Deuteronomy 4:35

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

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Birthday Party Time

Some of my favorite images of twelve...

My girl is crazy for the zebra.

She has sweet friends who know her and bought her cool zebra stuff.

Zebra cake with twelve candles.

Yes, we got her a phone. She is texting right now. You can't avoid it I guess.

Sissy wanted to help her open her presents.

Her card that momma made her. I make her one every year.

Her favorite color is blue and she loves zebra stripes.
This too shall pass eventually.

Sweet memories. Precious times. Sissy slept through her entire party because it was her nap time. This was good planning on our part so that we could focus on the older girls. FUN! FUN! FUN! I love being a momma! I love this zebra strip lovin' almost teen. YIKES!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

It's Her Birthday

I can't believe that it has been twelve years since darling kiddo's birth. I was thinking around 10:00 PM last night about where we were twelve years ago. Keeping Em in the womb was mighty tricky and required a couple of weeks of hospitalization and four weeks of bed rest. On July 29 late in the night, I had some complications again and went to the hospital after waking up daddy. I tease daddy because waking him up was not easy. They decided they didn't have to stop my labor any longer because Em was ready to enter the world. She was born on July 30 in the early evening and was perfect in every way. She captured my heart the moment I laid eyes on her. What a blessed gift she is to us! Oh how we love her!

I was thinking about how fast this time has gone and how I wish I could just stop it for a while and savor it. Savor the moments with her when she is still young enough to be under my roof, sitting on my lap, or sneaking away to "play" with the door closed. I know that these moments are fleeting and will be gone very soon. Somehow, knowing this doesn't make it any easier to swallow. I have to admit watching her grow up is so hard for this momma. She will always be my baby girl.

Happy 12th Birthday Em!! You are my first born. The little one who first made me a mother and caused me to fall in love with this job. I always tell you that being your mom is the greatest job I have and that is so true. I love you with all my heart dear one.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Last One

I got my last one today-my last paycheck! Yikes!! We are really doing this! I am really getting to be a wife and momma full time! I wish I could share with you all everything that God has done to provide for us so far, but I tell you there is just not enough space in this post or any post for that matter. Who would have thought? This really seemed impossible. Don't you think God just laughs His head off when we think impossible and He continues to show us otherwise.. Will I ever learn? Will I ever just have the faith to trust? We certainly never dreamed this would be..BUT with God all things are possible AND finally I am living my dream. I am a full time wife and momma-taking care of my clan, relying on the Lord for wisdom, strength, and direction! WAHOOO!!! I could shout from the roof tops about how amazing God is and continues to be...He is simply so good that I am bent over in awe of it. I am sure that DH gets tired of hearing me say this BUT I am just so thankful that I don't have to leave my baby in the fall! So thankful to be able to have time to make beds every morning..So thankful I can take Em to school each day, make her lunch, and even thankful to have the laundry responsibility back..So thankful to prepare meals and care for my family...So thankful. Personally, God made me for this. This is my passion. My family. Serving my family. This is truly the desire of my heart and just like that God has given it to me just because He can. So good. So good. So good.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Feeding Praises

We had our first feeding therapy session today. Oh My this little one has made such huge gains. She is eating more like a 6 month old these days and enjoying it. The therapist was so pleased and really Jill just continues to amaze all of us. She has made huge leaps in the last two months since her initial screening. She enjoys eating her baby food and is eating every meal in the highchair..that's right in the highchair!!! She even took some water from a special "cup" they have in therapy. This is the first time she has ever taken water and certainly the first time she has ever used anything other than a bottle. She was resistant at first, but then she opened up and momma squirted that water right in. Two drinks-she took two drinks! I ordered that cup as soon as I got home from a cool therapy tools site and even paid a little more to get it here in two days. She is doing so well!

We have to go to Easter Seals for this therapy and again she was totally ok with being in there. Although she was a little disappointed when she saw the pool because she was probably hoping to have therapy in there. (She is a water bug!) This was our first time seeing our feeding therapist in over a month, but Jill warmed right up to her. She even sat in the rifton chair to eat during therapy for a while before retreating to momma's lap. WOW this girl continues to amaze me.

I have to admit I cried the whole way home. I am so happy about how well she is doing and so thrilled that I get to be this little one's momma that there are times that I am over come. I just couldn't help myself. The words of the official in that adoption office in Ch*na just kept ringing in my ears..She is delayed, worthless, behind her peers, dumb..Do you still want her? Jill just needed a family. She just needed a momma who would come for her.

Oh how my heart grieves that I have said no to adoption for so long. This little one has taught me so much and given me so much joy that it is difficult to describe. She just needed a family to come for her. Really there is nothing extraordinary about us. I am nothing special and I have no specialized skills to qualify me to mother this precious treasure, but all of the excuses that I made for so long to back up my "I can't adopt God" just seem so trivial now. Forgive me Lord for my resistance to do this. Forgive me for the many orphans that I have left sitting in an orphanage all these years while I reasoned with you about how I couldn't do this.

Thank you Lord for this gift. Thank you for this girl. Thank you for the smiles, giggles, and messy chocolate syrup mouth. Thank you that you allowed us to come for her and that she is home with her family. Thank you that she is no longer neglected and that she is thriving because we can nurture her.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Celebrating My Man

Just over six years ago driving in the car to a concert just the two of us, my guy said that he felt like God was calling him into full time ministry. We were both teachers, had it good, were comfortable, and served the Lord as volunteers in youth ministry. I was shocked and resistant for awhile. (I hate to admit this, but alas my poor guy is usually met with skepticism from me when he leads us in the Lord.) Then just about four years ago after two years of searching and waiting on God-He led us to take this ministry position: full time. We sold our house. DH left his cushy job and took a $20,000 pay cut. I never imagined I would be a pastor's wife and there I was-exactly that.

Honestly, I never dreamed I would have such a Godly husband either. Never knew to hope for it. Given my background, I never knew this could be. What a blessing to have this man as mine. I am so blessed by him for a million reasons.

But today...He is now officially a seminary grad! He got his diploma in the mail from Liberty University's Seminary where he has been taking classes for the last three years. Way to go baby! He is just an amazing man of the Lord who leads our family with grace and serves us endlessly. Can't even describe what it is like to be loved the way Christ loved the church by my dear husband. So, here he is holding his diploma which is large and going to cost a mint to frame.

Oh Well, an important enough piece of paper to frame regardless. Just going to wait until Hobby Lobby has custom frames on sale..What an adventure this last 15 years have been. Honestly, I sit on the edge of my seat in anticipation at what is to come next as my man leads us as the Lord directs Him. It is certainly never dull here as we look to Christ to guide us. Who knows where He will take us next?

Monday, July 25, 2011

OT Meltdown

Rough Occupational Therapy session this morning. Jill just wanted nothing to do with it. She wasn't feeling like interacting this morning. Then when K pulled out the ball. It was over..Over fast. Jill is terrified of balls-hates the things. Doesn't even want to be in the same room with them. She had a meltdown. It was a big one BUT a big one that is no where near where it was three months ago. She calmed down after an hour or so and her cry well it wasn't near as intense as it was three months ago either. The best part..she won't let me put her down. She wants me to hold her while she melts down. Now that is progress. Progress that this momma loves.

The said meltdown did prevent me from participating in Darling Kiddo's send off to vball camp, but DH was there and got her off. Darling Kiddo will be gone all week. This is the first time that she has been away from home without family-ever. I know she is almost 12 and will be fine BUT she is my first baby.

Jill will really miss her as she is enjoying forcing herself on her. She insists on Em's attention throughout the day and loves when she gets it. Jill will just have to be happy with momma and daddy this week.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Bursting. My heart is bursting today. Today is one of those days that I feel like..I got this thing. I got this adoptive momma thing down. It's good and sweet and beautiful. (Not all days are like this so when they are..I soak in them.)

We went to the local store this morning and bought Jill new sandals because-well her old ones are too small. Darling Kiddo and I took Jill shopping. She was with us. She was walking in the store. She tried on her new shoes and we even waited in line and bought them. She was a totally normal two year old the whole time. We did it! She did it! She went to the store and got new shoes!!

Then we left for therapy at Easter Seals. She sat in the backseat in her car seat holding her new vibrating toy (which has been a huge blessing) happily as it gave her lots of sensory input. When we walked into the building, she didn't even cry!! (Yes, this is a huge miracle!!) She walked me over to the play area, peered in the mirror, and then walked me to the waiting area to sit down so I could bounce her. She was calm, and so sweet, bouncing happily in my lap. For a few brief minutes, her eyes even looked deeply into mine. The kind of look that you live for when you are an adoptive that means deep bonding is happening. Then she leaned in and gave me one of those full mouth, slobbery toddler kisses that just makes your heart burst with joy. She gave me three of them-in a row. Oh the bliss...

Then she had a super therapy session in which the speech therapist assured me she is progressing through all of the stages that she needs to. She is making those babbling sounds and being the infant that she never had the chance to be. JOY!

She even sat in her highchair this week and ate a meal. Once the new vibrating toy entered the scene after our developmental therapist introduced it, I was confident it would give her the edge she needed to be able to sit in that chair so I gave it a try again. And well, it worked (for the first day anyway). Since Tuesday, she continues to tolerate being in her highchair for a little while each day and I just have to say that this is a down right miracle from God.

Eating baby food is a miracle-in a highchair..well..that's beyond words.

Look at this happy momma.

Check out this toy.

As I was bouncing her today, I just continue to think about how very far this little peanut has come. What a precious and amazing little life she is and how lucky I am to be her momma. Because of having her in my life, I find abundant joy in the smallest things. Things like having her tolerate sitting in her highchair just make me so happy.. what a precious treasure she has given me.

Watching all the children waiting for therapy today, I was almost in tears thinking of all the orphans with disabilities sitting in institutions all over the world who don't have access to therapy, medical care, or a momma's love and encouragement. So many that will never reach their potential or know the joy of being in a family. I teared up at the thought and it was such a good day with Jill that I found myself praying for God to send me again (crazy?). Send me again Lord to least of these little ones to bring them home to our family. Waiting..Hoping..Lord Willing..We will do more one day.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Giving Thanks

Just laid down my sweet, chubby cheeked babe for her nap and had some precious, quiet moments with my Savior in the rocking chair next to her bed. Thanking Jesus that I have the chance to have a little one again. I love being a mother and I love caring for this little one. Praising Him for giving me this gift that I didn't even know I wanted so badly until I had it again. Thank you for the mess of toys on the floor, the half hour of laughter because of tickles after lunch, the slobbery kisses, the morning in the baby pool in the backyard, the cute little plastic spoons in the silverware drawer again, the baby food in the pantry, the toddler Bible on the shelf, the time for Little People.. Oh it is simply too good.

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Friday, July 15, 2011



This post has been swirling in my head all week because this week I have come face to face with it. My husband and my darling kiddo are on the youth trip. My husband is a youth pastor and we love, love, love ministry and our youth.

We-was something that there was a lot of in our ministry before this adoption. Now, with our new treasure home, there is a lot of him and no me. If I told you that it wasn't hard, I wouldn't be being at all honest. Our youth, my girls in particular, were a huge part of my life. In fact, the times that I have taught them God's word, mentored them, and prayed with them have been some of the most meaningful in my spiritual life. God has grown me and stretched me through this ministry.

This ministry-being with teens-is not at all something that I ever wanted. To be honest when my husband dragged me into it, I was kicking and screaming the entire way. Now, I have experienced God through it in more ways than I could have ever dreamed and I love our teens. I love being in their lives. Love teaching them God's word, love tucking them in before bed each night (yes I really do that and they actually like it or at least pretend to), love praying with them, comforting them when God is stretching them, love loving on them, love being able to serve next to my man.. This week I couldn't do that. Truthfully, I haven't been able to spend much time with any of them since Jill has been home and it is definitely a sacrifice for me. It is something that God has asked me to lay down for this period in my life so that I can be a momma to one special baby girl who really needed one.

While I love being my little one's momma, giving up this ministry isn't easy. There are days that I struggle with not being there. Days that I wish I could have kept it all and still answered God's call to bring home our girl. Keeping it all just isn't in God's plan right now. I'm not sure what is in God's plan for using me for ministry in the months to come, but I miss it. I miss communicating with God for the purpose of teaching others. I miss being used by Him to help our youth grow in their faith.

On the other hand, I know that this toddler time will be over all too soon and so this week I have tried to not dwell on the sacrifice and instead embrace the gift. The gift that God has given me in this girl. While it has been life changing and some of those changes are bitter sweet, I am willing to continue to lay down my life and my plans for His which means loving on the little one asleep upstairs for this season in my life. How I am so thankful for that.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Day in Our Busy Life

Please pray. I am flying solo this week and without daddy here.. Well, I'm a little worried about what effect it might have on our sweet girl. She is a bit more distant than she has been, pushing me away a little more, just a bit fussier..It could just be a coincidence, but I can't help but worry that she is feeling like she has been left again. How I long to just know what she is thinking. Trying hard to keep her busy..

I took her to the zoo (so hot).

Where she really liked the wood mulch and could care less about the animals.

Silly momma. You make me laugh!

This is the hundreth time I have ripped these off the fridge!

Oh the fun!!

Oh yes I did! I cleared off the top of this chest and climbed right on up here!

(I had to take her picture before telling her no and getting her down.)

I sure love keepin you busy momma.

And with a smile like mine, who could resist?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

She's Feeling It

Dear Jill,
I laid in bed last night next to you and watched you breathe. I rubbed your sweet cheeks with my hand and simply gave thanks to God that you are mine. You have come so far my sweet girl. I wish there was some way that I could capture with words all the pictures of you I have in mind as you allow us to become your family. You are loving us-truly loving us and it feels like a dream to see you feeling it. Momma was gone for an hour at a church meeting and when I came home you greeted me with shouts, jumping, and kisses. You know I am your momma. You feel it in your heart. You trust me and you even love me. I have wanted so badly to be able to feel that you love me and I simply can't describe what it is like to finally be at this place. You love us. You laugh with a deep, belly shaking laugh when your daddy swings you. You boss us all around expecting us to wait on your beckon call because you are secure. You know we want to care for you and meet your needs. You kiss us and climb on us and you are enjoying life. Your eyes are finally full and sparkle just the way I have prayed they would after seeing the emptiness there for so long. Your healing is a miracle and only the Lord can be credited with how He continues to make you whole. I love the way that you laugh when you drag all the magnets off the fridge, the way that you sit in the empty laundry basket waiting to be pushed around, the way you plop on your sissy's bean bag chair and wait for her to acknowledge you, the way that you insist on sitting on your daddy's lap when you eat..I just plain love everything about you baby! You are so in my heart. You have added so much to our family and I am so thrilled that you are my daughter. This road to becoming your momma has not been easy, but every single trial is worth it because I am being loved by you.


Thursday, July 7, 2011


I applied for Jill's social security number this week. As I was filling out the papers, it asked for her birthplace for which I had to write unknown. Unknown. It hit me hard. Hit me that some day I am going to have to try my best to explain to her the little I know about her first years of life. I am going to have to find the right words to help her understand. I am going to have to spend a lifetime praying that she finds some way to come to peace with where she has been and merge her past with her present. Way too overwhelming now. Way too much to think about, but there are times that her unknowns weigh heavily on my mind and are too much to ignore. I hurt so much for her when I think of it. I hurt, with a deep pain that only a mother can feel for her baby, when I think of all that I have missed. When I consider all the times she has needed me and I couldn't be there.

But then I consider now, I consider all of the times that I will be there for her and all that means to me. Yesterday alone, I probably gave her hundreds of kisses. I smother her with those things. I love her so much that I think there are days that my heart will literally burst looking at her. I have always loved her like she was mine from the moment she was placed in my arms. The best thing is she is feeling like she is mine too. When she leans in with her little toddler mouth full of a wet kiss to plant one on me-words can not describe what is in my heart. I know this love won't erase her past, but I am praying that it will be the bridge that merges her past and present together beautifully. So thankful to be her mom today and everyday.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Praises for Progress!

We had our first developmental therapy session today. (Finally!) The therapist can't believe the progress that Jill has made since seeing her for her eval on June 9. She did so well! So stinking well! She instantly took to the toys the therapist offered and readily showed her stuff. She stacked blocks, put cups on top of each other, sorted shapes, pulled toys, walked backwards with ease, looked at a book, showed her skill at blocking the zoo toy with other toys, and so much more. The therapist assured me she sees so much cognitive stuff going on in her play. Oh, I know she does because my girl is a smarty pants. She just needed a family to love her and show her she is valuable. Praising the Lord today for this little life. So thankful that God allowed her to be ours. So beyond grateful to those of you who helped us rescue this little life. She is thriving and continues this week to just be full of joy even though we don't have a lake in our backyard like last week during vacation. She is getting this family thing down and she is smiling more than I have ever seen her. Her heart is on it's way to being repaired.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Screaming, Storms, Dirty Diapers, and a God Moment

We're home and ready to leave again. (Can you believe we are taking another trip with Jill already? Kinda crazy I know, but hey we'll see how it goes!) Just wanted to share with you this God moment we had on Friday when traveling back..

We had driven about three hours and it went like this-Momma fires toy after toy after toy to keep Jill entertained (exhausting) as fast as she can without stopping. Sister is in on the action too as she has to hand the toys to momma and then pick up the ones that Jill casts off. Eventually (after about thirty minutes) momma is out of tricks and Jill is really ticked off about being in the car. Then she starts to cry. Scream really-for an hour. Throw in a torrential downpour, lighting, thunder, a not so calm daddy driving in the front, and a terrified big sister (she hates storms), and you have a less than pleasant afternoon.

We finally made it out of the storms. Jill had slept about thirty minutes so we decided to make a lunch stop. Now keep in mind, Jill doesn't sit-ever, eat food, like being inside new places, or have anything to do with being still BUT we have to eat. So, we pull into a fast food joint. This momma is hoping she can just shove down a burger while standing holding Jill. Just hoping that she doesn't scream the entire time I am trying to eat. Well, that didn't happen. An already stressed out momma had a fussy baby, a daddy who couldn't order without my help, and a big sis who had been in the bathroom for thirty minutes (it was really only five) leaving us waiting in the restaurant. I was stressed. It was not my best moment and while I hope that I was not behaving with the negative attitude that I was thinking with-I am sure that it showed through. I sent daddy outside with Jill so that I could order for all of us.

Then a sweet, eighty year old man and his wife entered the scene. They had been there all along eating their burgers in the booth near the line. The sweet, old man pulled me down next to him and said he really appreciated my shirt. My shirt? Oh yeah, I had the new Gull Lake shirt with the theme Bible verse on the back. Screeching halt... I have God's word on my back. This old man recognized that I was a daughter of the king because of the verse. Was I thinking as a daughter of the king? Did my attitude and behavior reflect that? Slap in the face for sure...

The verse was Zephaniah 3:17-For the Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save, He takes great delight in you, and quiets you with His Love. I was thinking in that moment-God is with me right now! That sweet, old man and his wife continued to encourage me so much by the way they smiled at us and the precious glances they gave my Jill. They commented about how adorable she was and how much God loved me. It was as if God himself wrapped His arms around me in that moment through those two sweet, elderly believers. It was a reminder that people are watching me everywhere that I am. It was a reminder that I have a opportunity to be a positive witness for the Father in Heaven even in a fast food joint. It was a reminder that God loves me so much and cares for me so much that He put those two strangers in my path at just the right time.

Maybe the funniest thing is the ending to the story. After the encounter with the old man and his wife, I am feeling so loved and inspired that I feel like I can again handle each new challenge with grace. Isn't it just like God to pump you up like that before He sends you a challenge. I get Jill engaged in the open space behind our booth playing with a chair. I am thinking great now I can eat my burger! Then I see something running out of her diaper and down her pants. Yep a monstrous, dirty diaper. With grace, I look at daddy who is sitting, eating his lunch and ask him to please just pack up my lunch and bring it out to the car when they are done because there will be no eating for momma today! I changed that gross diaper with a positive attitude and ate my cold lunch when we were on the road again with joy. So glad God showed Himself through that couple or it could have been uglier than it was.

Hope you have an amazing day of worship and take the time to show God's love to someone the way that couple showed me.