Monday, October 26, 2009

Eli's 3rd, first bday, and Billy's last night as a 39 year old!

Yesterday was Eli's 3rd birthday. It was also Billy's last night as a 39 year old as today is his 40th birthday. Two very important milestones that we celebrated in an understated, quiet way.
It seems common to wonder about your adoptive child's birthparents...especially around their birthday. Are the birth parents thinking about them, still greiving their loss, or perhaps regreting their decision? Are the parents still praying for him -- praying that he'll find his way to the life they desire for him.
I have given thought recently to the parts of Eli's story we know nothing of. All the parts that occurred before he entered the orphanage at the age of 9 months old. I believe my thoughts are inspired by the Holy Spirit as one day I will tell this story to Eli. I'm still formulating the whole thing...and I won't tell him it's how it actually happened...I'll simply tell him it's how I imagined that it happened.

I do not imagine the people who gave birth to this wonderful child as terrible, heartless humans. The people of China have the same needs and reasons to put babies up for adoption as we do in America...however with far less support. Their government and culture simply do not make allowance for it. Therefore, creating a strategic plan to leave a child in a place where they are sure to be found becomes their "adoption plan".

I believe Eli's mother is a woman of faith and prayer. I imagine her to be a member of the underground church. I do not believe she just flippantly decided to leave her baby. I believe she was like Moses mother in Exodus chapter 2, "A man from the family of Levi married a Levite woman. The woman became pregnant and had a son. She saw there was something special about him and hid him. She hid him for three months. When she couldn't hide him any longer she got a little basket-boat made of papyrus, waterproofed it with tar and pitch, and placed the child in it. Then she set it afloat in the reeds at the edge of the Nile."

I believe that she loved and cared for Eli for 9 months. I think she understood that their was a calling and a destiny on his life. I think she struggled and greived with why God was not seemingly providing the necessary resources for her to care for him. And at last, with trust and faith in her heart, she made her plan to place her baby in a basket. And leave him in God's hands (literally) to be found.

Satan comes to most of us in childhood with attempts to destroy our lives. Eli's early years seemingly taught him not to trust -- and that the world is not safe. On the contary, Eli is as safe as all the rest of us. God's hand has been on his life since the beginning for a plan and a purpose. We trust that God has placed him on a path since birth to equip him with all that he needs to live out God's will for his life....just like he did for Moses whose Godly mother released him to be raised by another family. We hope to prove to Eli that adult's are trustworthy. We will fail on occasion, but we are absolutely sure that God will prove himself faithful to Eli.

I think Eli just may one day find himself as a missionary to China. It's not to far fetched if you've ever meet my other children. We all like the idea of going into all the world to share the gospel. We hope to do right by the woman who gave him birth and to honor her through out his life. We are so happy to be able to wish Eli a Happy, Happy 3rd Birthday. God didn't have to pick us to be his family. But we are glad he did.





































































Saturday, October 10, 2009

You win some, you lose some....

Today, I spent my second weekend convincing myself that Saturday night was really Friday night (for the sake of my sanity). I know...it's a little weird. We actually had a pleasant Friday night (the real Friday night). Our 3 oldest kids had sleepovers AT SOMEONE ELSE'S HOME. This doesn't happen often. That left us with only Victoria (whose bday is on Tuesday) and Eli so I decided to take her and a friend to a fun play place called IT'Z. Billy arrived home from work at 7pm -- just in time to walk out the door with us. While the girls played, we spent 2 hours trolling around, talking and enjoying Eli seeing things he's never seen before.

This morning though, Billy was out the door again bright and early -- or should I say out the door in the freezing temperatures. Rallying myself, I blared the new Desparation album and cleaned until my house was sparkly (I actually like cleaning if it does indeed result in a clean house). Then, me and Victoria braved the cold to stock the house with groceries. I normally don't buy groceries this early in the weekend -- but what the heck! If I'm gonna change it up...might as well go for broke! So, by 4pm the house was clean, pantry full, beef stew in the crock-pot and homemade hot cocoa on the stove! Beautiful.

Billy came in with the hankering to play a game of Yahtzee. I love playing Yahtzee. However, playing games with my kids is another story. It's loud...it's crazy (and I don't mean in a fun way)...people telling each other to shut-up, stop cheating, etc. Basically, we yell at each other to say, "Stop yelling!". Hosanna got a Yahtzee. However, the game really wasn't enjoyable. I refuse to lose heart though. You win some, you lose some. In the case of this game, I lost. Literally, I had the lowest score. But I'm determined that we learn to play family games in a civilized fashioned. So...next go around...I'll put a little money on the table. Seriously, maybe $20 to the most quiet kid or best all around??? Maybe I'll give'em all $5 to play with me -- then take $.50 away everytime they get loud (in which I'd probably make money by the end of the evening).

Sometimes the strategy for raising a big family....raising a good family...is simply being persistent with trial and error. I heard today that "IMPOSSIBLE" was just fear's excuse not to try. Right now, I seem to have an uncanny ability to make "light and momentary trials" bigger than they really are...so...when it comes to Yahtzee...I will CERTAINLY give it another try!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Debt-Free Living, College Savings, Investments and more!

Hello,

Shanna and I trust that you and your family are doing well!!! Changes are many in the Ramsdell Home.

* Adoption this summer. Eli, www.usandeli.blogspot.com
* Launch of New Business, www.edwardjones.com

We are deeply grateful to have such a wonderful group of friends and clients. As I sat and talked with a couple of parents last night I realized that it would be good to let Shanna's clients/friends know what we were doing.

First, I want to thank some of you for doing business with Shanna. I'm sure you agree with me in saying she is one of the best Music Teachers in town, of course, I am a little bias. While she has gone to daytime lessons only, we remain blessed by the great students and families she works with.

Second, on behalf of our family and the new business, I wanted to ask for a favor. I would like to ask for the permission to introduce you to the new Edward Jones Investment practice beginning this month, and ask for permission to call on you later for personal conversation about financial planning and goals, possible referrals, and feedback.

Third, and lastly, I would deeply appreciate you checking us out at, www.edwardjones.com and sending me a reply email to confirm you took a second to consider my request and confirm that you don't mind me reaching out to you later in the Fall.

Personal Comment: We will eventually have an Open House or Grand Opening and would love invite you and your family. I'm sure you know by now, Shanna and I have the heart of a pastor, love to teach and love to see families built up, successful and thriving. I believe this will be a powerful expression of these same elements. One of the reasons I agreed to work with Edward Jones is the fact that they are a Full Service Firm who has the best partners, tools, research and practices in the Industry, useful for helping any family meet their financial goals, along with the personal touch of a local Personal Financial Planner, meaning, I can trust them and so can my clients. We have NO proprietary products to sell. We have thousands of local offices, but you get "one" State & Federal Certified Advisor to help your family build and leave a financial legacy as well as accomplish short term goals. Full Service means, retirement, college saving, checking, saving, CD's, insurance, stocks, bonds, annuities and more, delivered through the personalized, high touch and convenient service of your own Advisor. My focus on individual families & small business, along with non-profits, will allow me to pay special attention to each client.

I will love to call or drop by to pay you a personal visitl, but until then, let me say a very special and sincere THANK YOU, for being a great part of Shanna's Music business over the years and great friends. THANK YOU for considering being a "foundational friend" to the new Edward Jones family I am beginning.

Have a great and wonderful Fall. Feel free to call or email anytime. Blessings on your home.

Billy Ramsdell
Cell 290-2449

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A different kind of Sunday






This has been a different weekend for our family. Billy has been working on Saturdays for a little while -- and probably will be for quite sometime. I've been feeling a little sorry for myself as my "weekends" have not been going as I planned. I like to be finished with work and have a sparkly clean house by Friday night. I'm far from a "neat freak" but I relax and enjoy my time better when the WHOLE house is clean (you can imagine my children's delight)...and this doesn't happen often.

By Friday evening, I like to relax and enjoy dinner together. In my mind, Saturday is a day we should be doing something different and fun. Usually, Sunday comes and we enjoy church -- but afterwards the house is a wreck and I'm kinda at a loss for what to do next. I feel like I should be getting ready for the week ahead, but frankly, I don't want the weekend to end so I definately don't want to be spending 1/2 a day getting ready for the week ahead. I usually end up going grocery shopping (one of my least favorite activities). Sundays aren't my favorite day of the week to say the least. Friday NIGHT is my favorite day of the week.

However, with Billy working on Saturdays...it kinda throws a wrench in things. I'd be lying to state I don't have pity parties...I do. Sometimes, I have intense, dramatic ones. But, always the good sport -- I eventually decided I needed to be done grieving this "life change" and accept my new reality. So...Saturday, while Billy worked, I cleaned the house. I ran errands. All the while, I was PRETENDING it was Friday. Are you scared yet? Anyhow, my good imagination worked well for me. By Saturday night, I was ready to sit down to steaks on the grill and a good movie. Then, today after church (house still clean) we decided to head up to the mountains for a day of fun. If we had any luck, we might see some fall leaves (lots have already fallen off).

We made it to Woodland Park, Colorado in about 20 minutes...what can I say...Billy drives fast. We stopped at the Doughnut Mill for a treat. This is a great mom-n-pop doughtnut shop...with HUGE doughnuts. It's the kind of place my Florida friends would imagine a doughnut shop in the mountains to be. Then we jumped into the car and headed to Decker, Colorado where we found the most beautiful place on the river to spend a couple of hours. It was a cold day, but the fly fishers were out in huge numbers. The kids enjoyed playing near the water and climbing the steep cliffs all around.

I climbed too. Going up was very slippery -- which made coming down even more of a challenge. Benjamin felt sorry for me and suggested with "slide down". This worked great and was lots of fun. However, it was a little like a rock slide as I was coming down below and he from behind me. He said, "Mom, I'm the one who's gonna take care of you when your old." :)

We ended the day with dinner at the Mason Jar. Another local, mom-n-pop place. They served what I'd call Southern Food -- "Chicken Fried Steak" with white gravy. One could think a long time on what exactly "Chicken Fried Steak" is.....

Anyhow, possibly, this is how all Colorado families should spend their Sundays!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cataracts, Glaucoma and other things....

Today, I took Eli back for his second eye Dr. visit. He has quite the glasses prescription. Infact, he looks just like chicken little! I've told my four bio kids that that's why I had them first -- so they can beat up all the playground bullies that may pick on him later in life! As a baby, Eli had cataracts in both eyes. They may have been congenital or they may have come as the result of some sort of infection he may have had. In China, to save his vision, they removed the LENS from both of his eyes...which explains the coke bottle glasses. The lens is the part of the eye we use to focus...so without it...one can only imagine what he sees. He also developed Glaucoma. Glaucoma is simply high eye pressure. The pressure in Eli's eyes should be "20" or less. The pressure in his right eye today was "40". As with high blood pressure, the Dr. will try and bring the pressure down with medications. Specifically, we will begin with eye drops. If that doesn't bring the pressure down significantly by December, the Dr. will take the most common, sure approach and operate. Since Hosanna will be having her surgery to remove the hard wear in her foot in December -- maybe they can share a hospital room! Sigh. Anyhow, once having the surgery some kids need nothing else, but many still need meds to keep the pressure low. Glaucoma in children can be likened to diabetes...it doesn't go away, but is something that CAN be kept under control and managed so that Eli sees the bright, exciting future God has instore for him -- with BOTH eyes!
video