Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Our Daughter...

was born Friday, April 25th at 12:18 am. Exactly 2 years ago, the day we brought C home. She's a little peanut - weighing 5 pounds exactly and she was 18 inches long. We are with family now until we have clearance to head back home, hopefully at the end of this week or at the beginning of next. I can't post photos until TPR, but thank you SO MUCH for your comments and prayers!!

C is doing well - he doesn't like when we've had to leave him, but he's had fun with grandma and he likes to ask for "sister" and look at her and point out her eyes and nose. The first time he saw her his whole face lit up in a beautiful smile. I will never forget seeing that.

We are so in love!! :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

As for God, His way is perfect

A few weekends ago I had the opportunity to play for a wedding - I didn't personally know the couple, though I met the groom at the rehearsal I had with their friend who was singing for the wedding. The bride taught at a local Catholic high school and the chaplain of the school was the celebrant for the Mass. It was wonderful to see the many students who came to see her get married. The homily was absolutely beautiful. The priest mentioned the percentage of couples who now actually get married -- about 30%. He reminded this couple that they will be a strong witness. They should be the couple who, when friends of theirs are struggling, they will be sought for advice. For how to make it work. For how to accept challenges and crosses.

Weddings are so beautiful when the couple has put God at the center of their relationship. I think for those of you married, being at another wedding makes you remember your own. The vows you took. How your husband looked that day - how excited you felt as you began your vocation as a wife. The dreams you had. My dreams of course centered around the family we planned to have. The many children we prayed God would bless us with. For so many years we had to wait.

I also received an email last Friday from the farm where we purchase milk and meats when we are visiting my parents. The farmer had an email this week dedicated to his family and in particular his son who is engaged. The story of how the couple met clearly had God's hand all over it. Included was a photo of their engagement announcement. The scripture on the announcement was from Psalm 18.

"As for God, His way is perfect."

How fitting a verse for our second child.

We have been chosen again by a birthmother to be parents. Her due date was originally May 11- Mother's Day of all days - but the birthmother is going to be induced tomorrow- April 24th. Exactly two years ago, that was the day we received "the call" about C.

C will soon be able to wear the "Big Brother" t-shirt we picked out last week.

As I read the email from the farmer, those dreams I had as a bride and as a new wife came to mind. I thought I knew the course my path would take as mother. I didn't. It was hard. It was excruciating. It was anger and sadness and frustration and so many emotions all at once. But because eventually I stopped fighting, and asked what He wanted and not what I wanted, our family is about to change and grow again. His way often permits suffering.

I am also aware that we are again in the middle of Infertility Awareness Week. As joyful and hopeful that I am about this little girl, my heart breaks again for those of you still waiting. All of you will be very close to my heart as we wait out the 30 days until TPR.

But as we celebrated this past weekend - the suffering of Good Friday does lead to the JOY of Easter Sunday. For those of you still waiting, it may still feel like Good Friday. Do not give up hope.

His way is perfect.

Monday, April 21, 2014

He is Risen! Happy Easter!!

He is Risen!! Happy Easter, friends!

We had a wonderful Easter, celebrating with our dear friends M & D (C's godparents) and their families. M is the interim choir director at our parish, so she was quite busy preparing all the Masses for the Triduum and Easter. I played on Holy Thursday, sang a little on Good Friday and played for 2 Masses yesterday - our Bishop attended one of them! :) I never imagined I'd get another chance to play for Easter (a church job being more difficult when married, with DH working Monday through Friday and me working on the weekends - no thanks!) so I was thrilled to have the opportunity. I love working in the church; the hours are just so not family-weekend-friendly! M & I also sang a duet of the Regina Caeli - an arrangement I just LOVE. Nothing better than singing:
Regina caeli laetare, Alleluia, 
Quia quem meruisti portare. Alleluia,
Resurrexit sicut dixit, Alleluia. 

Ora pro nobis Deum. Alleluia.
Anyway, a few photos from our morning (thank you again Kerry for his Easter outfit - purchased when he was born!!) Little man had a hard time staying still - he kept darting away and running down the sidewalk. He is FAST! And he turns TWO tomorrow! More posts to come later this week after we celebrate! :)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Financial Peace - Our Total Money Makeover (Part 4)

For Part 1, go here. For Part 2, go here. For Part 3, go here. For those of you who wonder where Adoption fits in the Baby Steps, go here.

I had meant to get this final part posted 2 weeks ago, but all of a sudden my schedule just exploded and I've had so little time to sit down and blog. Thanks for bearing with me! I've also found the final post to be the hardest to write - I think because the others were so "fact" based! Anyway, what I've learned really comes down to three words - Less is more. Now I'm not perfect - and occasionally I still slip into wanting something I don't need. "Hey! What a great ___. I'd love one of those!" But then I stop and think about it. Sometimes just getting away from the temptation is good, and other times I'll decide to later make a purchase. But most of the time, I try remind myself of these three words- less is more.

Less things - less time required for maintenance and upkeep.
More time for family and doing things I enjoy doing instead of taking care of material things.

Less debt.
Less bills to keep track of.
More savings.
A greater ability to be able to travel, to save for the future, to save for adoptions.

Less desire to keep acquiring.
A plan to buy things when old things wear out.
More giving to those less fortunate, including material goods that we just don't need.

Less desire to "keep up with the Joneses."
More desire for simplicity.

Less is more.

Earlier this year I did some purging after the holidays. I thought about replacing a few things I had tossed and decided I liked the feel of a more empty drawer instead! It didn't have to be filled to the brim. I had plenty. What a great feeling! And more recently I realized I did need to replace a few things that I do wear often but were clearly worn out. So I did some shopping, but it wasn't much, and really just a few things. I did invest in a great cross-body bag - in beige that will go with everything. I've found that when we're out and about, it's best to have free hands and arms to dart after a running toddler. :) But aside from a few new things, my purchases were to replace things that had worn out.

I absolutely love everything Sarah writes, but this post is one of my favorites. She writes:
Once I was a nanny in a mansion.  Like really...MANSION.  The couple spent SO much of their time on stuff...not just time spent earning the money and then buying all these fancy things, but then having to turn around and spend even more money on the things they bought just to care and protect it all-the maintenance, insurance, fancy confusing alarms.  And their daughter sat lonely and neglected among it all.  I walked away with a lesson from that job, I'll tell you.  All these possessions, all this money...wasn't adding to their life, but taking away from everything that is truly important.  And whether or not it's that extreme, the truth is, the more you have, the more you have to care for, and the more time you spend on the things you have.  How freeing to have less!  It's getting to the core of the good life...where the "real happy" exists.
I too had a similar job when I was in college. I babysat for the summer - the parents had an enormous house, lots of things and I was responsible for driving their only daughter to every lesson under the sun - tennis, golf, swimming. Her parents were never home. They were always working. It made me so sad.
The more you have, the more you have to care for, and the more time you spend on the things you have.
To conclude, here are a few links to some other posts that have encouraged me at times along our way to Financial Peace!

What I Didn't Buy at IKEA - Goodbye House! Hello Home!
31 Days of Living Well, Spending Less - Living Well, Spending Less
In Search of Financial Peace - Living Well, Spending Less
56 Things to do instead of Spending Money - And then We Saved
40 Days Tips and Tricks: House Love - Memories on Clover Lane

Happy Friday, friends! Thanks for your great questions and comments on this series! :)
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