I hope you will visit my ministry website: http://ajourneyoffaith.net .
Thursday, June 30, 2011
What a FULL day we had last Thursday.
We left home at 8:30am to drive to Seattle.
We went to The Woodland Park Zoo.
We went to Elijah's Surgery Follow-Up Appt.
at Seattle Children's Hospital.
We went to the Park and played Hand Tennis.
We stopped at the Outlet Mall on the way home,
so Mama could buy her Mother-of-the-Bride dress
for Cassie's Upcoming Wedding. WooHoo!
By 4:00, we were all tired, and ready to get home.
We were just 45 minutes from home when we saw
the ROAD CONSTRUCTION signs.
Should we sit in all of the freeway traffic?
Should we take the LONG DETOUR home?
We chose the DETOUR,
and I'm so glad that we did.
As I drove along, enjoying the sunshine
and the beautiful views ...
Hosanna was snapping pictures on my camera.
At first we could only glimpse
the water through the trees.
Then, the views became clearer ...
... until we could see the FULL BEAUTY
of the San Juan Islands in the distance.
As I was looking at these pictures,
and pondering the quiet and beautiful detour
that we chose to take home, the Lord showed me
how my LIFE has been on a major detour,
due to LIFE CONSTRUCTION the
past 3 years.
We have questioned the detour.
We have not wanted to walk through the
We have not seen the full BEAUTY of our situation.
Yet, every now and then we catch a quick glimpse,
of the LIFE that the LORD may have planned for us.
Some parts of our LIFE DETOUR haven't been pretty ...
they have been long and hard.
We would have rather continued to cruise along
at the high speeds we had been going.
But, maybe if we had continued cruising along,
we would have missed the beauty that
the LORD had planned for us.
Even if we can't see it yet,
I do TRUST and BELIEVE that the LORD
has an amazingly beautiful plan for our lives.
I need to TRUST HIM on this LIFE DETOUR ...
even when the road is winding through the mountains ...
even when there are blind spots ahead ...
even if the road is bumpy and slow ...
For some reason, God allowed this DETOUR
in our lives, and we need to be THANKFUL
for each and every glimpse of the BEAUTY
that HE gives us along the way.
I seriously had tears in my eyes
as I finished writing this post.
It was not written by me ...
it was written by the LORD.
I had no idea what I was going to write,
when I uploaded these pictures that Hosanna took.
As the pictures became clear on the post,
the Lord spoke the words to my heart.
Thank you, Sweet Jesus!
Thank you, for Life's Detours,
even when they are exceedingly difficult.
Help me to see Your Beauty,
in each and every day!
Are you walking through one of Life's Detours?
Are you walking a winding road,
seemingly directionless at times?
Is your journey longer, harder, slower than you expected?
I hope that you will be able to see the beauty of the detour.
I hope that you will ask the Lord to give you a
glimpse of the beauty that He has planned for you.
Let me know if you need prayers for your detour.
I believe that the Lord wants us to lift each other
up as we each walk through difficult detours.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
72 Receipts Found
(airlines, hotels, grocery stores,
gas stations, attorney, homestudy, etc...)
55 Copies Made
(w/ an identical set of copies
made for our records - total 110 copies)
95 Expenses Documented
(those without receipts were categorized
and listed on a handwritten "receipt")
1 Letter Written
(with copy below, for all of you that
are still wondering what you are
going to need to do for the IRS)
1 Envelope Mailed
(5 minutes before the cut-off
for Overnight FedEx. You bet I
paid $43 to ship it overnight to NY.)
Time. For. A. Nap.
(we have out-of-town company
arriving in a few hours, so I
expect a late night of visiting.)
Dear Tax Examiner,
We are responding to the letter we received from the IRS, regarding the need for more information in order to process our Adoption Tax Credit.
I am enclosing the following:
- A copy of the Letter from the IRS, with our contact phone numbers listed on the back.
- Copies of our #8839 forms from 2008 and 2009.
- A copy of the Adoption Order processed in Accra, Ghana, West Africa.
- A copy of the Decree of Re-Adoption processed in the Superior Court of the State of Washington.
- A 5 page Category Summary (using Quicken software) of all of our Adoption Expenses, with Category Totals and Total Adoption Expenses listed.
- 14 stapled packets of Receipts … divided by the 14 Categories of the Category Summary.
- Copies of 72 Receipts pertaining to our Adoption Expenses.
- Categorized Lists of expenses that we were not given receipts for, as some businesses in Third World Countries do not ordinarily give receipts.
We are hoping that you will be able to process our refund as soon as possible, as we are in a very difficult financial situation due to the delays in the processing of our tax refund. Jim has spent much of the past 6 months unemployed, and Laurel is a full-time mom, staying home with our 6 younger children. (We have 12 children.)
We have been most disappointed with the IRS delays because we had promised to help 2 of our older children pay for their July weddings, with the expected Adoption Tax Credit. Sadly, those weddings are almost upon us and we have not had any funds to contribute. At this time, we do not even have the money to attend our daughter’s out-of-state wedding on July 30th. We are hoping that our refund can be expedited so that we can afford to buy gas to drive there, and pay for hotel rooms for the weekend.
Thank you for doing all that you can to expedite the processing of our refund, so that we can attend our daughter’s wedding.
Jim & Laurel
If you are not this far along in your process yet, and you aren't quite as an administrator as I am, feel free to copy this letter for your own use ... but don't use the "my daughter's wedding" line, unless of course it's true. (smile)
Seriously. If you want any help in how to organize and present your "case", just let me know. I can send you copies of my "Category Summary", and walk you through the process.
A friend of mine sent me an email today with a very disturbing thought ...
It almost looks like discrimination to me. What other group of people gets audited as a group instead of taking people case by case?
I've never heard of a group of people being audited. Have you? "All Painters who file a Schedule C are going to get audited this year." Not!
Last Thursday, while Elijah and I were still at The Hospital for his follow-up appt., Kati and the kids finished up their time at The Zoo and wondered, "What should we do next?"
They decided to walk down the street to a nearby park ... and found a tennis court.
None of my kids have every played tennis ... and they certainly didn't have any tennis racquets with them ... but that isn't going to stop my kids from having fun.
They found a tennis ball on the courts and decided to play Hand Tennis.
Kati serves the ball.
Sarah attempts to return a serve
Rachel waits for the ball to come to her.
Nice job, Sarah.
"Ben, where's your other shoe?"
"In my hand. It's my new 'racquet'."
Elijah and I joined the fun after his doctor's appt.
He liked the idea of having a "racquet", as well.
I've decided to buy some tennis balls,
and maybe look at the Goodwill for a couple of racquets.
My girls, especially, could really use some work
on their hand-eye-coordination.
Have any of you ever played Hand Tennis?
You might want to try it.
It's inexpensive ... and FUN.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Elijah had his follow-up Dr's. Appt. at
Children's Hospital in Seattle last Thursday.
So, I decided to take all of the kids along
for the ride, and take a trip to The Zoo.
We left home at 8:30, so that we could arrive
by 10:30. Elijah and I stayed until 11:30,
and then headed over to the hospital (which
isn't very far from The Zoo). Kati stayed at
The Zoo with the 5 other kids while we went
to the appointment (which went well).
We enjoyed the Penguins ...
the Orangutans ...
the Elephants ...
and many more of ...
God's Amazing Animal Creation.
Even in the midst of unbelievable STRESS,
I am purposing to PLAY with my children
(whereas I could have just taken Elijah
to Seattle for his doctor's appt.).
Thanking the LORD today for ...
... my children.
... Kati (an Adopted Big Kid).
... the sunshine.
... our annual membership to The Zoo.
... money for gas, to drive to
the hospital and the zoo.
... Elijah's excellent follow-up appt.,
and the healing of his leg.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Elijah has been pretty discouraged because of the restrictions on his activity due to his leg surgery. So, when I asked him this morning what he wanted to do today, he responded ...
"It seems like everything costs money ...
and it's kind of annoying."
Boy do I understand how he feels.
Am I Supposed To Be
STRESSED OUT Yet?
Josh & Hannah are getting married in 2 weeks.
Cassie & Dean are getting married in 5 weeks.
I keep waiting for the Mother-of-the-Groom
and Mother-of-the-Bride STRESS to hit ...
but it hasn't.
I think that is because there is so much
in my life right now,
that there isn't room to add any.
Cassie & Hannah are both such organized
and administrative brides that things
really are planned well.
I bought my Mother-of-the-Groom dress last Saturday.
I bought my Mother-of-the-Bride dress on Thursday.
Really, the only Wedding-Related-Stress right now
is that we don't have the money to even GO to
Cassie's wedding in Oregon. Seriously. Right now we
don't have the money for gas, nor hotel rooms.
BUT ... I have NO DOUBT that the Lord will
provide the money in time. I am truly not
too stressed about that.
We will camp if we have to.
I feel HORRIBLE that we have not received the
Government-Promised Adoption Tax Credit,
with which we were supposed to be able to
help pay for both of these weddings. It has
BROKEN MY HEART to tell my children that we
"HAVE NOT A DIME" to give towards their weddings.
We will, however, host the Rehearsal Dinner
for Josh & Hannah's wedding party and families.
They have requested Mama's Lasagna.
I KNOW that the weddings will be BEAUTIFUL!
I have NO DOUBT about that fact.
The brides may not be able to afford everything
they had hoped for, but they will get married
to the young men that they love so dearly.
Their families will be surrounding them with love.
Friends will come from near and far.
There will be flowers ...
and candles ...
I have NO DOUBT that the LORD will
BLESS each of these coming wedding days,
regardless of the lack of the Adoption Tax Credit
(which is causing MUCH more STRESS
than the impending weddings).
All of you Mama's who have done the "wedding thing",
why don't you let me know what wedding things
I am supposed to be stressed out about.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Digging through boxes.
Ripping the office apart.
Needing to find receipts.
Finding some ...
still others Missing In Action.
Missing VERY IMPORTANT
Yellow File Folder with
(lost in last year's move)
Praying for Favor with the IRS.
I have 5 days to get all of our paperwork
together for the Adoption Tax Credit ...
... and I am STRESSED.
So. Not. Fun.
Update: PRAISING JESUS tonight!!!
We found the yellow file folder that has been missing for many MONTHS.
We found almost every receipt possible that pertains to the adoption. (Just one or two phone calls to make tomorrow.)
We have piles of receipts: every grocery store receipt while we were in Ghana ... every gas station receipt from our travels across Ghana ... every receipt for the places we visited ... the receipt for our car and driver ... every hotel receipt ... every airline receipt ... the restaurant receipt for dinner in Seattle before we caught the plane to Accra ...
Yippee!!! THANK YOU JESUS!!!
After praying with the kids tonight, Elijah (9) told us that he wanted to talk to us after the other kids headed to bed. Then, he came over and whispered in my ear,
"I prayed that you would find it tonight."
My little guy KNOWS without a shadow of a doubt that JESUS ANSWERS PRAYER!!!