Monday, August 8, 2011

It's Already August????

Aubree is currently sitting in my lap as I blog. I have a feeling this will be a VeRy short post. She seems to approve of the pictures I chose to include, though.

Seems to me it was a short summer but short. I usually have a lot more done in my classroom by now. We are to report to school Wednesday, so I've got to get my room organized before then. Otherwise, I will be quite far behind! Family time has been a priority, so I am OK with being behind right now...

We went to San Antonio last week, and it was a nice getaway for the family. Michael was still in summer session, so we missed him being with us. We shopped for school necessities at the outlet malls...went to Sea World...enjoyed the River Walk and enjoyed each other's company. Drew fed dolphins (Aubree watched). Aubree met Elmo and got her picture made with him (Elmo is her favorite!) We all got to see an impressive Shamu show too. The water park at Sea World was a big hit too. Aub continues to experience a lot of 'firsts' in her little life. I love to watch her expressions as she sees the wonder in so many things I tend to take for granted or overlook.

Aub thinks I've been on this computer long enough. So I'll close by saying God bless all of you that care enough to check in on the Porters. We are blessed indeed.

I've been away from my computer lately. Look forward to catching up with all my blog friends.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Blog Webpage Problems...

I've noticed that several blogs I follow have a small number of page views and others have a very large number. Why is that? I am not up to speed on all the ways to get people to find your site, but I hope some of you are! When I first started this blog, it was so helpful to me and others...a way to connect with people with interest in our family's story or experience in adoption. We even met some folks that were in Vladivostok the SAME time we were...what a blessing. At this point, page hits are very low and perhaps I just need to take the blog down again.
I noticed today that my counter is not showing up either.
Basically, I want to continue to connect with others because I am passionate about getting as many of these precious orphans in loving homes as possible. People need to know the need. For me, it started with a simple donation to Shoes for Orphan Souls....and my life will never be the same. : )

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Study on patience this week

This past week, our ladies bible study worked through patience in our Fruit of the Spirit study. And believe me, I had plenty of opportunities to practice what I studied in my homework!
Jason hurt his back a few weeks back and was in the hospital for 4 days. He had 4 bulging discs and was in a lot of pain. Thankfully, we have been told that surgery will not be required. He will go through pain management and physical therapy. That week, I was bouncing between staying with him in the hospital and spending time with the kids. We have no family that live close enough to help us with our kids, so friends came to the rescue again! I am so grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers.

As a teacher, I have several 'projects' to get completed before school starts each summer, and being the planner that I am, this situation (and several others, actually) have derailed my plans. I have yet to complete ONE of my projects. I've had several pity parties battling my flesh...quite ugly. I'm glad none of you witnessed them! This study is helping me let go of unhealthy habits/reactions/thoughts. God is certainly growing me right now in my life, and I am so glad He loves me this much.

Each day's homework was excellent, but I want to share a little insight I gained from the day we focused on forgiveness.

Why forgive?

*Unforgiveness encumbers so that I cannot keep step with the Holy Spirit. It's like carrying a heavy load.

*God's Word calls me to forgive (examples: Luke 6:37 and Matt. 6:14-15).

*I must forgive for my own sake. Referring to the parable from Matt. 18:15-35, the first servant was tortured until his debt was paid in full. The second was only jailed. The truth is this: both were imprisoned by the first servant's lack of forgiveness and mercy, but only one was tortured. Unforgiveness tortures the person who harbors it.

*Failing to forgive provides Satan with opportunity to take advantage (IICor. 2:10, 11).

*I must forgive because I am not the only ones bound by the unforgiveness (Romans 8:28). Christ has a purpose in the pain I've suffered or He would have never allowed it. God will create ministry from my misery if I let him (IICor. 1:3-7).

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Time is such a gift...give it!

Today I visited a dear family friend in the hospital. Though I intended to stay for only a few minutes (she was in the middle of lunch!), we talked on and on about her health and our families...until her lunch was ice cold, but she didn't complain. It was so good to see her eyes shine. I haven't seen that in a long time. She is determined to make the necessary changes to improve her health. We made plans to get together soon. Her attitude was great, especially considering she has been in the hospital almost two weeks now. As I walked away from our visit, I was reminded of the gift of time. By spending that time with her, she was encouraged and so was I! Why do I, so often, make excuses instead of making time for people/activities that are important to me or to others?

My sister, Cathy, is a perfect example of someone that has become a pro at giving the gift of time, and it has endeared her to countless acquaintances, clients, friends, and family members. Others are drawn to her, I believe, in part because Cathy makes time for them without constantly checking her watch. She goes out of her way to show others that they are important. No matter how busy she is, (and believe me, this girl is always busy!) she always answers her phone when I call. When I need to vent, she doesn't hurry me. During Drew's baseball season this year, she came to several games, high heels and all....and she lives out of town. As an entertainer, she frequently gives her time to sing at retirement homes and various events. These are just a few of the ways she has enriched her own life by enriching others' lives. She looks for opportunities to encourage and compliment without expecting any gain but the joy of giving, and her smile is bright! No wonder every time Aubree swipes my phone, she tells me she is going to call 'Ca-Ca'. See...even my two year old can sense it.

There are several others in my life that give that precious gift of time, too.

This was on my heart tonight. Anyone know a great giver of time in your life? If so, comment please. I downloaded some recent pictures, so I'll add a few to this post too.

Blessed to be a blessing,


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

All Star Tournament...Here We Come

Drew was chosen for his age group's All Star baseball team. We will be traveling in just a bit to watch...his Daddy is the coach. Aub will, obviously, serve as head cheerleader.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

June update...

Aubree has enjoyed swimming lessons tremendously this week. The first day was difficult, but I remember having the same experience when Drew was in swimming lessons at that age. Now she is much more comfortable. Instead of coming up out of the water with buggy eyes of fear (the first day), she is coming up out of the water with buggy eyes and the biggest smile on her face! I have to laugh when I see her so happy with another accomplishment during lessons. There is a lot to learn in only three weeks. Beginning on the second day of lessons, I promised her a piece of gum after swimming lessons every day when she follows Mrs. Susan's directions, and she hasn't let me forget about my promise! It's amazing how smart these little ones are.

Drew's baseball team, the Athletics, finished the season 11-0-1...very impressive. Closing ceremonies are next week, and we will find out who has been chosen for the All-Star team. He also participated in a local basketball camp this week. My little athlete is having quite a summer already.

Jason surprised me with a new washer/dryer set the other day. Our old set had a variety of problems (missing parts in dryer drum, 3 runs to dry 1 load, washer making VeRy loud noises during spin cycle). Those machines were on their last leg. But that is a big investment, so I was OK with waiting until I could get the set I wanted. It was a nice if I can just figure out how to work all the bells and whistles! These machines are not what they used to be, for sure.

The kids wanted to make a playhouse out of the washer box. We cut a window and a door out. I am glad I took a few pictures of our creation because late in the afternoon, it rained!!!! rained!!!!! The playhouse didn't last, but we needed the's been months. Praise God!

We are trying to figure out an inexpensive getaway for the family this summer. We have a time share, but all the destinations we could choose from are far from home. That would end up costing more than we really need to spend this summer. We live in west Texas. Any of you have any suggestions? We want to make memories, not spend too much.

I have included a few photos. Notice Aub's earrings. So cute!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Two Big Events in Lil' Aub's World

Jason had the weekend off so we decided to head to the big city to get a jogging stroller (it's a lifesaver for Aub AND me! more shaking us to pieces on our long walks). Aubree calls her stroller her 'car'...and now she's got a more comfortable ride.
We went to the mall to take care of one thing I've been anxiously awaiting and dreading at the same time...ear piercing. Aubree sat in Daddy's lap and was a very big girl. She didn't cry until the contraptions pierced her ears (good thing they did both at once!). Aubree cried for about a minute, but was OK when Mama kissed both of her ears. She melts my heart when she says, "All better" in her cute little voice. Mama's kiss can cure the owies. She was pleased to see the finished product. We now have matching earrings, and we think that's pretty neat.
Today was the start of swimming lessons. Another big deal in her life. I've only seen Aubree scared in the water one other time...the first bath we gave her in Russia. She absolutely loves her baths now and the small swimming pool we fill up in the front yard every few days so she can take a dip. She splashes, jumps in, puts her head underwater, and belly laughs the entire time.
Today was a bit of a challenge, probably because it was all so new. She is experiencing FIRST after FIRST after FIRST and has done so well that I sometimes take it for granted. Well, she was the best bubble blower in her class. After that, she didn't much care for the rest of the lesson. The floating and swishing (immersing) she could have done without. It was only her first day. I know that as she gets more comfortable with the routine of the class, she will do great.
These two events were kinda difficult for Aubree's Mama too. It is upsetting to see her cry like that.
I'll post pics of the new bling bling soon.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Kung Fu Panda 2 and movies in our SMALL town!

I remember the Tower Theater being open when I was a young child. It had been closed for over 35 years...that big, dark sign still a landmark on Main Street...kinda sad. I was so pleased recently when a local organization purchased the property. They will use the Tower for a variety of being a movie theater! This may not be a big deal to you big city folks, but here, in Small Town, USA, there are not a lot of options when looking for entertaining ways to spend a weekend night. Also, the operators of the Tower are dedicated to making a positive difference in people's lives through the events they bring in to the Tower.

This week, Drew and I went to see Kung Fu Panda 2. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. There were a few parts that bothered me (the 'inner peace' thing was mentioned several times...and a lot of animated violence). One thing in particular I liked was the theme of adoption in the movie. The panda, Po, of course was adopted (his dad was a goose!), but it was not talked about openly until the sequel. Toward the end of the movie, there was a touching scene with Po and his dad. Adoption was portrayed in a positive way, and I like that!

I continue to share with others the need of so many waiting children in this country and the world. Yes, adoption can be a long, daunting, sometimes brutal process. The only way the Porters made it through was God...He made a way to Aubree for us. And He will make a way for Y O U if He's called you to adopt. Yes, we gave Aubree a loving home and made some sacrifices, but she's given us so much more. She's so precious to us, and it is wonderful to see her touch other people every day through her beautiful, joyful, and social personality. Just her presence makes people smile. I see it all the time.

Have any of you seen this movie? If so, what did you think?

Have any of you been called to adopt, but haven't started the process yet?

Are any of you in the midst of the adoption process, blogging to research and build relationships with others that can relate with what you're going through?

Are any of you at home now with your child(ren), looking back and saying that all the ups and downs and hurry ups and waits were well worth it?

I'd love to talk to you! I've said it before...adoption is one of my favorite subjects!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

the busy life has me in a rut...and I ain't stayin' there!

I am continually in awe of God's goodness. I sometimes pat myself on the back for how far I've come in my spiritual walk, just to find that those old bad habits and tendencies (complaining, impatience, etc....) have me in condemnation mode again. Just yesterday, I snapped at my Drew because he woke me up from a nap (I never nap...and when Aubree laid down, I fell into bed myself, exhausted). After I finished my mini-rant, he responded, with a sad look, "I was scared, Mom." See, I never nap...not normal. And dad had left to go back to work. I really beat myself up over that one for awhile. There are several other examples I could relate, but they follow basically the same storyline...I want so terribly to be Super Mom/Wife/Teacher/Friend/Woman/Christian, but fail miserably when I try to go it alone. Who says I just have to 'survive' this life? I'm called to greatness, and so many times I settle for less. So, praise God, He's on my side. As it says in Ephesians, by his mighty power at work at work within us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.

Joyce Meyer's Power Thoughts book is on my to-read list for the summer. I've skimmed over it and can already tell it will assist me in getting my head on straight (again).

Power Thoughts (a sampling...):

#1...I can do whatever I need to do in life through Christ.

#2...God loves me unconditionally.

#9...I pursue peace with God, myself, and others.

#10.I live in the present and enjoy each moment.

It's true that mine is a busy life. I am grateful for the responsibilities He has given me...I just have to prioritize those responsibilities, and maybe scratch a few that He didn't put there off my long list. When I mess up, confess it, repent, and move forward. Easier said than done sometimes, but it's Truth.

So now, there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do...You should behave instead like God's very own children, adopted into His family--calling him "Father, dear Father." --Romans 8

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go. --Joshua 1:9

Thank you, friends, for encouraging me and loving me even when I'm being unlovable (ESP. then!) Comments welcome. Anyone else ever find themselves in this disgusting rut?

I'm including a few pictures, too. Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

God's Post-It Notes and random family pictures

Drew is on the Athletics in minor league. Jason and Drew, our first grader, are in the first picture. Drew got a good hit! Michael, our college kid, was captured on film when he dropped in on his Aunt Cathy for a good, home-cooked meal. And our lil' princess, Aubree, borrowed Bubba's boots and then modeled them for me in the last picture. She loves to play dress-up.

And I love my life.

Monday, May 16, 2011

School's almost out for the summer...

As a teacher, I get asked a lot at this time of year if I'm ready for SUMMER. I'm not one to 'countdown' the days til summer vacation. I truly enjoy my time with students. They tend to get a little rowdy toward May (the TAKS test is over...time for field trips, end of year programs, etc) but I get a little sad when I have to let them go at the end of the school year. Teaching is a work of heart, and each of my students holds a special place in my heart. They will forever more be 'my kids'. I will teach a few weeks of summer school during June, too. I look forward to spending more time with my family this summer, getting some projects finished up at home, and sleeping late as often as possible. The time I have away from school is much needed because I want to be fresh and ready for the new school year in the fall. There are always school preparations during the summer months as well. Next year will be my 20th year to teach!

Drew is finishing up first grade and has done very well. His TPRI testing showed that he is right on track for 2nd grade. This week, he takes a reading inventory that will set his reading level in the library for the next year. Drew has read so much this year and his fluency and comprehension have improved dramatically. I'm looking forward to seeing how he does. I've tried to instill a love of reading in my kids. I plan to have weekly public library trips with both Drew and Aubree this summer (probably should take SEPARATE trips with those two...they both require my undivided attention, it seems). He is ready for the Summer Rec program to begin. This will be the first time we have allowed him to participate, and he is anxious. Fun times with friends, public pool time every week, field trips, and more. I remember participating in the same program when I was in school. Good memories.

Aubree continues to soak everything in and amaze us with her little mind. We are working on colors, numbers, ABCs, and potty training (AGAIN). She loves to read bedtime stories and I enjoy getting to cuddle with her while we read. A picture book can take a long time to get through with a little chatterbox like her!

Michael's going to take some classes this summer and work as much as he can at the bank. We got to see him today, which was a treat. He watched Drew's baseball game with us.

Jason continues to stay very busy at work, and we are thankful. This month makes six years since we opened the doors of our business. It has been a labor of love for Jason, and I'm so proud of him for making this milestone. In today's economy, we know how blessed we are to be small business owners. God has shown us great favor and we praise Him for it. We also live in a great little community that supports its own.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mother's Day post...

One of the first poets I enjoyed reading as a child was Helen Steiner Rice. She wrote simple, yet heart-touching words on so many subjects, always pointing to our Source...God!

I've been thinking about my Mama a lot lately. Some challenging situations have happened as of late in my life, and as I seek answers and guidance, I find myself thinking about all the times I judged my mom much too harshly. Being the firstborn child can sometimes be not so fun (can anyone relate?), but what I didn't think about as a pre-teen/teen was that she was a first-time parent, too. Hindsight is 20/20, it's true. I'm just thankful I realized in time what a precious resource of wisdom, experience, guidance & unconditional love I have in her. I think it took becoming a parent myself to see how much of herself Mona Lee put into shaping her children into the people God called them to be.

As I parent my own three children, I am constantly reminded of how much God loves me. He has entrusted the care of these children to Jason and me, and I'm so thankful He did. As much as I love Michael, Drew, and Aubree, He loves them oh, so much more. And I've go to stay plugged in to my Power source to be the best mom I can be. After all, He's got many more great things in store for them to do for the Kingdom, and I want them to be ready!

Oh...remember my last post mentioned our elementary school raising money for our hard-working volunteer fire departments? Well, today was the big 'reveal'...a check was presented for over $26,000! Big thanks to all those who helped out, from Pre-K to 5th grade students, teachers, parents, administration, and those that supported the FUNdraisers each grade level had. Our community is small by some people's standards, but we've got BIG hearts.

This poem is a tribute to Mothers everywhere that take the priceless gift of motherhood to heart. Another great poem states it just right: The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.

Love you, Mama.

What is a Mother?

It takes a mother's love to make a house a home--

A place to be remembered no matter where we roam.

It takes a mother's patience to bring a child up right

And her courage and her cheerfulness to make a dark day bright.

It takes a mother's thoughtfulness to mend the heart's deep hurts

And her skill and her endurance to mend little socks and shirts.

It takes a mother's kindness to forgive us when we err,

To sympathize in trouble, and to bow her head in prayer.

It takes a mother's wisdom to recognize our needs

And to give us reassurance by her loving words and deeds.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

So proud of our community

Could be this weather, could be something else...but I haven't had a voice for 3 days. It's challenging to teach a class of 9 and 10 year olds this way. We managed. The kids liked doing my talking for me. The funniest part so far has been when I whisper to someone, and they answer in a whisper without realizing.

With the winds, there have been numerous fires in our part of TX recently. This was a dangerous situation. Our volunteer fire department, and departments around our area have taken care of business, regardless of sleepless nights, equipment breakdowns, AND their regular jobs that they also manage. Most of these volunteers also have families that sacrifice as well. A big THANK YOU doesn't seem to be enough, but I am so grateful. Someone in our school had the idea of a challenge among grade levels to raise the most money for our fire department. Well...the idea has taken off. In just a few days, thousands have been raised. The challenge ends on May 6, so there's no telling what our students will be able to accomplish between now and then. Each grade level has FUNdraisers (pie throwing, raffles, dunking booth, car washes, window washing, lemonade stands, selling filled Easter eggs, cookies, bandanas, concession stand, donation tubs around town, etc). The pride our students have taken in this task is heartwarming. We were even on TV.

Got a few cute pics this week. Hope you like them.

Comments make me smile...I know I have people reading. Happy weekend, friends.

Monday, April 11, 2011

It's that time...

Potty training!

Aubree is doing so well. I think she's just about ready to get out of the PullUps and diapers for good. There is no telling how many chocolate M & Ms I've given out to her in the last few weeks. Whatever works!

Her vocabulary has exploded lately too. She definitely knows how to communicate what she wants. I love to listen to her talk. Every stage of our cutie's development has its own beauty. Today Drew was crying after he hit his head, and Aubree went right to him, cradled his face in her hands, and said, "You OK?" over and over. Last night she said the entire sentence "I love you" on her own. Until then, she said it, but not clearly or regularly. She continues to be an easy going, loving child. Tantrums are few and far between. Aub has started arguing a bit, and not following directions quickly. A little 'crossing arms' attitude sometimes occurs too. She still sucks her thumb when she's tired, thinking deeply about something, or when in trouble. Doctor says she should quit on her own. She also tends to be clingy, wanting to be held a lot. She doesn't like to play independently very much...prefers to have a playmate (Mom or Dad or Drew). We are working through these few challenges and continue to be amazed at her progress.

Jason and Drew are at season starts next week, which makes for a very busy household. Looks like Drew may be playing 1st base. They've got a good team. Go A's!

Michael will be finishing up his first year away at the university in just a few weeks. This year has gone by so fast!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Heaven is For Real

A friend of mine (that's NOT a reader) recently purchased a Nook, and the first book she read was Heaven is For Real. She literally had trouble putting it down until she finished. I have my copy on order now, and I'm looking forward to this sure-to-be interesting read. A few weeks ago, the 700 Club had a week-long series about what happens after we die. One day, I was blessed to hear the Burpos' story. At the very end of the interview, the boy said this, and it has stuck with me: "Heaven is for real...and you're gonna like it." Our children are precious! Have any of you read this book? If so, what did you think?

Friday, April 1, 2011

First Meeting...November 2009

Aubree has changed so much since that day in Russia not long ago. The first time I held her, she cried and cried! Everytime I think back on all the things that COULD have gone wrong, all the things that DID go wrong (but didn't stop us), all the wonderful things that happened, and all the special people we met on our adventure to bring her home, I am in awe of God's faithfulness. He provided a way where there didn't seem to be one in the natural.

Kinda random post this time, but that's what's on my heart tonight.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

God funds what He favors...

Catching up on blogs tonight and came across this statement. I had to read it over and over.
Wow...He is SO good.

Here's a picture of our princess...a blessing from above. Can you tell she dressed herself?!?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Break is almost over...

We didn't get a lot accomplished at home, but we had a nice week together. I had plans to get some painting done, but I never got around to it. Very little Spring cleaning happened.

We had a nice long weekend in Ruidoso, New Mexico. The weather was beautiful, and we stayed in a cabin in the woods. The kids had a wonderful time in the mountains. Aubree had never been...of course she has fun wherever she goes! I was glad to get Mr. Porter away from work for this getaway to enjoy himself. Since Michael is in college adult...he spent Spring Break getting a few extra hours in his work.

Other than that, we had a few appointments this week in Lubbock and lots of snuggling here at home. Last night we had a fine time with friends, cooking out and playing cards, something we hadn't done in awhile. I am grateful for the opportunity to spend some extra time with my family this week.

Back to school on Monday. Only 5 more weeks until the TAKS test. School is always so much nicer after that test is over with. We have a few field trips in May to look forward to as well.

It's been awhile since I've posted. There are a few (?) creepy people out there that I'd like to filter out. I keep up with all of you through your blogs, and I'll say it's like a family. I love to hear about your families growing and changing and especially those of you that help get the word out about the blessing of adoption. That's really why I blog myself. I want to be a voice for those little ones that don't seem to have one in this big old world. There are countless families that would adopt, I believe, with just a little more encouragement from other regular old working class people that have experienced adoption themselves. I continue to seek God's face in how I can make more of an impact for orphans. It's a passion of mine and I know one day He will make it clear to me (maybe He already has!) where to go from here. Any ideas?!? Please comment.
Enjoy the pics. Hasn't Aub grown up on us?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Don't you miss me at all?
Still enjoying keeping up with everyone on their blogs.
I'd love some comments.