Saturday, February 16, 2008

The last of my 300 things

I hope I have not bored you to tears by now with my big list!!

Here is the last of it:


201. When we stepped in the front doors we could already feel a difference.
202. The praise time was AWESOME and still is!!
203. During the service Nathan and I were just in awe. The message was awesome and hit us so hard
204. It was real and it was the truth and it was wonderful
205. We both left crying and for the first time knew what it felt like to be in the Holy Spirit!
206. We have gone to Lighthouse ever since and I am forever grateful for the friends I have met there
207. The summer of 2005 I became the Kingdom Cove director
208. Our Sunday school consists of 5 different rotations each 5 weeks
209. The children learn the same lesson in 5 different ways and the kids love it
210. We have different rotations each month
211. Cooking, computer, movie, art, science, storytelling, drama, etc…
212. Its has been a blessing to work with the children and getting me out of my comfort zone (A big thanks to Tammy for coming along side me and helping me out!!)
213. October, 26th 2005 it was our 15th anniversary.
214. We had enough airline miles that we could get two free tickets in the US
215. It was a hard time deciding but we ended up going to Bar Harbor, Maine
216. We had such an awesome time!! We had one problem that we were so sad about.
217. We missed the last whaling boat of the year by 25 minutes.
218. The same weekend was tough for me.
219. I found out my grandpa passed away while I was in Maine.
220. He had gotten sick the night before we left and ended up in the hospital while we were gone
221. It was so hard. We arrived home at 2:00pm on a Monday afternoon and the first viewing was at 6:00pm
222. August 2005 we had our last post placement done for Russia. Russia requires check ups on the kids for 3 years.
223. At the same time our wonderful social worker asked us if we were done adopting. I said yes but would if God called us too.
224. Nate opened his mouth and said well we had always thought about adding a little girl from China to our family.
225. Our SW’s eyes got real big and said really! I have a little girl I thought would be perfect for your family.
226. Oh boy! We told her to send us her info on Tuesday (we were camping as it was Labor day)
227. Tuesday morning we got her picture and info. After a month of really discerning adopting this
Little girl we knew for a fact God wanted her in our home. It was so clear.
228. We ended up receiving 3 grants. One from Steven Curtis Chapman.
229. God totally blessed that whole adoption.
230. During this adoption Nate got a call that would really change our lives.
231. Friends became missionaries in Haiti. They needed a plumber to finish the plumbing in their house.
232. I was a little upset at first because supposedly we would be going to China at anytime.
233. After much prayer Nate really felt called to go and so we agreed and he left a week later.
234. The day he agreed to go to Haiti we found out that someone had donated $5000 to our Bethany account. God provided big time!
235. Nathan had an awesome week and so many miracles occur.
236. He came home not knowing what was up but God was moving and he wondered if he should lead trips down.
237. June of 2006. We traveled to China to adopt Hannah.
238. Her birthday was June 10 and we were able to at least be in her country on her birthday
239. Her adoption day was such a breeze. It was June 13th and it took 5 minutes. All we had to do was swear to love her.
240. June 14th 2000 was Hannah’s finding day (this was the day the orphanage found her in front of a factory)
241. June 14 2006 we were able to visit the exact spot she was found. 6 years to do the day
242. It still gives me chills thinking about the timing of it
243. We spent two weeks in China and had so much fun.
244. Heather was able to travel with us due to her grades and she LOVED every minute of it
255. It was a blessing to us also because Hannah really liked her and would follow everything she did
256. In November Nate lead his first team to Haiti. It was amazing! He came home just filled with what God was doing and he felt right in the middle of God’s will
257. At first he wanted to move us all down there. However he did not feel at the time that is what God wanted him to do.
258. February 2007. I was able to travel with Nate on my first mission trip to Haiti.
259. I was a little hesitant when I first arrived in the country but ended up loving it so much
260. When I am in Haiti I feel like I am right where God wants me to be.
261. I do not feel the same hesitancy there that I do here when talking to new people.
262. August of 2007. I was able to travel back to Haiti again for a wonderful VBS trip
263. There were 17 of us in all.
264. We did 2 different sets of VBS
265. The first day we did Jesus birth and the 2nd was on Easter
266. The kids loved it.
267. I helped in the movie rotation showing the Jesus film in Kreyol
268. It was amazing watching the kids get the actual message and get excited that Jesus is alive.
269. We also did a carnival and ended up with over 600 people there.
270. It was chaos but over all it went well.
271. We should have run out of food but we NEVER did!! Fishes and loaves anyone?!!
272. That trip really changed my thoughts and how everyone should at least once do some kind of mission trip. Whether in the states or out of the country. God blessings are amazing.
273. In October 2007 we celebrated our 17th anniversary!
274. I wonder if our parents truly find that amazing! LOL
275. Only by the Grace of God are we still together after a rough beginning.
276. January/February 2008 Nate led another team of 13 to Haiti. It was his 5th trip
277. They had flights cancelled on the way down to Haiti and one the way back
278. On the way home there were no hotel rooms left and so they had to stay in the airport.
279. They had brought tents to Haiti as at one point had planned to stay overnight in the mountains
280. That didn’t happen but God knew they would need those tents anyways.
281. They set up a huge tent in the Miami airport
282. It sounds like it was a huge hit!! LOL
283. The day Nate came home we traveled to Dundee Michigan to a water park
284. Instead of doing Christmas presents this year we told them we do something different and fun
285. Believe it or not they were very on board with this idea
286. So we spent 2 nights and 3 days at Splash Universe. We had a great time.
287. We even went and had lunch at Cabelas next door and they were able to watch them feed the fish
288. We came home to another snowstorm.
289. I do not know about you but I am sick to death of snow.
290. One thing I find that is a huge blessing is that every Tuesday I get together with 3 friends and whatever kids we have home that day. We can be real with each other and know we will not offend.
You guys are such a HUGE blessing to me!!! Thank you for your friendship!
291. Lets see what else can I say
292. I have been an Avon rep now for almost 5 years
293. I started just for a little income and now I am actually doing very well.
294. In 5 months I will be heading back to Haiti for my 3rd trip.
295. The friends we have made down there and from here just from these trips is so amazing!
296. I almost forgot in November of 2007 we made a trip to Minnesota
297. Our good friends the Livesays were on a furlough from Haiti and were going to have a graduation ceremony for their daughter Britt.
298. Diane and Tory Westrick traveled with us and we had soooo much fun!!!
299. I want to thank all of you that God has brought into my life!! You are all a huge blessing to me!!
300. Congratulations for reading all of this!! It had started out as 300 things about me but turned more into a story. At least it’s done!!! Hope you enjoyed it!!

Friday, February 15, 2008

What Color Rose Are You?

I saw this on Diane's blog and Tammy's blog! Thought I should try it! finally something that says I am gentle and sweet! LOL

You Are a Light Pink Rose
You represent sweetness and grace.

Your vibe: Kind and gentle

Falling in love with you: is like falling in love with a best friend
What Color Rose Are You?

Part 2!!

101. I wanted to adopt from Russia
102. Nathan wanted to adopt from Columbia
103. The 6-week stay scared me.
104. We went to a Bethany international meeting
105. We ended up choosing Russia! Yeah I win!
106. We started all the paperwork and sent in our money
107. We ended up waiting over a year for our referral
108. Our first referral was an 18-month-old little boy
109. We had wanted a child that was as young as possible
110. We also knew that if God wanted us to adopt this little boy we would.
111. We never had a name for him
112. 3 days later we received word that our facilitator in Russia had a 7-month-old baby boy for us
113. Did we want to adopt him instead?
114 after much prayer we felt God calling us to adopt this little 7 month old.
115. We were very sad about the other boy and prayed that he ended up in a home
116. The little 7 month old was named Vasily Nikolaevich Nadeleav
117. We did not get a picture and video of him for 4 more months.
118. Finally a family traveled in November 1997 and we received our first videos and picture
119. He was beautiful
120. A few weeks after we got a call from Bethany that this little boy was being labeled retarded
121. We knew that could not be true after we saw the video.
122. Even if he was God had called us to adopt him.
123. We showed Bethany our video and they agreed with us. The little boy looked very bright.
124. We found out he would have been put in a home to die if we had not adopted him.
125. Dec 1997 we found out we could possibly get a court hearing soon.
126. If we did not get one soon there was a chance for an adoption stoppage
127. If that happened we may not be able to travel until February or maybe not at all.
128. Just a few days later I was reading the newspaper and saw a plane crash in Irkutsk, Russia
129. This was where Nikolas was born.
130. It said that a plane had hit an apartment building and burned down and orphanage.
131. We were so scared. We did not know if this was where Nikolas was or not
132. This was on a Sunday
133. On Monday we found out we had a court hearing and had to get to leave by Thursday
134. Yes you read right. 3 days notice to travel!! Wow!!
135. Our court hearing was December 16th 1997. It was also Nate’s sister’s birthday
136. We had problems with our Russian visas and Originally we were denied.
137. Some important info had been left off that we didn’t know we needed
138. I got a phone call from the Russian Consulate and at first the man was not very nice.
139. After I cried and begged he told me to overnight everything and we could pick it up in New York
140 Big problem. We were not flying through New York
141. He then said he would overnight back to us
142. Our visa’s arrive 1 hour before we left for the airport. God is good!
142. We spent 3 weeks in Russia.
143. We had a great time and made many friends
144 We arrived home Dec 31, 1997
145. End of April 1998 we found out I was 3 months pregnant (Thanks Diane for seeing the mistake!!! LOL For those that have not seen yet i said 12 months pregnant! LOL)
146. Biggest surprise of my life.
147. Heather was born November 1998
148. Not long after Heather was born we met our good friends Mark and Cheri Battjes.
149. I didn’t realize then how important Cheri would be in my life!! I thank God for her every day
150. They ended up adopting a little girl from Irkutsk not long after us
151. We have now been friends for about 10 years!!
152. In November of 1999 we ended up buying a house in Hudsonville.
153. We loved it because it came with a hot tub!
154. At the end of June 2000 we found out that were going to have another baby
155. Yes it was another surprise!
156. At the same time I started having some health issues.
157. I ended up in the emergency room via ambulance one night because of severe heart racing
158. Later we found out these were being caused by panic attacks
159. I ended up having panic attacks for two years and went on some medication.
160. I was on Paxil and I would NOT recommend this to anyone and will never take it again.
161. Caleb was born in February 2001.
162. He was loved very much by the hospital staff
163. They were supposed to bring him to my room at night but…
164. They thought he was so cute they kept him in the nurse’s station all night
165. He was already being spoiled
166. The night we brought him home he screamed for 11 hours straight.
167. We found out 11 hours later that the nipple on his bottle was not working right.
168. This was our third child. You would think we would have it all figured out.
169. Late spring of 2002 our good friends, the Battjes, went to Russia to adopt a little girl
170. This was their daughter, Arianna, biological sister.
171. When they returned they had such good reports.
172. I remember being downstairs with Cheri and talking about maybe us adopting again
173. I remember calling up to Nate to ask him what he thought about adopting a Russian girl
174. He actually said I don’t care see what Alex says (our facilitator and friend in Russia)
175. We went ahead and called Bethany with in a few days and had started the paperwork
176. This was beginning of June.
177. Heather told us one day that she would love to have a sister that was her age. 3 1/2
178. We emailed this to Alex and he said he would see what he could do
179. With in a few days we had our referral of Ekaterina Anaolievna Manchuk
180. Mark and Cheri traveled again to Russia for their court hearing in July
181. We traveled for our first trip to meet Katie in August about 2 weeks after Mark and Cheri
182. We spend 9 days with Katie.
183. The day we left her in Russia to go home she ended up getting the chicken pox.
184. We knew before we left on our first trip we would be returning in 5 weeks.
185. We flew back to Russia on October 10 and spent the next 6 weeks in Russia.
186. If you recall #102 and #103 above A 6 week stay had scared me big time
187. God has the last laugh always!!
188. We LOVED every minute of our 6 weeks in Russia
189. We traveled every day to find somewhere new and learn about our children’s country
190. We now had 4 children and my head was spinning.
191. We figured we were now done.
192. In august 2004 we made another big change.
193. We were not happy with the church we were attending and the drive to get there was so long
194. It would take us almost 30 minutes each way
195. I had grown up in this church and had always attended there
196. We decided to look around to see where else we could attend closer
197. our good friends Mark and Cheri told us about their church
198. We decided to meet them there and see what it was all about.
199. This was in Allendale, Mi and only about a 7-minute drive
200. We were so nervous

to be continuted........

I kind of like how it always leaves at somewhat of a cliffhanger!! :)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

300th post!!!!

This is my 300th post!!

I just finished my 300 items. It ended up reading more as a life story though.
I plan on doing them over 3 days 100 at a time so it doesn't seem to overwhelming!


1. I was born on January 6th 1971
2. I was born at Butterworth hospital
3. I was born as Sandra Lynn McDowell
4. I spent the first 5 days in the hospital with my birthmother.
5. I was sent to a Foster home in Grand Rapids when I was 5 days old.
6. My parents picked went to pick me up when I was 7 weeks old
7. They were so sad because the day they were to bring me home there was an ice storm
8. They were told to come back the next day because the foster mom didn’t dare let me go in that
9. My adoption was final in February of 1972.
10. It was a very good day for me!! J
11. This is going to take me a long time to finish
12. I grew up in Byron center, Michigan
13. I only moved once when I was 6 months old.
14. We lived in a small house and my parents built a house next door up on a pretty hill.
15. I lived in that house for 18 ½ years.
16. When I was in Kindergarten I met my friend Beth on the bus. We sat in the back and ate
17. Twinkies together.
18. We have now been friends for 31 years.
19. Amazing that there is someone out there that knows me that well!!
20. I was a blonde until I turned 6. I know someone of you will go “I thought so!”LOL
21. I made my first trip to Florida when I was 5 years old.
22. We went to Disney and I was just in awe.
23. We ran into my grandparents at the park. I had no idea they were going to be there!
24. A little known tidbit about my grand parents.
25. They were offered land in Florida near Orland.
26. They didn’t buy it.
27. Years later this land became Disney world
28. I remember the winter blizzards so well.
29. We would have to take our snowmobile to get groceries
30. It seemed like so much fun back then.
31. Not so much fun to me now.
32. I went to Brown elementary in Byron Center. This was Kindergarten
33. I went to Ryder elementary 1st-4th grade
34. I went to Brown Elementary again for 5th grade.
35. Middle school was Byron center Middle school.
36. I went to Byron center High school
37. Graduated in 1989
38. I turned 16 years old in 1987.
39. I met Nathan in May of 1987. He was a senior at Unity Christian
40 we met at a friend’s graduation party
41. We were just friends at first
42. When we were just friends he sat at my house outside until 2:30 one morning.
43. His parents called the police because they thought he was dead in a ditch somewhere.
44. He was grounded the next day.
45. I don’t think his parents thought much of me! J
46. Later his parents liked me a lot! J
47. Nate had this old firebird that you could hear coming from a mile away. It was great.
48. My dad had a fit because his tired were bald
49. We didn’t care.
50. It was so loud that you couldn’t hear each other talk
50. No wonder we got a long so well.
51. We knew each other 3 months as friends before we officially were dating.
52. We used to do thing all the time that were spontaneous.
53. One time we were headed down to Shipshewana
54. We had a car broadside us
55. We both ended up having to go to the hospital in 3 rivers
56. Nathan had to have stitches in his head and X-rays.
57. Lets just say it hurt really bad.
58. I had to have X-rays to on my neck but they were all good.
59. My mom drove all the way down to pick us up.
60. We were both okay but Nate had a concussion because he didn’t wear his seat belt.
61. He now always wears his seat belt
62. His car was totaled.
63. One time Nate called me up when I was 16 and asked me what I was doing for the day.
64. We ended up in Chicago for a long fun day.
65. One time we ended up at Cedar Point.
66. Nathan used to work for John’s friendly used cars in Allendale
67. I used to go with him to pick up cars from Detroit
68. His boss used to give him the rest of the day off and we would spend the day in Detroit.
69 Nate became a plumber in 1988
70. We were engaged in June of 1989. Just a few days after I graduated.
71. I was 18 years old
72. Nathan was 20.
73. My mom was not happy because we fought all the time.
74. We dated 3 ½ years before we got married.
75. We were married on October 26th, 1990
76. At the time I worked at Pine Rest Christian health services.
77. I worked there for 10 years in housekeeping.
78. On our honeymoon we spent almost 10 days in Florida.
79. It was Nathan’s first time in Florida
80. We spent most of that time in Disney world
81. We spent another week at home.
82. When we arrive home our families had decided to trash our house.
83. They thought it was quite funny.
84. If I remember right I cried.
85. That first winter Nathan was laid off for 4 months.
86. I only worked on-call and every other weekend.
87. Our first house was in Grand Rapids. It was a two family.
88. Our renters saved us that first few months of being married.
89. It was the only way we could pay bills and buy food.
90. Every Monday Nate would get paid and we would get groceries and have dinner at Denny’s
91. After living in Grand Rapids we moved to Jenison
92. After moving to Jenison I ended up getting chicken pox from my brother. It was 1995
93. Thank Goodness they were not bad
94. In 1995 we also found out we could not have children.
95. We started looking in adoption.
96. We first called Bethany’s domestic program
97. They told us it could be up to 12 years before we were picked for a baby.
98. That depressed us
99. We then called Bethany’s International program.
100. I had read an article that Russia would be opening its door to families that wanted to adopt

to be continued tomorrow.........

Happy Valentine's day

First of all I would like to wish you all a very happy Valentine's day!!

second, I would like to wish Diane a happy Birthday!! If you get a chance click on her name and wish her a happy birthday!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I love awards!!

Jennifer was given some great awards, and she passed them on to all the blogs she reads! I have the awesome privilege of being one of them!
Rock the Crib Award!

Spreader of the Love Award!

Pay it forward blessing blog!

Thank you, Jennifer!! I am also giving this award to all of those in my who I read column!
Actually I am giving it to a few others that I read too and you know who you are I just have been too lazy to get you into my side bar! Sorry!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I saw this on my friend Cheri's blog! thanks goodness I came out G rated!

Also for those of you wondering I am working on my 300 things. Belive it or not I am at 210 already!! It is written in a way that I can easily fill in 300 blanks! :)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Another snow day

Hard to imagine that we have yet another snow day!! The kids have been doing well. They were not too happy that I made them clean the basement and their rooms bu after all they didn't to do much work the last 12 days or so. Things do need to get back to normal around here!

My dad, bless his heart came and plowed us out today. I usually do not make him drive all the way out here to do it but after this weekend I was pretty desperate. He did a great job and I feel like I have a really big driveway again!! Thanks dad! Your the best!!

I see on other blogs that people are having their 100 post come up. I keep forgetting to look at where I am at and when I finally did look I realized I am 295 posts. Wow! When did that happen. I have 4 to go after today. I do not think I could come up with 300 items for my post but I will see what I can do. Oh why did I wait! LOL

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Our weekend

We had such a fun family weekend!! The kids are exhausted and well so are we!! I cannot believe we are having another snow storm where everything is cancelled. Amazing! However this time I am super glad that my sweet husband is home safe and sound!!

I would tell that I am downloading all of his wonderful Haiti pictures!! However he took NONE!! Yes that is right ZERO!! So when others start to download their pictures I will be borrowing a bunch! I know this is his 5th trip and he didn't want to take the same pictures over and over. However I would have like a few!! :)
That is what happens when you are married to the Team leader!!

We did take a few pictures and a video of our time at Splash Universe so I will be adding those to this post.

To start out Nathan's flight finally arrived at 2:40 pm on Thursday. Immiedately after we drove over to Dundee, Michigan to our hotel. It was a holiday inn express that was right next to Cabela's. It was a beautiful hotel and the waterpark is hooked right too it. For those of you that have been to Great wolf lodge it is about 1/2 half the size of it. It was perfect. The kids had a blast. It had 2 big slides, 3 smaller sides in the fort, a kiddie pool, a nice lazy river and then it had a famil spa that was just off of the lazy river where the kids had fun swimming around. This spa wasn't not a hot one. There was a hot tub just for adults and that was wonderful for just a little haven away while the kids were having a blast on the slides. All of the kids could go on the slides without us having to go with them so they had a ton of fun and didn't have to wait for a parent.

This was our living area

Four of the kids slept here. They also had their own TV!! It was like having their own room!

We had our own seperate room.

Caleb hanging out!

Hannah in front of the Lazy river.

I have a video too that I will work on uploading.