Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Thoughts

I love this time of year. All of the tradition, family time and coziness that surround this holiday. And the kids and their excitement and wonder can bring tears to my eyes. And then there is the fact that this holiday is all about our Savior's birth. It comes and then it goes, it seems, in a blink of an eye. We make memories we will cherish throughout our lifetimes.

And then there is the part that makes my heart hurt. I have been bombarded lately with stories and images of orphans around the world. As I see my kids, and all of the disproportionately wealthy Americans, relish in this time of plenty, I can't help but think of those who don't have anything. Basic things like food, clothing, shelter, love and family. And Jesus. Wow! What a contrast. A stark contrast. What do we do about it? 147 million orphans. Like I told Will last night, we can't adopt them all. I think he got a little nervous for a moment...visions of the Duggars popped into his head. And as I look at those two sweet little black heads bouncing around our home, I am reminded where they once spent their Christmases. They were once without. How can there be such a difference between our culture and the ones without? Surely if it hurts my sinful human heart, how much must it hurt God's heart to see His creations without?

So as you go about your Christmas celebrations please pray for those children not snuggled up close to a parent in a warm house, hearing the story of how our Savior came into this world. Pray for how you can help them, we can help them. Maybe it will be through financial support, prayer, mission work or maybe even adoption of one of these souls longing to be loved. Just what would Christmas look like next year if we all followed the command in James 1:27 to for the orphans and keep oneself from being polluted by the world? Better. I know it would look better!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


840 dollars that is. That is what we prayed for.

I have enjoyed the curriculum we are using this year called My Father's World. We read a lot of books about missionaries from all around the world. The one thing they have in common is that they rely solely on God to supply their needs. They pray very specifically for those needs and God always supplies. In this world of plenty we don't have to rely on God and because of that we miss out on God's blessings. For our ministry at church, Minus 1, an orphan and adoption ministry, we decided to pray specifically for $840 to be collected by the kids for their Love Gift Offering. This is mostly change collected over a period of a few weeks. $840 would care for 2 orphans in an African orphanage for a year. Well, yesterday we counted the money. We had about $753 when we took the pennies for machine counting. The bowl was filled but pennies don't add up very quickly. The kids asked as we were leaving my friend's house, "What if it isn't enough? Can we add the rest?" I told them with much peace in my hear that our God was not a God that short changes. Somehow I felt Him.... and I new He would provide. My friend called to tell me last night that the pennies added up to $64. BUT.......... the accountant at church forgot to add another $36 that had come in. GRAND TOTAL................... $853.40! Is that an amazing God or what!?!?!?!? What else does God want to do through this little ministry? We can't wait to pray about it and see how He will provide? What are we all missing when we don't ask God to supply our needs? What a great lesson. What a great comfort. Do you have something, within God's will, that you are trying to do on your own? Ask God to help. Pray. Believe. And watch how God provides. You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sometimes it is hard and then........

........and then there are those moments when your heart smiles! Xin's adoption has not been smooth sailing but we are making strides. Yesterday Julia was baking cakes for a charity she has started called Cakes for a Cause. Xin got home from preschool and wanted to know who the cakes were for, no doubt hoping he would get to partake in the eating of them. I explained that Julia was baking those for some ladies. I told him that the money she got from all her cakes sales was going to be sent to the kids in China who were still in the orphanages and didn't have a Mommy or Daddy yet. He paused, looked at me and then with the sweetest face asked, "Can I send my money to them too?"

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas is in the air......

We had a great "Christmasy" weekend! We began by having pizza Friday night and completing some Christmas crafts. Saturday the girls did a little shopping for the boys and then we went to a yummy German restaurant for an early dinner. We visited our old church and watched their Christmas musical. It was wonderful. Sunday morning we were blessed by a very meaningful sermon that really made us think about the true meaning of Christmas and the joy we as Christians should find in Jesus. We then went on our annual Christmas Tree Farm journey into South Carolina where we rode on the wagon, hunted for the perfect tree, played hide and seek among the "gianormous" trees and then had snacks outside in the cold! Yes, it was actually COLD this year!!!!! It felt like Christmas and not 4th of July-ha ha! We came home and had dinner in the dining room where we did the Raclette. This is a Swiss grill where you cook meats, cheeses and veggies at the table top and place them over bread or potatoes. It was very cozy and one of those weekends where you hope your children will remember and smile in years to come. I know I will. Thank you Lord for your son Jesus and all he means to us and all this season is supposed to be about. It is truly wonderful when you slow down and savor the time you have with those you love and reflect upon all that is good and joyful. May you take hold of these next few weeks and gather those that you love and make wonderful memories that will be true and lasting gifts in the years to come.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend to All!

Family Shot
The whole gang!

My "Indians"

Our "thankful tree". We write on leaves what we are each thankful for everyday in November before Thanksgiving and by the big day our tree is filled. I save these each year and it is awesome to look back and read what each person has said.

The beautiful view from my parents' lake house.

I hope everyone enjoyed this most special holiday weekend. I love Thanksgiving because it is just so stress, no gifts, no media blitz about what you "need", just time spent with loved ones celebrating our many blessings. Oh yeah,.....and eating! God is so good and His blessings are truly abundant. Even the beautiful colors he created for this special day are a blessing. He could have just made the leaves turn brown and fall off but instead, he made them breathtaking. Hope you relished in His love and abundant goodness and that you cherished those you were with over this holiday weekend. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


No this post is not about speech therapy for Xin, but about the cute sayings and incorrect speech of my other 4 year old....Jaida.

She went to a birthday party at Monkey "Jones"

She wore her choo-choo to school, aka tutu

Her "yegs" get so tired when she runs fast

When she grows up she is going to have blond hair like Mommy, Sissy and Barbie

"Mommy, did I come out of your tummy AFTER you get back from getting me from China?"

"I am almost a grown up, I am getting so, so big!"

"Dat just drives me so crazy!"

"When my teacher forgets to do letters at school then it just so, so BORING!"

"Why I can't wear my high heels?"

This child just cracks me up! She is a feisty little thing and doesn't let anyone push her around, yet she can also be very sensitive. She is constantly amusing us with what comes out of her mouth!!! Thank you Lord for this delightful child that ensures there is never a dull moment in our household. I love you Jaida "Potata"

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Happy 70th Birthday Poppy!!!!

November 12, 2010 was my Dad's, aka Poppy, 70th birthday. We celebrated at the lake with family and a good time was had by all! We love you Poppy and you mean the world to us all. We have been blessed by you in countless ways! Happy Birthday!!!!!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Xin's Baptism

Today was Orphan Sunday and we had a beautiful service at our church complete with video, testimony, GREAT job Jennifer, and then Xin and Cynthia, also adopted from China, were baptized. It was a very emotional day as I watched this little boy wrapped in the family of God, surrounded by people who love him. Seven months ago he had no idea what we were,no idea what church was, no idea what God was. He carried his little bible around all night and wanted to say the blessing "all by myself". Thank you Lord for this dear little boy you have entrusted to us. Thank you Lord for adopting us as your children and giving us the gift of salvation.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween....a few days late!

Parties, lots of them,pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating with a nerd, a wicked jester, Ironman, and Snow White, and lots of candy made for a busy and fun-filled weekend!

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Pumpkin Patch

I love the pumpkin patch! I also love the photo opportunities it provides. However, I found it much more difficult to snap pictures as 4 kids ran around so I didn't get as many as I would have liked. I also enjoyed watching Xin discover this new "holiday". Poor guy, he asked "When do we put the tree up?" Oh fella, that's Christmas. How much his world has changed!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Reason We Don't Wear Furry Costumes on Halloween.......

87 degrees and 90% humidity! Gotta love the south.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

We Just Can't Stop Adopting!!!!

Yes, it is true we adopted again......but this time a dog! Yes, we are crazy! Julia came running down the steps two weeks ago saying "We've been matched!" My heart stopped. Did Will start paperwork to adopt again....NO! Did Great Wall have a baby they thought we would want to adopt? I almost fainted as I yelled "What?" "A dog. A Golden Retriever. They have a dog for us!" Oh a dog. Whew! Wait, that is yet another warm body to care me. No said my head, look at the email said my heart. So off I went to the computer and sure enough after almost 2 years on the waiting list (all adoptions take LONG) the Canine Companions for Independence had a released dog for us. They train these Lab, Goldens and Lab/Golden mixes to be companion dogs for the handicapped. If they fail out of the program they release them for adoption. We specifically said we wanted a Golden and evidently those full-bred are hard to come by. Well, this dog was 2 last Friday on Will's b-day (Harley had Will's brother's b-day) and was released because he had too much energy and wanted to play instead of work......well who wouldn't? So, they put him in a "foster home" with a small dog to see how he would do and he passed that test. We decided a two year old, trained, comes with about 20 commands, house-broken, vet-checked dog couldn't be too bad. So, we packed everybody into the car after Julia's Sunday game and drove to Orlando to pick him up. They said it was the biggest group they had ever had to adopt a dog. We travel in a pack I told her--ha ha! The two dogs have done very well together and really like each other. They play constantly. Ollie now has someone to bug that doesn't appear to mind. So without further words..........we introduce the newest family member......Blazen!

By the way, we have a two week "trial period" in which we can return him if it isn't a good fit. I think he is here to stay!!!!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Will!!!

Happy Birthday! We love you very much. We are blessed to call you Husband/Partner/Daddy.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Way to go Bulls!

Julia's team won the Charleston tournament! She had 1 of the 6 goals scored over the whole weekend. This dopey Mama forgot her camera so this was a shot after a long drive home at 8:oopm Sunday night. So proud of you Jewels...... you always play your heart out!!!!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Jaida Ruth!

Ready to go for her big day!
We are here!

Waiting for the store to open!

Jaida and the "girls"

Lunch at the Bistro.

With her purchases.....or at least part of them!

Celebrating at the lake with family.

Big wish!

Birthday morning.......still celebrating!

Her cake she decorated "all by myself."

Today Jaida turned 4! Could it be? How did my baby get to be 4? Four years ago today, across an ocean and in a very different land my sweet baby was born. Much differently than my first 2, but just as miraculously and just as scripted by our awesome God. As our papers had been logged into the Chinese system for almost a year before she was born, we waited, quite impatiently for our daughter/sister. We prayed. We dreamed. We cried. We waited. We were given a gift. The gift of this sweet child. We get to love her, hold her, hear her adorable laugh, listen to her unending chatter, smile at her antics, admire her artwork, kiss her, teach her about her savior,watch her grow, see her blossom. We get to be her family. I get to be her Mommy! I always think of her birth mother on her birthday. I pray for her. I pray she somehow knows her child is loved beyond words. My heart aches for her. She does not get to see all the wonderful things this little girl is. She brings so much happiness and joy to our family and we would not be complete without her! Happy Birthday my "Jaida Potata". Mommy loves you so very very much!