Sunday, June 30, 2013

June Traditions

We have some favorite things we enjoy doing every year in June. This year was no exception.

The Nebraska Children's Home Society (who did Dayna's Home Study and post placement reports) has an annual fundraiser called Sand in the City. This year it was cold, windy and rainy...but we braved the elements to check out the sculptures.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

NCHS sculpture in progress

Thomas the Train

"Sole" Mates
Another thing we love to do is attend "Jazz in June" - a free jazz concert on the UNL campus every Tuesday night in June. Free music, good friends and picnic dinners. Dan & I have been going since we were dating. Always a hit!

Visiting Cousins

We just had a fun visit with Dan's brother and his family. It's so fun to watch the girls together.

Jazz in June

Loving Uncle Tom

The girl likes bowling!



A rare double date.

A Tealightful Opportunity

Last February, a friend held a tea party fundraiser for our trip to China. Well...after spending some time praying about it, I decided to become a consultant myself. I'm not a salesperson. I don't want to be pushy. But I do love tea. And I've been praying about a way to give back to others the way my friend gave to us.

So now I'm in the world of direct sales, trusting God to determine a profit margin, and giving all proceeds to orphan/foster ministries.

I had my first party earlier this month. An open house at my place. I was pleased with it's success. Praying for more opportunities in the future (and enjoying my tea in the meantime.)

A very cold, windy outdoor vendor fair with my friend Tina. Got a lot of great tips.

A variety of teas. I love the different hues.

I think I'm going to love this dispenser!

Scone mixes

Black raspberry dip on the top...YUM!

Getting ready for the party


Hot teas

Necessity is the Mother of Last Minute Projects

We had family pictures taken this week. It's been planned for awhile. We've had a color scheme chosen. And when I laid out all of our clothes, it was quite evident that Dayna's skirt just didn't go.'s an off color this season and NOBODY had anything that would remotely work.

What to do?

Go to the fabric store and spend an afternoon teaching my daughter how to make a skirt.

She even added lining

A not-so-helpful helper


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Your Story

Years ago, when I was sitting month after month wondering if I would ever be a mom and watching what seemed to be all the women around me discovering some sort of fertility fountain, my sister bought me a book that changed the way I think.

The author drew a parallel to the character Aravis in C.S. Lewis's book "The Horse and His Boy." At the end of the story, Aslan patiently explains to Aravis why she was allowed to endure what she did. Then she asks Aslan about her travel companion. Aslan's gentle, but firm reply was, "That's not your story. I'll only tell you your story." So as I watched these incredibly fertile women around me, I realized that my story was not theirs. And their story was not mine. And that was okay.

At the last supper, Jesus had a remarkably similar conversation with Peter about John. Peter's death had just been foretold by Christ, and he stops to wonder what will happen to John. Christ's reply: "Jesus answered, 'If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.'" (John 21:22) - Essentially, He told Peter, "That's not your story."

As my story has unfolded, I know read with curiosity about issues that have become "Mommy Wars." The most recent was a series of articles on school choice on my friend Maralee's blog. I love it when people are passionate about the call God has given their family. And based on the responses, people were passionate! The problems begin when you assume that your choice is "best" or that yours is the "only wise choice." (I am quoting one of the commenters here.)

It reminded me of a passage a very wise woman (Maralee's mom) shared with me once. It's found in Proverbs 6.

16       There are six things the Lord hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:
17         haughty eyes,
        a lying tongue,
        hands that shed innocent blood,
18         a heart that devises wicked schemes,
        feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19         a false witness who pours out lies
        and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

The first one is "haughty eyes" and the last is "a person who stirs up conflict in the community." Could it be that a lot of the Mommy Wars come down to the haughty attitude that "my way is the best/only wise way"? Could it possibly be that when it comes to individual callings that aren't specifically commanded or forbidden in Scripture that God might just have a different story to tell through each of our families?

So embrace your story. Don't use it to compare yourself to others' stories. And be willing to allow that someone else's story has a different ending than yours. (It may be a different genre altogether!)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Go Beavers

While Annie was enjoying her first babysitting experience, Dayna and I took off for downtown Omaha and a little College World Series action. We were able to witness the great Oregon State Beavers soundly beat the Louisville Cardinals. The 4th inning alone was amazing. Overall, a boring game (especially for Dayna's first baseball game), but the 11-4 Beaver victory was a lot of fun. It was hot. It was sweaty. We were thirsty and tired by the end. But oh, what fun!

It Could Happen to Anyone

...but it happened to us.

I'm just now coming up for air after last week. It started Saturday night when out of nowhere Annie spiked a fever. A high one. High enough that I wasted no time calling the after-hours number on a Saturday night. We spent the next 24 hours taking cool baths, downing Tylenol, and doing whatever we could to bring it down. She didn't really appear to have any other symptoms.

Then she stopped eating. I just figured she didn't feel well. She wasn't sleeping well (so none of us were sleeping well.) On Monday afternoon, I thought she was getting better, and I left her with a friend for the afternoon - the first time I left her with a sitter. That night, it just got worse.

I broke down on Tuesday and took her to the doctor (even though we'd had a Wednesday appointment scheduled for 6 weeks!) Turns out she has hand, foot and mouth disease. Yup...a highly contagious virus. One you can do NOTHING about...except pain medication. By this point, she wasn't eating at all. Not drinking. Not sleeping. In so much pain she couldn't even cry. It was heartbreaking.

We finally turned a corner on Thursday morning.

Ah! Thursday morning...the day I had been looking to since we got home from China. My "date" with know the one...cut, color, highlight, a little touch of wax on the eyebrows. "Me" time. I took Dayna along for the ride to get her bangs trimmed since we're getting family pictures this week.

So while FINALLY getting to relax a little and do something for me, we notice something wrong with Dayna. (I'll spare details.) I'm so glad I was with Tanna because she immediately talked me down from whatever place I found myself going. She kept things calm and helped me come up with a game plan.

You know...people ask where these problems came from, and I really don't want to know. It really could happen to anyone. It just happened that both occurred the same week to us. Dayna asked on the way home if we'd laugh about this someday. My answer was "probably not." But, with God's help, we were able to push through, and now we can look back and say that Philippians 4:13 is absolutely true. We can do ANYTHING through Christ who gives us strength. Whether that's walking the floor at 2am with an inconsolable child who is in too much pain to cry, or dealing with Dayna's dilemma. And Dayna and I have both seen that God did indeed work her situation for good. She hasn't had a lot of alone time with Mama since Annie joined our family. No matter how hard you try to make time, there seem to always be distractions. Well...this kind of forced us into several one-on-one times for extended periods as we worked together to solve her problem.

The good news is that now we're in the clear...on all counts. Just in time for a visit tomorrow from Dan's brother and his family. They may not come to an immaculate house, but we're so glad to see them! And I'll keep smiling and pushing on.

Lucky Lemonade

Dayna and our new neighbors have been having a grand time the last few weeks. They still haven't moved in (we can't wait!), but are spending a lot of time here and there while their parents continue fixing up the house.

Last week, the girls got to work and created a "business plan" for a lemonade stand. They made fliers, canvassed the neighborhood, and spent three hours selling lemonade, popcorn and freezer pops. They had a little marketing help from my Facebook account and the local small business page.

I love small-town living. The police chief came by for a drink. The local newspaper editor came by to take pictures. A neighbor even bought a glass before AND after his walk. By the end of the day, their profits were over $30, leaving each girl just over $10 to spend as she liked. Dayna has already shared that she wants to give half of hers to orphans. Bless her heart! (Dayna was wearing a cap so she could look like a "lunch lady.")

Back to Africa

Some of you may remember a little trip to Africa Dayna wanted to take when she was four. She really wanted to feed orphans, so she packed suitcases, and gave up one of her scone dollars to buy a treat at church. That dollar grew as people around the country heard about her story. Within a few days, it became over $1,000. We were able to pack food (4,000 meals) to send to The Raining Season, an orphanage in Sierra Leone.

Flashback posts:

Well, last year, I stopped to visit with Dayna's Spanish teacher one day. Lo and behold, I find that she and her husband have been involved with this very same orphanage! Earlier this month, she and two other teachers from Dayna's school traveled to Sierra Leone to spend a week working at The Raining Season. Megan Laune was Dayna's first grade teacher. With her permission, I'd love to share about their trip. (They even took a picture of Dayna with them, and one of the caretakers there made a bracelet for Dayna that was just delivered by Mrs. Laune last week.)

You'll definitely want to take the time to read each day's post.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Today was our turn to go to our annual craniofacial clinic appointment. This was Annie's first time (and actually Dayna's second in 6 months.) It indeed turned out to be the long day we expected, but both girls really did very well.

It looks like we may be able to get Dayna's bone graft done this year after all. We'll be setting up orthodontics soon to expand her palate. After that, she'll be a candidate for a procedure called BMP (bone morphogenetic protein) - an implant that doesn't come from the hip. This will increase her initial swelling, but decrease her recovery time. We'd be looking at Christmas vacation, and she would be going back to school on a limited diet. But it would free up her summer next year for more exciting things. Otherwise, she's doing remarkably well with speech, hearing, etc.

Annie's visits were a bit more extensive as we're working on a baseline for her. It looks like she's got some significant tooth decay from before we met her. We knew her hearing was limited from fluid (and we'll handle that with tubes when her palate is repaired.) We had an incredibly fascinating conversation with the geneticist who has given us some things to think about concerning Annie's smaller stature. At this point, we have nothing to worry about; just something to tuck in the back of our minds as she continues to grow. She does have another sinus infection (started running a fever yesterday and has been pretty lethargic for the last two days). We're hoping to get her surgery scheduled soon, probably early July after Dan's brother and his family come for a visit. We'll put off the remaining bloodwork that needs to be done until her operation, so they can draw that while she's sleeping.

All in all, there were no huge surprises today, and although it was a long day, they girls did very, very well. We celebrated our long morning with lunch at Jason's Deli, and the girls enjoyed a dish of ice cream.