To Love a Rose: An Ethiopian Adoption Journal

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Nothing much to say today, except that I hope you have a fun and safe evening ringing in 2011!  I can't believe a whole year has come and gone again.  I remember being so hopeful last year around this time in so many ways, but 2010 didn't go the way I had hoped.  The worst omen of all that 2010 was going to be a difficult year was the passing of my cousin, R, on new years day (January 1, 2010).  My heart still aches for my aunt, uncle, cousin B, R's children, and all of the other family members left behind to grieve.

Even with that fresh in my mind, I know that God has brought us through so much this year; so, that we will truly be prepared for all of the BLESSINGS he is ready to pour over us in 2011!  I feel so much lighter right now than I did a year or even a few months ago.  God has literally lifted the weight of pain and sorrow and suffering from me; and I am so grateful!

My prayer for you is that you will have a new year that is OVER-FLOWING with all of God's greatest gifts and blessings!  I hope your prayers are answered, your dreams come true, and that 2011 proves to be your best year YET!

Much love to you and yours,

PS: What are your plans for tonight?  How will you celebrate the new year's coming?  Big and bright with fireworks and large crowds?  Or intimate and quiet - perhaps a bottle of champagne and a comfy couch?  Mr. C and I still don't have any definite plans.  We could try to take in some fireworks or go check out a local band or do some fancy dinner...we just have no idea how we want this evening to go!  Guess we better figure it out quickly, right?  Haha!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas and Catamenial Epilepsy

I have been searching for the right words for days...none have come to me, but I want to get these experiences and revelations down in type before their intensity and truth slips away from me.  Sometimes you are a part of something, and it is only for you; but I believe that what I have been through may be helpful to those wondering if God truly answers prayers or if he is actually an active, kinetic force in people's lives.  So, instead of keeping this in, I'm going to share it here.

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010...three days before Christmas, and I found myself in the ER with my youngest sister (let's call her W) again.  Not to be crass, but this is nothing new for W.  She has been suffering with seizures since June of 2009 when they came on and came on strong  and seemingly out of nowhere.

Our band, The Beautifully Broken had just completed it's first album on June 1st; and W had her first bad seizure around the 20th of that month.  We were petrified.  We put everything on hold.  And we've been in that holding pattern ever since.

It doesn't help that W was diagnosed in late 2005 with an AVM.  An AVM is an "arterial veinous malformation"; which is essentially a cluster or mass of veins that grow into clump.  This happens when one is in the womb, W has had this AVM since before she was born.  AVM's can be anywhere in the body, really; and are most often found in the extremities (arms, legs).  W's is in the right lobe of her brain.  Pretty much the entire right lobe.  It's large.  It looks extra ugly in a brain scan (trust me).

When W was 18 or 19 years old, she started blacking out while driving.  Her vision was getting bad as well; so, she went to the eye doctor.  He was the first person to notice that her ocular nerves were extremely swollen.  He suggested a brain scan.  It was called for the very next day, October 25th, 2005.  The doctor reading the scan came out and said, "Well, you have a very large arterial veinous malformation in the right lobe of your brain.  You need immediate brain surgery.  Where would you like to go for that?  Here in Missouri like St. Louis?  Or would you rather go back to your home state of Iowa?" Not exactly what a high school senior expects to hear.

We were all devastated.  To make matters worse, after visiting multiple neurologists across the country, we realized that W was NOT a candidate for surgery or any other kind of physical treatment.  When doing the initial testing to see what the consequences of brain surgery would be for W, the doctors quickly realized that the AVM affected W's ability to talk and move.  Essentially, with surgery, W would be perfectly sound of mind while being unable to speak or move ever again.  She would be trapped in her mind forever.  She didn't want to live like that, and we didn't want her to live like that either.

So, we sallied forth, waiting and wondering what on earth was going to happen next.

When W started seizing, we just thought this was the next step in the progression of what the AVM was doing to her body.  We didn't really question why the AVM had caused no problems until she was 21/22 years old; we were resigned to our fate.

My mother had just been through surgery and treatment for endometrial cancer in late 2008 (the same cancer we later found out killed her biological mother).  In fact, Christmas that year was spent helping her recuperate from her emergency hysterectomy just 10 days before Christmas of that year.  I think this first bout with major fear had left us feeling the doom that something evil was heading our way.

In early December of 2009, just a week or so after W's 22nd birthday, she suffered several seizures in a row.  My middle sister, M, could not revive her; and W was taken to the ICU 1/2 an hour away from where we were living at the time.  Our parents rushed down to be by her side.  We were all in such a daze that I honestly don't remember much from that time; but I do remember the ICU doctor telling me that I was listed as her next of kin, and that I needed to be prepared to make some important decisions in case she didn't survive.  I was numb and cold and speechless.  M and I just sat in W's ICU room.  Not saying a word.  Just glassy eyed and frozen.

But, W pulled through.  A week later she was dismissed, and we celebrated Christmas here in Missouri instead of going home to Iowa, just to be safe.  The following months were probably the darkest for my sisters and I.  W had several seizures a month sometimes. (I realize that some people suffer from 10, 50, 150 seizures a day.  That is terrible, and I am not trying to complain about a seizure a week when others go through so many a day at times; but to me, any amount of seizures is "too many seizures" for anyone.)

To make matters worse, the first medications she was on made her have night terrors.  She was also sleep-walking and doing very strange things in the night - totally asleep, not even realizing it.  This is terribly frightening - both to experience and to watch happen.  The final straw was when W tried to get outside on a second-story porch, presumably to jump off.  A that moment, we felt we had a long journey ahead of us.

Instead of working on music and projects, M and I spent our days making sure W was okay.  M even more than me, because she and her husband were living in the same house as W at the time while their condo was on the market to be sold.  M lived in terror.  W lived in terror.  She was afraid to go to sleep.  She was afraid to be awake.  She was afraid to eat or drink certain things lest they be a "trigger" for another seizure.

As the months languished on, W's friends faded away.  Most people stopped calling.  After all, how many young twenty-somethings could understand what she was going through?  Hardly anyone.  She had lost her ability to drive (in most states, you must be seizure-free for at least 6 months in order to have your license reinstated, W couldn't even go 6 weeks most of the time), and she didn't feel safe going out with people who didn't fully comprehend her situation.  We all sat around a lot, watching movies and waiting in torment for the next episode or seizure to take over our lives.

When W would seize, she often wouldn't be able to move the left side of her body for hours, sometimes a day or so.  We would have to help her go to the bathroom, wash her hands, walk, etc.  It was hard on everyone, but most of all on W.  What 22 year old wants to live like that?

As time ticked on, we were praying together as a family.  Why was God letting our family suffer?  If he is great and mighty as we knew him to be, why doesn't he just take this all away from us?  Why do we have to continue to languish in pain and fear breaching on sheer terror?  Why?  Why?  Why?

Church members, friends, and family members would offer advice and prayers.  Some would even get preachy with us, telling us that we obviously aren't doing "something right".  We weren't "praying right".  We weren't "doing enough".

So, we would try harder.  We would pray harder.  We read our Bibles like crazy.  We asked for forgiveness.  We cried and sobbed to Jesus that we would do anything if only he would be touch W and heal her.  Heal her completely, make her whole; so, she can live a good life, a happy life again.  So, the band could move forward - or we would give up music!  We would go work some boring 9 to 5, we would change everything, anything, if only he would hear us and gift healing to our family.

But then W would seize again.  And we all noticed they were getting worse.  In one way, she was coming out of them more quickly and was more aware when she came out of them; but in the other hand they were becoming more frightening and violent.  She could feel them now.  She was feeling her muscles posture and stretch and strain.  She was contorting and screaming so loudly it would make your blood curdle.  These were exorcism-style seizures.  W was losing all hope...not just hope for healing, but for a future.  Who would want to date a girl who could drop down with a horrific seizure at any moment?  Who would want to be friends with her?  Who would hire her?  She couldn't live alone.  She couldn't drive.  The whole situation seemed utterly dim.  We had no choice but to turn our eyes to God and plead; but deep-down, we were all losing our speed.  While we knew God had not forsaken us, it sure felt as though he had just decided to not show up to this terrible party at all, leaving us to our own devices.

In the midst of the this, Mr. C and I were dealing with the fact that we were, in fact, "infertile".  We were not sure of the reasoning, but we knew that things were not going right in the "trying to get pregnant" arena - something had to be wrong.  And something was wrong as we were soon to find out.  In June of 2010, I got my first abnormal pap smear ever.  By August, I had stage 2 pre-cancer.  By the time my surgery to remove it came about in September, it had progressed to stage 3C pre-cancer - I was months from being a 29-year-old cancer patient.

About this same time, I went to a special church "camp meeting" with my parents, W, and Mr. C.  Pastor Tim Storey was the special guest that night.  I am not a fan of "special guest pastors" or "celebrity preachers".  I grew up in the church, and I have never lost my faith in God; but I have to admit, in many ways I have lost my faith in many of those who claim to be his "faithful".  I have seen the epitome of hypocrisy within God's family, and I am forever wary.

So, needless to say, I wasn't exactly excited to go hear "Dog the Bounty Hunter's preacher", as everyone kept referring to Pastor Storey.  That night, I was feeling especially low.  It seemed as though every time I turned on my computer or answered my phone I was getting an e-mail or phone call about someone being pregnant.  It seemed so easy for everyone; everyone, that is, but me.

During the service that night, Pastor Storey was praying for healing for many people in the audience.  One girl was even called out and prayed for due to having seizures; and I thought for a split second, "Maybe God is trying to reach us?!"  Pastor Storey looked out into the congregation and said, "Someone here has been having a hard time getting pregnant.  Get up here, you know who you are, you need prayer."

Something just struck me, and I kicked off my high heels and ran up to be prayed for - NOTE: this is totally not something I would normally do!  A teeny, little woman from my parents' church had already been prayed for, and Pastor Storey told her that it was now "time for her to be bold" and pray for me.  She grabbed my hands, and I suddenly felt huge at only 5'2" next to this petite wisp of a woman.  She looked into my eyes and began to pray.  I started sobbing uncontrollably, and suddenly I was out like a light.

In all of my years of growing up in the pentacostal/charismatic Christian church, I had seen TONS and TONS of people "slain in the spirit".  This is when God literally "knocks" someone over (like fainting) in order to speak straight to that person's spirit man while the person is in an almost dream-like, and most receptive state.

I honestly didn't know whether I thought it was hooey or play-acting or wishful thinking or what; but there I was, lying on the floor before the altar in my parents' church - slain in the spirit.  Yes, folks, believe what you want; but IT HAPPENED.

Everything was black and it sounded like water was rushing past my ears, as though my head was caught in the current a babbling stream.  I saw nothing; but I heard one thing, very clearly: "W's already healed.  W's already healed."  Twice, and that was it.  I jerked awake as you do when dreaming of falling, to find a dark purple blanket thrown over me and an usher bent over me, offering me his hand and a Kleenax.  "Are you okay?"  he asked.  I just nodded "yes".  The whole room was spinning, and my eyes were still clouded with tears as I made my way back to my seat with my family.

The whole congregation seemed to be looking at me expectantly.  My family was asking me what had happened.  Did God tell me when we'd have a baby?  How we'd get pregnant?  What happened?  Anything at all?  I was dumbfounded.  I had gone up to receive word on our infertility status, and had been given an ambiguous promise that my sister was "healed" - whatever that was supposed to mean.  It felt a bit anti-climactic.  After all, W had been  prayed over time and time again by many people.  I cannot tell you how many times we thought, "This is it!  She's healed!"  It wasn't surprising then, that had no clue what I was to take from this message, this promise of healing that I had just been given.

Later, when the service was over, I told W and Mr. C only what had happened.  We all agreed that God must have been saying that we were eventually going to find a way to remove the AVM from W's brain.  We were happy that night.

Fast forward through my surgery and recovery, a botched adoption, and many seizures later for W, and there we were sitting in the ER, three days before Christmas 2010.  "Another Christmas in the hospital" was on everyone's mind.  W had suffered three seizures within 40 minutes - the terrible, exorcist-like ones, where she feels everything.  We were all fried - emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  We sat like zombies in the ER waiting room while all sorts of tests were run and given to the on-call neurologist (W's regular neurologist was on vacation).

I had been switching off and on with M going back to the ER room to see W (only two people allowed at a time, and our mom wouldn't leave her baby's side, of course; so, we sisters took turns).  I was getting ready to switch off again and go to the ER room when M came out, a strange look on her face.

"Well," she said. "W's been officially diagnosed with catamenial epilepsy."  A rush of knowing breezed through my body - I literally felt a chill.  Catamenial epilepsy, as in epileptic seizures that occur only around a female's menses and the major times of hormone unrest during her monthly cycle (ovulation, luteul phase, menstruation, etc.).  Oh.  My. GOD!

Suddenly, I could remember all the way back to June of 2009 - W's first major seizure.  The doctor in the ER mentioning hormone related seizures in women.  A call for progesterone cream in July of that same year.  Her first neurologist mentioning catamenial epilepsy casually in a conversation with W, M, and myself.  Over and over and over and over again the examples were flying at my mind.  The answer had been in front of us all along.  We were just too blind to see.

As it turns out, the on-call neurologist, Dr. O, is a genius.  Really.  He had been too busy to see W earlier on in her diagnostic journey; which is why she was seeing her current neurologist, Dr. S.  After looking over everything W had been through and checking all of her past charts, he proclaimed something we had all begun to suspect, but thought was too good to be true - that W's AVM has nothing to do with her seizures at all.

Her body learned to deal with her AVM in the womb.  If it was going to cause her harm or kill her, it would have done so years and years ago, probably when she was just a very young child.  But it hadn't.  "Somehow," he said.  "Her body has miraculously learned to circumcede it.  It does nothing to her as long as she doesn't aggravate it with medicines that clot the blood or too much pressure (ie: deep-sea diving) or too much caffeine."

It dawned on me in that moment what God had been trying to tell me that night that I was slain in the spirit.  W was "already healed", because she was never in any danger with the AVM to begin with.  It was her "diagnostic smoke and mirrors", so to speak, keeping us all distracted from the real problem and truth - W was an epileptic.  Not only that, she was a rare kind of epileptic, suffering from seizures that only women can have, and only women with severe hormone deficiencies like we had been told about over and over and over again.  Many different vessels and venues throughout the year and a half W had been suffering from seizures had brought up the importance of having hormone levels checked in female epileptics; but we just kept shrugging this information off each and every one of the multitudinous times it was offered to us.

All along, we had been sure to remind people that W was NOT an epileptic, that her seizures came on as a result of this terrifying being - the AVM.  Now, we were being smacked in the face with our ignorance and inability to see the truth.

Our mother sat on the bed cradling W's head as she was in the throes of the 3rd seizure that day praying out loud, "God, if there is something we are not seeing, please open our eyes.  I beg you, give us the answer."  I wonder how painful it must have been for God and the angels surrounding us to have to stand back and watch - letting W seize so many times in a row so that we would finally feel the urgency to call the ambulance.

I've said before that God always answers our prayers, just not always in the time or manner that we wish.  W's diagnosis is the surest example of this that I have in my own, personal repertoire.  She had to suffer a year and half of our ignorance and those final, 3 horrific seizures in a row so that we would call 911 for the LAST TIME, 3 days before Christmas to see a doctor she would never normally have seen in order to get her diagnosis.  Her truth.

All through the months, as we prayed for God to help us find a solution, to heal our family, to help us move forward, he was there.  Constantly trying to make us see.  Trying desperately to open our eyes, our ears, our minds.  While we felt our trust in his ability to guide and lead falling apart, he NEVER gave up trying to get the truth and answers to us.  He just kept trying; he never lost faith in us.

It is so humbling to know that the almighty God who created all things and loves and cares for everyone and every living thing on Earth and throughout the universe never lost faith in me, even when my faith in him waxed and waned like the moon in the night sky.  Even more staggering is realizing just how long God had kept W safe from her AVM.  While her body has become accustomed to it's presence, extreme pressure, especially when she was younger might have caused it to rupture and bleed - killing her.  W was born early, via c-section.  The last obstacle that could have put too much pressure on her tiny brain and AVM, squeezing through the birth canal, was taken from her.  God was watching and protecting her literally from day one!

We found out that night that catamenail epilepsy is caused by excessive or extremely low levels of estradiol (one of the many forms of estrogen) and progesterone.  We had found out in July of 2009 that W had terribly low progesterone levels.  We all just ignored it; we were so blinded by the AVM.  Even her doctors had been blinded by it.  If we had gotten W on a routine back then of progesterone creams and maybe even some pills, she may have never spent in the hospital, lost her license, had to move to Iowa to live with our parents, or forsaken nearly all of her hope for a normal life.  It is such a shame, and a lesson I will NEVER forget so long as I live.

We found out that W's progesterone level that day was .6.  As in, not even "1".  At that day in her monthly cycle, her progesterone levels should have been anywhere from 30-60.  No wonder she was seizing, and so painfully too.

I am so blown away at how many times the answer was right in our face, but we just couldn't see it or wouldn't see it.  If you're out there and you're wondering if God is real, if he really works in our lives and heals and gives answers, I can tell you from experience "YES!  Yes, he does."  I pray for you that you will not be like us.  That you will have your eyes and ears and minds open to his voice.  Always remember that he will use the most unlikely of vessels, the most unexpected of sources to reach you; so, be vigilent.  Be aware.  Be open.  At any moment, you could be getting life-altering information; or YOU could be the one to be a vessel of information or inspiration to someone else.  If you feel a tug to go talk to someone, do it!

Update: Mr. C and I just went to our first meeting with our fertility doctor, and we feel confident we are in good hands; but what struck me the most was the fact that this doctor, Dr. S (no, not the same as W's neurologist, silly!) has many patients who are catamenial epileptics.  He said that in his opinion, "catamenial epilepsy is an 'easy fix'," and that "nobody should have seizures due to this very easily controlled condition."  What GREAT news for W! 

The same day, W revisited the hormone specialist who first discovered and diagnosed her with low progesterone back in July of 2009.  She is now on progesterone cream, and while it may take a while to her routine "just right", she is at least on (finally!) going in the right direction!

I have been wearing the bracelet I told you all about a few blogs back that M and her husband C made for our family in light of W's situation.  It's gray and looks like those famous, yellow "Livestrong" bracelets.  It says simply, "Expect a miracle...Psalm 5:3".

Miracles are happening all around us every day, everywhere.  Do not give up on your miracle.  It IS coming.  I know it may seem hopeless and you are so tired of being hurt and let down; but I promise you, God feels your pain.  He loves you and doesn't want you to live this way anymore.  He is trying to reach you, and he will.  Just keep hoping and persevering.  Just keep expecting a miracle...

"In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation..." (Psalm 5:3, NIV).

Love, Love, and More LOVE to you,

PLEASE READ, PS:  I felt the need to update this a bit again and just mention a few things concerning catamenial epilepsy.  #1: often catamenial epileptics find that their seizures are drug resistant.  This should have been one of the first signs of W's condition to us.  #2: Catamenial epilepsy is not "normal" epilepsy.  I say this, because in fact it is not a "brain" thing (as in neurotransmitters or neurons malfunctioning and misfiring in the brain); but rather a "body" thing (the inability to create and control health and normal functioning levels of certain hormones in the body.

When W was tested for epilepsy waaaaaaay back at the beginning of this journey via EEG (of which she's had several), they could never see anything wrong with her brain.  So, if you're out there struggling and you like this and you think you or a loved one may have catamenial epilepsy, just know that it will not "show up" in "regular" epilepsy tests.  You will need to find someone who specializes in hormones and hormone therapy in order to get your/their condition diagnosed properly.

I just wanted to clarify that.  Hope it helps someone out there somewhere!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Going with the Flow

If you've read my recent blog posts, you'll know that it's been a whirlwind of emotion around here.  A whirlwind.  I love anime and comics (I'm writing a comic after all!), and one I've been delving into lately is called Inu Yasha (Inuyasha - Season 1).  The main character of the same name can sometimes summon these "wind storms" with his special, magical sword.  These aren't normal windstorms, oh no!  They're whirlwinds of slice-you-like-a-knife power.  That's how it's been here for Mr. C and I.  We've been caught up in the slicing and dicing sort of emotional turbulence.

Giving up on the adoption for now has been heart-breaking, but all along we've both been praying for peace and wisdom and guidance.  We both know now that we WILL adopt one day, but we also know that we are no longer seeking a fully healthy baby.  We hope to one day either adopt an HIV positive child from abroad, or a mixed-race child through a domestic adoption or through the foster system.  The weird thing is, we both came to these conclusions separately before we shared them with one another; which really put us both at peace about them to know that it was in each of our hearts privately so we're not swaying one or the other from something else that we may have truly wanted.  It feels good to be on the same page.

I shared in my last post that I recently went in for an exam with my OBGYN.  This was a follow-up from my surgery that removed my pre-cancer cells.  There was nothing exciting about this exam, but I knew I really need to keep up on this since I was maybe months from having full-blown cancer.

My doctor was really upbeat, talking about how my pre-cancer was pretty bad, but we he was so glad that we removed it, etc.  I wasn't really in a good mood, because I was pretty sure we weren't going to get the loan that day.  He asked me again about how to finish writing up the letter for us for the adoption, and I said to wait until we heard about the loan; because if it didn't go through, we wouldn't be needing his help anymore (his was the last letter we needed, all other paperwork was ready to turn into our adoption agency and home study agency).

He looked at me with a furrowed brow for a while, then asked me if I'd ever had an internal ultrasound.  I told him "no".  All the sudden, it was a barrage of new people and technicians.  He was taking blood, doing an internal ultrasound, prodding around on my abdomen, etc.  I was there for roughly two hours being looked over, but long story short, I got some answers.  Like, I now know that my cervix is tipped and has two openings.  Both of these facts can cause difficulty in getting pregnant and staying pregnant.  I also have a "backwards" and "tipped" uterus which is curved back toward my spine.  This apparently doesn't really cause problems getting pregnant, but it can cause the baby to not be able to move from a breach position; although, this is not a definite either.

Other than that, I was so relieved to hear that my ovaries and fallopian tubes were both clear and free of any polyps!  This was important to me since I have women in my family with PCOS.  Also, my endometrial lining looked good and the correct thickness; another blessing since my mom and her biological mother both had endometrial cancer which grows in that lining.

After everything was said and done, he took me to his office and just looked at me for a second.  Then, he said, "I know you're really sad about this adoption not going through; but I think my partner can help you with some treatments."  I told him if we don't have money for the adoption, how will we pay for fertility treatments?  He said that most of the testing done, they can file as just that, tests - not specifically for fertility, just diagnostics; then, we can decide with that information in hand whether to try to use whatever options to get pregnant or not.  I thought about it for a second, but said, "Sure, why not?"

So, now we've got an appointment with his partner (a fertility specialist) on December 29th.  Yeah, as in 12 days from now!  My doctor told me it would take months to get into his partner, but he "magically" had a cancellation the very day we called to make our appointment; so, we will see.

I'm still skeptical, and I'm still heart-broken over the adoption.  I'm also a little angry that it might cost less to have a biological child than to adopt a child.  I will never understand that.  Of course, we have no clue what the answer will be to these tests we're going to have run; so, I don't want to get ahead of myself here; but it will seriously be a shame to me if fertility treatments cost less than adoption - what a travesty.

If it comes to IVF, we will not move forward. It's not for us, and it is far too costly.  But, somehow, my doctor and even Mr. C seem to have high hopes for us.  I just cannot imagine having a child - in any way - at this point.  I still believe God is leading me, but I feel as though I'm in a daze.  I'm glad he's in control, because I'm definitely NOT.

We had these super cute t-shirts made to give to everyone for Christmas.  They each had an outline of Ethiopia in the background with the Amharic word for "grandma" or "grandpa", etc. on them with the English word in parentheses.  Now, they're on my counter waiting to be sent back to Cafe Press. :-(  Ah well...I'm trying to just look forward to spending time with family and getting some much-needed writing done for the band.

I have decided that there is nothing to do while in this whirlwind state...just go with the flow, letting God have complete control.  I have no expectations.  I am only letting God lead me down this path he has chosen for us.

In case I don't get on here before the holidays, I wish you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Love, Love and Love,

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Silver Lining...

I have some news from a few weeks ago that I'm just able to share today that is a bit of a silver lining for me...well, at least in regards to my band.

My band, The Beautifully Broken, is officially one of ten finalists in The Ozark's CW "Rockstar Search" contest.  Out of about 187 songs entered, our song "Body Bags" is a finalist. :-)

The public (anywhere) is allowed to vote online for their favorite song.  Winners will receive a full-length music video produced by the CW, and will be featured on TV.  This would be a great opportunity for us to get our name out there more in the public.

If you're interested in helping out and voting, you can go here.  Or just click on the Ozark's CW above and then click on the banner at the top of the screen that looks like this:

Once you register (it doesn't take very long), you are allowed to vote one time per day per e-mail address.  So, pass the word on to your friends!

I don't know what God has in store, but perhaps this is his way of saying I need to focus on my career right now?  My life is just a vehicle, he is the driver...and I have a feeling he's going to take me for a wild ride!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

An Answer and Farewell...

Let me first say that I am a firm believer that God always answers prayers, just not always when or how we want.  I say that, because I don't want anyone thinking that God isn't here for us...he is, we just apparently haven't found the door we're supposed to walk through yet.

Long story short, we did NOT get the loan.  The bank primarily was doing us a favor in considering a loan for an adoption to begin with (not many financial institutions do); so, we were not so very surprised, but still disappointed.

This, of course, means that the adoption (in any way with any agency) is official "off".  We are sad, but what can we do?

There is not much more to be said.

To top it all off, I had another appointment with my OBGYN today checking up on me after having the pre-cancer removed earlier this year.  He sees more changes in my cervix; which might mean more surgery.  I spent two hours in the clinic today getting poked, prodded, and stabbed.  The good thing that came out of this appointment was knowing some more information on why I physically cannot get/stay pregnant; I am grateful to at least have some more answers...that at least feels good.

When my mom got cancer and when my youngest sister found out she had a brain mass that was causing her seizures, we all felt like there was something wrong.  Like maybe we had done something, or maybe we weren't worthy of healing and happiness anymore.  We were even told by some people in our churches that there were obviously things "wrong with our prayer lives" and other ridiculous and misguided information.

But that is contrary to the promises of the Bible.  God does not "punish".  The Bible says he came to "give life, and life more abundantly".  So, I know that God is still on our side - all of our sides - we only just have to keep believing in him and his timing.

My other sister made these amazing bracelets that say "Expect A Miracle/Psalm 5:3".  The verse goes like this:

"In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice, in the morning I lift up my requests to you, and wait in expectation."

Expectation.  Not wondering if you are worthy.  Not crying in despair.  Faithfully looking to God in expectation that he will answer prayer.

I am officially closing this blog.  There, really, is nothing more for me to write about.  I am so grateful for all of the support and love I have received from all around the world from people who have stumbled upon this blog!  THANK YOU for stopping by!

I wish you all well and so many blessings!


Monday, December 13, 2010

No "News", but Some News...

Well, still no news about the loan.  Mr. C called earlier today, but the loan officer's assistant said that the actual loan officer was terribly backed up (especially with the holidays coming up) and would get to us as soon as he could, probably tomorrow (Tuesday).  However, the assistant did a quick run through and said our chances looked "so-so".  Not great news, but it's news.

Also, I've been home today feeling so sick.  We have no heat in the new house yet, because the plumber who was supposed to come finish the job on the in-floor heating backed out twice on coming to finish it.  Thus, it's about 10 degrees outside; and we have no heat!  Ugh!  I think it's the combination of no heat and "my time of the month" which is making me feel especially awful today.

BUT, if I hadn't been home today, I wouldn't have received a very curious e-mail today from our contact at an agency we had considered going with before we chose Gladney.  The e-mail stated that there is a new program opening through their offices - brand new - and that they wanted to update us and let us know that we are eligible if we are still considering going with them.  They have no idea that we signed on with Gladney or that we had moved forward with the adoption through them.

I have been wondering all afternoon if this is God's way of sending me an answer...are we supposed to change agencies?  Are we supposed to change programs/countries?  What to do?  I'm going to keep praying tonight and tomorrow...I'm thinking about calling the other agency tomorrow to find out the specifics.

God answers prayers, just not always in the way we assume or think we want; but God does not do what we "want", he has his perfect timing and his perfect plan to achieve.  Whatever he wants to have happen, will work out to his glory.  I pray for guidance.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sadness: an update

I'm sure many of you have been wondering why I haven't written a blog lately specifically about the adoption or the process or how things are going.  Honestly, I've been trying to keep myself positive; but last week broke me down.

We had been trying to save up bit by bit for the different steps along the path of this adoption.  If we hadn't moved in the midst of this, none of this would be an issue, really; but a new house and everything that goes inside it to make it a home has truly taken a toll on our finances.  It doesn't mean that the adoption is off, but that it was going slower than we had hoped.

I will only say this once, and I want to be perfectly frank that I do not talk about the money side of adoption to whine or complain; but only to let people know how expensive it is so you can know what we're going through.  All children "cost" their parents money, adoption is just more expensive on the front-end of things - end of story.  My cousin said she and her husband had looked in adopting from Ethiopia, and she was surprised how "cheap" it was - she said she thought it was $4,500.  I didn't correct her, but that is not even close to the total amount Ethiopian (or any adoption) costs with ANY agency.  Total, we will be paying close to $30,000 for this adoption.  That is the last time you will ever see me write it out ever again.  Our thought was, we can either pay the $20,000 to cover IVF (in-vitro fertilization) which is not a "sure thing"; or we can pay a little more for a definite reward (child) at the end of the process.  We went with the definite.

So, finances have had a big part in this.  We are actually waiting to hear back from the bank if we will receive a loan from them tomorrow (Monday, the 13th).  If no, we will have to give up the adoption entirely.  If yes, we will be moving forward; in what fashion, I cannot tell you.

This next part might anger some people/families who are in the adoption process with Ethiopia, but I'm going to write it's what I've been feeling, and I think it needs to be said.

I follow a blog written by an adoptive mommy living in London, England who has two beautiful, twins (boy and girl) from Ethiopia.  I love reading her posts, because she is very honest and doesn't beat around the bush on matters of adoption and things that others try to candy-coat or make shiny when they're not. (Note: She and her husband adopted after a long bout with infertility.)

Recently, she wrote a blog answering a question a friend of hers asked about "why it takes so long to adopt a child from Ethiopia" (the wait is now a year and a half for a healthy infant).  What she said surprised and shocked me at first almost to the point of anger, then it sunk in and the reality hit me:

There is such a long wait, because there is not a need for the adoption of healthy infants in Ethiopia.  As in, people want to adopt healthy, infants from Ehtipoia but not toddlers or older children who may or may not have diseases such as HIV, syphilis, and tuberculosis; therefore, the "demand" is beginning to outweigh the "supply".

She quoted a story often used in adoption circles about a young man taking the time to throw starfish back into the ocean one by one when thousands are stranded on the shore.  An older gentleman asks him, "Why bother...there are too many to save them all, what does it matter?"  And the young man says, "It matters to this one" as he throws the one he's holding into the ocean again and back to safety.

It's a touching story, indeed.  But when used in terms of adopting healthy infants from Ethiopia it shouldn't be used as an analogy.  Now, this only applies to HEALTHY INFANTS, mind you.  I am not (nor was she, the other blogger) speaking of adoption of older children or special needs children from Ethiopia!

At first, I was outraged by what she said.  "So, essentially she is saying, you shouldn't adopt.  There's no real need!  How dare she!"  But in all honesty, she is right in the case of healthy babies from Ethiopia.

Here's what is happening. We've been told by mass media and elsewhere that there is a MASSIVE, over-whelming need for adoption in Ethiopia; so, people (especially those in churches where "orphan ministry" is widely pushed) with good hearts but who are able to have biological children of their own sign up to adopt.  They "get in line" so to speak.  And the line grows and grows and grows...

The sad thing about it is that for people like myself and my husband and many, MANY other couples struggling with infertility, it makes our wait for just one child longer and longer and longer.  The line continues to grow and grow.

If this were not true, the wait would not be nearly two years.  They would have babies out the wa-zoo to place in loving homes; but they don't.  These "needy babies" don't exist.  They just don't. There's no such things as "saving a beautiful, healthy baby orphan" in Ethiopia.  They're not there.

The stats go that for all of the millions of orphans in the world, only about 1% will ever be adopted, and this is entirely true.  But if couples who can have children want to help increase that percentage, adopting a healthy baby from Ethiopia isn't going to make a difference.  It's the children who are older or who have special needs who will never see a home.  The rest of us are standing in line (an ever-increasing, very looooong line) waiting for a baby to born, given up/found by the adoption agency/etc., and matched with them.  There is no such thing as rows of healthy babies languishing in orphanages in Ethiopia...there are far too many people waiting anxiously in countries like America for them to wait long for a home.

The reality hit me while reading the other blogger's words that she was entirely right.  Not only have my husband and I had to endure two years of heart-wrenching infertility, but now we are in line behind literally thousands of couples (many who can have children biologically) who are possibly taking our chance to be parents away from us again.  What do I mean?  Well, the rules in Ethiopia keep changing day by day.  The courts have shut down twice this year alone.  You know what other internal adoption program this is sounding like?  China.  You know how long their wait is now?  Eight years.  And it's pretty much completely shut down for good anyway now for exactly the same reason: supply cannot meet demand.

You can hate me if you want, but I don't care.  If you can have biological children and you are adopting a healthy baby from Ethiopia I seriously don't think it's fair that you be considered before someone like myself who is not able to have children.  I think it sucks, actually.

My only chance to be placed with a child sooner is to take on the responsibility of a special needs child or adopt an older child.  This will be our first child.  We would love to have the full experience of having a baby - knowing what it's like to change diapers and rock them to sleep and just have as much time with them as possible - just once - at least once in my life, I'd like to be the mom to a baby, a little baby, under a year old.  I realize I may not be that lucky when we adopt #2, but I'd love to have that chance just once.  I see all of my friends with their newborn babies, and I want as close to that tenderness as, for me, adopting a toddler or old child right now, is just not what I desire.  We are already willing to accept several special needs that I will not discuss here on this blog; so, perhaps that will work in our favor.

In short, the other blogger was saying that if you are adopting because you truly and desperately want a child, that is one thing.  But if you are adopting  to "save a child from homelessness and a life as an orphan" don't; because there are already so many people in line for these children (again, ONLY speaking of healthy INFANTS from Ethiopia) that they WILL get adopted.

I know all of this sounds harsh and unfeeling.  I do not mean it to be.  The other blogger did not mean it to be.  But it honestly is true.  Am I saying "don't adopt".  No.  Am I saying "only adopt if you can't have biological children"?  Not that either.  I am touched by adoption very deeply.  My mother was adopted as were her two brothers and I have an adopted cousin.  I take adoption very seriously, and I think it's a beautiful way to add to or  start a family whether you have biological children or not (or whether you can or not); but at this point in time (I am not speaking of the past when the program first opened or the future, because who knows where it will end up/how it will go in Ethiopia) what the other blogger said about the Ethiopian program is true.  I think if you can adopt and have a heart for it, you most definitely should.  If your motivation is to be the parent of a child who needs you.  That's it.  All I'm saying is that perhaps it would be better to adopt one of the millions of babies/children in the US who need homes or perhaps one of the other international programs.  So why don't we?  Why am I "whining"?  Why don't I move on?  Well, we might be...

How does this play into our lives?  Well, in short, if the loan goes through (hopefully, we will know by tomorrow), then we will be adopting; but perhaps not how we expected.  We will either be staying in the Ethiopia program and waiting a year and a half, going to a new domestic program still with Gladney called "ABC" (this is where you are matched with a birth mom here in the United States and you adopt an African-American or bi-racial child of African-American and some other racial descent), or we will be switching to a brand new agency that has an international adoption program in the Congo (this is a new program in general, the Congo has just opened their doors to international adoption).

My heart is literally breaking.  I don't think I've cried so much in my entire life.  I just want to be a mom. After so much time not getting pregnant, I felt as though my option to have biological children was taken from me (at least to have the option would be nice); now, I feel as though my "option" to adopt is being severed from me as well.  I may sound overly-dramatic right now, but it's honestly how I feel.  I am so hurt.

We have been praying and believing that God will lead us in the right direction; and I can only hope daily that he places his hand upon my head and turns me where he will have be go.  I must believe this, or I will be right where I was when we were in the midst of battling infertility - full of sadness and despair.

I hope this has not offended anyone.  I have not meant for it to be offensive; but it is honest, I can promise you that.  I am grateful to the other blogger who wrote about this subject (I will not mention her name or blog, because she seemed to have gotten quite a bit of flack about writing on this subject, and she doesn't need any more from anyone else for merely being truthful and honest) for opening my eyes and making me realize the truth of the situation.  Again, please be aware all of this is in regards to the adoption of HEALTHY INFANTS FROM ETHIOPIA.  Neither of us are commenting on the adoption of older children or children of any age with any and all special needs or even the adoption of any aged children from any other programs both domestic and abroad.

I have nothing else to say today, really...I hope to be back to my old self soon - full of joy and hope on this journey toward motherhood.  I don't like feeling so down; I truly don't.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Melissa and Doug Sale at!

I love, love, LOVE Melissa and Doug toys!  They are always so cute and clever; plus, the paint used to decorate these precious wooden playthings is nasty-child-harming-chemical-free!  Like and Like!

Today, I got an e-mail from Amazon saying that some of the Melissa and Doug bestsellers are on sale right now.  Exciting!  So, I thought I'd share the deals with all of you! :-) 

Here are some of my favorites from the sale:

This is the Melissa and Doug standing easel - so cute!  My sisters and I had an easel like this when we were younger and used it ALL the time!  It's normally $69.99, but right now it's on sale for $42.99.  Click Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel to get one of your own!
I love that this clock can teach colors, shapes, counting, and neat!  Here's the link: Melissa & Doug Wooden Shape Sorting Clock.  Used to be to be $14.99, now it's $11.19!

Isn't this cupcake set precious?!  AND, I believe the "frosting" tubes (aka: markers) allow the child to get creative and decorate their own cupcakes!  How fun!  Melissa & Doug Bake and Decorate Cupcake Set  This set was $19.99 and is marked down to $13.50.
These are only the tip of the iceberg for the Melissa and Doug Store.  So many cute things that would make great gifts for the child(ren) in your life!  I hope to one day get Baby C this:

Wooden sushi set?!  Totally ADORABLE!  Melissa & Doug Wooden Sushi
 Yeah, and I didn't even show you the wooden stir fry or sushi slicing sets, wooden kitchen accessories, or the grill set!  You'll just have to visit their store (link above) to check it all out!  Have FUN!


Saturday, December 4, 2010

More Christmas Designs in our Cafe Press Store!

Well, as promised, we have finished TWO more designs for our Cafe Press Store!  Yay!  They're both Christmas/holiday related; so, hopefully people will like what they see and buy some goodies for gift-giving. *fingers crossed*

As previously mentioned in other blogs, all the profits of our store My Pink Robot go towards our adoption fees.  Even after the adoption is finalized, we have decided to keep the store running as a way to give money to different charities in America and around the world that help orphans and under-privileged children gain access to clean water, education, safety from abuse of any kind, and food and medicine.  So, spread the word - by buying from our store, you are bringing an orphan home to his/her forever family; and  in turn helping children's charities!

Here are a couple of my favorite items with our two new designs:

"Melkam Genna" means "Merry Christmas" in Amharic, the language they speak in Ethiopia.  We're going to buy one of these ornaments for Baby C.  It would be a great keepsake for any adopted Ethiopian child!

"Chrismahanukwansakah" kid's baseball jersey.  We love that, while funny, this design can have a more serious message of tolerance and togetherness...what better message to spread during the holiday season than love and peace?!

I love coffee; so, it only makes sense that I would like coffee mugs!  Mr. C and I have a pretty good collection started, but it won't be complete until we get this one too!

Throwing a holiday party, but don't want to leave anyone out by being religion-specific?  Put this dandy little sign in your yard and not only will your guests know where the fun is, they'll love that everyone's included! :-)

You can never have enough tote bags!  I know I am always using mine!  This would be a great option for a child or an adult to carry around the Christmas season.

Spread a message of humor, love, and tolerance with a Chrismahanukwanzakuh button.  Buy them in a 10 pack and hand them out to friends!

Thanks in advance for spreading the word about our store!  We greatly appreciate any and all "advertising" you all do for us!  We can use all the help we can get, that's for sure.


Top Baby Names of 2010!

They've released the most popular baby names of 2010!  I love looking over the lists each year.  Here's what they say:

2010's Top 10 Baby Names for Girls

1. Sophia
2. Isabella
3. Olivia
4. Emma
5. Chloe
6. Ava
7. Lily
8. Madison
9. Addison
10. Abigail

2010's Top 10 Baby Names for Boys

1. Aiden
2. Jacob
3. Jackson
4. Ethan
5. Jayden
6. Noah
7. Logan
8. Caden
9. Lucus
10. Liam

I have good friends who named their babies Chloe and Liam, respectively, this year; guess they really are popular!  I'm surprised that Aiden came back to reclaim his #1 status after being booted out of that position by Jacob last year.  Who knew that would happen?!

To read more click here.  I was kind of sad to learn that Finn, long one of my FAVORITE boy's names, is becoming more and more popular.  *sigh*  Might have to rethink that one now.  :-(  

Here's a question for you: Does the popularity of a name influence your decision to use it for your child or not?  Or, do you want a name that is more popular?

I think people today want variety and uniqueness...yet, I say that as millions of little boys are all being named Aiden - ha!

I hope you all have fun perusing the name lists...even if you don't have a wee one on the way, it's fun to see where your favorites line up and even where your own name is!  On the Social Security website, you can look up names to see their popularity (or not) over a selected time period (1879 till today).  Go here, but I warn can get very addicting to look up names; so, if you end up stuck in front of your computer all day, it's not MY fault!  Haha! 

Hope you're having a great day,

Friday, December 3, 2010

NEW Christmas Cards at our Cafe Press Store!

Mr. C and I have about a MILLION ideas for our Cafe Press store, My Pink Robot (all proceeds benefit Baby C's adoption, so spread the word!).  However, with Mr. C working two jobs as it is and with the move on top of that, we've had very little time to get them all done. :-(

BUT, we recently did get to finish two of our designs for Christmas shirts/cards; and I think they turned out pretty cute!  Here they are:

"Peace, Love, Joy" card, outside (I love bright colors!)
I tried to keep this one non-denominational without losing the cheerful spirit of the holidays.  Anyone could use this card (I hope, anyway!).

Yep, I did the cheesy "play off of iPod/Apple thing!  Haha!  But, I like it...simple, sweet message.
And we should! :-)

Both of these designs can be found in our Cafe Press store on everything from t-shirts and hoodies to mousepads, water bottles, throw pillows, aprons, and MORE!

Peace/Love/Joy design on a iPhone 3G hardcase.  Perfect Christmas present!  Only $25!

iBelieve design on a mousepad.

Peace/Love/Joy design on a ceramic travel mug.  Great gift for the busy coffee lover in your family!
iBelieve design on black/white ringer tee - looks good!

To visit just the card section of our Cafe Press store, go here.  We have many, MANY more card designs to come!  So, check back in tonight for more!!!  Remember, the proceeds go towards our adoption; so, it's a feel-good, win-win situation here, people! :-)

Hope you're having a great day (and don't forget to check back later tonight for MORE cute holiday card designs!)!!!!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Happy Hanukkah!

I wish you all a happy and festive 8 days of fun, family, love, and laughter!  We are not Jewish, but have many Jewish friends; so, I wanted to make sure to get my "Happy Hanukkah" in there for all of you celebrating this year (so early, right?).  I think I might have to whip up these latkes to do my own celebrating!  Mmmm, sooo good.  Reminds me of the Kosher deli I used to go to when I was in college - massive sandwiches, perfect soups, and the thickest slices of cheesecake you can ever dream up (wow, I think I'm drooling now!).

Well, I've totally digressed to food (go figure!  haha!); but again, I hope you have a fabulous Festival of Lights this year!

Love and Blessings,

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Yahoo! Article on Baby Names

I just read through this article on Yahoo! about the recent trend in baby naming.  Pretty interesting...

Baby Names Reveal More About Parents Than Ever Before

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

World AIDS Day 2010

Tomorrow is World AIDS Day, and my heart and mind have really been touched this year.  I'm sure it's mostly because Mr. C and I were recently tested for HIV for the adoption, but it's something that's been weighing on me for several years now.

When I was 24, in 2005, I was raped.  In the weeks and months that followed, I was terrified that the rapist had given me an STI/STD.  I had been checked over by a nurse not long after the rape, but I lived in fear and shame for months before I finally went to a clinic to be tested for more than just the outward physical scars.

Even though there were many STI's that I could have contracted during the rape, all I could think of was, "What if he gave me HIV?  What if I'M HIV-positive?"  Possibly being HIV-positive seemed like a nail in the coffin to me.  I literally thought my world was ending.  I was over-wrought with sadness and fear, totally lost in what I perceived to be life-ending possibilities.  I can honestly say that if I had been positive, at that very unstable time in my life I may have considered ending it all.  That's how misinformed and frightened I was of living a life with HIV and having my family reject me (which I was just sure would be the case).

I was NOT positive, and soon after, I began Christian counseling, which lasted almost a year.  Through my counseling, I came to terms with my life and circumstances; and I am so much stronger and wiser for it!  I wish everyone struggling with wondering if they have HIV and those who are living with the virus already could get the same love and support that I received.  NOBODY deserves to go through that alone!

To top it all off, we are adopting a baby from Ethiopia - a country that has a rampant HIV problem, as (unfortunately) many African nations have.  This is due to lack of information and education.  You can't fight an enemy you know nothing about.  This year, I pledged on the World AIDS Day website to talk about our adoption, my rape story and testing, and the outcome of it all.  So, I am here, spreading the word.  I hope it helps someone - anyone - even if only one person.

The main thing I hope for the future is that there is more honesty and truth spread about this virus.  You CAN prevent HIV.  You CAN live with HIV.  You CAN make a difference.  We CAN end prejudice.  We CAN help those in need who are struggling with HIV all over the world - in Africa, South America, Europe, the US, your next door neighbor, your own body!  You are NOT alone; people love and care about you more than you know!  Please do not think that your life is over...there is SO MUCH HOPE!

Here is a link to the official World AIDS Day site's Facts and Stats Section.  They are dedicated to renouncing myths and spreading the truth about HIV and AIDS and those living with these diseases.  Very cool site!

Here's a video that I found on Youtube with some good information:

This one is a link to a place called Project Hopeful and their "Truth Pandemic".  They give support and information to families who are adopting HIV positive children from the US and around the world:  Project Hopeful.

If you see this, please spread information, love, and hope instead of spreading hate, ignorance, and fear.

Love, Love, and more LOVE,

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Time is Here (Well, Almost!)

Christmas is one of my favorite times of year.  Since being married in 2008, I've really tried to get my Christmas tree out and decorated so we can enjoy it for as long as possible. 

With the move this year, I just didn't know if I'd feel like putting up Christmas decorations when we still have boxes of shoes and home office stuff to unpack and organize.  BUT, it turns out I had the energy and gumption to do it last night!

The mood was right...I turned on one of my sister Whitney's Christmas mixes on the iPod (she's notorious for loving Christmas music and always has a new Christmas music mix she makes each year), I turned the living room lights down low, and I got to decorating!

I only got the tree up and decorated, but I'm hoping to make some snowflakes with my sister, Michaela's Cricut Expression Personal Electronic Cutter 290300 to hang from our 20-foot ceiling!  I hope it turns out cool, those Cricuts are sooooo awesome!  My mom and sister both have them, and they've come in so handy for scrapbooking and decorating all year round.

Here's some pix of our tree this year:

Christmas tree up in the living room!  We really need to get a star or something for the top this year!  Any suggestions?
I had to have Mr. C help hang ornaments on the higher up branches.
Eagan was there to help.  Such a nice dog!
I just keep thinking that by next Christmas, it's very likely that Baby C will be here!  Wow!  I seriously cannot wait!  Every day we get closer.

Speaking of Baby C, here's a little update on the process:  We have one (yep, only ONE) of the three doctor's notes needed.  I'm assuming it's because we asked for the letters in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving; so, they were busy and traveling.  However, I'm hoping that now that Thanksgiving is over, they'll get the letters to us!  *fingers crossed*  As soon as we get those letters, we have only two more things to do before we are essentially done with everything but the home study and our finger printing/FBI clearances.  Woo hoo!

More to come...

Decorating the New House: Kitchen Art!

So, as many of you already know, Mr. C and I have moved into a new condo across town.  It's a super cool, modern, minimalistic place with exposed duct work and radiantly heated concrete floors - totally our cup of tea!

We left most of the walls white, because we have tons of artwork to put up.  Well, after being "moved in" a month (I say "moved in", because we still have lots of boxes to unpack!) we still hadn't put up anything on the walls in the kitchen.  It was looking pretty bare in there...a little depressing too.

So, I finally finished up a little art project I had set aside for myself that would help move things along.  I got this great calendar a few years ago that had vintage advertisements in it.  They were so cool that I couldn't bear to throw it away when December came and went; so, I decided to cut out the pictures and use them for artwork in our kitchen.  They turned out pretty cool (if I do say so myself!).  Here's how I did it:

First, I cut out each design from the calendar.

Next, I used a simple glue stick to attach the cut out calendar picture to an 11x14 piece of plain, white cardstock (pre-cut! how easy is that?!).  You can even see the items I wrote in on the calendar - ha!

When glued on, they look like this.

Then, I put them all in black frames.

Then, Mr. C hung them on the wall with some of our other vintage advertisements!

Here's another view looking down the hallway.
And that was it!  Easy, right?  I thought so, and I have to say that I think it turned out pretty amazing for how little effort we put into it! Woo hoo!  Now, on to...more decorating!  I'd love to have the whole house done by New Year's; hopefully it's more than just wishful thinking!

Hope you're having a great day,