Thursday, February 28, 2008

Go to The Rock... and I do not mean Dwayne Johnson

Where do I go
When there's nobody else to turn to
Who do I talk to
When no one wants to listen
Who do I lean on
When there's no foundation stable
I go to the Rock
I know He's able
I go to the Rock

I go to the Rock of my Salvation
I go to the Stone that the builders rejected
I run to the mountain and the mountain stands by me

When the earth all around me is sinking sand
On Christ, the solid rock I stand
When I need a shelter, When I need a friend,
I go to the Rock

Where do I hide
When the storms of life are threatening
Where do I run to
When the winds of sorrow blow
Is there a refuge (a refuge) in the time of tribulation

I go to the Rock
I know (I know) He's able.

When the earth all around is sinking sand
On Christ, the solid rock I stand
When I need a shelter, When I need a friend,
I go to the Rock

~Aaron Jeoffrey~

Friday, February 22, 2008

Vietnam 'baby-smugglers' arrested

By Nga Pham BBC News, Hanoi

Vietnamese authorities have arrested three women and a man for allegedly smuggling newborn babies to China.

The suspects were detained with two baby boys, aged one month and one week old, in Hanoi and Ha Tay provinces.

Hanoi police said they had also detained an eight-month pregnant woman who confessed to agreeing to sell her unborn baby to the gang.

The woman was being transferred to China, where she is expected to give birth to the child.
All the babies were sold for eight million dong ($500) each.

The police said they would be offered for adoption to couples in China for around $2,000 each, because they were boys.

Girls would be sold for half the amount, according to investigators.

This is the first time the Vietnamese police have uncovered the smuggling of unborn babies.

One of the boys has been returned to his birth mother, while the other is being looked after at a children's hospital in Hanoi.

Story from
Published: 2008/02/21 15:59:00 GMT© BBC MMVIII

Thursday, February 21, 2008

One of the birdies is about to fly away...

Alex was offered a football scholarship at a two year college in the NE part of our state, where he will be their kicker, and decided to accept it. After his two yrs. at this school, he plans to transfer to a 4 yr. out-of-state school to finish his degree. Right now, he's planning on architectural engineering. I'm so proud of him and really happy for him... but I'm not happy, if that makes any sense. The school is 3-4 hrs. away, and I'm just not ready for this.

Yesterday, we went up to the high school for the signing ceremony (of his letter of intent). Since we live in such a small town, the whole school is dismissed from classes to come into the auditorium and watch when a kid has one of these ceremonies. Isn't that funny?

There was one other boy signing to play baseball for another college and Alex. So each boy took turns up on the stage with his parents, coaching reps from the colleges, the high school coach, and the principal. There were speeches, clapping, pictures, etc. and I looked like a great big ole' whale (if whales get acne) up on that stage. I was self-conscious each and every second I was up there and could feel the mean, snarky little teenage-girl eyes piercing through my fatness, just like they did X number of years ago. I felt like I was in 9th grade all over again. It didn't help that the other kid's mom is considered the "hot mom" by a lot of the boys at school. Great. Just what I need- to follow the long-legged, skinny, perfectly coiffed, hot mom, in her cute little jacket and jeans, onto the stage. I was wearing my prettiest size double huge tarp but oddly, I still felt a little inferior. It really didn't help when I started sweating and the coach asked if my contractions were five minutes apart yet. OK, that last part may have been a slight exaggeration, but you get my point. I felt fat and ugly up there. But you know... Some things are not about me. Go figure. Alex looked so handsome up there, and I just could not have been more proud.

One of the news stations was there and they showed it on the evening news. There was also a nice write-up about him today in a local paper, so that's really neat for him. It was funny because Alex had already signed the real letter of intent and sent it back to the college last week, so for the "official" signing, he was given a pen to sign a blank piece of paper as flashbulbs went off, the news guy filmed, and the crowd applauded. Seemed a little goofy, but whatever... I guess that's how these things are done.

After the thing was over, the coach from the college told us he'd love to see Alex be able to come in July instead of August to start all the conditioning/work-out stuff. Yippee! He's leaving home a whole month earlier than I thought! Oh, boy. I'm so excited. See the tears of joy? In a completely separate bit of news, totally unrelated to my inability to cope with letting go, I will be needing a large casserole dish of homemade mac and cheese, a tub of Jamocha Almond Fudge ice cream (and bring the big one, please. This is no time to skimp), some M&M's, a cube of Diet Pepsi, and a bag of Pepperidge Farms Milk Chocolate Milano cookies. Mommy needs to medicate.

Here's a few pics of the signing. Mike took these and he is the king of the shaky cam, so one is a little fuzzy. This is the HS principal, the FB coach, Alex, the college recruiting/coaching guy, a wildebeast with flatiron issues who got lost and wandered in from outside looking for food, and half of Darrell. Yes, Alex bleached his hair. It was for a costume party last weekend and he kept it that way.

Here's one of Darrell with almost all of the kids, at Alex's game the other night. Livie and I had to stay home because she was sick. So here is Mike, Evan, Tucker, Darrell holding Kindra's son Braden, Kindra, Kyle, Brianna, Alex, and Nick.

And here's a couple of the little peanut before going to that game, while she was waiting for her daddy to get ready. I guess the stress of the day was more than she could take. She just flopped out on the ottoman and caught a quick refresher. Life is rough when you're six.

And the Winner of the $10.00 is...

WILLIAM! Each person who donated and left a comment on the Valentine's Day Challenge post offered to give the ten dollars to William's adoption fund. You guys are all so generous and sweet, and I appreciate each one of your donations. I also received several comments by email and one or two on the groups. Thanks to all of you for helping me in this! Even though none of you wanted the money, we decided to draw a name anyway. The "winner" was: Shae (comment #10). So, Jen~ the next donation coming from my email address for $10.00 is a gift from Shae. Thank you, Shae! Thank you, everyone!

I hope everyone keeps on giving as God provides opportunity to do so! Even if you've given all you can, please remember to continually lift this little boy up in prayer. Prayer is free and waaaay more effective than cash! William's family is more than one third of the way there. I'll be so thrilled the day I see they have the whole $15.000.00, and even more thrilled the day Jen posts a picture of little William in her arms! Blessings to all!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Do you need a passport to go to Texas?

I've been trying to give the kids the truth about the Vietnam situation in little baby bites, as they say or ask something about baby Sam or Mom and Dad going to Vietnam. I'm not going to lie to them and pretend everything is fine, but at the same time, I don't want to burst their little faith bubbles unnecessarily. It's been very, very difficult to find the right balance of what to say and what information to keep to myself until we know more about what's going to happen.

Yesterday, Tucker was making a comment about going to Vietnam, and I gently reminded him to "remember, Tuck, we don't know for sure where baby Sam will be born. Just because Mom and Dad think it's Vietnam, doesn't mean that's God's plan. We want what God wants. He knows better than we do. God may want Sam to be born in another country."

Tucker said, "Yeah... like Texas, maybe."

Ah, yes. The far-away, mythical, exotic land of Texas...

I'll leave you today with this poem. It's an old one, but I love it. S. had this posted on her private VN blog and I thought it's so appropriate to many of us in our present circumstances.


Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate...
and the Master so gently said,"Wait."

"Wait? you say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!"
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.

My future and all to which I relate
hangs in the balance and you tell me to Wait?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign.
Or even a 'no,' to which I'll resign.

You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply.

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
as my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
and grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting...for what?"

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine...
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.

You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
you'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
when darkness and silence are all you can see.

You'd never experience the fullness of love
when the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

The glow of My comfort late into the night,
the faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

You'd never know should your pain quickly flee,
what it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
but oh, the loss if I lost what I'm doing in you.

So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
that the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still "WAIT".

~~~Russell Kelfer~~~

Psalm 27:1,14
The LORD is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid? ... Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

Monday, February 18, 2008

14:59 and Counting...

That's the clock ticking away on my 15 minutes of fame.

I cannot believe the reaction I got to that Yahoo Groups post the other day. I will start feeling guilty if I let a compliment pass without a thank you, so I started out trying to comment on the blogs where I noticed my post had been copied, but decided to just thank everyone here. So... a huge THANK YOU for all the compliments that were left on this blog, as well as others! I am beyond flattered and frankly, really surprised that my stupidity would garner so much attention. It was really fun to see so many comments, since you guys know I've always run a small-potatoes outfit around here and I never get that much response on anything. Suddenly, I went from my usual 15-20 visitors a day, to over one hundred a day! I've had over 700 visitors this week, with 200 of those being the day after that post was published. It's been copied and pasted onto several blogs, someone commented about it on one of the groups, and I received several very nice personal emails about it, too. It's insane!! Again- thank you! Quite a confindence booster for this pitiful little house frau who can't seem to get anyone to hear her requests to take out the trash- lol!

I'm so relieved that the post was received in the way it was intended, and that so many people got it. I'm glad it was something we were all ready to laugh about. After I hit the publish button, I must admit I spent a few moments nervously thinking, "Oh, you idiot! What have you done?" I was preparing for a few nasty comments from those who might recognize themselves and assume I meant "them." I was not at all prepared for all the kindness I ended up getting.

I was really enjoying all this new attention, and thinking that- while it was all clearly some bizarre, freak accident- it was still a lot of fun, UNTIL... I noticed someone called it "insightful" and "important." Isn't that nice? Yes, yes it is. Very nice. But, here's what happened inside poor Chelle's tiny brain when I read that: "Oh, frap. I've never said anything insightful and important in my life. People are going to start coming here expecting insightful and important from me, and all they will get is laundry talk, and grocery store rants. They will be disappointed. I have to figure out how to be funny, witty, smart... And overnight. I can't. I can't. These new visitors will never come back. Never, ever, EVER. I can't take it. The pressure. It's... why, it's... it's just too much, I tell ya!!" (Tears fall and... end scene.)

Have I ever mentioned that the inside of poor Chelle's tiny brain is not a very fun place to be sometimes? That chick is nuts.

My crazy-lady fears were confirmed as I scrolled down the page and started reading the comments about my post on this other blog. One guy said something like, "...hope there’s more of this to come from her! she’s great..." OH, FRAP! Are you kidding me? More of this to come? Seriously?! Dude, I can almost guarantee you there will not be more of this to come. Not now. Oh frap, oh frap, oh frap...

After my momentary panic, I did come to my senses (relatively speaking). I realized that the worse thing that's going to happen is the hundreds of new visitors will decide I'm not their cup of tea and choose not to return. Oh, well. I will go back to my usual readership of 15-20. And that's fine with me. Considering that this blog was never going to be more than a means to update family and friends on our adoption, I'm amazed that any of you show up here at all and read what I have to say. You guys figured out long ago I'm just an idiot, nowhere near deeply insightful, yet you keep coming back no matter how boring, crazy or scattered my thoughts seem to be. What more could a girl ask for?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Where are YOU from?

Hope everyone had a nice Valentine's Day. Did you all get to celebrate in a special way, I hope? I commemorated the day with a giddy, fun-filled, romantic trip to Wal-Mart! I know- this is a topic almost too hot and racy to talk about in polite circles, but an afternoon at the grocery store really puts me in the mood to... well, you know...

...BURST into the house like *Linda Blair with PMS, SLAM my keys and bags down on the counter, SCREAM something irrational and only slightly profane (I am a good Christian girl, after all, so it can't be too profane- "Only Words Included in the Bible" is my rule) about how nobody ever hears me HONK when I pull up to the house and I know that's being done DELIBERATELY, accuse the first person to ask "What are we having for dinner?" of TRYING TO DRIVE ME OVER THE FLIPPING EDGE JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT, say something that is supposed to be an angry, scary threat but will only end up making the kids laugh, like:

  • "If you don't GET UP and start helping put up these groceries, I'm going to spread you on a cracker and EAT YOU," or...
  • "Look at me with that face one more time and I'll be on you like stink on a monkey, PAL!"
Then, to top off the joy of the day, I like to stand in utter SHOCK and DISMAY as I look over what I bought while scanning my receipt for two hundred bajillion dollars and realize there really, honestly isn't ANYTHING in these stupid bags to fix for dinner... After that, I start to get a tiny bit grouchy and the day begins to go downhill.

Hey- a little bit off-topic, but here's what I want to know... Why does every woman shopping at my Wal-Mart, from the age of 10 up, seem to have a cigarette dangling out her mouth and one of those scary old man laughs that sounds kind of like a cough/choke/wheeze/dying breath? Is this a worldwide Wal-Mart phenomenon, or is it unique to my region? These "ladies" always have rotting and/or missing teeth and in need of a good scrubbin.' They are quite obviously able to invest in tanning visits, but not in a bottle of shampoo. I don't get that. They seem to enjoy shouting the word, "Sheeeyooot." Walking past them is like experiencing "Jerry Springer Live:" "...He said he'd pay the dang child support if I'd agree to the paternity test, but sheeeyooot...." And why do they all seem to think that going braless is a good fashion choice? It's some kind of geographical oddity, like the Bermuda Triangle or something. I know they sell bras around here. I believe they even stock them at Wal-Mart. I've seen them. So it can't be blamed on a lack of availability. Maybe if they were hung right next to the beer aisle...??...

A woman whose breasticular portions have grown too tired to remain on her chest, or even above her waist, should keep those poor things duct-taped up. It's every woman's responsibility not to frighten or nauseate people with her dangly parts. It's not right to subject people who are shopping for food to such things. I'm going to try to say this as delicately as possible, so as not to offend anyone, but you know the parts of a woman's pectoral area that react strongly to the cold? Are we all on the same page here? OK. Those parts are supposed to be looking straight ahead. They should not be looking down at the floor or at someone's shoes. I, as a Christian woman, am embarrassed and offended when I notice your nerps are staring at my feet. In addition, they should not be resting on the waistband of your pants. If they are, your days of tank tops without a bra have passed. Deal with it. Allow yourself a few moments to grieve the passing of your youth. Then buy a bra and move on. I'm sorry, but that's just how I feel. The plus side of all this is, it really does make me feel better about myself. I do feel prettier and even a little sex-ay after going to Wal-Mart. And, really, that's all that matters.

Back to Valentine's Day. That was what we were talking about, wasn't it? Alex had games Thurs. and Fri. night, and Darrell was just getting over an icky flu bug, so he and I didn't go out for Valentine's this year. We've been married almost 19 yrs., so flowers and all that junk just isn't how we roll. But, he did take me out to lunch last Tuesday, on HIS birthday to MY favorite place, so... You can't beat that. The girls and I planned to make red velvet Valentine's cupcakes together for all the special guys in the house, but that had to be postponed because several of the kids are sick, too. Colds and Flu- the gifts that keep on giving. Hopefully, we'll get to do the cupcakes later today.

Anyway, the reason for my post today had nothing to do with any of that stuff- I meant to briefly ask about your Valentine's Day and move on, but I got sidetracked (Thanks, ADD!). What I was going to tell you was...

I got to thinking (which is hardly ever a good thing), and I came up with a new way to answer the never-ending question, "Where's she from?"
Well? ...What do you think?

(*For you young little snots who will be asking, "Who is Linda Blair?" She was in a little movie back in the 70's called "The Exorcist." Her character was slightly unpleasant and emotional throughout most of the film.)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Tagged Again

I've been tagged for the 7 random things game by Alice... List 7 random things that people may not know about you. The rules are to link the person who sent this to you and leave a comment on their blog so their readers can visit yours. Post the rules on your blog. Share 7 facts about yourself. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, linking their blog. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

OK, this is going to be hard because I tell you guys all kinds of stuff about myself. The things I don't tell you are the things that are none of your business- lol!!

Let's see...

1. The first concert I ever went to was Andy Gibb. The second was Styx. My musical tastes did improve over the years, I promise.

2. I have a slight germ problem. Not so much that I would call myself a germophobe, but it's enough to be a nuisance.

3. I LOVE the movie Coal Miner's Daughter, although I can't stand most country music. Go figure.

4. I can knit, crochet (kind of), make rugs, and other crafty things, but I rarely finish a project. I'm very good at starting new projects, though.

5. Because I was a "handful" growing up, and caused my parents tons of grief, they plunked my rebellious butt into a Catholic High School, with uniforms and everything, for a year and a half.

6. I have an incredibly horrid singing voice. It sounds like I'm in unbearable pain, even in the shower, where everyone is supposed to sound good. It's so bad I make myself laugh out loud while I'm singing.

7. I was offered a scholarship to attend the Kansas City Art Institute at 15, but my parents wouldn't sign the release permitting me to draw nudes. So I didn't go. There went my prestigious career as a starving artist. Now that I'm a mom with daughters, I can't say that I blame them.

I'm tagging Sabrina, Colleen, Heather, Dawn, Candace, Emilie, and Leslie.

JCICS Standards of Practice

This news has already been posted on VVAI, but in case you haven't seen it yet- JCICS has released the Standards of Practice that many in the VN adoption community have been awaiting. You can read it here- too long to include it all in this post.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day Challenge!

Happy Valentine's Day, Everyone!!
I hope you have a day full of love and blessings!

I'm going to ask you to do something for me today. I'm asking you to give me a Valentine, of sorts. Here's what I want you to do: Go to the link at the top of the page (currently right above this post), which will take you to a blog called "Adopting William." Read about Jen and her family, then make a donation to help bring William home so he can start receiving the medical care he needs and experience the love of a family. That's the only gift I want. I'm challenging each person who looks at my blog to give at least one dollar TODAY. ONE DOLLAR. No biggie. As I said above, it would also be helpful to send out a mass emailing to every single person you've ever met in your entire life asking them to do the same. Post it on your blog, or a Yahoo group (which of course will inevitably make someone mad who will then circulate a petition to get you banned from the group- FUN!! ; D).

Jen is tracking the amount being raised toward their goal of $15,000.00. They are currently up to $3,743.00. It's such a blessing to check her blog every day and see that amount going up. Let's use today to send some love William's way and watch that amount go through the roof. Yesterday, my blog was viewed by roughly 100 people. If a similar number shows up today, gives a dollar, then spreads the word on their own blogs, think of how quickly the remaining money could be raised!

I know some adopting parents are turned off by adoption fundraisers. I get that. The mentality is: "I'm already donating to an adoption fund... My OWN!" This is different. Go take a look at this little boy, then decide if you can stand it NOT to take part in helping to bring him home. I wouldn't ask you to do something I wasn't willing to do myself. We have made a donation, and each of our kids has made a donation. In fact, Tucker gave everything he had (which melted my heart and made me hug him), then turned around and told his sister how selfish she was for not giving all she had in her piggy bank (which made me want to throttle him). But, I gotta cut the little dude some slack. He is, after all, only 9. He's supposed to act childish.

Now, here's what I'm willing to do to sweeten the deal. After you make a donation of at least one dollar, come back here and leave a comment on this post saying so. You don't have to say how much you donated, just that you DID donate. One week from today (2/21/2008), we will randomly choose one of the comments to win $10.00. I will send one of you ten bucks. Not much, I know- but work with me here, people. I wish it could be more, but if I had more, I'd probably just donate it directly to William. This is not a raffle. It is a random act of gratitude for a random act of kindness.

I want to make it absolutely clear that William's mom, Jen, has NOTHING to do with this. I have not been enlisted by her in any way to solicit donations. This is totally my own thing.

You have my permission and blessing to promote this challenge on your own blog.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Has the whole world gone nuts, or is it just Yahoo Groups?

On the advice of counsel, I'd like to mention that what you are about to read is fictional. Any similarities to actual events or persons, either living or dead, is purely coincidental. The characters mentioned are composites only, and in no way represent actual individuals. All in good fun, folks. If you don't understand this post, you've never belonged to a Yahoo group. At least not a Vietnam one.

New Recipe Exchange Yahoo Group

This group is for all in the recipe community. We're here to learn from each other and support each other as we go through the baking process together. WELCOME to the group!!

Member #1: I just found the most awesome brownie recipe. These really are the best brownies ever!!
Member #2: How do you know these are the best brownies ever? Have you tried every brownie recipe out there? Are you a brownie expert? Isn't it a little irresponsible of you to come here with unsubstantiated RUMOR? Who the heck do you think you are anyway, trying to tell all of us how to do it? Most of us have been here for years. Why don't you just crawl back under the cake pan you came from and take your #$%* brownies with you!
Memmer #3: To bad how sum peeple seem to foget that I alreudy posted the best brounie recippy ever last moth, in post #5(3, and if you well recal I wus alreudy warning everwon at that time about this knew, dangrous trand of adding pecans instedd of walnuts, which I see the first comentator has don in her sposed "awesome" recippy. Az I sed meny times, tis is only going to cauze probelms for ever other brounie baker out their. How can you jussify your thoughtles, selfish axtions?
Member #1: I'm deeply sorry if I've offended anyone with my brownie recipe. That was certainly not my intention. I had no idea my addition of pecans would be considered selfish. If someone could explain to me exactly how pecans are selfish, I would love to hear it. I mean really, I would. I thought I had finally found a place where I could share my recipes in a mature environment, but I guess not. I do have a great cookie recipe to share. If anyone's interested, you can just email me privately and I'll be happy to give you the recipe.
Member #2: HYPOCRITE! First it's brownies and now it's cookies... Funny how easy it is for you to switch back and forth as it suits your purposes! After you've already benefitted from the brownies, now you're going to cram cookies down our throats? Where are your ethics? And I see you don't have the guts to post your cookie recipe on the list. What do you have to hide? Hmmm? Right now, I feel like going WWE on your buttocks. People like you really make me sick. You are what's wrong in the baking world today.
Member #4: Hi! I'm new to this group. I'm so happy to be here. How many members are in this group? I've been baking for years but I'm looking forward to learning new things from all of you!! Hey, if anyone has trouble with burning themselves while baking, I know of a great burn ointment.
Mamber #3: Whut we need two due is regalate the hole prosess. I sed that all alonge.
Member #4: I'm sorry I don't understand what you mean. Regulate what whole process? Can you please explain? Is it possible you meant to reply to someone else's comment? I just joined this group.
Mumble #3: I downt haf to explane enything to you. My commets wer takun strate frum the govermets websit. Go reed it youself.
Member #2: We don't discuss burn ointments here. This is not the proper forum for that. You'll have to start a new group specifically for burn ointments. Where the heck is the moderator?
Member #5: Has it ever occured to any of you people that some of us have allergies to nuts? I'm so sick of the blatant discrimination that goes on here. Do you really think you should be flaunting the fact that you can eat nuts while some of us are suffering without them? Did it ever occur to you that I would love to eat a #*$& pecan or a walnut, but I can't? Besides, my neighbor has a sister who is a professional baker and she said her assistant heard from someone who dated a guy who would know that nuts may or may not cause something bad to happen sometime in the near to distant future, so there. Those are the FACTS! So, enjoy your nuts, folks. You know, it's really sad- I joined this group because I thought there would be recipes for people like me, but I can see there's not. So, please cancel my membership to this group.
Member #1: I wish we could stick to recipes. Wouldn't we all get along better if we stayed on topic?
Member #2: This list is open to all topics except burn ointment. Everyone's opinions are welcome here, so shutup. No one wants to hear what you think.
Nember #3: Yess. Thas esattly whut I wus sawing. You prooved my poit.
Member #2: I've started a petition to get members #1 and #4 banned from this group. It's at www dot shut them the blank up dot com. Please come sign it. Together we can do some good.
Menber #3: Fourty Seven.

Mombar #3: I tortaly agee wih you. Exselent poit. Thayk you for sush an insighfull post! I downt no how yoo due it, butt you say tings so mush cleerer than I ken. Thanc yue!
Member #2: Which post are you agreeing with? And what is "Fourty Seven?" Why can't people on this list ever hit the reply button when replying to messages, instead of the post button? Is that asking for too much? And while we're at it, is it too difficult to trim your replies? All I'm asking for is a little common courtesy.

Seems kind of silly, doesn't it? Good thing stuff like this never happens in real life. That would be crazy.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Christina (Mrs. Broccoli Guy) tagged me for the Book Meme.
The rules:
1. Pick up the nearest book of at least 123 pages.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the 5th sentence.
4. Post the next 3 sentences.
5. Tag 5 more people.

I have several books going right now. The one on the top of the stack is "God at Your Wits' End," by Marilyn Meberg, which is not the one I'm supposed to be reading right now for a book club I joined. I love her sense of humor and her open, honest way of writing and speaking. If you ever have an opportunity to attend a Women of Faith Conference when she's speaking, you should go. OK, I just lied to you. I'm talking about a Christian author, and I just told a lie. That's probably not a good thing. I didn't lie about Marilyn Meberg. She's awesome. The book on the top of the stack is really "The Pickwick Papers," by Chuck Dickens (which is also not this month's book for my book club- ha!), but I thought it would sound all uppity and snooty to use a Dickens book, so I picked the one right under it. I'm not all uppity and snooty. You guys know that, right? I also have Allure magazine sitting by my bathtub, which cancels out any intellectual advancements I may achieve through good literary choices, so...

Here we go:
When I was desperate in my prayers for Joani, I behaved like a homeless person, one who had no place to go. It's as if I stayed on a park bench and simply gritted my teeth for faith and healing for my baby. Since God is wherever I am, He shared the park bench with me, but there was a better place to be.

To understand the context a little... Joani is the author's daughter, who was born with spina bifida and died after only 15 days. She's speaking here about the process of finding our home in God, even (or especially) during difficult times. She explains, "There is a homelessness of the self we impose upon ourselves when we don't realize it is God who is our home."

Good book. Read it.

I'm going to tag: Anne, Rebecca (sorry, Rebecca, I'm tagging you twice in a row), Alice, Tina, and Sassy Chic. You're it! If you've already been tagged, skip it.

New York Times Article

For those in the adoption community, this article may be old news. It was posted on one of the groups, so you may have already seen it. However, family and friends who are still unclear on what the fuss is about in Vietnam might find this interesting.

Families Adopting in Vietnam Say They Are Caught in Diplomatic Jam
Published: February 11, 2008
The State Department says that the adoption system in Vietnam fosters “baby buying,” but some complain that the U.S. is singling out individual cases to embarrass the Vietnamese government.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Is this the yucky fings or the envelopes?

In the last couple days before Chinese New Year, I kept reminding Bri it was coming, counting down the days with her, and telling her it was about time to get the lanterns out and make our yummy chicken dinner.
Yesterday morning she asked me, "Do I get to blow out candles?"
I said, "No, I think you're thinking of your birthday. This is Chinese New Year."
She said, "Oh, is this the one when I get to open a present?"
"No, Breebs," I said, "That would be Adoption Day."
"Oh." She sits and thinks for a moment, then goes, "So is this the yucky fings (things), or the envelopes?

(To understand that question, you would have to know a little about the first Moon Festival we celebrated. Bri was 2. TWO- and she still remembers. I ordered authentic Chinese moon cakes from a bakery in New York and had them shipped here. They weren't cheap. At all. I'd never splurged on something like that for a holiday treat before. They came in a pretty tin box, and each cake was like a little work of art. They were so pretty, and I was excited to serve them. I was really looking forward to making it a special, annual indulgence for Moon Festival. It did not turn out as I'd hoped. They were bad. Really, really, really bad. Really. I don't mean bad as in "spoiled." I mean bad as in "gross beyond description." A couple of the boys bit into them first, made a face, then walked over and spit them out in the trash. My mother was standing there, looking shocked and I was mortified that my children were spitting out food right there in front of Nana. We both start telling the kids they're just being silly and exaggerating, and they need to eat them. "They couldn't possibly be THAT bad," we said. We each took a bite. Then we walked over to the trash and spit them out. We had four different flavors, and since I'd spent a fortune on them, I made the kids give each flavor a chance. Notice I said I made the KIDS try each one. Hee hee hee. With each bite came a "fwoomp" sound as the evil morsels were hurled out of each mouth, into the trash. With each "fwoomp," I was mentally tallying the cost. "There goes another $1.50... and another... and another..." They tasted really, really bad. I never ordered them again, but it hasn't been forgotten. By any of us. Yucky, yucky fings.

The envelopes she's referring to are the red envelopes I pass out to each kid on Chinese New Year with a little money inside.)

I answered, "This is the day with the envelopes."

"Good, she said, "I like that one."

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year/Tet!

First and most importantly- I have a "renewed" prayer request for Lavender at Sweet and Sour Chicken who is having her first surgery today for her cleft repair. Please take a moment to pray for this little girl's safe and successful surgery, quick recovery time, pain relief, peace of mind and freedom from fear for Sabrina (her mom), and that her doctors will be blessed with wisdom and steady hands. The last time I requested your prayers for her, the surgery was put off due to illness. Let's ask the Lord to allow the doctors to get started, with no complications, and make a lot of progress today. I appreciate your prayers!

Do you say, "Happy Tet," "Merry Tet," or what?

I don't know, but whatever it is, it's TODAY!


The lanterns are hung over the chopsticks with care,
In hopes that Mom's chicken soon will be there...

We're celebrating with a dinner of Chelle's World Famous Super-Delectable Sesame Chicken, which I will be slaving over all day. It's a pain to cut up enough bite-sized chicken pieces to feed eight hogs, but it's worth it... Sooo good! Incidentally, "Life Change 08: Operation Chelle Reduction" is on hold until dinner is over (if I have to kill myself cooking it, I get to eat it. Them's the rules, folks, and they are unflinchingly rigid). Michael can sometimes be convinced to do the chicken cutting for good 0l' mom, so maybe I'll luck out and get out of it. Just depends on whether he likes me today or not. If I had to put money on it, I'd say I'll be cutting the chicken.
We're also going to celebrate by taking a day off school and having a house-cleaning party, instead. Since cleaning is an important part of this holiday, I want to be a good mom and help my kids experience it in a culturally significant way (do you think they'll buy it?).

Want to say "Happy New Year" in Chinese? You have a lot of choices...
Xin Nian Kuai Le (Mandarin- pronounced: Shin Knee-Ann Kw-eye= Happy New Year)
Gong Xi Fa Cai (Mandarin-Gong Shee Fah Ts'eye= A pronouncement of blessing... "I wish you to be prosperous," or "Congratulations on being rich")
Gung Hay Fat Choy (Cantonese- Gung Hay Fat Choi= similar blessing of prosperity)
Hey- these remind me a little of the preferred expression of my favorite Trekkie (you know who you are): Live long and prosper! Did you know that phrase did not originate with Spock? It is actually adapted from a Jewish blessing, and Leonard Nimoy is (was???) a Jewish man. Supposedly, he worked it into the script and they kept it. Interesting little bit of Trekkie trivia there, entirely free of charge from your old Aunt Michelle, to share at the next convention. Just one more valuable service I offer.
Gong Xi Gong Xi (Gong Shee Gong Shee= Means "Congratulations," ...I think)
In Vietnamese, the greeting is "Chuc Mung Nam Moi," but don't ask me how to pronounce it...

Keep in mind- if I don't know something, I sometimes just make it up. So there are no actual guarantees that any of the above information is accurate, except for the stuff about the chicken.
P.S. This is the "Year of the Rat" (or mouse), by the way. Just in case that fact was not made obvious by Cartoon Chelle's choice of headgear in the picture at the top, and the rat sitting at her feet... If you were born in 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, or 2008, you are a Rat Baby and this is your year! That means that some of you waiting PAPs may have Rat Babies on the way this year!
Of course, I am a ...


How funny is that? As if my self-esteem needed to take another hit... Geez.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Blog Lady

I was going to post more about my "blog lady" tomorrow, but since I've already had a few questions and emails about the new blog and its designer, I'll post more info. on her now. She has a link at the top of my sidebar, but her blog is: Blogs By Danielle. So, her name would be... Rita! No, pay attention- it's Danielle. When I mentioned her blog sale, I should have told you it's running through Valentine's Day, so if this is something you were thinking about doing anyway, you may want to get in on it now. She can also just do a header if you don't want to do a full blog makeover. You can see samples of her work on her blog. I think she still has a little tinkering to do on mine, but even if she decided to cover my blog with skulls and crossbones (please don't, Danielle) I can still say I'd recommend her, based on her personality alone and the effort she has put into giving me a blog that really reflects my taste. She's very accomodating, really nice, and easy to work with. Sales pitch done. See ya tomorrow.

Well, I see you found me!

Glad you made it. As you can see, I had a blog makeover done. As any regular reader knows I've been fed up with my blog, its appearance, and its lack of cooperation with me in my attempts to improve it for quite some time. I tried forever to get a photo of my family to appear in my header with no luck. The Blogger "help groups" were of no help at all. I tried everything and couldn't really find a solution. So I decided to place my blog into the hands of a professional. I looked around and spoke to a couple different designers, but the prices are pretty high. I've never put much money into my blog, and Darrell didn't see the sense in paying huge sums when we are supposed to be saving for an adoption, etc. I couldn't exactly argue with that! It obviously wasn't a necessary expense, like... oh, say- daily mochachinos and Dove bars, or owning two clothes dryers (of which we only paid for one). So, it looked like it wasn't going to happen, and Chelle was just going to suck it up and be happy with what she had... And what I had was cruddy. Not that I'm complaining.

Then, miracle of all miracles- I found a blog designer who was having a sale!! Did you know there even was such a thing? She did the makeover, and went to upload the new code to my old blog, and...

She couldn't do it. Oh, GREAT!! She said something in my old blog's code must have been corrupt and the best thing to do was to begin again with a new one. So, here we are...

What do you think? It will take me a while to transfer the old posts and links over here, and I know it's a pain to ask you to change your link to my blog if you have me listed in yours. Sorry! Hopefully, this will be the last time we have to do this.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Moving Soon...

Just wanted you all to know it looks like this blog may soon be moving and I wanted to warn those of you who use a service like Blogarithm (or something similar) that you will be seeing some crazy stuff coming up as I begin the process of transferring archives to the new blog. Old posts will show as being new ones, or a post may pop up two days in a row. My apologies. As soon as the new blog is up and running, I'll post the link here and fill you in on what caused the move in a later post. I'm sorry for the inconvenience it will cause to those of you who have linked to this blog and hope you won't mind changing your link. I appreciate each and every visitor I've had here, and hope you'll all follow me over there. I'll only be one click away! Thank you, guys.

Time to acknowledge what we already know...

I'm weird far too many ways to discuss them all here (and my friends say, "Amen"). For now, we'll highlight only one of my special quirks. If you find yourself just dying to learn about the wonder that is Chelle, we may turn this into a series. Who knows? It may become a regularly requested feature but today, I only have time for one. Please try to understand and accept it.

Blogger is currently having trouble with their spell checker. Apparently this is an issue that Blogger is aware of and they are taking steps to correct the problem. So?

As I've mentioned in the past, I have always been a Reading/Language arts/English nut. These were among my favorite subjects in school. I planned on teaching Lang. Arts and wanted to work in a school for the deaf before God, in all His hilarity, took my life in a vastly different direction and decided my talents are better suited to sorting laundry. These subjects are also the ones I've always placed a great deal of importance upon with my children, both here at home and after they go off to the public HS because as we all know, math and stuff isn't really all that important. You can use Quicken, but you gotta know how to read, am I right?

Unfortunately, in spite of my love for words, my spelling and grammatical skills have taken a nose-dive over the years. My location is partly to blame. I've said in previous posts that I live in an area where hick-speak is widely accepted as the norm. In fact if I walked into a local convenience store and even used a phrase like "widely accepted as the norm," I might be looked at funny. It's not that people in my area are stupid. I'm certainly not trying to insult my town or the people in it! It's more that folks in these parts don't go for all that fancy high-falutin' stuff. Why say somethin' fussy like, "hick-speak is widely accepted as the norm," when it's just as easy to say "the way we talk here is plenty good enough?" Them big college words just turn folks off. We all know the saying, "When in Rome...

...get off yer dang high horse and quit talkin' like ya think yer better'n ever-body." Or something like that. I've become used to speaking a certain way, and that seeps into the way I write. It has infected the way I think. In other words, I don't think too good no more.

I also think the miraculous wonders of motherhood make you stupid. I'm sorry to those of you who are still waiting to bring your children home, or haven't been mothers long enough to notice the slow, painful loss of brain function. But it IS going to happen. You cannot listen to Dora the Explorer repeat the same flippin' words and songs over and over without a little part of you dying. Moms are incredibly tired, ridiculously busy, and unbelievably selfless. Something's gotta give, and it will be your brains. Again, I'm sorry. But isn't it better to find out now?

So, back to my quirk. Due to my decreased intellect, I've become a fanatic about proofreading. Blogger is only making my proofing obsession, and subsequent decline into madness, worse. Spell check is crack to me. I must have it. My last post contained a couple misspellings that went undetected and I was devastated. After I proof something once (OK, that's not true- it's usually twice...), I will sometimes ask Darrell to double-check it (if it's something important). Then, because I don't trust his findings, I will check again. Can you spell n*e*u*r*o*t*i*c, kids? No? How 'bout an easier one: O*C*D?

And, because I'm a busy, half brain-dead mom, I will always miss something. When it comes to these posts, I swear that the tiniest thing; a thing that eluded my attention during 3 separate proofs, will be suddenly glaring at me as soon as I hit the publish button, and it's out there for all the world to see. If I don't make the discovery immediately, but a few days after, it is always accompanied by a great internal debate: Do I give into my perfectionistic craziness and edit it after everyone has already seen it anyway, or do I "just relax" and leave it?

Of course, I do like to assualt the English language intentionally at times, for effect- like starting a sentence with the word "And," or my flagrant disrespect for dashes, commas, semicolons, etc. As I said- I write like I talk, and I want you to "hear" me talking, so I'm not worried about those.

Some of my most embarrassing and flagrant offenses can't be healed by spell check, anyway. For example, some little smart-aleck lodged in the darker recesses of my head thinks it's funny to switch your and you're. I cannot tell you how crazy this makes me. How I manage to do this so often, when I'm so careful to check for it, is a mystery. I know the difference between your and you're. I do.

Does anyone know when spell check will be fixed? I don't know how long I can take it. I'm suffering, here. How can Blogger not care about that? Hey, is anyone interested in a proofing job? The pay's lousy, and I will neither trust your findings nor take your advice. Interested? Darrell just quit...

The New and Improved Blog will be revealed soon. Are you sitting on the edge of your seat? I am. I can't wait!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

HOLY MONKEY... The scale says whaaat?

Geeyyyaaawwwwsh. I stepped on the scale this morning; something I've been dreading and putting off for weeks. I was not happy with the number staring back at me. I still haven't started that diet I was talking about a while back, and my little indulgences just keep getting worse. You know those Fisher Price toys where you turn the dial thingy in the middle to an animal, then you pull the handle down on the side to hear the noise that animal makes? I was seriously expecting to hear, "The cow says... MooooOOOOO" when my feet touched the scale. I could hear that little toy guy's voice in my head as I stepped on it.

This past week has been so stressful, and I am definitely a "stress eater." The whole miserable, depressing Vietnam mess, sicknesses, 3 college visits for Alex, everybody's overlapping schedules, Dr.'s appointments, homeschool barely getting done all week, kids' basketball out the wazoo, and the laundry is hopelessly BACKED UP again. Both of our dryers are broken at the SAME TIME. One turns but doesn't heat, and the other heats but doesn't turn. What are the odds? No, seriously... What ARE the odds?

Yes, we have two dryers. One washer, but two dryers. That may sound like a luxury to some. I understand... BUT- Two words for you: 1) Six and 2) kids. My laundry room does not currently smell luxurious. You may recall from the power outage before Christmas, I am not a huge fan of the dirty laundry smell. We have roughly 25 loads, give or take, each and every week. Not too big a deal. When it gets backed up, that's 25 loads sitting around, taking up space, all at the same time. School clothes, church clothes, playing outside in the dirt clothes, I-just-put-on-another-clean-t-shirt-and-got-ketchup-all-over-it-even-though-I-wasn't-even-eating-ketchup clothes, towels, sheets, and sports stuff. Oh, Dear Lord- the sports stuff...

Show of hands: How many of you know a teenage boys' gym bag, clothes, and shoes smell a bazillion times worse than a normal person's? OK, good. So we're all on the same page, then. How are they manufacturing that smell? Where does it come from? It's unholy. The only way a normal person can smell as bad as an athletic teenage boy is to:
  • Number One- Die and decompose for several days,
  • Number Two- Allow the family cat to urinate on you repeatedly, postmortem.
I'm sorry, that's kind of yucky. And possibly uncalled for. I hope you weren't eating. And I mean no disrespect to cats, the deceased, or my boys. I love my boys dearly. They do take showers. Really, they do. It's just a universal part of being a teenager, but in this house it's multiplied by 3 of them, and a week of disgustingly overdue laundry.

Anyway, what was I originally talking about? Oh, the scale. My weight. My gigantic, fat face. The other day, as I was putting another cookie into my gigantic fat face, I had the thought that as soon as the stress dies down a little, I really am going to get serious about losing weight. My son's wedding is in FIVE MONTHS. I gotta do something. As soon as things get back to normal, as soon as I'm not such a stressed-out mess... Then I realized something. I've been waiting for that day for 18 years! I chose to marry a man with 3 children. We had Alex nine months and 2 weeks after our wedding. Mike came along 19 months after that. Then Evan, then Tuck, then Livie. We started Bri's adoption process when Liv was 4 months old and spent the next 23 months not knowing when our daughter would join our family (and you guys who have or are adopting know what I mean. Adoption and Stress always go together, am I right?).

It was a real "light-bulb" moment. I left NORMAL behind a looonnnng time ago. The day when the stress stops is not coming. And I don't mean that in a bad way- honestly. I love my big family and wouldn't change the choices I've made. I'm just saying that it's time to face facts and stop making excuses to eat and stay fat one more day. There will always be a reason to wait one more day. There will always be stress. I'm sick of it. It's time to handle it like a big girl.

So, this is it. Tomorrow, Chelle turns over a new leaf. Again.

UPDATE: The above post was typed late last night. It is now Mon. morning and so far, so good. I kept my word, and the new leaf is turning. This morning I did not eat Oreos, M&M's or any other digusting treat for breakfast, and I did not drink a little coffee with my cream. I had a diet muffin (which was yucky- we won't be doing that again), a BANANA (did you guys know about this stuff called, "fruit?" Am I the only one who never heard of it before? It isn't made of chocolate. Apparently this thing I ate this morning grows on a tree and is not made of chemicals. Go figure...), and fat-free creamer and Splenda in my coffee. Somewhere in this house, we have a treadmill. You would think something of that size would be fairly hard to misplace. I'll dig under the clothes piles and see if it turns up. Life Change 08: Operation Chelle Reduction is off and running!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

LWB Update

Good news! Love Without Boundaries won the Facebook Challenge!! That's a whopping $50,000.00 that will provide heart surgeries to babies in China!!! To all who gave, my sincere THANKS!

Friday, February 1, 2008

There she goes again...

I know. I mess with my blog too much. Yes, I know I am nuts. But thank you for pointing out the obvious. That's very kind of you. Darrell has his nose in the phone book again, searching for some sort of 12 step program for people like me, but so far- it's not looking good. Besides, I don't want to spend my Tuesday evenings saying, "Hi. I'm Michelle and I'm a Blogoholic."

And yes... I know it looks very plain right now. And boring. "But, Chelle," you say, "You're such a vibrant, exciting, colorful woman. Why would you settle on plain old white for your blog?"

Well, I'm not. And thank you for the compliment.

The constant tinkering is due to the fact that I've never been satisfied with the appearance of my blog. I don't really like the choices- or lack of them- that Blogger gives, I guess. I considered switching to Wordpress, and set up a test blog over there- but I don't see that happening either. I don't want to take the time to learn a new way of doing things, when I finally have it figured out here, and I don't want to ask everyone to follow me to a new spot. So...

I have become the Britney Spears of Bloggerville, leaving you guys to stand back and say, "Man, this chick is out of control!"

But the craziness is about to end very soon, friends. VERY SOON. If you can all bear with me just a little longer, you will soon see that this most recent episode of manic blog refurbishing had a purpose. Keep checking in. Big changes- Beautiful changes- are coming SOON and I'm so excited. And once it's done the craziness will stop and I will be satisfied. Probably. Maybe.