Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday Snapshot: Pink Piggie

Emma and I worked in her room today. We got her closet all ready for the cool, fall weather that is moving in. We also dusted and vacuumed and straightened up...a bit. Little Miss Emmie has become quite the Little Miss Piggie when it comes to her room. She cleaned out her drawers and put away costume after costume that she had "hidden" away in various secret spots around the room. It feels so nice to snuggle in your princess carriage the middle of a very clean room....with you very own delightfully scented Penny the Piggie.

Sunday Snapshot

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sunday Snapshot: Early Morning

One of my favorite times of the week is early, early on Sunday morning. I wake up and grab a warm cup of coffee about the same time my littles begin to come out of their rooms. All the big boys are snoozing, and I get some Mommy time with the littles. Emma is usually dressed up in whatever suits her early morning mood... last week I woke up to a toothless pirate.
This week, I woke up to a ballerina.
In hot pink boots.
Trying to feed Isabella some yogurt.
Did I mention the wings?
Oh the wings....

Sunday Snapshot

Friday, September 23, 2011

Praise God from whom all blessings flow....

~Sometimes it is the little things in life that make us smile~
Yesterday was a day of mixed emotions for me. God has chosen to put a very big blessing right in our path. Something that we could not have even chosen for ourselves. But sometimes blessings come with change. And, as anyone who knows me can attest, I don't do change very well... I like my comfort zone as most of us do, but there is more too it than that. My parents raised me to be happy with what you have. Not that I wasn't to strive for more, but I was to be content with where I was and to have joy despite my circumstances, which is an immensely helpful skill (not to mention a perfect way to glorify God). I lost sight of that in the '90s when life was booming, the economy was rockin' and I paid too much attention to what those around me had. We love the old SNL Nightline skit with Gov. Bill Cl*nton speaking to the people. One lady said, "I want stuff... Where's my stuff....??" We were always looking for more "stuff." Thankfully, God is faithful and doesn't allow you to stray too far. We have decided that less is more. A more simplified life allows us to live, love and laugh more freely. We believe that the pursuit of the American Dream is getting in the way of living for God. And it is so very important to be walking close beside Him, listening to His whisper and using our time and talents to glorify Him and not to further our worldly desires. There is a quality of life, a quality of living, that comes from freeing yourself of wanting more. We like nice things, do not get me wrong. But we chose wisely, we are frugal and anything we bring into our home has a specific purpose or meaning to us. We live a nice life. We have a beautiful home. It is not anything lavish but we have improved it to suit us exactly where we are. We have 4 sons that share 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. We are about to add another son to that mix. When ask how would they all fit, our answer is that we will just make it work. God doesn't bring you to it without bringing you through it. I sat in front of one of those bedroom closets the other day and laughed at the absurdity of a closet built in the 80s holding the clothes of three boys, ages 6, 9 and 12. Sometimes you just have to have humor about these things. We are happy with what we call the "stack and pack," ...kind of a "the more the merrier" philosophy. I think that God has chosen to bless us in part as a result of our faithfulness to follow him regardless of where we are physically and financially. When he whispered to us about adopting our new son, Joe, we answered the call without complaining that we did not have enough room, that we did not know where the money would come from and how to deal with an older child adoption.... we just answered. Now, that is not to say we were without questions or fears or concerns, but at the end of the day, we trusted Him completely. He has a plan. And it is ALWAYS greater than our own. He always sees the big picture when we can often only see the here and now. He goes before us and prepares the way. Will you please pray with us about this blessing? That we have a peace about it, one way or another? That we will know that it is from God? That if it is not from God, it will not work out? I want to embrace this blessing, regardless of the sadness the change might bring, knowing that it is just a path to something better. Russ talked with me last night as I sat in our den, crying. He has a similar feeling and reassured me that the very fact that I am upset and excited all at the same time is evidence of where my heart is. I am happy with what I have and where I am, and even though the blessing is beyond my dreams, I feel that I should not want for more. It's silly, really, because I was not seeking out more than I have, a blessing was laid out before us, hand tailored for each and every one of us. A friend stopped by unexpectedly today and talked with me about it. The confirmation was loud in my ears. Sometimes you just need a little prodding, even for the good stuff.
Praise God from whom all blessing flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye Heavenly Host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Bloggy Makeover

When I decided to start blogging again, I decided to start fresh with a new blog. It had been so long since I posted on the other one and I loved the design so much, thanks to my friend Heather, that I did not want to see it go. I played around with several templates but nothing seemed right. The latest one I decided on makes me think of a bubble gum/soda shop at the beach. It is so very cute, but just isn't me. Thanks to The Art of Living and her quest to do 100 blogs in 30 days, I am getting my much anticipated makeover and will feel ready to start posting again!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Our Stair Steps

We look at our family ~ our stair steps ~ and feel very blessed. But God has chosen to bless us more than we could even dream. There is quite a jump from our "Robbie step" to our "Jack step." God has chosen to fill that gap with an 11 year old, a very special young man who eagerly awaits joining our family. We are crazy.... crazy in love with our new son.
I prayed for God to burden my heart with what burdens His. He gave me a heart for older child adoption. When I first stumbled upon this young man's face, I saw it with a mother's heart. One of only three sweet little Chinese faces that I have seen and felt a familiarity, as if they had been written on my heart. In the adoption community, I see sweet little faces daily and while I wish I could bring them all home, this was a face through which God spoke to me. As a volunteer for An Orphan's Wish, I am intimately familiar with many sweet little faces that I wish I could help find a family, but this was a face that God kept bringing to the forefront of my mind. I thought about him daily. He began showing up in my Face~book newsfeed as other adoptive moms were advocating for him. He even showed up on a blog that I follow. Financially and practically, it just did not seem possible. So I prayed. I shared this young man's story with my husband, my children and my parents and asked them all to pray for his hope, his spirit and to pray that a family would come forward for him. He continued to be on my heart so I prayed some more. My mom asked me about him a few times. I called my agency to see if he had been adopted, but he was still on the shared list. So I prayed. When I had a question, God would answer it. When I wondered how we would communicate with him, I got an email stating that Chinese lessons were being offered after school next year at my children's school. When I wondered Why Us?, God responded with Why Not? I talked with a family that adopted with us our previous two times and found out that they felt called to adopt again. We wondered about the possibility of God's sweet will allowing us to travel together again and promised to pray for each other. They shared a blog with me that they follow. (Blogger will not let me link to the blog so I will just post the link here... ) I visited it periodically, but one day woke up with a nudge to check it. The author was calling for a day of fasting and prayer. My heart was heavy with so many issues in the lives of those I cared about and this seemed like a perfect time to lay all of these requests at the feet of our precious Lord. The fast was for the next day. Readers were to comment with their prayer requests and then to pray for each other as well as their own personal requests. I g00gled fasting and prayer and came up with a plan that would work for me. I woke up the next morning excited to sacrifice for the Lord in the name of those I love. I read the requests on the blog, I wrote in a prayer journal, devoured scripture that was appropriate for the things that I prayed for, and spent my day (kids and all) in prayer. It was life changing and I look forward to doing it again. I, of course, included this young man in my prayers. I prayed that a family would adopt him and that he would not be discouraged. I knew that God was telling me that we were that family, but I prayed that He would also tell my husband. We had discussed it at one point. I told him that I felt God calling and that all He required was my obedience. My husband understood, but looked at the situation from a practical, head of the household perspective. I understood and respected that as well. We had only a few other discussions about it. What seems like a crazy decision to the outside world, seems peaceful to me. For me, becoming a mom for the 6th time is not a selfish act or even a worldly one, it comes only from the One above. So, I prayed. And waited. For my 40th birthday, Russ threw me a surprise party. Instead of gifts, my friends gave me money to use toward orphan care in any way I saw fit. Russ and I had a discussion on the way home about how that money could be best used. We thought about giving it to friends who were adopting. We thought about giving it to An Orphan's Wish. We also thought about somehow donating it toward an older child adoption. We never discussed using it for our own adoption, though I am sure it was the 500lb elephant in the room (or car as in this scenario). That was the beginning of July. The week before we left for the beach, I read the blog again. Her post had me in tears and I shared it on my FB page. It was very touching. Russ saw the link, follwed it, and sent me a message saying that he was moved. We discussed some of the wonderful things about this family and bonded and joked over things we both noticed. A few days later, Russ took me into the backyard, pulled up the picture of this 11 year old boy whose face had lit up my heart, and said, "He's our son. I know it. God knows it. I have told my mom and dad and I have called our agency." That was 2 weeks after my birthday. Since then, we have joined groups of fellow parents who have adopted from his same SWI. We have found out what we already knew in our heart... Our son is a very special little boy. He is being advocated for by name. His character is one of love, helpfulness, humor and friendliness. He has charmed everyone who has met him. He has many friends and is loved by all who meet him. Why has he not already been adopted? Maybe because God knew we were his family. God's timing is always perfect... and always better than ours. We have started on our paperchase. Please pray that things go smoothly and according to God's will and timing. We would leave tomorrow if they would let us, but the international adoption process has it's ups and downs and we are looking at early Spring next year. Please pray that God will protect our family and our new son as we are in this process.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Just two short months ago...

I wrote this post back in May, hoping it would get me started back into the blogging world. That was two months ago so.... maybe it was just a start. Fast forward two months later and we now have an idea of what God has in store.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
I believe it has been almost two years since I last posted on our blog. I got sucked into the wonderful world that is Face~book. I began posting my pictures and updating our adventures there and since all of my blogging friends and family were there too, it just seemed redundant to post on our blog as well. Recently, I have felt a tug. A tug that led to a nudge. A nudge that led to a shove. And a shove that led to an all out, tripping over yourself, push. I have a renewed passion to live like Jesus. To abandon the pursuit of the American Dream and to be the hands and feet of our precious Lord and Savior. I have no idea what His plan for us is, but our plan is to glorify Him. We want to live each day as an example to our kids and the world around us. My heart is burdened for the orphans of China. People often wonder, "Why China?" My only answer is because China is what God laid on my heart. And thankfully, on my husband's heart as well. I feel that God has big plans for us and I cannot wait to see what He has in store! Of course, in the meantime, we will just continue to embrace life with love and laughter.... and a lot of carpools, baseball games, dance lessons, Scout trips, spend the night parties, homework....
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16