Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy Birthday little sister


Oh, how I would love to share the beautiful face behind this birthday cake!
Our precious little girl is behind this cake with a beautiful little smile celebrating her
fourth birthday.
Unfortunately, I am not allowed to share her picture until we get our RA(Referral Acceptance) from China stating that we have been accepted to adopt her and become her forever family.
I am praying that this important piece of paper comes in the next few weeks, although there is no way to no for sure.
No one ever said, though, that I couldn't share her cake. It is better than I expected, thanks to Ann at Red Threads.
Out of my four children, I haven't ever had one with a birthday so close to Christmas. Her birthday was two days after Christmas so we sent this care package. When I awoke this morning I had an email with 12 pictures of her birthday party at the orphanage. I was rather uncertain about spending the extra money for a care package right now at Christmastime and also as we are trying to save for our adoption, but chose to do this anyway. I am so glad I did! It makes this seem so much more real and allows me to continue to focus on what is really important throughout the headache of this adoption paperwork- A SWEET LITTLE GIRL THAT NEEDS A FAMILY. I never dreamed it could involve such a cumbersome paper trail and without the continual reminder of why we are doing this, it would be so easy to just give up.
When I see her sweet face and precious little fingers it makes all of this so worthwhile.
As I focused on each picture today(over and over again)I zoomed in to look at every little detail. She already is such a part of our family even though she lives on the other side of the world. She is beautiful and I look with anticipation toward the day in 2010 when she will celebrate every holiday with a family that has been planning for her for so long.
The following are just a few photos of the gifts she received for Christmas
(opened, courtesy of her big sister).
Every little girl needs a great big bow. These were made courtesy of Mimi.
I think these stickers will fit nicely in the bottom of a suitcase and provide lots of entertainment.
I wonder if it will be ok to celebrate Gotcha Day, which will hopefully be in the
early Spring, since her birthday is so close to Christmas.
Your thoughts are greatly appreciated on how to allow her to have a
special celebration without it becoming part of Christmas.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Memories

We have been making some magical memories the last couple of days!
The whole family dressed in our parkas at the Gaylord ICE display. An awesome sight.

This display is what Christmas is all about: A baby in a manger-
A miracle for each of us that will accept His love.

An extra treat for the family for a snowy day inside-definately not for those on a diet,
but it sure was good!

This is the view from my front porch today. A snowy day in Texas
doesn't come along often so we will enjoy it while it lasts.
An old rugged cross, such a simple message, that even a child can accept it! My prayer is that you will embrace HIS message this Christmas and allow
God's love....

to lead you wherever the road this next year may take you.So, from our family to yours:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The real picture

What a joy to get an email this morning from Ann at Red Threads with a photo of the care package we are sending our daughter. It just made it seem so real, that I actually have a little girl on the other side of the world waiting on us. Her birthday is just a few days after Christmas so we sent her a care package. The photo does not include the cake that will be delivered for her and the orphanage to share. I hope to be able to share that picture when it comes, but our adoption agency does not allow us to share photos until we have that next piece of paperwork - COME ON RA! Praying it comes soon!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holidays with the family

Early this morning I got a text from my hubby saying that our oldest son had finally gotten on a flight. Finally, that is, after spending 24 hours in the airport trying to fly home for Christmas. Oh, the life of stand by travel. Working for the airline certainly has its perks, and I wouldn't trade it for the world, but it can also be a real headache. He was finally on the flight and even got to fly first class. Now I needed to hurry and get to the airport to pick him up.

In the process of hurrying to get ready, I completed ordering a care package to send to our little angel in China for her birthday. I can't wait to get new pictures of her and share them with all of you. I am still counting down to our RA(referral acceptance). Just in case you are wondering we are on Day 48 of this wait from our LID(log in date). Praying it comes soon, so we can start making travel plans.

This is the picture of the care package I sent from Red Threads China.

There is not much of anything better than a huge hug from one of your kiddos and when I got to the airport to get Justin he gave me the biggest hug ever. That does a momma's heart good!

Then it was on to do some final shopping during which I got a text from my youngest son. It said, "We have hope!" What was he talking about I wondered? Well, he was referring to the hope that he was given today that he might get his braces off before his senior pictures in March. Yeah! It really had me thinking though about the hope that we have and how sad it is for those that don't have the hope that we do. I am so glad that my hope comes from my heavenly Father and He renews my strength when I am weary.

but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:31

Finally, this evening we had an incredible evening with all of our family at my grandmother's apartment. All 23 of our family members were able to be there. We had dinner together, shared gifts and laughed hysterically together. My cousin's husband actually told us that we were a comedy show of our own. Imagine that! You get a bunch of cousins together and that's just how things roll! I think we may have unsettled the nerves of a few of the elderly residents, especially when we needed ice during their bingo game. Oops! Sorry, but we were making memories!
All of the cousins finally in one picture. That doesn't happen often.
So glad we could all be together.

Then we were given a huge surprise for Christmas from my Nannie. I will keep you wondering what it was, but let's just say it took us all by surprise and was way above anything we ever expected. I can't wait to post a few pictures, but due to the fact that my camera is not working I will wait until I get pictures from my sisters. Ok, ladies, send those pictures soon!

Martha Stewart might cringe if she heard this but, my shopping isn't finished, there aren't any packages wrapped, I haven't baked a single thing and my house is a mess, but I have spent a wonderful day with my family and they are all home for the holidays.....It just doesn't get any better than that!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Conversation of the Day!

I have had so many people kindly ask me lately when we are going to get our little girl. Oh, how I wish I had an answer. I just say, "When God says it's time." Well this morning was no different. After a wonderful Sunday School class, I was walking into church. A very kind, older gentleman stopped me and asked, "When are you going to get that girl?" I gave him the same answer as usual and said that we are anticipating sometime in the Spring. He then took me totally off guard when he proceeded to say, "Are you sure you really want to do that? You already have a beautiful family? I don't know why you would want to add another." I quickly told him, "Yes, sir! We are positive that is what God has called us to do." He seemed totally shocked that we would even think about adding another child to our family. I don't know if he meant this because of the number in our family or because of the fact that we are adding one more race to our family. I think I probably had to pick my teeth up off the floor as I quickly walked to my seat. When I told my husband what he said we both looked at each other in shock that someone would really say that. I know it isn't common for people to adopt from another race, but did God really call us to do the common thing? I don't think so. Was this my original plan? No! Is God's plan SO MUCH BETTER? You better believe it is! As I intently listened to the pastor's message, I heard God's words speaking to me. Here is what I heard, "God sent his son, Jesus, to Earth and He was humiliated for my sake that I might rejoice. If he cared enough to do that for me, then I ought to care for others." (Acts 8:26-40) Sounds like a message many of us needed to hear. Me especially, since such a conversation often causes us to ask ourselves, "Did God REALLY say that?" Thanks, Pastor, for confirming to me that Yes, He really did say, "Follow me."(Mark 1:17)

As I thought hard about this, I kept thinking about a blog post I read last week, from Amy, at Building the Blocks. She has such a wonderful way with words and I hope you will hop over to her blog and read what she says. She put my thoughts into such beautiful words. Thank you Amy!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Make it a lifestyle not just a day

As we stopped to give thanks I can't really think of anything else I could desire for Thanksgiving than what He has given me today. God's word promises us that if we delight in Him, He will give us the desires of our heart. (Psalm 37:4) He has certainly done that for my family. Just having us all together is such a blessing. I give Him the glory that I have the assurance of knowing that all of my kids know the Lord as their personal Savior and have a heart to serve Him. I am so thankful that He gives me a peace that He is in control and He loves my children even more than I do. I was blessed today with not only my immediate family all together, but with my extended family as well. Other than David's side of the family, that we missed getting to see, we had 40 people at our house today and enjoyed every moment of it. I can't wait until we can add another little girl, but in the meantime I know God is working out all of the details for us to be together. I hope and pray each of you were blessed by God's amazing love today. As my pastor reminded us on Sunday, Thanksgiving isn't just a day of the year, it is a lifestyle. Are you living a life of thanksgiving everyday?

Nannie with all four of the granddaughters.
My bestfriend and the one that helps me keep it somewhat together.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Blind Side

I haven't even seen this movie yet, but the small trailor that I just watched has a message that should touch hearts all over. People often tell those of us that adopt, "Oh, you are changing that child's life by adopting them." Yes, we are, BUT, what others fail to realize is how incredibly much they are changing ours at the same time! Watch the trailor to the end for a beautiful comment by Sandra Bullock. I can't wait to go see this movie, and I know I better take a tissue. Let me know if you have seen it, and what you think. Have a blessed day!

And now in honor of this football movie, I thought I should share with you my own football picture taken at our last pep rally. The senior football player moms performed a dance for our boys and it may not have been pretty, but it certainly was fun and a memorable moment that I will treasure with my son.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Step by step

Today we pause to thank God for our ultimate spiritual freedom and to thank our military for our freedom while on this Earth. Thank you to each one that has served and those that continue to serve. Our oldest son, Justin, just completed his four years in the USMC and has been home for a time of r and r before he moves on to his next journey in life. He left today to go to Tennessee to visit my father and then after Thanksgiving plans to return to California. Please keep him in your prayers as he tries to decide whether to go into the reserves or stay out and get a job(not easy in today's economic times). God promised us He has plans for him, and I can't wait to see what those entail.

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you a hope and a future, says the Lord." Jer. 29:11

Thinking of our freedom today, I think how far we have come in also caring for the orphans of the world. What a blessing it is to be able to care for God's special children as HE calls us to a little bit easier because we have the freedom to go into others countries that wouldn't have been possible years ago. So, what is stopping YOU from also adopting one of His precious babies? Just think, you can take a vacation AND come home with a souvenir that will bless you for a lifetime. Will it be easy? No, probably no, but God doesn't call us to a life of ease, He calls us to obedience. So, money, is stopping you, you say? My God owns the cattle of a thousand hills, and He WILL provide the funds if you just ask. I KNOW, HE IS DOING IT FOR US! If someone had told me I had to come up with $20, 000 to adopt I probably would have said no way. But, when God promised He would provide it, we said, "here's our faith, God, it's as small as a mustard seed, You take it from here." AND THAT IS JUST WHAT HE IS DOING!

"for every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills." Psalm 50:10

We mailed our dossier to China on 10-30-09 and found out TODAY that we have our LID(log in date). Our LID is 11-4-09. We were told it would take 4-6 weeks to find this out and we found out in 6 days! Yippee Jesus! Little sister, we are coming to get you soon!

Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear

the way for us to come to you.

1 Thessalonians 3:11

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Dedicated to a special friend

(turn off the music at the bottom before playing)

Yesterday afternoon I found out about the death of a wonderful friend, Kevin Bates. We grew up in our church youth group together and went through high school together. We have many wonderful memories that I will treasure until we meet again. My heart aches for the loss his family is experiencing at this time. I am so glad this world is not my home and we are just passing through. Kevin passed through much quicker than we planned, but God numbered his days and He knew exactly when he would come home. Kevin promised me just a couple of weeks ago that he was going to bring his sweet young son to our house for a visit. Well that didn't happen as we planned, but I am so glad I will get to visit his new home someday. Heaven will be a home where we will weep no more and all this pain and suffering will be gone forever. I pray this song comforts you as you cry out to The One who can dry our tears.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hope the rest of this journey goes this quickly!

Our dossier made it to China and was delivered at 9:30 am Nov. 2nd. This seems so strange since that day isn't even here yet for us. It was mailed and Friday so this part was the quickest part so far! We look forward to finding out our log-in date and will begin the count down to the long awaited RA(referral acceptance).This weekend was a wonderful time to be outside with the beautiful weather. I was a very brave mom and took Tia to the creek to hunt for treasures yesterday. Our home has been here for at least 125 years and has a interesting creek running behind it that is not your typical nasty, dirty creek, but is a spring fed one that is crystal clear. Believe me, I wouldn't have been in it, had I not been able to seen the bottom! There are lots of beautiful rocks and broken pottery and glass. (There used to be a glass factory around here somewhere.)We saw lots of beauty in God's creation and had a great time just goofing off. So much fun that she begged Daddy to take her back today. Keeping my camera dry was a challenge, but I'm glad I had it with me. I'm so glad our church had a fall fest a few nights ago, so she was quite content with staying home carving a pumpkin last night.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Football and FedEx

Our dossier is finally on its way to China.
I love that we can track it online via Fed Ex tracking system.
So, this morning of course, I tracked it again.
It is interesting to see where all it goes before the final destination.
It has gone from Virginia and is now in Alaska.
Can't wait til I get that Log in Date to know it is really moving along!
We prayed all along that our trip to China would come after Brandon's final season of football, but little did we know that it wouldn't come until some time next year.
We know that God has the perfect date in mind and we will TRY to be patient until that time.

Last night we had a great football game and experienced our next win of the season for our final away game of the regular season. There was lots of excitement and cheers as the final seconds of the clock ticked down. Brandon made an awesome catch near the end zone and allowed the ball to be carried for a touchdown shortly before we won 31-24.(This picture is not from last night, but one of my favorite action shots of my remarkable #21)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Breathing a sigh of relief!

After many months of enduring the long and often frustrating paper trail, I was finally able to mail our dossier to the AWAA office today! I sent it next day mail so it should arrive in the Virginia office before noon tomorrow. Please pray with me that I remembered everything and all of this can be sent to China on Friday. I just hope I dotted all of my i's and crossed all of my t's! As I've been asked many times, "Now what?" Well, once our dossier arrives in China we will get our LID(log in date) and then we will continue to wait for our RA(referral acceptance). This generally takes many months unfortunately. However, we pray it will come quickly. I only wish it would come as fast as the lady at the post office said today when she said, "maybe you will have your little girl by Christmas." Wow, that would be nice, but in reality we are expecting sometime in the Spring. God certainly has a way of helping us learn a lesson in patience doesn't He?

And now, a few pictures of the incredible 10th birthday cake made especially with love by our dear friend, Rebecca.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Our God directed adoption story...

Happy Birthday, Princess!
(Roasting marshmallows by the campfire tonight.)

In honor of Tia's birthday today, I want to share with you how God blessed our family 10 years ago. This story really starts about 18 years ago, and I am blown away just realizing it was that long ago. I hope you will relax and enjoy the story of how God has been working to change all of our lives in the past ten years. It is an amazing story that could have only been orchestrated by the Lord.

When I was just about to deliver my youngest son, Brandon, August 7, 1991, I became extremely ill. Through a series of tests and visits to the hospital it was determined that I was dealing with a serious blood disease called HELLP syndrome. My doctor quickly informed me that I would most likely not live to birth other children and it was in my best interest to make certain I never became pregnant again. Consequently, we made sure this could not happen. After a few days of extreme pain(worse than any labor I ever experienced), and no relief, I was quickly rushed into the ER to have an emergency C-section. My blood was not clotting and the doctors did not know whether I would live through the night. Praise God I did and I delivered a beautiful baby boy. After heavy sedation, I finally got to see him a few days later. At this time, we realized that his being delivered early had not given his lungs an adequate time to develop and he was dealing with sleep apnea. He stayed in the hospital for 2 weeks and on a breathing monitor for 8 months before we were comfortable with taking him off.

In the eight years that followed, we were in love with our three boys and they kept us very busy! That's a whole other story! However, God left a hole in our hearts for a little girl. Due to the fact that we could not have more children, I prayed that God would take this longing away or else He would somehow give us our little girl. We had discussed adoption, but always said it was too expensive so we didn't pursue it. Finally, in 1998 we went to an informational meeting for foster/adoptive parents. We had planned to go to the second meeting in early 1999 when David fell and broke his back(also another story). Consequently, we did not go and did not think anymore about it for awhile. That is until the summer, when he was still off of work and we had a little extra time. We decided we might want to adopt, but we really weren't sure, so we would get licensed to foster/adopt and let God decide.

Then in September of 1999 we became licensed as foster parents in our area. We requested a little girl ages 0-5. I remember the phone call like yesterday, when the worker called to ask if we would take our little girl to foster. I quickly called David and he said to bring her on. Now we had no idea what we were getting into due to issues she experienced prior to birth, but we would love her for a little while until she could go back to her birth mom or whatever the workers decided.

After a year of the entire family and many friends caring for and loving "our" daughter, it was determined that we could finally adopt her. This only happened after a long year and much prayer! Praise God, because I think they would have had to admit me for psychological help if not! Now, ten years later we are still loving her every minute as she has brought abundant joy into our lives. We joyfully adopted her on National Adoption Day, November 18, 2000 during a wonderful celebration at the courthouse with all of our family. (Someday, when I get a scanner, I will share those precious pictures, but that was prior to my digital camera.)

During our wait God gave me this promise and He has been so faithful in keeping His promises since that time:

Isaiah 46:3-4

"Listen to me.....
you whom I have upheld since you were conceived,
and have carried since your birth.

Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Could a little girl be surrounded by any more love and craziness?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes...

Teaching 85 sixth graders and having children of my own always give opportunity for a good laugh. Here are just a few statements I've heard lately that are certainly worthy of being remembered. No names are mentioned to protect the innocent and my job!

"My mom thought she was ready to have her baby because she started having 'convulsions.'"

"My mom will be having her baby next week. The doctor is going to euthanize her!" (I quickly reminded this darling student what this word meant and we both got a great laugh.)

When our morning started off crazy I heard, "This is chanos!"(I believe that should be chaos, but whatever, it was crazy!)

Busy, Blessed Weekend

Last weekend was so busy, but such a blessing to share with friends and family. Starting Thursday night we drove 1.5 hours to play football, and experienced our first win of the season. It was so exciting! We decided we really don't want our boys to graduate because we know as parents we will miss the great times we spend with one another cheering our guys on.

Friday, I was so blessed to spend time with a few friends, Rebecca, Jane, Wendy, and Judy that truly love the Lord with a passion. We ate a wonderful, high calorie dinner topped off with some luscious coconut cream pie and had the blessing of sharing our hearts and prayer concerns until 2 am at the beautiful Embassy Suites. If It is true that "Laughter does a heart good like a medicine, " (and God's word IS true!) then we certainly took a huge dose of medicine!

Saturday, after a wonderful cooked to order breakfast, we drove to an amazing display of the Lord's Supper in Fort Worth, Texas. (Thanks, Mom, for telling us about this!) If you get the opportunity to see this, please do. There was an audio description that told about each disciple and each one had such a real looking face. It was simply beautiful!Finally, Saturday evening, I had the opportunity to visit with friends from high school at my 25th reunion. So despite being exhausted I had a fantastic weekend visiting with friends and socializing - one of my favorite things to do!

Monday, October 12, 2009

He's in the small stuff

As the little book says, "Don't sweat the small stuff...and it's all small stuff." Sometimes that small stuff seems mighty big. Right now something that sure seems like small stuff caused another delay in our adoption journey. One thing I know for sure is that God knows exactly what day we will travel and He is working all of this out in His time. Last Friday, I got our envelope back from the Chinese Consulate and was so excited; that is, until I opened it and realized it had been returned to us for the second time due to a small little detail. There was a date that didn't match exactly and it had to be corrected. Frustrating again, but we corrected it and got it in the mail. I am hoping and praying it comes back to us for the FINAL time this week!

Ok, I need a few scripture reminders to cling to on this journey about how He sees every little detail. Send them to me sweet bloggy friends.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


just for the record....
I have officially lost my marbles!

Tia and I have been playing the game Kerplunk and I lost yet again!
It has been a nice relaxing, fall weekend and a fun time to watch a movie, play games and nap!

Yesterday, I really felt like I had lost all my marbles when this
precious 80 lb., muscular baby of mine,
slammed into me full force and
knocked me flat of the ground.

I wasn't a very good sport as I lay flat on the rocks crying! Lesson of the day for my husband- Never throw the ball for the dog when your wife is standing between you two!
Well, he apologized a million times and I only have a few bruises.

Update on our adoption:

After we got our fingerprint paperwork and I -797, back I sent it to the
Sec. of State and then to the Chinese Consulate two weeks ago.
Last Monday, I was so excited to get it back! That is until I realized they were sending it back to inform me that I hadn't included something.
Details, Details!
I had forgotten to enclose a photocopy and had only included $20 instead of $25. I got this back in the mail to them on Wednesday
and hope it will come back to me this week.
Our dossier has been complete for months except for this paperwork
and we are so ready to send it to China.

Hopefully that will happen soon!
Yes, we know God's timing is perfect, but it is hard knowing you have a
little girl waiting on the other side of the world while we wait on paperwork. I'm just glad she doesn't know she is waiting, since that would be so hard on a 3 year old!
Please pray with us that God will be in the details so we can bring her home soon!

(I hope you like the new style. My daughter had been trying to get me to change it for quite some time, because She didn't like the other one, so this was her choice. Please feel free to leave comments and let her know what you think.)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Miracle of birth

Today I hosted a baby shower for a friend and what a joy to experience God's miracle of life and the excitement waiting for birth. I even got to feel his precious little feet kicking away and see a 3D sonogram picture (Look carefully and you can see it in the picture above). Wow, those have improved in the past few years! It was unbelievable to see how clear the picture was and he isn't even due for two more months! How anyone can doubt God's hand in creation blows my mind! Childbirth is such an incredible miracle! Jessie, you are a beautiful mommy and your new one will be blessed with a wonderful family to love him!

Didn't I just say that childbirth is a miracle? Is it any less of a miracle when that baby doesn't have a family to love and nurture them? No, that life is no less a miracle, yet that child may not have anyone to hold them when they cry, kiss their knee, or say a goodnight pray. My heart breaks for these babies, young children and older children that will never have a forever family.

I had the privilege of sharing our little girl's picture with friends today as I long to hold her in my arms. As I looked at these new, young mommies today I once again thought, "Am I too old?" But quickly remembered my gently reminder that it will be much better for a child to have an older parent than NO parent! It will be better for my child to not "look" like me than to not have a home and it will be better for my girls to be raised to love the Lord Jesus than to possibly never know Him.

So, if you ever question whether adoption is for you, please pray and realize that just like the starfish, you may not change the world for all the orphans of the world, but you may change the world for one child.

Don't forget to turn off the music at the bottom of the page

Monday, September 21, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

(Turn off music at the bottom of page to hear the video.)

An exciting pep rally and an exciting day, today is Homecoming 2009 and the last year we will watch any of our boys play football. Brandon, along with a few of his good friends, have been nominated Homecoming King, and we get the privilege of escorting him onto the field at half time to hear the winner announced. It is a sappy(sad/happy) year with lots of endings yet looking forward to lots of new beginnings. This video was taken at the pep rally today and as you can hear, Nick encourages the guys to "protect this house." Unfortunately, they did not win the game tonight, but they gave it their best effort. They were pumped up to protect their home turf! This was such a reminder to me that we should get just this excited as we protect our own house. There is a roaring lion out there that would love to destroy our homes and families, but our God is so much stronger and He will guard and protect those we have committed to Him. Do we put that much enthusiasm into protecting our family from what comes into our house? With the media we are certainly exposed to more and more all the time and we must be so careful to continually pray for God's faithful hand of protection around our home and those we love.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Who's Your VIP?

Our message this morning at church was on those Very Important People in our lives. Jesus had those people in life as well, with friends like Mary, Martha and Lazarus. It gave me the opportunity to reflect on all of those people that have been so important in my life. People like Sunday School teachers, school teachers, friends, and also those we most often forget to mention, like our family. God has blessed me with many special people over the years that I will always treasure as a VIP. Some of those have come into my life for a long time and some just for a season, but they will always be those special people that I won't forget. So I would love to hear from you, who are those VIP's in your life and why?
Just a few of my VIP's called family! If I ever forget to tell you, I love you with all my heart! A special VIP called a sister, that allows me to act goofy right along with her!
One of the greatest VIP's, that has made my life a joy for the past 22 years! A special VIP, following God's lead as a missionary in Mexico - I miss you girl!