Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This Guy....

Loves his wife.
Loves me.
Loves my husband as his own son.
Loves my child more than me.  (Don't worry, it isn't a secret)

He is my hero.  He always wanted what was best for me, and I always knew that.  (Even if I wouldn't admit it).  
He is my Daddy.  He taught me that sometimes life is more about the journey than the destination.  That you can talk to anyone, and find something in common. He taught me what to expect when I started dating, and to accept nothing less than what he taught - because I deserved that.  (A boy NEVER just pulled in the driveway for me, they had to come to the door.  Each and every time.)
We didn't always see eye to eye - we are both a mite headstrong - but in the end are always in each other's corners.  

He taught me how to parallel park in a '76 Grand Prix on Kenmore Boulevard when I was 16.  He always knew the best places to stop for treats, and was the only one to make me cry on my wedding day.  Just as we started down the aisle of course.  He's my Daddy, I'm his B-Girl.  
He taught me the most important lesson in my life - the best way to get to God is to turn and run to Him as hard and as fast as I can.  A lesson I am teaching my child now.

When we were not sure if we would ever have children, part of me was sad for him because I knew he would be a great Papa. And I was right.  It took about 30 seconds for Buddy to decide he loved him and go to him the first time they met.  And they are thick as thieves now.  (In all honesty, I think he is Buddy's favorite)

Happy Birthday Daddy 
Love, Your B-Girl

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In Season...

I was looking through an old journal this week and came across the following.  It was written way back when (you know, before our son was home with us and I had free time to sit and write) but somehow didn't make the blog at the time.  I felt the need to share it now.

Psalm 1:1-3
  Blessed is the one
      who does not walk in step with the wicked
Or stand in the way that sinners take
    Or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
  and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
  which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither -
whatever they do prospers.

In all the times I have read this Psalm, even memorized parts of it, there was one phrase that escaped me until now.  "That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields fruit in season".  Did you catch that? YIELDS FRUIT IN SEASON".  I had to stop and pause here, to think this through.
If I am delighting with the Lord, then my fruit, my prosperity, my everything will happen in season.  It makes me think of the fruit you buy at the grocery store that is out of season, but you want it anyway.  It may be ripe, it may be pretty to look at, but it is never as good, never as sweet as the fruit picked in season.  Everything has a season, even my life.  If I continually try to force things to happen, they just might - but they will not be as sweet as if I had let them happen in season.

At the time I wrote this my heart was on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, in Seoul, South Korea.  I knew that in the future he would be coming home, but I didn't know when.  I was so anxious, so ready for it to be just that next day that I might have missed all the things I learned in the months we waited.  It is hard living in this transition time, this just trusting the Lord time.  It is hard to sit back and wait for the season you feel you have been preparing for to come.  But sometimes the best fruit comes when it is picked at the right season.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years Ago...

"Where were you?" A simple question right? My generation rarely needs further explanation to this before they start recounting the events of September 11, 2001.  This day forever changed us as individuals and as Americans.

Where was I? Let me say that my story isn't dramatic, I was far from New York on this day. But it is still my story.

As if it was just yesterday, or maybe just last week - I can still remember every detail of the morning of September 11, 2001.  It was the start of "casual week" in my office, as all the key players of the company I worked for were flying to Florida from all over the country for a week of meetings.  My brain does this, records every little detail of a significant event, so that no matter what I will not forget. 

I was wearing a white, 3/4 length sleeve shirt with yellow strips, wide leg "sailor" style jeans and white keds.  My hair was pulled back into a pony tail, and life was pretty good.  I was dating a great guy, had a great job, and lived in the greatest country on the planet.  I remember sitting at my desk just outside my boss's office and hearing him answer the phone.  For some reason, I had looked at the clock just as it changed to 8:55.  I heard him say to his wife "Honey, calm down.  I am sure it was just an accident.  Who would attack the U. S.?" He spoke to her a few more minutes before coming out of his office to tell us that an airplane had just smacked into the side of the World Trade Center.  He, myself and several of our co-workers ran down the hall to the work out center and turned on the televisions there.  We watched in horror as the building burned and saw people jumping to their death to avoid the flames.  We were watching as the second plane slammed into the building during the live coverage. I remember in the days following hearing a statistic that it took a New York news crew the same number of minutes to arrive live on a scene as were the number of minutes between the two planes hitting.   I remember several times my boss told us "We should just get back to work, this has to be a  mistake.  It just has to." I remember thinking that he was wrong.  Even then, before we knew what was happening, I knew.

I remember wanting to go home, to just be with my Mom. I remember hearing the screams and cries coming from another department near mine: Someone had a brother who worked in Tower One. Here we had it, a connection to this, this...tragedy we watched unfold.  (Just a note, due to a freak set of circumstances the brother did not make it to work that day, and was safe)

I remember we didn't get a lot accomplished that day.

I remember coming home that night from work and my Mom had made small red, white and blue bows to hand from our rear view mirrors in our cars.  Mine stayed almost 9 years until it finlly fell down.
I remember wishing I could have done something more for those people, wishing I could have thanked the brave men and women who gave their lives for others, praying for those who survived.

In the days that followed, I remember seeing the firemen at the major intersections of our city with their boots collecting money to send to their brothers and sisters in New York.  I remember watching news recaps of stories of survivors. I remember that the churches were filled to capacity and beyond in the weeks that followed,  I remember thinking that nothing would ever be the same again.

As years passed I wished I could have spoken to some of the families of survivors.  To know more about these men and women who died in this attack.  I wish I could tell Lisa Beamer that the story of her husband's bravery and his phrase of "Let's Roll" would lead to my atheist boss asking about God and salvation almost 5 years after the attack.  A door that I would NEVER have thought would open.

That is where I was on September 11, 2001.  I will not forget.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

525,600 Minutes

"Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred moments so dear
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?"
 - Lyrics from "Seasons of Love", Rent
How do you measure this time?

One year ago we left our house as a couple, and returned 12 hours later as a family.  One year ago.

One year ago dear friends took their time to drive us to another state to pick up our son, because they love us (and love him).

It seems crazy to write that.  In so many ways he has just always been here. In reality it has been 12 months, 52 weeks, 8760 hours, 525,600 minutes.  Some of those minutes have seemed longer than others... but you'll have that.

That day was much like my wedding day.  I remember just snapshots of silly things from my wedding day.  Almost like I wasn't really there for it, just looking at the pictures.  The day we brought our son home was much the same.  I remember cleaning the bathroom for the umteenth time that week, and vacuuming again and again.  Checking that his beding was made up just so (knowing it would most likely be a while before he slept in it.)

I remember freaking out because the plane icon on the "track this flight" page had "turned around" (refreshing the page fixed the graphic - but until then I was sure that the plane had turned around just off the west coast of the U.S. and headed back to Seoul.)

I remember wanting to throw up, a lot.  And my sweet friend not missing a beat in telling me she would hold my hair back if I needed her too.

I remember the flight attendant coming through customs and seeing us there with all the baby paraphernalia and no baby - and ask if we were waiting for our son and crying tears of joy when we said yes.  She told us he was just beautiful.

I remember the frosted glass doors of customs opening and hearing a little guy crying and knowing it was my son - and being right.

I remember changing his diaper for the first time on the back seat of the car, in the dark, because I sure as hell wasn't going to do that for the first time in a nasty rest stop bathroom.

I remember hearing him laugh for the first time when we arrived home, with my Mom. Hearing that sweet sound and knowing we were all going to make it.  (That moment is pictured below.)

I remember looking at my friend just before they left us, my eyes huge in fear of being alone (with my husband of course, but still) with this child and her taking me by the shoulders and saying "You can do this.  You were made to do this.  And you have my cell number if you need it."  I knew I could call any time day or night.  'Cause she's great like that.

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes have passed since that day. Measured in moments of laughter and tears, moments of triumph and moments of not so great times.  Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes that I wouldn't trade for anything.  Minutes of hearing the sweet laughter come from my son, watching him learn to crawl, then walk.  Learn the world around him.  Watch his devotion to us, knowing we are his just as much as he is ours.

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes measured with love.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Glimpse of God's Grace

Many moon ago, when I was in high school, I was mentored by a wonderful woman.  She was "older than me", just out of college, and as far as I was concerned right about just about everything.  (as I type this I realize that I am now older than she was at this time.  Wow.  Where does the time go)

Anyway, she was, and remains, a wonderful strong Christian woman.  She taught me much during our times together about God, and what His grace means. About how I can ask God for anything, because He alone is bigger than anything.  About how I can always ALWAYS rely on Him.   In the years since I have continued to learn these lessons from her, even though we don't see each other on a regular basis.  She was and remains a positive influence in my life.

Back in the day we would usually meet once a week or so and would go for coffee, just a drive or shopping. She would ask me about my week, what I was learning through my devotions and basically help shape who I was learning to become.  During this time, the group Audio Adrenaline released the song "Big House".  I loved this song.  I dearly loved this song.  And my mentor had a cassette tape (yes, I am dating myself here) with this song on it. As cool as I already thought she was, this boosted her up a few notches.  I nearly drove her crazy with my requests to hear this song.  Again, in her loving way, she showed me Grace in allowing me to repeadedly play this song - then rewind the cassette, and listen again.  In fact, it became a joke of ours.  When she left for a 2 year mission trip she 'willed' the cassette to me and I beleive that I cried in my car the day the tape broke. 

Fast forward to the present.  As you may be aware, we adopted our son nearly a year ago.  Something that I prayed for since the begining of our journey was that somehow, some way, I would see just a glimpse of myself in him.  I cannot biologically call him mine, I cannot claim to have given him "my eyes" or "my nose" - but I just wanted something that I could say - "That's me.  All the way".  (Correct me if I am wrong, but I think a lot of adoptive parents seek this.) Something that I knew God could reveal to me, as a private message just to me, that He hears every single one of our prayers, even the silly little ones that in the grand scheme of life are insignificant-  and cares about them. 

Today I had that moment.  Buddy and I were driving home from an errand and I had the radio on.  One guess as to what song came on - yep "Big House" by Audio A.  And he loved it.  He sang in his own way the whole time, and clapped, and laughed the whole song.  This made me laugh, and made me think of my mentor.  Then the song ended.  My sweet Buddy started asking for "Mo" (read: More)
and using his sign language for please.  With all I am, I wished I had that song on a CD in the car for him.  He emphatically wanted to hear "Mo" of it. Over and over he would say "Mo" and sign. He was crushed that I could not comply.

This, my friends, was truly "from me".  So I stopped and thanked God for answering that silly little prayer of mine in such a fantastic way all the while marveling in how He chooses to reveal is grace to us.

Friday, August 5, 2011

One Little Cupcake

When Buddy came home, almost a year ago, our group from church provided meals for us for several weeks.  It is just one way our group is just wonderful.  I think that God has given me amnesia about much of this time, because it was very, very rough for the first few weeks.  What I do remember was feeling loved by the outpouring of support we received, and how our friends cared for us with the meals. I will admit, I cannot remember most of what was brought, this was not because it was not appreciated.  It was, more than I think most people will understand, it is just that we were extremely sleep deprived, and just barely making it through each day.

I want to tell you about one glorious, delicious item that was delivered.  Cupcakes.  Not just any old cupcakes either - homemade, beautifully decorated red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  These, my friends, just happen to be my very favorite food in all of the land.

Why were these so special?  Because in the midst of total chaos in our lives, a dear, sweet friend remembered a conversation that had taken place several months (if not years) prior when I had mentioned that this little confection was my very favorite in all the world.  This dear friends tucked that little bit of information about me away, to be used later on. 

Because these little treats were made just for me.  To make me feel special, to feel loved and not forgotten in all the craziness that was our lives those weeks. 

You see, this friend is a mother of four and knows just what it is like to bring your first child home.  How scary it is, and how lost you can feel.  Just thinking of those cupcakes brings tear to my eyes.  Not just because of how enchantingly delicious they were, but because they remind me that I am loved. 

I wish I had thought to take a picture of these treats, but alas I did not.  When I think of them I am reminded that the littlest act of kindness on my part can totally change someone forever. That taking the time to learn little details like this can make some one's day - year even. 

It quite simply reminds me that as insignificant as I feel sometimes I am a part of a greater whole, the Body of Christ.  That by serving my brother or sister in Christ I am also serving Him, giving Him the Glory and praise.

All by baking cupcakes.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How We Came To Be A Family of Three...

One of the most frequent questions we are asked is how we came to adopt, it is a fairly long answer but here is the short version.
God told us to.

Let me back up a little.  When I was little I always knew I wanted to be a Mom.  As I hit my teen years I had a plan - I would meet the love of my life while in High School, work while he went to college, get married when he graduated and start having babies.  By my plan I would become a Mother at about age 21 or 22.  Well, that didn't happen.

I didn't meet the love of my life until I was out of college (that's another long story) and we didn't get married until I was 26.  We decided to wait a few years before trying to start a family.  Again, it was my plan and I could adjust it as I wanted to.  Then, that didn't happen.
Will we ever adopt again - it isn't out of the question.  We will wait for another "Sign From God" to be sure...

When I was 29, after just a few months of trying I was diagnosed as infertile.  With one simple test done in his office he informed me that we had about a 5% change of naturally conceiving a child.  He referred us to a specialist, who, after 8 months of treatments told us that other than IVF, he didn't know what else to do. He didn't know why we had not yet conceived.  (Just a note, we had decided long before this that IVF was not an option for us.  He knew our feelings on this, and respected that.  Nothing against IVF, we just knew that was not the path or choice for us.) This was in the spring of 2007.

We waited and prayed for over a year for God to show us what HE wanted us to do. We had always planned on adding to our family through adoption at some point, but we didn't know when.  So for us, adoption was always on the table. 

 I must confess here, I don't want us to come across as the perfect Christian couple.  There were a lot of heated discussions between the two of us and me and God.  To be frank - I was angry at God for a while.  I didn't understand why He would give us this strong desire to have children then not fulfill that desire.  I even prayed that if it was His will to take that desire from me.  That didn't happen. As time went on the desire grew stronger and stronger.  I started to specifically pray that God would give Steve a sign that now is the time.

On August 10, 2008 we had what we called "A Sign From God", and knew it was time.  In September 2008 we completed the preliminary forms to adopt from South Korea, and in April 2009 we completed the full application.  In September 2009 we completed our home study and were matched with Buddy on May 16, 2010.  Buddy then came home to us on September 4, 2010.  And I can't remember what it was like without him in our life!

If you have questions about adoption, please feel free to send me a message at

Monday, July 11, 2011

This Lady...

This lady -
Loves me
Loves her husband
Loves my husband like her own son

Loves my child.  (adores might be a better word)

She is always there for us, cooks amazing Sunday (or Saturday) dinners -
Always willing to help, always willing to listen. 
Would drop everything in a moments notice if we need her
Has my little guy wrapped around his finger. 

Is fiercely protective of her family, and has taught me to be the same.

This Lady - is my Mom. And today we celebrate her.

Happy Birthday Mom! I am so blessed that you are my  Mom!

Friday, June 24, 2011

What I like the most...

A dear friend asked me recently what I liked the most about being a Mom.  It took me a while to answer. Here is what I finally decided was the best.

I love knowing my child

You see, one of the things I was most jealous of in watching all my friends and their kids was  that no matter how hard I tried with the kiddos, no matter what I did - I didn't really know those kids.  I didn't know what their different cries meant, or what snacks would always help the grumpys go away. I am great with kids, but I didn't know them best.

 Yes, I really had a huge, ugly green jealous streak in me of moments like that.  Disgusting, isn't it?  I can admit it now, I hated this part of me - but it was there.

Now I know Buddy best.  I know when he is crying because something is wrong, or just because he is mad.  I know what snacks he loves, and what he could take or leave.  I know which books we cannot go a day without reading, and what cartoons will keep him occupied for the 20 minutes I need.  I know his favorite foods, and the ones he wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole. I know what makes him laugh, and what makes him cry.  The best part of this? He looks to me first to know these things.  Because I'm his Mama.  And he's my Son.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Today marks a Significant Day in our son's life.  Today, Buddy turns 18 months old.   He also has lived more of his little life with us than without.  He has known us as his parents for longer than anyone else. He has woken up more times in our home than anywhere else.  He has eaten more meals with us than anyone else.

He knows me as his mother and Steve as his father.  He calls us by those names.  He looks to us for comfort when he is hurting, he makes us laugh with his antics.  He knows us.

 And we know him.  We know what will make him laugh, and what will make him cry.  We know his favorites and his not so favorites.  We know when he is sleepy, and when it is time to play.  We know when to push him to try new things, and when to hang back and let him go at his own pace.

We love him, and he loves us. He is ours. A Gift from God.

(Picture from his first ice cream cone- I think he liked it!  Or at least liked Grampy's Chocolate ice cream)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Grilled Stuffed Chicken

Just a note about my cooking.  I tend to loosely follow recipes.  I tend to not measure a lot, and go more by taste and what we like.  If you have any questions about any recipes I post, please e-mail me at foodinthebarrenland@gmail.com and just ask!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast portions

1/2 cup chopped each:
Fresh Tarragon
Fresh Dill
Fresh Basil
Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley

3 (or 4, depends on how much you like) oz. Mild Goat Cheese (I used the Garlic and Herb flavor)
1 Lemon
Non-stick cooking spray (Like PAM)

Heat grill to medium-high heat.

Finely chop all of the herbs and mix in a small bowl.  Zest the lemon into the mix.  Remove half of the mix and reserve.  Use a fork to mix the goat cheese into the remaining herb mix.
Clean and trim the chicken breasts. In the fattest part of the piece of chicken, cut a slit and use your fingers to enlarge to a pocket.  Place even amounts of the cheese mixture into each of the pieces of chicken and use the the toothpicks to tightly seal the pockets.  Spray each side of the chicken with the non-stick cooking spray.  Sprinkle the reserved her mix over the chicken, and squeeze some of the lemon juice over the chicken.

Grill until chicken is cooked through.

I served this with Garlic and Herb Cous Cous, and Grilled Asparagus (recipe to follow)

Grilled Asparagus

1 Bunch Asparagus, cleaned
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Whatever spices you enjoy

Place cleaned asparagus in a zip lock bag, pour in about a 1/4 cup of EVOO, and add the spices to your liking.
Toss to evenly coat the asparagus.

Grill in a grilling basket until desired tenderness is done.

I like to use lemon pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic, any fresh herbs.

(NOTE: The Chicken recipe is adapted from the Weight Watcher's Sizzling Cook Book  I think that I about doubled the amount of the herbs called for, as we like stronger flavors. I also chose the garlic and herb variety of goat cheese, as the recipe called for plain)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Always At The Right Time...

Remembering back over the last year I can't help but think that it has flown by.  It seems like just yesterday we were packing up to stay at my parents home while we made some home improvements in our own house.  That's right, we got our referral call on May 16, 2010 then voluntarily chose to tear apart a large chunk of our main living space and remodel.  Ourselves. Yes, we are crazy.

I was looking back over my journal from that time as well, and remembering the sermon series at our Church last summer - called "Summer In The Psalms".  I think God planned that series for me. 

In one of my journal entries I  wrote about Psalm 1, verses 1-3 (NIV)

" Blessed be the one who does not walk in the steps of the wicked,
Or sit in the seat of mockers
But whose delight is in the Law of the Lord, 
and who mediates on His law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, 
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither-
whatever they do prospers!"

At the point I was reading/writing this we had just accepted our referral and were waiting for that precious travel call to come.  I knew in my heart that our adoption was ordained by God, that He alone had spread the path before us.  But it was still hard to wait - oh so hard to wait.  In reading this passage one part stuck out to me and has stuck with me since.  The best fruit comes when the time is right.  Not before it is ready, not after.  When the time is right - the tree yields the fruit. If you try to pick the fruit too early it is hard and bitter, too late and it is soft and spoiled, unusable. You have to wait for just the right time.

 The call would come when it was time - not a moment before or a moment after.  I have learned a lot about waiting on God, and it isn't always easy. There were times during our infertility and adoption that  I was so angry at God, but that is another post.  What I have learned is that God's timing and plan is the best, the most beautiful - but getting there isn't always the easiest.  Although, you do get the best fruit.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Vanishing Cucumber Squares

Over the weekend we attended a party, and I brought these cool, refreshing summer snacks! They were a hit!
Here is the recipe - I don't remember where I originally found the recipe, but I am sure that this is not the original recipe!

Vanishing Cucumber Squares

(Single Batch- I usually double this)

1 Seedless Cucumber (Sometimes called English Cucumbers)
1 brick of Cream Cheese (either regular or light - do not use fat free)
1/2 small container of Plain Greek Yogurt
Packet of Italian Salad Dressing Mix (Like Good Seasons Zesty Italian)
Package of Pumpernickel cocktail bread
Toasted Sesame Seeds

1.)  Thinly slice the cucumber - I use a handheld ceramic mandolin style slicer pictured below.  (NOTE: ALWAYS use the safety guard with this!)

If you do not have one of these you can use a sharp knife to slice the cucumber as thin as you can.

2.) In a small bowl combine the cream cheese, yogurt, and Italian Dressing Mix with a handheld mixer
(This can be done as far as 24 hours ahead)

3.)  Spread the mix on to the Pumpernickel cocktail bread, top with the sliced cucumber. After plating top with the toasted sesame seeds for garnish

You can also us french bread if you do not like pumpernickel

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday

As I finished the dishes Monday evening I looked out to see this in the back yard.  At that moment, my heart swelled and I could not think of a thing I would change about this moment.  I love these two!

Friday, May 20, 2011

What's In a Name...

I have been asked how I came up with the name for my blog.  Since you asked so nicely, I will tell you.

I have often read and love the story in Exodus when the Israelites fled Egypt and wandered in the dessert.  They chose to follow God, and left everything behind.  They were, if you will, in the barren land.  They were hungry, and could not find anything to eat.  The Lord responds with "I will rain down bread from heaven for you, the people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day..." (Exodus 16:4 a).  God provided what they needed for each day.  Each day they had to go out and find it, it may not have been what they wanted - but they were fed.

In some of the darkest times of my life I have been reminded of this.  God will provide for you each and every day.  Your physical and emotional needs will be met.  It may not be the way you would like to have them met, but they will be met.  I have known the Lord as my Savior for almost 22 years and I still need to learn this lesson.  Jesus tells us that when we choose to follow Him that we will not always have an easy life.  As a picture in my mind I see that I am on my own trek across the barren land and along they way the Lord provides me with what I need to make it.  Oasis of rest when I just can't take another step - places where my soul and mind are restored.  Finding what I need, and seeing that God has provided.

To be honest, part of this also is a play on words.  I found the most rest, the most provision during the time I was (and am) physically barren.  During the times that God gave my soul just what I needed.  I found food in the barren land.

So welcome to my little place on the web.  I have had this blog for some time, and felt it was time to go back there.  You will see some older posts, and I will be migrating a few posts from my other blog here. I plan to share a little of my life with all of you.  I hope you enjoy and join the journey of finding your own food along the way!