Deuteronomy 4:35

You have been shown these things that you might know the Lord is God besides him there is no other.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Double Your Impact for Ellie Grace

Thus far, we have raised and paid for nearly $21,000 toward the adoption of our Ellie Grace!  We praise God for this as He continues to provide opportunity for extra income!  We have also been gifted with many, many offerings of love on this journey in addition to the side jobs God has provided.  We are absolutely in awe of all that God has done!  With nearly 2/3 of the adoption costs raised, we only have $13,000 remaining.  
  This week we received some amazing news.....

have awarded our family a matching grant!

This means that every dollar that is given to our account at Lifesong will be matched up to $3,500.  If that happens half of  our $13,000 need will be met just like that.  No amount is too small to donate as each donation will be matched!  We hope to be traveling in the next three months and are anxious to mark our sweet baby girl's ransom paid in full!  We know that God has a plan, and a vision in which to do that for her.  

Will you consider partnering with us so that one more precious babe might know the love of a family?  You can visit our my story page here or in the margin to give a tax deductible donation to our account.  We would be humbled if you would share our story with your circles as together we can accomplish even more.

The one who has called us is faithful and He will surely do it!  Thank you for considering partnering with us, and being Jesus hands and feet for our baby girl!  We are beyond humbled for each and every contribution!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Party For My Artist

 I love birthday parties!
 Celebrating my babies is one of my favorite things to do!
This little babe is my artist so choosing a theme for her sixth birthday party was easy peasy.
 My darling girl was thrilled with her day.
 We painted some initial canvases with our little friends who came.
 Jilly liked painting too!
 Six years old looks so good on her.
 She opened up her gifts and enjoyed every one!
 We sang to her, and the candles were out after a few tries.
These years are flying by, but I am grateful for these moments to cherish in my heart as these are some of the best of my life.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Thinking of Her Birth Mother

It's late.  I am just putting the finishing touches on a paint splatter t-shirt with a number six stuck on and an art palette cake because tomorrow is my almost six year old treasure's birthday.  Tonight in the quiet of my house while everyone sleeps, my heart is filled with thoughts of her.  The mother who knew and held my baby girl first is facing this day without her.  I simply can't imagine what it is like to live through this darling Anna Mei's birthday..every year.  What must her thoughts be on this day?  Does her heart break longing to know the one she surrendered?  Does she know anything about what happened to her baby girl after she left that corner?  Can she even let herself imagine how blessed we are because of her sacrifice?  I can't pretend that I have any understanding of what transpires in her heart, but I love her.  I love her and am so connected to her.  I am grateful on this day for the immeasurable gift God planted in her womb.  Oh, how I would give anything for just a moment with her.  A moment to stand in the sacred space that is between us, and just be.  Two different mothers who share the same daughter.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Perler Beads with Miraculous Molly

The sweetest thing about our beautiful baby girl, Molly, is that she has absolutely no idea that she is different from anyone else.  To all others, they recognize it as soon as they see her.  She was born without radial bones in her arms so they are much shorter than typical arms.  Her hands are missing functioning thumbs, and they aren't positioned like most as they are turned and without wrist motion.  She also has severe hearing loss as without her hearing aids she can only hear sounds like the vacuum and sirens.  In fact without her aids, they tell me that she can't hear any speech at all. That means that she is always sporting that hot pink and purple hardware whenever she is awake.  She has never pointed out her hearing aids, made mention of her hands, or fret one bit about doing things differently than every other peer around her.  She is just so happy, so secure, and with everything in me I wish I could just freeze time and keep it that way.  She is absolutely perfect if you ask me, and I tell her that she can do anything that everybody else can every chance I get.  I pray that she continues to keep that truth in her heart as she grows up in a world that doesn't always celebrate differences.  Today, her big sis was working on a Perler bead project.  Perler beads are challenging for me as they are so tiny that it isn't always easy to maneuver them on the form.  It didn't stop my miraculous Molly one bit.  She sat down and went to work on a heart form.  She didn't just fill it once either.  She made three different heart forms.  I am in awe of this girl of mine.  She is amazing!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Ellie Grace Update

This glow of the holiday lights have faded, the trees are coming down, and the girls are all back in school this week.  The holidays have been so good for us here.  There are moments that I miss Ellie Grace beyond words, but we have received two picture updates this month, and our paper work is moving.

 We were logged in to Ch*na on Dec. 9.  That means all of our paperwork is there, and it is being processed.

 Now, we are waiting on our Letter Seeking Confirmation (LSC) which essentially is a letter from the Ch*na side of things that asks if we are sure we want to proceed.
 We are praying that we receive our LSC before Jan. 28 when everything shuts down for New Year over there.  The shutdown lasts a couple of weeks so if we don't get it before then it will slow things down.  We trust the Lord with this, but the sooner the better.
 After our LSC, we will send everything to the US government to finish the immigration requirements.

After the LSC, we will travel about 10-12 weeks later.  It could be as early as April, but more likely will be early May. 
 We can't wait to get this sweet babe of course, but we seem to be pros at this waiting thing... 
I recently read an article on No Hands But Ours about waiting for your story to be written. This week I have been reflecting so much on the fact that I have spent nearly four years of the last 6 1/2 waiting to bring a child home.  I have been thinking about all that God has taught me about having JOY and purpose in the waiting because the truth is we all wait on something our entire lives.  Some of us wait on the day that we are able to finally welcome our child home and into our arms forever.  Some wait for their bodies to be healed.  Others wait for the perfect job opportunity, to be chosen for that ideal spot, or for that big break in something.  These thoughts have been ever present and mulling over in my head in the last week as I struggle with waiting for God's perfect timing to bring my girl here.  It is a common theme that is coming up in scripture as I read my devotions, in songs as I worship, and in my heart as I live out the day.   This place is a spot for me to record this wait, and one that I will go back to you years later.  Thank you for following along beside me, and for your prayers.  You are a blessing to me!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Christmas 2016

Since it is already nearly impossible to get everyone looking and smiling in the same direction, I imagine that next year with another little one to pose we might never have a "perfect" photo.   
I hope your Christmas holds sweet memories of times shared celebrating the birth of our Savior.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Rolls and Cookies..OH MY!

 Every Christmas season, we are busy in the kitchen.  Like most families, food defines most of our traditions.  One traditional food that we always make, and give as gifts, is Jumer rolls.  They are a small rolled cinnamon sugar nugget of goodness that was served in a local restaurant back home.  Our church there would mass produce these at Christmas time to sell at our bazaar.  They always sold out.  We made 55 trays this season for others, and also baked about 6 that we consumed for ourselves.  The girls are very, very good at making them after so many attempts.
 There is nothing in this world like having a little help in the kitchen.  I love, love having these littles beside me every day.
They are a tremendous blessing, and they also make everything I do take about four times longer, but it is so worth it.

And then there are the cookies!  Boy do we make cookies.  I probably would have scaled back this year, but the teenager insisted we make all the cookies.  We got a late start, but I made more than seven kinds, and twenty dozen in one day.  Tradition is important to my biggest girl.
In most every picture this year, our Jillian is smiling.  This is the happiest holiday season she has ever had.  She has done this Christmas thing five times now, and I feel like she finally is enjoying it.  It makes this momma's heart overflow with gratitude to God as I watch her trusting so much.
 We make these cookies that I made when I was a kid.  They are not cut out, but formed by shapes we cut.
 Emily has been making them her whole life, and she insists we do it every year.  Many, many memories have been made while we have made these cookies.  Many Christmases spent with good friends decorating with laughter.
 Jilly doesn't chew so she won't eat a cookie, but she isn't afraid to touch and play in the trimmings anymore.
 This is the first one Molly ate.  She came home not liking sweets too much, but Anna Mei has successfully converted her to the sweet side.
 I am not sure there could be any more frosting on this cookie.  Anna ate it all though.
 Who needs to eat?  Throwing is so much more fun.
 Daddy stepped in and finished, as usual, when the girls were tired of decorating.
Here is Anna Mei over looking a favorite variety of ours for Christmas.  These are her beloved Mrs. Larkin's cookies minus the frosting.  We had no trouble polishing off three dozen of these babies as they are our favorite.  Now after I see all that we have been eating around here, we may need to fast for the entire month of January.  I hope your holiday was a blessed one, and you ate a bit healthier than we did.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Its Cold Outside

Well friends, I am not a fan of cold.  Hate it in fact.  To make passing our days inside a bit better, we have been busy trying to come up with things to keep us entertained.  Some days are better than others, but we got through our first super cold stretch and survived!  We even enjoyed ourselves sometimes.
 Contact paper is always a hit.
 Closed Eyes..bless her.
These ornaments were cute.
 Contact paper taped to the picture window on a cold, snowy day was a huge hit.
I added craft sticks, cotton balls, qtips, and pipe cleaners to a loose parts tray so they could go to work.
 Molly was busy,
 but artist..was busy for an hour.
 She created the manger scene.  
Cutting and placing loose parts filled her afternoon with purpose.
 This sticky Christmas tree tray was a hit too.
I took a couple of cups of varying widths, stacked them on each other, and then covered them in reversed painter's tape.  I added the loose parts tray so they could decorate their trees.
 Molly worked hard on this.
As much as I love Christmas, I am counting down the days until we are outside again.
Warm weather..when will you come back to us?

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Waiting At Christmas

In the quiet of this morning, this Christmas Eve morning, I sit here dreaming of our little one who is so far from home.  As a veteran waiting momma, I know that Christmas without our little girl is always hard yet somehow it has taken my heart by surprise.  The flurry of activity this week has been a good distraction, but this morning the hole that exists in my heart because of the absence of our newest baby girl is exposed in this quiet.  I mourn her absence.  I cry for all that I have missed with her, but I wait with hope.  For this year, she will be placed in the arms of this loving, forever momma, but the future for most is not so bright.  Most babies who lay in orphanages all across the world will never know the comfort of a mommma's arms.  As I watch my babies today and tomorrow celebrating the glorious birth of our Savior, I do not want to be so overcome with joy that I forget these babes who so desperately need the body to be Jesus for them.  As I sing silent night, unwrap gifts, read the Christmas story, consume a million cookies, and feast on food saved specifically for this time of year, may I not forget those who are so easily forgotten.  It is my constant prayer that more will be welcomed into loving, Godly families so that they too may know the love of Jesus because they know the love of family.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Her Last One

This year is full of lots of lasts for my big girl.
It is so hard to believe that it is her senior year.
She is mostly grown up, and I still don't know how the time went so quickly.
Yesterday brought her last homecoming dance to us along with arctic temperatures and three inches of snow, but it didn't stop the fun.

What an incredible blessing to be able to watch my children grow.
Another moment to treasure indeed!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Gingerbread House Fun

So building a traditional gingerbread house has been a flop at our house a time or two.  The kits come cracked, the bread is heavy, and the girls are so little they can't really do any of it independently.  Many years ago, we started making these little houses that use a milk carton, like the ones you get at school lunch, as a form.  We cover the cartons in graham crackers and decorate them just as you would a gingerbread house with candy, cookies, and trim galore.  I even use store bought icing because somethings are worth saving time for.   The girls can do it 100% by themselves, and they enjoy it so very much.

 It's no surprise that my artist spent a good long while decorating her house.  She used just about every embellishment known to man, and even built snowflakes out of icing and marshmallows.
 Molly went right to work choosing only to use all red gumdrops on one side.
 She didn't finish the entire house by herself mostly because she was too busy eating entire spoonfuls of icing.  Oh my girl!

 Doesn't everyone decorate a gingerbread house while wearing cat ears?  This girl has enough personality for all of us.
 Molly's house ended up being decorated by me a bit.  She was off and playing after about 10 minutes.  Here is her house.
Anna Mei's creation was all her own this year though.  It was a fun, fun day!