I just got off the phone with our Realtor who's been working all day to get things finished up on our house. It now comes down to the concrete. If we can get a break in the weather this weekend or the first couple days of next week, then they can pour and we can move in next weekend. Normally, I really don't mind rain, but I am going to be praying for a break! I prayed for no rain last Friday also since we were moving my mother-in-law with our two kiddies in tow. I think this will only be the second time I've ever prayed it won't rain!
Friday, December 30
As some of you know, Elisabeth Elliot is one of my heroes of the faith. Her books and exhortation has helped me grow in my Christian faith and have helped me view suffering not as something to run from but to grow through. She is probably best known by her first husband Jim Elliot. He and four others were martyred while trying to bring the gospel to Eucadorian Indians.
There is now a movie telling the story of their courage and love for these unreached people called End of the Spear. The movie will be released January 20, and I'm hoping it will come to a theater near us. Maybe we can see it while my mom is here to watch the kids!
If you aren't familiar with the story, I'd highly recommend Elisabeth's book Through Gates of Splendor. I don't know if the movie goes into it or not, but the most astonishing and inspiring part of the story to me is that not long after her husband was murdered by these indians, Elisabeth Elliot put her infant daughter on her back walked back into that jungle, not willing to give up on these people for whom her husband had died trying to reach. What an amazing woman of God!
Tuesday, December 27
We drove out to see our new house yesterday. They hadn't progressed as much as we had hoped, but they did make some progress. They hung all the doors, installed the thermostat, bathroom mirrors and shower door, and they finished all the interior trim. They poured the back patio slab, but not the driveway or sidewalk.
They still need to intall the correct appliances, install an electrical outlet in garage for freezer, put in some extra cabinets we ordered in the utility room (and take out the shelf they mistakenly installed), install carpet in kids' rooms, do tile detail around fireplace, paint gutters, install thresholds and new front door, install all hardware (such as doorknobs), paint trim and do interior paint touchups, and, of course, pour the driveway and sidewalk. Then we still need to get an inspection, do our walkthrough, sign papers, etc.
It sounds like a lot to finish to me, but our Realtor said we're still on track to move in on the weekend of January 7th. I really hope and pray we can move that weekend. Ryan's surgery is scheduled for the 18th, and I really want to be mostly moved in and settled by then. Gramie comes on the 14th, and I really don't want to move the weekend she gets here either. We're praying we can get moved in before then, Lord willing!
Thursday, December 22
Would you really like to promote adoption and support adoptive families? Here's your chance! This year some adoption legislation was introduced that would make it financially easier to adopt. If you have adopted, are thinking of adopting, or are an adoption advocate, please write your representatives to urge them to vote for these bills! It's really easy. Just click on this link, locate your congressmen and senators (it's all automated and very easy), and then write your own letter or copy and paste the sample letter provided. The link also has a description of the legislation.
The current Adoption Tax Credit provides a tax credit (not a deduction!) to adoptive families of up $10,000 (actually it goes up slightly every year, but it's still less than $11,000) and allows you to carryover any unused portion for an additional five years. Our family has benefitted from the current tax credit, but only a little. As the law reads now, only adoptive families with a yearly tax liability of $1,667 or more will reap all the benefits from the credit. If your income is lower, hence your liability is lower, the carryover expires before you use up all the credit (seems counterintuitive to me), though every little bit helps. This new bill would not change anything for higher income earners, but would extend the same relief (maybe more) to those who need it most.
In our case we adopted two years in a row, so we in fact lose four years of our carryover since the five years run concurrently and not consecutively (we get six years instead of ten). We currently have $17,000+ of adoption tax credit to carryover for the next four tax years. I think our tax liability last year was less than $900, so unless my husband receives a substantial pay increase, there is no way we will even use up Ryan's tax credit and Abby's will remain wholly unused. If this new legislation is passed, we would be allowed to carryforward our tax credit until it is used up!
Also, they are proposing making it a refundable credit for people with lower incomes (I don't know if we would qualify or not), and that is the best possible fiscal news I can think of for people who are adopting! That means that at tax time adopting families would get an actual refund of up to $10,000 ($15,000 if the new bill is passed) of their adoption expenses instead of a credit against tax liability. Really fantastic!
One last note, this legislation is being proposed by Congressman Harold Ford Jr. of Tennessee. We lived in Memphis for six years, and he came into office while we were there (I didn't vote for him). I was frequently sending him emails to encourage him to vote pro-life only to be disappointed. I am so pleased to see he's doing something positive and pro-life! (For those of you who know my famous "Jesse Jackson Story," he was the congressman up on stage with Jesse who was running for his father's congress seat!)
Tuesday, December 20
We went to check on the progress of our new house last weekend. They have installed the laminate flooring (looks great!), finished the countertops, installed toilets and sinks including faucets, installed microwave and dishwasher (wrong ones), and put in all the light fixtures. They have framed up the driveway, patios and walkways, and they should pour those this week, weather permitting. Hopefully this week they will also install the correct appliances and our range, which is on-site, but not installed yet.
The remaining things to be done are hanging doors, installing carpet in Ryan's and Abby's rooms, interior trim, tile detail around fireplace, mirrors in bathrooms, and paint the gutters. It could all be done very quickly, but with Christmas and New Year's holidays coming up, our Realtor said it will probably not be ready to close and move in until the 7th of January. He said we would know more at the end of this week when we see what all they accomplished.
Saturday, December 17
Saturday, December 10
Friday was one of those days you can't plan for and never seems to happen when you most want it too but is such a blessing when it does happen! We had a full day of driving and hiking and helping Daddy at his work, but the real blessing was that the kids were so well behaved! It was such a joy to enjoy them the entire day without having to correct or discipline them for something.
Friday, December 9
The message of Christmas is not about the proclamation of a holiday or the declaration of a season. It is about the proclamation of a Person and the declaration of Salvation. The birth of the child in the manger was an event that prophets had written about, the people of Israel had spoken about, the patriarchs of old had wondered about, and the angels of God shouted about on that glorious night when Christ was born.
Turn back the clock 2000 years and you will hear no man or angel saying, “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.” What you will hear are the things that spoke of the wonders of His name, the glory of His presence, and the meaning of His birth. You will hear the voice of the angel of the Lord proclaiming to a small band of shepherds the following good news, * “Have I got something to say to you! It’s news that is too good not to be true. It’s news that will flood you with joy from your head to your toes. God has done it! He has sent the One that He has promised to send, the Jewish Messiah, from David’s very seed. Yes, it is Yeshua, God’s Salvation, who has come to save you from your sins.” The news was so exciting that a huge number of angels could no longer contain themselves. In one thunderous voice they shouted out, * “Glory, glory to God in heaven’s highest place. He has sent to earth’s lowly place His gift of perfect peace, and it is now available for all who will believe.”
Why did the angels have such excitement and celebration? We only need to know the names that belong to Him to understand.
Jesus—the One who saves you from your sins and who brings you forgiveness from the past.
Christ—the One sent by God for you; the Messiah, the fulfillment of every promise God has made to you in His word; the only One anointed by God to redeem you.
Immanuel—the One who came from heaven to earth to bring you from earth to heaven; God living in the midst of your life, being with you, and abiding in you.
The Word—the One who formed you in your mother’s womb, brought you into existence, and created you for His eternal purpose.
Dayspring—the One who brought light to your darkness—bringing you the hope of a new day, a new beginning, and a new life.
Wonderful—the One who does wondrous things for you, good things to you, and beautiful things within you.
Prince of Peace—the One who quiets your heart, calms your spirit, and brings rest to your soul.
Counselor—the One who guides your footsteps, leads you in the paths of righteousness, and speaks the love of the Father to your heart.
May all Jesus is, and all He gives, be your true celebration this Christmas and always!
Tuesday, December 6
One of my pet peeves is the constant asking for tips everywhere I go. I especially get irritated at Starbucks. When I stand in line, pay $3.50, and then wait in yet another line for a cup of coffee, I can't fathom any reason to give the cashier or barista a tip! I ran across this column today, and I thought it said it better than I could.
Monday, December 5
Sunday morning on our way to church we went to the local drive-thru coffee shop. At the window they had two tip cups, one that said Naughty and one that said Nice. They always have something that you can "vote" on with your tips, and this morning it was this. I was saddened to see that the Naughty cup was quite full, but I couldn't see anything in the Nice cup. We asked the barista if there was any money in it, and she said, "Yeah, 75 cents. I put it in there myself from the last lady. I thought I should put it in there since it was Sunday."
I'm not really surprised, but still saddened to know that our culture glories in how naughty they are. I really don't think people were being honest and saying they had been naughty, but rather were proud to say they had been. We NEVER put tips into any of these tip cups (that's a topic for another post), but this morning we just had to put some into the Nice cup. I am sure I am not always nice, but I certainly strive to be nice and try not to be naughty.
Sunday, December 4
We took a tour of our new home today. They no longer allow anyone to walk in whenever they want due to some theft, so we have to make an appointment to have our realtor open the house for us. We were happy to see they have made good progress! I had some requests for interior pictures, so my hubby took some this trip.
They installed the gutters and painted the exterior trim (except the gutters), installed countertops (except the backsplash), installed the vinyl flooring in bathrooms and utility room, and installed all outlets and switches and some recessed lighting! The realtor said he'd guess we're about 20 to 30 days from being done, which puts us right around when our closing date is supposed to be, January 1. It's getting more exciting everytime we go out there!
Is it just me or are the words for word verification on posts getting longer? I left a comment this morning, and I had to type in eight characters! Of course they look funny and squished so I didn't get them right and had to do a new one...eight characters long again. LOL.
Saturday, December 3
I have been wanting to post for a while now, but I just can't seem to gather my thoughts lately. I feel very preoccupied with our upcoming move and my son's upcoming surgery. I have been going through drawers and closets organizing and getting rid of things, and I love doing that. It feels so good to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. I am almost done with that process, and I will begin packing next week, I think. I'm just not sure where I'm going to put the boxes!
I can't seem to get my son's surgery off my mind. It's only outpatient surgery, and it is supposedly almost a painfree surgery. Still, I know he's going to be scared, and I have an exaggerated fear of him going under anesthesia. It's still 6 1/2 weeks off, but ever since we got an actual surgery date, I've been feeling anxious about it. I keep bringing it before the Lord, and I know He is faithful.