Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween Everyone!

It's Halloween and it's a beautiful day today. Feels more like September than the end of October. Enjoy the pictures. Have a safe and Happy Halloween Night.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Pictures of Our Crazy Five

From Left to Right: Callie, Snowball, Aspen, Gracie & Daisy

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Update from Kyrgyzstan - Our Continous Roller Coaster Ride

Wednesday, Oct. 29th
Brief Update to this update: We found out a few days ago that it might not be a whole month...more like 10 days only. They are working hard to get answers. So we are hoping to know more next week. We had hopes of traveling this year but it sure doesn't look like it now. A referral though would be sufficient for Christmas

Tuesday, Oct. 28th
I don't normally post downers...but we got a brief update today from our agency Re: Krygyzstan. It continues to be a roller coaster ride for sure. The e-mail we got was not good news this time.

The MOE will be leaving for a month...which means nothing will get done. No dossiers signed referrals...NOTHING! Our agency is doing everything they can to make sure everyone brings home their children. But right now all we do it wait to find out more. What else is new? This was not the news we expected to hear...since the last e-mail seemed to have some good news. I really feel bad for the ones that are waiting to go back to get their children. This must really be awful for them...but any one that is adopting from Kyrgyzstan this is not been good news.

Monday, October 27, 2008

120 E. Liberty - First Day / New Pace Maker for Dad

Today was the first day at our new office building. Of course there are "bugs" that need to be worked out with any new building. But it's really nice. We were also there on Sunday to see what it looked like...Reception isn't complete yet and our President's office won't be done for another 8 weeks.

I took the day off since Dad had a new pace maker put in. His old one was 12 years old. And the battery had worn out. So I spent some of day at the hospital. By the time I left the hospital it just wasnt' worth going back to the craziness. Everything went well.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Just a brief update on Kyrgyzstan...

We are still #1 on the referral list. Things had halted some due to issues in Kyrgyzstan. As of Friday though the problems were resolved and they should start signing off on dossiers again. Per our agency. That's good news for sure. We hope to know more this week about that. But we don't know when they will start with referrals again. We've sure waited a lot longer than most people have for a referral. When we started this journey with Kyrgyzstan it was supposed to be a TOTAL of 8 months. I think it's more like 12-14 months now. Booh Hooh!

We really need some good news!! Check back soon for more updates

Good Bye 1001 Warrenville Road...Hello 120 E. Liberty

It's a crazy day today here at First Trust. We are here for the last time at 1001 Warrenville Road. After almost 4 years of plans, it's finally happening. We are finally moving for real! It's strange to think that FT has been in this building for 17 years. But the fact we will be minutes from home is going to be great! We won't miss it at all. There is a lot of construction around and that's one thing we won't miss the drive at all. The parking lot isn't complete yet so they will be parking in different places for the next couple weeks. We will be parking at our vet's office since it's so close by. We plan to go in on Sunday to get some things organized.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What to eat in Kyrgyzstan...

Water – In Bishkek the tap water is generally safe to drink, but if you have a delicate stomach, or are concerned then boil the water. In rural regions – especially in the south – there are concerns about drinking water and it might be better to consider drinking mineral water. Bottled mineral water is available throughout the country but tends to be carbonated and a little salty, and can be an acquired taste.

Bread – In Bishkek there is a wide range of breads available. Outside the cities, the flat, round lepyoshka is found almost everywhere. Fresh, warm, straight from the tandoor (a clay oven) it is particularly pleasant. At meals it is usually broken, not cut with a knife and never placed on the table upside down.
Boorsok – pieces of dough, deep fried in boiling oil – is a traditional table “decoration”. They are produced in large quantities and spread over the dastorkan or table at every major celebration. An abundance of Boorsok is seen as a sign of generosity.
Kalama – a flat, unleavened bread – there is no yeast used in the mixture – baked quickly on the top of an iron stove. This is the most common sort of bread eaten in the yurts in the mountain pastures – the jailoo.
Kattama – another form of unleavened bread that is baked especially when there are guests. The dough is rolled into a thin layer and greased with butter and rolled to a spiral creating layers and baked on a hot iron stove.
Kuimak – liquid dough is fried in warm oil – and is eaten with sour cream.
Meat - The most common form of meat is used in Kyrgyz cuisine is mutton. Sheep have a high place in Kyrgyz culture and the Kyrgyz use every part of the animal for something. Sheep meat tends to have more fat than that from other animals, and so it should be no surprise that fatty meat is often considered to be the best. (There is even a Kyrgyz saying – “Cheap mutton has little fat”). In some households and festivals the Sheep's head, (the eyes in particular), may be offered to an honoured guest. Horsemeat is also highly revered and for special occasions and funerals it is common for a horse to be slaughtered and the cooked and presented to guests. Only young mares are used which have been fed on Alpine grasses, which are thought to give the meat a particularly good flavour. A great favourite in the countryside, (but also available in Bishkek) is chuchuk - a sort of sausage made from horsemeat. Beef is also found, but less often. Chicken is rarely used by the Kyrgyz – chickens being found among settled peoples rather than nomads. Pork is not used by the Kyrgyz, but can be found in Chinese and Russian restaurants.
Fish – Fresh fish are caught in the lakes such as Son-Kul and Issyk Kul. Popular are the dried and smoked fish that are sold by the roadside near Issyk-Kul .
Fruit and Vegetables – most of the produce is grown locally and seasonal and there is a wide variety – although recently more exotic fruits and vegetables are imported and available in the markets. You can encounter fresh produce, cooked, dried and preserved (jams/pickles etc.) Nuts are also very popular. In the South – look out for Walnut Jam, made from the fruit of the tree while it is still green – before the husk has formed – actually the “walnut fruit” is whole and in a sweet syrup rather than a thick jam.

Common Food in Kyrgyzstan:
- Perhaps the most typical Kyrgyz dish. The dish is meant to be eaten with the hands, not with a knife and fork! - "Besh" means five, and "barmak", finger. Beshbarmak is served when guests arrive and at almost any festive gathering. There is quite a ritual involved in preparing the meal. The simple version of the dish consists of noodles, which are mixed with boiled meat cut into tiny pieces and served with a medium spicy sauce. Bouillon is then poured over the mixture.
Generally, a sheep is slaughtered, butchered and boiled in a large “ kazan ” (a large round pot) for a couple of hours. The bones with the meat still on them are then distributed to the assembled gathering. The oldest people and honoured guests are presented with the choicest bones first of all. The guest of honour is presented with the head – and by tradition should have the sheep's eyes. To the “Alksakals” – old men – go the thigh bone (“jambash”) – to the older women goes the fat tail (“kuiruk”). The legs and shoulders are distributed to the young adults present – and the smaller bones are reserved for the daughter in law of the household. Some meat is diced and and mixed with boiled noodles.
It is often followed by Ak serke – a broth made from milk mixed with kefir – and is thought to help settle the stomach.
The recipes section has a couple of recipes for you to try at home!
Ashlam-foo – a spicy dish made with cold noodles, jelly, vinegar and eggs.
Chuchpara – a form of meat dumplings – minced meat, onion and spices in dough, boiled in a tasty broth, served hot in bowls and eaten with a spoon. Sour cream can be served as a dressing (see Pelmeni, below).
Blini – (a Russian dish), pancakes, rolled and filled with meat, tvorok (a sort of cottage cheese), or jam.
Chuchpara – a form of meat dumplings – minced meat, onion and spices in dough, boiled in a tasty broth, served hot in bowls and eaten with a spoon. Sour cream can be served as a dressing (see Pelmeni, below).
Jarkop – stewed meat cooked with onions, radish and noodles, placed on boiled pieces of dough. Kerchoo – meated cooked in a fire like a barbarque
Korut - small balls of cheese made from sheep milk – they are diluted with water to make a refreshing summer drink, Chalap, (although it may be an acquired taste).
Kuiruk Boor – a snack consisting of cooked bacon (actually it's sheep's fat – not pig meat) and liver sprinkled with herbs.
Kuurdak – can be prepared from either mutton or beef. The meat is fried with onion and spices and served on a plate garnished with herbs.
Laghman – (another Uzbek dish) – flat noodles cooked in a stew of tiny pieces of mutton, potatoes, carrots, onions and white radishes. A Russian version, minus the noodles, called Shorpo, can often be found.
Manti – steamed dumplings filled with shredded meat (or sometimes pumpkins), usually eaten with the fingers. A word of warning – watch out for the hot, liquid fat that can come squirting out from them. Also, sometimes the meat can be fatty, or gristle.
Olovo – a dish which is cooked for especially honoured guests consisting of sheep's lungs marinaded in a mix of milk, spices, salt and oil.
Oromo – This is not usually found in restaurants, but you may be served it by a Kyrgyz family. It can be prepared with meat, or as a vegetarian dish. Potatoes, onions and carrots are shredded and spread onto a mat of rolled out pastry, which is then rolled into a roulette and steamed in a special pan called a kazgan (In Kyrgyz “oromo” means “roulette”).
Pelmeni – a form of Russian ravioli which can be served in a bouillon (or broth) or without, and usually smetana (sour cream). The Kyrgyz version is called Chuchpara – and is a soup with dumplings which are filled with onions, meat and fat.
Piroshki – flat dough filled with meat, potatoes, cabbage or sometimes nothing at all – sold by street sellers.
Plov – (really an Uzbek dish) - rice mixed with boiled, or fried meat, onions and carrots (and sometimes other ingredients such as raisins), all cooked in a semi-hemispherical metal bowl called a kazan over a fire. Plov is a favourite dish in the South and is served to honoured guests – the meal is not considered over until it has been served.
Samsa – (Samsi in the plural) are baked meat dumplings often cooked in a tandoor (clay oven). Once again, be warned of the heat and the fatty juice that squirts out when you bite into one.
Shashlyk – or Kebabs – meat cubes on skewers cooked over the embers of burning twigs. Mutton is the meat usually used, but it is possible to find beef, chicken, liver and even pork shashlyk. The meat may simply be freshly sliced or may have been marinated overnight. Be warned, if the meat is mutton, then almost certainly one of the pieces on the skewer will be pure fat ... the dripping fat onto the burning embers is thought to enhance the taste). Shashlyk is usually served with a sprinkling of raw onion, vinegar and lepyoshki.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Don't Quit

The message I give you waits for the time I have appointed. It speaks about what is going to happen. And all of it will come true. It might take a while. But wait for it. You can be sure it will come. It will happen when I want it to.
Habakkuk 2:3 (NIRV)
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay.” Hebrews 10:36-37 (NIV)


If you’re discouraged because of God’s delay in answering your prayers, understand the delay is NOT a denial. Just because the answer or the miracle hasn’t come – yet – that doesn’t mean God isn’t going to answer or that he’s forgotten you or that he doesn’t care about you. It simply means “not yet!”
Spiritual maturity is knowing the difference between “no” and “not yet,” between a denial and a delay. The Bible tells us, “He who is coming will come and will not delay” (Hebrews 10:37 NIV).
The delay may be a test of your patience. Anybody can be patient once. And, anybody can be patient twice. And, just about anybody can be patient three times. So God tests you patience over and over and over.
Why? To see how patient you are?
No, he does it to show you how patient you are. So you’ll know what’s inside of you, and you’ll be able to know your level of commitment. God tests you so that you can know he is faithful, even if the answers you seek are delayed.
If you’re discouraged, turn it around by remembering God teaches you patience during delay. Ask him to transform your discouragement into patience.
You may be going through difficult times right now and feel like dropping off the planet. You’re discouraged because the situation you face seems unmanageable, unreasonable, or unfair.
It may seem unbearable and inside you’re basically saying, “God, I can’t take it anymore. I just can’t take it anymore!”
But you can.
You can stay with it longer because God is with you. He’ll enable you to press on. Remember, you are never a failure until you quit.
Don’t quit. Resist discouragement and finish the race God has set before you.
FROM: Saddleback Church

Monday, October 20, 2008

On the Move - One Week from Today We're In...

It's hard to believe that it's almost here...moving day here at FTP. Here are some previews of what the new digs will look like. We will only be minutes now from home. We will have to park in another area for the next 7-15 days...The garage won't be done yet. But it's official...we're moving.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How to Overcome Discouragement

This sure seems to fit what's going on in the adoption world right now...Many are discouraged because of the waits, things we can't control. Check out Nehemiah in the Bible for more verses.

By: Rick Warren

Then the people of Judah said, “The work crews are worn out, and there is too much rubble. We can’t continue to rebuild the wall.” Nehemiah 4:10 (GWT)

*** *** *** ***
Discouragement is curable. Whenever I get discouraged, I head straight to Nehemiah. This great leader of ancient Israel understood there were four reasons for discouragement.

First, you get fatigued. You simply get tired as the laborers did in Nehemiah 4:10. We’re human beings and we wear out. You cannot burn the candle at both ends. So if you’re discouraged, it may be you don’t have to change anything. You just need a vacation! Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is go to bed.

Second, you get frustrated. Nehemiah says there was rubble all around, so much that it was getting in the way of rebuilding the wall. Do you have rubble in your life? Have you noticed that anytime you start doing something new, the trash starts piling up?
If you don’t clean it out periodically, it’s going to stop your progress. You can’t avoid it, so you need to learn to recognize it and dispose of it quickly so you don’t lose focus on your original intention.

What is the rubble in your life? I think rubble is the trivial things that waste your time and energy and prevent you from accomplishing what God has called you to do.
Third, you think you’ve failed. Nehemiah’s people were unable to finish their task as quickly as originally planned and, as a result, their confidence collapsed. They were thinking, “We were stupid to think we could ever rebuild this wall.”

But you know what I do when I don’t reach a goal on time? I just set a new goal. I don’t give up. Everybody fails. Everybody does dumb things. So the issue is not that you failed – it’s how you respond to your failure.

Do you give in to self-pity? Do you start blaming other people? Do you start complaining that it’s impossible? Or, do you refocus on God’s intentions and start moving again?

Finally, when you give in to fear, you get discouraged. Nehemiah 4 suggests the people most affected by fear are those who hang around negative people. If you’re going to control the negative thoughts in your life, you’ve got to get away from negative people as much as you can.

Maybe you’re discouraged because of fear. You’re dealing with fears like, “I can’t handle this. It’s too much responsibility.” Maybe it’s the fear that you don’t deserve it. It’s the fear of criticism. Fear will destroy your life if you let it. But you can choose to resist the discouragement. Say, “God help me get my eyes off the problem – off the circumstance – and keep my eyes on you.”

Friday, October 10, 2008


Grandma, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. She didn't move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands.

When I sat down beside her she didn't acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat I wondered if she was OK.

Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check on her at the same time, I asked her if she was OK. She raised her head and looked at me and smiled. Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking,' she said in a clear strong voice. 'I didn't mean to disturb you, grandma, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK, I explained to her.

Have you ever looked at your hands,' she asked. I mean really looked at your hands? I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point she was making. Grandma smiled and related this story:

Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life. 'They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor.They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back.

As a child, my mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots. They held my husband and wiped my tears when he went off to war.'They have been dirty, scraped and raw , swollen and bent. They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son. Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special They wrote my letters to him and trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse.

They have held my children and grandchildren, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand. They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.

These hands are the mark of where I've been and the ruggedness of life. But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home. And with my hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of God.'

I will never look at my hands the same again. But I remember God reached out and took my grandma's hands and led her home. When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my children and husband I think of grandma. I know she has been stroked and caressed and held by the hands of God. I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel His hands upon my face. When you receive this, say a prayer for the person who sent it to you, and watch God's answer to prayer work in your life.

Let's continue praying for one another.

It's a Bear Market...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

In Loving Memory of Uncle Howard

"Well done, good and faithful servant... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord"

We had some more sad news yesterday that our Uncle Howard went home to Heaven after battling colon cancer for the past 2 years. We used to have so much fun with him over the years. We always loved visiting the Landons in Springfield. Learning the computer, walking the board walk in Ocean City. Going to breakfast on our way down to Ocean City...great meals at their house in Springfield. We love eating ice cream floats after arriving at their house sometimes very late at night before heading to Ocean City for the week. It was 2006 when we last saw him. Never thought that would be the last. We will really miss Uncle Howard.


Howard J. Landon, 82, of Wallingford . He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Elizabeth Landon, his daughter Lu Ann Blumenstock (husband James) of Ocean City , NJ , son Mark Landon (wife Donna) of West Chester and three granddaughters: Allison Landon, Bailey Blumenstock, and Brooke Blumenstock.

Howard was a WWII veteran, having enlisted in the U.S. Navy immediately after graduating from Sharon Hill High School in 1943.

He served as a Radioman aboard the SS Young America and saw action in the Philippine Islands with the invasion of Leyte and was later stationed in Kagoshima Japan .Following the war, Howard received his Bachelors degree from the Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia .Howard dedicated his career to providing services for the mentally handicapped, working 36 years for Elwyn, Inc. Howard was instrumental in founding Elwyn's pioneering Sheltered Workshop program. He later served in the roles of Assistant to the President, Personnel Director, Vice President for Communications, and Vice President for Government Affairs. He also worked with the Israeli government in founding Israel Elwyn, providing services for disabled Israeli citizens in Jerusalem . Howard was a member of the Ridley Park Presbyterian Church for 49 years, where he served as an elder as well as in many other leadership roles.Burial will be private. Friends and family are invited to a memorial service to be held at the Ridley Park Presbyterian Church on Sat., Oct.18 at 10:00 am. Donations may be sent to the Ridley Park Presbyterian Church in lieu of flowers.

FTP on the Move...2 more weeks to go...

Will they be ready for us? In less than two weeks we will be in our new location at work. Downtown Wheaton. Things are's really looking good. We are in the process of packing boxes now. Just a lot to do before the big day.

The Kitchen is almost complete. Finishing touches.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Earthquake in Kyrgyzstan

MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- A magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck southern Kyrgyzstan late Sunday night killing an estimated 70 people and destroying more than 120 buildings, the government reported Monday.

The earthquake occurred near Kyrgyzstan's border with China.

Gulshat Kadirova, an official from the Kyrgyz Ministry of Emergency Situations, told CNN that casualty figures were preliminary and could rise as rescue efforts progress.
The weekend quake, measured by the U.S. Geological Survey Report, rattled all of Central Asia; however destruction is concentrated in the remote village of Nura on Kyrgyzstan's border with China.

"The remoteness of the villages hit by the earthquake, the absence of means of communications and the destruction of roads are hindering assistance to the injured," the Kyrgyz Health Ministry press service told Interfax.

The Health Ministry of Kyrgyzstan has set-up a crisis center in the region, however rescue efforts remain difficult, according to a ministry official.

The Kyrgyz Emergency Situations Ministry also sent humanitarian aid to the region.
"Four helicopters have just left taking food and blankets to the people affected in the area," a ministry representative told CNN by phone.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sent a letter of condolence to Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, according to the Kremlin's Web site.

Medvedev noted Russia's readiness to offer assistance.
Bakiyev is scheduled to visit the destroyed region of Nura this week to monitor the search-and-rescue operations, Kadirova told CNN.

Temblors continued in Central Asia on Monday with two strong earthquakes striking part of Tibet within 15 minutes of each other.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


"October had come again, and that year it was sharp and soon: frost was early, burning the thick green on the mountain sides to massed brilliant hues of blazing colors, painting the air with sharpness, sorrow and delight--and with October "

"Trains cross the continent in a swirl of dust and thunder, the leaves fly down the tracks behind them: the great trains cleave through gulch and gulley, they rumble with spoked thunder on the bridges over the powerful brown wash of mighty rivers, they toil through hills, they skirt the rough brown stubble of shorn fields, they whip past empty stations in the little towns and their great stride pounds its even pulse across America. "