A life of love

A life of love
Everyone should have a Great Pyrenees

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


This photo is from the concert that I blogged about a couple days ago or so. The worship night at Christ the Rock Church - anyway, someone just posted this picture on Facebook and emailed it to us. I thought it was awesome!

Now I really am headed to bed. Two kids have been down already, which generally means that we have almost hit our quota of "one last thing before I sleep" from the kids. We usually get at least a couple of them coming down for something, so I don't even try to head to bed until we have gone through this routine. There could be more kids coming down yet, but I doubt it. We have put in some busy days, and it sure wears them out!

Angels and airplanes

We are so excited about the concert you are seeing advertised above!! It is a FREE concert!!! Absolutely free! They do pass a bucket, but there is no obligation - and they have a nice little coffee bar there! Steve was just on the phone with the band leader and they are adding more songs, and it is great because most of them he has been dying to sing anyway!!! For ages! So, this is a great big band concert, brass and all, with great vocals and wonderful praise and worship music. We had so much fun at the last two performances, the kids are counting down the days!

And airplanes... A dear friend left for Ethiopia this afternoon to bring home her little girl that she has adopted. Little S. is one year old and we are all so excited to finally meet her. The miracle of adoption will never get old, just as the miracle of birth never will. I keep thinking of where they are now, over what part of the ocean (actually, they might still be in Washington DC yet. I remember those flights, I was so nervous and excited and overwhelmed that there was no way to sleep, or at least get any real rest. How do you rest when you know that you are headed to the other side of the world to a child who will call you "Mom" who you have never met!!!! I don't know that I can ever put into words all the myriad of feelings that that trip entailed! I hope someday I can put our story into words and that they will truly express the miracles God has done!

Speaking of miracles, you should see the first floor of my house! We have a social worker from the State coming, as we are starting the homestudy process for adoption through the state of WI. Which means we would be adopting out of foster care, if things really do happen. To say we are hesitant going into it would be an understatement. We have been foster parents for six years, so we know a bit how the system works, and have had two potential adoptive placements fall through after we had grown to love the child. So, we have said that we would be obedient, because we do feel that God has placed before families the need to reach to the orphan, helpless and needy. You take that as you want to, but this is our personal belief for our own family. Plus, in all honesty, we love having a larger family, and generally, the more the merrier.

Anyway, since neither one of us can bring ourselves to consider fundraising and what not for international adoption again, we have decided that this is a step we will take. If God presents us with more steps to take, we will do so, but one step at a time. And this is the first one. So, anyway, the social worker is coming tomorrow afternoon.

Generally this wouldn't be a huge freak out time. We have gotten used to it. But, you have to understand, we have been doing a lot of harvesting. And I mean a lot! My entire dining room table (remember, it seats seven of us) was piled high on top with gourds, squash and pie pumpkins. Now, that wasn't so bad, but the entire underside was also filled to overflowing with the same! We must have upwards of 20 acorn squash, 30 or more pie pumpkins (and we have already cooked down 8 - can we say "pumpkin pie"?), and various and sundry other edible squash. And that doesn't even cover the four laundry baskets full of apples that were picked on Sunday that were also in the dining room, awaiting canning and what not.

Not a great time to have a total stranger coming over to meet you. What kind of impression would that make?? "Well, yes, we like to stock up, and well, you know, we will get it all cooked down in the next week or two, and what can be stored will, but really, how does one household absorb the quantity of produce that has come in the door in the last few days?" Ummm, not so much. And really, yes, we do have chickens out there on the lawn for eggs, and yes, some of those goats out there are our milk producers. And the sheep, well, their wool is in the basement, awaiting processing. Yeah, like enough people don't think I am nuts already. Did I mention we don't sleep much?

So, today was the huge "figure out how we were really going to store this quantity of food" day, and straighten things up (like we normally would in general if there weren't 500 pounds of produce sitting right in the way). We had plans, and thanks be to God, it all worked. We have been collecting pallets, they make great enclosures of fence fixers for the escape artist goats, so we love to have a pile around. They also, as it turns out, can be used to make the most wonderful storage shelving for our old basement! Four pallets later, and some very good shelving structure we have shelving to store all this in our always cool basement (as in cold, not as in fashionable). Everyone pitched in and the gourds/squash/pumpkins were all transported and sorted into appropriate spots on the shelves. And all the canning we have already done has been moved down there also (where do you store 11 quarts of pickles, 9 quarts of apple butter (so far), unknown quarts of tomato sauce, and whatever else we got done already?).

And then we could find everything that went hiding in the great harvest! You know what, one advantage of a large family is that when everyone pitches in, a lot gets done in a short time. So, we can find the table again - hooray as picnicking is getting really old, and the house is very restful. And when I cannot stand the thought of dealing with another gourd or apple or whatever, they can simply stay in the basement until I am ready to deal with them!!! Whoo-hoo!

I know the social worker will have no idea of everything we pulled off, and I really don't want to let her know, it would be too easy for her to think we are crazy, and enough people do that already. Part of me wants to crow about what we accomplished, and the rest of me knows enough to be silent - except for here! Ha! When we really make a difference like this, it gets us all fired up to do something else big. Can we say new henhouse? LOL! Maybe not this weekend, I still have all that produce to process!

So, here is to angels, airplanes, adoption, and the blessings of autumn. And let's hope the kids don't get tired of squash anytime soon. Really. I'm not kidding. What all can you put squash in? I'm thinking anything I can, no, not really. But maybe. I will have to take a photo of our overflowing abundance just so someone will believe me.

Anyway, if you could send up some prayers for my friend Anna and her trip and all, I would appreciate it. We know another family anticipating traveling soon, and send up prayers for them too. And come see the show! It will be awesome! And we will all be there!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The videos WORK!!!

After a few tries at converting a DVD to a YouTube-compatible video, they are up!

Frosty the Bluesman:

Souled Out Holy Shoes:

Saved and Free:

Thanks for your patience, and for not making fun of Steve!

Can you tell we are new to this?

Yes, the YouTube video seems to have no sound. It isn't your computer - sorry! We were so bleary last night that it never occurred to us that the sound might not have gone through. So, Steve is working on fixing that as we speak! I will post again when we have it working. I guess there is a learning curve!! LOL!

Frosty the Bluesman!!!!

Hi all,
After all the fun last night, Steve was so wound up that it took him a while to be settled down enough to sleep - lots of adrenaline. Anyway, he was going through the DVD we had made from the last Swingin' Angels performance and decided to try to put something on YouTube. Took a little bit, he got it all figured out, and got it posted. Now a disclaimer, the video quality isn't great, there is a point where his head gets cut off in the frame, but you get a feel for the fun this big band has! The kids love this song and I do too. We laughed all the way through it and he pulled it off with such "attitude"! LOL! So, here is our first try at YouTube:

Let me know if this doesn't work, but it should and I will check back and try to get it fixed if it doesn't work. Have fun! And come see them at the Cup in October if you are so interested!

Friday, September 12, 2008

A few things...

Hi all,
In my bleary, tired mind, it had appeared that I haven't blogged much lately (though I have several that I read pretty much every day), and maybe now was the time to do it. So, please forgive me if this isn't the most logical one that I have ever done, though generally they all seem to ramble however I am feeling that particular day - isn't that what this is kind of for?

First of all, we had the coolest night. Steve was singing with Swingin' Angels at Christ the Rock Church in Neenah. This group just rocks - it a big band style worship band. There are 18 people in the band, and most of them are all brass! Talk about fun! They do a lot of Denver and the Mile High Orchestra stuff, which Steve has been singing for years and just loves. Tonight it was more of a worship lineup and another singer did the Denver stuff. But wow, it was just wonderful. And it was perfect timing for me, as I have been wrestling with God over a few issues lately (wait, no, me, being opinionated and expressing it?? Notice the heavy sarcasm). I had reached a point the other day where I just asked God for peace with whatever the outcome in one of the situations was to be. Just peace with it as we walked that road, again. And I have to say, it has lessened some of my obsessiveness with said situation (wait, me, let go of something, instead of hanging on like a tiny bull terrier??? Again, heavy sarcasm). Needless to say, I tend to be tenacious (or as my mom might say, stubborn as all get out). So, for me it was huge to have some of that burden released. Not to say that it leaves my mind much, but at least the intensity isn't there. So, for that I am grateful.

Anyway, the focus on the night was straight worship, and I didn't realize how much I needed that. And the plus being that I got to see my hunky husband singing away, well that just really topped it off. He is amazing, and I love it when he really gets to show his gifts, it is just amazing. The only thing that tops that is when Kiley got up with him (and a couple other kids - but I really wasn't watching them, I mean it was my kid) to help lead a Wednesday night worship. Maybe that makes it sound more impressive than it was, but get this, there was the four adult worship leaders (and the band) and then four kids, three of whom were from the kids' worship team. Kiley isn't on said team because she hasn't really expressed an interest, though for every drama and choir performance she tries out and has had a couple solos and dramatic parts (imagine that, those of you who know Kiley - her in a dramatic part - again, heavy sarcasm, maybe I shouldn't blog when I'm tired). Anyway point being, Kiley ended up standing next to her dad on the platform as they helped lead worship. I don't think there were many people quite as emotional as I was that night - by the way, I did get a video camera, so have it on tape! It was a crystal moment for me as a mom, especially given that Kiley can be the most trying of the kids, as well as very amazing.

So, it was a great night, and I really felt like maybe I set some things to rest. If you ever want to see Swingin' Angels perform, they will be at the Cup 'O Joy in Green Bay on Friday, October 24th at 7:00 (but get there early if you want a seat). And Steve will be doing some of the best Denver songs - we are hoping he will be singing the "Frosty the Bluesman" song - a take on Frosty the Snowman that is absolutely hysterical. I guarantee that our whole crew will be there!

I am finding that life has an interesting way of taking you places you never thought you would be. I am going to throw this out there for anyone who might be a young married couple and thinking about this: we made the decision nearly nine years ago that we were done having children. Yeah, we have since changed our minds. At that point we had said that if we changed our minds, that we would foster and or adopt. Well we have done both, and it was far from easy to do either. Whether we could do either again is open for consideration, but some debate given the size of our family. And it is hard, from a financial spot (don't have $20,000 lying around) and an emotional spot (losing a child who has been with us for quite some time, to never see again, is more painful that one can even imagine, and it isn't the same as a death, the child could still be in harms way or missing you, or whatever). So, while we know that we could RAISE another child, our options to do so, even for a child who needed us, isn't simple or certain. We had realized a few years ago that maybe we hadn't looked at the whole picture the right way. In our culture (to quote someone who I always forget, so I apologize for not being able to give you the author) we have some things backward: The Bible calls debt a curse and children a blessing, but in our culture we apply for a curse and reject blessings - Steve got it - it is by Doug Phillips at Vision Forum. So, we rejected blessings that we might have had, or might not have had, and now, a few years down the road, life is different than when we made that decision, and we wish we could take it all back. There is no way to know ahead of time where life will take you. Should we mess with God's hand? Did we by the vasectomy? Some folks would say yes, some would say no. We came to believe that we had interfered in something where God knew better. Now, this may be way out on a limb, but I know that we have struggled with loving being parents, loving having a houseful, and wanting more children, whether they were children of our bodies or children of our heart. Would the me of today have done what we did then - no. But there are lots of things in life that I would change too, so that is neither here nor there. But I guess what I would counsel the younger me (and anyone who would care to want to know what I thought on this subject) that permenant sterilization, because it is permanent, is not the only option, or necessarily the right one. Had we waited just a bit longer, even a year after our youngest was born (instead of one month) we would never have done what we did. And now, we really feel that we have interfered in God's plan for us. The consequence is that while we so desperately want another child, it may not happen. We did (be prepared to gasp if you don't already know) travel to a doctor who specializes in reversals, and Steve got a reversal (he is an amazing man, and no, I didn't ask him to). That was more than six months ago. It has been a long six months and I agonize each and every month. And I worry about my age and if we can any more and on and on. So, anyway, this may be more information than you want to know, but I just really had a need to share, maybe with someone out there - please don't do something permanent. You may find that God had a different plan. What we know today (about ourselves, our desires, etc) may be different in two years, three years, or even less, or maybe longer. I am not some crazy nut, but I know our experience, and I cannot take it back. I know of too many men and women who have come to regret that decision. It is interesting when the topic comes up how many folks share that hidden pain.

On that note, I got my first "condolences" of the rude sort. I was in the dentist office - they know very well how many kids we have as they see all of us, and I usually have to bring everyone when we go - getting my check up. Well, they wanted to do x-rays and I told them no, that there was a chance I could be pregnant. They asked if it was my first (dentist must have had brain freeze at the moment) and I said, no this would be number six. To which he replied that then he didn't know if congratulations were in order or condolences. My response was a somewhat incoherent something or other to the effect that we would be thrilled to find out we were expecting. What a dope! Me and him - where are the good comebacks when you need them!!! So, whatever. Just imagine me running around town with all the kids and a big belly! LOL! Like we don't attract enough attention as it is!!! (And just so you know, the jury is still out on the whole pregnancy thing. How you can be three days to a week and a half late - I got fed up with all the counting last month, so sort of lost track - anyhow, how that can be true and the pregnancy test read negative I don't know. I know it is still wishful thinking that maybe I am really pregnant, and not just weird, and have faulty tests. Whatever. Breathe in and out, I will find out soon enough, I guess. I just try not to obsess. Hah!)

Oh, and also, if you could just send up some prayers, we have had another event occur that we have been waiting for for years, it is good stuff, but some relationship building is going on, all very good, but we would really appreciate all prayers for this early stage in this. Rejoice with us, we may or may not share, but it is all good!

Well, I hope you all had a good night. Please pray for the folks in the path of this hurricane, and I have a special unspoken request for someone dear to me, if you could just send it up, God knows. Life can be hard, I don't get it, I know God is in it, but sometimes it is hard to see.