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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

No More Snow

EDIT: I've added a link to a blog I was forwarded called "confessions of a CF husband". Please PLEASE read it. This family is in need of prayer right now, and their story is amazing. If you have time, please follow the link and keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

The snow is gone. It's a sad day. We were hoping that it would snow again last night and we could have another snow day. Oh well, we're happy with the fact that we got one.

Tate slept in really late this morning, and I'm thrilled because I got to, too. I'm coming down with a cold and really needed some good sleep time. Hopefully the cold will end quickly, and Tate and Mark won't end up with it.

Mark and I have a competition going on. It's actually more of a bet, really. We're both trying to get in five good workouts this week. If we both do, then nothing really happens, we'll probably do a double or nothing thing. If only one of us does, then the winner gets to choose the next two movies we rent (usually we trade off). So far we're equal at one and one. He's got an advantage of working out at the gym where he can do anything, and I just have the treadmill, but it's ok. I'm going to get my five in, and he can worry about himself. I'm going to pick really girly movies, too because the last movie he rented was "Shoot 'em Up" and it was HORRIBLE. It was the perfect guy movie, and I hated it. I actually stopped watching after 15 minutes or so, which is something that I never do. I'm sort of Obsessive-Compulsive in that I have to finish movies, but I didn't care about this one.

Our homestudy interviews are the 5th of February (only a week from today!) at noon, and then the 14th of February we have our in home interview. We do our training day on the 16th, and then we're essentially done with 'things' and move to the waiting stage. It's getting exciting, folks!

Well, I'm off to play with Tate. He's done with breakfast and wants to read and drive his truck. He is such a boy...he makes engine sounds now when he plays with cars, it's pretty cute. OH!! Mark taught him yesterday that monkeys say "Ooh Ohh Ahh Ahh" and he's been saying that all morning, too. What a little charmer!

Have a great one!
Love,
Jenni

Monday, January 28, 2008

Thank You, Holy Spirit!

You know how sometimes sitting in a sermon you wonder if the pastor knew that he was talking directly to you? That happened yesterday, and it was so great. We tried a church a little closer to home (the church we've been attending is 35 minutes away, and the service is right smack in the middle of Tate's nap, so we've been struggling to get there and be successful). We really enjoy our small group, and are continuing to attend there.

Anyway, the sermon was on how prayer can change your life, and focused on moving to general praying to specific prayer. The focus verse was Romans 10:17, which says that "faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ." The pastor, Scott Montagne, went on to say that there are two "words" in the bible, logos and rhema. Logos is the universal word, the word of God directed to everyone. Rhema is the personal word, and that is from God to each one of us. God speaks to us personally through the Holy Spirit (John 14:26 and John 16:13) who guides and teaches us more about the Father.

Pastor Montagne also addressed how we differentiate a personal word from just a feeling. I really took this to heart because I was wondering if our desire to adopt was a "personal word" from God like I originally thought it was, or if I just took something and got a little ahead of God. In order to "test" and see if your impression or desire is really from God...

1. Make sure it agrees with the Bible.
2. All of the sudden, scripture becomes alive.

And here are the steps he gave us to pray through a difficult decision...
1. Confess any known sin in your life (John 1:9)
2. Commit the decision to Christ (Proverbs 3:5&6)
3. Ask God to fulfill his will by giving you a desire (Psalm 37:4)
4. Compare your desire with scripture (James 3:17).
5. Listen and wait for God to give you a personal word, a rhema (Colossians 3:15&16).
6. Receive the promise with confidence.
7. Move into action when you sense God saying "go".

As I am hearing this preached and taking notes, I can't help but plainly see how this adoption is our rhema from the Lord. First of all, God plainly addresses the plight of the orphan in several places (Exodus 22:22, John 14:18, and one of my personal favorites, James 1:27). As far as scripture coming alive, all I have to say is that when I was in Guatemala and my friend Carolynne read Isaiah 58, which doesn't specifically address orphans but more people bound by oppression, and I just couldn't help but fall in love with that passage. I have adopted it to be part of my life verse and I am struggling now with how to implement it my life every day. Also, while I was in Guatemala, I read through the New Testament and about half of the Old Testament, and all of the orphan passage kept jumping out at me. So when the pastor gave us those guidelines I could, and did definitely relate.

As far as the second part, I really felt like those steps are the ones Mark and I are trying to follow as we walk through the doors that God is opening for us. I kept trying to push open the international adoption door for us, but God kept closing it, and now we're here because he not only opened the door, but he put his arms around us and is walking through the door with us. Now he's asking us to wait in the living room while he goes in to make the final preparations on what glorious plan he has for us. I definitely did not see us going this way, but God has given us unmistakable direction, and we must follow! How can I doubt when all signs point to "go"?

So, yesterday was incredibly encouraging to both of us. We really needed it. Mark commented as we left that the sermon was one that just captivates, and you can't help but pay attention.

As far as today, we're snowed in! Mark tried to make it into work this morning, but he only made it about 5 feet out of our driveway. Our neighbors said we probably won't get out until Wednesday at the earliest...Tuesdays are usually our grocery days, so we'll have to see what interesting concoctions we can come up with until then! I'll let you know what sorts of things we end up making, I guess this is a good excuse to dig out the cookbook and try whatever it is in my freezer that I've been saving for a special occasion! I guess I could always make something up...Stearns' surprise, maybe? As long as I don't let Tate help we'll be fine...he's big into scratching his brain lately (picking his nose) and it's pretty gross. At least he's learning new things, right?

Ok, enough rambling for today. Have a great one!

Love,
Jenni

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Doubting Thomas

I realize it's not polite to talk about money, but it's my blog and I'm going to get this crap off my chest. If you're offended by this, then maybe you're too easily offended.

So I'm experiencing my first round of doubts about this whole adoption thing. I mean, I know in my heart and with every ounce of my being that we are doing what God has called us to do, but I am still doubting. Mostly because of the financial side of things, I think. Here's the skinny: we are getting roughly $3,000 back from taxes. That's quite a chunk of change for us. We're still renting our house in Virginia out to our good friends (love you Deb and Adam) and that has been a huge blessing for us. Now God is blessing them with the opportunity to move home to North Carolina this summer, which is where they want to settle down! I really couldn't be happier for them, they deserve every blessing and reward that God pours out on them. Anyway, we have to decide what to do with our house. I really do believe that God is going to use this situation for His glory, but it's really scary to not know what's going to happen. Our lease in this house is up in May, but we may have the chance to extend on a month by month deal. We would love that, because the house is only $950 a month, and where else can you get a deal like that?! Also, there is a possibility that another couple may move into our house right after Deb and Adam move, but they are still working out the particulars of their move from San Diego. If that falls through, we're going to go ahead and put our house on the market. I'm just scared that our monthly rent is going to go up, and that we're going to be stuck with a mortgage payment of $1250 as well.

Also, the big money is starting to be due for adoption. Here's the cost breakdown:
$50.00 Pre Application Fee
$500.00 Formal Application Fee
$100.00 For Training Day and Orientation
$1500.00 Home study Fee (Due when the paperwork is sent in)
$3500.00 Due when you are approved for adoption (a week or so after the actual home study is complete)
$15,850.00 at the time of the baby's birth.

We do have enough to meet up to the $3500.00 with our tax return. More than enough, actually (thank you, Jesus, for your provision) but I am still a little bit anxious about the whole housing/money situation.

Anyway, I was doing the dishes and going down the path of worrying about where the money is going to come from, how nice it would be to pay off the truck early with our tax return and start saving for another car, and before I knew it I was thinking "Why are we even bothering? We have a biological child. Yes, I would love to adopt more than anything, but it would be so much easier to just get knocked up again and not have to worry about a roof over our heads. Maybe we should just do that." I am surprised at how quickly the POTENTIAL problem of our finances makes me question the path that God has placed us on. I really do think the 'easy' way (I say that COMPLETELY sarcastically...pregnancy was horrible for me) of just getting pregnant is not an option for us. God has so clearly set us on this path, provided the money when we didn't think there would be enough, given us a home when we worried about where to live (twice, once in Virginia and here), and even helped us bless friends when they needed a home in Virginia, too! It's such a paradox-logically I think that things would be easier financially if we forgo adoption and save our money, but on the other hand, logically also, God is so big, and has provided thus far. Can I really doubt that he's going to provide again? Is he really going to give us another child and take away a place for us to live? I doubt it. It's just hard to get up the gusto to tighten our belts and just trust. I don't even have to do anything. I can just wait on Him to take care of it. Yet, me in my "type A"-ness would really rather DO something. It's not in my nature to wait and trust without worrying. I think, though, after reading Yancey's chapter on Job in The Bible Jesus Read, I am convinced that God cares more about our faith than he does about our present comfort and happiness. He would rather my faith grow by facing these trials (that's all I have to do-face them trusting Him to take care of it, amazing!) than just let me stay comfortable in my cold house with the pretty view.

So here I sit. Staring at the words on the page of the Bethany Fee Schedule. I know, in my heart and truthfully, in my head too, that we are supposed to be where we are. Pinching every penny. Cutting every coupon. And I know, too, that the Lord is going to work in a mighty way. Maybe he'll even bless other people through our house again. That would be so cool. I don't know what the housing situation will look like come May or June, but I have to rest in the promise that he will help us overcome the near impossibility of our situation. After all, Jesus cares dearly for the orphans, and we are following his leading in this adoption.

So, if you talk to me in the near future and I seem preoccupied, I won't be upset if you tell me to chillax. I probably will need to hear it several times. I covet your prayers, for us, our housing situation, our marriage (things get a little more stressful when finances are tight), Tate, Sam, Sam's birthmom, Stephen in Hawaii, and Guatemala. I know it's a long list, but you're tough. You're up for it.

Praying for you too,
Jenni

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blessings

I hope you had a great long weekend! We sure did! We went to Oregon to work on the StearnsGroup milling business that we've started. There were several Maple trees down at Winema, and we were able to get permission to have them. That was pretty awesome. I think Mark and John (Mark's brother) calculated about 500 board feet. That will be nice when it's dried and we can sell it! It was a lot of fun to see the nieces and nephews, too. They are getting so big. Dylan and Deryk are already 8, Riley will be 5 on Sunday, and Bryce and Bryan are 3! It's been fun living close because they actually remember us when we come visit them, and they don't have to spend the first half of the visit getting comfortable around us all over again. My favorite quote from the weekend came from Riley. I said to her "Riley, you know that with your blue eyes and Tate's blue eyes you look like you could be brother and sister." Riley looked at me and rolled the pretty blue eyes as she said "Auntie Jenni, I already have a MILLION brothers, so what I need is a sister!" I laughed until I cried it was so funny! She really does want a sister, but told me she would be happy with another girl cousin, too. Tate loved his time with his cousins, too, but his favorite was seeing Auntie Katie. He's got a huge crush on her, and it's so obvious! He always reaches for her, and smiles his gap tooth smile when she looks at him. I'm pretty thrilled with his first crush, because it shows that he has good taste! It really was a great weekend with family, now if only the Baxter clan was closer...:)

We also got to spend time with both sets of my grandparents. They are all doing fairly well, and it's fun to see how much they love watching Tate develop. It can be a little overwhelming at times with so much family in the area, but they are all very understanding about seeing everyone and that makes it a bunch easier to handle. Plus, you can never be too loved, right?

I got to talk to my brother yesterday! He's in Hawaii on a YWAM school/mission program. He's heading to Nepal in early April and couldn't be more thrilled about it. I got teary on the phone yesterday because he's grown up so much in the couple of weeks that he's been there. It's so encouraging to hear him talk about his mission and get excited about it, even though it's going to be long and difficult. He is so spiritually grounded right now. I love it. He is doing incredibly well, even if he misses Phoebe (his girlfriend) like crazy. I am so overjoyed to hear the Holy Spirit working in his life. It's just plain amazing how God opened the doors for him to attend, and how he's changing his heart while he's there.

OH YES! I almost forgot. IT WAS A FLUKE!!! Tate is the proud owner of three new molars, and I believe that is what had him up so early. He has been sleeping much better since Friday, and, as I'm sure you can imagine, I couldn't be happier. It's the little things, ya know?!

Ok, I'm off to do some laundry from the weekend. I hope you all are well.

Love,
Jenni

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Well folks, I don't think it's a fluke, so it must be on it's way to being a habit. The norm. Regular. Routine. Everyday. Common. Expected. Usual. Standard. Typical.

Yes, Tate has decided to begin each of the last three days between the hours of 5:30 and 6:30. We've tried keeping him up later, but it didn't change much. I'm still holding out hope that maybe it's just a 'this week' thing, and next week we'll be back to 8:00...or even 7:30. I'd love that.

It's been a busy but productive day at the Stearns house. I cleaned out the fridge, did about 5 loads of laundry (not impressive in and of itself, but they are all folded and put away, which is amazing for us), oxycleaned our couches, cleaned our carpets, and rearranged Tate's room. I guess you could say that I was on a mission today. I did take several breaks to entertain Tate, so it wasn't like he was happy and he loves the new set up of his room. Maybe that will help him sleep better...

Anyway, sorry for the lack of info...I guess not every day is exciting.

Happy (almost) Friday, and have a wonderful long weekend!

Love,
Jenni

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The One Thing

I just finished an incredible book by Johanna Weaver called Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. Every chapter cut to the core and was very, VERY convicting for me. Even if you aren't "type A" as I tend to be, I highly recommend this book. I think every woman should read it and take the message to heart. Anyway, the reason I bring it up is because she talks about not getting overwhelmed with everything, but just continually praying, asking God for the "one thing" that you are supposed to be doing right now. That prayer has really been transforming how I spend my days. I have been more apt to say, "OK, Tate, you want to read a story now? Let's do it!" Instead of telling him he needs to wait until I finish wiping off the counter, finish typing this email, or whatever I was deeming more important at the moment. While I do need to finish those things, I found myself putting him off while I was conquering the house or my to-do list. I don't always feel like I need to drop everything for him-he does need to learn to be patient sometimes, but focusing on what one thing God wants me to do right now is giving me freedom to really embrace whatever it is that I am doing. It's refreshing.

So, enough with the insight.

My morning started a lot earlier than it normally does. Tate decided at 5:30 (yes, a.m.) that it was time to RISE AND SHINE. Yes, folks, that's how he does it...go big or go home. He was laughing and talking in his bed, and when Mark went in to put him back down, he stood up and said in his sweet, but loud voice, "Dada, HIIII!" I was surprised because this kid is a very slow waker upper (kind of like his dad) and usually we don't hear from him until 8:00 or so. I confess, I kind of like it that way. I could lie and say it's because I can get up and get stuff done (which I am trying to do, my goal is to be up by 7:00 every weekday morning. I've made it this week), but in the past, I just plain enjoy sleeping in until 8:00. The good thing is that he is already down for a nap, so I was able to do my devotion and work on cleaning a bit. I have one more load of laundry to fold and then we're laundry free until Thursday. I try to only do laundry on Monday and Thursday so I don't continually feel the need to do a load if the hamper gets full. I do diapers more often, but that's not so bad.

Mark and I have been praying a lot for our birthmom lately. We just both really felt strongly that it's time to amp up our prayers in that department. We've spent so much time praying for the baby, and really, it's the birthmom whose life is going to forever be changed. We know that our child will be raised in a loving Christian home and be introduced to Christ, but we don't know about the birthmom. We've been hoping and praying that if she doesn't know Christ that we can plant the seeds for her salvation, and if she does, that we can help strengthen her walk with the Lord. I cannot imagine what she must be going through right now. I am assuming that she is already pregnant or will be soon, and I remember so vividly how difficult pregnancy was, and I had incredible support with my family, friends, and of course, Mark (even though he was gone for about 1/2 of it). If you could please remember her in your prayers we would appreciate it. She has got to be going through the most difficult season in her life, and covering her in prayer is the best thing we can do for her. Mark and I have committed to be fasting after we have our final homestudy meeting until our child (Sam-more on why we chose that pregnancy name later) is born. I am going to fast Monday and Tuesday breakfast and dinner, and all day Wednesday. Mark is going to fast Wednesday dinner, and Thursday and Friday breakfast and lunch, and we will both do all day Saturday, and both eat on Sundays. We really want to be focused on the Lord during our waiting time. We did feel, however, that our dinners together are a time when we talk and share, and so we are going to continue them except for Wednesday and Saturday. On those days we will pray together for our family, the adoption, Sam, and the birthparents and birthfamilies. I hope you don't see this as a brag or a cry for attention. I am trying to be as open as possible about the process and how we are seeking God in it-not so much for anyone else, but more for us and Sam as s/he gets older. I plan on printing off the blog stuff and putting it in the baby book so Sam knows how much love and prayer surrounded his/her joining our family.

As far as the name Sam goes, Tate's pregnancy name was Pat...you know, it's Pat...you could never tell if it was a man or woman. We thought we'd continue in the tradition of gender neutral names and chose Sam because it can be used either way. Nothing earth shattering, but we think it's kinda fun.

Well, since Tate's sleeping I really should go and get some stuff done. I know when he wakes up he's going to want to read Buzz and Woody again (I am SO tired of that book, but he loves it). Since he won't always be this young and love to read on my lap, I will indulge him (and myself, I love that he wants to spend time with me!)

Love always,
Jenni

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Week in Review


Happy Sunday night.


Sorry it's been so long. It was kind of a rough week at the Stearns' house. Tate is getting more and more assertive every day, and his assertiveness manifests itself in throwing toys, head butting, and throwing tantrums. It's been a real test of patience dealing with him. When he throws toys he isn't necessarily being naughty, but he loves to go through all of his toys before he chooses which one to play with. It's just been kind of difficult to deal with him this week. Exhausting, to say the least.


Teaching has gone well. It was difficult on Monday, but I was able to see what the kids remembered and that was the goal of the day. Wednesday was a lot better, and the kids learned the seasons: el verano (summer), el otono (autumn), la primavera (spring) and el invierno (winter). We also learned the holidays celebrated in each season. I had the kids play a matching game where they each got a flashcard of either a season or holiday and they had to find their partner by saying in Spanish what they were and for whom they were looking. They did well and had fun.


As far as adoption goes, we finished our paperwork, sent it in and our interviews are set up for late January and early February. We have to meet individually with our social worker at the agency, and the week after that she comes out to our house. Tate and I still have to do the doctor's appointments, so we'll see how long that will take. Typically Navy docs are REALLY backed up and it's not unusual to have to wait 3 months for something like a regular checkup.


Mark's parents came over this weekend, and we really enjoyed our time together. I learned how to use my sewing machine (that Vicki gave me) and I am so excited to start making fleece hats and mittens. I plan on putting them in the gift shop that is selling my other crochet and knit pieces. The pattern I got is really cute, but I think we're going to make a couple of improvements. I'll post pictures when we've got a set finished.


Oh yes! Quite possibly the highlight of my week is that we now have a fire place insert, so our house isn't so frigid anymore! It's so nice to have warmth. Hopefully it will save money on our electricity bill, too. Mark also got me a half cord of wood, so I'm ready for the cold days of winter. Bring it on, Jack Frost!


Other than that, life just goes on. Mark is watching 3:10 to Yuma and I am crocheting a hat and scarf for my only niece, Riley, for her fifth birthday at the end of the month. I really am horrible with remembering birthdays, so that is one of my New Year's Resolutions. I even have a nifty calendar to help me remember.


Well, I guess that's it for now. Sorry I don't have anything profound to write, but sometimes that's the way it goes. I hope you're all well!


Love,

Jenni
PS Enjoy the picture of my little terror!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you THE LIST

Personality
1. Describe your personality; include what you view as your strengths and weaknesses.
2. What significant events or experiences have shaped your personality?
3. Describe a personal achievement which gave you satisfaction.
4. List some personal goals for yourself and your family.
Childhood and Family of Origin
1. Describe the family you grew up in, including relationships among family members.
2. What were the positive and negative qualities of your family?
3. Describe the values, traditions, and expectations you feel your parents attempted to instill in you?
4. Describe you parent's relationship to each other both when you were young and today.
5. What kind of child were you? How did you spend your time? Who were your friends? What are your most pleasant childhood memories and the most unhappy memories?
6. What methods of discipline did your parents use?
7. Describe you educational experience.
Marriage
1. How did you meet your spouse? What attracted you to him/her? How are you alike? How are you different?
2. What strengths do you bring to the marriage? What strengths does your partner bring to the marriage?
3. How has your relationship changed since the "honeymoon"? What do you admire most about your spouse now?
4. What are your common interests and activities?
5. What are your main areas for disagreement? Do you and your spouse agree on spending and saving?
6. How do you settle differences of opinion or disagreements with each other?
7. How have you divided family responsibilities such as wage earning, household jobs and childcare?
8. What are your relationships with each other's families?
9. What role does your physical relationship play in your marriage?
Previous Marriage/Significant Relationship
1. Please describe the circumstances of any previous marriage or significant relationship.
2. What did you learn from this experience?
3. How do you feel this experience has affected your current marriage?
4. Were there any children as a result of this previous marriage? If so, what is your relationship with them now?
Work History
1. Please list all previously held jobs indicating years spent at each job (include dates).
Children
1. If you have children already please describe their personalities and interests.
2. How do you think a child (or another child) will impact your life?
3. What strengths and experiences do you have that will help you be a good parent?
4. What will be your methods of discipline? What do you feel are important characteristics of good discipline?
5. What qualities, values, and character would you like to develop in your children and how do you plan on promoting these?
Adoption
1. When did you first start thinking about adoption and why?
2. Do you and your spouse feel the same way about adopting? Who initiated action?
3. How do you extended family and friends feel about adoption?
4. What is your view of birthparents?

Each of the parents is to complete their own self study. Emphasis should be on your feelings and reactions to people and events, not just the events themselves.

So, there you have it. We've finished ours, and it's nice to be done with it. As you can see, each question is very personal and required quite a bit of thought.

Well, I've got to cut this short because I've got a ton to do today. We were sick this weekend, and so clutter has built up. I also start teaching this afternoon, so if you think of it, shoot up a prayer for me!

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, January 4, 2008

It's Official, We're Green

We've officially made the move to cloth diapers. I know it's not a huge deal to anyone else, but it's a pretty major change in our way of life. I'm going to be changing more diapers every day, as well as doing more loads of laundry. It is worth it though, for us. I'm on a big environmental kick right now (I am a biologist by trade, after all) and I am excited to be using something that is a bit more Eco-friendly. I was hesitant to make the move to cloth diapers, but after reviewing the costs (http://www.diaperdecisions.com/cost_of_cloth_diapers.htm) we decided it was worth it.

We actually decided on cloth diapering a few weeks ago, but I had yet to buy them. I was at the store a few days ago and saw them there, so I did an impulse buy. It was 12 of them for 10.99, so after just 5 washes we will have made up the cost. Anyway, I knew that once I bought them I would use them because I have a problem with waste. My family would verify that I have a problem with waste, as most of their Christmas presents were wrapped in left over boxes of some kind. Stephen's shirt was in a cereal box, Mark's shirts were in a Triscuit box and a Saltines box. I just couldn't justify buying boxes when we had perfectly good ones at the house. My Mom showed me how to fold the diapers last night, so now we're hooked! I'm neurotic, I know.

Well, I just wanted to share our news. I know it's not exciting, but I'm glad we made the change. We're on a tight budget so that we can afford this adoption, and I feel like this is one more thing I can do to save us money. There are days that I struggle with the fact that I'm not bringing in any money, so when I can do things like this I feel like I'm contributing more. I know it's silly, but sometimes it's the little things, ya know?

Other than that, I start my job on Monday. I'm a Spanish instructor for Foreign Language for Youth, and I will be teaching first graders twice a week for an hour. I'm really looking forward to it! I'll be working after school is out, so Mark will be home to watch Tate. God has been so good in opening this door for us. It gives me the chance to use my Spanish, and I don't have to put Tate is daycare, and it is bringing in more money for this adoption. It's so great how it's all working out.

On an important side note, I am sorry if I reference money a lot. We really feel that God is opening the doors for our adoption in every way, but especially financially. We sat down and did a budget after Mark got home, and were surprised to see that it's actually financially possible to adopt. The costs are $21,500 which is no small amount, but we have such a peace about it. There is an adoption tax credit for about $11,000 the year you finalize, and several organizations do interest free loans for that amount. On top of that, when we did our budget we realized how much we can save. It will take a miracle for us to make all of it by ourselves, but God is so huge! Plus, there are grants out there, and I just got the Spanish job, and I started a "company" to sell my crochet and knit projects called H.O.P.E. by Design (Helping Others Provide la Esperanza). A store near our house took all of my inventory and is selling them there, and I'm thinking about opening an Ebay store. Mark is also turning pens on the lathe, and we'll probably get some of those into the store as well. So, anyway, I feel like God is going to open the doors in a big way, and I feel the need to be financially responsible so that we are good stewards of what God is giving us. So, if anyone reads this and wants to help hold us accountable, I would be more than happy to have that. Mark and I really want to be an open book in all areas, but especially financially since it can be a downfall for so many.

Sorry for the long post, I guess I had a lot on my mind. I hope your first few days of 2008 have been wonderful!

Love always,
Jenni, Mark and Tate

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2008!

What an busy and exciting year we have ahead of us. There will be some major changes that happen this year, including Mark getting out of the Navy and joining us in civilian life (yay!), another move for whatever job he gets (possibly), starting a new timber business on the side with the other Stearnses, and, of course, a new baby (we're hoping it's this year, at least). We're very excited to see what the Lord brings our way, but I would be lying if I didn't admit to times of anxiety over just how much change we'll be experiencing. But, that's how we roll...every few of years we have a big year. The last one was 2006, so we're a little bit early, but I think we'll survive.

Tate had a great Christmas and New Year. Right now he is smiling at me while he brushes his teeth. He loves to brush his teeth, he thinks it's the best thing ever. Anyway, Tate made quite a haul on his Christmas gifts and we have been reading his new books about 29 times every day. He is also playing on his new mini car things (they make noise...yipee), and he is quite fond of his sit-n-spin. He just doesn't sit, it's a stand-n-spin for him. We've tried to teach him to sit, but he won't so we've decided to just move everything else out of the way so when he falls he won't hurt himself too badly. Some things I guess have to be learned by experience.

As far as the adoption goes, we've got everything done for our home study except our doctors appointments, which we still have to schedule. We'll be heading over to Snohomish tomorrow and will drop our home study documents off then. I'll post the questions we each had to fill out tomorrow...it's quite invasive, but I understand the reason for the in depth look at us. It is the agency's fault if they place a kid with us and we do bad things. It's to cover their own butts.

Well, I just got done running. I should hop in the shower. Mark and I both accomplished our New Years Resolutions last year by losing about 30 pounds each. I have 10 to 15 more to lose, and Mark wants to lose about 20 more, so we bought a treadmill. I'll keep you posted on how that goes. I did 3 miles today and it was awfully hard for some reason, but I think it will get easier.

Wishing you all a great start to 2008!