It's amazing what you can do with some fabric, a couple of towels, a blanket, a tree, and a lot of imagination!

Friday, February 27, 2009

This has been the four big kids favorite passtime for the past few days. They've been ninjas, chiefs, queens, servants, and probably anything else that you could imagine. I just love that my kiddos enjoy playing with one another. By the way, they are all still sleeping in sleeping bags in the boy's room. Thank you, Jesus, that they are such great friends!

A Journey

Monday, February 23, 2009

The past year-and-a-half has been a journey into the realization of God's deep, abiding love and care for me. It has been a long and difficult road, because for the previous five (or so) years, I had become steeped in fear, and the desire to be approved by others. I tried to conform to other people's thoughts (or what I thought were other people's thoughts) and desires. I let go of God's heart and replaced it with the altar of self-concern and approval from others. As a result, I lost the belief that God truly cared for me. I felt abandoned and alone, when, in reality, it was I who had abandoned God.

But, this amazing God continued to love and pursue me, even when I had turned my back on Him. He offered His full heart, without restraint, because He loves to give, and give, and give, and give.

I have to tell you that this time has been one of the loneliest times of my life. God removed many of my friends from my life during this time. The road to our Lord is not always easy. Sometimes it can be very painful. But God has not left me completely to my self. In fact, it was actually due to the care of my incredible husband that I have been able to receive the love that God so desperately wanted to pour out upon me. Because of David's loving care and full-hearted trust in me, my heart was softened. David's care opened me up to the Father's care.

And though I have not shared any of this up until now, God has used each of you (my blogger friends) to ease the pain of loneliness during this season of my life. I know that God has had me very much alone during this time for a definite reason, but He has also been gracious to give me all of your encouragement and kindness over the past year.

And now, I have to tell you, that I am no longer experiencing the pain of loneliness. God is so very near, so very close. Last night, as I was praying, I felt that He was right in my bones...the very marrow!! Everything that He does is a whisper to me of His amazing kindness and care. He pours out His blessings...pours them out. They are not a trickle...but a flood. And to borrow a term from Heidi Baker, I am "wrecked" by one look from His eyes.

My circumstances have not changed. In many ways, I am still very alone...but I am not alone at all! Jesus is with me. He is with me. And He is with you. He cares for you so deeply. I pray that each of you would know His care..would know His love...would truly experience His kindness...and would be "wrecked" by one look from His eyes.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

The four big kids (and Rosie) all wanted to sleep together in the boy's room the past couple of nights. They actually all shared a room up until about a year ago, but we decided that Adam and Yana were getting a bit old to share a room. They all miss being together, though, so they've been asking to have a "sleepover" for awhile. It went so well last night, that we let them have another sleepover tonight!

Sweet Surprise

Friday, February 20, 2009

The doorbell rang during our homeschooling this morning, and I got a sweet surprise from my thoughtful husband...

Aren't they beautiful?! I love lilies (thus, the name of our first daugher :) ). And I love this man!!! Thanks for being such a wonderful husband and father, David!!

Thankful Thursday

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I walked outside this afternoon and encountered these two beautiful girls, snuggling and talking together on the big swing. I am so grateful, today, for their sisterly love for one another...

Grace notes

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Our little girl continues to amaze us with her sweet spirit and contagious joy! Just wanted to fill you in on some of her latest antics and activities...

One incredible thing about Grace is that she doesn't seem to get frustrated by communication. If someone doesn't understand her, she just keeps on talking until that person gets it!! She has some cute little phrases that make the rest of the family laugh. For example...

1) "Could you help you?"

2) She is convinced that the word "pink" means "the same," so she goes around showing everyone things that are "pink," even if they're both green!

3) We sometimes call Jadon, Jadey-boo. It's so cute to hear Grace call him "Jae-boo."

4) She says that "erybody pretty ones," except Baba, Jadon and Adam. They're "hasome."

5) David has a habit of giving everyone unusual nicknames. So, now Grace is "whooper." She, in turn, calls David "BaBa whooper," and tonight her doll was "MeiMei whooper."

Grace loves to bless everyone before they go to sleep. She's blessing Adam in the picture above. After blessing him, she told him that he should "Go bed fussy or talky."

A couple of days ago during our family prayer time we were thanking God for things that He has given to us. She named everyone in the family "Ada, Jada, Nini (Lily), Yana, BaBa, MaMa, and Rosie." We all cheered in thankfulness that we now all belong to Grace and she belongs to us! Thank you Jesus!

The picture above, and the one below, have Grace's fave new book in them. It's a color book (and CD). She loves it and I think that she has most of the colors down now. I do think that the library will want it back some day, so I guess that I can hope that she tires of it soon.

Grace also had her first haircut. The picture below shows her cut fairly well. They didn't cut much off, but I think that it looks pretty cute!

One of the reasons that Grace needed to have her hair cut, is that she LOVES to take out her ponytails. Here she is post-pigtail. LOL!

Here's our little sweetie, praising Jesus in her sleep!

Praising Jesus, along with Grace! He is good and He continues to bless us with this incredible little girl!

A father to the fatherless

Saturday, February 14, 2009

"I have read on my knees, with prayer and meditation, Psalm 68. Verse 5: "A father to the fatherless," one of the titles of Jehovah, has been a special blessing to me, with reference to the orphans. The truth, which is contained in this, I never realized so much as today. By the help of God, this shall be my argument before him, respecting the orphans, in the hour of need. He is their Father, and therefore has pledged himself, as it were, to provide for them, and to care for them; and I have only to remind him of the need of these poor children, in order to have it supplied. My soul is still more enlarged respecting orphans. This word, "a father to the fatherless," contains enough encouragement to cast thousands of orphans upon the loving heart of God." George Muller of Bristol, p. 134

Along with Mr. Muller...reminding God and casting thousands upon "the father to the fatherless" today.

China pictures

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Our friend and travel guide, Morgan, gave us a disc of pictures that he had taken in China. Some of them were ones that I didn't have, so I wanted to share them here.

In the Beijing airport. We were on our way to Guizhou to get our little girl!!
Our group outside the Miao village. We had such a great travel group!

Our more immediate "group".

A little Mom/Lily snuggle on the bus.

Here is where we first discovered Grace's love for spicy food--at a Miao restaurant in GuiYang.

The boys with a native Miao singer.

And the "big" girls.

Jade and Opa.

Our kids really did feed the monkeys!

Adam, getting real close!

Our group, on our last day in GuiYang.

After our medical appointment in GuangZhou.

White Swan group photo.

I love this Miao baby carrier!

Cute girls!

What a smile!

These phones were the popular toy in GuangZhou.

Officially ours! Hooray!

A family for "Liam"

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Grace and I went to a travel meeting for our adoption agency today. We were one of two families who had traveled recently and were there to give encouragement and input to those who would be traveling soon.

We had a great time visiting with Morgan (who traveled to China with us) and Joni and Kristi (who work in the office), as well as some of the waiting families. We were very sad to hear, however, that little Liam (who we thought had a family) was waiting again.

Liam is from the same orphanage as Grace. He is a doll. In the picture, below, he is eating chocolate. He is 5 years old and has a repaired cleft lip and an unrepaired palate. He needs a family of his own.

Although I did not get a chance to interact with Liam much (Grace was having a really hard time that day), Morgan said that he is an incredibly sweet boy. Look at that face!!!

If you have an interest in adopting a precious little boy, please check out Click "adoption" and then "waiting kids". They actually have a whole list of adorable boys (and 2 girls) right now.

Six Years!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

I can hardly believe that it has been six years since our wonderful son joined our family. What a gift and a treasure he is!
Here's our little sweetie boy, when he was living at ZhangZhou SWI in China. His room is on the second floor (the farthest left window in the picture). Isn't he a cutie?!
And here he is on the play structure at the SWI.

And finally, here he is, almost 6 years later, back in China.


Odds 'n Ends

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Since we returned home from China, David has had a lot of time with the boys. I, on the other hand, have not had quite as much time as I usually do with my boys. So, last Wednesday, the boys and I had a mom/sons night out. We had such a good time. We went out to eat and then played a card game at the restaurant. We seldom take our kids to movies because they are super sensitive when it comes to anything violent, etc. But the boys had heard a bit about the movie Bolt. We decided to give it a try. There were a couple of scary parts, but all in all, it was pretty good. They were so happy to have this special time, and I definitely enjoyed their sweet, gentlemanly company for the evening.
While we were out, the girls played dress-up with BaBa. I wish that they had taken pictures, as I guess that BaBa was dressed up as a very lovely queen. But, since I had the camera, I'll just have to post a picture from a different dress-up play time. Yana and Lily are so creative when it comes to dress-up. They have some typical dress-up outfits, but they usually prefer to create their own.The four older kids have been going to some homeschool classes on Mondays. They are really enjoying it, and it gives me a chance to have some one-on-one time with Grace. We went to the library's story time last week. They had a new story time lady and she was fabulous. She was so good with the kids and was very expressive in her story telling. I am so incredibly grateful for the library. All of my kids love to go there and we have some great children's librarians.
Grace and I have also been taking a lot of prayer walks. I broke down and bought her a (used) stroller and am so glad that I did. She's so little, she can't always keep up with walking and though we carry her a lot, I can't really carry her for a whole walk. There is a trail by our house that I frequently walk on. I am constantly reminded (as I walk on this trail) how just a few short months ago, I was praying for my dear little girl who was in an orphanage far away in China. Now, she is here with us! God is good!

I have been eyeing this lightwedge for years. The homeschool website that I frequently order books from, has these for sale. Since I still sit with Grace while she is going to sleep, I finally decided to buy the lightwedge. That way, I can read while she is fallling asleep. Wow! It is great. I definitely recommend buying it if you do a lot of reading while someone else needs it to be dark in the room. It sure beats a regular book light.

Our sweet Lily girl has been sick since Thursday. She has had a fever between 102 and 104.4. Yikes, she is hot. She also is not eating. She's been a sweet patient, though, and I've enjoyed a lot of snuggling. We've been praying and praying for her. I am encouraged by Heidi Baker's testimony. She prayed for every blind person that she met for a year, with no success. But, now she sees God heal the blind regularly. She kept pressing into God and believing in His faithfulness. So, we'll keep praying for our precious girl until she is well. And we'll keep praying for others because we know that He is good!

Look at that sweet smile!

God's daily faithfulness

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

God loves to share His heart with His friends. He loves to give Himself away and to love with abandon. He is enraptured by one simple "glance of our eyes" (Song of Solomon), and in response to that little glance, He gives back more love than we could return in a lifetime.

God has been pouring out His love and kindness to me these past few months. He has been speaking gentle words of encouragement, love and correction. He has been leading me day by day and teaching me to be content with the knowledge of only today.

When we went to China, I took a book by Bill Johnson, called The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind. It's an incredible book and, like many of his other books, I highly recommend it. One part of the book that particularly struck me was when he was describing the relationship between his father's ministry and his own.

"We have an obligagtion to build on his ceiling, not to defend and protect what he accomplished, but to take it to its natural conclusion and to walk in realms of dominion that have been made possible because of his sacrifice." p. 167

What a beautiful picture of faithfulness. We have an obligation to build upon the labors of the saints who have come before us. Their ceiling becomes our floor. We do not strive to attain to what they have already done, but we believe God to do even more in and through us because of their faithfulness.

I mentioned the book George Muller of Bristol a couple of days ago. While you may think that, with four adopted children, my main interest in George Muller would be in the way that he cared for orphans. I am very interested in this and I believe that this is truly and completely on the Father's heart. In fact, I had a great conversation with the Lord about this the other day that edified my heart and opened my eyes to see more of how He sees the needy ones of this world.

But, actually, my main interest in George Muller has to do with his daily faith and trust in Jesus to supply his (and all of those in his care) every need. I said in another post that I am just a beginner in learning how to truly trust in God. This is absolutely true. But, I am not satisfied with this. I want George Muller's ceiling to become my floor. I know that this may sound strange, because we all know that George Muller was a great man. But, I don't think that it would honor him (or the Lord!), to say, "Woe is me. I will never be like that." Instead, I think that it gives him honor to truly strive after more of what he was about. I want to daily trust in the Lord in a way that glorifies His Holy Name!

God is speaking to me about this all of the time. I believe that I am to see George Muller as a spiritual father, of sorts. What would he say if he were right here, if he actually were my father? I would love to sit at his feet and learn from him as a daughter learns from her father.

I got another book a couple of days ago called Compelled by Love, by Heidi Baker. Again, God is using this couple (Rolland and Heidi Baker) to serve His most needy ones, and He does it while daily supplying their every need. (Do you see a pattern here? This is actually what the Lord was talking to me about the other day. He LOVES to supply for the needs of the orphan, in particular, because it is then obvious that He is the one doing it!! They have nothing and He gives them everything. How great is that?!)

Of course, another example of this is Mother Teresa. Heidi Baker quotes Mother Teresa quite a bit. These two women are beautiful. They have entrusted their lives to our awesome God and have daily depended on Him for all things. He, in turn, has been faithful. What a God we have! I am praying that all of you have seen the wonder and provision of our God today. May He overwhelm you with His love this very day. Yes, let it be so, Lord Jesus. Let it be so.

3 months!

Monday, February 2, 2009

We have been so absolutely blessed by this precious little girl! We are so very grateful to God that He saw fit to have this beautiful child join our family. She is truly a gift to us.

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