Friday, May 30, 2008

More Excitement Than I Can Contain!

There have been so many little things (and big things) going on this week that I have not even had time to post about each one as it has happened. Early this week, I got a packet from our home study agency with all of the things we have to put together to have the social worker come out to see our home and family and begin the process of approving us for an international adoption. We were floored by just how much information they need. So we have been spending every night writing our autobiographies, answering a bunch of questions, and providing information on our house, yard, expectations, health, and other things like that. On the same day that we received that packet, Jerry received his official acceptance from Taylor University's MBA program. He is now finalizing just which classes he will take and turning in his paper work to secure his spot on the two week European trip in September.

Yesterday, my sister-in-law was able to do an excellent sonogram on a very cool, very new ultrasound machine. Although the baby wasn't cooperating enough to get some cool 4D shots of the face, we were able to get a few great regular photos and some video's of lots and lots of movement. Anyway, say hello to my brand new baby


That's right, another boy makes three. I am way outnumbered in this house now. I mean way outnumbered. Fortunately for me, there's more on the adoption front.

Today I got a call that our application to adopt had been accepted by the adoption agency and received an e-mail with a packet of papers that had to be signed, notarized, and mailed back with the first agency fee. I printed them out, read them, and took them to Jerry's work where there just happens to be a notary public and we signed them. They are already in the mail back to the agency just hours after we got them! When they arrive, we'll receive our dossier instructions to begin putting together the dossier in earnest! I am so excited, because what all this means is that now the adoption agency is committed to seeing us through this process! Of course there is still the big IF - they are committed to seeing us through the process if we can just get the papers done and registered in China before this beautiful baby boy pictured above makes his appearance into this world. So now comes the fun part. Lots and lots of paperwork! We sure would covet your prayers that this all goes smoothly. We really feel like taking this step to apply for the adoption was the right thing to do. I have to trust that if God paved the way for us to start, and gave us peace about starting, He will see it through. I'll keep you all posted on what happens next!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Beef On the House

The countdown begins.

After hearing nearly a month ago that we had "a verbal agreement" we still have not heard anything else about the status of the house. Our realtor only contacts us when we contact her first. If I was the realtor here, I'd be emailing or calling at least once a week to assure them that I was still interested in what was going on. If this deal doesn't go through, we're finding another realtor.

The loan guys sent out an appraiser before we approved them doing so and we found out that the square footage on the house is 120 sq. ft. smaller than what we had been told (2754 vs. 2873). The insurance people are also quoting us a rate on the larger sq. ft. amount and when we asked why, it turns out that the county thinks the house we are buying is a two story house with 2873 square feet. We went and measured the house ourselves and it is indeed 2754. So, we're not buying the house we thought we were buying. Also, the county appraiser thinks we can sell the house for $221,678, a far cry below the $245,000 that we are supposedly going to pay for it. And that's for a house that's listed as bigger than what the house actually is!

We feel we've been deceived every time we turn around. The square footage isn't right, every time we ask for a number from our realtor she tells us a low number and then it turns out MUCH higher than she said, she refuses to see our point of view on the "wrong house" issue and instead has only been trying to bully us into continuing with this contract (she wants paid, I guess).

We feel we offered to buy the house as a short sale, and instead we're going to pay a huge amount for a house that is continuing to depreciate in value. We've been waiting 8 weeks for an answer and in the mean time, the grass is dying in the yard and we'll have to spend loads replacing the sod, adding more to our costs. We feel that part of what we were paying for was resale value and now the resale value is less because the house was sold to us as bigger than it actually is, and we won't lie to the next buyers.

I'm sick of this house. Sure the back yard is nice, but at this point I think I'll hate and resent the house and that's bad.

On top of everything else, our mortgage rate lock was for 60 days and that ends next Wednesday. If we lose the lock then the contract is void. The rates have been going up and up and up and if we can't get a loan with less than 6% then we can't afford this house.

Del called a real estate attorney and he said that we're not obligated to buy the house and the most that we stand to lose is our $1000 down payment. We'd rather risk losing the $1000 than tens of thousands on a house that isn't worth what we're paying for.

So, the countdown is to the loss of the lock...6 days. Unless we both decide before then that we want out.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Making Some Progress

They've shipped my books. I was excited to find this blog which has loads of information on a delayed schedule vaccination program. She even recommended the book I bought as an excellent, middle-of-the-road resource for vaccines. I have also asked this nice lady how she has scheduled her baby's vaccinations and all that good stuff. I can't wait for my books to arrive! I'm so excited to be coming to some sort of conclusion about this whole thing.

Check out this information from Dr. Sears.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Single Most Disgusting Thing I Have Ever Found In...

...any of my daughters' mouths.

Breastfeeding. What a miracle in so many ways. That a woman's body produces sweet milk that can and does sustain babies is a miracle. The time spent gazing at your sweet baby as you nurse her is a miracle. The bond that is wrought through the act of giving of yourself to your baby is a miracle.

I love breastfeeding. It has been especially fun with Lily. She likes to cling to my wrist and smoosh my hand against the side of her face while she's nursing. She likes to look up at me and chatter and coo. It is the sweetest thing ever.

Leave it to Lily to burst my bubble.

Today I was nursing her after a particularly tiring afternoon and she was desperate for a bit of comfort. I'm feeling pretty darn good about myself because only I can give her the comfort that she's deriving from nursing. Suddenly she stops and does that thing with her mouth. You know...that thing you do when you get a piece of popcorn stuck on the back of your tongue. That's what Lily is doing. She finally conjures up this thing that's stuck on the back of her tongue and presents it to me on the tip of her tongue. I get this thing out of her mouth for her and I'm thoroughly disgusted because...'s the butt-side of a half eaten bug.

Happy Memorial Day!

Since Memorial Day is a day set aside to honor all the men and women who have served our country in our Armed Forces - both those who have fallen and those who have survived - today I honor you, Joanna, as well as your wonderful husband Del - not to mention all the other people who read this blog who have also served our country. Thank you for selflessly serving our country and helping to uphold all the freedoms I enjoy every day. You are a hero to me!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Why We NEED More Public Transportation In America

Please tell me you saw the Friday Funnies over at GirlTalk!!! I just about died laughing.

Of Boys and Cats and...::snore::

So last Thursday I finished reading It's like this, cat by Emily Neville and I've been putting off my post reviewing it because I really found it to be a boring book. Granted the target audience of this book is pre-teen to young teen boys, but that is also the target audience for The Outsiders and I loved that book. This book follows a 14 year old boy through his life for about a year. Like most books targeted at this age group, it is a coming of age story in which the boy realizes that his dad is not so bad after all. It is set in New York City in the early 1960's so this boy's life is different from most any boy today in that times have changed so much since then! The boy, Dave, inherits a stray cat from a neighbor lady that rescues them and this cat becomes his constant side-kick. The story shows him maturing beyond his boyhood friends to more mature friends and going from thinking girls are a simple annoyance to having a bit of a girlfriend. There is only one point of high adventure, and it is not even for him, the protagonist, but for his neighbor lady! It is still central to him since it is a time that he gets to see his dad in a new light, but still, I was disappointed by that.

Even with all my negativity, this book has some redeeming factors. First of all, I think kids would enjoy it much more than me. It is really neat to see first hand what city life was like for a kid in the 60's. I am amazed that his mom lets him ride the subway from Manhattan to Coney Island and his bike to the Bronx. He goes all over the city, and as long as he is home for supper it is okay! How wonderful! Most kids cannot even do that in the suburbs anymore! I did some of that, but not even to that extent, and I am not sure I would let my kids do it! Also, it is set in the city. A lot of books for boys are set in the country in an idyllic type setting, which is unrealistic for most children. I think that will help a child relate to the main character. It was also clean and wholesome. It was written in 1963, when most authors weren't trying to gain teen readership by writing shocking and edgy stuff!

Even though it wasn't my favorite, I would still recommend this to a youngster. I probably wouldn't recommend it to a peer though.

Friday, May 23, 2008


So this is the tiniest of tiny adoption updates, but I just got an e-mail that our application was received today at the CCAI office! We will know next week whether we are approved to adopt through them or not. It is really nice of them to send an e-mail just to let me know the application made it. They must know that the people who apply sit at home wondering, "Did they get the application today?" and "I wonder what is going on with the application right now?" You all are going to have to tell me to lay off the adoption updates at some point. Because I am pretty sure I will be posting every little, tiny, non-significant update like this one otherwise. And if you tell me to lay off, I may still post them anyway. Because I can.

A Post in Which I Should Probably Have Just Written an Email

I bet you're wondering what we're doing about vaccines. Well, too bad that you're not, I'm going to tell there.

Things are very different with the kids now than they were with the first three. We were faithful about taking the kids to every single appointment every three months and anxious about their weight and everything. So far, Lily has gotten her 2-week and two-month appointments on time. She was one month late for her four-month and we never took her for her six-month and of course still haven't taken her even though she's due for her 9-month. We're just not worried. We are pretty well versed on knowing when to be worried about the kids' health and taking them to the doctor is an exercise in futility. We take them, they look at them for, I kid you not, 60 seconds, tell us we're doing a great job and then send us home. Then the kids get sick from whatever germs they caught at the doctor's office. So since we're already so far behind with Lily, we are not going to take her to another appointment until we have thoroughly canvassed and prayed over the vaccine issue and feel like we have a decision that is good for our family. I have purchased three books to help with this. Actually, one of them I bought just in case I have to have a home birth this time around but I still want to tell you about it anyway.

The first is A Midwife's Story by Penny Armstrong. I am really interested in this story. She used to work in a hospital, from what I understand, and basically the book is about the unnatural environment for women in labor in a hospital and how she saw it negatively affect so many women. Then she worked among the Amish as a midwife and it opened her eyes to a more natural way to have a baby; viewing it as a process and not a sickness. Even though I am mostly unashamed to admit that I am quite fond of an epidural, I want to read it because I hate it that I have to fight tooth and nail everywhere I go to not have another C-section. Since the OB group I'm with discusses every month whether they should stop doing VBACs, I feel I need to prepare myself for an unassisted home birth; midwives are not allowed to attend VBAC home births here and I flatly refuse to have another C-section, just because I had one before and "they" are scared of being sued. I can't remember where I heard about this book...I'm sure it was probably from One Thing or some other blog I read.

The second one is How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor by Robert S. Mendelsohn, MD. I got this one from One Thing, also. Speaking of her, did you see how she read The Way Home, too? That book has been a life changer for so many women I respect; it's amazing! Anyway...I was interested in it because of all the things I stated in the paragraph above, above. I hope that at this point we've figured a lot of things out and I am interested to see how often we take the kids to the doctor, pay our co-pay and it was totally needless. It's not that I don't think doctor's are useful and have their place, but...well, they have their place and I think in the past I've given too much credence to what they've said, when they actually had no idea what they were talking about.

The third is The Vaccine Book by Robert Sears. I looked at a lot of books and read tons of reviews and I felt that this book seemed the least biased in either direction. It's supposed to tell you what the vaccines are, how they're made and the pros and cons of getting them so you can make an informed decisions about them and gives a good timeline for delayed vaccines if that suits you. And did you see Kristen's comment about when she gets vaccines for her kids? How do you find a doctor that is inline with your view on vaccines? It's a lot to think about.

I would have just checked them out of the library but the library didn't have a single one of them...of course. But, I got free shipping from Amazon! Woohoo.

I am coming along to the "ooooo...I'm most definitely pregnant" phase of being knocked up. I have some nausea but oh, the fatigue!!! I am sooooo tired. I just want to sleep all afternoon. Right now my stupendous husband is off with the three older kids at the swimming pool. Lily is sleeping. When I'm done writing this I'm going to get some water and snooze my way through some golf. Maybe I should think about dinner instead. I bought some of these vitamins from Pilgrim's Pride. Miriam Heppner recommended them and hopefully they will help me with this horrible tiredness I get. We played hooky from school for two days so that I could randomly nod off. Admittedly today I spent much of the morning searching for houses in San Antonio because I am so positive this house thing isn't going to work here. It's been 7 weeks and counting. We lose our lock on the interest rate next week, next Saturday or Sunday I think.

Oh and I'm reading The Narrative of Sojourner Truth from I was reading two Jane Austen biographies but they're the kinds of books I need in my hand to read because I lose so much continuity, since it's an email per chapter.

I hope I didn't confuse you or bore you to death. Are you awake?? WAKE UP! It's rude to sleep when someone is talking to you. OK, you can go back to what you were doing now.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Too Cute

Our family says, "I love you" a lot and shows a lot of affection. The boys are even affectionate with each other as far as hugs and helping each other a lot. Even so, today I got a big treat. For the first time ever I heard them say their love to each other. It was so cute! They were just walking toward the table to get a drink in the midst of their play and Ethan said, "I love you, Aaron!" and after he swallowed his water, Aaron enthusiastically replied, "Love you, too!" Now doesn't that just melt you heart?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I just love watching those pregnancy tickers. Congratulations on making it to six weeks! For me that was always a turning point. My six week motto is, "Let the puking begin!" Here's to a puke free pregnancy for you!

I know I haven't posted much lately. Things have been so very, very crazy here. Jerry mailed in his grad school application Monday. We are so excited that he is getting to do this! They are talking with him as if the application is more of a formality at this point, but I guess he could still get rejected. That would really stink.

While he's been putting all of that together, I've been filling out the application for our adoption and getting tons of information to see if it is feasible or not. Have you ever tried to get a hold of a live person at the immigration customer service line? If you never have, you should try just for kicks! I have a feeling that there are actually no live people working at immigration. It's just a theory, but I have talked to a few others who have the same theory, too... Over the weekend, Jerry and I decided that if we are really going to adopt a little girl from China, we'd rather do it sooner than later. We really have no interest in putting off starting what is a three year process any longer. But because of the qualification that your youngest child has to be at least 12 months old at the time the dossier is logged in China, we either have to get the dossier done before this baby is born, or wait until this baby is 7 months old to begin the whole process. I prayed over the weekend that God would pave the way for me to find out whether all the things we have to get done that are out of our control are actually possible in our time frame or not. I made a list of all the agencies I would have to call to ask timeline questions to, and got on the phone Monday morning. I called our insurance company, the home study agency, immigration, my doctor (I have to have a letter from him to send in with my application), and the vet. Okay, so the vet isn't for the adoption, but it had to be done. The really cool thing was that I got a live person, without even waiting on hold, at each place I called. I got all of my answers and in every case, it was the best possible answer I could have hoped for. I actually got an appointment with my doctor that afternoon - and not an "I'm so sick I'm going to have to go to the ER if I cannot come in and see you today!" appointment. Just a non-sick, I need a letter typed up appointment! After all my phone calls, I called our agency to talk it over with the lady I have been working with there. I let her know everything I had found out and the time lines I had been given. She felt that if we began right away and were diligent, we could get it done before our due date - and with time to spare. I wish there wasn't actually a qualification that the youngest child in the household be at least 12 months old to qualify to adopt in China, but there is. I think it is possible. The agency we are working with, CCAI, also thinks that it is possible based on the answers I got through all those phone calls. So, before we chicken out, we signed the application tonight and wrote the check for the application fee and it is off to the post office tomorrow! Now the praying begins... We really feel like God has opened up every door. Everyone we have talked to has been super supportive and had only good things to say to us about the idea. We both have peace, although we are understandably nervous. Our children want us to go right now and get her! We need prayer that things go smoothly and quickly. We need prayers that my baby stays inside me until the dossier has made it to China. We need prayers that God continues to provide for us financially so that we can pay for the adoption. We need prayers that I won't be a nervous wreck wondering if all the paperwork will come in on time. And we need prayers that God will work out all the details so that the little girl who is supposed to be our daughter (who isn't even born yet, or probably even thought of by her mother yet) will be ready for us when our dossier comes to the top of the stack in China. I'll update this as each step happens. The next step is actually getting accepted by CCAI. And then the fun begins...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Joanna and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I figured out why I've stopped reading so much. I really thought that it was because of blogs but I was wrong.

Yesterday I decided that it was time to go to the library and get some of the books on my list. They had two of annoying. Apparently I like to read obscure books. Anyway, I put those two books on hold and then tried to figure out what other books I'd like to read. I remembered that Granny had recommended a book on her blog so I checked to see if the library had it and they did. I went to the library, about 10:30 in the morning, and got Left to Tell:Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza. I read about two chapters of it and the introduction (I read all that stuff, too) when I got home and then I got tired and fatigued and busy and just put the book off for a while.

After the kids went to bed I cleaned up the kitchen and by 9pm I was settled on the couch with this book. 4 hours and 5 minutes later, I finished the acknowledgements, closed the book and proceeded to berate myself for NOT BEING ABLE TO PUT A BOOK DOWN. It's terrible!!! I get so into the story that I just can't stop. It's worse than TV. At least with TV you can half pay attention to stuff, but with a book, you must put all of yourself into it. I can't do anything else at all while I'm reading.

Of course, it took me a good hour to go to sleep since this is a very intense book and I'm running over scenes in my head and critiquing it for quite a long time. I'm tired.

So today, the girls get into a pushing fight and they have to get swats, which always is sad for me, then I have this horrible neck pain from sitting in a funny position and reading until one in the morning, we went to a new church, which was stressful, I'm exhausted and barely staying awake here but can't nap because no one can do anything without mom, Sarah spilled lemonade on the living room floor. The final straw for my horrible day was as I was coming out of the bathroom after I cleaned it up, I didn't know that Lily was right outside the door and I opened the door real quick and smacked her hard on the head with the door. I hit her so hard she fell over backwards screaming her head off. So, of course, I'm consoling her and I think she's fine but when I put her down she's following me around screaming for a good amount of time. This is right about the time I really want to smash my head in the refrigerator door.

The book. Immaculee Ilibagiza is a Rwandan, of the Tutsi tribe. In 1994 the president of Rwanda was killed when his airplane was shot out of the sky and upon that event, the Hutu tribe decided that it was a good time to rid the country of the Tutsis. They commenced in equipping every Hutu in Rwanda with guns and machetes so that they could murder their Tutsi neighbors, men, women, adults, children, elderly, infants. Immaculee was hidden in a Hutu pastor's bathroom with up to 7 other women for three months while a million of her fellow countrymen were ruthlessly gunned down or hacked to pieces - her words - in the matter of three months. This is her story, of how she relied on God to deliver her from madness; the madness of the Hutus and the madness of her own brain. It is also a story of forgiveness and how only through God's grace and love can we learn to forgive people who have hurt us and move on with our lives.

It's hard for me to believe that a million people were killed in three months while I was 17 and pouting about not being able to stay out longer than 11pm. It's appalling that in the late 20th century, when all the world seems civilized, a million people were killed in three months because they were taller and their nose was different. Where were we? What were the politics behind us deciding it was okay to ignore this situation? What was Bill Clinton doing that he didn't feel this was something we should be interested in. Although, believe me, this is the first book I've read about the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and I've only vaguely heard of it before this so I'm hardly one to be making any sort of statement about what should have been done or the rightness or wrongness of our actions or lack thereof.

Immaculee is very detailed in her description of what went on. Some of the images she presented are awful and ones I wish I could rid my brain of. I asked God how people could be so inhuman and evil and the thing that came to me was that they were acting human. It is in our very nature be so selfish about the lives of others. It is only God through us that we are able to show love, forgiveness, selflessness and have humane treatment of others.

I don't think she should have dumbed down the images in the book, because how else do we learn from the mistakes of others, when you don't even describe what the mistakes were.

Friday, May 16, 2008

It's Tough Being Esau

At least for Sara Louise it is.

I really enjoyed reading Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson. I didn't realize that she was the same author that wrote Bridge to Terabithia which I also enjoyed, although it has been 7 years since I read that in my children's lit class and I cannot say that I really remember what it was about...maybe it will be on my reading list too.

I usually enjoy a good "coming of age story" like this one and of course the protagonist is very sympathetic. You cannot help loving the girl who is out shined in every way by her younger twin sister. She is hardworking, honest, funny, and genuine. I found myself rooting for her to succeed, although I couldn't have guessed how she would have ended up all grown up. I was disappointed with her when her sister got to go away to school and she had to stay home, I felt her anger when her sister used her hand cream without asking. I really wanted Call to grow up and love her for real. But as it turns out, she ended up doing exactly what she was meant to do, being exactly where she was meant to be, and loving exactly who she was meant to love.

I just loved the comic relief provided by Wheeze's grandmother! Her constant rambling of inappropriate scripture cracked me up - mostly because I am not bearing the brunt of a similar weird, old woman. And I was so pleased that Sara Louise's father truly got her. It was like her one haven of hope at home - being out and understood by her dad. Everyone needs someone like that in their lives.

I love children's literature. This settles it. I won't be reading many adult books for a while. In fact, I've already started my next book...

Larry, Curly or Moe...That's a Tough One

What a circus this election is. All the candidates are making idiots of themselves, saying dumb things and pandering to every demographic they can, no matter how much it contradicts what they just said yesterday. It's insane. Thinking It Out and Writing It Down has found the single best description of our choices for president that I've seen yet. Check it out.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Toilet Troubles

I know this seems like a really disgusting problem and it really has no solutions except for one.

Lily likes the toilet. I mean *really* likes the toilet. Every time she hears the door open she races to the bathroom so that she can stick her hand in the toilet. Yesterday I didn't catch her in time and when I caught up with her she was playing in the toilet water WHILE Rachel was peeing into the toilet. I have to wash Lily's hands at least half a dozen times a day. The two older girls have learned to KEEP THE DOOR CLOSED AT ALL TIMES but Rachel is still a bit dense about this. She just leaves the door open for Lily to come play. The other girls all had a mild interest in the toilet but I've never seen it this bad. AARRGGHHHHH!

A Bit More Comedy

Ethan is our child who keeps us laughing. Last night at dinner I made these super yummy Chicken Puff Pastry Things (yes, that is the technical name) and Ethan took a bite and said, "Ooh, these are yummy. They taste like dead chicken nuggets!" Aaron, however, was unconvinced and did not want to try this new and very weird food. I asked him, "Aaron, does mommy ever make really gross food like lizard toes? It is good food, just try it!" Jerry, always the helpful husband, said, "Not lizard toes, but I think I saw cat on the menu!" Ethan chimed in, "You can't eat cat! (Whew, glad he knows that!) It would taste hairy!" Yeah, that's the reason I was going to give for not eating cat, too...

A Little Bit of Comic Relief

Man, this blog is so serious. Lighten up, will ya?

So, we are in no way, shape or form studying dinosaurs, bones, archeology or paleontology but this has been Ella and Sarah's HUGE project over the last couple of days. I love homeschooling!

It's getting more and more complex now. They are making the tail longer, adding more ribs and really getting into it. You can see the dinosaur skeleton I printed off for them to use as a reference. Ella is free-hand cutting out all the pieces. She has informed me that, "If we get the house, I want to hang it up on the wall IN THE LIVING ROOM and make more and it'll be like a museum." How exciting! They are going to do a dog next.

And then we have the king of the castle and her royal princess...princess, er Sarah. Ella made the crown.

***UPDATED*** Here is their finished product. Notice the ubiquitous amounts of tape and tacks used to tape it together and hang it up.

***UPDATED AGAIN*** Ella just wanted to make sure that everyone knew what to do in that room...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Different Kind of Book

Though it is not my normal type of book, curiosity caused me to buy and read 23 Minutes in Hell by Bill Wiese. It tells of his experience of spending 23 minutes in Hell after which time Jesus removed him from Hell and restored and comforted him and allowed him to ask some questions as to why he was allowed to have this experience before putting him back in his home. It is different from some other accounts of "Hell experiences" that I have heard of before in that Bill was a Christian already and he wasn't dead when he went. This wasn't a near death experience, rather he believes that God allowed him to be taken there in order to warn people that it is real and that time is short to come to Christ and avoid Hell forever.

There were several things about this book that I liked. First, Bill writes from a very humble point of view. He does not try to elevate himself because of his experience. Second, he provides scripture references to show where his experiences are supported by what is written in the Bible. Last, he includes excerpts from other people's accounts of similar experiences to show where his experience was the same or different from his.

But there were a few things about this book that leave me feeling skeptical. I wonder about God allowing one of His children to experience the horrors of Hell. He didn't get into scriptural references about that. It makes me wonder if the Bible ever talks about God temporarily abandoning one of His to Hell. Job comes to mind, but although Job was allowed to be tested by Satan for a time, he was never sent to Hell. I don't know if that makes a difference or not. The other thing is that there is no way to verify his experience. There were no lasting physical marks on his body, even though he describes his body being thoroughly broken by demons during his time in Hell. Granted, there is no physical proof of my salvation either. Hopefully there is a visible change in me that is obvious to those I come in contact with, but it is not like God tattoos each of us when we begin a relationship with him. So I am not sure that is a valid complaint.

Anyway, I am glad I read the book. It was a very fast read and it was interesting, too. I would recommend it, but maybe as more of a springboard into personal research in the Bible rather than as an authority on what Hell is actually like.

Vaccines, Part Deux

After taking a breath and trying to become reasonable about this, I did some research and have learned a few things. Here is what I am learning.

- In the 1970's they used an aborted baby from a family, who supposedly aborted the baby because they had too many children, to develop a cell line culture for the chicken pox virus vaccine line, and in the '60's, aborted babies from women who had been exposed to rubella. From my reading the cell line of the aborted babies are what have been used since they were aborted 40 or so years ago. They say that using human cell lines are safer than using animal cell lines (such as monkey livers and the like). A lot of this information I found here. I have tried to verify some of the information by looking at the NVPO website. I searched for the terms "abort" and "aborted" but didn't find anything related to using aborted fetal tissue for vaccines.

- This is an interesting list of drugs and vaccines that are developed on aborted fetal tissue and some alternatives to use that are not. There is no alternative for the chicken pox vaccine. Their entire website is dedicated to "pro-life outreach" and their major research project right now is this whole aborted fetal tissue issue. I plan to spend more time looking at their website and what they have learned at time allows.

- I found this quote yesterday on Vaccine Truth: "...a number of vaccines are grown on human cells from aborted fetuses. The new chicken pox vaccine made by Merck Frosst Pharmaceuticals is grown on the MRC-5 cell line derived from the normal lung tissue of a 14-week-old male fetus aborted "for psychiatric reasons." So are the polio and hepatitis A vaccines. The rubella virus in the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) three-in-one shot is grown on the WI-38 cell line-developed in 1961 from an aborted three-month-old female fetus." This tells me that it seems whole lots of aborted babies are not being bought, but one was used - each for the MMR and Varivax - and is still being used to make vast amounts of vaccines. Since I don't know how vaccines are developed and what their characteristics are this is only an assumption. Vaccine Truth is a website that is highly on the "DO NOT VACCINATE" side of the argument so any information found there I feel, must be taken with a grain of salt, but I think it's irresponsible to totally discount the veracity of what they are saying because one believes they are wacky.

- From the CDC website: "Does MMR vaccine contain fetal or embryonic tissue? If so, what kind?"

"The rubella vaccine virus is cultured in human cell-line cultures, and some of these cell lines originated from aborted fetal tissue, obtained from legal abortions in the 1960's. No new fetal tissue is needed to produce cell lines to make these vaccines, now or in the future. Fetal tissue is not used to produce vaccines; cell lines generated from a single fetal tissue source are used; vaccine manufacturers obtain human cell lines from FDA-certified cell banks. After processing, very little, if any, of that tissue remains in the vaccine."

The CDC site also has this.

- And then I found this at Free Republic, but I think they quoted it from CoG.

For over thirty years pharmaceutical companies in this country have been producing vaccines derived from tissues of aborted fetuses, a fact that was brought to light when several prominent Catholic newspapers published articles on the morality of using the vaccines. The trouble began when a new law in St. Louis County, Mo. required food handlers to obtain the Hepatitis-A vaccine for employment. When the source of the vaccine was revealed, many principled individuals objected and with good reason. As this information has become public, more and more physicians and parents are troubled by the ethical issues involved.

During the Rubella epidemic of 1964, some doctors advised exposed pregnant women to abort their children. The resulting virus strain developed was known in the science world as RA/27/3, where R=Rubella, A=Abortus, 27=27th fetus tested, 3=third tissue explant. There were actually 26 abortions prior to finding the right “species” with the active virus. The vaccine was then cultivated on the lung tissue of yet another aborted infant, WI-38. WI-38 (Wistar Institute 38) was taken from the lung tissue of an aborted female infant at 3 months gestation in the 1960s. A second human cell line, MRC-5 was derived from a male at 14 weeks gestation in the 1970s. They were used to cultivate the weakened virus strains of several diseases to produce immunizations. These two human cell lines cultivated in the lab continue to provide an ongoing source for many widely used vaccines.

- I thought this was good information. He is the NatruoDoc.

In the end, there is a lot of information to be had out there about this. I'd like to study how the vaccines are developed and what the role is, in it's entirety, of aborted fetal tissue in the making of vaccines. I am still trouble by this, but have not come to any sort of decision about whether to vaccinate or not. I'll share this information with Del and see what my Aunt Janet (who is a doctor) says and what my Aunt Diana says and we'll go from there. Sorry to trouble you with my horror.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I've been thinking a lot about vaccines lately because of all the controversy surrounding them. I haven't even begun to talk to Del about it because I just don't know which way to go: vaccinate or don't vaccinate. Anyway, I just happened across this blog which had a link to this. I noticed that under MMR, M-R-Vax, Imovax, Havrix, Biavax and Varivax, several of which my kids have received, they have listed as an animal byproduct ingredient "human diploid cells from aborted fetal tissue." I just don't know what to say about that. You mean they're buying aborted babies to make vaccinations for my children??? What do you know about this?

There Will Be Famine and Earthquakes...

I watched a bit on Fox News this morning about a food crisis in Egypt. People are getting killed and trampled while standing in line to pay a penny for a piece of bread. And then guess what came on next: a commercial for dog food. The dog food was beef stew with large chunks of beef and carrots and peas and a delicious looking sauce all over it. Dog food. I wonder how many of those people would kill for a can of that dog food. It is absolutely heartbreaking.

I often think that because TV is everywhere we worry too much about what is going on in other countries. If we didn't have TV, we wouldn't know there was a huge cyclone in Myanmar, or a deadly earthquake in China and we wouldn't be sending billions of dollars over there. Then maybe we'd be focused more on our own people and the crises going in our own inner cities and elsewhere. I am not unfeeling toward the plight of those people, I just know that here in our own country, people are suffering in the same manner: no food, no home, no one cares. So why are we taxing the people to send all that money over there, when we can't even help our own people? Were we made to take in this much human responsibility? I mean, there is no way I can even begin to make a difference to all these people. How do you deal with it? It's so overwhelming that all I can do is stop thinking about it.

On the other hand, I have just read:

Matthew 24:6-8 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

And again in Mark 13:6-8 and Luke 21:10-11

So, there is the idea that the entire world would know everyone else's crises. I don't know what to make of these times. I'll tell you this much though, I am thankful for this little home we have, for the food in our pantry and for this land of freedom, as messed up as it is.

It makes me think about adoption more. I just read here that if 14% of Christians would adopt there would be no orphans. How reliable do you think that information is?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Quite an Odyssey

So I finished reading 2001: A Space Odyssey and I actually really enjoyed it. I was expecting to just make my way through it because it was on the list of classic books I wanted to read, but I was surprised at how interesting it really was. The beginning starts with "ancient man" through the evolutionary view. I found their theory that aliens gave the ape-men their leg up by showing them how to become men and leave the ape behind. For a while I wondered why that was even part of the storyline because it really didn't seem to fit, but it all comes together in the end. It was also really interesting to see what someone in 1968 thought life would be like in the year 2001, since I know what life actually was like in 2001! I was amazed at how much he had right, like some people living in space stations floating in space. However, the moon is not colonized and no one can just travel back and forth to locations throughout space. The thing I got the biggest kick out of was a section toward the beginning of the book. I thought that Ted Turner and Al Gore must have gotten their thought manuals straight out of the beginning of this book! Check out this section:

As long as he could remember, it had been not a "situation" so much as a
permanent crisis. Since the 1970's, the world had been dominated by two
problems which, ironically, tended to cancel each other out.

Though birth control was cheap, reliable, and endorsed by all the main
religions, it had come too late; the population of he world was now six billion -
a third of them in the Chinese Empire. Laws had even been passed in some
authoritarian societies limiting families to two children, but their enforcement
had proved impracticable. As a result, food was short in every country;
even the United States had meatless days, and widespread famine was predicted
within fifteen years, despite heroic efforts to farm the sea and to develop
synthetic food.

That just cracks me up! You know, he wasn't too far off on the total population, and China is only not a third of the worlds population because or their policy limiting families to one child only. That amazed me a bit!

Anyway, the ending was a bit weird for me, but still I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone.

On another note, I originally started choosing the books I am reading based on lists of what is expected knowledge for a person entering a master's program in a literature field. I was thinking about a master's degree in a literature field because it would be so very marketable. However, every time I get a chance to work with children's literature, I realize that it is my first passion, over British or American literature. My children's literature class was the class I enjoyed most in my undergraduate studies. I think that it would be short-sighted of me to pursue a degree that wasn't my primary passion. I didn't want to say I would get my master's in children's literature, because many colleges do not have a children's literature professor, and the ones that do usually only have one. But, I could also work for a publisher or try my hand at writing. And really, it is going to be so long before I can even pursue another degree that it seems ridiculous to consider it now. The long and the short of it is that I am going to add classic children's literature to my list. I am going to start by reading every Newberry Award winning book since the first year it was established. I think I will enjoy that immensely and then whatever way I decide to go years and years from now, I will be prepared. I am almost done with my next book already, so I need to head back to the library for my next installment...


on his fifth birthday - cookie for breakfast...

at his party, five candles to blow out...

mother's day, my two boys...

the baby's first, smallest appearance - 13 weeks.

Friday, May 9, 2008

This Is So Not Important

But still, how cool is it that Michelle Duggar is due with her 18th twelve days before I'm due. Her last one is 5 days older than Lily.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I'm So Proud Of Us

blog readability test

God Hears Your Petition

Have you seen Jenni's post on homeschooling today? How did she know that I would need to hear that, this week of all weeks? I cried.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Have you ever wondered how to get store-bought roses to actually bloom? I think I finally stumbled upon the perfect method. Like most women, I have tried using the plant food included, crushed asprin, trimming the stems under water, and all the above at once. Somehow, the roses still never really opened. These roses were bought by my three boys for my birthday. I followed the instructions on the package, because they included a step I had never seen before - filling the vase halfway with lemon/lime soda. That's right, soda! So I trimmed the ends, added the plant food packet to the vase, filled it half with water, and the other half with Big K Diet Lemon Lime soda! I have had to refill it three more times (and this is a huge vase) with the water/soda mixture and they are still doing great! I haven't even had to trim the ends again. It was so nice to have them really open up! Today is day 8 of having them, and they look just as good as day 2 when they started to open!

I finally, finally finished Mansfield Park. Fortunately, the end was much more entertaining than the beginning. I swear the first half of this book is 1,200 pages long! My favorite line in the entire book is in the final chapter, "Mrs. Norris's removal from Mansfield was he great supplementary comfort of Sir Thomas's life." Ha-ha-ha-hee-hee! That cracked me up! I think it must have been a "supplementary comfort" for Fanny, too! She was really getting on my nerves, and I think she and Mrs. Rushworth totally deserved to spend their days with each other! One thing that made this book particularly hard for me to read in the beginning was the fact that both Bertram daughters were referred to as Miss Bertram interchangeably - sometimes in the same sentence, with very few clues as to whom was being referred! Drove me nuts! Of course, everything concluded well for our heroine and hero in the end, as it should for a Romantic era book. And I am actually a bit shocked at the scandal she dared to write about. A married woman running off with a man who is not her husband was quite a shock then - and divorce! Whew - she tackled some big topics.

In more exciting news, I got my lovely necklace from Jenni at One Thing! I'll post pictures of it as soon as I remember to take them! I thought of something so perfect to send her in return - even though it was a giveaway and not a swap. It is so perfect, I cannot resist. I'll have to post on that soon too.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Go Check It Out

If you haven't already, I highly suggest checking out Terry's post today. This is a hot topic with me and she has expressed what was in my head to a "T."

I Am a Flower In the Countryside

Psalm 193:13-16
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
ADONAI has compassion on those who fear him.
For he understands how we are made,
he remembers that we are dust.
Yes, a human being’s days are like grass,
he sprouts like a flower in the countryside –
but when the wind sweeps over, it’s gone;
and its place know it no more.

Proverbs 14:1
Every wise woman builds up her home,
but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands.

Faith. Family.

I think that particular proverb must be my very favorite ever. You can read it in so many different ways and it still instructs us to take care of our home, not just our house.

These two passages from the Bible really press upon me where our priorities should be as women of faith, mothers of faith. I’ve heard it said often by women who have children and then go outside the home for a job that they “want to make a difference in the world.” I think that’s all well and good; we all want to make a difference in our world, but the Bible clearly says here that our time on earth is fleeting and meaningless. In the end, your impact is biggest on your children and your husband, and to entrust your children’s care to relative strangers and compete with your husband over who’s career is more important is “tearing your house down with your own hands” only to have your existence and “difference” forgotten about relatively quickly in the span of time.

When I think about my grandmother, who died nearly four years ago, I wonder who remembers her. Her husband, her daughters, and her grandchildren do. I’m sure that there are people out there scratching their heads trying to remember “what that lady’s name was,” but it’s her family that still thinks of the difference she made in our lives, we still cook her recipes and talk about her over dinner.

It does make me wonder why we still ponder over things that people have said in the past, like Aristotle and Plato. I’ll admit I haven’t studied them to any degree that is notable; did they say anything that is truly worth repeating? Or do we just contemplate their speeches because we like to think we think deeply. You can’t deny that people have said and done things in the past that have left a lasting impression on the world. Martin Luther, Mother Theresa and Abraham Lincoln all come to mind in an instant. But they weren’t mothers.

I am thankful today that God understands that I am simply dust and he loves me and forgives me when I start tearing my house down with my own hands. I am thankful for all the blessings he has bestowed on me and for a mind clear enough to see and appreciate them as the blessings that they are. I think I’ll go do some laundry.