kimana517: (music : hanson)
Friday night Isaac and I both left work a few hours early because we had to get downtown to be trained for working the Holt International Child Sponsorship table during Winter Jam. It was fun to cut the line (we had to be there an hour before the doors opened) and get right in for free. We went up to a Holt table near the Newsboys merchandise table and met some other volunteers, and then they asked us if we wanted to be stationed there or if we'd like to be down actually in the arena, where we would get mobbed at intermission but get to see the show. Um, yeah, no contest - we went down there. We ended up on the floor behind the sound/lighting guys, maybe the equivalent of 25 rows back from the stage and about 15 feet from the end of the runway from the stage. NICE. We were informed by the official Holt guy what to do, and we helped set up a bit, and we met some other volunteers, who were all incredibly nice. (Isaac even got to network a bit and gave out a business card, so hey, maybe his boss will really benefit from letting him leave work early!) 

The concert was great, but first let me tell you about volunteering. Turns out most of the Holt kids are up for adoption, and the sponsors are basically providing care for them until they are adopted - which could be any time from immediately to never. There were so many of them. There were about 12 full-length folding tables with at least 60 packets (one packet = one child) on each of them, and that's not even close to as many as Holt has. I had tears in my eyes when I realized that for all we knew our child/ren could be on one of those tables and maybe someone from Jacksonville would be caring for them until we can. I also almost cried when, after the concert had ended and the attendees had left, we had to put so many packets in a box to be taken to the next concert and those kids would have to wait another day to be chosen.

We really didn't have to do anything but enjoy the show until intermission, when we were indeed mobbed, but it was awesome to help so many people help impact kids' lives. I know a few Holt adoption brochures were given out too, so I am praying those people go for it. After the intermission the band Tenth Avenue North played and we were still helping people fill out forms during their whole set, so we pretty much missed them. After that we had a few more people come to the table, but we were pretty much done. Winter Jam still has a lot of tour dates, so if they're coming near you, I strongly encourage you to sign up to volunteer. If the awesome cause is not enough motivation for you, keep in mind that you will also get in free and get a free hat and CD.

Now, to the concert itself. Read more... )

So, Friday night we went to a rock concert for free. Saturday night we went to the symphony for free! Ha! Isaac had been looking forward to the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra's Organ Symphony Celebration for almost a year, because they were actually performing a piece (Symphony No. 3) by Camille Saint-Saens, his favorite composer. They also performed Bach's Toccata and Fugue and Jongen's Sinfonia Concertante (which neither of us had heard of), and it was all featuring a 23-year-old organ prodigy named Felix Hell, whose last name we made numerous original and very mature jokes about. We had seen online that there was something called "Words on Music" before the concert started and we figured we may as well go see what that is. I'm so glad we did! The conductor and organist told us about the pieces we would be hearing that night, about the organ (both generic organ-playing info and the JSO's historic and beautiful organ), and then answered questions. For someone like me, who is not a regular listener of classical music (I think it's beautiful, but I greatly prefer music with words to sing along to), that was extremely beneficial. It helped me understand and more greatly appreciate what we later heard in the concert. And it was an amazing concert. So gorgeous. I love watching the violinists out of the corner of my eye because when they raise their bows together it looks like reeds blowing in the wind. Isaac was enraptured when they finally started the Saint-Saens piece, because he had been waiting so long for it! I was proud of myself for recognizing a lot of it. (Although I owe that to Isaac since he listens to it all the time.)

Can I just say yet again how grateful I am to live in a place that, despite its small-town vibe, offers all the amenities of a city, like big rock concerts, and the symphony? And also how grateful I am that my dad works in a job that can get me free tickets to said symphony and free parking?
kimana517: (misc : adoption is love)
A friend came to me with some questions and I thought maybe if they were worried about these things maybe some of you are too. Please know that I always, ALWAYS welcome questions and confrontations from my friends. I HATE fakeness and I HATE dishonesty so even if it may knock me down a bit to hear what you have to say, I want to hear it. Now, don't take that as open season on Bethany (I prefer that you come to me in love, not accusation!), but know that you are welcome to ask.

It bothers me that you ask for money for your adoption and then in your next breath you talk about going to another thrift store.
There is a huge difference between spending $30 on several items of clothing and spending $20,000+ on an adoption. I think perhaps you are getting an off-kilter picture of our lives. I write about my thrift store finds because it's something I enjoy and I know a lot of my friends enjoy hearing about the deals I find. I don't write about how we've cut back on a lot of things, because it is not interesting to read about. I do write a lot about how I've saved us $2,000 or more on toiletries, food, and household items just this year via couponing. And that's savings on items we would've bought eventually - not that I just got because they were a good deal. (Although I do get a lot of those things too, but only if they're free.) I'd say that savings of $2,000 makes it OK to spend a little bit at a thrift store sometimes. It's cheaper than going out to eat (which we also do about 2 times per week, but almost exclusively via mystery shops, gift cards, and amazing coupons, which I do not always mention when I say we went out to eat), or going out for drinks, or getting a pedicure (which I have actually never done), or having a data plan on your cell phone, or going to Starbucks a few times a week, or buying one pair of jeans at the mall, or any number of other things.

You could get a part time job, and put all that money towards adoption if this is really important to you.
I have a part-time job. Why do people always forget that I work at my church? I also sell things on Ebay and Craig's List, do occasional odd jobs and, rarely, freelance design jobs, and I make a small amount from selling t-shirts online. I also hope to begin selling my photography online. All that money from all those things goes to the adoption - as did all the money from my modeling gigs.

Don't you think that you and Isaac saving up the money yourself will make getting the baby so much more exciting?
Absolutely not. Getting our friends and family involved is far better because then their hearts will be invested even more, and maybe they will consider giving to other families who are adopting. Read Adopted for Life by Russell Moore for how I feel about that. Also, I don't follow that logic; when a woman gives birth her insurance covers most of it, and that doesn't make her having the baby any less exciting.

Why not save and wait til Isaac is done with seminary?
He won't be done with his Master's until 2013 (that will be the year of our 10th wedding anniversary) and his Doctorate till 2017 (I think). We don't want to just be starting as parents when we're in our mid-30s! Oh, and when he finishes, we will likely be taking a massive pay cut because he will become a Bible teacher instead of a tax preparer, so that will not be an opportune time to spend tens of thousands of dollars to have children.

There are some people who are reading your blog who literally will have to adopt if they ever want to have kids. Knowing that you just don't want to be pregnant is a big reason behind your decision rubs me wrong.
I'm not sure how you got that idea, because that is NOT the reason we are adopting. We are adopting because we don't understand why anyone would bring more kids into the world when there are already millions and millions of kids out there already who will never know the love of a family or hear about Jesus. There are an estimated 6 million orphans in Ethiopia alone. That's about 5 times the population of Jacksonville - just in that ONE country. We know that people think we're nuts for not having a desire for our own biological kids. We're used to that and we accept that we're the weird ones, and we certainly do not look down on people who have biological kids. (Obviously not.) But that does NOT mean we are sinful or selfish or whatever people think we are for not trying to get pregnant.
Edited to add: Isaac said on Facebook, "The Bible talks about a man being blessed whose quiver is full. We are choosing to pick our arrows up of the ground instead of making new ones." Quiverfull Movement connotations aside (because we are SO not part of that), that is a very, very good way of putting it.

Why can't you adopt an American child? It's cheaper, and there are kids here that need loving parents.
There are lots of kids here who need parents - that's true. But it is unlikely that a child in the States will die of starvation or HIV or TB or any other treatable illness that they cannot afford or obtain treatment for in a poorer country. Not to mention that a child here has a much higher chance of hearing the true Gospel than one in a predominantly Catholic (I'm talking Catholic like El Salvador, not American Catholic) or Muslim country. Plus, we've been to orphanages in poor countries and we've been to an orphanage here in the US. HUGE difference in quality of life. Just talk to a kid old enough to remember their orphanage in the Ukraine or Jamaica or wherever and you will know. That said, we hope if people are moved to adopt from the USA that they will! Who cares where you adopt from as long as you adopt! But we have felt called to adopt from poorer countries. If in the future God does not provide for that, then we will likely adopt domestically. If that happens we would like to work with a crisis pregnancy center or some such thing so that we can put our money where our pro-life mouths are.

Question from a friend on Facebook: When you adopt your child will you keep his/her born name or give it an americanized name?
Our kids are gonna be 100% our kids, and that will include the names we've had picked out for ages. Although I think if they have a given name, we will make that a second middle name. That'll make for some long names, but then they'll have the option later on. Also, if we end up adopting older kids (like, age 5 & up) eventually, we'll probably just keep their names because it might be confusing/overwhelming for them to change after having that name for so long.

Let me also add that I am not posting this to have anyone think badly about the friend who initially asked the questions. I'm glad they asked so I could clear things up, especially since a few of you have said you'd wondered some of the same things.

Any other questions?

(no subject)

Wednesday, 21 January 2009 12:25
kimana517: (misc : adoption is love)
So you know what annoys me almost as much as people voting or not voting for someone simply because of their skin color? This. Not the whole thing, mind you; their intentions were probably noble, and they defeat some prevailing stereotypes, which is to be commended.

I am, of course, annoyed by the line by the gay couple saying that everyone deserves wedding gifts. But that's not what stands out to me after the Obama inauguration circus yesterday. What stands out to me is this: "I pledge because there is no black, or white, or yellow."

Um, what?

There is black and white and yellow and brown and red and people who are two or more of those colors combined, and to say there isn't is ignoring the differences that make us human and make us American. Tolerance isn't being the same, it's treating the same.

Y'all know that I am planning to have a colorful family. Isaac and I are blindingly pale white. Our first kid will likely be Ethiopian - so, dark black. If a South American country opens up a not-too-expensive and not-too-slow adoption program (we're still praying that it's El Salvador!), we will get at least one kid from there. I'd love an Asian kid, or Indian, or Ukrainian, or Arabic, or whatever! And I will love them all the same, but I look forward to incorporating their birth cultures into our family. I'm not going to tell them they're not different from each other - they'll be able to tell by looking at each other that they are very different - but I will tell that God and their parents love them each the same.

I don't think the answer to racism is getting rid of our differences. I think that campaign would have been far more effective if the black woman saying that line would have just said, "I'm an American." The white guy pictured when she said "or white" could have just said, "I'm an American." The Asian woman pictured when she said "or yellow" could have just said, "I'm an American." They really missed the mark there.
kimana517: (movies : peanuts : woodstock / dear LJ..)
+ We just did devotions together for the first time in ages. It helps that I finally found my Quiet Time that went missing in September. It was under the couch... where Isaac and I had both checked more than once. Isaac prayed for our child who may already be out there somewhere and of course I started crying. There is nothing guaranteed to make me cry other than adoption. I wasn't this bad till we went to the orphanage in El Salvador. It's just so REAL now. I really, really understand why God placed it in our hearts to do this, and I feel much less defective for not having always daydreamed about being pregnant and having kids that look like me.

+ We finally took our Christmas stuff down today. The dining room looks so big without the tree in there! It's kinda sad to have it gone for another 11 months.

+ 4 more Swagbucks and I can get $25 in Amazon gift certificates! And Isaac's account has enough for $5 for Amazon or Starbucks. I'm planning a trip to Knoxville to get together with some friends (woo-hoo!), which I will need airfare for, so I may hold onto mine and keep saving for the $50 Southwest gift card. It's hard though. There are lots of things I could buy from Amazon with $25. If you'd like to earn things just for searching as you would with Google, sign up here! Then when you win, I win. And when the friends you refer win, you win!

+ I had a really unhealthy day today. I ate leftover shrimp and fettuccine alfredo for lunch and then thick crust white pizza for dinner. Good thing I went for a 5-mile bike ride yesterday and a 3-mile walk today! I really love walking to work. I don't know why I waited so long to try it.

+ Did I ever post on here that I figured out the savings from my CVSing? My Aug. 30-Dec. 31 CVSing total out of pocket cost was $50.51 and I saved $863.32! I would've spent over $77 on stuff like milk, gum, tissues, etc. anyway, and that's not even counting the makeup, tons of toothpaste, medicine, etc. that I have gotten that we'll use eventually. I've also made $10 of my out of pocket cost back from Ebay auctions and will be getting $27 back from rebates - so it's like I've only spent $13.51. And I have two nice blood glucose meters to sell on Ebay which will probably fetch another $10 each, so I'll come out getting all that stuff and having spent nothing. Freaking awesome.

+ Isaac came to work with me for 5 hours Tuesday night. We are in the process of switching the church's financials from Quicken to Quickbooks. I can already tell that it's far more user friendly, and I hardly know what I'm doing yet! We also began a bit of the year end stuff which has been stressing me out. I think it will actually be okay though, with his help. I'm so grateful for him. I could never have taken the treasurer position without him being an accountant and being kind enough to help me.

+ Seth has declared me the coolest sister ever. Not only did I buy him a case of Cheerwine in NC, but I also gave him a set of headphones for his phone (well, actually I traded for a 2GB micro SD card) and made him some ringtones. So basically? I'm the bomb. Hehe.


(no subject)

Thursday, 6 November 2008 18:56
kimana517: (tv : supernatural : up to no good)
Yay for a normal post!

+ Our Halloween night was fun, but felt nothing like Halloween. We had fun though.

+ Saturday morning we woke up early to go with Isaac's coworkers to the Florida Baptist Children's Home. We cooked a meal on the grill and then served it. Sadly, we didn't get to interact with the kids (some orphans, some temporarily there till a parent gets their act together) much. This was my first visit to an American orphanage. I felt bad for the kids there, of course, but it just reaffirmed my desire to adopt kids from other countries. To the orphans in El Salvador, the FBCH would be like heaven. The kids don't go hungry, and they have house parents so they get attention and affection, and they're taught the Truth, not the cult of Mary.

Saturday afternoon I slept for 4 hours on the couch! That was not expected, but much-needed. We watched Ghostbusters, which I hadn't seen since I was a teenager. That night Isaac went to play football with some friends, and I watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which I hadn't seen since it was in theaters last year. It is amazing that that movie is 2 hours long and there is SO MUCH left out of it.

+ Sunday was pretty much engulfed by our Olympian Fun Fall Festival. After lunch we set up for it, which took so long we only had about an hour and a half between it and the actual festival. We had 13 kids come, though, and 6 of them don't attend church anywhere; their only exposure to God is through our club. We had a ton of candy left over again, so that was great. Hehe. I did face painting, and tried a few new things this year that went over big.

+ Monday's activities have slipped my mind, save for watching SNL's Presidential Bash that evening. Very entertaining.

+ Tuesday I voted in the morning and did not have to wait in line at all. Bwaha. I then went out to lunch at Olive Garden with Grams, Ange, and the kids. It'd been ages since I'd been there. I do love their Five Cheese Ziti al Forno, breadsticks, and raspberry lemonade. *licks lips* As mentioned the other day, we went to AAAC's house that night for a small election party, which was a total blast and an excuse to use the chocolate fountain again. =oD I was up way too late that night though, and I've paid for it since.

+ Yesterday I spent the day cocooned in the house. I felt like crap for staying up so late without being able to sleep in, and I was still royally ticked about the election results, so I did not want to see any news or newspapers. I was able to take a bit of a nap in the late afternoon, and I convinced Isaac to join me. We skipped the gym in favor of something more fun, and then finally went to see Fireproof. (We've been saying we were going to see it ever since it came out.) We were both pleasantly surprised by it. I had no idea it was funny, and I was expecting nearly all the actors to be bad, like in Facing the Giants. Instead, only a few of them were really wooden, and the rest, while not likely to win an Academy Award, were quite good. It was well-made too - as good as any indie film I've seen. And of course I bawled my eyes out. Hehe. I also had fun spotting people who were in Facing the Giants. We went to the movie at 7, and still hadn't had dinner, but thankfully it was free small popcorn day for people in their Movie Watcher club, so we snacked on that and then went to Steak 'n Shake. We hadn't been there in months, and they have 4 meals under $4 now - and they're good ones - so that was awesome. It was a great little impromptu date night. =o)

Oh yeah, and when we were on the highway heading down to the theater, we kept seeing all these cops go by very quickly, some with lights on, some without. We got around the bend and saw the cops (now all with lights on) blocking the entire highway. We were right behind them. We still don't know what was going on, but we saw them arrest 3 girls in their late teens/20s who looked stoned. We're guessing they were driving recklessly and, to have so many policemen there, probably refusing to pull over at first. Isaac was pretty freaked out, because the cops had their guns drawn and we were so close to them, but I figured any bullets would've had to go through 3 cop cars to get to us. Anyway, it made us late for the movie, but it was pretty exciting.

+ Someone in Greece bought one of my Supernatural shirts! That is so cool. What will be even cooler is if when we're there in June, I see her wearing it. Yeah, yeah, Greece is a decent-sized country, blah, blah, blah. It would still be cool.

+ Off to watch Survivor and then Supernatural. Happy almost-Friday!
kimana517: (movies : newsies)
+ Work today was semi-exciting, because I sort of redid the bulletin. It didn't turn out quite as well as I'd hoped, because the copier made it look funny, but it's still better than the old one.

+ I had a blast with [ profile] hominygrits on Wednesday! I basically met an entire side of her extended family (a set of grandparents and a few aunts and cousins, plus her parents and brother), and had a great time doing so. They are all a lot of fun and welcomed me right into their family vacation. Most of them were either currently or originally from Boston, too, so all the New England accents made me feel like I was with my in-laws. So great. I was a bit worried about meeting Emily since I don't know her as well as most of the LJ friends I've met in person, but there was still no conversation lag or anything. We just had fun. AND I found a sand dollar! Intact! I never have before. So that was a little extra bonus.

+ I have officially decided that Bones is the most disgusting show on television. CSI may have pushed the boundaries for showing gross things on TV, but Bones has taken it to a whole new level. I should've counted how many times they've shown bowels that are, uh, disemboweled. Nasty. But, I do love the show. Very much.

+ So I knew [ profile] melyndie was cool, but I didn't know how cool. Then I found out she's a big Gilmore Girls fan. And then I found out she's a Logan girl all the way! We both see WAY too much angst and emo-ness in Jess and Dean. I think she's the only other Logan fan I know, unless some of you are hiding in the closet of Logan-love.

+ Isaac and I have mostly given up eating out until Seth gets home from WOLBI, 'cause we know that with him back home just for a few weeks, and with Melody coming to visit, we're going to be eating out extra. (We've gotta take them to Dave & Buster's, The Landing, Wasabi...) The only way we're allowed to eat out before they're here is if someone else goes too. Then we can use the excuse of fellowshipping. Hehe. Anyway, last night I made up a recipe for baked chicken that turned out really good, and paired it with some potato wedges that were amazing. I will definitely be making those again. We're really going to try to curb our eating out anyway, 'cause then we can save more money for Europe (and termites and the roof and - well, you know the list by now). We'll see how long it lasts though. Hehe.

+ Speaking of Pippy - er, Seth - he graduates a week from tomorrow! Anyone else think this year has gone by at warp speed? Yeah. If not, you do realize it's officially August now, right?

+ My icon makes me want to watch Newsies. Well, actually, I've been wanting to watch it again for quite a while. Who's up for a Newsies party at my house?

+ Last night neither Isaac nor I could fall asleep. That's really unusual; usually he's out 5 minutes after he gets in bed, and I'm usually up for quite a while wishing I was like him. After doing the usual thing married people do when they can't fall asleep (watch TV, duh. Get your mind out of the gutter. Okay, actually, leave it there... but we watched TV too. ;o) ), we talked about a lot of stuff. We were coming up with retorts for when rude strangers comment about our (future) kids, with varying skin colors, belonging to us whiteys. That was fun. Yesterday I searched for adoption stuff on CafePress, and found this awesome shirt for kids that says, "Don't tell my parents, but they don't look anything like me." LOL! I'm so going to buy that for our kids. I also really liked the one that said, "Superman was adopted." Hehe.

+ Oh yes, and six of you think I smell like pickles. I'm not really sure how to take that. I was not surprised at those of you who chose that option (I'm looking at you, pair of curly-haired sisters), though I was surprised that only six were unable to resist temptation. ;o) Oh yes, and the clear winner for Mandy pictures was this one. It had 23 votes. The next closest had only 5! I think I might enter two though, so now I can't decide whether the second should be this one or this one. (The picture(s) I submit is not the actual one that will be used on the calendar. They will take pro photos for that.) I like the one y'all chose because it shows her prettiness, but one of the other two shows her cuteness. And yes, I do love my dog a bit too much. Hehe. Any thoughts on which of those two photos I should use?

*My subject line references this hilarious video. Watch it if you haven't yet.
kimana517: (movies : peanuts : woodstock / dear LJ..)
Yep, I'm back. It was an exhausting and wonderful trip, and very different from last year (though last year was also exhausting and wonderful). I intend to write a real trip report later, but for now, here's a taste.

Our first morning in El Salvador.

Things I miss when I'm in El Salvador:
- air conditioning
- my family
- pizza
- air conditioning
- speaking the same language as 99% of the people around me
- normal cars (in E. S. we pile into the backs of pickup trucks. It's actually pretty fun, but takes some getting used to.)
- seeing healthy, loved dogs (it was so good to see Mandy yesterday - shiny coat, loved, no patches of fur missing, and you can't see her ribs)
- french fries
- air conditioning
- food variety - i.e., not rice, beans, rice, potatoes, rice, chicken, and rice
- my soft, padded bed
- air conditioning
- chocolate
- tank tops
- sleeping/cuddling with Isaac (they don't have enough rooms for married couples to sleep together)
- sleeping in
- my LJ friends
- air conditioning

Things I miss when I'm home:
- fresh fruit at every meal
- being with friends all the time
- sweet El Salvadoran people
- adorable kids everywhere
- gorgeous scenery (Y'all know I love Florida, but E.S. is pretty much perfect in the scenery department -- it has gorgeous mountains, but also beautiful white sand beaches with palm trees, and it's warm enough to enjoy them both year-round!)
- being immersed in ministry most of each day
- not forgetting my devos, 'cause we do them as a group each morning.
- plantain chips
- cooked plantains for breakfast - yum!
- brightening someone's day just by saying hi and smiling at them (and not having them think you're weird for doing so when you don't know them)
- rain pounding on a tin roof, putting me to sleep
- a visible reminder of why Isaac and I are going to adopt all our kids
- spending 90% of my waking hours with Isaac

Things that both have in common:
- both are democratic countries with a socialist/communist likely to be elected this year. Most of America will likely survive intact despite a socialist president, but it will wreak total havoc in a country like El Salvador.
- fire ants (I got 8 bites, 4 of them spread between two toes. Apparently Repel does not repel fire ants.)
- a great church to be a part of
- the people need a Savior. Here, material things and other beliefs get in the way, and there the pre-Reformation-like Catholic church has a cult vice grip on people, keeping them living in fear. That country desperately needs a Martin Luther to open its eyes.
- they feel like home to me.


kimana517: (Default)

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