Saturday, June 30, 2007

Can you say "Dinner"?

DH's first attempt at catching crabs in our new crab trap. Just a few more and we should be talking fresh Crab Salad!!!

UPDATE: We cooked and picked four crabs tonight (Sunday) and have about 1 cup of meat. Yippee!

Updated Update! We "captured" 3 more beautiful, huge blue crabs and have added them to our original 4. We did the seasoned boil and froze our bounty as we will be celebrating the 4th with the kids, grandkids and friends at our daughter Leaa's home. Life is good. I can only hope we always appreciate the blessings in our life.
Peace everyone - Happy 4th of July!!!


Catching up on News - The Read's



During our vacation trip to Missouri, we visited friends, Jim and Cliff in Knoxville. It was a quick visit but we did get to see their new property and where they will build their home. The "garage" is partially built with a very wide concrete pad in order to drive the cars and tractors around it. The lake is beautiful and I am sure they will be thrilled when all is finally built out.

We had decided not to stay very long, so Jim gave us some snacks and sent us on our way. Jim was one of our referrals for our China adoption. He's a great person and friend.

We heard from them and about their planned trip to our area. Hope to have a fun visit with them soon.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Song To Share

This one could hurt a bit but it's oh so real...

I Would Die For That by Kellie Coffey

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

China Ghosts: My Daughter's Journey to America, My Passage to Fatherhood

Listen as NPR host Terry Gross interviews Jeff Gammage.

Journalist Jeff Gammage and his wife have adopted two daughters from China; now Gammage, a staff writer at The Philadelphia Inquirer, has written a book about the experience. It's called China Ghosts: My Daughter's Journey to America, My Passage to Fatherhood.

But Really, Who's Counting???


  • In the United States, the age at which one may donate blood and join the military voluntarily.

  • In the United States, the age at which one may view R-rated movies without a parent's accompaniment according to MPAA standards.

  • In Ireland and the United Kingdom, the age at which one may drive a car.

  • The age of the "Dancing Queen" in the hit ABBA song of the same name.

  • "Seventeen" was the original name of The Beatles song "When I Saw Her Standing There".

  • "At Seventeen", a popular song by Janis Ian.

  • "Edge of Seventeen", a song by Stevie Nicks.

  • Number Seventeen (1932), directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

  • Stalag 17 (1953), directed by Billy Wilder.

  • In the Harry Potter universe, 17 is the coming of age for wizards. It is equivalent to the usual coming of age at 18.

  • The retired jersey number of former baseball pitching great Dizzy Dean. Go Cardinals!

  • Described at MIT as 'the most random number', according to hackers' lore. This is supposedly because in a study where respondents were asked to choose a random number from 1 to 20, 17 was the most common choice.

  • The number to call Police in France.

  • US 17 (also known as the Ocean Highway) is a north-south United States highway. The highway spans the Atlantic Coast for much of its length from Florida to Virginia.

  • The length of time Alyson and Ford have been LID.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Crab Trap - Back in the Seafood Hunt

We had a crab trap but it eventually dissolved in the brackish waters of the St. Johns River!

Here's our new one.

Notice the gator orange & blue! Go Gators! Now where did I put my Martha Stewart crab picking instructions.....?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

What Do You Think?

You’re in an Indian restaurant looking forward to a fabulous curry dinner. Your server is African-American.

You’re traveling through Carolina country and decide to stop for some slow cooked pork barbeque. Yummmmm. Your server is Asian.

You’re in St. Louis visiting family and they take you to the “Hill” for what is sure to be a fantastic Italian dinner. Your server is British.

You’re in Ybor City with the Latin music pulsing through your veins and the smells of a cabaña dinner occupying your every thought. Your server is Russian.

You’re in the Deep South craving genuine soul food and find the perfect off the beaten track, sure to please hole in the wall diner. Your server is a Yankee.

You starting to get the picture here?

Would the fact that your server, in what you perceive to be an ethnic or at the very least culturally inspired restaurant, impact your dining experience if the server didn’t live up to your perceived ethnic/cultural representation of the food? Would it? Has it? Crazy?

So here’s the twist. This morning we’re sitting in a small groups study class at church. Somehow or another in answering one of the questions a lady in our group remarked how her son is having a hard time finding a job. Then she relates how he applied for a job at one of the businesses in the Food Court at one of our local malls but didn’t get the job.

She thinks he may not have gotten the job because he wasn’t Chinese. You'll have to use your own imagination to figure out what kind of restaurant this was.

Aly and I didn’t say a word. In fact, we didn’t even look at each other. I had my thoughts and as it were, so did Aly. I remember cringing at the time. I remember thinking: Should this offend me? I remember thinking of Alyzabeth An..... For the record, this person asks us how our adoption is going every Sunday.

Question to you all.

Would her statement have upset you and if so, why? Assuming you would have, how would you have responded to her assertion that her son was not hired because he wasn’t Chinese? And finally, please hold the Christian bashing if you’re so inclined. An evil heart wasn’t at work here and anyway; it’s hard enough being human without having to defend the fallibility's of the human soul…

Peace
fm

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Abandonment Trends in China

If you are interested in the details of China's baby abandonment issues, read this blog - he always has great insight, research and explanations.

Research-China
Essays from my experiences researching China's orphanages. My intent is to educate adoptive parents about Chinese culture, China adoptions and aspects of their child's early life in China. To be notified of new postings, e-mail me. Also visit research-china.org.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Visiting with the Grands

On our way back from a trip to Enterprise and Orlando over the past three days, we stopped in to see Kilee and Alivia this afternoon. What fun to see both of them playing together.

Alivia
Kilee

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Prayer for the "Enemy"

I have had problems with handling situations where people (actually only one or two) have seemed to be so opposed to my leadership that I have had to take a step back and seek the Lord for help. A church friend sent me a prayer over a year ago that would have you ask for the problem(s) to become a problem for God to carry for you, in essence, to release our problem(s) to God. To ask for His will be done.

In my case, after one year, the problem I had been tormented by was fully resolved. I truly believe my attitude in knowing I was trying my best followed by my asking God for help, directly led to a reduced stress level and an improved capability on my part to address the situation. I placed my problem in God's hands and embraced my faith for His resolution. With that came a peace that is very hard to describe.

This is something new that may help you when you are overwhelmed by "enemies".


Prayer for Enemy
Prayer Regarding Critics and Enemies by Serbian Orthodox Bishop
Nikolai Velimirovic, Serbian bishop who spoke out against Naziism, was arrested, and taken to Dachau.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them. Enemies have driven me into your embrace more than friends have.
Friends have bound me to earth; enemies have loosed me from earth and have demolished all my aspirations in the world.
Enemies have made me a stranger in worldly realms and an extraneous inhabitant of the world.
Just as a hunted animal finds safer shelter than an unhunted animal does, so have I, persecuted by enemies, found the safest sanctuary, having ensconced myself beneath Your tabernacle, where neither friends nor enemies can slay my soul.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless and do not curse them.
They, rather than I, have confessed my sins before the world. They have punished me, whenever I have hesitated to punish myself. They have tormented me, whenever I have tried to flee torments. They have scolded me, whenever I have flattered myself. They have spat upon me, whenever I have filled myself with arrogance.
Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.
Here's some more help if you have similar problems....

He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. - Psalm 37:6

As a believer grows in trusting obedience and love, God often brings a test that seems uncharacteristically cruel.
The test: being wrongfully judged by those close to you. It is not for the reactionary. It cannot be passed over by simply gutting it out. Supernatural grace is the only means of passing this one.
It is one of those tests the Savior had to experience Himself when being tried by the court of public opinion, the religious community, and the government of His day. His response to the government was silence. His response to the religious establishment was silence at the final judgment. To the rest of His accusers He remained quiet and left vindication to the Father. He lived the commandment He gave to the disciples:

"But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked" (Luke 6:35).

How do you react when you are accused or mistreated for no reason?
Do you listen quietly, or do you justify each and every action?
Most of us take pride in doing what is right and expect the same from others, especially our brothers and sisters in the faith.
Jesus knew that if you were to be a true follower of His, you would enter this test eventually. It is part of the program. The workplace gives ample opportunity to be wronged, misunderstood, and maligned. When God brings a measured assault against one of His children, it is to find out if he truly believes in the cross. The cross is where each of us is given the opportunity to die to our pride, our reputations, and our ego. When He allows a measured assault upon us, it is to find out if the cross is sufficient. He wants to see if we will seek to rescue ourselves. Jesus said if we die with Him, we will be raised with Him. When God allows satan to bring the measured assault, ask God for the grace to cling to the cross. Let the pride and arrogance that Jesus wants to remove from our lives be crucified. Thank God for the opportunity to be crucified with Christ. Then your righteousness will shine like the noonday sun and the justice of your cause will be in His hands.

From Prime Time with God

Thanks be to God!
Alyson

Monday, June 18, 2007

Paul Potts

I'm not certain if everyone is aware of the talent show across the big pond called Britain's Got Talent. It's the show that gave American Idol its beginning. Simon Cowell is one of the three judges that most of you are more likely familiar with.

Have you heard of Paul Potts? He is this years Britain's Got Talent winner. I just wanted to share a small clip lifted from youtube with you. I have every reason to believe that after watching the video you too will be convinced you will have just witnessed a truly remarkable, undiscovered talent from the south of Wales....

Enjoy Paul Potts

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sunday - Father's Day Continues.....

Ford has been feeling poorly with a bad summer cold so we declined any family outing with the kids and grands. We are having a quiet day today after church. Cousin Carolyn and myself and DH enjoyed a slow putt-putt on the river. Such a beautiful day. Now to rest and relax and get healthy.......


Sunday Morning - Sunrise with Cousin



Beautiful, calm, sunny morning!

Carolyn was out on the dock taking pictures of the manatees; I didn't go out for a long time as to not disturb them. She swam in the river to get a closer look.

We also have crabs hanging around; check out three of them clinging to the dock piling - just wait until we get our new crab trap this week - yummy!

Happy Father's Day!


To honor my DH, soon to be a Dad again with a new Chinese daughter, to my Dad (since passed December 2006) and to my FIL, Ford's Dad.
To all our family's Dad's: George, Ryan, Justin, Jesse, Carl, Werner, Bill, Ben, Luke, Chris, Matt S., Mike, Michael, Mark, Rhett, Stan, Matt R., Phillip ...............
And to Carolyn's Dad - Cuz!
Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Product Review - All Natural

I am using these products so thought I would pass on how pleased I am with the lotions and cleansers. They were a birthday gift from my sister who is also trying out this new line for her DH's web business. I am not a professional reviewer of products so this will be a rookie attempt.

The bottle is a great design for "one hand" dispensing; has a very easy pump button and squirts out in smallish amounts so no over putting on the product.

The citrus smell is so light and refreshing. You just smile when you smooth it on legs, arms and face. Yep, I love it on my face and am using it daily. Have you smelled citrus trees blooming and the smell is almost too strong and sweet? This is nothing like that. It is a pure bright fragrance that is not sweet.

Harpswell Naturals use nothing but the finest natural ingredients. Their formulations are paraben free and use a fragrance derived from all natural extracts that preserve formulations naturally. These fragrances ensure product stability and stimulate the sensory organs naturally. Harpswell Naturals are body care products that are actually good for you!

It contains allantoin to soften and heal skin by rejuvenating skin cells. Sweet almond oil, and shea butter preserve skin from moisture loss. Fucoidan, found in Maine rock weed is quickly absorbed leaving your skin feeling clean, refreshed, and more hydrated. Chamomile sooths irritated skin leaving legs & underarms silky smooth.

The business charges a handling fee of $6.95 for orders under $75 (no shipping or handling fee if over $75) so stock up on some of these goodies for gifts. Overall the price is definitely higher than discount or quantity lotions. These are all natural and using just the right amount will make it last longer than you think. I have been using my bottle for 5 weeks now and have used about 25% of the bottle. Enjoy!! Check out this product at Maine Goodies.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Patience - Living the Moment to the Fullest

Found this at The Shrader Family blog. Very nice reminder to live life each day with all the gusto we can muster, whether preparing for Alyzabeth, working at our paying jobs, taking care of our possessions and loving our families!

Patience is a hard discipline.
It is not just waiting until something happens over which we have no control: the arrival of the bus, the end of the rain, the return of a friend, the resolution of a conflict.
Patience is not waiting passively until someone else does something.
Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient, we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later, and somewhere else. Let's be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand."
Henri J.M.Nouwen

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Seeing the Beauty Around Us

SavvyThinker has me thinking about what I would show you if you visited us in NE Florida...

My cousin is back for a visit mainly to see about teaching in the school system in our area. She is from Maine so this will be a huge change for her. So what will I show her of the NE Florida area?

We love the beaches at St. Augustine. You can drive on the beach, park your car, lay in the sun, frolic in the surf, order a lunch to go (or bring a picnic) and drink your favorite beverage too. We have the advantage of being able to use my cousin's condo facilities when not in residence during the summer months. We rarely go over to the beach so when we do it is a special treat to show it off.

Jacksonville is not a tourist destination. It does have some very cool things to see and do if you consider the entire "First Coast" area. Here's a great place to check out Jacksonville's beauty.

Jacksonville has a great sports history with the University of Florida in Gainesville and the University of Georgia Bulldogs. Jacksonville hosts their annual rival football game. Often, to the dismay of some, "The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party." The Jacksonville Jaguars have been fairly successful (compared to past new NFL franchises) and we have the beautiful new stadium. We host the annual ACC Football Gator Bowl Classic each year which is exciting depending on which teams make it - a great college football event. Jacksonville also has the very fast growing University of North Florida, also a great school with a growing reputation as an excellent college. Some of you die hard sports fans may even remember our very own Jacksonville University Dolphins who made it to the NCAA Division I basketball championship some years back. We also host college division 1 men's basketball elimination rounds held here.
What else? Two top 10 national ranked public schools; Stanton and Paxon along with Douglas Anderson and a private school juggernaut, Bolles.
Stunning museum? Try Cummer Art Museum.
The Jacksonville Suns double AA baseball team (Los Angeles Dodgers).
More on Jacksonville.........
Here's some history about Jacksonville from the HelloJacksonville web site.
More than 6000 years ago, the area was inhabited by the Timucuan Indians. In 1562 the first European expedition was conducted by French Huguenot explorer Jean Ribalt along the St Johns River and established Fort Caroline on a high bluff. The Spanish arrived in 1565 and occupied Florida; in 1763, it ceded Florida to England. In the 1800’s Florida became a winter escape for wealthy northerners, and by 1860 there were weekly steamboat trips between Savannah, Charleston and Jacksonville. Indigo, sugar and citrus crops were produced on drained marshlands. The county was named in 1822 for the first territorial governor of Florida, William Pope DuVal, and the city was named after the future 7th U.S. President, Andrew Jackson. The Civil War and the Spanish-American War of 1898 brought destruction to the area, and changed owners several times; however, the arrival of the railroad in 1895 brought a great economic boom. The Great Fire of 1901 destroyed the business district, but with the city’s reconstruction in the early 1900’s, the motion picture industry, seeking a warmer climate, established over 30 studios. Revitalization again brought prosperity.

During WWII, Naval Air Station Jacksonville was established and was used as a training center. It is located near the Port of Jacksonville at the mouth of the St Johns River. In 1992 it combined operations with the Naval Air Station and is now called Naval Station Mayport. It’s the third largest naval facility in the continental United States.

We have lived in Florida for over 25 years now, but Maine & Missouri is where our childhood memories are from. We love our home States, but what is not to love about Northeast Florida? It's not Miami or Orlando but it does carry its own unique appeal...

Friday, June 08, 2007

Shuttle - Take-Off

You may barely be able to see the shuttle "tail"; it was a great sight to see tonight.
May Godspeed a safe journey back to earth.



Every Adoption is a "Special Needs" (SN)

I enjoy reading the blog Our Moment in Time. I think you will easily relate to her words on the "Wait".

Especially so as they too anxiously "Wait" for new daughter Amelia.

Be sure to check out her link to this blog's article about why all adoptions are like a SN adoption. Quite the perspective for those of us adopting NSN.

Or go directly to Jiaozi.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Referral Cutoff Date Is November 7

First off, Congratulations to all the families receiving their referrals. For those still living "The Wait"; It is what it is... Hang in there! We're all going to celebrate a Referral Day of our own eventually. Really we will!

Peace

The CCAA has finished the review of the adoption application documents registered with our office before March 31, 2006.

The CCAA has finished the placement of children for the families whose adoption application documents were registered with our office before November 7, 2005.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Cousin Carolyn's Visit




Having fun visiting with cousin Carolyn and her niece Kayla (both from Maine).

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Adoption Wait - So Slow......

This is a great message and since DH left a comment about it, the message connects well with our adoption situation and about our faith in God.

The Firehouse Journal

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Family Music - Leaa & Jesse - Crazy

It has been a while since we shared some family music with you. So, we're sharing. The song is Crazy, sorry Patsy Cline fans not that Crazy but the one by Gnarls Barkley.



We hope you enjoy our DD Leaa and our SIL Jesse as they perform their magic on Crazy.

Enjoy...

TS Barry - Heading Our Way! Rain YEA!!



We have had rain for most of the past 12 hours - it has been the best kind - a slow drizzle.


TS Barry - you are a great help to all of Florida. Did I tell you my DH's first name is Barry?

UPDATE: Tropical Depression BARRY Was Losing Characteristics of a Tropical Depression...At 5 PM EDT, Tropical Depression BARRY was near Jacksonville Florida. After moving over land, Barry was rapidly losing tropical characteristics and the Natinoal Hurricane Center has issued the last Tropical Depression advisoriy. The remnants of Barry are expected to bring 2 to 4 inches of rain along the southeast U.S. seaboard.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Tropical Storm BARRY!


Heading our way! Yes, we need rain - very badly. Do we need a hurricane - No!


Adoption Process - CCAA Matching

Since the wait is so long, we are re-hashing our life as affected by the international adoption process, specifically, China's.
We wrote (back in September 2005 - January 2006) many times about how we began with the selection of the adoption agency, why we selected CCAI, gathering the documents for the dossier, what China requires, the Social worker review, homestudy report and what good 'ole USA requires for bringing Alyzabeth into the country as a new citizen (filing the I-600), the dossier is ready and sent to China (DTC), the review room, the matching room, finally getting the "referral" and then the travel authorization, then the trip to China!
I left out a few steps but that has the major steps. Our most recent post about our journey still says it all.

Here's a good source of information from Rumor Queen about her opinion on the long wait.
It is only her opinion on the numbers, so accuracy isn't that important as the concept she describes.