Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Two Weeks.

Today? Our Dossier has been in the hands of the adoption agency for two weeks.

For two weeks they have *hopefully* been working to get all the necessary authentications (Read HERE for more deliciously-detailed details).

For two weeks I have been trying to estimate guess at when we might receive a referral.

For two weeks I have been praying that our finalized Dossier gets back quickly so we can even get on that "waiting for a referral" list that we so desperately want to be on...With the cool kids.

And so I don't go through another bottle of Tums. Yes. Another. Bottle.

For two weeks I have been imagining a nursery, brainstorming about the canvas art I am creating for it, wondering what the likelihood is that we might get (gulp) two babies.....

For two weeks? I haven't heard anything from the agency. Except that it's "being processed".

Suddenly I am reminded of an analogy I made long ago about adoption and airplanes.

I am comforted slightly with the knowledge that I was right. ( I like to be right... Who doesn't?)

I am also comforted by Nutella.

But if it goes much longer? Nutella will be my worst enemy.

And I don't want that to happen.

*Ashley Lou*

Monday, September 20, 2010

5 Things On My Mind. And A Dizzying Array of Arts & Crafts.

The Husband mentioned last night that I hadn't blogged in a while. He's right.

I hate it when he's right.

But, alas, it would seem that with all that IS going's just. not anything of value.

Right now, we are looking forward to hearing from the agency that our Dossier has gotten back so we can go on the waiting list....not that they will actually tell where we are on that list (Jesus, help me!)..What we do know? We will be somewhere between 8th and 28th on that list.


We have an agency Fall Festival on Oct. 16th..and are excited to meet many APs that have gone before us...Maybe we can get the "scoop" on all this =)

So, without further ado...and to minimize the internal pain of not having anything worth anything to share with ya'll, I will leave you with the 5 things on my mind:

1. If I eat Nutella on toast, will that create a balanced breakfast? I am going to, just forget I said anything.

2.  When one determines that the 2-page synopsis due on Monday can effectively be put off til late Sunday night? She should make sure that finding an article won't be an issue.

It was.

Said the sleepwalking zombie.

3.  My wrinkle cream does not appear to be working. Maybe Nutella will help?

4. I ran out of coffee. Will be placing my order today...If you want some, you can order it HERE and help bring Baby Smith home to us! (Sorry for the plug..I am exhausted..and wrinkled up...and not thinking clearly... because of the no-coffee situation mentioned above.)

5.  I have developed a new disease...called "Homework Avoidance". It's quite a lot of fun. Until midnight on Sundays, when I realize that I can't find the article I need (see #2). I thought I would leave you with some of those projects =)
Canvas Art for Baby Smith's room. I am going to do a series of 3 with various scriptures on them.

Just a few of my fabric/ribbon flowers I have been creating. I am working on some corduroy/tulle ones now. Lovely.
Before & After: New Nightstands for Bedroom!
Homework? What homework?

*Ashley Lou*

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Melkam Adis Amet!

Today is Enkutatash: The Ethiopian New Year. While, as Americans, this day represents a somber piece of our nation's history? As an Ethiopian-American family, we celebrate Enkutatash, today as well! Here are some interesting facts and festivals surrounding Enkutatash, so Melkam Adis Amet to all!!!

Ethiopian New Year (Enkutatash)
Ethiopia still retains the Julian calendar, in which the year is divided into 12 months of 30 days each and a 13th month of 5 days and 6 days in leap year. The Ethiopian calendar is 8 years behind the Gregorian calendar from January to September and 7 years behind between September 11 and January 8. Making this year? Enkutatash 2003!

The Ethiopian New Year falls in September at the end of the big rains. The sun comes out to shine all day long creating an atmosphere of dazzling clarity and fresh clean air. The highlands turn to gold as the Meskel daisies burst out in all their splendour. Ethiopian children clad in brand new clothes dance through the villages giving bouquets of flowers and painted pictures to each household. 

September 11th is both New Year's Day and the Feast of St. John the Baptist. The day is called Enkutatash meaning the "gift of jewels." When the famous Queen of Sheba returned from her expensive jaunt to visit King Solomon in Jerusalem, her chiefs welcomed her back by replenishing her treasury with enku or jewels. The spring festival has been celebrated since these early times and as the rains come to their abrupt end, dancing and singing can be heard at every village in the green countryside. After dark on New Year's Eve people light fires outside their houses. 

The main religious celebration takes place at the 14th-century Kostete Yohannes church in the city of Gaynt within the Gondar Region. Three days of prayers, psalms, and hymns, sermons, and massive colourful processions mark the advent of the New Year. Closer to Addis Ababa, the Raguel Church, on top of the Entoto Mountain north of the city, has the largest and most spectacular religious celebration. But Enkutatash is not exclusively a religious holiday, and the little girls singing and dancing in pretty new dresses among the flowers in the fields convey the message of springtime and renewed life. Today's Enkutatash is also the season for exchanging formal New Year greetings and cards among the urban sophisticated in lieu of the traditional bouquet of flowers.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Do You Remember "That Day"?

I do.

I had a 7am P.E. class, so I had gone to class, gotten out early, and had run back to the dorm room to commence sleeping. I had just fallen back asleep.

I remember waking up to my phone ringing. 

I remember hearing The Husband--then "The Boyfriend" tell me to turn on the t.v. 

I remember turning it on just in time to see the second tower get hit. My roommate came running into the room and just sat down at the end of my bed.

At that exact moment, it might have been an accident. But a few minutes later, there was word about the 3rd plane. We didn't say anything. We didn't move. We just sat there.

Everything we had forsaken?

Everything we had grown up taking for granted?

Was being attacked.

Our freedoms. Our safety. Our country.

A few years ago, I was babysitting hanging out with my friend Rene's two girls. T was probably about 7...maybe 8. We had watched Hairspray that night, and I remember my heart being filled with joy to see the confusion on her face as we watched it. 

"Why were they being so mean to those black people?" she asked. 

"We didn't do a lot of things right back then. But we are working on doing things right, now." I replied, cautious not to put myself in a corner where the historical responses might confuse her more.

"Well, I think they should have let them dance...They were the better dancers, anyways" She responded, confident that if SHE had been in charge, things would have been different.

I smiled, "Yes. Yes, they were"

"Hey Ashley...You know what we learned in school the other day?" She came back quickly, unbeknownst to me--quite finished with our previous topic.

"What's that?" I responded, sure that somehow they were teaching about the Civil Rights era in 2nd grade now...

"We learned about these people who flew planes into these big buildings in New York. And now? Those buildings are gone, and a lot of people died that day"

My heart stopped. Sitting there with T? Was the first moment I realized that there would be a whole generation who would be asking US about "that day". The significance of "that day" in history was concrete. And for T..who was just an infant on 9/ was as far removed as Pearl Harbor. Or World War II. Or, even, the Revolutionary War.

"You know, T...I remember "that day"" I said, feeling a little melancholy, my soul always carrying a piece of "that day" with me.

"You were ALIVE when that happened??" Her eyes big and curious.

And so I told her all about what I remembered.

How the country banded together to protect our freedom. How none of us really knew what that meant before. How at that moment... regardless of political positions or intellectual disagreements? We were all, simply, Americans. 

I told her about the lines at gas stations being miles long, because people were afraid of gas shortages. How planes couldn't fly for weeks afterward...anywhere. How nobody really knew what the next day would look like, or the next week. or month. or year. But that I had trusted in God and had faith that He loved us.

We talked about how I didn't actually know anyone in the towers, but that one of my professors had a son-in-law who worked there. And had been at a meeting across town when it happened. He was one of the lucky ones. I told her we were scared. America had never been attacked like this, at least not in my lifetime...and quickly, I realized that THIS was how Americans probably felt when Pearl Harbor was attacked. 

The immensity of knowing that you were alive during something as significant as that? is profound.  I tried my best to explain everything I could...knowing that some things? some feelings? just couldn't be explained.

I didn't mention the picture I have in my head of people jumping out of the windows.Or the piles of bodies being pulled from the wreckage. I didn't tell her that we were always worried we would be attacked again. Even trying to proactively determine what the risk of Central AR getting attacked would be (low, we decided). I didn't tell her that I didn't really cry. I couldn't. really. cry. It was an an emotion I had never really felt...

I did tell her how proud I was--and am--to be an American though. How the resilience of Americans after 9/11 only confirmed how blessed I had felt to be born in such a country. How, even when I don't agree with the politics, the religious disputes, the hatred, that Americans can possess....I have never wished I'd been born anywhere else. I have always said the Pledge of Allegiance with pride and sang Star Spangled Banner as beautifully as possible.

How, even in the worst of times, we were the greatest nation. And instead of wishing to be somewhere else, when we disagree with things, we should work to change them and make them better.

"Like the people in Hairspray did?" She asked.

"Yep. Just like that".

Strange Dream.

I had a dream last night.

I dreamt I was pregnant.

I blame this on the obscenely very pregnant co-workers waddling hanging around my office.

I woke up very uncomfortable.

And wishing my baby was here.

The End.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The 'Un's In My Life...

Unfinished homework.

Unclean laundry. floors. dishes. counters. bathrooms. house.

Unadjusted animals. humans. household.

Unappreciative animals. humans. household.

Unpainted projects sitting in the that "Unstarted" projects sitting in the garage.

Uncomfortable bed. Unless I've been on a long car-ride. Then it's heavenly.

Undefined muscles. In fact, these are being replaced by very DEFINED wrinkles.

Ungrateful cats.

Uninviting washer and dryer set.

Underpaid...well, not right now. Right now I am blogging.

Unredeemable. Redeemed

Uniquely made.

Unworthy of how beautiful my life is...even with all it's 'un's.

*Ashley Lou*

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

5 Things On My Mind. And My Decision To Boycott Travel

The Husband and I just returned from a whirlwind weekend. One so incredibly packed with meals, fellowship, car-rides, family, and friends that when we arrived at Mi Casa around 5:30pm on Monday? We simply fell into our comfy, clean, cool-sheeted (yes, I prefer cool, cotton sheets) king-size bed and woke around 8pm. 




Vowing never to leave home again.

For real.

I'm never getting into another car again. Except to go to work. And the grocery store. And the dollar jewelry store. And the fabric store. But that's IT!

Ya'll can just come here from now on. I will even put on "real" clothes instead of the high school t-shirt variety I typically don at home. See? This is already Win-Win!

Now for what's on my mind this cloudy, windy, September Tuesday morn:

1.  Razorback Football is the best part about fall. The End.

2.  Since discovering Anthropologie, and realizing I would need to sell vital organs and stop buying my anti-aging creams to purchase ANY of their stuff, I promptly decided I would just make my own. My house has since been taken over with fabric flowers that can be used for corsages, hair bows, and embellishments, necklaces that look like bibs, craft glue, hot glue, needles and thread and lots of ribbons, buttons and tulle. It's unfortunate the toll it's taken on Strategic Human Resources. This week, I have locked up all fabric and blocked Netflix so I can kill all joy in my life with an HR 3-year strategy.

3. My desk has been transformed into a sewing station. I prefer it that way.

4.  September is the best of all Fall months because there is minimal humidity, which makes for great hair days, and opening the windows actually freshens the home...without infecting me with chest congestion. I think I might make apple butter this weekend. Since I can't sew or watch mindless hours of Netflix...............  Mmmm....  Apple Butter.

5.  Have I mentioned I found a wrinkle? An honest-to-Charlie WRINKLE on my forehead. Apparently I furrow my brow far too often. So, if you see me with a surprised look on my face, have no fear. I am simply trying to reverse the damage.

Til I can buy enough land for all of my loved-ones to come live together in a peaceful compound where I am free to wear ancient, stained t-shirts and never have to get in another car,

*Ashley Lou*

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

20 Stupid But Interesting Facts From Gator

My sister can be SOoooOOoo obnoxious. And, since she doesn't read my blog I can say that without fear or mommy? mother? don't tell her! I beguvya!

I'm just joshin' anyways. She's pretty cool. One of the things that she does, is post stupid but interesting facts on her facespace...I found it obnoxious at first...but I usually do with Gator. Now, it's intriguing all of the things one can learn from such posts. I thought I would share them with ya'll since today has been virtually useless anyways!

1.  Spheno Papatine Gangleoneuralgia is the scientific term for an ice cream headache.
--Actually, it's quite possible she made all these up....

2.  Mark Twain was born on the day of the appearance of Hailey's Comet in 1835, and died on the day of it's next appearance in 1910. He, himself, predicted that in 1909, saying "I came in with Hailey, and I expect to exit with her also."

3.  A pig can cover a mile in 7.5 minutes when running at top speed

4.  The reason firehouses have circular stairways is from the days of yore when the engines were pulled by horses. The horses were stabled on the ground floor and figured out how to walk up a straight staircase.

5.  In New York, it is against the law to throw a ball at someone's head for fun.
--which is why they suck at dodgeball, I assume.

6.  Ohio is listed as the 17th state in the U.S. but technically it's number 47. Until August 7, 1953, Congress forgot to vote on a resolution to admit Ohio into the Union.
--During that time, Congress voted on 14 resolutions for new toilets in Capital Hall.. I kid, I kid.

7.  If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months, and 6 days, you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee.

8.  The Sanskrit work for "war" means "desire for more cows"

9.  The saying "It's so cold out there, it could freeze the balls off a brass monkey" came from when they used cannons like ones in the Civil War. The cannonballs would be stacked in a pyramid formation, called a brass monkey. When it got extremely cold outside, they would crack and break off...Thus the saying...
--I'm pretty sure I got my mouth washed out a few times for saying which my MOTHER now owes me an apology. I can't help it if I have a taste for Civil War history ;-)

10.  2500 lefties die each year from using instruments made for righties....
--The words "I told you so" come to mind...all you hata's out there!

11.  Peter Pan and 101 Dalmatians are the only two cartoon features with both parents that are PRESENT and don't die throughout the movie.

12.  FACT: Stewardesses is the longest word typed with the left hand.
--I can actually confirm this one...

13.  In England, the Speaker of the House is not allowed to speak.

14.  In 1938 TIME magazine named Adolf Hitler "Man of the Year" citing him as a 'Lady Killer'

15.  Piranhas, when they have no food, become cannibals.

16.  Armadillos are the only animal other than humans that can get leprosy.
--That just seems like really bad luck for the armadillo......

17.  They [armadillos] also always have 4 babies at a time, and they are always the same sex.

18.  A group of unicorns is called a 'blessing'. Twelve or more cows is known as a 'flink'. A group of frogs is known as an 'army' and a group of Kangaroos is called a 'mob'.

19.  The Baby Ruth candy bar was actually named for Grover Cleveland's baby daughter, Ruth.

And finally,

20.  Studies show that if a cat falls off the seventh floor of a building it has a thirty percent more chance of surviving than if it fell of the twentieth floor. Supposedly, it takes eight floors for the cat to realize whats occurring, relax, and correct itself.
--It would take my scaredy-cat, Oliver, a million floors to relax and correct itself. 

This obnoxious list of random...yet somehow, so, so enthralling...facts was brought to you by Gator and Lou on this gloriously, rainy Wednesday. Enjoy!

Another Great Link!

     Sometimes, I run across blog posts that I just can't help but want to pass along. This was one of those posts. Being married to a worship leader. Being a young couple pursuing God together and dreaming of a place where our children are not only gripped by the presence of God but are RUINED by him, we find our struggles to "fit in" can cause great grief  in our lives. It's no person's fault. We just have a yearning in us that can't be suppressed. We NEED more of God. We recognize, not only the requirement of our own responses to Him, but also of the critical necessity of corporate response.
    In a time when I feel like a stranger in a foreign land. A fish out of water. A man without a home? Messages like this renew my resolve that God would not place a vision that He does not intend to bring forth. And I am reminded? That is is better to fail for the sake of a cause that will ultimately succeed than to succeed for a cause that is destined to fail!

Friday, January 29, 2010     Do what you say!

I was watching some "Christian" tv the other night and they were singing some worship song that is pretty familiar to just about everyone (thank you Time Life!).  The band sounded great and the worship leader was singing his heart out but when they showed a shot of the crowd the response was disappointing.  At some point I will talk about the strength of corporate worship but what got my attention was not that nothing corporately seemed to be happening but that there was no response from the congregation at all.  I guess I  take that back.  There was something corporately happening ~ NOTHING! They were singing songs that talked about shouting, singing, bowing, lifting hands and they were doing none of it!

It reminded me of the scripture in Ezekiel 33:30, 30 "Son of man, your people are whispering behind your back. They talk about you in their houses and whisper about you at the doors, saying, 'Come on, let's have some fun! Let's go hear the prophet tell us what the LORD is saying! 31So they come pretending to be sincere and sit before you listening. But they have no intention of doing what I tell them. They express love with their mouths, but their hearts seek only after money. 32
You are very entertaining to them, like someone who sings love songs with a beautiful voice or plays fine music on an instrument. They hear what you say, but they don't do it." How many Worship Leaders and Pastors are having this very same thing happen to them every week?  I do not get the feeling that God was happy that they at least "showed up" to church.  He was expecting some response.  He is looking for people who do what they say. 

Our worship songs are full of responses toward God but do we just speak them or do we do them?  Would you be able to get away treating your spouse the same way you treat God?  For example, when you come home from a long day and your spouse comes to hug, do you say, "Honey can you hug me in about twenty minutes?  You can not expect me to be at work all day and then jump right into being with you the minute I walk in the door.  Give me a chance to get acclimated to your presence"?  Do you tell your spouse, "I know you want me to show you I love you outwardly but it is not my personality, just know that even though I don't show it on the outside I am showing I love in my heart"?  Do you tell your spouse, "I can't wait to be with you tonight", and then the whole time you are with them you are looking at your watch wishing you were somewhere else or even worse with someone else?  Real relationships would not survive the abuse most people on their relationship with God.

Remember, GOD IS REAL so worship Him like He is!!!