Thursday, August 30, 2007

One Month Down!

We officially have one month, five weeks, 31 days under our belt. Waiting for a referral that is. It was difficult in the beginning, but the wait has gotten easier. I was finding myself those first few days so anxious and just on pins in needles for the phone to ring and it be Natalie at Gladney, saying "We have a little boy for you." I have had to pray a lot about my anxiety and ask God to remove those temptations to worry and fret over the wait. And with each passing day it has gotten easier. I don't jump when to phone rings anymore (:

God is good and He continues to remind me that He is in control and He will give us a little HIS timing. He has also been reminding me of the wait for Micah. We began the process to adopt 1 1/2 years, before we adopted Micah. We began the journey through domestic adoption and God lead us to international a year later and Micah came home in a record five months. The first year(waiting) was hard, but God knew the plan He had for us and He pushed and stretched us and ultimately brought us to our little boy.

I find myself watching every little boy that could be Isaac's age and thinking how fun it will be to have a little one in the house again. Micah was so adorable and had the sweetest voice when he was 18mos. - thru 2yrs (of course he still is adorable, just in a different way). It was kind of mousy, and his pronunciation of words was dead on. So, you would have this little boy with this little voice saying these big words, correctly. I just can't wait. Oh, but I did see a diaper commercial today and it shook me to reality...YUCK. I don't look forward to diapers again. Oh well, big deal huh!

I was told that our dossier is almost completely translated and authenticated in Ethiopia and we should be put in line for a court date. I ask how court works as far as how many adoptions they process in a day, how often they meet, etc. I didn't get much info. I also don't understand how we are put on any court list if we don't have a referral, but I just say, "Okay." and scratch my head when i get off the phone. If anyone out there knows anything about how referrals and court dates work with Gladney and want to shed some light on this for me...PLEASE do!

So, we wait...and be content.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Boy's Room Decor

I have slowly been getting things together for the boy's room and here is the latest. I went to Walmart and bought wood letters and Micah and I painted them navy blue and then paper mached on them cool patterned paper. I think they turned out great. I am going to do Isaac's letters a little later. I have to space out the spending. I plan to do his in barn red paint and red toned paper. I have been able to get two 11x17 frames w/8x10 mates. One has a navy mate and the other has a red mate. I can't wait to begin putting things together. I plan to wait until we get the bed before I start decorating. So, it may be a while.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Helpful Household Tips

My sister sent these to me and I have to say I have used several and so far so good. Enjoy!


1. Reheat Pizza
Heat up leftover pizza in a non stick skillet on top of the
stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust
crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on the cooking channel
and it really works.

2. Easy Deviled Eggs
Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are
all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it
up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into
egg. Just throw bag away when done easy clean up.

3. Expanding Frosting
When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip
it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size.
You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also
eat less sugar and calories per serving.

4. Reheating refrigerated bread
To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated,
place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture
will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

5. Newspaper weeds away
Start putting in your plants, work the nutrients in your soil.
Wet newspapers put layers around the plants overlapping as you go
cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some
gardening plastic they will not get through wet newspapers.

6. Broken Glass
Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of
glass you can't see easily.

7. No More Mosquitoes
Place a dryer sheet in your pocket. It will keep the mosquitoes

8. Squirrel Away!
To keep squirrels from eating your plants sprinkle your plants
with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and
the squirrels won't come near it.

9. Flexible vacuum
To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add
an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum.
It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.

10. Reducing Static Cling
Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not
have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that
cling when wearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and -- ta
da! -- static is gone.

11. Measuring Cups
Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill
with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup. Next,
add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes
right out.

12. Foggy Windshield?
Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard
eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car. When the windows
fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth!

13. Reopening envelope
If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Viola! It unseals

14. Goodbye Fruit Flies
To get rid of pesky fruit flies , take a small glass fill it 1/2" with Apple Cider
Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid , mix well. You will find those
flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!

15. Get Rid of Ants
Put small piles of cornmeal where you see
ants. They eat it, take it "home", and can't digest it so it kills
them.It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it
works & you don't have the worry about pets or small
children being harmed!

The heating unit went out on my dryer!

The gentleman that fixes things around the house for us told us
that he wanted to show us something and he went over to the dryer and
pulled out the lint filter. It was clean. (I always clean the lint
from the filter after every load clothes.) He told us that he wanted
to show us something; he took the filter over to the sink, ran hot
water over it. The lint filter is made of a mesh material -
I'm sure you know what your dryer's lint filter looks like.

WELL...the hot water just sat on top of the mesh! It didn't go
through it at all! He told us that dryer sheets cause a film over
that mesh that's what burns out the heating unit. You can't SEE the
film , but it's there. It's what is in the dryer sheets to make your
clothes soft and static free - that nice fragrance too, you know how
they can feel waxy when you take them out of the box, well this
stuff builds up on your clothes and on your lint screen This is also
what causes dryer units to catch fire and potentially burn your
house down with it! He said the best way to keep your dryer working
for a very long time (and to keep your electric bill lower) is to
take that filter out and wash it with hot soapy water and an old
toothbrush (or other brush) at least every six months. He said that
makes the life of the dryer at least twice as long!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Trip to the firehouse and snapping...

Micah was invited to a birthday party at a firehouse. I thought this was the coolest idea. It's fun and it's free. The firemen were really nice and they gave a tour of the firehouse and the then the holding garage for all the firetrucks. He had a great time, all the kids did. They got to get on all the trucks and try on a real firemens hat. One of the firemen put his whole gear on. Micah was not to keen on that, because he talked through his mask and was breathing funny. Lots of fun!

Okay, so Micah has learned to snap his fingers and it has turned into his newest nervous tick. He walks around snapping his fingers all the time. Here is a brief video of him the first day he really got it down.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Summer of DAD!

Micah and Daddy riding bikes.
Micah and Daddy at the beach.
Micah and Daddy playing mini-golf.

Micah and Daddy at the beach.
Micah and Daddy at the Zoo.
Micah and Daddy at Chuck E Cheese
Micah and Daddy at a Durham Bulls game.
Micah and Daddy.
Micah and Daddy at the Natural Science Museum.

Well, they said it would happen and it officially has. My son prefers his daddy over me. I read a book "Bringing Up Boys" on the way to Russia to bring Micah home three years ago and in it, it talked about how boys between 3yrs. and 4yrs. begin to attach more to their fathers. I remember it saying how hard that would be for me to let him go and to allow him to model the characteristics of his father. Boy has it. He told me the other day,"Mom can you go to school instead of daddy. " And this morning he told me,"I love daddy more than you." Oh and of course, "Mommy, daddy is more fun than you." Wow! As hard as those things are to hear, I try to not let them affect me because I know that he has a wonderful daddy and who better for him to model.

Trevor told him the other day,"I will be going back to school and be working more so I will not be around as much, so I need for you to be the 'Man of the House.'" Trevor began to tell him all that he would be responsible for. Micah said, "I'm ready." So, now when Trevor leaves he says, "Can I be the man of the house?"

We have had a wonderful summer full of LOTS of family time. I will treasure this summer, because it will be the last of just the three of us. Then we move on to the four of us and create new memories.

Monday, August 13, 2007

What a Year of Seminary Has Taught Me

I hijacked Keva's blog.....sorry, hon.

Just needed a platform to update. Keva keeps everybody fairly up to date on the ins, outs, and idiosyncrasies of our lives, but I wanted to update you on our overall life and spiritual condition (though she does some of that too). It is not enough to start my own blog, but a little too much for email. Consider it your "State of the Atwoods" address. Please fight the urge to play "Hail to the Chief".

I have learned a ton (literally, i weighed it) in a year. Some in the classroom, much out of it. Per my MO, I will list them numerically, in no particular order.

1) I thought I was deeply in love with God through his Word before I came......that was just a crush.
Not that I wasn't sincere about reading, studying, digesting, interpreting (allowing it to interpret me), obeying, and living scripture before I came to seminary, but I just read it with a focus of "What does this say about my life?" Now, when I read I ask the question, "What does this say about Jesus?". I have discovered that the Bible really isn't about me. It is not a guidebook, or instruction manual for my life. It is all about Christ, the promised Savior. This is the Gospel.....and it has transformed my life. (No doubt there is much to say about this, but this being a "brief update"...well, you understand). Now, looking for and savoring Christ in every verse I read, I ADORE reading the Bible. I HATE having to put it down in the morning (except for the loving wife and 4-year old boy that I find on the other side of black leather binding, I don't know that I would). That takes us to the second item on our list.

2) Family is Gold....and God-glorifying.
People treasure many things. Some money, some career, some status, some even their families. God did not intend for us to treasure any of these things above him. He is to be our ultimate treasure. One of the many great pleasures that comes with treasuring Christ above all things is the blessing of doing so with and through your family. As a follower of Christ, I have a church family and a family family (can a noun describe itself?.....It can on this blog!). Many of you I know prayed for a balance in our lives as we moved to seminary that would include plenty of family time. God heard you and honored your prayers.

During the first year of seminary, Keva, Micah, and I have seen more of each other than we did in Murfreesboro. Micah and I ride bikes everyday together. We all eat lunch together. We started reading the Bible all together as a family and praying. We have become intentional about showing the gospel in and through our family. God has seen fit to call us to have another child through adoption (a picture of the gospel in and of itself-Romans 8; Galatians 4).

I now have come to understand and appreciate that God has set up marriage and parenthood so that we can understand his relationship to us, both as heavenly father and the adoring husband of the church who gave himself up for his bride.

We have become a part of a local church here that has surrounded us with love, support, and opportunity to use our gifts to take the gospel to this community.....and the nations.

So, in spending time with our nuclear family and our church family, the gospel is being put on display. (As I saw displayed in my family all of my life, just wasn't as keenly aware of it as I am now....thanks, Mom and Dad.)

3) I like Apples.**
While I do enjoy the fruit, I speak of the computer version here. We got my MacBook a year ago for school. Outside of my decision to trust Christ, marry my wife, and adopt our boys this was the best one I have ever made (hyperbole, of course). All I can say is, "How did we ever get along in life without one of these gems?"

4) Waiting on the Lord is Hard....but oh, so sweet.
So, this is definitely not a new revelation for us in the past year. With Micah's adoption, my call to preach, and many other things, we have definitely learned to hang on to God extra tight when things are unsure. But, we have found ourselves again in those situations and been reminded of the sweet fellowship with God when there is nothing secure in our lives save our Heavenly Father's gracious hand that he holds us with. We have seen that this year with jobs, wrestling with adoption, ministry postions, finances, among others. It has been a wonderful treat to remember God's great work and faithfulness and sleep soundly trusting wholly in him and nothing else. Thank you, Father.

He has provided us with a job, two-internships at our church, money and patience for an adoption, and the great satisfaction of knowing that he is our God....and he is GOOD.

5) I Thank My God When I Remember You.
The Apsotle Paul kind of said this first, but I think he's cool with using here. I cannot offer enough thanks to and for the people who have given so much to us. Parents, pastors, church family, family family (see above note) and many others. Some of you have been used of God in our lives and you don't even know it. I have seen the grace of God work miracles in many of your lives....I am praying that God's grace will work miracles in all of you. I pray it will change you and cause you to treasure Christ above all else.

6) Reading Rainbow should only be the beginning.
For years of my life I avoided reading. Not because I didn't enjoy it, I simply found cutting my toenails or playing Double Dribble a better attention-grabber, and my a-span is shorter than...well....Hey, what is this button on my keyboard do.................OK, I'm back......and hopefully you got the point.

Though I rediscovered reading a few years ago, seminary has forced me to stretch my attention to the limit and then some. I have learned to take in information from books at a much faster rate, and boy, has it been great. I like books now. I actually like them, Sam-I-Am. Don't get me wrong, video games still have a special place in my heart, but books offer me something that the other stuff didn't. INFORMATION. Keep the fiction and give me the other stuff. I am eating it up. It has had a profound impact on my life. READ! (I am in no way being paid by your public library).

7) VNES is the greatest website on the internet.
Yeah, yeah, yeah....I know what I just said about books.....and it's true. BUT, if you grew up on Nintendo video games, you can thank me later for this one.

8) This List is entirely too long.
Hope this updates you sufficiently. It is a bit scattered, but at least its numbered. Comment, email, call and let us know what's up in your lives if we haven't heard from you in a while. Here is a picture for those of you with short attention spans like myself. Consider it your payoff for reading this thing. I will have it published and bound and it will be available in all your favorite bookstores in the spring under the "Jumbled Ramblings" section. Here is the photo for the jacket cover.

**The above picture was taken with a MacBook (Yes, it has a built in video camera).

Friday, August 10, 2007

A trip to the ER...

What began as a normal night out turned into a night in the ER. We went to a Smithfields Barbeque because we had never tried it, but quickly turned and left after we looked at the menu. As we are leaving Smithfields, we saw Sonic was right next door, so I said, "Lets just eat there." Micah and I walked over and Trevor drove over. So, as Micah and I were sitting at an outside table waiting, Trevor gets out of the car and stumps his toe on the curb. Yes, thats it. He just stumped his toe. I looked down at him as he is grimacing in pain and I see blood. He had busted out the front of his big toe. Can you believe that? He must have hit that curb with some serious force. So , we drop off Micah at some friends and head to the ER, where he received four stiches. Thank goodness we have insurance, with a deductible we have not met...of course. Guess we will now.

There is a silver lining in all of this. Trevor was able to share the gospel with his nurse and we invited her to come to church with us. She was so sweet and receptive.We gave her our phone numbers and email and told her to call us if she had questions or needed a ride to church. So, you see God works in all situations. Even stumped toes and ER visits.This is the magnificent ER waiting room. Seriously, it was so nice. MTMC has nothing on this.
Trevor, waiting to be seen. Even the ER rooms were so nice. We felt like we were in a regular hospital room.
This is just before the Dr. began stiching him back together (his toe that is).
Here it is four stiches later! Yikes!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Courts Closed ):

Okay, so I have been wondering and holding out hope, but found out today that the courts in Ethiopia are officially closed for the rainy season Aug. 6th thru Sept. 25th.

From what I have been told, yesterday was the last day to recieve a referral and a court date before the shut down. We can still get a referral at any time but will not recieve a court date until Oct. to Dec. at the earliest. You see usually you get a court date within 2 weeks of recieving a referral but now all of us who could get a referral from now until late Sept. will be wating for the courts to open, which will cause a back-up in the receiving of a court date and travel time.

No worries, this was the timeline we were given originally, we were just hopeful for a week or so that we just might get in before the shut down. However, I am still very hopeful that we will get a referral soon.

" Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the Earth." Psalm 46:10

Sunday, August 5, 2007

In Christ Alone

We sang this song this morning at church and I became so overwhelmed with praise and thanksgiving. Please, PLEASE take the time to read these words.

In Christ Alone

Stuart Townend, Keith Getty

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light my strength my song
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled when strivings cease!
My Comforter my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone! - who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This Gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid:
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till he returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Micah's Homecoming!!!

Micah came home 3yrs ago today. Praise God for the gift of adoption.

This was Micah's Referral Picture 5/04. I will never forget that FedEx package. We thought and still do that he was the cutest thing ever.

This is St. Basil in Moscow, Russia 6/04

This is within the first 48hrs. of our first seeing Micah. He was such a wondefully happy boy. He was always laughing, even in the first days.

Micah at 2yrs. old. We had a huge party/celebration for his first birthday home.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Money, Money, Moooneeey....Money!

So we have prayed, sent letters, prayed had a yard sale given in our name, prayed, applied for grants, prayed and borrowed money and we keep praying that it will all come in.

I am speaking of the funds it will take to get Isaac home. And I fully trust God, that he is indeed coming home. Our PC called on the drive home on Tues. and said the last payment is due and the invoice is in the mail. I said "Okay great we will get that right to you." Knowing full well the money was not waiting for us at home.

We have had tremendous support from our friends and our family, they have given until it hurts. We are so grateful.

However, this email is to those who have done this before and have creative ways to raise money. Anything you have please share. I just read someones blog who gave plasma...YIKES! But hey, how much do you get and what does it intail. We are open to suggestions and all the prayers we can get.

Okay, well please keep praying for us.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

We're Baaaack!

We had a wonderful vacation. We spent four nights in Destin, FL and two nights in Charleston, SC. It was the perfect amount of time to be away, it made us ready to be home.

Trevor starts school in two weeks and also two internships with our church. He will be a very busy man.

We are still waiting to hear if Micah will be able to get into preschool this year. He has been on a waiting list for four months and he hasn't moved. We can't apply for scholarships until he is accepted, so we are just up in the air with that. We really feel he needs a few days a week in a school setting; structured invironment, with other kids, under someone else authority other than my own if he is to start Kindergarten next fall. We shall see.

Well, Isaac is another step closer to coming home. We are on the waiting list and our documents are in route to the Ethiopian Embassy, then off to Ethiopia MOWA. I just keep hoping the wait is sooner rather than later for a referral. I just want to see his face. The child we have been praying for three years.

Speaking of three yrs. Micah had his third adoption day. We went to court three years ago on July 29th and he came home on August 3rd. I can't believe how time flies. He came home at 14mos. and 14lbs. Now, he is 4yrs and 30lbs. He contiues to blow us away with how smart, loving, cordinated he is and on and on I could go. Going through this adoption process again has helped us treasure the steps and the moments to come that much more. He makes my heart hurt with so much love. I look at him everyday and can't beleive he is ours. What a jewel. Mommy and Daddy Love YOU!