We are not sure how old you are or where you are but we are hoping you are home with us this time next year. Know that you are prayed for daily and talked about in this house oh so often by your brothers and sister. We love you! God loves you and He will bring you home to us soon!
You MUST take 5 minutes and read this post written by Katie!! Katie is a young lady who picked up her life at the age of 19 and moved to Uganda to open an orphanage and become a mother of 13. God used Katie to solidify adoption in my heart. I struggled a LOT with the practical excuses of why NOT to adopt. Funny thing is, those excuses were only there when I looked with "my eyes" not HIS. Please take a few minutes and allow Katie's words to inspire you today.
Oh no.. surely you didn't. Oh yes, we did!! My cousin Amy and her husband were in town last weekend and we went on a can scavenger hunt. We had the best time driving down alleys and looking through trash cans for those little shiny aluminum cans! Someone sent me a message that night saying they knew someone who had a pit full of beer cans. I mean, seriously, how could we pass that up?? SO last Sunday morning we woke up at 7:30 to go dumpster diving before church. It was an experience I'm sure we will NEVER forget. My face hurt from laughing so much and my legs hurt from squatting.
It's funny because just yesterday I had four different people tell me things like: they pulled a can out of the trash, stopped on the road to pick up a can, considered dumpster diving to get some cans.. this can movement is growing and growing. We currently have over 300 folks collecting cans. I've decided to put together a video and use pics of people who are collecting soooo if you're collecting for us, would you please send me a pic of you/your family with a can/cans? I'm also going to put together a book for Joleigh so she knows how many people were helping to bring her home.
Tonight was Andrew's Christmas Program at school. It was SO sweet! The Kindergarten classes sang a few songs and then out of nowhere Andrew hops off the top riser and marches over to the mic... he had a SOLO.. well, actually he sang a song all by himself. Who knew? I guess I should've figured b/c he told me he had sang it to all the other Kindergarten classes and then today he sang it at the nursing home but I had no idea he was singing it tonight SO we didn't really get a good video. I hurried and snap a video with my iPhone. He did a great job and we were very proud:) The song he sang he learned in his Spanish classes. He took Spanish this semester at a local university two days a week. Santa was also at the program which was a treat for all the kiddos! Piper was in awe! It was so sweet. She kept saying, "SANTA... SANTA" then when she gets in his lap she was a little on the shy side;0).
Today we walked the neighborhood for Joleigh. We went door to door asking our neighbors to collect their cans for us. It was such a rewarding experience. It was COLD so many of them invited us in and we sat and talked for quite a while with several of them. We've chatted with a few of them here and there and tried to be intentional in talking when we have the opportunity but we've never just walked up to their house, rang the bell and started a conversation. They were all very excited about collecting cans for us. We gave them a little magnet to put on the fridge to remember to pray for Joleigh and save their cans for the adoption process. Here's my challenge for you: Get out with the family. Get to know your neighbors. Heck, while you're at it, ask them to save their cans for Joleigh. What a wonderful way to open up the communication about our purpose here. What a great opportunity to share with them that there are 147,000,000 orphans and they can help lessen that number by one. I've learned over the years that most people would DO something if they are given a practical opportunity. You don't live in Central Arkansas?? No problem! We have people collecting cans for us all over the place. You can just collect enough, take them to a scrap metal place, put the change/money in a can and send it to us to add to our collection. I've told Cameron the coolest thing about this can collection is the passion behind it. We have people who have never recycled who are passionate about collecting every aluminum can they come across. Which really means they are invested in our adoption process... they are invested in bringing Joleigh home. For that, we are forever grateful and HE is glorified!!!
God has been so good to help me through the roller coasters of adoption. I've been a little sad this week, mostly about students in my class who are facing tough home situations but also about where Joleigh is. Is she being cared for? Are we in WAY over our heads, etc?? This morning when I got to work, there was a Wal-Mart bag with an empty coke can in it. I smiled:) I took Andrew out to catch his bus over to the next campus and when I returned there was an empty Dr. Pepper can. I smiled and giggled:). When I got back from my Teaming class, there was an empty Dr. Thunder can on my desk. It literally brought tears to my eyes. My students are SO good to me. They really do love me.... oh and HOW I love them! Yesterday Cameron was at home and heard someone drive off. He looked out and saw a Wal-Mart bag hanging from our door with cans in it. Random goodness! I LOVE it and am so appreciative of it! One of my co-workers told me she has 5 bags of cans to give me. She said, "I've never collected cans and had no idea what I was collecting these for". I told her, "God knew!" I got an email today from a lady who said her daughter had been saving cans all summer for some pocket change and when she heard about our adoption, she decided she wanted to give us her cans. AMAZING! God has been in the details!
Collecting cans is definitely our new hobby!! We drive across town to take walks... to collect cans. We drive a different way home from church... to collect cans. We drive around dumpsters... to collect cans. Today when Andrew got out of his Sunday school class he had a can. I said, "where did you get that?" He said, "I found it on the playground while we were outside playing". I said, "did your teacher not tell you to throw it down?" he said, "I hid it in my shirt b/c I wanted to give it to you".. hehe.. I'm telling ya, we LOVE us some aluminum cans around here. I've attached a pic of Piper helping and a video of some can smashing;).
If you're in the central Arkansas area, we'd LOVE for you to help us collect cans to raise funds to bring our baby home from Ethiopia. Heck, if you're not in the area but want to save your cans and cash them in and send us the money, we'd love that, too! We actually have about 75 people collecting for us so far. Several from Texas and a very special family from Canada! Won't you join us?
Okay, so we're still using a couple diapers but she is doing a great job potty training. Piper turns 19 months tomorrow. We've used John Rosemond's parenting advice for both the boys and it was a cinch. Andrew was trained at 27 months and Parker at 21 months. Rosemond believes the window of opportunity is between 18-24 months (sometimes not until around 20 for boys). We thought since I was off all week we'd give it a try. I'm not gonna lie, it was not easy in the beginning. We were WAY too involved and hovering over her way too much. When we backed off and had confidence that she COULD be potty trained it was amazing the difference. Here is John Rosemond's article, he's written several articles and answered tons of potty training questions on his website www.rosemond.com. It actually cost a yearly fee to be a part of his website and have access to all the q and a's and articles but it's some of the best $ we've ever spent! Here's some specifics on what we're doing with Piper. We have a potty sitting in the dining room. As soon as she wakes up, we tell her she needs to sit on the potty until she goes pee pee or poo poo. At first she cried and didn't want to sit. We were firm and matter of fact and said, "no, you can't get up. you need to sit on the potty" We did have to spat her leg (very softly but it definitely hurt her feelings:( a couple of times. She then knew we meant business. At first she would sit for a LONG time and then finally go potty. Now she usually can go not too long after sitting on the potty. It's like she knows what she needs to do to get off of there. We have been using a potty timer. We usually set it to go off every 30-40 minutes and then have her sit. It's KEY to keep them drinking fluids so they'll have a lot of practice using the potty. Another biggy is to not make a big deal about accidents. Just calmly say, "that's not where pee pee goes, next time sit on the potty". Cameron and I were considering throwing in the towel the second day b/c we just didn't think she knew when she was needing to go. When we read Rosemond's article again and changed our attitude, it made all the difference.
Things around the Wallace house are good. Andrew and Parker have really enjoyed having the week to play together since Andrew has been out of school! Piper is all over the place. She constantly wants someone to be singing so she can dance to the beat;). They each fill our house with joy, joy, joy! Cam is currently awaiting a position to open up for interviews at HP and in the meantime, he's playing Daddy Daycare;). I told him he can't call it daycare when he's only watching his own. Prayers greatly appreciated with this awaited interview! The adoption has kept us busy over the past 6 weeks. We have been on the great adoption paper chase and it is exhausting. We have been watching Hague adoption videos and taking quizzes. We have learned so much. It has been quite the journey and we're just beginning. God has proven Himself so real through the process already. During the decision making process, and sometimes still to this day, we have had questions and doubts. Some of those are: 1. Will this baby feel at home in our "oh so white" family? 2. How will the children be treated b/c we are an interracial family? 3. Are we ready for 4 children? 4. Are we ready to face the unknown challenges? 5. Will we be able to fund this adoption? 6. Will we learn how to fix this baby's hair?
Satan constantly throws these questions in my mind. In the beginning of the decision making it was really hard. One day I knew it was the right thing, the next day... I felt confident it was a mistake. It was as if Satan and God were warring over this decision, well, they were! Every time I would gain His perspective I would remind myself that EVERY reason I had to doubt had nothing to do with HIM! It had nothing to do with eternal issues. God has been so good to remind me of His promises and bless me with His perspective. 1. This baby (Joleigh) will be part of our family and we are more than capable to care for her. 2. God will be glorified through this adoption... He already has been in many, many ways! 3. Our children will learn greater lessons through this blessing than we will ever know! 4. Joleigh will know she is loved beyond measure! Although we only have 3 children under our roof, there is no doubt there are 4 living in my heart. I can barely think of her without a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. 5. God has GREAT plans for our family and will give us many opportunities to praise and glorify Him. 6. We will learn to cling to Him through the waiting and praise Him through the storms.
Thank you Lord for your faithfulness! We are so undeserving and you are so gracious! Thank you for allowing us to praise You... what greater blessing could we have? Please use our family to bring you glory. Keep our children close to You and open their eyes to Your goodness!
I have the hardest time coming up with fundraising ideas b/c I REALLY, REALLY don't like to ask people for things! Now, when we were raising money to build the school for the kids in Uganda, I would practically BEG for donations but when it's for us, it's a totally different story. We have a couple of ideas about how to raise some $ later on but to begin we decided to do an aluminum can drive. I know... not much money in collecting cans BUT we have a lot of awesome friends who are willing to help us. I started a facebook event page and have over 30 people so far who are willing to help us by collecting cans. How exciting is that? I love it b/c people are going to be actively involved in changing Joleigh's life. I'm going to make some little magnets to send to those helping us to remind them to save their cans and especially pray for Joleigh. God has been so good to us. This is His plan for Joleigh to be with us and He will provide.
Andrew was sick with the bug last week and Parker got it this week. He was REALLY sick. He hadn't kept anything down for DAYS. Yesterday he was very lethargic so we took him to the doc and they admitted him to the hospital overnight for IV fluids. It was SO hard for him. They couldn't get the IV in the first try (which took several minutes). They finally got it in on the other arm but dug around quite a while. This was a very hard night. It made us so very thankful for healthy kids. It made us so sad for parents who have children with medical conditions and it made us heartbroken for the orphans worldwide who would've died without the medical attention Parker got. Parker is feeling MUCH better and we are so thankful for that! When daddy told Andrew that Parker was going to go the hospital Andrew said, "really??? Oh, bless him" so sweet!
Cam and I are exploring fundraising ideas for our adoption. So far we've thought about selling our autographs, but I don't know. ;) We have considered having a spaghetti super and silent auction or something. The estimated cost is around $25,000.00. There's a tax credit but it expires at the end of 2010, which we probably won't be able to take advantage of UNLESS it is extended which would be fabulous. There are also several adoption grants, which will apply for, but I'm not sure we'll qualify or get any. We know God will provide! We're just trying to be creative and come up with some ideas... got any ideas for us?
Today was our first of two home study visits. It went really well. The kids were great! Our social worker is a really sweet lady. She has actually adopted a child from Guatemala so she understands what we're going through. As soon as the door shut on her way out Parker said, "when are we going to get our baby?" It was so sweet! I'm just guessing ... but I think we're probably 6 weeks or so from having our dossier completed. We've really done all we can do, just waiting on all the official stuff to be cleared. We are VERY excited! It's been less than a month since we submitted our application but there's already been a whirlwind of emotions. Today someone asked how old our baby would be when we got her and I said, "9-18 months or so". Then I immediately got tears in my eyes as I said, "so, she's probably already been born" uggghhh! gut wrenching thought. Where is she? Who is she with? Is she being held? Is she being fed? Oh, I cannot even fathom what the next year or so is going to be like but I know that it is going to be a journey! God will get us through it and bless us in the end. We are so excited. Our hearts long for our little girl. Here's a picture Andrew drew. He said, "look it's Africa and I drew a heart where our little sister is" :). How true of a statement. A piece of my heart has never left Africa from when I taught there years ago and now a piece of all of our hearts is in Africa.
We needed some 5X7 pictures for a long frame we bought to over our bed so we had a little photo shoot today outside:) They aren't the clearest pics b/c we were in the shade the whole time, but they'll work;) I love the sweet ones of little Piper.
Not quite sure where to begin.... Cameron and I have felt a burden on our hearts for many years to adopt. We are in awe of the fact God adopted us into His family and feel it would be an honor to adopt a child of His. We have begun the process to adopt a baby girl (9-18 month old) from Ethiopia:) We are very, very excited about this blessing and know it will be a faith stretching experience. Why Ethiopia? Several reasons. The most obvious reason to us is the need. There are approximately 147,000,000 orphans in the world. Over 40,000,000 of those orphans are in Africa and 5,000,000 of those are in Ethiopia. It's easy to look at those "numbers" and see the numbers but we look at them and see children. When asked "why not America?" my response is.. "if a child is an orphan in America, they will live. If a child is an orphan in Ethiopia they most likely will not". God has also burdened my heart for Africa because of my time teaching in Rwanda. Oh my heart aches and hopes for Africa! Literally! Cameron and I have chosen Children's Hope International for our adoption agency and Grace adoptions for our local agency. Our home study will be November 21. The timeline for the adoption is approximately 6-9 months after our dossier is completed we will receive a referral then we will be allowed to travel in approximately 4 months. We are anticipating the dossier documentation to take a few months. We covet your prayers through this experience. It's already been a roller coaster of emotions and I know this is just the beginning. We are very, very excited and cannot wait to meet our new little girl:)
I really haven't blogged a lot lately so I feel there's a lot to say but none of it really fits together so forgive the choppiness of this post;0). Last weekend I went on a girl's weekend to Hot Springs. We had a BLAST! I went with my cousin, who is practically my sister. She brought along two of her dear friends from Texas. I brought along one of my dearest friends from high school. We've been close since the 1st grade. It was such a needed trip! I'm at this stage in life where I constantly have a pity party b/c I don't really have any friends. Don't get me wrong, I have people who are dear to me but I'm NEVER able to get together and do anything with anyone really. So this trip meant the world to me! A big thanks to all the girls who wore bows in their hair, gave out free compliments, hung out half naked at the bath house (some more than others... uhhhmm ... I'll not name any names;), played games, listened to Alicia and I scream like sissys, participated in the ridiculous video, protected us from the tool shed and SK(wink)IP;). Thank you all for the memories! Can't wait to make more! Okay, this is just pure randomness but isn't Parker just the cutest? It was crazy hair night at Awanas and I caught him flexing with my camera phone. He didn't even know I was watching at first, he just wanted to see how big his muscles were getting:) I got this CUTE new bag, which I know is WAY too big for a purse but ya know what... I'm using it for a purse anyways. It's from the Amazima ministry which was started by Katie Davis, the girl I blogged about a couple of weeks ago who moved to Uganda. WOW.. 147 million orphans.... humbling, isn't it?
Things around here have been eventful! Cam and I are in the process of having our faith stretched in many ways. We would love your prayers. God has been good to us and is so faithful to provide. Our prayer is to fully trust in Him and lay our lives down to what He has planned for us and our family!
Okay.. more randomness but here's a quick peek at little Piper Jane. She's talking up a storm. Much more than the boys did at this age. This is a video of her wanting mooooore twinkee. It was just a little bite, honest, but it created a MONSTER;)
Tonight Cameron and I sang at a fundraiser for a couple of students from Greenbrier. They will be going to Ghana, Africa this summer for a mission trip. HOW exciting is that? One of the fathers came to me and said, "You know this is all your fault. They fell in love with those kids when you started your Invisible Children group." I've actually had 3 of my old students go to Africa over the past 2 years. I'm SO proud of them all! I would love to go back to Africa. I read once that once you've been there, you bury a piece of your heart and forever long to return. I would wholeheartedly agree with that.
This week was homecoming week at the high school I teach at, which is always fun. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE being at the high school this year?? I LOVE it! I love my kids, I love my co-teachers, I love my bosses.... it is good, it is good, it is good!
This morning we had our 2nd Free Compliments Day. We moved it to Wal-Mart today and had a great time. Last Saturday there were 3 of us, today we had 7. All of our faces were sore by the time we left:).
We took the kids to the fair this afternoon and let them ride a couple of rides and play the fishing game;).. it's their favorite!
Cam went to go check on some plumbing problems at the rent house so the kids and I are enjoying the backyard..... he's bringing me some amaretto icecream with almonds and strawberries from marble slab:)... I'm SUPER excited about that!
That's about all that's been going on around here lately... by the way, did I mention you look really good today? Is that a new hairdo?
Reading this girl's blog (thanks Amanda for sharing it) has had me on a roller coaster of emotions... which I'm usually on;). She has sacrificed the comforts of home and followed God to her new home... Uganda. She's 20 years old and mothers 13 Ugandan children and provides food and education for 400 others. Why?? Because it's what WE are ALL called to do! This is not just her passion or her gifting!!! This is OUR job!! All too often we are spectators sitting on the sidelines of this spiritual war. Am I saying that we are all suppose to move to Uganda? No, probably not BUT I can't tell you how many christians I know (most of the christians I know) who SIT by and allow attrocities to continue and NEVER do anything about it!! I may not be able to be in Uganda caring for these sick, dying children but by golly I will do my part while I am here... I will share their plight with as many as I know so that their hearts are pricked and burdened by their suffering. I will continue to sponsor a child so they can go to school, I will use my gifts and talents to share His love with those I come in contact with and pray without ceasing for the hurt and dying in the world. GET off YOUR couch and DO something!!! Here's an excerpt from her blog that I love.... READ it and let it break your heart for these children! I am MAD. I have been sad and broken for these children for so long and it has finally turned into a hardened anger. I am angry that this culture so lies to women that Michael's stepmother believes that she does not have to care for this child who is not biologically hers, though she has ample means to. I am angry that in the "Pearl of Africa" and the most fertile region of it at that, a mother has litteraly NO food to feed her baby, not to mention herself or 6 other kids. I am angry that the result of this is that these sweet ones suffer in their innocence. I have said it before and it still holds true: I DO NOT BELIEVE that the God of the universe created too many children in His image and not enough love or food or care to go around. In fact I believe that He created the Body of Christ for just that, to help these little ones, the least of these. And I believe that except for a handful,the Body of Christ is failing. And its not just me who thinks this. When I'm angry, I like to research so that I can at least feel a bit justified in my rage ;) According to several differnt resources, there are an average of 147 million orphaned children in the world today (this statistic includes children who have lost only one parent as well), 11 million children starve to death each year or die from preventable, treatable illness. 8.5 million children work as child slaves, prostitutes, or in other horrific conditions (making things like that cute baby Gap dress Jane wore today...) 2.3 million children world wide are living with HIV.
That is 168.8 million needy children like Michael and Patricia. Seems like a big number, huh? It shouldn't, because there are 2.1 BILLION people on this earth who profess to be Christians. Jesus followers. Servants. Gospel live-ers. And id only 8 percent of those Christians would care for just ONE of these needy children, they would all be taken care of.
And now I'm just sad again. And I want to take care of all 169 million. But as I look into Patricia's eyes, that since just 48 hours ago have turned bright and smiley, as I smell her hair freshly washed with baby shampoo and snuggle her into her new footie pajamas (side note: is their ANYTHING cuter than a baby in soft cotton footie pajamas?!) God tells me that this one is enough. That He will hold the others while they wait for someone to come along and hold them tight and give them their milk and their medicine. That He doesn't ask me to take them all but to stop for the ONE because that one is Jesus, His son. Stop for the little boy with white haid and scabs covering his body, stop for the baby with feces covering her dress, so weak she can't hold up her hear. Stop and take the ones right in front of me any trust Him with the rest. He whispers that it will be ok and that I can smile because tonight 2 less children are hungry and that is good for today.
Ahhhh... what a day! Today was the first "Free Compliment Day". I saw an article about these guys at Purdue University handing out free compliments once a week and I knew that I HAD to do the same. I rounded up some cool friends and headed out to the local super center with a sign and a smile. We had the BEST time ever!!! The people loved it!!! they LOVED it! I cannot tell you how many people went out of their way to come over and say how our compliments and smiles made their day and how the world would be a better place if more cheer was spread. It was obvious how their moods changed so quickly with just a simple, "we like your beard" or "good job pushing your cart back in the store". They chuckled, smiled and laughed out loud all morning long. Our plan was just to spend about 45 minutes to an hour spreading cheer but it easily led to almost 3 hours of compliments. I'm SO thankful that God has given me the opportunity to share His love with others. Thank YOU God for helping me cheer others up and not tear others down. Thank you for helping me devote my energies into good rather than negative, political bashing, laziness, etc. Please prick my heart again often to share Your love. It's why we're here... help me be a vessel that leads others to You. Here are a couple of pics of the day. The little old lady was our favorite complimentee of the day! She was just amazing! If you're needing a compliment or wanting to spread some cheer, we'll be passing out free compliments at Wal-mart in Conway next Saturday.
This Sunday morning I woke up with a nasty, odd bruise on my inner thigh... it's a spot where it's obviously not from an injury. It also had a white circle in the middle with a small knot in it.... Cam and I immediately guessed it was a spider bite and most likely, a brown recluse spider bite. We decided to go to church and see if it got worse... if so, we'd go to the ER to see if they would do anything for it. After church, it had gotten quite a bit brighter, red ring around the bite and the bruise was much darker. We decided to go to the local ER... WASTE of time! not to mention $100. He pretty much told me that it should be okay since it wasn't hurting but that I should make a doc appt for the next day. Grief! Anywho... the bite still doesn't hurt. Part of the bite spot has gotten darker, part has gotten lighter. I read that approx. 10% of brown recluse bites end up with necrosis (where the tissue dies). SOOoooo, we're guessing it was probably a brown recluse bite that is in the other 90%. It was pretty scary, though... Eeeeekkkk! Have I mentioned how much I despise brown recluse spiders???!!!???
This morning I was driving Andrew to his recorder lessons with Grandmommy. I heard this song that I've heard several times over the past few weeks but this morning I HEARD it for the first time. It's by Third Day, it's called Born Again. I cried through the entire song. I mean, literally wept... overwhelmed with the knowledge of being born again. The promise I've been given to spend eternity with my Father literally overwhelms me. I've done nothing to deserve this promise but for some reason He drew me to Him. Sometimes I feel like He gives me a glimpse of my life and I can see moments where He grabbed my hand, protected me and led me to Him. Forever overjoyed!
Born Again Lyrics..
Today I found myself After searching all these years And the man that I saw, he wasn't at all who I thought he'd be I was lost when you found me here And I was broken beyond repair Then you came along and you sang your song over me
It feels like I'm born again It feels like I'm living For the very first time For the very first time In my life
Make a promise to me now Reassure my heart somehow That the love that I feel is so much more real than anything I've a feeling in my soul And I pray that I'm not wrong That the life I have now, it is only the beginning
It feels like I'm born again It feels like I'm living For the very first time For the very first time It feels like I'm breathing It feels like I'm moving For the very first time For the very first time
I wasn't looking for something that was more Than what I had yesterday Then you came to me and you gave to me Life and a love that I've never known That I've never felt before
It feels like I'm born again It feels like I'm living For the very first time I'm living for the first time It feels like I'm breathing It feels like I'm moving For the very first time I'm living for the first time In my life
Today our sweet Andrew turned 6. SO hard to believe he's already 6 years old! He had his party on Saturday and it was loads of fun! He LOVES science, so we had a Mad Scientist party. Everyone made goo, we had a geyser, a volcano and dirt cake! He had SO much fun! He comes with me to work and then shuttles about a hundred yards to his school. Today I had duty in the hallway so he came with me. One of the science teachers asked if he wanted to come into his room... well YEAH!! ;) He actually has been in EVERY science room in the HS. This teacher had a snake.. a pet python! Andrew was giddy! Coach Buchanan pulled it out and asked if Andrew wanted to hold it... WHAT?? Are you kidding me? Before I could even freak out about this question, Andrew said, "YEAH" and threw his backpack off and had it in his hands. He was SO excited! I'm sure he told everyone in sight today about holding that python. Sweet, sweet memory he'll have forever! He is a true sweetheart. He brings SO much happiness and joy to our home. He's an excellent big brother to Parker and Piper. He loves to find "mysteries" and bones and bugs, etc. He's very inquisitive.. very smart.. He's quite the musician already;). This morning while fiddling around with his recorder he placed his hands in a different position and said, "hey, that's a D".. listen and he played the D he knew how and then played the other one again and by-golly.. he was right. It was a D. This weekend he sat down and taught himself to play Old MacDonald by ear.. so sweet! He loves to learn!! I can't imagine what God has in store for him in the future! My humble prayer is that our God would choose to set him apart for His glory! That He would use him and Parker and Piper to bring Himself honor and to lead others to Him... this really is the only thing that matters!
We had Andrew's 6th birthday party yesterday... I hope to write a post about it Wednesday (which is his birthday).
School has been going great! I love the high school! I'm learning tons of Geometry;).
It's going to be a terribly CRAZY week. Cameron has pre-employment training for HP this week from 6:00 - 10:00. We're very thankful he was asked to do it and very hopeful BUT this week is going to be hard without him. He's really not going to have time to come home so I won't see him at all. I'll need some prayers to make it through work all day and then home all evening without him... we'll get by but I sure will miss him, so will the kiddos!
I had a sweet talk with a lady from my old church today. We were at a baby shower together. God used her to encourage me and remind me how powerful He is. I LOVE talking to others whom God just beams through!
While I'm on God's blessings... He has reunited me with an old friend who is SO dear to me. Kim and I met in Rwanda. She and I were instant friends and have so much in common. She's from Canada and I've lost touch with her over the past 5 years or so and out of the blue she emailed me. I am SO excited about finding out all about how God has blessed her over the past 5 years... thank You God for good friends, even if they live far away!
Well, off to bed... my neck has been really bothering me lately so I've taken a muscle relaxer and I'm hoping to sleep well.. Good night all!
Piper Jane LOVES to sing! Her favorite song is Head, shoulders, knees and toes. She wants to sing it all the time. When she knows we're almost finished singing it she says, "Heeeaaaad" trying to get us to start it again;). She also has gotten really good at saying "Tar Tar" and "Ju Ju"... translation... Parker and Andrew;). When she wakes up she always says their names and looks around until she finds them. It's SO sweet! This school year is going fabulous so far! I'm LOVING the high school and Andrew is LOVING kindergarten! Have I mentioned how much I love couponing?? OOooooo,.... thrills my soul! Today I found out I'm responsible for providing snacks this week for Andrew's classmates. I have to take a snack for 20 kids each day. I was a little nervous I wouldn't find coupons to match deals with such little time BUT I was able to buy enough gogurts, pop-tarts and granola bars for all the kids for the week for under $10.00. I was giddy... just giddy! :) I love a challenge;)
This has been a wonderful day! Cam was off work but he still got up early with me to read our bible together and pray for Andrew as he started Kindergarten today. Andrew has a wonderful teacher. She's very sweet and she's a preacher's wife. God has really given me a joyous peace about Andrew being there. He had a great time today. Today was also my first day teaching at the high school and I LOVED every minute of it. I taught in the Jr. High for 3 years so I know most of the kids and I was SO happy to see them all again. It was a joy, joy, joy filled day! As soon as I arrived, I checked my mailbox at work and I had the sweetest letter from a student I had a few years ago. It wasn't a student I would ever expect to get something like this from. I had to get onto him several times and even called his parents a few times. The letter talked about how much my love of the Invisible Children of Uganda has caused him to think more about others. He said, "I remember you talking to me about how what I say really has an impact on other's feelings and they may not have other friends". I was so impressed, it was a full page of the sweetest words. I thanked God for letting that be the first thing that came across my desk at my new job. Thank You Lord for placing me where I am. Please use me to point others to You.
I uploaded my pics from my camera and these were on some of the recent photos around our house. The kids love to play ring around the rosies. Piper giggles and giggles. I just had to post a couple of pics with her little pony tails;). So fun! She also enjoys playing Andrew's recorder. She blows and wiggles her fingers like she's really playing notes. It's SO cute!
okay, so maybe only 2 of ya;). But here's a picture of our back porch and part of the butterfly garden. It's not a great pic cause I took it with my phone, but good enough. This is where I sit in the mornings, watch the sunrise, the hummingbirds and butterflies... ahhhh... what a way to start the day! I love it! The kids and I also spent many hours out here this summer. We would just turn on the ceiling fan, a box fan and sit in the shade and play. They made a LOT of mud soup on this porch this summer;)
Last night we stayed up with the boys and watch the meteor shower. It was SO fun. We have a parachute that I laid out with pillows and just laid down and watched the stars. The boys were super excited because they had never seen a shooting star. Cam hadn't really seen many, either. I, however, would like to say I'm a meteor shower pro;). My dad and I use to lay out in lawn chairs and watch them. Some of my greatest memories. My dad actually watched them last night while he was fishing on his dock. The boys were a little impatient at first and really sad when they missed the first couple but they grew very excited after seeing their first. I hope it's a night they'll always remember. I know I will!
Oh, I LOVE our back porch! We covered it this year when we added on and got some comfy, cute furniture to add to it (cheap thanks to craigslist and an auction;). We have a hummingbird feeder and a butterfly garden on the edge of the porch and it's been such a joy for us to sit out here and watch those beautiful winged creatures! I've been so lazy lately, well, I guess if it's possible for a mother of 3 young ones to be lazy;). My kids afforded me the opportunity to sleep in everyday this summer. I was dreading that alarm clock but then I decided to not dread it. I thought, "God has given me this beautiful porch to watch the sunrise, these beautiful birds and butterflies and I need to enjoy it... so I decided to get up 30 minutes earlier than I normally would for work. It was WONDERFUL! I came out spent time with the Lord and the winged wonders. I watched the sunrise through the pine trees. Ohhh... why have I not been enjoying peaceful mornings like this more often, I thought. I'm really hoping to make this a morning tradition. PLEASE Lord give me a hunger and thirst for You so I will meet you first thing in the morning, every morning. Thank You for always being patient with me... again and again!
So.... today was my first day back to work... it couldn't have gone better. Before going to school, I checked my facebook and I had the sweetest message from a darling, young lady. It read " so pretty much the only reason i'm excited about going back to school is being able to see you (hopefully) everyday!" Reading that post made my day! It was such a reminder of the opportunity God has given me to make a mark on these young, impressionable students. I LOVE them SO! I really, really do. This same sweet young lady came to visit today with her mom. Made my day again;). For those that don't know... this is my first year at this high school. I've taught at the Jr. High in this district for 3 yrs and then 1 yr elementary (last year)... so I know most of the students I will have this year at the high school. What a blessing it is for me to follow them along. Some of the ones that were really at-risk, I was like a mom to and I would give them advice daily. I would always say, "you better listen, you won't always have a Mrs. Wallace around" hehehe.. some of them have called/texted/messaged me and said, "oh, how right you were... what I would give to still have a Mrs. Wallace around now". I'm really excited I'll get to have some of these students again, at least for a little while longer.
Okay, so the thing I'm NOT looking forward to... brown recluse SPIDERS. You've GOT to be kidding me!!!??!! I have killed a total of 6 today in my classroom! WHAT?? They're at my house AND my place of work. I told someone about it at work and they said, "Oh yea, they love that annex building"... WHAT?? Oh my... this should be an interesting year.
No... we're not debt free but we're certainly keeping that our goal! Cam and I just refinanced our home for 15 years and are enrolled in Early Mortgage Payoff so it will be paid off in 12.5. We also have a rent house (a house I bought before we were married) that we will have paid off in 8 years. I am SO thankful for the convictions God has given us both about living frugally and simply. Cam and I are not going to have a $200,000 home paid off in 12.5 years but a $80,000 home paid off in 12.5 years and you know what... we LOVE our home. God blessed us with enough money to add on to our house this past year and make it 4 bedrooms/3 bath so it's plenty big enough. It's got a wonderful yard with a pool. A great built in storm room. There are definitely things about our late 80's home that we'd like to change and when we have the cash we will slowly but we are so thankful for God's gift of contentment! We're hoping to pay off our Highlander soon and then have no car payment. I'd like to save up enough money for a minivan before purchasing one but I'm not sure we'll wait that long but I know we'll have a lot of it paid for with cash when we buy it. I'm not saying any of these things to brag, I'm honestly just SO thankful that God has burdened us to live this way. In fact, I guess I am saying these things to brag on Him... He is definitely the one who has blessed us with these burdens and wisdom. I truly believe that God will meet your needs but so often we "Americans" live as though we expect God to meet our "needs" which really were our wants. We know everything we have is His... He's letting us be stewards of it and we are so thankful for that! He has been so good to us and I can't tell you how many nights we lay awake thanking Him for just that! Living below our means has brought us complete joy and no financial stress! Our dream goal is to pay off our rent house and then use the rent from it to put back for the kid's education. We've got a little put back now but when that mortgage is paid we'll be able to put back several thousand a year. Then when they move out to go to college, they'd have a home they could stay in (assuming they go to college in the area). Our mega dream goal... :) is to be able to buy a couple of acres in Marshall, Valley Springs, or somewhere close to there in the mountains and build a very small cabin. Wouldn't that just be wonderful to have a little cabin the woods to go and relax. Ahhhh... mega dream :). Probably the thing I'm the MOST thankful for was my humble upbringing. I did not have a silver spoon in my mouth, more like a plastic one;). I remember vividly driving up to our rented shack with the floors caving in and my dad proclaiming ... "our mansion on a hill" :). One of my best memories and you know what... I didn't even realize we were poor. I don't think I ever realized that. One year there was a flood in a town near ours so my parents got our Christmas presents free I guess. They wrapped them in a big blanket and put them on our porch. Heaven, I tell ya. My parents made more money the older I got but I always knew how hard they worked for it and was so thankful for everything I was given and thankful for the lessons God taught me along the way!
these are the words the boys and I chant while holding hands before we jump into Narnia. Oh what an adventure. This past weekend I bought the Chronicles of Narnia to read to the boys. There are 7 books in all and we're 2 chapters away from starting the 3rd book. These past 5 days we have spent many hours exploring Narnia. The boys are captivated. They've seen the movies and love them! I was hoping they would like the books but wasn't sure if they were old enough (Andrew is almost 6 and Parker is 4). A friend of mine said she was reading it to her son who was Parker's age so I thought I'd give it a try. It's been so much fun. I've personally never read the books so it's SO wonderful for me, too. All I can think about while reading it is how good our God is! His goodness is poured all through these books. The boys and I stop often to talk about it while reading and they NEVER let me stop. When they know it's the end of a chapter they plead to hear more. It's so sweet:).
I realized something horrible yesterday.... Piper is almost 15 months old and I don't have any silver tub pictures of her... oh my goodness! She's almost too old for them, what have I been thinking.. luckily, Cameron was off today and got it out of the shed for me. Piper loved the water. Her brothers LOVED blowing bubbles on her and mommy LOVED taking pictures of sweet, precious Piper. Here are a few of my favs!
We've been having SO much fun this summer... I'm so sad it's coming to an end. I have 2 more weeks off before going back to work. I feel like I've soaked up the kids each and everyday I've been home with them. I've loved it! Today I decided to take them to Target and let them each pick out a toy. This was a huge deal b/c they never get to pick out a toy. They were so excited!! The boys each got an IronMan and Piper Jane got a Refrigerator DJ ;)... it's from leapfrog. She LOVES our leapfrog alphabet fridge magnet so we got her the little radio magnet to play with also. Needless to say, she has spent a lot of time in the kitchen today;).
Tomorrow is a super busy day... I'm going to the chiropractor with the boys in the morning and then taking them to the dentist to get their teeth cleaned. Then I have to take Piper to a well child appt in the afternoon. Poor Sissy... speaking of docs... WHEW was I sick last week? I have never been so ill... Parker tried to wake me up a few times and I couldn't lift my head up.. I was SO dizzy. Finally I got up and crawled to the kitchen. Piper was crying and I knew I wouldn't make it.. I tried to call mom and dad but they were at a funeral. I called Cam and he was taking off and coming home but I knew it would take him close to an hour and Piper was crying to get up.. it was already almost 10:00 am.... uggh.... so I called Ms. Mindy, our nanny through the school year. Ahhhhh... Praise the LORD... she said she'd be right over. I just laid in the floor for a while and then managed back in bed. When Cam got home he tried to help me get up and I began throwing up pretty bad. He took me to the doc... ooo... what a visit. I couldn't even make it into the door. I just laid out by the front door with a bucket we brought throwing up. I felt so bad, people were trying to leave and there I was in their way getting sick ;/ SORRY people! They finally wheeled me in and gave me a shot to help me keep things down. I went home and pretty much slept the rest of the day. The doc said I had a bad case of gastroenteritis with vertigo. Whew... it was a WILD day... hmmm... maybe I should rethink the title of this post ....
We had a great night tonight hanging out at UCA listening to a Drum Corp band practice. It was amazing. We stayed out there for several hours. DCI is Cameron's passion... he LOVES good marching bands. I'm sure he already has instruments picked out for our kiddos ;). Speaking of instruments, Andrew has been taking recorder lessons from Grandmommy. He's doing very good... he practices often, maybe too often;0). Last night, I went in to the boy's room to wake up Parker to take him to the potty and they were both still up. Andrew had spread all of his covers on the floor while Parker was sitting in his bed. As soon as I opened the door, Parker said, "it was Andrew's idea" haha! Andrew said, "I was having trouble going to sleep so I thought I might sleep better down here" Cam quickly shut down that idea and I took Parker to the bathroom. While we were walking to the bathroom Parker said, "he was begging me to put down my covers, too... he was begging me like a man begs for money". I cracked up... where does he get this stuff? Not sure what we'll do tomorrow.. we've kinda been couped up over the past couple of days and I'm ready to take the kids out to play... maybe the park. Speaking of going out to play, Andrew got into some poison ivy the other day collecting leaves for his art project. He was driving me nutso itching (before I knew he had poison ivy... bless his little heart). The other morning he came to our bed around 6:30 and was waking me up itching so I kept telling him to stop. When he got up he wrote me this note... sorry it's sideways, I couldn't get it to stay rotated when I uploaded it... anyway, you have to read the bottom line under the crayon line first, he ran out of room and had to finish on top of the page. It's SO sweet... he thought he was itching b/c of a mosquito bite so he wrote "mom I just have a mosquito bite sorry"
Well, it didn't hit the fan but it hit everything else. The other morning I was walking by Piper's room while she was napping and I smelled something... I sniffed my hands, went in the bathroom to check it out, couldn't figure it out... Then it HIT me! I forgot to put a diaper cover on sweet girl. Needless to say, she took her diaper off and THEN went potty! OHHHHHH it was BAD! She had it everywhere (except the diaper, of course)... the pics really don't do it justice... most of the poo was behind her on her animals :( it was under every finger nail and toe nail. It was all over the floor!!! Ewwww! She had to have a bath and then let all the water out and take another bath! Just be glad these pictures aren't scratch sniff ;).
Our favorite thing to do during summer is making crafts. The boys have made a lot of crafts this summer. This morning, they collected leaves to make some frames. I let them pick out their favorite picture from a stack I had just developed to put in their frames. Parker wanted the one where he was telling a secret to Andrew and Andrew wanted the sea lion and mommy ;). We've also decorated their playroom with some of our crafts. I got this idea from the Kindergarten teachers at Wooster... I loved these animals! We're making a monkey today. I'm excited about it because it's the cutest!! What does Piper like to do while we make crafts?? She likes to throw toys away... which is why the phone book is on the trash can... she also likes to recycle toys in the recycle box... she keeps us all on our toes! Right now she's being DJ Jazzy Piper and shuffling the CDs in our 5 disc CD changer... never a dull moment ;)
We have SO enjoyed this unusually cool weather in July! It's been wonderful. This weekend we started a fire and let the boys make their first smores! They loved them! ** Piper was asleep, of course, she misses out on all the fun;).
I am married to a wonderful man named Cameron. We love to laugh and do so often! We have 3 children who bring us more joy than we could've imagined. We're currently in the process of adopting a little girl from Ethiopia. We cannot wait to bring her home!