Sunday, December 30, 2007

A wonderful trip to NC

Perry and I have just returned from a wonderful trip to North Carolina. We were visiting college friends. It was sooo much fun. We went down Friday and we ate, talked and played games all weekend. We did go for a walk at one point so we can say that did get some exercise. Ellen and David were excellent hosts and we ate well. The temperature was amazing - it was no coat weather. For the Texans it was finally cooler ( they had left 80+). We are having some camera adventures to go with our computer adventures so I am back to 35mm film so pics will be slower coming. So when the pics are developed I'll post them.


We got an Aaron update....He is 16 pounds and 8 ounces also 30 inches long.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Dear friends and family,

I know it has been a month since I have posted last. We are having computer issues which still are not totally resolved but I can at least give you this update. We received a very special Christmas present yesterday. The embassy cleared our paper work and that means that we are entering the last step. It was actually sent to us Sabbath. Some embassy person was working extra with a holiday approaching. Thank you whoever it was. I can't describe the difficulty of waiting through the last few steps especially since we thought Aaron might me be home for Christmas. But this was just the encouragement that I needed. Soon Aaron will be in our arms and I will begin to figure out this mommy thing.

Since it was Christmas Brandy Paul Perry and I were talking about the Christmas story and where we put the emphasis. Not that one part is more important than another but where we focus. They said in Nigeria the part of Herod and the ruling over the people is emphasised and how the birth of the Christ child brought freedom. We often focus on the birth and don't always look ahead to all the birth would mean to you and me. I encourage you to read the Christmas story and look for something you haven't seen before in the story (Luke 2 and Matthew 1:18 and through chapter 2).

We had the pleasure of having an early Christmas this past weekend. David and Kim and Anthony were here. Much good eating and visiting happened. We also had the Smith's for dinner with everyone. It is fun to have a full house(13). Last year we started a new Christmas tradition that included eating ribs. I am flattered that my family likes my ribs so I boil and broil with a homemade sauce. Today I am going to go eat lunch with Perry. He is at work and this evening we will have a small Christmas celebration.

May the Lord Bless you and Keep you through this Christmas season.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

First Baby Shower

The ladies at work surprised me yesterday. I walked in to ladies carrying food and thought that they had forgotten to tell me that they were having a Thanksgiving party. They then confessed it was shower for me. I was clueless. So when the counter was caught up, I got to open presents and eat all sorts of good stuff. Thanks everyone and Tony have no fear we did work yesterday.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Early Thanksgiving

I must start this post with the fact that I am a forgetful photographer. I had intended to take pictures this weekend and even brought the camera. Did I take any pictures? No.

It was even without pictures a good weekend. We arrived at Perry's Dad and Mom's at about 5PM and got to play basketball with Jonathan. Perry's mom had out done herself and had a huge meal ready for us. Perry's grandma and grandpa also helped us eat. The next morning we got to take it easy and headed out for Thanksgiving dinner/lunch at his Aunt Tracy's. The food was great with lasagna as the main course. Good eats and good visiting ensued. We then went out to the farm and helped grandpa load some wood for the wood stove. Perry also got in a card game which was good. Sunday morning it was hard to say good bye but we headed out. I must note Perry's mom helped me find a spice I have been looking for desperately. Of places the Food Lion in Salisbury had it. I had even checked a Food Lion in Virginia Beach and they didn't have it. Three cheers for mom Barbee - I will be able to try some more Latin dishes.

Note: Virginia is the longest state ever.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Operation Christmas Child

One of things that Perry and I do every year is make Operation Christmas Child Boxes. Our church and youth group also get involved. We go to the store and each person has an allotted amount of money and the boxes are wrapped. Everyone wants Perry's shoeboxes because they are big; and we usually get to make a couple extra cause the stuff may not fit in one box. As our personal experience on the mission field proves a little bounce ball or color book can be big excitement. But Ben who is 6 years old ask what happens to "my" box. So here is a little about what happens to "my" box.
It is taken to someplace close like a church or a business and dropped off. In this case it is a church. Here they check in the boxes.They are put in larger boxes with other Christmas boxes. Harley is putting yours in to the box.
Then it goes into a tractor trailer. Last year they had this truck full with 3 layers of boxes they would like it to be four high this year. It is sent to places like North Carolina and Colorado. They sorted them and people figure out what places need them most. Sometimes it is close by like in Honduras or Guatemala. Other times it is far away like Africa which would take flying in a plane all day to get there or a couple weeks in a boat.

Then they arrive for the people to use and enjoy. This little girl is from Honduras and a friend of mine (Andrea) delivered it. The little girl was so excited and my friend got to tell her and other children about Jesus. So Ben this is what happens to your box.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

New Aaron pics

Let it Snow

This is our first snow that stuck, which was Friday. Early this week we had some flurries but nothing that stuck to the ground. I always enjoy the first snow. It is the weather that is neither snow or rain that is hard. This picture is from on the way to work on Snake Spring Road for those that know the area. It was sticking to the roads even when I came home from work that night. It is all gone but I look forward to more.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


I am not ready to call this verse my life verse. It happens to be my mother's. It does however hold great meaning for me at this point in my life. I read it to my campers this summer and told them that I was learning a lesson about waiting. And I have.

Isaiah 40:31
31 But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

The thing I have remembered and held on to is the part of the verse on those who wait on the Lord. I consider the fact that it does not say how long the waiting will be. My wait is the perfect length in God's eyes and I must trust that it is. I must trust that He will renew my strength. Not only my strength in moving but my strength in waiting. The waiting in some cases is harder. But then comes the promise. It may begin as walking maybe even plodding but we will run and even fly. His timing is prefect and when we wait for His timing we will fly to places yet unseen.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Impatiently awaiting Aaron

These photos are made possible by our foster family and Karl. Our foster family kindly sends us pictures every couple of weeks. They had been coming in PowerPoint format and I had not been able to convert them. So I have been enjoying them but no one else. Now for the Karl part. I had tried everything I could think of then I thought I know a computer guy. And Karl came to my rescue and guided me to a down loadable program that saved the day. So enjoy these new pictures. Some are from late September and the bottom one is from Sunday.

By the way Mr. Aaron is now 14 pounds. We are moving through the legal system in Guatemala. We pray for his health, his foster family, his birth family and his quick arrival home.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Apples, Apples, and more Apples

One of our family traditions - in part due to the apple trees in my parents backyard involves a Sunday morning sometime in the fall though I can remember it being done in December on occasion - is making and canning applesauce. Because of this history I have a tendency to turn my nose up at store bought applesauce. And though my mom is probably right and it isn't cheaper to can applesauce I still adore it. I had never thought about till this year everyone has their jobs. Gabe and David(when he was home) and Dad too usually did the picking. When it came to making the applesauce Mom and I tend to have the cutting and coring duty.
Dad and sometimes David and Gabe were in charge of the machine that truly makes the applesauce. Which I should mention I actually used this time and realized I never do this part. It is also great because it spits out any run away seeds and the peels. (Note this machine also makes great jelly). Dad sugars the applesauce and Mom and I test it. It is then put in jars and canned.
I must admit that it is hard work. It is definitely worth it and much more fun when everyone helps. We made 32 quarts of applesauce in 3 hours. We still have more apples but maybe we will wait till December.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wisconsin Adventures

We are riding WWII DUKW they were used to move troops and stuff to and from places. What makes them fun is that they go from land to water without stopping. They are not particularly fast but allow you to check out the scenery and if you have a good driver learn a little and laugh a little. We were in the Wisconsin Dells which is a man made lake area and there are water parks everywhere.
This is splashing down into the lake.
When our family gets together they like to eat and we did a lot of this weekend. We also do a lot of laughing which is my favorite. Perry and I were also soundly beaten at scrabble. I got to go swimming and had several nice conversations with random people. We also were able to go to church in Milton, WI. We also were able to do a couple of presentations of our Guyana trip and thank the Memorial Board for their support.
Now for some Sights and Sounds of Fairhaven
My grandpa (known to many as PC) lives in the town of Whitewater WI and in a cute little apartment in Fairhaven. They are not allowed to have personal pets but there are birds on several floors and huge fish tanks. Grandpa is into everything. I suspect that he know everybody there.
This is a bad picture but this one of many cool rooms at Fairhaven and they show movies, have parties and even worship here. Grandpa is in charge of the movies. Also Grandma Lorna has a great place here as well. We were able to have lunch with her and Cheri on Sabbath.

All in all a wonderful way to spend a weekend!!!!!!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Party in Wisconsin

Perry and I have started a wonderful mini vacation. We have come to the Wisconsin Dells to visit my Grandpa Graffius. We are staying in a hotel and get to listen to a time share promotion. To make it even better Aunt Cindi and Uncle Jim are here as well. We had quite the bumpy ride on the plane. We have already eaten at a Famous Daves. Famous Daves is a rib place and a chain. If there is one in your area try it. We are about to play scrabble we will update you later.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Thoughts on Infertility

I have been thinking a lot lately about my journey through infertility and where it has led me. But more the fact that everyone's journey is different and may lead to a different result. I believe the Lord has a journey for every woman and that he has a special and unique result for each one. Their journey may be shorter or longer than mine and that is okay. My journey has taken me through infertility treatments, waiting, trusting and believing the Lord has a plan. His plan for me led to a pursuit of an international adoption and Aaron. But the journey for someone else may end with a very special birth child. Another's journey may lead to contentment without children. Another's may lead to fostering children. Another may lead to a domestic adoption. Everyone's journey is different but the Lord goes with you and if you allow it He can use it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My cute nephew

I owe a big thank you to my sister in law Kim and David too for these pictures and a few others. The weekend that they were here I kept forgetting my camera and they took pictures for us.
This is Anthony with Uncle Perry. He is practicing.
This is a family pic minus Kim and Gabe. Anothony is sleeping or wanting to sleep.
This is the cutie close up.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Thanks to our youth group

Today I was in a funk. I can not decide exactly why but I was. Tonight we had a youth group meeting. We have been having meetings Sunday night instead of Friday night so we are not competing with football. We have also been having supper for them; we average between 6 - 10 youth. I usually enjoy it but tonight I was struggling with a case of I do not want toos. But they came enjoyed food, fun, bible study and wanted just to talk. They wanted us to listen to what they were thinking and what they were hoping for in the days to come. I was humbled and encouraged by the fact that they want us in their lives. I am proud of them and how they are growing in their faith. Their enthusiasm helped to rid me of my funk and I just want thank the Lord for His many blessings. God once again helped me to look outward when I was looking inward. Thank you Lord for youth.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Aaron Update

I love this picture. He looks surprised but so awake. And just cute. Yes I know I am biased.
This is a more recent picture. He is getting so big. At his last doctors appointment in August he was 2 months 18 days old and 25 inches long and 8 pounds 10 ounces.

It is hard to explain how much I and Perry love this fellow. Some might argue he will never look like you and you did not carry him for nine months how can you love him. Because I choose to love. Just as I daily choose to love my husband. I love Perry passionately and completely. It does not mean that Perry does not disappoint and fail me. My love is not dependent on Perry's response. I believe that is why I can love Aaron without ever physically holding him yet. I look forward to the day I will hold him and what I hope for is the day Aaron is not just a picture but a reality. Those that are already moms are saying wait till reality hits and you are probably right. For right now I live in my naivety.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Just a couple pictures from outside of our home. It is the time of year that you really appreciate the weather and changing of seasons. All summer we have had a corn fence and it is gone. So I am feeling exposed to the elements. This morning there were huge vultures in the field across from the house. The pictures don't do them justice. We are reducing the amount of mud that enters the house with this patio. Jeff a local lanscaper installed it and it looks amazing. The flowers are a few from around the house. They are perennials so hopefully they will be back next year.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Apple Butter

This is my variation on a Betty Crocker recipe. I have had several requests for it. It is easy and done in the crock pot.

12 apples cored and quartered

1/2 cup of brown sugar

1 cup splenda

1/2 cup apple juice

1 Tbsp cinnamon

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp all spice

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cloves

Place all ingredients in the crock pot(5-6 qt). Cover and cook 10-12 hours on low ( 5-6 hours on high). When apples are tender place in the blender and puree. It makes approximately 4 cups.

*Note if you are not a splenda fan you can use all brown sugar or a combination of brown and white sugar.
*Note if you do not have a blender peel the apples and use a potato masher after the first time period and cook down an extra 2 hours.
*Note I play with the spices I have made it with some or all the spices removed or adjusted except cinnamon. You can add more cinnamon but don't get rid of it all together.
*Note I have done up to a recipe and half at one time in my crock pot.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Amanda's case of Nesting

Just a couple of pictures of Aaron's room to be.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Life's Adventures

It has been awhile since I have posted but it has been an exciting week.

On the work front, we are getting a new computer system. I spent Wednesday in one of our stores using the new system. It was a challenge but we had the benefit of an early store that had made the conversion so our day was better than theirs.

We also had the pleasure of having my brother David and Kim and Anthony up for a visit. Gabe and Dee came in as well. It is always fun to have a house full of people. We commandeered Mama and Papa Bond's large table and had a lovely lunch after church. Grandpa Graffius was also in town. We passed the baby(Anthony) and he was such a good sport. Kim got several good generation pictures which I hope to get a copy of. We ended our wonderful weekend with a trip to the Meadows. (For those that don't know this is the best soft serve around and you have to get a calender to know what the flavor of the day is) David and Kim, as well, gave us some wonderful baby gifts and some practical advice on what works for them.

My husband and I have renewed our attempts to learn Spanish. I think it may be like trying to quit smoking. For most people it takes more than one try. We are using a tutor this time because the local community college is not offering the next level of classes. I may learn my alphabet yet.

The other thing is Perry and I made some big purchases yesterday. We bought a car seat, a mattress for the crib we had gotten at a yard sale and some bedding. This is exciting and scary at the same time. We don't know exactly when Aaron is coming home but we hope it will be sooner than later. It is hard to be patient and know exactly what to plan for...we know that we won't need newborn things but beyond that it is a guessing game. He could come home at six months or 1 year. I am biased I am hoping for the 6 months.

Finally here is a picture of Aaron.

This is about a month ago (2months old)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

One of the pleasures of living in the country is a garden. But the garden also means work. Today I will be freezing corn. A messy process but definitely worth it. You boil the corn and then cut it off the cob and put it in quart bags and you have enough for a family of four or leftovers for a family of 2. I also froze whole cobs this year. We will see how that goes or should I say tastes.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Guyana Pictures
These are only a couple of pictures of our trip but as in most trips of this nature we recieved more than we gave.
The worship was a wonderful experience. Church here is not a couple of hour experience it is an all day experience. People paddle or speed boat in unless you are in a major town. Then you might drive. This particular Sabbath several of the churches worshiped together. It was a joyful occassion. The week before the team split up and was able to attend 3 different churches one of which required speed boat travel.
Small things can make a difference. This is Perry playing with bouncey balls we brought. The kids were thrilled with them. I want to take a moment to say thank you to our youth group. They helped us pack over 200 bible coloring books and crayons. I can't say how much that the kids enjoyed them and helped the time pass as they waited. Also the Washington DC church sends barrels of things down to Guyana regularly and on this trip we got to be the delivery people. There was clothing, regular bibles, study bibles for pastors and other items.

Clinic had many different settings including outside, in churches and in homes. Many of the people we saw were in pretty good health but others were not.

During the week we traveled by boat. It was a fun if occassionally wet way to travel. The pastors that drove us knew the river like we know the back roads.
We owe a big thank you to the Guyana churches: they fed us and housed us and allowed us to visit their beautiful country. There are many needs in Guyana but Perry and I hope to work on meeting two. One is sandals. This sounds silly but in the Ameriindain villages we saw many foot infections and cuts. These could be reduced with a simple pair of sandels. Second in the Georgetown area they are trying to start a reading room. When they had bible school they discovered that many of the kids struggled to read. So they wanted to provide a place where kids can be read to and practice their reading. Not a library in the fact that the books stay there. They are looking new and gently loved books of all kinds. We can send these items in the next barrel.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Weddings and Picnics

This weekend I had the pleasure of going to a renewal of the vows service (they called it a celebration of marriage). One of my best friends had been married in Nigeria and none of us in the United States were able to be there. Samantha and I went over later but not for the actual wedding. Brandy had always wanted to do fall colors. We had it in Brandy's parents backyard. The service was beautiful and informal. The wedding party include friends from school (college and high school) and Paul's brother. We were in Nigerian dress. I don't have a picture of it but we traveled from the parking area to the house via a Model T car. Paul's father is the antique car guy and his brother too. Brandy's cake was made by Linda our pastor's wife she made my cake and Sam's. Brandy and Paul did a great job visiting with everybody.

Now I did say picnic. Sunday evening after Perry finished working we had a Labor Day picnic. Yes I know it was a day early but Gabe and Dee have to leave early today and Perry works all day. So we had Grandpa Graffius, Mama, Papa, Mom, Dad, Gabe, Dee, Pastor Paul, and Linda for dinner on the deck. We saw deer as we ate and Perry did the grilling. I am so spoiled everyone brought something so there was little to do thanks to everyone. I however can not count and we had to bring out another table. There were eventually seats for everyone.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Perry and I have accepted a referral of a boy from Guatemala. He was born in June. We have not yet decided on a name but we are getting close. We thank all of you who have prayed for us and we ask that you continue to pray for us. We still must work through the proper channels to complete the adoption and this will take time. Perry and I are thrilled and trying to stay calm and patient at the same time. Dad will soon be grandpop again.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Quilting Attempt

This is before completion but this was for Anthony. David and Kim wanted a quilt that reminded them of Pennsylvania and the family here. I hope that I got close. I used iron-ons that I created on the computer. I also quilted the outline of Bedford County and used bottons to mark major cities in Pennsylvania. This was my first attempt with such a thing and I would do it again. It isn't in the picture but my Mom embroidered Anthony's name and Pennsylvania for me.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

We're Home
Perry and I made it home very early Wednesday morning (4:30AM). Perry had to work the next morning at 7AM. We were both tired but we are recovering. We owe a big thank you to my parents who picked us up at the airport in Pittsburgh and drove us home. We were able to get some sleep as a result.
The trip brought many challenges and rewards. Once I get the pictures downloaded I will give you more details. But at the very least I want to say thank you for your prayers.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Guyana where's that...

Friends and family Perry and I are headed out in a medical mission trip to Guyana. Guyana is in the northern part of South America by the way. We will be flying in to the capital Georgetown early tomorrow morning. We will spend the next week and half traveling up river and doing medical missions along the way. We are working with local Seventh Day Baptist Churches in the area.

We would appreciate your prayers. Especially in these areas: that all our medicine arrives safely and we clear customs, along with the people of course, for opportunities to witness, that our medicine will make a temporary difference in the people, that we will come back better equipped to serve the Lord and that the local churches will benefit from us being there not be hindered and everyone involved will be flexible.

He who has begun a good work in us will be faithful to complete it.

Thank you in advance for your prayers.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Adoption update

Slow forward progress is being made in the adoption front. We received a paper from US immigration that will make the adoption process in Guatemala flow easier.

Things we know:
We are adopting from Guatemala.
We are adopting at least one child/infant
We are excited and trusting the Lord

Things we don't know:
Who our child/children is
How old they will be(most likely will be an infant and no older than 4 years old)
Their gender
If they are born yet

Monday, August 6, 2007

Uncle Perry & Aunt Amanda
We are a little slow with information but Perry and I became Uncles and Aunts July 16, 2007. Anthony Javier Graffius was born to my brother David and his wife Kim at 4:00AM. He was 5 pounds 8 ounces and 19.5 inches long. He has been gaining weight well since he was born and the new Mom and Dad seem to be doing well. I was able to go down for a short visit. Anthony is by the way my parents first grandchild and the second great grandchild on both sides.