Deuteronomy 4:35

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

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


For twenty-one years, I have been putting candles on the cake for this man. I can't believe that I have been lucky enough to call him mine since I was fourteen, but here we are..celebrating his 38th birthday. By God's grace, we are still together and I love him more today then I did then. I am not sure how it all passed by so quickly..seems to sneak up on you.
Here he is with his girls. Jillian really liked the candles, fire, and smoke. Thirty-eight candles create a lot of smoke. She "chased" that smoke right over the table trying to catch it. Precious. We are blessed to call this man ours and even more blessed that he leads our family in such a Godly manner. (Notice a store bought cake. Momma with a two year old doesn't have time to make a homemade cake..sad, but true. Daddy still ate it up though.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Our BIG Week In Pictures..

Her first ornament hanging.

Her first glimpse at a Christmas tree.

Momma's helper in the kitchen. (aka playing in the flour.)

Going down the slide all by herself for the very first time. She is not in momma's lap anymore. Daddy was at the bottom to catch her and my did she love it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Truly Thankful

I kept saying all day how very thankful I am
that our little girl is home with us for Thanksgiving this year...

Look how happy she is next to her sissy.

What an incredible gift she is to our family.

What a blessed Thanksgiving with her here.

Her first Thanksgiving meal included mash potatoes, fork mashed baked beans, and fork mashed sweet potatoes with cranberries. You should have seen her face when momma gave her a bite of cranberry sauce. It was a bit tart for her liking. Don't worry her favorite vanilla yogurt showed up too despite it not really being a traditional Thanksgiving food. She also had many other "meals" throughout the day so she must have grasped the American ideals of as much as you can! How we love her..How thankful we are for little life!


If you were in my neighborhood last night about 6:15, you would have seen me in the driveway at my house singing to my baby girl. Screaming with joy to her saying again and again..YOU DID IT!! YOU MADE IT!!! She made it. She made it through her sissy's game. She had never been to the gym before, had to go out in the dark to get there, ride in the van, walk in the dark up the sidewalk, sit around people, be near balls, hear the loud buzzers BUT she made it through the game. I tell you the girl wasn't even all that anxious about it. She made a few sounds even and "talked" to some of those sitting near us. Did you ever see a mom tear up because her girl could go to her sissy's bball game? Well, this momma did. It's miraculous I tell you and while I don't always want to hope for it just in case it won't ever be..God is the God of redemption and I just can't help dreaming that my baby girl is going to be just fine someday. She is going to be just fine and that is going to bring so much glory to His precious name. I'm dreaming and praying for that every night as she drifts off to sleep. Do it Lord...I believe you can! Heal her little heart and turn the ashes of her little life into something beautiful for you! Oh to watch her is just so amazing. Truly amazing!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lessons Learned in the Checkout Line

I had to go to the grocery store this morning..along with most of the rest of everyone else who lives in our town. The place was packed. The lines were long and the wait to checkout..well it was long too. There I was sandwiched between two sweet, elderly people who apparently had known each other for a long time, maybe since their children were small, but who hadn't seen each other for quite a while. I eased dropped on their conversation, though it was unintentional,because I was in the middle of them. They exchanged how are you's and updates about their children. One had just become a great grandma again and had finally had a girl. The other shared news about his grandchildren and some health struggles his wife was having. Both talked with sparkling eyes about the holidays and how their children would be home. Talking of their children being home caused both of their faces to light up which made me think..this time of business, ball games, laundry, rice on the floor (and in every nook and cranny), toys in the living only temporary. All too soon, my girls will be gone..grown. As I thought about this, I was reminded that each precious moment that I have to pick up after them, care for them, hug them, serve them as their momma is a blessed gift and one that I should not wish away or take for granted. My turn at wearing the shoes of those elderly who stood on either side of me in the grocery line isn't far off. Time is ticking away and today I am thankful just to have it. I am enjoying it. Enjoying throwing the rice on the floor with my babe to watch it bounce and hear her giggle. I am even going to try to remember enjoying quizzing Emily for the hundredth time this week over the same science material that she has more than memorized because doing well is so important to her. My girls are growing up faster than I care to think about and I am going to enjoy them. Love them. Lead them in the Lord and simply be grateful to Him who gave them to me in the first place.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dog Tired After Project Sunshine

(Read about Project Sunshine here.)
twenty five kids and adults.
from three different churches.
five rooms.

two trailer loads of new stuff to unload.
two trailer loads of old junk to haul to good will.
drilling and hanging.
running all day.

ten and a half hours.
BUT project sunshine is DONE!!!
Done and I have learned so much once again about the provision of my Heavenly Father and about how when I reach my limit..He carries me! I know it must have made Him smile watching three churches from different denominations uniting for the cause of the forgotten in foster care. How He must have relished in His plan to meet this need by bringing all of us together for His purpose. He is so good. I have made life long, praying, hard working friends through this project and been drawn even closer to some of the same old friends who walk life faithfully beside me.

God is so good and I was so tired. So tired, but I took a nap while my baby girl did and so now momma is back on her game. Need to take some time off for the next few weeks as per my DH's request. So thankful for my man and my older girl who are always supporting and helping momma with whatever crazy endeavor I take on. I wouldn't be half the follower of Christ I am without them.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Surgery and Results..

Really surgery was not the hardest thing we have ever been through together-Jill and I. Jillian was actually calmer than she has ever been in a new place. (Though the doctors and nurses were still very concerned with how upset she was, we assured them she was fairing much better than she had some other times.) Just look at how cute she is in that hospital gown.
Up until she left us, she had only cried about 30 minutes of the 90 we had been in pre-op..Amazing for our girl who has been through so much and is so scared of everything new. The best part is that she actually used her supports to help calm herself. Generally when she is in a new situation and is very anxious, she just shuts down and tunes out. She doesn't let us help her, doesn't hold her favorite soothing items, or ever stop crying/kicking BUT today she held her favorite shake shake toy the entire time, let daddy rock her with a tight grip on her upper body (to calm her), concentrated on my singing (also calms her..poor girl), and calmed down off and on as we waited. She even smiled when the ENT doc came in pre-surgery.
Now, when the poor baby had to leave her momma and daddy with the nurse..she got hysterical and they had to give her a dose of drugs and an IV to calm her. Usually an IV isn't required for this procedure..only a mask, but my girl is a fighter and I think she was so afraid..she fought pretty hard. The extra dose of medication helped her to sleep and stay calm after surgery though so it was a blessing. As long as daddy and I sat on the floor with her, she slept off and on and cried off and on after the procedure BUT it was relativly easy and normal for a two year old after surgery. I have to admit that seeing her rejecting being held by the nurse as she was waking up in recovery and then calming down when her momma got there warmed my heart because that baby knows I'm her momma!
She was throwing up pretty heavy throughout the day because of the sleeping meds, but she also took a great nap too. All and all the day wasn't so bad. Thank you for your prayers. She certainly felt God's peaceful hand upon her.
Her hearing results came back normal..a miracle for sure considering that she has had so many ear infections go untreated in her short life. The tubes are in and while it did cause her some pain last night when the meds wore off..all is back to normal today. We even kept our therapy appointment. I tell little babe is just a miracle and I thank God for the chance He has given me to be her momma. Praying these tubes do their job and we don't have to fight another ear infection for a long time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Please Pray..

Our sweet little miss is having tubes put in those pesky ears of hers tomorrow. She is also have an audiological exam done while she is sedated. The procedure is nothing complicated and it should go very smoothly. Psychologically that is another story...I am worried about not being able to feed her, having her away from me when she is waking up, and just how upset she is going to be about being in a new place and being prodded. I explained to the nurse how very special our baby is when she called (I am sure every mom does this!) and she assured me that they would take very good care of her.
Please pray specifically that..
our girl will have peace.
she will not be upset about not eating..she has known hunger and I don't want her to think there won't be food when she needs it.
we can provide her some pain relief as these ears have been really hurting her.
we will be able to handle the results of the hearing test and provide our baby girl with the best chance at reaching her potential.
Thank you sweet friends. How we are blessed by you.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Just a little eating update. When we got our princess home, we suspected that she had never been given anything to eat but a bottle. The caregiver who deposited her in our arms told us that she was given one bottle a day before her nap. One bottle? She lived on one bottle a day. This means that our sweet one never learned to chew, has some pretty weak oral motor skills, and is very hesitant to let anything near her mouth. I suspect that since her cleft lip was repaired at 4 months old, and she was hurting, that she never went through the oral exploration stage babies have to progress through...nothing going into this sweet girl's mouth.
So...we have feeding therapy in place. We are working on getting her to accept different food textures (ie puree or baby food, mashed food, ect.) and we are also working on the chewing hierarchy. Chewing Hierarchy? Who knew? Well, I didn't have a clue, but the therapist has been good about guiding this momma ever so gently and leading me in the ways of feeding therapy. Our little one is making some BIG progress..though we still have a long way to go.
Here is some of what she is eating these days..

Fork mashed pumpkin pie with whip cream...YUMMY!

Accepting a spoon into her mouth quite nicely these days.
Also sitting in the high chair is no big deal any longer.
Gotta love a hot fudge sundae face.
I am working on trying to get her to pick up the spoon herself.
She is very unhappy about this. She regularly tells momma NUUUU..
while shaking her head and putting my hand on the spoon.
Eating actually brings her great joy as do daddy's antics while she's eating.
He is really cracking her up here! Gotta love her joy. It is so contagious.
Praying for continued progress and that she figures out that chewing thing. She still doesn't seem to have a clue about how to use those teeth of hers. She is still mashing food with her tongue in a sucking motion and can't seem to get her tongue to thrust forward anything out that is too hard to mash with it. That means it's soft fork mashed and pureed foods in her diet until those teeth can function. She is thriving though-nine pounds heavier than six months ago. We are still really struggling with getting her to accept liquids from a cup. She won't have anything to do with putting one of those things in her mouth. We have tried several kinds and none seem to interest her. Still, we press on and are thankful that she has no signs of dehydration despite not taking liquids. It's never dull around here and we love watching her grow..Eating is an adventure. I know the minute she chews a cookie, she won't be able to get enough as my girl loves her some sweets.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

How's it Going?

How's it going (with respect to the adoption)?
I get asked that all the time. I am so thankful for so many who care so much about us.
I usually reply that this-bringing Jillian home-is the hardest thing that I have ever done BUT it is also by far the most wonderful.
There are times, many times, that have been very hard. Times when I am so weak and so weary that I feel I literally can't go on one more moment. While these moments have been hard, HARD, these are the moments that have led me to my Savior and have also led me to love this little one even more intensely.
This weekend, we had a party to attend on Saturday night. We haven't all been able to attend anything together as a family outside our home since bringing our treasure home six months ago, but I thought I would give it a try. While Jillian is getting more comfortable in some places, she is still just not able to participate in most activities. The party was no exception. I was talking with her about going out to the party and that we were going to J's house and she could play with her. I was telling her that momma would bring things for her to eat , that we would have a good time, that there was nothing to be afraid of, and that momma would be with her the whole time. She is not yet able to communicate as she is still nonverbal, but I tell you this momma knows that she understands my spoken words perfectly. She immediately expressed anxiety about the party as soon as I mentioned it early in the day. Every time I talked with her about it, she would tense up and shake her little head. Oh, my sweet baby. She is so locked inside herself unable to tell momma how she is feeling and what she is thinking, but I know that she understands so much.
Then it came time for the party. She was excited about getting her shoes on and going bye bye. Daddy got her ready and headed out to the car with her. Suddenly, intense fear overtook her and she couldn't stop crying. It wasn't a meltdown exactly because she was able to calm down pretty quickly back inside the house and I felt like she was in control of her emotions somewhat as she cried BUT my oh my I wish I could know what she was thinking. She did seem as if she really wanted to go. Like she really wanted to give it a try..she just couldn't let herself.
I see this about my sweet one all the time. She sits just outside the ball pit afraid to take the plunge. She is so struck by fear and anxiety so often that it paralyzes her. I was mourning this last night. I was praying for God to remove these feelings from her little heart. Then it was as if God showed me that she was perfectly happy who she was staying safely in her world. He seemed to say that while I know what she is missing..she doesn't and for now that is ok. So it was another blessed night alone with my special girl while daddy and sissy were out. I have to tell you though..what a blessed gift. She has taught me the value in taking it slow and staying home. The value in spending time just being together. The value in looking deeply into the eyes of the ones you love and sitting. How I love her. How I cherish all the time that I have to spend with her. Sometimes I am in a frenzy trying to make her ready to do be in the world experience more BUT last night God reminded me that He just wants me to cherish her the way she is now. Rock her a little more, hold her close a little longer, help her into her pjs..these moments will be gone all too soon and she won't be so willing to just be with me.
I praise God for the gift of my children and I am thankful for all that He does to use them to mold me into who I need to be. What a precious gift they are to me!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Overwhelmed by Project Sunshine

(It took all 14 hands to get all the stuff out of the store and to the trailer for our rooms.)
Overwhelmed by how God is providing for Project Sunshine.
My basement is overflowing with toys, books, furniture, curtains, high chairs, excersaucers...
You just wouldn't believe. Everything I have needed. Everything the social workers dreamed of..Provided. just. like. that.
Overwhelmed by the generosity of others.
One family in particular gave a large sum to make sure that this project was fully funded. One is all it took and God provided it. Two weeks in and He moved the hearts of this family to donate it all. The generosity of these believers is a picture of the extravagant love of God. They gave more than I even asked for to finish these rooms.
Overwhelmed that more than half of the volunteers for Saturday's project are people I have never even met.
If I had only thought about my resources when starting this project. If I had only counted on those I knew, I wouldn't have ever started. Because on my own, in my own little part of the world, I don't have enough to get this project done. I don't have enough money, time, volunteers..BUT God brought them. I have worked with, or will work with, more than twenty people that I didn't even know to hope for before I started working on Project Sunshine. Complete strangers to me, but united by this cause under God's orchestration of it all. In addition, my wonderful like minded friends who continue to unite with me for the purposes of the Lord are right beside me the whole way! Too good to comprehend. Too awesome to predict is His plan.
Overwhelmed by a God who continues to remind me of just how big He is.
We are able to do more than I ever dreamed. We have added two more rooms..that is five altogether. I never thought we could fund two. We are working on five. Five. How could I doubt God's greatness? He is mighty in my life and continues to show me His plans are much bigger than I could ever dream.
Overwhelmed and down right blessed to be able to be a part of this!
So glad I didn't say no when the email came and asked if I would coordinate. So glad God moved my heart to get involved. Blessed by this. Blessed and stretched. Growing and Loving every minute and every experience God continues to give me with Him. Can't wait to see the results on Saturday the 19th and get these rooms done....Stay Tuned. I will be posting the makeover pics..

Sunday, November 6, 2011

It's Personal

This year, orphan Sunday (today) is personal. It is not just a Sunday on the calendar to watch videos and pray. Those images in the videos are the images of our beloved daughter. Those empty eyes were hers. That lonely face was hers until we came for her.
Now she is ours. Home with us forever. I marvel at the sheer love in it all. I'm amazed at God's hand and the glimpse this journey continues to give me of Him.
What a beautiful family dinner we had tonight all of us together. It was leftovers, nothing exquisite, but it was the love around the table that made me pause and praise God for the beauty in these moments. A love so deep that we share for each other, God, and the orphan. An awesome and unexplainable love that continues to overwhelm me with its goodness. How I praise Him for His gift of my man and my precious daughters.
The treasure of our Asian daughter, once abandon-an orphan, now so loved by the three of us. This is one of the messages of orphan Sunday. This is God's call for the believer to care for the orphan. Tonight, here she sits in my lap swinging a fork in my reheated mac and cheese and love once again overwhelms me. My love for her is so much bigger than the words that I have to describe it. How can we keep this love for ourselves? How can we not share it?
Then I tear up near the end of dinner as our light hearted conversation takes a turn. We talked about her..our next daughter. The one that God has been calling us to since the day we first held Jillian in our arms. It is nearing time to begin our journey to her. Paperwork is waiting and then there is her name. We have been naming this precious one over the last months and in our hearts she is not just a whisper from God calling us to go again-to us she is becoming a reality as we answer yes to Him who says..
I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you. John 14:18
May the desire of our heart be to answer His call through the ups and downs that lie ahead. May God unite us as we journey to care for another least of these babes of His making. Oh, He is just so good. His plans are so much richer than I ever dreamed!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Whose in the Candy Bowl?

Look who climbed on the dining room table to get to the candy bowl..

She doesn't want to eat the candy (though I wish with all my heart she did). She just wants to get the boxes of nerds out of the mix because they make great shakers. She can regularly be found with a box in each hand shaking out a tune! Nerds are momma's favorite candy though so those shakers won't be in the bowl for long. I'm eating them!

So cute to catch her on the top of the table with her hands in the bowl.