Monday, June 30, 2008

Didn't you say you wanted a copy of our COOKBOOK?

I could've sworn it was you who asked how you could buy a copy; am I right? Great. I thought so. Ok, if you'll take a little peek over there (~>) you'll see I've added a paypal link in the sidebar where you can now order your very own copy. I just know you'll love it.

The details, you ask? Well, it's 84 pages filled with nearly as many recipes contributed by our family and friends just for the cause. We've sprinkled in some quips, quotes, prayers and a little fun, too. The cookbooks are $7.00 (which includes postage), or you can use the "Donate" button to make a donation in another amount, and all the proceeds will go towards bringing the rest of our family home.

Ordering should be a relatively simple process (I hope) - you'll just click the button and fill out the order form, then paypal processes the payment and let's me know that you've ordered a copy, then I go to the post office as quickly as possible to ship your book to you.

Thank you! We love you!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Who needs a kitchen when you've got fresh coconuts?

Thanks to Uncle Andy's elbow grease we went from this:

To this:

To this:

Naysayers take note: a float in the pool and some fresh cold coconut water makes a heckuva afternoon by any standard. But when you add some coconut ice cream served in a real coconut...sheer perfection!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

So, first kitchen reno things first...

We had to tear what you couldn't see in my lame-o Before picture (namely, the cabinets, appliances, sink, flooring, EVERYTHING) out, of course...

and, while this picture's really no better than the other, what I'm sure you can tell from my lame-o Before picture to now is that there is no longer a wall between the kitchen and the remainder of the Great space. A portion of that will return...but not all of it. That tile still on the floor there? That's the kitchen. The concrete subfloor is Great...

(By the way, don't you love it when people post quasi time-elapsed photography that's taken from totally opposite angles so you can't quite figure out just what the heck you're even looking at? That's me trying to keep things interesting for you! You're welcome. *wink*)

WARNING - any relation of this post to adoption will be an enormous reach.

I mean, I guess you could say that since our children will have to eat when they come home, the kitchen remodel is part of the adoption... or, maybe, that since God obviously knew we'd be hanging around this house a while longer than we expected to bring the rest of our family together (and that the old kitchen was really cute but not really functional), the leak that caused the kitchen remodel in the first place is part of the adoption...or, even that we are preparing our home for our family - ALL of our family, even the ones who haven't come home yet - so the kitchen itself is part of the adoption...

Like I said, it's a stretch.

Even so, here's a [really pretty useless] before picture for you. Our contractor/friend is making magic in that house right now and I can't even tell you how exciting this is. Can't wait to show you some during/after photos.

(Did I mention that our kitchen is really more of a kitchen/dining room/living room -- otherwise known as a "Great Room" -- type of a space? No? Well, it is. And for some reason the only "before picture" I can seem to find on this silly computer is one of the half-wall that cordons off the actual kitchen from the rest of the "great" space -- and reveals my propensity for cluttered countertops...figures. Geesh, that's gonna take the bang out of the After shots. I wonder what happened to the kitchen pictures we had for the realtor and our original adoption application?)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The post of nothing special...

I guess there's not much to report at the moment, but I want to "update" anyway. So much for the weekly updates here, and the daily - HA! - words and phrases in El Rincon, right? If there's one thing I am consistent about it is inconsistent updates.

So let's see...what's new? Well, on the adoption front, apparently there is a recent change that requires us to have abuse registry checks from every state we have lived in since we were 18 years old, so our Social Worker has a few more requests to send in before she can finish our homestudy. We are hoping to be finished with all of our paperwork within a few months and be on to the wait...

In other news, Kyle is going to be spending a month with my parents in St. Croix and we are staying at my parents house here locally while the renovations to our kitchen (and the common areas of our house) are done. Would you join with us in praying for him to have a safe and super fun trip? And Katie, who graduated from pre-K on the 15-year anniversary of my graduation from high school -- which was a little creepy, I might add -- and is taking Spanish classes at her summer camp this summer, is looking forward to playing the role of "only princess" for a few weeks. Other than that, it's business as usual around the Murray household.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place.

Remember the verse from Habbakuk I posted ten or so days ago?

It certainly wasn't the two weeks we were originally quoted but, as usual, God has taken care of everything in His time! "It will not be late by a single day. Habakkuk 2:3" HOORAY!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

What a great reassurance!

Brothers and sisters: Abraham believed, hoping against hope,that he would become “the father of many nations, ”according to what was said, “Thus shall your descendants be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body as already dead - for he was almost a hundred years old -and the dead womb of Sarah. He did not doubt God’s promise in unbelief; rather, he was strengthened by faith and gave glory to God and was fully convinced that what he had promised he was also able to do. That is why it was credited to him as righteousness. But it was not for him alone that it was written that it was credited to him; it was also for us, to whom it will be credited, who believe in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over for our transgressions and was raised for our justification. ROMANS 4:18-25

How cool, 'eh? This was one of the readings from church today and it stood out so boldly to me. I found it to be an awesome reminder for those of us in various stages of the adoption process. Abraham waited patiently for wa-a-a-ay longer than any of us will have to wait for God to bring him and Sarah together with their children. It took a long, long time but He promised it and He did it. Period. God's will doesn't fail. Ever. We just need to keep the faith.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Hooray! It's here!

Um, no; I'm not talking about the marriage certificate this time, but I am certain that will be coming someday too. Our fundraiser COOKBOOK was delivered from the printers today. (Thanks again, Reggie.) Here it is:

(Not the greatest photo, but it was taken on my camera phone, afterall.)

It's called THE OCCASIONAL COOKBOOK: Recipes for the Occasional cook. (Hey, what can I say...when you're known for not cooking you have to play into that if you're trying to make a cookbook!) I'm really happy with the way it turned out, even though I have had the finished product in my hands for all of half an hour and I'm already finding typos. Even with its imperfections, I pray this one's a bestseller!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

SUCCESS! And a 5-month status update.

Hooray! Thank God for little victories! I can't believe I have actually put the finishing touches on our fundraiser cookbook. It turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. All that remains is printing - ahem, I mean "publishing" - and, most of all, selling the finished product. In addition, we gathered a few more things for our garage sale today and we should be all set for Saturday's sale.

Now for our 5-month status update. With the cookbook finished, I'm ready to get back to revisiting and reorganizing the mounds of paperwork that I have neglected of late. I need to see what I'm missing that could delay our progress. As of today we are precisely 5 months from the date we mailed our initial application to our agency. We have gotten quite a bit accomplished in the last five months but there is SO MUCH more that we have to do.

Lately, I'm getting really bogged down in how long things are taking - the marriage certificate, the medical forms, and I haven't even been able to guesstimate the timeline for USCIS - and how that it fits in our overall timeline. I've even begun to let myself start to worry that I could be throwing things off somehow. Who knows how, I mean, honestly my mantra and my constant prayer has been "Lord, I know Your will can't fail," but lately I'm tagging on a "just please show me that I'm still IN Your will here, pretty please?" Which kind of sounds like a lack of faith, doesn't it? I don't mean it to sound that way but it kind of does. Especially when I'm questioning if we can really pull all this together and make it happen when we keep running into little - and believe me, I do recognize they are minor, thank God! - obstacles to our progress.

Our whole process has been filled with God's little reminders that we are following His will for us. The little reminders are still there. I am so thankful for that. One of those little reminders is a verse I jotted down on an adoption blog way back at the beginning of our process:

But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day. Habakkuk 2:3

Who knew some of the biggest blessings in life are really His little reminders?

I'll admit I have an untrained eye...

However, I still believe it's safe to say I have had a negative TB test. My arm looks NOTHING like the pictures that popped up on Google. In fact, if I didn't know she did the shot right next to my little constellation of freckles I wouldn't even be able to locate the test site. God willing, Bill is "in the clear" too since his forearm doesn't look like those icky pictures either. We are going tomorrow morning for the "official read" and then - fingers crossed everyone - hope to have our doctor FINALLY sign off on the medical forms we need to finally complete the homestudy and get it submitted to USCIS. (I know you all have been anxiously awaiting word of our results, right? You weren't? Ok, well you got the unofficial results anyway. There's a whole saga to be told about going to get the tests on Friday but I will have to work on posting that later.)

What else? What else? Still no word from the Bahamas regarding our marriage certificate. Ho-hum. Oh yeah! And I am now frantically working to finish the cookbook and organize all of our garage sale stuff today because we have scheduled the garage sale for Saturday. Nothing like being under the gun... Other than that, I have a bazillion other things I need to start on and get finished but I haven't yet. BUT - wanted to pop in and post a quick update in case anyone missed me. Miss me?