Deuteronomy 4:35

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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Breakfast at School

We ate breakfast at school this morning for the first time-Jillian and I.  I took her to the Early Childhood Classroom at the public school so that she can begin to get used to being around other children and in a school environment.  I worked it out with the wonderful teacher (my pastor's wife) and the school so that I could take her, stay with her, and eat in the classroom once a week.

It was hard not to cry today watching her sitting there at the breakfast table in the early childhood classroom at the public school.  Jillian sat in the little chair at the miniature sized table next to me.  She was comfortable.  She was watching the children around her.  She signed more.  She signed eat. She played her elbows game trying to engage the others at the table though they had no idea what she was doing.  She gave a boy a high five who came up to her to talk.  She even fed herself a few bites. 

As I sat there thinking over the last year and just how far she has is hard for this momma not to cry.  A year ago, she couldn't have even walked into that school building without screaming and melting down.  She couldn't have even begun to sit at a table full of children.  She couldn't have let a spoon in her mouth, eaten solid food, or even thought of feeding herself.  How can it be that God has allowed me to witness such a miracle and even be a part of it happening? 

Despite the fact that she has doubled her weight in the last year and grown by leaps and bounds..she is a tiny, little peanut compared to the others in the class.  I just can't help, but think what could of happened to her if she hadn't come home to us.  I thank God everyday she is here and that she is ours.  I thank God even more that He is allowing her to make such huge strides and that He is allowing His light to shine through her.  

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I am so full today. 
Sunday has a way of doing that to me. 
Especially Sundays when I get to have my teens here for lunch though it has nothing to do with eating and everything to do with the Lord.

God's love was everywhere I looked today....
It was carried in the arms of my teens as they hugged me.
It was written on the faces of the people who love on our family in our congregation.
I heard it in the words of those around me.
Do you know the fullness of Christ?
Do you have fellowship, true fellowship, with Him who made you?
Do you know who He meant for you to be?
How much He loves you?

I cried in Sunday School today because they are so many people around me, living their lives everyday, who would have to answer no to those questions.
I cried because I have been there.
I have known what it is like to be empty.
BUT then God called me to Himself.
I chose Him and because of that I am now so FULL!

I am so sad that there are so many still living that life of emptiness.
So many still searching for the secret to a full life.
I have the secret because I have Christ.
You can too.
Don't let another day go by in emptiness.
Turn to Him.
And be Full.

..and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:19

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Happy Gotcha Day

Jillian insisted on sitting on her sissy's lap Thursday night.  I tell you I can hardly stand how precious is to see that little girl in the arms of her big sissy. My heart could just explode at the sight.  We celebrated with a little cake and a number one candle because this is her first year with us.  One year down and a lifetime to go.  It seems like she has always been here and my word we love her as if she has been a part of us from the beginning.

This is one lucky momma to get to love on and raise up these two beauties.
(Hard to believe that we are lucky enough to be waiting on one more!) 

Friday, April 27, 2012

State Champion

Darling Kiddo had her school fine arts and academic tournament last week. This year she was old enough to compete in the speech portion of the competition.  You have to know my sweet girl to understand how strange it seems that my darling kiddo would want to compete in the speech competition.  She rarely says much.  She is extremely quiet in most all social situations and doesn't really enjoy standing out, but she loves to win and she can memorize anything!  So.. I pushed her a bit to sign up to participate in the speech portion.  She was hesitant because she doesn't like to do anything that she isn't going to "win" and she wasn't feeling confident about sticking herself out there and performing BUT she was blessed to have a great coach at school who worked well with her, encouraged her, and guided her. She has worked hard in the last few months and when she performed her speech for me the first time, I couldn't believe how good it was. (I know that I am her mom and I hadn't seen many speeches before but it was really good.)  It seems the judges agreed with me because my girl won state champion.   Her score was the highest one in her category.  She was very proud of her accomplishment and thought maybe she might do it again next year.  We are proud of her and love that there is so much at her small school to encourage her to find and develop the many talents that God has given her.  She also entered some photography pieces and received a blue for them.  It was fun to be able to participate for the first time, but if I could I would stop these moments and savor them just a little longer because she is growing up way too fast I tell you.  I just told her today that I wish it was summer so she could be home with us today.  I miss her terribly when she is at school.  She smiled (and rolled her eyes at the same time)!  Gotta love a teenager.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dear Jillian..

Dear Jillian,
Today as I sat in the chair reading next to you after laying you down for your nap, you had so much to say to me.  You laid there babbling your heart out.  Occasionally you sat up and looked me straight in the eyes as if to say..Are you still listening?  I'm listening sweet one.  Listening to every sound.  Responding to every gesture and praising God that you are beginning to find your voice.  Some day when you are able to communicate with me, I will forget how very precious these first gestures and sounds were.  I am going to forget the way I was praising God that you were "talking" instead of going to sleep.  I am going to forget the way I fall desperatly to my knees to pray over you each night begging God to give you the ability to speak to me.  For now, I remember.  I remember my joy as you signed eat all on your own last night as we walked to the park pavillion to have dinner.  I remember the intense joy as I listened to your babbling just now and I marvel at how you are breaking out of that prision that seems to have you trapped some days.  I love you sweet one.  I believe that God can give you the ability to speak and that some day I will hear you say I love you.  Until then, I cling to every sound..each gesture..and hope..knowing each and every day that your life will bring God much glory!

Joyful just to hear you babble today,

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Year Ago Today..

Today I am taking time to remember..

A year ago today, my sweet baby was placed in my arms for the first time.  She weighed a mere 15 pounds at 25 months, had bloody draining ears, yucky open sores on her head, and smelled less than sweet, but instantly I fell for her.  This broken, created in the image of God little being was mine and I was estatic.  To say that this year has been incredible is too simplistic and  understated.  We have fallen head over heels in love with this little girl who is our daughter.  We have watched her begin to love us, learn to eat, walk, communicate, enjoy the company of others, and on and on and on.. I literally marvel at her everyday.  I just simply can't believe that God would allow her to be ours.  I can't believe how she has changed our hearts and how our lives are so much richer because she is in them.  I shudder to think of what our lives would be without her and I am thankful for the millions of beautiful memories, smiles, and giggles that our family has had because she is here with us.

I am also taking time to be grateful today for the many of you who prayed her to us and provided financially to help us pay to bring her home.  You are such a huge part of her story.  Your support has impacted our lives greatly and without you..I couldn't even be writing this post.  Adoption for us seemed impossible when we counted the cost.  It would've been, but God brought you in to walk with us and because of that she is here-happy and healthy.  Look at her sweet face, listen to her voice, see her in the arms of her loving daddy, and rest knowing that God used you to save this life.  THANK YOU for all that you sacrificed to give to us so that she could come home!

Monday, April 23, 2012


My little lady loves her some contemporary worship...

Daddy was speaking at a Reach Out worship event across town last night.  It was in a church that she had never been to before with lots of people she had never seen and she walked right in and led me to the front row.  She loves her some worship!  She sat on my lap for the first hour watching and listening while calling out with joy from time to time.  Then, it was time for Daddy to do a little teaching from the Word and she sat right up at attention when she saw her daddy going up there.  She reached her little hands out to him asking for him several times during his lesson, but was listening and watching his every move.  For the last hour of worship, she stood-just like the picture- though she jumped from time to time..watching that drummer (who happens to be a "sheep" of ours) move those sticks and play. She was made for a mosh pit I tell ya!  She really loved when the bongo drum was being played out in front.  Nothing like singing praises to the Lord with this little treasure next to me.  I tell is simply too good to comprehend that she is here and she is ours.  What a little miracle we have living in our midst that is for sure!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Closing a Chapter

Almost three years ago, I felt that God was beginning to write a new chapter for my life.  I love to go back and read my journal entries from that time.  We were new to our congregation, getting used to full time ministry (my husband had just taken a church job), and counting our blessings as parenting an almost ten year old was pretty darn easy...  I wrote lots of entries in my journal about how I felt that God was beginning to set up some great adventure for me.  I mentioned (aka complained) to Him daily about how I felt there was some greater purpose for my life that He needed to reveal.  I thought it might be writing or speaking because God was communicating clearer than ever with me through His word and I was loving it.  I was hearing His voice so clearly and writing my own bible studies, speaking messages straight from Him to the ministry classes that I taught, and it seemed like this would be it..this was my new purpose-writing and speaking!  My friend even bought me a website domain as I was sure this is where God was headed with me.  I was growing tired of the day to day grind of teaching and while I still found great pleasure in my students the rest of it was growing well...dull.  So I have countless entries about my heart's desire to do more for Him and to surrender my life fully to Him.  I went on mission trips in those years to Guatemala and was moved by God's presence to provide financially for me.  While He was speaking a lot to me then, I grew impatient at His insistence to keep me where I was.  I hate to wait and He didn't seem to be opening any doors!  Looking back now, I laugh at the thought that I had any clue what God was up to because He was about to close a chapter alright, but the new one that He would write has nothing to do with writing or speaking (at least not so far). 

So it is now that the newest chapter of my life begins as I officially resigned my teaching job permanently recently and am officially a stay at home, homeschooling momma teaching a beautiful, yet completely unexpected, Chinese toddler.  Who could have guessed?  Being a stay at home momma was ALWAYS a dream of mine, but one that I never thought God would ever grant.  I never believed in a hundred years that I could be staying home and I never imagined that I would home school.  (Please don't take offense, but I used to think home schoolers were jumper wearing weirdos who were a little too protective.)   So after thirteen years of teaching kiddos with autism and other unique, special characteristics, I packed up my room into over twenty boxes and hugged my colleagues saying good bye. (Now I am using all that experience to teach my beautiful daughter who just happens to have autism herself.  Don't you just love how God works? That whole time I spent in anguish waiting for Him to begin writing a new chapter, He was using every experience I had in the classroom to bring me to a place where I could be Jillian's momma. In awe!)  

My stuff isn't staying in boxes too long though.  I have taken over the spare room upstairs and decided to move our school time in there.   Our school room can be 100% devoted to our schooling supplies and set up just for that.  The office space we are currently using for school is a bit too cramped so were moving on up..stairs that is!  My baby girl continues to do really well working with momma.  We have had days that she didn't feel warm and fuzzy about working..BUT I love teaching and teaching again feels so good that I wasn't even discouraged.  I just keep plugging away, watch her learning, and plan even more for her to do!  It is the best of both worlds for sure.  SO stay tuned for pictures of the new classroom to come.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I Saw Her Today..

I saw her there at the park today though we didn't get to meet as I only saw her from a distance across the pond. A middle aged blond haired momma walking two Asian princesses with hair black as night attached to her hands. There they stood, one on each side of her, wearing matching green t-shirts and hair bows. Soon..that will be this momma. I will be there in the middle of two Asian daughters. I will have one princess from China on each side complete with matching hair bows. I paused my mind for a moment as I sat there in the swing with my precious girl in my lap and I thanked God for this life He has given. I thanked Him that He continues to fulfill my heart's desire. I thanked Him that, at my age, He has given me this heart for the orphan and a desire to fill my quiver. I thanked Him that He continues to work the impossible into possibilities in this life. It's going to be a long wait this time..getting our next little girl home. I miss her so much already. I was up last night..wondering where she was and what she was doing. Wishing for just a glimpse of her face and that I could just for a moment sit next to her asleep and watch her breathe. Soon enough it will be. Soon I will be a momma again. Again-it's such a sweet word!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Why I Love "Home Schooling"

These are a few of my favorites things about schooling my baby at home...

1. We get to wear our pajamas until 10:00.

2. Making crafts with my baby girl is so fun!

I never let my self dream she would be doing this..We have come a long way baby!

3. That little pincer grasp picking up the googly eye is just too precious to miss.

4. I am the one cheering her on when she colors on a paper plate for the first time.

5. It is my voice she hears screaming with delight when she touches play dough.

6. It is my nose she covers with the play dough shapes she cuts out.

7. I never miss any of her accomplishments.

8. I get to see her growing and learning every second of the day.

9. I don't miss tearing up when she mimics my circular motion with her crayon for the first time
and I can take a picture.

10. I get to know her. Truly know her deeper because I get to be the one who is shepherding her heart everyday. If we need to take a little bonding time, we can swing at the park. If she is hungry, I can feed her. If she is crying, I am there to comfort her (or push her to finish). I can hug, kiss, and love her every minute of the day because we are always within arms reach and it is so, so good!

Blessed to be able to do this!

Monday, April 16, 2012

They Said Yes!!

It has been a difficult morning with Jill. Her toddler will and determination to do as she pleases has been on display most of the morning. I will admit I was exhausted, but thanking God for all that He has taught me as I was teaching special kiddos for the last thirteen years about staying patient, remaining calm, and handling each situation with grace. (Not so sure the man who saw Jillian throwing herself down while screaming at the top of her lungs because we were leaving the pool thought I was handling it well..BUT I regress.)

This morning led me to my knees. I was a bit desperate to find some magical cure..some potion to make parenting this special treasure a bit easier. Then I came across the cost of a treatment program that I have been researching and wholeheartedly believe in and would love to enroll Jillian in..but the cost is way out of reach.

Which leads me to my conversation with Daddy....
Me-What if it could really fix her? (I hate to admit that I thought this, but I am being brutally honest about the condition of my heart after this morning.)
Daddy says-She's alive right now and if she were still in that place she wouldn't be-that's all the fixing she needs. That money would save another orphan's life.
Me-So much injustice and Daddy is so right. ( I hate to admit this..)

Which leads me to calling another agency that works with China's waiting child program. I talked with two different people at this agency who has been given amazing reviews from all the families that have worked with them and who is highly respected in the field. I discussed our situation. I shared our limitations in regards to China's program and they said those limitations would be no problem. It seems that many other families have been in our situation in the past and have adopted.

They said YES!!

They said YES!!!

The door seems to be open.

We can do this again!

We can do this again!

We are giddy and crazy at the prospect. We are gearing up for a paperwork battle and we are questioning how in the world we are going to be able to afford to go again..OH God laughs. He laughs at my doubts. He laughs at my unbelief in Him to provide. We are filling out paperwork as we speak and so I am not looking-just jumping off this cliff knowing God will be waiting to catch us at the bottom.

Would you pray for God to guide our steps? Would you pray for God to prepare our hearts and the heart of our newest, precious treasure that probably sits and waits already somewhere in China for God to bring us together? Would you pray for our amazing girls? Pray that God would enlarge their hearts to accept a new sibling.

Here We GO...AGAIN!!!!

Y'all we have been on our knees begging God to bring us to a place that would say yes to matching us with another little one. We are desperate to follow God and do this all again and honestly we have hit a lot of closed doors. Yet everyday we pray, we seek God's face, and as a couple we share our hearts with each other about how much adoption means to us and how very much we want to go again. It seems God has heard our hearts and is granting our petition to welcome more home in His name! To God be the Glory! Stay Tuned!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My Sweet Angel..

My sweet angel..

if you only knew what you mean to us..

If you could only see into our hearts..

You might understand why we follow you around with this camera..

capturing every moment we can..

and cherishing every angle of your beautiful face..

Little, baby girl..

You are treasured!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Racing Ahead

So here I am sitting in the silence (Jillian is asleep!) drinking the way too cold cup of hot tea that I made myself to drink purely for its caffeine content hours ago and I have to admit..this life is good. We have had a very busy week in terms of therapy and it seems that after six or so tough weeks- our baby girl is racing ahead again. I am encouraged. I am in awe. I am falling ever deeper in love with my daughter who is such a fighter and who continues to amaze me.

This morning it was feeding therapy and I think I finally figured out why she has had such angst at Easter Seals the last six involves feeding and a vibrating spoon. She refused when we tried to use it in OT on February 17, but didn't make a scene so I didn't even think..BUT then I started seeing that she was refusing to eat pudding (a favorite food prior to being the substance carried to her mouth via the mentioned spoon). Maybe, just maybe this experience pushed her way out of her comfort zone and she was feeling very insecure there because of it.

Fast forward to today in feeding therapy and my sweet girl still refuses to eat anything in that building. I didn't feed her breakfast this morning before our 9:00 appointment hoping she would be able to eat, but though she was very hungry..she only allowed herself to open up for one bite. You could see the struggle in her little head..the battle of anxiety she was facing. She would sit in the chair and put my hand on the spoon, let it come to her lips, touch her lips, but not open up. She did not cry. She was extremely obedient about sitting. She laughed. She communicated with us by gesturing and was a bit vocal. She insisted that we give her high fives when she thought she had done well, but she would not open up. My sweet girl is so oral defensive..TRULY a huge hurdle because we can't even begin to teach her to chew if she won't let us in there. I am so thankful for our wonderful, patient therapist who hasn't been able to do much with feeding during our appointments the last few months, but who welcomes us patiently anyway.

Despite all this, Jillian is such an incredible little being. To think that she lived in that mass institution, without any room for individualization with all that she has to deal with in her little mind, makes this momma bawl. No wonder she shut down there. I was thinking that she is so complex and finally I feel like I am beginning to know her. How I love her. I deeply love her and am forever grateful to God who brought her to me.

I know that there are many more struggles ahead, but I also believe that God has ordained this journey for us and I am excited to see what my sweet girl will do. There is a plan for her that God has predestined and I feel blessed to be chosen by Him to be a part of it.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Celebrating The Resurrection..

The girls together..

Jillian posing..

Emily posing..

Our little lady in worship..

It was a beautiful day celebrating the life we have in Christ together as a family.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Jesus Paid It All

I "grew" up spiritually in the Lord in a church that fed me hymns each Sunday morning. The verses and choruses of these old classics were new to me, even as an adult, as I was a baby in Him, but oh they have come to mean so much. Now that we worship in the contemporary style, I must admit sometimes I miss the old hymns whose words bring a flood of memories back. Memories of those early days of my faith when God was beginning to set me apart for His purposes..I can still see the song leader in worship behind the old, thick podium with wood paneling in the background and hear his deep, aged voice belting out "It is well with my soul".

It's the hymn "Jesus Paid It All".."All to Him I Owe" that is coming back to me as I take quiet time to reflect on Easter this morning in the Word. It is because of that payment that I am able to have JOY. It is because of that payment that I have PEACE. It is because of that payment that I have ETERNAL LIFE...ALL to Him I owe! It is glorious to know Jesus! It is glorious to have surrendered my life and my plans to the one who paid it all and has it all planned out for me. At Easter, I am reminded that I am in relationship with a living God who willingly paid it all so that I could be with Him. Grateful for that today and everyday.

Have a Blessed Easter!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Coloring Eggs

To say these memories are just an understatement!

She loves her some sloshing liquid. Spilling is her favorite activity..truly-which is one reason she enjoyed this activity so much. I bought these special non spill cups, but apparently they weren't tested on our Jillian! She spilled them. :) Exactly why we are coloring eggs outside.

She picked up everything and explored with only a little hesitation! We are beginning to conquer our tactile defensiveness..WOO HOO!! It feels so good knowing our work is paying off.

She thought it was all very interesting indeed! She loved putting her hands in the coloring.

She must be thinking..Hmm..what are these things?

She loved taking them out and putting them in. She even loved throwing them.

Precious memories of our first Easter together just keep coming.

We are so blessed to have her home and so blessed that she is thriving!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I Have a Dream

It's seems insignificant I know, BUT our girl is riding in her wagon. I tried all last summer to get her in that thing and she wanted nothing to do with it. She would run and scream even at the sight of it. NOW..NOW she is enjoying rides twice a day and even walks up to it and throws our hand out at it meaning she wants to ride in it. To say this momma is overjoyed is an understatement. Each time my baby girl is able to bite off a bit more of life and enjoy it..IT IS SO REWARDING!! Yesterday, we even went four blocks in the wagon to the neighborhood park. She had never been there before because we usually drive to the large park in town and that didn't stop her from getting out, swinging, climbing, and sliding!

Which leads me to my dream..I have a dream that one day soon my sweet baby will be able to ride in her wagon with her family walking beside her to get ice cream at the local sweet spot. We used to do that all the time together before Jillian joined us and to be able to have her here to participate with us would make this momma happier than anything else could.

Funny how my perspective has changed. Funny how the prospective of getting ice cream with my little clan could make me so happy. God is so good to have penetrated my heart so deeply by using this little one. So much that I used to think was important really just isn't.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Her First Hunt

Saturday Jillian participated in her first Easter Egg Hunt.

Our church hosted it and she actually enjoyed herself.

She could care less about eating candy, but she loves a good shake..

and those filled eggs shake, shake, shake..

She loved them!

Our sweet friend knows how our girl loves a good shake so she brought her favorite candy to her..a box of nerds. Though she would never eat them, she was thrilled to shake away.
Do you ever just feel blessed to have people in your baby's life who know her so well and seek to make her happy? I do!! I sure love sweet Cassie who came running to my girl with this box of nerds just for her to shake. She had a huge smile on her face when she saw them and then she shook those nerds up and down smiling the whole time!

This box of eggs looks like a giant sensory bin to me! She wanted to dive right in which made this momma super happy that she was so willing to explore these new things.
Of course any social event is never complete for our little lady without a little swinging. Here are some of her favorite teenagers giving her a good toss. Look at that face she's sporting. We are so lucky to have so many people who are willing to do anything for our baby. These girls rock!

Looking forward to an Easter filled with memories and celebrating the resurrection for the first time in church with our girl!

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Yes, it's a sandbox with rice in it. Given my baby's tactile defensiveness issues..I thought she might need some coaxing on this one. (We tried a sand bin in OT and she rejected it..BIG TIME!!) So, I started by putting something very near to her heart and familiar to her in this box..her rice.

She dove right in.

The next step will be to put sand in on the bottom so she has to step into it to get to her rice.
She sure loves her backyard! She loves to be outside and regularly plays with everything!

Honestly, it was not in my plan to be getting a swing set in the backyard at my age. I am thrilled at the chance to have a set of swings, a slide, and a sandbox to play in! Having a little again is just so good! I am cherishing every, sweet moment I have her! It is amazing to see her smile!