Thursday, November 29, 2007

Psychological Evaluations

Today I had my psychological evaluation for the adoption process. I didn't know what to expect, but it certainly wasn't what I did. I drew pictures, told what I thought was going on in other pictures, and discussed what I woudl do in different parenting scenarios. It was a lot harder than I anticipated, and, of course, I spent half the time trying to figure out why I was doing some of the stuff (esp. the drawings--still don't know what he's doing with them!).

Mark's out right now getting his evaluation. I know we'll both be glad to have these done. At some point, we'll go in and meet with the psychologist to find out what he thinks, but I do know that I passed :) (Yes, I asked at the end.)

After this, we only have one more homestudy visit and then we're done with the approval process!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Job Updates

So I was offered a class today. The only catch, though, is that it is a Friday night class. Yuck! I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I knew what classes were left, and I was praying that I would get any of them except this one. Oh well. I'm still praying that something else opens up. This quarter several classes opened up a few weeks before classes started.

I also had a second person offer to host a Lia Sophia party for me. Yay!! That means just four to go.

Please Pray

I'm almost to the end of the quarter at school. My comp. students turned in their final research papers and start their presentations tomorrow; my Workplace Communications students gave their product presentations tonight and got the second half of their final exam tonight; my dean sent out the Writing Center tutoring sign up sheet.

But I have no classes for next quarter. It's come down to the end of the quarter once again without my having any classes. However, unlike the past quarters, my dean flat out told me yesterday that she isn't sure I'll get any classes next quarter.

We need for me to have two classes in order to stay on top of things. We could survive on one, but it would be difficult. It's especially difficult right now since we have another adoption payment coming up soon. It's our last one before placement, but it's also the largest one so far. I don't get paid between quarters, so we already have a very lean December.

Please pray that I get classes for next quarter. God has always provided the two classes that I need, even when it didn't look like I'd get any. Please also pray that if I am to move on to somewhere else that God will make it clear. We've talked about my switching to a different school, but I like where I am, and I haven't found anything close that I'm interested in.

There's so much going through my mind as I try to figure out how we'll make it. I know that He is in control, and that His plan is perfect. I'm just trying to figure out what I'm supposed to be doing at this point. Should I start looking for other jobs (non-teaching at this point in the year), or should I continue to wait it out where I am?

I planned on taking some time off for when we have the baby, and this may be God's way of doing that for me, but it's so hard to know since unlike those having children the traditional way, we don't have a set due date.

In the meantime, though, I had decided to become a consultant for Lia Sophia. They sell jewelry, and I went to a party at a friend's house recently. One of my friends started selling it, and after talking to her and asking her a million questions, Mark and I had decided that it was something that I would do. I prayed about it a lot because it wasn't something that I ever saw myself doing, yet I found myself drawn to it. We made the final decision about this the day before I found out about the classes.

I am having my starter show on Friday (and you're all invited!). I had that scheduled as just a regular show for my friend, but now it's my starter show. I also need to schedule six shows of my own by the end of January. So far, I already have one--thanks Amy!!! If anyone else is interested in helping me get started, let me know. You get free/really cheap jewelry for hosting. (And you get the satisfaction of helping me out without even having to spend any money!) For all of my far-away friends, you are welcome to come out for one of my parties anytime!!

I know that God has His hand in all of this and that He has everything all planned out for us. Pray for us we try to figure out exactly what we are to be doing at this time in our life. Isn't it great to know that we have a God in charge of that?? I don't know how people survive without Him!

Some Family Pictures

I've been working on our adoption scrapbook, and I realized that we have a ton of pictures from my family and very few from his (at least recent ones!). It makes sense since we live by my family, but we definitely needed some family picutes to use for the scrapbook!

Mark and his family, minus Rachel who didn't make it out for Thanksgiving :(

Andy, Beth, and Mark

Andy, Beth, and Beth's boyfriend, Zach

Mark's parents as Hal opens his Christmas gift and finds out that all the kids and Grandpa went together and bought him a snowblower. Can you tell he likes it??
We definitely enjoyed having Mark's family here for Thanksgiving. It was fun to have both of our families over to our house for dinner. It is such a blessing to have such great families that get along so well!

Putting Up the Christmas Tree

Saturday we celebrated Christmas with Mark's family. Mark and I put up our Ikea Christmas tree. It was fun to pull out all our ornaments and put them up. It takes a lot of thought and rearranging when you have a dog that thinks that ornaments are tasty. (We learned that the hard way last year!)

We started getting a Christmas tree ornament from each place we go, so we put up our Christmas cactus ornament from Arizona and our light house from Nova Scotia. Pulling them out brought back a whole slew of memories!

The cat was somewhere under the pile of papers. Everytime someone walked past me, I had to remind them to not step on the cat!

Mark hung most of the ornaments, and then I helped rearrange them :)

I must not have agreed with something here!

Thanksgiving Day

We had everyone over to our house for Thanksgiving dinner--eleven people in all. It was interesting at times, but fun.

The "kids" table. (I'll probably get in trouble for that one!)

The old people and us table.

I swear that it went really well. Not sure what was going through my mind when Mark took this picture. Lovely!

Piston's Game

On Wednesday we went to the Piston's game with Andy and Lauren. That makes two games in two and a half weeks! Gotta love free tickets!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Baby's Room

Mark and I have been working on the baby's room recently. We sold some of the furniture, moved out the desk and put it into our new shared office, and brought up a dresser from the basement. We still have a lot to do, starting with stripping the wallpaper, and then once we have the baby, painting and decorating. However, it is nice to have the room at least somewhat set up!

A basic view of the baby's room.

This was in my room when I was little, and I have it in the nursery right now. I don't know if it'll stay there, but it's nice to have it in there for the meantime!

You couldn't expect our baby to go without books, and this is only a fraction of the ones we have collected for him/her. (We have more in the living room and the basement.) If you look on the middle shelf, you can see a baby signs book (behind the pink doll)--that is the only full price thing we've bought for our baby so far. EVERYTHING else was either from garage sales and mom-to-mom sales or hand me downs. That's hard to believe, esp. considering the dresser is over half full of blankets, socks, clothes, etc., and the closet has even more clothes in it!
God has been providing so much for us. It's really difficult because unlike most couples, we don't have a due date. We have no idea when we will have our baby. We alod won't have a baby shower until AFTER we have the baby. It might even be a while after we have the baby if we decide to wait until the adoption is finalized. That means that we need to buy a few more things upfront than a lot of other couples.

Last year Target carried this truck, and we bought it for Mark's cousin's son, but, of course, when I went back later this year to get one for Mark/our baby, they didn't carry them anymore. I checked on Amazon and got it for an unbelievable price. We were both really excited when it came in the mail. It makes truck noises when you dump the "garbage" into the back. Now we just need a rear loader and a roll off, and our child might be set!

We picked up these blocks at a garage sale this summer. Before we bought them, we made sure that they spelled out our favorite names!

I had seen this doll on target's website (for $10) and really liked it. When I was at a mom-to-mom sale with a friend this fall, I found it for $1.00. However, it had some disgusting crusty stuff on it, so I got it for fifty cents. It said to surface wash only, but I put it through the washing machine and it came out looking (and feeling!) brand new.

These were Mark's favorite animals when he was little. This fall his mom pulled them out of storage and gave us doggie and seal. I put them through the washing machine, and they survived, but they definitely are showing their age. I found a few pictures of Mark with them in the old family pictures, so once we get that computer hooked up to the internet, I'll have to post them.

It's exciting to see things start to come together!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Homestudy, Highchair, and Other Randomness

Today was our second homestudy interview, this time at our social worker's house. It went really well, so that was good. We spent a few hours talking about our marriage and relationship, parenting, our view of birthparents/adoption questions/searching for birthparents.

We've thought and talked about this for so long that most of the questions are fairly "easy," but today we were asked one that made us both stop and basically say "we don't know." It definitely gives us more to think about.

Our social worker is pretty confident that our next visit will be our last visit. That would be wonderful. Pray for us as we continue in this process. Some of the answers to our questions at the end of the interview were not what we expected and so that has us a bit unsettled. Overall, though, it's been a good process!

Remember the highchair I started working on a long long time ago? Well, we worked on it this weekend and made some great progress. It's still got a ways to go--finish the sanding, staining it, and reassembling various parts. But at least we're making progress again!

Before we started anything.

Working on it again, this time in the basement.

Yesterday Katie and I were at K-mart looking for blankets (we've been practically everywhere and still haven't found them!), and I saw a clearance section over by the baby stuff. We went to check it out and found Halloween candy 90% off. No chocolate, of course, but I was really excited when I found Sponge Bob Krabby Patties.

You're probably wondering why, and the answer is that I use them in my Comp. I/II classes to illustrate how to use quotes/paraphrases. I stocked up on some last Easter, and it's not like they go bad, but when I saw the big box of them, I had to get it. I actually got both boxes they had, and each one has 88 patties in it. I'm set for a long time!

Oh yeah, it was originally $10, and I got it for $1.00! And the box is actually a carrying case. Yay!!

Hmm, I think that's enough for today. Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tomorrow Morning

Tomorrow morning we have our second homestudy visit. I am excited because Mark is taking the whole day off work so we don't have to worry about rushing too much, and I get to spend the whole day with him. Yay!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Weekly Wrap

It was another good week this past week. I'm grateful for that!

1. Classes are continuing to go well, even if the students are disappearing. That tends to happen because once you get too far behind, it's impossible to catch up. No classes this week, and then only two weeks to go after that!

2. Still don't know anything about classes next quarter, but that's how it's been this year :(

3. FYI--If you decide to sand something in the basement and use an electrical tool, putting down a few sheets/blankets is NOT sufficient. It will get everywhere, and it will come up your heat vents! However, the high chair is looking really good. I meant to get a picture, but I didn't, and I'm too tired to go do it now.

4. Got my nose ring "fixed," well, at least I think so. I went back to the place I got it down, had it taken out, bent, and then put back in. Surprisingly, it didn't hurt too much at all, even after the 8-10 tries to get it back in!

5. Got an ice cream maker at Salvation Army on Friday. It's the same one my grandparents gave me when I was little--and it's even the same color (pink)! I was sooo excited, even though I spent a bit more on it than I wanted to.

I also got several books, some for me, some for the baby. After our last garage sale, we dropped off a lot of stuff, including tons of books. I caught myself starting to grab a book and then realized that I had donated it. Could you imagine Mark's reaction if I bought back a book I donated??

6. Three or four years ago we had my car fixed because of hail damage. They had to redo every panel on the car (gotta love Ohio storms!!). After it was fixed, the power windows didn't work, so I took it back. They fixed the windows, but one of the door locks was fickle and the exterior lock on the passenger side was pushed in really far. I didn't do anything about even though it bothered me at times.

Well, on Friday, I was coming back from the piercing place and decided to stop in the body shop. They have a lifetime guarantee of their work, but I felt kind of weird going in after all this time. But I did, and they're fixing it all for me tomorrow. Yay!

7. I was at a baby botique (aka expensive) store on Friday to ask about their adoption scrapbook pages. In talking to the woman, I found out that she has a friend who finds adoptive parents for newborns in Arizona. Her friend had called her a while back about a girl being born in December, but this woman was doing another round of fertility treatments. She gave the person another friend's number, so the child is probably taken. But she did take my name and number, and I also gave her my new adoption blog address. Maybe this will be the way we find our child!

8. Today was baby dedication Sunday at church, and I helped my dad with the ceremony. I was afraid that I had messed up, but I didn't. That was good :)

This month is also Adoption Awareness Month, so our church did a little thing for that too. That was pretty cool, and two of the babies dedicated today were adopted.

After church we went to our friends' house to celebrate their son's dedication. It was nice to catch up with a few friends that I haven't seen much of recently, and, of course, anytime you get to have cake is a good day. (And the cake was delicious, Marie!!)

9. That's pretty much it for this past week. On Wednesday Mark's family comes and then all the (fun) craziness begins!

Have a very blessed week!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Lauren--This is for you!

Day Names

The first Africans in North America often bore day names - names that signified the day of the week on which they were born. Through the years, the African day-naming custom was Anglicized and expanded to include months, seasons, and even holidays

> Afternoon
> Aries
> August
> Autumn
> Calendar
> Christmas
> December
> Early
> Easter
> Gemini
> January
> Light
> March
> Monday
> Morning
> Noon
> November
> October
> Scorpio
> Season
> September
> Spring
> Summer
> Sunday
> Winter

hmmmm. . .I think I like Monday Morning, unless you think Christmas Calendar is better!

Cats and Dogs

In church on Sunday we talked about cat and dog theology. (It's pretty interesting, and accurate--I'll have to post some of it another time.) After church, someone sent these diary "excerpts" to my dad, and they fit my critters perfectly!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Diary of a Dog

Excerpts from a Dog's Diary

6:00 am - At last! I Go Pee!
My favorite thing!

8:00 am - Dog food!
My favorite thing!

9:30 am - A car ride!
My favorite thing!

9:40 am - A walk in the park!
My favorite thing!

10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted!
My favorite thing!

12:00 pm - Lunch!
My favorite thing!

1:00 pm - Played in the yard!
My favorite thing!

3:00 pm - Wagged my tail!
My favorite thing!

5:00 pm - Milk bones!
My favorite thing!

6:00 pm - They're home!
My favorite thing!

7:00 pm - Got to play ball!
My favorite thing!

8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people!
My favorite thing!

11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed!
My favorite thing!

Diary of a Cat

Excerpts from a Cat's Diary

Day 983 of my captivity. My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am. Bastards!

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs. I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches.

The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded. The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe.

For now...


Today I finished my last class before break, so I don't have to go back to school until after Thanksgiving! Yay! Of course I have papers to grade, but that's how it always is :(

Monday, November 12, 2007

Weird, but good

Today I met with my dean to go over her evaluation from me. (This is the one from the disaster of a class that I had last week.) Before the evaluation, I had to fill out several forms, including an evaluation of myself. It was the same evaluation that both my dean and my students filled out as well.

I always have a hard time evaluating myself. I had a hard time giving myself a 5 in most categories because I just don't have that confidence. (There were a few though, where it was easy to do.)

At the meeting today, we went over my dean's scores as well as my students'. Both my dean and my students averaged out to the same number, and it was higher than the grade I gave myself! I couldn't believe it. I read through my dean's comments, and they were all pretty good. The things she said to work on are ones that I have been working on and are a continual struggle for me (such as getting all the papers graded and turned back in a "timely manner"). I've done pretty well the last two quarters though.

It would be interesting to know what her comments/scores would have been had she been there on a better day, one where most of my students were they and participating.

Overall the students' comments were pretty good too. It's funny, but when we went over the one real negative one I told her that I knew who wrote that, and she said the older lady in the front row? Yep, her. (The one who stayed after class last week.)

So the conference I was dreading, turned out to be rather encouraging! What a blessing! I wasn't super worried about my job based on the one evaluation since my dean knows me really well and I stop by to ask her questions/check in on a regular basis, but I was a bit embarrased since I knew that I usually do so much better (and a little concerned because classes are increasingly harder to get).

Thanks to those who prayed! I went into the meeting a lot less stressed than I would have been!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Privacy Request

I've been careful to not give too many identifying details about us on this site, esp. last name. This is especially important to me since we're adopting. I've also set up another blog to help with networking/finding a baby, and that will have even fewer details about us.

However, I've noticed that some of you have links to our blog that give our last name. If you could change those asap, I'd really appreciate it. I'm not doing much with our networking blog until I'm satisfied that we are untraceable, and that would really help me out. Once I start publishing our new blog, I'll give you the address for that so you can check it out.

Thanks for your help with this!

Weekly Wrap

1. Classes went well on Tuesday and Wednesday (figures!). It's hard to believe that we only have three weeks left! The one problem I'm seeing this quarter that I've never seen to this extent before is students' life problems. Just to give you an example of what I mean, I've had two students with lice (one got it from the other), a student with a spider bite that got infected, a student in the hospital (not sure if she's out yet), students with kids or parents in the hospital, death in the family of two of my students (mother/son), unexpected (but very welcome) pregnancy the first week followed by a difficult miscarriage last week, a husband laid off so the wife had to go to work full time to provide for him and their four kids. I could keep going, but you get the idea. I definitely spend a good bit of my time counseling/comforting/reassuring students.

I meet with my dean tomorrow, and I'm pretty nervous about that. If you think of it, pray for me. My meeting is at 3:00.

2. We bought a curtain rod for our dining room. Once those curtains are hung, we will have curtains on all the windows for the first time in a very long time! **UPDATE: Mark just finished hanging them! I'll post a picture sometime.**

3. There are major clearance sales at one of the JC Penney's by us. I got $70 worth of shirts for under $8!! I love sales like that! I also got Mark two shirts from Gap for his birthday, and instead of spending $50-60, they were only $15 total!

4. Our first quote for the psychological evaluations was $175/each for first visit and then $100/hour for any additional stuff needed. Our called the conact that my parents gave us, and he is doing it really cheap! What a blessing!!

5. Our stock dropped this week :( Pray that it goes back up since we have to sell some soon to cover the next adoption payment (last one until placement!).

6. There are always papers to grade. Especially research papers, and they aren't fun or easy to grade. And then they rewrite them and I get to regrade them :( That's what I'm supposed to be doing right now!

7. I got a hair cut this week, and I really like it. I think that I'm letting my hair grow out, so she reshaped so that it looks better in the process.

8. I stopped by my doctor's office and was able to load up on prescription samples--probably $2,000 retail/$200 in copays. I am so thankful for free samples!

9. I went to three different malls looking for an Afterthoughts. I thought that they were everywhere, but apparently not (Claire's, yes, but that's not what I'm looking for!). I need a new nose ring/stud--mine is having problems, and I haven't been able to go get it fixed. Frustrating!

10. If I don't get off and start grading papers, I'll be up all night!


Our homestudy went exceptionally well. The questions were variations of the ones we answered for our self studies, but this time we were able to go into a bit more detail since we didn't have to write them all out :) Mark and I caught ourselves adding to each other's questions (they pretty much all focused on family); that's what happens when you've known each other for half your lives!

We then gave the three-minute tour of our house (if you turn this way, you're in the living room), including the messy basement. The rest of the house looked great thanks to all the cleaning we did. If only it would always stay like that--I swear, the dust all came back as soon as she left!

We also had our individual interviews. Mark's last only 3 minutes, but mine was a bit longer since we went over medical issues. They both seemed to go well.

We have our next homestudy visit (this time at our social worker's house) the week of Thanksgiving. We'll have 3-5 visits, depending on how much we get done each visit. I'm hoping that we can do it in three, esp. since they are in the morning and Mark has to take off work for them.

Thanks for your prayers. We really appreciate them!

Mark's Birthday

Friday was Mark's 28th birthday, and it was quite an interesting day.

1:15--picked up Katie from work
1:16--we to the gas station, praying that we wouldn't run out of gas on the way :)
1:20--go to dealership to get headlight replaced so we can take my car to the game that night
2:00--go to the mall to find a few more things for Mark's birthday (very successful--found a few things one clearance for us too!)
3:15--got to leave the mall to rush home and make Mark's cake before he gets home
3:16--car won't start--doesn't even try to start
3:17--car still won't start
3:18--try one more time to start car and then call Mark (happy birthday!)
3:19--call AAA (VERY glad we renewed our membership last month! my grandma always bought it for us, and I didn't know that Mark had decided to renew it)
4:00--AAA comes and successfully jump starts car (says battery looks really bad, not really a surprise since it's almost 6 years old)
4:01--drive back to dealership
4:25--explain problem to dealership
4:26--they test the battery. it comes back as better than new???
4:30--car starts as if nothing had happened!
4:35--get home, right after Mark (so no cake)
5:15ish--went to game
11:00ish--get home, exhausted

At the Pistons/Clippers game

Our seats were the 7th row of the upper level, but this makes it look really high up there!

It was a complete blow out. We left halfway through the 4th, and we were up by 30.

On Saturday we went to my parents' house to watch part of the OSU game :( and have birthday cake. I used my new silicon round cake pans and learned that you need to spray them before using them (I wasn't sure so I didn't). His boston cream pie cake became a truffle.

28 candles make a lot of heat! It took him 5 tries to blow them all out, and by then, the chocolate was starting to melt!

Overall, I think he'd say it was a pretty good birthday!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A much better day today!

I definitely needed a better day today, and God certainly knew it. This morning my amazing mother came over and helped me clean my house before our homestudy visit. She also finished the curtains that I was making for our office and helped me hang them. Our house looks really good right now!

I then went to work, and when I checked my e-mail I found out that I won 4 Pistons/Knicks tickets for the day before Thanksgiving (Mark's first choice)! Every year they raffle off a set of tickets for most of the home games, and I've never won before. I was so excited!

Then after tutoring in the Writing Center, I was in the faculty office eating and grading papers as fast as I could before my night class. Someone else was talking about how she won and how excited she was. She's been around longer than I have and hadn't won before either. I told her that I had won too, and then went back to my work.

A few minutes later, she asked me for my name and phone number, and once I figured out that she was talking to me, I asked her why. She said that if she didn't find two others to go to the game with her, she would give me two of her tickets (they're for Friday, Mark's birthday). During class she came in and gave them to me!! So we are going to TWO games in the next three weeks. All for free. And the seats are decent ones, not the nosebleeds.

My night class also went well despite some high drama during break. It was too much to hope for 10 straight weeks without high drama :)

Yay for a good day!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Not a good day!

Ever have one of those days where it seems like nothing goes right? That was my day today. In all honesty, a lot of things went fine. I got to work on time, and I didn't hit any major traffic on the way home. The students I tutored in the Writing Center were kind and receptive. And they have nice new coffee cup lids in the faculty lounge!

So what did not go well? My class. A third of my regular students (8!) didn't show up. Out of those that came, another 4-5 did not have their essays with them, and today was a work on our writing day. I didn't get to hand out their papers at the beginning of class for them to see how well they did because I was off trying to find a dry erase marker since someone had taken the one in the classroom. Them my students all clammed up and just stared at me or at their desks. It was painful.

Oh yeah, and today was the day my dean was sitting in and evaluating me. We get evaluated every other year, and today was the day. I knew she was coming, and I thought that I had a good lesson plan for the day, but that didn't really work out. I can't tell you how frustrated and discouraged I was.

On top of it, my students got worked up over the fact that they weren't getting Essay #2 back today. This was as they were getting ready to do the evaluations, so I already know (my dean gave me a heads up) that some of my scores will be really low.

Then, just in case I didn't feel bad enough already, one of my students stayed after class and made me feel like crap. She has been negative since the first day, but it's typically been directed elsewhere, and I've stopped asking her how her day is. Today, all the negativity toward me came out. I'm sorry, but student-teacher chemistry does not really play a factor when you have only turned in 3-5 (out of 30+) assignments this quarter. I know that she's the one who has a problem and that she does this to other teachers (based on what she's told me in the past), and on a better day, I would have brushed it off pretty quickly, but on a day like today, it's a lot harder.

All of this made me think back over Psalm 126 and how the Israelites were discouraged and how they looked at what God has done in the past. I can't let myself just ruminate on this all night/all week until I meet with my dean next Monday. Instead, I am working on focusing on what went well. It's amazing how quickly that changes things.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

God Things

This morning in church we studied Psalm 126. We were looking at joy and how to have it. So often we feel down and discouraged and anything but joyful or happy. In this psalm, they are feeling down, and they look back to what God has done in the past (released them from their captivity) and know that God will do it again. However, we have a role in that--we are to be active participants.

Things we need to do include realizing that joy is not dependent upon circumstances (this is soo hard sometimes!), realizing that joy is something we work on and not something that just happens, going to the source of joy, God, being a person of praise and giving witness to God's work (which gets our eyes off ourselves and onto God) and never giving up.

This week God has done several specific things for me, things I call "God things."

1. Each quarter people from all the English deparments meet together for a system meeting on our main campus. It is always on a Friday, and since I had been teaching Thursday nights, the last thing I wanted to do was get up early on Friday, drive an hour, and go to meeting. However, like all other meetings at my school, they are paid.

This quarter I don't teach on Thursdays, so I signed up to go. However, when I got an e-mail about it from my dean I noticed that the pay was $10 less PER HOUR than it had been in the past. I was frustrated, but I still wanted to go to see what it was all about and to still make some money. When I was there, I asked my dean about time sheets, and she said to get them from our campus and to fill them out for X amout/hour. The amount she said was the previous pay, and when I asked her about it, she said that they changed it back!! I'm sure they got a lot of complaints. We finished an hour earlier than scheduled, but I still came out ahead with the better pay rate.

2. God has provided me with several really good friends who have been a huge source of encouragement in my life right now, and on Saturday I was able to reconnect with another old friend. God is using these friends in to help me through some very difficult times right now. I am so thankful for them!

3. Our cat likes to eat things--I don't know what her deal is, but she's ruined at least 3 pairs of shoes, scrapbooks, picture frames, and who knows what else. On Friday I discovered that she had chewed up our expensive (very expensive to us!) leather scrapbook that we are using for our adoption book that birthparents look at and decide if they want us to have their baby. Obviously, I couldn't use it like that. I felt sick to my stomach and was very discouraged.

I knew that I just had to go out an buy another one, but the only place to get one that met our standards/requirements was an independant scrapbooking store (aka expensive and no sales or coupons). I went to get it, and as I walked in, I saw that they were having a sale. Seriously, I can only think of two other sales that I have seen there, and they weren't all that great. This time you drew a discount coupon for either 20%, 30%, or 40% off. That was huge.

I then found the scrapbook, but in chocolate, not black. It was cheaper than I remembered, so I was further encouraged. They said that they would order me a black one whenever they put in their next order to that company, but I still wanted to get the chocolate one since I might need it before the other one comes in and so I could get the discount. As I checked out, the person said that you automatically get 40% off the first item you buy and then draw for the discount for the rest of the sale. (I hadn't read the whole sign.) This put it at a very affordable price! I called two people on the way home to tell them about this God thing.

It's amazing that He cares about something as small as a scrapbook.

4. I also decided to try getting the cat some toys so that she might stop eating my stuff. I went to PetCo to see what they had, but of course they don't really make chew toys for cats. (I was tempted to get her something from the hamster section!) However, they did have some interesting Halloween toys on clearance. I got her three different toys (and one for the pup so she didn't feel left out) for not too much money and brought them home. She actually plays with two of them! She had toys in the past, but she never played with them and eventually the dog ate them, so we never bothered with them too much after that. It is completely a God thing that she is now playing with the toys, and we are praying that it is the end of her chewing everything else.

5. We talked with another couple in our church this morning who adopted through Bethany last year to find out what to expect at our homestudy visit this week. They were so helpful, and it was especially encouraging to find out that they had the same social worker as we do. We had a very negative first impression of her, so it was really good to find out that they loved her. That makes me feel a lot better about the situation.

We also were able to talk with someone else whose father is a psychologist with a Ph.D. and might be able to do our psychological evaluations. He already talked to his father about us, and I am calling to find out more information tomorrow. Again, another huge relief!

It is so encouraging to look at what God has been doing. What are some things He's been doing in your lives?

"Weekly" Wrap

It's hard to believe another week is gone. October just flew by! Here are some highlights from this week:

1. Jo is keeping warm by claiming all the blankets in our house. I curled up on the couch under this blanket, and she was sitting on my feet. When I had to get up, I folded/pushed away the blanket with her in it. At some point, I opened it enough to see her head; she stayed like this for several HOURS! What a life!

2. We went on a road rally with our friends on Friday night. We do it with an older Sunday school class, and last year we placed in the top 5 (out of 17). This year, we did not do as well. We placed 13th (out of 13)! I'm still now exactly sure how that happened. We were two minutes late, so that really affected us, but still! This means that we won the "Just glad we finished" prize (a man in an outhouse). Lovely. Hopefully we only have it for one year! It is one of the items that you bring back for the following year.

3. Yesterday was gorgeous, so we worked outside all day. Mark cleaned up after the dog (who has decided to go to the bathroom along all the stepping stones in the backyard which means that I have to zigzag my way to the garage when I have my rolling briefcase with me!). He also put away the patio furniture and thoroughly washed the patio.

I worked on stripping some items that may have lead-based paint. I was also going to finish the highchair, but you can only do so much in one day. Here is an old rocking chair that I got this spring at a garage sale in Indiana. In one of the pictures, you can see an old cradle that I got at a garage sale around the corner a couple years ago. As I worked on them, I realized that they were both made by the same company: N.D. Cass. The fabric on the chair has several copyright dates, and the most recent one is 1929! I'm definitely going to be researching this some more.

I didn't get them finished, but I got a lot done. Then it's on to sanding and painting. I haven't decided exactly what I want to do with them, but at the rate I'm going, I have some time to think about it.

I post more pictures when I have it finished. (Hopefully before next summer!!)