Friday, December 28, 2007

A Moment in Time

Diva with Don & Cousin Ellen @ Shadow Bay Park

Shadow Bay Park, about a mile from our home, is a preserve/sports complex which maintains the genuine character of the wild Florida landscape. Live oaks and pines, various birds, snakes, tortoises and assorted other critters inhabit the 2 square mile park (as well as tennis & basketball courts and a baseball field) - 2 types of trails, paved and primitive wind through, my choice being the primitive as I can walk Diva off-leash and not freak anyone out.

Miss Dog and myself take to the trails daily and while treking through a particularly pristine area of the park, we came upon a group of about 30 or so butterflies which stopped us in our tracks. It was one of those 'moments in time' when you tune out all of the peripheral sights and noises and stand in wonder at the sight before you. I take my camera on these hour long excursions, just in case I come upon a scene such as this. One of these days, we'll share these times with Joanna Mei. A short video follows this post below ......

So I Googled 'Florida Butterflies' and found out this much about the species Zebra Heliconian that I observed:

Males patrol for females, and are also attracted to female chrysalids (cocoons). A male will wait on the cocoon and mate with the female as she is about to emerge. He then deposits on her abdomen a chemical that repels other males. Eggs are laid in groups of 5-15 on leaf buds or leaves of the host plant; caterpillars feed at night on leaves. Adults roost communally in groups of 25-30 individuals. (By the time I got the camera out, many had begun roosting.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas, Blogsters

.......and a Happy New Year.......
to all our friends in Blogdom.

Monday, December 24, 2007

What Color Christmas Tree Should You Have? & 21 Months Since LID

We are at 21 months since our LID - today - Christmas Eve. We took the Christmas Tree Quiz that has been floating around Blogdom and I guess we're not surprized that it came out blue as it's the way we are feeling right about now. Joanna Mei would have celebrated her 2nd Christmas with us had everything lined up according to the wait time in place when we were logged in.

And then we come across this tidbit from a Canadian newspaper ........

One thing is for sure - God is soverign in this whole process. God is not surprized by the wait and the rumors. That keeps us going. He is orchestrating everything - and introduces us to new friends and supporters as we continue in The Waiting Room. We love you, Joanna Mei.

Oh yeah .... and here's the Christmas Tree survey results ......

For you, the holidays represent a time of calm, understanding, and peace.

You avoid family fights, and you don't get too stressed out - even when things are crazy!

You like to make Christmas about making everyone's life a little bit better.

You don't get caught up in greed or commercialism. You're too sincere for that.

Your blue tree would look great with: Lots of silver tinsel

You should spend Christmas Eve watching: It's a Wonderful Life

What you should bake for Santa: Chocolate chip cookies

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Longer Grandma Waited to Update Her Eyeglass Prescription, the More Entertaining the Annual Christmas Stories Became

A good friend gave us this Christmas card.....
We almost required CPR, we laughed so hard.
It's actually a "Hallmark".

Friday, December 21, 2007

Singin' With Shamu

Our choir was invited to participate in "Shamu's Christmas - Miracles" and we both crooned along with the soundtrack for 2 nights this past week. Usually called "Shamu Rocks", the nighttime show was retooled to accommodate the accompaniment of Christmas music and carols while whales & trainers did their delicate maneuvers through waters mirrored in white and blue lights. It was a hoot - getting together and doing something quite different in the spirit of the Christmas season. Some pics and a video of a section of the show follow......
Some of the Choir Babes lining up @ the run-thru

We were fortunate to be able to spend a few moments in the 6,500 seat Shamu Stadium without the crowds, allowing for an "up close and personal" encounter with the Big Guy & Baby Shamu.
It is unusual to have such an opportunity. A minute later, they swam off in search of someone to feed them a few herring.

Our wonderful choir hams it up in the staging area prior to the performance.
Love these guys.

This short video segment gives you an idea of how the trainers choreographed the movements of the whales to the rise and fall of the music in "Carol of the Bells".
The show was outstanding and of course, the video can't do justice to the enormity of the whales and their surroundings.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Stress Relief

Stressed out with the

Christmas Holidays?

Monday, December 17, 2007

House Calls ..... in China?

Doctors are increasingly tagging along on international adoption trips, and they sometimes face a difficult task: how to present a baby's mysterious or negative health information without scaring off prospective parents.

Click on the link for the rest of the article from The Boston Globe.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Dancing Santas @ Radio City Music Hall

A video clip of the Rockettes @ Radio City Music Hall's "Christmas Spectacular" in New York City. We were fortunate to see this show on our whirlwind weekend to NJ/NY&PA back in November. Performances have been sold out.

Combining live choreography with the filmed backdrop......the lighting designer for our church's Christmas program, "All Bow Down", was the brain behind the "Dancing Santas" scene. We are very proud to work with him on musical projects ....... and to know that his efforts at our church are for God's honor and glory.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Steppin' Out With My Baby

Well, the choir donned tuxedos & formal wear and took the congregation on a musical journey to the birth of Christ last night. "All Bow Down" - which includes new spins on old songs as well as new songs with old themes - was the vehicle for our offering and the audience rose to the occasion and expressed their heartfelt appreciation.
The program opened with Trans Siberian Orchestra's "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/Carol of the Bells" complete with swirling lights and smoke effects - I smacked myself in the face to remind myself that I was in a Baptist church. One of the choir members remarked that she could not believe that she was part of a program that included such incredible instrumentalists. Our new friend, Rick, sang an incredible James Brown-esque Gospel tune "Sing the Wonders of His Love" and he was so good he almost scared me. A beautiful troupe of dancers, from The N.Y.C. Dance Company, accompanied a kind of 'Renaissance/Rock' interpretation of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" ( dancers in a Baptist church? What made them do that? Could it be SATAN? Hhhmmm? - Do that last line ala Dana Carvey as "Church Lady".)
Other highlights included dramatic signing and video enhancement for many of the musical numbers and an instrumental postlude. Our faith in God, already at the forefront during the Christmas season was validated by our confidence in our musical director who never left us without the right vocal cue when we needed it. His vision for our church's arts outreach was confirmed by the level of excellence exhibited by all participating in "All Bow Down."

We were honored at the presence of our friends Ray & Dannye (LayDfrog Herself) who traveled across town to share the evening with us.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Celebrities & Adoption - Quiz

Celebrity Adoption Trivia
How savvy are you at knowing which Celebrities are adopted and which have adopted?
On the list below-check the answer you think might be true for each celebrity.

Celebrity..........................Adopted..... Adoptive Parents
1. Bill Clinton
2. Calista Flockhart
3. Sarah Mclachlan
4. Oscar De La Renta
5. Rev. Jesse Jackson
6. Marilyn Monroe
7. Faith Hill
8. Ozzy Osborne
9. Nat King Cole
10. Jamie Lee Curtis
11. Nancy Reagan
12. Eleanor Rosevelt
13. Magic Johnson
14. Marie Osmond
15. Moses
16. Barbra Walters
17. John Lennon
18. Walt Disney
19. Dave Thomas
20.Michelle Pfeiffer

Answers appear in 'comments'

Monday, December 10, 2007

.... and here are some pics of the performance .... courtesy of LayDFrog .....

Friday, December 07, 2007

An Inconvenient Christmas Show*

Hey! Forgot to tell you! We saw Glenn Beck last week at Hard Rock Live. It was his first stop on his Christmas tour and although I don't agree with some of his political views, he's just plain funny and took us on a nostalgic trip into his memories of Christmases, growing up to the present. We had a hoot - and the finale of the show focused on Christ's coming as a baby and his sacrifice on the cross for our redemption.

Here is a blurb from his bio .....
Based in New York City, Glenn is casting a tall shadow as the next phenomenon of talk radio. The former Top 40 DJ entered the talk format in 2001 and already his show is broadcast nearly 200 stations nationwide. Millions of listeners are drawn to this modern-day story teller who is armed with a quick wit, an informed opinion, and a unique ability to inspire others to experience their full potential with an open heart. His on-air presence is both commanding and inviting – a trait he has been refining for the last 27 years. The Glenn Beck Program, which airs weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon ET, is now ranked as the 3rd most listened to talk show in America among Adults 25-54.

*Glenn Beck likes to poke fun at Al Gore's piece, "An Inconvenient Truth".

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A Reading from the Book of Anonymous

Well, the Adoptionistas are out there. Several weeks ago, I received the following comment on "Pregnancy By Adoption". At first (being someone who appreciates sarcasm) I thought the author was being sarcastic. After discussing it with my wife, we came to the conclusion that the author of this diminutive magnum opus was seriously misguided - in the area of adoption needs as well as use of scripture. Hopefully, he/she is not the pastor of a church. After a week or two in the drafts file, I came to feel sorry for the person who came upon my blog and left the following .......

Perhaps you forget the 10 Commandments?

"Thou Shalt Not Covet anything that belongs to thy neighbor"(that includes WANTING other people's children as your own)

It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called son of the pharaoh's daughter.

Now, I'm no Bible scholar but there are a few things from catechism class and Bible history that have stuck. So, I'm going to try addressing the 2 items .....

As far as 'covetousness' goes - the term refers to a strong desire of worldly things. It assumes sometimes the more aggravated form of avarice, which is the mark of cold-hearted worldliness. Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary (I will run with Easton's since I could not find a source by the author 'Anonymous' - oops, was that sarcasm???) Well, by definition, a child is not a 'worldly thing.' And we're talking 'adoption' here, not lust. No further commentary needed.

Am I guilty of cold-hearted worldliness? I think not. Neither are the 10s of thousands of prospective adoptive parents out there.

Now for the 'Moses' item - Before Moses was born, the Israelites were living in slavery in Egypt. The Pharaoh was afraid of the numbers and might of the growing Israelites during this time, so he had them put under extreme bondage and slavery from rebelling against him. It got so bad at one time, that the Pharaoh had put out an order to have all of the male children killed that were being born by the Israelites.
It was during this time that Moses was born. His mother was a "Hebrew," which is another name for Israelite. When Moses was first born, his mother hid him for 3 months so he would not be found and killed by the Pharaoh.
After 3 months, his mother then placed him in an ark made out of sticks and then placed him down by the reeds along the river banks hoping someone else would find him and raise him up safely. It just so happened that the daughter of the Pharaoh was the one to find him down by the river as she was getting ready to wash herself in the river. He lived in the house of pharoah until ........

'he grew up' and escaped being a slave with the rest of the Israelites being held in captivity in Egypt. He then lives in the desert for 40 years until God calls him out to deliver His people from their slavery and bondage to the Egyptians.

OK 'Anonymous' - your point? I think I get your drift - are you saying that I'm adopting for the purpose of holding my child in slavery? (oops - sarcasm again - my apologies). Seriously though, when Joanna Mei 'grows up' she can leave and go save the nation if she wants to. I would prefer to see Proverbs 22:6 displayed in her life ..... Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Jesus, in John 8:35, instructs Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. My translation is obviously not gender inclusive.

So, there it is Anonymous. I am truly sorry for you. I'm not being sarcastic here. You seem to point the finger without knowledge of the hearts and minds of those of us awaiting our precious children. Whatever it is that you cling to, talk to someone about it. You appear mad and/or hurt. Do yourself a favor and seek the help of someone who will pray with you.

My blog will no longer allow anonymous comments as a reader may get to comments such as these before I do ...... and when Joanna Mei is revealed to us, this blog will close - access will be available only to those whom we invite or to responsible comment authors.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Electric Bill Headaches

Several times during the Christmas season, we head out to MGM Studios at Walt Disney World for the Osborne Family Christmas Light Show. Seems the neighbors of the Osbornes (obviously not talkin' about Ozzie, Sharon & Family) were not too happy with the Christmas light display on the family's property, so it was moved to Disney property where they added to the original and turned it into quite the event.

The music is from Trans Siberian Orchestra which we saw back at the beginning of November.
The lights dance about every 10 minutes and people dance in the streets and stand awestruck by the spectacle.

Below is an excerpt .......

...... and another ..........

......... and another ........ but you have to hit the link ....... the file was so big, I had to post it on ..........

Saturday, December 01, 2007

This Ain't No Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

We have taken up the Christmas Tree Challenge on
Catherine's Chatter. If you have been surfing the adoption blogs, you are
very familiar with this upbeat Canadian lady. Catherine sees the finer points in the
small things and always has something good to say ..... even if she doesn't feel like it.
Although we had our tree up before she issued the challenge, we put it up for the
main reasons she encouraged others in the waiting room to get in the spirit of Christmas and
put up the tree. So ....... here it is, folks ..................
Diva poses next to the finished Christmas tree.
We actually purchased it the evening before Thanksgiving.
We put it up when we got home and put on the lights and garland.
Then, our Thanksgiving guests were given the task of decorating it after the meal
and before dessert while we did the dishes. It gave our friends a part in our Christmas
and gave us a jump start on cleaning up while they enjoyed themselves.

When we first moved into our home in 1984,
we removed many many grape vines from the trees on our lot.
My mom, who passed away in 2000, came for a visit shortly after we moved in and saw the pile of discarded vines in our yard.
She always had an eye for the artistic so she took upon herself to
buy some artificial flowers and ribbons and fashioned the small wreaths which
cover our tree (about 30 of them). Some are becoming a bit gnarly after all the years, but we don't care .....
they are good Christmas memories.

Last year, we purchased the oddest looking fold-away tree
(for 70 per cent off @ an After Christmas sale)
for the small patch of woods in our side yard.
Diva wears her Christmas collar for the shot.
I call her 'fluffy dog' when she sports it.
The Narnia Tree - as it was intended .
We call it The Narnia Tree because when we look out our dining room window at night,
it reminds us (in a very small way) of the mythical land in
C.S. Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia"
..... and here is our humble chateau complete with understated lighting ....
and the Narnia Tree in the mini forest.