My adoption day post (by Lily)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

"I have been with my mom and dad for 8 years now. God has done many incredible things in my life with mom and dad. I am glad that I have many siblings. I hope that many other kids would be adopted into a great family like mine."
"I was adopted on my mom's birthday. It's Yana's birthday too!" "A Lily in the middle (just like me!)."

In His Grace,

'Tis the Season

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The next 27 days for our family, are always a bit of a whirlwind. We have 5 birthdays and one adoption day in our immediate family within those 27 days. It starts out with a bang on August 30th, with Yana's birthday, my birthday and Lily's adoption day all on the same day!! What better gift could I have asked for than these two precious girls?! Unfortunately, I didn't have a digital camera on our first August 30th, spent together, just 4 years ago. But, this picture was taken a couple of months later in that year. Aren't these two girls sweet?!

We decided to celebrate Yana's birthday on Saturday, the 29th (today). Yesterday, our friend Tonya ( came over (from next door!) to teach Yana how to decorate her cake!
Yana and Lily had a great time decorating!
Didn't it turn out great?!

Yana had a swimming party (our last swim of the summer, I think). Here are some of the swimmers.
Jadon and Grace are having fun!
So is Elayne!

The whole crew, eating lunch.

Yana's friend, Slava (on the left) made the trip to join us for Yana's party. Slava is also from Ukraine, and is such a special friend to Yana. What a gift that she was able to join us in celebrating Yana's special day.

Dad and Adam, lighting the candles. Sweet friends, Natasha and Hannah are watching.

Back at our house with Slava.
Our precious Yana, we are so honored to celebrate this 12th birthday with you. You are gift to us from our gracious Father. You have a servant's heart and your smile lights up a room. We pray that you will soar during this 12th year of your life--that you will experience the love and joy of our Lord in a deeper and fuller way! We love you, sweet one!!!

Stay tuned for more celebrations, coming soon...

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Thankful Thursday (a Wednesday night edition)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I am so incredibly thankful for books and for writers, who share their hearts, wisdom and lives with others. These are the best of the books that I have read (or am reading) in the past few months. There are some real treasures here!

  1. Compelled by Love, By Heidi Baker. I read this book a while back, but am re-reading it with Lily. If you're familiar with Heidi and Rolland Baker, you know that their hearts are truly a fire of love for our Lord. Lily loves to read about the many ways that God acts miraculously on their behalf and on behalf of the people whom they serve. It inspires Lily to pray for God to work in the same way in our lives here. There are a hundred things that I could quote in this book. Here's just one: "If God was not with us in this unfamiliar world and ministry, we did not want to continue. If He could not be trusted, and followed, if the Sermon on the Mount was simply impractical, if we could not do 'even greater things than Jesus did' (John 14:12), then our mission work was--and is today--hopeless. We have no backup plan. We have nothing but Him." (p. 9-10)
  2. Glory, by Ruth Ward Heflin. Here's another one that I read a while back. I'm re-reading it with Adam now. This has been such a pleasure. Adam takes everything to heart and we can spend thirty minutes talking about one paragraph. Then, he loves to apply what he's learning right away. We've both learned so much about worship and giving God glory from reading this book.
  3. George Muller of Bristol, by Arthur T. Pierson. If you want God to transform your view of money and posessions, this is the book to read! George Muller's life and love for the Lord will inspire you to trust God with every single thing that God has given to you.
  4. The Song of Songs, by Mike Bickle. Okay, this isn't a book, but I had to throw this one in here. It is incredible!!! I am listening to this teaching for the second time (20 hours of teaching). If you have ever wondered about God's love for you, please listen to this teaching series. He loves you with an extravagant love!!! You will be inspired to seek His love and return His love the more that you meditate on this incredible love song.
  5. Crazy Love, by Francis Chan. Thanks so much to Jenn over at and Audrey at for introducing me to Francis Chan. He is a man who loves God and desires to live out that love in the way that God intended for His Church. He is bold and crazy in His love, and will inspire you to love God with this same kind of crazy love.
  6. When the Church was a Family, by Joseph H. Hellerman. This book has been consuming my thoughts for the past couple of weeks. It gives the best explanation that I have ever read of what it means to truly be brothers and sisters in Christ. The Church is not an optional organization for Christians. It is to be our family.
  7. The Connected Child, by Karyn Purvis. I really haven't read a lot of books about adopted children. I am leary of placing too much emphasis on the fact that children are adopted, if they are having difficulties. But honestly, adopted children do have some unique challenges, and this book does a good job of handling some of these issues and giving suggestions for overcoming things that are unique to children with turbulent pasts.
  8. The Fire of God's love, by Bob Sorge. Wow! I just started this book today and it is incredible!!!! My friend, Meredith, gave it to me (thanks, Mer!). Listen to how Bob Sorge explains the problem of the Laodecian church: "Now, shall I look at the burning love on the cross, and lazily turn away to find another object with which to share my affections? After seeing the intensity of His love for me, shall I reciprocate with a milquetoast, insipid, inane, sleepy token of the leftovers of my love? Would that kind of fiery love want to receive a half-hearted, yawn-in-your-face love in return? 'No!' declares He whose eyes are ablaze with an inflamed jealousy. 'That kind of love is obnoxious to Me,' He says. 'I will vomit it out of My mouth.'"
  9. Hebrews, by William L. Lane. I've been studying Hebrews and this is a wonderful, readable commentary. I highly recommend it!

I'd love to hear about some of the things that others have been reading. Are there any books/authors who particularly inspire you to live out a life worthy of the calling of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? I so want to be called on to love Him more!

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Wordless Wednesday (making progress)

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What do you do while the treehouse is in progress?

Monday, August 24, 2009

You build a temporary shelter, of course!
David had to cut down some branches from the tree in our backyard, because there is going to be an incredible treehouse being built very soon. The branches were in the way of the plans.

The kids sure are having fun in the temporary shelter. Maybe we don't need a treehouse...?

Okay, so I guess that we do!
(But maybe not just for the kids!!!)

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Who is this God?!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

"Turn your eyes away from Me, for they have overcome Me."
Song of Solomon 6:5
"Our eyes of devotion move Jesus' heart. Our greatest glory is that we can move God's heart. What overcomes His heart? The greatness of the stars, oceans and mountains do not. The vast armies of men or demons are nothing before Him. The greatest warrior in history is "conquered" by our love, when we are true to him in times of testing. Yes, our eyes of love move Him."
(Mike Bickle, commentary on the Song of Songs)
How can this be? How is it possible that the Creator of the Universe, the One who holds all things in His hand, the Almighty God is overcome by the gaze of His faithful lovers?!
One of my favorite songs speaks of Jesus, our King, and declares, "You have captured our hearts again!" This makes sense to me! Jesus captures our hearts, because He is so good, He is so faithful, He is so perfectly loving. But, when this beautiful, perfect, holy God says that we capture His heart I fall to me knees, absolutely amazed. What kind of God is this?! Whom is this God that we serve?! What kind of love is this?! I stand in awe. I can only worship...
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My drummer boys

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I just love listening to my boys play the drums! Here's Adam...

And Jadon...
(Jadon was a bit tentative to be videotaped. But, if you get past the first few seconds, you can see the real Jadon-drummer!)

The joy-springing child

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"You know the difference between taking a glad, loving, joy-springing child with you along the way, when the child anticipates each direction, accepts naturally each decision as to each turning--and the child who resists, and, rebellious, has to be forced, even though in its quieter moments it may say, "Yes. I do want to go with you. I cannot be left alone, but I hate this way." God Calling, August 18

So many times in my life, I have been that child who resists. Though wanting to follow the Father during quiet moments of reflection, I would rebel against his gentle hand during the everyday trials of life. I would grow irritated by a perceived offense, or impatient with one of my children, simply because he is a acting like a child. It is not generally in the large things that we fail to follow with joy, but in the everyday, mundane chores of life.

If you are a parent, you know the sadness that you feel when your child resists your gentle lead. How much greater the Father's sorrow, when we choose to go our own way. His way is always good. His way is always perfect. His way is always full of love. May I follow it faithfully, lovingly and with great anticipation, springing with joy!

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"I love it!"

Monday, August 17, 2009

We told the children that each of them (except Grace, who LOVES her little bed) could try sleeping in a hammock. They loved the idea of the hammock, because we told them that it would give them more space in their rooms (the hammock can be hung to one side during the day). But, we weren't sure if they would really like sleeping in one. So, we bought one hammock and told them that they could take turns trying it. Whoever liked it, could have a hammock of their own. Well, Lily was the first to try, and in her words, "I love it!"
Cozy girls' room.
Yana's turn is next!

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"Grace Like Rain"

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

God has been pouring out His grace upon me. It has been like a refreshing and welcomed shower of rain.
Last week I mentioned how much joy I experienced watching my precious son working hard and singing praises to the Lord: "Hallelujah! Grace like rain...falling down on me." His daddy had been singing the same song earlier in the day, and their voices were like sweet rain, falling down, causing all of us to look to The One who pours out His precious grace on us.
A few weeks ago, this same beloved son shared a vision that the Lord had given to Him. We were worshiping with our brothers and sisters on a Sunday morning. Everyone was singing and dancing and praising the Lord. But everyone looked like an outline of whom they really were. They had no insides! The Lord, in His love, stood in heaven, lifting His arms up above His head. He began throwing down rain upon us. And we were filled. We were filled to overflowing. We were filled with the rain of God. We were filled with the Holy Spirit.
"Grace Like Rain"

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Thank you, Jill!

Thanks so much to Jill, over at ! She redesigned my blog and I love it! Jill has a heart for the orphan and for children in general. If you haven't read her other blogs, please do. You'll be encouraged. Jill does all of her blog designs for free. She just asks that you donate to one of three amazing ministries. Thank you, Jill!
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stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

...things are going to look a little different around here soon.

Thankful Thursday

Thursday, August 6, 2009

We're moving tomorrow! And though I am very thankful for our new home, I am even more thankful to finally have my sweet love back!!! He has been working non-stop for the past week, painting, fixing closets, re-doing faulty electrical work, etc. in our new home. The kids and I miss him!!!
Of course, the kids and I have been helping out some as well, but some of us have been more helpful than others (and I'm afraid that I'm not necessarily in that "more helpful than others" group!! lol). I was watching Adam and realized that at 10 years old, he is definitely more knowledgeable about carpentry than I am. I'm so thankful that Adam has been able to work with David so much over the past few years. What a gift of time together! I wish that I had a camera with me so that I could have taken a video of Adam in his mask, all dirty, singing "Grace like rain, falling down on me..." at the top of his voice. He is growing into such an incredible young man.

I'm also thankful today, for our soon-to-be new neighbors. You can "visit" one of these three families from our church by visiting their blog at They've been such a help in our moving process already. Ethan (their 12 year old) has been working hard, along with Uncle David, Adam and others.

There are so many other things that I am thankful for, but right now, I had better get back to packing up the last of our things. I'm thankful to have had this little break!

Nine months...since the first day that we heard Grace's sweet voice

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Of course, on that day (nine months ago), most of what we heard was crying and begging (in Chinese) to "please let me out of this room!" It was truly heartbreaking. But now, here's our little darling, 9 months later, "reading" and smiling and sharing her beautiful little voice with us.'s music to this mama's ears.

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