Monday, May 31, 2010

Staying Focused

Struggling- that's what I've been doing. It is so natural for me to want to take over and control the situation. But the situation is not mine to control, it is his. There is no way I can do this journey without him, not for a second. This was not my brilliant idea but at times I like to take credit for it- this is his desire for me, for us. This is how he has commissioned us to serve him.

I cannot do it without him. When I try to take control emotions enter in, chaos, frustration, questioning and personal desires seep into what is his, what is beautiful and what is pleasing. I need to step aside. I need to give my heart and soul to him. I need to live in peace and obey.

Honestly, I am happier that way. It seems so right when he is in control. We live in a world where their are so many standards but they aren't his. They are the standards of people, people who are operating not my faith but by their own will. And they are certain they are right and quick to cast judgement.

Keep my eyes are on you, oh Lord, my desires are to follow you, to serve you in whatever capacity you direct me. You bring me great joy! You free me from the bondage of the world. Please keep me close to you, please strengthen me to follow only your desires. To you, I am eternally grateful.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Trying not to Plan...

My heart is really having a hard time waiting. My desires to receive our TA and go to China are so deep. It feels like it has dragged on forever. I need to pray more and be at peace. I need to trust the Lord's perfect timing. At this point we seem to have different calendars going but mine does not dictate the timing of events- his does.

I am still hoping and praying for leaving on the 17th but am beginning to resign myself to the possibility of the 24th. A date I had previously never even considered. Don't even mention the following week to me- I'm not ready to hear it.

Just to give you a little insight- I had planned my c-section dates before I was even pregnant. Oh yes- now your understanding me a little more. Me? a control issue? well, maybe a just a touch of an itty bitty issue with that. Plus I am a planner- never go anywhere without my calendar. I now carry an eraser full time- gotta- I keep having to erase my trip to China.

So the girls (Sarah and Anna) will now beable to go to VBS at church- that's good. Sarah will start her park playdates. I will leave July open for all our adjustments.

The local clearance will not be a problem. Our agency will ask for it to be expedited if it gets close. They actually honor that for families that have TA's. That's good.

Our TA should arrive late next week or the next. At least it is on someone's desk at this point. (I'm trying to be positive).

Johnny's team outplayed the other team but lost by a freak goal- it was very disappointing for the boys but that's life. They have had an outstanding season! Now it will not conflict with China travel.

No info on the updates- still looking forward to that!

The list of to do's are not getting done. I now realize that if you clean the garage... it just gets dirty again, really fast. Why bother, why sweat it! The pile next to my bed- nawww, it is too nice outside to do that!

The weather is beautiful- we are planning to get out and enjoy it!

God bless those that have fought and are fighting for our country! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are America!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Intruders!

The other day I was in the kitchen. The girls were at the counter having lunch and I heard someone come in through the mudroom, but who could it be? Everyone else was where they were supposed to be?
Guess who learned how to open the gate and then brought her younger sister with her? Yep, the red head! The blonde... she's just along for the ride!

The next day we were running errands and came home to you know who on the other side of the gate. She was caught red handed with a pair of dirty socks in her mouth, I might add!

Yes, it's true our dogs live a dogs life. No eating off the tables, no comfy Mommy and Daddy beds at night, no drinking out of the toilet bowl... it is what it is, they know nothing more and they are happy.

Well at least I thought they were happy, until they started breaking into the house, eating off the counter, stealing dirty socks and underwear- maybe I don't know what dog happy is?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Waiting for ...

We are waiting for...
-our last update on the girls and praying for pictures.
-our TA to arrive!!
-to see Johnny soccer game this evening- if they win, it will be his biggest soccer accomplishment so far and his team will represent our state in regions in Ohio the end of June. Which is during the time we should be in China- we will need to evaluate the timing of all these very important events...
-to make plane reservations. The seat are filling up fast- and we need 5 and 7 seats together. In the past we have managed to trade seats with people to get together but on an international flight, who's going to give up their aisle seat for us...
-to make China travel plans, get CA and a gotcha day!
-to plan anything for the month of June and early July.
-to find out if the girls get their last gift- cakes to celebrate with their friends.
- to get our finding ad on our daughters from Brian Stuy research- it's been ordered!
- to find out if we need to wait to travel since our local background accidentally expired, we have resubmitted but are waiting to find out if this will slow our China travel down since it takes 3-5 weeks to get done- breath, breath, think happy thoughts...

Yes , I feel like my whole life is on hold, it is all about waiting, we are waiting, everybody is waiting. So yesterday as I was enjoying my day- I heard the song "I will worship while I'm waiting". Yes, that is what I will do, that is the most productive thing I can do and I kinda think he was givin me a big ole' hint. It seems so fitting and I had already started this post before hearing the song. He knows my thoughts, he knows my heart and he gave me a little direction. Thanks Lord!

Oh my- you all are so kind! What a day maker to have birthday wishes coming in throughout the day! I had a fabulous day. There was a coffee for ladies I used to do a bible study with for many years. I am never able to go to the coffees because I have the girls but the night before my Wednesday sitter called and mentioned switching Wednesday for Tuesday - I was all on board! It was so good to see the ladies. I am the younger one of the group- ha! When they found out it was my b-day (okay, yes I told them), they sang Happy Birthday to me- it was so sweet and they have beautiful voices! One of my dearest friends husband has cancer and she was also there- it was so god to see here, visit and let her know we have been praying for their family! I just knew God orchestrated the whole thing!

We had a family dinner in the evening! Such blessing, such a wonderful day! My heart is bursting with gratitude to our dear Heavenly Father!

Pics coming soon!

Monday, May 24, 2010

It's My...

Birthday! Yep, tomorrow the 25th is the big day! I'm (gulp) 52 yrs old, but I feel like I'm 30! Really, I can't believe I am fifty whatever... I feel so young and happy!

My hubby (did I mention how much I love that guy?) keeps sayin to me I wish I were 52 (he's 53)!

Seriously, we feel very young! Age is not going to stop us... we are bringing home the girls and then... well... we'll talk about it later.

I gotta be honest... I am posting that it's my birthday because I want a whole bunch of you to wish me a Happy Birthday. I know... it's lame but it's the truth. It would just make my day! Don't forget it was me that posted the post regarding no friends- no local friends that is... Ha- bloggy friends? Oh yea, that I have! Bloggy friends unite! Woo Hoo!

Thanks guys! for makin my day!! wink wink!

What A Week(end)!

Johnny was confirmed and Billy was his sponsor! Congratulations Johnny!

We went to the carnival at Katie's school! The girls had a blast! Since we are homeschooling it's a nice little perk to be able to go to this! In the pic they are doing the cake walk.

Anna won!! In my day we won homemade cakes! Now they get packaged H*stess products...

The kids loved the games and activities! Golf may not be in her future but she sure is a cutie trying to putt!

Devan and Billy volunteered to help with the event! He had been volunteering at the school as part of his graduation requirements. The kids in Katie's class just loved him! Katie went home after the carnival - very sick. She sure looks good for being very sick. It ended up being strep throat- she had a miserable rest of her weekend. How do I know? Because being her Momma I got the pleasure of getting at 2:30 am call- just so she could tell me how miserable she was. I handled it well and was appropriately concerned and motherly.

The girls love cotton candy!! They don't get it much but we decided to indulge them!

Billy graduated from the University of St Thomas this weekend! He had a very successful 4 years at college and now he has a job in the area! I had to mention the 4 year thing because he is our first 4 year graduate! WooHoo!!

Of course you can pick him out... right? It took us most of the ceremony to find him!

Then we got to view it on the big screen! Cozy isn't it? They should just video it and sent me a copy!

Billy and his girlfriend Kelly!

Congratulations honey! We are so proud of you!

Every time Anna sees the big kids she asks "Can I play with you phone?" The family celebrated Billy's big day! Except for Katie, who was home sick.

Next day it was a huge soccer game for JOhnny! Here are a couple of the fans! They do great as long as we bring snacks!

Future soccer player?

They won after double overtime and in a shootout! Now they have one more game left in the tournament. If they win it they will go to Regions in Ohio! WE would love to go and watch but were not quite sure how it can possibly work out with our imminent China travel. We will see? maybe we will be in Ohio with our 4 lovely daughters!! That would be awesome!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Bunk Beds Are Up!

Sarah and Anna love their new beds!
They could hardly sleep they were so excited!

This is our reading corner in their room! I love reading to the kids!

Emma will have the top bunk and Ellie will be on the bottom!

We tried to do it so they were easy to make for the kids. Bunk beds can be a challenge that way. They just have the chamois duvet to straighten out in the morning!

We are getting so excited! Come on TA, we want to go to China and get our girls!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hanging Out With The Family!

On weekends in the evening we hang out in the porch. One by one the children come and congregate. It is so nice that they seek us out to visit, to process the week, tell share and to ask for our opinion.

Anna is dong a dance in the middle of the room while we are visiting! Yes, she is our daily cup of cuteness!

Mark is such a good sport! Sarah fixed his hair!

Mark and Billy are enjoying the latest version of a back massage!

Sarah decided to join them! Good job, Anna!

You gals are wonderful! Thanks for making me feel so much better- it's nice to know I'm not the only one missing the invitations.

This last weekend our son Mark came home just to see the family. He had been away at school for quite a while and needed to reconnect. It warms a Momma's heart when her children want to come home and see us and the sibs!!

Once he got back to school he checked out my blog and then text me. Here is what he said-

Hey Mom, Just read ur newest post. I know u know this but I fully support and agree that we made the right choice as a family to adopt! Family is one of the few things that is concrete throughout life. Friends come and go but we will always need family. Thank the Lord for blessing me with such an amazing and big family! I love you!

Now isn't that sweet (and FYI he was the one I was momentarily irritated with- but we won't tell him that).

I know how I feel about adoption. It is a blessing to me to serve the Lord this way but the other night hubby was talking from his heart and oh my, I was all ears. To hear my ever loving husband speak for the orphans was like music to my ears. He basically said what all of you have been saying for a long time but to hear it from him- was oh, so good!

He just doesn't understand why most christian families don't reach out to at least one orphan. We sat there and did the math- there wouldn't be an orphan problem if they did. The children would all have homes. He then said it's about trusting God and reaching out of your comfort zone. It's about having faith in him to try something that feels a little scary BUT is so good and so blessed by God.

Now my hubby talks sport, he talks job market, he talks college courses, he can actually talk about anything with anyone but he doesn't often talk about God, about God's desires for us, about the needs of the orphans (that's usually more me)- so to have this conversation with him and have it come from him and from his heart was an answer to prayer!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Our Reality!

I have been thinking of this post for some time and really don't know how I can express myself accurately. It's one of those issues that feels a little uncomfortable to talk about. It is something that I have had to reconcile with myself. It is not a big deal it is just my reality- the reality that I live in everyday. The life that I/we have chosen. Hubby's reality is a little different because each day he goes to work and interacts with other adults that have a common work interest and he often runs into people that we know.

We have 5 birth children over a 10 yr span. We were very active in our community and what our children were involved in. We knew a lot of people in our area. We have truly enjoyed the many many families we have met through church, schools, sports, and activities. It has been great!! Many of the families had children that matched up with 2 or 3 of our kids- that was especially fun and we stayed connected over many years. But kids grow up, activities end, people change churches, etc...

As a family we have continued to grow in numbers. The people we once were close with we haven't seen in years. I still fell like they are my friends and I think they have positive feelings towards us, too. However, those families are still seeing each other, their connections have grown stronger. The ladies may take walks together, volunteer, exercise or have lunch weekly or monthly. The couples go out for dinner, catch a movie or even travel together.

When we decided to change our direction and adopt we knew that we were taking the road less traveled. We knew that was what we wanted to do- we made a deliberate choice. Sometime when a person makes a choice to do something they don't necessarily realize they make a choice NOT to do something else. We choose not to participate in the lifestyle we saw our friends going toward- we knew it and we deliberately choose it. It was an informed decision.

So this weekend it hit me like a pie in the face. I'm not exactly sure why, I think it was a weakened moment. A moment where two of my big kids were especially crabby and my appreciation level was at an all time low- me for them and then for me- it was mutual.

Now I will wallow and mope- a friend of our oldest son got married this weekend and we were not invited to the wedding. I know, you are shocked (JK)! I usually never care about stuff like that, I am famous for saying "sometimes it's a blessing not to be invited to everything". Life would be too busy if we were all always included- I don't even like that kind of busy- so why do I even care about this wedding? It is because we would have invited them if the table were turned? Is it because I just love this young man (that just got married) and his family (his Dad died 5 years ago). It is because he practically lived at our house in high school? (okay I'm in a time warp, that was 9 years ago). Do I feel like I failed my older kids by not being involved enough or bowing out of things as we added to our family? I don't know? It's probably a combination of many things.

I don't want to keep the pout going on too long but there may be a trend here and this family ain't goin to many of the weddings in the near future. But I will stop myself from continuing on with the poor me syndrome and move on.

So, this weekend I have been thinking and processing. Thinking of the choices we have made, praising the Lord for his kindness and allowing us to add our little blessings to our family. Thinking about all the money we are saving by not buying wedding gifts (just kidding).

I have been reconciling my feelings and giving them to the Lord. I have also announced to our children that if and when the time comes - plan a small wedding. We've run out of friends! Acquaintances we have many, friends... ahhhhh.. only if they share our last name!

FYI- I have never regretted our life choice, never regretted following our Lords lead but that doesn't mean I can't have a few feelings now and then! Don't worry, I'm already better and over the wedding issue, okay I better say wedding issues because there's another one comin up and we aint goin to that one either...

Friday, May 14, 2010


Our dd Sarah really likes to look at herself in the mirror. I mean she really likes to look at herself in the mirror. At first it was cute, then it was a little unusual, a little over done. I shrugged it off and redirected her.

I may be a little slow but yesterday I asked about mirrors in China. I'm not quite sure why it took me so long to ask her but FYI there are NO mirrors in the orphanage.

She is incredible at doing hair- hers or anyone else's! I asked her "How could you fix your hair without a mirror?" We just looked in something shiny, the clean part of a window or whatever. Can you imagine not looking at yourself in the mirror for the first 8.5 years of your life?? Honestly, I can't...

Humbled- yes...

Sweatheart, look in the mirror all you want- you are a beautiful child of God!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Article 5!

These are pics I found of the girls from when they were younger. They are from another family who brought their son home awhile ago. I cropped them so we could see our daughters "up close"! I can hardly wait to see them "in person"!

Today is a big day! We have so much to be thankful for! We finally have our Article 5! Now the wait begins for TA. I have heard many things about this wait- some arrive in 10 days (very few) and some arrive in 4 weeks. We have so anticipated going to China and getting the girls and now the time is actually near- kinda, sorta!

Our visas took a little longer than usual because the Sarah and Anna have new passports. We had to go back 2 times to give them more information. The visas should be ready by tomorrow! WooHoo!!

The bunk beds are being delivered today and tomorrow! They couldn't get it all on the one truck so the had to divide up the delivery! They will be assembled next week and all four girls will share a room!! Anna and Sarah are very excited about the bunk beds! I think it will make the transition much easier for Emma and Ellie! We thought and thought about this for a long time and we were planning to put Em and El in the pink room but we changed our minds- in case you haven't noticed we do that a fare amount! In the end I feel like we come up with the right decision, it's just that the process is a bit prolonged!! I will post a pic when the room is done! I am so thankful the beds are here!! Can't wait to see them all set up!

Praising the Lord and feeling very thankful! Such blessing he has placed in our lives!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Take 1, Take 2, Take 3, Take 4...

Katie took this pic for us, then immediately said, "Ahhh, we need to do another one."

Being the helpful person I am, I immediately turned to help my hubby with the pose. Being the thoughtful person he is he decided to help me out with my pose!

It is fun being married to this guy! Thank goodness he has a good sense of humor!

There's a lot of work that goes into pictures around here! Katie of course decided to snap away while her parents were helping each other out! Thanks Kate!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day!

It is such a blessing to be a mother! For me it is a dream come true! Sometimes I just can't believe it! Nine wonderful children and hopefully more to come! Plus very special significant others- which I would love to have as part of the family!! (hint, hint)

In church last weekend the priest asked how many of you fulfilled your childhood dreams of what you wanted to be when you grew up. I sheepishly raise my hand- being a mom was it then and still is now- a dream come true!

I always played family when I was little and now my reality is family!

We went to church Saturday eve. We have a little issue with Anna. She is pretty certain the moment we sit down in the pew it's her que to fall asleep on Dad's shoulder. It's like clockwork and she has been enjoying her 5:00 naps regularly on Saturdays!

We had a wonderful day today! In the morning hubby and I took an hour drive to Johnny's soccer game. We stopped at the coffee shop , had our lawn chairs and blankets ready to go but it stayed sunny and turned out to be a beautiful morning! Johnny's team is the white team and today the played the blue team- by the color names you can kind of guess which one is supposed to be the better team. In order to be the better team you need to earn the title instead of just naming yourself as better. Today was the apple cart was upset and the white team- Johnny's team won! It was quite fun! They were so happy!

If things keep going well for his team it may throw another little glitch into our China travel plans. That's life in a big family- we just have to do what we can do! It is important to us to support all our kids as best as we can. God has a plan, he knows how it will all fall into place (I just kinda wish he'd let us in on it ASAP!)

We had lots of great food today- so much so I should be fasting tomorrow BUT I think the dear Lord would just be shaking his head over that one!

Our Mark is still at college- I think he may be missing his family a little and we are missing him. He will come home next weekend for a short visit. I am so excited to see him!

Thank you Jesus for dreams that come true!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you Moms!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Page 144

I got an email yesterday from my friend Pam! She told me to check out the S*nlight catalog page 144.

I have a couple of the catalogs and have looked through them for curriculum ideas and plan to order some of their read alouds.

I was shocked when I turned to page 144 and there was our Sarah hugging her box of S*nlight P 4/5 curriculum!

I had sent in a pic of her early last fall but never heard back from them. I thought it was a cute picture so I decided to give it a try! She was so genuinely happy to get her books, it was a great photo opportunity!

Thanks Pam for letting me know that Sarah was in the catalog!!

Sarah is thrilled, she loves looking at her picture!!

Check it out if you have the catalog!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Anna- I like dinosaurs, I want to pet one.

Sarah- Anna, dinosaurs are mean, you do not want to do that.

Anna- I do want to pet one, I like them.

Sarah- They will bite you.

Mom- Girls, there aren't any dinosaurs alive anymore.

Anna- But I like them.

Sarah- Anna, you do not want to pet one. They will bite you.

Mom- Girls, they are all dead, there are not any dinosaurs in the world anymore.

Anna- I still like them.

Sarah- Anna, why aren't you listening to me? They are mean.

Mom- Girls, hello, is anybody listening. The dinosaurs are all gone!

Sarah- But Mom, they are still dangerous.

Anna- I think they are nice.

Sarah- Mom, they will bite you.

Mom- yes, if we were alive millions of years ago, we would want to stay away from them.

Anna- I want to pet one.

Sarah- Anna, you do not want to pet one, they will bite you.

Sarah- Hugh "sigh", big head shake " Why doesn't she listen to me?

Mom- Hmmm, yeah!

Yep, welcome to my world! Anyone interested in meeting for coffee! I'm in need of a little adult conversation! I can meet you where ever, you just name the place! Texas, North Carolina, Delaware, Colorado, Kansas or California?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons...

make lemonade!

We have heard about our article 5 and it will not be arriving soon. We are quite disappointed as we had hoped to leave for China at the very end of this month. That probably was being overly optimistic but oh well...

When it arrives, believe me - you will all be the first to know!!

This also means that our TA will be later than hoped which then means our travel will be later in June. At first I was horribly disappointed but our travel will happen in God's perfect timing! I am feeling more at peace about it now and trying to make the best of it. We can all take a deep breath and take our time preparing for our trip to China. I just can't argue with the big guy upstairs! He knows all and I just have to have faith!

So positively speaking-
We can see most of Johnny's soccer season!
We can see Mark when he gets home from college!
Katie may be able to travel with us!
We have plenty of time to do some room rearranging- which you are not going to believe has been re-decided! Oh yeah, 4 sweet girls in one room!
Maybe the Lord has someone he wants us to meet in China during that time! Maybe even more than one person maybe many!
We have a little more time to work on another little project we have up our sleeve!
We will still get the girls home before their birthdays !

So I have decided to TRUST him! Everything will work out JUST as HE has PLANNED!

If you happen to be looking for me- I'm sitting in the porch enjoying my lemonade and lovin the Lord!

Monday, May 3, 2010

What's your part in his plan?

The Sunday evening service at our church is so awesome! It is the teen service and has contemporary music, which I just love! You can just feel the presence of the Holy Spirit! Sarah had communion this evening- she was a pro at it! I am thrilled that she is a member of the body and blood of our awesome Saviour, Jesus!

Sarah has been home now for 17 months. Her progress has been amazing and I am so grateful to God for how far she has come! It never ceases to amaze me how these children can adapt to a loving family. Sarah didn't even know who we were but she new that a family, parents, love, home and food were what she wanted and she has done all the necessary adjustments, as have we, to make it work. The hidden bonus is faith- a concept that most of the children in the orphanages have no idea about and yet it so quickly fits into their lives. The love, the tenderness, the kindness, the acceptance that is all apart of who Jesus is and what he represents. The children so deeply desire this love. They crave it without even knowing it. It is so obviously good in every way.

Many families have spoken about their childrens survival instinct. Praise the Lord that they have this otherwise they would be crushed by the enemy. Thank you Lord for preserving these amazing children!

I love OLDER CHILD ADOPTION. I am amazed by the children. I am more than grateful to our Lord for allowing us to do this. I am so thankful that their are families out their that are willing to take this adventure. These children deserve a family, love, faith and all the benefits that come with it! No CHILD should be without this - NOT ONE CHILD.

It is my life mission to do all I can for the children. I don't know exactly what that is right now but I am thinking about it, praying about it and conjuring up some ideas. I am not planning to reinvent the wheel but I am trying to figure out where I, where we, fit into his plan.

What is God telling you? I'd love to hear about it?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Please Help!

This is Abbey. What a beautiful girls she is! Her mom, Leah is planning to go to China in one week from today- yep, only 7 more days. Abbey is aging out and they need to get her home. They have been asking for donations but still need $8,000 more to cover their travel costs. Please consider donating to help this dear family bring home their daughter.

Leah's blog is Lovin' the Plan (isn't that a great name for a Jesus lovin, adoption lovin, family lovin blog!)

This is Khloe! She is so cute! Khloe's mom Tanya will be traveling to China to meet her new daughter and bring her home. They leave in about 10 days!
Tanya is having a fundraiser so their are prizes to be won- woohoo!
Please help Tanya and her family bring home their adorable little girl.

What an incredible opportunity this is for us to serve the Lord and to share in the joy of seeing children being united with their forever family!

Please check out their blogs!