Thursday, February 26, 2009

One Year Ago Today, Part 2

And now for the rest of the story... (You'll have to read yesterday's to get the beginning of the story!)

When I left off yesterday, I was frustrated and the work on our dossier had come to a screeching halt because I had no peace about submitting it through our agency. By this point, I was watching Abby's file everyday to see if someone accepted her referral and on a day when I was sick at home, I answered a nudge in my heart to get the papers ready for the last step of sending them to the Consulate in DC...

So, I got up a little early on the morning of February 26, last year, and gave myself some extra time to stop and purchase the necessary money orders to send the package to the Consulate. I went on to Bible Study and on the way home I stopped by the FedEx box and sent it on its way.

As was routine by now, I came home to check the website to see the status of her file and for the first time in weeks, she was available again... No one was reviewing her file! How on earth was that possible? Her special needs were so minor... She was adorable... It could only be God moving hearts.

I immediately started calling her agency and sent an e-mail... This is a segment of my post from February 26 last year...

"Yesterday I was filled with a sense of urgency to complete the paperwork, so I'll trust that I was obedient to that prompting and not worry about the rest.

One thing I'm learning...this is truly a walk of faith...of taking one step at a time with no expectation of what will come next. I'm learning what it means to live surrendered, at least where adoption is concerned...hopefully it's a lesson that I will learn to apply more and more to all areas of my life.

There was a precious little girl on a Waiting Child list that we inquired about...but she was not to be ours. Now there's another little girl that I've watched for weeks...she was on hold for so long and I never expected her to become available again, but today she did.

It may mean nothing...and it may mean everything. The only thing to do is take the next step and inquire (I did that right away!) The best thing about trusting God though is that He is in control...when He reveals a step, we take it and then we stop and wait until He reveals the next step. We don't have to force anything, we just have to be watchful, sensitive and obedient. It sounds so simple, but too often I make it so complicated.

I can't wait to see what God does...He is so BIG... it's fun and humbling to watch Him in action. This is truly an amazing journey."

But God still had a HUGE mountain to move if she was to be ours...a mountain of money that we had already paid to our other agency. I e-mailed the agency, told them we were interested in adopting her and explained our situation and then there was silence, they didn't even acknowledge that we were interested. But I asked a few family members to pray that God would do a work in their hearts and at least agree to reduce the fees a little (so Scott would see that this was truly God's plan...ya see, I had it all figured out! LOL!)

Finally, on March 5 I couldn't stand it any longer, I e-mailed them again... I told them the story of seeing her and watching her for weeks and tried one more time to get an answer (they were busy with the referrals for that month). This time I got a response, the Special Needs Coordinator was going to print my e-mails and take them to the Executive Director to see what could be done...

Late the next day, I received an e-mail that said that since our dossier was complete, they would waive the initial fees plus give us the Special Needs totaled to be the exact amount we had paid to the other agency...God moved mountains! But there was one last mountain, there was one other family reviewing her file, but they had some medical issues... Thankfully I didn't have to wait long for this answer...

The next day, the infamous packet of paperwork returned from Washington DC, fully authenticated AND we received an e-mail that Abby was ours if we accepted the referral! Somehow in all of this, I hadn't even given them our phone number so they could call us and tell us!

I will never forget that Friday afternoon! God moved mountains... I knew that whatever happened from that point on, I could look back on what God had done and know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that we were walking in the center of His will!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Year Ago Today... (Part 1)

Over and over in Scripture, God tells His people to remember His great works... Remembering reminds us of God's greatness and power, it can renew and refresh our sense of awe and wonder and it can strengthen our faith. The journey to adopt Abby was an amazing process where we saw God's hand over and over, so I thought I'd take a little time and remember the days leading up to receiving our referral for Abby.

When we first decided to adopt, in May of 2007, I just assumed that we would adopt a child who was non-special needs and as young as possible. But as I worked on our dossier, God worked on my heart... With each passing week (it seemed) He moved my heart to consider older and older (Scott was already there).

Almost from the start, I watched the Waiting Child lists for different agencies, because I knew somewhere deep in my heart that that's where we would find Abby. I didn't know how we'd find her, I just always knew that I would know her by her eyes.

We signed with an agency almost immediately after deciding that we would adopt, but I was incredibly frustrated by how they were handling Special Needs referrals... It seemed like it changed every month and so I kept watching other agency lists, even though I knew Scott would never agree to changing agencies because we already had quite a bit of money invested in our agency.

I worked hard on our paperwork from May to October and as I left for Africa, in November of '07, I sent a huge packet of paperwork to our state government. My plan was that it would be here when I came home and I would only have one last step before we could send everything to China.

But in Africa, I tore my ACL... With the swirling emotions of what we had experienced in Africa, trying to decide what to do about my knee and a complete loss of peace about submitting our dossier, that final packet of paperwork got put on a shelf and the process to adopt came to a screeching halt.

On December 14, 2007, I had my ACL repaired and the following week, as I sat in a chair recuperating, I decided to check the Waiting Child program of an agency I had followed from the beginning... They had a new list, in fact, their last paper list before China went to its new way of referring special needs children...

As I opened the list, this was the face I saw...


There was just something about the eyes... I opened the rest of the file ( I had gotten a password from them months before) and these were the other two pictures...



As I sat and looked at her picture I said, "Lord, could it be her?" Then I laughed at myself... We were with a different agency, she was adorable and all of their clients had the first opportunity to review her file, I couldn't even inquire about her. So I said, "Ok, if she's ours, then you'll have to move some hearts to make it happen."

As I expected, her file was placed on hold after the first round of applications and every few days, I would check to see if she had been changed from 'available' to 'referred'. And every time, she would still be listed as 'available.'

As January turned into February, I was feeling so hopeless about the whole adoption process... I had no peace and I just could not bring myself to send off that final packet of paperwork. And with each passing day, I would hold my breath as I checked the website to see what had happened with 'Dani'... that was the name the agency had given her on their website...

One year ago today, February 25 was on a Monday (last year was a Leap Year)... In Community Bible Study, leadership meets on Monday to prepare for Tuesday, so normally, that's where I would have been. But I was sick that day... I had had some scar tissue develop in my knee from surgery and it was causing tremendous pain at night and I wasn't sleeping... I was worn down, worn out and so I stayed home that day.

As I sat curled up in my favorite chair, there was a nudge in my heart... 'Finish your paperwork.' And in my heart I whined, "But I don't want to." "Finish your paperwork." I was so frustrated, even if I did finish, who would I send it to... I still had no peace about our agency, which was translating into no peace about the adoption in general... "Finish your paperwork."

So I drug myself out of my chair and went upstairs to my computer to print off and complete those 'pain in the rear' forms that are necessary to have your documents authenticated by the embassy. I filled out the FedEx envelopes and everything was ready to go, except the money orders... That would just have to wait until the next day... And so will you to read the rest of this story! (Yes my friend April, I'm taking a page from your playbook!!)

Stay tuned because it's a cool God story!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

19 WONDERFUL Years!!! (And a traumatic doctor's visit...)

So really this is two posts in one... I had planned to write about our anniversary today, but then Abby got sick, so I'll tell a little story about that too...

First, today is our 19th Wedding Anniversary!! Wow...where did the time go? We met in college, dated for 4 years and then got married. When he proposed to me, he provoked a fight first and then waited until I had a mouth full of baked potato to pop the question!!! Pretty romantic, huh?! It's just a miracle that I didn't choke to death because after 4 years, I really didn't think he'd ever ask!!

After we married we moved a long...long way from home... Michigan... probably the best thing that could have ever happened to us because we were forced to depend on each other and we didn't have the distraction of our friends or family...some other place to run when we had a fight.

We had plenty of those (fights) in the early years...mostly my fault...I'm still amazed that he stuck it out with me all those years. But he did and when I finally became a Christian, I realized that all those years he had been God's instrument to teach me what unconditional love was like...

Scott is an amazing man...he has a true servant's heart...he's taken care of more than his fair share of sick children...I can't begin to describe the support he gives me to be the Teaching Director for Community Bible Study...and he will even clean the bathrooms for me!

Of course, as wonderful as the 19 years have been, they haven't been perfect...we've had our struggles, some harder than others, but I wouldn't change a second of even the hardest trials because they've shaped us into the couple we are today... It takes a lot of years...a lot of heat and a lot of pressure to form dirty, yukky carbon atoms (otherwise known as coal) into a diamond and I feel like that's what God has done with our marriage!

So on this day, I am so thankful for the most wonderful man in the world! And I want to encourage you... if you're at a hard place in your marriage...hang in there...pray (don't try and be your husband's Holy Spirit) and let our amazing God of restoration and transformation do the you first and then your husband!!

We were so blessed to be able to spend this past weekend in the mountains at our friend's cabin! They are so generous to share their cabin, with us and others, and we love to go there and hide away for a few days. My mom came and kept the kids and Abby did great...but it warmed my heart to see the smile on her face when we pulled into the driveway!

Speaking of for the story about the doctor's appointment. Abby has had a lingering cough and it has been getting worse the last couple of days. She scared me to death this morning when she had so much gunk in her chest that she was having a hard time catching her breath till she got some of it up...

Turns out she has a nasty case of bronchitis...but the doctor's visit was really hard. I LOVE the practice we go to, but I learned a lesson today, when they start their exam, I need to remember to tell them that Abby is still very sensitive to touch.

When he started to feel the glands in her neck, she squirmed and whined and scrunched up her shoulders so he couldn't get to them...touch like that is still very ticklish to her. Then, the light in the ears... YIKES. But it got worse...she has a lot of wax in her ears (apparently very common in Asian children) so they wanted to flush it out with water and peroxide.

You would have thought the nurse was pulling out her fingernails...she cried and cried...which made her cough and cough...finally they gave up and told me to use some ear drops to help get rid of it...that should be a load of fun for the next two weeks!

It was pretty clear to me that the doctor thought I should be a little tougher with her, even though I kept trying to explain to him that we still have some sensory issues. He's a great doctor, so I'm not being critical of him... But hopefully you can learn from my experience, if you've adopted older and your child is overly sensitive to touch...warn your doctor...the nurse...whomever before the exam begins, when you have their full attention and they're really listening...

So Abby is on her first antibiotic (with us anyway) and we have some work to do on what it means to be a good patient...but then, if my experiences had been hers in the last 6 months with doctors and dentists, I might not be such a good patient either. Of course it doesn't help when she tells you, "I never cough like this in China."

Oh...and just real quick...a few of you have asked about Zack... His ankle is badly sprained. He's itching to get back on the soccer field, but I know it hurts because he's not fighting me about it.

Tomorrow and the next day, I have a story of "One Year Ago" to tell you... the start of our journey to Abby!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Still Life Photos...

I posted these as my theme photos on Mamarazzi, but I was so excited about how they turned out that I thought I'd post them here too...

I had put off doing this last theme, Old/New, because I just couldn't get inspired. But this morning, the early morning sun was so beautiful coming through the windows, and last night I had dug out my really old 50mm 1.4 fixed lens, so I decided to give the theme a try.

For all the other themes, I had posted pictures of the kids, but I really wanted to try something I'd never done before, so I went for it with a couple of still lifes... It was really fun and challenging!

The biggest challenge is that my lens is so old that it won't even read the exposure through the lens, so I had to guess at a starting point and then work from wasn't as hard as I thought.

So here's what I shot...

The first is a really old leather bottle that I found at an antique show... I was immediately drawn to it because it has Nick's initials on it. The old is the green bottle, the new is actually the's a new brown leather bottle!


The second photo is the really special one... Our 19th wedding anniversary is coming up in a few days. Before we married, my mom and stepfather (John) lived in California. I loved visiting them in Huntington Beach and I loved eating at the club in their neighborhood, the food was outstanding.

Well John, who knew his wines, introduced me to this wine that I loved and he always ordered a bottle for us when we ate there. So the last time I was out there, before Scott and I married, John surprised me with a bottle to take home and save for a special occasion.

Just before our first wedding anniversary, when we had planned to drink the wine, John died tragically of a heart attack. I just couldn't bring myself to open it for another 2 1/2 years... We finally opened it when our first child was born! But I could never bring myself to throw the bottle away and I have kept it all these years (Yes, I'm hopelessly sentimental!)

So, with the beautiful light streaming through the window, it occurred to me that I should photograph the a tribute to him but also to our anniversary!

John was an amazing man... He loved my mother so well, and he loved me well too. I couldn't have asked for a better stepfather... I miss his laugh, his generous spirit, his honesty and his spontaneity... John knew how to live life! I will never forget going to dinner with mom and John one night and a song came on the radio that he and my mom loved...he pulled the car over, and in the middle of the road, they danced! It still brings a smile!

But I will also never forget how one night, while I was in college, I heard a knock on our back door late at night and it was my mom and John bringing me a heater because he didn't want me to be cold in the old house and he didn't want my mom worrying... That was John...he played well and he loved even better!

So, in honor of John, here is the wine bottle... However, it represents the new in the photo because the old is his 100 year old dictionary that it is sitting on! That represents him also because he was brilliant! John... 18 years later, I still miss you...


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"You Bought Me..."

This morning was one of those mornings that resonates in your heart all day. We were getting ready for school and I was giving the kids hugs. I continue to make a big deal out of hugging and explaining to Abby that this is just what we do in our family.

So she made a big deal out of Nick and Mackenzie being my babies (Zack had already gone to school)... And then out of the blue, she said, "You got them at bought me!"

Whoa...where did that come from? How on earth was I supposed to handle that? So I smiled and said, "Abby, we didn't buy you, we adopted you... But if we had, that should make you feel so special that we would be willing to pay for you."

How do you explain to a 6 year old, that still doesn't understand the fullness of our language, that yes, it does cost money to adopt, but it also cost money to bring a child home from the hospital. I tried, but I'm just not sure she got it...

I have to think that maybe someone said this to her in China...or maybe someone said it to her here...I just don't know.

I can't wait though till I can explain to her about what Jesus did for us... 1 Corinthians 6:20 and 7:23, both teach us that we were bought for a price... He gave His life for us so that we could be the adopted children of our Abba Father... "Being bought," in God's economy is the ultimate expression of His love...

If you're reading this blog, I hope you can look towards heaven and say to your Abba Father, "You bought me." It's the greatest thing we can ever claim!

Monday, February 16, 2009

With Some Thoughts About Sacred Vessels!

I was really convicted by something else in Daniel 5 last week that I wanted to share with you...

In Daniel 5, King Belshazzar, the partying king, orders that the sacred vessels be brought to him. Well, these were vessels that had been taken from the temple in Jerusalem and had been used to worship God. So, King B. gets these vessels and what does he do with them? He starts drinking out of them and worshiping his gods with them! BAD IDEA!! And some scholars even believe that he poured out wine as a sacrifice to his gods...REALLY BAD IDEA!!

But I started thinking...our bodies are sacred vessels. 2 Corinthians 4:7 (My theme verse for this blog) says, "We have this treasure in jars of clay..." That treasure is the Holy Spirit and we're the vessels... So, if you're a Christian, you're a sacred vessel!! (We're also told that our bodies are the temple of God!!)

And it hit me... I'm alot like King B! I pour things (in a spiritual sense) into my sacred vessel that don't belong there and I pour out my sacred vessel to the idols of my heart, things I look to for satisfaction apart from God! Hmmm... BAD IDEA!

Let's consider a few things we might pour out our heart to... shopping when we're down, overeating when we're stressed, maybe alcohol, or pornography, or improper could be the gym too, or even the television or books (as a means of escape)...or it could be our friends, or even the ministries we serve in... There are thousands of places that we can seek satisfaction apart from God...

But what about the things we pour into our sacred vessels... FOOD! Anger, bitterness, criticism, self-righteousness... And think about our eyes, the things that enter through them.

I've been thinking a lot about what I watch on TV... We've stopped watching CSI because so many of the crimes were graphic sex crimes... The same with Law & Order SVU... And besides, who needs all of that darkness in our minds anyway. And there's the television shows like The Batchelor and Desperate Housewives... YIKES!! And what about the movies we watch?!

Jesus said in Matthew 5:28, "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." So, even though those shows might not cause you personally to stumble, what about your husband who is more visual... If they look lustfully at any of the women, they are committing adultery in their hearts. I just don't want to be a stumbling block like that to my husband.

But here's another thought...Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

True, noble, right, PURE, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy... WOW... that's a pretty tough litmus test in our time... It rules out a lot of things for believers.

Well, God had a pretty decisive judgment against Ol' King B for what he did with the sacred vessels, so we can be certain how He feels about things such as this... Yes, Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, even our idolatry, so we won't be judged in the same way as King B., but I sure hate to think that I'm taking the cross for granted because I supposedly have the 'freedom' to watch, eat, do, shop, say whatever I want too...

Jesus said, "Clean the inside of the cup and dish and the outside will be clean also." (Matthew 23:26) If you'll excuse me now, I have some cleaning I need to do!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Just Bummed...

I am so bummed right now...Zack had a soccer game this afternoon and about 15 minutes into the game, he got hurt. Usually, he jumps right up, no matter how hard the hit and keeps going, but I could tell today was different.

He got up, but with a major limp... He kept playing, but then the coach realized that he was hurt and pulled him out. I watched him head to the sidelines and immediately pull of his sock and shoe and the next thing I knew, his teammate was heading for us...

Right now his ankle is somewhere between the size of a golf ball and a baseball... He heard two pops when it happened, not exactly encouraging. He LOVES to play soccer so much, and I LOVE watching him play. It would break his heart and mine if this turns out to be more than a bad sprain, we'll see tomorrow...we may be headed to the doctor (actually, I'm pretty certain we're headed to the doctor, unless a miracle happens over night.)!

I guess you could be's just soccer...and you'd be right, but he's played since he was 4 years old, he's really good and he loves it. It wouldn't be the end of the world, but he has such a GREAT coach right now who is teaching him so much, it would just be a really hard loss for him right now. And, as I'm sure you know, that's hard for a mom to watch.

Well, God's plans are perfect and even if it's more than a sprain, I'll thank Him because He may be protecting Zack from something far worse than just a sprain... The games have been particularly violent lately.

Here's picture from today and one of Zack from last week... I don't have any of Zack today... If you think of it, would you say a little prayer for him? Thanks in advance...

Can this guy fly or what?!

Last week

The Cheering Section!

Zack did the driving portion of Driver's Ed over the last couple of weeks. We found this sign in our yard last weekend!! K., in the picture above with Abby and Mackenzie, put this together with her dad (our neighbors and closest friends.)! It was a hoot to watch people driving by, slow down, read it and just smile!

Have a great week!

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Lesson From Daniel 5

We are studying the book of Daniel in Community Bible Study right now. I was pretty nervous about teaching this book, but it has blessed me beyond anything I dreamed...well, blessed me and convicted me.

This past week, we studied Daniel 5 when Babylon falls to the Medes-Persians, under the leadership of King Belshazzar. It's really a fascinating story when you combine Scripture with history...

Belshazzar was the son of Nabonidus, who was really the King. But Nabonidus was kind of flaky, so he went off to an oasis in the desert to worship the moon god, and left his son Belshazzar to rule and protect Babylon...Big mistake...HUGE.

History shows that Belshazzar was a bit of a playboy, more interested in partying with his nobles and the girls, rather than ruling and protecting this amazing empire.

Well one night, King B. threw this huge, raucous party, even though he knew the enemy was surrounding the city. I mean hey, the city had 80 foot thick walls that were 350 feet high...the Euphrates River ran through the city and they had enough provisions to last them for 10-20 they were indestructible...RIGHT?! (Yeah, that's what they thought about the Titantic too!)

So while he partied, different accounts say that Darius the Mede put men at the points where the Euphrates ran into and out of the city and then went upriver to divert the river. As the water lowered, the men stepped into the river and went under the walls into the city. Apparently Babylon fell without a fight...the drunken nobles were caught completely off guard.

Now whether or not those are the exact details, aren't what's important... I was really struck by how Belshazzar had control of this incredible empire, tons of gold, beautiful telling how much wealth...and he squandered it all.

Daniel told him that the reason judgment was being brought on him was because he didn't honor, or glorify God.

But isn't that like America...isn't that like me?! I look at all of the wealth that is squandered in this country and it breaks my heart... But then, I look around my own home, all the things we don't need and it breaks my heart.

Our lives are full of stuff, but they aren't things that honor and glorify God...they aren't things that satisfy His plan and's just stuff, some futile attempt to fill holes in our lives that only God can fill anyway.

Scott and I have made a committment this year to live by a budget...we're doing pretty good so far, but it's been hard. I have to stop and ask myself with every purchase, do I really want to spend the money on we really need this? I've put a lot of stuff back on the shelf...and there's still stuff I should have put back...but I'm learning.

Ephesians 2:10 says that God has prepared good works for us to do. I've learned this past year with Abby, that those works bring incredible blessing to your life when you obey Him and walk in His path. But sometimes He lays desires on our hearts that we aren't able to do because we haven't been faithful stewards of His blessings.

It breaks my heart to think that someday, when I get to heaven, I'll get to see all of those opportunities that I missed because I had squandered His blessings. But I'm so thankful that He forgives us and then transforms us...I'm so thankful that He's teaching me about faithfulness and stewardship... that He's patient with us in the process and always gives us a second chance.

I don't want to waste another blessing...because who knows what He has in store for us down the road...maybe an opportunity to be obedient to Him that we just wouldn't want to miss!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

God In The Details...

Ok first...calling all Hot & Healthy's Monday, time to check in. Sorry I'm late posting this but we had a printer emergency this morning and I had to get Nick's homework to him at school that he could not get off the printer... (I'll post my results in the comments again...)

So, now a story about God in the details... You may remember at the end of 2008, we made the decision to move Nick to a private school. God worked a miracle for that to happen (you can read about that here, if you missed it) and it has been a great experience so far.

But it has been a difficult transition in some ways... his new school is much more difficult than public school was. He was in pre-algebra in his old school and the only math class he could go into was Algebra...quite a leap. It hasn't been easy, but today, he got into the car...he was so excited...he made a 93 on his latest test!!

But the biggest transition of all has been literature. At his old school, the reading requirements were this lame system called Accelerated Reader (AR). The kids had to read books on the AR sytem and then take comprehension tests on the books, they actually counted as major test grades.

Now Nick has never been one to choose classics, but his reading tastes were far better than the books on the AR system... He enjoys Christian fiction that I find at a local bookstore and he likes to read biographies. So he was penalized because he didn't want to read the books on their system and no alternative was acceptable, like about an old fashioned book report where the kids actually learn to write?!

So off my soap box... At his new school, they're actually required to read quality literature. He walked into his new school and right off, he was handed a copy of Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens. Well reading that is far different than reading your typical fiction, so it was an adjustment.

So when I learned (from seeing some of his grades) that he was really struggling, I tried to figure out how to help him... I downloaded an audio version of the book to his IPOD, so he could read and listen at the same time, but Scott and I also decided to read the book with him so we could discuss it with him.

We were under a tight time schedule as the first test was coming up over the first 19 chapters...YIKES!! So I said a little prayer and asked God to give us insight as we read as to how the teacher might think and what kinds of things she might consider important on an essay test.

We spent alot of time going over her review questions with him and talking about the right way to answer essay questions (this was pretty new to him also)... And then, he came home the day of the test and he said, "Mom, a lot of the questions were just like what you talked about! " He made a 94 on that test!!

Considering that I was never challenged at this level in school with literature either, I knew that God had definitely granted me some insight into how a literature teacher might approach a test like this.

But today was the icing on the cake... Over the weekend he was given 3 chapters to read and we were pretty certain he would have a pop quiz today. As we sat and discussed the book, there was this little detail that prompted me to say, "This would be a really picky detail to put on a quiz...but just in case...what was the crisis created by the cook?" The answer... she mislaid the beef...and sure enough...that question was on the quiz!! He made a 100...that question was the difference between an A and B!!

I guess it might sound like it, but I am not in any way criticizing the questions on the quiz... I love how this is teaching Nick to focus on what he it's improving his comprehension and I LOVE the conversations that we're having about this book...far beyond just the details.

But more than anything, I love how Nick is seeing what happens when you rely on God for EVERYTHING!! Now you might be thinking... "Does she really believe that God cares about details like that?" ABSOLUTELY!! If He numbers the hairs on our heads, why wouldn't He care about a child who is fighting to do his best and parents who are doing all that they can do to help him?

You know, I'm learning a lot from this too... God wants us dependent on Him for EVERYTHING... every single detail... If Nick (if I) only learn that lesson, then it's all worthwhile. I love how God can use anything...even a book like Great teach us, to humble us and to show Himself to us in such simple, wonderful ways!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Just Amazing!!

Tonight was one of those amazing moments that takes your breath away with an older child adoption...

We have been home for 6 months and tonight, when we sat down for dinner, Abby said, "I wanna say blessing!"

We bowed our heads and there was a long, silent pause... I thought, "Maybe she's not sure what to say, so I'll just give her the words." So I said, "Dear God..." And Abby said, "I do it!"

And pray she did!! I couldn't understand every word but here's what I managed... "Dear God, (he was at soccer practice) day (we're going snow tubing)...thank you for food. Amen."

Her words say it all!!

A milestone moment for a milestone post! (My 100th post!)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

We Had Snow Today!!

Ok, so those of you who don't live in the south will laugh... I mean LAUGH... at what counted as a snow day for us. But hey, beggars can't be choosers, so I was thrilled with the dusting because that meant Abby got to play in the snow, she's been asking since October!!

Yep...schools were closed for this!


Nick loves to eat snow!


Sheer joy!!



Cold hands!!


Sled Head!!


Just plain fun...even if quickly turned into grass sledding!!






She was happy just to roll around in it!!


What a fun day!!

Before I sign off... my cousin and her husband, who inspired us to adopt, are now in the paper chase for their second adoption. Stefanie has a new blog and part of her blog is that she is selling her beautiful creations, outfits that she sews...they are beautiful and the workmanship is outstanding...the proceeds are to help pay for their second adoption. Please check out the new button on my sidebar...Stitching to China, or you can just click the name in red.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Please Pray...

I am writing on behalf of my friend and her family... If you've been following along here for very long, you might remember that back in October I got to meet my 'virutal' friend, April, when she and her family came through our town on the way home from vacation.

Well, a terrible accident happened yesterday with her oldest daughter, Shelby. You can go to her blog and read the story, but basically, a cup of scalding water spilled on Shelby and she is burned from the bottom of her neck down to the top of her thighs with 2nd degree burns. She is still in the hospital.

This amazing family has been through so much this past year, including the adoption of their precious little girl, Emme, but she also continues to have health concerns with gaining weight. It has been a rough year for them...

Please pray for no infection, no scarring, that the pain would be manageable, or even better that God would take it away and that she would regain her appetite. Also, please pray for peace for April and her family and that they would sense God's presence with them throughout this.

Last week in Bible study, we studied the Daniel 3, the story of Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego in the fiery furnace. When King Nebudchanezzar had them thrown into the furnace, he was amazed to see, not 3 but 4 men walking around. And what occurred to me is that God doesn't watch our trials and sufferings from afar, He steps right into them and walks with us through them.

I pray that God will make Himself evident to them in many ways. I'm sure she would appreciate it if you would stop by her blog and leave her a comment... I bet Shelby would love it too!

Monday, February 2, 2009

My Boys... Hoo...Hoo...Hoo (Remember Tim Taylor? Home Improvements!)

Ok...I guess the 'Hoo...hoo...hoo' should really be my husband's line, but I'm feeling a little puffed up about our boys right now... I better be careful though, we've just been studying old King Nebudchanezzar and discussing how pride goes before the fall...but hey, I'm their mom, so if you wouldn't mind indulging me for a minute...

I'll start with Nick...

I mentioned a while back that he started a new school in January. Well, one of his friends wrestles and encouraged him to give it a try. The coach invited him to practice with the team but told him that he wouldn't be wrestling this year, since he'd never wrestled before.

Well, after just a week of practice, there was a wrestle off to see who would wrestle in a match and Nick won! The match was postponed because we had a dusting of snow, so they wrestled today.

I have never seen a wrestling match before...WOW...intense. Thankfully Nick was one of the later matches so I had a few minutes to get used to watching boys (one soon to be MY boy) getting SLAMMED to the floor...YIKES! My heart was beating so fast, my eyes were welling up...I thought, "I'm supposed to watch someone do this to my child?"

Well by the time it was Nick's turn, I was kind of getting into it, but I was so nervous for need...he won his first ever match and he's only wrestled about 3 weeks! I was quite proud of him!! Here are a few pictures (it was very dark in the gym so they're not great, but you get the idea!). Nick is the one in all navy, no white on his uniform.



He pinned him!!


Now for Zack...

This weekend was another soccer tournament. Technically, it was supposed to be friendlies (games for practice that don't count towards standings)...ha, that's an oxymoron...there's NOTHING friendly about these games. The coach from the Reston, VA team called our coach filthy names in front of his and our players and even challenged our coach to a fight in the parking lot...can we say mature...NOT!! I can't believe parents allow their children to play for a man like that... Ok, sorry, I'll get off my soapbox. I'm just thankful we have a coach that is mature enough to conduct himself like an adult and set a good example for our sons.

Well Zack had an amazing weekend of mom called him a 'freight train!' In one game, he had an assist and then scored a goal!! That's rare for a defensive back...

So here are some of my favorite photos from the weekend...they won 2 games and tied one... I love getting to spend this time with him...




The shot that scored...



And here are a few of the other players that I thought were amazing, I don't how they get so high off the ground...




The next is one of Zack's favorite teammates...he's an amazing soccer player. Unfortunately, in the last game that was so nasty, he broke his collar bone (thanks to a dirty tackle), he'll miss most of the season. The players on the other team were nasty, they reflected the character of their coach. Will parents ever learn that the sheep always look like the shepherd? It matters who's influencing our children!!


I have another story about Zack from this weekend, but I'll save it for another day... Thanks for indulging me!