.

May 2000. Graduate High School.
August 2000. Head to Northern with my bestest friend and bite off more than I can chew as a Pre-Med student.
August 2001. Head back to Northern with l0ve-glazed eyeballs and wedding bells around every corner (Ben proposed). Decide I just want to be a wife and switch to an English major and lose most of my first year's worth of credits.
January 2002. Reality sets in, Ben's in school, someone has to work, I take the semester off to plan our June wedding and work full time [BIG Mistake].
..............want nothing but Ben for a whole year.......................
August 2003. Realize I now have to work full-time and am going to have to finish school at night, taking two classes at a time....oh, and now I can't be an English major because they only offer Business classes at night [Totally Bummed]. I head to Davenport University.
August 2006. I'm forced to take a year off because we bought our own business [BIG Mistake #2]
August 2007. Head back to Davenport and formulate a death plan to finish by August 2008. The plan includes 4 classes per semester non-stop, all the way through...(Mind you, I'm working full time!)
August 2008. I should be done, but got screwed over by an inept counselor and am forced to go one more semester.

December 2008. My life is crazy, my job got inanely stressful out of nowhere, we're adopting a baby, it's Christmas, and I have a freaking 30 page capstone research paper to turn in that wasn't even started as of Sunday. Really.

And just like that I'm done. I can't believe it. I never thought I would see the day. I should run around the house jumping, yell through the neighborhood "I'M FINISHED!!!!," or at the very least have celebratory sex with Ben. But alas, I am too tired. The weeks of crazy have caught up with me and every muscle in my body aches from sitting in the same position on the couch for 12 hours straight working on a duller than dirt paper.

So, here's the extent of my celebration...YAH.

I get 4 wonderful school-related stress free months of bliss...[Hint, hint: perfect time for a baby...] and then it all starts again. Hopefully, I'll have completed my Master's and Doctorate in the next 8 years...Then my average won't be so bad!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Day 229

I know it's been forever! My life is seriously swamped right now. Seriously. My job is at the pinnacle of stress as I'm in charge of our commencement each semester (no small task) and this one has been unusually challenging and strangely cursed (I'm convinced), I have a 30 page Marketing research paper due next week - my last paper for my last class before I graduate!!! - I'm freaking out about taking my GMAT for Grad school (in the new year), Ben decided he wants to be a lawyer and is going to law school (we'll talk more about THAT later), there's only twelve more days before Christmas, and....oh yah, we're trying to adopt a baby! My heart has thankfully stopped racing out of control, but my time for anything enjoyable has been limiting, to say the least.

All that to say, I just wanted to check in and give you adoption updates....

I went to my first "waiting families" class, through our agency. They host them once a month, but I've never felt a strong urge to go before. This month's topic was "Birthmoms" and there were some specific questions I wanted to get some answers to, so I drug one of my best friends with me and we had a night out! I'm really glad I went. My caseworker was there and if felt good to re-connect, if only to yell, "Hello! I'm still waiting for my baby...don't forget!" I had been fluctuating about signing up with another agency (only because I found one that waived all application/start up fees for an AA adoption) and our case worker was able to give me some really sound advice. We've decided not to do anything right now (I'll tell you more about that decision in a different post). I walked away from the meeting feeling encouraged and discouraged at the same time. Discouraged because wait times are unusually long, even for AA adoptions. The culture of adoption has changed and more families are willing to be more open, which is wonderful for humanity - horrible for me. We were originally banking on the fact that the average AA adoption wait was about 6 months....now it's more like 12. The risk involved is insurmountable and I can't imagine having to wait 9 more months...and still not being guaranteed a child. The encouraging part was that economic hardship has punched holes in the waiting list and fewer families are signing up. My caseworker who was inundated with homestudys in the beginning of the year, now has hardly any. Obviously, the less waiting families, the faster we'll get placed. So, at least there's one upside to a sinking economy!

There was a birthmom telling her story at our meeting. To hear her pain was hard. It had been 8 years and she said she still wakes up and thinks about her daughter everyday. She also said that she's been in therapy the last few years trying to help her deal with the ache. Her words were really hard to take in and for the first time I realized how much I'll have in common with the birthmom that chooses us. She was talking about how difficult it is for her to be around women who are pregnant, going to baby showers,etc, and that she avoids them like the plague (don't we all!) On one hand it made me feel lousy, that my dreams will be the cause of her pain...but on the other hand it made me feel connected in a way that's hard to explain. For both of our sakes, I have to trust God that he is orchestrating a plan.

December has been a really good month for me in terms of coping. In part, I have been so dang busy it's hard to think beyond surviving the day! There have been small highlights along the way that help ease the pain. Several nights this month, before we go to bed, Ben and I have been flipping through Baby Name Books and the Bible looking for some stellar names. It has been a special way to connect with Ben and I look forward to it each night!

I had one other find, this month, that has had an unusual part in bringing healing to the pain. I was grocery shopping a few weeks ago at Meijer and walked by an end rack of jewelry. I never shop at Meijer for anything other than groceries and miscellaneous "staples." Their home goods, clothing, jewelry, and shoes don't hold my interest (mainly due to price - compared to what I can find elsewhere). Anyway, I walked by the rack and was immediately drawn to this simple silver necklace.

The funny thing is that I don't even wear silver. I'm too classic and like to stick to the golds. However, when I saw these two hearts I had to choke back the tears and fight my way through the store so that I could check out and quickly adorn myself with my new found gem. I love it. I feel like I'm wearing a secret. My little babyheart is out there; I know it. In some small way, I feel like this necklace has melded our hearts together as a constant reminder of the promise to come. Baby has been growing in my heart for a long time....but now I wear a symbol, next to my heart, to remind me that hope is on the way.

The best $12.99 I've ever spent.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Day 218

Every time I write the journal entry day I hope and pray that I never get to Day 400...the number holds no significance beyond the fact that I can't imagine holding out that long...But I suppose if you asked me on day 6, how I would feel on Day 218, I wouldn't have been able to imagine it either...

Anyway, the nursery is done!!! It's, by far, my favorite room in the house and I frequent it often...Many nights I sit and rock...and dream...and pray...I do want to put a monogram over the bed, but I can't do that until we know the sex and name of the baby!

My final addition makes my heart smile every time I see it...It's the perfect little ROCKSTAR side table!

I found a similar model at Marshall's Home Goods Store for $120.00. My bargain brain wouldn't dare let me spend that much, so I took the idea and scoured local Salvation Armys for months until I found the perfect [$10] piece! I should have taken a before and after shot....It was a nasty dark brown, water-stained plant stand that had 5 more shelves to it. I worked my magic...and viola! A perfect side table to someday hold bottles and burp cloths and journals!

I'm done feeling sad and depressed [for now!] and pulled myself up by the bootstraps, this week. I first thought about how much I love the nursery and how it really has been a labor of love for me. I ordered the furniture in May and continued working on the room for months! I bought and returned so many items trying to get the perfect look...I love that I was able to do that. So, then I started thinking...why not throw my full-force energy into similar baby prep tasks, while I have the time? My love-to-run-on-lists mind started working overtime thinking about all the fun things I could do. So, that's that. My new plan to work through the no-baby blues, includes the following:
  • Finish reading "What to Expect The First Years." I read through a few chapters this week and am learning so much! Each chapter brings up points that I never thought about before. Why not be uber prepared and "read up" before the baby comes?
  • Choose a pediatrician. This will take some research because I want our baby's doctor to be African American, as well, and I don't know of any in our area (no PC way to inquire about that over the phone!)
  • Figure out whether or not we're going to do cloth diapers. (I'm on the fence for a multitude of reasons).
  • Type up our official baby names in a Word document with meanings/verses/etc, so when the time comes we're prepared. Right now they are floating around in my head and on scrap pieces of paper!
  • Get the diaper bag ready for the hospital in case we get a last minute call. This, of course, includes finding the most perfect "bring baby home" outfit and a phone list of who we are going to call (in order of importance)
  • Call the insurance company for the paperwork (even though we can't submit it yet, it would be nice to have on hand)
  • Apply for adoption grants to help alleviate some of the cost.
  • Sign-up/attend classes that might help Ben and I feel more "expecting" (BRU has one next week on health and diaper care)
  • Make enough meals to last a month and freeze them. (I've actually been wanting to do this for awhile. Even without a baby, it sure would be nice to just pull a homemade meal from the freezer each morning, for dinner that night!)
That's all I have so far...but I figure that will keep me busy through Christmas! If you're new to my blog you're probably thinking, "Oh! They must be matched!" No...not even close! I know it's a little crazy...maybe a little too optimistic to think we won't be matched and have to wait months...but this is the only way I know how to deal with the emptiness. If I do nothing, I cry. Keeping busy, however, makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something...like I'm that much closer to getting the call.

I probably am crazy...but, hey! at least we'll be the most prepared adopting parents you've ever met!!!
Update: So I live for our agency's monthly newsletters which provides agency stats. The baby boy trend continues! In November there were 9 domestic babies adopted and 6 of them were boys!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Day 216

I survived the holiday. A few days off from work, time with close friends, and the world's cutest turkey cookies (made by mua) have me back to walking the upside of this valley.

We sang a David Crowder song in worship, today, that I love. The title is Everything Glorious and my favorite lines read:

My eyes are small but they have seen
the beauty of enormous things
Which leads me to believe
there's light enough to see that

You make everything glorious
You make everything glorious
You make everything glorious
And I am Yours
What does that make me?

My heart may play in the depths of the shadows, but that does not mean I have not seen the enormity of what God is doing in and through Ben and me. Simplicity will never be found in the definition of adoption...but then again, neither will insignificance. I have seen the beauty of enormous things because our God is an enormous God! [don't you love that word?] Enormous: exceeding the norm, outrageous, huge, monstrous.

Our baby's legacy will be all of these things. This process exceeds the norm in every way and I believe the life of our child will too. As I sang the chorus "You make everything glorious..." my Spirit man shouted, "Yes, Lord! You do make everything glorious! Thank you for redeeming my situation and giving me hope. Thank you for taking a miserable motherless existence and bringing it glory." I worship him [even from the depths of emptiness] because I love him and trust him. Someday, in his timing, my heart's cry will be answered. Until then, I'll do my best to keep pushing through. I am so thankful that in my faithlessness, he remains faithful...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Day 212

I'm taking a break from being thankful [smile]. Today's post is supposed to be "friends" and tomorrow's "Ben"....but it's hard to write inspiring words with a heavy heart. I thought I would be able to sneak through the holidays in one piece. It's so busy and fun and wonderful. I LOVE Christmas and everything that goes with it. I was so sure I would breeze through upbeat and cheerful and was mostly concerned about what I would feel like on January 1st. But I didn't escape. It's the day before Thanksgiving and my heart is so sad, my arms so empty, it's hard to be thrilled about doing any of my favorite things....I just want a baby. Lord, is that too much to ask? Lord????

It's really difficult to watch everyone else move on. Blog friends, real friends, strangers in the grocery store. Everyone else is making Christmas memories, starting traditions, continuing old ones. Me and Ben? Sitting at the same dinner table, eating the same dinners, having the same conversations. Don't get me wrong, I love my husband more than life. I love our friendship and camaraderie. I love all the time we've been able to spend melding our hearts and laughing. I love that we can take four hour naps on the weekends without having to think about anyone else but each other. But none of those things fill the empty hole in my heart...the arms that are always holding someone else's baby.

Are we doing the right thing? Did we pick the right agency? Should we forgo the dream of a newborn and adopt a toddler first? Do we need to be more open? Should we have less restrictions? Do I need to change our profile pictures? Do I need to change our profile? These questions run through my head every single day. I know the waiting anxiety is normal and my questions are not the first to be asked, but again that doesn't help me make it through the day. Call it foolish or naive, but I was so sure we would get chosen right away. I never imagined getting to the end of the year without a baby and now the faster it comes the harder I cry. Can I really make it through a 5th January, hoping the next year will be the year?

I completely understand why grief-stricken women steal babies from hospitals. The pain is simply too unbearable.

[Note: I'm signing off to make cookies...not to participate in illegal activities]

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day 211

I am so thankful today, for our families. They have molded and shaped us into the people Ben and I are. The older we get the more similarities we see. They have been the truest role models of our lives and we hope to reflect the same likeness to our little one, someday.

Our roots, our hearts, our families

My family...

...and Ben's

Monday, November 24, 2008

Day 210

Check out this video: My King, Do You Know Him?

Today, I'm thankful for my King. He is my life, my Savior, my friend...my hope, my God, my love. Yesterday, in worship, his grace hit me like a flood. No matter where I've been or what I've done he remains faithful. His power is explosive, his love consuming. I know this video clip is a little long (almost 4 minutes) but I love it. That's my King! Do you know him?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Day 207

Have you ever been so anxious that you thought your heart would literally explode from your chest? This is only my second time. Once, when we first married I rushed to the doctor's for fear I was having a heart attack. Turns out it was all stress-related [I don't even remember the cause]. And once today.

I woke up this morning with lungs so pierced I thought I was getting sick. My heart started racing as soon as I sat down at work and I knew. I was so anxious I could hardly breathe. I didn't want to feel that way, but I couldn't help it.

There are so many things going on in my life right now I don't even know how to summarize the anxiety. For once, it has nothing to do with the baby and everything to do with reeling responsibilities that I just can't get a hold of. Anxiety has me gripped, but after a timeout with Ben my nerves calmed and we found solace in an old friend...SCRABBLE.

And since we are highlighting things I am thankful for this month, I am thankful for such a simple wooden game that brings me such contentment...especially when I win [In case you're keeping score, tonight was the 3rd win in a row!]

It was a great way to spend a cold, snowy night with my Ben...Now if I can just bet a hold on the racing heart, I'll be all set!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Day 204

Today, I'm thankful for bloggy world. For months I felt so isolated and alone. Nobody knew the depths of my heartache (not even Ben). It wasn't until I stumbled upon blog world - around April of this year - that my infertility healing process was able to ignite. I had no idea there was a community of women (and men...Dave...) out there just like me. It has done wonders to my heart to read my story within the lines of all of yours. There are way too many of you to name individually....but know that you hold such a special place in my heart. I wouldn't be where I am today without you.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Day 203

At long last some shower pictures! Today, I'm thankful for all of the friends and family that showered us with love a couple weeks ago. Rachael and Laura and Meeghan put so much work into it, everything was beautiful! Those that came will never know how much their support meant. It's so hard to feel like an expecting mom when there are no physical signs. My body's not preparing and my mind can't comprehend it. Nothing about this process seems real. To have so many people there lavishing their love on a baby that may or may not even be in the works, overwhelmed my heart. The gifts...and hugs...and tears took me right to expectant and for the first time I truly felt like a mom-to-be.

So many took our nursery theme to heart and coordinated their gifts accordingly! I LOVE opening beautiful gifts. Presentation is almost as good as what's inside! I love all the black, white, and lime - it's truly neutral done well!

I have the best husband. Really. He never questioned coming to the shower, even though most hubbys stay home or show up at the end. We are in this together; he is the only person in the world that knows where my heart has been. When it comes to all things baby; I'll never stand alone. (How thankful I am for this life lesson!)

The presents just kept coming!!

And two cow cakes!! How cute are they???

One of my spiritual moms, Kim, and Jen's little Austin. I finally got to see him in person!!

My littlest sister Gabrielle and her BFF, Jenna...

Carly, Linds, and Kristen (the best game night pals you could ever ask for!!)

My Besties!

Phyl, Teri, and Becky (How cool is it that one of my bloggy friends-Becky-just showed up? She wins major points on the blog friend scoreboard!!)

Aren't the favors adorable??? Laura made the sweet little bags (there were blue ones too!) that had the most precious homemade lifesaver pacifiers in them! Somehow they escaped a picture, but they were too cute! My mom and sister, Rachael, made the posh baby cookies!

Mi Familia. Gabrielle (youngest), Me (oldest), Rachael, Mom (even though she looks like an older sister!), and Andrew (the only man amidst the estrogen)!

Diaper cakes were the table centerpieces!

My mama! Not only did she give me her stunning good looks [smile] but she inspires me everyday. You will never meet someone more independent, confident, driven or motivated.

Ben and I are so blessed! My heart overflows with thankfulness.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Day 202

Today, I am thankful for my house. Our humble abode is sweet and simple. Perfect for us. It's not flashy or extravagant or monstrous, but homey and bright and warm.

I love my house in the summer, when the grass is green and the flowers are bloomed...

I love my house in the fall, when the earth is alive with produce and the smell of bonfire is in the air. The nights are crisp, the leaves are falling, and our house is cozy by candlelight...

I really love my house at Christmas time...but no pictures yet! To Ben's chagrin the holidays will arrive next weekend! I'll post pictures then...

I love my bedroom, fiery and red. The walls, the curtains, the bed...their simple states of being make me happy.

I love our living room/dining room. It's small but cozy - green but inviting!

I love my bathroom! The walls shimmer metallic and the lantern makes me feel eclectic. The shower curtains are royal and the art is rustic.

I really love our basement's family room! A perfect cove for watching movies on the big screen and intimate talks with friends. From the pillows to the candles to the rug, I love this room.

(I have to show you from this angle too, because it showcases my best Craigslist find, yet. Check out how cool that pine table is!)

And last, but not least, I love -love - LOVE the baby's room! Just wait until you see it with the curtains (pictures coming soon!)

I do believe that home is where the heart is. Although I have modified the statement to say, "home is where the Ben is." It's not a place or a building...it's love and warmth and friendship. I find home in my Abba Father...and Ben...and family...and friends. All that being said, I love our home. It houses all my married memories and all my favorite things. I am so thankful for the warmth it brings and the shelter it provides. I'm thankful for it's steady presence in my life and it's enveloping arms after a long day. Whatever happens, it always waits. It's always where I want to be. It's home.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Day 200

Today, I am thankful for my job. In a rocky economy, I praise God that I not only have a job, but one that I like!

I am blessed to work on a Christian college campus everyday! I manage the Academic Services Office (as of now) and will hopefully be teaching in coming days...

I work with amazing people and am given opportunities to step out of the boat and serve God in very real ways...

The atmosphere is FUN and always bustling with activity...

I get to worship with other students and employees by attending Chapel each day...

...and the BEST part is that I have the privilege of speaking Truth into the lives of students. It's amazing what God will do when you ask him to use you.