29 October 2012

This is not adoption-related


This. I think I'm the only person in the world who makes roasts in my slow cooker that turn out between meat and shoe leather in texture, but surely I'm not the only person. Right?

Anyway, I wanted something delicious to do with a roast that was on sale, and I decided to do this recipe (heck yes I linked to it twice. Is how we do.) If you offered me a thousand dollars right now, I still wouldn't be able to tell you which roast cut it was for sure. But it was $2.38/lb.

Anyway, I also used a can of both Campell's French Onion Soup and Beef Consomme (because it's towtally better than lame old broth), and a great can of dark beer called Old Chub. It's the best beer I've ever had from a can. Plunked it all in our slow cooker, set it on low, and it was done in 5 hours' time or so. I'm guessing you can tell when it's done because, you know, the meat is cooked.

Anyway, since our HEB doesn't have hoagies (do they? I've wandered around looking), we used bolillos, which we toasted in our toaster oven (how can anyone live without a toaster oven?) with slices of provolone.

I wish, oh how I wish I could make you be able to take the deliciousness from the other side of the screen. But if you have a chance, try this recipe. You will only regret it if you lose all self control, eat way too much, and then feel icky afterward. Not that that has ever happened to me.

25 October 2012

Fundraising Friday

Hey all!

Sorry about neglecting the blog for a lil bit. We have our Spiritual Challenge Weekend (our campus fall retreat) this weekend, so we've been preparing for that. Our elders have also allowed us to hold a bake sale benefiting our adoption while we're there. Feel free to pray that we sell everything I've made because HOLY COW I MADE SO MUCH.

Here's a list!
-oreo truffles
-E.L.Fudge truffles
-cookie dough truffles (don't worry; they're eggless)
-fudge brownies
-marble brownies
-turtle brownies
-lemon bar cake
-lime bars
-chocolate cupcakes with buttercream icing
-spice cupcakes with buttercream icing
-gluten-free/dairy-free lemon bars
-gluten-free/dairy-free/eggless chocolate chip banana "bars" (cake-like)

I was going to try and toast my own pumpkin seeds (yum, right?!?) but I ran out of time.

17 October 2012

State of Grace

Yes, it is a Taylor Swift song. I'm not super-taken with it (it's pretty much a U2 song written by TSwift), but it struck me.

I used to feel really uncomfortable with singing songs to God that could be sung to a boyfriend. I just thought it was weird. I suppose a lot has changed, since now I love singing songs about people's boyfriends to the Lord.

In a season when I've been confronted with my own rocky heart, with its walls and padlocks and stiff-arm'ed "KEEP OUT" signs, aimed against the two people who love me most, it was a comforting realization from the Holy Spirit that I'm not who I once was. I am in a state of grace, and the Lord and I are working on tilling the hardened soil of my heart, in weeding out lies, and in watering the Words he gives.

I thank you, Lord, for your grace.

15 October 2012

No Whining

Yes we have entered that phase. Well, it's actually almost never whining - we end up saying "no yelling" a LOT more. E's just an aggressive little dude. I think he gets it from me... whoops! :S

Anyway, I was just convicted this morning that it's totally hypocritical of me to tell Ezra not to whine when I'm whining all day long. It's the little ways that the Lord (somewhat) gently says, "Grow up." I feel encouraged to say "No whining, Mommy" out loud when I catch myself. That way Ezra knows that rules apply to us, too.

Do you ever catch yourself not obeying the rules you set for your kids?

13 October 2012


Okay, it's kind of hot today, but still... the seasons are changing (as much as is does in Texas). I don't know why, but this time of year (and when "winter" changes to "spring" - these terms are probably not accurate to anyone who has a real fall or a real winter), I always get... weird. Like a snake as it sheds its skin, I get a little cranky. A little skittish. A little tender. A little restless (okay, a lot restless). I NEED MY FREEDOM! I need to be able to leave at 4am to go... somewhere. Who cares where? I don't even want to know where, just away, by myself. I need to sing old songs and watch the sun rise over the dash of my car.

Obviously, this is not a thing that can happen. I have a family and a job and those who would be very concerned if i just wasn't there one morning. It's not that I don't love my life; I just want to be able to leave it without notice every once in a while. [yeah right.]

I won't ever do it, but I'm glad I have this feeling twice a year. It drives me to searching. You know how C.S. Lewis talks about yearning? I'm glad I still yearn for things I can't have now. I'm glad it takes me right to the Person I need to be searching for all the time. I'm glad it makes me pursue freedom (the internal kind) since I can't slough off my responsibilities. Even if I don't get to "up and leave" my situation ever again (ouf, that's hard), I certainly can shed parts of old me - the parts that don't fit on the new woman I am. It's already cracking and peeling away anyway.

I believe I can emerge from the other side of October fresh, pink, and new. You do great things, God.

09 October 2012

I just need to tell you

I am not an organized person. You can tell the moment you come into our house. It's just not important to me (or not important enough to do it. If you want to come "make a place" for everything in my house, feel free, but bring a lot of labels).

But you can't adopt without some organization. The sheer number of documents (and the documents that must go with those documents) will overwhelm you if you don't. I may be a haphazard kinda person, but I have an ace up my sleeve: I'm excitable.

If you're like me, you can milk this excitement to get things organized. It comes in waves, so you ride that wave of I'MSOEXCITEDICAN'TBELIEVETHISISREALLYHAPPENING to make to-do lists and need-to-get lists and cost breakdowns and action plans. I think it happens for me about once a month (more frequently if there are a lot of exciting things going on with the adoption). I does mean it takes me longer to go to sleep during those times because my head is trying to complete lists (and no one can tell my brain that seriously you can't finish a packing list a year before you travel so be quiet and go to sleep mode). But usually when I get wound up about something, I have trouble sleeping anyway.

Honestly, when I get that way, it reminds me of what people call "nesting." But I don't think I can call it that because I've done it for as long as I can remember. I'd get a planner or a calendar at the beginning of the semester and put in all my tests and paper due dates (which were sometimes consulted and often not). I think it's more my something-big-and-good-is-happening mode.

It also works with research. I get excited about something and research my little heart out for a couple of days. And then I know a LOT about whatever. I would die if I were required to do research for a job, but get me excited about a topic and we're off!

It's not a big deal; I just know that adopting can sound (and is) pretty daunting, even from the outside, and I wanted to let you know that you can adopt without being a filing cabinet wizard, and I have faith we will make it to Uganda with all the documents (and the documents that support those documents) in tow. And all the other things we need to bring in order to live for a month. Oh right, and our children.

07 October 2012

The Back Window

One of my "friends" leaves tomorrow for Russia [I put it in quotes because I don't actually know her, but I feel plenty of affection for her from being in the same virtual community. It almost counts, hence the quotes.]; it is the second of three trips in order for her and her husband to bring their toddler son home. This is the trip where they stand before the judge to be granted guardianship of their son (I'm pretty sure... They may call it something else; everything is different from country to country).

I am taken aback every time I think about it: leaving your child in an orphanage and flying thousands of miles away. It's like an automatic, huge, bright STOP sign blocks me imagining it. Of course I imagine it with Ezra, because this kiddo is their Ezra. I just can't deal with thinking about it, you know? The momma bear in me comes roaring out with a NO ONE WILL COME BETWEEN ME AND MY CHILD I WILL RIP YOU APART IF YOU TRY RAAAAAAWWWWR!

*ahem* So that's one of the things I really appreciate about Uganda. Yes, it's not the most stable program on the globe; and yes, the wait feels so long; and yes, we do have to be there for roughly a month; and yes, it's not going to be a month at the spa. But once I lock eyes on baby A, there's no reason I should ever have to stop. There will be no interruption of our bonding. I will get over the jet lag and still be with him/her (those first two days for me; it's like half my brain takes a power boat instead of the plane) once I perk up. Most importantly, baby A will not have to wonder where we've gone.

You parents out there, can you imagine driving away from your child, not being positive of when you'll see them again? How long would you be wrenched in your seat, staring out the back window, straining to see your child? That sounds like the very, very worst, right?

Then feel free to be praying for my friend and her husband (and their son!) that the 35-day wait period will be miraculously waived for them. With God, all things are possible (and our prayers move His Father-heart).

06 October 2012

Vanilla Spice Cake Fake

Sometimes in life, there are hills we don't want to climb.

Homemade cakery is one of mine. The box mix isn't bad enough for me to put the effort into trying to make a cake. I don't even know if it's hard to make homemade cakes. I'm just not "there" yet. Maybe someday (probably not).

But let me tell you, I wanted to make spice cake for a church meal I'm helping with. I was going to have spice cake daggggnabbbbittttt. But there were no box mixes. Whatev, I've got spices and like to experiment on the people I love! This found its way into my basket as my base cake mix:
Totally not getting paid for this. Call me, Duncan Hines!
I opened the package and it was so vanilla-y-smelling. I had a moment. And then I added:
1 teaspoon ginger (I'd recommend a little less ginger, but I'm not a huge ginger fan.)
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 heaping teaspoon cloves
1/4 heaping teaspoon nutmeg

It turned out really well! The spice tones down the sugar factor of the cake, so you don't feel overwhelmed after putting frosting on the top (I make my own of that, okay? Everyone has their thing). Just perfect for fall. Next time I'd consider putting a teensy bit of molasses in it because it's delicious.

Oh the other thing: it was definitely Ezra approved. We had his first sneaking-pieces-of-sweets-off-the-table incident, leaving quite a lopsided cupcake. I well; I suppose I'll have to eat that one. Tooooo baaaaaad...

03 October 2012

On the List!

We finally got our number... #18! Do you know what that means? It means that there will be 18 fewer orphans in the world in the next year... possibly more if there are siblings adopted! Do you know how exciting that is?!?!? I mean, I'm sure you do, otherwise you wouldn't follow this blog because borrrriiiing!

Due to several different factors, it looks like we'll be waiting for our referral for about a year. It could be less,  and we can certainly hope for that, but it could be more (and you can certainly pray for not-that!).

At this moment, we're really hoping to travel in November or next year. That would be really ideal for ministry and family and such.

Some of you may balk at such a long wait time, but think about the kind of time it takes to make sure that there are no relatives (immediate or extended) who are willing/able to take care of the child; that there are sworn statements from any relatives that they cannot care for the child (or documents proving that the workers made efforts over a length of time to find relatives or anyone who knows who the child's relatives are); that the child will probably not be adopted in-country, and you have a long time between bringing a child into the orphanage and having him be legally free for adoption. It's sad that children have to spend time without their parents, but it's reassuring that we won't be adopting a child whose parents are looking for him or would be able to care for him again in a short while.

Anyway, we'll update any time we move up the list. In the meantime, it's so nice to not be all hurryhurryhurry with the process. I'm not having to stalk our mailbox or check my email every 5 minutes. It's not happening anytime soon. I have a few documents I need to line up and a year to assemble them. Okay, I'll give myself 6 months, let's be honest. But still, no rush. It's nice (for now!). :)