I’m moving back to blogger.

What was that?  Did I hear a collective GROAN?  Well, I’m sorry.  Really.  I am.  But blogger has changed a bit since the last time I “lived” there, and I’m liking it better now.

So, hurry up, what are you waiting for?!?!

Come visit me HERE!!! 

We received a call yesterday from the DCFS social worker. She’ll be coming here on Thursday morning to talk to us about the whole foster care process.

I’m a little nervous, but way more excited. I know that this is going to be challenging. To say the least. I know it will be hard at times. And stressful.

But the idea of helping a child in need is so much bigger than all of that. Our goal is adoption. But we’ll start small first, just on the weekends, and then temporary care. And then move on from there.

We’ve been in prayer about this for a while, and feel like God is leading us toward this.

Please keep us in your prayers, that this whole licensing process will go smoothly. And if it’s not God’s will at this point in our lives, that He will re-open the door when the time is right.

Now I’m off to clean. :)

I just finished this book this weekend. It is written by Noah Adams, former co-host of NPR’s “All Things Considered”. It’s a true biographical story of how he decided, at age 51, to learn how to play the Piano.

He divides the book into monthly chapters, and takes the reader through one year of his music adventures. It’s rather comical, but rather insightful as well. I was able to get a glimpse into how MY adult students might experience the whole learning process.

Some parts moved a little slow, but overall I really enjoyed it.

Now I’m reading the first book in a Christian fiction series called “Yukon Quest” by Tracie Peterson. As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, my friend Christine reccomended it. The book I have my hands on right now is actually a 3-in-1 book and weights about 68 pounds. It’s ok, I’m trying to not be overwhelmed by it. So far, about 4 pages into it, I really like what I’m reading. The first book is titled “Treasures of the North”. I’ve always avoided Christian fiction because I thought it might be too, I don’t know, sappy. Or cheesy. You know. But after Christine gave it rave reviews, and after my mother in law reccomended some other Christian fiction books, I’m giving it a try. Thanks Christine! :)

I’m off to read some more….

I was only home for about 15 minutes today.  I’m really tired.  But it’s a good tired.

I spent the entire day running around with one of my girlfriends.  Somehow, a 2 hour errand-running spree turned in to 7 hours.  Not sure how it happened.

– First we drove 2 towns over to one of my piano-teacher-friend’s house to pick up the medals for my students who participated in AIM.  She left them in between the front door and the screen door for me, since she would not be home.  Except she forgot to unlock the screen door.  Called her on her cell.  She gave me the code to her garage door, and I had to go in her house that way.  I was just waiting for the cops to show up, I had expected one of her neighbors to see us going in.  But, they didn’t, and I got my medals!

– Then we drove to the Verizon store.  My friend Christine’s phone was D-E-A-D dead.  Turns out she was eligible for a new one and didn’t know it!  That was the first “little” blessing of the day. 

I keep my eyes open for the little blessings nowadays.

– Then we drove to Walmart.  Have I told you how much I despise that store?  Especially on a Saturday?  But, I only needed a few things, and I had one of my best girls with me, so how bad could it be?  The parking lot was bursting at the seems and Christine and I grumbled most of the way in.  We were standing in the toothbrush aisle, because I needed a new toothbrush (Seth dropped mine in the toilet – nice.)  A lady standing next to us handed us each a strip of coupons.  When we thanked her, she said “Don’t worry about it.  I’m a dental hygienist – my job is done for today!”  That was the second “little” blessing of the day.   Then we mosied on over to the cosmetics.  I “needed” some lipcolor since I’m out and was feeling kind of guilty for spending $5.00 on something as frivolous as that.  But I decided I’d get it anyway.  As we’re leaving that aisle, we saw a sale for TWO of the same brand for $5.00.  Score!  That was the third “little” blessing of the day.

That was a good trip to Walmart.  And I know it was God – because I need God more than ever when I’m in that place.  Ugh.

– Then we drove what seemed like 20 miles to someone’s house to pick up 2 huuuuuge boxes of Piano music they wanted to get rid of.  I had told them that if they were going to throw it out, that I would take it.  My students will get some use out of it.

– Then we went to Target.  To look at swim suits.  I know.  What were we thinking?  While we were there, we noticed waaaaay down at the other end of the store it was really foggy.  And it was roped off.  And the employees down there were all wearing masks and telling everyone to back away.  One lady was running.  We decided to leave the store at that point.  I still don’t know what that was about.

– Then we went to Barnes and Noble.  Because it’s next to Target.  Like we’d pass it up.  Found some new authors, at Christine’s referral. 

– Then we decided to go to the library.  Because it’s the best place on earth.  I told Christine about my horrible record with the library.  It’s a long story that really needs it’s own post some day.  She offered to let me check out some books on her card.  I told her that she was dumb for even thinking that would be a good idea, but I took her up on her offer anyway.  That was the fourth “little” blessing of the day. 

I took her home and then went home myself to check on my husband.  I figured that he was wondering where I was.  He was busy on the computer, playing, and I have a sneaking suspicion he didn’t remember that I had even left.  I got to sit down for about 15 minutes.

– Then Seth and I went to Kohls because they’re having a 50% off sale.  He needs new shoes.  Didn’t find any there.  But they have lots of nice swimming suits.

– Then we went to the mall.  Have I mentioned how much I despise that place?  I nearly got stampeded by a group of teenage BOYS.  Since when do BOYS go to the mall in groups?  I’m still a bit confused by that one.  We did find Seth some GOOD shoes there.  Praise the Lord.  That’s the fifth “little” blessing of the day.

– Then we went to the video store.  I saw the sweetest little blond-haired baby there.  I told the mom that her baby was CUTE.  Is that weird that I now find myself doing that a lot?  I mean, I’m not a stranger in my own head, but I AM a stranger to them.  Would that bother you if someone came up to you and gushed on and on about your baby?  I couldn’t help it.  She was that cute.

Now we’re home.  It’s almost 10:00 and dinner is in the oven.  My eyes are drooping, my feet are sore, and I still don’t have a swimming suit. 

I think I’ll go try to read.  Before Christine comes to take her books back.

Well, here it is, the last official day of my Spring Break.  I must say that it has been a great week.  I am feeling completely renewed and refreshed.  My attitude is about 150% better than it was a week ago. 

I did some reading.
I worked on some stuff for my music studio.
I watched some TV.
I did some blog hopping and caught up with a lot of my blog friends.
I made some phone calls I’ve been wanting to make for weeks.
I ate a lot of chocolate and drank a lot of coffee.
And today, I am playing in my sewing room (aka dining room)  I didn’t realize exactly how much I had missed that.

And I feel like I’ve reconnected with God.  At least somewhat.  I don’t feel so desperately alone now.  I’ve done a lot of praying and felt that God was telling me to “be quiet” this week.  So I’ve spent some time in reflection and prayer.  I’ve stayed home a lot this week.  I’ve taken care of things around here that I’ve put off.

I just spent about 20 minutes fighting with the washing machine, who decided that she MUST be off balance, no matter how I tried to persuade her otherwise.  But I won that battle, and now I’m off to return to my sewing project.  Maybe I’ll have some pictures later.  Depending on how it turns out.

Happy Friday!

I have decided to jump in on Callapidder Days’ Spring Reading Thing. As usual, it appears as if I’m late signing up. But, that’s ok, I think it’s just the deadline for the prize giveaways that I missed.   I’m going to join anyway and am looking forward to seeing other people’s book lists. It’s always fun to discover new authors!

Click here to see my list.

Keep in mind, I don’t necessarily think I’ll get all of those books read by the deadline. That’s just my general list that’s constantly being added to.

Happy Reading!!

Finally. For a week.

And then it’s back to the grindstone.

I am on Spring Break, people!!

I took the entire week off of teaching and my students and I could not be happier!

This break comes at a good time.
I need the rest.
I need to clear my head.
I need to get back into the Word.
I need some spiritual renewal.

My piano students just finished preparing for and taking their AIM exams for the year. I only had 8 of my 29 students participate, but holy cow that was plenty. The preparation was intense, I was juggling a lot with just 8. I already have 16 in the line-up for the next school year. Oh my. They all did so well, though. No one scored below a 93 out of a possible 100. I’m so proud of them I could just burst. And one of them was recommended to play in the Honors recital in April. She’s a 7th grader and one of my hardest working students.

We’re preparing for the Spring Recital now that’s in May, the beginning of May, we have been for a while now. Remember what happened at last year’s recital? As I mentioned already, I am currently back up to 29 students, which has been a struggle to manage with all that’s been going on lately.

I plan to get some things in my studio organized this week. I have BIG plans for the following year, starting in the fall. I have all kinds of great ideas. I get a little excited just thinking about it. And then I think “Am I crazy?” Well, probably. It’s amazing how I immediately forget all the work that is involved in these things the second they’re over. It’s probably because I’m already busy thinking about the next event.

On Monday morning I went to the monthly local Piano teachers’ organization meeting. It felt good to be there, I haven’t been to one in a few months. I felt somewhat normal. We discussed a state wide competition that is in the Fall, and I have my eye on one or two of my students. I’m hoping they’ll participate.

I realize that I kind of left some things hanging last week here on my blog. Our “big news” is that Seth and I have decided to start the process to become licensed for foster care. I know that they will probably not accept us right away, since my husband has TB!! Good grief. But I figure, at the least, we can start the process and go through the training.

My “to-do” list for my week of freedom:

1. Read as many books as I can from the pile. I’m feeling a little giddy about that one.
2. Catch up on some tv
3. Eat chocolate – but that wouldn’t be any different than any other day, would it?
4. Meet with a friend for coffee – who is a school teacher and also on spring break
5. Plan said friend’s baby shower for 3 weeks from now
6. Play in my sewing room. Oh, how I have missed you my dear friend.
7. Get some things organized for my studio – hey, I gotta get some work done
8. Call the social worker about getting licensed for foster care
9. Start baking cookies for the recital.

I hope you’re all having a good week!

For those of you who have been reading my blog for the last year and a half or so, you already know what Seth and I have been through. To say that it’s been a challenging 18 months would be an understatement. But even when things have been really ugly, we’ve always tried to keep the mentality that “it could be worse”. Because, really, it could have been.

It’s been an interesting, really difficult, time in my life and looking back on it now I can see how much God has used all of it to grow me. I’m not saying that I didn’t dig my feet in along the way. My human instinct was to protest and rebel at the turn of every corner, at the rise of every “challenge” that we faced. I have doubted God. I became downright angry with him.

When the window/roof guy ran off with our money AND our windows, I asked “Why me?” and responded with much anger toward the contractor. I decided it was my responsibility to fix the situation. I’d decided that I’d find him, we’d get a lawyer and sue him, and then we’d get our money back. And that would be the end of that.

When we were told by the lawyer that there was nothing he could do, and were treated like we were ridiculous for even thinking there was, I again thought “Why us?”

When the supply company that supplied the materials for our roof put a lien on our house because the above contractor ran off with their money, too, and we had to pay a 2nd time for our roof, I felt like I had to take on everyone and make things right.

When we started having house issues the next month – gas leaks and carbon monoxide leaks every other day for 3 or 4 weeks – I thought “I don’t feel safe here. Why can’t I have a home where I can feel safe?”

When our sump pump, clothes dryer, dishwasher, oven, and the sewer pipe under our house all broke in the same week last spring I started to lose it a little. I was beginning to get a little panicky. I exclaimed “God!!! Help!!”

When the plumbers (all 4 of them we had to call) and the city were being anything but nice to us, when they were actually being downright mean and uncaring towards us and tried to rip us off on several occassions, I thought “What did we do to deserve this? Is this some sort of punishment?”

When our only car broke down 5 times this past summer I began to feel beat down. I told God, “This isn’t funny anymore. I don’t know what you’re trying to teach me, but I wish you’d hurry up and make your point.”

When I had to make the decision to start taking Zoloft in December I felt like I had failed. That my faith wasn’t strong enough. I believed that if I had been more faithful, I could battle through this fog that was clouding my head.

Then Seth got sick this past winter. And I felt that I was at the end of my rope. I was stressed beyond what I thought my capabilities were. We both were.

When we found out Seth had TB and had to deal with everyone treating us like lepers (even though he is not contagious) I asked God, “Why don’t you care about us anymore? Why this? Why now? Couldn’t we have had a little break before we had to deal with this? Where are you, anyway? I don’t feel like you’re anywhere near me. Why did you leave us here to deal with all of this on our own?”

When we were sitting in all of those doctor’s offices, frequently 2 different appointments in the same day, I said to God, “Thank you for these doctors, and for modern medical technology. Really. But why can’t we just have a ‘normal’ life for a few months? Why all of this now?!?”

When nearly every doctor, nurse and receptionist we have had any contact with has been nothing but extremely unhelpful and rude through this entire process, I’ve thought, “Could I get a little help, here, God? Are you even listening?”

When we were told that we should definitely not get pregnant for the next year (after trying so hard to do just that for the last 2) I thought “Thanks a lot.”

When the insurance company informed us that they didn’t want to pay for all of Seth’s medical testing he had to undergo, I thought “Well, that’s fine. It’s par for the course. What’s a few more thousand dollars? I give up.” And I was extremely bitter.

When my one-year-old clothes dryer (the replacement for the previous one mentioned above) broke down a couple weeks ago, I lost it. It wasn’t pretty. All of the events in the last year and a half finally caught up to me. I vaguely remember standing in my kitchen crying so hard that my knees went weak. I said (ok, blubbered) to Seth, “Why is this happening? Is the beginning of round 2 with the house issues? If so, I cannot handle it anymore!!!! I have no more strength. I cannot do this all over again.” And then when he tried to console me I said, “I know what you’re going to say! And I HAVE prayed for strength. But I have used every little bit up already. And I have not received any more lately. God is not giving me any more!”

When Seth’s parents moved 2 states away last week, I have to admit I immediately thought, “Why is God taking them away, too? We’ve had so much taken away from us already. This. is. not. fair.”

Romans 8:28 ~ And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

As much as I know that my response in all of these situations is absolutely a human reaction, I also know that my focus has been in the wrong place.

God did not cause every bad circumstance to occur. He was not punishing us. He has used these things to mature me. To grow me.

And I believe he has used these things to drive home the point that the only person/thing I need to rely on in my life is Him. No matter what the situation is, He is still there. Even if I can’t feel His presence. Because He is still God, and He’s bigger than all of it.

And it’s not all about me.

2 Corinthians 12: 8-10 ~ Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Have I told you all before how great my in-laws are? They all are, really, and I am so lucky to get along so well with them.

Yesterday Seth and I drove up to Nolan and Patty’s (his parents) to help them load their U-Haul truck to move. They’ve lived in the same town the entire time I’ve known them. It’s the same town I grew up in. It’s where they’ve been for the last 16 or so years. And it’s only a 40 minute drive from where Seth and I currently live.

They’re moving 2 states away.

God has called them to move there to take care of other family members. I’m not one to make it a habit of questioning God’s plan, but it’s really hard to watch them go.

As I mentioned, we spent a large part of the day with them yesterday helping them load up. I have some pictures, and a hysterically funny video that Patty won’t let me post. So I promised her I wouldn’t. She and I can have a good time together no matter what the circumstances.

I was ok until we had to leave their house yesterday. We all said goodbye, a little tearfully, and then I bawled the entire 40 minute drive home. And then I started to tear up in the video store. And then I sniffled a bit at the grocery store. I’m sure I looked a fright. I still this morning have bags under my eyes large enough to travel to China for a year.

But we’ll see them again. We’ll visit. They’ll visit. It’ll take some time to adjust, but we all will.

Please pray for them as they are driving to their new destination today.  And if you want to leave them a note of encouragement, you can visit Patty’s brand new blog.


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