My Photo
I have been married to Ryan for 7 years and I love being married to my wonderful husband. I am a religious Christian and I love God. I live in the United States and have lived in China. I love being free and those who sacrifice(d) for my freedoms (not just servicemen and women, but all who work to preserve and teach freedom.) My hobbies include photography, music, ceramics, time with Ryan, and trying new things. I believe in the family and marriage. I love spending time with my family.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

How we get ready to go somewhere.

Little Man loves his quality time with Papa.  Every father should play with his kids.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Blessed Family

Blessed home 

Sunday.  Sabbath.  Family.  Dinner.  Family time.  Sacred music.  Quiet moments.   Taking care of beautiful children.  Learning.  Family time.  Family talks.  Family dinner.  

After church worship we like to spend time with our family.  If I could paint a picture of our Sabbath, it would be beautiful and powerful.

My husband, son and I are so blessed because our family is faithful and full of love.  My sister in law came to my parents' with us today and afterward remarked how she feels so at home when she comes, that it is a good place, there is a good spirit there.  It got me thinking about the afternoon and evening.

I was in a place that was peaceful.  Even when the grand-kids were noisy, it was still a place of peace. Of joy.  Of love.  My sisters and brother helped with their nieces and nephews.  One was playing with my baby and when she picked him up she discovered a blowout, so she just started taking care of it.  After we got him all clean she washed his shirt - the only clothing that got dirty from it all.  During dinner she helped the little ones eat healthy.  Everyone helped me by holding my baby and taking care of him.  Some days a mom needs a rest!

Dinner prep:
Mom, my brother, my husband, my sister in law, my sister and I in the kitchen making dinner.  Sweetest little voice greeting his cousin, "Hello, baby b."  Me leaving to feed baby and my husband and brother finishing the rice that I was doing.  My sister, nephew and I picking tomatoes in the garden.  My sister-in-law setting the table.  Some people visiting, playing beautiful piano, playing with the kids.  Welcoming my husband's aunt.  

Family Prayer:
Everyone, children and adults, kneeling together.  Communing with Heaven, with The Divine, together offering our hearts to God.

Everyone at the table.  Blessing on the food and family.  Sister helping grand kids eat.  Rice from us.  Bread from my brother's family.  Potatoes, meat, and veggies from my parents.  People sharing what we learned, what we taught, how we all are growing.

After Dinner:
People cleaning.  Someone plays beautiful piano.  Some people sing.  Sister makes cupcakes.  We frost them.  Somehow making the frosting was a group effort. I'm silly with the chocolate chips.  Chocolate frosting "henna" - silly but fun brother.  Chocolate frosting "war" (tease) with sister.  Brothers helping with dishes.  Discussing, asking questions, teaching, learning.  Grandkids, aunts, grandpa outside looking at the stars, playing guitar and singing.  Brother and sister on a walk.  Can grandchild have a sleepover?  "I get to have a sleep over!"

Goodbyes.  We love you.

Mom and dad are such good people.  They work hard to make good in this world, to learn, live, teach, and share the joy of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I believe in family.

Until we meet again (tomorrow for some) God bless you.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Coming of Benjamin

I shouldn't be posting.  I should be asleep.  But I wanted to write about my son.  He is the sunshine of our life.  It was kind of rough getting him here.  I'm afraid to publish this post.  Maybe I'll wait until after our court date?

My husband and I started on the adoption path.  Journey.  We have been married for 8 years this past Summer.  All the time, no kids.  None of our own, that is.

We had many friends with children, a niece and nephew, children at church, I worked with children (major: early childhood & special ed.) our little orphan babies in China, but not a son or daughter in our family.

Our hearts were... broken?  Not complete?  Shriveled?  lacking in fullness?  We loved each other and found joy in our life together, but we knew there was something missing.  We had seen it in other people's lives as adults and being from "large families," we had seen it growing up, been a part of it, felt it, loved it.  Oh, life was not perfect, but it was good.  For each of us.

We yearned and prayed for our children.  I knew that the Lord had not forgotten us.  I knew there were special kiddos meant for us.  But waiting can get tiresome, frustrating, painful.  On the other hand, it can be healing, happy and helpful.

While we waited, we studied.  One day, a friend at school asked me why we didn't have any kids.  Was it my husband's choice?  I said no.  Was it my choice?  I said no.  "Ah," he said, knowingly.  It's God's choice."  I said yes.  He understood.  Not in the same way we understood, but he understood.

The 1st and/or 2nd year of marriage, apparently people would ask when we were having kids.  That bothered Ryan.  I don't think they asked me so much.  People at church would ask.  Sometimes family would ask.  Living in a culture that loves and welcomes children and expects them in marriage was a little sticky sometimes.  But we knew that people didn't mean harm.  They wanted us to have the joy.  And we were the type of people who everyone expected to have kids early in their marriage.  Is that too personal to write?  Because it's true and obvious to everyone who knows us.

Anyway, we finally got going on the adoption road.  It was kind of a long road for us until we got certified.  Then things started happening.  Started happening fast.
Certification.  2 months later an agency asks if they can share our profile with someone.  "You've been matched."  Someone had chosen us.  2 months later she chose her baby instead of us.  Bang.

Almost a month later: On my lunch break.  "There is a baby who is going to be born today.  The parents have chosen between you and another couple and can't decide who.  You get first voice because you have had a failed adoption."  Wow.  On my lunch break we had to decide if he was ours or not.  I took an extra long lunch break that day.  He wasn't ours.  And we were on the lookout for our child.   Ow.  The next month sometime: another baby and he falls through.  Crash.

Next month:  Do either of you speak Spanish?
Yes.  Why?
There is a little baby boy who was born today.  One of the requirements is that one or both of his parents speaks Spanish.  You meet everything this mother is looking for in a family.  Can you fly down to xx tomorrow and pick him up at noon?
Um!  Wow.  What?  Okay.  When Ryan gets home we talk.  We pray, even though we already know the answer.  This is our boy.  He is supposed to be our son.
We get on the plane before we are even usually awake.  We fly over.  All has been peaceful except for half of a second with a thought that she could change her mind, but then it just left.  I didn't even push it away.  There wasn't time for that.  We were on our way to meet our angel mom and our baby.  7 years, 8 months, 2 weeks, 3 days.  We were going to receive our son.  We were going to receive our child.
Then... we wait.

We spend the morning running last minute errands.  Clothes.  Car seat.  Honor gift. Food.  Bottle.  By the way, where are we going to stay?
We chat with her social worker.  How long have we been married?  Do we have a name picked out?  Um...Yes? Yes.  She loves it.  Do we have a picture of ourselves?  Yikes we need a picture!  Oh, you backed them up on your phone when we re-uploaded all the lovely family pictures that I had somehow erased.
Let's do that one.  (Not my favorite one, but it felt good.)  Send.
Ding.  New text.
Ryan: Gasp!
What is it?  Something bad?  ...Oh!
The most beautiful!  Priceless.  Perfect.  Oh!  Love.  Precious.  Heaven.  Oh.  A picture (3 pictures.)  Indescribable.  Heavenly, beautiful and perfect.  Peace.  Those words don't even touch how we felt, but they were, and remain still, the closest I could find.  The most beautiful baby boy.  Love-struck.  Captive.  Renewed.  A piece of Heaven itself.
Waiting.  Hot, tired, hungry, but it doesn't matter much.  We have a sandwich and wait.  Print the picture and wait.

text: We are almost ready to meet you. Start heading to the rendezvous.  We will be there in 10.  So will we.  We wait.  Grab a table.  Wait.  I watch every car that passes, even though they are already here.  Somewhere.  I watch every person who walks outside.  I look at everyone who walks in.  Turn my head to see even when no one enters.

Our social worker: "If it is taking a long time that is a good sign."  Is she trying to calm our nerves?  We are so close.
A phone call.  Religious leader back home.  I'm sorry, I can't talk.  I think they just walked in the door.
In comes a beautiful woman with a heart of purity and a perfect bundle in her arms.  We greet.  Sit down.

Would you like to hold him?  shock.
From her she means he's mine.  That was her moment of this is your son.  The greatest gift.  blessing.  honor.  How did such a beautiful thing just happen?  God is in the works.
We visit and wait for the lawyer.
Tiny, squeaky, quiet cries.  I haven't signed the papers.  "Do you want to feed him or do you want me to feed him?"
Daddy gets the bottle and formula.  Shh.  It's alright.  We'll feed you.  Formula.  For such a new baby.  The waitress brings the water.
First feeding.  Not even an ounce.
We visit.  The lawyer comes.  We sign.  That's it?
Good bye.  Thank you.  God bless you.
How do we say thank you for what she has done?  There is no way.  We can't even pay it forward?  A debt of forever.  Gratitude forever.  Love forever.  We will teach our son and raise him well.  We will love him and lift him.  We will help him in his journey to God.  We will support him in his dreams and goals.  We will give him our best.  We will give him our love.  And he will always have her love.  He will always have part of his beautiful angel mama.  
The Lawyer comes to us.   We have to sign another paper.  We sign.  I knew there had to be more.
Photo for memory book.  Picture texts.  Phone call.  Dad answers.  "Hi, Grandpa.  Hi, Grandma."  Tears of joy.

Now, we are setting the court date for finalization.  He is almost legally ours.  We can't believe how big our little boy is growing!  How fast the finalization is coming.  How soon we get to have him sealed to us, in our family for eternity!  Understanding comes and I can see God's hand working out our lives.  He has been here the whole time, stretching, weaving, and guiding so we can become who and what we are today and what we can become in the future.  Don't give up.  Trust God.  He loves you with a pure and perfect love.  He is our father.  We are so blessed.  It is through our trials that we are humbled, taught, come closer to Christ, and find out joy.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.  ...For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Isaiah 55

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Why my son needs his father

My son needs a father.  He needs a mother, too, but he needs his father.  

He was born of a woman and a man.  He almost had just the woman, left to raise him without being able to fully provide the other half of his learning and development through the years.  He would have been able to study, learn, achieve.  To date, marry, raise a family.  To work, make friends, love his family, go to school etc...  But something would have been missing.

My son needs a dad to teach him the things that I cannot.  Or, rather, to be a second witness of the truths of life.  To teach him the same things that I will teach him but from a different role, character, a different ...angle of life (for lack of better words.  The English language doesn't give me a word that I can use to say that the way a father nurtures, loves, teaches, perceives, thinks, etc... is different from the way a mother does.  But it is.)

My son needs his father to teach him who he is and how to become himself, his potential.  To teach him what it truly means to be a man.  To teach him that when he honors womanhood and manhood, honors God, lives according to that honor, and one day marries, that when he marries, he can become complete.  But he has to treat his other half with the respect, dignity, love, tenderness, & honor.  These he needs in order to become this.  

He has claim to that for the years of his life.  A man and woman, together, who love each other and who are married give so much to a child.  Although I did not bear my son, he has the same inheritance which he has had a right to from the beginning because he is son to a man and woman who are married and love each other and love him.  We both bring our different, essential gifts to the table so to speak.  He needs us both.  We are forever grateful that we have him.  We are honored that he has us to call mother and father.

Sourdough Pretzels and Guest Post

My sister in law sent me these recipes for my sourdough.  They are actually from the book "Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast" By Melissa Richardson
I can't wait to try her soft pretzel rolls recipe.  and I really hope it works!

Simple Sourdough Bread Recipe

First, here's a fun recipe that is great when you have a lot of starter that you don't know what to do with...
You take 1/4 cup of flour and 1/4 tsp salt and mix them together and put them down on the table.  Then plop down a half of a cup to a cup of starter and roll it around in the flour and salt until it's handle-able.  Then bake it for 20 minutes, and voila, you have some super sourdough bread!  I just made some today and really enjoyed it.  I just baked it in my little toaster oven, too.  

Natural Yeast Soft Pretzel Rolls:

1/4 cup starter
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 Tbsp soft butter or coconut oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup powdered milk (optional)
2 cups whole weat flour
2 cups white flour
Mix all ingredients, adding flour a little at a time.  If you're using a kitchenaid, when the dough cleans the sides of the bowl, continue mixing for 10 minutes.  Remove to a greased bowl, cover with a wet towell or greased saran wrap and let rise over night or for at least for 8 hours.
After the first rise, very lightly grease a spot on a clean work surface and rub it in so it is evenly greased (not too much).  Dump out your dough onto the greased area and deflate it and cut into desired number of pieces (8 large, 16 medium, or 32 small).  Pat each piece into a log shape and roll out into a rope (18 inch for large, 14 inch for medium, or 12 inch for small).  Let the ropes relax for about five minutes, then shape them into a tight pretzel and tuck the ends into the center, forming a round roll.  Let them rise for at least 30 minutes on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Prepare the Water Bath!
large skillet or shallow pot
1-2 quarts of water
1 Tbsp salt
4 Tbsp baking soda
Add enough water to the skillet to reach a depth of at least 1 1/2 inches.  Add the salt and soda and stir to dissolve.  Bring to a boil.  Working gently, place the rolls 2 or 3 at a time into the boiling water.  Boil for 30 seconds on each side and return them to the baking sheet.  Use a slotted spoon or spatula to gently turn over and romove from water.  Sprinkle each roll generously with coarse sea salt or kosher salt.  Bake 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees, until the crust is medium to dark golden brown.