I'm trying to blog regularly (for the two of you who visit here), and while I have a million little things rattling around in my head, I haven't had anything really jump out at me to blog about. I have been doing some blog writing research, and apparently I am supposed to define my niche. There are lots of things I am interested in and passionate about, but even after three years, I still have no idea what my "blog niche" is. Probably the most accurate guess is the you-must-be-looking-for-the-famous-author-Ann-Kimmel niche.
As I look through my archives, I can see that I am all over the place here. From hosting to adoption to health to parenting to my faith walk, I can't really nail down which one of these is supposed to be my blogging niche. They are all important parts of my life, and I don't know how to choose just one of these precious topics and ignore the rest on here. All the experts on successful blogging say I need to. After wrestling with this for a few days, I have come to the conclusion that my niche is being a totally random blogger. And in that spirit, I present yet another random blog post.
1. Another adoption update. I chatted via email with one of the great folks on our adoption team this morning, and I asked the all important question - is there any guess as to when we will travel for our first trip to Latvia. After reviewing what steps were completed and what was left to go, we got word that it is likely that we will travel either at the end of November or the beginning of December! I can't tell you how happy that made me! Traveling before Christmas has been so important to me, not just because we desperately want her back here, but because she has her heart set on being here by Christmas and the last thing I want is for Mark and I to be other adults who let her down. I am so happy to think that we could be flying to Latvia in three months time, but it is also a *gulp* moment. Ready or not, here we come! This email has lit a fire under me to tackle Christmas shopping early. I want to have it done before we leave.
2. A new name. I haven't posted or talked much about this, but one of the things that we worked on with Inessa while she was here this summer was choosing a "new name" for her. We absolutely adore the name Inessa, but for various, well thought out reasons, Mark, Inessa, and I worked on finding a new, more "American" name for our sweet daughter. It can be a challenge to choose a name for a newborn, but no matter what name a baby is given, he or she has the opportunity to grow into that name. When you have a beautiful, pre-teen girl who is full of personality, has 12 years of personal history, and can express her opinion (quite clearly!) about names she likes and doesn't like, it becomes an event. We whittled a list we all three liked down to about five or six names, and Inessa had the final vote. Mark and I were thrilled with her choice - Elsie Kate. Elsie is a form of the name Elizabeth, which is my grandmother, mother, and sister's middle name. The name Elizabeth means "God is my oath". Elsie is also the name of my great aunt, who was a very special person in my life growing up. Her granddaughter was my second cousin, Kate. Kate came and spent the summers with Aunt Elsie, and I am willing to guess I spent close to half of my summers sleeping over at Aunt Elsie's. Kate was my first best friend, and many of my fondest memories growing up involve her and our adventures at Aunt Elsie's house. Aunt Elsie was also a spunky, funny, interesting, clever lady and all those adjectives describe Inessa well. So our daughter will officially be "Elsie Kate". Latvia doesn't allow two middle names (Jude and Cal both have two middle names), so when we re-adopt Inessa in the USA, we will add "Inessa" as a second middle name so that if she chooses to go back to her Latvian name, we can do that. No matter what you call her, we just can't wait to officially call her daughter!
3. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. A month or two ago, I picked up a copy of the New Testament on CD for the boys to listen to at night. They usually have some praise and worship music playing softly at bedtime, but I thought it would be nice to have the Scriptures playing some nights too. One day after listening to the Bible on CD the night before, Cal was having a very rough go of it. He was grouchy, impatient, unkind, and weepy. I finally looked him in the eye and said, "Honey, what is going on? You are not acting like yourself today!" He burst into tears and began holler, "It's my eye! It's my eye! My eye is bad so now my whole body is too! I gotta pull it out!!! Jesus said so!!" Apparently the boys had been listening to Matthew 5 & 6 the night before, and Cal was convinced his eye was leading the rest of him astray. Talk about taking Scripture out of context, little man! We cleared up the theology issues, and he has since gone on to have better days. With both eyes fully intact.
4. What are YOU doing for Christmas? The New Horizons teams are heading to Russia, Ukraine, and Latvia soon to begin interviewing children for Christmas 2010 hosting. Believe me, I know that hosting may not be for everybody, but the question I pose is...is it for YOU? I have been pretty honest on here about the joys and challenges of hosting, but I just want to say again - anyone who has a heart for children can show God's love to a child who desperately needs to experience that in practical ways. There is no "perfect" hosting family - you can have young children, school aged children, older teens, grown children, or no children. You don't have to be rich, perfect, or interested in adoption. Please, please take some time and pray about it. Forward any of my blogs entries about hosting to friends and families you know who might have room for another child for Christmas. If you are concerned about the cost of hosting, talk to your church. Many churches can help fund a child's visit. We've done two summer hostings, and they were both great, but there is something amazingly special about sharing Christmas and all its traditions with a child. Check it out: www.newhorizonsforchildren.org.
5. One classy lady outshines a dozen fame chasing females. Today I read some excepts online from an interview Elin Nordgren (formerly Woods) gave to People magazine as her divorce to Tiger Woods was finalized. She strikes me as a total class act. I hate that any woman has to deal with the hurt, pain, and humiliation that she had to endure, but her honesty, focus, and commitment to her children is a great lesson in focusing on what you desire for your future and not on what you deserved in your past. In a situation where the tawdry and lurid has brought fame (or infamy), I give credit to this woman who chooses the high road.
6. Bon-bon time. Most of you know that this year I sent my wingman off to kindergarten. For the first time in 8 years, I have five days with no children here for a little over five hours. I can't believe this is the life stage we are in - how did that happen? Jude strides into third grade like a young man, and now this? Whew. I never wanted to be "that" mom (you know the one...she cried every time she dropped the kids off for a first anything), but these two boys have so captivated my heart, and while I rejoice in their accomplishments and celebrate their new life stages, my heart feels a achy tug each time I watch them walk out the front door side by side talking about the upcoming school day. Of course, the other question I get is, "How is it to have time with no children at home?" Well, to be honest I am not sure. I had a week of appointments last week, and this week I have been fighting a stomach bug, an allergic reaction, and today a low grade fever. It's hard to get a good read on how my "bon bon time" will look and feel once I find a routine. I have noticed a few things already though - the laundry isn't overflowing nearly as badly, the house stays much neater, and I actually like putting on my apron and turning the TV off while I clean. I have yet to sit down and eat box after box of bon bons though.
Well, this should be plenty of randomness for anyone! Hang in there with me, and it you have any thoughts on what you want to hear more about on the blog, please leave me a comment and let me know. I'm not going to lie - I like to get comments. :)