sweet music

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Last week, I shared a little bit in this post about how the Lord has been showing me that my passion must be for Him, my life must be in Him, and my joy must overflow from my relationship with Him. I admit that this hasn't always been the case over the past few months. A lot of times, I have simply been going through the motions, without the passion.

But, no more!

On Friday, our precious Jesus spoke very tenderly, very personally to my heart. He also made it clear that I haven't been obeying. I have been neglecting the things that He has called me to be about.

And friends, it was music to my ears.

That's just how it is with Jesus. Even when He corrects us, He's so incredibly kind. His discipline is better than the most lavish of praise from man.

In a moment, Jesus took my sin and threw it into the sea! Then, He let me experience great joy, a renewed passion and an overwhelming love that could not be contained. And I'm not talking about emotion here. I'm talking about a deep knowing in my soul that He has redeemed me and set me free, and that anything that He asks of me is pure joy to obey.

Friends, there is nothing like the pleasure of loving and being loved by our King. There is nothing like the joy of obeying His every call. There is absolutely nothing like hearing the voice of Jesus, speaking your name. Truly, it is the sweetest music that you will ever hear.

next steps

Friday, September 28, 2012

We got an email from our agency on Monday night, letting us know to prepare for a lot of paperwork over the next couple of months. Um, David and I couldn't help but laugh. We thought that we were done with a lot of paperwork. But there is no doubt at all that it is all totally and completely and wonderfully worth it. I mean, look at this face.

I'd give my life for this little guy! What's a few more nights of no sleep, due to filling out paperwork?!
We've completed our I-800A extension paperwork and it's on its way to the appropriate place, thanks to our wonderful agency. We are right on the line for needing an extension, since our original I-800A expires on December 30, but better to be safe on this one. And what's one more trip to Denver and one more set of fingerprints at this point?!

In two days, our agency will send out our I-800, which gives us permission from the US government to adopt this specific child. For some reason, the extension has to be sent out first. I don't exactly know why, but it just has to be done that way.

On a side note:  I had a mini-breakdown when our agency called on Wednesday, telling me that I had forgotten to sign our I-800A extension. Forgotten to sign it?! Oh my! How could I do that? Wonderful David rushed a signed copy off to the post office (when we were supposed to be celebrating his birthday) and we only lost one day in that little fiasco.

Soooo...after we get our I-800 back (in a month or so...?), China can issue our travel approval. I don't actually know how long that is taking these days, but once we get that back we will get our China visas and our consulate date. We will probably have about two weeks notice before travel, and the whole process until that point is supposed to take about 10-15 weeks. We are definitely hoping for 10 weeks!

This whole process with China has been like a dream, so far. Every step has gone smoothly and has been quicker than expected. I know that it's not necessarily like that for every Chinese adoption, but after our experience with India, we are so very grateful for the relative smoothness of China. I keep praying for all of my amazing friends who are adopting beautiful Indian children. It takes a lot of stamina, faith and patience to adopt from India. Would you pray for these families (and waiting children!), as well?

And to end this post, I wanted to share a sweet message that we received from the woman (from another agency) who met our little Stephen Kaikai. We had sent her a message, letting her know that we received LOA, and this is how she responded:

Doing backflips!!!!!! Okay, in my mind anyway, my body won't cooperate. Kyler
is my little man. I so adore this boy. He is my bud. Sarah, get that hand
ready because Kyler is going to want to hold it from the minute you meet. I am
beaming right now!!!! I know you can imagine his sweetness but you just have no
idea how marvelous this child is in person.

Oh my goodness! It's true, I can definitely imagine his sweetness, but I sure can't wait to experience him, in person! It's going to be soon, sweet Stephen Yuankai. Thank you, Jesus! Very, very soon.

another special day

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Happy Birthday to my fabulous, handsome hubby!

I am blessed beyond compare to be married to this man, and it is a joy to celebrate his birthday. He is such a kind, considerate, patient, affectionate, deep-thinking, fun and loving man. He is a fabulous father--always  teaching and playing with our kiddos (and all of the neighborhood children, as well).

I love you, David and pray that you have a wonderful 42nd year!
(It's great to be the same age again!)

three amazing little letters

Monday, September 24, 2012

Or another way of saying it is this...

We are seriously doing the happy dance around here! Our agency received our official Letter of Acceptance!!!! Woohooo! We couldn't be more excited!!!! The average wait time is 60-80 days, and ours came in 42 days. Thank you, Jesus!!! We spent the evening filling out more paperwork, and hope to have our LOA received, signed, and sent back to our agency tomorrow. The possibility of December travel is looking really good right now!!!

Is it any fun?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A few weeks ago, I wrote this post, in an attempt to explain a little bit of what the Lord has been doing in my life. In the post I shared about a dream that God had given to me. In the dream, I was on an island and a tsunami was coming. But, before it actually hit, I had a vision (still in the dream) of how the island would look after the tsunami had passed. There was a beautiful little house on the island--bright and shining, but completely empty.

I explained in the post how I felt that there had been a tsunami that had torn through my heart in this past year, and now I was sitting in that house with Jesus. It was lovely, clean and bright. But, it was certainly empty. I knew that my Jesus would begin to fill the house in His time, if I would only let Him (and not fill it with all of my worthless stuff).

Then, school started. And, as I mentioned, I have been caught up in grading, planning and longing for more sleep. The beautiful little house was never far from my mind, but I didn't have the stamina to just sit with Him in the house, and listen to His heart.

But, our Jesus, He's so very patient.

On Friday, as I sat before the Lord (for the first really extended time since school began), He showed me something amazing. He showed me the first little thing that could (and must) come into the house.

It was His joy.

I was reading a book by Leif Hetland. The book had been intriguing up until that point, but nothing had struck me as particularly noteworthy. Nothing, that is, until this question... 

"Is it any fun?"

hmmm...that's an odd question. Is it any fun? What does Mr. Hetland mean by that?

He went on..

"The Christian life you're living, the Christian God you're serving, the Christian things you're doing. Is it any fun? By fun, I don't mean that you're in a perpetual state of euphoria. I don't mean that you're always up, always in a good mood, always the life of the party. What I mean by the question is this. Do you love it? Is it your passion? Do you get joy from it? Does it give you life? And does it give life to those around you?"
Leif Hetland, Seeing Through Heaven's Eyes, P. 134

Ah Lord, this is not just a rhetorical question. This is the question of the hour.
Is it any fun?
Do I love it?
Is it my passion?
Do I get joy from it?
Does it give me life?
And (here's the kicker), does it give life to those around you?

Oh dear Jesus, I knew the answer to that question.
And the answer was


Not always no.
Not continually no.
But, much, much too often, the answer would have to be


Oh, my precious Jesus, it is now clear to me why I needed to start over with nothing--with no preconceived ideas, with no particular plans, with nothing that doesn't begin and end in You. Because if I don't, I lose my joy. If I don't, I lose my passion. If I don't, I lose my life and I can no longer give life to those around me.

So now, I'm sitting here in this bright, shining, beautiful house, and I know that until I can say that my passion is truly Him and nothing but Him, I am not moving from this place. I don't know how long it will take, but I know the One who is faithful and I know the One who offers abundant life. He is here with me.

And He is the most fun person that I know.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

 Our precious Lily turned 12 on Thursday.

 And today we got to celebrate!

Tie-dye style.

(Hey Caleb, what do you think of Lily's cake?! She wanted you to see it!)

In addition to the tie-dye, Lily wanted to play some crazy games.

These girls love to be silly!

Do you think that Maple is having fun?!

The dye for the shirts needs to set for 24 hours, so I'll be sure to take a photo of the girls when they wear their shirts to school on Tuesday.

And these last two pictures are just for my Lily-girl, who loves shoes. David and I gave her the black pair of Bobs and sweet Alyssa gave her the orange pair. I think that Lily is in shoe heaven!

Happy Birthday, our beautiful girl. We are so proud of the young woman that you are becoming. We see you maturing more and more each day. We love your grateful heart. We love your adventurous and bold spirit. And We love the way that your boldness is becoming more refined for the glory of God. We love YOU, our precious the moon and back.

(Thank you so much to those of you who prayed for me. I am so very grateful for each one of you. On Friday I had some good time to pray AND David and had a can you beat that?! Thank you, Jesus! I know that these next couple of months will continue to be a challenge, but I also know that He gives strength that we would never have on our own. I'm depending on our precious Jesus to give me the stamina that I need...He is so faithful.)

hey friends...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

would you pray for me?

It's nothing serious.
I'm just tired.
Really, really tired.

This school year has been kicking me in the behind.

Most afternoons, by 3:30, I feel like I can barely drive my precious brood home. Then, when we get home, it's time to make dinner, do the laundry, spend 1-2 hours in school preparation and grading for the next day, make sure the kids are showered and in their jammies and try (by some supreme act of the will) to read a book to them, or talk to one of them, or maybe play a quick game.

Of course, then there's the trips to the orthodontist, the grocery store or the library to factor in.

Don't get me wrong.
I have lots of great help (really!).
The kids do all of the kitchen clean-up, dog-walking and house cleaning (although they still need to grow a bit on pick-up skills!), Meredith teaches the girl's class on Fridays and David is incredible...truly an amazing husband and father (but, darn it, he actually has to work, and can't stay home getting the house clean and taking kids to appointments every day!).

I'm only going to be teaching through December, so I know that this is just a season. But, I really don't want this season to be just about surviving. I have a wonderful group of girls in my class and I want to enjoy them to the fullest. I want to have the energy (and time) to play with my kids in the afternoon. I want to be awake enough to talk to my husband at the end of the day. And most importantly, I want to have the space to listen to the Lord (because I can absolutely sense that there are things that He wants to say, if I would just give Him ample time to say them).

So, would you pray for me?

Thank you so much, dear ones.
You truly are treasures to me.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

David and I think that this is hilarious...

hehehe...I guess this just shows that I had a public school background that was full of people who loved heavy metal. I never liked heavy metal, but I'm finding this clip pretty funny as a 42 year old who remembers school dances that were full of Guns n Roses songs.

wordless wednesday

our little engineer

Monday, September 17, 2012

Jadon was 23 months old when we adopted him. Within weeks, it became clear to us that Jadon was facinated by how things were put together and how they worked. He would be riding his tricycle (he had amazing motor skills for having lived in an orphanage for his first 23 months!), and then hop off and look underneath to see how the wheels turned. Or he'd examine the underside of a grand piano to see how it made music.

As Jadon has grown, he has built some amazing lego creations and models. He's also been very interested in airplanes and boats. This summer, he, Adam and David have been racing radio controlled cars in the cul-de-sac and Jadon and David built a radio controlled boat. Here they are on it's maiden voyage.

Matthew came along for the launch.

Unfortunately, the boat was a little bit too heavy and the batteries got wet! Oh well! Half of the fun is in figuring out how to make it better for the next time!

girl stuff

Saturday, September 15, 2012

September is crazy birthday month, and we spent the last week doing some serious girl celebrating!

Last night, Yana had some good friends over for her birthday. Aren't they all so cute?!

We ate dinner outside, and then they all wanted to go to the prayer night at our church. What a blessing to worship with all of these precious girls.

Okay. Along with being precious, they can also be a little bit crazy!

We had birthday brownie when we got home, and then the girls watched Sense and Sensibility.

Wonderful Alyssa.

Silly Lily.

Sweet Cherish and Teresa.

Cute Tatianna.

Beautiful sisters.

After an amazing night's sleep (wink wink), the boys made breakfast (awww...way to go guys) and the girls did each other's makeup and hair.

I can hardly believe that my daughter is 15years old! She is growing into such a beautiful young woman of God. We love you and are proud of you, Yana! Happy Birthday our precious girl!

We also got to celebrate ALL of the girl's birthdays with Oma last Saturday.

She gave us all manicures and pedicures...very fun! Thanks so much, Oma!!!

What a special, girly week! And next weekend, we get to have a party for Lily!! Then we have a 3 week reprieve until it's time to celebrate Grace. Oh, how grateful I am for all of these precious ones. I wasn't able to be with them on the day of their births, but I surely am grateful that I've been able to be with them for so many of the celebrations of these special days.

Besides being crazy-in-love with our children, this is one of the main reasons that we adopt...

Friday, September 14, 2012


Douglass didn't say that it was easy, but I believe with all of my heart that it is absolutely, without-a-doubt, easier than the alternative.

our second home...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Yep. We pretty much feel like we're living at the orthodontist's office lately :)

After three years of braces, this guy is getting a temporary reprieve (woohoo!), He still has had to go in for retainers and regular orthodontic check-ups, but he's enjoying eating some foods that he's had to go without for a long time, AND his teeth look fabulous!

This young man has just two months left (hooray!!!). Can't wait to see those pearly whites!

Grace and Lily got braces on last week. They did a great job, but both of the girls were in a little bit of pain afterwards. No wonder that they hurt, because I can already see Grace's teeth moving into place...amazing!

I'm so incredibly grateful for our orthodontist. He does all orthodontic work for kids with cleft lip/palate pro bono, which means that Jadon and Grace's braces have been absolutely free!

So, even when I do have four different orthodontic appointments in seven days, I definitely can't complain. We've still got many years ahead of us in braces, so I may as well get used to this second home away from home. :)

(By the way, Yana has super-straight teeth and doesn't need more thing to be thankful for!!!)

Dear Mr. President

Friday, September 7, 2012

I will be the first to admit that I am not very politically savvy. I absolutely respect and appreciate those who spend time and effort being fully informed regarding politics, but I am not one of those persons. David and I do, however, encourage our children not to make statements about any political figure's character without being very sure of their facts. So, when they have come home, from time to time, repeating sweeping statements that they have heard from adults, regarding their views on politics, we've encouraged them to make sure that they don't make too quick of judgments.

Recently, we had a discussion with Lily about President Obama. We told her that we would never vote for Obama (because of his views on abortion), but that we believe he is an extremely intelligent man who does many good things. We encouraged her to pray for the president. She did that. And then she took it one step further...

(You may have to click on the letter, in order to read it.)

 Well, the letter is in the mail and I tell you what...Mr. Obama had better get out a pen and some stationary, because I don't think that Lily is going to be satisfied with another form letter! LOL
(The last time she wrote to him, was in regards to the orphan situation after the earthquake in Haiti.)
But, I guess she may give him a little bit of grace, since he is running a whole country, after all.

Bless you, our precious son!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Oh my! We had such a fun time, celebrating Adam's 14th birthday on Monday. It's a real pleasure to set aside a day for Adam, since he's so willing and ready to serve every single day of the year. He blesses us with his love and good attitude each day and it's fun to be able to bless him back with a day set aside just for him.

 The girls had a good time decorating. Even the bird in the painting was ready to celebrate!

We had all of the boys from school (and church) over at our house, as well as our little neighbor friend. We played a ton of fun games, like this relay t-shirt game.

 But the hit of the party, was definitely the whip cream toss.

Can you catch it in your mouth?!!!

We played many, many rounds of this game...and we laughed and laughed and laughed!!!

After that, we played capture the flag, knock out (which is a basketball game) and everlasting tag.
These boys are taking a little breather!

Adam has such a great group of brothers in the Lord, who spur him on and encourage him. We are truly blessed by these boys.

Happy Birthday, Adam! We love you with all of our hearts! May this 14th year be filled with the many blessings of God in your life. May you seek Him, more and more. May you know Him, more and more. May your life, in increasing measure, be a testimony to the great love of our amazing God! We bless you, we bless you, we bless you, our precious son!

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