Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Conferences and Camping

Wow!! I think it has been way too long since I have last blogged. Part of that is no news on the adoption front... other than I THINK our Dossier is headed over to Ethiopia, but not sure. For those of you in the adoption circle-- I know that sounds ridiculous. How can I not know!! I mean, most people can tell you where their dossier is minute by minute as they watch it fly across the ocean and make all its stops before finally resting safely in ET-- thanks to Fed Ex and the invention of the "tracking number". Those of you NOT in the adoption loop, you may not understand that my lack of knowledge about the exact location of our Dossier is strange-- maybe you think that is just how adoption works... and I think in our family's case, you are RIGHT!! Last week, a lot of communication "break-down" occurred within the ET program and our agency. Some of it was NOT the fault of our agency... and some of it was. So, in light of the communication "drama"; I decided not to add to it by asking if our dossier made it out the AWAA door and onto the ET airplane. Our coordinator said it would be shipped off early last week and I am trusting that it did. I had other things which needed to be done before leaving town, anyway and trying to manage our dossier-- which is out of my control at this point-- would have been a fruitless adventure.

Did I say "leave town"? Why, yes I did. What I didn't say is that I left town... ALONE!!! It is hard to believe, I know. But, it finally happened. I left town and every man in my life (all 4) at home!!! I will not tell you the last time that happened, but I WILL tell you that it was the FIRST time that I have left home with Tony in charge-- for more than a day!!! And the funny thing is, he was the one who encouraged me to go! So, what was so important that my husband even recognized the importance of me leaving all of them??? The annual homeschool conference for NC was being held in Winston-Salem. HE is the one who saw that it was coming up, and encouraged me to get a room and go. Then I started talking with a couple of homeschool friends here and we decided to all go together. I felt so special and important as I packed my bags to leave home and go meet other "professionals" in my field of work!! I heard some fabulous speakers, spent time sharing with wonderful friends, investigated a dizzying array of curriculum, ate food that I would dare not order with my family around and even squeezed in a run through the historic Old Salem on Friday morning. Oh yeah, and I bought boat-loads of beautiful, inspiring, thought-provoking AND educational books!! Most importantly, I believe that God graciously revealed to me the heart of my boys, our family and His calling on our lives. He opened my eyes to the fact that I let my fears guide "how" I did school this past year and this was why it never seemed to "flow". It also explains why there seemed to be so much conflict, resistance to learning and just general "attitude" toward all things school-related. For those of you who live by "faith" and not by "sight", you know that "fear" and "love" cannot live in harmony together. Our past school year is proof of that-- there was a definite "lack of harmony". But, praise be to God whose love never fails and shows His mercies new every morning!! He will never leave His children where they are at. He is faithful to draw us ever closer into relationship with Him-- if we will just allow Him.
All that to say, I came away from the conference with a renewed spirit and sense of purpose and direction for each one of my children and school in general. I am super excited to teach this next year-- from a position of faith AND NOT fear!!

And if that were not enough, all my boys came and picked me up when the conference was over and drove me back to our campsite which they set up the night before in Boone, NC. We spent the rest of the Memorial Day weekend exploring the western part of NC, hiking, playing at the campground and just having some great fun-- Team Dragovich style :D!!

Grace and Peace,

Friday, May 16, 2008

Praise You In This Storm

Praising God in the Storms

There is this song by Casting Crowns called, "Praise You in the Storm" (the post above it has a cool video with the song-- yes, I messed up trying to post the video AND the written part). I have always loved that song, because it is so real, so authentic and so where God wants me to be when I walk through the storms of this life. I can't say that personally the storms are so severe in my life, right now... but when I look out around me, it looks like the radar map on the Weather Channel lately-- somewhere, across the country or around the world, is getting pummeled by severe weather. Have you noticed that? Every time I look, there is severe weather somewhere-- the threat of tornadoes, flooding, hail, high winds, lightening strikes, and the list goes on. It is the same way in life, and it seems like the more I stick my neck out into the world and follow God's lead, the more "storms" I either witness or personally experience. Now to some, that could sound like a contradiction-- especially if all you think about God is that if you follow Him, He is supposed to provide you with all this outward, visible peace and security and wealth and protection from the bad things in life. And He DOES do those things!!! I have seen it in our lives and in the lives of those I love. But it's not about all the outward stuff we can see. He goes one further-- He provides peace, protection and security even IN THE STORM. And to be sure, there are storms. Every day, there is a storm somewhere. They are unavoidable. And for the follower of Christ, sometimes I think they are even more!! God calls those who follow Him to be "Light" and what is the purpose of light except to shine and illuminate the darkness!! Well... you have to GO INTO THE DARKNESS if you are going to light it up!!!

Why am I blogging about storms? Because there are a lot of people I know right now who are smack dab in the middle of a "severe weather pattern". Families in our adoption group, dear friends and fellow ministry partners at church, friends of friends, etc. My heart is wrung out for each one as I think of their storm and pray for them. And exactly how do I pray for them? Well, after I read this particular blog this morning, I feel like I have new direction. For those of you who believe in the power of prayer, I want to share this link with you:

How to Pray for those in Trials

I hope it encourages and directs you as much as it did me. For those of you walking through storms... just know, that this is how I am praying for you.

Grace and Peace,

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Yesterday was rough. It didn't start that way, but by mid-afternoon, I was emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted! I woke up to every bed in the house (except for mine, of course) peed in and wet sleepwear scattered all across the boys' carpets in their rooms. This is not so crazy or unusual, so I rolled with it. We started school and were pluggin' away, when I hear Sam scream from Wyatt's room. This is DEFINITELY not unusual, so I don't even look up from Isaac's Math book. Next thing I know Wyatt is ushering a screaming and bloody Sam into the homeschool room, looking as white as a ghost! For good reason, too-- when I DID finally decide to look up, there was blood everywhere; all over his shirt, drops trailing him on the floor and most importantly-- pouring out of his mouth like an open faucet! My exact words were... "Oh!" and that was it. I guess he and Wyatt were playing "sleeping bag wrestling" and Sam crashed against the ONLY piece of "furniture" in Wyatt's room. Of course, I rushed him to the bathroom and for the next several minutes worked only to stop the bleeding and determine its source. Isaac was crying (I later found out that he thought Sam was going to die), and Wyatt was talking non-stop (this is what he does when in distress). Sam was just slobbering and bleeding all over the place and I sort of checked out-- emotionally, anyway. Once the drama was over and all was well with Team Dragovich, Sam fell asleep, the boys and I finished school, worked on chores, and I slowly checked back in. Only when I did, it came to me in exhaustion, mixed with thanksgiving AND irritation-- weird, huh? Some days are filled with just too much body fluid!!!

Other than Sam drama, we have been enjoying a more laid back schedule. Soccer is over, and school will be over in a few weeks. I am already painting, re-arranging, and decorating rooms in my mind and sometimes looking too much at furniture on-line. The garden is up and growing pretty well--yea!! Adoption news is none, really... I have been following closely the families ahead of us-- those waiting, waiting, waiting for different things-- referrals, court dates, travel dates, etc. It looks like the wait times may be increasing again-- anything could happen, but the pattern is definitely moving in the "increase of wait times" direction. This is so hard to watch happen... yet, I have to always go back to God and His divine timing. There have been a couple comments made by families in our adoption Yahoo Group which have grabbed my attention and heart... one was about adoption being God's idea and design and when we enter into this eternal plan with Him, we have to expect that the enemy is going to be hard at work to oppose it-- YES!! I can see that-- and must be prepared to battle against schemes of Satan, who is trying hard to destroy this most beautiful relfection of God's love.
The other comment was made by a husband in the group, who so wisely comforted his wife as to why their court date didn't go through a second time... he said to remember that this would be the only time in their new daughter's life in which she would live in her native culture, surrounded by her native language, customs, nannies who love her, etc... this is not to say that their daughter would be better off staying in Ethiopia without a mother or father!! NOT AT ALL!!! But it is to say-- let God do His work in His perfect timing-- knowing that He IS at work, and EVERY day in EVERY way, He is molding and forming us and our children into unique and beautiful individuals created for His Glory; He will use ALL things to bring this about... and we can trust Him :)

Grace and Peace,

Thursday, May 8, 2008

No DTE for Team D this week :(

Well, it happened... I messed up. Can you believe it??? I'm still having a hard time accepting it myself-- ha, ha!! Terra (our "sub" family coordinator while Duni is away) emailed a confirmation on Tuesday morning saying that she got the Dossier. Good... Then she said that if there were any problems, she would call in the afternoon to let me know what needed changed. Okay... Well, we came home from our Tuesday afternoon errands, and sure enough, America World had called. My heart just sank. I called her back and she told me that two of my documents were missing state certification. I can't believe that I missed that. I think I just got confused with what was JAG notarized vs. public notarized (the difference being that the JAG notary does not need the extra step of the state cerfication, where as the public notary does). PLUS, Ethiopia changed their rules on notaries while we were half way through our process, so those two documents just got lost in the shuffle...

Yes, I had my little pity party and barely got off the phone with Terra without getting all choked in my words. And then, while I was crying and moving onto the next thing we had to get to (because lately, I just don't have time to stop everything and have a sob fest-- I have to multi-task even in my emotional outbursts), I prayed, "Lord, this isn't a big deal, right? Help me to let this go and not let it ruin my thoughts..." And, then as soon as I prayed it, He answered... "Have faith, I am more than able to bring back the time lost. Trust me and know that I am in the midst of this adoption... it is My adoption, in which your family is participating... With Me."
It was a quiet thought, that brought about a huge heart shift. Later, on the way to our "next thing", Tony sweetly reminded me, "Honey, maybe this week is the difference between one girl or two, becoming available." I love my man!!!!

I think that so far in life, this is probably one of the most faith-stretching/building experiences I have gone through, yet (I'm sure that may change once Tony leaves for Iraq this December :)). Or, maybe it's just ALL faith-building and stretching-- IF you have the eyes to see it. Every day, multiple times and in multiple ways, I have a choice to make-- live in Faith in God who cares deeply for me and this family and who is "more than able" to move and work to cause "all things to work for the good of those who love Him"... or try to put my confidence in my own abilities, the abilities of "the system" (ha, ha!!), or my money that is supposed to buy me "security", etc... none of which are fool-proof. For anyone reading our blog who does not have a personal relationship with Christ, I'm sure this whole adoption thing as "faith building" and all my "Jesus talk" sounds silly, or incomprehensible. I wish I could express the PEACE that our family feels deep down in our lives--- but I can't... It surpasses all earthly understanding...

So, now I'm waiting for those two documents to come back to me, then back to JAG to have them notarized so we can skip the State Cert process (this is what Terra said to do) and back to America World. THEN... it will go to ET NEXT Friday, AND THEN we will be officially "DTE" (Dossier to Ethiopia)

Grace and Peace,

PS... by the way, for anyone wondering about Isaac's wrist (Nana!)... he is doing great. He took off the brace last Thursday and has been gaining strength in it every day. In fact, I would venture to say that it is completely healed (baseball in the back yard, is my clue :D)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Quick turn around!

Well, that was fast! Yesterday (Friday), when I finally came home from our whirlwind day of school, homeschool co-op, and HUGE church event, there was our amended I-171H laying out on the counter, just as lovely as could be :)! What a great thing to come home to. Tony had made it home before I did, and he was the one who actually opened it. So, now I have reminded him three times (at least) that I WILL be at the hospital on Monday as SOON as he has his cases done, so we can go to the JAG office and get our sweet form notarized. Then it is off to Kinkos/FedEx for the last few copies and an overnighter to AWAA. I already called our family coordinator (well, the coordinator standing in for Duni while she is in Africa this month) to confirm a few things. I am REALLY praying that it works out this way. Tony's schedule is SOOOO unpredictable, and he tends to have a 20 things going at once while he is at work (and home). And after being gone last week???? Well...it could be hairy. But, the good thing is, he is as motivated as me to get this Dossier OUT OF OUR HOUSE!!!!! So, a motivated Tony bodes well for me :)... especially when we are UNITED in our motivation :)!

In other Team Dragovich news... this week has been like a NASCAR race at a short track! I can't even remember doing school-- I think 2 days??? Between illness, errands, and activities, we have just been goin', goin', goin'!! And to top it off, Tony had this wonderful idea to plant a vegetable garden in the back 40 (just kidding, we only have 1/2 an acre :)) and he made it HUGE!! It took me 2 days to get it entirely planted and if the deer and other animals don't get to it first, then I will be feeding the entire neighborhood, besides ourselves this late summer and fall :)!! I'll take pictures once we get up the frame for the vining plants. We designed it in the square foot garden pattern. I also planted a whole slew of herbs between my rose bushes up against the deck. AND two blueberry bushes as well. We'll see. It is my alternative to doing a CSA (community supported agriculture), which I have LOVED doing in the past, but with the cost of gas, I just can't justify the hit we'll take. This spring just about put me under with soccer and paying out every week to keep the tank filled!!! I'm sure you can all relate... So, we planted a rather large garden and hopefully it fills the void-- at least somewhat. I have a feeling I'll learn more than I'll harvest this year, but as my dear hubby says, "You just can't put a price tag on learning!" Hmmm... I'll let that one be :)

Until next time...

Grace and Peace,