Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Funny Ha-Ha

My DH is absolutely fabulous. He really is. I don't know where I would be without him.

We've been married for 13.5 years. Oh my gosh. Am I really old enough to have been married for that long? Well, the truth of the matter is, is that I'm barely old enough. I mean, really. I was married when I was 19.
19.
Wow.

Anyway, enough about me and back to my husband.

I love him.
I bet if I took a random poll or survey and asked a group of our friends to tell me some attributes or qualities or to just give their general opinion of my husband, one of the first words people would say about him is : FUNNY

He has such a unique humor, though, that not everyone totally gets it. And he's a different kind of funny with different people.

He's sarcastic
He's abstract
He's highly intelligent

Put those together and you get a funky kind of funny. But he never fails to make people laugh.

I don't always think he's funny when everyone else is laughing. I must have a dry sense of humor. I also am an over worrier and am afraid people will think he's serious when he's not. But that's my own problem, I guess.

However, my husband can makes me laugh every day. And that, I think is invaluable. Number one, I LOVE to laugh. Number two, who better to make you laugh than your very own husband!? I think he's the funniest when we're alone or just with family.

But I bet that the things I think are funny about him are not the same things you would find funny. And that's ok. I think it's the way God makes us.

Yesterday I was at the lovely Christa's house and I heard that familiar sound indicating I have a text page. After digging around my purse, I pulled out my cell and noticed I had FOUR texts waiting for me. All from my husband.

-You're cute.
-You make me Happy.
-Be mine forever.
-Gesuntheit.

You see, to me he is hilarious. He is expressing his love to me in a way that would make any girl smile ... and then he throws in a random German sneeze reply!!

He cracks me up.

What makes you laugh?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Homeschooling Tip #2




When you're driving the five hour trip from La Grande back to Portland (oh wait, that's right, we did it in six) and you see an absoltuely fabulous old stage coach, get out of the car!



It provided a great hands-on moment to remember our previous yet ongoing lesson regarding Laura Ingalls, The Westward Movement and all pre-car days.








Monday, April 28, 2008

Adoption Process to Date

John 14:18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”


September 1, 2005
(after hurricane Katrina)
Julie: I can’t stop thinking of the small babies who’ve had to be evacuated from hospitals in New Orleans.
David: I don’t know if there are any orphaned babies, but maybe we should adopt one.

September-February
David and I pray and talk about adopting. God confirms multiple times that this is HIS absolutely fabulous plan for us!

February 7, 2006
We go over to Hillory’s to discuss agencies and we decide on Heritage Adoption Agency and the country of Haiti

Feb 10, 2006
Download and start filling out application
Learn about LeAnne (The Haiti Lady - our adoption agent)

Feb 22, 2006
Our application is received at Heritage

March 15, 2006
Psychological evaluation

March 28, 2006
Amy starts French classes

April 22, 2006
Home Study

May 1, 2006
We agree on adopting two children

May 3, 2006
POA, IBESR letter, Psych. Eval. and signature page of home study sent for authentication at the Secretary of State

May 24, 2006
Dossier gets sent for translation

June 5, 2006
Dossier gets sent to Haitian consulate

August 16, 2006
David and Julie get fingerprinted

August 22, 2006
Referral of Yolanta (4) and Quetelène (2)




August 25, 2006
First picture of the girls

September 2006
Sean and Jamie decide to adopt Benjamin (Yolanta and Quetelène's little brother)

October 27, 2006
Enter IBESR

January 15-19, 2008
Jamie and I Visit the children in Haiti


February 10, 2007
Fill out Adjudicate Orphans First Program form

April 25, 2007
Exit IBESR

June 13, 2007
LeAnne quits Heritage and Joins Kentucky Adoption Services
Yolanta turns 5 years old

July 11, 2007
Quetelène turns 3 years old

July 25, 2007
Find out we are NOT out of IBESR as previously mentioned

August 8, 2007
Exit IBESR (10 months after entering)

August 10, 2007
Paperwork prep stage to enter MOI

August 17, 2007
Hurricane Dean touches Haiti

August 28, 2007
Much of our paperwork has been confirmed as lost. Begin refilling out and sending in paperwork

August 31, 2007
The Joint Council for International Children's Services sent out to all agencies news that Department of State (the Consulate) and USCIS (Immigration) are currently not processing any cases

September 24, 2007
Joint Council is pleased to confirm that the DOS Consular office in Haiti began processing visas as of late last week. It is our understanding that the issue related to Haitian court decrees has been fully resolved and that the processing of visas will continue uninterrupted.

October 10, 2007
Contact Gordon Smith’s office to help officiate progress

October 11, 2007
Enter MOI (after 2 months of ‘prepping’ to enter MOI)

October 20, 2007
Send in another notarized I-600 (third one)

October 25, 2007
Original paperwork is found in Haiti

November 20, 2007
Birthfather brought in for interview

November 21, 2007
David and Julie get re-fingerprinted

January 9, 2008
Sean and Jamie exit MOI

January 16, 2008
Meet with Sean and Jamie at Heritage to fill out paperwork required before travel

February 3, 2008
LeAnne quits Kentucky

February 4, 2008
Send in final payment of $11,000

February 12, 2008
Only Yolanta exits MOI, enters Passport printing stage

February 14, 2008
Yolanta’s passport being printed at Immigration Services.

February 22, 2008
Benjamin’s paperwork submitted to Consulate

March 12, 2008
Benjamin received Visa appointment

March 14, 2008
Jamie’s baby-shower

March 15, 2008
Sean leaves for Haiti (LeAnne also goes)

March 17, 2008
Confirmation that Yolanta’s passport has been printed, but not quite sure where it is

March 20, 2008
Welcome Benjamin home at airport

March 22, 2008
My baby shower at Hillory’s

April 10, 2008
Rioting in Haiti hits American news

April 16, 2008
Quetelène has passport, but NOT Yolanta (this is opposite info as stated on February 12)

April 25, 2008
Receive priority mail from Heritage with travel documents

April 26, 2008
Confirmation that only Quetelène has passport

May 1, 2008
Benjamin and family come over for dinner

May 3, 2008
Another email confirmation that Quetelène has passport, Yolanta does not

May 12, 2008
Yolanta has her passport

May 15, 2008
Get email requesting:
2007 taxes (since another tax season has come and gone)
I-864 (for the 3rd time)
I-864A (for the 3rd time)

May 16, 2008
Consulate has not responded with appointment to drop off dossier

May 19, 2008
Yolanta's medical exam has been received and added to dossier

May 22, 2008
Informed that our dossier has been deposited at the Consulate
I-864, I-864A and 2007 tax forms have been received by Dr. Bernard
LeAnne sent word to Consulate that Dr. Bernard has these missing forms and need to be included in our dossier

June 4, 2008
Received confirmation that the above three documents have been submitted to the Consulate

June 6, 2008
Emailed Senator Gordon Smith requesting official Government Assistance

June 9, 2008
Email confirmation that the Senator's office will look into our case

June 20, 2008
Received email from USCIS in Haiti that they are waiting for the final adoption documents and passports for the children before they approve the I-600 petitions. A visa cannot be issued without approval of the I-600.
Called LeAnne immediately as the requested documents should have been received months ago. She is researching the problem.

June 25, 2008
Received email that our case has been approved and is being forwarded to the Consulate tomorrow for the visa process! This is the last step!!

June 27, 2008
Received email confirming our Visa appointment is for June 30th at 7am.
Book flights!

June 28, 2008
Leave PDX at 11:50pm

June 29, 2008
Arrive in Haiti at 3:40pm

June 29-July 3, 2008
Sarah updates her blog frequently, beautifully and with much detail engaging everyone on our flights status and communication. Thanks Sarah!

July 2, 2008
Arrive PDX 8:20pm with Millions of friends and family!

Together at last.
Let the adventures begin!
Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.
Ephesians 6:24

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sermon Notes

At church today, the community pastor Tim spoke, in part, about forgiveness.



I learned today that in Bible times, when someone declares something three times, it is essentially an oath. It's in the bank. It's sealed.



When Peter denied Jesus, he did it three times. Three times before the rooster crowed, Peter denied knowing Jesus (even though he said he would DIE before he denied Jesus!)





After Jesus had been crucified, the disciples who had betrayed him had gone out to go fishing. And, as you know, they caught nothing. Then a man appears and advises them to put the net on the right side of the boat, and wouldn't you know it, the net fills up with fish!



I find it so humbling that the very first thing Jesus does upon meeting his betrayers, is provide a miracle for them and gives them an abundance of what they need.
Wow.



Once someone figured out that the mystery man was Jesus, Peter, Jesus' best friend, the one who denied even knowing him multiple times, the one who stood by warming his hands and saying nothing while his Lord was being wrongly convicted, threw himself in the water and started swimming back to shore to be with him!



He didn't try to hide, he didn't sit in the boat and sulk about his guilty conscience, he didn't ask to be killed to avoid having to come face to face with the person he hurt...he went to him.



Once Peter and the others got back to shore, the second thing Jesus did for them was to have a fire going and fish to eat. He made the very men who let him down comfortable and took care of their needs.



This next part brings me to tears.


Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love me?"
And Peter said, "Yes, Lord. You know I do."
Again Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love me?"
And Peter replied, "Yes, Lord. You know I do."
A third time Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love me?"
A third time Peter said, "Yes, Lord. You know I do."



The act of getting Peter to profess his love for him three times, was to reverse the betrayal he committed earlier. I find that so wonderfully marvelous that Jesus allowed someone who rejected him over and over an opportunity to come back to him right then and there. Thank you, God, for your mercy. And he goes on and asks Peter to do great things for him. Jesus trusted him. Talk about ultimate forgiveness.


There are a few absolutely fabulous things I took away from this sermon that I will reserve for my personal journal. But I wanted to share this with you as today is Sunday and I'm feelin' the love for the Lord.


Happy Sabbath!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Ikea

Did you hear about that guy who was having his house flea bombed or remodeled or something, and he went to Ikea and LIVED there till his house was ready? It was in the news.



There were pictures of him in his bathrobe just kind of hanging around "his living room" while shoppers came and checked out the sofas and lamps (and gawked at him).

Ikea apparently let him do it because of the publicity it brought. He slept there, ate in the food court and used the bathroom. Yeah, it was weird. His wife stayed with her mom.



Well, my BFF Angela and I went there a couple of months ago and found a cute little room all set up and we fell in love with it. The colors, the lounge floral chaises, the rug, the bookshelves...it just spelled Girlfriend Chatting Area all over! It was absolutely fabulous.



So we sat down and chatted for a while and I was reminded of the guy in the news when shoppers walked by us and giggled at the live mannequins. We had someone snap our picture then moved on. Really, we were there for under 5 minutes. I don't know HOW that guy lived there for as long as he did. It brought the term living in a fish bowl to a whole new meaning.

Listening

There was a little town that had heavy rains scheduled in the forecast.

The rains did come, and started to flood the town. People started evacuating.


The water level reached the first floor of a man's house. A rowboat came and someone yelled "Hey, get in! The town is going to flood and you'll be washed away!"

The owner of the house confidently yelled back "Oh, I'm not evacuating. I'm trusting in God. He'll save me!"



The rains continued and the man was forced to the second story of his house. A rescue boat came by and someone yelled "Hey, get in! The town is going to flood and you'll be washed away!"

The owner of the house confidently yelled back "Oh, I'm not evacuating. I'm trusting in God. He'll save me!"



The rains continued and the man was forced to the roof of his house. A helicopter came overhead and someone yelled "Hey, grab on! The town is flooding and you'll be washed away!"

The owner of the house confidently yelled back "Oh, I'm not leaving. I'm trusting in God. He'll save me!"



The rains continued. The man was washed away and he drowned.

Standing before God in heaven, the man said "God, I trusted in you. Why didn't you save me?"



God looked at him lovingly and said "I sent you a row boat, a rescue boat and a helicopter. Three times I offered you my help, you just didn't recognize my voice."



I'm trying to hear from God and recognize His voice. I believe that God talks to us everyday, but we might not always hear it. I want to strengthen my relationship with Him and hear His voice daily. He might be talking to me and asking me to do something big, for my safety, or for a friend, or for a blessing He has for my family. Or maybe He has awesome encouragement or council! I don't want to miss it.



There is a book I'm interested in getting called Walking with God that looks absolutely fabulous and speaks to this topic. Has anyone read it?





How do you, friends, know when God is talking to you?

Hearing from God, confirming His voice, and being obedient to Him is what I strive for.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Prayer Request



Before you navigate away from this page, will you please agree to pray for an absolutely fabulous friend of mine?
The doctor found a mass in her breast.
Please pray that it is not cancer related.
Thank you, my praying friends!




Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Much Ado about Falls


On the way home from 'The Big' today (it's a five hour drive we stretched to six) we stopped at Multnomah Falls to stretch our legs. I can pretty much bet that I know everyone who is reading this, and I know you've all been up there. But just in case there is a non-Oregonian reading, let me just say that Multnomah Falls is absolutely fabulous. If you haven't been there, get in your car and go there right now. It's lovely.


My friend Sarah recommends a book called The Shack. I read it, too. There is a section in the book that talks about Multnomah Falls and a legend of a princess dying there. I can't remember exactly how the legend goes...but I was reminded of it walking up to the bridge today and wished I could have retold it to my daughter. She would have loved it.


Something else I was reminded of while there, this afternoon, and every time I drive by it, and on every January 25th, is my engagement day. What a romantic place for a proposal, huh!? Even if it was 10:30 at night, pitch black and colder than cold. I wouldn't have changed a thing! Sliding a diamond on my ring at Multnomah Falls has got to be in the dreams of millions of 19 year old girls. I showed Amy the exact spot where I agreed to marry her daddy 14 years ago. She loved it. So did I.


Yet another memory came flooding back of a time back in 1986. My dad was the youth pastor at our tiny church and was leading a group of us teens on a hike up the falls. Just at the base, before the hike even officially began, my dad did a little skippity-skip up and over the curb and broke his ankle. Now, he knew it hurt, but being the rough and tough kind of guy that he is (read: being responsible for a passel of kids for the next several hours) he went on the hike anyway. And no one even knew he was in pain until he was hobbling towards the van at the end of the day. My dad is just awesome like that. He admitted his ankle still creaks from time to time from that day!


Rats-a-matazz, I don't have any pictures from today. It was rainy and we only stopped for a bit. But as my dad was buying us our 17th cup of coffee for the day, I ran Amy and Mason the 2 tenths of a mile up to the bridge to wave back down. It felt somehow, generational. Mason commented, "Wow, Aunt Julie, it's beautiful." It really is. As the kids ran back down the curvy path towards the van (where my mom was keeping our cell phones, purses, laptops, etc safe (she is a 911 dispatcher and receives numerous break-in calls from this parking-lot)) I couldn't help but speak a prayer of thanks to God above for the beauty that is seen by everyone.
My dad and I fully plan on going back later this summer for a proper hike up. Anyone wanna join us and make memories of your own?


Sunday, April 20, 2008

That's Spanish for 'The Big'


I'm in La Gande, Oregon!

So last week I was in Redmond visiting my twin siser. This week I'm in La Grande visting my little sister. Her kids are adorable. You all know Mason.

Here in their neck of the woods I get to cuddle with Timmy and Kimmy. Oh, and go swimming.
Be back soon!

(I'm going to try and sneak these kids home, they are absolutely fabulous)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Amy Joy

Have you ever loved someone so much
that all you can do is weep?


Monday Night Monkeys







Every Monday night I meet with an Absolutely Fabulous group of girls.




I've known them for about a decade! We are a prayer and accountability group and I trust these girls implicitly. We are a varied group of girls who love the Lord and pray fervently for each other.

We don't give each other Christmas gifts and stick to birthdays and we woop it up by treating the birthday girl to her favorite restaurant and getting her fun gifts. Oh the laughing that occurs on those nights!

We have all at one time attended the same church, but not necessarily at the exact same time. SW Hills Baptist Church is the common denominator and where we all met. Since then we've had babies and gone through ups and downs and all but one of us has moved to a different church. But we've stayed together praying and laughing and supporting each other every Monday night.
I know Yolanta and Katie will come home soon and safely due in part from the prayers said by these lovely ladies.

Sometimes we take a Monday night and we shake it up and give each other our prayer requests over a slice of cheesecake and a cup of coffee at the factory at Washington Square. That's the best $11 ever spent.

A couple of Mondays ago, the girls came over to help me paint the bathroom. Amy and I picked out a fabulous color orange called Mesa Sunrise. It's awesome!

I have a shower curtain of a cute little jungle scene with adorable little monkeys hiding in the trees. And I bought a monkey bath mat, monkey toothbrush holder and monkey soap dispenser. Amy, Yolanta and Katie are going to LOVE it.

Here are some pictures of that night. Though, one of the Monday night girls is not in them because I foolishly brought the camera out after she went home. She's pregnant with her second and didn't want to breathe the paint fumes or something Motherly Responsible like that. Kimber was the water girl and fetched us water but I made her sit down because even going up and down the stairs was not the best job for a pregnant woman! So she went home to get some much needed sleep.

Here are Rachel, Hillory and Donna helping me paint the bathroom. Someone found the DumDum jar and we all felt 8 years old sucking on lolly's with paintbrushes!



When I buy some cute towels and a neat picture for the wall, I'll update you with a finsihed product picture. Thanks girls!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Let me not forget

Redmond, Oregon is my home away from home. Largely because my twin sister lives here with her husband Greg and my three adorable blond nieces. So I come here to laugh with my sis, be crazy Aunt Juey, soak up Central Oregon Sun and eat gourmet Chef Greg dinners.

So here I am, surrounded by cute girls and listening to a conversation between Amy and Jill. Jill is 9 months older than Amy.

Jill is telling Amy a memory she has from ages ago. And, as stories often do when being told by a 7 year old, it gets a smidgen long and rambly and a little hard to follow. I think Amy has actually forgotten that she's supposed to be listening to her.

Many moons later, Jill says, "Amy, do you remember that!?"
A little confused, Amy replies, "Um, no."
"Wow," Jill replies. "You're forgettish."

I just love words children make up.
I wish I could remember them all and have them cataloged in a cute little box sitting by my reading spot. But, as moms will do, I will have forgotten most of the absolutely fabulous expressions my daughters (and nieces and nephews) will have said in their lives.

I guess I'm forgettish, too.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Diamonds = Friendship, right?

There is a new couple at church these days. Actually, we are new to this church as well, but this couple is even newer. I know they have 2 kids and one on the way.

So after service today, I was chatting with her for the very first time and we were doing the usual small talk conversation having a lovely 10 minutes.

Until I said this, "So you have two kids, and you're pregnant, right!"
Now picture me all smiley and happy for her and the worst part: I'm POINTING AT HER STOMACH.

When she says "No. I'm not."

And don't forget, I've got my gigantic index finger pointing at her empty womb!
My armpits went sweaty and my face either drained of blood or filled with blood, I don't know. But something funky happened to my face.

Now, being the gracious lady that she is, she didn't show any signs of embarrassment or anger. She went on about how she only has two kids right now and that they're thinking about adopting...she didn't miss a beat. But, being female, I know it had to have pricked her a smidgen somewhere.

Why did I think she was pregnant?
Shes doesn't even LOOK pregnant!
Where did I get that?
I have no idea, but I felt so embarrassed. Embarrassed isn't the right word, because if anyone was to feel embarrassed, it would be her.

I just told a non-pregnant woman she was.

What transpired from there is kind of mysterious because I didn't fall all over her with apologies or talk about "Oh my gosh I'm so embarrassed I'm so sorry!" or any of that stuff that you'd think someone would normally do. I think because she just kept on talking about her life, and probably covering for me, that I just nodded my head in a - "Oh yeah! That's right, now I remember" - sort of way that the whole thing kind of blew over.

But I walked away with absolute mortification on my soul. Wonder how SHE felt?

Sheesh.
I'm going to bring her a diamond ring next week but not mention the faux-pas. Just give it to her so she'll like me.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Homeschooling Tip #1



Amy is strengthening her understanding about grammar these days.
So we're using MadLibs!

It's a fabulous way to discuss Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives, etc.
Plus, she gets more practice writing, more time with mom, and we both crack up at the end!

Friday, April 11, 2008

By Jamie O'Neal

When I think about rain
I think about singing
When I think about singing
It's a heavenly tune
When I think about heaven
I think about angels
When I think about angels
I think about you

Thursday, April 10, 2008

AbFab

About a year ago, I was in a conversation with my mother. At one point in the discussion she turned to me and said, "Did you know you say that word quite often?"

"What word?" I asked.
"Absolutely."

I didn't quite realize I did, but thinking about my every day favorite things to say, Absolutely is for sure one of them.

Then about two weeks ago, at my baby-shower for our Haiti Babies, my dear friend Christa bought me a couple packages of Thank You notes. She gave them to me saying "I just had to get these because you say this word all the time!"

I looked at the cards and on top was the word Fabulous.
She then proceeded to mimic even the way I say this word, and she did eerily sound and look just like me.

And after a quick couple moments of reflection, I agreed with her that yes, I indeed do say Fabulous as my preferred adjective.

So here it is my turn to create a blog (I've been hiding behind the "no time" excuse for too long) and what better title to give it than the very two words I say all the time!

We keep a family website for pictures and I will post that address once we get it updated. But I plan on using this blog to update everyone on the adoption, Amy's cuteness, and any secrets I might feel like revealing about my emotions, dreams and thoughts.

oooh I sound so bloggy already.

Thank you for reading and may you have an Absolutely Fabulous day!