Wednesday, July 28, 2010

2 months waiting

Vacations are nice, but they are even better when you can spend it alone with your family. My life with school teaching and coaching can take a lot of time away from my family. Golf team practice followed by grading papers and then planning for the next days’ classes. Some evenings are filled with traveling to away matches and that makes for a real long evening. Weekends are often congested with grading papers/tests and planning for the upcoming week and I always attend our Church youth group meetings on Sunday night. Carrie is so often busy in the evenings with Bible studies, church council meetings of all kinds, meeting with youth and attending some of the youth’s school events. During the summer we have several mission trips that one or both of us attend that are usually a week long.

I am not complaining I am just saying that we are busy and our family time is usually what gets sacrificed. So, four years ago we decided to take a two week vacation at the end of July to be alone with just our kids. We have decided to continue doing this each year. The first year we went to North Dakota to visit my Dad and the bad lands, second to the lake in KY, third year we went on a cross country tour of the US in a civic (crazy, but fun) and stopped off in ND again to see my Dad, and this year we are back at the lake in KY. We are now coming down to the last couple days of our time alone together. So sad! I can’t help but wonder what next year will bring with our new family addition, (hummm) wonderful I’m sure.

While on vacation I have continued to stay connected to the progress of our adoption through our agency list-serve (e-mails) and through other family’s adoption blogs. We learned of a picnic being held by our agency in the great city of Nashville, TN on Saturday July 31st. Our vacation ends this Saturday, so we thought we would drive just a little further south to meet some of the incredible families from that area that have already adopted or are in the process of adopting. This is going to be great, and I can’t wait to share pictures with everyone.

I can’t believe we have been on the wait list for 2 months today. This adoption process has been so wonderful and yet so challenging to stay patient as we wait for our new little person. Ethiopia closes their courts during the rainy season, which is Aug-Sept. This means that things are going to slow down even more in the waiting process for a short while. I pray and wonder everyday when will get our referral for the child God has planned for us, when will we travel to Ethiopia, how will our lives be changed.

Tony

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mission and Numbers

Sorry, we have not posted anything in couple of weeks, but summers are our busy time with our church and youth group. As you read earlier we took a group of youth down to Memphis for some mission work and then the week after that there was another group that traveled to Washington DC to do mission work. We then celebrated the fact that we met our financial goal to build a school in Dudakata, Ethiopia. We organized a family/youth group outing to Spirit Song, which was held at Kings Island in Cincinnati.

This past week was the BIG “Transformation Zone” mission trip. I believe it is the coolest trip that we offer to the youth. We have been going on mission trips for years and about four years ago some of our youth started talking to Carrie (wife) and telling her we should do this kind of work at home. She agreed and with a small group of planning partners from other churches came up with the stay-home mission trip called “Transformation Zone”.

This year is the third year of running the mission out of our Church and you are not going to believe how many people were involved in it and how much work was completed for Christ. The trip ran from Monday to Friday and Wednesday was a half day work day, the other half was for fun at a water park.

•175 participants / campers (slept on the classroom floors throughout the church)
•50 Adult kitchen help ( made breakfast and dinners as well as clean up after every meal)
•7 different denominational churches participated

Work sites:
1. St. Sophia Orthodox Cathedral-
a. Prepared and served meals to community members
b. Mulched and landscaped
c. Built and delivered 20 beds (frames, mattress, sheets blankets)
d. Made 20 fleece tie blankets for beds

2. MAP
a. Assembled over 45 tables and headboards, which are given to people in the community

3. COSI
a. Worked the farm days exhibit

4. Faith Mission
a. Purchased and prepared food
b. Served meals to about 2000 homeless EACH day

5. Mid-Ohio food bank
a. Sorted a large quantity of food… tons of plums

6. United Methodist Children’s Home
a. Painted 2 cottages for the residents (6500 sq ft each)
b. Built four 8 foot long picnic tables
c. Stained several older picnic tables
d. Weeded (6 foot tall weeds) and mulched around 6 large buildings

7. YWCA
a. Sorted donated items
b. Weeded flower beds
c. Served meals

8. (4) different nursing homes
a. Interacted with residents
b. Interviewed and made story boards, facials, nails, did hair & played bingo
c. Painted, weeded and cleaned

9. Green meadows mobile home park
a. Kids Club
b. Prepared and served meals to children

10. Leads Head Start
a. Painted classrooms

11. Pregnancy Care Center
a. Cleaned, primed and painted 2 storage bays
b. Painted the office space

12. Sewing project
a. Made 84 pillow case dresses for children in Haiti

Every morning started with devotion time and there was a prepared lunch devotion for everyday as well. There was Chapel every evening with worship and guest speakers discussing different parts of the scripture theme for the week. Countless lives were Transformed and the teens were challenged to be changed to be the change (1 Tim 4:12). There were numerous first time commitments and rededications to Christ.

OH, in the midst of all of this fun we got our new numbers for July.
52 – Girls
31 – Boys

We are now relaxing on vacation for a couple of weeks before golf season starts.
Tony

Monday, July 5, 2010

$50,000

We did it! This past week our youth group and Church met their goal and raised the $50,000 they needed to build a school in a village in southern Ethiopia. We had hoped that they might be able to reach it by the end of 2010 and here we are in the middle of the year. I am so excited and proud of all the efforts and creativity that went into this school building process. Our next goal will be to raise about $9,000 a year to pay the teachers salaries in the school. Each teacher only makes about $150 a month. I love the way God led us to Ethiopia and to adoption through education.
Tony

Friday, July 2, 2010

USCIS/ Happy 4th

Today was our government scheduled appointments for our immigration finger prints. I would like to say that everything went just fine, but instead there were a few minor bumps in the process. Our appointments were at 11:00 and 12:00 and we figured we would need about 45 min of travel time. Well the kids were focused on everything else except getting ready to leave in the morning. Then in the middle of the hustle and bustle my sweet little daughter spills her bowl of cereal and milk all over the carpet. I sent my son up stairs for the second time to change out of his pj’s, and my wonderful wife began to clean up the cereal mess. I felt my shirt looked like a wrinkled mess so I ran down to the basement to through it into the dryer for a few turns. As I was in the basement I reached up over my head in the motion of removing my shirt and sliced the back of my ring figure on something in the rafters. I through the shirt in the dryer and then looked at my hand. Well blood was streaming off of the end of my finger, so I ran up stairs and put my hand under cold water for a few minutes and then bandaged up my finger. The slice was not huge but it just didn’t want to stop bleeding.

Finally everyone was ready to leave. We took the kids to the sitters and we were off and running about 10 min behind schedule. As we were driving my wife took out the USCIS paperwork and read it aloud to me “You cannot have any open wounds or bandages on your hands or you may be forced to reschedule your finger prints”. I thought to myself well isn’t this just wonderful my vanity may cause our process to be prolonged and how would I find another date that would work. As we were getting closer to town and my speed was raising just a little higher my wife asks “Are we going to be late?”. I told her I hope not but since her appointment was first I would drop her off at the door. For some reason I was thinking East Broad and the place was on West Broad. So, I dropped her off right at 11:00 and left to find a parking spot, well… It is the day of the big fireworks celebration and every lot was either full or closed. Finally I did find a spot in a back alley way (later my wife asked “how did you find this place?”). I called my wife to find out what floor the office was on… I thought she said 3rd. As I get to the elevator in the building I decided to remove my bandage and my finger starts bleeding again just as the doors open for the elevator. I got on and ask the other gentlemen to push floor 3 please. The doors open and I exited. I looked around and saw a snack food shop, so I walked in and grabbed some napkins for my finger. I looked around further on the floor and didn’t see anything about immigration. Then I thought for a moment… the ride in the elevator was short and I bet I’m on the wrong floor and sure enough I was (2nd). So I pushed the button and took the elevator up to floor 3. As I exited the elevator and armed guard jumped up out of her seat with a metal detector in her hand and asked where I was headed I said “my wife should have just came through here with my paperwork for finger prints”. The lady said “No, you are on the wrong floor. You need floor 6, but you need to go down to the lobby and they will give you a special code for the elevator to take you to floor 6.” I turn around and push the elevator down button and rode it back down to the lobby. I asked the gentlemen at the front desk in the lobby for a special code to go to floor 6. They gave me a strange look and said that I didn’t need a code I just need to push the button that says “6” on it. “Thanks!” Back to the elevator I go. By this time I have gotten the bleeding under control and used a piece of the adhesive strip from the band-aid to tape the wound shut. I finally arrived at the correct floor and entered the office and my wife gives me the look of, where have you been. I just smiled and said don’t ask. I filled out the paperwork and they looked at my hand and said....


“Everything looks fine, come on back for your prints”. The people in the office were super nice and asked questions about what country we were adopting from and were just so supportive. As we were walking out of the office my wife asked where were you, to which I replied “I thought you said the 3rd floor” and she said “Nope, I said 6th floor”. I don’t always hear that good so I’m sure she was right and I was wrong. The parking only cost us two dollars (Sweeeeet!).

We then drove straight home to get the kids from the sitters. We took them to watch Toys Story 3, to Build a Bear, to Champs for dinner and then to Graeters for ice cream. We have more fun planned for tomorrow. Happy 4th everyone!
Tony