Friday, April 30, 2010

an adventure

So, Steve and I went to the beach for a couple of days. We said it was going to be an early anniversary and graduation celebration, but what it really was that I needed a three day nap!

We didn't sleep all of the time, however, so let me tell you the highlights...........

You know I love ice cream........and we stumbled upon Fat Matt's Ice Cream Shop. We didn't stumble as much as made a seriously screaming u-turn in our mini-van to get back to it when we saw it. Now, there were tons of choices, and I was thinking to myself....hey, let's go with the fat-free italian good to yourself.........but, NOoooooooooooo. Steve, with his diabetic self, at the other end of the counter where the good stuff was, I have to stop here because, Tracy, you need to brace yourself, he says,

"Look, they have red velvet cake ice cream!" Well, that's the one we must get and oh my goodness, it was TO.DIE.FOR.

We thought we'd take a dolphin cruise because that's something I have always wanted to do and never have. So, Steve, bless his heart......called and made a reservation with a place in Calabash, NC. We figured we'd drive up there, see if the shrimp was all it was cracked up to be, and then do the cruise. But, alas, the cruise was canceled for lack of interest........I guess MY interest didn't matter to Captain, we decided we'd still try the shrimp. Can I just say that there is indeed a difference in Calabash?? A.BIG.DIFFERENCE. That was the BEST ever fried shrimp I have put in my mouth. Yummy.......I believe that shrimp will be calling me.........well, not those exact shrimp..........but you get my point!

They also have some really cute shops up, if you are vacationing in Myrtle Beach, take the's short and oh, so, worth it.

We took in a Myrtle Beach Pelicans game (or two, to be exact).The first night, they won and it was tons of fun. We had great seats........first row on the 3rd base side. (The Pelicans are not very good). The second night was $1 beer night. Can you see that we are headed for trouble?? I did have to go and get security to take care of some rowdy revelers in front of us (this time, we were on the 2nd row behind home plate). They were NOT impressed that I called them on their crap. They kept trying to stare me down! HAHA Uh.....Hello? Have we met? No? Well, let me introduce myself............I am a mom to 3, adopting a 4th--who will probably be another adolescent, and I teach school.........I. AM. NOT. SCARED. OF. YOU! Ahhh, drunks........gotta laugh...........
The moral of that story is, do not go to the Pelicans game on Thursdays if you find bad language offensive.

We also visited Broadway at the Beach. We like just wandering around watching the ducks and the creepy, big-mouthed fish that want to be fed. Well, you know those ticket booths that try to lure you over with offers of great deals at shows, but what they really want is to get you to listen to a LOOOOOOOOOnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggggg sales presentation? Yeah, not happening. Well, as we were moseying along, one of the workers called out to us.......Going to any shows? and as we walked on by, she continued with Going to weight watchers? Uh.......okay......that was rude. I should have gone back and said something clever, but didn't (mainly because I was completely stunned and couldn't think of anything clever at the moment). Priceless blog fodder!

We went to the beach, but didn't actually step foot onto the shore. Weird, huh? I am just not into getting sandy. Not my cup of tea.

All-in-all a successful, restful trip with some unusual drama folded in. Do you think I have pictures for you? Good. I knew you'd understand that the camera I purchased for such occasions as this would never actually make it to said appointments. I'm glad you know me so well. Suffice it to say that the was beautiful. The food.....divine. The entertainment.....priceless. Can't wait until we embark again........I think its to Florida for the convention next time!

it is finished

Yep, that's right folks....finished....terminado...klaar...termine'...finito....however you pronounce it, I'm done!

Passed my practicum with flying colors and got a B in the other class--whose name I literally cannot remember. I wouldn't normally be pleased with a B, but dangit, I'm finished.

It's been a long and at times, harrowing road. Starting a program only to have to change with three classes left was bad enough, but trying to move, get settled, find a job, and LIVE while completing this program in eighteen months was BRUTAL.

Was it worth it? I guess so. I always wanted my master's, of course, I thought I would actually have a job where the money would follow completion, but at this rate, there may have to be a job where the degrees don't matter.

Whatever......I'm finished! WOOOOHOOO

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

are you my mother?

Do you remember reading this as a child or perhaps reading it to your children? Of course, it's about a little bird who goes in search of its mother, asking all the wrong kinds of animals, until it finds just the right one. I love this book, and I loved reading it to my kids and assuring them that I loved them and would always be their mom.

I've been thinking a lot about the child that God has already chosen to join our quirky little family (DSS thinks they are in charge--HA!). I can't seem to get him or her off my mind. I wonder if he/she lies in bed at night wondering who will step into the mother role. I wonder if he/she is still grieving for the parent that was unable to do the job. I wonder if tonight, that kid went to bed thinking nobody lived him/her.

My heart is breaking that I have a child out there who is hurting, and I can't make it okay. Will I ever be able to make it okay? Will the love we have to give be enough?

God continues to confirm--even when I doubt--that this is the very important thing we are to do. So, I know that He is comforting a child somewhere who is desperately seeking and asking...Will you be my mother?

For now though, my little one, wherever you are.........know that you are being prayed for and remember:

Psalm 68: 3-5
But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.
Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds-- his name is the LORD-- and rejoice before him.A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.

Monday, April 26, 2010

finding my way back

I feel like my blog has lost its way.

I can no longer find just the right words to say.

I've been busy and stressed.

I'd forgotten, though, just how blessed

I am to have family and friends

that won't let me be blown away by the strong winds.

I'm finding my way back

I really want to get on track.

This blogging thing has been a chore.

I don't want it to be that way anymore!

So pictures, reviews, and stories that inspire

and all of those things you longingly desire

will be coming your way before you know it

because I will be back to myself in just a little bit!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

in case you were wondering

I have a few things on my mind this afternoon. They've been bugging me so, without further ado:

  1. Just because there is an S at the end of the word, does NOT and I repeat, does NOT mean that you must also have an apostrophe.
  2. Steve does not play Farmville or Treasure Island....I am USING that poor man for my gain!
  3. Your bad mood does NOT excuse your rudeness.
  4. My children may be older, but mama bear will still come after you if you mess with them!
  5. Just because a child is older, does not mean they don't deserve a forever home.
  6. Why do you bother to have a blog if you aren't going to write on it? I hate that!! (Hello, Steve!)
  7. Pull up your pants, I do NOT want to see your underwear or the shorts you are wearing in the place thereof.
  8. I would like to be able to find a channel on the TV without having to figure out which remote to use.
So there!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Almost there

The portfolio is done.

Check it out and leave comments on anything I might need to change!

How Should A Christian Live

How Should a Christian Live? Word of Promise Next Generation Devotional

You've heard the dramatized New Testament featuring the voice talents of many of today's top young Hollywood stars. Now dig deeper and embrace the truths and knowledge of the Bible like never before. This new devotional study guide series is available in four volumes. Each volume includes an MP3 CD, a devotional guide, and journaling section. The devotional guide is presented in 13 lessons with topical articles, exciting and fun 2-color graphic design, and creative interactive games and activities for youth to enjoy! Also included is a journaling section at the end of each lesson of the each book.

Volume Three - the "How" focuses on the study of how Jesus' continued presence can and should impact our lives. It is based on the books of 1-2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1-2 Thessalonians, 1-2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.

Features include: GET-IT (help to understand difficult concepts); GRAB-IT (how does this look in your own life); HOLD-IT (how to maintain in everyday life); GIVE-IT (how does this affect others in your life); DEFINE-IT (in-depth look at key words); and LIVE-IT (presentation of ideas, questions, challenges to support each session's content).

I was so excited to get this in the mail. I knew the minute I saw it that my 18 year old daughter would eat this up! So, I promptly gave it her. She immediately began using it--listening to the devotions and journaling in the book. She loves it!

I like the fact that it is available in mp3 format which appeals to the younger generation. It is imperative that resources be available in user-friendly formats for teens. Whether used for one teen or a group of teen--believers and unbelievers alike in your youth group will get something from this book. Honestly, with a tool like this, there's not much to dislike. Anything we can use to reach the younger generations for Jesus is a 5 star product in my book!

The Bridegrooms by Allison Pittman

Tragedy hits the Allenhouse family on a hot summer night in Ohio when a mother of four vanished. Eight-year-old Vada virtually grew up overnight and raised her three younger sisters while her father lost himself in his medical practice in the basement of their home.

Now, Vada is a grown woman, still making her home with her father and sisters. Her days are spent serving as an errand girl for Cleveland’s fledgling amateur orchestra; her evenings with Garrison Walker, her devoted, if passionless, beau.

Dizzying change occurs the day the Brooklyn Bridegrooms come to town to play the Cleveland Spiders and a line drive wallops the head of a spectator. The fan is whisked to the Allenhouse parlor, and questions swirl about the anonymous, unconscious man.

Suddenly, the subdued house is filled with visitors, from a flirtatious, would-be sports writer to the Bridegrooms’ handsome star hitter to the guilt-ridden ballplayer who should have caught the stray shot. The medical case brings Dr. Allenhouse a frustration and helplessness he hasn’t felt since his wife’s disappearance. Vada’s sisters are giddy at the bevy of possible suitors. And Vada’s life is awakened amid the super-charged atmosphere of romantic opportunity.

I began reading this book and was enthralled right away. I enjoyed the characters and the escapades they engaged in. While there were some slow moments, I mostly thought Allison Pittman did a good job writing a fun story and easy read. I especially appreciated Vada and the struggles she dealt with when faced with decisions regarding with whom she will give her heart.

This book was provided for review by Multnomah Books.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

still alive?

Yep, I'm still kicking....but I am TIRED! I am counting down the days. I completed my project and mailed it yesterday so only have to take the final for that class on Tuesday night. My portfolio is just about finished.....................

Please be praying for Steve's mom. She has a mass in her lung. Going to MD Anderson on Monday to see a surgeon. Of course, that just adds to the stress level so please pray that we can hold it all together right now.

I've barely had time to visit most of your blogs..........cannot wait to get back and see what you are up to!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Did you think I forgot about ya? I didn't, but I've had a severe case of writer's block which is really, really bad when you have projects you are trying to write.....seriously, forget blogging or book reviewing!

On the school front, by Wednesday, the FINAL project for my FINAL class must be in the mail. Writer's block or not......serious confusion over podcasting or not,! Then, a FINAL the following Tuesday and coursework is done.

My portfolio must be finished by Friday so that I can present it on Monday. This is a must pass or you don't graduate. So, you can see the seriousness of my situation right now!

But on the HAPPY front, my friend Janet blogged about a gift they received from Xperience Days.
Now, friends, this is too cool. Have you heard about it? I hadn't either.

However, since Steve and I are celebrating our 20th anniversary this year and the completion of a long and grueling stint back to school, I'm checking them out! You should too. Everybody needs a cool date now and then. I can think of some of you that might need it more than me :0) So, give 'em a look and say a prayer that we all make it through this FINAL week!!

On the adoption front, still filling out the paperwork. Skipped the 2nd class this month, going to go in May instead. I'll be blogging about why we skipped it very soon...........had something really fun to do...........and I want to share it with you!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

a big high five

A shout out to Mrs. Cindy Sparks and to ME! We wrote a grant for the middle school and we WON! That's right, people. On my very first attempt at grant-writing, we WON!! So excited.

The grant gives pre-selected books to libraries, and this year the books all deal with the Civil and Revolutionary War. We were so pumped since the book budget for our county has been zero for two years now. It's hard to buy new books with no money.

So, there you have it....................some good news!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

forget me not

Do you like a mystery? I do. I love being caught up in it the moment I open a book and having the tale spun around like a thread on a spool. Forget Me Not by Vicki Hinze is like that. The story begins with someone being strangled by someone unnamed. It continues throughout with characters interwoven into each other's lives without the reader being able to discern who belongs to whom. It does come apart a little in the middle, but the author is able to draw it together again rather quickly for the dramatic conclusion.

The story revolves around Crossroads Crisis Center where Benjamin Brandt along with his staff works. His wife and son have been murdered, and all of a sudden a look-a-like springs forth with an unfolding drama of her own. There are connections between the two women, and the situation soon becomes deadly as they begin to piece together the puzzle. Lives need to be saved and hearts need to heal. Can all of this happen before the killer gets too close?

I had never read anything by Vicki before. I rapidly became a fan! Her writing style and voice created for me a story that was both believable and engrossing. Vicki Hinze has written 23 novels, 3 non-fiction books, and hundreds of articles. I think we can find something by her to read!

This book was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah. If you would like to purchase a copy, go to

adoption class part 1

On Saturday, we attended part 1 of the 14 hour adoption training we have to complete. I can seriously define it in ONE word...............boring! Actually, there were times that I was completely interested in what the presenter was saying, and other times that I failed to see the point of spending my time there. ALL DAY!

We did get the rest of the paperwork that must be completed. The next step is to complete that and attend for one more Saturday another all day class. We were suppose to go this coming weekend, but since our women's ministry event had already been planned and I'm kinda in charge; we thought it best to put it off until next month. Which means that we will have to wait until we finish that class before we can even begin the homestudy process.

They've added a whole other step to that process. Our family worker will have to come out before the fire marshall and go through the house to make sure everything is kosher. I'm sure they are doing that because the fire marshall only wants to come one time............go figure! So, Melissa will come, the fire marshall will come, and the DHEC inspector will come (to make sure we don't have anything dangerous around). THEN, and only then can we get down to the nitty gritty of the home study. That part where they come and spend several hours talking to everyone and looking over our home. The stressful part!

I'm thinking that we won't get to that until around July or maybe even August. Which I guess is fine....or at least it might as well be! It is what it is.

Someone did ask the question why we have to go through all of this when the bio parents can get their kids back without providing a decent home environment for them. GOOD question! However, nobody knows the answer.

So, the process continues. For now, just paperwork and lots of prayer. Praying for that child of mine who is not yet mine and who is living somewhere else.

I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

crunch time

Tomorrow (well, actually today) is our first adoption class. Be glad to get it behind me so we can start on the vast amount of paperwork to be done.

I guess spring break for me is officially over. I have two weeks to get the massive number of projects done for my portfolio and my other class to be complete. TWO WEEKS, people! Can you believe it? There will probably not be much sleep and a very grumpy me. Poor Steve and the kiddos. It's gonna be worth it, though. (or at least I hope so!)

So, if you don't hear from me, know that I am buried under a blanket somewhere hiding from the work! Don't come looking for me...................

Thursday, April 8, 2010

youth zoo trip

We're having a great spring break this week! Yesterday, we shared some of our time with our youth group and went to the zoo. It was beautiful, but got a little hot in the afternoon. It was also crowded! Enjoy the pics.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

adoption pics

We have to submit photos for our adoption homestudy. What do you think of these?

a review

This Little Prayer of Mine by Anthony DeStefano and illustrated by Mark Elliott is a sweet reminder that prayer is important no matter what age you are. We need to teach our children to pray, and using this book makes the process seem easy no matter how young they are. The illustrations are beautiful with great colors. They make the words on the page come alive. Using this little book will remind us all that God does indeed answer the prayers of His people. I would highly recommend this one!

Want a copy to read to your little one? Just leave any comment and one winner will be chosen at random. Want to purchase a copy? Check out

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

easter egg hunt

Sunday, April 4, 2010


What does Easter mean to you?

"He is not here, he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay." Matthew 28:6 HAPPY EASTER TO ALL OUR LORD HAS RISEN!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


So, I've had lots of conversations with people about this thing called adoption. I've heard a lot of times about what "good" people we must be. Well, I like to think that we are basically "good" people, of course, but there is a lot of good out there, folks! I don't necessarily feel like we are good because we are wanting to adopt. Being good is really not that hard.

Another thing that people say is, "you must have a big heart". Well, those who know me, know that I have a BIG something.................but, we all have the same amount of heart space for love capacity. Being a Christian---a Christ-follower-- multiplies our heart capacity, but people LOVE in different ways. So, no, I don't really fell like we have bigger hearts than anyone else.

Now, I don't want to sound like I don't appreciate the comments of folks who say things like that, because I do. It reaffirms our decision to do this. However, I do have a few thoughts on the subject.

1. Because we obey, we reach God's goals. We are simply obeying what we feel like God is asking of us at this moment. We each are given tasks to do, some much, much harder than adopting. Like our friends Joel and Charlotte who moved their five kids to Brazil to be missionaries. Now, that, my people, IS WHAT I CALL A GOOD THING. I don't want to go there--do you?

2. I think our actions are selfish. What do I mean by that? Well, our actions are certainly not self-less. We are expecting something out of this experience. We aren't willing to take "just any child", but we do know that we want the child God has picked out for us. And, we are looking at this opportunity as a blessing TO us, not as a blessing FROM us. We certainly hope to bless some child's life---I hope we are blessing the lives of any child we touch--even Shea, Stevie, and Luke-- but we want another child and cannot physically have one. Therefore, we are hoping to receive as much if not more than to give.

Children are a blessing FROM the Lord. Parents are just the vehicle he uses to raise them properly. Sometimes, parents are incapable of doing that, and that's where we hope to step in.

Does any of that make sense? I guess, it is just embarrassing to me to be told I am doing something amazing when, in essence, I believe that in the long run......the blessings will be mine.