Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010.... A blank page..... What to write?

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” - Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Here we are... the last day of 2009... I've done my reflecting on all that has happened this year and now it is time to look forward and put forth some resolutions for 2010. I looked over my resolutions from last year and I think I accomplished about 50% of them... Not too bad, but not great either.... So, on to 2010!!!

  • No more than 10 NSF fees over the course of the year. I know I should have none, but there are times when I screw up and I want to have an attainable goal. :) FYI if anyone is confused on why this isn't that big of a deal to me is my bank will charge me if our our available balance goes below $500 whether or not all those items actually go through my bank or not. So it's not like I'm a bad check writer or anything! LOL... I'd like to have some extra funds in there so I don't have these hit my account at all!
  • Emergency Fund set up
  • Pay off at least 1 credit card. I'd really like to aim for at least 2 :)
  • Be more patient with my kids. I know, sounds familiar, and it will be on my list next year too, but I just feel like there is always room for improvement where my kids are concerned, and I want the best for them :)
  • Stay better on top of the boys schooling. Seriously considering TXVA next year, just thinking it would be better to have someone else for them to be accountable with my having 2 babies to chase :)
  • Get Shea potty trained, or on the way anyway :)
  • Play games more often with the kids, maybe reinstate family game night
  • Go to summer camp with the boys
  • Pray for my children more
  • Get off the computer when my husband is home and just really enjoy him.
  • Take my husband lunch as often as possible on Thursdays
  • To not to look so much like a desperate housewife when the husband comes home :)
  • Pray for my husband more
Friends and Family:
  • Stay in touch better, and send out birthday cards!
  • Do something unexpected for a friend at least 5 times this year
  • Give back some of what was given to me in the form of meals, emotional support etc during our time of transition when Will came home :)
Health and Fitness:
  • Do some form of exercise at least 2 times a week
  • Get serious about the Diabetic diet
  • Remember to take my meds
Home Management:
  • Plan menus regularly and do less fend for yourself nights
  • Stay on top of the cleaning Flylady style
  • Do a deep clean out and give away a lot of stuff to make room in our house for all the people who live here LOL
  • Redo the back deck
  • Plant flowers in the gardens and stay on top of the lawns this year
  • Have the Facia boards replaced
  • Get a set of patio furniture so we can eat on the deck more often
  • Continue to stay on track with my Bible Study doing my homework daily
  • Increase my prayer life through more time spent praying and more deep prayers
  • Share my excitement with others when I see God doing extraordinary things around me
Well, that probably pretty much covers it! Here's to a great year! :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 Recap

Well, it's that time of year again! 2009 is coming to a close at mock speed and we are getting ready for 2010 and all it will have in store for us..... So in order to know where we're going we must know where we've been :)


The boys competed in Pinewood Derby for the pack and had a great time, but the most exciting thing to happen in January was a visit from Grumpa. We had a great time having him here. The boys trained him on the power of the Wii and he taught them some things too :)


In February we participated in our last Blue and Gold Banquet with the pack. It was bitter sweet, knowing that by this time next year we would no longer be in the pack, having gone on to Boy Scouts with both boys now.


In March for Spring Break we went camping with the Jones's at Lost Maples State Park. We had an absolutely wonderful time complete with a very long hike that wore poor Lady Bird completely out. We had Marshall (our Blue Heeler) with us too, but he was very old and we left him at the campsite. We knew while we were camping that this would be our last camping trip with him. We also took our Blue Bonnet pictures :)


April began with a visit from our very good friends Angie, Raul, and Emma Cadena. They used to live here in town and go to church with us, but a couple of years ago they moved to New Foundland where Angie's family is. It was just like we had just seen each other last week, and a great time was had by us all :)

After very little rain all Spring we had a major rain storm at the end of April... Here's a picture of our lake er I mean street:


In May Auston graduated from the Encourager Home School Enrichment program. We were so proud of him :) Gregory turned 10 and tried to convince us he was in fact a teenager instead! :) We keep telling him to slow down and not be in such a hurry! We also finally got our license for foster care and began waiting for a child.


In June we went to Disney World with the Joneses again and had an absolutely wonderful time. We spent 4 days in Disney World and then 3 days at Vero Beach. Honestly I don't know which part we enjoyed more! We had been home for only a few days when we got a call requesting respite care for another foster family. We took the baby (who I'll call Chickadee) and we were very excited to have a baby around (even if just for the weekend) :)...... Or so we thought!!!


In July we found out we would have the Chickadee as a foster child, not just respite because her other foster mom had some health stuff come up. We were thrilled! She was so much fun to have around and we had adapted surprisingly well to having a baby around! I (Semalee) also started taking cake decorating classes in July. :)


In August we got ready for school to start back up and I made several cakes. Here is one of my favorite cakes I made. It also became more clear that Chickadee's future was not what we thought it was going to be, so we made it known that we would be honored to be her forever family. We had no idea what would happen, but figured it was worth a shot!

On a more sad note, our beloved dog Marshall passed away at the end of August. He was 15 1/2 years old. He was a wonderful dog and it really isn't the same without him.


September took us back to school again and it was a little different this year. Auston being in the 7th grade is a big difference. We are still homeschooling and enjoying it. I began another year of teaching preschool at the Encourager Home School Enrichment program and Gregory is in the 5th grade there now. Auston is the assistant to the science teacher and he really enjoys that a lot!


In October Auston turned 13!! GASP! I can't believe he is already a teenager! We celebrated this milestone by making a trip up to Austin and going to a place called Cypress Valley Canopy Tours and did a zip line tour. It was a LOT of fun! We also got official word that it was not CPS's intention to let the Chickadee stay with us, so we were preparing our hearts to let her go. One of Michael's good friends also got married in October and Michael was a groomsman so we were able to have some adult time while attending the rehearsal dinner and wedding... I think we clean up alright :)

I also donated my hair to an organization called Beautiful Lengths again as well. This is the second time I've done it, and I actually didn't get my hair mailed off right away, so by the time I actually got it mailed off I found out one of my pastors has stomach cancer. My hair is donated in honor of Reverend Janet, who is currently battling stomach cancer, my friend's daughter Marenna, who has battled Wilm's tumors twice now in her short life, and in honor of my neighbor JoAnn Horace who passed away this year of brain cancer.


November was an exciting month for us. We went to court on the Chickadee and after we left we were told that they were transferring her case to the adoptive worker who would prepare her to leave our home. 4 days later we got a call from the case worker saying she had prayed about the situation and had CHANGED HER MIND!! She was now changing her recommendation to have the Chickadee stay with us and have us be her forever family! In addition to this great news we were told that her younger brother was born (early) and asked if we would consider taking him. Well, we just couldn't see how we could not give her the opportunity to have a biological sibling, so we decided it was the right thing to do. We were scared to death about having a 10 month old and a newborn at the same time, but felt good about our decision. Also in November we had our 5th Annual Bilbrey Family Picnic and had a great time with all of our friends and family :)


December is very much a blur... having two infants is hard work! On December 9th "Sir Grunt a Lot" came to live with us. He was 3 weeks old when we brought him home directly from the NICU and just over 5 pounds. He was so tiny, but grew so fast! It has been exhausting, but an amazing experience to have him in our home. We are so in love with him already :) We went to Midland to spend Christmas with Michael's brother and his family. It was interesting to say the least to travel with 2 babies, but it went very well and wasn't nearly as bad as we thought it would be :)

That about wraps up 2009... It's been a wild ride, but we wouldn't change any of it! Here's to 2010 being even better! :)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Random Arrow

In the Bible in 1Kings there is a story about King Ahab. In the story Ahab is just screwing up all over the place and not doing what is good in the eyes of the LORD. Well, he is about to go into battle. He asks King Jehoshaphat to go into battle with him. Jehoshaphat agrees, but only if they consult a prophet of the LORD. So King Ahab has all of his prophets tell him they will win the battle. Jehoshaphat doesn't buy it, and asks if there is a prophet of Yaweh available. Ahab says there is one, but he never says anything good about Ahab, so he doesn't listen to him. Well, this prophet says that Ahab will die in the battle.

They decide to go into battle anyway, and Ahab convinces Jehoshaphat that he should wear his royal robes and ride in the chariot and Ahab will go in disguise. The fighting begins and they begin to attach Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat cries out and immediately the soldiers know it isn't Ahab and go away from him.

Then a random arrow flies through the air and hits Ahab between his armor plates. He bleeds to death.

Why am I telling you this? Well, as I read this account and then did my bible study homework I was preparing for the Guardian Ad Litem's assistant to come and meet the chickadee and talk to me about her case. I had a lot on my shoulders, knowing that this could be a turning point in our case to keep our baby. As I went through my bible study the question was asked, "What did you learn about God's sovereignty in this story?"..... And it hit me! God's will is God's will. No Man can stop it. When man tries to get in the way of God's will a random arrow flies through the air and hits someone between the armor plates.

Since the chick stepped into our house we have prayed God's will over her. We have prayed God's will even when it looked like that meant she was going to Dallas, we have prayed God's will NO MATTER WHAT.

In November we had a court date and the parental rights were terminated and they are transitioning her to adoption. After the court date I asked the CPS worker who's side she is on. And she said she thinks she should go to Dallas, so that was where she would probably be going. It wasn't over by any means, but pretty bleak looking.

But God.

FOUR days later the worker called me. There was a random arrow. A baby born. And she prayed about what was best for the chick and she CHANGED her mind! She said she had it approved for her to move into adoptive placement with US!

Another foster mom said to me one time "You never understand what it means to walk completely dependent on God until you do it. Then you learn. You think you know what it means to depend on God and all that, but you don't. Not until you do it." And she was right.

Through this whole saga it has been a lot of ups and downs and twists and turns and we are soooo not through yet. But through it all we have walked it with God. We've been in constant prayer. We've seen Him work in our lives and it has been a blessing beyond anything we've experienced. I knew as I sat in that court room that if I had to give my daughter up I could do it because she had been completely covered in Prayer and I had faith in that. But I never stopped praying. And I'm still praying. Praying and praising.

When you think you have no where to turn, no one to run to
When you think you've done all you can
When you think there's no hope at all.....

Just remember

But God.